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[497] [pointing to the full-length portrait of Washington],1 who from this canvas smiles upon you—his children—with paternal benignity, came with other slaveholders to drive the British myrmidons from this city and this hall, our fathers did not refuse to hold communion with him or them. With slaveholders they formed the Confederation, neither asking nor receiving any right to interfere in their domestic relations; with them they made the Declaration of Independence, coming from the pen of that other slaveholder, Thomas Jefferson, a name dear to every friend of human rights.2 And in the original draft of that Declaration was contained a most eloquent passage upon this very topic of negro slavery, which was stricken out in deference to the wishes of members from the South.

Mr. Sprague taunted the abolitionists with their prudence in not going South, albeit they professed that one ought to do right regardless of consequences. Then, still further to incite at home the violence they would have been sure to encounter there, he singled out George Thompson, by saying: the anti-slavery doctrines

have attained their greatest prevalence and intensity within3 the past year, since a certain notorious foreign agent first landed upon our shores; . . . an avowed emissary, sustained by foreign funds, a professed agitator upon questions deeply, profoundly political, which lay at the very foundation of our Union. . . . He comes here from the dark and corrupt institutions of Europe to enlighten us upon the rights of man and the moral duties of our own condition. Received by our hospitality,4 he stands here upon our soil, protected by our laws, and hurls “firebrands, arrows and death” into the habitations of our neighbors, and friends, and brothers; and when

1 So far was the sense of shame for the national guilt of slavery, or for the only blot on the character of Washington, from having seized upon the most cultivated and respectable classes at the North, that this allusion produced ‘an effect perfectly electrical’ ( “Baptists in America,” p. 387); and so far were they from suspecting the nearness of the overthrow of slavery, that Peleg Sprague retained this speech and this passage in the volume of his collected Speeches and addresses published in Boston in 1858 (p. 449).

2 Nothing could more strikingly illustrate the cant begotten by a democratic constitution based on compromises with slavery than such a sentence in such a connection. And what shall be said of the artifice of concealing the public testimonies of both Washington and Jefferson against slavery!

3 Lib. 5.141.

4 See Thompson's first taste of it on landing, ante, p. 451.

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