agents, then what they have done they can undo.1 They have2 “made a covenant with death” —that covenant they can abrogate. “With hell they are at agreement” —from it they can withdraw their countenance. The proposition may be, and really is, impracticable to those who feel unwilling or unable to support it; but not to those who hail it as eternal truth, as the true anti-slavery issue, as the ground of safety and success —and who, by their deeds, are resolved to show that it is a duty which can be easily performed in the strength of conscious rectitude. The objection that it is “impracticable” may only mean that, in the opinion of the protestants, no considerable portion of the people can ever be persuaded to adopt it. We conceive that our obligation to do a righteous act is not at all dependent on the question whether we shall succeed in carrying the multitude with us. Of one thing we are sure, that we may not innocently go with them to do evil. Broad is the road that leads to death, and many there be that walk therein. Some of our friends who look on this revolutionary step as3 “impracticable” were as strongly persuaded, at the formation of the New England Anti-Slavery Society, that the doctrine of immediate and unconditional emancipation was futile, ‘intolerant, and presumptuous’; but they were not long in discovering their mistake, and they rectified it with penitent and grateful hearts. So we trust it will prove in the present case. When
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1 Wm. H. Channing wrote to Mr. Garrison from New York on May 12, 1844 (Lib. 14:  ): ‘The Confederation was adopted by the “People of the United States.” And when this bond was found insufficient, the “ People of the United States' it was who assented to, ratified, and established the Constitution as the Supreme Law. The adoption of the Constitution did not make us a Nation. We as a Nation adopted the Constitution. This is a most important point. The ” People of the United States, “ by a Sovereign Right, under God, established this Constitution; the ” People of the United States, “ by the same Sovereign Right, having found that this Constitution, in place of ” securing a more perfect Union, and establishing justice, “ &c., has broken our Union, and established injustice, &c. (vide Preamble to the Constitution), can pass on from that Constitution, thus proved imperfect, to a higher and better one, as they did from the Confederacy. And the end in view shall still be Union, not disunion. . . . This is not schismatic, nor treacherous, nor nullifying; it is legitimate, and right, and reasonable. . . . In demanding that the ” People of the United States' be faithful to their professed principles, they [the abolitionists] assume a Positive position, and throw the odium of mere Negation and Opposition upon the Slaveholder. The Rectitude of this is plain, and the Policy of it is equally so. It puts the Slaveholder in his true place as the Disunionist; it exposes to the world that the only actual disturbing element in our Union is our injustice to our colored brethren.’
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