Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> An Oration on the Life, Character, and Services of John Caldwell Calhoun, Delivered on the 21st November 1850, in Charleston, S.C., at the Request of the City Council >> Page 278

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Page 278

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 278
everywhere save in the Plantation States, and great
apprehensions existed among the Southern members of
the Convention that the other States would combine to
emancipate all the Slaves immediately, or gradually.
They therefore refused absolutely to enter into any
union with them without a distinct agreement on this
essential matter. One great object in so constructing
the Federal Government that it should have no powers
not clearly conferred upon it, reserving all others to
the States, was to prevent legislation on this subject.
But beyond this the Southern Delegates required a
Constitutional obligation from all the other 'States, to
assist them in maintaining their authority over their
slaves in case of necessity, by restoring fugitives and
aiding to put down insurrections. They also demanded
a recognition of slaves as a permanent element of
political power and a fixed caste, by assigning them a
representation, though a restricted one, in Congress.
From the adoption of the Constitution up to 1819, the
harmony between the North and South was never for
a moment seriously disturbed by the Slave question.
At that period, when Missouri applied for admission
into the Union, the North, where African Slavery was
now almost wholly extinct, opposed her application, on
the ground that Slaveholding was permitted by her
Constitution. A deeply exciting controversy immedi-
ately arose, which was finally adjusted by the conces-
sion from the South that, thereafter, no Slaveholding
State should be admitted into the Union North of
36° 30' N. latitude.
For many years after this contest there was no
open agitation of this exciting topic, and public men
in every section generally concurred in frowning upon