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[154] reason for my hesitancy was his treatment of the Anti-Slavery people of the border slave States, and especially of Missouri. The grounds for my objection on that score will appear in the next chapter, which deals with the Missouri embroglio, as it was called.

From what has just been stated, it will be seen that the cause of Anti-Slaveryism had, at the formation of the Republican party, reached a most perilous crisis. It was in danger of being submerged and suffocated by unsympathetic, if not positively unfriendly, associations. It ran the risk, after so many years of toil and conflict, of being undone by those in whose support it was forced to confide. Such would undoubtedly have been its fate if, owing to circumstances over which no political party or other organization of men had control, the current of Anti-Slavery sentiment had not risen to a flood that swept all before it.

It is rather a curious circumstance that, at the crisis just alluded to, the nearest approach to original Abolitionism that was to be found, was in a slave State. In Missouri there was an organized opposition to slavery that had been maintained for several years, and which was never abandoned. The vitality displayed by this movement was undoubtedly due in large measure to the inspiration of the man who was its originator, if not its leader. That man was Thomas H. Benton. Whether Benton was ever an Abolitionist or not, has been a much-disputed question, but one thing is certain, and that is that the men who sat at his feet, who were his closest disciples and imbibed the most of his spirit-such as

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