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ation were to be used to purchase Mexican territory, the prohibition of slavery in the Ordinance of 1787 should apply. The amendment was adopted in the House by a vote of 83 to 64, and the bill was passed by a vote of 85 to 79. The bill failed to come to vote in the Senate owing to the closing of the session. During the recess of Congress, the legislatures of every free State and of Delaware approved the Proviso, members of both parties voting in its favor. It was expected that at the next session it would pass the Senate. Early in the session, therefore, Senator Lewis Cass (Mich.), in order to defeat the Proviso, enunciated a new doctrine in a letter to Alfred O. P. Nicholson, a Representative from Tennessee.
Sketch of Cass. Cass was born at Exeter, New Hampshire, where he was educated at the academy of the town. When the boy was seventeen his father, who had been in service as a major in the regular army in the Northwest Territory, was stationed at Wilmington, Del., where his family joined him. Lewis taught school in the year that he was there. The next year Major Cass settled upon a tract of land, given him for military services, near Zanesville, O. Lewis stopped on the way at Marietta, to study law under Governor Meigs. In 1803 he was admitted to the bar, and began practice at Zanesville. Elected to the legislature he materially assisted the Government in frustrating the designs of Aaron Burr by framing both the law that enabled the authorities to arrest the expedition, and the address of the legislature against the project. The ability thus displayed caused President Jefferson to appoint him marshal of the State. He served very efficiently as a colonel in the War of 1812, and, being paroled on General Hull's shameful surrender of Detroit, hastened to Washington and made an indignant report of the affair. Exchanged, he was promoted to brigadiergeneral, and, as such, played a gallant part in the victory of General Harrison at the Battle of the Thames. He was left at Detroit in military command of Michigan, of which Territory he was also appointed civil governor. With 40,000 Indians and only 6000 white settlers in the Territory, his position was most difficult, but his long service of eighteen years was distinguished by remarkable efficiency. He negotiated twentytwo treaties with the tribes, securing the cession of immense tracts of land, instituted surveys, constructed roads and lighthouses, organized counties, etc., and all with extreme economy and scrupulous honesty. He planned and led the famous expedition of which Schoolcraft, the ethnologist, was a member and which explored the upper Great Lakes and the sources of the Mississippi, and published an account of it in the North American Review (1828–29). President Jackson appointed him Secretary of War in 1831. In this capacity he suppressed the Black Hawk rising, and successfully conducted the critical removal of the Cherokees from the Southern States across the Mississippi. It was the readiness of his department to use force against Nullification that chiefly made the movement abortive. In 1836 he submitted a report recommending a thorough system of national defense which is celebrated in our military and naval annals. He was minister to France from 1836 to 1842. He secured the coöperation of that country in resisting the British claim to right of search, his protest, printed as a pamphlet, having an enormous circulation throughout Europe, whereat the English were greatly incensed. He was elected to the Senate in 1845, and resigned in 1848 to become the Democratic candidate for President. On the election of Zachary Taylor, his Whig opponent, he returned to the Senate, where he served until 1857. He opposed both “Southern rights," and the anti-slavery policy of the North, refusing, however, to vote on the Fugitive law, which was opposed by his State. President Buchanan appointed him Secretary of State in 1857. Inclined at first to compromise on the issues leading to secession, he stoutly upheld national sovereignty when it came to an issue, and resigned his position upon the President's refusal to reënforce Fort Sumter, and was a strong Union man during the war. He died in 1866.
In his Nicholson letter, Senator Cass wrote that the principle of the Wilmot Proviso “should be kept out of the national legislature, and left to the people of the Confederacy in their respective local governments.' This became known as the doctrine of “popular sovereignty," and was eagerly accepted by the Southern Democrats and pro-slavery Democrats in the North such as Stephen A. Douglas [I11.], and they attempted to read the anti-slavery Democrats, such as Wilmot, out of the party.
The bill, with the appropriation increased to $3,000,000., was passed by the House on February 15, 1848, by a vote of 115 to 106. The Proviso was struck out by the Senate, and the bill in this form was accepted by the House on March 3, by a vote of 115 to 81. In the debates in the House, Wilmot defended his Proviso.
It is a part of the established law of nations that when territory is annexed all laws there existing not inconsistent with its new allegiance remain in force. California and New Mexico under Mexican rule were free soil. Shall the South invade this fundamental law? Shall it make this government an instrument for the violation of its neutrality, and for the establishment of slavery in these territories in defiance of law? Must the North yield this? It is not, sir, in the spirit of the compact; it is not in the Constitution.
Mr. Giddings spoke in defense of the bill:
“Gentlemen of the South solemnly warn us that if we persist in our determination to exclude slavery from the acquired territory, the Union will be dissolved. For my part I prefer to see it rent into a thousand fragments rather than have my country disgraced and its moral purity sacrificed by the prosecution of a war for human bondage. I welcome the issue. It has to be met. There can be no compromise between slavery and freedom any more than between crime and virtue."
Constitutionality of Slavery in the Territories. On February 19, 1847, John C. Calhoun [S. C.] introduced in the Senate general resolutions on the constitutional principles of slavery in the Territories. He gave statistics to show that the balance of power was shifting in favor of the free States, and that, unless all the territory about to be acquired from Mexico, including that above the line of the Missouri Compromise, were to be left free to introduce slavery, the government would be overwhelmingly in the hands of the North. He said:
“Sir, the day the balance between the two sections is destroyed, the time is not far removed from political revolution, civil war, and anarchy. The South is the conservative portion of the country, and, with a due balance on their part, may for generations to come uphold this glorious Union of ours."
He endorsed the principle of Popular Sovereignty.
The people have a right to establish what government they think proper for themselves. The right of self-government on the part of individuals is not nearly so easy to be established by any course of reasoning as the right of a community or State to self-government.
He was ready to repeal the Missouri Compromise.
“I have always considered it as a great error, as highly injurious to the South, because it surrendered, for mere temporary purposes, those high principles of the Constitution upon which we ought to stand. The Constitution is a stable rock; a compromise is but shifting sand. It may be overruled at any time. I would rather meet any extremity on earth than give up one inch of the equality of the South -one inch of what belongs to us as members of this great republic. What! acknowledge inferiority? The surrender
! of life itself is nothing to this.”
Senator Benton objected to laying aside pressing business to vote on “such a string of abstractions" as the Senator from South Carolina presented. Senator Calhoun answered:
“The Constitution is an abstraction. The Declaration of Independence was made on an abstraction. All great rules of life are abstractions. When I hear a man declare he is against abstract truth, in a case of this kind, I am prepared to know what his course may be. I certainly supposed that a Senator from the slave State of Missouri would support these resolutions."
Senator Benton replied:
“The Senator knows very well from my whole course in