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ladelphia' should possess a room, wherein the principles of liberty, and equality of civil rights, should be freely discussed, and the evils of slavery fearlessly portrayed, have erected this building, which we are now about to dedicate to liberty and the rights of man. The total cost of the building will be about 40,000 dollars. This has been divided into two thousand shares of 20 dollars each. A majority of the stockholders are mechanics or working men, and (as is the case in almost
every other good work) a number are females. “ The building is not to be used for Anti-Slavery purposes alone. It will be rented from time to time, in such portions as shall best suit applicants, for any purpose not of an immoral character. It is called Pennsylvania Hall,' in reference to the principles of Pennsylvania; and our motto, like that of the commonwealth, is
VIRTUE, LIBERTY, AND INDEPENDENCE.' “ The Board of Managers of the hall had deemed it their duty, in the morning of this day, to communicate to the mayor of the city and the sheriff of the county, information of the preceding evening's outrage, and of the arrangement for the coming afternoon and evening meetings, as well as of those expected on the subsequent days of the week; and to call on these officers for that protection which their official obligations required them to render. The communications to which we allude, have already been made public by the Board of Managers, together with the replies of the mayor and sheriff, the latter of whom stated that all the force he had at command consisted of three men, with whom of course he could do nothing, but that his personal, official and moral influence should be exerted for the suppression of disorder ; while the former promised to go and make a speech to the mob, but said he could do nothing more. It should not be forgotten that this is the same man who, last year, at a time when no mob was in existence, upon the bare apprehension that a meeting of one of the political parties called to convene in Independence Square, and express opinions unfavourable to the banks might result in riotous conduct which would endanger the property of those corporations, took vigorous measures of prevention ; putting the police in readiness for prompt action, and even if we are correctly informed, placing the military under arms, and stationing them in such points as it was conjectured might require their presence for the maintenance of tranquillity. We mention this fact as an evidence of what are the mayor's own notions of his duty when the peace of the city is supposed to be in peril.
" To return to our narrative : as the day rolled on, the indications of approaching violence became more and more alarming--the crowd around the devoted building grew more dense and more excited; busy agents of mischief were passing from group to group, circulating falsehoods and calumnies against the abolitionists, and inflaming passions which even now needed allaying-citizens of other states, slave-holders actual and slave-holders expectant, mingled in the mass to leaven it yet more thoroughly with a spirit of reckless desperation, and increase its already over-abundant fermentation and effervescence; while so far as we could discern, little or nothing was done by those whose official duty was the preservation of peace, to avert the coming storm. On the contrary we have strong reasons for believing that the previous course of the mayor
had a tendency to encourage violence, and invite aggression upon the rights of a portion of his constituents. 9.“ Some of these reasons will appear as we proceed. Nor is it the least painful circumstance in connection with these transactions, that men of standing and respectability, substantial merchants, and influential citizens, so far from expressing their decided and heart-felt abhorrence of the threatened outrage, and exerting their influence to calm the excitement, to maintain inviolate the rights of their fellow-citizens, and preserve unsullied the reputation of their city, either looked on in cold indifference, or, as was in many instances the case, expressed both in language and action their unequivocal approbation and encouragement.
"A few minutes before the appointed hour of the evening meeting, several persons repaired to the hall for the purpose of attending it, but found the door closed and locked. It was soon ascertained that the mayor had requested of the Board of Managers the keys of the building, promising, if they were given into his possession, that he would take upon himself the responsibility of protecting the building, which otherwise he said he could not do, and that the managers had complied with his request. Of course all idea of holding the intended meeting was abandoned; but the mob did not abandon their design.is 0:6 The mayor, according to his morning promise, appeared in front of the building, and made them a speech, in which he expressed the hope that nothing of a disorderly nature would be done, stated that the house had been given up to him for the night, and that there would be no meeting, that he relied on them as his police, and trusted they would abide by the laws and keep order; and then concluded by wishing them good evening. The mob responded with “ Three cheers for the mayor," and he withdrew, leaving them neither dispersed nor pacified.
"It is understood that the mayor subsequently returned, but it was then too late for an efficient exertion of his authority. The rioters had commenced their work. The gas lights in front of the hall were extinguished, and an impetuous onset made, first upon the north and then upon the eastern side. au" The sheriff's efforts, as every one must have anticipated in such circumstances, were of no avail, and his call on the miscellaneous crowd for that assistance, which on other occasions would probably have been ensured by efficient measures beforehand, was equally unsuccessful. After some strenuous, but fruitless efforts, therefore, to stem the swelling torrent, he also withdrew, and the object of attack was left wholly at the mercy of the passion-maddened, and doubtless rum-inflamed assailants. From the cries with which they cheered each other on, it was manifest that they regarded the city authorities as willing, if not desirous that the work of destruction should proceed. The tale of what followed we need not recite at length. It has already been written in ruddy crimson on the clouds of heaven, and been read by the thronging thousands of the astonished city, in the unnatural glare which reddened the darkness of that terrific night. Encouraging each other with loud shouts, they rushed to the assault, shattered the windows, and battered furiously at the doors, the strength of which for nearly twenty minutes resisted the attack, but at length gave way, and left free access to the interior. Then came the plunder of the book depository, and the scattering of its contents among
the crowd; the flash of the lighted torch along the deserted aisles, the heaping of light combustibles on the speaker's forum, and firing the pile; the wrenching of the gas pipes from their places, and adding their quickly kindled current to the rising flames; the shout which greeted the out-bursting conflagration, as it rolled upward along the walls, and roared and crackled in the fresh night breeze, while the motto of the beautiful hall, ' Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,' shone clearly for a moment in the dazzling light, and was then effaced for ever-the fiend-like cry which went upward as the roof fell in, a blazing ruin; and smouldering and blackened walls alone remained in place of the costly and splendid edifice.
“The fire companies with their engines had come early upon the ground, but not a drop of water was thrown upon the hall, till its destruction was ensured beyond possibility of prevention. Till then, the firemeni confined their efforts to preserving the surrounding buildings, and such of their number as were disposed to play upon the object of attack were prevented from doing so by the mob.
“On the morning of the 18th, at eight o'clock, the members of the state society, agreeably to adjournment, met together by the ruins of the hall. There, with the smoking walls above them, and traces of the destruction around them, they proceeded to their business. One of the vicepresidents of the society presided. A motion was made and carried to adjourn to Sandiford Hall, where the resolution was passed, authorising the publication of this address in the name of the society. As the hall was too small to contain even the members of the society, and as at such a crisis, it was deemed important that our meetings, if held at all, should be public and open to the community, the society adjourned to meet at such time and place as the executive committee might decide upon hereafter. The committees which had been appointed at a previous meeting were continued.”
The foregoing is, we feel assured, a faithful presentation of the facts connected with this outrage. We now ask our fellow citizens what action is required at the hands of freemen, and lovers of order and law? Men high in authority have manifested an unholy sympathy with the prejudices and passions of the mob; the chosen guardians of the public peace have manifestly yielded to the popular clamour, and suffered their authority to be made the sport and ridicule of lawless men. Ought we to be, can we be, instrumental in retaining men in office who have thus proved unworthy of their trust, and left the property of the citizens a prey to violence. Are not all who love right and approve just law, and desire peace and good order, bound to withhold, in every form, their support and their suffrages from every applicant for public favour or official stations, who will not explicitly avow his disapprobation of the recent lawless proceedings, and his determination to uphold the supremacy of the law, and to maintain, so far as in him lies, without regard to the popularity or unpopularity of the right, or of its exercise, or its possessor, every right of every portion of the people ? We pause not now to notice in derail the
gross calumnies against us which have been industriously circulated throughout this community. Suffice it for us to declare that of those which have reached our ears, not one is warranted by unexaggerated truth.
The voice of that truth is now lost in the hurricane of popular tumult. But, we feel conscious that in the hour of reflection and calm consideration which must follow the present excitement, when reason shall assert its prerogative over prejudice and passion, that justice will be awarded us by all upon whose good opinion we place a value. Possessing our souls in patience we abide our time. Strong in our own integrity and uprightness in this matter, with unaccusing consciences, and, regretting only our lack of zeal and energy heretofore in the cause of holy liberty, we feel ourselves called by the events of the past week to renewed and more efficient efforts. Not in vain, we trust, has the persecution fallen upon us. Fresher and purer for its fiery baptism the cause lives in our hearts. We now know and feel our responsibilities. Called, even in our weakness, to stand forth as the asserters and defenders of freedom, in the place and hour of her extremest peril, woe unto us if we falter through the fear of man! If shrinking from a manifest call of duty, we yield up great principles a sacrifice to popular fury; if to save life and property we offer up all that can make the one tolerable or the other useful, we commit a crime against God and humanity, which words cannot measure. Were we to yield a single principle at this crisis, the voice of a world's execration would justly brand us as traitors to liberty.
Citizens of Pennsylvania! your rights as well as ours have been violated in this dreadful outrage. The blow has been aimed at the uni. versal rights of man! The sacrifice of a beautiful temple dedicated to liberty, and bearing the motto of our state, “Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,” has been made to southern slavery, to a system whose advocates unblushingly declare that the labourer should every where, at the north as well as the south, in Pennsylvania as well as in Carolina, be made the property of the employer and capitalist. In the heart of your free city, within view of the Hall of Independence, whose spire and roof reddened in the flame of the sacrifice, the deed has been done, and the shout which greeted the falling ruin was the shout of slavery over the grave of liberty. It was such as greeted the ear of the Russian despot over the dead corses and smouldering ruins of conquered Warsaw; such as the Turkish tyrant heard amidst the ghastly horrors of Scio. We ask of you as men jealous of your own rights, and your own liberties, to reflect upon the inevitable consequences which must follow the toleration of such an outrage. If you have studied the history of past republics, you have not yet to learn that the sacrifice of the rights of a part of the community has ended in the enslavement of all. The rights of the individual have never been disregarded by any nation or people with impunity. It is an ordinance of Providence, that that community which violates its own principles for the purpose of depriving any of its members of their acknowledged rights, digs in so doing the grave of its own liberties. We appeal to you not for our own sakes, but for the sake of great principles whose preservation is as necessary to yourselves as to us. We ask you to look at the scenes which for the last few years have disgraced our country in the eyes of the world, and rendered insecure the rights of the citizen, all tending to one result-all having a common object--the suppression of free inquiry on a subject which of all others should be open to freemen—the subject of human rights. Call to mind the presses destroyed'; the churches broken open; the family altars pro
faned by violence; the bloody scenes of Alton and St. Louis ; the scourging of a freeman in the streets of Nashville; the imprisonment of Crandall in our nation's capitol; the thousand mobs, in short, which have usurped the authority of law; justified and sustained by men of high influence, and virtually countenanced by the sworn guardians of the public weal. Look to the halls of legislation ; to the thrice-repeated violation of the constitution of the United States by Congress itself ; the denial of the right of petition; the infamous resolutions of southern legislatures addressed to those of the free states, calling for the enactment of laws forbidding under pains and penalties all discussion on the subject of the rights of man! Are these matters of light importance ? Are Pennsylvanians prepared to yield up their dearest rights to perpetuate a system which cannot live in connexion with the free exercise of those rights, which shrinks from the light, which is safe only in darkness, which howls in agony at the first sunbeam of truth that touches it? Will they allow it to overstep its legal boundary, and trample on the free institutions of Pennsylvania ? To smite down the majesty of our law; to hunt after the lives of our citizens; to shake its bloody hands in defiance of our rights within sight of the Hall of Independence ?
We would not willingly outrage public sentiment—but if a firm adherence to the true and the right, and an untiring advocacy of the principles upon which rational liberty is based call down the vengeance of the populace upon our heads, we throw the responsibility of violated law where it belongs—upon that corruption of the public heart, which is the result of a departure from the political faith of the fathers of our land, and an unmanly subserviency to the demon of American slavery.
But it is objected that whatever be the moral complexion of slavery, separated from it as we are by geographical boundaries, we have nothing to do with it—that whatever may be the sufferings of the slave, or the pollutions of the system, it is no concern of ours. No concern of ours ! As if we were not of woman born, and could not feel for human wo. As if we were not American citizens, jealous for the honour of our common country! As if slavery, with its hot and fetid breath, was not blighting and withering our dearest hopes and our fairest prospects with iron foot trampling upon liberty in her own home; and with hand of sacrilege staining the altars of freedom with the blood of her murdered martyrs ! As if we felt not the requirements of God bound upon our consciences, and responsibilities from Him laid upon us which we cannot shake off! American slavery is a concern of ours; for we are American citizens. Our country is weakened in its mental, its moral and its physical power, by the existence of slavery. This, alone, has rendered us a hissing and a bye-word among the nations of the earth. It is a stain upon our escutcheon-- a plague-spot upon our national reputation. It is a sin, and a curse, and a shame; and we can cease to be partakers in the iniquity only by faithfully rebuking it, and labouring for its overthrow. That benevolence which is bounded by caste or complexion is not the benevolence of Christ. The fellowship which would leave our neighbour in his sin unwarned is a fellowship abhorent to God. “ Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him," is an injunction of Holy Writ, which it becomes us to obey. In obedience to it, and to the voice of humanity