Page images

in October, rejoined in a pamphlet, and Mr. Douglas was preparing an elaborate reply to that when he was stricken down with a painful and protracted disease. For weeks he hoped to be able to resume the work, but on November 16th, seeing no hope of being able to complete it within a reasonable period, he sent what had been written to the printer.

THE GWIN CONTROVERSY. Sometime during the summer of 1859, Senator Gwin made a speech at Grass Valley, California, in which he told the Democrats there, that Judge Douglas had been removed from the chairmanship of the Committee on Territories because of the doctrines of his Freeport speech.

Copies of Mr. Gwin's speech, as published in the San Francisco National, were sent to Mr. Douglas. He at once replied to that speech in a letter to the editor of that paper. Mr Douglas again asserted that the views entertained by him and expressed in his Freeport speech were the same expressed by him during the entire period commencing with the compromise measures of 1850. He cited numerous authorities to show that he always was of that opinion, and also that the Nebraska bill was understood by others in the same light. After quoting from speeches of Secretaries Cass and Toucey he made the following quotation from a speech delivered by Hon. Mr. Cobb-Howell Cobb, now Secretary of the Treasury, at West Chester, Pennsylvania, on the 19th of September, 1856 :

Fellow-citizens: There never has been, in all the history of this slavery matter, a more purely theoretical issue than the one involved in the question propounded to me by my friend, and I will show it to you. I will state to you the positions of the advocates of this doctrine of non-intervention, on which there are different opinions held ; but I will show you that it is the purest abstraction in a practical point of view, that ever was proposed for political discussion. There are those who hold that the Constitution carries all the institutions of this country into all the territories of the Union; that slavery, being one of the institutions recognized by the Constitution, goes with the Constitution into the territories of the United States; and that when the territorial government is organized the people have no right to prohibit slavery there, until they come to form a state Constitution. That is what my friend calls “southern doctrine." There is another class who hold that the people of the territories, in their terri: torial state, and whilst acting as a territorial Legislature, have a right to decide upon the question whether slavery shall exist there during their territorial state; and that has been dubbed " squatter sovereignty." Now, you perceive that there is but one point of difference between the advocates of the two doctrines. Each holds that the people have the right to decide the question in the territory; one holds that it can be done through the territorial Legisla



Commenting upon these quotations, Judge Douglas said : Here we find the doctrines of the Freeport speech, including "non-action" and "unfriendly legislation" as a lawful and proper mode for the exclusion of slavery from a territory clearly defined by Mr. Cobb, and the election of Mr. Buchanan advocated on those identical doctrines. Mr. Cobb made similar speeches during the presidential canvass in other sections of Pennsylvania, in Maine, Indiana, and most of the northern states, and was appointed Secretary of the Treasury by Mr. Buchanan as a mark of gratitude for the efficient services which had been thus rendered. Will any senator who voted to remove me from the chairmanship of the Territorial Committee for expressing opinions for which Mr. Cobb, Mr. Toucey and General Cass were rewarded, pretend that he did not know that they or either of them had ever uttered such opinions when their nominations were before the Senate ? I am sure that no senator will make so humiliating a confession. Wby, then, were those distinguished gentlemen appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate as cabinet ministers if they were not good Democrats—sound on the slavery question, and faithful exponents of the principles and creed of the party? Is it not a significant fact that the President and the most distinguished and honored of his cabinet should have been solemnly and irrevocably pledged to this monstrous heresy of "popular sovereignty," for asserting which the Sen. ate, by Mr. Gwin's frank avowal, condemned me to the extent of their power?

THE PLATFORM UNCHANGED. In reply to an unworthy taunt by Judge Black in one of his letters, Mr. Douglas thus expressed his veneration for the Cincinnati platform.

While I could have no hesitation in voting for the nominee of my own party, with whom I might differ on certain points, in preference to the candidate of the Black Republican party, whose whole creed is subversive of the Constitution and destructive of the Union, I am under no obligation to becomo a candidate upon a platform that I would not be willing to carry out in good faith, nor to accept the presidency on the implied pledge to carry into effect certain principles, and then administer the government in direct conflict with them. In other words, I prefer the position of senator, or even that of

I a private citizen, where I would be at liberty to defend and maintain the welldefined principles of the Democratic party, to accepting a presidential nomination upon a platform incompatible with the principle of self-government in the territories, or the reserved rights of the states, or the perpetuity of the Union under the Constitution. In harmony with these views, I said in those very speeches in Ohio, to which Judge Black refers in his appendix, that I was in favor of conducting the great struggle of 1860 upon “the Cincinnati platform WITHOUT THE ADDITION OF A WORD OR THE SUBTRACTION OF A LETTER." Yet, in the face of all these facts, the attorney general does not hesitate to represent me as attempting to establish a new school of politics, to force new issues upon the party, and prescribe new tests of Democratic faith.

In conclusion, I have only to suggest to Judge Black and his confederates in this crusade, whether it would not be wiser for them, and more consistent with fidelity to the party which placed them in power, to exert their energies and direct all their efforts to the redemption of Pennsylvania from the thraldom of Black Republicanism than to continue their alliance with the Black Republicans in Illinois, with the vain hope of dividing and defeating the Democratic party in the only western or northern state which has never failed to cast her electoral vote for the regular nominee of the Democratic party at any. Presidential election.


THE INVASION OF STATES. WHEN Congress assembled in December, 1859, the bloody history of the Harper's Ferry invasion was fresh in the minds of the people. That history was soon commented upon in the Senate, it formed a leading topic in the House of Representatives during the protracted struggle over the election of Speaker. As soon as both houses had organized, Mr. Douglas submitted a resolution having in view some practical legislation to prevent a recurrence of such an event. On that resolution a debate ensued, in which Mr. Douglas took a conspicuous part. We give his remarks entire, omitting all comment, as they are their own best commentaries.

On the 23d of January—the hour having arrived for the consideration of the special order—the Senate proceeded to consider the following resolution, submitted by Mr. Douglas on the 16th instant:

Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary be instructed to report a bill for the protection of each state and territory of the Union against invasion by the authorities or inhabitants of any other state or territory; and for the suppression and punishment of conspiracies or combinations in any state or territory with intent to invade, assail, or molest the government, inhabitants, property, or institutions of any state or territory of the Union.

Mr. DOUGLAS. Mr. President, on the 25th of November last, the Governor of Virginia addressed an official communication to the President of the United States, in which he said:

I have information from various quarters, upon which I rely, that a conspiracy of formidable extent, in means and numbers, is formed in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, aud other states, to rescue John Brown and his associates, prisoners at Charleston, Virginia. The information is specific enough to be reliable.

“Places in Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, have been occupied as depots and rendezvous by these desperadoes, and unobstructed by guards or




otherwise, to invade this state, and we are kept in continual apprehension of outrage from fire and rapine. I apprise you of these facts in order that you may take steps to preserve peace between the states."

To this communication, the President of the United States, on the 28th of November, returned a reply, from which I read the following sentence:

"I am at a loss to discover any provision in the Constitution or laws of the United States which would authorize me to 'take steps' for this purpose.” [That is, to preserve the peace between the States.]

This announcement produced a profound impression upon the public mind and especially in the slaveholding states. It was generally received and regarded as an authorative announcement that the Constitution of the United States confers no power upon the federal government to protect each of the states of this Union against invasion from the other states. I shall not stop to inquire whether the President meant to declare that the existing laws confer no authority upon bim, or that the Constitution empowers Congress to enact no laws which would authorize the Federal interposition to protect the states from invasion; my object is to raise the inquiry, and to ask the judgment of the Senate and of the House of Representatives on the question, whether it is not within the power of Congress, and the duty of Congress, under the Constitution, to enact all laws which may be necessary and proper for the protection of each and every state against invasion, either from foreign powers or from any portion of the United States.

The denial of the existence of such a power in the Federal government has induced an inquiry among conservative men-men loyal to the Constitution and devoted to the Union-as to what means they have of protection, if the Federal government is not authorized to protect them against external violence. It must be conceded that no community is safe, no state can enjoy peace, or prosperity, or domestic tranquility, without security against external violence. Every state and nation of the world, outside of this Republic, is supposed to maintain armies and navies for this precise purpose. It is the only legitimate purpose for which armies and navies are maintained in time of peace. They may be kept up for ambitious purposes, for the purposes of aggression and foreign war; but the legitimate purpose of a military force in time of peace is to insure domestic tranquility against violence or aggression from without. The states of this Union would possess that power, were it not for the restraints imposed upon them by the Federal Constitution. When that Constitution was made, the states surrendered to the Federal government the power to raise and support armies, and the power to provide and maintain navies, and not only thus surrendered the means of protection from invasion, but consented to a prohibition upon themselves which declares that no state shall keep troops or vessels of war in time of peace.

The question now recurs, whether the states of this Union are in that helpless condition, with their hands tied by the Constitution, stripped of all means of repelling assaults and maintaining their existence, without a guarantee from the federal government, to protect them against violence. If the people of this country shall settle down into the conviction that there is no power in the Federal government under the Constitution to protect each and every state from violence, from aggression, from invasion, they will demand that the cord be severed, and that the weapons be restored to their hands with which they may defend themselves. This inquiry involves the question of the perpetuity of the Union. The means of defence, the means of repelling assaults, the means of providing against invasion, must exist as a condition of the safety of the states and the existence of the Union.

Now, sir, I hope to be able to demonstrate that there is no wrong in this Union for wbich the Constitution of the United States has not provided a remedy. I believe, and I hope I shall be able to maintain, that a remedy is


furnished for every wrong which can be perpetrated within the Union, if the Federal government performs its whole duty. I think it is clear, on a careful examination of the Constitution, that the power is conferred upon Congress, first, to provide for repelling invasion from foreign countries; and, secondly, to protect each state of this Union against invasion from any other state, territory, or place, within the jurisdiction of the United States. I will first turn your attention, şir, to the power conferred upon Congress to protect the United States—including states, territories, and the District of Columbia; ineluding every inch of ground within our limits and jurisdiction-against foreign invasion. In the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution, you find that Congress has power

To raise and support armies; to provide and maintain a navy; to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces; to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions."

These various clauses confer upon Congress power to use the whole military force of the country for the purpose specified in the Constitution. They shall provide for the execution of the laws of the Union; and, secondly, suppress insurrections. The insurrections there referred to are insurrections against the authority of the United States—insurrections against a state authority being provided for in a subsequent action, in which the United States can not interfere, except upon the application of the state authorities. The invasion which is to be repelled by this clause of the Constitution is an invasion of the United States. The language is, Congress shall have power to "repel invasions.” That gives the authority to repel the invasion, no matter whether the enemy shall land within the limits of Virginia, within the District of Columbia, within the Territory of New Mexico, or anywhere else within the jurisdiction of the United States. The power to protect every portion of the country against invasion from foreign nations having thus been specifically conferred, the framers of the Constitution then proceeded to make guarantees for the protection of each of the states by Federal authority. I will read the fourth section of the fourth article of the Constitution:

“ The United States shall guaranty to every state in this Union a Republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and, on application of the Legislature, or of the Executive, (when the Legislature can not be convened), against domestic violence."

This clause contains three distinct guarantees: first, the United States shall guaranty to every state in this Union a Republican form of government; second, the United States shall protect each of them against invasion; third, the United States shall, on application of the Legislature, or of the Executive, when the Legislature can not be convened, protect them against domestic violence. Now, sir, I submit to you whether it is not clear, from the very language of the Constitution, that this clause was inserted for the purpose of making it the duty of the Federal government to protect each of the states against invasion from any other state, territory, or place within the jurisdiction of the United States ? For what other purpose was the clause inserted? The power and duty of protection as against foreign nations had already been provided for. This clause occurs among the guarantees from the United States to each state, for the benefit of each state, for the protection of each state, and necessarily from other states, inasmuch as the guarantee had been given previously as against foreign nations.

If any further authority is necessary to show that such is the true construction of the Constitution, it may be found in the forty-third number of the Federalist, written by James Madison. Mr. Madison quotes the clause of the Constitution which I have read, giving these three guarantees; and, after discussing the one guarantying to each state a Republican form of govern.

« PreviousContinue »