We lay, this morning, before the people of Virginia and the South, the resolutions and speeches at a meeting in New York, said to be comprised of the choice spirits of all parties. We desire that the Southern people should have the opportunity to see what sentiments are expressed with reference to them by their brethren of the North that they may be the better able to judge of the advantages and probabilities of our continuing a united people.
The meeting purports to have for its object, the maintenance of the freedom of speech. These gentlemen claim that members of Congress have the right, as members, to say anything they choose, with impunity, about anybody or anything. There is no limitation whatever to the exercise of the privilege. A M C. may vilify and defame individuals ad libitum -- it is his constitutional right. The aggrieved party has no redress. Submission is his only alternative. This is a very convenient doctrine for foul-mouthed dastards; but it is one which has no sanction in reason, in justice, or the manly sense of resentment, which animates the bosom of a high-spirited people. Dr. Franklin laid down the true doctrine on this subject many years ago. He said that the freedom of speech carried with it the freedom of the cudgel. The brave and honorable man, who, hedged about with privileges, insults an individual, will make reparation or give satisfaction according to the usages of gentlemen; but the blackguard, who does the same thing, being insensible to the dictates of honor, can only be reached by the cowhide or bludgeon.
But the truth is, there is no question about the
freedom of speech in the matter. Mr. Brooks did
not deny Mr. Sumner's right to charge his uncle
with every possible falsehood; he only claimed the
right to chastise him for the foul imputation. The
affair was nothing more than one of the thousands
of personal difficulties, which are always taking
place. The wise men, the great men of Gotham,
however, affect to see in it an assault upon the very
citadel of freedom. By their extravagance, and
obvious perversion and distortion of a plain matter,
they betray the dishonesty of their motives. The
wounds to the public law is all a pretence -- their
real purpose is to subserve the cause of political
These gentlemen -- we are willing to concede that
they are what they claim to be -- the foremost characters
in New York, set up to be the arbiters of chivalry
and true courage. By their discourses and conduct
towards others, they furnish us with their idea
of a man of honor and heroism. Three hundred
miles from the scene of danger, and proclaiming to
the world that they repudiate all personal responsibility
for insults, they denounce Mr. Brooks as a
coward, and stigmatize the whole population of the
South as "ruffians," "assassins," "brutes," "murderers,"
"scoundrels," "cowards," &c. We confess
our inability to appreciate the valor of this
proceeding. Wherein its daring manhood consists we
are unable to perceive. In all our reading of brave
men and heroic nations, we have never encountered
any who did not seem to consider that a willingness
to incur some degree of personal risk was essential
to the attribute of courage; and if we were to subject
the wordy heroes of New York to those tests,
we should say they were destitute of the first principle
of honor and the least particle of generous
Mr. Calhoun and many other sagacious and profound thinkers have contended that the Northern people were incapable of preserving free institutions. With a population far from dense, compared with Europe, a resort to the military is no unfrequent occurrence among them, even at the present time. Their breed of noble men is well nigh extinct. All their really great men of the revolution were bred up under slave institutions -- for at that time slavery existed in all the colonies. Their greatest man of later days was Webster. He was destitute of moral courage, and his whole character was disfigured by ignoble stains. -- Of the present generation -- excepting Mr. Fillmore and Mr. Winthrop, neither of whom has mingled in this wordy foray against the South -- their public men are mere demagogues -- shallow pretenders -- fit only for the stock-jobbing department of politics. -- Under the lead of canting hypocrites, they affect a mighty degree of piety, and their nice consciences are greatly distressed about the slaves, whom their piratical ancestors kidnapped and brought to this country, and sold to Southern planters. Probably if the bottom of their hearts were searched, it would be found that they are chiefly anxious to liberate the present race of Africans, that they might have the opportunity of supplying their place, by resuming the old and profitable traffic by which they made so much money in former times. They, however, as represented by the elite of New York, claim to be the only fit people to uphold free Government, and manage the affairs of a Republic. The only evidence we have of their fitness, is their late and continued attempt to subvert the legal Government of Kansas by a mob of craven fanatics, who, after defying war, either sold or threw away their arms, and took to their heels, and their recent proposition, through the columns of the Tribune, to send a band of bullies to Washington to overawe Congress, which proposition was seconded and amended, by the furious Ruggles, to include all, and loudly applauded by the meeting of honorable and courageous gentlemen of New York, Union Square, Fifth Avenue and Wall street have by recommending force, but a ball in motion, which may cause their palaces to topple, and cannot be stopped as easily as it was started.
The funniest part of the imposing exhibition was the failure of the effort to conceal its real character by keeping the avowed abolitionists muzzled and out of view. But old Beecher was on hand, and to the horror of the pretended conservatives, appropriately closed the proceedings.
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