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In the senate of the United States, in the winter of 1829 and 1830, a debate of deep interest arose incidentally from a motion made by Mr Foote of Connecticut, on the subject of the public lands. In this debate, Mr Hayne of South Carolina, took occasion to denounce the tariff as unconstitutional; he further maintained the doctrine that a state-government may by its own sovereign authority annul an act of the general government which it deems plainly and palpably unconstitutional. This attack on the constitution called forth the great powers of Mr. Webster, who at three different times, placed the whole subject in clear light, and on a firm basis.
In the summer of 1832, the tariff' system was revised, and somewhat modified, though the obnoxious protective principle was retained. In the mean time, the nullifiers of South Carolina, had secured the requisite number of votes in the legislature, and accordingly called a convention, which met at Columbia on the 20th of November. This convention, after several days' deliberation, passed an ordinance declaring the tariff acts of May 1828, and July 1832, to be “unauthorized by the constitution of the United States, violations of the true meaning thereof, and null, void, and no law, nor binding on this State." The ordinance was to take effect on the first day of February, 1833. On the 27th of November, the legislature of South Carolina met, and according to the recommendation of governor Hamilton, took measures to arm the militia, and place the State in an attitude of defence. Of the inhabitants of the State, 315,401 are slaves. Of the 44,467 white men, capable of bearing arms, 18,240 were Unionists.
On the 10th day of December, the president of the United States issued a proclamation of great length, and drawn up with singular ability, warning the people of South Carolina to desist from their infatuated course, and declaring the doctrine that a State has the power to annul a law of the United States, “to be incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed.” In the month of January, 1833, the president communicated a special message to Congress, requesting some additional powers in respect to the collection of the revenue in South Carolina, and the enforcement of the laws of the United States. These powers were granted by a very large majority, in both houses of congress. The tariff was also ossentially modified; the duties on foreign goods being prospectively reduced, so that the revenue may simply meet the wants of the country. This latter measure of compromise tended materially to allay the excitement in South Carolina. The convention reassembled and withdrew the ordinance. The military
preparations were, however, continued, and the law of Congress respecting the collection of duties, commonly called the “Enforcing bill,” was nullified. No recent demonstrations of feeling in regard to it have occurred. Some effort has been made to induce our southern communities to believe that the people of the north, entertain designs adverse to the safe tenure of the slave-property of the south, and that there are ulterior political designs in the temperance reformation. We believe, however, that these prejudices are confined to a few ardent nullifiers, and to the advocates of perpetual slavery. We have occasion for a grateful recognition of the Divine goodness, that the storm has passed away in a considerable degree, and that no fraternal blood has been made to flow.
We rejoice to observe the increasing disposition in many portions of the southern and south-western States, to emancipate the slaves. Of an expedition which recently sailed for Liberia from New Orleans, 96 were emancipated slaves. The Rev. Richard Bibb, of Kentucky, has lately liberated 32 of his slaves, furnished them with clothing, beside $444 in money, and sent them to Liberia. John Randolph of Roanoke, in his last will, liberated all his slaves, amounting to more than 300. The students of the Andover theological seminary, on the 4th of June, resolved to raise within six months, $3,000 for the emancipation and colonization of 100 slaves in Kentucky. Applications for passage to the colony continue to flow in to the Board of Managers of the Colonization Society, quite as fast as they can find means to comply with them. The following persons, a large portion of whom are slaves, have just been offered to the Society. From Georgia 98, from Virginia 40, from Tennessee 19, from Washington 5, from the free States 9. The Maryland State Colonization Society have resolved to purchase cape Palmas on the western coast of Africa, for the purpose of founding a new settlement"a settlement formed by a society whose avowed object is the ULTIMATE EXTIRPAtion of slavery by proper and gradual efforts.” “The Society believe that it is proper to use every means in their power to raise Maryland into the rank of a free State.” A series of resolutions for the accomplishment of these objects, was passed unanimously on the 30th of April last. It will be remembered that the State legislature have granted $200,000 for the colonization of free persons of color. It is expected that an arrangement will be made so that the State Society can have the advantage of this fund.
Mr. Wirt, late attorney general of the United States, has purchased a tract of land in Florida, on which he proposes to cultivate the sugar cane entirely by free labor. Several hundred German emigrants have engaged to proceed thither. Very considerable ef
forts are now made for the religious instruction of slaves. In Bryan county, Georgia, six day and Sabbath schools are kept for the religious instruction of the slaves. A member of the Georgia presbytery, in Liberty county, devotes his whole time to this employment, having access to nearly all the plantations. There are strong indications that systematic measures will be soon adopted through the whole country, for this most laudable purpose.
Great excitement has recently prevailed in this country in relation to two capital trials-one in Rhode Island, and the other in New Jersey. We notice them because we think they indicate a diseased state of the public mind. The reports of the trials, containing many very disgusting details, have been spread over the country by tens of thousands. We are sorry that respectable men should be concerned in the business of dispersing them. A strong disposition has also been manifested to set at nought the verdict of juries, and to determine that a prisoner shall lose his reputation, if his life is spared. It requires no reflection to see that in this way all the ends of the public administration of justice may be prevented.
The president of the United States, accompanied by some of the chief officers of government, is now making the tour of the middle and northern States. We think it has a happy tendency in allaying the excitements of party feeling, and in strengthening the attachments of the people to our excellent form of government. We are rejoiced to observe that the arrangements of the tour thus far are made so as not to interfere with the rest of the ever to be hallowed Sabbath.
The interest in the subject of Foreign Missions is evidently strengthening throughout the country. Within about one month, more than thirty individuals have sailed from this country to various portions of the heathen world-a larger number than have ever embarked for a similar purpose within the same space of time. It is the determination of the principal Board of Missions, to send abroad as many as fifty ordained missionaries during the present year, provided that number of suitable persons can be found. The American Bible Society have bestowed $15,000 during the last year towards printing the Scriptures at various American Missions. In pursuance of this object, the noble donation of thirty thousand dollars was made at the late annual meeting, provided the means be supplied by the auxiliaries and friends of the Society. In the same disinterested and enlarged spirit, the American Tract Society have made appropriations of $10,000 during the last year, and $5,000 previously, for the printing and distribution of tracts in foreign lands. These measures are very important, as showing more clearly than ever the strength of the fraternal feeling which binds together the prominent religious charities of the age, and the impracticability of perfectly accomplishing the objects of one society, without the aid of all the others.
Two great objects are now before the American Bible Societyto re-supply, as speedily as may be, all the destitute families in the United States with Bibles. The destitution now existing is great, and is constantly increasing. Multitudes of emigrants from foreign lands are unsupplied. In the hurry of the former supply, the work was often imperfectly done, many families being wholly overlooked. Many of the Bibles were manufactured in haste, and sent out in a green, unfinished state, and of course cannot prove durable. A thorough re-examination and re-supply is therefore imperiously demanded. The other object, is the adoption of preparatory measures for supplying all the families of the earth with the Bible, in the shortest time practicable, and within a definite period. Correspondence on this subject will be holden with the principal foreign Bible Societies. The receipts of the American Society, last year, were about $95,000, of which $37,464 were in payment for books. The issues of Bibles and Testaments were 91,168. It is gratifying to notice that the Society is commencing editions of a superior quality in respect to paper and printing. In our opinion, the Bible and Tract Societies have not hitherto paid sufficient attention to the neatness and beauty of their productions.
The temperance reformation is making rapid progress. The late convention at Philadelphia, embracing between 400 and 500 members, from all parts of the United States, many of whom are gentlemen of the highest respectability and worth, excited great interest, and has been attended with important effects. A very vigorous debate was had upon the question of the immorality of the traffic in ardent spirits. It was finally decided in the affirmative by an overwhelming vote. We are astonished that any respectable man could maintain the contrary. A prominent effect of the discussions, was to produce an unanimity of views and feelings. The delegates returned home, prepared to act with greater zeal and unanimity. The true doctrines in regard to the subject were diffused where they were previously much needed. The editors of political papers, who had previously stood aloof, reported at length the proceedings of this convention. The friends of temperance, also, had the opportunity to declare that they had no other design in view, but the extirpation of the evils of intemperance from the land and world; a declaration which was probably needed in some portions of the United States.
Mexico. On the declaration of independence by the Mexican provinces, a law immediately followed for the entire abolition of slavery. Each of the provinces arranged the details of the process of emancipation for itself; but the principles and the most important details are substantially the same. The master enters into an account with his slave, whose value, with that of his family, is estimated as a debt due from him to his master, which debt the slave and his family cancel by their labors. The duties of the servant and of the master are fixed by law as definitely as the nature of the case admits, and magistrates are appointed in every neighborhood for the express purpose of enforcing them. As the results of this system, the servants worked out their freedom and that of their families in a few years. During the process, they acquired habits of forethought and economy. The hope of bettering their condition gave a spring to their minds, and an elevation to the whole character, and thus they were fitted for the enjoyment of perfect liberty, by the very process of acquiring it. They have chosen generally to remain, as hired laborers, on the plantation to which they belonged.
When the late insurrection broke out in Jamaica, the English Baptist missions on that island numbered 10,800 members, and about 20,000 serious inquirers on the subject of religion. In the closing week of 1831, an insurrection broke out among the negroes in the parishes of St. James and Trelawney, which afterwards extended in a less degree to some of the neighboring parishes. Such an alarm was excited, that the governor proclaimed martial law, the whole military force of the island was called out, and the disturbances were not quelled till the beginning of February, 1832. In the interval, property to a large amount, on nearly 200 estates, was consumed by fire. About 2,000 of the poor, misguided slaves, are computed to have forfeited their lives. Scarcely any blood seems to have been shed by the negroes; their object appears to have been the attainment of freedom, which they erroneously supposed to have been granted by the British government, but withheld by their owners. The opponents of the religious instruction of the slaves, seized on this opportunity for accusing the missionaries, particularly the Baptist, as accessories to the revolt. The most unremitting efforts were employed to rouse the white population to destroy all sectarian places of worship, and to expel the preachers from the island. Many acts of atrocious outrage were committed. A colonial church union, for the purpose of expelling sectarianism from the island, was formed in eleven parishes. Three of the missionaries were apprehended, Burchell, Knibb, and Gardner; the bill of indictment against the former, was thrown out, and the evidence against the two latter was so futile