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the Court--that is, as the 'inevitable consequence of the right footing with citizens of the States, and guards them as firmly to acquire territory.'”
and plainly against any inroads which the General Government The power to acquire territory, as well as the right, in might attempt under the plea of implied or incidental powers.
And if Congress itself cannot do this-if it is beyond the the language of Mr. Madison, “to institute temporary powers conferred on the Federal Government–it will be ad; governments for the new States arising therein” (or Terri- | nitted, we presume, that it could not authorize a Territorial torial governments, as they are now called), having been government to exercise them. It could confer no power on traced to that provision of the Constitution which provides any local government, established by its authority, to violate for the admission of “new States,” the Court proceed to the provisions of the Constitution." consider the nature and extent of the power of Congress Nothing can be more certain than that the Court were over the people of the Territories :
here speaking only of forbidden powers, which were
denied alike to Congress, to the State Legislatures, and "All we mean to say on this point is, that, as there is no express regulation in the Constitution defining the power which
to the Territorial Legislatures, and that the prohibition the General Government may exercise over the person or pro
extends" everywhere within the dominion of the United perty of a citizen in a territory thus acquired, the Court must States," applicable equally to States and Territories, as necessarily look to the provisions and principles of the Consti
well as to the United States. tution, and its distribution of powers, or the rules and princi- If this sweeping prohibition-this just but inexorable ples by which its decision must be governed.
restriction upon the powers of Government- Federal, Taking this
rule to guide us, it may be safely assumed that citizens of the United States, who emigrate to a territory be. State, and Territorial-shall ever be held to include the longing to the people of the 'United States, cannot be ruled as Slavery question, thus negativing the right of the people mere colonists, dependent upon the will of the General Govern of the States and Territories, as well as the Federal ment, and to be governed by any laws it may think proper 10 Government, to control it by law (and it will be observed impose.
The Territory being a part of the United that in the opinion of the Court "the citizens of a Terri. States, the Government and the citizen both enter it under the tory, so far as these rights are concerned, are on the authority of the Constitution, with their respective rights defined and marked out; and the Federal Government can ex
same footing with the citizens of the States.") then, ercise no power over his person or property beyond what thai indeed, will the doctrine become firmly established that instrument confers, nor lawfully deny any right which it has the principles of law applicable to African Slavery are reserved."
uniform throughout the dominion of the United Hence, inasmuch as the Constitution has conferred on States, and that there “is an irrepressible conflict the Federal Government no right to interfere with the pro- between opposing and enduring forces, which means perty, domestic relations, police regulations, or internal
that the United States must and will, sooner or later, polity of the people of the Territories, it necessarily fol- become either entirely a slaveholding nation or enti. ely lows, under the authority of the Court, that Congress can
a free labor nation. rightfully exercise no such power over the people of the
Notwithstanding the disastrous consequences which Territories. For this reason alone, the Supreme Court would inevitably result from the authoritative recogni. were authorized and compelled to pronounce the eighth tion and practical operation of such a doctrine, there section of the Act approved March 6, 1820 (commonly are those who maintain that the Court referred to and called the Missouri Compramise), inoperative and void | included the Slavery question within that class of there being no power delegated to Congress in the Consti- forbidden powers which (although the same in the Territution authorizing Congress to prohibit Slavery in the Ter- tories as in the States) could not be exercised by the ritories.
people of the Territories.
If this proposition were true, which fortunately for the In the course of the discussion of this question the peace and welfare of the whole country it is not, the Court gave an elaborate exposition of the structure, conclusion would inevitably result, which they logically principles, and powers of the Federal Government; deduce from the premises—that the Constitution by the showing that it possesses no powers except those which recognition of Slavery establishes it in the Territories are delegated, enumerated, and defined in the Constitu- beyond the power of the people to control it by law, tion; and that all other powers are either prohibited and guarantees to every citizen the right to go there altogether or are reserved to the States, or to the people. and be protected in the enjoyment of his slave In order to show that the prohibited, as well as the property ; and when all other remedies fail for the delegated powers are enumerated and defined in the protection of such rights of property, it becomes the Constitution, the Court enumerated certain powers imperative duty of Congress (to the performance of which cannot be exercised either by Congress or by the which every member is bound by his conscience and his Territorial Legislatures, or by any other authority what- oath, and from which no consideration of political policy ever, for the simple reason that they are forbidden by or expediency can release him) to provide by law such the Constitution.
adequate and complete protection as is essential to the Some persons who have not examined critically the enjoyment of an important right secured by the Constiopinion of the Court in this respect have been induced tution. If the proposition be true, that the Constitution to believe that the slavery question was included in this establishes Slavery in the Territories beyond the power class of prohibited powers, and that the Court had of the people legally to control it, another result no less decided in the Dred Scott case that the Territorial Legis- startling, and from which there is no escape, must inevilature could not legislate in respect to slave property tably follow. The Constitution is uniform "everywhere the same as all other property in the Territories. A few within the dominions of the United States"-is the same extracts from the opinion of the Court will correct this in Pennsylvania as in Kansas-and if it be true, as error, and show clearly the class of powers to which the stated by the President in a special message to Congress, Court referred, as being forbidden alike to the Federal “ that Slavery exists in Kansas by virtue of the ConstiGovernment, to the States, and to the Territories. The tution of the United States," and that Kausas is there. Court say:
fore at this moment as much a Slave State as Georgia or “A reference to a few of the provisions of the Constitution
South Carolina," why does it not exist in Pennsylvania will illustrate this proposition. For example, no cne, we pre-l by virtue of the same Constitution ? gume, will contend that Congress can make any law in a l'er
If it be said that Pennsylvania is a sovereign State, and ritory respecting the establishment of religion, or the free ex- therefore has a right to regulate the Slavery question ercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the within her own limits to suit herself, it must be borne in the press, or the right of the people of the territory peaceably mind that the sovereignty of Pennsylvania, like that of to assemble, and to petition the Ġovernment for the redress of every other State, is limited by the Constitution, which grievances.
“Nor can Congress deny to the people the right to keep and provides that: bear arms, nor the right to trial by jury, nor compel any one “This Constitution, and all laws of the United States which to be a witness against himself in a criminal proceeding. shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all reaties made, or So too, it will hardly be contended that Congress could by law which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, quarter a soldier in a house in a territory without the consent shall be the supreme law of the lard, and the judges in every of the owner in a time of peace; nor in time of war but in a State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or manner prescribed by law. Nor could they by law forfeit the lurcs of any State to the contrary noivithstanding." property of a citizen in a territory who was convicted of treason, for a longer period than the life of the person convicted, Hence, the State of Pennsylvania, with her Constitution nor take private property for public usc without just compen- and laws, and domestic institutions, and internal policy, bation."
is subordinate to the Constitution of the United States, in “The powers over persons and property, of which we speak, are not only not granted to Congress, but are in ex
the same manner and to the same extent as the Territory press terms denied, and they are forbidden to exercise them. of Kansas. The Kansas-Nebraska Act says that the Ter. And this prohibition is not confined to the States, but the ritory of Kansas shall exercise legislative power over "all words are general, and extend to the whole territory over rightful subjects of legislation consistent with the Constiwhich the Constitution gives it power to legislate, including tution," and that the people of said Territory shall be left those portions of it remaining under Territorial governments, perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic instias well as that covered by States.
"It is a total absence of power, everywhere within the tutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution dominion of the United States, and places the citizens of a
of the United States." The provisions of this act are be. Territory, so far as these rights are concerned, on the same lieved to be in entire harmony with the Constitution, and
under them the people of Kansas possess every right, I only recognizes the right of property in slaves, as stated privilege, and immunity, in respect to their internal polity | by the Court, but explicitly states what class of persons and domestic relations, which the people of Pennsylvania shall be deemed slaves, and under what laws or authority can exercise under their Constitution and laws. Each is they may be held to servitude, and under what circuminvested with full, complete, and exclusive powers in this stances fugitive slaves shall be restored to their owners, respect, subject only to the Constitution of the United | all in the same section, as follows: States."
“No person held to service or labor in one State, under the 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 any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such serpower of the people to control it by law, how can the con- vice or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party clusion be resisted that Slavery is established in like man- to whom such service or labor may be due." ner and by the same authority in all the States of the Union ? And if it be the imperative duty of Congress to
Thus it will be seen that a slave, within the meaning of l'erritories upon the ground that “Slavery exists in Kan, stitution of the United States, nor by the laws thereof, nor provide by law for the protection of slave property in the the Constitution, is a person held to service or labor in
one State, under the laws thereof--not under the Consas (and consequently in every other Territory) " by not also the duty of Congress, for the same reason, to pro: labor may be due. virtue of the Constitution of the United States," why is it by virtue of any federal authority whatsoever, but under
the laws of the particular State where such service or vide similar protection to slave property in all the States of the Union, when the legislatures fail to furnish such
It was necessary to give this exact definition of Slavery
in the Constitution in order to satisfy the people of the protection?
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 pro
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 between them.
which prevailed at that period, might destroy the instituUpon this point the Court say:
tion, and divest those rights of property in slaves which
were sacred under the laws and constitutions of their re"Now as we have already said in an earlier part of this spective States so long as the Federal Government had no opinion, upon a diferent point, the right of property in a slave power to interfere with the subject. is distinctly and expressly allirmed in the Constitution..
In like marner, the non-slaveholding States, while they And if the Constitution recognizes the right of property of the
were entirely willing to provide for the surrender of ail master in a slave, and inakes no distinction between that des cription of property and other property owned by a citizen, fugitive slaves—as is conclusively shown by the unanimous no tribunal acting under the authority of the United States,
vote of all the States in the Convention for the provision whether it be legislative, executive or judicial, has a right to now under consideration-and to leave each State perdraw such a distinction, or deny to it the benefit of the pro- fectly free to hold slaves under its own laws, and by virtue visions and guaranties which have been provided for the proof its own separate and exclusive authority, so long as it tection of private property against the encroachments of the pleased, and to abolish it when it chose, were unwilling to government.
And the goverument in express terms is pledged to protect it in all future time, is the slave
become responsible for its existence by incorporating it escapes from his owner. This is done in plain words-100 into the Constitution as a national institution, to be proplain to be understood. And no word can found tected and regulated, extended and controlled by Federal in the Constitution which gives Congress a greater power authority, regardless of the wishes of the people, and in over slave property, or which entitles property of that kind to defiance of the local laws of the several States and Terriless protection than property of any other description. The only power conferred is the power coupled with the duty of Northern States united in giving a unanimous vote in the
tories. For these opposite reasons, the Southern and guarding and protecting the owner in his rights."
Convention for that provision of the Constitution which The rights of the owner, which it is thus made the duty recognizes Slavery as a local institution in the several of the Federal Government to guard and protect, are those States where it exists, “under the laws thereof," and proexpressly provided for in the Constitution, and defined in vides for the surrender of fugitive slaves. clear and explicit language by the Court-that “the gov- It will be observed that the term “State" is used in ernment, in express terins, is pledged to protect it (slave this provision, as well as in various other parts of the Conproperty, in ali future time, if the slave escape from his stitution, in the same sense in which it was used by Mr. oroner. This is the only contingency, according to the Jefferson in his plan for establishing governments for the plain reading of the Constitution, as authoritatively inter- new States in the territory ceded and to be ceded to the preted by the Supreme Court, in which the Federal Gov- United States; and by Mr. Madison in his proposition te ernment is authorized, required, or permitted to interfere confer on Congress power" to institute temporary governwith Slavery in the States or Territories; and in that case ments for the new States arising in the unappropriated only for the purpose of guarding and protecting the lands of the United States," to designate the political owner in his rights” to reclaim his slave property. In all communities, Territories as well as States, within the doother respects slaves stand on the same footing with all minion of the United States. The word "States " is used other property—“the Constitution makes no distinction in the same sense in the ordinance of the 13th July, 1787. between that description of property and other property for the government of the Territory northwest of the river owned by a citizen;" and " no word can be found in the Ohio, which was passed by the remnant of the Congress of Constitution which gives Congress a greater power over the Confederation, sitting in New York while its most emislave property, or which entitles property of that kind to nent members were at Philadelphia, as delegates to the less protection than property of any other description." Federal Convention, aiding in the formation of the ConstiThis is the basis upon which all rights pertaining to slave tution of the United States. property, either in the States or the Territories, stand In this sense the word “States" is used in the clause prounder the Constitution as expounded by the Supreme viding for the rendition of fugitive slaves, applicable to Court in the Dred Scott case.
all political communities under the authority of the United Inasmuch as the Constitution has delegated no power States, including the Territories as well as the several to the Federal Government in respect to any other kind States of the Union. Under any other construction, the of property belonging to the citizen-neither introducing, right of the owner to recover his slave would be restricted establishing, prohibiting, nor excluding it anywhere within to the States of the Union, leaving the Territories a secure the dominion of the United States, but leaves the owner place of refuge for all fugitives. The same remark is apthereof perfectly free to remove into any State or Terri- plicable to the clause of the Constitution which provides tory, and carry his property with him, and hold the same that “a person charged in any Stato with treason, felony, subject to the local law, and relying upon the local author or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in ities for protection, it follows, according to the decision of another State, shall, on the demand of the executive au. the Court, that slave property stands on the same footing, thority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up to is entitled to the same rights and immunities, and, in like be removed to the State having jurisdiction of the crime.' inanner, is dependent upon the local authorities and laws Unless the term State, as used in these provisions of the for protection.
Constitution, shall be construed to include every distinct The Court refer to that clause of the Constitution which political community under the jurisdiction of the United provides for the rendition of fugitive slaves as their States, and to apply to Territories as well as to the States authority for saying that “the right of property in slaves of the Union, the Territories must become a sanctuary for is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution.” | all the fugitives from service and justice, for all the felong By reference to that provision, it will be seen that, while and criminals who shall escape from the several States tho word "slaves" is not used, still the Cousti'ution not I and seek refuge and immunity in the Territories.
If any other illustration were necessary to show that not only to the preservation of property, but to the peace of the political communities which we now call Territories the Terriiory. It will leave the right to make such police (but which, during the whole period of the Confederation regulations as are necessary 10 prevent disorder, and which
will be absolutely necessary with such properiy as that to and the formation of the Constitution, were always re- secure its beneficial use to its owner. With this brief ex. ferred to as “States" or "new States'), are recognized | planation I subnuit the amendment.” as “States' in some of the provisions of the Consti
Mr. Clay, in reply to Mr. Davis, said: tution, they may be found in those clauses which declare tivat“ no State" shall enter into any “treaty, alli
“I am not perfectly sure that I comprehend he full mean.
ing of the amendment offered by the selaior from Mississippi. ance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and re
If I do, I think he accomplishes no:hing by striking out the prisal; coin money ; emit bills of credit; make anything clause now in the bill and inserting that which he proposes to but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts ; insert. The clause now in bill is, that ne Territorial pass auy bill of attainder, 6C post fucto law, or law im- legislation shall not extend to anything respecting African pairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of Slavery within the Territory. The ellect of retaining the
clause as reported by the Committee will be this: 'Ihat if in uobility."
any of the Territories Slavery now exisis, it shall not be abol. It must be borne in mind that in each of these cases ished by the Territorial Legislature; and if in any of the Ter. where the power is not expressly delegated to Congress ritories Slavery does not now exist, it cannot be introduced by the prohibition is not imposed upon the Federal Govern- the Territorial Legislature. The clause itself was introduced ment, but upon the States. There was no necessity for into the bill by the Committee for the purpose of tying up the any such prol.ibition upon Congress or the Federal Go- hands of the Territorial Legislature in respect to legislating vernment, for the reason that the omission to delegate any very. It was intended to leave the legislation and the law of
at all, one way or the other, upon the subject of African Sla such powers in the Constitution was of itself a prohibition, the respective l'erriiories in the condition in which the Act and so declared in express terms by the 10th amendment, will find them. I sated on a former occasion that I did not, which declares that the powers not delegated to the in Committee, vote for the amendment to insert the clause, United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to though it was proposed to be introduced by a majority of the the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to time, and I attach very little to it at present. It is perhaps of
Committee. I attached very little consequence to it at the the people."
no particular importance whatever. Now, sir, if I under. Hence it would certainly be competent for the States stand the measure proposed by the Senator from Mississippi, and Territories to exercise these powers but for the pro- it aims at the same thing. I do not understand him as proposhibition contained in those provisions of the Constitution; ing that if any one shall carry slaves into the Territoryand inasmuch as the prohibition only extends to the although by the laws of the 'Territory he cannot take them “States," the people of the “ Territories” are still at liberty should be so vied as to prevent it saying he shall not enjoy the
there-the Legislative hands of the Territorial government to exercise them, unless the Territories are included withi- fruits of their labor. If the Senator from Mississippi means in the term States, within the meaning of these provisions to suy that" of the Constitution of the United States.
Mr. Davis: It only remains to be shown that the Compromise Mea
“I do mean to say it." sures of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 are in perfect harmony with, and a faithful embodiment of, the
Mr. Clay: principles herein enforced. A brief history of these mea- “If the object of the Senator is to provide that slaves may sures will disclose the principles upon which they are
be introduced into the Territory contrary to the lex loci, and, Counded.
being introduced, nothing shall be done by the Legislature 10
impair the rights of owners to hold the slaves thus brought On the 29th of January, 1850, Mr. Clay introduced into contrary to the local laws, I ceituinly cunnot rote for it. In the Senate a series of resolutions upon the Slavery ques-doing so I shall repeat again the expression of opinion which tion which were intended to form the basis of the subse- 1 announced at an early period of the session." quent legislation upon that subject. Pending the discus- Here we find the line nctly drawn between those who sion of these resolutions, the chairman of the Committee on contended for the right to carry slaves into the Territories Territories prepared and reported to the Senate, on the and hold them in defiance of the local law, and those wbo 25th of March, two bills--one for the admission of Califor-contended that such right was subject to the local law of nia into the Union of States, and the other for the organi- the Territory. During the progress of the discussion on zation of the Territories of Utah and New Mexico, and for the same day, Mr. Davis, of Mississippi, said : the adjustment of the disputed boundary with the State of Texas, which were read twice and printed for the use Territory, which act rests upon the basis of our right to make
"We are giving, or proposing to give, a government to a of the Senate. On the 19th of April a select committee of such provision. We suppose we have a right to confer 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 legislate, and are bound not to confer power beyond that which were referred all pending propositions relating to the which exists in Congress. If we give them power to legislate slavery question. On the 8th of May, Mr. Clay, from the beyond that, we commit a fraud or usurpation, as it may be
done openly, covertly, or indirectly." select committee of thirteen, submitted to the Ser ate an elaborate report covering all the points in controversy,
To which Mr. Clay replied : accompanied by a bill which is usually known as the Now, sir, I only repeat what I have had occasion to say be "Omnibus Bill.'
1." By reference to the provisions of this fore, that while I am willing to stand aside and make no legig. bill, as it appears on the files of the Senate, it will be lative enactment one way or the other-10 lay off the Territo seen that it is composed of the two printed bills which had ries without the Wilmot Proviso, on the one hand, with which
I understand we are threatened, or without an attempt to been reported by the Committee on Territories on the introduce a clause for the introduction of Slavery into the 25th of March previous; and that the only material Territories--while I am for rejecting both the one and the change in its provisions, involving an important and es- other, I am content that the law as it exists shall prevail ; and sential principle, is to be found in the tenth section, which if there be any diversity of opinion as to what it means, i am prescribes and defines the powers of the Territorial Legis- or the country. While I am content thus to abide the result, 1
willing that it shall be settled by the highest judicial authority lature. In the bill, as reported by the Committee on Ter- must say that I cannot vote for any express provision recognizritories, the legislative power of the Territories extended ing the right to carry slaves there." tu " all rightful subjects of legislation consistent with the
To which Mr. Davis rejoined, that, Constitution of the United States," without excepting Africun Slavery ; while the bill, as reported by the com- hope we have something of ihe same character of the hardy
“It is said our Revolution grew out of a preamble ; and I Dittee of thirteen, conferred the same power on the Terri- men of the Revolution who first commenced the war with the torial Legislature, with the exception of African Sla- mother country-someihing of the spirit of that bold Yankee very. This portion of the section in its original form read who said he had a right to go to Concord, and that go he would : thus :
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 “And he it further enacted that the Legislative power of the slaves into these Territories be a constitutional right, it is our Territory shall extend to all rightful subjects of legislation first duty to maintain it." consistent with the Constitution of the United States and the provisions of this act; but no law shall, be passed interfering suggestion of friends, modified his amendment from time
Pending the discussion which ensued, Mr. Davis, at the with the primary disposition of the soil.”
to time, until it assumed the following shape : To which the committee of thirteen added these words:
Pro " Nor in respect to African Slavery.". When the bill vided that no:hing herein contained shall be construed se
“Nor to introduce or exclude African Slavery. came up for action on the 15th of May, Mr. Davis, of Mis- as to prevent said Territorial Legislature from passing sissippi, said:
such laws as may be necessary for the protection of the sixth line of the tenth section, the words 'in respect to African of the United States, held in or iutroduced into said Terri. "I offer the following amendment. To strike out, in the rights of property of every kind which may have been,
or may be hereafter, conformably 10 the Constitution Slavery,' ant insert the words, 'with those rights of property growing out of the institution of African Slavery as it exists in tory.” any of the States of the Union. The object of the amendment To which, on the same day, Mr. Chase, of Ohio, offered is to prevent the Territorial Legislature from legislating the following amendment : against the righis of property growing out of the institution of Slavery. . . . . . Ii will leave to the Territorial Legisla- “ Provided further, That nothing herein contained shall be Inres those rights and powers which are essentially necessary, construed as authorizing or permiuing the introduction of
davery or the holding of persons as property within said Ter-After various other amendments had been offered and
Which rejectedNays, tiory." Upon these amendments—the one affirming the Pro- voted upon-all relating to the power of the Territorial slavery, and the other the Anti-Slavery position, in oppo- Legislature over Slavery-Mr. Douglas moved to strike out sition to the right of the people of the Territories to de- i all relating to African Slavery, so that the Territorial Lecide the Slavery question for themselves-Mr. Douglas said: gislature should have the same power over that question "The position that I have ever taken has been, that this,
as over all other rightful subjects of legislation consistent and all other questions relating to the doinestic affairs and with the Constitution—which amendment was rejected. uomestic policy of the 'Territories, vught to be left to the deci. After the rejection of this amendment, the discussion was sion of the people themselves; and thai we ought to be con- renewed with great ability and depth of feeling in respect tent with whatever way they may decide the question, because to the powers whi the Te they have a much deeper interest in these matters than we ercise upon the subject of Slavery. Various propositions
itorial Legislature should ex: huve, and know much better what institutions suit them than We, who have never been there, can decide for them. I would were made, and amendments offered and rejected-all retherefore have much preferred that that portion of the bill lating to this one controverted point-when Mr. Norris, of should have remained as it was reported from the Committee New Hampshire, renewed the motion of Mr. Douglas, to oa Territories, with no provision on the subject of Slavery, strike out the restriction on the Territorial Legislature in we one way or the other. And I do hope yet that that clause respect to African Slavery. On the 31st of July this will be stricken out. I am satisfied, sir, that
it gives no strength amendment was adopted by a vote of 32 to 19-restoring 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 princi- this seotion of the bill to the form in which it was reported
ple-a violation of that principle upon which we have all from the Committee on Territories on the 25th of March, rested our defense of the course we have taken on this ques and conferring on the Territorial Legislature power over tion. I do not see how those of us who have taken the posi: "all rightful subjects of legislation consistent with the tion we have taken-that of non-intervention--and have argued Constitution of the United States, uithout excepting in favor of the right of the people to legislate for themselves on this question, can support such a provision without aban
African Slivery. doning all the arguments which we used in the Presidential Thus terminated this great struggle in the affirmance of campaign in the year 1818, and the principles set forth by the the principle, as the basis of the Compromise Measures of honorable Senator from Michigan (Mr. Cass) in that letter 1850, so far as they related to the organization of the Terwhich is known as the 'Nicholson Letter.' We are required ritories, that the people of the Territories should decide 10 abandon that platform ; we are required to abandon those the Slavery question for themselves through the action principles, and to stuliify ourselves, and to adopt the opposite doctrine--and for what? In order 'o say that the people of the of their Territorial Legislature. Territories shall not have such institutions as they shall deem
This controverted question having been definitely setuulapteil to their condition and their wants. I do not see, sir, tled, the Senate proceeded on the same day to consider the how such a provision can be acceptable either to the people other portions of the bill, and after striking out all except of the North or the South."
those provisions which provided for the organization of the Upon the question of how inany inhabitants a Territory Territory of Utah, ordered the bill to be engrossed for a should contain before it should be formed into a political third reading, and on the next day,August 1, 1850—the community with the rights of self-government, Mr. Doug- bill was read a third time, and passed. las said:
On the 14th of August the bill for the organization of the *** The Senator from Mississippi puts the question to me as to
Territory of New-Mexico was taken up, and amended so what number of people there must be in a Territory before as to conform fully to the
provisions of the Utah Act in rethis right to govern themselves accrues. Without determining spect to the power of the Territorial Legislature over "all the precise number, I will assume that the right ought to rightful subjects of legislation consistent with the Consti. accrue to the people at the moment they have enough to con- tution,” without excepting African Slavery, and was orstitute a government; and, sir, the bill assumes that there are dered to be engrossed for a third reading without a divipeople enough there to require a government, and enough to sion; and on the next day the bill was passed-Yeas, 27; authorize the people to govern themselves.
Your bill concedes that a representative government is necessary
Nays, 10. a government founded upon the principles of popular sove- These two bills were sent to the House of Representa. reignty and the right of a people to enact their own laws; and tives, and passed that body without any alteration in refor
this reason you give them a Legislature composed of two spect to the power of the Territorial Legislatures over the branches, like the Legislatures of the different States and subject of slavery, and were approved by President FillTerritories of the Union. You confer upon them the right to legislate on all rightful subjects of legislation,' except
more, September 9, 1850. negroes. Why except negroes? Why except African Sla
In 1852, when the two great political parties-Whig and very. If the inhabitants are competent to govern themselves Democratic-into which the country was then divided, asupon all other subjects, and in reference to all other descrip- sembled in National Convention at Baltimore for the purtions of property-if they are competent to make laws and pose of nominating candidates for the Presidency and determine the relations between husband and wife, and pa, Vice-Presidency, each Convention adopted and affirmed rent and child, and municipal laws affecting the rights and the principles embodied in the Compromise Measures of property of citizens generally, they are competeni also to make laws to govern themselves in relation to Slavery and 1854 as rules of action by which they would be governed in negroes,"
all future cases in the organization of Territorial governWith reference to the protection of property in slaves, ments and the admission of new States. Mr. Douglas said :
On the 4th of January, 1954, 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
the organization of the Territory of Nebraska, reported tecting property, and that his amendment is offered for the the bill back, with an amendment, in the form of a substipurpose of protecting property under the Constitution. Now, tute for the entire bill, which, with some modifications, is sir, I ask you what authoriiy he has for assuming that? Do I now known on the statute book as the “Kansas-Nebraska not desire to protect properiy 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 "The principal amendments which your Committee deem it that I am opposed to protecting property of any other their duty to commend to the favorable action of the Senate, in description ; for I desire to put them all on an equality, and a special report, are those in which the principles established allow the people to make their own laws in respect to the by the Compromise Measures of 1850, so far as they are appli; whole of them.”
cable to territorial organizations, are proposed to be affirmed Mr. Cass said (referring to the amendments offered by pew Territory. The wisdom of those measures is attested,
and carried into practical operation within the limits of the Mr. Davis and Mr. Chase):
not less by their salutary and beneficial effects in allaying sec“Now, with respect to the amendments. I shall vote tional agitation and restoring peace and harmony to an irriagainst them both ; and then I shall vote in favor of striking tated and distracted people, than by the cordial and almost out the restriction in ne bill upon the power of the Territorial universal approbation with which they have been received and governments. I shall do so upon this ground. I was opposed, sanctioned by the whole country. as the honorable Senator from Kentucky has declared he was, “ In the judgment of your Committee, those measures werc to the insertion of this prohibition by the Committee. I con- intended to have a far more comprehensive and enduring sider it inexpedient and unconstitutional. I have already effect than the mere adjustment of the difficulties arising out stated my belief that the rightful power of internal legislation of the recent acquisition of Mexican territory. They were de. in the Territories belongs to the people."
signed to establish certain great principles, which would not After further discussion the vote was taken by yeas and time to come, avoid the perils of a similar agitation, by with
only furnish adequate remedies for existing evils, but, in all nays on the amendment of Mr. Chase, and decided in the drawing the question of Slavery from the Halls of Congress negative: Yeas, 25; Nays, 30. The question recurring on and the political arena, and commtiting it to the arbitrament of the amendment of Mr. Davis, of Mississippi, it was also those who were immediately interested in and alone responsi. rejected : Yeas, 25; Nays, 30. Whereupon Mr. Seward ble for its consequences. With a view of conforming their offered the following amendment:
action to the setiled policy of the Government, sanctioned by
the approving voice of the American people, your Committee “ Veither Slavery nor involuntary servitude, otherwise have deemed it their duty to incorporate and perpetuate, it th an by conviction for crime, shall ever be allowed in either their territorial bill, the principles and spirit of those of said Territories of Utah and New Mexico,
After presenting and reviewing certain provisions of the of Congress, and became the law of the land by the ap. bill, the Committee conclude as follows:
proval of the President, May 31, 1854. “From these provisions it is apparent that the Compromise In 1856, the Democratic party, assembled in National Measures of 1850 aflirm and rest upon the following propo
Convention at Cincinnati, declared by a unanimous vote sitions :
of the delegates from every State in the Union, that " First.–That all questions pertaining to Slavery in the Territories, and in the new States to be formed therefrom, are "The American Democracy recognize and adopt the prin. to be left to the decision of the people residing therein, by ciples contained in the organic laws establishing the Terri. their appropriate representatives to be chosen by them for tories of Kansas and Nebraska as embodying the only sound that purpose.
and safe solution of the 'Slavery question,' upon which the “Second.—That all cases involving title to slaves and ques. great national idea of the people of this whole country can tions of personal freedom, are referred to the adjudication of repose in its determined conservatism of the Union-nonthe local tribunals, with the right of appeal to the Supreme interference by Congress with Slavery in State and Territory, Court of the United States.
or in the District of Columbia ; " . Third.—That the provision of the Constitution of the
"That this was the basis of the Compromises of 1850, conUnited States in respect to fugitives from service, is to be car- firmed by both the Democratic and Whig parties in National ried into faithful execution in all the organized Territories, the Conventions-ratitied by the people in the election of 1852– same as in the States. The substitute for the bill which your and rightly applied to the organization of the Territories in Committee have prepared, and which is commended to the 1854 ; Thai by the uniform application of this Democratic favorable action of the Senate, proposes to carry these pro- principle to the organization
of Territories and to the admispositions and principles into practical operation, in the precise sion of new States, with or without domestic Slavery as they language of the Compromise Measures of 1850.'"
may elect, the equal rights of all will be preserved intact--the
original compacis of the Constitution maintained inviolateBy reference to that section of the “ Kansas-Nebraska --and the perpetuity and expansion of this Union insured to Act” as it now stands on the statute book, which pre- its utmost capacity of embracing in peace and harmony any scribed and defined the power of the Territorial Legisla- future American State that may be constituted or annexed ture, it will be seen that it is, “in the precise language of
with a Republican form of government." the Compromise Measures of 1850." extending the legis- In accepting the nomination of this Convention, Mr. Lative power of the Territory “to all rightful subjects of Buchanan, in a letter dated June 16, 1856, said: legislation consistent with the Constitution," without ex- “The agitation on the question of domestic Slavery has too cepting African Slavery.
long distracted and divided the people of this Union, and It having been suggested, with some plausibility, during alienated their affections from each other. This agitation has the discussion of the bill, that the act of Congress of
assumed many forms since its commencement, but it now March 6, 1820, prohibiting Slavery north of the parallel from its present character, I think we may safely anticipate
seems to be directed chiefly to the Territories : and judging of 36° 30' would deprive the people of the Territory of the that it is rapidly approaching a 'finality." The recent légis. power of regulating the Slavery question to suit themselveslation of Congress respecting domestic Slavery, derived, as it while they should remain in a Territorial condition, and be has been, from the original and pure fountain of legitimate fore they should have the requisite population to entitle political power, the will of the majority, promises, ere long, them to admission into the Union as a State, an amend-o allay the dangerous excitement. This legislation is founded ment was prepared by the Chairman of the Committee, accordance with them has simply declared that the people of a
upon principles as ancient as free government itself, and in and incorporated into the bill to remove this obstacle to the Territory, like those of a State, shull decide for themselves free exercise of the principle of popular sovereignty in the whether Slavery shall or shall not exist within their limits." Territory, while it remained in a Territorial condition, by This exposition of the history of these measures shows repealing the said act of Congress, and declaring the conclusively that the
authors of the Compromise Measures true intent and meaning of all the friends of the bill in of 1850, and of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, as well these words:
as the members of the Continental Congress of 1774, and "That the Constitution and all laws of the United States the founders of our system of government subsequent to which are not locally inapplicable, shail have the same force the Revolution, regarded the people of the Territories and and effect within the Territory as elsewhere within the United Colonies as political communities which were entitled to a States, except the eighth section of the act preparatory to the free and exclusive power of legislation in their Provincial admission of Missouri into the Union, approved March 6, 1820, which being inconsistent with the principle of non-interven? | Legislatures, where their representation could alone be tion by Congress with Slavery in the States and Territories, as preserved, in all cases of taxation and internal polity. recognized by the legislation of 1850, commonly called the This right pertains to the people collectively as a law
Compromise Measures,' is hereby declared inoperative and abiding and peaceful community, and not to the isolated void-it being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legis- individuals who may wander upon the public domain in late Slavery into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and violation of law.. It can only be exercised where there are regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only inhabitants sufficient to constitute a government, and cato the Constitution of the United States.
pable of performing its various functions and duties-a To which was added, on motion of Mr. Badger, the fol- Whether the number shall be fixed at ten, fifteen or
fact to be ascertained and determined by Congress. lowing:
twenty thousand inhabitants does not affect the principle. “ Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be con- The principle, under our political system, is thut every strued to revive or put in force any law or regulation which distinct political Community, loyal to the Constitution may have existed prior to the act of the sixth of March, 1820, and the Union, is entitled to all the rights, privileges, either protecting, establishing, of abolishing slavery.”
and immunities of self-government in respect to their In this form, and with this distinct understanding of its local concerns and internal polity, subject only to the * true intent and meaning," the bill passed the two houses | Constitution of the United States.