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tion to the previous number of your slaves, then all those that you had before, and all those that, under that Constitution, you have imported, cease to be recognized as property by the Constitution, and on this proposition he assails the Supreme Court of the United States-a proposition which he says will occur to anybody."
Mr. Fessenden-Will the Senator allow me?
Mr. Benjamin-I should be very glad to enter into this debate now, but I fear it is so late that I shall not be able to get through to-day.
Mr. Fessenden-I suppose it is of no consequence.
Mr. Benjamin-What says the Senator from Vermont (Mr. Collamer), who also went into this examination somewhat extensively? I read from his printed speech:
"I do not say that slaves are never property. I do not say that they are, or are not. Within the limits of a State which declares them to be property, they are property, because they are within the jurisdiction of that government which makes the declaration; but I should wish to speak of it in the light of a member of the United States Senate, and in the language of the United States Constitution. If this be property in the States, what is the nature and extent of it? I insist that the Supreme Court has often decided, and everybody has understood, that slavery is a local institution, existing by force of State law; and of course that law can give it no possible character beyond the limits of that State. I shall no doubt find the idea better expressed in the opinion of Judge Nelson, in this same Dred Scott decision. I prefer to read his language.
"Here is the law; and under it exists the law of slavery in the different States. By virtue of this very principle it cannot extend one inch beyond its own territorial limits. A State cannot regulate the relation of master and slave, of owner and property, the manner and title of descent, or
anything else, one inch beyond its territory. cannot, by virtue of the law of slavery, if it makes slaves property in a State, if you please, move that property out of the State. It ends whenever you pass from that State. You may pass into another State that has a like law; and if you do, you hold it by virtue of that law; but the moment you pass beyond the limits of the slaveholding States, all title to the property called property in slaves, there ends. Under such a law slaves cannot be carried as property into the Territories, or anywhere else beyond the States authorizing it. It is not property anywhere else. If the Constitution of the United States gives any other and further character than this to slave property, let us acknowledge it fairly and end all strife about it. If it does not, I ask in all candor, that men on the other side shall say so, and let this point be settled. What is the point we are to inquire into? It is this: does the Constitution of the United States make slaves property beyond the jurisdiction of the States authorizing slavery? If it only acknowledges them as property within that jurisdiction, it has not extended the property one inch beyond the State line; but if, as the Supreme Court seems to say, it does recognize and protect them as property further than State limits, and more than the State laws do, then, indeed, it becomes like other property. The Supreme Court rests this claim upon this clause of the Constitution: 'No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.' Now the question is, does that guarantee it? Does that make it the same as other property? The very fact that this clause makes provision on the subject of persons bound to service, shows that the framers of the Constitution did not regard it as other property. It was a thing that needed some provision; other property did not. The insertion of such a provision shows that it was not regarded as other
property. If a man's horse stray from Delaware into Pennsylvania, he can go and get it. Is there any provision in the Constitution for it? No. How came this to be there, if a slave is property? If it is the same as other property, why have any provision about it?"
It will undoubtedly have struck any person, in hearing this passage read from the speech of the Senator from Vermont, whom I regret not to see in his seat to-day, that the whole argument, ingeniously as it is put, rests upon this fallacy-if I may say so with due respect to him-that a man cannot have title in property wherever the law does not give him a remedy or process for the assertion of his title; or, in other words, his whole argument rests upon the old confusion of ideas which considers a man's right and his remedy to be one and the same thing. I have already shown to you, by the passages I have cited from the opinions of Lord Stowell and of Judge Story, how they regard this subject. They say that the slave who goes to England, or goes to Massachusetts, from a slave State, is still a slave, that he is still his master's property; but that his master has lost control over him, not by reason of the cessation of his property, but because those States grant no remedy to the master by which he can exercise his control.
There are numerous illustrations upon this point-illustrations furnished by the copyright laws, illustrations furnished by patent laws. Let us take a case, one that appeals to us all. There lives now a man in England who from time to time sings to the enchanted ear of the civilized world strains of such melody that the charmed senses seem to abandon the grosser regions of earth, and to rise to purer and serener regions above. God has created that man a poet. His inspiration is his; his songs are his by right
divine; they are his property so recognized by human law; yet here in these United States men steal Tenny. son's works and sell his property for their profit; and this because, in spite of the violated conscience of the nation, we refuse to give him protection for his property. Examine your Constitution; are slaves the only species of property there recognized as requiring peculiar protection? Sir, the inventive genius of our brethren of the North is a source of vast wealth to them and vast benefit to the nation. I saw a short time ago in one of the New York journals, that the estimated value of a few of the patents now before us in this capital for renewal was $40,000,000. I cannot believe that the entire capital invested in inventions of this character in the United States can fall short of one hundred and fifty or two hundred million dollars. On what protection does this vast property rest? Just upon that same constitutional protection which gives a remedy to the slave owner when his property is also found outside of the limits of the State in which he lives.
Without this protection, what would be the condition of the Northern inventor? Why, sir, the Vermont inventor protected by his own law would come to Massachusetts, and there say to the pirate who had stolen his property, "Render me up my property or pay me value for its use. " The Senator from Vermont would receive for answer, if he were the counsel of the Vermont inventor, "Sir, if you want protection for your property go to your own State; property is governed by the laws of the State within whose jurisdiction it is found; you have no property in your invention outside of the limits of your State; you cannot go an inch beyond it." Would not this be so? Does not every man see at once that the right of the inventor to his discovery, that
the right of the poet to his inspiration, depends upon those principles of eternal justice which God has implanted in the heart of man, and that wherever he cannot exercise then, it is because man, faithless to the trust that he has received from God, denies them the protection to which they are entitled?
Sir, follow out the illustration which the Senator from Vermont himself has given; take his very case of the Delaware owner of a horse riding him across the line into Pennsylvania. The Senator says: "Now, you see that slaves are not property like other property; if slaves were property like other property, why have you this special clause in your Constitution to protect a slave? You have no clause to protect the horse, because horses are recognized as property everywhere." Mr. President, the same fallacy lurks at the bottom of this argument, as of all the rest. Let Pennsylvania exercise her undoubted jurisdiction over persons and things within her own boundary; let her do as she has a perfect right to do—declare that hereafter, within the State of Pennsylvania, there shall be no property in horses, and that no man shall maintain a suit in her courts for the recovery of property in a horse; and where will your horse owner be then? Just where the English poet is now; just where the slaveholder and the inventor would be if the Constitution, foreseeing a difference of opinion in relation to rights in these subjectmatters, had not provided the remedy in relation to such property as might easily be plundered. Slaves, if you please, are not property like other property in this: that you can easily rob us of them; but as to the right in them, that man has to overthrow the whole history of the world, he has to overthrow every treatise on jurisprudence, he has