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[33] the traffic in twenty years. In 1796, Mr. St. George Tucker, law professor in William and Mary College in Virginia, published a treatise entitled, “a Dissertation on Slavery, with a proposal for the gradual abolition of it in the State of Virginia.” In the preface to the essay, he speaks of the “abolition of Slavery in this State as an object of the first importance, not only to our moral character and domestic peace, but even to our political salvation.” In 1797 Mr. Pinkney, in the Legislature of Maryland, maintained that “by the eternal principles of justice, no man in the State has the right to hold his slave a single hour.” In 1803, Mr. John Randolph, from a committee on the subject, reported that the prohibition of Slavery by the ordinance of 1787, was “a measure wisely calculated to promote the happiness and prosperity of the North-western States, and to give strength and security to that extensive frontier.” Under Mr. Jefferson, the importation of slaves into the Territories of Mississippi and Louisiana was prohibited in advance of the time limited by the Constitution for the interdiction of the slave trade. When the Missouri restriction was enacted, all the members of Mr. Monroe's Cabinet--Mr. Crawford of Georgia, Mr. Calhoun of South Carolina, and Mr. Wirt of Virginia — concurred with Mr. Monroe in affirming its constitutionality. In 1832, after the Southampton massacre, the evils of Slavery were exposed in the Legislature of Virginia, and the expediency of its gradual abolition maintained, in terms as decided as were ever employed by the most uncompromising agitator. A bill for that object was introduced into the Assembly by the grandson of Mr. Jefferson, and warmly supported by distinguished politicians now on the stage. Nay, we have the recent admission of the Vice-President of the seceding Confederacy, that what he calls “the errors of the past generation,” meaning the antislavery sentiments entertained by Southern statesmen, “still clung to many as late as twenty years ago.”

To this hasty review of Southern opinions and measures, showing their accordance till a late date with Northern sentiment on the subject of Slavery, I might add the testimony of Washington, of Patrick Henry, of George Mason, of Wythe, of Pendleton, of Marshall, of Lowndes, of Poinsett, of Clay, and of nearly every first-class name in the Southern States. Nay, as late as 1849, and after the Union had been shaken by the agitations incident to the acquisition of Mexican territory, the Convention of California, although nearly one-half of its members were from the slaveholding States, unanimously adopted a Constitution, by which slavery was prohibited in that State. In fact, it is now triumphantly proclaimed by the chiefs of the revolt, that the ideas prevailing on this subject when the Constitution was adopted were fundamentally wrong; that the new Government of the Confederate States “rests upon exactly the opposite ideas; that its foundations are laid and its corner-stone reposes upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that Slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. This our new Government is the first in the history of the world based upon this physical, philosophical, and moral truth.” So little foundation is there for the statement, that the North, from the first, has been engaged in a struggle with the South on the subject of Slavery, or has departed in any degree from the spirit with which the Union was entered into, by both parties. The fact is precisely the reverse.


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