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SLAVERY IN THE FEDERAL DISTRICT.
143 Some of the largest purchasers in criticisms and comparisons between Maryland and Virginia for the cotton these legal proceedings, under the and sugar region located themselves shadow of our Capitol, and the harsher at this point, fitted up their slave- dealings of savages and heathen with pens, and advertised in the leading strangers so luckless as to fall into journals of the Capital their readi- their hands; and the point of these ness to buy and sell young and likely invidious comparisons was barbed by negroes. Vessels were regularly dis their undeniable justice.. patched from Alexandria to New Or Petitions for the Abolition of Slaleans, laden with their human mer- very in the Federal District, or, at chandise. So that, in the absence of least, of the Slave-Trade so flourishmanufactures, and of any but a petty ing therein, had been from time imretail trade, slaves were long a chief memorial presented to Congress, and staple of the commerce, and certainly treated with no more disrespect or the leading export, of the American disregard than petitions to legislative metropolis.
bodies usually encounter. One of Under the slave laws, so hastily these, presented in 1828, was signed bolted by Congress, every negro or by United States District Judge mulatto was presumptively a slave; Cranch, and about one thousand and, if unable to indicate his master, more of the most respectable citizens or to establish specially his right to of the District; but, while it was freedom, was liable to be arrested and treated decorously, no decisive step imprisoned, advertised, and sold, in was taken toward compliance with default of a claimant, to pay the costs its prayer. As the distinctive Aboof this worse than Algerine proce- lition movement gained strength in dure; and, as Washington steadily the North, and the excitement caused increased in population and import thereby rose higher in the Southance, the number of colored persons especially after the Message of Gen. drifting thither from all quarters in- Jackson, already quoted, urging that creased with it, until the business of anti-Slavery agitation be made a pearresting, detaining, advertising, and nal offense a more decisive hostility selling unowned negroes became a was resolved on by the champions most lucrative perquisite of the Fed- of Slavery, under the lead of Mr. eral Marshal for the District, yield- Calhoun. ing him a net profit of many thou On the presentation, by Mr. Fairsands of dollars per annum. The ad- field, of Maine (December 16, 1835), vertisements in The National Intel- of the petition of one hundred and ligencer, United States Telegraph, seventy-two women, praying the AbGlobe, Union, etc., of negroes whom olition of the Slave-Trade in the he had caught and caged, and, in de District, it was decisively laid on the fault of an owner, was about to sell, table of the House; Yeas 180, Nays were widely copied in both hemi- 31--the Nays all from the North, spheres, provoking comments by no and mainly Whigs. means. flattering to our country nor On the 18th, Mr Jackson, of Masits institutions. The plumage of the sachusetts, offered a similar petition American eagle was often ruffled by from the citizens of the town of
Wrentham; and Mr. Hammond of King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Knight,
Linn, McKean, Morris, Naudain, Niles, PrenSouth Carolina, moved that it be not
tiss, Robbins, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, received; which was met by a mo- Southard, Swift, Tallmadge, Tipton, Tomlintion to lay on the table. This was
son, Wall, Webster, Wright. Nays: Messrs.
Black, Calhoun, Cuthbert, Leigh, Moore, rejected-Yeas 95, Nays 121. But,
Nicholas, Porter, Preston, Walker, White." finally, a proposition that the peti
In the House, 17 Mr. Henry L. tion and all motions regarding it be laid on the table was carried—Yeas
Pinckney, of South Carolina, sub140; Nays 76.
mitted the following resolve: Mr. Buchanan presented a memo “Resolved, That all the memorials which
have been offered, or may hereafter be prerial of the Caln (Pennsylvania) quar
sented to this House, praying for the aboliterly meeting of Friends, asking for tion of Slavery in the District of Columbia, the same in substance as the above.
and also the resolutions offered by an honor
able member from Maine (Mr. Jarvis), with Though opposed to granting the the amendment thereto, proposed by an honprayer of the petition, he preferred orable member from Virginia (Mr. Wise), its reference to a Select Committee
and every other paper or proposition that
may be submitted in relation to that subject, or that on the District. But, finding be referred to a Select Committee, with inthat there were insurmountable ob
structions to report that Congress has no
constitutional authority to interfere in any stacles to such a reference, he would
way with the institution of Slavery in any move that the memorial be read, and | of the States of this confederacy; and that, that the prayer of the memorialists be in the opinion of this House, Congress ought
not to interfere in any way with Slavery in rejected. The question being de the District of Columbia, because it would manded on Mr. Buchanan's motion, be a violation of the public faith, unwise, im
politic, and dangerous to the Union; asit was carried by the decisive vote of
signing such reasons for these conclusions 34 to 6.
as, in the judgment of the Committee, may Mr. Morris, of Ohio, soon after
be best calculated to enlighten the public
mind, to repress agitation, to allay excitepresented similar memorials from his ment, to sustain and preserve the just rights State; whereupon Mr. Calhoun raised of the slave-holding States, and of the peo
ple of this District, and to reëstablish harthe question of reception, declaring
Gamis mony and tranquillity amongst the various “that the petitions just read con- sections of the Union.” tained a gross, false, and malicious
After some demur by Mr. Hamslander on eleven States represented
mond, of South Carolina, and Mr. on this floor.” “That Congress had
Wise, of Virginia, the Previous no jurisdiction over the subject, no Question was ordered on this resolve more in this District than in the
-Yeas 118, Nays 47. Mr. Vinton, State of South Carolina.” After a of Ohio, now demanded a division long and spirited debate, mainly by of the resolve into three parts, which Southern senators, Mr. Calhoun's mo
demand was sustained by the Chair; tion to reject was defeated by a vote
and the first proposition, requiring a to receive the petition-Yeas 35,
reference of all memorials on this Nays 10, as follows:
subject to a Select Committee, was "YEAS: Messrs. Benton, Brown, Buchan-carried-Yeas 174, Nays 48: the an, Clay, Clayton, Crittenden, Davis, Ewing of Illinois, Ewing of Ohio, Goldsborough, ways.
Nays all from the South. The Grundy, Hendricks, Hill, Hubbard, Kent, second proposition, regarding Slavery
CONGRESS REPRESSING AGITATION.
145 in the States, was affirmed-Yeas This resolve was adopted-Yeas 201, Nays 7. The third proposi- 117, Nays 68; the Nays being subtion, affirming that “Congress stantially, but not entirely, composed ought not to interfere in any way of the Whig members from the Free with Slavery in the District of States. Columbia,” prevailed — Yeas 163, Amazing as it may seem, this Nays 47—the Nays, of course, from heroic treatment was not successful the North. And the third clause, in “arresting agitation, and restoring being now divided, the question was tranquillity to the public mind;" so taken on the remaining part—“ be- that, when this Congress met for the cause it would be a violation of the second session, it was found necessary public faith, unwise, impolitic, and to do the work all over again. Acdangerous to the Union”and that cordingly, Mr. Albert G. Hawes, was also affirmed-Yeas 129; Nays (Democrat) of Kentucky, 18 offered a 74: the Nays being all from the resolution, providing: North, and nearly all Whigs. The
"That all memorials, etc., on the subject remainder of the proposition was of the abolition of Slavery, should be laid on then affirmed-Yeas 169; Nays 6. the table, without being referred or printed, The Committee appointed under thereony
and that no further action should be had the above resolution consisted of Messrs. Pinckney of South Carolina ; '.
South Carolina. Which was adopted-Yeas 129; Hamer of Ohio: Pierce of New Nays 69—the Nays mainly Northern Hampshire; Hardin of Kentucky;
Whigs, as before. All debate was Jarvis of Maine ; Owens of Georgia ;
precluded by the Previous QuesMuhlenberg of Pennsylvania ; Drom- tion. goole of Virginia; and Turrill of
And still the agitation refused to New York-all Democrats, but Har- | be controlled or allayed; so that, on din, a Southern Whig. This Com
the meeting of the next Congress, mittee, in due season, reported, First,
Mr. Patton, of Virginia,19 offered the That Congress possesses no constitu
following “as a timely sacrifice to tional authority to interfere, in any
the peace and harmony of the counway, with the institution of Slavery
try :" in any State of this confederacy. “Resolved, That all petitions, memorials;. Secondly, That Congress ought not
and papers touching the abolition of Slavery,
or the buying, selling, or transferring of to interfere in any way with Slavery slaves in any State, District, or Territory of in the District of Columbia. And, the United States, be laid upon the table.
without being debated, printed, read, or “ for the purpose of arresting agita
referred; and no further action whatevertion, and restoring tranquillity to the shall be had thereon." public mind,” they recommended the
The Previous Question having adoption of this resolve:
again been ordered, this resolve was " That all petitions, memorials, resolu- adopted-Yeas 122; Nays 74-the tions, propositions, or papers relating in any Nays, as before, mainly, if not enway to the subject of Slavery, or the abolition of Slavery, shall, without either being
tirely, the Whig members from the printed or referred, be laid upon the table." | Free States.
18. January 18, 1837.
19 December 21, 1837.
At the next session, 20 Mr. Charles A.'s resolves duly passed, as follows: G. Atherton, of New Hampshire, No. 1-Yeas 198; Nays 6. No. 2 moved the following resolutions : -Yeas 134; Nays 67-mainly, if
“ Resolved, That this government is a gov- not wholly, Northern Whigs. The ernment of limited powers; and that, by the Constitution of the United States, Con
third resolution having been divided, gress has no jurisdiction whatever over the the House first resolved “ That Coninstitution of Slavery in the several States | gress has no right to do that indiof the confederacy. “ Resolved, That the petitions for the
rectly which it cannot do directly," abolition of Slavery in the District of Co etc.-Yeas 170, Nays 30. The resilumbia and the Territories of the United
due of the third resolve passed-Yeas States, and against the removal of slaves from one State to another, are a part of the 164, Nays 39. The fourth resolve plan of operations set on foot to affect the was in like manner divided, and institution of Slavery in the several States, and thus indirectly to destroy that institu
passed in two parts, by 182 and 175 tion within their limits.
Yeas to 26 Nays. The last of Mr. “Resolved, That Congress has no right to Atherton's resolves was in like mando that indirectly which it cannot do directly; and that the agitation of the subject of ner divided, and the former part Slavery in the District of Columbia, or the adopted by Yeas 147 to Nays 51; Territories, as a means or with a view of disturbing or overthrowing that institution
and the latter or gag portion by in the several States, is against the true Yeas 127, Nays 78-Henry A. Wise spirit and meaning of the Constitution, an
refusing to vote. infringement of the rights of the States affected, and a breach of the public faith on
This would seem quite stringent which they entered into the confederacy. enough ; but, two years later, 21 the “ Resolved, That the Constitution rests on
House, on motion of William Cost the broad principle of equality among the members of this confederacy; and that Con
Johnson (Whig), of Maryland, further gress, in the exercise of its acknowledged “Resolved, That upon the presentation of powers, has no right to discriminate be- | any memorial or petition, praying for the tween the institutions of one portion of the abolition of Slavery or the Slave-Trade in States and another, with a view of abolish any District, Territory, or State of the ing the one and promoting the other. Union, and upon the presentation of any
* Resolved, therefore, That all attempts on resolution or other paper touching that subthe part of Congress to abolish Slavery in ject, the reception of such memorial, petithe District of Columbia or the Territories, tion, resolution, or paper, shall be consideror to prohibit the removal of slaves from ) ed as objected to, and the question of its State to State, or to discriminate between reception laid on the table, without debate the institutions of one portion of the coun or further action thereon. try and another with the views aforesaid, "Resolved, That no petition, memorial, reare in violation of the Constitution, destruc- ) solution, or other paper, praying for the tive of the fundamental principles on which abolition of Slavery in the District of Cothe Union of these States rests, and beyond lumbia, or any State or Territory, or the the jurisdiction of Congress; and that every Slave-Trade between the States or Territopetition, memorial, resolution, proposition, ries of the United States, in which it now or paper, touching or relating in any way, exists, shall be received by this House, or or to any extent whatever, to Slavery as entertained in any way whatever." aforesaid, or the abolition thereof, shall, on
On this proposition, the votes were the presentation thereof, without any further action thereon, be laid on the table, without
--- Yeas 114; Nays 108 - several being debated, printed, or referred.” Northern Democrats and some
Mr. Cushing, of Massachusetts, ob- Southern Whigs voting with all the jecting, on motion of Mr. Atherton, Northern Whigs in the minority.” the rules were suspended; and Mr. In a little more than ten years
20 December 11, 1838. 21 January 18, 1840. Whig), who voted for this resolve, were as fol
22 The members from the Free States, twenty- | lows: eight in all (all Democrats but Proffit, a Tylerized | Mainė.--Virgil D. Parris, Albert Smith.
· TEXAS UN DER SPAIN.
147 after this, Congress prohibited the Congress at last discovered and apSlave-Trade in the District; and, plied the true, enduring remedy for within twenty-two years, Slavery agitation,' in hearing and heeding itself, in that District, was likewise the demands of Justice, Humanity, abolished by a decided vote. Thus and Freedom.
TEXAS AND HER ANNEXATION.
The name Texas originally desig- never seriously disputed, though nated an ill-defined and mainly unin- another French attempt to colonize habited region lying between the it was made in 1714, and proved as French possessions on the Mississippi, futile as La Salle's. The cession of and the Spanish on the Rio Grande, Louisiana by France to Spain in but including no portion of the val- 1763, of course foreclosed all possiley of either of those great rivers. bility of collision; and when LouiThough the first European settle- siana, having been retroceded by ment on its soil appears to have been Spain to France, was sold to the made by La Salle, a Frenchman, who United States, we took our grand landed in Matagorda Bay, and erected purchase without specification of fort St. Louis on the Lavacca, prior boundaries or guaranty of title. For to 1687, he is known to have intend a time, there was apparent danger ed to settle on the Mississippi, and of collision respecting our western to have drifted so far westward by boundary, between our young, selfmistake. The region since known confident, and grasping republic, and as Texas was, even then, claimed by the feeble, decaying monarchy of Spain as a part of Mexico; and a Spain; but the wise moderation of Spanish expedition under De Leon Mr. Jefferson was manifested through was dispatched to the Lavacca in the action of his subordinates, so that 1689 to expel La Salle; but, on en- Gen. Wilkinson, our military comtering that river, learned that he had mander in Louisiana, and Gen. Herbeen assassinated by one of his follow- rera, who directed the small Spanish ers, and his entire company dispersed. force on our frontier, after some De Leon returned next year, and threatening demonstrations, came to founded the mission of San Francis- an understanding in October, 1806, co on the site of the dismantled fort whereby the Sabine was practically St. Louis. From that time, the recognized as our western boundary, Spanish claim to the country was and all peril of collision obviated by
New Hampshire.-Charles G. Atherton, Edmund James Gerry, George M'Cullough, David PetriBurke, Ira A. Eastman, Tristram Shaw.--New ken, William S. Ramsay. Ohio.-D. P. Leadbet. York. -Nehemiah H. Earle, John Fine, Naa | ter, William Medill, Isaac Parrish, George thaniel Jones, Gouverneur Kemble, James de la Sweeney, Jonathan Taylor, John B. Weller. Montanya, John H. Prentiss, Theron R. Strong. | Indiana.John Davis, George H. Proffit. Pennsylvania.-John Davis, Joseph Fornance, Illinois.-John Reynolds.