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Delay would be Advisable.
As the moment approached for South Carolina to take the "precipitate" step, we find considerable hesitancy, on the part of some of the leaders in Georgia, to precipitate that State from the Union. Thus, Mr. Cobb, (T. R. R.) wrote (Dec. 17th): "The greater the number of States which retire together from the Union the more dignity and moral weight will the movement have. Any haste in one State to move in advance of the others (though not so intended), will have or be construed into an appearance of a disregard to the will and action of others. And while I am free to admit that each State must act for herself and resume, by her own independent will, her delegated authority, yet I conceive that it is possible and highly desirable that all of them should assign some common day for such resumption. In the meanwhile proper steps might be taken not only to secure harmonious action, but to provide for a future Confederacy."
Mr. Toombs, ultra-secessionist as he was, in view of the conciliatory attitude of Congress, did not care to hurry the State into the vortex. In his letter to the Danburg Committee (Dec. 15th) he said among other things: "Many persons think the remedy ought to be applied immediately, others at a day not to extend beyond the 4th of March next, others again supposing that too short a time for the convenient action of the Abolition States would extend it only to what might be fairly deemed a reasonable and convenient time within which our wrongs might be redressed by the wrong-doers. I would strongly ad vise that there be no division among those who hold either of those opinions. While I personally favor the position of those who are opposed to delaying longer than the 4th of March next, I certainly would yield that
point to correct and honest men who were with me in principle, but who are more hopeful of redress from the aggressors than I am, especially if any such active measures should be taken by the wrong-doers as promised, to give us redress in the Union."
The Commissioners sent out by Mississippi and Alabama to the Slave States executed their trust by visiting all the State Legislatures and Governors. Their reception in the Border States was not particularly cordial. The movement for immediate secession, it was evident to them, must be confined to the Gulf States and South Carolina alone. The Border States were not yet ripe for the revolution.
North Carolina Conservatisın.
The minority report of the Joint Committee of the North Carolina Legislature took very strong grounds against the State Convention call. The bill calling such a Convention was declared, in the report, to be unconstitutional, for the palpable reason that "such a Convention can only be summoned by twothirds vote of all the members of each House. In the Personal Liberty laws of Northern States there is no new cause for grievance, and in any event they will be declared unconstitutional when brought face to face with the Constitution. Then, too," the address remarks, "if the grievance complained of and not disclosed, is the election of Lincoln to the Presidency-an election effected by a minority vote, in consequence of divisions among his opponents-it is, in the opinion of the minority, an inadequate cause for calling a Convention so hastily, with extraordinary power, which may place North Carolina out of the Union before the 4th of March next, and before the country can be officially informed of the policy of the incoming Administration. Would it not be more prudent to abide the determination of the great efforts now being made at Washington City and elsewhere by patriotic men, to compromise all difficulties, and obtain more secure guarantees against the unfriendly legislation of certain Northern States? Let the people have time to deliberate, that North Carolina may not be precipitated out of the Union, and her influence as a peace maker between the North and the South utterly destroyed.”
Louisiana seemed, for aLouisiana Hesitating. while, to pause for deliberation, in view of the attitude of affairs at Washington. Thus, the New Orleans Picayune, of December 15th,
"There is less of impulse but more of determination here than in some other States. We may possibly take all measures that may justify us before the world and acquit us of impetuosity in this crisis; but, we doubt that Louisiana takes any backward steps. It depends on the action of Congress, and the returning sense of justice and reason at the North, whether the revolution in Louisiana goes rapidly forward to its full consummation. No plan of conciliation short of a final settlement of the Slavery agitation, by amendments to the Constitution, can, we think, be satisfactory. At the same time there is a disposition, by large bodies of our citizens, to move with deliberation, and to try all remedies, until means of security and equality in the Union are exhausted, before the State considers the United States as a foreign government, and its citizens as aliens."
"Second. That the great subject of disturbance, that of Slavery in the Territories, rests upon a satisfactory foundation, and that we have nothing to ask except that the status quo be respected.
Third. That the subject of the rendition of fugitive slaves can be adjusted to the satisfaction of the injured property-holder, and without dishonor to ourselves.
"Fourth. That in relation to the maintenance of
the rights we have, or those that have been defeated or impaired, and in whatever concerns the subjects of contumely and insult we complain of, there may be sufficient cause for increased vigilance, for prepa
ration, for alliance among the Southern States, for the demand of new guarantees, but not for disunion,
until there is a refusal of redress. In my opinion separate State action will result in the discredit and defeat of every measure for reparation or security.” Ex-Governor Brown, of Tennessee, published a letter on the state of affairs, about the same time. He assumed strong Union grounds, and saw, in the election of Mr. Lincoln, no cause whatever for a dissolution of the Confederacy. “There is every reason," he said, "to suppose that he will administer the Government in a conservative manner, and as for the question of Slavery in the Territories, there is no reason to fear that he will do the South injustice, since there is no Territory now belonging to the Union where a Southerner would care to carry slaves, nor is it likely that any will be acquired during Mr. Lincoln's administration." He urged the necessity of calling a Southern Convention, and concluded by an earnest appeal for the people of Tennessee to stand by the Union.
Hon. A. O. P. Nicholson, of the same State, also addressed the people, through the press, deprecating secession, and adverted to the position which Tennesee must occupy as a friend of both sections of the Union.
Ex-Governor Wickliffe, of Kentucky, under date of December 17th, published his views, suggesting how to deal with South Carolina, or other seceding States, His ideas were, to repeal the acts creating her ports of entry, to prevent any commerce with her. "Then, if she opposes Congress in establishing judicial districts in the State, and her citizens refuse to fill the offices of judge and marshal, abolish the district by law, and attach the territory to some other neighboring judicial district. If she desires no postal facilities of the United States, abolish the post-offices and withdraw the service. If she will send no Senators or Representatives to Congress, let her alone-the Government can get along without their services in Congress. State. This is making no war upon a State Apply these same remedies to each seceding or upon its citizens-it necessarily does not involve the shedding of human blood."
The Louisville Journal, speaking the senti
ment of a large majority of the people of the State, thus characterized the precipitationists and their schemes:
"It seems to us that the whole annals of the man race do not present such an example of arrogance and presumption as this attempt of South Ca
Our wishes are not to be regarded; we are not worthy even to sit in council with South Carolina upon our own fate; even Old Virginia, the land of Washington, the mother of constitutional liberty in Amerhuica, is waved off majestically by the Charleston Mercury, when she approaches with the olive branch and asks to be permitted to consult with Carolina upon measures concerning their common destiny. Ye gods! upon what meat doth this our Cæsar feed, that he has grown so great?' 'He doth bestride the earth like a Colossus,' and we, petty borderers, must crawl between his huge legs,' and find ourselves dishonorable graves.'
rolina to coerce the Border Slave States out of the
Union. If she herself desires to go out, in heaven's name, let her go. We do not desire to coerce her. And yet she seeks to 'drag' us after her, at the hazard of all that makes life worth having; to 'drag' us into the slaughter-house of civil and servile war; to 'drag' us away from a Government with which we are satisfied, under which we enjoy prosperity and peace, sitting every man of us in joy and content under our own vine and fig-tree; to 'drag' us from this Government, constructed by the wisdom and patriotism of our venerated forefathers and cemented by their heroic blood, and force us down a precipice the bottom of which no mortal eye can see.
These several expressions are a reflex of the conservative public opinion in the several sections of the Union during the middle of December. It will be apparent, therefore, what action in Congress would have met their views.
PROCEEDINGS OF CONGRESS CONTINUED. THIRD WEEK. SPEECHES
A Resolution of Inquiry.
THE third week of the session proved a very important and exciting one in both Houses. In the Senate, on Monday (Dec. 17th), Mr. Clark (Rep.) of New Hampshire, sought to obtain information concerning the condition of Fort Moultrie by a resolution of inquiry, which requested the President to inform the Senate what number of men were stationed at Forts Moultrie and Sumter; whether, in his opinion, the number was sufficient to defend those forts against any attack or domestic violence; whether additional men had been ordered to either of said forts, or any steps taken to put them in position to resist any attack; in whose custody the arsenal at Charleston is placed; what arms and property are there kept, or, if removed, by whom; why said arms are not put in possession of
officers of the United States upon a requisition, or if this has ever been refused; and further, what instructions have been given to the of ficers of said Forts in case of a demand to surrender them by any person or authority made upon them; also, the copies of any correspondence between the Commander-in-Chief of the American Army relative to the necessity of supplying the officers of said forts with protection. This was immediately objected to by Mr. Brown (Dem.) of Mississippi, when, under the rules it had to lie over. The Southern members evidently had determined upon a steady opposition to all Union or coercive resolves.
At one o'clock Mr. Powell's resolution for a Committee of Thirteen on the Union was taken up, when Mr. Wade, of Ohio, proceeded to address the Senate. As Mr. W. was un
derstood to speak for the Republicans, his speech assumed peculiar significance, aside from its remarkakble power and unity. We shall reproduce so much of it as may illustrate its "points." After adverting to the unusual excitement he thought argument would avail very little; but silence would be treason. Thus far he had listened for complaints in order to assertain what were the evils and wrongs complained of, but had listened in vain. As the Republican party never had held office-was only prospectively coming into power, it was manifest that no act had yet been committed of which to com
Senator Wade's Speech.
ted with the same faithfulness as has been this most repugnant Fugitive Slave law. You have a law in South Carolina by which you take the Free Citizens of Massachusetts, or any other maritime State, and lock them up in jail, under a penalty. If the poor man cannot pay the jail fees, eternal slavery stares him in the face. It is a monstrous law, revolting to the best feelings of humanity, and in conflict with the Constitution of the United States * * You have the whole legislation of the country; you own the Cabinet and the Senate, and, I may add, you
own the President of the United States as much as
the servants on your own plantations. I can't, therefore, see why the Southern men rise up and complain of the action of this Government. * What doctrines do we hold detrimental to you? Are we the setters forth of any new doctrine under the
plain. If fears existed as to what might hap- Constitution? I tell you nay. There is no principle pen, they were groundless, arising out of unwarrantable prejudices. If there were wrongs of deed or principles he would be the first to recant them when they were shown to exist. Who are the complainants?
"Why, they have had more than two-thirds of this Senate for many years. You that complain, represent but little more than one quarter of the free people of the United States; yet, you have prevailed for ten years past in the Cabinet of the President, and in the Supreme Court of the United States, and nearly every department of the Government. Those who voted with you have dictated the policy of the Government. Is it not strange that those who occupy this position come here complaining that their rights have been stricken down? * *I may say these gentlemen who have raised upon this floor their bill of indictment against us, have been the leaders of the dominant party for years; therefore, if there is anything in the legislation of the Federal Government that is not right, you, and not we, are responsible for it. We never yet have been invested with power to control the legislation of the country for an hour." * *
"We have no security in travelling nearly one half of this Confederacy-especially the Gulf States. I don't care what a man's character may be, and if he never violated any law under heaven; but if he comes from the North, and especially if he has exercised his political rights, and voted for Lincoln instead of somebody else, is an offence punishable by indignity, by stripes and by death. And you, whose constituents are guilty of all these things, can stand up and accuse us of being unfaithful to the Constitution of the land! I make the assertion here that I do not believe, in the history of the world, there ever was a nation or a people where a law so repugnant to the general feeling was ever execu
held to-day by the great Republican party that has not had the sanction of your government for more than seventy years. You have changed your opinions-we stand where we used to stand. We stand, on the Slavery question, in the place formerly occupied by the most revered statesmen of this nation, every one of them, Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, Adams, Jackson and Polk, inclusive; and that revered statesman, Henry Clay, of blessed memory, with his dying breath asserted the doctrine we hold to-day. Why, then, are we held up before the community as violators of your rights? It is late in the day to accuse us of harboring these opinions.
"Mr. Lincoln's character, from his youth up, has been such that you have no right to draw any inference that he will trespass on the right of any man, and if you harbor adverse suspicions they are unwarrantable and spring from prejudice, nothing
"The Republican party holds the same opinion, so far as I know, with regard to your peculiar institution' that is held by every civilized nation on the globe. We do not differ in public sentiment from England, France, Germany, and Italy on the subject of Slavery.
"I tell you frankly that we did lay down the principle on our platform, that we would prohibit, if we had the power, Slavery from invading another inch of free soil of this Government. I stand to that principle to-day. I have argued it to half a million of people and they stand by it-they have commissioned me to stand by it, and, so help me God, I will! I say to you while we hold this doctrine to the end there is no Republican, or Convention of Republicans, or Republican paper, that pretends we have any right in your States to interfere with your peculiar and local institutions. On the other hand our platform repudiates the idea that we have any right, or harbor any ultimate intention, to invade,
or interfere with, your institution, in your own States.
"I have disowned any intention on the part of the Republican party to harm a hair of your heads. We hold to no doctrine that can possibly work you any inconvenience any wrong-any disaster. We have been and shall remain faithful to all the laws, studiously so. It is not, by your own confessions, that Mr. Lincoln is expected to commit any overt act by which you may be injured. You will not even wait for any, you say; but by anticipating that the Government may do you an injury you will put an end to it—which means, simply and squarely, that you intend either to rule or ruin this Govern
"As to compromises, I supposed that we had agreed the day of Compromise was at an end. The most solemn we have made have been violated, and are no more. Since I have had a seat in the Senate, one of considerable antiquity was swept from our
Mr. Wade adverted, at some length, to the question of a right of secession, assuming that it was revolution, which, if successful, would make all concerned in it heroes--if unsuccessful, would submit every participator's neck to the halter. The President, he held, had but one course to pursue to sustain the Constitution and the laws. Washington City was founded by the "Father of his Country' to be the capital of the Union, and it should never be anything else. He himself had lived, and hoped to die, under the folds of the flag consecrated by the blood and sacrifices of his own father.
This speech caused a sensation throughout the country. It was not the impulse of a moment, made in anger or haste. It was deliberate and well considered; and, being the first utterance of a Republican leader, was properstatute book; and when in the minority I stood up ly regarded as an exposition of the views and
here and asked you to withhold your hands-that it was a solemn, sacred compact between nationswhat was the reply? That it was nothing but an act of Congress, and could be swept away by the same majority which enacted it. That was true in fact and true in law, and it showed the weakness of compro
purposes of the dominant party. The Senate, during its delivery, was crowded with anxious listeners in the galleries, while many members of the Lower House found places on the floor. It was accepted as the declaration of the party, and its words were weighed by the public, thoughtfully and scrutinizingly, as the great occasion demanded.
In the House, Monday, various propositions were submitted, for compromises, amendments to the Constitution, calling of a Nationa Convention, &c. A resolution, offer
"We beat you on the plainest and most palpable issue ever presented to the American people, and one which every man understood; and now. when we come to the capital, we tell you that our candidates must and shall be inaugurated-must and shall administer this government precisely as the Constitution prescribes. It would not only be humiliating, but highly dishonorable to us, if we listened to any compromise by which we should layed by Mr. Adrian, (Dem.,) of New Jersey,— aside the honest verdict of the people. When it after an amendment on motion of John Cochcomes to that you have no government, but anarchy rane, (Dem.,) of New York, including in the intervenes, and civil war may follow, and all the recommendation the repeal of all Personal· evils that human imagination can raise may be con- Liberty bills, so called-was adopted by a sequent upon such a course as that. The American vote of 151 Yeas to 14 Nays:— people would lose the sheet anchor of Liberty whenever it is denied on this floor that a majority fairly given shall rule. I know not what others may do, but I tell you, that with that verdict of the people in my pocket, and standing on the platform on which these candidates were elected, I would suffer any thing before I would compromise in any way. I deem it no case where we have a right to extend courtesy or generosity. The absolute right, the most sacred that a free people can bestow upon any man, is their verdict that gives him a full title to the office he holds. If we cannot stand there we cannot After some skirmishing with the Southern stand anywhere, and, my friends, any other verdict members, Mr. Lovejoy, (Rep.,) of Illinois,
would be as fatal to you as to us."
"Whereas, The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land, and its ready and faithful obedience a duty of all good and law-abiding citizens. Therefore,
dience to the Constitution, wherever manifested, and "Resolved, That we deprecate the spirit of disobethat we earnestly recommend the repeal of the statutes by the State Legislatures in conflict with, and in violation of that sacred instrument, and the laws of Congress passed in pursuance thereof."
pressed the following to a vote: