Moses M. (Moses Moorhead) Granger.

A fair answer to the Confederate appeal at Richmond online

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Formerly Captain 18th U. S. Infantry; Lieutenant-Colonel t22d Ohio

Volunteer Infantry; Brevet-Colonel U. S. Volunteers ; Chief

Judge of the Supreme Court Commission of Ohio ;

Author of "The Battle of Cedar Creek;"

"Washington vs. Jefferson; the Case

Tried by Battle in 1861-66 "


f^mftAflY of congress]
^ iWu Copies Received ;

j OCT 6. mf

I Capyrteht Entry __
CLASii/4 XXc, No.
COPY ti/





On Monday, June 3, 1907, a great memorial column,
arch, and statue was unveiled at Richmond, Virginia,
in honor of Jefferson Davis, the only president of the
states that from February, 1861, to May, 1865, acted
as '*The Confederate States of America." The inscrip-
tion upon this monument, and the speeches made, claim
that God will vindicate the action of those states, and of
President Davis, and express what is firmly believed by
the great majority of the white inhabitants of those states.

The majority of the people of the present United
States of America as firmly believe that, as God can-
not give a wrong judgment, the facts that I will now
briefly state will forever prevent by Him the vindica-
tion claimed by this memorial monument.

The states that seceded in 1860 and 1861 claimed as
their justification : —

1. That the South had been wronged by the legis-
lation as to the territory of the United States.

2. That it had been wronged by the failure to comply
with and enforce the provision in the Constitution of
the United States for the recovery of fugitive slaves.

3. That the existence of slavery, in the then slave
states, was in imminent peril, because of the prevalence
of anti -slavery opinions in the then free states.

4. That the Congress of the United States had failed
to pass any laws regulating and protecting slavery in the


5. That each state was sovereign, and had full right
to secede at pleasure, and without cause.

6. That the people in the Free States were very
strongly anti-slavery in opinion, and hostile to the South.

What were the actual facts as to each of said claims,
up to and in 1860-1861 ?

The Facts as to Claim One

Every act of Congress as to any territory of the United
States passed between March 4, 1789, and March 4,
1861, except that of 1798, organizing Mississippi as a
territory, was approved by a president of the United
States who was born in a slave state, was himself a
slaveholder, and was popular in and approved by the
South, except Presidents Van Buren, Fillmore, Pierce,
and Buchanan. The acts passed during the adminis-
trations of said four Northern born presidents were ap-
proved by the South; Van Buren, Pierce, and Buchanan
each received a large majority of the electoral votes
of the South. The legislation in President Fillmore's
time — the Compromise of 1850 — was approved by
the great majority of the representatives of the slave
states in the Democratic and Whig national conven-
tions of the year 1852.

From September 9, 1850, until after July 4, 1861,
any slaveholder who wished to do so, could take and
hold his slaves in any part of the territory organized
in 1850 as Utah and New Mexico. This embraced all
of what is now Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico,
also the western half of what is now Colorado, and the
southwestern part of what is now Wyoming.

According to the census taken in June, 1860, there
were then no slaves in New Mexico, and only 29 in Utah.


TMs indicated that the South did not intend or ex-
pect the estabHshment of any slave states in either.

From May 31, 1854, until 1861, any slaveholder could
lawfully take and hold his slaves in any territory in
the land ceded by France to the United States, east of
the Rocky Mountains, except so much of what is now
North and South Dakota as lies east of the Missouri
River. The census taken in June, 1860, showed that
within said territory, between the Rocky Mountains
and the Missouri River, there were then only 17 slaves,
15 of whom were in Nebraska, and the other 2 in

This indicated that the South did not, in 1860, in-
tend or expect the establishment of any slave states in
that territory. The legislation that, during those years,
made slavery illegal in so much of the Dakotas as lies
east of the Missouri River, and in what is now Idaho
and Washington, and so much of Montana as lies
west of the Rocky Mountains, was enacted during the
administration of President Polk, of Tennessee, and
approved by him; to wit, the acts organizing Oregon
and Minnesota. Those territories lay so far north and
were so distant from the nearest slave state that the
South never intended or expected the creation of any
slave state therein.

Every act of Congress admitting any state, between
March 4, 1789, and July 4, 1861, was approved by a
president, born, reared, and resident in a slave state,
and himself a slaveholder, or by one of the four North-
ern born presidents hereinbefore named, who — as I
have stated — were elected, or their action on such
legislation approved, by the South. Under these facts,
claim One is without merit.


The Facts as to Claim Two

The third clause of section two of article four of
the Constitution of the United States reads thus : —

" No person held to service or labour in one state under
the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in conse-
quence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged
from such service or labour, but shall be delivered up
on claim of the party to whom such service or labour
may be due."

In 1842, in the case of Prigg vs. Pennsylvania, 16
Howard's Reports, pages 540 and following, the Su-
preme Court of the United States decided unanimously
that this clause gave to Congress the power, and made
it its duty, to enforce such delivery of a fugitive slave
by appropriate legislation and by national officers. A
minority of the court held that any state legislature
also had power to aid in enforcing delivery.

Congress in 1793 passed an act under this power
and duty. Before 1850 this act was found defective,
and one prepared by Senator James M. Mason, of
Virginia, was passed by both houses and approved by
President Fillmore. It was claimed, in a number of
the free states, that some of the provisions of this act
of 1850 were unconstitutional and wrongfully imposed
illegal duties and penalties upon citizens and residents
of said states. A number of free state legislatures
passed state statutes, commonly known as "personal
liberty bills," purporting to protect residents of said
states from said duties and penalties, and to punish
any illegal acts done under said fugitive slave law.
Cases arising under said state legislation were duly
carried to the Supreme Court of the United States,


which held that the " personal liberty bills " in a num-
ber of said states — four — were unconstitutional and
invalid. The last decision to that effect was made at
December term, 1858, in the case of Ableman vs. Booth,
21 Howard's Reports, pages 506 and following. The
Supreme Court of the United States unanimously held
that the entire fugitive slave law of 1850 was constitu-
tional, that the personal liberty bill of Wisconsin was
unconstitutional; and the judgment of the Wisconsin
court in favor of Booth was reversed. Booth was there-
after convicted, sentenced, and punished for a violation
of the fugitive slave law of 1850. In May, 1859, the
Supreme Court of Ohio, composed of Republican judges,
followed this precedent; and some residents of Lorain
County, Ohio, were punished, under a judgment ren-
dered by the United States Court at Cleveland, for acts
done in violation of said fugitive slave law. From the
time of the passage of said law, in 1850, until after seces-
sion, each president of the United States, and his subor-
dinates charged with the enforcement of the laws,
were active, diligent, and persistent in enforcing said
fugitive slave law; and the United States Courts every-
where did their duty in all cases brought before them,
so faithfully that no complaint was made against any
president, judge, or any legal or other United States
official by the South. The census taken in June, 1860,
showed that the number of slaves then within the
United States, exceeded the number reported by the
census of 1850, by about 500,000. Yet the number of
escaped fugitive slaves in 1860 was 110 less than the
number of escaped slaves in 1850.

After the Supreme Court of the United States, at De-
cember term, 1858, had unanimously decided that the
entire law of 1850 was constitutional, no state court


upheld any of the personal liberty bills that the Supreme
Court's decision had shown to be unconstitutional.

The United States Congress, the president, the execu-
tive departments, and the judiciary had actively, fear-
lessly, and efficiently discharged the duty, and used the
power, imposed and given by the Constitution, under
what is known as "the fugitive slave clause."

In the discussions in Congress in December, Janu-
ary, and February, 1860-61, and in the conference
of delegates from states convened at Washington City
in February, 1861, on the invitation of Virginia, the
foregoing facts were retold in speeches by free state
men, and they urged that Congress might, and would,
if secession did not continue, provide by suitable legis-
lation that escaped slaves, who could not be arrested
and delivered up, might be paid for by the United States
Government. Southern representatives gave no indi-
cation that such legislation would affect their claim
under what I have called " Number Two."

In his speech at Jonesboro, Illinois, on September
15, 1858, Mr. Lincoln (there debating with Senator
Douglas) said, "Now on what ground would a member
of Congress, who is opposed to slavery in the abstract,
vote for a fugitive slave law, as I would deem it my
duty to do? Because there is a constitutional right
which needs legislation to enforce it, and, although it
is distasteful to me, I have sworn to support the Con-
stitution, and having so sworn, I cannot conceive that
I do support it if I withhold from that right any neces-
sary legislation to make it practical." See the volume
of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, in 1858, page 155.
This speech was published and read everj^vhere at
the North for two years. By their nomination and
election of Mr. Lincoln in 1860, the Republican party


endorsed his opinion* This speech was known to and
quoted in the Senate by Senator Benjamin, of Louisi-
ana. It was also known to other Southern congressmen.
They knew, in 1860-61, that the newly elected presi-
dent was thus publicly pledged to enforce effectively the
fugitive slave law.

Under these facts, the Southern claim Two was and
is without merit or value.

The Facts as to Claim Three

Between 1830 and 1842, abolition societies were
formed in many of the free states, abolition newspapers,
pamphlets, tracts, addresses, and sermons were widely
published and circulated, and abolition petitions were
sent to both houses of Congress at each session. In 1840,
members of said societies nominated James G. Birney
for president of the United States, and voted for him
in November of that year. They did the like in 1844.
He received 7059 votes in 1840; the total vote that
year was 2,410,778. He received 62,300 votes in 1844;
the total vote that year was 2,698,611. Salmon P.
Chase and others, who were opposed to the extension
of slavery into free territory, but held that the United
States had no constitutional power to abolish slavery
in a state, induced those anti-slavery men, who would
no longer act with either the Whig or the Democratic
Party, to organize in 1848 as the " Free-Soil Party."
The friends of Martin Van Buren, in order to punish
Cass, joined the new party at Buffalo, and in Novem-
ber, 1848, it cast 291,263 votes for Van Buren. In
1852, the same party cast for John P. Hale 156,149 votes;
the total vote that year was 3,139,869. In that year
both the Democratic and Whig national conventions


resolved to approve and maintain "the compromise
measures of 1850" and to resist any attempt *'to reopen
the slavery question, come from what quarter it may."
Franklin Pierce, born in New Hampshire, nominated
through and by special efforts of Southern politicians,
and holding the political opinions of John C. Calhoun,
received all electoral votes except the 42 given by
Massachusetts, Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee to
General Winfield Scott, of Virginia. Thus the efforts
of abolition societies, which had kept the South excited
for twenty-two years, resulted in a vote of only 156,149
men, not for abolition, but against the extension of
slavery into free territory; and 2,983,720 votes to
maintain the '* Compromise of 1850" and against any
reopening of the slavery question. This seems to prove
that the vast majority of the people of the North did not,
in 1852, hate the South. They placed in the presidential
chair a man holding strongly Southern opinions, and
gave him a Congress ready to support him by a very
large majority in each house.

While only 156,149 men in 1852 voted, in a separate
party, against the extension of slavery into free terri-
tory, the vast majority of the people of the free states
believed, as did George Mason, who was one of Vir-
ginia's delegates to the Constitutional Convention of
1787, — "George Mason of Gunston Hall."

In Volume II of Bancroft's History of the Constitu-
tion, on pages 153 and 154, I find that said Mason of
Gunston Hall, in a speech made in said constitutional
convention, said, —

"Slavery discourages art and manufactures. The
poor despise labor when performed by slaves. They pre-
vent the emigration of whites, who really enrich and
strengthen a country. They produce the most pernicious


effect upon manners, ^very master of slaves is born a
petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of Heaven on
a country. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished
in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevi-
table chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes
national sins by national calamities. / hold it essential
in every point of view that the general government should
have the power to prevent the increase of slavery."

The second paragraph of section three, article four,
of the Constitution of the United States contains this
provision: '*The Congress shall have power to dispose
of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting
the territory or other property belonging to the United

On March 6, 1820, Congress passed the act well known
as the "Compromise of 1820." It prohibited slavery in
all the territory ceded by France that lay north of
north latitude 36° 30', except in the state of Missouri.
This act was at once submitted to President James
Monroe, of Virginia. He called his cabinet together
and submitted to them this question: '*Is the section
prohibiting slavery in said portion of said ceded terri-
tory constitutional .P " His cabinet consisted of John
Quincy Adams, of Massachusetts, Secretary of State,
William H. Crawford, of Georgia, Secretary of the
Treasury, John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina, Secre-
tary of War, and William Wirt, of Virginia, Attorney-
General. They unanimously advised the president
that in their opinion the prohibition was constitutional
and valid, so long as tlie land continued to be '* terri-
tory;" but Crawford, Calhoun, and Wirt held that
when admitted as a state, the state might, if it so pleased,
legalize slavery in the state; so Mr. Monroe signed the
bill and it became a law.


In 1850, this law had been in force for thirty years,
and was well known and valued by the North as almost
a part of the Constitution. Notwithstanding the long
and excited contest in Congress, during that year, no
attempt was made to alter, amend, or repeal it. None
of the acts of Congress that became known as the
"Compromise of 1850" contained one word relating to,
or affecting, any part of the territory ceded by France
and controlled by the "Compromise of 1820."

The North, in both the Democratic and Whig na-
tional conventions of 1852, understanding and believ-
ing that the act of 1820 made secure for freedom all
of the French cession north of 36° 30', joined heartily
in the pledges "to maintain the Compromise of 1850"
(the only one that was then opposed by extremists in
both North and South) and *'to resist the reopening of
the slavery question, come from what quarter it may."

Senator Douglas reopened the slavery question in
January, 1854, by first attempting to make "null,"
and later to repeal, the Compromise of 1820. In this
he was supported by the South, and by President Pierce ;
and the repeal took effect on May 31, 1854. This sur-
prised and shocked vast numbers of anti-slavery men,
who thought like George Mason, but had hitherto
voted as regular members of either the Whig or Demo-
cratic Party, and they resolved to so vote in the future
as to prevent the extension of slavery into free terri-
tory. In 1856, John C. Fremont was nominated for
president on that platform, and he received a popular
vote of 1,341,264, almost all cast in the 16 free states,
a small number, aggregating less than 10,000, in
some border slave states. This was only 49,312 less
than General Scott had received in 1852, in the 31
states. This was no "growth of an abolition party."


It was the same "Mason of Gunston Hall" anti-
slavery opinion that, in 1820, had dedicated to freedom
all of the French cession north of 36° 30'. It was not
"hate of the South;" it was the same resolve to pre-
vent "the extension of slavery" that George Mason
was governed by.

In 1860, in April at Charleston and later in Congress,
the South insisted that Congress must pass national
laws protecting slavery in the territories of the United
States. Seventy-one years, for forty-one of which slave-
holding presidents were in the executive chair, had
passed, during which no such claim had been made.
Because of this claim, voters in New Jersey, Pennsyl-
vania, Indiana, and Illinois, who, by remaining in
the Democratic Party had given to Mr. Buchanan
the electoral votes of those states and made him presi-
dent, in 1860 voted for Mr. Lincoln and made his
total popular vote 1,866,352. This exceeded the vote of
1856 for Mr. Buchanan by 28,183, although no votes
were cast for Mr. Lincoln in ten of the slave states,
all of which were carried in 1856 by Mr. Buchanan.

The platform upon which Mr. Lincoln was nomi-
nated and elected, limited the party's proposed action
against slavery to the prevention of its extension into
any free territory.

Before Congress adjourned on March 4, 1861, by a
vote of two thirds of each house it passed a joint reso-
lution proposing to the states an amendment to the
Constitution of the United States to read thus : —

"Article XIII. No amendment shall be made to the
Constitution which will authorize or give Congress the
power to abolish or interfere, within any state, with
the domestic institutions thereof, including that of per-
sons held to labor or service by the laws of said state."

[ 12]

On May 13, 1861, the legislature of Ohio, largely
Republican in both houses, duly ratified said amend-

The same legislature, in April, 1861, had authorized
the organization of twenty-two regiments of infantry
and also some cavalry and artillery, under President
Lincoln's proclamation of April 15, for the purpose of
aiding the president in executing the laws of the United
States. If the Southern states, as they had ample time,
had ratified said amendment in April or May, 1861, the
existence of slavery in the then slave states would have
been made secure beyond perad venture. The secession
conventions of the Gulf States and South Carolina
could have repealed their ordinances before Beaure-
gard fired on Sumter, and the said thirteenth amend-
ment could have been ratified, so that the members of
Senate and House, to which they were entitled, might
take their seats in Congress. Each house would then
have contained a majority opposed to the Republican
Party, and there would have been no war.

President Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4,
1861. In his inaugural address on that day, he said,
"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere
with the institution of slavery in the states where it
exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and
I have no inclination to do so. Those who nominated
and elected me did so with full knowledge that I made
this and many similar declarations and had never re-
canted them; and more than this, they placed in the
platform for my acceptance, and as a law to them-
selves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution
which I now read : —

"Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the
rights of the states, and especially the rights of each

[ 13 ]

state to order and control its own domestic institutions
according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential
to that balance of power on which the perfection and
endurance of our political fabric depend."

The president repeated his opinion and statement
as to his duty under the fugitive slave law, and plainly
made known his intent to maintain the Constitution
and laws of the United States in full force throughout
all the states, secession being illegal and void. All laws
of the United States then in force had been enacted
or were approved by a majority of Southern congress-
men, except the Morrill tariff law. That was passed
after the members from South Carolina and the Gulf
States had withdrawn. It could not have been passed
if they had retained their seats. Its amendment or
repeal could be accomplished by the presence of all
slave-state congressmen in their seats, as both houses
would then have contained a majority of members
opposed to a protective tariff.

It is evident that '*the existence of slavery in the
then slave states" was then in no peril, unless they
should persist in secession and force a war.

The Facts as to Claim Four

I have already quoted George Mason's argument,
that it was essential that *'the general government
should have power to prevent the increase of slavery,"
and also the words by which the Constitution granted
to Congress power '*to pass all needful regulations for
the territory of the United States."

Prior to March 4, 1798, the United States were a
league described in the preface to the '* Articles of
Confederation" thus: —


''Articles of Confederation and perpetual union
between the states of New Hampshire, Massachu-
setts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,.
Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South
Carolina, and Georgia."

By virtue of the Constitution framed in 1787 and
ratified in 1787 and 1788, the United States became
what that instrument made them. The preamble,
taking the place of the "Preface" above quoted, read
thus : —

" We^ the people of the United States, in order to
form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure
domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense,
promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings
of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain
and establish this Constitution for the United States
of America." (The italics are mine.)

In the Constitutional Convention, while it was
framing this Constitution, a Virginia delegate moved
the following: "A national judiciary ought to be estab-
lished with jurisdiction to hear and determine cases
in which foreigners and citizens, a citizen of one state
and a citizen of another state, may be interested,
cases which respect the collection of the national rev-
enue, impeachments of national officers, and ques-
tions which may involve the national peace and har-

The convention made section two, of article three,
of the Constitution read thus : —

'*The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law
and equity arising under this constitution, the laws of
the United States, and treaties made, or which shall

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Online LibraryMoses M. (Moses Moorhead) GrangerA fair answer to the Confederate appeal at Richmond → online text (page 1 of 3)