use of all moral and legal means for the overthrow of slavery; and these are embodied in the doctrine of secession from the Government.1 11. It is urged that the ground of disunion “is an attack2 upon the conscientious convictions of the minority, of the same character as that which is said to have been formerly attempted by new organizationists, but repudiated by this Society—they having proposed to decide that it was the moral duty of every abolitionist in the country to go to the polls and vote for public officers, and the present measure being a decision that it is the duty of all abolitionists to abstain from such voting.” Here we have a comparison of cases, but there is no analogy between them. The fact is, that, though James G. Birney and a few others advocated the moral duty of voting, the question was never presented to the American A. S. Society for its consideration. The division in 1840 took place in consequence of Abby Kelley being placed on a business committee, and the refusal of3 the Society to put a padlock on the lips of any of its members who might feel moved to speak in behalf of “ the suffering and the dumb.” Besides, the ground assumed by Birney and his abettors was, not simply that voting was an anti-slavery duty, but that it should be recognized as a religious obligation at all times, and this bloody and atheistical government as having a divine origin and approval! This creed they wanted abolitionists to swallow before they should be allowed to occupy the anti-slavery platform as those in “regular standing.” It was justly regarded by the bone and muscle of our enterprise as a proscriptive and unjustifiable measure, resorted to evidently for an evil purpose, and urged out of no regard for the onward march of emancipation, as the sequel has fully proved. It is now charged, as an equally heinous offence, that the Society has decided “that it is the duty of all abolitionists to abstain from voting.” True—voting to sustain a blood-cemented Union and a pro-slavery Constitution —but not true in regard to the abstract question of voting, or of the form of government which is in harmony with the will of God and the freedom of the human mind. A wide difference.
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1 Mrs. Chapman patly recalled the passage in the Declaration of Sentiments of 1833 (ante, 1: 411), in which Mr. Garrison, after having described the pro-slavery obligations of the North under the Constitution—in other words, having characterized the Union—concluded: ‘This relation to slavery is criminal, and full of danger: it must be broken up’ (Lib. 14: 171).
3 Ante, 2.348, 349.
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