Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

tution,' creating and upholding the title to a species of property valued at Four Thousand Millions of dollars, could hardly fail to make itself respected and influential in every department of the public service, and through every act of the Federal authorities calculated to affect its stability, its prosperity, or its power.

But, up to this time, Slavery had sought and obtained the protection and championship of the Federal Government expressly as a domestic institution as an important interest of a certain portion of the American

XIII.

THE MISSION OF SAMUEL HOAR.

THE Federal Constitution (Art. iv. § 2) provides that "The citizens "of each State shall be entitled to all "the privileges and immunities of "citizens in the several States."

This is plainly condensed from the corresponding provision of the Articles of Confederation, adopted in 1778, and thenceforth our bond of Union, until superseded in 1787-8 by the Federal Constitution aforesaid. That provision is as follows:

people. In the Annexation of Texas, and in the reasons officially adduced therefor, it challenged the regard of mankind and defied the consciences of our own citizens as a great National interest, to the protection of which, at all hazards and under all circumstances, our Government was inflexibly committed, and with whose fortunes those of our country were inextricably blended. For the first time, our Union stood before the nations, not merely as an upholder, but as a zealous, unscrupulous propagandist of Human Slavery.

"Art. 4. The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in the Union, the free inhabitants of each State-paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States; and the people of each State shall have free ingress and egress to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties,

impositions, and restrictions, as the inhabitants thereof respectively."

When this Article was under consideration, the delegates from South Carolina moved to amend by inserting the word ing the word "white" between "free" and "inhabitants;" which was emphatically negatived- only two States voting for it: so it was determined that States had, or might have, citizens who were not "white," and that these should be entitled to all the privileges of citizens in every other State.

We have seen' that Congress, in 1821, resisted the attempt of Missouri to prohibit the immigration of free colored persons, deeming it a palpable violation of that requirement of the Federal Constitution above quoted; and would not admit that State into the Union until, by a second compromise, she was required to pledge herself that her

1 Page 80.

SOUTH CAROLINA IMPRISONING SEAMEN.

Legislature should pass no act "by "which any of the citizens of either "of the States should be excluded "from the enjoyment of the privi"leges and immunities to which they "are entitled under the Constitution "of the United States." There was no question pending, no proscription or exclusion meditated, but that af fecting colored persons only; and Congress, by the above action, clearly affirmed their right, when citizens of any State, to the privileges and immunities of citizens in all other States.

The assumption that negroes are not, and cannot be, citizens, is abundantly refuted by the action of several of the Slave States themselves. Till within a recent period, free negroes were not merely citizens, but electors, of those States-which all citizens are not, or need not be. John Bell, when first elected to Congress, in 1827, running out Felix Grundy, received the votes of several colored electors, and used, long after, to confess his obligation to them.

2 December 19th.

The following is a portion of the act in question:

"II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall not be lawful for any free negro, or person of color, to come into this State, on board any vessel, as a cook, steward, or mariner, or in any other employment on board such vessel; and, in case any vessel shall arrive in any port or harbor of this State, from any other State or foreign port, having on board any free negro or person of color, employed on board such vessel as a cook, steward, or mariner, or in any other employment, it shall be the duty of the sheriff of the district in which such port or harbor is situated, immediately on the arrival of such vessel, to apprehend such free negro or person of color, so arriving contrary to this Act, and to confine him or her closely in jail, until such vessel shall be hauled off from the wharf, and ready to proceed to sea. And that, when said vessel is ready to sail, the captain of the said vessel shall be bound to carry away such free negro or person of color, and to pay the expenses of his or her detention. And

179

North Carolina allowed her free negroes, who possessed the requisite qualifications in other respects, to vote, regardless of their color, down to about 1830. Their habit of voting for the Federal or Whig candidates, and against the Democratic, was a subject of frequent and jocular remark-the Whigs insisting that the instincts of the negro impelled him uniformly to associate, so far as practicable, with the more gentlemanly portion of the white race.

In the year 1835,' the Legislature of South Carolina saw fit to pass an act, whereby any and every colored person found on board of any vessel entering one of her ports was to be forthwith seized by her municipal officers, and lodged in jail; there to remain until the vessel should be cleared for departure, when said colored person or persons should be restored to said vessel, on payment of the cost and charges of arrest, detention, and subsistence.3

This act necessarily bore with great hardship on the colored sea

in every such case it shall be the duty of the sheriff aforesaid, immediately on the apprehension of any free negro or person of color, to cause said captain to enter into a recognizance, with good and sufficient security, in the sum of one thousand dollars, for such free negro or slave so brought into this State, that he will comply with the requisitions of this act; and that, on his neglect, or refusal, or disability to do the same, he shall be compelled by the sheriff aforesaid to haul said vessel into the stream, one hundred yards distant from the shore, and remain until said vessel shall proceed to sea. And if said vessel shall not be hauled off from the shore as aforesaid on the order of the sheriff aforesaid, the captain or commanding officer of said vessel shall be indicted therefor, and, on conviction, forfeit and pay one thousand dollars, and suffer imprisonment not exceeding six months.

"III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That whenever any free negro or person of color shall be apprehended or committed to jail, as having arrived in any vessel in the capacity of cook, steward, mariner, or otherwise, contrary to this Act, it shall be the duty of the

men, cooks, etc., of Northern vessels the fact, and stating the purpose of trading to Charleston. Massachu- his mission to be, "the collecting setts, therefore, at length resolved, and transmission of accurate informathrough the action of her Legisla- tion respecting the number and the ture, to test its constitutionality by names of citizens of Massachusetts, instituting legal proceedings, which who have heretofore been, or may should bring it ultimately to an ad be, during the period of the engagejudication by the Supreme Court of ment of the agent, imprisoned withthe United States. To this end, out the allegation of any crime." Gov. Briggs appointed Hon. Sam- He further stated that he was auuel Hoar-one of her most emi- thorized to bring and prosecute one nent and venerable citizens, who had or more suits in behalf of any citizen served her with honor in many im- so imprisoned, for the purpose of portant trusts, including a seat in having the legality of such imprisonCongress to proceed to Charleston, ment tried and determined in the and there institute the necessary pro- Supreme Court of the United States. ceedings, in order to bring the matter to judgment. Mr. Hoar accepted this new duty, and left home accordingly in November, 1844, for Charleston; reaching that city on the 28th of that month. So utterly unsuspecting was he of giving offense, or provoking violence, that his young daughter accompanied him.

On the day of his arrival, Mr. Hoar addressed a letter to the Governor of South Carolina, announcing

5

sheriff, during the confinement in jail of such free negro or person of color, to call upon some justice of the peace or quorum, to warn such free negro or person of color never to enter the said State after he shall have departed therefrom, and such justice of the peace, or quorum, shall, at the time of warning such free negro, or person of color, insert his or her name in a book, to be provided for that purpose by the sheriff, and shall therein specify his or her age, occupation, hight, and distinguishing marks; which book shall be good and sufficient evidence to such warning; and said book shall be a public record, and be subject and open to the examination of all persons who may make application to the clerk of the court of general sessions, in whose office it shall be deposited. And such justice shall receive the sum of two dollars, payable by the captain of the vessel in which said free negro or person of color shall be introduced into this State, for the services rendered in making said entry. And every free negro, or person of color, who shall not depart the State, in case of the captain refusing or neglecting to carry him or her away, or, having departed, shall again enter into the limits of this State, by

The next morning, Mr. Hoar called on Mr. Eggleston, who had been appointed to the same agency before him, and requested of him an introduction to the Mayor of Charleston, his object being to procure access to the records of orders or sentences, under which citizens of Massachusetts, it was understood, had been imprisoned. Mr. Eggleston acceded to his request, but said it would be best that he should first see the

land or by water, after having been warned as aforesaid, shall be dealt with as the first section of this Act directs in regard to persons of color, who shall migrate, or be brought, into this State."

It may be as well to add that the penalty of the first section referred to, is corporal punishment for the first offense: "and if, after said sentence or punishment, such free negro or person of color shall still remain in the State longer than the time allowed, or, having left the State, shall thereafter return to the same, upon proof and conviction thereof before a court, to be constituted as herein before directed, he or she shall be appropriated and applied, one half thereof to the use of the State, and the other half to the use of the informer."

4 Resolves of March 24, 1843, and March 16, 1844.

5 Hon. James H. Hammond, since distinguished as a U. S. Senator.

SOUTH CAROLINA EXPELS MR. HOAR.

Mayor, and explain the matter in
advance of the proposed introduction.
Mr. Hoar assented, and Eggleston left
Mr. H. waiting in his office, while he
proceeded to confer with the Mayor.
After a considerable absence, he re-
turned, and stated that the Mayor
was at Columbia, attending the ses-
sion of the Legislature, and that the
gentleman who temporarily discharg-
ed the duties of the officer judged it
best that all further proceedings
should await his return. This was
assented to, and Mr. Hoar waited
through the next three days
ingly.

"I. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives, now met and sitting in General Assembly and by authority of the same, That any person or persons who shall on his, her, or their own behalf, or under any color, or in virtue of any commission or authority from any State in this Union, or of any foreign power, come within the limits of this State for the purpose or with the intent to disturb, counteract, or hinder shall be made by the public authorities of the operation of such laws as have been or this State, in relation to slaves or free persons of color, such person or persons shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and shall be committed for trial to the comaccord-mon jail of the district, by any one of the judges of the courts of law or equity, or the recorder of the city of Charleston, unless admitted to bail by the said judge or recorder; and, upon due conviction thereof by be sentenced to banishment from the State, any court of competent jurisdiction, shall and to such fine and imprisonment as may be deemed fitting by the court which shall

have tried such offense.

Meantime, Gov. Hammond had received Mr. Hoar's letter, and communicated it to the Legislature, by which it was received in high dudgThat Legislature proceeded to pass, by a substantially unanimous vote, the following resolutions:

eon.

"II. That any person within this State who shall at any time accept any commission or authority from any State, or public

authority of any State in this Union, or from any foreign power, in relation to slaves or free persons of color, and who shall commit any overt act with intent to disturb the peace or security of this State, or with intent to disturb, counteract, or hinder the operation of the laws or regulations of the public authorities of this State, made or to be made, in relation to slaves or free perciti-guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction sons of color, such person shall be deemed thereof, before any competent court, shall be sentenced to pay, for the first offense, a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, and to be imprisoned not exceeding one year; for the second offense, he shall be imprisoned for seven years, and pay a fine not less than one thousand dollars, or be banished from the State, as the court may see fit."

"Resolved, 1st, That the right to exclude

from their territories seditious persons, or others whose presence may be dangerous to their peace, is essential to every independ

ent State.

181

more material provisions are as follows:

"Resolved, 2d, That free and other persons of color are not citizens of the United States, within the meaning of the Constitution, which confers upon the citizens of one State the privileges and immunities of zens of the several States.

66

Resolved, 3d, That the emissary sent by

the State of Massachusetts to the State of South Carolina, with the avowed purpose of interfering with her institutions, and disturbing her peace, is to be regarded in the character he has assumed, and to be treated accordingly.

"Resolved, 4th, That his Excellency the Governor be requested to expel from our territory the said agent, after due notice to depart; and that the Legislature will sustain the Executive authority in any measure it may adopt for the purpose aforesaid."

The Legislature proceeded directly thereafter to pass an act forbidding and punishing such missions as that of Mr. Hoar, whereof the

[The act furthermore requires that the Governor for the time being shall require the aforesaid emissary or emissaries from another State, or from a foreign power, to

depart from the limits of the State in fortyeight hours-such person or persons, neglecting to depart within the specified time, to be committed (unless admitted to bail), and to be tried and punished as before

stated; and provides that the Sheriff shall | lina by Massachusetts to send an

see that the sentence of banishment be executed, and imprison such offender if he returns, unless by unavoidable accident.]

agent here on such business. The city is highly incensed. You are in great danger, and you had better leave the city as soon as possible." Mr. H. replied that he had been sent there by the Governor of Massachusetts on lawful business, and could not leave until he had at least attempted to perform the duty imposed on him. The sheriff then produced a letter purporting to be from the Attorney-General of South Carolina, urging the avoidance of a resort to lynching, as that would disgrace the city, and adding that the person to prevent such a procedure was the sheriff. That functionary declared that he should endeavor to defend Mr. H., even at the hazard of his own life, but doubted his ability to do it in view of the prevailing excitement, and urged him, as a friend, to leave at the earliest moment. Mr. H. repeated his answer already given, and thereupon his visitors left him.

The next morning, the sheriff returned and repeated his representations and entreaties of the evening. "What do you expect?" he asked; "you can never get a verdict; and, if you should, the marshal would need all the troops of the United States to enforce the judgment." Mr. Hoar remarked that enforcing the judgment was no part of his business, and they thereupon separated.

During the day, several gentlemen called, making representations substantially like the sheriff's, and setting forth the various plans suggested for ridding the city of his presence. He could only reply that he should not voluntarily leave until he had fulfilled the duty he had undertaken.

On Monday, December 2d, Mr. Hoar was, for the first time, apprised of the reception accorded at Columbia to his mission, and of the commotion it had raised. After discussing the matter freely with those around him, he walked out for some distance, and, returning at dark to his hotel, he encountered three persons standing on the piazza. One of them stepped forward and asked, "Is your name Hoar, Sir?" and, being answered in the affirmative, announced himself as follows: "I am the Sheriff of Charleston District, and I have some business with you, Sir." He then introduced his associates as the acting mayor and another alderman of the city. Mr. Hoar invited them to walk up into the parlor of the house. When seated, the sheriff inquired his business in Charleston; and was answered that he had already communicated it to the Governor; but he stated it afresh to the sheriff, who said: "It is suspected that you are an Abolitionist, and have come here to accomplish some of their measures.' ." After some hesitation, Mr. Hoar assured him that he was no Abolitionist, but had been, for many years, a member of the Colonization Society. The sheriff intimating some suspicion that Mr. Hoar was not duly accredited, the latter exhibited his commission from the Governor of Massachusetts, and gave permission to copy it, as also the resolves of the Legislature on which it was founded.

The Sheriff continued: "It is considered a great insult on South Caro

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »