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value of their lands, bought upon the presumption that Missouri would be a slave state. Sir, we have no right to meddle with the question of slavery in the existing states. Their own laws must regulate the subjeet, and they may modify it as to them shall seem best. But, as a general position, independently of state provisions, it may safely be averred, that no man has a property in an unborn human being. We need not go far for the proof of this. The states that have abolished slavery, have done so by declaring that the children to be born should be free, which would have been beyond their power, if there had been a property in the children before their birth. This principle, however, is so well established, that it need not be further insisted upon. The depreciation in the value of land, is a consequencc not likely to happen. The reverse will be the case. Let any one compare the prices and the improvement of land in the free states, and in the slave-holding states, and he will be satisfied, that in this, as in every other respect, Missouri will be a great gainer by the restriction. But, if it were otherwise, is the great policy of the nation in a point so vital-are the essential interests of justice and humanity, to yield to the pecuniary interests of a few individuals ? Can you always avoid doing a partial injury by your public measures? When war is declared, what is the effect upon the merchant ? When peace is made, how does it fare with the manufacturer ? You cannot even alter the rate of a duty, without affecting some interest of the community, either to its prejudice or benefit, and at last you must come to the consideration of the great question of national concern, to which minor considerations must give way.
In the variety of claims, that have been pressed upon us, there is but a single one which deserves a moment's at. tention. It is that which arises out of the enquiry, so often repeated, will you not suffer a man to migrate with his family!—Those who have been accustomed to the labour and service of slaves, it is not to be denied, cannot at once
change their habits, without feeling, at least, a great deal of inconvenience. It is also true, that the associations which have been formed in families, cannot be broken up without violence and injury to both the parties; and in proportion as the authority has been mild in its exercise, will the transfer of it to other hands be disadvantageous, especially to the servant. But, it is impossible to make a discrimination, or to permit the introduction of slaves at all, without giving up the whole matter. If you allow slavery to exist, you must allow it without limits. The consequence is, that the state becomes a slave state. Free labour and slave labour cannot be employed together. Those who go there, must become slave holders, and your whole system is overturned-Besides, if the limited permission did not, of itself, produce the evil, to an unlimited extent, (as it certainly would) it is liable to abuses, beyond all possibility of control, which would inevitably have that effect. The numbers of a family are not defined—the number of families of this sort, which a single individual may have, cannot be fixed. It is easy to see how under colour of such permission, a regular trade might be established, and carried on as long as there was any temptation of profit or interest.This argument, however, has been pressed, as if a prohibition to go with slaves, was in effect a prohibition to the inhabitants of a slave-holding state to go at all. I cannot believe this to be the case. They may go without slaves; for though slaves are a convenience and a luxury to those who are accustomed to them, yet the inhabitants of the slave-holding states would hardly admit that they are indispensably necessary. Besides, they may take their slaves with them as free servants. But look at the converse.
The introduction of slavery, banishes free labour, or places it under such discouragement and opprobrium as are equivalent in effect. You shut the country, then, against the free emigrant, who carries with him nothing but his industry. There are large and valuable classes of people, who are opposed to slavery, and cannot live where it is permitted. These too you exclude. The laws and the policy of a slave state, will and must be adapted to the condition of slavery, and, without going into any particulars, it will be allowed, that they are in the highest degree offensive to those who are opposed to slavery. It seems to me, sir,—I may be pardoned for so far expressing an opinion upon the concerns of the slave-holding states—it seems to me, that the people of the south have a common interest with us in this question, not for themselves, perhaps, but for those who are equally dear to them. The cultivation by slaves requires large estates. They cannot be parcelled out and divided. In the course of time, and before very long, it will happen that the younger children of southern families must look elsewhere to find employment for their talents, and scope for their exertion. What better provision can they have, than free states, where they may fairly enter into competition with freemen, and every one find the level which his proper abilities entitle him to expect? The hint is sufficient, I venture to throw it out for the consideration of those whom it concerns.
But, independently of the objections to the extension, arising from the views thus presented by the opponents of the amendment, and independently of many much more deeply founded objections, which I forbear now to press, there are enough, of a very obvious kind, to settle the question conclusively. With the indulgence of the committee, I will touch upon some of them.
It will be remembered, that this is the first step beyond the Mississippi—the State of Louisiana is no exception, for there slavery existed to an extent which left no alternative
-It is the last step, too, for this is the last stand that can be made. Compromise is forbidden by the principles contended for on both sides. Any compromise that would give slavery to Missouri is out of the question. It is, therefore, the final, irretrievable step, which can never be re
called, and must lead to an immeasurable spread of slavery over the country beyond the Mississippi. If any one faulter; if he be tempted by insinuations, or terrified by the apprehension of losing something desirable-if he find himself drawn aside by views to the little interests that are immediately about him-let him reflect upon the magnitude of the question, and he will be elevated above all such considerations. The eyes of the country are upon him; the interests of posterity are committed to his carelet him beware how he barters, not his own, but his children's birth-right, for a mess of pottage—The consciousness that we have done our duty, is a sure and never failing dependence. It will stand by us and support us through life, under every vicissitude of fortune, and in every change of circumstances. It sheds a steady and a cheering light, upon the future as well as the present, and is at once a grateful and a lasting reward.
Again, Sir, by increasing the market for slaves, you postpone and destroy the hope of extinguishing slavery by emancipation. It seems to me, that the reduction in value of slaves, however accomplished, is the only inducement that will ever effect an abolition of slavery. The multiplication of free states, will at the same time give room for emancipation, or, to speak more accurately, for those who are emancipated. This, I would respectfully suggest, is the only effectual plan of colonization—but it can never take effect while it is the interest of owners to pursue their slaves with so much avidity, or to pay such prices for them. Increase the market, and you keep up the value—increase the number of slave-holding states, and you destroy the possibility of emancipation, even if every part of the union should desire it. You extend, indefinitely, the formidable difficulties which already exist.
Nor does the mischief stop here. All liberal minds and all parts of the union, have with one voice agreed in the necessity of abolishing that detestable traffic in human
flesh, the slave trade—the foreign slave trade : But, reject the amendment on your table, admit Missouri without restriction, and you will inevitably introduce and establish a great inland domestic slave trade, not, it is true, with all the horrors of the middle passage, nor the cold blooded calculation upon the waste of human life in the seasoning, but still with many of the odious features, and some of the most cruel accompaniments of that hateful traffic. From Washington to St. Louis, may be a distance of one thousand miles. Through this great space, and even a much greater, you must witness the transportation of slaves, with the usual appendages of hand-cuffs and chains. The ties of domestic life will be violently rent assunder, and those whom nature has bound together, suffer all the pangs of an unnatural and cruel separation. Unfeeling force, stimulated by unfeeling avarice, will tear the parent from the child, and the child from the parent–the husband from the wife, and the wife from the husband. We have lately witnessed something of this sort, during the period of high prices. Gentlemen of the south, particularly those from Virginia, who speak of their slaves as a part of their family, would start at this—They would reject, with scorn and indignation, even a suggestion, that they were to furnish a mar. ket for the supply of slaves to the other states. I can well believe, that in families where the relation has long subsisted, there are feelings that would revolt at such a thought-feelings that have considerably moditied this severe condition, and grown out of the associations it has, in a long course of time, produced. But, can any one tell, what cupidity may win or necessity extort? No man is superior to the assaults of fortune; and, if he were, the stroke of death will surely come, and break down his paternal government, and, then, the slave dealer, whom he would have kicked from his inclosure, like a poisonous reptile, presents himself—to whom ?-He cannot tell. Thoughts like these, have often, I doubt not, produced the liberation