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Communications: For The Signal Of Liberty: Slavery And The N...

Communications: For The Signal Of Liberty: Slavery And The N... image
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Messrs. Editoíis:- Your Correspondent 'Norman" n the Signal, of the Cth Instant, wishes to knovv of me, whether the ponition assumed in tny' Memorial to thè Legislature, did not conflict with the hfr of Congress of 1793, which declaresj that where a person held to labor in nny of tl,ë üni'ed States, or f in either of tlieTerritories horth-vvest or south of the river Oiiioj under the hws thereof, shaJl escape into any otherof thesaid States, or territorics, the persoü tb whom such labor raay be due' may retalce hun and reduce him to Slavery, &lc.xnere is, as "Norman" sccms to fear, a downrjght conflict bet ween them, so far at the law atlempts to confer a right on the new Slave States, or on the Territory eouth of tho Ohio (now, the State of Tennessee) to re-taka their slaves in the Western Territory. The "compact" between the United Statej and the Western Territory, limité the right to reclaim fugitiva slaves to the "origin al" States. This compact was made unalte." ab!e unless by "commou consenu" Even tho Convention that formed the present Consti'ution of the United Statesjiad no riglit to oler the compact; not a whit more than it had lo alter on engagement, treaty or stipuiaiion whicli the United States under theration had entered into wiih a foreign nation. Judge Story weH remarks, (3. Com. p. C91) that, "a cliange in the pulitical form of a Society ought to have no power to produce a dissolution of any of itspioral obligations," and that "States neilher lose any of their righls nor are discharged (rom any of their obligations by a change in the forra of their civil government." (id. G92) If the Convention wliich formed the Constitution had co rig-ht to annul ay part of the compact, without the consent of the Territory, ajortiori, Congress had none. This consent was not formally given, as every one know. Nor is there the least ground for the presump tion thal it was implitdly given - for ncJtJier in the convention, nor in the Congress which enacted the law of Feb. 1793, was the Terrilory rt'presenled. q The law provices for the reaelivery of slnveescaping from the Nortii Westen Territory itiio any of tlie United States: Sha]] we put tJiis down to the ignora nee of Congrese- to tiieir having airead v forgotten that by the c jra - pact, slavpry liad Úeen exlenninated in the N. V. Territory, nnd its existence tliere interdicted forever, and tliat conóequently there could be no elaves to escape from there into any of the United States? "Or shall we rather look on it as anoiher proof of succesaful slavejng management, to secure to the 'new" elave Statos (Kentucky had just been admitted into the Union, andTennespee was soon expected to be) a recognition by Congress of their right to demand their fugitive sla ves from the N. VV. Territory - whilst the show was made of rccijirocily, by grantin to the Territory tho same right of demandingslaves, thalahenevet could possess, from the other States. Trusting, that these remarks may suggef to "Norman," and your readers gencrolly other phases of this important subject, I remain sir,


Signal of Liberty
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