; lords over their own plantations, a sort of ‘holy alliance’ of planters, admitting and defending each other's divine right of mastership.
Still, in Virginia
, and in other sections of the slave states, truer exponents and exemplifiers of the idea of democracy, as it existed in the mind of Jefferson
, were not wanting.
In the debate on the memorials presented to the first Congress of the United States, praying for the abolition of slavery, the voice of the Virginia
delegation in that body was unanimous in deprecation of slavery as an evil, social, moral, and political.
In the Virginia
constitutional convention of 1829 there were men who had the wisdom to perceive and the firmness to declare that slavery was not only incompatible with the honor and prosperity of the state, but wholly indefensible on any grounds which could be consistently taken by a republican people.
In the debate on the same subject in the legislature in 1832, universal and impartial democracy found utterance from eloquent lips.
We might say as much of Kentucky
, the child of Virginia
But it remains true that these were exceptions to the general rule.
With the language of universal liberty on their lips, and moved by the most zealous spirit of democratic propagandism, the greater number of the slave-holders of the Union
seem never to have understood the true meaning, or to have measured the length and breadth of that doctrine which they were the first to adopt, and of which they have claimed all along to be the peculiar and chosen advocates.
The Northern States were slow to adopt the