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The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus by American Anti-Slavery Society

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to the Union.

2. Resolved, That, representing, as we do, the people of Vermont, we do
hereby, in their name, SOLEMNLY PROTEST against such annexation in
any form.

3. Resolved, That, as the Representatives of the people of Vermont, we
do solemnly protest against the admission, into this Union, of any state
whose constitution tolerates domestic slavery.

4. Resolved, That Congress have full power, by the Constitution, to
abolish slavery and the slave-trade in the District of Columbia and in
the territories of the United States.

[5. Resolved, That Congress has the constitutional power to prohibit the
slave-trade between the several states of this Union, and to make such
laws as shall effectually prohibit such trade.]

6. Resolved, That our Senators in Congress be instructed, and our
Representatives requested, to present the foregoing Report and
Resolutions to their respective Houses in Congress, and use their
influence to carry the same speedily into effect.

7. Resolved, That the Governor of this State be requested to transmit a
copy of the foregoing Report and Resolutions to the President of the
United States, and to each of our Senators and Representatives
in Congress.

The influence of anti-slavery principles in Massachusetts has become
decisive, if we are to judge from the change of sentiment in the
legislative body. The governor of that commonwealth saw fit to introduce
into his inaugural speech, delivered in January, 1836, a severe censure
of the abolitionists, and to intimate that they were guilty of an
offence punishable at common law. This part of the speech was referred
to a joint committee of five, of which a member of the senate was
chairman. To the same committee were also referred communications which
had been received by the governor from several of the legislatures of
the slaveholding states, requesting the Legislature of Massachusetts to
enact laws, making it PENAL for citizens of that state to form societies
for the abolition of slavery, or to speak or publish sentiments such as
had been uttered in anti-slavery meetings and published in anti-slavery
tracts and papers. The managers of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery
Society, in a note addressed to the chairman of the committee, requested
permission, as a party whose rights were drawn in question, to appear
before it. This was granted. The gentlemen selected by them to appear on
their behalf were of unimpeachable character, and distinguished for
professional merit and general literary and scientific intelligence.
Such was _then_ the unpopularity of abolitionism, that notwithstanding
the personal influence of these gentlemen, they were ill--not to say
rudely--treated, especially by the chairman of the committee; so much
so, that respect for themselves, and the cause they were deputed to
defend, persuaded them to desist before they had completed their
remarks. A Report, including Resolutions unfavorable to the
abolitionists was made, of which the following is a copy:--

The Joint Special Committee, to whom was referred so much of the
governor's message as related to the abolition of slavery, together with
certain documents upon the same subject, communicated to the Executive
by the several Legislatures of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Georgia, and Alabama, transmitted by his Excellency to the Legislature,
and hereunto annexed, have considered the same, and ask leave,
respectfully, to submit the following:--

Resolved, That this Legislature distinctly disavow any right whatever in
itself, or in the citizens of this commonwealth, to interfere in the
institution of domestic slavery in the southern states: it having
existed therein before the establishment of the Constitution; it having
been recognised by that instrument; and it being strictly within their
own keeping.

Resolved, That this Legislature, regarding the agitation of the question
of domestic slavery as having already interrupted the friendly relations
which ought to exist between the several states of this Union, and as
tending permanently to injure, if not altogether to subvert, the
principles of the Union itself; and believing that the good effected by
those who excite its discussion in the non-slaveholding states is, under
the circumstances of the case, altogether visionary, while the immediate
and future evil is great and certain; does hereby express its entire
disapprobation of the doctrine upon this subject avowed, and the general
measures pursued by such as agitate the question; and does earnestly
recommend to them carefully to abstain from all such discussion, and all
such measures, as may tend to disturb and irritate the public mind.

The report was laid on the table, whence it was not taken up during the
session--its friends being afraid of a lean majority on its passage; for
the _alarm_ had already been taken by many of the members who otherwise
would have favored it. From this time till the election in the
succeeding autumn, the subject was much agitated in Massachusetts. The
abolitionists again petitioned the Legislature at its session begun in
January, 1837; especially, that it should remonstrate against the
resolution of Mr. Hawes, adopted by the House of Representatives in
Congress, by which all memorials, &c, in relation to slavery were laid,
and to be laid, on the table, without further action on them. The
abolitionists were again heard, in behalf of their petitions, before the
proper committee.[A] The result was, the passage of the following
resolutions with only 16 dissenting voices to 378, in the House of
Representatives, and in the Senate with not more than one or two
dissentients on any one of them:--

[Footnote A: The gentleman who had been chairman of the committee the
preceding year, was supposed, in consequence of the change in public
opinion in relation to abolitionists, to have injured his political
standing too much, even to be nominated as a candidate for re-election.]

"Whereas, The House of Representatives of the United States, in the
month of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred
and thirty-seven, did adopt a resolution, whereby it was ordered
that all petitions, memorials, resolutions, propositions, or papers,
relating in any way, or to any extent whatever, to the subject of
slavery, or the abolition of slavery, without being either printed
or referred, should be laid upon the table, and that no further
action whatever should be had thereon; and whereas such a
disposition of petitions, then or thereafter to be received, is a
virtual denial of the right itself; and whereas, by the resolution
aforesaid, which is adopted as a standing rule in the present House
of Representatives, the petitions of a large number of the people of
this commonwealth, praying for the removal of a great social, moral,
and political evil, have been slighted and contemned: therefore,--

Resolved, That the resolution above named is an assumption of power
and authority at variance with the spirit and intent of the
Constitution of the United States, and injurious to the cause of
freedom and free institutions; that it does violence to the
inherent, absolute, and inalienable rights of man; and that it
tends, essentially, to impair those fundamental principles of
natural justice and natural law which are antecedent to any written
constitutions of government, independent of them all, and essential
to the security of freedom in a state.

Resolved, That our Senators and Representatives in Congress, in
maintaining and advocating the right of petition, have entitled
themselves to the cordial approbation of the people of this

Resolved, That Congress, having exclusive legislation in the
District of Columbia, possess the right to abolish slavery in said
district, and that its exercise should only be restrained by a
regard to the public good."

That you may yourself, judge what influence the abolition question
exercised in the elections in Massachusetts _last_ autumn, I send you
three numbers of the Liberator containing copies of letters addressed to
many of the candidates, and their respective answers.

The Legislature have passed, _unanimously_, at its present session,
resolutions (preceded by a report of great ability) protesting
"_earnestly and solemnly against the annexation of Texas to this
Union_;" and declaring that, "_no act done, or compact made, for such
purpose, by the government of the United States, will be binding on the
states or the people_."

Two years ago, Governor Marcy, of this state, showed himself willing, at
the dictation of the South, to aid in passing laws for restraining and
punishing the abolitionists, whenever the extremity of the case might
call for it. Two weeks ago, at the request of the Young Men's
Anti-Slavery Society of Albany, the Assembly-chamber, by a vote of the
House (only two dissentient) was granted to Alvan Stewart, Esq., a
distinguished lawyer, to lecture on the subject of abolition.

Kentucky is assuming an attitude of great interest to the friends of
Liberty and the Constitution. The blessings of "them that are ready to
perish" throughout the land, the applause of the good throughout the
world will be hers, if she should show moral energy enough to break
every yoke that she has hitherto imposed on the "poor," and by which her
own prosperity and true power have been hindered.

In view of the late action in the Senate and House of Representatives in
Congress--adverse as they may seem, to those who think more highly of
the branches of the Legislature than of the SOURCE of their power--the
abolitionists see nothing that is cause for discouragement. They find
the PEOPLE sound; they know that they still cherish, as their fathers
did, the right of petition--the freedom of the press--the freedom of
speech--the rights of conscience; that they love the liberty of the
North more than they love the slavery of the South. What care they for
_Resolutions_ in the House, or Resolutions in the Senate, when the House
and the Senate are but their ministers, their servants, and they know
that they can discharge them at their pleasure? It may be, that Congress
has yet to learn, that the people have but slight regard for their
restraining resolutions. They ought to have known this from the history
of such resolutions for the last two years. THIRTY-SEVEN THOUSAND
petitioners for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia had
their petitions laid on the table by the resolution of the House of
Representatives in May, 1836. At the succeeding session, they had
increased to ONE HUNDRED AND TEN THOUSAND.--The resolution of Jan. 18,
1837, laid all _their_ petitions in the same way on the table. At the
_called_, and at the present session, these 110,000 had multiplied to
FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND[A]. Soon, Senators and Representatives will be
sent from the free states who will need no petitions--they will know
the prayer of their constituents _before they leave their homes_.

[Footnote A: See Appendix, G.]

In concluding this, my answer to your 13th interrogatory, I will say
that I know of no event, that has transpired, either in or out of
Congress, for the last two or three years, that has had any other
influence on the efforts of abolitionists than to increase and stimulate
them. Indeed, every thing that has taken place within that period, ought
to excite to their utmost efforts all who are not despairing dastards.
The Demon of oppression in this land is tenfold more fierce and rampant
and relentless than he was supposed to be before roused from the quiet
of his lair. To every thing that is precious the abolitionists have seen
him lay claim. The religion of the Bible must be adulterated--the claims
of Humanity must be smothered--the demands of justice must be
nullified--a part of our Race must be shut out from the common sympathy
of a common nature. Nor is this all: they see their _own_ rights and
those of the people; the right to SPEAK--to WRITE--to PRINT--to
brought in peril. They feel that the final conflict between Popular
liberty and Aristocratic slavery has come; that one or the other must
fall; and they have made up their minds, with the blessing of God on
their efforts, that their adversary shall die.

"14. _Have you any permanent fund, and how much?_"

ANSWER.--We have none. The contributions are anticipated. We are always
in debt, and always getting out of debt.

I have now, Sir, completed my answers to the questions proposed in your
letter of the 16th ult. It gives me pleasure to have had such an
auspicious opportunity of doing so. I cannot but hope for good to both
the parties concerned, where candor and civility have characterized
their representatives.

Part of the answer to your 13th question may seem to wander from the
strict terms of the question proposed. Let it be set down to a desire,
on my part, to give you all the information I can, at all germain to the
inquiry. The "proffer," made in my note to Mr. Calhoun, was not
"unguarded;"--nor was it _singular_. The information I have furnished
has been always accessible to our adversaries--even though the
application for it might not have been clothed in the polite and
gentlemanly terms which have so strongly recommended yours to the most
respectful consideration of

Your very obedient servant,


* * * * *

[In the Explanatory Remarks placed at the beginning of this
Correspondence, reasons were given, that were deemed sufficient, for not
publishing more of the letters that passed between Mr. Elmore and myself
than the two above. Since they were in type, I have received from Mr.
Elmore a communication, in reply to one from me, informing him that I
proposed limiting the publication to the two letters just mentioned. It
is dated May 19. The following extract shows that he entertains a
different opinion from mine, and thinks that justice to him requires
that _another_ of his letters should be included in the

"The order you propose in the publication is proper enough; the omission
of business and immaterial letters being perfectly proper, as they can
interest nobody. I had supposed my last letter would have formed an
exception to the rule, which excluded immaterial papers. It explained,
more fully than my first, my reasons for this correspondence, defined
the limits to _which I had prescribed myself_, and was a proper
accompaniment to _a publication_ of what _I_ had not written for
publication. Allow me, Sir, to say, that it will be but bare justice to
me that it should be printed with the other papers. I only suggest this
for your own consideration, for--adhering to my former opinions and
decision--I ask nothing and complain of nothing."

It is still thought that the publication of the letter alluded to is
unnecessary to the purpose of enlightening the public, as to the state,
prospects, &c, of the anti-slavery cause. It contains no denial of the
facts, nor impeachment of the statements, nor answer to the arguments,
presented in my communication. But as Mr. Elmore is personally
interested in this matter, and as it is intended to maintain the
consistent liberality which has characterized the Executive Committee in
all their intercourse with their opponents, the suggestion made by Mr.
Elmore is cheerfully complied with. The following is a copy of the
letter alluded to.--J.G.B.]

"WASHINGTON, May 5, 1838.

To JAMES G. BIRNEY, Esq., Cor. Sec. A.A.S.S.

SIR,--I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 1st
instant, in which you again refer to the publication of the
Correspondence between us, in relation to the measures and designs
of the abolitionists. I would have certainly answered yours of the
2d ult., on the same subject, more fully before this, had it not
escaped my recollection, in consequence [of] having been more
engaged than usual in the business before the House. I hope the
delay has been productive of no inconvenience.

If I correctly understand your letters above referred to, the
control of these papers, and the decision as to their publication,
have passed into the 'Executive Committee of the American
Anti-Slavery Society;' and, from their tenor, I infer that their
determination is so far made, that nothing I could object would
prevent it, if I desired to do so. I was certainly not apprised,
when I entered into this Correspondence, that its disposition was to
depend on any other will than yours and mine,--but that matters
nothing now,--you had the power, and I am not disposed to question
the right or propriety of its exercise. I heard of you as a man of
intelligence, sincerity, and truth,--who, although laboring in a bad
cause, did it with ability, and from a mistaken conviction of its
justice. As one of the Representatives of a slave-holding
constituency, and one of a committee raised by the Representatives
of the slave-holding States, to ascertain the intentions and
progress of your associations, I availed myself of the opportunity
offered by your character and situation, to propose to you inquiries
_as to facts_, which would make those _developments so important to
be known by our people_. My inquiries were framed to draw out _full
and authentic details_ of the organization, numbers, resources, and
designs of the abolitionists, of the means they resorted to for the
accomplishment of their ends, and the progress made, and making, in
their dangerous work, that all such information might be laid before
the _four millions and a half of white inhabitants in the slave
States, whose lives and property are menaced and endangered_ by this
ill-considered, misnamed, and disorganizing philanthropy. They
should be informed of the full length and breadth and depth of this
storm which is gathering over their heads, before it breaks in its
desolating fury. Christians and civilized, they are _now_
industrious, prosperous, and happy; but should your schemes of
abolition prevail, it will bring upon them overwhelming ruin, and
misery unutterable. The two races cannot exist together upon terms
of equality--the extirpation of one and the ruin of the other _would
be inevitable_. This humanity, conceived in wrong and born in civil
strife, would be baptized in a people's blood. It was, that our
people might know, in time to guard against the mad onset, the full
extent of this gigantic conspiracy and crusade against their
institutions; and of necessity upon their lives with which they must
sustain them; and their fortunes and prosperity, which _exist only
while these institutions exist_, that I was induced to enter into a
correspondence with you, who by your official station and
intelligence were known to be well informed on these points, and
from your well established character for candor and fairness, would
make no statements of facts which were not known or believed by you
to be true. To a great extent, my end has been accomplished by your
replies to my inquiries. How far, or whether at all, your answers
have run, beyond _the facts inquired for_, into theories, arguments,
and dissertations, as erroneous as mischievous, is not a matter of
present consideration. We differed no wider than I expected, but
that difference has been exhibited courteously, and has nothing to
do with the question of publication. Your object, or rather the
object of your Committee, is to publish; and I, having no reason to
desire it, as you have put me in possession of the facts I wished,
and no reason not to desire it, as there is nothing to conceal, will
leave yourself and the Committee to take your own course, neither
assenting nor dissenting, in what you may finally decide to do.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

F.H. Elmore."

[This letter of Mr. Elmore contains but little more than a reiteration
of alarming cries on the part of the slaveholder;--cries that are as old
as the earliest attempts of philanthropy to break the fetters of the
enslaved, and that have been repeated up to the present day, with a
boldness that seems to increase, as instances of emancipation multiply
to prove them groundless. Those who utter them seem, in their panic, not
only to overlook the most obvious laws of the human mind, and the lights
of experience, but to be almost unconscious of the great events
connected with slavery, that are now passing around them in the world,
and conspiring to bring about its early abrogation among all civilized
and commercial nations.

However _Christian, and civilized, industrious, prosperous and happy_,
the SLAVEHOLDERS of the South may be, this cannot be said of the SLAVES.
A large religious denomination of the state in which Mr. Elmore resides,
has deliberately pronounced them to be "HEATHEN." _Their_ "industry" is
seen at the end of the lash--of "prosperity" they have none, for they
cannot possess any thing that is an element of prosperity--their
"happiness" they prove, by running away from their masters, whenever
they think they can effect their escape. This is the condition of a
large _majority_ of the people in South Carolina, Mississippi and

The "two races" exist in peace in Mexico,--in all the former South
American dependencies of Spain, in Antigua, in the Bermudas, in Canada,
in Massachusetts, in Vermont, in fine, in every country where they enjoy
_legal equality_. It is the _denial_ of this that produces discontent.
MEN will never be satisfied without it. Let the slaveholders consult the
irreversible laws of the human mind--make a full concession of right to
those from whom they have withheld it, and they will be blessed with a
peace, political, social, moral, beyond their present conceptions;
without such concessions they never can possess it.

A system that cannot withstand the assaults of truth--that replies to
arguments with threats--that cannot be "talked about"--that flourishes
in secrecy and darkness, and dies when brought forth into the light and
examined, must in this time of inexorable scrutiny and relentless
agitation, be a dangerous one. If _justice_ be done, all necessity for
the extirpation of any part of the people will at once be removed.
Baptisms _of blood_ are seen only when humanity has failed in her
offices, and the suffering discern hope only in the brute efforts
of despair.

Mr. Elmore is doubtless well versed in general history. To his vigorous
declamation, I reply by asking, if he can produce from the history of
our race a single instance, where emancipation, full and immediate, has
been followed, as a legitimate consequence, by insurrection or
bloodshed. I may go further, and ask him for a well authenticated
instance, where an emancipated slave, singly has imbrued his hands in
his master's blood. The first record of such an act in modern times, is
yet to be made.

Mr. Elmore says "the white inhabitants in the slave states should be
informed of the full length and breadth and depth of this storm which is
gathering over their heads, before it breaks in its desolating fury." In
this sentiment there is not a reasonable man in the country, be he
abolitionist or not, who will not coincide with him. We rejoice at the
evidence we here have, in a gentleman of the influence and intelligence
of Mr. Elmore, of the returning sanity of the South. How wildly and
mischievously has she been heretofore misled! Whilst the Governors of
Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas, have been repelling offers,
made in respectful terms, of the fullest and most authentic accounts of
our movements; and whilst Governor Butler of South Carolina, has not
only followed the example of his gubernatorial brethren just named, but
is found corresponding with an obscure culprit in Massachusetts--bribing
him with a few dollars, the sum he demanded for his fraudulent promise
to aid in thwarting the abolitionists[A]; whilst too, Mr. Calhoun has
been willing to pass laws to shut out from his constituents and the
South generally information that concerned them more nearly than all
others--we now have it from the highest source, from one selected by a
state delegation as its _representative_ in a general committee of the
whole slaveholding delegations, that the South ought to be "_informed of
the full length and breadth and depth_" of the measures, intentions, &c,
of the abolitionists. At this there is not an abolitionist who will not
rejoice. We ask for nothing but access to the popular mind of the South.
We feel full confidence in the eternal rectitude of our principles, and
of their reception at the South, when once they are understood. Let the
conflict come, let the truth of liberty fairly enter the lists with the
error of slavery, and we have not a doubt of a glorious triumph.

[Footnote A: Appendix H.]

May we not, after this, expect the aid of Mr. Elmore and others of equal
distinction in the South, in giving to their fellow-citizens the
information that we have always believed, and that they now acknowledge,
to be so, important to them?

_May 24, 1838_.



* * * * *


Extract from an article addressed to the editor of the Christian
Register and Observer, signed W.E.C.--attributed to the Rev.
Dr. Channing.

"Speaking of slavery, I wish to recommend to your readers a book
just from the press, entitled 'Emancipation in the West Indies,' and
written by J. A. Thome and J.H. Kimball, who had visited those
islands to inquire into the great experiment now going on there. I
regard it as the most important work which has appeared among us for
years. No man, without reading it, should undertake to pass judgment
on Emancipation. It is something more than a report of the
observation and opinions of the writers. It consists, chiefly, of
the opinions, conversations, letters, and other documents of the
very inhabitants of the islands whose judgments are most
trust-worthy; of the governors, special magistrates, police
officers, managers, attorneys, physicians, &c; and, in most cases,
the names of these individuals are given, so that we have the
strongest evidence of the correctness of the work.

The results of this great experiment surpass what the most sanguine
could have hoped. It is hardly possible that the trial could have
been made under more unfavorable circumstances. The planters on all
the islands were opposed to the Act of Emancipation, and, in most,
exceedingly and fiercely hostile to it, and utterly indisposed to
give it the best chance of success. The disproportion of the colored
race to the whites was fearfully great, being that of seven or eight
to one; whilst, in our slaveholding states, the whites outnumber the
colored people. The slaves of the West Indies were less civilized
than ours, and less fit to be trusted with their own support.
Another great evil was, that the proprietors, to a considerable
extent, were absentees; residing in England, and leaving the care of
their estates and slaves to managers and owners; the last people for
such a trust, and utterly unfit to carry the wretched victims of
their tyranny through the solemn transition from slavery to freedom.
To complete the unhappy circumstances under which the experiment
began, the Act of Emancipation was passed by a distant government,
having no intimate knowledge of the subject; and the consequence
was, that a system of 'Apprenticeship,' as it was called, was
adopted, so absurd, and betraying such ignorance of the principles
of human nature, that, did we not know otherwise, we might suspect
its author of intending to produce a failure. It was to witness the
results of an experiment promising so little good, that our authors
visited three islands, particularly worthy of examination--Antigua,
Barbadoes, and Jamaica.

Our authors went first to Antigua, an island which had been wise
enough to foresee the mischiefs of the proposed apprenticeship, and
had substituted for it immediate and unqualified emancipation. The
report given of this island is most cheering. It is, indeed, one of
the brightest records in history. The account, beginning page 143,
of the transition from slavery to freedom, can hardly be read by a
man of ordinary sensibility without a thrill of tender and holy joy.
Why is it not published in all our newspapers as among the most
interesting events of our age? From the accounts of Antigua, it
appears that immediate emancipation has produced only good. Its
fruits are, greater security, the removal of the fears which
accompany slavery, better and cheaper cultivation of the soil,
increased value of real estate, improved morals, more frequent
marriages, and fewer crimes. _The people proclaim, with one voice,
that emancipation is a blessing, and that nothing would tempt than
to revert to slavery._

Our authors proceeded next to Barbadoes, where the apprenticeship
system is in operation; and if any proof were needed of the docility
and good dispositions of the negroes, it would be found in their
acquiescence to so wonderful a degree in this unhappy arrangement.
The planters on this island have been more disposed, than could have
been anticipated, to make the best of this system, and here,
accordingly, the same fruits of the Act of Emancipation are found as
in Antigua, though less abundant; and a very general and strong
conviction prevails of the happiness of the change.

In Jamaica, apprenticeship manifests its worst tendencies. The
planters of this island were, from first to last, furious in their
hostility to the act of emancipation; and the effort seems to have
been, to make the apprenticeship bear as heavily as possible on the
colored people; so that, instead of preparing them for complete
emancipation, it has rather unfitted them for this boon. Still,
under all these disadvantages, there is strong reason for expecting,
that emancipation, when it shall come, will prove a great good. At
any rate, it is hardly possible for the slaves to fall into a more
deplorable condition, than that in which this interposition of
parliament found them.

The degree of success which has attended this experiment in the
West Indies, under such unfavorable auspices, makes us sure, that
emancipation in this country, accorded by the good will of the
masters, would be attended with the happiest effects. One thing is
plain, that it would be perfectly _safe_. Never were the West Indies
so peaceful and secure as since emancipation. So far from general
massacre and insurrection, not an instance is recorded or intimated
of violence of any kind being offered to a white man. Our authors
were continually met by assurances of security on the part of the
planters, so that, in this respect at least, emancipation has been
unspeakable gain. The only obstacle to emancipation is, therefore,
removed; for nothing but well grounded fears of violence and crime
can authorize a man to encroach one moment on another's freedom.

The subject of this book is of great interest at the present
moment. Slavery, in the abstract, has been thoroughly discussed
among us. We all agree that it is a great wrong. Not a voice is here
lifted up in defence of the system, when viewed in a general light.
We only differ when we come to apply our principles to a particular
case. The only question is, whether the Southern states can abolish
slavery consistently with the public safety, order, and peace? Many,
very many well disposed people, both at the North and South, are
possessed with vague fears of massacre and universal misrule, as the
consequences of emancipation. Such ought to inquire into the ground
of their alarm. They are bound to listen to the voice of _facts_,
and such are given in this book. None of us have a right to make up
our minds without inquiry, or to rest in opinions adopted indolently
and without thought. It is a great crime to doom millions of our
race to brutal degradation, on the ground of unreasonable fears. The
power of public opinion is here irresistible, and to this power
every man contributes something; so that every man, by his spirit
and language, helps to loosen or rivet the chains of the slave."

* * * * *

The following sentiments are expressed by GOVERNOR EVERETT, of
Massachusetts, in a letter to EDMUND QUINCY, Esq., dated

"Boston, April 29, 1838.

DEAR SIR,--I have your favor of the 21st, accompanied with the
volume containing the account of the tour of Messrs. Thome and
Kimball in the West Indies, for which you will be pleased to accept
my thanks. I have perused this highly interesting narrative with the
greatest satisfaction. From the moment of the passage of the law,
making provision for the immediate or prospective abolition of
slavery in the British colonial possessions, I have looked with the
deepest solicitude for tidings of its operation. The success of the
measure, as it seemed to me, would afford a better hope than had
before existed, that a like blessing might be enjoyed by those
portions of the United States where slavery prevails. The only
ground on which I had been accustomed to hear the continuance of
slavery defended at the South, was that of necessity, and the
impossibility of abolishing it without producing consequences of the
most disastrous character to both parties. The passage of a law
providing for the emancipation of nearly a million of slaves in the
British colonies, seemed to afford full opportunity of bringing this
momentous question to the decisive test of experience. _If the
result proved satisfactory, I have never doubted that it would seal
the fate of slavery throughout the civilised world_. As far as the
observations of Messrs. Thome and Kimball extended, the result is of
the most gratifying character. It appears to place beyond a doubt,
that the experiment of immediate emancipation, adopted by the
colonial Legislature of Antigua, has fully succeeded in that island;
and the plan of apprenticeship in other portions of the West Indies,
as well as could have been expected from the obvious inherent vices
of that measure. _It has given me new views of the practicability of
emancipation_. It has been effected in Antigua, as appears from
unquestionable authorities contained in the work of Messrs. Thome
and Kimball, not merely _without danger_ to the master, but without
any sacrifice of his _interest_. I cannot but think that the
information collected in the volume will have a powerful effect on
public opinion, not only in the northern states, but in the
slaveholding states."

GOVERNOR ELLSWORTH, of Connecticut, writes thus to A.F. WILLIAMS, Esq.,
of this city:--

"NEW HAVEN, _May_ 19, 1838.

MY DEAR SIR,--Just before I left home, I received from you the
Journal of Thome and Kimball, for which token of friendship I
intended to have made you my acknowledgments before this; but I
wished first to read the book. As far as time would permit, I have
gone over most of its pages; and let me assure you, it is justly
calculated to produce great effects, provided you can once get it
into the hands of the planters. Convince _them_ that their
interests, as well as their security, will be advanced by employing
free blacks, and emancipation will be accomplished without
difficulty or delay.

I have looked with great interest at the startling measure of
emancipation in Antigua; but if this book is correct, the question
is settled as to that island beyond a doubt, since there is such
accumulated testimony from all classes, that the business and real
estate of the island have advanced, by reason of the emancipation,
one fourth, at least, in value; while personal security, without
military force, is felt by the former masters, and contentment,
industry, and gratitude, are seen in those who were slaves.

The great moral example of England, in abolishing slavery in the
West Indies, will produce a revolution on this subject throughout
the world, and put down slavery in every Christian country.

With sentiments of high esteem, &c,


* * * * *


A short time previous to the late election in Rhode Island for governor
and lieutenant-governor, a letter was addressed to each of the
candidates for those offices by Mr. Johnson, Corresponding Secretary of
the Rhode Island Anti-Slavery Society, embodying the views of the
abolitionists on the several subjects it embraced, in a series of
queries. Their purport will appear from the answer of Mr. Sprague, (who
was elected governor,) given below. The answer of Mr. Childs (elected
lieutenant-governor) is fully as direct as that of governor Sprague.

"WARWICK, _March 28, 1838_.

DEAR SIR,--Your favor of the 19th inst. requesting of me, in
conformity to a resolution of the Executive Committee of the Rhode
Island Anti-Slavery Society, an expression of my opinions on certain
topics, was duly received. I have no motive whatever for withholding
my opinions on any subject which is interesting to any portion of my
fellow-citizens. I will, therefore, cheerfully proceed to reply to
the interrogatories proposed, and in the order in which they are

1. Among the powers vested by the Constitution in Congress, is the
power to exercise exclusive legislation, 'in all cases whatsoever,'
over the District of Columbia? 'All cases' must, of course, include
the _case_ of slavery and the slave-trade. I am, therefore, clearly
of opinion, that the Constitution does confer upon Congress the
power to abolish slavery and the slave-trade in that District; and,
as they are great moral and political evils, the principles of
justice and humanity demand the exercise of that power.

2. The traffic in slaves, whether foreign or domestic, is equally
obnoxious to every principle of justice and humanity; and, as
Congress has exercised its powers to suppress the slave-trade
between this country and foreign nations, it ought, as a matter of
consistency and justice, to exercise the same powers to suppress the
slave-trade between the states of this Union. The slave-trade within
the states is, undoubtedly, beyond the control of Congress; as the
'sovereignty of each state, to legislate exclusively on the subject
of slavery, which is tolerated within its limits,' is, I believe,
universally conceded. The Constitution unquestionably recognises the
sovereign power of each state to legislate on the subject within its
limits; but it imposes on us no obligation to add to the evils of
the system by countenancing the traffic between the states. That
which our laws have solemnly pronounced to be piracy in our foreign
intercourse, no sophistry can make honorable or justifiable in a
domestic form. For a proof of the feelings which this traffic
naturally inspires, we need but refer to the universal execration in
which the slave-dealer is held in those portions of the country
where the institution of slavery is guarded with the most jealous

3. Congress has no power to abridge the right of petition. The
right of the people of the non-slaveholding states to petition
Congress for the abolition of slavery and the slave-trade in the
District of Columbia, and the traffic of human beings among the
states, is as undoubted as any right guarantied by the Constitution;
and I regard the Resolution which was adopted by the House of
Representatives on the 21st of December last as a virtual denial of
that right, inasmuch as it disposed of all such petitions, as might
be presented thereafter, in advance of presentation and reception.
If it was right thus to dispose of petitions on _one_ subject, it
would be equally right to dispose of them in the same manner on
_all_ subjects, and thus cut of all communication, by petition
between the people and their representatives. Nothing can be more
clearly a violation of the spirit of the Constitution, as it
rendered utterly nugatory a right which was considered of such vast
importance as to be specially guarantied in that sacred instrument.
A similar Resolution passed the House of Representatives at the
first session of the last Congress, and as I then entertained the
same views which I have now expressed, I recorded my vote
against it.

4. I fully concur in the sentiment, that 'every principle of
justice and humanity requires, that every human being, when personal
freedom is at stake, should have the benefit of a jury trial;' and I
have no hesitation in saying, that the laws of this state ought to
secure that benefit, so far as they can, to persons claimed as
fugitives from 'service or labor,' without interfering with the laws
of the United States. The course pursued in relation to this subject
by the Legislature of Massachusetts meets my approbation.

5. I am opposed to all attempts to abridge or restrain the freedom
of speech and the press, or to forbid any portion of the people
peaceably to assemble to discuss any subject--moral, political, or

6. I am opposed to the annexation of Texas to the United States.

7. It is undoubtedly inconsistent with the principles of a free
state, professing to be governed in its legislation by the
principles of freedom, to sanction slavery, in any form, within its
jurisdiction. If we have laws in this state which bear this
construction, they ought to be repealed. We should extend to our
southern brethren, whenever they may have occasion to come among us,
all the privileges and immunities enjoyed by our own citizens, and
all the rights and privileges guarantied to them by the Constitution
of the United States; but they cannot expect of us to depart from
the fundamental principles of civil liberty for the purpose of
obviating any temporal inconvenience which they may experience.

These are my views upon the topics proposed for my consideration.
They are the views which I have always entertained, (at least ever
since I have been awakened to their vast importance,) and which I
have always supported, so far as I could, by my vote in Congress;
and if, in any respect, my answers have not been sufficiently
explicit, it will afford me pleasure to reply to any other questions
which you may think proper to propose.

I am, Sir, very respectfully,

Your friend and fellow citizen,


Oliver Johnson, Esq., Cor. Sec. R.I.A.S. Society.


The abolitionists in Connecticut petitioned the Legislature of that
state at its late session on several subjects deemed by them proper for
legislative action. In answer to these petitions--

1. The law known as the "Black Act" or the "Canterbury law"--under which
Miss Crandall was indicted and tried--was repealed, except a single
provision, which is not considered objectionable.

2. The right to _trial by jury_ was secured to persons who are claimed
as slaves.

3. Resolutions were passed asserting the power of Congress to abolish
slavery in the District of Columbia, and recommending that it be done as
soon as it can be, "consistently with the _best good_ of the _whole

4. Resolutions were passed protesting against the annexation of Texas to
the Union.

5. Resolutions were passed asserting the right of petition as
inalienable--condemning Mr. Patton's resolution of Dec. 21, 1837 as an
invasion of the rights of the people, and calling on the Connecticut
delegation in Congress to use their efforts to have the same rescinded.

* * * * *


In the year 1793 there were but 5,000,000 pounds of cotton produced in
the United States, and but 500,000 exported. Cotton never could have
become an article of much commercial importance under the old method of
preparing it for market. By hand-picking, or by a process strictly
_manual_, a cultivator could not prepare for market, during the year,
more than from 200 to 300 pounds; being only about one-tenth of what he
could cultivate to maturity in the field. In '93 Mr. Whitney invented
the Cotton-gin now in use, by which the labor of at least _one thousand_
hands under the old system, is performed by _one_, in preparing the crop
for market. Seven years after the invention (1800) 35,000,000 pounds
were raised, and 17,800,000 exported. In 1834, 460,000,000 were
raised--384,750,000 exported. Such was the effect of Mr. Whitney's
invention. It gave, at once, extraordinary value to the _land_ in that
part of the country where alone cotton could be raised; and to _slaves_,
because it was the general, the almost universal, impression that the
cultivation of the South could be carried on only by slaves. There being
no _free_ state in the South, competition between free and slave labor
never could exist on a scale sufficiently extensive to prove the
superiority of the former in the production of cotton, and in the
preparation of it for market.

Thus, it has happened that Mr. Whitney has been the innocent occasion of
giving to slavery in this country its present importance--of magnifying
it into the great interest to which all others must yield. How he was
rewarded by the South--especially by the planters of Georgia--the reader
may see by consulting Silliman's Journal for January, 1832, and the
Encyclopedia Americana, article, WHITNEY.

* * * * *


It is impossible, of course, to pronounce with precision, how great
would have been the effect in favor of emancipation, if the effort to
resist the admission of Missouri as a slaveholding state had been
successful. We can only conjecture what it would have been, by the
effect its admission has had in fostering slavery up to its present huge
growth and pretensions. If the American people had shown, through their
National legislature, a _sincere_ opposition to slavery by the rejection
of Missouri, it is probable at least--late as it was--that the early
expiration of the 'system' would, by this time, have been discerned
by all men.

When the Constitution was formed, the state of public sentiment even in
the South--with the exception of South Carolina and Georgia, was
favorable to emancipation. Under the influence of this public sentiment
was the Constitution formed. No person at all versed in constitutional
or legal interpretation--with his judgment unaffected by interest or any
of the prejudices to which the existing controversy has given
birth--could, it is thought, construe the Constitution, _in its letter_,
as intending to perpetuate slavery. To come to such a conclusion with a
full knowledge of what was the mind of this nation in regard to slavery,
when that instrument was made, demonstrates a moral or intellectual flaw
that makes all reasoning useless.

Although it is a fact beyond controversy in our history, that the power
conferred by the Constitution on Congress to "regulate commerce with
foreign nations" was known to include the power of abolishing the
African slave-trade--and that it was expected that Congress, at the end
of the period for which the exercise of that power on this particular
subject was restrained, would use it (as it did) _with a view to the
influence that the cutting off of that traffic would have on the
"system" in this country_--yet, such has been the influence of the action
of Congress on all matters with which slavery has been mingled--more
especially on the Missouri question, in which slavery was the sole
interest--that an impression has been produced on the popular mind, that
the Constitution of the United States _guaranties_, and consequently
_perpetuates_, slavery to the South. Most artfully, incessantly, and
powerfully, has this lamentable error been harped on by the
slaveholders, and by their advocates in the free states. The impression
of _constitutional favor_ to the slaveholders would, of itself,
naturally create for them an undue and disproportionate influence in the
control of the government; but when to this is added the arrogance that
the possession of irresponsible power almost invariably engenders in its
possessors--their overreaching assumptions--the contempt that the
slaveholders entertain for the great body of the _people_ of the North,
it has almost delivered over the government, bound neck and heels, into
the hands of slaveholding politicians--to be bound still more
rigorously, or unloosed, as may seem well in their discretion.

Who can doubt that, as a nation, we should have been more honorable and
influential abroad--more prosperous and united at home--if Kentucky, at
the very outset of this matter, had been refused admission to the Union
until she had expunged from her Constitution the covenant with
oppression? She would not have remained out of the Union a single year
on that account. If the worship of Liberty had not been exchanged for
that of Power--if her principles had been successfully maintained in
this first assault, their triumph in every other would have been easy.
We should not have had a state less in the confederacy, and slavery
would have been seen, at this time, shrunk up to the most contemptible
dimensions, if it had not vanished entirely away. But we have furnished
another instance to be added to the long and melancholy list already
existing, to prove that,--

"facilis descensus Averni,
Sed revocare gradum
Hoc opus hic labor est,"

if _poetry_ is not _fiction_.

Success in the Missouri struggle--late as it was--would have placed the
cause of freedom in our country out of the reach of danger from its
inexorable foe. The principles of liberty would have struck deeper root
in the free states, and have derived fresh vigor from such a triumph. If
these principles had been honored by the government from that period to
the present, (as they would have been, had the free states, even then,
assumed their just preponderance in its administration,) we should now
have, in Missouri herself, a healthful and vigorous ally in the cause of
freedom; and, in Arkansas, a free people--_twice_ her present
numbers--pressing on the confines of slavery, and summoning the keepers
of the southern charnel-house to open its doors, that its inmates might
walk forth, in a glorious resurrection to liberty and life. Although
young, as a people, we should be, among the nations, venerable for our
virtue; and we should exercise an influence on the civilized and
commercial world that we most despair of possessing, as long as we
remain vulnerable to every shaft that malice, or satire, or philanthropy
may find it convenient to hurl against us.[A]

[Footnote A: A comic piece--the production of one of the most popular of
the French writers in his way--had possession of the Paris stage last
winter. When one of the personages SEPARATES HUSBAND AND WIFE, he cries
STATES!" [Bravo! C'est la Declaration d'Independence des Etats Unis.]

One of our distinguished College-professors, lately on a tour in Europe,
had his attention called, while passing along the street of a German
city, to the pictorial representation of a WHITE MAN SCOURGING A
SUPPLICATING COLORED FEMALE, with this allusion underwritten:--"A

Truly might our countryman have exclaimed in the language, if not with
the generous emotions of the Trojan hero, when he beheld the noble deeds
of his countrymen pencilled in a strange land--

--"Quis jam locus--
Quae regio in terris nostri non plena laboris?"

Instead of being thus seated on a "heaven-kissing hill," and seen of all
in its pure radiance; instead of enjoying its delightful airs, and
imparting to them the healthful savor of justice, truth, mercy,
magnanimity, see what a picture we present;--our cannibal burnings of
human beings--our Lynch courts--our lawless scourgings and capital
executions, not only of slaves, but of freemen--our demoniac mobs raging
through the streets of our cities and large towns at midday as well as
at midnight, shedding innocent blood, devastating property, and applying
the incendiaries' torch to edifices erected and dedicated to FREE
DISCUSSION--the known friends of order, of law, of liberty, of the
Constitution--citizens, distinguished for their worth at home, and
reflecting honor on their country abroad, shut out from more than half
our territory, or visiting it at the hazard of their lives, or of the
most degrading and painful personal inflictions--freedom of speech and
of the press overthrown and hooted at--the right of petition struck down
in Congress, where, above all places, it ought to have been maintained
to the last--the people mocked at, and attempted to be gagged by their
own servants--the time the office-honored veteran, who fearlessly
contended for the _right_, publicly menaced for words spoken in his
place as a representative of the people, with an indictment by a
slaveholding grand jury--in fine, the great principles of government
asserted by our fathers in the Declaration of Independence, and embodied
in our Constitution, with which they won for us the sympathy, the
admiration of the world--all forgotten, dishonoured, despised, trodden
under foot! And this for slavery!!

Horrible catalogue!--yet by no means a complete one--for so young a
nation, boasting itself, too, to be the freest on earth! It is the ripe
fruit of that _chef d'oeuvre_ of political skill and patriotic
achievement--the MISSOURI COMPROMISE.

Another such compromise--or any compromise now with slavery--and the
nation is undone.


The following is believed to be a correct exhibit of the legislative
resolutions against the annexation of Texas--of the times at which they
were passed, and of the _votes_ by which they were passed:--


"1. _Resolved, By the Senate and House of Representatives_, That our
Senators in Congress be instructed, and our Representatives
requested, to use their influence in that body to prevent the
annexation of Texas to the Union.

2. _Resolved_, That representing, as we do, the people of Vermont,
we do hereby, in their name, SOLEMNLY PROTEST against such
annexation in any form."

[Passed unanimously, Nov. 1, 1837.]


(_In General Assembly, October Session, A. D. 1837_.)

"Whereas the compact of the Union between these states was entered
into by the people thereof in their respective states, 'in order to
form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic
tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general
welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their
posterity;' and, therefore, a Representative Government was
instituted by them, with certain limited powers, clearly specified
and defined in the Constitution--all other powers, not therein
expressly relinquished, being 'reserved to the states respectively,
or to the people.'

And whereas this limited government possesses no power to extend
its jurisdiction over any foreign nation, and no foreign nation,
country, or people, can be admitted into this Union but by the
sovereign will and act of the free people of all and each of these
United States, nor without the formation of a new compact of
Union--and another frame of government radically different, in
objects, principles, and powers, from that which was framed for our
own self-government, and deemed to be adequate to all the exigencies
of our own free republic:--

Therefore, Resolved, That we have witnessed, with deep concern, the
indications of a disposition to bring into this Union, as a
constituent member thereof, the foreign province or territory
of Texas.

Resolved, That, although we are fully aware of the consequences
which must follow the accomplishment of such a project, could it be
accomplished--aware that it would lead speedily to the conquest and
annexation of Mexico itself, and its fourteen remaining provinces or
intendencies--which, together with the revolted province of Texas,
would furnish foreign territories and foreign people for at least
twenty members of the new Union; that the government of a nation so
extended and so constructed would soon become radically [changed] in
character, if not in form--would unavoidably become a military
government; and, under the plea of necessity, would free itself from
the restraints of the Constitution and from its accountability to
the people. That the ties of kindred, common origin and common
interests, which have so long bound this people together, and would
still continue to bind them: these ties, which ought to be held
sacred by all true Americans, would be angrily dissolved, and
sectional political combinations would be formed with the newly
admitted foreign states, unnatural and adverse to the peace and
prosperity of the country. The civil government, with all the
arbitrary powers it might assume, would be unable to control the
storm. The usurper would find himself in his proper element; and,
after acting the patriot and the hero for a due season, as the only
means of rescuing the country from the ruin which he had chiefly
contributed to bring upon it, would reluctantly and modestly allow
himself to be declared 'Protector of the Commonwealth.'

We are now fully aware of the deep degradation into which the
republic would sink itself in the eyes of the whole world, should it
annex to its own vast territories other and foreign territories of
immense though unknown extent, for the purpose of encouraging the
propagation of slavery, and giving aid to the raising of slaves
within its own bosom, the very bosom of freedom, to be esported and
sold in those unhallowed regions. Although we are fully aware of
these fearful evils, and numberless others which would come in their
train, yet we do not here dwell upon them; because we are here
firmly convinced that the free people of most, and we trust of all
these states, will never suffer the admission of the foreign
territory of Texas into this Union as a constituent member
thereof--will never suffer the integrity of this Republic to be
violated, either by the introduction and addition to it of foreign
nations or territories, one or many, or by dismemberment of it by
the transfer of any one or more of its members to a foreign nation.
The people will be aware, that should one foreign state or country
be introduced, another and another may be, without end, whether
situated in South America, in the West India islands, or in any
other part of the world; and that a single foreign state, thus
admitted, might have in its power, by holding the balance between
contending parties, to wrest their own government from the hands and
control of the people, by whom it was established for their own
benefit and self-government. We are firmly convinced, that the free
people of these states will look upon any attempt to introduce the
foreign territory of Texas, or any other foreign territory or nation
into this Union, as a constituent member or members thereof, as
manifesting a willingness to prostrate the Constitution and dissolve
the Union.

Resolved, That His Excellency, the Governor, be requested to
forward a copy of the foregoing resolutions to each of our Senators
and Representatives in Congress, and to each of the Executives of
the several states, with a request that the same may be laid before
the respective Legislatures of said states."

[The Preamble and Resolutions were unanimously adopted, Nov. 3, 1837.]

3. OHIO.

"_Resolved, by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio_, That in
the name, and on behalf of the people of the State of Ohio, we do
hereby SOLEMNLY PROTEST against the annexation of Texas to the Union
of these United States.

_And be it further resolved_, That the Governor be requested to
transmit to each of our Senators and Representatives in Congress,
and to the Governors of each of the States, a copy of the foregoing
resolution, with a statement of the votes by which it was passed in
each branch of the Legislature."

[Passed by 64 out of 72, the whole number in the House of
Representatives--unanomously in the Senate. Feb. 24, 1838.]


"Resolves against the annexation of Texas to the United States.

Whereas a proposition to admit into the United States as a
constituent member thereof, the foreign nation of Texas, has been
recommended by the legislative resolutions of several States, and
brought before Congress for its approval and sanction; and whereas
such a measure would involve great wrong to Mexico, and otherwise be
of evil precedent, injurious to the interests and dishonorable to
the character of this country; and whereas its avowed objects are
doubly fraught with peril to the prosperity and permanence of this
Union, as tending to disturb and destroy the conditions of those
compromises and concessions, entered into at the formation of the
Constitution, by which the relative weights of different sections
and interests were adjusted, and to strengthen and extend the evils
of a system which is unjust in itself, in striking contrast with the
theory of our institutions, and condemned by the moral sentiment of
mankind; and whereas the people of these United States have not
granted to any or all of the departments of their Government, but
have retained in themselves, the only power adequate to the
admission of a foreign nation into this confederacy; therefore,

_Resolved_, That we, the Senate and House of Representatives, in
General Court assembled, do in the name of the people of
Massachusetts, earnestly and solemnly protest against the
incorporation of Texas into this Union, and declare, that no act
done or compact made, for such purpose by the government of the
United States, will be binding on the States or the People.

_Resolved_, That his Excellency the Governor be requested to
forward a copy of these resolutions and the accompanying report to
the Executive of the United States, and the Executive of each State
and also to each of our Senators and Representatives in Congress,
with a request that they present the resolves to both Houses of

[Passed MARCH 16, 1838, UNANIMOUSLY, in both Houses.]

* * * * *


Whereas, propositions have been made for the annexation of Texas to the
United States, with a view to its ultimate incorporation into the Union:

"And whereas, the extension of this General Government over so large
a country on the south-west, between which and that of the original
states, there is little affinity, and less identity of interest,
would tend, in the opinion of this Legislature, greatly to disturb
the safe and harmonious operations of the Government of the United
States, and put in imminent danger the continuance of this happy
Union: Therefore,

_Be it resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
State of Michigan_, That in behalf, and in the name of the State of
Michigan, this Legislature doth hereby dissent from, and solemnly
protest against the annexation, for any purpose, to this Union, of
Texas, or of any other territory or district of country, heretofore
constituting a part of the dominions of Spain in America, lying west
or south-west of Louisiana.

And be it further Resolved, by the Authority aforesaid, That the
Governor of this State be requested to transmit a copy of the
foregoing preamble and resolve, under the great seal of this state,
to the President of the United States; also, that he transmit one
copy thereof, authenticated in manner aforesaid, to the President of
the Senate of the United States, with the respectful request of this
Legislature, that the same may be laid before the Senate; also, that
he transmit one copy thereof to the Speaker of the House of
Representatives of the United States, authenticated in like manner,
with the respectful request of this Legislature, that the same may
be laid before the House of Representatives; and also, that he
transmit to each of our Senators and Representatives in Congress,
one copy thereof, together with the Report adopted by this
Legislature, and which accompanies said preamble and resolves."

[Passed nearly if not quite unanimously, April 2, 1838].

* * * * *


"_Resolved_, That we, the Senate and House of Representatives in
General Assembly convened, do, in the name of the people of this
State, solemnly _protest_ against the annexation of Texas to
this Union."

[Passed, it is believed, unanimously in both houses.]

* * * * *

(Those which follow were passed by but one branch of the respective
Legislatures in which they were introduced.)


_Resolutions relative to the admission of Texas into the Union._

"_Whereas_ the annexation of Texas to the United States has been
advocated and strongly urged by many of our fellow-citizens,
particularly in the southern part of our country, and the president
of Texas has received authority to open a correspondence with, and
appoint, a commissioner to our government to accomplish the
object;--_And whereas_ such a measure would bring to us a dangerous
extension of territory, with a population generally not desirable,
and would probably involve us in war;--_And whereas_ the subject is
now pressed upon and agitated in Congress; therefore,

_Resolved_, &c, That our Senators in Congress be instructed, and
our Representatives requested, to use their influence and vote
against the annexation of Texas to the territory of the
united States.

_Resolved_, That the Governor transmit to each of our Senators and
Representatives a copy of the foregoing preamble and resolutions."

[Passed the Senate March 9, 1835, by 22 to 6. Postponed indefinitely in
the House of Representatives, April 13, by 41 to 39.]

* * * * *


"_Resolved_, That the Legislature of the State of Maine, on behalf
of the people of said state, do earnestly and solemnly protest
against the annexation of the Republic of Texas to these United
States; and that our Senators and Representatives in Congress be,
and they hereby are, requested to exert their utmost influence to
prevent the adoption of a measure at once so clearly
unconstitutional, and so directly calculated to disturb our foreign
relations, to destroy our domestic peace, and to dismember our
blessed Union."

[Passed in the House of Representatives, March 22, 1838, by 85 to 30.
Senate (same day) refused to concur by 11 to 10.]

* * * * *


"_Resolved_, (if the Senate concur,) That the admission of the
Republic of Texas into this Union would be entirely repugnant to the
will of the people of this state, and would endanger the union of
these United States.

_Resolved_, (if the Senate concur,) That this Legislature do, in
the name of the people of the State of New York, solemnly protest
against the admission of the Republic of Texas into this Union.

_Resolved_, (if the Senate concur.) That his Excellency the Governor
be requested to transmit a copy of the foregoing resolutions to each
of our Senators and Representatives in Congress, and also to the
governors of each of the United States, with a request that the same
be laid before their respective Legislatures."

[These resolutions passed the House of Representatives in April, by a
large majority--the newspapers say, 83 to 13. They were indefinitely
postponed in the Senate, by a vote of 21 to 9.]

* * * * *


The number of petitioners for abolition in the District of Columbia, and
on other subjects allied to it, have been ascertained (in the House of
Representatives) to be as follows:--

Men. Women. Total.
For abolition in the District, 51,366 78,882 130,248
Against the annexation of Texas, 104,973 77,419 182,392
Rescinding the gag resolution, 21,015 10,821 31,836
Against admitting any new slave state, 11,770 10,391 22,161
For abolition of the slave-trade
between the states, 11,864 11,541 23,405
For abolition of slavery in the
territories, 9,129 12,083 21,212
At the extra session for rescinding
the gag resolution of Jan. 21, 1837, 3,377 3,377
Total, 213,494 201,137 414,631

The number in the Senate, where some difficulty was interposed that
prevented its being taken, is estimated to have been about two-thirds as
great as that in the House.

* * * * *


[On the 1st of December, one of the secretaries of the American
Anti-Slavery Society addressed a note to each of the Governors of the
slave states, in which he informed them, in courteous and respectful
terms, that he had directed the Publishing Agent of this society,
thereafter regularly to transmit to them, free of charge, the periodical
publications issued from the office of the society. To this offer the
following replies were received:--]


JAMES G. BIRNEY, Esq., _New York_

"RICHMOND, _Dec. 4, 1837_.

SIR,--I received, by yesterday's mail, your letter of the 1st
instant, in which you state that you had directed the publishing
agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, hereafter, regularly to
transmit, free of charge, by mail, to all the governors of the slave
states, the periodical publications issued from that office.

Regarding your society as highly mischievous, I decline receiving
any communications from it, and must request that no publications
from your office be transmitted to me.

I am, &c,


* * * * *


"TUSCALOOSA, _Jan. 6, 1838_

SIR,--I received, by due course of mail, your favor of the 1st of
December, informing me that you had directed the publishing agent of
the American Anti-Slavery Society to forward to the governors of the
slaveholding states the periodicals issued from that office. Taking
it for granted, that the only object which the society or yourself
could have in view, in adopting this course, is, the dissemination
of the opinions and principles of the society--having made up my own
opinion, unalterably, in relation to the whole question of slavery,
as it exists in a portion of the United States, and feeling
confident that, in the correctness of this opinion, I am sustained
by the entire free white population of Alabama, as well as the great
body of the people of this Union, I must, with the greatest respect
for yourself, personally but not for the opinions or principles
advocated by the society--positively decline receiving said
publications, or any others of a similar character, either
personally or officially. Indeed, it is presuming a little too much,
to expect that the chief magistrate of a free people, elected by
themselves, would hold correspondence or give currency to the
publications of an organized society, openly engaged in a scheme
fraught with more mischievous consequences to their interest and
repose, than any that the wit or folly of mankind has
heretofore devised.

I am, very respectfully,

Your ob't servant,


JAMES G. BIRNEY, _Esq., New York_.

* * * * *


[This letter required so many alterations to bring it up to the ordinary
standard of epistolary, grammatical, and orthographical accuracy, that
it is thought best to give it in _word_ and _letter_, precisely as it
was received at the office.]


NASHVILLE. _Dec. 12th, 1837_.


I have rec'd yours of the 1st Inst notifying me, that you had
directed, your periodical publications, on the subject of Slavery to
be sent to me free of charge &c--and you are correct, if sincere, in
your views, in supposing that we widely differ, on this subject, we
do indeed widely differ, on it, if the publications said to have
emanated from you, are honest and sincere, which, I admit,
is possible.

My opinions are fix'd and settled, and I seldom Look into or
examine, the, different vague notions of others who write and
theorise on that subject. Hence I trust you will not expect me to
examine, what you have printed on this subject, or cause to have
printed. If you or any other man are influenced by feelings of
humanity, and are laboring to relieve the sufferings, of the human
race, you may find objects enough immediately around you, where you
are, in any nonslaveholding State, to engage your, attention, and
all your exertions, in that good cause.

But if your aim is to make a flourish on the subject, before the
world, and to gain yourself some notoriety, or distinction, without,
doing good to any, and evil to many, of the human race, you are,
pursuing the course calculated to effect. Such an object, in which
no honest man need envy. Your honours, thus gaind, I know there are
many such in our country, but would fain hope, you are not one of
them. If you have Lived, as you state forty years in a Slave holding
State, you know that, that class of its population, are not the
most, miserable, degraded, or unhappy, either in their feelings or
habits, You know they are generally governd, and provided for by men
of information and understanding sufficient to guard them against
the most, odious vices, and hibets of the country, from which, you
know the slaves are in a far greater degree, exempt than, are other
portions of the population. That the slaves are the most happy,
moral and contented generally, and free from suffering of any kind,
having, each full confidence, in his masters, skill means and
disposition to provide well for him, knowing also at the same time
that _it is his interest to do it_. Hence in this State of Society
more than any other, Superior intelligence has the ascendency, in
governing and provideing, for the wants of those inferior, also in
giveing direction to their Labour, and industry, as should be the
case, superior intelligence Should govern, when united with Virtue,
and interest, that great predominating principle in all human
affairs. It is my rule of Life, when I see any man labouring to
produce effects, at a distance from him, while neglecting the
objects immediately around him, (in doing good) to suspect his
sincerity, to suspect him for some selfish, or sinister motive, all
is not gold that glitters, and every man is not what he, endeavours
to appear to be, is too well known. It is the duty of masters to
take care of there slaves and provide for them, and this duty I
believe is as generally and as fully complyd with as any other duty
enjoind on the human family, for next to their children their own
offspring, their slaves stand next foremost in their care and
attention, there are indeed very few instances of a contrary

You can find around you, I doubt not a large number of persons
intemix'd, in your society, who are entirely destitute of that care,
and attention, towards them that is enjoyed by our slaves, and who
are destitute of that deep feeling of interest, in guarding their
morals and habits, and directing them through Life in all things,
which is here enjoyd by our slaves, to those let your efforts be
directed immediately around you and do not trouble with your vague
speculations those who are contented and happy, at a distance
from you.

Very respectfully yours,


Mr. JAS. G. BIRNEY, _Cor. Sec._ &c.

* * * * *

[The letter of the Secretary to the governor of South Carolina was not
_answered_, but was so inverted and folded as to present the
_subscribed_ name of the secretary, as the _superscription_ of the same
letter to be returned. The addition of _New York_ to the address brought
it back to this office.

Whilst governor Butler was thus refusing the information that was
proffered to him in the most respectful terms from this office, he was
engaged in another affair, having connection with the anti-slavery
movement, as indiscreet, as it was unbecoming the dignity of the office
he holds. The following account of it is from one of the Boston

"_Hoaxing a Governor_.--The National Aegis says, that Hollis Parker,
who was sentenced to the state prison at the late term of the
criminal court for Worcester county, for endeavoring to extort money
from governor Everett, had opened an extensive correspondence,
previous to his arrest, with similar intent, with other
distinguished men of the country. Besides several individuals in New
York, governor Butler, of South Carolina, was honored with his
notice. A letter from that gentleman, directed to Parker, was lately
received at the post office in a town near Worcester, enclosing a
check for fifty dollars. So far as the character of Parker's letter
can be inferred from the reply of governor Butler, it would appear,
that Parker informed the governor, that the design was entertained
by some of our citizens, of transmitting to South Carolina a
quantity of 'incendiary publications,' and that with the aid of a
little money, he (Parker) would be able to unravel the plot, and
furnish full information concerning it to his excellency. The bait
took, and the money was forwarded, with earnest appeals to Parker to
be vigilant and active in thoroughly investigating the supposed
conspiracy against the peace and happiness of the South.

The Aegis has the following very just remarks touching this
case:--'Governor Butler belongs to a state loud in its professions
of regard for state rights and state sovereignty. We, also, are
sincere advocates of that good old republican doctrine. It strikes
us, that it would have comported better with the spirit of that
doctrine, the dignity, of his own station and character, the respect
and courtesy due to a sovereign and independent state, if governor
Butler had made the proper representation, if the subject was
deserving of such notice, to the acknowledged head and constituted
authorities of that state, instead of holding official
correspondence with a citizen of a foreign jurisdiction, and
employing a secret agent and informer, whose very offer of such
service was proof of the base and irresponsible character of him who
made it.'"

* * * * *



Sir--A newspaper, headed '_The Emancipator_,' in which you are
announced the 'publishing agent,' has, for some weeks past, arrived
at the post office in this city, to my address. Not having
subscribed, or authorized any individual to give my name as a
subscriber, for that or any such paper, it is entirely _gratuitous_
on the part of its publishers to send me a copy; and not having a
favorable opinion of the _intentions_ of the _authors and founders_
of the '_American Anti-Slavery Society_;' I have to request a
discontinuance of '_The Emancipator_.'

Your ob't servant, "J.S. CONWAY."

R. G. WILLIAMS, Esq., New York.

* * * * *

[NOTE.--The following extract of a letter, from the late Chief Justice
Jay to the late venerable Elias Boudinot, dated Nov. 17, 1819, might
well have formed part of Appendix E. Its existence, however, was not
known till it was too late to insert it in its most appropriate place.
It shows the view taken of some of the _constitutional_ questions by a
distinguished jurist,--one of the purest patriots too, by whom our early
history was illustrated.]

"Little can be added to what has been said and written on the
subject of slavery. I concur in the opinion, that it ought not to be
_introduced, nor permitted_ in any of the _new_ states; and that it
ought to be gradually diminished, and finally, abolished, in all
of them.

To me, the _constitutional authority_ of the Congress to prohibit
the _migration_ and _importation_ of slaves into any of the states,
does not appear questionable.

The first article of the Constitution specifics the legislative
powers committed to Congress. The ninth section of that article has
these words:--'The _migration_ or _importation_ of such persons as
any of the _now existing_ states shall think proper to admit, shall
not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year 1808--but a tax
or duty may be imposed on such importation not exceeding _ten
dollars_ for each person.'

I understand the sense and meaning of this clause to be, That the
power of the Congress, although _competent to prohibit such
migration and importation_, was not to be exercised with respect to
the THEN existing states, and _them only_, until the year 1808; but
that Congress were at liberty to make such prohibition as to any
_new state_ which might in the _meantime_ be established. And
further, that from and after _that_ period, they were authorized to
make such prohibition as to _all the states, whether new or old_.

Slaves were the persons intended. The word slaves was avoided, on
account of the existing toleration of slavery, and its discordancy
with the principles of the Revolution; and from a consciousness of
its being repugnant to those propositions to the Declaration of
Independence:--'We hold these truths to be self-evident--that all
men are created equal--that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain inalienable rights--and that, among these, are life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'"

* * * * *

NO. 9.


* * * * *






* * * * *


----- 1839.

* * * * *
This No. contains 3-1/2 sheets.--Postage, under 100 miles, 6 cts. over
100, 10 cts.

_Please Read and circulate_.


* * * * *




In the Annual Meeting of the American Colonization Society, held in the
Capitol in the city of Washington, December, 1835, you commented on a
speech made by myself, the previous autumn. Your objections to that
speech formed the principal subject matter of your remarks. Does not
this fact somewhat mitigate the great presumption of which I feel myself
guilty, in undertaking, all unhonored and humble as I am, to review the
production of one of the most distinguished statesmen of the age?

Until the appearance of your celebrated speech on the subject of
slavery, I had supposed that you cherished a sacred regard for the right
of petition. I now find, that you value it no more highly than they do,
who make open war upon it. Indeed, you admit, that, in relation to this
right, "there is no substantial difference between" them and yourself.
Instead of rebuking, you compliment them; and, in saying that "the
majority of the Senate" would not "violate the right of petition in any
case, in which, according to its judgment, the object of the petition
could be safely or properly granted," you show to what destructive
conditions you subject this absolute right. Your doctrine is, that in
those cases, where the object of the petition is such, as the
supplicated party can approve, previously to any discussion of its
merits--there, and there only, exists the right of petition. For aught I
see, you are no more to be regarded as the friend of this right, than is
the conspicuous gentleman[A] who framed the Report on that subject,
which was presented to the Senate of my state the last month. That
gentleman admits the sacredness of "the right to petition on any
subject;" and yet, in the same breath, he insists on the equal
sacredness of the right to refuse to attend to a petition. He manifestly
failed to bear in mind, that a right to petition implies the correlative
right to be heard. How different are the statesmen, who insist "on the
right to refuse to attend to a petition," from Him, who says, "Whoso
stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but
shall not be heard." And who are poor, if it be not those for whom the
abolitionists cry? They must even cry by proxy. For, in the language of
John Quincy Adams, the champion of the right of petition, "The slave is
not permitted to cry for mercy--to plead for pardon--to utter the shriek
of perishing nature for relief." It may be well to remark, that the
error, which I have pointed out in the Report in question, lies in the
premises of the principal argument of that paper; and that the
correction of this error is necessarily attended with the destruction of
the premises, and with the overthrow of the argument, which is built
upon them.

[Footnote A: Colonel Young.]

I surely need not stop to vindicate the right of petition. It is a
natural right--one that human laws can guarantee, but can neither create
nor destroy. It is an interesting fact, that the Amendment to the
Federal Constitution, which guarantees the right of petition, was
opposed in the Congress of 1789 as superfluous. It was argued, that this
is "a self-evident, inalienable right, which the people possess," and
that "it would never be called in question." What a change in
fifty years!

You deny the power of Congress to abolish the inter-state traffic in
human beings; and, inasmuch as you say, that the right "to regulate
commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states," does not
include the right to prohibit and destroy commerce; and, inasmuch as it
is understood, that it was in virtue of the right to regulate commerce,
that Congress enacted laws to restrain our participation in the "African
slave trade," you perhaps also deny, that Congress had the power to
enact such laws. The history of the times in which the Federal
Constitution was framed and adopted, justifies the belief, that the
clause of that instrument under consideration conveys the power, which
Congress exercised. For instance, Governor Randolph, when speaking in
the Virginia Convention of 1788, of the clause which declares, that "the
migration or importation of such persons as any of the states now
existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by
Congress prior to the year 1808," said, "This is an exception from the
power of regulating commerce, and the restriction is to continue only
till 1808. Then Congress can, by the exercise of that power, prevent
future importations."

Were I, however, to admit that the right "to regulate commerce," does
not include the right to prohibit and destroy commerce, it nevertheless
would not follow, that Congress might not prohibit or destroy certain
branches of commerce. It might need to do so, in order to preserve our
general commerce with a state or nation. So large a proportion of the
cloths of Turkey might be fraught with the contagion of the plague, as
to make it necessary for our Government to forbid the importation of all
cloths from that country, and thus totally destroy one branch of our
commerce with it, to the end that the other branches might be preserved.
No inconsiderable evidence that Congress has the right to prohibit or
destroy a branch of commerce, is to be found in the fact, that it has
done so. From March, 1794, to May, 1820, it enacted several laws, which
went to prohibit or destroy, and, in the end, did prohibit or destroy
the trade of this country with Africa in human beings. And, if Congress
has the power to pass embargo laws, has it not the power to prohibit or
destroy commerce altogether?

It is, however, wholly immaterial, whether Congress could prohibit our
participation in the "African slave trade," in virtue of the clause
which empowers it "to regulate commerce." That the Constitution does, in
some one or more of its passages, convey the power, is manifest from the
testimony of the Constitution itself. The first clause of the ninth
section says: "The migration or importation of such persons, as any of
the states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be
prohibited by the Congress prior to they year 1808." Now the implication
in this clause of the existence of the power in question, is as
conclusive, as would be the express and positive grant of it. You will
observe, too, that the power of Congress over "migration or
importation," which this clause implies, is a power not merely to
"regulate," as you define the word, but to "prohibit."

It is clear, then, that Congress had the power to interdict our trade in
human beings with Africa. But, in view of what has been said on that
point--in view of the language of the Federal Constitution--of the
proceedings of the Convention, which framed it--and of the cotemporary
public sentiment--is it any less clear, that Congress has the power to
interdict the inter-state traffic in human beings?

There are some, who assert that the words "migration" and "importation,"
instead of referring, as I maintain they do--the former to the removal
of slaves from state to state, and the latter to their introduction from
Africa--are used in the Constitution as synonyms, and refer exclusively
to the "African slave trade." But there is surely no ground for the
imputation of such utter tautology, if we recollect that the
Constitution was written by scholars, and that remarkable pains were
taken to clear it of all superfluous words--a Committee having been
appointed for that special purpose. But, it may be asked, Why, in
reference to the taking of slaves from one state to another, use the
word "migration," which denotes voluntary removal? One answer is--that
it can be used with as much propriety in that case, as in the removal of
slaves from Africa--the removal in the one case being no less
involuntary than in the other. Another answer is--that the framers of
the Constitution selected the word "migration," because of its congruity
with that of "persons," under which their virtuous shame sought to
conceal from posterity the existence of seven hundred thousand slaves
amongst a people, who had but recently entered upon their national
career, with the solemn declaration, that "all men are created equal."

John Jay, whose great celebrity is partly owing to his very able
expositions of the Constitution, says: "To me, the constitutional
authority of the Congress to prohibit the migration _and_ importation of
slaves into any of the states, does not appear questionable." If the
disjunctive between "migration" and "importation" in the Constitution,
argues their reference to the same thing, Mr. Jay's copulative argues
more strongly, that, in his judgment, they refer to different things.

The law of Congress constituting the "Territory of Orleans," was enacted
in 1804. It fully recognizes the power of that body to prohibit the
trade in slaves between a territory and the states. But, if Congress had
this power, why had it not as clear a power to prohibit, at that time,
the trade in slaves between any two of the states? It might have
prohibited it, but for the constitutional suspension of the exercise of
the power. The term of that suspension closed, however, in 1808; and,
since that year, Congress has had as full power to abolish the whole
slave trade between the states, as it had in 1804 to abolish the like
trade between the Territory of Orleans and the states.

But, notwithstanding the conclusive evidence, that the Constitution
empowers Congress to abolish the inter-state slave trade, it is
incomprehensible to many, that such states as Virginia and Maryland
should have consented to deprive themselves of the benefit of selling
their slaves into other states. It is incomprehensible, only because
they look upon such states in the light of their present character and
present interests. It will no longer be so, if they will bear in mind,
that slave labor was then, as it is now, unprofitable for ordinary
agriculture, and that Whitney's cotton-gin, which gave great value to
such labor, was not yet invented, and that the purchase of Louisiana,
which has had so great an effect to extend and perpetuate the dominion
of slavery, was not yet made. It will no longer be incomprehensible to
them, if they will recollect, that, at the period in question, American
slavery was regarded as a rapidly decaying, if not already expiring
institution. It will no longer be so, if they will recollect, how small
was the price of slaves then, compared with their present value; and
that, during the ten years, which followed the passage of the Act of
Virginia in 1782, legalizing manumissions, her citizens emancipated
slaves to the number of nearly one-twentieth of the whole amount of her
slaves in that year. To learn whether your native Virginia clung in the
year 1787 to the inter-state traffic in human flesh, we must take our
post of observation, not amongst her degenerate sons, who, in 1836, sold
men, women, and children, to the amount of twenty-four millions of
dollars--not amongst her President Dews, who write books in favor of
breeding human stock for exportation--but amongst her Washingtons, and
Jeffersons, and Henrys, and Masons, who, at the period when the
Constitution was framed, freely expressed their abhorrence of slavery.

But, however confident you may be, that Congress has not the lawful
power to abolish the branch of commerce in question; nevertheless, would
the abolition of it be so clearly and grossly unconstitutional, as to
justify the contempt with which the numerous petitions for the measure
are treated, and the impeachment of their fidelity to the Constitution,
and of their patriotism and purity, which the petitioners are made
to endure?

I was about to take it for granted, that, although you deny the power of
Congress to abolish the inter-state traffic in human beings, you do not
justify the traffic--when I recollected the intimation in your speech,
that there is no such traffic. For, when you speak of "the slave trade
between the states," and add--"or, as it is described in abolition
petitions, the traffic in human beings between the states"--do you not
intimate there is no such traffic? Whence this language? Do you not
believe slaves are human beings? And do you not believe that they suffer
under the disruption of the dearest earthly ties, as human beings
suffer? I will not detain you to hear what we of the North think of this
internal slave trade. But I will call your attention to what is thought
of it in your own Kentucky and in your native Virginia. Says the
"Address of the Presbyterian Synod of Kentucky to the Churches in
1835:"--"Brothers and sisters, parents and children, husbands and wives,
are torn asunder, and permitted to see each other no more. Those acts
are daily occurring in the midst of us. The shrieks and the agony often
witnessed on such occasions, proclaim with a trumpet tongue the iniquity
and cruelty of the system. There is not a neighborhood where these
heart-rending scenes are not displayed. There is not a village or road
that does not behold the sad procession of manacled outcasts, whose
chains and mournful countenances tell that they are exiled by force from
all that their hearts hold dear." Says Thomas Jefferson Randolph, in the
Virginia Legislature in 1832, when speaking of this trade: "It is a
practice, and an increasing practice, in parts of Virginia, to rear
slaves for market. How can an honourable mind, a patriot, and a lover of
his country, bear to see this ancient dominion, rendered illustrious by
the noble devotion and patriotism of her sons in the cause of liberty,
converted into one grand menagerie, where men are to be reared for the
market like oxen for the shambles. Is it better--is it not worse than
the (foreign) slave trade--that trade which enlisted the labor of the
good and wise of every creed and every clime to abolish? The (foreign)
trader receives the slave, a stranger in language, aspect, and manner,
from the merchant who has brought him from the interior. The ties of
father, mother, husband, and child, have already been rent in twain;
before he receives him, his soul has become callous. But here, sir,
individuals whom the master has known from infancy, whom he has seen
sporting in the innocent gambols of childhood--who have been accustomed
to look to him for protection, he tears from the mother's arms, and
sells into a strange country--among strange people, subject to cruel

You are in favor of increasing the number of slave states. The terms of
the celebrated "Missouri compromise" warrant, in your judgment, the
increase. But, notwithstanding you admit, that this unholy compromise,
in which tranquillity was purchased at the expense of humanity and
righteousness, does not "in terms embrace the case," and "is not
absolutely binding and obligatory;" you, nevertheless, make no attempt
whatever to do away any one of the conclusive objections, which are
urged against such increase. You do not attempt to show how the
multiplication of slave states can consist with the constitutional duty
of the "United States to guarantee to every state in the Union a
republican form of government," any more than if it were perfectly
clear, that a government is republican under which one half of the
people are lawfully engaged in buying and selling the other half; or
than if the doctrine that "all men are created equal" were not the
fundamental and distinctive doctrine of a republican government. You no
more vindicate the proposition to enlarge the realm of slavery, than if
the proposition were as obviously in harmony with, as it is opposed to
the anti-slavery tenor and policy of the Constitution--the rights of
man--and the laws of God.

You are perhaps of the number of those, who, believing, that a state can
change its Constitution as it pleases, deem it futile in Congress to
require, that States, on entering the Union, shall have anti-slavery
Constitutions. The Framers of the Federal Constitution doubtless foresaw
the possibility of treachery, on the part of the new States, in the
matter of slavery: and the restriction in that instrument to the old
States--"the States now existing"--of the right to participate in the
internal and "African slave trade" may be ascribed to the motive of
diminishing, if not indeed of entirely preventing, temptation to such
treachery. The Ordinance concerning the North-west Territory, passed by
the Congress of 1787, and ratified by the Congress of 1790, shows, so
far as those bodies can be regarded as correct interpreters of the
Constitution which was framed in 1787, and adopted in 1789, that slavery
was not to have a constitutional existence in the new States. The
Ordinance continues the privilege of recapturing fugitive slaves in the
North-west Territory to the "existing States." Slaves in that territory,
to be the subjects of lawful recapture, must in the language of the
Ordinance, owe "labour or service in one of the _original_ States."

I close what I have to say on this topic, with the remark, that were it
admitted, that the reasons for the increase of the number of slave
States are sound and satisfactory, it nevertheless would not follow,
that the moral and constitutional wrong of preventing that increase is
so palpable, as to justify the scorn and insult, which are heaped by
Congress upon this hundred thousand petitioners for this measure.

It has hitherto been supposed, that you distinctly and fully admitted
the Constitutional power of Congress to abolish slavery in the District
of Columbia. But, on this point, as on that of the right of petition,
you have for reasons known to yourself, suddenly and greatly changed
your tone. Whilst your speech argues, at no small length, that Congress
has not the right to abolish slavery in the District, all that it says
in favor of the Constitutional power to abolish it, is that "the
language (of the Constitution) may _possibly_ be sufficiently
comprehensive to include a power of abolition." "Faint praise dams;" and
your very reluctant and qualified concession of the Constitutional power
under consideration, is to be construed, rather as a denial than a

Until I acquire the skill of making white whiter, and black blacker, I
shall have nothing to say in proof of the Constitutional power of
Congress over slavery in the District of Columbia, beyond referring to
the terms, in which the Constitution so plainly conveys this power. That
instrument authorises Congress "to exercise exclusive legislation in all
cases whatsoever over such District." If these words do not confer the
power, it is manifest that no words could confer it. I will add that,
never, until the last few years, had doubts been expressed, that these
words do fully confer that power.

You will, perhaps, say, that Virginia and Maryland made their cessions
of the territory, which constitutes the District of Columbia, with
reservations on the subject of slavery. We answer, that none were
expressed;[A] and that if there had been, Congress would not, and in
view of the language of the Constitution, could not, have accepted the
cessions. You may then say, that they would not have ceded the
territory, had it occurred to them, that Congress would have cleared it
of slavery; and that, this being the fact, Congress could not thus clear
it, without being guilty of bad faith, and of an ungenerous and
unjustifiable surprise on those States. There are several reasons for
believing, that those States, not only did not, at the period in
question, cherish a dread of the abolition of slavery; but that the
public sentiment within them was decidedly in favor of its speedy
abolition. At that period, their most distinguished statesmen were
trumpet-tongued against slavery. At that period, there was both a
Virginia and a Maryland society "for promoting the abolition of
slavery;" and, it was then, that, with the entire consent of Virginia
and Maryland, effectual measures were adopted to preclude slavery from
that large territory, which has since given Ohio and several other
States to the Union. On this subject, as on that of the inter-state
slave trade, we misinterpret Virginia and Maryland, by not considering,
how unlike was their temper in relation to slavery, amidst the decays
and dying throes of that institution half a century ago, to what it is
now, when slavery is not only revivified, but has become the predominant
interest and giant power of the nation. We forget, that our whole
country was, at that time, smitten with love for the holy cause of
impartial and universal liberty. To judge correctly of the view, which
our Revolutionary fathers took of oppression, we must go back and stand
by their side, in their struggles against it,--we must survey them
through the medium of the anti-slavery sentiment of their own times, and
not impute to them the pro-slavery spirit so rampant in ours.

[Footnote A: There is a proviso in the Act of Virginia. It was on this,
that three years ago, in the Senate of the United States, Benjamin
Watkins Leigh built his argument against the constitutional power of
Congress to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia. I well remember
that you then denied the soundness of his argument. This superfluous
proviso virtually forbids Congress to pass laws, which shall "affect the
rights of individuals" in the ceded territory. Amongst the inviolable
"rights" was that of holding slaves, as Mr. Leigh contended. I regret,
that, in replying to him, you did not make use of the fact, that all the
members of Congress from Virginia voted in favor of the Ordinance, which
abolished slavery in the North-West Territory; and this too,
notwithstanding, that, in the Act of 1784, by which she ceded the
North-West Territory to the Confederacy, she provided, that the
"citizens of Virginia" in the said Territory, many of whom held slaves,
should "be protected in the enjoyment of their rights." This fact
furnishes striking evidence that at, or about, the time of the cession
by Virginia of her portion of the District of Columbia, her statesmen
believed, that the right to hold slaves in those portions of our country
under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress, was not beyond the reach
of the controlling power of Congress.]

I will, however, suppose it true, that Virginia and Maryland would not
have made the cessions in question, had they foreseen, that Congress
would abolish slavery in the District of Columbia:--and yet, I affirm,
that it would be the duty of Congress to abolish it. Had there been
State Prisons in the territory, at the time Congress acquired
jurisdiction over it, and had Congress immediately opened their doors,
and turned loose hundreds of depraved and bloody criminals, there would
indeed have been abundant occasion for complaint. But, had the exercise
of its power in the premises extended no farther than to the liberation
of such convicts, as, on a re-examination of their cases, were found to
be clearly guiltless of the crimes charged upon them; the sternest
justice could not have objected to such an occasion for the rejoicing of
mercy. And are not the thousands in the District, for whose liberation
Congress is besought, unjustly deprived of their liberty? Not only are
they guiltless, but they are even unaccused of such crimes, as in the
judgment of any, justly work a forfeiture of liberty. And what do
Virginia and Maryland ask? Is it, that Congress shall resubject to their
control those thousands of deeply wronged men? No--for this Congress
cannot do. They ask, that Congress shall fulfil the tyrant wishes of
these States. They ask, that the whole people of the United
States--those who hate, as well as those who love slavery, shall, by
their representatives, assume the guilty and awful responsibility of
perpetuating the enslavement of their innocent fellow men:--of chaining
the bodies and crushing the wills, and blotting out the minds of such,
as have neither transgressed, nor even been accused of having
transgressed, a single human law. And the crime, which Virginia and
Maryland, and they, who sympathise with them, would have the nation
perpetrate, is, not simply that of prolonging the captivity of those,
who were slaves before the cession--for but a handful of them are now
remaining in the District. Most of the present number became slaves
under the authority of this guilty nation. Their wrongs originated with
Congress: and Congress is asked, not only to perpetuate their
oppression, but to fasten the yoke of slavery on generations yet unborn.

There are those, who advocate the recession of the District of Columbia.
If the nation were to consent to this, without having previously
exercised her power to "break every yoke" of slavery in the District,
the blood of those so cruelly left there in "the house of bondage,"
would remain indelible and damning upon her skirts:--and this too,
whether Virginia and Maryland did or did not intend to vest Congress
with any power over slavery. It is enough, that the nation has the power
"to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to
be slain," to make her fearfully guilty before God, if she "forbear" to
exercise it.

Suppose, I were to obtain a lease of my neighbor's barn for the single
and express purpose of securing my crops; and that I should find,
chained up in one of its dark corners, an innocent fellow man, whom that
neighbor was subjecting to the process of a lingering death; ought I to
pause and recall President Wayland's, "Limitations of Human
Responsibility," and finally let the poor sufferer remain in his chains;
or ought I not rather, promptly to respond to the laws of my nature and
my nature's God, and let him go free? But, to make this case analogous
to that we have been considering--to that, which imposes its claims on
Congress--we must strike out entirely the condition of the lease, and
with it all possible doubts of my right to release the victim of my
neighbor's murderous hate.

I am entirely willing to yield, for the sake of argument, that Virginia
and Maryland, when ceding the territory which constitutes the District
of Columbia, did not anticipate, and did not choose the abolition of
slavery in it. To make the admission stronger, I will allow, that these

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