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enjoyment of happiness, the Christian religion teaches ns to believe; and the political creed of Americans fully coincides with the position. Your memorialists, particularly engaged in attending to the distresses arising from slavery, believe it their indispensable duty to present this subject to your notice. They have observed, with real satisfaction, that many important and salutary powers are vested in you for "promoting the welfare, and securing the blessings of liberty to the people of the United States;" and as they conceive that these blessings ought rightfully to be administered, without distinction of color, to all descriptions of people, so they indulge themselves in the pleasing expectation that nothing which can be done for the relief of the unhappy objects of their care will be either omitted or delayed.
From a persuasion that equal liberty was originally the portion, and is still the birthright of all men, and influenced by the strong ties of humanity, and the principles of their institution, your memorialists conceive themselves bound to use all justifiable endeavors to loosen the bands of slavery; and promote a general enjoyment of the blessings of freedom. Under these impressions, they earnestly entreat your serious attention to the subject of slavery. That you will be pleased to countenance the restoration of liberty to those unhappy men who alone in this land of freedom are degraded into perpetual bondage, and who, amidst the general joy of surrounding freemen, are groaning in servilo subjection; that you will devise means for removing this inconsistency from the character of the American people; that you will promote mercy and justice toward this distressed race, and that you will step to the very verge of the power invested in you for discouraging every species of traffic in the persons of our fellow-men.
The memorial was referred to a special committee.
REPOKT OP THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE.
The Committee to whom were referred sundry memorials from the people called Quakers; and also a memorial from the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery, submit the following report:
That, from the nature of the matters contained in these memorials, they were induced to examine the powers vested in Congress under the present Constitution, relating to the abolition of Slavery, and are clearly of opinion—
Firstly. That the General Government is expressly restrained from prohibiting the importation of such persons "as any of the other States now existing shall think proper to admit until the year one thousand eight hundred and eight."
Secondly. That Congress, by a fair construction of the Constitution, is equally restrained from interfering in the emancipation of slaves, who already are, or who may, within the period mentioned, be imported into, or born within, any of the said States.
Thirdly. That Congress has no authority to interfere in the internal regulations of particular States, relative to the instruction of slaves in the principles of morality and religion; to their comfortable clothing, accommodations, and subsistence; to the regulation of their marriages, and the violation of the rights thereof, or the separation of children from their parents; to a comfortable provision in case of sickness, age, or infirmity ; or to the seizure, transportation, or sale of free negroes; but have the fullest confidence in the wisdom and humanity of the legislatures of the several States; that they will revise their laws from time to time, when necessary, and promote the objects mentioned in the memorials, and every other measure that may tend to the happiness of slaves.
Fourthly. That, nevertheless, Congress have authority, if they shall think it necessary, to lay at any time a tax or duty, not exceeding ten dollars for each person of any description, the importation of whom shall be by any of the States admitted as aforesaid.
Fifthly. That Congress have authority to interdict, or (so far as it is or may be carried on by citizens of the United States for supplying foreigners,) to regulate the African trade, and to make provision for the humane treatment of slaves in all instances while on their passage to the United States, or to foreign ports, so far as it respects the citizens of the United States.
Sixthly. That Congress have also authority to prohibit foreigners from fitting out vessels in any port of the United States, for transporting persons from Africa to any foreign port.
Seventhly. That the memorialists be informed that, in all cases in which the authority of Congress extends, they will exercise it for the humane object of the memorialists, so far as they can be promoted on the principles of justice, humanity, and good policy. ,
HEPOBT OE THE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE,
On the Report of the Special Committee preceding.
March 25, 1790. The Committee of the whole House, to whom was committed the report of the committee on the memorials of the people called Quakers, and of the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery, report the following amendments.
Strike out the first clause, together with the recital thereto, and in lieu thereof, insert, "That the migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, cannot be prohibited by Congress, prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight."
Strike out the second and third clauses, and in lieu thereof, insert "That Congress have no authority to interfere in the emancipation of slaves or in the treatment of them within any of the States; it remaining with the several States alone to provide any regulations therein, which humanity and true policy may require."
Strike out the fourth and fifth clauses, and in lien thereof, insert, "That Congress have authority to restrain - the citizens of the United States from carrying on the African trade, for the purpose of supplying foreigners with slaves; and of providing, by proper regulations, for the humane treatment during their passage, of slaves imported by the said citizens into the States admitting such importation."
Strike out the seventh clause.
VIRGINIA RESOLUTIONS OP 1798,
Pronouncing the Alien and Sedition Laws to be unconstitutional, and defining the rights of the States. (Drawn by Mr. Madison.)
Besolved, That the General Assembly of Virginia, doth unequivocally express a firm resolution to maintain and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of this State, against every aggression, either foreign or domestic, and that they will support the government of the United States in all measures warranted by the former.
That this Assembly most solemnly declares a warm attachment to the union of the States, to maintain which it pledges its power; and that for this end, it is their duty to watch over and oppose every infraction of those principles which constitute the only basis of that union, because a faithful observance of them can alone secure its existence and the public happiness.
That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government as resulting from the compact to which the States are parties, as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting that compact, as no further valid than they are authorized by the grant enumerated in that compact; and that, in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the States who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound to interpose, for arresting the progress of