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Antislavery: The Position And Mission Of The Liberty Men

Antislavery: The Position And Mission Of The Liberty Men image
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We have rcccived f rom Messrs. Cuy Beckley and Theodore Foster, cditors of the Signal of Liberty, Ann Arbor, n printed communication on "the Position of the Liberty party," which they ask us to insert, in our paper. We shall do so, inserting from day to day so much of it, as may suit our convenience. 1. The first proposition of these writers, we belicve to be true. Civilization must recede, or Slavery must fall. The agitation against Slavery in the United States, is but part of a world-wide movement in 1he natural and necessary result of modern civilization. The march of mprovement must be arrested ; Civilizaüon must be rollod back ; Christianitv must be blottcd out from the moral heavens, ere the present moral and politica] agitation against Slavery cease. This agitation may flow in new channels, assume new forms, but thnt it will accomplish its object, is as certain, as that the Law of progress is stamped upon Man and Society. 2. The second proposition, that Slavery "will be abolished by some national political party, tlmt shall have the power, and the inclination to do it, may turn out to be true or not. Our friends lay it down as if it were a self-evident proposition, leaving it unsupported by any reuson. Slavery in England ceased gradually to exist, through the force of económica and religiousconsidorations. lnlheBritish West Indies, it was abolished by the legislation of the Imperial Parliament which was the result of public sentiment acting upon nll parties. In Maasachuseltss it was extinguished by a judicial decisión. What will be the immediate agent 01 method of its abolition in the Southern States, no finite mind can foresee. It may termínate in violent convulsions. It may fall by the hands ol slaveholders themselves, acting under the pressure of a foreign invasión, and who will prefer giving freedom totheirslave?, to the inevitable horrors of Insurrection. It ma}' expire under a decisión of the Judiciary, which of course implies nn advanced state of public sentiment. It may sink under the indirect influences of a national Administration, decidedly anti-slavery, combined with direct State action. Or it may go out in some wny that has not vet entered into the conceptions of any man. It is obvious, therefore, that this second proposition is not self-evident; neither is it susceptible of proof or disproof. - Ilence, any argument foundcd upon it must partake of its uncertainty throughout: it must be imperfect and inconclusive." 3. "The Democratie party will not abolish it: it has the power, but not the inclination, On the contrary it has labored and will continue to labor for its aggrandizement and supremacy." Partly true, partly false. Certainly the Democratie party has not the inclination to abolish slavery; buf, neither has it the power; If to-day, in every State whore it has the power, you coulc by some mágica' iníluence, prevail on the Democratie Party, assembledin State Cornvention, to pass resolutions against Slavery, it would divide itself, but nol destroy that evil. Such a movement would undoubtedly preparo the way for the overlhrow of slavery, but it would do so, chiefly by giving a mighty impulse to public sentiment. That the Democratie party has laboree for the aggrandizement of Slavery, is not tö be denied; that it will do so hereafter, no onc can doubt; but, how long it may continue thus to labor, it is impossiblc to predicf. The proposition is unq'ualified as to time, and therefbre may be very erroneous. Who can foresee what changes the Democratie party may undergo, what new forms itmay nssume, how long it may continuo to exist under the present system, by which the Northern Democracy is subjugated tö the Southern Aristocracy? 4. The Ibnrth proposition is generally true, but is liablctosome exceptions. - The Whig Party may become an antislavery bef ore the slavcholding members ofit shall have withdrawn. - lts strength lies in ihe free State?, and shonld public sentiment in these States ever becorno sufficienlly regenerated, it may find itself cumpelled to take decided anti-slavcry ground in its National Conventions. That this would be followed by a wiíhdrcwaíof sliïvohoiding members, ihere can be no doubt ; that it would lose all its Southern support, is doubtful. It may have been perceived by he reader, that we do not adopt the very common assurnptian - that the Whig and Democratie Parties must and Will alwaysbe pro-slavcry, utterly subservient to the Slnve Power. We cannot do so, because there is nothing in the nature of the case that necessarily req jires such perpetual degradation, nnd because, we have not the gift of prescience. It is possible that the public sentiment of the frce States on the subject of slavcry may yotbe broughl to be so elevated and so commanding, that the old party-organization will be compolled to choose, either expulsión from the North, or retirement to a great e.xtcnt from the South. In that case, although stil] retaining their original ñames, they might find it necessary to adopt antislavery principies, and pursuean antislavery policy. But, all thal can be said on these poinfs, pro or con, is mere speculation. The Present is what concerus us. Nobody denies that the old parlies are voic under the yoke of the Slaveholder - that, f left to themselves, their servility is incurable, their prc-slavery policy invetérate. W het her then, it be assumed that hey are totally irreclainiable, or that hey may be reformed, t must be obvious that a combination of the antislavery men of the country, n the form of a distincí political party, concenlrating all .heir efforts upon candidates representing Antagonitto to Slavenj, is the wisest course that can be adopted. If the old parlies can be reformed, this, so far a$ we can set, is the most effectual instrumentaility for reforming them. lf they are incurable, the third party will then forma substrntum for a new Nationa party, which shall gradually segrcgnte all that is valuable in each of the olc parlies, and leave il a mere capul mor tuunu We present the sccond portiönofth Michigan communication on l;The Posi tion of the Liberty Party," accompaniec by such comm'ents as it seems to o's to req ui re. "V. The Liberty Party have the icil to abolish Slavery, but they have not the power. Can they attain the requisite power to abolish it by their own legisla tion? We answér, that they canxot tchiie they refiisc to take ground on any subject except tie abolilion of Slavery. - The reasons for believeing this nfe these "1. Iflhere be threef nationál parties the Liberty party must have a milliono votes; if there be but two, it must have a millionand a half of votes to abolisl slavery. This great number cannot be obtained by appealing to the antislaverv principie only. No political party eve attained such numbers by advöcating one principie, and refusing all expression o opinión on other subjects. L:2. Th ose whoact with the Liberty party must forsakc aU connection witl the delermination of all other politica questions u'ntil slavery shnll be abolished, even if that be not nccomplished in six. twelve, or twenty years. This will nol be done byonelhird orone-half the voters of the United State?. "3. The appeals to the antislavery principies thus far have not secitred the votes of the masses in any part of the country. In 500 counties in the free States, the Liberty party, in six years have not carried a single one, but their votes have been almost cntirely from the classof Philanthropists and of Religiouh men. "4. The past success of the party does not warrant the expectation that it can beoome a permanent, national, triumph ant partv, on its present bnsis. The vote last yenr, after six years existence, wa about 70,000. To abolish slavery, ff teen or Ucenly times that number are in dispensabc. "VI. The' Liberty party can attain the requisite power to abolish slavery, by taking such ground as will bring to tb standard suílicicnt numbers. This can be done by taking riglit ground on al political questions ; by making it a party ofprogress; ofnalional reform ; of jus tice, economy and peace ; in a word just such a. party as our country nceds - such an one as every Patriot and Clirstiat can sustain, and ak the God of Heaven tobless. To make it such, itshould take such grour.d on every subject as will best promote ihegood of the whole country. - This should be done without any referonce wlialover lo old party distinctions. Without presuming cm any superior wisdom, we will state what we conceive that ground should be, on some of the most important topics ihat how present themselves." The argument is noi slated, we think, very distinctly. Without noticing its particularities, we will state what to our comprehension seems to be its real ciernen Is. The propositien is; that the Liberty Party nWsbnii adopt and pUblish lo the world, a creed upon all the important questions which have ngitr.ted for years past, and are at present engnging the public mind. The principal assumptions taken in support of the proposition are these : - 1. The L'berty Party can eflect the abolilion of Slavery, only by direct legslation, which iinplies that it musí ïave a mojority of the voters of the counry. 2. It cnnnol obtain thismnjority on Ie )resent basis, of antagoliism to Slnvery. 3. It can obtain this majority by the declaration of a creed upon all the greatquestiohs that require the action of the - General Government. f 4. The reason why ts progress bas i been so very slow is, that it is a party of but one idea. ! These nssumptions wo shall examine ; in detail. 1. Inourlasl mimber wo showed that 1 Slnvery might termínate in several ways - that it might be abolished without legislalion, or the direct action of any political party- that, asto the ultímate mode of íts abolition, no finito mind could affirm anything withcertainty - and that no one could argue demonstratively froT the action of the old party organizations as they have been in a certain state of public sentiment, to their action ns t may be, in diffcrent states of public sentiment. Wenow remark, that it is by no means certain that the Liberty Party can accomplish the abolition of Slavery only by direct, or their own legislatio. Ön the contrary, it is not an unreasonable supposilion, that the extinction of Slavery may take place before the Liborty Party shall have obtained the direct control of legislation. The Anti-Corn Law League in England, after long years of agitalion, and immense expendilure of money, has been able to send to Parliamcnt scarcely a corporal's guard. And yet at tliis moment, a bilí is nearly comp-eted in thé House of Commons, and will soon pass the House of Lords, which is al most an entire consummation of its views, and is r;cognized by all as the lrg'timate'product of its etïorls. And yet in any direct conflict with eilher of the old parties. Whig or Tory, fhroughoüt the ftingdom, thé Leaguero tvould have been left in comparatively n sinall But, always closely united themselves, steadfast and well-discipl!ned, energized by one grand idea, with the nvissee of the People litlle interested in general politics, propiiiated in favor o'f this íden, and also favored by large portions of ihe the two old parties, which would adopt the Idea, without separating from iheir own organizations, we find them in Í846 completély revolutionizing the policy oí the greatest Com'mercial Power UpcTn earth. Of the powerful indirect infïuence of a stedfast minority, proclaiming a great principie, we already have evidence all around us. What drove the old parties of Massachüsetts to reform the legislation of tlie State in regard to the colored man? the indirect power of such a minority. What has compelledthe Whig party in New York to take open gro'iud in favor of extending suflVage to colored persons, and force at least a poríion of the Democratie party toa reluctantassenl to the same poïicy? The indirect power o'f such a minorííy. What has now one party, and then, the othcr, in different Iocalïties il the free States, to adopt to a certain exfent, Anti-slavery poïicy? The indirect power of such a minority. Augment this minori'y - let Tru'th continue to fn'ultiply la converts - lei the Many wïio particípate but liltle ri ordinary politics become mote and more imqufid with Anti-Slavcry sentiment - led converts to Abolitionism be multiplied in the ranks of the old partiés, - and the legislatian and politics of the free States will be modified accordinglv, until at last the Parties aciing in their National cripacity will be compelled to concedo nt first, something, however insïgnificant, in order to preserve their respective identities; and to continue making concessions. Twenty-live thousr.nd Liberty voters in Ohio would repeal every black lnw on the statu te books, without sending a member (o the Legislattire .' Who doubts it? Two hundredthoiisandliibcrty voters in thö free alihotigh not more than onc-ninth of the t-hole numbe'r of volers, would secure in Congress the respcctful consideration of a bilí for ihc abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia,- and the prohibiliofl of the coastwise iilave-trado, without sending a single representativo to Congress. Two hundred thousand Liberty voters in the free Str trs, with their great principie sustained as it would be by a large propotion of the people of the North little interecd ii: general politie?, and favoreJ by many of the adherents of the old parties, even at the risk of losing their southern support, to make slarcholding a bar to1 n nominntion for the Presidency - and thoy would dothis, without sendingone delegóte to the nominating convenlion. In ibis way, long before the Liberty Party could, under any circuinstances, musier a mojority of the voters of the couutrv, that is, some fifteen or eighteen hundred thousand voters, their indirect nfiurnce, combined with other causes, would have secured the abolilion of slavery. God help the poor slave, f he isdoomed to wait for his freedom, till the Liberty Party has liierally become the mnjority party of the country. (Concluded next week.)