previous next
[104] speech was his first public address since his oration in July, and his first public participation in the political contests against slavery. The speech, one of his briefest, as well as the resolutions, are an earnest plea against the admission of Texas as a slave State; and reserving any argument based on political expediency or sectional supremacy, he pleaded in the name of patriotism, humanity, and religion for the union of men of all parties in resisting the extension and perpetuation of slavery.1 Certain passages show that he did not anticipate immediate success, and that he faced the possibility that Massachusetts by her steadfast resistance might be left to stand in noble isolation. He said:—

But we cannot fail to accomplish great good. It is in obedience to a prevailing law of Providence that no act of self-sacrifice, of devotion to duty, of humanity, can fail. It stands forever as a landmark, from which at least to make a new effort. Future champions of equal rights and human brotherhood will derive new strength from these exertions.

In his appeal to the people he said:—

God forbid that the votes and voices of Northern freemen should help to bind anew the fetters of the slave! God forbid that the lash of the slave-dealer should descend by any sanction from New England! God forbid that the blood which spurts from the lacerated, quivering flesh of the slave should soil the hem of the white garments of Massachusetts!

He wrote to Lieber, Nov. 17, 1845:—

Webster has talked of resigning his seat in the Senate.2 His debts annoy him very much, and he is unwilling to go to Washington unless these shall be paid. The debts that must be paid amount to about thirty thousand dollars. If he should resign. it would be difficult to determine his successor. The antislavery element is becoming the controlling power in our State; and I doubt if any person could be sent who was not in favor of earnest efforts for the abolition of slavery under the Federal Constitution. Ever since you left the North, this topic has assumed a great importance in Massachusetts. S. C. Phillips and W. B. Calhoun (formerly of the House of Representatives), and several other prominent Whigs, have entered the field, and will labor to bring the Whig party of Massachusetts to the antislavery platform. This will, of course, put them out of communion with the Southern Whigs. These efforts are discountenanced by Abbott Lawrence and Nathan Appleton. I doubt if the Whigs of Massachusetts will ever again vote for a slaveholder as President. We have commenced an agitation against the admission of Texas as a slave State, which promises to light a powerful flame. S. C. Phillips has delivered a couple of lectures on the Texas question and on slavery, which

1 Works, vol. i. pp. 149-159.

2 The resignation did not take place.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Stephen C. Phillips (2)
Fletcher Webster (1)
F. Lieber (1)
Abbott Lawrence (1)
W. B. Calhoun (1)
Nathan Appleton (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
November 17th, 1845 AD (1)
July (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: