with the destruction of a Bastile, but destined to end only with the overthrow of a tyranny, differing little in hardship and audacity from that which sustained the Bastile of France—I mean the Slave Power of the United States. By the Slave Power, I understand that combination of persons, or, perhaps, of politicians, whose animating principle is the perpetuation and extension of Slavery, and the advancement of Slaveholders. That such a combination exists, will be apparent from a review of our history. It shows itself, in the mildest, and perhaps the least offensive form, in the undue proportion of offices under the Federal Constitution, which has been held by Slaveholders. It is still worse apparent in a succession of acts by which the Federal Government has been prostituted to the cause of Slavery. Among the most important of these is the Missouri Compromise, the Annexation of Texas, and the War with Mexico. Mindful of the sanctions, which Slavery derived under the Constitution—from the Missouri Compromise—of the fraud and iniquity of the Annexation of Texas—and of the great crime of waging an unnecessary and unjust war with Mexico—of the mothers, wives, and sisters compelled to mourn sons, husbands, and brothers, untimely slain,—as these things, dark, dismal, atrocious, rise to the mind, may we not brand their author, the Slave Power, as a tyranny hardly less hateful than that which sustained the Bastile. This combination is unknown to the Constitution; nay, it exists in defiance of the spirit of that instrument, and of the recorded opinions of its founders. The Constitution was the crowning labor of the authors of the Declaration of Independence. It was established to perpetuate, in the form of an organic law, those rights which the Declaration had promulgated, and which the sword of Washington had secured —‘We hold these truths to be self-evident—that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights,—that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ Such are the emphatic words which our country took upon its lips, when it first claimed its place among the nations of the earth. These were its baptismal vows. And the preamble of the Constitution renews them, when it declares its objects to be, among other things, ‘to establish justice, to promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.’ Mark; it is not to establish injustice— not to promote the welfare of a class, or of a few slaveholders, but the general welfare; not to foster the curse of slavery, but to secure the blessings of liberty. And the declared opinions of the fathers were all
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