Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small]

The House haring under consideration the question of ||tain that without slave labor our entire crops of referring the President's Message to the Committee of the sugar and rice, and two and a half of the three Whule on the state of the Union, and the printing of ten million bales of cotton we make, would be annithousand copies thereof.-

hilated. And when they are annihilated, what Mr. BRANCH said:

would remain of the commerce, trade, and prosMr. SPEAKER: I feel no hesitation in engaging perity of the North? We have the satisfaction in this debate, because I do not think it either to know that when our northern assailants shall unprofitable or a waste of time. I do not think destroy us, they cannot themselves escape from we would be badly occupied if we were only the ruins. gathering up and arranging the materials for the The gentleman alleges also that the slavehold history of the past, and probably we could noting States are behind the non-slaveholding in be better employed than in defining clearly what | railroad building and other improvements. ! issues have been settled by the people, in order I have read such assertions in newspapers and that parties and individuals may conform their elsewhere, and seen them go forth uncontradicted; conduct to the popular verdict. I do not think but they shall not go out from this Hall without it worth while to inquire why the people decided | being exposed. I hold in my hand a table, prepared as they did decide; but I propose to state what, by myself from data furnished by the American in my opinion, the people did decide, and what | Almanac, published in Boston, showing the miles ought to be considered hereafter as settled by the of railroad, the number of population, and the contest,

proportion between the two, in the Atlantic States. Before proceeding to do so, however, I wish to

It does not embrace the northwestern States, advert to one or two remarks which fell from the because their railroads were, to a large extent, gentleman from Indiana (Mr. CUMBACK) who ad- built by the Federal Government out of the comdressed the House yesterday.

mon property of the Union, and furnish no indiAs proof of the deleterious effects of slavery, cation of the wealth or enterprise of those States. where it prevails, the gentleman cited the fact, || I take those States embraced within the limits of which he ways appears from the censu

of 1850, the original thirteen. that the State of Georgia has improved and under cultivation but six millions of acres of land, whilst it has sixteen millions of acres unimproved. Nature bas been bountiful to the southern States in many respects, and has given to them much fertile soil; but if the State of Georgia possesses the proportion of good, arable soil ---such as would tempt cultivation, whilst so much unappropriated land of great fertility is offered by the Government at no great distance off- as this statement would seem to indicate, she has a far greater proportion

New England

States, of good land than any other southern or western New York, 8,477,396 8,626,629 8,074 1,050 1,068 State with which I am acquainted. Much less New Jersey, than one fourth of our land is desirable for culti- \| Pennsylvania, vation, and hence our population is sparse. This

Delaware, sparseness may entail upon us some disadvant-|| Maryland, ages; but if it has tended to preserve us from the Virginia,

2,733,079 4,539,958 3,912 crimes,

N. Carolina,

700 1,160 the isms, and the furores which constantly

s. Carolina, afflict the thickly-settled northern States, we are

Georgia, amply compensated for every disadvantage. : I must say also to the gentleman, that if with

New York,

5,409,180 3,975 1,370 slave labor Georgia cultivates six millions of Pennsylvania, acres, without slave labor it would not cultivate ore million. Our soil and climate render it cer It appears from this table that notwithstanding

States.

White population.

Total population.

Miles railroad.

White population to
each mile railroad.

Whole population to each mile railroad.

M207917

the fact that it embraces the

densely-settled man-| [Mr. H. MARSHALL]—a course of remark calcuufacturing States of New England, with their lated to fan into flame the dying embers of slavery concentrated wealth, and notwithstanding that the strife, and sow dissensions among those who North, in trade, has always held us tributary-are striving to extinguish them. If the South our wealth and our patronage contributing mate- ll desired to keep its institutions under discussion rially to build and support its roads; whilst ours | here, I would not have been surprised at the genderive no patronage from them except as an tleman's remarks, for I could only construe them occasional - drummer" seeks our custom-yet into a denial that the recent election had settled we have built and now have in operation just anything in our favor; and if it settled nothing, fifty per cent. more of railroad, in proportion to of course the Black Republicans will feel themwhite population, than the North has.

selves justifiable in continuing to agitate. If we 'include our slaves, free negroes, and On what ground does the honorable gentleman Indians, (though there is no more propriety in thus summarily strip the South of all the benefit counting them than in counting the horses, cattle, 11 of the verdict!' He says the Democrats at the or other live property of the North,) the North is North represented the Kansas and Nebraska bill less than ten per cent. in advance of us.

as investing the people of those Territories with If we compare with the great agricultural States || power to abolish slavery through the Territorial of New York and Pennsylvania, which have | Legislatures, whilst the Democrats at the South coal and the commerce of the great lakes to aid | represented that it could not be abolished or prothem, we have double as much in proportion to hibited until the people were assembled to frame, white population as they have; and counting our constitutions. On this ground he charges that slaves, free negroes, and Indians, we are twenty-|| different persons of the Democratic party place five per cent in advance of them.

different constructions on the bill. Now, sir, I This course of remark gives me no pleasure, | may admit the gentleman's premises--I do admit nor would I derive any satisfaction from such a that some persons maintain the opinion that the comparison, if it had not become necessary to Legislature of a Territory can prohibit slavery, vindicate the manliness and the enterprise of a whilst others maintain that it cannot; but that is great people assailed by bigoted ignorance and not because of any difference of construction blind fanaticism, for holding to the institutions of placed on the bill, but only a difference of opinion their fathers.

as to how a judicial question, arising not under Satisfied with the bright deeds of the past, the the bill, but under the Constitution of the United fruition of the present, and the glorious promise | States, will be decided by the Supreme Court. of the future, I willingly pass on from the vin The bill leaves the people “free to regulate dication of my people, to inquire what of their their own domestic institutions in their own way, rights were decided by the recent election. subject only to the Constitution of the United

Throughout the canvass I saw inscribed on every States.” The friends of the bill all agree that banner, and occupying the prominent place in this clause releases the Territories, as regards every party platform-the Kansas and Nebraska their domestic institutions, from congressional bill, the repeal of the Missouri restriction, non control, but leaves them to be controlled by the intervention by Congress in regard to slavery in Constitution. They agree that they are authorthe States or Territories. I såw every otherized to regulate them not only in such manner, issue that parties or individuals attempted to place but also at such time, as may not be inconsistent before the people promptly and decisively repudi- || with the Constitution. And they agree that, if ated, and the whole contest made to hinge on this|| a question arises either as to the character of any one idea. I saw the Democrats everywhere, particular regulation, or as to the competency of North, South, East, and West, not only accept- the Legislature to make it, it is a judicial question ing that issue, but presenting it as that on whích to go to the courts, and be decided not by referthey demanded the verdict of the country. I saw ence to the bill, for the bill contains nothing the Black Republican party endeavor to dodge and about it, but according to the principles of the shirk that issue, and pretend that the real issue | Constitution. Up to this point there is no diswas slavery or no slavery, and whether Con- || agreement among the friends of the bill, and all gress should legislate slavery into the Territories, | agree that at this point the bill stops. although it is known that the Democratic party The question remaining to be decided is, whether, would as much oppose a law of Congress estab- || according to the principles of our Constitution, a lishing slavery as it does one prohibiting it. I Legislature (especially of an inchoate Territory) saw the issue clearly and decisively made, and can make fundamental regulations, abolishing the verdict of the people clearly and distinctly existing rights of property already vested in indirendered 'în favor of the Kansas and Nebraska viduals under State constitutions. I admit that bill, in favor of peace to the South, and repose to on this point there is a difference of opinion, but the country from the everlasting din of slavery all are willing to abide by the decision of the agitation. The people have declared that the Supreme Court; and as the Kansas and Nebraska whole slavery question shall be settled now and bill throws no light on it, and never pretended to forever on the principles of the Kansas and Ne-decide it, the gentleman from Kentucky might braska bill.

as well charge us with differing in our construe. I have heard nothing in the debate here, and tion of an act referring a case to the Court of read nothing in the similar debate in the other Claims, because we may differ in opinion as to : end of the Capitol, to make me doubt whether how the Court ought to decide the case. the issue had been fairly made-on the contrary, Gentlemen on the other side ask us tauntingly much to prove that it was; and I should not open what opinion the President elect entertains on my lips but for the course of remarks indulged these points. I undertake to say, without having in by the honorable gentleman from Kentucky, llany special knowledge on the subject, that he

been so emphatically challenged from the other -I incline to the opinion that ay be constitutional

construes the Kansas and Nebraska bill as I and choose to get upon it, would be laughed at as all other Democrats construe it. What'opinion aiming to transcend its powers. A Legislature he entertains on the judicial question, I do not cannot, except on a special grant of power in a know; it is not important for the country to | Constitution, exercise any of those powers usually know; and gentlemen are probably doomed to re considered as making up the aggregate of sovermain in ignorance, as the Executive is restrained | eignty, much less can it control and regulate at by the fundamental principles of our Government its will, and annul the rights of property, the from endeavoring to influence, by the intrusion of establishment of which is supposed to be the his opinions and wishes, the action of the judicial | first act of man indicating that he is emerging department on a question pending, or likely to be from barbarism. brought before it.

I may be reminded that States of the Union I can tell gentlemen, however, what I think have abolished slavery by legislative enactments. the Supreme Court will decide; and as we have Such enactments by States

they side, feel doing so.

If the re the constitution of the State does not specially sult should prove me to be in error, it will only | grant power. But the assumption of such a prove me to be, what the clients of much better power by the Legislature of a sovereign State, lawyers have often to their sorrow found them || (sovereign as to its domestic concerns,) deriving to be, fallible in my judgment of the law. My its authority from a Constitution framed by the opinion is, that the Supreme Court will decide people, might be sustained without its following that the establishment of what shall be, and that the same power belongs to a Territorial what shall not be, property-who shall be citi- | Legislature which derives its existence and all zens and who shall be slaves, is part of the ori- | its powers from an act of Congress, constitutes ginal compact under which individuals enter into part of a government never sanctioned by the society; that that original compact must precede people, confessedly temporary in its character, and does create government, of which a Legis- || and liable to be altered or abolished at any molature is but one of the parts; that this original ment by act of Congress, and possessing no more compact must be made by, and is presumed to of sovereignty, and less of independence, than have the assent of, the individuals composing an ordinary moneyed corporation. the society in their separate, original, sovereign That such a body possesses power to annul character. In England it is unwritten and undi- rights of property acquired and held under the gested. It is found in Magna Charta and the common law and constitutions of fifteen States of Bill of Rights; resting in traditions and alluded | the Union, appears to me a proposition too monto in acts of Parliament; axioms announced by strous to be entertained for a moment in a nation popular leaders and embalmed by popular ap- not prepared to revert to barbarism and anarchy. proval; the tumultuous demands of rebellious This is not a question of the respective powers masses, and the reluctant assent of humbled of the State and Federal governments. It is a kings—all spread through the history of a thou- / question of the relative and respective power of

Such is the original compact of the Legislature on the one side, and the sovereign England, unwritten and unsubscribed, yet known people on the other. It is a conflict between the to her statesmen and binding her rulers.

constitution-making power and the law-making This shadowyand mythical thing is the original power. On the one side are stability, security, compact establishing the rights of property and conservatism; on the other are change, chaos, the relations of man to man, and the Parliament and agrarianism. of England, the Supreme Legislature of the King If it comes within the scope of the legislative dom, dares not alter one of its provisions or power to abolish slavery, then what gentleman usurp one of the prerogatives of those who estab. are pleased to call squatter sovereignty is no new lished it. In the United States the original com- | thing in the Government. pact is set forth in written Constitutions, accu The bills organizing territorial governments in rately and exactly setting forth the powers to be Utah and New Mexico, for both of which I believe exercised by Government, by the Legislature, by the gentleman from Kentucky [Mr. H. MARthe Executive, and by the Judiciary-which | SHALL) voted, and both of which were signed by with us constitute the Government. The basis Mr. Fillmore, provided as follows: of our whole system of republicanism is, that

“Sec. 6. That the legislative power of said Territory shall powers not specially granted are reserved to the

extend to all rightful subjects of legislation consistent with people, and that changes of the fundamental the Constitution of the United States and the provisions of policy of a State can only be made by the people this act." themselves in their sovereign capacity, through The same phrase occurs in almost, if not quite, representatives specially elected for that purpose. I all the territorial acts ever passed by Congress.

has ever attributed to a Legislature in | If the abolition of slavery is a “ rightful subject this country sovereignty, or a right to do what it of legislation," all the territorial acts have conwills. After the Constitution has declared that a ferred on the Legislatures the power to abolish it. particular object-as land-shall be subject to be If it is not a rightful subject of legislation, but appropriated as property, it is the province of the belongs to the constitution-making power, then Legislature to provide rules for its appropriation, the Kansas and Nebraska act does not confer on to regulate the incidents of such appropriation, the Legislature power to abolish it. Gentlemen and to protect and secure the possessor in its en- / who have voted for such territorial acts, or who joyment. But the Legislature that should assume have voted for Mr. Fillmore, may take which ever in declare that land should no longer be appro- horn of the dilemma they choose; either the Kanpriated to the separate use of individuals, but sas and Nebraska act does not contain the prinshould be free as air to every one who should || ciple of squatter sovereignty, or they have voted

sand years.

No on

for it and are estopped from urging it against the favor of the Kansas and Nebraska bill-in favor Kansas and Nebraska act. For my part, I do of peace and union, and against congressional not think it a rightful subject of legislation, and agitation on the subject of slavery. hence I do not think the act or the Constitution Will our opponents submit to the verdict confers any such power on the Legislature, and they cannot successfully assail it. They cannot I am satisfied that the Supreme Court will so hope to get it set aside. But they can do what decide, if the question should ever arise. defeated-hopelessly defeated-adversaries gen,

Mr. Speaker, when, in 1854, we accepted the erally do; what Moloch, in the great poem, counKansas and Nebraska bill, we accepted it with a seled the fallen angels to do, yiz; sow dissenperfect understanding of all its provisions. Wesions and foment discord in the ranks of the knew that it referred the question I have been ex

victors amining to the courts of the country. We aimed

“ Which, if not victory, is yet revenge." to refer it to that tribunal, because it was a question appropriate to the courts. We had confi Foremost in this labor I am surprised to find, dence in them, and were willing to abide by their and regret to find, a southern Representativedecision. We knew the act repealed the stigma | the honorable gentleman from Kentucky, [Mr. upon us and our institutions which had beenH. MARSHALL,) who voted for the admission of standing on the statute-book for more than thirty California with her squatter sovereignty constituyears. That commended it to our favor. But | tion, and who is fresh from a contest in which above all we embraced it because it contained the he sustained Mr. Fillmore, who instigated the great doctrine of non-intervention by Congress; squatters to assume the sovereignty of Califorbecause, under the fair and full operation of that | nia, and, in effect, wrest that valuable acquisition principle, the question of slavery could no more not only from the South, but from the control of get into Congress to furnish fuel for the fires of the Federal Government, agitation, and to make the main element in elec Will the Democratic party, especially will the tions; because under it we and our institutions || southern portion of it, fall into the snare laid for would cease to be a foot-ball in the political arena, || it by the Fillmore men of the South, and the and because we might expect peace and security Black Republicans of the North? Shall we quarrel instead of the insubordination and insurrection over the bone of contention cast into our midst by which northern fanaticism is beginning to pro- || the honorable gentleman from Kentucky? Whaiduce in our midst. We knew that the great eyil ever others may do, I will not. I do not believe under which we are suffering is the domestic dis- the Kansas-Nebraska bill empowers the Terriquiet caused by congressional agitation, and we torial Legislature to exelude the slaveholder with embraced that bill cordially; not because it estab- || his property. But I am willing for that question lished slavery in the Territories, for we knew it | to take the course of other constitutional quesdid not, nor yet because we thought it insured the tions, and be decided by the courts as the bil! establishment of slavery; for leading southern intended it should be decided. statesmen declared their great doubt whether If the Legislature of Kansas excludes slavery, slavery would ever be desired by the people there, and the courts decide that it is competent for the and none thought the stability of the institution Legislature to do so, I will abide by the decision; in the southern States depended in any degree on and when she applies for admission into the Union, the decision of the people of Kansas. We'em I will vote for her admission if I have a seat on braced it because it removed an odious and un this floor. On the other hand, I hold every Demconstitutional discrimination against us, and ocrat bound to vote for her admission if she appromised to arrest congressional agitation on the plies with a constitution establishing or permítsubject.

ting slavery. Gentlemen representing the slaveholding States, We seek not to force the institution on any who have had so recently an opportunity to learn people against their will. It is able to vindicate the temper and fixed determination of the people itself; and if its advantages in a particular locality of those States, need not be told that the con are not obvious enough to enable it to contend tinued existence of this Union depends on the against an accidental opposition, it will not be cessation of congressional agitation of slavery; very important to the slaveholder to be permitted and that on our return home after the last session to go there. of-Congress, we found those who are most at Hence I cannot see that the question as to when tached to the Union, and the least in the habit | the power may be exercised possesses the imof anticipating its dissolution, declaring sorrow portance attributed to it by some of my friends, fully, but firmly, that unless we can have more It is certainly of too little value to distract the quiet in the Union, we will be compelled to sepa- country, divide the Democratic party, and harass rate and place ourselves in a position to fend off the South with a new issue. All agree that it intrusions detrimental to our peace. The South may be exercised at the time of framing a condemands peace; and peace she must and will stitution, and it is a mere question of time. have-not the heavy and stupefying sleep that | Every one knows that if the majority of the follows submission to wrong and insult, but the Legislature are opposed to slavery, there are a repose of health and vigor-the peaceful enjoy- multitude of ways in which the slaveholder may ment of acknowledged rights.

be harassed and kept out by hostile legislation, After a two years' contest of unparalleled vio-ll and by a failure

to provide remedies for the prolence--and at times, sir,,of such doubtful issue tection of his rights. Practically, the institution as to overwhelm the friends of the Constitution can only be introduced and sustained where the and Union with gloom and despondency—the majority are willing to tolerate it, and one great people have rendered their final verdiet in that advantage to the South of the Kansas-Nebraską high court from which there is no appeal, in act is, that hereafter Congress will stand pledged

not to prevent the people from having it if the ma- settling a new country have borne the same testi. jority wish it. It is, in my opinion, a beneficent | mony to the advantage and necessity of having institutìon, and wherever it ought to exist it will labor that can be commanded. The Spaniards, exist, if the people interested are left free to con. | who took possession of Mexico, the West Indies, sult their choice. To establish it where, from soil, \/ and other portions of this continent soon after its climate, or other circumstances, it ought not to discovery, though marching under the cross for exist, tends to weaken the institution everywhere, banner, and lighting in virtue of a bull of the by furnishing plausible arguments against it. Pope, professedly for the propagation of Chris

Looking to the relative strength of the slave- tianity, soon reduced the feeble natives to slavery, holding and non-slaveholding States, in the Sen- and compelled them to work as slaves. Our own ate, which is the only point of view in which the venerated ancestors, who took possession of this question of slavery extension affects the slave- portion of the continent, found it occupied by a holder, I have no hesitation in preferring squatter more formidable and warlike race than the feeble sovereignty to congressional sovereignty. Ay, aborigines of the tropics; but with a knowledge sir, I would rather leave the question to the first of the hardy and enterprising character of the 'hundred persons who reach the Territory than | first emigrants from England, we cannot doubt to this Congress; and we all know that our chances that they would very soon have harnessed the of impartial justice from future Congresses are Pequod and the Narragansett but for the timely exceedingly gloomy. In both branches the non arrival of a Dutch ship with a cargo of African slaveholding States have majorities; and in the negroes. future we are far more likely to have an acces On such slight circumstances do the fate of sion of slaveholding States under the spontaneous, | nations and the destiny of races depend. The uncontrolled action of the settlers in the Territo- enslaved. African has been civilized, and gone on ries, than under a policy molded and influenced, increasing and multiplying beyond all precedent; if not dictated and controlled, by Congress. whilst the Indian, rejoicing in his freedom, has

I know not on what ground the South should | receded before civilization, a prey to suffering, entertain jealousy and suspicion of the early set to want, and to barbarism, melting away on the tlers in the Territories. No people more fully | frontiers, and carrying nothing but his boasted realize the necessity of compulsory labor than freedom across the broad prairies of the West, to those going forth into the wilderness to conquer, the base of that great mountain range in whose and reduce it to the use of man. With lands to icy, gorges he must perish. . When starvation clear, houses to build, farms to improve, they and death are upon him, and his last " freedom soon learn that hireling labor cannot be com- || shriek” is heard in the mountains, if the poor, manded, for the early settlers are all hirers, and friendless savage could look upon the well-fed, none are hirelings. And they are not usually of comfortable, and happy African on a southern that canting and hypocritical class of sentiment- plantation, who can doubt that he would bewail alists who hesitate to use the blessings Provi- || the chance that left him free, and made the Afridence has placed within their reach, for fear can a slave? The introduction of that cargo of Providence has erred in blessing them.

Africans closed up the only avenue through which Hence a most significant fact, to which I would the Indian could have been conducted to civilizacall the attention of my friends who so much fear tion, placed under protection, and preserved from the action of the early settlers. It is this: that extermination. every Territory which has been left free to select It is a curious fact, also, that as the priest had its own institutions, has established or permitted | been the foremost in enslaving the Indians in slavery. And the Territories northwest of the Mexico, doubtless as a means of converting them Ohio, over which the ordinance of 1787 extended, to Christianity-and in every allotment took to petitioned Congress for the repeal of the anti-sla- || himself the largest share—so the New England very clause of the ordinance, protesting against | Puritan was the foremost to enter into the African it as retarding the improvement and settlement slave trade, and secure the profit of reducing men of the country, and vainly clamored for the priv-to slavery ilege of having slaves. California presents no In looking over the face of the globe, I find that exception to the remark. There a snap judgment wherever there is a country fit for the use of was taken against the institution at a time when civilized men, but which civilized men have not the expense of transporting a slave was so great yet occupied, there Providence has placed a as to preclude the possibility of introducing labor-savage and debased race, having the ability but ing men, much less families, through which alone not the inclination to labor. When civilized man the institution could be planted. And besides, || comes into it, I find universally a disposition California cannot be said to have been free to se manifested on his part to enslave the inferior race. lect its institutions; for, as Congress was then The necessity of his position compels him to it; constituted, it was well known that its admission and he may be only availing himself of a wise into the Union would be opposed, retarded, and economy of Providence, which placed the inferior probably altogether defeated, on that ground, if | race where it would be needed. I find that in all its constitution did not prohibit slavery. And our Territories, where the policy of the Governthere is reason to believe that the anxiety of the ment and the sentiments of our people forbid any people for immediate admission into the Union, attempt to enslave the Indian, the early settlers and the well-known sentiments then prevailing in in every instance manifest the greatest anxiety Congress, constrained them to forego the advant- to avail themselves of African slavery. I infer ages of an institution which would do so much from this that slavery is suitable to their condition, to develop her mineral and agricultural resources. and that they realize that it is so, and will con

Nor is this striking fact confined to the Terri- | tinue to introduce it in the future, as they have tories of the American Union. Every people I done in the past, if permitted to exercise a free

« PreviousContinue »