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tion. But, sir, when we are required to retrace our steps and renounce what we have alleged to be our principles, that becomes quite a different question.
Now, with respect to the amendments. I shall vote against them both; and then I shall vote in favor of striking out the restriction in the bill upon the power of the territorial governments. I shall do so upon this ground. I was opposed, as the honorable senator from Kentucky has declared he was, to the insertion of this prohibition by the committee. I consider it inexpedient and unconstitutional. I have already stated my belief that the rightful power of internal legislation in the Territories belongs to the people. You have the right to govern, but not to legislate for them-the doctrine for which our fathers contended, and which brought about our separation from England. But, sir, how is it possible to vote for this interdict without conceding the constitutional right of Congress to pass the Wilmot Proviso? Congress can only insert this clause upon the assumption that they have full power over the Territories-power to admit, power to exclude, as well as power to say that the Territorial Legislature may do one or the other, for neither can be exercised but by virtue of full jurisdiction.
The action of the Senate upon the pending proposition has already been stated-the restriction upon the powers of the Territorial Legislature was voted in.
FROM THE DEBATE ON MR. MORRIS'S MOTION TO STRIKE OUT —MR. PHELPS, OF VERMONT.
I had determined, Mr. President, not to open my mouth in the course of this debate, and I should not do so now were it not for the allusion just made to me by the senator from Mississippi. It is very true that the provision in the Clayton Bill, as it has been termed the same proposed now to be stricken out of this bill-originated in the committee with me. But, after what has fallen from the senator from Mississippi, I deem it due to myself to explain the reasons why I shall now vote against the proposition to keep that in the bill which, on that occasion, I advocated.
But the bill now before us presents the subject in a very different light. We propose now to create a Legislature to be elected by the people of the Territory, representing the wishes and feelings of that people, and responsible to that people for their legislative course. Under these circumstances, Mr. President, the subject assumes, in my judgment, a very different aspect. It is no longer a question whether the appointees of the President are to be left to regulate this important subject, but it becomes a question whether the Legislature of the Territory, elected by the people of that Territory, shall have the control over it. This distinction is, in my judgment, material; and, therefore, if the proposition were now to erect such a government as was contemplated by that bill in 1848, I would retain the position I then occupied. But I feel bound now to say that I can not take from a Legislature, elected by the people of these Territories, the control over their domestic relations. It is wrong in principle. It so happens that those of us at the North who have heretofore insisted upon the exercise of the power of Congress over this subject to exclude slavery from these Territories are now in a position to permit the people of the Territories to have their own way, and regulate the subject as may suit themselves. It is unnecessary for me to explain how this change of position has been produced. It is enough for me to say now that I regard this subject of the question of the prohibition of
slavery as a fit subject of local legislation, and one which should be given exclusively to the local Legislatures.
When it is proposed to-day to deny to the people in these Territories, or their immediate representatives, elected by themselves, the control over the subject, I must say I can not sustain the proposition.
* * I do not know but that it is necessary for me to ask pardon for having addressed the Senate at this time. I did not intend to express my opinion at all; but, after the allusion made to me by the senator from Mississippi, it became necessary; because, on the occasion referred to by him, I submitted this very proposition to prevent the Territorial Legislature from acting on this subject, and on the present occasion I am against the proposition. The reason why I have changed my position is simply the fact that the restriction in 1848 was upon a government created by the executive of the United States, and not by the people of the Territory. The restriction now proposed is upon the immediate representatives of that people.
MR. PRATT, OF MARYLAND.
Mr. President: As this amendment is up, I hope I may be allowed to say a few words, so that my constituents can understand my position.
The great doctrine of the South, as I understand it, and the only true ground upon which the South can stand, is the doctrine of non-intervention. Now what I understand by non-intervention is the denial to the executive and legislative authority of the federal government of all power over the subject of slavery any where and every where. That is the non-intervention upon which I have been taught to rest the rights of the South; that is the non-intervention upon which I am now willing to rest them-that neither the executive nor legislative branches of the federal government have the power, in any way whatever, to interfere with the subject of domestic slavery any where. And I am therefore perfectly willing that the amendment which was originally adopted should be stricken out, as proposed by my friend from New Hampshire (Mr. Norris). But there is another reason which, it seems to me, must render this provision, in the eyes of every one, inoperative, if it continue in the bill. You have this morning adopted an amendment by which the Territorial government established by the bill is not to operate, in præsenti, within the larger portion of the territory claimed as New Mexico. Therefore, in consequence of that restriction, there could be no legislation in reference to the subject of slavery within that Territory at the present time. With regard to the other Territory, Utah, slaves are already held there; and if you give to the people of that Territory power to regulate it-which they would have if this clause is stricken out-they would legislate in favor of that Southern institution in which we are interested. I therefore, for one, as a Southern man, standing up for the rights of the South as much as any man here, am willing that this clause should be stricken out, more particularly when it will gain some votes for the bill.
Sir, if the pending motion prevails, the people of New Mexico will have the power to exclude the Southern people from the territory to be acquired from Texas, and to spread over it the Wilmot Proviso. I would as soon vote for that proviso here. I believe it would be more magnanimous to vote for it here than to fight behind the bush in this way.
Now what was fair two years ago, when we had a Southern Presidentwhat was then sound policy, just and equitable to all sections-seems now, according to some gentlemen, to be unfair, unjust, unsound. There is a change of circumstances. A different set of officers will be sent there.
set of officers, entertaining very different opinions to what would have been sent two years ago, are now to be sent by the present executive, who will most heartily desire to exclude Southern men. If this bill is to pass they will be excluded, especially if this motion shall prevail. They will be excluded in less than six months after the law shall become final and go into operation.
The first Territorial Legislature, considering the public sentiment there, will exclude the South forever. For these reasons, I can not vote for the amendment of the gentleman from New Hampshire.
MR. BERRIEN, OF GEORGIA.
I wish the Senate to understand that the direct effect of sanctioning this amendment will be to invest the Territorial Legislature of New Mexico with the power to allow or prohibit slavery-to allow if they exist, or to re-enact if they do not, the Mexican laws.
MR. CLAY, OF KENTUCKY.
I heard with great pleasure the senator from Vermont (Mr. Phelps). I regret that he has not favored the Senate with saying more than he has done upon this subject. One of the most interesting speeches that I have read was pronounced by that senator two years ago, and which really gave me more information upon this subject than I have derived from any thing which I have heard during this session. But, sir, I have not risen to detain the Senate. I have risen to say a few words only on the proposition before the Senate; and I do think that, if my Southern friends, and my Northern friends too, will only listen, if I am not entirely incorrect in the views I propose to present, they will concur in the motion made by the senator from New Hampshire to strike out this clause. The clause is an interdiction imposed by Congress upon the local Legislature either to introduce or to exclude slavery. Now, sir, it appears to me to be perfectly clear that Congress has no such power according to the Southern doctrine. That doctrine is one of clear and clean non-intervention. The amendment in the bill, on the contrary, assumes the power to exist in Congress, which is denied; for, if Congress possesses the power to impose this interdiction, Congress has the power to impose the Wilmot Proviso. The only difference is, that the action of Congress in the one case is direct, and that the action of Congress in the other case is indirect. It appears to me, therefore, that upon the great principle upon which Southern gentlemen have rested the support of their rights, they ought to oppose the exercise of this power by Congress to interdict the local Legislature. Sir, it is a little remarkable that, by the one side of the Union, whose interest it should be to preserve the clause, the amendment is opposed; and that the other side of the Union, whose principles, according to my humble conception, should lead them to oppose the clause which is proposed to be stricken out, are in favor of it. In point of interest, the North should be for retaining the clause, because if, as they suppose, and as I believe, there is at this moment an abolition of slavery in the Territories, this clause serves to continue that abolition of slavery; therefore it is to their interest to retain this clause, because it would give an additional security to the exclusion of slavery, which they desire. I know that my Northern friends who are anxious to exclude this clause by the adoption of this amendment, go upon a higher principle than mere interest. They go upon the very principle which the South has contended for. They say-for upon this subject I have conversed with them freely-that they are aware of the advantage to their interest which might result from the retention of the clause, but that it is in contravention of the principle for which they have contended on behalf of Southern interests, and that is the principle of non-intervention on the subject of
slavery. They will sacrifice their interests for the preservation of the great principle upon which they are willing to stand with their Southern friendsthe principle of non-intervention; and which, if the amendment prevails, is the principle which pervades the entire bill, running through it from first to last. I know, sir, that another principle has been contended for by Southern gentlemen of great eminence, and that principle is, that the Constitution of the United States confers upon the slaveholder the right to carry his slaves into these Territories. If so, where is the necessity of this interdiction? The Constitution is paramount and supreme; and if the Legislature of the Territory were to pass any law in violation of the Constitution, that law unquestionably would be null and void from the moment of its passage; and, as suggested by the senator from Maryland, there is a suspension of the operations of this bill in reference to the only Territory in contest-New Mexicothis side of the Rio Grande, until this effort at compromise shall be successful, or thwarted and defeated. It appears to me, therefore, that upon the very principle for which Southern gentlemen have stood up, they should strike out this clause from the bill, and leave it a clear and indisputable bill of non-intervention, from the enacting clause to the end.
MR. CASS, OF MICHIGAN.
But, quitting the subject of legislative inconsistency, and adverting to the immediate proposition, let me ask what you are doing. What? You are passing a law for the organization of a government for the people of New Mexico, not for the regulation of their own domestic concerns-those relations of life which belong essentially to every free community. You do not undertake to tax them. It would be a monstrous assumption, at which every American would revolt. You do not undertake to regulate the relations of husband and wife, or parent and child, or guardian and ward, nor to pronounce upon the other internal questions which belong to them. We should all revolt also at such an attempt. Well, sir, it is not in the power of the most acute political casuistry to point to any difference in principle between the exercise of these powers and the attempt to take from the people the right to regulate at their pleasure the relation of master and servant, including the condition of slavery. The senator from Georgia (Mr. Berrien) has advanced views which certainly struck me with surprise, in this country and in this age of the world. He said that the Territorial Legislature were the agents of this government, and that we had a right to do any thing here which they could do there. Mr. President, such a proposition as that strikes at the very root of human liberty. It is far better suited to the meridian of Constantinople than to that of Washington. It assumes for us full power to do as we please with the people of a remote community, without representation, with separate interests, and of whose concerns we are wholly ignorant. Why, this is the very pretension which led to our Revolution-the very pretension which Lord North advanced, and which our fathers resisted. The claim was, and it was embodied in a memorable act of Parliament, that "his majesty in Parliament had the right to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever;" and here, in the American Senate, the whole doctrine of our revolutionary struggle is cast aside, and the very power assumed for a republican Legislature which was denied to a monarchical one-the power to bind the Territories in all cases whatsoever. I will not argue such a doctrine as that. I appeal to our whole history for its refutation. The Territorial Legislatures our agents! and who made them so? What law of God or man has so dealt with human rights as to authorize such a pretense? What said our fathers upon this general subject? Why, they acknowledged the right of the British government to institute governments for the colonies, to establish the general outlines, but not to regulate their internal domestic concerns. Such
a claim, where there is no representation, change the terms as we may, is the very essence of tyranny. It was for this right of self-government that the patriots of the Revolution entered into a fearful contest with the mightiest nation on the face of the earth, and out of which, by the blessing of God and by their undaunted firmness, they came triumphantly, securing their own liberties, and ours too, so long as we have wisdom and patriotism to maintain them. And I must confess that nothing has astonished me more, in all the discussions that have grown out of this controversy, than the coolness with which gentlemen rise here and maintain the right of Congress to legislate for these distant Territories in all cases whatsoever, annihilating human freedom, and establishing arbitrary power by the same pretension. If this is not tyranny, tell me what it is. Is your claim founded on the Constitution? Put your finger on the place and show it. There is not the first word which, expressly or by implication, gives it to you. Even the right to organize governments is not there. But if you assume that as a matter of necessity, what necessity is there for you, not to govern these distant people, but to legislate for them, and to take from them the very first attribute of freedom? Do you found this claim upon your superior wisdom-upon your capacity to judge what is suited to the people better than they can judge for themselves? I ask you where ever there was an arbitrary government which had not the same self-sufficient opinion of its own wisdom, and of the ignorance of the people? Lord North thought so and said so. The sultan thinks so; and at Vienna and Petersburgh to doubt such a clear proposition is to insure a residence in Siberia, or to exhaust life in Austrian dungeons.
Pending the decision of the Senate on these bills, the senators elect from the State of California were in daily attendance in the lobby of the Senate. They heard all these debates -debates upon a bill so deeply important to their state, and upon the passage of which, it was believed, depended their admission as senators of the United States. The senator from Illinois had the California Bill under his especial charge. He was its friend and advocate-its champion and defender. He proclaimed his views in a tone of voice that would enable a deaf man to hear them, and in language so plain that a simpleton could understand him. His speeches were published daily, and were read by all. The senators from California were not deaf, nor were they simpletons; they read the papers, and read and understood the sentiments of every man in the Senate upon the Territorial question. Yet, nine years later, one of those senators, who had heard Douglas make the speeches we have quoted above, told the people of California that he had voted to remove Judge Douglas from the committee where he had matured the bill for the admission of California, because, in a speech delivered in 1858, that man Douglas had declared that he was in favor of allowing the people of a Territory, through their own Legislature, to exclude slavery if they did not desire it in the Territory! Wonderful awakening to the cause of