1874, April 28.
Bequest of
Fim. Char. Sumner,
of Boston.
(H.A. 1830.)

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1848,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New-York.



I ENTRUST to you the writings of which it is proposed to make this work, both because you have displayed in your words and acts a living aspiration for the civilization and happiness of mankind, and because you have been from the beginning my most trusting friend and ablest vindicator.

If I have advanced nothing very new, I flatter myself that I have placed old truths in a striking light, and in a few words. Whilst I am not unambitious of fame, I believe that I am actuated in this by a desire to do good.

In touching the serious subjects of Religion, Morals, and Government, I have looked consequences full in the face. I come not to destroy, but to save. I believe that the Christian morality is the basis of all progress and civilization; the embryo of all amelioration of earth's ills; expansive enough for all forms of governments and social relations, at the same time, the time-serving and gross corruptions of "THE CHURCH" call for unsparing scrutiny from all true lovers of vital religion and pure morals. The tone of many of these articles I would gladly soften, but then I should lose in truth and freshness what I should gain by more gentle phraseology. Those who have taken part in this struggle for the liberties of men, have voluntarily chosen this position; it remains for impartial history to award the deserts of each.

New York, April 1, 1848.


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THE Liberty of the Press is the palladium of all true liberty; with it despotism is impossible; without it, inevitable. Wherever all subjects may be freely discussed, all wrongs and abuses fearlessly exposed, it is morally certain that the Right must soon prevail. Evil seeks a fancied good for a part, at the expense of the residue; it triumphs, or seems to triumph, because the few are rendered powerful by intelligence, concert, and the command of material resources, while the many are paralyzed by ignorance, disunion, and poverty. That a majority should persist in perpetuating injustice, after full and free discussion, is scarcely tolerable as a hypothesis, and wholly unjustified by facts. With a Free Press for twenty years in Russia and South Carolina, the former would establish a Republic, and the latter abolish her Slavery. Unawed discussion would gradually make plain to the general understanding that servility corrupts the few while it debases the many, and that the enduring welfare of each demands security and justice for all.

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And whenever, in the clear daylight of intelligence, any claim, usage, or institution, repels public scrutiny, shrinks from the ordeal of the general reason, and to argument and criticism opposes the torch and the axe, the knell of that institution has sounded. In proclaiming its own inability to bear the light, it has truly foretold its destruction by the ever-advancing day. Whenever we are told that such or such an arrangement will not bear discussion-that it is too delicate, too critical, too inflammable—that argumentative opposition to it must be suppressed, or blood will flow-then we may understand that such arrangement, however natural or necessary in the past, bears no healthful relation to the present, and is doomed. If it be a matter of form and ceremony, of speculative or unessential import, we may wisely stand aside, and let it decently compose itself to die; but if it be a serious and practical evil-a denial of primary rights, or an infliction of flagrant wrongs-then we must prepare for the convulsions attending its

death-pangs, and endeavor to bury it out of sight and scent as speedily as possible.

It is now some years since public attention, especially that of philanthropists, was attracted to the spectacle of a young man, alone among five millions, raising his voice against the iniquities of human slavery on the soil where they are perpetrated. Known to not many, though bearing an honored name, there was something in his position and course which arrested and fixed regard. Enjoying wealth, and social distinction, and political consideration, he could not be suspected of sinister motives, since he inevitably sacrificed, for a season, if not for ever, the friendship of the loved, and the favor of the powerful, including the voting masses, while he could only hope to secure in return the gratitude of an abject and servile caste, too ignorant even to learn who was daring and sacrificing in their behalf, while their few champions among the governing class were hardly more potent, were regarded with scarcely less contempt, and certainly more aversion. These were all residents of distant communities and states, so that, when CASSIUS M. CLAY first spoke out in condemnation of slavery, not one audible voice was raised approvingly, in the entire slaveholding region, while thousands were loud in fiery condemnation.

Yet it was difficult to discover plausible grounds whereon to assail him. He could not be charged with seeking wealth, for he had enough; nor of seeking to profit by the spoliation of others, for he too was a slaveholder, and only ceased to be so by emancipation some time after. He had public honors, which he knew must be forfeited, and valued friendships, which he felt must be shaken by the course he had resolved on. Yet he took his stand on the side of Universal Freedom-at first defensively, against the aggressive efforts to repeal the law of Kentucky which forbids the importation of slaves from other states for sale in that one, and against the incipient maneuvers looking to the annexation of Texas to this country-but soon he was borne by the irresistible might of principles, and the current of events, out upon the broad sea of opposition to bondage, under all circumstances, and everywhere, but especially in his own Kentucky.

Hence he established and sustained at Lexington THE TRUE AMERICAN— the first paper which ever bearded the monster in his den, and dared him

* The issue, for a brief season, of Lundy and Garrison's "Genius of Emancipation," at Baltimore, in 1829, is an apparent exception, but an exception in appearance only. Slavery was then too strong to manifest alarm, or even indignation, at such an ineffectual invasion of its dark realm, and not one slaveholder in a hundred knew that such a paper existed, until it had been quietly suppressed. If its establishment were intended as a challenge to slavedom, the defiance certainly did not reach the ears of the challenged; and no one will contend that the power of the slaveholders over the Freedom of Speech and the Press, was at all shaken by this noble enterprise and its result.

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