Puslapio vaizdai

authorized acts done under color of that instrument, is the rightful remedy." 2

But Nullification and Secession had not at that early time become a localized doctrine; New England, when the need arose, did not hesitate to conjure their spectral wraith from the vasty deeps of the Constitutional oracle. As spokesman for Massachusetts in opposing the admission of Louisiana in 1811 Josiah Quincy said in the House of Representatives: "I am compelled to declare it as my deliberate opinion, that, if this bill passes, the bonds of this union are, virtually, dissolved; that the States which compose it are free from their moral obligations, and that as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, to prepare, definitely, for a separation: amicably, if they can; violently, if they must."3

Just as there is no indication that the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions were deemed treasonable when they were passed, or that they even seem to have shocked the public feeling of the day, so on this occasion the House of Representatives saw nothing in Quincy's speech to warrant a reprimand. Two years later (1813) when Massachusetts was opposing the war with England, Quincy became spokesman before the state legislature to the effect that "it is not becoming a moral and religious people to express any approbation of military or moral exploits which are not immediately connected with the defense of our sea-coast and soil;" and in the following year the Massachusetts legislature received a report which adopted almost literally the word

2 See Hart's Formation of the Union, p. 171.

3 Alexander Johnston, American Orations; Studies in American Political History: New York, 1906; vol. i, p. 182.

ing of Madison's Virginia Resolutions of 1798."Whenever the national compact is violated, and the citizens of the State oppressed by cruel and unauthorized laws, this legislature is bound to interpose its power and wrest from the oppressor his victim."' 4

Hart says that in 1814 "the time seemed to have arrived when the protests of New England against the continuance of the war might be made effective. The initiative was taken by Massachusetts, which, on October 16, voted to raise a million dollars to support a state army of 10,000 troops, and to ask the other New England States to meet in convention." 5

This Hartford Convention in its formal report declared that the Constitution had been violated and that "States which have no common umpire must be their own judges and execute their own decisions." "Behind the whole document," says Hart, "was the implied intention to withdraw from the Union” if Congress refused to meet the New England demands. No one knows what would have happened had not the deputies who were to present this virtual ultimatum to Congress been checked by the declaration of peace.


Discussing the subject of state sovereignty and the right of secession, Goldwin Smith has aptly said: "The Constitution was on this point a Delphic oracle. Its framers had blinked the question of state sovereignty, as they had compromised on that of slavery. They trusted to time, and had slavery been out of the way, time would have done the work." It is easy to understand the alarm of 4 Cited in Hart's Formation of the Union, p. 216. 5 Hart, as just cited, p. 217.

As cited, p. 248.

the aged Jefferson when the silenced question of slavery suddenly became politically clamorous in 1820, disturbing the peace of Monroe's administration, as Jefferson said, "like a fire-bell in the night." In a letter to John Holmes, dated April 22, 1820, he wrote:

"I had for a long time ceased to read newspapers, or pay any attention to public affairs, confident they were in good hands, and content to be a passenger in our bark to the shore from which I am not distant. But this momentous question, like a firebell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union.A geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated, and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper."7

7 Cited by Elliott, pp. 234-235, note.



WHILE the acquisition of the Louisiana territory in 1803 had far more than doubled the area of the slave system, and in fact more than doubled the area of the United States, it evoked little controversy on the subject of slavery, as was the case also when Louisiana sought admission as a State in 1811. Josiah Quincy's speech on the latter occasion seems to have been prompted not by antagonism to slavery so much as by his resentment at the prospect of mixing the "rights and liberties and property of this people into 'hotch-pot' with the wild men on the Missouri" and with the "race of Anglo-HispanoGallo Americans who bask on the sands in the mouth of the Mississippi." Alexander Johnston, however, is probably correct in his statement that the Congress of 1803-'05, which impliedly legitimated the domestic slave trade to Louisiana, and legalized slavery wherever population should extend between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains, should rightfully bear the responsibility for all the subsequent growth of slavery, and for all the difficulties in which it involved the South and the country.2

Directly out of this Act of Congress grew the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Compromise of 1850, and the Repeal of the Missouri Compromise

1 A. Johnston, Orations, as cited; i, 198. 2 The same, ii, 8.

in 1854, which, with the Admission of Texas in 1845, occasioned the series of great Congressional debates that preceded the Civil War.

It is only fair to the Congress of 1803-'05 however, to bear in mind that at the time of the Louisiana acquisition its enormous effect on the extension of slavery was not understood,3 for the simple reason that the availability of the Mississippi Valley for cotton cultivation was not yet appreciated.* While some cotton had been raised in the Louisiana territory before its purchase by the United States, this plant was then regarded as the peculiar pet of the uplands, and it was not until during the "twenties" that the discovery was made of the rich adaptability of prairie lands and river bottoms to the successful production of cotton on an enormous scale. In 1811 this region raised but five million pounds of cotton; ten years later its product was sixty million pounds; and in 1826 its fields were white with a crop of over one hundred and fifty million pounds. "By the side of the picture of the advance of the pioneer farmer," says Turner, "must be placed the picture of the Southern planter crossing the forests of Western Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, or passing over the free State of Illinois to the Missouri Valley, in his family carriage, with servants, packs of hunting dogs, and a train of slaves, their nightly camp-fires lighting up the wilderness where so recently the Indian hunter had held possession."

Freely the slaves were poured in from the old

8 J. F. Rhodes, History of the U. S. from the Compromise of 1850: New York, 1906; i, 28.

4 Hammond's Cotton Industry, as cited, p. 50.

The Rise of the New West: New York, 1906; p. 94. 6 The same, p. 92.

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