passing to Mrs. Stowe
's ‘Uncle Tom's Cabin,’ recently issued, noting that its marvellous reception expressed the true public sentiment outside of the mercantile interest; and then paid a tribute to fugitive slaves, whose cause, spite of legal commands and penalties, appealed irresistibly to the primary instincts of human nature.
‘For them,’ said he,
every sentiment of humanity is aroused.
Rude and ignorant they may be, but in their very efforts for freedom they claim kindred with all that is noble in the past.
Romance has no stories of more thrilling interest; classical antiquity has preserved no examples of adventure and trial more worthy of renown.
They are among the heroes of our age. Among them are those whose names will be treasured in the annals of their race.
By eloquent voice they have done much to make their wrongs known, and to secure the respect of the world.
History will soon lend her avenging pen. Proscribed by you during life, they will proscribe you through all time.
Sir, already judgment is beginning; a righteous public sentiment palsies your enactment.1
Near the close he affirmed that the Act not only violated the Constitution
, but shocked the public conscience and offended the divide law; and following the injunctions of moralists and of the fathers of the Church
, he denied to it any title to obedience.2
His own summary is as follows:—
And now, sir, let us review the field over which we have passed.
We have seen that any compromise, finally closing the discussion of slavery under the Constitution, is tyrannical, absurd, and impotent; that as slavery can exist only by virtue of positive law, and as it has no such positive support in the Constitution, it cannot exist within the national jurisdiction; that the Constitution nowhere recognizes property in man, and that, according to its true interpretation, freedom and not slavery is national, while slavery and not freedom is sectional; that in this spirit the national government was first organized under Washington, himself an abolitionist, surrounded by abolitionists, while the whole country, by its church, its colleges, its literature, and all its best voices, was united against slavery, and the national flag at that time, nowhere within the national territory, covered a single slave; still further, that the national government is a government of delegated powers, and as among these there is no power to support slavery, this institution cannot be national, nor can Congress in any way legislate in its behalf; and, finally, that the establishment of this principle is the true way of peace and safety for the republic.
Considering next the provision for the surrender of fugitives from service, we have seen that it was not one of the original compromises