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Says Horace Greeley in his "The American Conflict":
This opinion of the justice of the decision of the Supreme Court in view of the emphatic dissent of every constitutional lawyer among the Republicans, and this statement of the rigorous prosecution of the owner of the Wanderer in face of the facts in the case, were not calculated to arouse in the North that spirit of fraternity toward the South which the President professed to desire, but, instead, kindled there the greatest indignation against both the President and the section of the country which he was serving so efficiently and with such partiality.
"THE DEATH-KNELL OF POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY."
Southern Senators Plan to Read Senator Stephen A. Douglas [Ill.] Out of the Democratic Party-Jefferson Davis [Miss.] Introduces Resolutions in the Senate Repudiating Douglas's Doctrine of Popular Sovereignty— Debate on the Resolutions: in Favor, Senator Davis, Graham N. Fitch [Ind.], Robert Toombs [Ga.]; Opposed, Daniel Clark [N. H.], Senator Douglas.
HE Southern Senators determined to block the aspirations of Stephen A. Douglas [Ill.] to the Presidency by "reading him out of the party." Accordingly, as planned by a caucus of the Administration, or "Lecompton" Democrats, Jefferson Davis [Miss.], on February 2, 1860, submitted a series of resolutions to the Senate, reiterating the "Test Resolutions" once offered by John C. Calhoun, and adding thereto the following, which repudiated Senator Douglas' "Freeport Doctrine" of "unfriendly legislation."
Resolved, That neither Congress, nor a territorial legislature, whether by direct legislation or legislation of an indirect and unfriendly nature, possesses the power to annul or impair the constitutional right of any citizen of the United States to take his slave property into the common Territories; but it is the duty of the Federal Government there to afford for that, as for other species of property, the needful protection; and if experience should at any time prove that the judiciary does not possess power to insure adequate protection it will then become the duty of Congress to supply such deficiency.
TEST RESOLUTIONS OF JEFFERSON DAVIS
SENATE, FEBRUARY 2-MAY 24, 1860
Upon this resolution Senator Davis remarked:
Mr. President, I have presented these resolutions, not for the purpose of discussing them, but with a view to get a vote upon
them severally, hoping thus, by an expression of the deliberate opinion of the Senate, that we may reach some conclusion as to what is the present condition of opinion in relation to the principles there expressed. The expression even of the resolutions is, to a great extent, not new. The first and second are substantially those on which the Senate voted in 1837-'38, affirming them then by a very large majority. I trust opinion to-day may be as sound as it was then. It was my purpose to rest the propositions contained in these resolutions upon the highest authority of the land-judicial as well as other; and if it be possible to obtain a vote on them without debate it will be most agreeable to me. To have them affirmed by the Senate without contradiction would be an era in the recent history of our country which would be hailed with joy by every one who sincerely loves it.
Resolutions stating that it was "the privilege of citizens of all the State to go into the Territories with every kind and description of property recognized by the Constitution" had already [on January 18] been submitted to the Senate by Albert G. Brown [Miss.]. On February 3 Graham N. Fitch [Ind.], an antiDouglas Democrat, spoke upon the Brown resolutions.
The resolutions of the Senator from Mississippi [Mr. Brown] affirm, first, that the citizens of the Southern States have a constitutional right to go into the Territories with their property, recognized as such by the Constitution of the United States, and there possess and enjoy that property. This is the assertion of a right, in my estimation, undoubted-one I hardly deem even respectably debatable-yet it is a right the entire Republican party deny; a right but half admitted by certain Democrats; and one which, while thus but half admitting, such Democrats would create the means of practically denying. It is a right, we are told-and in such terms and manner that we cannot question the sincerity of the declaration-by every Southern Senator and Representative, that their section will never yield.
We are told by some of them, and I think by the Senator from Georgia among the number, that the recognition by their section of the Senator from Illinois with his present territorial views, as their candidate for the presidency, would be tantamount to a surrender of that right; hence their opposition to the nomination of that Senator. Well, sir, Northern Democrats thinking with me are likewise opposed to his nomination, because
we deem his territorial views sectionally unjust and unconstitutional. If citizens of the South are disposed to maintain their constitutional rights, there are those in the North who will aid them to the extent of their ability, and for the reason that, under the Constitution, we would expect similar aid from the South if our rights were threatened, and such aid necessary. Such was the mutual agreement of our fathers; such the bond. But if they voluntarily surrender their rights we of the North will accept the surrender as unconditional-never to be recalled; and use the power it bestows upon us as a gift never to be reclaimed. An army may be defeated in battle; but if, in its retreat, it preserve its discipline and retain its munitions of war, it commands the respect even of its enemies, the sympathy and aid of its friends, because of its readiness and ability to renew the struggle, and perhaps successfully to prosecute it; but if that army yield without battle; and especially if it invite and receive as its commander one who, though under the garb of friendship, has previously proclaimed his intention to deprive its members of a portion of their rights, and their liberties, it becomes disorganized, surrenders its means of defence without any equivalent, without any consideration, has not the respect of its enemies, and forfeits the sympathy and aid of its friends. If the South nominate the Senator alluded to [Mr. Douglas] with his present views, the entire North will deem the act an expression of willingness upon their part that his views shall become the future settled policy of the Government; the united North will act upon that policy, carry it out to the full, and no aid must be expected by the South from any portion of the North in any effort they may thereafter make to prevent the progress of that policy to the end. When by such act it establishes his policy the South, and the Senator from Illinois [Mr. Douglas] will have done more to accomplish the favorite and avowed scheme of the Republican party than any effort of that party could have done-the scheme of surrounding the Southern States with free territory and starving out their institution.
On February 20 Senator Daniel Clark [N. H.] characterized the purpose of the resolutions as the manufacture of political capital for the coming presidential campaign.
Mr. President, I have observed one thing in the history of this slavery agitation: that whenever the Democrats, by their delegates, go into a convention on the eve of a presidential elec
tion, they say they will have no agitation; but when that occasion is past, and they come into Congress, they are the very people to agitate the question. I do not know now but that, when the delegates of the Democratic party go down to Charleston this year, they will again resolve that there shall be no agitation. Most probably they will; and when they return here. these questions will be renewed and carried forward.
The speaker here reviewed the progressive steps of the pro-slavery party in regard to the extension of slavery.
You see, Mr. President, how bold this institution has grown -what its practice is now compared to what it was formerly. Now it seeks directly to appropriate the whole territory to itself. It does not seek to divide the territory now as formerly, but it grasps the whole; up the rivers, over the mountains, and down. into the valleys; in the sunny South, and in the ice-ribbed North; upon the arid and barren center, or on the fertile slopes; whereever a white man may go slavery seeks to accompany him. Briareus like, with its hundred arms, it grasps the entire territory of the United States Government.
But, Mr. President, not only is the doctrine of this resolution bold, but it is alarming-alarming because it makes another step in the progress of the slave power. At first freedom claimed the whole. Then slavery claimed the half. Now, instead of, as in 1820, taking a portion of the territory, and having it admitted as a slave State, and yielding the rest of the territory to freedom, slavery claims the whole territory. That is the doctrine of this resolution; that there is a constitutional right, on the part of the slave master, to take his slave and go with him anywhere into the territory of the United States, and hold him there as a slave; and, if the laws are not sufficient now for the purpose of holding him there, this Government is bound to provide laws sufficient to hold him there. I say the doctrine is alarming to the free States because the next step will be to provide that the slave goes not only into the Territories of the United States, but that he may be held in the States after they come in as States.
The day is not far distant, in my judgment, when slavery will claim extension into the old States over which the Constitution is the supreme law, and the time may come when the Senator from Georgia [Robert Toombs], as he boasted some two or three or four years ago, may call the roll of his slaves around the monument on Bunker Hill.