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gates. In four others, to wit, the States of Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Delaware, there were contesting applications. Upon those applications the chair was called to determine whether it possessed any power to determine prima facie membership of this Convention. That question was presented in its most absolute and complete form in the case of Mississippi, where there was no contest either through irregularity of form or of competing delegations, and so also in the cases of Florida, Texas and Arkansas. In those four States, there being an apparent authenticity of commission, the chair was called upon to determine the naked abstract question whether he had power, peremptorily and preliminary, to determine the prima facie membership of alleged members of this Convention. The chair would gladly have satisfied himself that he had this power, but upon examining the source of his power, to wit, the rules of the House of Representatives, he was unable to discern that he had any authority, even prima facie, to scrutinize and canvass credentials, although they were such as, upon their face, were free from contest or controversy either of form or of substance, and therefore he deemed it his duty to reserve the determination of that question to be submitted to the Convention. And in due time the chair will present that question as one of privilege to this body.
And now, gentlemen, having thus presented to you the exact state of the questions pending or involved in the action of the Convention when it adjourned, the chair begs leave only to add a single observation of a more general nature. We assemble here now at a time when the enemies of the Democratic party-when, let me say, the enemies of the Constitution of the United States, are in the field [applause] with their selected leaders, with their banners displayed, advancing to the combat with the constitutional interests and party of the United States; and upon you, gentlemen, upon your action, upon your spirit of harmony, upon your devotion to the Constitution, upon your solicitude to maintain the interests, the honor and the integrity of the Democratic party as the guardians of the Constitution-upon you, gentlemen, it depends whether the issue of that combat is to be victory or defeat for the Constitution of the United States. [Renewed applause.]
It does not become the chair to discuss any of the personal or political demands of that question. It may be permitted, however, to exhort you in the spirit of our community, of party interests, in the faith of our common respect for the Constitution, in the sense of our common devotion to the interests and honor of our country; I say to exhort you to feel that we come here this day not to determine any mere technical questions of form, not merely to gain personal or party triumphs, but we come here in the exercise of a solemn duty, in a crisis of the condition of the affairs of our country such as has never yet befallen the United States. Shall we not all enter upon this duty in the solemn and profound conviction of the responsibilities thus devolved upon us, of our high duty to our country, to ourselves, and to the States of this Union? [Applause.] Gentlemen, the Convention is now in order for the transaction of business.
This is an admirable statement of the condition of the business before the question.
Mr. Howard of Tennessee introduced the following resolution:
Resolved, That the President of this Convention direct the Sergeant-at-Arms to issue tickets of admission to the delegates of the Convention as originally constituted and organized at Charleston.
Mr. Cavanagh moved to lay the resolution on the table, and called the vote by States.
Mr. Russell of Virginia wished to inquire of the chair what he had done in the way of determining the rights of delegations to seats.
The President-The chair will then state, in response to the inquiry of the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Russell), that the chair did not undertake to judge any thing, neither to decide that there were or were not vacancies. All the chair undertook to say, was, that the gentlemen borne upon its roll as members of this Convention at the time of its adjournment at Charleston, were entitled to recognition of membership precisely to-day as they would had the Convention adjourned yesterday. [Applause.] To have gone beyond this point would have been to enter into the canvass of conflicting credentials upon new elections of members. The chair was thoroughly convinced that he had no power to enter into that inquiry of conflicting credentials of persons alleging to have been elected to this Convention by State Conventions held since the adjournment of this Convention at Charleston. The chair will suggest to the gentleman from Virginia that the question did not present itself in the form of simplicity and unity in which his inquiry would suppose, inasmuch as several States to which he refers, did assume that the resolution in the adjournment created vacancies to be filled by new action of the respective States; and if the chair had entered into any inquiry of the new credentials, as, for instance, to discriminate upon the question whether these credentials came from a new State Convention called anew, and that Convention vacating anterior commissions; or whether they emanate from a Convention called anew and simply confirming anterior commissions;-in either case, if the chair had gone into the question, it would have been necessary for him to hold bearings and investigations of credentials and of facts in regard to eight States of the Union, as to which he had no more power under the rules of the House of Representatives than any other member of the Convention.
Whilst the chair is disposed to exert the whole power, in any contingency, of the Speaker of the House of Representatives-having entered upon the discharge of this most unwelcome and responsible duty with a determination to act without favor and also without fear-yet the chair knows that it is impossible that he shall maintain order in this Convention, that the deliberations of this Convention shall go on in any system of regularity, unless the chair takes care to walk carefully and rigorously in the simple line of routine and of technical authority. [Applause.] Within the line of technical authority, and upon the rules of the House of Representatives, as constituting the guide of the chair, the chair will take leave to decide all questions as they may arise, in or out of the Convention. But the chair does not propose to assume any judicial or quasi-judicial authority in regard to the canvass of credentials and the authenticity of membership; an authority manifestly not conferred upon the presiding officer, according to precedent and the uni
form usage of the two houses of the Congress of the United States, never preliminarily determined by the presiding officer of either house of Congress. In issuing tickets to the gentlemen borne on the roll of the Convention, already sufficiently authenticated by the proceedings of the Convention itself, at the time of adjournment, the chair did that at least which was in the sphere of the duties of the chair; and in doing that he in no degree involved or prejudiced the question of what was the right of any gentleman-that depending upon the action of this Convention. The chair, as he before intimated, will now make this, the first question, a question of privilege, that the Convention may instruct the chair regarding his duty concerning the delegations of the other States.
Mr. Church of New York offered the following resolution, as an amendment to that of Mr. Howard-Mr. Cavanagh, who had moved to table Howard's resolution, yielding for that purpose:
Resolved, That the credentials of all persons claiming seats in this Convention made vacant by the secession of delegates at Charleston, be referred to the committee on Credentials, and said committee is hereby instructed, as soon as practicable, to examine the same and report the names of persons entitled to such seats, with the district-understanding, however, that every person accepting a seat in this Convention is bound in honor and good faith to abide by the action of this Convention, and support its nominations.
The resolution was received with shouts of tumultuous applause, originating with members of the Convention, and taken up and repeated by the spectators in the galleries.
It was erroneously understood at this time, that the resolution of Mr. Church, was the proposition of a majority of the New York delegation, and the sensation was very great. The applause in the galleries caused the chair to become indignant, and he fiercely stated his purpose of preserving order and prevent the galleries from participating by indications of approbation or disapprobation in the proceedings.
An unimportant debate on points of order followed. Mr. Church called the previous question on his resolution. During the conversational discussion:
Mr. Russell of Virginia-I ask that this Convention will allow me to make a friendly, candid and sincere appeal to the gentleman who made the call for the previous question (Mr. Church of New York) to withdraw his call.
The President-The chair has no authority over that question. Mr. Russell-I ask the chair to appeal to the gentleman to allow fair play in this Convention.
Mr. Stuart of Michigan-I insist that the chair preserve order.
Mr. Russell-If we are to be constrained to silence, I beg gentlemen to consider the silence of Virginia as somewhat ominous. [Applause and hisses.]
The question was stated to be upon seconding the demand for the previous question. Being taken viva voce,
The President stated that the noes appeared to have it.
Mr. Richardson of Illinois doubted the announcement, and asked that the vote be taken by States, which was ordered.
Mr. Brodhead of Pennsylvania stated that the gentleman from New York (Mr. Church) was willing to withdraw his call for the previous question.
Mr. Montgomery of Pennsylvania-The vote having been ordered to be taken by States, it is not now in order to withdraw the call for the previous question.
A motion was made to adjourn until four o'clock. A call for the vote by States was made. While this was being taken, a controversy occurred in the Minnesota delegation, a part of which has become bostile to Douglas, a fact which irritates his friends beyond measure. After consuming nearly an hour's time of the Convention, the delegation temporarily settled the difference.
The vote on adjournment was:
YEAS-Maine 14, New Hampshire, Connecticut 1, New Jersey 5, Pennsylvania 6, Delaware 3, Maryland 6, Virginia 15, North Carolina 10, Missouri 64, Tennessee 8, Kentucky 3, Minnesota 14, California 4, Oregon 3-73.
NAYS-Maine 6, New Hampshire 4, Vermont 5, Massachusetts 13, Rhode Island 4, Connecticut 5, New York 35, New Jersey 2, Pennsylvania 21, Maryland 2, Arkansas 1, Missouri 2, Tennessee 3, Kentucky 9, Ohio 23, Indiana 13, Illinois 11, Michigan 6, Wisconsin 5, Iowa 4, Minnesota 24-1781.
Some of Douglas's friends here absurdly claimed the nays to indicate positively their strength.
The Convention now refused, objection being made, to hear a communication from the State of Mississippi.
The question was then taken on seconding the demand for the previous question, upon the proposition of Mr. Church. It was not agreed Yeas 107, nays 140, as follows:
YEAS-Maine 6, New Hampshire 5, Vermont 44, Massachusetts 4, Connecticut 3, New Jersey 23, Pennsylvania 94, Maryland 2, Missouri 2, Tennessee 3, Kentucky 14, Ohio 23, Indiana 13, Illinois 11, Michigan 6, Wisconsin 5, Iowa 4, Minnesota 24-107.
NAYS-Maine 2, Vermont, Massachusetts 4, Rhode Island 4, Connecticut 2-one absent, New York 35, New Jersey 4, Pennsylvania 16, Delaware 2, Maryland 6, Virginia 15, North Carolina 10, Arkansas 1, Missouri 6, Tennessee 8, Kentucky 101⁄2, Minnesota 14, California 4, Oregon 3-140.
On calling the roll, the New York delegation asked permission to retire for consultation, and during the interim there was an entire cessation of business. The power of the State of New York was made quite apparent in this vote, and it also appeared that the course she would take was among the uncertainties. Some considered the vote to indicate the determination of New York not to sustain Douglas. There were evidences, however, that it was a piece of New York tactics not at all incompatible with friendliness toward Douglas. New York judged it unwise to stifle debate-that was all.
The question was then stated to be upon the amendment to the amendment.
Mr. Gilmor of Pennsylvania offered the following amendment to Mr. Church's resolution:
Resolved, That the President of the Convention be directed to issue tickets of admission to seats in the Convention to the delegates from the States of Texas, Florida, Mississippi and Arkansas, in which States there are no contesting delegations.
A motion to adjourn to ten o'clock, Tuesday, was now negatived by a vote of 35 to 216. A motion to take a recess until five o'clock in the evening, was carried viva voce.
The chair gave notice of the possession of documents regarding contested seats.
Mr. Gilmor has his amendment read again, having slightly modified it:
Resolved, That the President of the Convention be authorized to issue tickets of admission to seats in this Convention to the delegates from the States of Arkansas, Texas, Florida and Mississippi, in which States there are no contesting delegations, and that in those States, to wit, Delaware, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana, where there are contesting delegations, a committee on Credentials shall be appointed, by the several delegations, to report upon said States.
Mr. Clark of Missouri obtained, after encountering some objections, the reading for information of a proposition which he considered of immense altitude.
It was: Strike out the proviso in the amendment of Mr. Church of New York, and add the following:
Resolved, That the citizens of the several States of the Union have an equal right to settle and remain in the Territories of the United States, and to hold therein, unmolested by any legislation whatever, their slaves and other property; and that this Convention recognizes the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Dred Scott case as a true exposition of the Constitution in regard to the rights of the citizens of the several States and Territories of the United States upon all subjects concerning which it treats; and that the members of this Convention pledge themselves, and require all others who may be authorized as delegates, to make the same pledge, to support the Democratic candidates, fairly and in good faith, nominated by this Convention according to the usages of the National Democratic party.
The debate now opened upon the proposition of Mr. Gilmor, Mr. Randall of Pennsylvania obtaining the floor. Mr. Randall however addressed himself to the amendment of Mr. Church. He said:
The amendment of the gentleman from New York imposes a condition upon the returning members of the several States that seceded at Charleston. I deny the power of this Convention to impose any such condition. The right of their constituents is unqualified, and beyond the power of this Convention, to send their representatives to this body without condition and without limitation. [Applause and hisses.] It is an intereference with the right of the constituents of seven seceding