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Some portions of this Address were necessarily omitted in the delivery, and the speaker for that reason remarked that he should have to follow the precedents in Congress, and ask leave to publish his speech. The response, to say nothing of subsequent requests, may be allowed to justify the publication of it entire. The Constitutional argument may perhaps be of some value.
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&w &rbq&, Michigan
Mr. President And Fellow-Citizens: —
Your kind greeting encourages the belief that you will permit me to say a few words in the first person singular. The effect of what I may say at this time, supposing it to have any effect, may depend very much upon the character in which I appear before you. But, for another and a different reason, let it be distinctly understood, that I do not, upon this occasion, represent the sentiments of any department of Harvard College, and am not here as the Royall Professor. Upon some of the topics upon which I may speak, it would have given me pleasure to have held a free conversation with my associates in the Law School, but I sedulously avoided it in order to make this disclaimer, and have no reason to suppose that they concur in my opinions, except a belief that the doctrine is sound, and that they, therefore, as wise men, must approve of it.
I come before you, then, as a citizen of Cambridge, a constitutional lawyer, if you please, and especially as a Whig; as one who has been a Whig since the formation of the Whig party ;—withdrawn in a measure from ordinary political contests, but known as a Whig.
It was said in 1852 that an eminent member of the Whig party prophesied that there would be no Whig party after the presidential election that year. Certain it is, that many of the friends of that great statesman did what they could to accomplish such a result by voting for the present occupant of the presidential chair. I was not "left" to do that, but supported, in good faith, the Whig candidate. When the citizens of Cambridge, in 1853, elected me a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, it was as a Whig. And at the last gubernational election, while approving to some extent the efforts of the American party, sympathizing with some of the principles of the Freesoil party, and honoring Governor Gardner for measures of his administration, which others of his friends disapproved, it did not appear expedient to separate myself from a party which still clung to existence, and I formed one of the forlorn hope which voted for the Whig nominee.
The result of that election showed very clearly that the party, as an effective party, no longer had any existence, and left to its members the inquiry, —With what party and in what connection shall a Whig hereafter endeavor to perform the duty which a good citizen owes to his country?
The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 could not have had my vote, because there is no provision in it securing a trial to the fugitive on his rendition and return, and there are obnoxious sections which serve only to exasperate the citizens of the non-slave-holding States, and seem almost designed for the purpose of insult. But believing it to be, however unwise, a constitutional enactment, in my public teachings and private discourse, I have maintained the constitutionality of that law, and stopped a religious newspaper, conducted with great ability, on account of my disapproval of the encourage