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Jury Trial--no. 4: For The Signal Of Liberty

Jury Trial--no. 4: For The Signal Of Liberty image
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Sií long as wo refuse this precious privilege to the colorod man whose libertyia aasailed, wc in vain deny our direcl parlicipation in the sin and enormities of slaveholding. We thoreby declare that ais libertv j is unworthy of protection, and that whoever is inclined to rob him of it shall have evory facility for so doing. We establish a distinction againat him and in favor of the white man, which goea far to juslify the latter in holding the former in bondage. It Baya to him "We do not hold slaves our eelvo8, but we esteem your right so eacred that we will endanger or sacrifice tho ii!erty of nine colored freemen, lestyou siiould lose your property in the tenth"- nine freemen, if they be colorod, valued at less than the slaveholder's property in a single slave. VVho does not eee that besides the practical evil working of the rule, the moral influence of ihis most unrighteous diatinction in favor of the claimant of human chattels is a great weight thrown into the scale of slavery? We are at least publicly in the condition of the Apostle Paul, who "when they stoned the martyr, Stephen, was standing by and consenling unto his death." Our position, as a State, in reference to slavery is, in the eye of the world and common sense too, that of its virtual defenders. And ia Ihis a poeition that we are willing to occupy? Shall one young State, coming into existence after the ARti-Slavery discussion had commenced locally free from tho contamiaation of slavery, with no prescription like the older States in its favor, stand forththe voluntary champi on of the system? Shall we be so heedless of the various provisions of the Ordinance of 1787? Are we more in love with slavery than those great and good men, who, in that Ordinance, passed long before most of us were bom, provided for us that thore should be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the whole territory nonhwest of the river Ohio? Do we honor their memory, and do we carry out their intentions, when we allow the liberty of hundreds of our citizens to be put in jeopardy? Is there any difference in principie bctweenensiavmg our own freecitizens here and allovving them to be hurried into slavery eteewhere? Too long have we sat down contented under an uncomtitutional act of congress, which brings one portion of our peopie within the very verge of slavery and introduces into our tribunals of juslice the despotism of the Southern master. It is time for the people to awake and declare through thoir RepresentativeB in the Legislature that they will not submit to bo gross an infracüon of one of their dearest privileges - right of trial by jury. No process can be easier, no remedy more eñectual than that now in the hands of the people of this Stato. Let them insist firmly and decidedly that every candidate for either House of our Legislature declare bis sentiments ou this essential point, and if they be not unequivocally in favor of überty and the Constitution, let such a candidate be at once discarded, whatever persons al or party feelings raay be othenvise enhsted in bis favor. It is our privilege as citizens, it is our duty as electora to know the views of candidates on vital pointe on which our minds are made up and which we regard as fixed principies or rather self-evident truths. Dallying or tampering with a fundamental point, like that of trial by jury, should have no place in the calculations of' an upright politician. Partizanship should be, here, out of the question, and whoever will not forget party on a queslion of principie of unequalled magnitude, is unworthy the support of any enlightened and upright citizen.Nor would I on this point address myself to aboütionists alone. For them but one course can be expected - to show the sincerity of their profcssions by their actions to act as they talk - to vote as they think. I .would address myself to every citizen, who feels for the honor of the State, or who is deeirous of promoting her true interests, or who would guard against any fatal eidethru6ts at coistitutional liborty. The great and fundamental principies of civil and personal liberty cannot be held too sacrod. Jf slighted or violated with impunky in one case, there s great reason to fear the dangerous precedent will not Btand alone. - When once encroachments are made on such a princ iple as that of trial by jury t cannot jo expected that they should remaiu alone, a sulitary depauurc from that constitutional iberty, which is supposed to be secured to every free citizen of these States. If this does not include every citizen of Litis State il 1 he is proved to be a slnve, then is llio j iberty of no one of us secure under the 'stitution. Let every true minded and conscientious voter, then, do his duty at tho coming clcction. Let him insist on knouing the views of the candidate on this leading point, and if! he is so ignorant of right, or so wedded to ! wrong, so prejudiced against one portion of' our citizens, or so rogardloss of lus oath to] eupport the Constitution as to be unwilhng! to give a due extensión to the right of trial by j jury, let such i candidate be cut oífas i rupt member of the community, who,1 though he may have floated for a vvhile on the eurfaceof ihe political wave, deeerves to