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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS




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THE WAx

A SLAVE UNION OR A Fkv

SPEECH

OF

Hon. MARTIN F. CONWAY,

Delivered in the House of Representatives,

AND

REVISED BY THE AUTHOR,

PUBLISHED IN THE

PULPIT AND ROSTRUM, No. 28.

This is one of the ablest, the most original, and the most
comprehensive speeches yet made in Congress on the present
crisis of our National affairs. The reader cannot fail of being
deeply interested in its perusal. We append two or three brief
notices, taken from hundreds.

" It is the only speech made in Congress this session that fully, properly grapples with
the great question of the day, or comprehends the issues at stake, Or deals with the Rebellion iu
a statesmanlike manner." — Chicago Tribune.

''It is one of the most plain-spoken utterances of the time, full of original views and
bold suggestions." — New York Iribune.

"I have read it with profound interest, and almost with surprise ; it is the speech of a
living and thinking man, of a statesman and a philosopher. It is far above the range of ordinary
politicians, and has seldom, for depth of thought, largeness and justness of view, been equaled
by any speech I have seen from any member of either House of Congress." — Dr. O. J . Browmon.



The Pulpit and Rostrum Nos. 26, 27 and 28, are as follows :

No. 2R. - THE ABOLITIONISTS, AND THEIR RELATIONS TO THE
WAR. A Lecture by William Lloyd Garrison, delivered at the Cooper Insti-
tute, New York, January 14th, 18G2.

No. 27 .—THE WAR NOT FOR EMANCIPATION OR CONFISCATION, a
Speech by Hon. Gakrett Davis of Kentucky, delivered in the tT. S. Senate.
January 23d, 1862. Also. AFRICAN SLAVERY, THE CORNER-STONE OF
THE SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY, a Speech by Hon. Alexander H. Stevens,
Vice-President of theConfederacy.

No. 28.— THE WAR : A SLAVE UNION OR A FREE ? Speech of Hon.
Martin F. Conway, delivered in the House of Representatives, December 12th.
1861.

The Pulpit and Rostrum gives full Phonographic Reports (revised by the
Authors) of the Speeches and Discourses of our most eminent public speakers.
It thus constitutes a series most valuable for perusal or reference.

Price 10 cents a number, or $1 a year (for 12 numbers).

E. D. BARKER, Publisher,

135 GRAND ST., NEW YCP V



ery Library— The only Journal devoted
„o the History of America.

THE

xiSTORICAL MAGAZINE,



NOTES AND QUERIES

OONOERNING THE

ANTIQUITIES, HISTORY, AND BIOGRAPHY OF AMERICA.



This Magazine was commenced in January, 1857, for the purpose of furnishing
a medium of intercommunication between Historical Societies, Authors, and
Students of History, and supplying an interesting and valuable journal — a mis-
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3XV E 458

S3 -2



.4« Address by William Lloyd Garrison, delivered Tuesday Evening, January
14, 1862, at the Cooper Institute, New York. Revised bythe Author.

KErORTED BY ANDREW J. GRAHAM.

Among those who occupied the platform were J. A. Kennedy, Superintendent of
Police, Rev. Dr. Tyng, Eev. Mr. Sloan, and many other eminent citizens. A beau-
tiful bouquet of flowers and an ivy wreath were placed beside the speaker's desk
by Mrs. Paton, which incident was followed by a burst of applause. The speaker
having entered, was introduced by Mr. Theodore Tilton, who said :

" Ladies and Gentlemen — I put myself for a moment between you and him
[pointing to, Mr. Garrison], because I have been asked, and honored in the asking,
to give to a genuine Yankee a genuine Yankee welcome ; and I know not how to
do it better than just to make the old-fashioned sign of the right hand, which is
the Yankee token of good fellowship, and in your name to offer it to William
Lloyd Garrison." [Applause.]

Mr. Tilton thereupon extended his hand to Mr. Garrison, who forthwith advanced,
and was cordially welcomed. Mr. Garrison spoke as follows:

Ladies and Gentlemen : No public speaker, on rising to address
an assembly, lias any rigbt to presume that, because at the outset
he receives a courteous and even warm approval, therefore they
are prepared to indorse all his views and utterances. Doubtless,
there are some points, at least, about which we very widely differ;
and yet, I must frankly confess, I know of no other reason for
your kind approval this evening, than that I am an original, un-
compromising, irrepressible, out-and-out, unmistakable, Garrisonian
Abolitionist. [Enthusiastic applause.] By that designation I do
not mean one whose brain is crazed, whose spirit is fanatical,
whose purpose is wild and dangerous, but one whose patriotic
creed is the Declaration of American Independence [loud cheers],
whose moral line of measurement is the Golden Rule, whose gospel
of humanity is the Sermon on the Mount, and whose language is
that of Ireland's Liberator, O'Connell — " I care not what caste,
creed, or color slavery may assume. Whether it be personal or
political, mental or corporeal, intellectual or spiritual, I am for its
instant, its total abolition. I am for justice, in the name of
humanity, and according to the law of the living God." [Cheers.]

Hence, what I wrote many years ago, I feel proud once more to
affirm :



T53



THE ABOLITIONISTS, copy i

AND THEIR RELATIONS TO THE WAR.



32 THE ABOLITIONISTS, AND

"I am an Abolitionist,

I glory in the name,
Though now by Slavery's minions hissed,

And covered o'er with shame.
It is a spell of light and power —

The watchword of the free —
"Who spurns it in the trial-hour,

A craven soul is he."

I know that to be an Abolitionist is not to be with the multitude
— on the side of the majority — in a popular and respectable posi-
tion ; and yet I think I have a right to ask of yon, and of all who
are living on the soil of the Empire State, and of the people of the
North at large, why it is that you and they shrink from the name
of Abolitionist? Why is it that, while you profess to be opposed
to slavery, you nevertheless desire the whole world to understand
that you are not radical Abolitionists? "What is the meaning of
this? Why are you not all Abolitionists? Your principles are
mine. What you have taught me, I adopt. What you have taken
a solemn oath to support, as essential to a free Government, I
recognize as right and just. The people of this State profess to
believe in the Declaration of Independence. That is my Aboli-
tionism. Every man, therefore, who disclaims Abolitionism,
repudiates the Declaration of Independence. Does he not? "All
men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with an
inalienable right to liberty." Gentlemen, that is my fanaticism —
that is all my fanaticism. [Cheers.] All I ask is, that this decla-
ration may be carried out everywhere in our country and through-
out the world. It belongs to mankind. Your Constitution is an
Abolition Constitution. Your laws are Abolition laws. Your
institutions are Abolition institutions. Your free schools are Abo-
lition schools. I believe in them all; and all that I ask is, that
institutions so good, so free, so noble, may be everywhere propa-
gated; everywhere accepted. And thus it is that I desire, not to
curse the South, or any portion of her people, but to bless her
abundantly, by abolishing her infamous and demoralizing slave
institution, and erecting the temple of liberty on the ruins thereof.

I believe in Democracy ; but it is the Democracy which recog-
nizes man as man, the world over. [Cheers.] It is that Democ-
racy which spurns the fetter and the yoke for itself, and for all
wearing the human form. And therefore I say, that any man who
pretends to be a Democrat, and yet defends the act of making
man the property of his fellow-man, is a dissembler and a hypo-
crite, and I unmask him before the universe. [Loud cheers.]

We profess to be Christians. Christianity — its object is to



THEIR RELATIONS TO THE "WAR. 33

redeem, not to enslave men ! Christ- is our Eedeemer. I believe
in Him. He leads the anti-slavery cause, and always has led it.
The Gospel is the Gospel of freedom ; and any man claiming to be
a Christian, and to have within him the same mind that was in
Christ Jesus, and yet dares to hold his fellow-man in bondage, as a
mere piece of perishable property, is recreant to all the principles
and obligations of Christianity. [Applause.]

"Why is it, men of the Empire State, that there are no slaves
here? Four millions of people, and not a single slave among them
all ! On what ground was slavery abolished in the State of New
York? On the mere ground of policy or expediency, or because
it was an immorality, a crime, an outrage, and therefore not to be
tolerated by a civilized and Christian people? Hence I affirm that
the people of this State are committed to radical, " ultra" Aboli-
tionism. And so I have a right to expect everywhere a friendly
hearing and a warm co-operation on the part of the people when
I denounce slavery, and endeavor to bring it to the dust, and to
take the chains from those who are laboring under the lash of the
slave-driver. You have abolished slavery, because it can have no
rightful existence here. You allow no man to decide whether he
can humanely hold a slave. So of Massachusetts, so of New
England, and so of the nineteen free States. Slavery is pronounced
a curse by them all. Every man before the law is equal to every
other man ; and no man may lay his hand too heavily upon the
shoulder of his brother man, except at his peril.

In the very generous notice of this lecture last Sunday, by
Henry Ward Beecher, he said that he fully accorded with me in
my principles, which strike at the foundation of slavery. All
slavery is wrong, unjust, immoral, and unchristian, and ought to
terminate, but he expressed some difference of opinion in regard
to my methods for its abolition. I am confident that, upon further
reflection and investigation, he will find my methods of Abolition
are as unexceptionable as my principles. My method is simply
this : when I see a slaveholder, I tell him he is bound by every
consideration of justice and humanity to let the oppressed go free.
That is God's method, and I think there can be no improvement
upon it. And when I find an accomplice of the slaveholder sus-
taining him in his iniquity, I bid him repent, aud demand that b«
bring forth fruits meet for his repentance. That is my method.

Now I say that if we are right in establishing our institutions
upon the foundations of equal liberty, we have a right to endeavor



34 THE ABOLITIONISTS, AND

to propagate those institutions all over the country and throughout
the world. We have a right to say to those in the slave States,
" Your system of slavery is inherently wrong and dangerous. Re-
gard your slaves as men, treat thera as such, establish free institu-
tions, substitute for the lash a fair compensation, and you will be
blest, wonderfully blest." Have I not a right to say this ? Is it
not a natural, God-given, constitutional right? On the other hand,
they have a perfect right at the South to endeavor to proselyte us
in regard to their institutions; and I think they have done their
best — that is, their worst — in that direction.

I never have heard any complaint in regard to the unlimited
freedom of speech on the part of Southern slaveholders and slave-
traffickers. We are told by pro-slavery men here, that wo have no
right to discuss this matter ! They point us to our national com-
pact. They gravely tell us to remember that, at the organization of
the Government, the slave States were in existence, and came into
the Union on terms of equality, and, under the compact, we have
no right to criticise or condemn them because of their holding
slaves. Now, my reply to them is, in the first place, that no com-
pact of men's device can biud me to silence when I see my fellow-
man unjustly oppressed. [Applause.] I care not when or where the
compact was made, or by whom it was approved. My right to de-
nounce tyrants and tyranny is not derived from man, nor from con-
stitutions or compacts. I find it in my own soul, written there by
the finger of God, and man can never erase it. I am sure that, if
it were your case ; if you were the victims of a compact that denied
the right of any one to plead for your deliverance, though you were
most grievously oppressed — though your children and wives were
for sale in the market, along with cattle and swine — you would ex-
claim, "Accursed be such a compact ! Let none be dumb in re-
gard to our condition !"

My reply again is, that the compact, bad as it is in its pro-slavery
features, provides for the liberty of speech and of the press, and
therefore I am justified in saying what I honestly think in regard
to slavery and those who uphold it. The Southern slaveholders, I
vepeat, have always exercised the largest liberty of speech. They
have denounced free institutions to an unlimited extent. Is the
right ail on one side ? May I not reciprocate, and say what I think
of their slave institutions? Yes, I have the right, and, by the help
of God, I mean to exercise it, come what may. [Great applause.]

The times are changing. Yes, it is spoken of with exultation —



THEIR RELATIONS TO THE WAR. 35

and well it may be as a cheering sign of progress — that even Dr.
Brownson has been able to speak against slavery in the city of
Washington, -without being in peril of his life ; that even Horace
Greeley and George B. Cheever have been permitted to stand up
in tho capital of their country, and utter brave words for freedom ;
and nobody mobbed them ! [Applause.] And I am told it is ex-
pected that my eloquent friend, and the friend of all mankind, Wen-
dell Phillips [cheers], will also soon make his appearance at Wash-
ington, to be heard on the same subject, without running any great
personal risk. This is something to boast of! And yet I must
confess, that I feel humiliated when I remember that all this is
rendered possible, under our boasted Constitution, only because
there is a Northern army of 150,000 soldiers in and around the
capital ! [Applause.] Take that army away — restore the old state
of things — and it would not be possible for such speeches to be
made there ; but while we have General McClellan and 150,000
Northern bayonets in that seotion, a Northern man may say aloud
at Washington, " Let the Declaration of Independence be applied to
all the oppressed in the land," aud his life is not specially endan-
gered in so doing! [Cries of " Hear, hear!"] If that is all we
have to boast of now, what has been our condition hitherto ?

Now, I maintain that no institution has a right to claim exemp-
tion from the closest scrutiny. All our Northern institutions are
open for inspection. Every man may say of them what he pleases.
If he does not like them, he can denounce them. If he thinks he
can suggest better ones, he is entitled to do so. Nobody thinks of
mobbing him, nobody thinks of throwing rotten eggs and brickbats
at his head. Liberty ! why, she is always fearless, honest, open-
hearted. She says, as one did of old, " Search me and try me, and
see if there be anything evil in me." But, on the other hand, we
are not permitted to examine Southern institutions. Oh, no ! And
what is the reason ? Simply because they will not bear examina-
tion ! Of course, if the slaveholder felt assured that they could,
he would say, " Examine them freely as you will, I will assist you
in every way in my power." Ah ! " 'tis conscience that makes
cowards of them all!" They dread the light, and with the tyrant
of old they cry, " Put out the light — aud then put out the light!"
That is their testimony in regard to the rectitude of their slave
institutions.

The slaveholders desire to be let alone. Jefferson Davis and his
crew cry out, " Let us alone!" The Slave Oligarchy have always



3() THE ABOLITIONISTS, AND

cried out, " Let us alone I" It is an old cry — 1,800 years old at
least — it was the cry of those demons who had takeu possession of
their victims, and who said to Jesus, " Let us alone ! Why hast
thou come to torment us hefore the time?" [Laughter and ap-
plause.] Now, Jesus did not at all mistake the time ; he was precisely
in time, and therefore he bore his testimony like the prince of eman-
cipators, and the foul demons were cast out, but not without rend-
ing the body. The slaves of our country, outraged, lacerated, and
chained, cry out agonizingly to those who are thus treating them,
" Let us alone !" — but the slaveholders give no heed to that cry at
all ! Now, I will agree to let the slaveholders alone when they let
their slaves alone, and not till then. [Applause.]

" Let this matter rest with the South ; leave slavery in the care
and keeping of slaveholders, to put an end to it at the right time,
as they best understand the whole matter." You will hear men,
claiming to be intelligent, talking in this manner continually. They
do not know what idiots they are; for is it anything better than
idiocy for men to say : " Leave idolatry to idolaters, to be abolish-
ed when they think best ; leave intemperance to drunkards ; they
best understand all about it ; they will undoubtedly, if let alone,
in God's own time, put an end to it [laughter] ; leave piracy to be
abolished by pirates ; leave impurity to the licentious to be done
away ; leave the sheep to the considerate humanity of wolves, when
they will cease to prey upon them !" No, this is not common
sense ; it is hot sound reason ; it is nothing but sheer folly. Sal-
vation, if it comes at all, must come from without. Those who are
not drunkards must save the drunken ; those who are not impure
must save the impure; those who are not idolaters must combine
to put down idolatry ; or the world can never make any progress.
So we who are not slaveholders are under obligation to combine,
and by every legitimate method endeavor to abolish slavery ; for
the slaveholders will never do it if they can possibly help it. Why
do you send your missionaries abroad ? Why do you go to the isles
of the sea, to Hindostan and Burmah and other parts of the heathen
world with your meddlesome, impertinent, disorganizing religion?
Because you affirm that your object is good and noble ; because
you believe that the Christian religion is the true religion, and that
idolatry debases and deludes its votaries ; and to abolish it, or to
endeavor to do so, is right. And yet you have no complicity with
heathenism abroad. Nevertheless, your missionaries are there, en-
deavoring to effect a thorough overturn of all their institutions and



THEIR RELATIONS TO THE WAR. 37

all their established ideas, so that old things shall pass away, and
all things become new. But how is it in regard to slavery ? You
have something to do — aye, a great deal to do with it. You ought
to know precisely where yon stand, and what are your obligations
in relation to it. Only think of it! Under your boasted Constitu-
tion, two generations of slaves have been driven to unrequited toil,
and gone down into bloody graves; and a third generation i3 going
through the same terrible career, with the Star Spangled Banner
floating over their heads ! This is by your complicity, men of the
North ! Oh, how consentingly the North has given her sympathy
to the South in this iniquity of slaveholding ! How everywhere
the anti-slavery movement has been spit upon, and denounced,
and caricatured, and hunted down, as if it were a wild beast, that
could not be tolerated safely for an hour in the community ! What
weapon has been left unused against the Abolitionists of the North ?
How thoroughly have the people been tested everywhere, both in
Church and State, in relation to the slave system of the South !
But " Wisdom is justified of her children." The Abolitionists se-
renely bide their time. The verdict of posterity is sure ; and it
will be an honorable acquittal of ihem from all the foul charges
that have been brought against them by a pro-slavery people.

I do not think it is greatly to the shame of Abolitionists that
the New York Herald can not tolerate them. [Laughter and ap-
plause.] I do not think it at all to their discredit that the Journal
of Commerce thoroughly abominates them. [Laughter.] I do not
think they have any cause to hang their heads for shame because
the New York Express deems them fit only to be spit upon. [Ap-
plause.] I do not think they have any reason to distrust the
soundness of their religion because the New York Observer brands
them as infidels. [Applause.] Captain Eynders is not an Aboli-
tionist. [Great laughter.] The Bowery Boys do not like Aboli-
tionism. [Laughter.] And as it was eighteen hundred years ago,
so we have had, in this trial of the nation, the chief priests and
Scribes and Pharisees on the one hand, and the rabble on the other,
endeavoring by lawless means and murderous instrumentalities to
put down the anti-slavery movement, which is of God, and can
not be put down. [Applause.] The slaveholders who have risen
in rebellion to overthrow the Government, and crush out free
institutions, are in the mood of mind, and ever have been, to hang
every Abolitionist they can catch. I hold that to be a good cer-
tificate of character [applause], and when I add that the millions



38



THE ABOLITIONISTS. AND



of slaves in bondage, perishing in their chains, and crying unto
Heaven for deliverance, are ever ready to give their blessings to
the Abolitionists for what they have done, and when tbey run
away from their masters come to us, who are represented to be
their deadliest enemies, it seems to me we have made out our case.
Such Abolitionism every honest, humane, upright, and noble soul
ought to indorse as right.

And besides, I say it is a shame that we should any longer stand
apart — I mean we of the North. What are all your paltry distinc-


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Online LibraryWilliam Lloyd GarrisonThree unlike speeches → online text (page 1 of 6)