Page images

it. M. Guizot, the French minister, signed the treaty, but the Chamber refused to ratify it, and this action of the Chamber was found to agree with the voice of the nation-public sentimentwhich we are happy to find becoming omnipotent in France, as it is in the United States. The United States, as before, refused to enter into any alliance allowing the right of search. That Eng. land has been governed throughout in this matter by ambitious and selfish motives, is perfectly manifest from the acknowledgements of her public men, the repeated declarations of the French Government, and all other facts connected with the case.

England is aware that all efforts to suppress the Slave Trade have proved, and are likely to continue to prove, utterly unavailing: and it is known to her, too, that these efforts have greatly increased the mortality of the middle passage. The number of Africans imported to the West Indies and America, in the year 1797, was estimated to be forty-five thousand; and the mortali ty of the middle passage was estimated at only five per cent., now admitted not to have exceeded nine per cent. In the year 1840, it was declared by Sir Thomas Fowel Buxton, that the numbe of Africans sold into Slavery on the continent,

and in the West Indies, amounts to at least one hundred and fifty thousand souls: and this, too, in the face of all opposition-the Slave Trade being abolished by all nations-declared piracy by several, if not all of them—and when a perfect fleet of vessels is kept on the ocean with the express view of putting an end to it."* And in addition to all this, the mortality of the middle passage, in consequence of the efforts made to suppress the trade, has increased to twenty-five or thirty per cent.

Now in view of these results what but madness can induce a continuance of the present efforts? If England had no sinister design in view, she certainly would not persist in a course, the direct tendency of which is, to quadruple the very horrors which she seems desirous of mitigating.

The truth is, no reasonable doubt, can now remain as to the motives of England in reference to the abolition of the Slave Trade- the estab lishment of the right of search in time of peace -and the abolition of Slavery in the West Indies. She has been governed throughout, by a single desire, to promote her own power and greatness, and to cripple the influence and power

of others.

* J. H. Hammond's Letter to Thos. Clarkson, pp. 4, 5,

The gigantic strides of the United States to power and greatness have aroused all the jealousy of the British nation against us. At this time, we constitute the special objects of her attention: scarcely a mail now comes across the Atlantic that does not bring the anathemas of the English press against us. The annexation of Texas, and our claim to Oregon, constitute the pretexts for this tirade of abuse. According to the English organs, the world has never witnessed any thing equal in atrocity, to our conduct in annexing Texas to this Union, overlooking almost every page of English history for the last seventy years. Even at this time, without any pretext but a desire for self aggrandizement, she contemplates adding the rich province of the Punjaub to her already boundless possessions in the East.



THE opponents of Slavery at the North, advocate an immediate and unconditional emancipation

of all Slaves, throughout the length and breadth of the Slaveholding States of this Union. They expect to accomplish this object in the District of Columbia through the agency of Congress, and in the States, through the agency of the State Legislatures. This action of Congress, and of the several State Legislatures is to be effected by means of a change of sentiment on the part of the American people on the subject of Slavery, induced by arguments addressed to their understandings and consciences, both in the Slaveholding, and in the non-slaveholding States of the Union.

I wish to call the attention of the public to this subject, beginning with the power of Congress over Slavery in the District of Columbia. The advocates of abolition claim the power under that clause of the Constitution that confers upon Congress "exclusive legislation in all cases," in the District of Columbia.

Mr. Van Buren, even, believes that Congress can abolish Slavery in the District, though he differs widely from the Abolitionists as to the expediency of doing so; he thinks that the obligations resting upon the several States of the Union, not to interfere with Slavery in the District of Columbia, are as imperative as if they were express constitutional prohibitions on the subject, and as

an evidence of the sincerity of this opinion, he promised to veto any law interfering with Slavery, either in the States, or in the District of Columbia.

But let us see whether Congress has the power to abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia. It certainly has exclusive legislative power in the District, but did it never occur to the advocates of emancipation, that legislative bodies cannot do all things? Because Congress has exclusive power to pass laws for the benefit of the District, it has no right to say that the throats of all the inhabitants shall be cut, their houses burned down, or their property confiscated. There are bounds to legislative action which cannot be passed without the free consent of the people, to be effected by the legislation. No legislative body has the right to take the property of the people without their consent, and appropriate it to their own use, or to confiscate it, or to do any thing with it, except to pass laws for its protection, unless the exigencies of the State in time of war require it.

Now, as Negroes are recognized as property by the constitution and laws of the United States, Congress certainly can have no power without the consent of the Slave owners to abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia. With this con

« PreviousContinue »