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The British government would have liked nothing better than a lot of such indifferent men for leaders of the American people, and George the Third and his dynasty might have had rule over this continent for a thousand years to come.
I have thus removed the preliminary objection always interposed on these occasions against the indulgence of the eternal negro question. What is the just and right national policy with regard to slavery in the territories and in the new states of the Federal Union? Your decision of that subject will involve the consideration of what you consider to be the natural constituents of a state. I suppose I may infer from your choosing this beautiful land on the western bank of the Mississippi, that you all want to make Iowa a great and good state, a flourishing and prosperous state.
You consider the development of the latent resources with which nature has supplied the region on which you build a state, as one of the material things to be considered in building up a great state; that is to say, you will have the forests subjugated and make them contribute the timber and lumber for the house, for the city, for the wharf, for the steamer, for the ship of war, and for all the purposes of civilized society. Then I think if the land has concealed within it deposits of iron, or lead, or coal, you will think of getting these out as rapidly as you can, so as to increase the public wealth. Then I think that you will have the same idea about states everywhere else that you have about Iowa; and that your first idea about the way to make a state corresponds with my idea how to make a great nation. And as you would subdue the forests, would develop the lead, iron and coal in your region; as you would improve the fields, putting ten oxen to a plow to turn up the prairie, and then plant it with wheat and corn; as you would encourage manufactures, and try, by making railways and telegraphs, to facilitate interchange of products; so this is exactly what I propose to do for every new state like Iowa that is to be admitted into the Federal Union. To be sure we shall leave the slave states, which are all in the Union, as they are; our respsibilities are limited to the states which are yet to come into the Union, and we will apply our system to them. The first point, then, in making a state, is to favor the industry of the people, and industry is favored in every land exactly as it is free and uncrippled.
We are a great nation; we have illimitable forests in the far east and on the banks of the upper waters of the Mississippi, around the lakes and on the Pacific coast. No human arithmetic could conpute the amount of materials of the forest that have already gone into the aggregate of the wealth which this nation possesses. At this day there is hardly one foot of timber, or one foot of dealboards, or a lath, or a shingle, entering into the commerce of the United States that is fabricated by a slave. You all have an idea, or had in the land from which you came here, of the value and importance of the fisheries, of making the ocean surrender its treasures to increase the national wealth. The fisherman is seen in the winter time fishing for ice in the ponds and lakes of Massachusetts; and if you go to Palestine, or to Grand Cairo, or to the furthest Indies, you will find yourself regaled with ice fished out of the lakes and ponds of Massachusetts. Ice is not a product that goes far to the support of human life; but can you tell me in what part of the earth men are not lighted on their way by night, or in their dwellings, by the produce of the fisheries? Have you any idea how much the great machinery of the country engaged in fabrication of goods and in navigation is indebted to the fisheries? Those of the United States are a great source of national wealth ; and a nursery of seamen for the commercial marine and naval service of the United States, indig. pensable for the development of the resources of a great people. I might almost say that there is not now, and there never was, on lake or river, sea or bay, over the whole world, from the Arctic to the Antarctic pole, a negro slave fisherman. You have been very indifferent about these subjects.
It was only two years ago, only by constant watchfulness and activity of the friendly representatives of the free states in congress, that the protection of the United States was saved for the fisheries, The slaveholders don't want ice to be gathered with free-soil hands; they would rather have it taken from the lakes and rivers of Russia. They don't want the fisheries conducted by free hands at home; they would rather take their supplies from foreign markets. The fisheries are somewhat foreign for you, but the quarries are not—the granite and the marble out of which our capitol is being constructed, our great cities erected, some of them are in your own beautiful city. Have you any idea of how large a portion of the national wealth is extracted from the quarries of granite and marble and freestone? It is beyond my capacity to compute. Yet there is not a slave engaged in a quarry in the United States. Have you any slaves down your shafts in your lead mines here? Not one. Have you any slaves in your coal mines ? Not one.
Not one. Any in your iron mines? Not one. Pennsylvania is being burrowed all through and through in all directions, and the iron and coal taken out and fabricated. There is not a single slave, nor was there ever one, that raised his hand to add to that supply of national wealth. On the other hand, you have in Maryland and in Virginia deposits of coal and iron as rich, aye, and of gold, too; and yet in Maryland and Virginia, slave states as they are, in their iron, coal and silver mines, the work is mainly done by freemen. I need not speak of manufactures; the African slave is reduced to a brute, as nearly as may be, and he is incompetent to cast a shuttle, to grease or oil a wheel and keep it in motion, In all the vast manufacturing establishments in the United States; in all the establishments of the forest, and of the fisheries, or of manufactures throughout the whole world, there is not one African slave to be found. California rejected the labor of slaves, and well she did so; for if she had invited and courted it, her mines, instead of yielding fifty millions of gold per year to the commerce of the United States, would be yielding nothing. Could a man subsist in Iowa by cultivating wheat or corn by slave labor?
Commerce is of two kinds, domestic and foreign. The commerce down the Mississippi and up, the commerce on railroads, is domestic commerce; the commerce across the ocean with foreign nations, is foreign commerce. In New Orleans I found that sixteen thousand men were engaged in domestic trading on the river between New Orleans and the up country in the Mississippi valley. How many of them were slaves ? Not one. Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, New York, Michigan, send the boatmen who conduct the commerce even in slave states, while on all the oceans there is not a slave engaged in commerce.
Now the three great wheels of national wealth are agriculture, including the subjugation of the forests, manufactures and trade. Slaves are unfit, African slaves are absolutely unfit to be employed in turning either of those wheels; and it thus enters into the elemients of a great and prosperous state that its people shall not be slaves but freemen. The reason is obvious; it is the interest of the freeman to improve himself as well as he can, to produce the most
he can, at the least cost; and it is the interest of the slave to be is disqualified as he can, to consume as much as he can, and produce as little more than he consumes as possible.
It is not wealth alone that makes a nation. It must have strength and power to command, by the mere signification of its will, peace and good order at home and respect and confidence abroad. Just imagine the United States converted into planting states in which the labor was performed only by negro slaves, and judge, if you can, what would be the police power of the government in any of the states. The laborer in a slave state is watched night and morning; his outgoings, his incomings, his path is surrounded by a police; he can pass to execute the order of his master only on a permit or license. He must retire to sleep at nine or ten at night, and must not be abroad from the plantation without a special license, for no other reason than that his master regards him as an enemy to be watched. Turn a whole nation into masters watching slaves, and slaves regarded as natural enemies--what is the power of that nation to preserve peace at home? What its power to command respect abroad? Make us for once a nation of slave states, and any feeble, contemptible power in Europe has only to instigate insurrection among our slaves, then instead of relying on ourselves we should wiint to make a federal union with Canada, that we might get protection, just as the free states now protect the slave states.
But these elements—material wealth and power—are but part of what constitute a nation. It should have a head, an enlightened head; an open, free, manly, honest heart. Such a head and heart as will enable any man or woman to go through the world with safety. A nation is only an aggregate of individuals, of so many heads to work as one head; of so many hearts to beat as one heart. You want an enlightened free people to constitute a nation; and if you
have such a people, they are perpetually reducing the sacrifice, and toil of muscle; and if it be true as theologians say, that labor is the primal curse imposed by the Maker on man for disobedience, then this benevolent heart and enlightened head will suggest all manner of machines to relieve them of the necessity of physical labor. The poor widow, who, to eke out a subsistence, has to sew for her neighbors, will, with a machine that costs but from fifty to one hundred dollars—the invention of a freeman-make fifty garments where before she made but one. And the steam engine—it plows, plants,
sows and harvests; it threshes; it gathers into the granaries; it hauls the cars loaded with produce; it drives the steamboat on the river. That is what invention does. Now out of the million inventions which the American people enjoy, there is not one that was made by a slave, and simply because the slave is imbruted in his heart and stupified in his intellect.
A nation to be great wants character character for justice, honesty, integrity; for ability to maintain its own rights and respect for the rights of others. That it cannot have, if it be a nation of slaves. It is only a nation of freemen that can cultivate the virtues which constitute a character. These virtues are two; justice, equal and exact justice among men; the equal freedom and liberty of every other
. The other virtue is courage. The freeman has no enemies; he is just; he oppresses nobody; nobody wishes to be revenged upon
A nation of freemen are safe; they provoke nobody; they wrong nobody; they covet nothing; they keep the tenth commandment. And nations must keep the commandments as well as individuals, or suffer the same penalty. But you cannot have these morals except on one condition, and that is that the people of the nation are trained up in them. And how trained? By schools and general instruction, free press, free debate at home, and in legislative councils; and everywhere to be undisturbed as they go in and come out. Introduce slavery in Iowa, and what kind of freedom of speech would you enjoy? What kind of freedom of the press ? freedom of bridges? of taverns ? Just look across the state of Missouri into Kansas, and you will find freedom of the press, provided you will maintain that property is above labor, that slavery is before all constitutions and governments-you will find that kind of freedom of speech which sought the expulsion of John Quincy Adams from the congress of the United States, for presenting a petition in favor of human rights; that kind of freedom of debate which arrested my distinguished and esteemed friend, Charles Sumner, in the midst of a glorious and useful career, and doomed him to wander a sufferer and invalid for four years. As for freedom of bridges, why the bridge over the Missouri at Kansas was proved to be only a bridge for slave state men; and the tavern at Lawrence was subverted for a nuisance on account of its being a tavern at which free state men could rest.
It is a bright September afternoon, and a strange feeling of surprise comes over me that I should be here in the state of Iowa-the state