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froward.” Will not these two oracular men-prime functionaries in setting up Christ's Kingdom, promulgers of his laws in a Pagan world-suffice in point of authority?
But some christians are conscientious about giving up a servant a runaway servant-to his master. So was not Paul, when he sent the runaway Onesimus home to his master? So was not an angel. of God, when he commanded the runaway Hagar to “ go home to her mistress?" In this our day of high wrought sentimentalism, we have some very romantic and imaginative philanthropists !
But it is alledged against these divine statutes, that we the sovereign people—the free citizens of these United States-have all power in our hands to create laws and lawgivers; to judge and make judges; to execute and to create executors of our laws; and that we are responsible to no superiors, only to our own good sense, our consciences, and our God. True, comparatively few speak in these identical words; but in actions sometimes, in words often, and in thinking always, a majority feel pretty much in this spirit. But on a little calm reflection, we all concede that we cannot retain and delegate the same power. We cannot both hold and give, at the same time, the same rights. We cannot, simultaneously, represent ourselves and be represented by others. When, therefore, our representatives have made laws, we cannot curselves, individually, annul them. This is not our form of government. The power that creates, is the only power that can destroy. The power that gives the law, is the only power that can annul it.
We, the citizens and people of the United States, owe allegiance to the laius of the United States. We also, as citizens of a particu. Jar State, owe allegiance to the laws of that State. This is a portion of the peculiar genius of our government. It is, therefore, presumable, from this conceded fact, that in no case can there be an intentional, real conflict between the laws of our own special State and those of the United States, for that would be subversive of the rights and obligations of conscience, and of allegiance to both.
This allegiance, or obligation of submission to the laws of the United States, is, by general concession, both political and moral. It is politically an ordinance or law of the State, and because of the political benefits accruing from such obedience. It is also moral, and even religious, because political government is an ordinance of God, as already proved, and is as much to be obeyed, for conscience sake, as for profit's sake. God having prescribed no one form of political government, has equally sanctioned every form which society chooses to assume. SERIES IV.-VOL. I.
There is as clear a jus divinum, or divine warrant, for monarchy, or aristocracy, or oligarchy, or democracy, limited or absolute, as there is for our own republican system, and for it as much as for any other form, so far as christianity suggests, legislates, or enacts. The genius, character, and condition of a people, is the only supreme law in the choice of a form of government. A tailor, with one standard measure in his shop for every customer, would be as discreet and popular as he who has for all mankind, in all circumstances, one and the same form of government. Hence the apostolic doctrine is, " Let every soul be subject to the powers that be, for there is no power but of God. The powers that be are ordained of God.”
In the affairs of this life--in all temporal and earthly matters the civil law, the social compact, is our rule of action. In religion, in faith, in piety, God alone is Lord of the conscience. In these we recognize no human authority. In matters purely moral and religious, God alone is the supreme legislator. But this is not the precise case before us. The case before us is a law for the recovery of a runaway servant. He may be a servant for life, or for a term of years, the principle is the same, whatever the term of service may be. Our Federal Constitution, the supreme law of our nation, article 4th, section 2d, says: “No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.” This is a precise, definite, and perspicuous article of our constitutional law, unanimously enacted September 17, 1787– the twelfth year of our independence; and finally adopted by the people of these United States as the su. preme law of these United States.
The law in question, for reclaiming fugitive servants, is, to any ordinary mind, most obviously and perfectly constitutional, and is so declared by the most learned and able judges of the nation.
As to the manner of proving such property, the laws are explicit, and when such judicial proceedings as are necessary to the identification of such persons have been carried through, the Constitution of the United States is equally explicit in the 1st section of the same 4th article, and in the following words : “Full faith and credit shall be given in each State, both to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other State ; and the Congress may, by general laws, prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof."
With these premises before the mind of any christian man, what
ever may be his private opinions on the subject of servitude or American slavery, I ask how can he, in allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ, throw any obstructions in the way of the execution of this law for reclaiming runaway servants ? His conscience must, indeed, be very weak and imperfectly enlightened, if he is, in such acts, pleasing the Lord or promoting the welfare of man. He is not responsible to heaven or earth for the after treatment of such runaway. It is no part of his duty to become his guardian in the hands of his master. Nor will the Lord condemn him for his after-treatment. He has done his duty, and let the owner of that servant take care, on his own responsibility, how he does his. There is one that will judge and reward him according to his works. To his own master he stands or falls.
But, in the last place, it is argued by some of our contemporaries that there is a Jewish law that justifies resistance to the law now before us. It is in these words :
" Thou shalt not deliver to his master the servant which is escaped from his master to thee. He shall dwell with thee, among you in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best; thou shalt not oppress him.”—Deut. xxiii, 15–16.
In the first place, this is one of the special laws of the Jewish nation, and for a special object. It is not a general law, and not a law of christianity. Had it been, Paul himself would have violated it, in sending home the servant Onesimus to his master Philemon.
It was a law for a special object. The context, and the code to which it belongs, explains that object. The 22d chapter of Deuteronomy defines who may and who may not enter into the congregation of the Lord. Several nations and people are inhitited from entering into the Jewish community. Some are inhibited to the tenth generation, some are forever inhibited from entering it. The Amorite and the Moabite are never to be adopted into the nation. An Edomite and an Egyptian are debarred only to the third generation.
“A servant escaped from his master was not debarred from the congregation. He was not, therefore, to be returned, coming with that intent." That this is the meaning, is farther evident from the fact, that this is not the servant of a Hebrew, but of an alien or stranger, coming over to the Hebrews.
Some of the English interpreters, beyond the atmosphere of our laws and influence, interpret it thus : “ A heathen servant or soldier, who deserted and came over to the Israelites, with intent of turning proselyte to their religion."-Dr. Pyle. Dr. Adam Clark farther confirms this view: “That is, a servant who left an idolatrous mas.
ter, that he might join himself to God and his people. In any other case it would have been injustice to have harbored the runaway." So far Adam Clark. This case, then, has no bearing whatever upon the subject before us.
It can, therefore, afford no salvo to the conscience of any intelligent man who will entice, aid, or allure a servant to run away from his master.
But, in my judgment, it is as lame philanthropy as morality. There is a christian respect for vested rights, that more effectually prevents, and more expeditiously redresses alledged wrongs, than acts of violence, or aggressive movements of any kind.
The conviction but deepens with my years of experience and observation, that the spirit which animates this crusade against southern institutions by northern men, but exasperates the masters, exacerbates the slaves, extends the territory, and prolongs the existence of this obnoxious institution. Let them alone, and, whatever interested demagogues or generous philanthropists may say or think to the contrary, the evil will sooner cure itself, than all the nostrums of all the regular and irregular doctors, from Baffin's Bay to the Isthmus of Panama.
But we have almost forgotten Major Noah's apology for his nation, by a too happy hit at the christian profession. The Major is a very clever son of Abraham, and liberally endowed with a good measure of the Jewish talent. It is a misfortune to himself and his people, that he can so easily spike the cannon of all the christian batteries engaged in this movement. I am, therefore, not at all gratified with the weapons put into his hands by the unchristian, impolitic, and anti. American onslaught against a law which is only the spirit and letter of the Constitution of the United States, according to its legitimate construction, and the well-ascertained sense of the convention that framed and commended it to the adoption of the American people.
But that the christian pulpit, so called, should preach up rebellion and violence, and seek to generate or increase a spirit of resistance to the powers that be-to the ordinance of God-is what I never expected to hear from men at the north, so long declaiming against the south for its doctrines of nullification and secession, and denoun. cing the uupatriotic, and profane hand that would offer an act of violence to the ark of the covenant of our great and mighty nation.
From the Washington (Pennsylvania) Reporter Mr. White: I send you a paper containing the construction of the Fugilive Slave Bill, by Judge Grier, of Pennsylvania, one of the ablest of the
Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. A great deal has been published in the public presses, well calculated to keep alive the agitation between sections of our country, which Congress and the great mass of our citizens have endeavored to quiet. I deeply
regret that a number of presses have been, and are still engaged in this effort to give a degree of respectability to a faction, which itself has brought about the necessity for, and the passage of the law in question. In the resolves and declarations of this faction, it is not avowed that they will seek to obtain a repeal of the law, as an unconstitutional one, but that no fugitive slave shall be reclaimed; they avow that a law of the land shall not be enforced. Thus the black and white chivalry” of the north, like the “chivalry” of the south, are threatening to nullify a law of Congress! I feel as much confidence in the patriotism and good sense of the great body of the people of the north, as I do in the same qualities of those of the south to control, and, if need be, to punish this impudent and treasonable spirit.
Regretting, as deeply as any one, that occasion for such laws as the Fugitive Slave Law exists in our country at all, I am indignant at the conduct of those whose whole career has been well calculated (as it has, in fact, done) to do incalculable injury to the colored race in this country.
I wish you, Mr. Editor, to publish Judge Grier's opinion of the provisions of the present law, so that your readers may have full light on the subject. This is due to them and to the authority of the great precept, “ Hear both sides."
If some law on the subject of fugitive slaves must and will be made, I would like to see one pointed out, which, if Judge Grier's construction be true, will give better protection to the party claimed, and which would not designedly defeat the claimant. Let it be recollected that Judge Grier has acted judicially on the present law, and released the fugitive slave. L.
OPINION OF JUDGE GRIER, OF PHILADELPHIA. In the case of Garnett, the warrant issued by the court was founded on the affidavit of the alledged owner of the fugitive. But, “on the trial or hearing” before the court, after the arrest, this affidavit was not received in evidence, nor did the counsel for the claimant insist that it should be received. The claimant had wholly neglected to make the proper proof, before some court or judge in Maryland, to establish the fact that he was owner of a slave, or person held to labor, and what was the name, age, size, and other marks, of such person; and that the person so described had escaped. Not having availed himself of the privileges and facilities given him by the act of Congress for this purpose, we decided that he must be bound by the common law rules of evidence, as in other cases, where a title to property has been established before a court. We refused to receive the parties in interest as witnesses, and wills, and other documents of title, unless properly proved.
The act contemplates a trial and decision of the court or judge, involving questions both of law and fact; and unless the rules of the common law, as to evidence, be followed, when not changed by a statute, the tribunal would be without rule, governed only by caprice, or undefined discretion, which would be the exercise of a tyrannical, not a judicial power. It is the duty of the judge who exercises it, to render equal justice both to the claimant and the person claimed. If evidence were heard on one side only, and that, too, without regard to any rule or principle known to the law, gross oppression and wrong would flow from it. Free men and citizens of Pennsylvania might be kidnapped into bondage, under forms of law, and by the action of a legal tribunal, sworn to do equal and exact justice te all men. This