had been an obstruction, as he desired the admission of California
independently, and not as part of a scheme or bargain; and soldier and patriot as he was, with all his limitations as a Southern planter, he was ready to compel Texas
by force of arms to respect the territory of New Mexico
instead of bribing her to keep the peace.1 California
being entitled by all precedents to admission without an offset, Clay
's Compromise measures, except the one last named, were all in the interest of slavery.
They were (1) the Texas
boundary bill, granting that State ten millions of dollars for territory which did not belong to her, and an excessive amount even if her title had been good;2
(2) territorial governments for Utah
and New Mexico
without the Wilmot Proviso
; (3) a new fugitive-slave law, with novel and extraordinary provisions, which disregarded humane and Christian sentiments and set aside immemorial presumptions and safeguards of personal liberty; and (4) the abolition of the slave-trade (not slavery itself) in the District of Columbia.
The fate of the two territories was left unsettled, and the Fugitive Slave Act
marked another advance of the slave-power.
Of this Act it is sufficient, without attempting a minute and critical statement, to say that it invested commissioners appointed by the federal courts with power to decide summarily and finally the claimant's right to the negro; denied to the latter claimed as a slave a jury trial or a hearing on his right before any court on habeas corpus
; made affidavits taken in a distant slave State conclusive evidence of the master's title, without opportunity to cross-examine the affiants and contest their statements; denied expressly to the negro the right to testify for himself; fixed for the commissioner a larger fee when his decision was for the claimant than when it was for the negro; imposed a heavy penalty both of fine and imprisonment, without the alternative of either, for assisting the negro to escape or for harboring and concealing him, in addition to a civil penalty of one thousand dollars recoverable by the slave-owner; provided more commissioners and a large executive