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Communications: For The Signal Of Liberty: Proceedings Of An...

Communications: For The Signal Of Liberty: Proceedings Of An... image
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On the 6th of the preHent month, (May,) pursuant to n o tice in the Signal, a large and influpntial meeting of the friends of Liberty was held at Schoolcraft, on Prairie Ronde, in Knlamnzoo county. In addition to those residing in the vicinity. several friends f rom a distance were present,nmong whom were Rev. Mr. Newberry, from White Pigeon, Rev. Mr. Hoyt oud Dr. Stevens from Kalamazoo. Rev. Mr. Cleaveland and Mr. Sears from Marshall) Mr. Byfield from Jackson, Mr. Stewart from Detroit, kc. Sic. The meeting was held in the Baptist Church,'and was so numerotisly at tended, that seats outside near the door and wiadows were required for accommodaticn . The meeting was called to order at two o'clock,and the President of the State Society voted to the chair. He made some introductory remarks, stating the different position the anti6lavery cause now occupied from what it formerly did : then it was presonted merely as a sin, and ín ral action was proponed as a remedy. Now it carré berore the public as a politi cal evil, requiring political corrective. The old ground was not abandoned - as mere moralists, the anti-slavery party still regarded with unabated horror the pinful and other consequencesof rlavery, but as citizens, proud of thoir civil rights, jea ous oF their usurpation, and detñring their permanence, ihey added to their fonner objections against slavery, the additional one, of its pernicious political evils, not merely to the south, but to the north. - If we cared nol, as men, for 6lavery, nor feit for others, its vietim?, yet it prescnted to us a selfish consideration, that of personal interest. The Chairman illustrated this position; he exhibited the undue proportion of power pospessed by the south, that they had wielded it, as men over will, to promote their own interest. He contrast ed t he protection bestowed on cotton rice, and tobáceo, by our national governmentjwith their entire neglecf of northerngrain. He showed from Congressionnl document, the great danger of war arising from 6lavery, the fmirfold power inaders would derive from the institution of siavery,as stated by Secretarv Upsher - the enormous war munitions called for in conspquence,at the cost of some two or three hundred mi II ion dollars, during a failing treasnry - pointed our the 6everec' feelings of brotherhood among the States and ci'izens as instanced in the hostile attitudes of Maine and Georgia, N. York and Virginia, and the late proceedings ngainst J. Q. Adams and Mr. Giddings; expounded our fearful domestic and foreign condition- distress at home - threatened war abroad. and the whole of this catalogue, every item of which, so momentons in itself - in the aggregate of surpassing seriousnese to every lover of liberal institutions, and wisher of their permanence, owed its origin to a single cause, one which was antagonist to our fundamenta principies - at variance with our govermenta theory- a blot on our national escutcheon- an error, a rottenm ss in our midst, and which belied our pretensions - Slavery.The Chairman was folio ved by the Reverend Mr. Newberry of While Pigpon, whc made some excellent remarks which I resrret 1 did not note at the time: they were well received and produced much effect. Mr. Sears of Marshall stated that on hL arrival in Michigan from Massachurietts, ht was totally opposed to the present politieel ab olitionUm, and continued so until the State Msetfog of Feb. last; but tho' much shaken then, he was not converted, but he ncw appeared a convert, where he heard such nrguments adduced, addressed solely to thejudgment - argumente so sound and incap'b!e ol answer - wben he witnessed such assemblages as were then present, and beheld the unsurpaesed decorum of their meetings, he coulc neither refusc assent to the canse, nor deny to Michigan the credit of a population not any where excelled in intelligence. He madeeonip most beautiful and happy illustrafions of Slavery and its consequences - tuming Bnddenly to a large bongh,covered with blossoms,whose chaste purity of color mingled in happy contrast with the lipht green of its leaves anri which snme admirer had torn from our woods. and placed at the end of the Church, he said. behold thetse beaotemis blossoms, how gracefully they unfold their leaves. and disclose n ture'ö pmvidfnees within their bosomp, how they expand to maturity, and fulfil the lnws pi their crention, useful as they are pleasing,fron thrir infant biH, until winters' frost shall entomb their exis'ence, if left undifturbed wlier their Creator plnced their dpsfiny. But ton by man's rudehand from thei ntive nllotmrn oud plnced nmid uncóngeninl ircnm-taricèp thoy droop airedy - ffort will withfr md nn timely peri-h. So with the poor elave - de. tined by Creator to fill man'ö part in timeand eternity, man's feil power still arrests the Creator'e design, and a premature decay, as rupid and deatructive,as that of the furest's blossom attests the blightmg power of his impious inierference with Almighty design. Rev. Mr. Cleveland next addressed the meeting, after which it adjourned uniil evening, to hear his argument on the positiun advanced by our opponents that the consiitution adoptca slavery and g u-anteed its permaipnce. The meeting baving assembled in the evening.Mr.C. remarked that the argument would be nccessarily long, and to some perhaps tedious because of its legal nature still, he could not consent to undertake it at all ,nnlces allowed his own time. Some voice here called out, "go ahead, we arë in no hurry." I rogret that the ubject preclude3my giving even a faint outline of Mr. C'b able argument. During two hours he held a large audience in an overcrowded room, and heated atmosphere in intense attention, which never flagged, as he poured upon them the opinions of Washington,Franklin, Rush, Jtffèrson, Madison, Henry, Randolph, and in fact of all the founders of the constitution, il s'-emed aa if these venerated patriors spoke from their tombs, that truth come from anoi her world, to dispell the erro of the present. All feit as if by inspiration. that the constitution was framed with the very expectation that elavery would soon cea6e. - The institutions, it fostered, being then harmonious , it would be what it is not now, a consistent document, and as the word ' Slave' was c irefully omitted in it,no record of sucb a condition, would bepreserved.When cur tailed his extracte, a voice in the crowd would cali for the whole, and it is not hazarding much to say, that a meeting prcviouslv very indisposed to the cause, became as unanimous and harmonious on the topics presented, as any public meeting ever can, probably half a dozen dissentients could nol be found. Mr. C's. argument was the best T ever listened to on the subject, and though myself a lawyer and he not, I prononnce it one of the ablest legal arguments I ever listened to. At 10 o'clock, the meeting refnsed to adjourn, when Mr. Hoyt, of Kalamazoo, addreBsed them; and after him, other gentlemen, and the meeting adjourned. On the following nigh', th President delivered a loctnre at Flowerfield, in St. Joseph count} - on the 9th at Centre ville, and on the lOth nt White Pigeon, to large and intelligent audiences. In fact, the cause is spreading rapidly; and where difSculty ever existed to get nn audience, now is found anxiety to hear and know what abnlitionism means. But on fecling pervades all audiences, that antislavery is very different from what they supposed, and that it ík pretty hard to get away from agreeing with the speaker. Many who, for the first time, listen diepassionately, aresunstomshed at the little diiference between themselves and the Speaker, that they say anti-slavery has changed its ground and becomts more moderate.attributing all the change to'heir opponents, and none to themselves, whereaR if they looked within,they might perhapa "split the differcnce-" Anti-slavery haa not changed a doctrine, or We undoubtedly do present them more mildly and in a kindlier manner, but eyery truth of old, and none others, are there. We superadd only political action, to give to them practical effect. The president returnrd to CenUeville, and found that a talented, and learned gentleman, a minister of the Gospel, and well accustomed to public speaking - aye, and a popular speaker too, of matter and manner calculated to ;nvest trutb with greater powtr, and to gild sophistry with truth's garb - had expressed a strong desire to answer his previous lecture, and regretied that he had not been invited. - The President, though then on his way to Detroit, his residence, and much pressed for time, resolved to wait over two days, and he accordingly g8ve two and a half days' notice of a meeting to hear and answer the gentleman, also informing him, that the floor would be his. The President wns on the spot, but the reverend gentleman did not meet him, and the President delivered another lpcture. The reverend gentleman evidently did not relish a fair and candid discusf-ïon : as he could not distrust his own powers, his want of faith must have been in the cause. Eight days had elapsed in all, since the fust lecturo was delivered, and as the gentleman hnd prolessed a ieadiness to have answered on the spot, if invited, and had two clear days after the notice of the second meetinsr, his materials must have been scant indeed, when he preferred to lie under the imputations ofrefnsinga challenge, os in evil less than that to follow au ncounter. As a tmall hle, by wh ch to t-rfep out, some of the gentleman's friendo rot up for him, a cali for a meeting of al' npposrd to anti'slavery, to assemble two dnp fter it was known the President must leave. nd listen to an address ogainst the "presnil "licy ot' politica! abolitionisnv' from th pverend gentleman. A word on this nofice- why cali a meti"? fter the lecturer hnd lefr - after he had invitct' diecussion, and waited two days for hissary? Why limit e en that mee'ing to one particular party, and excludc all olhers? Was it that these needed food to keep ahve a dying spirit, andthat a lecture was indispensable as an antidote to the poison previously given to these anti slavery opponents? Was the excluded party eo much feared that doors and walls should lie between them and ihe antidoting lecture, lest a whisper would convey a calumny to be set right or a bold untruth to be expnsed? Why limit a lecture to the present impolici' only of politicnl action.- Does not this admit every position taken - ev ery argument advanced, and every fact stated by the President, nrd that a remedy is one day called lor, only not at present? It surely does, if the answering lecturer feit able to traverse the whole grouud of the previous lecture, he would have done so, and disproved the neceBBity of any acción at all, present or future, but when he limited himself to the mere gronnd of present policy, all else is confessed, and the necessity of action, at some day is admitted. When is tbat day to bel Will it be to-morrow, or next day, or next week, or month, or year? Wiil time lighten the incumbrances which hang around present action? Will it diminish slave population? Will it increase their intelligence? Will it foment their master's love? Will it bury eeeds of discord between abolitionist and pro-slavery? Will it dispose all to meet on the common ground of dispassion and reason, Eeeking witb united purpose to abate an evil,lesser than its present fearful magnitude? Will this time of action be, 'mid the contest Jeifèrson predicted between master and slave for extermination, where heaven co.Id not side with the master, and whose interference, even be preternatural mirado against the latter he feared? Or will it be found ai the point of the bayonet, whose irruption by an nvadtng foe, Secreta ry Upshur tells us he dreads in the Soutn, "armed with fourfold power of annoynnce by arraying against each other the hostile eiements of our institulions." Away with such idle reasonings - the fact is the dangers to the Union from slavery are tremendous, and are increasing with fearfu rapidity, and it is the part of wisdom to look them at once in the face, with a view to their immediate remedy, while they are unaugmented by time; but it is the part of a cowatdly folly to hesitate, and to shove off the evil day and to cry out, notjust yel." Justsee what the last half century has done. The framers of the constitution, one and all, xpected ihat siavery was to be tolerated but for a brief season; they consenten to tie up Congress from interference with the slave trade until 1808 ; after that it was expected to die. The slaves then numbered but half a million, and were armed, and fought in black regiments, for a principie wliich they, as well as the whites, expected would shelter skins of every color. There was kindness and common feelinsr butween them, and every American feit he was a brother, with a foe in front, a country beneath, and friends around. Little more than half a century finds the slave qnintupled, and slaves stil!, their chains neither taken off, nor lightened, but rivetted firmer and heavier togethpr, oppression crushes them, 'mid unceasing fearfulness on the master's part and curses of muttered vengpance on that of the slaves. The abolition feeling almobt waned, Ihe prof lavery pirit, in the ascendant, pervades the whole union, dictntes its policy abroad, and its spirit at home; breasting the nations of the wotld in their effort to extinguish the slave trade, and within 6cattcring discord.- Already are we calculating the valtie oi the Union. Such arithmetic, long cnnfined to the South, has at last overstepped Mason and Dixon's line, and pervades the North. Where is the American feeling of '76- that unity of thought, action, purpose and interest which characterized our infancy? Alas! it is no more- it rests in the grave of those whose wisdom and valor earned for us our precious hentage, but whose warring nbout slavery we despise, and we are reaping our reward. If such, then, has been the result of the past half century, what will the noxt do? Let th advocates of the wait-awhile-policy


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