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VIEWS OF THE REVOLUTIONARY PATRIOTS.
perhaps, for a season where already | as to the evils and dangers of arbiestablished, rather than to invoke trary, despotic, irresponsible power, greater mischiefs and perils by its too they were too upright and too logicsudden and violent extirpation than al to seek to fasten for all time on a were likely to flow from its more helpless and inoffensive race chains patient and gradual extinction. But far heavier and more galling than to plant Slavery on virgin soil—to those they had just shaken off. Most consecrate vast and yet vacant terri- of them held slaves, but held them tories to its extension and perpetua- under protest against the anomaly tion-to conquer and annex still presented to the world by republican further domains expressly to increase bondage, and in the confident hope its security and enlarge its power that the day would soon dawn that are guilty dreams which never trou would rid themselves of the burden bled the repose of the great body of and their country of the curse and our Revolutionary sages and patriots. shame of human chattelhood. Had Enlightened by their own experience they beer asked to unite in any of
a moral, but a natural sense. They are con a striking evidence of the benevolence of your temptible too, and will soon be despised, even heart. I shall be happy to join you in so laudby their negroes themselves.
able a work; but will defer going into a detail "Slavery tends to lewdness, not only as it of the business until I have the pleasure of seePichluces indolence, but as it affords abundant ing you."— Sparks's Washington, vol. viii., p 414. opportunity for that wickedness, without either the danger or dificulty of an attack on the vir
Again, in a letter to the same, of May 10, tue of a woman of chastity, or the danger of a
1786: connection with one of ill fame. A planter, with “The benevolence of your heart, my dear Marhis hundred wenches about him, is, in some re quis, is so conspicuous upon all occasions, that I sperts at least, like the Sultan in his seraglio; and never wonder at any fresh proofs of it; but your tre learn too frequently the influence and effect late purchase of an estate in the colony of Cayof such a situation, not only from common fame, enne, with a view to emancipate the slaves on but from the multitude of mulattoes in countries
it, is a generous and noble proof of your humanwhere slaves are very numerous.
ity. Would to God a like spirit might diffuse "Slavery has a most direct tendency to haugh- itself in the minds of the people of this country! tiness also, and a domineering spirit and conduct But I despair of seeing it. Some petitions were in the proprietors of slaves, and in their children, presented to the Assembly at its last session, for and in all who have control of them. A man
the Abolition of Slavery, but they could scarcely who has been brought up in domineering over obtain a reading.”—Ibid., vol. ix., p. 163. Degroes can scarcely avoid contracting such a habit of haughtiness and domination as will ex
In a remarkable and very interesting letter press itself in his general treatment of mankind, written by Lafayette in the prison of Magdeburg, whether in his private capacity, or any office, he said : cvil or military, with which he may be vested. Despotism in economics naturally leads to des.
“I know not what disposition bas been made
of my plantation at Cayenne; but I hope Madam potism in politics, and domestic Slavery in a free
De Lafayette will take care that the negroes government is a perfect solecism in human affairs.
who cultivate it shall preserve their liberty." "How baneful all these tendencies and effects The following language is also Lafayette's, in of Slavery must be to the public good, and espe a letter to Hamilton, from Paris, April 13, 1785 : cally to the public good of such a free country as ours, I need not inforın you."-Sermons, 1775
“In one of your New York Gazettes, I find an association against the Slavery of the negroes,
which seems to me worded in such a way as to · The opinion of the Father of his Country give no offense to the moderate men in the respecting the “ peculiar institution” of the Southern States. As I have ever been partial to South may be perceived from the following ex my brethren of that color, I wish, if you are one tracts. In a letter to Lafayette, bearing date
in the society, you would move, in your own April 5, 1783, he says:
name, for my being admitted on the list." Works
of Alex. Hamilton, N. Y., 1851, vol. i., p. 423. *** The scheme, my dear Marquis, which you propose as a precedent to encourage the emanci
John Adams, in a letter to Robert J. Evans, pation of the black people in this country from
June 8, 1819, expresses himself as follows: that state of bondage in which they are ! id, is “I respect the sentiments and motives which
99, p. 10.
the projects of the Sam Houstons, with the since famous John Randolph William Walkers, Quitmans, and of Roanoke, then a young member, as Slidells of our day, they would have its chairman. On the 2d of March, retorted as indignantly as the aston- 1803, Mr. Randolph made a unani ished Syrian to the Hebrew prophet mous report from this Committee,
“ Is thy servant a dog, that he recommending a denial of the prayer should do this thing ?” Oh that they of the petitioners, for these reasons : had but known and realized that the
“The rapid population of the State of wrong which to-day is barely tole- Ohio sufficiently evinces, in the opinion of rated for the moment, is to-morrow
your Committee, that the labor of slaves is
not necessary to promote the growth and cherished, and the next day sustain settlement of colonies in that region; that ed, eulogized, and propagated !
this labor-demonstrably the dearest of any --can only be employed in the cultivation
of products more valuable than any known When Ohio was made a State, in to that quarter of the United States; that 1803, the residue of the North-West the Committee deem it highly dangerous and
inexpedient to impair a provision wisely Territory became Indiana Territory, calculated to promote the happiness and with William Henry Harrison prosperity of the North-Western Country, since President of the United States and to give strength and security to that er?
tensive frontier. In the salutary operation —as Governor. Its earlier settle of this sagacious and benevolent restraint it ments were mainly on the banks of is believed that the inhabitants of Indiana the Ohio and of its northern tributa- remuneration for a temporary privation of
will, at no very distant day, find ample ries, and were principally by emi- labor, and of emigration. grants from Virginia, Kentucky, and The session terminated the next other Slave States. These emigrants, day; and the subject was, the next realizing an urgent need of labor, and winter, referred to a new committee, being accustomed to supply that need whereof Cæsar Rodney, of Delaware, by the employment of slaves, almost was chairman. This committee reunanimously memorialized Congress, ported in favor “of a qualified susthrough a Convention assembled in pension, for a limited time," of the 1802, and presided over by their inhibition aforesaid.
But Congress Governor, for a temporary suspension took no action on the report. of the sixth article of the Ordinance The people of Indiana Territory of '87, whereby Slavery was expressly persisted in their seemingly unaniprohibited. Their memorial was re- mous supplication to be allowed, for ferred by the House of Representa- a limited period, the use of Slave tives to a Select Committee of three, Labor; and Mr. Garnett, of Virginia, two of them from the Slave States, on the 14th of February, 1806, made have prompted you to engage in your present United States. * I have, through my occupation so much, that I feel an esteem and whole life, held the practice of Slavery in such affection for your person, as I do a'veneration abhorrence, that I have never owned a negro or for your assumed signature of Benjamin Rush. any other slave, though I have lived for many The turpitude, the inhumanity, the cruelty, and years in times when the practice was not dis. the infamy of the African commerce, have been graceful-when the best men in my vicinity so impressively represented to the public by the thought it not inconsistent with their character; highest powers of eloquence, that nothing that I and when it has cost me thousands of dollars could say would increase the just odium in which for the labor and subsistence of free men, which it is, and ought to be, held. Every measure of I might have saved by the purchase of negroes, prudence, therefore, ought to be assumed for the at times when they were very cheap."- Works eventual total extirpation of Slavery from the of John Adams, Boston, 1856, vol. x., p. 386.
another report from a Select Com- | Wisconsin, appears to have ended. mittee in favor of granting their re- By this time, emigration from the quest. But Congress never took this Free States into that Territory had report into consideration. At the next begun. But it is probable that, at session, a fresh letter from Governor any time prior to 1818–20, a majority Harrison, inclosing resolves of the of the white settlers actually resident Legislative Council and House of in that Territory would have voted in Representatives in favor of suspend favor of the introduction of slaves. ing temporarily the inhibition of Slavery, was received, and referred For a counter-revolution had been (Jannary 21, 1807) to a Select Com- silently proceeding for some years mittee, whereof Mr. B. Parke, Dele- previous, and had almost eradicated gate from said Territory, was made the lessons and the principles of the chairman. This Committee, com- Revolution from the hearts of the posed mainly of members from South, saving, of course, those porSlave States, made (February 12th) a tions wherein they seem to have third report in favor of the petition- never been learned. The bases of this ers; but Congress never acted upon revolution are the acquisition of the subject.
Louisiana and the invention of the At the next session, the matter was Cotton Gin;"events for which Thomas bronght before the Senate, on the appa- Jefferson and Eli Whitney-neither rently unanimous prayer of Governor of them pro-slavery—are primarily Harrison and his Legislature for per- responsible. The acquisition of Loumission temporarily to employ slaves; isiana, though second in occurrence but there was now, for the first time, and in importance, first attracted and a remonstrance of citizens of the fixed the attention of mankind, and Territory against the measure. The shall, therefore, be first considered. Senate referred the subject to a Select Committee of three, whereof Mr. The river Mississippi was first disJesse Franklin, of N. C., was chair-covered in 1541, by the Spanish man; and Mr. Franklin, on the 13th adventurer De Soto, in the course of of November, 1807, reported briefly his three or four years' fantastic against the petition, closing as fol- wanderings and fightings throughout lows:
the region which now constitutes the " Your Committee, after duly considering Gulf States of our Union, in quest of the matter, respectfully submit the following the fabled Eldorado, or Land of Gold. resolution :
“ Resolted, That it is not expedient at this He left Spain in 1538, at the head of time to suspend the sixth article of compact six hundred ambitious and enthusiasfor the government of the Territory of the tic followers, all eager and sanguine [nited States North-West of the river Ohio."
as himself in their quest of the founAnd here the long and fruitless tain of perpetual youth and life. He struggle to fasten Slavery upon the died of a malignant fever on the bank vast Territory now forming the States of the Mississippi, in the spring or of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and early summer of 1542; and his body,
• This word is merely a corruption of engine.
to conceal his death from the sur New Orleans was first chosen as the rounding hostile savages, was sunk by site of a city in 1717, laid out in his surviving followers in the deep 1718, when the levees which protect current of that mighty stream. Of it from the annual inundations of the the entire expedition, less than half, river were immediately commenced, an enfeebled and wretched remnant, and steadily prosecuted to completion, finally reached the coast of Mexico, ten years afterward. The colony of in the summer of 1543, glad to have Louisiana (so named after Louis XIV.) escaped with their bare lives from the remained a French possession until inhospitable swamps and savages they 1762, when it was ceded to Spain. had so recklessly encountered. It New Orleans gradually increased in does not appear that any of them, trade and population, but the colony
or even De Soto himself, had formed outside of that city was of slight imany adequate conception of the importance under its Spanish rulers, portance of their discovery, of the who did little to develop its resourmagnitude of the river, or of the ex- ces, and were not popular with its tent and fertility of the regions mainly French inhabitants. In 1802, drained by its tributaries; since more Napoleon Bonaparte, then First Conthan a century was allowed to tran- sul, induced the feeble and decaying spire before the Mississippi was re- Bourbons of Spain, then in close allivisited by civilized men. And its ance with revolutionary France, to next discoverers were not Spaniards, retrocede to her Louisiana, almost but Frenchmen; although Spain had without consideration; and the French long possessed and colonized Florida flag once more waved over delighted and Mexico on either side of its New Orleans. mouth. But the French-now firmly In the United States, however, the established in Canada, and penetrat- transfer was regarded with regret and ing by their traders and voyageurs apprehension. Our settlers beyond the wild region stretching westward the Alleghanies, who must export and south-westward from that Colony their surplus products through the -obtained from the savages some lower Mississippi, or see them perish account of this river about the year useless and valueless on their hands, 1660; and in 1673, Marquette and had been for fifteen years in a state Joliet, proceeding westward from of chronic and by no means voiceless Montreal, through the Great Lakes, dissatisfaction with the alleged jealreached the Mississippi above its ous hostility and obstructive regulajunction with the Missouri, and tions of the Spanish rulers of that descended it to within three days essential outlet. Threats were freely journey of its mouth. In 1682, La uttered that they would soon descend Salle descended it to the Gulf of the river and clear its lower banks Mexico, and took formal possession of the Dons and drones who seemed of the region in the name of his king to burrow there only as an impediand country. A fort was erected
A fort was erected on ment and a nuisance. The Spanits banks by Iberville, about the year iards were charged with fomenting 1699; and in 1703, a settlement was intrigues in Kentucky and Tennessee, made at St. Peters, on the Yazoo. I which had for their object the aliena
LOUISIANA CEDED TO FRANCE
tion of the entire valley of the Ohio | which had seemed so niggardly when from the Union; and certain discon- conceded by the weakness of Spain, tented or desperate spirits were were now rather contracted than enpointed at and named by their neigh- larged, and were likely to be withbors as having sold themselves for drawn altogether. We had freely conmoney to the Spanish governor at temned and denounced the stupidity New Orleans, agreeing to lend all and blindness of King Log, but became their energies to the promotion of his suddenly grave and silent on the unabsurd scheme. So long as Spain expected advent of King Stork. held the gateway of the Mississippi, Mr. Jefferson, who had recently it seemed that no other sway there been called to the Presidency, and could be more unpopular or odious who mainly did the deeper thinking with our Western pioneers.
of the young and vigorous party But a “sober second thought was which now ruled the country, reevinced from the moment that her garded the change with alarm from flag had been supplanted by that of still another aspect. Popular symrepublican France. It was instinc pathy with and admiration for repubtively and universally felt that even lican France, with a corresponding the growls and threats, in which our aversion to and hatred of aristocratic people so freely indulged so long as England, were among the most pothe effete and despised Spaniard was tent influences which had combined their object, would no longer be politic to overthrow the Federalists here and nor safe. Directly after the general bring the Republicans into power. pacification of Europe, in 1802, by the But all this was now morally certain treaty of Amiens, a powerful French to be reversed.
to be reversed. France, planting expedition had sailed for the West herself, as it were, at our back door, Indies; and, though its ostensible and there erecting fortifications, and jealreal destination was Hayti, the appre- ously scrutinizing, if not positively hension was here general and reason- arresting, every one who should unable that it would ultimately, if not dertake to pass in or out, became inimmediately, be debarked on the evitably and predominantly the obbanks of the Mississippi. The privi-ject of American distrust and hostilileges of navigation and of deposit, ty. And now the great advantage
5 Upon learning of this important transfer, with which we could never have an occasion of Mr. Jefferson (April 18, 1802) wrote to Mr. difference. Her growth, therefore, we viewed Livingston, our Minister at Paris, as follows:
as our own-her misfortunes ours. There is on
the globe one single spot, the possessor of which " The cession of Louisiana and the Floridas is our natural and habitual enemy. It is New by Spain to France, works most sorely on the Orleans, through which the produce of threeUnited States. On this subject, the Secretary eighths of our territory must pass to market; of State has written to you fully, yet I cannot and, from its fertility, it will ere long yield more forbear recurring to it personally, so deep is the than half of our whole produce, and contain impression it makes on my mind. It completely more than half of our inhabitants. France, Tererses all the political relations of the United placing herself in that door, assumes to us the States, and will form a new epoch in our politi- attitude of defiance. Spain might have retaincal course. Of all nations of any consideration, ed it quietly for years. Her pacific dispositions, France is the one which hitherto has offered the her feeble state, would induce her to increase fewest points on which we could have any con our facilities there, so that her possession of the flict of rights, and the most points of a commu place would be hardly felt by us, and it would nion of interests. From these causes, we have not, perhaps, be very long before some circumever looked to her as our natural friend, as ono stances might arise, which might make the cession.