Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/41

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24
CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

rights of the South, was expressed by that grand old constitutional lawyer, Daniel Webster. In a speech at Buffalo, delivered on May 22, 1851, he said:

Then there . . . was the fugitive slave law. Let me say a word about that. Under the provisions of the Constitution, during Washington's administration in the year 1793, there was passed by general consent a law for the restoration of fugitive slaves. Hardly any one opposed it at that period; it was thought to be necessary in order to carry the Constitution into effect; the great men of New England and New York all concurred in it. It passed and answered all the purposes expected from it till about the year 1841 or 1842, when the State interfered to make enactments in opposition to it. . . . Now, I undertake as a lawyer and on my professional character to say to you and to all, that the law of 1850 is decidedly more favorable to the fugitive than General Washington's law of 1793. . . . Such is the present law, and, much op-posed and maligned as it is, it is more favorable to the fugitive slave than the law enacted during Washington's administration in 1793, which was sanctioned by the North as well as by the South. The present violent opposition has sprung up in modem times. Prom whom does this clamor come? Why, look at the proceedings of the anti-slavery conventions; look at their resolutions. Do you find among those persons who oppose this fugitive slave law any admission whatever that any law ought to be passed to carry into effect the solemn stipulations of the Constitution? Tell me any such case. Tell me if any resolution was adopted by the convention at Syracuse favorable to the carrying out of the Constitution. Not one. The fact is, gentlemen, they oppose the constitutional provision; they oppose the whole. Not a man of them admits that there ought to be any law on the subject. They deny altogether that the provisions of the Constitution ought to be carried into effect. Look at the proceedings of the anti-slavery conventions in Ohio, Massachusetts and at Syracuse in the State of New York. What do they say? That so help them God no colored man shall be sent from the State of New York back to his master in Virginia. Do not they say that? And to the fulfillment of that they pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Their sacred honor! They pledge their sacred honor to violate the