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question? This question is very ingeniously and cunningly put
The Black Republican creed lays it down expressly, that under no circumstances shall we acquire any more territory unless Slavery is first prohibited in the country. I ask Mr. Lincoln whether Le is in favor of that proposition. Are you (addressing Mr. Lincoln) opposed to the acquisition of any more territory, under any circumstances, unless Slavery is prohibited in it? That he does not like to answer. When I ask him whether he stands up to that article in the platform of his party, he turns, Yankee-fashion, and without answering it, asks me whether I am in favor of acquiring territory without regard to how it may affect the Union on the Slavery question. I answer that whenever it becomes necessary, in our growth and progress, to acquire more territory, that I am in favor of it, without reference to the question of Slavery, and when we have acquired it, I will leave the people free to do as they please, either to make it slave or free territory, as they prefer. It is idle to tell me or you that we have territory enough. Our fathers supposed that we had enough when our territory extended to the Mississippi River, but a few years' growth and expansion satisfied them that we needed more, and the Louisiana territory, from the west branch of the Mississippi to the British possessions, was acquired. Then we acquired Oregon, then California and New Mexico. We have enough now for the present, but this is a young and a growing nation. It swarms as often as a hive of bees, and as new swarms are turned out each year, there must be hives in which they can gather and make their honey. In less than fifteen years, if the same progress that has distinguished this country for the last fifteen years continues, every foot of vacant land between this and the Pacific Ocean, owned by the United States, will be occupied. Will you not continue to increase at the end of fifteen years as well as now? I tell you, increase, and multiply, and expand, is the law of this nation's existence. You cannot limit this great Republic by mere boundary lines, saying, "thus far shalt thou go, and no further." Any one of you gentlemen might as well say to a son twelve years old that he is big enough, and must not grow any larger, and in order to prevent his growth put a hoop around him to keep him to his present size. What would be the result? Either the hoop
SOVEREIGNTY IN THE TERRITORIES.
BY STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS.
From Harper's Magazine, 1859.
UNDER Our complex system of government it is the first duty of American statesmen to mark distinctly the dividing line between Federal and Local Authority. To do this with accuracy involves an inquiry, not only into the powers and duties of the Federal Government under the Constitution, but also into the rights, privileges, and immunities of the people of the Territories, as well as of "It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and endurthe States composing the Union. The relative powers ing forces; and it means that the United States must and will, and functions of the Federal and State governments have sooner or later, become either entirely a slave holding nation become well understood and clearly defined by their or entirely a free-labor nation. Either the cotton and rice practical operation and harmonious action for a long fields of South Carolina, and the sugar plantations of Louisiana series of years; while the disputed question-involving New-Orleans become marts for legitimate merchandise alone, will ultimately be tilled by free labor, and Charleston and the right of the people of the Territories to govern them or else the rye fields and wheat fields of Massachusetts and selves in respect to their local affairs and internal polity-New-York must again be surrendered by their farmers to remains a fruitful source of partisan strife and sectional slave culture and to the production of slaves, and Boston and controversy. The political organization which was formed New-York become once more markets for trade in the bodies in 1854, and has assumed the name of the Republican and souls of men." Party, is based on the theory that African Slavery, as it exists in this country, is an evil of such magnitude social, moral, and political-as to justify and require the exertion of the entire power and influence of the Federal Government to the full extent that the Constitution, according to their interpretation, will permit for its ultimate extinction. In the platform of principles adopted at Philadelphia by the Republican National Convention in 1856, it is affirmed:
In the Illinois canvass of 1858 the same proposition was advocated and defended by the distinguished Republican standard-bearer in these words:
"That the Constitution confers upon Congress sovereign power over the Territories of the United States for their government, and that in the exercise of this power it is both the right and the duty of Congress to prohibit in the Territories those twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and Slavery."
must burst and be rent asunder, or the child must die. So it would be with this great nation. With our natural increase, growing with a rapidity unknown in any other part of the globe, with the tide of emigration that is fleeing from despotism in the old world to seek refuge in our own, there is a constant torrent pouring into this country that requires more land, more territory upon which to settle, and just as fast as our interests and our destiny require additional territory in the North, in the South, or on the Islands of the ocean, I am for it, and when we acquire it, will leave the people, according to the Nebraska bill, free to do as they please on the subject of Slavery and every other question.
I trust now that Mr. Lincoln will deem himself answered on his four points. He racked his brain so much in devising these four questions that he exhausted himself, and had not strength enough to invent the others. As soon as he is able to hold a council with his advisers, Lovejoy, Farnsworth, and Fred Douglass, he will frame and propound others. ("Good, good.") You Black Republicans who say good, I have no doubt think that they are all good men. I have reason to recollect that some people in this country think that Fred Douglass is a very good man. The last time I came here to make a speech, while talking from the stand to you, people of Freeport, as I am doing to-day, I saw a carriage, and a magnificent one it was, drive up and take a position on the outside of the crowd; a beautiful young lady was sitting on the box-seat, whilst Fred Douglass and her mother reclined inside, and the owner of the carriage acted as driver. I saw this in your own town. ("What of it?") All I have to say of it is this, that if you, Black Republicans, think that the negro ought to be on a social equality with your wives and daughters, and ride in a carriage with your wife, whilst you drive the team, you have perfect right to do so. I am told that one of Fred Douglass's kinsmen, another rich black negro, is now traveling in this part of the State making speeches for his friend Lincoln as the champion of black men. ("What have you to say against it ?") All I have to say on that subject is, that those of you who believe that the negro is your equal and ought to be on an equality with you socially, politically, and legally, have a right to entertain those opinions, and of course will vote for Mr. Lincoln.
According to the theory of the Republican party there is an irrepressibie conflict between Freedom and Slavery,
free labor and slave labor, Free States and Slave States, which is irreconcilable, and must continue to rage with increasing fury until the one shall become universal by the annihilation of the other. In the language of the most eminent and authoritative expounder of their political faith,
"In my opinion it (the Slavery agitation) will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. A House divided against itself cannot stand.' I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the House to fall, but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of Slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States old as well as new, North as well as South."
Thus it will be seen, that under the auspices of a political party, which claims sovereignty in Congress over the subject of Slavery, there can be no peace on the
Slavery question-no truce in the sectional strife-no fraternity between the North and South, so long as this Union remains as our fathers made it-divided into free and slave States, with the right on the part of each to retain Slavery so long as it chooses, and to abolish it whenever it pleases.
On the other hand, it would be uncandid to deny that, while the Democratic party is a unit in its irreconcilable opposition to the doctrines and principles of the Republican party, there are radical differences of opinion in respect to the powers and duties of Congress, and the rights and immunities of the people of the Territories under the Federal Constitution, which seriously disturb its harmony and threaten its integrity. These differences of opinion arise from the different interpretations placed on the Constitution by persons who belong to one of the following classes:
First.-Those who believe that the Constitution of the United States neither establishes nor prohibits Slavery in the States or Territories beyond the power of the people legally to control it, but "leaves the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States."
the creator; and that Congress, not possessing the power to legislate in respect to African Slavery in the Territories, cannot delegate to a Territorial Legislature any power which it does not itself possess."
Second.-Those who believe that the Constitution establishes Slavery in the Territories, and withholds from Congress and the Territorial Legislature the power to control it; and who insist that, in the event the Territorial Legislature fails to enact the requisite laws for its protection, it becomes the imperative duty of Congress to interpose its authority and furnish such protection. Third.-Those who, while professing to believe that the Constitution establishes Slavery in the Territories beyond the power of Congress or the Territorial Legislature to control it, at the same time protest against the duty of Congress to interfere for its protection; but insist that it is the duty of the Judiciary to protect and maintain slavery in the Territories without any law upon the subject.
This proposition is as plausible as it is fallacious. But the reverse of it is true as a general rule. Congress cannot delegate to a Territorial Legislature, or to any other body of men whatsoever, any power which the Constitution has vested in Congress. In other words: Every power conferred on Congress by the Constitution must be exercised by Congress in the mode prescribed in the Constitution.
By a careful examination of the second and third propositions, it will be seen that the advocates of each agree on the theoretical question, that the Constitution establishes Slavery in the Territories, and compels them to have it whether they want it or not; and differ on the practical point, whether a right secured by the Constitution shall be protected by an act of Congress when all other remedies fail. The reason assigned for not protecting by law a right secured by the Constitution is, that it is the duty of the Courts to protect Slavery in the Territories without any legislation upon the subject. How the Courts are to afford protection to slaves or any other property, where there is no law providing remedies and imposing penalties and conferring jurisdiction upon the courts to hear and determine the cases as they arise, remains to be explained.
The acts of Congress, establishing the several Territories of the United States, provide that: "The jurisdiction of the several Courts herein provided for, both appellate and original, and that of the Probate Courts and Justices of the Peace shall be limited by law"-meaning such laws as the Territorial Legislatures shall from time to time enact. It will be seen that the judicial tribunals the Territories have just such jurisdiction, and only such, in respect to the rights of persons and property pertaining to the citizens of the Territory as the Territorial Legislature shall see fit to confer; and consequently, that the Courts can afford protection to persons and property no further than the Legislature shall, by law, confer the jurisdiction, and prescribe the remedies, penalties, and modes of proceeding.
Let us test the correctness of this proposition by reference to the powers of Congress as defined in the Constitution:
"The Congress shall have power
"To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises,"
etc: o borrow money on the credit of the United States ;"
"To regulate commerce and foreign nations," etc.;
"To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court ;"
"To provide and maintain a navy."
This list might be extended so as to embrace all the power conferred on Congress by the Constitution; but enough has been cited to test the principle. Will it be contended that Congress can delegate any one of these powers to a Territorial Legislature, or to any tribunal whatever? Can Congress delegate to Kansas the power to "regulate commerce,' or to Nebraska the power "to establish uniform rules of naturalization," or to Illinois the power "to coin money and regulate the value thereof," or to Virginia the power "to establish post-offices and post-roads?"
It is difficult to conceive how any person who believes that the Constitution confers the right of protection in the enjoyment of slave property in the Territories, regardless of the wishes of the people and of the action of the Territorial Legislature, can satisfy his conscience and his oath of fidelity to the Constitution in withholding such Congressional legislation as may be essential to the enjoyment of such right under the Constitution. Under this view of the subject it is impossible to resist the conclusion that, if the Constitution does establish Slavery in the Territories, beyond the power of the people to control it by law, it is the imperative duty of Congress to supply all the legislation necessary to its protection; and if this proposition is not true, it necessarily results that the Constitution neither establishes nor prohibits Slavery anywhere, but leaves the people of each State and Territory entirely free to form and regulate their domestic affairs to suit themselves, without the intervention of Congress or any other power whatsoever.
But it is urged with great plausibility by those who have entire faith in the soundness of the proposition, that "a Territory is the mere creature of Congress; that the creature cannot be clothed with any powers not possessed by
The mere statement of the question carries with it the emphatic answer, that Congress cannot delegate any power which it does not possess; but that every power conferred on Congress by the Constitution must be exercised by Congress in the manner prescribed in that instrument.
On the other hand, there are cases in which Congress may establish tribunals and local governments, and invest them with powers which Congress does not possess, and cannot exercise under the Constitution. For instance, Congress may establish courts inferior to the Supreme Court, and confer upon them the power to hear and determine cases, and render judgments affecting the life, liberty, and property of the citizen, without itself having the power to hear and determine such causes, render judgments, or revise or annul the same. In like manner Congress may institute governments for the Territories, composed of an executive, judicial, and legislative department; and may confer upon the Governor all the executive powers and functions of the Territory, without having the right to exercise any one of those powers or functions itself.
Congress may confer upon the judicial department all the judicial powers and functions of the Territory, without having the right to hear and determine a cause, or render a judgment, or to revise or annul any decision made by the courts so established by Congress. ngress may also confer upon the legislative department of the Territory certain legislative powers which it can not itself exercise, and only such as Congress cannot exercise under the Constitution. The powers which Congress may thus confer, but cannot exercise, are such as relate to the domestic affairs and internal polity of the Territory, and do not affect the general welfare of the Republic.
This dividing line between Federal and Local authority was familiar to the framers of the Constitution. It is clearly defined and distinctly marked on every page of history which records the great events of that immortal struggle between the American Colonies and the British Government, which resulted in the establishment of our national independence. In the beginning of that struggle the Colonies neither contemplated nor desired independence. In all their addresses to the Crown, and to the Parliament, and to the people of Great Britain, as well as to the people of America, they averred that as loyal British subjects they deplored the causes which impelled their separation from the parent country. They were strongly and affectionately attached to the Constitution, civil and political institutions and jurisprudence of Great Britain, which they proudly claimed as the birthright of all Englishmen; and desired to transmit them unimpaired as a precious legacy to their posterity. For a long series of years they remonstrated against the violation of their inalienable rights of self-government under the British Constitution, and humbly petitioned for the redress of their griev
They acknowledged and affirmed their allegiance to the Crown, their affection for the people, and their devo,
tion to the Constitution of Great Britain; and their only
always considered this as one of the questions affecting her "internal polity," over which she, in common with the other colonies, claimed "the right of exclusive legislation in their provincial legislatures" within their respective limits. Some of these acts, particularly those which were enacted prior to the year 1699, were evidently intended to foster and encourage, as well as to regulate and control, African Slavery, as one of the domestic institutions of the colony. The act of 1699, and most of the enactments subsequent to that date, were as obviously designed to restrain and check the growth of the institution, with the view of confining it within the limit of the actual neces sities of the community, or its ultimate extinction, as might be deemed most conducive to the public interests, by a system of unfriendly legislation, such as imposing a tax on all slaves introduced into the colony, which was increased and renewed from time to time, as occasion required, until the period of the Revolution. Many of these acts never took effect, in consequence of the king withdele-holding his assent, even after the governor had approved the enactment, in cases where it contained a clause suspending its operation until his majesty's pleasure should be made known in the premises.
Recognizing and conceding to the Imperial Government all these powers, including the right to institute govern- In 1772, the provincial legislature of Virginia, after imments for the colonies, by granting charters under which posing another tax of five per cent. on all slaves imported the inhabitants residing within the limits of any specified into the colony, petitioned the king to remove all those territory might be organized into a political community, restraints which inhibited his majesty's governors assentwith a government consisting of its appropriate departing to such laws as might check so very pernicious a comments, executive, legislative, and judicial; conceding all merce as Slavery. Of this petition Judge Tucker says: these powers, the Colonies emphatically denied that the Imperial Government had any rightful authority to impose taxes upon them without their consent, or to interfere with their internal polity; claiming that it was the birthright of all Englishmen-inalienable when formed into a political community-to exercise and enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities of self-government in respect to all matters and things which were local and not general -internal and not external-colonial and not imperialas fully as if they were inhabitants of England, with a fair representation in Parliament.
"The following extract from a petition to the Throne, presented from the House of Burgesses of Virginia, April 1st, 1772, will show the sense of the people of Virginia on the subject of Slavery at that period:
"The importation of slaves into the colony from the coast
of Africa hath long been considered as a trade of great inhumuch reason to fear will endanger the very existence of your Majesty's American dominions.""
manity; and under its present encouragement we have too
Mark the ominous words! Virginia tells the king of England in 1772, four years prior to the Declaration of Independence, that his Majesty's American dominions are in danger: not because of the Stamp duties-not because of the tax on tea-not because of his attempts to collect revenue in America! These have since been deemed sufficient to justify rebellion and revolution. But none of these are referred to by Virginia in her address to the Throne-there being another wrong which in magnitude and enormity, so far exceeded these and all other causes of complaint, that the very existence of his Majesty's American dominions depended upon it! That wrong consisted in forcing African Slavery upon a dependent colony without her consent, and in opposition to the wishes of her own people!
Thus it appears that our fathers of the Revolution were contending, not for independence in the first instance, but for the inestimable right of local self-government under the British Constitution; the right of every distinct political community-dependent colonies, territories, provinces, as well as sovereign States-to make their ow local laws, form their own domestic institutions, and manage their own internal affairs in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of Great Britain as the paramount law of the empire.
The government of Great Britain had violated this inalienable right of local self-government by a long series of acts on a great variety of subjects. The first serious point of controversy arose on the Slavery question as early as 1699, which continued a fruitful source of irritation until the Revolution, and formed one of the causes for the separation of the Colonies from the British crown.
For more than forty years the provincial legislature of Virginia had passed laws for the protection and encouragement of African Slavery within her limits. This policy was steadily pursued until the white inhabitants of Virginia became alarmed for their own safety, in view of the numerous and formidable tribes of Indian savages which surrounded and threatened the feeble white settlements, while ship-loads of African savages were being daily landed in their midst. In order to check and restrain a policy which seemed to threaten the very existence of the colony, the provincial legislature enacted a law imposing a tax upon every slave who should be brought into Virginia. The British merchants, who were engaged in the African slave-trade, regarding this legislation as injurious to their interests and in violation of their rights, petitioned the King of England and his majesty's ministers to annul the obnoxious law, and protect them in their right to carry their slaves into Virginia and all other British colonies which were the common property of the empire-acquired by the common blood and common treasure-and from which a few adventurers, who had settled on the imperial domain by his majesty's sufferance, had no right to exclude them, or discriminate against their property by a This clause in the Constitution of Virginia, referring to mere provincial enactment. Upon a full consideration of the inhuman use of the royal negative, in refusing the the subject, the king graciously granted the prayer of the Colony of Virginia permission to exclude Slavery from her petitioners; and accordingly issued peremptory orders to limits by law, as one of the reasons for separating from the royal governor of Virginia, and to the governors of all Great Britain, was adopted on the 12th day of June, the other British colonies in America, forbidding them to 1776, three weeks and one day previous to the Declarasign or approve any colonial or provincial enactment inju- tion of Independence by the Continental Congress; and rious to the African slave-trade, unless such enactment after remaining in force as a part of the Constitution should contain a clause suspending its operation until his for a period of fifty-four years, was re-adopted, without majesty's pleasure should be made known in the premises. alteration, by the Convention which framed the new Judge Tucker, in his Appendix to Blackstone, refers to Constitution in 1830, and then ratified by the people as a thirty-one acts of the provincial legislature of Virginia, part of the new Constitution; and was again re-adopted passed at various periods from 1662 to 1772, upon the sub- by the Convention which amended the Constitution in ject of African Slavery, showing conclusively that Virginia | 1850, and again ratified by the people as a part of the
clause of our (Virginia) Constitution, where, among other "This petition produced no effect, as appears from the first acts of misrule, the inhuman use of the royal negative in refusing us (the people of Virginia) permission to exclude Slavery from us by law, is enumerated among the reasons or separating from Great Britain."
The people of Virginia at that day did not appreciate the force of the argument used by the British merchants, who were engaged in the African slave-trade, and which was afterward indorsed, at least by implication, by the king and his ministers; that the Colonies were the common property of the empire-acquired by the common blood and treasure-and therefore all British subjects had the right to carry their slaves into the colonies, and hold them in defiance of the local law and in contempt of the wishes and safety of the Colonies.
The people of Virginia not being convinced by this process of reasoning, still adhered to the doctrine which they held in common with their sister colonies, that it was the birthright of all freemen-inalienable when formed into political communities-to exercise exclusive legislation in respect to all matters pertaining to their internal polity-Slavery not excepted; and rather than surrender this great right, they were prepared to withdraw their allegiance from the crown.
Again referring to this petition to the king, the same learned judge adds:
amended Constitution, and at this day remains a portion of the fundamental law of Virginia-proclaiming to the world and to posterity that one of the reasons for separating from Great Britain was "the inhuman use of the royal negative in refusing us (the Colony of Virginia), permission to exclude Slavery from us by law !"
The legislation of Virginia on this subject may be taken as a fair sample of the legislative enactments of each of the thirteen Colonies, showing conclusively that slavery was regarded by them all as a domestic question to be regarded and determined by each colony to suit itself, without the intervention of the British Parliament or On the 14th of October the Congress adopted a Bill of "the inhuman use of the royal negative." Each colony Rights for the Colonies, in the form of a series of resolupassed a series of enactments, beginning at an early tions, in which, after conceding to the British Government period of its history and running down to the commence- the power to regulate commerce and do such other things ment of the Revolution, either protecting, regulating, or as affected the general welfare of the empire, without inrestraining African Slavery within its respective limits, terfering with the internal polity of the Colonies, they deand in accordance with their wishes and supposed clared "That they are entitled to a free and exclusive interests. North and South Carolina, following the ex- power in their several provincial legislatures, where their ample of Virginia, at first encouraged the introduction right of representation can alone be preserved in all cases of slaves, until the number increased beyond their wants of taxation and internal polity." Having thus defined the and necessities, when they attempted to check and principle for which they were contending, the Congress restrain the further growth of the institution, by imposing proceeded to adopt the following "Peaceful Measures," a high rate of taxation upon all slaves which should be which they still hoped would be sufficient to induce combrought into those colonies; and finally, in 1764, Southpliance with their just and reasonable demands. These Carolina passed a law imposing a penalty of one hundred "Peaceful Measures" consisted of addresses to the king, pounds (or five hundred dollars) for every negro slave to the Parliament, and to the people of Great Britain, subsequently introduced into that colony. together with an association of non-intercourse to be observed and maintained so long as their grievances should remain unredressed.
The second article of this association, which was adopted without opposition, and signed by the delegates from all the Colonies, was in these words:
The colony of Georgia was originally founded on strict anti-slavery principles, and rigidly maintained this policy for a series of years, until the inhabitants became convinced by experience that, with their climate and productions, slave labor, if not essential to their existence, would prove beneficial and useful to their material interests. Maryland and Delaware protected and regulated African Slavery as one of their domestic institutions. Pennsylvania, under the advice of William Penn, substituted fourteen years' service and perpetual adscript to the soil for hereditary Slavery, and attempted to legislate, not for the total abolition of Slavery, but for the sanctity of marriage among slaves, and for their personal security. New-Jersey, New-York, and Connecticut recognized African Slavery as a domestic institution lawfully existing within their respective limits, and passed the requisite laws for its control and regulation.
Rhode Island provided by law that no slave should serve more than ten years, at the end of which time he was to be set free; and if the master should refuse to let him go free, or sold him elsewhere for a longer period of service, he was subject to a penalty of forty pounds, which was supposed at that period to be nearly double the value of the slave.
Massachusetts imposed heavy taxes upon all slaves brought into the colony, and provided in some instances for sending the slaves back to their native land; and finally prohibited the introduction of any more slaves into the colony under any circumstances.
When New-Hampshire passed laws which were designed to prevent the introduction of any more slaves, the British Cabinet issued the following order to Governor Wentworth: "You are not to give your assent to, or pass any law imposing duties upon negroes imported into New-Hampshire."
While the legislation of the several colonies exhibits dissimilarity of views, founded on a diversity of interests, on the merits and policy of Slavery, it shows conclusively that they all regarded it as a domestic question affecting their internal polity in respect to which they were entitled to a full and exclusive power of legislation in the several provincial legislatures. For a few years immediately preceding the American Revolution, the African slave-trade was encouraged and stimulated by the British Government, and carried on with more vigor by the English merchants, than at any other period in the history of the Colonies; and this fact, taken in connection with the extraordinary claim asserted in the memorable preamble to the act repealing the stamp duties, that "Parliament possessed the right to bind the Colonies in all cases whatever," not only in respect to all matters affecting the general welfare of the empire, but also in regard to the domestic relations and internal polity of the Colonies-produced a powerful impression upon the minds of the colonists, and imparted peculiar prominence to the principle involved in the controversy.
Hence the enactments by the several colonial legislatures calculated and designed to restrain and prevent the increase of slaves; and, on the other hand, the orders issued by the Crown, instructing the colonial governors not to sign or permit any legislative enactment prejudicial or injurious to the African slave-trade, unless such enactment should contain a clause suspending its operation until the royal pleasure should be made known in the premises; or, in other words, until the king should have an
opportunity of annulling the acts of the colonial legislatures by the "inhuman use of the royal negative."
Thus the policy of the Colonies on the Slavery question had assumed a direct antagonism to that of the British Government; and this antagonism not only added to the importance of the principle of local self-government in the Colonies, but produced a general concurrence of opinion and action in respect to the question of Slavery in the proceedings of the Continental Congress, which assembled at Philadelphia for the first time on the 5th of September, 1774.
"That we will neither import nor purchase any slave imported after the first day of December next; after which time we will wholly discontinue the slave-trade, and will neither be concerned in it ourselves, nor will we hire our vessels, nor sell our commodities or manufactures to those who are engaged in it "
This Bill of Rights, together with these articles of association, were subsequently submitted to and adopted by each of the thirteen Colonies in their respective provincial Legislatures.
Thus was distinctly formed between the Colonies and the parent country that issue upon which the Declaration of Independence was founded, and the battles of the Revolution were fought. It involved the specific claim on the part of the Colonies-denied by the King and Parliament-to the exclusive right of legislation touching all local and internal concerns, Slavery included. This being the principle involved in the contest, a majority of the Colonists refused to permit their delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence except upon the distinct condition and express reservation to each colony of the exclusive right to manage and control its local concerns and police regulations without the intervention of any general Congress which might be established for the United Colonies.
Let us cite one of these reservations as a specimen of all, showing conclusively that they were fighting for the inalienable right of local self-government, with the clear understanding that when they had succeeded in throwing off the despotism of the British Parliament, no Congressional despotism was to be substituted for it:
"We, the Delegates of Maryland, in Convention assembled, do declare that the King of Great Britain has violated his compact with this people, and that they owe no allegiance to him. We have therefore thought it just and necessary to empower our Deputies in Congress to join with a majority of the United Colonies in declaring them free and independent States, in framing such further confederation between them, in making foreign alliances, and in adopting such other measures as shall be judged necessary for the preservation of their liberties:
internal polity and government of this Colony be reserved to "Provided, The sole and exclusive right of regulating the the people thereof.
"We have also thought proper to call a new Convention for the purpose of establishing a government in this Colony. "No ambitious views, no desire of independence, induced the people of Maryland to form a union with the other Colonies. To procure an exemption from Parliamentary taxation, and to continue to the Legislatures of these Colonies the sole and exclusive right of regulating their Internal Polity, was our original and only motive. To maintain, inviolate our liberties, and to transmit them unimpaired to posterity, was our duty and first wish; our next, to continue connected with and dependent on Great Britain. For the truth of these assertions we appeal to that Almighty Being who is emphatically styled the Searcher of hearts, and from whose omniscience none is concealed. Relying on this Divine protection and assistance, and trusting to the justice of our cause, we exhort and conjure every virtuous citizen to join cordially in defense of our common rights and in maintenance of the freedom of this and her sister colonies."
The first plan of Federal Government adopted for the United States was formed during the Revolution, and is
On the 6th day of September, 1780, Congress "recommended to the several States in the Union having claims to waste and unappropriated lands in the Western country, a liberal cession to the United States of a portion of their respective claims for the common benefit of the Union." On the 20th day of October, 1783, the Legislature of Virginia passed an act authorizing the Delegates in Congress from that State to convey to the United States "the territory or tract of country within the limits of the Virginia Charter, lying and bearing to the northwest of the river Ohio"-which grant was to be made upon the "condition that the territory so ceded shall be laid out and formed into States;" and that "the States so formed shall be distinct republican States, and admitted members of the Federal Union, having the same rights of So reignty, Freedom, and Independence as the other States,"
On the 1st day of March, 1784, Thomas Jefferson and his colleagues in Congress executed the deed of cession in pursuance of the act of the Virginia Legislature, which was accepted and ordered to "be recorded and enrolled among the acts of the United States in Congress assembled." This was the first territory ever acquired, held, or owned, by the United States. On the same day of the deed of cession, Mr. Jefferson, as chairman of a committee which had been appointed, consisting of Mr. Jefferson of Virginia, Mr. Chase of Maryland, and Mr. Howell of Rhode Island, submitted to Congress a plan for the temporary government of the territory ceded or to be ceded by the individual States to the United States."
It is important that this Jeffersonian plan of government for the Territories should be carefully considered for many obvious reasons. It was the first plan of government for the Territories ever adopted in the United States. It was drawn by the author of the Declaration of Independence, and revised and adopted by those who shaped the issues which produced the Revolution, and formed the foundations upon which our whole American system of government rests. It was not intended to be either local or temporary in its character, but was designed to apply to all "territory ceded or to be ceded," and to be universal in its application and eternal in its duration, wherever and whenever we might have territory requiring a government. It ignored the right of Congress to legislate for the people of the Territories, without their consent, and recognized the inalienable right of the people of the Territories, when organized into political communities, to govern themselves in respect to their local concerns and internal polity. It was adopted by the Congress of the Confederation on the 23d day of April, 1784, and stood upon the Statute Book as a general and permanent plan for the government of all territory which we then owned or should subsequently acquire, with a provision declaring it to be a Charter of Compact," and that its provisions should "stand as fundamental conditions between the thirteen original States and those newly described, unalterable but by the joint consent of the United States in Congress assembled, and of the particular State within which such alteration is proposed to be made." Thus this Jeffersonian plan for the government of the Territories-this "Charter of Compact "these fundamental conditions," which were declared to be "unalterable" without the consent of the people of "the particular State [territory] within which such alteration is proposed to be made," stood on the Statute Book when the Convention assembled at Philadelphia in 1787, and proceeded to form the Constitution of the
First. "That the territory ceded or to be ceded by the individual States to the United States, whenever the same shall have been purchased of the Indian inhabitants and offered for sale by the United States, shall be formed into additional States," etc., etc.
The Plan proceeds to designate the boundaries and territorial extent of the proposed "additional States," and then provides :
Second." That the settlers within the Territory so to be purchased and offered for sale shall, either on their own peition or on the order of Congress, receive authority from them, with appointments of time and place, for their free males of full age to meet together for the purpose of establishing a temporary government to adopt a Constitution and laws of any one of these States (the original States), so that such laws nevertheless shall be subject to alteration by their ordinary Legislature; and to erect, subject to like alteration, counties or townships for the election of members for their Legisla
Having thus provided a mode by which the first inhabitants or settlers of the territory may assemble together and ch ose for themselves the Constitution and laws of some one of the original thirteen States, and declare the same in force for the government of their territory tem. porarily, with the right on the part of the people to change the same, through their local Legislature, as they may see proper, the Plan then proceeds to point out the a permode in which they may establish for themselves" manent Constitution and government" whenever they shall have twenty thousand inhabitants, as follows:
Third." That such temporary government only shall continue in force in any State until it shall have acquired twenty Congress, they shall receive from them authority, with apthousand free inhabitants, when, giving due proof thereof to pointments of time and place, to call a Convention of Representatives to establish a permanent Constitution and government for themselves."
Having thus provided for the first settlers "a temporary government" in these "additional States," and for a "permanent Constitution and government" when they shall have acquired twenty thousand inhabitants, the Plan contemplates that they shall continue to govern themselves as States, having, as provided in the Virginia deed of session, "the same rights of sovereignty, freedom, and independence," in respect to their domestic affairs and internal polity, "as the other States," until they shall have a population equal to the least numerous of the original thirteen States; and in the meantime shall keep a sitting member in Congress, with a right of debating but not of voting, when they shall be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the other States, as follows:
Fourth.-"That whenever any of the said States shall have of free inhabitants as many as shall then be in any one of the least numerous of the thirteen original States, such State shall be admitted by its delegates into the Congress of the United States on an equal footing with the said original States.". And
"Until such admission by their delegates into Congress any of the said States, after the establishment of their temporary government, shall have authority to keep a sitting member in Congress, with the right of debating, but not of voting."
Attached to the provision which appears in this paper under the "third" head is a proviso, containing five propositions, which, when agreed to and accepted by the people of said additional States, were "to be formed into a charter of compact," and to remain forever "unalterable," except by the consent of such States as well as of the United States-to wit:
"Provided, That both the temporary and permanent governments be established on these principles as their basis:" 1st." That they shall forever remain a part of the United States of America."
2d.-"That in their persons, property, and Territory they shall be subject to the government of the United States in Congress assembled, and to the Articles of Confederation in all those cases in which the original States shall be so subject." 3d.-"That they shall be subject to pay a part of the federal debts contracted, or to be contracted-to be apportioned on them by Congress according to the same common rule and measure by which apportionments thereof shall be made on the other States."
4th."That their respective government shall be in repub lican form, and shall admit no person to be a citizen who holds any hereditary title."