Address on the annexation of Texas, and the aspect of slavery in the United States, in connection therewith: delivered in Boston November 14 and 18, 1845 Page: 25 of 56
This book is part of the collection entitled: From Republic to State: Debates and Documents Relating to the Annexation of Texas, 1836-1856 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the UNT Libraries Special Collections.
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police for the arrest of fugitives, and to expose their lives in
military service in resisting the retributive consequences of
Directly, then, in a manner and degree which should make
us constantly realize our responsibility, are we of the Free
States required to exert our political influence in support of
slavery. While the Federal Constitution lasts, it will
be the Free States, as much as the Slave, who will sustain
a relation to slavery indispensable to its security and
continuance. To the slave panting for his liberty, the attempt
is accompanied with but little risk, in most cases, to
escape from his master in a Slave State ; he begins to realize
his danger, and to encounter an insuperable obstacle,
when he feels the power of the federal government, upon
reaching the confines of a Free State. If he can but touch
the soil which the monarchy of Great Britain has not yet
surrendered to the republic of America, that moment he is
free; but in one of our Free States, in Massachusetts, he
must still be recognized as a slave, and it is our only duty,
under the Federal Constitution, to rebind his chains, and to
become instrumental in inflicting all the pangs and hardships
which await his return to bondage. It is true that public
opinion, as it shall become enlightened, humanized, and
Christianized, will render too odious and disgraceful the act
of arresting fugitives for any to be willing to undertake it ;
but public opinion will then have outgrown the Constitution,
and will be in conflict with it ; and therefore, to meet such
an exigency as soon as it arises, the Constitution must be so
far amended or repudiated. While it lasts, and so long as
we shall support it, slavery can be no abstraction to us, and,
in view of our liabilities in cases both of escape and insurrection,
we must have much to do in sustaining it, - much
that should make us ashamed of our position as it is now
regarded by the civilized world, and enough to cause us to
tremble as we anticipate our share of the righteous judgments
The provision of the Constitution which secures to the
owners of slaves a representation in Congress, founded upon
what is essentially a property basis, is in its nature so great
a wrong, and has proved in its operation so great an injury
to the people of the Free States, that it is their unquestionable
right and duty to seek to apply the only remedy which the
case admits. This the legislature of Massachusetts has
attempted, by proposing an amendment of the Constitution,
which will make the right of representation uniform and
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Phillips, Stephen C. Address on the annexation of Texas, and the aspect of slavery in the United States, in connection therewith: delivered in Boston November 14 and 18, 1845, book, January 1, 1845; Boston. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2361/m1/25/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.