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It is with regard to this territory that you are now called to exercise the grandest function of lawgiver, by establishing rules of polity which will determine its future character. As the twig is bent the tree inclines; and the influences impressed upon the early days of an empire, like those upon a child, are of inconceivable importance to its future weal or woe. The bill now before us proposes to organize and equip two new territorial establishments, with Governors, Secretaries, Legislative Councils, Legislators, Judges, Marshals, and the whole machinery of civil society. Such a measure at any time would deserve the most careful attention. But at the present moment it justly excites peculiar interest, from the effort made -- on pretences unsustained by facts, in violation of solemn covenant, and in disregard of the early principles of our fathers to open this immense region to Slavery.

According to existing law, this territory is now guarded against Slavery by a positive Prohibition, embodied in the Act of Congress approved March 6th, 1820, preparatory to the admission of Missouri into the Union as a sister State, and in the following explicit words:

“SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That in all that territory ceded by France to the United States, under the name of Louisiana, which lies north of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes north latitude, not included within the limits of the State contemplated by this Act, SLAVERY AND INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the parties shall have been duly convicted, SHALL BE, AND IS HEREBY, FOREVER PROHIBITED.”

It is now proposed to set aside this Prohibition. But there seems to be a singular indecision as to the way


in which the deed shall be done. From the time of its first introduction, in the Report of the Committee on Territories, the proposition has assumed different shapes; and it promises to assume as many as Proteus, one thing in form, and now another, — now like a serpent, and then like a lion, — but in every form and shape identical in substance; with but one object, — the overthrow of the Prohibition of Slavery. At first it proposed simply to declare that the States formed out of this territory should be admitted into the Union “with or without Slavery," and did not directly assume to touch this Prohibition. For some reason this was not satisfactory, and then it was precipitately proposed to declare that the Prohibition in the Missouri Act superseded by the principles of the legislation of 1850, commonly called the Compromise Measures, and is hereby declared inoperative." But this would not do; and it is now proposed to enact, that the Prohibition,

being inconsistent with the principles of non-intervention by Congress with Slavery in the States and Territories, as recognized by the legislation of 1850, commonly called the Compromise Measures, is hereby declared inoperative and void.”


All this is to be done on pretences founded upon the Slavery enactments of 1850. Now, Sir, I am not here to speak in behalf of those measures, or to lean in any way upon their support. Relating to different subjectmatters, contained in different acts, which prevailed successively, at different times, and by different votes,

some persons voting for one, and some for another, and very few for all, - they cannot be regarded as a unit, embodying conditions of compact, or compromise, if you please, adopted equally by all, and therefore obligatory on all. But since this broken series of measures is adduced as apology for the proposition now before us, I desire to say, that, such as they are, they cannot, by any rule of interpretation, by any charming rod of power, by any magic alchemy, be transmuted into a repeal of that original Prohibition.

On this head there are several points to which I would merely call attention, and then pass on. First : : The Slavery enactments of 1850 did not pretend, in terms, to touch, much less to change, the condition of the Louisiana Territory, which was already fixed by Congressional enactment. The two transactions related to different subject-matters. Secondly: The enactments do not directly touch the subject of Slavery, during the Territorial existence of Utah and New Mexico; but they provide prospectively, that, when admitted as States, they shall be received “with or without Slavery." Here certainly can be no overthrow of an Act of Congress which directly concerns a Territory during its Territorial existence. Thirdly: During all the discussion of these measures in Congress, and afterwards before the people, and through the public press, at the North and the South alike, no person was heard to intimate that the Prohibition of Slavery in the Missouri Act was in any way disturbed. Fourthly: The acts themselves contain a formal provision, that "nothing herein contained shall be construed to impair or qualify anything” in a certain article of the Resolution annexing Texas, where it is expressly declared, that, in any State formed out of territory north of the Missouri Compromise line, “Slavery or involuntary servitude, except for crime, shall be prohibited."

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I do not dwell on these things. These pretences have been amply refuted by able Senators who have preceded

It is clear, beyond contradiction, that the Prohibition of Slavery in this Territory was not superseded, or in any way contravened, by the Slavery Acts of 1850. The proposition before you is, therefore, original in character, without sanction from any former legislation, and it must, accordingly, be judged by its merits, as an original proposition.

Here, Sir, let it be remembered that the friends of Freedom are not open to any charge of aggression. They are now standing on the defensive, guarding the early intrenchments thrown up by our fathers. No proposition to abolish Slavery anywhere is now before you, but, on the contrary, a proposition to abolish Freedom. The term Abolitionist, so often applied in reproach, justly belongs, on this occasion, to him who would overthrow this well-established landmark. He is, indeed, no Abolitionist of Slavery ; let him be called, Sir, Abolitionist of Freedom. For myself, whether with many or few, my place is taken. Even if alone, my feeble arm should not be wanting as a bar against this outrage.

On two distinct grounds, “strong both against the deed," I arraign it: First, in the name of Public Faith, as an infraction of solemn obligations, assumed beyond recall by the South, on the admission of Missouri into the Union as a Slave State. Secondly, I arraign it in the name of Freedom, as an unjustifiable departure from the original Antislavery policy of our fathers. These two heads I shall consider in their order, glancing, under the latter, at the objections to the Prohibition of Slavery in the Territories.

Before I approach the argument, indulge me with a few preliminary words on the character of this proposition. Slavery is the forcible subjection of one human being, in person, labor, and property, to the will of another. In this simple statement is involved its whole injustice. There is no offence against religion, against morals, against humanity, which, in the license of this enormity, may not stalk “unwhipped of justice.” For the husband and wife there is no marriage; for the mother there is no assurance that her infant child will not be ravished from her breast; for all who bear the name of Slave there is nothing that they can call their own. Without a father, without a mother, almost without a God, the slave has nothing but a master. It would be contrary to that Rule of Right which is ordained by God, if such a system, though mitigated often by patriarchal kindness, and by plausible physical comfort, could be otherwise than pernicious. It is confessed that the master suffers not less than the slave. And this is not all. The whole social fabric is disorganized ; labor loses its dignity; industry sickens; education finds no schools; and all the land of Slavery is impoverished. And now, Sir, when the conscience of mankind is at last aroused to these things, when, throughout the civilized world, a slave-dealer is a by-word and a reproach, we, as a nation, are about to open a new market to the traffickers in flesh that haunt the shambles of the South. Such an act, at this time, is removed from all reach of that palliation often vouchsafed to Slavery. This wrong, we are speciously told by those who seek to defend it, is not our original sin. It was entailed upon us, so we are instructed, by our ancestors; and the responsibility is often thrown, with exultation, upon the mother coun

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