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[451] County without distinction of party, which received12 with acclamation—even if, alarmed at its own boldness, it presently reconsidered and rejected—a resolution,

‘That the annexation of Texas to the Union would be a just and sufficient cause for a dissolution of the Union.’

The letters addressed to the Convention by the most eminent Republican politicians of the day revealed their irresolution and utter impotency before the unchecked advance of the Slave Power. Charles Francis Adams, who in 1843 had incurred the charge of being a3 disunionist by his simple proposal of an amendment to the Constitution abolishing slave representation, still found the greatest defect in the Constitution to be the “antirepub-lican preponderance which it gives to the slaveholding class.” Lib. 27.20. He was of opinion that ‘the notion of no union with slaveholders is founded on a mistaken theory of morals,’ compelling the good to withdraw altogether from the society of the bad. On the basis of ‘honoring the former, and endeavoring as far as possible to reclaim the latter,’ he said: ‘I am willing to continue to live indefinitely with slaveholders, even though some of them should trench a little upon my rights.’ Amasa Walker4 saw clearly enough that ‘slavery and freedom are absolute and irreconcilable antagonisms, that cannot by any human possibility co-exist,’ but his disunionism was confined to the non-extension of slavery. Joshua R. Giddings wrote that the South had notoriously for thirty years cherished the hope of forming a Confederacy:

Editors and politicians now announce their determination to secede from the Union as soon as the Republicans shall obtain control of the Federal Government, which they generally expect to take place in 1860. Preparatory to this event, they are collecting arms, establishing magazines of powder and military supplies, strengthening their defences, organizing and disciplining their militia, and forming associations and combinations to effect a separation from our free States. Lib. 27.14.

In spite of all this, Mr. Giddings was for holding on to5 ‘the Union as it now is’ (i. e., with indefinite possible


2 1857.

3 Ante, pp. 92, 93.

4 Lib. 27.14.

5 Lib. 27.14.

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