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The State Legislature,
provided for a Convention
widely divided in feeling, though the majo- |
to assemble January 23d. The feeling in the
The Legislature The position asthe U. S. Senate,
OF CONGRESS CONTINUED. SECOND WEEK. IMPORTANT PRELIMINARY PROCEEDINGS. THE FUTILITY
OF COMPROMISE FORESHADOWED.
Caucus of Southern : enators.
shall have the right to elect all officers necessary for its government under the rules prescribed by an act of Congress; and the Legis
A CAUCUS of Southern During the recess, (DeSenators was held Saturday cember 7th, 8th, 9th,) many evening, December 8th, to schemes of adjustment were exchange views and concert action. No doubt proposed. It would appear, indeed, that was expressed by Senators from Georgia, almost every member had some balm for the Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and South disunion sore. One scheme, announced as Carolina, but that their States would secede having obtained much favor, provided, first: by ordinances. Senators present from those |--The territory shall not be acquired otherStates represented that no interposition now wise than by treaty. Second: the whole incould arrest that first step, though their ulti-habitants of any territory numbering 20,000 mate relation to the Union might be effected by future developments. Messrs. Bayard, Pearce, Nicholson, Powell, and Crittenden were in favor of making every effort to pro-lature thereof may determine whether to tect the rights of the South in the Union. recognize Slavery or not during its TerritoMr. Mason also favored the same view, while rial existence. Third: whenever any Terrirequiring guarantees and expressing misgiv- tory, preparatory to its assuming a State ings as to the result. Mr. Hunter was willing sovereignty, having white inhabitants equal. to go farther for conciliation than his recent to the number required for a representative letter indicated., Mr. Brown advocated im-in Congress, and having submitted its Conmediate secession as the only remedy. Mr. stitution to a vote of the people, applies for Davis thought other means should be ex-admission, it shall be admitted into the hausted before proceeding to that extremity. Union, whatever may be its provisions in reMr. Slidell was among the most ultra, and gard to Slavery, upon an equal footing with declared that Louisiana could not be re- the original States. Fourth: that Congress strained from taking position with the Se-shall not interfere with Slavery where it exceding States, even if her representatives in Congress were opposed to that policy. Mr. Iverson was not present.
ists under the sanction of law, nor shall it prohibit the transportation of slaves from one Slave State to another. We give this one of
many propositions to indicate somewhat the direction Congressional sentiment was taking. Most of the plans, in one way or another, proposed a restoration of the Missouri Compromise line as the basis of adjustment. Monday was spent in the Senate, in mere interchanges of opinion. A number of Senators made remarks-all expressive of a wish for the adjustment of differences, except those made by the Gulf State Senators. The views of Messrs. Douglas, Crittenden, Bigler, Latham, King, Dixon, all were characterized by moderation, and gave promise of harmony of action. In the House the question of excusing Mr. Hawkins, of Florida, from serving on the Committee of Thirty-Three, was discussed by Messrs. Hawkins, Vallandigham, McClernard, Sickles, &c. No conclusion was arrived at. The next day, (Tuesday,) was consumed in the discussion, but without a vote. In the Senate, Tuesday, an important speech was made by Iverson, of Georgia, in the course of which he declared against compromise or settlement upon any terms. He said, among other things :
scenes of murder between the two races as has
and it is especially their course to bring about this
sion about the Fugitive Slave law when we do not
And we intend to avoid it if we can.
* I do
not believe any concessions can be obtained, and if
solve the Union. What value would such conces-
lasts. * * * I believe the question is settled, and no power this side of Heaven can avert the result South Carolina has determined to risk all on this die,
and other States will follow. Those west of the Mis
"I tell the Senators here to day that the Southern people will never be satisfied with anything short of Congressional protection to slavery in the Territories. We know our rights under the constitution. We stand as equal States in this confederacy, and we are entitled to equal participation in is that going to decay? Never, so long as the Union the common property. We know well that we never can enjoy equal possession of the territories without protection to our property. I know well where the Wilmot proviso and non-intervention squatter sovereignty would lead. It would lead to the total exclu-sissippi are moving. That this Union is to be dission of the Southern States from any Territory which solved is a fixed fact, and no tinkering of the Constitution or of committees of thirty-three or thirteen is now possessed, or may be hereafter acquired. can avert the consequence." We will never submit to any such dictation as that. We are entitled to the protection of our property, and we intend to have it, in the Union if we can get it, and out of the Union if we cannot get it in. * We have now in the United States four millions and a half of slaves. They increase, according to the last census bill, at the rate of about thirty-two per
cent every ten years. If you precipitate all this population into eight or ten Gulf States, we will have, in ten years, 6,000,000, in twenty years we shall have 8,000,000 or 9,000,000, and in thirty years 12.000,000 to 15,000,000. In less than twenty years the slave population of the South will largely preponderate over the white. Then will come universal emancipation by the Federal Government, and such
Wigfall, of Texas, followed this, on Wednesday, with a violent speech to the same purpose as that by Iverson, though much less coherent and dignified.
In the House, Wednesday was literally a day of resolves. Resolutions for "saving the Union" were introduced by twenty-two members. These by Mr. Sherman (Republican) of Ohio, attracted the most remark outside the halls of Congress :
"Resolved, That the only true and effectual remedy for the dissensions that now exist be
'Resolved, That the special Committee of Thirtythree be instructed to inquire whether any State, or the people thereof, have failed to obey and enforce the obligations imposed by the Constitution, and, if so, the remedy thereof; and whether any further legislation is required to secure such enforcement.
Resolved, That to avoid all further controversies in regard to the several Territories of the United States, said committee divide said territories into States of convenient size, with a view to their prompt admission into the Union, on an equal footing with the other States."
One by Mr. Bingham (Republican) of Ohio, provided that the special Committee of Thirtythree report to the House such additional legislation as they may deem necessary to suppress and put down armed rebellion against the laws and authority of the United States: to protect the property thereof against unlawful seizure, and the citizens thereof against unlawful violence. This was the first resolve which looked to the compulsion of the President to do his duty.
Mr. English (Democrat) of Indiana, came forward with a proposition to give half of the Territories to the South, in which Slavery should be recognized by the resolution of partition. But the most singular proposition came from Mr. Noell (Democrat) of Missouri, who introduced resolutions instructing the special committee to take into consideration the propriety and necessity of abolishing, by amendment to the Constitution, the office of President, and of establishing, in lieu thereof, an executive council, consisting of three members, to be elected by districts composed of the contiguous States, as near as practicable, each member of said council to be armed with a veto power, such as is now vested in the President; and if such plan be deemed practicable by said special committee, that they report to this House such details thereof as may be necessary to accommodate the same to the existing Constitution of the United States; and that said special committee also be requested to take into consideration the means necessary, if any can be devised, to restore the equilibrium between
the Free and Slave States in the Senate, and particularly, whether this end can be accomplished, by a voluntary division, on the part of some of the Slave States, into two or more States.*
Mr. Cochrane (Democrat) of New York, introduced propositions for amendment to the Constitution, as follows:
"Whereas, a conflict of opinion dangerous to the peace and permanence of the Union has arisen, con
cerning the true intent and meaning of the Constitution of the United States, in relation to the subject of African Slavery; therefore
"Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives, (two-thirds of both Houses concurring), that the following article be proposed as an amendinent to the Constitution, which, when ratified by Convention in three-fourths of the several States, shall be valid as part of said Constitution, viz. :
"In all the territory of the United States lying North of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes, and not included within the limits of any of the existing States, Slavery and involuntary servitude, except in punishment of crime, shall be and is hereby prohib
ited. Provided that the said Territory, or any por
tion of the same, when admitted as a State, shall be received into the Union with or without Slavery, as its Constitution may prescribe at the time of its admission. That in all territory of the United States lying South of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes, not included within the limits of any existing State, neither Congress nor any Territorial Government shall pass any laws prohibiting or impairing the establishment of Slavery. Provided always that the said Territory, or any part of it, when admitted as
a State, shall be received into the Union with or without Slavery, as its Constitution may prescribe at the time of admission. Congress shall pass no
law prohibiting or interfering with the trade in slaves between the Slaveholding States and Territories. The migration or importation of slaves within the United States, or any of the Territories thereof, from any foreign country, is hereby prohibited. No person held to service or labor in any State, or in any Territory of the United States, under the laws thereof, escaping into any other State or Territory of the United States, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such
* This singular scheme of government was Mr. Calhoun's idea of two Presidents strengthened by one from the West. Mr. Benton characterized Calhoun's idea as similar to that of a horse hitched to
each end of a plow, and pulling in opposite directions.
OF THE TWO HOUSES.
service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due. The right of transit through, and temporary sojourn in, the several States and Territories of the United States, is hereby guaranteed to all the citizens of the several States and Territories, and their right to the possession and control of their slaves daring such sojourn and transit shall not be impugn ed. No law enacted by Congress for the rendition of fugitive slaves shall be in any degree impaired or impugned by anything contained in the laws or Constitution of any State or Territory, but all such State and Territorial Laws, and all such provisions in any State or other Constitution, shall be null and
Mr. Adrian (Dem.) of New Jersey, resolved that non-intervention was the true remedy. Mr. Hindman (Dem.). of Arkansas, proposed amendments to the Constitution expressly recognizing property in slaves where Slavery now exists, or may hereafter exist, and express the denial of the Federal Government to prohibit or interfere with it anywhere, or restrict the trade in slaves between the States; also, to express an agreement to protect Slavery wherever the Federal jurisdiction extends, and guarantee the protection of slaves while passing through the Free States; any State defeating or impairing the Fugitive law not to be entitled to representation in Congress until the nullifying laws be repeal
Mr. Larrabee (Dem.) of Wisconsin, introduced a resolution recommending the several States to call a Convention for amendments to the Constitution, to the end that the people may thus be enabled to confer together in the manner provided in the establishment of the Government, and adopt such measures as in their wisdom may be proper to promote the common welfare of the States.
The above propositions were severally read and referred to the committee of thirty-three. They are given here as indicative of the feeling on the floors of Congress of leading men of each party and section, and are only of interest as such an indication.
In the Senate, on Thursday, Johnson (Dem.) of Tennessee, introduced important resolutions specifying amendments to the Constitution. Wigfall continued his harangue of the previous day In the House Mr.Morris (Dem.) of Illinois, made another attempt to introduce a resolution declaratory of attachment to the Union: "that we will speak of it as the palladium of our political safety and prosperity; that we will watch its preservation with jealous anxiety; that we will discountenance whoever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned, and indignantly frown upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts; and among other things the resolution declares we regard the perpetuity of the Union as of more value than the temporary triumph of any party, or any man; that whatever evils
or abuses exist under it are fit to be corrected
within the Union in a peaceful and constitutional way; that we believe it has sufficient power to redress every wrong and enforce every right growing out of its organization or pertaining to its proper functions; and that it is a patriotic duty to stand by it, as our hope in peace and our defence in war." As on former occasions, Southern men objected to the reception of the resolution, and, under the rules, it was not admitted.
The two Houses adjourned over from Thursday to Monday, Dec. 17th.
OF THE CABINET. THE PRESIDENT'S POLICY. THE CONDITION OF THE CHARLESTON FORTS. GENERAL SCOTT'S PROPHETIC PAPER AND PROPOSITIONS. ACTION OF THE COM
THE position assumed by | preparing for revolution. the President was anoma- apparent that he lacked lous and perplexing.
want of power to coerce a State, served to reassure the Secession members named, and they remained. Mr. Cobb, however, was con
The manner in which Jackson discharged his duty when, in 1832, he was placed in a position nearly analogous, may be learned from his letter to Rev. J. S. Crawford, May 1st, 1833:
It daily became courage, candor, His sagacity, and devotion to his constitutional message denied the right of a State to with- oath; and the people felt that the greatest draw from the Union, asserted that the reve-peril was the President's incapacity for the nues must be collected, but confessed no power existed to coerce a State. Following It is known that several members of the up the dispatch of the message to Congress, Cabinet strongly opposed the doctrines of the was the dispatch of Assistant Secretary of President's Message, regarding a State's right State, Trescott, to Columbia, to prevail upon to withdraw from the Union, and that imthe Legislature not to order a Convention; portant modifications were made by Mr. Buor, if secession was predetermined, to post-chanan to appease Messrs. Cobb, Floyd and pone the act until compromise schemes Thompson. The promise of the President not could be acted upon; or, if secession was in- to reinforce the forts, and his confession of a evitable, to beg that no attempt should be made against the forts which he, as President, pledged his word should not be reinforced. The country looked to him as the guardian of its Constitution, to care for its prosperity, to enforce its laws, to pilot it safely through its peril; but, all classes became impressed with the President's unfitness, soon after the opening of Congress. He literally trifled with treason, taking no steps whatever to ticipate the conspiracy against the Union, nor to provide for the safe keeping of its property in the Southern States. Why don't he reinforce, and place in a state of efficient defence, the forts at Charleston, Savannah, Key West, Pensacola, Mobile, and at the mouths of the Mississippi? Why don't he place the rich stores of arms and munitions in the U. S. arsenals at Wilmington, Charleston, Augusta, Baton Rouge, under a strong guard? Why is not the immensely valuable and available property in Norfolk and Pensacola navy yards placed in a state of defence and usefulness? Few could answer, and the fact became daily apparent that he did not propose to anticipate the course of events by
"I have had a laborious task here, but nullification is dead, and its actors and courtiers will only be rean-membered by the people to be execrated for their wicked designs to sever and destroy the only good Government on the globe, and that prosperity and happiness we enjoy over every other portion of the world. Haman's gallows ought to be the fate of all such ambitious men who would involve the country in civil war, and all the evils in its train, that they might reign and ride on its whirlwinds, and direct the storm. The free people of the United States have spoken, and consigned these wicked demagogues to their proper doom. Take care of your nullifiers you have among you. Let them meet the indignant frowns of every man who loves his country. The tariff, it is now well known, was a mere pretext * * * Therefore, the tariff was the only pretext, and disunion and a Southern Confederacy the real object. The next pretext will be the Negro, or the Sla very question."