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is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity toward other nations.
The inducements of interest, for observing that conduct, will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me, a predominant motive has been to endeavor to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress, without interruption, to that degree of strength and consistency which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.
Though in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am, nevertheless, too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope, that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.
Relying on its kindness in this, as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love toward it which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors, I anticipate, with pleasing expectation, that retreat in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fel. low-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free Government—the ever-favorite object of my heart--and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.
GEORGE WASHINGTON. UNITED STATES, 17th September, 1796.
MISSOURI COMPROMISE OF 1820.
When Missouri applied for admission into the Union, a proposition was started in Congress to prohibit the introduction of slavery into the new State. This had the effect of arraying the South against the North-the slaveholding against the non-slaveholding States—and the whole subject of slavery became the exciting topic of debate throughout the country. The question was finally settled by a Compromise, which tolerated slavery in Missouri, but otherwise prohibited it in all the territory of the United States north and west of the northern limits of Arkansas.
As the principle then settled has often since been the prolific source of much sectional controversy and angry debate, and as it is desirable that every one should be familiar with the real provisions of the act by which Missouri was admitted, we have concluded to insert here so much of the law as is necessary to a full understanding of the subject. All the sections, except the following, relate entirely to the formation of the Missouri territory, in the usual form of territorial bills:
“SEC. 8. That in all that territory ceded by France to the United States, under the name of Louisiana, which lies north of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes north latitude, not included within the limits of the State contemplated by this act, slavery and involuntary servitude, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the parties shall be duly convicted, shall be, and is hereby, forever prohibited. Provided always, That any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed, in any State or Territory of the United States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service as aforesaid.
FUGITIVE SLAVE LAW OF 1850.
An Act to amend, and supplementary to, the Act entitled, “An Act
respecting Fugitives from Justice, and persons escaping from the Service of their Masters," and approved February 12, 1793.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the persons who have been, or may hereafter be, appointed Commissioners, in virtue of any Act of Congress, by the Circuit Courts of the United States, and who, in consequence of such appointment, are authorized to exercise the powers that any justice of the peace, or other magistrate of any of the United States, may exercise in respect to offenders for any crime or offense against the United States, by arresting, imprisoning, or bailing the same, under, and by virtue of, the thirty-third section of the act of the twenty-fourth of September, seventeen hundred and eighty-nine, entitled, “An Act to establish the judicial courts of the United States,” shall be, and are hereby, authorized and required to exercise and discharge all the powers and duties conferred by this Act.
SEC. 2. That the Superior Court of each organized Territory of the United States shall have the same power to appoint Commissioners to take acknowledgments of bail and affidavits, and to take depositions of witnesses in civil causes, which is now possessed by the Circuit Court of the United States; and all Commissioners who shall hereafter be appointed for such purposes by the Superior Court of any organized Territory of the United States shall possess all the powers, and exercise all the duties, conferred by law upon the Commissioners appointed by the Circuit Courts of the United States for similar purposes, and shall moreover exercise and discharge all the powers and duties conferred by this Act. Sec. 3. That the Circuit Courts of the United States, and the Superior Courts of each organized territory of the United States, shall, from time to time, enlarge the number of Commissioners with a view to afford reasonable facilities to reclaim fugitives from labor, and to the prompt discharge of the duties imposed by this Act.
SEC. 4. That the Commissioners above named shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the Judges of the Circuit and District Courts of the United States, in their respective circuits and districts within the several States, and the Judges of the Superior Courts of the territories severally and collectively, in term time and vacation; and shall grant certificates to such claimants, upon satisfactory proof being made, with authority to take and remove such fugitives from service or labor, under the restrictions herein contained, to the State or Territory from which such persons may have escaped or fled.
SEC. 5. That it shall be the duty of all marshals and deputy marshals to obey and execute all warrants and precepts issued under the provisions of this act when to them directed; and should any marshal or deputy marshal refuse to receive such warrant, or other process, when tendered, or to use all proper means diligently to execute the same, he shall, on conviction thereof, be fined in the sum of one thousand dollars, to the use of such claimant, on the motion of such claimant, by the Circuit or District Court for the district of such marshal; and after the arrest of such fugitive, by such marshal or his deputy, or while at any time in his custody, under the provisions of this act, should such fugitive escape, whether with or without the assent of such marshal or his deputy, such marshal shall be liable, on his official bond, to be prosecuted, for the benefit of such claimant, for the full value of the service or labor of said fugitive in the State, Territory, or district whence he escaped ; and, the better to enable said Commissioners, when thus appointed, to execute their du. ties faithfully and efficiently, in conformity with the requirements of the Constitution of the United States, and of this Act, they are hereby authorized and empowered, within their counties respectively, to appoint, in writing under their hands, any one or more suitable persons, from time to time, to execute all such warrants and other process as may be issued by them in the lawful performance of their respective duties ; with authority to such Commissioners, or the persons to be appointed by them, to execute process as aforesaid, to summon and call to their aid the bystanders, or posse commitatus of the proper county, when necessary to insure a faithful observance of the clause of the Constitution referred to, in conformity with the provisions of this Act; and all good citizens are commanded to aid and assist in the prompt and efficient execution of this law whenever their services may be required, as aforesaid, for that purpose; and said warrants shall run, and be executed by said officers, anywhere in the State within which they are issued.
SEO. 6. That when a person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the United States has heretofore or shall hereafter escape into another State or Territory of the United States, the person or persons to whom such service or labor may be due, or his, her, or their agent or attorney, duly authorized by power of attorney, in writing acknowledged and certified under the seal of some legal officer or Court of the State or Territory in which the same may be executed, may pursue and reclaim such fu. gitive person, either by procuring a warrant from some one of the Courts, Judges, or Commissioners aforesaid, of the proper circuit, district, or county, for the apprehension of such fugitive from service or labor, or by seizing and arresting such fugitive where the same can be done without process, and by taking or causing such person to be taken forthwith before such Court, Judge, or Commissioner, whose duty it shall be to hear and determine the case of such claimant in a summary manner; and, upon satisfactory proof being made, by deposition or affidavit in writing, to be taken and certified by such Court, Judge, or Commissioner, or by other satisfactory testimony, duly taken and certified by some Court, Magistrate, Justice of the Peace, or other legal officer authorized to administer an oath and take depositions under the laws of the State or Territory from which such person owing service or labor may have escaped, with a certificate of such magis