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non-intervention, to betray or expose freedom, but non-intervention enforced, when all intervention to save it has failed. The President anticipated that failure, through the known discordance between the two houses of Congress, as we all might well have anticipated it, and therefore he recommended the alternative without an unnecessary trial. It would have been wise for the slave states to have adopted it then ; it would be wise for the Senate to adopt it now. If we reject it a little longer, we shall only reach it at last through the necessity which he so well foresaw. When that time comes, he will have his triumphant vindication; for then it will be said truly of him, as it was of the noble Roman, never did he do more for harmony and for freedom than when to dull and prejudiced apprehensions he seemed to be doing nothing.
I need only indicate the application of these remarks to Utah.
The District of Columbia, the offspring of the republic, is cherished equally by all of the states; and if the destinies of the nation are correctly apprehended, the capital must one day stand “in dignity and for the liberal arts” without a parallel. But it yet lacks one element of prosperity—the freedom of labor; and one element of greatness—the dignity of labor. Its atmosphere suppresses, although it cannot smother, the love of liberty, which is a public, universal, and undying affection. Why should the great interests of the capital be cast into the balance, to bring up the already buoyant scale of California ? The only reason is, that you have decided to overload that scale with the weight of your gratuity to Texas, and of the suppression of freedom in Utah and New Mexico.
Such, sir, is the manner in which California, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, and Columbia, are wronged, by casting their interests into the misshapen chaos of fair-seeming forms, and mischiefs manifold, which constitutes this extraordinary scheme of compromise and adjustment.
The scheme has engrossed the Senate six months, to the exclusion of nearly every other measure. If it ever shall reach the House of Representatives, its most auspicious promise there is a rejection, to be followed by a final disagreement between the two houses. And this will be the sum of the history of the first session of the thirty-first Congress—the history of an attempt to break, in one compact and twisted bundle, fagots so strong and gnarled that they could hardly be snapped singly—an attempt to
overcome reason, passion, and prejudice, altogether, instead of engaging reason alone.
We were driven and harassed into this strange proceeding by alarms of danger to the republic. Well, sir, California, New Mexico, Utah, the District of Columbia, were no sooner crowded and crammed into this unwieldy, rickety ark, through distrust of the customary vehicles of legislation, to weather out the dark and dangerous storm, than the storm passed away like a cloud in autumn. The ominous kalends of June have come, and with them the extra-constitutional assemblage at Nashville, but not its invading fleets and hostile armies. So also the crisis in the House of Representatives has come, without disclosing the steep ruin which was apprehended. The political elements have subsided from their wild uproar. Why not now let California resume the voyage in her own separate vessel, and, following the presidential chart, make the port speedily and in safety?
The answer is, that the commonwealth is laboring of wounds which threaten its safety. It cannot be improper to apply to each of them a tent that will search it to the bottom.
The first of them is the alleged neglect to surrender fugitive slaves. This wound bleeds afresh at every return of Congress to the capital :
“ Thammuz came next behind,
Sir, it is not proved here that three fugitives a year are withheld against lawful demand ; nay, I think it is not proved that even one is so withheld. The value of what is called slave property, because the laws of slave states treat it as property, is not impaired one dollar. Strength, and beauty, and youth, bring their accustomed prices. What, then, is the evil? The people of the free states hesitate at the execution of the act of 1793 among them, without an adequate provision for distinguishing between the fugitive and the free citizen—between surrendering the unhappy slave, and kidnapping the still more unhappy free
And what is your remedy? To give the form of a trial after the surrender, in the state to which the alleged fugitive is conveyed! Sir, this will only aggravate the exaggerated evil. Are you, then, prepared to confess that this proud republic ap
proaches its downfall, because a slave sometimes finds a refuge under it, in spite of its laws ?
The next of these evils is the agitation about slavery in the District of Columbia. There are only two thousand slaves here, all told. The people of the free states remonstrate against their being held in hopeless bondage ; but they wait patiently, until the mind of the nation can be moved to abolish it. What answer does this scheme give to these remonstrances? It proposes to remove the slave shambles across the Potomac; and, in return for that concession, exacts a bond for the continuance of slavery here, until Maryland shall consent to its abolition. Sir, this is healing the wound by plunging deeper into it the knife that made it. Shall we, then, authorize the newly-returned minister from Russia to give to his imperial master the gratifying intelligence that this republic, the only counterpoise of his despotism, hastens to its fall by a cause so inadequate and so inglorious as the bare possibility that two thousand slaves may, some five, ten, or twenty years hence, be redeemed from bondage ?
The next of these evils is the encroachment of Texas upon New Mexico. Well, sir, we will leave the territory of New Mexico in the keeping of the President, and her free institutions to the care of her own people, until she can come here as a state and demand admission into the Union.
The fourth of these disasters is the solitude of ten thousand Mormons in the far off basin of Salt Lake. But this solitude is of their own choice. They could not live under our governments in any of our states. It is, therefore, solitude sweetened by independence. The remedy proposed by the compromise is to extend to them institutions like those from which they fled. Sir, the Mormons, when they shall have gathered a population adequate to sustain a state government, can establish one; and, in the meantime, they will be living under the protection of our arms, and enjoying the only laws they are yet prepared to endure.
There is, then, only one real wound upon the body politic—the suspense of California. This is a wound, whose pain is not relieved by anguish in any other part; and this is the very one which, with exquisite surgery, the President proposes we shall heal immediately, and by itself, alone.
But it is insisted that, trivial as these disturbances are, the country is nevertheless irritated, excited, and distracted. Sir, the
country seems to me neither excited nor distracted. It is worried by our own delay, and has become impatient—not impatient enough yet to approve this bill, but impatient for the admission of California alone. That is all.
Still it is replied that the slavery question must be settled. That question cannot be settled by this bill. Slavery and freedom are conflicting systems, brought together by the union of the states, not neutralized, nor even harmonized. Their antagonism is raaical, and therefore perpetual. Compromise continues conflict, and the conflict involves, unavoidably, all questions of national interest -questions of revenue, of internal improvement, of industry, of commerce, of political rivalry, and even all questions of peace and of war. In entering the career of conquest, you have kindled to a fiercer heat the fires you seek to extinguish, because you have thrown into them the fuel of propagandism. We have the propagandism of slavery to enlarge the slave market, and to increase slave representation in Congress and in the electoral colleges—for the bramble ever seeks power, though the olive, the fig, and the vine, refuse it; and we have the propagandism of freedom to counteract those purposes. Nor can this propagandism be arrested on either side. The sea is full of exiles, and they swarm over our land. Emigration from Europe and from Asia, from Polynesia even,
from the free states and from the slaves states, goes on, and will go on, and must go on, in obedience to laws which, I should say, were higher than the Constitution, if any such laws were acknowledged here. And I may be allowed here to refer those who have been scandalized by the allusion to such laws to a single passage by an author whose opinions did not err on the side of superstition or of tyranny:
“ If it be said that every nation ought in this to follow their own constitutions, we are at an end of our controversies; for they ought not to be followed, unless they are rightly made; they cannot be rightly made if they are contrary to the universal law of God and nature."— Discourses on Government, by Algernon Sydney.
But I was speaking of emigrants; and I say that wherever those emigrants gowhether they go from necessity or of choice—they form continuous, unbroken, streaming processions of colonists, founders of states, builders of nations. And when colonies are planted, states are founded, or nations built, labor is there the first and indispensable element, and it begins and prosecutes to the end its strife for freedom and power. While the sovereignty of the
territories remains here, the strife will come up here to be composed. You may slay the Wilmot Proviso in the Senate chamber, and bury it beneath the capitol to-day; the dead corse, in complete steel, will haunt your legislative halls to
morrow. When the strife is ended in the territories you now possess, it will be renewed on new fields, north as well as south, to fortify advantages gained, or to retrieve losses incurred, for both of the parties well know that there is “Yet in that word Hereafter."
Senators have referred us to the promise of peace which heralded in the Missouri compromise. Sir, that prophecy is but half its journey yet. The annexation of Texas, the invasion of Mexico, this prolonged struggle over California, this desperate contest for the snows and sands of New Mexico and Deseret, are all within the scope and limits of the prediction; and so are the strifes yet to come over ice-bound regions beyond the St. Lawrence and sunburnt plains beneath the tropics.
But while this compromise will fail of all its purposes, it will work out serious and lasting evils. All such compromises are changes of the Constitution, made in derogation of the Constitution. They render it uncertain in its meaning, and impair its vigor, as well as its sanctions. This compromise finds the Senate in wide divergence from the House of Representatives, by reason of the undue multiplication of feeble, consumptive states, effected by former compromises of the same sort. You will increase that evil until the Congress of the United States will be unable to conduct the business of the country, by reason of a chronic disagree ment between this and the popular branch; and the result will be the abolition of one branch or of the other; the abolition of either would probably be fatal to liberty.
This compromise is rendered doubly dangerous by the circumstance that it is a concession to alarms of disorganization and faction. Such concessions, once begun, follow each other with fearful rapidity and always increasing magnitude. It is time, high time, that panics about the Union should cease ; that it should be known and felt that the Constitution and the Union, within the limits of human security, are safe, firm, and perpetual. Settle what you can settle; confide in that old arbiter, Time, for his favoring aid in settling for the future what belongs to the future, and you will hereafter be relieved of two classes of patriots whose labors can