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referred to their respective Committees on Territories; but the accompanying Memorial from the Free-State Legislature, setting forth the grounds of the application, and praying for admission as a State, was, after having been received by the Senate, reconsidered, rejected, and returned to Col. Lane, on the allegation that material changes had been made in it since it left Kansas. The Senate, in like manner, rejected repeated motions to accept the Constitution, and thereupon admit Kansas as a Free State-there never being more than Messrs. Hamlin and Fessenden, of Maine, Hale and Bell, of New-Hampshire, Collamer and Foot, of Vermont, Sumner and Wilson, of Mass., Foster, of Connecticut, Seward and Fish, of New-York, Wade, of Ohio, Durkee and Dodge, of Wisconsin, Trumbull, of Illinois, and Harlan, of Iowa, (16) Senators in favor of such admission, and these never all present at the same time.
Mr. Stephens's substitute, as thus amended by its adversaries, was abandoned by its original friends, and received but two votes-those of Messrs. George G. Dunn, of Indiana, and John Scott Harrison, of Ohio--Nays, 210.
Mr. Dunn had previously moved a reference of the bill to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union. This was now defeated: Yeas, 101; Nays, 109.
Mr. Jones, of Tennessee, now moved that the bill do lie on the table, which was defeated. Yeas, 106; Nays, 107; (Barclay of Pennsyl vania, Dunn of Indiana, Haven and Williams, of New-York.-Yeas: Bayard Clarke, of NewYork, Hickman and Millward, of Pennsylvania, Moore, of Ohio, and Scott, of Indiana.-Nays: Scott Harrison, of Ohio, not voting, Wells of Wisconsin, absent). The House now refused to adjourn by 106 to 102; and, after a long struggle, the final question was reached, and the bill rejected: Yeas, 106; Nays, 107. So the bill was lost.
In the House-the aforesaid Constitution and Memorial having been submitted to the Committee on Territories-its Chairman, Mr. Grow, July 1st.-Mr. Barclay, (Dem.) of Pennsylof Penna., from a majority of said Committee, vania rose to a privileged motion. He moved reported in favor of the admission of Kansas a reconsideration of the preceding vote, by under such Constitution, as a Free State; and which the Free-Kansas bill had been rejected. after debate the Previous Question thereon was A stormy debate ensued, in the midst of which ordered (June 28th) by a vote of 98 Ayes to Mr. Howard, of Michigan, rose to a question of 63 Noes. Previous to this, however, Mr. Ste- higher privilege (as affecting the right of a phens, of Georgia, had proposed, as an amend- member [delegate] to his seat) and submitted ment or substitute, a radically different bill, the report of the Kansas Investigating Comcontemplating the appointment by the Presi- mittee (already given). The Speaker sustained dent and Senate of five Commissioners, who the motion, and the House sustained the should repair to Kansas, take a census of the Speaker. The report was thereupon presented inhabitants and legal voters, and thereupon pro-and read, consuming a full day. ceed to apportion, during the month of Septem- July 3rd.-The question of reconsidering the ber, 1856, the delegates (52) to form a Consti- vote defeating the Free-Kansas bill was again tutional Convention, to be elected by the legal reached. Mr. Houston, of Alabama, moved that voters aforesaid; said delegates to be chosen it do lie on the table; defeated: Yeas, 97; on the day of the Presidential election (Tuesday, Nov. 4th, 1856), and to assemble in Convention on the first Monday in December, 1856, to form a State Constitution. The bill proposed, also, penalties for illegal voting at said election. To this substitute-bill, Mr. Dunn, of Indiana, proposed the following amendment, to come in at the end as an additional section:
Nays, 102. The main question was then ordered: Yeas, 101; Nays, 98; and the reconsideration carried: Yeas, 101; Nays, 99. The previous question on the passage of the bill was now ordered: Yeas, 99; Nays, 96; a motion by Mr. McQueen, of South Carolina, to lay the bill on the table was defeated: Yeas, 97; Nays, 100; and then the bill was finally passed: Yeas, 99; Nays, 97.
Mr. Grow, of Pennsylvania, moved the reconsideration of this vote, and that the motion to reconsider do lie on the table, which was permitted, without further division.
SEC. 18.-And be it further enacted, That so much of the fourteenth section and of the thirty-second section of the act passed at the first session of the Thirty-Third Congress, commonly called the Kansas and Nebraska act, as reads as follows: "Except the eighth section of the act preparatory to the admission of Missouri into the Union, approved March 6, 1820, which, being inconsistent with June 30th.-Mr. Douglas reported to the the principle of non-intervention by Congress with Senate on several bills submitted by Messrs. Slavery in the States and Territories, as recognized by the legislation of 1850, commonly called the Compromise Clayton, Tombs, and others, for the pacificaMeasures, is hereby declared inoperative and void; it tion of the Kansas troubles, as also decidedly being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legis- against Gov. Seward's proposition to admit late Slavery into any State or Territory, or to exclude it Kansas as a Free State, under her Topeka Contherefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their stitution. Mr. Collamer, being the minority of own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United the Territorial Committee, made a brief and States: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to revive or put in force any law or regulation which may have existed prior to the act of 6th of March, 1820, either protecting, establishing, prohibiting, or abolishing Slavery," be, and the same is hereby, repealed. Povided, That any person or persons lawfully held to service within either of the Territories named in said act shall be discharged from such service, if they shall not be removed and kept out of said Territories within twelve months from the passage of this act.
Mr. Dunn's amendment to the Stephens amendment or substitute, was carried: Yeas, 109; Nays, 102.
Mr. Douglas gave pungent counter-report. notice that he would ask for a final vote on the day after the next.
July 1st.-Bill debated by Messrs. Thompson of Ky., Hale of N. H., Bigler of Pa., Adams of Miss., and Crittenden of Ky.
July 2d.-Debate continued through the day and following night, the majority resisting all motions to adjourn. Messrs. Wade, Pugh, Briggs, Bigler, Toombs, Clayton, Crittenden, Bell, Seward, Hale, and nearly half the Senate
participated. An amendment moved by Mr. Adams, of Miss., the day before, striking out so much of the bill as secures the Right of Suffrage, in the proposed reorganization of Kansas, to alien residents who shall have declared their intention to become citizens, and renounced all allegiance to foreign governments, was adopted: Yeas, 22; Nays, 16.
Some time in the. morning of July 3d, the following amendment, reduced to shape by Mr. Geyer, of Mo., was added to the 18th section the bill-only Brown, of Miss., Fitzpatrick, of Ala., and Mason, of Va., voting against it: Yeas, 40. It provides that
No law shall be made or have force or effect in said Territory [of Kansas] which shall require any attestation or oath to support any act of Congress or other legislative act, as a qualification for any civil office, public trust, or for any employment or profession, or to serve as a juror, or vote at an election, or which shall impose any tax upon, or condition to, the exercise of the right of suffrage, by any qualified' voter, or which shall restrain or prohibit the free discussion of any law or subject of legislation in the said Territory, or the free expression of opinion thereon by the people of said Ter
Mr. Trumbull, of Ill., moved the following: And be it further enacted, That it was the true intent and meaning of the act to organize the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas," not to legislate Slavery into Kansas, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free through their Territorial Legislature to regulate the institution of Slavery in their own way, subject to the Constitution of the United States; and that, until the Territorial Legislature acts upon the subject, the owner of a slave in one of the States has no right or authority to take such slave into the Territory of Kansas, and there hold him as a slave; but every slave taken to the Territory of Kansas by his owner for purposes of settlement is hereby declared to be free, unless there is some valid act of a duly constituted Legislative Assembly of said Territory, under which he may be held as a slave.
The Yeas and Nays being ordered, the proposition was voted down-Yeas, 9; Nays, 34
YEAS.-Messrs. Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Hale, Seward, Trumbull, Wade, and Wilson-9.
NAYS.-Messrs. Adams, Allen, Bayard, Bell of Tennessee, Benjamin, Biggs, Bigler, Bright, Brodhead, Brown, Cass, Clay, Crittenden, Dodge, Douglas, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Geyer, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson, Jones of Iowa, Mallory, Pratt, Pugh, Reid, Sebastian, Slidell, Thompson of Kentucky, Toombs, Toucey, Weller Wright, and Yulee-34.
Mr. Trumbull then proposed that the KansasNebraska act
was intended to, and does, confer upon, or leave to, the people of the Territory of Kansas full power, at any time, through its Territorial Legislature, to exclude Slavery from said Territory, or to recognize and regulate it there
This, too, was voted down. Mr. Trumbull then proposed the following:
patrick, Geyer, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson, Jones of Iowa,
Mr. Foster, of Connecticut, moved the following amendment:
SEC.-And be it further enacted, That, until the inhabitants of said Territory shall proceed to hold a Convention to form a State Constitution according to the provisions of this act, and so long as said Territory remains a Territory, the following sections contained in chapter one hundred and fifty-one, in the volume transmitted to the Senate, by the President of the United States, as containing the laws of Kansas, be, and the same are hereby, declared to be utterly null and void, viz. :
"§ 12. If any free person, by speaking or by writing, assert or maintain that persons have not the right to hold slaves in this Territory, or shall introduce into this Territory any book, paper, magazine, pamphlet, or circular, containing any denial of the right of persons to hold slaves in this Territory, such persons shall be deemed guilty of felony, and punished by imprisonment at hard labor for a term of not less than two years.
"§ 13. No person who is conscientiously opposed to holding slaves, or who does not admit the right to hold slaves in this Territory, shall sit as a juror on the trial of any prosecution for the violation of any one of the sections of this act."
This was rejected [as superfluous, or covered by a former amendment,] as follows:
YEAS.-Messrs. Allen, Bell of New-Hampshire, Clayton, Collamer, Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Hale, Seward, Trumbull, Wade, and Wilson-13.
NAYS.-Messrs. Bayard, Benjamin, Biggs, Bigler, Bright, Brodhead, Brown, Cass, Clay, Dodge, Douglas, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Geyer, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson, Jones of Iowa, Mallory, Mason, Pratt, Pugh, Reid, Sebastian, Slidell, Stuart, Thompson of Kentucky, Toombs, Toucey, Weller, Wright, and Yulee-32.
Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, moved that the whole bill be stricken out and another inserted instead, repealing all the Territorial laws of Kansas.
Rejected: Yeas, 8, (Bell, of New-Hampshire, Collamer, Durkee, Fessenden, Foster, Seward, Wade, and Wilson;) Nays, 35.
Mr. Seward moved to strike out the whole
bill, and insert instead one admitting Kansas as a Free State, under the Topeka Constitution : Defeated-Yeas, 11; Nays, 36-as follows:
YEAS.-Messrs. Bell of New-Hampshire, Collamer Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Hale, Seward, Trumbull, Wade, and Wilson-11.
NAYS.-Messrs. Allen, Bayard, Bell of Tennessee, Benjamin, Biggs, Bigler, Bright, Brodhead, Brown, Cass, Clay, Clayton, Crittenden, Dodge, Douglas, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Geyer, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson, Jones of Iowa, Mallory, Mason, Pratt, Pugh, Reid, Sebastian, Slidell,
Stuart, Thompson of Kentucky, Toombs, Toucey, Weller,
The bill was now reported as amended, and the amendment made in Committee of the Whole concurred in. The bill was then (8 A. M.) ordered to be engrossed and read a third time; and, on the question of its final passage, the vote stood-Yeas, 33; Nays, 12-as follows: YEAS.-Messrs. Allen, Bayard, Bell of Tennessee, BenAnd be it further enacted, That all the acts and pro-jamin, Biggs, Bigler, Bright, Brodhead, Brown, Cass, ceedings of all and every body of men heretofore assem- Clay, Crittenden, Douglas, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Geyer, bled in said Territory of Kansas, and claiming to be a Hunter, Iverson, Johnson, Jones of Iowa, Mallory, Pratt, Legislative Assembly thereof, with authority to pass laws Pugh, Reid, Sebastian, Slidell, Stuart, Thompson of Kenfor the government of said Territory, are hereby declared tucky, Toombs, Toucey, Weller, Wright, and Yulee-33. to be utterly null and void. And no person shall hold any office, or exercise any authority or jurisdiction in said Territory, under or by virtue of any power or authority derived from such Legislative Assembly; nor shall the members thereof exercise any power or authority as such.
This, too, was voted down, as follows:
NAYS.-Messrs. Bell of New-Hampshire, Collamer, Dodge, Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Hale, Seward, Trumbull, Wade, and Wilson-12.
The bill was then sent to the House. It provides that five competent persons appointed by the President, shall take a census of the legal voters of the Territory on the 4th of July, 1856, these to be apportioned into 52 districts, for the purpose of electing delegates to form a State Constitution; it imposes penalties for using force or threats to influence any qualified voter
in giving his vote, or to deter him from going to the polls; the delegates elected under this act to assemble in Convention on the 1st Monday of December, 1856, to first determine by vote whether it is expedient to form a State Constitution and Government, and if it is decided to be expedient, to proceed to form a Constitution and Government for the State of Kansas, with the boundaries defined in this act. The bill was never acted on in the House, but lay on the Speaker's table, untouched, when the session terminated by adjournment, Monday, Aug. 18th.
July 8th.-In Senate, Mr. Douglas reported back from the Committee on Territories the House bill to admit Kansas as a State, with an amendment striking out all after the enacting clause, and inserting instead the Senate bill (No. 356) just referred to.
Mr. Hale, of N. H., moved to amend this substitute by providing that all who migrate to the Territory prior to July 4th, 1857, shall be entitled to a vote in determining the character of the institutions of Kansas. Lost: Yeas, 13; Nays, 32.
Mr. Trumbull, of Ill., moved that all the Territorial laws of Kansas be repealed and the Territorial officers dismissed. Rejected: Yeas, 12; Nays, 32.
who may be restrained of his liberty by reason of said prosecutions, shall be released therefrom without delay. Nor shall there hereafter be instituted any criminal prosecution, in any of the courts of the United States, or of said Territory, against any person or persons for any such charge of treason in said Territory prior to the pasage of this act, or any violation or disregard of said Legislative enactments at any time.
23 grants to every actual settler a right of preemption to the quarter-section of public land improved and occupied by him in said Territory of Kansas, prior to Jan. 1st, 1858.
The two last and most important sections of Mr. Dunn's bill are verbatim as follows:
fourteenth section, and also so much of the thirty-second $24. And be it further enacted, That so much of the section, of the act passed at the first session of the thirtythird Congress, commonly known as the Kansas-Nebraska tion of the act preparatory to the admission of Missouri act, as reads as follows, to wit: "Except the eighth secinto the Union, approved March 6, 1820, which being inconsistent with the principle of non-intervention by Congress with Slavery in the States and Territories as recognized by the legislation of 1850, commonly called the Compromise Measures, is hereby declared inoperative and void; it being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate Slavery into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to revive or put in force any law or regulation which may have existed prior to the act of 6th March, 1820, either protecting, establishing, prohibiting or abolishing slavery"-be and the Mr. Collamer, of Vt., proposed an amendment, said act of the 6th of March, 1820, is hereby revived and same is hereby repealed, and the said eighth section of prohibiting Slavery in all that portion of the declared to be in full force and effect within the said Louisiana purchase north of 36° 30′ not in- Territories of Kansas and Nebraska: Provided, howcluded in the Territory of Kansas. Rejected-of said Territories shall not be discharged from such ever, That any person lawfully held to service in either Yeas, 12; Nays, 30-as follows: service by reason of such repeal and revival of said eighth section, if such person shall be permanently reYEAS-Messrs. Bell of N. H., Collamer, Dodge, Fes-moved from such Territory or Territories prior to the 1st senden, Fish, Foot, Foster, Hale, Hamlin, Seward, Trum- day of January, 1858: and any child or children born in either of said Territories, of any female lawfully held NAYS-Messrs. Adams, Bayard, Benjamin, Biggs, Bright, to service, if in like manner removed without said TerriBrodhead, Butler, Cass, Clay, Crittenden, Douglas, Fitz-tories before the expiration of that date, shall not be, patrick, Geyer, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson, Jones of Iowa, by reason of anything in this act, emancipated from Jones of Tenn., Mallory, Mason, Pearce, Pugh, Reid, Se- any service it might have owed had this act never been bastian, Slidell, Stuart, Thompson of Ky., Toombs, Weller, passed: And provided further, That any person lawfully held to service in any other State or Territory of the United States, and escaping into either the Territory of the person or place where such service is due, under any Kansas or Nebraska, may be reclaimed and removed to law of the United States which shall be in force upon the subject.
bull and Wade.
The substitute reported by Mr. Douglas was then agreed to-Yeas, 32; Nays, 13-and the bill in this shape passed.
[This amendment was not concurred in nor ever acted on by the House.]
$25. And be it further enacted, That all other parts of the aforesaid Kansas-Nebraska act which relate to the said Territory of Kansas, and every other law or usage having, or which is pretended to have, any force or effect spirit of this act, except such laws of Congress and treaty in said Territory in conflict with the provisions or the stipulations as relate to the Indians, are hereby repealed and declared void.
July 29th.-Mr. Dunn, of Ind., called up a bill "To reorganize the Territory of Kansas and for other purposes," which he had originally (July 7th) proposed as a substitute for the Senate bill (No 356) aforesaid. Its length, and the substantial identity of many of its provisions with those Mr. Dunn, having carried a reference to the of other bills organizing Territories contained in this volume, dissuade us from quoting it Committee of the Whole, of a bill introduced entire. It provides for a legislative election on by Mr. Grow, repealing all the acts of the althe first Tuesday in November next; and sec-moved and carried a reconsideration of that leged Territorial Legislature of Kansas, now tion 15 proceeds:
§ 15. And be it further enacted, That all suits, processes, and proceedings, civil and criminal, at law and in chancery, and all indictments and informations which shall be pending and undetermined in the courts of the Territory of Kansas or of New-Mexico, when this act shall take effect, shall remain in said courts where pending, to be heard, tried, prosecuted, and determined in such courts as though this act had not been passed: Provided, nevertheless, That all criminal prosecutions now pending in any of the courts of the Territory of Kan
sas imputing to any person or persons the crime of treason against the United States, and all criminal prosecutions, by information or indictment, against any person or persons for any alleged violation or disregard whatever of what are usually known as the laws of the Legislature of Kansas, shall be forthwith dismissed by the courts where such prosecutions may be pending, and every person
vote, and proceeded to the striking out of
ultimately given up by the House, save one | adoption of the Free-State constitution as aforeappropriating $20,000 for the pay and expenses said, had been previously beaten, after prevailof the next Territorial Legislature, which the ing in the House-the Senate striking them out Senate gave up, on finding itself in serious dis- and the House (by union of nearly all the supagreement with the House, and thus secured porters of Fillmore with nearly or quite all the passage of the Civil Appropriation bill. those supporting Buchanan) finally acquiescing. Finally, the two Houses were at odds, on a pro- The 34th Congress reassembled on the 1st of viso forbidding the employment of the Army to December. Since the adjournment from the enforce the acts of the Shawnee Mission assem-last session the presidential election had taken blage, claiming to be a Territorial Legislature place, resulting in the election of of Kansas, when at noon on the 18th of Au- Buchanan as President. The popular vote gave In gust the speaker's hammer fell, anouncing the neither of the three candidates a majority. termination of the session, leaving the Army the Free States the election was hotly contested bill unpassed. But President Pierce imme- and a very large vote polled. In the Southern diately issued a proclamation convening an extra States the vote was small, as no issue was presession on the 21st (Thursday), when the two sented to the people, it being claimed by Houses reconvened accordingly, and a full quo- their respective partisans, that both the candirum of each was found to be present. The dates (Buchanan and Fillmore) voted for in House promptly repassed the army bill, again that section were equally Pro-Slavery. But the affixing a proviso forbiding the use of the army | pro-slavery leaders had declared in favor of to enforce the disputed Territorial laws, which Buchanan, and he consequently received large proviso the Senate as promptly struck out, and majorities in nearly every Slave State. the House as promptly reinserted. The Senate On the first day of the session, Kansas affairs insisted on its disagreement, but asked no con- came up in the House on an objection to admit ference, and the House (Aug. 22d) by a close J. W. Whitfield to a seat as a delegate, the obvote decided to adhere to its proviso: Yeas, 97;jection being that the border ruffian laws under Nays, 93; but one of the yeas (Bocock of Va.) which he had been elected were "null and was so given in order to be able to move a re-void." consideration; so that the true division was 96 to 94, which was the actual division on a motion by Mr. Cobb of Ga. that the House recede from its position. Finally, a motion to reconsider was made and laid on the table; Yeas, 97; Nays, 96; and the House thereupon adjourned.
Aug. 23d.-The Senate also voted to here: Yeas, 35; Nays, 9.
Mr. Clayton proposed a committee of ence, to which Mr. Seward objected.
Mr. Grow spoke against admitting Whitfield, and quoted from a speech of Mr. Clayton. (a short time before his decease) in the Senate. Mr. Clayton, in speaking of these laws, said:
Now, sir, let me allude to that subject which is the great cause of all this discord between the two Houses. The unjust, iniquitous, oppressive and infamous laws ad-enacted by the Kansas Legislature, as it is called, ought to be repealed before we adjourn.'
What are these laws? One of them sends a man to hard
Confer-labor for not less than two years for daring to discuss the question whether Slavery exists, or does not exist, ac-in Kansas: not less than two years-it may be fifty; and if a man could live as old as Methuselah, it might be
No In the House, Mr. Campbell, of Ohio, proposed a similiar Committee of Conference. Objected
Mr. Cobb, of Ga., moved that the House recede from its Kansas proviso. Defeated: Yeas, 97; Nays, 100. Adjourned.
The struggle for the passage of the bill with or without the proviso continued until Saturday, August 30th, when, several members, hostile to the proviso, and hitherto absent, unpaired, having returned, the House again passed the Army bill with the proviso modified as follows: Provided, however, that no part of the military force of the United States, for the support of which appropriations are made by this act, shall be employed in aid of the enforcement of any enactments heretofore made by the body claiming to be the Territorial Legislature of Kansas.
over nine hundred years. That act prohibits all freedom of discussion in Kansas on the great subject directly referred to the exclusive decision of the people in that Territory; strikes down the liberty of the press too; and is an act egregiously tyrannical as ever was attempted gland, and this Senate persists in declaring that we are by any of the Stuarts, Tudors or Plantagenets of En
not to repeal that!
Sir, let us tender to the House of Representatives the
repeal of that and all other objectionable and infamous laws that were passed by that Legislature. I include in this denunciation, without any hesitation, those acts which prescribe that a man shall not even practice law in the Territory unless he swears to support the Fugitive Slave Law; that he shall not vote at any election, or be a member of the Legislature, unless he swears to support the Fugitive Slave Law; that he shall not hold any office of honor or trust there, unless he swears to support the Fugitive Slave Law; and you may as well impose just such a test oath for any other and every other law. . I will not go through the whole catalogue of the oppressive laws of this Territory. I have done that before toThe bill passed as reported (under the Pre-day. There are others as bad as these to which I have now referred. I will not, on the other hand, vious Question): Yeas, 99; Nays, 79; and was ever degrade myself by standing for an instant by those sent to the Senate, where the above proviso abominable and infamous laws which I denounced here this morning. What I desire now is, that the Senate was stricken out: Yeas, 26; Nays, 7; and the of the United States shall wash its hands of all participabill thus returned to the House, when the Sen-tion in these iniquities by repealing those laws. ate's amendment was concurred in: Yeas, 101; Nays, 97.
So the proviso was beaten at last, and the bill passed, with no restriction on the President's discretion in the use of the Army in Kansas; just as all attempts of the House to direct the President to have a nolle prosequi entered in the case of the Free-State prisoners in Kansas charged with aiding the formation and
On Dec. 2nd, President Pierce sent his annual message to the two Houses of Congress. In referring to the late election, the President says:
It is impossible to misapprehend the great principles which, by their recent political action, the people of the United States have sanctioned and announced.
They have asserted the Constitutional equality of each
and all of the States of the Union as States; they have affirmed the constitutional equality of each and all of the citizens of the United States as citizens, whatever
their religion, wherever their birth, or their residence; | problems of social institutions, political economy, and they have maintained the inviolability of the constitu- statesmanship, they treat with unreasonable intempetional rights of the different sections of the Union; and rance of thought and language. Extremes beget exthey have proclaimed their devoted and unalterable at- tremes. Violent attack from the North finds its inevitable tachment to the Union and the Constitution, as objects consequence in the growth of a spirit of angry defiance at of interest superior to all subjects of local or sectional the South. Thus, in the progress of events, we had controversy, as the safeguard of the rights of all as the reached the consummation which the voice of the people spirit and true essence of the liberty, peace, and great- has now so pointedly rebuked, of the attempt of a portion ness of the Republic. of the States, by a sectional organization and movement, to usurp the control of the Government of the United States.
In doing this, they have, at the same time, emphatically condemned the idea of organizing in these United States mere geographical parties; of marshalling in hostile array towards each other the different parts of the country, North or South, East or West.
Schemes of this nature, fraught with incalculable mischief, and which the considerate sense of the people has rejected, could have had countenance in no part of the country, had they not been disguised by suggestions plausible in appearance, acting upon an excited state of the public mind, induced by causes temporary in their character, and it is to be hoped transient in their influ
Perfect liberty of association for political objects and the widest scope of discussion are the received and ordinary conditions of government in our country. Our institutions, framed in the spirit of confidence in the intelligence and integrity of the people, do not forbid citizens, either individually or associated together, to attack by writing, speech, or any other methods short of physical force, the Constitution and the very existence of the Union. Under the shelter of this great liberty, and protected by the laws and usages of the government they assail, associations have been formed in some of the States, of individuals who, pretending to seek only to prevent the spread of the institution of Slavery into the present or future inchoate States of the Union, are really inflamed with desire to change the domestic institutions of existing States. To accomplish their objects, they dedicate themselves to the odious task of depreciating the Government organization which stands in their way, and of calumniating, with indiscriminating invective, not only the citizens of particular States, with whose laws they find fault, but all others of their fellow-citizens throughout the country, who do not participate with them in their assaults upon the Constitution, framed and adopted by our fathers, and claiming for the privileges it has secured, and the blessings it has conferred, the steady support and grateful reverence of their children. They seek an object which they well know to be a revolutionary one. They are perfectly aware that the change in the relative condition of the white and black races in the slaveholding States, which they would promote, is beyond their lawful authority; that to them it is a foreign object; that it cannot be effected by any peaceful instrumentality of theirs; that for them, and the States of which they are citizens, the only path to its accomplishment is through burning cities, and ravaged fields, and slaughtered populations, and all there is most terrible in foreign, complicated with civil and servile war; and that the first step in the attempt is the forcible disruption of a country embracing in its broad bosom a degree of liberty, and an amount of individual and public prosperity to which there is no parallel in history, and substituting in its place hostile governments, driven at once and inevitably into mutual devastation and fratricidal carnage, transforming the now peaceful and felicitous brotherhood into a vast permanent camp of armed men, like the rival monarchies of Europe and Asia. Well knowing that such, and such only, are the means and the consequences of their plans and purposes, they endeavor to prepare the people of the United States for civil war by doing everything in their power to deprive the Constitution and the laws of moral authority, and to undermine the fabric of the Union by appeals to passion and sectional prejudice, by indoctrinating its people with reciprocal hatred, and by educating them to stand face to face as enemies, rather than
shoulder to shoulder as friends.
I confidently believe that the great body of those who inconsiderately took this fatal step are sincerely attached to the Constitution and the Union. They would, upon deliberation, shrink with unaffected horror from any conscious act of disunion or civil war. But they have entered into a path which leads nowhere, unless it be to civil war and disunion, and which has no other possible outlet. They have proceeded thus far in that direction in consequence of the successive stages of their progress having consisted of a series of secondary issues, each of which professed to be confined within constitutional and peaceful limits, but which attempted indirectly what few men were willing to do directly; that is, to act aggressively against the constitutional rights of nearly one-half of the thirty-one States.
In the long series of acts of indirect aggression, the first was the strenuous agitation, by citizens of the Northern States, in Congress and out of it, of the question of negro emancipation in the Southern States.
In reference to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and the legislative power of Congress over the Territories, the President says: graphical line, was acquiesced in, rather than approved, The enactment which established the restrictive geoby the States of the Union. It stood on the statute-book, however, for a number of years; and the people of the respective States acquiesced in the reenactment of the principle as applied to the State of Texas; and it was proposed to acquiesce in its further application to the But this proposition was successfully resisted by the reterritory acquired by the United States from Mexico. presentatives from the Northern States, who, regardless of the statute line, insisted upon applying restriction to the new territory generally, whether lying north or south of it, thereby repealing it as a legislative compromise, and, on the part of the North, persistently violating the compact, if compact there was.
Thereupon, this enactment ceased to have binding virtue in any sense, whether as respects the North or the South; and so in effect it was treated on the occasion of the admission of the State of California, and the organization of the Territories of New Mexico, Utah and Washington. Such was the state of this question when the time arrived for the organization of the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska. In the progress of constitutional inquiry and reflection, it had now at length come to be seen clearly that Congress does not possess constitutional power to impose restrictions of this character upon any present or future State of the Union. In a long series of decisions, on the fullest argument, and after the most deliberate consideration, the Supreme Court of the United States had finally determined this point in every form under which the question could arise, whether as affecting public or private rights-in questions of the public domain, of religion, of navigation, and of servitude.
The several States of the Union are, by force of the Constitution, coequal in domestic legislative power. Congress cannot change a law of domestic relation in the State of Maine: no more can it in the State of Missouri. Any statute which proposes to do this is a mere nullity; it takes away no right, it confers none. If it remains on the statute-book unrepealed, it remains there only as a monument of error, and a beacon of warning to the legislator and the statesman. To repeal it will be only to remove imperfection from the statutes, without affecting, either in the sense of permission or of prohibition, the action of the States, or of their citizens.
Still, when the nominal restriction of this nature, already a dead letter in law, was in terms repealed by the last Congress, in a clause of the act organizing the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, that repeal was made the occasion of a wide spread and dangerous agitation.
It is by the agency of such unwarrantable interference, foreign and domestic, that the minds of many, otherwise good citizens, have been so inflamed into the passionate condemnation of the domestic institutions of the Southern States, as at length to pass insensibly to almost equally passionate hostility toward their fellow-citizens of those States, and thus, finally, to fall into the temporary fellowship with the avowed and active enemies of the Constitution. Ardently attached to liberty in the abstract, they do not stop to consider practically how the objects they would attain can be accomplished, nor to reflect On the motion to print the Message and acthat, even if the evil were as great as they deem it, they companying documents, Mr. Hale, of N. H., have no remedy to apply, and that it can be only aggra- said: vated by their violence and unconstitutional action. A question which is one of the most difficult of all the
It was alleged that the original enactment being a compact of perpetual moral obligation, its repeal constituted an odious breach of faith.
I look on the message of the President as a most un