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Shall such an act, carried by such means, have the effect in this free country, of concluding and silencing opposition to an unconsummated measure? Let the spirit of free, intelligent and unsubdued Vermont answer.
And where will Vermont soou be, if the policy of foreign annexation is to prevail, and become the settled policy of the country? She will be in the condition of an appendage of a vast slave empire, embracing, not Texas only, but California, and finally every part of Mexico-all of which will be overrun by slave-hulders, who will, in due time, declare independence, and claim and obtain admission into the Union.
But annexation may be consummated! Slavery may triumph. It may secure a majority in the Senate of the United States. It may annul the compromises of the constitution, and destroy the bond that holds these States together. What, then, shall Vermont do? What it will be her right to do, admits of no question. If, from a regard to peace, she shall forbear to exercise her right, it should be with a solemn declaration to the Union and the world, that she thereby acknowledges no right of annexation, and forhears from no diminished conviction that it will subvert the Constitution, and essentially destroy the Union of which it is the bond ; and that she reserves the right of such future aetion as circumstances may suggest.
But, in the event of annexation, there will remain a great practical duty for us to perform. It will be, to go to the very verge of our constitutional power to effect the abolition of slavery, as "the chief evil in our country, and the great crime of our age." Slavery will, by annexation, have been taken under the special protection of the national government, and made in the highest sense, a national institution; and, thenceforth will become a leading and controlling element in the Union, It will then be seen in a stronger and clearer light than it has ever been. The success of annexation will have signally illustrated its character ; and the time is not distant, when it will be able no longer to adjust its influence in the scale of parties, so as to maintain its ascendancy by Northern co-operation ; for the North will have learned the indispensa, ble necessity of union, in order to roll back the tide of its usurpations, and so change the policy of the government that it shall cease to make the support of slavery an object of special and paramount regard. If the North, for the sake of peace, shall submit to annexation, the South must submit to the legitimate and inevitable consequences of thus forcing, everywhere, an investigation of the merits of slavery, and a thor. ough exposure of the impossibility of long maintaining a Union, embracing the hostile and irreconcilable elements of slavery and freedom.
I have received from the Executi of several of the States, resolutions of their respective legislatures, touching the subject of annexation, which I shall hereafter communicate for the consideration of the General Assembly.
Among the papers received from the Executives of other States is the solemn Declaration and Protest of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, against the laws of South Carolina, under which, colored citizens of Massachusetts are arrested on board her ships in the harbors of South Carolina, imprisoned in the jails of that State, and sold into perpetual slavery, in default of their commanders to give bonds to redeem them and to pay the expense of their detention-all which Massachusetts asserts is in violation of that clause of the Constitution of the United
States, which declares that “ the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States."
To protect her citizens from the execution of these laws, Massachusetts commissioned one of her most distinguished citizens to proceed to South Carolina, for the purpose of instituting such process as should bring the question of the constitutionality of these proceedings before the Supreme Court of the United States. It is a matter of history, that the agent, on appearing in South Carolina, for the purpose of executing a commission, thus looking to a peaceful and orderly appeal to the appropriate judicial tribunal, was driven away by threats of personal violence of a moh; and that subsequently, the legislature sanctioned the act of the mob by making an order “to expel " the agent from the State. Against this, also, Massachusetts protests.
I have received from the Governor of South Carolina, the proceedings referred to, of the legislature of that State. I have also received from the Governors of the States of Arkansas and Alabama, resolutions of the legislatures of those States, approving the outrage committed on the agent of Massachusetts ; and from the Governor of Connecticut, resolutions of the legislature of that State, declaring that the act of South Carolina is “a palpable and dangerous violation of the national compact." I shall hereafter transmit these papers with others on va. rious subjects, received from the Executives of other States, for the use of the General Assembly.
I have made this special reference to the proceedings of South Carolina, for the purpose of bringing them into immediate connection with the kindred subject to which I have, at some length, invited your attention, and of submitting to you the propriety and duty of a full consideration of these extraordinary proceedings, and an expression of the sense entertained by the General Assembly of this State, of their true character and tendency. It would seem evident that the Union cannot be maintained, if peaceable attempts to appeal to the appropriate judicial tribunal for the settlement of great constitutional questions, involving the relative rights of the States, are to be put down by mob violence, and the added sanction of legislative authority.
It is worthy of remark, that, upon an attempt by South Carolina to enforce the same laws against colored British subjects, and the remonstrance of the British government to that of the United States, South Carolina desisted ; and yet she rigorously enforces them against one of her sister States, and adds the extreme aggravation of rudely expelling from her territory an agent of that State, rather than allow him a residence long enough to perfect the process of submitting the question of difference to the decision of the constitutional tribunal.
Several of the slave States, it is understood, have laws on this subject, similar to those of South Carolina. Their enforcement in Louisiana induced the Legislature of Massachusetts to send an agent to that State for the purpose of instituting a similar process, who was also driven from the State by threats of mob violence.
If slavery cannot exist without the protection which such an exemption from constitutional law will give it, then it is evident that slavery and the constitution are at irreconcilable variance.-Massachusetts has forborne to retaliate, and contented herself, for the present, with a solemn protest and appeal to the world and in partial posterity, against these acts. But it is unreasonable to suppose that there will be no limit
to forbearance ; or that the Union can always withstand the power of such attempts to rend it asunder.
The question of protection to labor, in its otherwise ruinous competition with the starved and cheapened labor of other countries, continues to be one of undiminished interest. Indeed its interest has increased, as efforts to give ascendency to free trade principles have become more active and systematic. Of the existence of such activity and system, we have but too conclusive evidence, in all the indications, official and senu-official, of the new administration. It is given out, in ways not to be misunderstood, that the head of the financial department is industriously engaged in maturing a plan for reducing the tariff to the “revenne standard.” What that standard is, in the opinion of the school of political economists to which the Secretary belongs, may be gathered from a very elaborate report of the Committee of Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, at the first session of the 28th Congress, in which it was declared, that
“Every duty is to be considered and is properly denominated a revenue duty, the rate of which yields the largest amount of revenue from the importations of the article upon which it is imposed ; and every duty is to be considered and is properly denominated a protective duty, the rate of which is so high as to diminish the amount of revenue derived from the importations of the artiole upon which it is imposed, and the rates of which require to be reduced, tu increase the revenue. And when a given amount of revenue is desired to be raised upon any given article of importation, the committee regard the lowest rate of duty which will effect the result, as the true and legitimate revenue duty." The committee add-—". The protection afforded, under a revenue tariff thus defined, they would denominate incidental. The protection afforded by a protective tariff, according to the samne definition, is direct and positive--operates to diminish or destroy the revenue, and constitutes an ex. ercise of the power to lay and collect duties, entirely indefensible in principle and policy,"
st thus appears that " direct and positive protection ”-that is, protection which has the effect to diminish revenue from any given article, is entirely indefensible in principle and policy-the only allowable protection being that which is “incidental” to a revenue duty-that is, incidental to that duty which, without any reference to protection, will yield “ the largest amount of revenue from the importations of the article upon which it is imposed."
The mere statement of this doctrine is sufficient to show that it strikes a fatal blow at the principle of protection, because that rate of dnty can, obriously, furnish no stable protection, which is made to depeud, not on the degree of protection it will furnish, but on the amount of revenue it will yield-since it is well known that a rate of duty on a given article, which will yield little or no protection, may be the very rate which will yield the most revenue. There is not a protected interest in the country that can stand a single year, under the application of such a principle as this.
The true principle may be thus stated: A tariff which, while it shall, in the aggregate of its duties, yield the amount, and no more than the amount, needed for the treasury, shall be so adjusted, in its details, as to throw so much of that aggregate upon articles needing protection, as to give the protection needed—the balance being thrown upon articles needing litile or no protection.
certain questions propounded to manufacturers and others, to be answered without oath or cross-examination-information, to enable him to carry his destructive purpose into execution.
Vermont has too deep an interest in the great question thus about to be forced to a fearful and perilous issue, to remain indifferent or silent. It is due to the great value of our interests involved in the true principle of protection, that we thoroughly scrutinize the false principle on which, by a combination of its pretended friends with its open enemies, protection is to he made to rest. The imminency of the impending danger would seem to call for a decided expression of the General Assembly on this subject.
'I have received from the Corresponding Secretary of the American Peace Society a communication on the subject of Peace, with a request that I would lay it before the General Assembly. In compliance, I send herewith copies of the communication for your consideration. This request appears to be part of a general movement of that Society to impress upon the rulers of States and Nations the duty of reconsidering the question of war, as it stands connected with the temporal and spiritual interests of men, and to inculcate the importance and practicability of supersed ing its supposed necessity, by the principle of Arbitration, applied to nations as now is to individuals.
It would seem necessary to do little more than to announce this object, to secure for it the favorable consideration of the rulers of every Christian people. War is the greatest of all the calamities that ever afflicted the human race; and yet the world, after having been involved in its crimes and felt the terrific sweep of its desolations, for near sixty centuries, seems but just awaking from the delusion that it is necessary, and consistent with the spirit and principles of a religion whose allpervading element is love.
Our own country, more, perhaps, than almost any other, needs this awakening influence. The freedom happily enjoyed by our people, seems to engender the restless spirit favorable to war, while it receives additional impulse from the popular appeals incident to our system of free suffrage,-appeals made, often, by men who love distinction and excitement more than their country, while their appeals act on minds in no condition, from the association of numbers and other causes, to feel their true individual responsibility for the crimes and consequences of war.
The maxim—" In peace prepare for war,” is moreover a standing excitement to war,-performing the double office of provoking aggression, and prompting inconsiderate and rash resistance to it. The state of society in the Southern and South Western portions of our Union is an illustration in private life, of the practical results of this maxim-0 apparently just, and yet so really questionable.
There is, however, a preparation for war, which does not invite it. It is the preparation of simple, open-hearted, uniform fairness and justice,-the exhibition of a stronger solicitude to do right, than to exact it from others; and a sensibility, which habitually feels that the stain of dishonor is inflicted not by suffering wrong, but by doing it. The nation who shall cultivate this spirit—who shall fairly gain the reputation of The Just, will possess a defence, in an age ruled, as this is beginning to be, by enlightened public sentiment, more sure and effective than the power of fortifications, and armies, and navies, combined, can give.
But while the spirit of peace and a scrupulous regard to justice, will, by their silent influence, check, if they do not entirely subdue, the spirit of aggression, they will not, necessarily, prevent the occurrence of international differences, nor, in the present, if in any future state of the world, supersede the necessity of some formal provision for their adjustment. This necessity suggests a resort to the principle of Arbitration, and the introduction into treaties between nations, of stipulations to that effect.
It is to the furtherance of this object, by acting on the public sentiment of our own country and the world, that the American Peace Society solicits the action of the General Assembly of this State ; and I could hardly be invited to the performance of a more grateful duty than to become the medium of asking your attention to it, and recommending, as I do, such action as may, in your wisdom, most effectually lend the influence of this State in furtherance of this great movement of peace on earth and good will towards men.
The government of the United States has already, in three memorable instances, submitted matters of difference with other nations to the arbitrament of friendly powers—in two of them, with results which have been effectual to the settlement of the differences submitted'.
I must be permitted to add an expression of the sense I entertain of the great value of the efforts of the friends of peace, through the organization of peace societies, in dispelling the delusion so long prevalent in regard to war;--exposing the anti-Christian principles on which it has so long rested, and showing the extent to which it has paralyzed the industry, wasted the wealth, corrupted the morals, brufalized the passions, blasted the hopes, and vitally injured the highest interests of men. The results, thus far, of the quiet and persevering efforts of these associations, has furnished a most gratifying illustration of the silent power of truth, in the hands of Christian benerolence, to reform and save the world.
It only remains for me to tender to the General Assembly my hearty coöperation in every wise and well directed effort to promote the public good-trusting that we shall all feel how much we need the wisdom that comes from above, to enable us to comprehend the true character of that good, and direct us to the adoption of measures best adapted to ensure its successful accomplishment.
WILLIAM SLADE. EXECUTIVE CHAMBER,
October 11, 1845.
Ordered, That the Message of the Governor just read, be laid on the table, and that the Secretary procure to be printed 300 copies for the use of the Senate.
The hour designated for a Joint Assembly of the two Houses having arrived, the Senate repaired to the hall of the House of Representatives. And, having returned therefrom,
On motion of Mr. Billings, The Senate adjourned.