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the stain upon its national character will be transferred, and remain an eternal blot on the memory of those who caused the disorder.
Fellow-citizens of the United States. The threat of unhallowed disunion--the names of those once respected, by whom it is uttered—the array of military force to support it-denotes the approach of a crisis in our affairs, on which the continuance of our unexampled prosperity, our political existence, and perhaps that of all free governments, may depend. The conjuncture demanded a free, a full, and explicit enunciation, not only of my intentions, but of my principles of action : and as the claim was asserted of a right by a State to annul the laws of the Union, and even to secede from it at pleasure, a frank exposition of my opinions in relation to the origin and form of our government, and the construction I give to the instrument by which it was created, seemed to be proper. Having the fullest confidence in the justness of the legal and constitutional opinion of my duties, which has been expressed, I rely, with equal confidence, on your undivided support in my determination to execute the laws—to preserve the Union by all constitutional means—to arrest, if possible, by moderate but firm measures, the necessity of a recourse to force; and, if it be the will of Heaven, that the recurrence of its primeval curse on man for the shedding of a brother's blood should fall upon our land, that it be not called down by any offensive act on the part of the United States.
Fellow-citizens! the momentous case is before you. On your undivided support of your Government depends the decision of the great question it involves, whether your sacred Union will be preserved, and the blessings it secures to us as one people shall be perpetuated. No one can doubt that the unanimity with which that decision will be expressed, will be such as to inspire new confidence in republican institutions, and that the prudence, the wisdom, and the courage which it will bring to their defense will transmit them unimpaired and invigorated to our children.
May the Great Ruler of Nations grant that the signal blessings with which He has favored ours, may not, by the madness of party or personal ambition, bé disregarded and lost; and may His wise providence bring those who have produced this crisis to see their folly, before they feel the misery of civil strife, and inspire a returning veneration for that Union, which, if we may dare to penetrate His designs, He has chosen as the only means of attaining the high destinies to which we may reasonably aspire.
In testimony whereof, I have caused the seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed, having signed the same with my hand.
Done at the city of Washington, this 10th day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two, and of the Independence of the United States the fifty-seventh. By the President:
ANDREW JACKSON. EDWD. LIVINGSTON, Secretary of State.
FUGITIVE SLAVE LAW OF 1850.
An Act to amend, and supplementary to, the Act entitled, “An Aot respecting Fugitives from Justice, and persons escaping from the Service of their Masters,” and approved February 12, 1793.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the persons who have been, or may hereafter be, appointed Commissioners, in virtue of any Aci of Congress, by the Circuit Courts of the United States, and who, in consequence of such appointment, are authorized to exercise the powers that any justice of the peace, or other magistrate of any of the United States, may exercise in respect to offenders for any crime or offense against the United States, by arresting, imprisoning, or bailing the same, under, and by virtue of, the thirty-third section of the act of the twenty-fourth of September, seventeen hundred and eighty-nine, entitled, "An Act to establish the judicial courts of the United States," shall be, and are hereby, authorized and required to exercise and discharge all the powers and duties conferred by this Act.
SEC. 2. That the Superior Court of each organized Territory of the United States shall have the same power to appoint Commissioners to take acknowledgments of bail and affidavits, and to take depositions of witnesses in civil causes, which is now possessed by the Circuit Court of the United States; and all Commissioners who shall hereafter be appointed for such purposes by the Superior Court of any organized Territory of the United States shall possess all the powers, and exercise all the dutios, conferred by law upon the Commissioners appointed by the Circuit Courts of the United States for similar purposes, and shall moreover exercise and discharge all the powers and duties conferred by this Act. Sec. 3. That the Circuit Courts of the United States, and the Superior Courts of each organized territory of the United States, shall, from time to time, enlarge the number of Commissioners with a view to afford reasonable facilities to reclaim fugitives from labor, and to the prompt discharge of the duties imposed by this Act.
SEC. 4. That the Commissioners above named shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the Judges of the Circuit and District Courts of the United States, in their respective circuits and districts within the several States, and the Judges of the Superior Courts of the territories severally and collectively, in term time and vacation; and shall grant certificates to such claimants, upon satisfactory proof being made, with authority to take and remove such fugitives from service or labor, under the restrictions herein contained, to the State or Territory from which such persons may have escaped or fled.
Sec. 5. That it shall be the duty of all marshals and deputy marshals to obey and execute all warrants and precepts issued under the provisions of this act when to them directed; and should any marshal or deputy marshal refuse to receive such warrant, or other process, when tendered, or to use all proper means diligently to execute the same, he shall, on conviction thereof, be fined in the sum of one thousand dollars, to the use of such claimants on the motion of such claimant, by the Circuit or District Court for the district of such marshal; and after the arrest of such fugitive, by such marshal or his deputy, or while at any time in his custody, under the provisions of this act, should such fugitive escape, whether with or without the assent of such marshal or his deputy, such marshal shall be liable, on his official bond, to be prosecuted, for the benefit of such claimant, for the full value of the service or labor of said fugitive in the State, Territory, or district whence he escaped ; and, the better to enable said Comih issioners, when thus appointed, to execute their du. ties faithfully and efficiently, in conformity with the requirements of the Constitution of the United States, and of this Act, they are hereby authorized and empowered, within their counties respectively, to appoint, in writing under their hands, any one or more suitable persons, from
time to time, to execute all such warrants and other pro cess as may be issued by them in the lawful performance of their respective duties; with authority to such Commissioners, or the persons to be appointed by them, to exe. cute process as aforesaid, to summon and call to their aid the bystanders, or posse commitatus of the proper county, when necessary to insure a faithful observance of the clause of the Constitution referred to, in conformity with the provisions of this Act; and all good citizens are commanded to aid and assist in the prompt and efficient execution of this law whenever their services may be required, as aforesaid, for that purpose; and said warrants shall run, and be executed by said officers, anywhere in the State within which they are issued.
Sec. 6. That when a person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the United States has heretofore or shall hereafter escape into another State or Territory of the United States, the person or persons to whom such service or labor may be due, or his, her, or their agent or attorney, duly authorized by power of attorney, in writing acknowledged and certified under the seal of some legal officer or Court of the State or Territory in which the same may be executed, may pursue and reclaim such fugitive person, either by procuring a warrant from some one of the Courts, Judges, or Commissioners aforesaid, of the proper circuit, district, or county, for the apprehension of such fugitive from service or labor, or by seizing and arresting such fugitive where the same can be done without process, and by taking or causing such person to be taken forthwith before such Court, Judge, or Commissiouer, whose duty it shall be to hear and determine the case of such claimant in a summary manner; and, upon satisfactory proof being maderby deposition or affidavit in writing, to be taken and certified by such Court, Judge, or Commissioner, or by other satisfactory testimony, duly taken and certified by some Court, Magistrate, Justice of the Peace, or other legal officer authorized to administer an oath and take depositions under the laws of the State or Territory from which such person owing service or labor may have escaped, with a certificate of such magis