Southern state, without exception, either had already enacted, or proceeded to enact, laws forbidding the importation of slaves.
South Carolina subsequently (in 1803) repealed her law forbidding the importation of slaves.
The reason assigned for this action was the impossibility of enforcing the law without the aid of the fede spectacle of its authority being daily violated.
The effect of the repeal was to permit the importation of negroes into South Carolina during the interval from 1803 to 1808.
It is probable that an extensive contrabrand trade was carried on by the New England slavers with other ports, on account of the lack of means to enforcesy was the question of the balance of political power.
In its earlier manifestations this was undisguised.
The purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, and the subsequent admission of a portion of that territory into the Union as a state, afforded one of the earliest occasions for the manifestation of sectional j
tions for secession.
This was generally admitted to be an unquestionable right appertaining to their sovereignty as states, and the only peaceable remedy that remained for the evils already felt and the dangers apprehended.
In the prior history of the country, repeated instances are found of the assertion of this right, and of a purpose entertained at various times to put it in execution.
Notably is this true of Massachusetts and other New England states.
The acquisition of Louisiana in 1803 had created much dissatisfaction in those states for the reason, expressed by an eminent citizen of Massachusetts,
George Cabot, who had been United States Senator from Massachusetts for several years during the administration of Washington.
See Life of Cabot, by Lodge, p. 334. that the influence of our [the Northeastern] part of the Union must be diminished by the acquisition of more weight at the other extremity.
The project of a separation was freely discussed, with no intimation, in
It was the offspring of sectional rivalry and political ambition.
It would have manifested itself just as certainly if slavery had existed in all the states, or if there had not been a negro in America.
No such pretension was made in 1803 or 1811, when the Louisiana purchase, and afterward the admission into the Union of the state of that name, elicited threats of disunion from the representatives of New England.
The complaint was not of slavery, but of the acquisition of more weihat the line of demarkation of sectional interests coincided exactly or very nearly with that dividing the states in which negro servitude existed from those in which it had been abolished.
It corresponded with the prediction of Mr. Pickering, in 1803, that, in the separation certainly to come, the white and black population would mark the boundary—a prediction made without any reference to slavery as a source of dissension.
Of course the diversity of institutions contributed, in some minor
reignty of states and of regard for the limitations of the Constitution—to prevent a conflict of arms.
The compromise of 1833 was adopted, which South Carolina agreed to accept, the principle for which she contended being virtually conceded.
Meantime there had been no lack, as we have already seen, of assertions of the sovereign rights of the states from other quarters.
The declaration of these rights by the New England states and their representatives, on the acquisition of Louisiana in 1803, on the admission of the state of that name in 1811-12, and on the question of the annexation of Texas in 1843-45, have been referred to in another place.
Among the resolutions of the Massachusetts legislature, in relation to the proposed annexation of Texas, adopted in February, 1845, were the following:
2. Resolved, That there has hitherto been no precedent of the admission of a foreign state or foreign territory into the Union by legislation, granted in the Constitution of the United