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REMARKS ON THE SOUTH CAROLINA DOCTRINE IN REGARD TO TERRITORY.
It will be our endeavor in the following If the Court decides, in the first conpages, to consider the question that is now troversy that may arise and be referred to injuriously dividing the national opinion, in it, that slaves cannot be held in the terria mood more philosophical, and if possi- tories, the Wilmot Proviso principle takes ble more conclusive, than that of sectional effect, and slavery is forbidden in the teror partisan feeling ; and, at the same time, ritories of the United States. to discuss some dangerous doctrines, that If it decides that they can be held, then have passed unnoticed, or at least uncon- the Calhoun principle takes effect, and futed, during its recent agitation in the slavery is fixed upon all territories not proSenate and in the House.
tected by the ordinance of 1787, the Mis“ In the Senate of the United States, July citizens of Oregon.
souri Compromise, or the concession to the 18th, Mr. Clayton of Delaware, chairman of the select committee on the territories of Ore
Thus it appears that the Supreme Court gon, California, and New Mexico, reported a
will have to bear up against the whole bill for the organization of territorial govern- | South or the whole North. It must dement in each of them."*
cide in loto for the whole territory in ques
tion. It is proposed in this bill, to allow the The clauses in the Constitution upon will of the citizens of Oregon, expressed in which the Court will be obliged to ground the temporary system of laws which they its opinion, in regard to the existing law, have adopted, to prevail against the intro- and touching the power of Congress to duction of slaves in their territory, and in make laws, should that be agitated, are regard to other regions, to refer the whole the following: matter to the Supreme Court, to be decided in private controversy.
“1. No person held to service or labor in one
State, under the laws thereof, escaping into anNational Intelligencer, July 19th, 1848. The
other, shall, in consequence of any law or regucommittee consisted of four from the North and lation therein, be discharged from such service four from the South.
or labor ; but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor is 4. “The migration, or importation, of such due.
persons as any of the States shall think proper to
admit, shall not be prohibited by Congress prior The question may arise, whether the to the year 1808 ; but a tax or duty may be imlaw applies to slaves held in the territories posed on such importation not exceeding ten
dollars for each person.” of the United States.
As this clause confers the extraordinary “ 2. Congress shall have power to dispose of, power of prohibiting the introduction of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory, or other property, belong
slaves, after the year 1808, into States exing to the United States, and nothing in this isting at the time of the adoption of the Constitution shall be so construed as io preju- Constitution, the question arises, whether dice any claims of the United States, or of any it does not confer the same power in particular State.”
regard to the new States, and, a fortiori,
in regard to territory. The question may arise, whether a law of Respect for the august tribunal of the Congress forbidding slaves to be held in the nation forbids our attempting, in the presterritories in question, does not prejudice ent posture of affairs, to elicit the true the claims of some particular States. And intent of the Constitution. We mean to if any State shall object to such law, on enter only upon the general question of the strength of this clause, in defence of policy, and of the idea of the Constitution, some one of its citizens, then,—whether in order to an examination of certain docthe claim of a citizen to hold slaves is trines put forth by Mr. Calhoun in his the claim also of his State ; in a word, speech upon the Oregon bill. whether any State can appear in the busi- If we admit the opinion of Mr. Calhoun, ness, either as plaintiff or defendant. that there is a joint ownership of the terri
Whether the words “rules and regula- tories in the States, each State maintaining tions” confer the power of making laws its right over them, the most natural against the introduction of any species of course would seem to be a division of the property, or declaring any kind of proper- territories, according to the common rules ty contraband in territories of the United and methods for the division of property States.
held by several owners. A property line By the 14th clause, section viii., of the dividing the portion claimed by the North Constitution, Congress has power “to from that claimed by the South, seems in make rules for the government and regula- that case to be the obvious, and only just, tion of the land and naval forces."
remedy for discontent; a remedy which the It appears that a "rule” may be made parties might demand ; but we hold the for "government ;” and if of army and notion of a joint ownership to be grounded navy, does it apply also to territory? upon a false view of the nature of the
property. “3. Congress shall have power to exercise
The Committee did not, however, adopt exclusive legislation, in all cases whatsoerer, this view, at least in express terms. They over such district (not exceeding ten miles only urge, that slavery has its natural square) as may, by cession of particular States boundaries, and would not probably peneand the acceptance of Congress, become the trate north of the latitude of 36° 40'. Mr. seat of government of the United States ; and to Calhoun urged the same argument against exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the Legislature of the State in the proposition of those which the same shall be, for the erection of
who wished to fix a geographforts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and ical line, beyond which slavery should not other needful buildings."
be lawful. As slavery continues to exist
at this day in Kentucky, and formerly The question may arise whether the existed in Massachusetts and Connecticut phrase, “ in all cases whatsoever,” confers and will easily extend and maintain itself the power of legislating on the subject of on rich prairie and bottom lands, in temperslavery, in such district, or ceded space, ate climates, even when slaveholders themand whether, by construction a fortiori, the selves are averse to its extension, the power extends to territory.
arguments of the committee pass but as
suggestions, of value to those only who | The arguments employed by Mr. Calhoun feel satisfied from a general view, that are directed against the total fabric of the slavery will not overrun the whole of the Constitution, nay, against the very idea of new territories. Hence it is probable that liberty itself. He treats the principles of the anxiety of the North will not be wholly the Declaration with a contemptuous ridiabated by the adoption of the bill. cule ; he strikes at the very heart of De
On the other hand, it was agreed by the mocracy. majority of the committee, that some re- He condemns and derides the Declaragions require slave labor : which seems to tion of our fathers, that “all men are crebe an additional argument against referring ated equal.” Against the opinions exthe matter to the Supreme Court. For if pressed by the Senator, it seems proper to the Court decides against the legality of protest at the outset, though in the order slavery, those regions which require slave of his argument they should be mentioned labor will be injured by the decision. Had last. a committee been appointed to investigate The Republic was established by its the nature and present condition of the founders, on the idea of Man as he should new territories, with a view to set their be. economical arguments in a clearer light, If, then, it falls, it falls by the elevation the idea of a geographical line would not of its principles. “All men,” says Jefferhave so much excited the animosity of son, in the Declaration, are created parties : for the committee could have equal :” declaring that men, as they are marked out upon the map those countries gradually moulded by the creative hand, upon which slavery would be injurious and arrive by nature and Providence at and unprofitable; and, after that, no man adult perfection, attain to the glorious would object to an act of Congress “ to equality of freedom. prevent an injurious and unprofitable exten- We say of young oaks and elms that sion of slavery” beyond what Mr. Calhoun they are created to be the monarchs of the and the committee regard as its “natural forest, just as we say that man is created limits."
for freedom. Of a million acorns only one The North, it is feared, will be disturbed comes to be an oak, and of a thousand by a decision of the Supreme Court, oaks only one becomes one of the equal which excludes them from all influence sons of the forest; and so of men. over the territory to which they claim an This idea of human destiny, so far from equal right, and over which an equal right being a dogma of philosophy, is the first idea is conceded them by the South ; nor does of the common law; the law deals with it seem to be good policy to throw the all equally: even in the infant, it presupburden of so dreadful a question upon the poses the adult, and protects the hope of court, to the injury, in any event, of its a perfect man in the mere embryo. authority and popularity. We would once Within and above every written constimore call attention to the fact, that the de- tution or body of laws, there stands a syscision, either way, will affect all the terri- tem of principles, more profound in their tories except Oregon, and will of course be origin, and of greater force, than either, a signal for the most furious opposition. This system receives its life, its substanWhatever, therefore, be the difficulties and tial force, from the idea of the destiny of dangers of the policy of a geographical man; be that a base, or a free, destiny. line-an extension of the Compromise sup- The form of this system, on the other ported by Mr. Clay in 1820—the plan hand, varies with time and circumsiance offered by the Committee does not seem it changes, or seems to change, while the to involve fewer, or less alarming, conse- substance remains unchangeable. The quences.
idea of a free and perfect human being, is The retaliation movement against the the eidolon and the palladium, the image compromise policy, led by Mr. Calhoun of Deity in man, which symbolizes and and supported by all the power of his elo- measures both law and liberty, in thi: quence, should it prevail ihrough his argu- land. Its place is in the inmost reces: ments, and not for other reasons more politic, of the heart of a freeman. From thence i will be a fatal triumph over the Whig Party. I will not be removed by force; the art neither of policy nor of superstition can | pacity for its exercise: a few nations, only, remove it:
have realized it, and always imperfectly.
Political liberty, imaging the mind of a “It fears not policy, that heretic,
bold, enterprising and intelligent nation, That works on leases of short numbered hours, numerous, able in war, skillful in arts, posBut all alone stands hugely politic."--Shak. sessing a bistory, a statute book, and a body
of law and custom ; such liberty is rather Hence the stern countenance and the the fruit of the greatest virtue and suffering, aspect of terror and of threat, which men possible only after a long probation and wear when this sacred topic is invaded. discipline, and is so far from being common It is a fearful topic : the idea of it over- or equal, great numbers, indeed, even in whelms and terrifies. Only the severe and free States, are ignorant of its nature and serious mind can approach it; it involves value, while they live protected by it. As the history of man ; it touches the liberty the state of liberty in the mind is one with of thought; it repels all control; the dif- the state of law, those only can enjoy it to ferences it creates are inexplicable, irreme- the full, who have the principles of diable; the fear of Death has no power law within them ; persons devoid of truth, over it: to comprehend it is to compre- of spirit and of virtue, can of course have hend all law and government: it is to know no appreciation of it. Natural liberty, or right and wrong, to have been familiar rather natural virtue, being extremely with fear, and resistance, and suffering. rare in its perfection, those who possess it
The full accomplished liberty of man is have always constituted a superior order, indeed a hope so dignified, that the gra- either as nations, tribes, classes, or individuvest may entertain it with enthusiasm; all als. Men of free, elevated character, may, the great and solemn wisdom of legislators however, be so numerous in a nation as to in the old republics, sprang from this idea ; shape its institutions ; and these institutions pur ancestors entertained it; theology has may so train and educate the many, as to seized upon it; literature lives by it; the constitute a nation of freemen. laws of free States are its defence; wherever But no free people who have preservit exists in a sufficient number of minds, ed their institutions have granted political and with a sufficient distinctness, laws and liberty to all promiscuously. For the exerprivileges are created to nurture, strength- cise of its first function—the franchiseen, and maintain it, in all its degrees. In part only are selected, fitted by age, cir'eudalism, in constitutional monarchy, and cumstances and patriotic sympathy, for its n the Republic, we have its grand em- right employment. It is an error to suppodiments. Being the mark, and crown, of pose that liberty is best protected by conhumanity arrived at maturity, it is the first ferring unlimited privileges upon all
. It 'eature in the idea of man in the Republic ; is necessary that those, only, should exerind we say of the freeman, that he and his cise a function who can use it with disellows are created free and equal, the cretion and freedom. The appointing Republic knows no other men ; if there power lodged in the people, cannot be De slaves and criminals in it, they do not properly exercised by persons devoid of belong to it; they are classed among its natural or educated freedom. ccidents and its imperfections.
Liberty does not consist in every man's The vast machinery of State, the Execu- having a hand in the government ; franive, the cabinet, Congress, the courts of chise is a regular function of governaw,
the army and navy, the fiscal officers, ment, and we might as well make all men he polls, all have but one purpose, to justices, or governors, as make all voters naintain and protect liberty.
Nor will it strengthen liberty to make To say, however, that liberty is a crca- sacrifices to abstract principles. As it has ion of the law, is to say too much, for no been established by a gradual process, it iw or constitution can, of course, more can be conferred only by one as gradual: han protect it in its privileges. But we if the slave is to be made free, he must now it is not proper to man in his law. be emancipated in such a manner as that ess, infantile or ignorant state ; nor have he shall not fall back into his original bar11 men, or races of men, exhibited the ca- | barism, deprived of the superior influencs