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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 híve disposed of ihe mui n oesumptionol the Michigan cornnjnnicution - which is. i!i;ii He Liberty pacty c;m accüinpliüh the abolición o ISittvery, ojily ly ksown, or direct logislutio'n - showing tint precisely the opposiio pusition is ihc moro rensonable one. Tlie oihcr assumptiuns are - iliai a nmjoriiy of volers ennnot bu secured by tlic Liberiy pnty, on iis prcbCiit basis, of simple uidtigo nsin l fílavzry - that a innjoriiy can be socured hy íhe declaraiion of a creed upun uil tlic yrcal iitationsihat requirc the atiion of the General Governmciu - aml ib'üt tlic réanori wh'y i'.s )iogres. hae been so s!osv is, tlie wunt oi'sucli a creeJ, n Loing a party oí out Uit a. If our fornier roasoiimg be sound, is it not ncc essary to srcure a majoii'i óf the votera of the country, so that iwo of these aisumplionsbecome i'uiniportant. The only two questions theti to be considercd are - whai lias been tlje ca'uSe ol the elow piogross of tliu Liberiy p.irty? Wil! the adoptioii and orinal eïiuhcianon ufa creed in general politics quicken its proyross? It is wonderl'ul lliat the IIic!iigan friends should have cntircly pyeilpoked the trup answer to tlio fust cjuestion. - The progress of ihe Liberty party from 1840 to 1844 WuS very rnpid. About ihat time we vvrote an nrüclc to show, thatlhis was owing io the adhesión of the abolitionists, who liad been already organized in societies throughout tlie country - and thut, wlien this material should i)ave been principaUy worked ii, its ativnnce would then be much slower, as it would have to make convcrlstothe Principie of abolition, before it could unite with its Qrganization. That our reasonng was true to the letter has been completely verified by subsequent events. - Since the year 1844, the organization of the Liberty party bas advanced vcry slowly. Wc have not been disappointcd ; nianyofour friends have. The Michiigan communication assigns tho abseaice of a creed in general politics as the cause, losing sight entirely of the fhet, that precisely the same causes oppose the advance of tlie Liberty party which have always obstructed the antislavcry movement in this country - narnely, an idolatrous lovc of Ihe Union identified as it is by the masses wilh toleration of the curse of Slavery; profound ignorance as ir regards the philosophy of Emancipation; long established habits of compromiso with Slavery, especially on the part of politicalaud ecclesiastical organizations; formidable pecuniary interests supposed to be intimatcly associated with the evil; andabove all, il. at profotind prejudice ogainst the colored man which is the sourcc of nll his degradation and disabilities in the (ree States, and the strength of Slavcry in the slave States. 0. it is not because wc havo uttercd no dogmas on the questions of Fiirills, Banks, or Public Lam!, that we have ei - countcred óücli resistance, been so much delaycd in our march - it is because we advocate a reform which strikes dircclly at Despotic Interest, and a Despotic Prejudice, bot!) hoary with ugo, and gröwn so powcrful by toleration and circumstances, that the Church and State, in all their department.s, Kepublicanisrn and Religión, havent] been rendered subscrvient to them. Peoplo have not inquircd for our creed in politics - it was enough to arouse their stern opposition, to know that our One Idea was repugnan! to all their long established prejudices, and habitsof thought and action. The first (jaestion is answered; and uo are now prepared to rcply to the second - '-Will the adoption and formal enunciationof aercedin general politics quickcn tho progress of ibis Party1?" We answer. no, and for several reasons. 1. Such a creed will not remove out of ts way ona of the real obstLcles we have tnenfioned. It will not exalt or render clearer the moral senso of the people; destroy the accursed spirit of compromiso; or abate prejudice against the colorcu! rafeo; In no wáy, to no oxtcnl, will it touch the real resistance to the anlislavory movemenl. 2. It would augment this resistance, or rather créate additional diflïcullies. Il' the creed adopted should proscribe banks of öirciilotion and favor the doctrine of freo trade, the Party would cut itsclf off f rom all hope of secüring adherents in, pefhnps the majority of the American People. Recollect, the object of the new movement is, te inake converts, not so much to the Principie of Abolitionism, as to the ranks of the Liberty party. - We say then, that such a creed would efeclually defeat their objecf, so far as a majority of tho American People are concernod, without at all facilitáting conversions f rom the other portion of ihem. Tho f ree tradej anti-bank Domocrats might refrain (torn cursïng tnc Liberty men. bu'. tliey would scafcèly be prevailed upon to abandon their own organizalion, especially when by so doing they would be adding to issues, already sufiiciently impopular, another issue, exceedng in unpopulan'y all others. Sitould the creed on the contrary, favor Banking, and Potective TurifT", the hostility of the Democratie party already quite streng enough against theanti-slavcry movement, would become so confirmed as to mako il inaccessible to argument, while the Whigs, in the fact that tvvo of their great doctrines wcre deemcd of safficient importance by the Liberty men to incorpórate theni in their antislavery erned, would find an additional argument, for preferring an organizatfön which could maintain thosc doctrines, to one which in this respect would bc uttcrly powèrless. View the proposition as we may, we cannot see wliat good end isto be attained by carrying it into effect j but, we should apprehend nuch evil. It would be aggravating the tendency, already too strong in this nation, to nxaggerate the importance of questions of iinance and commercial policy. 2; It would tend to dirïriniöh in tbc estimation of Liberty men the magnitude of the question of Shivery, distract their atlention, and dilute their efibrts, by introducihg among thèrrt new topics of discussion, and arousing thèir o!d party prejudices and diHerenccs. 3. It could not fail to aliénate many from the organization, whoare now efficiënt members of it. It is composed of men diileringin pulitical views, and united on the singlo principie of antagonism to Slavery. It is visionary to suppose that they all could be brouglit to stand on a common latform of priiiciijles in other respecls, by tlio decisión óf the conventiori". The iVinjorhy wuiilrl have to determiné the pl.albrm, and would havo no righl to complain should the minorily secede. A few general remarles, and we shall clo?e. Parlies and their creeds are of gradual growth. A new Party may spring nlo life upon onc great Principie, but il requires timeto learn all the hpplications of this Principie. It would be lolly to attempt in ils incipient stage, to trace all its hearings, and frame aecordiogly, u coni[)lete confession of faith. Time must bo allowed for the Principie to tiritó full possession of the hearts and minds of its advocates - to dethrono old beliefs, and substituto new ones - thero tnust bo long preliminary reflection, and ín process of time, without any formal attempt by a convention to manufacture a creed, theParty raay find itself, ns if by common consent, giving utterance to similar sentiments on whatevcr questions may engage ts attcntion. If the Liberty Parly is to be a Xaliona Party, litis is the onhj way Is creed will bc formcd. To attempt lo declare a confession of political faith now is unwise, for another reason. It is uncalled for. The old parties have the questions of a TariiFand ihe Currency already in hands they are aiming to scttlo them. VViih Slavery thcy have as II tl Ie to do as possible.- r To ihe Liberty Party is specially intrusted the jue.stion of SJavefy on this question, it exerts a décíded, though indirect ihfluehcë. Boyond it, it has no power whritsoëver. Any pösition it might take oriother questions, would have no influence at all in settüng them. Tiiey are not now within the scope of its mission. Before it sliall attain power enough to act upon Icgislation to these subjects, they may all have been adjusled, permanentIy. Why, then, as a Party, encumber ourselves wilh questiutis upon which we shall most probably never be callcd upon to act'? It will be time enough to declare our opinions, when there shull be the sliglilest probability of our dbiaining uuy control oflegislution. But, it is insisted that "we o:nnot expect men to forsake all connection with the détei'ininaflon of all otlier politieel questions." Wct'onotsee how iheadoj)tiun of a general creed by tho Liberly Pari y would help the matter. Whoever joincd it then, would have to forsake all connection wilh the delerminaiiun of all üther political questions for an indefinite time. It would long continue a minority. No matter wliether we have a geiv" eral creedor nof, I.iberiy men must make up the ir minds lo let ordinary politics be tuken care of by the leading parties of the country, and devote themselves to their oicn work - the redemption of the country f rom the curse of Slavery. If they are not willing to do this - not willing to forsake parties and sects, proporty & friends, reputution, nye, even liie ilself, to establisli Justico and Freedom in the country, thcy are not fit to conslitute a reforming party; nor could they be induced to remain firm by any creed in the world. In another column we give the closing portion of the communicalion of Messrs. Beckley & Fosler, on the pösition of the Liberty Party. It suggests what in their estimation ooght to be incorporated as additional principies in the creed of Liberly men. Ilaving already presented our reasons ogaiast the expedieucy of enlarging our basis of operation as a Party, it is not neecssiry to discuss the two questions started by our Michigan friends. A few remarks, however, may not be altogether unprofitable. With two or three e.xceptions, we have often advocated asan individual, the principies of reform suggested by them. - Two years ago we wroie a series of articles, specifying in evcry department of l!ie Government, the retrenchment that ought to be eflecled; taking the ground that no more soldiers should be retained than were required to take careoftke fonifications and tnunitions of war; and that no other Navy was nectled than snch as might be required to protect our Commerce in parts of the world, where civilization liad not subdued the pasaioris of the Peoplo, and" whcre ignorance of our power might tempt to nggressions upon our merchante. The iclca of jnain(aining an Army and Navy, as ri means of defencc against the great Powers of Christendom, we haii always regardcd as absurd; our surest defence being found ín our posiiion, our wealch, our number?, our peaceableness. and tho deep interest every nalion basto be at peacc with us. The exceptions rcferred to are these: 1. We have not advocated the election of the Post masters by the People, nor do wc perceivc tlie expediency of any such policy, unless indeed, tlie power of removal werc still allowod te bc exercised by ihe Kxecutive. 2. We cannot suppose that any circumslanecs will ever arrivc in tliis country which will make it proper to raise revenue (or the support of Cïovernmcnt by direct ta.xation, instcad o( Q Ta riff.