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Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Webster, Daniel 1782-1852 (search)
ge may, by the operation of the general government, be made free. At the very first Congress petitions on the subject were presented, if I mistake not, from different States. The Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery took a lead and laid before Congress a memorial, praying Congress to promote the abolition by such powers as it possessed. This memorial was referred, in the House of Representatives, to a select committee, consisting of Mr. Foster, of New Hampshire; Mr. Gerry, of Massachusetts; Mr. Huntington, of Connecticut; Mr. Lawrence, of New York; Mr. Sinnickson, of New Jersey; Mr. Hartley, of Pennsylvania, and Mr. Parker, of Virginia; all of them, sir, as you will observe, Northern men, but the last. This committee made a report, which was committed to a committee of the whole House, and there considered and discussed on several days; and being amended, although in no material respect, it was made to express three distinct propositions on the subjects of
Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), X Y Z letters, (search)
Louis XVI. had been overthrown in France, and a republic established in charge of the Directory and Council. The French envoys to America, Genet, Adet, and Fouchet, annoyed Presidents Washington and Adams exceedingly by their arrogance. Then the French Directory authorized French war-vessels to seize American merchantmen and detain them for examination. Fully 1,000 vessels, carrying the United States flag, had been thus stopped in their course when Adams appointed Pinckney, Marshall, and Gerry as a commission to visit France and negotiate a treaty that would save American vessels from further annoyance. The commission was met in France by three unofficial agents, who told the Americans that the Directory would not listen to them unless suitable bribes, amounting to $240,000, were given; and that, if the commission were received, France would expect a loan from the United States, as French finances were then at a very low ebb. The American envoys indignantly rejected these proposa
the clause touching the African slave trade, which reveals the definitive purposes of the Convention. From the report of Mr. Madison we learn what was said. Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts, thought we had nothing to do with the conduct of the States as to Slavery, but we ought to be careful not to give any sanction to it. Acco will be remembered, that, among the members of the Convention, were Gouverneur Morris, who had said that he never would concur in upholding domestic slavery; Elbridge Gerry, who thought we ought to be careful not to give any sanction to it; Roger Sherman, who was opposed to any clause acknowledging men to be property; James Madis clause, which was not in the original Constitution when first adopted, was suggested by the very spirit of Freedom. At the close of the National Convention, Elbridge Gerry refused to sign the Constitution, because, among other things, it established a tribunal without juries, a Star Chamber as to civil cases. Many united in his
pholding domestic slavery. It was a nefarious institution. It was the curse of Heaven on the State where it prevailed. Oliver Ellsworth, of Connecticut, said: The morality or wisdom of Slavery are considerations belonging to the States themselves. According to him, Slavery was sectional. At a later day, a discussion ensued on the clause touching the African slave trade, which reveals the definitive purposes of the Convention. From the report of Mr. Madison we learn what was said. Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts, thought we had nothing to do with the conduct of the States as to Slavery, but we ought to be careful not to give any sanction to it. According to these words, he regarded Slavery as sectional, and would not make it national. Roger Sherman, of Connecticut, was opposed to any tax on slaves imported, as making the matter worse, because it implied they were property. He would not have Slavery national. After debate, the subject was committed to a Committee of eleven,
roposition. Had it been distinctly made, it would have been distinctly denied. The fact that the provision on this subject was adopted unanimously, while showing the little importance attached to it in the shape it finally assumed, testifies also that it could not have been regarded as a source of National power over Slavery. It will be remembered, that, among the members of the Convention, were Gouverneur Morris, who had said that he never would concur in upholding domestic slavery; Elbridge Gerry, who thought we ought to be careful not to give any sanction to it; Roger Sherman, who was opposed to any clause acknowledging men to be property; James Madison, who thought it wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in man; and Benjamin Franklin, who likened American slaveholders to Algerine corsairs. In the face of these unequivocal statements, it is absurd to suppose that they consented unanimously to any provision by which the National Government, th
operty, without due process of law; that is, without due proceedings at law, with Trial by Jury. Not stopping to dwell on this, I press at once to the other provision, which is still more express: In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of Trial by Jury shall be preserved. This clause, which was not in the original Constitution when first adopted, was suggested by the very spirit of Freedom. At the close of the National Convention, Elbridge Gerry refused to sign the Constitution, because, among other things, it established a tribunal without juries, a Star Chamber as to civil cases. Many united in his opposition, and on the recommendation of the First Congress this additional safeguard was adopted as an amendment. Now, regarding the question as one of property, or of Personal Liberty, in either alternative the Trial by Jury is secured. For this position authority is ample. In the debate on the Fugitive Slave Bill of 1817– 1
Cambridge History of American Literature: volume 1, Colonial and Revolutionary Literature: Early National Literature: Part I (ed. Trent, William Peterfield, 1862-1939., Erskine, John, 1879-1951., Sherman, Stuart Pratt, 1881-1926., Van Doren, Carl, 1885-1950.), Chapter 8: American political writing, 1760-1789 (search)
nto the leading principles of the Federal Constitution; as did John Jay, in An address to the people of the state of New York; Pelatiah Webster of Philadelphia, in The weakness of Brutus exposed, a reply to the first of a series of sixteen essays ascribed to Thomas Treadwell of New York; Tench Coxe, in An examination of the Constitution, written over the pseudonym of An American Citizen ; and David Ramsay, in An address to the Freemen of South Carolina. The opposition was represented by Elbridge Gerry's Observations on the New Constitution; Melanchthon Smith's Address to the people of the state of New York, and preeminently by Richard Henry Lee, in his Observations leading to a fair examination of the system of government proposed by the late Convention, and by George Mason of Virginia, in his Objections to the proposed Federal Constitution, to the latter of whom James Iredell of North Carolina made an elaborate rejoinder. The foregoing are collected in P. L. Ford, Pamphlets on the
Cambridge History of American Literature: volume 1, Colonial and Revolutionary Literature: Early National Literature: Part I (ed. Trent, William Peterfield, 1862-1939., Erskine, John, 1879-1951., Sherman, Stuart Pratt, 1881-1926., Van Doren, Carl, 1885-1950.), Index. (search)
John, 116, 162, 177, 178 Gazette (Philadelphia), 341 General Gage's Soliloquy, 139 General idea of philosophy, a, 82 General Historie of Virginia, New England, and the summer Isles, the, 17 General magazine and historical chronicles for all the British colonies in America, the, 95, 121 Gentleman's magazine, the, 98, 121 Geography made easy, 187 George II, 125 George II, III, 125, 168, 216 George Balcombe, 312 Georgia Spec., or land in the Moon, a, 219 Gerry, Elbridge, 148 Gerstacker, Friedrich, 325 Gibbon, Edward, 343 Gifford, William, 171, 178, 206, 249 Gilbert, Sir, Humphrey, I, 3 Gladiator, the, 221, 224 Glance at New York, a, 228 Gleaner, 233 Gloria Brittannorum, 159 Glory of Columbia, the, 219, 226 Godfrey, Thomas, 122, 216-217, 218 Godfrey, Thomas, Jr., 122, 161, 176, 177 God's controversy with New England, 157 God's Protecting Providence, etc., 7 Godwin, Parke, 260 n., 262 n., 266 n., 269 n., 272 n., 276, 2
Wendell Phillips, Theodore C. Pease, Speeches, Lectures and Letters of Wendell Phillips: Volume 1, chapter 18 (search)
ll this timid servility of the press, all this lack of virtue and manhood, all this corruption of the pulpit, all this fossil hunkerism, all this selling of the soul for a mess of pottage, is to linger, working in the body politic for thirty or forty years, and we are gradually to eliminate the disease! What an awful future What a miserable chronic disease! What a wreck of a noble nation the American Republic is to be for fifty years! And why? Only to save a piece of parchment that Elbridge Gerry had instinct enough to think did not deserve saving, as long ago as 1789! Mr. Seward would leave New York united to New Orleans, with the hope (sure to be balked) of getting freer and freer from year to year. I want to place her, at once, in the same relation towards New Orleans that she bears to Liverpool. You can do it, the moment you break the political tie. What will that do? I will tell you. The New York pulpit is to-day one end of a magnetic telegraph, of which the New Orleans c
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, John Greenleaf Whittier, Chapter 2: school days and early ventures (search)
whether he was in jest or earnest. The great questions of Calvinism were subjects of which he often talked in those early days. He was exceedingly conscientious. He cared for people — quite as much for the plainest and most uncultivated, if they were original and had something in them, as for the most polished. He was much interested in politics, and thoroughly posted. I remember, in one of his first calls at our house, being surprised at his conversation with my father upon Governor Gerry and the gerrymandering of the state, or the attempt to do it, of which I had until then been ignorant. He had a retentive memory and a marvellous store of information on many subjects. I once saw a little commonplace book of his, full of quaint things and as interesting as Southey's. His house was one of the most delightful that I ever knew, situated in a green valley, where was a laughing brook, fine old trees, hills near by, and no end of wild flowers. What did they want of th
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