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reading of the resolutions for the information of the olition of slavery and the slave trade in the District of House.
Columbia, of one hundred females of Cornwall, in the Objections were made to the reading of the resolutions, State of Vermont; of four hundred and twenty-six fe. by many members.
males in the county of Madison, in said State; of three "Mr. ÁCKEON inquired whether he had not a right to hundred and thirty-six male citizens of McConnelsville, ask the reading of the resolutions.
in the State of New York, and of the officers and stu(Cries of " order!" " order!”]
dents of Oneida Institute, in said State; wbich he moved The CHAIR stated that he had some doubt whether should be referred to a select committee. the resolutions could be read without general consent, Mr. GLASCOCK moved that they be not received. as the rule had not been suspended.
Mr. GIDEON LEE moved to lay the motion on the Mr. McKEON remarked that he was desirous of sub-table; which was agreed to. mitting the resolutions he had sent to the Chair. He was Mr. JANES, of Vermont, presented a petition for aware that the rules of the House did not permit bim to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. offer them at the present moment; but, as they related Mr. HAMMOND demanded the preliminary question to our affairs with France, the House might, he thought, of reception; which motion was laid on the table. be disposed to hear them read. As it was the day for Mr. RUSSELL presented a petition from sundry indithe presentation of petitions, he had but little prospect viduals, praying the abolition of slavery in the District of of procuring a suspension of the rule. He informed the Columbia. House that the resolutions approved of the determination Mr. HAMMOND demanded the question of consider. of the executive branch of this Government not to sub.ation. mit to give explanations; and he should take an early Mr. GIDEON LEE moved that the preliminary quesopportunity of bringing them before the House. He tion of non-reception be laid on the table; which was then withdrew the motion to suspend the rules.
agreed to. The presentation of petitions and memorials was then Mr. McKENNAN presented two memorials from citi. resumed.
zens of Pennsylvania; one of which prayed for the ab. SLAVERY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
olition of slavery, and the other for the suppression of
the slave trade in the District of Columbia. Mr. ADAMS presented the petition of certain inhab.
Mr. HAMMOND moved that they be not received. itants of the State of Massachusetts, praying the abolition Mr. GIDEON LEE moved to lay the motion on the of slavery in the District of Columbia.
table. Mr. HAMMOND regretted that the gentleman bad
Mr. McKENNAN asked for the yeas and nays on the thought proper to present this memorial. He felt con
question. strained to move the question of consideration.
Mr. WISE moved a call of the House; which was Mr. ADAMS said he presumed that the question was lost. subject to the decision upon the appeal taken by him on
Upon counting, for the purpose of ascertaining whea former occasion from the decision of the Chair.
ther the call for the yeas and nays was seconded, there Mr. PINCKNEY wished, in order that gentlemen
appeared to be no quorum voting. might have an opportunity of presenting their petitions,
1 Mr. WISE again moved a call of the House. Lost. to make the motion that the preliminary question be laid Upon a second count, a quorum was found to be in on the table.
| attendance, and the yeas and nays were ordered. Mr. ADAMS said the appeal which he had taken Upon the question to lay the motion that the petitions from the decision of the Chair, on a former occasion, be not received on the table, (which was understood was founded on a desire, on his part, that the subject merely as a postponement of the subject until to.mor. should not be discussed so as to consume the whole of row,) the vote was as follows: the day set apart for the presentation of petitions. With YRAG--Messrs. Adams. Chilton Allan. Anthony, Ash, these views, he was willing to allow the gentleman from
Ashley, Barton, Beale, Bean, Beardsley, Beaumont, South Carolina to make the motion that the subject be Bell, Bockee, Bond, Boon, Bouldin, Bovee, Brown, laid on the table, to be taken up and decided on at the Bunch, Bynum, William B. Calhoun, Cambreleng, same time with the other petitions.
Campbell, Carr, Casey, Chaney, Chapman, Chapin, Mr. PINCKNEY then moved to lay the motion on the Nathaniel H. Claiborne, John F. H. Claiborne, Clevetable.
land, Coffee, Coles, Connor, Corwin, Craig, Cramer, Mr. HAMMOND inquired whether the motion of bis Cushing, Cushman, Davis, Deberry, Dickerson, Dickcolleague was in order. The petition not having been son, Doubleday, Dromgoole, Efner, Evans, Fairfield, received, there was nothing to lay on the table.
Farlin, Fowler, French, Fry, Philo C. Fuller, William The CHAIR said that the motion was in order. The K. Fuller, Galbraith, James Garland, Rice Garland, gentleman from Massachusetts had moved that the peti- | Gillet, Granger, Grantland, Grayson, Haley, Joseph tion be received. It was competent to lay that motion Hall, Hamer, Hannegan, Ilarlan, Samuel S. Harrison, on the table.
Albert G. Harrison, Hawes, Hawkins, Haynes, HenMr. ADAMS presented a similar petition to the fore. derson, Hoar, Hopkins, Howard, Howell, Hubley, Hunt, going, for the abolition of slavery in the District of Co Huntington, Huntsman, Ingersoll, Ingham, Jabez Jacklumbia.
son, Jarvis, Joseph Johnson, Cave Johnson, Henry JohnMr. HAMMOND again moved the question of con- son, John W. Jones, Benjamin Jones, Judson, Kennon, sideration. He gave notice that he would make the same Kilgore, Kinnard, Klingensmith, Lane, Lansing, Lamotion in every similar case, until he could procure a porte, Lawler, Lawrence, Lay, Gideon Lee, Joshua Lee, direct vote on the subject.
Luke Lea, Leonard, Logan, Loyall, Lucas, Lyon, AbiThe preliminary question was postponed until to-mor. jah Mann, Job Mann, Manning, Martin, John Y. Mason, row.
William Mason, Moses Mason, Samson Mason, Maury, Similar petitions were presented by Messrs. CAL- May, McCarty, McComas, McKay, McKeon, McKim, HOUN, LINCOLN, GRENNELL, and JACKSON, of Mercer, Miller, Milligan, Montgomery, Moore, Morgan, Massachusetts, upon which the question of reception was Muhlenberg, Owens, Page, Parks, Patterson, Franklin made, and, on motion of Mr. G. LEE, postponed until | Pierce, James A. Pearce, Pettigrew, Peyton, Phelps, to-morrow.
Pinckney, Rencher, John Reynolds, Joseph Reynolds, Mr. SLADE presented memorials, praying for the ab- Ripley, Roane, Robertson, Rogers, Schenck, Seymour,
William B. Shepard, Augustine H. Shepperd, Shields, the United States, to abolish slavery in the District of
Nars-Messrs. Banks, Borden, Briggs, John Cal- , Whereas any attempt in this House to agitate the hoon, George Chambers, John Chambers, Clark, Dar question of slavery is calculated to disturb the comprolington, Denny, Everett, Forester, Glascock, Grennell, mises of the constitution, to endanger the Union, and, if Griffin, Hammond, Hard, Harper, Hazeltine, Hiester, persisted in, to destroy the peace and prosperity of the Holsey, Janes, Lincoln, Mckennan, McLene, Morris, country: Tberefore, Parker, Phillips, Pickens, Potts, Reed, Russell, Slade, 1 Resolved, That, in the opinion of this House, the sub. Sloane, Sprague, Webster, White, Whittlesey-37. ject of the abolition of slavery in the District of Colum
Mr. HIESTER, of Pennsylvania, presented several bia ought not to be entertained by Congress. And it is petitions, praying the abolition of slavery in the District further resolved, that in case any petition praying for of Columbia.
the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia be Mr. HAMMOND moved that they be not received. hereafter presented, it is the deliberate opinion of the
Mr. LEE, of New York, inoved to lay the motion on House that the same ought to be laid upon the table, the table.
without being referred or printed. Mr. L. said he deemed it proper to explain his mo. The question before the House being the amendment tives. This day is especially appropriated to the pre of Mr. WISE sentation of petitions from our constituents. Several Mr. HOLSEY said he would bave supported the momembers have not had an opportunity to present the pe tion of the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. WISE,] had it titions they had brought from home with them. Every been presented at a proper time. He was willing to county and town in the nation is interested, and should meet the constitutional question whenever it could be preat least be permitted to have their petitions before the sented in a proper manner; but it was not his intention to appropriate committees. Gentlemen know this class of go into the merits of the question at present. The peopetitions have already provoked excited and protracted ple he had the honor to represent, and he believed the discussions.. I know they will continue to do so when- whole people of the South, believed the constitution of ever they come into discussion. The object of my mo- the United States granted no power to legislate on this tion is to prevent such discussion to-day, in exclusion of subject. The position his own State occupied preventall other petitions. I wish it distinctly understood (said ed him from going further in this matter. He was of Mr. L.) that I am in favor of the reception of every pe- opinion the subject should be disposed of, by calling for tition, whatever may be the prayer, provided the lan- the yeas and nays, without discussion. It ought to be guage be decorous, and free from immorality. I will recollected that this was a deep and pervading question. vote for the reception of them to-morrow.
The South knew the rights which belonged to them, The motion to lay the preliminary question on the and it was hardly necessary for him to say that they table was agreed to."
would maintain those rights. We bave the voice of hisMessrs. DARLINGTON, MORRIS, CHAMBERS of tory to warn us how to proceed in this matter. The Pennsylvania, and DENNY, presented various petitions, discussions in the French Legislature had their influence praying the abolition of slavery in the District of Co- in the insurrection in the West Indies. He had noticed lumbia; upon each of which Mr. HAMMOND demand. | this circumstance merely as an additional motive fur ed the question of consideration: and, on motion of Mr. drawing this exciting and agitating question to a close. GIDEON LEE, the preliminary question of reception The resolution of the gentleman from Maine (Mr. on each petition was laid on the table.
JARVIS] would have a conciliating influence on the Mr. WAITTLESEY, of Ohio, presented an abolition South--the terms of the resolution being, that the agitamemorial.
tion of the question was calculated to disturb the comMr. HAMMOMD moved that it be not received. promises of the constitution. It was not inconsistent
Mr. GIDEON LEE moved to lay the motion on the with the resolution of the gentleman from Virginia; and table; wbich was agreed to.
he was willing to go for that resolution also at the propThe remainder of the day was almost exclusively deer time. There could be but one opinion in relation to voted to the reception of petitions, memorials, and res the resolution of the gentleman from Maine, and he olutions; and
thought that by adopting it we would discharge our obThe House then adjourned.
ligations to our country. He did not think that the
amendment of the gentleman from Virginia could be TUESDAY, JANUARY 19.
sustained in its present shape, because it would be stri.
king out the language of the gentleman from Maine, and SLAVERY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
inserting the constitutional question. God forbid that The special order of the day was taken up, being the the existence of this great confederacy should be disfollowing resolution, heretofore offered by Mr. Jarvis, turbed by a mere matter of propriety. He would say, of Maine:
in conclusion, that he would support the original resoluResolved, That, in the opinion of this House, the sub- tion of the gentleman from Maine; but whenever gentleject of the abolition of slavery in the District of Colum- men should see proper to present the constitutional bia ought not to be entertained by Congress. And be question in a proper manner, he would sustain their it further resolved, that in case any petition praying views. the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia be Mr. HAWES said the people he had the honor to rep. hereafter presented, it is the deliberate opinion of the resent viewed the subject now before the House with as House that the same ought to be laid upon the table, great attention and deep interest as, perhaps, any of the without being referred or printed.
people. He had regretted that the discussion of the subTo which Mr. Wise submitted the following amend. ject should be carried on, because in his view every speech ment:
made was calculated to create an impression in the minds “ Resolved," and insert, That there is no power of of the abolitionists that they were persecuted. He belegislation granted by the constitution to the Congress of lieved the consequences to be deleterious, let discussion
come from whatever quarter it might, whether from the which was punishable in the southern States, but the East, North, South, or West. Viewing the discussion criminal could not be reached, because he resided withas deleterious to every part of this great confederacy, in the limits of other States; yet gentlemen from the he felt himself bound to demand the previous question. South told us that the North was sound on this subject.
Mr. PEYTON rose and asked the gentleman to with He compared the conduct of the abolitionists with that of draw the motion.
an armament of private citizens against one of the reMr. HAWES said, I cannot withdraw, sir; I have giy publics of South America. When such a thing was about en my reasons for the motion, and I feel compelled to to take place, with regard to Texas, he said, the Presiinsist upon it.
dent of the United States promptly issued his proclamaThe motion for the previous question was not second. tion against the design; but no proclamation, no message, ed by the House: Ayes 90, noes 100.
no letter, had been sent forth against these societies, Mr. PEYTON had hoped the gentlemen of the South who were conspiring a warfare against the institutions would meet the only question they ever wished to see of the South. presented there: that was the question of power, not of Mr. P. drew a picture of the condition of the slaves expediency. Would any gentleman go home to the of the South, contrasted with the laborers of the North, South and tell his constituents that they might enjoy life, and commented at great length upon the above publicaliberty, and property, because it was not expedient to tion or address of the anti-slavery society. He maintouch it? He would assure gentlemen that the meretained that the only way to meet the question was to declaration of inexpediency, with regard to the District | vote for the amendment of the gentleman from Virginia. of Columbia, would be insufficient to tranquillize the Any thing less than this would be “shirking" the ques. South, and they deceived themselves if they thought so. tion; would be evading it. The question of expediency Mr. P. then referred to the recent speech of Mr. ADAMS, would not now do. He believed there was a fixed deterand the message of Governor Marcy, in relation to the mination to baffle the question; and he called upon the special message of Governer Gayle, part of which he gentlemen of the South not to suffer it to be baffled. read. This, he said, would show what the South had to Mr. BOULDIN then rose and addressed the House as expect from the northern feeling and northern people. follows: A He would put the case of the guilt of the incendiary be- Mr. Speaker, before entering upon the discussion of ing clear beyond a doubt, and that murders without the several resolutions now under consideration, let me number had been committed through him or his agency; protest against a certain election, now so much talked yet, upon the position assumed by the Governor of New of, having any thing whatever to do in this matter. York, he could not be punished, because he did not Several allusions have been made to some supposed parcommit the crimes within the limits of the State in which ticipation of that election with the resolutions now under he resided. Mr. P. contended that this conflicted with debate. I cannot believe that any man would bring into that clause of the constitution of the United States which bazard the life or safety of the infant that sits upon bis provided for the surrender of fugitives from justice. knee, and, smiling, looks up to him for protection-the The case of an incendiary firing from a mortar across a companion of his joys and his sorrows-his friends, his State line could be done with impunity, according to country, and every thing that is dear to bim on earththat position, if there was no law in the State of New to forward any party views, or to elevate or disappoint York to meet that particular case..
| the hopes of any individual. But should I be mistaken Mr. P. maintained that the man who committed crime in this, I am sure I shall not be in another view of it. If at a distance against a State, was just as amenable to the attempted to be used on either side, it will soon be found laws of the State be had outraged, as if he had commit. | to be a dangerous weapon, one that cuts both ways, and ted the act within the limits of the State. He just as will soon be laid aside. To say you will never have a much fled from justice as the criminal who fled from President from a non-slaveholding State, will provoke the State. Mr. P. then read the opinions of Mr. Van and give excuse to those of the non-slaveholding States Buren on an amendment to the constitution, in relation to say they will never have one from a slavebolding to the abolition of slavery witbin the District of Colum- State. This, if acted on, is a practical dissolution of the bia, contained in the letter from the honorable Silas Union, and would soon produce it, in every sense of the Wright to Thomas Ritchie, Esq., and also the letter of term. Sir, when I go to the polls, I shall vote for whom Mr. Van Buren to Samuel Gwin, of Mississippi, to show I please at the time. Should the election come to this that Mr. Van Buren reserved the power in the States House, (it being then the vote of my district, and not over this species of property; and ibat it could not be my vote,) I shall vote as they please. As to how I am touched without an amendment to the constitution. Mr. to find out what they wish, they can inform me in any P. denied that it could be so amended under any cir- way they may think proper. I hold myself bound to cumstances, and the time was now come when they must find out somehow. Nor have I any doubt but that I come up and meet this question. He then read an ex- can. This is all I wish to have to do with that election. tract from a letter of Mr. Butler, the Attorney General, Let me then turn my back upon it, while this matter is to Hugh A. Garland, of Virginia, respecting the meeting under consideration. I will vote for no man, from whatat Albany on the subject of slavery west of the Mississip.lever quarter of the Union he may come, who wishes to pi, in the year 1819, and Mr. Van Buren's course on that be meddling with the right of property, and especially occasion. He also dilated on the proceedings of the that in slaves, because it involves other perils, besides New York Legislature in 1820, on the admission of the loss of property. Missouri into the Union, so far as regarded the question I will consider the constitutional question first. Alof slavery, in which Mr. Van Buren voted for the pre- though there is difference of opinion on this questionamble and resolution declaring that Congress might ex-and, no doubt, honest difference of opinion-still I can. clude slavery from new States, before their admission not see where the difficulty is. All admit a man's land into the Union. Mr. P. then referred to a publication or his horse cannot be taken from him in this District, he had received a few days since, entitled “Supplement any more than elsewhere; and that it cannot be done to the Pioneer," from wbich he read sundry long ex- any where, except for the public.use; nor even then, tracts, maintaining the right of Congress to suppress without just compensation. slavery in the Territories and in the District of Colum. Can, then, the constitutionality of the proposed abolibia. There were hundreds of thousands of abolition tion be sustained, without showing a distinction between publications issued from the State of New York, an act the property a man holds in a slave, and that which he
holds in lands or horses? It surely cannot. If, then, labor--his bread for his children. In the next place, it there be any distinction, where does it lie? Is it to be is wholly inconsistent with the profession, that those who found in the constitution of the United States? Cer- contend for those powers in this District do not claim tainly not. That instrument makes no distinction. them over the States. If this argument, drawn from While the federal constitution was under debate, with a danger only, will authorize emancipation here, where view to its adoption, by the Virginia convention, Henry there are but few slaves, (and, from the smallness of the urged that this property was not secured, and gave his District, there never can be many,) what will it not do, reason why he thought so. He was answered that it if transferred to Louisiana and Mississippi? In the third was; and that clause was cited to prove it, which pro place, the danger is not less on account of the interfevides for the retaking of a runaway slave or servant, in rence of strangers. And, in the fourth place, we never any State to which he might abscond. It was insisted meant, nor do we mean ever, to put ourselves or prop. by Henry that slaves might be taxed, until the tax woulderty in negro slaves under the care and keeping of those compel emancipation.Amendments were proposed, who have no slaves. No, sir; no distinction can be and most if not all of them afterwards adopted, which drawn between the right to interfere with this property now form a part of the constitution, and stand as amend. and any other, on the part of the Federal Government. ments. Further to secure this, and all other property, When the States of Maryland and Virginia conveyed we find this amendment: “Nor shall private property away this District to the Federal Government, they had be taken for public use, without just compensation." procured a bond to be given by the Federal Govern(See amendment to constitution, sec. 5.) This was ment, that private property should not be taken for then the most valuable species of property held by the public use, without just compensation. How, then, southern States, as well as now. This property was comes it that this Government shall assume the power then almost entirely peculiar to the South, and they to take away the most valuable property they had, when were unwilling to trust it to any one but themselves. it fell into its hands!--and that, too, (twist it as you will, This was the greatest stumbling-block in the way of the at last it comes to this,) because other people do not adoption of the constitution. The determination to hold like this kind of property--have scruples of conscience. it wholly within their own power, and trust it to no one, Yet it seems many have no scruples of conscience that makes the South feel and know that State rights and will prevent them from taking away the property of State Governments are more dear to them than to any others--ay, sir, and alter entering into the most solemn section of the Union. Sir, they did not mean to intrust obligations not to violate an instrument wbich says you it to those who they knew believed, or professed to shall not, except for the public use, and then not withbelieve, that property could not be held in a slave. out just compensation. It is not pretended to be disWith the clauses before quoted, and the other clauses in I guised that there is a plan afloat for general emancipathe constitution and amendments, all recognising and tion; and these petitioners, generally, say they conceive securing, or seeking to secure, this property, with many this to be a part of the means to be used, in order to doubts and fears, and contrary to the advice of many of consummate their general object. the wisest and best men we ever had, we adopted the It appears to me that, view the memorials and arguconstitution-went into the copartnersbip.
| ments in every light, resting as they do upon some supHave we gone into this confederacy with the principal posed distinction between this and any other species of part of our property thus recognised and secured; and property, they all must come at last to this point--that shall the same instrument be construed to secure the the property in a negro slave is no property at all. We property of one section of the Union, and not that of have no thoughts of trusting half the whole wealth of all another section? Surely this cannot be. Some, seeing the South to abstractions of this kind. We claim negro the palpable absurdity of this, fly to this idea: say they, slaves as property; we hold them as such; and the propyou cannot liberate the slave now in being, but you may erty in them was recognised, guarantied, secured, or forbid the increase to be held as slaves. Compel us to sought to be secured, to us, against all interference. maintain the mother, while she raises the children! The The constitution either secures it to us, or it does not. master is thus made slave to his negro! Take all the if it does, we have all we want upon that point. If it rents and profits, but hold the property in the land sa-l does not, we are deceived, and must secure it in some cred! Be careful not to interfere with the right of other way, but not by putting it under the control of property in the mare, but take away all the colts! Such those who have no slaves. ideas, however, though they may weigh upon the minds Many are of opinion that large manufactories are danof others, weigh nothing upon mine. It is property, or gerous to the liberty, safety, and morals, of a nation. not. The constitution is binding upon all, or none; none Shall we burn them down, sir, by act of Congress? Such can claim under a deed or will, and against it, or deny ideas appear to me to be subversive of every security for its validity; none can hold on upon that part of the con property, dangerous to the community, and hostile to the stitution which is to their advantage, and discard all the peace and order of civilized life. I cannot see the least balance. What distinction can be drawn between prop-ground for asserting this power. erty, and property in this respect? What, sir, shall you But, on the point of constitutionality, I can differ with not be able, with the whole power of the confederacy, any gentleman, from any part of the Union, and do it in to take away a man's horse, worth forty dollars, unless perfect good will and good humor. With equal good it be for the public use, and not then without just com- humor and complacency can I hear abstractions on the pensation, and still be able to take his slave, his prop- subject of negroes and negro slavery. As long as they erty, worth one thousand dollars, not for the public use, are kept north of Mason and Dixon's line, they can not with just compensation? Some have said this prop- never hurt us of the South. Nor can they hurt there erty might be taken away, if it became dangerous to much; for, as my Lord Bacon says, “though such the public. This cannot be for the public use. If set things work mightily on men's wits, yet do they produce free they will not be property at all, and cannot be no very great effects.” The mischief never begins until property for the public use. This is a strange idea--to an attempt is made to reduce them to practice. make property useful to the public, by making it no | I promised you, and, through you, my constituents, property at all!
that whenever the abolition question came up, not enIn the first place, a man cannot be placed in much tangled with any question of order, or with any extragreater danger, or a much worse condition, than by ta- neous matter, I would express my opinions and feelings king away from him the proceeds of his whole life's upon it. Yet, who can be ignorant of what are the
feelings and opinions of a Representative of any portion I hope I am not right; but it appears to me that good of the slaveholding districts upon this subject There | men have convinced themselves that this is practicable, is no difference of opinion or of feeling, either in regard constitutional, and just; and that the savages are to reto the right to interfere, or the disposition to do so, by main, in all time, not subject to the laws of the State, the Federal Government. Nearly all these memorials scalping and tomahawking men, women, and helpless declare, in terms, that they mean this measure to ope children, if they please, under the protection of the rate, in some form or other, to produce, or to induce, federal court. If all those whose ancestors took land the emancipation of the slaves of all the South. The from the Indians would return to them all the lands thus fact is not attempted to be covered, that there are un- held, there would be room enough for the poor Intiring efforts constantly in action, the object of which is dians.” “Can a man be pardoned, and retain the to emancipate our slaves. Some petitions propose to do offence!” When, then, I see that great men can thus it immediately. Others propose to do it gradually. Iconstrue and thus act--great and good men, many of am entirely satisfied, that to do it, or use the means to them as great and as good as any men in any age or do it, either way, is a violation of the constitution, sub country--I do not like to place my principal reliance on versive of private and public safety, and, if persevered constitutional construction in this affair. I know we in, fatal to the Union.
must rely mainly upon ourselves. But as far as depends I have, however, no great solicitude on the constitu- upon our fellow-citizens and friends not situated as we tional question. When the mind gets its own consent to are in regard to this property, especially members of take from me my property, and endanger my life, upon this House, I am anxious to have an answer to this quesspeculative notions of this character, it is obvious it will tion: Do you (professing to be friendly to us of the find it easy enough to get clear of constitutional diffi- South) mean to take any steps, directly or indirectly, to culty. And it is not material whether it come to this produce their effect now or hereafter, which steps are determination through infatuation, perversion of intel- intended to take from us this property, and, in doing so, lect, or perversion of moral sense, or from corruption | put us and the property both in danger? No man can known and felt; it will, in neither case, stand long upon answer to this for those that are to follow him. Each constitutional construction. .
man must answer this question for himself. If the anSir, I have been compelled to come to the conclusion, swer is yes, I care not a fig for his constitutional notion. that when our lives and our property depend upon con- I cannot feel that that person, whoever he may be, or struction, and construction only, no great reliance can whatever he may think of the purity of his own intenbe placed in the safety of either.
tions, is a friend to me or mine, or to the southern The opinions of the greatest and best of men differ people and change with time and change of circumstances. 'We of the South are notoriously assailed upon this Look to the opinions of the great, wise, and good men, subject, in church and out of church, (I mean no reflecwho framed and adopted this constitution, with its tion on the church,) by societies and combinations of all guarded, careful amendments. Mark the opinions de descriptions in the Union, and of many foreign countries. livered in debate on its adoption. I know they stand in Are we now to be assailed by this House? The votes the form of argument, but not the arguments of counsel, which have been taken indicate decidedly that we are feed to maintain one side only. They are the arguments not the friendly countenances I meet every day tell me of a judge delivering the sentence of life or death; pro- it can hardly be. But if we are to be assailed by this nouncing sentence of life or death to a nation's inde. House in legislative form, inevitable necessity has taken pendence. When Patrick Henry urged, before the our course for us. Philosophers may dream, and fanat. Virginia convention, that, under the constitution pro- ics may rave in their wild imaginations, but we know posed, a sovereign State might be dragged before a that our course is taken for us by dire necessity. We court, wbat did the late Chief Justice say in reply? Mr. know that three millions of men are not to be managed Speaker, when I allude to the late Chief Justice of the by philosophic dreams, or the wild imagination of fanat. United States, let me do it with all humility and homage ics. Many are the schemes devised for our benefit by to his great name and virtues. Would that I could pay a men and women, many of whom are as ignorant of the tribute as just and ample as it is sincere, to the splendor matter as they are officious in meddling with that wbich of his talents, the magnitude of his acquirements, and, does not concern them. Some advise emancipation im. what is more than all, to the purity and simplicity of his mediately, openly, violently; others propose to proceed heart, and the unbending firmness of his justice. more cautiously, carefully. The purposes being the
In answer to Henry, and in support of the constitu same, (the emancipation of other men's property,) dif. tion, or rather its adoption, he said, among other things, fering only in the means proposed to be used, the more “It is not rational to suppose that sovereign power temperate tells the more rash that he will
I defeat the should be dragged before a court." Does he then say, object. So far, then, his rashness will benefit us. With or even intimate, that, in the adoption of that constitu such an object before him, the more guarded and cir. tion, a State would cease to be a sovereign Power? Far cumspect he is, the more dangerous he is to us. There from it. Such a bint I do not recollect to have seen;, at is only one point upon which all their schemes and plans that day it might have been fatal to the adoption. He ever agree that we of the South sleep on a magazine says further: “I hope no gentleman will think that a State of gunpowder. Some propose to set fire to this maga. will be called at the bar of the federal court." What zine openly, in broad day, and immediately; others say he thought of it afterwards, after decisions and after it would be best to burn it off gradually by a slow match, opinions will show. We find that the most illustrious and burt nobody. Sir, such speculations are amusing, men have stood out for a time upon a constitutional as long as they are not attempted to be put into practice. difficulty, and yielded at last. Witness the history of the This is the very scheme that was proposed and tried in Bank of the United States. . I may not be right--I hope St. Domingo. It was some time before the match I am not--but it appears to me that positions have been caught the magazine of powder; but when it did take, it taken, which in their nature are impossible to be exe. blew up the whole island at a blast. Tostead of millions cuted, and contrary to the spirit and letter of the con-on millions of pounds of sugar and coffee, and numerous stitution, and that by construction on the constitution. other articles of value, reared by the hand of care and
Has no such position as this been substantially taken-- industry for exportation, what have they now but the an independent savage nation in the heart of a sovereign spontaneous growth of the island-mabogany and the civilized State, under the protection of the federal court? | l ke? Their population reduced to less than half