The National Era
Unsigned Article
Washington, D.C.: 6 January 1853



In the House of Representatives, December 14, 1852.


In the Committee of the Whole, on the motion to refer the Annual Message of the President to the several committees.

   . . . And here I wish to say to the friends of liberty, that our cause is advancing rapidly, and with firmer and surer pace than at any former period. The old political organizations have lost their moral power. The election of the great Western statesman, Thomas H. Benton, in opposition to both the Whig and Democratic parties, shows the tendency of men to think and vote agreeably to the dictates of their own judgment, and not according to caucus dictation, or party rule. He, sir, was unconnected with all parties. He was the exponent of his own views; the people approved his sentiments, and, setting party dictation at defiance, they elected him. Nor was the election of the distinguished philanthropist from New York, Gerrit Smith, less a triumph of independent political thought and action. These distinguished gentlemen were connected with no political parties, but each was elected upon his own merits.

  I have not time to speak of the election of this body of the Free Democratic members, and of Whig and Democratic members elected by aid of the Free Democracy; nor are these elections, triumphant as they are, even an indication of the extent of our progress. Our principles are cherished by hundreds of thousands of the other parties, who have heretofore been unable to separate themselves from their long-cherished political organizations, but who now say they have acted with them for the last time.

  Again, sir, we have enlisted the literati of our country on the side of truth, liberty, and justice. To my fair countrywomen I would say, that a lady, with her pen, has done more for the cause of freedom, during the last year, than any savant, statesman or politician of our land. That inimitable work, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," is now carrying truth to the minds of millions, who, to this time, have been deaf to the cries of the down-trodden. It is arousing the sensibilities of this country and of Europe. It goes where no other Anti-Slavery work ever found its way, and quietly carries conviction to the hearts of its readers. It has been dramatized, and both in this country and in Europe the play-going public listen with intense interest to the wrongs, the revolting crimes, of slavery. Thus, the theatre, that "school of vice," has been subsidized to the promulgation of truth, and the hearts of thousands have been reached, who were approachable in no other way.

  The clergy of the North are awakening to duty, to the calls of humanity. No longer are we called to listen to "lower law" sermons, nor are the feelings of our Christian communities shocked by reading discourses from Doctors of Divinity, intended to sanctify and encourage the most transcendent crimes which ever disgraced mankind. Churches and ecclesiastical bodies are beginning to move in behalf of truth, of Christian principles. They are purifying themselves from those who deal in God's image; they are withdrawing church fellowship from those pirates who deserve the gallows and halter, rather than a seat at the communion table of Christian churches. . . .