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every devise whatsoever, let the subject be what it may, or the devisee as white as the snows of heaven. Who is there can discriminate? I wish to hear a distinction attempted. I would draw one myself if I was able.


“Once more, it has been alleged, that such humane provisions in favour of slaves will diminish their value, by rendering them turbulent, disobedient, and unruly.' Far different was the idea of a man whose name and whose opinions cannot be too often repeated; a man whose greatness of soul, and profound discernment, beaming in every page of his works, have deservedly acquired him the admiration of his cotemporaries and posterity. I mean Montesquieu. Let those who hold this opinion read the Spirit of Laws, with their understandings open to conviction, and if they still retain this sentiment, I shall despair of producing their conversion. And yet, Sir, I cannot help remarking, that greatness and humanity are the parents of conciliation; but stubbornness and obstinacy are the effects of causeless barbarity. The more mild and equitable our laws upon this subject, the easier the situation of our slaves. And can it be believed, that to better their situation will make them more discontented with it?-Is it probable that to abolish one sad consequence of their bondage, will give additional weight to their shackles? Is the spirit of acquiescence known only in the gloomy regions of despair; or is it rather to be found where the cheerful rays of hope diffuse their soothing influence? Look back for examples to the republics of Athens and of Sparta. Never did the sedition of her slaves disturb the tranquillity of the former; because the lenity, the justice of her regulations with respect to them, precluded the possibility of a murmur. But the slaves of Sparta made that republic a perpetual scene of commotion, because in considering them as slaves, the republic forgot that they were men. In addition to these observations, it may be remarked, that the law in question has not always existed in this State; and who is it will contend that our slaves are more tractable now than before its passage? In Pennsylvania, where they have gone to a prodigious extent towards the total abolition of slavery, have they felt these evils at which gentlemen affect to be so alarmed?

"I have heard of no objections, except those I have already noticed, against the report upon the table, and I can foresee no more. If there are any not yet stated, I request the enemies to this measure to disclose them now. I offer myself ready to answer them, or to yield to be a proselyte to their opinion if I


"Here then, Sir, let the subject rest with the House, upon its obvious merits. What will be their determination, I know not. What it ought to be, I have, at present, no doubt. You are not called upon, at this time, to compel an emancipation of your slaves. For such a measure I am no advocate, however proper it might be upon principle, or if the temper of the people would allow it (for there are times when the best laws cannot with propriety be enacted.)—Thus stands the question at present. A former legislature has created a barrier to the course of voluntary liberation. They have forbid a manumission by last will and testament, or in any manner during the last sickness of the owner: a time when the heart is most powerfully disposed to be generous and just. They have destroyed almost the only opportunity these wretches can have of regaining the station to which God and nature have given them a title. They have thrown up an insuperable mound against the gentle current of humanity, to the additional injury of those whom they had already injured beyond the reach of justification. All this they have done without one rational inducement; without even policy to plead in its extenuation. Will you, then, whose councils the breath of freedom has heretofore inspired; whose citizens have been led by Providence to conquests as glorious as unexpected, in the sacred cause of human nature; whose government is founded on the never-mouldering basis of equal rights; will you, I say, behold this wanton abuse of legislative authority; this shameful disregard of every moral and religious obligation; this flagrant act of strained and unprovoked cruelty, and not attempt redress, when redress is so easy to be effected?

"Often, Mr. Speaker, has the public treasure relieved the wants of suffering merit, when the bounty of government was hardly reconcileable with justice; but you have now submitted to your consideration a case where the finer feelings of benevolence may

be gratified, and right and justice add their sanction to the measure, while the community sustains no damage. Yours, too, will be the gratitude of the millions whom this day's vote may give to breathe the air of freedom; yours the flattering approbation of the friends of mankind; and yours the pleasing consciousness of having, under the influence of every nobler sentiment, unloosed the manacles of many a fellow-creature, and led him by the hand to LIBERTY and SOCIAL HAPPINESS!"

In 1792, Mr. Pinkney was elected a member of the Executive Council of Maryland, and continued in that station until November, 1795, when being chosen a delegate to the Legislature from Anne Arundel county, he resigned his seat at the Council Board, of which he was at that time President.

During all this period he continued indefatigably devoted to his professional pursuits, and gradually rose to the head of the bar, and to a distinguished rank in the public councils of his native State. "His acuteness, dexterity, and zeal in the transaction of business; his readiness, spirit, and vigour in debate; the beauty and richness of his fluent elocution, adorned with the finest imagery drawn from classical lore and a vivid fancy; the manliness of his figure and the energy of his mein, united with a sonorous and flexible voice, and a general animation and graceful delivery,"* were the qualities by which he attained this elevated standing. But there remain no other memorials of his professional character at this period of his life than such as have been

* Mr. Walsh.

preserved in the fleeting recollection of his cotemporaries, in the written opinions which he gave upon cases submitted to him as counsel, and in the books of law reports. It is, however, obviously impossible to form any adequate notion of the powers of an advocate from the concise sketches of the arguments of counsel contained in the books of reports. But an argument which he delivered in 1793 upon the question whether the statute of limitations is a bar to the issue of tenant in tail, (which will be found reported in the 3d volume of Harris and M'Henry's Reports, p. 270,) may be referred to as a specimen of the accuracy and depth of his legal learning, and of his style and peculiar manner of reasoning upon technical subjects.

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In 1796, he was selected by President Washington as one of the Commissioners on the part of the United States, under the 7th article of Mr. Jay's treaty with Great Britain. After consultation with his friends, he reluctantly determined to accept this appointment, which had been spontaneously tendered to him. He accordingly embarked for London with his family, where he arrived in July, 1796, and was joined by Mr. Gore, the other Commissioner on the part of our government. The Board having been organized by the addition of Dr. Nicholl and Dr. Swabey as British Commissioners, and of Colonel Trumbull, (a citizen of the United States appointed by lot,) proceeded to examine the claims brought before it. Various interesting questions arose,

in the course of this examination, respecting the law of contraband, domicil, blockade, and the practice of the prize courts, which were investigated and discussed with great learning and ability. Mr. Pinkney's written opinions delivered at the Board, which are subjoined in the Second Part of this publication, will, I think, be found to be finished models of judicial eloquence, uniting powerful and comprehensive argument, with a copious, pure, and energetic diction.*

He was also engaged, during his residence abroad, in attending to the claim of the State of Maryland for a large amount of public property invésted in the stock of the Bank of England before the revolution, and which had become the subject of a complicated Chancery litigation. He at last succeeded in extricating the stock from this situation by an arrangement under which it was (with his consent) adjudged to the crown, with an understanding that after the payment of the liens upon it, the balance should be paid over to the government of Maryland.

The following extracts from letters to his elder brother, will show the nature of Mr. Pinkney's occupations and pursuits during his residence in England.

"LONDON, 26th August, 1796. "DEAR J.,-We are now London house-keepers. I found it would not answer to take lodgings unless we meant to do penance instead of being comfortable. Our present residence


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