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there appearing to be the requisite number, the convention were authorized to form a constitution for the proposed new state. Such was, at this time, the harmony subsisting between the different sections, that there was but a small majority not amounting to five-ninths in favor of a separation. The convention however were desirous of effecting the object, and resorted to a singular mode of computation to bring it about. They found that on comparing the majorities of the votes in those towns which were in favor of a separation, with the majorities in those which were against it, and rejecting from their computation all other votes, leaving those on one side to balance the other, they somewhat exceeded five-ninths. This they decided to be, in their opinion, a compliance with the act; but as there were some doubts upon the subject, they referred it to the next legislature, and adjourned until after its session. That legislature at once decided, that the requisite number of votes in favor of a separation had not been given, and declared that the powers of the convention were at an end.

The sense of the people of the district was again taken upon the subject in the year 1819, when there appeared to be a large majority in favor of a separation. The legis. lature of Massachusetts gave their consent, and the people of Maine proceeded to form a constitution. Early in the session these proceedings were laid before congress. The provisions of the constitution upon the subject had been complied with, and no objection appeared against receiving this new sister into the American family. The first clause in her bill of rights, declaring that all men at their birth are free and possessed of equal rights, necessarily excluded slavery from her system. A bill passed the house of representatives for her admission as a matter of course, and without debate, except in some of its minor details.

Admission of Maine connected with Missouri. In the senate this bill was amended, by annexing to it a provision for the admission of Missouri. Mr. Roberts, of Pennsylvania, proposed another amendment, providing that the further introduction of slavery into the new state should be absolutely and irrevocably prohibited. This proposition arrayed the south against the north; the slave-holding against the non-slave-holding states, and called forth all the talents and much of the rancor of the champions on each side. The application for the admission of Missouri had been presented the last session, and a bill for that purpose had passed the senate. In the house of representatives it was amended by annexing a clause restrictive of slavery, similar to the one now proposed; and the bill was lost in that congress by the final disagreement of the two houses on the subject. On the appearance of the application of Maine at the commencement of this session, the advocates for the unrestricted admission of Missouri, deemed it a favorable opportunity to carry through the measure by connecting the two subjects. Various attempts were made to separate them, but without success; and the existence of Maine as a state, was, by this mode of proceeding, made to depend on a question which had no relation to her case.

Origin of slavery. The proposition that all mankind are born free, and with equal rights, had found its way into the declaration of independence, and the congress of 1776 had, in behalf of the people of the United Colonies,

pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors," for its support. The same proposition had been transplanted into the bills of rights prefixed to most of the state constitutions, and was considered as the corner-stone on which the American republics were built. That one portion of the human race could have any legitimate right to hold the other in perpetual bondage ; or that there was any thing in the form, complexion, or intellect of the African negro, which should divest him of his natural rights, were propositions in the abstract, too absurd to find an advocate. Notwithstanding the principles on which involuntary, perpetual slavery is bottomed, are palpably false, the fact of its existence beyond the period of human research, cannot be denied. War has been coeval with the existence of the human race. One of its first maxims was, that each belligerent had a right to take the life of his enemy, and this, it was claimed, included all other modes of disposing of his person, when in the power of the victor, of a less severe nature. Hence it became a universal principle of ancient warfare, that the conquerors had a right to subject the vanquished to death, or perpetual slavery. The interest of the victors, enforced by the supplications of theic prisoners, generally led to the latter mode of disposing of their persons. The purchaser, when the prisoner was sold, was supposed to have obtained all the right of the original captor, and to have the absolute power of life and death, over the slave and his posterity. When the humane principle, that the lives of prisoners were to be preserved as the subject of exchange, or restora, tion at the close of the war, came to be introduced into the modern belligerent system, the original ground of slavery

ceased. · But the satisfaction afforded to the slave-holder, of having a number of the human race subject to his uncontrolled will, and the profits derived from slave labor, were too great readily to be given up.

About the same period, there was discovered along the western coast of Africa, a poor degraded species of human beings, just fitted, in the opinion of more enlightened nations, to the purposes of slavery. The idea was first introduced by the Jesuits, sent out to christianize the Indians of the Spanish American provinces. The Spaniards, not content with robbing the Indians of their possessions, compelled them to perform the labor of the soil, and of the mines. The Jesuits found this to be a great obstruction to their inissions. The untutored Indian was able to discover the incongruity of the practice of the Spaniards, with the principles inculcated by their spiritual teachers. To rescue the Indians from slavery, the Jesuits directed the attention of the Spaniards to the coast of Africa; and thousands of the tenants of that region, were hunted out, caught, and transported to America, and doomed to perpetual servitude. According to the reasoning of the Jesuits, two important and benevolent objects were answered by this measure ; one, that it left the native Indians free to receive their instructions; the other, that it transplanted from the abodes of paganism, to a Christian land, a portion of the human race, who must otherwise have perished without hearing the joyful news they were commissioned to publish. If by these means, a few, or only a single individual, should perchance obtain eternal salvation, the evils of slavery would be overbalanced by the greater good.

These reasonings effectually quieted the consciences of Christian slave-holders, so that the most scrupulous could purchase and hold as many as his pride or avarice required. When other nations had obtained possessions in America, they found it necessary, in order to compete with the Spaniards, to have resort to slave labor. In this manner, slavery became established throughout the whole of the European dominions in America ; and the coast of Africa became a scene of rapine and slaughter, by means of its inhabitants making war upon each other, to obtain prisoners to sell to European slave-traders. This traffic in all its horrors, and slavery in all its odious characteristics, existed in the new world unquestioned, from the age of its discovery, until the commencement of the American revolution, a period of nearly three centuries. At the same time, the piratical

states of Barbary, as if to give the Christians of Europe and America a convincing proof of the practical effects of their system, made slaves vf all the subjects of Christian powers, on whom they could lay their hands. No difference existed in the two systems, except that the African barbarians did not attempt to justify theirs by any false or hypocritical reasonings.

Abolition of slavery in the north. The discussions on the subject of the rights of man, to which the American revolution gave rise, necessarily connected themselves with the question of African slavery. The picture of an American patriot, signing a declaration that all men were born free and with equal rights, with one hand, and brandishing a whip over the head of a slave with the other, appeared too glaringly incongruous, not to be noticed. The states north of Maryland, early took measures for the gradual abolition of slavery, and have happily effected the object; and the place of slaves in the field, has long since been supplied by a hardy and industrious race of laborers, who com. pose much of the physical strength of the country, and on whom reliance can always be placed for its defense. The opinion that land could not be successfully cultivated without the aid of slave labor, has been proved to be altogether unfounded : and the extinction of slavery is always enumerated by the citizens of the north, as one of the happy effects of the revolution.

Slavery continued in the south. In the states south of Pennsylvania, slaves were much more numerous than at the north. The extensive plantations in that section were generally cultivated by them. The white population considered field labor as disgraceful, and fit only for slaves. It was also said that the constitutions of the white people would not bear the fatigue in the warm and enervating climate of the south, and if slavery must be given up, most of the rich country of the south must be abandoned for the want of hands to cultivate it. Considerations of this nature reconciled the inhabitants of the south to the continuance of slavery among them. It deserves, however, the serious consideration of the southern planter, whether by adopting the modern improvements in the implements of husbandry, and a more extended use of horse and ox labor, crops may not be raised with as little expense, and their plantations made equally profitable without, as they are now with slave labor. Until the agitation of the Missouri question, no disposition had ever appeared in the slave-holding states to ex

tend the principle. In 1784, Virginia ceded the territory northwest of the Ohio, now comprising the states of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, to the United States; and in forming a system for the territorial government of that country in 1787, she was the first to propose as one of its irrevocable articles, the perpetual exclusion of slavery. In forming the constitution of the United States at the same period, the subject of African slavery gave rise to some of the most delicate and difficult questions which occupied the attention of the convention. A general power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, contained in the eighth section of the first article, unquestiona. bly gave congress authority to prohibit the-importation of slaves altogether, or to lay prohibitory duties on them, and to forbid the selling of them from one state to another. The states of South Carolina and Georgia refused to accede to the constitution, unless congress were prohibited from exercising these prohibitory powers for twenty years, and from ying a higher duty than ten dollars a head on their importation. At the expiration of this period, which took place in 1808, the philanthropists of Great Britain, in opposition to the powerful interests of the West India planters, and the great commercial capital engaged in the traffic, had nearly succeeded in abolishing the slave trade in that na. tion. The discussions which took place in the British parliament upon this subject, brought to light such scenes of cruelty and murder in their most shocking forms, practiced in kidnapping and transporting these unhappy beings from the place of their abode to that of their servitude, as induced a general detestation of the traffic. As soon as congress possessed the constitutioual power, they passed a law prohibiting the importation of slaves, and inflicting heavy penalties on their citizens for being in any wise concerned in the traffic. The public sentiment against slavery and against the trade, from that period, has been rapidly ad. vancing both in Europe and America. This subject more distinctly marked the northern and southern sections of the union, than any other. At the time of its agitation in relation to Missouri, the union consisted of ten slave-holding and twelve non-slave-holding states ; the former containing a population, omitting fractions, of three millions of free ci. tizens, and one million five hundred thousand slaves, with eighty members in the house of representatives; the latter of five millions two hundred and sixty thousand citizens, with one hundred and five members.

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