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[111]

The debate in Congress occurred on the 6th of January, 1829, when the Hon. Charles Miner, of Pennsylvania, introduced in the House of Representatives a preamble setting forth the iniquities and horrors of the slave-trade as carried on in the District, and the power and duty of Congress to legislate concerning it; and proposed resolutions that the Committee on the District be instructed to inquire into the subject, to provide such amendments to existing laws as should seem to them just, and furthermore to consider the expediency of providing by law for the gradual abolition of slavery itself therein. Mr. Miner supported his motion in an eloquent speech, and both resolutions were subsequently adopted by heavy majorities,—that on the slave-trade receiving two-thirds of the votes cast; and the other, concerning gradual emancipation, 114 votes against 66 in opposition. The friends of emancipation derived great encouragement from this, and felt mortified that any Northern members should have voted against the resolutions. Mr. Garrison was prompt to denounce and pillory the three New England representatives who were recreant to their duty, namely, Mr. Ripley of1 Maine and Mr. Harvey of New Hampshire, who voted against the consideration of the question, and Mr. Mallary of Vermont, who alone among the New England members opposed by his vote the resolution in favor of gradual emancipation in the District. The caustic comments of the Bennington editor on their action so stung Messrs. Ripley and Mallary that they addressed 2 personal letters to him in explanation and defence of it; but he declined to accept their excuses as valid, and branded Ripley and Harvey as Northern ‘dough-faces.’ Other New England newspapers echoed his indignant protest.

The report of the Committee to whom the resolutions were referred was presented on the 29th of January,3 and betrayed at once the determination of the South to allow no interference whatsoever with slavery in the District.

1 James W. Ripley. Jonathan Harvey. Rollin C. Mallary.

2 Jour. of the Times, Feb. 20, Mar. 6, 1829.

3 Ibid., Mar. 6, 1829.

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