THE DRED SCOTT CASE.- We last week gave the decision of the U.S.
Supreme Court upon the slavery question, in the Dred Scott case. The Supreme Court
consists of nine judges, vix:- Roger B. Taney of Maryland, John A. Campbell of
Alabama, John Catron of Tennessee, James M. Wayne of Georgia, Peter V. Daniel
of Virginia, Samuel Nelson of New York, Robert C. Grier of Pennsylvania, John
McLean of Ohio, and Benjamin R. Curtis of Massachusetts. The five Judges from
the slave Sates, came boldly up to the question of the nationality of Slavery.
Judge Nelson and Judge Grier, who are northern dough-faced democrats, dodge the
issue, but Judge M'Lean and Judge Curtis, who were formerly whigs, came out boldly
and fearlessly for the cause of humanity. Judge M'Lean argued that slavery is
limited to the State where it is established by municipal law. If Congress deems
slaves or free colored persons injurious to a territory, they have the power to
prohibit them from becoming settlers. The power to acquire territory carries the
power to govern it. The master does not carry with him to the territory the law
of the State from which he removes. Hence, the Missouri Compromise was constitutional,
and the presumption is in favor of freedom. Dred Scott and his family were free
under the decisions of the last 28 years.
Judge Curtis maintained that the native-born colored persons can be citizens
of States and of the United States; that Dred Scott and his family were free
when they returned to Missouri; that the power of Congress to make all needful
rules and regulations respecting the territory was not, as the majority of the
Court expressed, limited to Territory belonging to the United States at the
time of the adoption of the Constitution, but has been applied to five subsequent
acquisitions of land; that Congress has the power to exclude Slavery from the
Territories, having established eight Territorial governments without, and recognized
slavery in six, from the days of Washington to John Quincy Adams.
By the decisions of the majority of the Court, it is decided that the constitution
of the United States recognizes property in man, and that under it and by force
of it, human Slavery is nationalized, and must be protected and defended in
its spread and perpetuation, whithersoever that Constitution is carried is legitimately
in force. By this decision the Federal Constitution not only requires that
Massachusetts and every other free State shall return the fugitive slave who
seeks refuge in her territory, but that if a slaveholder brings into any of
her cities or towns a whole retinue of slaves, she shall protect him in his
ownership of them, as she would in the ownership of so many horses or oxen.
This is to be the doctrine of the present democratic party. It remains to be
seen whether the free laborers of the country will sanction it.