Press enter after choosing selection

To The Friends Of Liberty

To The Friends Of Liberty image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

In view of the approaching Prfsidentlal eleciion ïlie undersigned, membera of the Executivo Conimitlee ot'iho American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, beg leave to offer some consideraiions to the friends of impartial liberty. They do it, not in the spirit of diciRtion, but vvith the hope of preserving the unity and promoting the efficiënt aclion ol those associated with them, nnd of gaining the coöperation of all who prize the Constitution oí 'om1 country, who valué oiir civil and rel igious institutions, and who desire to act on Christian principies in the great work of overthrowing American Slavery. It is a subject of devout tlianksgiving to God, that experience bas demonstrated the soundness of the doctrines oía large majority of the Abolitionists of Great Britain and United States, that they are consistent with the best interesls of mankind, in accordancc vvith true philosophy and pure Christianily ; that the measures adopted to communicate these important trutha to the People of this country, wíth a view to bring about ihe peaceful aboliiion of slavery, have been so consistent witli these principies ; and ihat these doctrines and measures have been so signally overruled andblessed in furlherance of the of the cause of emancipation, repnblican liberty, and Chrislinn freedom. Reflecting men can see that, amidst all the opposition, violence, tlireats, and machinations of slaveholders, and their abetlors, the cense of liberty has steadily advanced, and is about lo be brought to a glorious consumination. And it ought to inspire the People of this country with gratitude, that sucli a momentuous moral relormation, affecting the temporal and eternal welfare of millions of people in this country and coming generations, is to be achived at no great sacrifice. So deeply involved were the people of this country in the guilt of oppression and prejudice, that probably nolhing short of murders under Lynch law, proflígate expeodhures of life and property, war, robbery, añil conques!, and audacious attampts to delend, extend, and perpetúate slavery, would have aroused the people of the free States to a consideraron of impending danger, and inspired them with a deterniination to avert it. Much as the unconstitutional snnexation of Texas, vvith the consequent war with Mexico, is deplored, this great calamity and ineffaceable national reproach will, we doubt not, be overruled for the downfall of the politicians who perpetrated the enormous evil, and for the arrestation and overthrow of American Slavery, for which the annexalion and war were perfidiously brought about. " He laketh the ivise in their own craftincss. Surehj the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of i'jrath shalt thou resfraiu" Thanks to an overruling Providence, the greal body of the people of the free States are beginning to see ihat their ïights and liberties are in jeopardy, and that bands of patriotic and resolute men are standing aloof from their parties, and vowing eterna! hostility to the extensión of Slavery. We see in these auspicious events that the Almighly has been pleased to hless the instrumentality of those who early soundrd the alarm, who have steadfastly advocated the causd of tlie oppressed, who have warned their countrymen of the encroachmenls of the slaveof racy, who have expended their property and hazarded their lives in defenoe of the righfs, of rilan and the fteedoin inherited from our fathers. Had they faliered, had they prayed less, had they used less moral suasion, had ihey acted inconsistently at the ballot-box, the nation and sympathizing Europe might not have wilnessed the revolution now in progress for the deliverance of our country from galling servitude to the slave arisfocrats, who have so long trampled upon their coutry men in chains and been pennitted for so many years to adniinister the affilirs of this Government. Among the instrumentalities used to slay the progress and put an end to the evils of slavery n this country, has been the consistent exercise of the elective franchise by the friends of human rights. They have nculcated the duty of electing good men to office : have rejected the unchristian sentiment, that of two moral evils we may clioose the least ; have inculcated that the prayers of good men can he acceptable at the Court of Heaven only when they vote as they pray ; that duties are ours, and results are God's ; that Christian electors are, morally speaking, ahvays successful when they have trulh, righteousness, and the divine approbation, on their side ; and that, sooner or later, u vvill be seen that fixedness of principie and unwavering adherence to Right, result in success and triumph. The power of the ballot-box has been lelt by venal politicians, and will be feit nniil by the Divine blessing, the friends of equal rights Brise in their niajesty, stop the extensión of Slavery, and, by the exercise of moral and political power, put an em] lo the accursed system. In pursuance ofihis conviction, the representatives of iho Liberty party in the United States, assembled at Buffalo, in Ociober last, and witli unusual unanimiiy nominated the Hon. John' P. Hale and Hou. LlECESTER King fbr the offices of President and Vice President - fit representatives of the great principies for which they are contending, and well qualified to adminisier the government constitutionally and for the general welfare. The consistent and manly conduct of Mr. Hale in the Senate of the United States, since liis nomination, lias shown his constituent that their confidence was well placed, and bas demonstrated that he is worthy to be the standard-bearer of the friends of Liberty tbroughout the Union. If ihose wlio nominaled liim ivill stand by their principies and the man of their choice, preserve their uniiy, enlarge their operations, refuse to be diverted' i'rom the course they have themselves tnarked out, refrain from being submerged in other political parties, continue to use the ligbt they have and seek for more, if they bearaJoft the Liberty standard, and if. instead of forming alliances wiih the disafFucled of other parties, wlio go no farther than to oppose llie extensión of Slavery, they bcckon their countrymen to liiher and still higher piit,,. pies and measures, we believe ihat ihey will .nol only do more goöd aá member of the Liberty pary, but exert increased ínflueoce over those who have embrnced but a single Anti-Slavery principie. Non-exiension is nol aboliiion, rhougfi rncluded in it ; and it will be time to consider overtures of coalition from fellow-citizens who have recenlly awakened to see tho disaslrous policy of slaveryextension, wlien they shall have embraced the great Anti-Slavery principies we avovv, viz ; the en tire divorceipent ol the National Government from Slavery ; tho repeal of all the laws of Congress for its protection or continuance ; llie fulfilment of the Treaty ol Ghent, by which the United States agreed with Great Britain to zoöperate to promote ihe entire abolition of the Iruffic in tlaves ; llie abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia ; and the ovenhrow of Slavery in this country by peaceful and constitutional meatis. It will be time enough for the Liberty party of the United States, who are not only for imposing litnits, but taking measures for the destruction of Slavery, to relinquish their nominees, when a more numerous body of Anti-Slavery men than ihemselves shall cnrol themsclves to restrain and annihilate Slavery, with standard-bearers of equal honesty and independence, and superior wisdom, firmness, and discretion. Till then, we owe t lo our able and chosen candidates and to our party to be united, and neither to propose nor listen to terms o! affiliaüon with any set of nien, however patriotie or honest, who, i rom policy or other cause, do not embrace tho truth of the Ápti-Slavery question, or will not practically act out their convictions, or content themselves with merely making efforts lo stay the progress of an evil which we have banded together, in conjunction with ttie Abolitionists of England and F ranee, utterly to destroy. An appeal is made to the friends of Liberty to unite with those who have recently detached themselves from the lwo polilical parties with which they have hitherto acted, in elevating to the Presideney some citizen who has gone no farther in the great work of Anti-Slavery reform iban to avow bis resolulion to oppose the farther extensión of Slavery; and ibis appeal, we regret to say, is endorsed by a few individuáis in the Liberty party, who used slrenuous efforts to bring about the nomination of Messrs. Hale and King. Permit us, therefore, in this exigeney to entreat you to be steadfast aid unmoveable, to adhere to the wise policy you have already marked out, and the maintninance of which you have been so influential. Even many of those who censured you, at the last Presidential election, for voting for a third candidate, under the pre'.ence that the notninee of either the Whig or Democratie party would certainly be elecled, and therefore your votes wonld be thrown away, now commend your adherence to principie, by saying, " Because others do wrong, it is no reason for us lo anticipate their crime." They also imitate your policy, forsake their oíd organizations, and form a distinct polilical party. Thus they bear testimony to the wisdom of your (brraer course, while they solicit you to unite with them, that your votes may swell the number that will be cast for the VVilmot Proviso candidate. But while we approve their rising spirit of independence, let us not listen to these solicitations, let ihem proceed from vvhatever quarter ihey may. If you relmquish the high position you have attained by so much toil and sacrifice, yon will jeopard thecauso Nay, if, lo accommodate those wlio prefer to aim only at the non-extension of Slavery, yon postporie ihe great work of Emancipanoi, and suustitute a new issue for ihe glorious one already made, and which has been so successfully inaintained, you will injure those who now seek your alliance. You liave associated, to use the sentiments of the Southern aiid Western Convention of 1845, not as pnrtisans, but for the purpose of subserving Truth and Right ; to oppose not raerely the extensión of Slavery, butto bring about, by all lawful and rigliteous acts, its complete overihrow. Your association is founded upon the great cardinal principie of trae Dernocracy and of true Ghristianiiy - the brotherhood of tlie Human Family : you have resolved on waging war against slaveholding as the direct. 1'orni of oppression, and then against every other species of tyranny and injustice ; you are aiming lo carry out the principies of Liberty in all its consequences, not as a mere Abolition party, but as a arty that ainis at the extinction of Slavery, jecause slaveholding is inconsistent with Christian and Republican principies - aiming il it not as an ultímalo end, but as un illusrious era in tll8 advancernent of society to be vrought out by its action and instrumentality. By asserting and maintaining tliese liigh and uneompromising principies you have, with God's blessing, made a deep impression upon your countrytnen, commanded the respact of mankind, and induced large numbers of the considérate and patriotic adherenis (o the other politica! partios to pause, resolve on new associations, and take the first step irt withstanding the encroachments of the Slave Power. Be t your privilege to go forward in tlie great vvork of politica! regeneration, to aim nt a still bigher standard, and to lead forward the alltes of freiidom, until liberty shall be proclaimed ihrougliout the land, to all the inhabitants theruof. Do not, we bcseech you, retract, under the pretence that you can (bus urgo on more effectually those vvho havejust commenced the march of liberty. This is not the way to influence men, nor to preserve your oivn integrity. Sound philosophy and practical expenence show that those worthy to conquer must lead, and that they vvho are feeling the first aspirations of freedom will follow those who bear the loftiest standard. Is it said this isa "crisis" - a "special case" - "unite this once," and the Liberty party hereafter can act efficiently as before ? This is the stereotyped declaration on the eve of every Presidential election. You liave, with but few exceptions, refused to listen to it heretofore. Refuse coni)liance with itnow. At every clection, teiDpiations will be preseiilcd to postpone aclion on the great objects '■'t your association, tn carry íome collatcral issue : and thus fricnds ur foes essay to tnake you instrumental in achieving inferior good, it the expense of fundamental principies. - You ought not to enter into compramises, halters, or substitulions. Profit by experience. Never risk the success of t lic cause Ly making an issue on a minor point. Adherenee to principie has heen your tower of strength. lnslead of loweringyour standard, you have elevated it. Thus you have infuseu courage into your ranks, and gained the respect of olher parties. Is it said, by uniting wilh the disaifected of ihe olher political parties, you may inspire them with your sentirnents, and induce them, il" suceessful now with your aid, to take hold of the work of emancipation ? Numerically you are the 8 mallest portion, and would be in danger of losing your identity as vvell as your nfluence. It is only in moral principie ihat you are noiv superior to otliers. Besides, what will be your position if the party wilh whicb you are invited lo merge yourselves should be unsuccessful ? Like that of Samson in the prison-house. We cannot believe that any voter, entitled to the appellation of a friend to Liberty - we wish we could say we do not believe that any professing Christian - will, under any consideration, vo'e for a belligerent demagouge and aristocrat, or be carried away by popular exeitement to aid in elevating to the highest office in the country a warrior destitule of civil qualifications, and vvhose reputation is derived from bis successes as a practitioner in " ihe science of human butehery," in a war that his own partisans have styled unconstitiitional, unnecessary, disgraceful, and barbarous. Neitber is it to be imagined that a single individual who prizes liberty and abhors slavery, who loves peace and values our Christian institutions, will vote eilher for a slaveholder or one who is the creature of slaveholders, and who for personal aggrandizement, and the power to distribuie th'e offices and treasure of the nation on political partisans, would plunge his country into a war with any nation with whom a quarrel couid be provoked. Should ibis be tbs case, however, and a man answering either description he elected to the chief magistracy,a lesson never to be forgotten will have been given lo the young men of ïhis country, teaching them, and flattering demagoguism, or suceessful fighting for territory and slavery, are the tests of inerit, and the qualifications for civil office, in the estimation of the People of the United States. Neilher can we believe that any Liberty party man wil! cast his vote for a politician who bas, when in power, proffered his aid t the slaveocracy of the country and the worlc and wlio has not evinced any desire that th record should be expunged. Though read) to award due praise to him who has repeat edly and ably advocated the doctrine of th non-extension of slavery, we cannot Leliev that while he rests tliere, and is " decidedl} oppnsed" to any important principies of th Liberty party, you 'vill be instrumental in el evating him again to the Presidential cbair. But there are apprehensions that not a few dissenting Whigs and Detnocrats - men who refuse to bow the knee to party dictation men who have independence and conscience men who are opposed to the extensión of sla very, to the elevation of a warrior, a slavehol der, or a demagogue ; men who profess to abhor slavery, nay, who avow their belief ii the truth of And-Slavery doctrines - will, af ter all nomínate for some mere Wil mot Proviso man - this once - rather than meet the crisis manfully, and unile with the friends ofLibeity in roting forone who goes not only ior the non-extension but for the non-existence of slavery on the American continent. Will not such listen to the voice of expostulatton and entreaty ? A true-hearted Iriend and advocate of Liberty stands before you as the nominated representative of the Anti-Slavery sentiment of the ountry ? He might be elected ; biu if not, the demonstration made in favor of " Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," would be an electric shock to arouse the slumbering energies of our countrymen, and víbrate among the liberty-lovingand liberty-achieving people of Europe. Is there a man in your ranks whose position at the present moment eutilles him to more general favor and confidence, and who is mure acceptable to the Anti-Slavery clectors of the country, than Johx P. Hale ? We tbink not ; and are fully persuaded that t is more reasonable that it is more reasonable that we cali upon you patrioticaüy to vote with us, than it is for you to invite our coöperation. " Principies, not men," should be the motto. It is time that the friends of Liberty were uniled in one great conlederation, not only to svithstand and oppose the extensión of American slavery, but to deliverthe nation from its bliglit and cnrse. Anything short of this is below the demands of the age and the hopes of the vvorld. Kepubücan freemen in Europe have set us a, noble exainple. Let lis not lag bebind, and (bus dishearten them in their elforts "lo íorm a moro a perfect unión, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide lor the common defence, promote the genera welfare, and secure the blessingsof liberty" to themselves and their posterity. Uniting, then, with our friends and brethren throughout the Union, in a iiearty recotnmendation of Mr. Hale, " we earnestly commend him to all Whïgs and Democrats who wisli to vote against slaveiy, as the man of the hour, possessing in an eminent degree the purity, wisdom, fiïmness, and ability, which the country now needs at the helm ; one whom they ean honeslly anJ consistently vote for, and thus secure all the advantases of unity without a sacrifice of principie from any." Friends of the slave! the eyes of Europe ire upon us. They cal! our country the Model Republic. We are so, with one great ïxception. Let that sUin be wiped frorn our lütional esculcheon. It was said by the delarted statesman, John Q. Adams, " the )rcservation, propagation, and perpetuation )f slaveiy bas been the vital and and animaing spirit of the National Government." It night be so stiil, even if the Wilmot Proviso s adopted, and Oregon and the vast Mexican enitories continue froin slaveiy. Let us aini ligber, and, while wc oppose the spread of the leprosy, effect a ome of this most revolting and consuming disease upon the body politie. " Let U8 not suffer a knot of slavelioiders ibrever lo give law and prescribe the policy of the country." Ratber " let virtuous men unite on üie ground of universal moral principie, and the lyranny of party wiil be crushed." To this end, be finn, tinited, progressive, unftinching, and persevere in the course marked out, " unangered and unawed." Continue to use moral suasion, cover the land as with autumnal leaves vvilh Anti-Slavery publications, and wiih the speeches of the champions of Freedom in Congress; " preach, print, and pray ;" organize in school districts, in towns and villages ; hold frequent meetings ; go to other polical meetings, to proselyte, and not to be proselyted ; abandon not an inch of ground already acquired, hut mnke aggressive movements. Tnvole the aid of the Pulpit, the Press, the Lyceum ; above all, invoke the God of the oppressed - the God of our fathers - that he will make t'iis indeed a Model Republic ; that here all men may rejoice in equal rights. - Let your acts infuse new enthusiam into the libeny-loving men across the Atlantic, until Europe, regenerated and disenthralled, sball echo the sublime language of our revolutionary patriots, " all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creatorwith certain inalienable rights ; that among these are lile, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." In conclusión, brethren and friends, let it be your solemn and unaltcrablo determination, that vvhile you denounce no man vvho is in any way friendly to the Anti-Slavery cause, you will not be instrumental in hiselection to bis elaction lo office, unless he adopts the distinguishing principies of the Liberty party ; and, especially, that you will not go backward in the great Anti-Slavery reform, but, according lo the ability given you, do all in your power to uphold tlie doctrines and measures to the maintenance and diffusion of which you have pledged yourselves before God and man. Arthüu Tappan, Luther Lee, S. S. Jocelyn, J. W. C. Penningtox, George Whipple S. Wilde, Lewís Tappan, William Johnston, J. Warner, C. B. Ray, Thomas Ritter. New York, July 1, 1S48.