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of statesmen of the Southern half of our country from those of statesmen at the North. The Southern theory, - of which Mr. Calhoun, if not the father, may fairly be considered the family representative, – of which, in this Dred Scott case, Mr. Chief Justice Taney is the authoritative exponent, Mr. Justice Nelson (albeit of New York) the most ultra defender, and Mr. Justice Daniel the most rampant "philosopher and friend," — the Southern theory is, that the blacks are a subject race: The Northern theory is, that they are a race of men with rights equal to the whites, of whom.some individuals are subject. The Southern statesman and lawyer, under the pressure of much agitation and discussion of this subject, has become accustomed to look upon negroes only as property, although compelled to acknowledge some exceptions. The Northerner can only look upon them as men, and finds it hard to settle with his conscience for even those constitutional provisions which allow other people to take the other view. This fundamental difference as to the nature of the very subject matter - one party talking about “things," and an
other about “souls," in the same breath — would be enough
to confuse the coolest argument between the most uninterested and indifferent moral philosophers. Brought into the discussions of politics, it makes worse than confusion, - it
makes conflict; and brought into the courts of law, it produces a jargon of “unreason,” which can evolve no harmony, and results in the decision of questions of abstract right by mere sectional majorities. The degree of influence which these two different points of view of the same subject-matter have upon
the minds of cultivated men, learned in the same learning, with the same high aims, and using the same forms of logic, can hardly be conceived without reading, in extenso, their respective expositions of the same apparently clear sentences. Words which in a violent antislavery meeting, even an Abolition society, at the North, would be quoted from a letter of Mr. Madison, or from the Declaration of Independence, to show what “ the fathers” thought of the abstract and practical equality of man with man, are gravely cited on the bench of the Supreme Court, to show that those same fathers must have entirely disregarded, or “ ignored,” as the phrase is,
the negro race in their plans of government. One judge quotes from the Militia Act of 1792 the phrase which en. rolled 66
every free, able-bodied, white, male citizen,” for the purpose of showing that it must have been understood that there were free, able-bodied, black male citizens; while another cites the same phraseology only to say that “the African race ..... is repudiated and rejected from the duties and obligations of citizenship in marked language.”
The Chief Justice himself quotes the noble language of the Declaration of Independence, — “ We hold these truths.to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," - and proceeds to give this interpretation of them :
“ The general words above quoted would seem to embrace the whole human family, and, if they were used in a similar instrument at this day, would be so understood. But it is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this Declaration ; for if the language, as understood in that day, would embrace them, the conduct of the distinguished men who framed the Declaration of Independence would have been utterly and flagrantly inconsistent with the principles they asserted ; and instead of the sympathy of mankind, to which they so confidently appealed, they would have deserved and received universal rebuke and reprobation.
6 Yet the men who framed this Declaration were great men, - high in literary acquirements, high in their sense of honor, and incapable of asserting principles inconsistent with those on which they were acting. They perfectly understood the meaning of the language they used, and how it would be understood by others; and they knew that it would not, in any part of the civilized world, be supposed to embrace the negro race, which, by common consent, had been excluded from civilized governments and the family of nations, and doomed to slavery. They spoke and acted according to the then established doctrines and principles, and in the ordinary language, of the day, and no one misunderstood them. The unhappy black race were separated from the white by indelible marks, and laws long before established, and were never thought of or spoken of except as property, and when the claims of the owner or the profits of the trader were supposed to need protection.”
How these “general words” were understood at the time of the Declaration of Independence, and the adoption of the Constitution, is much better to be learned from the fact, that, in some of the States, some of the “ enslaved African race" were considered as citizens and allowed to vote, than from this exegetical reasoning. Without entering into the argument, in this place, (for we only quote this passage to show the animus of the reasoning,) we will give as a set-off an opinion of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, describing the status of blacks in that State at the time of the ratification of the Articles of the Confederation, and the law regarding them, in terms which would probably apply equally well to several of the other States at that time. Judge Easton, in delivering the opinion of the court in the case of the State v. Manuel (4 Dev. and Bat. 20), says:
“According to the laws of this State, all human beings within it who are not slaves fall within one of two classes. Whatever distinctions may have existed in the Roman laws between citizens and free inhabitants, they are unknown to our institutions. Before our Revolution, all free persons,
born within the dominions of the king of Great Britain, whatever their color or complexion, were native-born British subjects,
those born out of his allegiance were aliens. Slavery did not exist in England, but it did in the British colonies. Slaves were not, in legal parlance, persons, but property. The moment the incapacity, the disqualification, of slavery was removed, they became persons, and were then either British subjects, or not British subjects, according as they were or were not born within the allegiance of the British king. Upon the Revolution, no other change took place in the laws of North Carolina than was consequent on the transition from a colony, dependent on an European king, to a free and sovereign State. Slaves remained slaves. British subjects in North Carolina became North Carolina freemen. Foreigners, until made members of the State, remained aliens. Slaves, manumitted here, became freemen, and therefore, if born within North Carolina, are citizens of North Carolina, and all free persons born within the State are born citizens of the State. The Constitution extended the elective franchise to every freeman who had arrived at the age of twenty-one, and paid a public tax; and it is a matter of universal notoriety, that, under it, free persons, without regard to color, claimed and exercised the franchise, until it was taken from free men of color a few years since by our amended Constitution.”
Before passing to the immediate consideration of the case itself, we must cite one more instance of this effect of “point of view.” Every one will recollect that striking dictum by which a former chief justice of this very court is said to have rebuked an ambitious young lawyer, who, in laying a wide foundation for his case, was wearying the court with interminable lists of authorities for the most commonplace axi
“Sir," interrupted his Honor, " there are some things that the Supreme Court of the United States is supposed to know.” The following will show with what amplification Mr. Justice Daniel can state that admitted fact, and what he includes among the “some things." We quote from page 475 of the Report:
“ In the constructing of pleadings, either in abatement or in bar, every fact or position constituting a portion of the public law, or of known general history, is necessarily implied. Such fact or position need not be specially averred and set forth; it is what the world at large and every individual are presumed to know, - nay, are bound to know, and be governed by.
“ If, on the other hand, there be facts or circumstances by which a particular case would be withdrawn or exempted from the influence of public law or necessary historical knowledge, such facts and circumstances form an exception to the general principle, and these must be specially set forth and established by those who would avail themselves of such exception.
“Now, the following are truths which a knowledge of the history of the world, and particularly of that of our own country, compels us to know: that the African negro race never have been acknowledged as belonging to the family of nations ; that as among them there never has been known or recognized by the inhabitants of other countries anything partaking of the character of nationality, or civil or political polity; that this race has been by all the nations of Europe regarded as subjects of capture or purchase, - as subjects of commerce or traffic; and that the introduction of that race into every section of this country was not as members of civil or political society, but as slaves, as property in the strictest sense of the term.”
It is with this habitual sentiment and opinion that the black race — not slaves merely, but blacks as such, and their descendants - are to be treated as property, and not as men, that the questions in this case were approached by the major
ity of the court. Of the opposite point of view, — which, while it recognizes the fact that there are black slaves, assumes that the natural state of man is to be free, whether he is white or black, we need not give instances, because it is familiar to, if not shared in by, most of our readers ; but we may pass at once to the facts of the case, the decision of which from such opposite grounds was so little likely to be harmonious. These facts, as agreed to by the parties, in a statement upon which the judgment was given in the United States Circuit Court in Missouri, are briefly these. Dred Scott was in 1834 a slave to Dr. Emerson, a surgeon in the army of the United States, who in that year carried him with him to the military post at Rock Island, in the State of Illinois. In April or May, 1836, Dr. Emerson, still holding Dred Scott as a slave, removed thence to Fort Snelling, in the Territory of Wisconsin. In the year 1835, Major Taliaferro, of the United States army, took his slave Harriet to Fort Snelling, and sold and delivered her there as a slave, in 1836, to Dr. Emerson.
In that year Dred Scott and this Harriet were married at Fort Snelling, with the consent of Dr. Emerson, who claimed to be their master and owner. There are two children of this marriage; - Eliza, about fourteen years old, (this is from the statement of April, 1854,) — born upon a steamboat upon the Mississippi River, north of the north line of Missouri; and Lizzie, about seven years old, born in the State of Missouri, at the United States military post, Jefferson Barracks.
In the year 1838, Dr. Emerson removed Scott and his family to Missouri, where they had ever since resided; and since that, and before the commencement of this suit, sold them to J. F. A. Sandford, the defendant, as slaves, and he had ever since claimed to hold them as such.
It was agreed that, before the commencement of this suit, Dred Scott brought suit for his freedom in the Circuit Court of the State of Missouri, and that there was a verdict and judgment in his favor; but that, on a writ of error to the Supreme Court of that State, that judgment was reversed, and the case remanded to the court below, to await the decision in this case. In May, 1854, the jury in the United