Primary tabs


The "Nigger" in the Convention.

The report of the legislative committee of the convention, presenting for adoption a clause almost identical with that of the present constitution, forbidding the immigration of negroes to this state, was the subject of warm debate yesterday. Messrs. Anthony and Ferry, on the republican side considered it an outrage, a breach of courtesy and full comity, to introduce what they termed "political" questions into the convention. Using the words "political" and "partisan" as convertible, the foamed, in true abolition style — told of their forbearance — that they had sat and witnessed the presentation of resolutions relative to the exclusion of the negro, with commendable meekness, but forbearance had ceased to be a virtue; hence they railed and told of the negro's wrongs, and of the cruelty and barbarism of Illinois white men forbidding their state to be made the receptacle for negro paupers from the south. They could bear this no longer. Indeed, Mr. Ferry took it as a personal affront, having denied that there was any other regularly elected republican in the convention, for "the nigger" to be named in that body. This effort to make abolition capital by assumption that questions foreign to the business of the convention was thrust upon it, was, during the discussion, made very ridiculous. We presume that it will not be denied that the convention's duty is a "political" one throughout — to frame an organic law or public policy. Abolitionists like Mr. Ferry, only, lug in partisan feelings in such efforts as were made yesterday, in the assumption that, to re-enact, or propose to re-enact the state's policy of the past fifteen years, is to beg partisan discussion.

The proposition reported by Mr. Dement was one to retain the clause of the present constitution providing that Illinois shall not be made a refuge for negroes — that Illinois should not be made a lazar-house for the scum of southern states. In 1847 the people of Illinois, by an overwhelming vote, decided that this should not be, and the majority of the convention propose that such wise provision shall be continued, in which it will be sustained again by the popular vote.

The proposition presented, and the amendments proposed, are subjects involving the public policy of the state, and legitimately before the convention. Abolitionists alone, in their discussions, will give them a partisan hue, and, doubtless, before the people they will take partisan shape, as between negro-worshippers and those who have no taste for negro equality, political or social, and who believe it best for Illinois white men that negroes should be excluded from their midst. There are two parties in this connection, and we have faith that, in Illinois, at least, the white man's party is largely in the ascendency.