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A NOVEL SCHEME OF
tution offered as the first-fruits of reconciliation."
Southern people dismiss their fears, return to their | No longer controlled by those motives of friendly confidence in their fellow-citizens of the State policy which had, since 1820, kept North, and accept as pledges of returning peace the down the anti-Slavery feeling, vast numbers salutary amendments of the law and the Consti- of those who had been regarded as "conservative" now began to look forward to an abolishment of Slavery as the surest and wisest remedy for the evils under which the country was suffering. The South, by its mad and impolitic course, had alienated tens of thousands in the North who had, for years, stood as a barrier against the "Abolitionists." It had, by its daring attempt to prostrate the Government, and to trample the Constitution under foot, aroused animosities, awakened prejudices, excited resolves which a generation will scarcely suffice to obliterate. Vallandigham, (Dem.,) of Ohio, offered propositions to amend the Constitution of such a preposterous nature as rendered them among the most curious of all schemes of settlement proposed. A digest of his most un-democratic and impracticable idea may thus be stated:
This speech, coming from a member representing a Slave constituency, was as gratifying to the Republicans as it was provoking to their enemies. Like the words of Andrew Johnson, of Emerson Etheridge, Sherrard Clemens, and John A. Gilmer-all "Southern men," in the proper sense of the word-it served to brush away the mountain of falsehood and misrepresentation which the Disunionists had built around them as a defensive barrier, and proved to the world that, in that time of political demoralization, there were a few noble spirits, too incorruptible to be bought, too brave to be overawed-loyal, while all others were disloyal. Their words had only too little circulation among their own people, for it was a part of the game of revolution not to allow the people to hear their own representatives, where their eloquence and wisdom were directed against the secession movement. [See page 287, "résumé."]
Mr. Sedgwick, (Rep.,) of The Anti-Compromise New York, followed Davis, in a strong anti-Compromise speech-adding, to those already made by Van Wyck, Conkling, and Pottle, to the growing strength of the Empire State against the proposed measures of conciliation-all of which expressly stipulated the giving of more area to slave representation. A per
manent union between the Slave and Free States he considered a failure, and he would consent that the Slave States should form a Confederacy by themselves, and would provide for the gradual emancipation of the slaves in States which might remain with the North.
His amendment of the Constitution would be to provide for the emancipation of every slave. This speech was not from an "ultra." The gentleman's views seemed to spring from the unparalleled exigencies of the times. As Slavery had been the cause, he would cure the disease by striking at its provocation. Mr. Sedgwick represented a rapidly growing public sentiment, which, since old landmarks were to be obliterated by the revolutionists, was to make itself felt.
A Novel Scheme of
"The United States to be divided into four sections-the New England and Middle States to constitute one, the North-western States another, the Pacific States another, and the Southern States east of the Rio Grande another-these sections to be called respectively the North, the West, the Pacific, and the South; new States within the prescribed limits of each section to be a part of such section; the latitude of thirty degrees and thirty minutes to the Rocky Mountains to be the line between the West and South. On the demand of one-third of requiring the concurrence of the House, if neces
the Senators of any section, a vote upon anything
sary, shall be had by sections, and a majority of the Senators from each section shall be necessary to the passage of a measure. Two of the electors for President and Vice-President shall be chosen for each State; the other electors in each State to be chosen by the Congressional District; a majority of the electors in each section to be necessary to the choice of President and Vice-President, and a majority of the States of each section, shall be necessary to the choice of President and Vice-President, in the House, or Senate, whenever the right of choice devolves upon them; the term of President and VicePresident to be six years, and they are to be ineligible for a second term, except by the votes of two-thirds of the electors of each section. Congress is to provide by law for the case of a failure of the House to choose a President, and of the Senate to choose a Vice-President; and also, in such case, for a spe
cial election within six months from the 4th of March. | fore the Senate. [See page 308.] He (Thomp
No State shall secede without consent of the Legislatures of all the States of the section to which it belongs. The President is to have the power to adjust the terms with the Seceding States, and the terms are not to be valid till approved by Congress.
Neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature is to interfere with migration on equal terms of the citi zens of the several sections, nor shall either have the power to destroy or impair the rights of person and property in the Territories. New States are to be admitted with any Constitution, Republican in form, which the people thereof ordain."
Sickles, of New York, asked leave to introduce a resolution, calling on the Secretary of the Treasury to inform the House whether the duties on imports continue to be collected in the ports of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Florida. Craige, (Dem.,) of North Carolina, objected. Sickles said this was the only reliable mode of obtaining correct information. He gave notice to offer the resolution on Monday.
At the evening session, Thursday, of the House, speeches were made by Messrs. Leach, (Am.,) of North Carolina; Junkin, (Rep.,) of Pennsylvania; Allen, (Dem.,) of Ohio; Carey, (Rep.,) of Ohio. They spoke to the shadows, apparently—so unpopular were the evening sessions, that members could not be constrained to attend. The views of the North Carolina member were favorable to the Union. He made an earnest appeal for constitutional guarantees. Junkin favored the propositions of the Committee, believing they virtually restored the Missouri Compromise of Henry Clay. Allen took strong ground against secession and revolution. Carey spoke of secession as being thick with the blackest treason. Leave the present difficulties to the people, and there will be a better settlement than by attempting to legislate on the subject. If the men of the Border State would talk like his friend Davis, of Maryland, it would not be two weeks before the traitors would tremble in their shoes.
son) said he entirely dissented from the views of his colleague. He contended that the instructions in the resolutions were the real views of a majority of the people of his State, and that a State had a right to instruct her Senators, who should obey or resign. He was very much surprised at the course of his colleague. He thought the people of New Jersey never more in earnest than they are now in the opinion that the South has cause for complaint, and that some guarantees should be given it. Yet he must say that the course of the South, in seizing the forts, arsenals, &c., had done much to weaken kindly feeling in the Northern States. Nothing was more fatal than the doctrine of secession. If admitted, the Government must fall to pieces. He said a portion of his colleague's speech looked to coercion, but the coercion of States was an equally fatal doctrine. The Union could not be preserved by blows and bloodshed. He deprecated civil war, and made an appeal to save the Union by concessions on both sides.
Ten Eyck replied, contending that the resolutions did not express the calm feeling of the people as shown by the votes of the recent election, but the resolutions were rushed through the Senate of New Jersey when four members were sick. The men appointed under that resolution [see page 251] did not represent the feeling of the State.
Judge Collamer's Views.
Collamer, (Rep.,) of Vermont, presented a petition from citizens of his State, asking Congress to adopt an amendment to the Constitution similar to the Border States proposition. He said he was willing to do all in the power of Congress, but not anything which was not allowed by the Constitution, which says that Congress may propose amendments to be submitted to the States; and, further, if States want amendments let them say so by convention, and Congress must agree. If the States call such Convention and adopt amendments, Congress must send them to the States for ratification. But does the Government need more delegated power? No. He contended that the provision of the Constitution was perfectly plain, but none of the complaining States
WIG FALL'S FOURTEENTH
have taken any means to secure amendments | Constitution. He denied that the Breckenin a constitutional way, yet Congress was ridge party ever intended to break up the asked to make amendments which somebody conjectures the States need! He never would attempt to make any such amendments, which none of the States, he said, wanted. Suppose two or three States present amendments, asking Congress to submit them to the States. In his judgment, Congress could not pass on the merits of such amendments, but present them to the States as the request of certain Sates. He quoted, as a precedent, the former amendments made in 1789, when Congress took the same course. His views would govern his votes.
The consideration of the Mr. Wigfall's FourPresident's Message being teenth Speech. resumed, Mr. Wigfall, in his own peculiar rhetoric and originality of manner answered Andrew Johnson. The Senator from Tennessee seemed to think that he had once, on a former occasion, made a great argument, and had, in consequence, been the subject of special attacks. Wigfall did not believe either-both were hallucinations of the Senator's heated imagination. The Senator also seemed to think Benjamin's farewell was a farce, but Wigfall thought it was the most serious farce ever witnessed on that floor. He then alluded to Johnson's argument on the Government's right of purchase in Louisiana. Referring to the treaty of cession, he contended that Johnson did not give it a fair construction; and son regard to the admission of Alabama. A monstrous perversion of the doctrines of Jackson and nationalism had been made by the Black Republicans. He read from a number of documents to show that Jackson considered this Government as a compact of States." He then argued against the right of coercion, and said that any attempt to force the laws upon individuals in a State was the same thing as the coercion of a State, and would bring on a civil war. He contended that Jefferson and Jackson had avowed the right of secession, and he read copious extracts from their writings and speeches to sustain this position. He claimed that Madison understood that States could, at any time, renounce the Constitution, and such was the understanding of most of the States when they ratified the
Union, but they demanded that the property of the Southern States should be protected. Six States thought it not safe to remain in the Union, when two millions of people in the North had voted that their property ought to be confiscated. They might talk about the Helper book, but Helper had never uttered anything so slanderous against the South as the sentiments uttered by a Southern Senator on this floor. What Black Republican ally had told the Senator that the South wanted to make war on Mexico? It was a slander. They have enough to do to take care of themselves. Mr. Wigfall then paid a high and eloquent tribute to the Senator from Mississippi, (Davis.) The Senator from Tennessee had attacked him (Davis) in his absence. If the Senator from Mississippi had been here, he would have answered the Senator from Tennessee: "Lord Angus, thou hast lied!"
This expression created an outburst of laughter and noise in the gallery, which caused the Sergeant-at-Arms to clear it. Wigfall proceeded, assuming that the South had no purpose or desire to make war, but that it intended to live under such a Government as it saw fit. Six States had gone out because they chose to do so, and had revoked the treaty called the Constitution, though they might be willing to make another. He claimed that the South had a mine of wealth in cotton, and gave a picture of the destroyed commerce of the North if the ports are blockaded, which will be considered an act of war. A vessel with a flag of thirty-three stars will be fired on in a Southern port. Carrying the flag with the stars which they have plucked thence will be considered an insult. If the North wants war it can have it—he did not plead for peace. The remaining portion of his speech was exceedingly violent and personal on Mr. Johnson.
In the Senate, Friday and Saturday, nothing transpired pertinent to our subject. In the House, Friday, Kellogg, of Illinois, supported his resolutions, [see page 310,] in a long speech. He said that parties and platforms must all be discarded-that all men must combine to save the Union. He argued
in support of his propositions as the best remedy offered, and declared himself for the whole Union.
Messrs. Smith, of North Carolina, and Hatton, of Tennessee, both made Union speeches, the latter assuming the ground occupied by Andrew Johnson.
In the House, Saturday, John Cochrane, (Dem.,) of New York, offered a resolution directing the Secretary of the Treasury to inform the House whether any, and what, information has been received by the department relative to the recent alleged seizure of New York vessels at the port of Savannah, and if seized, by whom, and by what authority. Ruled out by the objection of Holman, (Dem.,) of Indiana.
Corwin moved to extend the time for taking a final vote on his propositions, in order to give gentlemen an opportunity to express themselves, as well as to await the action of the "Peace Convention," which might enable the House to come to a better conclusion. The time was extended after much disagreement, when Hutchins, (Rep.,) of Ohio, at some length, gave his exposition of views on the crisis. He deemed the movement of the Slave States as causeless and wicked as the revolt of the angels in heaven. The remedies proposed he pronounced futile | for good. Corwin's proposition to amend the Constitution was opposed to the spirit of the age. The Crittenden proposition, he said, the Free States would reject. He referred to the history of compromises upon the Slavery question, contending that they were worthless as final settlements. The only settlement that could be permanent was one founded on truth and justice. The verdict of the American people had been fairly obtained, and a judgment should be rendered upon it. This was not a partisan view of the case, but all who are really for the Union could stand upon it, and they must stand upon it in the end. He could act with all who stood for the Union, and in so doing he did not necessarily adopt their views upon the Slavery or other questions. It was unwise to tamper with the organic law at the present time; but propositions to amend the Constitution, originating in States or in Con
gress, were entitled to respectful considera tion at any time, when not coupled with the threat to dissolve the Union if not granted. The love of the Union was too strong in the affections of the people of all sections to allow a wide-spread conspiracy to destroy it to prevail.
A very exciting running debate sprung up between Messrs. Cox, (Dem.,) of Ohio, and Hutchins and Stanton in regard to personal matters. Mr. Cox charged Mr. Hutchins and his sympathizers with being inimical to the Union, because of their extreme tenacity on anti-slavery issues, and arraigned Mr. Hutchins very sharply for his (Hutchins') attack upon Mr. Corwin. Mr. Cox charged that the Ohio Supreme Court had colluded with Governor Dennison to nullify the Fugitive Slave law and to shield abolition criminals from justice. Hutchins responded, saying Mr. Cox would preserve the Union if he could do so by exciting prejudices against the Republican party. It was hardly fair to add fuel to the flame of Southern excitement, if it was the object of his colleague to preserve rather than destroy the Union. Cox retorted. His colleague was for the Union, if there was power to crush out Slavery in the States or Territories, and only in this case; but he (Cox) was for the Union, without qualification or condition, and daring all hazards. Simms, (Dem.,) of Ken
tucky, addressed the House Simms' Address. in a very able argument, leveled chiefly at the Republican party, whom he regarded as the chief cause of all the present trouble they were the chief conspirators against the liberties of the country. He averred that there had been no time since the commencement of the session that the Republicans could not have saved the country. He advocated the plan of Senator Crittenden, which simply proposed to incorporate in the Constitution the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case, and give to the South the Territory south of the line 36 deg. 30 min., and the Chicago Platform north of it. Why would not the Republicans take this? Of the position of his own State he said:
"Sir, you may make the experiment, but you can never conquer the South. Their ten million proud, free-born necks were never made to wear the yoke
of any mortal power or foe against their will.* You | provoke, would spring up, if necessary to avenge it, can conquer them by justice, and not by injustice a million warriors. Kentucky-brave, gallant, loyal, and the sword. From the first drop of blood shed patient Kentucky would not hesitate nor falter upon Southern soil by armed soldiery, in a war so when that day comes. She never yet has anjust and unholy as the one you are seeking to despaired of the Republic; but if you force this issue * Mr. Simms, like all Southern economists, during upon her and her sister States of the South, rememthis winter's discussion, spoke widely of the fact in ber that in the veins of her children courses the his citations of the numbers of "proud, free-born blood of old Virginia; and with them, when the necks" in the entire Slave States. [See the tables final struggle comes, she will share common dangers, common rights, common glories, a common given on pages 27-28, compiled from the census of destiny, or a common grave." 1860.]
PEACE CONVENTION. ITS PROCEEDINGS UP то FEBRUARY 16 тн. STATE OF PUBLIC SENTIMENT AT THAT DATE. CENTRALIZATION OF SENTIMENT AGAINST
THE Peace Convention | sition of his State. It simply assembled February 4th, in repeated the resolutions Washington, and organized adopted by the Legislature. by the election of John Tyler, of Virginia, as [See page 247.] The Virginia member, in prepresiding officer. It was resolved, in imita-senting the resolutions, urged the immediate tion of the old Constitutional Conventions, as favorable action of the Convention, declaring well as of the recent Conventions in the that his State would be satisfied with nothing Southern States, to sit in secret sessions-ex-less, and assuring the delegates that prompt cluding not only the public, but members of and decisive action was necessary. Caleb the press-a movement which most Northern B. Smith, of Indiana, deprecated this precipmembers opposed, as uncalled for and un- itate mode of proceeding, and thought it wise. The votes on propositions were to calculated to defeat the very object for which be cast by States a majority of each the Convention had been called. Messrs. delegation casting it. No action was taken Chase, Ruffin, and others sustained this view; until Wednesday, February 6th, the members and finally, Mr. Guthrie, after a judicious and being engaged in comparing views, to arrange, conciliatory speech, moved the reference of if possible, the terms of propositions likely to this and all similar propositions to a Com meet with favorable consideration. The Ken-mittee of one from each State, to be selected. tucky delegation, headed by Mr. Guthrie, by the different delegations. The Commitheld a conference, February 5th, and agreed upon the general outline of a new plan of compromise. It was not made public; but the delegation laid their statement before individual members of the Convention, to canvass its probable success.
tee, as appointed, was constituted as follows: James Guthrie, of Kentucky, Chairman; Jas. A. Seddon, of Virginia; Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland; James Harlan, of Iowa; Stephen T. Logan, of Illinois; Caleb B. Smith, of Indiana; Thomas Ewing, of Ohio; Daniel M. On Wednesday, Seddon, of Virginia, pre- Bates, of Delaware; Thomas White, of Pennsented what was understocd to be the propo- | sylvania; Peter D. Vroom, of New Jersey;