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The Fugitive Slave Law

ART. V. — The Chief Sins of the People: a Sermon delivered at the Melodeon, Boston, on Fast Day, April 10, 1851. By REV. THEODORE PARKER. Boston: Benjamin H. Greene.    1851.    8vo.    pp. 40.

This singular sermon was called forth under the excitement occasioned by the arrest in this city, last April, of a fugitive slave, named Sims, and the determination to give him up to his owner in Savannah, Georgia. Two attempts had been previously made here to execute the recently amended Fugitive Slave Law, but without success. In the first case, that of Crafts and his wife, the officers did not succeed in making an arrest, and the fugitives, it is supposed, were shipped off by their Free Soil or Abolition friends to England; in the second case, that of Sha-drach, an arrest was, indeed, made, but the fugitive was rescued from the custody of the United States Marshal by a mob, and probably made his escape to Canada. In the case of Sims, better precautions had been taken against a rescue by a mob, whether black or white, and on the day this sermon was preached, it was highly probable that the law would be executed, and the fugitive given up to his master.
This probability threw all our Free-Soilers into a perfect frenzy. They called public meetings, harangued the mob, made the most inflammatory appeals to passions already greatly excited, and would, most likely, have attempted another rescue by force, if the vigilance of the police, and the military under arms and advantageously posted, had not made it pretty evident that it could not be done without seridus inconvenience. Every method, short of physical violence, to intimidate the authorities, and to induce them to desist from the performance of their duties, was resorted to, and all that rare professional ability, craft, cunning, and unscrupulousness could do to evade the law was done ; but all in vain. On the day of our annual State Fast, though the case was not yet decided, the friends of the Union, the supremacy of law, and social order, began to breathe more freely, and felt it to be reasonably certain that at length something would be done towards wiping out the disgrace which our city had incurred from the fanatics she had madly cherished in her bosom. The fanatics were disappointed, and deeply mortified, and Mr. Parker availed himself of the occasion of the Fast to pour out their wrath and bitterness, as well as his own, in the sermon before us, which is equally remarkable for bad taste, bad temper, bad logic, bad religion, and bad morals. It professes to treat of the chief sins of the people, but finds the chief of these to be suffering the law to be executed.

We are not called upon to discuss the merits or demerits of slavery as an abstract question. If slavery did not exist in this country, we should oppose by all lawful means in our power its introduction; but it is here, one of the elements of American society, and directly or indirectly connected with the habits and the interests of the whole American people, and the only question for the moralist or the statesman is, How shall it be dealt with? Even supposing it to be evil, and only evil, the question as to the treatment of it where it exists is very different from the question of introducing it where it does not exist. To suffer a wrong to remain is not always to commit a wrong; for often in the complicated affairs of this world it is impossible to remove a long or widely existing evil, without causing a still greater evil. Be it that slavery is as great an evil as Frec-Soilers pretend, it by no means follows that they are bound, or even free, to bring the political or social power of the country to bear on its abolition. Undoubtedly, we are never to do wrong that good may come, and if slavery is evil, and only evil, no advantages likely to result from it can ever justify us in introducing it; but of two evils we must choose the least, and when slavery cannot in all human probability be abolished without producing a greater evil, we are not even free to abolish it, and must tolerate it till it can be abolished without such result.

In this world, we must, to a greater or less extent, tolerate even moral wrong. It is a great moral evil that in the spiritual field the cockle should spring up to choke the wheat, and yet our Lord commands us to let both grow together, lest in attempting to root up the cockle we root up also the wheat with it. Infidelity, heresy, irreligion, are sins, and very grievous sins, and yet it is not lawful to extirpate them by fire and sword. The magistrate may, undoubtedly, repress their violence, and protect Christian faith and social order from their disorderly conduct; but their extirpation must be the work of the missionary, not of the magistrate, — for faith and obedience must be voluntary, a free-will offering to God. There were zealous disciples of our Lord, who would have called down fire from heaven to consume his adversaries; but he rebuked them. " Ye know not of what spirit ye are. The Son of Man came not to destroy souls, but to save." To a greater or less extent, we must tolerate sin, not in ourselves assuredly, but in others, and bear with transgressors, even as God bears with them. We must respect their free will, leave them the responsibility of their own misdeeds, because this is what God himself does, and because to attempt to root out all sins by violence, whether physical or social, for there is a social as well as a physical violence, would in the end only render matters infinitely worse, by destroying virtue itself. We cannot make this world a paradise, and all its inhabitants saints, as foolish puritans dream. As long as man retains free will, there will be abuses, there will be wrongs and outrages, and the sooner we come to this conclusion, and conform ourselves to it, the better will it be for all concerned, and the more real progress will there be made in virtue.

We have no quarrel with Frce-Soilers for being hostile to slavery. We have as little sympathy with any species of slavery as they have, and perhaps as deep and as true a devotion to freedom. They are far from monopolizing all the love of freedom and all the hatred of slavery in the community. " Brave men lived before Agamemnon," and love of freedom and hatred of slavery were born before Gerritt Smith, Robert llantoul, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, TBeodore Parker, or Abby Folsom, and would suffer little diminution were these choice spirits to die, and leave no heirs. It is very possible to oppose them and their proceedings without thereby opposing freedom, sympathizing with tyrants, or adding to the burdens of the oppressed. We oppose them, not for opposing slavery, but for the principles and methods by which they oppose it. These principles and methods are repugnant to freedom, and as friends of freedom we oppose them, and must oppose them.

Nothing in the world is easier than to get off stale commonplaces against slavery and in favor of liberty; but the
man who deals largely in these commonplaces is always a tyrant in his heart, and one whom it will never do to trust with power. The essence of all slavery is in the predominance of passion over reason, and passion predominates in the community over reason in the exact ratio in which law is weak or wanting; for law is the reason of the community. As the individual can be free in himself only by the predominance of reason in his interior life, so can a community be free in its members only by the supremacy of law in its bosom. The maddest madness conceivable is that which proposes to abolish slavery and secure freedom by abolishing law, — or government, without which the supremacy of law cannot be maintained. It is this madness that has seized the Free-Soilers or Abolitionists. Their principles strike at the foundation of all government, and therefore are repugnant to the indispensable conditions of freedom. Without government, strong and efficient government, it is impossible to maintain the supremacy of law, and without the maintenance of that supremacy, there is no guaranty of freedom either for black man or white man. The supremacy of law is as necessary to secure the freedom of the slave when emancipated, as to preserve the freedom of the master now. Without it there is only anarchy, in which might usurps the place of right, and the weak are the prey of the strong. You do not advance freedom when you emancipate the slave from his master by overthrowing government; you only render thereby freedom impossible, and introduce the most detestable species of tyranny conceivable, of which your emancipated slave will be the first victim, because the least able to defend his liberty.

The cause of freedom is never aided by injustice; and yet the Free-Soilers, who, in principle, are not at all distinguishable from the Abolitionists, are urging the commission of open, palpable injustice. Slavery exists in this country by law, and by law which is enacted or sanctioned by the American people in their highest legislative capacity. Suppose that law is unjust, still its injustice is on the part of the law-making power. Before that power the master who owns slaves is not unjust; as before it, he has justly invested his capital in slaves, and therefore it cannot justly require him to free his slaves without full compensation.    The people, who have authorized him to hold slaves, cannot cast the burden of their wrongs on him. If they have sinned, they must bear their sin in the same capacity in which they have committed it. If they wish to repent and repair it, they must indemnify the master for the property they have authorized him to hold, and now require him to surrender. To propose, after having authorized it, the abolition of slavery, without proposing a just compensation to the master, is to propose a scheme of public robbery, is virtually to deny private property, and to claim for the state the right to plunder its subjects. And yet our Frce-Soilors will not listen a moment to the proposal to indemnify the owners of slaves. They are urging the people to compel the masters to emancipate their slaves without compensation. Between the proprietor and the state, the property in slaves, whatever view we take of - slavery itself, is us sacred and as inviolable as any other species of property, and to attack it is, in principle, to attack every species of private property, and to make the state the only proprietor, — the extreme of despotism, hardly reached by the pretensions of the Grand Turk. And yet the men who propose this do not blush to talk of justice, and to insist on being honored as friends of freedom !

We bring no unfounded charges against the Free-Soil-ers. Whoever has any acquaintance with their real principles and proceedings knows that what we allege is true. Mr. Parker is one of their most gifted leaders, and a faithful exponent of their doctrines, and he fully bears us out in what we say.    Let us hear him for a few moments.

" Last Thanksgiving Day, I said it would be difficult to find a magistrate in Boston to take the odium of sending a fugitive back to slavery. I believed, after all, men had some conscience, although they talked about its being a duty to deliver up a man to bondage. Pardon me, my country, that I rated you too high ! Pardon me, town of Boston, that I thought your citizens all men! Pardon me, lawyers, that I thought you had been all born of mothers ! Pardon me, ruffians, who kill for hire ! I thought you had some animal mercy left, even in your bosom ! Pardon me, United States Commissioners, Marshals, and the like, I thought you all had some shame ! Pardon me, my hearers, for such mistakes. One Commissioner was found to furnish the warrant! Pardon me, I did not know he was a Commissioner; if I had, I never would have said it!" Spirits of Tyrants, I look down to you! Shade of Cain, thou groat first murderer, forgive me that I forgot your power, and did not remember that you were parent of so long a line ! And you, my brethren, if hereafter I tell you that there is any limit of meanness or wickedness which a Yankee will not jump over, distrust me, and remind me of this day, and I will take it back !

" Let us look at the public conduct of any Commissioner who will send an innocent man from Boston into slavery. I would speak of all men charitably ; for I know how easy it is to err, yea, to sin. I can look charitably on thieves, prowling about in darkness; on rum-sellers, whom poverty compels to crime ; on harlots, who do the deed of shame that holy woman's soul abhors and revolts at ; I can pity the pirate, who scours the seas doing his fiendish crimes, — he is tempted, made desperate, by a gradual training in wickedness. The man, born at the South, owning slaves, who goes to Africa and sells adulterated rum in exchange for men to sell at Cuba, — I cannot understand the consciousness of such a man ; yet I can admit that by birth and by breeding he has become so imbruted, he knows no better. Nay, even that he may perhaps justify his conduct to himself. I say I think his sin is not so dreadful as that of a Commissioner in Boston who sends a man into slavery. A man commits a murder, inflamed by jealousy, goaded by desire of great gain, excited by fear, stung by malice, or poisoned by revenge ; and 't is a horrid thing. But to send a man into slavery is worse than to murder him. I would rather be slain than enslaved. To do this, inflamed by no jealousy, goaded by no desire of great gain, — only ten dollars ! — excited by no fear, stung by no special malice, poisoned by no revenge ; — I cannot comprehend that in any man, not even in a hyena ; beasts that raven for blood do not kill for killing's sake, but to feed their flesh. Forgive me, O ye wolves and hyenas I that I bring you into such company.    I can only understand it in a devil!

" When a man bred in Massachusetts, whose Constitution declares that' all men are born free and equal'; within sight of Fan-euil Hall, with all its sacred memories ; within two hours of Plymouth Hock; within a single hour of Concord and Lexington ; in sight of Bunker Hill, — when he will do such a deed, it seems to me that there is no life of crime long enough to prepare a man for such a pitch of depravity; I should think he must have been begotten in sin, and conceived in iniquity, and been born ' with a dog's head on his shoulders '; that the concentration of the villany of whole generations of scoundrels would hardly be enough to fit a man for n deed like this!

" You know the story of SIMS. He crept on board a Boston vessel at Savannah. Perhaps he had heard of Boston, nay, even of Faneuil Hall, of the old Cradle of Liberty, and thought this was a Christian town, at least human, and hoped here to enjoy the liberty of a man. When the ship arrived here, the first words he spoke were, ' Are we up there ?' He was seized by a man who at the Court-House boasled of his cruelty towards him, who held him by the hair, and kept him down, seeking to kidnap and carry him back into slavery.    He escaped!

" But a few weeks pass by, the man-stealers are here; the Commissioner issues his warrant; the Marshals serve it in the night. Last Thursday night, — when odious beasts of prey, that dare not face the light of heaven, prowl through the woods,-—those ruffians of the law seized on their brother-man. They lie to the bystanders, and seize him on a false pretence. There is their victim, — they hold him fast. Can you understand his feelings} Let us pass by that. His ' trial' ! Shall I speak of that ? He has been five days on trial for more than life, and has not seen a judge ! A jury ? No. Only a Commissioner ! O justice ! O Republican America !    Is this the liberty of Massachusetts ?

" Where shall I find a parallel with men who will do such a deed, — do it in Boston f I will open the graves, and bring up most hideous tyrants from the dead : come, brood of monsters, let me bring you up from the deep damnation of the graves wherein your hated memories continue for all time their never-ending rot. Come, birds of evil omen ; come, ravens, vultures, carrion-crows, and see the spectacle ; come, see the meeting of congenial souls! I will disturb, disquiet, and bring up the greatest monsters of the human race ! Tremble not, women ; tremble not, children ; tremble not, men !    They are all dead !    They cannot harm you now !

" Come hither, HEROD the wicked ! Thou that didst seek after that young child's life, and destroyedst the Innocents ! Let me look on thy face ! No; go! Thou wert a Heathen ! Go, lie with the Innocents thou hast massacred. Thou art too good for this company !

" Come, NERO ! Thou awful Roman Emperor ! Come up I
No ; thou wast drunk with power, schooled in Roman depravity !
Thou hadst, besides, the example of thy fancied gods ! Go, wait
another day : I will seek a worser man. Come up, thou heap of wickedness, GEORGE JEFFRIES ! thy hands deep purple with the blood of thy murdered fellow-men ! Ah, I know thee ! awful and accursed shade 1 Two hundred years after thy death, men hate thee still, not without cause! Let me look upon thee ! I know thy history. Pause and be still, while I tell it to these men.

" Brothers, George Jeffries ' began in the sedition line.' ' There was no act, however bad, that he would not resort to to get on.' 4 He was of a bold aspect, and cared not for the countenance of any man.'    4 He became the avowed, unblushing slave of the court, and the bitter persecutor and unappeasable enemy of the principles he had before supported.' He ' was universally insolent and overbearing.' ' As a Judge, he did not consider the decencies of his post, nor did he so much as affect to be impartial as became a Judge.' He was a ' Commissioner' in 1685. You know of the ' bloody assizes' which he held,and how he sent to execution three hundred and twenty persons in a single circuit. ' The whole country was strewed with the heads and limbs of his victims.' Yet a man wrote that 'a little more hemp might have been usefully employed.' He was the worst of the English Judges. ' There was no measure, however illegal, to the execution of which he did not devotedly and recklessly abandon himself.' ' During the Stuart reigns, England was cursed by a succession of ruffians in ermine, who, for the sake of court favor, wrested the principles of law, the precepts of religion, and the duties of humanity; but they were all greatly outstripped by Jeffries.'    Such is his history.

" Come, shade of a judicial butcher ! Two hundred years, thy name has been pilloried in face of the world, and thy memory gibbeted before mankind ! Let us see how thou wilt compare with those who kidnap men in Boston ! Go seek companionship with them ! Go claim thy kindred, if such they be ! Go tell them that the memory of the wicked shall rot, — that there is a God, an Eternity, ay! and a Judgment too ! where the slave may appeal against him that made him a slave, to Him that made him a man! What! dost thou shudder ? Thou turn back ! These not thy kindred ? Why dost thou turn pale, as when the crowd clutched at thy life in London street ? 'T is true, George Jeffries, and these are not thy kin. Forgive me that I should send thee on such an errand, or bid thee seek companionship with such, — with hunters of the slave! Thou wert not base enough ! It was a great bribe that tempted thee ! Again, 1 say, pardon me for sending thee to keep company with such men! Thou only struckst at men accused of crime ; not at men accused only of their birth ! Thou wouldst not send a man into bondage for two pounds ! I will not rank thee with men who, in Boston, for ten dollars, would enslave
a  negro  now !    Rest still, Herod!    Be quiet, Nero !  Sleep, Jeffries, underneath ' the altar of the church' which seeks with Christian charity to hide your hated bones.

" Well, my brethren, these are only the beginning of sorrows. There will be other victims yet: this will not settle the question. What shall we do ? I think I am a calm man and a cool man, and I have a word or two to say as to what we shall do. Never obey the law. Keep the law of God. Next I say, resist not evil with evil; resist not now with violence. Why do I say this ? Will you tell me that I am a coward ?    Perhaps I am; at least I am not afraid to be called one. Why do I say, then, do not now resist with violence ? Because it is not time just yet; IT WOULD NOT
SUCCEED. If I had the eloquence that I sometimes dream of, which goes into a crowd of men, and gathers it in its mighty arm, and sways them as the pendant boughs of yonder elm shall be shaken by the summer-breeze next June, I would not give that counsel. I would call on men, and lift up my voice like a trumpet through the whole land, until I had gathered millions out of the North and the South, and they should crush slavery for ever, as the ox crushes
the spider underneath his feet. But such eloquence is given to no
man. It was not given to the ancient Greek who ' shook the arse
nal and fulmined over Greece.' He that so often held the nobles
and the mob of Rome within his hand, had it not. He that spoke
as never man spake, and who has since gathered two hundred mil
lions to his name, had it not. No man has it. The ablest must
wait for time ! It is idle to resist; it is not the hour. If in 1765
they had attempted to carry out the Revolution by force, they would
have failed. Had it failed, we had not been here to-day. There
would have been no little monument at Lexington ; no little monu
ment at Concord ; nor that tall pile of eloquent stone at Bunker
Hill, to proclaim that ' Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.'
Success is due to the discretion, heroism, calmness, and forbear
ance of our fathers: let us wait our time. It will come,— pehaps will need no sacrifice of blood.
"I suppose that this man will be carried back to slavery. The law of the United Stales has been cloven down ; the law of Massachusetts cloven down. If we have done all that we can, we must leave the result to God. It is something that a man can only be kidnapped in Boston by riding over the law, and only tried in a Court-House surrounded by chains, when the Judges go under the iron of slavery to enter the house of bondage ; that even on Fast day it is guarded by one hundred police, and three companies of military are picketed in Faneuil Hall. The Christians saw Christ crucified, and looked on from afar; sad, but impotent. The Christians at Rome saw their brethren martyred, and could not help them : they were too weak. But the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church. To-day is St. Bademus day : 376 years after Christ, that precious saint was slain because he would not keep the commandment of the king. By crucified Redeemers'shall mankind be saved. If we cannot prevent the crucifixion, let us wait for the redemption.

" Shall I ask you to despair of human liberty and rights ? I believe that money is to triumph for the present. We see it does in Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and Washington : see this in the defence of bribery ; in the chains of the Court House ; in the judges' pliant necks ; in the swords of the police to-day ; — see it in the threats of the press to withdraw the trade of Boston from towns that favor the unalienable rights of man.

" Will the Union hold out ? I know not that. But, if men continue to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law, I do not know how soon it will end ; I do not care how soon the Union goes to pieces. I believe in justice and the law of God, and ultimately the Right will prevail. Wrong will prevail for a time, and attract admira* tion. I have seen in a haberdasher's shop-window the figure of a wooden woman showily arrayed, turning round on a pivot, and attracting the gaze of all the passers-by ; but ere long it is forgotten. So it will be with this transient love of slavery in Boston ; but the love of right will last as long as the granite in New Hampshire hills. I will not tell you to despair of freedom because politicians are false ; for they are often so. Despair of freedom for the black man! no, never, Not till heaven shakes down its stars; nay, not till the heart of man ceases to yearn for liberty; not till tho Eternal God is hurled from his throne, and a devil takes his place ! All the arts of wicked men shall not prevail against the Father; nay, at last, not against the Son." — pp. 30-39.

This is strange language for a man who writes Rev. before his name. But what had this Commissioner, who is a respectable man, a loyal citizen, and a distinguished lawyer, done, to warrant this bitter, not to say foul-mouthed, denunciation ? He had broken no law, attacked no man's freedom, violated no public or private right; he was honestly and faithfully discharging his official duty, executing in a legal manner as far as depended on him a very necessary and just law of his government. Is not that party hostile to all personal liberty and to all government, that for such a reason pronounces such a man and such a public officer a " wolf," an " hyena," nay, worse than either, and matched in iniquity onfy by the Devil himself? Is a man a devil because loyal to the state, and because he refuses to trample its Constitution under his feet ?

All history, it seems, fails to furnish a tyrant who is not surpassed by Mr. Commissioner Curtis, and the officers of the United States government in this city, and simply because they execute a just and necessary law in opposition to the wislies of traitors and disorganizes. Is the preacher in earnest, or is he joking? Is his sermon irony, or is it an admirable specimen of the bathos ? He speaks of excitement. Who caused that excitement ? Certainly, he and his friends. He complains that the military were under arms, the Court-House guarded with chains, and surrounded by a numerous and vigilant police. Against whom were these precautions necessary ? Not assuredly against orderly citizens, not against the friends of the Union, not against loyal subjects opposed to the commission of treason ; but against the Rev. Theodore Parker and his Abolition mob, black and white. But for them and their treasonable resistance, no such precautions would have been necessary. A man threatens to rob you; you call the watch, and are guilty of causing a disturbance! He threatens your life, and you call the police to prevent him from cutting your throat, and you are kicking up a row! Do these gentlemen need to be told that it is not they, but we, who have the right to complain of the excitement, and the precautions which they made it necessary for us to take to prevent THEM from violating the law!

Mr. Parker plainly counsels resistance to the laws, downright treason, and civil war, — only not just yet. The hour is not yet come, and armed resistance might be premature, because just now it might be unsuccessful! The traitorous intention, the traitorous resolution, is manifest, is avowed, is even gloried in, and nothing is wanting to the overt attempt to carry it into execution but a fair prospect of success. And what is of more serious consequence, the party of which this fierce declaimer is an accredited organ is now in power in this State, and has the Governor and the majority of the representatives in both houses of Congress. It rules or misrules the great State of Ohio ; it is numerous in Pennsylvania, almost the majority in New York, triumphant in Vermont, and, we can but just not say, also in New Hampshire. Its principles are entertained by men who do not profess allegiance to the party. Nearly every member of Congress from this State, with the exception of Mr. Appleton of this city, is in reality as much of a Free-Soiler as Horace Mann or Robert Rantoul. Mr. Win-throp, the Whig candidate for the Senate, was not a whit sounder than Mr. Sumner, his successful Free Soil competitor, and would have made a far more dangerous Senator. The party has absorbed in its bosom all the separate fanaticisms of the Free States; and all who, like ourselves, have watched its growth from 1831, are well aware that it has been steadily advancing, that it has never lost an inch of ground once gained, and that it has never for a moment met with a serious check.  
It is as certain as any thing human can be, that, if it is not speedily resisted, and resisted as it never yet has been, it will in a short time possess the power in nearly all the Free States, and consequently in the Union itself. To what then are we coming?

This statement will, no doubt, gratify and encourage the party ; but the party has already become too strong to be pushed aside as contemptible, and we must not deceive ourselves as to the magnitude of the danger that threatens us. Both parties, Whigs and Democrats, — Whigs more especially till lately, — have criminally tampered with it, and aided it to acquire its present formidable power, — a power which, perhaps, is no longer controllable. The measures hitherto taken against it have thus far only exasperated and strengthened it. The " Compromise Measures " of the late Congress, which it was hoped would allay the excitement, and extinguish the party by depriving it of all pretence for further agitation, have had only a contrary effect. We do not agree with the so-called Disunion-ists of the South, for we are Unionists, but it must be confessed that they have been the only considerable party in the country that has had any tolerable appreciation of the Free Soil movement. They were correct in their predictions that the Compromise Measures would be ineffectual, and they have not overstated the danger. We say not danger to the institution of slavery, for the question of slavery loses itself in a much higher question, even higher and more important than the simple maintenance of the Union, — in the question of the maintenance of society itself. The Free-Soilers are to American society what Red Republicans and Socialists are to European society, and their triumph is the triumph of anarchy and despotism.

Good, quiet, easy men, looking over their legers, or sipping their wine, may flatter themselves that there is no serious danger, and tell us that we are unnecessarily alarmed ; but in all human probability, if the fugitive slave Sims had not been given up on the claim of his owner, the American Union had now already ceased to exist. It is all very well to talk of " Southern bluster," and the " Hotspurs" of the South, but there is something more than bluster just now. The Southern people are as virtuous and as patriotic as we, and their statesmen are as enlightened and sagacious as ours.    They see  what, with
individual exceptions, we do not permit ourselves to see, that the Free States are fast losing all their respect for law, and becoming unfaithful to their solemn engagements, and blind to all the claims of religion and morality. They see that the abolition of slavery at the bidding of our fanatics would be the dissolution of American society itself. They see the disorganizes steadily advancing, and that we are taking no efficient means to repress them, and they very naturally consult secession from the Union as the only means of sell-preservation that remain to them. They may be wrong, but we of the North have no right to blame them for doing what we are forcing them to do, if they wish to retain any semblance of freedom.
We regard the Union as we do marriage, that is, as legally indissoluble. We deny in the one, as in the other, the lawfulness of divorce, and therefore are not accustomed to dwell on the advantages of the Union, or to speculate on the consequences of its dissolution. We will not so insult the friends of the Union as to enter into any argument to prove its absolute necessity to the well-being of the people of this country; but we may be permitted to say, that if the slave-holding States secede in a body, and form a Southern confederacy, they will not be the greatest losers. In all the Free States, the moment the conservative influence of the Union is withdrawn, Free-Soilisrn triumphs, and under the reign of its principles civilized society cannot subsist. The wild radicalism that underlies it, and which is suspected as yet, no doubt, only by a minority of those rallied under the Free Soil flag, will not be slow to develop itself, and to carry on with it even the mass of those who are unprepared at this moment to follow it to all lengths it may go. That radicalism, being in principle sheer anarchy or despotism, cannot serve as the basis of a civilized state. The Free States, paradoxical as it may seem to them, are, by the prevalence of this radicalism, deprived of the social and political virtues necessary to found or preserve civilized society. In an industrial and commercial point of view, the Southern confederacy would have the advantage over the Northern. It would include the great exporting States, and could therefore always trade more to its advantage in European markets than in ours. We are now the factors and manufacturers for the South, but we should not be when we come to sustain to it the relation of a foreign government. We should lose two thirds of our foreign exports, a very large proportion of our internal trade, and the best markets for the larger portion of our manufactures. What, in case of division, would naturally form the Southern republic or kingdom, would have more fully the elements of national greatness in itself than the Northern, at least, till some great change should come over the present state of commerce and industry. These considerations can have no weight with the fanatics, but they should have weight with our cool-headed business men, and with all that portion of our population that have not yet entirely lost their senses.

It is well known that the union of the American States could never have been formed if the Free States had not consented to the insertion in the Constitution of the provision in regard to the surrender of fugitive slaves, and no man who is really aware of the feelings of the South can doubt that its preservation in any thing like its original character is impossible unless the Free Soil fanaticism is effectually suppressed, and the Fugitive Slave Law faithfully executed. This law, which Mr. Parker and the more open and honest portion of the Free-Soilers counsel us to resist, and the more shrewd and cowardly portion tell us must be repealed, is now a test law. Let us, however, be just to the South. They, no doubt, are attached to the institution of domestic slavery, at least determined to follow their own judgment in regard to it, but they do not insist on this law merely on account of the protection it affords to negro slavery, and we much mistake their character if we suppose they would secede from the Union, or hazard a civil war, for the sake of a few dozens of runaway slaves. They never seem over-anxious to recover the slaves that escape into the Northern States, and it costs in general more to reclaim one, even when no resistance is offered, than his services are worth. That it is not the value of the runaway slaves they mainly consider, is evident enough from the fact, that the feeling on the subject is deepest in those very States from which the fewest slaves escape, or are likely to escape. They insist on the law because it is constitutional, because in executing it we give them assurance that we are willing and able to abide by our constitutional engagements, and are not disposed to abuse the power of the federal government, now passing, once for all, into our hands. They want some pledge of the ability and determination of the Free States to restrain the wild radicalism so rife amongst them, and which laughs at constitutions and laws, and in its onward career is madly sweeping away in them all the defences of personal freedom and social order instituted or preserved by the wisdom of our fathers. They take their stand on this law as a frontier post, which, if carried, admits the enemy into the interior, and leaves them no alternative but to surrender at discretion, — not merely negro slavery, which, comparatively speaking, were a small affair, but liberty itself, to the unrestrained despotism of an irresponsible and fanatical majority.

Let no man deceive himself with the vain hope that this radicalism now represented by the Free Soil party would stop with the mere abolition of negro slavery. It is the persuasion of so many of our citizens that it would, which renders it so dangerous. The abolition of slavery by violence, against the will of the masters, and without compensating them for the property we compel them to surrender, would be a great evil, but it is one of the lightest evils to be expected from the progress of Free Soil fanaticism. We assure the public, — and it is the point we wish particularly to impress upon our readers, — that the abolition of negro slavery is only an incident in Free-Soilism. Neither the Free-Soilers nor we can foresee where they would stop. Combining as they do in one all the several classes of fanatics in the country, and being the party opposed to law, to constitutions and governments, certain it is they would not stop so long as there remained a single safeguard for individual freedom, or a single institution capable of imposing the least restraint upon lawless and despotic will. No doubt there are honest, but deceived, individuals in the party, who will not go all lengths with it; but they will be impotent to restrain it, and the party itself, augmenting its forces as it marches, will on whithersoever its licentious and despotic principles lead, unless speedily and effectually resisted by the sounder part of the community, or by the merciful interposition of Divine Providence.

The essential principle of the Free Soil party, that which gives it so terrible a vitality, is not, we repeat, exclusively or mainly, opposition to slavery. Half unknown to itself, it is a party organized against law in all its forms, against
all the principles and maxims of the past, and all the moral, religious, social, and political institutions of the present. It is a party formed against the common reason, common sense, and common interests of mankind. With the cant of religion and morality on their lips, its leaders are, almost to a man, infidels and blasphemers, as well as traitors and disorganizes. They are men for whom it is not enough to sin from appetite or passion, but who must sin from principle, — for whom it is not enough to see the good, approve it, and yet pursue the wrong, but who must pervert conscience itself, erect evil into good, and make sin pass for virtue. They aim at reversing all the judgments of mankind, and brand the Christian virtues as vices, and exalt the vices opposed to them to the rank and dignity of Christian virtues. Whatever has hitherto been counted sacred they pronounce profane, and whatever has been hitherto counted profane, they command us to respect as sacred.    They say with Milton's Satan, —

" All good to me is lost; Evil, be thou my good."

They carry their zeal for reversing so far as to seek to reverse the natural relation of the sexes, to dishonor woman by making her the head, and sending her to the legislature, the cabinet, or into the field to command our armies, and compelling man to remain at home, and nurse the children, wash the dishes, make the beds, and sweep the hotise. Already are their women usurping the male attire, and beginning to appear in our streets and assemblies dressed out in full Bloomer costume, and little remains for the men but to don the petticoat and to draw the veil over their faces.

Let no man accuse us of exaggeration. We do not exaggerate in the least, and are only giving our readers a sober statement of the spirit and tendency of the great movement party of our times, — Red Republicans and Socialists in France, Italy, and Germany, Progresistas in Spain, Radicals in England, Free-Soilers and Abolitionists, just now, in the United States, — Destructives everywhere, borne forward by the under-currents of nearly all modern societies, glorified by all the popular literature of the age, defended by the newspaper press generally, and with us in the Free States already able to blast the reputation of almost every public man who ventures to assail them. We speak of a party which we have long known, and which, we grieve to say, we ourselves, when we had more influence with our countrymen than we can ever hope to have , again, supported, under more than one of its aspects, with a zeal and an energy worthy of a better cause. Alas! men are often powerful to do evil, but impotent to repair it. Now that our eyes are open, and we are able to see the mischief we did, we have no power to undo it, and if we are permitted to speak out freely and boldly, as we do, against the party, it is because that party can afford to let us say what we please. No voice raised against it seems to be any longer heeded, and if a man of standing and weight in the community assails it under one of its aspects, he must save himself and friends by giving it a new impetus under another, as we see in the case of Mr. Webster, who apparently writes his Letter to the Chevalier Hulsemann to atone for his speech in the Senate-chamber on the 7th of March, 1850. He appears to have felt that the only way in which he could obtain a popularity for the administration, to balance the popularity lost by its adhesion to the Compromise Measures, was to express sympathy with radicalism and revolutionism abroad. In this he may have judged patriotically, if not wisely and justly ; for to sympathize with foreign radicalism is less dangerous to us for the moment, than to sympathize with domestic radicalism. Now it is the progress and triumph of this wild radical party that the South really dread. They see it under the Free Soil and Abolition aspect, but also — though less clearly, perhaps —under other aspects, and they see that they have every thing to fear and nothing to hope from it. Hence the firmness with which they insist—and we, too, ought to insist, for we are as deeply interested as they — on the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law ; for if the party cannot be successfully resisted on this law, it is idle to think of resisting it at all. We and all the members of the Union are then without protection, and at the mercy of the worst and most frightful despotism, under the name of liberty, that it is possible to conceive.

But the Fugitive Slave Law, Mr. Parker and his associates tell us, is unjust, and they add, that, if the Union cannot be preserved without sustaining an unjust law, let it go to pieces.

"Quicquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes."

However that may be, we distrust Satan, even when he preaches morality; for he never preaches morality unless to persuade us to outrage it. We cannot prize very highly the moral lectures of those who are daily and hourly violating all social morality, and counselling us to do the same, — who are undeniably traitors, really guilty of treason, by their combined and persevering resistance to the execution of a law of Congress. No lawyer of character can doubt for a moment that persons associating together for the express purpose of permanently defeating the execution of any law of the State or of Congress, and in their conventions passing resolves to resist it, incur the guilt of treason ; and treason, whatever some people think, is a violation of the moral law, a sin against God, as well as a crime against the state. It is a sad day for both public and private morals, when treason is regarded as a virtue, and the traitor punished for his treason is looked upon as a martyr. Men have, no doubt, been unjustly accused of treason, and punished as traitors when they should not have been ; but this does not in the least lessen the crime of treason, and should not in the least screen from punishment those who arc really guilty of it. It seems to be forgotten by the great mass of our people, that treason is a crime under our form of government, as well as under other forms, and that to sympathize with traitors, whether at home or abroad, is not even here a virtue. Perhaps the government would do well, if, instead of sending out ships of war to bring foreign traitors into the country, it would make examples of some few of our domestic traitors, and thus remind the people that here no more than elsewhere is it lawful to conspire to resist the laws. Perhaps some examples will have soon to be made, if the government intends to maintain itself. But be this as it may, it is certain that the Free Soil resistance to the execution of the Fugitive Slave Law is treason as denned by our laws, because it springs not from a momentary impulse or sudden exasperation, but from a settled purpose of defeating the law, not in one instance only, but in every instance in which there shall be an attempt to execute it. We must be pardoned, then, if we are not disposed to listen to lectures on morals from the Free Soil leaders, especially when the morals they would teach us are only such as they need to save their own necks from the halter.

The Fugitive Slave Law is not unjust. It is a constitutional law, so declared by Judges Woodbury and Nelson of the United States Circuit Court, and by the Supreme Judicial Court of this Commonwealth. Chief Justice Shaw, than whom it would be difficult to find a higher legal authority, in giving the unanimous opinion of the court, said that the law was not only constitutional, but necessary, and Congress was bound to pass it. In principle it does not differ from the original law of 1793, and differs from it at all only in devolving on officers of the federal government certain duties which that law devolved on officers of the State governments. The amendment became necessary in consequence of several of the States having prohibited their officers, under heavy penalties, from performing those duties. The amendment which transferred these duties to officers of the federal government cannot in the least affect the constitutionality of the law, and therefore, since no one can pretend that the original law of 1793 was unconstitutional, the amended law of 1850 must be conceded to be constitutional. The law was enacted by the proper authorities, according to the forms prescribed by the Constitution, for the purpose of carrying into effect an imperative provision of the Constitution, and, after the decisions of the several tribunals, its constitutionality must be held to be settled, and no longer an open question. Unjust, then, it cannot be, unless the Constitution is unjust. The Constitution is not unjust, unless it contravenes the law of God. That the Constitution does contravene the law of God, no religious man can pretend, for men of all religions have approved it, and men of no religion have nothing to say on the subject, since for them there is no law of God, and therefore no conscience.
The Constitution ordains that persons held to service in one State escaping into another shall be given up on being claimed by those to whom such service is due. An independent state in the absence of treaty obligations, or with us in the absence of constitutional obligations, is not bound to give up fugitive slaves, or even fugitives from justice; but it is free to do so, for reasons satisfactory to itself. To reduce a freeman to slavery is a sin, so declared by the highest religious authority, and accordingly our government prohibits the slave-trade under its ilag, and declares it piracy. But to give up a slave to his owner is by no competent authority declared to be a sin. To give up a fugitive slave is not to reduce a freeman to slavery ; it is simply not interfering to liberate a slave. The slave in escaping does not become a freeman, nor in the least alter the relations between him and his master. So far as he is concerned, the master has the same right to reclaim him when he has escaped into another state that he wotild have if he had only escaped to a neighboring plantation in the same state. The right that debars the master from asserting his claim is not the slave's right, but that of the state into which the slave has escaped, which prohibits the assertion of the claim, because it cannot allow the laws of another state, however just, to operate by their own force within its jurisdiction. The question is not here between master and slave, but between two independent states. The state may, if it chooses, waive its rights, and permit the master to reclaim his slave, without adding to or taking from the previous right of either slave or master, as between themselves. Its waiving of its territorial jurisdiction is only not interposing it, and is therefore simply non-intervention, or not asserting, when it might, its right to intervene. It simply remains neutral, and leaves the relation between the master and slave as it finds it. This is all that the Fugitive Slave Law requires of any of the States, for the process it prescribes, and the powers it requires to be exercised, have for their sole object, on the one hand, to prevent a freeman from being taken under pretext of recovering a fugitive slave, and on the other, to maintain the neutrality of the State by preventing any portion of its citizens or subjects from interfering to prevent the recovery of his slave by the master.

Thus viewed, the question, even supposing slavery to be wrong, is simply, Has a state the right to remain neutral between two foreign parties, and suffer or permit the party assumed to be in the wrong to bear down the party assumed to be in the right ? If the state has this right, it of course has the right to take all the necessary measures to compel its citizens or subjects to remain neutral. Has the state this right ?    It certainly has the right, for it is idle to pretend that we are bound, either as states or as individuals, to interpose to redress all wrongs, real or supposed, committed or tolerated by others.    The question is not as to the. rigid, but as to the obligation to intervene.    There may be cases when we are free to intervene, and others when we are bound to intervene; but the former are not numerous, and the latter are very rare.    The experience of our Puritan ancestors proves this very clearly as to individuals, and that nothing is worse than to make every indi* vidual in a community the guardian of the morals of every other individual.    It leads every one to mind every one's business but his own, establishes a system of universal espionage, and sacrifices all individual freedom and independence.    It destroys all sense of individual responsibility, precludes all firmness and manliness of character, and superinduces? the general habit of consulting, not what is true, what is right, what is duty, but what is popular, or rather, what will escape the censure of one's neighbors.    Whoever knows what our society was under the strict Puritan regimen knows well how fatal to virtue is the system.    The New-Englander of to-day bears but too many traces of the system, which  makes him  but  too often a  hypocrite  at home or in public, and somewhat of a rowdy in private or abroad.    The whole system, out  of which  Free-Soilism tmdeniably springs, is false,  of immoral  tendency,  and founded on a misapprehension of the nature of man and the government, of God.    We must leave scope for individual  freedom ;  we must trust  something to individual responsibility, and   place our main reliance on the principles we early instil  into  individuals, the  religious  influences with which we surround them, and the workings of their own consciences.    It  will  not do to keep them always in leading-strings, or under lock and ward.    If we do, we shall never have any strong or masculine virtue; never have any men on whom in the hour of temptation and trial we can rely.    No doubt, outbreaks of passion, of wild and exuberant spirits, there will be;   no doubt, disorders will occur, scenes of personal violence will be exhibited, scandals will  be  given ;  but these things, however much to be deplored, no human foresight or power can prevent, and we must, make up our minds to bear with them.    To attempt, as Calvin did in Geneva, and as our fathers did in New England, to guard against them by an all-pervading espionage and minute legislation, descending even to prescribe the fashion of cutting the hair, only substitutes a darker and more fatal class of vices and crimes, such as can be practised in solitude or carried on in secret. We must bear with them, — knowing that, if there is less virtue than we wish, what virtue there is will be genuine, and able to abide the test.

The same principle applies to nations, for nations are only individuals to each other. As long as they remain unaggressive, disposed to live in peace with their neighbors, and to fulfil the obligations of good neighborhood, they must be left to stand on their own individual responsibility, and each to be supreme, under God, in managing its own internal affairs. To make them guardians of the morals and policy each of the others, would result only in evil. It would excite perpetual jealousies and heart-burnings, give the strong and grasping a pretext for interfering with and subjugating the weak, rendering peace impossible, war, rapine, and oppression permanent and universal. We deny, then, the moral obligation of independent states — unless it be in certain rare cases, when the very existence of society itself is threatened, and a given state is really waging war against social order and the common interests of mankind, and therefore really attacking the common right of nations — to interfere to redress even the moral wrongs which may be perpetrated in the interior of each other. Granting, then, — what we certainly do not grant, — that slavery is a moral wrong in itself, one state is not bound to interfere for its abolition in another. Then it is free to preserve in regard to it a strict neutrality, and to enforce that neutrality on its citizens or subjects. Then, as what is called giving up a fugitive slave is really nothing but remaining neutral between the master and slave, for by it the state only refuses to interpose its territorial jurisdiction as a bar to the recovery of his slave by the master, the state is not bound to prohibit the recovery of fugitive slaves; and in permitting and compelling its citizens to permit them to be recovered, it does and requires no one to do a moral wrong. It is false, then, to pretend that the Fugitive Slave Law or the Constitution in requiring it is unjust, — contravenes the law of God. The States, then, in forming this Union, had the right to stipulate that fugitive slaves should be given up, and their stipulation binds all their citizens or subjects.

The Free-Soilers and Abolitionists profess to appeal from the vstate to what they call the higher law; but no such appeal as they, in fact, contend for, is ever admissible. There is certainly a higher lawgiver than the state. God is the Supreme Lawgiver for states and individuals, and no civil enactment contrary to his law is obligatory,— not precisely because his law is a higher law, but because such an enactment is no law at all, and is null and void from the beginning. God as Universal Sovereign ordains civil government, clothes it with authority, within the limits of his law, natural and revealed, to govern, and we must never forget that it is by his authority that it governs. Consequently its enactments, within these limits, are, in effect, the laws of God, and being his laws, there can be no higher laws on the matters they include to override or annul them. They are by the will of God supreme in their province, and bind us as laws of God ; and they can no more be disobeyed without sin against God, than they can without crime against the state.

But the Free-Soiler alleges that the Fugitive Slave Law transcends these limits, and ordains what the law of God prohibits; and concludes, therefore, that it is no law, and he is not only free to disobey, but even bound to resist it. This is not true, as we have shown in proving that an independent state has the right to remain neutral in the question between the master and slave of another state, and therefore the American States, in forming a federal union for their common weal, had the power to bind themselves to give up fugitive slaves. If they could not, as we know they could not, secure the advantages of the Union without so binding themselves, they had the right to do it, and a sufficient reason for doing it, and this obligation is binding in conscience upon all their citizens respectively. But let this pass. The burden of proof is on the Free-Soiler. Civil government exists and governs by Divine appointment, and therefore the presumption is always that its acts are in accordance with the Divine will, till the contrary is shown. Consequently, they who allege that they are not, must prove their allegation. It is not enough to say, that all civil enactments in contravention of the law of God are null; therefore the Fugitive Slave Law is null. The fact of its contravening the Divine law must be proved as the condition of concluding its nullity.    This the Free-Soiler does not even attempt to prove, or, if he attempts to prove it, it is simply by alleging in proof his own private opinion, private judgment, or, as he says, conscience; that is, by adducing in proof the very matter to be proved. The conscience he alleges is his private conscience, and private conscience is simply one's private judgment of what is or is not the law of God, and may be true or false. To allege this is only to allege private judgment, and to allege private judgment is to allege the very matter in question; for the very matter in question is the truth or validity of this private judgment of the Free-Soiler, that the F'ugitive Slave Law contravenes the law of God.
Here is precisely where the Free-Soiler breaks down. His declamation is superior to his logic. He professes to appeal from the civil enactment to the law of God, but in reality appeals only to his own private judgment, and this appeal is not admissible; because it is not an appeal to a higher court, or to a court competent to interpret and declare the will of the Higher Lawgiver. The state is the lawgiver for individuals, not individuals for the state. The judgment of the state in all cases overrides the private judgment of individuals, and the individual is bound to submission, whatever his private convictions, unless he can back his private convictions by an authority paramount to that of the State, and which States as well as individuals are bound to obey. Such an authority the Free-Soiler has not, as we may presume from the fact that he does not attempt to allege it. His pretence is, that his private convictions themselves are the higher law, and override all civil enactments opposed to them, which is manifestly false, as well as repugnant to civil government itself.
Mr. Parker tries to prove that a man's private convictions are themselves the higher law, from the example of the early Christian martyrs, who absolutely refused to sacrifice to idols at the command of the Emperor. But this example is not to his purpose; for they offered only a passive resistance, and did not refuse to obey the Emperor on the authority of private judgment or private conscience, but on an authority which the Emperor himself was bound to obey, that is, the authority, not of private, but of universal reason, which forbids idolatry, and an express revelation of the will of God to the Church infallibly, interpreted to them. When the Free-Soiler will bring these authorities, or either of them, — that is, the authorities themselves, not merely his notions of them, — to back his private convictions or conscience, that the Fugitive Slave Law contravenes the law of God, then we will concede his right, and even his duty, to disobey it; for it is necessary to obey God rather than men. But this he cannot do, for if he could, he would have done it long ago. Conscience is the law for the individual in the absence of all other law, but is sacred and inviolable before civil enactments only when supported by the law of God; for it is not itself the law of God, but simply one's judgment of what that law does or does not command. The appeal to it, then, can never avail the Free-Soiler; for of itself it can never override a ciVil enactment.

The appeal to the Supreme Lawgiver is compatible with civil government, but the appeal to private judgment, or conviction, as to a higher law than that of the state, is not; for it virtually denies government itself, by making the individual paramount to it. The Free-Soiler, then, by the very fact that he appeals to private convictions or private conscience as the higher law, proves, what we have alleged, that his principles strike at the foundation of government. He asserts the supremacy of private opinion, and exalts private judgment to the dignity and authority of the law of God. If this pretence that private judgment is the law of God were an isolated fact, if it were a temporary resort of a party hard pressed, we should smile at its absurdity, and pass it over as harmless. But it is a settled doctrine, received as an axiom, as a sacred dogma, as their fundamental principle, by the universal Radical or Movement party of our times, and holds with them the rank and authority which the dogma of the infallibility of the Church holds with the Catholic. They seek to make it the basis of all ethical and legislative codes. Strange as it may seem, whatever minor differences there may be^among the members of the party, they all agree in setting up man — humanity, as they say — in the place of God, and man's will — that is, their own — in the place of the Divine will. As if preluding Antichrist, they have the incredible audacity to allege that they do this in the name of our Blessed Lord himself. The sacred Mystery of the Incarnation, they tell us, symbolizes the Divinity of man, and signifies
to all who understand it that God is for us only in man. Man is the only God for men, and man's will is for men God's will, therefore the supreme law, lex suprema, to which all creeds, codes, hierarchies, and states must conform, or lose their right to be. This is the doctrine of Red Republicans and Socialists on the Continent of Europe, to a great extent of the Radicals and Chartists in England, and of the Free-Soilers or Abolitionists of this country. There can be no question of the fact. It is read in all the literature of the party; it is plainly taught in the Sermon before us; it is clearly implied in this very appeal to private conviction as to the law of God, which is made by even the more moderate of the Free-Soilers. Nor is the doctrine entertained simply as a closet theory. It is no longer a mere speculation ; it is no longer confined to books, pamphlets, or newspapers ; it has come forth into practical life, organized parties, formed conspiracies, produced revolutions, expelled sovereigns, convulsed all Europe, kindled the flames of civil war, and, if defeated on some points, is as yet nowhere subdued. It is here, laughing at constitutions, collecting mobs, arming a party to resist the constituted authorities, undermining the state, corrupting public and private morals, and preparing the way for the horrors of anarchy. It lias become an organized party, and as such we have now to meet it, not in the schools only, but in the field, and with something more than syllogisms or moral protestations.

We shall not undertake to refute this doctrine, for they who entertain it are past being reasoned with. Reason and argument were thrown away upon them. But we do entreat such of our countrymen as have not yet entirely lost their senses to open their eyes to the dangers that threaten us. This terribly destructive doctrine takes possession of people in the name of liberty, and it captivates because it is supposed to exalt the individual, and to guaranty his freedom. But it does no such thing. It destroys all individual freedom. It magnifies the individual in the face of government, indeed, but it is only, after having used him to break down government, to crush him beneath the despotism of what it calls society. Why advocate we so strenuously, in season and out of season, the sacredness and inviolability of government, and inscribe LAW AND ORDER on the banner we throw out ?    Is it because we have no sense of individual freedom, because we would sacrifice the individtial to the state, because we would have government everywhere, and suffer no one to sit down or rise up but at the bidding of a master ? Let no one be so foolish as to do us that injustice. We are freeborn Americans; we have battled for liberty all our life, and were never more resolute to battle for it than we are now. We love liberty, and would leave always a large margin for individual freedom. We oppose Socialism, because it destroys individuality, and is nothing but despotism; we oppose Radicalism, because it is despotism; we oppose Free-Soilism, because it is despotism ; and we assert the necessity of government, because without it there can be no margin left for individual liberty. Tell us, ye wise ones, ye enlightened reformers of the nineteenth century, when ye have succeeded in making way with government, what protection ye will have left me for my individual and personal freedom ? Whither, then, shall I be able to fly to save myself from being crushed beneath your huge, social despotism, rolling on under the impetus of lawless passion and irresponsible demagogues ? What refuge can there be for personal freedom, when what is called society, as distinguished from government, is supreme, without law, without restraint, but the will and passions of the Radicals who are at its head ? A cruel and despotic public opinion, variable and capricious as morbid feeling, will then become supreme, universal, all-pervading, and overwhelm every individual who has the hardihood to hesitate for a moment to comply with its imperious demands. What now takes place on a small scale in your voluntary associations for reforming society, will then be exhibited on a large scale. The capricious despotism will not stop with putting chains on the limbs, and a padlock on the lips, but it will enter into the soul, penetrate into the very interior of man ; all free thought will be stifled in its conception, all manliness, all nobility of character, depart, virtue be unheard of, and men become a race of mean, cringing, cowardly slaves of an intangible despot, and wild and lawless passion revel in one universal and perpetual saturnalia. It is to prevent this fatal result that we demand government, strong and efficient government, — not to crush the individual, but to save him from being crushed under the tyranny of an un-governed society, by restraining social action and influence within their legitimate bounds. Let the principles of Free-Soilistm, of the fanatics, become predominant, as they are becoming, and government cannot be maintained, or, if maintained, only as an instrument of oppression. We demand, therefore, in the name of liberty, that the movements of the fanatics be repressed, and that the utmost rigor of the laws be enforced against their leaders. Lenity to them is cruelty to the people, and irretrievable ruin to the country.

Some cowardly but crafty Free Soil leaders counsel, it is true, not resistance to the Fugitive Slave Law, but agitation for its repeal. We confess that we respect in comparison with these the bolder traitors, who advise open and unremitting resistance. The highwayman is less despicable than the swindler, and of all traitors those who practise treason under cover of law are the most detestable. The man who, in our times, agitates for the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law, is as much of a traitor in his heart as he who bids it open defiance. Why repeal it ? It is constitutional. Would you have another more efficient ? It is not needed. One less efficient? that is, one that you can evade, one that will not compel you to comply with the solemn obligations of the Constitution ? So you would evade obedience to the Constitution, but without endangering the safety of your necks? No doubt of it. But agitation in the sense of Free-Soilism is precisely what now creates the danger, and every man who would keep it up in that sense is morally a traitor to his country.

But our limits are exhausted. We have not said half of what we intended to say when we commenced; but we have said perhaps enough. The question is one of vital importance to the republic. We have spoken strongly, but far less strongly than we feel. We see not in Free-Soilism a single redeeming element. It is wild, lawless, destructive fanaticism. The leaders of the party that sustain it are base and unprincipled men, whose morality is cant, whose piety is maudlin sentiment, and whose patriotism is treason. A more graceless set of deluded fanatics or unmitigated hypocrites could not be found, were we to search the world over. Some worthy persons may have been attracted to the party by their horror of slavery, and by their belief in the loyal intentions of its leaders; but no religious man, no loyal citizen, can, after the developments the party has recently given, any longer adhere to it, or afford it the least conceivable countenance. Whoever continues to support it can be excused from treason only on the ground that he is insane, or else that he stands too low in the scale of intelligence to be responsible for acts.

Whether there is sufficient political virtue or intelligence remaining in the country to meet successfully the crisis, time must disclose. We hope there is, but we certainly have our fears. Matters have gone so far, that it will be no child's play to arrest them. The South must not now desert the North. They have their faults as well as we ours, and have erred as much in their encouragement of the " expansive democracy," as we by our disregard of constitutional engagements. But their interests must prompt them to discountenance internal radicalism, and to exert at home a conservative influence. Without them there is no hope for us, but with them, with their hearty cooperation with the friends of the Union yet remaining in the Free States, we may outride the storm ; we may preserve the Union, check radicalism, and save American society from utter dissolution, and the liberties transmitted us by our fathers from utter annihilation. But we can do so only by waiving all minor issues, disregarding old party organizations, dismissing old party animosities, and bringing the whole conservative party of the republic to act together with one heart and soul, as one man.