Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 17.djvu/441

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Development of the Free Soil Idea in the United States, 433

On the 2oth of December, 1803, the government of the United States took possession of that extensive country lying north of Florida, and from the mouth of the Mississippi river to the British possessions, and from thence across the Rocky mountains. This purchase had been at a venture of 60,000,000 francs from the First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte, of France, without reference to the ex- tension of human slavery, and that portion constituting the present State of Louisiana was admitted into the Union in 1812 under its pro- slavery State Constitution.

Upon the treaty of 1767, whereby France had ceded the north- west territory to the British government, the French trappers and traders who resided in the Illinois country crossed over into Missouri, taking their slaves with them, and human slavery existed there at the time of purchase in 1833.

In December, 1817, a delegate from Missouri appeared in Con- gress and was admitted to a seat. It was proposed during the fol- lowing February that Missouri be admitted into the Union, but a clause was desired by Northern congressmen prohibiting the ex- tension of slavery. This was the great entering wedge, and resulted finally in the Missouri compromise of 1820. It was in this discussion that Mr. Cobb, of Georgia, declared that if the North persisted the Union would be dissolved, and remarked with warmth, addressing a congressman from New York, " You have kindled a fire which all the water of the ocean cannot put out, which seas of blood only can extinguish.'* This first struggle resulted in the organization of the territory south of 36° 30' and north of Louisiana into the Territory of Arkansas, with slavery unrestricted ; but the admission of Mis- souri into the Union of States on either basis — slave or free — was defeated.

The second Missouri struggle commenced in December of the next session, and much new blood having been infused into the House by reason of previous elections, the debates were long and the question was again fully discussed. Memorials were presented from the legis- latures of several States, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsyl- vania, and Delaware, favoring the restriction of slavery. An elaborate memorial, prepared by Daniel Webster and signed by himself, George Blake, Josiah Quincy, and many others, desiring that measures be taken " to restrain the increase of slavery in new States to be ad- mitted into the Union,** was presented December 3d, 181 9. This sentiment prevailed strongly in Boston and throughout the New England States. The Legislature of Kentucky passed a memorial