Page images
PDF
EPUB

pose, form for themselves a constitution and State | held that the people of Kansas do not desire adinission into government, which constitution is republican; and whereas, at the same time and place, said convention did adopt an ordinance, which said ordinance asserts that Kansas, when admitted as a State, will have an undoubted right to tax the lands within her limits belonging to the United States, and proposes to relinquish said asserted right if certain conditions set forth in said ordinance be accepted and ag eed to by the Congress of the United States; and whereas, the said constitution and ordinance have been presented to Congress by order of said convention, and admission of said Territory into the Union thereon as a State requested; and whereas, said ordinance is not acceptable to Congress, and it is desirable to ascertain whether the people of Kansas concur in the changes in said ordinance, hereinafter scated, and desire admission into the Union as a State as herein proposed: Therefore,

Be it enacted, etc., That the State of Kansas be, and is hereby admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, in all respects whatever, but upon this fundamental condition precedent, namely: That the question of admission with the following proposition, in lieu of the ordinance framed at Lecompton, be submitted to a vote of the people of Kansas, and aesented to by them or a majority of the voters voting at an election to be held for that purpose, namely: That the following propositions be, and the same are hereby offered to the people of Kansas for acceptance or rejection, which, if accepted, shall be obligatory on the United States and upon the said State of Kansas, to wit: First, That sections mumber sixteen and thirtysix in every township of public lands in said State, or where e ther of said sections or any part thereof has been sold or otherwise disposed of, other lands equivalent thereto, and as contiguous as may be, shall be granted to said State for the use of schools. Second, That seventy-two sections of land shall be set apart and reserved for the support of a State University, to be selected by the Governor of said State, subject to the approval of the Commissioners of the General LandOffice, and to be appropriated and applied in such manner as the legislature of said State may prescribe for the purpose aforesaid, but for no other purpose. Third, That ten entire sections of land, to be selected by the Governor of said State, in legal subdivisions, shall be granted to said State for the purpose of completing the public buildings, or for the erection of others at the seat of government, under the d rection of the legislature thereof. Fourth, That all salt springs within said State, not exceeding twelve in number, with six sections of land adjoining, or as contiguous as may be to each, shall be granted to said State for its use, the same to be selected by the Governor thereof, within one year after the admission of said State; and, when so selected, to be used or disposed of on such terms, conditions and regulations as the legislature may direct: Provided, That no salt spring or land, the right whereof is now vested in any individual or individuals, or which may hereafter be confirmed or adjudged to any individual or individuals, shall by this article be granted to said State. Fifth, That five per centum of the net proceeds of sales of all public lands lying within said State which shall be sold by Congress after the admission of said State into the Union, after deducting all the expenses incident to the same, shall be paid to said State for the purpose of making public roads and inte: nal improvements, as the legislature shall direct: Provided, The foregoing propositions herein offered are on the condition that said State of Kansas shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the lands of the United States, or with any regulations which Congress may find necessary for securing the title in said soil to bona fide purchasers thereof, and that no tax shall be imposed on lands belonging to the United States, and that in no case shall non-resident proprietors be taxed higher than residents. Sixth, And that said State shall never tax the lands or property of the United States in that State.

[ocr errors]

At the said election the voting shall be by ballot, and by indorsing on his ballot, as each voter may be pleased, Proposition accepted," or "Proposition rejected." Should a majority of the votes cast be for "Proposition accepted," the President of the United States, as soon as the fact is duly made known to him, shall announce the same by proclamation; and thereafter, and without any further proceedings on the part of Congress, the admission of the State of Kansas into the Union upon an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever shall be complete and absolute; and said State shall be entitled to one member in the House of Representatives in the Congress of the United States until the next census be taken by the Federal Government, But should a majority of the votes cast be for "Proposition rejected," it shall be deemed and!

the Union with said Constitution under the conditions set forth in said proposition: and in that event the people of said Territory are hereby authorized and empowered to form for themselves a Constitution and State Government, by the name of the State of Kansas, according to the Federal Constitution, and may elect delegates for that purpose whenever, and not before, it is ascertained by a census duly and legally taken, that the population of said Territory equals or exceeds the ratio of representation required for a member of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States; and whenever thereafter such delegates shall assemble in Convention, they shall first determine by a vote whether it is the wish of the people of the proposed State to be admitted into the Union at that time; and, if so, shall proceed to form a Constitution, and take all necessary steps for the establishment of a State Government, in conformity with the Federal Constitution, subject to suchlimitations and restrictions as to the mode and manner of its approval or ratification by the people of the proposed State as they may have prescribed by law, and shall be entitled to admission into the Union as a State under such Constitution, thus fairly and legally made, with or without Slavery, as said Constitution may prescribe. § 2. And be it further enacted, That for the purpose of insuring, as far as possible, that the elections au thorized by this act may be fair and free, the Governor, United States District Attorney, and Secretary of the Territory of Kansas, and the presiding officers of the two branches of its Legislature, namely, the President of the Council and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, are hereby constituted a board of Commissioners to carry into effect the provisions of this act, and to use all the means necessary and proper to that end. And three of them shall constitute a board; and the board shall have power and authority to designate and establish precincts for voting or to adopt those already established; to cause polls to be opened at such places as it may deem proper in the respective counties and election precincts of said Territory; to appoint as judges of election at each of the several places of voting, three discreet and respectable persons, any two of whom shall be competent to act; te require the sheriffs of the several counties, by themselves or deputies, to attend the judges at each of the places of voting, for the purpose of preserving peace and good or der; or the said board may, instead of said sheriffs and their deputies, appoint at their discretion, and in such instances as they may choose, other fit persons for the same purpose. The election hereby authorized shall continue one day only, and shall not be continued later than sundown on that day. The said board shall appoint the day for holding said election, and the said Governor shall an nounce the same by proclamation; and the day shall be as early a one as is consistent with due notice thereof to the people of said Territory, subject to the provisions of this act. The said board shall have full power to prescribe the time, manner, and place of said election, and to direct the time (within) which returns shall be made to the said board, whose duty it shall be to announce the result by proclamation, and the said Governor shall certify the same to the President of the United States without delay.

83. And be it further enacted, That in the election hereby authorized, all white male inhabitants of said Territory, over the age of twenty-one years, who possess the qualifications which were required by the laws of said Territory for a legal voter at the last general election for the members of the Territorial Legislature, and none others, shall be allowed to vote; and this shall be the only qualification required to entitle the voter to the right of suffrage in sald election. And if any person not so qualified shall vote or offer to vote, or if any person shall vote more than once at said election, or shall make, or cause to be made, any false, fictitious, or fraudulent returns, or shall alter or change any returns of said election, such person shall, upon conviction thereof before any court of competent jurisdiction, be kept at hard labor not less than six months and not more than three years.

§ 4. And be it further enacted, That the members. of the aforesaid board of commissioners, and all persons appointed by them to carry into effect the provisions of this act, shall, before entering upon their duties, take an oath to perform faithfully the duties of their respective offices and on failure thereof, they shall be liable and subject to the same charges and penalties as are provided in like cases under the Territorial laws.

5. And be it further enacted, That the officers mentioned in the preceding section shall receive for their services the same compensation as is given for like services under the Territorial laws.

The vote in the Senate, on agreeing to the Conference Conmittee's Report, stood-Yeas, 30; Nays, 22; as follows:

YEAS-Messrs. Allen, Bayard, Benjamin, Bigler, Biger, Bright, Brown, Clay, Davis, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Grei,

Gwin, Hammond, Houston, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson (Ark)
Johnson (Tenn.), Jones, Kennedy, Mallory, Mason, Polk,
Pugh, Sebastian, Thompson (N.J.), Toombs, Wright, Yulee.
NAYS.-Messrs. Broderick, Cameron, Chandler, Colla-
mer, Crittenden, Dixon, Doolittle, Douglas, Durkee,
Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Ilale, Hamlin, Harlan, King,
Seward, Simmons, Stuart, Trumbull, Wade, Wilson.
PAIRED.-Bell with Pearce, Fitch with Sumner.
ABSENT.-Clark, Bates, Henderson, Reid, Thompson
(Ky.), Slidell.

In the House, on the final vote, among those who had voted against the original Lecompton Bill and who now supported the English scheme, were Gilmer, Am., of N. C., and the following Democrats, viz.: English and Foley, of Ind; Cocker ll, Cox, Groesbeck, Hall, Lawrence and Pendleton. of Ohio; and Owen Jones, of Pa. Gen. Quitman, of Mississippi, and M. Bonham, of S. C., fire eaters, voted No, and the following members "paired off," viz: Washburn (Wis.) with Arnold; Matteson with Reuben Davis; Purviance with Dimmick; Morrill with Faulkner; Horton with Hill; J. C. Kunkel with Miles Taylor; Montgomery with Warren; Thompson with Stewart (Md.); and Wood with George Taylor.

In accordance with this act of Congress, the people of Kansas went into an election on the 3d of August, 1858. Notwithstanding the liberal offers in regard to donations to Kansas of public lands, in this bill, and the threat that if the people did not accept a State Government with the Lecompton Constitution, they should not be permitted to come in as a State with any Constitution, till they should have a full population of 93,840, still, the Lecompton Constitution was again rejected by more than ten thousand majority. This may be regarded as the final disposition of this famous Constitution. From first to last, it had been the cause or the subject of more speeches in Congress than any measure ever brought before that body.

[blocks in formation]

ries of the new State were declared to be the By the Constitution, as adopted, the boundaState of Missouri on the east, the 37th parallel of north latitude on the south, the 41st parallel of north latitude on the north, and the 23d meridian of longitude west from Washington on the west. The western boundary cuts off the Pike's Peak region and the desert which bounds it on the east, and limits the new State to the habitable eastern portion of the Territory, embracing an area of some sixty thousand square miles. The Executive is to consist of a Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor, Attor ney-General, and Superintendent of Public Schools, to be chosen by the people, and to serve for two years. The House of Representatives is to consist of seventy-five members, to serve one year, and the Senate of twenty-five Senators, to serve two years, the numbers to be regulated by law, but never to exceed one hundred Representatives, and thirty-three Senators. The pay is to be three dollars a day and fifteen cents per mile travel. All bills must originate with the House, and no act can include more than one subject. The Supreme Court is to consist of three Judges, to be chosen by the people, to hold office for six years, one to go out every two years. There are to be five District Judges, to be chosen by The Territorial Legislature passed an act the people of their respective districts, and to (Feb. 11, 1859) to refer the question to the serve for four years. Each county is to choose people of a new Constitutional Convention, the a Judge of Probate, to serve for two years, election to be held on the first Tuesday in and each township is to choose Justices of the March, 1859. The election was held, and Peace, to serve also for two years. Elections resulted in a majority of 3,881 in favor of a are to be by ballot. Every white male adult Convention. This result being ascertained, the who is a citizen of the United States, or who has Governor issued his proclamation for an elec-declared his intention to become one, having tion of delegates. The old party organizations been a resident in the State for six months, and were now abandoned, and those of Republicans in the precinct for thirty days, is entitled to vote. and Democrats substituted, and it was on this basis that the canvass for the election of delegates proceeded. The Convention was to consist of fifty-two delegates. The Democrats proclaimed themselves disciples of Mr. Douglas and his Territorial Sovereignty doctrine, and decidedly opposed to making Kansas a Slave State. The Leavenworth district, where, through its contractors for army supplies, the Government exercised a great influence, and which from its population was entitled to ten delegates, elected the Democratic ticket, not, however, without the aid of fraudulent votes. But the Republicans, by their predominance in other parts of the Territory, succeeded in securing a majority in the Convention of thirty-of five to seventeen.

THE WYANDOT CONSTITUTION.

The State is prohibited from becoming a party in carrying on any work of internal improvement, nor can any debt, to exceed a million of dollars, be contracted, unless the question be previously submitted to, and the debt authorized by, a popular vote; and in all cases a special tax must be levied sufficient to pay the interest and provide a sinking fund adequate to meet the principal when it becomes due. All corporations, banks included, must be established under general laws only, and the corporators made liable to twice the amount of their stock. The sale of lottery tickets is prohibited. The schedule annexed to the Constitution claimed of Congress $500,000, or in lieu there

500,000 acres of land, to meet the claims audited to nearly that amount for losses inThe Convention met at Wyandot on the 5th curred by citizens of Kansas during the late of July, and adjourned on the 27th of the same troubles. The Commissioners had declined to month, after adopting a Constitution by a vote entertain the claim of the New-England Emiof thirty-four to thirteen, all the Democrats grant Aid Society, to the amount of $25,000, present voting against it and refusing to sign for the destruction of their hotel at Lawrence, it. They had strenuously contended, in the on the ground that they had no authority to Convention, for the annexation to Kansas of act on any claims except those presented by that part of Nebraska south of the Platte; for citizens of Kansas, and the Convention de

clined to go beyond the report of the Commis

sioners.

DAVIS, Edmundson, English (Indiana), Garnett, Gar trell, GILMER, Hamilton, HARDEMAN, John T. Harris, Hawkins, HILL. Hindman, Houston, Hughes Jack son, Jenkins, Jones, Keitt, Lamar, JAMES M. LEACH, Leake, Love, MALLORY, MAYNARD, McQueen, McRae, SON, Noell, Pugh, QUARLES, Reagan Ruffin, Scott (Cal.) Sickles (N. Y.), Simms, Singleton, Wm. Smith, W. N. II. SMITH, Stallworth, Stevenson, STOKES, Thomas, VANCE Whitely, Winslow, Woodson.

A grant is asked from Congress of 4,550,000 acres of land for internal improvements, also the swamp lands of the State to be appropriated | Miles, Millson, LABAN T. MOORE, Sydenham Moore, NELas a school fund.

Prefixed to the Constitution is a Bill of Rights, which includes a prohibition of Slavery. This Bill of Rights also provides that no person shall be incompetent to testify on account of his religious belief.

By a provision of the schedule, this Constituon was submitted to a popular vote on the first Tuesday in October, which resulted in its ratification by the people by a majority of some four thousand. The Territorial election in November attracted but little interest from the general expectation of the admission of the State under the new Constitution. The Republicans, however, succeeded in electing their delegate to Congress and a majority of the Legislature.

The first State Election under this Constitution was held December 6, 1859, and resulted in the election of Charles Robinson (Rep.) as Governor by 2513 majority. Martin F. Conway (Rep.) for Congress by 2107 majority, and the entire Republican ticket for State officers by majorities ranging from 2000 to 2,500, also a Legislature which was Republican in both branches by very decided majorities.

Feb. 15-Mr. Grow introduced in the House, a bill to admit Kansas under the Wyandot Constitution. Referred to Committee on Territories, which (March 29th) reported (majority) through Mr. Grow in favor of admission.

April 11.-Mr. Grow demanded the Previous Question on the passage of the Bill, which was seconded, and the main question ordered. Mr. Barksdale, demanded the Yeas and Nays -ordered.

The question was then taken, and decided in the affirmative: Yeas, 134; Nays, 73, as follows: YEAS-Messrs. Chas. F. Adams, A drain, Aldrich, Allen, Alley, Ashley, Babbitt, Barr, Barrett, Beale, Bingham, Blair (Pa.), Blake, Brayton, BRIGGS, Buffinton, Burch, Burlingame, Burnham, Butterfield, Campbell, Carey, Carter, Case, Horace F. Clark, Clark B. Cochrane, John Cochrane, Colfax, Conkling, Cooper, Corwin, Covode, Cox, Curtis, Dawes, Delano, Duell, Dunn, Edgerton, Edwards, Elliot, Ely, ETHERIDGE, Farnsworth, Fenton, Ferry, Florence Foster, Fouke, Frank, French, Gooch, Grow, Gurley, Hale, Hall, I a skin, Helmick, Hickman, Hoard, Holman, Howard (Ohio), Humphry, Hutchins, Irvine, Junkin, Francis W. Kellogg, William Kellogg, Kenyon, Kilgore, Killinger, Larrabee, De Witt C. Leach, Lee, Logan, Longnecker, Loomis, Lovejoy, Marston, Chas. D. Martin, McClernand, McKean, McKnight, McPherson, Wm. Montgomery, Moorehead, Morrill, Edward Joy Morris, Isaac N. Morris, Morse, Niblack, Nixon, Olin, Palmer, Pendleton, Perry, Pettit, Porter, Potter, Pottle, Rice, Riggs, Christopher Robinson, James C. Robinson, Royce, Schwartz, Scranton, Sedgwick, Spaulding, Spinner, Stanton, Stevens, Wm. Stewart, Stout, Stratton, Tappan, Thayer, Theaker, Tompkins, Train, Trimble, Vallandigham, Vandever, Verree, Waldron, Walton, C. C Washburn, E. B. Washburne, Israel Washburn, WEB STER, Wells, Wilson, Windom, Wood, Woodruff.

Republicans, in Roman,

Democrats (from Free States.), in Italics, Anti-Lecompton Democrats, Roman spaced, Americans, in SMALL CAPS,

[ocr errors]

103 22

6

3

134

55

Democrats, in Italics, (3 from Free States), Americans, in SMALL CAPS (all from Slave States), 18

Total,

PAIRED-D a vis (Indiana), with Phelps.
Sherman with HARRIS, of Md.
Wade with Peyton.

Somes with McClay (N.Y.)
Van Wyck with Underwood.
Burroughs with Dejarnette.

73

ABSENT UNPAIRED-Davis (Mis.), Landrum, Martin, (Va.), Kunkel.

Senate, Feb. 21st.-Mr. Seward introduced a bill for the admission of Kansas under the Wyandotte Constitution.

On the 5th June, this bill being under consideration,

Mr. Wigfall, of Tex., explained his views. He declared he would not vote for the admission of this socalled State, under any circumstances. He objected to their moral character, and was not willing Texas should associate with such a State.

(taking in Pike's Peak), was discussed by Mr. Wade, Mr. Greene's amendment, to change the boundary who said the effect of the amendment would be to defeat the bill.

Mr. Hunter moved to postpone the subject, and take up the Army bill.

Mr. Trumbull opposed the motion. He should keep the Kansas bill before the Senate till it was finally d'sposed of. It was more important than the appropriation bills, which appeared to be kept back in order to interrupt other important business.

Mr. Seward hoped the friends of Kansas would let a vote be taken, so that the responsibility might lie where it belonged.

The vote was taken by yeas and nays, and resulted, Yeas, 32; Nays, 27. It was a strict party vote, except that Messrs Pugh (Dem., Ohio) and Latham (Dem., Cal.) voted with the Republicans not to postpone. Mr. Kennedy (S. Am., Md.) voted with the Democrats. Messrs. Crittenden (S. Am, Ky.), Douglas, Clay, (Dem. Ala.), and Nicholson (Dem., Tenn) were absent. Messrs. Douglas and Clay were paired.

So the motion to postpone, and take up the Army

bill prevailed.

Mr. Trumbull called attention to the fact that the

Senator from Pennsylvania (Bigler) desired to postpone the Kansas bill because the 'Senate was not full. Thre vote showed that sixty votes had been cast, with two. paired off, showing the fullest vote of the session.

lent to the defeat of the Kansas bill, and the Senator He said the effect of the vote just taken was equivafrom Pennsylvania must have known the effect of his vote.

Mr. Wigfall desired to call attention to the fact that the House had once defeated the Army bill, because it did not want the army used against the Black Republi

can thieves and murderers in Kansas.

June 7.-Mr. Wade, of Ohio, moved to take up the Kansas bill, which was lost-as follows:

YEAS-Messrs. Anthony, Bigler, Bingham, Cameron, Chandler, Clark, Collamer, Dixon, Doolittle, Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Grimes, Hale, Hamlin, Harlan, King, Pugh, Seward, Simmons, Sumner, Ten Eyck. Trumbull, Wade, Wilkinson, Wilson, Republicans, 25; DemoCrats, (Bigler and Pugh) 2-27.

NAYS-Messrs. Bayard, Benjamin, Bragg, Bright, Brown, Chesnut, Clingman, Davis, Fitch, Fitzpatrick, Greene, Gwin, Hammond, Hemphill, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson, (Tenn.) Lane, Latham, Mallory, Mason, Nicholson,

Pearce, Polk, Powell, Rice, Sebastian, Slidell, Thomson, Toombs, Wigfall, Yulee.—32. [All Democrats.] Mr. Douglas was paired with Mr. Clay; Crittenden (Am.), with Johnson, of Ark., KenCANDERSON. Ashmore, Avery Barksdale, Bocock, Bon-nedy and Saulsbury absent.

Total,

[ocr errors]

NAYS-Messrs. GREEN ADAMS, Thos. L. Anderson, WM.

ham, BOTELER, Boyce, BRABSON Branch, BRISTOW, Bur

nett, John B. Clark, Clopton, Cobb, James Craig, So both Houses adjourned and left Kansas Burton Craige, Crawford, Curry, Davidson, HENRY W still in the condition of a Territory.

THE NEBRASKA DOCTRINE

AND

THE DRED SCOTT DECISION REVIEWED,

SPEECH OF THE HON. ABRAHAM LINCOLN,

At Springfield, Ill., June 17, 1858.

[The following speech was delivered at Springfield, Ill., at | the close of the Republican State Convention held at that time and place, and by which Convention Mr. Lincoln had been named as their candidate for U. S. Senator.]

MR. PRESIDENT, AND GENTLEMEN OF THE CONVENTION: If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated wi. the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to Slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved-I do not expect the house to fall-but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of Slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new-North as well as South.

Have we no tendency to the latter condition? Let any one who doubts, carefully contemplate that now almost complete legal combination-piece of machinery, so to speak-compounded of the Nebraska doctrine, and the Dred Scott Decision. Let him consider not only what work the machinery is adapted to do, and how well adapted; but also, let him study the history of its construction, and trace, if he can, or rather fail, if he can, to trace the evidence of design, and conce t of action, among its chief architects, from the beginning.

The new year of 1854 found Slavery excluded from more than half the States by State Constitutions, and from most of the national territory by Congressional prohibition. Four days later, commenced the struggle which ended in repealing that Congressional prohibition. This opened all the national territory to Slavery, and was the first point gained.

But, so far, Congress only had acted and an indorsement by the people, real or apparent, was indispensable, to save the point already gained, and give chance for more.

This necessity had not been overlooked; but had been provided for, as well as might be, in the notable argument of "squatter sovereignty,' otherwise called "sacred right of self-government," which latter phrase, though expressive of the only rightful basis of any government, was so perverted in this attempted use of it as to amount to just this: That if any one man choose to enslave another, no third man shall be allowed to object. That argument was incorporated into the Nepraska bill itself, in the language which follows: "It being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate Slavery into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom; but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States." Then opened the roar of loose declamation in favor of "Squatter Sovereignty," and "sacred right of self-government." "But," said opposition members, "let us amend the bill so as to expressly declare that the people of the Territory may exclude

Slavery." "Not we," said the friends of the measure and down they voted the amendment.

as

While the Nebraska bill was passing through Congress, a law case involving the question of a negro's freedom, by reason of his owner having voluntarily taken him first into a Free State and then into a Territory covered by the Congressional prohibition, and held him a slave for a long time in each, was passing through the United States Circuit Court for the District of Missouri; and both Nebraska bill and law suit were brought to a decision in the same month of May, 1854. The negro's name was "Dred Scott," which name now designates the decision finally made in the case. Before the then next Presidential Election, the law case came to, and was argued in, the Supreme Court of the United States; but the decision of it was deferred until after the election. Still, before the election, Senator Trumbull, on the floor of the Senate, requested the leading advocate of the Nebraska bill to state his opinion whether the people of a Territory can constitutionally exclude Slavery from their limits; and the latter answers: "That is a question for the Supreme Court."

The election came. Mr. Buchanan was elected, and the indorsement, such as it was, secured. That was the second point gained. The indorsement, however, fell short of a clear popular majority by nearly four hundred thousand votes, and so, perhaps, was not overwhelmingly reliable and satisfactory. The outgoing President, in his last annual message, as impressively as possible, echoed back upon the people the weight and authority of the indorsement. The Supreme Court met again; did not announce their decision, but ordered a re-argument. The Presidential inauguration came, and still no decision of the court; but the incoming President in his inaugural address, fervently exhorted the people to abide by the forthcoming decision, whatever it might be. Then in a few days, came the decision.

The reputed author of the Nebraska bill finds an early occasion to make as peech at this capital, indorsing the Dred Scott decision, and vehemently denouncing all opposition to it. The new President, too, seizes. the early occasion of the Silliman letter to indorse and strongly construe that decision, and to express his astonishment that any different view had ever been entertained!

At length a squabble springs up between the President. and the author of the Nebraska bill, on the mere question of fact, whether the Lecompton Constitution was or was not, in any just sense, made by the people of Kansas; and in that quarrel the latter declares that all he wants is a fair vote for the people, and that he cares not whether Slavery be voted down or voted up. I do not understand his declaration that he cares not whether Slavery be voted down or voted up, to be intended by him other than as an apt definition of the policy he would impress upon the public mind-the principle for which he declares he has suffered so much, and is ready to suffer to the end. And well may he cling to that principle. If he has any parental feeling, well may he cling to it. That principle is the only shred left of his original Nebraska doctrine. Under the Dred Scott decision "squatter sovereignty" squatted out of existence, tumbled down like temporary scaffolding-like the mold at the foundry served through one blast and fell back into loose sand-helped to carry an election, and then was kicked to the winds. His late joint strug gle with the Republicans, against the Lecompton Con.

127

stitution, involves nothing of the original Nebraska doctrine. That struggle was made on a point-the right of a people to make their own constitution-upon which he and the Republicans have never differed.

this merely Territorial law? Why are the people of a Territory and the people of a State therein lumped together, and their relation to the Constitution therein treated as being precisely the same? While the opinion The several points of the Dred Scott decision, in con- of the court, by Chief Justice Taney, in the Dred Scott nection with Senator Douglas's "care not" policy, consti- | case, and the separate opinions of all the concurring tute the piece of machinery, in its present state of advance- Judges, expressly declare that the Constitution of the ment. This was the third point gained. The working United States neither permits Congress nor a Territorial points of that machinery are: Legislature to exclude Slavery from any United States TerFirst, That no negro slave, imported as such from Af-ritory, they all omit to declare whether or not the same rica, and no descendant of such slave, can ever be a citizen of any State, in the sense of that term as used in the Constitution of the United States. This point is made in order to deprive the negro, in every possible event, of the benefit of that provision of the United States Constitution, which declares that "The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States."

Secondly, That "subject to the Constitution of the United States," neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature can exclude Slavery from any United States Territory. This point is made in order that individual men may fill up the Territories with slaves, without danger of losing them as property, and thus to enhance the chances of permanency to the institution through all the future.

Thirdly, That whether the holding a negro in actual slavery in a Free State, makes him free, as against the holder, the United States courts will not decide, but will leave to be decided by the courts of any Slave State the negro may be forced into by the master. This point is made, not to be pressed immediately; but, if acquiesced in for awhile, and apparently indorsed by the people at an election, then to sustain the logical conclusion that what Dred Scott's master might lawfully do with Dred Scott, in the free State of Illinois, every other master may lawfully do with any other one, or one thousand slaves, in Illinois, or in any other Free State.

Auxiliary to all this, and working hand in hand with it, the Nebraska doctrine, or what is left of it, is to educate and mold public opinion, at least Northern public opinion, not to care whether Slavery is voted down or voted up. This shows exactly where we now are; and partially, also, whither we are tending.

Constitution permits a State, or the people of a State, to
exclude it. Possibly, this is a mere omission; but who
can be quite sure, if McLean or Curtis had sought to get
into the opinion a declaration of unlimited power in the
people of a State to exclude Slavery from their limits, just
as Chase and Mace sought to get such declaration, in be-
half of the people of a territory, into the Nebraska bill-I
ask, who can be quite sure that it would not have been voted
down in the one case as it had been in the other? The
nearest approach to the point of declaring the power of a
State over Slavery, is made by Judge Nelson.
He ap-
proaches it more than once, using the precise idea, and
almost the language, too, of the Nebraska act.
On one
occasion, his exact language is, "except in cases where
the power is restrained by the Constitution of the United
States, the law of the State is supreme over the subject of
Slavery within its jurisdiction." In what cases the power
of the States is so restrained by the United States Consti-
tution, is left an open question, precisely as the same
question, as to the restraint on the power of the Territo-
ries, was left open in the Nebraska act. Put this and that
together, and we have another nice little niche, which we
may, ere long, see filled with another Supreme Court de-
cision, declaring that the Constitution of the United States
does not permit a State to exclude Slavery from its limits.
And this may especially be expected if the doctrine of
care not whether Slavery be voted down or voted up,"
shall gain upon the public mind sufficiently to give pro-
mise that such a decision can be maintained when made.

[ocr errors]

Such a decision is all that Slavery now lacks of being alike lawful in all the States. Welcome, or unwelcome, such decision is probably coming, and will soon be upon us, unless the power of the present political dynasty shall be met and overthrown. We shall lie down pleasantly dreaming that the people of Missouri are on the verge of

instead, that the Supreme Court has made Illinois a Slave State. To meet and overthrow the power of that dynasty, is the work now before all those who would prevent that consummation. This is what we have to do. How can we best do it?

It will throw additional light on the latter, to go back, and run the mind over the string of historical facts already stated. Several things will now appear less dark and mys-making their State free, and we shall awake to the reality terious than they did when they were transpiring. The people were to be left "perfectly free," subject only to the Constitution. What the Constitution had to do with it, outsiders could not then see. Plainly enough now, it was an exactly fitted niche, for the Dred Scott decision to afterward come in, and declare the perfect freedom of the people to be just no freedom at all. Why was the amendment, expressly declaring the right of the people, voted down? Plainly enough now: the adoption of it would have spoiled the niche for the Dred Scott decision. Why was the court decision held up? Why even a Senator's individual opinion withheld, till after the Presidential election? Plainly enough now: the speaking out then would have damaged the perfectly free argument upon which the election was to be carried. Why the outgoing President's felicitation on the indorsment? Why the delay of a reargument? Why the incoming President's advance exhortation in favor of the decision? These things look like the cautious patting and petting of a spirited horse preparatory to mounting him, when it is dreaded that he may give the rider a fall. And why the hasty after-indorsement of the decision by the President and others?

We cannot absolutely know that all these exact adaptations are the result of preconcert. But when we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places, and by different workmen-Stephen, Franklin, Roger and James, for instance-and when we see these timbers joined together, and see they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortices exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too few-not omitting even scaffolding-or, if a single piece be lacking, we see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared yet to bring such piece in-in such a case, we find it impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first blow was struck.

It should not be overlooked that, by the Nebraska bill, the people of a State as well as a Territory, were to be left "perfectly free," "subject only to the Constitution." Why mention a State? They were legislating for Territories, and not for or about States. Certainly the people of a State are and ought to be subject to the Constitution of the United States; but why is mention of this lugged into

There are those who denounce us openly to their own friends, and yet whisper us softly, that Senator Douglas is the aptest instrument there is with which to effect that, object. They wish us to infer all, from the fact that he now has a little quarrel with the present head of the dynasty; and that he has regularly voted with us on a single point, upon which he and we have never differed. They remind us that he is a great man, and that the largest of us are very small ones. Let this be granted. But "a living dog is better than a dead lion." Judge Douglas, if not a dead lion, for this work, is at least a caged and toothless one. How can he oppose the advances of Slavery? He don't care anything about it. His avowed mission is impressing the "public heart" to care nothing about it. A leading Douglas Democratic newspaper thinks Douglas's superior talent will be needed to resist the revival of the African slave-trade. Does Douglas believe an effort to revive that trade is approaching? He has not said so. Does he really think so? But if it is, how can he resist it? For years he has labored to prove it a sacred right of white men to take negro slaves into the new Territories. Can he possibly show that it is less a sacred right to buy them where they can be bought cheapest? And unquestionably they can be bought cheaper in Africa than in Virginia. He has done all in his power to reduce the whole question of Slavery to one of a mere right of property; and as such, how can he oppose the foreign slave-trade-how can he refuse that trade in that "property" shall be "perfectly free "unless he does it as a protection to the home production? And as the home producers will probably not ask the protection, he will be wholly without a ground of opposition.

Senator Douglas holds, we know, that a man may right. fully be wiser to-day than he was yesterday-that he may rightfully change when he finds himself wrong. But can we, for that reason, run ahead, and infer that he will make any particular change, of which he, himself, has given no intimation? Can we safely base our action upon any such vague inference? Now, as ever, I wish not to misrepresent Judge Douglas's position, question his motives, or do aught that can be personally offensive to him. Whenever, if ever, he and we can come together on principle so that our cause may have assistance from his

« PreviousContinue »