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place in it; though he is not aware that he has sacrificed to the demands of a limited space, anything, the omission of which would materially depreciate the character of the work.
He makes no especial dedication of his production ; but resigns it to his fellow citizens, who take an interest in such matters, for their use and convenience,
nature better than all the world besides, and RISE AND PROGRESS OF.
that in consequence they were found meddling The extraordinary increase numerically of to do, lle was in favor of laying the petition
with concerns with which they had nothing the Abolition or Anti-Slavery party of this on the table. He would never consent to country cannot be better illustrated than by refer petitions, unless the petitioners were exan exhibit of the increase of its yote, each clusively interested. succeeding election from its initiation as a Messrs. Fitzsimmons and IIartley of Pennnational organization to the present day.
sylvania, Parker, Madison and Page of VirIt first made its appearance in national ginia, Lawrence of New York, Sedgewiek of
Massachusetts, Boudinot of New Jersey, politics in the Presidential contest of 1840, Sherman and' lIuntington of Connecticut, when its ticket, with James G. Birney of favored a reference. Messrs. Smith, Tucker, Michigan as its candidate for the Presidency, and Burke of South Carolina, Baldwin and and Francis J. Lemoyne of Pennsylvania, as Jackson of Georgia opposed a reference, for its Vice-Presidential candidate, polled 7000 very much the same reasons advanced by Mr. votes. In 1844, with Mr. Birney again as its Stone, and in favor of its going to the table. candidate, it polled 62,140 votes. In 1848, On the next day the following memorial was with Martin Van Buren as the Presidential presented and read: candidate of the Buffalo Convention, and Gerrit “A memorial of the Pennsylvania Society Smith as that of the more ultra anti-slavery for promoting the abolition of slavery, tho men, it polled 296,232 votes. In 1852, John
relief of free negroes unlawfully held in P. Hale, its nominee, polled 157,296 votes. In bondage, and the improvement of the African 1856, the candidate of the Republican party,
“ The memorial respectfully showeth: John C. Fremont, supported by the entire Abolition party, polled 1,3+1,812 votes.
“That, from a regard for the happiness of mankind, an association was formed, several
years since, in this state, by a number of her Abolition Petitions.
citizens, of various religious denominations, Os the 11th of February, 1790, Mr. Fitz- for promoting the abolition of slavery, and for simmons of Pennsylvania presented a memo- A just and acute conception of the true prin
the relief of those unlawfully held in bondage. rial of Quakers, praying the abolition of the ciples of liberty, as it spread through the slave-trade.
land, produced accessions to their numbers, Mr. Lawrence of New York presented the many friends to their cause, and a legislative memorial of the “Friends” of New York City co-operation with their views, which, by the to the same effect.
blessing of Divine Providence, have been Mr. Hartley of Pennsylvania moved that successfully directed to the relieving from the first named petition be referred, which bondage a large number of their fellow-crea
tures, of the African race. They have also was seconded by Mr. White of Virginia.
the satisfaction to observe, that, in consequence Mr. Stone of Maryland feared that action of that spirit of philanthropy and genuine indicating an interference with this kind of liberty which is generally diffusing its benefiproperty would sink it in value, and be inju- cial influence, similar institutions are forming rious to a great number of the citizens, par- at home and abroad. ticularly of the Southern States. He depre- That mankind are all formed by the same cated the disposition of religious sects to Almighty Being, alike objects of his care, and imagine they understood the rights of human i equally designed for the enjoyment of happi
ness, the Christian religion teaches us to be- men would, they would do things which would lieve, and the political creed of America fully incur punishment, and cause their owners to coincides with the position.
use a severity with them they were not ao “ Your memorialists, particularly engaged customed to. in attending to the distresses arising from Mr. Smith of S. C., amongst other things slavery, believe it to be their indispensable said, that the states would have never entered duty to present this subject to your notice. into the confederacy unless their property had They have observed, with real satisfaction, been guarantied to them, for such is the state that many important and salutary powers are of agriculture in that country, that without vested in you, for promoting the welfare and slaves it must be abandoned. "Why will these securing the blessings of liberty to the people people then make use of arguments to induce of the United States ;' and, as they conceive the slave to turn his hand against his mas that these blessings ought rightfully to be ter? A gentleman can hardly come from that administered without distinction of color to country with a servant or two, either to this all descriptions of people, so they indulge place or Philadelphia, but there are persons themselves in the pleasing expectation that trying to seduce his servants to leave him, and nothing which can be done for the relief of when they have done this, the poor wretches the unhappy objects of their care will be are obliged to rob their master, in order to either omitted or delayed.
obtain their subsistence; all, therefore, who are “ From a persuasion that equal liberty was concerned in this seduction are accessories to originally the portion and is still the birthright the robbery. ** We look upon this measure as of all men, and influenced by the strong ties an attack upon the palladium of the property of humanity, and the principles of their in- of our country; it is, therefore, our duty to stitutions, your memorialists conceive them- oppose it by every means in our power. selves bound to use all justifiable endeavors Mr. Page of Va., said he lived in a state to loosen the bonds of slavery, and promote a which had the misfortune of having in her general enjoyment of the blessings of freedom. bosom a great number of slaves ; he held
“Under these impressions, they earnestly many of them himself, and was as much inteentreat your serious attention to the subject rested in the business as any gentleman. If of slavery; that you will be pleased to coun- he was to hold them in eternal bondage, be tenance the restoration of liberty to those un- would feel no uneasiness on account of the happy men, who alone in this land of freedom present menace, because he would rely upon are degraded into perpetual bondage, and who, the virtue of Congress that they would not amidst the general joy of surrounding free- exercise any unconstitutional authority. men, are groaning in servile subjection; that
After a long debate, the memorial was comyou will devise means for removing this inconsistency from the character of the Ameri- mitted, by a vote of yeas 43, nays 11. can people; that you will promote mercy and
The nays were, Messrs. Baldwin, Jackson, justice towards this distressed race; and that and Matthews of Ga.; Bland and Coles of you will step to the very verge of the power Va.; Burke, Hlager, Smith, and Tucker of S. vested in you, for discouraging every species C.; Stone of Md.; and Sylvester of N. Y. of traffic in the persons of our fellow-men. The other memorials were in like manner
BENJ. FRANKLIN, President. referred. " Philadelphia, February 3, 1790."
The committee to whom the memorials were The debate was resumed on the memorial referred, made a report, which was referred of the Friends presented the day before. to the committee of the whole House, which
Mr. Tucker of S. C., was sorry it had had amended the report of the select committee, a second reading, as it contained an unconsti- and resolved, amongst other things:tutional request, for which he wished it thrown
" That Congress have no authority to interaside. He feared the commitment of it would fere in the emancipation of slaves, or in the be a very alarming circumstance to the South- treatment of them within any of the states ; ern States, for if it was to engage Congress in it remaining with the several states alone to an unconstitutional measure, it would be considered an interference with their rights, mak- manity and true policy may require.”
provide any regulations therein which buing them uneasy under the government, and causing them to lament that they had ever On the 26th of Nov., 1792, a memorial of put additional power into their hands. He Warner Miffin, one of the people called Qua was surprised to see another memorial on the same subject
, signed by a man* who ought kers, was presented and read to the House, to have known the constitution better. He stating certain reflections for the consideration thought it a mischievous attempt as it res- of Congress, and in relation to the African pected the persons in whose favor it was in- slave-trade, and to the humane treatment of tended. It would buoy them up with hopes slaves in the United Sates. without a foundation, and as they could not reason on the subject, as more enlightened
It was ordered that the said memorial and * Benjamin Franklin.
representation do lie on the table.
On the 28th of Nov., Mr. Steele of N. C., ought to be referred to the Committee on the called the attention of the House to the above Fugitive Slave Law. He believed them to be memorial of Warner Mifflin. He was sur- free people, and contended that they had an prised to find this subject started anew by a
undoubted right to petition the llouse and to
be heard, fanatic, who, not content with keeping his
Mr. Swanwick defended their right to petiown conscience, undertook to become the tion. keeper of the consciences of other men ; and, Mr. Blount said the laws of North Carolina in a manner which he deemed not very decent, did not permit a man to manumit his slaves. had intruded his opinions upon this House. Mr. Sitgreaves of Pa., defended the petition. Ilad an application been made to him to pre people were slaves, and that the object of their
Mr. Heath was clearly convinced that these sent such a petition, he would have avoided a compliance with it. Gentlemen of the North lature of the state, and not the United States.
petition was within the jurisdiction of the legis do not realize the mischievous consequences Mr. Madison of Va., thought it a judicial which have already resulted from measures case. If they are free by the laws of North of this kind; and, if a stop were not put to Carolina, they ought to apply to those laws it, the Southern States would be compelled to and have their privileges established. He apply to the General Government for their thought they could obtain their due in a court interference,
of appeals in that state.
Messrs. Rutherford and Gilbert defended He concluded by moving, “that the paper a reference. purporting to be a petition from Warner Mr. W. Smith thought that the petition Miftin, be returned to him by the Clerk of the ought to be sealed up and sent back to the House; and that the entry of said petition be petitioners. expunged from the Journal.”
Mr. Christie was much surprised that any Mr. Ames of Mass., who had presented the gentleman would present such a petition, and petition, defended his presentation of it on
hoped the gentleman from Pennsylvania would
never hand in such a one again. the ground of the general right of every citi
Mr. Holland contended that it was a judicial zen to petition Congress. The petitioner's question, and that the House ought not tu representative being 'absent, he had not, on pretend to determine the point. that account, felt at liberty to decline present
Mr. Macon of N. C., contended that justice ing it. He had no idea of supporting the would be done them in his state. He conprayer of the petition ; but had made up his ceived it a delicate matter for the general mind long since that it was inexpedient to government to act on, and hoped the petition
would not be committed. interfere with the subject.
Mr. W. Smith, alluding to a remark of Mr. That part of the motion directing the peti- Thatcher, that he wished to draw these people tion to be returned, was agreed to. The re- from a state of slavery into liberty, did not mainder was withdrawn by Mr. Steele, the think that they were sent there to take
up subject of emancipation.
Mr. Varnum of Mass., and Mr. Kitchell, On the 30th of Jan., 1797, Mr. Swanwick defended the right of the memorialists to petiof Pa., presented the petition of four slaves, tion, and hoped their petition would be rewho had been emancipated as they allege,
The motion to receive the petition was representing that, under some law enacted by North Carolina, they could again be reduced negatived. Yeas 33; Noes 50. to slavery; that they had escaped to Pennsyl
On the 30th of Nov., 1797, Mr. Gallatin of vania to avoid its effects ; and petitioned Con- Pa., presented a memorial of the annual meetgress to look into the matter, as also to the ing of Quakers, relative to the oppressed state case of a fellow black, who was once manu- of their African prethren, particularly those in mitted, and, under the same law of North North Carolina, who had been manumitted and Carolina, was again reduced to slavery; and again reduced to slavery. It also was directed who, escaping therefrom, was lying in the against every species of extravagance and disjail of Philadelphia, under the sanction of the sipation, such as gaming, horse-racing, cock act of the General Government called the fighting, shows, plays, and other expensive Fugitive Slave Law, &c., &c., &c.
diversions and entertainments. Mr. Swanwiek hoped the petition would be The reception of the petition was debated referred to a select committee. Mr. Blount from N. C., hoped it would not select committee, consisting of Messrs. Sit
at great length. Finally it was referred to a eren be received. He said, under the law of North Carolina they were slaves, and could greaves of Pa., Nicholas of Va., Dana of be seized as such.
Conn., Schureman of N. J., and Smith of Md. Mr. Thatcher of Mass., thought the petition On the 29th of Jan., 1798, Mr. Sitgreaves,
from the select committee, reported that the breathed the general spirit of emancipation, facts referred to in the petition were exclu- and though its request began with the District, sively of judicial cognisance; that therefore it its ulterior purpose went much further. He is not competent for the Legislature to do any- opposed the printing:
The motion to print was negatived by a thing in the business, and recommend that the
large majority. memorialists have leave to withdraw their aemorial.
On the 12th of December, 1831, Mr. John On the 14th of Feb., 1798, the House con- Quincy Adams presented fifteen petitions from curred in the report of the committee. numerous inhabitants of Pennsylvania, pray
The same petition was presented in the ing the abolition of slavery in the District of Senate, but withdrawn.
Columbia, and the abolition of the slave-trade
therein. So far as the latter desire was conIn the Senate, on the 21st of Jan., 1805, corned, he thought it a proper subject of legisMr. Logan of Pa., presented the memorial of lation by Congress, and that the petitions on the representatives of the Quakers, pleading that account should be referred to the comthe cause of their oppressed and degraded mittee on the District of Columbia. As to the fellow men of the African race, and praying other prayer of the petition, the abolition of that Congress may adopt effectual measures slavery in the District of Columbia, he deemed to prevent the introduction of slavery into the it his duty to say that he would not support it. territories of the United States.
Whatever his opinion of slavery in the abOn the question shall the petition be re- stract, or of slavery in the District of Columceived, it was decided in the affirmative. bia might be, he hoped the subject would not
YEAs.-Messrs. Adams of Mass., Bayard of Del., Brown of be discussed in the House. He would say Ky., Condit of N. J., Franklin of N. 6., Hill house of Cond, that the most salutary medicine unduly adlN. Y., Olcott of N. H., Pickering of Mass., Plumer of N. 11.
, ministered, was the most deadly poison. Smith of 0., Smith of Vt., Stope of N. C., Sumter of S. C., White of Del., and Worthington of 0.-19.
The petition was referred to the committee Nays.- Messrs. Anderson of Tenn., Baldwin of Geo., Brad-on the District of Columbia. ley of Vt., Cocke of Tenn., Jackson of Geo., Moore of Va., Smith of Md., Smith of N. Y., and Wright of Md.-9.
Mr. Doddridge, of Va., from the said comA like memorial was presented in the House mittee, on the 19th of Dec. made a report, askon the same day, and referred.
ing to be discharged from the further con
sideration of so much of said petitions, as During the month of January, 1817, several
asked the abolition of slavery in the District petitions were presented against the slave
of Columbia. trade between the middle and southern states, which were read and referred.
In the Senate, January 7, 1836, Mr. Mor
ris of Ohio, presented several petitions from During the first session of the 16th Congress, citizens of Ohio, one of which was signed by sundry petitions were presented against the ladies, praying the abolition of slavery in the introduction of slavery into any state there- District of Columbia, and moved to refer them after to be admitted, some of which were to the committee on the District of Columbia. referred and others merely read.
Mr. Calhoun asked that the question should On the 12th of February, 1827, Mr. Barney demanded it on the part of the state he repre
first be taken on receiving the petition. He of Md., presented to the House a memorial of sented, because one-half the Union was deeply certain citizens of Baltimore, Md., praying slandered in these petitions. The Senate had that a law may be passed providing that all refused to receive petitions, because they imchildren hereafter born of parents held to plicated members of that body: Were they to slavery, within the District of Columbia, shall put more reprobation on the slander of an in
dividual member, than on the slander of be free at a certain age, and moved that it be
vereign states ? orinted.
Ile demanded the question, because these Mr. McDufie of S. C., opposed the printing memorials aimed at a violation of the constiof the memorial.
tution, and because he was averse to an agitaMr. Cook of Ill., moved to lay it on the tion which would sunder the Union. It was table; which motion the chair pronounced to agitation here that they feared, because it be out of order.
would compel the southern press to discuss Mr. Powell of Va., opposed the printing: the question in the very presence of the slaves,
Mr. Barney had made the motion to print, who were induced to believe that there was a because the memorialists had requested him powerful party at the north, ready to assist to do so. He was perfectly content to acquiesce them. As a lover of the Union he objected to in the decision of the House.
receiving them, nay, they must cease or the Mr. Dorsey of Md., conceived the memorial | southern people never can be satisfied. And