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Livingston County Anti-slavery Society

Livingston County Anti-slavery Society image
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The Quarterly Meeling of this Association was held atHQwell on Thursday the Lth instant, E. F. Gay, Esq. the President being in the Chair. Prayer was offered by the Rev . Mr. Root. .Officers of the Society for the ensuing year, are : E. F. GAY, President. R. M. STANSBURY, ) ,r n JAMES BURNETT, V' Pres' Rev. WM. ROOI', Ree. Sec. WM. KIRKLAND, Cor. Sec. An Address was delivered by Rev. Mr. Becki-ky, of Ann Arbor. The Address of this gentlemen was the gre'at potnC of interest on the occasion,and was liáíened to with earnest and ever profound attention. It was a prodtiction well calculated to startle those who are slumbering over their country': dangefj whle they show themselves wholly callous to her disgrace. The subject was one which should strike home to the bosomof overy northern frecmun - the grasping spirit of the slavé power - its ever new and ever successful aggressions on the riglits and interests of the North, and on iiljcrty every where. lt was a bold and striking, yet faithful picture of the usurpations ol that political monster - the slave power of the country. The speaker showed that there was no interest in the country wliich this power was unable to touch; and that there was noihing which it touched that it did not control and bend lo lts own purposes. Being allowed a representation on the basis of its slave property,itused this very representación as the means of deepeningthe foundations and wiÏÏehïng the supcrstructure oi the Instituiion itself. Th ia being secured, another and an easy step was to control and rentier subservient every department of the government. - Abundant instances were adduced of the pressure and sway of this argus-eycd power. The Florida War, with its enonnous expenditure of forty million?, was the off8pring of the insatiable avarice bfsome Georgia planters, whornust hunt out even with blood hounds a few hnndred slaves, who had taken refuge from their own inexorable cruelliea in the mild sway of heathens and savages. These masters had no respect to the righls of men: the righls of human nature have terribly vindicated themselvcs in this small band of avengers, who have caused the blood and treasure of their oppressors to flow without stint or measure. The name of Osceola will be a watchword to the future Indian warrior or negro refugee. The speaker adverled, in strong language, to ihe fact thal our Govcrnmantullowed, sanctioned and even encouraged kidnapping. Any colored man in the District ofColumbia was liablc to be taken up at the instance of any white man, thrust into prison, and sold as a slave, if wilhin a certuta period ho did not prove his freedom. Aside from the montrosity of re_ quiringproof of freedom in order to the enjoyment of its rights, what chance is aflbrded the miserable black, who finds himself suddenly irnmured in a prison; cut off from all intercourse with his friends, andsubjected lo every hardship and cruelty which the jailer sees fit to itnpose, and that jailer stimulated iy the bribc of a large porlion of his fine to interpose all obstacles to the required proof. is it possible to conceive of a more crying ïnjustice? Can any one believe that of near 00 victims imprisoned under this law, many actual free men have not been sold into Slavery? Pripons built with the money and keptat ihe cost of th6 people of these States are used as the receptacles of these alieged fugitives. The laws which sanction these proceedings are the laws of the .people of the Uniieci State?, tiirough iheir Representatives at Washington. The offieers who carry them into exeeution ar.e paid in part with the money of the people. IIow then, can we fiee ourselves from the charge of favoring the system of kidnapping? Wo un;o us, if our people are no better thnn the laws passed in their name and under their sunciion. Nothing but the domineering spirit of the boinh and the crouching spirit ót the North in all that respects ihe peculiar Institution could long maintain such a system at the seatof our cpmrnon Government. Nor is kidnapping unknown at the North, and on our own aoil. The slave catcher is found among ns prowling for his victims like the stealthy beast of prey. A convenient Justice will generally be fuund, through whose aid the kidnapper finds little tliiliculty in accomplishing his purpose. What is the remedy for these appalling evüs - these Heaven-daring crimes? Let humanity - üke charily, begin at home; - letus firstcleanse our owngarmunts frotn polkaion; let us throw ai-ound the oppressed and down-lrodden children of affliction araong us the shield of human sympathy; the protection of a jury trial. No one oi' our own color is so poor, so friendless, so powerless, that he cannot claim in his be'lialf in a matter of small moment the protection of a trial by twelve freemen. In a contest with a superior, he has (as the weak and otherwise defenceless ought to have,) in the outset the advantaüe of the syrnpathy of his. judges, ensuring him a full and impartía! hearing. And shall we daré to refuse this inestimable privilege to the weakest and most. defenceless of our citizens where their dearest,perhap3 their only possession - their liberiy is at stake, when their only crime is that of color? - Let our statute book be stained with no Buch flagrant injustice; let it sanction no auch high handed oppression. But the speaker did not leave theject without pointing out the appropriate remedy in the hands of the people, so far as the crime and eviU of slavery are connected with northern legislation, whether in Congress or in State Legislatures. - Cleause the Halls of Legislation. Il jour present legislators turn a deaf ear to the claims of justice and hutnanity, diaplace them and choose men who are in favor of secunng to the feeblest and humblest of our citizens due protection. If the Representatives in Congress, with a large majority of members from the Free States legislate in the District of Columbia, wbere they have exclusive jurisdiction, only for one portion of ihe cominunity, and not for all - if they will make the Capítol a slave mart; if they will, to accommodate the slave-dcaler, maintain prisons for the incarccration of the dark-skinned American unaccused of crime; if they will abet the kidnapper by shielding him u.ider the forms of law; if they do all this and more, are they, let me ask, ihe fit representatives of a frëe people? If not. whose fault is it that they are thus? - Whose fault is it that for nearly two generalions the above cnormities have been perpetrated by Congress, by the representatives of the people of the free States - by your representa ti ve, my fellow-citizen? Can the representative go on for session after session, and generation after generation in a course of unjust and wicked legislation on a vi'al poini - his acta known and read of all men, and yet the constituent be blameless? If so what becomes of the theory, that thé people rule? IFhat is our responsiblü share of the measures of our Government? it is a mockerv forthe American people to lay at the door of Congress the sins of a permanent systcm oflegislation. The sin is their ovvn - the diegrace is justly visited on them in the judgmeni of the nations of the carth, and let them look tq it that it is not visited on them in the righ'eous retribuiion of Heaven! The duties of the American people and of his immediate hearers, as portions oí that people were enforced by the speaker. All who pait.ike of the power of choosing rulers, partake of the responsibilityof'lheir acts, afterfull time isgiven for consideration and for passing judgment upon them. If acts of cruel ty and oppression grow into a system, thoy become tlie acts of the people. Individuals can relieve themselvcs of their personal responsibility for the cont nuance of the syètem only by ucting as well as spcaking against it, only by voting for such men, as are practical as well as theoreiical lovers of libertv.