« AnteriorContinuar »
fortunate one. I have no desire to say anything which y election--stands before the country with its opinions shall be construed into a want of courtesy, kindness, or clearly expressed and openly avowed. It has a right to respect for him. I mean all due courtesy, kindness and claim from :he President of the United States—it has a respect. His situation is certainly such as to appeal to right to claim from honorable Senators here—it has a the magnanimity rather than provoke the hostility of right to claim before the country that it shall stand upon his opponents. If he had been content to submit to it, its broad and open declarations of principle. How does and go out, as it seemed to be the wish of his friends and it stand? It accepts the Declaration of Independence foes that he should, without atteinpting to make such and the Constitution of the United States as its fundaa charge as this against his political opponents, I should mental creed of doctrine. It claims that Congress has a certainly have been content.
right to legislate for the Territories of the United States, But, sir, this message of the President is an arraign and to exclude Slavery from them. It avows its determent of a vast majority of the people of eleven States of mination to exercise that power. It has a right to ask this Union of want of fidelity to their constitutional of the President, and the country, that it shall be judged obligations, and of hostility to the Union and Constitution by its open and avowed declarations, and shall not be of these States. I deny it totally. More than that ; the misrepresented, as it has been misrepresented in this President of the United States, by viriue of the privileges document by the President of the United States. The conferred on him by the Constitution, charges upon the declaration is broadly made here, not only that these majority of the people of these States, in the exercise of men are sectionalists-not only that they have gotten their constitutional prerogative of voting for whom they up & sectional warfare, but that they are maintaining please, the high offense of endeavoring to " usurp”-this doctrines hostile to the perpetuity of the Union. Now, is his very language-"the control of the Government of sir, let me say here to-day, that I do not know a man in the United States." Usurp," if lexicographers under the Free States who supported John C. Fremont in the stand the meaning of the word, is " to seize by force | last presidential election, not one of the one million without right.” I have observed in the history of the three hundred thousand intelligent freemen who suppast few months no attempt in any section of the country, ported that nomination, that ever avowed his intention last and least in that section which the President arraigns, to go for a dissolution of this Union; but at all times, on to seize upon power in this Government except by the all occasions, in public and in private, they have avowed regular constitutional discharge of the people's obliga. their devotion to the Union, and their intention to main. tions and duties as citizens going to the polls in the tain and defend it. exercise of their elective franchise. Again, sir, I have Let me say further, that the men in this country, who not heard from a single citizen of those States an intima avow themselves to be disunionists, that squad, which, tion, that if they should fail in the canvass upon which during the last thirty years, on all fit and unfit occasions, they had entered and in which they were striving to in moments of excitement and moments of calm, have secure a majority in the councils of this Government, avowed themselves disunionists, have, as a body, en they were to do anything else but submit quietly and ma886, supported the Democratic party. The whole peaceably to the constitutionally expressed will of a southern heavens have been darkened during the last majority.
four months by the black banners of disunion that have
floated in the breeze. Mr. Seward, of N. Y., said : The President, I think, has departed from a customary
Mr. Pugh, of Ohio, defended the President course which was well established by his predecessors ; against the construction put on certain parts of that was to confine the annual message of the Executive the message by other Senators. He said : to legitimate matters of legislation which must necessarily occupy the attention of Congress, and leave
My colleague (Mr. Wade) asserts that the President partisan disputes, occurring among the people, to the has employed libellous terms in speaking of a large consideration and reflection of the people themselves. number of our common constituents, who voted for Col. This President of the United States was the first one, I Fremont at the last election. If the charges were true think, to depart from that course in his Inaugural Ads in any sense, I should unite with my colleague in the dress ; and, if I remember aright, he continued this condemnation which he has pronounced; for although I departure in his first message and second message. He would have deplored the election of Col. Fremont as the has been uncorrected, or rather unreformed in his erro- greatest calamity that could befall the American people, neous course; he goes through to the end in the same I feel bound to render my tribute of respect to those course. I am willing, for my own part, that he, like all honest, patriotic, but as I think, misguided, citizens of the rest of us, shall have his speech--shali assign his Ohio, who voted for him. The paragraph upon which reasons and his vindication for his policy. I do not my colleague based this accusation, is the one which I question his right; I do not dispute it. Whatever I now send to the secretary's desk. Here the secretary have thought necessary to submit to any portion of my read the part of the message quoted above, beginning, countrymen in regard to the canvass which is past, has
“Our institutions framed" and down to “ rather than been submitted in the right time, in the right place, and shoulder to shoulder as friends.") It is (continued Mr. I trust, in the right spirit. I am willing to allow the Pugh) impossible that this paragraph should apply to President of the United States the same opportunity the members of the Republican party, if, as now asserted, which you and I and all others have enjoyed.
they do not aim at the abolition by Congress of Slavery
within the States. It is directed against those who hold Mr. Mason, of Va., said:
that doctrine. It refers to the men whom the Senator Mr. President: the constant and obstinate agitation of from Mass. (Mr. Wilson) and the Senator from Maino questions connected with the institution of slavery, has (Mr. Fessenden) themselves have denounced on the floor. brought, I am satisfied, the public mind in those States
THE LECOMPTON CONSTITUTION. where the institution prevails, to the conviction that the preservation of that institution rests with themselves and with themselves only. Therefore, at this day, when it is chanan transmitted to Congress his first annual
On the 8th December, 1857, President Buunder review upon this floor, in any connection what message. He devotes considerable space to the ever, as one of the Representatives of the South, I take subject of Slavery, giving a history of the forma. which is entertained at the North in relation to it, than tion of the Lecompton Constitution for Kansas, as it may confirm the hope that there is a public senti- and announcing the doctrine that the Constitument at the North yet remaining, which unites with the tion of its own
force carries Slavery into all the South in the desire to perpetuate the Union, and that, by Territories. Speaking of this subject, he says: the aid of that public sentiment at the North, the Union will be preserved. But further than that, as a statesman,
“ In emerging from the condition of Territorial and as one representing a Southern State, where that dependence into that of a sovereign State, it institution prevails m re largely than in any other, the public sentiment of the North is a matter indifferent to
was their duty, in my opinion, to make known me, because I say again, we have attained the convic- their will by the votes of the majority, on the tion that the safety of that institution will rest, must direct question, whether this important domestic rest, and should rest, with the people of the States only institution should or should not continue to where it prevails.
exist :" and that the slaves now in Kansas“. Mr. Wilson, of Mass., said :
brought into the Territory under the ConstituThe party to which reference has been made in this tion of the United States." message for I take it this assault of the President of the United States is upon the Republican party, and the
The following is the part of the message people who supported that organization in the last referring to Kansas affairs :
It is unnecessary to state in detail the alarming conto a direct vote. How wise, then, was it for Congress to dition of the Territory of Kansas at the time of my in- pass over all subordinate and intermediate agencies, auguration. The opposing parties then stood in hostile and proceed directly to the source of all legitimate array against each other, and any accident might have power under our institutions ! relighted the flames of civil war. Besides, at this critical How vain would any other principle prove in prao moment, Kansas was left without a governor by the tice! This may be illustrated by the case of Kansas. resignation of Governor Geary.
Should she be admitted into the Union with a constituOn the 19th of February previous, the Territorial legis- tion either maintaining or aħolishing Slavery, against the lature had passed a law providing for the election of de sentiment of the people, this could have no other effect legates on the third Monday of June, to a convention than to continue and to exasperate the existing agitato meet on the first Monday in September, for the pur. tion during the brief period required to make the conpose of framing a constitution preparatory to admission stitution conform to the irresistible will of the majority. into the Union. This law was in the main fair and just; The friends and supporters of the Nebraska and Kan. and it is to be regretted that all the qualified electors sas act, when struggling on a recent occasion to sustain had not registered themselves and voted under its pro- its wise provisions before the great tribunal of the Amevisions.
rican people, never difered about its true meaning on At the time of the election for delegates, an extensive this subject. Everywhere throughout the Union they organization existed in the Territory, whose avowed ob- publicly pledged their faith and their honor that they ject it was, if need be, to put down the lawful govern- would cheerfully submit the question of Slavery to the ment by force, and to establish a gavernment of their decision of the bona fide people of Kansas, without any own under the so-called Topeka Constitution. The per restriction or qualification whatever. All were cordially sons attached to this revolutionary organization ab- united up a great doctrine of popular sovereignty, stained from taking any part in the election.
which is the vyval principle of our free inst tutions. Had it, The act of the Territorial legislature had omitted to then, been insinuated from any quarter that it would be provide for submitting to the people the constitution a sufficient compliance with the requisitions of the or. which might be framed by the Convention; and in the ganic law for the members of a convention, thereafter to excited state of public feeling throughout Kansas, an be elected, to withhold the question of slavery from the apprehension extensively prevailed that a design ex. people, and to substitute their own will for that of a isted to force upon them a constitution, in relation to legally-ascertained majority of all their constituents, this Slavery, against their will. In this emergency it became would have been instantly rejected. Everywhere they my duty, as it was my unquestionable right, having in remained true to the resolution adopted on a celebrated view the union of all good citizens in support of the Ter- occasion recognizing “the right of the people of all the ritorial laws, to express an opinion on the true construc- Territories--including Kansas and Nebraska, acting tion of the provisions concerning Slavery contained in through the legally and fairly expressed will of a major the organic act of Congress of the 30th May, 1854. Con-ity of actual residents, and whenever the number of gress declared it to be “the true intent and meaning of their inhabitants justified it-to form a constitution with this act not to legislate Slavery into any Territory or or without Slavery, and be admitted into the Union State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the peo- upon terms of perfect equality with the other States." ple thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their The Convention to frame a constitution for Kansas domestic institutions in their own way." Under it met on the first Monday of September last. They were Kansas, "when admited as a State," was to “be re-called together by virtue of an act of the Territorial ceived into the Union with or without Slavery as their legislature, whose lawful existence had been recognized constitution may prescribe at the time of their admis- by Congress in different forms and by different enactsion."
ments. A large proportion of the citizens of Kansas did Did Congress mean by this language that the delegates not think proper to register their names and to vote at elected to frame a constitution, should have authority the election for delegates ; but an opportunity to do this finally to decide the question of Slavery, or did they in- having been fairly afforded, their refusal to avail themtend, by leaving it to the people, that the people of Kan- selves of their right could in no manner affect the legalsas themselves should decide this question by a direct ity of the convention. vote! On this subject I confess I had never entertained This Convention proceeded to frame a constitution for a serious doubt, and, therefore, in my instructions to Kansas, and finally adjourned on the 7th day of NoGovernor Walker of the 28th March last, I merely saidvember. But little difficulty occurred in the Convention, that when "a constitution shall be submitted to the peo- except on the subject of Slavery. The truth is, that the ple of the Territory, they must be protected in the exer- general provisions of our recent State constitutions are cise of their right of voting for or against that instru- so similar, and, I may add, so excellent, that the differment, and the fair expression of the popular will must ence between them is not essential. Under the earlier not be interrupted by fraud or violence.
practice of the Government. no constitution framed by In expressing this opinion it was far from my inten- the convention of a Territory preparatory to its admistion to interfere with the decision of the people of Kan. sion into the Union as a State had been submitted to the sas, either for or against Slavery. From this I have people I trust, however, the example set by the last always carefully abstained. Intrusted with the duty Congress, requiring that the constitution of Minnesota of " taking care that the laws be faithfully executed," "should be subject to the approval and ratification of my only desire was that the people of Kansas should the people of the proposed State," may be followed on furnish to Congress the evidence required by the organic future occasions. I took it for granted that the Conven: act, whether for or against Slavery; and in this man- tion of Kansas would act in accordance with this exam. ner smooth their passage into the Union. In emerging ple, founded as it is, on correct principles; and hence from the condition of Territorial dependence into that of my instructions to Governor Walker, in favor of suba sovereign State, it was their duty, in my opinion, to mitting the constitution to the people, were expressed in make known their will by the votes of the majority, on general and unqualified terms. the direct question, whether this important domestic in- In the Kansas-Nebraska act, however, this requirestitution should or should not continue to exist. In- ment, as applicable to the whole constitution. had not deed this was the only possible mode in which their will been inserted, and the Convention were not bound by could be authentically ascertained.
its terms to submit any other portion of the instrument The election of delegates to a convention must neces- to an election, except that which relates to the “ domessarily take place in separate districts. From this cause tic institution of Slavery.
This will be rendered clear it may readily happen, as has often been the case, that by a simple reference to its language. It was “not to a majority of the people of a State or Territory are on legislate Slavery into any Territory or State, nor to one side of a question, whilst a majority of the represen- exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof per tatives from the several districts into which it is divided rectly free to form and regulate their domestic institu. may be upon the othór side. This arises from the fact tions in their own way." According to the plain conthat in some districts delegates may be elected by small struction of the sentence, the words “ domestic institumajorities, whilst in others those of different sentiments tions” have a direct as they have an appropriate refer may receive majorities sufficiently great not only to ence to Slavery. “ Domestic institutions " are limited to overcome the votes given for the former, but to leave the family. The relation between master and slave and a large majority of the whole people in direct oppo a few others are “ domestic institutions," and are ensition to a majority of the delegates. Besides, our his-tirely distinct from institutions of a political character. tory proves that influences may be brought to bear on Besides, there was no question then before Congress, nor the representative sufficiently powerful to induce him to indeed has there since been any serious question before disregard the will of his constituents. The truth is, that the people of Kansas or the country, except that which no other authentic and satisfactory mode exists of relates to the “ domestic institution of Slavery. ascertaining the will of a majority of the people of any The Convention, after an angry and excited debate, State or Territory on an important and exciting ques- finally determined, by a majority of only two, to submit tion like that of Slavery in Kansas, except by leaving it lihe question of Slavery to the people, though at the last forty-three of the fifty delegates present affixed their show that the President did not mean to signatures to the constitution.
recommend” the Lecompton Constitution, but A large majority of the Convention were in favor of establishing slavery in Kansas. They accordingly in that he only serted an article in the constitution for this purpose referred that document to the Congress of the Unisimilar in form to those which had been adopted by ted States as the Constitution of the United States other Territorial conventions. In the schedule, how refers it-for us to decide upon it under our own responever, providing for the transition from a Territorial to a sibility. “It is proper," said Mr. D., " that he should State government, the question has been fairly and ex. i have thus referred it to us as a matter for congressional plicitly referred to the people, whether they will have a action, and not as an administrative or executive measuro, constitution with or without Slavery." It declares that, for the reason that the Constitution of the United States before the constitution adopted by the Convention says, “ Congress may admit new States into the Union.' "shall be sent to Congress for admission into the Union Hence we find the Kansas question before us now, not as a State," an election shall be held to decide this ques
as an Administrative measure, not as an Execu ive meation, at which all the white male inhabitants of the Ter- sure, but as a measure coming before us for our free ritory above the age of 21 are entitled to vote. They action, without any recommendation or interference, are to vote by ballot; and “the ballots cast at said directly or indirectly, by the Administration now in poselection shall be indorsed constitution with Slavery,' session of the Federal Government." and constitution with no Slavery.'" If there be a
Mr. President, I am not going to stop and inquire how majority in favor of the the constitution with Sla- far the Nebraska bill, which said the people should be very," then it is to be transmitted to Congress by the left perfectly free to form their constitution for thempresident of the Convention in its original form. If, on selves, authorized the President, or the Cabinet, or Gov. the contrary, there shall be a majority in favor of the
ernor Walker, or any other Territorial officer, to inter. “constitution with no Slavery," " then the article pro- fere and tell the Convention of Kansas whether they viding for Slavery shall be stricken from the constitu- should or should not submit the question to the people. tion by the president of this Convention;" and it is I am not going to stop to inquire, how far they were expressly declared that “no Slavery shall exist in the authorized to do that, it being my opinion that the spirit State of Kansas, except that the right of property in of the
Nebraska bill required it to be done. It is sufficient slaves now in the Territory shall in po manner be inter- for my purpose that the Administration of the Federal fered with ;" and in that event it is made his duty to Government unanimously-that the administration of the have the constitution thus ratified, transmitted to the Territorial government, in all its parts, unanimouslyCongress of the United States, for the admission of the understood the Territorial law under which the ConvenState into the Union,
tion was assembled to mean that the constitution to be At this election, every citizen will have an opportu- formed by that Convention should be submitted to the nity of expressing his opinion by his vote "whether people for ratification or rejection, and, if not confirmed Kansas shall be received into the Union with or without by a majority of the people, should be null and void, Slavery," and thus this exciting question may be peace without coming to Congress for approval fully settied in the very mode required by the organic
Not only did the National Government and the Territolaw. The election will be held under legitimate author- rial government so understand the law at the time, but, ity, and if any portion of the inhabitants shall refuse to
as I have already stated, the people of the Territory so vote, a fair opportunity to do so having been presented, understood it. As a further evidence on that point, a this will be their own voluntary act, and they alone large number, if not a majority, of the delegates were will be responsible for the consequences.
instructed in the nominating conventions to submit the Whether Kansas shall be a free or a slave State, must
constitution to the people for ratification. I know that eventually, under some authority, be decided by an
the delegates from Douglas County, eight in number, Mr. election; and the question can never be more clearly Calhoun, President of the Convention, being among them, or distinctly presented to the people than it is at the
were not only instructed thus to submit the question, but present moment. Should this opportunity be rejected, they signed and published, while candidates, a written she may be involved for years in domestic discord, and pledge that they would submit it to the people for ratifipossibly in civil war, before she can again make up the
cation. I know that men high in authority, and in the issue now
so fortunately tendered, and again reach the confidence of the Territorial and National Government, point she has already attained.
canvassed every part of Kansas during the election of Kansas has for some years occupied too much of the delegates, and each one of them pledged himself to the public attention. It is high time this should be directed people that no snap judgment was to be taken; that the to far more important objects. When once admitted constitution was to be submitted to the people for acceptinto the Union, whether with or without Slavery, the
ance or rejection: that it would be void unless that was excitement beyond her own limits will speedily pass done; that the Administration would spurn and scorn it as away, and she will then, for the first time, be left, as she
a violation of the principles on which it came into power, ought to have been long since, to manage her own
and that a Democratic Congress would hurl it from their affairs in her own way. if her constitution
on the sub- presence as an insult to the Democrats who stood pledged ject of slavery, or on any other subject, be displeasing to see the people left free to form their domestic instituto a majority of the people, no human power can prevent tions for themselves. them from changing it within a brief period. Under
Not only that, sir, but up to the time when the Conven. these circumstances, it may well be questioned whether tion assembled, on the 1st of September, so far as I can the peace and quiet of the whole country are not of learn, it was understood everywhere that the constitution greater importance than the mere temporary triumph was to be submitted for ratification or rejection.
They of either of the political parties in Kansas. Should the constitution without Slavery be adopted by until after the October election. I think that it was wiso
met, however, on the 1st of September, and adjourned the votes of the majority, the rights of property in slaves and prudent that they should thus have adjourned. They now in the Territory are reserved. The number of these did not wish to bring any question into that election is very small; but if it were greater the provision would which would divide the Democratic party, and weaken be equally just and reasonable. The slaves were
our chances of success in the election. I was rejoiced brought into the Territory under the Constitution of the when I saw that they did adjourn, so as not to show their United States, and are now the property of their masters. This point has at length been finally decided by party until after the election. During that recess, while the
hand on any question that would divide and distract the the highest judicial tribunal of the country—and this
Convention was adjourned, Governor Ransom, the Demoupon the plain principle that when a confederacy of
cratic candidate for Congress, running against the present sovereign States acquire a new territory at their joint Delegate from that Territory, was canvassing every part of expense, both equality and justice demand that the citizens of one and all of them thall have the right to take Kansas, in favor of the doctrine of submitting the consti
tution to the people, declaring that the Democratic party into it whatsoever is recognized as property by the com
were in favor of such submission, and that it was a slan. unon Constitution, To have summarily confiscated the
der of the Black Republicans to intimate the charge that property in slaves already in the Territory would have the Democratic party did not intend to carry out that been an act of gross injustice, and contrary to the prac. pledge in good faith. Thus, up to the time of the Con. tice of the older States of the Union which have abolo vention, in October last, the pretense was kept up, the Ished Slavery.
profession was openly made, and believed by ine, and I Mr. Douglas On LECOYPTON.
thought believed by them, that the Convention intended
to submit a constitution to the people, and not to attempt Mr. Douglas, who very early joined in the de- to put a government in operation without such submisbate on the President's Message, at first said sion. The election being over, the Democratic party he dissented from the views of the President in being defeated by an overwhelming vote, the Opposition regard to Kansas, but afterward endeavored to of the legislature, and having elected their Torritorial
having triumphed, and got possession of both branches
Delegate, the Convention assembled, and then proceeded not violate the Constitution of the United States and the to coinplete their work,
fundamental principles of liberty upon which our instituNow let us stop to inquire how they redeemed the tions rest. I am not going to argue the question whether pledge to submit the constitution to the people. They the banking system established in that constitution is wise first go on to make a constitution, Then they make a or unwise. It says there shall be no monopolies, but there schedule, in which they provide that the constitution, on shall be one bank of issue in the State, with two branches. the 21st of December—the present month-shall be sub- All I have to say on that point is, if they want a banking mitted to all the bona fide inhabitants of the Territory on system, let them have it; if they do not want it, let them that day, for their free acceptance or rejection, in the fol- prohibit it. If they want a bank with two branches, be it lowing manner, to wit: Thus acknowledging that they 80; if they want twenty, it is none of my business; and it were bound to submit it to the will of the people; conced- matters not to me whether one of them shall be on the north ing that they had no right to put it into operation without side and the other on the south side of the Kaw River, or submitting it to the people; providing in the instrument where they shall be. that it should take effect from and after the date of its While I have no right to expect to be consulted on that ratification, and not before; showing that the Constitution point, I do hold that ihe people of Kansas have the derives its vitality, in their estimation, not from the au- right to be consulted and to decide it, and you have no thority of the Convention, but from that vote of the peo- rightful authority to deprive them of that privilege. It is ple, to which it was to be submitted for their free accept- no justification, in my mind, to say that the provision for ance or rejection, How is it to be submitted ? It shall be the eligibility for the officers of Governor and Lieut.-Gosubmitted in this form : “ Constitution with Slavery, or vernor requires twenty years' citizenship in the United constitution with no Slavery?" All men must vote for the States. If men think that no person should vote or hold constitution, whether they like it or not, in order to be office until he has been here twenty years, they have a permitted to vote for or against Slavery. Thus a constitu right to think so; and if a majority of the people of Kantion made by a convention that had authority to assemble sas think that no man of foreign birth should vote or and petition for a redress of grievances, but not to estab hold office unless he has lived there twenty years, it is lish a government-a constitution made under a pledge their right to say so, and I have no right to interfere of honor that it should be submitted to the people before with them; it is their business, not mine; but if I lived if took effect-aconstitution which provides on its face, that there I should not be willing to have that provision in the it shall have no validity except what it derives from such constitution without being heard upon the subject, and submission—is submitted to the people at an election allowed to record my protest against it. where all men are at liberty to come forward freely, with: I have nothing to say about their system of taxation, out hindrance, and vote for it, but no man is permitted to in which they have gone back and resorted to the old exo record a vote against it!
ploded system which we tried in Illinois, but abandoned That would be as fair an election as some of the ene- because we did not like it. If they wish to try it and get mies of Napoleon attributed to him when he was elected tired of it and abandon it, be it so; but if I were a First Consul. He is said to have called out his troops and citizen of Kansas I would profit by the experience of had them reviewed by his officers, with a speech, patriotic Illinois on that subject, and defeat it if I could. Yet I and fair in its professions, in which he said to them: have no objection to their having it if they want it; it is “Now, my soldiers, you are to go to the election and vote their business, not mine. freely, just as you please. If you vote for Napoleon, all is So it is in regard to the free negroes. They provide well; vote against him, and you are to be instantly that no free negro shall be permitted to live in Kansas. I shot !" That was a fair election. (Laughter.) This elec- suppose they have a right to say so if they choose; but if tion is to be equally fair. All men in favor of the consti- I lived there I should want to vote on the question. We, tution may vote for it, all men against it shall not vote at in Illinois, provide that no more shall come there. all. Why not let them vote against it? I presume you say to the other States, “ Take care of your own free have asked many a man this question. I have asked a negroes and we will take care of ours.” But we do not very large number of the gentlemen who framed the con- say that the negroes now there shall not be permitted to stitution, quite a number of delegates, and a still larger live in Illinois ; and I think the people of Kansas ought to number of persons who are their friends, and I have re. have the right to say whether they will allow them to ceived the same answer from every one of them. I never live there, and if they are not going to do so, how they received any other answer, and I presume we never shall are to dispose of them. get any other answer. What is that? They say, if they
So you may go on with all the different clauses of the had allowed a negative vote, the constitution would have constitution. They may be all right; they may be all been voted down by an overwhelming majority; and hence wrong. That is a question on which my opinion is worth the fellows shall not be allowed to vote at all. (Laughter.) nothing. The opinion of the wise and patriotic Chief
Mr. President, that may be true. It is no part of my Magistrate of the United States is not worth anything as purpose to deny the proposition that that constitution against that of the people of Kansas, for they have would have been voted down if submitted to the people. a right to judge for themselves; and neither Presi. I believe it would have been voted down by a majority dent, nor Senates, nor Houses of Representatives, nur of four to one. I am informed by men well posted there any other power outside of Kansas, has a right to judge --Democrats—that it would be voted down ten to one; for them. Hence it is no justification, in my mind, for some say by twenty to one.
the violation of the great principle of self-government, 10 But is it a good reason why you should declare it in say that the Constitution you are forcing on them is not force, without being submitted to the people, merely be particularly obnoxious, or is excellent in its provisions. cause it would have been voted down by five to one if Perhaps, sir, the same thing might be said of the you had submitted it? What does that fact provę? Topeka Constitution. I do not recollect its peculiar proDoes it not show undeniably that an overwhelming majority visions. I know one thing: We Democrats, we Nebra:ka of the people of Kansas are unalterably opposed to that men, would not even look into it to see what ils provi. constitution ? Will you force it on them against their sions were. Why? Because we said it was made by a will, simply because they would have voted it down if you political party, and not by the people; that it was made had consulted them? If you will, are you going to force in defiance of the authority of Congress; that if it was as it upon them under the plea of leaving them perfectly free pure as the Bible, as holy as the Ten Commandments, yet to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their we would not touch it until it was submitted to and own way? Is that the mode in which I am called upon to ratified by the people of Kansas, in pursuance of carry out the principle of self-government and popular the forms of law. Perhaps the Topeka Coustitution, but Fovereignty in the Territories to force a constitution on for the mode of making it, would have been unexceptionthe people against their will, in opposition to their protest, able. I do not know; I do not care. You have no right with a knowlege of the fact, and then to assign as a reason to force an unexceptionable constitution on a people. It for my tyranny, that they would be so obstinate and so does not mitigate the evil, it does not diminish the insult, perverse as to vote down the constitution if I had given it does not ameliorate the wrong, that you are forcing a them an opportunity to be consulted about it?
good thing upon them. I am not willing to be forced to Sir, I deny your right, or mine, to inquire of these peo- do that which I would do if I were left free to judge and ple what their objections to that constitution are. They act for myself. Hence I assert that there is no justificahave a right to judge for themselves whether they like or tion to be made for this flagrant violation of popular dislike it. It is no answer to tell me that the constitution rights in Kansas, on the plea that the constitution which is a good one, and unobjectionable. It is not satisfactory they have made is not particularly obnoxious. to me to have the President say, in his message, that that But, sir, the President of the United States is really and constitution is an admirable one, like all the constitutions sincerely of the opinion that the Slavery clause has been of the new States that have been recently framed. Whether fairly and impartially submitted to the free acceptance or good or bad, whether obnoxious or not, is none of my busi- rejection of the people of Kansas, and that, inasmuch as Dess, and none of yours.
that was the exciting and paramount question, if they It is their business, and not ours. i care not what they get the right to vote as they please on that subject, have in their constitution, so that it suits them and does they ought to be satisfied; and possibly it mighi bu
better if we would accept it, and put an end to the ques- ! If Kansas wants a Slave-State Constitution, she has a tion. Let me ask, sir, is the Slavery clause fairly subo right to it; if sile wants a Free-State Constitution, she has mitted, so that the people can vote for or against it? Sup- a right to it. It is none of my business which way the pose I were a citizen of Kansas, and should go up to the Slavery, clause is decided. I'care not whether it is polls and say, “I desire to vote to make Kansas a Slave voted doron or ooted up. Do you suppose, after pledges State; here is my ballot." They reply to me, “Nr. of my honor, that I would go for that principle, and Douglas, just vote for that constitution frst, if you leave the people to vote as they choose, that I would now please.” "Oh, no!" I answer, “I cannot vote for that degrade myself by voting one way if the Slavery clause constitution conscientiously-I am opposed to the clause be voted down, and another way if it be voted up? I by which you locate certain railroads in such a way as to care not how that vote may stand. I take it for granted sacrifice my couniy and my part of the State. I am that it will be voted out. I think I have seen enough in opposed to that banking systein. I am opposed to this the last three days to make it certain that it will be reKnow-Nothing or Arnerican clause in the constitution turned out, no matter how the vote may stand. (Laughabout the qualifications for office. I cannot vote for it." ter.) Then they answer, "You shall not vote on making it a Sir, I am opposed to that concern, because it looks to Slave state." I shen say, "I want to make it a Free me like a system of trickery and jugglery to defeat the State.” They reply, “ Vote for that constitution first, fair expression of the will of the people. There is no ne. and then you can vote to make it a Free State ; otherwise cessity for crowding this measure, so unfair, so unjust, as you cannot."
Thus they disqualify every Free State it is in all its aspects, upon us. man who will not first yote for the constitution; they disqualify every Slave-State man who will not first vote for On the 2nd of Feb., 1858, the President transthe constitution. No matter whether or not the voters mitted to Congress the Lecompton Constitution, state that they cannot conscientiously vote for those pro: accompanied by a special Message strongly Slavery here. Take the constitution as we have made it, urging the admission of Kansas as a State under take the Elective Franchise as we have established it, this constitution. take the Banking System as we have dictated it, take the statement in regard to the origin of the Le
(The following is a brief Railroad lines as we have located them, take the Judiciary System as we have formed it, take it all as we have fixed compton Constitution :) it to suit ourselves, and ask no questions, but vote for it, The first Territorial Legislature passed an act or you shall not vote either for a Slave or Free State.” In in 1855 to take the sense of the people on tha other words, the legal effect of the schedule is this : all those who are in favor of this constitution may vote foror call of a Convention to form a State Constitu. against Slavery, as they please ; but all those who are lion, at the election in Oct., 1856. Accordingly, against this constitution are disfranchised, and shall not an election was held at which about 2,500 votes vote at all. That is the mode in which the Slavery proposition is submitted. Every man opposed to the consti.
were polled, the Free State nien not voting. At tution is disfranchised on the Slavery clause. How many this election, a new legislature was elected, all are they? They tell you there is a majority, for they say Pro-Slavery, which met in Jan., 1857, and in whelming majority, if you allow a negauiv? vote. This conformity with the vote of 2,500 at the precedshows that a majority are against it. They disqualify ing October election, passed an act providing for and disfranchise every man who is against it, thus the election of delegates on the 15th of June, referring the Slavery clause to a minority of the people of
to mee Kansas, and leaving that minority free to Vute for or Soon after this, Gov. Walker went to Kansas,
in convention in September following. against the Slavery clause as they choose.
Let me ask you if that is a fair inode of submitting the and published an address to the people in which Siavery clause? Does that mode of submitting that par: he assured them of his determination to use ticular clause leave the people perfectly free to vote for or against Slavery as they choose? Am I free to vote as every means in his power to prevent all disorder I choose on the Slavery quertion, if you tell me I shall and violence. He persuaded the Free State men not vote on it until I vote for the Maine Liquor Law? to go to the polls and vote. An objection I shall not vote either way until I vote for a Bank? Is which they urged was, that in 19 out of the 38 it freedoin of election to make your right to vote upon counties no registry had been made, and that in one question depend upon the mode in which you are 15 out of the 19 no census had been taken, so going to vote on some other question which has no con: that it was impossible for the people to vote in nection with it?
of the great fundamental principle of Self-Government, for those counties. These facts are confirmed by which we combined and struggled, in this body and Gov. Walker and Secretary Stanton. throughout the country, to establish as a rule of action in all time to come ?
The election for delegates to the Convention Let me ask yous, whių force this Constitution down the was held on the 15th of June. The Free-State throats of the people of Kansas, in opposition to their men did not vote, for the reason just mentioned, ject is to be attainel ? Cui bono? What are you to gain and also (as they stated,) that they had no confi.
Will you sustain the party by violating its priu-dence in the officers who were to hold the elecciples? Do you propose to keep the party united by tion, and because the Constitution which might forcing a division stand by the doctrine that leaves be formed, must, in the opinion of Gov. Walker, tutions for theniselves in their own way, and your party be submitted to a vote of all the people for ratiwill be united and irresistible in power. Abandon that fication or rejection, whether they voted at this great principle, and the party is not worth saving, and election or not. The entire vote for delegates cannot be saved, after it shall be violated. not to be rushed upon this question. Wliy shall it be was only about 2,200. done? Who is to be benefited ? Is the South to be the The delegates elected assembled in Conven. gainer? Neither the North nor the South has the right to tion at Lecompton, Sept. 5th, but soon adjourned gaio a sectional advantage by trickery or fra'd
But I am beseeched to wait lill I hear from the election over to October, to await the result of the Terwill put it all right, and will solve the whole dificulty. month. At this. Territorial Election, both paron the 21st of Deceinber. I am told that perhaps that ritorial Election on the first Monday of that How can it? Perhaps there may be a large vote. There may be a large vote returned. (Laughter.) But I deny ties nominated candidates. At the request of that it is possible to have a fair vote on the Slavery Gov. Walker, 2,000 U. S. troops were in the Ter, Clause; and I say that it is not posible to have any vote ritory, and they were stationed so as to protect eiection, when it is provided, unalterah!y, that the people the polls as much as possible. Over eleven cannot vote-when the majority are disfranchised ? thousand votes were po'led, after rejecting
But I am told on all sides, “Oll, just wait; the Pro- 2,800 as fraudulent and irregular, 1,800 of which Slavery clause will be voted down." That does not obvi. ate any of my objections; it does not diminish any of were returned from the Oxford precinct, where, them. You have no more right to force a Free-state according to the census, there were but 43 voters, Constitution on Kansas than a Blave-State Constitution, and twelve hundred from McGee County, whero
I trust we are