Abbildungen der Seite

Virginia ... Mr. Jefferson, 10.), .

Hardy, no. no..

Mercer, no.). North Carolina ... Mr. Spaight, no.

Williamson ay. South Carolina '. . . Mr. Read, no.

. Beresford, no, no. So the question was lost, and the words were struck out,” (2.)

“ March 16, 1785, a motion was made by Mr. King, and seconded by Mr. Ellery, that the following proposition be committed:

“ That there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servi. 'tude in any of the States described in the resolve of congress of the 23d of April, 1784, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been personally guilty: and that this regulation shall be an article of compact, and remain a fundamental principle of the Constitutions between the thirteen original states, and each of the states described in the said resolve of the 23d April, 1784.”

On the question of commitment, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, voted in the affirmative: Virginia, (3) North Carolina and South Carolina in the negative. So it was resolved in the affirrnative.. w

Ou the 7th of July, 1786, Congress resolved that the stipulation contained in the cession of Virginia, respecting the division into separate States of the territory northwest of the Ohio river, would be attended with great inconvenience, and recommended Virginia to revise and alter the terms of cession, which was afterwards done. .

September 29, 1786, Congress took into consideration an ordinance for the government of the Western Territory reported by a committee consisting of Johnson of Connecticut, Pickney, of South Carolina, Smith, of New York, Dane, of Massachusetts, and McHenry, of Maryland: and, after considering

(2) Seven, or a majority of the whole number of States, (thirteen,) were wanted to carry a question.

(3) Grayson voted in the affirmative; Hardy and Lee in the negative.

it from time to time, it was recommended to a committee consisting of Carrington and R. H. Lee, of Virginia, Dane, of Mas, sachusetts, Kean, of South Carolina, and Smith, of New York, whose report was 'read the first time, July 11, 1787. This ordinance is similar, in its leading and fundamental provisions, to that reported in 1784 by the committee of which Mr Jefferson (4) was chairman, and, like that, contained a prohibition of slavery in the following words: “ There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said Territory; otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” On the 13th of July, 1787, this ordinance was adopted by Congress, with the concurrence not only of every State, but every individual member of every State present, except one, Mr. Yates of New York.

On the 27th of December, 1788, Virginia passed a resolution offering to cede, and on the 3d of December, 1789, passed an act in which she “forever ceded and relinquished to Congress and Governinent of the United States, in full and absolute right and exclusive jurisdiction as well of soil as of persons residing or to reside therein, pursuant to the tenor and effect of the 8th section of the first article of the Constitution of the Government of the United States," a tract of country not exceeding ten miles square, for the permanent seat of Government of the United States. The cession of Maryland, for similar purpose, was made December 23, 1789, and is absolute and without restriction or limitation.

This statement of facts shows,–1st, That Virginia ceded to the United States an extensive territory, separated from her only by a river, and bordering on her for about one thousand miles, Kentucky being then a part of Virginia. 2d, That Congress had, after having had the subject under consideration for more than three years, abolished slavery in it by the extraordinary concurrence of all its members who voted, except

(4) To Mr. Jefferson is therefore justly due the credit of the ordinance for the government of the Northwest Territory, and not Mr. Dane, as claimed for him by his New England friends.

[ocr errors]

one. 3d, That the measure originated with Thomas Jefferson, the favorite son of Virginia and of the nation, and who was assisted by Chase, a prominent son and distinguished jurist of Maryland. And 4th, That with the knowledge of these facts, and immediately after their occurrence, Virginia and Maryland ceded the district of Columbia to the United States, without restriction as to the prohibition of slavery, or indeed without imposing as many restrictions as Virginia did when she ceded the northwest territory.

Seeing, then, what Congress had done in abolishing slavery in what had been a part of Virginia, and in which territory there were a considerable number of slaves, how can it be said that Virginia and Maryland would not have ceded the district of Columbia, if they had supposed Congress would ever abolish slavery in it? or that the doing so now, at the expiration of near half a century, can be conceived to violate any implied faith to those two states?.

I will only add, in conclusion, what a strange contrast the proceedings of 1787 present to those of 1837! Then the abolition of slavery in an extensive territory, bordering on the slaveholding states, met with no opposition. No fears were then entertained that such an act would endanger the Union, or tend to disturb the quiet of any portion of it. It was not then denounced as the first step of Congress to abolish slavery in the slaveholding states. No; slavery was then considered by all as an evil; now it is pronounced by some a blessing. What strange perversion! What strange delusion! Especially in this enlightened and liberal age, when there is abroad an ameliorating spirit, more powerful in its effects in the moral and political world than the steam-engine is in the mechanical. .


We, the people of the Eastern Division of the Territory of the

United States, northwest of the River Ohio, having the right of admission into the General Government, as a member of the Union, consistent with the Constitution of the United States, the ordinance of Congress of one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, and of the law of Congress, entitled " An Act to enable the people of the Eastern Division of the Territory of the United States northwest of the river Ohio, to form a Constitution and State Government, and for the admission of such State into the Union, on 'an equal footing with the original States, and for other purposes; in order to establish justice, promote the welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish the following Constitution or form of Government; and do mutually agree with each other to form ourselves into a free and independent State, by the name of the State of Ohio.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Sto. 1. The Legislative authority of this State shall be vested in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives, both to be elected by the people.

Sec. 2. Within one year after the first meeting of the General Assembly, and within every subsequent term of four years, an enumeration of all the white male inhabitants above twenty-one years of age, shall be made in such manner as shall be directed by law. The number of representatives shall, at the several periods of making such enumeration, be fixed by the legislature and apportioned among the several counties, according to the number of white male inhabitants above twenty-one years of age in each, and shall never be less than twenty-four nor greater than thirty-six, until the number of white male inhabitants above twenty-one years of age sh ill be twenty-two thousand; and after that event, at such rativ that the whole number of representatives shall never be less than thir. ty-six, nor exceed seventy-two.

Sec. 3. The Representatives shall be chosen annually, by the citizens of each county respectively, on the second Tuesday of October.

Sec. 4. No person shall be a representative, who shall not have attained the age of twenty-five years, and be a citizen of the United States and an inhabitant of this state; shall also have resided within the limits of the county in which he shall be chysen, one year next preceding his election, unless he shall have been absent on the public business of the United States or of this state; and shall have paid a state or county tax.

Sec. 5. The senators shall be chosen biennially, by the qualified voters for representatives; and on their being convened in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided, by lot, from their respective counties or districts, as near as can be, into two classes; the seats of the senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the first year, and of the second class at the expiration of the second year; so that one half thereof, as near as possible, may be annually chosen forever thereafter. .

Sec. 6. The number of senators shall, at the several periods of making the enumeration before mentioned, be fixed by the legislature, and apportioned among the several counties or districts, to be established by law, according to the number of white male inhabitants of the age of twenty-one years in each, and shall never be less than one-third, nor more than one half of the number of representatives.

Sec. 7. No person shall be a senator who has not arrived at the age of thirty years, and is a citizen of the United States; shall have resided two years in the county or district immediately preceding the election, unless he shall have been absent on the public business of the United States, or of this state; and shall, moreover, have paid a state or county, tax.

« ZurückWeiter »