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domestic institutions. But there is another which I deeply regret to see introduced into this Senate, by a Senator from a slaveholding State; it is that which assumes that Slavery does not now exist by law in those countries. I understand one of these propositions to declare that, by law, Slavery is now abolished in NewMexico and California. That was the very proposition advanced by the non-slaveholding States at the last session; combated and disproved, as I thought, by gentlemen from the slaveholding States and which the Compromise bill was framed to test. So far, I regarded the question of law as disposed of, and it was very clearly and satisfactorily shown to be against the spirit of the resolution of the Senator from Kentucky. If the contrary is true, I presume the Senator from Kentucky would declare that if a law is now valid in the Territories abolishing Slavery, that it could not be introduced there, even if a law was passed creating the institution, or repealing the statutes already existing; a doctrine never assented to, so far as I know, until now, by any Senator representing one of the slaveholding States. Sir, I hold the very opposite, and with such confidence, that at the last session I was willing and did vote for a bill to test this question in the Supreme Court. Yet this resolution assumes the other doctrine to be true, and our assent is challenged to it as a proposition of law.
of the Territory acquired by us from Mexico. He holds a directly contrary opinion to mine, as he has a perfect right to do; and we will not quarrel about that difference of opinion.
Mr. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, objected specially to so much of Mr. Clay's propositions as relates to the boundary of Texas, to the slave-trade in the Federal district, and to Mr. Clay's avowal in his speech that he did not believe Slavery ever would or could be established in any part of the Territories acquired from Mexico. He continued:
Mr. William R. King, of Alabama, was inclined to look with favor on Mr. Clay's propositions, and assented to some of them; but he objected to the mode in which California had formed what is called a State Constitution. He preferred the good old way of first organizing Territories, and so training up their people "for the exercise and enjoyment of our institutions." Besides, he thought "there was not that kind of population there that justified the formation of a State Government." On the question of Slavery in the new Territories, he said:
We ask no act of Congress-as has been properly intimated by the Senator from Mississippi-to carry Slavery anywhere. Sir, I believe we have as much Constitutional power to prohibit Slavery from going into the Territories of the United States, as we have to pass an act carrying Slavery there. We have no right to do either the one or the other. I would as soon vote for the Wilmot Proviso as I would vote for any law which required that Slavery should go into any of the Territories.
Mr. Downs, of Louisiana, said:
I must confess that, in the whole course of my life, my
astonishment has never been greater than it was when I saw this (Mr. Clay's) proposition brought forward as a compromise; and I rise now, sir, not for the purpose of discussing it at all, but to protest most solemnly against it. I consider this compromise as no compromise at all. What, sir, does it grant to the South? I can see nothing at all.
Mr. Butler, of South Carolina, said:
But, sir, we are called upon to receive this as a measure of compromise! As a measure in which we of the minority are to receive nothing. A measure of compromise! I look upon it as but a modest mode of taking that, the claim to which has been more boldly asserted by others; and, that I may be understood upon this question, and that my position may go forth to the country in the same columns that convey the sentiments of the Senator from Kentucky, I here assert, that never will I take less than the Missouri Compromise line extended to the Pacific Ocean, with the specific recognition of the right to hold slaves in the Territory below that line; and that, before such Territories are admitted into the Union as States, slaves may be taken there from any of the United States at the option of the owners. never consent to give additional power to a majority to commit further aggressions upon the minority in this Union; and will never consent to any proposition which will have such a tendency, without a full guaranty or counteracting measure is connected with it.
As I understand it, the Senator from Kentucky's whole proposition of compromise is nothing more than this: That California is already disposed of, having formed a State Constitution, and that Territorial Governments shall be organized for Deseret and New-Mexico, under which, by the operation of laws already existing, a slaveholding population could not carry with them, or own slaves there. What is there in the nature of a compromise here, coupled, as it is, with the proposition that, by the existing laws in the Territories, it is almost certain that slaveholders cannot, and have no right to, go there with their property? What is there in the nature of a compromise here? I am willing, however, to run the risks, and am ready to give to the Territories the governments they require. I shall always think that, under a Constitution giving equal rights to all parties, the slaveholding people, as such, can go to these Territories, and retain their property there. But, if we adopt this proposition of the Senator from Kentucky, it is clearly on the basis that Slavery shall not go there.
Mr. Clay, in reply, said:
I am extremely sorry to hear the Senator from Mississippi say that he requires, first, the extension of the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific; and also that he is not satisfied with that, but requires, if I understood him correctly, a positive provision for the admission of Slavery south of that line. And now, sir, coming from a Slave State, as I do, I owe it to myself, I owe it to truth, I owe it to the subject, to state that no earthly power could induce me to vote for a specific measure for the introduction of Slavery where it had not before existed, either south or north of that line. Coming as I do from a slave State, it is my solemn, deliberate, and well-matured determination that no power-no earthly power-poses. shall compel me to vote for the positive introduction of Slavery either south or north of that line. Sir, while you reproach, and justly, too, our British ancestors for the introduction of this institution upon the Continent of America, I am, for one, unwilling that the posterity of the present inhabitants of California and New-Mexico shall reproach us for doing just what we reproach Great Britain for doing to us. If the citizens of those Territories choose to establish Slavery, I am for admitting them with such provisions in their Constitutions; but then, it will be their own work, and not ours, and their posterity will have to reproach them, and not us, for forming Constitutions allowing the institution of Slavery to exist among them. These are my views, sir, and I choose to express them; and I care not how extensively and universally they are known. The honorable Senator from Virginia has expressed his opinion that Slavery exists in these Territories, and I have no doubt that opinion is sincerely and honestly entertained by him; and I would say with equal sincerity and honesty, that I believe that Slavery nowhere exists within any portion
The debate having engrossed the attention of the Senate for nearly two months
March 25.-Mr. Douglas, from the Committee on Territories, reported the following bills:
Senate, 169.-A bill for the admission of California into the Union.
Senate, 170.-A bill to establish the Territorial Governments of Utah and New-Mexico, and for other pur
These bills were read, and passed to a second reading.
April 11.-Mr. Douglas moved that Mr. Bell's resolves do lie on the table. Lost: Yeas, 26; Nays, 28.
April 15.-The discussion of Mr. Clay's resolutions still proceeding, Colonel Benton moved that the previous orders be postponed, and that the Senate now proceed to consider the bill (S. 169) for the admission of the State of California.
Mr. Clay moved that this proposition do lie on the table. Carried Yeas, 27 (for a Compromise); Nays, 24 (for a settlement without compromise).
The Senate now took up Mr. Bell's resolves,
aforesaid, when Mr. Benton moved that they lie on the table. Lost: Yeas, 24; Nays, 28. Mr. Benton next moved that they be so amended as not to connect or mix up the admission of California with any other question. Lost: Yeas, 23; Nays, 28.
Various modifications of the generic idea were severally voted down, generally by large majorities.
Ön motion of Mr. Foote, of Miss., it was now Ordered, That the resolutions submitted by Mr. Bell on the 28th February, together with the resolutions submitted on the 29th of January, by Mr. Clay, be referred to a select Committee of thirteen; Provided, that the Senate does not deem it necessary, and therefore declines, to express in advance any opinion, or to give any instruction, either general or specific, for the guidance of the said Committee.
4. The combination of these two last mentioned measures in the same bill;
5. The establishment of the western and northern boundaries of Texas, and the exclusion from her jurisdiction of all New-Mexico, with the grant to Texas of a pecuniary equivalent; and the section for that purpose to be incorporated in the bill admitting California and establishing Territorial Governments for Utah and New-Mexico.
6. More effectual enactments of law to secure the prompt delivery of persons bound to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, who escape into another State; and, 7. Abstaining from abolishing Slavery; but, under a heavy penalty, prohibiting the slave-trade in the District of Columbia.
The Senate proceeded to debate from day to day the provisions of the principal bill thus reported, commonly termed "the Omnibus."
June 28.-Mr, Soulé, of Louisiana, moved that all south of 36° 30' be cut off from California, and formed into a Territory entitled South California, and that said Territory
"shall, when ready, able, and willing to become a State, and deserving to be such, be admitted with or without Slavery, as the people thereof shall desire, and make known through their Constitution."
This was rejected: Yeas, 19 (all Southern); Nays, 36.
July 10-The discussion was interrupted by the death of President Taylor. Millard Fillmore succeeded to the Presidency, and William R. King, of Alabama, was chosen President of the Senate, pro tempore.
July 15.-The bill was reported to the Senate and amended so as to substitute "that Congress
shall make no law establishing or prohibiting' Slavery in the new Territories, instead of "in respect to " it. Yeas, 27; Nays, 25.
Mr. Seward moved to add at the end of the 37th section:
But neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude shall be allowed in either of the Territories of New-Mexico or Utah, except on legal conviction for crime.
Which was negatived; Yeas and Nays not taken.
July 17.-The Senate resumed the considera. tion of the "Omnibus bill."
Mr. Benton moved a change in the proposed boundary between Texas and New-Mexico. Rejected: Yeas, 18; Nays, 36.
Mr. Foote moved that the 34th parallel of north latitude be the northern boundary of Texas throughout. Lost: Yeas, 20; Nays, 34.
July 19.-Mr. King moved that the parallel of 350 30' be the southern boundary of the State of California. Rejected: Yeas, 20; Nays,
Mr. Davis, of Mississippi, moved 36° 30'. Rejected: Yeas, 23; Nays, 32.
July 23d.-Mr. Turney, of Tenn., moved that the people of California be enabled to form a new State Constitution. Lost: Yeas, 19; Navs, 33.
Mr. Jeff. Davis, of Mississippi, moved to add : And that all laws and usages existing in said Territory, at the date of its acquisition by the United States, which deny or obstruct the right of any citizen of the United States to remove to, and reside in, said Territory, with any species of property legally held in any of the States of this Union, be, and are hereby declared to be, null and void.
This was rejected: Yeas, 22; Nays, 33. Yeas-For Davis's amendment:
Messrs. Atchison, Mo.
Barnwell, S. C.
Turney, Tenn. Underwood, Ky. Yulee, Fla.-22.
Foote, Miss. Greene, R. I. Hale, N. H. Hamlin, Me. Jones, Iowa. Miller, N. J.
Norris, N. H. Pearce, Md. Seward, N. Y. Shields, Ill. Smith, Conn. Spruance, Del. Sturgeon, Pa. Upham, Vt. Wales, Del. Walker, Wise.
Whitcomb, Ind.-33. Aug. 10.-The California bill was now taken up. Mr. Yulee, of Fla., moved a substitute, remanding California to a territorial condition, and limiting her southern boundary. Rejected: Yeas, 12 (all Southern); Nays, 35.
Mr. Foote moved a like project, cutting off so much of California as lies south of 36 deg. 30 min., and erecting it into the Territory of Colorado. Rejected: Yeas, 13 (ultra Southern); Nays, 29.
Aug. 12.-Still another proposition to limit
California southwardly, by the line of 36 deg. | Messrs. Baldwin, Conn.,
Aug. 13.-The California bill passed its third reading: Yeas, 34; Nays, 18 (all Southern).
Aug. 14.-The Senate now took up the bill organizing the Territories of New Mexico and Utah (as it was originally reported, prior to its inclusion in Mr. Clay's "Omnibus").
Mr. Chase, of Ohio, moved to amend the bill by inserting:
The Texas bill coming up, Mr. Inge, of Ala. objected to it, and a vote was taken on its rejection: Yeas, 34; Nays, 168; so it was not rejected. Mr. Boyd, of Ky., moved to amend it so as to create and define thereby the Territories of New-Mexico and Utah, to be slaveholding or not as their people shall determine when they shall come to form State governments. [In other words, to append the bill organizing the Territory of New Mexico to the Texas bill.]
Sept. 7.-The California bill now came up. Mr. Boyd moved his amendment already moved to the Texas bill. Mr. Vinton, of Ohio, declared it out of order. The Speaker again ruled it in order. Mr. Vinton appealed, and the House overruled the Speaker: Yeas (to sustain), 87; Nays, 115.
Mr. Jacob Thompson, of Miss., moved to cut off from California all below 36° 30'. Rejected: Yeas, 76; Nays, 131.
The bill was now ordered to a third reading: Yeas, 151; Nays, 57, and then passed: Yeas, 150; Nays, 56 (all Southern).
Sept. 9.-The House having returned the Texas Boundary bill, with an amendment (Linn Boyd's), including the bill organizing the Territory of New Mexico therein, the Senate proceeded to consider and agree to the same: Yeas, 31; Nays, 10, namely:
So all the bills originally included in Mr. Clays "Omnibus were passed-two of them in the same bill-after the Senate had once voted to sever them.
This region was indisputably included within the scope of the exclusion of Slavery from all Federal Territory north of 360 30', to which the South had assented by the terms of the Missouri compact, in order thereby to secure the admission of Missouri as a Slave State. Nor was it once intimated, during the long, earnest, and searching debate in the Senate on the Compromise Measures of 1850, that the adoption of those measures, whether together or separately, would involve or imply a repeal of the Missouri Restriction. We have seen on a former page how Mr. Clay's original suggestion of a Compromise, which was substantially that ultimately adopted, was received by the Southern Senators who spoke on its introduction, with hardly a
The Senate bill organizing the Territory of Utah (without restriction as to Slavery) was qualification, as a virtual surrender of all that then taken up, and rushed through the same the South had ever claimed with respect to the day Yeas, 97; Nays, 85. [The Nays were new Territories. And, from the beginning to mainly Northern Free Soil men; but some the close of the long and able discussion which Southern men, for a different reason, voted followed, neither friend nor foe of the Comprowith them]. mises, nor of any of them, hinted that one effect of their adoption would be the lifting of the Missouri restriction from the Territory now covered by it. When the Compromises of 1850 were accepted in 1852 by the National Conventions of the two great parties, as a settlement of the distracting controversy therein contem
THE KANSAS-NEBRASKA STRUGGLE.
Out of the Louisiana Territory, since the admission first of Louisiana and then of Missouri as Slave States, there had been formed the Territories of Arkansas, Iowa, and Minnesota; the first without, and the two others with, Congressional inhibition of Slavery. Arkansas, in due course, became a Slave, Iowa and Minnesota Free States. The destiny of one tier of States, fronting upon, and westward of, the Mississippi, was thus settled. What should be the fate of the next tier ?
The region lying immediately westward of Missouri, with much Territory north, as well as a more clearly defined district south of it, was long since dedicated to the uses of the Aborigines
not merely those who had originally inhabited it, but the tribes from time to time removed from the States eastward of the Mississippi. Very little, if any, of it was legally open to settlement by Whites; and, with the exception of the few and small military and trading posts thinly scattered over its surface, it is probable that scarcely two hundred white families were located in the spacious wilderness bounded by Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota on the east, the British possessions on the north, the crest of the Rocky Mountains on the west, and the settled portion of New-Mexico and the line of 36° 30′ on the south, at the time when Mr. Dougls first, at the session of 1852-3, submitted a bili organizing the Territory of Nebraska, by which title the region above bounded had come to be vaguely indicated.
plated, no hint was added that the Nebraska | I am willing now that the question shall be taken, whether we will proceed to the consideration of the bill region was opened thereby to Slavery. or not.
Several petitions for the organization of a Territory westward of Missouri and Iowa were presented at the session of 1851-2, but no decisive action taken thereon, until the next session, when,
Dec. 18th.-Mr. W. P. Hall, of Mo., pursuant to notice, submitted to the House a bill to organize the Territory of Platte, which was read twice, and sent to the Committee on Territories.
From that Committee,
Feb. 2d, 1853.-Mr. W. A. Richardson, of Ill., reported a bill to organize the Territory of Nebraska, which was read twice and com
Feb. 9th.-The bill was ordered to be taken out of Committee, on motion of W. P. Hall.
Feb. 10th.-The bill, was reported from the Committee of the Whole to the House, with a recommendation that it do not pass.
Mr. Richardson moved the previous question, which prevailed.
Mr. Letcher, of Va., moved that the bill do lie on the table. Lost: Yeas, 49 (mainly Southern); Nays, 107.
The bill was then engrossed, read a third time, and passed. Yeas, 98; Nays, 43, (as before.)
Feb. 11th. The bill reached the Senate and was referred to the Committee on Territories.
Feb. 17th.-Mr. Douglas reported it without amendment.
March 2d.-(Last day but one of the session), Mr. Douglas moved that the bill be taken up: Lost: Yeas, 20; (all Northern but Atchison and Geyer, of Mo.;) Nays, 25; (21 Southern, 4 Northern.)
March 3rd.-Mr. Douglas again moved that the bill be taken up.
Mr. Borland, of Ark., moved that it do lie on the table. Carried: Yeas, 23; (all Southern but 4;) Nays, 17; (all Northern but Atchison and Geyer.) So the bill was put to sleep for the session.
On the motion to take up--Mr. Rusk of Texas objecting-Mr. Atchison said:
I must ask the indulgence of the Senate to say one word in relation to this matter. Perhaps there is not a State in the Union more deeply interested in this question than the State of Missouri. If not the largest, I will say the best, portion of that Territory, perhaps the only portion of it that in half a century will become a State, lies immediately west of the State of Missouri. It is only a question of time, whether we will organize the Territory at this session of Congress, or whether we will do it at the next session; and, for my own part, I acknowledge now that, as the Senator from Illinois well knows, when I came to this city, at the beginning of the last session, I was perhaps as much opposed to the proposition, as the Senator from Texas now is. The Senator from Iowa knows it; and it was for reasons which I will not now mention or suggest. But, sir, I have from reflection and investigation in my own mind, and from the opinions of others-my constituents, whose opinions I am bound to respect-come to the conclusion that now is the time for the organization of this Territory. It is the most propitious time. The treaties with the various Indian tribes, the titles to whose possessions must be extinguished, can better be made now than at any future time; for, as the question is agitated, and as it is understood, white men, speculators, will interpose, and interfere, and the longer it is postponed the more we will have to fear from them, and the more difficult it will be to extinguish the Indian title in that country, and the harder the terms to be imposed. Therefore, Mr. President, for this reason, without going into detail,
The meaning is here diplomatically veiled, yet is perfectly plain. Gen. Atchison had been averse to organizing this Territory until he could procure a relaxation of the Missouri Rehope of this, he was willing to waive the point, striction as to Slavery; but, seeing no present and assent to an organization under a bill silent with respect to Slavery, and of course leaving the Missouri Restriction unimpaired.
Gen. Pierce was inaugurated President on the 4th March, 1853.
The XXXIIId Congress assembled at Washington, Dec. 5th, 1853, with a large Administration majority in either House. Linn Boyd of Ky., was chosen Speaker of the House. The President's Annual Message contained the following allusion to the subject of Slavery:
It is no part of my purpose to give prominence to any subject which may properly be regarded as set at rest by the deliberate judgment of the people. But, while the present is bright with promise, and the future full of de
mand and inducements for the exercise of active intelligence, the past can never be without useful lessons of admonition and instruction. If its dangers serve not as beacons, they will evidently fail to fulfill the object of a wise design. When the grave shall have closed over all, who are now endeavoring to meet the obligations of duty, the year 1850 will be recurred to as a period filled with anxious apprehension. A successful war had just terminated. Peace brought with it a vast augmentation of territory. Disturbing questions arose, bearing upon the domestic institutions of one portion of the confederacy, and involving the constitutional rights of the States. which then existed in relation to details, and specific proBut, notwithstanding differences of opinion and sentiment visions, the acquiescence of distinguished citizens, whose devotion to the Union can never be doubted, has given renewed vigor to our institutions, and restored a sense of repose and security to the public mind throughout the confederacy. That this repose is to suffer no shock during my official term, if I have power to avert it, those who placed me here may be assured.
Dec. 15.-Mr. A. C. Dodge of Iowa submitted to the Senate a bill (No. 22) "To organize the Territory of Nebraska," which was read twice, and referred to the Committee on Territories.
Jan. 4.-Mr. Douglas, from said Committee, reported said bill with amendments, which were printed. He said in his Report:
The principal amendments which your committee deem it their duty to commend to the favorable action of the Senate, in a special report, are those in which the principles established by the Compromise Measures of 1850, so far as they are applicable to territorial organizations, are proposed to be affirmed, and carried into practical operation within the limits of the new Territory.
With a view of conforming their action to what they regard as the settled policy of the Government, sanctioned by the approving voice of the American People, your Committee have deemed it their duty to incorporate and perpetuate, in their territorial bill, the principles and spirit of those measures. If any other consideration were necessary to render the propriety of this course imperative upon the Committee, they may be found in the fact that the Nebraska country occupies the same relative position to the Slavery question, as did New Mexico and Utah, when those Territories were organized. It was a disputed point, whether Slavery was prohibited by law in the country acquired from Mexico. On the one hand, it was contended, as a legal proposition, that Slavery having been prohibited by the enactments of Mexico, according to the laws of nations, we received the country with all its local laws and domestic institutions attached to the soil, so far as they did not conflict with the Constitution of the United States; and that a law either protecting or prohibiting Slavery, was not repugnant to that instrument, as was evidenced by the fact that one-half of the States of the Union tolerated,
while the other half prohibited, the institution of Slavery. | which prevailed-Yeas, 25; Nays, 10-as fol
On the other hand, it was insisted that, by virtue of the lows:
Your Committee deem it fortunate for the peace of the country, and the security of the Union, that the controversy then resulted in the adoption of the Compromise Measures, which the two great political parties, with singular unanimity, have affirmed as a cardinal article of their faith, and proclaimed to the world as a final settlement of the controversy and an end of the agitation. A due respect, therefore, for the avowed opinions of Senators, as well as a proper sense of patriotic duty, enjoins upon your Committee the propriety and necessity of a strict adherence to the principles, and even a literal adoption of the enactments of that adjust ment, in all their territorial bills, so far as the same are not locally inapplicable. These enactments embrace, among other things, less material to the matters under consideration, the following provisions:
When admitted as a State, the said Territory, or any portion of the same, shall be received into the Union, with or without Slavery, as their constitution may prescribe at the time of their admission;
That the legislative power and authority of said Terri
tory shall be vested in the Governor and a Legislative Assembly.
That the Legislative power of said Territory shall extend to all rightful subjects of legislation, consistent with the Constitution of the United States, and the provisions of this act; but no law shall be passed interfering with the primary disposal of the soil; no tax shall be imposed upon the property of the United States; nor shall the lands or other property of non-residents be taxed higher than the lands or other property of residents.
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
Dodge, of Iowa,
Jones, of Iowa,
Jones, of Tenn.,
Nays-Against said amendment;
Dodge, of Wisc.,
Dodge, of Iowa,
Thompson, of Ky.,
[NOTE. Prior to this move of Mr. Douglas, Mr. Dixon, (Whig) of Kentucky, had moved to insert a clause directly and plainly repealing the Missouri Restriction. Mr. Dixon thought if that was the object, (and he was in favor of it,) it should be approached in a direct and manly way. He was assailed for this in The Union newspaper next morning; but his suggestion was substantially adopted by Douglas, after a brief hesitation. Mr. Dixon's proposition, having been made in Committee, does not appear in the journal of the Senate, or it would here be given in terms.]
Nays-Against Chase's amendment:
Clay, (C. C.,
Jones, of Iowa,
Jones, of Tenn.,
Mr. Badger, of N. C., moved to add to the aforesaid section:
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.
Carried: Yeas, 35; Nays, 6.
Mr. Clayton now moved to strike out so much of said Douglas amendment as permits emigrants