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FROM THE BEQUEST OF EVERT JANSEN WENDELL
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the District of Columbia.
XBARS & DUSBNBERY, STEREOTYPERS, PHILADELPHIA.
C. SHKRXAN & SON,
EDITOR'S PRE FACE.
THE Editor of this work deems an extended preface to it unnecessary. The motive which induced its preparation was the necessity which he himself has often felt for a book containing, in a condensed form, a history of the public measures and other matters of political importance which are the subject of discussion at the present time, and are likely to continue to be. This necessity is apparent to every politician in the country. The vast aggregate of political history in the shape of Congressional Debates, &c., through which the seeker for information has to look to reach the gist of a public question, endorses at once the merit of a compilation like this.
It is not for the politician alone that this work is prepared. It will enable every citizen to acquaint himself readily with the true bearing of each political issue which is presented to him for his decision, and will relieve him from too great a dependence upon the partial statements of great political questions, which generally characterize the speeches and essays of the politicians of the present day.
It would be claiming for the work too much to say that it is perfect. No task is so onerous as that involved in condensing the profuse history of politics in this country into a concise and accessible form. The reader will not find in it some things which he may think the book should contain. In many cases he may justly think so. The Editor, however, has embraced in it everything which he deemed absolutely necessary for the discussion of any political question which may arise with reference to our system of government. He is free to admit that, in order to bring the book into a convenient shape, he has left out many things which seemed to him would find an appropriate
place in it; though he is not aware that he has sacrificed to the demands of a limited space, anything, the omission of which would materially depreciate the character of the work.
He begs his readers to excuse the imperfection of his first edition. His future editions will be the result of contemplated improvement, which cannot well be made at this time.
He makes no especial dedication of his production ; but resigns it to his fellow citizens, who takė an interest in such matters, for their use and convenience.
POLITICAL TEXT-BOO K.
nature better than all the world besides, and RISE AND PROGRESS OF.
that in consequence they were found meddling The extraordinary increase numerically of to do. He was in favor of laying the petition
with concerns with which they had nothing the Abolition or Anti-Slavery party of this
on the table. He would never consent to country cannot be better illustrated than by refer petitions, unless the petitioners were exan exhibit of the increase of its vote, each clusively interested. succeeding election from its initiation as a Messrs. Fitzsimmons and Hartley of Pennnational organization to the present day. sylvania, Parker, Madison and Page of Vir
It first made its appearance in national ginia, Lawrence of New York, Sedgewick of politics in the Presidential contest of 1840, Sherman and Huntington of Connecticut,
Massachusetts, Boudinot of New Jersey, when its ticket, with James G. Birney of favored a reference. Messrs. Smith, Tucker, Michigan as its candidate for the Presidency, and Burke of South Carolina, Baldwin and and Francis J. Lemoyne of Pennsylvania, as Jackson of Georgia opposed a reference, for its Vice-Presidential candidate, polled 7000 very much the same reasons advanced by Mr. votes. In 1844, with Mr. Birney again as its Stone, and in favor of its going to the table. candidate, it polled 62,140 votes. In 1848, On the next day the following memorial was with Martin Van Buren as the Presidential presented and read: candidate of the Buffalo Convention, and Gerrit
“A memorial of the Pennsylvania Society Smith as that of the more ultra anti-slavery for promoting the abolition of slavery, the men, it polled 296,232 votes. In 1852, with bondage, and the improvement of the African
relief of free negroes unlawfully held in John P. Hale as its nominee for the Presidency, it polled 157,296 votes. In 1856, with “The memorial respectfully showeth : John C. Fremont as its Presidential candidate, “That, from a regard for the happiness of it polled 1,341,812 votes.
mankind, an association was formed, several
years since, in this state, by a number of her Abolition Petitions.
citizens, of various religious denominations, On the 11th of February, 1790, Mr. Fitz-, for promoting the abolition of slavery, and for
the relief of those unlawfully held in bondage. simmons of Pennsylvania presented a memo- A just and acute conception of the true prinrial of Quakers, praying the abolition of the ciples of liberty, as it spread through the slave-trade.
land, produced accessions to their numbers, Mr. Lawrence of New York presented the many friends to their cause, and a legislative memorial of the “Friends” of New York City co-operation with their views, which, by the to the same effect.
blessing of Divine Providence, have been Mr. Hartley of Pennsylvania moved that successfully directed to the relieving from the first named petition be referred, which bondage a large number of their follow-crea
tures, of the African race. They have also was seconded by Mr. White of Virginia. the satisfaction to observe, that, in consequence
Mr. Stone of Maryland feared that action of that spirit of philanthropy and genuine indicating an interference with this kind of liberty which is generally diffusing its benefiproperty would sink it in value, and be inju-cial influence, similar institutions are forming rious to a great number of the citizens, par- at home and abroad. ticularly of the Southern States. He depre “That mankind are all formed by the same cated the disposition of religious sects to Almighty Being, alike objects of his care, and imagine they understood the rights of human equally designed for the enjoyment of happi
ness, the Christian religion teaches us to be men would, they would do things which would lieve, and the political creed of America fully incur punishment, and cause their owners to coincides with the position.
use a severity with them they were not ac"Your memorialists, particularly engaged customed to. in attending to the distresses arising from Mr. Smith of S. C., amongst other things slavery, believe it to be their indispensable said, that the states would have never entered duty to present this subject to your notice. into the confederacy unless their property had They have observed, with real satisfaction, been guarantied to them, for such is the state that many important and salutary powers are of agriculture in that country, that without vested in you, for promoting the welfare and slaves it must be abandoned. "Why will these securing the blessings of liberty to the people people then make use of arguments to induce of the United States;' and, as they conceive the slave to turn his hand against his masthat these blessings ought rightfully to be ter? A gentleman can hardly come from that administered without distinction of color to country with a servant or two, either to this all descriptions of people, so they indulge place or Philadelphia, but there are persons themselves in the pleasing expectation that trying to seduce his servants to leave him, and nothing which can be done for the relief of when they have done this, the poor wretches the unhappy objects of their care will be are obliged to rob their master, in order to either omítted or delayed.
obtain their subsistence; all, therefore, who are “From a persuasion that equal liberty was concerned in this seduction are accessories to originally the portion and is still the birthright the robbery. ** We look upon this measure as of all men, and influenced by the strong ties an attack upon the palladium of the property of humanity, and the principles of their in- of our country; it is, therefore, our duty to stitutions, your memorialists conceive them- oppose it by every means in our power. selves bound to use all justifiable endeavors Mr. Page of Va., said he lived in a state to loosen the bonds of slavery, and promote a which had the misfortune of having in her general enjoyment of the blessings of freedom. bosom a great number of slaves ; he held
“Under these impressions, they earnestly many of them himself, and was as much inteentreat your serious attention to the subject rested in the business as any gentleman. If of slavery; that you will be pleased to coun- he was to hold them in eternal bondage, he tenance the restoration of liberty to those un- would feel no uneasiness on account of the happy men, who alone in this land of freedom present menace, because he would rely upon are degraded into perpetual bondage, and who, the virtue of Congress that they would not amidst the general joy of surrounding free exercise any unconstitutional authority. men, are groaning in servile subjection ; that you will devise means for removing this in- mitted, by a vote of yeas 43, nays 11.
After a long debate, the memorial was comconsistency from the character of the American people; that you will promote mercy and
The nays were, Messrs. Baldwin, Jackson, justice towards this distressed race; and that and Matthews of Ga.; Bland and Coles of you will step to the very verge of the power Va.; Burke, Hager, Smith, and Tucker of S. vested in you, for discouraging every species C.; Stone of Md.; and Sylvester of N. Y. of traffic in the persons of our fellow-men. The other memorials were in like manner Bens. FRANKLIN, President.
referred. “Philadelphia, February 3, 1790.”
The committee to whom the memorials were The debate was resumed on the memorial referred, made a report, which was referred of the Friends presented the day before. to the committee of the whole House, which
Mr. Tucker of S. C., was sorry it had had amended the report of the select committee, a second reading, as it contained an unconsti- and resolved, amongst other things :tutional request, for which he wished it thrown
“That Congress have no authority to interaside. He feared the commitment of it would fere in the emancipation of slaves, or in the be a very alarming circumstance to the South- treatment of them within any of the states ; ern States, for if it was to engage Congress in it remaining with the several states alone to an unconstitutional measure, it would be con- provide any regulations therein which husidered an interference with their rights, mak, manity and true policy may require." ing them uneasy under the government, and causing them to lament that they had ever On the 26th of Nov., 1792, a memorial of put additional power into their hands. He Warner Mifflin, one of the people called Quawas surprised to see another memorial on the same subject , signed by a man* who ought kers
, was presented and read to the House, to have known the constitution better. He stating certain reflections for the consideration thought it a mischievous attempt as it res of Congress, and in relation to the African pected the persons in whose favor it was in- slave-trade, and to the humane treatment of tended. It would buoy them up with hopes slaves in the United Sates. without a foundation, and as they could not reason on the subject, as more enlightened
It was ordered that the said memorial and * Benjamin Franklin.
representation do lie on the table.