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ter hope for redemption than I can now foresee, I shall say with Benjamin Franklin, while looking abroad over the whole earth for a new and congenial home: "Where liberty dwells, there is my country."
You will tell me that these fears are extravagant and chimerical. I answer they are so; but they are so only because the designs of the slaveholders must and can be defeated. But it is only the possibility of defeat that renders them so. They cannot be defeated by inactivity. There is no escape from them, compatible with non-resistance. How, then, and in what way shall the necessary resistance be made? There is only one way. The Democratic party must be permanently dislodged from the Government. The reason is that the Democratic party is inextricably committed to the designs of the slaveholders which I have described. Let me be well understood. I do not charge that the Democratic candidates for public office now before the people are pledged to, much less that the Democratic masses who support them really adopt, those atrocious and dangerous designs. Candidates may, and generally do, mean to act justly, wisely, and patriotically when they shall be elected; but they become the ministers and servants, not the dictators, of the power which elects them. The policy which a party shall pursue at a future period is only gradually developed, depending on the occurrence of events never fully foreknown. The motives of men, whether acting as electors or in any other capacity, are generally pure. Nevertheless, it is not more true that "Hell is paved with good intentions" than it is that earth is covered with wrecks resulting from innocent and amiable motives.
The very constitution of the Democratic party commits it to execute all the designs of the slaveholders, whatever they may be. It is not a party of the whole Union, of all the free States, and of all the slave States; nor yet is it a party of the free States in the North and in the Northwest; but it is a sectional and local party, having practically its seat within the slave States, and counting its constituency chiefly and almost exclusively there. Of all its representatives in Congress and in the Electoral College, two-thirds uniformly come from these States. Its great element of strength lies in the vote of the slaveholders, augmented by the representation of three-fifths of the slaves. Deprive the Democratic party of this strength and it would be a helpless and hopeless minority, incapable of continued organization. The Democratic party, being thus local and sectional, acquires new strength from the admission of
every new slave State, and loses relatively by the admission of every new free State in the Union.
A party is, in one sense, a joint stock association, in which those who contribute most direct the action and management of the concern. The slaveholders contributing in an overwhelming proportion to the capital strength of the Democratic party, they necessarily dictate and prescribe its policy. The inevitable caucus system enables them to do so with a show of fairness and justice. If it were possible to conceive for a moment that the Democratic party should disobey the behests of the slaveholders, we should then see a withdrawal of the slaveholders which would leave the party to perish. The portion of the party which is found in the free States is a mere appendage, convenient to modify its sectional character without impairing its sectional constitution, and is less effective in regulating its movement than the nebulous tail of the comet is in determining the appointed though apparently eccentric course of the fiery sphere from which it emanates.
To expect the Democratic party to resist slavery and favor freedom is as unreasonable as to look for Protestant missionaries to the Catholic Propaganda of Rome. The history of the Democratic party commits it to the policy of slavery. It has been the Democratic party, and no other agency, which has carried that policy up to its present alarming culmination.
The speaker here reviewed the history of the present Democratic party from its origin in the "Era of Good Feeling" (Monroe's Administration) to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise (1854), showing its consistent and increasing devotion to the cause of slavery.
In 1856, when the people of Kansas had organized a new State within the region thus abandoned to slavery, and applied to be admitted as a free State into the Union, the Democratic party contemptuously rejected their petition and drove them with menaces and intimidations from the halls of Congress, and armed the President with military power to enforce their submission to a slave code, established over them by fraud and usurpation. At every subsequent stage of the long contest which has since raged in Kansas, the Democratic party has lent its sympathies, its aid, and all the powers of the Government which it controlled, to enforce slavery upon that unwilling and injured people. And now, even at this day, while it mocks us with the assurance that Kansas is free, the Democratic party keeps
the State excluded from her just and proper place in the Union, under the hope that she may be dragooned into the acceptance of slavery.
The Democratic party, finally, has procured from a supreme judiciary, fixed in its interest, a decree that slavery exists by force of the Constitution in every Territory of the United States, paramount to all legislative authority either within the Territory or residing in Congress.
Such is the Democratic party. It has no policy, State or Federal, for finance, or trade, or manufacture, or commerce, or education, or internal improvements, or for the protection or even the security of civil or religious liberty. It is positive and uncompromising in the interest of slavery-negative, compromising, and vacillating, in regard to everything else. It boasts its love of equality and wastes its strength, and even its life, in fortifying the only aristocracy known in the land. It professes fraternity, and, so often as slavery requires, allies itself with proscription. It magnifies itself for conquests in foreign lands, but it sends the national eagle forth always with chains, and not the olive branch, in his fangs.
This dark record shows you, fellow citizens, what I was unwilling to announce at an earlier stage of this argument, that, of the whole nefarious schedule of slaveholding designs which I have submitted to you, the Democratic party has left only one yet to be consummated-the abrogation of the law which forbids the African slave trade.
Now, I know very well that the Democratic party has at every stage of these proceedings disavowed the motive and the policy of fortifying and extending slavery, and has excused them on entirely different and more plausible grounds. But the inconsistency and frivolity of these pleas prove still more conclusively the guilt I charge upon that party. It must, indeed, try to excuse such guilt before mankind, and even to the consciences of its own adherents. There is an instinctive abhorrence of slavery, and an inborn and inhering love of freedom in the human heart, which renders palliation of such gross misconduct indispensable. It disfranchised the free African on the ground of a fear that, if left to enjoy the right of suffrage, he might seduce the free white citizen into amalgamation with his wronged and despised race. It denies emancipation in the District of Columbia, even with compensation to masters and the consent of the people, on the ground of an implied constitutional inhibition, although the Constitution expressly confers upon Congress sovereign legislative power in that district, and
although the Democratic party is tenacious of the principle of strict construction. It violated the express provisions of the Constitution in suppressing petition and debate on the subject of slavery, through fear of disturbance of the public harmony, although it claims that the electors have a right to instruct their representatives, and even demand their resignation in cases of contumacy. It extended slavery over Texas, and connived at the attempt to spread it across the Mexican territories, even to the shores of the Pacific Ocean, under a plea of enlarging the area of freedom. It abrogated the Mexican slave law and the Missouri compromise prohibition of slavery in Kansas, not to open the new Territories to slavery, but to try therein. the new and fascinating theories of non-intervention and popular sovereignty; and, finally, it overthrew both these new and elegant systems by the English Lecompton bill and the Dred Scott decision, on the ground that the free States ought not to enter the Union without a population equal to the representative basis of one member of Congress, although slave States might come in without inspection as to their numbers.
Will any member of the Democratic party now here claim that the authorities chosen by the suffrages of the party transcended their partizan platforms, and so misrepresented the party in the various transactions I have recited? Then I ask him to name one Democratic statesman or legislator, from Van Buren to Walker, who either timidly or cautiously, like them, or boldly or defiantly, like Douglas, ever refused to execute a behest of the slaveholders, and was not therefor, and for no other cause, immediately denounced, and deposed from his trust, and repudiated by the Democratic party for that contumacy.
I think, fellow citizens, that I have shown you that it is high time for the friends of freedom to rush to the rescue of the Constitution, and that their very first duty is to dismiss the Democratic party from the administration of the Government.
Why shall it not be done? All agree that it ought to be done. What, then, shall prevent its being done? Nothing but timidity or division of the opponents of the Democratic party. Some of these opponents start one objection and some another. Let us notice these objections briefly. One class say that they cannot trust the Republican party; that it has not avowed its hostility to slavery boldly enough or its affection for freedom earnestly enough.
I ask in reply: Is there any other party which can be
more safely trusted? Everyone knows that it is the Republican party or none that shall displace the Democratic party. But I answer further that the character and fidelity of any party are determined, necessarily, not by its pledges, programs, and platforms, but by the public exigencies and the temper of the people when they call it into activity. Subserviency to slavery is a law written not only on the forehead of the Democratic party, but also in its very soul-so resistance to slavery and devotion to freedom, the popular elements now actively working for the Republican party among the people, must and will be the resources for its ever-renewing strength and constant invigoration.
Others cannot support the Republican party because it has not sufficiently exposed its platform and determined what it will do and what it will not do when triumphant. It may prove too progressive for some and too conservative for others. if any party ever foresaw so clearly the course of future events as to plan a universal scheme for future action, adapted to all possible emergencies. Who would ever have joined even the Whig party of the Revolution if it had been obliged to answer in 1775 whether it would declare for independence in 1776, and for this noble Federal Constitution of ours in 1787, and not a year earlier or later?
The people of the United States will be as wise next year, and the year afterward, and even ten years hence, as we are They will oblige the Republican party to act as the public welfare and the interests of justice and humanity shall require, through all the stages of its career, whether of trial or triumph.
Others will not venture an effort because they feel that the Union would not endure the change. Will such objectors tell me how long a Constitution can bear a strain directly along the fibers of which it is composed? This is a Constitution of freedom. It is being converted into a Constitution of slavery. It is a republican Constitution. It is being made an aristocratic Others wish to wait until some collateral questions concerning temperance or the exercise of the elective franchise are properly settled. Let me ask all such persons whether time enough has not been wasted on these points already without gaining any other than this single advantage, namely, the discovery that only one thing can be effectually done at one time, and that the one thing which must and will be done at any one time is just that thing which is most urgent and will no longer admit of postponement or delay. Finally we are told by