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is plain that we have but one remaining source of defence and must look to ourselves.
MR. DAVIS.-Mr. President, mingled with the regret which I have felt at the tone in which this matter has been discussed by the two Senators on the other side of the Chamber who have spoken, there has been at least one gratifying fact; and that is the distinctness with which they disavow for themselves and their friends any complicity in the transaction. I thought one of the great inducements we had to the consideration of the subject was to exonerate the Senate, if it were guiltless, of any connection with an act which stands out prominently as the first-I hope it may be the last-of those violent proceedings which can only be considered civil war. The newspapers have connected prominent individuals in the Northern States; they have not spared Senators themselves in this connection. The Senate owes it to the country-a duty to itself, a duty to the Government of which it is an important and conservative partthat it should inquire to the bottom and see whether its body is involved in any such corruption as has been intimated. That, I confess, was my great desire for the inquiry.
Can the Government continue, should it continue, as the mere shield to protect one portion of the United States in making war upon another? Can the citizens of Virginia allow the citizens of other States, under the privileges and immunities which the Constitution secures, to invade their peace and disturb their domestic relations? Far better, if such is the motive which prompts them, that they were foreign governments, with police stations along each border, and passports required with such inquiry into the character of persons coming in as would secure to peaceful women and helpless children immunity from the incendiary and the assassin.
I trust, sir, there will be no disposition on the part of the Senate to embarrass or to postpone an inquiry which they owe to themselves, and which is so essential to the country. As to the Liberty arsenal transaction, it has no parallelism with the case on hand. The two are not in any essential degree alike. An armory was attacked at one place; an arsenal at another. Arms were taken from both, and there all likeness ends. does not appear, it never was alleged, that those who went to Liberty and seized arms intended to hold the arsenal as a strong place where they might resist the community among whom it was situated. They went to get arms and ammunition and to go with them elsewhere, where that which might be fairly denominated civil war was already raging. Again, when they got
the arms they went away, and afterward returned them-showing no purpose to steal, but to seize them for a time for use in a border warfare, which none will attempt now to justify. As to where the onus of blame lies for the existence of that war, that is a different question, and it is beneath the dignity of the object of our present consideration to go into it.
We, Mr. President, look to this Government that it may show its good faith to the obligation which the Constitution imposes, to protect us in our rights of person and property as far as the Federal functions extend. We expect of the Federal Government, in consideration of the fact that the States offer no barrier to the migration of individuals from other States, that it will see that lawless mobs do not go forth to disturb the peace of their neighbors. This Government was instituted to protect the people against the invasion of their rights from any quarter whatever. The President is empowered by the Congress to call out the militia to suppress insurrection and repel invasion. That word "invasion" once had a signification which carried the mind simply to foreigners alone. God forbid we should ever come to learn that it means likewise a portion of our own brethren; and may He also forbid that the time shall ever come when we shall have an Executive who would shrink from the performance of that duty with the directness, manliness, and honesty which have been displayed by James Buchanan.
Senator Crittenden, in accordance with his wellknown character as a peacemaker, sought to shut off the debate, which promised to become one of the most acrimonious in the annals of Congress, by stating that, while in his opinion all the facts in the attacks on the Virginia armory and the Missouri arsenal were already known, nevertheless he thought gentlemen should agree to investigate both cases, and let the matter rest until the reports of such investigations were made.
His wise advice was not followed. Senator Wilson felt called on to explain that the public sympathy in the North with John Brown was elicited by his sincerity and courage, and not by his fanatical principles. Had the Senator stopped with this declaration the policy of Senator Crittenden might have been adopted. But he went farther, and claimed that with this sympathy was mingled indignation at the conduct of Gov. Henry
Alexander Wise, of Virginia, who, in a message to the legislature of his State, had held the Republican party responsible for John Brown's act.
Had Governor Wise dealt with this question as a wise and discreet magistrate; had these parties been brought to trial at the proper time, and tried fairly; had he sent a few constables, or perhaps a few armed men, there to preserve order; had he held these parties responsible, and not attempted to implicate men for partisan purposes in complicity with it; had he dealt with this question as it should have been dealt with by a discreet and proper man, who had no ulterior purpose to gain, what we witness in this country to-day would never have taken place.
Senator Brown was aroused by these remarks to charge that Senator Wilson had been present at a large "John Brown meeting" at Wilson's home in Natick, Mass., on November 20, and that he had been silent when the following resolution was passed:
Whereas, resistance to tyrants is obedience to God; therefore, Resolved, That it is the right and duty of the slaves to resist their masters, and the right and duty of the people of the North to incite them to resistance, and to aid them in it.
Senator Wilson then stated that, shortly before the meeting at Natick, he had made a speech there in which he reprobated John Brown's act, and that the Abolitionists present had announced to him that they would hold a meeting to express dissent with his views. At this latter meeting the resolution referred to was presented by a visiting speaker, Henry C. Wright, “a Garrison Abolitionist, a profound disunionist, a no-government man, and a non-resistant," who made "a non-resistant speech in favor of resistance" (Laughter) explaining how emancipation could be accomplished without bloodshed, for, said he, "I would not shed a drop of human blood to free every slave in the country." Said Senator Wilson:
After he closed his speech the question was put, and perhaps fifteen or twenty persons in that meeting of seven or eight hun
dred voted for the resolution. All the rest, feeling that Mr. Wright's friends had paid for the hall and got up the meeting for him and for themselves, took no part for or against him. They did not interrupt the meeting, believing, as they did and as we do in our part of the country, in the absolute right of free discussion of all questions. When the meeting adjourned the general expression was that the resolution was a very foolish one, and that Mr. Wright and his friends were alone responsible for it. Nine-tenths of that meeting took no part in it. They did not wish to interrupt the meeting or interfere with it in any way whatever or be responsible for it. There were present gentlemen as sound on the slavery question as the Senator from Mississippi could desire. The postmaster of that town is as sound on the slavery question as the Senator from Mississippi, and often manifests his zeal in defence of the policy of the slave power; but he did not say a word, nor did those who act with him, because nobody wished to interfere with those who had invited the speaker there, and who agreed with him in his general opinions. Senators should remember that the right to hold meetings and to utter opinions upon all matters of public concern is an acknowledged right in my section of the country. They should remember, also, that the people in that section often attend meetings where subjects are discussed in a way they do not sanction; but they do not think it becomes gentlemen to interrupt such meetings, or interfere with those who differ from them. Often do I attend such meetings and listen to what is said, without feeling myself in any way responsible for what is said or done. So do the people of my State; I wish the people of other sections of the country would thus cherish the sacred right of free discussion.
Senator Brown at this time professed himself satisfied with Senator Wilson's explanation, though later he returned to the charge.
Senator Mason, however, rose to attack Senator Wilson for his charge against Governor Wise.
Mr. President, it was the pleasure of the honorable Senator from Massachusetts to arraign the conduct of the Governor of Virginia in his action. It was the pleasure of the honorable Senator to impute to him, acting within the limits of Virginia, as the chief magistrate of Virginia, a sinister and unworthy purpose in what he did. It was the pleasure of the Senator to say that the Governor had in view, not the discharge of his public
trust to the people who placed him there; but that he had in view some selfish purpose of making political capital in what he did. Mr. President, the people of Virginia are the only political community to whom the Governor of Virginia is responsible. I have not heard one word of doubt expressed in the State of Virginia by anybody, of any political party, as to the propriety, expediency, and wisdom of the conduct of the Governor of Virginia in taking care that the laws of Virginia should be respected and should be enforced. Sir, the very opposite was the fact. If the Governor of Virginia, when such an outrage was practiced upon the sovereignty and the soil of that State as was attempted by these vagabond instruments of people elsewhere, had run the remotest risk that they should not have expiated their crime under the laws of Virginia, he would have met and would have deserved the execration of the people of Virginia. Sir, it was an occasion when no risk should be run; there should exist no possibility that in any mode that wretched vagabond, Brown, should escape the just doom that he deserved. It was for that reason that he brought there, properly, the large military force present in the county where the outrage was committed and where the execution took place. It was to put all possibility of rescue at defiance. I can tell the honorable Senator there is no disputing about taste; there is no correcting taste; and if the honorable Senator thinks that even his constituents will justify him in gratuitously and without foundation arraigning the Governor of a State who is discharging his duty within the limits of his State, taking upon himself, as the representative of another State, to ascribe to him a sinister purpose in discharging a duty at home, I trust that he misconceives the spirit of his own people when he stands as their exponent thus.
Senator Mason then supported his charge that John Brown and his men had been "the vagabond instruments of people elsewhere."
I know nothing about the man, except the public notoriety he has obtained as a ruffian, a thief, and a robber-nothing more; but it is part of his history itself that he had been a vagrant for years; that he was poor; that he had no resources of his own; his will, that was published here the other day in one of the papers, shows that he had no resources of his own; but he brought resources there for the purposes of this insurrection, proportioned to it, and costing a large sum of money. We want to know where that money was supplied. We want to know the