Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/301

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289
ALTAMIRANO'S ADDRESS.
to it by the laws of civilization, that is to say, the first in the world. Gentlemen, the motive that to-day unites us in this banquet, is one of friendship toward our venerable guest.
This banquet is not to the foreign monarch, who, leaving his throne for a few days to travel among us, is received with official ovations; nor to the fortunate conqueror, whom we see in our banquet, raising the cup to his lips with a bloody hand, a banquet offered through fear; but it is the apostle of human dignity and honor, the defender of the dignity of America, and one of the most venerable patriarchs of liberty, whom we welcome in our midst, and in honor of whom we decorate with flowers our Mexican homes, and tender to him our sympathies and admiration. See him! you see on his forehead no crown; but those venerable locks, those white locks which show his age—what an age! that shows us all that those years have been consecrated to the service of his country, consecrated for the good of all.
I forget, seeing Mr. Wm. H. Seward among us, the great statesman of the age, the premier of the United States. I see and only wish to see, in him, the friend of humanity, the enemy of slavery, and the liberator of the unhappy negro. Slavery! The infamous spot of the old world, the legacy left us by the past century, like a hereditary infirmity to modern civilization! That slavery which the Greek and Roman republics were not great enough to blot out from their codes of laws; that the barbarians of the middle ages took up with pleasure, as an auxiliary to their brute force; that slavery that even Christianity was unable to destroy; there was a time when the whole world seemed to believe that slavery was one of the precepts of Divine rights. That the Pagan world should have allowed and supported this servitude, was not strange, but that the Christian world should tolerate it was atrocious.
But the time came when this should have a change. The Democracy of the United States, that ought to have been the strongest party in existence, was born with this hereditary disease of slavery. The English Puritans and the Quaker Wm. Penn, had tried to form in this virgin country, (America) an