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This is the spirit in which I have determined for myself to como up to this great question, and to pass through it, as I sincerely believe we shall pass through it. For, although this great controversy has not been already settled, I do not, therefore, any the less calculate upon and hope and expect that it will be peacefully settled, and settled for the Union. I have not been so rash as to expect that in sixty days, which have been allowed to us since the meeting of congressmand I will be frank in saying that I have not expected that in the ninety days which are the allotted term of congress-this great controversy would certainly be adjusted, peace restored, and the Union firmly reëstablished. I knew that sixty days, or ninety days, was the term that was fixed with definite objects and purposes by that portion of my fellow citizens who have thought that it would advance the interests of the states to which they belonged to dissever the Union. I have not expected that reason and judgment would come back to the people and become so pervading, so universal, as that they would appreciate the danger and be able to agree on the remedies. Still, I have been willing that it should be tried, though unsuccessfully; but my confidence has remained the same, for this simple reason: that as I have not believed that the passion and frenzy of the hour could overturn this great fabric of constitutional liberty and empire in ninety days, so I have felt sure that there would be tirne, even after the expiration of ninety days, for the restoration of all that had been lost, and for the reëstablishment of all that was in danger.
A great many and very various interests and elements are brought into conflict in this sudden crisis; a great many personal ambitions; a great many sectional interests; and it would be strange if they could all be accommodated and arranged and harmonized, so as to admit and give full effect to the one profoundest, strongest, and most enduring sentiment or passion of the United States that of devotion to the Union. These, whether you call them secession or revolution on the one side, or coercion or defiance on the other, are all to subside and pass away before the Union is to become the grand absorbing object of interest, affection and duty, upon the part of the citizens of the United States. A great many partisan interests are to be repressed, suppressed, and to give placem-partisan interests expressed by the Charleston platform, by the Baltimore platform, by the Chicago platform, and by the popular sovereignty platform --if indeed the Union is in danger and is to be saved; and with these interests, and with these platforins, everybody standing upon them or connected with them, is to pass away, if the Union is in danger and is to be saved, before the Union can be saved. But it will require a very short time, if this Union is in danger and does require to be saved, for all these interests and all these platforms and all these men to disappear. You and I, and every one who shall oppose, resist, stand in the way of the preservation of this Union, will appear but as moths on a summer evening, when the whirlwind of popular indignation arises that shall be excited at the full discovery that this Union is endangered through faction, or even impracticability on our part.
I have hope, confidence, that all this is to come around just as I have said, and quite soon enough; because I perceive, although we may shut our eyes to it, that the country and mankind cannot shut their eyes to the true nature of this crisis. There has been a real, a vital question in this country for twelve years at least—a question of slavery in the territories of the United States. It was strongest in its development in 1850, when all the Pacific coast, and all the territory intervening between it and the Louisiana purchase, were thrown upon our hands all of a sudden, for the purpose of our organizing in them free and independent republican governments, as a basis of future states. It has been an earnest, and I regret to say, an angry controversy; but the admission of Kansas into the Union yesterday settled at least all that was vital or important in the question, leaving behind nothing but the passions which the contest had engendered. Kansas is in the Union; California and Oregon are in the Union; and now the same contest divides and distracts this Union for freedom and slavery in the territories of the United States, just as before.
What is the extent of the territories which remain after the admission of Minnesota, of Oregon, of California, and of Kansas ? One million sixty-three thousand five hundred and seven square miles, an area twenty-four times that of the state of New York, the largest of the old and fully developed states. Twenty-four such states as this of New York are yet to be organized within the remaining territories of the United States. Now, under what is accepted by the administration of the government as a judicial decree, upheld by it, put in practical operation by it, every inch of that territory is slave
territory-I speak of that decision not as I accept it, but as it is accepted and enforced by the existing administrationRevery foot of it slave territory as much as South Carolina. Over a considerable portion of it a slave code, made by a government created by the congress of the United States, is enforced; so that, according to the claims of those who insist upon a right in the territory of the United States for slavery, the whole of this one million sixty-three thousand square miles is slave territory. How many slaves are there in it? How many have been brought into it during these twelve years in which it has been not only relinquished to slavery, but in which the court and the legislature and the administration have inaintained, protected, defended, and guaranteed slavery there? Twenty-four African slaves; one slave for every forty-four thousand square miles; one slave for every one of the twenty-four states which, supposing them each to be of the dimensions of New York or Pennsylvania or Indiana, are to cover that portion of the area of our republic. I have followed this thing in good faith, with zeal and energy; but I confess that I have no fears of slavery now, where, in the peculiar condition of things which has existed, slavery has succeeded in planting only one slave upon every forty-four thousand square miles of territory.
This, then, has ceased to be a practical question. In lieu of it comes up a great and vital and fearful question--the question of Union or dissolution of the Union; the question of country or of no country; the question of hope, the question of greatness, or the question of sinking forever under the contempt of mankind. Why then, should I despair that a great people of thirty millions will be able to meet this crisis? I have no fear. This is a confederacy. It is not an imperial government, nor the government of a single state; it is a confederacy; and it is, as it ought to be, dependent upon the continued assent of all the members of the confederacy to its existence, and subject to dissolution by their action; but that assent is to be always taken by virtue of the original assent and held, until, in the form prescribed by the constitution itself, and in the time and in the manner and with all the conditions which the constitution prescribes, those who constitute the Union shall declare that it shall be no longer. The thirty days, and sixty days, and ninety days, given us by the disunionists may not be enough for their policy and their purposes. I hope and trust that it may be time enough for the policy and purposes of the lovers of the Union. God grant that it may be sol But if this term shall turn out not to he enough, then I see how and when all these great controversies will be settled, just as our forefathers foresaw when they framed the constitution. They provided, seventy years ago, that this present controversy, this whole controversy, shall be submitted to the people of the United States in convention, called according to the forms of the constitution, and acting in the manner prescribed by it. Then this country will find sudden relief in the prompt and unanimous adoption of the measures necessary for its salvation; and the world will see how well and how wisely a great, enlightened, educated, Christian people, consisting of thirty-four sovereign states, can adjust difficulties which had seemed, even to themselves, as well as to mankind, to be insurmountable.
Mr. Mason (after other remarks) said : I can understand, Mr. President, what the senator means when he recommends to his constituents to speak for the Union; we have had a great deal of that; I can understand what he means when he recommends them to vote for the Union, because he coupled it with a recommendation that they should go into state convention ; but I demand to know what he means by their contributing money for the Union.
I will explain to the honorable senator, if he wishes. During the present session of congress, the government of this Union has seen a sudden depreciation of its credit. From one condition of things which existed a year or two ago, when all the stocks of the Union were at a premium, they have fallen until recently, at one time, the credit of the Union was at a discount of thirty per cent, while the credit of the state of New York, on her six per cent stock, all the while commands a premium. The commercial community, who to-day petition congress, have the treasure of the commercial city in their keeping. I have recommended to these gentlemen here, publicly, as I have heretofore recommended to them privately, that they should advance to the Union money on loans and on treasury notes, as they are now furnishing in that way to the Union the funds with which the president of the United States, the departments, the congress, the courts, yourself and myself, the senator from Virginia, the army, navy, and every branch of the government, is actually sustained, I have recommended to them, in this crisis, that they sustain the government of their country with the credit to which it is entitled at their hands.
I contemplated, after the expiration of all the multitudinous trials they are making to save this Union by compromise, a convention of the people of the United States, called in constitutional form; and when that shall have been held, or refused to be held, and found to be impossible to obtain ; if, then, this Union is to stand or fall by the force of arms, I have advised my people to do, as I shall be ready to do myself, stand in the breach, and stand with it or perish with it.
Mr. MASON.--Then we have it definite. I want to bring the honorable senator the exponent of the new administration, to the policy which is to be adopted. I understand from him now, that remedies failing through the constitution by the conventions of the states, his recommendation is battle and bloodshed to preserve the Union; and his recommendation to his people is, that they shall contribute the money which shall march the army upon the south; for what? To preserve the Union?
I look to no such contingency as seceded states and a dissevered Union. I look to no such condition of things. The honorable senator and I differ in regard to the future. He, with an earnest will and ardent imagination, sees this country hereafter rent and dissevered, and then recombined into separate.confederacies. I see no such thing in the future; but I do see, through the return of reason and judgment to the American people, a return of public harmony, and the consolidation of the Union firmer than ever before. The honorable senator from Virginia can very easily see that we may differ in our anticipations and expectations of the future, because we differ so much in regard to the actual, living present. Here I am in the Union of the United States, this same blessed, glorious, nobly. inherited, God-given Union, in the senate chamber of the United States, pleading for it, maintaining it, and defending it.
The honorable senator from Virginia says it is gone, there is no Union; and yet he is here on this same floor with me. Where, then, is he? In the Union, or out of the Union ? He is actually present here; and in spite of himself I hold him to be still with myself in this glorious old Union. I will not strain the remark, which he means to put forth with candor and frankness. I therefore assume that he infers because some other senators were here a short time
his associates and mine, and are not here now, but have withdrawn, under circumstances known to the world, and which, for obvious reasons, I refrain from commenting on, therefore their states are gone and the Union is gone with them. The senate chamber is here; the states