Ladies and gentlemen: If the telegraph speaks truth, for the first time in our history the slave
has chosen a President of the United States
[Cheers.] We have passed the Rubicon, for Mr. Lincoln
rules to-day as much as he will after the 4th of March.
It is the moral effect of this victory, not anything which his administration can or will probably do, that gives value to this success.
Not an Abolitionist, hardly an antislavery man, Mr. Lincoln
consents to represent an antislavery idea.
A pawn on the political chessboard, his value is in his position; with fair effort, we may soon change him for knight, bishop, or queen, and sweep the board.
[Applause.] This position he owes to no merit of his own, but to lives that have roused the nation's conscience, and deeds that have ploughed deep into its heart.
Our childish eyes gazed with wonder at Maelzel's chess-player, and the pulse almost stopped when, with the pulling of wires and creaking of wheels, he moved a pawn, and said, “Check!”
Our wiser fathers saw a man in the box. There was great noise at Chicago
, much pulling of wires and creaking of wheels, then forth steps Abraham Lincoln
But John Brown
was behind the curtain, and the cannon of March 4th will only echo the rifles at Harper's Ferry
Last year, we stood looking
sadly at that gibbet against the Virginia
sky. One turn of the kaleidoscope,--it is Lincoln
in the balcony of the Capitol
, and a million of hearts beating welcome below.
said, in 1850: “You may slay the Wilmot Proviso
in the Senate-Chamber
, and bury it beneath the Capitol
, to-day; the dead corse, in complete steel, will haunt your legislative halls to-morrow.”
They slew the martyr-chief on the banks of the Potomac
; we buried his dust beneath the snows of North Elba
; and the statesman Senator
of New York wrote for his epitaph, “Justly hung,” while party chiefs cried, “Amen!”
but one of those dead hands smote to ruin the Babylon which that Senator
's ambition had builded, and the other lifts into the Capitol
The battle has been a curious one, mixed and tossed in endless confusion.
The combatants, in the chaos, caught up often the weapons of their opponents, and dealt the deadliest blows at their own ranks.
The Democratic party, agitating fiercely to put down agitation, break at last into a general quarrel in their effort to keep the peace!
[Laughter.] They remind one of that sleepy crier of a New Hampshire
court, who was ever dreaming, in his dog-naps, that the voice of judge or lawyer was a noisy interruption, and always woke shouting, “Silence!”
said once, “Mr. Crier
, you are the noisiest man in court, with your everlasting shout of ‘ Silence’ !”
[Laughter.] The Abolitionists ought to be very sorry to lose Mr. Douglas
from the national arena.
But the Bell-Everett
party have been the comfort of the canvass, the sweet-oil
, the safety-valve, the locomotive buffer, which, when collision threatened, broke the blow, and the storm exploded in a laugh.
[Great merriment.] They played Sancho Panza to Douglas
's Don Quixote
[Renewed laughter.] We can afford to thank them.
It is but fair, however, to confess that they differ from that illustrious Spaniard.
His chief anxiety was about his dinner; their distress rose higher than loaves and fishes,they trembled for our glorious Union.
[Laughter.] The passions of men were all on fire,--the volcano in full activity.
They confessed they did not know what to do; but they determined not to do they knew not what.
Theirs was the stand-still
policy, the cautious status quo
of the old law.
says there are two ways of being burned.
The rash moth hurries into the flame, and is gone.
The cautious, conservative horse, when his stable is on fire. stands
stock-still, and is burnt up all the same.
party chose the horse policy when their stable took fire.
[Applause.] Don't you hear the horse's address: “In this stall my father stood in 1789.
Methinks I hear his farewell neigh.
the crowds seem outside there!
I'll have no platform but that my father had in 1789,” --and so he dies.
Yet the noble animal risked only his own harm.
His mistakes drag none else to ruin.
Four millions of human beings saw their fate hanging on this do-nothing, keep-silent, let-evil-alone party.
Then their appeals to us to keep silent, to cease criticising chains and slave-auctions, hangings and burnings of men for free speech; their kindly assurances that, if we
would only be still, no harm would come,--the whole trouble was our noise; they implored us not to cherish this dislike to these constitutional and necessary measures I! Like the viper-peddler in Spain
, who exhibited his stock to the inn guests all the evening, descanting on their life and vigor, and when at night, in the utter dark, one traveller felt something cold crawling on his face, cried out: “It is only my vipers, they are all loose; but if you'll only lie perfectly still and quiet, they won't hurt you the least.”
But Republicanism has triumphed.
[Loud applause.] The Democrat may forget his quarrels, and prepare to die with decency.
For the Bell-Everett
party, one egg has given a chicken.
Beacon Street and Ann Street have fused.
[Merriment.] As his constituents could not be admitted to Mr. Appleton
's house, --there not being police enough to watch them, [great merriment,]-the speeches were made outside, and we got all the secrets.
thinks the election of Mr. Appleton
“the most important that has taken place since the adoption of the Constitution
I observed, last summer, in the country, that the geese always bowed when they entered a barn, for fear of hitting their heads.
[Laughter.] Mr. Burlingame
needs no praise of mine.
He stood, like Hancock
, the representative of an idea, and the city that rejected him disgraced only herself.
[Applause.] As an old English judge said of a sentence he blushed to declare, “In this I seem to pronounce sentence not on the prisoner, but on the law itself.”
It is Boston
, not Burlingame
, that has cause to blush today.
[Cheers.] I do not envy Mr. Appleton
You remember Webster
leaning one great arm on Massachusetts
, and the other on South Carolina
Methinks I see our merchant prince entering Congress.
One hand rests familiarly on the shoulder of Beacon Street, the other on a cambric handkerchief, twice doubled, to save the possibility of his touching the shoulder of Ann Street. [Laughter and applause.] What is his first act when seated,--he, the representative of the fag-ends of half a dozen parties,--the broken meat of the political charity-basket?
He speak the voice of Boston
, the home of Sam Adams
, in this glorious hourly What will it be?
is named for Speaker, he says “No,” while the heart of Boston
And what is his second and last act?
To gather round his
,--men who gloried in the blow which exiled Sumner
from the Senate for four years, and made Christendom tremble for his life,--men who come for his wine, and not for his wit,--and Boston
, in his person, sinks to be their associate,--no, their lackey.
I affirm, he does not represent Boston
[Cheers.] Look at its Lincoln
I appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober, from Ann Street, cozened by old fogies, to Ann Street under guidance of her native instincts.
[Loud applause.] Mr. Appleton
represents neither the merchants of Boston
nor its grog-shops, though his friends boast of having carried him by their aid. They are both too good for him.
But the Bell-Everett
party cannot say, with Francis I.
, when he addressed the first lady by position in the State
, we have lost all but honor,” since the soreness of expected defeat led them to insult an invited guest, a lady, and that lady, like the mother of Francis, the first by position in the State
[Loud applause.] Of the first Governor
(unless we count Endicott
, and then call Winthrop
Governor), the last historian writes: “The qualities that denote the gentleman were eminently his. Cordial and ready to every expression of respect and courtesy, he gave all their due, whether in great or little things.”
Good and bad qualities, they tell us, are inherited,--pass down with the blood.
To be sure, now and then they lie latent for one generation.
Can ours be the generation of eclipse?
It must be so, for surely the ignorance of good manners which offers an insult is trivial, compared with the silence of those who know better than their lackeys, are as responsible for the act, and refuse acknowledgment or protest.
Well, the battle is ended.
What have we gained?
Let us, Ladies and Gentlemen, who care nothing for men
or for offices, whose only interest is justice and the great future of the Republic
, look round and weigh the spoils.
Everybody speculates, the pulpit affirms, the merchant guesses, and the oracular press lays down the law. Why should not the lyceum be in the fashion?
To begin, then, at home.
For the first time within my memory we have got a man for Governor
, a frank, true, whole-souled, honest man
. [Cheering.] That gain alone is worth all the labor.
But the office is not the most important in the Commonwealth
; only now and then it becomes commanding; in a sad Burns
week, for instance, when Mr. Washburn
was masquerading as Governor, and when, as Emerson
said, “if we had a man, and not a cockade, in the chair, something might be done” ; or, later, when the present Chief Magistrate
pushed Judge Loring
, on false pretences, from his stool.
Such occasions remind us we have a Governor.
But in common times, the Chief Justiceship
is far more commanding,--is the real Gibraltar
of our State contests.
John A. Andrew
should have been Chief Justice
[Applause.] You remember they made the first William Pitt Earl
, and he went into eclipse in the House of Lords.
Some one asked Chesterfield what had become of Pitt
“He has had a fall up-stairs,” was the answer.
or Judge Andrew
sounds equally well.
But I like the right man in the right place.
The chief justiceship belongs to the party of progress.
can point to many sons worthy of the place,--Sewall
, or we might have offered another laurel for the brow of our great Senator
, were it only to show him that the profession he once honored still remembers her truant son. [Great applause.] The outgoing administration, which entailed that office on talents, however respectable, that belong to the party of resistance, placed itself by the side of Arnold
selling West Point
to the British
Such an appointment was the Parthian arrow of a traitor and a snob.
Then we have Lincoln
[applause],--a Whig,--a Revolutionary Whig,--a freedom-loving Whig, --a Whig in the sense that Jefferson
, and Washington
How much is that worth?
I said we had passed the Rubicon.
crossed the Rubicon, borne in the arms of a people trodden into poverty and chains by an oligarchy of slaveholders; but that oligarchy proved too strong even for Caesar
and his legions.
Judged by its immediate success, Caesar
's life was a failure as much as John Brown
's; the Empire
rotted into the grave which slavery digs for all its victims.
What better right have we to hope?
Let us examine.
The Republican party says now what Mr. Sumner
said in 1852, that it “knows no better aim, under the Constitution
, than to bring back the government” to where it stood in 1789.
That is done.
The echo of cannon from ocean shore to the Rocky Mountains
proclaims it accomplished.
How much is such success worth?
I suppose you will not claim that Mr. Lincoln
is better than Washington
As only Abolition telescopes have dared to discover any spots on that sun, certainly, while Mr. Everett
lives and the Ledger is printed, no one will presume to say there can be a better President
Indeed, Mr. Seward
asks in great contempt of any man who undertakes to improve the Constitution
, “Are you more just than Washington
, wiser than Hamilton
, more humane than Jefferson
Well, then, Washington
, pursuing the very policy which Mr. Lincoln
proposes to follow, launched the ship of state on seas white with the fervor of the Revolutionary love of liberty, and made shipwreck.
Every administration grew worse than its predecessor, and at last slavery, having wound its slimy way to the top of the Capitol
Hangs hissing at the nobler man below.
The whole argument of the canvass has been, that the experiment of self-government under this Constitution, began by the best of men, has been a failure.
“The country is wrecked; take us for pilots, or you are lost,” has been the cry of the Republicans.
has drawn the sad picture so well and so often that I need not attempt it. Our Presidents
tools of the Slave Power
, our army used to force slavery on our own Territories and neighbor-nations, free speech punished with death in one half the Union
, and met with insult and starvation in the other, the slave-trade reopened, and our most distinguished scholar telegraphing apologies when his son sits at school beside a colored boy, and explaining his own indiscreet freedom of speech as the sad result of anodynes.
[Applause.] Surely Mr. Seward
, seeing all this, was right in confessing, at Rochester
, in 1858, “Thus far our course has not been according to the humane hopes and expectations of our fathers.”
And, in 1860, “Not over the face of the whole world is there to be found one representative of our country who is not an apologist of the extension of slavery.”
And again, in Kansas
, a month ago, “Our fathers thought slavery would cease before now; but the people became demoralized; the war went back, back
, until 1854, until all guaranties of freedom in every part of the United States
were abandoned, ..... and the flag of the United States
was made the harbinger, not of freedom, but of human bondage.”
, he went on to paint the picture of our national wreck so darkly, that his own feelings led him, in conclusion, to declare, that, if the final battle goes against him, he will leave America
, shake the dust off his feet, and find “a more congenial home; for where Liberty dwells, there is my country.”
But Mr. Seward
closes that speech in hope,--hope grounded on this, that the Republican party has arisen.
“It is a party of one idea; an idea that fills and expands all generous souls; the idea of equality,--the equality of all men before human tribunals, as they are all equal before the Divine tribunal and laws.”
That is his rainbow of hope.
It is a noble idea,--equality before the law,--a mark which an old Greek
declared, two thousand years ago, distinguished freedom from barbarism.
Mark it, and let us question Mr. Lincoln
Do you believe, Mr. Abraham Lincoln
, that the negro is your political and social equal, or ought to be?
Not a bit of it.
Do you believe he should sit on juries?
Never. Do you think he should vote?
Should he be considered a citizen?
I tell you frankly, no.
Do you think that, when the Declaration of Independence
says, “All men are created equal,” it intends the political equality of blacks and whites?
If this “idea that fills all generous minds” be equality, surely Mr. Lincoln
's mind is as yet empty.
If this is the only hope of our being able to achieve what our fathers failed to do, mount those Arab horses, Mr. Seward
, and fly to the desert!
But you can't fly with me, as the song goes; first, because, if we are defeated, I mean to die in the last ditch [applause]; and, secondly, notwithstanding the emptiness of Mr. Lincoln
's mind, I think we shall yet succeed in making this a decent land to live in. [Cheers.] May I. tell you why?
Place yourselves at the door of the Chicago Convention.
Do you see Mr. Lincoln
He believes a negro may walk where he wishes, eat what he earns, read what he can, and associate with any other who is exactly of the same shade of black he is. That is all he can grant.
Well, on the other side is Mr. Seward
He believes the free negro should sit on juries, vote, be eligible
to office,--that's all. So much he thinks he can grant without hurting the Union
Now raise your eyes up!
In the blue sky above, you will see Mr. Garrison
and John Brown
[Prolonged cheering.] They believe the negro, bond or free, has the same right to fight that a white man has,--the same claim on us to fight for him; and as for the consequences to the Union
, who cares?
Liberty first, and the Union
afterwards, is their motto.
[Cheers.] Liberty first, and, as the Scotch say, “Let them care who come ahind.”
That Convention selected Lincoln
for their standard-bearer.
Enough gain for once.
“First the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear.”
[Loud cheers.] Dr. Windship
began with a dumb-bell of ten pounds; after four years, he raises two hundred and fifty pounds in each hand.
The elephants, when crossing a river, send the smallest first.
Don't mount those Arab steeds yet, Mr. Seward
! “Wait a little longer.”
Who knows whether that Liberator
, whose printing-office Mayor Otis
could not find in 1835, may not be issued from the eastern room of the White House
in 1873, and Mr. Seward
himself, instead of saying that John Brown
was “justly hung,” may dare then to declaim, as Charles O'Connor
does now, in the Supreme Court at Albany
A man who knows that the law under which he lives violates the first principles of natural justice ..... is bound to strive, by all honorable means, to break down and defeat that law. Among these honorable means is the right of armed resistance,--the sacred right of revolution ...... This is the higher law which sanctified the revolt of George Washington against the constituted authorities then existing in this country ...... The laurel-wreath of victory surrounds the name of Washington.
Ill-success, defeat, overthrow, and death, in an ignominious form, might have been his fate.
Such was the fate of many who, in this respect, perhaps, were as pure and virtuous as he. We revere the
name of Emmett; we revere the name of Wallace....... of every virtuous man who has perished in unsuccessful attempts to achieve the independence of his country......
And therefore, if negro slavery be a thing so unjust and so wicked as my friends and their associates esteem it, I must admit that we cannot consistently refuse the same tribute to the recent abolition martyr, John Brown.
So have many illustrious champions of justice.
So did Emmett, and so did Wallace.
His means were inadequate!
So were theirs: the event proved it. He struggled indeed for the liberty of a distant people, who were not his kinsmen, who were not of his color, who had few claims upon his sympathy, and none upon his affections.
That may be an argument against him with those who think that heroism and virtue should never be disinterested; but it has no real weight.
We have not been in the habit of withholding our meed of praise from Kosciusko, Pulaski, De Kalb, or Lafayette, all of whom fought, and two of whom perished for us. We withheld not our tribute of admiration from Lafayette when, in his old age, he visited our country.
No one asserted that he should have stayed at home, instead of coming in aid of a remote and distant people, and imperilling his life for their emancipation.
No! we received him as the people's guest, and the whole American nation, from one end of our republic to the other, bowed down in heartfelt homage to his virtue.
How can my learned friends, with their avowed principles, withhold from John Brown the tribute of their admiration, or from his deeds the sanction of their approval?
That is the opinion of Charles O'Connor
, the head of the New York Bar
, the new-fledged orator of Democracy, and the counsel for Virginia
in the Lemmon case.
I expect to live to hear that sentence quoted in 1872, under the very dome of the Capitol
, by some Senator
anxious for a Presidential nomination!
[Applause.] Do you doubt it?
Why, it is not impossible that Virginia
herself, clothed and in her right mind, may yet beg of
New York the dust of John Brown
for some mausoleum at Richmond
, as repentant Florence
, robed in sackcloth, begged of Ravenna
the dust of that outlawed Dante
, whom a century before she ordered to be burned alive.
[Great cheering.] You think me a fanatic, perhaps?
Well, I have been thought so once or twice before.
[Laughter.] May I tell you the reason of the faith that is in me?
It does not hang on President Lincoln
or any other President
Certainly not while he is checkmated by both House
I think little of the direct influence of governments.
I think, with Guizot
, that “it is a gross delusion to believe in the sovereign power of political machinery.”
To hear some men talk of the government, you would suppose that Congress was the law of gravitation, and kept the planets in their places.
sneered at the antislavery and kindred movements as “rub-a-dub agitations.”
plumes himself on our government abolishing the slave-trade in 1808, as if in that it was not the servant of Clarkson
I never take up a paper full of Congress squabbles, reported as if sunrise depended upon them, without thinking of that idle English nobleman at Florence
, whose brother, just arrived from London
, happening to mention the House of Commons, he languidly asked, “Ah I is that thing going still?”
[Great merriment.] Did you ever see on Broadway
— you may in Naples
— a black figure grinding chocolate in the windows?
He seems to turn the wheel, but in truth the wheel turns him. [Laughter.] Now such is the President
of the United States
He seems to govern; he only reigns.
As Lord Brougham said in a similar case,--Lincoln
is in place
. [Applause.] “Rub-a-dub agitation,” forsooth!
as if Mr. Webster
could have a Whig party, or anything else, in these reading days, without that agitation which calls into
being and sustains the press, which melts and moulds the popular will and heart.
What would the Tribune be without the antislavery movement?
Let progressive men be mum, and the Tribune would starve.
We could better do without it, than it without us. This talk of politicians about quieting agitation, and yet expecting progress, or even life, is like the present Shah
, (not one of whose subjects in fifty thousand can read, and not one in a hundred thousand can write,) exclaiming, when Sir Gore Ousely
told him of the large revenue from the British
post-office, “I'll have a post-office to-morrow.”
[Loud applause.] You might as well have jury trials in Timbuctoo.
[Laughter.] It is worse than making bricks without straw; it is making bricks without clay.
Observe, I do not depreciate statesmanship.
It requires great ability to found states and governments, but only common talent to carry them on. It took Fulton
to create the steam-engine; but a very ordinary man can engineer a train from Boston
Some critics sneer at old histories for recording only what government did. They should remember, how much, in old times, governments covered the whole field of human life,--trade, letters, religion, and industry.
The annals of a dynasty were then, to a great extent, the history of the times.
We call for different histories, because the times have so much changed.
At present, it is not cabinets, but art, science, literature, opinion, fashion, and trade that mould national character and purpose.
These, the London Times confessed, a dozen years ago, were infinitely more than statutes or parties.
The late canvass was worth a dozen Lincolns.
The agitation was a yeomanly service to liberty.
It educated the people.
One such canvass makes amends for the cowardice of our scholars, and consoles us under the infliction of Harvard College.
[Laughter and applause.] Indeed, government
is only a necessary evil, like other go-carts and crutches.
Our need of it shows exactly how far we are still children.
All governing over-much kills the self-help and energy of the governed.
Compare the last century with this, or the European
with the Yankee
Every narrowing of the sphere of government proves growth in the people, and is the seed of further growth.
Civilization dwarfs political machinery.
Without doubt, the age of Fox
was one in which the prejudices of courts and the machinery of cabinets had large sway.
But how absurd to say even of Pitt
that they shaped the fate of England
The inventions of Watt
set free millions of men for the ranks of Wellington
; the wealth they created clothed and fed those hosts; the trade they established necessitated the war, if it was at all or ever necessary.
decrees would have smothered every man in England
The very goods they manufactured, shut out from the continent, would have crowded the inhabitants off their little island.
It was land monopoly that declared war with France
, and trade fought the battle.
was struck down by no eloquence of the House of Commons, by no sword of Wellington
He was crushed and ground to powder in the steam-engines
of James Watt
, out of the House of Commons, were giants; in it, dwarfs.
Sir Robert Peel
, the cotton-spinner, was as much a power as Sir Robert Peel
, the Prime Minister
We went to stare at the Lord Chancellor, not for his seals and velvet bag, but because he was Harry Brougham
of the Edinburgh Review
Rowland Hill and Adam Smith
, Granville Sharpe
and Pilgrim's Progress, the London Times and the Stock Exchange
, outweigh a century of Cannings and Palmerstons, Gladstones, Liverpools, and Earls Grey
Weighed against the New England
, and Franklin
, against the New York Tribune and Herald
, all our thirteen Presidents
kick the beam.
The pulpit and the steamboat are of infinitely more moment than the Constitution
The South owes the existence of slavery to-day to the cunning of a Massachusetts Yankee
, Eli Whitney
; and Fulton
did more to perpetuate the Union
than a Senate-Chamber of Websters.
I will not say that Mr. Banks
, at the head of the Illinois Railway
(if he ever gets there), will be a more influential man than while Governor
of this State, but I will say that the founders and presidents of our railways are a much more influential body than the Senate of the Union
Still, though I think little of political machinery, I value the success of the Republican party; not so much as an instrument, but as a milestone.
It shows how far we have got. Let me explain.
[Laughter.] You know that geologists tell us that away back there, before Moses
[laughter], the earth hung a lurid mass of granite, hot, floating in thick carbonic acid gas for an atmosphere,--poison, thick gas. Gradually the granite and choke-damp, as miners call it, united and made limestone; then more choke-damp was absorbed, and sandstone came; more still, and coal appeared.
By this time, the air had parted with all its poison, and was pure enough to breathe.
Then came man!
Just such has been our progress.
Our government hung a lurid, floating mass in the poisonous atmosphere of New York Observers and Heralds, Tract Societies, pro-slavery pulpits, Union meetings, Calhouns, Everetts, Websters, and Halletts, slave-hunters, Curtises.
The chemical process began.
They were partially absorbed.
We had Whig parties, anti-Texas
meetings, and Free-soil factions.
The change went on, and finally we have a party that dares to say slavery is a sin-in some places!
The air begins to grow almost pure enough to breathe.
Scientific men think that electricity did much to hasten the coming of limestone and coal, and the disappearance of poison gas. In our case, too, electricity,--by which I mean the Garrison
party [loud laughter and applause],--flashing through and through and all over the lazy heavens, quickened our change also.
But the growth will be a great deal quicker in time to come.
[Loud applause.] One great evil of politics--one that almost outweighs the help it indirectly gives to education — is the chains it puts on able men. Those chains are much loosened now. Listen to Mr. Seward
on the prairies!
Notice how free and eloquent he has been since the Chicago Convention!
And this change is not due to age. You know, I am apt to say, among other impertinent things, that you can always get the truth from an American statesman after he has turned seventy, or given up all hope of the Presidency.
[Applause.] I should like a law that one third of our able men should be ineligible to that office; then every third man would tell us the truth.
The last ten years of John Quincy Adams
were the frankest of his life.
In them, he poured out before the people the treason and indignation which formerly he had only written in his diary.
And Josiah Quincy
, the venerable, God bless him I has told us more truth since he was eighty, than he ever did before.
[Applause.] They tell us that until this year they have not been able to survey Mount Washington
; its iron centre warped the compass.
Just so with our statesmen before they reach seventy, their survey of the state is ever false.
That great central magnet at Washington
deranges all their instruments.
Let me take the speeches of Mr. Seward
as an illustration of American statesmen.
I take him, because he is a live man, and a worthy sample.
[Applause.] I agree with the, doctors' rule,--Medicamenta non agunt in cadaver
, --“Dead bodies are no test of drugs.”
But he is a fit
test,--a real live statesman; not one of those petty polio.
ticians who hang on agitation for what they can pick up, as I have seen birds, in summer, watch round a horse's feet for the insects his tread disturbs.
No, he is a statesman.
In 1848, at Cleveland
, Mr. Seward
said: “We of New York are guilty of slavery still by withholding the right of suffrage from the race we have emancipated.
You of Ohio
are guilty in the same way by a system of black laws still more aristocratic and odious. ..... It is written in the Constitution of the United States
, in violation of the Divine law
, that we shall surrender the fugitive slave who takes refuge at our fireside from his relentless pursuers.”
Mark the confession I the Constitution
he stands sworn to support violates the Divine law
! Does he advise his hearers to obey it?
no! He goes on: “Extend a cordial welcome to the fugitive who lays his weary limbs at your door, and defend him as you would your paternal gods.”
This is one of his methods of “an effective aggression on slavery.”
That sounds well.
No twaddle about non-extension.
No wonder Senator Mason
summoned such a bloody fanatic before the Harper's Ferry
Well, in the Senate, in 1850, he declares that “the law of nature, written on the hearts and consciences of freemen, repudiates the fugitive slave clause” ; that “we cannot be either true Christians or true freemen, if we impose on another a chain that we defy all human power to fasten on ourselves” ; and he “thinks it wrong to hold men in bondage, at any time, and under any circumstances.”
But yet, at the same time, having counselled Ohio
to resist the slave clause, and denounced it as a “compact no Christian nation would ever make,” he goes on to pledge himself to use only “constitutional and peaceful means” to resist slavery, all about the paternal gods to
the contrary notwithstanding!
You need not summon him, Mr. Mason
He won't do any harm!
In 1860, just after Harper's Ferry
, he tells the South
, that, if their sovereignty is assailed, within or without, no matter on what pretext, or who the foe, he will defend it as he would his own!
You see, peaceful measures against
slavery; guns and bayonets for
Do these words mean that?
0 no! Go with me to Madison
, in September, and stand before that beautiful Capitol between the three lakes, and you will hear these same lips saying:--
“ It has been by a simple rule of interpretation I have studied the Constitution
of my country.
That rule has been simply this: that by no word, no act, no combination into which I might enter, should any one human being of all the generations to which I belong, much less any class of human beings of any nation, race, or kindred, be oppressed and kept down in the least degree in their efforts to rise to a higher state of liberty and happiness.
Amid all the glosses of the times, amid all the essays and discussions to which the Constitution of the United States
has been subjected, this has been the simple, plain, broad light in which I have read every article and every section of that great instrument.
Whenever it requires of me that this hand shall keep down the humblest of the human race, then I will lay down power, place, position, fame, everything, rather than adopt such a construction or such a rule.
If, therefore, in this land there are any who would rise, I say to them, in God's name, good speed!
If there are in foreign lands people who would improve their condition by emigration, or if there be any here who would go abroad in search of happiness, in the improvement of their condition, or in their elevation toward a higher state of dignity and happiness, they have always had, and they always shall have, a cheering word, and such efforts as I can consistently make in their behalf.”
That is good!
It sounds like Kossuth
Now, then, we understand him fully.
He will never help a slave.
holder, and believe all races equal.
Is he in favor of complete equality, social and all?
Is the country as open to the black man as the white?
O no In February last, he declared that the man who said so libelled the Republican party!
And at St. Paul
, in September, he bade them remember this was the country of the white man!
and lets them understand that the Republican party opposes only the extension
In 1850, he declared “this violation of the Divine law,” which he calls “the Constitution
,” --this “compact which no Christian state would ever make,” and no Christian man could ever obey,--“the only just and equal government that ever existed!
no other government ever could be so wise, just, free, and equal” And he affirms that no time or change could ever produce one more beneficent!
Last Friday, in New York, he said that whoever doubts that this Constitution ( “this violation of the Divine law” ) will “last forever, has no faith in reason, no faith in justice, no faith in truth, no faith in virtue” ! If this be so, then “violations
of the Divine law” seem about as eternal as the Divine law itself; and the Italian
who prayed, “Good Lord
, good Devil,” was a sensible man, and was only laying a very prudent and necessary anchor to the windward!
[Laughter and applause.]
, in February, he thought John Brown
“was misguided and desperate,” and “justly hung.”
He talks of “social horrors” and “disunion,” and irons his face out to portentous length and sadness.
[Laughter.] But at Chicago
, in September, John Brown
, he says, “was the only one man [when the Missouri Compromise
was repealed] who hoped against the prevailing demoralization, and cheered and sustained me [Mr. Seward
] through it!”
And at St. Paul
, he snaps his fingers at disunion, and, amid shouts of derisive laughter, cries out, “Who's afraid?”
They exhibited at the Crystal Palace
, in 1851, a Damascus blade, so flexible that it could be placed in a sheath, coiled like a snake.
Something like it seems Mr. Seward
's conscience, only the blade boasted it could bend
, after coiling in and out, insists on our believing that he never bent a whit!
But hear him now, since the nomination at Chicago See the lion toss his free limbs on the prairie!
Standing in Kansas
, with the spirit of John Brown
hovering over him, his name written on every hill-top, hear the old Governor proclaim, “All men shall have the ballot or none; all men shall have the bullet or none.”
Crossing into Missouri
, he says, the principle that every man should own the soil he tills, and the head and hands he works with, “is going through; it is bound to go through” ; when a by-stander said, “Not here,” he retorted, “Yes, here
. As it is has gone through eighteen States of the Union
, it is bound to go through the other fifteen.
It is bound to go through all of the thirty-three States of the Union
, for the simple reason that it is going through the world.”
That smacks of good old-fashioned John Brown
and Garrison Abolition,--not non-extension!
I know Mr. Everett
will deem such words very indiscreet.
[Laughter.] I knew an old lady to whom a friend had given a nice silk umbrella.
She had kept it standing in a corner twenty years, when one day her grandson seized it to go out. “You're not going to take that out in the wet!”
“Never, while I live!”
This is just like Mr. Everett
's free speech, always laid up in cotton!
[Laughter and applause.]
They say, if you stand on the prairie of an August night at full moon, you can hear the corn grow, so quick are nature's processes out there.
Had you been by Governor Seward
that day, you might have heard him grow.
And as Seward
grows, so grow millions of others, and so the world moves.
“The sword,” says Victor Hugo
, “is but a hideous flash in the darkness,--Right is an eternal ray.”
Wait! Be patient In 1760, what Boston
rebel boys felt, James Otis
spoke, George Washington
achieved, and Everett
The same routine will go on. What fanatics feel, Garrison
prints, some future Seward
will achieve, and, at the safe distance of half a century, some courtly Everett
will embalm in matchless panegyrics.
You see exactly what my hopes rest upon.
Growth! The Republican party have undertaken a problem, the solution of which will force them to our position.
Not Mr. Seward
's “Union and liberty,” which he stole and poisoned from Webster
's “Liberty and Union.”
No; their motto will soon be, “Liberty first,” a long pause, then “Union afterwards.”
[Applause and a solitary hiss.]
In 1842, Lindley
had finished the railway at Hamburg
, and was to open it, when the great fire broke out. The self-satisfied citizens called the Englishman to see how well their six-penny squirts and old pails could put out the fire.
But it raged on, till one quarter of the city was in ruins.
, what shall we do?”
cried the frightened Senators
“Let me blow up a couple of streets,” he answered.
“Never, never, never.”
Another day of flames.
, blow up the streets and welcome, only save us.”
“Too late,” replied the engineer.
“To do that, I must blow up the Senate-House
They debated an hour, and then said, “Mynherr Lindley
, save us in your own way.”
In one hour, the Senate-House
was in ruins, and the fire ceased.
“Be quiet, Mr. Garrison
,” said 1830. “Don't you see our six-penny Colonization Society, and our old-fashioned pails of church resolves, nicely copied and laid away in
See how we'll put out this fire of slavery.”
But it burned on fiercer, fiercer. ( “What shall we do now?”
asked startled Whiggery.
“Keep the new States free, abolish slavery in the District
, shut the door against Texas
“Too much,” said Whiggery; “we are busy now making Webster President
, and proving that Mr. Everett
never had an antislavery idea.”
But the flames roll on. Republicanism proposes to blow up a street or two.
No, no; nothing but to blow up the Senate-House
will do; and soon frightened Hamburg
will cry, “Mynherr Garrison
, Mynherr Garrison
, save us on your own terms!”
You perceive my hope of freedom rests on these rocks: 1st, mechanical progress.
First man walked, dug the earth with his hands, ate what he could pick up; then he subdues the horse, invents the plough, and makes the water float him down stream; next come sails, wind-mills, and water-power; then sewing-machines
lift woman out of torture, steam marries the continents, and the telegraph flashes news like sunlight over the globe.
Every step made hands worth less, and brains worth more; and that is the death of slavery.
You can make apples grow one half pippin and the other half russet.
They say that the Romans could roast one half of a boar, and boil the other side.
[Laughter.] But I am sure you cannot make a nation with one half steamboats, sewing-machines
, and Bibles, and the other half slaves.
Then another rock of my hope is these Presidential canvasses,--the saturnalia of American life,--when slaves like Seward
are unchained from the Senate-House
, as of old in Rome
, and let loose on the prairies, to fling all manner of insult on their masters.
He may veil it all hereafter in dignified explanations, but the prairies give back an hundred-fold for all seed dropped there.
[Applause.] Then the ghost of
quick to calculate the profit
and loss of slavery.
Beside this, honest men, few, but the salt of the times, and school-houses and pulpits, and now and then a stray prince, who, looking down South, defines to venture among a barbarous people, lest, unlike St. Paul
's case, they show him very little kindness.
So, with trade, art, letters, conscience, fashion, now and then a college redeemed from old fogies, now and then a saint, and now and then a hero lent us by heaven, we may come at last to be as wise as Napoleon
, and believe “there is no power without justice” ; we may grow to be as good Christians as Cicero
, and hold that “baseness can never be expedient” ; we may be as good Protestants as Tocqueville
, and declare that “whoever loves freedom for anything but freedom's self, is made to be a slave.”
It is indeed cheering to notice the general tone of speaking in this canvass;--the much nobler tone of Mr. Seward
, for instance, in speaking of the Union
on the prairies, than it used to be. I recollect a striking picture he drew in 1850 of the value of the Union
, and every line was dollars
! “Amplitude of territory,” increase of population, “fields, workshops, ships, mines, the plough, loom, anvil, canals, railways, steamboats,” and the “navy,” all earth-born.
Now he cries, Whoever says trade is the cement of the Union
, libels the idea of American civilization.
That is good!
The saddest thing in the Union
meetings of last year was the constant presence, in all of them, of the clink of coin,--the whir of spindles,--the dust of trade.
You would have imagined it was an insurrection of pedlers against honest men. [Laughter.] Mr. Everett
at Faneuil Hall, when he sought for the value of the Union
, could only bewail the loss of our “commercial intercourse,” the certainty of “hostile tariffs,” and danger to the “navy” ! And this is literally all the merits of the
Union which he catalogues!
No; I do him injustice He does ask, trembling, in case of disunion, “Where, O where, will be the flag of the United States
Well, I think the Historical Society had better take it for their Museum.
[Laughter and applause.] Mr. O'Connor
, too, who gave the key-note to the New York meeting.
The only argument he has for the Union
is his assurance that, if we dissolve, there'll be no more “marble store fronts” on Broadway
, and no brown-stone palaces in the Fifth Avenue! Believe me, this is literally all he named, except one which Mr. Everett
must have been under the influence of an anodyne to have forgotten, but which, perhaps, it is better, on the whole, for Mr. O'Connor
, being an Irishman
, to recollect.
It is this: in case of dissolving, we shall no longer own the grave of Washington
, which, Mr. Everett
having paid for, the New York peddling orator finds it hard to lose t And so it strikes me!
But I must confess, those pictures of the mere industrial value of the Union
made me profoundly sad. I look, as, beneath the skilful pencil, trait after trait leaps to glowing life, and ask at last, Is this all?
Where are the nobler elements of national purpose and life?
Is this the whole fruit of ages of toil, sacrifice, and thought,--those cunning fingers, the overflowing lap, labor vocal on every hillside, and commerce whitening every sea,--all the dower of one haughty, overbearing race?
The zeal of the Puritan
, the faith of the Quaker
, a century of Colonial health, and then this large civilization, does it result only in a workshop,--fops melted in baths and perfumes, and men grim with toil?
Raze out, then, the Eagle
from our banner, and paint instead Niagara
used as a cotton-mill!
O no I! not such the picture my glad heart sees when I look forward.
Once plant deep in the nation's heart the love of right, let there grow out of it the firm purpose of
duty, and then from the higher plane of Christian man. hood we can put aside on the right hand and the left these narrow, childish, and mercenary considerations.
Leave to the soft Campanian
His baths and his perfumes;
Leave to the sordid race of Tyre
Their dyeing-vats and looms;
Leave to the sons of Carthage
The rudder and the oar;
Leave to the Greek his marble nymphs,
And scrolls of wordy lore ;--
but for us, the children of a purer civilization, the pioneers of a Christian future, it is for us to found a Capitol whose corner-stone is Justice, and whose top-stone is Liberty; within the sacred precincts of whose Holy of Holies dwelleth One who is no respecter of persons, but hath made of one blood all nations of the earth to serve him. Crowding to the shelter of its stately arches, I see old and young, learned and ignorant, rich and poor, native and foreign, Pagan, Christian
, and Jew, black
, in one glad, harmonious, triumphant procession!
Blest and thrice blest the Roman
Who sees Rome's brightest day;
Who sees that long victorious pomp
Wind down the sacred way,
And through the bellowing Forum,
And round the suppliant's Grove.
Up to the everlasting gates
Of Capitolian Jove!