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Vermont watchman and State journal. (Montpelier, Vt.) 1836-1883, February 28, 1850, Image 1

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MONTPELIEK, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 1850.
BY E. P. WALTON & SON.
VOL. XLIV, ISo. 16. WHOLE NO. 2263.
lllatdjmcm & State 3ouraal.
PUBLISHED CVKRV THUnSDAY MORNING.
TKHJIP $1S0 "h in sdrapce ; 9,00 if pay men! i not
ntMltt in iance j iBleict b1w&i charged flora ite end of
the J cur.
Political.
SPEECH OF HON. HENRY CLAY,
Dcliccrc'l in the United States Sc7iatr., j
Turnay, February o, 1850, tin his reso-
union jor a Ctiiiiurumut nn the slavery
quutiun.
conxlvdud.
Well, sir, what does lltn resolution pro
pose I Tne resolution neither affirms nor ,
disaffirms the constitutionality of I lie oxer- !
cise of the power of abolition in the Dis
trict. It is silent upon the subject. Its.ijs
that it is inexpedient to do it, but uponcer-'
tain conuiiii.iis. Aim un.it are those con
ditions 1 hy, first, that the Slate of Ma
ryland shall release the United States from
the obligation of that tiniilied faith uhich.
f iwiiiteml i; r.nniiprleil with tlo. art of ri4. I
suin by Maryland to the United States.
Well, sir. if .Maryland, the only Slate now
that ceded any pom. in of the territory
which rein tin to us will consent 111 oth
er words, if she releases Congress from the
obligation growing out of the cession with
regird to sl.it cry 1 consider, sir, tli.it that
would remove one of the obstacles to the
cxerci-e of the power, if it were deemed
expedient to exercise it ; but it is only re
turning one ot liieiii. There are two other
conditions ulncli are lu-erted in tins reso
lution : t.e first is the consent of the peo
ple of the Disinct.
-Mr. President, the condition of the peo
ple id' this District i anomalous a condi
tion in violation of l lie threat prnu-.ple
which lies at (lie bottom ol our own free
institutions, and of all free in-titutioiis, be
cause it is the ca-e of a people who are
acted upon by legislative authority, and tax
ed by legislative authority, without hating
any voice in the administration of affairs.
The government of the United States, in
respect to the people of this District is a
tyrrany, an absolute government not exer-1
cised hitherto, I admit, and I hope it will
never be so exercised tyrannically or ar-!
bitrarily. But it is in, the nature of all arbi-!
trary power ; for if 1 were to gue a defini-l
lion ot arbitrary authority, I would say it is .
that power which is exercised by an author-1
ity over a people who have no toice nor in-'
lluence in the a-seinbly which enacts her
laws; and that is the precise condition of
the people to whom 1 have referred. I
Well, sir, that being their condition, and '
this question of the abolition of slat cry af
fecting them in all the relations of life
which we can imagine of property, socie
ty, comfort, peace 1 think we shi.uld re
quire, as another of the conditions upon
which alone this power should be exercised,
the consent of the people of the District of
Columbia. And, sir, 1 have not stopped
there. Tms resolution requires still a third
condition; and that is, tint shuery stidlj
not be abolished within the District of Co-,
luiubia, although Maryland consent, and
although the people of the District itself, j
without the third cond.tion that of mak- j
ing compensation to the oitners of slave.-,
within tue District. And, sir, it is imma
terial to me up in what bsis this obligation
to compensate the sl'ueholders in the Dis
trict, for such slates as may be liberated un
der the authority of Congre.-s, is placed.
There is a clause in an amcudiiie.it of the
constitution of the United State-, which
provides that no properly no prit.uu prop
erty shall be taken for public u-e, w ithout
ju-t compensation to the owners of such
property Well sir, 1 think that in a just
auilliber.il interpretation of tii.it clau-e, tie
are restrained liom taking the property of
the people of the District of Columbia in 1
slaves, 111 consideration of any public poll-,
cy, without full and complete compensation. J
But if there be no constitutional restriction!
such a is contained in the amendment I
lime rclerred to, upon principles of eternal
justice it is wrong to deprive those who
have property in slaves in this District of
that property without compensation.
U by, sir, no one of the European pow
ers Great Britain, Fr.uce, nor any of the
powers which have undertaken to nf ili-li
slatery in their colonies have ever teiitur
ed lo do it without making compcu-alioii ti
the owners. They were under no such
constitutional obligation a- 1 hive referred
to; but they were under that obligation to
which all men ought to bow that ohlig.i
tion of eternal justice, winch deel ire- that
no man ought to be deprntd of hi- proper
ly without full and just compensation for
its value. Whether under the constitution
al provision or not, the case is the same. I
know, sir, that it ha3 been argued tuat this
clause of the constitution which requires
compensation to be made for property, when
taken by the government for the public use,
would not apply to the case of the abolition
of sla.cry, because the property is not ta
ken by the governiuciitbr llie public use.
Why, sir, pernaps literally it would not be
taken for the use of the public, but it would
be taken in consideration of a policy and a
purpose adopted by the government for the
good of the public, or one which it was
deemed expedient to carry into full effect
and opi ration. By a liberal interpretation
of the clause, it seems to me, however, that
slave property would be so far regarded
that it ought to be so far regarded as ta
ken for the use of the public, or at the in
stance of the public, as to entitle the own
ers of the slates so taken lo a compensa
tion, under and by urtue of the clause it
self, to the full extent of the value of the
slave liberated. It appears to me that this I
is an effectual and constitutional restriction j
upon the power id" Congress over the sub-'
jeu of slatery wiinin this District. If this j
be not so, then the power is unrestricted
I mean unrestricted by any constitutional
injunction or inhibition. But the restric
tion imposed by the obligation of justice re-1
mams; and 1 contend ihat that would be
sufficient to render it oppressive and tyrati-i
meal to usellie pow er, without, at the same
time, making compensation. 1 put It to
gentlemen whether that would not be a bet
ter condition for the slaveholders of tne Dis
trict than to assume the rigid application of
the amendment ol llie constitution to which
I have referred .' It would always be an t
equitabls, and, I doubt not,, a sufficient
cause for exacting from Congress a full and
just compensation for the value of the prop
erty taken.
Mr. President, I said on yesterday that
there was no one of these resolutions, ex
cept the first, which contained any conces
sion by either party, that did not either con
tain some mutual concession hy the two par
ties, or did not contain concessions alto
gether from the North to the South. Now,
with respect to the resolution now under
consideration, the North has contended that attached to anything as the production of!
the power exists under the constitution to j my own mind, and am quite willing to a-
abolish slavery here. I am aware that the dopt instead the better suggestions of any-:
"south, or a great portion of the south, have j body else adopt these or similar measures,
contended hinting .opposite doctrine. Now, , and I venture to predict that, instead of the J
what doeshtliis"r'teftlutioii ask I It asks of 1 distractions and anxieties which now pre
bith parties toforbear urging their respec-! vail, we shall have peace and quiet for thir
tue opinions the one to the exclusion of ty years hereafter, such as followed the dis-!
the . II. er. But it concedes to the South position of the same exciting and unhappy
all ihat the South, it appears to me, ought subject after the Missouri compromise. ,
in rea-oti todeinand, inasmuch as it requires , The next resolution, sir, is as follows :
such conditions as amount to an absolute 7th. Jlcsolvnl, That more effectual pro
security lor the property in slaves within vision ought to be made by law, according to ,
the District such conditions as will make the requirement of the constitution, for the'
the existence of slavery in the District co- lestitution and delivery of persons bound j
cval and coextensive with its existence in a- to service or labor in anv State, who may j
ny of the States out of or beyond the Dis- escape into any other Slate or Territory of
trict. The second clause of this resolution this Union.
provides that it is expedient to prohibit Well, Mr. President, upon this subject I
within the District the slave trade in slaves go with him who goes furthest in the tntcr
brought into it. . ' prctation of that clause in the constitution
Mr. President, if it be conceded that which relates to this subject. In my hum
Congress has the power of legislation ex- ble opinion, sir, that is a req iircment by the
clusitc legislation in all "cases whatsoever, constitution of the United States which is
how can it he doubted that Congress has not limited in its operation to the Congress
the power to prohibit what is called the "f the United State, but which extends to
slave trade w itliiu the District of Columbia ? every state in the Union, and to the officers I
Sir, my interpretation of the constitution is of every state in the Union. Andlgoone,
tins: tn.it Willi regard to all tliose portions step turtlier. It extendi to etcry ti.m in
of jurisdiction which operate upon the ihe Union, and devolves upon him the ohli
Statei, Congress can exercise no power ' gation to assist in the recovery of a fugttite
which is not granted, or not i necessary im- slave from labor, who takes refuge in ores-
piicani'ii irom a granted power, cnicli i
the i ule for the action of Congress in rela
tion' to its legislation upon the Stales. But
in reiili. u to its legislation upon tin- Dis
trict, the reverse, I take it, is llie true rule :
that Congress has all power which is notloue state, under the laws thereof, escaping
prohibited by some provision of the consii-! into another, shall, in consequence of any
tulion of the United States. In other words, law or regulation therein, be discharged
Congress has a power within the District from such service or labor, but shall be de
equivalent to and coextensive with the pnw- livercd up on claim of the party to whom
er which any State itself possesses wilhin such sen ice or labor may be due."
its own limits. Well, sir, can any one doubt ' It w ill be obserted, Mr. President, that
the power and right of any Slate in this , this clause in the 0011-1111111011 is not amongst
Union of any slaveholding State to for- the enumerated powers granted to Congress
hid the introduction as merchandise of where, if it had been placed, it might
slaves within its own limits J Why, sir, a!-' have been argued that Congress alone can
most every sldt eholdiiig Stale in the Union ' legislate and carry it into eirect hut it is
has eerci-ed its power to prohibit the in-j one of the general 'powers, or one of the
troiluctiou of slaves as merchandise. It is general rights secured by this constitution
in the constitution of my own State; aud'or instrument, and it oddres-rs ilself to all
after all the agitation and excitement upon , who are bound by the constitution of the
the subject of slatery which has existed in United States. Now, sir, the officers of the
the State of Kentucky during the last year, (general government are bound lo take an
the same principle is incorporated 111 the 'oath to support the constitution of the Uui
netv constitution. It is in the constitution, led States. All State i-ffieers are required
I know, of Mississippi also. That State by the constitution to take an oath to sup
prohibits the introduction of slates within ! Prl a1"' a" men "ho hue their country,
its limits as mcrcniiiuise. 1 iiciicvc it to
be in the constitution or laws of Maryland
and Virginia, and in the laws of most of!
the slat' holdinz States. It is true that the
policy of the seieral slatehildiiig Sfites
has tacillated from lime lo tune upon tlu
sulijeit sometimes including and some
times excluding the trade; but there has
never been the slightest diversity of opinio!
as to ilmrirht no.ieiiarture from the ..real
principle that every one of them ha- the
i.,.,.nr -.ml .oil iiorit v to nrohiint tin. iirw
ductnui of slatery within their respective
limit.-, it they choose to exercise 11.
Well, then, sir, I rc-illy do not think that
this resolution, which proposes lo abolish
riv tnde, ought to be considered as a con
ci u In either class of States to the oth
er 1 i ss. 1 ilium 11 siiouiu ue regarded a-
an obi ct acceptable to both, conformable
10 the wishes and lei lings of b th : and yet,1 mal "deuces and fugitives Irom labor arc
sir. in these tunes of fearful and alarming ! precisely the same. The fugitive from j.is
cxcitement in these times when every night il,ce l" be delivered up, and remoied to
that 1 go to sleep, and eiery morning when I1'"5 a,c having jurisdiction. The fugitive
I awake, it is with the apprehension of s uiie ' fro1" lal,jr ls l" ''" 'filtered up on claim of
new and terrible tidings upon this agifitiug the parly to whom such service is due.
sunjeci 1 have seen, sir, that in one of the' Wt"". sir ,n3 il ('ver l'ce, contended by
neighboring States, amongst llie various j a")' State lats"C- is not b mud to surrender
coiitiiigeiici'us which are enumerated, upon'3 f"U"tive from j isltce up .11 the demand of
the happening of any one of which lele-tiie 'Slale rroin umcl' lltJ lias lleH ' 1 ll""l
gate- aic to be sent to a famous convention i l!lurc ime uee" s"):i1c exceptions to the per
10 assemble in Nashville in June next a-, forunticc of ibis duly enj mied in the con
niongst the substantiin causes for which slitution, but they have not denied the gen
dele Mies are lo be sent to the convention ' er:l1 r'o'" aml ,f ,l,0' l,,lc rel'uei1 ' ;"'.v
10 which 1 refer, one is if Congre-s abolish -
-l .ierv .v.tliin the l)i-irir.t of n..lniliin
That is to be a cause for assembling i Con- ground, not at all as questioning the goner
veiitiou in other words, cause for con-id-i'"1' r,S'11 lugitnc surrendered 011
ermg whether this Union ought to be di3-lll,ti application todc-lncr him up, as enjmn
s lied or not. Is it possible 10 contemplate I cd U! ,lie constitution.
.1 jreater extent of wildne.-s and extrava- I think, Mr. President, that with regard
.'.UI.5C to which men cm be cirned by the."' llle "1,jer-t l,f prottsioii there can be
lnuuigcoce 01 tneir passions! tvliy, sir,
there a- been no time in my public life
111 wliicn st itemciii I concur with what was
said the other day by the honorable senator
from Alabama, (Mr. King) there has been
no tune ol my public life that I was not
willing, lor one, to co-operate in any steps
for the abolition of the slave trade in the
District of Columbia. I was willing to do
so whilt! the oilier portion of the District
south of the Po omac remained attached ;
and there is still less ground for objection,
now that that larger portion of the District
has been rctroceded to Virginia, and when
the motive or reason for concentrating
slaves here in a depot fur the purpose of
transporting them lo distant foreign mark
ets is lessened to the extent of the diminu
,10111? Win- -ir
tion of the territory by the act of retroces
sion
Wl.v -I100I1I llin vl.-irn Irrolorc ivl.o
buy their slaves in Maryland or Virginia,
come here with them, in order to transport
them to New Orleans or other Southern
markets J Why not transport them in the
States in which they are purchased ! Why
should the feelings of people here be outr.i-
ged by the scenes that' are exhibited, by the themselves, you will find that the whole ex-
to J . . . . ...fun r,C flirt itltinrifv lrt lliow mtotirlal In
corteges which pass along our avenues of!
manacled human beings not collected in
our ow n District, nor in our own neighbor-
h-K)d, but brought from distant portions of
the iieigiiboriug Stales why should the
feelings of those be outraged by such
scenes who are unable to contemplate
such a spectacle without horror why should
they be thus outraged by the continuance
of a trade so exceptionable, so detestable
as this ? Sir, it is a concession, I repeat,
neither from one cl iss of the States nor the
other. It is an object upon which both of
them, it seems to me, should readily unite,
and which one set of States, as well as the
oilier, should rejoice to adopt, inasmuch as
it lessens by one the causes of irritation and
discontent which exist as connected with
this subject.
Abolish the slave trade within the Dis
trict of Columbia, reassert the doctrine of
the resolution of 1633, that by an implied
obligation on the part of Congress, slavery
ought not to he abolished within the Dis
trict of Columbia, so long as it remains in
the State of Maryland reassert the princi
ple of that resolution, and adopt the other
measures proposed in these resolutions, or
some other similar measures for I am not
capes into one of t lie free Stales. And,
sir, I maintain all this by a fair interpreta
tion of the constitution. The clause is as
follows.
No person held to service or labor in
and are obedient to in laivi. aro 1.0.1 n.l
assist in tliu execution ot these laws, wheth
er fundamental or dcrivatite. 1 do not say,
sir, that a private individual 13 obliged to
make the tour of his whole State, in order
to assist the ow ner of a slave to recover his
property ; but I do say, if he is present
when the owner of a slave is about to assert
his rights and regain possession of his prop-
, "ly, that he, that every m in preseiit.whcth
! tr officer or agent of the Stale governments,
or private individual, is bound to assist 111
. ! 1 lie execution of the laws of their country.
! Wmi is the provision .' It is that such fu-
giltte " shall be delivered up on the claim
of the party to whom such service or labor
may be due." I have already remarked, in
the course of debate upon the lull which is
now pending upon this subject, that the
I ler,"B "eJ 1,1 'rd to fugiine from crim-
' ioUnce to give up the pcr-ons demanded,
it lus been upon some technical or lcgil!
1 no doubt. It imposes an obhgition upon
Ihe States free or slaveholding it impo-
ses an obligation upon the officers of gov
ernment, Slale or federal and I add upon
the people of the United States, under par
ticular circumstances to assist in the re
covery and surrender of fugitive slaves from
their masters. There has been some con
fusion, and I think misconception, upon
this subject, in consequence of a recent de-
cision ol the Supreme Coutt of the United
States. I think that decision has been en
tirely misapprehended. There is a vast dif
ference between imposing impediments, and
affording facilities in the way of recovering
the fugitive slave. The Supreme Court of
the United Stales have only decided that
the laws of impediment are unconstitution
al. 1 know, sir, there are some general
expressions ill til" opinion tO WlllCh 1 IliVC
rclerred the case of Maryland and Penn-
sylvania that tvoulrt seem to import otner-
wise; but I think that when you come to
attentively read the whole opinions pronoun
ced by the judges, and take the trouble that
I hate taken to converse with the judges
i tent of the authority that they intended to
adopt was, that any laws of impediment en
acted by the States were laws forbidden by
ihe provisions of the constitution to which
I have referred, and that the genera! gov
ernment had no right to impose obligations
upon the State officers that were not impo
sed by the authority of their own constitu
tional laws. Why.it is impossible the decis
ion should have beeti otherwise; it would
have been extra-judicial. The court had
no right to decide whether the laws of fa
cility were or were not unconstitutional.
The only question before the court was up
on the laws of impediment passed by the
legislature of Pennsylvania. If they have
gone beyond the case before them to decide
upon a case not before them, the decision is
what lawyers call " obiter dictum," and is
not binding upon that court itself, or upon
any other tribunal. I say it is utterly im
possible for that court, with the case before
them of the passage of a law' by a State le
gislature, affording aid and assistance to the
owner 01 i tie siave to gei oacK nis properly lot nil the instances in which the power is
again; it is utterly impossible that that or I exercised to seduce slaves from their own-
any other tribunal should pronounce the de- ers, there is no instance in which it is ex-
cision that such aid and assistance rendered crcised so unjustly as in the case of the se-
by the authorities of the . State under this ,duction of family servants from the service
provision of the constitution of the United. of their owners. Servants in the families
States was unconstitutional and void. Thtf are treated with all the kindness with w Inch
court has not said so; and even if they had ttis children of the family are treated.
said so, they would have transcended their 'Eterything they want for their comfort is
aulhority, add gone beyond the case which given to them with the most liberal indul-
was before them. jgence. I have known more instances than
The laws passed by States in order to as- one, where, by this practice of seduction of
sist the cencral government, so far from -family servants from their owners into fren
ueiug laws repugnaut to tne constitution, I Slates, they have been rendered wretched
are rather to be regarded as laws carrying j and unhappy. In an instance in my own
out, enforcing, and fulfilling the constitu-' family, the seduced slave addressed her mis
tioind dunes which are creatid by that in- tress, begging and imploring her to furnish
slruiiieiit. Why sir, as well might it be ; her the means of getting back from the
contended that if Congresj were to declare ' state of freedom into which she had been
war and no one will doubt that the power , seduced, into the state of slavery into which
to declare war is vested exclusiiely in Con-1 she was much more happy. She returned
gress, and that no State has a right to Or, it to the Slale of Kentucky and to her mis-
no one will contend that after the derfa- tress, Irom whom she had been seduced,
ration of war, it would be unconstitutional Now, Mr. President, I think that the ex
on the part of any State to lend its aid auditing laws for the recovery of fugitive
assistance for the vigorous and continual plates, and the restoration and delivering of
prosecution of that war. And yet it would . tiem to their owners, beiii" often inade-
be just as unconstitutional to lend their aid
to a successful and glorious termination of
th.it w ar in which tve might be engaged, as a better state of feeling, when more harmo
it would be uiicoustitutiou.il for them toas-jny md good will prevails among the vari
sist in the performance of a high duty, which ous parts of this confederacy I hope it will
presents itself to all the Stales, audio all be regirded by the free states theuiseltes
the people in all the States. Then, Mr. , as a part of their duty) to assist in allay
President, I think that the .whole class of , mg this subject, so irritating and disturbing
legislation, beginning in the Northern States . to the peato of this Union.' At all events
and extending to some of the Western whether tuey do it or not, it is our duty to
States, by which obstructions and impedi- I do it. It is our duty to make the laws more
ineiits have been thrown in the way of re- 1 effective ; and I will go with the furthest
covery of fugitive slaves, are uucoustitutioii-' senator from the South in this body to make
al, and have originated in a spirit which I penal laws, to impose the heaviest sanctions
trust w ill correct itself when these States upon the recovery of fugitive states and the
co.nc to consider calmly upon the nature of restoration of them to their owners,
their duty. Of all the Stales in this Union,-) While upon this pirt of the subject, liotv
unless it be the State of Virginia, the State j ever, allow me to make one observation or
of which I am a citizen suffers most by the I two. 1 do not think that States, as Slates,
escape of slaves to adjoining States. I j arc to be held responsible for all the mis
have but Iitlle doubt thai the loss of Ken- conduct of particular individuals wilhin
lucky, in consequence of the escape of her those States. I think States are lo he held
slates, is greater, in proportion to the total ! responsible only when they act in their sov
nuniber of slaves which are held in that , crcign capacity. If ther are a few persons
Commonwealth, than it is in the State of j indiscreet mad, if you choose lanatics,
Virginia; and I know too well, and so do ! if you choose to call them so who are for
the honorable senators from Ohio know.tl.at I dissolving this Union (and we know there
it is at the utmost hazard and insecurity of are some at the North who are for dissolv
lile itself th it a Kcntuckiau can cross thefi'igit, in consequence of the connexion
river and go into the interior and take back 'thich exists between the free and slatehold
the fugitive slave to the State fiom which he mg States) I do not think that any Slate
has tied. A recent example occurred m the
city ol oiiicimiati. uue ot our most re
spectable citizens having visited not Ohio
al all but having tisited Covington, o.i the
opposite side of the river, a little slaie of
his escaped over to Cincinnati. He pursu
ii, r..oici. J it having found it in a
house u lieru lie tvn- ronoealed took it out:
but it was rescued by the violence and force
of a negro mob from his possession the po-, hers rcceited in Charleston, S. C. some
lice of the city standing by, and cither un- years ago. A mo-t respectable, tenerable,
willing or unaule toatford assistance to him. ' and worthy man, (Air. Hoar,) was sent by
Upon this siil ject, I do tlunk we hate Massachusetts to South Carolina to take
jusl and serious c.iuse of complaint against care of the free negroes of MasMchuseits
the free Slates'. I think that they fail in I that might pass to Charleston in any of the
fulfilling a great obligation; and the failure! vessels of Massachusetts. I think it was a
is precisely upon one of those subjects ' mission hardly wo- thy of Massachusetts to
which, in its nature, is most irritating and ! hate created. I think she might as well
inflammatory to those who lite in slave , have omitted to send -Mr. Hoar upon any
Slates. Why, sir, I think it i-i a mark of no! such mission as that. She thought it her
good brotherhood, of no kindness, of no ' right, howeter, and sent him upon that uiis
courtesy, that a man from a slave State can- sior. He went for the purpose merely, as
not now in any degree of safety travel in a j was said, to ascertain the rights of the free
free State with his servant, although he has people of color before the courts of justice
no purpose of stopping there any longer1 to test the validity of certain laws of S.
than a short time. Upon this subject the ! Carolina in regard to the prohibition of free
legislatures oi tin; iree states hate altered
lor the worse in tue course of the last tweu-,
ly or uuriy years, musi in tnosc Stales,
until (luring the period til the last t.teuly
or thirty years, had laws for the benefit of
"sojourners," as they were called, passing
through, or abiding lor a time in, the free
St iles with their servants. 1 recollect, sir,
a case, that occurred during the war, of mt
friend, Mr. Jems, from South Carolina.
Instead of going home during the vacation,
lie went lo rluladclphia, taking his family
and his family servant with l.im. Some of.'
llie abolitionists ol that day sued out a writ t Massachusetts, lor the treatment tow'ards
of habeas corpus far the slave ; and the j those whom she chose to consider as cm
questiou was brought before the Supreme i zens of the State of Massachusetts, on the
Court ul the state ot reiiusjlvama. It was i
argued for days ; and it was necessary, dur
ing the progress ol the argument, lo reler
to a great variety of statutes passed from
tune to time by the State of Pennsylvania
in behalf of sojourners, guarantying and
securing to them the possession of their
property during their temporary passage or
abode in tue Commonwealth. Finally, the
Court gave their opinion seriatim, each
judge delivering his separate opinion, until
it came to Judge Breckenridge, who was
the youngest judge upon the bench, to de
liver Ins. During the delivery of their
opinions they had frequent occasion lo refer
to tliose acts passed for the bei.efit of so
journers, and each of the judges who pre
ceded Judge Breckenridge always pronoun
ced the word " sudjouruer." When it
came to Judge Breckenridge to deliver his
opinion, he said: "I agree in all my learn
ed brethren have pronounced upon this oc
casion, except their pronunciation of the
word 'sojourner. Ihey pronounced
sndjourner;' and I think it should be pro
nounced sojourner.' LLaugiiter.J Now,
sir, all these laws m behalf of sojourners in
the free Stales are swept away, 1 believe, in
all the Stales except Hhodc Island.
Mr. Dayton. And in New Jersey.
Mr. Clay. And in New Jersey, I am
happy to hear. But in most of the free
States these laws have been abolished, show
ing a progressive tendency to a bad neigh
borhood, and unkind action upon the part
of the free States towards the slaveholding
States. Well, sir, I do not mean to con
test the ground ; 1 am not going to argue
the question whether, if a man voluntarily
carries his slave into a free State, he is or
is not entitled to bis freedom. I am not
going to argue that question. I know what
its decision has been in the North. What
1 mean to say is, that it is unkind, unneigh
borly; it is not in the spirit' of that frater
nal connexion existiug between all parts of
this confederacy, to execute a strict legal
principle in the wy suggested. Even sup
posing the right is there, it is but proper,
when there is no purpose of a permanent
abode of settling finally and conclusively
of planting his slaves in the Common
wealth it is but the right of good neigh
borhood, and kind and friendly feeling, to
allow the owner of the slave to pass with
Ins property unmolested.
' Allow me to say upon this subject, that
. qale and ineffective, it is incumbent upon
Congress (and I hope that hereafter, when
ought to be held responsible tor the doc
trines which they propagate, unless the
Slate itself adopts those doctrines.
There have been, perhaps, mutua1 causes
of complaint. I know at least I have
heard that Massachusetts, in apology for
some of her unfriendly laws upon the sub
ject of the recovery of fugitive slaves.nrnei
' the treatment which a certain minister of
1 negroes coming into her
ports.
I believe
that was the object that was the purpose of
Mils mission, lie went mere anu created no
IdisturlMuce, as I understand, except so fir
as asserting thc-e rights and privileges in
I the sense that .Massachusetts had understood
.' them, of her people of color, might create
di-turbance. Well, he was virtually driven
' out of Charleston, as I believe some other
einisarv of the same character was dritcn
out of New Orleans. 1 do not mean lo say
whether it was right or wrong to expel him
from that city ; but 1 do mean to say that
part ui South Carolina, determined upon
that course of legislation by which she has
withdrawn all aid and assistance, and inter
posed obstacles to the recovery of fugitive
slates. She gitcs tms as her apology ; but
1 think it I'm uished her with no sufficient
apology. If South Carolina treated her ill,
it was no reason why she in turn should
treat Virginia, Kentucky and other States
ill. But she thought so. I mention the
case of the expulsion from Charleston, and
the passage of the laws by Massachusetts
or rather the spirit in w hich they were pass
ed not by way of reproach, but to show
senators that there have been, unhappily,
mutual causes of irritation, furnisTied, per
haps, by one class of the States as well as
the other, though I admit not in the same
degree by slave Stales as by free States.
I admit also, that the free states have much
less cause fur any solicitude and inquietude
upon this whole subject of slavery than the
slave stales have, and that far more exten
sive excuses, if not justification, ought to
be extended to the slave stales than to the
free states, on account of the difference in
the condition of the respective parties.
Mr. President, in passing from that reso
lution, I will add, that when the time comes
for final action, I will vote most cordially
and willingly for the most stringent meas
ures that can be devised to secure the exe
cution of the constitutional provision it al
ludes to.
Mr. Davis, of Massachusetts, (interpo
sing.) I am unwilling to interrupt the hon
orable senator ; but if he will permit me, 1
will say one word in behalf of my state.
Mr Clay. Certainly sir; certainly.
Mr. Davis. I have never heard any apol
ogy tvhiclrtvas offered by Massachusetts for
passing the laws to which reference has been
made. On the contrary, I have always un
derstood that the laws Massachusetts had
passed for restoring fugitive slaves were re
pealed because the courts, as they under
stood them, had pronounced them unconsti
tutional. That is the ground they took.
Whether they were wise in the legislation
which they adopted, I will not undertake to
8ay. Bat I wish to add one word in regard
to the mission, as it is termed by the honor
able senator from Kentucky, to South Car
olina. If I call the facts to my recollec
tion aright, they are these : We are the
owners of much shipping ; tve employ ma-
ny sailors; among them we employ I
free
! people ot ralor, who are acknowledged in
! Massachusetts to be citizens of the United
j States, citizens of the Commonwealth, cn-
titled to the rights of citizens. These citi-
zens were taken from our vessels when they
arrived in South Carolina, and held in cus-
, tody until the vessels sailed again. This
our citizens complained of, whether justly
or unjustly; they felt that it was an infringe-
I ment, in the first place, of the rights of the
citizens, and, in the next place, it was a
' great inconvenience to men engaged In this
.trade. If I rememhr-r r.nrrer.ilv. and I think
I do, the people of Massachusetts author
ized their I'oveniment to nrnnose. at the ex-
Ipense of the State, to some proper person,
la citizen of the State of South Carolina, to
J contest the right of that State to hold these
I citizens in custody in this way, in the
: courts iii the State or the United Stales. If
i rcrnemuer, that was declined Uy one or
more citizens of South Carolina; and the
mission to which the honorable senator re
ferred was then instituted, and the termina
tion of it I believe he has correctly stated
And I wish it to be understood that Mass.
had no aggressive purpose whatever, but
iply desired the judicial tribunals to set -
the question. They wanted nothing
sun
i tie the epie
more thev asked nothing more.
I Mr. Clay. I hear with great pleisurc,
! Mr. President, this explanation; hut I hate
been informed by an eminent citizen of
Massachusetts, whose name it is not neces
sary lo mention not a member t.f this body
-that the motive of repeal of those laws of
., 1 , .
.i.sio,.,i.u..,o. me passazu .u iuo-o- ias "i
obstruction tint one ol the motives was,
the treatment of Air. Hoar in Clnrlcston.
I am glad to hear that it proceeded from
another cause from what 1 conceive to be
a misconception of the decision of the su
preme court of the United Slates. When
ihe true exposition of the opinion comes to
tie Known m Massachusetts, 1 trust that she
will restore all those laws for the recovery of'
tho-e fugitive slaves that she repealed from
a misconception ofthat decision.
-Mr. Pacsident, I have a great deal more
to say; but I shall pass from that resolution
with the observation that 1 partly made be
fore, that the most stringent provisions upon
this subject that can be devised will meet
with my hearty concurrence and co-opera-tion
in the passage of the bill under consid
eration. The last resolution declares
" That Congress has no power to pro
hibit or obstruct the trade in slaves be-
tween the slaveholding states ; but that the
admission or exclusion of slaves brought
from one into another of them depends ex
clusively upon their own particular laws."
This is a concession not, I admit, of any
real constitutional provision, but a conces
sion of what is understood. I IipIipvp. by a
great number at the North to be a consti
tutional provision from the North lo the
south, if the resolutions be adopted. Take
away the decision of the supreme court of
the United States on that subject, and I
know there is a great deal that might be
said on both sides of the subject, of the right
ot Congress to regulate the trade between
the states, but I believe the decision of
the supreme court has been founded upon
correct principles ; and I hope it will forever I m mo'lon to ke,P out Missouri troru the Union,
put an end to the question whether O.n- coluen:e of her interdiction of the adnus-
gress has or has not the power to regulate'"1 ? peP'e w,i,hin.l,e1r ;imU3:
f,, i ... i i . A I-.,- 'c-u'""- I did not arrne at U ashmgtou at that sessi n
the slate trade between the dillerent states. !.,,;, j. r,.jrr, I T 1,.. I f..,l
Such, .Mr. President, is ihe series of res -
oluttous which, with an earnest and anxious
desire lo present the olitebraucii to both
parts ol this distracted and, at this mo-
' merit, unhappy country, I thought it my duty I
i ... .1 .. .. J . 'l
i to oiler. Ol all men upon earth, sir, am I
to oiler. Ul all men upon earth, sir. am I
; um least atiacueu 10 any prpuucnon ot my
lowniniinJ. No man upon e.irlh is more 1
I ready than I am tosurrender anything winch
1 1 have proposed, and to accept, in lieu of it '
: any thing which is better. But I put it to
I the candor of honorable senators on theoth
Cr side, and upon all sides of the chamber,
l whether their duty will be performed bv
Isimply limiting theuiseltes to any one or two
of the series of resolutions w Inch I have of
fered. If my plan of peace, and accommo
! dation, and harmony, is not right, present
I us your plan. Let us sec a contra project.
I Let us see how all the questions thai have
I arisen out ot this unhappy subject of slave
ry cm be better settled, more burly and just
ly settled, to all quarters of the Union, than
is proposed in the resolutions which I have
offered. Present me such a scheme, and I
hail it with pleasure, and will accept it with
out ihe slightest feeling of regret that my
own is abandoned.
Sir, while I was engaged in anxious
consideration upon this subject, the idea
of the .Missouri compromise, as it has
been termed, came under my review, was
considered by me, and finally rejected, as in
my judgment less worthy ofthe common ac
ceptance of both parties of this Union, than
the prcject which I offer to your consider
ation. Mr. President, before I enter into a par
ticular examination, however of that Mis
souri compromise, I beg to be allowed to
correct a great error, not merely in the Sen-
te, but throughout the country, in reipect
to my agency in regard to lhe Missouri com-! t risuiction upon ji.s,oun tuai. sne snomu
...'. ... I,,,,., S, i, , ,, 'only be admitted under the provi-icns of the or-promi-e
or rather the line of JO deg. JO j,,,-IlCt! o! 17c7. I proposed, therefore, that the
nun., estab ished by the agency of Congress. l0U,lnlttee should be ct.oscn by ballot. Well.
I do not know, Mi. President, whether any-1 r my moi ion was carried by a Urge majority,
thing has excited more surprise in my mind ! and inembera ca.ue to mc from all quarters of
as to tne rapidity with whicli important Ins-1
tuncal transactions are obliterated and pass
out of the memory, tnan has the knowledge
ofthe fact that I was everywhere considered I
the author of the line of 3( deg. liti mm.,
which was established upon the occasion of
the admission of Missouri into ihe Union.
.Mr. President, it would take up too much
time to go over the w hole of that impor
tant era in the public allairs ot tins country.
I shall nut attempt it; although 1 have am
ple materials belore me, derived from a care
ful and particular examination of the jour
nals of both Houses. 1 will not occupy your
time by going into any detailed account or
the whole transaction : but 1 will content
myself with stating that, so far from my hav
ing presented as a proposition the line of 3G
deg. 30 min., upon the occasion of consid
ering whether Missouri ought to be admitted
into the Union or not, it did not originate
in the House of which I was a member. It
originated in this body. Those who will
t the;r recollect;on buckaud I
honorable senator from Missouri, more
correiy t,an anybody else must brinz to
rccollecn the fact, that at the first Con
gress, whe vhe propositi,, was to adllil
Missouri-o,, ther to u hef tQ hol(J a
conte,H.o.,anu v.rorm a constitution, as
preliminary to whethershe shouId
be admitted into this In-lonthe bi faileJ
by a disagreement betttn lhe twohou.
ses the House of RepreStnutIves infl;3t.
nig upon, and the Senate dism-mg fromj
the provision containing the ordinance of 17
87 ; the House insisting upon the 'nteri;c.
tion of slavery, and the Senate rejecting tt,e
proposition for the interdiction of slavery.
The bill failed. It did not pass at that ses
sion of Congress.
At the next session it was renewed ; and at
the time of its renewal, Maine waj knocking at
our door, also, to be admitted into the Union. In
the House there was a majority for a'restriction
of the admission of slavery ; in the Senate, a
majority was opposed to any such restriction. In
the Senate, therefore, in order to carry through
.Missouri, a bill or provision for her admiss.on,
or rather authorizing her to determine the cues.
! tion of her admission, was coupled with the bill
lor the admission ot Maine. I bey were con
nected toirether.and the Senate said to the I louse.
I You want the bill for the admission of Maine
passed ; you shatl not hav it, unless you take
along with it the bill fbr the admission of llis-
sotin also, there was a majority not a very
large one, but a very firm and derided majority
in the Senate for coupling them together.
, We!l' s'r ,,t!e bl!1 wc,lt through all the uiual
i f'?? IJ.'smeDt'aa,i. "f c""ll
..'II1T-Illl.t7 , lui llltjlt; .CIV lvu t.UUlli.tlA:t.S I'l
conference upon the occasion before the matter
was finally settled. Ir ws finally settled tod.a
connect the two bills ; to admit Maine sepirate
ly, without any connection with .Missouri, and
to insert in the Missouri bill a rlanse w hich was
inserted in the Senate of the United S'atcs a
7 ) i - 1 1 1 . " ... 1
T ITpc3e? y,- ' "T-- '
Illinois, in the feeuate. restricting he adou-snm
i of slavery nonh of 30 deg. ;t0 miii., and leaving
the question open south ol 3G deg. 30 min, cith
er to arjmit or not to ailmtt slavery. The bill
was finally passed. The committees of confer
ence of the two houses reroiiimsnded the de
tachment of the two bills, and the pissige of
t ie t.Usoun bill, with the chuse of "JC deg. 30
i in n in ir. So ir passed. So it ncnt to Mtsou
' ri. So, for a moment, it nuieted the country.
u. the clause of ;W deg. ;!0 min . I renoiL you
uill Ii id, sir, if you will lake the trouble to loos
into the journals, was, upon three or four differ
ent occasions, nfferciL Mr. Thouts, acting in
every instance, prtsentcd the proposition of 35
deg. 30 min. ; and it was finally agreed 'o. But
I take the occasion to say, that ai.iong those who
agreed to that line were a majority of sou. hern
members. My friend from Alabsma, in the Sen
ate,(.Mr. King ) Mr. Pinckney, from Maryland,
and a mijonty of the southern scnatira, in this
body, voted in fitor of the line of 3(5 dcg. 30
mm ; and a majority of the southern members
of the oihcr House, at the head of hom was
Mr. Lowndes himsell, voted also fur that line I
have no doubt I did also : but, as I wo3 Speaker
of the House, and as the journal does not show
j which way the Speaker votes, except in th cas-
ea of a tie, I am unable lo tell, with certainty,
how I actually did vote ; but I have no eailhiy
doubt that 1 voted, in common with my oilier
southern friends, for the adoption of the line of
36 dog. 30 min.
So the matter ended in 1620. During that
ye.r ILmuh hold a aonponlinn, adopted a con
stitution, sent her constitution by her members
to Congress, to be admitted into the Union ; but
she had inadvertently inserted into that consti
tution a provision to prevent the mi.-nti.in
of people of free color into that S'atc.
She came here with the constitution containing
fiat provision ; and immediately northern mem
bers took exception to it. The flame n Inch had
been repressed at the previous session noir burst
out with redoubled force and violence throurli
! out the whole Union. Legislative bodies all got
doth bodies comnletelv mnlviei? hv the nni...
ment nhich had been nroduced in t!w stni!'lu
to admit or to exclude .Missouri from the Union.
111 consequence ot tbat prohibition, tv til, nr, 1
maUe aD em)rt; n.rst A" u,,e ,ouse V Kepresm-
Mtlvna tn itf !a ir I acL-iif n rAmmillnn nY f l.i.
: .' '-. .
old states of the Union Tliatco'-nnittee met. I
ieen : it was gramcu to me, representing an ire
presented to that committee a resolution, which
was adopted by it and reported to the House, not
unlike iheone to which 1 will presently call the
attention of the Senate. We should have car-
iilu ik mn'uu luu .n.uac uui lui lilt; iuicj Ol
.Mr. Randolph, of Virginia, Mr. Kdwards, of
North Carolina, and Mr. Burton, of North Caro
lina two, I think, nf the three no longer liting.
Thcs" three s iiitliern votes were all cast against
the compromise proposed to lhe committee of
j thirteen by myself, as chairman of thai coui iut-
tee, and they defeated it.
In tint manner things held for several days.
T..e greatest anxiety prctailed. The country
was nnsPttlcd, men were unhappy. The c was
a larg: majority in ihe House then as I hope
and trust there is now a large majority in Con
gressin fatorol the equitable accommodation
uud seltle.iient of the question. I could have a
ny collatcra' question passed which I plessed,
except that when it came to the t ote, by ayes
and noei, uiilortunately more unfortunately
then tuan now, I hope, should there be occai..n
for it there were but few Curtiuses and Leoni
d ses, ready to risk themselves tur the safety and
honor of the country. But 1 endeavored to a
vail myself, as much as I could, of the good feel
ing that prevailed; and at'er some days had
elapsed I bi ought forward ano'her proposition,
and a new one perfectly unpractised upon in tno
country, before or since, so far as I kn iw. I pro
posed a joint committee of the two houses ; that
of the House consisted of 'Si members ; that of
the Senate ot I do not recollect precisely how
m my. but of a proper number to inett the com
mute of the House; and that this committee be
apjxiinted by ballot- At ihat time, Mr. Taylor,
of New Vork, w ,s in the chair; and Mr. Taylor
'.ad been the very man who had C.-st proposed
me nouse assing wuo, uir. uiay, uo you want
to verve with you upon that committee.' 1 made
out my list of twenty three member, and I ven
ture lo say that there happened upo i that occa
sion what would hardly happen again ; eighteen
of the twenty tliree were elected upon the firs:
ballot, and the remaining five, having the larg
est number of votes, but not a majority, were the
fi st five upon uiy list. I moved to dispense with
t'other ballolttng, and those five gentlemen
who had received the greatest number of votes,
with the eighteen actually elected, to compose
the com lUltee of twenty three. Cine or two
gentlemen Mr. Livermore, of New-Hampshire,
and one or two other gentlemen declined, and
very much to my regret, and eomewhat to my
annoyance, the lamented Randolph and one
oilier gentleman were placed in their situation.
1 forget whether that was done by ballot or by
the speaker. The Senate immediately agreed
lo the proposition and appointed its committee.
We met. It was in this had npoa the Sab
bath day, within two or three days of the cloo
ot tlie session, when the whole nation was In
leiuug with bpalhless anxiety for some final
and healuig measure upon that dutxrcting nub-

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