Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/334

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

to; we will wage our war against the name of slavery as the most effectual way to defeat once more the ever baffled fight against the reality; make African slavery free that industrial liberty may be enthralled; in the name of equality rivet inequality; break one set of fetters for power to force another."


Was it a symbol of this tumult, that in the year 1828, the ship of the line, Constitution, was surveyed and pronounced unseaworthy; her timbers decayed, and the estimated cost of repairs a sum far in excess of that expended for original construction? Patriots, not a few. were prepared for out and out abolition; or (practically the same thing) for the sale at public auction of material, which for some other purpose than that of "Ironsides" of liberty, might be worked up and made available. Then from a poetic throat rang out: "Ay, tear her tattered ensign down;" and a poetic storm drove back the inroad of Goth and Vandal upon the physical emblem: upon the name of Constitution. How fared it with the reality; with that moral wall, built also as bulwark against the foe, of which the wooden wall was emblem? This also was exhibiting the weather stain of storm; and there were those who would exchange the old timbers of tradition for a new fabric, having more of the power of pageantry. The assaults were stayed. The ship of state was suffered to sail on; and upon sufferance sailed. Three decades would hardly pass before this ship would be given "to the god of storms"—with none to prevent; none to relent. No lyric storm would pour to countervail that crash. While the hysterical surface thus quivered, the tremble of the real earthquake beneath the surface was ignored.

The Rev. Nehemiah Adams (whose last act, before leaving Boston to seek softer skies for a sick daughter, had been to assist in framing the remonstrance of New England clergymen against the extension of slavery into Kansas and Nebraska) wrote: "The South was just on the eye of abolishing slavery. The abolitionists arose and put it back within its innermost entrenchments." As it was on December 11, 1845, an article appeared in the Richmond Whig advocating the abolition of slavery and saying that