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No, 56. 




y X ^j J J* » . v\ 


Hd~yi. 55" a 

Commontoea^ltl) of M^^^^t^nutttu. 

House of Representatives, Jan. 16, 1836. 

Ordered, That so much of the Governor's Speech as 
relates to the Abolition of Slavery, together with such 
documents on the subject as have been transmitted by his 
Excellency to the Legislature, be referred to a Joint Spe- 
cial Committee ; and 

Messrs. Moseley, of Newburyport, 
Corbet, of Worcester, and 
Lucas, of Plymouth, are appointed. 

Sent up for concurrence. 

L. S. GUSHING, Clerk. 

In Senate, Jan. 20, 1836. 
Concurred : 

And Messrs. Lunt and Chapin, are joined. 

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Commonuiealt!) of Manu^tf^u^tttu. 

The Joint Special Committee, to whom was referred so 
much of thfe Governor's Message as relates to the Abo- 
lition of Slavery, together with certain documents upon 
the same subject, communicated to the Executive by 
the several Legislatures of Virginia, North Carolina, 
South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, transmitted by 
his Excellency to the Legislature, and hereunto annexed, 
have considered the same, and ask leave, respectfully, 
to submit the following 



Your Committee have devoted to this momentous sub- 
ject, the deep and serious attention which its merits ob- 
viously demand. The intense interest which the ques- 
tion is exciting throughout the whole country ; the re- 
quirement of our great national compact, enjoining respect 
for the legislative proceedings of other states ; the com- 
mon bonds of sympathy, interest, and brotherhood, which 
connect the various sections of the Union, could none of 
them fail of due weight in our minds. But your Commit- 
tee find enough in the earnest and united appeals of the 


several legislatures above named, to induce them to meet 
the whole question promptly and fairly, and to respond in 
the most explicit manner, to the strong demands which 
they make upon the justice and honor of the Common- 

Your Committee feel themselves called upon entirely to 
disclaim the opinion, if it any where prevails, that the 
consideration of this matter is to be avoided by them, in 
consequence of its exciting nature. They feel that the 
time has arrived for its consideration ; that it cannot and 
ought not to be avoided ; that it ought to be met at its 
outset by all the powers of manly and intelligent minds ; 
and that every day's delay only hastens the progress of 
those tremendous consequences, which it is the duty of 
every good citizen to deprecate, and, by every honest 
means in his power, to endeavor to avert. 

The language of the various documents in the posses- 
sion of the Committee is such as needs no comment to 
vouch for its sincerity. The citizens of the slave-holding 
states, evidently consider it the most important political 
question which could be presented to their minds. They 
believe, and state, that the tendency of the proceedings of 
certain abolitionists, and abolition societies, in the North- 
ern states, is to unsettle the character of their slave popu- 
lation, and to prepare the way for all the horrors of a ser- 
vile insurrection. In case of such an event, however the 
master might be able eventually to overpower the slave, it is 
certain that it could not be effected without the great pecu- 
niary loss and ruin of many; without an immense sacrifice of 
their own lives, and of the lives of those most dear to them ; 
without the frequent commission of the worst crimes which 
fill up the black catalogue of human enormities. The 
mind revolts at once from such a spectacle. It is difficult 

1836. SENATE— No. 56. 7 

to conceive how a humane man can regard an event like 
this as possible without the profoundest sentiments of 
unmingled horror. It is not, perhaps, material to the 
question, whether the apprehension be well or ill-founded ; 
or whether the contingency be near or more remote. It is 
sufficient that the slave-holding states, (infinitely the best 
judges in the case) look upon it in this light, and call 
upon us by every motive which ought to influence our 
conduct, to afford them such relief as it is in our power to 

The question which first presents itself, as to the right 
of the non-slave-holding states to interfere at all in the 
existing relations between master and slave, is a point 
so well understood, that it is hoped no argument need 
be submitted to the Legislature upon this part of the 
subject. Whatever emotions such a view may excite in 
the mind of the philanthropist, the right of the master to 
the slave is as undoubted as the right to any other prop- 
erty. It is recognized by the well understood admissions 
of the Constitution. It is recognized by the laws of the 
land, and the tribunals of justice ; and any attempt, 
whether direct or indirect, to deprive the slave-holder of 
this property, as of any other, is a violation of the fixed 
laws of social policy, as well as of the ordinary rales of 
moral obligation. If slavery be an evil, the slave-holder 
declares to us that it is no evil of his own creating, but 
that he is able and willing to endure the burden, and 
neither seeks nor desires any intervention of ours. If it 
be a sin, he is equally ready to incur the entire respon- 
sibility; and will not submit to our interference, because 
it can bring nothing to him and his but disaster and 
ruin. Above all, his argument (and it would seem to be 
unanswerable,) is, that the property is his own ; and that 


no man or body of men can impair its security, without 
doing him the deepest injustice and wrong. One would 
think this might be sufficient to satisfy the most ardent 
friend of abolition in the world. 

The abolitionist, however, alleges on the other hand, 
that his motives are entirely misapprehended, and that it 
is no part of his desire or intention to produce those 
terrible results which are the imputed consequences of 
his conduct. He states it to be his wish, not to oper- 
ate upon the feelings of the slave, but to affect the mind 
of the master, by arguments and appeals, addressed to 
his moral and religious sensibilities. If such be the case, 
it would seem that the means employed are singularly 
inappropriate to the proposed end. The argument, how- 
ever, at best, is entirely fallacious in its nature ; although, 
if, as it were charitable to hope, it deceives the aboli- 
tionist himself, it can surely deceive no one else. It is 
too plain to be denied, that the kind of publications 
which have issued from the abolition press, must either 
directly or indirectly operate upon the slave himself; 
that their only effect can be, to suggest to him, that his 
position in society is not only different from his deserts, 
but that his detention in that state is contradictory of his 
natural rights, and sinful in the sight of heaven. It is 
easy to foresee the consequences of such impressions 
fixed in the mind of the slave ; and equally easy to see 
that no other possible consequences can result from the 
efforts of the abolitionist. The idea of ihus affecting the 
mind of the master, so as in any way to promote the 
emancipation of the slave, would seem to your committee 
almost too unreasonable to be very seriously entertained. 
Apart from the consideration, that such a supposition 
necessarily involves the sacrifice of his sources of wealth, 

1836. SENATE— No. 56. 9 

often of his means of living, and as would be, no doubt, 
frequently the case, the reduction of himself and his 
family to want, and perhaps beggary ; the slave-holder 
avows, in the most explicit language, that he will not for 
a moment listen to any such proposition ; and that h^ 
cannot view it in any other light, than that of the deep- 
est injury which could be inflicted. There is no doubt 
of his right to make such an avowal. There is no doubt 
that the proposal to him to part with his property upon 
the terms suggested, is one to which he will never con- 
sent. It were unreasonable to expect it. No history 
exhibits any such instance. No deduction from any of 
the known principles of human conduct can show with 
ordinary plausibility that it might be anticipated. So far 
from having the least influence to convince the slave- 
holder that domestic slavery is a sin to be immediately 
expiated, the argumjcnts of the abolitionist only irritate 
whatever is most excitable and vehement in his nature, 
and lead him, rather than submit to their reiteration, to 
look with calmness upon a crisis which would disturb and 
convulse all the elements of our social organization, and 
would totally dissolve all those countless ties which God 
and nature constituted ; which were cemented by the 
blood of a united ancestry, shed upon the field, and which 
should have become more closely woven by the efforts 
of wisdom and experience through the lapse of many 
succeeding years. 

The question presented to us is obviously, therefore, 
one of immense moment ; and it is our duty to consider 
what measures it may be proper tor us to adopt, upon a rea- 
sonable and dispassionate view of the whole subject. 

The legislatures of the five states, which have trans- 
mitted to us the documents above referred to, recommend 


the immediate use of such means, as will effectually sup- 
press and prevent the formation of abolition societies, and 
the enactment of such penal statutes, as will deter, or 
suitably punish, those who print, publish or distribute the 
various productions of the abolition press. It is for us to 
determine how far it is safe or proper for us to proceed in 
compliance with this request. 

The liberty of the press is declared by the constitution 
of this Commonwealth, to be essential to public freedom ; 
and, even if it were possible, it w^ould be a matter of 
very grave deliberation, whether it were desirable to re- 
strain or control it by any express statutory limitation. 
The consequences of such legislation, in its application to 
other contingencies, are such as cannot be altogether and 
fully anticipated, it is enough, in the opinion of your 
committee, that the precedent seems of dangerous ten- 
dency ; and not the less to be avoided, because its proba- 
ble results are, to a certain extent, indeterminate. It i& 
well imderstood, that the licentious use either of the press 
or the tongue, renders the party amenable to the common 
law jurisdiction of the courts of justice ; and your com- 
mittee are of opinion, that this jurisdiction is amply suffi- 
cient to provide for all circumstances which can arise in 
this Commonwealth. Besides, there is a powerful influ- 
ence already at work amongst us, stronger than any law — 
the force of public sentiment, directed by the best intelli- 
gence, and sustained by the highest character, which 
sympathises with our southern brother, as well as with his 
slave, and which looks indignantly upon every movement 
calculated to disturb him in the possession of his just 
rights, or to endanger the peace and security of his 
domestic or social relations. And your committee be- 
lieve, that an unsound and intemperate enthusiasm is best 

1836. SENATE— No. 56. 11 

met bj such influences. They believe that the experi- 
ence of society warrants them in this conclusion ; that 
passions have been excited, and powers concentrated, in 
resistance to the enactments of a positive statute, which 
might have slept in the absence of its provisions; that 
the wildest extravagances have sometimes triumphed 
against the execution of an untimely law, which, without 
that law, would have weakened and dissipated themselves 
by their own fruitless struggles ; and that nothing, which 
is not founded upon the eternal principles of truth and 
justice, can ever long prevail against the silent but irre- 
sistible force of public disapprobation. 

The abolitionist, indeed, as might l)e expected, not 
only denies altogether the propriety of enacting penal 
laws upon this subject, but contends that the expression 
of any legislative opinion, against what he considers his 
right of free discussion, would contravene those well 
known principles of public liberty, upon which he justifies 
his own motives and conduct. Your committee differ 
entirely from this doctrine. It might, perhaps, seem even 
and little inconsistent with liberal dealing, for the anti- 
slavery societies to claim ibr themselves the privilege of 
unlimited discussion, and the free expression of whatever 
opinion, and to deny to the legislature the right of pub- 
lishing to the good people of the Com.monwealth its own 
deliberate conclusions, upon this or any other subject. 
Indeed, a recurrence to the fundamental principles of the 
constitution will show at once, that the power of making 
laws is no more clearly defined, than the duty of the leg- 
islature, from time to time, to afford the people the aid of 
its advisement and direction upon matters of public mo- 
ment. Especially, it the weight of its influence be requi- 
site, in order to restrain licentiousness, and to maintain 


the public peace and order, no duty, in the opinion of 
jour committee, could be more plain. The right of free 
discussion^ which some say may be infringed by any leg- 
islative action, is undoubtedly a most sacred right, and 
most inestimable privilege. But, as it is understood by 
extravagant men in the discussion of many exciting sub- 
jects, it would prove one of the deepest curses that could 
possibly befal any country. 'I'he truth is, that the unlim- 
ited exercise even of legal rights may be not only inexpe- 
dient, but improper in the extreme. For all men uni- 
formly to insist upon claiming all which might belong to 
them, would not only constantly embitter all social rela- 
tions, but would disturb and overturn all civil society. 
The legal power may often be unquestioned, where the 
moral obligation expressly contradicts it. The apostle 
himself instructs our weakness upon this point ; where he 
declares many things inexpedient^ which are nevertheless 
laiufid. And, indeed, whoever has reflected much upon 
the principles which connect and harmonise society, can- 
not but have perceived, that, without the constant recog- 
nition of this rule, no political organization could exist 
for a single day. Indeed, it is seen that the discussion of 
this very question, as it is discussed by the abolition 
agents, has been, in the first place, to defeat the very 
object proposed, by rivetting the chain more strongly to 
the neck of the slave ; and next, to rouse in the mind of 
the master, the warmest and most determined spirit of 
resistance to what he accounts an invasion of his propert}^, 
and an infraction of his rights. 

Indeed, the liberty of free discussion, to the extent 
claimed by some descriptions of people, would, in the 
opinion of your committee, be absolutely destructive to 

1836. SENATE— No. 56. 13 

every domestic tie, and entirely subversive of the most 
fundamental principles of all civil society. 

The main argument, however, relied on by the aboli- 
tionist, whenever the consequences of his conduct are laid 
before him, is, that " we must discharge our duty, and 
leave the event." The rule is acknowledged to be whole- 
some ; but its application to the case is unequivocally 
denied. There can be no doubt that whenever a plain 
line of duty is set before an accountable being, he is bound 
to pursue it, regardless of personal inconveniences or dan- 
gers. But the rule will be found, in its application to the 
business of life, subject to many exceptions and many limita- 
tions. Besides, it can in no case be assumed as of general 
obligation, except where the point of duty is well defined 
and unquestionable. Wherever the question may admit of 
doubt, the obligation weakened, and sometimes 
wholly inoperative. Especially in those questions often oc- 
curring, where men entertain great and irreconcilable dif- 
ferences of opinion, to pursue a course of ^conduct sup- 
posed to be abstractly right, but inevitably productive of 
immediate evil consequences, is not only out of the line of 
duty, but inconsistent with either human or divine legis- 
lation. It is upon the constant and daily recognition of 
this principle, that all human institutions depend for their 
preservation. Upon any other theory, pursued to its legi- 
timate results, the whole world would be involved in a 
state of indiscriminate and inextricable confusion. Reli- 
gion, as well as the soundest deductions of mere human 
reason, forbids us to " do evil, in order that good may 
come." A mistaken view of the pursuit of duty, has often 
been productive of civil discord ; has often kindled the 
iires of martyrdom ; has often set the world in arms; 
and it may be fairly concluded, that he is an unsafe theo- 


list, who forgets that wisdom and prudence are the very 
first elements of moral obligation. 

The two other arguments chiefly relied upon, seem 
to be, in the first place, that the most unlimited discussion 
is permitted upon other questions of public interest ; and 
the temperance cause is the instance particularly adduc- 
ed, and next, that in the earlier days of the republic, the 
leading men of the south and elsevjhere : Jefferson, Madi- 
son, Jay, Franklin, and many others, not only spoke, but 
wrote upon this subject in the freest and most open man- 
ner. Your Committee, however, are unable to perceive 
the justice of the parallel between this question and the 
temperance reformation. In the one instance, the matter 
is of the most general interest possible, and of the most 
direct and positive application to every portion of the 
Union ; in the other, the interest of the northern man is, 
at best, of an entirely indirect and incidental character ; 
and, upon a strict construction, a matter in which he has 
no concern whatever. With regard to the other argu- 
ment, your Committee can only say, that these very gen- 
tlemen, with their colleagues, settled the question of sla- 
very as it now exists, and imposed it upon their descend- 
ants, whether it be a burden or a sin ; that their discussion 
of it was at a time when no immediate danger was anti- 
cipated, and when no irritated feelings had been excitc^d 
upon the subject ; that all their acknowledged wisdom 
could devise no remedy for the evil ; that the abolitionist 
cannot now propose, does not offer to propose, any feasible 
plan of emancipation ; that no southern man now expres- 
ses any opinions like those alluded to ; and that your 
Committee believe it to be the unquestionable duty of 
those who feel most deeply upon this topic, to leave the 
whole affair in the keeping of a merciful Providence, who 

1836. SENATE— No. 56. 15 

will not require of any man or nation, an unreasonable 

It is upon these views that your Committee wish to 
express their most mature and deliberate convictions as 
to this great question. They feel that the conduct of the 
abolitionist is not only wrong in policy, but erroneous in 
morals. However sincere an enthusiast may be, and 
there are, no doubt, many degrees of sincerity amongst 
this body, his zeal cannot excuse him from the weight of 
moral accountability. The evil consequences which have 
already attended their efforts, and those infinitely more 
evil likely to ensue, unless they should be in som^e way 
arrested in their career, must be answered, at some period, 
at a higher tribunal than even public opinion. Your 
Committee have no right to pre-judge this cause ; or to 
anticipate how strict an account will be required of the 
grounds of motives ; and how far an honest investigation 
of their reasonableness as well as their sincerity will be 
necessary in order to palliate the extravagances of human 
actions. It is the business of your Committee to apply to 
the transactions of life the ordinary causes from which 
they result ; and, so far as may be in their power, to re- 
commend those measures which may seem best adapted to 
stay the progress of evil. They feel that there is a deep 
responsibility resting upon them ; and while they cannot 
avoid their duty, they have no desire to shrink from its 

Whatever, indeed, may be the action of the legislature 
upon this subject, your Committee are determined to ful- 
fil their duty to the state, and to our common country, in 
the most firm and faithful manner. In remembering that 
they are men of Massachusetts, they are incapable of 
meanly forgetting that they are also Americans. How- 


ever they may regret the condition of slavery everywhere 
in the v^'orld, they have no sympathy with that diseased 
sensibility which, in its commiseration for the slave, wil- 
fully shuts its eyes against the fatal consequences of con- 
duct, which is likely to involve both master and slave in 
one common destruction. They have no sympathy with 
that false benevolence, which, in order to liberate the 
slave, is willing to destroy the hope of liberty itself, by 
plunging the country in all the horrors of civil war, with 
bloodshed, anarchy and despotism, the sure attendants in 
its train. In a word, they cannot but deem that philan- 
thropy not only officious, but extravagant and inexcusable, 
which will interaieddle in the proper and peculiar affairs 
of others, not only against their will, but to their manifest 
and inevitable detriment. To those who are amenable to 
no other argument, there is an appeal, which this legisla- 
ture cannot safely resist. One of its first duties here, is 
solemnly to swear that it will support the constitution of 
the United States ; and your Committee beg gentlemen 
to consider how they will answer the observation of that 
oath, by promoting or countenancing those wild schemes, 
which cannot but deprive their brother of the guaranty, 
which that constitution does provide for his security in the 
possession of his property, and all its legal rights. 

The appeal which is addressed to us by our sister states 
is indeed of the most solemn and affecting character. Its 
language is often ardent, in the opinion of some it may 
be reprehensible. But your Committee believe, that the 
character of the good people of this Commonwealth is 
somewhat too well understood ; that its spirit and honor 
are to^well known, to allow the legislatures of other states 
to expect to extort any thing from us which does not ad- 
dress itself to our reasonable convictions. They appeal 

1836 SENATE— No. 56. 17 

to our justice as men ; to our sympathies as brethren ; 
to our patriotism as citizens ; to the memory of the com- 
mon perils and triumphs of our ancestors and theirs ; to 
all the better emotions of our nature ; to our respect for 
the constitution ; to our regard for the laws ; to our value 
for the institutions of *the country ; to our hope for the 
security of all those blessings which the UNION, and 
that only, can preserve to us. 

In view of these motives, therefore, which surely cannot 
be disregarded, and for the reasons above set forth, and 
after the most mature deliberation, your Committee have 
determined to recommend, and do recommend, the fol- 
lowing Preamble and Resolves to the acceptance of ths 

In the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred 
and Thirty- Six. 

Whereas, the legislatures of our sister states of Virgin- 
ia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, 
have transmitted to the legislature of this Commonwealth, 
certain memorials and resolutions, relating to the subject 
of domestic slavery within their limits ; which state that 
the proceedings of certain persons, therein styled aboli- 
tionists, are dangerous to the public peace, are calculated 
to excite the slave to insurrection and revolt, and to ren- 
der not only the property but the lives of our southern 
brethren insecure ; and whereas, they call upon us by the 
most interesting and solemn motives, to aid them in ar- 
resting the progress of this evil ; and whereas, in our 
opinion, the institution of domestic slavery is one in 
which, as it is settled by the constitution of these United 
States, we have no title to interfere, especially against 
the consent of those whose interests may be most dearly 
affected by such a course ; and whereas, it is our highest 
political duty to endeavor to maintain the most friendly 

March, 1836. SENATE— No. 56. 19 

and intimate relations with all the states of this great and 
happy Union, and to discountenance every thing which 
may tend to its disturbance and dissolution ; therefore, 

Be it resolved, by the Senate and House of Representa- 
tives, in General Court assembled, and by the authority of 
the same, That this legislature, regarding the constitution 
of these United States as the most sacred and inestimable 
political inheritance which could have been transmitted to 
us by our ancestors, looks indignantly upon every thing 
calculated to impair its permanency ; and that we deem 
it our high duty to maintain the Union, which it secures, 
at every hazard, and by every sacrifice, not inconsistent 
with our known duties as men, citizens and christians. 

Resolved, That this legislature distinctly disavows any 
right whatever in itself, or in the citizens of this Com- 
monwealth, to interfere in the institution of domestic 
slavery in the southern states ; it having existed therein 
before the establishment of the constitution ; it having 
been recognized by that instrument ; and it being strictly 
within their own keeping. 

Resolved, That this legislature, regarding the agitation 
of the question of domestic slavery as having already 
interrupted the friendly relations which ought to exist 
between the several states of this Union ; and as tending 
permanently to injure, if not altogether to subvert, the 
principles of the Union itself; and believing that the good 
expected by those who excite its discussion in the non- 
slave-holding states, is, under the circumstances of the 
case, altogether visionary, while the immediate and future 
evil is great and certain ; — does hereby express its entire 
disapprobation of the doctrines upon this subject avowed, 
and the general measures pursued by such as agitate the 
question ; and does earnestly recommend to them care- 


fully to abstain from all such discussion, and all such 
measures, as may lend to disturb and irritate the public 

Resolved, That this legislature entirely disapproves of 
all those tumultuous and riotous proceedings everywhere, 
which have arisen from the agitation of this question ; 
and, believing that the good citizens of this Common- 
wealth entertain a sacred regard for the authority of the 
laws, and for the preservation of the public peace, this 
legislature earnestly recommends and demands that, by 
their influence and example, and by their quiet and peace- 
able demeanor, they will do all in their power to prevent 
the recurrence of such scenes ; and it enjoins upon all 
magistrates and civil officers, the firm and faithful dis- 
charge of the duties entrusted to them, to maintain order 
and decorum, and to uphold the dignity of the Common- 

Resolved, That his Excellency the Governor be request- 
to transmit copies of this report and these resolves to the 
executive of each of those states which have addressed 
us upon the subject. 

By order of the Committee. 






Executive Office, 
Raleigh, N. C. 28th Dec, 1835. 

His Excellency the Governor of Massachusetts. 


In obedience to the request of the General Assembly of this 
State, I have the honor of sending you a copy of the preamble 
and resolutions on the subject of incendiary publications, adopted 
by that body ; which it is requested you will please submit to the 
Legislature of your State. 

I have the honor to be, 

With high considerations, 


Your ob't servant, 




Preamble and Resolutions on the subject of Incendiary 

Whereas, the proceedings of certain persons in the middle and 
eastern states during the past summer, have furnished clear proof 
of a determination to promote, by means the most unjustifiable and 
iniquitous, the abolition of slavery in the states of the Union in 
which it now exists ; and Whereas, as well from the wealth, number, 
and assiduity of the persons engaged in this criminal purpose, as from 
the means they have resorted to, to accomplish their designs, serious 
fears are entertained that our property, the peace of our country, 
and the Union of the states may be endangered thereby — this Gen~ 
era! Assembly feel called upon by a just regard for the interests and 
happiness of the good people of this state, and of the other states 
similarly situated, as well as by an anxious solicitude for the preser- 
vation of the Union, which at present so happily unites all the states 
into one confederated people, to declare the opinions, and set forth 
the purposes of the people of this state, in language at once firm, 
clear, decided, and teniperate. 

When the American Colonies first united for protection from the 
encroachments upon their rights and privileges, made by the king 
and parliament of Great Britain, they assumed the character of sov- 
ereign and independent states — they united under an organization 
which was in strictness, a league — leaving the direct power of opera- 
ting upon the citizens of each state, with its own constituted authori- 
ties ; and when the present constitution was adopted, though to all 
general purposes it constituted the people of the states one people, 
with one government, having a direct legislative, judicial, and execu- 
tive authority over the citizens, yet it declared by a specific enumer- 
ation, the powers intended to be granted to this government, and 
expressly declared, out of abundant caution that the powers not 
granted, belonged to the states respectively, or to the people. At 
the time when this constitution was adopted, as well at the time when 


the confederation was formed, each of the states recognized the right 
of its citizens to hold slaves. The constitution contains no grant of 
a power to any department of the government to control the people 
of any state in regard to its domestic institutions — certainly not in 
regard to that now in question. It is clear, therefore, that the whole 
power of regulating this subject within the state of North Carolina 
is vested now in the authorities of this state, as fully as on the day 
the independence of the states was declared ; for though much dif- 
ference of opinion has existed as to the principle upon which the 
grants of power in the Constitution are to be interpreted, no one has 
ever had the temerity to assert, that the General Government may 
assume a power which is not granted in terms, and is not necessary 
as an incident to the proper exercise of a granted power. 

We have, therefore, an undoubted right to regulate slavery 
amongst ourselves, according to our own views of justice and expe- 
diency — to continue, or abolish — to modify or mitigate it in any form 
and to any extent, without reference to any earthly authority, and 
solely responsible to our own consciences and the judgment of the 
Governor of the universe. No other state, and no other portion of 
the people of any other state, can claim to interfere in the matter, 
either by authority, advice, or persuasion ; and such an attempt, 
from whatever quarter it may come, must ever be met by us with 
distrust, and repelled with indignation. 

Upon the other states of the Union, our claim is clear and well 
founded. If they were foreign states, it would be a violation of na- 
tional law in them, either to set on foot themselves, or permit their 
own subjects to set on foot, any project, the object or tendency of 
which would be to disturb our peace by arraying one portion of soci- 
ety against another. The constitution which unites us, and by vir- 
tue of which we have ceased to be foreign states in regard to each 
other ^ and have become bound in the closest union, and the most 
intimate relations, for the promotion of the common defence and 
general welfare, cannot be supposed to have lessened our mutual 
obligations, or to have made an act harmless which would have been 
gross wrong, had we continued in respect to each other as we now 
are in respect to other nations, in war, enemies, and only in peace, 
friends. It is evident, on the contrary, that every duty of friend- 

1836. SENATE— No. 56. 27 

ship towards each other, which before existed, is by our Union 
heightened in its obligation, and enforced by motives the most ex- 
alted and endearing. Whatever institution or state of society we 
think proper to establish or permit, is by no other state to be dis- 
turbed or -questioned. We enter not into the inquiry, whether such 
institution be deemed by another state just or expedient. It is suf- 
ficient that we think proper to allow it. To protect us from 
attempts to disturb what we allow, and they approve, would be to 
support not our institutions, but their own opinions, — to exercise a 
supervising power over our legislation, and to insult us with a claim of 
superiority in the very offer to discharge the duty which our relations 
authorize us to require. As our right is indisputable, to regulate 
exclusively, according to our own notions, the interior relations of 
of our own people, the duty of preventing every attempt to disturb 
what we have established, results from the simple fact, that we have 
established it. And the propriety and impropriety in the view of 
others of such regulations as we have pleased to make, can never 
either enhance or lessen the duty of such prevention. 

We do full justice to the general sentiment and feelings of our 
fellow citizens in other states, and are fully aware that the attempts 
to injure us are made by a small minority, — composed, probably, 
of many misguided and some wicked men ; and that these attempts 
meet with no favor, but on the other hand, with marked disappro- 
bation from the large majority of the communities in which they are 
made. Still, it must be recollected, that from the nature of the 
means employed, the danger to us is the same, whether these 
means are put into activity by a contemptible minority, or are sanc- 
tioned and adopted by the whole body of the people. An incen- 
diary pamphlet performs its office of mischief as effectually when 
issued under the patronage of twenty, as of twenty thousand persons. 
Its efficacy depends upon its circulation, not upon the weight of 
authority which supports it. 

While, therefore, we are justly sensible of the sympathy for us, 
and the indignation against those who seek to disturb our peace, 
expressed by large and intelligent assemblies of our northern and 
eastern brethren, we cannot but know, that these expressions do in 
no way diminish our danger. While the abolitionists are allowed to 


pursue their course with no other check than the disapprobation of 
their fellow citizens, that disapprobation will little affect them, and 
bring no support or consolation under the evils that are likely to befal 
us. We ask not sympathy, for we feel not, from the institutions 
we possess, that we suffer injury. We ask protection, not to 
maintain our authority by force of arms, for to that we know our- 
selves entirely adequate, but we ask protection from the necessity of 
resorting to such force for that purpose. We ask not assistance, to 
put down insurrectionary movements among our slaves, for should 
such occur, we are fully able to put them down ourselves. But we 
ask, that our slaves and ourselves may be relieved from external 
interference. Left to themselves, we believe our slaves a laboring 
class, as little dangerous to society as any in the world. But we do 
ask, and think we have a right to demand, that others shall not teach 
them evil, of which they think not themselves ; that they should not 
be stimulated by the base and violent of other lands, to deeds of 
bloodshed, of which the evils to os will be temporary — to the slaves 
themselves dreadful and fasting ; that we may not be compelled, by 
a factitious necessity, to adopt measures of rigor, which such neces- 
sity only could justify. By some it seems to have been supposed, 
that the practices of the abolitionists cannot be put down by legisla- 
tion, consistently with the constitutions of the states in which they 
live. If this were true, it would furnish no answer to our just com- 
plaint, and afford no excuse to those states for j)ermitting such piac- 
tises to continue. The duty, the performance of which we invoke, 
is binding upon those states, and they have no right to disable them- 
selves from its performance by an organic law, more than to refuse 
'ts performance by an ordinary act of legislation. The obligation 
being perfect, cannot be dissolved by any arrangement of the parly 
on whom the obligation rests. If therefore, any such difficulty did 
in reality exist, we should have a right to ask, that the organic law 
which produced it, should be so altered as to remove it. But does 
any such difficulty exist ? The one supposed is this : That as the 
abohtionists seek to accomphsh their object by the issue of inflam- 
matory publications, a law to arrest their progress would be a viola- 
tion of the liberty of the press. This difficulty has its origin in a 
total misconception of what is meant by the liberty of the press ; 

1836. SENATE— No. 56. 29 

which means not the right to publish without resposibility, but to 
publish without previous permission. If it meant the former, the 
liberty of the press would be the greatest curse which could be in- 
flicted on a nation. Where every man has a right to publish what 
he pleases, but is responsible to the law for the nature and tendency 
of his publication, the press is free. If he has the right to publish 
without such responsibility, the press is licentious. If the latter right 
exist, it is the only instance known to our laws, of a right to act 
without any accountability for the action. Every man has a right to 
carry arms for his own defence, and that right is as clear and as im- 
portant as the freedom of the press ; yet it was never supposed that 
he who used arms for violence or bloodshed, was therefore irrespon- 
sible, because he had a right to carry them for defence. 

But it is unnecessary further to set forth the justice of our claims 
on our brethren of the north and east, and their capability, if they 
were desirous, of complying with our just demands. We believe 
that our property, the lives of our fellow citizens, and the peace and 
harmony of our country, are threatened by the measures of these mis- 
guided and wicked men ; and though we feel the greatest attachment 
for the Union, and would do all in our power to strengthen and per- 
petuate it, yet we are not ready to surrender those very rights and 
blessings which that Union was formed to protect: And should the 
means now adopted, prove ineffectual in stopping the progress of 
these attacks on our peace and happiness, we would invoke the aid 
of the other slave-holding states, that there may be concert of action 
in taking such steps as the occasion may demand. 


Chairman of the Committee of 26. 

1. Resolved, That North Carolina alone has the right to legislate 
over the slaves in her territory, and any attempt to change their con- 
dition, whether made by Congress, the legislatures, or the ])eople of 
other states, will be regarded as an invasion of our just rights. 

2. Resolved, That we are ready and willing to make, on this 
subject, a common cause with the rest of our sister slave-holding 
states, and hereby invite their co-operation in passing such laws and 


regulations as may be necessary to suppress and prevent the circula- 
tion of any incendiary publications within any of the slave-holding 

3. Resolved, That the thanks of this state are due to, and the 
kindest feelings of the citizens thereof are cherished towards, their 
brethren of the north, who have magnanimously sustained the princi- 
ples of our federal government, and recognized and maintained our 
rights against the fanatics of those slates. 

4. Resolved, That our sister states are respectfully requested to 
enact penal laws, prohibiting the printing within their respective limits, 
all such publications as may have a tendency to make our slaves dis- 
contented with their present condition, or incite them to insurrection. 

5. Resolved, That although, by the constitution, all legislative 
power over the district of Columbia, is vested in the Congress of the 
United States, yet we would deprecate any legislative action, on the 
part of that body, towards liberating the slaves of that district, as a 
breach of faith towards those states by whom the territory was orig- 
inally ceded, and will regard such interference as the first step towards 
a general emancipation of the slaves of the south. 

6. Resolved, That the governor be, and he is hereby requested 
to forward a copy of this preamble and resolutions to each of our 
senators and representatives in Congress, and to the executive of 
each of the states of the Union, with a request that the same be 
submitted to their respective legislatures. 

Read three times, and ratified in General Assembly, December 
]9th, 1835. 

WM. H. HAYWOOD, .7r., S. H. C. 


A true copy. 

WM. HILL, Secretary, 

nvnim ii iwrfi a i«r-*iirfWr'T*r'*«^'''*'*lfifP^ 




WitKmmK ^j*iamminiumM3.vmM iii mmmimMiiimma m<mmammi mimmm ii s mBStiat 

Executive Department, ) 
Columbia, Dec. 20th, 1835. ] 

To His Excellency the Governor of the State of Massachusetts. 


In obedience to the instructions of both branches of the Legisla- 
lature of the State of South Carolina, I beg leave to transmit you 
the enclosed Report and Resolutions, with a request, that you will 
lay them before the Legislature of your State. 

I have the honor to be, 

With great consideration. 

Your most obt. humble servant, 



Of the Joint Committee of Federal Relations on so much of the 
Governor's Message as relates to the Institution of Domestic 
Slavery, and the Incendiary proceedings of the Abolitionists in 
the non-slave-holding States. 

Mr. Hamilton of the Senate, from the committee of federal re- 
lations, submitted the following report : 

The joint committee of federal relations, to whom was referred 
so much of His Excellency the Governor's message, as relates to 
the institution of domestic slavery, and the incendiary proceedings of 
the abolitionists in the non-slave-holding states, beg leave to report : 

That they have given to this subject the deep and anxious con- 
sideration which both from its intrinsic importance, and from the 
profound and patriotic reflections of the executive, it so obviously 

They desire to respond in terms of the most emphatic concur- 
rence and approbation to the view, which his Excellency is pleased 
to present of the mild and patriarchal character of the institution of 
domestic slavery in the southern states, its influence on national char- 
acter and civil liberty and the nature of those obligations, resulting 
from our constitutional compact, and the principles of international 
law, upon which our tenure to this species of property so inviolably 

The present condition of the slave question in the states of this 
confederacy, presents one of the most extraordinary spectacles 
which, your committee will venture to assert, has ever challenged 
the notice of the civilized world. We see sovereign states, united 
by a common league, in about one half of which states, the institu- 


tion of slavery not only exists, but its legal existance is solemnly 
recognized and guaranteed by their compact of union. Yet in the 
face of this compact, and the clear and distinct admission, that the 
non-slave-holding states have not the slightest right, either constitu- 
tionally or otherwise, to interfere with this institution, the most in- 
cendiary associations are tolerated or permitted to exist within their 
limits, the object and ends of which not only strike at the prosperity 
and happiness of eleven states in the confederacy, but at their very 
social existence. 

» Painful as it may be, it is impossible to disguise the fact, that this 
is a condition of things which cannot, in the long run, be permitted 
to exist. Every wise instinct of self-preservation forbids it. Let it 
be admitted, that the three millions of free white inhabitants in the 
slave-holding states are amply competent to hold in secure and pa- 
cific subjection the two millions of slaves, which, by the inscrutable 
dispensations of Providence, have been placed under our dominion. 
Let it be admitted, that, by reason of an efficient police and judicious 
internal legislation, we may render abortive the designs of the fana- 
tic and incendiary within our own limits, and that the torrent of 
pamphlets and tracts which the abolition presses of the north are 
pouring forth with an inexhaustible copiousness, is arrested the mo- 
ment it reaches our frontier. Are we to wait until our enemies have 
built up, by the grossest misrepresentations and falsehoods, a body 
of public opinion against us, which it would be almost impossible to 
resist, without separating ourselves from the social system of the rest 
of the civilized world ? Or are we to sit down content, because, 
from our own vigilance and courage the torch of the incendiary and 
the dagger of the midnight assassin may never be applied ? This 
is impossible. No people can live in a state of perpetual excite- 
ment and apprehension, although real danger may be long deferred. 
Such a condition of the public mind is destructive of all social hap- 
piness, and consequently must prove essentially injurious to the pros- 
perity of a community that has the Vv'eakness to suffer under a perpet- 
ual panic. This would be true, if the causes of this excitement pro- 
ceeded from the external hostility of a foreign nation. But how in- 
finitely interesting and momentous the consideration becomes, when 
they flow from the acts aud doings of citizens of states, with whom 

1836. SENATE— No. 56. 31 

we are not only in amity, but to whom we are bound by the strongest 
bonds of a common union, which was framed to promote the happi- 
ness, peace, security, and protection of all. 

We have, therefore, a claim on the governments of the non-slave- 
holding states, not only moral and social, but of indispensible consti- 
tutional obligation, that this nuisance shall be abated. They not only 
owe it to us, but they owe it to themselves, to that Union, at whose 
shrine they have so often offered up the highest pledges, by which 
man can plight his temporal faith. 

Your committee would be inclined to recommend to this Legisla- 
ture to make an explicit demand on the non-slave-holding states, for 
the passage of penal laws by their Legislatures, providing for the 
punishment of the incendiaries within their limits, who are engaged in 
an atrocious conspiracy against our right of property and life. But a 
cordial confidence, a fraternal feeling, and the comity which belongs 
to our social and political relations, forbid us for one moment to 
doubt, that every effort will be made by the states to whom this ap- 
peal is referable, to meet, not only our just expectations on this sub- 
ject, but every emergency which belongs to this crisis of public 
peril. Indeed, when we remember the strong demonstrations of 
public opinion, which were presented at various gratifying public 
meetings, which were held during the last summer throughout the 
non-slave-holding states, denouncing as anti-social and unconstitu- 
tional the proceedings of the fanatics and incendiaries ; when we 
remember, to the avowal universally made, by the public press, in 
those states, that a vast and overwhelming majority of their people, 
viewed such proceedings with horror and detestation, we cannot but 
believe that every rational expectation which the slave-holding states 
can cherish on this vital question, will be cheerfully met and respond- 
ed to by those on whom we have such inviolable claims. 

We concur entirely in the view which our own executive takes of 
the grounds, on which our right to demand the enactment of such 
conservative legislation rests. 

Apart from all those obligations, resulting from the constitutional 
compact, which unites these states, and which make it the imperative 
duty of one member of this confederacy, not to allow its citizens to 
plot against the peace, property, and happiness of another member, 


there is no principle of international law better established, than that 
even among foreign nations, such atrocious abuses are not to be 
tolerated, except at the peril of that high and ultimate penalty, by 
which a brave and free people vindicate their rights. 

Your committee are aware, that it has been said, that no legisla- 
tion can be adapted to arrest the proceedings of the abolitionists by 
the non-slave-holding states, without violating the great principle of 
the liberty of the press. We consider that this objection rests on no 
just foundation. There is certainly some difference between the 
freedom of discussion, and the liberty to deluge a friendly and coter- 
minous state with seditious and incendiary tracts, pamphlets, and 
pictorial representations, calculated to excite a portion of its popula- 
tion to revolt, rapine, and blood-shed. We would fain believe, that 
the northern liberty of the press, would never be construed into a 
liberty, to lay the south in ashes. Under a law honestly passed, to 
meet this crime against society, and treason against the Union, the 
whole circumstances of the case, and the quo animo of the offender 
might be left to a jury to determine, like any other criminal issue, 
and if we are to believe in the condition of public opinion, as recent- 
ly exhibited in most of the non-slave-holding states, we are far from 
thinking that such legislation would be a mere dead letter. 

South Carolina will not anticipate the crisis, which must be pre- 
sented by a refusal on the part of the non-slave-holding states, to 
accord to us the protection of such legislation, or such other means, 
as they may select for the suppression of the evils of which we 
complain, for she will not doubt the good faith and amity of her 
sister states. She desires to live in peace and harmony in the Union. 
In the assertion of her rights, and in preferring her claims to be se- 
cure in the enjoyment of her property, under the compact, she desires 
to act in entire concert with those states, whose interests are identified 
with her own. She is, however, prepared to do her duty to herself 
and posterity, under all and every possible conjecture of circum- 

In conclusion, your committee, desirous of making a matter of 
record, both of our rights, and the assertion of the just expectation that 
they will be respected by those who are united with us in the bonds 
of a common union, beg leave to offer the following resolutions, for 
the adoption of both branches of the legislature. 

1836. SENATE— No. 56. 39 

1. Resolved, That the formation of the abolition societies, and 
the acts and doings of certain fanatics, calling themselves abolitionists, 
in the non-slave-holding states of this confederacy, are in direct vio- 
lation of the obligations of the compact of union, dissocial, and 
incendiaryln the extreme. 

2. Resolved, That no state having a just regard for her own peace 
and security, can acquiesce in a state of things by which such con- 
spiracies are engendered within the limits of a friendly state, united 
to her by the bonds of a common league of political association, 
without either surrendering or compromitting her most essential rights. 

3. Resolved, That the legislature of South Carolina, having 
every confidence in the justice and friendship of the non-slave-holding 
states, announces to her co-states her confident expectation, and she 
earnestly requests that the governments of these states will promptly 
and effectually suppress all those associations within their respective 
limits, purpordng to be abolition societies, and that they will make it 
highly penal to print, publish and distribute newspapers, pamphlets, 
tracts, and pictorial representations, calculated and having an obvious 
tendency to excite the slaves of the southern states to insurrection 
and revolt. 

4. Resolved, That, regarding the domestic slavery of the south- 
ern states as a subject exclusively within the control of each of the 
said States, we shall consider every interference, by any other state, 
or the general government, as a direct and unlawful interference, to 
be resisted at once, and under every possible circumstance. 

5. Resolved, In order that a salutary negative may be put on the 
mischievous and unfounded assumption of some of the abolionists, 
the non-slave-holding states are requested to disclaim by legislative 
declaration, all right, either on the part of themselves or the govern- 
ment of the United States, to interfere in any manner with domesdc 
slavery, either in the states or in the territories where it exists. 

6. Resolved, That we should consider the abolition of slavery in 
the district of Columbia, as a violation of the rights of the citizens of 
that district, derived from the implied condidons on which that terri- 
tory was ceded to the general government, and as an usurpation to 
be at once resisted as nothing more than the commencement of a 
scheme of much more extensive and flagrant injustice. 


7. Resolved, That the legislature of South Carolina regards with 
decided approbation, the measures of security adopted by the post 
office departnaent of the United States, in relation to the transn:iission 
of incendiary tracts. But if this highly essential and protective pol- 
icy, be counteracted by Congress, and the United States nnail be- 
comes a vehicle for the transmission of the mischievous documents, 
with which it was recently freighted, we, in this contingency, expect 
that the chief magistrate of our state will forthwith call the legislature 
together, that timely measures may be taken to prevent its traversing 
our territory. 

8. Resolved, That the Governor be requested to transmit a copy 
of this report and resolutions to the executives of the several states, 
that they may be laid before their respective legislatures. 

In the Senate, 16th December, 1835. 

Resolved, That the Senate do agree, unanimously, to the report 
and resolutions. Ordered, They be sent to the House of Repre- 
sentatives for concurrence. 

By order of the Senate. 


In the House of Representatives, 16th Dec. 1835. 

Resolved, That the House do concur unanimously in the report 
and resolutions. Ordered, They be returned to the Senate. 
By order of the House. 

.TAS. S. MILES, O. H. R. 



€:oiiim0iilBealtl| af iMas^acl|n.^ettsi. 

Council Chamber, l 
20th Jan. 1836. ^ 

To the Senate and House of Representatives. 

I transmit, for the information of the Legislature, a communica- 
tion from His Excellency the Governor of Georgia, accompanied by 
a report and resolutions of the General Assembly of that State. 
These papers relate to the same important topic, which forms the 
subject of the communications from their Excellencies the Govern- 
ors of North Carolina and South Carolina, recently transmitted by 
me to the two houses, among the documents, accompanying the let- 
ter addressed to me, by his Honor the late Acting Governor of the 


House of Representatives, Jan. 21, 1836. 

Referred, with the accompanying document, to the Committee, 
and so much of the Governor's address, as relates to the subject of 
slavery, with instructions to consider the expediency of causing the 
documents from the several states of North Carolina, South Caroli- 
na, and Georgia, to be printed. 

Sent up for concurrence. 

L. S. GUSHING, Clerk. 

In Senate, Jan. 21, 1836. 
Concurred : 


Executive Department, Georgia, 
Milledgeville, 29th December, 1835. 


In compliance with the request of the General Assembly of this 
State, I have the honor to transmit the subjoined copy of a report 
and resolutions, adopted at their late session, upon a subject of vital 
importance to the interests of the southern states, and to the stability 
of the institutions of our common country. 

Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 


In the House of Representatives, Dec. 19th, 1835. 

The committee to whom was referred so much of the Governor's 
message as relates to the movements of the abolitionists of the north, 
have endeavored to bring to the consideration of the subject, that dis- 
passionate deliberation its importance demands,- and beg leave to 
make the following report : 

They would remark, that the formation of our glorious union was 
a great experiment, made by patriotism in the cause of civil liberty. 
Thus far successful, its results have been most beneficial, spreading 
with unexampled profusion over our extensive country, blessings 
which distinguish her above all others. The offspring of common 
sufferings and common triumphs among the states, the preservation 

1836 SENATE— No. 56. 45 

of this Union is dependent upon a community of sympathy and 
good feeling among their respective people. Any attempt by a por- 
tion of the people of one state to interfere, even indirectly, with the 
domestic institutions of another, has the inevitable tendency to de- 
stroy that feeling. Such attempt is an insult to the state aggrieved, 
and the motives which impel it, are at entire variance with that fra- 
ternal spirit which constitutes the people of these states, brethren 
of one great family. But when such attempt involves, the safety of 
the people of a state — the robbery of their property — the dese- 
cration of their constitutional rights — the violation of their domestic 
peace — infatuation herself must admit, that such attempt, persevered 
in will inevitably convert pre-existent good feeling into deadly hos- 
tility — the certain consequences of which, are a sundered union, 
and all the horrors of civil commotion. That such attempt is 
being at this time made by certain fanatics, by the distribution of 
pamphlets, prints, circulars, annuals, almanacs, and every species of 
publication, your committee with mingled feelings of regret and indig- 
nation, believe cannot admit of doubt — yet it is a matter of heart- 
felt congratulation to the friends of union, that the general and spon- 
taneous expression of feeling which has burst from the patriotism 
and intelligence of the north, affords the cheering hope, that her 
people are prepared to "frown indignantly upon the first dawning of 
every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, 
or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various 
parts." But notwithstanding the manifestation of this spirit, the 
movement of the domestic fanatic and foreign eraisary, and the in- 
sidious means to which they resort, are fraught with so much peril to 
ourselves, our families, and our undoubted rights, that " stern neces- 
sity" and a just regard for the peace and harmony of our country 
demand that the people of this state, should in temperate and re- 
spectful but determined language, declare their unalterable determi- 
nation to protect their domestic institutions and constitutional rights 
from all interference, direct or indirect, from any and every quarter. 
Upon this point, there can be no discussion — no compromise — no 

They found their rights upon the guarantee afforded by the con- 
stitution of the United States — and if the provisions of that charter 


are to be sacrificed to the spirit of fanaticism or the impulses of a 
false philanthropy, calamity and ruin will soon overwhelm this now 
happy confederacy. Impressed with the importance of the duty 
which devolves upon them at the present crisis, your committee, in 
addition to a bill in amendment of the laws regulating slaves and 
free persons of color v;ithin this state, would respectfully submit 
the following resolutions with a single remark, that if a rigor hereto- 
fore unknown to our domestic legislation be found in the features of 
the bill they have introduced, it has been forced upon them, by the 
movements of men, who, assuming to be the friends, are indeed the 
most cruel enemies of those whom they have taken under their es- 
pecial care : 

1. Resolved, That in this country, freedom of the press and free- 
dom of speech are sacred and inviolable rights ; that in proportion 
to their sacredness and value, is the obligation to preserve them from 
the abuse of those who would prostitute them to the vile purpose of 
" enfeebling the sacred ties which now link together the various 
parts " of this happy Union. 

2. Resolved, That the people of Georgia stand prepared to pro- 
tect the domestic institutions of her sister states from the unauthor- 
ized interference of individuals or combinations within her limits. 

3. Resolved, That the perpetuity of this glorious Union, which 
has shed such blessings on us as a people, is only to be ensured by a 
strict adherence to the letter of Constitution, which has guaranteed to 
us certain rights with which we will suffer no power on earth to in- 
terfere — that it is deeply incumbent on the people of the north to 
crush the traitorous designs of the abolitionists, and that we look with 
confidence to such movements on their part as will effectually put an 
end to impertinent, fanatical and disloyal interference with matters 
settled by the Constitution. 

4. Resolved, That we hail the sentiments expressed by the reso- 
lutions of some of the recent meetings of the north, upon the subject 
of abolition, as the evidence of the existence of a right spirit among 
the great mass of our northern brethren, and a determination on their 
part to discharge the duties imposed upon them by the Constitution of 
their country, and the exigencies of the times. 

1836. SENATE— No. 56. 47 

5. Resolved, That the District of Columbia, and the several ter- 
ritories of the United States, are the common property of the people 
of these states — that the right of exclusive legislation in the former, 
and the power to make all needful rules and regulations for the gov- 
ernment of the latter, which are vested in the Congress of the United 
States, are derived from the Constitution, which recognizes and 
guarantees the rights resulting from domestic slavery, and that any 
interference by that body with those rights, will be unauthorized by, 
and contrary to the spirit of that sacred charter of American liberty. 

6. Resolved, That copies of the foregoing Preamble and Resolu- 
tions be transmitted by his Excellency to the President of the United 
States, the Governors of the respective states, and to the Senators 
and Representatives of this state in Congress. 

Read and unanimously agreed to. 


Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

Attest. JOSEPH STURGIS, Clerk. 

In Senate, read and concurred in, 22d Dec, 1835. 


President of the Senate. 

Attest. ARTHUR A. MORGAN, Secretary. 

Approved, 22d Dec, 1835. 




eommonUiealtti nf M^ti^^tW^tttu. 

To the Senate and House of Representatives. 

I transmit to the two houses, copies of a letter recently received 
from his Excellency the Governor of Alabama, together with copies 
of an address and resolutions, adopted by both branches of the gen- 
eral assembly of that state, at their late session. These documents 
relate to a subject, to which the attention of the general court has 
already been respectfully invited. They are accordingly submitted 
to the two houses without comment, and in the assurance that, to- 
gether with the papers of a similar character already communicated, 
they will receive such consideration, as may be due to the importance 
of their subject-matter, and to the source from which they emanate. 


Council Chamber, ) 
15th February, 1836. \ 

House of Representatives, Feb. 15, 1836. 

Referred to the Committee on so muchof the Governor's Address 
as relates to the abolition of slavery, with instructions to consider the 
expediency of causing the same to be printed. 

Sent up for concurrence. 


In Senate, Feb. 15, 1836. 



Executive Department, Alabama, / 
Tuskaloosa, Jan. 22d, 1836. \ 

Sir, — In obedience to the instructions of both branches of the 
general assembly of this state, I have the honor to transmit the 
enclosed copy of an address and resolutions, adopted at their late 
session, with a request that you will lay them before the legislature of 
your state, 

I have the honor to be, 

Veiy respectfully. 

Your obdt. servt. 

C. C. CLAY. 

His Excellency the Governor of Massachusetts. 

*fl Memorial of the General Assembly of the State of Alabama, to 
the General Assemblies of the several States of the Union. 

Your memorialists approach your honorable bodies with that confi- 
dence and good will which should characterize sisters of the same 
family. The hostility, which a small portion of your population have 
shown to the happiness and safety of our country, is not believed to 
have emanated from any settled intention of your citizeiis to do us an 
injury. The dark, deep and malignant design of the abolitionists' 
who are settled amongst you, in sending to our country their agents 
and incendiary pamphlets and publications, hghting up fires of discord 

Mar. 1836. SENATE— No. 56. 63 

in the bosoms of our slave population, have never for a moment 
alienated our affections from the great mass of your citizens, and we 
have believed, and still believe, that when you were fully apprised of 
the evils which this unholy band of cowardly assassins are bringing 
upon us, that you would extend your hands to avert the calamities 
which must otherwise fall upon our citizens. We were born in a 
land of domestic slavery — like our liberties, it descended from our 
fathers ; we were innocent of its introduction, and if it have evils, 
they are our own, which time and the wisdom of experience must 
avert, and we utterly deny the right of the citizens of any other state 
to claim an interference ; the harmony of the states, and the durabil 
ity of the Union, forbid any intermeddling upon the subject. Slavery 
in the United States is local and sectional ; it is confined to the 
southern and middle states. If it be an evil, it is their business to 
say so, and remove it. 

Slavery existed in other states, and they put an end to it in their 
own way, without the disasters likely to be visited upon us, by ma- 
lignant and heartless societies residing in other states. The aboli- 
tionists are not numerous, but they are wealthy, ardent and talented ; 
they have presses in the various parts of the Union, from which they 
issue millions of essays, pamphlets and pictures, and scatter them 
amongst our slave population, calculated to urge them to deluge our 
country in blood. This cannot be tolerated. 

1st. Be it therefore resolved., by the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives of the State of Alabama., in General Assembly convened., 
That it is the decided sense of this general assembly, that we call 
upon our sister states, and respectfully request them to enact such 
penal laws, as will finally put an end to the malignant deeds of the 
abolitionists, calculated to destroy our peace, and sever this Union. 

2d. Resolved, That we should consider the abolition of slavery 
in the district of Columbia, unless by the desire of its own citizens, 
as a violation of the rights of that district, derived from the implied 
condition on which that territory was ceded to the general govern- 
ment, and as the commencement of a scene of usurpation and flagrant 

3d. Resolved, That the executive of the state of Alabama com- 
municate a copy of this memorial to the governor of each of the 


states of the Union, with a request that it may be laid before their 
next legislatures, and also that a copy be sent to each of our senators 
and representatives in Congress. 

J. W. M. CLUNG, 

Speaker of the House of Representatives. 


President of the Senate. 

Approved, January 7, 1836. 

C. C. CLAY. 

A true copy from the rolls. 

E. A. WEBSTER, Secretary of State. 




€Bmmo%%\ntiiltfi of M^^^Mt^xmtttu. 

To the Senate and House of Representatives, 

I have recently received a letter from his Excellency the Gov- 
ernor of Virginia, accompanied with a copy of resolutions of both 
houses of the Legislature of that state, on the subject of slavery. 

Agreeably to the request contained in the letter of Governor 
Tazewell, copies of the aforesaid resolutions are herewith communi- 
cated, and respectfully submitted to the consideration of the two 


Council Chamber, 2d March, 1836. 

In Senate, March 2, 1S36. 

Referred to the Joint Committee on the subject of the Abolition 
of Slavery. 

Sent down for concurrence. 


House of Representatives, March 3, 1836. 


L, S. GUSHING, Clerk. 

Executive Department, 
Richmond, Virginia, February 18, 1836. 


In compliance with a request of the General Assembly of Vir- 
ginia, I have the honor to forward you herewith, a copy of certain 
resolutions adopted by both the houses composing that body, on the 
16th instant, to which I beg leave to add my request that you will 
submit the same to the Legislature of your state. 

I am, very repeclfuUy, 

Your most obedient servant, 


To His Excellency the Governor of Massachusetts. 

1. Resolved, That this Commonwealth only, has the right to 
control or interfere with the subject of domestic slavery within its 
limits, and that this right will be maintained at all hazards. 

2. Resolved, That the state of Virginia has a right to claim 
prompt and efficient legislation by her co-states to restrain as far as 
may be, and to punish, those of their citizens, who, in defiance of 
the obligations of social duty and those of the Constitution, assail her 
safety and tranquility, by forming associations for the abolition of 
slavery, or printing, publishing, or circulating through the mail or 
otherwise, seditious and incendiary publications, designed, calculated, 
or having a tendency to operate on her population, and that this right, 
founded as it is on the principles of international law, is peculiarly 
fortified by a just consideration of the intimate and sacred relations 
that exist between the states of this Union. 

Mar. 1836 SENATE— No. 56. 39 

3. Resolved, That the non-slave-holding states of the Union are 
respectfully, but earnestly lequested, promptly to adopt penal enact- 
naents, or such other measures as will effectually suppress all associ- 
ations within their respective limits, purporting to be, or having the 
character of, abolition societies ; and that they will make it highly 
penal to print, publish, or distribute, newspapers, pamphlets, or other 
publications, calculated or having a tendency to excite the slaves of 
the southern states to insurrection and revolt. 

4. Resolved, That we have seen with satisfaction, those expres- 
sions of public opinion of our northern brethren, favorable to the 
rights of the southern states, and in condemnation of the conduct and 
motives of the abolitionists among them ; and that, confiding in their 
justice and attachment to the principles of the Union, enforced by 
the sympathies of common dangers, sufferings and triumphs, which 
ought to bind us together in fraternal concord, we are warranted in 
the expectation, that the foregoing request will be received and com- 
plied with in the spirit in which it is made. 

5. Resolved, That Congress has no constitutional power to abol- 
ish slavery in the district of Columbia, or in the territories of the 
United States. 

6. Resolved, That this General Assembly would regard any Act 
of Congress having for its object the abolition of slavery in the Dis- 
trict of Columbia, or the territories of the United States, as afford- 
ing just cause of alarm to the slave-holding states, and bringing the 
Union into imminent peril. 

7. Resolved, That it is highly expedient for the slave-holding states 
to enact such laws and regulations as may be necessary to suppress 
and prevent the circulation of any incendiary publication within their 
respective limits. 

8. Resolved, That the Governor be, and he is hereby requested 
to forward a copy of these Resolutions to each of our Senators and 
Representatives in Congress, and to the Executive of each of the 
states of the Union, with a request that the same may be submitted 
to their respective Legislatures. 

Agreed to by both Houses of the Legislature of Virginia. Feb- 
ruary 16, 1836.