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not get it; not a hair's breadth of it. If they come to my house for it, they will not find it; and the door will be shut. I can cede nothing. But I say that I will maintain for them, as I will maintain for you, to the utmost of my power, and in the face of all danger, their rights under the constitution, and your rights under the constitution, and I shall never be found to falter in one or the other. Again: but I cannot express the horror. I feel at the shedding of blood in a controversy between one of their States and the Government of the United States, because I see in it, in the sight of heaven, a total and entire disruption of all those ties that make us a great and a happy people.”
At Syracuse in the same year, Mr. Webster said: -“What do we hear? — of persons assembling in Massachusetts and New York, who set up themselves over the constitution, above the law, and above the decisions of the higher tribunals, and who say this law shall not be carried into effect. You have heard it here, have you not? Has it not been so said in the country of Onandaga ? (Cries of Yes, yes.) And have they not pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honour, to defeat its execution ? Pledged their lives, their fortunes, and sacred honour, for what? For the violation of the law, for the committal of treason to the country ? for
it is treason and nothing else. I am a lawyer, and I value my reputation as a lawyer more than anything else, and I tell you, if men get together and declare a law of Congress shall not be executed in any case, and assemble in numbers to prevent the execution of such law, they are traitors, and are guilty of treason, and bring upon themselves the penalties of the law. No, no. It is time to put an end to this imposition upon good citizens, good men, and good women. It is treason, treason, treason, and nothing else; and if they do not incur the penalties of treason, it is owing to the clemency of the law's administration, and to no merit of their own. Who, and what are these men ? I am amazed; some of them are clergymen, and some, I am sorry to say it, lawyers; and who the rest are, God only knows. They say the law will not be executed. Let them take care, for these are pretty bold assertions. The law must be executed, not only in carrying back the slave, but against those guilty of treasonable practices in resisting its execution. Depend upon it, the law will be executed in its spirit, and to its letter. It will be executed in all the great cities; here, in Syracuse, in the midst of the next anti-slavery convention, if the occasion shall arise; then we shall see what becomes of their lives and their sacred honour. It is not unfrequently said by a class of men, to whom I have referred, that the constitution is born of hell; that it was the work of the devil; and that Washington was a miserable bloodhound, set upon the track of the African slave. How far these words differ from words that have saluted your ears within this hall, you will judge. Men who utter such sentiments are ready at any moment to destroy the charter of our liberties, of all your happiness, and of all your hope. They are either insane, or fatally bent on mischief. The question is, therefore, whether we will sustain the Government under which we live; whether we will do justice to the Southern States, that they may have no excuse for going out of the Union? If there is anybody that will not consent that the South shall have a fair hearing, a fair trial, a fair decision upon what they think the constitution secures to them, I am not of that number. Everybody knows that I am a Northern man, born in the extreme North, bred and brought up in notions altogether irreconcilable to human slavery; and why should I have any sentiments in common with the South on that subject? But when it is put to me as a public man, whether the people of the South, under the stipulations of the constitution, have not the right of a fair law from Congress for returning to them the fugitive? I say they have, and I could not say otherwise.” · At Albany, New York:—"I yet believe firmly, that this Union, once broken, is utterly incapable, according to all human experience, of being reconstructed in its original character, of being recemented by any chemistry, or art, or effort, or skill of man.”
May 21st, 1850.—Mr. Clay said:—“A dissolution of the Union, the greatest of all calamities, in my opinion, which can befal this country, may not in form take place; but next to that is a dissolution of those fraternal and kindred ties that bind us together as one free, Christian, and commercial people. In my opinion the body politic cannot be preserved unless this agitation, this distraction, this exasperation which is going on between the two sections of the country, shall cease ; unless it do cease, I am afraid that this Union, for all the high and noble purposes for which our fathers formed it, will not be preserved. Mr. . Douglas said the real object and true intent was to re-organise in the territories the great principle of self-government, in obedience to which the people of each State and territory coming into the Union should decide for themselves what kind of institutions and laws were best adapted to their condition
and welfare. It was in obedience to this great principle, in defence of which the battles of the revolution were fought,—the principle for the preservation of which the constitution of the United States was adopted, the principle of popular rights and State equality which underlies our whole system of representative government, — for the preservation of this great principle it was that the Washington and Nebraska bills were passed in the form in which they now appear on the statute book."
Feb. 19th, 1850. — Senator Downs: — " By the event of a dissolution of the Union, still we would be better off than the North, and could better provide for ourselves. We would have that with which man originally started in this world, - a virgin soil and plenty of hands to work it, — the South having a rich country and a delightful climate. Sir, this is a subject not for me, nor for those from whom I came, to discuss or to look to; but it is one fraught with results so important, that I do hope that our brethren in the North, who are so deeply interested in it, will turn their attention to it, will cast up the accounts, and will see exactly where and how they stand before they proceed further in their labour of dissolving the Union.” · March 11th, 1850.-William H. Seward :-“We