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as outrageous as the gentleman from Massachusetts would have the nation believe, with what propriety was it that he came forward to assail the conduct of the Legislature of one of the oldest, and, I beg leave to add, one of the most patriotic States in this Union? It was an impudent intermeddling with what did not concern him, an effort, not unusual here, to throw a stigma upon that old State, the mother of States and of statesmen, which had reposing in her bosom the mortal remains of the man who first roused the American people to a sense of their rights, of the author of the Declaration of American Independence, and of that patriot, such as the world never saw before or would see again, who, by his virtue, patriotism, moderation, and prudence, carried through our glorious, just, and happy revolution. But he warned gentlemen, as often as it was attempted, she would have sons here to defend her. In the same spirit in which he had referred to the action of the Senate of Virginia, the gentleman from Massachusetts had undertaken to come here and criticise her constitution; and to assert that suffrage there was confined to the soil and did not attach to the citizen. In this he had shown precisely the same sort of information in reference to her constitution that he had in his speeches heretofore in reference to the institution of domestic slavery in Virginia. The constitution of Virginia made no such restriction. Here some explanations ensued, when Mr. BAYLY continued. The ownership of the soil (he said) gave one class of rights; but very many of the voters of Virginia did not own one foot of land. The right of suffrage in Virginia was not as extended as he desired to see it; but it was almost as universal as it could be where there was any property restriction whatever. But the gentleman, not content with referring to the Legislature of Virginia and her constitution, had undertaken to tell the JHouse about her want of prosperity, and to refer them to the greater growth and prosperity of other States. He (Mr. B.) knew that this was a very common idea; but he undertook to say, with some small knowledge of the fact, that there was not one of the old States which had advanced in prosperity with more steady, decided step than Virginia. He undertook to say that there was no State in which the progress of improvement had been more certain. He knew some of the new States had outstripped her. The cheapness of their lands, the disposition of our people to seek new homes, and many other circumstances, which he could not now stop to discuss, had stimulated them into rapid prosperity— a prosperity which he had never envied them. But he maintained, that among the old States of this
TJnion, there was no State which had advanced in
opulation and wealth with more steady step than }. Virginia. Even Massachusetts herself, with all the protection she had received from the Gen
had not a larger ratio of representation, in comarison with Virginia, on this floor, than she had in the first Congress under the Constitution. Under these circumstances, their people constantly going out, the new States keeping up a constant drain upon them, they kept on at a steady ace of improvement. * Instead of being misled by declamation, let gen
* & brought upon ourselves? eral Government, elevating her and depressing us,
tlemen look to the facts of the case. Let them; compare the census taken at different times, and they would find that the old slave States had advanced quite as rapidly as the old non-slaveholding States, with the exception of New York and Pennsylvania; and they, in truth, in the connection in which he was speaking, could scarcely be called old States. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, they possessed a vast unappropriated western territory, which they have since virtually brought to the seaboard by their internal improvements. In consequence of which, their western counties have been filled up with a dense population, and their towns have grown into large cities. If it be answered, that Virginia also had a large unpeopled territory in the western part of the State, I reply that Virginia had provided no outlet for the produce of the country; and this circumstance, and not the existence of slavery—for, in truth, in that part of the State there were few slaves—retarded the growth of the country. He had been referred to the contrast in the prosperity of Kentucky and Ohio; and this has been attributed to the existence of slavery in the former. But is it so Have not other causes operated. more powerfully By the time we had acquired the right of navigating the Mississippi, which gave the first strong impulse to western emigration—certainly before the introduction of the steamboat, which gave the great impulse to the western country—nearly all the lands in Kentucky had been appropriated. Most of them were held in very large tracts by private persons, many of them by non-residents, who held them for high prices, which were confidently looked for as the country grew. A large portion of Kentucky was inaccessible to navigation. Bút how different was the situation of Ohio ! Most of the lands within her borders were held by the Government. They were open to private entry, in small and convenient tracts, at Government prices; and she was surrounded by navigable lakes and rivers. Besides, there was a great difficulty about land titles in Kentucky—as, indeed, heretofore there has been in Western Virginia—which is always such a terror to emigrants. In Ohio there were none whatever. Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that Ohio has outstripped Kentucky. But it remains to be seen that the existence of negro slavery has been the great cause of retarding the growth of the latter. Has it retarded the growth of Missouri: Which of the new States has advanced with a more rapid or steady stride, or which one of them enjoys more solid prosperity than that State 2 But he found that he was being beguiled into an extent of remark on this point which he did not desire. . . Suppose the institution of slavery is as great a curse as gentlemen would have us believe; yet do they not know that it is one which we have not And do they not also know that we who live among it, and understand it better than they do, are very clearly of opinion that their meddling with it only aggravates it, and that we cannot remove it in the way they propose, without producing evils infinitely greater? Do they not know, that if it be all they say of it, it is our misfortune? And does it become gentlemen from the non-slaveholding States constantly to throw up to them a misfortune which they did not feel, and one which they had not the power to remedy ? Did the gentleman from Massachusetts find it consomant either with the feelings of humanity or patriotism if they had a deformed limb, in the name of God let it pass the notice of their brethren. If it could not pass their notice, let them not be jeered and ridiculed for it. It was an institution which was upon them: if it was a deformity in their social system, no portion of the people of this globe had done more to inflict it upon them than the people of Massachusetts themselves—as they were doing, at this hour, upon the people of Brazil. Does it lie in their mouths to come here to upbraid us? There were many other topics to which the gentleman had referred, which he should not take up his time in speaking of now. But one more remark. He sought altercation with the gentleman as little as the gentleman did with him. He had no fondness for personalities; he had no taste either to indulge in abuse, in the first instance, or to retort it. The retort of abuse was low and vulgar; it was usually rather the recourse of vulgar minds, overflowing with bad passions, than the resort of patriotic indignation. He confessed that some remarks which he had made when he occupied the floor a week ago were pretty pointed: if he had had the language he would have made them more so. All he could say now, in speaking under different impulses, as far as any abhorrence had been expressed by him of the character of that proceeding, was, that he would have expressed it in his cool moments in quite as strong language.
i) V– 'vi. BAYLY, who said he should not reply to the gentleman from Massachusetts with any asperity. There was so much of the man that was the gentleman, so much propriety and gentleness of manner about him, that, much as Mr. B. abhorred the principles he held, he could not find it in his heart to say anything harsh of him. But it was due to himself that he should add a few words to his reply to the other gentieman from Massachusetts, [Mr. As HMUN, which, in the hurry of an unpremeditated speech, he had omitted. But before he did so, he must say a few words in answer to the gentleman who had last spoken, [Mr. PALFREy..] And, in the first place, that gentleman had said that Mr. B. was in error in regard to the legislation of Massachusetts. Now, if the gentleman had heard his remarks distinctly, as he had said he did not, he could not but have been struck with the fact, that in all he had said in relation to the legislation of the States of this Union on the subject of free negroes, he had carefully excepted Massachusetts. He had repeated that exception with particularity more than once, and the
reason for his doing so was this: he knew the gen
eral fact that there had been of late much legislation in Massachusetts on that subject, but he was not fully aware of the precise extent to which it had gone. Most of the remarks he had made in reference particularly to Massachusetts he had made on the statements and suggestions of others. But, after all, he did not think the gentleman had pointed out any important errors into which he had fallen. The gentleman [Mr. P.] had informed the House that Massachusetts had made it a penal offence for her magistrates to assist in the delivering up of fugitive slaves, and had prohibited the use of her jails for any such purpose. He recollected those laws perfectly well; and when the gentleman's colleague [Mr. As HMUN] had said, on yesterday, that his State and the other non-slaveholding States were willing to stand by the compromises of the Constitution on the subject of slavery, he designed to ask him if, in passing such laws, she was doing it; but, speaking under the circumstances to which he had already referred, and amid the constant interruptions to which he was subjected, it had escaped him. It was an important point; and as he desired to call the attention of the country to it, he begged leave to propound that question now to the gentleman. In passing such laws, is Massachusetts abiding in good faith by the compromises of the Constitution ? Mr. ASHMUN. Yes; she is. Mr. BAYLY. No; she is not. Mr. B. quoted the following clause of the Constitution: “No ‘person held to service or labor in one State, un‘der the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, ‘in consequence of any law or regulation therein, ‘ be discharged from such service or labor, but shall ‘ be delivered up on claim of the party to whom ‘such service or labor may be due.” In 1793 Congress passed a law to carry out this constitutional provision; and that law made it the duty of the State magistrates to assist in the Surrender of such fugitives. Mr. ASHMUN. Will you show me the law which makes any such requirement? Mr. BAYLY. Yes, I will. Hand me the first volume of the Laws of the United States, and I will show it. The Constitution of the United States, he said, declared that the Constitution, and the laws passed in pursuance of it, should be the supreme law of the land. The constitutionality of the law of 1793 had come before the Supreme Court in the case of Prigg against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and that court, Judge Story—who was the boast and glory of the gentleman’s own State—delivering the opinion, pronounced it to be in accordance with the Constitution, and therefore the supreme law of the land. Yet the State of Massachusetts, with this deeision of the court of last resort staring her in the face, has set at naught this supreme law. And she has not done this in a trifling and transient case. Her violation of the Constitution and laws of the United States in this respect, is not only a palpable, but a dangetous violation of that Constitution and those laws. And she has not the miserable apology that it is dome to defend any interest of hers. It is a gratuitous outrage upon our constitutional rights, in a case in which she had no interest at stake to palliate it. In prohibiting to the master of fugitive slaves the use of her jails, and forbidding her officers to assist in their removal, she has made the clause of the Constitution which is of such vital importance to us, a dead letter. The only other persons, besides the State officers, who are required by the law of 1793 to assist in the delivering up of fugitive slaves, are the judges of the district or circuit courts. There are few of them,-in many of the States but one district judge, and in all the nonslaveholding States but four circuit judges, who most of the year are out of their circuits; and the master, at the time he makes the seizure, might not be within a hundred miles of one of them. In
Such a case, how would the master get his slave.
before them : Do we not know, that by every sort of foul misrepresentation, the feelings of the people at large in the non-slaveholding States have become so exasperated against the southern slaveholder, that he not only could expect no assistance, but would be certain to meet with active opposition from them? What, then, could he do? Carry with him a posse from his own State? Would not this inevitably lead to a collision, which it was the very object of the law of 1793 to prevent, by requiring the duty to be done by officers of the State in which the fugitive might be found . It was idle to tell him that this important claus of the Constitution—a clause which had been made an indispensable condition by the southern States of their sanction of the Constitution—had not been nullified by the State of Massachusetts. With what propriety, then, could the gentleman come here and say that his State was willing to stand by the Constitution as it was 2 Did not the laws passed by her Legislature, and public sentiment there, make the enforcement of the rights of a slaveholder impossible 2 Mr. GIDDINGS here asked leave of Mr. B. to make an explanation. He denied that the law of 1793 made it the duty of State officers to arrest fugitive slaves; and he went into a long argument on that point, during which he was interrupted by Mr. McLANE and Mr. VINTON. Mr. BAYLY (resuming) said, that the interruption of the gentleman had given him time to examine the law, and he was not mistaken. He had said, and he repeated it with the law before him, which he thanked the gentleman from Ohio for handing to him, that the law of 1793 made it the duty of State officers to assist—that was his statement—in removal, by his master or his agent or attorney, of his fugitive slave. It did so in express terms. As he had been contradicted on that point, he desired to read the section: “SEC. 3. And be it further 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, should 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 should be made ; and upon proof, to the satisfiction 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 so seized or arrested doth, under the laws of the State or Territory from Which he or she fled, owe service or labor to the person claiming him or her, it should be the duty of such judge or magistrate to give a certificate thereof to such elaimant, his agent or attorney, which should be sufficient warrant for removing the said fugitive from labor to the State or Territory from which he or she fled.”
The last section of the act declares:
“That any person who shall, knowingly and willingly, obstruct or hinder such claimant, his agent or attorney, in so seizing or arresting such fugitive from labor; or shalf 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 offences, 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 stich labor or service, his right of action for, or on account of the said injuries, or either of them.”
That law made it the duty of the State magis. trates to assist in the surrender to the owner, agent, or attorney, of these fugitive slaves; and it imposed a penalty on any one who should obstruct or hinder such claimant, &c. The Supreme Court of the United States had decided that that law was constitutional.
Mr. COLLAMER, (in his seat.) That part of 1t.
Mr. BAYLY. Yes, that part of it. He knew perfectly well what that decision was. He had read it at the time. It was several years since, but he undertook to state what that decision was. There were three leading points made in the case: one was, that the Constitution executed itself—that no legislation, either on the part of Congress or of the State Legislature, was contémplated, and therefore that this law was unconstitutional; another point was, that Congress had the right of lagislation, and of exclusive legislation; the third point was, that there was a concurrent power of legislation on this subject in Congress and in the State Legislatures, with this restriction in the case of the States, they might pass laws in aid and furtherance of the laws of Congress, but not in contravention of them. These were the points made in the case. What was the decision? Vir. Justice Baldwin, of Pennsylvania, was of the opinion that the constitutional provision was ample in itself; and that the Constitution gave the right to the master, or his agent or attorney, without the interference of any officer or anybody, to go and take his slave who had got into a free State precisely as he would his horse if he was found there, and bring him back, without any other authority than that which the Constitution provided; and that the law of 1793 was therefore unnecessary. But he maintained that any legislation of the States going to impair this right was unconstitutional. A majority of the judges of the court—Mr. Justice Story delivering the opinion—decided that the Constitution did contemplate legislation, and that that power of legislation was vested exclusively in Congress; and that the State Governments had no right to legislate on the subject at all. That was the decision of the court. But three judges— the Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Daniel, of Virginia, and Smith Thompson, of New York—gave their opinion that the right of legislation was concurrent in Congress and the State Legislatures; that Congress might legislate on the subject, and that the law of 1793 was therefore constitutional; and that the State Legislatures might legislate in aid, not in contradiction, or rather, in better law language, not in contravention, of the law of 1793 or of the Constitution. His (Mr. B.’s) own opinion was very distinctly that that opinion gave the true
law of the subject. But that was not necessary to his present argument. For the point he meant to make on Massachusetts he would abide by the decision of the majority, delivered by her own distinguished jurist. He had decided that this law was constitutional. The court had so decided. The Constitution said that the laws of Congress, made in pursuance of the Constitution, are the supreme law of the land, “anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” And yet Massachusetts, lawloving, and Constitution-loving Massachusetts, had undertaken to nullify it! There was another point of not much less magnitude made in the case—the one to which the gentleman from Vermont [Mr. CollAMER) alluded, in the question he had propounded. It was, whether the States had the authority to prohibit their officers, referred to in the 3d section, from executing the duties imposed upon them by that section? The court did not decide that point; but they said, that whatever doubt there might be whether these officers were bound to act, there was nome that they might act, unless prohibited by State legislat|Orl. Several of the judges, at the head of whom was Chief Justice Taney, whose opinion in this case I commend to every lover of clear, logical, legal reasoning, maintained, not only that these State magistrates might, if they chose, in the absence of State prohibition, execute the duties imposed upon them by the law of '93; but that it was the duty of the State Legislatures, in order to carry out the spirit of the Constitution, to compel them to aCt. Judge McLean admitted the general proposition that Congress could not control State officers; but maintained that this case formed an exception. [When Mr. BAYLY spoke, he had not the decision of the Supreme Court before him; but he said he would hand to the reporters extracts from the opinions of the judges sustaining the positions he had taken. In other instances where quotations are made in hec verbst, it is to be understood they were furnished subsequently. In the delivered speech, only the substance was given.] Chief Justice Taney said: “Indeed, if the State authorities are absolved from all obligation to protect this right, [the right of recapture,) and may stand by and see it violated without an effort to defend it, the act of Congress of 1793 searcely deserves the name of a remedy.” “But it is manifest from the face of the law, that an effectual remedy was intended to be given by the act of 1793. it never designed to compel the master to encounter the hazard and expense of taking the fugitive in all cases to the distant residence of one of the judges of the courts of the United States; for it authorized him also to go before any magistrate of the county, city, or town corporate, wherein the seizure should be made. And Congress evidently supposed it had provided a tribunal at the place of the arrest, capable of furnishing the master with the evidence of ownership, to protect him more effectually from unlawful interruption, So far from regarding the State authorities as prohibited from intersering in cases of this description, the Congress of that day must have counted upon their cordial coöperation. They legislated with express reference to State support. And it will be remembered, that when the law was passed,
ease under consideration form an exception o’” }:
the Government of the United States was administered by men who had recently taken a leading part in the formation
of the Constitution.”
Judge McLean said:
power to impose duties on State officers; but does not the #:
“The clause in the Constitution preceding the one in relation to fugitives from labor, declares that ‘ a person charged ‘in any State with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall * flee from justice, and be found in another State, shall, on * demand of the executive authority of the State from which ‘ he fled, be delivered up to be removed to the State having * jurisdiction of the crime.” In the first section of the act of 1793, Congress has provided, that on demand being made as above, it shall be the duty of the executive authority to
cause the person demanded to be arrested.
“The constitutionality of this law, it is to be believed, has never been questioned. It has been obeyed by the Governors of States, who have uniformly acknowledged its obligations. To some demands, surrenders have not been made; but the refusals have in no instance been on the ground that the Constitution and act of Congress were of no binding force. Other reasons have been assigned. . Now, if Congress may, by legislation, require this duty to be performed by the highest State officer, may they not on the same principle require appropriate duties in regard to the surrender of fugitives from labor by other State officers? Over these subjects the constitutional power is the same. “The Constitution requires that such person shall be delivered up on the claim of the party to whom the service is due.” Here is a positive duty imposed; and Congress has said in what mode this duty shall be performed. Had they not power to do so? If the Constitution was designed in this respect to require, not a negative, but a positive duty on the State and the people of the State where the fugitive from labor may be found, of which it would seem there can be no doubt, it must be equally clear that Congress may prescribe in what manner the claim and surrender shall be made. I am therefore brought to the conclusion, that although, as a general principle, Congress cannot impose duties on State officers, yet in the cases of fugitives from justice and from labor, they have the power to do so.” In the controversy between Virginia and New York, Governor Seward, who has been a leader in all these abolition movements, admitted the constitutionality of that part of the law of 1793, which required the Executives of the States to surrender fugitives from justice. He said: “The duties of that department [the executive] in such cases [the delivery of fugitives from justice] are prescribed by the Constitution of the United States, and not by the constitution and laws of New York.” And the Judiciary Committee of the Legislature of New York, referring to this subject, in a report which met the sanction of that body, said: “By the Constitution and laws, the power of causing the arrest of persons demanded as fugitives from justice, is vested in the Executive, and his discretion cannot be con trolled by any legislative action.” The constitutionality of the two sections of the law of 1793, (said Mr. B.,) the one relative to fugitives from justice, and the other to fugitives from labor, rest upon the same principle; yet no State in the Union has ever questioned the constitutionality of the former. Now, (said Mr. B.,) I entirely agree in the opinion expressed by Chief Justice Taney. I think the Constitution contemplates in both sections—the one relative to fugitives from justice, and the other relative to fugitives from labor—affirmative action on the part of the States where the fugitive may be found. A State cannot be said to deliver up without being active. The language of the two sections is similar. In each case the fugitive is to “be delivered up.” In the case of a fugitive from justice, “on the demand of the executive authority of the State from which he fled;” in the other, “on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.” But in neither case does it specify by whom the delivery is to be made. But about this, it seemed to him, there could be no doubt. Who was to deliver up In every case almost, the fugitive of either class would be at large—he would be in no one’s custody. Who, then, was to de
liver him up Why, most clearly, the State, through her appropriate officers, when he might be found. But suppose he was wrong in all this: it did not make the case of Massachusetts, and other States which had adopted similar legislation, any better. If the laws which they had passed did not violate the letter, they certainly most clearly violated the spirit, of the Constitution. Why was the clause relative to fugitives from labor inserted in the Constitution? I will let Judge Story answer that question. In the case already referred to, he said: . “Historically, it is well known that the object of this clause was to secure to the citizens of the slaveholding States the complete right and title of ownership in their slaves, as property, in every State in the Union in which they might escape from the State where they were held in servitude. The full recognition of this right and title was indispensable to the security of this species of property in all the slaveholding States, and, indeed, was so vital to the preservation of their domestic interests and institutions, that it cannot be doubted it constituted a fundamental article, without the adoption of which the Union could not have been formed. Its true design was to guard against the doctrines and principles prevalent in the non-slaveholding States, by preventing them from intermeddling or obstructing the rights of owners of slaves.” '• Again: “The clause manifestly contemplates the existence of a positive, unqualified right on the part of the owner of the slave, which no State law or regulation can in any way qualify, regulate, control, or restrain. The slave is not to be discharged from service or labor in consequence of any State law or regulation. Now, certainly, without indulging in nicety of criticism upon words, it may fairly and reasonably be said, that any State law or State regulation which interrupts, limits, delays, or postpones the right of the owner to the immediate possession of the slave, and the immediate command of his service and labor, operates, pro tamto, a discharge of the slave therefrom. The question can never be, how much the slave is discharged from, but whether he is discharged from any, by the natural or necessary operation of State laws or State regulations. The question is not one of quantity or degree, but of withholding or controlling the incidents of a positive and absolute right.” This is the object of the Constitution. . Now, what is the duty of the States living under its protection and enjoying its blessings Is it not to carry out in good faith its provisions? But do not the laws of Massachusetts obstruct and hinder a master in recovering a fugitive slave? Does not every one know, that without the provision in question, the Constitution never would have been adopted? Suppose our forbearance should be such— suppose our devotion to the Union is so great that we should submit to its annulment: yet is it right to take advantage of such feelings to trample upon our constitutional guarantees? Unless gentlemen are aiming at a dissolution of the Union, they are proceeding upon the supposition of the existence of such a feeling on our part. But are they not discouraging and weakening that feeling 2 And is a feeling of loyalty to this Union to be taken advantage of to trample in the dust its fundamental articles I beg gentlemen not to make a mistake on this point—it would be fatal. I know we have borne much; but there is a point beyond which forbearance cannot go; and we are much nearer that point than even some of ourselves imagine. But the State of Massachusetts had not only nullified the third section of the act, but the last also. The gentleman [Mr. PALFREy] had told us that in Massachusetts negroes could sit on juries; and he had also told us there was one settlement in his State of upwards of three hundred fugitive
slaves. In future, other fugitive slaves will probably seek that neighborhood. Now, suppose a master should seek to recapture there a fugitive slave: what would be the result? Massachusetts has prohibited her officers from assisting him. In the absence of their authority, is it not certain that he would be resisted? In such a case he would be entitled to sue for the penalty imposed by the last section, and also for damages. But with runaway slaves to try the cause, and the Massachusetts negro judge, so highly eulogized by the gentleman, [Mr. P.,] what chance of recovery would he have P The object of the Constitution and of the law of ’93 is very plain. The third section was designed to arm the master with the State authority to enforce his rights. That, Massachusetts has taken away in the manner I have shown. The last was designed to deter private persons from obstructing him in the assertion of those rights. If the laws enabled the master to enforce this last section, he still would have had some chance. Although the State officers were prohibited from assisting him in the assertion of his rights, yet the citizens at large would have been deterred by the fear of a penalty from resisting him. But to make the destruction of our constitutional right complete, this restraint is removed; and the persons who resist a master in the assertion of his constitutional rights has indemnity against the penalties of the last section offered him in advance. Under such circumstances, not only is the recapture of a fugitive slave impossible in Massachusetts, but the master who should attempt it would most certainly be mulcted in damages by the verdict of a negro jury. With what unblushing effrontery is it not, them, that gentlemen come here and tell us they are willing to stand by the compromises of the Constitution on the subject of slavery. But some of the other non-slaveholding States have gone even further than this. They have extended the right of trial by jury to fugitive slaves; and enacted provisions which make the recapture of them absolutely impossible. The Supreme Court has decided, and so have most of the State courts, that the Constitution contemplates a summary ministerial proceeding, not accoording to the rules and forms of the common law. And they have also decided that the question of slavery or freedom does not arise on such a proceeding. The only question is, was the slave “held” to service or labor? but whether rightfully or wrongfully held, was a question which could only be tried in the State from which he fled. In the language of Mr. Chief Justice Tilghman, which has been followed by all the higher courts since, both State and Federal— . “It plainly appears from the whole scope and tenor of the Constitution and act of Congress, that the fugitive was to be delivered up on a summary proceeding, without the delay of a formal trial in a court of common law. But if he had
realiy a right to freedom, that right was not impaired by this proceeding. He was placed just in the situation in which
he stood before he fied, and might prosecute his right in the
State to which he belonged.”
Notwithstanding these are the admitted principles of the Constitution, which the law of ’93 was designed to execute, several, nearly all, the northern and eastern States have passed laws conflicting irreconcilably with them. Mr. B. referred particularly to the law of New York, but said Connec