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
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
'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
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
, forecasting the balance of power in14
Congress, reckoned her on the side of the free States.