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REMARKS ON THE SOUTH CAROLINA DOCTRINE Df REGARD TO TERRITORY.
It will be our endeavor in the following pages, to consider the question that is now injuriously dividing the national opinion, in a mood more philosophical, and if possible more conclusive, than that of sectional or partisan feeling ; and, at the same time, to discuss some dangerous doctrines, that have passed unnoticed, or at least unconfuted, during its recent agitation in the Senate and in the House.
"In the Senate of the United States, July 18th, Mr. Clayton of Delaware, chairman of the select committee on the territories of Oregon, California, and New Mexico, reported a bill for the organization of territorial government in each of them."*
It is proposed in this bill, to allow the will of the citizens of Oregon, expressed in the temporary system of laws which they have adopted, to prevail against th<: introduction of slaves in their territory, and in regard to other regions, to refer the whole matter to the Supreme Court, to be decided in private controversy.
•National Intelligencer, July 19th, 1848. The comniilt>.e consisted of four from the North and four fiooi the South.
If the Court decides, in the first controversy that may arise and be referred tc it, that slaves cannot be held in the territories, the Wilmot Proviso principle takes effect, and slavery is forbidden in the territories of the United States.
If it decides that they can be held, ther the Calhoun principle takes effect, anc slavery is fixed upon all territories not protected by the ordinance of 1787, the Missouri Compromise, or the concession to the citizens of Oregon.
Thus it appears that the Supreme Coup will have to bear up against the whoh South or the whole North. It must decide in tulo for the whole territory in question.
The clauses in the Constitution upor which the Court will be obliged to ground its opinion, in regard to the existing law and touching the power of Congress t< make laws, should that be agitated, art the following:
"1. No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up on claim o e party to whom such service or labor is .e."
The question may arise, whether the w applies to slaves held in the territories 'the United States.
"2. Congress shall have power to dispose of, id make all needful rules and regulations reeding the territory, or other property, belongg to the United States, and nothing in this onstitution shall be so construed as to prejuce any claims of the United States, or of any articular State."
The question may arise, whether a law of ongress forbidding slaves to be held in the rritories in question, does not prejudice le claims of some particular States. And
any State shall object to such law, on le strength of this clause, in defence of >me one of its citizens, then,—whether le claim of a citizen to hold slaves is le claim also of his State; in a word, hether any Stale can appear in the busies, either as plaintiff or defendant.
Whether the words "rules and regulaons" confer the power of making laws ;ainst the introduction of any species of roperty, or declaring any kind of proper'contraband in territories of the United tates.
By the 14th clause, section viii., of the onstitution, Congress has power "to lake rules for the government and regulaon of the land and naval forces."
It appears that a "rule" may be made >r "government;" and if of army and avy, does it apply also to territory?
"3. Congress shall have power to exercise eclusive legislation, in all cases whatsoever, .■or such district (not exceeding ten miles [uare) as may, by cession of particular States rid the acceptance of Congress, become the ;at of government of the United States; and to cercise like authority over all places purchased f the consent of the Legislature of the State in hich the same shall be, for the erection of irts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and tlier needful buildings."
The question may arise whether the hrase, "in all cases whatsoever," confers le power of legislating on the subject of 'avery, in such district, or ceded space, nd whether, by construction a fortiori, the ower extends to territory.
4. "The migration, or importation, of such persons as any of the States shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by Congress prior to the year 1808; but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation not exceeding ten dollars for each person."
As this clause confers the extraordinary power of prohibiting the introduction of slaves, after the year 1808, into States existing at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, the question arises, whether it does not confer the same power in regard to the new States, and, a fortiori, in regard to territory.
Respect for the august tribunal of the nation forbids our attempting, in the present posture of affairs, to elicit the true intent of the Constitution. We mean to enter only upon the general question of policy, and of the idea of the Constitution, in order to an examination of certain doctrines put forth by Mr. Calhoun in his speech upon the Oregon bill.
If we admit the opinion of Mr. Calhoun, that there is A joint ownership of the territories in the States, each State maintaining its right over them, the most natural course would seem to be a division of the territories, according to the common rules and methods for the division of property held by several owners. A property line dividing the portion claimed by the North from that claimed by the South, seems in that case to be the obvious, and only just, remedy for discontent; a remedy which the parties might demand; but we hold the notion of a joint ownership to be grounded upon a false view of the nature of the property.
The Committee did not, however, adopt this view, at least in express terms. They only urge, that slavery has its natural boundaries, and would not probably penetrate north of the latitude of 36° 40*'. Mr. Calhoun urged the same argument against the proposition of those * * * * * * who wished to fix a geographical line, beyond which slavery should not be lawful. As slavery continues to exist at this day in Kentucky, and formerly existed in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and will easily extend and maintain itself on rich prairie and bottom lands, in temperate climates, even when slaveholders themselves are averse to its extension, the arguments of the committee pass but as suggestions, of value to those only who feel satis6ed from a general view, that slavery will not overrun the whole of the new territories. Hence it is probable that the anxiety of the North will not be wholly abated by the adoption of the bill.
On the other hand, it was agreed by the majority of the committee, that some regions require slave labor: which seems to be an additional argument against referring the matter to the Supreme Court. For if the Court decides against the legality of slavery, those regions which require slave labor will be injured by the decision. Had a committee been appointed to investigate the nature and present condition of the new territories, with a view to set their economical arguments in a clearer light, the idea of a geographical line would not have so much excited the animosity of parties: for the committee could have marked out upon the map those countries upon which slavery would be injurious and unprofitable; and, after that, no man would object to an act of Congress "to prevent an injurious and unprofitable extension of slavery " beyond what Mr. Calhoun and the committee regard as its "natural limits."
The North, it is feared, will be disturbed by a decision of the Supreme Court, which excludes them from all influence over the territory to which they claim an equal right, and over which an equal right is conceded them by the South; nor does it seem to be good policy to throw the burden of so dreadful a question upon the court, to the injury, in any event, of its authority and popularity. We would once more call attention to the fact, that the decision, either way, will affect all the territories except Oregon, and will of course be a signal for the most furious opposition. Whatever, therefore, be the difficulties and dangers of the policy of a geographical line—an extension of the Compromise supported by Mr. Clay in 1820—the plan offered by the Committee does not seem to involve fewer, or less alarming, consequences.
The retaliation movement against the compromise policy, led by Mr. Calhoun and supported by all the power of his eloquence, should it prevail through his argument*, and not for other reasons more politic, will be a fatal triumph over the Whig Party.
The arguments employed by Mr. Calhoi are directed against the total fabric of tl Constitution, nay, against the very idea liberty itself. He treats the principles the Declaration with a contemptuous rid cule; he strikes at the very heart of D mocracy.
He condemns and derides the Declar tion of our fathers, that "all men are cr ated equal." Against the opinions e pressed by the Senator, it seems proper protest at the outset, though in the ordi of his argument they should be mentiont last.
The Republic was established by i founders, on the idea of Man as he shou be.
If, then, it falls, it falls by the elevatic of its principles. "All men," says Jeffe son, in the Declaration, "are creak equal:" declaring that men, as they a gradually moulded by the creative han and arrive by nature and Providence adult perfection, attain to the glorio equality of freedom.
We say of young oaks and elms th they are created to be the monarchs of t forest, just as we say that man is creat for freedom. Of a million acorns only o comes to be an oak, and of a thousai oaks only one becomes one of the eqi sons of the forest; and so of men.
This idea of human destiny, so far fr< being a dogma of philosophy, is the first id of the common law; the law deals wi all equally: even in the infant, it presu poses the adult, and protects the hope a perfect man in' the mere embryo.
Within and above every written cons tution or body of laws, there stands a s; tern of principles, more profound in th origin, and of greater force, than eith This system receives its life, its substs tial force, from the idea of the destiny man; be that a base, or a free, destiny. The form of this system, on the otl hand, varies with time and circumstan< it changes, or seems to change, while 1 substance remains unchangeable. 1 idea of a free and perfect human being the eidolon and the palladium, the imf of Deity in man, which symbolizes s measures both law and liberty, in t land. Its place is in the inmost rec of the heart of a freeman. From thenci will not be removed by force; the a