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[28] power to emancipate them is clear. It is indisputable.1 It does not depend upon the twenty-five slave votes in Congress. It lies with the free states.2 Their duty is before them: in the fear of God, and not of man let them perform it.

Let them at once strike off the grievous fetters. Let them declare that man shall no longer hold his fellow-man in bondage, a beast of burden, an article of traffic, within the governmental domain. God and truth and eternal justice demand this. The very reputation of our fathers, the honor of our land, every principle of liberty, humanity, expediency, demand it. A sacred regard to free principles originated our independence, not the paltry amount of practical evil complained of. And although our fathers left their great work unfinished, it is our duty to follow out their principles. Short of liberty and equality we cannot stop without doing injustice to their memories. If our fathers intended that slavery should be perpetual, that our practice should forever give the lie to our professions, why is the great constitutional compact so guardedly silent on the subject of human servitude If state necessity demanded this perpetual violation of the laws of God and the rights of man, this continual solecism in a government

1 The report of Mr. Alexander in the Congress of 1829, unfavorable to the prayer of the petition for abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, may be referred to as a specimen of the veriest sophistry which ever supplied the place of argument.

2 ‘Trust not,’ said the illustrious Canning, ‘the masters of slaves in what concerns legislation for slavery. Let the evil be remedied by a government of free people, and not by the masters of slaves.’

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