North America - Volume 2 By Anthony Trollope 




















































































































































 -   In fact the Constitution ignored the subject.

But, nevertheless, Washington, and Jefferson from whom Madison
received his inspiration, were opposed - Page 90
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In Fact The Constitution Ignored The Subject.

But, nevertheless, Washington, and Jefferson from whom Madison received his inspiration, were opposed to slavery.

I do not know that Washington ever took much action in the matter, but his expressed opinion is on record. But Jefferson did so throughout his life. Before the Declaration of Independence he endeavored to make slavery illegal in Virginia. In this he failed, but long afterward, when the United States was a nation, he succeeded in carrying a law by which the further importation of slaves into any of the States was prohibited after a certain year - 1820. When this law was passed, the framers of it considered that the gradual abolition of slavery would be secured. Up to that period the negro population in the States had not been self-maintained. As now in Cuba, the numbers had been kept up by new importations, and it was calculated that the race, when not recruited from Africa, would die out. That this calculation was wrong we now know, and the breeding-grounds of Virginia have been the result.

At that time there were no cotton fields. Alabama and Mississippi were outlying territories. Louisiana had been recently purchased, but was not yet incorporated as a State. Florida still belonged to Spain, and was all but unpopulated. Of Texas no man had yet heard. Of the slave States, Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia were alone wedded to slavery. Then the matter might have been managed. But under the Constitution as it had been framed, and with the existing powers of the separate States, there was not even then open any way by which slavery could be abolished other than by the separate action of the States; nor has there been any such way opened since.

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