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Thus in advance did the historian answer the Chief Justice.
Associated with Las Casas in lofty truth was the Dominican, Dominic Soto, the confessor of Charles the Fifth, and the oracle of the Council of Trent, to whom, it is said, that assembly was indebted for much of the precision, and even elegance, recognized in its doctrinal decrees. His Treatise on Justice and Law is not unknown to students of philosophy, and it has been commended by Sir James Mackintosh, who rejoices in bringing forward the remarkable testimony it furnishes against Slavery. “It is affirmed,” says the Dominican, “that the unhappy Ethiopians are by fraud or force carried away and sold as slaves. If this is true, neither those who have taken them, nor those who purchased them, nor those who hold them in bondage can ever have a quiet conscience, till they emancipate them, even if no compensation should be obtained."1 This testimony has not been left to slumber in the Latin text of the author. I take it from a favorite production in our own language. Not content with quoting it, Mackintosh adds: “As the work wliich contains this memorable condemnation of Man-Stealing and Slavery was the substance of lectures for many years delivered at Salamanca, Philosophy and Religion appear, by the hand of their faithful minister, to have thus smitten the monsters in their earliest infancy.”? But the Chief Justice ignored all this.
Nor is Portugal to be omitted in this catalogue; and here the testimony is from a familiar authority, be
1 Soto, De Justitia et Jure, Lib. IV. Quæst. 2, Art. 2. 2 Dissertation on the Progress of Ethical Philosophy, Sec. 3: Miscellaneous Works (London, 1851), p. 24.
ing none other than the History of Brazil, by Robert Southey. In this elaborate work, the author, an English classic of the present century, dwells on the unsurpassed eloquence of the Father Vieyra, in the early settlement of Brazil, while he denounced Slavery. No modern Abolitionist has ever used stronger language. Born at Lisbon, in 1608, and dying at Bahia, in 1697, he was called by his countrymen “the last of the mediæval preachers,” and is the most celebrated of Portuguese divines. Thus he spoke : "Oh, what a market! a negro for a soul, and the soul the blacker of the two! “This negro shall be your slave for the few days that you may have to live, and your soul shall be my slave through all eternity, as long . as God is God !'— this is the bargain which the Devil makes with you.” Then again the fierce orator said: “My brethren, if there be any who doubt upon this matter, here are the laws, here are the lawyers ; let the question be asked. ... Go to Turkey, go to Hell: for there can neither be Turk so beturked in Turkey, nor Devil so bedevilled in Hell, as to affirm that a free man may be a slave. .. We ought to support ourselves with our own hands; for better is it to be supported by the sweat of one's own brow than by another's blood. ( ye riches of Maranham! What if these mantles and cloaks were to be wrung ? They would drop blood !" Surely here is testimony worthy of memory; but our Chief Justice knew it not.
Nor has he regarded official acts by which Portugal at an early day set herself against Slavery. The years
1 Southey, History of Brazil (London, 1810 - 19), Vol. II. ch. 26, pp. 476, 479.
1570, 1587, 1595, 1661, and 1680 were marked by Portuguese to secure the liberty of native Indians. At a later day, but anterior to our Constitution, the African began to feel the same recognition. On the 19th September, 1761, it was enacted, that “all black slaves who should henceforward come to the ports of the kingdom of Portugal and Algarve from Africa or America should be free"; and this was followed by royal order of the 20 January, 1767, extending “this beneficent measure to mulattoes of both sexes who were not mentioned in preceding laws.” Then came the law of 16th January, 1773, which determined that “the children of male and female slaves, who might be born in the kingdom of Portugal after the above date, should be free, and capable of holding office, honors, and dignities, without the stigma of freedmen, which the superstition of the Romans established in their customs, and which Christian union and civil society now render intolerable in the kingdom." These important facts I have from the Portuguese Legation at Washington. Note, if you please, the dates; yet the Chief Justice knew nothing of this important and honorable testimony.
The evidence may well be closed with Italy and the Catholic Church. Surely Bancroft's History of the United States should have taught the Chief Justice at least to hesitate. In his learned chapter on Slavery the historian records, that, “ by the Venetian law, no slave might enter a Venetian ship, and to tread the deck of an argosy of Venice became the privilege and the evidence of freedom.” Then, again, the Chief Justice might have learned from him, that
in the twelfth century Pope Alexander the Third became the guardian of the oppressed, and wrote: “But since Nature created all free, no one by condition of Nature was subjected to slavery”; and he might have learned also how even Pope Leo the Tenth, in the midst of his luxurious life, making his pontificate a carnival, declared that “not the Christian religion only, but Nature herself, cries out against the state of Slavery.”1
But how could our Chief Justice, belonging and faithful to the Roman Church, forget the testimony of that Church as presented by Balmés, the remarkable Spanish writer, in his work entitled “ Protestantism and Catholicity compared in their Effects on the Civilization of Europe”? Here is found an eloquent vindication of the Church, which, according to its defender, rejected the assumptions of the Chief Justice. The famous bull against the slave-trade by Gregory the Sixteenth, in 1839, sets forth what was done to this end by Paul the Third in 1537, hy Urban the Eighth in 1639, and by Benedict the Fourteenth in 1741, casting “the most severe censures upon those who venture to reduce the inhabitants of the East or West Indies into slavery, buy, sell, give, or exchange them, separate them from their wives and children, strip them of their property, take or send them into strange places, or deprive them of their liberty in any way, to retain them in slavery, or aid, counsel, succor, or favor those who do these things under any color or pretence whatever, or preach or teach that this is lawful, and, in fine, coöperate therewith in any
1 Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol. I. pp. 163, 172.
way whatever.” 1
But, in face of this arraignment by successive pontiffs, where is the Chief Justice ? Thus does his own Church testify against him.
Here I suspend the testimony, leaving several famous countries unvisited. But there is enough for conviction; nor is argument needed. The witnesses are before you, excellent and unanswerable, in long array, — witnesses from our own country, witnesses from England, witnesses from Scotland, witnesses from France, witnesses from Holland, witnesses from Spain, witnesses from Portugal, witnesses from Italy, witnesses from the Catholic Church, all rising up to testify against that "opinion” which the Chief Justice announces as “fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the white race," — against that “axiom in morals as well as in politics” which he says “no one thought of disputing, or supposed to be open to dispute.” They rejected his “opinion”; they disputed his "axiom." Did he forget? or, for the sake of Slavery, did he pervert judgment ? But such forgetfulness was akin to such perversion. And when it is considered that this was to put Slavery in the National Constitution, it was nothing less than a criminal falsification; nor should ignorance be an excuse.
Plainly, the Chief Justice who could do this deserves no marble bust by vote of Congress. His comprehensive office was Justice; his special duty was Liberty. But these he sacrificed, making Law and Constitution hideous. The old maxim of Law cries out against him: Impius et crudelis judicandus est,
i Balmés, Protestantism and Catholicity (London, 1849), Note XV. $ 7, p. 378.