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This is no time for soft words or excuses. All such are out of place. They may turn away wrath; but what is the wrath of man? This is no time to abandon any advantage in the argument. Senators sometimes announce that they resist Slavery on political grounds only, and remind us that they say nothing of the moral question. This is wrong. Slavery must be resisted not only on political grounds, but on all other grounds, whether social, economical, or moral. Ours is no holiday contest; nor is it any strife of rival factions, of White and Red Roses, of theatric Neri and Bianchi; but it is a solemn battle between Right and Wrong, between Good and Evil. Such a battle cannot be fought with rosewater. There is austere work to be done, and Freedom cannot consent to fling away any of her weapons.

If I were disposed to shrink from this discussion, the boundless assumptions made by Senators on the other side would not allow me. The whole character of Slavery, as a pretended form of Civilization, is put directly in issue, with a pertinacity and a hardihood which banish all reserve on this side. In these assumptions Senators from South Carolina naturally take the lead. Following Mr. Calhoun, who pronounced Slavery ‘the most solid and durable foundation on which to rear free and stable political institutions,’ and Mr. McDuffie, who did not shrink [314] from calling it ‘the corner-stone of our republican edifice,’ the Senator from South Carolina [Mr. Hammond] insists that its ‘frame of society is the best in the world;’ and his colleague [Mr. Chesnut] takes up the strain. One Senator from Mississippi [Mr. Jefferson Davis] adds, that Slavery ‘is but a form of civil government for those who by their nature are not fit to govern themselves;’ and his colleague [Mr. Brown] openly vaunts that it ‘is a great moral, social, and political blessing,— a blessing to the slave, and a blessing to the master.’ One Senator front Virginia [Mr. Hunter], in a studied vindication of what he is pleased to call ‘the social system of the South,’ exalts Slavery as ‘the normal condition of human society,’ ‘beneficial to the non-slave-owner as it is to the slave-owner,’ ‘best for the happiness of both races,’—and, in enthusiastic advocacy, declares, ‘that the very keystone of the mighty arch, which, by its concentrated strength, and by the mutual support of its parts, is able to sustain our social superstructure, consists in the black-marble block of African Slavery: knock that out, and the mighty fabric, with all that it upholds, topples and tumbles to its fall.’ These are his very words, uttered in debate here. And his colleague [Mr. Mason], who never hesitates where Slavery is in question, proclaims that it is ‘ennobling, to both races, the white and the black,’—a word which, so far as the slave is concerned, he changes, on a subsequent day, to ‘elevating,’ assuming still that it is ‘ennobling’ to the whites,—which is simply a new version of the old assumption, by Mr. McDuffie, of South Carolina, that ‘the institution of Domestic Slavery supersedes the necessity of an order of nobility.’

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