Изображения страниц

abroad in the village that the carpenter held such sentiments, the rumor caused a great commotion, and the prudent citizens called a public meeting to take into consideration the proper means of defense against a peril so great as the presence among them of dangerous sentiments. And when the meeting was convened, a democratic Slaveholder arose and spoke as follows:

Fellow Citizens: If I were to inform you that a barrel of gun-powder is now beneath the building in which we are assembled, and that a slow-match already kindled is in contact with it, your horror would be beyond expression, and you would either rush headlong from the house, or leap at once to extinguish the match. Fellow citizens, a greater peril is upon us. Lend me your ears while I carefully describe it. It is well known that a northern mechanic has been amongst us for some time, apparently pursuing his calling without a thought of our domestic institutions. So industrious and steady has he been, as to gain the confidence of many of our citizens. But a few of us, suspecting that the latitude in which he was born was not so favorable to the growth of rational political ideas and pure democracy as the sunny South, resolved to sound him as to his opinions touching human bondage We found that he had been secretly thinking of our domestic institutions; and we even made him avow that he considered Slavery immoral, and that he held the recent Fugitive Slave Law not to be binding on a freeman's conscience! These opinions are in the highest degree dangerous to us, and our

system of society cannot tolerate the presence of men who entertain them.

No one, fellow citizens, believes more sincerely than myself in freedom of thought and freedom of speech, but I believe also that both should be restricted by a delicate regard to the demands of the institution of Slavery. There should be just so much freedom of thought and speech tolerated, as a chivalric and manly devotion to sound democracy, and the bondage of the greatest number, will allow. But northern men should be carefully watched; for, as a general thing, they think and speak too freely, though I except from this charge the so-called northern democracy, which, so far as I have observed, never thinks at all, and always acts for us and Slavery.

I would recommend, fellow citizens, that this man, caught, as it were, in the very act of entertaining dangerous sentiments, be warned, forthwith, to leave the town within twenty-four hours, under penalty of a coat of tar and feathers.

This speech was received with a murmur of general approbation, and it was resolved that the secretary of the meeting be instructed to notify the mechanic of the resolution, and warn him in a kindly way of his danger.

The Secretary, therefore, wrote him in these words:

Sir: It has come to the ears of the citizens of this place, that you entertain dangerous sentiments, and even go so far as to avow them openly. A meeting has just been holden in which your

case has been considered. It was proved before all present, that you believe human bondage to be immoral, and the Fugitive Slave Law of no binding obligation! These sentiments the meeting recognized to be in the highest degree dangerous, and the person holding them they voted, unanimously, unworthy of a residence in this community. We know that by the Constitution, freedom of speech and thought is extended to citizens of any one State resident temporarily in another, but we do not understand that provision of the Constitution to allow a northern freeman to think and speak against Slavery south of Mason and Dixon's line. The great privileges guaranteed to the North by that instrument are, to support the national government, provide offices for Slaveholders, pay southern postage, extend the areas of freedom southward, and nurse a democracy to cherish and perpetuate Slavery. But as you, in violation of these constitutional guarantees, have foolishly assumed to entertain and avow sentiments hostile to Slavery, it is ordered by the meeting, that you leave town within twenty-four hours, under penalty of a coat of tar and feathers.

The meeting allow me to inform you, however, that if on returning to your native State, you shall commune with your fellow citizens who are national democrats, imbibe their spirit with all its issues, and by a becoming servility acquire an honorable standing in their ranks, your past dangerous sentiments shall be forgotten, and you shall be allowed once more to take up your residence among

us, and be admitted to full fellowship with the proprietors of the Constitution, and the true lords of the land.

When the mechanic had received this gentle monition, he quietly packed his tools, and journeyed to the north of Mason and Dixon's line, knowing that the Constitution of his country could not guaranty freedom of thought and speech in the South.



Lying for Slavery is so well done by native Americans, that Irish Apostles find it an unprofitable business.

THERE arose in Ireland a leader of the people, who, thinking them to be grievously oppressed by England, endeavored by speech and pen to arouse them to a sense of their servile condition. To this end, he vehemently proclaimed the praises of liberty, and presented such glowing pictures of the happiness and glory of free nations, that he kindled among them an ardent desire for independence. For he showed that all men are, by nature, free and equal, and that no man has a right to govern another against his consent, neither one nation another; that man as man has the natural right to the control of his person, and every nation, the right to self-government. And he often held up the example of America to encourage his people to separate from England.

So stirring were his appeals, and so violent his denunciations, that the people began to prepare for forcible resistance. But the constituted authorities, becoming alarmed at his proceedings, and at his

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »