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tions of Mr. Pinkney, of South Carolina, as embodied in the rule commonly called the twenty-first, all petitions relating to the subject of slavery were denied either a hearing, reference, or consideration of any kind, beyond the privilege of being laid upon the table. Like Mr. Adams, who had never failed to denounce this policy as an outrage upon northern freemen and northern rights, Mr. Giddings constantly assailed it, and at every opportunity endeavored to hold it up to tho reprobation of the free states. He became a favorite medinm through which petitions were presented from all quarters of the Union on the subject of slavery, and especially for its abolition in the District of Columbia; and he was soon marked down as an Abolitionist in the most reproachful sense of tho term.
To what extent ho is entitled to this designation, the reader may decide for himself presently. We havo at all times understood him to assert the power of tho Federal government over slavery in the District of Columbia. He held that, by the transfer of the district to tho jurisdiction of the Federal government, the laws of Maryland and Virginia ceased to have force and effect when Congress took possession of the territory; that by the act of February the 27th, 1801, tho laws of those states were revived and continued in force, thereby becoming, by adoption, the laws of Congress. And he contends, that by repealing those laws now, slavery would, ipso facto, cease to exist. Closely observant of his course as our duties have compelled us to be, we have never heard him utter the first syllable in assertion of the power of the government to interfere with that institution in the states. On the contrary, we find his name recorded in the aflirmative on the adoption of the following resolution, offered by Mr. Atherton, of Now Hampshire, in December, 1X'38:
"Resolved, That this government is a government of limited powers, and that, by tho Constitution of the United States, Congress has no jurisdiction whatever over the institution of slavery in the several states of the confederacy."
And, on another occasion, he said, " I protest I will stand by the constitutional interests of the South as long as any man on this floor."
In respect to the slave-trade between the states, we have understood him to regard it as a matter over which Congress had no constitutional control, and with which it could not in any manner interfere.
But we have his own avowal to the fact that he is an Abolitionist, and we find also on record his own definition of the term, as he considers it applicable to himself.
In a speech delivered by Mr. Payne, of Alabama, on the rules of the House, in January, 1844, that gentleman was addressing himself to the Abolitionists. The record says:
"Here Mr. Payne was interrupted by Mr. Giddings.
"Mr. Payne. i Is the gentleman himself an Abolitionist?'
"Mr. Giddings. i I am an Abolitionist.'"
And in another plaoe, ho thus explains himself:
"I am an Abolitionist to the full extent in which I understand that term. I have conversed with hundreds, perhaps I may say thousands, but I have never heard one intimate any intention or wish to interfere politically with the institution of slavery in Kentucky, or any other state. They claim no such right, nor do they ask any such privilege. Gentlemen may consider me as speaking ex catkedrti, if they choose. I say that all imputations and charges of their desire to do so are, so far as I am informed, unfounded. On the contrary, they ask to be relieved from such interference and taxation for the support of slavery. We ask that the government should not interfere with it. Let us cease to appropriate the money of the free states for the support of slavery. Let Congress cease to invelve the free states in the disgrace or support of that institution, and we shall be satisfied as to political action."
And again he says:
"The term abolition is one by which, probably, no two men understand the same thing. One attaches to it one sense, another attaches to it another. Going back to the origin of the whole matter—to the adoption of the Constitution—to ascertain and develop the true point in controversy, I have compared my ideas on the subject with those of the slave-holders of the South—men of honor and of candor—with whom I have convIrsed, and I am yet unable to lay my hand on the constitutional principle which they deny and I maintain, or which they maintain and I deny."
It is well known—and by none better than by Mr. Giddings himself—that a feeling of prejudice against him and his doctrines has pervaded the House of Representatives for a number of years past. In all that he has done, we have understood him as contending for two greut principles: first, for the freedom of debate, as applicable to all matters touching the question of slavery; and, secondly, that the government possessed no constitutional power to tax the free states for, or involve them in, the support of slavery—as, for example, with reference to the Florida war and the case of the Creole. That war, he has always contended, had its origin in conflicting claims to negro property between the Creeks and Seminoles. •
In the enforcement of these principles, no regard has been paid to time or circumstances, or to that more subtle and indefmable thing known as the temper of the House. Wo have .*een him lash its inflammable elements into fury, he alone remaining calm amid the storm. No thoughts of expediency, no considerations of the fitness of things, seem to havo found place in his mind. And if he has faithfully represented the sentiments of his constituents, even his enemies must award him Hie praise of having done that which others, of whom better things were expected, have, in respect to the same topic in another aspect, signally failed to do.
But it Ls fair that he should speak for himself. In 1842—3 he published, under the signature of " Paciiieus," certain essays upon the constitutional powers of the Federal government over the institution of slavery. They are worthy the attention of the jurist and the statesman. In February, 1841, speaking in the House on the subject of the Florida war, he said:
"I hold that if the slaves of Georgia or any other state leave their masters, the Federal government has no constitutional authority to employ our army or navy for their recapture, or to apply the national treasure to repurchase them. We Lkjsscss no constitutional power to do either. If, however, gentlemen ill' the South, who hold to a strict and rigid construction of that instrument, will point me to the clause of our constitution containing such authority, I will confess my obligations to them. Such power would necessarily include the power to tax the free states to an indefinite extent for the support of slavery, and for arresting every fugitive slave who has fled from his master, within the several states of this Union. Such power I deny most distinctly and emphatically. But, sir, we have as much right to do this directly as we have to do it indirectly. We have as much power to employ our army and navy in recapturing fugitive slaves, as we have to make a treaty with the Indians to retake such fugitives, and then employ our army and navy to compel the Indians to do it. We have as much power to tax the free states, and apply the money directly for the purchase of fugitive slaves, as wo have to tax them to carry on a war for the purpose of compelling the surrender of such slaves; or even to apply the national treasure to the holding of such treaties. In truth, sir, we have no power whatever over the subject or institution of slavery within tho several states of this Union. We have neither the power to sustain nor abolish it, to create or destroy it. I mean, sir, that we have no such powers delegated to us for any purpose whatever. We have not the power to sustain it in the South, or establish it in the North. I know it is said, and repeated, and asserted, that a portion of the people of the free states hold that we have the power to abolish slavery in the States. I can only say that I have never met with any intelligent man who has advanced such doctrine in my hearing. For my own part, I believe we have as much power to establish slavery in the free states as we have to abolish it in the slave states. I say nothing of the constitutional power of Congress over the slave-trade between the states. But, Mr. Chairman, I am not willing to believe that any gentleman on this floor will urge the right of taxing the freemen of the North for the holding in slavery the colored men at the South."
This is the basis of the doctrines put forth and illustrated by "Pacificus." They are, however, more clearly summed up in a pamphlet published in 1845, at the request of Eastern friends, and which has been very widely circulated. The introduction to it is as follows:
"The Rights of the Free States subverted, or an Enumeration of same of the most prominent Instances in which the Federal Constitution has been violated by our National Government, for the Benefit of Slavery. By a Member of Congress.
u Introduction.—Perhaps no subject was ever more generally misunderstood than the contest now going on between a porVol. L—S
tion of the people of the free states and those who are attached to the slaveholding interests of the South. Until quite recently, the Southern doctrine, from the adoption of the Constitution, has been, that 'slavery is strictly a stale institution, over which the Federal government has no control? This is believed by the people of the North, generally, to be the constitutional doctrine; those who dissent from it are so few that they can hardly be said to form an exception. That eminent statesman, Henry Clay, in 1844, declared, that 'the existence, maintenance, and continuance of slavery must depend entirely upon the power and authority of the states in which it exists.'
"From this position few Northern men will dissent. All agree that Congress has no power to uphold it; and if the states in which it exists are unable to sustain it, it should be left to perish. Congress possesses no power to compel the people of the free states to uphold the slavery of the South, neither has it any power to compel the slave states to abolish it. It oan not interfere for either purpose. Still, Southern politicians and Southern statesmen have so often reiterated the fact that Northern men were endeavoring to interfere with their 'peculiar institution,' that many Northern statesmen yet seem to be unconscious that those who have said and done most in regard to the encroachments of slavery have merely endeavored to protect the rights of the free states, and to preserve the Constitution from being subverted. They have put forth their efforts to save the people of the North from being unconstitutionally involved in the expense and crime of supporting slavery.
"The most objectionable feature of our Constitution is that provision which gives to the slave states a representation in Congress proportioned to the number of slaves which they hold. This was a privilege conceded to those states. By it they now have nineteen members of Congress more than they would be entitled to were freemen alone included in the ratio of representation. Yet these members, like the others, are bound by the Constitution, and possess no right to pervert the government to the support of slavery. Again: it is supposed by some, that that provision of the Constitution which relates to the arrest of fugitive slaves directly involves the people of the fno states in the support of slavery. But, under the construction which that clause has received, it appears that the whole pow