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‘ [367] only wish that we may be let alone.’ In this he and his supporters were the antipodes of the abolitionists, who were nothing if not aggressive, and who attacked the Constitution as the very citadel of slavery. For so doing, the latter were superficially taken to task, as when the Boston Commonwealth coupled Mr. Garrison with a certain South Carolina secessionist:

‘All this,’ commented Mr. Garrison,

would be extremely1 amusing, were no principle at stake. Immense complacency is felt and expressed by those who are for running a line between Slavery and Freedom—sitting on the fence, that they may not be convicted of standing on either side of it—in view of their sobriety of mind, soundness of judgment, and moderation of purpose, contrasted with those “fire-eaters” at the South who are determined to stand by slavery at all hazards, and those “Garrisonian abolitionists” at the North who are equally resolute in their defence of liberty. . . . Where is the agreement to be found between Southern and Northern disunionists? In what is their consistency to be seen? Let us see the analogy by which they are made identical: we do not see it now. Who will enlighten us?

Both parties cannot be right, it is said. That may be, that certainly is, true. Each party, therefore, must be wrong, and so both deserve to be laughed at or denounced! That is a nonsequitur—as illogical as it is untrue.

But are they not both seeking the same thing,—the one party thereby hoping to give strength and security to the slave system,—the other party hoping to effect the abolition of slavery, and thus truly to enlarge the “area of freedom,” by dissolving the Union? Yes—but does this prove that both parties are equally deluded? Nonsense!

But are not both agreed in this, that they will listen to no compromise, yield not one jot or tittle, submit to no truce? Yes—what then? Both unreasonable, extravagant, demented? How so? The Carolina “fire-eaters” affirm that slavery is of divine appointment. If so, then they act righteously in upholding it at all hazards. They declare it to be morally and politically right, and indispensable to the general safety and prosperity. If so, then they act consistently, and even nobly, in resisting to the utmost any efforts for its immediate or ultimate overthrow. Between their premises and conclusions, no

1 Lib. 21.114; cf. 22.42.

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