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Xii.

At last the long struggle was drawing to a close; the battle in the Senate was virtually ended — the victory won. While the Constitutional Amendment abolishing Slavery throughout the United States, was on its passage, 8th of April, 1864, the great Massachusetts Senator rose in his place in the Senate House, and delivered his final argument, which opened with these words:—
Mr. President,—If an angel from the skies or a stranger from another planet were permitted to visit this earth and to examine its surface, who can doubt that his eyes would rest with astonishment upon the outstretched extent and exhaustless resources of this republic, young in years, but already noted beyond any dynasty in history? In proportion as he considered and understood all that enters into and constitutes the national life, his astonishment would increase, for he would find a numerous people, powerful beyond precedent, without king or noble, but with the schoolmaster instead. And yet the astonishment he confessed, [471] as all these things unrolled before him, would swell into marvel, as he learned that in this republic, arresting his admiration, where is neither king nor noble, but the schoolmaster instead, there are four million human beings in abject bondage, degraded to be chattels, under the pretence of property in man, driven by the lash like beasts, despoiled of all their rights, even the right to knowledge and the sacred right of family, so that the relation of husband and wife is impossible, and no parent can claim his own child, while all are condemned to brutish ignorance. Startled by what he beheld, the stranger would naturally inquire by what authority, under what sanction, and through what terms of law or constitution, this fearful inconsistency, so shocking to human nature itself, continues to be upheld. His growing wonder would know no bounds, when he was pointed to the Constitution of the United States, as final guardian and conservator of this peculiar and many-headed wickedness.

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