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admitted under a restriction of slavery, and should afterwards change her constitution so as to admit slavery, (which some of the people of Illinois once attempted,) she would not thereupon be entitled to a slave representation through a violation of her obligations.— It may serve to show that there is no constitutional objection to a restriction of slavery as the condition of the admission of a State, as the very best means of preventing further inequalities in the representation. — And it may serve to show that the Republican party is not a fanatical party, and that their platform is not a sectional platform.
The hosts which throng upon that platform and cluster around it, are inspired by the same devotion to civil liberty and equal rights which immortalized the fathers in the days of the Revolution. — The pillars of fire which go before those hosts on their onward march, are the pillars of the Constitution. — The thunder which rolls in the light cloud over their heads, and in its reverberations from the Atlantic and the Pacific, - from the Gulf of Mexico and the British Provinces, echoes back, “No FARTHER ExTENSION of SLAVERY ' " is good, sound, constitutional, Whig thunder. — The forked lightning which plays along the line of their advance, is the electricity of free principles. – And the blazonry of their banners is, “Victory For FREEDOM l’”
PERSONAL:– As the newspapers say when they announce that somebody is about to eat his dinner and lodge at a tavern.
As these sheets were passing through the press, I read in a speech of Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, delivered in Faneuil Hall, October 24th, the following:—
“They charge upon our candidate the earliest suggestion of resistance to the will of the people, the earliest qualification of the modern Republican doctrine of passive submission to the powers that be, –not choosing to remember that from the very same lips by which an off-hand and misconstrued remark of Mr. Fillmore has been most severely criticized and condemned, there had previously fallen the distinct and deliberate declaration, that “some of his father's blood was shed on Bunker Hill at the commencement of one Revolution, and that there is a little more of the same sort left, if it shall prove that need be, for the beginning of another.” These were the well remembered words, as lately as the 2d of June last, of that learned head of the neighboring Law School, who has felt called upon within a few weeks to quit his official chair, and compromise the neutrality of his position, in order to arraign Mr. Fillmore for having counselled resistance to authority; and who availed himself of the same opportunity, if the newspaper reports are correct, to question the propriety, and ridicule the position of Mr. Winthrop and Mr. Hillard, at the late Whig Conwntion. I shall not follow his example further than to say, that I would be greatly relieved, as a friend to the University and the Law School, if I could have as clear *perception of the propriety of his course, as I have of that of my friend Mr. Hilludor even of my own.”—Boston Courier, Oct. 25th.
The “well remembered words” thus repeated, form part of the doing sentence of a speech made by me respecting the infamous as
sault of Brooks upon Senator Sumner. I like them best in the connection in which they were originally placed, and therefore restore them to the context, quoting a few of the words which preceded them.
“But this is not all. The felon blow which struck down the citizen and the Senator, prostrated at the same time the privileges of the Senate and the freedom of debate guarantied by the Constitution of the United States. It was vengeance for the free expression of unpalatable opinions, and designed to deter others from the exercise of their constitutional rights; and it is but the last of a series of outrages similar in character though not in degree, which have made the city of Washington a bear garden, and the capitol little better than a den of wild beasts.
“It is this blow to freedom of speech and constitutional privileges which gives this act a painful significance, above that of any mere private assault upon a citizen, or even upon one of those appointed to represent the interests of a sovereign State in the Congress of the United States. It is this prostration of constitutional liberty which has called us here at this time, and it is this which demands of us, and of all others who respect the law, and possess a love of liberty, a careful, deliberate, unimpassioned consideration of the consequences to which such occurrences will lead if their repetition is permitted.”
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“But notwithstanding all such demonstrations of approbation, it is not to be assumed that this atrocious deed will be characterized as chivalrous, and its miserable perpetrator be hailed as a gallant son of the South, by any beyond the halls of Congress, except a few choice spirits who should rank below the bully and the blackguard. It is by no means to be concluded, as yet, that it will be sustained by high-minded men of honorable standing in the Southern States. And until that is made apparent it is not to be treated as the act of the South.”
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“In the mean time, however, with nothing of threat, and nothing of offence, let it be made to appear in all constitutional modes, that these assemblages of the people are not matter of form; that they are not formal protests; that they are not mere expressions of indignation, however deep; but that they are to be taken as the exponents of an unalterable and unconquerable determination to assert and maintain the supremacy of the law; free thought and free speech; freedom of debate and immunity therefor; at whatever cost and at all hazards.
* Let it be understood that the government of the United States must protect the delegates who assemble in her halls of legislation, and not suffer them to be struck in the very - they are entitled to privilege, and immunity, and
absolute safety. Let it be assured that no representative of Massachusetts, – that no representative of any State in the Union, — is to be deterred by violence ‘from espousing whatever opinions he may choose to espouse, from debating whenever he may see fit to debate, or from speaking whatever he may see fit to say on the floor of the Senate.’ Let it be remembered that there are other forms of oppression more odious than a colonial government and a Boston Port Bill, bad as they were. The stamp act and the tea tax convulsed the civilized world. But taxation, even without representation, is but as the small dust of the balance, when compared with the constitutional right of freedom of debate, within the limits of parliamentary law, in the halls of legislation. “For myself, personally, I am, perhaps, known to most of you as a peaceable citizen, reasonably conservative, devotedly attached to the Constitution, and much too far advanced in life for gasconade; but, under present circumstances, I may be Pardoned for saying that some of my father's blood was shed on Bunker Hill, at the commencement of one revolution, and that there is a little more of the same sort left, if it shall prove that need be, for the beginning of another.”
I am not willing to suppose that no difference has been perceived between this expression of opinion, that, When freedom of debate in the halls of legislation is suppressed by violence, and the government utterly fails of being a free representative government, the time will have arrived for a revolution, which shall restore it to its former purity,+ and that declaration of Mr. Fillmore, substantially, that, The election of the candidate of one party, according to all constitutional modes and forms, will cause a dissolution of the Union, and should be regarded as furnishing a justification for such a result. — Mr. John M. Botts, a citizen of a Southern State, said of the allegation, that Mr. Fillmore had made such a declaration, that it was a libel upon him, and that if Mr. Fillmore had said it, he would be the last man in the United States that would vote for him. A citizen of a Northern State admits that he so said, but calls it, “an off-hand, and misunderstood remark,” and censures those who take exception to it.
But it is alleged that I have compromised “the neutrality of my position.” If such be the fact, it will be the subject of profound regret, as I have, just at this time, a very poor opinion of compromises. In the Revised Statutes of Massachusetts, Chapter 23, Section 7, I read as follows: —
“It shall be the duty of the president, professors, and tutors of the university at Cambridge, and of the several colleges, and of all preceptors and teachers of academies, and all other instructors of youth, to exert their best endeavors, to impress on the minds of children and youth, committed to their care and instruction, the principles of piety, justice, and a sacred regard to truth, love to their country, humanity and universal benevolence, sobriety, industry, and frugality, chastity, moderation, and temperance, and those other virtues, which are the ornament of human society, and the basis upon which a republican constitution is founded; and it shall be the duty of such instructors to endeavor to lead their pupils, as their ages and capacities will admit, into a clear understanding of the tendency of the above-mentioned virtues to preserve and perfect a republican constitution, and secure the blessings of liberty, as well as to promote their future happiness, and also to point out to them the evil tendency of the opposite vices.”
QUERE: — How far a Professor of a College “compromises the neutrality of his position,” when, as a private citizen, before a different auditory, and in another connection, he endeavors to maintain those principles of piety, justice, regard of truth, love of country, humanity, and those other virtues which are the ornament of human society and the basis upon which a Republican Constitution is founded, which it is made his duty, by statutory enactment, to impress upon the minds of his pupils?— How far he departs from “the propriety of his course” when he endeavors to lead others “into a clear understanding of the tendency of the above-mentioned virtues to preserve and perfect a Republican Constitution, and secure the blessings of liberty;"—and when he attempts to disseminate a knowledge of the true principles of the Constitution of the United States?
Perhaps it may be admitted as some extenuation of my failure to know when, and where, and upon what subjects I may speak, that I was not before aware of the fact that upon great questions of morals and politics, involving, possibly, the very existence of a free government, I hold any neutral position. J. P.