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apprehended, will survive all existing interests and all living states
The prohibition of the employment of the army to enforce alleged statutes in Kansas, which the house of representatives proposes, and which the senate disapproves, grows out of the conflict of opinion which divides the senate unequally, which divides the house of representatives itself nearly equally, and which, if the prohibition itself expresses the opinion of a majority of that house, separates it from the senate and from the president of the United States. It is manifestly a conflict which divides the country by a parallel of latitude. In this conflict, one party maintains, as I do, that the legislation, and the territorial legislature itself, of Kansas, are absolutely void. The other party, on the contrary, insists that the legislation and the legislature of the territory of Kansas are valid, and must remain so until they shall be constitutionally superseded or abrogated.
The senator from Virginia [Mr. HUNTER] argues that the act of the house of representatives, in inserting the prohibition in this bill, is revolutionary, and that persistence in it would effect a change of the constitution of the government. I refrain from arguing that question elaborately now, because, while I am satisfied, from my knowledge of the temper and habit of the senate, that it is likely enough to adhere to the course which it has indicated, I am at the same time by no means so certain that the house of representatives will not ultimately recede from the ground which, by the act of a bare majority, at all times unreliable during the present session, it has assumed. I speak with the utmost respect towards the house of representatives, and with entire confidence in the patriotic motives of all its members; but I must confess that, in all questions concerning freedom and slavery in the United States, I have seen houses of representatives, when brought into conflict with the senate of the United States, recede too often and retreat too far to allow me to assume that in this case the present house of representatives will maintain the high position it has assumed with firmness and perseverance to the end. I saw a house of representatives, in 1850, which was delegated and practically pledged to prohibit the extension of slavery within the unorganized territories of the United States, then newly acquired from Mexico, refuse to perform that great duty, and enter into a compromise, which, however intended, practically led to the abandonment of all those territories to universal
desecration by slavery. I saw a house of representatives, in 1854, forget the sacred reverence for freedom of those by whom it was constituted, and abrogate the time-honored law under which the territories of Kansas and Nebraska had until that time remained safe, amid the wreck which followed the unfortunate compromise of 1850, and thus prepare the way for that invasion by slavery of all that yet remained for the sway of freedom in the ancient domain of Louisiana, which has since taken place in Kansas.
Ever since I adopted for myself the policy of opposing the spread of slavery in the train of our national banner, consecrated to equal and universal freedom, my hopes have been fixed, not on existing presidents, senates, or houses of representatives, but on future presidents and future congresses--and my hopes and faith grow stronger and stronger, as each succeeding president, senate, and house of representatives, fails to adopt and establish that policy, so eminently constitutional and conservative. My hopes and my faith thus grow on disappointment, because I see that by degrees, which are marked, although the progress seems slow, my countrymen, who alone create presidents and congresses, are coming to apprehend the wisdom and justice of that beneficent policy, and to accept it. The short-comings of the present house of representatives do not discourage me. I do not even hold that body responsible. I know how, in the very midst of the canvass in which its members were elected, the public mind was misled, and diverted to the discussion of false and fraudulent issues concerning the principles and policy of the church of Rome, and the temper, disposition, and conduct of aliens incorporated into the republic. But although I hold the present house of representatives excusable, I must, nevertheless, in assigning its true character, be allowed to say of it, that it is deceptive like the moon, which presents a broad surface, all smooth and luminous when seen at a distance, but covered with rough and dark mountains when brought near to the eye by the telescope. I shall vote, therefore, on this occasion, with the house of representatives, against a majority of the senate, careless whether that house itself shall, like other houses of representatives which have gone before it, renounce and repudiate its own decision which I thus sustain, and complacently range itself, with the senate and the president of the United States, against myself and those senators who shall have gone with me to its support.
The subject under consideration is legitimately within the jurisdiction of congress, and consequently within the jurisdiction of the bouse of representatives. There must be authority somewhere to decide whether the territorial legislature of Kansas is a legal and constitutional body, and whether its statutes are valid. The president of the United States has no authority to decide those questions definitely, because the decision involves an act of sovereign legislation within the constitutional sphere of congress. The judiciary cannot decisively determine those questions, because their own determinations, in such a case, may be modified or reversed, and set aside by constitutional legislative enactment, and because the judiciary has no power to apply the means necessary to give effect to its decisions.
The subject is an actual government of the territory of Kansas, to be established and maintained by constitutional laws. All legislative power over Kansas, as well as all legislative power whatever permitted by the constitution of the United States, is vested in congress, and of course in the house of representatives, coördinately with the senate, and subject to a veto of the president. The house of representatives may constitutionally pass a bill abrogating the pretended legislation and legislature of Kansas, or declaring them to be already absolutely void. The greater includes the less. The house of representatives may, therefore, lawfully pass a bill prohibiting the employment of the army of the United States in executing laws in Kansas, which it deerns pernicious, no matter by whom those laws were made.
Since the house of representatives has power to pass such a bill distinctly, it has power, also, to place an equivalent prohibition in any bill which it has constitutional power to pass. And so it has a constitutional right to place the prohibition in the annual army appropriation bill.
I grant that this mode of reaching the object proposed is an unusual one, and in some respects an inconvenient one. therefore, however, an unconstitutional one, or even necessarily a wrong one.
It is a right one, if it is necessary to effect the object desired, and if that object is one that is in itself just, and eminently important to the peace and happiness of the country, or to the security of the liberties of the people. The house of representatives, moreover, is entitled to judge and determine for itself, whether the proceeding
It is not,
is thus necessary, and whether the object of it is thus important. It is true that the senate may dissent from the house, and refuse to concur in the prohibition. In that case, each of the two houses exercises an independent right of its own, and upon its own proper responsibility to the people. If the conflict shall continue to the end, and the bill therefore shall fail, the people will decide between the two houses, in the elections which will follow, and they will take care to bring them to an agreement in harmony with the popular decision.
The proceeding in the present case is thus necessary, and its object is thus important. Pretended but invalid laws are enacted by usurpation, and enforced by the president of the United States in the territory of Kansas, with the terror, if not with an actual application, of the military arm of the government. At least, this is the case assumed by the house of representatives. It is altogether a new
It has not occurred before. It has never even been supposed possible that such a case could bappen in a territory of the United States. The idea has never before entered into the mind of an American statesman, that citizens of one state could with armed force enter any other state or territory, and by fraud or force usurp its government, and establish a tyranny over its people, much less that a president of the United States would be found to sanction such a subversion of state authority or of federal authority; and still less, that a president thus sanctioning it would employ the standing army to maintain the odious usurpation and tyranny.
The mere fact, in this case, that the army is required to be em. ployed to execute alleged laws in Kansas, is enough to raise a presumption that those laws are either wrong in principle or destitute of constitutional authority, and ought not to be executed.
The territory of Kansas, although not a state, is, or ought to be, nevertheless, a civil community, with a republican system of gov. ernrnent. In other words, it is de jure, and ought to be de fucto, a republic—an American republic, existing under and by virtue of the constitution of the United States. If the laws which are to be executed there are really the statutes of such a republican government truly existing there, then those laws were made by the people of Kansas by their own voluntary act. According to the theory of our government, these laws will be acquiesced in by that people, and executed with their own consent against all offenders, by means of
merely civil police, without the aid of the army of the United States. The army of the United States is not a mere institution of domestic police; nor is it a true or proper function of the army to execute the domestic laws of the several states and territories. Its legitimate and proper functions are to repel foreign invasion, and suppress insurrections of the native Indian tribes. It is only an occasional and incidental function of that army to suppress insurrections of citizens seldom expected to occur.
This capitol is surrounded by a national metropolis, and its streets, lanes, and alleys are doubtless filled with misery and guilt, adequate to the generation of all sorts of crimes. Yet the laws prescribed for municipal government within the district of Columbia are executed without the aid of the army of the United States. Neither house of congress, nor the common council of Washington, nor the common council of Georgetown, nor the president of the United States, nor the marshal of the district of Columbia, nor yet the mayors of either of those cities, nor any court within the district, is attended by any armed force or detachment, or protected even by an armed sentinel.
Why is this so? It is because the people acquiesce, and the laws execute themselves. This case of the district of Columbia is the strongest which can be presented against the principle for which I contend, for the people of the district are actually disfranchised, out of regard to the security of the federal government.
Look into the states—into Maryland on one side of the federal capital, and into Virginia on the other; into Delaware as you ascend northward, into North Carolina as you descend 'southward, into Pennsylvania and into South Carolina, into New Jersey and into Georgia, even into Maine and into Texas; go eastward-go westward, throughout all the states, throughout even the territories, Minnesota, Utah, Washington, Oregon, and New Mexico-everywhere throughout the republic, from the gulf of St. Lawrence to the gulf of Mexico, from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific oceaneverywhere, except in Kansas, the people are dwelling in peaceful submission to the laws which they themselves have established, free from any intrusion of the army of the United States. The time was, and that not long ago, when a proposition to employ the standing army of the United States as a domestic police would have been universally denounced as a premature revelation of a plot, darkly