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This bill gives to every citizen of the United States, "who is the head of a family," and to every person of foreign birth residing in the country, who has declared his intention to become a citizen, though he may not be the head of a family, the privilege of appropriating to himself one hundred and sixty acres of Government land, of settling and residing upon it for five years; and should his residence continue until the end of this period, he shall then receive a patent on the payment of twentyfive cents per acre, or one-fifth of the present Government price. During this period, the land is protected from all the debts of the settler.


This bill also contains a cession to the States of all the public lands within their respective limits "which have been subject to sale at private entry, and which remain unsold after the lapse of thirty years.' This provision embraces a present donation to the States of twelve millions two hundred and twenty-nine thousand seven hundred and thirty-one acres, and will, from time to time, transfer to them large bodies of such lands which, from peculiar circumstances, may not be absorbed by private purchase and settlement.

To the actual settler, this bill does not make an absolute donation; but the price is so small that it can scarcely be called a sale. It is nominally twenty-five cents per acre; but considering this is not to be paid until the end of five years, it is, in fact, reduced to about eighteen cents per acre, or one-seventh of the present minimum price of the public lands. In regard to the States, it is an absolute and unqualified gift.

I. This state of the facts raises the question whether Congress, under the Constitution, has the power to give away the public lands, either to States or individuals. On this question, I expressed a decided opinion in my message to the House of Representatives, of the 24th February, 1859, returning the agricultural college bill. This opinion remains unchanged. The argument then used applies, as a constitutional objection, with the greater force to the present bill. There it had the plea of consideration, growing out of a specific beneficial purpose; here, it is an absolute gratuity to the State without the pretext of consideration. I am compelled, for want of time, in these last hours of the session, to quote largely from this message

I presume the general proposition will be admitted, that Congress does not possess the power to make donations of money, already in the Treasury, raised by taxes on the people, either to States or individuals.

But it is contended that the public lands are placed upon a different footing from money raised by taxation, and that the proceeds arising from their sale are not subject to the limitations of the Constitution, but may be appropriated or given away by Congress, at its own discretion, to States, corporations, or individuals, any purpose they may deem expedient.

The advocates of this bill attempt to sustain their position upon the language of the second clause of the third section of the fourth article of the Constitution, which deciares that "the Congress shall have power to dispose of, and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States." They contend that, by a fair interpretation of the words "dispose of" in this clause, Congress possesses the power to make this g ft of public lands to the States for purposes of education.

carefully limited, but without any limitation in respect the public lands.


But I cannot so read the words "disposed of" as to make them embrace the idea of "giving away. The true meaning of words is always to be ascertained by the subject to which they are applied, and the known general intent of the lawgiver. Congress is trustee under the Constitution for the people of the United States to "dispose of " their public lands, and I think I may venture to assert with confidence that no case can be found in which a trustee in the position of Congress has been authorized to "dispose of" property by its owner, where it has ever been held that these words authorized such trustee to give away the fund intrusted to his care. No trustee, when called upon to account for the disposition of the property placed under his management before any judicial tribunal, would venture to present such a plea in his defense. The true meaning of these words is clearly stated by Chief Justice Taney in delivering the opinion of the Court (19 Howard, p. 436). He says, in reference to this clause of the Constitution, "It begins its enumeration of powers by that of disposing; in other words, making sale of the lands, or raising money from them, which, as we have already said, was the main object of the cession (from the States), and which is the first thing provided for in the article." It is unnecessary to refer to the history of the times to establish the known fact that this statement of the Chief Justice is perfectly well founded. That it never was intended by the framers of the Constitution that these lands should be given away by Congress is manifest from the concluding portion of the same clause. By it, Congress has power not only "to dispose of" the territory, but of the "other property of the United States." In the language of the Chief Justice (p. 487), "And the same power of making needful rules respecting the territory is in precisely the same language applied to the other property of the United States, associating the power over the territory, in this respect, with the power over movable or personal property-that is, the ships, arms, or munitions of war, which then belonged in common to the State sovereignties."

The question is still clearer in regard to the public lands in the States and Territories within the Louisiana and Florida purchases. These lands were paid for out of the public Treasury from money raised by taxation. Now, if Congress had no power to appropriate the money with which these lands were purchased, is it not clear that the power over the lands is equally limited? The mere conversion of this money into land could not confer upon Congress new power over the disposition of land which they had not possessed over money. If it could, then a trustee, by changing the character of the fund intrusted to his care for special objects from money into land, might forgive the land away, or devote it to any purpose he thought proper, however foreign from the trust. The inference is irresistible that this land partakes of the very same character with the money paid for it, and can be devoted to no objects different from those to which the money could have been devoted. If this were not the case, then, by the purchase of a new Territory from a foreign government out of the public Treasury, Congress could enlarge their own powers, and appropriate the proceeds of the sales of the land thus purchased, at their own discretion, to other and far different objects from what they could have applied the purchase money which had been raised by taxation.

If you

It would require clear and strong evidence to induce the belief that the framers of the Constitution, after having limited the powers of Congress to certain, precise, and specific objects, intended, by employing the The first settlers of a new country are a most merito words" dispose of," to give that body unlimited power rious class. They brave the dangers of savage warfare, over the vast public domain. It would be a strange suffer the privations of a frontier life, and, with the hand anomaly indeed, to have created two funds, the one by of toil, bring the wilderness into cultivation. The "old taxation, confined to the execution of the enumerated settlers, as they are everywhere called, are public bene powers delegated to Congress, and the other from factors. This class have all paid for their lands, the the public lands, applicable to all subjects, foreign and government price, or $1 25 per acre. They have condomestic, which Congress might designate. That this structed roads, established schools, and laid the founda fund should be "disposed of," not to pay the debts of tion of prosperous Commonwealths. Is it just, is it the United States, nor "to raise and support armies," equal, that, after they have accomplished all this by their nor "to provide and maintain a navy," nor to accom- labor, new settlers should come in among them and replish any one of the other great objects enumerated in ceive their farms at the price of twenty-five or eighteen the Constitution, but be diverted from them to pay the cents per acre? Surely the old settlers, as a class, are debts of the States, to educate their people, and to entitled to at least equal benefits with the new. carry into effect any other measure of their domestic give the new settlers their lands for a comparatively policy-this would be to confer upon Congress a vast nominal price, upon every principle of equality and and irresponsible authority, utterly at war with the justice, you will be obliged to refund out of the common well-known jealousy of the Federal power which pre-Treasury the difference which the old have paid above vailed at the formation of the Constitution. The na- the new settlers for their land. tural intendment would be that, as the Constitution confined Congress to well-defined specific powers, the funds placed at their command, whether in land or money, should be appropriated to the performance of the duties corresponding with these powers. If not, a Government has been created, with all its other powers

II. It will prove unequal and unjust in its operation among the actual settlers themselves.

III. This bill will do great injustice to the old soldiers who have received land warrants for their services in fighting the battles of their country. It will greatly reduce the market value of these warrants. Already their value has sunk, for one hundred and sixty acre warrants, to sixty-seven cents per acre, under an appre

hension that such a measure as this might become a law. | tinction was an inadvertence; but, it is, nevertheless, a What price would they command, when any head of a part of the bill. family may take possession of a quarter section of land, and not pay for it until the end of five years, and then at the rate of only twenty-five cents per acre? The magnitude of the interest to be affected will appear in the fact that there are outstanding unsatisfied land warrants reaching back to the last war with great Britain, and even Revolutionary times, amounting in round numbers, to seven and a half millions acres.

IV. This bill will prove unequal and unjust in its operation, because, from its nature, it is confined to one class of our people. It is a boon expressly conferred upon the cultivators of the soil. While it is cheerfully admitted that these are the most numerous and useful class of our fellow-citizens, and eminently deserve all the advantages which our laws have already extended to them, yet there should be no new legislation which would operate to the injury or embarrassment of the large body of respectable artisans and laborers. The mechanic who emigrates to the West, and pursues his calling, must labor long before he can purchase a quarter-section of land; while the tiller of the soil who accompanies him obtains a farm at once by the bounty of the Government. The numerous body of mechanics in our large cities cannot, even by emigrating to the West, take advantage of the provisions of this bill without entering upon a new occupation, for which their habits of life have rendered them unfit.

V. This bill is unjust to the old States of the Union in many respects; and among these States, so far as the public lands are concerned, we may enumerate every State east of the Mississippi, with the exception of Wisconsin and a portion of Minnesota.

It is a common belief, within their limits, that the older States of the Confederacy do not derive their proportionate benefit from the public lands. This is not a just opinion. It is doubtful whether they could be rendered more beneficial to these States under any other system than that which at present exists. Their proceeds go into the common Treasury to accomplish the objects of the Government, and in this manner all the States are benefited in just proportion. But to give this common inheritance away would deprive the old States of their just proportion of this revenue, without holding out any, the least, corresponding advantage. While it is our common glory that the new States have become so prosperous and populous, there is no good reason why the old States should offer premiums to their own citizens to emigrate from them to the West. That land of promise presents in itself sufficient allurements to our young and enterprising citizens, without any adventitious aid. The offer of free farms would probably have a powerful effect in encouraging emigration, especially from States like Illinois, Tennessee, and Kentucky, to the west of the Mississippi, and could not fail to reduce the price of property within their limits. An individual in States thus situated would not pay its fair value for land when, by crossing the Mississippi, he could go upon the public lands, and obtain a farm almost without money and without price.

VIII. The bill creates an unjust distinction between persons claiming the benefit of the preemption laws. While it reduces the price of the land to existing preëmp. tors to 624 cents per acre, and gives them a credit on this sum for two years from the present date, no matter how long they may have hitherto enjoyed the land, future preemptors will be compelled to pay double this price There is no reason or justice in this discrimi

per acre.

IX. The effect of this bill on the public revenue must be apparent to all. Should it become a law, the reduction of the price of lands to actual settlers to 25 cents per acre with a credit of five years, and the reduction of its price to existing preemptors to 62 cents per acre, with a credit of two years will so diminish the sale of other public lands as to render the expectation of future revenue from that source beyond the expenses of survey and management illusory. The Secretary of the Interior estimated the revenue from the public lands for the next fiscal year at $4,000,000 on the presumption that the present land system would remain unchanged. Should this bill become a law, he does not believe that $1,000, 00 will be derived from this source.

This bill lays the ax at the root of our present admirable land system. The public land is an inheritance of vast value to us and to our descendants. It is a resource to which we can resort in the hour of difficulty and danger. It has been managed heretofore with the greatest wisdom, under existing laws. In this management, the rights of actual settlers have been conciliated with the interests of the Government. The price to all has been reduced from $2 per acre to $1 25 for fresh lands, and the claims of actual settlers have been secured by our preemption laws. Any man can now acquire a title in fee-simple to a homestead of 80 acres, at the minimum price of $1 25 per acre for $100. Should the present system remain, we shall derive a revenue from the public lands of $10,000,000 per annum, when the bounty land warrants are satisfied, without oppression to any human being. In the time of war, when all other sources of revenue are seriously impaired, this will remain intact. It may become the best security for public loans hereafter, in times of difficulty and danger, as it has been heretofore. Why should we impair or destroy this system at the present moment? What necessity exists for it?

The people of the United States have advanced with steady but rapid strides to their present condition of power and prosperity. They have been guided in their progress by the fixed principle of protecting the equal rights of all, whether they be rich or poor. No agrarian sentiment has ever prevailed among them. The honest poor man, by frugality and industry can, in any part of our country, acquire a competence for himself and his family, and in doing this he feels that he eats the bread of independence. He desires no charity, either from the government or from his neighbors. This bill, which proposes to give him land at an almost nominal price, out of the property of the government, will go far to demoralize the people, and repress this noble spirit of independence. It may introduce among us those pernicious social theories which have proved so disastrous in other countries. JAMES BUCHANAN.

VI. This bill will open one vast field for speculation. Men will not pay $1 25 for lands, when they can purchase them for one-fifth of that price. Large numbers of actual settlers will be carried out by capitalists upon agreements to give them half of the land for the improvement of the other half. This cannot be avoided. Secret agreements of this kind will be numerous. In the entry of graduated lands, the experience of the Land Office justifies this objection.

VII. We ought ever to maintain the most perfect equality between native and naturalized citizens. They are equal, and ought always to remain equal, before the laws. Our laws welcome foreigners to our shores, and their rights will ever be respected. While these are the sentiments on which I have acted through life, it is not, in my opinion, expedient to proclaim to all the nations of the earth that whoever shall arrive in this country from a foreign shore, and declare his intention to become a citizen, shall receive a farm of 160 acres, at a cost of 25 or 20 cents per acre, if he will only reside on it and cultivate it. The invitation extends to all; and if this bill becomes a law, we may have numerous actual settlers from China, and other Eastern nations, enjoying its benefits on the great Pacific slope. The bill makes a distinction in favor of such persons over native and naturalized citizens. When applied to such citizens, it is confined to such as are the heads of families; but when applicable to persons of foreign birth recently arrived ou our shores, for the light vote. there is no such restriction. Such persons need not be the heads of families, provided they have filed a declara-ing received the requisite two-thirds vote neces. tion of intention to become citizens. Perhaps this diss ry to pass it over the Executive Veto.

All from the South, and all Democrats, except Mr. Crittenden (Am.), of Kentucky. Several Senators were paired, which accounts So the bill failed, not hav

WASHINGTON, June 22, 1860.

In the Senate the question, Shall this bill pass notwithstanding the objections of the President? was put and lost, as follows:

YEAS-Messrs. Anthony, Brown, Chandler, Clark, Doolittle, Durkee, Fessenden, Fitch, Foot, Foster, Gwin, Hale, Hamlin, Harlan, King, Lane, Latham, Nicholson, Polk, Pugh, Rice, Simmons, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Trumbull, Wade, Wilkinson, and Wilson.

Republicans in Roman, 19; Democrats in Italics, 9. Total, 28.

NAYS-Messrs. Bragg, Chesnut, CRITTENDEN, Davis, Fitzpatrick, Green, Hemphill, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson (Tenn.), Johnson (Ark.), Mallory, Mason, Pearce, Powell, Sebastian, Wigfall, Yulee-18.



On the first of March, 1860, Mr. Davis, of Mississippi, submitted to the Senate the following Resolutions:

1. Resolved, that in the adoption of the Federal Constitution, the States adopting the same acted severally as free and independent sovereignties, delegating a portion of their powers to be exercised by the Federal Government for the increased security of each against dangers, domestic as well as foreign; and that any intermeddling by any one or more States, or by a combination of their citizens, with the domestic institutions of the others, on any pretext whatever, political, moral, or religious, with a view to their disturbance or subver-in agreeing to the Compromises of 1850 and the sion, is in violation of the Constitution, insulting to the Kansas-Nebraska Act (repeal of the Missouri States so interfered with, endangers their domestic peace and tranquillity-objects for which the Constitution was formed--and by necessary consequence, tends to weaken and destroy the Union itself.

On the 8th May following, Mr. Clingman, of North Carolina, addressed the Senate at length on these resolutions, maintaining the position that the Constitution does guarantee the right of holding slaves in the Territories of the United States, but that the enforcing of that right, by Congressional action, was inexpedient, and would be of no practical value to the Slave States; also, that the South waived that right

Compromise) of 1854. Mr. C. also reviewed the proceedings of the National Convention at Charleston, and concluded as follows:

2. Resolved, That negro Slavery, as it exists in fifteen States of this Union, composes an important portion of their domestic institutions, inherited from their ancestors, and existing at the adoption of the Constitution, by which it is recognized as constituting an important element in the apportionment of powers among the States; and that no change of opinion or feeling on the part of the non-slaveholding States of the Union, in relation to this institution, can justify them, or their citizens, in open or covert attacks thereon, with a view to its overthrow; and that all such attacks are in manifest violation of the mutual and solemn pledge to protect and defend each other, given by the States respectively on entering into the constitutional compact which formed the Union, and are a manifest breach of faith, and a violation of the most solemn obligations.

8. Resolved, That the Union of these States rests on the equality of rights and privileges among its members; and that it is especially the duty of the Senate, which represents the States in their sovereign capacity, to resist all attempts to discriminate either in relation to persons or property in the Territories, which are the common possessions of the United States, so as to give advantages to the citizens of one State which are not equally assured to those of every other State.

4. Resolved, That neither Congress nor a Territorial Iegislature, whether by direct legislation or legislation of an indirect and unfriendly character, possess power to annul or impair the constitutional right of any citizen of the United States to take his slave property into the common Territories, and there hold and enjoy the same while the Territorial condition remains.

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pursuance of it, are hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in their effect.

7. Resolved, That the provision of the Constitution for the rendition of fugitives from service or labor, without the adoption of which the Union could not have been formed, and that the laws of 1793 and 1850, which were enacted to secure its execution, and the main features of which, being similar, bear the impress of nearly seventy years of sanction by the highest judicial authority, should be honestly and faithfully observed and maintained by all who enjoy the benefits of our compact of Union; and that all acts of individuals or of State Legislatures to defeat the purpose or nullify the requirements of that provision, and the laws made in

Entertaining these views, I have been disposed to abstain as much as possible from the discussion of these questions, and I really hope that we shall not press them. I think no advantage can grow out of it. I greatly fear that I have occupied more of the valuable time of the Senate than I intended. I felt, however, that from me, in my position, some explanation was necessary. I think that the gentlemen on the other side of the Chamber have given us a platform already. We shall have to fight them; we had better make up our minds to go into the contest, and meet them on the reat issue they tender us. In ten days, we shall probably have their declaration * war from Chicago, and the clash of arms will com.nence very soon. It is time for us to close our ranks. I am ready to fight under any flag and any standard-bearer that may be given us. I can adopt any of those platforms that were presented at Charleston. I leave all that to our political friends assembled in convention. I know that they will present a platform, and present a man less objectionable to me than the candidate on the other side. I regard them as the deadly political enemies of my section; as the enemies of the Constitution of the United States. I want to embark in the contest and fight them with closed and serried ranks on our side. I have spoken only in behalf of the Democratic party, of the Constitu tion, and the country.

MR. BENJAMIN ON POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY. Senator Benjamin, of Louisiana, followed: Mr. Benjamin. Mr. President, I had no intention of joining in this debate, or of uttering one word on the re solutions now before the Senate; but, sir, I have listened with intense surprise to what has fallen from the Senator from North Carolina this morning, and I car.not remain quiescent and by silence appear to give consent to what he has said in relation to the action of certain Southern delegates in the recent Convention at Charleston. . The Senator from North Carolina thinks that political races can best be run without the load of principles. The Senator from North Carolina thinks that the best way to get success in a political contest is not to bother yourself with the baggage of principle, but let your candidate run with nothing on his back, and probably in that way he may run the faster and reach the goal the sooner. And again, the honorable Senator thinks that, because the Cincinnati platform was acceptable to the whole Democracy in 1856, there is and can be no reason why Democrats who stood on that platform at that time should be dissatisfied with it now.

Mr. President, let us look a little back, behind 1856, in relation to that platform, and to the living issue on which we are separated as regards that platform. We all r member, sir-no man can forget-that, in the exciting contest which took place on the Kansas-Nebraska bill, those who were the firmest supporters of the bill differed in principle on that one point which now threatens to divide the Democratic party. They differed openly; they avowed their differences; they provided for the final settlement of those differences. Sir, when we met in

car sus, under the lead of the honorable Senator from guide and a pole star by which the Democratic party could Illinois, who introduced the Kansas-Nebraska bill, it guide the ship of State, a sudden and alarming heresy was found that the Democrats from the North and the sprung up in the North, and something was said about the Democrats from the South could not agree in princi- right of the Legislature of the Territories not to destroy ple. The Democrats from the South then took the posi- Slavery; not to abolish it; not to confiscate by direct letion that the Constitution of the United States was plain gislation the rights of the citizens of the South who might and clear. The rights of the people of the South were find themselves in the Territories with their property, but, placed upon that instrument. I agree with the Senator by a side blow, by indirection, and by failure to perform from Mississippi (Mr. Davis) that we have nothing to do duty, by "unfriendly legislation," to do that which constiin this controversy with natural rights or natural princi- tutionally they had no power to do by any direct effort of ples. Those rights and those principles, which lie at the legislative will. Now, sir, the Cincinnati platform, with foundation of social organization and civil government, which the gentleman from North Carolina seems to be so were proper subjects of examination and consideration much in love, and which he thinks is sufficient for the conwith the fathers. They did take them into consideration. stitutional rights of the South, would be sufficient for that They decided them. They have given us a chart by purpose, is sufficient for that purpose properly construed · which now we are bound all to direct our course; and that but when the delegates of a great party, assembled tochart is the Constitution of our country Resting the gether from all portions of the Confederacy, recently met, rights of the South upon that Constitution, when the dis- and the proposition was made to them to adopt the Cincussions arose upon the Kansas-Nebraska bill, the Sena-cinnati platform, it was made under what circumstances, tors from the South who met in caucus, or in convention, and with what view? It was made with a knowledge or in primary meeting, if you choose so to say, all agreed, of every man in that Convention that two distinctly without a dissenting voice, that, by the true construction opposite interpretations were put upon that platform of the Constitution of the United States, the Territories one at the South, and the other at the North. belonging to the United States were the common property of all; that each State had equal rights in those Territories; that amongst those rights was the right of the citizens of the different States to emigrate to those Territiories with their property of every nature and kind; and, when there, we contended that there was no power under heaven that could drive us out of those Territories, or deprive us therein of the protection of the Constitution and the laws, until the people of the Territory should make a constitution and form a State.

Mr. Clingman.-The Senator will allow me to ask him if these two opinions were not upon whether a Territorial Le gislature could legislate for or against Slavery? Are those the opinions to which he refers?

Mr. Benjamin.-The opposite constructions are put in several points. One point is, whether the Territorial Legislature has a right to abolish Slavery in the Territories or not, before forming a State Constitution; and another is, whether or not it is the duty of the Federal Government to protect the rights of the people of the South in the Territories. Upon those two points opposite interpretations and opposite principles exist, and were developed in the Charleston Convention.

The Senator from Illinois did not agree with us in that. He has been consistent. The Senator from Illinois held that there was a power in the people of a Territory; he believed in Popular Sovereignty; he believed in some inherent right in the people when assembled, even in the original inchoate shape in which they come as emigrants to the Territories, to pass laws to govern themselves; to mold their own Institutions, as he phrased it, and included in that power the right to act against Slavery. We could not agree. Morning after morning we met, for the purpose of coming to some understanding upon that very point; and it was finally understood by all, agreed to by all, made the basis of a compromise by all the supporters of that bill, that the Territories should be organized with a delegation by Congress of all the power of Congress in the Territories, and that the extent of the power of Congress should be determined by the courts. Firm in our belief of our rights, conscious that in the Constitution we had guaranty enough; knowing that it was impossible for a judicial tribunal to make other than one decision, we said that we would stand by that decision when made; and if it should be determined by the Supreme Court of the United States that there was a power in this Government to deprive the people of the South of their fair share of the common Territories of the Union, if that power in this Government existed in Congress, and if Congress delegated all its power to the Territories, we would stand by the decision and agree that we asserted a right that found no warrant in the Constitution; and, on the other hand, our brother Democrats of the North, and the Senator from Illinois at their head, agreed that if the Supreme Court of the United States should determine that the Congress of the United States had no power to interfere with Southern rights in the Territories, if, consequently, we had had not the power that we could delegate at all, then the Democrats of the North would join us in showing respect and obedience to that decision, and stand with us on the principle that we advocated as the true one. None of us supposed at the time that the decision would come so quick. None of us knew of the existence of a controversy then pending in the federal courts that would lead almost immediately to the decision of that question. We provided in the Kansas act itself; we introduced an express clause having for its avowed object to bring that question before the courts for decision,

Well, sir, the question did come before the courts, and the Supreme Court of the United States, in the decision in the Dred Scott case, has determined-gentlemen say it is no decision-as doctrine, or as opinion, or in some way has declared that the Congress of the United States has no power so to legislate as to destroy the rights of the people of the South in their slave property in the Territories, and the judges have said as a proposition, so clear that it required no argument, that the Congress possessing no such power, it was plain that it could give none to the Territorial Legislature. I do not understand that the gentlemen from the North, the members of the Democratic party, controvert that.

But at a time when we supposed that we all at length stood upon one common platform; that we had at last a

Mr. Clingman.-I will answer the gentleman when he is through.

Mr. Pugh.-Do I understand the gentleman to say that every member of the Convention agreed that the platform had received two interpretations, or that it was susceptible of it?

Mr. Benjamin.-I understand that opposite interpretations were plainly and openly given to that platform in Convention, by men whose good faith no man has ever yet disputed to my knowledge,

Mr. Pugh. I do not think that was the ground of the difference of opinion at all. I said there never were two interpretations that could be fairly given to it; that the platform purposely, in the language of the Senator from North Carolina, referred that question to judicial tribunals; that the difference of opinion arose upon the judicial question; it did not arise upon the platform; and that consequently it was a false accusation. I say that certainly in no unkind spirit to the Senator; but I say the platform is not susceptible of two interpretations; that it referred a controversy to arbitration. There might be a difference of opinion as to the particular arbitration of it, but there was none as to the terms of submission.

Mr. Benjamin.-I read, Mr. President, with as much attention as I was capable of, everything that occurred in that convention, and I saw the statement over and over again made in the convention, and not controverted, that different opinions were put upon that platform in different parts of the country. Mr. Pugh.-I certainly controverted it for one I do not recollect who else may have stated it. It may have been repeated a great many times; but I did controvert it.

Mr. Benjamin.-Now, sir, I say, in relation to that Cincinnati platform, which the Senator from North Carolina seems to think ought to have amply sufficed the South, and to have sufficed the Democratic party, these two opposite interpretations were known to be, intended to be given to it. Further, I say this: I say it was avowed at Charleston, over and over again, that if a construction was given to that platform by which it should be clearly stated that the people of the South were entitled to have their slaves protected in the Territories against any direct interference, either by Congressional or Territorial legislation; if that was avowed; if the doctrine of the party was asserted to be that the Legislature of the Territory, whilst a Territory existed in its inchoate organization, had no right to interfere with Slavery, then it was said, again and again, that no northern State could be carried upon that ground. Mr. Clingman.-On the question as to whether a Territorial Legislature could legislate against Slavery or for it, I ask the Senator whether that would not necessarily be a question which a court must determine; that if the Legislature legislated or acted in any way, could we, by our opinions, settle it; or is it not, from necessity, a judicial question?

Mr. Benjamin.-The Senator is directing me entirely out of the line of my argument. I must beg him to allow

me to proceed in my line. That is not at all what I am
at. It has no reference at all to my line of argument.
I say this: I say that distinctly opposite interpreta-
tations, or distinctly opposite principles, if you choose, in
relation to Southern rights under the Constitution, were
avowed at Charleston, by men professing all to be Demo-
crats; and that, in my judgment, it is a brand upon the
good faith of the Democratic party, it is an imputation
upon their honor, it is unworthy of them, and unworthy
of us all, that we should go before the people of this
country and ask their votes in favor of one party or an-
other, with the avowed purpose of presenting opposite
interpretations or opposite sets of principles in the two
sections of the Confederacy, as being the principles of a
common party, and forming a common party creed. I
say that I will never be a party to any such contest as
that. If I go into an electoral contest, I want to know
the principles of the party with which I act, and I want,
before the people of my State, before the people of the
country, to declare those principles, to stand by them, to
find them written in letters of light, so that no man can
dare misconstrue them, and by them to stand, and with
them, if need be, fall.

That I understand to have been the position of the delegation of Louisiana at Charleston. Taking that position, determined that they would not palter to public prejudices by using words in any double sense; that all they did and all they said must go forth to the country incapable of misconstruction; when they found it impossible to have the principles upon which alone they could go into the Presidential contest, stated thus clearly and thus plainly, they withdrew, rightly withdrew, honorably withdrew. I applaud them; I approve them; I stand by them. I think they did as became high-minded and honorable citizens. I think the State will show itself grateful to them for their act.

Now, the honorable Senator says he is willing to go with Democrats upon almost any platform; that almost any one that we can elect would be preferable to the adversaries against whom we are to be opposed.

Mr. Benjamin then went into a history of the Kansas act, pointing out the differences between Democrats and Republicans and Douglas Democrats. At that time the Democrats being unable to agree as to the power of the people of the Territories, it was agreed to refer the subject to the Courts and to abide by the decision. He never had attacked the Senator's consistency. It was his consistency that constituted his great crime-adhering still to views which he had agreed to abandon when the Court decided the question, and which the Court had decided against him. This he charged was bad faith. The Senator no longer worshipped at the Democratic shrine, but had wandered forth after strange gods. The Senator from Illinois had admitted that he made this bargain, and yet he had been engaged since 1857 in trying to explain away, in conjunction with the Republicans, the decision of the Court, and to render it useless in case it should be affirmed. He quoted from the Dred Scott decision to show that the principle of right to slave property in the Territories was decided by it. On this point he argued at great length to show that Congress had full power over the Territories within the limits of its constitutional power; that the Constitution forbid the prohibition of Slavery in the Territories by Congress; and as the Territo. rial Government derived all its powers from Congress, the Territorial Legislature could not do more than Congress could. No sooner was this decision made than it was attacked by the Republicans, and the Chief-Justice assailed as having colluded with the President of the United States. The Senator from Illinois got over his bar gain by saying that he did not agree to abide by the decision in the Dred Scott case; but when the case was carried up from the Territorial Courts to the Supreme Court, he would obey that. This was an afterthought, Mr. Lincoln for a seat in the Senate, To save himself first announced in the canvass of 1858, when pressed by from defeat, he introduced his theory as to the power of Mr. Benjamin said, when we met here in December, the people in the Territories. [Mr. Benjamin then read the public mind was greatly disturbed by the irruption of from the discussions between Messrs. Lincoln and Douglas a band of fanatics into a State of the Union, with the to show that the former was much more candid in his ans avowed intent to liberate the slaves. A large number of wers than the latter, and he confessed he was not such an resolutions have been offered, all relating to the relation ultra Anti-Slavery man as he supposed.] Mr. Douglas of the General Government to Slavery in the States and told us here that he would abide the decision of the Court, Territories. The large number and variety of these re- but at home he turns his back on his promise, repudiates solutions, required that those who professed to belonging his words, and tells his people that he has so arranged the to the same party should meet, in order to harmonize Kansas bill that in spite of the decision the people of the and act in concert. A meeting of Democratic Senators Territories can keep slaves out. To be twice deceived was therefore held to accomplish this purpose. The by the same man would be to make them dupes and fools. Senator from Illinois, in a speech occupying two days, Even Mr. Lincoln was shocked at his profligacy, and had presented the extraordinary spectacle of advocating charged him with bad faith. The election came off, and his own claims to the Presidency, and denouncing those though Mr. Douglas was successful by the arrangement who had dared to express their views on subjects before of the Legislative Districts, Mr. Lincoln beat him 4,000 on the Senate. The Senator from Illinois assumed that he the popular vote. [Mr. Benjamin next read from Mr. was the embodiment of the Democratic party, and that Douglas's Harper's Magazine article, to show that he had all who opposed him were rebels. He arraigned other absolutely copied Mr. Lincoln's arguments of 1858, and Senators, and charged them and the representatives of claimed them as discoveries of his own. Mr. Benjaseventeen States at Charleston as being on the high road min warned Mr. Douglas that the tendencies of his docto disunion. After having thus assailed everybody, he trines were to drive him back, step by step, to the Black announced that he had only spoken in self-defense, and Republican camp.] We already find him using the argu with princely magnanimity agreed to forgive those who,ments and quoting the language of the Republicen party


After Mr. Douglas's famous speech of May 15th and 16th, on these resolutions, Mr. Benjamin addressed the Senate again, speaking of Mr. Douglas as follows:

as he said, had erred more through ignorance than design. Mr. Benjamin then defended the Democratic Senators from the charge of having undertaken to dictate to the Charleston Convention what sort of platform it should make. When the Kansas bill was before the Senate, the Senator from Illinois called a caucus of Democratic Senators every morning to decide on their action for the day. The late Senatorial caucus had done no more than that. Yet for this it had been charged with seeking to diminish the Senator's chance for success. Mr. Benjamin next examined Mr. Douglas's charge that seventeen Democratic States had adopted a platform looking to the dissolution of the Union, and had placed themselves under the lead of Mr. Yancey, an avowed disunionist. His State had vcted for that platform, and he should vote for the Senate resolutions, and he denied that the Senator from Illinois had correctly stated the meaning of either. Nobody here wanted to make a slave code, a slang term which Mr. Douglas had picked up from the Republicans, nor to force Slavery on an unwilling people. The attacks upon the Democratic Senators were wanton and unprovoked, and he should repel them. The Senator had defended his consistency at great length, which was not the issue between them. The issue was that the Senator from Illinois had made a bargain and had violated it. To prove this he should not go further back than 1857, up to which time the Senator from Illinois was looked upon by the Democratic party with pride and favor. Why was it that a Senator who had thus been treated with favor should now be separated from his former associates? That he had passed over in his speech, and he (Benjamin) would supply the deficiency.

Mr. Clingman. I said any of those proposed. I alluded to those proposed in the Convention.

Mr. Benjamin.-I suppose so. Now, Mr. President, I am not willing to go for any man, I do not care whether his name has been proposed or not, who is not willing to stand upon a platform of principle, of constitutional principle. I am willing to go for any man, whether named or not, who will pledge his honor to stand faithfully and squarely upon a platform of sound principles; and when a platform of sound constitutional principles shall be adopted by a Democratic Convention, satisfactory to me, with my views of constitutional right, and satisfactory to my people-principles satisfactory to my people, I say; I care not for men-then you may put upon that platform any man who can stand upon it honorably, and I will vote for him; I will maintain him; I will canvass my State in his behalf; I will spend all my time and all my breath in his cause, wherever, whenever, and however, I may be asked by his friends. That far, sir, I am willing to go; but I have no stomach for a fight in which I am to have my choice between a man who denies me all my rights openly and fairly and a man who admits my rights but intends to Alch them. I have no choice there.

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