Your memorialists were not without the hope that the time had at length arrived when the inconvenience and danger of this description of population had become apparent in all parts of this country and in all parts of the civilized world. It might have been hoped that the new States themselves would have had such a view of their own permanent interests and prosperity as would have led them to prohibit its extension and increase. The wonderful growth and prosperity of the States north of the Ohio are unquestionably to be ascribed, in a great measure, to the consequences of the Ordinance of 1787; and few, indeed, are tie occasions in the history of nations, in which so much can be done, by a single act, for the benefit of future generations, as was done by that Ordinance, and as may now be done by the Congress of the United States. We appeal to the justice and to the wisdom of the National Councils to prevent the further progress of a great and serious evil. We appeal to those who look forward to the remote consequences of their measures, and who cannot balance a temporary or trifling inconvenience, if there were such, against a permanent, growing, and desolating evil. We cannot forbear to remind the two Houses of Congress that the early and decisive measures adopted by the American Government for the abolition of the Slave-Trade, are among the proudest memorials of our nation's glory. That Slavery was ever tolerated in the Republic is, as yet, to be attributed to the policy of another Government. No imputation, thus far, rests on any portion of the American Confederacy. The Missouri Territory is a new country. If its extensive and fertile fields shall be opened as a market for slaves, the Government will seem to become a party to a traffic which, in so many acts, through so many years, it has denounced as impolitic, unchristian, inhuman. To enact laws to punish the traffic, and at the same time to tempt cupidity and avarice by the allurements of an insatiable market, is inconsistent and irreconcilable. Government, by such a course, would only defeat its own purposes, and render nugatory its own measures. Nor can the laws derive support from the manners of the people, if the power of moral sentiment be weakened by enjoying, under the permission of Government, great facilities to commit offenses. The laws of the United States have denounced heavy penalties against the traffic in slaves, because such traffic is deemed unjust and inhuman. We appeal to the spirit of these laws. We appeal to this justice and humanity. We ask whether they ought not to operate, on the present occasion, with all their force? We have a strong feeling of the injustice of any toleration of Slavery. Circumstances have entailed it on a portion of our community, which cannot be immediately relieved of it without consequences more injurious than the suffering of the evil. But to permit it in a new country, where, as yet, no habits are formed which render it indispensable, what is it, but to encourage that rapacity, and fraud, and violence, against which we have so long pointed the denunciations of our penal code? What is it, but to tarnish the proud fame of the country? What is it, but to throw suspicion on its good faith, and to render questionable all its professions of regard for the rights of Humanity and the liberties of mankind? As inhabitants of a free country — as citizens of a great and rising Republic — as members of a Christian community — as living in a liberal and enlightened age, and as feeling ourselves called upon, by the dictates of religion and humanity, we have presumed to offer our sentiments to Congress on this question, with a solicitude for the event far beyond what a common occasion could inspire.The House Committee, of course, reported the bill without restriction, and it came up as a special order.2 Mr. Taylor moved its postponement for a week, which was voted down — Yeas 87; Nays 88. It was considered in Committee the next day,3 as also on the 28th, and 30th, and thence
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