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ment; ” not simply as might be practised by the government of the United States, but whether practised towards him by a State or any of the citizens thereof; in fact, whether the United States, or a State, can allow any of its people to be deprived of their liberty by any one of its citizens; and, if so, whether the United States, or the State, is not itself guilty of the fact. If we should hazard an opinion in this case, we should say it was; and, if we are correct, is there not a suppression of the truth, when it is asserted that the different States have nothing to do with slavery as it may exist in any particular State, when it is known the United States have given the courts, both state and national, power over this subject, and made it their duty to protect the people in their life, liberty, &c. if they are called upon so to do? We leave those who have made the assertion to answer the question. The next expression which is said to allude to the slave is contained in the third paragraph, 2d section, 4th article. It is in these words:

“No person, held to service or labor in one State under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such labor or service may be due.”

This sentence may have been, or may not have been, inserted in the Constitution, whether there had been any slaves in the country or not, so long as it was considered important to collect debts of those who might leave their employers for different parts of the country; and, in one so extensive as this, it might have been done to the employer's detriment; and as, according to the general rule of nations, they do not give up their inhabitants to any other without special laws on the subject, it might have been thought necessary that a perfect understanding on this subject should be had among the States, and that those bound or held to service in any one State, if they should leave that service and flee into another, if claimed as those that were held, should be given up; but even then not until the party who claimed should prove the service or labor was due. It may be well to observe, that, in that article which provides for the apportionment of the representatives and direct taxes, “ those bound to service ’’ were to be reckoned among the freemen, and as equal to them in determining the number to be chosen, and the amount to be raised; that this class of people, in that day, was so numerous as to be taken notice of independent of those held as slaves. If “those bound to service ’’ was meant to be in contradistinction to the “three fifths of all other persons,” why may not this section allude to them For ourselves, we perceive no intrinsic difference in the meaning of the two words “bound" and “held,” when applied to those in servitude, saving that, in using the word “bound,” there seems to be some obligation attached to both parties, while there appears to be none in the word “held.” A person may hold a thing without his possessing any right for so doing, and we believe this distinction was noticed at the time. But when the expression, “to whom such service or labor may be due,” was added, it gave to the expression “held "all the meaning of the word “bound,” or, otherwise, there can be no sense to the expression; consequently we should give the same meaning to both words. But, to say a slave owes any thing, we must give up the principle he is a slave, because, according to the laws of slavery, the slave cannot own any thing, and, consequently, cannot owe any thing: he is a thing; he owns and owes nothing. But, if it is said this paragraph was inserted in the Constitution in reference to slaves, we answer, we have no doubt those who held slaves attempted to introduce an article whereby they could reclaim any of their pretended (we say pretended) bondmen, let him flee to what part of the Union he might; but they were foiled in their attempt; they could not, in this instance, get the convention to grant them their wish. The person alone to whom service was owed was permitted to reclaim a runaway, even as we now permit a person to reclaim the service of any one who is bound or held as an apprentice, or had contracted for a certain amount of labor for a certain compensation; and that this language might and should be so construed, is somewhat evident by the similar language in the article alluded to above. We therefore think nothing in favor of slavery can be made out of this clause, according to the true principles of interpretation. It only shows how hard some persons tried to mar the face of the Constitution without being able to succeed. And that this was the meaning intended to be attached to this phrase we think there can be no doubt; for it should be borne in mind that “Conditional servitude, under indentures and covenants, had from the first existed in Virginia. The servant stood to his master in the relation of debtor, bound to discharge the cost of emigration by the entire employment of his powers for the benefit of his creditor;” and though there was more or less oppression under this system, and many Englishmen, Scotch, and Irish were sent here in opposition to their own wishes, yet they differed from slaves in the “duration of their servitude,” and “the laws of the colony favored their enfranchisement.” It has been said the amendment that was made to this article goes to prove that slaves were meant, and that its bearing is now different from what it was as originally introduced; but we do not perceive it alters the force of the construction of the passage as we have given it; that is, that it was people that owed service, and not slaves, that were meant; and, if so, it explains the reason (and we cannot acy count for it on any other) why Franklin, a associates, who did all they could to oppose sla let this section pass without opposition. But it/may be objected, as we have said, that the sentenc to service or labor” has a different meaning from the expression “bound to service,” and that the com


1 Bancroft's History of the United States, vol. i. p. 176.


mittee of 'revision made the alteration in the original article for the purpose of making the slaveholder more secure, and that their striking out the words “justly claiming ” renders it more certain. But, when we consider the words “to whom such service or labor may be due " were added, they place the subject on its true basis, that is, of debt; and a debt cannot be contracted without the consent of both parties. Consequently they did not succeed in their wishes, though the slaveholder afterwards proceeded, and the magistrates in the free States very unjustly, as we think, have allowed them to pursue their unlawful and vile purposes, without ever bringing up this question of debt, — the very -question on which their whole claim can constitutionally rest. According to the Madison papers, Mr. Butler and Mr. Pinckney, from South Carolina, moved “that fugitive slaves and servants be delivered up like criminals: ” this being objected to, Mr. Butler moved to insert the following: “If any person bound to service or labor in any of the United States shall escape into another State, he or she shall not be discharged from such labor or service in consequence of any regulation subsisting in the State to which they escape, but shall be delivered up to the person justly claiming their service or labor; which was agreed to mem. con.” But when the Constitution came to be revised, this resolution, besides the other amendments made to it, had the words “rightfully claiming ” stricken out, and the words “on claim of the party

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