A very large audience assembled at the Cooper Institute, last evening, to hear the lecture of Mr. WENDELL PHILLIPS on "Toussaint L'Ouverture."
Mr. PHILLIPS said the lecture he proposed to deliver that evening would be at once a biographical sketch and an argument, which he intended as a defence of a race to which a great negro belonged, and for which he bravely suffered and died. TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE, the soldier, patriot and martyr of St. Domingo, was a pure African, without one drop of white blood in his veins. Whatever he had to say that evening, then, belonged to the black, and if the admiration of the audience was moved, they must remember that the white race was in no way concerned in it. His task would be a brief comparison of races -- the African against the Saxon -- and they would form a judgment of each by what they had done. The Saxon race liked to be judged by its courage, self-control and determination of purpose. These three attributes make up what we know as the pluck of the Saxon race. He hoped to be able to show that the much-despised negro race -- that race which we trample under foot and declare to be unfit for anything but to carry our burdens -- is in every respec equal to the Saxons, and wherever it has had an opportunity of displaying itself, it has done as much as any other race of men to entitle it to a place in the page of history. [Cheers.] St. Domingo is about the size of Rhode Island and Connecticut. The Spaniards settled on the eastern and the French on the western side. The French colony made great progress, so that from 1785 to 1790 it had become a favorite colony of the kingdom. It boasted palaces equal to the kingly mansions of France, and the grandeur of the French kings and the magnificence of the Romans could not outrival the splendid greatness of the planters of the settlement. There were 30,000 whites on the island, the owners of the land and of slaves; and, as in America at the present day, the slaveholders freely intermixed with the slaves. The only difference is, that while they acknowledged their children, here we do not. They educated them well, sent them to Europe, and at their death settled large fortunes upon their offspring. Yet they labored under many disadvantages. A mulatto could not sit on the same bench with a white boy, and if a black was riding into a city he would not be allowed to enter until he alighted and led the horse in by the bridle. Neither would a negro worship God in the same church in which a white man worshipped. There was also a distinct cemetery for the interment of the bones of the negro, from the place in which the white found sepulchre. The educated portion of the colored people were the most sensitive to these disabilities. The Slave-trade was at this period in strong operation, and the large number of negroes annually taken from the African coast was scarcely sufficient to supply the wants of the planters who needed them for the cultivation of sugar. In this divided state of society the horrors of the French Revolution broke forth in the year 1790. The cry of an uprising nation was borne on the breeze to Saint Domingo. The white man heard it with alarm, for he feared for the safety of the despotism he exercised over a large body of negroes, and he knew well what was meant by the uprising of an enslaved and outraged people. The negro heard of it with stolid indifference. To him it was a war of words -- an idea with which he had no concern. The mulatto heard of it with rejoicing, for he saw that now there was a chance of deliverance from the degraded position in which he had so long moved, and from which his education, wealth and refinement could not serve to shield him. Instantly the mulattoes got together and sent a messenger to Paris, with a contribution of six thousand livers, asking in return only to be put on a footing of citizenship, to be free from the degraded state in which they had so long been held, and asking the Convention to send some force to carry out the reformation. These claims were made by the mulattoes, on the ground that they were sons of France, and as such were fully entitled to all these privileges, for God had given them life and liberty, which no man had a right to take from them. The Convention received their application in the most favorable manner, and at once cent a young officer with a force to carry out these just acts of reformation in the Island. On his arrival, the Legislature was in session, and on the planters learning the nature of his mission they became greatly enraged, and destroying the decree of the Convention which placed the negroes on an equal footing with the whites, swore that they would perish rather than submit. They at once appealed to the Governor, who in his extremity called upon the negroes, and 14,000 of them answered the summons by appearing in arms. The greatest consternation now prevailed on the island. One portion was for uniting its fortunes with the young American Republic just rising in majesty. The planters, in their terror, appealed to the English in Jamaica to come to their assistance, and the British responded by sending Gen. MAITLAND to operate against the negroes with 6,000 of the bravest soldiers in the world. This was the same MAITLAND who afterwards carried NAPOLEON to St. Helena. The horrors of the Island may well be conceived with all these conflicting elements within it. To add to the confusion, when the blacks were ordered to lay down their arms and go back into retirement they refused to do so, but thought that they would do a little fighting on their own account.
The lecturer here went on to describe more at ength the state of parties and the resolute acts of resistance made by the negroes. It was about this period that TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE appeared. He was in ignorant and untutored man, of about fifty years of age, the son of an African who had been stolen from the African coast, and he had not one drop of Saxon blood in his veins. His only skill was as a herbalist, and he was very well-known as a sort of country doctor. His first act on taking part with his countrymen for liberty, was to see to the safety of his master and mistress, whom he put into a vessel, after having loaded it with sugar, coffee, &c., and he then sent them to Baltimore, and never forgot to send them the constant means of support each year as long as they lived. [Loud applause.] The lecturer then at some length detailed instances of magnanimity in the negro character, showing how DESSALINES had stood by his master in sickness, and with his own hands dug his grave at his death. The exciting scenes of the revolt of the negroes were then very extensively depicted by Mr. PHILLIPS, and the firm and courageous demeanor of TOUSSAINT, from the beginning of the outbreak to the time when sixty French vessels appeared before the port of St. Domingo, was eloquently described amid great applause. When the last expedition from France approached, the island the native commanders warned them not to approach, for if they did they would burn the city, poison the rivers, and show no mercy. The French did land, however, and DESSALINES kept his word, applying, with his own hand, the torch to the door of a magnificent palace, finished for him by English architects, and in forty-eight hours the town lay in ruins. The French were beaten at every step, and the inspiriting tunes of the "Marseillaise," chanted by the blacks, on one occasion, caused their opponents to stand still, as if petrified. They could not fire on men who chanted the song of liberty till they were urged forward by the officers pricking them with their swords, in spite of which they were beaten. And would any man say that these troops of St. Domingo did not deserve liberty? The Frenchmen, finding they were beaten in the field, had recourse to lying proclamations. LE CLERC pronounced TOUSSAINT a knave, and said he did not come to enslave the Haytians, but to deprive TOUSSAINT of authority. He invited the black chieftain to come from the mountains, promising him protection. TOUSSAINT submitted, telling LE CLERC that his only motive in doing so was to avoid bloodshed. LE CLERC swore on the cross inviolable protection to TOUSSAINT, upon which the latter retired again to the mountains to practice the arts of peace, as tranquillity once more reigned in his country. But August was approaching, bringing with it its fevers, when LE CLERC knew that many of his soldiers must perish. In such a prospect TOUSSAINT was too powerful a man to be suffered to remain at large. Accordingly, he was summoned to a council, and, relying on the word of a French general, he went. TOUSSAINT has been accused of credulity in going, for he might have known that he would be deceived, and therefore should have stayed away; but that only showed that the white man could lie more glibly and smoothly than he. Perhaps he reasoned that, as he was suspected, if he did not go he might be seized, and that if he went his confidence might disarm his enemies. At all events, it could be no worse -- and so he went. Mr. PHILLIPS then proceeded to show the trustworthiness of TOUSSAINT. His word, he said, had never been broken, and so perfectly honorable was he in this particular, that his bitterest enemies implicitly trusted him. He illustrated this by a well-known story. TOUSSAINT had an engagement to meet Gen. MAITLAND, the British commander. While on the way, the General was informed that he was betrayed; still he went, and when he arrived TOUSSAINT placed two letters in his hand -- one from the French Commander offering him any sum of money to deliver MAITLAND to him, and the other his answer: "I have promised this Englishman my protection, and he shall have it." At another time he was offered a lordshp and unbounded wealth, by GEORGE III., if he would transfer the island to Great Britain, but he refused to break his plighted faith to those he served. Returning to the summons to the Council, Mr. PHILLIPS said, when TOUSSAINT entered the Council Chamber all the officers drew their swords, and declared him a prisoner. He looked sorrowful at the announcement, but not surprised, He was sent on board a ship, with his family, and conveyed to France. As the island faded from his view, he said, "You think you have plucked up the tree of liberty by the roots, but I am only a branch. The roots are planted deep in the hearts of the people, and you must tear them out before you can destroy their life." On arriving in France, he was imprisoned in a dungeon at the foot of the Alps, there to die. The ice was thick upon the floor in Winter, and the water lay an inch deep in Summer. At first, he was allowed five francs a day; but NAPOLEON BONAPARTE, who subsequently scolded at the parsimony of the British Government because it allowed him only six thousand dollars a month, ordered the miserable pittance allowed to TOUSSAINT to be reduced to two francs a day. But as he did not die, the jailor was ordered to Paris, and to take the keys of the dungeon with him. He was detained in Paris four days, and when he returned the work had been finished. TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE was starved to death. The lecturer here drew, in withering language, a contrast between the dignity with which TOUSSAINT met his late, and the pitiful complaints made by NAPOLEON at Saint Helena, about his quarters, his dinners, &c. Mr. PHILLIPS then spoke of the vengeance DESSALINES subsequently took on the French; how he once hanged 500 of them, to avenge the death of his slaughtered countrymen -- and born as his (the lecturer) was, under the shade of Bunker Hill, he would say; DESSALINES did right; how the negro chief fired red-hot cannon balls to sink the ship in which the Marquis DE ROCHAMBEAU was about to fly, but forgave hint, at the intercession of the British. From this he deduced the fact that the negro was not deficient in true courage, referring the audience to several events in history, the last of which was the recent outbreak in Virginia. He then compared TOUSSAINT to CROMWELL, WASHINGTON, NAPOLEON, and others, awarding the palm to the negro chief. Mr. PHILLIPS concluded, nearly in the following words:
People to night might think him a fanatic, because they read history with their prejudices and not with their eyes. But when some future historian, like TACITUS, comes to write, he will take PHOCION as the noblest model of Greece -- BRUTUS, of Rome -- HAMPDEN, of England -- LAFAYETTE, of France; -- WASHINGTON, the brightest star of the last generation, and JOHN BROWN, of Harper's Ferry, for this -- [loud hisses and cheers] -- and with a pen dipped in the sunbeam, will write above them all the name of the patriot and martyr -- Toussaint L'Ouverture. [Applause and hisses.]Continue reading the main story
I say, therefore, the South, properly speaking, is in earnest. She has been considering for thirty years -- now she begins to act. She acts harmoniously, earnestly. The North is only awake. She is not in earnest. The South knows what she wants; the North struggles and gropes her way with a half-formed purpose, half understood method. Just this is the weakness I find in the Administration. That is the reason why I say the masses have got to decide this battle. I hold a statesman to be one who is ready to do all the people allow. He is one who drags public sentiment up to its utmost possible efficiency. That is a statesman. I hold a politician to be one who does all the people demand. He yields, he does not lead. He submits, he does not initiate. The Administration is ready. It stands looking to the North and the West, and saying, "What shall I do?" You recollect the modest swain in DICKENS' story, who could not muster courage to offer to his lady love, but getting into conversation with her favorite, said, "Tell her Barkis is willing." The Administration is willing. [Laughter.] We want more. We want an indication that shall ripen public sentiment. We want a proposal -- an opening of the channel that shall guide the public thought. The Administration propose nothing. They merely cry with the people, "The Stars and Stripes!" They merely respond to this war-cry of an insulted nation. It seems to me that we have a right to ask of them that they should show us how we are to be got out of this difficulty. Here are fifteen States in arms against the other half of the nation. Ten million of men against twenty. A statesman should boldly probe the wound, scan the cause of the disease, and indicate the remedy. In this age, after two hundred years of Union, of pulpits and schools, of common tongue and faith, war, except there be momentous cause, shows our pulpit and school to be failures. "Excuse us to ourselves, and save us from such an another hour, if you claim to lead."
Does any man dream, that within an assignable time, we can conquer the Southern States by the present means? Will an army of 200,000, or 500,000, subdue the Gulf States, on our present plan? When they have done it, does the history of the last sixty years render it probable that the Carolinas or Mississippi will stay subdued? Have we a right to found our future on the supposition that the white race of that half of the nation are not as desperate as Poland, as bravo as Hungary, as determined as Italy? We may defeat them on a dozen fields of battle, but until we depopulate the State, we never shall have subdued it. It seems to me that there is but one way of developing a Union sentiment in those Southern States, and of subduing the secession sentiment equally, and that is, by arraying a might of power, and putting behind it a purpose, that shall remove the cause that makes us two people. That is, not until you call four million of blacks into liberty, and on our side [applause] -- not until you say to the South, "The Stars and Stripes mean liberty to every man -- twenty million of men at the North, and four million at the South have said it: if, in striking down a vile system on the battle-field, any loyal man suffers loss, the nation shall share it with him" -- not until we say this can we awaken the Union sentiment of the South, and array all that is loyal on our side, and annihilate the rest. At present, one-half of the South clings to Slavery, and means to fight for it to the death. Pride of race, family pride, old associations, and often sincere convictions of the value of Slavery, produce this determination. The other half would gladly be rid of a system they thoroughly know and hate; but they dread pecuniary ruin in the change. Both halves believe the North, spite of its protestations, means, in the end, abolition, immediate and unconditional. And they are right. Left to itself, that is our future, as sure as the Rapids end in Niagara. Assure this half of the South that the nation which decrees freedom will shield them from ruin, and we have, at once with us the North, the slave, and half the South -- the world over the water, and God above; success then is speedy and sure.
Outside of that is the war, two years long, four years long -- costing a million a day, developing the courage, the love of country, the character of the North. Yes; but when it has lasted two years, and the unsubdued South still stretches her hands to Europe, Europe will acknowledge her independence, and ought to do so; and then the divided nation will present a new policy to the free North, and a bankrupt South, sure to emancipate, because she is too poor to keep the slaves in their chains. On one side or the other of that line rests the only effective battle. I hate war. I think the present civil war the bloodiest stain on the century, if it means only "stars and stripes" -- if it means only the Union as it was. But every thinking man sees that, no matter what men wish, it cannot mean the Union as it was. Let this war go on twelve months, and the old Union never can be rebuilt. It was built on compromise. Such a war as this, the bitter fruits of years of angry discussion, of proud contempt on one side, and submission on the other, which the hounds knew meant cowardice and infamy -- such a war may have truces, but in the end the only peace will be unconditional submission of one or the other side. We must change the elements which have created this quarrel, if we would end it. They are only to be changed by emancipation or division.
What do I ask of the Government? I do not ask them to announce that policy of emancipation now; they are not strong enough to do it. We can announce it; the people can discuss it; the Administration are not strong enough to announce it. I do not care whether they mean it or not; it were utter ruin to announce it now. But I do claim this, that the Administration shall indicate, shall manifest its character. It has not done it. Its friends say, "We shall be called an Abolition Administration if we favor the Anti-Slavery sentiment; we want to be known as a constitutional Administration." There is the mistake. There is the fundamental error. Gen. PATTERSON, Gen. CADWALLADER, are using the shoes Gen. BUTLER has thrown away, and promising to put down servile insurrections. By the Constitution they have no right to lift a little finger against a servile insurrection until the Governor of a State asks it. When they make such a proclamation it is alike uncalled for, illegal and unconstitutional. What I call on Gen. SCOTT and President LINCOLN to do is, that they shall rebuke their Major-Generals when they go outside of the law to propitiate the Slave Power. I want the scales held even. For sixty years that of Liberty has kicked the beam. I call on LINCOLN and his Cabinet at least to hold them even. Even fair play to Liberty, under the old Constitution, will be such a change as will quell the South and educate the North. If Gen. PATTERSON knows no better than to suppress servile insurrections, cashier him on this side the Potomac. The Administration can, should, ought, if it means liberty, indicate its purpose by these legal, constitutional and imperative measures. Why do they not? I will tell you. Lieut.-Gen. SCOTT is a Southerner. He is 75 years old. He is a loyal, honest, devoted friend of the Union, and the ablest soldier we have. He means to keep his oath to the letter. But he has a natural and unavoidable tenderness towards the section from which he sprang. He has an old man's fondness for the associations of the past. He hopes and trusts that, by moderate measures, by waiting, by patience, by blockades, by starvation, he can avoid exasperating the sections, and bring them together again in a harmonious Union. Mr. SEWARD would sacrifice everything for that Union. He has not the beginning nor the end of a principle. His own colleagues know he is a traitor; and the fault I find with the Administration is, that while honest men recognize the honest elements contained in it, those honest elements suffer themselves to be compromised, balanced, by one powerful, but, at the same time, known to be treacherous. I am only saying of SEWARD what every man says in Washington; what every honest man says all over the country, and especially in New-York State.
With such a man at the head of the Administration, and those willing to be his comrades in it, I believe that we owe the absence of compromise this hour to CHARLES SUMNER in the Senate, and the New-York Tribune in the country. [Applause.] I mean exactly what I say. An honest Administration, an honest President, who, hesitating, distrusting the strength of the popular feeling behind him, awed by the Senator of New-York, to-day, that we have not been compromised into disgraceful and ruinous peace is due, more than to any other single man, to the great Senator of Massachusetts, and, more than to any other Press, or hundred Presses, to the Tribune of New-York City.
What have we to do, under these circumstances? We are to do this: We are to claim of the Administration the indication, the manifestation of a purpose. They ask our support. We will give it, if they will give us a twig or a twine thread on which to take hold. But we must have something. And yet, Administration, or no Administration, Liberty waits on the horizon, ready to descend, like a guardian angel, on this distracted and beautiful country. For when was there ever a more glorious sight than twenty millions of people ready to risk their institutions and their wealth in a struggle which every man in his secret heart -- no matter what his lips say -- knows means liberty -- the liberty of the haled, the friendless, the odious, by race and condition. I say, Administration or no Administration, events, the masses, have decided that these meetings need not be held many years to come, without being turned into meetings to celebrate the freedom of four million blacks betwixt here and the Gulf of Mexico.
I will tell you what I do hope and expect: they say Pennsylvania wants a black law -- means to pass a black law, in order to shut out of her territory those fugitives who have made Fortress Monroe their refuge, or who, deserted by their masters, are living alone upon Virginia plantations, ready to come North whenever the return of the white man or the rigor of Winter forces them to it. There will grow one good, however unintended, from that negrophobia of Pennsylvania. When the first frosts come, there will be ten thousand men, women and children, blacks, taking refuge in Fortress Monroe. The friends of the Government are asking what the Abolitionists mean to do with them. Nothing. We leave them on your hands. You dare not, in the face of the civilized world, return them to their masters. More than that, you do not want to. ABRAHAM LINCOLN, SALMON P. CHASE, MONTGOMERY BLAIR, have not the heart nor the wish to put back into the hell of Virginia Slavery one single contraband article in Fortress Monroe. They never will do it. And when 20,000, 40,000, 100,000 are within the lines of Gen. SCOTT's Army, the Government must indicate its purpose. If we cannot clutch it out of them, the slaves will smother it out. When the time comes, it cannot be that, we shall export them to Jamaica, we have not the shipping; that we will force them to Hayti, we have no right; that we will send them to die in Liberia, we cannot afford it. To export the working class is suicide. We cannot take them North; Pennsylvania has built her wall, tall as the Alleghanies, and forbids it. God grant that the first frost may find 500,000 arguments within our lines -- arguments for the Administration to declare itself; for, hemmed in on the north by Pennsylvania, on the cast by the ocean, on the West by the Mississippi, and above by the loyalty of God, ABRAHAM LINCOLN can say nothing else but this: "The Stars and Stripes shall float over Virginia, and every black man that sees them may live where he was born, certain that while twenty million of men breathe in the North, he never shall find or fear a master." [Loud applause.] You perceive that the Government will be shut up to emancipation on the soil. Send LANE or MONTGOMERY to Memphis, and the black men in their ranks will be double the whites. The decision what to do with those allies settles the slave question. Slavery will never exist again in Virginia, unless the United States Government brings it back. Let the Administration compel every General's actions to eat his bad words and fulfil his good ones, as thoroughly as BUTLER's have done, and we will wait their further conversion, trusting events a while. But we demand the rigor of all the law left us. Then you and I must prepare the public opinion behind these politicians. We must prepare a public opinion that by the 4th day of December, will be ready to sustain Congress in meeting the ultimate issue of this quarrel.
Suppose you are as brave, as rich, as strong, as persistent, as you suppose yourselves to be, while we fight, we have nothing but Mexican wars and South American civilization before us; a conflict of States; perpetual war; the South fighting desperately, on the mountains, ambuscades, guerilla warfare, but fighting. Is that the country we look forward to? Is that the civilization which the North would accept? Never! If our statesmen cannot give us anything better, mark me! if Europe does not recognize in two years, the North will compromise. Northern trade, Northern industry, Northern common sense will never suffer such a future for years. The North will compromise before she will endure it. Save us from long years of war. Save us, either by emancipation or division. Nothing can be worse than years of civil war, demoralizing, weakening, destroying the ultimate hope of either a peaceful or a successful dealing with the slave question.
And yet, I see the value of this war. I am glad Gen. SCOTT has 200,000 men. I only hope that when Congress is adjourned, he will advance into Virginia, and fight. I do not believe there are 50,000 soldiers on the other side. I believe BEAUREGARD lives, spite of the telegraph, and I believe there are some 40,000 or 50,000 men with arms of some sort, in the State of Virginia -- the rest is bravado. But it won't do to rely wholly on blockade, to starve them out; it won't do to wait till they disperse. The worth of this war is to redeem the character of the North. No Southern man believes that the Northerner has any courage. I do not mean that the South affects to believe this -- she does believe it; and but for the conduct of CHARLES SUMNER, and a dozen like him, she has a right in believe it. She has never met in that Senate or House of Representatives, for sixty years, more than half a score of men who have dared to look her in the face. She had a right, therefore, to believe that the North was craven, or peddler; for what she could not bully, she could always buy. Now, the benefit of this war -- the blessing of it -- which we shall buy at a million of dollars a day, and cheap at that, is, that we shall beat this saucy Virginia, some half dozen times, into good behavior. We shall convince these incredulous Carolinians that the North can fight when she thinks it worth while; and then, either in the Union, or alongside of it, they will live in peace, and treat us properly. They never will until then. Gen. SCOTT may starve the Gulf States; he never will starve them out of the conviction that New-England is coward. That can only be cannonaded out of them, on the sacred soil of Virginia, [applause;] and the lesson which JOHN BROWN set the text for, it is for us to write in characters visible from Harper's Ferry to New-Orleans.
My policy, therefore, is, give the Administration generous sympathy; give it all the confidence for honesty of purpose you can. They mean now only the Union. That is all they mean at present; but they are "willing" we should make them mean anything more we please. They are not like SEWARD -- slippery, equivocal, false. You know the old problem which disturbed the wits of the schoolmen for a thousand years. It was, whether, when a man said, "I lie," he lied or told the truth; for if he uttered the truth, he lied, and if he lied, he told the truth. [Laughter.] It is exactly so in regard to SEWARD. There is no making anything but a parallel problem out of his life and speeches. [Applause.] But the rest of the Cabinet are honest men. ABRAHAM LINCOLN means to do his constitutional duty in the crisis. I think Mr. CHASE means to. I trust them as individuals to that extent. Their party I do not trust at all. See how it has bartered the twenty years of devotion and energy in the person of CLAFLIN, for the unrecorded and untried virtue of THOMAS! And I consider Massachusetts as good a specimen of the Republican Party as exists in the country. But I consider it dead, and am thankful it is dead, [applause,] because it leaves us free now to discriminate as to individuals; and the present crisis demands that we should make that discrimination. There is no faith, no trust to be placed on party organization in such an hour as this. They have failed us the whole Winter. That free speech exists in this Commonwealth is owing to no single word or finger of aid from the Republican Party. The Massachusetts Republican Party has shown itself, in its ranks and in its head, recreant to the most sacred duty of the Winter, and recreant by system, by intention, by dictation from Washington, or submission to its known policy and wish. I mean what I say. If I had time, I should go over the record, as I shall do before the first day of January next; but you know, as well as I do, that the Republican Party placed in the Governor's chair of this State one whom they considered the best representative of their principles. You know that he went to Washington, and was baptized into the policy of the Cabinet that was to be. You know that he returned to the Capital of the Commonwealth, and saw a mob, in the pay and service of secession, trampling under foot the very sentiments which placed him in his Chair of State, and he cannot be fairly said to have lifted a finger for the most sacred of all rights -- that of freedom of discussion. You know that, after writing a letter on the value of free speech, of which I said (and said it fittingly) that it was the noblest word a Massachusetts Governor had spoken since the days of JOHN WINTHROP, on that mad week in January, he violated every principle announced in his letter to KIMBALL, broke his promise as a gentleman, failed in his duty as an officer, aided his subordinates to belie the Abolitionists in the public journals, and when, afterwards, the House of Representatives passed, and the Senate was ready to pass, a bill offering him that power, the lack of which he had made a pretext for inaction, he personally intrigued to prevent its enactment, ["shame."]
I know five months, crowded with great events, have passed since. But such treachery no events are large enough to hide. Free speech is the germ of our history, the corner-stone of our power. Whoever, in Massachusetts, trespasses on free speech, declares war with all our past, and endangers all our future? EVERETT, in 1835, had the excuse of a stronger temptation for less infamy. Let no sheen of military efficiency blind us to the danger of such an act from one whom the masses trust. Last March, before a Legislative Committee, I bore my testimony on this point. I do not mean to forfeit the character of twenty years of impartial vigilance by silence now. I feel with SOUTHEY, speaking of an act not so dangerous: "To palliate it would be vain; to justify it would be wicked. There is no alternative for one who will not make himself a participator in the guilt, but to record the disgraceful story with sorrow and shame."
Why do I mention this? Is a recreant Governor of Massachusetts of so much consequence? No. But in this he was the mouth-piece of the Cabinet at Washington -- of the men, I mean, who were marked for the Cabinet, when the 4th of March opened. They did what they thought necessary for the welfare of the Republican party. They wrecked it. Your Governor placed himself among these men -- ready to do anything to save the party. I said, just now, that CHARLES SUMNER and his like, with the Tribune, had saved the country. It is because I believe of him (and I know but of some half-dozen others of whom I should dare to say it,) that while he would do anything to serve his country, he would not do a dishonorable act to save it. When, on the contrary, a man writes himself down in the other category, when he shows himself willing to use means he knows to be base, for an end he thinks good, his usefulness is gone. I place no confidence, therefore, in the action of that political organization which failed us in the trial-hour. I put my faith in the honesty of ABRAHAM LINCOLN as an individual, in the pledge which a long life has given of CHASE's love for the anti-slavery cause; but I do not believe either of them, nor all of them, nor all their comrades, have the boldness to declare an emancipation policy, until, by a pressure which we are to create, the country forces them to it. We are on the one side; the enrolled army of Virginia on the other. A defeat, bloody and cruel, will anger the North into emancipation. A victory, that throws the South into madness, and makes her seek any means, in her desperation, may force the Government on to emancipation. Let us pray for the life of JEFFERSON DAVIS! [Laughter.] God grant him long life, and something of an army! [Renewed laughter.] Let us pray that Heaven, or some other power, will put into his heart courage, so that he may not run away too soon; [laugher] so that out of the contest may come emancipation. A northeaster, that sweeps the ocean clear of every sail, is one thing; the pattering storm that only makes every man feel uncomfortable, is another. I think, of late, we have seen the latter kind of warfare, and not the best sort.
What we are to ask for is a decisive policy, or the commencement of it. I believe that Wall-street wants it; State-street wants it. The merchants of 50 and 60 years old, who see their property melting away, who count their losses by hundreds of thousands, have no wish to be in a Slave Union again. We have come to a moment when the selfishness of wealth is on our side. Rich men, or those lately so, cannot afford to have this war smothered up by compromise or half-way peace; that were to risk another bankruptcy four years hence. The heart of the masses and bank vaults are as one. At a fitting moment, the Government has only to decree justice, and it will see the nation take its place among honorable States, with an uprising as proud and glorious, as hearty and unanimous, as that which awed Europe into sympathy and respect two months ago. This Administration holds in its hand the seed of the mightiest change of our age -- the change of the great Republic from hypocrisy into honor. It lies with them to assure the success of this experiment and make the world our debtors. So far, the people have done their full share, rebuking distrust from the height of a sublime virtue. Lot statesmen fitly use the noble weapons which a great people have forced into their reluctant hands. Woe to any man who balks the hour, or fails to seize the golden opportunity! The curses of one race left in chains -- of another mocked in its purpose -- of the world, sad from the failure of its great free model, shall load their memory.
I look at this question only as an Abolitionist. If I stood here on other grounds, I should have a great deal to say. If I stood here as a citizen, I should protest against the criticism by the Press of our generals and colonels -- upon the hasty rebuke of a single error, mischance or mistake, of what are called "civil" generals. I have no such fault to find. Our army, hitherto, has been officered -- how? Out of every ten, eight were Southerners. Of these eight, four were traitors and two were imbeciles; so we had about two out of ten worth anything. We have now civilians; unpracticed men, to be sure, but they are "smart" men, cunning New-Englanders. They could build a ship on ten days' notice, and translate the New-Testament out of the original Greek with a month's schooling. It does not need long to make anything out of a Yankee; and in ten such Yankees, you will find five that think, each one of them, they shall be President; such will face ambuscades or open batteries for a chance. [Laughter and applause.] Those men will fight boldly, at least. The other five have reputation, a purpose, and an intention to do their duty. You will get two-thirds of the ten decent officers in the end. Wait awhile: we can afford to teach such men their art on the "sacred soil of Virginia." An army, raised at a bound from 25,000 to 250,000 -- where, but among civilians, shall it find new officers? I see no errors in the last two months which the history of the great FREDERICK and of WELLINGTON does not parallel. I have, therefore, no criticism of the Army. I think, if it was not held back, it would have bivouacked at Richmond, and not met a Southern soldier, either. [Applause.] So that, if I were speaking as a citizen, I should have no fault to find "with our levies, with our generals, with the general machinery. They want only a head. They want only a purpose, and that the masses are to give to them, not the statesmen. You and I are to begin it. And as I so seldom praise anybody, I certainly may be allowed to say of the New-York Tribune, which we so often find fault with, that it has done yeomanly service in the last six months. We want a Press equally energetic, equally exacting, all over the country; and we want a public opinion here in Massachusetts that shall forget party lines, not for the purpose of welcoming Bell-Everett or broken down Democratic statesmen into their ranks; but shall forget Party lines in order to rise to the requisitions of the hour, and tell the open secret on every man's lips -- merchant, farmer, politician, clergyman -- that which no man dares print, and no politician avow, but which flashes from every eye, and nestles in every heart. It is, that every man belives this a fight for and against Slavery, and intends to strangle it. Why should they not say it? It ought to be said in our Legislature -- ought to be said in Congress -- ought to be said very soon by the Administration.
I could talk a great deal longer, if it were necessary, [many voices: "Go on!"] but of what use were it? We are all, as I said, afloat. The good God takes the helm out of man's hands, and we have only to be faithful, each in our little place, and let the great spirit of the century lift up our practice to our ideal. These days of Anti-Slavery gatherings for the purpose of emancipation, I believe, will soon be over. By the Constitution, or over it, liberty is sure to come. Our part will soon be to watch for the welfare of this, victim race, guard it during its pupilage, shelter it by patronage, by protection, by privilege, by recognizing its claim to an equal manhood. Sooner than we expected, sooner than the most sanguine of us dreamed, this problem is to be decided. How often have we stood under these trees, and sometimes talked despondingly of the future! Mr. GARRISON once burned the Constitution on this platform. It is now indeed a blurred and tattered parchment, between the cannon of South Carolina and the sides of Fort Sumter. It is gone; the nation survives. The parchment is rent in twain; the people exist. That people are to shape their Government anew. You and I are to have a voice in the molding. The part which HENRY and MADISON, which HANCOCK and ADAMS, played in '87, we are to play to-day. They yielded to the recollection of past suffering, to the fear of present evil, to the prestige of great names, and made an instrument out of which have" grown sixty years of infamy, and now civil war. They planted the dragon's teeth, and, to-day, Boston and South Carolina hold each other by the throat. This is the first-born child, of 1787. To-day we plant fresh seed. Mr. LINCOLN and the Administration are pausing, waiting. The furrow is opened. The guns are shotted to the lips. They are to be pointed -- where? At a miserable rattlesnake flag! At a bankrupt and fugitive Cabinet, now at Montgomery and now in Richmond! At a General, of whom half the world doubts his existence! No! Your 250,000 muskets, shotted by thirty years of Anti-Slavery agitation, are to be pointed at the Slave Power. [Applause.] Demolish it! [Renewed applause.] Shame England -- waken France -- summon Europe to our side, by proclaiming that the cause of the North is liberty, and our end justice -- that no flag, no parchment, is worth shedding a drop of blood, but that four millions of slaves, whom we have outraged for seventy years, claim of us this atonement -- and, whether in money or in blood, it is to be laid cheerfully on the altar. Show the world that twenty million of freemen, the ripe fruit of two hundred years of self-government and Puritanism, are above wars waged for the bauble of a crown, the etiquette of a boundary, or the honor of a flag -- that they take the thunderbolt, as God does, only to lift up the humble and abase the proud, and execute justice [???] and man.
I want to take back that name which I endeavored to write on the forehead of ABRAHAM LINCOLN, of Springfield -- " the slave-hound of Illinois;" and, instead of it, before the first day of January, 1862, I want to write on that same honored brow, "Liberator of four million bondmen; first President of the free United States of America." [Loud apslause.] Help him to that fame. The Western lawyer is "willing," only he has not the courage to offer. [Laughter.] We can help him. Help him by the Press. Why, the Boston Atlas has recovered its soul! It speaks brave words. Soon they will lot us stand by the left wing of the party. We can save it from being devoured by the Leverett Saltonstalls and George T. Curtises of a defunct dynasty. And it must be saved, not the party lines, but the heart of it. Massachusetts must, send out, not merely men; as usual, she must send out ideas. I take from your Governor no jot of his merit. I tear from his brow no leaf of his laurel. Prompt, efficient, sagacious, foresighted, exact in routine -- I grant it all. He has done well with the military arm of Massachusetts. But brute force, muskets, Minie rifles, are not the real arguments of the old Commonwealth. Virginia can fire a gun -- from an ambuscade -- and Illinois can muster a regiment; but it is only the Bay State that can remodel an age. It is only the conscience and the brain of Yankees that can upset and set up nations. That was what we were to have done during the Winter, and what we are to do for the future.
A momentous hour this. It is a dangerous thing to make speeches in these days. We stand at the parting of two roads. A great policy is to be decided this year. It is easy to say that emancipation lies at the end of both roads. No doubt of it. As sure as God reigns, the slaves, or most of them, in ten years or five, will be free. But that is sorry consolation for twenty millions of educated, Christian, Republican citizens. We ought to be able to handle this problem as a tried General handles his troops on the field of battle -- to secure the result with the least possible suffering. We ought to be able to secure it without half a dozen years of warfare, without a broken Union, without exasperated States; and we can so manage it if we will.
For myself, I put no value on the Union. It is a name -- nothing more. It is a parchment, stained and bloody. It were enough for me to damn it forever, that THOMAS SIMS and ANTHONY BURNS bear witness against it on the pavements of Boston. But there are men -- some of you -- who still linger in your prejudices for the Union. If so, up! gird yourselves! demand of the Administration that they proclaim emancipation. There is no other way to save the Union -- none. If, eighteen months hence, Gen. SCOTT is encamped, with Gen. DAVIS against him, in any such shape as now, (as I believe they possibly will, unless emancipation intervene.) England and France will acknowledge the Confederacy -- we shall acknowledge it; and then, ten or twenty years will elapse before the exasperated States coalesce a second time. Now, seize time by the forelock; call back to reason the madness of Louisiana and Georgia; announce that the stars and stripes carry liberty with them. [Applause.] Mr. CAMERON says, "Wherever the flag goes, trade follows." Oh, better that maxim! Wherever the flag goes, LIBERTY goes with it, and let trade take care of itself. [Applause.] Announce it, and soon, if there is a majority for the Union, they will show themselves. Say to the slaveholders, "The Union shares the loss with you, if it takes your slaves from you by a military necessity." No matter what it costs. Better pay the money to save the sinner from his sin, than spend a million a day, for five years, in a cruel, useless and brutal war. One year is enough for manhood; enough to show the character and purpose of the North; anything more is brutal. The Government can prevent it by a word. Call on the honesty of the Cabinet, and bid them banish traitors. If that means the Empire State, banish it. Put into the office of Secretary of State a man whom LINCOLN will not have to watch. One half of the clerks of the departments are traitors. Empty them! Mr. CHASE knows, in the northern half of Ohio, men who, for nothing, rather than the places should be filled by traitors, would serve the Government. I go for decision. Adjourn Congress, and SCOTT will be decisive. I concede gladly, proudly, fully, the fame of the Lieutenant-General. I do not want him to die or be superseded. Only adjourn Congress; tell him that all hope for the present Union is over; but that his fame as a General, before he dies, rests on his crushing the viper within six months; and the old man will do it. [Applause.] It is not loyalty, it is not ability, it is a nation behind him that he needs. You and I can begin that voice which shall be echoed from the Mississippi, and compel the Government to speak. Men whisper to us in the streets, in our chambers, what Gen. BUTLER means here, and Mr. CAMERON there, and Mr. CHASE elsewhere: we want it proclaimed. We want it known to you, voted on, enforced; and the next time we meet here, you will not need me to make a speech. BUTLER will be here, with a proclamation of emancipation in his hand, as an introduction to you -- [loud applause] -- asking your votes, perhaps, as Governor of Massachusetts -- [laughter] -- and thinking that there is no pedestal but this which surely leads to the gubernatorial chair. Yes, I congratulate you that you will soon, have a new batch of speakers. The old worn and scarred guard can retire to the rear rank, and the new Major-Generals and civilians, who have invented "contrabands," and lawyers who have turned their ingenuity into the channel of statesmanship, will be here to swell our jubilee of gratitude; and we will not be careful, then, to divide the degrees of merit, but cheerfully let the last comer take the best prize. [Loud applause.]Continue reading the main story