Unity of America in slavery when independence was declared and the Constitution ordained.
When independence was declared at Philadelphia
, in 1776, America was yet a unit in the possession of slaves, and when the Constitution
of 1787 was ordained the institution still existed in every one of the thirteen States, save Massachusetts
True, its decay had begun where it was no longer profitable, but every State united in its recognition in the Federal
compact, and the very fabric of our representative government was built upon it, as three fifths of the slaves were counted in the basis of representation in the Congress of the United States, and property in it was protected by rigid provisions regarding the rendition of fugitive slaves escaping from one State to another.
Thus embodied in the Constitution
; thus interwoven with the very integuments of our political system; thus sustained by the oath to support the Constitution
, executed by every public servant and by the decisions of the supreme tribunals, slavery was ratified by the unanimous voice of the nation, and was consecrated as an American institution and as a vested right by the most solemn pledge and sanction that man can give.
Deny to Jefferson Davis
entry to the Temple of Fame
because he defended it?
Cast out of it first the fathers of the republic.
with the mark of condemnation the whole people from whom he inherited the obligation, and by whom was imposed upon him the oath to support their deed.
America must prostrate herself in sack-cloth and ashes, repent her history and revile her creators and her being ere she can call recreant the man of 1861 who defended the heritage and promise of a nation.