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THE WRONG OF SLAVERY.
SPEECH AT A PUBLIC MEETING IN FANEUIL HALL, BOSTON, AGAINST
THE officers of this meeting were Hon. Charles Francis Adams, President; James M. Whiton, Charles G. Hovey, and William I. Bowditch, Secretaries. The President made a speech on taking the chair. He was followed by Hon. John G. Palfrey, Charles Sumner, Wendell Phillips, Henry B. Stanton, George S. Hillard, Rev. William H. Channing, and William Lloyd Garrison. The meeting was thus sympathetically described by the Liberator: —
"Faneuil Hall next had a meeting, more worthy of its fame than the one which was held in it on Tuesday evening last, to set the ball in motion for another grand rally of the freemen of the North against the admission of Texas into the Union as a Slave State. The weather was extremely unpropitious, — the rain pouring down violently, the thunder roaring, and the lightning blazing vividly at intervals, emblematic of the present moral and political aspects of the country."
The Daily Times, a democratic paper of Boston, in its account of the meeting made the severe storm play an important part. Here is something of what it said :
"The elements seemed determined not to sanction any such traitorlike movement, and interposed every obstacle to its success. It was proper that such a foul project should have foul weather as an accompaniment. The night was dark, and so were the designs contemplated." To oppose the extension of slavery was traitor-like, foul, and dark.
The Resolutions adopted at the meeting were drawn by Mr. Sumner, although introduced by another. They were the first political resolutions ever drawn by him, as the speech which follows was the first political speech ever made by him. The Resolutions, while condemning slavery and denouncing the plan to secure its predominance in the National Government, start with the annunciation of Equal Rights and the
Brotherhood of all Men, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence, which Mr. Sumner always, from beginning to end, made the foundation of his arguments, appeals, and aspirations.
"Whereas the Government and Independence of the United States are founded on the adamantine truth of Equal Rights and the Brotherhood of all Men, declared on the 4th of July, 1776, a truth receiving new and constant recognition in the progress of time, and which is the great lesson from our country to the world, in support of which the founders toiled and bled, and on account of which we, their children, bless their memory,
"And whereas it is essential to our self-respect as a nation, and to our fame in history, that this truth, declared by our fathers, should not be impeached or violated by any fresh act of their children,
"And whereas the scheme for the annexation of Texas as a Slave State, begun in stealth and fraud, and carried on to confirm Slavery and extend its bounds, in violation of the fundamental principle of our institutions, is not consummated, and may yet be arrested by the zealous and hearty co-operation of all who sincerely love their country and the liberty of mankind,—
"And whereas this scheme, if successful, involves the whole country, Free States as well as slave-owners, in one of the two greatest crimes a nation can commit, and threatens to involve them in the other, - namely, Slavery and unjust War,- Slavery of the most revolting character, and War to sustain Slavery,
"And whereas the State Constitution of Texas, which will soon be submitted to Congress for adoption or rejection, expressly prohibits the Legislature, except under conditions rendering the exception practically void, from enacting any law for the emancipation of slaves, and for the abolition of the slave-trade between Texas and the United States, thereby reversing entirely the natural and just tendency of our institutions towards Freedom,
"And whereas the slaveholders seek annexation for the purpose of increasing the market of human flesh, and for extending and perpetuating Slavery,
"And whereas, by the triumph of this scheme, and by creating new Slave States within the limits of Texas, the slaveholders seek to control the political power of the majority of freemen represented in the Congress of the Union:
Therefore be it resolved, in the name of God, of Christ, and of Humanity, that we, belonging to all political parties, and reserving all other reasons of objection, unite in protest against the admission of Texas into this Union as
a Slave State.
"Resolved, That the people of Massachusetts will continue to resist the consummation of this wicked purpose, which will cover the country with disgrace, and make us responsible for crimes of gigantic magnitude.
"Resolved, That we have the fullest confidence that the Senators and Representatives of Massachusetts in Congress will never consent to the admission of Texas as a Slave State, but by voice and vote will resist this fatal measure to the utmost at every stage.
"And furthermore, whereas the Congress of the United States, by assuming to connect this country with a foreign state, have already involved the people of the Free States in great expenditure for the protection of the usurped territory by force of arms on sea and land, —
“And whereas a still greater outlay may hereafter be incurred to maintain by violence what is held by wrong:
"Resolved, That we protest against the policy of enlisting the strength of a free people to sustain by physical force a measure urged with the criminal purpose of perpetuating a system of slavery at war with the fundamental principle of our institutions.
"Resolved, That a committee be appointed by the chair to present copies of these Resolutions to the Senators and Representatives from Massachusetts, and also to send them to every Senator and Representative in Congress from the Free States."
I could not listen to the appropriate remarks of my friend, the Secretary of the Commonwealth, without recalling an important act in his life, and feeling anew what all must feel, the beauty of his example in the fraternal treatment of slaves descended to him by inheritance, manumitting them as he has done, and conducting them far away from Slavery into these more cheerful precincts of Freedom. In offering him this humble tribute, I am sure that I awaken a response in every heart that has not ceased to throb at the recital of an act of self-sacrifice and humanity. He has done as a citizen what Massachusetts is now called to do as a State. He has divested himself of all responsibility for any accession of slave property, and the State must do likewise.
There are occasions, in the progress of affairs, when persons, though ordinarily opposed to each other, come together, and even the lukewarm, the listless, the indifferent unite heartily in a common object. Such is the case in great calamities, when the efforts of all are needed to avert a fatal blow. If the fire-bell startles us from our 1 Hon. John G. Palfrey.
slumbers, we do not ask of what faith in politics or religion is the unfortunate brother whose house is exposed to conflagration; it is enough that there is misfortune to be averted. In this spirit we have assembled on this inclement evening, — putting aside all distinctions of party,- forgetting all disagreements of opinion, to remember one thing only, on which all are agreed, renouncing all discords, to stand firm on one ground only, where we all meet in concord: I mean opposition to Texas as a Slave State.
The scheme for the annexation of Texas, begun in stealth and fraud, in order to extend and strengthen Slavery, has not yet received the final sanction of Congress. According to the course proposed by these machinators, it is necessary that Texas should be formally admitted into the family of States by a vote of Congress, and that her Constitution should be approved by Congress. The question will be presented this winter, and we would, if we could, strengthen the hearts and words of those by whom the m asure will be opposed.
Ours is no factious or irregular course. It has the sanction of the best examples on a kindred occasion. The very question before us occurred in 1819, on the admission of Missouri as a Slave State. I need not remind you of the ardor and constancy with which this was opposed at the North, by men of all parties, with scarcely a dissenting voice. One universal chorus of protest thundered from the North against the formation of what was called another black State. Meetings were convened in all the considerable towns, Philadelphia, Trenton, New York, New Haven, and everywhere throughout Massachusetts, to make this oppo
sition audible on the floor of Congress. At Boston, December the 3d, 1819, a meeting without distinction of party, and embracing the leaders of both sides, was held in the State-House. That meeting, in its object, was precisely like the present. A numerous committee to prepare resolutions was appointed, of which William Eustis, afterwards Governor of Massachusetts, was chairWith him were associated John Phillips, at that time President of the Senate of Massachusetts, a name dear to every friend of the slave, as father of him to whose eloquent voice we hope to listen tonight, Timothy Bigelow, Speaker of the House of Representatives, William Gray, Henry Dearborn, Josiah Quincy, Daniel Webster, William Ward, William Prescott, Thomas H. Perkins, Stephen White, Benjamin Pickman, William Sullivan, George Blake, David Cummins, James Savage, John Gallison, James T. Austin, and Henry Orne. No committee could have been appointed better fitted to inspire the confidence of all sides. Numerous as were its members, they were all men of mark and consideration in our community. This committee reported the following resolutions, which were adopted by the meeting.
"Resolved, as the opinion of this meeting, that the Congress. of the United States possesses the constitutional power, upon the admission of any new State created beyond the limits of the original territory of the United States, to make the prohibition of the further extension of slavery or involuntary servitude in such new State a condition of its admission.
"Resolved, That, in the opinion of this meeting, it is just and expedient that this power should be exercised by Congress upon the admission of all new States created beyond the original limits of the United States."
1 Wendell Phillips Esq.