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Anti-slavery: Speech Of John P. Hale: Upon The Slavery Resol...

Anti-slavery: Speech Of John P. Hale: Upon The Slavery Resol... image Anti-slavery: Speech Of John P. Hale: Upon The Slavery Resol... image
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(Concludcd.) To illustrate Ihis doctrine of democratie unchangeableneess, take the legislation upon the right of way, liere,in New Hampshire. Sonie years ago it was democratie to go for "the largest liberty" on all such matters, and a railroad charter from the "White Mountains to the Isle of Shoals might easily have been obtained by any one that chose to ask for it, so he was a good demoerat - and that with scarcely any restriction whatever. - He could take any man's land, almost without the shadow of compensation. - This was democracy then. But time rolled on, and a few years aftcrwards democracy had provided that roads should not take lands for their purpose except by consent of the owners. The southern part of the State was satisfied with this, its people had róads already, and carcd liltle about the matter. But the northern sections wcre not so easily pleascd. - They wanted roads as well as their brethren, and wanted then, too, upon the same advantageous terms. That, however, could not be allowed. Democracy had been newl enlightened, and all such provisions i before had been democratie, were now mere bantlings of federalism. It wou ld not do however, tleny the north what tho south had, and n this dilemma what was to be done ? - The doctors in the Legislature weresomevhat at a loss, but finally they went to vork and cooked up an act on the subject, vhich - and I say it with all due respect o the General Court - contained more bsolute folly than was ever before conentratcd into one measure by the utmost flbrt of human ingenuity. - Railroads vith the right of way, reasoned these sa)ient doctors, were at present mere fedeal, private monopolies - andit was neessary to convert them into pro-slavery, )ro-Texas, democratie public institutions. Vow the State had the right of eminent omain, and could run a road where it hose and take what land it chose. All mt was requisite, therefore, was to make ie roads nominally public roads, and the ïing would be settled. To do this, they nacted that wherever, the road and the and-holders could not or would not agree, ie fonner niight surrender to the State, hich, by virtue of its sovereignty, could o what it chose. All then that the road ompanies had to do was to get into dificulty with the landholders, knock one r two of them down, bring about a quarel, send a certifícate of its existence to :ie Secretary of state, and they instantly )ecame the componente of a democratie nstitution ofthevery first water, with auhority to go where they liked. nd do retty much as they saw fit. This, sir, s an example of the unchanging nature of New Hampshire democracy and democratie legislation. Now for another point. The gentlenen from Sanbornton is horror-stricken at the idea of the disunion of these Unitec States. So am I. But who first intro duced the idea of disunion in this con nection ? It was no one else than Robert J. Walker, the present Secretary o the Treasury. In his letter to the citizens of Carroll county, Ky., dated Jan. 8th, 1844, he says - speaking of the annexatiou of Texas - "One of these results i$ certain to follow the refusal oí re-annexation. lst. the separation of Lhe south and soulhwest from the north, and their re-union with Texas - or 2d. - the total overthrow ol the tariflf - or 3d - a system of unboundec smuggling through Texas into the west and southwest. The first and grand result, according to Mr. Walker, ofa refusal to annex Texas, would be the separation of the south and south-west from the north. - That is, if we should decline to annex Texas to us, they would go off and annex themsclves to her. Now, do not let it be cast in our teeth that we are the advocates of disunion upon this ground. It was the ather of the scheme himself - now the Seeretary of the Treasury - who first hrew out the insolent threat of disunion against the north. Let the indignation of my frined be visited. where it justly jelongs.It is said, again, tbat this matter of Texan annexation was all settlcd by the people at the last election. Mr. Polk went before them as the chainpion of the scheme, and was chosen. Nothingmore, ther :fore canbe said. I am glad to hear that too. But was there not something else also settled by that election ? Did anybody ever hear of " Texas and Oregou!" In my recollection at least, the two words are as intimately connected as were the names of "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" in 1840. And I think we all remember what loving twins these same Texas and Oregon were at the Baltimore Convention. Well, we have got Texas, but where is Oregon? - Havo we got that too ? I rathcr guess we have ! I believe that our Legislature once resolved that we owned the whole of Oregon up to 54 deg. 40 min. [Some gentleman corrected Mr. IL, it was up to 54 deg. Mr. Hale resumed.] Well, sir, up to 54 deg. then. A little softening down, a slight declension, preparatory, perhnps, to the final settlement on 49 deg. But, at &ny rate, President Polk has repeatedly declared that our title to 54 deg. 40 min. was clear and unquestionable, and should not be relinquislied, and the democratie party throughout the Union have resolved the same thingovcr & over again. And if I do not mistake, our New Hampshire Legislature has passcd resolutions commendatory of the President's iinnness in conducting and maintaining the controversy ! Mr. Speaker, I said last year that government was insincere in its declarations - that it did not mean what it professed to mean - that in this Oregon question Great Britain would take what she wanted and leave us what she didn't want. For this, I was denounced as n falsifier both of what had gone before and of what was to come aftcr. I was branded ns every thing that was base - stigmatised as a traducer, liar, slanderer, and I know not what - only because I dared publicly to express what every man of common sonse knew, that ourment would give up Oregon - the whole of it - and throw Massachusetta, Faneuil Hall, Bunker Hill and all, into the bargain - fit wcre nccessary to the maintenance of the "peculiar institution." - Since then, sir, vt hat we claimed of Oregon has been garrisoned by British troops ; American traders have pursued their avocations under the walls of British brts and the folds of British flngs, and i ïave been protected by the gleam of 3ritish bayonets. But what of all that ? Government bas settled the boundary on he line of 49 deg., and if a man wants o stay in "the party," he must come from 54 dcg. 40 min. down to that line - and hat, too, without any change. The Texas question, however,- says he gentleman from Weare - is settled inally, the time for opposition has gone y, and we have nothing more to do with he matter. IIow is it settled ? Only twenty per cent of it is settled. One State has been uhnitted from Texas, but there are four more - four fifthsof the whole - yet to come. Settled 1 - Gentlemen need not not "lay that flattering unction to their souls." The question is not settled. It never will be settled - so long as a God of righteousness sits upon the throne of eternity and holds, as he assuredly will, nations as well as individuals to a just account - until the nation shall have repentedof lts sin in sackcloth and ashes, and "brought forth fruits meet to repentance." The gentleman cannot evade the question. It will follow him to the fireside hearth - it will haunt him in the daily avocations of life - it will press itself upon him even before the altars of the Most High - and not in the wildest and most inaccessible recess of New Hampshire's cloud-capped mountains can. he hope to escape it, or hide from it. - Settled ï Suppose that in 177G, when the fathers of our country met in Faneiil Hall, to concert measures for resisting the tyrany of England - suppose that then one of these seltling politiciaus had asked them what they could do. Parliament had passed the stamp act and the tea tax, both Lords and Commons had voted the bilis, and the King had signed them. - The question was all settled - and what could they do butsubmit? What would have been their answer but this - that they would have a scttlement with the seltlers. That is what we want and what the people will have. Or euppose that you, sir, entrust to an aüorney the conduct of a suit againsta dishonest debtor. The two league together, the debtor pays over a sum of money to ihe attorney t- and when you ask of the latter how the business is going on, you are told that "ts all right, ihe matter is settled." Would you notbe likely, sir, to have a settlcment with that attorney ? According to the system of ethics, moráis andpolitics Dow set up by the genlteman and lis friends, if a man threatens to burn your d welling - so long as he only threatens, you can deal with him by course of law ; but when he goe3 on to apply the torch, when the flamea crackle, and the smoke ascendsto Heaven, and the fruits of alife's industry are laid in ruin in an hour - oh ! then the mischiei' is done, the thing is settled, and you must be an exceedingly unreasonable person to complain at all about it. Sir, the gentleman from Weare does me the honor to dignify my poor talk with the name of eloquence, and regrets that he does not possess it, that he might portray the beauties of this measure. - Beauties ! Sir, if he had eloquence so that he might speak in the highest strasns of mortal power, or had he even an angel's tongue, he would still fail of demonstrating any beauty in it; itis dark - all dark. But the gentleman from Sandbornton is opposed to slavery ! So he npay be - so he is, as far as many others are opposed to it, and that is just so far as such opposition will not aflect the democratie party. Teil him that slavery is an evil, a curse and a wrong - he assents oi course. Say to him that it ought to be abolished - he agrees without hesitation But ask him to help place New Hamp shircright on this subject, and he stop snort. That would hurt the democrntii party - he can't stand that. Such is the cuse with him, and hc is not singular in the position either. TJiousnnds in both the whig and democratie ranks occupy preciscly the same ground. - Some time ago I chanced to speak on ihis subject a Keene, and at the close of the meeting a whig said toa democrat friend - "Wel! what do you think of this ? Your party dare not touch this question for fear o political injury." "But," asked the oth er, "how is it with you V' "Oh Í" was the reply, "the whigs have always heen right on the matter." - So it is. Th demócrata do not care how far this ques tion may split up the whigs - the whig are willing it should entirely distract thdemocrats - the abolitionísts like to see both parties crumble Each looks out for himself, while lhe coramon cry is - ;'don't touch our party - Iet our party alone." The gentleman from Sonborn:on says so himself, and is honest in so saying. Never, indeed, was a poor bantïing nore unceremoniously kicked into the treet by its own friends and fathers, han the democratie policy of this State las been, since the last election, by the lemocrats themselves. Theonly danger :he other side have now to apprehend is :he recoil. Democracy may take the sack track, perhaps, and seek to outstrip its opponents in that path. The party may oossibly go ahead of us in our own road, but that it will never again be orsjanized under the dictation of the Patriot, :r upon the platform of 1839, 1 have no ' fears. Thai question is settled, be it as it may withthe Texas question. But these same gentlemen, sir, do sjreat and monstrous injustice lo their friends abroad. Their conduct towards heir southern brethren is mean in th& ïxtreme. Why don't they come out y irh ie openness and candor of the south on lis subject ? I wish, while they have 1 Mr. Calhoun'spernicious opinionsand rroneous views, they had half his honesy and straight forwarduess in avowing nd defending them. It is refreshing to ead such Ianguage us we find from Mr. Calhoun and Gov. Hammond, after the ïiserable and contemptible twaddle we re surfeited with here at the north. ïearken to the last gentleman I xmmed : "I think, then, I may safely conclude, andl firmly beUcvlhat American S!avery is not onïy not a sin, but espcciullij ommanded ly God, through Moses, and approved bij CArist through his Apostlesnd- here I niight close its defence ; foivhat God ordained and Christ sanctifies, hould surely command the respect und oleration of man." I like that. Gov. Hammond thinka so, and lic says so boldly. There is no evasion, no dodging, no skulking here. He marches up to the line and lays that doctrine right down, without reservation or quibbling. And the gentleman from Sanbornton, too, must march right up and ace the mark, or he will be excommunicated and driven out of the party. - Again the Governor says - "I endorse without reserve, the much bused sentiment of Gov. McDuffie, that 'Slavery is the corner stone of our republican edifice ;" while I repudate as ridiculously absurd, that much lauded, but no where accredited dogma of Mr. fefferson, that "all men are born equah" ' Right, sir, right! What wretched nonsense for the Democracy of New lampshire to resol ve that the abolition of lavery would be a public calamity, and at the samo time pretend to have. anyhing to do with that "dogma" of Jefferson's. Gov. Hammond throws itirely aside, and under his management he car moves on. But how are our northern democrats to reconcile these vo JefTersons, the one with the other ? They acknowledge the authority of both - how are they to be made to appear consistent ' Sir, the party is sadly in need of some powerful apparatus, some grand alembic, in which discorJant components may be brouglit together, and by some patent process of politicnl alchemy ransformed into a harmonious, beautifuJ, pro-slavery, pro-Texas, conglomerated and aggregate democracy f Mr. Speaker, gentlemen cannot reconcile their actions with their professions, their conduet with their creed - nor can they deend their course on any ground of consistency. It cannot be done. If God be their God, let them serve him, but iC Baal, let them serve Baal. But do not let us, the Legislature of New Hampshire, be guilty oíthe miserable inconsistency of professing to abhor slavey, and yet striving for its perpetuation.Mr. Speaker, I hope tbat what I havc liad the honor of saying to the House lias satisfice! the gentleman from Exeter, that the statements in this preamble are truc, and that he wU acknovvledge so much - unless, indeed, he should rely upon the legal maxim ihnt '"the suppression of t'-e truth is in itseJífa falsehood." It is certain tlmt the preamble does not teil the whole truth, and for my single self, I should be willing to go much further. Hut I have put it in this mild and modififd ibrm, in order that the resolution might commend itself to whatever ol conscience there may be in that party which professes to repróbate slavery and yet upholds the institution. Yet I have nohope, no expectation - 1 had almost said no desire - that any argument on. this subject can produce the least effect upon those who remember that they are. democrats, but forget that they are also iiirn. And l am forcibly reminded, in this connection, of an incident that occurrd the other day when the bilí to divide he State into Congressional Districts was