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Address Of The National Liberty Convention Of A. D. 1841: Lo...

Address Of The National Liberty Convention Of A. D. 1841: Lo... image Address Of The National Liberty Convention Of A. D. 1841: Lo... image
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[Concluded,]in evory view we nave oeen aiiic to take of the question, and whether we cxnmine it as a matter of poücy or of principie, we have been unablc to arrive at any other conclusión than thal which calis tbr the entire separation just described, and for the independent notnination, bv the friends of liberty, for all the offices in the gift of the people. If it be true, as has already been affirmed, that bolh and that all poiitical parties of the country not avowed and openly anti-slavery in their character, are, nnd forovcr must be, pro-slavery, until they openly and honeslly change their posiiion nnd cliarac:er and become anl -slavery pariies in politics, then any munner or degiee of poliiical connection with either of them, wHile they remain what they are at pres-; ent, must be wrong in principie and disustrous in practica. IIow can two walu together except that they be agreed? - How can a man serve two masters? - IIow can he be the supporter of liberiy, nnd yet mingle his poütical activities with the supporters of despotism? IIow can he ñgit the battles of freedom uiuler the fi-di of iho slave power? ín this country, it is welj known that State and county and tówriship and city and ward and village officers are for the : most part nominated and elected by the poiitical parties that are characterized by their nationa! politics, thal these State nnd' ' local nominations are made chiefly whh! the view of strengthening the partios, aml! thus promoting ihe great national objects1 the party has ia view. The national pol-! itics are thua carried inlo the local ' tions. To support the local candi Jates of the' party, therefore, is to render effectual sup- port to the national politics of the nominating party. And if ihese national polititics are pro-slavery politics, (as the naticnal politics of every party except an anti slavery party inevitably must be,)j Uien ihe support of these local candidatos is nn effective support of the slave power. For the question of liberty or ' very Í9 (in its own changelcss nature) a ' question paramount to all ether questior.s, ' and, ofnecessity, it will always become, ' pracücally, the great test question, in all ' pnrt:e9, whether pro-slavery or ' ry in their character. I It has been objecled la this view, that ' the policy of nomiuating State and local officers in refcrence mainly to national ' que3tions, is bad policy; that local ' cerns are thus lost sight of, and local f cers chosen in relation to objecls over ' which they have no direct control. Be it ' 80, ior the sake of the argument. It retmins truc that State and local candidates of all parties in this country are thus ' inated. To support the local cnndiJaies ' of such parties, therefore, by the objoctor's ! own showing, is to do that which ought ' not to be done, for other reasous besides those which we have urged, and without ' at all impairing their forcé-. I But there is another answer to this I jection. We do not admit that in respect to the great and fundamental question of ' slavery, as involved in nntional politics, t ia either wrong or unwise to make it a l test auestion in all our loca! and s pal elections. Itmay be unwise and ( eral to require of a local candidate, [,is is ' commonly required,] a virtual pledge to f support a party founded on a sub-treasury or a national bank. It does not folio w 3 that he ought not to be pledged to l mental morality ia opposuion to r ty - to liberty in opposition lo slavery - to r the fundamental priuciplos of civil I ment, and against the elemenls of tinarchy Ê and despotic power. Ua this principie it is, thnt oaths cf fice - ofaüegiance - of lealty to the stifution - are required of a!l ihoso who hold oñice under our governmer.t. 'Is it c wrong, narrow-mindel, or impolitic, for l the friends of liberty to require of their l candidates, for vhom thev are to vote, that [ thoy pracücally recognize the first fcpies of the Declararon of Independence - all men are created equal? But how can i they do this, while they permit themselves as voters, to be chained to thQ car of a great nationai pro-slavery party in politics, to bear his name, to carry ts badge, to wear it3 Jivery,and lo labor in its pay? Experience lias rccenlly taughtus, what a liRowledgo of mankind should have i laught us long ago, (hat local, township, couniy, village and city officers and cundíales connected with the great national ; pro slavery parties, and yet professing atnuhment to the principies of liberty, and coiumanuing the confidence and the votes of the abolilionists, are the most successful instrumenta of seduction ; and that through iheir influence, chiefly, the friends of liberty, to so great an extent, have been led 10 cast their votes ia favor of a slavcholdcr for Vice President. And thus it has come to pass that we now have a elaveholding President of the Uuited States, elected by anü-slavery votes. It is in tho smaller and local elections thnt the great body of our citiz ns rningle in the activities of political life. There they find the fields of public usefiilncss, they are to occ;ijy. There it is that Uiey expect to share, if at all, in the responsibilities of office. The village and township and ward elections are to them the ubjücis of the same interest that the high er elections are (o thosc who are in a positiun to be afiecteü by them. How manifesily futile, then, is the altempt to enlist the great mass of our citizens in a nationxl contest against the slave power, while it the same time they nre encouraged to iorget their free principies, and to act in concert vith the friends of despotism, at he local eleciions, at the very points vvhere heir power is most feit and their activity nost ofTdctive ! Very few men in the naion expect lo fill the office of President, )ut tens and perhaps hundreds of thouands understand their competency to fi!l minor offices, and know of no good reason vhy they should not serve their fcllow ;itizens in that way, if it can be done with)ut a sacrifice of correct principies. What jreat nalional government vvill ever be atained without the co-operation of chese nen? For what olher object han fo subserve ís own unhallowed ends, should a pariy ied hand and foot in all its great national irrangements to the car of the slave power, elcct its local candidates from among the ' enuled advocates of liberty ? Let it once e understood that the local, village liclate will not nid in the clevation of the I ïalional candidale; that the advocate of iberly, if nominated, will not be the advoque likewise of the national 1 y party, and the iüusion vanishps at nce; the nomination is reeerved for a nore available candidate. To fail in stiporting tho Presidenlial candidate is to i iljure Iho party, whose incaination and )ersonification the Presidential candidate j íimseífis. i Thus demonstrable is it, that in their i olitical oclivities, at the local eiections, i here can be no compromise or truce i ween the friends of liberty and slavery, i n which the friends of liberty will not lose ' 11 and gain nothing, and uhich the friends f slavery lose nothing and gain all. Thus t ever has been, in all attempted alliances ictween vice and virtue, between hóliness i nd sin. Unlcss the fricada of iiberty ' nake their own nominations, at all the own o nd county and village and city and ard elections, they will be divided against i ach other, and thus their old party ections and antipathies will be ' ed. They will continuo to be jealous of ' ach other, as they havo hitherto been, and an never act in harmony, nor with i ual confideuce in great national elections ' It has been found by experiment that ' ounty, tewnship, village, city, and ward ' lominations and votes among ihe most -J actual tiipsi iras for carry ing thodiccuo. ion of anti-slavery principies and res into the minute ramifications of fy - the most retiring and remóte corners ' f the community. The question then resents itself in a practical form, in a ( lace where its claims'must be, in some ( lanner, disposed of, and at a time when t cun neither be evaded nor postponed. ' Is it asked, What do you want of an ' i-s!avery justice of the peace? of an avery constable? of an anti-slavery corner? of an anti-slavery assessor? ( -slavery select-men, or supervisors or ' ldermen or mayors? We answer, in the first place, what do ' ou want of pro-slavery incumbents oí E icse offices? Anti-Slavery or y they must be: anti-slavery they can otweil ba, Gteadiiy and to ony good l ose, while connected with a national ' [avery party. Do you prefei' such men t ) the knqwa uncompromising friends of t uman liberty? Are your interesta safer f i their hands? t We nnswer. in the second place, justices ' f tho pRa.ce, in some of ilio States, decide f poa Lha claims of southern kidnappers to i e unfortunato and defenceless persons c !ey seize as future slaves. In other r tates, justicos, assessors, supervisors, ilect-men, &c, form the Boards ofExcise' for licensing or refusing to license the venderá of strong drink. On their action it ver)' much depends, whelher a lawless and bacchaualian mob ehall rule in this country, whether free discussion shall be permitted, whether our printing presses devotcd lo liberty shall be thrown down, ! whether our free public halls shall be burned, and our Lovejoys sacrificcd to the popular fury, at the bidding of theslaveholder. For the want of anti-slavery constables, hundreds of fugitivo slaves, tosay nothing of free people of color, have been seized and returned into hopeless bondage. Should a constable be devoid of humanity ? Tho executor of the laws- should he know little of the claims of juslice and of mercy 1 The man who knows how to discharge manfully the duties of a constable must indeed be n whole man- a discriminating, a merciful and a prompt man. Produce the perfect model of a village constable, and you have in many important respecta, the model of an efficiënt, and yet a luw-abiding and a libcrty-loving President. To say tbat a constable need riot be an intelligent and faithful friend of liberty, is to say that liberty has nothing to do with a proper execution of the laws? Would you do well to deliver the unforlunate and poor in our mtdsl into tlie hands of constables who look with conlempt upon the sla ve? Can you preserve a national respect for civil governmcnl, f you commit the excculion cf the laws inlo the hands of men uudeserving of respect?- i men who rnakelaw aodgovernmentodious by the brutaliiy with which they enforce i their demands? A path-master, or surveyor of the i ways is the man under whose direclTon j the free yeomanry of the country and their young sous are required to labor, day by ' clay, on the public streets and roads. Is it I indeed óf no consequehce whether this i public oñicer has learncd the important i tlisiinclion betweena laboring man and a I woiking beast? Ifnot, then letthefriends i uf liberty decline the nomination of their awn path-masters. , A coroner too, should be mentally and 1 morully qualified to distinguish a man from Í i mere connectinfr link between man and he lower animáis! And he should have i i ma u's heart beating iu bis bosom. He j should account human life of equal and nestimable value, whether connected with f i sable or a palíid ekin. Otherwise t nan life might be sacrificed at the North i is t often is at the South, without the t )ukeoflhe law, and in comformity with i he usages of slavery. A thrill of alarm would doubtless run c ike eleclricity through the nution, if it c vere serimisly proposed that the r lent of the United States (even though he t vero not the known tooi of the slave pow;r) should hold the appointment of all the allí mastcre,andcoroners, and constable?, j ustices of the peace in the republic. But ; f the friends of liberty have irrevocably nade up tbeir minds to have no hand in 1 he selection of (hese offleers, or if the f ;reat first principies of human rights are c iot to.furnish the test by which they are o be selected, then the appointment might ( is well bo left to the President as in any tthcr hands. j The trulh is, a disregard for human L iglus should, on all occasions, and every d vhere, be considored a disquaiification for p ïivil office - whatever that office may be. c 'He that ruleth over men must be just, c uling in the fear of God." "Judgcs and c ind officers shalt thou make thee," he Hebrew Iavgiver, "in all the gates s vhich the Lord thy God giveth thee, and i hey shall rule the people with just i nent." Whether the power were to be t ixercised on a broad or a narrow BCaJeJ.i vhether at Jerusalem or at Dan , or at i heba, one unvarying rule, justicc,a regard f "ur human rights, this was the grand qualfication, thfi sinc qua non, wiïhout wliichi ill other qualifications were deemed r ufficient. Nothing short of an adherence t 0 this standard can preserve tbo liberties a f either Ilebrews or Americans. In all e iur gates, or depositories of power, c r at Washington city, or Harrisburg, at v V.lbany, at Boston, at Concord, or in (he a nost obscure neighborhood where a L naster is chosen - "he that ruleth over i nen must be just." t Whoevcr gives hia vote for any s 1 inate officer, endorses his character for ti ntegrity and a regard for human rights. Phis endorsement becomes, in a measure, b iis passport to higher and more exalted n tations, on tho principie that" he who is o futhful in the least is faithful also in much." tl The path-master becomes an assessor b he assessor a justice - the jusiice v. Suite a 3gislator, a member of Congress - a b ent. An humble individual was chosen 3 the office of County Clerk. The e nee acquird and wielded in this rtation o arried him inlo the State Legislature F ''rem this he become the Governor of the S State - then a Senator, for eighteen years, n a the Senateof the United States, where, c: nee andagain.his voice decided great u ational qu est ons. No one individual fhose vote contributed to elect hira to the b;office of County Clerk, wns ever oble, f perhups, to arrest his onward and upward j march to power, however scrious might ! liave been his iears for the result on The public weal. It has been urged that the Governors and Legislatures of the States, notwithsianding iheir connection with tho national politics of thoir parlies, have, in some in stances, done much for the cause of liberly, and m conformity with the wishes of ils friends. It is inferred that, with the progress of public opinión, they will do more -will do all thal is requisite to be done. Why, then, it is earnestly asked, should the friends of liberty nomínate candidatos for State ofiíces? But is it probable that State Legislatures connected with national pvo-slavery parties, and looking to the slaveholders for support to their Presidential candidates, vvill give us United States' Senators faithitilly ])ledged agninst tho elave power? - 1 hat they will earnestly and perseveringly recommend the abolition of elavery in ihe Federal District, the prohibilion of the tnier-Suvte slave-trade, and other importiint national measures in ftivor of liberty? To suppose this, is to euppose that they will abandon the support of pro-slavery Presidenls, and become connected withan iinti-slavery party in politics, justsuchan one as the friends of liberty have already arganized, and to which, fellow-citizens, 'e ask your support. Whenever they do his, we shall bc with thern, of course, bcause they will then have come over to the round we now occupy. But present apearances, we fear, do not indícate that such will soon be their course. Certainly t will not be, while the friends of liberty oin with them, and help lo fortify iheir iresent positions. The fear of the loss of i 'Otes, and of independent political action i )V the fciends of liberty, may indeed stimilate the rival parlies, when nearly i meed, to take sotno further steps, in State i egislation, where that work has not i eady Leen compleled. More than this, i ve think we ought not toonticipate. Nor )ught we to expect that the stimulus of i ear, (through which, chiefly, a correct state action has been thus far obtained,) ! :an be longer made effeclive, unless our i icüün shows that there is meaning q our )rofesEÍons. It will doubtless be inquired of us, what eatures of national policy we design and ixpect ihe men of our choice will pursue. n case of their eleclion, in respect to hose "other great interests" on account of vhich the claims of human liberty have litherto been postponed, and which are ommonly supposed to have no manner of onnection v.ith the principies of human ights, as involved in the great clave quesion. We answer - 1. In the first place,- Every political iarty and administration,has its paromount )bjects - i(s lest questions. It lias likevise its "minor questions1' - hz matters to e decided by mutual consultaron, by 'concessions" it may be, and in the light if its ever-increasing wisdom, under the uidance of a wise course of experimental i sndeavors. i What if the liberty party should have ' ts test questions? and suppose they should ' e eniancipation, abolition, human i om, ir.stead of Iho price of cotton? ' ose tarifT," "Bank," "sub-treasury," and iher topics of doubtful disputaüon among i ur wisest and best men, should be left pen for future consideraron? We hold il self evident that Iegislators hould be pledged, before-hand, to 1 dent principies, and corresponding i ires, concerning which no honest and i elligent friend of liberiy can differ. The i inpledged points should be those 3 ng which there is a possibility of gaining ürlher light, by discussion. ' i 2. We answer, in the second place, that I n. respect to all ihe great financial, hry, and money intcrests of tho country, de aboliliun of slavery, inchidea in itself, t s a mere meosure of political economy, lements of relief, of enrichment, and of L rosperity, which are of vastly greater alue and imporlance than all that can be r ecomplishcd either by tariffs orfree trade, v y banksor subtreasuries, by ihis, or that, f r the other proposed mode of managing v ie national f unds. These classes of o ures lie mnnifestly only on the surface, I" ïey are the mere forms of public wealth. Ij 3. We answer, in the third place, that h y the aboütion of slavery, and by that ti leasure only, (or at least by the overlhrow d f the ascendancy of the slave power in d ie national councils) a termination may si e put to tho never ceasing fluctuations ná destructivo changes inflicted upon ue t y the slave power. n The free luboringNorth can thrive well tr ncugh, (comparatively epeaking.) either ol n the system of a protective Tariif, orof ?1 ree Trade - either v.ilh, or without a ub Treasury ora National Bank. AM it tj eed nsk is rntional stability, security from S ïpriciou? change, and from hostile p' irns of all its ceüled arranements. 4. We answer in the fourlh place, that a 7 úw removal of the disturbing force of so unnatural and monstrous an anomaly as the eystem of unpaid ano compulsory labor, from the activiiies of human entera prizc, a change might perhapa be wrónrht in the relativo positions of things Bhould rendertotally unnecessary and unmeaning many questions of national policy now urgod and debaíed as essential, both íit (he North and at the South. Measurea now indispensable might be found wholly inadmissable, and incaeures now hostilO to the intercsts oíthe country, might then be found not only compatible with, but lnghly productiva of thítn. When thero shall no longer be a conflict betv.een the opposing interestsof free andslave labor, then, and not until then wili it be possible for the wise8t legislators on earth to determine with certainty aud precisión, the exact couréc of national policy that will be, m evcry respect, bent adapted to secure the common and then haímonious interesta Df the great united whole. And unttl that lime, it will certainlybe impossible, as it ever has been, to hit upon any system of policy which ehall permanenily satiefy the southern Sates,or harmonize, in any good degvee, the interests of the North and of the South. 5. Wc answer, in tho fifth place, that the great doctrines ot'human rights, involved in the question of abolition - in other words, the lundamental principies of human equahty, equty, justice, mercy, humanity, regard íor human nature as such,irrespecUve oí facütious and artificial distinctions, índ opposition to arbitrary and aristocratie ilaims- these (the very elementa and life blood of abolitionism) comprise not only the best, but the only sure standard and est by which all the apparently subordínate and doubtful questions of legislatioa ind of political economy should bo deciJed. The great end of human governmerrt ishe protection of the rightsofmen, and be preservation of the public peace and mfety of all; and where this end is duly egarded, the advancement of the public )rospenty can not but be secured on th nost equitable and atable basia. Without undertaking, therefore, to ' ell precisely every measure of political: íconotríy which a thorouhly aboMtionizeé íalional administration wouíd find it properto adopt, ve may venture to specify a few :hings which such an administratiou woulL hoí do. It would not busy itself perpetually witb uxpedients to enhatice the price of the produets of slave labor, and to open markets fur them in all parts of the koown world, while it studiously avoided doing iny thing to procure a market for the free producta of the graingrowing North West, (t would not long remainsilentor inaclive,. in its diplomatic relations, in respect to ihe iniquitous corn Iawsof Great Britain,. by wbich the poor in one nation are made victima of the lordly rapacity of thoae wbo should protect them, and by which the free ïgriculturaliats of another and kindred naion are debarred from using the natural narket for their products. In adjustingthe details of a tariffof du ies on imports, it would not carefully tax he free laborer and exempt the planter vho lives upon the labor of others. ïl vould notshut out foreign grown cotton 'rom the manufacturera of the free Nortb, vhile it exempted foreign manufactured jood6 from taxation, for the benefit of the ilavo holding consumer. It would not solicitously eeek, as an ob eet of great public concernment and utïli y, either by the aid of a Sub Treasury, a Valional Bank, or any other instrumental ty or instituiion, devised for the purpose, in artificial and forced "equalization of "xchanges" between the free laboring Cortil and the spendthrift, dependent and )overly-stricken South : whereby the latter nay be relieved from the disadvantages of heir conditioo, by the manifest and grosa obbery of the former. It would not seek to lax and restrict the ree aboring States, in order to grant ex. lusive privileges and exemptions to the laveholding South. It would not plunge the country into ieedless, ruinous, wicked and disgracefu! ars, especially wilh the red men cf the jrest, on our frontiers. Least of all, ould it do ihis, for the inglorious purpose f sendiiig the hardy yeomanry of the iorth, at their own expense, and at the idding of the slavehoider, on the bloodound errand of scenting the track offugive slaves acrosp the everglades of FJori a,and kidnapping men, women and chil- ren and babea, íbr victima on the alter of avery. In hc expenditures nf the government, would not burden the people with unjceesary appropriationa either for exavagant salaries, or for the maintenance "magnificencc,or idlejaud anti republican deudor and show. It would not viólate fundamental morüt , or invade human right9,on nny plea of tale necessity, howevcr plautibly, or ra ftuuïtiely they might bc urged. It would not favor or tolérate UDJustor ti(i republican monopolies, of any kind, t lake the rich richer, and the poor poorei