Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

lition, it is agreed that both the contracting parties shall use their best endeavors to accomplish so desirable an objeci."

This agreement being made by the treaty.making powers, imposes upon every branch of our Government, Executive, Legislative, or Judiciary, the duty of employing all the powers which it constitutionally may possess, to fulfil by its decisions this engagement of the nation. On the part of England this article of the treaty has been most faithfully respected and obeyed. In spite of long continued opposition from West India planters, England has abolished the traffic in slaves from her dominions.

But what has the Government of the United States done? Instead of lending every encouragement and aid in her power, to the removal of this great cancer, battening with its roots in the jugulars of the republic, she has nourished the evil! Instead of Presidential and Gubernatorial messages, urging Congress and the State Legislatures, under this standing paramount treaty-law, to do all in their power, within their respective jurisdictions, to abolish slavery, this " peculiar institution" has been nourished as a first born son, till, at length, lifted up by the wily tact of southern politicians, and a few northern men with southern principles," and by abuse of Executive influence, slavery has mounted the high places of power, and turned the Capital of our free Republic into a flesh

market, from which, by the constitution of Texas, that nation is to be I supplied for generations to come.

Holding ourselves pledged to abide by the compromise, till annulled by others, and appealing to our national journals and registers for particular facts, we ask southern gentlemen to look at the increase of slavery, and the assumptions of slave power, sanctioned by the encroachments and the abuse of Executive influence in swelling our army and navy to protect slavery—in commencing and prosecuting a Florida war, at some forty millions cost, to work the will of slaveholders—in prescribing the character of our foreign relations to foster slavery-in expounding the Constitution for pro-slavery purposes, so as to make it speak a language foreign to its preamble and declaration of rights-in moulding the Judiciary to defend slavery, and to aid in kidnapping from the North-in proscribing the discussion of slavery, orally or by mail—in building several huge prisons in the District of Columbia (at a cost of some hundreds of thousands of dollars) for a slave market-in taxing the North some 600,000 dollars annually to transport the mail for the South -in swelling the expenses of Government annually some ten or twelve millions, to build up and sustain slavery, enlarge its borders, recover its fugitives, and support our extra and undue proportion of pro-slavery men in office; and we ask with fraternal candor,-are these things in perfect keeping with the spirit of the Constitution, and with the expectation of the parties in the compromise ?

We wish to abide by the Constitution and its original compromise, and we claim their reciprocal rights.

But since slavery has thus mounted the high places of power, in violation of every expectation at the time of the compromise, and as our Government now proposes to fasten the rule of slavery irrevocably upon us as a nation, by annexing foreign territory to the Union, under such circumstances as will enlarge the field of slavery, and give future increase of representation to the slave States, and thus throw into the hands of the South a preponderance of power in all coming time,

we recommend to your honorable body the adoption of the following resolutions :

Resolved, with the concurrence of the Senate, That in the name of our constituents, and for ourselves, we make this our solemn protest against the annexation of Texas to our Federal Union; and we instruct our Senators, and request our Representatives in Congress to use every constitutional means in their power, to prevent the consummation of a scheme so obviously pro-slavery in its character,--so corrupt in its designs-so dangerous in its undoubted results on the harmony of the American Union—so dishonorable to our nation-and so much condemned hy the civilized world, and by the God of the oppressed.

Resolved, That the accomplishment of the proposed scheme of Anneration will be regarded, by this State, and we believe by all the free States, as such a violation of the compromise touching slavery, as in effect will discharge the North from its obligation to a continuance of the slave representation, a representation onerous enough when confined to the Constitutional Union, but intolerable when extended to a new union, formed by the introduction of a foreign nation, for the purpose of extending and perpetuating the dominion of slavery.

Resolved, That as slavery is of itself an element of weakness, inviting invasion from abroad, and insurrection in the slave States, which the Constitution of the present Union binds us to aid in repelling, we shall be constrained to regard the accomplishment of this unconstitution. al and dangerous scheme of Annexation, as deciding that this obligation will be binding upon the northern States no longer, when involuntarily made a minority of a vast slave empire, under a predominant slave power.

Therefore, in the alternative of the annexation of Texas to the United States, on terms admitting and perpetuating slavery, and compelling us to recognize in the act, our complete discharge from the onerous burden of the three-fifths representation, and from the obligation to repel, at call, invited foreign invasion or provoked domestic violence in the slave States :

Resolveu, That upon such a decision by the South, it will be optional with the free States to take into consideration the expediency of adopting such measures as will most effectually and amicably “ secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."

Resolved, That the Governor of this State be requested to transmit a copy of the foregoing resolutions to the Governor of each of the States of this Union, and to the President of the United States, and to each of our Senators and Representatives in Congress. All of which is respectfully submitted.

PETER CHASE, for Committee.

(0)

REPORT

OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE RESOLUTIONS

RELATIVE TO THE RIGHTS OF THE CENTRAL RAIL ROAD COMPANY.

To the House of Representatives, now in session :

Your Committee to whom were referred the resolutions relating to the Charter of the Central Rail Road Company, have taken the matters thereof into consideration so far as the limited time allowed for the purpose would permit, and ask leave to present the following Report:

The legislation of the General Assembly of the State of Vermont during the session of 1843, upon the subject of Rail Roads, having been well sustained by the people, will constitnte an important era in the progress of internal improvements in the State. The roads then chartered, will, when built, make a very important part of a general system of internal communication for the transaction of the domestic business of all classes of citizens, for the transmission of their surplus products to market, and for the return, in exchange therefor, of such commodities as their wishes may dictate, or their necessities require. In addition to this, a very considerable portion of the general commerce of the country will unquestionably pass over them in its transit to, and return from, market. We believe it will prove highly beneficial to all sections of the State, and every interest in the community, if these corporations are administered with integrity and wisdom, under judicious legislative restraints and limitations, and subject to the wholesome influence of a fair and natural competition ; but highly injurious, is unusual and extraordinary rights, powers, and immunities shall be conferred upon any particular corporation, such as will, inevitably, aid to make others, nut their competitors, but their mere servants, in bringing the business and travel of the country to the favored line.

The plainest principles of common justice, as well as the general good of the whole people, imperatively require that the privileges and immunities of all corporations granted by the Legislature, should be placed upon a common and equal basis. It appears to your Committee ihat in construing these grants, sound public policy requires that a strict and rigorous construction should prevail. If the charters are really defective because too little is given, a future legislature may supply the omission; but while the faith of the State, once legitimately ed, should be

er.

honestly adhered to, nothing should be considered as having been granted by mere implication, or as the result of a latitudinous construction.

Your Committee feel called upon to make these observations, from the extent, and alarming nature, of the claims, which, your Committee are advised, are made by the Vermont Central Railroad Company, under their Charter. Your Committee are advised, that said Company claim the right to commence their road at the extreme North line of the State, and to continue it thence to Burlington, and thence up the Valley of the Onion river. The language of their Charter is, that they may build a road “ from some point on the Eastern Shore of Lake Champlain, thence up the Valley of Onion river, and extending to a point on the Connecticut, most convenient to meet a Rail Road, either from Concord, N. H. or Fitchburg, Mass., to said river.” If, under this Charter, they have a right to commence some forty miles from the mouth of Onion river, at the North line of the State, then they would have the right to commence at a point as far South as this State borders on Lake Champlain ;-one is as much within the terms and true intent of their Charter as the oth

With the widest latitude of construction, such an extent of territory could not possibly be given to them. In granting Charters for Rail Roads, legislatures have always, as they should do, sought to define them with reasonable certainty; and the words, in the Charter under consideration,-" thence up the Valley of Onion river”-must be considered as words not of description merely, but of significant limitation.The Company should, therefore, be held to the selection of such a point on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, either in, or at any rate adjacent to, the Valley of Onion river, as will, all things considered, best accommodate their business, without conflicting with other rights equally sacred ; and, in the language of their Charter, proceed thence up the Valley of Onion river. Yet this Company claim the right to run some forty miles, on the shore of the Lake, and across the Valleys of the Missisquoi and Lamoille rivers, before they reach the Valley of Onion river. Your Committee are constrained to say that they find in the Act of the Legislature incorporating the Vermont Central Rail Road Company, no warrant whatever for such a claim.

We are next to consider how extensive are their rights and territory at their eastern point of termination. This Company claim the right to construct their road from the Valley of Onion river to the Connecticut, and thence, down the Connecticut, to Bellows Falls, and even to the South line of the State, if they choose, to connect with a Rail Road, from Fitchburg, Mass. The language of their Charter is :-" and excending to a point on the Connecticut most convenient to meet a rail road, either from Concord N. H. or Fitchburg, Mass. to said river;" and the 20th Section of said Charter provides that "nothing in this act shall authorize said Company to construct a rail road in the Valley of Connecti. cut river so as to interfere with any rail road that may hereafter be aathorized to be made in said Valley." By a reference to the situation of matters at the time the Charter was granted, it is obvious that this right was given in the alternative, because it was then regarded as questionable what road from Boston would first be completed through to the Connecticut river. If it had been supposed that it was reasonably certain,that a road would have been secured, and shortly completed, through from Concord to the Connecticut, we think it is evident that the Legis lature would have required the Central Company to terminate their road

w

at a point convenient to connect with such extension of the Concord road. The Charter of the Connecticut and Passumpsic Rivers Rail Road Company, granted in 1835, and revived in 1843, covers one of the most important great lines of intercommunication in this State. It constitutes a base line for all the roads, running in an easterly and westerly direction, that desire to enter upon it, and all such lines ought to be allowed to enter upon it on equal terms. To allow a corporation whose main line is running in an easterly and westerly direction, to control forever an intervening portion of this route, and have it in their power to dictate the terms upon which the Valley above shall communicate with the Valley below, would be highly inexpedient, and manifestly unjust.With a wise forecast, the Legislature of 1843 guarded these important rights by the provisions of the 20th Section of the Act incorporating the Central Rail Road Company, above recited ; and in the judgment of your Committee, the claim asserted by said Company, to construct their road, down the Valley of the Connecticut, some seventy miles below a point convenient to connect with a Rail Road from Concord, N. H. directly interferes and conflicts with the rights granted to the Connecticut and Passumpsic Rivers Rail Road Company, has no proper foundation in a fair and just construction of the terms of their Charter, and cannot be conceded without detriment to the public welfare.

Your Committee, therefore, unanimously recommend the adoption of the resolutions referred to them.

SAMUEL SWIFT,
EPHRAIM RICE,
SAMUEL ADAMS,
BRADLEY BARLOW,
ABISHAI STODDARD.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »