Now, Mr. Chairman, the question we have to decide is,2 What shall we do? Some of us, many of us, I believe, have put on the armor for death or victory; and now, what have we to do? We have got a terrible fact to deal with in this country, and we cannot stop to discuss the technical meaning of words, whether in the Bible or in the Constitution. We have to deal with a fact that manifests itself in the religion, in the government, in the literature, in the domestic and social life of the country—the Slave Power. What shall we do? Shall we go on trying to compromise, to keep the peace between Liberty and Slavery? I say, No! Sir, there is but one way to meet that Power, and that is, on the field where “Death or victory” is to be the motto. . . . We have got to come to this, and let us meet it. Let the people of Massachusetts take their stand, and proclaim that no minion of the Slave Power shall be allowed to exercise any of the functions of his office on the soil of this Commonwealth. I wish that you would do towards the Slave Commissioners what your ancestors did towards the Stamp Commissioners. What did they do? Go and read the history of your Revolutionary struggle. In 1764 or ‘65, when a certain3 Mr. Andrew Oliver undertook to act as Commissioner in Boston to enforce the odious Stamp Act of the British Parliament, your fathers took him and bore him to the old Liberty Tree, and there, under its spreading branches, they made him solemnly swear never to exercise his office in this country. Now, go call your United States Commissioners, your Curtises and Lorings, and make them swear never to exercise their infamous office in your midst. . . . I go, Sir, for revolution! Mr. Chairman, while I have been sitting here this afternoon, I have noticed quite a number of young men in this assembly, and I have asked myself, What course will they take? Here are three sitting near me—neither of them, twenty years ago, had any existence; two of them, the sons of the man who was dragged through the streets of Boston, and one, your own grandson.4 I ask, What course will these young men, now in the bloom of early manhood, pursue? Will they take hold and help us in this cause, or will they go on in supporting and strengthening that Power which has so long ruled the nation?
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