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cludes ALL INTERFERENCE with such persons, or any other persons, who had previously entered according to the laws of any of the States.
That by the third section of the first article, whereby it is provided that representation and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a number of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons [the words "the persons held in bondage erased,] slavery, as existing under the laws of the several States, [the word “were" erased] was not only recognized, but [the word "secured” erased] its political existence was secured to the States, which it would be unjust to the States within which such persons are to deprive them of, as it would be inhuman to the persons themselves.
That should the slaves be confined to the States in which slavery exists, as the free people will continue to emigrate, the disproportion between them will in a few years be very great, and at no distant period the whole country will fall into the hands of the blacks. As soon as this disproportion reaches a certain State, the white population would probably abandon those States to avoid insurrection and massacre. What would become of the country without States? Would the general government [“ protect” erased] support the owners of slaves in their authority over them, after the States individually had lost the power ?—or the slaves being in possession of those States, and independent of their owners, would the States be recognized as belonging to them, and their representatives be received in Congress.
That it would be better to compel the whites to remain, and the blacks to move, &c.
That slavery is not the offspring of this Revolution ; that it took place in our colonial state; that all further importations have been prohibited since the Revolution, under
laws which are vigorously enforced; that in our revolution ary struggle, the States in which slavery existed sustained their share in the common burdens, furnished their equal quotas of troops, and paid their equal share of taxes; that slavery, though a national evil, is felt most sensibly by the States in which it exists; that it would be destructive to the whites to confine it there, and to the blacks, as the distribution of them over an extensive territory, and among many owners, will secure them a better treatment; that the extension of it to new States cannot possibly injure the old, as they will claim all their rights, since no attempt can ever be made, or idea entertained, of requiring them to admit slavery; that an attempt to fix on the States having slavery any odium is unmerited, and would be ungenerous. Mr. Jefferson to President Monroe.— Extract from a
letter dated Monticello, March 3d, 1820.
“I am indebted to you for your two letters of February 7th and 19th. This Missouri question, by a geographical line of division, is the most portentous one I have ever contemplated. **** is ready to risk the Union for any chance of restoring his party to power and wriggling himself to the head of it; nor is * * *
* without his hopes, nor scrupulous as to the means of fulfilling them. I hope I shall be spared the pains of witnessing it, either by the good sense of the people, or by the more certain reliance--the hand of death. On this or that side of the Styx, I am ever and devotedly yours.”
In a letter, dated on the 13th of April, 1820, he says ;
"The old schism of Federal and Republican threatened nothing, because it existed in every State, and united them together by the fraternism of party ; but the coincidence of a marked principle, moral and political, with a geographical line, once conceived, I feared, would never more be obliterated from the mind; that it would be recurring on every occasion, and renewing irritations until it would kindle such mutual and mortal hatred, as to render separation preferable to eternal discord. I have been amongst the most sanguine in believing that our Union would be of long duration. I now doubt it much ; and see the event at no great distance, and the direct consequence of this question.
On the 20th of December, 1820, he wrote thus :
"Nothing has ever presented so threatening an aspect as what is called the Missouri question. The Federalists, completely put down, and despairing of ever rising again under the old divisions of Whig and Tory, devised a new one, of slaveholding and non-slaveholding States, which, while it had a semblance of being moral, was at the same time geographical, and calculated to give them ascendency by debauching their old opponents to a coalition with them. Moral, the question certainly is not, because the removal of slaves from one State to another, no more than their removal from one country to another, would never make a slave of one human being who would not be so without it. Indeed, if there be any morality in the question, it is on the other side, because, by spreading them over a larger surface their happiness would be increased, and the burden of their future liberation lightened, by bringing a greater number of shoulders under it. However, it seemed to throw dust into the eyes of the people, and to fanaticize them, while to the knowing ones it gave a geographical and preponderating line of the Potomac and Ohio, throwing fourteen States to the North and East and ten to the South and West. With these, therefore, it is merely a question of power. But with this geographical minority it is a question of existence; for if Congress once goes out of the Constitution to arrogate the right of regulating the condition of the inhabitants of the States, its majority may, and probably will declare, that the condition of all within the United States shall be that of freedom; in which case all the whites south of the Potomac and the Ohio must evacuate their States, and most fortunate those who can do it first."
And in this letter, after speculating on the probable consequence of the threatened disunion, he adds :
“Should the scission take place, one of its most deplorable consequences would be its discouragement of the efforts of European nations, in the regeneration of their oppressive and cannibal governments."
In a letter of the same date (20th of December) to the Marquis de Lafayette, he prophetically shadows forth, what we now see realized, with the same precision as if he were the historian of to-day.
"With us things are going well. The boisterous sea of liberty, indeed, is never without a wave; and that from Missouri is now rolling towards us. But we shall ride over it as we have done over all others. It is not a moral question, but one merely of power. Its object is to raise a geographical principle for the choice of a President, and the noise will be kept up till that is effected. All know that permitting the slaves of the South to spread into the West, will not add one being to that unfortunate condition ; that it will increase the happiness of those existing, and by spreading them over a large surface will dilate the evil everywhere, and facilitate the means of getting finally rid of it."
So thought and so wrote Jefferson, on the question which divided and threatened us then, as it divides and threatens us now.
Mr. Jefferson was minister to France whilst the Convention sat which formed the Constitution; and Mr. Mason, at whose relation he recorded this scrap of history, was a member of that Convention, and it is dated at the family seat of the relator, (Gunston Hall,) some four years only after the event.
September 30th, 1792. “ Ex relatione G. Mason. The
Constitution, as agreed to, till a fortnight before the Convention rose, was such an one as he would have set his hand and heart to. 1. The President was to be elected for seven years, then ineligible for seven years more. 2. Rotation in the Senate. 3. A vote of two-thirds in the legislature on particular subjects, and expressly on that of navigation. The three New England States were constantly with us in all questions-(Rhode Island not there, and New York seldom.) So that it was these three States, with the five Southern ones, against Pennsylvania, Jersey, and Delaware With respect to the importation of slaves, it was left to Congress. This disturbed the two southernmost States, who knew that Congress would immediately suppress the importation of slaves. These two States, therefore, struck up a bargain with the three New England States : if they would join to admit slaves for some years, the two southernmost States would join in changing the clause which required two-thirds of the legislature in any vote. It was done. These articles were changed accordingly, and from that moment the two Southern States and the three Northern ones joined Pennsylvania, Jersey, and Delaware, and made the majority 8 to 3 against us, instead of 8 to 3 for us, as it had been through the whole Convention. Under this coalition, the great principles of the Constitution were changed in the last days of the Convention.”
In a letter to Mr. Adams, dated January 22, 1821, he says:
“Our anxieties in this quarter are all concentrated in the question, What does the Holy Alliance in and out of Congress mean to do with us on the Missouri question ? And this, by the by, is but the name of the case, it is only the John Doe or Richard Roe of the ejectment. The real question, as seen in the States afflicted with this unfortunate population, is, Are our slaves to be presented with freedom and a dagger? For if Congress has the power to regulate the conditions of the inhabitants of the States, within the