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service is lawfully claimed in any state or Territory of the United States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service as aforesaid."
It will be observed that this 8th section of the Missouri Act (commonly called the Missouri Compromise) by its terms only applied to the territory acquired from France, known as the Louisiana Purchase, the western boundary of which was defined by the treaty with Spain in 1819, and subsequently by treaties with Mexico and Texas, to be the 100th meridian of longitude, while the bill under consideration, under the guise of reviving and restoring that provision, extends it more than seven degrees of longitude farther westward, and applies it to that large extent of territory to which it had no application in its original enactment. Nor can it be said with fairness or truth that this provision was applied to any portion of the territory in question by the "joint resolution for annexing Texas to the United States," for the reason that the whole territory embraced within the limits of the Republic of Texas was admitted into the Union as one state, with the privilege of forming not exceeding four other states out of the State of Texas, "by the consent of said state," with the condition that "in such state or states as should be formed out of said territory, north of said Missouri Compromise line, slavery or involuntary servitude (except for crime) shall be prohibited."
It was left discretionary with Texas to remain forever one state, and to retain the whole of her territory as slave territory, or to consent to a division, in which case the prohibition would take effect, by virtue of the compact, from the date of the formation of a new state within the limits of the Republic of Texas north of 36° 30′. If, on the contrary, Texas should determine to withhold her assent, no such new state could ever be formed, and hence the prohibition would never take effect. All difficulty, however, on this point has been removed by the act of 1850, purchasing from Texas all that portion of her territory lying north of 36° 30′, and incorporating it in the Territory of New Mexico, with the guarantee that, "when admitted as a state, the said Territory, or any portion of the same, shall be received into the Union with or without slavery, as their Constitution may prescribe at the time of admission." Hence all the territory, to which it is now proposed to apply the Missouri restriction for the first time, under the plea of restoring the Missouri Compromise of the 6th of March, 1820, is protected from any such invasion of the rights of the inhabitants to form and regulate their own domestic affairs in their own way, by the solemn guaranties contained in the compromise measures of 1850, which blotted out the geographical line as a dividing-line between free territory and slave territory, and substituted for it the cardinal principle of self-government in accordance with the Constitution. But it will also be observed that the bill under consideration does not propose to limit the restriction to the territory acquired from Texas, nor the country on the east side of the Rio Grande, but extend it across that river over a portion of the territory acquired from Mexico, which was never claimed by Texas, nor embraced within the Louisiana Purchase, and to which there is no pretext for asserting that the Missouri Compromise ever applied. If, in the application of the 8th section of the act of the 6th of March, 1820 (commonly called the Missouri Compromise), over so large a district of country to which it never had any previous application, it be the policy of the House of Representatives to return to the "obsolete idea" of a geographical line as a dividing-line in all time to come between slave territory and free territory, a perpetual barrier against the advancement of slavery on the one hand and free institutions on the other, the measure falls short of accomplishing the whole of their object in not extending the line to the Pacific Ocean. Your committee can perceive many weighty considerations founded in policy, although wanting the sanction of sound constitutional principles,
which might be urged in favor of such a measure, inasmuch as the barrier once erected from ocean to ocean-permitting slavery on the one side and prohibiting it on the other-if universally acquiesced in and religiously observed as a patriotic offering upon the altar of our common country, would put an end to the controversy forever, and form a bond of peace and brotherhood in the future. But, unfortunately, when this expedient was proposed by the Senate in 1848, it was indignantly repudiated by the House of Representatives, and, as a consequence, the whole country was plunged into a whirlpool of sectional strife and angry crimination, which alarmed the greatest and purest patriots of the land for the safety of the republic, and was only rescued from the impending perils by the adoption of the compromise measures of 1850, which abandoned the policy of a geographical line, and substituted for it the great principles of self-government and state equality in obedience to the federal Constitution. In view of the history of the past, your committee can perceive no safety in the future except in a strict and religious fidelity to the true principles of the Constitution as embodied in the adjustment of that unfortunate controversy, and adopted by the whole country as rules of action, to be applied in all future time, when in the progress of events it should be necessary to organize Territories or admit new states. The Kansas-Nebraska Act was the logical sequence of the compromise measures of 1850, and rendered imperatively necessary in order to establish and perpetuate the principles of self-government and state equality in the organization of Territories and admission of new states. For these reasons your committee can not concur with the House of Representatives in the proposition to blot out from the organic act of Kansas and Nebraska those essential provisions and cardinal principles, the faithful observance of which can alone preserve the just rights of the inhabitants of the Territories, and maintain the peace, unity, and fraternity of the republic. The great object is to withdraw the Slavery question from the halls of Congress, and remand its decision to the people of the several states and Territories, subject to no other conditions or restrictions than those imposed by the Constitution of the United States. Those provisions of the bill under consideration which introduce and establish slavery, together with those which abolish and prohibit it, are alike obnoxious on the score of principle, inasmuch as they assert and exercise the right of Congress to form and regulate the local affairs and domestic institutions of a distant and distinct people without their consent, and regardless of their rights and wishes. To avoid all misconstruction, however, upon this point, your committee deem it proper to remark, that their objections do not apply to that part of the bill which extends the provisions of the Fugitive Slave Law to the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, and provides "that any person lawfully held to service in any other state or Territory, and escaping into either the Territory of Kansas or Nebraska, may be reclaimed and removed to the person or place where such service is due, under any law of the United States which shall be in force upon the subject." In this clause your committee are rejoiced to find a frank and conscientious acknowledgment of the duty of Congress to provide efficient laws for carrying into faithful execution the provision of the Constitution of the United States which provides for the rendition of fugitive slaves as well as all other obligations imposed by that instrument.
The preservation of our free institutions depends upon a faithful observance of the Constitution in all its parts; and the assurance thus furnished that the representatives of the people are ever ready to provide new and additional guarantees when supposed to be necessary for the faithful performance of that constitutional obligation, which has been the subject of the severest criticism in some portions of the country, can not fail to gratify every true friend of the Union. In this case, however, no such legislation is necessary, inasmuch
as the organic act of Kansas and Nebraska extended the provisions of the Fugitive Slave Law to both of those Territories.
[After quoting the 15th and 16th sections of the bill, the report continues:] It will be observed that these two sections recognize the validity and binding force of the entire code of laws enacted at the Shawnee Mission, by the Legislature of Kansas Territory, and provide for the faithful execution of all those enactments except the criminal code. All justices of the peace, constables, sheriffs, and all other judicial and ministerial officers now in office, are required to continue to exercise and perform the duties of their respective offices. All these officers, with the exception of the governor, three judges, secretary, and marshal, and district attorney, were elected or appointed under the laws enacted by the Legislature of Kansas, while their powers, functions, and duties are all prescribed by those laws and none others. These officers are all required to continue to perform the duties of their respective offices, by observing and enforcing all the laws enacted at the Shawnee Mission, except the criminal code. "All suits, process, and proceedings, civil and criminal, at law and in chancery, and all indictments and informations which shall be pending and undetermined in the courts of the Territory of Kansas or New Mexico when this act shall take effect, shall remain in said courts where pending, to be held, tried, prosecuted, and determined in such courts AS THOUGH THIS ACT HAD NOT BEEN PASSED. "The election laws, and the laws concerning slaves and slavery, and all laws protecting the rights of persons and property, and affecting all the relations of life, are recognized as valid and required to be enforced, EXCEPTING CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS, BY INFORMATION OR INDICTMENT, for violating or disregarding the laws of the Legislature of Kansas, all such prosecutions are required to be forthwith dismissed, and the prisoners set at liberty, and no new prosecutions are to be commenced for "any violation or disregard of said legislative enactments at any time." Such is the legislation provided for in these two sections of the bill. They recognize the validity of the laws enacted at Shawnee Mission, and provide for the enforcement of all of them except in cases of criminal prosecution. Your committee are unable to perceive how the passage of such a bill would restore peace, quiet, and security to the people of Kansas. It has been alleged that there are in that Territory organized bands of lawless and desperate men, who are in the constant habit of perpetrating deeds of violence-murdering and plundering the inhabitants, stealing their property, burning their houses, and driving peaceable citizens from the polls on election day, and even from the Territory. The remedy proposed in the bill is to grant to the perpetrators of these crimes a general amnesty for the past, and a full license in the future to continue their bloody work.
There is no law in force in Kansas by which murder, robbery, larceny, arson, and other crimes known to the criminal codes of all civilized states, can be punished, except under the code enacted by the Legislature of Kansas at the Shawnee Mission. The provisions of "An Act for the Punishment of Crimes against the United States," approved April 30, 1790, are, by its terms, confined in its application to such crimes as shall be committed "within any fort, arsenal, dock-yard, magazine, or any other place or district of country under the sole and exclusive jurisdiction of the United States," and "upon the high seas and navigable waters out of the jurisdiction of any particular state," but has never been held or construed to apply to the Territories of the United States. The act of the 3d of March, 1817, "to provide for the punishment of crimes and offenses committed within the Indian boundaries," extends the provisions of the said act of 1790 to the Indian country, but expressly restricts its application, as its title imports, to crimes committed "within any town, district, or territory belonging to any nation or nations, tribe or tribes of Indians." Hence, the moment the Indian title is extinguished,
and the country placed under the jurisdiction of a Territorial government, it ceases to be "under the sole and exclusive jurisdiction of the United States," and is no longer subject to the provisions of either of the above-cited acts. Thus it will be seen that if the bill from the House of Representatives should become a law with the provisions granting a general amnesty in respect to all past crimes, and unlimited license in the future to perpetrate such outrages as their own bad passions might instigate, there would be no law in force in Kansas to punish the guilty or protect the innocent.
Inasmuch as the House of Representatives, by the passage of the bill under consideration, and the Senate, by its bill for the admission of Kansas into the Union, have each recognized the validity of the laws enacted by the Kansas Legislature at Shawnee Mission, so far as they are consistent with the Constitution and the organic act, and affirmed the propriety and duty of enforcing the same, except in certain specified cases, it becomes important to inquire into the extent of the differences of opinion between the House of Representatives and the Senate, in respect to the particular laws which ought not to be enforced. The Senate has already declared in the bill for the admission of Kansas into the Union that all laws and enactments in said Territory which are repugnant to, or in conflict with, the great principles of liberty and justice, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the organic act, and embodied in the 18th section of that bill, shall be null and void, and that none such shall ever be enforced or executed in said Territory.
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It is true that there is apparently another point of difference between the two houses, arising out of the question whether the people of Kansas shall be authorized to elect delegates to a convention (with proper and satisfactory safeguards against fraud, violence, and illegal voting), and form a Constitution and state government preparatory to their admission into the Union, or whether the Territory shall be reorganized in accordance with the provisions of the bill from the House, and left, for some years to come, in that condition. While the House of Representatives has recently expressed its preference for the latter proposition by the passage of the bill under consideration, your committee are not permitted to assume that they have insuperable objections to the admission of Kansas at this time, for the reason that a few weeks previous they passed a bill to admit that Territory as a state, with the Topeka Constitution. Hence, the change of policy on the part of the House, in abandoning the state movement with the Topeka Constitution, and substituting for it the proposition to reorganize the Territory and leave it in that condition, must be taken only as a strong expression of a decided preference on the part of the House for the bill under consideration, and not as conclusive evidence of insuperable objections to a fair bill, with proper and suitable guarantees against fraud and illegal voting, to authorize the people of Kansas to form a Constitution and state government at this time.
The committee recommended that the bill be laid on the table. The bill was laid on the table in the Senate-yeas 35, nays 12, no one venturing to approve or endorse it in that body.
The House did not act on either of the Senate bills relating to Kansas. In the General Appropriation Bill a clause was inserted providing that no part of the money appropriated thereby to defray the expenses of the Territorial government in Kansas should be drawn from the treasury until all the crim
inal prosecutions on charges of treason in Kansas, or for violation of the laws of the Territorial Legislature, should be dismissed, and the accused parties discharged.
To the Army Bill the House attached a clause that no part of the military force of the United States should be employed to aid in the enforcement of any act of the Kansas Legislature; requiring the President to disband the armed militia of the Territory, to recall all the United States arms therein distributed, and to "prevent armed men going into the Territory to disturb the peace or to aid in the enforcement or resistance of real or pretended law."
These provisions the Senate struck out of the bills. The House refused to agree to the amendments of the Senate, and the Senate insisted on their action. Finally, the House yielded, except in the case of the Army Bill; and, though various committees of conference were held, no agreement was had, and Congress, on the 18th of August, adjourned without passing the Army Bill.
The President convened Congress next day, and sent a message to both houses urging the necessity for the passage of appropriations for the army. The old Army Appropriation Bill was revived, and a new one was introduced; but the House insisting on its Kansas legislation, both failed under the disagreeing votes of the two houses. At last, on a third bill, on the 30th of August, the House, by a vote of 101 to 98, receded from its position, and the bill passed. Congress adjourned the same day without any legislation for Kansas.
THE LECOMPTON CONTROVERSY.
THE Lecompton controversy was the most severe and painful that has ever attended Mr. Douglas's public career. It was also one that elicited from him a greater exhibition of his native abilities than any other of the many in which he has been engaged. In 1846 he took the high strong ground of the Democratic party as declared at Baltimore upon the Oregon Boundary question. He sustained the President to the utmost of his ability. President Polk, however, induced by high and patriotic motives, thought proper to yield to the ad