Although Mr. Pinckney opposed ``slavery prohibition'' in 1820, yet his views, with regard to the powers of the general government, may be better judged by his actions in the Convention:
FRIDAY, June 8th, 1787.---``Mr. Pinckney moved `that the National Legislature shall have the power of negativing all laws to be passed by the State Legislatures, which they may judge improper,' in the room of the clause as it stood reported.
``He grounds his motion on the necessity of one supreme controlling power, and he considers this as the corner-stone of the present system; and hence, the necessity of retrenching the State authorities, in order to preserve the good government of the national council.''---P. 400, Elliott's Debates.
And again, THURSDAY, August 23d, 1787, Mr. Pinckney renewed the motion with some modifications.---P. 1409, Madison Papers.
And although Mr. Pinckney, as correctly stated by Mr. Lincoln, ``steadily voted against slavery prohibition, and against all compromises,'' he still regarded the passage of the Missouri Compromise as a great triumph of the South, which is apparent from the following letter.
CONGRESS HALL, March 2d, 1820, 3 o'clock at night.
DEAR SIR:---I hasten to inform you, that this moment WE have carried the question to admit Missouri, and all Louisiana to the southward of 36(deg)30', free from the restriction of slavery, and give the South, in a short time, an addition of six, perhaps eight, members to the Senate of the United States. It is considered here by the slaveholding States, as a great triumph.
The votes were close---ninety to eighty-six---produced by the seceding and absence of a few moderate men from the North. To the north of 36(deg) 30', there is to be, by the present law, restriction; which you will see by the votes, I voted against. But it is at present of no moment; it is a vast tract, uninhabited, only by savages and wild beasts, in which not a foot of the Indian claims to soil is extinguished, and in which, according to the ideas prevalent, no land office will be opened for a great length of time. With respect, your obedient servant,
But conclusive evidence of Mr. Pinckney's views is furnished in the fact, that he was himself a member of the Committee which reported the Ordinance of '87, and that on every occasion, when it was under the consideration of Congress, he voted against all amendments.---Jour. Am. Congress, Sept. 29th, 1786. Oct. 4th. When the ordinance came up for its final passage, Mr. Pinckney was sitting in the Convention, and did not take part in the proceedings of Congress.
[ return to text ]