« AnteriorContinuar »
want of a quorum. Had Delaware Ohio,” excluding, by its silence, the been then represented, she might, territories south of that river, which and might not, have voted in the af- were expressly brought within the firmative; but it is not probable that purview and operation of Mr. JefferGeorgia, had she been present, would son's Ordinance—those territories have cast an affirmative vote. Hu- not having, as yet, been ceded by the manly speaking, we may say that States claiming them respectively as the accident-a most deplorable and their peculiar possessions. Mr. Dane’s fatal accident—of the absence of a ordinance embodies many provisions member from New Jersey, prevented originally drafted and reported by the adoption, at that time, of a prop Mr. Jefferson in 1784, but with some osition which would have confined modifications. The act concludes Slavery in our country within the with six unalterable Articles of Perlimits of the then existing States, and petual Compact between the embryo precluded all reasonable probability of States respectively and the Union: subsequent contentions, collisions, and the last of them in these words: bloody strife touching its extension.
“There shall be neither Slavery nor involThe Jeffersonian Ordinance, thus untary servitude in the said Territory, othershorn of its strength—the play of wise than in punishment of crimes, whereof Hamlet with the part of Hamlet
the parties shall be duly convicted.” omitted—after undergoing some fur- To this was added, prior to its pasther amendments, was finally adopt- sage, the stipulation for the rendition ed, four days later: all the delegates 1 of fugitives from labor or service, but those from South Carolina voting which either had just been, or was in its favor.
just about to be, embodied in the In 1787, the last Continental Con- Federal Constitution, then being gress, sitting in New York, simulta- | framed ; and in this shape the entire neously with the Convention at Phi- Ordinance was adopted, July 13, by ladelphia which framed our present the unanimous vote of the States Constitution, took further action on then represented in Congress, incluthe subject of the government of the ding Georgia and the Carolinas; no western territory, raising a Select effort having been made to strike Committee thereon, of which Nathan out the inhibition of Slavery. Mr. Dane, of Massachusetts, was Chair- Robert Yates, of New York, voted man. That committtee reported, alone in the negative on the passage July 11, “An Ordinance for the of the Ordinance, but was overborne government of the Territories of the by the vote of his two colleagues, United States northwest of the then present.
? As the American people of our day, evi- the basis whereon these Republics, their laws dently presume themselves much wiser than and constitutions, are erected; to fix and estabtheir grandfathers, especially in the science of lish these principles as the basis of all laws, government, the more essential portion of this
constitutions, and governments, which forever celebrated Ordinance of 1787 is hereto appended,
hereafter shall be formed in the said Territory; as affording a standard of comparison with the
to provide, also, for the establishment of States latest improvements in the art of Constitution
| and permanent government therein, and for their
admission to a share in the Federal councils on making. It reads:
an equal footing with the original States at as * And for extending the fundamental princi early periods as may be consistent with the ples of civil and religious liberty, which form general interest:
THE CONVENTION AND THE CONSTITUTION.
The experiment of a Confedera- | was fairly tried by our fathers. Its tion, as contra-distinguished from a only beneficent result was the demore intimate and positive Union, monstration thereby afforded of its
"It is hereby ordained and declared, by the settlers in the said Territory shall be subject to authority aforesaid, that the following articles páy a part of the Federal debts, apportioned on shall be considered as articles of compact be- them by Congress, according to the same comtween the original States and the people and mon rule and measure by which apportionments States in the said Territory, and forever remain shall be made on the other States; and the taxes unalterable, unless by common consent, to wit: for paying their proportion shall be laid and
“ARTICLE 1. No person demeaning himself in levied by the authority and direction of the a peaceable, orderly manner, shall ever be mo- | legislatures of the district, or districts, or new lested on account of his mode of worship, or reli States, as in the original States, within the time gious sentiments, in the Territory.
agreed upon by the United States, in Congress "ART. 2. The inhabitants of the said Territory / assembled. The Legislatures of those districts, shall always be entitled to the benefits of the right or States, shall never interfere with the primary of habeas corpus, and to the trial by jury; of a pro- disposal of the soil by the United States in Conportionate representation of the people in the gress assembled, nor with any regulations ConLegislature, and of judicial proceedings according | gress may find necessary for securing the title to the course of the common law. All persons in such soil to the bona fide purchasers. No shall be bailable, unless for capital offenses, where taxes shall be imposed on the lands and property the proof shall be evident or the presumption of the United States; and in no case shall nongreat. All fines shall be moderate, and no cruel resident proprietors be taxed higher than resior unusual punishment shall be inflicted. No dents. The navigable waters leading into the man shall be deprived of his liberty, or property, Mississippi and Saint Lawrence, and the conveybut by the judgment of his peers, or the law of | ing-places between the same, shall be common the land; and, should the public exigencies make it necessary for the common préservation to take ants of the said Territory as to the citizens of any person's property, or to demand his par the United States, and those of any other State ticular services, full compensation shall be that may be admitted into the Confederacy, made for the same. And in the just preser without any tax, impost, or duty, therefor. vation of rights and property, it is understood "ART. 5. There shall be formed in the said Terand declared, that no law ought ever to be made, / ritory no less than three, nor more than five or have force, in the said Territory, that shall, States; and the boundaries of the States, as soon in any manner whatever, interfere with, or af- | as Virginia shall alter her act of cession and
consent to the same, shall be fixed and estaband without fraud, previously formed. .
lished as follows, to wit: The western State in "Art. 3. General morality and knowledge be- | the said Territory shall be bounded by the Mising necessary to good government and the happi- sissippi, the Ohio, and Wabash rivers; a direct ness of mankind, schools and the means of educa- line drawn from the Wabash and Post Vincent's tion shall be forever encouraged. The utmost good due north to the territorial line between the faith shall always be observed toward the In- | United States and Canada; and by the said terdians; their lands and property shall never be ritorial line to the Lake of the Woods and Mistaken from them, without their consent; and in sissippi. The middle State shall be bounded by their property, rights, and liberty, they shall the said direct line, the Wabash, from Post Vinnever be invaded or disturbed, unless in just | cent's to the Ohio; by the Ohio; by a direct and lawful wars, authorized by Congress; and line, drawn due north, from the mouth of the laws, founded in justice and humanity, shall Great Miami to the said territorial line; and by from time to time be made for preventing wrongs the said national line. The eastern State shall be being done to them, and for preserving peace bounded by the last mentioned direct line, the Ohio, and friendship with them.
Pennsylvania, and the said territorial line. Pro"ART. 4. The said Territory, and the States vided, however, and it is further understood and wlich may be formed therein, shall forever re- declared, that the boundaries of these three States main a part of this confederacy of the United States shall be subject so far to be altered, that, if Conof America, subject to the Articles of Confedera- | gress shall hereafter find it expedient, they shall tion, and to such alterations therein as shall be have authority to form one or two States in that constitutionally made, and to all acts and ordi- part of the said Territory which lies north of an nances of the United States, in Congress assem- | east and west line drawn through the southerly bled, conformable thereto. The inhabitants and bend or extremity of Lake Michigan. And
vital and incurable defects. Our | barrassment, and general distress, country attained under it neither finally overbore or temporarily silencdignity, consideration, security, nor ed sectional jealousies and State even solvency. The central or pride, to such an extent that a Connational authority, left dependent vention of delegates from a quorum on the concurrent action of the several of the States, called together rather States for the very means of existence, to amend than to supersede the was exhibited often in the attitude of Articles of Confederation, was legala genteel beggar, rather than of a ly assembled at Philadelphia in sovereign. Congress attempted to 1787, George Washington, Benjamin impose a very moderate tariff for the Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, James payment of interest on the general Madison, Edmund Randolph, and or foreign debt, contracted in sup- Charles C. Pinckney, being among port of the Revolutionary armies, its most eminent members. John but was baffled by the Legislature of Adams and Thomas Jefferson were Rhode Island—then a State of rela- absent as Embassadors in Europe. tively extensive foreign commerce Samuel Adams, George Clinton, and which interposed its paralyzing veto. Patrick Henry stood aloof, watching Political impotence, commercial em the movement with jealous appre
whenever any of the said States shall have GINIA.... ..Mr. Grayson......ay, ) 60,000 free inhabitants therein, such State shall
Mr. R. H. Lee....ay, 4 Ay. be admitted, by its delegates, into the Congress
Mr. Carrington....ay, of the United States, on an equal footing with NORTH CAROLINA.. Mr. Blount.......ay, the original States in all respects whatever, and shall be at liberty to form a permanent con- | SOUTH CAROLINA ... Mr. Kean....... stitution and State government; provided the
Mr. Huger.......ay, constitution and government so to be formed | GEORGIA.........Mr. Few.........ay, shall be republican, and in conformity to the
Mr. Pierce........ay, 5principles contained in these articles. And so
Journal of Congress, vol. iv., 1787. far as it can be consistent with the general inter
1" It may perhaps be thought superfluous to est of the confederacy, such admission shall be
offer arguments to prove the utility of the Union allowed at an earlier period, and when there
-a point, no doubt deeply engraven on the may be a less number of free inhabitants in the
hearts of the great body of the people in every State than 60,000.
State, and one which, it may be imagined, has "ART. 6. There shall be neither Slavery nor
no adversaries. * * * But the fact is that involuntary servitude in the said Territory,
we already hear it whispered in the private otherwise than in punishment of crimes, whereof
circles of those who oppose the new Constitution, the party shall have been duly convicted; pró
that the thirteen States are of too great extent vided always, that any person escaping into the for any general system, and that we must of same from whom labor or service is lawfully
necessity resort to separate confederacies of disclaimed in any one of the original States, such
| tinct portions of the whole. This doctrine will, fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed, and conveyed
in all probability, be gradually propagated, till it to the person claiming his or her labor, or ser
has votaries enough to countenance its open vice, as aforesaid."
avoval. For nothing can be more evident to
those who are able to take an enlarged view of On passing the above Ordinance, the Yeas and
the subject, than the alternative of an adoption Nays being required by Mr. Yates, they were of the Constitution or a dismemberment of the taken, with the following result;
Union.”—The Federalist, N. Y. edition of 1802,
vol. i., p. 5. MASSACHUSETTS.... Mr. Holton.. .....ay, )
"The melancholy story of the Federation Mr. Dane..... ...ay,
showed the stern necessity of a compulsory NEW YORK...... Mr. Smith..... ....ay,
power in the General Government to execute the Mr. Haring....... ay, ( Ay. duties confided to it; and the history of the Mr. Yates......
present government itself has, on more than one NEW JERSEY..... „Mr. Clarke......
occasion, manifested that the power of the Union Mr. Sherman.....ay, s is barely adequate to compel the execution of its DELAWARE...... . Mr. Kearney.....
laws, when resisted even by a single State.”— Mr. Mitchell......ay, $44. 1 Oliver Wolcott, vol. ii., p. 323.
SLAVERY IN THE CONVENTION.
43 hension. Franklin, then over eighty-colored, if not recast, in accordance one years of age, declined the chair with the ambitions and ultimate on account of his increasing infirm- political relations of the recorders. ities; and, on his motion, George The general outline, however, of the Washington was unanimously elected deliberations and decisions of the President.
Convention are sufficiently exhibited The Convention sat with closed in the Constitution, and in what we doors; and no circumstantial nor know of the various propositions adequate report of its deliberations rejected in the course of its formawas made. The only accounts of tion. The purpose of this work will them which have reached us are require only a rapid summary of those of delegates who took notes at what was done, and what left unthe time, or taxed their recollection done, in relation to Human Slavery. in after years, when the matter had A majority of the framers of the attained an importance not antici Constitution, like nearly all their pated at the time of its occurrence ; compatriots of our Revolutionary and these reminiscences are not free era, were adverse to Slavery.” Their from the suspicion of having been judgments condemned, and their con
2 In the debate of Wednesday, August 8, on "Mr. SHERMAN [Roger, of Connecticut] rethe adoption of the report of the Committee, garded the Slave-Trade as iniquitous; but, the
"Mr. RUFUS KING (then of Massachusetts, point of representation having been settled after afterward an eminent Senator from New York] much difficulty and deliberation, he did not think wished to know what influence the vote just himself bound to make opposition; especially as passed was meant to have on the succeeding | the present article, as amended, did not preclude part of the report concerning the admission of any arrangement whatever on that point in anslaves into the rule of representation. He could other place reported. not reconcile his mind to the Article (Art. VII., "Mr. MADISON objected to one for every forty
ct. 3), if it was to prevent objections to the thousand inhabitants as a perpetual rule. The latter part. The admission of slaves was a most future increase of population, if the Union should grating circumstance to his mind, because he be permanent, will render the number of reprehad hoped that this concession would have pro sentatives excessive. duced a readiness, which had not been manifest "Mr. SHERMAN and Mr. MADISON moved to ined, to strengthen the General Government, and sert the words 'not exceeding' before the words to make a full confidence in it. The report un fone for every forty thousand inhabitants,' which der consideration had, by the tenor of it, put an was agreed to nein.con. end to all his hopes. In two great points, the "Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS moved to insert hands of the Legislature were absolutely tied. 'free' before the word 'inhabitants.' Much, he The importation of slaves could not be prohib said, would depend on this point. He never ited. Exports could not be taxed. Is this rea could concur in upholding Domestic Slavery. sonable? What are the great objects of the gen It was a nefarious institution. It was the eral system? First, defense against foreign in curse of heaven on the States where it prevasion; second, against internal sedition. Shallvailed. Compare the free regions of the Midall the States, then, be bound to defend each, dle States, where a rich and noble cultivation and shall each be at liberty to introduce a weak- marks the prosperity and happiness of the peoness which will render defense more difficult? | ple, with the misery and poverty which overShall one part of the United States be bound to spreads the barren wastes of Virginia, Maryland, defend another part, and that other part be at and the other States having slaves. . Travel liberty, not only to increase its own danger, but through the whole continent, and you behold the to withhold a compensation for the burden? If prospect continually varying with the appearance slaves are to be imported, shall not the exports and disappearance of Slavery. * ** Upon what produced by their labor supply a revenue, the principle is it that the slaves shall be computed better to enable the General Government to de in the representation ? Are they men? Then fend their masters? * * * He never could agree make them citizens, and let them vote. Are they to let them be imported without limitation, and property? Why, then, is no other property inthen be represented in the National Legisla- cluded? The houses in this city [Philadelphia ture. Indeed, he could so little persuade him are worth more than all the wretched slaves that self of the rectitude of such a practice, that he cover the rice-swamps of South Carolina. The was not sure that he could assent to it under admission of slaves into the representation, when any circumstances.
| fairly explained, comes to this: that the inhabit
sciences reprobated it. They would deform our great charter, are not evidently have preferred to pass over original and integral parts of the the subject in silence, and frame a fabric, and, as such, contained in the Constitution wherein the existence original draft thereof; but are unof human bondage was not impliedly sightly and abnormal additions, or constructively recognized. Hence rather fastened upon than interwoven it may be noted, that those provisions with the body of the structure. favoring or upholding Slavery, which Could the majority have made such
ant of Georgia or South Carolina, who goes to sive of insurrections, and would readily exempt the coast of Africa, and, in defiance of the most | the other States from the obligation to protect the sacred laws of humanity, tears away his fellow Southern against them. Religion and humanity creatures from their dearest connections, and had nothing to do with this question. Interest alone dooms them to the most cruel bondage, shall is the governing principle with nations,” etc. have more votes in a government instituted for "Mr. EllsWORTH [of Connecticut] was for the protection of the rights of mankind than the leaving the clause as it stands," etc. citizen of Pennsylvania or New Jersey, who "Mr. PINCKNEY.-South Carolina can never views with a laudable horror so nefarious a prac- receive the plan if it prohibits the Slave-Trade. In tice. He would add, that Domestic Slavery is every proposed extension of the powers of Conthe most prominent feature in the aristocratic gress, that State expressly and watchfully countenance of the proposed Constitution. * ** excepted that of meddling with the importation Let it not be said that Direct Taxation is to be of negroes. If the States should be all left at proportioned to Representation. It is idle to sup liberty on this subject, South Carolina may, perpose that the General Government can stretch its haps, by degrees, do of herself what is wished, as hand directly into the pockets of the people, scat- | Virginia and Maryland have already done." tered over so vast a country. They can only do it "Adjourned."--- Ibid., p. 1388. through the medium of exports, imports, and ex Again: in the debate of the following day— cises. For what, then, are all the sacrifices to be the consideration of Article VII., Section 4, being made? He would sooner submit himself to a tax,
resumed-Colonel MASON (George, grandfather paying for all the negroes in the United States, than saddle posterity with such a Constitution.
of James M., late United States Senator, and late "Mr. DAYTON [of New Jersey] seconded the Confederate emissary to England] gave uttermotion. He did it, he said, that his sentiments ance to the following sentiments; on the subject might appear, whatever might be "This. infernal traffic originated in the avarice the fate of the amendment.
of British merchants. The British government "Mr. SHERMAN did not regard the admission
has constantly checked the attempts of Virginia of negroes into the ratio of representation as lia
to put a stop to it. The present question conble to such insuperable objections," etc., etc.
cerned not the importing of slaves alone, but the "Mr. PINCKNEY [C. C., of South Carolina con
whole Union. The evil of having slaves was excpesidered the Fisheries and the Western Frontier
rienced during the late war. Had slaves been treatas more burdensome to the United States than
ed as they might have been by the enemy, they would the slaves. He thought this could be demon
have proved dangerous instruments in their hands. strated, if the occasion were a proper one."
But their folly dealt by the slaves as it did by On the question on the motion to insert
the Tories. * * * Maryland and Virginia, ho "free" before "inhabitants," it was disagreed
said, had already prohibited the importation of to; New Jersey alone voting in the affirmative.
slaves. North Carolina had done the same in --Madison's Papers, vol. iii., p. 1261.
substance. All this would be vain, if South CarTuesday, August 21st:
olina and Georgia be at liberty to import. The “Mr. LUTHER MARTIN Tof Maryland) proposed | Western people are already calling for slaves for to vary Article VII., Section 4, so as to allow a their new lands; and will fill that country with prohibition or tax on the importation of slaves. slaves, if they can be got through South Carolina In the first place, as five slaves are to be count and Georgia. Slavery discourages the arts and ed as three freemen in the apportionment of manufactures. The poor despise labor when representatives, such a clause would leave an performed by slaves. They prevent the emigraencouragement to this traffic. In the second tion of whites, who really enrich and strengthen place, slaves weakened one part of the Union, a country. They produce the most pernicious which the other parts were bound to protect. effect on manners. Every master of slaves is The privilege of importing was therefore unrea born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment sonable. And in the third place, it was incon of heaven on a country. As nations can not be sistent with the principles of the Revolution, and punished in the next world, they must be in this. dishonorable to the American character, to have such By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Prova feature in the Constitution.
idence punishes national sins by national calamities. "Mr. RUTLEDGE [of South Carolina] did not *** He held it essential, in every point of view, see how the importation of slaves could be en- that the General Government should have power couraged by this section. He was not apprehen- / to prevent the increase of Slavery."-Ibid., p. 1390.