The proposition of an established classification of states as slave states and free states, as insisted on by some, and into northern and southern, as maintained by others, seems to me purely imaginary, and of course the supposed equilibrium of those classes a mere conceit.
But there is a higher law than the Constitution, which regulates our authority over the domain, and devotes it to the same noble purposes.
The circumstances of the world are so variable that an irrevocable purpose or opinion is almost synonymous with a foolish one.
There is a higher law than the Constitution.
Idea is a noble one — an idea that fills and expands all generous souls; the idea of equality — the equality of all men before human tribunals and human laws, as they all are equal before the Divine tribunal and Divine laws.
It is the maintenance of slavery by law in a state, not parallels of latitude, that makes its a southern state; and the absence of this, that makes it a northern state.
We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them, and holding them in bondage where we can set them free.
Simultaneously with the establishment of the Constitution, Virginia ceded to the United States her domain, which then extended to the Mississippi, and was even claimed to extend to the Pacific Ocean.
But assuming the same premises, to wit, that all men are equal by the law of nature and of nations, the right of property in slaves falls to the ground; for one who is equal to another cannot be the owner or property of that other.
The whole hope of human progress is suspended on the ever-growing influence of the Bible.
Last Update: 13 April 2021
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