Part 2: Will Dallas join the 2017 Great Purge of American History?
Does the Dallas task force on Confederate monuments know what the antebellum politician, for whom their city was named, thought about the Congressional Acts that supported slavery?
George Mifflin Dallas was born July 10, 1792, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Before he died on December 31, 1864, he served as an American diplomat to two countries, and was elected or appointed to government service at the city, state, and national levels representing the Democratic Party.
Here is a list of most of his major achievements:
* Graduated (age 18) from Princeton with highest honors in 1810;
* Admitted to the Bar in 1813;
* Elected Mayor of Philadelphia in 1828;
* Appointed U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1829-1831;
* Elected U.S. Senator (D. Penn.), December 13, 1831-March 4, 1833;
* Appointed Attorney General of Pennsylvania,1833-1835;
* Appointed by President Martin Van Buren as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Russia, 1837-1839;
* Elected Vice President of the United Stated under President James K. Polk, March 4, 1845-March 4,1849; and,
* Appointed by President Franklin Pierce as Minister to Great Britain, 1856-1861.
The two major Fugitive Slave Acts (1793, 1850) of the U.S. Congress
Background: The Fugitive Slave Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article IV, Section 2, Clause 3 states: “No person held to service or labour in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence 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.”
Two pieces of subsequent Congressional legislation elaborated on the Fugitive Slave Clause:
1. Fugitive Slave Act of 1793: An Act respecting fugitives from justice, and persons escaping from the service of their masters.
“Section 3. And be it also enacted, That when a person held to labor in any of the United States, or in either of the Territories on the Northwest or South of the river Ohio, under the laws thereof, shall escape into any other part of the said States or Territory, the person to whom such labor or service may be due, his agent or attorney, is hereby empowered to seize or arrest such fugitive from labor, and to take him or her before any Judge of the Circuit or District Courts of the United States, residing or being within the State, or before any magistrate of a county, city, or town corporate, wherein such seizure or arrest shall be made, and upon proof to the satisfaction of such Judge or magistrate, either by oral testimony or affidavit taken before and certified by a magistrate of any such State or Territory, that the person so seized or arrested, doth, under the laws of the State or Territory from which he or she fled, owe service or labor to the person claiming him or her, it shall be the duty of such Judge or magistrate to give a certificate thereof to such claimant, his agent, or attorney, which shall be sufficient warrant for removing the said fugitive from labor to the State or Territory from which he or she fled.”
2. Fugitive Slave Act of 1850: An Act to amend, and supplementary to, the Act entitled “An Act respecting Fugitives from Justice, and Persons escaping from the Service of their Masters,” approved February twelfth, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three.
The 1850 legislation enhanced the 1793 Act with language that, among other enforcement provisions:
1. Strengthened the role and authority of “commissioners” to “take and remove such fugitives from service or labor … to the State or Territory from which such persons may have escaped or fled;”
2. Punished negligent enforcement “Should any marshal or deputy marshal refuse to serve 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;
3. Enabled a local official, who assists a fugitive to escape, to be sued;
4. Required “by-standers” to assist in the apprehension of fugitives;
5. Authorized “the person or persons to whom such labor or service may be due…may pursue and reclaim such fugitive person, either by procuring a warrant from some one of the courts, judges or commissioners aforesaid…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 commissioner…and upon satisfactory proof being made…to use such reasonable force and restraint as may be necessary, under the circumstances of the case, to take and remove such fugitive person back to the State or Territory whence he or she may have escaped as aforesaid. In no trial or hearing under this act shall the testimony of such alleged fugitive be admitted in evidence.
The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 extended the enforcement capabilities of the Act of 1793 because the earlier version was not being sufficiently enforced, particularly in free states where fugitive slaves took refuge.
In the context of this antebellum slavery legislation, George Mufflin Dallas took a stand .
Follow Dallas: The Series
Written by Lee Cary and published by Canada Free Press ~ September 7, 2017.
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