California, Union, and Freedom: Speech of William H. Seward on the Admission of California. Delivered in the Senate of the United States, March 11, 1850

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Buell & Blanchard, 1850 - California - 14 pages
 

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Page 8 - The Constitution regulates our stewardship; the Constitution devotes the domain to union, to justice, to defence, to welfare, and to liberty. But there is a higher law than the Constitution, which regulates our authority over the domain, and devotes it to the same noble purposes. The territory is a part, no inconsiderable part, of the common heritage of mankind, bestowed upon them by the Creator of the universe. We are his stewards, and must so discharge our trust as to secure in the highest attainable...
Page 5 - Constitution by an amendment which will restore to the South in substance the power she possessed of protecting herself, before the equilibrium between the sections was destroyed by the action of this government.
Page 6 - To conclude on this point. We are not slaveholders. We cannot, in our judgment, be either true Christians or real freemen, if we impose on another a chain that we defy all human power to fasten on ourselves. You believe and think otherwise, and doubtless with equal sincerity.
Page 6 - There is but one law for all, namely, that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity : — the law of nature and of nations.
Page 7 - Let the case of the slaves be considered, as it is in truth, a peculiar one. Let the compromising expedient of the Constitution be mutually adopted which regards them as inhabitants, but as debased below the equal level of free inhabitants, which regards the slave as divested of two-fifths of the man.
Page 8 - If any person bound to service or labor in any of the United States shall escape into another state, he or she shall not be discharged from such service or labor in consequence of any regulation subsisting in the state to which they escape, but shall be delivered up to the person justly claiming their service or labor.
Page 5 - Your Constitution and laws convert hospitality to the refugee from the most degrading oppression on earth into a crime, but all mankind except you esteem that hospitality a virtue.
Page 4 - How can the Union be saved? To this I answer, there is but one way by which it can be, and that is by adopting such measures as will satisfy the States belonging to the Southern section that they can remain in the Union consistently with their honor and their safety.
Page 9 - ... there is no slave state, which, if it had had the free alternative as we now have, would have founded slavery. Indeed, our revolutionary predecessors had precisely the same question before them in establishing an organic law under which the states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin, have since come into the Union, and they solemnly repudiated and excluded slavery from those states forever.
Page 9 - This is a state, and we are deliberating for it, just as our fathers deliberated in establishing the institutions we enjoy. Whatever superiority there is in our condition and hopes over those of any other "kingdom" or "estate" is due to the fortunate circumstance that our ancestors did not leave things to "take their chance...

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