Stone Collection: Volume 64 - Item 17
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17. Gerrit Smith, Substance of the Speech Made by Gerrit Smith, in the Capitol of the State of New York, March 11th and 12th, 1850, 2nd ed. (Syracuse, NY: V. W. Smith & Co., 1850). (48 p.)
Anti-slavery speech, in which the speaker notes “that God made man in His own image—‘a little lower than the angels’—and ‘crowned him with glory and honor.’ But slavery seizes upon this exalted being, and hurls him down from the high place, where his Maker put him, to a place among ‘four footed beasts and creeping things.’ . . . Horrible and abominable, however, as is slavery, it is, nevertheless, claimed, that the Federal Constitution legalizes it, or, at least, admits its legality, and protects its existence. Our reply to this claim is, that slavery is incapable of legalization; and that no paper, however authoritative, can legalize it, or sanction its legality, or protect its existence. Law is for the protection of rights—not for the destruction of rights” (emphasis in original).