The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
“And now, fellow-citizens, you may ask, what is our object in thus exhibiting to you the alarming influence of the slave power?  Do we wish to excite in your bosoms feelings of hatred against citizens of a common country?  Do we wish to array the Free states against the Slave states in hostile strife?  No, fellow-citizens.  But we wish to show you that, while the slave states are inferior to us in free population, having not even one half of ours; inferior in morals, being the region of bowie knives and duels, of assassinations and lynch law; inferior in mental attainments, having not one-fourth of the number that can read and write; inferior in intelligence, having not one-fifth of the number of literary and scientific periodicals; inferior in the products of agriculture and manufactures, of mines, of fisheries, and of the forest; inferior, in short, in everything that constitutes the wealth, the honor, the dignity, the stability, the happiness, the true greatness of a nation,—­it is wrong, it is unjust, it is absurd, that they should have an influence in all the departments of government so entirely disproportionate to our own.  We would arouse you to your own true interests.  We would have you, like men, firmly resolved to maintain your own rights.  We would have you say to the South,—­if you choose to hug to your bosom that system which is continually injuring and impoverishing you; that system which reduces two millions and a half of native Americans in your midst to the most abject condition of ignorance and vice, withholding from them the very key of knowledge; that system which is at war with every principle of justice, every feeling of humanity; that system which makes man the property of man, and perpetuates that relation from one generation to another; that system which tramples, continually, upon a majority of the commandments of the Decalogue; that system which could not live a day if it did not give one party supreme control over the persons, the health, the liberty, the happiness, the marriage relations, the parental authority and filial obligations of the other;—­if you choose to cling to such a system, cling to it; but you shall not cross our line; you shall not bring that foul thing here.  We know, and we here repeat it for the thousandth time to meet, for the thousandth time, the calumnies of our enemies, that while we may present to you every consideration of duty, we have no right, as well as no power, to alter your State laws.  But remember, that slavery is the mere creature of local or statute law, and cannot exist out of the region where such law has force.  ‘It is so odious,’ says Lord Mansfield, ’that nothing can be suffered to support it but positive law.’
“We would, therefore, say to you again, in the strength of that Constitution under which we live, and which no where countenances slavery, you shall not bring that foul thing here.  You shall not force the corrupted and corrupting
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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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