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and willingly before that Judge who cannot err: there let him rest.
Therefore, sir, I am for this investigation. I hope it may be thorough and impartial, and I believe the effect upon the country will be most salutary. Had a similar investigation been instituted when a similar transaction took place some years ago, this probably would never have occurred. The amendment which I propose to offer to the resolution which is pending, and in which, I trust, I may have the support of every Senator, provides for the investigation of a like transaction which occurred in the State of Missouri.
The speaker here recounted the circumstances of the seizure in December, 1855, of the Federal arsenal at Liberty, Mo., by a mob of pro-slavery men, and taking therefrom of arms and ammunition which were subsequently used against the Free State men of Kansas.
Then the complaints that were made were treated as the "shrieks of bleeding Kansas," and they could not be heard. I trust they may get a better hearing now. Now, sir, when the shrieks of Virginia are heard, and the ears of the country are opened, I trust those from Kansas may get a hearing also. I am prepared to hear both; and I hope that the investigation in regard to Harper's Ferry may be impartial, thorough, and complete, and let whoever is implicated in the unlawful transactions there be held responsible; and so, too, in regard to the seizure of the arsenal in the State of Missouri.
Senator Trumbull then offered to Senator Mason's resolution an amendment calling for an investigation into the Liberty arsenal affair.
Senator Mason, while implying that Senator Trumbull had an ulterior and partisan object in his amendment, the facts in the Liberty affair being on record, nevertheless declared that he was willing to vote for the proposed investigation.
He denied that there were "shrieks" from Virginia in regard to the John Brown affair, and reprobated the use of such language in regard to one sovereign state by the representative of another.
Senator Trumbull replied that if the term "shrieks" was indefensible in the case of a State, it was also in
defensible in that of a Territory. He denied that all the facts in the Liberty arsenal affair and the Kansas outrages were known to Senators. If Senators knew them, they had not acted upon their knowledge. For example, if the Senator from Virginia had known that secret organizations were recruited in Virginia to go to Kansas in order to make it slave territory, he had paid very little attention to the matter.
Sir, the example which has been followed here at Harper's Ferry was set in Missouri. The cases are not altogether parallel. In one case the object was to extend slavery; in the other to extinguish it. In one case the persons engaged have been brought to the gallows and have suffered for their act; in the other case the men engaged have been rewarded by office. Sir, they are not parallel; but had the proper steps been taken four years ago I do not believe the Harper's Ferry affair would ever have happened. I think it owes its origin to our overlooking the outrages that were committed in the West, and to which honorable Senators paid very little attention at the time. Now, sir, I trust they may get that attention which they deserve, and that we may deal impartially and alike by all violators of the law, whether their object be to introduce or extinguish slavery. I will stand by the Senator equally in maintaining the Constitution of my country and the constitutional rights of all, as well in Virginia as in Illinois.
SENATOR HALE.-I am for the resolution, sir. I am for the amendment, but if the amendment is voted down I shall go for the resolution still. I am sorry that it has been introduced this week, because I wanted to keep up the era of good feeling until after Christmas. [Laughter.] As I have said, I am for the resolution, but I think it is faulty in one particular. I do not think it goes far enough. I think this is only dealing with the surface of things, and I think, sir, it will bother you somewhat when you come to appoint the committee after the resolution passes. I beg leave to say, sir, I do not want to go on the committee, for reasons which I shall state.
In the first place, I think that this committee should be a committee of learned men deeply versed in philology and psychology, too [laughter]—I beg gentlemen not to laugh until I get through-and theology. I think, sir, we ought to go to the bottom of this thing; and I think I have read in some speech an intimation that looks this matter right in the face, that goes to first principles. I have heard a speech, or, if I have not
heard it, I have read the report of it, in which a distinguished Senator [Mr. Douglas] said that the doctrine in the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal" does not mean what it says. I want some men versed in philology put on the committee, to know whether that does mean so or not. He says that, when it declared that "all men are created equal,' it simply meant that in the time of the Revolution all British subjects were equal. Well, if that was the whole meaning of it, it was a harmless thing, and affords no sort of encouragement to those wild dogmas that these fanatics have been preaching. Then there is another doctrine that I think deserves to be investigated, and that is one which some of these fanatics get from the Bible, which declares that God has made of one blood all the nations of the earth. Now, I want a theologian on the committee, to know whether that does not mean all white men.
I am a little embarrassed about this matter, and that is the reason why I do not want to go on this committee. I am pointed out as one of the culprits, one of the men aimed at in the resolution. I do not mean that the Senator means that; but the public papers all over the land have pointed me out. Now, sir, I am not here to plead to that charge, nor to demur to it, either; but I think you will see at once that, laying aside my want of other qualifications, it would not be right to put me on this committee; and I am not certain that all the members on this side of the House, who belong to the Republican party, are not disqualified from sitting on this committee in the same way; for it has been charged in some pretty high quarters that, if we were not directly concerned in it, the doctrines that we preach and promulgate tend inevitably and directly to just exactly the state of things which has been produced.
Well, sir, I think the committee should be charged with that inquiry, and they should be instructed to report whether there is any organized party in this country that not only helped this movement by the money and the arms they furnished, but whether there is not a great political party organized in this country that has preached doctrines which directly tend to these things. I think the resolution, if it is adopted, should go as far as that.
I believe, sir, that if this investigation could be made thorough; if a light like that which beams from the eye of Omniscience could penetrate the whole history of this affair, the blame, wherever it may be, if it is to be laid at the door of anybody else aside from the men who were engaged in it, would be found to lie somewhere else than at the door of the Republican party,
or of any considerable number of men who enjoy its confidence. Sir, if this investigation takes place, and I hope it will and it is made pretty searching, I think you will find another fact, and one that I do not know that you will be very proud of. You will find something of the estimation and the affection which some of your Northern Democrats entertain for you, if you can find out how the news of this raid, as it is called, was received in some of the Northern States. Why, sir, some gentlemen, whom the tender solicitude of their constituents had left in the retirement of private life, free from the corroding cares of public station, I know, received the news of this outbreak in Virginia with a perfect yell of delight. They thought the time had come when there was something they could catch hold of to ride into power.
So far as I know, so far as my knowledge of the public men with whom it is my pride to associate is concerned, they have never made, and never will make, an appeal to slaves. They do not address them. It is not one of the instrumentalities by which they propose to work. Their appeal, so far as I know, is to the enlightened conscience and the patriotism, not of the slaves, but of their masters; of those who hold the destinies of this country and are responsible for the manner in which the Government is administered. The appeal, so far as I know or have any cognizance, which the Republican party has ever made and which it makes to-day, is to the understandings, the consciences, the intelligences, and the patriotism of those who, under God, are responsible for the manner in which the affairs of the Government are administered, and they have never made or countenanced any appeals to slaves.
I am free to say, sir, that, while I desire now, as I always have desired, that this Union may be perpetual, I confess that I do see danger to it. I do not see danger from anything we are doing in the free States-not the slightest; but I do see danger to this Union from the continual obloquy, reproach, and crimination which is heaped upon the people of the free States every time that there is anything calling attention to the subject in the South. Why, sir, take this very fact-and let it be everything that has been said of it, and I doubt not it is of twenty-two men, more or less, doing what they did in Virginia. Instead of its being met by the public sentiment, and the public press, and the public authorities, as the act of the men who did it, it was distinctly and directly and unequivocally over and over again charged upon other men, with all the confidence that it could have been if they had had a judg
ment of the highest court in the land that it was the factcharged upon men who knew as little about it as the child that is to be born a century hence. I think we must exercise a little forbearance. I do not ask gentlemen of the South to exercise forbearance; but we are the party from whom forbearance should come. Sir, we have forborne, and we have had contumely and reproach and bitter accusation day after day, and month after month, and year after year, heaped upon us. There is where, I think, the danger to this Union exists. I do not see, for myself, how Southern gentlemen can consent to live in a Union if they believe that those who are associated with them are the characters which the public press represent us to be; if we are so utterly false, not only to the oaths we have taken to support the Constitution, but to the moral obligations which ought to bind men as patriots and Christians. If the sentiment that we are so utterly wanting in all those qualities of character is to be continually and eternally iterated and reiterated, from one end of the section of the country where these transactions may take place to the other, there will be a feeling generated that will be fatal to this Union.
SENATOR HUNTER.-The public mind of the South has been startled, not so much by the foray of Brown and his twentythree men, as by the open sympathy and approbation which have been manifested in portions of the North in regard to that attempt, and the apparent indifference with which it has been treated by those whom we had a right to hope would have been more conservative in their feelings and actions upon such a subject.
Senator Hunter then instanced the amendment of Senator Trumbull as intended to impart a political complexion to a matter affecting not only the rights of a State but the peace of the country.
If gentlemen here think it is improper to institute such an inquiry; that our peace and safety, and our lives and property, are the cheap subjects upon which any man and any adventurer may try his experiment-let us know it. If they think that this question does not rise beyond the dignity of a mere party dispute, and are willing to prevent its proper consideration by such discussions and mode of treatment-let us know it. It is time that we were made aware of such a state of feeling in regard to our rights, our peace, and honor, if in truth it exists.
Still less had we supposed that such question was to be met