Imágenes de páginas

But what I mean to say is, that it is as im- I think it to be an act taking away from them possible that African Slavery, as we see it what they regard as a proper equality of among us, should find its way, or be intro- privilege. Whether they expect to realize duced, into California and New Mexico, as any benefit from it or not, they would think any other natural impossibility. California | it at least a plain theoretic wrong; that and New Mexico are Asiatic in their forma- | something more or less derogatory to their tion and scenery. They are composed of character and their rights had taken place. vast ridges of mountains, of great hight, I propose to inflict no such wound upon with broken ridges and deep valleys. The any body, unless something essentially imsides of these mountains are entirely barren; | portant to the country, and efficient to the their tops capped by perennial snow. There preservation of liberty and freedom, is to be may be in California, now made free by its effected. I repeat, therefore, Sir, and, iis I constitution, and no doubt there are, some do not propose to address the Senate often tracts of valuable land. But it is not so in upon this subject, I repeat it because I wish New Mexico. Pray, what is the evidence it to be distinctly understood, that, for the which every gentleman must have obtained | reasons stated, if a proposition were now on this subject, from information sought by here to establish a government for New hiinself or communicated by others? I Mexico, and if it was moved to insert a prohave inquired and read all I could find, in vision for the prohibition of Slavery, I order to acquire information on this import- would not vote for it. ant subject. What is there in New Mexico “Sir, if we were now making a governthat could by any possibility, induce any ment for New Mexico, and any body should body to go there with slaves? There are propose a Wilmot Provis:), I should treat it some narrow strips of tillable land on the exactly as Mr. Polk treated that provision borders of the rivers, but the rivers them- for excluding Slavery from Oregon. Mr. selves dry up before midsummer is gone. Polk was known to be, in opinion, decidedly All that the people can do in that region is to raise some little articles, some little wheat the necessity of establishing a government for their tortillas, and that by irrigation. | for the territory of Oregon. The Proviso And who expects to see a hundred black was in the bill; but he knew it would be men cultivating tobacco, corn, cotton, rice, entirely nugatory, since it took away no or anything else, on lands in New Mexico | right, no describable, no tangible, no appremade fertile only by irrigation ?

ciable right of the South; he said he would “I look upon it, therefore, as a fixed fact, sign the bill for the sake of enacting a law to to use the current expression of the day, form a government in that Territory, and let that both California and New Mexico are that entirely useless, and, in that connection, destined to be free, so far as they are set entirely senseless, proviso remain. Sir, we tled at all; which I believe, in regard to hear occasionally of the Annexition of CanaNew Mexico, will be but partially for a da; and, if there be any man, any of the great length of time; free by the arrange- Northern Democracy, or any one of the Free ment of things ordained by the Power above Soil party, who supposes it necessary to insert us. I have, therefore, to say, in this respect a Wilinot Proviso in a territorial government also, that this country is fixed for freedom, | for New Mexico, that man would, of course, to as many persons as shall ever live in it, be of opinion that it is necessary to protect by a less repeulable law than that which the everlasting snows of Canada from the foot attaches to the holding of slaves in Texas; of Slavery by the same overspreading wing and I will say further, that, if a resolution of an act of Congress. Sir, wherever there or a bill were now before us to provide a is a substantial good to be done, wherever Territorial government for New Mexico, I there is a foot of land to be prevented from would not vote to put any prohibition into becoming slave territory, I am ready to asit whatever. Such a prohibition would be sert the principle of the exclusion of Slavery. idle, as it respects any effect it would have I am pledged to it from the year 1837; I have upon the Territory; and I would not take | been pledged to it again and again; and I pains uselessly to rëatfirin an ordinance of will perform those pledges; but I will not nature, nor to rëenact the will of God. I do a thing unnecessarily that wounds the would put in no Wilmot Proviso for the feelings of others, or that does discredit to mere purpose of a taunt or a reproach. I my own understanding." would put into it no evidence of the votes of superior power, exercised for no purpose but to wound the pride, whether a just and It seems not a little remarkable 'rational pride, or an irrational pride, of the that a man of Mr. Webster's strength

citizens of the Southern States. I have no such object, no such purpose. They would

should have traversed the whole think it a taunt, an indignity; they would ground of controversy so thoroughly MR. CLAY'S FINAL COMPROMISE.

207 in a speech inevitably calculated to consider the questions raised by Mr. excite deep dissatisfaction among the Clay's proposition, and also by regreat mass of his constituents, without solves submitted a month later by Mr. once considering or even touching this Bell, of Tennessee; and on the 19th question: “What need exists for any this Committee was elected by ballot compromise whatever?” Admitting and composed as follows: the correctness of his views and gen

Mr. Henry Clay, of Kentucky, Chairman. eral positions with regard to Califor

Messrs. Dickinson, of N. Y., Cooper, of Pa., nia, New Mexico, Texas, etc., why Phelps, of Vt., Downs, of La., not permit each subject demanding

Bell, of Tenn., King, of Ala., legislation to be presented in its order,

Cass, of Mich., Mangum, of N. C.,

Webster, of Mass., Mason, of Va., and all questions respecting it to be

Berrien, of Ga., . Bright, of Ind. decided on their intrinsic merits? He, of course, contended throughout that

Mr. Clay reported 18 from said Comhis position was unchanged, that his

mittee a recommendation, substanviews were substantially those he had tially, of his original propositi

tially, of his original proposition of always held: vet the eagerness and compromise, save that he now prosatisfaction wherewith his speech

vided for organizing Utah as a diswas received and reprinted at

tinct Territory. His report recomRichmond, Charleston, New Or

mended the following bases of a leans, and throughout the South,

general Compromise : should, it seems, have convinced "1. The adınission of any new State or him, if the disappointment and dis

States formed out of Texas to be postponed

| until they shall hereafter present themselves pleasure of his constituents did not, to be received into the Union, when it will that either he had undergone a great be the duty of Congress fairly and faithfully transformation, or nearly every one

to execute the compact with Texas, by ad

mitting such new State or States. : else had. His speech, though it con “2. The admission forth with of Califortained little or nothing referring di

nia into the Union, with the boundaries

which she has proposed. rectly to the compromise proposed

“3. The establishment of Territorial Govby Mr. Clay, exerted a powerful ernments, without the Wilmot Proviso, for influence in favor of its ultimate

New Mexico and Utah, embracing all the

territory recently acquired from Mexico, not triumph.

contained in the boundaries of California. Mr. Douglas having reported 16 a.

"4. The combination of these two last

measures in the same bill. bill for the admission of California

:55. The establishment of the western and into the Union, as also one to estab northern boundaries of Texas, and the exclulish territorial governments for Utah

sion from her jurisdiction of all New Mexico,

with the grant to Texas of a pecuniary equivand New Mexico, Col. Benton mov

alent; and the section for that purpose to be ed" that the previous orders be post incorporated in the bill admitting California, poned, and the California bill taken | Utah and New Mexico.

and establishing Territorial Governments for up. Mr. Clay proposed the laying of “ 6. More effectual enactments of law to this motion on the table, which was secure the prompt delivery of persons bound

' to service or labor in one State, under the carried by 27 Yeas to 24 Nays. The

laws thereof, who escape into another State; Senate now proceeded, on motion of Mr. Foote, of Mississippi, to constitute

67. Abstaining from abolishing Slavery,

but, under a heavy penalty, prohibiting the a Select Committee of thirteen, to Slave-Trade, in the District of Columbia.”

16 March 25, 1850. 17 April 5th. 18 May 8th.




[ocr errors]

And still the debate went on, passed-Yeas 150 ; Nays 56—(all hardly interrupted by the death | Southern); and then the Utah bill (July 10th) of Gen. Taylor, and the was in like manner passed-Yeas 97; accession of Vice-President Fillmore Nays 85—(mainly Northern Free to the Presidency. Repeated efforts Soil). The bills providing more to cut off from California all her effectually for the recovery of fugiterritory south of 36° 30'; to send tive Slaves, and abolishing the Slaveback her constitution to a new con- trade in the District, were likewise vention of her people, etc., etc., were passed by decided majorities; and made by Southern ultras, but defeat- the Senate o concurred in the House ed; and finally 19 the bill to admit amendment, whereby two of its meaCalifornia passed the Senate by 34 sures had been welded togetherYeas to 18 Nays-all Southern Yeas 31; Nays 10 (Northern Free and the bill organizing the Territo Soil). So all the measures originally ries of New Mexico and Utah, as included in Mr. Clay's proposition proposed, likewise passed two days of compromise became laws of the thereafter: Yeas 27; Nays 10. The other measures embraced in the proposition of compromise were in like The propelling force, whereby manner successively carried with lit- these acts were pushed through Contle serious opposition.

gress, in defiance of the original con

victions of a majority of its members, · When these measures reached the or at least the lubricating oil whereHouse, they encountered a spirited with the ways were rendered passaopposition; but the bill organizing ble, was contained in that article the Territory of New Mexico was of the bill proposing to the State added as an amendment or “rider" of Texas the establishment of her to the bill defining the Northern Northern boundary, which reads : boundary of Texas, and paying her ten millions for assenting to such de

Fourth. The United States, in consider

|ation of said establishment of boundaries, markation. This was moved by Mr. cession of claims to territory, and relinLinn Boyd (Democrat), of Kentucky, | quishment of claims, will pay to the State

of Texas the sum of ten millions of dollars, and prevailed by Yeas 107, Nays I in a stock bearing five per cent. interest. 99. The bill, as thus amended, and redeemable at the end of fourteen years; was first defeated-Yeas 99; Nays od first dafrotod Vas go. Nová | the interest payable half-yearly, at the Trea

Į sury of the United States." 107; but Mr. Howard, of Texas, who had voted in the negative, now By this article, the public debt of moved a reconsideration, which Texas, previously worth in market was carried-Yeas 122; Nays 84; but some twenty to thirty per cent. whereupon the Previous Question of its face, was suddenly raised nearwas seconded — Yeas 115; Nays ly or quite to par, to the entire satis97; and the bill passed 20 as amended faction of its holders-many of them --Yeas 108; Nays 97. The Califor- members of Congress, or their very nia bill was next a taken up and intimate friends. Corruption, thinly

19 August 13th. 20 September 4th. I 21 September 7th. 22 September 9th.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



POLITICAL COMPROMISES-THEIR ABUSE. 209 disguised, haunted the purlieús and sures essential to the existence of the stalked through the halls of the Capi- Government. The attempt, theretol; and numbers, hitherto in needy fore, of the Senate of February, circumstances, suddenly found them- March, 1849, to dictate to the House, selves rich. The great majority, of “You shall consent to such an orcourse, were impervious to such in- ganization of the territories as we fluences; but the controlling and prescribe, or we will defeat the Civil controllable minority were not. This Appropriation bill, and thus derange, was probably the first instance in if not arrest, the most vital machinwhich measures of vital consequence ery of the Government," was utterly to the country were carried or de- unjustifiable. Yet this should not feated in Congress under the direct blind us to the fact that differences spur of pecuniary interest.

of opinion are at times developed on

questions of decided moment, where Political compromises, though the rights of each party are equal, they have been rendered unsavory and where an ultimate concurrence by abuse, are a necessary incident of in one common line of action is esmixed or balanced governments-- sential. Without some deference to that is, of all but simple, unchecked adverse convictions, no confederation despotisms. Wherever liberty exists, of the insurgent colonies was attainthere diversities of judgment will be able—no Union of the States could developed; and, unless one will domi- have been effected. And where the nates over all others, a practical Executive is, by according him the mean between widely differing con- veto, clothed with a limited power victions must sometimes be sought. over the making of laws, it is ineviIf, for example, a legislature is com- table that some deference to his posed of two distinct bodies or houses, views, his convictions, should be and they differ, as they occasionally evinced by those who fashion and will, with regard to the propriety or mature those laws. Under this asthe amount of an appropriation re- pect, compromise in government is quired for a certain purpose, and sometimes indispensable and laudaneither is disposed to give way, a ble. partial concession on either hand is. But what is known in State legisoften the most feasible mode of prac-lation as log-rolling is quite another tical adjustment. Where the object matter. A. has a bill, which he is contemplated is novel, or non-essen- intent on passing, but which has no tial to the general efficiency of the intrinsic worth that commends it to public service—such as the construc his fellow-members. But B., O., D., tion of a new railroad, canal, or other and the residue of the alphabet, have public work--the repugnance of each his little bill;" not, perhaps, either house should suffice entirely specially obnoxious or objectionable, to defeat, or, at least, to postpone it; but such as could not be passed on for neither branch has a right to ex- its naked merits. All alike must act from the other conformity with fail, unless carried by that reciprociits views on a disputed point as the ty of support suggested by. their comprice of its own concurrence in mea- mon need and peril. An understand


ing is effected between their several | therefor. But why Texas should be backers, so that A. votes for the bills paid Ten Millions of dollars for relinof B., O., D., etc., as the indispensable quishing her pretensions to territory means of securing the passage of his never possessed by, nor belonging to, own darling; and thus a whole litter her--territory which had been first of bills become laws, whereof no sin- acquired from Mexico by the forces gle one was demanded by the public and then bought of her by the mon. interest, or could have passed without ey of the Union — is not obvious; the aid of others as unworthy as it and why this payment, if made at all, self. Such is substantially the pro- should be a make-weight in a bargain cess whereby our statute-books are covering a variety of arrangements loaded with acts which subserve no' with which it had no proper connecend but to fill the pockets of the few, tion, is still less explicable. And at the expense of the rights or the when, on the back of this, was piled interests of the many.

an act to provide new facilities for It was entirely proper that Con- slave-catching in the Free States, osgress should provide at once for the tensibly balanced by another which temporary government of all the ter- required the slave-traders of Washritories newly acquired from Mex- ington to remove their jails and aucico; and there was no radical objec tion-rooms across the Potomac to that tion to doing this in one bill, if that dull old dwarf of a city which had reshould seem advisable. As the estab-cently been retroceded to Virginia, as lishment of a definite boundary be- if on purpose to facilitate this arrangetween New Mexico and Texas was ment, the net product was a corrupt essential to the tranquillity and monstrosity in legislation and morals security of the Territory, that object which even the great name of Henry might fairly be contemplated in the Clay should not shield from lasting act providing a civil government opprobrium.



But, whatever theoretic or practi- | general joy the announcement that cal objections may be justly made to all the differences between the diverse the Compromise of 1850, there can be sections' had been adjusted and setno doubt that it was accepted and rati- tled. The terms of settlement were, fied by a great majority of the Ameri- to that majority, of quite subordinate can People, whether in the North or in consequence; they wanted peace and the South. They were intent on busi- prosperity, and were nowise inclined ness --- then remarkably prosperous to cut each other's throats and burn --on planting, building, trading, and each other's houses in a quarrel congetting gain--and they hailed with cerning (as they regarded it) only the

« AnteriorContinuar »