« ForrigeFortsett »
The Ordinance, thus depleted, after undergoing some further amendments, was finally ap proved April 23d-all the delegates, but those from South Carolina, voting in the affirmative.
extend above the forty-fifth degree. Of the territory | taining his views of "non-intervention by under the forty-third and forty-second degrees, that to the westward, through which the Assenisipi or Rock River runs, shall be called Asxenisipia; and that to the eastward, in which are the fountains of the Muskingum, the two Miamies of the Ohio, the Wabash, the Illinois, the Miami of the Lake, and the Sandusky rivers, shall be called Metropotamia. Of the territory which lies under the forty-fi st and fortieth degrees, the western, through which the river Illino's runs, shall be called Illinoid; that next adjoining to the eastward, Saratoga; and that between this last and Pennsylvania, and extending from the Ohio to Lake Erie, shall be called Washington. Of the territory which lies under the thirty-ninth and thirty-eighth degrees, to which shall be added so much of the point of land within the fork of the Ohio and Mississippi as lies under the thirty-seventh degree; that to the westward, within and adjacent to which are the confluences of the rivers Wabash, Shawanee, Tanisee, Ohio, Illinois, Mississippi, and Missouri, shall be called Polypotamia; and that to the eastward, further up the Ohio, otherwise called the Pelisipi, shall be called Pelisipia. That all the preceding articles shall be formed into a charter of compact, shall be duly executed by the President of the United States, in Congress assembled, under his hand and the seal of the United States, shall be promulgated, and shall stand as fundamental conditions between the thirteen original States and those newly described, unalterable but by the joint consent of the United States, in Congress assembled, and of the particular State within which such alteration is proposed to be made.
April 19, this reported plan came up for consideration in Congress. Mr. Spaight of N. C. moved that the 5th proposition (prohibiting Slavery after the year 1800) be stricken out of the plan of ordinance, and Mr. Read of S. C. seconded the motion. The question was put in this form: "Shall the words moved to be stricken out stand?" and on this question the Ayes and Noes were taken, and resulted as follows:
N. HAMPSHIRE..... Mr. Foster,.
RHODE ISLAND..... Mr Ellery,.
Here we find the votes sixteen in favor of Mr. Jefferson's restriction to barely seven against it, and the States divided six in favor to three against it. But the Articles of Confederation (Art. IX.) required an affirmative vote of a majority of all the States-that is, a vote of seven States-to carry a proposition; so this clause was defeated through the absence of one delegate from New-Jersey, in spite of a vote of more than two to one in its favor. Had the New-Jersey delegation been full, it must, to a moral certainty, have prevailed; had Delaware then been represented, it would probably have been carried, even without New-Jersey. Yet, it is this vote, so given and recorded, that Mr. Douglas in his "Harper" essay claims as sus
In 1787, the last Continental Congress, sitting in New-York simultaneously with the Convention at Philadelphia which framed our Federal Constitution, took up the subject of the government of the Western Territory, raising a Committee thereon, of which Nathan Dane, of Massachusetts, was Chairman. That Committee reported (July 11th), "An Ordinance for the government of the Territories of the United States, Northwest of the Ohio"-the larger area contemplated by Mr. Jefferson's bill not having been ceded by the Southern States claiming dominion over it. This bill embodied many of the provisions originally drafted and reported by Mr. Jefferson, but with some modifications, and concludes with six unalterable articles of perpetual compact, the last of them as follows:
"There shall be neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude, in the said Territory, otherwise than in punishment of crimes, whereof the parties shall be duly convicted."
To this was added, prior to its passage, the stipulation for the delivery of fugitives from labor or service, soon after embodied in the Federal Constitution; and in this shape, the entire ordinance was adopted (July 13th) by a unanimous vote, Georgia and the Carolinas concurring.
UNDER THE CONSTITUTION.
The old Articles of Confederation having proved inadequate to the creation and maintenance of a capable and efficient national or central authority, a Convention of Delegates from the several States, was legally assembled in Philadelphia, in 1787-George Washington, President; and the result of its labors was our present Federal Constitution, though some amendments mainly of the nature of restrictions on Federal power, were proposed by the several State Conventious assembled to pass upon that Constitution, and adopted. The following are all the provisions of that instrument, which are presumed to bear upon the subject of Slavery:
(Preamble): We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Art. I. § 1. All legislative powers herein granted, shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. § 2.. Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined, by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to servitude for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons.
9. The migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibi ed by the Congress prior to the year 1808; but a tax or duty may be imposed, not exceeding ten dollars on each person.
The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when, in cases of rebellion or
invasion, the public safety may require it.
No bill of attainder or ex post facto laws shall be passed.
Art. III. § 8. Treason against the United States
of labor may be due.
The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States: and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive when the legislature cannot be convened, against domestic
Art. VI. This Constitution, and the laws of the United States, which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all the treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
The above are all-and perhaps more than all-the clauses of the Constitution, that have been quoted on one side or the other as bearing upon the subject of Slavery.
It will be noted that the word "slave" or slavery" does not appear therein. Mr. Madison, who was a leading and observant member of the Convention, and who took notes of its daily proceedings, affirms that this silence was designed the Convention being unwilling that the Constitution of the United States should recognize property in human beings. In passages where slaves are presumed to be contemplated, they are uniformly designated as persons," never as property. Contemporary history proves that it was the belief of at least a large portion of the delegates that Slavery could not long survive the final stoppage of the slave-trade, which was expected to (and did) occur in 1808. And, were Slavery this day banished forever from the country, there might, indeed, be some superfluous stipulations in the Federal compact or charter; but there are none which need be repealed, or essentially modified.
A direct provision for the restoration of fugitive slaves to their masters was, at least once, voted down by the Convention. Finally, the clause respecting persons "held to service or labor," was proposed by Mr. Butler, of South Carolina, and adopted with little or no opposi
The following, among the amendments to the Constitution, proposed by the ratifying conventions of one or more States, and adopted, are supposed by some to bear on the questions now agitated relative to Slavery:
Art. I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the Press, or of the rights of the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Art. II. A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to
keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
CESSIONS OF SOUTHERN TERRITORY.
The State of Kentucky was set off from the State of Virginia in 1790, by mutual agree ment, and admitted into the Union by act of Congress, passed February 4th, 1791; to take effect June 1st, 1792. It was never a territory of the United States, nor under Federal jurisdiction, except as a State, and inherited Slavery from the "Old Dominion."
The State of North Carolina, like several others, claimed, during and after the Revolu tion, that her territory extended westward to the Mississippi.
On the 22d of December, 1799-one month after the ratification of the Federal Constitution North Carolina passed an act, ceding, on certain conditions, all her territory west of her present limits to the United States. Among the conditions exacted by her, and agreed to by Congress (Act approved April 2nd, 1790) is the following:
Provided always, that no regulations made, or to be made, by Congress shall tend to emancipate slaves.
Were it not then conceded that Congress had the power to make regulations for the territories which would "tend to emancipate slaves," this proviso would be utterly meaningless.
Georgia, in like manner, ceded (April 2nd, 1802) the territories lying west of her present limits, now forming the States of Alabama and Mississippi. Among the conditions exacted by her, and accepted by the United States, is the following:
Fifthly. That the territory thus ceded shall become a State, and be admitted into the Union as soon as it shall contain sixty thousand free inhabitants, or, at an earlier period, if Congress shall think it expedient, on the same conditions and restrictions, with the same privileges, and in the same manner, as is provided in the ordinance of Congress of the 18th day of July, 1787, for States; which ordinance shall, in all its parts, extend to the government of the Western territory of the United the territory contained in the present act of cession, the article only excepted which forbids slavery. EARLY ATTEMPTS TO OVERRIDE THE ORDINANCE.
residue of the vast regions originally conveyed When Ohio (1802-3) was made a State, the by the ordinance of '87 was continued under Territory," whereof Wm. Henry Harrison (since Federal pupilage, by the name of "Indiana President) was appointed Governor. It was quite commonly argued that, though Slavery was injurious in the long run, yet, as an expedient while clearing away the heavy forests, opening settlements in the wilderness, and surmounting the inevitable hardships and privations of border life, it might be tolerated, and even regarded with favor. Accordingly, the new Territory of Indiana made repeated efforts to procure a relaxation in her favor of the restrictive clause of the Ordinance of '87, one of them through the instrumentality of a Convention assembled in 1802-3, and presided over by the Territorial Governor; so he, with the great body of his fellow-delegates, memorialized Congress, among other things, to suspend temporarily the operation of the sixth article of the Ordinance aforesaid. This memorial was referred in the House to a select committee of
shall private property be taken for public use without three, two of them from Slave States, with the just compensation. since celebrated John Randolph as chairman.
the individual States.
On the 2nd of March, 1803, Mr. Randolph made | tion of slaves, born within the United States, from any of what appears to have been a unanimous report from this Committee, of which we give so much us relates to Slavery-as follows:
This report and resolve were committed and made a special order on the Monday following, but were never taken into consideration.
The rapid population of the State of Ohio sufficiently evinces, in the opinion of your Committee, that the labor At the next session, a fresh letter from Gov. of slaves is not necessary to promote the growth and William Henry Harrison, inclosing resolves of settlement of colonies in that region; that this labor-the Legislative Council and House of Represen demonstrably the dearest of any-can only be employed in the cultivation of products more valuable than any tatives in favor of suspending, for a limited peknown to that quarter of the United States; that the riod, the sixth article of compact aforesaid, was Committee deem it highly dangerous and inexpedient to received (Jan. 21st, 1807) and referred to a SeImpair a provision wisely calculated to promote the hap lect Committee, whereof Mr. B. Parke, delegate piness and prosperit of the northwestern country, and to give strength and security to that extensive frontier. from said Territory, was made Chairman. The In the salutary operation of this sagacious and benevo- entire Committee (Mr. Nathaniel Macon, of N. lent restraint, it is believed that the inhabitants of Indiana will, at no very distant day, find ample remunera-C., being now Speaker,) consisted of tion for a temporary privation of labor, and of emigra- MESSRS, ALSTON, of N. C. MASTERS, of N. Y. MORROW, of Ohio.
The Committee proceed to discuss other subjects set forth in the prayer of the memorial, and conclude with eight resolves, whereof the only one relating to Slavery is as follows:
Resolved, That it is inexpedient to suspend, for a limited time, the operation of the sixth article of the
compact between the original States and the people and
States west of the river Ohio.
This Report having been made at the close of the Session, was referred at the next to a new Committee, whereof Cæsar Rodney, a new Representative from Delaware, was Chairman. Mr. Rodney, from this Committee, reported (February 17th, 1804),
That, taking into their consideration the facts stated in the said memorial and petition, they are induced to believe that a qualified suspension, for a limited time, of the sixth article of compact between the original States and the people and States west of the river Ohio, might be productive of benefit and advantage to said Territory.
PARKE, of Ind.
RHEA, of Tenn.
Mr. Parke, from this Committee, made (Feb. 12th,) a third Report to the House in favor of granting the prayer of the memorialists.
This report, with its predecessors, was committed, and made a special order, but never
taken into consideration.
The same letter of Gen. Harrison, and resolves the Senate, Jan. 21st, 1807. They were laid on of the Indiana Legislature, were submitted to the table "for consideration," and do not appear to have even been referred at that session; but at the next, or first session of the fourth Congress, which convened Oct. 26th, 1807, the President (Nov. 7th) submitted a letter from Gen. Harrison and his Legislature-whether a new or old one does not appear-and it was now referred to a Select Committee, consisting of Messrs. J. Franklin, of N. C., Kitchel, of N. J., and Tiffin, of Ohio.
Nov. 13th, Mr. Franklin, from said committee, reported as follows:
The Report goes on to discuss the other topics embraced in the Indiana memorial, and concludes with eight resolves, of which the first (and only one relative to Slavery) is as follows: The Legislative Council and House of Representatives, in their resolutions, express their sense of the proResolved, That the sixth article of the Ordinance of priety of introducing Slavery into their Territory, and 1787, which prohibited Slavery within the said Territory, solicit the Congress of the United States to suspend, for be suspended in a qualified manner, for ten years, so as a given number of years, the sixth article of compact, to permit the introduction of slaves, born within the in the ordinance for the government of the Territory United States, from any of the individual States; pro-northwest of the Ohio, passed on the 13th day of July, vided, that such individual State does not permit the 1787. That article declares: "There shall be neither importation of slaves from foreign countries and pro- Slavery nor involuntary servitude within the said Tervided, further, that the descendants of all such slaves ritory." shall, if males, be free at the age of twenty-five years, and, if females, at the age of twenty-one years.
The House took no action on this Report. The original memorial from Indiana, with several additional memorials of like purport, was again, in 1805-6, referred by the House to a select committee, whereof Mr. Garnett of Virginia was chairman, who, on the 14th of February, 1806, made a report in favor of the prayer of the petitioners-as follows:
That, having attentively considered. the facts stated in the said petitions and memorials, they are of opinion that a qualified suspension, for a limited time, of the sixth article of the compact between the original States, and the people and States west of the river Ohio, would be beneficial to the people of the Indiana Territory. The suspension of this article is an object almost universally desired in that Territory.
After discussing other subjects embodied in the Indiana memorial, the Committee close with a series of Resolves, which they commend to the adoption of the House. The first and only one germane to our subject is as follows:
The citizens of Clark County, in their remonstrance, express their sense of the impropriety of the measure, and solicit the Congress of the United States not to act on the subject, so as to permit the introduction of slaves into the Territory; at least, until their population shall entitle them to form a Constitution and State Govern
spectfully submit the following resolution:
Resolved, That it is not expedient at this time to suspend the sixth article of compact for the government of
the Territory of the United States northwest of the river
And here ended, so far as we have been able to discover, the effort, so long and earnestly persisted in, to procure a suspension of the restriction in the Ordinance of 1787, so as to admit Slavery, for a limited term, into the Territory lying between the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, now forming the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
THE FIRST MISSOURI STRUGGLE.
The vast and indefinite Territory known as Louisiana, was ceded by France to the United Resolved, That the sixth article of the Ordinance of States in the year 1803, for the sum of $15,000,1787, which prohibits Slavery within the Indiana Territory, De suspended for ten years, so as to permit the introduc-000, of which $3,750,000 was devoted to the
Yeus-For the Restriction:
payment of American claims on France. This to this amendment, which was sustained by the territory had just before been ceded by Spain to following vote: [taken first on agreeing to so France without pecuniary consideration. Slave- much of it as precedes and includes the word holding had long been allowed therein, alike!"convicted."] under Spanish and French rule, and the Treaty of Cession contained the following stipulation: Art. HI. The inhabitants of the ceded Territory shall be incorporated into the Union of the United States, and admitted as soon as possible, according to the principles of the Federal Constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages and immunities of citizens of the United States; and in the meantime they shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property, and the religion which they profess.
15 New Jersey..
Total Yeas 87-only one (Delaware) from a Slave State
The State of Louisiana, embodying the southern portion of this acquired territory, was re- New-Jersey cognized by Congress in 1811, and fully admit- New-Hampshire. ted in 1812, with a State Constitution. Those who chose to dwell among the inhabitants of the residue of the Louisiana purchase, henceforth called Missouri Territory, continued to hold slaves in its sparse and small but increasing settlements, mainly in its southeastern quarter, and a pro-Slavery Court—perhaps any Court -would undoubtedly have pronounced Slavery legal anywhere on its vast expanse, from the Mississippi to the crests of the Rocky Mountains, if not beyond them, and from the Red River of
Louisiana to the Lake of the Woods.
The XVth Congress assembled at Washington, on Monday, Dec. 1st, 1817. Henry Clay was chosen Speaker of the House. Mr. John Scott appeared on the 8th, as delegate from Missouri Territory, and was admitted to a seat as such. On the 16th of March following, he presented petitions of sundry inhabitants of Missouri, in addition to similar petitions already presented by him, praying for the admission of Missouri into the Union as a State, which were, on motion, referred to a Select Committee, consisting of
Messrs. Scott, of Mo.; Poindexter, of Miss.; Robertson, of Ky.; Hendricks, of Ind.; Livermore, of N. H.; Mills, of Mass.; Baldwin, of Pa.
April 3d, Mr. Scott, from this Committee, reported a bill to authorize the people of Missouri Territory to form a Constitution and State Government, and for the admission of such State into the Union on an equal footing with the original States; which bill was read the first and second time, and sent to the Committee of the Whole, where it slept for the remainder of the session.
Total Nays, 76-10 from Free States, 66 from Slave States.
The House now proceeded to vote on the residue of the reported amendment (from the word "convicted" above), which was likewise sustained.-Yeas, 82; Nays, 78.
So the whole amendment-as moved by Gen. Tallmadge in Committee of the Whole, and there carried--was sustained when reported to the House.
Mr. Storrs, of New York (opposed to the Restriction), now moved the striking out of so much of the bill as provides that the new State shall be admitted into the Union "on an equal footing with the original States "-which, he contended, was nullified by the votes just taken. The House negatived the motion.
Messrs. Desha, of Ky., Cobb, of Ga., and Rhea, of Tenn., declared against the bill as
Messrs. Scott, of Mo., and Anderson, of Ky., preferred the bill as amended, to none.
The House ordered the bill, as amended, to a third reading; Yeas, 98; Nays, 56. The bill thus passed the House next day, and was sent to the Senate.
The following sketch of the debate on this question (Feb. 15th) is condensed from that in the Appendix to Niles's Register, vol. xvi.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, FEB. 15, 1819. Mr. Tallmadge, of New York, having moved the following amendment on the Saturday preceding
convicted; and that all children born within the said State, after the admission thereof into the Union, shall be declared free at the age of 25 years,”
That Congress convened at Washington for its second session, on the 16th of November, 1818. Feb. 13th, the House went into Committee of involuntary servitude, be prohibited, except for the "And provided that the introduction of Slavery. or the Whole-Gen. Smith, of Md., in the Chair-punishment of crimes, whereof the party has been duly and took up the Missouri bill aforesaid, which was considered through that sitting, as also that of the 15th, when several amendments were adopted, the most important of which was the following, moved in Committee by Gen. James Tallmadge, of Duchess county, New-York, (lately deceased):
And provided also, That the further introduction of Slavery or involuntary servitude be prohibited, except for the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall be duly convicted: and that all children of slaves, born within the said State, after the admission thereof into the Union, shall be free, but may be held to service until the age of twenty-five years.
On coming out of Committee, the Yeas and Nays were called on the question of agreeing
Mr. Fuller, of Massachusetts, argued that, to effect a concert of interests, it was proper to make concessions. The States where Slavery existed not only claimed the right to continue it, but it was manifest that a general emancipa
tion of slaves could not be asked of them. Their political existence would have been in jeopardy; both masters and slaves must have been involved in the most fatal consequences.
To guard against such intolerable evils, it is provided in the Constitution, "that the migration or importation of such persons, as any of the existing States think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited till 1808-Art. 1, sec. 9. And it is provided elsewhere, that persons held to service
by the laws of any State, shall be given up by other States, to which they may have escaped, etc.-Art. 4, sec. 2.
These provisions effectually recognized the right in the
States, which, at the time of framing the Constitution, held the blacks in Slavery, to continue so to hold them until they should think proper to meliorate their condition. The Constitution is a compact among all the States then existing, by which certain principles of government are established for the whole, and for each individual State. The predominant principle in both respects is, that ALL MEN ARE FREE, and have an EQUAL RIGHT TO LIBERTY, and all other privileges; or, in other words, the predominant principle is REPUBLICANISM, in its largest sense. But, then, the same compact contains certain exceptions. The States then holding slaves are permitted, from the necessity of the case, and for the sake of union, to exclude the republican principle so far, and only so far, as to retain their slaves in servitude, and also their progeny, as had been the usage, until they should think it proper or safe to conform to the pure principle, by abolishing Slavery. The compact contains on its face the general principle and the exceptions. But the attempt to extend Slavery to the new States, is in direct violation of the clause which guarantees a republican form of government to all the States. This clause, indeed, must be construed in connection with the exceptions before mentioned; but it cannot, without violence, be applied to any other States than those in which Slavery was allowed at the formation of the Constitution.
The Speaker (Clay) cites the first clause in the 2d section of the 4th article-"The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the several States," which he thinks would be violated by the condition proposed in the Constitution of Missouri. To keep slaves-to make one portion of the population the property of another-hardly deserves to be called a privilege, since what is gained by the masters must be lost by the slaves. But, independently of this consideration, I think the observations already offered to the committee, showing that holding the black population in servitude is an exception to the general principles of the Constitution, and cannot be allowed to extend beyond the fair import of the terms by which that exception is provided, are a suflicient answer to the objection. The gentleman proceeds in the same train of reasoning, and asks, if Congress can require one condition, how many more can be required, and where these conditions will end? With regard to a republican constitution, Congress are obliged to require that condition, and that is enough for the present question; but I contend, further, that Congress has a right, at their discretion, to require any other reasonable condition. Several others were required of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Mississippi. The State of Louisiana, which was a part of the territory ceded to us at the same time with Missouri, was required to provide in her Constitution for trials by jury, the writ of habeas corpus, the principles of civil and religious liberty, with several others, peculiar to that State. These, certainly, are none of them more indispensable ingredients in a republican form of government than the equality of privileges of all the population; yet these have not been denied to be reasonable, and warranted by the National Constitution in the admission of new States.
Congress will not contribute to discountenance and render abortive the generous aud philanthropic views of this most worthy and laudable society.
Mr Tallmadge, of New York, followed
Sir, said he, it has been my desire and my intention to avoid any debate on the present painful and unpleasant subject. When I had the honor to submit to this House the amendment now under consideration, I accompanied it with a declaration that it was intended to confine its operation to the newly acquired Territory across the Mississippi; and I then expressly declared that I would in no manner intermeddle with the slave-holding States, nor attempt manumission in any one of the original States in the Union. Sir, I even went further, and stated that I was aware of the delicacy of the subject--and, that I had learned from Southern gentlemen the difficulties and the dangers of having free blacks intermingling with slaves; and, on that account, and with a view to the safety of the white population of the adjoining States, I would not even advocate the prohibition of Slavery in the Alabama Territory; because, surrounded as it was by slave-holding States, and with only imaginary lines of division, the intercourse between slaves and free blacks could not be prevented, and a servile war I might be the result. While we deprecate and mourn over the evil of Slavery, humanity and good morals require us to wish its abolition, under circumstances consistent with the safety of the white population. Willingly, therefore, will I submit to an evil which we cannot safely remedy. I admitted all that had been said of the danger of having free blacks visible to slaves, and, therefore, did not hesitate to pledge myself that I would neither advise nor attempt coercive manumission. But, sir, all these reasons cease when we cross the banks of the Mississippi, into a Territory separated by a natural boundary-a newly acquired Territory, never contemplated in the formation of our government, not included within the Compromise or mutual pledge in the adoption of our Constitution-a new Territory acquired by our common fund, and which ought justly to be subject to our common legislation.
Sir, when I submitted the amendment now under consideration, accompanied with these explanations, and with these avowals of my intentions and of my motives I did expect that gentlemen who might differ from me in opinion would appreciate the liberality of my views, and would meet me with moderation, as upon 2 fair subject for general legislation. I did expect, at least, that the frank declaration of my views would protect me from harsh expressions, and from the unfriendly imputations which have been cast out on this occasion. But, sir, such has been the character and the violence of this debate, and expressions of so much intemperance, and of an aspect so threatening have been used, that continued silence on my part would ill become me, who had submitted to this House the original proposition.
Sir, has it already come to this: that in the Congress of the United States-that, in the Legislative councils of Republican America, the subject of Slavery has become One gentleman, however, has contended against the a subject of so much feeling-of such delicacy-of such amendment, because it abridges the rights of the slave- danger, that it cannot safely be discussed? Are memholding States to transport their slaves to the new States, bers who venture to express their sentiments on this for sale or otherwise. This argument is attempted to be subject, to be accused of talking to the galleries, with enforced in various ways, and particularly by the clause intention to excite a servile war; and of meriting the in the Constitution last cited. It admits, however, fate of Arbuthnot and Ambrister? Are we to be told of of a very clear answer, by recurring to the 9th sec- the dissolution of the Union, of civil war and of seas of tion of article 1st, which provides that "the migration or blood? And yet, with such awful threatenings before us, importation of such persons as any of the States then ex-do gentlemen, in the same breath, insist upon the encour isting shall admit, shall not be prohibited by Congress till agement of this evil; upon the extension of this monstrous 1808." This clearly implies that the migration and im-scourge of the human race? An evil so fraught with portation may be prohibited after that year. The impor- such dire calamities to us as individuals, and to our tation has been prohibited, but the migration has not nation, and threatening, in its progress, to overwhelm the hitherto been restrained; Congress, however, may restrain civil and religious institutions of the country, with the it, when it may be judged expedient. liberties of the nation, ought at once to be met, and to be controlled. If its power, its influence, and its impending dangers, have already arrived at such a point, that it is not safe to discuss it on this floor, and it cannot now pass under consideration as a proper subject for general legislation, what will be the result when it is spread through your widely-extended domain? Its present
The expediency of this measure is very apparent. The opening of an extensive slave market will tempt the cupidity of those who, otherwise, perhaps, might gradually emancipate their slaves. We have heard much, Mr. Chairman, of the Colonization Society; an institution which is the favorite of the humane gentlemen in the slave-holding States. They have long been lament-threatening aspect, and the violence of its supporters, so ing the miseries of Slavery, and earnestly seeking for a far from inducing me to yield to its progress, prompt me remedy compatible with their own safety, and the happi- to resist its march. Now is the time. It must now be ness of their slaves. At last, he great desideratum is met, and the extension of the evil must now be prevented, fourd-a colony in Af. ica for the emancipated blacks. or the occasion is irrecoverably lost, and the evil can How will the generous intentions of these humane per- never be controlled. sons be frustrated, if the price of slaves is to be doubled by a new and boundless ma: ket! Instead of emancipation of the slaves, it is much to be feared that unprincipled wretches will be found kidnapping those who are already free, and transporting and selling the hapless victims into hopeless bondage. Sir really hope that
Sir, extend your view across the Mississippi, over your newly-acquired Territory-a Territory so far surpassing, in extent, the limits of your present country, that country which gave birth to your nation-which achieved your Revolution-consolidated your Union-formed your Constitution, and has subsequently acquired so much