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Slavery: Its Political Evils, And Their Remedy: No. 1: Origi...

Slavery: Its Political Evils, And Their Remedy: No. 1: Origi... image
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The hrst cargo ot Aincan siavcs was mported into the Colony of Virgina in 1G20, ten ycars after the permanent settleianeiU of that Provincc, and the same ear that the Puritans commenced he settlement of Negro laves vreve at that time considercd by nosknations a legitímate article of comnerce : ard no different legal rcgulations vere nccessary for their delivery than vere requisito for the transfer of a cargo f African cattle or roerchandise. The vhole process, from its heginning to its :ompletionr was one continued robbcry, dthough perpetrated by a sucecssion of iersons. The siavcs, while in the exer;ise of freedon, wcre seized and taken rom their homes by physical force : by x continuance of that force they we re rought across the ocean ; and by a furher exercise, on the part of the planer?, of so much force as was necessary, hcy were retained in subjection. Slave Legislation. A símil number of Slaves might exist n a farming community for sorae time, vithout any legislation respecting them. Soch master, by cornmon consent, would rovötn his siavcs as he saw fit. But it s obvioiis that when they became greaty multiplied n nuinbers and value, more r less legjslation would be nccessary to letermine the incident3 of their conlition as property. The first slave stattife of Virginia was f the date of 1070, fifty years after the ommencement of Slavery. It was in t'nese words : " That all serants, not Cliristians, imported ino this country by shipping,shall bc slaves or their livcs.'r Tliis idea of the rightfülness of cnslavny every class of men except Christixms, ,'as generafly prevalent, and vas caricd into practise upon the Indiana as ,-cll as Africans, By a statute of Virinia of 1G70, " for the betler encouragcicnt of the soldiers," it was declared nat " all 'ñutían prisoners," taken in a ,ar then pending, should be "free purhase," to the soldiers takin them.- ?hreeyears after, it was declared by anthcr act, that " all servants, brought into ie colony by sc-a or landr -nol Icing Ifiristians, whethcr ncgroes, mulaltocs, ioors or Indians, ( except Turks and loors in amity with great Britain,) and 11 Indians which should thcre aflcr be rtd tíy neighboring Indians, or any óftör ■afilckinfr witli w; nn advè?, r.iioiildbe slaves to all inlcnts and purposes." Many of thc slave laws now in forcé are more than a hundred yearsold, and cnaetments have constantly accumulated and multiplicd. Henry Clay"s remark tliat "negro Slaveryhas been sanctioned and sanctified by two hundred yeais of lcgislaüon," is strictly truc. So far as human laws, enacted by the supremo power of the State, and approved by the voicc of all thc rcligious teachers of the community, can inakc man property, so far the Slaves of the South aro to be considered as such. It is not, therefore, very wondcrful, that a largo portion of Southern men look with surprise and astonishment upon those who daré to question the legitimaey of a litle which has descended froin father to son íbr generations, and bcen constantly recognised as legal and right by the whole cdmmunily. How can the Slaveholdcr, wlio has perhaps never benn into a free State, doubt fox a momeñt bis right to whip bis slave Whon refractor}', or shoot him when lic runs away, when thc authorlty to do thns was conferred by statute so long since that the mernpry pL man, in that community, runneth not to the contrary, and bis father and grandfather, and tbe holy teachers of religión, as well as the whole community, have chastised the disobedient and shot tbc absconding, without a doubt of the propricty of thcir conduct ? Extensión of Slavert. From 1620, the time of tbe first importation of Slaves into the Colonics, to the commencement of the Rcvolution, was a period of a century and a half. - During this long time, slaves stëadily multiplicd, and Slavery extended fhrther and wider. llaving been co-cval with frec institutions in its introduction to our I land, it has grown with our gfowth, and strengthened with our strength. At the time of the Rcvolution, the White man had extended bis conquests and his settlementsinto thirteen Colonies; and wherever he had gone, to thc sultry plains of the South, or the colder regions of New England, he had taken the Black man as bis property and hi slave, to labor for his subsistence, and minister tohis-pride. Tbe Rcvolution, instead of freeing the Slavc, placed additional obstad es in thc way of his liberation. When the Continental Congrcss assembled in 1775, the Southern Colonics were much less zealous and earnest in opposing the British king than the Northern ; and one of the first acts of that body was to choose a Southern Slaveholdcr for a commander in chief of the allied forces, although in the Northern Provinces, there were oldcr and more experionced officera Thus a practical and daily violator of the Declaration of Indepcndence was appointed its foremost and most honored defender ! This first act of truckling for the favor of Slavcholders, completed before we had fairly begun existence as a nation, has been followed since in so many instances that t lias becomo the settlcd policy of thc government in all its domestic and foreigh relations. Even at this day we find that the commander of the frec American Army on the Rio Grande, like thc first md greatcst General of Revolutionary mes, is a practical ensla er of his iellowsountrymen. The Declaration of Indepcndence did not help thc case of the Slave. lt was lot made for hini. Although it declarcd bat thc G re at C reator had bcstowed on' ill men an inalienable and natural right to lAbcrtij, vet it does not appear lliat 3ongreW,as a body.entertained the slight?sl design of witlidrawing from the slave Ihc long continued and acknowledged yranny of tbeir own and former generaions. Although we have not the exact Jata, yct thcre is reason to belieVe alarge ivmher of the signers of that instrument were themsel ves slaveholders, and would lave rejected with indignation a proposal to extend to tiieir slaves thatliberty which hcy had just declared thc birthright of all! ' Such is human nature. With onc hand t will wield the sword against a foreign yrant, while with the other it tightens he manacles upon its helpless and unreisting victims at home ! Let not our fencration for our fathers make us blind otheir faults and vices, and lead us to leny the selfishness by which they were ictuated. True, they were less enlightned than their descendanLs : hut do we ïot fi"nd equai irrconsistency in the most enowned and popular patriots of our ay ? Take thc two most idolized in ur nation, Andrew Jackson and Henry ílay. Where can yon find men more ctermincd to defend the system of - y, or more resolute in holding on, to c heir last, dying day. every person J Miom they can legally grasp asTW laves ? We ought notto look for greater irtue in our comparatively unenlightened . athers than can be found at the present íiy b Nor did the slave gain any thing by ie permanent system of Government doptcd in 1787. By that Constitulion, ie protection of the national flag was ' iven io the Foreign Slave Trade for 20 ears : and a provisión was inserted into T ïat instrument - more important for the T erpetuity of Slavery than any other - by tl 'bieb thc whole area of lbo (ree States, U ndiill that should thereafter beformed of 1'free lerritory, was securcd to the Slaveholders ns n grand hunting ground for fugitivo Slaves. It is vain to say that the clause respecting oscaping " persons " has no reference to Slaves. The Slaveholdcrs knew what they were about. - Thov sccured the sitbstance, leaving Abolitionists to contend about the shadow. - It is enough to know that ono of the firsl acls of Congress (1793) was to pass a law authorizing any mngistrate to consign to Slavery any pcrson claimnd as a Slave, without a chance for adducing testimony on the part of the person claimcd, and without a jury trial ; and later con6tructions of the law authorizc the master to seize lus Slave without any cercmony or fonn, and hurry him ofl'to Slavery : while atiother seotion inakes it finnble in the sum of $500 for any ono of the millions of the Frce States lo say to ti human being knowing tliat he or she hasescaped from Slavery - "Hcrc is n cru-sl of brrad, and thal is tir, raad lo Canada ! " This law is not a more dead leltor. It Ims kilely been expoujided by Judge McLean, and has been in ful) forcé Cor morethan íifty years : and while the number of our States Lus more (ban dubled', over all. the hateful provisión has become operativo. A!l the peopleoi the Free States, having thus been converted into Slavo catchers, and having ngreed 10 help put down all Slavc nsurrections, the " institution " was fixed on a solid and permanent basis. Hut the Slaveholdcrs hnd no dea of being cramped witbin the bounds of the six original iSIave States, ond the new Government was no sooner organized than another Slave State. Kentucky, was admitlod. Tennessee followed in 1790. Negotiations wcre soon afler set on fooi to secure the purchase of Louisiann, and a vast and rich territory was obtained of a foreign power, and Shivery cstablished over tlie greater portion of il by ihr laws of the United State. For the foreign Slave Laws, vrhieh had previously been in force, on its accession, were made operative by express act of Congress, and under the fostoring care of the Government, iheSlarery of tho United States was introduced, protectcd and established. The country rnpidiy filled wilh Slaves and Slaveholdors ; and Louisiana was admitted, as a Slave State, in 1811, .Mississippi in 1817, Alabama in ; 1819, Missaun in 1820, Arkansas in 1836. Florida having been purchased, and the Slaves of that country reenslaved by ' express actsuf Congress, they were ! po rat cd into the nalion as American ' Slaves, and our republicnn Slavery spread over the territory, till it was ripe for admission as another slave State, in 1815. ' With tho Annexation of Texas all are familiar. By that great stride towards gratifying the national lust Tor territorial increase, 25, 000 foreign Slaves, pursuant to tho policy of our Government, were made into rcpuMicati Slaves bv acts of 3 Congress, and added io the millions already existing among us. 'And while provisión was made for the immediate idmission of Texas a Slavo Stale. furlher fundamental agreoments were made by rt-hich its territory mïght be parcelled into a number of Slaveholding States, íifty or an hundred years henee. So ïareful and far seeing. aro slaveholding Staicsmon. and so careless and indifferent -fthe interests of liberty are its professed juardions ofthe Free States f Now, dcar reader, we have faken a iricf and rapid glance at the origin and i nrogress of Slavery in our country. - ' Whatever inay be your politicnl predilec:ions or views, the facts we havcstated , ;annot fail to fasten your aftention. You i ïave secn the solitary cargo of imported ' frican Slaves landing on the uncultivatcd ;horcs of Virginia. Through fivc sucessive gonerations, 3Touhave seen them , aken nto the families of the White man, ( md spread ing through cvery city and ownand village and ncighborhood where he White race have settlcd. You have ;een the iew solitary White Settlers ( :omc a nation, and its " Dcclaraion 5 f f riglits vindicated by thosc who held hcir fellow countrymen as slaves. You r lavcseen a regular system ofgovernmet c. tstablishcd, whose main provisions ing asixth portion of the people were e hcir importation ns slaves, their ( ion By military forco should they assert c heir liberty by violence. and their . rehension in all the free States should c hcy seek if by flight. You have seen nultitudes of fbreign slaves, rc-enslaved, t( nth all their posterity, by express acts of h 'ongress, and foreign territory has been btaincd for the avowed purpose of v ïining aneï enlarging the dominion of d ilavcry. You have seen no less Iban Q ixr ncw Slavc States addeJ tothis n ublic, in the space of 55 years, until yo thirds of the whoie territory of the v tates is darkencd by the prevalence of e lis general curse. Reader! If Slavery . e an cvil at all, you cannot avoid the a onclusion that ii is rapidly enlarging in ttent, power, and injluence ! Acciursrrrox of California p Thus far we have examined only the in ast. Look now at the Present and the ar uture, and weshall find the schemes of ie Slaveholders for its still further fr( nsion and aggrandizement, to bc deeply re id and far-reachmg, The proposa] fornvhe possession of California was recently nade by the Execuüve. Was it wanted ís a freo orja. slaveholding territory 1 As he spear of lthuricl brought to light the levilish machinations of thc Evil One, ,vhen in disguise he infused his vile houghts into thc unsiíspectingear of Evc ; so the amendment of Mr. VTilmot, proiridTng that the territory thus acquired íhquld be forever frek, brought to view :hc fixed design of the Slaveholders, lo mkeif c(ernally a región for Slavery. - Ihe bilí for acquiring California was brought in by Mr. Mclvay, of N. C, a Slaveholder, and was sustained by Mr. 3ims, of S. C. and was regarded as a Southern measure. But no sooncr was this amendment proposed, than evenj Southern man was against it. Thc i - mendment, howevcr, wascarried, 83 to G4, but the bilí thcreaf'tcr was contcsted in every point. Mr. Wicrk, of la., liaving moved an amendment limiting thc linc of Slavery to thc line of the Missouri compromiso, it was lost Mr. Tibbatts, of Ky., moved to lay the whole bilí on thc table : lost, 78 to 94. All the Slaveholders voted to lay on the table, except Grider and T-homasson of Ky. Thc North vöted against laying on thc table except 9, among whom was Chipman of Michigan. The bilí was then passed, 85 to 79, its framcr Mr. McKay, voting against it. A reconsideration Avas moved, and Mr. Tibbatts callcd for thc yeas and nays : lost, 79 to S9. The rules wcre then suspended in order to send it to the Senatc. Mr. Sims, of S. C, objectcd to this, as requiring a two thirds vote, but was overruled by the Speaker. Thus it is seen that the Slaveholde rs not only voted against thcir own bill, but mpeded ils progress by every possible ibstaplc Why Bccaiisc the bill icould forerrr prohibí!. Slavcry in California The bill was lost in the Senatc for want "f time : but there is cvery reason to bclievc this great question of the further íxtension of Human Slavery, from ocean o ocean, will como before tho next cssion of Congress : and should it come, lothing but a general speaking out of the Pree States, irrespectivo of party, can save .ho decisión from being disastrous to thc :ause of freedom. The battle on the Missouri question lasted three years, and ,-et, through thc address of a Clav, the SlavcholJcrs gained it. Thc present [uestion. we apprehend, will bc shorter n.its pendency, and should another Clay irise, more important in its rcsults. Wc liould liave greatcr hopes of the success f freedom in this controversy, had we ïot seen that thc progress of Slaveiy, br more than two Imndred years, has ver been onward" to victory ; and howsver protracted its battles, it has finally verrode and rode down all successful pposition. Not a solilory inslancc can c found, where thc Slaveholders, as a lody, have persevcringhj altempCcd an mportant measurc, without uit i maf cly carying ü. Should our arms or diplomacy e prosperad, California, at soms time, vill bccome a portion of tbis Union ; and hould it be annexed as a slaveholding lortion, it cannot but be regarded as the ;rowning act towards converting this cpublic into a grand, slaveholding despoism.


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