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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Colored Men's State Convention of New York, Troy, September 4, 1855.
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conglomeration of interest--has made the South a unit on the Slavery question--bound them together in every action. So overshadowing has it become as to eclipse, and swallow up every other consideration. In the Southern States of Union, the non-slaveholder is almost a cypher--literally a nonentity. This is the case with him, even more than with the colored population of this State. One fact alone will illustrate this fact. At the recent State Convention, in Kentucky, notwithstanding the non-slaveholding power of that State embraces a population of over 700,000, and the slaveholding interest a population of only 30,000, the slaveholding interest was so powerful, so all-pervading,that not a single delegate appeared in Convention as a representative of the 700,000 people embraced in that non-slaveholding population.This fact will show you the tremendous power of this institution in the Southern States. In South Carolina no man, no free, white American citizen, is eligible to a seat in the Legislature of the State, unless he is the holder of ten slaves--unless he can call ten human beings his property. Thus, this institution rules everything at the South. It has given to the South its laws, its morals, its social code, its interpretation of the Bible, its definition of the Declaration of Independence, its understanding of the Constitution of the United States. The non-slaveholding citizens have thus become a mere cypher,and we scarcely ever speak of the South, without speaking of the slaveholders as the South. This Southern institution has also given it a peculiar style of religion. It has so materially changed the religion of that section from what it was in the primitive days of the Quakers and others, who opposed the principle of human oppression, as to give it what may be termed a slaveholding religion--a religion which can be practiced in perfect conformity with the whip, the gag, the fetters, the thumb-screw, and all the horrid, hellish paraphernalia of the slave system.
The South has also given us its own peculiar interpretation of the laws. The system and practice formerly was this: That every man was presumed to be free until he was proved to be otherwise. But this principle is found to be incompatible with the great Southern institution; so they have established one diametrically opposite, and they call upon the North to endorse and sustain it in the fugitive slave bill. This new principle is, that every man is presumed to be a slave until he proves himself to be otherwise, This is what the South is demanding and will continue to demand of the North. There are two principles in this country--Slavery and Liberty. One of these kings is bound to reign in this country. The question for the North to answer is--"Under which king?--Bezzoni. Under which king?" There is in this Northern country what may be styled a Slavery party. Its members are distributed through every other political organization, save perhaps the Liberty Party and the Free Soil Party of the North. This Slavery party will sink every other policy and lose sight of every other consideration in order to advance the interests of the South. For this purpose, its members will become Whigs or Democrats, or neither Whigs nor Democrats. It entered the political caucuses of 1852, in the city of Baltimore, and demanded the incorporation of its principles into the platform of the Whig and Democratic organizations. And both parties bowed themselves before this gigantic interest, and consented to take upon themselves the "mark of the beast." They then and there abandoned all other issues to give way to the Slave policy of the South. There was no living issue between the Whig and Democratic party in the election of 1852. It has been asserted that the Whig party was in favor of the improvement of Rivers and Harbors, and so forth, while the Democratic party was not--and that this constituted the issue. What are the facts? The Platform of the Whig Party said--"We are opposed to the unconstitutional improvement of Rivers and Harbors." And that was no issue. Both parties endorsed, will all their hell-black etceteras, the Compromises of 1850. Both parties endorsed the Southern interpretation of all these questions which divided the North and South on the subject of Slavery. What were those questions? What was the standard taken by the South? Let us see. It has been said that the North is opposed to Slavery. But the South has discovered that the chain on the negro slave will not cut, and fasten, and fester securely in the flesh, unless the other end of that chain is held by a padlock in the lips of the North.
It is one of the compensating laws of Providence that a wrong done by one section of the nation against the other cannot go unpunished. A man cannot
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