Date Original

1835 June 6


Article from the Arkansas Times arguing against Arkansas statehood. The author uses a Latin phrase in the first column, "ne quid detrimenti rempublicam capiat," which means "do not damage the republic."


[Page 1] Mr. Hunt,
A question of momentous consideration
is now being agitated in this Terriotry
on which it is the duty of each citizen
to hold and express an opinion. I mean
the question as to the expediency of or-
ganizing a State Government. I per-
ceive by a perusal of your last interest-
ing paper, that a citizen has entered
the arena boldly, yet decorously com-
batting what may perhaps be the pre-
sent popular views as regards this ques-
tion. For one, I am frank to confess,
that the sentiments of the essayist sign-
ing himself "ARKANSAS," expressed as
they are, with courteous yet able argu-
ment, meet with my full approval. The
writer of that essay appears interested
in the general welfare, and one whose
iam is ne quid detrimenti rempublicam
capiat [Latin - not to damage the republic]. In calling the attention of the
citizens to his able remarks, as well de-
serving their grave consideration, I will
simply pursue the same outline of rea-
soning on the subject, confident that the
people of the Territory, upon a careful
examination of the arguments pro and
contra, will decide on the wisdom of re-
taining, for a time, our present system
of government.
Admitting that a State Government
is a consummation devoutly to be wished,
let us pause and inquire at what price
this object may be obtained - whether
we may not "pay too much for the whis-
The advocates of a premature change
of government, hide their ulterior views
under the appearance of alarm, lest the
Territory of Michigan, being admitted
into the Union before this Territory, may
present a difficulty on the question of
slavery, which may prevent us from be-
coming a sovereign State on our own
terms. In other words, that the increase
of political power on the side of the
free states, by the admission of Michi-
gan, will enable the fanatics of the north
to dictate to Congress, (when the proper
period of our admission arrives,) that we
be admitted only as a free State. What
a position for intelligent men to assume!
They forget that wehn the famous Mis-
souri Question threatened to shake the
foundations of our republican fabric, the
evil was averted by a compromise, and
the terms of that compromise are, that
no State shall be admitted into the
Union as a slave State, whose territory
is north of thirty-six degrees and thirty
minutes North latitude.
[Page 2] The following is the language of the
eighth section of the act of Congress,
passed 6th March, 1820, admitting Mis-
souri into the Union:
"In all that territory ceded by France
"to the United States under the name
"of Louisiana, which lies North of thirty-
"six degrees and thirty minutes North
latitude, not included within the limits
"of the State contemplated in this act,
"slavery and involuntary servitude, oth-
"erwise than in the punishment of crimes
"whereof the parties shall have been
"duly convicted, shall be, and is hereby
"forever prohibited."
Now, is this not an especial guarantee
that the question of slavery shall not be
prohibited in the Territories South of
the fixed line? And yet, in the face of
this well known compromise, the advo-
cates of a State Government advance,
as their chief argument, their surmises
that the Territory of Arkansas will only
be admitted as a free State, unless she
pushes her claims simultaneously with
Michigan, and goes in upon a second
compromise. There is no disposition
on the part of the free States to disturb
anew the old Missouri Question, which
has long since been buried in the tomb
of the Capulets, and is now a matter of
We come now, from an examination
of the chief reason for agitating this
question, at this "unfortunate period," to
a view of the consequences resulting
from our throwing off the fostering tu-
tuelage of the General Government. --
Some have ventured to compare this
territorial dependence on the General
Government to the vassalage of the
thirteen Colonies to the Crown of Great
Britain; but, feint indeed, is the resem-
blance. On the one hand, we behold
the nursing hand of a parent rearing up
the infant to the strength and perfect
stature of a full-grown man - extending
nourishment and support until the period
when the assistance thus rendered will
be no longer necessary. On the other
hand, we see a greedy, unnatural mo-
ther, depriving her offspring of the means
of living which it was enjoying. But
has the period arrived when we can do
without the advantages which we at
present possess under Territorial Govern-
ment? There is surely no one so blind
as to answer, yes. Will we have, as a
State, the means of internal improve-
ment, the want of which has thrown
several of the States into the back
[Page 3] ground! Are we not every year recei-
ving large sums from the General Gov-
ernment to construct works of commu-
nication between places of importance
in the Territory? If we at present be-
come a State, these favors must cease -
and then, say the advocates of State
Government, we must resort to taxation.
And what people are willing to submit
to a heavy taxation? Burthened, as the
people of Arknasas are already, can
their taxes be increased under the cir-
cumstances of their situation? It will
be found, on an examination, (I hesitate
not to say boldly,) that neither a land
tax nor a poll tax, nor both united, can
be imposed upon the people which will
be adequate to the exigencies of a State
Government. Why, sir, we will not
only oppress those who are living in Ar-
kansas, but we at once check the tide of
emigration which is rapidly rolling to-
wards this Territory, and from which ac-
cession we may grow into a prosperous
and powerful State. Can this tide be
staid or directed into another course by
any other means than the enormous and
oppressive exactions of a government too
poor to exist without feeding upon the
means of its citizens? Who is there
that rejoices at the prospect of a Na-
tional or State debt? Can a Territory,
whose credit is now at so low an ebb,
that its scrip is at a discount of fifty per
cent, among its own citizens, avail itself
of a foreign credit soon after it throws
off its territorial chrysalis? And even
then, if it does obtain a loan from some
foreign millionaire, the difficulty of tax-
ation is presented in another shape. To
pay off this debt, the people must be
taxes -- and I ask, is not this paying se-
verely for the glorious privilege of being
represented a little too soon on the floors
of Congress?
Must the State of Arkansas (in futura)
be, like a sickly plant, forced into un-
natural growth by a kind of hot-house
cultivation? Rather let her take her
stand among her sister States with the
mature powers of an adult - not being,
at too tender an age, weaned from the
parent nurse. Every friend of Arkansas
must respond to this sentiment. Will
her citizens be misled by the uncertain
dazzling lights held out by those (who
may probably for personal aggrandize-
ment be disposed to deceive,) into the
difficulties of taxation and an impover-
ished government? Will they not rath-
er look into this question for themselves,
and inquire if the State Government so
earnestly advocated is not at present
inexpedient and premature? This is a
question for the whole Territory - not for
a few. I will probably again take up
the subject. PEREGRINUS.

Physical Description



Statehood; Slavery; Slaves

Geographical Area

Arkansas, Missouri, Michigan




MFILM NEWS 000420 Roll 1

Resource Type



Newspaper microfilm collection


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Editorial, Arkansas Times, June 6, 1835, Newspaper microfilm collection, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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Editorial, Arkansas Times, June 6, 1835