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It was urged that by this system, we were giving the general gov ernment full and absolute power to regulate commerce, under which general power it would have a right to restrain, or totally prohibit the slave-trade; it must, therefore, appear to the world absurd and disgraceful to the last degree, that we should except from the exercise of that power, the only branch of commerce which is unjustifiable in its nature, and contrary to the rights of mankind. That on the contrary we ought rather to prohibit expressly in our constitution, the further importation of slaves; and to authorize the general go vernment from time to time, to make such regulations as should be thought most advantageous for the gradual abolition of slavery, and the emancipation of the slaves which are already in the states.

That slavery is inconsistent with the genius of republicanism, and has a tendency to destroy those principles on which it is supported, as it lessens the sense of the equal rights of mankind, and habituates us to tyranny and oppression. It was further urged, that by this system of government, every state is to be protected both from foreign invasion and from domestic insurrections; that from this consideration, it was of the utmost importance it should have a power to restrain the importation of slaves, since in proportion as the number of slaves was increased in any state, in the same proportion the state was weakened and exposed to foreign invasion, or domestic insurrection, and by so much less it will be able to protect itself against either; and therefore will by so much the more, want aid from, and be a burthen to, the union. It was further said, that as in this system we were giving the general government a power, under the idea of national character, or national interest, to regulate even our weights and measures, and have prohibited all possibility of emitting paper money, and passing insolvent laws, &c., it must appear still more extraordinary, that we should prohibit the government from interfering with the slave-trade, than which nothing could so materially affect both our national honor and interest. These reasons influenced me both on the committee and in convention, most decidedly to oppose and vote against the clause as it now makes a part of the system.

At this time we do not generally hold this commerce in so great abhorrence as we have done. When our liberties were at stake, we warmly felt for the common rights of men. The danger being thought to be past, which threatened ourselves, we are daily growing more insensible to those rights. In those states who have restrained or prohibited the importation of slaves, it is only done by legislative acts which may be repealed. When those states find that they must in their national character and connexion suffer in the disgrace, and share in the inconveniences attendant upon that detestable and iniquitous traffic, they may be desirous also to share in the benefits arising from it, and the odium attending it will be greatly effaced by the sanction which is given it in the general go

vernment.

With respect to that part of the second section of the first article, which relates to the apportionment of representation and direct taxa tion, there were considerable objections made to it, besides the great

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THE IMAGE AND SUPERSCRIPTION ON EVERY COIN ISSUED BY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

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PROCLAIM LIBERTY THROUGHOUT ALL THE LAND UNTO ALL THE INHABITANTS THEREOF.

THE INSCRIPTION ON THE BELL IN THE OLD PHILADELPHIA STATEXCUSE, WHICH WAS RUNG JULY 4, 1776, AT THE SIGNING OF

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

"LIBERTY."

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 inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their powers from the just consent of the governed, &c. [See the whole declaration, signed by the delegates of all the original states, and adopted as the basis of all the State Constitutions.]

THE UNITED STATES' CONSTITUTION.

AMENDMENT. 1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances.

VIRGINIA.

The freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments.

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Motto "So ALWAYS TO TYRANTS."

20 N. Y. CONSTITUTION-INDIANA- -G. WASHINGTON.

NEW YORK CONSTITUTION.

Every citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech, or of the press.

INDIANA.

There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in this state, othewise than for the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted. Nor shall any indenture of any negro or mulatto, hereafter made and executed out of the bounds of this state, be of any validity within this state.-[Ohio and Illinois are similar.]

THE SLAVE-TRADE DECLARED TO BE PIRACY BY THE LAW OF THE UNITED STATES, 1820.

If any citizen of the United States, being of the crew or ship's company of any foreign ship or vessel engaged in the slave-trade, or any person whatever, being of the crew or ship's company of any ship or vessel owned in the whole or part, or navigated for, or in behalf of, any citizen or citizens of the United States, shall land, from any such ship or vessel, and on any foreign shore seize any negro or mulatto, not held to service or labor by the laws of either the states or territories of the United States, with intent to make such negro or mulatto a slave, or shall decoy, or forcibly bring or carry, or shall receive such negro or mulatto on board any such ship or vessel, with intent as aforesaid, such citizen or person shall be adjudged a PIRATE, and on conviction thereof, before the circuit court of the United States, for the district wherein he may be brought or found, shall suffer DEATH.

GEORGE WASHINGTON.

The benevolence of your heart, my dear Marquis, is so conspicuous on all occasions, that I never wonder at fresh proofs of it; but your late purchase of an estate in the colony of Cayenne, with a view of emancipating the slaves, is a generous and noble proof of your humanity. Would to God, a like spirit might diffuse itself generally into the minds of the people of this country! But I despair of seeing it. Some petitions were presented to the Assembly at its last session, for the abolition of slavery; but they could scarcely obtain a hearing.Letter to Lafayette.

I hope it will not be conceived from these observations, that it is my wish to hold the unhappy people who are the subject of this letter, in slavery. I can only say, that there is not a man living, who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it; but there is only one proper and effectual mode by which it can be accomplished, and that is, by the legislative authority; and this, as far as my suffrage will go, shall not be wanting.-Letter to Robert Morris.

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