REPORT AND RESOLVES
SUBJECT OF SLAVERY.
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.
And Messrs. Lunt and Chapin, are joined.
CHAS. CALHOUN, Clerk.
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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
6 REPORT & RESOLVES ON SLAVERY. Mar.
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
8 REPORT & RESOLVES ON SLAVERY. Mar.
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
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
10 REPORT & RESOLVES ON SLAVERY. Mar,
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
12 REPORT & RESOLVES ON SLAVERY. Mar.
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 becom.es 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-
14 REPORT & RESOLVES ON SLAVERY. Mar.
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-
16 REPORT & RESOLVES ON SLAVERY. Mar.
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-
20 REPORT & RESOLVES ON SLAVERY.
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.
REPORT AND RESOLUTIONS
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,
RICHARD D. SPAIGHT.
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
26 PREAMBLE AND RESOLUTIONS. March
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
28 PREAMBLE AND RESOLUTIONS. March
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.
THOMAS G. POLK,
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
30 PREAMBLE AND RESOLUTIONS. Mar. 1836,
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
WM. H. HAYWOOD, .7r., S. H. C.
WM. D. MOSELEY, S. S.
A true copy.
WM. HILL, Secretary,
nvnim ii iwrfi a i«r-*iirfWr'T*r'*«^'''*'*lfifP^
REPORT AND RESOLUTIONS
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-
36 REPORT AND RESOLUTIONS. March
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
» 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,
38 REPORT AND RESOLUTIONS. March
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
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.
40 REPORT AND RESOLUTIONS.
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
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.
JACOB WARLEY, C. S.
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.
REPORT AND RESOLUTIONS
€: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.
CHS. CALHOUN, Clerk.
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.
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
46 REPORT AND RESOLUTIONS. March.
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.
ROBERT M. ECHOLS,
President of the Senate.
Attest. ARTHUR A. MORGAN, Secretary.
Approved, 22d Dec, 1835.
WILLIAM SCHLEY, Governor.
MEMORIAL AND RESOLUTIONS
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.
L. S. GUSHING, ClerL
In Senate, Feb. 15, 1836.
CHAS. CALHOUN, Clerk.
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
I have the honor to be,
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
54 MEMORIAL AND RESOLUTIONS. Mar. 1836.
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.
SAMUEL B. MOORE,
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
Sent down for concurrence.
CHAS. CALHOUN, Clerk.
House of Representatives, March 3, 1836.
L, S. GUSHING, Clerk.
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,
LITT'N W. TAZEWELL.
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
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
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.
GEORGE W. MUNFORD, C. H. D.