Speech of Mr. James L. Orr of South Carolinain the House of Representatives, May 8, 1850
In Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, on the
President's Message transmitting the Constitution of
Mr. ORR said:
Mr. CHAIRMAN: I propose, in the brief hour allotted to me, to examine and present what I conceive to be northern sentiment upon the subject of slavery, and the inevitable results of that sentiment. I believe, sir, there is much misunderstanding, both at the North and the South, as to the extent and character of that feeling. I know the misapprehension that exists in that part of the country which I have the honor to represent, and I desire to lay before my constituents and the people of the South, the result of my observations since I have been a member of this House, so that they may be prepared to judge of the proper means of meeting, counteracting, and repelling that sentiment.
The first evidence of abolition sentiment in the northern States to which I refer, is to be found in the numerous abolition societies organized in every part of that section of the Union, composed of large numbers of individuals of all classes and sexes. These societies meet at stated periods, for the avowed purpose of advancing their political and moral tenets; they appoint their emissaries, who traverse the country, and who, by their slanders, poison the minds of the masses of their people as to the true character of the institution of slavery. They have established newspapers and periodicals, which are circulated in great profusion, not only in the non-slaveholding States, but are thrown broadcast over the South, through the mails, for the purpose of pluming the thorn of discontent in the bosoms of our now happy slaves, and inciting them to the perpetration of the bloody scenes of St. Domingo. These auxiliaries of the American anti-slavery society, not content with a general combination against the institutions of the South, form a component part of the American and foreign anti-slavery society, in which they unite with the zealots of foreign countries in an unjust crusade against their brethren of the South.
Most of the avowed Abolitionists have, however, the merit of frankness at least. They seek to emancipate our slaves it is true, but concede that it cannot be done consistently with the Constitution; they therefore declare an uncompromising war against the Constitution and the Union; while others, who intend to effect the same end, have not the candor to own it, and hypocritically profess an attachment to the Constitution, which they are really seeking to destroy. . . .