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to enforce the laws whenever obstructed by State or people. He yet thought it a question whether it was proper for the Government to exercise all its powers. He was willing to submit to the will of the people in the matter of compromise, but he was not willing that the Constitution should be touched. He was unwilling that its great principles should be ehanged.
This most excellent speech was listened to with interest, by both sides of the House. During its delivery Mr. Stewart was closely questioned by Simms, of Kentucky, and Branch, of North Carolina, and answered with a force and frankness which quite disarmed them.
The Naval Appropriation bill coming up in Committee of the Whole, elicited a sharp discussion. The House was in a positive state, and so fully charged that the two sides fairly scintillated in their repellant attitude. After a lively and somewhat protracted deone on various points, the Committee rose without having arrived at a vote.
At the evening session speeches were made by Messrs. Pettit and Porter, (Reps.,) of Indiana, and Wade and Blake, (Reps.,) of Ohio. Porter supported the Corwin Resolutions. The others made strong anti-compromise speeches. That by Pettit was an able argument in vindication of his position-the Constitution and the Union as they are. The speeches of Messrs. Wade and Blake were vigorous in their anti-slavery sentiment.
Mails in the Seceded
The Senate, Wednesday, (February 20th,) considered the bill to authorize the Postmaster-General to discontinue mail service in those States where it was liable to be interfered with, [see pages 346-48.]
Mr. Douglas regarded the bill as eminently proper, and considered it a peace measure.
Green, (Dem.,) of Missouri, moved to amend the bill by adding that the Secretary of the Treasury be directed to prevent any attempt to collect the revenue in such States. He thought the bill was a direct attempt to strike at the States claiming to be out of the Union. Is there insurrection in any State, or obstruction to the mail service in any State? Even if there was, the Postmaster-General or President has no power to in
Green, of Missouri, thinking that this substitute accomplished all designed by his amendment, withdrew his proposition. He spoke at some length, in opposition to the bill. He said: “The real purpose here was to strike at, by indirection, the States which are now denominated Slave States. If you will strike at them, and ignore their political relations by the passage of this bill, I demand it as a right, that you either accept my amendment, or that proposed by the Senator from Texas., which will, I think, accomplish the same thing."
Clingman, (Dem.,) of North Carolina, said he believed those States were out of the Union, and foreign States as much as Great Britain, and thought the mail service should be stopped, but wanted to alter the bill, and moved to strike out "insurrection," and insert as a reason for the discontinuance, "the Secession of certain States."
MR. BOCOCK'S OPPOSITION.
the House as a declaration that insurrection existed in the Seceded States. He wished the Senate to look at the question as it was thus presented. He argued that there was no insurrection, but a new government installed, and acting with full power as a sovereign government. Therefore, the use of such terms as "insurrection" assumed that the whole power of the Federal Government was still to be exercised in the Seceded States when the "insurrection" would allow. It was, for that reason, tantamount to a declaration of war. As such it should be cast out as a wicked and inhuman invention. The Tariff bill being the special order, came up for consideration to shut off further debate on the Postal Service bill. In the course of the long debate which ensued, many incidental allusions were made germane to our subject, proving that the Southern men still in the Senate sought to serve their friends out of the Union, by offering every conceivable objection to the proposed measures for replenishing the finances of the exhausted National Treasury.
Bocock, (Dem.,) of Virginia, addressed the House. The passage of the bill seemed a foregone conclusion; but he could not, for that reason, refuse his opposition to it. He opposed it on account of the features which appear on its face; he opposed it in consequence of the effect its passage will produce on the peace and prosperity of the country. He opposed it above all, and more than all, in consequence of the policy it indicates, if it does not in the strongest degree initiate. He yesterday characterized the bill as a declaration of war, and having since carefully read it, he reiterated the remark. It was more than a declaration of war. It invested the President in time of peace with dictatorial powers. The bill does something more than suppress invasion and insurrection. It authorizes the President to employ
a military force to suppress insurrection against the authority of the United States. He briefly argued that the various features in the Constitution were designed and intended to prohibit the General Government from operating in the States, unless by their consent, saying that this bill authorizes the President to carry on positive, direct, and immediate coercion against the Seceding States. It goes further than that: it clothes the President with the whole military power of the country. It was not known what Mr. Lincoln, when he succeeded to the PresiUency, would consider an act of insurrection against the authority of the United States. We have had in this city a large part of the standing army, owing to an idle apprehension. The Select Committee have reported that no conspiracy in connection with the seizure of the Capitol exists, and yet the military forces here have accumulated since that time. In a few brief days this Administration will go out, and here is assembled a large military force ready for Mr. Lincoln's use; and, in addition, this bill would enable him to call out the whole militia force, and accept the services of volunteers to suppress insurrection against the authority of the United States. Whither are we going? Where are we drifting? We have already divided the Union into two Governments, and if we enter upon war at this time, the consequences must be more disastrous than history has ever recorded. As to the Border Slave States, they ought to take such steps as will best preserve the peace of the country. If this can be done by joining the Gulf States, they ought to do it. But, if blood be shed, and the armies of the two Governments come in collision, and bad passions be engendered by strife, then farewell, a long farewell, to any hope of a reconstruction of the Union! While the Peace Conference is in session, and when it has not even made a report, we see foreign troops gathered here, and members pass to the Capitol by the point of the bayonet. The Convention of Virginia was now in session, and whatever hope may have been cherished of a peaceful solution of our difficulties, it would at least be diminished by the passage of the
The Seven Steam
pending bill. At this point the special order was called, being the Corwin Report; upon which Vallandigham, (Dem.,) of Ohio, proceeded to address the House. His speech was an elaborate plea for adjustment by compromise, and reconstruction upon his plan of reorganization of the Electoral system, [see pages 355-56.] At the conclusion of his speech Mr. Sherman pressed the Naval Appropriation bill, when it was taken up in
"I do not say it never will be done. If we enter upon a war in which armies are marching and coup. termarching between one section and another, such a result would be probable. If all peaceful measures shall fail, and nothing else remains but oper war, I do say that I do not know that anybody re
gards an attempt to recapture those forts as im practicable or an improbable thing."
Thaddeus Stevens, (Rep.,) of Pennsylvania, hoped what the gentleman from Ohio said was not said as the united voice of the Republicans. He (Mr. Stevens) held different views. He thought it was the intention to retake all the public property of which they had been robbed, and retake it in such a manner as to necessarily use the gentlest means first, and then such as may be neces sary.
Stanton further explained, that he took it for granted the next Administration will not recognize the Constitutional right of seces sion, but that it will be treated as revolution. He took it for granted that Mr. Lincoln will see he has Constitutional power to forego the execution of the laws, in the mode least calculated to create difficulty. If the Southern States do not return and there is no Constitutional mode of recogniz ing a separate nationality, of course this business must end in war. escape from it.
Committee of the Whole; and the question being on the eighteenth amendment of the Senate, viz., for building seven steam sloopsof-war, Garnett, (Dem.,) of Virginia, offered as a substitute a proviso that said ships shall not be used to execute the Federal laws or aid either the land or naval force in any States claiming to be without the Federal jurisdiction. He said, in defence of his substitute, that if there were no other reason, the bankrupt condition of the Treasury should induce the House to refuse concurrence in the Senate's amendment. From what had been said in the Senate by prominent gentlemen, these vessels were intended for coercive purposes. Among other things, he alluded to Mr. Lincoln's speeches, and a private conversation between Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Hutchison, of Kentucky, to show that Lincoln is in favor of coercing the Southern States. Lincoln is wary and frank, and does not attempt to hide the claws of a tiger under the velvet fur. He does not, like his Republican friends, seek to avoid the issue. Stanton, (Rep.,) of Ohio, thought it extraordinary that Mr. Lincoln should be held committed to coercion from casual conversations. If the Seceding States shall return to their allegiance, they will bring back the forts, etc., with them. If, on the contrary, they shall ultimately maintain a separate nationality, he did not believe any man would wish to enter upon a course that could result in no practical good, Garnett interposed to inquire for whom he spoke. Stanton answered that he certainly spoke for himself, and spoke, too, from what he had gathered from the views of everybody in conversation, who would not be likely to talk nonsense in an unrestricted intercourse. Garnett inquired if he was to understand that He was not for coercing the South. He did
There is no
A very excited colloquy followed. Anderson, (Am.,) of Kentucky, asked Garnett if he was for the Union? The loud and excited reply was:
"I am for the State of Virginia seceding from this Northern Union at the earliest possible moment!"
A storm of applause and hisses followed this declaration both from the galleries and the floor. It was some moments ere the confusion subsided. Anderson was asked by Brown, (Dem.,) of Kentucky, if he was for the Union?-if he would sustain the incoming Administration in event of its resorting to coercion? The reply was, that so long as he was in the Union, he (Anderson) was for the Constitution and enforcement of the laws.
A VIRGINIAN'S VIOLENCE.
not believe the Government could be held | Kentucky would resist. Her Legislature, together by force. He deplored civil war as much as any other gentleman could.
Brown asked, if coercion or force should be used by the incoming Administration, would his colleague be for secession.
Anderson replied, he was no friend of Mr. Lincoln, did not sustain him, and would not support him, unless he comes up to the Union, Constitution, and Laws. When a man, coming from the North, East, South, or West, does his duty as an American citizen, and stands under the old flag, he was willing to give him a hearty and cordial support. He knew his colleague's District was as loyal as any in Kentucky; although it has been Democratic, the Catholic and adopted citizens of that District are ready and willing to stand under the old flag.
Brown's Position Defined.
Brown, in exposition of his position, declared that his highest and holiest ambition was to do all to contribute to the perpetuity and advance of his country. He was for the Union. His State was for the Union. Her voice had been and was for peace, compromise, and conciliation. Old Kentucky's loyalty was beyond challenge. She had suffered most and murmured least. Her soil was the grave of the canonized bones of Clay, a great and good pacificator. She boasts her Crittenden now, in Clay's place in the Senate. Her Peace Commissioners were now in council in this city, pleading for pacification. The bones of her brave sons were bleaching on North-western plains, where they fell in battle, defending their homes, wives and children of the men whose representatives on this floor delighted in defaming her institutions. [Applause on the floor and galleries.] In his politics he did not believe in the right of secession, but the Declaration of Independence said when a Government became destructive of the ends for which it was created, it was the inherent right of the people to alter or abolish it. He believed in the divine right of revolution; we are in the midst of a revolution. If the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Stevens) foreshadowed the policy of Lincoln's Administration, and if a coercive policy against the States that had withdrawn was to be pursued,
without distinction of party, had so resolved, almost unanimously. In the event of war, the cause of her Southern sisters would be her cause. As she may be the last to join, she will be the last to leave a Southern Confederacy. Kentucky was for the Union. She asked only equality, her rights, and if compromise fail, and coercion be begun, her star will glitter on the flag of the Southern Confederacy, and her brave blood flow in its cause. He hoped his colleague's question was answered.
A Virginian's Violence.
Garnett followed, speaking at length in a manner characterized, at times, with offensive freedom-using such language as would have entitled him to a prosecution for treason had an Administration been in power that dared to sustain an arraignment. The Chairman had to call him to order, to which call he replied, stil! offensively:
"I was pointing out the forms of an Imperial Court which attended the progress of the Republican President-elect. I was pointing out that the deletores of Imperial Rome had reappeared, and that eavesdroppers are part of the military court of your Commander-in-Chief; and I am interrupted by the Chairman of this Committee, who considers that it is an act of lèse majesté to say anything against those in authority."
The Chairman (Mr. Colfax) very properly rebuked this insolent assumption, by showing wherein the "gentleman from Virginia" had abused his right of speech. Garnett, however, continued, in a strain of fresh virulence, characterizing Secretary Dix as a second King Bombalino. The settlement of the questions at issue, he said, was simply impossible, until the independence of the Seceded States was recognized, and the principle of State Rights vindicated. No compromise— no amendment of the Constitution would suf
fice, until that recognition was made. His anathema was brought to a close in these
"It was in your power to have saved the Union. It was proposed to you to suspend the execution of the Federal laws in the Seceding States to give time
for negotiation, and to allow the people of the North to say whether they would longer submit to this Republican assault upon the Union, and the people of the South opportunity to decide whether they
were willing to return on fair terms. That proposition, too, you refused to hear. Now the chances are gone. The Sibylline books are nearly destroyed. Only one-third remain, and they contain the issues of peace or war. Choose ye between them! We of the South desire peace. We desire friendship with you; but, choose which you may, the people of the South, and their brethren on the Southern border-brethren in heart, if not in name; ay, and many brave lovers of justice in the North-stand ready to meet you in the name of the God of Battles
and of our fathers."
Millson vs. Garnett.
This reads like a leaf from "Junius." it was borne, by the other side of the House, with comparative indifference, is an evidence of the pity with which such displays of venom were regarded. Had a speech of equal virulence been made by any man in the Confederate Congress, against the dominant party there, his neck would not have been worth the price of an insurance rate on his life. Millson, (Dem.,) of Virginia, could but protest against his colleague's speech. While he agreed with him in his general efforts to oppose everything which might involve a collision, he demurred to the effort to represent every subject, even the most ordinary, up for legislation, as a means for an attempted coercion of the Southern States. He suggested that the endeavor to create such an impression on matters comparatively immaterial would cease to gain credit when they should raise their voices against measures actually objectionable. Should we burn our navy and dismiss our officers for fear the existence of a navy threatens some of the States of the Union? He expected to vote to concur in the Senate's amendment. He did so because he was in favor of the measure in years past. His colleague, perhaps, had been as uniformly against it. The appropriation would not be available till the 1st of July, and it would be full two years before the vessels could be constructed. The engines, even, cannot be built before the present national difficulties end one way or the other. If his colleague supposed this was a war measure, he could relieve his apprehension. He knew of nothing better to arrest prosecution of war against the Seceded States than what is proposed by this amendment; for, by spending $1,200,000 in this manner,
that amount will be taken from other objects,
Curtis, (Rep.,) of Iowa,
of coercion. There were about 900
Branch, of North Carolina, said it was true
A spirited, and somewhat personal, “inter-
The Sloops-of War
*The real purpose was to "fire the Southern heart," and, by making the Virginia people believe in" coercion," to induce them to delay no longer in taking the precipitate step. He was playing the prescribed role of secession.