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nance of nature, and from this natural relation between them result the essential rights and essential duties of both. The highest and most solemn enactment, even the fundamental, organic law of a state, does not by its proper force as positive law create, but only acknowledges this relation. Such a recognition, implied where it is not expressed, limiting the extent and modifying the exercise of powers otherwise absolute as well as sovereign, is inseparable from the very idea of a free state. Upon it is based that concurrent recognition, by the citizen, of rightful authority above him, rightful only as thus expressly or impliedly limited,—which as we have seen is the essence of his free and natural allegiance. The moment these cease to co-exist, the free state and the free citizen or member of it vanish at once and together. The sovereign power, whether administered by one or many, has become a despot, and the citizen a subject, or it may be a slave. And the same result follows whenever that free and mutual recognition ceases to define and characterize the relation between the state in its sovereign capacity and any portion of those who naturally, that is, by birth, would be members in it. The moment the governing power in a state disowns, as to any persons or class of persons, born under its jurisdiction, its essential obligations, assumes to treat them as strangers to the state, or puts their claims upon it on any other basis than that of an absolute, unqualified and original right, growing out of their free and natural allegiance, it subverts in respect to them the natural and recognized relation of state and citizen, becomes a tyrant over them, and reduces them by its mere force to the condition of subjects. Such, undoubtedly, is the condition of the whole colored race in some at least of the slaveholding states. They are under, but not of the state. The
authority exercised over them is not regarded as in any sense dependent on their free recognition of it as rightful, or as limited by the inseparable conditions of such a recognition. In the language of a prevalent theory, they are not parties to the social compact in which the state originates, and from which all political power results. The community, distinct from them, in which that ultimate sovereignty inheres, has assumed over them an arbitrary power, competent to do any act or make any law which may subserve its separate and peculiar policy and interests; and will permit no declaration of rights to restrain, beyond the limits of its own discretion, the actual exercise of that power. And we say the same thing, with regard to all the states and to the United States, when we assert that free persons of color are no where citizens of the United States, or of any state. The assertion means this, or it has no meaning at all. No analysis can be given of the essential relations between citizen and state, under our theory of government, that will not lead, directly and inevitably, to precisely these results. Let us attend to some of these more in detail, and see whether it was not truly said, that they need only to be exposed to be abhorred. In affirming it to be the law of the land that no free negro is a citizen, we say, substantially, that each state has power, as against its free colored population, to restrain, in any manner and to any extent whatsoever, their enjoyment of the rights of person and property ; as for instance, By withholding from them the privileges of education, making it a crime to instruct them ; By limiting the accumulation of property in their hands, and preventing their acquiring a right in the soil; By subjecting them to a special criminal code, creating peculiar crimes and imposing peculiar punishments;
By restraining their equal right of resort to courts of justice, and depriving them of the established muniments of individual liberty, the right of trial by jury, and the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus ; By putting in a state of outlawry, or by banishing from its territories, any or all of them ; or finally, By reducing them into absolute slavery for life. Laws inflicting on the free blacks many and even the most gross of these outrages, and expressing the settled policy of the state towards them, disgrace the statute books of more than one of the slaveholding states; laws obviously based on an assumption of power as arbitrary as that which actually enslaves their brethren who are in bondage. Such is the unhappy condition of the men whom a state, by a high manifestation of sovereign will, binding all the ministers of its power, executive, judicial and legislative, excommunicates from membership in it. Persons in this condition, though free from any claim of private dominion over them as objects of ownership, are said with peculiar propriety not to be freemen within the meaning of a fundamental law, declaring essential rights, and guarantying their protection against all invasion, whether by individuals or by the state. We recognize, therefore, in the language of the Tennessee Court, that “the word ‘citizen,” as used in the Constitution, is co-extensive with the word “freeman,’ in Magna Charta,” the very doctrine which it has been our aim to establish. We accept the alternative thus proposed, that the free black man is either a FREEMAN and a citizen, or Not a freeman and Not a citizen ; and we appeal to all that is sacred and venerable in our history and in our law to decide the issue. We are well aware indeed that prior to our Revolution the whole colored race were to no small ex
tent the victims of the same harsh legislation which in most of the colonies oppressed the enslaved portion of it. Especially in the earlier part of the century did the laws intended for their separate government manifest the purpose to treat them not only as a degraded and socially inferior, but as a subject race. That purpose was as manifestly changed, except perhaps in the extreme southern states, at the era of the Revolution. The great principles of civil liberty, with which in the progress of that struggle our ancestors became so thoroughly imbued, received at their hands no limited application. In Massachusetts it was judicially declared, that every slave was at once enfranchised by force of the article in her revolutionary constitution recognizing the natural equality of all men in respect to essential rights. Under the influence of similar principles, within ten years after the declaration of independence, measures were taken in six of the remaining states for the abolition of slavery. And this, it must be observed, with no other purpose or expectation than that the persons thus set free were, with their brethren and descendants, to make a part of our permanent population, and to share as matter of right in the efficient and complete protection of the same free governments. For the plan of a forced or purchased deportation, which, we can not but think, has, within twenty years past, given such an impulse to the feeling that they are mere “inmates, sojourners in the land,” had not then been sug. gested.—They fought in our armies; they were even in some cases emancipated by law in order that they might enlist; they took the oath of allegiance in common with the whole free population, under laws of the several states, in many instances prefaced with the declaration that allegiance and protection were in their nature reciprocal. The bills of rights adopted by all the states in organizing their governments, con: tained no exception for the case of free persons of color; it was reserved for the wisdom of a later generation to discover that those instruments protected only the natural and inalienable rights of white men. Though depressed to the lowest depths of social degradation by a prejudice against which they could not rise; though condemned to feel, through long years to come, in their ignorance and helplessness, the farreaching effects of past oppression and servitude; though regarded in consequence in many of the states as unsafe depositaries of political power, and even as incapable of some of the simplest duties of citizens: their right, absolute and unqualified, to partake in the beneficial agencies of our free governments was never called in question; and he would have been deemed a bold man who should assert an arbitrary power in any state to deprive of life, liberty or property even the humblest and poorest of that degraded race. But our limits forbid us to pursue this inquiry further, nor does our purpose require it. Our argument can only be overthrown by proof, positive and complete, not only that free persons of color when the Constitution was adopted were every where in the anomalous condition we have described, but that this was so notoriously the fact that the word citizen was every where recognized to be inapplicable to them, and whenever used to exclude them. And when we recur to the fact, already well established, that they had been placed on the footing of citizens under the Articles of Confederation; that they were so designated in public acts of the revolutionary Congress, and even by the Convention which framed the Constitution; that in six of the states, including Massachusetts and North Carolina, they actually exercised the right of suffrage; and that in Virginia they had been expressly declared to be citizens by a law in
force at that very time;" we may well pronounce such proof impossible. Our general proposition, therefore, that free persons of color are citizens within the meaning of the Constitution, we believe to be established on a basis that can not be shaken. But after all, the question at the bottom of the controversy is, whether such persons in Massachusetts are citizens of Massachusetts. That in fact they are, under any possible definition of the term not altogether arbitrary—that they have been so, at least from the adoption of the state constitution in 1780, and that that fact was well understood when the Federal Constitution was framed, can not admit the slightest doubt. But we have not even thus exhibited the full strength of the position held by Massachusetts. We have, however so far occupied the space at our disposal that we are obliged to be content with the mere statement of a proposition, the demonstrable truth of which would be sufficient, unaided by our previous argument, to vindicate every claim she has made in behalf of her citizens. Whatever be the definition of the term citizen, and whether free persons of color in general are or are not within that definition, we hold that the declaration of Massachusetts, by her constitution and laws, and by special act of her legislature, that such persons within her limits are citiznes of Massachusetts, is conclusive upon all other powers, and upon every tribunal before which the fact may be called in question. In our next number we shall endeavor to establish this proposition, and then proceed with the remaining topics which we have proposed to consider.
* Since page 428 went through the press, we have ascertained that the law there cited was first enacted in 1783, and expressly repealed a former statute declaring merely that all white persons, &c. were citizens.—Hening's Statutes at large, Wols. X, XI, XII.
• THE intimate union of the Congregationalists and Presbyterians of these states; their identity of faith; their fellowship in Christian rites; their free interchange of members and of ministerial services; the harmony of their views respecting the reform and Christianization of mankind; together with the formal alliance, in virtue of which hundreds of churches have been organized, on a plan of accommodation, not strictly Congregational nor Presbyterian, but a modification of both ; have contributed to confound the two denominations in the public mind, and to cast their distinctive principles into obscurity and neglect. In most respects this has been well. The two denominations have moved together in one spirit. In the new settlements of the country where neither sect had sufficient strength to plant a church with a permanent ministry, the members of both have uniformly united in covenant, either as a Presbyterian or Congregational church, or on a plan of mutual concession. Churches formed on this plan, were connected with a presbytery, but they were represented in that body by their pastors, and by either lay delegates or ruling elders, and were allowed the ultimate decision in cases of discipline. Happy indeed have been the results of this alliance 1 The members and the ministers of the two communions have every where greeted one another as brethren of the same household, and joined their efforts to make the Redeemer known at home and abroad without a trace of sectarian zeal or distrust. A beautiful spectacle of Christian unity Robert Hall, ministering to his flock of Independents and Baptists, humoring the peculiarities of both and binding them together in mutual confidence,
presents only an imperfect example of what has been exhibited in this country, on a large scale, by these sister denominations. The origin of this close and confidential union, is to be traced to a conviction, quite universal with the Congregationalists and nearly so with the Presbyterians, that no complete system of ecclesiastical order is enjoined in the New Testament; and that the churches severally are authorized, by the Great Head of the church, to adopt any convenient constitution and rules, not destructive of the ends of a visible church. Their opinion was, that one form of government may be best, and yet not in all cases obligatory, in exact analogy with the state. Civil government is a divine institution; yet if the democratic or republican form is the best, other forms are admissible. Civil government may exist in the form of a despotism, or of a limited monarchy. So may a church, with prelates or presbyteries. The prevalence of these liberal views is of quite recent date. The early expounders and defenders of Congregationalism were most of them strenuous advocates of a jure divino form of church order. They thought they found in the New Testament an authoritative model for the churches of all subsequent ages. To this they endeavored strictly to conform. What: ever was done by the Apostles and primitive Christians in the way of organizing and governing the church, no less than what was commanded, they thought to be of binding force on all posterity. In their attempts to effect this exact uniformity, they appointed in each church a board of elders, embracing a teacher, whose duty it was to expound the text and doctrines of the Bible; and a pastor, who was expected to oversee the
church, and to enforce by eloquent appeals the instructions of his associate. On the other hand, the Presbyterians were equally zealous to carry out in practice what they conceived to be the primitive and authoritative model of a Christian church. They would not brook the least interference from the laity in the government of the church. They attributed all church power to its officers. While these exclusive views prevailed, no two sects were less tolerant of each other. But the planting of this country—the inability of either sect in many cases to enjoy the ministrations of the Gospel without the co-operation of the other, brought them into a union, founded on mutual dependence. Thus the poverty of the church in this instance, as is generally the fact, was the means of bringing in more liberal and fraternal views, a good far surpassing the benefits of state patronage or of rich endowments. It is of great moment to the peace and increase of orthodox churches in this country, that the same views and spirit and conciliatory measures should prevail among the official and non-official members of both communions. The plan of union, though repealed by the Old School General Assembly of the Presbyterian church, is still in practical operation, we know not to what extent, within the bounds of the New School presbyteries. And, in our deliberate opinion, whoever shall move an influence toward the disturbance of this fraternal intercourse, will incur a fearful responsibility. In every place where the friends of the two systems united can sustain the institutions of religion, but not otherwise; and wherever a single minister can perform the duties of a pastor to the whole population, there one church only should be instituted, composed of both Congregationalists and Presbyterians, organized either on one platform or the other, or on a plan of accommodation; and this
should be arranged amicably, with a spirit of ready concession to the preferences of each other. The natural course for churches organized on the accommodation plan, is, in the lapse of time, to cast out the incongruous principles in their constitutions, and conform, in whole, to the presbytery, or in whole to the Congregational platform. The history of these churches, it is believed, fully sustains this opinion. The fact is easily explained by the decease of the original members of the church, in indulgence to whose diverse views the accommodation was first made, and by the training of their successors under a common influence. This ultimate resolution of the accommodation churches into regularly constituted churches, either Presbyterian or Congregational ; and the continual organization of new churches, on one or the other basis, composed of members partial some to this and some to that polity, render discriminating views of the two systems of direct practical importance. There are few subjects of interest, within the cognizance of all classes of men, less understood, both by Presbyterians and Congregationalists, than the relative workings of their respective ecclesiastical constitutions, and the comparative merits of the two-a fact arising out of their exclusive attention, for many years, to the weightier matters of doctrine, and to church extension, or the propagation of Christianity. Presuming it to be a question, not vital, but yet of some serious practical moment, whether either of the ecclesiastical systems before us deserves the preference, we propose in a few pages to exhibit the distinctive features of both. In doing this, we shall seek to be accurate in our statements of fact, and impartial in our arguments, our object being, not to create an undue bias in favor of either system, but