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‘ [48] necessarily, in its execution and its consequences, the destruction of our country and the crime of high treason.’

The final therefore of this tremendous ratiocination was1 that Adams ought to be expelled; but rather let the House censure him most severely, and turn him over to his own conscience and the indignation of the American people. It was all the worse, said Marshall, in remarks of the same calibre with his resolutions, that Mr. Adams had asked for a committee to report against the petition for disunion, since this implied that the proposition was entertainable. The venerable object of this child's-play declined to make any reply till the censure should be voted; but he had the clerk read the first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence, enforcing the right and duty to alter or abolish forms of government which had become intolerably oppressive. He desired to tell the petitioners that it was not yet time to adopt this mode for the redress of their grievances of the past ten years, though he stood ready to prove, by a review of the recent attitude of certain Southern States toward certain Northern,2 ‘a settled system and purpose,’ on the part of the former, ‘to destroy all the principles of civil liberty in the free States, not for the purpose of preserving their institutions within their own limits, but to force their detested principles of slavery into all the free States.’ ‘If,’ he continued, ‘the right of habeas corpus and the right of trial by jury are to be taken away by this coalition of the Southern slaveholders and the Northern Democracy, it was time for the Northern people to see if they could not shake it off; and it was time to present petitions such as he had done.’ He repeated, it was not time to resort to disunion till other means had been tried.

The attempt at censure failed on a direct vote (by 1063 to 93), but at the North it excited indignation where it did not provoke laughter, and increased the disposition in that section to ‘calculate the value of the Union,’ and4 to murmur what Webster termed those ‘words of delusion ’

1 Lib. 12.18.

2 Ante, pp. 31, 32.

3 Lib. 12.27.

4 Lib. 12.34.

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W. L. G. Lib (3)
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