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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

From Theodore Parker.

BOSTON 9 March, 1858.

MY DEAR MR. CHASE. I thank you heartily for your kind letter touching my speech at the State House. I did send it to you, but did not like to violate the (foolish) law made & provided against writing my name on it. I had no time to speak of all the important signs of the times. I meant at first to give a significant extract from the address of each of the Republican governors. But there were two difficulties - one was the lack of time, and the other lack of material. Several I had not seen in full, - only extracts in the newspapers, which can't always be trusted, for you dont know what else there may be. I was particularly desirous of mentioning yours & Mr. Barrens. I have only seen yours. in part in the Tribune and look for the whole message with great interest. I shall count it a special favor if you will send me all that you print. You know the esteem & admiration I feel for you, & the high hopes I entertain of the service you are yet to perform for the great cause of Human Rights. I wish I thought better of the Southern part of your state. What keeps the slaves in the N. of Md. Va. Ky? not the central govt, nor the slave hunters in the neighborhood; but the Public Opinion of Penn. O. Md. Ill. I think the northern states behave meanly - very mean. to submit to the insolence of the slave driver & are afraid of the Blackguards! Witness the scene between Senator Foster of Conn. & Mr. Mason yesterday. I wish I could have been a "spirit" to inspire F. as a "medium" for ten minutes, & have interpreted that clause of the const. (Art IV., Sect. IV) by the Programme of Principles laid down in the Dec. Ind. & the Programme of Purposes in the Preamble to the constitution itself. With the, general Progress of Humanity there must be a Progress also in the Idea of a Republic; & if the commonwealths of Greece & Rome allowed slavery, I think I can show that no state has a Republican form of Govt, in the American sense , which does not secure to all men the inalienable Right to Life Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness with which it is self evident that God has equally endowed each one of them: & that it is only by securing this to all & each that the Purposes of the constitution can be accomplished. I take it the const is the People's Power of Attorney by which they authorize their servants to do certain matters & things. In the Preamble they set forth, in general terms, the matters to be done, all of the ends to be accomplished; & in the body of the document point out the means to that end - & distribute the parts of the work among the various agents who are to. act under that Power of Attorney - they also define & limit the Powers entrusted.
S. C. has 284,000 free men, 384,000 slaves who are "chattels personal" - not having even the dignity of real estate! Is that a Republican Form of govt. where a minority own the majority ? What if Mr. Hammond owned all the 668,000 people of the S. C., would it be a Republican Form of govt. - he appointing the Gov. Legislature, Senators, & Rep. to Congress? But qualitatively it would be the same as now; the difference would be but quantitative, not in kind only in degree. I know the Romans & Athenians owned slaves - & called the state a Republica ; but it is said that Abraham attempted to sacrifice his only son to God - a whole burnt offering. If Senator Mason should do it tomorrow I doubt if the Grand Jury in Washington would impute it to him for righteousness next week.
Yours faithfully

THEODORE PARKER.

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