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[370] embraced objects having no relation to slavery, like cheap postage and river-and-harbor improvements— or no immediate relation, like the Homestead Law, which1 Gerrit Smith called the sister of abolition. John P. Hale was renominated for President, and withdrew his2 declinature.

The one aggressive speech in the Convention was made by Douglass, who was for exterminating slavery3 everywhere. Gerrit Smith reported a minority platform declaring slavery to be ‘incapable of legislation,’ and so whitewashing the pro-slavery Constitution. It grieved him that the platform adopted admitted slavery in the4 States to be legal and tolerated by the Constitution, and he could not bring himself to vote for Hale in the Convention, though prepared to do so at the polls. Neither could he recommend disbanding the Liberty Party, though persuaded that the Free Democracy were better than their platform, and would not break up in coalitions and disgrace themselves like the Free Soil Party. On August 24, Wendell Phillips wrote from Northampton to Mrs. Garrison: “Tell Garrison that it seems to me Douglass will come out for Hale. What nonsense!—hold the Constitution to be anti-slavery, justify one's self in voting on that theory, and then vote for a man who don't agree with the theory!” Ms.

In practice, it made no difference which way any political abolitionist voted in November, 1852. The two preponderating parties, Whig and Democratic, at their nominating conventions, competed, in the language of Charles J. Ingersoll (who was not jesting), “to vindicate Slavery as part of that American liberty which the treaty of independence recognizes, and no foreign nation must meddle with.” Lib. 22.119. Bizarre and contradictory as this sounds, it represented the Free Soil attitude also towards the Constitution and the Union as they came from the hands of the founders of the ‘Republic.’

‘All disguises are now,’ wrote Mr. Garrison to J. M. McKim,5

thrown off by the two great political parties in the land, and

1 Lib. 22.137.

2 Lib. 22.151.

3 Lib. 22.134.

4 Lib. 22.137.

5 Ms., Boston, July 18, 1852.

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