« AnteriorContinuar »
her at present but to ascertain, upon broad and liberal principles, whether the condition required of Michigan had been performed. Some reference had been made to the State of Maryland in the course of the argument, which, by the by, he did not think at all parallel to the case of Michigan; but, as it had been mentioned, he would say that if the people of Maryland, or any other State, thought proper at any time, by a convention, however originated or organized, to change her constitution, Corgress would have no right to interfere, unless she departed from a republican form of government. It was an affair entirely domestic; and the authority of Congress to intermeddle in the matter, unier any circumstances, could only be by sorce of the fourth section of the fourth article of the constitution of the United States, by which a republican form of government is guarantied by the United States to the States, respectively. The evil of such a course, if any, would be confined to the citizens of the State itself; and neither the General Government, nor that of any other State, would have a right to interfere, as long as the republican form of government was preserved. But the case of Michigan fell far short of this, and, in his judgment, involved no question which could alarm the most apprehensive. It was a case which could only occur on the formation and admission of new States, and could be drawn into precedent under no other circumstances. The simple question, he repeated, was, has Michigan complied with the conditions required of her The preamble affirmed that she had, and, believing it to be true, he should vote for retaining it.
Mr. DANA said: I have listened with attention to the
arguments of the gentlemen opposed to the admission of Michigan into the Union, and have perceived no sound 1 eason for rejecting her application. She has, as is admitted by those gentlemen, complied with all the conditions required of her. She has the requisite population; she has formed a republican constitution; and Congress, by its act of last session, has approved of that constitution. And does not an imperious duty rest on us to receive that State into the Union? She asks it, and I am satisfied that we are bound to grant her request. And why not do it now, sir? We are told by the honorable gentleman from South Carolina, [Mr. CALhou N,) that we cannot do it without a violation of the constitution; and by the honorable member from Ohio, [Mr. Monnis, ) that it cannot be done without dissolving the elements of our Union? But how stands the case? Let us advert to the principles and facts on which this question rests. Sir, a lor, and severe contest had existed between Michigan ano, Ohio in relation to their boundary line, each claiming the same territory, and each ready to defend it with their lives. Michigan claimed an admission into the Union; but Congress could not admit her, standing as she did in a hostile attitude towards one of the States of the Union, until the exciting question of boundary was settled. And the wisdom of this measure is apparent to c very one. To have admitted her with her quarrel into the Union would have been dangerous and ruinous. Congress, therefore, in the first place, proceeded to so tule the boundary line between these contending parties, upon principles conceived to be right, and then to limit and prescribe the boundaries, and point out the territory over which Michigan should have jurisdiction; and then, in the same act of June, it approved of her constitution, and provided for her admission into the Union by the proclamation of the President, if a majority of delegates, chosen by the people for that sole purpose, should give their assent to the terms of admission prescribed by said act. And to me it appears that the only question for us to consider is, have a majority of a convention, thus chosen, given their assent to the terms of admission? If they have, we are bound, sir, to admit them.
It is understood, sir, that a convention of the people of Michigan was held in September last, who did not give their assent to the terms of admission prescribed by this act; and of course the President did not admit that State into the Union by proclamation. It is further understood, that a second convention was held on the 15th December last, who did give their assent to the terms prescribed by the act, as before mentioned; but the evidence of this assent was not communicated to the President until after the present session of Congress. He did not admit the State by proclamation, but said he should have done so had he received evidence of the fact of the assent of the convention during the recess. As he did not, he has submitted the subject to the present Congress.
These, sir, are the facts. And, now, what are the principles by which we are to be governed in the case? If, sir, I understand any thing of statutes, or their construc. tion, the act of Congress of last June, defining the limits and regulating the jurisdiction of Michigan, accepting her constitution, and providing for her admission into the Union as an independent State, stands, as it ever has stood, an act of Congress. That section of it, however, which authorized the President to admit this State by proclamation, not having been acted upon by him, is inoperative, a dead letter. The power delegated by Congress to him, now reverts to them, and we can admit upon the same terms on which we authorized the President to admit this State, or we can admit upon such other terms as Congress shall deem wise and expedient. But, sir, we are told by grave and learned Senators that Congress having authorized the President to perform this service on a certain contingency, that he, and he alone, can receive this State into the Union. Is this sound doctrine? Can it be so? Let us examine this position. On receiving evidence of the assent of a majority of the convention, the President was authorized to admit this State into the Union. He does not receive this evidence, or not in season, and the subject is submitted to Congress. Now, sir, my apprehension is, that the President's power conferred by the act has ended; that it has reverted to Congress, and they alone can exercise it. boes a delegated power for a specific object, and for a limited time, always continue? Cannot those who constitute an agent also revoke his power? And can they not exercise that power, when voluntarily surrendered by the agent? If not, I have yet to learn the first principles of statutes and their construction. Yes, sir, in my humble opinion, we have a right to exercise the powers we delegated to the President, and that section of the statute granting them will not be violated. That section is dead, and as if it never had passed; and the powers return to us, and, l 'rust, to be exercised by us in the admission of this State.
But, sir, we are met with another objection, viz: That a majority of the convention have not assented to the terms prescribed in the act of June last. We are told, sir, that one convention assembled for the purpose of giving their assent, but withheld it, and that their doings ought to be conclusive. Again: the honorable Senator from Ohio [Mr. Ewing] tells us that the second convention was not called by authority, not according to act of Congress; that it originated with the people, and that they assembled in their primary meetings and chose their delegates to the convention. And then he triumphantly asks, who presided at those meetings’. How were they organized, and who swore their officers? My reply to these positions and inquiries is, first, that the act of Congress requiring the assent of the convention does not point out how the delegates shall be chosen. It requires the assent of a majority of a convention chosen by the people for that purpose. Here, sir, the law has left it, and wisely lest it, to the people to select their
delegates in their own way. If a particular mode had been pointed out, that mode must have been pursued; but as there was none, the people were left to their own election, and they have exercised their powers as they thought most judicious. And now, sir, because they have not exercised them in a manner agreeable to the views of gentlemen, but in persect accordance with the act of Congress, shall we set aside their doings, and compel them to wait year after year for the enjoyment of those rights and privileges to which they have long been entitled? “Who presided at those meetings? How were they organized, and who swore their officers?” Claiming the privilege of a Yankee, I will answer these questions by proposing others. Who presided over the meetings when the former delegates were chosen; and how were those meetings organized? Who swore their officers? I have no doubt but that the town meetings were properly organized, governed, and the officers duly qualified. But, sir, is that a question before this honorable body? Has this Senate looked into the organization of towns, and to the qualifications of their officers? Such an instance I have never known, nor does it in my opinion exist. What, sir, shall this grave Senate convert itself into an inquisitorial body over primary assemblies? And where shall we begin, and where end? Suppose we look into their organization for the year 1836. That inquiry must necessarily carry us to their organization, and the qualification of their officers for 1835; and so we should go on to the first precedent under the constitution. The idea is too absurd to dwell upon. And why should we doubt a correct procedure in the primary assemblies of the people of Michigan any more than in those of Ohio, or any other State? No, sir; the people of Michigan had a right to hold their primary meetings and choose their delegates, and they have done it; and who has a right to gainsay it? There seems to be a dread of the revolutionary character of these meetings! . A dread of the doings of the people? Sir, I have no fear of either. When left to themselves, the people will generally do right; much more so than those who would trammel them, and lead them astray. Nei. ther have I any of those apprehensions or gloomy forebodings which seemed to alarm the mind of the honorable Senator from South Carolina in regard to the violation of the constitution; nor have I any fears that the elements of our Government will be dissolved, which seemed to burden the anticipations of the honorable member from Ohio, (Mr. Monnis,j although we should adopt the proposed measures of admission. Sir, our glorious independence was the purchase of blood and treasure lavish. iy expended, and our constitution and form of govern. ment the result of mature wisdom and experience combined; and are these States, after all, bound together by such feeble ligaments? Is the value of our Union so slightly appreciated as to be dissolved upon false issues, and for trivial causes? I will not indulge in such antici. pations, especially not as the consequence of this measure.
Much, sir, has been objected to the passing of this bill, because the first convention of delegates withheld their assent to the requisitions of the act. I am not at all surprised that they did; nor ought this to operate in any way against their subsequent assent. Consider for a mo. ment the situation of the people of Michigan, when they chose their delegates to the first convention. They were then agitated by the 3. of boundary; they were disappointed at the were smarting under the wounds they had received from Ohio; and, not having time nor being in a condition to reflect upon the advantages and disadvantages of a union with the States, they did not consent to the terms proposed by the National Legislature. Is this, then, strange? Would it not have been more strange - Wul, XIII.-15
if, under the circumstances, they had given their assent? But, sir, when passion had subsided, and opportunity had been given for reflecting upon the situation of a State out of the Union, they discovered that they were depriving themselves of great and inestimable advantages; that their present state was one of weakness and exposure, and strength and protection could only be found in the Union. , Was it, then, wonderful that a change of sentiments should have taken place? No, sir, it would have been much more wondersul if a change in this re. spect had not taken place. And is it true that, because one convention did not consent to the terms prescribed, another could not? No, sir, if one or two, or even a dozen conventions, had refused their assent to the con. ditions, and afterwards, upon reflection, the people changed their minds, and chose a convention, a majority of whom at last gave their assent, they would even them have had an incontestable right of admission into the Union. Besides, this last convention was chosen by about three thousand votes more than the former one, Sir, actuated by these principles, applied to these facts, I can entertain no doubt of the rights of Michigan in this case, and the path of our duty is equally clear. But I am not for admitting them without retaining the preamble in the bill. That connects their admission with the terms prescribed in the act of June, and that settles the boundary line between Michigan and Ohio, and puts an end to the long and bitter, if not bloody, contest in which those two States have been involved. Nothing can be more abhorrent to the feelings of every friend of liberty and humanity, than a fratricidal war be. tween two of the States of this Union. I would never admit Michigan and her quarrel, but it should be fully and permanently settled before she becomes one of the United States. I concur, sir, in the views of the honorable Senator from North Carolina, [Mr. Stn ANGE,] that if this question should be brought up hereafter, it must be settled by a judicial tribunal. But the act of Congress prescribing and making known the terms of admission, and the assent of the convention to those terms, together with the preamble of the present bill, would, I apprehend, throw an insuperable barrier in the way of a recovery by Michigan. I am therefore for retaining the preamble. A single thought more, and I have done. It is not denied that Michigan embraces a population which entitles her to a rank among her sister States; that she has formed a republican constitution and organized her Gov. ernment under it, and that Congress have approved of it. She has also given her assent to the terms prescribed, and now presents herself for admission into the Union, and for her legitimate rank as an independent sovereign State. Her claim is not without precedent, but has frequently been conceded to others. Now, let me ask, what is the duty of Congress? Have we a right to deny her this privilege? Shall we continue to debar her, from year to year, of rights and privileges to which she is entitled, and which she demands at our hands? Sir, a solemn duty devolves upon us, and I trust that we shall best discharge it by immediately admitting this State into the Union. Mr. WALKER said that the Senator from South Car. olina [Mr. Calhous] seemed to consider the question of the admission of Michigan as a State of the Union, at the present session of Congress, as fraught with alarming consequences. The preamble of the bill now under con
ecision of congress; they sideration, the Senator tells us, imbodies principles an
archical, revolutionary, and subversive of the constitution of the Union. The Senator says Congress can call no other convention than one to amend the constitution of the Union. . Yet, said Mr. W., they have repeatedly called conventions to enable the people within certain territorial limits to form State Governments. And Mr.
W. read extracts from various acts of Congress to this effect. [Mr. Cathous here said he intended to say that Congress could call no convention in a State, and that Michigan was a State when this convention was called.] lf, then, said Mr. WALKER, Michigan is a State, or was so when this convention was called or assembled, why does the gentleman resuse to consider her as a State, and deny her, not only now, but till next year, any representation in the Senate of the Union. If she (Michigan) is a State, as the gentleman asserts, she must be entitled to all the rights of a State, and especially to the most important of all those rights, that of representation in the Congress of the Union. Sir, said Mr. W., this convention in Michigan has been assembled, as in former cases, by a people passing from territorial puilage to State sovereignty, and is called by Congress in the same manner as similar conventions have been heretofore called by Congress, for the same purpose. But if Michigan be a State, and it be a violation of State sovereignty to authorize the people to call a convention, is it not equally a violation of State sovereignty for Congress to authorize the Legislature to call a convention in Michigan, and especially to call such a convention in a manner repugnant to the provisions of the constitution of Michigan? Yet the Senator from South Carolina adopts the proceedings of the first convention, and disowns the proceedings of the second convention. Was the first convention called in pursuance of the act of Congress? If so, that convention, according to the Senator's argument, is a gross violation of the constitution of the Union; and yet, if that convention was not called in pursuance of the act of Congress, the dissent of the convention to the terms proposed by Congress can have no effect. Now, one of the express grounds upon which the first conven'ion refused its assent to the terms proposed by Congress was, that the convention then assembled had no control over the boundary question; the Legislature not having pursued the mode designated by the constitution of Michigan, in calling the convention. And yet the Senator from South Carolina would give esticacy to the proceedings of this convention, which disclaims its own authority and constitutional existence, whilst he denies the authority of the last convention, assembled in pursuance of the act of Congress. The act providing for the admission of Michigan as a State of the Union demands, as a prerequisite of admission, the assent of a convention of delegates elected by the people of Michigan, for the sole purpose of giving such assent. The intervention of the Legislature was not required, nay, it was previously dispensed with; for the bill, as proposed at the last session, did first require legislative action; but that clause of the bill was stricken out, as Mr. W. conceived, to satisfy those who contended that the Legislature could not, but by the assent of two thirds of that body, assemble a convention for any purpose whatever, and that the assent of a majority of the people was all that Congress required. But now the utmost authority is given to legislative action by those who denied its authority at the last session of Congress. A convention of delegates, elected by the people, was all that Congress required. That convention has assembled, and there is satisfactory evidence that it did truly represent the wishes of a majority of the people of Michigan. It was a convention called, not by Congress, but in pursuance of the act of Congress; and the act required no other authority. The President declares that this convention has so assembled, in pursuance of the act of Conress, and that if Congress were not in session, he would ave issued his proclamation for the admission of Michi
New, said Mr. W., the act of Congress authorized the President to form an opinion as to the validity of the convention, and admit Michigan. He has formed and communicated to us that opinion, and now gentlemen would not give the effect even of prima facie evidence to the President's opinion, as now officially con municated to this body. If the President was satisfied with the validity of the assenting convention, he might, under the law, have proclaimed Michigan a member of the Union. He tells us he is satisfied; and yet now that opinion is to have no effect whatever. All that Congress desired was the assent of a convention of the people, not of the Legislature of Michigan; and if the convention be revolutionary, the act of Congress is revolutionary; for it requires no assent or sanction of the Legislature of Michigan. But if the second convention be revolutionary, because not called in pursuance of any law of Michigar, why is not the first convention still more clearly revolutionary, because called in defiance of the provisions of the constitution of Michigan? But, said Mr. W., if Michigan!became a State by the adoption by her people of their State constitution before the last session of Congress, why, when the Senator from Ohio, [Mr. Ewing,) at the last session, introduced his bill to annul all that had passed, and calling, by the mere act of Congress, a new convention in Michigan, did not the Senator from South Carolina [Mr. Cat. hou N] then oppose that act of Congress for calling that convention in what, it appears, the Senator considers the State of Michigan? Yet all the Senator's fricnds who voted on that bill voted for it; and, of course, if the Senator’s present position be correct, violated the constitution of the Union. It is somewhat remarkable that Michigan is regarded by many as a Territory, when that view of the question will exclude her from the Union; and that again she is held up as a State, when that position, it is supposed, will delay her admission." Mr. W. concluded by observing that, in his opinion, to delay longer the admission of Michigan would be an act of the clearest injustice, and a violation of the spirit of the constitution and of the ordinance of 1785. Mr. T PTON addressed the Senate in favor of the bill. Again, said he, we have before us the question of admitting Michigan into the Union as a member of this confederacy. This subject is an old acquaintance. Four years ago it came before us in the form of a memorial from her Territorial Legislature, praying Congress to authorize the election of delegates to a convention, for the purpose of sraming a constitution, and to provide for her admission into the Union on an equal footing with the existing States. The subject was referred to a select committee, and a bill was reported accordingly; which, however, did not find savor with a majority of the Senate of that day. Every effort made by its friends was met by motions to postpone, lay on the table, or adjourn; the opposition having the power in the Senate to give the bill the go-by, the session closed without passing the bill, and, as he thought at the time, in denial of justice to the people of Michigan. The people of the Territory, thus left to seek justice under the ordinance of Congress of July, 1787, in their own way appointed delegates to a convention, to forum a constitution and State Government for themselves. But, unfortunately, by their constitution, they claimed jurisdiction over a portion of the territory of the neighboring States. They claimed to include within the jurisdictional limits of Michigan more than a thousand square miles of the State of Indiana. This territory was given to Indiana by an act of Congress of the 19th of April, 1816, authorizing the people of lndiana to form a constitution and State Government. The territory was accepted by Indiana, her laws extended over it, and thereby placed beyond the control of Congress or any other power except that of the people of Indiana. That part of the constitution of Michigan which lays a claim to jurisdiction over it, is, therefore, contrary to the constitution and laws of the United States, and necessarily void. By the act of Congress of the 15th of June, 1836, Michigan was admitted into the Union on certain conditions, one of which prescribed the limits within which she was to exercise jurisdiction; confining her southern boundary to a line drawn through a point ten miles north of the southern extreme of Lake Michigan, which line is the northern boundary of the State of Indiana. To the boundaries thus prescribed, Michigan was required to give her assent by a convention of delegates elected by the people for that sole purpose. The President of the United States, on being notified that the assent of Michigan was given to the terms prescribed by Congress, was authorized and required to issue his proclamation announcing the fact; upon which she was to be admitted into the Union without further legislation on the part of Congress. it appears, by the documents communicated to the Senate by the President, that there have been two conventions held in Michigan since the adjournment of Congress in July last. The delegates composing the first were elected in pursuance of a law of her Legislature. The convention consisted of forty-nine members, met at Ann Arbor in the month of September, and, by a vote of 28 to 21, refused to accept the terms of admission proposed by Congress. Various causes operated, we are told, to produce this result. The people of Michigan, finding the very unpleasant position in which they were placed by the non-acceptance of the terms of admission proposed to them, met in primary assemblies, and resolved to hold elections in the different counties for delegates to a convention, to accept the terms of admission proposed. Elections were holden in an orderly and proper manner in every county but two. Near three thousand more votes were polled at this than at the former election. About 70 delegates were chosen, who met in convention on the 14th ult., and by their resolution, now on our tables, unanimously acceded to the terms upon which their admission was provided for. Honorable Senators on the opposite side of this question deny the legality of this latter convention. They tell us it savors of revolution or misrule, is subversive of the constitution and principles of the Government under which we live, lacks the sanction of law, and does not by any means express the sentiments of the people of Michigan. What would the honorable Senators have had the people of Michigan to do? Congress had prescribed no method to be pursued by them in electing delegates to the convention. It said nothing about a law of the Legislature of Michigan being necessary to legalize the election. But, on the other hand, the delegates who composed the first convention declared, in the preamble to their resolutions, that the Legislature of Michigan derived no power from their constitution to authorize or direct the election of delegates to a convention. If a competent authority had laid down rules by which these elections were to be conducted, the qualification of voters, &c., they would have been implicitly obeyed; but as nothing is said in the constitution or law upon the subject, the people were left to pursue such a mode of arriving at the object as they thought proper, and we learn that the elections were conducted in the manner heretofore usual in the Territory. With this I am satisfied. I consider it a convention of delegates elected by the people, for the sole purpose of giving the assent required; that they have given their assent will not, I presume, be denied. And, such being the case, I feel bound, from a sense of justice, to fulfil the agreement made with them on our part. Mr. T. said he was somewhat surprised by the course
Jax. 3, 1837.] ..?dmission of Michigan. [SENATE.
pursued by the honorable Senator from Ohio, [Mr. MoR. n1s.] That Senator was a member of the Judiciary Committee, who reported the bill under consideration, knew the views entertained by the majority of that committee, and now he moved to recommit the bill, with instructions to strike out the preamble, because, as he tells us, it recognises the action of the last convention of delegates. The mode pursued in electing delegates to that convention he is pleased to characterize as revolutionary; and he tells us, all that is necessary is to strike out the preamble, and repeal the third section of the law of the 15th of June, requiring the assent of the people of Michigan to the terms of admission, and all will be right. I suppose he thinks all is safe as regards his own State, and that others must take care of themselves. Sir, I hope that the members of this Senate will bear in mind that, in framing the constitution of Ohio, doubts existed whether a line drawn due east from the southern extreme of Lake Michigan would terminate upon Lake Erie or the Detroit river; and the convention incorporated in the 6th section of the 7th article of the constitution of that State, a provision, that if the line referred to should not include the most northerly cape of the Maumee bay, then, and in that case, the northern boundary was to be extended so far north as to include it, with the assent of Congress. And, sir, the honorable members from Ohio, in this and the other branch of Congress have labored incessantly sor forty years to obtain the assent of Congress to that provision, and it was not until the last session that a law could be passed fixing that boundary as he wished it, and now the honorable member tells us all is well. He is willing to strike the preamble from this bill, and repeal the third section of the law of last session, both of which require the agreement of Michigan to take the northern boundary of Indiana, as now established, as her southern limit. Sir, I shall vote against the recommitment, and against striking out the preamble of the present bill. I view the preamble as in fact the key to the true intent and meaning of the bill, and as important as any part of it. If it be stricken out, I must vote against the bill. To pass the bill without the preamble, would, in my judgment, endanger the peace of more than one State. To retain it can be productive of no evil, whilst striking it out might be followed by serious consequences. It might give Michigan grounds to believe that she would be supported here in the extraordinary claim she has set up to more than a thousand square miles of the State of Indiana, a territory which Indiana will never resign.
I am in favor of the bill as it came from the Judiciary committee. It will quiet forever the unjustifiable claim of Michigan to a portion of the State from which I come. I am anxious she should be admitted into the Union, when this can be done with a due regard to the interests of the neighboring States; and I think this can be best effected by passing the bill as it came from the committee.
Before the question was taken, on motion of Mr EW ING, of Ohio,
The Senate adjourned.
Tuesday, JANUARY 3.
After the reception and reference of sundry petitions, the Senate resumed the consideration of the bill declaring the admission into the Union of
THE STATE OF MICHIGAN.
The question pending was on a motion made yes'erday by Mr. Montins, to strike out the preamble of the bill. This motion Mr. M. now varied, by moving an amendment to the preamble, (recapitulating the proceedings in Michigan under the act of the last session...of Congress for the admission of the State,) which modifi
cation he was desirous of trying before the question should be taken on striking out the preamble. Mr. EWING, of Ohio, rose and addressed the Senate nearly as follows: To the bill now before the Senate (said he) I have no other objection than that which I stated at the last ses. sion, viz; that l feel reluctant to admit a new State into the Union, unless she come in regularly, in accordance with a law of Congress previously enacted. But I waived this objection in the case of Arkansas, because a precedent had been set by the admission of Michigan at the last session. Still, however, I think it wrong; the practice is loose, irregular, and calculated to lead to bad consequences. And I think it proper to say that in the present question, in any of its forms, the State of Ohio has no interest whatever; none in the preamble, none in the bill itself, save that interest which she shares in common with all the other members of the confederacy; and, in voting on this question, I shall vote precisely as if Ohio were the most distant State in the Union from Michigan, instead of being separated from it only by a boundary line, which line was once disputed. On this subject my colleague and myself entirely concur. Indeed, we have from the first differed but little in our opinion as to the controversy lately pending be. tween our State and Michigan; but we here concur entirely as to the effect of this preamble upon her, and we may fairly assume that we speak the opinion and feelings of the State on that point. We hold this preamble untrue in fact, and of most dangerous tendency. Our State, for whose benefit gentlemen profess to have inserted it, has no interest in the thing. She does not ask for it; and if she had an interest, no matter how deep and vital, she would not consent that that interest should be subserved by stating, in a solemn act of legislation, that which is untrue. Permit me to reiterate that there exists at this moment no controversy whatever between Ohic and Michigan, nor does there exist, at least on the part of the citizens of Ohio, the slightest feeling of enmity toward their neighboring fellow-citizens. There is no such feeling there; and I well know there is hone here. The controversy which once agitated and excited them is now settled. Congress, by its act, has assented to the boundary claimed by Ohio in 1803, before Michigan was erected into a Territory; and unless the act of 1805 is irrevocable, there can never again be any controversy between Ohio and Michigan on the question of boundary. If it is pronounced irrevocable, then it is not in the power of Congress to modify or touch it, and the bound. ary therein specified will be declared by the Supreme Court to be the true boundary. But is that act is not irrevocable, we are so affected by it that it never can be revived against Ohio. But I said the preamble to this bill asserts what is not a fact. I shall endeavor to make that position good. What is its language? “Whereas, in pursuance of the act of Congress of June the fifteenth, eighteen hundred and thirty-six, entitled ‘An act to establish the northern boundary of the State of Ohio, and to provide for the admission of the State of Michigan into the Union, upon the conditions therein expressed,’ a convention of delegates, elected by the people of the said State of Michigan, for the sole purpose of giving their assent to the boundaries of the said State of Michigan, as described, declared, and established, in and by the said act, did, on the fifteenth of December, eighteen hundred and thirty-six, assent to the provisions of said act: therefore”— Now, I take it that, in the insertion of this preamble, the Judiciary Committee meant to declare that the convention referred to was a legal convention; that it was sec', a convention as is contemplated in the act of Con
[JAN. 3, 1837. – a – " ------ " gress for the admission of Michigan into the Union; that it was a convention according to law. This is the fact asserted in the preamble, and this I controvert. The evidence is well condensed in the recital which my colleague offered as an amendment to the preamble, and we have it more at large from the President, in his official communication now on our tables. From this it appears that a convention, called by an act of the Legislature of Michigan, did assemble, and, after deliberation, did refuse to enter the Union under the conditions of the act of Congress, and that their dissent was forwarded to the Executive. Now, it is said by the honorable Senator from Pennsylvania, [Mr. Bucha NAN,] this convention was not held according to the act of Congress; that congress directed the people to meet; and that no reference was had in the act to the interposition of the Legislature of Michigan; but that a subsequent convention, which, it is said, afterwards assembled, alone satisfied the law. The question, then, is between the two conventions. If the first was legal, the last was not. If the first was not legal, then we may inquire into the legality of the second. Now, let me put one question to that honorable Senator; I ask him whether, had the first convention, instead of rejecting, accepted the conditions contained in the act of Congress, would be, in that case, have held that assent illegal? Would he then have said that it was a convention not held according to the act of Congress? I would almost venture to say that he would not; I rather think the convention would have passed pretty well. But if so, what has altered the matter? If that was a proper mode of calling a convention which assented, why was it not a proper mode of calling a convention which refused its assent? But after the convention assembled by the Legislature of the State of Michigan (for our act did recognise her as a State, though i think very improperly) had dissented, no attempt whatever was made by the constituted authorities of the state to bring together another; none whatever. But an assemblage of the people, in meetings which are familiarly denominated caucuses, was held in some of the counties, and mutually agreed to call a new convention. Committees get together, and, after consultation, publish a time and place at which it is to assemble. The whole matter was utterly urauthorized, save by party organization, and was the effect of such organization. will any man dispute it? Will any man pretend that this latter convention was the effect of a simultaneous and spontaneous impulse of the whole people of Michi: gan? Is there any the least proof of such being the fact’ The convention originated in county calls; and all the counties but two joined in the plan, and held elections for delegates. What evidence is there of any regularity in these elections? Let us look at the papers. We have, to be sure, the act of the convention itself, giving the assent of the State to the act of admission, and which was transmitted to the President of the United States. And we have the certificate of General Williams, said to have been the presiding officer of the convention, and the names of the delegates. But there is not any official act or signature of any officer known to the laws, either of Michigan or of the United States; not the slightest proof of their election or qualification. That paper, containing the as: sent of Michigan in a matter so important, is not at all authenticated. Where do you find the law according to which it was conducted? There is none. It rests on nothing. There was a meeting of certain individuals held at a place called, I believe, Ann Arbor; and we have certain resolutions of theirs, which are to avail against the doings of a convention held in pursuance of a law of the State, and all whose acts are fully and legally authenticated. I cannot recognise such a paper. I must do violence to my own judgment, should I receive