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now a member of that Ilouse, (Mr. Chixx,] moved that down the fanatics of the North. But, sir, (I give it as the paper should be laid upon the table. The yeas and my own opinion,) I do not believe the freemen of the nays were called for, and ordered, and there the paper North or the freemen of the South ought to, or will, tolwas placed by a decided majority of the House. There erate the idea that they should not be permitted to prewere then none of the scruples which exist now; no ! sent their petitions to this body; or that, having prepretence that the vote was evasive. That decision was sented them, in decent an'l respectful language, they ihen taken as the clear, distinct, unequivocal sense of shall be driven with scorn from our doors. the flouse, against the propriety of acting upon petitions Mr. B. appealed particularly to the gentlemen from of that character. The same course had likewise been the South. There was no necessity to change their popursued before the motion made by the gentleman from sition; they stood firm on the ground already taken. Virginia to which he had referred, when previous Why should they change it? For what good purpose papers of a like character had been repeatedly present. | could they desire to change the character of the ques. ed to the House. They had passed on to the table of tion, and involve the House in a difficulty about the the Speaker by the silent vote of the Ilouse, without right of petition, or in questions of a debatable and exhaving, on any occasion, for the last three or four years, citing character, when such a clear sentiment and feel(save on the occasion to which he had referred, and that ing, both in and out of the House, and throughout the was a speech by a single member last session,) elicited whole country, had been elicited? Why would gentlea debate. And here let him again advert to what must men permit themselves to be drawn into other questions, be within the knowledge of every gentleman there, that when the one already assumed and acted upon was a dethese votes of the House, thus placing upon the table cisive expression of the true feeling of the House? lle papers of this character, had at all times been regarded, would warn them that, if they permitted themselves to in the House and out of it, universally, as an expression be put in that new position, they would involve themof the House against the propriety of acting on petitions selves in difficulties they scarcely dream of, and which, of this character. Until within the last few days no one in his humble judgment, they ought seriously to deprehad ever thrown a doubt upon the subject. Now, for cate. It was remarked by the honorable gentleman the first time, they had been told that to put a paper on from Massachusetts, (Mr. Adams,] that if this question the table, where it would sleep the sleep of death, was were gone into, every speech made in that House by an evasion of the question? Nobody before ever heard gentlemen north of Mason and Dixon's line, would furof such an evasion! Every one regarded it, as in his nish an incendiary pamphlet for the South. In one estimation they had a right to regard it, as a most de sense, Mr. B. could believe that remark a just one, and cided and umequivocal decision of the House not to en in one sense only. It was, because every speech made tertain and act upon questions of that character. The under such circumstances, by gentlemen residing north character of this House could not be mistaken. There of Mason and Dixon's line, would be perverted, and were not fifty gentlemen in that body, judging from the misinterpreted, and misquoted, by factious and incenvotes given, who desired to agitate this subject, or to diary prints. It was not that every gentleman residing act upon petitions of this character. The sense of the north of that line would desire to make a speech of that House had been unequivocally, fairly, and fully ex character; for he knew that many, a vast proportion of pressed by the vote first given, to put the first petition them, almost in the proportion in which the votes of the upon the table, and the character of the House had House had been given, he believed, would deprecate since undergone no change.
such a result. But they would be so misinterpreted and Efforts, however, seemed to be making to change the misquoted by the press that no one could undertake to real question to be decided by the House. It was now say that every speech made in that House would not be said that they must come up and give a vote of a differ. truly a firebrand thrown into the South. In no other ent character; that they must either vote that they sense could he agree with the gentleman from Massawould not receive petitions of this character, or that, chusetts on that subject. having received them, they would put them out of Mr. B. said it had been a matter of sincere astonishdoors; or they must come to another question, and vote ment and regret on his part, that efforts should have that the House had no constitutional authority to receive been made, undoubtedly under a strong sense of duty, and act upon the petitions for the abolition of slavery in and under a strong belief that it would tend to tranthe District of Columbia. These, said Mr. B., were new quillize the South, to procure direct votes of the House inventions. Let him warn the gentlemen of the South, upon two propositions, upon both of which the debale who stood firm on the vote of 180 to 30, against consid. might be interminable. And would that expression of ering the first petition, not to change the real question, the House more operate to tranquillize the South, even by permitting themselves to be drawn into the contro. if it were obtained, than the one already adopted? verted position of the powers of that House; or into the It was said that a direct vote of the Tlouse that it would controverted and debatable grounds whether they not receive such petitions, or that, having received them, ought to reject petitions of this character; or, having it would drive them out of doors, or a direct vote of the received them, ought to turn them out of doors. if House that Congress had no power to legislate on the gentlemen from the South, who sincerely desired, as he subject of slavery within the District of Columbia, would knew they did, the harmony and peace of the whole go far to tranquillize the South. But what would that Union, if they permitted this question to be changed, yote be? The opinion of gentlemen sent there for two they might see from the votes of Friday last, and from years. And was it certain that that would be the opin. the votes of Monday, that no man could decide, or un ion of the next House? Would it furnish any sort of as. dertake to predict, what in a few days would be the surance on that subject? It was asking too much. It true character of that House. Upon the one subject, 1 was enough to ask of that House, and enough for the and upon the one ground, they stood firm, by a decided House to declare, that it would not act upon the subject. vote of 180 or 190 against 30 or 40 or 50; but, upon the That was reasonable; that was unquestionably the sense other, they would open so wide a field of debate that of the House; and it ought to content gentlemen in ultimately, if he judged correctly of the sense of the every quarter. House, his honest conviction was, they would find them. The proposition submitted or suggested by the honselves in the minority.
orable gentleman from Georgia, (Mr. Owens,] did not Sir, said Mr. B., we go with the South (I speak for affirm either point to which he had referred. it did not myself) against all agitation on this subject, and to put affirm that Congress had not the power-it did not affirm
that that House would not receive the petitions, but banks for a period not exceeding twelve months from the merely and directly and explicitly, that the House was passage of this act. Provided that this section shall not averse, and would not act upon any such subject. That interfere with any further regulation of Congress conwas reasonable, and was precisely equivalent to laying cerning the collection, deposite, distribution, or disbursesuch petitions on the table. Mr. B. believed that those ment of the public moneys. resolutions would meet the cordial and universal appro On motion of Mr. SLADE, the House then adjourned. bation of the gentlemen of the North, except those, if any there were, who would be disposed to encourage the getting up of these petitions. The resolutions did
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 23. not touch the power of the House. It was inquestion. able that there was a strong and fixed sentiment of that
OHIO BOUNDARY. House and of the whole country on this question. Why,
Mr. J. Q. ADAMS called the attention of the House then, permit themselves to change the position they had to the subject of the President's message in relation to taken, and involve themselves in the examination of con the northern boundary of Ohio. It would be recollected, troverted and debatable ground, and thereby lose the he said, that the subject was referred, ten days ago, to a high character the House had certainly occupied upon select committee, at his instance, and the Chair had this subject? He did hope sincerely that the motion to done him the honor to appoint him chairman of that reconsider the reference of the petition would be at committee. Subsequently, a motion was made to reonce adopted, and that they should either lay it on the
consider the reference of the subject to a select commit. table, or apply the resolutions of the gentleman from tee. His object in rising was to give notice that, unless Georgia to it. Pass those resolutions, and they will fur. the question of reconsideration should be taken up and nish a clear, direct, and unequivocal expression of the
disposed of to-day, he should feel it bis duty to call the sense of the House that it will in no event act apon the committee together, for the purpose of proceeding to subject.
consider the subject referred to them. Mr. SLADE rose to address the House; but, stating
SLAVERY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. that he was much exhausted by the long sitting, asked the House to indulge him with an adjournment, in order
The House resumed the consideration of the motion that he might express his views.
of Mr. Patron, to reconsider the vote referring to the
Committee on the District of Columbia, a petition preSUFFERERS BY FIRE IN NEW YORK.
sented by Mr. BRIGGS, from sundry citizens of MassachuMr. CAMBRELENG, by leave of the House, offered setts, praying Congress to abolish slavery in the District the following amended bill, for the relief of the sufferers of Columbia. by the fire in New York, stating that the committee, after Mr. SLADE, who was entitled to the floor, rose and consultation, had determined upon some alterations,
said he had been charged by a large and respectable which they thought would render it more acceptable to portion of his constituents with the duty of presenting the House.
memorials of similar import to that under discussion; The following is the bill as amended:
and for that reason, if for no other, he felt bound to
ask the indulgence of the House to a few remarks. A BILL for the relief of the sufferers by fire in the city
He approached the subject, he said, with an oppres. of New York.
sive sense of its magnitude, and knowing its exciting Be it enacled by the Senate and House of Representa character, of the great danger of being betrayed, in the tives of the United States of America in Congress assem progress of its discussion, into a state of feeling, un. bled, That the collector of the port of New York be, suited to the place and the occasion. It was a subject and he is hereby, authorized, as he may deem best cal. on which he, as well as his constituents, felt most deepculated to secure the interests of the United States, to ly; and he could neither represent their feelings, nor cause to be extended (with the assent of the sureties express his own, without a plainness and directness thereon, to all persons who have suffered loss of prop- which might give offence. He begged gentlemen to erty by the late conflagration at that place) the time of believe, however, that he should say nothing intended payment of all bonds heretofore given for duties as to give the slightest personal offence to any; though he aforesaid, to periods not exceeding an average of three, should, without fear of any, vindicate the petitioners, four, and five years, from and after the day of payment and assert the claims of those in whose behalf they plead. specified in the bonds; or to allow the said bonds to be He regretted to hear the memorialists spoken of in de. cancelled upon giving to the said collector new bonds, bate as intruders, and their respectful petitions upon a with one or more sureties, to the satisfaction of the said subject of great national importance trealed as a vexacollector, for the sums of the former bonds, respective. tious intermeddling with concerns in which they have Jy payable in average periods of three, four, and five no interest. Gentlemen must have patience. These years, from and after the day of payment specified in petitioners, as far as he was acquainted with them, were the bonds to be taken up or cancelled as aforesaid. among the most intelligent and respectable of the comAnd the said collector is hereby authorized and directed munity in which they reside; while the subject of their to give up or cancel all such bonds upon the receipt of petitions was one of which it well became them to speak, others described in this act; which last-mentioned bonds and the Congress of the United States to hear. shall be proceeded with, in all respects, like other The great purpose (said Mr. S.) of most of those who bonds which are taken by collectors for duties due to have hitherto spoken upon this subject seems to be to the United States: Provided, however, That nothing in get rid of the petitions. The gentleman from New this act contained shall extend to bonds which had fallen York (Mr. BEARDSLEY] wishes to have them all laid on due before the 17th day of the present month.
the table, as fast as presented, and “ nailed" there; and • Sec. 2. And be it further enacted by the authority yet he is exceedingly regardful of the “sacred right of aforesaid, that the Secretary of the Treasury be, and petitioning," which must on no account wbatever be he is hereby, authorized and directed to transfer to such impaired. The gentlemen from South Carolina (Messrs. banks as he may select, as safe depositories of the pub- HAMMOND, PICKENS, and T'HOMPSON] are more consislic treasure, any surplus moneys of the Government, or tent. They profess to regard the petitions as disreany part thereof, which may not be required for the spectful, and the petitioners as officious meddlers with public service, and to permit the same to remain in such that which does not concern them. They, therefore,
would have the petitions rejected. There is in this the as a freeman, and the representative of freemen, withmerit at least of consistency, and the gentlemen have out declaring, in the face of this House and of the world, my thanks for evincing a disposition to meet the quies that the right to bold men as goods and chattels, subtion fairly. Another gentleman, my honorable friend lject to sale and transfer, at the will of a master, should from Massachusetts, (Mr. ADAMS,] would have the pe- cease and be discontinued instantly and forever. titions contmitted to the Committee on the District of But while I say this, I would not render worse the Columbia; in other words, to use his own significant, condition of the slave, by conferring upon him rights and, in this case, appropriate language, to have them which he is not fitted to enjoy, and which would become consigned to the family vault of all the Capulets;" to him a curse rather than a blessing. I would not, at and yet he, too, is jealous of the “sacred right" of pe-once, entirely emancipate him from the control of his tition! The sacred right of petition !--that is to say, master. But it should not be, as now, an arbitrary, unthe “sacred right" of being " nailed to the table,” by qualified control. For that control I would substitute the gentleman from New York, or the “sacred right the authority of law, which should be supreme. In of being gathered by the gentleman from Massachusetts saying this, sir, I do but carry out a principle which into the “family vault of all the Capulets."
has long been dear to me as an anti-mason. I have Sir, the petitioners well understand the nature of maintained, and still maintain, and shall continue to both these rights. The last they have long enjoyed, maintain, as a cardinal principle in my political creed, and desire to enjoy it no longer. They want the action that, in opposition to all individual, and all associated, of Congress on the subject, which, judging from the self-constituted authority, the laws should be maintained past, they are sure not to have, if it is to depend upon in full and uncontrolled supremacy. There is no being, the decisive action of the Committee on the District of entitled to the appellation of man, who should not find Columbia. I intend no disrespect to that committee. shelter under the ægis of their broad and ample protecTo continue to do what has been done--that is, to do tion. In applying this principle to the case of the slave, nothing-would follow of course a commitment to them, however, I would not conser upon him the same rights with an express understanding that the petitions were which are possessed by his master; and for the obvious consigned to the tomb, without the hope of a resurrec- | reason that he is not fitted to enjoy them. But I would tion.
place him under the supervision of laws made for his I, sir, (said Mr. S.,) am in favor of the prayer of the special benefit, and adapted to his new condition--laws petitioners. I believe that Congress has a right to legis. which should essentially qualify the control of the maslate on the subject, and that the time has come when itter over bim--laws which should protect him in all the ought to legislate. Something has been suggested with rights which he is fitted to enjoy, and prepare him for regard to political objects connected with the present. the enjoyment of those to which it would be but a suiing of these petitions. Sir, I have no such object, nor cidal philanthropy immediately to admit him. Sir, we do I believe that any such purpose exists in the minds owe it to this degraded race of men to prepare them for of the petitioners. They are moved by a spirit of phi- freedom; to communicate to them moral and religious lanthropy, and deprecate the mingling of any consider. | and literary instruction; to restore and protect the doations with this question which may tend to divert atmestic relations among them; to teach them the duties tention from its real merits.
which they owe to God, and to us, and to one another; Gentlemen, I regret to say, seem willing to overlook and to build upon the foundation of a conscious responsithe real object of ihe petitioners, and to go off into de- / bility to the government of Heaven, and the authority nunciations of “abolitionits," to the end that the odium of righteous human laws, a social structure which it shall which has been attached to their measures for effecting be our glory to rear, and their highest earthly happiness the abolition of slavery in the States may be transferred to enjoy. to the exercise of an acknowledged right of asking Con- ! But, Mr. Speaker, while I thus repudiate the doctrine gress to abolish it in this District. But what do the pe of the immediate and unqualified abolition of slavery, I titioners ask at our hands? Why, sir, simply that meas. maintain the duty of immediately and absolutely abolishures may be taken to put an end to slavery here, and I ing the slave trade within the limits of this District. especially that here, where the flag of freedom floats And here I come to a part of the subject which gentleover the Capitol of this great republic, and where the men do not choose to approach, but manifestly desire authority of that republic is supreme, the trade in hu- / to avoid. In this I commend their prudence. The man flesh may be abolished. These are the questions slave trade is an evil for which they well know there is which gentlemen are called on to meet, but which they no defence, and no palliation. 1.regret, sir, that I have do not meet, either by calling the petitioners “ignorant not the means of ascertaining its extent and character fanatics," or denouncing them as “murderers and in: | within this District. But the fact that I have no such cendiaries.” If, in the fervor of their philanthropy, means furnishes a strong argument for referring the peany have adopted measures of more than doubtful ex. titions to a select committee, raised for the purpose of pediency, for the purpose of acting on the public senti- going into a full investigation, and making a full report ment in the slave States, in favor of immediate emanci- l of the facts connected with this traffic. I can at present pation, it surely furnishes no reason why we should ob- only say, I am well assured that the trade is actively stinately shut our eyes to the evils which are within our carried on in the cities both of Washington and Alexancontrol, and which call loudly for our interposition. dria,* especially in the latter, where there is a large re.
I have said, sir, that I am in favor of the prayer of the petitioners. Let me not be misunderstood. The abo * The following advertisements appear, daily, in the lition of slavery which I would advocate is a gradual abo- principal newspapers in this city: lition. I believe the immediate and unqualified abolition of slavery to be inconsistent with a just regard, both to
“CASH FOR 200 NEGROES, the best interests of the community, and the highest "Including both sexes, from twelve to twenty-five welfare of the slave. The philanthropy wbich aims at years of age. Persons having servants to dispose of will such an abolition, whatever I may think of its purity, I find it to their interest to give me a call, as I will give cannot commend for its intelligence or discretion. But higher prices, in cash, than any other purchaser who is though I would have abolition advance by a gradual now in this market. I can at all times be found at the progress towards its final consummation, I would have Mechanics' Hall, now kept by B. 0. Sheckel, and forthe work begin immediately. Sir, I cannot stand here I merly kept by Isaac Beers, on Seventh street, a few
ceptacle for the securing of slaves purchased in this measure to wbich I have alluded which brought into exDistrict and the surrounding country; from which they istence these meetings, and it was this against which are, from time to time, shipped to supply the markets their proceedings were mainly directed. The question in the southern and southwestern ports of the United of the abolition of slavery and the slave trade in this States. I need not say that, what is usually connected District was not agitated. It is not so much as alluded with the slave trade elsewhere is connected with it here to in the resolutions of the Philadelphia, New York, or the forced and final separation of parents and children, Boston meetings; but the doctrine of immediate aboliof brothers and sisters, of husbands and wives--the tion, and the extravagant proceedings" (to use the utter annihilation of all the endearing relations of hu- language of the New York resolutions) of the abolition. man life, and the substitution of the single relation which ists, constitute the burden of them all." property bears to its absolute proprietor.
Sir, there are very many of those who are disposed to Sir, shall this trade in human flesh be permitted to press upon Congress the duty of granting the prayer of continue in the very heart of this republic? Shall the these petitions, who did not and do not approve the law remain upon our statute book, which solemnly pro views and measures to which I have adverted; and it is nounces the citizen of the United States who is found | due to frankness to say, sir, that I am among that numengaged in the slave trade upon the high seas " a pirate," ber. I have never been able to perceive the expediency and dooms him to "suffer death," while here, in sight or propriety of attempting to inundate the South with of this very Capitol, the same trade is carried on with even unexceptionable publications on this subject, much impunity? Shall our citizens, who make merchandise less those having a direct tendency to excite the passions of men upon the ocean, be hunted as outlaws, while of the slave, and tempt him to force the bondage which here, the same offenders against the human race are it is not for him to break, but for others to unloose. [ suffered to pursue the guilty traffic unmolested? Sir, admire, indeed, the purity of the philanthropy wbich this subject demands a searching investigation. Will seeks to abolish the institution of slavery, and elevate the gentlemen deny such investigation? Shall the petitions degraded children of Africa from the condition of propwhich ask for it be “nailed to the table," or is buriederty to the privileges of men; but I deplore its often in the tomb of all the Capulets?" I trust they will not | misclirected zeal, and deprecate the reaction which it is be thus disposed of, and that no fear of “excitement" calculated to produce. The abolition of slavery in the will deter us from probing the subject to the bottom, States must be their own work. To convince them that and administering a prompt and effectual remedy. the whole system is ruinous and wrong, is not the labor
I have, Mr. Speaker, spoken plainly and decidedly, of a day or a year. All the questions connected with because it is due to the people whom I have the honor this subject are eminently practical questions, and nothto represent, that I should thus speak. It seems to me, ing can be more obvious than the danger of failing to sir, that the sentiments of the people of the North are accomplish any thing by a premature effort to accomnot fairly understood here on this subject.
plish at once all that an ardent philanthropy may desire. An honorable gentleman from New Hampshire [Mr. I have said that the public sentiment at the North is PIERCE) has said that not one in five hundred of his con not understood on this subject. I believe, sir, it is greatstituents were in favor of the object of these petitions; ly misunderstood. A large majority of the people are and other gentlemen have been understood to assert that opposed to certain views and measures, connected with the great mass of the northern people are opposed to the proposed abolition of slavery in the States; but they any action of Congress upon the subject. To sustain entertain, at the same time, an irreconcilable aversion to this view of the matter, the resolutions of public meetings the institution of slavery, in all its forms. The most at the North, disapproving certain measures of the abo. conclusive evidence of this is furnished in all the prolitionists, have been adverted to. I am well aware, sir, ceedings at the North, which have been adverted to in of the import of those resolutions, and think I understand this debate, as an index of public sentiment there. Thus something of the nature of that public sentiment which the preamble to the Boston resolutions declares, “We they indicate. And I must be permitted to say, that I hold this truth to be indisputable, that the condition of believe gentlemen are much mistaken in supposing that slavery finds no advocates among our citizens. Our laws they furnisha evidence that the general sentiment at the do not authorize it; our principles revolt against it; our North is opposed to the favorable action of Congress citizens will not tolerate its existence ainong them. upon the memorials which are now on your table. No, This, sir, expresses, I believe, the universal sentiment sir; the meetings which adopted the resolutions in ques at the North on this subject. It is a sentiment which is tion were got up with no reference to this subject. not the production of a momentary excitement, but is What are the facts? The southern country had been deeply seated in the sober and settled convictions of the suddenly flooded from the North with anti-slavery pub public mind. And, sir, let me assure gentlemen that no lications; and nortbern meetings were, thereupon, con expressions of disapprobation in regard to the measures vened to disavow a participation in the obnoxious meas- of “abolitionists,” or doubls as to the practicability of ure, and to express their disapprobation of it. This they immediate emancipation, are to be taken as evidence did, indeed, in strong, decided language. But let not that the “ principles of the northern people have gentlemen mistake the import of all this. It was the ceased to “revolt against" slavery; or that they will not
avail themselves of every suitable occasion to discuss it, doors below Lloyd's tavern, opposite the Centre mar
as well as of all reasonable and constitutional means of ket. All communications promptly attended to. remedying the evil. The slavery of the States they know
they cannot reach, but by moral influence; and that in« dec 4--dtf
“ Washington City.” Auence they think can be made most effectual through
kind and respectful, though earnest and urgent appeals "CASH FOR 500 NEGROES,
to the southern interest and the southern conscience. But “Including both sexes, from twelve to twenty-five slavery here they regard as within the competency of years of age. Persons baving likely servants to dispose national legislation, and hold themselves, in common of will find it to their interest to give us a call, as we with the whole country, directly responsible for its conwill give higher prices, in cash, than any other purcha tinuance. And I need hardly say that there is a very ser who is now or may hereafter come into market. general desire that measures may be immediately taken,
*FRANKLIN & ARMFIELD. looking to its final abolition; and especially that wbat “ Alexandria, April 6--d&sw."
I has, by almost the whole civilized world, come to be
accounted piracy upon the bigh seas, shall no longer be in defending it, as well as themselves, from the invasuffered to go unpunished and unmolested in the capital sion of a foreign power, or whether it shall be guarded of this republic.
by 60,000 slaves, who, instead of rallying in its defence, The venerable member from Massachusetts (Mr. An| may hail the invader as an angel of deliverance from AMS] has said, and said truly, that opposition to slavery their bondage? And is not this subject invested with ad.. is, with the people of the North, a religious principle. ditional interest, when it is considered that the Congress An honorable gentleman from Virginia (Mr. JONES) re of the United States will be surrounded by such an plies, by asking, with emphasis, whether it is the religion amount of such a population? Have the petitioners, of the Saviour of men? Sir, I did not expect to hear then, as a part of the American people, no interest in such a question seriously propounded here. I was not this question? prepared for an intimation that that religion justified the And then, too, there is the character of the country, as holding of human beings as property. Why, sir, what it may be affeeted by the institutions within the territois the great, leading, moral precept put forth by that ry, where the legislative power of that country is suSaviour, whose name is thus invoked to sanction the preme. Is slavery tolerated in this District!--the pepractice of slavery?
titioners feel themselves, in some sense, responsible for "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do it. Is merchandise made of men, within sight of the unto you, do ye even so to them."
Capitol in which their Representatives are assembled, Sir, I will allempt no commentary on this precept. It and on whose summit wave the stripes and the stars of needs none. I will only say that it contains the seminal freedom!-as Americans, they keenly feel the reproach, principle of the pure and elevated morality of the and instinctively reach forth their hands to wipe out. Christian system-a morality so congenial with the spirit, the stain from the escutcheon of their country. . and so constantly enforced by the example of its Divine But, in the second place, it is asserted that Congress author wbile upon earth.
has no right to legislate on this subject; that, however Now, sir, let gentlemen sliow me that Africans are not great may be the evil of slavery or the slave trade within " men," and I will give up the argument. But until this District, it is an evil which must be borne, since au. this is done, until the declaration is blotted from the thority to remedy it is not to be found among the powers Book of Revelation, that “God hath made of one blood | granted in the constitution. all nations of men, to dwell on all the face of the earth," ! And what are the powers of Congress touching this and until this great truth ceases to find a response in subject? Is it true that Congress is authorized to extend: every human bosom, shall slavery stand rebuked by this its legislation to the high seas, even to the very coast of all-comprehensive and sublime precept of the Saviour | Africa, and to prohibit the traffic in slaves, under the of men.
penalty of death, while it is powerless to reach the same But, sir, the religion wbich contains this precept, also evil in the very heart of the republic? if the grant of enjoins submission to the "powers that be." The same powers must be so construed if there is clearly no aumouth which uttered it said, “render unto Cæsar the thority by which the Government can act in this matter, things which are Cæsar's"-a precept coincident with then must we submit to the evil, and wait an amendment that which exhorts-"servants, be obedient to your own of the constitution, which shall make it consistent with masters; not answering again; not purloining, but show. itself, and save the country from reproach. ing all good fidelity.” The Saviour made it no part of But, sir, fortunately for the country, the constitution, his business, while upon earth, to subvert the existing through which we derive our powers, is not thus defecorder of things, or to prescribe specific regulations for live. The power to legislate upon this subject is grantthe administration of civil government. But he came to ed; and that, not by remote implication, but in terms redeem men from sin--to write the law of love upon of obvious and familiar import. The 8th section of the their hearts-to establish principles and proclaim pre first article gives to Congress authority "o (serc se cepts, before whose searching and all-pervading infuence exclusive legislation, in all cases whatsoever, over such the time-honored systems of injustice and oppression shall district (not exceeding ten miles square). as may, by inelt away.
cession of particular States, and the acceptance of ConPermit me now, Mr. Speaker, to examine, for a few gress, become the seat of Government of the United moments, some of the objections which are urged against States." the legislation of Congress on this subject.
In the first place, let it be observed, the power of Con. We are told, in the first place, that this is a question gress to legislate in this District is exclusive. There is which concerns exclusively the people of this District; no other jurisdiction, either concurrent or conflicting. that the petitioners have no interest in it, and have no The jurisdiction of Virginia and Maryland, from which more right to ask Congress to abolish slavery here than this territory was acquired by cession, is as perfectly ex. they have to petition the Legislature of Virginia to abolcluded as is the authority and jurisdiction of the Empeish it within her limits.
ror of all the Russias. Sir, the people who have signed these petitions re. The exclusive character of the jurisdiction being ap. gard themselves as citizens, not alone of the particular parent, the next question is, wliat is its extent? The anStales in which they reside, but of the republic. Eve- swer is in the language of the grant, that it extends to ry interest within the scope of the legislation of Con. "all cases whatsoever." The framers of the constitugress is their interest. Every thing which concerns this tion could have employed no language of more compreterritory concerns them: its police; the value and se hensive import than this "all cases whatsoever." But curity of tbe public property within its limits; and the are there no limitations to this? Certainly. The grant is safety of the representative bodies annually assembled | subject to the limitations which are incident to all legishere. This is the growing capital of a great republic. lative power. There are many things which no L-gisWhat may be the absolute or relative increase of its lature can rightfully do. It cannot pass an ex post facio slave population, or how much it may affect the future law. It cannot, by a mere act of legislation, transfer the condition of this District, cannot easily be foreseen. property of one individual to another. It cannot authorThat population amounted, in 1830, to more than 6,000. ize the commission of crime. These, and such like The time may come when it will amount to ten times limitations, exist in the present case; not because of any that number. And is it of no importance to our coun- | thing in the language of the grant, but because they are try whether its Capitol shall be surrounded by a mass of inberent in the very nature of all legislative power. hardy, independent freemen, ready to peril their lives | Now, will it be seriously contended that the abolition of