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For The Signal Of Liberty

For The Signal Of Liberty image
Parent Issue
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Letter to the Editor
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Messrs Editors: - Being in company the other day, wilh some gentlemen to whom I presented the last number of your paper, I was told by one of the party, on ti is returning it, that he was an abolition ist, but not apolitical ubolilionist : this lec to some additional conversation. which suggested to my mind the following obser vations; which, should you think worthy a place in the "Signal,1' are at your service for that purpose. POLITÍCAL ABOLITION. I am an abolitionist, but not a politica abölifïonist, or in other words, I should liUe tiie slaves to be free, but don't want to do any thing to set them free; this is a doctrine which prevails to a considerable extent, and appears to be of that species ol philanthropy, of which, James' spea.ks, whcn he suvs, "and one of you say unlo thein. deparl in peace, be ye warmed and filled, nutwiihstanding ye give them not thöse things which are needfwl tolhe body, what doth it profii?" So the non political abolitionist says: "depart in peace, be ye free, notwithstanding ye do none of those thinga which are needful to gain their free dom, w hu t doth it profil? Will your (pseudo) good wishes free them? The question implies a negative answer. But you reply, we are willing to discuss the question of slavery: nay, we are ready to adinit that slavery is an evil, but we hare no right to bring it into politics, because by so doing, we infringe upon the rights of the South, and instead of bencfittng the slave, are only drawing tighter his bonds. This is either really believed, or it is adopleil as a ready excuse, for want of a better argument. There are some however, whom this sophistry blinda. We will separate this doublé position and examine each partsingly. 1. We have no right to introduce abolition into politics, because by so doing, we are infringing upon the rights of the South. Then by the same rule, we have no business to agítate theTariffquestion, for that also nterferes with the interests of the South. But will the non-political abolitionisls of the North, the East or the West idmit the truth of this assertion? I shall issume that they will not; then they willdrag in as an additional argument, the following, viz: The Constitución guarantees to the South a claim, an interest, a property in human blood! and therefore we hnve no right to intcrfere. We know what the Constitution grants, and wish to respect and observe every existinglaw. - Why then have we not a right to discus? the subject scientifically, morally, theologically or political!}' ? In di&cussing it scientifically, we do not inrend destroying th& laws ofscience. In investigating it mora'.ly, wo have no intention of perveiting the laws oí' ethics. In reviowing t theologically, we adopt the laws of God; and in politica! consklerations we receive the Constitution of the country: and have we not a right therefore, to discuss thisorany other subject thus, or by any other establUicd rulos? If we bc free, we have a nght - and if we have not that privilege, hen we are also slaves; worse slavcs than those of the South jas they were made so, contra volens, whilst we aro slaves of our own willing; hnving sU.ppcd our own mouths and tied our owct tonguc3 to that we cannut speak when we wish; ;ind bound our own hunda so that all the world may ihrash us, and lnugh at our insanily ! Yet we think that we are free. Alas! for the freedom that dare not ask, if we be freeí! Butagaiii. says lbo politica! aboütionist, you want to alter the Constitution; a sacicd (iocurtient which it is dringerdus to touch. Wc nsk, have we any right to do s.j? Does the Conslitution proviJe ior its being altered or amended? If it does, and we adopt thci means that it requiies,whcre is the danger or impropriety? You say it s irnpolilic. Let ihe people judge of that, for il cunnot be altered until twothirdsof the peuple iipprove it. We at least are consistent, inasmuchaswe disapprove of' slavery, and adopt every constitutional means fur its abolition. You alsoprove of slavery, but dure not so much as open your mouth against it. Well, what dare you do in afree country against a thing that you condemn? VVhy you can look at it, and listen to i, anJ perhaps read about it,and then you think you have done your duty, and don't want to be prnised for il ! Does any body suppose the frarners of the Constitution to be infnllible men, or that their Laws should be binding upon all posterity. It'the laws of Alfred would not suit the genius of the Plantagenets; or the Magna Charta, the dynasty of the Brunswicks. If monarchictíl government was convenient in this country in 1760 and not in 17S0, may not a Conslitution well calculatcd lor the peculiar times of the 18ih century, require some alteralion in ihe lihh? VVhy then, may we not legally discuss the propriety ofan akcration in tlie Conslhution of 1787 more ihun huif a century after its formation? The otber argument is, that instead of beneiiting the slave we are only tighteuing his bonds. It may be so, we see the inconvenience; but slavery must eitherbe perpetuated or annihilated, and if it cannot be destroyed without some addilional inconvenience, whilst vre regret it, we must subniit; but can this be an, argument why we should nottry to emancípate (hem? Truly, if it tightened iho bonds without a prospect of release, the cruelty would be ours; but the word hasgone torth, and is recorded tn the register of Heaven, that thev shall be fkke; and if you grieve to see the slaves mourn under their additional buiden, come to the rescue, and at least help to shorten the time. Think you that you can stay the work which abolitionists have done, ond are doing? Think you, that you can quench ihelhirstfor freedom by the foul and bitter waters of slavery ? No, the maich is onvvard, and as 3'ou can not stay it, what excuse have you for seeing the bonds harder and the lashes hcav-j ier without coming to aid in the shortening of the time? Silence your lips til! you do this, or shut ihe doors of 'he fioods where liberty has flowed in. When Moses, by command of the Lord,demandeJ the release of the Israelites, did he cease the demand, because their labors werc increascd? No, but he slretched the chain until it bursl; and thus the tightening of the rein was ihe liberation of the captivo. Let every abolitionist enquire of his conscience, can Ivote for a prosluvery man?