« PreviousContinue »
interfere with slaves or slavery in such States, in disregard of the rights of their owners or the peace of society.
Resolved, That we recognize the justice and propriety of a faithful execution of the Constitution, and laws made in pursuance thereof, on the subject of fugitive slaves, or fugitives from service or labor, and discountenance all mobs or hindrances to the execution of such laws, and that citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities. of citizens in the several States.
Resolved, That we recognize no such conflicting elements in its composition, or sufficient cause from any source, for a dissolution of this Government; that we were not sent here to destroy, but to sustain and harmonize the institutions of the country, and to see that equal justice is done to all parts of the same; and, finally, to perpetuate its existence on terms of equality and justice to all the States.
Resolved, That a faithful observance, on the part of all the States, of all their constitutional obligations to each other and to the Federal Government, is essential to the peace of the country.
Resolved, That it is the duty of the Federal Government to enforce the Federal laws, protect the Federal property, and preserve the Union of these States.
Resolved, That each State be requested to revise its statutes, and, if necessary, so to amend the same as to secure, without legislation by Congress, to citizens of other States travelling therein, the same protection as citizens of such States enjoy; and also to protect the citizens of other States travelling or sojourning therein against popular violence or illegal summary punishment, without trial in due form of law for imputed crimes.
Resolved, That each State be also respectfully requested to enact such laws as will prevent and punish any attempt whatever in such State to recognize or set on foot the lawless invasion of any other State or Territory.
Resolved, That the President be requested to transmit copies of the foregoing resolutions to the Governors of the several States, with a request. that they be communicated to their respective legislatures.
These resolutions were intended and admirably calculated to calm the apprehensions of the people of the slaveholding States as to any disposition on the part of the Federal Government to interfere with slavery, or withhold from them any of their constitutional rights ; and in a House controlled by a large Republican majority, they were adopted by a vote of ayes one hundred and thirty-six, noes fifty-three. Not content with this effort to satisfy all just complaints on the part of the Southern
States, the same committee reported the following resolution, recommending such an amendment of the Constitution as should put it forever out of the power of the government or people of the United States to interfere with slavery in any of the States :
Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of both Houses concurring), That the following article be proposed to the legislatures of the several States as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of said legislatures, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as a part of the said Constitution, namely:
Art. 12. No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize, or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.
This resolution was adopted by a vote of one hundred and thirty-three to sixty-five-more than two-thirds in its favor. This closed the action of the House of Representatives at this session on this important subject, though it had previously adopted, by a unanimous vote, the following declaratory resolution :-
Resolved, That neither the Federal Government nor the people, or the governments of the non-slaveholding States, have the right to legislate upon or interfere with slavery in any of the slaveholding States in the Union.
The action of the Senate was somewhat modified by the intervening action of a Peace Conference, which assembled at Washington on the 4th of February, in pursuance of a recommendation of the State of Virginia, embodied in resolutions adopted by the General Assembly of that State on the 19th of January. It consisted of delegates, one hundred and thirty-three in number, from twenty-one States-none of those which had seceded being represented. John Tyler, of Virginia, was appointed president, and a committee, consisting of one from each State, was appointed, with authority to "report what they may deem right, necessary, and proper, to restore harmony and preserve the Union."
On the 15th of February the committee reported a series of resolutions, in seven sections, which were discussed and amended, one by one, until the afternoon of the 26th, when the vote was taken upon them as amended, in succession, with the following results :
SECTION 1. In all the present territory of the United States, north of the parallel of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes of north latitude, involuntary servitude, except in punishment of crime, is prohibited. In all the present territory south of that line, the status of persons held to involuntary service or labor, as it now exists, shall not be changed; nor shall any law be passed by Congress or the territorial legislature to hinder or prevent the taking of such persons from any of the States of this Union to said territory, nor to impair the rights arising from said relation; but the same shall be subject to judicial cognizance in the Federal Courts, according to the course of the common law. When any territory north or south of satd line, within such boundary as Congress may prescribe, shall contain a population equal to that required for a member of Congress, it shall, if its form of government be republican, be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, with or without involuntary servitude, as the constitution of such State may provide.
The vote on the adoption of the section was as follows:
AYES.-Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee-8.
NOES.-Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia—11.
So its adoption was not agreed to.
A reconsideration of this vote was called for by the delegates from Illinois, and agreed to, 14 to 5. On the next day the question was again taken on the adoption of the section, with the following result:
AYES.-Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio. Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee-9.
NOES.-Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia—8.
Thus the section was adopted.
It was stated by the members from New York, when the State was. called, that one of their number, D. D. Field, was absent, and the delegation was divided. Thus New York, Indiana, and Kansas were divided,
The adoption of the second section was then moved; it was as follows:
SEOTION 2. No territory shall be acquired by the United States, except by discovery, and for naval and commercial stations, dépôts, and transit
routes, without a concurrence of the majority of all the Senators from States which allow involuntary servitude, and a majority of all the Senators from States which prohibit that relation; nor shall territory be acquired by treaty, unless the votes of a majority of the Senators from each class of States hereinbefore mentioned be cast as a part of the two-thirds majority necessary to the ratification of such treaty.
The vote on this section was as follows:
AYES.-Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia-11.
NOES.-Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont
New York and Kansas were divided.
The adoption of section three of the report, with the amendments, was next moved. The amended section was as follows:
SECTION 3. Neither the Constitution nor any amendment thereof shall be construed to give Congress power to regulate, abolish, or control, within any State, the relation established or recognized by the laws thereof touching persons held to labor or involuntary service therein, nor to interfere with or abolish involuntary service in the District of Columbia without the consent of Maryland and without the consent of the owners, or making the owners who do not consent just compensation; nor the power to interfere with or prohibit representatives and others from bringing with them to the District of Columbia, retaining, and taking away, persons so held to labor or service; nor the power to interfere with or abolish involuntary service in places under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, within those States and Territories where the same is established or recognized; nor the power to prohibit the removal or transportation of persons held to labor or involuntary service in any State or Territory of the United States to any other State or Territory thereof, where it is established or recognized by law or usage; and the right during transportation, by sea or river, of touching at ports, shores, and landings, and of landing in case distress shall exist; but not the right of transit in or through any State or Territory, or of sale or traffic, against the law thereof. Nor shall Congress have power to authorize any higher rate of taxation on persons held to labor or service than on land.
The vote on the adoption of the section was as follows:
AYES.-Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia-12.
NOES.-Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont-7.
So the section was adopted. Kansas and New York were divided.
The adoption of the fourth section of the report, as amended, was then moved; it was as follows:
SECTION 4. The third paragraph of the second section of the fourth article of the Constitution shall not be construed to prevent any of the States, by appropriate legislation, and through the action of their judicial and ministerial officers, from enforcing the delivery of fugitives from labor to the person to whom such service or labor is due.
The vote on the adoption of this section was as follows:
AYES.-Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia-15.
NOES.-Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire-4.
Thus the section was adopted. Kansas and New York were divided.
The adoption of the fifth section of the report, as amended, was then moved; it was as follows:
SECTION 5. The foreign slave-trade is hereby forever prohibited, and it shall be the duty of Congress to pass laws to prevent the importation of slaves, coolies, or persons held to service or labor, into the United States and the Territories from places beyond the limits thereof.
The vote on the adoption of this section resulted as follows:
AYES.-Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Kansas—16.
NOES.-Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia—5.
The section was thus adopted.
A motion was next made to adopt the sixth section, as amended; it was as follows:
SECTION 6. The first, third, and fifth sections, together with this section of these amendments, and the third paragraph of the second section of the first article of the Constitution, and the third paragraph of the second section of the fourth article thereof, shall not be amended or abolished without the consent of all the States.
The vote on this section was as follows:
AYES.-Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Kansas-11.
NOES.-Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia-9.
New York was divided. So this section was adopted.
The motion was then made to adopt the seventh and last section, as amended: it was as follows:
SECTION 7. Congress shall provide by law that the United States shall pay to the owner the full value of his fugitive from labor, in all cases