only when unconstitutional legislation is enforced by executive authority, that it assumes that character, and no such result has occurred in this State.’
He then remarked, that Massachusetts
had given unimpeachable evidence of her devotion to law; and it was because she had been faithful that he wished to see her legislation in harmony with her acts.
‘It is because I do not like to see her representatives in Congress, and her sons everywhere, put upon the defensive when they have just cause to be proud of her loyalty; . . . it is because, in the face of her just claims to high honor, I do not love to hear unjust reproaches cast upon her fame,—that I say, as I do, in the presence of God, and with a heart filled with the responsibilities that must rest upon every American citizen in these distempered times, I cannot but regard the maintenance of a statute, although it may be within the extremest limits of constitutional power, which is so unnecessary to the public service and so detrimental to the public peace, as an inexcusable public wrong.
I hope, by common consent, it may be removed from the statute-book, and such guaranties as individual freedom demands be sought in new legislation.’
I have referred to these matters because they were prominent pretexts, made by the disunion party to justify a dissolution of the Union
The State acts named were condemned by many of our wisest men, who never had a thought unfriendly to the Union
, nor would, by their acts or votes, sanction the existence of human slavery, or extend the area of its domain.
The views of Governor Banks
at this time are also important and interesting as in contrast to those expressed, a few days after, in the inaugural address of Governor Andrew
, in concluding his address, referred in direct terms to the secession ordinance of South Carolina
, and said, ‘While I would not withhold from the South
what belongs to that section, I cannot consent that we should yield what belongs to us. The right to the Territories
, so far as the people are concerned, must be a common right; and their status
should be determined upon the rights of men, and not upon privileges of property.’
He was opposed to founding government upon the right to hold slaves.
‘There is no species of property ’