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when one is hot. But the people is not hot, I presume. And such a view of the matter is now become, I dare say, absolutely indispensable for the parties themselves, if they will but reflect on the past, the present, and the future;— how little can they hope to gain, and how much are they sure to lose, in keeping the road they are treading upon.
If they will make this effort, with the serious purpose of putting an end to their contest in a manner consistent with justice and the Constitution, there is hope yet of their agreeing in this one thing at least,-namely, in terminating it without arms, either for reunion, or for definitive separation.
And some such agreement appears at present by the great complication of events, in and out, to be forced on them the more irresistibly, because it seems the only one means left for disappointing the long-cherished, now apparently well-grounded, hopes of the enemies of this country.
But, to return from this digression, if it is one, I have before stated that, at the time when the Southern States withdrew from the Confederacy, the North declared herself satisfied with Slavery's remaining where it existed in the old States, but proclaimed she would not allow it to be introduced in the common territories of the Union.
And that this is the political faith which then the North openly professed concerning Slavery, Mr. Seward, who was, and perhaps is, considered to be her mouth, will bear me witness. I refer to his speech in the Senate on January 31, 1861. For though some people of note in his own party would have given Slavery no quarter in any part of the Union, whether old or new, nevertheless I do regard that his speech to represent and express the real intentions of the North.
The more so, because not only he himself informs us that he has "followed this thing in good faith, with zeal and energy," which shows that he is sure of what he says; not only because, on the testimony of the adverse party herself,-which is a great argument for ascertaining truth in
matters of fact, he was acknowledged to be the head of the Republican party, as appears from the remarks on his speech presently made by Mr. Mason at the time of its delivery, and from the above-mentioned letter of the Lopisiana representatives; but also and chiefly because, if the North chose in this controversy to assume her position before the South,-not according to Mr. Seward's views, which were honored by some with the appellations of liberal, moderate, conservative,—but according to the views of those extra-Republicans, who seem to have on their banner stamped the motto, "Neck or Nothing,"-she could gain nothing by the change. Visibly, her condition then would be, not better, but only worse than it is, as I take it.
Now, that speech of Mr. Seward's regards this territory to be the disputed ground, and turns all upon it, as if, in order to see it free, he intended to guard and fence it around against the approaches and the intrusion of Slavery. For, after stating its extent to be "1,630,000 square miles, an area equal to twenty-four times that of the State of New York," he reckons that "during these twelve years (from 1850) Slavery has succeeded in planting in it only twentyfour African slaves,—one slave upon forty-four thousand square miles of territory,-one slave for every one of the twenty-four States;" and concludes: "This, then, has ceased to be a practical question."
By this, I see, he clearly defines the controversy; but I confess I do not as clearly understand what he means by his conclusion. Are these twenty-four black men planted by Slavery in the twenty-four States, each in each respectively, to be considered as landmarks or signs of possession? But then Slavery has occupied the whole territory already, -each one black man representing the multitude of his fellows who are to come afterwards and fill the 44,000 square miles in which he is planted; in the same manner as, by giving the key, is meant giving the possession of what is contained in the room whose door that key opens; as a Scotch farmer, by taking out of his pocket and showing to
you a handful of wheat, if you agree to the quality and price, sells to you all the wheat he has stored up in his granary and wishes to dispose of: it must be all like that sample. Which conclusion, I imagine, is just the reverse of what Mr. Seward intends to insinuate.
Much less do I understand what he means when, on the one hand, he avers that, "under what is accepted by the administration and the government as a judicial decree, upheld by it, and put in execution by it, every inch of that territory is slave territory;" that "every foot of it is slave territory as much as South Carolina," that "over a considerable portion of it a Slave code, made by a government created by the Congress of the United States, is enforced;" and, on the other hand, he "confesses that he has no fears of Slavery anywhere!"
The sense of this word anywhere, I believe, goes not beyond the territories, but is circumscribed by their limits; but, even thus, it is scarcely possible to imagine what else may be necessary in order to regard a thing as immovably fixed, when there is for it a judicial decree, acknowledged just, upheld, executed by the government; when its provisions are enforced also by a local government on the spot, created by the Congress of the United States! For, we have here the unanimous agreement of the three powers that may possibly belong to a government, the Legislative, the Judicial, the Executive,-all concurring in the same thing, to the same end. If this is not what they call an accomplished fact, ever to be recognized as such both by the government and by all the citizens who belong to it, one should conclude that nothing is here to be relied on as firm and durable, and that the government of the United States, even in its most public and solemn acts, is only playing a farce.
Hence it appears that when Mr. Seward subjoins, “I speak of that decision, not as I accept it, but as it is accepted and enforced by the existing administration," these his words must be understood either to have no meaning,
and then they go for nothing, or to signify that he may accept the decree differently from what the government does; in other words, that he, or any other citizen, may control the government,-which meaning, as it appears to me, would be far worse than no meaning at all.
Not to mention that, could the judicial decree which he alludes to be accepted in different manners, as if its words were ambiguous, and its provisions not positive, but uncertain, the mere possibility of contradictory interpretations. would reflect no credit upon the tribunal that pronounced it, nor on the government of whose power it holds so large a portion, as the responses of many an ancient oracle, whose expressions might be construed into contrary senses, reflected no credit on the god or goddess that gave them; but then the oracle knew not what it said, or meant to cheat the inquirer.
To Mr. Seward's I may add the testimony of the President himself, in his Inaugural Address, delivered on March 4, 1861. And we may in this matter regard him to be not only the chief witness, but alone sufficient; as, besides other considerations, he speaks in his official capacity of President of the United States, and at a time which is the most solemn. Yet I have not mentioned him before, having regard to dates. There he says: "One portion of our country believes Slavery is right, and ought to be extended; while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute.'
As H. E. uses here the same language which is generally made use of by those who speak on this subject, I would submit the observation that, in stating the terms of the controversy, no mention should be made of Slavery's being right or wrong, with respect either to its existence in the States, or to its introduction into the common territories of the Union. The only thing to be inquired into appears to be, "Whether the Constitution allows it in both places."
To ascertain this is to ascertain also the right of the two portions of the country in their political relations with one
another concerning slavery in the territories. If the Constitution does not allow it, the ones cannot settle there with their slaves, although they believe that Slavery is right. If the Constitution allows it, the others cannot prevent the former from using their right, although they believe that Slavery is wrong. Indeed, either party's belief of right or wrong, respectively, cannot have in this matter so much as the weight of a feather to make the scales incline to one side or the other.
I hope I may be permitted to remark further, that from the fact of the slaveholders settling with their slaves in the common territory, Slavery cannot well be said to be extended. This term would seem appropriate, if a new country were conquered, and its people, now free, reduced to Slavery; or even if the condition of those who are slaves already were made harder and worse than it is at present. But the fact of cultivating with slaves a larger amount of acres, or of transplanting them from any State in the Union into any part of the territory belonging to the Union, their condition remaining the same in either place, does not seem to warrant the expression that Slavery is thereby extended. They would be just as numerous, and as much slaves, when distributed into two places, as when kept together in one.
Certain it is, however, that the North did then consent. Slavery to remain where it was, in the old States, and intended to exclude it only from the territory, or from the States that might be organized in it afterwards.
If these terms could have been acceptable to the South, and met her full satisfaction, I have heard say that she would have objected to them nevertheless, as she has no confidence in the promises of the North: nor is this to be wondered at. After so long, unrelenting opposition from the latter, embodied in numerous facts, too plain to be mis; taken, too significant to be unfelt or dissembled, the South can scarce be expected to trust and believe as they sound any professions of her old adversary, importing even a par