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Surely, sir, this is enough, and more. Thus, from authentic documents—including the very muster—rolls of the Revolution—we learn the small contributions of men and the military weakness of the Southern States, particularly of South Carolina, as compared with the Northern States; and from the very lips of South Carolina, on four different occasions, speaking by a Committee; by one of her representatives in Congress; by her historian; and by an eminent citizen, we have the confession not only of weakness, but that this weakness was caused by Slavery. And yet, in the face of this cumulative and unimpeachable [244] testimony, we are called to listen, in the American Senate, to a highflying boast, from a venerable Senator, that American Independence was achieved by the arms and treasure of ‘slave-holding communities;’ an assumption, baseless as the fabric of a vision, in any way it may be interpreted; whether as meaning baldly that independence was achieved by those Southern States, which were the peculiar home of Slavery, or that it was achieved by any strength or influence which came from that noxious source. Sir, I speak here for a Commonwealth of just renown, but I speak also for a cause which is more than any Commonwealth, even that which I represent; and I cannot allow the Senator, with his silver-white locks, to discredit either. Not by Slavery, but in spite of it, was independence achieved. Not because, but notwithstanding, there were ‘slave-holding communities,’ did triumph descend upon our arms. It was the inspiration of Liberty Universal that conducted us through the Red Sea of the Revolution, as it had already given to the Declaration of Independence its mighty tone, resounding through the ages. ‘Let it be remembered,’ said the nation, speaking by the voice of the Continental Congress, at the close of the war, ‘that it has ever been the pride and boast of America, that the rights for which she has contended were the Rights of human Nature!’ Yes, sir, in this behalf, and by this sign, we conquered.

Such, sir, is my answer on this head to the Senator from South Carolina. If the work which I undertook has been done thoroughly, he must not blame me. Whatever I undertake, I am apt to do thoroughly. But while thus repelling the insinuations against Massachusetts, and the assumptions for Slavery, I would not unnecessarily touch the sensibilities of that Senator, or of the State which he represents. I cannot forget that, amidst all diversities of opinion, we are bound together by the ties of a common country—that Massachusetts and South Carolina are sister States, and that the concord of sisters ought to prevail between them; but I am constrained to declare, that throughout this debate I have sought in vain any token of that just spirit which, within the sphere of its influence, is calculated to promote the concord of States or of individuals.

Such, Mr. President, is my response to all that has been said—in this debate—so far as I deem it in any way worthy of attention. To the two associate chieftains in this personal assault, the veteran Senator from Virginia, and the Senator from South Carolina with the silver-white locks, I have replied completely. It is true that others have joined in the cry, which these associates first started; but I shall not be tempted [245] further. Some there are who are best answered by silence; best answered by withholding the words which leap impulsively to the lips.

And now, turning my back upon these things, let me, as I close, dwell on a single aspect of this discussion which will render it memorable. On former occasions like this, the right of petition has been vehemently assailed, or practically denied. Only two years ago, memorials for the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Bill, presented by me, were laid on your table, Mr. President, without reference to any Committee. All is changed now. Senators have condemned the memorial, and sounded the cry of ‘treason,’ ‘treason,’ in our ears; but thus far, throughout this excited debate, no person has so completely outraged the spirit of our institutions, or forgotten himself, as to persevere in objecting to the reception of the memorial, and its proper reference. It is true, the remonstrants .and their representatives here have been treated with indignity; but the great right of petition—the sword and buckler. of the citizen—though thus discredited, has not been denied. Here, sir, is a triumph for Freedom.

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