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I am a plain man, and I care and know comparatively little about rhetoric.
– Gerrit Smith
I believe that government is for the use of the people, and not the people for the use of the government.
I prefer, in a word, the republican system, because it comes up more nearly to God’s system.
It is manifestly vital to the success of the anti-slavery cause, that the authority and influence of proslavery, especially of slaveholding, ministers should be destroyed.
As this is the first time I have had the floor, it may be well for me now to confess, that I am in the habit of freely imputing errors to my fellow-men.
But as well may you, when urging a man up-hill with a heavy load upon his back, and with your lash also upon his back, tell him, that be has nothing to do either with the load or the lash.
It, sometimes, suits the slaveholders to claim, that their slavery is an exclusively State concern; and that the North has, therefore, nothing to do with it.
True, permanent peace can never be restored, until slavery, the occasion of the war, has ceased.
The only ground on which a neutral State can claim respect at the hands of belligerents is, that, so far as she is concerned, their rights are protected.
It is not to be disguised, that a war has broken out between the North and the South. – Political and commercial men are industriously striving to restore peace: but the peace, which they would effect, is superficial, false, and temporary.
We must continue to judge of slavery by what it is, and not by what you tell us it will, or may be.
But, although America cannot be justly charged with violating the rights of Turkey, Turkey nevertheless can be justly charged with violating the rights of America.
I trust, that your readers will not construe my words to mean, that I would not have gone to a 3 o’clock in the morning session, for the sake of defeating the Nebraska bill.
My rights all spring front an infinitely nobler source – from favor and grace of God.
But I love honesty, and, therefore; do I make great account of facts.
I do not subscribe to the doctrine that the people are the slaves and property of their government. I believe that government is for the use of the people, and not the people for the use of the government.
When a good man lends himself to the advocacy of slavery, he must, at least for a time, feel himself to be any where but at home, amongst his new thoughts, doctrines, and modes of reasoning.
I need say no more, to prove that slavery is entirely unlike the servitude in the patriarchal families.
Our concern, however, is with slavery as it is, and not with any theory of it.
Our political and constitutional rights, so called, are but the natural and inherent rights of man, asserted, carried out, and secured by modes of human contrivance.
God cannot approve of a system of servitude, in which the master is guilty of assuming absolute power – of assuming God’s place and relation towards his fellow-men.
I do not object to the construction of rail roads and canals.
Truth and mercy require the exertion – never the suppression, of man’s noble rights and powers.
Let the poor man count as his enemy, and his worst enemy, every invader of the right of free discussion.
To no human charter am I indebted for my rights.
I welcomed the organization of the Anti-slavery Society.