Newspaper Page Text
Reply of Wendell Phillips Esq. to Hon. Horace
BOSTON, March 21, 1853.
Hmk 8tm, Were my spirit auch m Mr.
Mann describes, 1 should answer him In thg
ame temper In whleh ho addresses me. The
tviateriala are ample, far mora ample than ho
imagines, lo such an one ai he has fancied
tne, they would be tempting. I ahull not touch
them. I retain, howerer, the right to remem
ber the apirit and tono of hi letter facta
frora which to form, in future, my eatlinato of
"""racier. K my apecch or letter had any
lorce, it came from the facta I atatcd, not from
the epithsta in which they were wrapped,
ahall observe that rule now, and commend it to
Mr. Mann for adoption.
Mr. Mann ia much exutedbymy speaking
f hia paat rolationa to the anti-slavcry cauc.
Jle aaya 1 have not alated the hicte correctly.
1 hare looked over my atotemcnt, and ro-afHrm
It. I leavo that statement and hia denial to the
Judgement of the anti-slavcry public, and will
cheerfully abide tho vordict. lie considers my
reference to tliese facta unnecessary personali
ty. I do not think ao. He had claimed. In hit
first letter, that hia services to the anti-slavery
eauto haa been so marked, and his course so
decisive and outspoken, that I was not justified
Id suspecting him of want of frankness, even
if hia langiingo looked like it. This claim
might possibly have some weight with those as
young in tho movement as himsolf. I felt
bound, therefore, to show that hia past history
and conduct had been such thut I had no rcn
on to bo mrpriud at his courso in Congress, or
to hold back from tho judgment to which his
languago naturally led. Words tnko much of
their huo from the character that stands behind
Mr. Mann is equally offended with my re
buko of him firo years ago, in regard to the
Colored School question. Ho snys that I camo
up aealthily behind him and strurk him das
tard blows, when tho planning and execution
his hands, and he was encountering tho oppoai
of a great educational enterprise was confi led lo
tion and hostilities of selfishness in a thousand
forms.' I hardly know what he means by 'Heal
thily ' end 'datlard' I never had the pleaauro
l any pcrional acquaintance with Mr. Mann,
and honco could not address him privately.
Besides, he was tho Officer of a Commonwealth
of which I was a citizon, and entitled, there
fere, to criticise his public acta through the
press. I published my remarks In the Libera
tor, tho appropriate organ through which to ar
raign any man who commits a crime against
the colored race. I should have been glad to
have printed them in tho Daily Adcertiter or Dot
Ion Attar, but Mr. Mann knowa well they would
not publish a line from me. I gave my remarks,
therefore, all the publicity I could. So much
for Wealthily.' As for the rims I chose, I can
enly say, I criticised Ids Heporta tho moment 1
eaw them s and, in ono ease, the moment his
-Report was out of tho press. In those very
criticisms, I spoke with admiration of his do
voted teal and untiring lubor ss Secretary,' and
expressed my 'deep sympathy ia all hia efforts
nd trials.' For soma twenty years, the cruel,
degrading, injurious, and utterly illegal system
of scperato schools for colored children, tho
result of American prejudice against color,
bad prevailed in our ciliea and large towns. A
few of us hsj been besieging, for some ton
years, Legislative committees and City ooromit
tees, to got such schools abolished. In our al
most hopeless effort, wo had borne tho insults
of politicians and the jeers of the press; but
still, at great cost tud effort, wo persevered.
All this while Mr. Mann was at the head of
the School system of Massachusetts, and it was
uspected that, ia private, he entirely agreed
with us In our views. Such an offioor we had
right to expect would lead our van. Such, I
know, was the stato of publio opinion in the
rural districts, that a few pages in hia Annual
Reports would bo a mighty help to us. Instead
of this, he never gave us one word of recogni
tion, countenance or aid. At lunt, when he
did speak on tho subject at all, his language
was calculated to do so much harm, that I felt
called on to protest against it.
I knew he had great educational enterprise
an his hands, I thought that he fancied he
should increase his ability to aerve that, by
smothoring his convictions as to the wrong done
tho colored man. This fnlso philosophy was
11 that I charged him with, I never charg
td him with personal or low ambition. Hut
when Mr. Mann has been longer acquainted
with the anti-slavery enterprise, ho will learn
that we never grant any ono lcavo to sacrifice
the rightt of the colored man, in the idea of
being thereby better ablo to benefit the vf bite
leave, that is, to do evil that good may coino.
This is tho universal excuso for not holping the
slave. Many a man says, If I touch the slave
question, I ahall be less ablo to aerve my church
my party my business my collcgc,'&o. For
this.we have criticised Webster and Beochcr
oven Adams, Rantoul, and IIulc. What claim
had Horace Mann to be an exception I He will
" observe that I did not bring this old matter for
ward till ho forced mo to do so by his ullusion
to the past.
' This Is no personal matter between Mr. Marin
nd myself. The scperato Colored Schools
till exist in Boston, with all its cruel, degred
Ing and injurious effects. How much tho guilt
of its continuance la chargeable on Horace
Mann's silcuco, not to use stronger term, no
one can tell. The criticism of the anti-slavery
press was not lost. He has since taken col-
. orad girl to board at his table. She waa a stu
dent at the Normal School, and no other family
in the Tillage would admit her. I have known
. this fact for some time. I mention it with
pleaauro. All honor to Mr. Man for it. Nono
- but an American knowa how much honor he
deserves for it. He will live to repent yet ol
the wrong he did the colord children of the
fjutf, by his systematic end designed silence.
I have so much confidence in his magnanimity
as to believe he will yet confess that repentance.
Mr. Mann asserts that I have not quoted hie
speeches at sufficient length to do him Justice,
I no not think your readers will blame me for
not quoting enough. I used your columns aa
liberally as I dared. However, his voleme may
be found at all the bookstore, and Is, as ita el
oquence and masterly logic well deserves, in the
"hands of many abolitionists. Any one can ea
sily satisfy himself whether I have done Mr.
Mann any injustice. Thero is one paragraph,
fow lines of which I omitted, to save space,
giving notice by asterisks that parts had been
omitted. Ho says if I do not now quote this in
full, it will be because I dare not. Why did
ho not cony the tiaretrranh himself, since rour
i i. t
columns were a. open to hwn as to me for auch
purpose? However, to gratify him In every
particular, pl aso copy, in noto hereto, the '
paragraph on his 20Cth and 207th pages, first !
umc.a F.very Olio who will tako the trouble '
to compare the two, will sco that the omitted
line do not change the aenso in the slightest j
degree. In this paragraph, uttered In 1S'30,
nr. junn ucasrea u.ai 'in, Lonttttuttuner tne
VniUd Stair,, .aj th, la of 1703, being at an
end, th4 Utt of natun retire,, fly Mil rs- !
ry cate of an etrapinj tiare it tut the reeovey of
ttoltn good,, n hen they crou th, tin, into fret ;
State, they ar, free -a, free of you or I. Th, j
STATES BEING SEI'EKATED, I would as
soon urTi iiN v own ntioTimi or sistkh into
tlONOAUU, AS I WOl'LD HCTVUN A ITOITTB SLAVS,
Dr.ro he Oou, ami Christ, and all stnN, tiif.y
ARB MY hliOTHL Asa siSTF.iis.' I understood
this to mean, that, until tho states were aepcr
atcd, his conduct would bo different ; clso why
make the condition ) Every man whom I meet
understood it so. Idoubt whether, of his thou
sand readers, Mr. Mann can find ono who did
rot so nndcrstaud it. Ho affirms he did not
mean to bo so understood. I can only say, that,
with Mr. Mann's wonderful control of language,
it is niarvoilously straugo that ho should, on
this occasion, have succeeded so poorly in con
voying his meaning. In 18.i0, Mr. Munn avow
ed, as I have shown by abundant quotations,
that the Constitution ordered tho return of fti
gitivo slaves ; a doctrine to which, if I under
stand his lsst letter, he still adheres. In the
saaie speech in which he mado this avowal, he,
pac,o 1M2, classes himself with thoao wose 'at
Ujianct to the Cotutitmion i, unihakeu' ; and
again, in the same speech, ho uses this languago
-p. 213 l
Two things exist at the North, which the
South docs not fully npprecintc the depth ar.d
intonsity of onr abhorrenco of shivery and that
reverence for the law which keeps it in check.
We aro a law-abiding people. Hut, rrUaie us
from our obtiijation,, tear off from the bond with
your oicn hand, ths lignature, whith bind our con
tcienre, and repres our feelings, destroy those
compensations which the world and which pos
terity would dorive from a continuance of this
Union, and well may you trcuiblo for tho ro-
What docs Mr. Mann mean by human law
koeping hia abhorence of slavery in check I
trample in the dust every human law that
would check my abhorrence of slavery or of
Ia ho a ' law-abiding' man in tho sense of
obeying any law which upholds slsvory ? Can
any human bond, or tig nature, bind a man'
miiWrnt'e to do wrong to return alaves ) Thia
speech, he says, waa addressed to the South.
Does any ono doubt how Southern men under
stood such language, wholly unqualified i
Afterwards, in that ssmo year, 18.50, vhil,
ipcuiting of the Fugititt Slave Act, and of it, vi
olating the Constitution, he said
I disd tin to avail myself, in a sober argu
ment, of the popular sensitiveness on this ul).
j?ct; and I cnovlkiioe mt orlioationb tu
TUB CuN'STITl'TlON, WHILI IT la Sl KltRKn TO
list. But still, I say, that th man who can
read thia bill without having hia blood boil in
his veins, has a powor of refrigoration that
would cool the tropics.'
What does this mean, if it does not meon
that he will obey that clauso of the instrument
which orders fugitive slavea to be returned ?
With auch printed pagea before mo, not to
speak of others, I assert that I was fully justi
fied in charging him with a willingness to re
turn fugitive slavea to their masters, while the
present Constitution lasted.
Ho now withdraws and repudiates this sen
timent. I am glad of it. If ho over held it, 1
am glad he repents. If he has been grossly
misunderstood, the fault is his own, snd he
should thank me for calling his attontion to it,
and giving him an opportunity to cxpluin him
self. In regard to my quotations to show that Free
Soilers have no wish to interfere with slavery
in tho States, and 1 consent to let slavery re
main wheroitis,' Mr. Mann says I do him in
justice, because they wero all spoken in his
capacity as a Congressional legislator, or with
rcfurciico to legislation by Congress.' Ho is
incorrect here. The quotation which I made
before, from pago 212, ssys, tho South 'com-
plain of Northern agitation on the subject of
slavery, and Northcrn Instigation of alaves to
escapo.' This i not party agitation, political
agitation, legislative agitation, but Northcrn
agitation. Ho spcaks.too.of instigating slaves
to cscopo.' From that it ia evident that he had
the whole movement on hia mind, and not ita
legislative' aspect alone. For when did any
body ever complain' of political partwt or leg
ftaturet ' instigating slaves to ecapo'? The
next scntenco apeaks of agitation,' putting
the word between quotation marks. Now ev.
ery body in tho free States knows what that
term means; knows that it describes tho whole
anti-alavcy movomont, moral as well aa politi
cal. It ia in thia sense, also, that Mr. Maun
himaelf usee it, on his 392-3-t-6th pagea, com
menting on Webster's impudent declaration
that agitation must be put down.' Yet he
says, Thoy the North have never ayitated
the question of slavery in the States.'
Quotation omitted for want of room.
whero and otherwise, will do bis best to abolish i
the .. .comprehending wickedness of slav.ry. j
in which every wrong and every crime haa it,
natural home," then he should have plainly
"id ", t',',.eVri" J1', liclinier is an unwor- '
If all this, not to adduce other passages, does
not mean what it appears to, the publio have a 1
right to ask Mr. Mann to be moro careful, in J
future, to express cxaotly what ho does mean. '
granting Mr. Mann spoke those passagea ,
only in his Cengressional legislative, political '
capacity, they Drove exactly what I charued.
My original laniruaira waa
Tho eame speech contains tho usual depre-
catory assertions, that Free Boilers have no
wish to interfere v.ith slavery in the States ,
that they 'consent to let slavery reinnin where
it is.' If he mean that he, Horac Mann,
moral and accountable -being, 'consents to let
tl)CCCh i. sound and fury, signif ying nothing.-
If ho means that ho, Hohach Mmu'sis vuliii-
'''' "" P"rtlt "" consents to that, but else-
in v irira wiimrx ri 1 1 1 1 f i ri avn iinfn vnn nn nne
t . i i. . ii .i Z .k.
llo must have known that all the Mouth mro
jio must nave Known inai an me nouin raro
for is tho action, not in what eajneity tho deed .
Ml . jh, 11 n;.lin. r,u
ay Joshua K. Oiddings, Cn,
Horace Mann ."had no wish to In-
Rumner. or Ilornco
toffer' c. hut tbc.n eontlem.n l-..n.
Soir.ua. I.e.. actin In their Connesainnat. I-.,.
Mnliy9i pnrtT ca)IlCity. And I char,:ed fur-
thcr, that Mr. Mann was not explicit in letting
hcirct, know in what cI)tt(.ity ,.cl!0 hum.
blinz ,nd iI)nlirlI. wor... Ucro aaid. and hn.
far they bound him. He thinks he has been :
explicit, and refers the reader to his i
volume So do I and cheerfully bi,U i
tho verdict of anyone who will read it with!
care. But mark ! h, note emfee, that he doe,
hold himself bound, a, a Conorewional leois- i
laiou , not to interfere trith the tuhjert of tlavery !
inO, State,, and a, iuch, 'content, to let ,lace,y
remain tchcr, it is.' This I consider tho great j
weakness and mistako of the Free Soil party.
Tho Constitution, as it stands, givos no power ,
to interfere, dirccllv. with slavery in tho States.
excepet In J. Q. Adams's opinion, when some
crisis in war shall make it necessary. Tho
opinion of so eminent a statesman, as ablo a
judge of Constitutional law as we havo ever
had, is reason enough why an anti-slavery leg
islator should never assert, in unqualified terms,
that we havo no right to iutorfere with slavery
in the States. Lot us hold on with tenacious
grasp, and keep constantly familiar, every, even
tho slightest cluiin wo havo tu such an interfer
ence. But, In excusing himaelf for his official oath,
Mr. Mann says, I do not swear to support the
Constitution in any such sense a forbids my
doing all I can to alter it. In that office, I havo
better mean of changing it. Now, how is tho
Constitution to bo altered ? By Congrettional
Ityitlation. Congress proposes amendments,
and submits them, for ratification, to the States.
This right draws after it the political right to
'agitato the question of slavery in the States,'
which Mr. Mann so carefully repudiates. At
the balioi box, !n political conventions, in Mr,
Mann'a place in CG.13r.-s, a man can aRitato
to have the President chosoii for I.f". to abolish
tho war-powers of Congress, to havo women
vote, to abolish alaverv in the States,
whole question of slavery in the States is open,
therefore, to every political man in tho Union. !
Mr. Mann ia young in the anti-slavery cause, I
or ho would have learned the distinction we
have always mads between Initiation and agi- J
tatioH. No one, except Ocrril Smith'a party,
ha ever claimed the tight to leyulat, on Stato j
while the Constitution remains aa it is. I
in defiance of Henry Clay, in 18.19, and !
both the pro-slavery parties, we havo always '
claimed the right to agitate the question of
slavery in the States,' even on tho floor of Con
gress, in our politicul capacity, as well as in
every other. To be sure, the nttempt to alter
the Constitution, in this respect, is about as
hopeless as the purposo which somo Freo Sail
ers avow, of altering it three-fifths slave bi.ii
of representation. Both aro equally hopeless.
But the right to stir thorn is invaluable. Why,
then, this perpetual harping, by Freo Soilcn,
on tho impossibility of their saying this and
the other thing, or avowing this or the other
purpose, in their pelitieal capacity ) 1 assert
that aTrea Soiler, no matter whero he stands,
in Congresa or out, can honorably make every
effort and avow every purpose that an abolition.
1st can, except the effort and the purpose to
disobey the Constitution as it stands. That
glorious right constitutes our peculiar privilege,
and whenover any Free Soiler uses it, he stamps
himself as furesworn. Up to that limit hc can
go, and is bound to go j and whenever ho fails
to do so, ho fails in his duty to tho slave.
Moat of the political abolitionists, who talk so
much of ixilitical capacity," and 'under the
Constitution,' do it to propitiate publio senti
ment, knowing well enough, all the while,
what their rights and what their designs are.
In this description, I by no nicuis include Mr.
Mann. Such men know that, even under the
present Constitution, were it possible Free Soil
era ahould ever get the rule, our Federal gov
ernment, by indirect influence, could in various
ways Interfere with slavery in the States. Let
it establish the perfectly constitutional rule,
that no slaveholder ahould ever be appointed
to National office, and there are States where
such course would kill slavery in five years.
Sagacious men of the party know this, and in
tend to adopt it whsnever possible. Vet they
go about, and allow their confederal to go
about, disclaiming all wiali to 'agitate slavery
in the States,' and all right to interfere with
it there. If they moan what they aay, it is
treason to the alave if they do not mean it, il
is hypocrisy. What is the crowning argument
always used, even by Free Soiler, with North
ern audionces, to make them ask for the aboli
tion of alavery in the District, and of the in
ternal alave trado That such acts will mate
rially afreet slavery within the State. With
what truth, thon, can the representatives of
that party assort, that, in any senao, it 'con.
sent to lot slavery remain whero it Is,' or deny
, , .i,- firth. ,tn h.; .f n.n.i.i;.
""e-Uftn ,lnve M f R'P'esentation,
a a question on winch Adame and Guiding have
given us tho ablest Stato paper ever written on
political anli-alavery, I allude to their Report
that it 1 agitates the question of slavery In the
Even In the above mentioned paragraph, Mr.
Mann ahows hia heedlessness or Insufficient in
But fo'niation. Ho deliberately enumerate the
bjts nlh Northorn agitation haa sought to
compass and twice assort that those he names
Norlh' ,'"lt "6 iU l"form hi,n,clf bcUer- b
aufBcier.tly foro hc "ndcr,nkc Bttin ,0 t ita anti
whole 1J history.
w"om now to tho question of Free Soil
! c"in8 ,0 ""PPort Constitution which
ouX" 1,10 rcturn of fuBve slaves. And here
Mr' M,,nn' " ' """n"? tho ease with his
,(TicnA'' bcco,n confused and obscure. 1
lwkpJ ,,im 1,10 Pll,in nnd dircct q"tion, wheth
, " 1,0 ,,elJ thot ,ho Constitution did order auch
Thil 9"' ha, not amicered But
1 Mvr from the 80ncral tcn of his letter and
" bowa t0 0DC)'- n" rce b0" iteP-
f"ntative, in hia place in Congresa, vote to
P8' the marshal, who haa dono that service to
,he 8," "nd th Jud8e "ha u,ucd ' l'r
alavery, i1'- Tho Frco S"'1 Senator is one who ap
But, l'oil,u Jud6" for that purpose. Tho Free Soil
candiduto for tho residency, when ho accepts
,he "' one" eTer attempted. Yet, not to
mention the sanctity of the publio mail rifled
by ,iavcholding committeca, and other smaller
' , ....
".alters, we do not find in hia list tho abolition
of the Internal Slave Trade, subject on
which we have petitioned Congress for years,
,n(i ono wt)icn cry ,bolitionist till within
fow TMr l",d ",mo1 ""rJ one now Anm 0
bo within the leji-lative control of Congresa.
Neither do we find in hia list tho abolition of
to the House of Representatives in the year
1841. nils nas occn an aim of every political
movement against slavery, from tho Hartford
"ven.ion, in 1814. aown to the organis.fon
of ,1,0,lrt0 P",y' nd M
uvnven.ion, in 1814, lown to the organiaation
srgum i Hi ur. vouiu air. aiann nna no
fUcCt hi" 1Ut- for th one brint 'P01
Northcrn "alc mnahip, the sunset glory of old
rc'lrr',li',m' nufu" King's movement In tho
Scno of the United States, for the abolition
of S,avcrJ, lUc" ' 1 br?' ot tho nono' "t the
"S"'"'' lnat ho no 1J. lie always has
u ' uum so orucr, anu
that Free Soilers generally agree with him.
This being premised, let ua see what ho says,
in his first letter, of this Constitutional oath:
' I know of no Freo Soiler who haa ever fell
any troublo on that score, or haa ever been
slow to meet the question." And this, for
the Mimple reaton that ie luear to tupport the
Vomtitution of the United State; became, tcith
our interpretation of it, it require, tu to do noth
ing in violation of th, Higher Law of God.'
Why insert the phrase, ' teiih our interpreta
tion of it,' since it now appears that their inter
prctation ia the common one ? It misled me, I
confess, into supposing that Mr. Mann had
adopted Mr. Lysandcr Spooncr'a view. It
seems ho had not, and tho words are superflu
ous. But I call the attention of tho anti-slavery
public to the sentence above, in Italics.
Mark ho says he 'knows of mo FuebSoilkr.'
This includes the Free Soil voter, the Freo Soil
Representative, the Free Soil Senator, the Free
Soil candidate for Freaident. That Free Soil
voter ia liable, at any time, to be called by tho
United States marshal to help him capture fu
gitive slaves or if, aa some think, that duty
btlonja to the Stales, the State sheriff may call
on "lm ,or lne Mm8 PurP'"i "
"ul"S n some States under an express, anu tu
unuor n Implied oatn to tho uonsiiiuuon,
tho nomination, avows that lio is ready to
take the office of appointing such Judges and
such marshals, and of executing, with the
whole military power of the nation, that clause
of the Constitution, if it bo opposed. Mark,
also it ia no matter whether, in such offices,
they intend actuully to do theso deeds. Mr.
Mann cannot deny thut theso aro deeds which
the Constitution 1 requires them to do.' Now
Mr. Horace Mann tells us, that all these per
sons find no difficulty 'in swearing to support
the Constitution, because, with their interpre
tation of it, which is the usual one, ituequiuks
Tllr.M TO DO NOTUINO IN VIOLATION OP TUB HlOU-
eh Law or Oou.'
I call on the whole North nnd the whole
South to got this confession by heart, and fling
it in the face of every Free Soiler who ahall
hereafter undertake to talk of thomt of return
ing slaves into bondage.
Again, after some distinctions about hia own
oath, which I ahall presently notice, Mr. Mann
says, in his lost Inter
I awcar ns a Member of the House of Rep
resentatives, not as a United State Marshal or
foul Fugitive Slave Law Commissioner. When
Free Soilers are found taking an oath which
shall obligo thorn to rcturn fugitive slaves, then
let them be blasted with tho swiftest lightning.'
Last fall, Mr. Maun voted, I presume, for
John F. Hale for President. It matters not to
the responsibility of voter, whether hia can
didate be elected or not. no docs all he can
to elect him, by giving him his vote. At the
samo time, Mr. Mann himself consented to re
ccire the votes of his party for the office of
Governor of Massachusetts. Now, if the Su
preme Court la right, Mr. Hale, if elected
President, would have been bound to appoint
Marahals to execute the slave aurrendor clause,
and to execute it himself, if it were resisted.
If that Court is wrong, and the Free Soilers are
right, in holding that the clause refers to the
States, and needs no auxiliary legislation, then
Mr. Mann, if Governor, would have been bound
to see it obeyed. You will please observe, that
I am not supposing either of these men would
actually do such an infamous deed. I only
assert, in Mr. Mann'a language, that their re
speotive oath, would oblige them to do it. In
voting, then, for Mr. Hale, Mr. Mann asked
his friend to take an oath which oblige htm
to return fugitive slavea.' On the other sup.
position, in consenting to stand a Governor,
he offered himself to take such an oath, if his
fsllow-oitizent should elect him. Now, if
Free Soiler, who take such an osth, should be
' blasted with the swiftest lightning,' how swift
ought the lightning to be for one, who, by his
vote, asks his friend to take It, or for one who
offers to take himself My moral optica are
not, I eonfess, sharp enough to ee much dif
ference. Mr. Mann will please observe, that I
have not been speaking of the Fugitive Star,
Act, whose constitutionality he and I ahould
deny, but of the conttitutional ilav, claut,
ifelfi and my whole argument refers to that.
It ia evident that allowing, aa Mr. Mann docsf
that there ia a fugitive slave clause in the Con
stitution, it must be executed by somebody, in
some form or other. If by the Union, then, In
voting for Hale, Mr- Mann asked his friend to
be, In fact. Chief of United States Marshals
and foul Fugitive Slave Law Commissioners.'
But if that duty belongs to the States, then, in
offering to brcomo a Stato Governor, ho offered
himself to become, virtually, a Marshal or Com
missioncr for thia purposo.
Of his own oath a a Member of the House of
Representatives, Mr. Mann says ho considers it
ipeeial, and not obnxhal) referring only to the
duties of that oflica. To thia well-known dis
tinction, I do not wholly assent ; but I cheerful
ly accept it for the purpose of the present sr.
gumcnt. If, for the last two years, Mr. Mann
haa voted for the usual bills appropriating mon
ey for the expenses of government, he has vot
ed to pay Marshall Dcvens for carrying Thomas
Sims from Boston back to Georgia, and to pay
the Salaries of Pcleg Sprnguo and B. It. Curtis,
who tried Elinor Wright and other alleged res
cuers of Shadroch. If ho has ever voted for
an appropriation bill, during hia whole Con
gressional life, he has voted to pay the salary
of one Judge McLaue, Western miscreant,
who is rarely heard of except as sending back
some hapless fugitive, or fining, into absolute
poverty, aomo Christian who haa helped the
wanderer. Whether it ia more honorable to
rcturn alaves ono's self, or to pay another man
for doing it, Mr. Mann can decide at his leisure.
The old saw, Qui facit per alium.facit perie, I
hold to be good logic and good Latin though
as to the last, having Webster's fate beforo my
eyes, I will assert nothing just now. If Mr.
Mann shall allego that ho has never unco voted
for an appropriation bill, then he haa broken
hia oath j for ho has failed to do that which the
Constitution and cammon honesty required him
to do ; namely, pay the salaries of men, w ho,
according to tho Supremo Court, tho establish
ed final interpreter of their constitutional duty.
Mr. Mann can choose cither horn of the dilem
ma he prefer.
I had affirmed, that an oath to the people of
the United States was binding in that aenso in
which ho who took it knew, at tho time, that
the peoplo understood him to offer it. This
familliar principle is sanctioned by every mor
alist, from half-Christiun Cicero down to haif-
prgan Wayland. Mr. Munn deniea it I Ho
assert that an 'oath makes God a party to the
transaction, it ia binding in that sense in which
he knowa the party took it'l This is virtually
the Josuita' rule, that promises aro binding,
not aa tho parties understood them, but as the
promisor secretly intended. That is, man
may awear ono thing and mean another, and
Uod justifies him! I do not so hold; neither
will Mr. Mann, when he thinks of it a second
Mr. Mann next says that his 'guides to duty
are his conscience and his Maker.' Had he
been holding a discussion with Brownson, tho
remark would pcihaps have been pertinent,
though aomowhat trito Nobody this side of
Romo over denied the proposition j certainly, I
never did. If ho will icud my lotter moro
carefully, which I beg him in luture to do,
he will see that I never n-ked him what his
'guides to duty were. 1 did ask him how he
reconciled himself o his anti-fljvrry princi
ples, in swearing support to a Constitution
which he all i wed to bo prn-sluvery. I must
say, I do not think I havo yet succeeded in ob
taining much of an answer.
The Constitution I tako to be a list of prin
ciples, conditions and agreements. Whoever,
on reading, assonts to thcui, and can honestly
promise to put them into execution, is qualifi
ed to tako offico under it. Tho Government is
whole, a unit all its parts intimately con
nected. Ono can hardly take the humblest
office in it, without becoming partaker in the
responsibility of every other. Tho Supremo
Court Is established as tho final interpreter of
the Constitution; and every man who swears
to support and executo it, swears to do so In tho
sense which that Court has declared to be the
truo and legal senses of the instrument. This
doctrino Webster engraved on the political
tombstone of Hayne and Nullification. Whcrv
Mr. Munn ia ready to 'throw himself right across
that path,' and dispute it, I shall bo happy to
listen to him, if I havo timo. Meanwhilo, he
aks, confusedly, what ono ahall do if tho Su
preme Court changes its decision, or what in
ciso the people and the Court differ. I will not
show such disrespect to his character aa a law
ycr a to suppose that ho really thinks these
questions deserve an answer.
I maintained that Mr. Mann'a oath or prom
ise was made to the nation, and binding on
him in tho sense in which he knew the nation
understood it. To thia he answers that 'How
ell Cobb and Linn Boyd understood perfectly
well in what aenae I would take the oath, when
they called me to the Speaker' desk and ad
ministered it.' Howell Cobb I Linn Boyd !
Theso may bo very worthy individuals) but I
never heard that they were authorised to dis-
Mr. Mann ia somewhat earnest about accu
racy of quotation. Let him 'rock hia own
read.' I never aaid, as he represents me, that
promises or oatha 'are binding in that aense in
wnicn the nation understands them, or that the
oath is binding acoording as the nation and
the Supreme Court eonstrue it.' I ssid, 'A
premise is binding injthat sense in which the
promitor know, tho promisee understands it.'
Mr. Msnn it clearsighted enough to see the
penaa with the oath prescribed by the Consti
tution, and administer new one, Mr. Cobb
waa appointed to administer the oath, not to
explain, qualify or new ahape it- Mr. Mann
knowa that, aa well as Howell Cobb or myself.
His office waa purely ministers!. It might
have been performed by an automaton. In
deed, the whole thing might have been com
pleted by the sign of Mr. Mann'a dropping
white ball into deal box. Mr. Mann goes on
All tho nation, anul the Supremo Court,
who cared to know, knew ss well aa they did.
At any rate, it was not my fault if they did
not know j I had told them often enough,' I
can hardly bring myself to believe that Horace
Mann, the author of that masterly argument
against the Fugitive Slave Law, ever penned
these sentences in serious earnest. Like poor
Moses Stuart, had he no friend to prevont hi
jesting so untimely) How Webster would
have snatched at such words from Horace Msnrs
to prove tho contemptuous assertion, that 'hi
opinion on a law question was not worth re
garding'! But let us look back a moment. Mr. Manai
has just been telling us that his fecial oath, aa
member of Congress, did not bind him to do
any thing as to fugitivo slaves, or any thins;
wrong. What occasion, then, had he to enter
into any explanations with those worthy indi
viduals, 'Howell Cobb and Linn Boyd' What
ocession had ho to 'tell' so 'often' 'the nation
and the Supreme Court 'in .what' particular
'senso' he took the oath r He has been assert
ing, all along before, that he took it just as ev
ery body else did and ho mado himself rather
merry at my not being aware of the 'plain and.
palpable legal distinction' which covered all
members of Congress. But now, behold, even,
this special oath is of such nature that he is
obliged to have some private understanding
with Mr. Cobb and Mr. Boyd. Thia ia very
singular. Will Mr. Mann please let the world
know what little function thero was which oth
nicmbrrs of tho House promised to fulfil, but
which he privately begged 'Howell Cobb and
Linn Boyd' to excuso him from ?
Seriously, I mean to assert that, up to this
moment, no man in this Commonwealth, or
elsewhere, had any reason to know or think,
from any publio woid or act of Mr. Mann, that
he took that oath with any qualification or re
servation, or in any sense peculiar to himself.
I respectfully ask Mr. Mann to point me to the
passago of his printed speeches, whoroho give
sny frank expression of his unwillingness to takt
the oath to tho Constitution in the usual sense.
Gcrrit Smith may take this position of publio
notice i Lysandcr Spooner may take it. They
have spoken boldly, long and loud about it, I
do not discuss, now, whether it bo tenable.
Uuti' Mr. Mann finds, In defending hi oath,
that he inual need assumo it, I deny thut hie
past course entitles him to any such defonce.
Hi, claiming it ihow, m, that he cannot, to hi, own
tatisfuction, defend hi, oath on th, ground which
ho tries to silence mo with, namely, that tho
oath is tpecial and not general. W I indeed
0 very far wrong In saying thut Mr. Mann
lacked frankness ?
Mr. Mann says 'If it be true that a promise
is binding in that senso in which the promisor
Knows the promisee understands it, it is just as
true, whatever worda may bo used, that a pro
mise ia no further binding than aa the prom
isco knowa the promisor understands it.'
Very truo. I thank him for the terseness of
the statement, and think I can show him, in
thia connection, his mistako about the oath. I
will talk to him as a lawyer. Ho knowa that
a scaled instrument con only bo avoided by a
scaled instrument ono contract by another of
equsl solemnity. Ho Is aware also, of the com
mon principle, that a judge, for instance, may
know a fact in his private capacity, which ho
Is not bound, or indeed authorized to know, or
tako notice of, in his official character, till it ia
proved to him by competent legal evidence.
Now, in tho matter of tho oath, Mr. Mann is
the promisor, and tho nation is promisee. Mr.
Mann knows, by official act, the Constitution
snd Supremo Court acts ho is legally bound to
know and notice, how tho nation understands,
hia oath. Can ho ahow that the nation knowa,
by any official acttot his act, of which th, na
tion i, legally bound to take notice in what new
or particrlar senso ho accepts tho oath ) When
he can, I will allow that he is justified In taking;
sn oath to tho Constitution, meaning to obey
only a part of it.
An oath to tho Constitution is promise to
the nation. It is mado, not to Howell Cobb or
Linn Boyd, but to mo and to you to Benton
in St. Louis to the merchant on tho New
Orleans levee to the squatter in Wiaconain
to tho planter on the banks of the Roanoke and
tho Altamaha. It was agreed on in 1787.
Then Massachusetts and Carolina came to
gcther. They agreed to entrust their common
interests, peace and war, commerce and manu
factures, to joint roprcsentutives. On what
conditions shall we do this J said they to each
other. On condition, auid Carolina, to Ms,
chusetts, that jou send no man into the gen,
ral council, who docs not first agree to be bound
and limited by this Constitution, the whole of
it. It was so settled, and they parted, one to
her rice awamps, and tho other to her fisher,
ies ; each at liberty to devote herself wholy to
her own business, and not obliged to watch
particularly tho other'a action, sure that bo,
man would be allowed to touch the genera
Commonwealth, who had not first consented to
the settled limitation.
Now, look at Mr. Mann's theory, and let tu
test it. He explains to his constituents at
home, that when he swears to aupport the Con.
stitution, he means to support all but one clause.
They accept him with that understanding, and
send him to Washington. He goes to th
Speaker' deak to take the oath. Boforo doing
0, he inform! the Speaker of the aeiuo in
whiuh he takes it. What would be the 8peak.
er'edutyr He would say-Mr. Mann, offi.
oially, I cannot no tic your cruplee. iTero U