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THE importance of the NEBRASKA QUESTION, and the all-absorbing interest of the public in relation to it, will be deemed sufficient reasons for the appearance of this pamphlet. The enactment of the Missouri Compromise in 1820 did not excite a deeper or more general feeling among the people than does its threatened repeal in 1854. A generation, almost, has passed away since the first event took place, and its unwritten history is nearly forgotten. The proposed organization of the Territories of NEBRASKA and KANSAS has reopened the whole subject. The admission of Missouri, the annexation of Texas, the organization of Oregon Territory, the Compromise Acts of 1850, and the NEBRASKA-KANSAS Bills, form a chain of great events whose histories are indissolubly interwoven. One object of this publication is to present a brief but intelligible sketch of these earlier transactions, in connection with the recent debate in the Senate of the United States, on the "Nebraska Question," as it has been termed. This question, as is well known, involves not only the organization of the Territories, but the greater subjects of Indian treaties, and Slavery extension.
Nearly all the Speeches which had been made in the Senate, on the NEBRASKA Bill, by its friends and opponents, at the time this pamphlet went to press, are contained in its pages. The reader has thus before him the whole subject fairly stated and fully discussed.
THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE.
IN 1818 the Legislature of the Territory of Missouri, resolved to petition Congress for admission into the Union as a State, and on the 18th of December, of that year, the petition was received by Congress.
Passing over the preliminary and incidental proceedings and debates, we come to the main question, which was a proposition made on the 19th of February, 1819, in the form of an amendment, in these words:- That the further introduction of slavery, or involuntary servitude, be prohibited," &c., in the embryo state. This amendment received 87 votes
against 76, in the House. On the 15th of March, James Tallmadge, of New York, moved an amendment, embracing the above restriction with this addition,-" All children born within said state after the admission thereof, shall be free at the age of 25 years." Adopted: ayes, 79; nays, 67. The Senate struck out this amendment when the bill came before that body, by a vote of 22 to 16. But the House refused to agree. For concurring, 70; against it, 78. The Senate again took up the subject, and voted to adhere to their former decision, and sent a message to the House to that effect. The House was equally obstinate, and on the final vote stood, for adhering to their restriction 78 to 66. Mr. Tallmadge vigorously sustained his amendment throughout the whole controversy. The adherence of the two Houses to their own antagonistic positions precluded any further action at that time, and the bill was lost. At the next session, Mr. Taylor, of New York, moved the following resolution:-"Resolved, That a committee be appointed with instructions to report a bill prohibiting the further admission of Slaves into the Territories of the United States, west of the Mississippi." This resolution was postponed on the 28th December, 1820, by a vote of 82 to 62. Mr. Taylor remarked in the debate that, he knew of no one who doubted the constitutional power of Congress to make the prohibition. At the commencement of this session, a bill was introduced for the admission of Maine into the Union, which passed the House. A section providing for the admission of Missouri, also, was tacked to this bill, by the Senate. Several unsuccessful efforts were made to separate the two propositions. A motion of Mr. Roberts, of Pa., to that effect, was lost 18 to 25. On another day, a similar motion was defeated, 21 to 23. On the 18th of January, 1820, Mr. Thomas, of Illinois, introduced in the Senate the celebrated slavery restriction, whereby slavery was to be for ever excluded from all territory north of 36° 30', north latitude. After an exciting debate the matter was referred to a select committee,-Messrs. Thomas, Burrill, Johnson, Palmer, and Pleasants. The Missouri bill coming up in the House, a motion was made by Mr. Taylor to postpone, and lost 87 to 88.
Mr. Taylor, of New York, moved and advocated the restriction clause in the House, and Mr. Holmes, of Maine, opposed it.
A motion to exclude slavery from Missouri was lost in the Senate, by a vote of 16 to 27. YEAS-Messrs. Morrill of N. H., Mellen, and Otis of Mass., Dana of Ct., Burrill of R. I., Tichenor of Vt, King and Sanford of N. Y., Dickerson and Wilson of N. J., Lowrie and Roberts of Pa., Ruggles and Trimble of Ohio, Noble and Taylor of Indiana.
NAYS-Mersrs. Parrott of N. H., Hunter of R. I., Lanman of Ct., Palmer of Vt., Van Dyke of Del., Lloyd and Pinkney of Md., Barbour and Pleasants of Va., Macon and Stokes of N. C., Gaillard and Smith of S. C., Elliott and Walker of Ga., Johnson and Logan of Ky., Eaton and Williams of Tenn., Brown and Johnson of La., Leake and Williams of Miss., Edwards and Thomas of Ills., King and Walker of Ala.
On the 17th of February, Mr. Thomas's amendment (the slavery restriction), was adopted by the Senate. Ayes 34; nays 10.
AYES-Messrs. Brown, Burrill, Dana, Dickerson, Eaton, Edwards, Horsey, Hunter, Johnson, Ky., Johnson, La., King, Ala., King, N. Y., Lanman, Leake, Lloyd, Logan, Lowrie, Mellen, Morril, Otis, Palmer, Parrott, Pinckney, Roberts, Ruggles, Sanford, Stokes, Thomas, Tichenor, Trimble, Van Dyke, Walker, Ala., Williams, Tenn., Wilson. NAYS-Messrs. Barbour of Va., Elliott of Ga., Gaillard of S. C., Macon, of N. C. Noble of Ind., Pleasants of Va., Smith of 8. C., Taylor of Ind., Walker of Ga., Williams of Miss.
Mr. Thomas's amendment reads as follows:
"And be it further enacted, That in all that territory ceded by France to the United States, under the name of Louisiana, which lies north of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, excepting only such part thereof as is included within the limits of the State contemplated by this act, slavery and involuntary servitude, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall be and is hereby for ever prohibited: Provided, always, That any person escaping into the same from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any State or Territory of the United States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed, and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service, as aforesaid.'
This amendment, was also moved in the House, by Mr. Storrs of New York.
After an ineffectual motion by Mr. Trimble, of Kentucky, to bring the north line of the State of Missouri about half a degree south of the line proposed, with a view to give Missouri a share of the fine valley at the Des Moines, the question was taken on ordering the bill, as amended, to be engrossed and read a third time by the following vote :
AYES-Messrs. Barbour, Brown, Eaton, Edwards, Elliott, Gaillard, Horsey, Hunter, Johnson of Kentucky, Johnson of Louisiana, King of Alabama, Leake, Lloyd, Parrott, Pinkney, Pleasants, Stokes, Thomas, Van Dyke, Walker of Alabama, Walker of Georgia, Williams of Mississippi, Williams of Tennessee.-24.
NOES--Messrs. Burrill, Dana, Dickerson, King of New York, Lanman, Lowrie, Macon, Mellen, Morril, Noble, Otis, Palmer, Roberts, Ruggles, Sanford, Smith, Taylor, Tichenor, Trimble, Wilson.-20.
So the bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time.
Mr. Macon, of North Carolina, and Mr. Smith, of South Carolina, were the only southern members who voted against this clause.
The bill, including both Maine and Missouri, passed the Senate. The House, however, disagreed to the combination of the two states in one bill, 93 to 72.
Mr. Thomas's amendment was disagreed to at this time 159 to 18. The whole subject then went to a committee of conference consisting of Senators Thomas Pinkney and Barbour : and Messrs. Holmes, Taylor, Lowndes, Parker, of Mass., and Kinsey, of the House. The result was that the admission of Missouri with Mr. Thomas' amendment was put in a separate bill, to the exclusion of Maine. It passed the House March 1, 1820, by a vote of 91 to 82, and the Senate, March 2, without a division. On a test vote, previous to the final passage of the bill, the House divided on the great question at issue, embodied in Mr. Thomas' and Mr. Storr's amendment, substantially as follows: for the prohibition of slavery, forever, north of 36° 30', 134 to 42 Nays.
The main question was taken on concurring with the Senate in inserting in the bill, in lieu of the State restriction, the clause inhibiting slavery in the territory north of 36° 30′, north latitude, and was decided in the affirmative, by yeas and nays, as follows:
For inserting the substitute:-Messrs. Allen of New York, Allen of Tennessee, Anderson, Archer of Maryland, Baker, Baldwin. Bateman, Bayly, Beecher, Bloomfield, Boden, Brevard, Brown, Brush. Bryan, Butler of New Hampshire, Campbell, Cannon, Case, Clagett, Clarke, Cocke, Cook, Crafts, Crawford, Crowell, Culbreth, Culpepper, Cushman, Cuthbert. Darlington, Davidson, Dennison, Dewitt, Dickinson, Dowse, Earl, Eddy, Edwards of Pennsyl vania, Fay, Fisher, Floyd, Foot. Ford, Forrest, Fuller, Fullerton, Gross of Pennsylvania, Guyon, Hackley, Hall of New York, Hardin, Hazard, Hemphill, Hendricks, Herrick, Hibshman, Hiester, Hill, Holmes, Hostetter, Kendall, Kent, Kinsley, Kinsey, Lathrop, Little, Lincoln, Linn, Livermore, Lowndes, Lyman, Maclay, McCreary, McLane of Delaware, McLean of Kentucky, Mallary, Marchand, Mason, Meigs, Mercer, R. Moore, S. Moore, Monell, Morton, Moseley, Murray, Nelson of Mass., Nelson of Virginia, Parker of Mass., Patterson, Philson, Pitcher, Plumer, Quarles, Rankin, Rich, Richards, Richmond, Ringgold, Robertson, Rogers, Ross, Russ, Sampson, Sergeant, Settle, Shaw, Silsbee, Sloan, Smith of New Jersey, Smith of Maryland, Smith of North Carolina, Southard, Stevens, Storrs, Street, Strong of Vermont, Strong of New York Strother, Tarr, Taylor, Tomlinson, Tompkins, Tracy, Trimble, Tucker of South Carolina, Upham, Van Rensselaer, Wallace, Warfield, Wendover, Williams of North Carolina, Wood-134. Against it:-Messrs. Abbot, Adams, Alexander. Allen of Mass., Archer of Virginia, Barbour, Buffum, Burton, Burwell, Butler of Louisiana, Cobb, Edwards of North Carolina, Ervin. Folger, Garnet, Gross of New York, Hall of North Carolina, Hooks, Johnson, Jones of Virginia, Jones of Tennessee, McCoy, Metcalf, Neale, Newton, Overstreet, Parker of Virginia, Pinckney, Pindall, Randolph, Reed, Rhea, Simkins, Slocumb, B. Smith of Virginia, A. Smyth of Virginia, Swearingen, Terrill, Tucker of Virginia, Tyler, Walker of North Carolina, Williams of Virginia-42.
In the Senate it stood 33 Ayes and 11 Nays. Slavery was permitted in Missouri by a vote of 27 to 15 in the Senate, and 90 to 87 in the House. That is, the restriction which originally applied to Missouri was struck out as a compensation for introducing Mr. Thomas' restriction upon territory north and west of Missouri.
Thus the exciting question was ended for the session, and the bill authorizing the people of Missouri to form a Constitution for a State Government became a law on the 6th March, 1820.
The bill for the admission of Maine became a law on the 3d March, 1820, to take effect from the 15th of the same month.
[It will be seen that Mr. Clay had no more agency in this compromise than any other member who voted for it. He had earnestly opposed the restriction on Missouri, as had Mr. Randolph, Mr. P. P. Barbour, and Mr. E. Smyth, of Virginia; Mr. Reid, of Georgia; Mr. Pinckney and Mr. Lowndes, of South Carolina; Mr. Baldwin, of Pennsylvania, and other eminent members.
In the SENATE the restriction was advocated by Mr. Roberts, of Pennsylvania, Mr. King, of New York, Mr. Otis, of Massachusetts, and other prominent Senators; and it was opposed
by Mr. Barbour, of Virginia, Mr. Johnson, of Kentucky, Mr. Pinkney of Maryland, and Smith, of South Carolina, and others.]
Such is the brief history of the enactment of the so called "Missouri Compromise" whereby slavery was forever excluded from territory lying north of 36° 30′ north latitude, and Missouri admitted into the Union without a restriction as to slavery. The debate was long and exciting. One member remarked that "it had all the marks of eternity about it," so slight was the prospect of its coming to an end. Public meetings were held in all the large towns in the Union, and the Legislatures of almost all the States adopted resolutions touching the matter.
When Missouri had formed her Constitution and came to be admitted into the Union, another "distracting question" arose as to whether her Constitution was republican or not, it having a provision in it excluding free colored people from the State. The Senate voted to admit her, with this provision in her Constitution, and the House refused. A Committee of Conference was raised as before, on motion of Mr. Clay.
The following gentlemen were elected a Committee on the part of the House:
Messrs. Clay of Kentucky, Cobb of Georgia, Hill of Maine, Barbour of Virginia, Storrs of New York, Cocke of Tennessee, Rankin of Mississippi, Archer of Virginia, Brown of Kentucky, Eddy of Rhode Island, Ford of New York, Culbreth of Maryland, Hackley of New York, S. Moore of Pennsylvania, Stevens of Connecticut, Rogers of Pennsylvania, Southard of New Jersey, Darlington of Pennsylvania, Pitcher of New York, Sloan of Ohio, Randolph of Virginia, Baldwin of Pennsylvania, and Smith of North Carolina.
In the Senate, on the 24th of February, 1821, on the announcement of a message that the House had appointed a committee of Conference, Mr. SMITH, of South Carolina, opposed it, and Mr. BARBOUR, of Virginia, and Mr. HOLMES, of Maine, supported it. The Senate concurred, by a vote of 29 to 7, and a committee was appointed to meet the House committee, and the following gentlemen were appointed:
Messrs. Holmes of Maine, Roberts of Pennsylvania, Morrill of New Hampshire, Barbour of Virginia, Southard of New Jersey, Johnson of Kentucky, and King of New York.
On the 26th February, 1821, Mr. CLAY, from the joint committee, reported a joint resolution for the admission of the State of Missouri, upon condition that the restrictive clause in her constitution should never be so construed as to authorize the passage of any law by which any citizen of any other State shall be excluded from the enjoyment of any of the privileges and immunities to which such citizen is entitled under the Constitution of the United States.
Mr. CLAY briefly explained the views of the committee and the considerations which induced them to report the resolution as being the same in effect as that which had been previously reported by the former committee of thirteen members; and stated that the committee on the part of the Senate was unanimous, and that on the part of the House nearly so, in favor of this resolution.
After further debate, the previous question was ordered, and the main question put, viz. "Shall the resolution be engrossed and read a third time ?" It was decided as follows: For the third reading
The resolution was then ordered to be read a third time that day, but not without considerable opposition.
The resolution was accordingly read a third time, and put on its passage.
Mr. RANDOLPH, in a speech of some twenty minutes, delivered the reasons why he should not vote for the resolution.
The final question was then taken on the resolution, and decided in the affimative, as follows:
YEAS-Messrs. Abbot, Alexander, Allen of Tennessee, Anderson, Archer of Virginia, Baldwin, Ball, Barbour,
On the 26th of February, in the Senate, Mr. Holmes, of Maine, from the joint committee of the two Houses, reported a resolution for the admission of Missouri into the Union, which was read and laid on the table.
On the 27th, the resolution having passed the House, was taken up in the Senate.
After an unsuccessful attempt by Mr. Macon, to strike out the condition and proviso, which was negatived by a large majority, and a few remarks by Mr. Barbour, in support of the expediency of harmony and concession on this momentous subject,
The question was taken on ordering the resolution to be read a third time, and was decided in the affirmative, by the following vote :—
YEAS-Messrs. Barbour, Chandler, Eaton, Elliott, Gaillard, Holmes of Maine, Holmes of Mississippi, Horsey Hunter, Johnson of Kentucky, Johnson of Louisiana, King of Alabama, Lowrie, Morril, Parrott. Pleasants, Roberts, Southard, Stokes, Talbot, Taylor, Thomas, Van Dyke, Walker of Alabama, Williams of Mississippi, and Williams of Tennessee.-26.
NAYS-Messrs. Dana, Dickinson, King of New York, Knight, Lanman, Macon, Mills, Noble, Otis, Palmer, Ruggles, Sanford, Smith, Tichenor, and Trimble.-15.
A motion was made to read the resolution a third time forthwith, but it was objected to, and, under the rule of the Senate, of course it could not be done.
On the 28th the resolution from the House of Representatives declaring the admission of the State of Missouri into the Union was read a third time, and the question on its final passage was decided as follows:
YEAS-Messrs. Barbour, Chandler, Eaton, Edwards, Holmes of Maine, Holmes of Mississippi, Horsey, Hunter, Johnson, of Kentucky, Johnson of Louisiana, King of Alabama, Lowrie, Morril, Parrott, Pinckney, Pleasants, Roberts, Southard, Stokes, Talbot, Taylor, Thomas, Van Dyke, Walker of Alabama, Walker of Georgia, Williams of Mississippi, and Williams of Tennessee.-28.
NAYS-Messrs. Dana, Dickerson, King of New York, Knight, Lanman, Macon, Mills, Noble, Ruggles, Sanford, Smith, Tichenor, and Trimble.-14.
So the joint resolution was concurred in by both Houses and became a law, in the following words :
RESOLUTION PROVIDING FOR THE ADMISSION OF MISSOURI INTO THE UNION ON A CERTAIN CONDITION. Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That Missouri shall be admitted into this Union on an equal footing with the original States, in all respects whatever, upon the fundamental condition that the fourth clause of the twenty-sixth section of the third article of the Constitution, submitted on the part of the said State to Congress, shall never be construed to authorize the passage of any law, and that no law shall be passed in conformity thereto, by which any citizen of either of the States in this Union shall be excluded from the enjoyment of any of the privileges and immunities to which such citizen is entitled under the Constitution of the United States: Provided, That the Legislature of the said State, by solemn public act, shall declare the assent of the said State to the said fundamental condition, and transmit to the President of the United States, on or before the fourth Monday in November next, an authentic copy of the said Act; upon the receipt whereof the President, by proclamation, shall announce the fact; whereupon, and without any further proceeding on the part of Congress, the admission of the said State into this Union shall be considered as complete.
Approved, March 2, 1821.
JOHN W TAYLOR,
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
President of the Senate, pro tempore.
Missouri having accepted the condition imposed by the above resolution, the President of the United States, on the 10th August, 1821, issued his proclamation declaring the admission of Missouri complete according to law.