Teacher's Parlor

Mr. Kinney's Speech.

[p. 216-217 ]

Mr. Kinney's speech in response to Mr. Bond's resolution to prohibit free blacks from coming into Illinois and to prohibit slave owners from bringing slaves into Illinois in order to set them free.

Mr. KINNEY of St. Clair said, that the present question was one in which his county felt a very lively interest. It was situated near St. Louis; they had already nearly five hundred free colored persons collected there from Missouri, and they were perfectly familiar with their habits. He was satisfied that a large majority of the people of his county would vote to sustain the resolution of the gentleman from Clinton. Those members from the northern part of the State did not know how lazy, and good-for-nothing these people were. If they did and could witness their worthlessness their opinions would be changed. He was in favor of a fair and calm discussion of this question and saw no necessity for excitement. It had nothing to do with abolition and abolitionists, and appeared to him a mere question of State policy — a political question. It has been said by the gentleman from Will (Mr. NORTON) that he has objections to this resolution because it infringes the constitution of the United States. He says that it guaranties to citizens of one State the rights and privileges of citizens of other States. He forgets that that article of the constitution has been construed to mean that citizens from other States shall be entitled only to the rights enjoyed by the citizens of the State into which they came. Have we not by our present constitution prohibited them from voting — a right enjoyed by citizens of our State — and has not that constitution been ratified by the Congress of the United States. He says we have the power to put these negroes under bond not to become a charge upon the State — this admission is all we want. Suppose a citizen of another State should come here, could we compel him to give this bond? No, sir; we could not. His argument, therefore, is groundless. To carry it out, suppose in another State a negro was entitled to hold an office, and he came here to this State, would he not be entitled to hold office here too? The supreme court of the United States says that citizens of one State shall enjoy the same privileges as are enjoyed by citizens of the other States. The gentleman from Boone says he holds not to the grounds of the abolitionists, yet, he, (Mr. K.) was much surprised to hear him say that the foreigners, who come to our State, were no better than the negroes. It is not good policy to engraft upon our constitution — the fundamental law of the State — a prohibition against this class of worthless population, and his reason for it was that we are surrounded by a number of slave States, all of whom had an exclusive provision in their constitution against these free negroes. Where, then, do they go? They cannot reside in those States, and they all come into Illinois. When they get old, decrepid [sic] and good-for-nothing, their owners emancipate them and send them into this State. We may have laws upon our statute books against persons bringing or sending them here, but how can we enforce it against a man in another State. He would ask gentlemen to look at Ohio, the greatest abolition State in the Union, and when Randolph's negroes were emancipated the agent attempted to settle them in that State, but the people rose in a body and drove them back and would not allow them to come there. They did not want them, they knew what sort of a population they were, and how worthless and degraded they become, and how troublesome they always were. If we would allow the negroes any kind of equality we must admit them to the social hearth. It was then that equality commenced. We must live with them and permit them to mingle with us in all our social affairs, and, also, if they desired it, must not object to proposals to marry our daughters.

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