Page images
[ocr errors][merged small]

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 pay 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 bonâ fue purchasers. No sball 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 convey. but 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 highways, and forever free, as well to the inhabitit necessary for the common preservation 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. Fation 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 fivə 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 fect, private contracts or engagements, bona fide, 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. ProART. 4. The said Territory, and the States vided, however, and it is further understood and which 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 Dances 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 apprewhenever any of the said States shall have VIRGINIA....... 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,

Mr. Hawkins.....ay, and shall be at liberty to form a permanent con

SOUTH CAROLINA ... Mr. Kean....

.ay, stitution and State government; provided the

Mr. Huger.. constitution and government so to be formed GEORGIA.. ..Mr. Few..

.ay, shall be republican, and in conformity to the

Mr. Pierce...

Ay. principles 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

-& 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, otherwise than in punishment of crimes, whereof circles of those who oppose the new Constitution,

we already hear it whispered in the private the party shall have been duly convicted; pro 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."

avowal. 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..


“ The melancholy story of the Federation Mr. Dane..


showed the stern necessity of a compulsory NEW YORK... ......Mr. Smith...

power in the General Government to execute the Mr. Haring.

.ay, Ay.

duties confided to it; and the history of the Mr. Yates..


present goverument itself has, on more than one NEW JERSEY... ...Mr. Clarke....


occasion, manifested that the power of the Union Mr. Sherman.. .ay,

is barely adequate to compel the execution of its DELAWARE.. . Mr. Kearney... ...ay,

laws, when resisted even by a single State.”— }

Oliver Wolcott, vol. ii., p. 323.


·ay, S









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

. 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 Sect. 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 'one for every forty thousand inhabitants,' which der consideration had, by the tenor of it, put an was agreed to nem. 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. Shall vailed. 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 daycises. 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, paying for all the negroes in the United States,

resumed-Colonel Mason (George, grandfather 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 expesidered 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 hare 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 (of 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 natins 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, Prov. a 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 increaseof Slavery.”Ibid., p. 1390




a Constitution as they would have | by the delegates from those States. preferred, Slavery would have found North Carolina was passive; Virno lodgment in it; but already the ginia and her more northern sisters whip of Disunion was brandished, more than willing to prohibit at once and the fatal necessity of Compro- the further importation of Slaves; mise made manifest. The Convention in fact, several, if not all, of these would have at once and forever pro- States, including Virginia and Maryhibited, so far as our country and her land, had already expressly forbidpeople were concerned, the African den it. But the ultimatum presented Slave-Trade; but South Carolina and by the still slave-hungry States of Georgia were present, by their dele- the extreme South was imperative, gates, to admonish, and, if admoni- and the necessity of submitting to it tion did not answer, to menace, that was quite too easily conceded. Roger this must not be. “No Slave- Sherman, of Connecticut, was among Trade, no Union !" Such was the the first to adınit it. The conscience short and sharp alternative presented of the North was quieted' by em

$ In the debate of the same day, “General subject to be committed, including the clause Pinckney declared it to be his firm conviction, relating to taxes on exports, and the navigation that, if himself and all his colleagues were to siga These things may form a bargain among the Constitution, and use their personal influ the Northern and Southern States. ence, it would be of no avail toward obtaining “Mr. BUTLER [of South Carolina] declared that the consent of their constituents. South Car- he would never agree to the power of taxing olina and Georgia can not do without slaves. * * exports. He contended that the importation of slaves * Mr. SHERMAN said it was better to let the would be for the interest of the whole Union. Southern States import slaves than to part with The more slaves, the more products to employ them, if they made that a sine quâ non.the carrying trade; the more consumption also; On the question for committing the remainand the more of this, the more revenue for the ing part of Sections 4 and 5, of Article VII., the common treasury. He admitted it to be reason vote was 7 in the affirmative; 3 in the negative; able, that slaves should be dutied, like other im Massachusetts absent.-Ibid., p. 1392. ports, but should consider a rejection of the clause as an exclusion of South Carolina from the Union.

* An instance of this quieting influence, as “Mr. Baldwin has similar conceptions in the exerted by The Federalist, a series of letters, case of Georgia.

urging upon the Northern people the adoption "Mr. WILSON (of Pennsylvania) observed, that, of the new Constitution, as framed and presentif South Carolina and Georgia were thus dis

ed to their several legislatures for ratification posed to get rid of the importation of slaves in a short time, as had been suggested, they would by the Federal Convention, may be shown in never refuse to unite, because the importation the following: might be prohibited. As the section now “It were, doubtless, to be wished that the stands, all articles imported are to bo taxed. power of prohibiting the importation of slaves Slaves alone are exempt. This is, in fact, a had not been postponed until the year 1808; bounty on that article.

or rather, that it had been suffered to have im"Nr. DICKINSON (of Delaware] expressed his mediate operation. But it is not difficult to sentiments as of a similar character. And account either for this restriction on the GenerMessrs. KING and LANGDON (of New Hampshire) | al Government, or for the manner in which the were also in favor of giving the power to the whole clause is expressed. It ought to be conGeneral Government.

sidered as a great point gained in favor of hunan“General PINCKNEY thought himself bound ity, that a period of twenty years may terminato to declare candidly, that he did not think South forever, within these States, a traffic which has Carolina would stop her importations of shires in so long and so loudly upbraided the barbarism any short time; but only stop them occasionally, of modern policy ; that within that period it will as she now does. He moved to commit the receive a considerable discouragement from tho clause, that slaves might be made liable to an Federal Government, and may be totally abolequal tas with other imports; which he thought | ished by the concurrence of the few States right, and which would remove one difficulty which continue the unnatural traslic, in the prothat had been started.

bibitory example which is given by so large a * Mr. RUTLEDGE seconded the motion of Gen-, majority of the Union. Happy would it be for eral Pinckney.

the unfortunate Africans if an equal prospect “Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS wished the whole ( lay before them of being redeemed from the

« PreviousContinue »