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affairs those principles of morality and Christian duty which are the rule of private life, - let them come out from both the old parties, and join us. [Cheers.] In our organization, with the declared friends of Freedom, they will find a place in harmony with their aspirations. [Enthusiasm.]
There is one apology, common to the supporters of both the old parties, and often in their mouths, when pressed for inconsistent persistence in adhering to these parties. It is dogmatically asserted that there can be but two parties, ---that a new party is impossible, particularly in our country,-- and that, therefore, all persons, however opposed to Slavery, must be content in one of the old parties. This assumption, which is without foundation in reason, is so often put forth, that it has acquired a certain currency; and many, who reason hastily, or implicitly follow others, have adopted it as the all-sufficient excuse for their conduct. Confessing their own opposition to Slavery, they yield to the domination of party, and become dumb. All this is wrong morally, and therefore must be wrong practically.
Party, in its true estate, is the natural expression and agency of different forms of opinion on important public questions, and itself assumes different forms precisely according to the prevalence of different opinions. Thus, in the early Italian republics there were for a while the factions of Guelphs and Ghibellines, rival supporters of Pope and Emperor, — also of Whites and Blacks, taking their names from the color of their respective badges, and in England, the two factions of the White and Red Roses, in which was involved the succession to the crown. In all these cases the party came into being, died out, or changed with the objects originating it. If there be in a community only two chief antagonist opinions, then there will be but two parties embodying these opinions. But as other opinions practically prevail and seek vent, so must parties change or multiply. This is so strongly the conclusion of reason and philosophy, that it could not be doubted, even if there were no examples of such change and multiplicity. But we need only turn to the recent history of France and England, the two countries where opinion has the freest scope, to find such examples. : Thus, for instance, in France, — and I dwell on this point because I have myself observed, in conversation, that it is of practical importance, - under Louis Philippe, anterior to the late Republic, there was the party of Legitimists, supporters of the old branch of Bourbons, and the party of Orleanists, supporters of the existing throne: these two corresponding at the time, in relative rank and power, to our Whigs and Democrats. Besides these was a third party, the small band of Republicans, represented in the Legislature by a few persons only, but strong in principles and purposes, which in February, 1848, prevailed over both the others. [Applause.] On the establishment of the Republic, the multiplication of parties continued, until, with the freedom of opinion and the freedom of the press, all were equally overthrown by Louis Napoleon, and their place supplied by the enforced unity of despotism.
In England, the most important measure of recent reform, the abolition of the laws imposing a protective duty on corn, was carried only by a third party. Neither of the two old parties could be brought to adopt this measure and press it to consummation. A powerful public opinion, thwarted in the regular parties, had
recourse to a new one, neither Whig nor Tory, but formed from both the old ones, where Sir Robert Peel, the great Conservative leader, took his place, side by side, in honorable coalition, with Mr. Cobden, the great Liberal leader. [": Hear! hear !”] In this way the Corn Laws were finally overthrown. The multiplicity of parties engendered by this contest still continues in England. At the general election for the new Parliament which has just taken place, the strict lines of ancient parties seemed to be effaced, and many were returned, not as Whigs and Tories, but as Protectionists and Anti-Protectionists.
Thus by example in our own day we confirm the principle of political philosophy, that parties naturally adapt themselves in character and number to prevailing public opinion.
At the present time, in our country, there exists a deep, controlling, conscientious feeling against Slavery. [Cheers] You and I, Sir, and all of us, confess it. While recognizing the Constitution, we desire to do everything in our power to relieve ourselves of responsibility for this terrible wrong. ["Yes! yes !”] We would vindicate the Constitution, and the National Government it has established, from all participation in this outrage. [Cheers.] Both the old political parties, forgetful of the Fathers, and of the spirit of the Constitution, not only refuse to be agents or representatives in
degree of our convictions, but expressly discourage and denounce them. Thus baffled in effort for utterance, these convictions naturally seek expression in a new agency, the party of Freedom. [Cheers.] Such is the party, representing the great doctrines of Human Rights, as enunciated in our Declaration of Indepen
dence, and inspired by a truly Democratic sentiment, now assembled here under the name of the Free Democracy. [Cheers.]
The rising public opinion against Slavery cannot flow in the old political channels. It is impeded, choked, and dammed back. But if not through the old parties, then over the old parties [tremendous cheering], this irresistible current shall find its way. [Enthusiasm.] It cannot be permanently stopped. If the old parties will not become its organs, they must become its victims. [Cheers.] The party of Freedom will certainly prevail. [Sensation.] It may be by entering into and possessing one of the old parties, filling it with our own strong life; or it may be by drawing to itself the good and true from both who are unwilling to continue in a political combination when it ceases to represent their convictions ; but, in one way or the other, its ultimate triumph is sure. [Great applause.] Of this let no man doubt. [Repeated cheers.]
At this moment we are in a minority. At the last popular election in Massachusetts, there were twentyeight thousand Free-Soilers, forty-three thousand Democrats, and sixty-four thousand Whigs. But this is no reason for discouragement. According to recent estimates, the population of the whole world amounts to about eight hundred millions. Of these only two hundred and sixty millions are Christians, while the remaining five hundred and forty millions are mainly Mahometans, Brahmins, and Idolaters. Because the Christians are in this minority, that is no reason for renouncing Christianity, and for surrendering to the false religions [cheers] ; nor do we doubt that Christianity will yet prevail over the whole earth, as the waters cover the sea. [“ Hear! hear !”] The friends of Free dom in Massachusetts are likewise in a minority ; but they will not therefore renounce Freedom [cheers], nor surrender to the political Mahometans, Brahmins, and Idolaters of Baltimore [“ Never ! never !"); nor can they doubt that their cause, like Christianity, will yet prevail. [Enthusiastic cheers.]
Our party commends itself. But it is also commended by our candidates. [ Cheers.] In all that makes the eminent civilian or the accomplished statesman fit for the responsibilities of government, they will proudly compare with any of their competitors [applause], while they are dear to our hearts as able, well-tried, loyal supporters of those vital principles which we seek to establish under the Constitution of the United States. [Applause.] In the Senate, Mr. Hale [cheers] is admitted to be foremost in aptitude and readiness for debate, whether in the general legislation of the country, or in constant and valiant championship of our cause. [Applause.] His genial and sun-like nature irradiates the antagonism of political controversy [cheers], while his active and practical mind, richly stored with various experience, never fails to render good service. [Great cheering]
Of Mr. Julian, our candidate for the Vice-Presidency, [' Hear ! hear !”] let me say simply, that, in ability and devotion to our principles, he is a worthy compeer of Mr. Hale. To vote for such men will itself be a pleas
But it will be doubly so, when we reflect that in this way we do something to accomplish a noble work, with which the happiness, welfare, and fame of our country are indissolubly connected. [Repeated and enthusiastic cheers.]