January 18, 1845
IV, Number 26.
and Published By
R. C. Langdon & W. C. Munger
to General Intelligence, Politics, Morality, Literature,
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M. Clay's Position in Regard to Slavery.
the Frankfort Commonwealth.
insert the following letter from C.M. Clay, at his
request, in order that his true position, which has
been entirely misconceived by many, may be correctly
understood by the country. Those who have supposed
him an abolitionist, in the sense of teh term as
commonly understood in political circles, will see
that they have misunderstood him.
I ask the liberty to make through your columns, a
summary statement of my views upon the subject of
slavery. By a portion of the people of this State,
I never expect to be fairly represented. To the great
mass of the people who have no interestin
suppressing truth, I would appeal against the calumnies
of unscrupulous partizans.
is a municipal institution. It exists by no other
right and tenure than the Constitution of Kentucky.
am opposed to depriving slave holders of their slaves
by any other than Constitutional and legal means.
Of course then I have no sympathy for those who would
liberate the slaves of Kentucky in other ways. I
have no connection with any man, or set of men, who
would sanction or undertake the illegal liberation
of slaves; and I feel bound, by my allegience to
the State of Kentucky, to resist (by force, if necessary)
all such efforts.
I hold that the United States Constitution has no
power to establish slavery in the District of Columbia,
or in the Territory, or in any place of its exclusive
supremacy; so I contend, that in the States, once
admitted into the Union and thereby become sovereign and independent, Congress
has no power or right to interfere with or touch
slavery, without the legitimate consent of the States.
believe that the addition of new slave states,
or slave territory, to this union is unconstitutional and
am the avowed and uncompromising enemy of slavery
and shall never cease to use all Constitutional,
and honorable, and just means, to cause its extinction
in Kentucky, and its reduction to its constitutional
limits in the United States.
a Kentuckian and a slaveholder, I have no predjudices
nor enmities to gratify; but impelled by a sense
of self-respect, love of justice, and the highest
expediency, I shall ever maintain that liberty is
our only safety.
freedom of speech and of the press, I never shall
cease to battle while life lasts. If there is any
Kentuckian so base to yield these constitutional
and glorious priviliges, without which it is the
veriest mockery to talk of being a free people, I
envy him not: - A Slave to slaves, let him sodden
in his infamy: With such I hold no fellowship; from
such I ask no quarter. All I ask is an open field
and a fair fight.
Ky., Jan. 8, 1845
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