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which I ought not to pass unnoticed. One of these is the ordinance of July, 1787, passed by the old Congress, at the period of the sitting of the Convention in Philadelphia, for forming the Constitution, by which that body (the old Congress) undertook to form a code for the future settlement, government, and admission into the Union, of all the Territory northwest of the river Ohio, ceded by Virginia to the United States in 1785; which cession has so often been read to the House in this discussion. On this subject, I beg leave to remark that, by the confederation of the United States, the old Congress had no power whatever but that of admitting new States, provided nine States assented. By this, it is most unquestionable, that no number of States under vine had any right to admit new States. Of course, it was the intention of the confederation that, on so important a measure as the establishment of governments for, and the admission of, new States, Congress should never possess the power to act, unless nine States were represented in that body at the time of their doing so. This ordinance, therefore, in prescribing the forms of government, as they respected legislative, executive, and judiciary powers, in establishing bills of rights, and times and terms of their admission into the Union, and inhibiting servitude therein, is chargeable with ingratitude and usurpation. It is chargeable with ingratitude, when we reflect that the cession of the great tract of country—this rising empire of freemen—was gratuitously, and with noble disinterestedness and patriotism, made by Virginia, that the passing of an ordinance which contained a provision which could not but go to prevent the admission of Virginians there, as they could not move there with their slaves, was a most ungracious and ungrateful return to that State for her liberality, and could not but meet with the disapprobation of this nation.

I have already mentioned the reasons to show, that an. less they had nine States present, the old Congress bad no power to admit uew States, and of course no power to prescribe the forms of government, bills of rights, or terms or times of admissions, benefits, or exclusions, with a less number than nine.

If there were not other strong reasons attending the passing this ordinance, those already mentioned are sufficient to show that it is a nullity; that it never had or could have had a binding force ; that the present Congress has not any constitutional right to confirm that part of it which respects the exclusion of involuntary servitude from that Territory; and that the States of Ohio and Indiana, add Illinois, having by their constitutions voluntarily excluded it, possess the power whenever they please to alter their constitutions, and admit servitude in any way they

think proper.

Let us, sir, recollect the circumstances the old Congress were in at the time they passed this ordinance : they had dwindled almost to nothing; the Convention had then been three months in session ; it was universally known a Constitution was in its essentials agreed to : and the public were daily expecting (what soon happened) the promulgation of a new form of government for the Union. I ask, sir, was it, under these circumstance, proper for a feeble, dwindled body, that had wholly lost the confidence of the nation, and which was then waiting its suppression by the people-a feeble, inefficient body, in which only seven or eight States were represented, the whole of which consisted of but seventeen or eighteen men--d number smaller than your large committees; a body literally in the very agonies of political death ;—was it, sir, even decent in them (not to say lawful or constitutional) to have passed an ordinance of such importance ? I do not know or recollect the names of the members who voted for it, but it is to be fairly presumed they could not have been among the men who possessed the greatest confidence of the Union, or at that very time they would have been members of the Convention sitting at Philadelphia. But I am perhaps taking up your time unnecessarily on this subject, and I shall proceed to others.

A great deal has been said on the subject of slaverythat it is an infamous stain and blot on the States that hold them ; not only degrading the slave, but the master, and making him unfit for republican government; that it is contrary to religion and the law of God; and that Congress ought to do every thing in their power to prevent its extension among the new States.

Now, sir, I should be glad to know how any man is acquainted with what is the will or the law of God on this subject. Has it ever been imparted either to the old or new world ? Is there a single line in the Old or New Testament, either censuring or forbidding it? I answer without hesitation, no. But there are hundreds speaking of and recognizing it. Hagar, from whom millions sprang, was an African slave, bought out of Egypt by Abraham, the father of the faithful and the beloved servant of the Most High; and he had, besides, three hundred and eighteen male slaves. The Jews in the time of the theocracy, and the Greeks and Romans, had all slaves; at tbat time there was no nation without them. If we are to believe that this world was formed by a great and omnipotent Being; that nothing is permitted to exist here but by his will, and then throw our eyes throughout the whole of it, we should form an opinion very different indeed from that asserted, that slavery was against the law of God.

Let those acquainted with the situation of the people of Asia and Africa, where not one man in ten can be called a freeman, or whose situation can be compared with the comforts of our slaves, throw their eyes over them, and carry thein to Russia, and from the north to the south of Europe, where, except Great Britain, nothing like liberty exists. Let them view the lower classes of their inhabitants, by far the most numerous of the whole; the thousands of beggars that infest their streets, more than half starved, half paked, and in the most wretched state of human degradation. Let him then go to England; the comforts, if they have any, of the lower classes of whose inhabitants are far inferior to those of our slaves. Let him, when there, ask of their economists, what are the numbers of millions daily fed by the hand of charity; and, when satisfied there, then let him come nearer bome, and examine into the situation of the free negroes now resident in New York and Philadelphia, and compare them with the situation of our slaves, and he will tell you that, perhaps, the most miserable and degraded state of human nature is to be found among the free negroes of New York and Philadelphia, most of whom are fugitives from the Southern States, received and sheltered in those States. I did not go to New York, but I did to Philadelphia, and particularly examined this subject while there. I saw their streets crowded with idle, dranken negroes, at every corner; and, on visiting their penitentiary, found, to my astonishment, that, out of five hundred convicts there confined, more than one-half were blacks; and, as all the convicts throughout that State are sent to that penitentiary, and, if Pennsylvania contains eight hundred thousand white inhabitants, and only twenty-six thousand blacks, of course the crimes and vices of the blacks in those States are, comparatively, twenty times greater than those of the whites in the same States, and clearly proves that a state of freedom is one of the greatest curses you can inflict on them.

From the opinions expressed respecting the Southern States and the slaves there, it appears to me most clear, that the members on the opposite side know nothing of the Southern States, their lands, products, or slaves. Those who visit us, or go to the southward, find so great a difference that many of them remain and settle there. I perfectly recollect when, in 1791, General Washington visited South Carolina, he was so surprised at the richness, order, and soil of our country, that be expressed his great astonishment at the state of agricultural improvement and excellence our tide-lands exhibited. He said, he had no idea the United States possessed it. Had I then seen as much of Europe as I have since, I would have replied to him, that he would not see its equal in Europe. Sir, when we recollect that our former parent State was the original cause of introducing slavery into America, and that neither ourselves nor ancestors are chargeable with it; that it cannot be got rid of without ruining the country, certainly the present mild treatment of our slaves is most honorable to that part of the country where slavery exists. Every slave has a comfortable house, is well fed, clothed, and taken care of; he has his family about him, and in sickness bas the same medical aid as his master, and has a sure and comfortable retreat in old age, to protect him against its infirmitics and weakness. During the whole of his life he is free from care, that canker of the human heart, which destroys at least one-half of the thinking part of mankind, and from which a favored few, very few, if indeed any, can be said to be free. Being without education, and born to obey, to persons of that description moderate labor and discipline are essential. The discipline ought to be mild, but still, while slavery is to exist, there must be discipline. In this state they are happier than they can possibly be if free. A free black can only be happy where he has some share of education, and has been bred to a trade, or some kind of business. The great body of slaves are happier in their present situation than they could be in any other, and the man or men who would attempt to give them freedom would be their greatest enemies.

All the writers who contend that the slaves increase faster than the free blacks, if they assert what is true, prove


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