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Your charge of destructiveness against us, are based on the most clear and stable foundations.
ago, "it is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation, and deportation, peaceably, and in such slow degrees, as that the evil will wear off insensibly; and their places be, pari passu, filled up by free white laborers. If, on the contrary, it is left to force itself on, human nature must shudder at the prospect held up.'
Again, you say we have made the Slavery question more prominent than it formerly was. We deny it. We admit that it is more prominent, but we deny that we made it so. It was not we, but you, who discarded the old policy of the fathers. We resisted, and still resist, your innovation; and thence comes the greater prominence of the question. Would you have that question reduced to its former proportions? Go back to that old policy. What has been will be again, under the same conditions. If you would have the peace of the old times, re-adopt the precepts and policy of the old times. You charge that we stir up insurrections among your slaves. We deny it; and what is your proof? Harper's Ferry! John Brown! John Brown was no Republican; and you have failed to implicate a single Republican in his Harper's Ferry enterprise. If any member of our party is guilty in that matter, you know it, or you do not know it. If you do know it, you are inexcusable to not designate the man, and prove the fact. If you do not know it, you are inexcusable to assert it, and especially to persist in the assertion after you have tried and failed to make the proof. You need not be told that persisting in a charge which one does not know to be true, is simply a malicious slander.
Some of you admit that no Republican designedly aided or encouraged the Harper's Ferry affair; but still insist that our doctrines and declarations necessarily lead to such results. We do not believe it. We know we hold to no doctrine, and make no declarations, which And how much would it avail you, if you could, by the were not held to and made by our fathers who framed use of John Brown, Helper's book, and the like, break up the Government under which we live. You never dealt the Republican organization? Human action can be modfairly by us in relation to this affair. When it occurred, ified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed. some important State elections were near at hand, and There is a judgment and a feeling against Slavery in this you were in evident glee with the belief that, by charg-nation, which cast at least a million and a half of votes. ing the blame upon us, you could get an advantage of us You cannot destroy that judgment and feeling-that senin those elections. The elections came, and your ex-timent-by breaking up the political organization which pectations were not quite fulfilled. Every Republican rallies around it. You can scarcely scatter and disperse man knew that, as to himself at least, your charge was a an army which has been formed into order in the face of Blander, and he was not much inclined by it to cast his your heaviest fire, but if you could, how much would you vote in your favor. Republican doctrines and declara- gain by forcing the sentiment which created it out of the tions are accompanied with a continual protest against peaceful channel of the ballot box, into some other chanany interference whatever with your slaves, or with you nel? What would that other channel probably be? Would about your slaves. Surely, this does not encourage them the number of John Browns be lessened or enlarged by the to revolt. True, we do, in common with our fathers, who operation? framed the Government under which we live, declare our belief that Slavery is wrong; but the slaves do not hear us declare even this. For anything we say or do, the slaves would scarcely know there is a Republican party. I believe they would not, in fact, generally know it but for your misrepresentations of us, in their hearing. In your political contests among yourselves, each faction charges the other with sympathy with Black Republicanism; and then, to give point to the charge, defines Black Republicanism to simply be insurrection, blood and thunder among the slaves.
When you make these declarations, you have a specific and well-understood allusion to an assumed constitutional right of yours, to take slaves into the federal territories, and to hold them there as property. But no such right is Slave insurrections are no more common now than specifically written in the Constitution. That instrument they were before the Republican party was organized. is literally silent about any such right. We, on the conWhat induced the Southampton insurrection, twenty-trary, deny that such a right has any existence in the Coneight years ago, in which, at least, three times as many stitution, even by implication. lives were lost as at Harper's Ferry? You can scarcely stretch your very elastic fancy to the conclusion that Southampton was got up by Black Republicanism. In the present state of things in the United States, I do not think a general, or even a very extensive slave insurrection, is possible. The indispensable concert of action cannot be attained. The slaves have no means of rapid communication; nor can incendiary free men, black or white, supply it. The explosive materials are everywhere in parcels; but there neither are, nor can be supplied, the indispensable connecting trains.
Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is, that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.
Much is said by Southern people about the affection of slaves for their masters and mistresses; and a part of it, at least, is true. A plot for an uprising could scarcely be devised and communicated to twenty individuals before some one of them, to save the life of a favorite master or mistress, would divulge it. This is the rule; and the slave-revolution in Hayti was not an exception to it, but a case occurring under peculiar circumstances. The gunpowder plot of British history, though not connected with slaves, was more in point. In that case, only about twenty were admitted to the secret; and yet one of them, in his anxiety to save a friend, betrayed the plot to that friend, and, by consequence, averted the calamity. Occasional poisonings from the kitchen, and open or stealthy assassinations in the field, and local revolts extending to a score or so, will continue to occur as the natural results of Sla-firmed in the Constitution; but they pledge their veracity very; but no general insurrection of slaves, as I think, can that it is distinctly and expressly affirmed there-" dishappen in this country for a long time. Whoever much tinctly," that is, not mingled with any thing else-" exfears, or much hopes, for such an event, will be alike dis- pressly," that is, in wo ds meaning just that, without the appointed. aid of any inference, and susceptible of no other meaning. Ir the language of Mr. Jefferson, uttered many years If they had only pledged their judicial opinion that
An inspection of the Constitution will show that the right of property in a slave is not distinctly and expressly affirmed in it. Bear in mind the Judges do not pledge their judicial opinion that such is right is impliedly af
Mr. Jefferson did not mean to say, nor do I, that the power of emancipation is in the Federal Government. He spoke of Virginia; and, as to the power of emancipation, I speak of the slaveholding States only.
The Federal Government, however, as we insist, has the power of restraining the extension of the institution-the power to insure that a slave insurrection shall never occur on any American soil which is now free from Slavery. John Brown's effort was peculiar. It was not a slave insurrection. It was an attempt by white men to get up a revolt among slaves, in which the slaves refused to participate. In fact, it was so absurd that the slaves, with all their ignorance, saw plainly enough it could not succeed. That affair, in its philosophy, corresponds with many attempts related in history, at the assassination of Kings and Emperors. An enthusiast broods over the oppression of a people till he fancies himself commissioned by Heaven to liberate them. He ventures the attempt, which ends in little else than in his own execution. Orsini's attempt on Louis Napoleon, and John Brown's attempt at Harper's Ferry, were, in their philosophy, precisely the same. The eagerness to cast blame on old England in the one case, and on New England in the other, does not disprove the sameness of the two things.
But you will break up the Union rather than submit to a denial of your constitutional rights.
That has a somewhat reckless sound; but it would be palliated, if not fully justified, were we proposing, by the mere force of numbers, to deprive you of some right, plainly written down in the Constitution. But we are proposing no such thing.
This, plainly stated, is your language to us. Perhaps you will say the Supreme Court has decided the disputed Constitutional question in your favor. Not quite so. But waiving the lawyer's distinction between dictum and decision, the Courts have decided the question for you in a sort of way. The Courts have substantially said, it is your Constitutional right to take slaves into the federal territories, and to hold them there as property. When I say the decision was made in a sort of way, 1 mean it was made in a divided Court by a bare majority of the Judges, and they not quite agreeing with one another in the reasons for making it; that it is so made as that its avowed supporters disagree with one another about its meaning, and that it was mainly based upon a mistaken statement of fact-the statement in the opinion that "the right of property in a slave is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution."
such right is affirmed in the instrument by implication, These natural, and apparently adequate means all fait it would be open to others to show that neither the wording, what will convince them? This, and this only: "slave" nor "Slavery" is to be found in the Constitu- cease to call Slavery wrong, and join them in calling it tion, nor the word property" even, in any connection right. And this must be done thoroughly-done in acts with the language alluding to the things slave, or Slavery, as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated-we and that wherever in that instrument the slave is alluded must place ourselves avowedly with them. Douglas's to, he is called a "person ;" and wherever his master's new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, supp ess legal right in relation to him is alluded to, it is spoken of ing all declarations that Slavery is wrong, whether made as "service or labor due," as a "debt" payable in in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must service or labor. Also, it would be open to show, by arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy contemporaneous history, that this mode of alluding to pleasure. We must pull down our Free State constitutions. slaves and Slavery, instead of speaking of them, was en- The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint ployed on purpose to exclude from the Constitution the of opposition to Slavery, before they will cease to believe idea that there could be property in man. that all their troubles proceed from us.
I am quite aware they do not state their case precisely in this way. Most of them would probably say to us, "Let us alone, do nothing to us, and say what you please about Slavery." But we do let them alone-have never disturbed them-so that, after all, it is what we say, which dissatisfies them. They will continue to accuse us of doing, until we cease saying.
To show all this is easy and certain.
When this obvious mistake of the Judges shall be brought to their notice, it is not reasonable to expect that they will withdraw the mistaken statement, and reconsider the conclusion based upon it?
And then it is to be remembered that our fathers, who framed the Government under which we live"-the men who made the Constitution -decided this same Constitutional question in our favor, long ago-decided it without a division among themselves, when making the decision; without division among themselves about the meaning of it after it was made, and so far as any evidence is left, without basing it upon any mistaken statement of facts.
Under all these circumstances, do you really feel yourselves justified to break up this Government, unless such a court decision as yours is shall be at once submitted to as a conclusive and final rule of political action?
But you will not abide the election of a Republican President. In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us?
That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, "stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murde. er!"
To be sure, what the robber demanded of me-my money-was my own; and I had a clear right to keep it; but it was no more my own than my vote is my own; and the threat of death to me to extort my money, and the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle.
A few words now to Republicans. It is exceedingly desirable that all parts of this great Confederacy shall be at peace, and in harmony, one with another. Let us Republicans do our part to have it so. Even though much provoked, let us do nothing through passion and ill temper. Even though the southern people will not so much as listen to us, let us calmly consider their demands, and yield to them if, in our deliberate view of our duty, we possibly can. Judging by all they say and do, and by the subject and naturs of their controversy with us, let us determine, if we can, what will satisfy them? Will they be satisfied if the Territories be unconditionally surrendered to them? We know they will not. In all their present complaints against us, the Territories are scarce y mentioned. Invasions and insurrections are the rage now. Will it satisfy them if, in the future, we have nothing to do with invasions and insurrections? We know it will not. We so know because we know we never had anything to do with invasions and insurrections; and yet this total abstaining does not exempt us from the charge and the denunciation.
The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must, somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them, from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them is the fact that they have never detected a man of s in any attempt to disturb them.
I am also aware they have not, as yet, in terms, demanded the overthrow of our Free State Constitutions. Yet those constitutions declare the wrong of Slavery, with more solemn emphasis, than do all other sayings against it; and when all these other sayings shall have been silenced, the overthrow of these constitutions will be demanded, and nothing be left to resist the demand. It is nothing to the contrary, that they do not demand the whole of this just now. Demanding what they do, and for the reason they do, they can voluntarily stop nowhere short of this consummation, Holding, as they do, that Slavery is morally right, and socially elevating, they can. not cease to demand a full national recognition of it, as a legal right, and a social blessing.
Nor can we justifiably withhold this, on any ground save our conviction that Slavery is wrong. If Slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and constitutions against it, are themselves wrong, and should be silenced, and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly object to its nationality-its universality; if it is wrong, they cannot justly insist upon its extension-its enlargement. All they ask, we could readily grant, if we thought Slavery right; all we ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong. Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends the whole controversy. Thinking it right, as they do, they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, as being right; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them? Can we cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view of our moral, social, and political respon sibilities, can we do this?
Wrong as we think Slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States?
If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored-contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man-such as a policy of" don't care" on a question about which all true men do care-such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentauce such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washing. ton did.
Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destru. tion to the Government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty, as we understand it.
MR. BRECKINRIDGE ON NATIONAL POLITICS.
SPEECH AT FRANKFORT, KY.
view of the case.
the following speech on the general political topics of the day before the Legislature of Kentucky at Frankfort in Dec. 1859. Mr. Breckinridge had been recently elected to the United States Senate, by the Kentucky Legislature; and after returning his thanks for the distinguished honor, and promising to serve the State to the best of his ability, he continued as follows:
THE HON. JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE delivered | pealed, and we passed the act known as the Kansas-Nethe United States were constantly contending that it was braska bill. The Abolition, or quasi Abolition party of the right of Congress to prohibit Slavery in the common Territories of the Union. The Democratic party, aided by most of the gentlemen from the South, took the opposite that question from the Halls of Congress, and place it Our object was, if possible, to withdraw where it could no longer risk the public welfare and the public interest. In the Congress of the United States it South; accordingly (I have not a copy of the bill before had been agitated all the time, to the disadvantage of the me now, but I remember its leading provisions), a bill was passed, repealing the Missouri line, and leaving those Territories upon the contract and the assertion that the bill made. Did we intend by it to legislate Slavery into Kansas and Nebraska? We denied that, and denied it upon terward received the approval of the people of the whole the face of the bill itself. The settlement thus made, afcountry. The bill said within itself, not that we intend to legislate Slavery into the Territories, but to leave the people free to form their own domestic institutions, subject only to the Constitution of the United States. That was as much as we could agree upon. There was a point upon which we could not agree. A considerable portion of the Northern Democracy held that Slavery was in derogation of common right, and could only exist by force of positive law. They contended that the Constitution did not furnish that law, and that the slaveholder could not go into the Territories with his slaves with the Constitution to authorize him in holding his slaves as property, or to protect him. The South, generally, without distinction of party, held the opposite view. They held that the citizens of all the States may go with whatever was recognized by the Constitution as property, and enjoy it. That did not seem to be denied to any article of property except slaves. Accordingly, the bill contained the provision, that any question in reference to Slavery should be referred to the court of the United States, and the understanding was, that whatever the judicial decision should be, it would be binding under the obligation of the citizens to respect the authorupon all parties, not only by virtue of the agreement, but ity of the legally constituted courts of the country.
The election took place on Monday. The day before I received a letter signed by a number of gentlemen in the Legislature, asking my opinion in reference to the DRED SCOTT decision, in reference to Territorial Sovereignty, and the power of Congress to protect the property of citizens within the Territories. I received that with profound respect, and only regret it did not come to my hands in time, that I might answer it before the election. But yet I am glad that I could not answer it before that day, for your choice is a sort of indorsement of my soundness upon those questions. I confess I was somewhat gratified that the election took place before I had those questions to answer. It was utterly impossible for me to have returned an answer before the time fixed by your law for the election, but, I never intended to fail in this answer. I never should have failed. Had it been one who signed it, instead of twenty, the result would have been precisely the same.
Besides this, it would have been of but little consequence, be the answer before or after. I belong to that school of politics that believes in instruction, and whenever I am not ready to receive the instructions of the State, I stand ready to give back the trust confided in my hands.
THE DRED SCOTT DECISION.
Gentlemen, I bow to the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States upon every question within its proper jurisdiction, whether it corresponds with my private opinion or not; only, I bow a trifle lower when it happens to do so, as the decision in the Dred Scott case does. I approve it in all its parts as a sound exposition of the law and constitutional rights of the States, and citizens that inhabit them. (Applause.) It may not be improper for me here to add that so great an interest did I take in that decision, and in its principles being sustained and understood in the commonwealth of Kentucky, that I took the trouble, at my own cost, to print or have printed a large edition of that decision to scatter it over the State, and unless the mails have miscarried, there is scarcely a member elected to the Legislature who has not received a copy with my frank.
To approve the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case would seem to settle the whole question of Territorial Sovereignty, as I think will presently appear; but, in order that no one may misunderstand my views on that question, I will, with your leave, detain you with a brief review of what was done as to the Slavery question up to the time of that decision, referring also to the duties imposed by it.
THE MISSOURI LINE.
I was in the Congress of the United States when that Missouri line was repealed. I never would have voted for any bill organizing the Territory of Kansas as long as that odious stigma upon our institutions remained upon the statute-book. I voted cheerfully for its repeal, and in doing that I cast no reflection upon the wise patriots who acquiesced in it at the time it was established. It was re
WHAT HE SAID IN 1856.
It was under these circumstances, while the Territory of Kansas was in a state of commotion, and when that question had not been determined by the courts, that the canvass of 1856 came on. It became my duty, by the request of my friends, to visit the States of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania. In all those States I made speeches. In all those States I uttered the same opinions and declared the same principles that I have ever done in the commonwealth of Kentucky, and am ready to do again. None other!
It has been charged that the Democratic party of the country, and particularly of the South, desired to employ the Federal Government for the purpose of propagating Slavery and slave legislation in the Territories. I denied that the Democratic party desired to use the Federal Government for the propagation of Slavery, and I never conceded what we believed to be our constitutional right to its protection, and what the decision of the Supreme Court has allowed to be our right, I said yes! I did say that the Democratic party of this country, in its federal aspect, was neither a Pro-Slavery nor an Anti-Slavery party, but a constitutional party, and I repeat it here to-night. (Applause.) I do not believe it is. I do not believe that the Federal Government was organized for either purpose, but All to protect the rights adjudicated by the courts. these belong to the States themselves.
These were the declarations that I made, of which something has been heard in all the States. I made the
declarations that I am willing to make before my own "And whatever the political department of the Government constituents; I made the declarations that I am willing shall recognize as within the limits of the United States, the to stand here and repeat. (Applause.) We had confi-Judicial Department is also bound to recognize, and to addence in our own view of our own rights. minister in it the laws of the United States, so far as they apply, Our northern and to maintain in the territory the authority and rights of the friends had their views. It was a paradoxical question, Government, and also the political right and rights of property and we gave it to the Courts. of individual citizens as secured by the Constitution. All we Well, the Courts did decide the very question, which mean to say on this point is. that as there is no express reguhad been submitted to them, not upon a case from Kan-lation in the Constitution defining the power which the General sas, but in another case. Without going into the argu-citizen in a territory thus acquired. the Court must necessarily Government may exercise over the person or property of a ment, for time does not permit of that, let me give you look to the provisions and principles of the Constitution and it the conclusion. In the opinion of the Court in the case distribution of powers, for the rules and principles by which of Dred Scott, it is said: its decision must be governed."
"Upon these considerations, it is the opinion of the Court that the act of Congress which prohibits a citizen from holding and owning property of this kind in the Territory of the United States, north of the line herein mentioned, is not warranted by the Constitution, and is therefore void; and that neither Dred Scott himself nor any of his family were made free by being carried into this Territory, even if they had been carried there by the owner, with the intention of becoming a permanent resident."
"The powers over person and property of which we speak, are not only not granted to Congress, but are in express terms denied, and they are forbidden to exercise them. And this prohibition is not confined to the States, but the words are general, and extend to the whole territory over which the Constitution gives it power to legislate, including those portions of it remaining under Territorial government, as well as that covered by States. It is a total absence of power everywhere within the dominion of the United States, and places the citizen of a Territory, so far as those rights are concerned, on the same footing with citizens of the States, and guards them as firmly and plainly against any inroads which the General Government might attempt, under the plea of implied or incidental power. And if Congress itself cannot do thisif it is beyond the powers conferred on the Federal Government-it will be admitted, we presume, that it could not authorize a Territorial government to exercise them. It could confer no power on any local government, established by its authority, to violate the provisions of the Constitution."
Thus the highest court in the United States settled the very question referred to it as the disputed point, not legislative in its character, on which Congress could not agree when the Kansas-Nebraska bill passed. The view that we in the Southern States took of it was sustained, that in the Territories, the common property of the Union, pending their Territorial condition, Congress itself nor the Territorial Government had the power to confiscate any description of property recognized in the States of the Union. The Court drew no distinction between slaves and other property. It is true some foreign philanthropists and some foreign writers do undertake to draw this distinction, but these distinctions have nothing to do with our system of Government. Our Government rests not upon the speculations of philanthropic writers, but upon the plain understanding of a written constitution which determines it, and upon that alone. It is the result of positive law; therefore we are not to look to the analogy of the supposed law of nations, but to regard the Constitution itself, which is the written expression of the respective powers of the Government and the rights of the States.
Well, that being the case, and it having been authoritatively determined by the very tribunal to which it was referred that Congress had no power to exclude slave property from the Territory, and judiciously determined that the Territorial Legislatures, authorities created by Congress, had not the power to exclude or confiscate slave property, I confess that I had not anticipated that the doctrines of unfriendly legislation would be set up. Hence, I need not say to you that I do not believe in the doctrine of unfriendly legislation; that I do not believe in the authority of Territorial Legislatures to do by indirec tion what they cannot do directly. I repose upon the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, as to the point that neither Congress nor the Territorial Legislature has the right to obstruct or confiscate the property of any citizen, slaves included, pending the territorial condition. (Applause.)
I do not see any escape from that decision, if you the decision of the Supreme Court, and if you stand by admit that the question was a judicial one; if you admit the decision of the highest Court of the country.
The Supreme Court seems to have recognized it as the duty-as the duty of the Courts of this Union in their proper sphere to execute this constitutional right, thus adjudicated by the Supreme Court, in the following language. In speaking of the acquisition of territory, they pronounce it a political question for Congress to determine what territory they acquire and how many. Now mark the words of the Court:
So that in regard to slave property, as in regard to any other property recognized and guarded by the Constitu tion, it is the duty, according to the Supreme Court, of al the Courts of the country to protect and guard it by their decision, whenever the question is brought before them To which I will only add this, that the judicial decisions in our favor must be maintained-these judicial decisions in our favor must be sustained. (Applause.)
cisions, I would have nothing more done. I, with many If present remedies are adequate to sustain these deother public men in the country, believe they are able If they are not-if they cannot be enforced for want of the proper legislation to enforce them, sufficient legislation must be passed, or our Government is a failure. (Applause.) Gentlemen, I see no escape from that conclusion.
At the same time, fellow-citizens, I make no hesitatica in saying to you that I trust the time will never come I trust the time will never come when it may be deemed necessary for the Congress of the United States in any form to interfere with this question in the Territories. So far it has been only productive of evil to us, and it would portend only evil in the future. At present there is no question before Congress. No Southern Representative or Senator proposes legislation on that point-no complaint comes from any territory-there is no evidence that the existing laws and decisions of the Courts are not adequate to protect every description of property recognized by the several States. None whatever. Therefore, in my opinion, and I submit it humbly and with deference, our true policy is not to anticipate trouble, but to let the matter rest upon the Executive, upon the existing laws, and upon the decisions of the Courts. (Applause.) I will add this: we must never give up the principle, we must never give up the question that has been judiciously decided, that this constitutional right exists. We must stand by that decision. tional rights, but I would never prematurely raise the We must hold to our constituquestion to distract the country, when there is no voice calling for it, North, East, South or West. (Applause.) I say we must hold to the principle-we must stand by it. We stand in a good position. We have the Executive, we have the laws, we have the decisions of the Courts, and that is a great advance from where we stood ten years
I am glad-although we did not succeed as we desired in Kansas-I am glad that the territorial question is nearly fought out. It is nearly fought out. I know of no existing Territory where this question can arise. As to the territory south of the line, where slave labor is really profitable, I have not a doubt but that the climate and interest, and the proximity of slaveholders, and the Constitution and laws, and the decision of the Court, will sustain and protect us there in the full enjoyment of our rights, and in making Southern territory out of Southern soil. While I would not give up the principle, I never have believed, and I do not believe now, in the possibility of Slavery planting itself in a territory against the determined opposition of the inhabitants, any more than I believe the institution of Slavery could continue in existence in Kentucky for three years against the desire of the voters of the Commonwealth, even with the constitutional restictions that are here thrown around it.
Still, I would save the question and the principle, and never let go the constitutional right, because our protec tion in the Union consists in a strict adherence to the provisions of the Constitution. When we allow an infracto the last that the Constitution of the country shall be tion of the Constitution on any one point, we lose our claim to the observance of the whole. We should insist sustained in every particular. (A voice-" Good.")
THE PERIL OF THE COUNTRY.
Fellow-citizens, if you will allow me, I will offer you some observations upon another aspect of public affairs. We have been talking of things that concern us no more than they concern others, but we have questions to deter. mine that come nearer home-questions that come to our
tresides. According to my humble judgment, the condition of our country was never so perilous as it is at this hour; and if things go drifting on as they have of 'ate, we shall have to determine questions of far nearer vitality than the territorial question.
I hope I do not speak in the spirit of an alarmist or a Jemagogue, but since I have been acquainted with public affairs (and men older and wiser than myself say the same thing) there never was a time when the interests of this Union were in so much peril, and when the feelings of our people were so much alienated as at this hour. Certainly if the aspect of affairs at Washington is in the slightest degree indicative of the feeling elsewhere, that remark is truth.
HIS VIEWS OF REPUBLICANISM.
First is their platform, made three years ago, but beyond which they have far advanced. Like all aggressive organizations, the rear rank of the Republican party marches up and comes upon the ground that the advanced guard occupied months before, while the advanced guard is going ahead. The Republicans are far in advance of their platform, but we have there enough to put us on our guard.
What are our rights? Have we not a right to have our fugitives returned? If there is a plainer provision than that in the instrument, what is it? Have we not a right to live in peace in this Union? What was the Constitution formed for? When the Constitution was made, was it not made by brethren? Was it not made that this political organization should be carried on in peace and harmony? Have we not a right to demand of our sister States, that we may live together in peace with our respective State institutions, with our whole domestic policy? And is it not a gross violation of the Constitution not to allow us to live in peace, as to refuse to return our fugitives from labor that have escaped into other States? Do they intend to do it? No, they do not. They begin by declaring the Declaration of Independence is a rule of our political action. Here is the declaration of the Republican platform, adopted three years ago, beyond which they have now far advanced:
"Résolved, That with our Republican fathers we hold it to be a self-evident truth that all men are endowed with the inalienable right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that the primary object and ulterior design of our Federal Government were to secure these rights to all persons under Its exclusive jurisdiction; that as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished Slavery in all our national territory, ordained that no person should be deprived of life, liberty and property, without due process of law, it becomes our duty to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it for the purpose of establishing Slavery in the Territories of the United States by positive legislation, prohibiting
its existence or extension therein.
This is a positive pledge, that as soon as that party obtains power, it will recognize the equality of the negro with the white man. Its object will be to give him those rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To maintain that equality what follows? Everybody knows that when they obtain the power in the District of Columbia, they will abolish Slavery there; when they obtain the power, they will undertake to abolish it in the forts, arsenals, and dock-yards of the United States throughout the South; they will undertake to abolish the internal slave-trade. Already they declare that not another Slave State shall be admitted into the Union, and they will go beyond that. How can we expect to live in peace and harmony, when declarations of this
sort are uttered:
"Resolved, That the Constitution confers npon Congress sovereign power over the Territories of the United States for their government, and that, in the exercise of this power, it is both the right and the imperative duty of Congress, to prohibit in the Territories those twin relics of barbarism-polygamy and Slavery."
Is that in the spirit of our revolutionary ancestors? Is it in the spirit of our revolutionary ancestors for a great and growing party, that now claims, and perhaps
have, dominance in the Northern States of the Union, se say of an institution of their Southern relatives they are harboring a relic of barbarism? That shows you, fellow citizens, their indomitable purpose, their deep-seated hate. I am sorry that it exists, but it is true. How can you expect a great political organization that obtains power, to fail to exercise that power when in its opinion this Union is stained or defiled as to one-half, perhaps, of its inhabitants, by a relic of barbarism, which it classes with the crime of polygamy.
This is not all. I could have brought here the decla ations of its representative and leading men from a parts of the Northern States, going infinitely further than is contained there. Allow me, however, to read one or two of the most striking from the most eminent of ther leaders. I beg you, fellow-citizens, though they may be familiar, not to weary with a few extracts, for these us terances are the rallying cry of millions of men. I hold in my hand a speech delivered by a Senator of the State of New-York, who is to-day the most influential publie man in this Union, on whose words millions hang, and by whose direction millions move. Is this the Constitu tion and Union that our fathers founded?
Last year, in a speech delivered at Rochester, that gentleman uttered the following language:
"Our country is a theatre which exhibits, in full operation two radically different political systems; the one resting on the basis of servile or slave labor, the other on the basis of voluntary labor of freemen.
But they are more than incongruous. They are incompat"The two systems are at once perceived to be incongruous. íble. They never have permanently existed together in one country, and they never can.
"Hitherto the two systems have existed in different States, but side by side within the American Union. This has hap pened because the Union is a confederation of States. But on another aspect the United States constitute only one nation. Increase of population which is filling the States out to their very borders, together with a new and extended net-work of railroads and other avenues, and an internal commerce which daily becomes more intimate, is rapidly bringing the States into a higher and more perfect social unity or consolidation. Thus these antagonistic systems are constitutionally coming into close contact and collision results."
Yes, "collision ensues," and his prophecy was fulfilled in less than twelve months after it was made.
"Shall I tell you what this collision means? It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces; and it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, nation. Either the cotton and rice fields of South Carolina become entirely a slaveholding nation, or entirely a free-labor and the sugar plantations of Louisiana will ultimately be tilled by free labor, and Charleston and New-Orleans become marts for legitimate merchandise alone; or else the rye-fields and surrendered by their farmers to slave culture, and to the prowheat-fields of Massachusetts and New-York must again be duction of slaves, and Boston and New-York become once more markets for trade in the bodies and souls of men. It is the failure to apprehend this great truth that induces so many and Free States, and it is the existence of this great fact that unsuccessful attempts at final compromise between the Slave renders all such pretended compromises, when made, vain and ephemeral."
These things would have no consequence if they were the individual opinions of their author, but they are the opinions of a large and formidable and growing party in this Union; of a party that now claims a majority in the House of Representatives, and which looks, at no very distant day, to have a majority in the Senate. I ask you if that was the Union formed by our fathers? Did they anticipate such a political party would arise to declare that there "is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces" in the United States?
It is not my purpose to characterize or stigmatize this doctrine now, but to set forth what we are to expect and what we are to meet.
At a later period, in the Senate of the United States, that same distinguished Senator uttered the following. language, (I well remember the occasion and the speech:)
all its constitutional checks, cannot long resist and counteract "A free Republican Government like this, notwithstanding the progress of society."
They don't expect the provisions of the Constitution and its checks to prevent them from taking their onward progress Indeed, they have a facility of construing that instrument, which makes it as dust in the balance. They construe it to authorize them not to return fugitive slaves; to authorize them to make a war upon one half of the nation. There is no provision of the Constitution which has stood in their way as to any right of ours that we have claimed upon this great question. Not only did he announce in the Senate of the United States,