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the Court-that is, as the 'inevitable consequence of the right to acquire territory.'" The power to acquire territory, as well as the right, in the language of Mr. Madison, "to institute temporary governments for the new States arising therein " (or Territorial governments, as they are now called), having been traced to that provision of the Constitution which provides for the admission of "new States," the Court proceed to consider the nature and extent of the power of Congress over the people of the Territories:

"All we mean to say on this point is, that, as there is no express regulation in the Constitution defining the power which the General Government may exercise over the person or property of a citizen in a territory thus acquired, the Court must necessarily look to the provisions and principles of the Constitution, and its distribution of powers, or the rules and principles by which its decision must be governed.


"Taking this rule to guide us, it may be safely assumed that citizens of the United States, who emigrate to a territory belonging to the people of the United States, cannot be ruled as mere colonists, dependent upon the will of the General Government, and to be governed by any laws it may think proper to impose. The Territory being a part of the United States, the Government and the citizen both enter it under the authority of the Constitution, with their respective rights defined and marked out; and the Federal Government can exercise no power over his person or property beyond what that instrument confers, nor lawfully deny any right which it has reserved."

Hence, inasmuch as the Constitution has conferred on the Federal Government no right to interfere with the property, domestic relations, police regulations, or internal polity of the people of the Territories, it necessarily follows, under the authority of the Court, that Congress can rightfully exercise no such power over the people of the Territories. For this reason alone, the Supreme Court were authorized and compelled to pronounce the eighth section of the Act approved March 6, 1820 (commonly called the Missouri Compramise), inoperative and void there being no power delegated to Congress in the Constitution authorizing Congress to prohibit Slavery in the Ter


In the course of the discussion of this question the Court gave an elaborate exposition of the structure, principles, and powers of the Federal Government; showing that it possesses no powers except those which are delegated, enumerated, and defined in the Constitution; and that all other powers are either prohibited altogether or are reserved to the States, or to the people. In order to show that the prohibited, as well as the delegated powers are enumerated and defined in the Constitution, the Court enumerated certain powers which cannot be exercised either by Congress or by the Territorial Legislatures, or by any other authority whatever, for the simple reason that they are forbidden by the Constitution.

Some persons who have not examined critically the opinion of the Court in this respect have been induced to believe that the slavery question was included in this class of prohibited powers, and that the Court had decided in the Dred Scott case that the Territorial Legislature could not legislate in respect to slave property the same as all other property in the Territories. A few extracts from the opinion of the Court will correct this error, and show clearly the class of powers to which the Court referred, as being forbidden alike to the Federal Government, to the States, and to the Territories. The Court say:

"A reference to a few of the provisions of the Constitution will illustrate this proposition. For example, no cne, we presume, will contend that Congress can make any law in a Territory respecting the establishment of religion, or the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the the press, or the right of the people of the territory peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for the redress of grievances.

"Nor can Congress deny to the people the right to keep and bear arms, nor the right to trial by jury, nor compel any one to be a witness against himself in a criminal proceeding. So too, it will hardly be contended that Congress could by law quarter a soldier in a house in a territory without the consent of the owner in a time of peace; nor in time of war but in a manner prescribed by law. Nor could they by law forfeit the property of a citizen in a territory who was convicted of treason, for a longer period than the life of the person convicted, nor take private property for public use without just compen


"The powers over persons and property, of which we speak, are not only not granted to Congress, but are in express terms denied, and they are forbidden to exercise them. And this prohibition is not confined to the States, but the words are general, and extend to the whole territory over which the Constitution gives it power to legislate, including those portions of it remaining under Territorial governments, as well as that covered by States.

"It is a total absence of power, everywhere within the dominion of the United States, and places the citizens of a Territory, so far as these rights are concerned, on the same


footing with citizens of the States, and guards them as firmly and plainly against any inroads which the General Government might attempt under the plea of implied or incidental powers. powers conferred on the Federal Government-it will be adAnd if Congress itself cannot do this-if it is beyond the mitted, we presume, that it could not authorize a Territorial government to exercise them. It could confer no power on any local government, established by its authority, to violate the provisions of the Constitution."

Nothing can be more certain than that the Court were here speaking only of forbidden powers, which were denied alike to Congress, to the State Legislatures, and to the Territorial Legislatures, and that the prohibition extends "everywhere within the dominion of the United States," applicable equally to States and Territories, as well as to the United States.

If this sweeping prohibition-this just but inexorable restriction upon the powers of Government-Federal, State, and Territorial-shall ever be held to include the Slavery question, thus negativing the right of the people of the States and Territories, as well as the Federal Government, to control it by law (and it will be observed that in the opinion of the Court "the citizens of a Territory, so far as these rights are concerned, are on the same footing with the citizens of the States.") then, indeed, will the doctrine become firmly established that the principles of law applicable to African Slavery are uniform throughout the dominion of the United States, and that there is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces, which means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slaveholding nation or enti. ely

a free labor nation."

Notwithstanding the disastrous consequences which would inevitably result from the authoritative recognition and practical operation of such a doctrine, there are those who maintain that the Court referred to and included the Slavery question within that class of forbidden powers which (although the same in the Territories as in the States) could not be exercised by the people of the Territories.

If this proposition were true, which fortunately for the peace and welfare of the whole country it is not, the conclusion would inevitably result, which they logically deduce from the premises-that the Constitution by the recognition of Slavery establishes it in the Territories beyond the power of the people to control it by law, and guarantees to every citizen the right to go there and be protected in the enjoyment of his slave property; and when all other remedies fail for the protection of such rights of property, it becomes the imperative duty of Congress (to the performance of which every member is bound by his conscience and his oath, and from which no consideration of political policy or expediency can release him) to provide by law such adequate and complete protection as is essential to the enjoyment of an important right secured by the Constitution. If the proposition be true, that the Constitution establishes Slavery in the Territories beyond the power of the people legally to control it, another result no less startling, and from which there is no escape, must inevi tably follow. The Constitution is uniform "everywhere within the dominions of the United States"-is the same in Pennsylvania as in Kansas-and if it be true, as stated by the President in a special message to Congress, "that Slavery exists in Kansas by virtue of the Constitution of the United States," and that "Kansas is therefore at this moment as much a Slave State as Georgia or by virtue of the same Constitution? South Carolina," why does it not exist in Pennsylvania

If it be said that Pennsylvania is a sovereign State, and therefore has a right to regulate the Slavery question within her own limits to suit herself, it must be borne in mind that the sovereignty of Pennsylvania, like that of every other State, is limited by the Constitution, which provides that:

"This Constitution, and all laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."

Hence, the State of Pennsylvania, with her Constitution and laws, and domestic institutions, and internal policy, is subordinate to the Constitution of the United States, in the same manner and to the same extent as the Territory of Kansas. The Kansas-Nebraska Act says that the Territory of Kansas shall exercise legislative power over "all rightful subjects of legislation consistent with the Constitution," and that the people of said Territory shall be left "perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States." The provisions of this act are believed to be in entire harmony with the Constitution, and

under them the people of Kansas possess every right, privilege, and immunity, in respect to their internal polity and domestic relations, which the people of Pennsylvania can exercise under their Constitution and laws. Each is invested with full, complete, and exclusive powers in this respect, subject only to the Constitution of the United



only recognizes the right of property in slaves, as stated by the Court, but explicitly states what class of persons shall be deemed slaves, and under what laws or authority they may be held to servitude, and under what circumstances fugitive slaves shall be restored to their owners, all in the same section, as follows:

"No person heid to service or labor in one State, under the any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due."

The question recurs, then, if the Constitution does estab-laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of lish Slavery in Kansas or any other Territory beyond the power of the people to control it by law, how can the conclusion be resisted that Slavery is established in like manner and by the same authority in all the States of the Union? And if it be the imperative duty of Congress to provide by law for the protection of slave property in the Territories upon the ground that "Slavery exists in Kansas" (and consequently in every other Territory) "by virtue of the Constitution of the United States," why is it not also the duty of Congress, for the same reason, to provide similar protection to slave property in all the States of the Union, when the legislatures fail to furnish such protection?

Thus it will be seen that a slave, within the meaning of the Constitution, is a "person held to service or labor in stitution of the United States, nor by the laws thereof, nor one State, under the laws thereof"-not under the Conby virtue of any federal authority whatsoever, but under labor may be due. the laws of the particular State where such service or

in the Constitution in order to satisfy the people of the It was necessary to give this exact definition of Slavery Without confessing or attempting to avoid the inevitable South as well as of the North. The slaveholding States consequences of their own doctrine, its advocates endeavor would never consent for a moment that their domestic reto fortify their position by citing the Dred Scott decision lations and especially their right of property in their to prove that the Constitution recognizes property in slaves should be dependent upon Federal authority, or slaves-that there is no legal distinction between this and that Congress should have any power over the subjectevery other description of property-that slave property either to extend, confine, or restrain it, much less to proand every other kind of property stand on an equal foot-tect or regulate it-lest, under the pretense of protection ing-that Congress has no more power over the one than and regulation, the Federal Government, under the influover the other-and, consequently, cannot discriminate ence of the strong and increasing anti-slavery sentiment which prevailed at that period, might destroy the institution, and divest those rights of property in slaves which were sacred under the laws and constitutions of their respective States so long as the Federal Government had no power to interfere with the subject.

between them.

Upon this point the Court say:

"Now as we have already said in an earlier part of this opinion, upon a diferent point, the right of property in a slave is distinctly and expressly allirmed in the Constitution. And if the Constitution recognizes the right of property of the master in a slave, and inakes no distinction between that description of property and other property owned by a citizen, no tribunal acting under the authority of the United States, whether it be legislative, executive or judicial, has a right to draw such a distinction, or deny to it the benefit of the provisions and guaranties which have been provided for the protection of private property against the encroachments of the And the government in express terms is pledged to protect it in all future time, if the slave escapes from his owner. This is done in plain words-too plain to be understood. And no word can be found in the Constitution which gives Congress a greater power over slave property, or which entitles property of that kind to less protection than property of any other description. The only power conferred is the power coupled with the duty of guarding and protecting the owner in his rights."



In like manner, the non-slaveholding States, while they were entirely willing to provide for the surrender of all fugitive slaves-as is conclusively shown by the unanimous vote of all the States in the Convention for the provision now under consideration-and to leave each State perfectly free to hold slaves under its own laws, and by virtue of its own separate and exclusive authority, so long as it pleased, and to abolish it when it chose, were unwilling to become responsible for its existence by incorporating it into the Constitution as a national institution, to be protected and regulated, extended and controlled by Federal authority, regardless of the wishes of the people, and in defiance of the local laws of the several States and Territories. Northern States united in giving a unanimous vote in the For these opposite reasons, the Southern and Convention for that provision of the Constitution which recognizes Slavery as a local institution in the several States where it exists, "under the laws thereof," and provides for the surrender of fugitive slaves.

The rights of the owner, which it is thus made the duty of the Federal Government to guard and protect, are those expressly provided for in the Constitution, and defined in clear and explicit language by the Court-that "the government, in express terms, is pledged to protect it (slave property, in all future time, if the slave escapes from his This is the only contingency, according to the plain reading of the Constitution, as authoritatively interpreted by the Supreme Court, in which the Federal Government is authorized, required, or permitted to interfere with Slavery in the States or Territories; and in that casements for the new States arising in the unappropriated only for the purpose "of guarding and protecting the owner in his rights" to reclaim his slave property. In all other respects slaves stand on the same footing with all other property-" the Constitution makes no distinction between that description of property and other property owned by a citizen;" and "no word can be found in the Constitution which gives Congress a greater power over slave property, or which entitles property of that kind to less protection than property of any other description." This is the basis upon which all rights pertaining to slave property, either in the States or the Territories, stand under the Constitution as expounded by the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case.

Inasmuch as the Constitution has delegated no power to the Federal Government in respect to any other kind of property belonging to the citizen-neither introducing, establishing, prohibiting, nor excluding it anywhere within the dominion of the United States, but leaves the owner thereof perfectly free to remove into any State or Territory, and carry his property with him, and hold the same subject to the local law, and relying upon the local authorities for protection, it follows, according to the decision of the Court, that slave property stands on the same footing, is entitled to the same rights and immunities, and, in like manner, is dependent upon the local authorities and laws for protection.

The Court refer to that clause of the Constitution which provides for the rendition of fugitive slaves as their authority for saying that "the right of property in slaves is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution." By reference to that provision, it will be seen that, while the word "slaves" is not used, still the Constitution not

It will be observed that the term "State" is used in this provision, as well as in various other parts of the Constitution, in the same sense in which it was used by Mr. Jefferson in his plan for establishing governments for the new States in the territory ceded and to be ceded to the United States; and by Mr. Madison in his proposition te confer on Congress power" to institute temporary governlands of the United States," to designate the political communities, Territories as well as States, within the dominion of the United States. The word "States" is used in the same sense in the ordinance of the 13th July, 1787, for the government of the Territory northwest of the river Ohio, which was passed by the remnant of the Congress of the Confederation, sitting in New York while its most eminent members were at Philadelphia, as delegates to the Federal Convention, aiding in the formation of the Constitution of the United States.

In this sense the word "States" is used in the clause providing for the rendition of fugitive slaves, applicable to all political communities under the authority of the United States, including the Territories as well as the several States of the Union. Under any other construction, the right of the owner to recover his slave would be restricted to the States of the Union, leaving the Territories a secure place of refuge for all fugitives. The same remark is applicable to the clause of the Constitution which provides that "a person charged in any State with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another State, shall, on the demand of the executive authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up to be removed to the State having jurisdiction of the crime." Unless the term State, as used in these provisions of the Constitution, shall be construed to include every distinct political community under the jurisdiction of the United States, and to apply to Territories as well as to the States of the Union, the Territories must become a sanctuary for all the fugitives from service and justice, for all the felons and criminals who shall escape from the several States and seek refuge and immunity in the Territories.

not only to the preservation of property, but to the peace of the Territory. It will leave the right to make such police regulations as are necessary to prevent disorder, and which will be absolutely necessary with such property as that to secure its beneficial use to its owner. With this brief explanation I submit the amendment."

Mr. Clay, in reply to Mr. Davis, said:

If any other illustration were necessary to show that the political communities which we now call Territories (but which, during the whole period of the Confederation and the formation of the Constitution, were always referred to as "States" or "new States'), are recognized as "States" in some of the provisions of the Constitution, they may be found in those clauses which declare that no State" shall enter into any "treaty, alli-ing of the amendment offered by the senator from Mississippi. ance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, e post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility."

"I am not perfectly sure that I comprehend he full meanIf I do, I think he accomplishes nothing by striking out the clause now in the bill and inserting that which he proposes to insert. The clause now in the bill is, that the Territorial legislation shall not extend to anything respecting African Slavery within the Territory. The effect of retaining the clause as reported by the Committee will be this: That if in any of the Territories Slavery now exists, it shall not be abolished by the Territorial Legislature; and if in any of the Territories Slavery does not now exist, it cannot be introduced by the Territorial Legislature. The clause itself was introduced into the bill by the Committee for the purpose of tying up the at all, one way or the other, upon the subject of African Slavery. It was intended to leave the legislation and the law of the respective Territories in the condition in which the Act will find them. I stated on a former occasion that I did not, in Committee, vote for the amendment to insert the clause, though it was proposed to be introduced by a majority of the Committee. I attached very little consequence to it at the time, and I attach very little to it at present. It is perhaps of no particular importance whatever. Now, sir, if I understand the measure proposed by the Senator from Mississippi, it aims at the same thing. I do not understand him as proposing that if any one shall carry slaves into the Territoryalthough by the laws of the Territory he cannot take them there the Legislative hands of the Territorial government should be so tied as to prevent it saying he shall not enjoy the fruits of their labor. If the Senator from Mississippi means to say that-"

It must be borne in mind that in each of these cases where the power is not expressly delegated to Congress the prohibition is not imposed upon the Federal Government, but upon the States. There was no necessity for any such prohibition upon Congress or the Federal Go-hands of the Territorial Legislature in respect to legislating verament, for the reason that the omission to delegate any such powers in the Constitution was of itself a prohibition, and so declared in express terms by the 10th amendment, which declares that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Hence it would certainly be competent for the States and Territories to exercise these powers but for the prohibition contained in those provisions of the Constitution; and inasmuch as the prohibition only extends to the "States," the people of the "Territories" are still at liberty to exercise them, unless the Territories are included within the term States, within the meaning of these provisions of the Constitution of the United States.

It only remains to be shown that the Compromise Measures of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 are in perfect harmony with, and a faithful embodiment of, the principles herein enforced. A brief history of these measures will disclose the principles upon which they are


Mr. Davis:

"I do mean to say it."
Mr. Clay:

"If the object of the Senator is to provide that slaves may be introduced into the Territory contrary to the lex loci, and, being introduced, nothing shall be done by the Legislature to impair the rights of owners to hold the slaves thus brought contrary to the local laws, I certainly cannot vote for it. doing so I shall repeat again the expression of opinion which announced at an early period of the session."

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Here we find the line distinctly drawn between those who contended for the right to carry slaves into the Territories and hold them in defiance of the local law, and those who contended that such right was subject to the local law of the Territory. During the progress of the discussion on the same day, Mr. Davis, of Mississippi, said:

"We are giving, or proposing to give, a government to a Territory, which act rests upon the basis of our right to make such provision. We suppose we have a right to confer legislate, and are bound not to confer power beyond that which exists in Congress. If we give them power to legislate beyond that, we commit a fraud or usurpation, as it may be done openly, covertly, or indirectly."

To which Mr. Clay replied:

On the 29th of January, 1850, Mr. Clay introduced into the Senate a series of resolutions upon the Slavery question which were intended to form the basis of the subsequent legislation upon that subject. Pending the discussion of these resolutions, the chairman of the Committee on Territories prepared and reported to the Senate, on the 25th of March, two bills-one for the admission of California into the Union of States, and the other for the organization of the Territories of Utah and New Mexico, and for the adjustment of the disputed boundary with the State of Texas, which were read twice and printed for the use of the Senate. On the 19th of April a select committee of thirteen was appointed, on motion of Mr. Foote, of Miss-power. If so, we may mark out the limit to which they may issippi, of which Mr. Clay was made chairman, and to which were referred all pending propositions relating to the slavery question. On the 8th of May, Mr. Clay, from the select committee of thirteen, submitted to the Serate an elaborate report covering all the points in controversy, accompanied by a bill which is usually known as the "Omnibus Bill." By reference to the provisions of this bill, as it appears on the files of the Senate, it will be seen that it is composed of the two printed bills which had been reported by the Committee on Territories on the 25th of March previous; and that the only material change in its provisions, involving an important and essential principle, is to be found in the tenth section, which prescribes and defines the powers of the Territorial Legislature. In the bill, as reported by the Committee on Territories, the legislative power of the Territories extended to" all rightful subjects of legislation consistent with the Constitution of the United States," without excepting African Slavery; while the bill, as reported by the committee of thirteen, conferred the same power on the Territorial Legislature, with the exception of African Slavery. This portion of the section in its original form read


"And be it further enacted that the Legislative power of the Territory shall extend to all rightful subjects of legislation consistent with the Constitution of the United States and the

provisions of this act; but no law shall be passed interfering with the primary disposition of the soil."

To which the committee of thirteen added these words: "Nor in respect to African Slavery." When the bill came up for action on the 15th of May, Mr. Davis, of Mississippi, said:

Now, sir, I only repeat what I have had occasion to say before, that while I am willing to stand aside and make no legislative enactment one way or the other-to lay off the Territo ries without the Wilmot Proviso, on the one hand, with which I understand we are threatened, or without an attempt to introduce a clause for the introduction of Slavery into the Territories--while I am for rejecting both the one and the other, I am content that the law as it exists shall prevail; and if there be any diversity of opinion as to what it means, I am of the country. While I am content thus to abide the result, I willing that it shall be settled by the highest judicial authority must say that I cannot vote for any express provision recogniz ing the right to carry slaves there."

To which Mr. Davis rejoined, that

"It is said our Revolution grew out of a preamble; and 1 hope we have something of the same character of the hardy men of the Revolution who first commenced the war with the mother country-something of the spirit of that bold Yankee who said he had a right to go to Concord, and that go he would: and who, in the maintenance of that right, met his death at the hands of a British sentinel. Now, sir, if our right to carry slaves into these Territories be a constitutional right, it is our first duty to maintain it."

Pending the discussion which ensued, Mr. Davis, at the suggestion of friends, modified his amendment from time to time, until it assumed the following shape:

"Nor to introduce or exclude African Slavery. Pro vided that nothing herein contained shall be construed s as to prevent said Territorial Legislature from passing such laws as may be necessary for the protection of the rights of property of every kind which may have been, or may be hereafter, conformably to the Constitution of the United States, held in or introduced into said Territory.' ""

"I offer the following amendment. To strike out, in the sixth line of the tenth section, the words in respect to African Slavery,' and insert the words, with those rights of property growing out of the institution of African Slavery as it exists in any of the States of the Union. The object of the amendment is to prevent the Territorial Legislature from legislating the following amendment: against the rights of property growing out of the institution of Slavery. .. It will leave to the Territorial Legisla

To which, on the same day, Mr. Chase, of Ohio, offered

"Provided further, That nothing herein contained shall be

tures those rights and powers which are essentially necessary, construed as authorizing or permitting the introduction of

lavery or the holding of persons as property within said Teritory."

Upon these amendments-the one affirming the Proslavery, and the other the Anti-Slavery position, in opposition to the right of the people of the Territories to decide the Slavery question for themselves-Mr. Douglas said: | "The position that I have ever taken has been, that this, and all other questions relating to the domestic affairs and domestic policy of the Territories, ought to be left to the decision of the people themselves; and that we ought to be content with whatever way they may decide the question, because they have a much deeper interest in these matters than we have, and know much better what institutions suit them than we, who have never been there, can decide for them. I would therefore have much preferred that that portion of the bill should have remained as it was reported from the Committee oa Territories, with no provision on the subject of Slavery, the one way or the other. And I do hope yet that that clause will be stricken out. I am satisfied, sir, that it gives no strength to the bill. I am satisfied, even if it did give strength to it, that it ought not to be there, because it is a violation of principle-a violation of that principle upon which we have all rested our defense of the course we have taken on this question. I do not see how those of us who have taken the position we have taken-that of non-intervention-and have argued in favor of the right of the people to legislate for themselves on this question, can support such a provision without abandoning all the arguments which we used in the Presidential campaign in the year 1818, and the principles set forth by the honorable Senator from Michigan (Mr. Cass) in that letter which is known as the 'Nicholson Letter.' We are required to abandon that platform; we are required to abandon those principles, and to stultify ourselves, and to adopt the opposite doctrine-and for what? In order to say that the people of the Territories shall not have such institutions as they shall deem adapted to their condition and their wants. I do not see, sir, how such a provision can be acceptable either to the people of the North or the South."

Upon the question of how many inhabitants a Territory should contain before it should be formed into a political community with the rights of self-government, Mr. Doug

las said:


"The Senator from Mississippi puts the question to me as to what number of people there must be in a Territory before this right to govern themselves accrues. Without determining the precise number, I will assume that the right ought to accrue to the people at the moment they have enough to constitute a government; and, sir, the bill assumes that there are people enough there to require a government, and enough to authorize the people to govern themselves. bill concedes that a representative government is necessarya government founded upon the principles of popular sovereignty and the right of a people to enact their own laws; and for this reason you give them a Legislature composed of two branches, like the Legislatures of the different States and Territories of the Union. You confer upon them the right to legislate on all rightful subjects of legislation,' except negroes. Why except negroes? Why except African Slavery? If the inhabitants are competent to govern themselves upon all other subjects, and in reference to all other descriptions of property-if they are competent to make laws and determine the relations between husband and wife, and parent and child, and municipal laws affecting the rights and property of citizens generally, they are competent also to make laws to govern themselves in relation to Slavery and


With reference to the protection of property in slaves, Mr. Douglas said:

Which was rejected-Yeas, 23; Nays, 33.

After various other amendments had been offered and voted upon-all relating to the power of the Territorial Legislature over Slavery-Mr. Douglas moved to strike out all relating to African Slavery, so that the Territorial Legislature should have the same power over that question as over all other rightful subjects of legislation consistent with the Constitution-which amendment was rejected. After the rejection of this amendment, the discussion was renewed with great ability and depth of feeling in respect to the powers which the Territorial Legislature should ex ercise upon the subject of Slavery. Various propositions were made, and amendments offered and rejected-all relating to this one controverted point-when Mr. Norris, of New-Hampshire, renewed the motion of Mr. Douglas, to strike out the restriction on the Territorial Legislature in respect to African Slavery. On the 31st of July this amendment was adopted by a vote of 32 to 19-restoring this section of the bill to the form in which it was reported from the Committee on Territories on the 25th of March, and conferring on the Territorial Legislature power over "all rightful subjects of legislation consistent with the Constitution of the United States," without excepting African Slavery.

Thus terminated this great struggle in the affirmance of the principle, as the basis of the Compromise Measures of 1850, so far as they related to the organization of the Territories, that the people of the Territories should decide the Slavery question for themselves through the action of their Territorial Legislature.

This controverted question having been definitely settled, the Senate proceeded on the same day to consider the other portions of the bill, and after striking out all except those provisions which provided for the organization of the Territory of Utah, ordered the bill to be engrossed for a third reading, and on the next day-August 1, 1850-the bill was read a third time, and passed.

On the 14th of August the bill for the organization of the Territory of New-Mexico was taken up, and amended so as to conform fully to the provisions of the Utah Act in respect to the power of the Territorial Legislature over "all rightful subjects of legislation consistent with the Constitution," without excepting African Slavery, and was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading without a division; and on the next day the bill was passed-Yeas, 27; Nays, 10.

These two bills were sent to the House of Representatives, and passed that body without any alteration in respect to the power of the Territorial Legislatures over the subject of Slavery, and were approved by President Fillmore, September 9, 1850.

In 1852, when the two great political parties-Whig and Democratic-into which the country was then divided, assembled in National Convention at Baltimore for the purpose of nominating candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency, each Convention adopted and affirmed the principles embodied in the Compromise Measures of 1850 as rules of action by which they would be governed in all future cases in the organization of Territorial governments and the admission of new States.

On the 4th of January, 1854, the Committee on Territo"I have a word to say to the honorable Senator from Mis-ries, of the Senate, to which had been referred a bill for sissippi (Mr. Davis). He insists that I am not in favor of pro- the bill back, with an amendment, in the form of a substithe organization of the Territory of Nebraska, reported tecting property, and that his amendment is offered for the purpose of protecting property under the Constitution. Now, tute for the entire bill, which, with some modifications, is sir, I ask you what authority he has for assuming that? Do I now known on the statute book as the "Kansas-Nebraska not desire to protect property because I wish to allow the Act," accompanied by a Report explaining the principles people to pass such laws as they deem proper respecting upon which it was proposed to organize those Territories, their rights to property without any exception? He might just as well say that I am opposed to protecting property in as follows: merchandise, in steamboats, in cattle, in real estate, as to say that I am opposed to protecting property of any other description; for I desire to put them all on an equality, and allow the people to make their own laws in respect to the whole of them."

Mr. Cass said (referring to the amendments offered by Mr. Davis and Mr. Chase):

"Now, with respect to the amendments. I shall vote against them both; and then I shall vote in favor of striking out the restriction in the bill upon the power of the Territorial governments. I shall do so upon this ground. I was opposed, as the honorable Senator from Kentucky has declared he was, to the insertion of this prohibition by the Committee. I consider it inexpedient and unconstitutional. I have already stated my belief that the rightful power of internal legislation in the Territories belongs to the people."

After further discussion the vote was taken by yeas and nays on the amendment of Mr. Chase, and decided in the negative: Yeas, 25; Nays, 30. The question recurring on the amendment of Mr. Davis, of Mississippi, it was also rejected: Yeas, 25; Nays, 30. Whereupon Mr. Seward offered the following amendment:

"Neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude, otherwise th an by conviction for crime, shall ever be allowed in either of said Territories of Utah and New Mexico.'

"The principal amendments which your Committee deem it their duty to commend to the favorable action of the Senate, in a special report, are those in which the principles established by the Compromise Measures of 1850, so far as they are applicable to territorial organizations, are proposed to be affirmed new Territory. The wisdom of those measures is attested, and carried into practical operation within the limits of the not less by their salutary and beneficial effects in allaying sectional agitation and restoring peace and harmony to an irritated and distracted people, than by the cordial and almost universal approbation with which they have been received and sanctioned by the whole country.

"In the judgment of your Committee, those measures were intended to have a far more comprehensive and enduring effect than the mere adjustment of the difficulties arising out of the recent acquisition of Mexican territory. They were designed to establish certain great principles, which would not time to come, avoid the perils of a similar agitation, by withonly furnish adequate remedies for existing evils, but, in all drawing the question of Slavery from the Halls of Congress and the political arena, and commtiting it to the arbitrament of those who were immediately interested in and alone responsi action to the settled policy of the Government, sanctioned by ble for its consequences. With a view of conforming their the approving voice of the American people, your Committee have deemed it their duty to incorporate and perpetuate, it their territorial bill, the principles and spirit of those


After presenting and reviewing certain provisions of the bill, the Committee conclude as follows:

"From these provisions it is apparent that the Compromise Measures of 1850 affirm and rest upon the following propositions :

First.-That all questions pertaining to Slavery in the Territories, and in the new States to be formed therefrom, are to be left to the decision of the people residing therein, by their appropriate representatives to be chosen by them for that purpose.

"Second. That all cases involving title to slaves and questions of personal freedom, are referred to the adjudication of the local tribunals, with the right of appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States.

"Third.-That the provision of the Constitution of the United States in respect to fugitives from service, is to be carried into faithful execution in all the organized Territories, the same as in the States. The substitute for the bill which your Committee have prepared, and which is commended to the favorable action of the Senate, proposes to carry these propositions and principles into practical operation, in the precise language of the Compromise Measures of 1850."'""

By reference to that section of the "Kansas-Nebraska Act" as it now stands on the statute book, which prescribed and defined the power of the Territorial Legislature, it will be seen that it is, "in the precise language of the Compromise Measures of 1850." extending the legislative power of the Territory "to all rightful subjects of legislation consistent with the Constitution," without excepting African Slavery.

It having been suggested, with some plausibility, during the discussion of the bill, that the act of Congress of March 6, 1820, prohibiting Slavery north of the parallel of 36° 30' would deprive the people of the Territory of the power of regulating the Slavery question to suit themselves while they should remain in a Territorial condition, and before they should have the requisite population to entitle them to admission into the Union as a State, an amendment was prepared by the Chairman of the Committee, and incorporated into the bill to remove this obstacle to the free exercise of the principle of popular sovereignty in the Territory, while it remained in a Territorial condition, by repealing the said act of Congress, and declaring the true intent and meaning of all the friends of the bill in

these words:

"That the Constitution and all laws of the United States which are not locally inapplicable, shall have the same force and effect within the Territory as elsewhere within the United States, except the eighth section of the act preparatory to the admission of Missouri into the Union, approved March 6, 1820, which being inconsistent with the principle of non-interven: tion by Congress with Slavery in the States and Territories, as recognized by the legislation of 1850, commonly called the Compromise Measures,' is hereby declared inoperative and void it being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legis late Slavery into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it there; from, 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.

of Congress, and became the law of the land by the ap proval of the President, May 30, 1854.

In 1856, the Democratic party, assembled in National Convention at Cincinnati, declared by a unanimous vote of the delegates from every State in the Union, that

"The American Democracy recognize and adopt the principles contained in the organic laws establishing the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska as embodying the only sound and safe solution of the 'Slavery question,' upon which the great national idea of the people of this whole country can repose in its determined conservatism of the Union-noninterference by Congress with Slavery in State and Territory, or in the District of Columbia;

"That this was the basis of the Compromises of 1850, confirmed by both the Democratic and Whig parties in National Conventions-ratified by the people in the election of 1852and rightly applied to the organization of the Territories in 1854; That by the uniform application of this Democratic principle to the organization of Territories and to the admission of new States, with or without domestic Slavery as they may elect, the equal rights of all will be preserved intact-the original compacis of the Constitution maintained inviolate-and the perpetuity and expansion of this Union insured to its utmost capacity of embracing in peace and harmony any future American State that may be constituted or annexed with a Republican form of government."

In accepting the nomination of this Convention, Mr. Buchanan, in a letter dated June 16, 1856, said:

"The agitation on the question of domestic Slavery has too long distracted and divided the people of this Union, and alienated their affections from each other. This agitation has assumed many forms since its commencement, but it now from its present character, I think we may safely anticipate seems to be directed chiefly to the Territories and judging that it is rapidly approaching a finality.' The recent legislation of Congress respecting domestic Slavery, derived, as it has been, from the original and pure fountain of legitimate political power, the will of the majority, promises, ere long, to allay the dangerous excitement. This legislation is founded accordance with them has simply declared that the people of a upon principles as ancient as free government itself, and in Territory, like those of a State, shall decide for themselves whether Slavery shall or shall not exist within their limits."

This exposition of the history of these measures shows conclusively that the authors of the Compromise Measures of 1850, and of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, as well as the members of the Continental Congress of 1774, and the founders of our system of government subsequent to the Revolution, regarded the people of the Territories and Colonies as political communities which were entitled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their Provincial Legislatures, where their representation could alone be preserved, in all cases of taxation and internal polity. This right pertains to the people collectively as a lawabiding and peaceful community, and not to the isolated individuals who may wander upon the public domain in violation of law. It can only be exercised where there are inhabitants sufficient to constitute a government, and capable of performing its various functions and duties-a fact to be ascertained and determined by Congress.

To which was added, on motion of Mr. Badger, the fol- Whether the number shall be fixed at ten, fifteen or lowing:

"Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to revive or put in force any law or regulation which may have existed prior to the act of the sixth of March, 1820, either protecting, establishing, of abolishing slavery."

In this form, and with this distinct understanding of its "true intent and meaning," the bill passed the two houses

twenty thousand inhabitants does not affect the principle. The principle, under our political system, is that every distinct political Community, loyal to the Constitution and the Union, is entitled to all the rights, privileges, and immunities of self-government in respect to their local concerns and internal polity, subject only to the Constitution of the United States.

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