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If these arguments be sound, we are shut up to the necessity of giving our support to the republican party, as the only means of maintaining the cause of freedom and humanity. Why, then, shall we stand aloof from it, in this election, or for a day or an hour? I will review the argument urged from all quarters, and you shall see in the first place that every one of them is frivolous and puerile; and, secondly, that it involves nothing less than a surrender of the entire question in issue, and acquiescence in the unrestricted domination of slavery.
First: We are conjured by those who, in Boston, New York and elsewhere, call themselves straight-out whigs, to wait for a reörganization of the national whig party, to rescue the cause of freedom. But is it written in any book of political revelation that a resurrection on this earth awaits parties which have fulfilled the course of nature ?
Secondly: The whig party perished through a lack of virtue to maintain the cause of freedom. Amongst all of those who are waiting and praying for its resurrection, there is not one that today yields his support to that cause. What, then, but new betrayals can be expected, if it is destined to a resurrection ?
We are told on all sides that the republican party is new and partially organized, and merely experimental. It is, indeed, new, and as yet imperfectly organized. But so once was the ancient whig party, that gave to the country independence. So once was the federal party, that gave to the country its constitution. So once was the ancient republican party, that gave to the country a complete emancipation of the masses from the combination of classes. So once was the whig and the democratic party. It is the destiny of associations of men to have a beginning and an end. If an association is born of an enduring political necessity, it will endure and wax in vigor and power until it supplants other and superfluous, though more aged combinations. That such is to be the case with the republican party, is seen in the fact that all existing combinations are now uniting against it, on the ground that such a union is necessary to prevent its immediate and overwhelming ascendancy. This union is an effective answer to the former argument, that the republican party is an ephemeral and evanescent one.
Thirdly: We are favored with criticisms by the democrats and know-nothings on the course of the republican members of the house
of representatives, by voting for Mr. Dunn's bill to restore the Mis. souri compromise, and against Mr. Toombs' bill, for pacifying Kansas; which votes, it is said, prove the republicans insincere in their devotion to freedom. These are the same class of arguments with those which are urged by infidels against the Christian church, on the ground of the short-comings of its members.
Suppose we abandon the republican party for its short-comings, will freedom then have any party left? and if so, what party, and where shall we find it? Certainly no other party but the democratic party, of which Franklin Pierce and Stephen A. Douglas are the apostles. But that is the party of slavery.
Fellow citizens, I have discussed parties with no asperity and with no partiality, for I know that masses and individuals are alike honest well meaning and patriotic. I have no animosities and no griefs. While I have tried to pursue always that one steady course which my conscience has approved, my friends have often been alienated, and adversaries have become friends. The charity of judgment, to which I feel that I am entitled—that is the charity I extend to others.
I do not predict the times and seasons when one or other of the contending political elements shall prevail. I know, nevertheless, that this state, this nation, and this earth are to be the abode and happy home of freemen. Its hills and valleys are to be fields of free labor, free thought and free suffrages. That consummation will come when society is prepared for it. My labors are devoted to that preparation. I leave others to cling to obsolete traditions and decay. ing systems, and perish with them if they must; but in politics, as in religion, I desire for myself to be always with that portion of my fellow men who hold fast to the truth, with hope and confidence enduring through all trials in its complete and eternal triumph.
THE IRREPRESSIBLE CONFLICT.
ROCHESTER, OCTOBER 25, 1858.
THE unmistakable outbreaks of zeal which occur. all around me, show that you are earnest men--and such a man am I. Let us therefore, at least for a time, pass by all secondary and collateral questions, whether of a personal or of a general nature, and consider the main subject of the present canvass.
The democratic party-or, to speak more accurately, the party which wears that attractive name—is in possession of the federal government. The republicans propose to dislodge that party, and dismiss it from its high trust.
The main subject, then, is, whether the democratic party deserves to retain the confidence of the American people. In attempting to prove it unworthy, I think that I am not actuated by prejudices against that party, or by prepossessions in favor of its adversary; for I have learned, by some experience, that virtue and patriotism, vice and selfishness, are found in all parties, and that they differ less in their motives than in the policies they pursue.
Our country is a theatre, which exhibits, in full operation, two radically different political systems; the one resting on the basis of servile or slave labor, the other on the basis of voluntary labor of freemen.
The laborers who are enslaved are all negroes, or persons more or less purely of African derivation. But this is only accidental. The principle of the system is, that labor in every society, by whomsoever performed, is necessarily unintellectual, groveling and base; and that the laborer, equally for his own good and for the welfare of the state, ought to be enslaved The white laboring man, whether native or foreigner, is not enslaved, only because he cannot, as yet, be reduced to bondage.
You need not be told now that the slave system is the older of the two, and that once it was universal. Vol. IV.
The emancipation of our own ancestors, Caucasians and Europeans as they were, hardly dates beyond a period of five hundred years. The great melioration of human society which modern times exhibit, is mainly due to the incomplete substitution of the system of voluntary labor for the old one of servile labor, which has already taken place. This African slave system is one which, in its origin and in its growth, has been altogether foreign from the habits of the races which colonized these states, and established civilization here. It was introduced on this new continent as an engine of conquest, and for the establishment of monarchical power, by the Portuguese and the Spaniards, and was rapidly extended by them all over South America, Central America, Louisiana and Mexico. Its legitimate fruits are seen in the poverty, imbecility, and anarchy, which now pervade all Portuguese and Spanish America. The free-labor system is of German extraction, and it was established in our country by emigrants from Sweden, Holland, Germany, Great Britain and Ireland.
We justly ascribe to its influences the strength, wealth, greatness, intelligence, and freedom, which the whole American people now enjoy. One of the chief elements of the value of human life is freedom in the pursuit of happiness. The slave system is not only intolerable, unjust, and inhuman, towards the laborer, whom, only because he is a laborer, it loads down with chains and converts into merchandise, but is scarcely less severe upon the freeman, to whom, only because he is a laborer from necessity, it denies facilities for employment, and whom it expels from the community because it cannot enslave and convert him into merchandise also. It is neces. sarily improvident and ruinous, because, as a general truth, communities prosper and flourish or droop and decline in just the degree that they practise or neglect to practise the primary duties of justice and humanity. The free-labor system conforms to the divine law of equality, which is written in the hearts and consciences of man, and therefore is always and everywhere beneficent.
The slave system is one of constant danger, distrust, suspicion, and watchfulness. It debases those whose toil alone can produce wealth and resources for defense, to the lowest degree of which human nature is capable, to guard against mutiny and insurrection, and thus wastes energies which otherwise might be employed in national development and aggrandizement.
The free-labor system educates all alike, and by opening all the fields of industrial employment, and all the departments of authority, to the unchecked and equal rivalry of all classes of men, at once secures universal contentment, and brings into the highest possible activity all the physical, moral and social energies of the whole state. In states where the slave system prevails, the masters, directly or indirectly, secure all political power, and constitute a ruling aristocracy. In states where the free-labor system prevails, universal suffrage necessarily obtains, and the state inevitably becomes, sooner or later, a republic or democracy.
Russia yet maintains slavery, and is a despotism. Most of the other European states have abolished slavery, and adopted the system of free labor. It was the antagonistic political tendencies of the two systems which the first Napoleon was contemplating when he predicted that Europe would ultimately be either all Cossack or all republican. Never did human sagacity utter a more pregnant truth. The two systems are at once perceived to be incongruous. But they are more than incongruous—they are incompatible. They never have permanently existed together in one country, and they never can. It would be easy to demonstrate this impossibility, from the irreconcilable contrast between their grcat principles and character. istics. But the experience of mankind has conclusively established it. Slavery, as I have already intimated, existed in every state in Europe. Free labor has supplanted it everywhere except in Russia and Turkey. State necessities developed in modern times, are now obliging even those two nations to encourage and employ free labor; and already, despotic as they are, we find them engaged in abolishing slavery. In the United States, slavery came into collision with free labor at the close of the last century, and fell before it in New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but triumphed over it effectually, and excluded it for a period yet undetermined, from Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. Indeed, so incompatible are the two systems, that every new state which is organized within our ever extending domain makes its first political act a choice of the one and the exclusion of the other, even at the cost of civil war,
if necessary. The slave states, without law, at the last national election, successfully forbade, within their own limits, even the casting of votes for a candidate for president of the United States supposed to be favorable to the establishment of the free-labor system in new states.