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H. OF R.

Admission of Missouri.

FEBRUARY, 1821.

and permit slaves to break up from crowded plantations, and scatter over our vast Western world, whilst a portion would be relieved from Southern servitude, and, as some would have it, want, and would have brighter prospects opened to their view, the condition of the residue would, from the operation of the same principles, become greatly ameliorated. So far from the principles favorable to African slavery being on the growth, as has been inconsiderately asserted, they are rapidly on the wane, as is attested by the policy of all civil-ment has been re-echoed in this House. I deny ized nations, in relation to the African slave trade; and, beyond all others, by the feelings and policy of the people of the United States, in regard to it. From these considerations, and some others, which I will not detain you by presenting, I have, sir, contemplated, with no unpleasant sensations, the extension of these principles and the dispersion of the blacks, until a portion of the present slaveholding States, and all those which might be hereafter admitted into the Union, would find it consistent with their feelings and not incompatible with their interest, to pass laws for their gradual emancipation. Their numbers being reduced comparatively low, this might then be done without danger, serious apprehensions, or great inconvenience the chief obstacles, everywhere, to such laws at this time. But, Mr. Speaker, driven from the ground of the restriction being better for the unfortunate blacks, whose condition, gentlemen profess, impelled by feelings of humanity, they are desirous to improve they now contend that it is, at all events, better for the whites. This position, not as disinterested and magnanimous as the former, remains also to be proven. Sir, I have been forcibly struck at the want of correct information in Legislatures of the non-slaveholding States, upon the subject of slavery, and particularly the extent of the present contest, as evidenced by their proceedings and resolutions, and have also made the same remark, on gentlemen of great information, occupying high stations and possessing undoubted integrity. I do not, therefore, esteem it at all remarkable that the mass of the population in those States should labor under gross misapprehensions.

The honorable Speaker, who, I am quite sure, would represent no fact otherwise than as he believed it, proceeding, in one of his speeches, upon a mistaken view of the state of society in the slaveholding States, asks the question, Who but slaveholders were elected to the State Legislatures, &c.? And he appealed to us to say whether the selection of a laboring man, however well educated, would not be considered an extraordinary event? I answer, sir, without the fear of contradiction from the Representatives of those States, and in the face of their people, that, when a candidate presents himself for office, it never entered into the mind of folly itself to inquire, by way of ascertaining his qualifications, whether he held slaves? I have reflected, and could, would it not be an unprofitable consumption of your time, enumerate very many of my acquaintances and friends, not being slaveholders, who have been preferred to office, and, like others, elected to the

Legislature; and, I further state, with the most
sincere conviction of its truth, that if the posses-
sion of slaves, more than the possession of money,
or other property, elevates a man in the estima-
tion of society, I have remained to this hour alto-
gether ignorant of such an effect. Sir, a venera-
ble and distinguished Senator from New York,
(Mr. KING,) said, when speaking of the slavehold-
ing States, that in them "manual labor dishon-
ored the hands of freemen." And the same senti-
the proposition to be true; and can and now will
proceed to show that this is not one of the evils
of African slavery; but, that its existence in a so-
ciety elevates the poor and laboring white man,
and that its non-existence invites and leads to his
depression and dishonor. Sir, where slavery is
tolerated, slaves perform, for others, the servile and
menial duties of the stable, the kitchen, and the
house-I say they perform for others, because no
one would expose himself so much as to contend
that a man was dishonored by catching his own
horse, or a female by doing her own house labor;
the whites engage in the dignified and honorable
labor of agriculture and the mechanic arts; and in
these, respectable men and their sons, slaveholders
and non-slaveholders, indiscriminately join; and,
if I have not to learn all that I have seen and
known, a man is respected among us in the degree
that he is industrious, honest, and honorable; and
is degraded and dishonored, as he is vagrant, lazy,
and unprincipled. Men ought to be, and are, grad-
uated in society by the principles which I have
mentioned. When, sir, in the State which I have,
in part, the honor to represent, a man in the higher
walks of life meets his poor, but honest neighbor,
he salutes him, and treats him with the attention
which belongs to merit; if he comes to his house,
he is met at the door, and cordially taken by the
hand, invited to a seat in the hospitable circle, and
constitutes a welcome guest at his smoking board.
But what is the picture in the non-slaveholding
States? I speak the language of experience and
truth. The wealthy employ, I do not say culpably,
the poor and miserable whites in all the round of
servile duties from the stable to the kitchen; they
ride before and behind their carriages, and stand
often trembling in the presence of their august
employers, in practice and truth their masters;
they act as their cooks, their shoe-blacks, and their
scullions. The wide chasm between their stations
and pursuits forbids intercourse at all, much less a
cordial one. Thus the miserable, poor, and labor-
ing white man is degraded and dishonored in the
non-slaveholding States; whilst in those of the
opposite character, he is saved and redeemed by
the intervention of blacks. Since the days of Adam
to the present time, men have occupied the various
stations of high and low, rich and poor, dignified
and servile; and the practical difference betwixt
the slaveholding, and the non-slaveholding States
upon this subject is, that the former has degraded
their black, and the latter their white brethren, to
those servile duties. Mr. Speaker, I hope it may
be understood, that I have not made these remarks
in a spirit of reproach; and do hope that I shall be

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pardoned for having examined this false doctrine, of labor dishonoring the hands of a freeman, a little at large, when it is recollected that by far the greatest portion of those generous freemen, by whose votes I have been elevated to a seat in this hall, do not own slaves; it is my duty, no, sir, it is my privilege and pleasure, to defend their honor as well as their rights; and I do, with indignation, repel the insinuation, though from high authority, that they are dishonored by labor; sir, I repel it for myself, for I too find pleasure and advantage in labor, and cannot, patiently, listen to such an imputation. Sir, I will use this last occasion to impress upon our brethren of the non-slaveholding States the extreme indelicacy, censoriousness, and impolicy of raising our latches and attempting to disturb the sacredness of domestic relations and quiet; and will say to them "Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

We never have, and never will submit to have our natural and Constitutional rights revised and qualified by them; we deny their authority to catechise us, and to fulminate their denunciations against our principles of morality, religion, or honor. I will not, sir, engage in the inviduous task of comparing, much less in attempting to elevate ourselves above our brethren of the East; if I can show that we occupy the level with them I shall be satisfied. There is one fact of which I entreat gentlemen to be assured, that in the States beyond the mountains, so far as I have been enabled to collect from observation and inquiry, there exists as much, not to say more practical morality, religion, and honor, as can be found in the land of steady habits. Sir, while the Congress of the United States keeps within its proper limits, which will be without the pale of State authority, confining its operations to Federal and not State duties, as they have failed to do, in the attempt to impose a restriction upon Missouri; while it magnanimously, disregarding local feeling, listens to the rights, wants, nay wishes, of every class and section of the Union, kindly affording relief where practicable; and where not, as kindly rejecting, taking care to proceed upon strong and satisfactory, not nice and technical reasoning; while Congress will proceed thus, it will answer the designs of its authors, and gain for itself the love of the people and the admiration of the world.

H. OF R.

permitted to meddle, nor will other States, further than to pass laws for securing, on an escape, their custody to their owners. Such, sir, are the mischievous and alarming consequences incident to the interference of the General Government with this subject, which, if once permitted, might be followed by another and another measure of encroachment, all exciting and eliciting in slaves themselves and in those who might engage in the crusade, as well as in their owners, the most deeprooted prejudices and violent passions of the human heart. I say that such are the consequences attendant upon this assumption of power by the General Government, that every parent should impress upon the susceptible mind of his child its great danger, and the necessity of carefully avoiding it; and much more should those in the slaveholding States enjoin upon theirs the necessity of constant vigilance; and upon the first discovery of an attempt at encroachment, of raising the alarm, and never ceasing resistance, until every Constitutional effort should be exhausted. Sir, I wish it understood that I am no friend to African slavery, not for many of the reasons usually assigned, but because it is a violation of the rights of man, as derived from his God, and I will pledge myself to go as far as most men for its amelioration or abolition. But I owe higher obligations to the white population of the United States, particularly to those who have sent me here; to my friends and family, than those which I feel, or ought to feel for the black. Mr. Speaker, it should never be forgotten that, according to the laws of the slaveholding States, slaves are property, and protected by the Constitution of the United States; which Constitution vests the General Government with no power to touch the subject; that the condition and treatment is better understood, and exclusively understood, by those States themselves, and that, whatever ought or can be done for this unfortunate class of people, should be left to the States respectively in which they are situated.

But, sir, I have been strongly reminded of the necessity of this resolution by a recollection of the manner in which an honest post-rider, and no slaveholder, in my neighborhood, reprimanded and put me to silence, on my return home last Spring: for the people in the Western country not owning slaves, hold their heads, and that justly too, as high as those who do, and take upon themselves to inquire about public business, and into the conduct of those whom they elevate to office.

I

Mr. Speaker, I feel so deeply impressed with its importance that I must be allowed to say, that above all things, the bitter subject of African This honest man asked me what important slavery is one which can never be touched with measures we had passed during the session. impunity by the General Government. The Con-proceeded to enumerate all, which you know were vention that formed the Constitution found it so; but few, and apologized for not doing more, from a celebrated Convention to the East found it so; the great length of time which had been employed and so have Congress and the nation fully ascer- on the Missouri question. Sir, said he, that ought tained. The Convention was constrained to leave not to have taken so wise a body as Congress half it as they found it, save that to effect the very ob- an hour to decide it; for I satisfied my mind upon ject of confining it to the condition in which found; it in less time. I endeavored to evade the severthe citizens of other States are required, on the ity of the stroke, by remarking that it was an imescape of slaves to such other States, upon the portant question, and the arguments on both sides application of their owners, to deliver them up for had been lengthy and able. He promptly replied the purpose of being taken whence they came. that he could not see what ground there was for Congress should not meddle, and will never be argument upon so plain a question as the right of

H. of R.

Admission of Missouri.

FEBRUARY, 1821.

Congress to dictate to Missouri about having or municate my sensations on a late occasion, alnot having negroes; a matter which concerned though I had designed, until this moment, to conher, and which other States had decided for fine them within my own breast. I verily believe, themselves. I was heartily tired of the Missouri sir, that if members would, upon this floor, use question, and made another attempt to divert him, more ingenuousness, not only in disclosing their by remarking that we had this consolation, that, views, but in temperately exposing their feelings, at the next session, the public business could be our discussions would be much simplified and curattended to, having finally compromised and set-tailed. We should then know where to direct tled the disagreeable contest, by allowing a re- arguments, or whether it were worth while to use striction on the Territory; and there, said he, you them at all. But, sir, to proceed: After the late suffered yourselves to be yankied, by giving up vote by which Missouri was refused admittance the restriction on the Territory, for a right to into the Union, while descending the hill westwhich Missouri was entitled without it. Such is wardly from this Capitol, with my face turned the force of sound, impartial, unsophisticated sense, towards ill-fated Missouri, my home, and my that it carried conviction to the bystanders; they friends, strongly and deeply feeling the unkind laughed to hear the post-rider gain so fair a tri- blow given to her rights and those of one-half the umph, and I could not deny him a victory. Now, Union, I felt such maddening sensations as I only sir, I have anticipated with some concern, that I recollect to have experienced on a few former should meet this plain, common-sense man again; occasions: One, sir, on the occlusion of the port and, if so, I have imagined that he would say, sir, of New Orleans by Spain; when distress and I thought you told me that the Missouri question ruin threatened our land! Another, when the had been finally settled, and that you would, at President's proclamation arrived in the West, the next session, be able to do the people's busi- containing an annunciation that the sovereignty ness. I would answer: true, I did, but the friends and flag of the United States had been violated of restriction found fault with the constitution of and insulted in our own waters, by the attack of Missouri, because free blacks and mulattoes were the British ship Leopard of 50 guns, upon the forbidden to go there; and they were said to be United States frigate Chesapeake of 38; and the citizens of the United States, and therefore privi- third, when, at the commencement of the late leged. He will be almost certain to say, because war, owing to the weakness or treachery of Genhe has a knack of putting things in a strong point- eral Hull, or both, Detroit and the Northern army and what are blacks and mulattoes citizens of were surrendered, and the whole northwestern the United States! and have they, therefore, a frontier of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, threatened right to be members of Congress or President of with blood and desolation. Upon all these occathe United States? But, I shall repeat that this sions, my voice was heard endeavoring to explain was the opinion-right or wrong I leave you to our wrongs and dangers, and to inspire my fellowdecide of a majority of the House of Repre- men with just feelings of resentment; nor did I sentatives, and, therefore, they were dissatisfied. decline offering the aid of my feeble arm. He will then likely inquire, is not the Constitu- | tion of the United States above all other laws? for, I assure you that it is a principle well known to our constables and magistrates, who sometimes decide a law to be repugnant to the Constitution, and therefore void. I must repeat it to have been the opinion of a majority, that they could not trust to the Constitution of the United States to weigh against the constitution of Missouri. The inquiry will then be made, whether, as the first section of the law which provides for the admission of Missouri had been violated, the last section of the same law, which imposed the restriction, as the consideration of the admission of Missouri, had not been repealed? I wish, sir, to be prepared to tell this honest man and others, for great is the solicitude, and numerous will be the inquiries, that the restriction has been repealed; or, at least, to have the poor consolation of being enabled to say, that I performed my duty, by endeavoring to have it repealed. And I beg that my dilemma may not be disregarded; for, if the restriction should not be repealed, he will surely repeat the charge before made, and with greater reason, that we had suffered ourselves to be thoroughly yankied. For, if this resolution be not adopted, you will have the advantage both in land and negroes.

Mr. Speaker, I feel myself constrained to com

Mr. Speaker, I beg that I may not be misunderstood; these were my involuntary emotions, but they have subsided and become calm. I know my rights and my duty as an American citizen; and I am incapable of thinking of any force except that which is moral and Constitutional. But, sir, though I retire from this magnificent hall to my humble fireside and my fields, the injuries of Missouri shall not be forgotten or concealed; they will continue to be uppermost upon my mind, on my lying down and rising up, on my going out and coming in. Mr. Speaker, it surely becomes the councils of this nation to inquire with care and anxiety into the course likely to be pursued by Missouri. I, sir, will use this occasion to say to their Representatives and Senators, and, through them to the people of Missouri, what I have not communicated to those gentlemen, personally, that, as they have come forward and offered her constitution, or, to use the language of court etiquette, have called and left their card, which has not been returned, but rejected, and have also offered to pay a personal visit, but have had the door shut in their face, and refused admittance, that they now, although mortified and humiliated, should return quietly to their growing State, and there remain, with an elevated mien and inflexible purpose, until the future agents of this Government shall forward to them an invita

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tion to attend her councils in this Chamber. Will Missouri lay down the full and proud dress of State government, and again cover herself with the lowly dishabille of a Territory? Sir, I know the character of the population of Missouri, and have the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with many of her respectable and influential citizens; they are enterprising, intelligent, and bold; they have an ardent and invincible attachment to liberty; while they reverence legitimate government and laws. And, sir, from my knowledge of this people, I will venture to say, with great confidence, that you might as soon expect, by your mandate, to roll back the onward floods of her majestic Missouri from the ocean! You, sir, may desolate their fields, and raze their habitations, but you cannot bend their necks to your unconstitutional yoke. Mr. Speaker, I do not design to use, I will not use, the language of menace. I speak, however, fearless, and without disguise. Sir, he knows but little of the character of the Southern and Western delegation and States, who, while Missouri's wrongs remain unredressed, can look for happy and calm legislation on this floor. While our young sister Missouri, for imputed wrongs, not her own, but ours, remains bowed down and covered with distress; while she remains shut out from this Hall pale and sorrowful, and exposed to the most wasteful elements, your sentinels may cry peace, peace, all's well!-but, I tell you, deceive not yourselves, there is no peace!

Mr. Speaker, I have detained you longer than I designed to have done; my remarks have been warm and desultory, but I beg you to believe, that I have honestly and frankly laid open the feelings and sentiments of my heart, and have advanced no principle, not matured by reflection. Permit me, sir, to return to you, and the members of this House, my kindest thanks for the patience and attention with which you have heard my valedictory and uninteresting discourse. And, with the most fervent sincerity of heart, I implore, for the tranquillity and future grandeur of our common country, the blessing and protection of that God who has guided us, triumphant, through the perils of two wars; that God, who binds the winds of heaven in his hand, and calms the troubled seas. Mr. B. having concluded

The preliminary question was put "Will the House now proceed to consider this resolution?" It was decided in the negative-seventy-nine votes to 43. So the resolution lies on the table.

REDUCTION OF SALARIES, &c. The House resumed the consideration of the unfinished business of yesterday, which was the bill to reduce (on an average by twenty per cent.) the salaries of the officers of the Government, with the amendment proposed by Mr. CAMPBELL, the object of which was to reduce the pay of the members from eight dollars to six dollars per diem.

Mr. SIMKINS, of South Carolina, said he could not refrain from expressing his warm and decided approbation of the sentiments delivered by the two gentlemen from Kentucky, (Messrs. ANDERSON and ROBERTSON.) In doing this the House can

H. OF R.

not but see how utterly mistaken the gentleman from Ohio is when he attempts to justify his motion by saying that, for six dollars a day, the ablest men can be got to serve in Congress, and that they will be sufficiently permanent. Every step this debate progresses, and almost every member that rises to address you, contradict the gentleman's position, and show that scarcely a man can be got to serve here for any considerable length of time. Many are induced to come from a spirit of patriotism, some from the eclat of being for a while members of Congress, some from one motive, and some from another; but experience, the best of all tests, has invariably proved (in a very few instances excepted) that, by the time such members learn the routine of business-yes, at the very time when they become fitted to render real service to their country-they are literally driven from Congress by the poverty of the salary at eight dollars a day. What then are we to think of a proposition that goes to lessen even this allowance? Sir, I, with the gentleman from Kentucky, from Maryland, and, indeed, almost every gentleman who has spoken, can speak disinterestedly on this question. A few days will also number me among those who were so kind as to send me here, free from all Congressional interests and duties; and I venture to assert for the Southern States, and I think I might for the Middle States, that no man with a family can, at the present pay, hold a seat here for any length of time, unless he would madly and unnaturally sacrifice his domestic comforts and private interests-unless, indeed, he would sacrifice his family. Sir, do you not see that even every two years there is a change of a third, and sometimes a half of this body? What does this show but that professional men and others so sacrifice their interests by seats here that they are driven to abandon them? And hence, this House is doomed to an instability and a fluctuation so ruinous as to unsettle and sacrifice every thing dear to the country. In truth, almost every class of the community are denied to come here, except twothose who are very rich, and those who are seeking other and more profitable places through Executive patronage and otherwise. If the present order of things exists, the endeavor to preserve this body pure and independent will be fruitless and vain. In vain will it be that the Constitutution, for the wisest purposes, has declared the three main branches of the Government separate and independent. Lower your present pay, (already too low,) and this independence and purity will exist only in name.

Sir, the importance of this subject swells as we progress. I should not have risen but from a consideration of its being of the last importance. I forbear to press a view indelibly stamped with interest, though not with novelty.

The gentleman from Ohio (Mr. CAMPBELL) says that, whilst diminishing the salaries of the military and civil officers, the majority would be inconsistent not to embrace their own; that they ought first to have begun with themselves. With the consistency of the majority in this matter I rejoice to have had nothing to do-no sin to

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answer for. Let gentlemen look to their own consistency. They have made their own choices. I not only opposed the change in the method of paying your military officers, as a retrocession instead of an advance in military science, as novel, unequal, and unprecedented, but I have opposed the diminution of pay and salaries, both civil and military, for various reasons, but particularly because this is not the proper time to settle them. Some salaries, I admit, upon the change of times, may be a little too high; but is it not clear that we ought not to unsettle and render fluctuating every salary, at a time when the state and circumstances of the nation are evidently unsettled? Look at the state of our importations and of our currency. They are at their lowest point of depression; perhaps may have already risen a little from the lowest point. Is it not evident that the importations will increase; that bank stock is rising, because our banks will discount more liberally, and throw into circulation a great deal more money? Is it not seen from these premises, that no man can now tell what would be an adequate salary for any number of years; that what may be ample pay this year, will be too little the next, and still more inadequate the next after; that, by legislating at this moment, we not only act with too much precipitation, but are actually legislating in the dark? I know these arguments, which were urged by me on the bill reducing the salaries of military officers, two or three days ago, had no weight. They were not even answered, because every thing then was carried by a dead, determined, unyielding majority. On our own pay I trust they will have more weight.

But the gentleman from Ohio says, we must legislate according to our circumstances. Sir, this is the very reason, urged in part before, but which permit me to repeat, why we should not now legislate at all. How do we know under what circumstances the next Congress may meet? Here we are at the very heel, not merely of the session, but of the Congress, legislating, not for ourselves, with a due and becoming delicacy, but legislating, hastily and officiously, for the next Congress. The gentleman should have begun earlier. He should have begun as soon as it was ascertained by the annual Treasury report of the last session, that loans or taxes would be necessary. Sir, with the first gentleman who addressed you, from Kentucky, (Mr. ANDERSON,) I regret extremely that this subject was now touched, because, as has been well urged, it is one of extreme delicacy, and the investigation of which has hardly failed to agitate the continent from one end to the other. This is not all; for nothing is so well calculated to create distrust towards us, and so to humble this body in the eyes of the people.

Mr. Foor observed, that he had determined not to take any part in the discussion of the merits of this bill; but, since the chairman of the committee had only stated his own views of the subject, and the reasons which had influenced himself—and in addition to this had also stated, that he was prevented by ill health from attending with the committee during their investigation of the subject

FEBRUARY, 1821.

referred to them, and had assigned this as the reason for not answering the questions which had been proposed by several gentlemen respecting the principles which had governed the committee-he felt himself bound, by considerations of respect to the House, as well as to individual members, and in justice to the committee to state frankly his own views, and also the reasons which had induced the committee to present this bill to the consideration of the House, so far at least as he was able to understand and to express their sentiments on the subject.

Sir, the committee have investigated, with considerable labor and attention, the several subjects referred to them; and the bill now under consideration is the result of their examination, so far as respects the amount of the compensation to the officers and others embraced in the resolution. They have endeavored to equalize and apportion the compensation to the services performed, with a due regard to the talents and qualifications necessary for the faithful discharge of the duties assigned to them. They have been guided in some measure by the amount of salaries, which the officers and others received previous to the year 1815, since which period most of the salaries have been increased.

The committee believed that if the compensation was not reduced below the amount fixed by law, previous to 1816, it could not be claimed that the salaries contemplated by the present bill would be insufficient, considering the present appreciation of the value of money; and they do not hesitate to say that salary officers, even with the reduction proposed by the present bill, would suffer less than any other portion of the community; for, if the same salaries furnished an adequate support in 1815, they certainly would be amply sufficient at the present time.

It will not be denied that the present state of the finances of the country, and our future prospects of revenue, demand a very considerable reduction of the present salaries of the officers in the civil, as well as in every other department of the Government, in addition to other practicable retrenchments, in order to bring our expenditures within our means, and prevent the necessity of resorting to loans or direct taxation to meet the expenditure of Government in profound peace.

The committee have endeavored to discharge faithfully the duties assigned to them; they feel no personal solicitude for the fate of this bill, but in common with those who consider retrenchment in our expenses necessary for the welfare of the country. But, sir, they do feel a deep solicitude, that some measures may be adopted by which the Government may, by a reasonable retrenchment, prevent the entire destruction of our most valuable institutions, which will be the inevitable consequence of our increasing expenses and our diminished resources.

Sir, my attention has been drawn to this subject from the first commencement of the last session, in consequence of the enormous increase of the appropriations for the Treasury, War, and Navy Departments. It will be recollected that a resolu

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