‘We expect,’ he said, ‘the sacred right of petition to be6 maintained impartially, and vindicated at all hazards. If this should be done, we are willing to risk all the consequences. The desperadoes from the South, in Congress, will fume and swagger, and threaten to blow up the Union, as a matter of course. Let them retire whenever they choose, if they wish to be alone. We would sooner trust the honor of the country and the liberties of the people in the hands of the inmates of our penitentiaries and prisons, than in their hands, for safe keeping. All that appertains to burlesque, paradox, imposture, effrontery, is embraced in the fact that they are allowed to represent a people professing to believe in the Declaration ’
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3 These laws could be suspended by the Executive when New York surrendered the alleged fugitives from justice to Virginia, and its Legislature repealed the act of 1840 extending the right of trial by jury to citizens whose freedom was called in question by kidnappers or Southern slaveowners (Lib. 12: 32, 33). Noteworthy is the making of common cause with Virginia on the part of South Carolina in seeking to coerce New York, and the justification of the means, viz., a ‘regulation of commerce’ concurrently with that exercised by Congress under the Constitution. For a typical instance of the operation of the Virginia law, see Lib. 12: 118.
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