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[413] account; but the offence was, in doing the deed “before all Israel and the sun.” It was “insulting (!) the convictions of others, whose views of the Constitution are as honest, and perhaps as sensible,” as my own. I “ should have retired to some corner, and burned it on my own private and particular hook, without outraging the feelings of my audience” !!!. . .

Let me tell the Commonwealth that slavery is a public, not a private concern—a national, not a local system; that it is silly and impertinent to suggest privacy of action against it; that, in the struggle for its overthrow, I neither seek nor take advantage of any man unfairly; that my testimonies, in whatever form given, are for the nation, not for the chimney corner. . . .

If, for almost a score of years, on all occasions, I have branded the U. S. Constitution as a blood-stained instrument— and if, during all that time, I have disfranchised myself, for consciencea and the slave's sake, under it—was it to “insult” any one for me to reduce my verbal impeachment to a positive act, in order to make my position palpable to the dullest vision —viz., by burning a few leaves on which that Constitution was printed, as a token of my utter abhorrence of it? The objection is too absurd to require a serious refutation. . . .

Ah! but there were anti-slavery men at Framingham “who hold that the Constitution of the United States furnishes no aid whatever to slavery.” Do they indeed? Well, what then? Am I to substitute their convictions for my own? If they have discovered an anti-slavery Constitution, they know I did not burn that (why should I?) on the occasion referred to. How many such were present, I do not know—probably not a “baker's dozen” in that assembly of three thousand. I burnt a pro-slavery Constitution, in my judgment, in the judgment of the nation ever since its adoption, and therefore was faithful to the slave in so doing; and not one of his “sincere and true friends ” will ever reproach me for the deed—the light of which shall be seen long after “this mortal shall have put on immortality.”

From this date the Free Soilers exhibited great sensitiveness to any confounding of themselves with the abolitionists. Their revival, by the folly of those who raised again the issue of slavery extension, had now come with a strength hitherto unknown. From the Ohio wing the1 Massachusetts Free Soilers adopted the name of the Republican

1 Lib. 24.126, 146.

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