general reasoning on the subject. We can not allow the right of the master to be brought into discussion in the courts of justice. The slave, to remain a slave, must be made sensible that there is no appeal from his master; that his person is, in no instance, usurped; but is conferred by the laws of man, at least, if not by the law of God.”

The cruelties of which we have spoken can not be prevented where slavery exists, even among the straitest sects of the Christian church. The Kentucky Synod, speaking of the cruelties of slavery, and particularly of the forcible separation of families, say—

“Qur church, years ago, raised its voice of solemn warning against this flagrant violation of every principle of mercy, justice, and humanity. Yet we blush to announce to you and to the world, that this warning has been often disregarded, even by those who hold to our communion. Cases have occurred in our own denomination, where professors of the religion of mercy have torn the mother from her children, and sent her into a merciless and returnless exile. Yet acts of disciline have rarely followed such conduct. ar be it from us to ascribe to our people generally a participation in these deeds, or a sympathy with them—they abhor and loathe them. But while the system, of which these cruelties are the legitimate offspring, is tolerated among us, it is exceedingly difficult to inflict punishment upon their perpetrators. If we commence discipline for any acts which the laws of slavery sanction, where shall we .# What principle is there which will justify us in cutting off a twig or a branch of this poison tree, that will not, if carried fairly out, force us to proceed, and hew down its trunk, and dig up its roots : These cruelties are only the loathsome ulcers, which show corruption in the blood and rottenness in the bones of this system. . They may be bound up and mollified with ointment—they may be hidden from the sight; but they can not be entirely removed until there is a thorough renovation within. Our churches can not be entirely pure, even from the grossest pollutions of slavery, until we are willing to pledge ourselves to the destruction of the whole system.”

The truth is, churches in the slave states know their impotence to discipline for any of the incidental enormities of slavery; and the late Old School General Assembly clearly evinced by their evasive and par

tial action that they knew it. Two questions were presented to them : one which asked, or which they chose to construe as asking, whether slaveholding is in itself, in all cases, such a sin as to call for church discipline; the other, respecting the incidental enormities of slavery. On the first they were very elaborate and edifying. The second they dodged. They did not touch it. They knew that these incidental enormities are sins. They knew that they must acknowledge and denounce them as such, if they said any thing about them. But they knew that they were powerless. They knew that they would not only be liable to mobs in that “chivalrous” country if they spoke the truth on that part of the subject, but that they were powerless as to discipline; that if they denounced these crimes, they could not discipline for them. They felt the difficulty thus expressed by the Kentucky Synod—“If we commence discipline for any act which the laws of slavery sanction, where shall we stop 2" And therefore, unlike the Kentucky Synod, they dodged the great practical question as to the abounding and acknowledged sins of slavery, and said nothing on that question, though called on by their situation, as by a voice from heaven, to speak in behalf of the dumb ; and thus, by their silence on one question, more probably than by their partial and negative action on the other, strengthened the bands of slavery. We think the chairman of the committee, Rev. Dr. Junkin, well deserves the pair of silver handcuffs which a meeting of free colored people in Cincinnati voted to present to him for his pro-slavery report.”

* We were quite amused with the following squib which first appeared, we believe, in the Cincinnati Herald.

“‘Can't stand that.”—We were standing by the side of one of our veteran democratic leaders in the place of the General Assembly’s sessions, when they discussed and adopted their late report on slavery. ‘Well,' says he, ‘can’t stand that. We politicians sometimes apologize for slavery and wink at it, for political reasons. But these holy men go in for it on godly grounds!’”

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

THE people of the United States entertain a high regard for that ‘instrument' by which their present government was organized. As a general thing they are disposed to abide by it, even though it should appear that they had sworn to their own hurt. This is an encouraging fact, and promises well for the stability of our government. The mass of the people honestly desire to have the Constitution carried out, according to its true intent and meaning. But this Constitution is open to amendment; and it is our design, in a few pages, to show the propriety and justice of amending that part of it which relates to the apportionment of representatives and direct taxes. This is found in Art. I, Sec. 2d, clause 3d, as follows:

“Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states, which may be included within this Union, according to their

respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other persons.” In making this apportionment the northern states supposed that they would be benefited in a pecuniary way; the South by the increase of political power. The former conceded to the latter, the advantage of a disproportionate representation. The only consideration which the South gave in return, was the occasional liability of direct taxation, at a corresponding rate. If the southern states would treat the slaves as persons for the purpose of taxation, the northern states agreed that they should be treated as persons for the purpose of representation. It is an admission of the principle of property representation,--a concession by the indigent North to the affluent South.* Why such an arrangement was sought by both parties, we may understand by a reference to the state

* Speech of the Hon. Mr. Marsh of Vermont on Texas annexation.

of affairs in this country at that period. A reluctance on the part of the states, to do any thing by which they might seem to relinquish their distinct sovereignty, had always been one of the chief obstacles in the way of adopting any plan of union. The colonies early confederated for their common defense; but in their articles of agreement, it was specified that each should have exclusive jurisdiction within its own territory. They were afraid of having their powers merged in those of a general government. The smaller states were jealous of the larger; hence the compromise between them, that as sovereignties they

more salubrious, with the promise of large incomes from her great staples, her prospects were altogether in the ascendant. That the population was the more numerous, is clearly shown by the census of 1790. The states of NewEngland, together with New York and Pennsylvania, contained o: 1,784,336. While those of NewJersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, together with the few then dwelling in the territory, or in what is now Tennessee and Kentucky, contained 2,145,611. And the South, not thinking of the advantages of free over slave labor, might confi

should be equally represented in the dently have expected, that she would

senate, and in the house wealth or numbers should be represented. The southern states readily perceived, that if the white population alone was counted, that their representation would not be equal to that of the northern states. Although by their laws, the slaves were not treated as persons; but were denied all personal rights, being forever excluded from all that pertains to the character of citizens, and reduced to mere “chattels’ and ‘things'; nevtheless they were willing that they should be counted as persons, for the purpose of direct taxation, if according to the same ratio they might be represented. This on the one hand, influenced the South to seek the adoption of the above clause. On the other, the North was induced to make the concession she did, on account of the fear entertained by her people of heavy taxation. It will be remembered that this was soon after the war, and the large debt contracted had not been paid. An allusion to the relative ability of the two sections of country, will show very clearly why taxation was then deemed by the North a matter of special importance to them. At that time the South was the more wealthy and populous. With soil more fertile, with climate

continue the more numerous, if for no other reason, than the contrast between her largest state and the largest state of the North. By the same census the inhabitants of Virginia numbered 748,308, those of New York 340,120. With these facts in view, it will not seem strange, that the northern states thought that if the slaves were reckoned as property, and also three fifths of them enumerated as persons, that the amount of their taxes would be somewhat diminished. This may suffice as explanatory of the causes that induced the northern and southern states to agree to the insertion in the Constitution of the clause above quoted. This clause ought in justice to the free states to be repealed, and representation be apportioned according to the number of free inhabitants, and taxation according to property. This arrangement made between the northern and southern states is of the nature of a contract. It is a rule both of positive law and ethics, that in every contract there must be a consideration, a quid pro quo. But what equivalent has the North received for the concession which she made 2 Has there indeed been any consideration given 2 No, we may say that she has received almost nothing. There has not been, if we mistake not, but in one instance, and then in a very light degree, an assessment of direct taxation. Again, not only has there been no consideration received on the part of the North, but such a change has now taken place in the relative wealth of the North and the South, that it can never be realized, however frequently hereafter direct taxation may be apportioned. By the aid of free hands and free heads, the North, though contending with rocky hills and less fertile soil, has advanced far more rapidly than the South, depressed as it has been by the incubus of slavery.” On a previous page we mentioned the fact that at the census of 1790, the population of Virginia was double that of New York. But an astonishing change has fifty years made By the last census the population of New York was 2,421,928, that of of Virginia, all told, was only 1,232,797. If her white population only is counted, it amounts to but 740,968. By the assessment of 1838, the aggregate value of real and personal property in New York was $654,000,000, while that of

* Mr. Clowney of South Carolina, thus portrayed his native state in the ardor of debate on the floor of Congress.

“Look at South Carolina now, with her houses deserted and falling to decay, her once fruitful fields worn out and abandoned for want of timely improvement or skillful cultivation, and her thousands of acres of inexhaustible lands, still promising an abundant harvest to the industrious husbandmen, lying idle and neglected. In the interior of the state where I was born and where I now live, although a country possessing all the advantages of soil, climate and health, abounding in arable land unreclaimed from the first rude state of nature, there can now be found many neighborhoods, where the population is too sparse to |. a common elementary school for children. Such is the deplorable condition of one of the oldest members of the Union, that dates back its settlement more than a century and a half, while other states born as it were but yesterday, already surpass what Carolina was or ever has been in the happiest days of her prosperity.”

Wol. III.

[ocr errors]

Virginia was only $211,930,508, exhibiting an excess in New York over Virginia, of $442,069,492. The debates of the Constitution convention, show that the favorite argument of the Southern members, in order to secure a compromise, was, that representation as well as taxation should be according to wealth. We should be pleased to know if at this day southern members of Congress would advocate as zealously such a method. Were this principle now acted upon, their minority would certainly not be increased. It is therefore evident that the reasons which influenced the North

‘to make a concession to the South,

no longer exist. The former, once the poorer, has become the wealthier. Such a change.in affairs having taken place, there is no occasion for such an arrangement, cessante ratione cessat ipsa lew. Moreover, while the North has received no consideration for the concession she made, the South ever since has had not only the advantage of increased representation, but she has received for herself many other benefits after the same ratio. We will here mention two or three instances in which she has managed, with her usual adroitness, to obtain the lion's share. In 1836 there was surplus revenue in the United States treasury, to the amount of twenty two millions of dollars. A bill was passed authorizing the distribution of this sum “in proportion to the representation of the states in the Senate and House of Representatives.” By this plan the slave states with 3,789,674 free inhabitants received $9,428,580, while the free states with 7,003,239 free inhabitants received but $12,571,420. Had the distribution been made with reference alone to free inhabitants, the Northern states would have received eighteen millions instead of twelve and a half. Or to make a more definite statement of this unfair proceeding, a southerner owning one hundred slaves, would receive as much as sixty one northern freemen. In 1841, Congress passed the “Distribution Bill,” by which the proceeds of the public lands were to be given to the several states. Here again the South succeeded in having this distribution based upon “federal numbers,” that is, according to their representation in Congress. Supposing that the proceeds of the public lands to be three millions of dollars, Pennsylvania, with a free population more than double that of Virginia by 142,349, instead of receiving more than double the amount, received $74,521 less; and with a free population equal to that of Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina, received $94,330 loss." Although Virginia received so much more on account of her slaves, yet she deems them not less her property than Pennsylvania does her horses. After the returns of the census of 1840, Congress set about the work of fixing a new ratio of representation. Members from the slave states were not willing to have the number agreed upon after the census of 1830, for with the increase of population, the majority of the free states would be greatly augmented. Their endeavor was then to fix upon some number that would give the northern states as small a majority as possible. After a tedious comparison of numbers, the Senate sent to the House a bill giving one representative to every 70,6S0 of federal population, and which would reduce the House from its then number of 242 members, to 2:23. But it would require some shrewdness, to guess why the fraction 680 was added to the round number 70,000. A little examination will discover, that the

* Address of a Pennsylvania convention.

addition of that fraction deprives the four great states of the North of one representative each. Take that number off, and Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, would each have another member; while the other states would have none the less. Whatever number might have been chosen, there would of course be unrepresented fractions; yet it is curious to observe how much larger these fractions are in the free states than in the slave states. For example the fractional number of Pennsylvania is 27,687, that of Virginia only 2. These instances will answer as specimens of the benefits, which the South has secured to herself on the plea of “federal numbers.” Nor is it strange that in this kind of management they have been successful, since they have had on the floor of Congress from 25 to 30 members representing their peculiar interest. The South has had all these advantages at the expense of the North. At the time of the compromise, there was supposed to be some equitable ground for it; but events have proved the contrary, so that it is not only for the interest of the free states to demand the proposed amendment of the Constitution, but the slave states are bound in honor to grant it. It is moreover the duty of every patriot and philanthropist to diminish as far as practicable the interest which the southern states have in the perpetuation of slavery. While the institution confers upon them political power, they will be slow to adopt measures of emancipation. A regard, therefore, for all the considerations of humanity, self-interest and love of country, involved in the destruction of the most incongruous and perilous element in our social fabric, ought to stimulate the free states to demand this amendment.

« 上一頁繼續 »