Slike strani

the whole land? It is the natural office of such | unit. Who does not see that such conclusions a principle to wrestle with slavery, whereso- flow from false notions-that the true theory ever it finds it. New States, colonized by the of a republican government is mistaken-and apostles of this principle, will enable it to set that in such a government rights, political and on foot a fanatical crusade against all who still civil, may be qualified by the fundamental law, continue to tolerate it, although no practicable upon such inducements as the freemen of the means are pointed out by which they can get country deem sufficient? That civil rights may rid of it consistently with their own safety. be qualified as well as political, is proved by a At any rate, a present forbearing disposition, thousand examples. Minors, resident aliens, in a few or in many, is not a security upon who are in a course of naturalization-the which much reliance can be placed upon a sub- other sex, whether maids, or wives, or widows, ject as to which so many selfish interests and furnish sufficient practical proofs of this. ardent feelings are connected with the cold calculations of policy. Admitting, however, that the old United States are in no danger from this principle-why is it so? There can be no other answer (which these zealous enemies of slavery can use) than that the constitution recognizes slavery as existing or capable of existing in those States. The constitution, then, admits that slavery and a republican form of government are not incongruous. It associates and binds them up together, and repudiates this wild imagination which the gentlemen have pressed upon us with such an air of triumph. But the constitution does more, as I have heretofore proved. It concedes that slavery may exist in a new State, as well as in an old one-since the language in which it recognizes slavery comprehends new States as well as actual. I trust then that I shall be forgiven if I suggest, that no eccentricity in argument can be more trying to human patience, than a formal assertion that a constitution, to which slave-holding States were the most numerous parties, in which slaves are treated as property as well as persons, and provision is made for the security of that property, and even for an augmentation of it by a temporary importation from Africa, a clause commanding Congress to guarantee a republican form of government to those very States, as well as to others, authorizes you to determine that slavery and a republican form of government cannot co-exist.

But if a republican form of government is that in which all the men have a share in the public power, the slave-holding States will not alone retire from the Union. The constitutions of some of the other States do not sanction universal suffrage, or universal eligibility. They require citizenship, and age, and a certain amount of property, to give a title to vote or to be voted for; and they who have not those qualifications are just as much disfranchised, with regard to the government and its power, as if they were slaves. They have civil rights indeed (and so have slaves in a less degree;) but they have no share in the government. Their province is to obey the laws, not to assist in making them. All such States must therefore be forisfamiliated with Virginia and the rest, or change their system: For the constitution being absolutely silent on those subjects, will afford them no protection. The Union might thus be reduced from an Union to an

Again-if we are to entertain these hopeful abstractions, and to resolve all establishments into their imaginary elements in order to recast them upon some Utopian plan, and if it be true that all the men in a republican government must help to wield its power, and be equal in rights, I beg leave to ask the honorable gentleman from New Hampshire-and why not all the women? They too are God's creatures, and not only very fair but very rational creatures; and our great ancestor, if we are to give credit to Milton, accounted them the "wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best;" although to say the truth he had but one specimen from which to draw his conclusion, and possibly if he had had more, would not have drawn it at all. They have, moreover, acknowledged civil rights in abundance, and upon abstract principles more than their masculine rulers allow them in fact. Some monarchies, too, do not exclude them from the throne. We have all read of Elizabeth of England, of Catharine of Russia, of Semiramis, and Zenobia, and a long list of royal and imperial dames, about as good as an equal list of royal and imperial lords. Why is it that their exclusion from the power of a popular government is not destructive of its republican character? I do not address this question to the honorable gentleman's gallantry, but to his abstraction, and his theories, and his notions of the infinite perfectibility of human institutions, borrowed from Godwin and the turbulent philosophers of France. For my own part, sir, if I may have leave to say so much in the presence of this mixed uncommon audience, I confess I am no friend to female government, unless indeed it be that which reposes on gentleness, and modesty and virtue, and feminine grace and delicacy-and how powerful a government that is, we have all of us, as I suspect, at some time or other experienced! But if the ultra republican doctrines which have now been broached should ever gain ground among us, I should not be surprised if some romantic reformer, treading in the footsteps of Mrs. Wolstoncraft, should propose to repeal our republican law salique, and claim for our wives and daughters a full participation in political power, and to add to it that domestic power, which in some families, as I have heard, is as absolute and unrepublican as any power can be.

I have thus far allowed the honorable gentlemen to avail themselves of their assumption

[ocr errors]

that the constitutional command to guarantee | be made certain by a yet more doubtful negato the States a republican form of government, tive upon power-or rather a doubtful negagives power to coerce those States in the tive, where there is no evidence of the corresadjustment of the details of their constitutions ponding affirmative, is to make out the affirmaupon theoretical speculations. But surely it is tive and to justify us in acting upon it, in a passing strange that any man, who thinks at matter of such high moment, that questionable all, can view this salutary command as the power should not dare to approach it. If the grant of a power so monstrous; or look at it negative were perfectly clear in its import, in any other light than as a protecting mandate the conclusion which has been drawn from it to Congress to interpose with the force and would be rash, because it might have proauthority of the Union against that violence ceeded, as some of the negatives in whose and usurpation, by which a member of it company it is found evidently did proceed, from might otherwise be oppressed by profligate and great anxiety to prevent such assumptions of powerful individuals, or ambitious and unprin- authority as are now attempted. But when it cipled factions. is conceded that the supposed import of this negative (as to the term migration) is ambiguous, and that it may have been used in a very different sense from that which is imputed to it, the conclusion acquires a character of boldness, which, however some may admire, the wise and reflecting will not fail to condemn.

In a word, the resort to this portion of the constitution for an argument in favor of the proposed restriction, is one of those extravagancies (I hope I shall not offend by this expression) which may excite our admiration, but cannot call for a very rigorous refutation. I have dealt with it accordingly, and have now done with it.

In the construction of this clause, the first remark that occurs is, that the word migration is associated with the word importation. I do not insist that "noscitur a sociis" is as good a rule in matters of interpretation as in common life but it is, nevertheless, of considerable weight when the associated words are not qualified by any phrases that disturb the effect of their fellowship; and unless it announces, (as in this case it does not,) by specific phrases combined with the associated term, a different intention. Moreover, the ordinary unrestricted import of the word migration is what I have here supposed. A removal from district to district, within the same jurisdiction, is never denomipas-nated a migration of persons. I will concede to the honorable gentlemen, if they will accept the concession, that ants may be said to migrate when they go from one ant-hill to another at no great distance from it. But even then they could not be said to migrate, if each ant-hill was their home in virtue of some federal compact with insects like themselves. But, however this may be, it should seem to be certain that human beings do not migrate, in the sense of a constitution, simply because they transplant themselves, from one place, to which that constitution extends, to another which it equally covers.

If this word migration applied to freemen and not to slaves, it would be clear that removal from State to State would not be comprehended within it. Why then, if you choose to apply it to slaves, does it take another meaning as to the place from whence they are to come?

We are next invited to study that clause of the constitution which relates to the migration or importation, before the year 1808, of such persons as any of the States then existing should think proper to admit. It runs thus: "The migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation not exceeding ten dollars for each person."

It is said that this clause empowers Congress, after the year 1808, to prohibit the sage of slaves from State to State, and the word "migration" is relied upon for that purpose.

I will not say that the proof of the existence of a power by a clause which, as far as it goes, denies it, is always inadmissible; but I will say that it is always feeble. On this occasion, it is singularly so. The power, in an affirmative shape, cannot be found in the constitution; or if it can, it is equivocal and unsatisfactory. How do the gentlemen supply this deficiency? by the aid of a negative provision in an article of the constitution in which many restrictions are inserted ex abundanti cautela, from which it is plainly impossible to infer that the power to which they apply would otherwise have existed. Thus "No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed." Take away the restriction-could Congress pass a bill of attainder, the trial by jury in criminal cases being expressly secured by the constitution? The inference, therefore, from the prohibition in question, whatever may be its meaning, to the power which it is supposed to restrain, but which you cannot lay your finger upon with any pretensions to certainty, must be a very doubtful one. But the import of the prohibition is also doubtful, as the gentlemen themselves admit. So that a doubtful power is to

Sir, if we once depart from the usual acceptation of this term, fortified as it is by its union with another in which there is nothing in this respect equivocal, will gentlemen please to intimate the point at which we are to stop? Migration means, as they contend, a removal from State to State, within the pale of the common government. Why not a removal also from county to county within a particular Statefrom plantation to plantation-from farm to

farm-from hovel to hovel? Why not any exertion of the power of locomotion? I protest I do not see, if this arbitrary limitation of the natural sense of the term migration be warrantable, that a person to whom it applies may not be compelled to remain immovable all the days of his life (which could not well be many) in the very spot, literally speaking, in which it was his good or his bad fortune to be born.


Whatever may be the latitude in which the word "persons" is capable of being received, it is not denied that the word "importation indicates a bringing in from a jurisdiction foreign to the United States. The two "termini" of the importation, here spoken of, are a foreign country and the American Union-the first the "terminus a quo," the second the "terminus ad quem.' The word migration stands in simple connexion with it, and of course is left to the full influence of that connexion. The natural conclusion is, that the same "termini" | belong to each, or in other words, that if the importation must be abroad, so also must be the migration-no other "termini” being assigned to the one which are not manifestly characteristic of the other. This conclusion is so obvious, that to repel it, the word migration requires, as an appendage, explanatory phraseology, giving to it a different beginning from that of importation. To justify the conclusion that it was intended to mean a removal from State to State, each within the sphere of the constitution in which it is used, the addition of the words from one to another State in this Union, were indispensable. By the omission of these words, the word "migration" is compelled to take every sense of which it is fairly susceptible from its immediate neighbor "importation." In this view it means a coming, as "importation" means a bringing, from a foregin jurisdiction into the United States. That it is susceptible of this meaning, nobody doubts. I go further. It can have no other meaning in the place in which it is found. It is found in the constitution of this Union-which, when it speaks of migration as of a general concern, must be supposed to have in view a migration into the domain which itself embraces as a general government.


[ocr errors]

Migration, then, even if it comprehends slaves, does not mean the removal of them from State to State, but means the coming of slaves from places beyond their limits and their power. And if this be so, the gentlemen gain nothing for their argument by showing that slaves were the objects of this term.

An honorable gentleman from Rhode Island,* whose speech was distinguished for its ability, and for an admirable force of reasoning, as well as by the moderation and mildness of its spirit, informed us, with less discretion than in general

* Mr. Burrill.

he exhibited, that the word "migration" was introduced into this clause at the instance of some of the Southern States, who wished by its instrumentality to guard against a prohibition by Congress of the passage into those States of slaves from other States. He has given us no authority for this supposition, and it is, therefore, a gratuitous one. How improbable it is, a moment's reflection will convince him. The African slave-trade being open during the whole of the time to which the entire clause in question referred, such a purpose could scarcely be entertained; but if it had been entertained, and there was believed to be a necessity for securing it, by a restriction upon the power of Congress to interfere with it, is it possible that they who deemed it important would have contented themselves with a vague restraint, which was calculated to operate in almost any other manner than that which they desired? If fear and jealousy, such as the honorable gentleman has described, had dictated this provision, a better term than that of "migration," simple and unqualified, and joined too with the word "importation," would have been found to tranquillize those fears and satisfy that jealousy. Fear and jealousy are watchful, and are rarely seen to accept a security short of their object, and less rarely to shape that security, of their own accord, in such a way as to make it no security at all. They always seek an explicit guaranty; and that this is not such a guaranty this debate has proved, if it has proved nothing else.

Sir, I shall not be understood by what I have said to admit that the word migration refers to slaves. I have contended only that if it does refer to slaves it is in this clause synonymous with importation; and that it cannot mean the mere passage of slaves, with or without their masters, from one State in the Union to another.

But I now deny that it refers to slaves at all. I am not for any man's opinions or his histories upon this subject. I am not accustomed "jurare in verba magistri." I shall take the clause as I find it, and do my best to interpret it.

After going through with that part of his argument relating to this clause of the constitution, Mr. Pinkney concluded his speech by expressing a hope that (what he deemed) the perilous principles urged by those in favor of the restriction upon the new State would be disavowed or explained, or that at all events the application of them to the subject under discussion would not be pressed, but that it might be disposed of in a manner satisfactory to all by a proscriptive prohibition of slavery in the territory to the north and west of Missouri.

[ocr errors]


THE parents of Albert Gallatin were residents of Geneva, in Switzerland, where he was born on the twenty-ninth of January, 1761.* During infancy he was left an orphan, and was educated under the guidance of an estimable and highly accomplished woman, a distant relative and intimate friend of his mother. He pursued his more advanced studies, with diligence and earnestness, in the educational institutions of his native place, and in the year 1779, graduated at the Geneva University with honor; giving great promise of future eminence. In speaking of his school days, in the latter years of his life, "he often alluded to such of his companions as had subsequently distinguished themselves. He felt peculiar pride in the many great men to whom his native country had given birth, or who had flourished there, such as Sismondi, the historian, Decandolle, the botanist, Agassiz, the naturalist, now among us, and De Lolme and Dumont, the writers on legislation. Müller, the historian, was his instructor in history. De Lolme, he said, was in the class above him, and possessed a great faculty for languages, which enabled him to write his book on the English Constitution, after a residence of only a year in England. Dumont, the disciple and translator of Bentham, and friend of Mirabeau, was in the class below him. Dumont, he said, was not remarkable at school for any thing but the elegance of his French compositions and his facility in verse-making. He had no original genius, but at the same time had an exact estimate of his own powers; and the task of licking Bentham's lucubrations into shape was one that he was admirably fitted to perform."t

Resolved to emigrate to America, Mr. Gallatin, at the age of nineteen, embarked for Boston. The motive for this step can best be understood by the following letter from the Duke de la Rochefoucauld D'Enville to Doctor Franklin, published in the works of the latter, edited by Jared Sparks, L.LD.:

"La Rocheguyon, 22d May, 1780.

"SIR, The residence of your grandson at Geneva, makes me hope that the citizens of that town may have some claim to your kind attention. It is with this hope that I ask it for two young men, whom the love of glory and of liberty draws to America. One of them is named Gallatin; he is nineteen years of age, well informed for his age, of an excellent character thus far, with much natural talent. The name of the other, Serre. They have concealed their project from their relatives, and therefore we cannot tell where they will land. It is supposed, however, that they are going to Philadelphia, or to the continental army. One of my friends gives me this information, with the request that I will urge you to favor them with a recommendation. I shall share in his gratitude, and I beg you, sir, to be assured of the sentiments with which I have the honor to be, &c.,


*Mr. Gallatin derived his name of Albert from his maternal grandfather, Albert Rolaz Seigneur du Rosez, of the Pays de Vaud. He was, on the part of both his parents, allied to some of the most distinguished families of Geneva and Switzerland; and, among others, to M. Necker and his celebrated daughter, Madame de Staël. His ancestor John Gallatin, Secretary to the Duke of Savoy, emigrated to Geneva in the early part of the sixteenth contury, embraced the Reformation, and was one the magistrates of the city, when, by the expulsion of its Prince Bishop, Geneva became an independent republic. His descendants have ever since been uninterruptedly connected with the magistracy of that republic.

+ Bartlett's Reminiscences of Albert Gallatin: New York Hist. Soc. Collections.

Off the coast of New England the vessel in which Mr. Gallatin was a passenger was delayed by adverse weather, and finally obliged to stop at Cape Ann. Here the young traveller was glad to set foot on shore, and determined to continue the rest of his journey by land. On the fourteenth of July, 1780, he arrived at the town of Boston, where he ecame acquainted with a family from his native country, and, in a few days after, accompanied them to Machias, in the district of Maine. There learning that Captain John Allen, the commandant of the fort at that place, was enlisting a company of volunteers for the defence of the Passamaquoddy, he joined the troops and accompanied them to the frontier. On this expedition, money being wanted to supply the garrison, Mr. Gallatin made advances to the government, taking an order on the same from which be ultimately realized about one-third its value. "The sum I advanced," said he, in after life, "though small, was to me a very large one, as it was nearly all the money I had; but the case was an urgent one, and I felt happy in having it in my power to do this."

In 1781, Mr. Gallatin left the vicinity of Machias and went to Boston. Early in the spring of the next year, he was chosen a teacher of the French language in Harvard College. He remained in this station until the close of the war in 1783; when he removed to Virginia. Here while engaged in prosecuting an extensive claim of a foreign house against the State, he attracted the attention and secured the friendship of many of the most prominent men of the time, among whom was Patrick Henry, "from whom he received several marks of personal friendship, and who predicted that Mr. Gallatin would rise to distinction as a statesman, and strongly advised him to settle in the west,-which in those days did not imply a more remote residence than the neighborhood of the Ohio." This advice seems to have been received with favor, for we find him, in 1785, purchasing with his moderate patrimony from Europe, extensive tracts of land in western Virginia, with the intention of forming a large settlement there. He was, however, prevented from perfecting this project by a renewal of Indian hostilities.

It is probable that it was during the examination of those lands that the following interview* occurred between General Washington and the subject of the present sketch: "Mr. Gallatin said he first met General Washington at the office of a Land Agent, near the Kenawha river, in north-western Virginia, where he (Mr. G.) had been engaged in surveying. The office consisted of a log-house, 14 feet square, in which was but one room. In one corner of this was a bed for the use of the agent. General Washington, who owned large tracts of land in this region, was then visiting them in company with his nephew, and at the same time examining the country with a view of opening a road across the Alleghanies. Many of the settlers and hunters familiar with the country had been invited to meet the General at this place, for the purpose of giving him such information as would enable him to select the most eligible pass for the contemplated road. Mr. Gallatin felt a desire to meet this great man, and determined to await his arrival.

"On his arrival General Washington took his seat at a pine table in the log-cabin, or rather Land Agent's office, surrounded by the men who had come to meet him. They all stood up, as there was no room for seats. Some of the more fortunate, however, secured quarters on the bed. They then underwent an examination by the General, who wrote down all the particulars stated by them. He was very inquisitive, questioning one after the other, and noting down all they said. Mr. Gallatin stood among the others in the crowd, though quite near the table, and listened attentively to the numerous queries put by the General, and very soon discovered from the various relations which was the only practicable pass through which the road could be made. He felt uneasy at the indecision of the General, when the point was so evident to him, and without reflecting on the impropriety of it, suddenly interrupted him, saying, 'Oh, it is plain enough, such a place (a spot just mentioned by one of the settlers) is the most practicable.' The good people stared at the young surveyor (for they only knew him as such) with surprise, wondering at his boldness in thrusting his opinion unasked upon the General. The interruption put a sudden stop to General Washington's inquiries. He laid down his pen, raised his eyes

Related by Mr. John Russell Bartlett, in his remarks before the New York Historical Society, on the death of Mr. Gallatin.-Proceedings of the N. Y. Hist. Soc.

« PrejšnjaNaprej »