popular view of this subject that I propose to deal in this lecture.
Hence I shall restrict my remarks, in the first place, to the objection as it usually exists in thought
, and notice several popular forms of expression :
1. “All men are born free and equal.”
Until within a few years past, this dogma was stereotyped in all the text-books of the country — from the horn-book to the most eminent treatise on Moral Science for colleges and universities.
From the days of Jefferson
until now, it has been the text for the noisy twaddle of the “stump-politician,” and the profound discussions of the grave senator in the Congress of the United States.
If this dogma, as it generally exists in thought, be true, it will follow, that any and every abridgment of liberty is a violation of original and natural right — that is, inalienable right.
Hence every system of slavery must be based upon a false principle.
The popular sense in which this language is generally understood, from father to son, is evidently the literal sense.
But taken in this sense, the doctrine is utterly false.
For men are born in a state of infancy, and grow up to the state of manhood; and infants are entirely incapable of freedom, and do not enjoy a particle of it. They are
not, therefore, born equally free, but in a state of entire subjection.
They grow up, it is