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Position Of The Liberty Party

Position Of The Liberty Party image
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Although of late we have published much upon Ihis subject, yet as a general interest now prcvails aniong Liberty men respecting it, we once more wish to cal! the attention of our readers to it, while we present a plain statement of the broad principies upon whrch the Liberty party was founded, and of the new, narrow and pent up channel in which most of its friends are now endeavoring to confine its efibrts. We will state first the origina basis on which this party was forined, as developed by its National Conventions, and the opinions of its founders, and then the new position assumcd by most of the Liberty papers in answer to the inquines of the Michigan Circular, adding such remarks as we may deern appropriate. I. ITS ORIGINAL POSITION. J. THE FIRST NATIONAL LIBKRTY CON VENTION. This body met at Albany, April 1, 1840, and udopteJ ie Ibllowing resol u'tion: "Resolved, That while we consider the Abolition of Slavery as paramount to all other questions of national politica, and have nominated, and ex peet to nomínate AND TO ELECT, with a special view to tilia vital question, wc by no ineans lose SlglU of NUMEROUS OTHER QUESTIONS in which all who are to be efiècted diiccilyor indireclly by our Government are deephjinlerested, and we consider tliat our fundamental principie, to wit, that all ien u'ithin its jurisdiction, are as men, entitled to an equal participation in the benefits of our Government, does decide all these questions in favor of general good, by dociding thein in favor of lbo widest and largest liberty that can fiourish under just laws." In refcrence to the candidatos for President and Y ice President, jurt nominated, thcy say, - "Firmly devoted lo tlie principlèo of IÏuma.v Rights, and capal)le of applying thenj discreet! y and efficaciously for the Abolition of Slavery, and for the. ■promotion of all our OTHER ITBLIC INTJÉttksts," &c At an adjoürned meeting of this Convention, held in New York in May, onc month later, the ibllowing resolutions were unanimously adopted, alter fülldiscussiori." 'Resolved, That the application of the principios of our enterprize to EVER Y INTEREST of society is callkd fok, by the conrlition of our country, and the demands of justice and humanity. "Resolved. That while we regard the question of Slavery as thegreatest political querstion now extensively agitated before the country, and are detennined not to sacriiice or defcr the cause of frecdom to any other political measurc, wc will nevertheless sustain, as iju'Oiitant an essential pRiNcii'LF.s, the equal political and civil ríghts of all men, and will orl'OSE THE PIllkciPLE AND THE rr.ACTISK OF PARTÍA L ANT ÊJÉCLU61.VE PSlVÍLEQES, whether in refrrence. to BXJSlNJESS or fíLFi''RAc;,E or cigifrilily to pübic stations: recognizing no legalized prerogatives on nccountof birth, wealth, learning or complexion." These extracts show that the rriembers of the First National Liberty Convention, in a party capacity, recognized thé èxistence of "numerous othkr qckstionsv of "public interest": that the Liberty party was to extend its principies to "every interest of society": that the party deemcd "the equul politicaí and civil righte of all men as e.sskntiai. and important principies" in reference to "business" as well as to other subjects; and that they expected "to klect" thèir candidates for President and Vice President. Let us now examine the doings of 2. THE SECOND NATIONAAL LfBÜÈRTT CÓNVENTION, held at New York, May 12 and 13, 1841. Thcy adopted a long address, in which they replied to the inquiry what would be the course of the Liberty party on other great interests "commonly supposed to have no manner of connection M-ith the principies oí' human rights as involved in the sfavè question," that lheir ndjustrhènt shoiild be "lefl open for future considero! 'ion. " The Address goes on, however, to state thai the party would not go for "extravagant salaries, and it "would not tolérate or favor unjust or anti-republican Monopolies": it "would not support thosc wicked and disgraceful arrrangements by which vice is licensed by law": and the Address also suggested such an amendmént to the Constitution as would enable the póople to vote aifftíly for President and Vicé President of the United States. The same Convention adopted the following rcso)ution: Resolved, That duty, patriotism, and humanity, cali upon all Americans to unite heartilv and i'ullv in the cflbrt to REMOVE ALL OPPRESSIVE LAWS, and to establish Equal Rights, and the, impar Hal adminislration of Justice THROUGHOUT THE LAND." - So it seems that the second National Liberty Convention declared for ' leaving open for future consideration" the other interests, but took ground against ' agant Salaries," "Monopolies," the i cense Laws, and the existence of the i töral College: and "hcartily and fully" avowed their intention to labor to , MOVE ALL OPPRESÖIVE LAWS" Jout the land"!! In the minds ol' the members of this Convention, somethinjs besides the one idea of the Abolition oj Slavery existed. i But we pass on now to the doings of the 3. THIRD NATIONAL LIHERTY CONVENT1OX, which met at BufFulo, Aug. 30, 1843. - Read the following revoiutions adopted by them: "Resolved, That the Liberty party has not been originated MERELY for the oycrthrow of Slavery. lts iirst and most decidcd eiïbrt must indeed bedirected againsi slaveholding, as tlie grossest and mobt rcvolting fbrm of despotism, but it will ajso CARRY OUT THE PRINC1PLKS OV RqUAL RlOIITS IN ALL THEIR PRACTICAL CONSEQUENCES AND APPLICATIONS, and 8UD port EVERY JUST MEASURE, conducive to individual and social frecdom. Resolved, That the Liberty party is not a sectional party but a national party, lias NOT originated in a desire to acconr plish a SINGLE OBJECT, but in a comprehensivo regard to the interests of this whole country - is not a new party or a third party, but is the party of 177(5, reviving the principies of that memorable era, and striving to carry tliem into practical application." From these resolutions we learn that this large and talèntëd Convention asserted that the Liberty party was not originated me rel y for "a single object" - the overthrow of slavery- as so many of the Liberty papers are riow proclaiming - but is designed to benefit "the interests of the wholc country", by "carrying out the principies of Equal Rights in all their consequenecs. " The same Convention affirmed that the Liberty party was a nalionul party, and "not organized for any temporary purpose." Such was the stand taken by the first t'urec National Libeiiy Conventions. It was a noble platform, amply suiHcient to sustain the operations of a great national party. To these principies we henrtily subscribe, while, so fur as the action of the Liberty party is proposed, they are now denounced by the great majority of the Liberty papers. Only three Liberty papers are now known to sustain these as the principies of the part'. We will quote a sentence or two to show the position of each. Front iho S:2iinlof Uheny oI'March IJ, Í8-JG. "The Liberty party can attainthe power requisite to abolish slavery, by taking such ground as will hring to its standard sufficicnt numbers. This can be done by taking right ground on all political question; by making it a party of Prooresö, of national Reform, of Justice, Economy and Peace; in a word, just such a party as our country needs - such an one as every Patriot and Christian can sustain, and ask the God of licaven to bless." Froni the Pittslutreh (Pa.) Spirit of Li!criy. "We have no difliculty in subscribing to them [the positions of the Michigan Circular] for our part; and believe that thcir adoption by tlie Liberty party would tend rapidly to unite the friends of reform on the truc Democratie principie - "Equal Rights to All." From 'lic Alb'itny Patriot. "In its present peculiar form, as defined and insislcd on by many intelligent Liberty men, we think it [the Liberty party] has exhausted itself, ornearly so." "Tlie ihvng cunl bc done - to hold a body of men in such a position, without chango of story, or variety ofaddress, 'and in full hcartéd sympathy with no earthly object, saVje onèi," . . . "The e.xigencieó of the Liberty cause demand a movement, comprehensive and thorough, on the princi)lcs of radicuJ, Ckrislian Danocracy!" Tliesc are the only Liberty papers that fully sustain the posilionsof the National Conventions. Wm. Goodell and Mr. Birncy, howevcr, as our readers are well áwarc, adhero faithfully to the original platform of the party, in the formation of which they were active laborers, and they are earnest for carrying its noble principies into practis& We turn now to IL THE NEW POSITION OF THE LIBERTY PARTY, Not as t bas yel been defmed by any NatPonal Convention, but as ascertained by the published views of the great majority of the Liberty papers. It will be seeo, we think, that these yiéfts are diverse and in many respecte, directly anlagonistic to those ad vaneed by the National Conventions. During the last thrce ycar.s, the Liberty papers have gradcrally abandoned the principies formerly promulgatéd by the Convcntions, on evéry question but Slavery, and now refuse to recognizc them as Liberty principies. - We do notcomplain of this: for the party is at full liberty to change its position (so that no principie of right be violatod) whencver it finds occasion to do so. But while we adheve to the original platform, it 5 unjust to represent us as innovators and setters forth of new principiéis. Wc will now show, by quotations from the principie Liberty papers, that they have so far renouneed the original princlpiëö of the party, that they oppose dïshussioiu or aclion rn i Is Convcntipns, on any subjee, except Slavery. We will quote from recent articles in atiswer the Circular. FriMii liii' VViisJiintiKiu (Pa.) i at int. "We sel oiirsclccs against il. We lind it more than we can do to givc to the great ïbsorbing question of slavery tho 1 'ion it merits, without giving any thouglit l.o othcr subjoctS." - "There seems to be i general acquiescence in the position that hc Liberty party cannot covsislenty, iroperly, or safely take ground on any oth:r question than the great one of slavery.'' 'Where now is AntimasoM-j'? Whcre, iplitical abol.itionism will bc when it gocs , r,r the "other principies.'"From the Mercer (Pa) Luminnry. "We hcarlily concur in the remarles of - the Washington Patriot, in rëply to the proposition of,G. Beckley and T.Foster, to incorpórate other questions into the creed of the Liberty party. Weregretted to iind Spirit, öf Liberty so ready to lall in with them.'' From ihc F ree Lnlior (In). Advocate. "These are some of the rcösons why i have all along upposcd Ilic adoption of any svch measures as those proposed by my valued correspondents; and they still seem to me to be conclusive on the subject. 1 may be wrong; if so, I desire that what 1 have said may havo no influénce to leadothers into error. 13ut untillxim bettcr satisiied that my views are erroneous than at present, I can hut exprèss my f aars of the consequenas of an attempt to f orín a Libcrly party political creed." Ffom bc Boston Km.incipitor. "The Liberty party is made up of men of ..widely diverse ppinions on all these subjects. The "orte idea" seems to us quite lurgc cnough to rally upqn,' Fruin iba JVlninc Liburty Standard. We do not think it advisable for that [the Liberty] party to enlarge its creed, nor is it bound by intcgrity to scttle what Vlight be a legitímate appiication of its principies in reference to every supposaj ble, or even actual subjects of Government." Is not this exactly the reverse of the resolution of the Buflalo National Con! vention which declared that the Liberty party "would carry out the principies of Equal Rights in all Ihcir cotisequsnccs and ajqtlications''? Prom the Green Mountfin (Vt.) Frecman. "In our judgment, the adoptbn of the ; course so recommended, at the present time, would inevitablv rcsult in thespce dy downfall of the Liberty organizador, j and thus destroy our only hope of the peaceful abolition of American Slavery." From the (Mas?.) B'ncbn of Liberiy. "As we understand it, our position is iiiiw toleave all muiters that can be left, : as wc ftnd them, until we first rid our! selves of slavery." Frotn ilio VVcBlcrn (Ghicugo) Citizen. "We do not then see the necessity of a , new political creed, to be iillcd up with minor corisiderntions, buton thecontrary I it secms that dificulhes and obstad es will ■ be multiplicd by endeavoring to bring the people to work in harmony on a dozen controverted subjects, and in refeience to whicli rationa] men may rationally differ." From tho Üli'ca (N. V.) Lilicny Pic-r. "Wc dissent from the positions thcy j have assumcd, and the course they recom;e(." "We dissent from the idea that a code of politics is demanded to so adorn nnd beautify our "one idea" as to makc it . "take" with the tnásses." From '.hf Lileriy (Ohi) llcrnld. "We wcre just contemplating making some brief remarks on it, when we accidentally read the following from the Liberty Press, which so entirely accordcd with our sentiments, that we append it, as cndorsing the same views in relation to it." From ihe Cmcirnnti lleruld. "View the question as we may, wt: cannot see what good end is to be attüined by carrying it into ëfiect; but xccshould apprehend much er." We might enlargö these quotations, but they are certa inly enough to show that the great majority of the Liberty papers are now decidédly opposcef to.the basis adopted at the formation ot the Liberty party, and to the principies unanimously ratificd by them in the Bufialo Na tional Convention only three years ago. ! To that basis and to those principies we adherc; and wc cannot yet bclievc but oiir brethren gencrally, after fnll reflectión, wiil come back to their first position. - But befo re we close this article, we must take the liberty, kindly and courteously, to address our oíd fellow laboréis who have left the original basis of the Liberty party, and advócale the "One Idea" only. - We vvish to ask tliem this simple question, "WHAT DO YOU PROPO'SË TO DO?" You have a National party organized. You will say and do nothing except on Slavery. You must take one of two positions immediately. You must either say to the whole country, "We are a permanent, national liber' ty pnrty, and expect to attain a majority of the voters ot' (he natkm, elect our President and aboHsh slavory oursèlves".' Or, you must say, "We never expect fo élect a President or Congressman ourselves: our only aira is to associate tcgether as many anti-slaverv votere as . possible for tJie sake of éxerting anti-slavery influénce' on the other partics." Now, one of these positions you must assume, opcnly. You cannot maintain a non-committal attitude any longer. - Which alternativo, will you choose? Do you say you can get a majority of tho voters of this nation to join you on the "One Idea" principie only? No national party ever yet arrived tb power while refusing'ïo spéak ouför act except on one subject. This iiYqt-iry was raised in our Circular, and Dr. Bailey of the Cincinnati Herald has answered it. He declares that it is "not xfckssauy" that the party should arrive to the possession of national power: that ifa indirect influénce will drive the old parties into antislavery action: that as. a party, vre shall probably never bc callecl to act on party mcasures; and irvtimatt)3 that there is OT'vïo the sítghiest probability of obtaining any control of Icgislat.ion.'" . "God help the slave," he exclaims, "if hc isdoomed to wait for his freedom, till the Liberty party has become the majority party of the country." Wc fully ngree with the Hdvald, that while it pursues it?present course, the party .has not the "slightest probability" of natiorml succcss. From the tenor of the Liberty papers, so far as thcy have indicatod any opinión, wè judge that most of thetn coincide with the views of the Doctor. Gerrit Sniith has al.-jo expressed similar sentiment3. - If we do these papers any injustice in attribufing these views to them, we will hereufter correct our error, f they will speak out. . Well, brethren, ifthe great majority of you agree that you cannot succeed as a national party on the "One Idea" only, hoic do you expect io succccd? Shall we mako Ur. Bailëy your mouthpiece again? He says that you can act indircctly: that 200.000 Liberty votès in the Union would secure the respèctful considcration of a bilí to abolish slavcry in the District of Columbia, without sonding a single member to Congress. We doubt this somewhut: biU admitting it to be truc, 4t would require a vastly grsater number to procure its abolition there: But how are you to get even your 200,00i) Liberty votera - thrce times the present number? - When you ask a Whig or Democrat to join you, you must hereafter ask him to join a temporary party, thatacknowledges that it never expects toelect a single ofti-. eer of importance, or enact a single law. "Why, then" he inquires, "do you ask me to join you?" You reply, so as to exert an anti-slavery influence on the other parties. Will he not be very likcly to answer to this, "If you are only organized for this purpose, I think I can exert more anti-slavery influence in my ówn, great, permanent, powerful party, which can control legklation, than I could in your little, temporary one, which you admit never expects to elect an important candidate, or make a law." Now uil attentivc readers of Liberty papers know that the hope of actual and permanent success as a party, has been prominently held out to view, and urged, too, upon Liberty men. The Emancipator, especiallv, has used the motive with no sparing hand. It has had its effect, as will be immediately seen, when that paper and the others, come out, (as they must,) if thcy pursue their present course, in the same rnanner the Philanthropist has, and acknowledge there is not "the slightest probability" the party wiil ever obtain any control of legislation. We will close this article, already too long, by saying to our brethren with whom we have long labored, and whom we highly regard and esteem - think on these things: examine closely where you are: look the whole subject in the face? and see if the broad, original platform of the Liberty party, on which you once stood, is not a far better position for assaulting Slavery, as wcll as for promoting the highest interests of your country, than the present narrow and insufiicient limits which you have needlessly marked out for yourselves. OCA large amount of items of domestic news is necossarily excluded by the long articles in Ihis paper. Il is impossible to get inlo cvery paper just thal proiortion of topics which would be most desirable. 13 út the war netvs we havo given in Pull, as. all wish to see if. We shall conclude Mr. Stewart's arücle on tho "other interests" ne.t week. We have finished - for the prosent - what we have to snyon that question.