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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Cazenovia Fugitive Slave Law Convention, August 21-22, 1850.
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for President of the United States--Nay, where, in the whole length and breadth of this Nation, can a man be found more competent than WILLIAM L. CHAPLIN to administer its Government? He is emphatically a scholar, a statesman, a philanthropist, a gentleman, and a Christian Job, who was the supreme magistrate in the community, in which he dwelt, numbers among his own qualifications for office, "I WAS FATHER TO THE POOR." --Beautiful, precious, indispensable qualification is this! and who has it more abundantly than William L. Chaplin.
But, we confess it is not because of Mr. Chaplin's ability to fill and adorn the office of President of the United States, that we ask you to nominate him to the office. It is because he is a prisoner!--and a prisoner for such a cause!! It is true, that we would not, for this reason, ask for his nomination, were it not also, that he is fit for it. But, being fit for it we find in the fact of his imprisonment, good cause why he, among all, who have such fitness, should be singled out for the nomination.
In our esteem, however it may be in the esteem of others, who have not, like ourselves, had personal experience of the woes of slavery, the greatest of all the questions of human rights, which agitate this age, is Slavery. Now, to the just and merciful solution of this question, Mr. Chaplin has devoted himself, with an ability, a zeal, and a self-denial, which none of his fellow laborers and fellow sufferers have surpassed. And, whilst, in return for all this Heaven will reward, and does now reward, him with its love, men have deprived him of his personal liberty. Of all the men in this land who are fit for President, he is the only one, who, for devotion's sake to the cause of the slave, is suffering this severe deprivation. And is not his imprisonment, taking all the circumstances into account, a very clear and certain providential indication, that he is the man for your candidate? And would not your nomination of him, besides being a merited tribute to his excellent worth, and a soothing and beautiful expression of your sympathy with his sufferings, and of your affliction in his afflictions, and, besides being in your thus openly, and without shame identifying yourselves with his self-sacrificing but [illegible] principles, are most honored evidence of your magnanimity--would it not, also, be an unambiguous and impressive acknowledgement of the transcendent importance of the anti-slavery cause?
Distinguished, however, as is Mr. Chaplin [illegible], we could not have urged him in nomination for President of the United States, did he not, in other respects, also represent and honor the principles of the Liberty party. Your party is devoted to the cause of the landless, as well as to the cause of the enslaved. So is his. Free trade, [illegible] position to National Wars, and National debts and secret societies, are among your principles. So are they among his, also. By why need we go into these particulars? Mr. Chaplin is himself a member of the Liberty Party:--ay, he is, at this moment, the Liberty Party candidate for Governor of the State of New York. Happy party in being thus honored with such a candidate! His new honors--the honors of his prison--are not confined to his own brow. The Party which put him in nomination, shares in them and thus is it, already rewarded for the sagacity and soul, which governed it, in selecting its candidate. A greater reward will follow its nomination of him to a higher office--and it will be all the greater, because of his present circumstances.
Nominate, then, we beseech you, for President of the United States, William L. Chaplin. The news of his nomination will be the most welcome and cheering of all news to the free colored people of this nation. And this glad news will reach many a poor slave, and thrill with joy his now desolate heart. It will astonish all christendom to learn, that the Government of a Nation holds in prison the man nominated to the chief magistracy of that Nation--and holds him there for no other offence than helping his fellowmen and these too his fellow-countrymen, out of slavery, and does this, too, notwithstanding, the basic principle of that Nation is, that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. The slaveholders will stand aghast at this nomination. They will regret, that they provoked it;--and they will strive, in vain, to lay the mighty influences, which proceed from it. Another great benefit which will attend this nomination, is that it will test the religion of those who esteem it to be their duty to vote under the Constitution of the United States. Hitherto, the great mass of professing christians in this land have voted for slaveholders--even for this meanest and cruellest class of pirates, and have
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