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union for special national purposes, and particularly for those specified in their late federal compact, to be friendly to the peace, happiness, and prosperity of all the States; that, faithful to that compact, according to the plain intent and meaning in which it was understood and acceded to by the several parties, it is sincerely anxious for its preservation; that it does also believe that, to take from the States all the powers of self-government, and transfer them to a general and consolidated government, without regard to the special government and reservations solemnly agreed to in that compact, is not for the peace, happiness, or prosperity of these States; and that, therefore, this commonwealth is determined, as it doubts not its co-States are, to submit to undelegated and consequently unlimited powers in no man, or body of men, on earth; that, if the acts before specified should stand, these conclusions would flow from them,—that the general government may place any act they think proper on the list of crimes, and punish it themselves, whether enumerated or not enumerated by the Constitution as recognized by them; that they may transfer its cognizance to the President, or any other person, who may himself be the accuser, counsel, judge, and jury, whose suspicions may be evidence, his order the sentence, his offiver the executioner, and his breast the sole record of the transaction ; that a very numerous and valuable description of the inhabitants of these States, being by this precedent reduced, as outlaws, to the absolute dominion of one man, and the barriers of the Constitution thus swept from us all, no rampart now remains against the passion and the power of a majority of Congress to protect from a like exportation, or other grievous punishment, the minority of the same body, the legislatures, judges, governors, and connsellors of the State, nor their peaceable inhabitants, who may venture to reclaim the constitutional rights and liberties of the States and people, or who, for other causes, good or bad, may be obnoxious to the view, or marked by the suspicions, of the President, or thought dangerous to his elections, or other interests, public or personal; that the friend. less alien has been selected as the safest subject of a first experiment; but the citizen will soon follow, or rather has already followed; for already has a Sedition Act marked him as a prey; that these and successive acts of the same character, unless arrested on the threshold, may tend to drive these States into revolution and blood, and will furnish new calumnies against republican governments, and new pretexts for those who wish it to be believed that man cannot be governed but by a rod of iron; that it would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights ; that confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism; free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence ; it is jealousy, not confidence, which prescribes limited constitutions to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power; that our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no farther, our confidence may go; and let the honest advocate of confidence read the Alien and Sedition Acts, and say if the Constitution has not been wise in fixing limits to the government it created, and whether we should be wise in destroying those limits; let him say what the government is, if it be not a tyranny, which the men of our choice have conferred on the Presi. dent, and the President of our choice has assented to and accepted, over the friendly strangers to whom the mild spirit of our country and its laws had pledged hospitality and protection ; that the men of cur choice have more re spected the base suspicions of the President, than the solia rights of ignorance, the claims of justification, the sacred force of truth, and the forms and substance of law and justice. In questions of power, then, let no more be said of con
fidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by tho chains of the Constitution. That this commonwealth does therefore call on its co-States for an expression of their sentiments on the acts concerning aliens, and for the punishment of certain crimes herein before specified, plainly declaring whether these acts are or are not authorized by the federal compact. And it doubts not that their sense will be so announced as to prove their attachment to limited government, whether general or particular, and that the rights and liberties of their co-States will be exposed to do dangers by remaining embarked on a common bottom with their own; but they will concur with this commonwealth in considering the said acts as so palpably against the Constitution as to amount to an updisguised declaration, that the compact is not meant to be the measure of the powers of the general government, but that it will proceed in the exercise over these States of all powers whatever; that they will view this as seizing the rights of the States, and consolidating them in the hands of the general government, with a power assumed to bind the States, not merely in cases made federal, but in all cases whatsoever, by laws made, not with their consent, but by others against their consent; that this would be to surrender the form of government we have chosen, and live under one deriving its powers from its own will, and not from our authority; and that the co-States, recurring to their natural rights not made federal, will concur in declaring them void and of no force, and will each unite with this commonwealth in requesting their repeal at the next session of Congress.
THE MISSOURI QUESTION.
In December, 1818, Congress received a petition from the legislature of the territory asking admission into the Union. On the 19th February, 1819, while the bill was under discussion for the admission, an amendment was offered "providing that the further introduction of slavery, or involuntary servitude be prohibited in said State." Adopted, 87 to 76 votes in the House. Another amendment, “ That all children born in said State, after admission thereof, shall be free after the age of twenty-five years.” Adopted, 79 to 67. The Senate struck out this amendment, 22 to 16. Each House adhered obstinately to its position and the bill was lost.
At the next session Mr. Taylor of New York offered a resolution raising a committee to report “ a bill probibiting. the further admission of slaves into the territory west of the Mississippi." This proposition was postponed. In the mean time, a bill was introduced for the adınission of Maine into the Union, which passed the House. The Senate tacked a section admitting Missouri to the Maine bill. Ou the 18th January, 1820, Mr. Thomas of Illinois introduced in the Senate the celebrated slavery restriction, excluding slavery forever from all territory north of 36° 30' north latitude. After an exciting debate it was referred to a select committee. The motion to exclude slavery from Missouri was lost in the Senate, 16 to 27.
On the 17th February, Mr. Thomas's amendment, excluding slavery from the territory north of 36° 30' passed
the Senate, Ayes 34 ; Noes 10. It was moved in the House by Mr. Storrs of New York. The bill for the admission of both Maine and Missouri, with the restriction of slavery in territories West, in lieu of applying it to the State, then passed tbe Senate. Mr. Macon of North Carolina, and Mr. Smith of South Carolina, being the only Southern Senators that voted against it. The House subsequently agreed to the Senate bill by a vote of 134 to 42, and thus ended the agitation for that session. The restriction thus engrafted upon the territorial law was repealed in the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 ; but was not, as will be seen, and as has been generally understood by the people, a part of Mr. Clay's Compromise, by which Missouri was finally admitted into the Union.
At the session of 1821, Missouri presented her Constitution to Congress. It contained a clause excluding free colored people from the State. The question was at once raised, that her Constitution was not republican in form, as required by the Constitution of the United States. The Senate voted to admit and the House refused. Committees of conference were appointed, of which Mr. Clay was chairman in the House, and Mr. Holmes of Maine, in the Senate. On the 26th of February, 1821, Mr. Clay, from the Joint Committee, reported a resolution for the admission of Missouri, upon condition that the clause in her Constitution prohibiting free negroes from coming into or remaining in the State, should never be construed to authorize the passage of any law by which any citizen of any other State should be excluded from any privileges to which such citizen is entitled under the Constitution of the United States. This resolution passed the House the same day by a vote of 87 to 31.
The resolution was called up in the Senate on the 27th, and finally passed in that body on the 28th of February, 1821, by a vote of 28 to 14. Missouri accepted the con