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[142] imperatively demanded. “Why do n't you keep clear of the fanatical Abolitionists, and discuss the question in moderation and good temper?” Mr. Lovejoy did exactly this, also. He was not the advocate of Garrisonism; on the contrary, he condemned it. He was not the champion of any political party, nor of any peculiar line of anti-Slavery action. He did not publish an Abolition journal. His was simply and purely a religious newspaper, in which Slavery was from time to time discussed, and its evils exposed, like those of intemperance, or any other immorality. But this he was not permitted to do, whether in a Slave or in a Free State. He was proscribed, hunted, persecuted, assaulted, plundered, and finally killed — not because he persisted in opposing Slavery in the wrong place, or in a peculiarly objectionable manner, but because he would not desist from opposing it at all.1

The District of Columbia was originally composed of a hundred square miles of territory, lying on both sides of the river Potomac, at the head of navigation on that stream. The forty square miles south of that river, forming the county and including the city of Alexandria, were ceded to the Union in 1789 by Virginia, and retroceded to that State in 1846--the movement for retrocession having, doubtless, some covert reference to the probability or prospect of disunion. The sixty square miles lying north of the Potomac — forming the county of Washington, and including the cities of Washington and Georgetown — were ceded by Maryland in 1788, and now compose the entire District; so that Washington is commanded, within easy shelling distance, by hights which, in case the separation of Virginia from the Union were conceded, would be part and parcel of a foreign country.

The Federal Constitution (Art. I., Section 8) provides that, “The Congress shall have power to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases what-soever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the Government of the United States.” The cession by Maryland was without qualification. But Congress proceeded, soon after, to pass an act, apparently without much consideration or forecast, whereby the then existing laws of Maryland and Virginia were to continue in full force and effect over those portions of the Federal District ceded by them respectively, until Congress should otherwise enact; and, as those States were undoubtedly Slave States, their slave laws continued operative herein, with little or no modification or improvement, down to the passage of the Compromise measures of 1850.

Very naturally, the creation out of nothing of such a city as Washington, with its adoption as the capital of the Republic, combined with its favorable location, served to render it an extensive mart for the prosecution of the domestic Slave-Trade.

1 Wendell Phillips, then a young Whig lawyer, first conspicuously identified himself with the anti-Slavery movement, at a meeting held in Boston (December 8, 1837), at the old Court House--Faneuil Hall having been asked for, and refused, to a petition headed by Rev. William E. Channing--to consider the circumstances attending the death of Mr. Lovejoy.

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