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[108]

To the argument, that the words ‘slaves’ and ‘slaveholders’ are not to be found in the Constitution, and therefore that it was never intended to give any protection or countenance to the slave system, it is sufficient to reply, that though no such words are contained in that instrument, other words were used, intelligently and specifically, to meet the Necessities of slavery; and that these were adopted in good faith, to be observed until a constitutional change could be effected. On this point, as to the design of certain provisions, no intelligent man can honestly entertain a doubt. If it be objected, that though these provisions were meant to cover slavery, yet, as they can fairly be interpreted to mean something exactly the reverse, it is allowable to give them such an interpretation, especially as the cause of freedom will thereby be promoted—we reply, that this is to advocate fraud and violence toward one of the contracting parties, whose cooperation was secured only by an express agreement and understanding between them both, in regard to the clauses alluded to; and that such a construction, if enforced by pains and penalties, would unquestionably lead to a civil war, in which the aggrieved party would justly claim to have been betrayed and robbed of their constitutional rights.

Again, if it be said that those clauses, being immoral, are null and void—we reply, it is true they are not to be observed; but it is also true that they are portions of an instrument the support of which, as A whole, is required by oath or affirmation; and, therefore, because they are immoral, and because of this obligation to enforce Immorality, no one can innocently swear to support the Constitution.

Again, if it be objected that the Constitution was formed by the people of the United States in order to establish justice, to promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity, and therefore it is to be so construed as to harmonize with these objects; we reply, again, that its language is not to be interpreted in a sense which

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