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The bill as it passed the senate contained a provision, known as "Clayton's amendment," restricting the right of suffrage in the territories to citizens and those who had declared their intentions to become such.

On the 21st of March, Mr. Richardson of Illinois, in the house, moved to refer the bill, as it came from the senate, to the committee on territories, of which he was the chairman. Mr. Francis b. Cutting of New York, moved that it be sent to the committee of the whole where it could be freely discussed. His motion was carried, after a severe struggle, by a vote of 110 to 95. This was regarded as a triumph of the enemies of the bill and inspired hopes of its ultimate defeat in the house.

On the 22d of May, after a most exciting contest, lasting nearly two months, in committee of the whole, Mr. Alex. II. Stephens of Georgia, by an extraordinary stratagem in parliamentary tactics succeeded in closing the debate and bringing the bill to a vote in the house, where it finally passed, before adjournment, by a vote of 113 to 100.1

As the bill passed the house it differed from the one that came from the senate, chiefly, in being divested of Mr. Clayton's amendment, excluding aliens from voting. It was therefore necessary that it should go back to the senate to be again considered and voted upon. On the 24th of May, two days after it passed the house, the senate, on motion of Mr. Douglas, proceeded to act upon the bill.

Mr. Pearce of Maryland, renewed Mr. Clayton's amendment, but it now received only seven votes-Messrs. Bayard, Bell, Brodhead, Brown, Clayton, Pearce, and Thompson of Kentucky.

The bill was met on its return by Messrs. Seward, Sumner and Chase with a continued and powerful opposition. But it was all to no effect. The bill again passed the senate by a vote of 35 to 13; and amid the firing of cannon and the shouting of its friends, it was sent to the president for his signature, at three o'clock in the morning of May 26, 1854. President Pierce promptly gave it his approval, and the odious measure became the law of the land.

1 Among the Democrats who voted in the minority were Messrs. Banks of Massachusetts, Davis of Rhode Island, Fenton of New York, Grow of Pennsylvania, Jones of New York, Wentworth of Illinois, and several others who have since returned to the democratic party. From the south Messrs Benton of Missouri, Cullom, Etheridge and Taylor of Tennessee, Hunt of Louisiana, Millson of Virginia, Puryear and Rogers of North Carolina, voted against the measures. With these exceptions the bill was supported by the democrats of the north and south and the southern whigs.

Thus was abrogated the Missouri compromise-a law enacted thirty years before with all the solemnity of a compact between the free and the slave states-and a territory as large as the thirteen original states opened to slavery. The act was consummated by the coöperation of the north. Originating with a senator from a free state, it was passed by a congress containing in each branch a majority of members from the free states, and was sanctioned by the approval of a free state president.

The friends of this legislation attempted to defend it on the pretence that it was not an original act, but only declaratory of the true intent and significance of the compromise measures of 1850. For his resistance to those measures, Mr. Seward had been vehemently denounced. But at the very commencement of the Nebraska struggle, the friends of freedom at the north turned their eyes toward him as their devoted champion. He was beset with appeals on all sides to awaken the country to the atrocity of the proposed transac tion. In no quarter were these appeals more urgent than in the city of New York, where his opposition to the compromise of 1850 had been most severely condemned. With his usual sagacity and confidence in the popular impulse, and faithful to his innate sense of personal dignity, he kept aloof from these overtures, and was content with the zealous discharge of his senatorial duties on the floor of congress. A characteristic letter, in reply to an invitation to address a public meeting in the city of New York, in the midst of the excitement, will be found in this volume. He closes his letter with these


"I beg you to be assured that, while declining to go into popular assemblies as an agitator, I shall endeavor to do my duty here, with as many true men as shall be found in a delegation which, if all were firm and united in the maintenance of public right and justice, would be able to control the decision of this question. But the measure of success and effect which shall crown our exertions must depend now, as heretofore, on the fidelity with which the people whom we represent shall adhere to the policy and principles which are the foundation of their own unrivalled prosperity and greatness."

The pledges given in this letter were nobly fulfilled. The first of his speeches on the Nebraska bill was a profound and dispassionate statement of the whole argument against the measure, alike remarkable for compact narrative and logical arrangement. Though

it failed of preventing the accomplishment of the measure in con gress, it acted with magnetic power on the people of the free states arousing them to a spirit of unconquerable resistance to the aggres sions of slavery. The conclusion of this speech, as we read it now seems like the prophecy of inspiration. Its last words were: "Ther "is a Superior Power that overrules all your actions and all your "refusals to act, and I fondly hope and trust overrules them to the "advancement of the happiness, greatness and glory of our country"that overrules, I know, not only all your actions and all your refu"sals to act, but all human events, to the distant but inevitable result "of the equal and universal liberty of all men."

It was a gloomy night for the lovers of freedom when the telegraphic despatches flashed throughout the country, announcing that the ill-omened bill was on its final reading in the senate. Mr. Seward chose that hour of intense excitement to close the debate on his part. The commencement of his speech was solemn and impressive. He reviewed the sophistries which had been offered in defense of the bill with a clearness and power that might almost have arrested its progress even on the verge of enactment. Presenting to the free states the evidences of their ability to procure a repeal of the law, he urged, by conclusive arguments, the importance of such a step, and, at the same time, luminously expounded the methods of excluding slavery from Nebraska, Kansas, and the vast unsettled regions of the west, by aiding and promoting a rapid and systematic emigration into the territories in question. The effect of this speech was cheering in the extreme. It threw a rainbow across the dark cloud that hung over the country. The auspicious omen was accepted; and the faith of the people has since been rewarded by the most gratifying results.'

Besides these two important speeches, Mr. Seward made several other elaborate efforts in the senate during this eventful session. One, on the bill granting lands to the several states for the relief of the indigent insane, is deserving of especial notice. This measure (known as "Miss Dix's bill for the insane") had passed both houses," and been returned to the senate by the president with a veto message

An Emigrant Aid Society was immediately formed in Washington among members of congress, and others soon sprang up in New England and various parts of the country.

2 In the senate it received 35 votes, with but 12 against it. In the house the yeas were 81, the nays 53.

Mr. Seward's remarks were devoted mainly to a review of the president's message, which he characterized as desultory, illogical and confused. He concludes with an eloquent and pertinent vindication of the rights and interests of the individual states of the Union. He desired "not to abate the federal strength and diminish the majesty of the Union, but to invigorate and aggrandize the states, and to enable them to maintain their just equilibrium in one grand but exquisitely contrived political system." The bill failed to pass over the president's veto, and has never since been successfully revived.

Mr. Seward advocated, at different times during the session, a system of postal reform. But this, like other measures of public benefit, was lost amid the general wreck. He was especially desirous of securing greater expedition and safety in the transmission of the mails between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. A proposition to give one hundred thousand dollars to the brave sailors who rescued the survivors of the wreck of the steamer San Francisco, lost at sea with two hundred and forty lives on the 5th of January, 1854, received his support. His speech in its behalf was characterized by a generous humanity as well as by sound views of public policy.

The project of acquiring Cuba was broached in the senate soon after the passage of the Nebraska bill. Mr. Seward spoke at some length on the Africanization of the island. He opposed the bill to suspend the duties on railroad iron, as contrary to a wise and sound policy.

The homestead bill always found in Mr. Seward a steady supporter. In a speech made on the 12th of July, 1854, in defense of this measure, he took occasion to express his views very freely on what was then called "know nothingism."

In the debate on "appropriations for the improvement of rivers and harbors," Mr. Seward energetically contended for the interests of commerce and navigation on the great lakes, reviewing severely the president's veto of a previous bill.

During the discussion of the Kansas and Nebraska bill in the house of representatives, a memorial remonstrating against the repeal of the Missouri compromise signed by three thousand and fifty clergymen of New England, was presented to the senate by Edward Everett. Mr. Douglas and other senators attacked this memorial with great violence, severely criticising its language, questioning its propriety and denying the claim of its authors to a hearing in the

senate. Mr. Seward, maintaining the right of petition on its broade grounds, defended the course of the memorialists, and in a bric speech sustained his positions with his accustomed vigor and acumer After a spirited debate the petition was received in the usual manne and laid on the table. But the dignified defense of the remonstrants made by Mr. Seward, was remembered with favor by the lovers o justice and freedom of conscience in all parts of the country.

Two unusually important treaties were ratified by the senate, in executive or secret session, during this meeting of congress. One i known as the "Gadsden treaty" for the settlement of our relations with Mexico, and the other as the "reciprocity treaty" for the regu lation of trade between Canada and the United States. Mr. Seward is understood to have opposed the former, while he gave his support to the latter.

Just before the adjournment of congress (on the 26th of July, 1854) Mr. Seward delivered the annual oration before the Phi Beta Kappa society of Yale college, on which occasion he received the honorary degree of doctor of laws. The subject of his discourse was, "the physical, moral and intellectual development of the American people," which he treated with great discrimination and vigorous eloquence, commanding the admiration of a highly intellectual audience and strengthening his well earned title to oratorical fame. After an arduous session of more than eight months, congress adjourned on the 7th of August, 1854. In October, following, Mr. Seward made an elaborate argument in the circuit court of the United States at Albany, in the celebrated McCormick reaper case.

The state elections, in the autumn, in all the free states, resulted in a decided verdict against the extraordinary legislation of congress and the action of the administration. Only seventy-nine members were elected, in all the states, to the next congress who were known as friends of the president's policy,' while one hundred and seventeen were chosen as decided opponents of the repeal of the Missouri compromise. The remaining thirty-seven members, classed as whigs or Americans, were generally supposed to sympathize with the administration in its pro-slavery character, although unwilling to be classed as its friends.

1 See present volume for this oration and the speeches before noticed.

2 At the election for speaker the administration candidate, Mr. Richardson, the father of the Nebraska bill in the house, at the previous session, received on the first ballot 74 votes.

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