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Bince that time are so familiar to the people, that a synopsis, within the scope of this book, must be too meagre for general interest. I have endeavored to give a fair and faithful compilation of the views and opinions of the eminent statesmen of the country, of both parties, from the organization of the government to 1854, while both of the great political parties were organized upon a basis that embraced the South as well as the North. The base of the structure is laid in the organization of the government itself, and the views of the men who framed it. Let the reader first examine well the base, and then, step by step, ascend to the summit, examining, as he ascends, the best lights he can obtain, and then, like a rational, thinking, independent man, form his own conclusions with reference to this question, and act accordingly. Keeping in view the peace and welfare of the country, he will hardly act amiss, for there can be no safer guides for the present, than the lights and precedents of the past. I can hardly expect that this volume will escape partisan censure and criticism. Extremists, both North and South, I have no doubt, will condemn it. This I cannot help; I only ask the reader to remember, that it is a compilation of the opinions of those who laid, broad and deep, the foundations of civil and religious liberty, and of those eminent statesmen who succeeded them, and who have shed a halo of fadeless glory around the character of the American nation. If I be the subject of reproach for the compilation, what would be meted out to those patriots and sages, were they now upon earth, and should they again proclaim the doctrines of their day and generation] It is not I who speak, but rather the voice of the immortal dead, a voice from the tombs of those great spirits, who, through the perils of war and revolution, established a government, the freest and the happiest on earth, and bequeathed it to us. Let us heed their admonitions, emulate their virtues, and profit by their examples. E. B. C. Wilkesbarre, Penn., June 18, 1860.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I.

Occurrences incident to the Act of Confederation—Jefferson's
notes of the debates on the Confederation—Mr. Chase's mo-
tion in reference to white inhabitants—" White inhabitants"
—Slaves—Negroes not considered members of the State—
Mr. Adams on the same subject—Free and slave labor con-
trasted—Mr. Harrison's compromise, that two slaves should
be counted as one freeman, and remarks thereon—Mr. Wilson
against slavery—Mr. Payne's remarks — Dr Witherspoou
against tax on slaves—Mr. Chase on the subject of each
eolony having one vote in Congress—Dr. Franklin, Dr. With-
erspoon, Mr. Adams, Dr. Bush, Mr. Hopkins, Mr. Wilson, on
the same subject—Ratification, and the Articles of Confede-
ration Page 21-43. CHAPTER II. The causes which led to the formation of the Constitution and
wherein the Articles of Confederation were deficient for the
purpose of a government, by Mr. Madison—Appointment of
delegates to form a Constitution—Organization of the con-
vention—Resolutions of Mr. Randolph, which became the
basis of the Constitution—Mr. Madison, on the equality of
suffrage—Speech of Alexander Hamilton, advocating mo-
narchical government; also plan of government submitted by
him—Discussion continued—Angry discussion between Mr.
Madison, Mr. Martin, and others—Dr. Franklin proposes
prayer at the opening of the session—His remarks thereon—Mr. Randolph proposes a sermon on the 4th of July—Pro
position to adjourn sine die—Discussion continued—Report

of committee on the construction of Congress—Three-fifths

slaves included in representation—Concession of the small

States that the House should originate all money bills, in

consideration that they should have an equal representation

in the Senate—Debate thereon—Mr. Madison's compromise—

Further debate on slave representation, and vote—Debate

on equality of votes in the Senate—Report of the Committee

of the whole House on Mr. Randolph's resolutions—The

resolutions as reported—Mr. Rutledge's report from the com-

mittee of detail—Discussion thereon by Mr. Madison, Dr.

Franklin, and others—Mr. Madison's proposition to give

Congress power to institute temporary governments for the

territories—Lengthy debate on slavery and the slave trade—

Mr. Madison's proposition to give Congress power to in-

stitute territorial governments struck out—Mr. Livingston's

report on the importation of slaves—Discussion and vote

thereon—Fugitive slaves—"Needful rules and regulations

respecting the territory," etc.—Report of the Constitution by

the committee of revision—The Constitution as reported and

adopted—Official letter to Congress—Articles of amendment

—When adopted Page 44-114. CHAPTER III. Debates in the convention of Massachusetts—Rev. Mr. Backus,
on the religious test, and the importation of slaves—Mr.
Dawes' remarks on slaves, and importation of—Gen. Heath,
ditto; his remarks on the adoption of the Federal Constitu-
tion—Mr. King's remarks on representation and taxation—
Debate in the convention of the State of New York—Mr.
Hamilton's remarks on navigation, commerce, and slave rep-
resentation—Debate in the convention of the State of Con-
necticut—Mr. Ellsworth's remarks on the necessity of a Union,
and the consequences of disunion—Debate in the convention
of Virginia—Objections to the Constitution answered by Mr.
Nicholas—Powers of the government—Mr. Mason in op-
position to the slave trade—Mr. Madison on the same; and
in reference to fugitive slaves—He prefers union with slavery
to disunion without it—Mr. Tyler against the slave trade—

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