cloven down on the floor of Congress, and is no longer enjoyed by the people of the free States—the liberty of speech and the press is not tolerated in one-half of the Union—and they who advocate the cause of universal emancipation are regarded and treated as outlaws by the South; And whereas, by a recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, the right of trial by jury is denied to such of the people of the free States as shall be claimed as goods and chattels by Southern taskmasters,1 and slavery is declared to be the supreme law of the land; from which decision there is no appeal to any higher judicatory, except to the people on the ground of revolutionary necessity; And whereas, to reverence justice, to cherish liberty, and to promote righteousness, are the primary duties of every people, from the performance of which they cannot innocently escape by any compact or form of government; therefore, 1. Resolved, That the consequences of doing right must ever be more safe and beneficial than those of doing wrong; and that the worst thing Liberty can do is to unite with Slavery, and the best thing is to withdraw from the embraces of the monster.
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1 Case of Prigg against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Lib. 12: 38, 39, 41, 174, 175; 13: 3, 37). The Court held that, under the Constitution, Congress had exclusive jurisdiction in the matter of fugitive slaves; that State legislation was prohibited unless in aid of the Constitutional provision; that this provision was operative of itself, and required no Congressional legislation to give effect to it. ‘The enormity of this decision of the Supreme Court,’ wrote Mr. Garrison (Lib. 12: 39), ‘cannot be exhibited in words. It is in vain for any man to pretend that it is a correct exposition either of the powers of Congress, or the intent of the Constitution. It is not law—for the entire system of slavery is at war with the rights of man, with law which “ finds its seat in the bosom of God,” with every dictate of humanity, and with all the principles of republicanism. It is to be spit upon, hooted at, trampled in the dust, resolutely and openly, at all hazards, by every one who claims to be a man, and in whose bosom remains a spark of the fire of liberty. The people of Massachusetts will scorn to regard it. The soil of Massachusetts shall be consecrated ground, and the victim of oppression who flies to it for shelter . . . Shall be Free!’ It is easy to see what effect this unlimited license to kidnappers (in which the Massachusetts Justice, Joseph Story, concurred) had in determining Mr. Garrison and his followers to repudiate once for all a Union thus given over to the dominion of slaveholders. The Court's admission that States might prohibit their own magistrates from assisting in the execution of the law, was destined to furnish a basis for such legislation in many Northern States, e. g., the Massachusetts Personal Liberty Law of March 24, 1843 (Lib. 23: 66, 74).
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