« PreviousContinue »
CLXXVII. THE EVILS OF SLAVERY.
Extract from the Speech of John Sergeant, of Pennsylvania, upon the Bill* for the admission of Missouri into the Union, delivered in the House of Representatives, February 9, 1820.
Mr. Chairman,-IN the effort I have made to submit to the committee my views of this question, it has been impossible to escape entirely the influence of the sensation that pervades this House. The question is indeed an important one; but its importance is derived altogether from its connexion with the extension, indefinitely, of negro slavery, over a land which I trust Providence has destined for the labor and the support of freemen. It concerns ages to come, and millions yet to be born. It is, as it were, a question of a new political creation, and it is for us, under heaven, to say, what shall be its condition. Once admit this state, sir, without the restriction, and the power ever to impose it is gone for ever, and with it are gone for ever all the efforts that have been made by the non-slave-holding states, to repress and limit the sphere of slavery, and enlarge and extend the blessings of freedom. With it, perhaps, is gone for ever, the power of preventing the traffic in slaves, that inhuman and detestable traffic, so long a disgrace to Christendom.
Consider, sir, what a foundation our predecessors have laid! And behold, with the blessing of Providence, how the work has prospered! What is there, in ancient or in modern times, that can be compared with the growth and prosperity of the states formed out of the Northwest Territory? When Europeans reproach us with our negro slavery, when they contrast our republican boast and pretensions with the existence of this condition among us, we have our answer readyit is to you we owe this evil-you planted it here, and it has taken such root in the soil, we have not the power to eradicate it. Then turning to the West, and then directing their attention to Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, we can proudly tell
* The amendment to the bill was, "that there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said state." This question was one of long and animated discussion, and one which produced much sensation throughout the Union.
them, these are the offspring of our policy and our laws, these are the free productions of the constitution of the United States. But if, beyond this smiling region, they should descry another dark spot upon the face of the new creationanother scene of negro slavery, established by ourselves, and spreading continually towards the further ocean, what shall we say then? No, sir, let us follow up the work our ancestors have begun. Let us give to the world a new pledge of our sincerity. Let the standard of freedom be planted in Missouri, by the hands of the constitution, and let its banner wave over the heads of none but freemen--men retaining the image impressed upon them by their Creator, and dependent upon none but God and the laws. Then, as our republican states extend, republican principles will go hand in hand with republican practice-the love of liberty with the sense of justice. Then, sir, the dawn, beaming from the constitution, which now illuminates Ohio, Indiana, and Illi. nois, will spread with increasing brightness to the further West, till, in its brilliant lustre, the dark spot which now rests upon our country, shall be for ever hid from sight. Industry, arts, commerce, knowledge, will flourish with plenty and contentment for ages to come, and the loud chorus of universal freedom will re-echo, from the Pacific to the Atlantic, the great truths of the declaration of independence.
CLXXVIII.-SIR PHILIP BLANDFORD AND ASHFIELD.
From the Comedy of "Speed the Plough,” by Thomas Morton.
Sir Philip. Come hither. I believe you hold a farm of mine.
Ash. Ees, zur, I do, at your zarvice.
Sir Philip. I hope a profitable one.
Ash. Zometimes it be, zur. But thic year it be all t'other way, as 'twur; but I do hope, as our landlords have a tightish big lump of the good, they'll be zo kind hearted as to take a little bit of the bad.
Sir Philip. It is but reasonable. I conclude, then, you are in my debt.
Ash. Ees, zur, I be; at your zarvice.
Sir Philip. How much?
Ash. I do owe ye a hundred and fifty pounds; at your
Sir Philip. Which you can't pay 7?
Ash. Not a varthing, zur, at your zarvice.
Sir Philip. Well, I am willing to allow you every indulgence.
Ash. Be you, zur? that be deadly kind. Dear heart! it will make my auld dame quite young again, and I don't think helping a poor man will do your honor's health any harm; I don't indeed, zur. I had a thought of speaking to your worship about it; but then, thinks I, the gentleman mayhap be one of those that do like to do a good turn, and not have a word zaid about it: zo, zur, if you had not men. tioned what I owed you, I am zure I never should; should not, indeed, zur.
Sir Philip. Nay, I will wholly acquit you of the debt, on condition
Ash. Ees, zur.
Sir Philip. On condition, I say, you instantly turn out that boy; that Henry.
Ash. Turn out Henry! Ha, ha, ha! Excuse my tittering, zur; but you bees making your vun of I, zure.
Sir Philip. I am not apt to trifle; send him instantly from you, or take the consequences.
Ash. Turn out Henry! I do vow I shou'dn't know how to zet about it; I should not, indeed, zur.
Sir Philip. You hear my determination. If you disobey, you know what will follow. I'll leave you to reflect on it. (Exit.)
Ash. Well, zur, I'll argufy the topic, and then you may wait upon me, and I'll tell ye. (Makes the motion of turning out.) I should be deadly awkward at it, vor zartain. However, I'll put the case. Well! I goes whiztling whoam; noa, drabbit it! I shouldn't be able to whiztle a bit, I'm zure. Well! I goes whoam, and I zees Henry sitting by my wife, mixing up someit to comfort the wold zoul, and take away the pain of her rheumatics. Very well! Then Henry places a chair vor I by the vire side, and says-“ Varmer, the horses be fed, the sheep be folded, and you have nothing to
do but to zit down, smoke your pipe, and be happy!" Very well! (Becomes affected.) Then I zays, "Henry, you be poor and friendless, so you must turn out of my house directly." Very well! then my wife stares at I; reaches her hand towards the vireplace, and throws the poker at my head. Very well! then Henry gives a kind of aguish shake, and getting up, sighs from the bottom of his heart; then holding up his head like a king, zays, "Varmer, I have too long been a burden to you. Heaven protect you, as you have me. Farewell! I go.' Then I zays, "If thee doez I'll be smash'd." (With great energy.) Hollo! you Mister Sir Philip! you may come in.
(Enter Sir Philip Blandford.)
Zur, I have argufied the topic, and it wou'dn't be pretty; zo I can't.
Sir Philip. Can't!
Ash. Well, zur, there is but another word: I won't.
Ash. No zur, I won't. I'd zee myself hanged first, and you too, zur! I would indeed. (Bowing.)
Sir Philip. You refuse then to obey?
Ash. I do zur; at your zarvice. (Bowing.)
Sir Philip. Then the law must take its course.
Ash. I be zorry for that too. I be, indeed, zur; but if corn wou'dn't grow I cou'dn't help it; it wer'n't poisoned by the hand that zowed it. Thic hand, zur, be as free from guilt as your own. Good morning to you. I do hope I have made myself agreeable; and zo I'll go whoam. (Exeunt.
CLXXIX.—SPEECH OF GUSTAVUS VASA* TO HIS COUNTRYMEN.
YB men of Sweden, wherefore are ye come?
Gustavus Vasa was king of Sweden. His kingdom having bee conquered by the Danes, in the early part of the 16th century, Gustavu was made prisoner, and was confined several years. At length h made his escape, and having prevailed upon the Delecarlians (a tribe o the Swedes) to throw off the Danish yoke, he put himself at their head
To drink the fountains of your honor up,
And leave your hills a desert?-Wretched men!
To welcome your new guests, your Danish visitants?
To purchase bondage.-O Swedes! Swedes!
His courage scarce had turned; himself had stood,
CLXXX.THE MORAL AND PHYSICAL POWERS OF A NATION WEAKENED BY SLAVERY.
Extract from the Speech of Mr. Taylor, of New-York, upon the Missouri question, delivered in the House of Representatives, January 27, 1820.*
Mr. Chairman,-THE bill on your table proposes no act of ordinary legislation. The admission of Missouri into the Union, without a restriction against slavery, is opposed by a majority of the states. These states, it is true, have parted with the power of legislating on the subject, but ought not their judgment and their wishes to be respected?
The first truth, sir, declared by this nation, at the era of its independence, was, "that all men are created equal; that they
* See note on p. 284.