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[499] reading of the anti-slavery constitutions and proceedings, with their frank avowal of an intention ‘to propagate a general sentiment favorable to the immediate abolition of slavery,’ the speaker was prepared to denounce the Society as a ‘dangerous association.’ If ‘not yet an unlawful association (which some sound jurists think it is), it is in a fair way to become so, by its design to trench upon the provisions of the Constitution by overt acts, and its tendency to break down the sacred Palladium.’ Its immediatism makes it a revolutionary society; and ‘I deny,’ said Mr. Otis, ‘that any body of men can lawfully associate for the purpose of undermining, more than for overthrowing, the government of our sister States. There may be no statute to make such combinations penal, because the offence is of a new complexion.’ He endorsed the Southern view, that the case was analogous to international interference. ‘To all this they [the abolitionists] have the temerity to answer that their construction of the Constitution is the same with that of Mr. Webster1 and other jurists: that they aim at abolition only with the consent of the slaveholding States.’ Then, why don't they go South to present their appeals? To send them through the mails and otherwise was shocking. Their printed documents, for which ‘the Scriptures have been eviscerated from Genesis to Revelations, to supply their armory of wrath,’ and some of which are ‘illuminated with graphic insignia of terror and oppression—with pictorial chains, and handcuffs, and whips,’ ‘they gravely say are for the master and not for the slave’; but ‘such a pretext is an insult to common sense.’ If slaves are taught to read the Bible, as ‘a great champion of abolition’ recently proposed, they can read these tracts.

Mr. Otis found an even stronger objection to the Society in ‘its evident direction towards becoming a political association, whose object it will be, and whose tendency now is, to bear directly upon the ballot-boxes ’

1 Webster, Choate and Everett were conspicuously absent from the Faneuil Hall meeting (Lib. 5.142).

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