Hon. Joshua R. Giddings, on the Amistad Claim

January 13, 1854

The editor introduces extracts from this “timely, able and fearless speech”, Dec. 21, 1853, in the U. S. House. “Certain Cuban slave dealers” have asked for payment for the loss of their slaves in the Amistad case. Some members of Congress have recommended to the President that he give favorable consideration of the those claims. After recounting the history of the Amistad case, Giddings, in his speech comments: “We ask no favors at the hands of those who advocate the slave trade, and I will frankly say to them, that I apprehend they will recede from the position which the President has assumed; that they will not dare sustain him.” He urges that “he who holds ‘that this Government was constituted to secure the right to life, liberty, and happiness’ to the people, will never vote to prostitute its powers to encourage the slave trade, to maintain oppression, or dishonor our race.”