Article 4, Section 2, Clause 3
[Volume 4, Page 526]
James Iredell, North Carolina Ratifying Convention29 July 1788Elliot 4:176
Mr. Iredell begged leave to explain the reason of this clause. In some of the Northern States they have emancipated all their slaves. If any of our slaves, said he, go there, and remain there a certain time, they would, by the present laws, be entitled to their freedom, so that their masters could not get them again. This would be extremely prejudicial to the inhabitants of the Southern States; and to prevent it, this clause is inserted in the Constitution. Though the word slave is not mentioned, this is the meaning of it. The northern delegates, owing to their particular scruples on the subject of slavery, did not choose the word slave to be mentioned.
Elliot, Jonathan, ed. The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution as Recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia in 1787. . . . 5 vols. 2d ed. 1888. Reprint. New York: Burt Franklin, n.d.
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