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of the most contemptible in the Union; and he cited an expression that fell from General Pinckney, on a former debate, that whilst there remained one acre of swamp-land in South Carolina, he should raise his voice against restricting the importation of negroes. Even in granting the im
. portation for twenty years, care had been taken to make us pay for this indulgence, each negro being liable, on importation, to pay a duty not exceeding ten dollars, and in addition to this they were liable to a capitation tax. Negroes were our wealth, our only natural resource; yet behold how our kind friends in the North were determined soon to tie up'our hands, and drain us of what we had! The Eastern States drew their means of subsistence, in a great measure, from their shipping; and, on that head, they had been particularly careful not to allow of any burdens; they were not to pay tonnage or duties; no, not even the form of clearing out; all ports were free and open to them. Why then call this a reciprocal bargain, which took all from one party to bestow it on the other.
Hon. E. Rutledge. In the Northern States the labor is performed by white people, in the Southern by black. All the free people and there are few others) in the Northern States are to be taxed by the new Constitution; whereas only the free people and two-fifths of the slaves, in the Southern States, are to be rated in the apportioning of taxes. But the principal objection is, that no duties are laid on shipping; that, in fact, the carrying trade was to be vested, in a great measure, in the Americans ; that the ship-building business was principally carried on in the Northern States.
When this subject is duly considered, the Southern States should be the last to object to it.
Gen. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney said he would make a few observation on the objections which the gentleman
had thrown out on the restriction that might be laid on the African trade after the year 1808.
On this point your delegates had to contend with the religious and political prejudices of the Eastern and Middle States,, and with the interested and inconsistent opinion of Virginia, who was warmly opposed to our importing moro slaves.
I am of the same opinion now as I was two years ago, when I used the expressions the gentleman has quotedthat while there remained one acre of swamp-land uncleared in South Carolina, I would raise my voice against restrict ing the importation of negroes.
I am as thoroughly convinced as that gentleman is, that the nature of our climate, and the flat, swampy situation of our country, obliges us to cultivate our lands with negroes, and that without them South Carolina would soon be a desert waste.
You have so frequently heard my sentiments on this subject, that I need not now repeat them. It was alleged, by some of the members who opposed an unlimited importation, that slaves increased the weakness of any State who admitted them; that they were a dangerous species of property, which an invading enemy could easily turn against ourselves and the neighboring States; and that, as we were allowed a representation for them in the House of Representatives, our influence in government would be increased in proportion as we were less able to defend ourselves.
"Show some period,” said the members from the Eastern States, “ when it may be in our power to put a stop, if we please, to the importation of this weakness, and we will endeavor, for your convenience, to restrain the religious and political prejudices of our people on this subject.”
The Middle States and Virginia made us no such proposition ; they were for an immediate and total prohibition.
We endeavored to obviate the objections that were made in the best mauner we could, and assigned reasons for our insisting on the importation, which there is no occasion to repeat, as they must occur to every gentleman in the house ; a committee of the States was appointed, in order to accommodate this matter, and, after a great deal of difficulty, it was settled on the footing recited in the Constitution. 1
By this settlement we have secured an unlimited importation of negroes for twenty years. Nor is it declared that the importation shall then be stopped ; it may be continued.
We have a security that the general government can never emancipate them, for no such authority is granted; and it is admitted, on all hands, that the general government has no powers but what are expressly granted by the Constitution, and that all rights not expressed were reserved by the several States.
We have obtained a right to recover our slaves, in whatever part of America they may take refuge, which is a right we had not before.
In short, considering all circumstances, we have made the best terms for the security of this species of property it was in our power to make.
We would have made better if we could ; but on the whole, I do not think them bad.
THE ORDINANCE OF 1787.
The following authentic history of the Ordinance of 1787 was prepared for the National Intelligencer in 1847. The author has kindly permitted us to use it in this volume. It is unquestionably the only perfect history of that Ordi. nance ever given to the American people. We copy it with the remarks of that journal.
“A discussion having arisen in the public prints as to the authorship of certain important provisions embraced in the Ordinance of 1787 for the government of the Western Territory, now constituting several States of the Union, and especially in regard to that celebrated provision which forever excluded slavery from that vast and fertile region; our fellow-townsman, PETER FORCE, Esq., has prepared from authentic materials the article which appears on the preceding page.
From this careful exposition, it seems clear that Mr. Webster was right when, in his celebrated speech on Foote's resolution, he ascribed the authorship (if not the original conception) of the clause above specified to NATHAN DANE, of Massachusetts.
“It happens that, in seeking among the archives of all the old States, and among numerous private collections, for materials for his voluminous work, ‘American Archives,' Mr. Force became possessed of the original projects and reports submitted to Congress respecting a plan of government for the Northwestern Territory, from this step in 1784 to 1787, when the Ordinance was finally adopted. He has the copy of the Ordinance of 1787, with all its
alterations marked on it, while under consideration, just as it was amended at the President's table, among which the clause respecting slavery remains attached to it as an amendment in Mr. Dane's band-writing, in the exact words in which it now stands in the Ordinance. From these materials, together with the official journals of the body, Mr. Forde has compiled the narrative which we now insert; and, his materials being thus authentic, we must receive it as settling the question. He has taken this trouble for the sake of historic truth, and the same motive, together with the intrinsic interest of the subject, and the further reason that we have given currency to versions of the transaction which do injustice to the dead, have induced us cheerfully to yield to it the large share of our space which it occupies.”
NOTES ON THE ORDINANCE OF 1787. In the history of the Ordinance of 1787, published in the National Intelligencer on the 6th of the present month, there are several errors, which, before they become “fixed facts” should be corrected. These notes furnish material for the correction of some of them.
On the 1st of March 1784, a committee, consisting of Mr. Jefferson, of Virginia, Mr. Chase, of Maryland, and Mr. Howell, of Rhode Island, submitted to Congress the following plan for the temporary government of the Western Territory :
The committee appointed to prepare a plan for the temporary government of the Western Territory have agreed to the following resolutions,
Resolved, That the Territory ceded or to be ceded by ivdividual States to the United States, whensoever the same shall have been purchased of the Indian inhabitants and offered for sale by the United States, shall be formed into additional States, bounded in the following manner, as nearly as such cessions will admit; that is to say North