Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

dent to the last days of a session of Congress, we have not time, did we deem it necessary, to enter upon a detailed statement of the reasons which force upon our minds the conviction that this project is by no means abandoned that a large portion of the country, interested in the continuance of Domestic Slavery and the Slave-trade in these United States, have solemnly and unalterably determined that it shall be speedily carried into execution; and that, by this admission of new Slave Territory and Slave States, the undue ascendency of the Slave-holding power in the Government shall be secured and riveted beyond all redemption!!

That it was with these views and intentions that settlements were effected in the province, by citizens of the United States, difficulties fomented with the Mexican Government, a revolt brought about, and an Independent Government declared, cannot now admit of a doubt; and that, hitherto, all attempts of Mexico to reduce her revolted province to obedience have proved unsuccessful, is to be attributed to the unlawful aid and assistance of designing and interested individuals in the United States, and the direct and indirect coöperation of our own Government, with similar views, is not the less certain and demonstrable.

The open and repeated enlistment of troops in several States of this Union, in aid of the Texan Revolution; the intrusion of an American Army, by order of the President, far into the territory of the Mexican Government, at a moment critical for the fate of the insurgents, under pretense of preventing Mexican soldiers from fomenting Indian disturbances, but in reality in aid of, and acting in singular concert and coincidence with, the army of the Revolutionists; the entire neglect of our Government to adopt any efficient measures to prevent the most unwarrantable aggressions of bodies of our own citizens, enlisted, organized and officered within our own borders, and marched in arms and battle array upon the territory, and against the inhabitants of a friendly government, in aid of freebooters and insurgents, and the premature recognition of the Independence of Texas, by a snap vote, at the heel of a session of Congress, and that, too, at the very session when President Jackson had, by special Message, insisted that "the measure would be contrary to the policy invariably observed by the United States in all similar cases;" would be marked with great injustice to Mexico, and peculiarly liable to the darkest suspicions, inasmuch as the Texans were almost all emigrants from the United States, AND

SOUGHT THE RECOGNITION OF THEIR INDEPENDENCE WITH THE AVOWED PURPOSE OF OBTAINING THEIR ANNEXATION TO THE

UNITED STATES. These occurrences are too well known and too fresh in the memory of all, to need more than a passing notice. These have become matters of history. For further evidence upon all these and other important points, we refer to the memorable speech of John Quincy Adams, delivered in the House of Representatives during the morning hour in June and July, 1888, and to his address to his constituents, delivered at Braintree, 17th September, 1842.

The open avowal of the Texans themselves-the frequent and anxious negotiations of our own Government -the resolutions of various States of the Union-the numerous declarations of members of Congress-the tone of the Southern press-as well as the direct application of the Texan Government, make it impossible for any man to doubt, that ANNEXATION, and the formation of several new Slaveholding States, were originally the policy and design of the Slaveholding States and the Executive of the Nation.

The same reference will show, very conclusively, that the particular objects of this new acquisition of Slave Territory were THE PERPETUATION OF SLAVERY AND THE CONTINUED ASCENDENCY OF THE SLAVE POWEER.

The following extracts from a Report on that subject, adopted by the Legislature of Mississippi, from a mass of similar evidence which might be adduced, will show with what views the annexation was then urged:

"But we hasten to suggest the importance of the annexation of Texas to this Republic upon grounds somewhat local in their complexion, but of an import infinitely grave and interesting to the people who inhabit the Southern portion of this Confederacy, where it is known that a species of domestic Slavery is tolerated and protected by law, whose existence is prohibited by the legal regulations of other States of this Confederacy; which system of Slavery is held by all, who are familiarly acquainted with its practical effects, to be of highly beneficial influence to the country within whose limits it is permitted to exist.

"The Committee feel authorized to say that this system is cherished by our constituents as the very palladium of their prosperity and happiness, and whatever ignorant fanatics may elsewhere conjecture, the Committee are fully assured, upon the most diligent observation and reflection on the subject, that the South does not possess within her limits a blessing with which

the affections of her people are so closely entwined and so com pletely enfibred, and whose value is more highly appreciated, than that which we are now considering.

*

*

*

*

last session of Congress, when a Senator from Mississippi pro"It may not be improper here to remark that, during the posed the acknowledgment of Texan independence, it was found, with a few exceptions, the members of that body were ready to take ground upon it, as upon the subject of Slavery itself. lieving that these feelings influenced the New England Sena"With all these facts before us, we do not hesitate in betors, but one voting in favor of the measure; and, indeed, Mr. Webster had been bold enough, in a public speech recently delivered in New-York, to many thousand citizens, to declare that the reason that influenced his opposition was his abhorrence of Slavery in the South, and that it might, in the event of of the efforts making in favor of Abolition; and that, being preits recognition, become a slaveholding State. He also spoke dicated upon and aided by the powerful influence of religious feeling, it would become irresistible and overwhelming.

"This language, coming from so distinguished an individual as Mr. Webster, so familiar with the feelings of the North and England, speaks so plainly the voice of the North as not to be entertaining so high a respect for public sentiment in New misunderstood.

*

*

love of country among our fellow-countrymen of the Northern "We sincerely hope there is enough good sense and genuine States, to secure us final justice on this subject; yet we cannot consider it safe or expedient for the people of the South to ensuch men as Webster, and others who countenance such dantirely disregard the efforts of the fanatics, and the opinions of gerous doctrines.

"The Northern States have no interests of their own which require any special safeguards for their defense, save only their domestic manufactures; and God knows they have liberal scale; under which encouragement they have imalready received protection from Government on a most proved and flourished beyond example. The South has very peculiar interests to preserve; interests already violently assailed and boldly threatened.

"Your Committee are fully persuaded that this protection to her best interests will be afforded by the annexation of Texas; an equipoise of influence in the halls of Congress will be secured, which will furnish us a permanent guaranty of protection."

The speech of Mr. Adams, exposing the whole system of duplicity and perfidy toward Mexico, had marked the conduct of our Government; and the emphatic expressions of opposition which began to come up from all parties in the Free States, however, for a time, nearly silenced the clamors of the South for annexation, and the people of the North have been lulled into the belief that the project is nearly, if not wholly abandoned, and that, at least, there is now no serious danger of its consumma

tion.

Believing this to be a false and dangerous security; that the project has never been abandoned a moment, by its originators and abettors, but that it has been de ferred for a more favorable moment for its accomplish ment, we refer to a few evidences of more recent development upon which this opinion is founded.

The last Election of President of the Republic of Texas, is understood to have turned, mainly, upon the question of annexation or no annexation, and the candidate favorable to that measure was successful by an overwhelming majority. The sovereign States of Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, have recently adopted Resolutions, some, if not all of them, unanimously, in favor of annexation, and forwarded them to Congress.

The Hon. Henry A. Wise, a member of Congress from the District in which our present Chief Magistrate resided when elected Vice-President, and who is understood to be more intimately acquainted with the views and designs of the present administration than any other member of Congress, most distinctly avowed his desire for, and expectation of annexation, at the last session of Congress. Among other things, he said, in a speech delivered January 26, 1842:

"True, if Iowa be added on the one side, Florida will be added on the other. But there the equation must stop. Let gone-gone forever. The balance of interests is gone-the safeone more Northern State be admitted, and the equilibrium is of the American Union, vanished into thin air. This must be guard of American property-of the American Constitutionthe inevitable result, unless by a treaty with Mexico, THE SOUTH CAN ADD MORE WEIGHT TO HER END OF THE LEVER? Let the the North may spread unchecked beyond the Rocky MounSouth stop at the Sabine, (the eastern boundary of Texas,) while tains AND THE SOUTHERN SCALE MUST KICK THE BEAM."

Treaty, in another speech delivered in April, 1842, on a Finding difficulties, perhaps, in the way of a cession by motion made by Mr. Linn, of New-York, to strike out the salary of the Minister to Mexico, on the ground that the design of the EXECUTIVE, in making the appointment, said, "he earnestly hoped and trusted that the President was to accomplish the annexation of Texas, Mr. Wise was as desirous (of annexation) as he was represented to be. We may well suppose the President to be in favor of it, as every wise statesman must be who is not governed by fanaticism, or local sectional prejudices."

He said of Texas, that-

"While she was, as a State, weak and almost powerless in resisting invasion, she was herself irresistible as an invading and a conquering power. She had but a sparse population, and neither men nor money of her own, to raise and equip an army for her own defense; but let her once raise the flag of foreign conquest-let her once proclaim a crusade against the rich States to the south of her-and in a moment volunteers would flock to her standard in crowds, from all the States in the great valley of the Mississippi-men of enterprise and valor, before whom no Mexican troops could stand for an hour. They would leave their own towns, arm themselves, and travel on their own cost, and would come up in thousands, to plant the lone star of the Texan banner on the Mexican capitol. They would drive Santa Anna to the South, and in boundless wealth of captured towns, and rifled churches, and a lazy, vicious, and luxurious priesthood, would soon enable Texas, to pay her soldiery, and redeem her State debt, and push her victorious arms to the very shores of the Pacific. And would not all this extend the bounds of Slavery? Yes, the result would be, that, before another quarter of a century, the extension of Slavery would not stop short of the Western Ocean. We had but two alternatives before us; either to receive Texas into our fraternity of States, and thus make her our own, or to leave her to conquer Mexico, and become our most dangerous and formidable rival.

"To talk of restraining the people of the great Valley from emigrating to join her armies, was all in vain; and it was equally vain to calculate on their defeat by any Mexican forces, aided by England or not. They had gone once already; it was they that conquered Santa Anna at San Jacinto; and three-fourths of them, after winning that glorious field, had peaceably returned to their homes. But once set before them the conquest of the rich Mexican provinces, and you might as well attempt to stop the wind. This Government might send its troops to the frontier, to turn them back, and they would run over them like a herd of buffalo.

"Nothing could keep these booted loafers from rushing on, till they kicked the Spanish priests out of the temples they profaned."

Mr. Wise proceeded to insist that a majority of the people of the United States were in favor of the annexation; at all events, he would risk it with the Democracy of the North.

"Sir," said Mr. Wise, it is not only the duty of the Government to demand the liquidation of our claims, and the liberation of our citizens, but to go further, and demand the non

invasion of Texas. Shall we sit still while the standard of in

surrection is raised on our borders, and let a horde of slaves, and Indians and Mexicans roll up to the boundary line of Arkan sas and Louisiana? No. It is our duty at once to say to Mexico, If you strike Texas, you strike us; and if England, standing by, should dare to intermeddle, and ask, Do you take part with Texas?' his prompt answer should be, Yes, and

against you.' Such, he would let gentlemen know, was the spirit of the whole people of the great valley of the West."

Several other members of Congress, in the same debate, expressed similar views and desires, and they are still more frequently expressed in conversation.

The Hon. Thomas W. Gilmer, a member of Congress from Virginia, and formerly a 'Governor of that State, numbered as one of the "Guard," and of course understood to be in the counsels of the Cabinet, in a letter bearing date the 10th day of January last, originally de

signed as a private and confidential letter to a friend, gives it as his deliberate opinion, after much examination

and reflection, that TEXAS WILL BE ANNEXED TO THE UNION; and he enters into a specious argument, and

sents a variety of reasons in favor of the measure. He

says, among other things:

Having acquired Louisiana and Florida, we have an interest and a frontier on the Gulf of Mexico, and along our interior to the Pacific, which will not permit us to close our eyes, or fold our arms, with indifference to the events which a few years may disclose in that quarter. We have already had one question of boundary with Texas; other questions must soon arise, under our revenue laws, and on other points of necessary intercourse, which it will be difficult to adjust. The institutions of Texas, and her relations with other governments, are yet in that condition which inclines her people (who are our own countrymen,) to unite their destinies with ours. THIS MUST BE DONE SOON, OR NOT AT ALL. There are numerous tribes of Indians along both frontiers, which can easily become the cause or the instrument of border wars."

None can be so blind now, as not to know that the real design and object of the South is, to "ADD NEW WEIGHT TO HER END OF THE LEVER." It was upon that ground that Mr. Webster placed his opposition, in his speech on that subject in New-York, in March, 1887. In that speech, after stating that he saw insurmountable objections to the annexation of Texas, that the purchase of Louisiana and Florida furnished no precedent for it, that the cases were not parallel, and that no such policy or necessity as led to that, required the annexation of Texas, he said:

"Gentlemen, we all see, that by whomsoever possessed, Texas is likely to be a slaveholding country; and I frankly avow my entire unwillingness to do anything which shall extend the Slavery of the African race on this continent, or add

other slaveholding States to the Union. When I say that I regard Slavery as in itself a great moral, social, and political

evil, I only use language which has been adopted by distinguished men, themselves citizens of Slaveholding States. I shall do nothing, therefore, to favor or encourage its further

[blocks in formation]

[NOTE.-The above address was drawn up by Hon. Seth M. Gates, of New-York, at the suggestion of John Quincy Adams, and sent to members of Congress at their residences, after the close of the session, for their signatures. Many more thar the above approved heartily of its positions and objects, and would have signed it, but for its premature publication, through mistake. Mr. Winthrop, of Mass., was one of these, with Gov. Briggs, of course; Mr. Fillmore declined signing it.]

The letters of Messrs. Clay and Van Buren, taking ground against annexation, without the consent of Mexico, as an act of bad faith and aggression, which would necessarily result in war, which appeared in the spring of 1844, make slight allusions, if any, to the Slavery aspect of the case. In a later letter, Mr. Clay declared that he did not oppose annexation on account of Slavery, which he regarded as a temporary institution, which, therefore, ought not to stand in the way of a permanent acquisition. And, though Mr. Clay's last letter on the subject, prior to the election of 1844, reiterated and emphasized all his objections to annexation under the existing circumstances, he did not include the existence of Slavery.

The defeat of Mr. Van Buren, at the Baltimore Nominating Convention-Mr. Polk being selected in his stead, by a body which had been supposed pledged to renominate the ex-President-excited considerable feeling, especially among the Democrats of New-York. A number of their leaders united in a letter, termed the "Secret Circular," advising their brethren, while they supported Polk and Dallas, to be careful to vote for candidates for Congress who would set their faces as a flint against annexation, which was signed by

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

cracy, which met at Herkimer, in the autumn of this year.

The contest proceeded with great earnestness throughout the Free States, the supporters of Polk and of Birney (the Abolition candidate for President), fully agreeing in the assertion that Mr. Clay's position was equally favorable to Annexation with Mr. Polk's. Mr. Birney in a letter published on the eve of the Election, declared that he regarded Mr. Clay's election as more favorable to Annexation than Mr. Polk's, because, while equally inclined to fortify and extend Slavery, he possessed more ability to influence Congress in its favor,

Before this time, but as yet withheld from, and unknown to, the public, Mr. Calhoun, now President Tyler's Secretary of State, and an early and powerful advocate of Annexation, had addressed to Hon. Wm. R. King, our Embassador at Paris, an official dispatch from which we make the following extracts:

MR. CALHOUN TO MR. KING.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, August 12, 1844.

SIR-I have laid your dispatch, No. 1, before the President, who instructs me to make known to you that he has read it with much pleasure, especially the portion which relates to your cordial reception by the King, and his assurance of friendly feelings toward the United States. The President, in particular, highly appreciates the declaration of the King, that in no event, would any steps be taken by his government in the slightest degree hostile, or which would give to the United States just cause

of complaint. It was the more gratifying from the fact,

that our previous information was calculated to make the impression that the government of France was prepared to unite with Great Britain in a joint protest against the annexation of Texas, and a joint effort to induce her Government to withdraw the proposition to annex, on condition that Mexico should be made to acknowledge her independence. He is happy to infer from your dispatch that the information, so far as it relates to France, is in all probability without foundation. You did not go further than you ought, in assuring the King that the object of Annexation would be pursued with unabated vigor, and in giving your opinion that a decided majority of the American people were in its favor, and that it would certainly be annexed at no distant day. I feel confident that your anticipation will be fully realized at no distant period.

Every day will tend to weaken that combination of political causes which led to the opposition of the measure, and to strengthen the conviction that it was not only expedient, but just and necessary.

But to descend to particulars: it is certain that while England, like France, desires the independence of Texas, with the view to commercial connections, it is not less so that one of the leading motives of England for desiring it, is the hope that, through her diplomacy and influence, Negro Slavery may be abolished there, and ultimately, by consequence, in the United States and throughout the whole of this continent. That its ultimate abolition throughout the entire continent is an object ardently desired by her, we have decisive proofs in the declaration of the Earl of Aberdeen, delivered to this Department, and of which you will find a copy among the documents transmitted to Congress with the Texan treaty. That she desires its abolition in Texas, and has used her influence and diplomacy to effect it there, the same document, with the correspondence of this Department with Mr. Packenham, also to be found among the documents, furnishes proof not less conclusive. That

one of the objects of abolishing it there is to facilitate its abolition in the United States, and throughout the continent, is manifest from the declaration of the Abolition party and societies both in this country and in England. In fact, there is good reason to believe that the scheme of abolishing it in Texas, with a view to its abolition in the United States, and over the continent, originated with the prominent members of the party in the United States; and was first broached by them in the (so called) World's Convention, held in London in the year 1840, and through its agency brought to the notice of the British Government.

Now, I hold, not only that France can have no interest

in the consummation of this grand scheme, which England hopes to accomplish through Texas, if she can defeat the Annexation, but that her interests, and those of all the Continental powers of Europe are directly and deeply opposed to it.

The election of James K. Polk as President, and George M. Dallas as Vice-President, (Nov. 1844) having virtually settled, affirmatively, the question of annexing Texas, the XXVIIIth Congress commenced its second session at⚫ Washington, on the 2d of December, 1844-Mr. John Tyler being still acting President up to the end of the Congress, March 4th following.

Dec. 19.-Mr. John B. Weller, (then member from Ohio) by leave, introduced a joint resolution, No. 51, providing for the annexation of Texas to the United States, which he moved to the Committee of the Whole.

Mr. E. S. Hamlin, of Ohio, moved a reference of said resolve to a Committee of one from each State, with instructions to report

[blocks in formation]

Provided, That immediately after the question of boundary between the United States of America and Mexico shall have been definitively settled by the two Governments, and before any State formed out of the Territory of Texas shall be admitted into the Union, the said Territory of Texas shall be divided as follows, to wit: beginning at a point on the Gulf of Mexico, midway between the Northern and Southern boundaries thereof on the coast; and thence by a line running in a Northwesterly direction to the extreme boundary thereof, so as to divide the same as nearly as possible into two equal parts, and in that portion of said Territory lying South and West of the line to be run as aforesaid, there shall be neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.

And provided further, That this provision shall be considered as a compact between the people of the United States and the people of the said Territory, and forever remain unalterable, unless by the consent of three-fourths of the States of the Union.

[blocks in formation]

ILLINOIS.-Orlando B. Ficklin, Joseph P. Hoge, Robert | aforesaid was agreed to-Yeas, 118; Nays,

Smith-8.
Total Democrats from Free States, 17.

101.

[blocks in formation]

January 25th.-The debate, after an extengion of time, was at length brought to a close,

and the Joint Resolution taken out of Committee, and reported to the House in the following form; (that portion relating to Slavery, having been added in Committee, on motion of Mr. Milton Brown, (Whig) of Tennessee:

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress assembled, That Congress doth consent that the Territory properly included within, and rightfully belonging to, the Republic of Texas, may be erected into a new State, to be called the State of Texas, with a republican form of Government, to be adopted by the people of said Republic, by deputies in Convention assembled, with the consent of the existing Government, in order that the same may be admitted as one of the States of this Union.

Yeas-114 Democrats, and Messrs. Milton and Duncan L. Clinch, and Alexander H. Brown, of Tennessee; James Dellet, of Alabama; Stephens, of Georgia, (4) Southern Whigs.

with all from Slave States, but the four just Nays-all the Whigs present from Free States named; with the following Democrats from Free States:

Mr. Cave Johnson, of Tennessee, moved the previous question, which the House secondedYeas, 113; Nays, 106-and then the amendment

MAINE, Robert P. Dunlap, Hannibal Hamlin-2.
VERMONT.-Paul Dillingham, jr.-1.
NEW-HAMPSHIRE.-John P. Hale-1.

CONNECTICUT.-George S. Catlin-1.
NEW-YORK-Joseph H. Anderson, Charles S. Benton,
Jeremiah E. Carey, Amasa Dana, Richard D. Davis,
Byram Green, Preston King, Smith M. Purdy, George
Rathbun, Orville Robinson, David L. Seymour, Lemuel

Stetson-12.

OHIO.-Jacob Brinckerhoff, William C. McCauslen,
Joseph Morris, Henry St. John-4.
MICHIGAN. James B. Hunt, Robert McClelland-2.
Total Democrats from Free States,....
Total Whigs from Free and Slave States,....78.
tion to a third reading forthwith--Yeas, 120;
The House then ordered the whole proposi-
Nays, 97--and passed it, Yeas, 120; Nays, 98.

and all the Democrats from Free States, except
Yeas-all the Democrats from Slave States,
as above; with Messrs. Duncan L. Clinch, Mil-
ton Brown, James Dellet, Willoughby Newton,
and Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia, (now
of Virginia, (who therefrom turned Democrat),
Democrat), from Slave States.

Nays-all the Whigs from Free States; all those from Slave States except as above; with 23 Democrats from Free States.

So the resolve passed the House, and was sent to the Senate for concurrence.

.23.

2. And be it further resolved, That the foregoing consent of Congress is given upon the following conditions, and with the following guaranties, to wit:

First. Said State to be formed, subject to the adjustment by this Government of all questions of boundary that may arise with other governments; and the Constitution thereof, with the proper evidence of its adoption by the people of said Republic of Texas, shall be transmitted to the President of the United States, to be laid before Congress for its final action, on or before the 1st day of January, 1846.

Second. Said State, when admitted into the Union, after ceding to the United States all public edifices, fortifications, barracks, ports and harbors, navy and navyyards, docks, magazines, arms, armaments, and all other property and means pertaining to the public defense, belonging to the said Republic of Texas, shall retain all the public funds, debts, taxes, and dues of every kind which may belong to, or be due or owing said Republic; and shall also retain all the vacant and unappropriated lands lying within its limits, to be applied to the payment of debts and liabilities of said Republic of Texas; and the residue of said lands, after discharging said debts and liabilities, to be disposed of as said State may direct:

but in no event are said debts and liabilities to become a charge upon the United States.

Third. New States of convenient size, not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas, and having sufficient population,may hereafter, by the consent of said State, be formed out of the Territory thereof, which shall be entitled to admission under the provisions of the Federal Constitution. And such States as may be formed out of that portion of said Territory, lying south of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, commonly known as the Missouri Compromise line, shall be Mr. Miller, of N. J., moved that the existence of Slaadmitted into the Union, with, or without Slavery, as the very be forever prohibited in the northern and northwestpeople of each State asking admission may desire; andern part of said Territory, west of the 100th degree of in such State or States as shall be formed out of said latitude west from Greenwich, so as to divide, as equally Territory, north of said Missouri Compromise line, as may be, the whole of the annexed country between Slavery or involuntary servitude (except for crime) shali Slaveholding and Non-Slaveholding States. be prohibited.

In Senate, several attempts to originate action in favor of Annexation were made at this session, but nothing came of them.

February 24th.-The joint resolution aforesaid from the House was taken up for cousideration by 30 Yeas to 11 Nays (all Northern Whigs). On the 27th, Mr. Walker, of Wisconsin, moved to add an alternative proposition, effecting the meditated end. contemplating negotiation as the means of

Mr. Foster, (Whig) of Tennessee, proposed That the State of Texas, and such other States as may be formed out of that portion of the present Territory of Texas, lying south of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, commonly known as the Missouri Compromise line, shall be admitted into the Union with or without Slavery, as the people of each State, so hereafter asking admission, may desire.

On which the question was taken. Yeas, (all Whigs but 3) 18; Nays, 34.

Various amendments were proposed and voted down. Among them, Mr. Foster, of Tenn., moved an express stipulation that Slavery should be tolerated in all States formed out of the Territory of Texas, south of the Missouri line of 360 30'. Rejected-Yeas, 16 (Southern Whigs, and Sevier, of Arkansas); Nays, 33.

Yeas, 11; all Northern Whigs, except Mr. Crittenden, Ky. Nays, 33.

The vote in the Senate on the joint resolution for Annexation stood, Yeas, 26, all Demo

And whereas, Congress, in the organization of a territory, established a principle worthy of imitation in all torial government, at an early period of our political his

future time, forbidding the existence of Slavery in free territory; Therefore,

Resolved, That in any Territory, that may be acsum-quired from Mexico, over which shall be established territorial governments, Slavery, or involuntary serviparty shall have been duly convicted, shall be forever tude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the prohibited; and that in any act or resolution establishing such governments, a fundamental provision ought to

be inserted to that effect.

crats but 3; Nays, 25, (all Whigs). In the House, Yeas 134, all Democrats but 1: Nays, 77, (all Whigs).

THE WILMOT PROVISO.

Texas having been annexed during the mer of 1845, in pursuance of the joint resolution of the two Houses of Congress, a portion of the United States Army, under Gen. Taylor, was, early in the spring of 1846, moved down to the east bank of the Rio Grande del Norte, claimed by Texas as her western boundary, but not so regarded by Mexico. A hostile collision ensued, resulting in war between the United States and Mexico.

It was early thereafter deemed advisable that a considerable sum should be placed by Congress at the President's disposal to negotiate an advantageous Treaty of Peace and Limits with the Mexican Government. A message to this effect was submitted by President Polk to Congress, August 8th, 1846, and a bill in accordance with its suggestions laid before the House, which proceded to consider the subject in Committee of the Whole. The bill appropriating $30,000 for immediate use in negotiations with Mexico, and placing $2,000,000 more at the disposal of the President, to be employed in making peace, Mr. David Wilmot, of Pa., after consultation with other Northern Democrats, offered the following Proviso, in addition to the first section of the bill:

Provided, That as an express and fundamental condition to the acquisition of any territory from the Republic of Mexico by the United States, by virtue of any treaty which may be negotiated between them, and to the use by the Executive of the moneys herein appropriated, neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist in any part of said Territory, except for crime, whereof the party shall be first duly convicted.

The XXXth Congress assembled Dec. 6, 1847. Feb. 28th 1848, Mr. Putnam of New-York moved the following:

Mr. R. Brodhead, of Penn., moved that this resolution lie on the table. Carried: Yeas, 105; Nays, 93.

Yeas-all the members from Slave States, but John W. Houston (Whig), of Delaware, with the following from Free States (all Deniocrats but Levin) :

Whereas, In the settlement of the difficulties pending between this country and Mexico, territory may be acquired in which Slavery does not now exist.

MAINE.-Asa W. H. Clapp, Franklin Clark, Jas. S. Wiley, Hezekiah Williams-4.

Nays-all the Whigs and a large majority of the Democrats from Free States, with John W. Houston aforesaid.

This vote terminated all direct action in favor of the Wilmot Proviso for that Session.

from the Select Committee to which was reJuly 18th.-In Senate, Mr. Clayton, of Del., ferred, on the 12th inst., the bill providing a territorial government for Oregon, reported a bill to establish Territorial governments for Oregon, This proviso was carried in Committee, by the (It proposed to submit all questions as to the New Mexico, and California, which was read. strong vote of eighty-three to sixty-four-only rightful existence or extent of Slavery in the three Members (Democrats) from the Free-Territories to the decision of the Supreme Court States, it was said, opposing it. (No record is of the United States.) made of individual votes in Committee of the Whole.) The bill was then reported to the House, and Mr. Rathbun, of N. Y., moved the previous question on its engrossment.

Mr. Tibbatts, of Ky., moved that it do lie on the table. Defeated-Yeas, 79; (Stephen A. Douglas, John A. McClernand, John Pettit, and Robert C. Schenck, voting with the South to lay on the table ;) Nays 93; (Henry Grider and William P. Thomasson, of Ky. (Whigs) voting with the North against it.

The bill was then engrossed for its third reading by Yeas 85, Nays, 80; and thus passed without further division. A motion to reconsider was laid on the table-Yeas, 71; Nays, 83. So the bill was passed and sent to the Senate, where Mr. Dixon H. Lewis, of Alabama, moved that the Proviso above cited be stricken out; on which debate arose, and Mr. John Davis of Mass., was speaking when, at noon of August 10th, the time fixed for adjournment having arrived, both Houses adjourned without day.

NEW-YORK. Ausburn Birdsall, David S. Jackson, Frederick W. Lord, William B. Maclay-4.

PENNSYLVANIA.-Richard Brodhead, Charles Brown, Lewis C. Levin, Job Man-4.

Richey, William Sawyer-4.
OHIO.-William Kennon, jr., John K. Miller, Thomas

INDIANA. Charles W. Cathcart, Thomas J. Henley,

John Pettit, John L. Robinson, William W. Wick-5.
William A. Richardson, Robert Smith, Thomas J.
ILLINOIS.-Orlando B. Ficklin, John A. McClernand,
Turner-5.

of Conn., moved to strike out so much of said
July, 24th.-Second reading. Mr. Baldwin,
bill as relates to California and New Mexico.
both parties); Nays, 37.
Rejected: Yeas, 17 (Northern Free Soil men of

ceeding days. On the 26th, Mr. Clarke, of R. The bill was discussed through several sucI., moved to add to the 6th section:

of the provisional government of said Territory permitProvided, however, That no law, regulation, or act ting Slavery or involuntary servitude therein shall be valid, until the same shall be approved by Congress."

Rejected: Yeas, 19 [Col. Benton, and 18 Northern Freesoilers of both parties]; Nays, 33. Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Md., moved amend the bill by inserting:

to

Except only, that in all cases of title to slaves, the said writs of error or appeals shall be allowed and decided by the said Supreme Court without regard to the and except, also, that a writ of error or appeal shall value of the matter, property, or title in controversy; also be allowed to the Supreme Court of the United States from the decision of the said Supreme Court created by this act, or of any judge thereof, or of the district Courts created by this act, or of any judge upon any writ of habeas corpus involving the question of per

sonal freedom.

Carried; Yeas, 31 (all sorts); Nays, 19 (all Southern, but Bright, Dickinson, and Hannegan). Mr. Baldwin, of Connecticut, moved an addi tional section, as follows:

« AnteriorContinuar »