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342 DOUGLASS' MONTHLY October, 1860. [[line]] [[3 columns]] [[column 1]] [For Douglass' Monthly.] WHAT IS THE DUTY OF RADICAL ABOLITIONISTS IN THE PRESENT CAMPAIGN? [[line]] Friend Douglass:--I find in the September number of your [[italics]] Monthly [[/italics]] an article from our mutual friend ' A.P.,' under the above caption. Few men in our ranks have equalled him in clearness of vision or logical acumen. In the article alluded to, he has made out the best case that I have seen for the Radicals who act with the Republicans. If he is good in logic, he is not less so in sophistry. From the tone of his article, I think it is not difficult to perceive whither he is drifting, or at least whither he is looking with longing eyes. 'For the present and near future,' alias 'for this once,' has been the conservative cry with which we have had to contend for the last twenty-five years. Conservative politicians, who are obliged to rely on anti-slavery votes for hope of success, evince great sagacity in according to us the soundness of our principles, and the propriety of acting upon them, to the ultimatum in the distant future, providing that for the 'near future' we will act with them. I cannot agree with my friend 'A. P.,' when he says 'they (the Republicans) admit that the institution is all wrong from foundation to cap stone.' I do not think they admit any such thing. Abraham Lincoln, the man whom they delight to honor, refused to sign a petition to the Legislature of Illinois, giving to colored people the right to give evidence in a court of Justice against a white man. He said, in a public address in Ohio, that he was opposed to negro suffrage, and the right of the negro to sit in the jury box; and no one pretends to deny that he and the leaders of his party are in favor of the execution of the Fugitive Slave Law, and think John Brown ought to have been hung; and some of their most distinguished clerical supporters think it wrong to 'advise slaves to leave their masters, or do any thing to render slaves discontented with their condition;' and their strongest politico-religious newspaper is howling on the track of Rev. George B. Cheever, on account of his vehement denunciations of the wickedness of slavery. In a discussion with the acknowledged leader of Republicanism in our own town, (I wish he lived in some other town,) only a few days ago, he boldly asserted that he thought it was just as bad to induce and aid a slave to escape from his master, as it would be to steal his horse. I have never heard the most radical of the Radicals contend for a moment that a man should go to the 'farthest verge of ideal right' in his political activities; they have only contended that a man should not so far stultify all his moral convictions as to vote for a party who would wield the whole power of the Government to shoot down John Brown, and return the bondman to the hands of his oppressor, and who lacked either the honesty or the ability to perceive that the Constitution of the United States is an anti-slavery document. If there is no difference between the radical and conservative anti-slavery men as to 'the moral character of slavery,' how happens it that the leaders of the party were in such a flutter when Charles Sumner delivered his matchless oration on the 'Barbarism of Slavery,' deeming it 'ill timed,' 'inexpedient,' 'unwise' and 'uncalled for,' just at this [[/column 1]] [[column 2]] trying time? It is this very difference, relative to the moral character of slavery, which makes some men radical and others conservative. 'A. P.' seems to affirm, interrogatively, that 'the issue between the two factions is one which lies ahead in the future, rather than one which is practical in the present.' A vote for a radical candidate is always practical and potent --now, next November, and wherever and whenever a vote is to be given. It carries with it a moral power which cannot be gainsayed nor resisted. To it, the Republican party owes its existence. The defeat of Henry Clay in 1844 by radical anti-slavery votes, was the greatest political anti-slavery achievement we have ever witnessed, and but for the unfortunate and mistaken course of Abolitionists in 1848, they might to-day have wielded the Republican party, instead of being wheedled and cheated and wielded by it. Here is one grand difficulty--the honest, earnest, true-hearted, but misguided anti-slavery men give their votes, while the time serving Conservatives to give direction and shape to their energies. Again; 'A. O.' says, 'Do not the roads proposed to be traveled by the different factions run parallel with each other for several political stages immediately ahead of us, and divide again farther on in the progress of anti-slavery action? If the road are parallel now, where they will diverge? The Conservatives have located the road, laid the track, manned the engine, and appointed the brakes. The Radicals deny the constitutionally and legality of slavery in the Carolinas; the Conservatives admit both. Their hostility to slavery extends only to where slavery does not exist. Again; 'Can we not travel these preliminary stages in company, and if we must divide, wait until we reach the divergent point in our enterprize?' '] If we must divide!' Is any man so infatuated as to suppose that any political party is to grow purer and better as it increases in age and power, especially so long as Radicals are so easy a prey? If the Radicals and Conservatives 'agree in general abhorrence of slavery as a social, moral and political evil,'they do not agree in the equal abhorrence of slavery, and they do not agree in the reasons for their abhorrence. The one is a man's party. In all their arguments, speeches and appeals, they, to a very great extent, ignore the claims of the black man, both bond and free. I regard Wm. H. Seward to as great an extent as any other man, the father of the Republican party. I look upon him, notwithstanding his miserable blunder in his bid for the Presidential nomination, as a man from whose efforts the slave has as much right to hope, as from the efforts of any other of the Republican leaders' and yet he fully justifies the remark that the party is a white man's party. In his speech at Portland on the 4th of August, he said nothing by which a stranger to our peculiar institution would know that a slave toiled upon American soil. 'Now,' said Senator Seward, 'many of you in Maine get your living by fishing. Do you want to see that interest prostrated and stricken down? Next, you are deeply interested in shipping ; do you want to see the free trade policy carried out, and foreign ships introduced here for sale [[/column 2]] [[column 3]] and the coasting trade ? Do you want to see our laws so altered as to legalize the stealing of negroes from Africa, or bringing them in from other places with their cheap labor to crowd out our free white labor ? Lastly, are you in favor of the union of these States?-- Do you know any hereabout who is not in favor of the Union? I know of but one way you can effectually respond to these questions I have asked you, and that is, by voting for Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin in November next.'This, in its tone and reasoning, is a fair specimen of Republican speeches. Whence, then, do we infer their ' abhorrence of slavery?' Not a word about the deep damning crime of imbruting four million of human souls; and yet the question is gravely put, whether anti-slavery men may not receive and indorse this twaddle as genuine anti-slavery gospel. 'They agree in the desire to prevent its spread into new Territory.' The Republicans are for white reasons, if we may believe their own words. 'They agree in objecting to the admission of any more slave States.'-- Wm. H. Seward said in his place in the Senate that he would not refuse to vote for the admission of new States, on the ground that they were to come in as slave States. No Republican leader has, to my knowledge, ever entered a protest against that position of Gov. Seward. If Radical Abolitionists travel for 'four years to come' in the Republican party, they will at the end of the term be four times as imbecile as they are now. This talk about 'postponement' of the application of 'tests of political fellowship,' is the old Whig argument which Abolitionists long ago repudialed, and no one more cogently than 'A. P.' himself. Whoever votes for Republican candidates, says that slavery is constitutionally and politically right in the Carolinas. Can a Radical do that ? 'A. P.'s' illustration of the French and English allies at Crimea does not meet the case in question. They were both aiming at the same thing--the taking of Sebastopol.-- The question of means involved no moral considerations. It was a mere matter of policy to decide in what way a merely physical force could best accomplish a purely physical result. I attend the raising of a barn. I think the better way is to raise a bent at a time. Many agree with me. Others insist that they will do no such thing. They will raise a broadside at a time, or do nothing. I say to my friends, we can do nothing alone; let us join them and raise a broadside at a time. It involves no question in morals, but merely a difference of judgement. Far otherwise is the case in question. The Radicals aim at the entire destruction of slavery root and branch as a sin against God and a crime against man. They refuse to acknowledge the justice of its claim any where on the footstool of God. The Republicans are directly the opposite of all this. They were valorous against slavery where the print of the slave's foot never cursed the soil. All this is well and praiseworthy. But they are loud mouthed and painfully vociferous in their efforts to satisfy the people that they are sound on the question of slavery in the States. They will guard the four million bondmen with a vigilant eye. If one of them dare raise a hand against his oppressor, they pledge the whole [[/column 3]]
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