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but put a barren sceptre in their grasp?) opinions. But the simple expression of Aye, sir,

this sentiment has led the gentleman, not

only into a labored defence of slavery in "A harren sceptre in their grine, Thence to be wrenched by an unlineal hand,

the abstract, and on principle, but also into No son of theirs succeeding."

a warm accusation against me, as having

attacked the system of slavery now existSir, I need pursue the allusion no fur. ing in the Southern States. For all this ther. I leave the honorable gentleman to there was not the slightest foundation in run it out at his leisure, and to derive from anything said or intimated by me. I did it all the gratification it is calculated to not utter a single word which any ingenuadminister. If he finds himself pleased ity could torture into an attack on tho with the associations, and prepared to be slavery of the South. I said only that it quite satisfied, though the parallel should was highly wise and useful in legislating be entirely completed, I had almost said I for the north-western country, while it was am satisfied also--but that I shall think yet a wilderness, to prohibit the introduce of. Yes, sir, I will think of that.

tion of slaves; and added, that I presumed, In the course of my observations the oth- in the neighboring state of Kentucky, er day, Mr. President, I paid a passing there was no reflecting and intelligent tribute of respect to a very worthy man, gentleman who would doubt that, if the Mr. Dane, of Massachusetts. It so hap- same prohibition had been extended, at pened that he drew the ordinance of 1787 the same early period, over that commonfor the government of the North-western wealth, her strength and population would, Territory. A man of so much ability, and at this day, have been far greater than they 40 little pretence; of so great a capacity to are. If these opinions be thought doubtful, do good, and so unmixed a disposition to they are, nevertheless, I trust, neither exdo it for its own sake; a gentleman who traordinary, nor disrespectful. They atacted an important part, forty years ago, in tack nobody and menace nobody. And & measure the influence of which is still yet, sir, the gentleman's opties have disdeeply felt in the very matter which was covered, even in the mere expression of the subject of debatr, might, I thought, re- this sentiment, what he calls the very ceive from me a commendatory recogni- spirit of the Missouri question! He reption.

resents me as making an attack on the But the honorable gentleman was in- whole south, and manifesting a spirit clined to be facetious on the subject. He which would interfere with and disturb was rather disposed to make it a matter of their domestic condition. Sir, this inridicule that I had introduced into the de- justice no otherwise surprises me than as bate the name of une Nathan Dane, of it is done here, and done without the whom he assures un he had never before slightest pretence of ground for it. I say heard. Sir, if the honorable member had it only surprises me as being done here; never before heart of Mr. Dane, I am for I know full well that it is and has been sorry for it. It shows him less acquainted the settled policy of some persons in the with the public vien of the country than I south, for years, to represent the people of had supposed. Let me tell him, however, the north as disposed to interfere with that a sneer form him at the mention of them in their own exclusive and peculiar the name of is. Dane is in bad taste. It concerns. This is a delicate and sensitive may well be a high mark of ambition, sir, point in southern feeling ; and of late years either with the honorable gentleman or it has always been touched, and generally myself, to accomplish as much to make with effect, whenever the object has been our names known to advantage, and re- to unite the whole south against northern inembered with, gratitude, as Mr. Dane hasmen or northern measures.

This feeling, accomplished. But the truth is, sir, I sus- always carefully kept alive, and maintained pect that Mr. Dane lives a little too far at too intense a heat to admit discriminanorth. He is of Massachusetts, and too tion or reflection, is a lever of great power near the north star to be reached by the in our political machine. It moves vast honorable gen'leman's telescope. If his bodies, and gives to them one and the sphere had happened to range south of same direction. But the feeling is without Mason and Dixon's line, he might, prob- adequate cause, and the suspicion which ably, have come within the scope of his exists wholly groundless. There is not, vision!

and never has been, a disposition in the I spoke, sir, of the ordinance of 1787, north to interfere with these interests of which prohibited slavery in all future the south. Such interference has never times north-west of the Ohio, as a measure been supposed to be within the power of the of great wisdom and foresight, and one government, nor has it been in any way which had been attended with highly attempted. It has always been regarded beneficial and permanent consequences. I as a matter of domestic policy, left with suppose that on this point no two gentle- the states themselves, and with which the men in the Senate could entertain different | federal government had nothing to do

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powers of

Certainly, sir, I am, and ever had been, of slave trade for the purpose of supplying
that opinion. The gentleman, indeed, foreign countries. On this proposition, our
argues that slavery in the abstract is nó early laws against those who engage in that
evil. Most assuredly I need not say I dif- traffic are founded. The third proposition,
fer with him altogether and most widely and that which bears on the present ques-
on that point. I regard domestic slavery tion, was expressed in the following
as one of the greatest evils, both moral and terms :-
political. But, though it be a malady, and "Resolved, That Congress have no au.
whether it be curable, and if so, by what thority to interfere in the emancipation of
means; or, on the other hand, whether it slaves, or of the treatment of them in any
be the cuínus immedicabile of the social of the states; it remaining with the several
system, I leave it to those whose right and states alone to provide rules and regulations
duty it is to inquire and to decide. And this therein, which humanity and true policy
I believe, sir, is, and uniformly has been, may require.”.
the sentiment of the north. Let us look a This resolution received the sanction of
little at the history of this matter. the House of Representatives so early as

When the present constitution was sub- March, 1790. And, now, sir, the honorable mitted for the ratification of the people, member will allow me to remind him, that there were those who imagined that the not only were the select committee who re

government which it pro- ported the resolution, with a single excep. posed to establish might, perhaps, in some tion, all northern men, but also that of the possible mode, be exerted in measures members then composing the House of tending to the abolition of slavery. This Representatives, a large majority, I believe suggestion would, of course, attract much nearly two-thirds, were northern men also

. attention in the southern conventions. In The house agreed to insert these resoluthat of Virginia, Governor Randolph tions in its journal; and, from that day to said :

this, it has never been maintained or con" I hope there is none here, who, consi- tended that Congress had any authority to dering the subject in the calm light of phi-regulate or interfere with the condition of losophy, will make an objection dishonora- slaves in the several states. No northern ble to Virginia—that, at the moment they gentleman, to my knowledge, has moved are securing the rights of their citizens, an any such question in either house of Con. objection is started, that there is a spark of gress. hope that those unfortunate men now held The fears of the south, whatever fears in bondage may, by the operation of the they might have entertained, were allayed general government, be made free.

and quieted by this early decision; and 50 At the very first Congress, petitions on remained, till they were excited afresh, the subject were presented, if I mistake without cause, but for collateral and indinot, from different states. The Pennsylva- rect purposes. When it became necessary, nia Society for promoting the Abolition of or was thought so, by some political perSlavery, took a lead, and laid before Con- sons, to find an unvarying ground for the gress a memorial, praying Congress to pro- exclusion of northern men from confidence mote the abolition by such powers as it and from lead in the affairs of the republic

, possessed. This memorial was referred, in then, and not till then, the cry was raised, the House of Representatives, to a select and the feeling industriously excited, that committee, consisting of Mr. Foster, of the influence of northern men in the public New•Hampshire, Mr. Gerry, of Massachu-councils would endanger the relation of setts, Mr. Huntington, of Connecticut, master and slave. For myself, I claim no Mr. Lawrence, of New York, Mr. Dickin- other merit, than that this gross and enormon, of New Jersey, Mr. Hartley, of Penn- mous injustice towards the whole north has sylvania, and Mr. Parker, of Virginia; all not wrought upon me to change my opinof them, sir, as you will observe, northern ions, or my political conduct. I hope I men, but the last. This committee made a am above violating my principles, even report, which was committed to a commit- under the smart of injury and false impu; tee of the whole house, and there consid- tations. Unjust suspicions and undeserved ered and discussed on several days; and reproach, whatever pain I may experience being amended, although in no material from them, will not induce me, I trust, respect, it was made to express three dis- nevertheless, to overstep the limits of continct propositions on the subjects of slavery stitutional duty, or to encroach on the and the slave trade. First, in the words rights of others.' The domestic slavery of of the constitution, that Congress could not, the south I leave where I find it—in the prior to the year 1808, prohibit the migra- hands of their own governments. It is tion or importation of such persons as any their affair, not mine. Nor do I complain of the states then existing should think of the peculiar effect which the magnitude proper to admit. Second, that Congress of that population has had in the distribuhad authority to restrain the citizens of the tion of power under this federal governUnited States from carrying on the African ment. We know, sir, that the representa

tion of the states in the other house is not we have seen, adopted into the reformed equal

. We know that great advantage, in constitution of Virginia, restraining legisthat respect, is enjoyed by the slaveholding lative power, in questions of private right, states; and we know, too, that the intended and from impairing the obligation of conequivalent for that advantage--that is to tracts, is first introduced and established, say, the imposition of direct taxes in the as far as I am informed, as matter of exsame ratio-has become merely nominal; press written constitutional law, in this orthe habit of the government being almost dinance of 1787. And I must add, also, in invariably to collect its revenues from other regard to the author of the ordinance, who sources, and in other modes. Nevertheless, | has not had the happiness to attract the I do not complain; nor would I counte- gentleman's notice heretofore, nor to avoid nance any movement to alter this arrange- his sarcasm now, that he was chairman of ment of representation. It is the original that select committee of the old Congress, bargain, the compact-let it stand ; let the whose report first expressed the strong alvantage of it be fully enjoyed. The sense of that body, that the old confederaUnion itself is too full of benefit to be tion was not adequate to the exigencies of hazarded in propositions for changing its the country, and recommending to the original basis. I go for the constitution as states to send delegates to the convention it is, and for the Union as it is. But I am which formed the present constitution, resolved not to submit, in silence, to accu An attempt has been made to transfer sations, either against myself individually, from the north to the south the honor of or against the north, wholly unfounded this exclusion of slavery from the Northand unjust-accusations which impute to western territory. The journal, without us a disposition to evade the constitutional argument or comment, refutes such atcompact, and to extend the power of the tempt. The session of Virginia was made government over the internal laws and do- March, 1784. On the 19th of April folmestic condition of the states. All such lowing, a committee, consisting of Messrs. accusations, wherever and whenever made, Jefferson, Chase and Howell, reported all insinuations of the existence of any such a plan for a temporary government of purposes, I know and feel to be groundless the territory, in which was this article: and injurious. And we must confide in “That after the year 1800, there should be southern gentlemen themselves; we must neither slavery nor involuntary servitude trust to those whose integrity of heart and in any of the said states, otherwise than in mignanimity of feeling will lead them to punishment of crimes, whereof the party a desire to maintain an l disseminate truth, shall have been convicted." Mr. Speight, and who possess the means of its diffusion of North Carolina, moved to strike out with the southern public; we must leave this paragraph. The question was put acit to them to disabuse that public of its cording to the form then practiced: "Shall, prejudices. But, in the mean time, for my these words stand, as part of the plan?" own part, I shall continue to act justly, &c. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, whether those towards whom justice is ex- Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New er isen receive it with candor or with con- Jersey and Pennsylvania—seven states-tumely,

voted in the affirmative; Maryland, VirginKaring had occasion to recur to the or- ia and South Carolina, in the negative. dinance of 1787, in order to defend myself North Carolina was divided. As the consent against the inferences which the honorable of nine states was necessary, the words could member has chosen to draw from my not stand, and were struck out accordingly. former observations on that subject, I am Mr. Jefferson voted for the clause, but was not willing now entirely to take leave of it overruled by his colleagues. without another remark. It need hardly In March of the next year (1785) Mr. be said, that that paper expresses just sen- King, of Massachusetts

, seconded by Mr. timents on the great subject of civil and Ellery, of Rhode Island, proposed the religious liberty. Such "sentiments were formerly rejected article, with this addicommon, and abound in all our state papers tion: “And that this regulation shall bean of that day. But this ordinance did that article of compact, and remain a fundawhich was not so common, and which is mental principle of the constitution between not, even now, universal; that is, it set the thirteen original states and each of the forth and declared, as a high and binding states described in the resolve,&c. On duty of government itself

, to encourage this clause, which provided the adequate schools and advance the means of educa- and thorough security, the eight Northern tion; on the plain reason that religion, States, at that time, voted affirmatively, morality and knowledge are necessary to and the four Southern States negatively: good government, and to the happiness of The votes of nine states were not yet oh: mankind. One observation further. The tained, and thus the provision was again important provision incorporated into the rejected by the Southern States

. The perconstitution of the United States, and sev- severance of the north held out, and two eral of those of the states, and recently, as years afterwards the object was attained

Certainly, sir, I am, and ever had been, of slave trade for the purpose of supplying that opinion. The gentleman, indeed, foreign countries. On this proposition, our argues that slavery in the abstract is no early laws against those who engage in that evil. Most assuredly I need not say I dif- traffic are founded. The third proposition, fer with him altogether and most widely and that which bears on the present queson that point. I regard domestic slavery tion, was expressed in the following as one of the greatest evils, both moral and terms :political. But, though it be a malady, and Resolved, That Congress have no auwhether it be curable, and if so, by what thority to interfere in the emancipation of means; or, on the other hand, whether it slaves, or of the treatment of them in any be the culnus immedicabile of the social of the states; it remaining with the several system, I leave it to those whose right and states alone to provide rules and regulations duty it is to inquire and to decide. And this therein, which humanity and true policy I believe, sir, is, and uniformly has been, may require.” the sentiment of the north. Let us look a This resolution received the sanction of little at the history of this matter. the House of Representatives so early as

When the present constitution was sub- March, 1790. And, now, sir, the honorable mitted for the ratification of the people, member will allow me to remind him, that there were those who imagined that the not only were the select committee who repowers of the government which it pro- ported the resolution, with a single escepposed to establish might, perhaps, in some tion, all northern men, but also that of the possible mode, be exerted in measures members then composing the House of tending to the abolition of slavery. This Representatives, a large majority, I believe suggestion would, of course, attract much nearly two-thirds, were northern men also. attention in the southern conventions. In The house agreed to insert these resoluthat of Virginia, Governor Randolph tions in its journal; and, from that day to said:

this, it has never been maintained or con" I hope there is none here, who, consi- tended that Congress had any authority to dering the subject in the calm light of phi- regulate or interfere with the condition of losophy, will make an objection dishonora- slaves in the several states. No northern ble to Virginia--that, at the moment they gentleman, to my knowledge, has moved are securing the rights of their citizens, an any such question in either house of Con. objection is started, that there is a spark of gress. hope that those unfortunate men now held The fears of the south, whatever fears in bondage may, by the operation of the they might have entertained, were allayed general government, be made free.” and quieted by this early decision; and so

At the very first Congress, petitions on remained, till they were excited afresh, the subject were presented, if I mistake without cause, but for collateral and indinot, from different states. The Pennsylva- rect purposes. When it became necessary, nia Society for promoting the Abolition of or was thought so, by some political perSlavery, took a lead, and laid before Con- sons, to find an unvarying ground for the gress a memorial, praying Congress to pro- exclusion of northern men from confidence mote the abolition by such powers as it and from lead in the affairs of the republic, possessed. This memorial was referred, in then, and not till then, the cry was raised, the House of Representatives, to a select and the feeling industriously excited, that committee, consisting of Mr. Foster, of the influence of northern men in the public New Hampshire, Mr. Gerry, of Massachu-councils would endanger the relation of setts, Mr. Huntington, of Connecticut, master and slave. For myself, I claim no Mr. Lawrence, of New York, Mír. Dickin- other merit, than that this gross and enorson, of New Jersey, Mr. Hartley, of Penn-mous injustice towards the whole north has sylvania, and Mr. Parker, of Virginia; all not wrought upon me to change my opinof them, sir, as you will observe, northern ions, or my political conduct. I hope I men, but the last. This committee made a am above violating my principles, even report, which was committed to a commit- under the smart of injury and false impų. tee of the whole house, and there consid- tations. Unjust suspicions and undeserved ered and discussed on several days; and reproach, whatever pain I may experience being amended, although in no material from them, will not induce me, I trust, respect, it was made to express three dis- nevertheless, to overstep the limits of continet propositions on the subjects of slavery stitutional duty, or to encroach on the and the slave trade. First, in the words rights of others. The domestic slavery of of the constitution, that Congress could not, the south I leave where I find it-in the prior to the year 1808, prohibit the migra- hands of their own governments. It is tion or importation of such persons as any their affair, not mine. Nor do I complain of the states then existing should think of the peculiar effect which the magnitude proper to admit. Second, that Congress of that population has had in the distribuhad authority to restrain the citizens of the tion of power under this federal governUnited States from carrying on the African (ment. We know, sir, that the representa

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tion of the states in the other house is not we have seen, adopted into the reformed equal. We know that great advantage, in constitution of Virginia, restraining legisthat respect, is enjoyed by the slaveholding lative power, in questions of private right, states; and we know, too, that the intended and from impairing the obligation of conequivalent for that advantage--that is to tracts, is first introduced and established, say, the imposition of direct taxes in the as far as I am informed, as matter of exsaine ratio-has become merely nominal; press written constitutional law, in this orthe habit of the government being almost dinance of 1787. And I must add, also, in invariably to collect its revenues from other regard to the author of the ordinance, who sources, and in other modes. Nevertheless, has not had the happiness to attract the I do not complain; nor would I counte- gentleman's notice heretofore, nor to avoid nance any movement to alter this arrange-bis sarcasm now, that he was chairman of ment of representation. It is the original that select committee of the old Congress, bargain, the compact-let it stand ; let the whose report first expressed the strong alvantage of it be fully enjoyed. The sense of that body, that the old confederaUnion itself is too full of benefit to be tion was not adequate to the exigencies of hazarded in propositions for changing its the country, and recommending to the original basis. I go for the constitution as states to send delegates to the convention it is, and for the Union as it is. But I am which formed the present constitution. resolved not to submit, in silence, to accu An attempt has been made to transfer sations, either against myself indi vidually, from the north to the south the honor of or against the north, wholly unfounded this exclusion of slavery from the Northand unjust-accusations which impute to western territory. The journal, without us a disposition to evade the constitutional argument or comment, refutes such atcompact, and to extend the power of the tempt. The session of Virginia was made government over the internal laws and do- arch, 1784. On the 19th of April fol. mestic condition of the states. All such lowing, a committee, consisting of Messrs. accusations, wherever and whenever made, Jefferson, Chase and Howell, reported all insinuations of the existence of any such a plan for a temporary government of purphes, I know and feel to be groundless the territory, in which was this article: and injurious. And we must confide in " That after the year 1800, there should be southern gentlemen themselves; we must neither slavery nor involuntary servitude trust to those whose integrity of heart and in any of the said states, otherwise than in miznanimity of feeling will lead them to punishment of crimes, whereof the party a desire to maintain and disseminate truth, shall have been convicted.” Mr. Speight, and who possess the many of its diffusion of North Carolina, moved to strike out with the southern public; we must leave this paragraph. The question was put acit to them to disabuse that public of its cording to the form then practiced: "Shall

, prejudices

. But, in the mean time, for my these words stand, as part of the plan?" own part, I shall continue to act justly, ) &c. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, whether those towards whom justice is ex- Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New ereisel receive it with candor or with con- Jersey and Pennsylvania-seven statestumely.

voted in the affirmative; Maryland, VirginHaving had occasion to recur to the or- ia and South Carolina, in the negative. dinance of 1787, in order to defend myself North Carolina was divided. As the consent against the inferences which the honorable of nine states was necessary, the words could member has chosen to draw from my not stand, and were struck out accordingly. former observations on that subject, I am Mr. Jefferson voted for the clause, but was not willing now entirely to take leave of it overruled by his colleagues. without another remark. It need hardly In March of the next year (1785) Mr. be said, that that paper expresses just sen- King, of Massachusetts, seconded by Mr. timents on the great subject of civil and Ellery, of Rhode Island, proposed the religious liberty. Such sentiments were formerly rejected article, with this addi. common, and abound in all our state papers tion: “And that this regulation shall be an of that day. But this ordinance did that article of compact, and remain a fundawhich was not so common, and which is mental principle of the constitution between not, even now, universal; that is, it set the thirteen original states and each of the forth and declared, as a high and binding states described in the resolve,&c. On duty of government itself, to encourage this clause, which provided the adequate schools and advance the means of educa- and thorough security, the eight Northern tion; on the plain reason that religion, States, at that time, voted affirmatively, muorality and knowledge are necessary to and the four Southern States negatively. good government, and to the happiness of The votes of nine states were not yet ob: mankind. One observation further. The tained, and thus the provision was again important provision incorporated into the rejected by the Southern States. The perconstitution of the United States, and sev- severance of the north held out, and two eral of those of the states, and recently, as years afterwards the object was attained.

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