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MVB remarks on abolitionism, c13 February 1833

The Abolitionists

We this day lay before our readers a very able article from the Boston Courier upon the interesting subject ^question^ of the powers of the state governments over the conduct of the abolitionists. We could not invite their attention to a graver subject. It is not in the nature of things possible and we say it heartfelt satisfaction, that any community could be more thoroughly united than are the good people of this state in a conviction of the pernicious tendency of the doings of these reckless agitators, & in a sincere and anxious desire to see all the lawful means of the people & government applied to their suppression. There has not been any an occasion from the first settlement of the country to the present day, neither in peace nor in war, in which there has been such a prepond an array of character talents property and numbers on one & the right side of a great public question. The call for a convention at Utica to form a state abolition society has roused the feelings of the people to a point which ^it will be found^ cannot be trifled with. The premeditated outrage upon the well understood sentiment of the state is fast closing the door of charity and forbearance towards its authors & abettors. The old They are regarded by the mass of the people is meddlinge in a matter in which they ^admit that they^ have no right to act, they see plainly that their interference besides doing great injury to the slaves is endangering the lives of our southern brethren, destroying the harmony and endangering the existence of our blessed Union & yet they persevere in their unhallowed machinations. Can they under these circumstances complain of instead of being any longer regarded as misguided philanthropists they are looked upon by an outraged insulted community as cold blooded fanatics and treated accordingly. Can they expect that the well disposed portion of that community can see ^will^ stand by with folded arms and witness the destruction of institutions they hold b dear and which constitution the only sure foundation of human happ liberty. They cannot and, they must be blind indeed if they can^do^ not  read their fate in the manifestations of public feelings which ^by which^ they see around them. are surrounded. The question of their suppression of this dangerous sect has with the mass of thinking minds become one of means only. For ourselves we do not doubt the agency of ^have no are very confident that^ public opinion to that is sufficiently is fully adequate to that object. The frame of our society must have become lamentably disorganized if it be not so. The instances have been rare if indeed they have ever occurred in which any ^a^ portion of our people have been able ^to brave its salutary influence^ for any any considerable length of time. to The ways ^short of brute power^ in which an injured community can apply its corrective to a public evil are too various & too efficient to be applied in vain resisted. Should it however in this case prove otherwise it will without doubt become the bounden duty of those interested with the organized power of the state and to consider what may rightfully be done in the way of legislation to give effect to the public will. ^Upon this point^ no one expects or desires to see constitutional provisions disregarded or principle violated but any good citizen will demand that all the constitutional powers of the Governmnt sha be promptly & firmly applied to the care ^effectual^ suppression of the ^evil^ mischief. Let The matter therefore should be carefully dispassionately & reasonably looked into by those whose duty it may become to act in the matter. The communication to which we invite the attention of our readers is written in the right spirit & evidently the work of no ordinary hand. Our readers will make up their own opinions as to the correctness of his ^the authors^ position. No one can question the purity of his motives.  

rough sketch of

remark by Mr

VB. on the subject

of abolition

Don't think it necessary to

answer this

MVB forwarded this document to William Learned Marcy. 

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Source: PHi Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Collection: Gratz Collection (PHi)
Series: Series 6 (4 March 1829-3 March 1833)