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existence. They have admitted, tacitly at least, that, in this respect, slavery so far as recognized was territorially restricted by the constitution, and that thus far the strict construction of that instrument in the matter of slavery was correct.

They have contended, however, that new territory, acquired by conquest, by treaty or purchase, belongs to the several States in their collective capacity-and therefore a slave-holder has a right to occupy such new territory with his slaves.

Admit the premises of the argument, yet the conclusion does not follow. The slave-holder going to new territory, inust take the law of the territory as he finds it. He does not and cannot carry there the law of the State from which he goes. But it is answered, that Congress may make rules and regulations for such territory, and therefore may sanction the existence of slavery in it, and ought to do it, in order that the citizens of all the States, slave-holding and non-slave-holding, may have equal privileges and inducements to settle upon it.

In reply to this argument and reasoning, we say that the question is not what Congress ought to do, nor what it would be wise or expedient or politic for it to do, but simply what has it the power to do ? We by no means admit that it would be wise, expedient or just in Congress to recognize, permit or establish slavery in any new territory, under any circumstances. We strenuously maintain the contrary. But it is not necessary to discuss this point, because Congress, even if it thought it wise or expedient, has not the power. It is intrusted undoubtedly with power to make laws and regulations for the new territories of the Union; but it cannot establish over any territory, new or old, any rules or regulations inconsistent with the spirit, purpose and principles of the constitution, or in violation of or opposition to the clear meaning and intent of its express provisions. All power in the United States Government, executive, legislative and judicial, is subservient to this instrument, the constitution, which is the Magna Charta of the American Republic. The great object of this charter, as already stated, was and is to “establish justice and secure the blessings of liberty to its framers and their posterity.” As an inducement

” to the slave-holding States existing at its origin to assent thereto, they were permitted to retain their slaves within their own territory and to increase them by importation till 1808– and in the one case the restriction as to territory, is as clear and express as in the other the restriction as to time; in neither case had Congress any discretionary right or power given it. The obligation of Congress to stop the slave-trade at and after 1808, its utter incompetency, without trampling upon the constitution, to permit or authorize by law the continuance of that traffic after that period, is not more absolute and manifest than

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its obligation to restrain slavery to the limits within which it was held at the adoption of the constitution, and its incompetency to extend it by law beyond those limits.

The provision of the constitution, which directly, or by implication, gives to the government of the United States power to extend slavery, cannot be pointed out; and any treaty, any purchase, any act of Congress, by and through which slavery has been thus extended, must be regarded as unconstitutional-a violation of the express provision, and of the spirit, purpose and intent of the constitution-a violation and infringement not only of the claims of humanity, but of that justice which it is the object of the constitution to promote, and of those blessings of liberty which it was intended to secure, perpetuate and diffuse.

The very statement of all the constitutional argument which can be made out for an opposite conclusion, shows its fallacy and weakness. From the proposition, or premise, “ that slavery is permitted by the constitution to exist, or is recognized as existing within certain territory,” the conclusion sought to be deduced is,-"therefore Congress, the law-making power, may establish slavery within territory where it is not permitted to exist, or recognized as existing, by that instrument.” The conclusion is a perfect non sequitur. No such power is expressly conferred by that instrument. And the very principles upon which, and the great purposes for which, it is declared to have been framed and adopted, make it impossible that any such power can be implied or was intended to be implied.

It has been urged, that slavery may be established in the territories by the action of their inhabitants. These have a right, it is said, to determine whether or not slavery shall be permitted to exist within their borders, and if so disposed may decide that it shall. It requires no great penetration to detect the fallacy of this reasoning. The territories belonging to the United States, are controlled, directly or indirectly, by the legislation of Congress; but the legislation of Congress over the territories, as well as all its other legislation, is controlled and restricted by the constitution of the United States. The people of a territory, the moment said territory is annexed, come under the control of the United States, and are subject to the constitution of the United States. They can pass no acts, make no laws, and Congress can approve none that they make, but such as are in harmony with the provisions and principles of the constitution ; and these provisions and principles forbid the creation, the establishment of slavery in all territory where it did not exist, when the constitution was adopted. Whenever it is proposed to admit a new territory into the Union as a State, its constitution must be approved by Congress, which body cannot approve or permit any thing therein which conflicts with the fundamental principles and purpose of the constitution of the United States—which are declared to be, the promotion of justice and the security and perpetuation of the blessings of liberty ;-and slavery, which is the promotion of injustice and the loss of liberty to thousands, does conflict with them. Congress, therefore, in obedience to the letter and spirit of the constitution, is as much bound to forbid and prevent the admission into the Union of a slave-holding State, as of a State establishing for its internal, domestic government, a monarchical form, with an hereditary king and nobles.

So in regard to the treaty-making power, it is said that treaties are the supreme law of the land, and, therefore, when territory is acquired by treaty, in which slavery exists, such treaty may rightfully stipulate that slavery shall be continued. This conclusion has no foundation. Treaties, rightfully made, are undoubtedly the supreme law of the land ; but the question whether they are rightfully made, is a question to be determined by the constitution; and no treaty which infringes that, can be regarded as the law of this country. Congress has no power to make a treaty, any of the provisions of which are in violation of the fundamental principles and purpose of the constitution. Congress has no more power to acquire territory by treaty, in which treaty it is stipulated that a certain number and class of inhabitants of that territory and their posterity, shall be held as slaves, than it has to acquire territory by treaty, in which treaty it is stipulated, that all the inhabitants of all classes in that territory shall be held as slaves. And its approval of these treaties, in the one case or the other, would not be more wrong and inhuman, than it would, in both cases, be unconstitutional. It cannot be made out from the constitution, that Congress has the power, either direct or implied, to extend slavery. If Congress has not the power to extend, it must and ought to restrain it. This conclusion necessarily follows; because the very provisions which show that Congress has not the power to extend slavery, prove that in adhering to and maintaining these provisions, it must restrain it. It is intended by the constitution to be restrained to the territory within, which it was included at the adoption of the constitution ; and all extension of it beyond those limits has been made, not by an adherence to the compromises (as they are called) and purposes of the constitution, but in disregard and violation of them.

The connection between slavery and the constitution of the United States, involves one other point of interest, viz., the District of Columbia. Congress having exclusive legislation over this District, it is contended, on the one hand, that it may and ought to abolish slavery; and, on the other, that it cannot

rightfully, and therefore ought not to do this. Undoubtedly there are nice and delicate points, both of equity and constitutional law, involved in this matter, which we have not time or ability to discuss. One or two points, however, would seem to be very clear.

If Congress has exclusive legislation over the District, it has exclusive control of this matter of slavery in the District, and can do three things.

1. It can prohibit the introduction of slaves into the District from other States, and their sale in the District, to be transferred into other States; and thus greatly diminish the evil of the institution, and entirely prevent the District from being and continuing the great slave mart of the Union.

2. It can abolish slavery immediately, and forever ; and if the act of abolition contained a provision to pay the masters the full value of their slaves, no advocate of slavery could complain that injustice was done to the masters.

3. It can pass a law of prospective abolition-a law providing that all persons within the District, on and after a certain specified time, shall be free, without providing any compensation to the masters. Such a law could not, justly, be regarded as an infringement of the private right of property ; because, in this case, the supposed right of property is too remote and contingent to be made the foundation of public wrong. It would be in accordance with the legislation of several of the largest States which have abolished slavery.

Till, then, some such laws are passed, and provision made for its extinction, the Constitution, the Congress, and the WHOLE people of the United States are responsible before the world, for the evil and the wrong, the shame and the disgrace of slavery in the District of Columbia, and in all the Territories of the United States.

We have incidentally referred above to the right of property in slaves, as it would be affected by emancipation. The distinct statement of a few general principles-principles which have indeed been implied throughout all this discussion--may serve, perhaps, to strengthen our position.

1. One man has no natural right of property in another. This proposition is so nearly self-evident, that no argument can be necessary in support of it, and no illustration render it clearer. To assume the existence of such a right is, in effect,


to deny that mankind are of one nature, and that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men,'—to sanction wars of classes and races upon one another for their mutual subjugation, -to justify a state of enmity between neighbors,-to repudiate the great Christian law of “doing unto others as we would that they should do unto us,”—to maintain the propriety of robbery and violence, and thus to subvert the fundamental principles of morality as declared in the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

2. As one man has no natural right of property in another, neither can he acquire that right, so that the possession shall be unqualified and absolute, or a perfect ownership. The only mode in which he may acquire it at all, except in the case of punishment for crime, is by purchase or gift from the real owner—as when one man sells or surrenders to another his own time, liberty, skill and strength. But “the things of a man” which he may not justly sell or relinquish, cannot justly be bought or taken from him. Thus the rights of conscience, the responsibilities of a soul made in the image of God, freedom to do right and to refuse to do wrong, the capacity of improvement, the obligations of religion, are not disposable possessions. He who wrests them from another, as well as he who voluntarily resigns them, violates the laws of the kingdom of heaven. No man may sell them or in any way part with thèm ; no man may buy them or in any way take them from another. They are inalienable. Now, if slavery were the result of a contract, that fact would relieve it, in some degree, of its enormity ; but even then, the contract would be void ; inasmuch as it takes from the slave what no one has a right either to sell or to purchase, to give or to receive. But slavery, instead of being the result of a contract, has its origin in arbitrary power, and is maintained by the continued exercise of that power.

3. The principles of natural right and justice are universal and immutable. They are modified by no circumstances which man can control, and subject to no exceptions which he may choose. They can be violated with impunity by no earthly power. They apply to men organized in society, acting through institutions and laws and acted upon by them, with the same force and to the same extent as to separate individuals; that which is contrary to those principles and forbidden by them in the one case being equally contrary to them and forbidden by them in the other. It hence follows, that if one man has no natural right of property in another, the state, or body politic, has no such right; and, therefore, that the assumption of that right in the form of constitutions and laws by which men are taken and declared to be property, is an unrighteous usurpation.

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