Page images

with recognition and protection of Slavery | ultimatum proposition; but no definite action South of it. Consultations were constantly was taken. The Republicans expressed their being held by the different Congressional del- opposition to an actual protection to the inegations, to consider the several schemes pro- stitution South of the line named. It would posed and the action proper and necessary for involve the recognition of the right of Slatheir representative on the Committee. This very to Congressional protection—a right they representative, therefore, became the exponent were, under any circumstances, unwilling to of the ideas and feelings of his State. concede.

Tuesday, Mr. Winter Davis' proposition was adopted unanimously. It was as follows: “Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives, That several States be respectfully requested to

cause their statutes to be revised, with a view to

ascertain if any of them are in conflict with, or tend to embarrass or hinder the execution of the laws of the United States, made in pursuance of the 2d section of the IVth article of the Constitution of the United States for the delivery up of persons held to labor by the laws of any State and escaping therefrom; and the Senate and House of Representatives

Thursday's proceedings were devoted to the further discussion of the Rust proposition. Mr. Adams of Massachusett's in a very able and elaborate speech, took the position that the Republican party could not consent to any proposition looking to a protection of Slavery in Territories, or to amendments to the Constitution, looking to a recognition of Slavery by that instrument.

The proceedings of Friday were confined to the Rust propositions. It was decided, earnestly request that all enactments having such finally, to adjourn the vote, on their acceptance or rejection, to Thursday, December 29th. After adjournment the Republican Members of the Committee remained in close conference for some time.

tendency be forthwith repealed, as required by a just sense of constitutional obligations, and by a due regard for the peace of the Republic.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 the request that they will lay the same before the Legislatures thereof respectively."

The Senate Committee of Thirteen.

The Senate Committee of Thirteen also held a session on Friday. Mr. Wade of Ohio repeated the substance of his previous declarations. He stated that " no compromise could be made, as the Republicans had done nothing unconstitutionally, not having been in power to do so. Mr. Lincoln, having been

United States, he ought to have the same chance as others had before him to develop his policy, which would be perfectly consistent with their constitutional rights. The assumption that the Republicans, nothing having been brought against them of any practical character, were going to do some wrong, was an insult, and came with bad grace from a party that had so much mischief to the country."

This resolution, apparently, gave the assurance that the Republicans were solicitous in regard to Constitutional obligations. The discussion which grew out of its introduction elicited the confession from Southern members that the Republicans had been mis-elected according to the Constitution of the represented on the question of the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law, while the several "Liberty Bills" of Northern States, which underwent a searching analysis, were shown to be in strict concordance with the Constitution, and comparatively harmless in their reputed opposition to an enforcement of the Fugitive Law. The day's work was, therefore, highly satisfactory, as it won from the Southerners themselves, acknowledgments of their hitherto misapprehensions and misinterpretations of the Anti-Slavery opposition of the North. A sub-committee, consisting of Messrs. Davis, Dunn, Millson, Bristow and Kellogg, was appointed, to consider the amendments proposed by Southern members to the Fugitive Slave Law.

Wednesday's session of the Committee was directed to the consideration of Mr. Rust's

This brought out Mr. Douglas, who, in a spirit of great candor and earnestness, declared that "he was ready now to unite in recommending such amendments to the Constitution as will take the Slavery question out of Congress. In view of the dangers which threaten the Republic with disunion, revolution, and civil war, he was prepared to act upon the matters in controversy, without any





regard to his previous action, and as if he had never made a speech or given a vote on the subject."

Mr. Crittenden expressed a like spirit, and gave utterance to the hope that nothing might at least result from the acts of the Committee which would, in any degree, savor of a disinclination to adjust differences and thus to court the calamities of disunion.

Gov. Hicks's Union Declaration.

We may add to our chapter of the week's features a reference to the reception, by Gov. Hicks, of Maryland, of the Commissioner from Mississippi, Judge H. K. Handy. Their correspondence, as published, Saturday, Dec. 22d, in the Baltimore papers, showed that, under the executive hand of Gov. Hicks, Maryland could not be thrown into the secession movement. The gist of the correspondence may thus be given:

Judge Handy inquires whether the Governor will convene the Legislature for the purpose of cooperating with Mississippi in measures necessary to defend the rights of the South and to form a new confederacy. The Governor replies at some length. He says that Maryland is identified with the Southern States in feeling, institutions, and habits; but she is also conservative and devoted to the union of the States under the Constitution, and her people will use all honorable means to preserve and perpetuate these. He declares that the sentiments of the people are almost unanimous in favor of upholding and maintaining their rights under the Constitution. They believe that their rights will yet be admitted and secured, and not until it is certain they will be respected no longer not until every honorable, constitutional, and lawful effort to secure them is exhausted-will they consent to any efforts for a dissolution of the Union. The people of Maryland are anxious that time should be given and opportunity afforded for a fair and honorable adjustment of the difficulties and grievances of which they, more than the people of any other State, have a right to complain.

He believes that a large majority of the people of the Union desire an adjustment, and he thinks it will be promptly effected. Until the effort is found vain, he cannot consent to any precipitate revolutionary action

to aid in the dismemberment of the Union. When he is satisfied that there is no hope of adjustment, and not until then, will he exercise any power with which he is vested to afford even an opportunity for such a proceeding. Whatever powers he may have he will use only after full consultation with the other Border States, since we and they, in the event of any dismemberment of the Union, will suffer more than all the others combined. He states that he is now in correspondence with the Governors of these States, and awaits with much solicitude the indications of the course to be pursued by them. When this is made known, he will be prepared to take such steps as duty and the interests of the State demand. He is, consequently, unable to say whether or when the Legislature will be called.

The Hon. W. S. Featherstone, Commissioner from the same State to Kentucky, had an interview with Gov. Magoffin, of Kentucky, Dec. 21st., but the result was not definitively made known until a later day.

Caleb Cushing's

December 21st, Caleb Cushing arrived in Charleston as a messenger from Mission to Charleston. the President to the Con

vention. His mission was understood to be to prevail upon the Convention to respect the status quo of the Federal laws during Mr. Buchanan's administration, giving guarantees of a non-reinforcement of Major Anderson. He remained but five hours in the city, and returned immediately to Washington to report that the Convention would make no promises whatever-that it must act as circumstances might dictate-leaving all negotiations to special commissioners. A cabinet meeting was called (Dec. 22nd,) upon his return, when a stormy and anxious session is reported to have been held.

The Committee's Saturday's Session, was one of earnest consideration. Mr. Crittenden's Compromise Resolutions were brought forward and acted upon. The entire plan was supported by Messrs. Bigler and Douglas, as well as by Mr. Crittenden himself, with remarkable power and zeal. Mr. Douglas reiterated his expressed determination to consider the question for the preservation of the country, as though he had never cast a vote

or uttered a sentiment on the subject before. | it if the Republicans would propose it in good If that mode of compromise would not an- faith. swer, he declared himself willing to go for any other, consistent with honor or justice.

The appeals of Mr. Crittenden in behalf of the Union are said to have been sublime. He, too, was willing to embrace any other effective mode of adjustment.

Mr. Bigler, of Pennsylvania, preferred a division, by a line, across the country, because in that way the question of Slavery could be taken out of Congress and separated entirely from the popular elections in the North, without which we never could have permanent peace.

Messrs. Wade, Doolittle, Collamer and Grimes, opposed the proposition with much earnestness. They maintained that the people, in the late election, decided the question of Slavery in Territories, and therefore they had no concessions to make or offer. They manifested great unwillingness to act, in the absence of Mr. Seward, but as they could give no assurance of his immediate return, the Committee declined to defer action on account of his absence.

Messrs. Davis, Toombs and Hunter discussed the present unhappy condition of the country with real feeling and power, and, while manifesting a willingness to accept any measure of final settlement which would secure their just rights in the Union, insisted that propositions must come from the dominant party, the Republicans.

The second proposition submitted by Mr. Crittenden, denying the right of Congress to abolish Slavery in the dockyards and arsenals, was voted against by Messrs. Collamer, Doolittle, Grimes and Wade. The remainder of the committee voted for the proposition, but as it had not a majority of the Republicans, it was defeated under the rules adopted by the Committee, that no proposition should be considered adopted and recommended to the Senate which did not receive a majority of the Republican votes and also a majority of those opposed to the Republicans.

The third clause, denying the right of Congress to abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia was defeated by the same vote, the Republicans all voting against it, and the remainder of the Committee for it.

The fourth clause, establishing the right of transit, was defeated by the same vote.

The fifth, which is intended to perfect the Fugitive Slave law, by requiring the several States to pay for fugitives who might be rescued from the officers of the law, was lost by the same vote, the Republicans all voting in the negative.

Many other propositions were offered and voted upon, but none of leading importance, none that would meet the great exigencies of the times.

Mr. Davis submitted a resolution expressly The vote on Mr. Crittenden's first resolu- recognizing property in slaves, but no vote tion was as follows: was taken on it.

For the proposition-Messrs. Bigler, Crittenden, Douglas, Rice and Powell-5.

Mr. Toombs submitted a series of resolutions, embracing substantially the principles

Against it-Messrs. Davis, Doolittle, Collamer, of the Breckenridge platform, but final action Wade, Toombs, Grimes and Hunter-7.

Messrs. Hunter, Toombs and Davis, nevertheless, intimated an inclination to go for

was not taken on them.

The Committee adjourned, to meet at ten o'clock on Monday morning.

[blocks in formation]

THE Address to the people of the Slaveholding States was introduced by Mr. Rhett, in the South Carolina Convention, Monday, Dec. 24th. It was considered Monday and Tuesday, and, after various amendments, was adopted as follows:



"It is now seventy-three years since the union between the United States was made by the Constitution of the United States. During this period their advance in wealth, prosperity, and power, has been with scarcely a parallel in the history of the world. The great object of their union was external defense from the aggressions of more powerful nations; now complete, from their mere progress in power, thirtyone millions of people, with a commerce and navigation which explores every sea, and of agricultural production which are necessary to every civilized people, command the friendship of the world. But, unfortunately, our internal peace has not grown with our external prosperity. Discontent and contention have moved in the bosom of the Confederacy for the last thirty-five years. During this time South Carolina has twice called her people together in solemn convention, to take into consideration the aggressions and unconstitutional wrongs perpetrated by the people of the North on the people of the South. These wrongs were submitted to by the people of the South, under the hope and expectation that they would be final. But these hopes and expectations have proved to be void. Instead of being incentives to forbearance our submission has only instigated to new forms of aggressions and outrage, and South Carolina, again assembling her people in convention, has this day dissolved her connection with the States constituting the United States.

"The one great evil, from which all other evils have flowed, is the overthrow of the Constitution of

Address to the Slaveholding states.

the United States. The Government of the United States is no longer the government of a confederate republic, but of a consolidated democracy. It is no longer a free government, but a despotism. It is, in fact, such a government as Great Britain attempted to set over our fathers, and which was resisted and defeated by a seven years' struggle for independence.


The Revolution of 1776 turned upon one great principle, self-government and self-taxation, the criterion of self-government. Where the interests of two people united together under one Government are different, each must have the power to protect its interests by the organization of the Government or they cannot be free. The interests of Great Britain and of the colonies were different and antagonistic. Great Britain was desirous of carrying out the policy of all nations toward their colonies of making them tributary to their wealth and power. She had vast and complicated relations with the whole world. Her policy toward her North American colonies was to identify them with her in all these complicated relations, and to make them bear, in common with the rest of the empire, the full burden of her obligations and necessities. She had a vast public debt; she had a European policy and an Asiatic policy, which had occasioned the accumulation of her public debt, and which kept her in continual wars. The North American colonies saw their interests, political and commercial, sacrificed by such a policy. Their interests required that they should not be identified with the burdens and wars of the mother country. They had been settled under charters which gave them self-government, at least so far as their property was concerned. They had taxed themselves, and had never been taxed by the Government of Great Britain. To make them a part of a consolidated empire, the Parliament of Great Britain determined to assume the power of legislating for the colonies in all cases whatsoever. Our ancestors resisted the pretension. They refused to be a part of the consolidated Government of Great Britain.

Address to the Slaveholding states.

Address to the Slaveholding States.

They were fully

the British Government, the
taxes collected from them
weuld have been expended on
other parts of the British Empire.
aware of the effect of such a policy in impoverishing
the people from whom taxes are collected, and in en-
riching those who receive the benefit of their expen-
diture. To prevent the evils of such a policy was one
of the motives which drove them on to revolution. Yet
this British policy has been fully realized toward the
Southern States by the Northern States. The peo-
ple of the Southern States are not only taxed for the

"The Southern States now stand exactly in the same position toward the Northern States that our ancestors in the colonies did toward Great Britain. The Northern States, having the majority in Congress, claim the same power of omnipotence in legislation as the British Parliament. The general welfare' is the only limit to the legislation of either; and the majority in Congress, as in the British Parliament, are the sole judges of the expediency of the legislation this general welfare' requires. Thus the Government of the United States has become a consolidated Government, and the people of the South-benefit of the Northern States, but after the taxes ern States are compelled to meet the very despotism their fathers threw off in the Revolution of 1776.

"The consolidation of the Government of Great Britain over the colonies was attempted to be carried out by the taxes. The British Parliament undertook to tax the colonies to promote British interests. Our fathers resisted this pretension. They claimed the right of self-taxation through their Colonial Legislatures. They were not represented in the British Parliament, and therefore could not rightfully be taxed by its Legislature. The British Government, however, offered them a representation in the British Parliament; but it was not sufficient to enable them to protect themselves from the majority, aud they refused it. Between taxation without any representation, and taxation without a representation adequate to protection, there was no difference. By neither would the colonies tax themselves. Hence they refused to pay the taxes laid by the British Parliament.

"The Southern States now stand in the same relation toward the Northern States, in the vital matter of taxation, that our ancestors stood toward the people of Great Britain. They are in a minority in Congress. Their representation in Congress is useless to protect them against unjust taxation, and they are taxed by the people of the North for their benefit, exactly as the people of Great Britain taxed our ancestors in the British Parlisment for their benefit. For the last forty years the taxes laid by the Congress of the United States have been laid with a view of subserving the interests of the North. The people of the South have been taxed by duties on imports, not for revenue, but for an object inconsistent with revenue to promote, by prohibitions, Northern interests in the productions of their mines and manufactures.

"There is another evil in the condition of the Southern toward the Northern States, which our ancestors refused to bear toward Great Britain. Our ancestors not only taxed themselves, but all the taxes coilected from them were expended among them. Had they submitted to the pretensions of

are collected three-fourths of them are expended at the North. This cause, with others connected with the operation of the General Government, has provincialized the cities of the South. Their growth is paralyzed, while they are the mere suburbs of Northern cities. The basis of the foreign commerce of the United States are the agricultural productions of the South; yet Southern cities do not carry it on. Our foreign trade is almost annihilated. In 1740 there were five ship-yards in South Carolina to build ships to carry on our direct trade with Europe. Between 1740 and 1779 there were built in these yards twenty-five square-rigged vessels, besides a great number of sloops and schooners, to carry on our coast and West India trade. In the half century immediately preceding the Revolution, from 1725 to 1775, the population of South Carolina increased seven-fold.

"No man can for a moment believe that our ancestors intended to establish over their posterity exactly the same sort of government they had overthrown. The great object of the Constitution of the United States, in its internal operation, was, doubtless, to secure the great end of the Revolution—a limited free government-a government limited to those matters only which were general and commor to all portions of the United States. All sectional or local interests were to be left to the States. By no other arrangement would they obtain free government by a Constitution common to so vast a Confederacy. Yet by gradual and steady encroachments on the part of the North, and submission on the part of the South, the limitations in the Consti tution have been swept away, and the Government of the United States has become consolidated, with a claim of limitless powers in its operations.

"It is not at all surprising, while such is the charac ter of the Government of the United States, that it should assume to possess power over all the institutions of the country. The agitations on the subject of Slavery in the South are the natural results of the consolidation of the Government. Responsibility follows power; and if the people of the North

« PreviousContinue »