No Union With Slaveholders: An Address Delivered in Boston, Massachusetts: 28 May 1844
MR. DOUGLAS [S].--I do not know, Sir, that I shall be able to throw any new light upon this subject. I am here more to bear testimony, than to argue the question. I rejoice, however, to see so large a portion of the people here to discuss it, and may the discussion only cease when Slavery shall be no more.
I have heard many things said as to the utility of dissolving the Union. We are told by the opponents of that measure, that the Constitution depends on the people, and we are told also, on the same side, that it needs no alteration. I confess, that had it descended to me from the clouds, I might not have questioned its merits, in consequence of what appears upon the face of it. But, knowing as I do its origin, and the character of its framers, and seeing as I do, how it was written, as it were, in the blood of thousands and thousands of slaves, I think it not an Anti-Slavery document. Even had it come to me from above, I do not think it could have stood the test of impartial examination. I should have been compelled, when I came to the clause respecting the return of persons held to service or labor, to think that something else than freedom was meant, if not to acknowledge that Slavery stared me in the face. But without going into a minute examination of every clause, I should conceive its intent respecting Slavery to be proved by this fact, if there were no other; that the laws passed immediately after its adoption, and by the very men who framed and accepted it, were laws upholding Slavery. That shows that they knew they might maintain Slavery under it.
Mr. President, it is sufficient for me at least to prove its character, that I am a slave under the Constitution. Wherever the stars and stripes wave,