to tax slaves as property, and that limited to States!
and but one clause in it to give a qualified representation to Congress, and that limited to States.
No; the thing is impossible.
The owner cannot carry his Slave State law with him into the Territory; nor can he carry it into another Slave State, but must take the law which he finds there, and have his property governed by it; and, in some instances, wholly changed by it, and rights lost, or acquired, by the change.
To the same effect, Mr. Webster
, when resisting, in 1848, the attempt, on a bill organizing the Territory of Oregon
, to fasten a “rider” extending the Slave
line of 36° 30′ to the Pacific
, refuted this doctrine as follows:
The Southern Senators say we deprive them of the right to go into these newly acquired territories with their property.
We certainly do not prevent them from going into those territories with what is, in general law, called property.
But these States have, by their local laws, created a property in persons; and they cannot carry these local laws with them.
Slavery is created and exists by a local law, which is limited to a certain section; and it is asked that Congress shall establish a local law in other territories to enable Southern Senators to carry their particular law with them.
No man can be held as a slave unless the local law accompany him.
, of Ohio
, in his opinion dissenting from that of the Court
in this case of Dred Scott
Will it be said that the slave is taken as property, the same as other property which the master may own?
To this I answer, that colored persons are made property by the law of the State, and no such power has been given to Congress.
Does the master carry with him the law of the State from which he removes into the territory?
and does that enable him to coerce his slave in the territory?
Let us test this theory: If this may be done by a master from one Slave State, it may be done by a master from every other Slave State.
This right is supposed to be connected with the person of the master, by virtue of the local law. Is it transferable?
May it be negotiated as a promissory note or bill of exchange?
If it be assigned to a man from a Free State, may he coerce the slave by virtue of it?
What shall this thing be denominated?
Is it personal or real property?
Or is it an indefinable fragment of sovereignty, which every person carries with him from his late domicile?
One thing is certain, that its origin has been very recent, and it is unknown to the laws of any civilized country.
It is said that the territories are the common property of the States, and that every man has a right to go there with his property.
This is not controverted.
But the Court say, a slave is not property beyond the operation of the local law which makes him such.
Never was a truth more authoritatively and justly uttered by man. Suppose a master of a slave in a British island owned a million of property in England; would that authorize him to take his slaves with him to England?
The Constitution, in express terms, recognizes the status of Slavery as founded on the municipal law: “No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping to another, shall,” etc. Now, unless the fugitive escape from a place where, by the municipal law, he is held to labor, this provision affords no remedy to the master.
What can be more conclusive than this?
Suppose a slave escape from a territory where Slavery is not authorized by law, can he be reclaimed?
In this case, a majority of the Court have said that a slave may be taken by his master into a territory of the United States, the same as a horse, or any other kind of property.
It is true, this was said by the Court, as also many other things, which are of no authority.
Nothing that has been said by them, which has not a direct bearing on the jurisdiction of the Court, against which they decided, can be considered as authority.
I shall certainly not regard it as such.
The question of jurisdiction, being before the Court, was decided by them authoritatively, but nothing beyond that question.
A slave is not a mere chattel.
He bears the impress of his Maker, and is amenable to the laws of God and man; and lie is destined to an endless existence.
To the same effect, Justice Curtis
, of Massachusetts
, in his
dissenting opinion, thus traverses the judgment of the Court
Is it conceivable that the Constitution has conferred the right on every citizen to become a resident on the territory of the United States with his slaves, and there to hold them as such, but has neither made nor provided for any municipal regulations which were essential to the existence of Slavery?
Is it not more rational to conclude that they who framed and adopted the Constitution