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Legislatures Can Abolish Slavery

Legislatures Can Abolish Slavery image
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When obolitionists speak of cmancipation as practicable by the Legislativo authority of the slnve States, a thousand ignoramu3e8 who, perhapa, never read the constitutton through in their livcs, stand ready to cry out thnt such an act would be unconstitutional and void - Uiat the 6lave states have no right to give freedom tu a slave without paying his value to the master. A Hule more knowlcdge on their part would render any discussion of the subject superíluous. Examine a few particulars. 1. Slavery, as a legal 6yjtem, 13 the crea ture of lagialation. Cannot legislators repeal their own Iaw8Ï If they cannot, who can? Must laws, once established, be etcrnal? 2. Almot trery civilizad catión has abo!"ishëd b!:.cry bv law. For Englaad', i!' .'.u: ■ n i ?7li; Fiance set (óns öi.'O.OüO in lier Wcsi India Colónioa in 7'J-l. Jt was aboJisfc ecl n Jiiva in lcll; 'm Ceylun 1815: in Buenos . 1816; ín Gbiombia, 132!; Chili, üo'ivin, i&: Peru, 1828; the BrttUh West índies, in 183-i; ín Tunis, in 1841. In our own country, Pennsylvaniii pnssed nn nbolition act i 1783; Connccticiu in 17S-1; Ithode Island, 1784 New York n 1799; New Jersey, ín 1804; Vnr mont abolished it by Constituticn in 1777: Mas 178'J; and New [iamps'iire in 1784 3. Congress aboüshed slavery in 1787 in th wholc Norih Western Terriiory. Evcry eloVo holding member of Congress from Mnrylanc Virginia, North and South Caroiin.i, and Geor gia voted for tliat ordinance. Tliat sluves wer emancipated by that act is shown from ihc fm that persons holding slavea in the Illinois countr petitioncd for its repoa!. and for the passing of law legalizing slavery there. 4. The U. S. Constituiion recognize3thc pow er of each State toaboliah slavery witliin its lim its by the strongest implication. "No persoi held ;o service or labor in o ie State, under th laws thereof, esenping into another, ehall in con Beijnonccof any late or rcgulaüon thcrcii, bedis eharged from snch service or labor." If these States had no power to emancípate, why thi clause to prevent it? 5. The most eminent Statesmen, themseh-e slaveholders, havo conceded that the Legislature have authority to abolish slavery. Wash ington, in a lettter to Roben J.Iorris, April 12 1786, says: "There is not a man living, wbo wishes more sincerely thr.n I do, tü sce a plui adopted for tho abolition of slavery; hut there is only one proper and eilectual mode by whicl it cn.n be accomplished, and that is by legislaiiv authority." In a letter to La Fayctte, May 10 1786. he snys: 'It (the abolition of slavery ) eer tainly might, and assuredly ouglu to bc efiected and that too by legislathc Gtithority." In a letter to John Fenton Mercer, Scpt. 9, 17S6, he snys: 'It is among my first wiahes to seo some plan adopted by which slavery in thia countr} may be abolished by law." In a letter to Êir John Sinclair, he snys: "There areinvanm laws for the graduul abolitiou of siavery which ncithcr Maryland nor Virginia have at present, but which nothing is more certain than hat they muit A.'.-oe.and at a pcriod nol remóte." JeíTcrson says of movements in the Virginia ..egislature towardsemancipation, in 1177: i;Tlie principies of the amendment were agreod on. hat is to say, the frcedom of all boru after a cerain day; but it was found that the public mind vould notbear the pruposition, yet Mie day is not ar distant when it mitst b car and ad' pL it." - efferson, Pendleton, Masón, Wythe and Lee, 'ere a commitíce of the Virginia House of Deleates, and prepared a plan for the gradual cinanipaiion of 6laves by law.John Juy. in 1786. wroie from Spain respectlng slavery in New York: "Were I in your legislature, I would presenta bilí for the purpose (gradual abolí tion) and would not cease urging it uil it became a law.or I ceased to bc a memher." - Governor Tompkins, ofNew York, in a message to the Legislatura, said: ;íTo devise meaiis for the gradual exterminntion of slavery from among vs. is a work wonhy ihe rcpreicnLUices üf a polished and enlightened n.iüun." We believe tint a carelul invesligation would show that in nearly or quite every country where any considerable niunber of slaves have been liberated,it has bcn done by law - it has been done in different agn, in different climates, in the four quarters of the globe, by Mahomctans. Catholics and Protestants - by despots as well as republicana. In no one case, so far as we recollect, has full compensation been made to the master. and in those cases where it has been given in part as in that of the British "Weet Indies. (if indeed any other case can be cited. ) it has bcon dispensed rather aa a gratuity for the peaceable reception of the act of emancipation. than as mplying any right of the master to demand recompense. Is it not singular that persons are now becoming so profoundly wise that they will contend the legislative power cannot emancipate. and that consequently the many millions disenthrallcd by abolition acts are, cither themselves or their posterity, still legally in bondage! They would do well to trace back their own pedigrcee with care; lest inasmuch as 6lavery was very coinmon among the ancient Saxons, it should be found that they are only proving that thdr ancestors were illegally emancipatcd, and that, after the lapseofmany generraions, they themselves are legally slaves as mach as those whom they declare incapable of emancipation by law."A repeal of the Tari (T is alrearly ilircaterwd. - Many of the abolitioiiis;s are in favor of a Tariff. Ís it their political duty as men, or as gooñ cltizens tos'anJ by and not make an exertion to save th;it lnw hom the dcstruction of íree traders? - State Journal. We answer your question by asking if it ís the political duty of aboluionists to stand by and let iheir most sacred rights be tramp!ed under foot by the whig party, and then be such consummate fools as to uphold the very party which thus tramples on them7 Have you forgotten what piles of petitions oíhgalzotzrsoi Michigan were thrown undrr the tables of Congress last winter, or denied a reception, and Fioward, and Woodbridge, andPorter. like scared kittens, werecon8enting to the deed in perfect silence, not daring to utter one syllabi e for the rights of their constituents? The whigs of Michigan approve their ;ourse. And nowjust beforcelection, they come out whining for abolition votes, lest the looos ahould prove too slrong for them. This policy is pursued by rhat party from year to year. - Let it receive the contempt it merits. Let them fight their own battles with the loco?, and if they have the worst of the conflict, they may have the satisfaction of knowing the rcason of it. We hope every aboiitionist will have self respect enough to reíase his support to a set of men who sneer at his principies, denounce his integ.-ity, invade his rights, and t'ien come and beg his aid to uphold their corrupt machinations. If they want bis vote, Iet tliem first OItepcal that Whig Gag, they passed last winter. CPJohn Quincy Adams is to be greetod by his constitnentson his return from Washington with a complimentary celebration for his failhlul defence of the right of peiiiion. No man can deeorve it bettcr.[LTWhen Lonl Ashburton was in New York, he wus wicited on by a dcputation of the American and Foreiga Anti-Sluvery Society, fur iliu pulpóse of inquiiing how far üio leiAh ar íiclo of the rocty. by wbiöfe Aigitivca froin jusu'ee are to bo mutually delivered up, wou'.d app!y to fugitivo slnves. They referred to the case of JVe!so:i Hacken, who had been delivered up on a charge of stea'.ing a horse, a watch, and a coat fromhis master, and o.pres3ed their apprehensions thot 6Ímilar clinrges might bc habitu:t!!y resorted to by the skiveholuers under the treaty stipulation. Lord Ashburton, ín reply, went into nn explanaiion of the tunth artielo, and re markcd that should it prove injurious, the Brilish governmem would no doubt put an end to i immediately, agrceably to anoihcr article of th treaty: Ent he did not apprehend ihis would b the case. None could deliver up fugitivos excej the governor, and then not till after examinatio before a magie trate. In rcierence to the case o Nelson.. Lord A. eaid he was notacquaintod wit all the particular?. The fact that the slavc hac laken his master's watch, was a circumstanc agairst him. LHad he only taken the horse,' saidLord A., looking at Genit Smith significant y, though lie could not bo supposed ever to hav read the odvice of that gentleman to fugitnslavnsj 4'lie would not probably have been mr rendered, for you know the horse was ncceaairy for hts escape." Lord A. assured them t!iat his Govcrnir.ent would still cnrrjr out the great orin tiples respecting human liberty they have bo long avowed and mointained. The commlMée left him highly pleased with hiscourtcsy, frank ness, and intelligence.


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