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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
Congress." the westward, through which the Assenisipi or Rock River runs, shall be called Assenisipia; and that to the
The Ordinance, thus depleted, after undergoeastward, in which are the fountains of the Muskingum, ing some further amendments, was finally apthe two Miamies of the Ohio, the Wabash, the Illinois, proved April 23d—all the delegates, but those the Miami of the Lake, and the Sandusky rivers, shall be called Metropotamia. Of the territory which lies under from South Carolina, voting in the affirmative. the forty-first and fortieth degrees, the western, through In 1787, the last Continental Congress, sitwhich the river Illinois runs, shall be called Ilinoia ; ting in New-York simultaneously with the that between this last and Pennsylvania, and extending Convention at Philadelphia which framed our from the Ohio to Lake Erie, shall be called Washington. Federal Constitution, took up the subject of the of the territory which lies under the thirty-ninth and government of the Western Territory, raising a of the point of land within the fork of the Ohio and Mis-Committee thereon, of which Nathan Dane, of sissippi as lies under the thirty-seventh degree; that to Massachusetts, was Chairman. That Committee the westward, within and adjacent to which are the reported (July 11th), “ An Ordinance for the Ohio, Illinois, Mississippi, and Missouri, shall be called government of the Territories of the United Polypotamia; and that to the eastward, further up the States, Northwest of the Ohio"—the larger area Ohio, otherwise called the Pelisipi, shall be called contemplated by Mr. Jefferson's bill not having
That all the preceding articles shall be formed been ceded by the Southern States claiming into a charter of compact, shall be duly executed by dominion over it. This bill embodied many of the President of the United States, in Congress assem- the provisions originally drafted and reported bled, under his hand and the seal of the United States; by Mr. Jefferson, but with some modifications, conditions between the thirteen original states and and concludes with six unalterable articles of those newly described, unalterable but by the joint perpetual compact, the last of them as follows: consent of the United States, in Congress assembled, and of the particular State within which such alteration servitude, in the said Territory, otherwise than in
“ There shall be neither Slavery nor involuntary is proposed to be made.
punishment of crimes, whereof the parties shall be duly April 19, this reported plan came up for convicted." consideration in Congress. Mr. Spaight of N. To this was added, prior to its passage, the C. moved that the 5th proposition (prohibiting stipulation for the delivery of fugitives from Slavery after the year 1800) be stricken out of labor or service, soon after embodied in the the plan of ordinance, and Mr. Read of S. C. Federal Constitution; and in this shape, the seconded the motion. The question was put in entire ordinance was adopted (July 13th) by a this forin : “Shall the words moved to be unanimous vote, Georgia and the Carolinas stricken out stand ?" and on this question the concurring. Ayes and Noes were taken, and resulted as follows:
UNDER THE CONSTITUTION. N. HAMPSHIRE..... Mr. Foster,..
The old Articles of Confederation having Mr. Blanchard,
proved inadequate to the creation and mainMASSACHUSETTS.... Mr. Gerry, Mr. Partiidge,
tenance of a capable and efficient national or RHODE ISLAND..... Mr. Ellery,
central authority, a Convention of Delegates Mr. Howell,
from the several States, was legally assembled CONNECTICUT.. Mr. Sherman,
ay Mr. Wadsworth,
in Philadelphia, in 1787–George Washington, NEW-YORK. Mr. De Witt,
President; and the result of its labors was our
Constitution, though some
ay \* amendments mainly of the nature of restrictions PENNSYLVANIA .... Mr. Miffin,
..ay Mr. Montgomery,.
on Federal power, were proposed by the several Mr. Hand,
State Conventious assembled to pass upon that MARYLAND..... Mr. McHenry, Mr. Stone,
No. Constitution, and adopted. The following are VIRGINIA...... Mr. Jefferson,
all the provisions of that instrument, which are
..ay Mr. Hardy,
no No. presunied to bear upon the subject of Slavery: Mr. Mercer,
(Preamble): We, the people of the United States, in N. CAROLINA.. Mr. Williamson, Mr. Spaight,
Divided order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice,
insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common 8. CAROLINA:.. Mr. Read, Mr. Beresford,
defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the }
blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do Here we find the votes sixteen in favor of Mr. ordain and establish this Constitution for the United Jefferson's restriction to barely seven against it,
States of America.
Art. I. § 1. All legislative powers herein granted, shall and the States divided six in favor to three be vested in a Congress of the United States, which against it. But the Articles of Confederation shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. (Årt. IX.) required an affirmative vote of a apportioned among the several States which may be
Representatives and direct taxes shall be majority of all the States—that is, a vote of included within this Union, according to their respective seven States—to carry a proposition; so this numbers, which shall be determined, by adding to the clause was defeated through the absence of one whole number of free persons, including those bound to delegate from New-Jersey, in spite of a vote of servitude
for a term of years, and excluding Indians not
taxed, three-fifths of all other persons. more than two to one in its favor. Had the $ 9. The migration or importation of such persons as New-Jersey delegation been full, it must, to a any of the States now existing shall think proper to moral certainty, have prevailed ; 'had Delaware admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to
the year 1809; but a tax or duty may be imposed, not then been represented, it would probably have exceeding ten dollars on each person. been carried, even without New-Jersey. Yet, The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not it is this voie, so given and recorded, that Mr. be suspended, unless when, in cases of rebellion or
invasion, the public safety may require it, Douglas in his “ Harper" essay claims as sus. No bill of attainder or ex post facto laws shall be
Art, III. $ 8. Treason against the United States
• Ay. Ay.
* No quorum.
CESSIONS OF SOUTHERN TERRITORY.
shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.
Art. IV. § 2. The citizens of each State shall be en- The State of Kentucky was set off from the titled to all the privileges of citizens, in the several State of Virginia in 1790, by mutual agreeStates.
No person held to service or labor in one State, ment, and admitted into the Union by act of under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Congress, passed February 4th, 1791 ; to take consequence of any law or regulation therein, he dis- effect June 1st, 1792. It was never a territory charged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service of the United States, nor under Federal jurisor labor may be due.
diction, except à State, and inherited The Congress shall have power to dispose of and Slavery from the “Old Dominion.” make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United
The State of North Carolina, like several States : and nothing in this constitution shall be so con- others, claimed, during and after the Revolustrued as to prejudice any claims of the United States, tion, that her territory extended westward to or of any particular State.
the Mississippi. $ 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government,
On the 22d of December, 1799—one month and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on after the ratification of the Federal Constitution application of the legislature, or of the executive when -North Carolina passed an act, ceding, on cer. the legislature cannot be convened, against domestic violence.
tain conditions, all her territory west of her Art. VI. This. Constitution, and the laws of the present limits to the United States. Among United States, which shall be made in pursuance thereof, the conditions exacted by her, and agreed to and all the treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme by Congress (Act approved April 2nd, 1790) is law of the land; and the judges in every State shall be the following : bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of
Provided always, that no regulations made, or to any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
be made, by Congress shall tend to emancipate slaves. The above are all—and perhaps more than Were it not then conceded that Congress all—the clauses of the Constitution, that have had the power to make regulations for the been quoted on one side or the other as bear- territories which would “tend to emancipate ing upon the subject of Slavery.
slaves,” this proviso would be utterly meaningIt will be noted that the word “slave " or less. “slavery” does not appear therein. Mr. Madi- Georgia, in like manner, ceded (April 2nd, son, who was a leading and observant member 1802) the territories lying west of her present of the Convention, and who took notes of its limits, now forming the States of Alabama and daily proceedings, affirms that this silence was Mississippi. Among the conditions exacted by designed the Convention being unwilling that her, and accepted by the United States, is the the Constitution of the United States should following: recognize property in human beings. In pas- Fifthly. That the territory thus ceded shall become sages where slaves are presumed to be contem- a State, and be admitted into the Union as soon as it plated, they are uniformly designated as “per- earlier period, it Congress shall think it expedient, on
shall contain sixty thousand free inhabitants, or, at an sons,” never as property. Contemporary his- the same conditions and restrictions, with the same tory proves that it was the belief of at least a privileges, and in the same manner, as is provided in the large portion of the delegates that Slavery ordinance of Congress of the 13th day of July, 1787, for could not long survive the final stoppage of the States ; which ordinance shall, in all its parts, extend to slave-trade, which was expected to (and did) the territory contained in the present act of cession, the occur in 1808. And, were Slavery this day article only excepted which forbids slavery. banished forever from the country, there might, EARLY ATTEMPTS TO OVERRIDE THE ORDINANCE. indeed, be some superfluous stipulations in the Federal compact or charter; but there are none residue of the vast regions originally conveyed
When Ohio (1802-3) was made a State, the which need be repealed, or essentially modi
by the ordinance of '87 was continued under fied.
Federal pupilage, by the name of “Indiana A direct provision for the restoration of
Territory," whereof Wm. Henry Harrison (since fugitive slaves to their masters was, at least President) was appointed Governor. It was once, voted down by the Convention. Finally, quite commonly argued that, though Slavery the clause respecting persons "held to service was injurious in the long run, yet, as an expeor labor," was proposed by Mr. Butler, of South dient while clearing away the heavy forests, Carolina, and adopted with little or no opposi- opening settlements in the wilderness, and surtion.
mounting the inevitable hardships and privaThe following, among the amendments to tions of border life, it might be tolerated, and the Constitution, proposed by the ratifying
con. even regarded with favor. Accordingly, the ventions of one or more States, and adopted, new Territory of Indiana made repeated efforts are supposed by some to bear on he questions
to procure a relaxation in her favor of the renow agitated relative to Slavery :
strictive clause of the Ordinance of '87, one of Art. I. Congress shall make no law respecting an them through the instrumentality of a Conven. establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exer- tion assembled in 1802–3, and presided over by cise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the Press, or of the rights of the people peacefully to the Territorial Governor; so he, with the great assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress body of his fellow-delegates, memorialized Conof grievances.
Art. II. A well-regulated militia being necessary to gress, among other things, to suspend temporhe security of a free State, the right of the people to arily the operation of the sixth article of the keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Ordinance aforesaid. This memorial was reArt. V. No persons shall be deprived of life, ferred in the House to a select committee of liberty, or property, without due process of law or three, two of them from Slave States, with the shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.
since celebrated John Randolph as chairman. On the 2nd of March, 1803, Mr. Randolph made tion of slaves, born within the United States, from any of
the individual States. what appears to have been a unanimous report from this Committee, of which we give so much
This report and resolve were committed and as relates to Slavery-as follows:
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 laborathe Legislative Council and House of Represenin 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 hapi 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 ladi: C., being now Speaker,) consisted of ana will, at no very distant day, find ample remunera. tion for a temporary privation of labor, and of emigra- MESSRS. ALSTON, of N. C.
RHEA, of Tenn. tion.
MASTERS, of N. Y.
SANDFORD, of Ky. MORROW, of Ohio.
TRIGG, of Va. The Committee proceed to discuss other sub
PARKE, of Ind. jects set forth in the prayer of the memorial,
Mr. Parke, from this Committee, made (Feb. and conclude with eight resolves, whereof the 12th,) a third Report to the House in favor of only one relating to Slavery is as follows:
granting the prayer of the memorialists. Resoloed, That it is inexpedient to suspend, for a This report, with its predecessors, was comlimited time, the operation of the sixth article of the compact between the original States and the people and mitted, and made a special order, but never States west of the river Ohio.
taken into consideration. This Report having been made at the close
The same letter of Gen. Harrison, and resolves of the Session, was referred at the next to a the Senate, Jan. 21st, 1807. They were laid on
of the Indiana Legislature, were submitted to new Committee, whereof Cæsar Rodney, a new Representative from Delaware, was Chairman. the table “ for consideration," and do not apMr. Rodney, from this Committee, reported pear to have even been referred at that session; (February 17th, 1804),
but at the next, or first session of the fourth
Congress, which convened Oct. 26th, 1807, the That, taking into their consideration the facts stated in the said memorial and petition, they are in President (Nov. 7th) submitted a letter from duced to believe that a qualified suspension, for a limit- |Gen. Harrison and his Legislature—whether a ed time, of the sixth article of compact between the new or old one does not appear-and it was now original' States and the people and States west of the referred to a Select Committee, consisting of river Ohio, might be productive of benefit and advan-Messrs. J. Franklin, of N. C., Kitchel, of N. J., tage to said Territory.
The Report goes on to discuss the other and Tiffin, of Ohio. topics embraced in the Indiana memorial, and
Nov. 13th, Mr. Franklin, from said committee, concludes with eight resolves, of which the first reported as follows: (and only one relative to Slavery) is as follows: The Legislative Council and House of Representa
tives, 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, The citizens of Clark County, in their remonstrance, and, if females, at the age of iwenty-one years.
express their sense of the impropriety of the measure, The House took no action on this Report.
and solicit the Congress of the United States not to act The original memorial from Indiana, with into the Territory; at least, until their population shall
on the subject, so as to permit the introduction of slaves several additional memorials of like purport, entitle them to form a Constitution and State Govern. was again, in 1805-6, referred by the House to ment. a select committee, whereof Mr. Garnett of Vir- spectfully submit the following resolution :
Your Committee, after duly considering the matter, reginia was chairman, who, on the 14th of Febru- Resolved, That it is not expedient at this time to sus. ary, 1806, made a report in favor of the prayer the Territory of the United States northwest of the river
pend the sixth article of compact for the government of of the petitioners—as follows:
Ohio. That, having attentively considered the facts stated in the said petitions and memorials, they are of opinion
And here ended, so far as we have been able that a qualified suspension, for a limited time, of the to discover, the effort, so long and earnestly sixth article of the compact between the original states, persisted in, to procure a suspension of the reand the people and States west of the river Ohio, would striction in the Ordinance of 1787, so as to be beneficial to the people of the Indiana Territory. The suspension of this article is an object alinost univer: admit Slavery, for a limited term, into the Ter. sally desired in that Territory.
ritory lying between the Ohio and Mississippi After discussing other subjects embodied in rivers, now forming the States of Obio, Iridiana, the Indiana memorial, the Committee close with Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. a series of Resolves, which they commend to
THE FIRST MISSOURI STRUGGLE. the adoption of the House. The first and only one germane to our subject is as follows:
The vast and indefinite Territory known as Resoloed, That the sixth article of the Ordinance of States in the year 1803, for the sum of $15,000,
Louisiana, was ceded by France to the United 1757, which prohibits Slavery within the Indiana Territory, be suspended for ten years, so as to permit the introduc:1000, of which $3,750,000 was devoted to the
5 20 5 1
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
Year-For the Restriction : of Cession contained the following stipulation: New Hampshire.. 4 | New-York. Art. III. The inhabitants of the ceded Territory
Massachusetts... 15 New Jersey.
Rhode Island.. shall be incorporated intu the Union of the United States,
1 Pennsylvania... and admitted as soon as possible, according to the prin
7 Ohio... ciples of the Federal Constitution, to the enjoyment of
5 | Indiana..
Delaware. all the rights, advantages and immunities of citizens of the United States; and in the meantime they shall be Total Yeas 87-only one (Delaware) from a maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of Slave State. their liberty, property, and the religion which they profess,
Naye- Against the Restriction :
3Virginia.. The State of Louisiana, embodying the south
13 ern portion of this acquired territory, was re- New-Jersey
1 South Carolina..
6 cognized by Congress in 1811, and fully admit. New-Hampshire. 1 Georgia..
Ohio. ted in 1812, with a State Constitution. Those
1 Kentucky.. Illinois..
1 | Tennessee. who chose to dwell among the inhabitants of Delaware.
1 the residue of the Louisiana purchase, hence- Maryland.
1 forth called Missouri Territory, continued to hold slaves in its sparse and small but increas- Slave States.
Total Nays, 76-10 from Free States, 66 from ing settlements, mainly in its southeastern quar
The House now proceeded to vote on the ter, and a pro-Slavery Court-perhaps any Court residue of the reported amendment (from the -would undoubtedly have pronounced Slavery word “convicted” above), which was likewise legal anywhere on its vast expanse, from the sustained. --Yeas, 82 ; Nays, 78. Mississippi to the crests of the Rocky Mountains,
So the whole amendment-as moved by Gen. if not beyond them, and from the Red River of Tallmadge in Committee of the Whole, and Louisiana to the Lake of the Woods.
there carried--was sustained when reported to The XVth Congress assembled at Washington, the House. on Monday, Dec. 1st, 1817. Henry Clay was
Mr. Storrs, of New York (opposed to the Rechosen Speaker of the House. Mr. John Scott striction), now moved the striking out of so appeared on the 8th, as delegate from Missouri much of the bill as provides that the new State Territory, and was admitted to a seat as such, shall be aiınitted into the Union“ on an equal On the 16th of March, following, he presented footing with the original States "-which, he petitions of sundry inhabitants of Missouri
, in contended, was nullified by the votes just taken. addition to similar petitions already presented The House negatived the motion. by him, praying for the admission of Missouri
Messrs. Desha, of Ky., Cobb, of Ga., and into the Union as a State, which were, on mo- Rhea, of Tenn., 'declared against the bill as tion, referred to a Select Committee, consist
Messrs. Scott, of Mo., and Anderson, of Ky., Messrs. Scott, of Mo.; Poindexter, of Miss. ; Robertson; of Ky: ; Hendricks, of Ind. ; Livermore, of N. H.; preferred the bill as amended, to none. Mills, of Mass.; Baldwin, of Pa.
The House ordered the bill, as amended, to April 3d, Mr. Scott, from this Committee, re
a third reading; Yeas, 98; Nays, 56. The bill ported a bill to authorize the people of Missouri thus passed the House next day, and was sent Territory to form a Constitution and State to the Senate. Government, and for the admission of such
The following sketch of the debate on this State into the Union on an equal footing with question (Feb. 15th) is condensed from that the original States; which bill was read the first in the Appendix to Niles's Register, vol. xvi. and second time, and sent to the Committee of
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, FEB. 15, 1819. the Whole, where it slept for the remainder of
Mr. Tallmadge, of New York, having moved the session.
the following amendment on the Saturday preThat Congress convened at Washington for its
ceding 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 convicted; and that all children born within the said, was considered through that sitting, as also that State, after the admission thereof into the Union, shall
be declared free at the ug- of 25 years," of the 15th, when several amendments were
Mr. Fuller, of Massachusetts, argued that, to effect a conadopted, the most important of which was the cert of interests, it was proper to make concessions. The following, moved in Committee by Gen. James States where Slavery existed not only claimed the right to Tallmadge, of Duchess county, New-York, continue it, but it was manifest that a general emancipa.
tion of slaves could not be asked of them. Their political (lately deceased) :
existence would have been in jeopardy; both masters and And provided also, That the further introduction of slaves must have been involved in the most fatal conseSlavery or involuntary servitude be prohibited, except quences. for the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall be To guard against such intolerable evils, it is provided in duly convicted : and that all children of slaves, born the Constitution, “ that the migration or importation of within the said State, after the admission thereof into the such persons, as any of the existing States think proper Union, shall be free, but may be held to service until the to admit, shall not be prohibited tiil 1808.- Art. 1, sec. 9. age of twenty-five years.
And it is provided elsewhere, that persons held to service On coming out of Committee, the Yeas and by the laws of any State, shall be given up by other
States, to which they may have escaped, etc.- Art. 4, sec. 2. Nays were called on the question of agreeing These provisions effectually recognized the right in the
States, which, at the time of framing the Constitutior, held Congress will not contribute to discountenance and ren. the blacks in Slavery, to continue so to hold then until der abortive the generous and philanthropic views of they should think proper to meliorate their condition. this most-worthy and laudable society. The Constitution is a compact among all the States then
Mr. Tallmadge, of New York, followedexisting, by which certain principles of government are established for the whole, and for each individual State. Sir, said he, it has been my desire and my intention to The predominant principle in both respects is, that avoid any debate on the present painful and unpleasant ALL MEN ARE FREE, and have an EQUAL RIGHT TO LIBERTY, subject. When I had the honor to submit to this House and all other privileges; or, in other words, the pre- the amendment now under consideration, I accompanied dominant principle is REPUBLICANISM, in its largest sense. it with a declaration that it was intended to confine its But, then, the same compact contains certain excep- operation to the newly acquired Territory across the tions. The States then holding slaves are permitted, Mississippi; and I then expressly declared that I would from the necessity of the case, and for the sake of union, in no manner intermeddle with the slave-holding States, to exclude the republican principle so far, and only nor attempt manumission in any one of the original States so far, as to retain their slaves in servitude, and also their in the Union. Sir, I even went further, and stated that progeny, as had been the usage, until they should think it I was aware of the delicacy of the subject-and, that I proper or safe to conform to the pure principle, by abolish had learned from Southern gentlemen the difficulties ing Slavery. The compact contains on its face the and the dangers of having free blacks intermingling general principle and the exceptions. But the attempt with slaves; and, on that account, and with a view to to extend Slavery to the new States, is in direct violation the safety of the white population of the adjoining of the clause which guarantees a republican form of gov- States, I would not even advocate the prohibition of ernment to all the States. This clause, indeed, must be Slavery in the Alabama Territory ; because, surrounded construed in connection with the exceptions before men- as it was by slave-holding States, and with only imaginary tioned; but it cannot, without violence, be applied to any lines of division, the intercourse between slaves and other States than those in which Slavery was allowed at free blacks could not be prevented, and a servile war the formation of the Constitution.
might be the result. While we deprecate and mourn The Speaker (Clay) cites the first clause in the 2d over the evil of Slavery, humanity and good morals re• section of the 4th article—“The citizens of each State quire us to wish its al litic under circumstances conshall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of sistent with the safety of the white population. Wilcitizens of the several States," which he thinks would be lingly, therefore, will I submit to an evil which we canviolated by the condition proposed in the Constitution of not safely remedy. I admitted all that had been said of Missouri. To keep slaves—to make one portion of the the danger of having free blacks visible to slaves, and, population the property of another-hardly deserves to be therefore, did not hesitate to pledge myself that I would called a privilege, since what is gained by the masters neither advise nor attempt coercive manumission. But, must be lost by the slaves. But, independently of this sir, all these reasons cease when we cross the banks of consideration, I think the observations already offered to the Mississippi, into a Territory separated by a natural the committee, showing that holding the black population boundary-a newly acquired Territory, never contemin servitude is an exception to the general principles of plated in the formation of our government, not included the Constitution, and cannot be allowed to extend beyond within the Compromise or mutual pledge in the adoption the fair import of the terms by which that exception is of our Constitution-a new Territory acquired by our provided, are a sufficient answer to the objection. The common fund, and which ought justly to be subject to gentleman proceeds in the same train of reasoning, and our common législation. asks, if Congress can require one condition, how many Sir, when I submitted the amendment now under conmore can be required, and where these conditions will sideration, accompanied with these explanations, and end? With regard to a republican constitution, Congress with these avowals of my intentions and of my motives are obliged to require that condition, and that is enough I did expect that gentlemen who might differ from for the present question ; but I contend, further, that me in opinion would appreciate the liberality of my Congress has a right, at their discretion, to require any views, and would meet me with moderation, as upon à other reasonable condition. Several others were required fair subject for general legislation. I did expect, at of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Mississippi. The State of least, that the frank declaration of my views would proLouisiana, which was a part of the territory ceded to us at tect me from harsh expressions, and from the unfriendly the same time with Missouri, was required to provide in imputations which have been cast out on this occasion. her Constitution for trials by jury, the writ of habeas cor- But, sir, such has been the character and the violence of pus, the principles of civil and religious liberty, with this debate, and expressions of so much intemperance, several others, peculiar to that State. These, certainly, and of an aspect so threatening have been used, that are none of them more indispensable ingredients in a re- continued silence on my part would ill become me, who publican form of government than the equality of privi- had submitted to this House the original proposition. leges of all the population; yet these have not been denied Sir, has it already come to this: that in the Congress of to be reasonable, and warranted by the National Consti- the United States—that, in the Legislative councils of tution in the admission of new States.
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 encouristing 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 eyil 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 The expediency of this measure is very apparent. The controlled. If its power, its influence, and its impending opening of an extensive slave market will tempt the dangers, have already arrived at such a point, that it is cupidity of those who, otherwise, perhaps, might du- not safe to discuss it on this floor, and it cannot now ally emancipate their slaves. We have heard much, pass under consideration as a proper subject for general Mr. Chairman, of the Colonization Society; an institu- legislation, what will be the result when it is spread tion which is the favorite of the humane gentlemen in through your widely-extended domain ? Its present 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, the great desideratum is met, and the extension of the evil must now be prevented, found-a colony in Africa 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 Sir, extend your view across the Mississippi, over your by a new and boundless market ! Instead of emancipa- newly-acquired Territory-a Territory so far surpassing, tion of the slaves, it is much to be feared that unprinci- in extent, the limits of your present country, that pled wretches will be found kidnapping those who are country which gave birth to your nation-which achieved already free, and transporting and selling the hapless your Revolution--consolidated your Union-formed your victims into hopeless bondage. Sir. I really hope that l Constitution, and has subsequently acquired so much