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"NEGRO SLAVERY NOT UNJUST." "
A SPEECH BY CHARLES O'CONOR,
At the Union Meeting at the Academy of Music, New York City, Dec. 19, 1859.,
MR. MAYOR AND GENTLEMEN: I cannot express to you, told in the legislative assemblies of our Northern States, the delight which I experience in beholding in this great not merely by speakers, but by distinct resolutions of the city so vast an assembly of my fellow citizens, convened whole body-we are told by gentlemen occupying seats in for the purpose stated in your resolutions. I am delight, the Congress of the Union through the votes of Northern ed beyond measure to behold at this time so vast an pe ple—that the Constitution seeks to enshrine, to protect, assembly responding to the call of a body so respectable to defend a monstrous crime against justice and humanity, as the twenty thousand New Yorkers who have convened and that it is our duty to defeat its provisions, to outwit this meeting. If anything can give assurance to those who them, if we cannot otherwise get rid of their effect, and to doubt, and confidence to those who may have had mis. trample upon the rights which it has declared shall be progivings as to the permanency of our institutions, and the tected and insured to our brethren of the South. (Apsolidity of the support which the people of the North are plause.) That is now the doctrine advocated. And I ask prepared to give them, it is that in the queen city of the whether that doctrine, necessarily involving the destrucNew World, in the capital of North America, there is tion of our Union, shall be permitted to prevail as it has assembled a meeting 80 large, so respectable, and so hitherto prevailed? Gentlemen, I trust you will excuse me unanimous as this meeting has shown itself to be in re- for deliberately coming up to and meeting this questionceiving sentiments which, if observed, must protect our not seeking to captivate your fancies by a trick of words Union from destruction, and even from danger. (Ap--not seeking to exalt your imaginations by declamation plause.) Gentlemen, is it not a subject of astonishment or by any effort at eloquence—but meeting this question that the idea of danger, and the still more dreadful idea gravely, sedately, and soberly, and asking you what is to of dissolution, should be heard from the lips of an Ameri. be our course in relation to it? Gentlemen, the Constitucan citizen, at this day, in reference to, or in connection tion guarantees to the people of the Southern States the with, the sacred name of this most sacred Union ? protection of their slave property. In that respect it is a (Applause.) Why gentlemen, what is our Union ? What solemn compact between the North and the South. As a are its antecedents ? What is its present condition ? If solemn compact are we at liberty to violate it ? (Cries of we ward off the evils which threaten it, what its future "No, no !") Are we at liberty to seek or take any mean, hope for us and for the great family of mankind ? Why petty advantage of it? (Cries of “No, no !") Are we at gentlemen, it may well be said of this Union as a goveru- liberty to con over its particular words, and to restrict and uent, that as it is the last offspring, so is it Time's most to limit its operation, so as to acquire, under such narrow glorious and beneficent production. Gentlemen, we are construction, a pretence of right by hostile and adverse created by an Oinniscient Being. We are created by a legislation?' ("No, no !")—to interfere with the interests, Being not only All-Seeing, but All-Powerful and All-Wise. wound the feelings, and trample on the political rights of And in the benignity and the farseeing wisdom of His our Southern fellow-citizens ? ("No, no, no!") No, gentlepower, He permitted the great family of mankind to live men. If it be a compact,and has anything sacred in it,we are on, to advance, to improve, step by step, and yet permit- bound to observe it in good faith, honestly and honorably, ted five thousand years and upward to elapse ere He laid not merely to the letter, but fully to the spirit, and not in the foundation of a truly free, a truly happy, and a truly any mincing, half-way, unfair, or illiberal construction, independent einpire. It was not, gentlemen, until that seeking to satisfy the letter, to give as little as we can, and great length of time had elapsed, that the earth was thereby to defeat the spirit. (Applause.) That may be the deemed mature for laying the foundations of this mighty way that some men keep a contract about the sale of a house and prosperous State. It was then that He inspired the or of a chattel, but it is not the way honest men observe con. noble-minded and chivalrous Genoese to set forth upon tracts, even in relation to the most trivial things. (" True," the trackless ocean and discover the empire that we now and applause.) What has been done, having a tendency enjoy. But, a few years, comparatively, had elapsed to disturb harmony under this Constitution, and to break when there was raised up in this blessed land a set of men down and destroy the union now existing between these whose like had never before existed upon the face of this states? Why, gentlemen, at an early period the subject earth. Men unequalled in their perceptions of the true of Slavery, as a mere philosophical question, was discussed principles of justice, in their comprehensive benevolence, by many, and its justice or injustice made the subject of in their capacity to lay safely, justly, soundly, and with argument leading to various opinions. It mattered little all the qualities which should insure permanency, the how long this discussion should last, while it was confined foundations of an empire. It was in 1776, and in this within such limits. If it had only led to the formation of country, that there assembled the first, the very first, societies like the Shakers, who do not believe in matriassembly of rational men who ever proclaimed, in clear mony; societies like the people of Utah, destined to a and undeniable form, the immutable principles of liberty, short career, who believe in too much of it (laughter); or and consecrated, to all time I trust, in the face of tyrants, societies of people like the strong-minded women of our and in opposition to their power, the rights of nations and country, who believe that women are much better qualithe rights of men. (Applause.) These patriots, as soon fied than men to perform the functions and offices usually as the storm of war had passed away, sat down and performed by men (laughter)—and who probably would, framed that instrument upon which our Union rests, the if they had their way, simply change the order of proceedConstitution of the United States of America. (Applause.) ings, and transfer the husband to the kitchen, and them. And the question now before us is neither more nor less selves to the field or the cabinet. (Laughter and apthan this: whether that Constitution, consecrated by the plause.) So long, I say, as this sentimentality touching blood shed in that glorious Revolution, consecrated by Slavery confined itself to the formation of parties and sothe signature of the most illustrious man who ever lived, cieties of this description, it certainly could do no great George Washington (applause) whether that instrument, harm, and we might satisfy ourselves with the maxim that accepted by the wisest and by the best of that day, and “Error can do little harm as long as truth is left free to comaccepted in convention, one by one, in each and every bat it." But unfortunately gentlemen, this sentimentality State of this Union—that instrument from which so many has found its way out of the meeting-houses-from among blessings have flown—whether that instrument was con pious people, assemblies of speculative philosophers, and ceived in criine, is a chapter of abominations (cries of societies formed to benefit the inhabitants of Barioboola“No, no,'') is a violation of justice, is a league between gha-it has found its way into the heart of the selfish polistrong-handed but wicked-hearted white men to oppress, tician; it has been made the war-cry of party; it has been and impoverish, and plunder their fellow-creatures, con- made the instrument whereby to elevate not merely te trary to rectitude, honor and justice. (Applause.) This personal distinction and social rank, but to political power is the question, neither more nor less. We are tol! from Throughout the non-slaveholding States of this Union, men pulpits, we are told from the political rostrum, ita ehave been thrus el. vated who advocate a course of con:
duct necessarily exasperating the South, and thy natural compact, to separate from us and to dissolve it? Why effect of whose teachings renders the Southern people inse- gentlemen, the greatness and glory of the American name cure in their property and their lives, making it a matter will then be a thing of yesterday. The glorious Revoof doubt each night whether they can safely retire to their lution of the thirteen States will be a Revolution not blumbers without sentries and guards to protect them i achieved by us, but by a nation that has ceased to exist. against incursions from the North. I say the effect has The name of Washington will be, to us at least at the been to elevate, on the strength of this sentiment, such | North (cheers), but as the name of Julius Cæsar, or of men to power. And what is the result-the condition of some other great hero who has lived in times gone by, things at this day? Why, gentlemen, the occasion that whose nation has perished and exists no mo.e. The calls us together is the occurrence of a raid upon the Declaration of Independence, what will that be? Why, State of Virginia by a few misguided fanatics-followers of the declaration of a State that no longer has place these doctrines, with arms in their hands, and bent upon among the nations. All these bright and glorious recol. rapine and murder. I called them followers, but they lections of the past must cease to be our property, and should be deemed leaders. They were the best, the bravest, become mere memorials of a by-gone race and people. and the most virtuous of all the abolition party. (Ap- A line must divide the North from the South. What will plause.) On the Lord's day, at the hour of still repose, be the consequences ?. Will this mighty city-growing they armed the bondman with pikes brought from the as it now is, with wealth pouring into it from every porNorth, that he might slay his master, his master's wife, and tion of this mighty empire-will it continue to flourish as his master's little children. And immediately succeeding to it has done ? (Cries of “ No, no !") Will your marble it at this very, instant-what is the political question pend- palaces that line Broadway, and raise their proud tops ing before Congress ?
toward the sky, continue to increase, until, as is now A book substantially encouraging the same course of promised under the Union, it shall present. the most provocation toward tħe South which has been long pur- glorious picture of wealth, prosperity, and happiness, sued, is openly recommended to circulation by sixty-eight that the world has ever seen? (Applause.) No! genmembers of your Congress. (Cries of “ Shame, on them, tlemen, no! such things caạnot be. I do not say that applause, and hisses. )-Recommended to circulation by we will starve, that we will perish, as a people, if we sixty-eight members of your Congress, all elected in North- separate from the South. I admit, that if the line be ern States (hisses and applause)-every one, I say, elected drawn between us, they will have their measure of pros
1 from non-slaveholding States. And with the assistance of perity, and we will have ours; but meagre, small in the their associates, some of whom hold their offices by your extreme, compared with what is existing and promised votes, there is great danger that they will elect to the under our Union, will be the prosperity of each. highest ottice in that body, where he will sit as a repre- Truly has it been said here to-night, that we were sentative of the whole North, a man who united in causing made for each other; separate us, and although you that book to be distributed through the South, carrying may not destroy us, you reduce each to so low a scale poison and death in its polluted leaves. ("Hang him !” that well might humanity deplore the evil courses that and applause.) Is it not fair to say that this great and brought about the result. True, gentlemen, we would glorious Union is menaced when such a state of things is have left, to boast of, our share of tue glories of the Revofound to exist? when such an act is attempted ? Is it lution. The Northern States sent forth to the conflict reasonable to expect that our brethren of the South will their bands of heroes, and shed their blood as freely as calmly sit down ("No") and submit quietly to such an those of the South. But the dividing line would take outrage? (Cries, of " No, no.") Why, gentlemen, we away from us the grave of Washington. It is in his own greatly exceed them in numbers. The non-slaveholding beloved Virginia. (Applause and cheers.). It is in the States are by far the more populous; they are increasing State and near the spot where this treason that has been daily in numbers and in population, and we may soon growing up in the North, so lately culminated in violence overwhelm the Southern vote. If we continue to fill the and bloodshed. We would lose the grave-we would halls of legislation with abolitionists, and permit to occupy lose all connection with the name of Washington. But the executive chair men who declare themselves to be en- our philanthropic and pious friends who fain would listed in a crusade against Slavery, and against the pro- lead us to this result, would, of course, comfort us with visions of the Constitution which secure that species of the consoling reflection that we had the glorious memory property, what can we reasonably expect from the people of John Brown in its place. (Great laughter and cheers.) of the South but that they will pronounce the Constitution, Are you, gentlemen, prepared to make the exchange ? with all its glorious associations, with all its sacred memo (Cries of " No, no.") Shall the tomb of Washington, ries—this Vuion, with its manifold present and promised that rises upon the bank of the Potomac, receiving its blessings—an unendurable evil, threatening to crush and tribute from every nation of the earth-shall that become to destroy their most vital interests—to make their coun- the property of a foreign State-a State hostile to us in try a wilderness. Why should we expect them to submit its feelings, and we to it in ours ? Shall we erect a monuto such a line of conduct on our part, and recognize us as ment among the arid hills at North Elba, and deem the brethren, or unite with us in perpetuating the Union ? privilege of making pilgrimages thither a recompense
For my part I do not see anything unjust or unreason- for the loss of every glorious recollection of the past, able in the declaration often made by Southern members and for our severance from the name of Washington ? on this subject They tell us : “If you will thus assail He who is recognized as the Father of his Country ? us with incendiary pamphlets, if you will thus create a (Cries of "No, no,” and cheers.) No, gentlemen, we spirit in your count.y which leads to violence and blood- are not prepared, I trust, for this sad exchange, this shed among us, if you will assail the institution upon fatal severance. We are not prepared, I trust, either to which the prosperity of our country depends, and will ele- pait with our glorious past or to give up the advantages vate to office over us men who are pledged to aid in such of our present happy condition. We are not prepared transactions, and to oppress us by hostile legislation, we to relinquish our affection for the South, nor to involve cannot-much as we revere the Constitution, greatly as our section in the losses, the deprivation of blessings we estimate the blessings which would flow from its and advantages necessarily resulting to each from dis faithful enforcement-we cannot longer depend on your union. Gentlemen, we never would have attained the compliance with its injunctions, or adhere to the Union." wealth and prosperity as a nation which is now ours, For my pa t. gentlemen, if the North continues to con- but for our connection with these very much reviled and duct itself in the selection of representatives to the injured slaveholders of the Southern States. And, gen. Congress of the United States as, from, perhaps a certain tlemen, if dissolution is to take place, we must part with degree of negligence and inattention, it has heretofore the trade of the South, and thereby surrender our particonducted itself, the South is not to be censured if it cipation in the wealth of the South. Nay, more-we are withdraws from the Union. (Hisses and applause. A told from good authority that we must aot only part voice-"that's so." Three cheers for the Fugitive Slave with the slaveholding States, but that our youuger sister Law.) We are not, gentlemen, to hold a meeting to say with the golden crown-rich, teeming California, she that " We love this Union; we delight in it; we are who added the final requisite to our greatness as a proud of it: it blesses us, and we enjoy it; but we shall nation- will not come with us. She will remain with fill all its offices with men of our own choosing, and, our the South, brethren of the South, you shall enjoy its glorious past; Gentlemen, if we allow this course of injustice toward you shall enjoy its mighty recollections ; but it shall the South to continue, these are to be the consequencestrample your institutions in the dust." 'We have no evil to us, evil also to them. Much of all that we are right to say it. We have no right to exact so much, most proud of; much of all that contributes to our prog. and an opposite and entirely different course, fellow- perity and greatness as a nation, must pass away from citizens, must be ours-must be the course of the great us. North, if we would preserve this Union. (Applause, The question is-should we permit it to be continued, and cries of " Good.”)
and submit to all these evils ? Is there any reason to And, gentlemen, what is this glorious Union? What justify such a course? There is a reason preached to us must we sacrifice if we exasperate our bwthren of the lor permitting it. We are told that Slavery is unjust; We South, and compel them, by injustice and breac: ofl are told that it is a matter of conscience to put it downl; and that whatever treaties or compacts, or laws, or con- | trine. There are some principles well known, well under. stitutions, have been made to sanction and uphold it, it stood, universally recognized and universally acknow is still unholy, and that we are bound to trample upon ledged among men, that are not to be found written in contreaties, compacts, laws, and constitutions, and to stand stitutions or in laws. The people of the United States, at wy what these men arrogantly tell us is the law of God the formation of our Government, were, as they still are, in and a fundamental principle of natural justice. Indeed, some sense, peculiarly and radically distinguishable from gentlemen, these two things are not distinguishable. The other nations. We were white men, of-what is commonly law of God and natural justice, as between man and man, called, by way of distinction-the Caucasian race. We are one and the same. The wisest philosopher of ancient were a monogamous people; that is to say, we were not times-heathen philosophers—said, The rule of conduct Mohammedans, or followers of Joe Smith-with half a dobetween man and man is, to live honestly, to injure no zen wives apiece. (Laughter.) It was a fundamental man, and to render to every man his due. In words far i principle of our civilization that no State could exist or be more direct and emphatic, in words of the most perfect tolerated in this Union, which should not, in that respect, somprehensiveness, the Saviour of the world gave us the resemble all the other States of the Union. Some other same rule in one short sentence-" Love thy neighbor as distinctive features might be stated which serve to mark thyself.” (Applause.) Now, speaking between us, people us as a people distinct from others, and incapable of assoof the North and our brethren of the
South, I ask you to ciating on terms of perfect political equality, or social act upon this maxim-the maxim of the heathen-the equality, as friends and fellow-citizens, with some kinds of command of the living God : " Render to every man his people that are to be found upon the face of the earth. due," "Love thy neighbor as thyself." (Applause.) Thus As a white nation, we made our Constitution and our laws, we should act and feel toward the south. Upon that vesting all political rights in that race. They, and they maxim which came from Him of Nazareth we should act alone, constituted, in every political sense, the American toward the South, but without putting upon it any new people. (Applause.) As to the negro, why, we allowed fangled, modern interpretation. We should neither say him to live under the shadow and protection of our laws. nor think that any Gospel minister of this day is wiser than We gave him, as we were bound to give him, protection God himself-than He who gave us the Gospel. These against wrong and outrage; but we denied to him political maxims should govern between us and our brethren of the rights, or the power to govern, We left him, for so long a South. But, gentlemen, the question is this : Do these period as the community in which he dwelt should so order, maxims justify the assertion of those who seek to invade in the condition of a bondsman. (Applause.) Now, genthe rights of the South, by proclaiming negro Slavery tlemen, to that condition the negro is assigned by nature. unjust? That is the point to which this great argument, (Cries of "Bravo," and "That's so," and applause.) Exinvolving the fate of our Union, must now come. Is perience shows that this race cannot prosper—that they negro slavery unjust? If it be unjust, it violates the become extinct in any cold, or in any very temperate clime; first rule of human conduct, “ Render to every man his but in the warm, the extremely warm regions, his race can due,"
." If it be unjust; it violates the law of God, which be perpetuated, and with proper guardianship, may prossays, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” for that law requires per. He has ample strength, and is competent to labor, that we should perpetrate no injustice. Gentlemen, if it but nature denies to him either the intellect to govern or could be maintained that negro Slavery is unjust, is thus the willingness to work. (Applause.) Both were denied in conflict with the law of nature and the law of God, him. That same power which deprived him of the will to perhaps I might be prepared-perhaps we all ought to be labor, gave him, in our country, as a recompense, a master prepared to go with that distinguished man to whom to coerce that duty, and convert him into a useful and valallusion is frequently made, and say, there is a “higher uable servant. (Applause.) I maintain that it is not inlaw” which coinpels us to trample beneath our feet, as a justice to leave the negro in the condition in which nature wicked and unholy compact, the Constitution established placed him, and for which alone he is adapted. Fitted by our fathers, with all the blessings it secures to their only for a state of pupilage, our slave system gives him a children. But I insist-and that is the argument which we master to govern him and to supply his deficiencies: in must meet, and on which we must come to a conclusion this there is no injustice. Neither is it unjust in the master that shall govern our action in the future selection of re- to compel him to labor, and thereby afford to that master presentatives in the Congress of the United States-1 a just compensation in return for the care and talent eminsist that negro Slavery is not umjust. (Long con- ployed in governing him. In this way alone is the negro tinued applause.) It is not unjust; it is just, wise, and enabled to render himself useful to himself and to the so beneficent. (Hisses, followed by applause, and cries of ciety in which he is placed. " Pät him out.”) Let him stay, gentlemen.
These are the principles, gentlemen, which the extrenve PRESIDENT.-Let him stay there. Order.
measures of abolitionism compel us to enforce. This is Mr. O'CONOR.-Serpents may hiss, but good men will the ground that we must take, or abandon our cherished hear. (Cries again of “ Put him out;" calls to order; Union. We must no longer favor political leaders who talk confusion for a time.)
about negro Slavery being an evil; nor must we advance The PRESIDENT.-If anybody hisses here, remember that the indefensible doctrine that negro Slavery is a thing every one has his own peculiar way of expressing him- which, although pernicious, is to be tolerated merely beself, and as some birds only understand hissing, they cause we have made a bargain to tolerate it. We must must hiss. (Applause.)
turn away from the teachings of fanaticism. We must MR. O'CONOR.—Gentlemen, there is an animal upon look at negro slavery as it is, remembering that the voice this earth that has no faculty of making its sentiments of inspiration, as found in the sacred volume, nowhere known in any other way than by a hiss. I am for equal condemns the bondage of those who are fit only for bondrights. (Three cheers were here given for Mr. O'Conor, age.' Yielding to the clear decree of nature, and the dicthree for Gov. Wise, and three groans for John Brown.) tates of sound philosophy, we must pronounce that instiI beg of you, gentlemen, all of you who are of my mind at tution just, benign, lawful and proper. The Constitution least, to preserve silence, and leave the hissing animal in established by the fathers of our Republic, which recogthe full enjoyment of his natural privileges. (Cries of nized it, must be maintained. And that both may stand “ Good, good," laughter and applause.) The first of our together, we must maintain that neither the institution race that offended was taught to do so by that hissing itself, nor the Constitution which upholds it, is wicked or animal. · (Laughter and applause.) The first human unjust; but that each is sound and wise, and entitled to society that was ever broken up through sin and discord, our fullest support. had its happy union dissolved by the entrance of that We must visit with our execration any man claiming our animal. (Applause.) Therefore I say it is his privilege to suffrages, who objects to enforcing, with entire good faith, hiss. Let him hiss on. (Ories of Good, good," laughter the provisions of the Constitution in favor of negro Slavery, and applause ) Gentlemen, I will not detain you much or who seeks, by any indirection, to withhold its protection longer. (Cries of "Go on, go on.”) I maintain that from the South, or to get away from its obligations upon negro Slavery is not unjust-(a voice—"No, sir," ap the North. Let us henceforth support no man for public plause,) that it is benign in its influence upon the white office whose speech or action tends to induce assaults upon man and upon the black. (Voices—" That's 80, that's the territory of our Southern neighbors, or to generate in80,” applause.) I maintain that it is ordained by na surrection within their borders. (Loud'applause:)These ture; that it is a necessity of both races; that, in cli- are the principles upon which we must act. This is what mates where the black race can live and prosper, nature we must say to our brethren of the South. If we have sent herself enjoins correlative duties on the black man and men into Congress who are false to these views, and are on the white, which cannot be perforined except by the seeking to violate the compact which binds us together, we preservation, and, if the hissing gentleman please, the must ask to be forgiven until we have another chance to manperpetuation of negro Slavery.
ilest our will at the ballot-boxes. We must tell them that I am fortified in this opinion by the highest tribunal in these men shall be consigned to privacy (a pplause), and our country, that venerable exponent of our institutions, that true men, men faithful to the Constitution, men and of the principles of justice--the Supreme Court of the loving all portions of the country alike, shall be elected United States. That court has held, on this subject, what in their stead. And, gentlemen, we must do more than wise men will ever pronounce to be sound and just doc- promise this—we must perform it. (Loud applause, followed by three cheers for Mr. O'Conor, and a tiger.) But States, and the negr: badman in the Southern States. a word more, gentlemen, and I have done. (Cries of“ Go The white man is to be emancipated at twenty-one. on.") I have no doubt at all that what I have said to because his God-given intellect entitles him to emancipayou this evening will be greatly misrepresented. It is tion and fits him for the duties to devolve upon him. very certain that I have not had time enough properly to The negro, to be sure, is a bondinan for life. He may be enlarge upon and fully to explain the interesting topics on sold from one master to another, but where is the ill in which I have ventured to express myself thus boldly and that 8-one may be as good as another. If there be laws distinctly, taking upon myself the consequences, be they with respect to the mode of sale, which by separating man what they may. (Applause.) But I will say a few words and wife do occasionally lead to that which shocks by way of explanation. I have maintained the justice of humanity, and may be said to violate all propriety and Slavery ; I have maintained it, because I hold that the all conscience-if such things are done, let the South negru is decreed by nature to a state of pupilage under the alone and they will correct the evil. Let our brethren of dominion of the wiser white man, in every clime where the South take care of their own domestic institutions God and nature meant the negro should live at all. and they will do it. (Applause.) They will so govern (Applause.) I say a state of pupilage; and, that I may themselves as to suppress acts of this description, if they be rightly understood, I say that it is the duty of the are occasionally committed, as perhaps they are, and we white man to treat him kindly; that is the interest of the must all admit that they are contrary to just conceptions white man to treat him kindly. (Applause.) And further, of right and humanity. I have never yet heard of a it is my belief that if the white man, in the States where nation conquered from evil practices, brought to the Slavery exists, is not interfered with by the fanatics who light of civilization, brought to the light of religion or the are now creating these disturbances, whatever laws, knowledge of the Gospel by the bayonėt, by the penal whatever improvements, whatever variations in the con- laws, or by external persecutions of any kind. It is not duct of society are necessary for the purpose of enforcing by declamation and outcry against a people from those in every instance the dictates of interest and humanity, abroad and outside of their territory that you can improve as between the white man and the black, will be faith their manners or their morals in any respect. No; if, fully and fairly carried out in the progress of that im- standing outside of their territory, you attack the errors provement in all these things in which we are engaged. of a people, you make them cling to their faults. From It is not pl ed that the master has a right to slay his a sentiment somewhat excusable--somewhat akin to selfslave; it is rot pretended that he has a right to be guilty respect and patriotism—they will resist their nation's of harshness and inhumanity to his slave. The laws of enemy. Let our brethren of the South alone, gentlemen, all the Southern States forbid that; we have not the right and if there be any errors of this kind, they will correct here at the North to be guilty of cruelty toward a horse. them. It is an indictable offence to commit such cruelty. The There is but one way in which you can thus leave them same laws exist in the South, and if there is any failure to the guidance of their own juugment—by which you can in enforcing them to the fullest extent, it is due to this retain them in this Union as our brethren, and perpetuate external force, which is pressing upon the Southern this glorious Union; and that is, by resolving-without States, and compels them to abstain perhaps from many reference to the political party or laction to which any acts beneficent toward the negro which otherwise would one of you may belong, without reference to the name, be performed. (Applause.) In truth, in fact, in deed, political or otherwise, which you may please to bear the white man in the slaveholding States has no more resolving that the man, be he who he may, who advocates authority by law of the land over his slave than our laws the doctrine that negro Slavery is unjust, and ought to allow to a father over his minor children. He can no be assailed or legislated against, or wlio agitates the submore violate humanity with respect to them, than a father ject of extinguishing negro Slavery in any of its forms as in any of the free States of this Union can exercise acts a political hobby, that that man shall be denied your sufviolative of humanity toward his own son under the age frages, and not only denied your suffrages, but that you of twenty-one. So far as the law is concerned, you own will select from the ranks of the opposite party, or your your boys, and have a right to their services until they own, if necessary, the man you like least, who entertains are twenty-one. You can make them work for you ; you opposite sentiments, but through whose instrumentality have the right to hire out their services and take their you may be enabled to defeat his election, and to secure earnings ; you have the right to chastise them with Judg. in the councils of the nation men who are true to the nient and reason if they violate your commands; and Constitution, who are lovers of the Union--men who canthey are entirely without political rights. Not one of not be induced by considerations of imaginary benevothein at the age of twenty years and eleven months even, lence for a people who really do not desire their aid, to can go to the polls and and give a vote. Therefore, gen- sacrifice or to jeopard in any degree the blessings we tlemen, before the law, there is but one difference between enjoy under this Union. May it be perpetual. the free white man of iwenty years of age in the Northern (Great and continued cheering.)
THE REAL QUESTION STATED.
LETTER FROM CHARLES O'CONOR TO A COMMITTEE OF MERCHANTS.
NEW YORK, Dec. 20, 1859. drawn to the true issue, and steadily fixed upon it. To CRAS. O'Coxor, Esq. : The undersigned, being desirous of effect this object was the sole aim of my address. circulating as widely as possible, both at the North and at the Though its ministers can never permit the law of the South, the proceedings of the Union Meeting held at the land to be questioned by private judgment, there is, neverAcademy of Music last evening, intend publishing in pamphlet theless, such a thing as natural justice. Natural justice form, for distribution, a correct copy of the same.
Will you be so kind as to inform us whether this step meets has the Divine sanction; and it is impossible that any huyour approval; and if so, furnish us with a corrected report man law which conflicts with it should long endure. of your speech delivered by you on that occasion. Yours
Where mental enlightenment abounds, where morality respectfully,
is professed by all, where the mind is free, speech is free, LEITCH, BURNET & CO.,
and the press is free, is it possible, in the nature of GEO. W. & JEHIAL READ, BRUFF, BROTHER & SEAVER,
things, that a law which is admitted to conflict with natuC. B. HATCH & CO.,
ral justice, and with God's own mandate, should long enDAVIS, NCBLE & CO.,
dure? (Formerly FURMAN, DAVIS & Co.,)
You aħ will admit that, within certain limits, at least, WESSON & COX,
our Constitution does contain positive guaranties for the CRONIN, HURXTHAL & SEARS, preservation of negro Slavery in the old States through all ATWATER, MULFORD CO.
time, unless the local legislatures shall think fit to abolish GENTLEMEN : The measure you propose meets my entire it. 1:
And, consequently, if negro Slavery, however huapproval.
manely administered or judiciously regulated, be an insti. I have long thought that our disputes concerning negro tution which conflicts with natural justice and with God's Slavery would soon terminate, if the public mind could be l law, surely the most vehement and extreme admirers of John Brown's sentiments are right; and their denun- It is in vain to say that this could be endured; it is sim ciations against the Constitution, and against the most ply impossible. hallowed names connected with it, are perfectly justifia- What, then, remains to be discussed ? ble.
The negro race is upon us. With a Constitution whic. The friends of truth-the patriotic Americans who would held them in bondage, our Federal Union might be pre sustain their country's honor against foreign rivalry, and served; but if so holding them in bondage be a thing for defend their country's interests against all assailants, err bidden by God and Nature, we cannot lawfully so hok greatly when they contend with these men on any point them, and the Union must perish. but one. Their general principles cannot be refuted; This is the inevitable result of that conflict which has .their logic is irresistible; the error, if any there be, is in now reached its climax. their premises. They assert that negro Slavery is unjust. Among us at the north, the sole question for reflection, This, and this alone, of all they say, is capable of being study, and friendly interchange of thought should be-Is fairly argued against.
negro Slavery unjust? The rational and dispassionate If this proposition cannot be refuted, our Union cannot inquirer will find no difficulty in arriving at my concluendure, and it ought not to endure.
sion, It is fit and proper; it is, in its own nature, as an Our negro bondmen can neither be exterminated nor | institution, beneficial to both races; and the effect of this transported to Africa. They are too numerous for either assertion is not diminished by our admitting that many process, and either, if practicable, would involve a viola- faults are practised under it. Is not such the fact in retion of humanity. If they were emancipated, they would spect to all human laws and institutions ? relapse into barbarism, or a set of negro States would I am, gentlemen, with great respect, yours truly, arise in our midst, possessing political equality, and enti
CHARLES O'CONOB, tled to social equality. The division of parties would soon To Messrs. Leitch, Burnet & Co.; Geo.
W. & Jehial Read; Brur, make the negro members a powerful body in Congress
Brother & Seaver; C. B. Hatch & Co. ; Davis, Noble & Co. would place some of them in high political stations, and Wesson & Cox; Cronin, Hurxthal & Sears ; Alwater, Mulford occasionally let one into the executive chair.
HERSCHEL V. JOHNSON
ON SL A VERY IN THE TERRITORIES.
On the 7th of July, 1848, while the bill to Hence Congress has, in all cases since the foundation of establish the Territorial Government of Oregon the territorial governments; it is absolutely necessary,
our government, reserved a veto upon the legislation of was under consideration in the United States in order to restrain them from violations of the ConstituSenate, the Hon. Herschel V. Johnson, then a tion and infringements of the rights of the States, as joint member of the Senate, from Georgia, and now
owners of the public lands. If, therefore, the act of the
Territorial Government, prohibiting Slavery, should be sent a candidate for Vice-President on the ticket up to Congress for approval, they would be bound to with. with Mr. Douglas, made a lengthy speech from hold it, upon the ground of its being an act which Congress which we extract the following:
themselves could not pass.
But suppose the right of legislation for the Territory be It remains now to consider the question involved in in its inhabitants, can they prohibit Slavery ? Surely not; the amendment proposed by the Senator from Missis. and for reasons similar to those which show that Congress sippi (Mr. Davis). That question is, whether it is the cannot. duty of Congress to guarantee to the slaveholder, who The Territories are not independent of, but subordinate shall remove with his salves into the territory of the to, the United States; and therefore their legislation must United States, the undisputed enjoyment of his property be subordinate. Let us look at some of the limitations in them, so long as it continues to be a Territory. Or, which this condition imposes. Under the Constitution, in other words, whether the inhabitants of a Territory, "No title of nobility shall be granted by the United during their Territorial condition, have the right to pro- States;" “ Congress shall make no law respecting the eshibit Slavery therein.
tablishment of religion, or pertaining to the free exercise For the purpose of this question, it matters not where thereof; no religious test shall be required as a qualificathe power of legislating for the Territory resides- tion to any office or public trust under the United States," whether exclusively in Congress, or jointly in Congress etc. It is true, these restrictions do not apply in terms and the inhabitants, or exclusively in the inhabitants of to the Territories; but will it be contended for a moment the Territory; the power is precisely the same—no that they would have the right by legislation to lay these greater in the hands of one than the other. In no event, impositions upon citizens of the States who emigrate can the slaveholder of the South be excluded from thither for settlement ? settling in such Territory with his property of every Sovereignty follows the ownership of the domain, and description. If the right of exclusive legislation for the therefore the sovereignty over the Territories is in the Territories belongs to Congress, then I have shown that States in their confederated capacity; hence the reason they have no Constitutional power, either expressed or that the legislation of Congress, as the agent of the States implied, to prohibit Slavery therein. But suppose that respecting the Territories, must be limited by the object Congress have the right to establish a Territorial Gov- of the trust, the situation and nature of the property to ernment only, and that then, all further governmental be administered, and the respective rights of the proper control ceases ; can the Territorial Legislature paşs an owners. Now, if the sovereignty over the Territories is act prohibiting Slavery ? Surely not. For the mo- in the States, and the right of legislation not in Congress, ment you admit the right to organize a Territorial Gov- but in the inhabitants of the Territories, it is evident that ernment to exist in Congress, you admit, necessarily they can have no higher right of legislation than Congress he subordination of the people of the Territory-their could have; they must be bound by limitations just menlependence on this Government for an organic law to tioned; and if the prohibition of Slavery in the Territories give them political existence. Hence all their legisla- by Congress be inconsistent with these limitations, its protion must be in conformity with the organic law; they hibition by the territorial legislature would be so likewise. can pass no act in violation of it-none but such as per- If possessing the right of legislation, the inhabitants of mits. Since, therefore, Congress has no power, as I the Territories are bound by the limitations to which I have shown, to prohibit Slavery, they cannot delegate have alluded, it may be asked, who holds the check upon such a power to the inhabitants of the Territory; they their action? I reply, that it is indispensable for Concannot authorize the Territorial Legislature to do that gress to exercise the veto upon their legislation. Who which they have no power to do. The stream cannot else shall prevent their passing laws in violation of the rise higher than its source. This is as true in govern- equal rights of the States in the Territory, which is the ments as in physics.
common property of all? Without the retention of a veto It is idle, however, to discuss this question in this form. upon the legislation of the Territorial Governments, it For if Congress possess the power to organize temporary would make the inhabitants of the Territory independent governments, it must then possess the power to legislate of Congress ; aye, it would establish the proposition, that for the Territories. If they may perform the greater, they the moment you conquer a people they rise superior tes may the less; the major includes the minor proposition. I the government that conquers. New-Mexico and Califor