made between the North and the South, at the adoption of the Constitution. We cherish feelings of profound contempt for that quibbling spirit of criticism, which is endeavoring to explain away the meaning of language the design of which as a matter of practice, and the adoption of which as a matter of bargain, were intelligently and clearly understood by the contracting parties. The truth is, the misnamed “Liberty Party” is under the control of as ambitious, unprincipled, and crafty leaders as is either the Whig or Democratic Party; and no other proof of this assertion is needed than their unblushing denial of the great object of the national compact, namely, union at the sacrifice of the colored population of the United States. Their new interpretations of the Constitution are a bold rejection of the facts of history, and a gross insult to the intelligence of the age, and certainly never can be carried into effect1 without dissolving the Union by provoking a civil war.2While the more advanced Whigs were boldly invoking3 disunion in case Texas were annexed, Joshua Leavitt, in4 ‘precious paper,’ the Boston Morning Chronicle (a short-lived adjunct of the Emancipator), refused to pledge himself or the Liberty Party to any such course. As a politician who preferred the election of a Democratic President on an annexation platform to that of a Whig,5 he argued that annexation would do nothing to perpetuate slavery. Whatever may be thought of this editor's perspicacity, his position was, morally, quite as defensible as that of Giddings, Slade, and the Adamses, or of6 Channing, or again of the latter's Unitarian confrere, the Rev. Orville Dewey. This divine was at great pains to draw what Mr. Garrison termed a profligate distinction between7 recognizing slavery as it already existed, and legalizing it anew by extension of the slave territory.8 In other
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2 Let posterity decide how far the South was screwed up to the civil war by this Liberty, Free-Soil, and Republican Party playing fast and loose with the language of the Constitution-covering who could tell what intentions against ‘the compact’ when once in power on the innocent pretext of checking the further spread of slavery?
3 Ante, p. 93.
6 Ante, pp. 93, 61.
8 Compare, in another denomination, this extract from a Phi Beta Kappa Address at Wesleyan College in 1850, by the Rev. D. D. Whedon: ‘Nor may you marvel, friends, if I, who was once noted here as the “apologist of slavery” [in 1835, namely, when he composed ‘A Counter Appeal to the Ministers and Members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the New England and New Hampshire Conferences,’] can now present myself its stern assailant. For its existence I did, and would, apologize; but never for its extension. I would deal gently with the hereditary sin of its being; but I abhor the stupendous volitional crime of its propagandism’ (Whedon's “Essays, Reviews, and discourses.” New York, 1887, 1: 28).
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