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[485] but I had not then cleared myself from all actual complicity with slavery, because I had not then seen to the extent I now see. If any man had said to me, twenty years ago: “ You talk about being an abolitionist, do you? and there you are voting at the polls, and sustaining the pro-slavery Constitution of the United States,” I should have been dumb. I might have said, perhaps: “I do not comprehend this; I will look into the matter” ; but he, seeing exactly what was involved in a vote, might very properly have said: “ Sir, you are not a consistent, thorough-going abolitionist.” So, in the spirit of justice and true charity, we must confer with each other, argue and reason with each other, and endeavor to enlighten each other; and he who thinks his feet are planted upon the solid rock, let him say to those who may be standing, in his judgment, upon the sand: “You cannot remain where you are with safety; here is solid footing; come up hither, and you shall conquer”

I am not here to say anything by way of apology for the Republican Party; it is not my vocation, and I know it not to be my duty. I have said what I have as a matter of justice. The Republican Party is true to its idea, the non-extension of slavery, while, at the same time, its guilt, its awful guilt, consists in giving its consent and support to the existence of slavery in fifteen States of the Union, under the constitutional proslavery compromises. I have said this again and again, and the party has nothing to say in reply, and cannot or will not complain that I am unjust, or that I utter an untruth, when I say, that between the Democratic and Republican parties, under the Constitution of the United States, in regard to slavery where it is now established, there is not a hair's-breadth of difference. That is, they agree to let slavery alone; they agree that slaves may be hunted all over the North; they agree that slave representatives may be permitted in Congress; they agree that the whole force of the nation may be pledged to put down a slave insurrection; and to that extent there is no difference between the parties. But in regard to the component parts, the men who make up the parties, there is a great difference. The Republican Party is only pro tempore; it is to be broken up, undoubtedly; and the men who compose it will, I trust, take a much higher position, and give, at last, a firm support to the only rational, consistent, and victorious doctrine in this conflict with the demon of slavery— “No Union with Slaveholders, Governmentally or Religiously!”

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