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slave is clothed with authority in every State of the Union to seize and recapture his slave, wherever be can do it without any breach of the peace, or illegal violence.
“The right to seize and retake fugitive slaves, and the duty to deliver them up, in whatever State of the Union they may be found, is, under the Constitution, recognized as an absolute positive right and duty, pervading the whole Union with an equal and supreme force; uncontrolled and uncontrollable by State sovereignty or State legislation. The right and duty are co-extensive and uniform in remedy and operation throughout the whole Union. The owner has the same security, and the same remedial justice, and the same exemption from State regulations and control, through however many States he may pass with the fugitive slave in his possession, in transitu, to his domicile."
Here the Supreme Court emphatically declare that this clause in the Constitution manifestly contemplates the existence of a positive, unqualified right on the part of the owner of a slave, wbich no State law or regulation can control, and without wbich the Union could not have been formed, and, further, that the right to seize and retake fugitive slaves, in whatever State of the Union they may be found, is an absolute, positive right. But we are not left simply with this constitutional provision, for Congress, in 1793, passed an act designed to put the provision into practical operation, the last two sections of which are as fol. lows:
“ SEC. 3. And be it also enacted, That when a person held to labor in any of the United States, or in either of the territories on the northwest, or south of the river Ohio. under the laws thereof, shall escape into any other of the said States or territories, the person to whom such labor or service may be due, his agent or attorney is hereby empowered to seize or arrest such fugitive from labor, and to take him or her before any judge of the circuit or district courts of the United States, residing or being within the State, or before any magistrate of a county, city, or town corporate, wherein such seizure or arrest shall be made, and apon proof to the satisfaction of such judge or magistrate, either by oral testimony or affidavit taken before and certified by a magistrate of any such State or territory, that the person 80 seized or arrested, doth, under the laws of the State or territory from which she or he fled, owe service or labor to the porson claiming him or her, it shall be the duty of the judge or magistrate to give a certificate thereof to such claimant, his agent or attorney, which shall be sufficient warrant for removing the said fugitive from labor to the State or territory from which he or she fled.
“SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That any person who shall knowingly and willingly obstruct and hinder such claimant, his agent or attorney, in so seizing or arresting such fugitive from labor, or shall rescue such fugitive from such claimant, his agent or attorney, when so arrested, pursuant to the authority herein given or declared, or shall harbor or conceal such person after notice that he or she was a fugitive from labor as aforesaid, shall, for either of the said offenses, forfeit and pay the sum of five hundred dollars. Which penalty may be recovered by and for the benefit of such claimant, by action of debt, in any court proper to try the same; saving, moreover, to the person claiming such labor or service, his right of action for or on account of the said injuries or either of them.”
INAUGURAL ADDRESSES OF WASHINGTON, ADAMS, JEFFERSON,
AND MADISON ; AND THE FAREWELL ADDRESSES OF WASHINGTON AND JACKSON.
The oath of office having, on Thursday, April 30, 1789, been administered by the Chancellor of the State of New York, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, to George Washington, President of the United States, he then made the following Inaugural Address :
Fellow-Citizens of the Senate, and
of the House of Representatives : Among the vicissitudes incident to life, no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the fourteenth day of the present month. On the one hand, I was summoned by my country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I had chosen with the fondest predilection, and, in my flattering hopes, with an immutable decision, as the asylum of my declining years; a retreat which was rendered every day more necessary, as well as more dear to me, by the addition of habit to inclination, and of frequent interruptions in my health, to the gradual waste committed on it by time. On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with despondence one, who, in beriting inferior endowments from nature, and unpracticed in the duties of civil administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies. In this conflict of emotions, all I dare aver, is, that it has been my faithful study to collect my duty from a just appreciation of every circumstance by which it might be affected. All I dare hope, is, that if, in executing this task, I have been too much swayed by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or by an affectionate sensibility to this transcendent proof, of the confidence of my fellow-citizens, and have thence too little consulted my incapacity as well as disinclination for the weighty and untried cares before me, my error will be palliated by the motives which misled me, and its consequences be judged by my country, with some share of the partiality in which they originated.
Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit, in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe—who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect—that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States, a government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency; and in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their united government, the tranquil deliberations, and voluntary consent of 80 many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most governments have been established, without some retarn of pious gratitude, along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking that there are none, under the influence of which the proceedings of a new and free government can more auspiciously commence.
By the article establishing the executive department, it is made the duty of the President “to recommend to your consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” The circumstances under which I now meet you will acquit me from entering into that subject, further than to refer to the great constitutional charter under which you are assembled ; and which, in defining your powers, designates the objects to which your attention is to be given. It will be more consistent with those circumstances, and far more congenial with the feelings which actuate me, to substitute, in place of a recommendation of particular measures, the tribute that is due to the talents, the rectitude, and the patriotism, which adorn the characters selected to devise and adopt them. In these honorable qualifications I behold the surest pledges that, as on one side, no local prejudices or attachments, no separate views or party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests; so, on another, that the foundations of our national policy will be laid in the pare and immutable principles of private morality; and the preeminence of free government be exemplified by all the attri