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of Maryland which ratified the constitution of the United States. But I have not been able to find any traces of the part he took in the deliberations of that body; and, in general, I have to regret that my endeavours to discover those distinctive traits of his earlier life, which mark the development of youthful character and talent, and which constitute one of the most pleasing portions of biography, have not been attended with success.

Mr. Pinkney was elected in October, 1788, as a representative to the House of Delegates of Maryland from the county of Harford, which he continued to represent until the year 1792, then he removed to Annapolis.

In 1789, he was married, at Havre de Grace, to Miss Ann Maria Rodgers, daughter of John Rodgers, Esq. of that town, and sister to that distinguished officer, Commodore Rodgers, of the navy.

In 1790, he was elected a member of Congress, and his election was contested upon the ground that he did not reside in the District for which he was chosen, as required by the law of the State. But he was declared duly elected, and returned accordingly, by the Executive Council, upon the heprinciple that the State Legislature had no authokority to require other qualifications than those enu

merated in the constitution of the United States; and that the power of regulating the times, places, and manner of holding the elections, did not include that of superinducing the additional qualification of residence within the District for whic

the candidate was chosen. He made on the occasion, what was considered, a very powerful argument in support of his own claim to be returned; but declined on account of his professional pursuits, and the state of his private affairs, to accept the honour which had been conferred upon him.

At the first Session of the Legislature of Maryland after his election as a member of the House of Delegates in 1788, he made a speech upon the report of a committee appointed to consider the laws of that State, prohibiting the voluntary emancipation of slaves, which breathes all the fire of youth and a generous enthusiasm for the rights of human nature, although it may not perhaps be thought to give any pledge of those great powers of eloquence and reasoning which he afterwards displayed.* At the subsequent Session in 1789, he delivered the following speech on the same subject, which, as he himself said in a letter to a friend written at the time when his consistency was impeached for the part he took in the Missouri question, is "much better than the first speech, and for a young man is well enough."

"MR. SPEAKER-As I have formerly had the honour of giving my sentiments to the House of Delegates, on the measures now under their consideration, and the mortification too of seeing those sentiments disregarded, I should hardly think of lending them again the aid of my feeble exertions, if I was not too thoroughly persuaded of their importance, to imagine I had done my duty by giving them my approbation in silence.

* A part of this speech will be found in Carey's Museum, vol. vi. p. 74.


"That I have every possible reason to be discouraged from the prosecution of regulations of this sort, it would be folly in me to doubt; for I have more than once been sorry to find, that in a country which has set even distant Europe in a ferment, and lavished the blood of thousands in defence of its liberties, against the encroachments of an arrogant and abandoned government, the cause of freedom was yet the most unpopular in which an advocate could appear. The alarms occasioned by mistaken ideas of interest, the deep-rooted prejudices which education has fostered and habit matured, the general hereditary contempt for those who are the objects of these provisions, the common dread of innovation, and, above all, a recent defeat, are obstacles which would seem sufficient to damp, if not entirely extinguish, the ardour of exertion.

"But with me these difficulties only serve to rouse every faculty of mind and body, which the occasion demands, and to call forth that spirit of perseverance, which no opposition can subdue, but that which affords me conviction of my error. "Sir-In my judgment, this is no common cause. If ever there were cases which demanded parliamentary interference, such are now before you. For the honour of human nature, for the sake of justice, from a respect to the interest of the community, they ought to receive the peculiar attention, the impartial, deliberate decision of the legislature.

"But, while the illusions of pride and selfishness, or the clouds of early ill-founded opinions, blind us to the truth; while we continue to be fettered by the clogs of predetermination, and obstinate, unbending prejudice; while we struggle to resist the force of argument, and wilfully stifle conviction in the birth, we can at best pretend to no more than the mere mockery of investigation.

"From this body, however, I presume this report will meet a better fate. They will weigh it as its importance merits; they will trace it through every labyrinth of its consequences; and while they guard the public welfare from the danger of ill-judged innovation, they will not forget that something is due to humanity, and the great principles of moral justice. Under this impression I shall once more venture to give my sentiments at large upon the propositions of the committee; and I call upon

those who differ from me, to watch every assertion and every argument I advance, and if they can refute the one, or contradict the other, I yield the point for ever.

"I shall not detain you, Sir, with any observations on those parts of the report which prohibit the fraudulent, or compulsory exportation of free blacks or mulattoes, or the exportation of slaves to the West India islands, &c. nor on that clause which recommends the remission of the penalties heretofore inflicted on certain offspring for the mere offence of the parents.

"Who doubts on these points now, will, in all likelihood, doubt for ever.

"I consider them as too evidently proper to need illustration. But there is another part of the report, which gentlemen either do, or affect to think less clear and obvious. This must be considered, because to be acceded to, it only requires to be understood.

"You are called upon to say, Sir, whether the owner of a slave shall be permitted to give him his liberty by a mode of conveyance which he may effectually use (and at a time when it is clearly lawful for him) to transfer the property of that slave to another.

"By an existing law no slave can be manumitted by his master during his last sickness, or at any time by last will and testament; that is when liberty (the great birthright of every human creature) is to be restored to its plundered proprietor, you must be careful to make the restitution at a particular time, and in one specified manner, or your generous intentions shall be frustrated; but if you are desirous of passing any worthless goods and chattels, you may perfect the transfer at any time, and almost in

any way.

"The door to freedom is fenced about with such barbarous caution, that a stranger would be naturally led to believe that our statesmen considered the existence of its opposite among us as the sine qua non of our prosperity; or, at least, that they regarded it as an act of the most atrocious criminality to raise an humble bondsman from the dust, and place him on the stage of life on a level with their citizens.

"To discover the grounds of their conduct would surely be no easy task; to show that, let them be what they may, an enlighten

ed legislature should blush to own them, a school boy would have sufficient ability.

"Sir, iniquitous, and most dishonourable to Maryland, is that | dreary system of partial bondage, which her laws have hitherto supported with a solicitude worthy of a better object, and her citizens by their practice countenanced.

"Founded in a disgraceful traffic, to which the parent country lent her fostering aid, from motives of interest, but which even she would have disdained to encourage, had England been the destined mart of such inhuman merchandise, its continuance is as shameful as its origin.

"Eternal infamy await the abandoned miscreants, whose selfish souls could ever prompt them to rob unhappy Afric of her sons, and freight them hither by thousands, to poison the fair Eden of liberty with the rank weed of individual bondage! Nor is it more to the credit of our ancestors, that they did not command these savage spoilers to bear their hateful cargo to another shore, where the shrine of freedom knew no votaries, and every purchaser would at once be both a master and a slave.

"In the dawn of time, when the rough feelings of barbarism had not experienced the softening touches of refinement, such an unprincipled prostration of the inherent rights of human nature would have needed the gloss of an apology; but to the everlasting reproach of Maryland be it said, that when her citizens rivalled the nation from whence they emigrated, in the knowledge of moral principles, and an enthusiasm in the cause of general freedom, they stooped to become the purchasers of their fellowcreatures, and to introduce an hereditary bondage in the bosom of their country, which should widen with every successive generation.

"For my own part, I would willingly draw the veil of oblivion over this disgusting scene of iniquity, but that the present abject state of those who are descended from these kidnapped sufferers, perpetually brings it forward to the memory.

"But wherefore should we confine the edge of censure to our ancestors, or those from whom they purchased? Are not we equally guilty? They strewed around the seeds of slavery; we cherish and sustain the growth. They introduced the system; we enlarge, invigorate, and confirm it. Yes, let it be handed down to posterity, that the people of Maryland, who could fly

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