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[255] were “never thought of or spoken of except as property,” before and when the Constitution was adopted, “as is equally evident from its provisions and language.” Had he been asked to say, then, what the Constitution can mean by declaring (Art. I. § 2) that “representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included in 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,” he might have hesitated for an answer, but never blushed; since, very soon after this, he proceeds to argue that, when this same article of the Constitution ( § 9) declares that Congress shall not, prior to the year 1808, prohibit “the migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit,” but a tax or duty may be imposed “on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person,” he coolly says, the importation which it thus sanctions, “was unquestionably of all persons of the race of which we are now speaking.”

The Chief Justice proceeds to defy history and common sense by asserting that, in the days of the fathers, even emancipated blacks “were identified in the public mind with the race to which they belonged, and regarded as a part of the slave population rather than the free.” He is so kind as to tell the people of the Free States that the efforts of Wesley, and Edwards, and Hopkins, and Franklin, and Jay, and all the other eminent divines, patriots, and statesmen, who appealed to their consciences and their hearts against Slavery as unjust and cruel, had no existence, or, at least, no effect — that Slavery was abolished by our fathers, not at all because it was felt to be wrong, but because it was found to be unprofitable in this particular locality. On this point, he says:

(It is very true that, in that portion of the Union where the labor of the negro race was found to be unsuited to the climate and unprofitable to the master, but few slaves were held at the time of the Declaration of Independence; and, when the Constitution was adopted, it had entirely worn out in one of them, and measures had been taken for its gradual abolition in several others. But this change had not been produced by any change of opinion in relation to this race; but because it was discovered, from experience, that slave labor was unsuited to the climate and productions of these States: for some of these States where it had ceased, or nearly ceased, to exist, were actively engaged in the Slave-Trade; procuring cargoes on the coast of Africa, and transporting them for sale to those parts of the Union where their labor was found to be profitable, and suited to the climate and productions. And this traffic was openly carried on, and fortunes accumulated by it, without reproach from the people of the States where they resided. And it can hardly be supposed that, in the States where it was then countenanced in its worst form — that is, in the seizure and transportation — the people could have regarded those who were emancipated as entitled to equal rights with themselves.

How utterly mistaken this is, the recollection of thousands will establish. The very few persons at the North who were openly engaged in this slave-trading, fifty or eighty years ago, though shrewd, wealthy, and powerful, were never held in good repute; and the stain of their nefarious traffic still sullies their innocent descendants. Bad as our great marts may be, and blinded by the lust of gain as our trading classes may seem, there never was an hour when it was desirable to be known

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