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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 36

The Slave Trade

The Slave Trade

was abolished by a constitutional provision, which, in form, gave it protection for nearly twenty years. If it had been proposed to make that provision operative at once, the Constitution itself never would have been adopted by the American people. That measure must interfere as little as possible with the internal affairs of the States, leaving to them the enforcement of special laws within their own borders subject to the general constitutional restriction. And, finally, in order to have practical value, it must be one which, appealing to the intelligence and patriotism of all classes in the whole country, will have some rational chance of adoption by the widely diversified interests, prejudices, and sentiments of this vast nation, and of incorporation into the supreme law of the land. Such a measure I have endeavored to devise, and, although it may be full of imperfections, I have felt some hope that it would turn the attention of greater powers to the subject, and that the eminent gentlemen who have charge of it would mature some plan for the suppression of this national crime and shame, through a constitutional inhibition. I desire to call specific attention to those features of this proposed amendment to the Constitution which have commended themselves to my own judgment, and which I have thought would strike the public mind with some force.