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abolition. That was the condition of things at first—Slavery under the feet of Freedom, Southern Statesmen proposing and adopting what we now call the Wilmot Proviso.
A few years pass, and we find a change already taking place. The cultivation of cotton has made slave labor more valuable. The territory of Louisiana is bought of France under Mr. Jefferson's administration. Missouri is admitted in 1821 as a Slave State, after a severe conflict, but on the express condition that all other territory lying as far North as Missouri shall forever be consecrated to Freedom. Slavery and Freedom now are on a footing of Equality; they are to have an equal share of everything. Right and Principle have now yielded to Expediency, and the seed is sown to bear bitter fruit afterward.
In the years succeeding the Missouri Compromise, Slavery is constantly gaining ground. Florida is obtained and given up to Slavery without a struggle. The Slave Power drives the Indians out of Georgia, brings on the Florida War, and at last, grown bolder, proposes the annexation of Texas as a Slave State, and, after a struggle, conquers. The main feature of this transaction was, that it was done avowedly to prevent the abolition of Slavery and to strengthen the Slave Power. Not only was this purpose proclaimed in Congress by Mr. Henry A. Wise and others, but also by Mr. Calhoun, Secretary of State, in diplomatic correspondence with Mr. Packenham, the British Minister - thus, for the first time, causing the Nation to stand in the attitude of a Slavery Protector before the world. Slavery is now uppermost, and Freedom beneath.
But since the Democratic party at the North assisted Southern Democrats and Southern Whigs to annex Texas, events have proceeded with a wonderful rapidity. The Slave Power hurled us into a war with Mexico, in order to obtain more territory for Slave-holding purposes.
It failed in this as regards California, owing to the discovery of gold, which caused it to be filled immediately with poor emigrants from
free countries, who did not choose to work by the side of Slaves. But in 1850 it succeeded in overcoming by threats of disunion our avowed Northern purpose, prevented the Wilmot Proviso from being applied to the territories, and finally passed by Northern votes, among them that of Samuel A. Eliot of this city, this Fugitive Slave Law, under which Burns was on Friday carried through our streets.
This Law, as you know, tramples on all the legal and constitutional guarantees of Freedom. The Constitution says in the 5th Article of Amendments,) that “No person shall be deprived of his liberty without due process of Law," and also that “In suits at common Law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by Jury shall be preserved.” Burns was in possession of his liberty, ten days ago - he was a self-supporting, tax-paying citizen of Massachusetts. He had a right to vote at the polls after a year's residence here. He has been deprived of that liberty, he has been turned into a Slave, and he has not seen either Judge or Jury. Now such men as Chas. G. Loring, Horace Mann, Robert Rantoul, Jr., Chief Justice Hornblower of New Jersey declare this Law unconstitutional, while Ben. R. Curtis and Edward G. Loring have argued its constitutionality. But two things are plain enough. First, If it is constitutional, then the Constitution has provided no adequate guarantees for the protection of Liberty. Secondly, If, instead of the South threatening to dissolve the Union, it had been the North that was uttering this threat ; if the whole North was determined to resist the law, and the South did not care whether it was enforced or not; how long would it have taken Mr. Ben. R. Curtis and Mr. Edward G. Loring to have shown the unconstitutionality of the law ? I once put that question to a defender of the law — a lawyer. He smiled, and said “ Not five minutes.”
I am no lawyer, and it may be very presumptuous in me to touch on a question of constitutional law. But there are some common sense conclusions, which you and I, though
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The Rendition of Anthony Burns. Its Causes and Consequences.
CROSBY, NICHOLS, & CO., AND PRENTISS & SAWYER.
Note. — At the close of the services, the congregation was requested to remain by Mr. Geo. WILLIAM BOND, who offered a Resolution that the Sermon and all the other exercises be published. This was unanimously voted by the large number present, many of whom immediately came forward to put down their names for this purpose.