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[215] slavery; they holding that ‘no Constitution, no1 legislative enactments or judicial decisions, are law unless they are in accordance with natural justice’—an accordance which the President was at liberty to determine for himself. The Convention avoided taking the position that Congress could emancipate in the States, and admitted the existence of slave representation under the Constitution by declaring the three-fifths ‘allowance’ unrepublican, and demanding its abrogation. The New England delegation went in a body for Hale of New Hampshire,2 already the Presidential nominee of his own select little3 party of Independent Democrats. As an opponent of slavery, his claims fell far short of those of many a4 Whig—for example, of Giddings. Birney's claims, too,5 whether for perpetual nomination, or for incense, or (now that he was physically disabled) for sympathy,6 were wholly ignored by the Convention.

All this furnished food for conversation between Wright and Garrison as they journeyed Eastward to the invalid's home. Invalid he remained for two months after his arrival, suffering a partial relapse, and quite incapacitated7 up to the end of the year from taking any part in the conduct of the Liberator. Moreover, the finances of the paper,8 owing to an ill-advised reduction of the subscription price9 at the opening of the volume, were a weight upon his spirits.

On the other hand, the state of the abolition cause gave no occasion for despondency. The war with Mexico had greatly enlarged the freedom of utterance in Congress on10 the subject of slavery; and the prospective territorial annexations, as they deeply affected the Constitution of the existing Union, called forth the liveliest protests from11 Northern States against any further extension of the area controlled by the Slave Power. Even the State of Delaware was among these protestants, and made so near an12 approach to enacting gradual emancipation for herself13 that Calhoun, forecasting the balance of power in14 Congress, reckoned her on the side of the free States. Significant,

1 Lib. 17.185.

2 J. P. Hale.

3 Lib. 17.186.

4 Lib. 18.18.

5 J. R. Giddings.

6 Lib. 17.186; 18.14.

7 Oct. 28, 1847.

8 Ms. Dec. 17, 1847.

9 W. L. G. to G. W. Benson; Lib. 17.2, 202.

10 Lib. 17.38.

11 Lib. 17.22, 34, 38, 43, 149.

12 Lib. 17.43.

13 Lib. 17.42.

14 Lib. 17.34.

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