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In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish—that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked, the destiny of nations—but if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good, that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischief of foreign intrigues, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism, this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare by which they have been dictated. X, How far, in the discharge of my official duties, I have heen guided by the principles which have been delineated, the public records, and other evidences of my conduct, must witness to you and the world. To myself the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them. In relation to this still subsisting war in Europe, my proclamation of the 22d of April, 1793, is the index to my plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice, and by that of your Representatives in both Houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninBluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it. After deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take— and was bound in duty and interest to take—a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it with moderation, perseverance, and firmness. The considerations which respect the right to hold this conduct, it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the belligerent powers, has been virtually admitted by all. The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without any thing more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity toward other nations.
The inducements of interest, for observing that conduct, will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me, a predominant motive has been to endeavor to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress, without interruption, to that degree of strength and consistency which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.
Though in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am, nevertheless, too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope, that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.
Relying on its kindness in this, as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love toward it which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors, I anticipate, with pleasing expectation, that retreat in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free Government—the ever-favorite object of my heart—and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers. v.
GEORGE WASHINGTON. UNITED STATEs, 17th September, 1796.
MISSOURI SLAVERY COMPROMISE OF 1820.
When Missouri applied for admission into the Union, a proposition was started in Congress to prohibit the introduction of slavery into the new State. This had the effect of arraying the South against the North—the slaveholding against the non-slaveholding States—and the whole subject of slavery became the exciting topic of debate throughout the country. The question was finally settled by a Compromise, which tolerated slavery in Missouri, but otherwise prohibited it in all the territory of the United States north and west of the northern limits of Arkansas.
As the principle then settled has often since been the prolific source of much sectional controversy and angry debate, and as it is desirable that every one should be familiar with the real provisions of the act by which Missouri was admitted, we have concluded to insert here so much of the law as is necessary to a full understanding of the subject. All the sections, except the following, relate entirely to the formation of the Missouri territory, in the usual form of territorial bills:
“SEC. 8. That in all that territory ceded by France to the United States, under the name of Louisiana, which lies north of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes north latitude, not included within the limits of the State contemplated by this act, slavery and involuntary servitude, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the parties shall be duly convicted, shall be, and is hereby, forever prohibited. Provided always, That any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed, in any State or Territory of the United States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service as aforesaid.
JACKSON'S PROCLAMATION TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA NULLIFIERs.
The President of the United States to the nullifiers of South Carolina:
WHEREAS, A convention assembled in the State of South Carolina have passed an ordinance, by which they declare, “that the several acts and parts of acts of the Congress of the United States, purporting to be laws for the imposing of duties and imposts on the importation of foreign commodities, and now having actual operation and effect within the United States, and more especially,” two acts for the same purposes passed on the 29th of May, 1828, and on the 14th of July, 1832, “are unauthorized by the Constitution of the United States, and violate the true meaning and intent thereof, and are null and void, and no law,” nor binding on the citizens of that State or its officers; and by the said ordinance, it is further declared to be unlawful for any of the constituted authorities of the State or of the United States to enforce the payment of the duties imposed by the said acts with the same State, and that it is the duty of the Legislature to pass such laws as may be necessary to give full effect to the said ordinance:
AND, wherEAs, By the said ordinance, it is further ordained that in no case of law or equity decided in the courts of said State, wherein shall be drawn in question the validity of the said ordinance, or of the acts of the Legislature that may be passed to give it effect, or of the said laws of the United States, no appeal shall be allowed to the Supreme Court of the United States, nor shall any copy of the record be permitted or allowed for that purpose; and that any person attempting to take such appeal shall be punished as for a contempt of court:
And, finally, the said ordinance declares that the people of South Carolina will maintain the said ordinance at every hazard; and that they will consider the passage of any act, by Congress, abolishing or closing the ports of the said State, or otherwise obstructing the free ingress or egress of vessels to and from the said ports, or any other act of the Federal Government to coerce the State, shut up her ports, destroy or harass her commerce, or to enforce the said act otherwise than through the civil tribunals of the country, as inconsistent with the longer continuance of South Carolina in the Union, and that the people of the said State will thenceforth hold themselves absolved from all further obligation to maintain or preserve their political connection with the people of the other States, and will forthwith proceed to organize a separate government and do all other acts and things which sovereign and independent States may of right do. AND, WHEREAs, The said ordinance prescribes to the people of South Carolina a course of conduct in direct violation of their duty as citizens of the United States, contrary to the laws of their country, subversive of its Constitution, and having for its object the destruction of the Union— that Union, which, coeval with our political existence, led our fathers, without any other ties to unite them than those of patriotism and a common cause, through a sanguinary struggle to a glorious independence—that sacred Union, hitherto inviolate, which, perfected by our happy Constitution, has brought us, by the favor of Heaven, to a state of prosperity at home, and high consideration abroad, rarely, if ever, equaled in the history of nations. To preserve this bond of our political existence from destruction, to maintain inviolate this state of national honor and prosperity, and to justify the confidence my fellow-citizens have reposed in me, Í, ANDREW J Ackson, President of the United States, have thought proper to issue this, my PROCLAMATION, stating my views of the Constitution and laws applicable to the measures adopted by the Convention of South Carolina, and to the reasons they have put forth to sustain them, declaring the course which duty will require me to pursue, and, appealing to the understanding and patriotism of the people, warn them of the consequences that must inevitably result froui an observance of the dictates of the convention.