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THE SOUTHERN TERRITORIES.
in which he dwelt with reasonable and among the considerations which sejustifiable complacency on the advan-cured its ratification, by that body, by tages secured to Slavery by the Consti- a vote of 149 to 73. Other Southern tution ;10 10 and these, doubtless, were States may have been thus affected.
SLAVERY UNDER THE CONSTITUTION.
action. On the other hand, the next Congress proceeded to enact, with very little opposition, a stringent and comprehensive fugitive slave law.'
North Carolina, on the 22d of December, 1789—one month after ratifying the Federal Constitutionpassed an act ceding, on certain conditions, her western territory-now constituting the State of Tennesseeto the Federal Union. She exacted and required Congress to assent to this, among other conditions:
Ir has been plausibly argued that | voice was raised in dissent from this the constitutional provision for the surrender of fugitive slaves, and the inhibition of Slavery in the Territories simultaneously embodied in the Ordinance of 1787, were parts of an implied, rather than clearly expressed, compact, whereby Slavery in the old States was to be protected, upheld, and guaranteed, on condition that it should rest content within its existing boundaries. In seeming accordance with this hypothesis, the first Federal Congress, which met at New York on the first Wednesday in March, 1789, proceeded forthwith to adopt and reenact the prohibition of Slavery in the Territories, already contained in the Ordinance of '87 aforesaid, and to adapt that Ordinance in all respects to the new state of things created by the Federal Constitution. No
"I am of the same opinion now as I was two years ago that, while there remained one acre of swamp land uncleared in South Carolina, I would raise my voice against restricting the importation of negroes. ****The Middle States and Virginia were for an immediate and total prohibition. We endeavored to obviate the objections which were urged in the best manner we could, and assigned reasons for our insisting on the importation, which there is no occasion to repeat, as they must occur to every gentleman in the House: a committee of the
"Provided always, that no, regulation made, or to be made, by Congress, shall tend to emancipate slaves."
Georgia, likewise, in ceding to the Union (April 2, 1802) her outlying territories, now forming the States of Alabama and Mississippi, imposed upon the Union, and required Con
States was appointed in order to accommodate
By this settlement, we have secured an unlimit-
1 For this act, see Brightley's Digest, p. 294.
gress to accede to, the following con- | Confederation, leaving those still to be ceded to be governed by some future act. The assumption, however, that there was between the North and the South an original and subsisting compact, arrangement, understanding, or whatever it may be called, whereby so much of the common territories of the Republic as lay south of the Ohio, or of any particular latitude, were to be surrendered to Slavery, on the condition that the residue should be quitclaimed to free labor, is utterly unfounded and mistaken. The author of the original restriction was himself a slaveholder; yet he contemplated and provided for (as we have seen) the consignment of every acre of those territories, north as well as south of the Ohio, and down to the southernmost limit of our domain, to Free Labor evermore. A majority of the States which sustained that proposition were then slaveholding, and had taken no decided steps toward Emancipation. Yet they none the less regarded Slavery as an evil and a blunder,' to be endured,
"Fifthly. That the territory thus ceded shall become a State, and be admitted into
the Union as soon as it shall contain sixty at an earlier period, if Congress shall think it expedient, on the same conditions and restrictions,
thousand inhabitants, or
with the same privileges, and in the same manner, as is provided in the ordinance of Congress of the 13th day of July, 1787, for the government of the western territory of the United States; which ordinance shall, in all its parts, extend to the territory contained in the present act of cession, the article only excepted which forbids Slavery."
Congress was thus precluded, by the unprecedented and peremptory conditions affixed to their respective cessions of their western territory by North Carolina and Georgia, from continuing and perfecting the Jeffersonian policy of fundamental and imperative Slavery inhibition in the Federal Territories. Had Mr. Jefferson's Ordinance of 1784 been passed as he reported it, this beneficent end would have been secured. Accident, and the peculiar requirements of the Articles of Confederation, prevented this. Mr. Dane's Ordinance of 1787 contemplated only the territories already ceded to the
The Rev. Jonathan Edwards (son of the famous Jonathan Edwards, who was the greatest theologian, and one of the greatest men whom New England has ever produced), preached a sermon against the African Slave-Trade, September 15, 1791, at New Haven, Connecticut, then a Slave State. Text: The Golden Rule; Matthew vii., 12.
It is so commonly urged that the Abolitionists condemn a relation whereof they are grossly ignorant, that the following extract from that sermon is of interest, as the testimony of one living amid Slavery, and as proving how essentially identical are the objections urged to human chattelhood at all times, and under whatever circumstances. Mr. Edwards said:
"African Slavery is exceedingly impolitic, as it discourages industry. Nothing is more essential to the political prospect of any State than industry in the citizens. But, in proportion as Slaves are multiplied, every kind of labor be
comes ignominious; and, in fact, in those of the United States in which slaves are the most numerous, gentlemen and ladies of any fashion disdain to employ themselves in business, which in other States is consistent with the dignity of the first families and the first offices. In a country filled with negro slaves, labor belongs to them only, and a white man is despised in proportion as he applies to it. Now, how destructive of industry in all of the lowest and midIdle class of citizens such a situation, and the prevalence of such ideas will be, you can easily conceive. The consequence is that some will nearly starve, others will betake themselves to the most dishonest practices to obtain a means of living. As Slavery produces an indolence in the white people, so it produces all those vices which are naturally connected with it, such as intemperance, lewdness, and prodigality. These vices enfeeble both the body and the mind, and unfit men for any vigorous exertions and employments, either external or mental. And those who are unfit for such exertions are already very degenerate; degenerate, not only in
VIEWS OF THE REVOLUTIONARY PATRIOTS.
perhaps, for a season where already established, rather than to invoke greater mischiefs and perils by its too sudden and violent extirpation than were likely to flow from its more patient and gradual extinction. But to plant Slavery on virgin soil-to consecrate vast and yet vacant territories to its extension and perpetuation to conquer and annex still further domains expressly to increase its security and enlarge its powerare guilty dreams which never troubled the repose of the great body of our Revolutionary sages and patriots. Enlightened by their own experience
a moral, but a natural sense. They are contemptible too, and will soon be despised, even by their negroes themselves.
"Slavery tends to lewdness, not only as it produces indolence, but as it affords abundant opportunity for that wickedness, without either the danger or difficulty of an attack on the virtue of a woman of chastity, or the danger of a connection with one of ill fame. A planter, with his hundred wenches about him, is, in some respects at least, like the Sultan in his seraglio; and we learn too frequently the influence and effect of such a situation, not only from common fame, but from the multitude of mulattoes in countries where slaves are very numerous.
"Slavery has a most direct tendency to haughtiness also, and a domineering spirit and conduct in the proprietors of slaves, and in their children, and in all who have control of them. A man who has been brought up in domineering over negroes can scarcely avoid contracting such a habit of haughtiness and domination as will express itself in his general treatment of mankind, whether in his private capacity, or any office, civil or military, with which he may be vested. Despotism in economics naturally leads to despotism in politics, and domestic Slavery in a free government is a perfect solecism in human affairs.
"How baneful all these tendencies and effects of Slavery must be to the public good, and especially to the public good of such a free country as ours, I need not inform you."-Sermons, 177599, p. 10.
3 The opinion of the Father of his Country respecting the "peculiar institution" of the South may be perceived from the following extracts. In a letter to Lafayette, bearing date April 5, 1783, he says:
"The scheme, my dear Marquis, which you propose as a precedent to encourage the emancipation of the black people in this country from that state of bondage in which they are held, is
as to the evils and dangers of arbi-
a striking evidence of the benevolence of your heart. I shall be happy to join you in so laudable a work; but will defer going into a detail of the business until I have the pleasure of seeing you."-Sparks's Washington, vol. viii., p 414. Again, in a letter to the same, of May 10, 1786:
"The benevolence of your heart, my dear Marquis, is so conspicuous upon all occasions, that I never wonder at any fresh proofs of it; but your late purchase of an estate in the colony of Cayenne, with a view to emancipate the slaves on it, is a generous and noble proof of your humanity. Would to God a like spirit might diffuse itself in the minds of the people of this country! But I despair of seeing it. Some petitions were presented to the Assembly at its last session, for the Abolition of Slavery, but they could scarcely obtain a reading."—Ibid., vol. ix., p. 163.
In a remarkable and very interesting letter written by Lafayette in the prison of Magdeburg, he said:
"I know not what disposition has been made of my plantation at Cayenne; but I hope Madam De Lafayette will take care that the negroes who cultivate it shall preserve their liberty."
The following language is also Lafayette's, in a letter to Hamilton, from Paris, April 13, 1785: "In one of your New York Gazettes, I find an association against the Slavery of the negroes, which seems to me worded in such a way as to give no offense to the moderate men in the Southern States. As I have ever been partial to my brethren of that color, I wish, if you are one in the society, you would move, in your own -Works name, for my being admitted on the list." of Alex. Hamilton, N. Y., 1851, vol. i., p. 423.
John Adams, in a letter to Robert J. Evans, June 8, 1819, expresses himself as follows: "I respect the sentiments and motives which
the projects of the Sam Houstons, | with the since famous John Randolph William Walkers, Quitmans, and of Roanoke, then a young member, as Slidells of our day, they would have its chairman. On the 2d of March, retorted as indignantly as the aston- 1803, Mr. Randolph made a unaniished Syrian to the Hebrew prophet mous report from this Committee, "Is thy servant a dog, that he recommending a denial of the prayer should do this thing?" Oh that they of the petitioners, for these reasons: had but known and realized that the wrong which to-day is barely tolerated for the moment, is to-morrow cherished, and the next day sustained, eulogized, and propagated!
When Ohio was made a State, in 1803, the residue of the North-West Territory became Indiana Territory, with William Henry Harrisonsince President of the United States
-as Governor. Its earlier settlements were mainly on the banks of the Ohio and of its northern tributaries, and were principally by emigrants from Virginia, Kentucky, and other Slave States. These emigrants, realizing an urgent need of labor, and being accustomed to supply that need by the employment of slaves, almost unanimously memorialized Congress, through a Convention assembled in 1802, and presided over by their Governor, for a temporary suspension of the sixth article of the Ordinance of '87, whereby Slavery was expressly prohibited. Their memorial was referred by the House of Representatives to a Select Committee of three, two of them from the Slave States,
have prompted you to engage in your present occupation so much, that I feel an esteem and affection for your person, as I do a veneration for your assumed signature of Benjamin Rush. The turpitude, the inhumanity, the cruelty, and the infamy of the African commerce, have been so impressively represented to the public by the highest powers of eloquence, that nothing that I could say would increase the just odium in which it is, and ought to be, held. Every measure of prudence, therefore, ought to be assumed for the eventual total extirpation of Slavery from the
"The rapid population of the State of Ohio sufficiently evinces, in the opinion of your Committee, that the labor of slaves is not necessary to promote the growth and settlement of colonies in that region; that this labor-demonstrably the dearest of any -can only be employed in the cultivation of products more valuable than any known to that quarter of the United States; that inexpedient to impair a provision wisely the Committee deem it highly dangerous and calculated to promote the happiness and prosperity of the North-Western Country, and to give strength and security to that extensive frontier. In the salutary operation of this sagacious and benevolent restraint, it is believed that the inhabitants of Indiana will, at no very distant day, find ample remuneration for a temporary privation of labor, and of emigration."
The session terminated the next day; and the subject was, the next winter, referred to a new committee, whereof Cæsar Rodney, of Delaware, was chairman. This committee reported in favor of a qualified suspension, for a limited time," of the inhibition aforesaid. But Congress took no action on the report.
The people of Indiana Territory persisted in their seemingly unanimous supplication to be allowed, for a limited period, the use of Slave Labor; and Mr. Garnett, of Virginia, on the 14th of February, 1806, made
United States. * * * I have, through my whole life, held the practice of Slavery in such abhorrence, that I have never owned a negro or any other slave, though I have lived for many years in times when the practice was not disgraceful-when the best men in my vicinity thought it not inconsistent with their character; and when it has cost me thousands of dollars for the labor and subsistence of free men, which I might have saved by the purchase of negroes, at times when they were very cheap."- Works of John Adams, Boston, 1856, vol. x., p. 386.
By this time, emigration from the Free States into that Territory had begun. But it is probable that, at any time prior to 1818-20, a majority of the white settlers actually resident in that Territory would have voted in favor of the introduction of slaves.
another report from a Select Com- | Wisconsin, appears to have ended. mittee in favor of granting their request. But Congress never took this report into consideration. At the next session, a fresh letter from Governor Harrison, inclosing resolves of the Legislative Council and House of Representatives in favor of suspending temporarily the inhibition of Slavery, was received, and referred (January 21, 1807) to a Select Committee, whereof Mr. B. Parke, Delegate from said Territory, was made chairman. This Committee, composed mainly of members from Slave States, made (February 12th) a third report in favor of the petitioners; but Congress never acted upon the subject.
At the next session, the matter was brought before the Senate, on the apparently unanimous prayer of Governor Harrison and his Legislature for permission temporarily to employ slaves; but there was now, for the first time, a remonstrance of citizens of the Territory against the measure. The Senate referred the subject to a Select Committee of three, whereof Mr. Jesse Franklin, of N. C., was chairman; and Mr. Franklin, on the 13th of November, 1807, reported briefly against the petition, closing as follows:
For a counter-revolution had been silently proceeding for some years previous, and had almost eradicated the lessons and the principles of the Revolution from the hearts of the South, saving, of course, those portions wherein they seem to have never been learned. The bases of this revolution are the acquisition of Louisiana and the invention of the Cotton Gin; events for which Thomas Jefferson and Eli Whitney-neither of them pro-slavery-are primarily responsible. The acquisition of Louisiana, though second in occurrence and in importance, first attracted and fixed the attention of mankind, and shall, therefore, be first considered.
The river Mississippi was first discovered in 1541, by the Spanish adventurer De Soto, in the course of his three or four years' fantastic wanderings and fightings throughout the region which now constitutes the Gulf States of our Union, in quest of the fabled Eldorado, or Land of Gold. He left Spain in 1538, at the head of six hundred ambitious and enthusiastic followers, all eager and sanguine as himself in their quest of the fountain of perpetual youth and life. He died of a malignant fever on the bank of the Mississippi, in the spring or early summer of 1542; and his body,
This word is merely a corruption of engine.