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Mr. Iredell begged leave to explain the reason of this clause (last clause, Section 2, Article IV.). In some of the Northern States, they have emancipated all their slaves. If any of our slaves, said he, go there and remain there a certain time, they would, by the present laws, be entitled to their freedom, so that their masters could not get them again. This would be extremely prejudicial to the inhabitants of the Southern States; and to prevent it, this clause is inserted in the Constitution. Though the word slave is not mentioned, this is the meaning of it. The Northern delegates, owing to their peculiar scruples on the subject of Slavery, did not choose the word slave to be mentioned. --Elliot's Debates, vol. IV., p. 176.
The law of nations disavows such compacts; the law of nature, written on the hearts and consciences of freemen, repudiates them. I know that there are laws, of various sorts, which regulate the conduct of men. There are constitutions and statutes, codes mercantile and codes civil; but when we are legislating for States, especially when we are founding States, all these laws must be brought to the standard of the law of God, must be tried by that standard, and must stand or fall by it. To conclude on this point: We are not slaveholders. We can not, in our judgment, be either true Christians or real freemen, if we impose on another a chain that we defy all human power to fasten on ourselves. --Seward's Works, vol. i., p. 66.
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