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Delegate, the Convention assembled, and then proceeded not violate the Constitution of the United States and the to complete their work.
fundamental principles of liberty upon which our instituNow let us stop to inquire how they redeemed the tions rest. I am not going to argue the question wbether pledge to submit the constitution to the people. They the banking system established in that constitution is wise first go on to make a constitution. Then they make a or unwise. It says there shall be no monopolies, but there schedule, in which they provide that the constitution, on shall be one bank of issue in the State, with two branches. the 21st of December--the present inonth-shall be sub- all I have to say on that point is, if they want a banking mitted to all the bona fide inhabitants of the Territory on system, let them have it; if they do not want it, let them that day, for their free acceptance or rejection, in the fol- prohibit it. If they want a bank with two branches, be it lowing manner, to wit: Thus acknowledging that they 80; if they want twenty, it is none of my business; and it were bound to submit it to the will of the people; conced- matters not to me whether one of them shall be on the north ing that they had no right to put it into operation without side and the other on the south side of the Kaw River, or submitting it to the people; providing in the instrument where they shall be. that it should take effect from and after the date of its While I have no right to expect to be consulted on that ratification, and not before; showing that the Constitution point, I do hold that the people of Kansas have the derives its vitality, in their estimation, not from the au. right to be consulted and to decide it, and you have no thority of the Convention, but from that vote of the peo- rightful authority to deprive them of that privilege. It is ple, to which it was to be submitted for their free accept- no justification, in my mind, to say that the provision for ance or rejection. How is it to be submitted ? It shall be the eligibility for the officers of Governor and Lieut.-Gosubmitted in this forin: “Constitution with Slavery, or vernor requires twenty years' citizenship in the United constitution with no Slavery?" All men must vote for the States. If men think that no person should vote or hold constitution, whether they like it or not, in order to be office until he has been here twenty years, they have a permitted to vote for or against Slavery. Thus a constitu right to think so; and if a majority of the people of Kan. tion made by a convention that had authority to assemble sas think that no man of foreign birth should vote or and petition for a redress of grievances, but not to estab hold office unless he has lived there twenty years, it is lish a government-a constitution made under a pledge their right to say so, and I have no right to interfere of honor that it should be submitted to the people before with them; it is their business, not mine; but if I lived if took effect-a constitution which provides on its face, that there I should not be willing to have that provision in the it shall have no validity except what it derives from such constitution without being heard upon the subject, and submission-is submitted to the people at an election allowed to record my protest against it. where all men are at liberty to come forward freely, with: I have nothing to say about their system of taxation, out hindrance, and vote for it, but no man is permitted to in which they have gone back and resorted to the old exrecord a vote against it!
ploded system which we tried in Illinois, but abandoned That would be as fair an election as some of the ene- because we did not like it. If they wish to try it and get mies of Napoleon attributed to him when he was elected tired of it and abandon it, be it so; but if I were a First Consul. He is said to have called out his troops and citizen of Kansas I would profit by the experience of had them reviewed by his officers, with a speech, patriotic Illinois on that subject, and defeat it if I could. Yet I and fair in its professions, in which he said to them: have no objection to their having it if they want it; it is “Now, my soldiers, you are to go to the election and vote their business, not mine. freely, just as you please. If you vote for Napoleon, all is So it is in regard to the free negroes. They provide well ; vote against him, and you are to be instantly that no free negro shall be permitted to live in Kansas. I shot !” That was a fair election. (Laughter.) This elec- suppose they have a right io say so if they choose; but if tion is to be equally fair. All men in favor of the consti- I lived there I should want to vote on the question. We, tution may vote for it, all men against it shall not vote at in Illinois, provide that no more shall come there. We all. Why not let them vote against it? I presume you say to the other States, “ Take care of your own free have asked many a man this question. I have asked a negroes and we will take care of ours." But we do not very large number of the gentlemen who framed the con- say that the negroes now there shall not be permitted to stitution, quite a number of delegates, and a still larger live in Illinois ; and I think the people of Kansas ought to number of persons who are their friends, and I have re- have the right to say whether they will allow them to ceived the same answer from every one of them. I never live there, and if they are not going to do so, how they received any other answer, and I presume we never shall are to dispose of them. get any other answer. What is that? They say, if they So you may gu on with all the different clauses of the had allowed a negative vote, the constitution would have Constitution. They may be all right; they may be all been voted down by an overwhelming majority; and hence wrong. That is a question on which my opinion is worth the fellows shall not be allowed to vote at all. (Laughter.) nothing. The opinion of the wise and patriotic Chief
Mr. President, that may be true. It is no part of my Magistrate of the United States is not worth anything as purpose to deny the proposition that that constitụtion against that of the people of Kansas, for they have would have been voted down if submitted to the people. a right to judge for themselves; and neither Pres). I believe it would have been voted down by a majority dent, nor Senates, nor Houses of Representatives, nor of four to one. I am informed by men well posted there any other power outside of Kansas, has a right to judge -Democrats—that it would be voted down ten to one;
for them Hence it is no justification, in my for some say by twenty to one.
the violation of the great principle of self-government, to But is it a good reason why you should declare it in say that the Constitution you are forcing on them is not force, without being submitted to the people, merely be- particularly obnoxious, or is excellent in its provisions. cause it would have been voted down by five to one if Perhaps, sir, the same thing might be said of the you had submitted it ? What does that fact prove? Topeka Constitution. I do not recollect its peculiar proDoes it not show undeniably that an overwhelming majority visions. I know one thing: we Democrats, we Nebraska of the people of Kansas are unalterably opposed to that men, would not even look into it to see what its provi. constitution ? Will you force it on them against their sions were. Why? Because we said it was made by a will, simply because they would have voted it down if you political party, and not by the people; that it was made had consulted them? If you will, are you going to force in defiance of the authority of Congress; that if it was as it upon them under the plea of leaving them perfectly free pure as the Bible, as holy as the Ten Commandments, yet to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their we would not touch it until it was submitted to and own way? Is that the mode in which I am called upon to ratified by the people of Kansas, in pursuance of carry out the principle of self-government and popular the forms of law. Perhaps the Topeka Constitution, but sovereignty in the Territories to force a constitution on for the mode of making it, would have been unexceptiorthe people against their will, in opposition to their protest, able. I do not know; I do not care. You have no right with a knowlege of the fact, and then to assign as a reason to force an unexceptionable constitution on a people. It for my tyranny, that they would be so obstinate and so does not mitigate the evil, it does not diminish the insult, perverse as to vote down the constitution if I had given it does not ameliorate the wrong, that you are forcing a thern an opportunity to be consulted about it?
good thing upon them. I am not willing to be forced to Sir, I deny your right, or mine, to inquire of these peo- do that which I would do if I were left free to judge and ple what their objections to that constitution are. They act for myself. Hence 1 assert that there is no justificahave a right to judge for themselves whether they like or tion to be made for this flagraut violation of popular dislike it. It is no answer to tell me that the constitution rights in Kansas, on the plea that the constitution which is a good one, and unobjectionable. It is not satisfactory they have made is not particularly obnoxious. to me to have the President say, in his message, that that But, sir, the President of the United States is really and constitution is an admirable one, like all the constitutions sincerely of the opinion that the Slavery clause has been of the new States that have been recently framed. Whether fairly and impartially submitted to the free acceptance or good or bad, whether obnoxious or not, is none of my busi- rejection of the people of Kansas, and that, inasmuch as ness, and none of yours.
that was the exciting and paramount question, if they It is their business, and not ours. I care not what they get the right to vote as they please on that subject, have in their constitution, so that it suits them and does they ought to be satisfied; and possibly it might be
better if we would accept it, and put an end to the ques. ! If Kansas wants a Slave-State Constitution, she has a tion. Let me ask, sir, is the Slavery clause fairly sub- \ right to it; if she wants a Free-State Constitution, she has mitted, so that the people can vote for or against it? Sup- a right to it. It is none of my business which way the pose I were a citizen of Kansas, and should go up to the Slavery clause is decided. I care not whether it is polls and say, “I desire to vote to make Kansas a Slave doted doron or ooted up. Do you suppose, after pledges State; here is my ballot." They reply to me, “ Nr. of my honor, that I would go for that principle, and Douglas, just vote for that constitution first, if you leave the people to vote as they choose, that I would now please.” “Oh, nu !" I answer, “I cannot vote for that degrade myself by voting one way if the Slavery clause constitution conscientiously-I am opposed to the clause be voted down, and another way if it be voted up? I by which you locate certain railroads in such a way as to care not how that vote may stand. I take it for granted
sacrifice my county and my part of the State. I am that it will be voted out. I think I have seen enough in
Know-Nothiug or American clause in the constitution turned out, no matter how the vote may stand. (Laugh.
Thus they disqualify every Free-State it is in all its aspects, upon us. man who will not first vote for the constitution; they disqualify every Slave-State man who will not first vote for On the 2nd of Feb., 1858, the President transthe constitution. No matter whether or not the voters mitted to Congress the Lecompton Constitution, state that they cannot conscientiously vote for those provisions, they reply, "You cannot vote for or against accompanied by a special Message strongly Slavery here. Take the constitution as we have made it, urging the admission of Kansas as a State under take the Elective Franchise as we have established it, this constitution. (The following is a brief take the Banking System as we have dictated it, take the statement in regard to the origin of the LeRailroad lines as we have located them, take the Judiciary System as we have formed it, take it all as we have fixed compton Constitution :) it to suit ourselves, and ask no questions, but vote for it, The first Territorial Legislature passed an act or you shall not vote either for a Slave or Free State.” In in 1855 to take the sense of the people on the
: those who are in favor of this constitution may vote for or call of a Convention to form a State Constituagainst Slavery, as they please; but all those who are tion, at the election in Oct., 1856. Accordingly, against this constitution are disfranchised, and shall not an election was held at which about 2,500 votes vote at all. That is the mode in which the Slavery pro: were polled, the Free-State meu not voting. At position is subinitted. Every man opposed to the consticution is disfranchised on the Slavery clause. How many this election, a new legislature was elected, all are they? They tell you there is a majority, for they say Pro-Slavery, which met in Jan., 1857, and in the coustitution will be voted down instantly, by an overwhelming majority, if you allow a' negayv: vote. This conformity with the vote of 2,500 at the precedshows that a majority are against it. Thay disqualify ing October election, passed an act providing for and disfranchise every man who is against it, thus the election of delegates on the 15th of June, referring the Slavery clause to a minority of the people of
to meet in convention in September following. Kansas, and leaving that minority free to vute for or against the Slavery clause as they choose.
Soon after this, Gov. Walker went to Kansas, Let me ask you if that is a fair mode of submitting the and published an address to the people in which Slavery clause? Does that mode of submitting that par. he assured them of his determination to use ticular clause leave the people perfecıly free to vote for or against Slavery as they choose? Am I free to vote as every means in his power to prevent all disorder I choose on the slavery question, if you tell me I shall and violence. He persuaded the Free State men not vote on it uutil I vote for the Maine Liquor Law? to go to the polls and vote. An objection Am I free to vote on the Slavery question, if you tell me I shall not vote either way until I vote for a Bank? Is which they urged was, that in 19 out of the 38 it freedom of election to inake your right to vote upon counties no registry had been made, and that in one question depend upon the mode in which you are 15 out of the 19 no census had been taken, so going to vote on some other question which has no con: that it was impossible for the people to vote in nection with it? the great fundamental principle of Self-Government, for those counties. These facts are confirmed by which we combined and struggled, in this body, and Gov. Walker and Secretary Stanton. throughout the country, to establish as a rule of action in all time to come ?
The election for delegates to the Convention Let me ask you, why force this Constitution down the was held on the 15th of June. The Free-State throats of the people of Kansas, in opposition to their men did not vote, for the reason just mentioned, wishes and in violation of our pledges What great object is to be attained ? Cui bono ? What are you to gain and also (as they stated,) that they had no confi.
Will you sustain the party by violating its prin- dence in the officers who were to hold the elec-
But I am beseeched to wait tili I hear froin the election over to October, to await the result of the Ter.
But I am told on all sides, "On, just wait; the Pro- 2,800 as fraudulent and irregular, 1,600 of which
were returned from the Oxford precinct, where, them. You have no more right to force a Free-state according to the census, there were but 43 voters, Constitution on Kansas than a Slave-State Constitution. and twelve hundred from McGee County, whoro
I trust we are
O poll was opened. The result of this election to which they owe allegiance, and have been all the time was, the Free State party carried the legislatare 20 the time been endeavoring to subvert it and to estab
in a state of resistance against its authority. They have and the delegate to Congress.
lish a revolutionary Government, under the so-called The Convention reassembled in October, ac- Topeka Constitution, in its stead. Even at this very
Whocording to adjournment, and formed the Consti- moment, the Topeka Legislature are in session,
ever has read the correspondence of Gov. Walker with tution now so famous as the Lecompton Consti- the State Department, recently communicated to the tution. When it became known that the Con- Senate, will be convinced that this picture is not overvention had refused to submit the entire con any portion of the military force of the United States
drawn. He always protested against the withdrawal of stitution to a vote of the people for ratification from the Territory, deeming its presence absolutely or rejection, and had submitted only a proposi. necessary for the preservation of the regular Goveration in regard to Slavery, and that in a form and ment and the execution of the laws. In his very first under a test oath which would prevent the Free dispatch to the Secretary of State, dated June 2, 1837, he
says: State people from voting, there was great excite- "The most alarming movement, however, proceeds from ment in the Territory, threatening bloodshed. the assembling, on the sth of June, of the so-called Topeka
Legislature, with a view to the enactment of an entire code of Under these circumstances, Acting Gov. Stanton laws. Of course, it will be my endeavor to prevent such a called (Gov. Walker had resigned) an extra ses result
, as it would lead to inevitable and disastrous collision,
and in fact renew the civil war in Kansas." sion of the Territorial Legislature. The legisla
This was with difficulty prevented by the efforts of ture assembled Dec. 17th, and passed an act to Governor Walker ; but soon thereafter, on the 14th of submit the Lecompton Constitution fairly to a July, we find him requesting General Harney to furnish vote of the people on the 4th of January next, Lawrence, and this for the reason that he had received
him a regiment of dragoons to proceed to the city of following, the time fixed by the Lecompton con authentic intelligence, verified by his own actual observention for the election of State officers under vation, that a dangerous rebellion had occurred, involv. that constitution.
ing an open defiance of the laws, and the establishment
of an insurgent government in that city. In the GoverOn the 21st of Dec., the vote was taken in the nor's dispaich of July 15, he informs the Secretary of manner prescribed by the Convention, and re
State that sulted as follows:
“This movement at Lawrence was the beginning of a plan,
originating in that city, to organize insurrection throughout “For the constitution with Slavery'
6,266 the Territory, and especially in all towns, cities and counties “For the constitution without Slavery"
567 where the kepublican party have a majority. Lawrence is
the hotbed of all the Abolition movements in this Territory. Total vote
It is the town established by the Abolition Societies of the 6,793
East, and, while there are respectable people there, it is filled Jan. 4th, 1858, in accordance with the act of by a considerable number of mercenaries, who are paid by
Abolition Societies to perpetuate and diffuse agitation throughthe Territorial Legislature, the people voted as out Kansas, and prevent a peaceful settlement of this ques. follows:
tion. Having failed in inducing their own so-called Topeka
State Legislature to organize this insurrection, Lawrence has For the Lecompton Constitution with Slavery 138 commenced it herself, and, if not arrested, the rebellion will
24 extend throughout the Territory." Against the Lecompton Constitution
10,226 And again : Being over ten thousand majority against the I must close, assuring you that the spirit of rebellion pervades
“In order to send this communication immediately by mail, Lecompton Constitution.
the great mass of the Republican party of this Territory,
instigated, as I entertain no doubt they are, by Eastern SoPRESIDENT BUCHANAN'S LECOYPTON MESSAGE.
cieties, having in view results most disastrous to the Govern.
ment and the Union ; and that the continued presence of Gen. The following is the President's special Mes- Harney is indispensable, as was originally
stipulated by me, sage, of Feb. 2nd, 1858.
On the 20th of July, 1857, Gen. Lane, under the I have received from J. Calhoun, Esq., President of the authority of the Topeka Convention, undertook, as Gen. late Constitutional Convention of Kansas, a copy duly Walker informs us, certified by himself, of the Constitution framed by that
“To organize the whole Free State party Into volunteers, body, with the expression of the hope that I would sub- and to take the names of all who refuse enrolment. The promit the same to the consideration of Congress “ with the ressed object was to protect the polls at the elections, in view of the admission of Kansas into the Union as an August, of a new insurgent 'Topeka Siate Legislature. The independent State.” In compliance with this request, I object in taking the names of all who refuse enrollment is to herewith transmit to Congress for their action the Cunproved by the recent atrocities committed on such men by the
terrify the Free State Conservatives into submission. This is stitution of Kansas, with the ordinance respecting the ropekaites. The speedy location of large bodies of regular public lands, as well as the letter of Mr. Calhoun, dated :roops here with two baiteries is necessary. The Lawrence at Lecompton, on the 14th ult., by which they were ac- insurgents await the developments of this new military organ companied. Having received but a single copy of the ization.” Constitution and ordinance, I send this to the Senate. In the Governor's dispatch of July 27, he says that
A great delusion seems to pervade the public mind in “Gen. Lane and his staff everywhere deny the authority of relation to the condition of parties in Kansas. This arises the Territorial laws, and couusel a total disregard of these from the difficulty of inducing the American people to enactments." realize the fact that any portion of them should be in a Without making further quotations of a similar characstate of rebellion against the Government under which ter from other dispatches of Governor Walker, it appears, they live. When we speak of the affairs of Kansas, we by reference to Secretary Stanton's communication to are apt to refer merely to the existence of two violent Gen. Cass on the 9th of December last, that political parties in that Territory, divided on the question
" The important step of calling the legislature together was of Slavery, just as we speak of such parties in the States. taken after I (he) had become satisfied that the election ordered This presents no adequate idea of the true state of the by the Convention on the 21st of Deceinber could not be concase. The dividing line there is not between two politi- ducted wrhout collision and hloodshed.” cal parties, both acknowledging the lawful existence of So intense was the disloyal feeling among the enemies the Government, but between those who are loyal to this of the Government established by Congress, that in Government and those who have endeavored to destroy election which afforded them opportunities, if in the maits existence by force and by usurpation-between those jority, of making Kansas a Free State according to their who sustain, and those who have done all in their power own expressed desire, could not be conducted without to overthrow, the Territorial Government established by collision and bloodshed. The truth is that, up to the Congress. This Government they would long since have present moment, the enemies of the existing government subverted had it not been protected from their a-saults by still adhere to their Topeka revolutionary constitution the troops of the United States. Such has been the con- and government. The very first paragraph of the meg. dition of affairs since my inauguration. Ever since that sage of Gov. Robinson, dated the 7th of December, to the period, a large portion of the people of Kansas have been Topeka Legislature, now assembled at Lawrence, con: in a state of rebellion against the Government, with a tains an open defiance of the laws and Constitution of military leader at their head, of most turbulent and dan the United States. The Governor says: gerous character. They have never acknowledged, but “ The Convention which framed the Topeka Constitution Lave constantly renounced and defied, the Government originated with the people of Kansas Territory. They have adopted and ratified the same twice by a direct vots, also themselves. That Convention is now about to be elected by indirectly through two elections for State officers and mem- you, under the call of the Territorial Legislature created, and bers of the State Legislature; yet it has pleased the Adminis- sull recognized, by the authority of Congress and clothed by tration to regard the whole proceeding as revolutionary." it, la the comprehensive language of the organic law, with full This Topeka Government, adhered to with such trea. power to make such an enactment. The Territorial Legisla
ture, then, in assembling this Convention, were fully sustain.d sonable pertinacity, is a government in direct opposition by the act of Congress, and the authority of the Convention is to the existing government prescribed and recognised by distinctly recognized in my instructions from the President of Congress.
the United States." It is usurpation of the same character as it would be for a portion of the people of any State to undertake to what
would be the consequences if they did not partici
The Governor also clearly and distinctly warns them establish a separate government within its limits for
The people of Kansas, then, he the purpose of redressing any grievance, real or imag- pate in the election. inary, of which they might complain against the legiti- says, mate State Government. Such a principle, if carried into " Are invited by the highest authority known to the Constiexecution, would destroy all lawful authority and pro- tution to participate freely and fairly in the election of deleduce universal anarchy. From this statement of facts, gates to frame a Constitution and State Government. The law
has performed its entire appropriate function, when it extends the reason becomes palpable why the enemies of the gov-to the people the right of suffrage ; but it cannot compel the ernment authorized by Congress have refused to vote for performance of that duty. Throughout the whole Union, the delegates to the Kansas Constitutional Convention, however, and wherever free government prevails, those who and also, afterward, on the question of Slavery submitted abstain from the exercise of the right of suffrage authorize by it to the people. It is because they have ever refused those who do vote to act for them in that contingency, and
absentees are as much bound, under the law and Constitution, to sanction or recognize any other Constitution than that where there is no fraud or violence, by the act of the majority framed at Topeka. Had the whole Lecompton Constitu- of those
who do vote, as if all had participated in the election tion been submitted to the people, the adherents of this Otherwise, as voting must be voluntary, self-government organization would doubtless have voted against it, be- would be impracticable,
and monarchy or despotism would cause, if successful, they would thus have removed the remain as the only alternative." obstacles out of the way of their own revolutionary Con
It may also be observed that at this period any hope, stitution; they would have done this, not upon the con- if such had ed, that the Topeka Constitution would sideration of the merits of the whole or part of the ever be recognized by Congress must have been aban. Lecompton Constitution, but simply because they have doned. Congress had adjourned on the third of March ever resisted the authority of the government authorized previous, having recognized the legal existence of the by Congress from which it emanated. Such being the Territorial Legislature in a variety of forms, which I need unfortunate condition of affairs in the Territory, what was not enumerate. Indeed, the Delegate elected to the the right as well as the duty of the law-abiding people? House of Representatives under a Territorial law had Were they silently and patiently to submit to the Topeka been admitted to a seat and had just completed his tem usurpation, or to adopt the necessary measure to estab- of service the day previous to my inauguration. This lish a Constitution under the authority of the organic law was the propitious moment for settling all the difficul.ies of Congress ? That this law recognized the right of the of Kansas. This was the time for abandoning the revopeople of the Territory, without an enabling act of Con- lutionary Topeka organization, and for the enemies of gress, to form a State Constitution, is too clear for argu. the existing government to conform to the laws and unite ment. For Congress “to leave the people of the Terri- with its friends in framing a State Constitution. But this tory perfectly free" in framing their Constitution“
to they refused to do, and the consequences of their refusal form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own to submit to the lawful authority, and vote at the election way, subject only to the Constitution of the United of delegates, may yet prove to be of the most deplorable States," and then to say that they shall not be permitted character. Would that the respect for the laws of the to proceed and frame the Constitution in their own way, land, which so eminently distinguished the men of the without express authority from Congress, appears to be past generation, could be revived ! It is a disregard and almost a contradiction in terms. It would be much violation of law which has for years kept the Territory more plausible to contend that Congress had no power to of Kansas in a state of almost open rebellion against its pass such an enabling act, than to argue that the people Government-it is the same spirit which has produced of a Territory might be kept out of the Union for an indefi. actual rebellion in Utah. Our only safety consists in nite period, and until it might please Congress to permit obedience and conformity to the law. Should a general them to exercise the right of self-government. This
spirit against its enforcement prevail, this will prove fatal would be to adopt, not their own way, but the way which to us as a nation. Congress might prescribe. It is impossible that any peo
We acknowledge no master but law, and should we cut ple could have proceeded with more regularity in the loose from its restraints and every one do what seemeth formation of a Constitution than the people of Kansas good in his own eyes, our case would indeed be hopeless, have done. It was necessary, first, to ascertain whether the enemies of the Territorial Government determined it was the desire of the people to be relieved from their
still resist the authority of Congress. They refused to Territorial dependence and establish a State Government. vote for delegates to the Convention, not because, For this purpose, the Territorial Legislature, in 1855, from circumstances which I need not detail, there was an passed a law for taking the sense of the people of the omission to register the comparatively few voters who Territory upon the expediency of calling a Convention to were inhabitants of certain counties in Kansas in the form a state Constitution at the general election to be early spring of 1857, but because they had determined, held in October, 1856. The “sense of the people" was at all hazards, to adhere to their revolutionary organizaaccordingly taken, and they decided in favor of a Con- tion, and defeat the establishment of any other constivention. It is true that at this election the enemies of the Terri-election was therefore suffered to pass by default, but of
tution than that which they had framed at Topeka. The torial Government did not vote, because they were then this result the qualified electors who refused to vote can engaged at Topeka, without the slightest pretext of law. never justly complain. ful authority, in framing a Constitution of their own for
From this review, it is manifest that the Lecompton subverting the Territorial Government. In pursuance Convention, according to every principle of constitu. of this decision of the people in favor of a Convention, tional law, 'was legally constituted and invested with the Territorial Legislature, on the 27th of February, 1857, power to frame a Constitution. The sacred principle of passed an act for the election of delegates on the third Popular Sovereignty has been invoked in favor of the Monday of June, 1857, to frame, a State Constitution. enemies of Law and Order in Kansas ; but in what man. This law is as fair in its provisions as any that ever ner is Popular Sovereignty to be exercised in this counpassed a legislative body for a similar purpose. The
right try if not through the instrumentality of established law ? of suffrage at this election is clearly and justly defined. In certain small republics of ancient times, the people Every bona fide citizen of the United States, above the did assemble in primary meeting, passed laws and diage of twenty-one, and who had resided therein for three rected public afairs. In our country, this is manifestly months previous to that date, was entitled to a vote. In impossible. Popular Sovereignty can be exercised here order to avoid all interference from neighboring States only through the ballotbox; and if the people will refuse and Territories with the freedom and fairness of the elec- to exercise it in this manner, as they have done in Kan. tion, a provision was made for the registry of qualified sas at the election of Delegates, it is not for them to voters, and in pursuance thereof, nine thousand two hunc complain that their rights have been violated. dred and fifty-one voters were registered. Gov. Walker
The Kansas Convention, thus lawfully constituted, pro. did his whole duty in urging all qualified citizens of Kan- ceeded to frame a Constitution, and, having completed kas to vote at this election. In his Inaugural Address on their work, finally adjourned on the 7th of November he 27th of May, he informed them that
last. They did not think proper to submit the whole of “Under our practice, the preliminary act of framing a state this Constitution to a popular vote, but they did submit Constitution is uniformly performed through the instru- the question whether Kansas should be a Free or Slave mentality of a Convention of delegates chosen by the people state to the people. This was the question which had con
vulsed the Union and shaken it to the very center. This be banished from the halls of Congress, where it has was the question which had lighted the flames of civil always exerted a baneful influence throughout the whole war in Kansas and had produced dangerous sectional country. parties throughout the confederacy. It was of a charac. It is proper that I should briefly refer to the election ter so paramount in respect to the condition of Kansas, held under the act of the Territorial Legislature on the ds to rivet the anxious attention of the people of the first Monday of January last on the Lecompton Consti. whole country upon it and it alone-no person thought tution. This election was held after the Territory had of any other question. For my own part, when I in- been prepared for admission into the Union as a Sovestructed Governor Walker in general terms in favor of reign State, and when no authority existed in the 'Terri. submitting the constitution to the people, I had no torial Legislature which could possibly destroy its existobject in view except the all-absorbing question of ence or change its character. The election, which was Slavery. In what manner the people of Kansas might peaceably conducted under my instructions, involved regulate their other concerns, was not the subject which strange inconsistencies. A large majority of the persons attracted my attention, In fact, the general provisions who vo ed against the Lecompton Constitution were at of our recent State constitutions, after an experience of the same time and place recognizing its valid existence eighty years, are so similar and excellent that it would in the most solid and authentic manner by voting under be difficult to go far wrong at the present day in framing its provisions. I have yet received no official informa& new constitution, I then believed, and still believe, tion of the result of this election. that, under the organic act, the Kansas Convention As a question of expediency, after right has been were bound to submit this all-important question of maintained, it may be wise to reflect upon the benefits Slavery to the people. It was never, however, my to Kansas and the whole country that will result from opinion that, independently of this act, they would have its immediate admission into the Union, as well as the been bound to submit any portion of the constitution to disasters that may follow its rejection. Domestic peace & popular vote in order to give it validity. Had I enter will be the happy consequence of the admission, and that tained such an opinion, this would have been in opposi- fine Territory, which has hitherto been torn by dissention to many precedents in our history, commencing in sions, will rapidly increase in population and wealth, and the very best age of our Republic. It would have been speedily realize the blessings and comforts which follow
pposition to the principle which pervades our insti. in the train of agricultural and mechanical industry, tutions, and which is every day carried into practice, The people, then, will be sovereign, and can regulate that the people have a right to delegate to the repre- their affairs in their own way. If the majority of them sentatives chosen by themselves their sovereign power desire to abolish domestic Slavery within the State, there to frame constitutions, enact laws, and perform many is no other possible mode by which it can be effected so other important acts, without requiring that these should speedily as by prompt admission. The will of the pe subjected to their subsequent approbation. It would majority is supreme and irresistible, when expressed in be a most inconvenient limitation of their own power, an orderly and lawful manner. It can make and un. imposed by the people upon themselves, to exclude make constitutions at pleasure. It would be absurd to them from exercising their sovereignty in any lawful say that they can impose fetters upon their own power manner which they think proper.
which they cannot afterward remove. If they could do It is true that the people of Kansas might, if they had this, they might tie their own hands just as well for a hun. pleased, have required the Convention to submit the con- dred as for ten years. These are the fundamental princi. stitution to a popular vote, but this they have not done. ples of American freedom, and are recognized, I believe,
The only remedy, therefore, in this case is that which in some form or other by every State constitution; and exists in all other similar cases. If the delegates who if Congress, in the act of admission, should think proper framed the Kansas Constitution have in any manner to recognize them, I can perceive no objection. violated the will of their constituents, the people always This has been done emphatically in the constitution of possess the power to change their constitution or laws Kansas. It declares in its bill of rights that “ All politiaccording to their own pleasure. The question of Slavery cal power is inherent in the people," and all free governwas submitted to an election of the people on the 21st of ments are founded on their authority and instituted for December last, in obedience to the mandate of the Con their benefit, and therefore have at all times an inalien. vention. Here, again, a fair opportunity was presente table and indefeasible right to alter, reform and abolish to the adherents of the Topeka Constitution, if they were their form of government, in such manner as they may the majority, to decide this exciting question“ in their think proper. The great State of New-York is at this own way," and thus restore peace to the distracted Ter moment governed under a constitution framed and estab. ritory; but they again refused to exercise the right of lished in direct opposition to a mode prescribed by the · Popular Sovereignty, and again suffered the election to previous constitution. If, therefore, a provision chang. pass by default, I heartily rejoice that a wiser and bet- ing the constitution of Kansas after the year 1864, could ter spirit prevailed among a large majority of these by possibility be construed into a prohibition to make people on the first Monday in January, and that they such change previous to that period, this prohibition did on that day vote under the Lecompton Constitution would be wholly unavailing. The legislature already for & Governor and other State officers, a member of elected may, at its very first session, submit the question Congress, and for members of the Legislature. This to a vote of the people, whether they will or not have a election was warmly contested by the parties, and a larger convention, to amend their constitution, and adopt all vote polled than at any previous election in the Territory. necessary means for giving effect to the popular will. It We may now reasonably hope that the revolutionary has been solemnly adjudged, by the highest judicial tri. Topeka organization will be speedily and finally aban- bunal known to our laws, that Slavery exists in Kansas doned, and this will go far toward a final settlement of the by virtue of the Constitution of the United States. unhappy differences in Kansas. If frauds have been com- Kansas is therefore at this moment as much a Slave State mitted at this election by one or both parties, the legisla- as Georgia or South Carolina. Without this, the equality ture and people of Kansas, under their constitution, will of the Sovereign States composing the Union would be know how to redress themselves and punish these detesta- violated, and the use and enjoyment of a Territory ac. ble but too common crimes without outside interference. quired by the common treasure of all the States, would
The people of Kansas have, then, “ in their own way, be closed against the people and property of nearly half and in strict accordance with the organic act, framed a the members of the Confederacy. Slavery can, therefore, Constitution and State Government, have submitted the never be prohibited in Kansas, except through the means all-important question of Slavery to the people, and have of a constitutional provision; and in no other manner can elected a Governor, a member to represent them in this be obtained so promptly, if the majority of the people Congress, members of the State Legislature and other desire it, as by admitting her into the Union under hier State officers; and they now ask admission into the present constitution. On the other hand, should onUnion under this constitution, which is republican in its gress reject the constitution, under the idea of affording form. It is for Congress to decide whether they will the disaffected in Kansas a third opportunity to prohibit admit or reject the State which has thus been created. Slavery in the State, which they might have done twice
For my own part, I am decidedly in favor of its admis. before if in the majority, no man can foretell the consesion, and thus terminating the Kansas question. This quences. If Congress, for the sake of those men who rewill carry out the great principle of Non-Intervention fused to vote for delegates to the convention, when they recognized and sanctioned by the organic act, which might have excluded Slavery from the constitution, and declares in express language in favor of the non-inter, who afterward refused to vote on the 21st of December, vention of Congress with Slavery in the States and when they might, as they claim, have stricken Slavery Territories, leaving the people “perfectly free to form from the constitution, should now reject the State be. and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, cause Slavery remains in the constitution, it is manifest subject only to the Constitution of the United States." In that the
agitation upon this dangerous subject will be rethis manner, by localizing the question of Slavery and newed in a more alarming form than it has ever yet confining it to the people who it immediately concerned, assumed. Every patriot in the country had indulged the every patriot anxiously expected that this question would l hope that the Kansas-Nebraska Act would have put a