« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
JUDGE CURTIS ON NEGRO CITIZENSHIP.
the right of Dred Scott to bring this action, as follows:
"First. That the free, native-born citizens of each State are citizens of the United States.
"Second. That, as free colored persons, born within some of the States, are citizens
of those States, such persons are also citi
zens of the United States.
Third. That every such citizen, residing in any State, has a right to sue, and is liable to be sued, in the Federal Courts,
as a citizen of that State in which he resides.
"Fourth. That, as the plea to the jurisdiction in this case shows no facts except that the plaintiff was of African descent, and that his ancestors were sold as slaves, and as these facts are not inconsistent with his
right of each slaveholder to remove with his slaves into any territory of the United States, and there retain and control them under the ægis of the Federal Constitution. He shows, further, that the majority erred in upholding a majority of the Supreme Court of Missouri in overruling their own Chief Justice and their own former decisions, whereby it had been established, in accordance with kindred decisions in Louisiana, as in other Slave States, that a slave taken by his master, or removed with his assent, to a Free State, or to any country wherein Slavery is prohibit
citizenship of the United States and his residence in the State of Missouri, the plea to the jurisdiction was bad, and the judged, becomes thereby a freeman, and ment of the Circuit Court overruling it was correct.
"I dissent, therefore, from that part of the opinion of the majority of the court in which it is held that a person of African descent cannot be a citizen of the United States; and I regret I must go further, and dissent both from what I deem their assumption of authority to examine the constitutionality of the act of Congress commonly called the Missouri Compromise act, and the grounds and conclusions announced in their opinion.
"Having first decided that they were bound to consider the sufficiency of the plea to the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court, and having decided that this plea showed that the Circuit Court had not jurisdiction, and consequently that this is a case to which the judicial power of the United States does not extend, they have gone on to examine the merits of the case as they appeared on the trial before the court and jury, on the issues joined on the pleas in bar, and so have reached the question of the power of Congress to pass the act of 1820. On so grave a subject as this, I feel obliged to say that, in my opinion, such an exertion of judicial power transcends the limits of the authority of the Court, as described by its repeated decisions, and, as I understand, acknowledged in this opinion of the majority of the Court."
Mr. Curtis proceeds to confute at length, and with decided ability, the doctrines of the majority, affirming the invalidity of the Missouri Restriction, and asserting the paramount
cannot be returned or reduced again to Slavery. to Slavery. It cannot, however, be necessary to quote further on this head. He concludes:
"For these reasons, I am of the opinion that so much of the several acts of Congress tude within that part of the Territory of as prohibited Slavery and involuntary serviMissouri lying north of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, and west of the river Mississippi, were constitutional and valid laws.
"In my opinion, the judgment of the Circuit Court should be reversed, and the cause remanded for a new trial."
The majority of the Justices composing the Supreme Court, after deciding that Dred Scott had no standing in that Court, and that the case was, therefore, entirely beyond, or outside of, its jurisdiction, had proceeded to take and make jurisdiction, for the purpose of ousting Congress and the people from all right or power to exclude Slavery from the Federal Territories, organized or unorganized. Congress had repeatedly, and from the very origin of the Government, legislated on this subject, and to this end. The Supreme Court now interposes, in a case
wherein it proclaims itself devoid of jurisdiction, and denies the validity of such legislation. The people are treated as inclining to usurp the power of excluding human bondage from their territorial possessions; so the Court decides that they have no rights in the premises, no power to act on the question. If twenty millions of freemen were unanimously and earnestly to insist that Freedom should be the law of their common territories, while but one slaveholder should claim the privilege of taking his slaves to and holding them in said territories, the claim of this one slaveholder, according to the Court, would override and defeat, conclusively, the earnest demands of those twenty millions of freemen. The war upon the Missouri Restriction, and against Slavery Inhibition in
the Territories generally, had been commenced and prosecuted under the banner of "Popular Sovereignty;" and it was to this complexion it had come at last; and it was of this judgment, just about to be proclaimed to an astounded people, that Mr. Buchanan, in his Inaugural aforesaid, says:
"The whole territorial question being thus settled upon the principle of Popular Sovereignty-a principle as ancient as free government itself-everything of a practical nature has been decided. No other question remains for adjustment; because all agree that, under the Constitution, Slavery in the States is beyond the reach of any human power, except that of the respective
States themselves wherein it exists. May we not, then, hope that the long agitation on this subject is approaching its end, and that the geographical parties to which it has given birth, so much dreaded by the father of his country, will speedily become extinct?"
OUR FOREIGN POLICY-CUBA.
THE foundations of our foreign | To Washington and his eminent policy were firmly and strongly laid during the Presidency, and under the councils, of Washington. To mind our own business, and leave other nations to manage their affairs, and to preserve, recast, or modify their respective governments, as to them shall seem fit and advantageous -to regard the rule actually established and operative in any nation as the rightful government of that nation, however widely divergent it may be from our own notions of what is wisest and most beneficent: such are its great cardinal principles.
compatriots in our Revolutionary struggle, and in the framing of our Federal Union, is the credit justly due of having originated and firmly upheld this policy, in defiance of popular passion, and under circumstances of great difficulty and embarrassment. But Jefferson, Madison, George Clinton, Gerry, and their associate founders of the Republican party, very generally yielded to this policy a tacit, if not positive and emphatic, approval. The mob of the seaboard cities, who shouted beneath the windows of Citizen Genet,
OUR EARLY FOREIGN POLICY-FRANCE.
ing a strict neutrality between revolutionary France and the banded despots who assailed her, they did not entirely escape the imputation of ingratitude, if not positive bad faith. Our country was deeply indebted to France for the generous and vitally important assistance received from her in our Revolutionary struggle; and, although France was not-as nations, like individuals, seldom are
that assistance, the advantage accruing to and the obligation incurred by us were scarcely lessened by that consideration. When barely two of our seven years' arduous struggle had passed, Louis XVI. decided to acknowledge our independence; and his minister soon after' united with our envoys in a treaty of alliance, whereof the preponderance of benefits was very greatly on our side. And among the stipulations of that treaty-a treaty whereby we profited too much in the general to be fastidious as to the particulars-was the following:
burned Jay's treaty in the streets, and clamored violently for alliance with revolutionary France and war upon Tory England, were, of course, anti-Federal; and their voices and votes helped to strengthen the Republican opposition in Congress, and to swell the steadily-growing host that, in due time, ousted the Federalists from power, by electing Mr. Jefferson to the Presidency. But Mr. Jefferson himself never-entirely disinterested in rendering shared in the blind passions by which he so largely profited. An earnest and unchanging devotee of cheap, simple, and frugal government, he profoundly realized that wars were costly, and alliances perilous; and, while he hated the British Government as embodying whatever was, at the same time, most pernicious to our country, and most seductive to her wealthy and commercial classes, he never, after our independence was achieved, was eager to tempt again the desperate chances, the certain devastations and enduring burdens, of war with Great Britain. Before the close of his Presidency,' the popular feeling would have fully justified and sustained him in declaring war, but he wisely forbore; and it was only after the strong infusion of young blood into the councils of the Republican party, through the election of Messrs. Clay, Grundy, Calhoun, John Holmes, etc., to Congress, that the hesitation of the cautious and philosophic Madison was overborne by their impetuosity, and war actually proclaimed.
When Washington and his advisers definitively resolved on preserv
1 On the occasion of the outrageous attack on the frigate Chesapeake by the Leopard.
"ART. XI. The two parties guarantee mutually, from the present time and forever, against all other powers, to wit: The United States, to his Most Christian Majesty, the present possessions of the crown of France in America, as well as those which it may acquire by the future treaty of peace: And his Most Christian Majesty guarantees on his part to the United States their liberty, sovereignty, and independence, absolute ment as commerce, and also their possesand unlimited, as well in matters of governsions, and the additions or conquests that their confederation may obtain during the war, from any of the dominions now or heretofore possessed by Great Britain in North America, conformably to the 5th and their possessions shall be fixed and assured 6th articles above written, the whole as to the said States, at the moment of the
cessation of their present war with Eng- entangle our peace and prosperity in the land." toils of European ambition, rivalships, interests, humor, or caprice?
Such a guarantee could not, in the nature of things, endure and be fulfilled, unless the contracting parties were to become, in effect, one nation; or, at least, to be partners or confederates in all their future wars. In the case actually presented, the monarch with whom we made this treaty had been the enemy and the victim of the Jacobins, who claimed of us the fulfillment of this grave compact.
President Washington, in his Farewell Address to his countrymen on taking leave of public life, thus summed up his convictions on the subject under contemplation:
"The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.
Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote, relation. Hence, she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.
"Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from
external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions from us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interests, guided by justice, shall counsel.
"Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand on foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe,
3 September 17, 1796.
"It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world, so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be under
stood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is the best policy. I repeat, therefore, let those engagements be But, in observed in their genuine sense. my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them."
No decided-at least no avoweddeparture from this policy had occurred down to 1823, when President Monroe was required to address a new Congress under peculiar circumstances. The Spanish people had revolted against the despotism of their imbecile, treacherous monarch, Ferdinand VII., and had established a Constitution which left him still in possession of the trappings, but with little of the substance, of royalty. He was, of course, profoundly hostile to this change, though affecting to acquiesce in it. A congress of the great powers of continental Europe, then united in a league, known as the "Holy Alliance," for the maintenance of their despotic authority and the repression of popular aspirations, had decreed the overthrow of this dangerous example; and, under its auspices, a French army of 100,000 men, led by the Duke d'Angoulême, a prince of the blood royal, had invaded Spain, and, meeting with little serious resistance, overthrown the Constitution and the Cortes, and restored to Ferdinand his beloved and grossly abused autocracy. Apprehensions were entertained that the discipline thus bestowed on Spain was about to
4 Held at Verona, Italy, in 1822.
THE "MONROE DOCTRINE."
be extended to her revolted and nearly independent American colonies, whereby they should be reduced to abject servitude to their mother country, and to the despotism that now enthralled her. To such a consummation, Great Britain, as well as this country, was intensely opposed -quite as much, probably, for commercial as for political reasons. Mr. Canning, then the master-spirit of the British Cabinet, at least with respect to foreign affairs, hinted to our Government the expediency of a moral demonstration against the apprehended design of the Holy Alliance with regard to this Continenta demonstration which could be made with less offense, yet with no less efficiency, from this side of the Atlantic than from the other. Thus prompted, Mr. Monroe spoke as follows:
"Of events in that quarter of the globe with which we have so much intercourse, and from which we derive our origin, we have always been anxious and interested spectators. The citizens of the United States cherish sentiments the most friendly in favor of the liberty and happiness of their fellow-men on that side of the Atlantic. In the wars of the European powers, in matters relating to themselves, we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced, that we resent injuries, or make preparation for our defense. With the movements in this hemisphere, we are of necessity more immediately connected, and by causes which must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers. The political system of the Allied Powers is essentially different in this respect from that of America. This difference proceeds from that which exists in their respective governments. And to the defense of our own, which has been achieved by the loss of so much blood and treasure, and matured by the wisdom of their most enlightened citizens, and under which we have enjoyed unexampled felicity, this whole nation is de
voted. We owe it, therefore, to candor, and to the amicable relations existing between
the United States and those powers, to declare, that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety.
"With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power, we have not interfered, and shall not interfere. But with the governments which have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power, in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States. * * * * Our policy in regard to Europe, which was have so long agitated that quarter of the adopted at an early stage of the wars which globe, nevertheless, remains the same: which is, not to interfere in the internal concerns of any of its powers; to consider the government de facto as the legitimate government for us; to cultivate friendly relations with it; and to preserve those relations by a frank, firm, and manly policy; meeting, in all instances, the just claims of every power, submitting to injuries from none.
"But, in regard to these continents, circumstances are eminently and conspicuously different. It is impossible that the Allied Powers should extend their political system to any portion of either continent without endangering our peace and happiness; nor can any one believe that our southern breth
ren, if left to themselves, would adopt it of their own accord. It is equally impossible, therefore, that we should behold such interposition, in any form, with indifference. If we look to the comparative strength and resources of Spain and those new governments, and their distance from each other, it must be obvious that she can never subdue them. It is still the true policy of the United States to leave the parties to themselves, in the hope that other powers will pursue the same course."
In this remarkable passage, may probably be found the impulse to the invitation from several of the South American Republics to that Congress at Panama of representatives of American Republics, which Messrs. Adams and Clay so promptly and heartily accepted, and which the Opposition or Jackson party of 1825-6
'Seventh Annual Message, December 2, 1823.