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danger arises, not from freedom granted, but from freedom withheld.
THE U. STATES A SLAVEHOLDING NATION. Thousands of Americans now enslaved in the
1. More than twenty thousand Americans are now held in slavery, by the laws of Congress, in the Territories and District of Columbia.
On the 230 December, 1788, Maryland passed an act, to cede to the Congress "any district in the State, not exceeding ten miles square, which the Congress may fix upon, and accept for the seat of government of the United States."
A similar act was passed by Virginia, on the 3d of December, 1789, in these words
And the same is hereby forever ceded to the Congress and Government of the United States, in full and absolute right, and EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION as well of soil as of persons residing or to reside thereon, pursuant to the tenor and EFFECT of the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution.
Accordingly, on the 16th of July, the year follow. ing, Congress accepted the cession of Maryland and Virginia, and passed a law which ordained, that the existing laws of those two States should remain in force “ until Congress shall otherwise provide."
Hence, by that very act, Congress established slavery in the "ten miles square," because it not only refused to revoke those laws of Maryland and
Virginia, by which slavery had been established there before, but it ordained that they should remain in force till Congress should repeal them. The following is an extract from one of these laws; it is true, it has been repealed in Maryland, but it
REMAINS” in full force in the District of Columbia to this day :
Every sheriff that now hath, or hereafter shall have, committed into his custody, any runaway servants or slaves, after one month's notice given to the master or owner thereof, of their being in his custorly, if living in this province, or two months' notice if living in any of the neighboring provinces, if such master or owner of such servants or slaves do not appear within the time limited as aforesaid, and pay or secure to be paid, all such imprisonment fees due to such sheriff from the time of the commitment of such servants or slaves, and also such other charges as have accrued or become due to any person for taking up such runaway servants or slaves, such sheriff is hereby authorized and required (such time limited as aforesaid, being expired,) immediately to give public notice to all persons, by setting up notes at the church and court-house doors of the eounty where such servant or slave is in custody; of the time and place for sale of such servants or slaves, by him to be appointed, not less than 10 days after such time limited as aforesaid being expired, and at such time and place by him appointed, as aforesaid, to proceed to sell and dispose of such servant or slave to the highest bidder, and out of the money or tobacco which sach servant or slave is sold for, to pay himself all such IMPRISONMENT Fees as are his just due, for the time he has kept such servant or slave in his custody, and also pay such other charges, fees or reward as has become due to any person for taking up such runaway servant or slave, and after such payments made, if any residue shall remain of the money or tobacca such servant or slave was sold for, such sheriff shall only be accountable to the master or owner of such servant or slave for such residue or remainder as aforesaid and not otherwise.-- Laws of Maryland, act of 1719, (May session,) chap. 2.
And that this barbarous law is not a dead letter, there is abundant evidence to prove. In a memorial of the inhabitants of the District of Columbia, signed by one thousand of the most respectable citizens of the District, and presented to Congress March 24, 1828, then referred to the Committee on the District, and on the motion of Mr. Hubbard of New Hampshire, Feb. 9, 1835, ordered to be printed, the following statement is introduced :
A colored man, who states that he was entitled to freedom, was taken up as a runaway slave, and lodged in the jail of Washington City. He was advertised, but no one appearing to claim him, he was, according to law, put up at public auction for the payment of his jail fees, and sold as a SLAVE for LIFE. He was purchased by a slave-trader, who was not required to give security for his remaining in the District, and he was soon shipped at Alexandria for one of the southern states. An attempt was made by some benevolent individuals to have the sale postponed until his claim to freedom could be investigated; but their efforts were unavailing; and thus was a human being sold into PERPETUAL BONDAGE, at the capital of the freest government on earth, without even a pretence of trial, or an allegation of crime.
According to the testimony of Mr. Miner of Penn. in Congress, in 1829, there were no less than five persons thus sold, in the year 1826–7. Special recognition of slavery in the District of
Columbia. 2. Slavery in the District of Columbia, has been acknowledged, and its existence recognized there by special laws of the United States.
June 12, 1834, a bill was passed by the House of Representatives, giving the right to Edward Brooke, a resident of the District, to bring into it two slaves, and retain them as his property. This bill passed by a vote of 106 to 47.
Slavery perpetuated by the property of the United
States. 3. The property of the United States' Govern. ment is used to perpetuate slavery and the slave trade in this country. In 1826, Congress appropriated out of the public treasury $5000 " for the purpose of altering and repairing the jail in the city of Washington," and $10,000 to build " a county jail for the city and county of Alexandria.”
For what purposes those prisons are used, the following notices will show :
Notice. Was committed to the prison of Washington Co. D.C., on the 19th day of May, 1834, as a runaway, a negro man who calls himself David Peck. He is 5 feet 8 inches high. Had on, when committed, a check shirt, linen pantaloons, and straw hat. He says he is free, and belongs to Baltimore. The owner or owners, are hereby requested to come forward, prove him, and take him away, or he will be sold for his prison and other expenses, as the LAW DIRECTS.
JAMES WILLIAMS, Keeper of the Prison of Washington Co., D. C.
For ALEXANDER HUNTER, M. D. C. The above is but a specimen. One keeper of the jail in Washington has stated that in five years, upwards of four hundred and fifty colored persons had been lodged there for safe keeping, i. e. until they could be disposed of in the course of the slave trade ;—besides nearly three hundred, who had been taken up and lodged there as runaways. Revenue received by the General Government
from Slavery. 4. The government of this nation receives a constant revenue, for licenses granted to slave dealers in the District of Columbia.
"For a license to trade or traffic in slaves for profit, whether as agent or otherwise, four hundred dollars:"
The Register to " deposit all monies received from taxes imposed by this act to the credit of the Canal Fund. City Laws, p. 249. Approved by Congress, July, 1831.
Internal slave trade tolerated by Congress. 5. Congress has "power to regulate commerce between the states,” and consequently it has control of the domestie slave trade, which is constantly producing such an awful amount of misery, and yet it refuses to abolish this nefarious traffic.-Constitution U. States, Art. 1. Sec. 8. Slavery is protected by the United States' Army.
6. An officer of the United States' army who was in the expedition from fortress Monroe, against the Southampton slaves, in 1831, speaks with constant horror of the scenes which he was compelled to witness. Those troops, agreeably to their orders, which were to exterminate the negroes, killed all that they met with, although they encountered neither resistance, nor show of resistance; and the first check given to this wide barbarous slaughter grew out of the fact, that the law of Virginia, which provides for the payment to the master of the full value of an executed slave, was considered as not applying to the cases of slaves put to death without trial. In consequence of numerous representations to this effect, sent to the officer of the United States' army commanding the expedition, the massacre was suspended.—Child's Oration.
In 1832, a company of U. S. troops were ordered to Newbern, N. C. to keep the slaves in awe, at the request of many ladies made to the President. Free-born Americans reduced to slavery by the
United States' laws. 7. Laws are now in force, enacted by Congress by which free-born citizens of this republic are reduced to slavery.
In 1820, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress as