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THE ORDINANCE OF 1787

ADDRESS OF HON. CYRUS G. LUCE

This section furnishes the most productive grain fields of the world. And not only does this ordinance affect the people embraced within the territory over which it applied, but in its reflex influence it is extended away beyond. Doubtless if it had not been for this prohibitory ordinance, slavery with its blighting influence would have crossed the Ohio and entrenched itself in this territory dedicated forever to freedom and its blessings. It will be remembered that this territory had recently been ceded by the state of Virginia to the United States, and that the representatives of the old commonwealth participated in the adoption of the ordinance which provided for its government. And whatever we may think of the course afterwards pursued, of the devotion to slavery, of the hatred of universal freedom, of the enthrall ment of a race, of the terrific and frantic efforts made to maintain the institution of slavery, of the states where it existed, yet we must honor their representatives of a hundred years ago for their participation in the adoption of a measure that * finally gave freedom to the whole nation. It is true at that time there were neither slaves nor freemen in this territory, * but while the result has far exceeded the brightest anticipations of the old patriots, yet they, with the eye of faith, could see the section devoted to freedom teeming with a busy and happy population. And whether we credit the adoption of the provision contained in the sixth article to the influence of Massachusetts and New York, or to a latent love of freedom entertained by the representatives from Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia,

Michigan


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