The tree of life,
It is with regard to this territory that you are now called to exercise the grandest function of the lawgiver, by establishing those rules of polity which will determine its future character.
As the twig is bent the tree inclines; and the influences impressed upon the early days of an empire, like those upon a child, are of inconceivable importance to its future weal or woe. The bill now before us proposes to organize and equip two new territorial establishments, with governors, secretaries, legislative councils, legislators, judges, marshals, and the whole machinery of civil society.
Such a measure, at any time, would deserve the most careful attention; but at the present moment it justly excites a peculiar interest, from the effort made — on pretences unsustained by facts, in violation of solemn covenant and of the early principles of our fathers — to open this immense region to slavery.
High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold.
He then proceeded to argue against the measure, first in the “name of public faith, as an infraction of solemn obligations, and secondly in the name of freedom, as a departure from the anti-slavery policy of our fathers.”
The iniquity of the slave-system he characterized in these strong words:--
Slavery is the forcible subjection of one human being, in person, labor, and property, to the will of another.
In this simple statement is involved its whole injustice.
There is no offence against religion, against morals, against humanity,