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through the hands appointed to administer them, that not one is weakened, none injured or destroyed, that we are called upon to exercise our judgment and our privileges at the ensuing election. All these call on us with a sense of deep responsibility, whenever it is our duty to give our suffrages to the candidates for the high offices of our respective States and common country.
Now the subject for your serious consideration at this time is the annexation of another large territory to the twenty-six States we already possess. I have seen the dismemberment of Texas from Mexico with much hope. She sprung into existence of a sudden, perhaps prematurely, but she seemed competent to sustain herself in her position; and you and I and all wished her well, for we wished to see the advancement of human liberty. Men who set up a government after the plan of our own, and sincerely take our Washington for their model, are always entitled to our regard. But, whatever may be our feelings and desires in relation to Texas, we must not take such a vast extent of territory into our Union without looking a little into the internal condition of things there, and to the institutions of that country! And it has always appeared to me that the slavery of the blacks, and the unavoidable increase both of the numbers of these slaves and of the duration of their slavery, formed an insuperable objection to its annexation. For I will do nothing, now or at any time, that shall tend to extend the slavery of the African race on this continent. Now, our opponents are in favor of immediate annexation, at all hazards! The Secretary of State says, in the correspondence transmitted with the treaty to the Senate of the United States, that the United States are ready to take all the responsibility of annexing it immediately; because, he says, the annexation of Texas is necessary to preserve the domestic institutions of the two countries, —that is, to preserve slavery in the United States, and to preserve slavery in Texas. To secure these objects, the United States will take all the responsibility.
Now slavery, in this country, stands where the Constitution left it. I have taken an oath to support the Constitution, and I mean to abide by it. I shall do nothing to carry the power of the general government within the just bounds of the States. I shall do nothing to interfere with the domestic institutions of the South; and the government of the United States have no right to interfere therewith. But that is a different thing, very, from not interfering to prevent the extension of slavery, by adding a large slave country to this. Why, where would this lead us to? Some day, England may become deeply involved in domestic difficulties, and the people of the North may want the annexation of Canada. We have territory enough, we are happy enough, each State moulds its own institutions to suit its own people, and is it not best to leave them alone?
Others will address you on other topics, and I must take my leave. I came among you only to tell you the deep interest I feel in your ensuing State election. The election of a President of the United States depends on the next gubernatorial election of Pennsylvania, or at least may be materially affected by it. As far as we can go for the maintenance of our Constitution and our rights, we of Massachusetts intend to do our duty, and we believe that you will do yours.
A feeling of delicacy will restrain me from attempting to advise you in aught that concerns your State election. A letter has been read from Governor Ritner, showing the important bearing of the election for Governor, in this State, upon the next November contest, and I concur in every word of that letter. I know there is nothing in the North which interests all so much, there is nothing to which a man so quickly and intently turns his thoughts, after the performance of his daily devotional duties, as to inquire into the prospects of your next ensuing election. For it will be ominous of the contest next November. It stands to reason, that, where eight hundred thousand votes are cast, any party decidedly beaten in October will require very great exertion to rouse itself a second time. And it is therefore from the election of next week that I shall deduce my conclusions whether Pennsylvania next November will stand side by side with Massachusetts, or not.
One word more, though I do not intend to canvass the merits of the respective candidates. I may be allowed to say that I had, a few days ago, the honor and pleasure of making the acquaintance of General Markle; and whether he be elected Governor of this Commonwealth or not, or whatever may betide him or me in after life, I am very glad to know him. He is a frank, open-hearted, intelligent, and noble citizen. And if I were a Pennsylvania!!, as you are Pennsylvanians, there is no man in the Commonwealth to whom I would sooner give my vote, or with whom I would sooner intrust the destinies of my State. And I pray Heaven, that at the next election you will all do your duty.
The duties before us must be regarded as serious and sober; the times are serious and sober; the occasion is serious and sober. The result of the next election will give a tone to the government and to the whole country for many years to come. It will decide whether the government is to remain upon the track which it has pursued since the days of Washington, or whether we are to shoot athwart the sky, and go off into some unknown region of political darkness.
There is no man who possesses so much or so little power, no man so elevated or so humble, as to be excused from exerting all the power he possesses to bring about the desired result; because there is no man so high in station or prosperity, no man so secure in life, or the possession of this world's goods, no man so intrenched in every way, and so persuaded that he is proof against fortune or fate, as not to be in danger from the effects of that disastrous course of policy which will be pursued should our adversaries succeed at the election.
Nor is there a man so low, so much bound to daily toil, as not to have an interest in the principles which the Whigs avow, those principles which reward labor, those principles which will elevate him in society, which shall fill his mouth with bread, his home with happiness, his heart with gladness.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you for the honor and kindness of your patient attention, and respectfully bid you farewell.