« PreviousContinue »
the request of the Legislature thereof, or of the Executive, when the Legislature shall not be in session, in conformity with section four of article four of the Constitution."
Volunteer Bill Postponed.
Before any action was taken, Corwin moved to postpone further consideration of the bill until Thursday the 28th, which was done, although Mr. Stanton declared such a postponement was equivalent to killing the bill. The vote to postpone stood 100 to 74. Among other remarks made during the calling of the yeas and nays, Mr. Bouligny, of Louisiana, said: "With all due respect to the gentleman who introduced this bill. I must say—and it is my duty to say that it is the most infamous and outrageous bill that has ever been presented to Congress; and I say shame on the man who did it !"
| the warts, and afford more sufficient guarantees to the diversified and growing interests of the Government, and of the people composing the same. This substitute was rejected, by a vote of 74 to 108.
Kilgore, (Rep.,) of Indiana, then moved that the resolutions and the pending amendments be laid on the table-a motion that tions and all the amendments—which latter would dispose of the entire reported resoluincluded the resolutions offered by Mr. Kellogg, [see page 310,] and the Crittenden resolutions, [see pages 156-7,] as submitted by Mr. Clemens, of Virginia. It was offered as a test question, covering the entire ground of
compromise. As such the motion was voted
The Kellogg Proposition Rejected.
The Report of the Committee of Thirtythree being the special order, came up. Then the entire propositions submitted by Mr. Corfollowed a scene which the dramatist of Pan-win, were then voted on, and were rejected demonium in Parts might have chozen for by the vote of 33 ayes to 158 nays. Kellogg one of his acts. The hubbub grew out of vainly sought to withdraw his propositions, the effort to establish the order in which the and threatened, in event of their rejection, to propositions and amendments were to be conrenew them. Most intense excitement presidered. vailed in the House during the contest in forcing the resolutions to a vote. The Southern members generally voted "nay," because they preferred the Crittenden proposition.
In the House, Wednesday, (February 27th,) the Select Committee of Five reported, in a majority and minority report, on the Correspondence between the President and the authorities of the State of South Carolina. These interesting documents will be comprised in a succeeding chapter.
The Crittenden Proposition Rejected.
The Crittenden proposition, offered by Mr. Clemens as a substitute to the Corwin Resolutions, then came up. The sub
The Corwin Resolutions Called.
The question then recurred upon ordering the first series of resolutions reported from the Committee of Thirty-three, to be enrolled and read a third time. The resolutions were as follows:
The report of the Committee of Thirty-stitute was rejected, by a vote of 80 ayes to three was called up, when several members proceeded to give their views. Debate was, however, cut off, and the voting, under the call of the previous question, proceeded. The first vote was on the amendment proposed by the Pacific States' members of the Committee, Messrs. Burch and Stout. It recommended to the several States of the Union that they, through their respective Legislatures, request Congress to call a Convention of all the States, in accordance with the Fifth Article of the Constitution, for the purpose of amending the Constitution in such manner, and with regard to such subjects, as will more adequately respond to
The National Convention Rejectod.
"Resolved, By the Senate and House of Ropresentatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all attempts, on the part of the Legislatures of any of the States, to obstruct or service or labor, are in derogation of the Constihinder the recovery and surrender of fugitives from tution of the United States, inconsistent with the comity and good neighborhood that should prevail among the several States, and dangerous to the peace of the Union.
The Corwin Resolu
The Corwin Resolutions Called.
Resolved, That the several | sojourning therein, against the States be respectfully request-popular violence or illegal sumed to cause their statutes to be mary punishment without trial, revised, with a view to ascertain if any of them are in in due form of law, for imputed crimes. conflict with, or tend to embarrass or hinder the exe- "Resolved, That each State be also respectfully cution of, the laws of the United States, made in pur- requested to enact such laws as will prevent and suance of the second section of the fourth article of punish any attempt whatever in such State to recog. the Constitution of the United States, for the delivery nize or set on foot the lawless invasion of any other up of persons held to labor, by the laws of any State, State or Territory. and escaping therefrom; and the Senate and House of Representatives earnestly request that all enactments having such tendency be forthwith repeaeld, as required by a just sense of constitutional obligations, and by a due regard for the peace of the Republic; and the President of the United States is requested to communicate these resolutions to the Governors of the several States, with a request that they will lay the same before the Législatures thereof respectively.
"Resolved, That we recognize Slavery as now ex
isting in fifteen of the United States, by the usages
of the laws of those States; and we recognize no authority, legally or otherwise, outside of a State
where it so exists, to interfere with slaves or Slavery in such States, in disregard of the rights of their
owners or the peace of society.
Resolved, That we recognize the justice and propriety of a faithful execution of the Constitution, and laws made in pursuance thereof, on the subject of fugitive slaves, or fugitives from service or labor, and discountenance all mobs, or hindrances to the execution of such laws, and that citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.
"Resolved, That we recognize no such conflicting element in its composition, or sufficient cause from any source for a dissolution of this Government; that we are not sent here to destroy, but to sustain and harmonize the institutions of the country, and to see that equal justice is done to all parts of the same; and finally, to perpetuate its existence on terms of equality and justice to all the States.
"Resolved, That the faithful observance, on the part of all the States, of all their constitutional obli gations to each other, and to the Federal Govern. ment, is essential to the peace of the country.
Resolved, That the President be requested to transmit copies of the foregoing resolutions to the Governors of the several States, with a request that they be communicated to their respective Legisla
Mr. Sherman said that, as these resolutions were numerous, they would take many votes, and he moved to lay them on the table. The motion was lost by a vote of 66 ayes to 126 nays.
Quarles, of Maryland, voted against laying the resolutions on the table, as
Protests of Southern
he approved of most of them; but against the third of the series he protested, as it placed Slavery in the States entirely without the pale of the Constitution.
Craige, of North Carolina, believed the whole series to be a delusion and a snare, intended to cheat the Border Slave States. He voted to lay them on the table.
*Two other resolutions, adopted by the Committee, appeared in the report to the press. What we give above are those printed in the Globe, and submitted for action. The two read as follows:
"Resolved, That, in the opinion of this Committee, the existing discontents among the Southern people, and the growing hostility among them to the Federal Government, are greatly to be regretted; and that, whether such discontents and hostility are without just cause or not, any reasonable, proper, and constitutional remedies, and additional and more specific and effectual guarantees of their peculiar rights and interests, as recognized by the Constitution, necessary to preserve the peace of the country and the perpetuity of the Union, should be promptly and cheerfully granted.
"Resolved, That, as there are no propositions from any quarter to interfere with Slavery in the District of Columbia, or in places under the exclusive juris diction of Congress, and situate within the limits of States that permit the holding of slaves, or to interfere with the inter-State Slave-trade, this Committee does not deem it necessary to take any action on those subjects."
A KENTUCKY OPINION.
Simms, of Kentucky, voted against laying them on the table, though he protested against that resolution which endorsed coercion.
Burnett, of Kentucky, could not vote for the resolutions, as they were simply declaratory, and would not satisfy his people.
The Resolutions adopted.
the engrossment and third reading, Mr. Cor win submitted the following amendment:
"Strike out the amendment proposed, and insert in lieu thereof:
"ARTICLE 12. No amendment shall be made to
the Constitution which will authorize or give Congress power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, includ
ing that of persons held to labor or service by the
laws of said State."
Mr. Hickman, of Pennsylvania, moved to lay the resolution on the table, and called for the yeas and nays on his motion. Another scene of disorder followed; but, Mr. Corwin having called the previous question, it cut off opposition. The vote on Hickman's resolution was: yeas 68-nays 121.
The most strenuous exertions were made by Southern members to divide the series, in order to have a vote on each resolution separately, but the Chair desided that, in their nature, they were a joint resolution, and therefore indivisible; while the call for the previous question on their engrossment and their reading cut off all motions for division. After their engrossment and third reading, another effort was made to obtain their sep-So the House refused to lay the resolution arate consideration, against which the Chairon the table. The vote on the third reading man (Mr. Dawes, of Mas- of Corwin's amendment was: yeas 120-nays sachusetts,) again decided. 61. After engrossment and a third reading Appeal was made from the main question was ordered, and, on vote, this decision; but this, on motion of a Rewas lost yeas 123-nays 71. Two-thirds publican, was laid on the table. The main majority was necessary to pass it. A motion question was finally ordered, when the joint to reconsider followed, amid the most intense resolutions ultimately passed by a vote of 136 excitement, which lasted for some time, when, the motion still pending, the House adjourned. In the course of the Senate's proceedings, Wednes day, Powell, of Kentucky, moved to postpone the Army bill, and take up the Crittenden resolutions. He said he did so, because a certain Convention had met
The Joint Resolution to Amend the Constitution.
The joint resolution to amend the Constitution then came up, as reported by Mr. Corwin, from the Committee of Thirty-three. It was read a first and second time, as follows:
A Kentucky Opinion.
"Joint Resolution to Amend the Constitution of the in this Capital at the call of Virginia, and it United States:
"Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress as sembled, (two-thirds of both Houses concurring,) That the following article be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as an amendment to the Con
stitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of said Legislatures, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Con
stitution, viz. :
was evident were not to agree on anything. He believed there were certain Republicans in the Convention who tried to prevent any agreement. He believed that certain States had sent Commissioners to the Convention to prevent anything being done, and instead of trying to save the country from ruin, were absolutely engaged in preventing the Convention doing anything. He had letters read from the Detroit Free Press, which had been written by the Senators from Michigan to the Governor of the State. Mr. Powell said it was evident that certain gentlemen went to the Convention, especially to prevent compromises. He thought they had better not wait for the Convention, but at once proceed to the consideration of the measures of his colleague, rather than vote money for the Before the previous question was called on support of an army to be used to make war.
"ARTICLE 12. No amendment of this Constitution, having for its object any interference within the States with the relations between their citizens and those described in section second of the first article
of the Constitution as all other persons,' shall originate with any State that does not recognize that relation within its own limits, or shall be valid without the assent of every one of the States composing the
Chandler, (Rep.,) of Michigan, said he would answer the Senator another day. The people of the country are opposed to all compromises. They were ready to stand by the Constitution as it is, and to stand by it in blood, if necessary. The motion to postpone was not agreed to.
The Peace Propositions.
The Vice-President laid before the Senate the communication of the President
"Provided, That this section shall take effect on the express condition that no State, or any part thereof, heretofore admitted, or hereafter to be admitted, should have power to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the United States, and that the Constitution be the supreme law of the land, anything contained in any Constitution or ordinance of any State or Legislature to the contrary notwithstanding."
The report and amendments and joint
of the Peace Convention, when Mr. Critten-resolution were ordered to be printed and laid over.
Mr. Trumbull made a re
The President and
den moved that it be printed and referred to a Select Committee, with instructions to report Thursday, at one o'clock. Agreed to, port from the Committee Vice-President's AC
with a special vote on the portion with regard to instructions, as follows:
"YEAS--Messrs. Anthony, Baker, Bayard, Bigler, Bragg, Bright, Clingman, Crittenden, Dixon, Douglas, Fitch, Foster, Gwin, Hunter, Johnson, (Tenn.,) Kennedy, Lane, Latham, Mason, Nicholson, Pearce, Polk, Powell, Rice, Sebastian, Thomson-26.
"NAYS-Messrs. Bingham, Chandler, Clark, Collamer, Doolittle, Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Green, Grimes, Hale, Harlan, King, Morrill, Seward, Simmons, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Trumbull, Wade, Wilson -21.
to wait on the President
election, and said the Committee had performed the duty. The President said: "With deep gratitude to my countrymen for their mark of confidence, and with great distrust of my ability to perform the duty even in favorable circumstances, now rendered doubly difficult by the existing national peril, but with a firm reliance on the strength of our free Government, and the ultimate logThe Select Committee rec-alty of the people to the just principles on ommended, Thursday, the which it was founded, and above all, with an adoption of the Peace Con- unshaken faith in the Supreme Ruler of Navention propositions. The minority, com- tions, I accept this trust; and be pleased to posed of Seward, of New York, and Trumbull, signify my acceptance to the respective Houses of Congress." of Illinois, wished to submit a substitute as a minority report, but the majority held that was not competent, so Mr. Seward asked leave to submit a joint resolution, as follows, in his own name, in which the Senator from Illinois concurred:
The Pro and Con
Whereas, The Legislatures of Kentucky, Illinois, and New Jersey have applied to Congress to call a Convention for proposing amendments to the Constitution therefore,
"Resolved, That the other States be invited to take the subject into consideration, and express their will on the subject to Congress, in pursuance of the fifth article of the Constitution."
Mr. Hale, (Rep.,) of New Hampshire, objected to the consideration of the report at that time.
Mr. Doolittle, (Rep.,) of Wisconsin, said it was a mistake that Wisconsin had sent delegates to the Convention. He had a proviso which, at a proper time, he should offer to the first section of the amendment proposed by the Convention, as follows:
The Vice-President said: "Please communicate to the Houses of Congress my ac ceptance of the trust confided to me by a generous people; and, while the position was neither sought nor desired, I am truly grateful for the confidence reposed in me, and deeply sensible of the obligation imposed. It shall be my earnest effort to discharge the duty in a manner which will subserve to the interest of the whole country."
Ꮇ Ꭱ . STANTON'S SPEECH.
succeeded in having it made the special order for consideration on Friday.
teen Slaveholding States in the Union acknowledging allegiance to the Federal Government, and having, therefore, in their own hands the power to protect themselves against any invasion of their rights on the part of the General Government. Then it would have been a matter of little consequence whether they incorporated such an amendment or not in the Constitution. But the state of the country had radically and essentially changed. Seven or eight States had, whether right or not, denied all allegiance to the General Government, had organized a separate Confederacy, and had declared their independence of all control of this Government. Whether that independence was to be maintained or not, the future only could decide. But if towards the maintenance of their position public opinion in the seceding States should sustain the action of those who had taken the lead in this matter, so as to show that nothing but a war of subut-jugation and conquest could bring them back, he, for one, rather than resort to such means, was disposed to recognize that independence. [Cries from Democratic side, "That's right!" "Good!"] In that state, of things, if the remaining seven Slaveholding States should continue in the Union, they were entitled to additional guarantees. [Cries of "Good!" from the right of the Chair.] There are now seven Slaveholding States, and nineteen Free States. In ten years more, for all practical purposes, Delaware would be a Free State. That would leave twenty-three Free States, and only six Slaveholding States. In a few years more, they would have other Free States organized out of the Territories, and thus in a short time they would have the required number-three-fourths of the States -to enable them to change the Constitution, and to confer upon the Federal Government and upon Congress the power to interfere with Slavery.
Thursday, in the House, was a day of anxiety and excitement. The motion to reconsider the vote on the Corwin proposition to amend the Constitution was the first business in order. Kilgore, (Rep.,) of Indiana, who made the motion to reconsider, spoke at some length on the importance of the crisis. It was but a few days ago that, as Republicans, they had all emphatically declared they had to desire or disposition to interfere with Slavery in the States where it exists. Yesterday, however, they seemed to have forgotten this declaration, carried away by wild fanaticism, and also the peculiar condition of the country, requiring some action. If they had changed their ground since the occasion to which he had referred, and were now disposed to invade the sovereignty of the States, then he was no Republican. In repeated speeches he had said those who accused the Republicans of such a design tered slander. Should they say to the world, when they are about to possess the power of the Government, that they are for using it to break down the sovereign rights of the States, and invade their privileges? If that was the doctrine, he could not subscribe to it. He should bear in mind that they were not the masters, but the mere servants of the people. The proposition to amend the Constitution should be taken to their masters, and the latter should be asked whether they will approve or reject it. For the sake of the peace and quiet of the country, and for the good of the Republican party, the Republicans should come forward to-day, and, with the same unanimity with which they voted for the resolution to which he had referred, declare the same thing in the pending proposition as an amendment to the Constitution. If you fail to give peace, you wrong yourselves, not the people, and on your heads will fall the responsibility.
Now, he hoped that that was a power
He withdrew the previous question at the which would never be vested in Congress. request of a Republican.
Mr. Stanton, (Rep.,) of Ohio, also addressed the House, saying he should not have regarded the vote of yesterday as a matter of great consequence while there were fif
No matter if there should be but one Slave State, Slavery was a matter of domestic concern only, and Congress should never take jurisdiction of it. If they were citizens of Slaveholding States, they would be the first to