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quence of which, we very often find the same report precisely, in each of these papers, of any particular speech.
But, sir, the language especially objected to, is that contained in the concluding sentence. Whether I spoke of “age" or not, I am not prepared to say positively; that was left blank in the notes brought to me. Í filled it up according to my memory of what occurred. I will not undertake to say that I used the word age, in my remarks yesterday. I will not undertake to say that the very words reported, are the very words I used; but every Senator will remember, that I distinctly alluded to the fact, that the Senator from Missouri was understood as not holding himself responsible to the laws of honor; and I did say, most emphatically, and it is so reported, that if the door was opened by him-if he would say that he held himself responsible to the laws of honor, I would take the proper steps to bring him to his just punishment. I said all this in the hearing of the Senate. Was it not so understood by the Senate ? Was it not substantially the same? Where is the difference? I will not undertake to say that I used the word “age." If I did not, I certainly ought to have done so, because that is, to some extent, a circumstance which does weigh with gentlemen in affairs of this kind.
The honorable Senator says that when the notes were brought to him, he refused to read them. Well, sir, that is his example. I am not bound to follow it. I do not care whether he chose to read them or not. I chose to read them. I shall never refuse to read what is brought to me. I shall always choose to look at the reporter's notes, and to correct them, wherever I think there are faults or omissions. But the gentleman says he would not look at them, nor correct them, for fear of being suspected of piustice. That motive does not affect me. I do what I think right, without caring who suspects my motives, or without thinking of the motives of others. That is another difference between the Senator and myself.
Sir, every one who hears me, will say that the speech which I delivered yesterday was as harsh as the speech which was reported. There is not a serious charge reported either in the Intelligencer or the Union, that was not uttered yesterday; and if there was anything in that speech that could give offence, as reported, that I am supposed by any one as not having uttered, all I have to say is, that I utter it now.
And now, sir, I will not bandy epithets with any man; but after this, I think it my duty to say what I said yesterday, and what I am reported as having said I am done with the affair here. I did not report that; that was the report of the reporter himself. I said so yesterday, and I say so again. I expressed my opinions; I avowed my sentiments as really entertained ; I declared my principles of action; I was satisfied with the altercation as it proceeded; I was satisfied with the result of it, so far as a man can be satisfied with a mere parliamentary altercation ; and I announced here deliberately, in the presence of the Senate, yesterday, that, so far as the Senate was concerned, I was done with the affair-I should prosecute it no further here.
Now, I do not care what the Senator says. Why, sir, his voice of denunciation passes by me as the idle winds. Monihs ago I expressed my opinion of his course—ten years ago, as he knows, I expressed my opinion of him. I have reason to know, and I can prove, that he was greatly offended with what I then said. I have had occasion very often, to speak of that Senator publicly; I did so in a published letter last summer, over my own signature; I have done so here, in a manner evidently very offensive to him; and, I did yesterday say, and I repeat again as much of harsh and disrespectful language as I am reported in the Intelligencer and Union to have uttered. What could I do more? I should dishonor this Senate ; I should discredit myself, if I were now, after what has occurred, to repeat the language which I used yesterday in the presence of the Senate. I avow the speech as printed; I avow every word that I am reported to have said; and I care not whether that Senator considers it falsely reported or not. His opinion is with me a matter of absolute indifference.
There is a single point on which I have a little curiosity, and that is, to see how this thing will be reported in the morning.
I did say yesterday that the Senator was understood to disavow the laws of honor. I have seen it printed by one of his colleagues in the other House within the last week, I have seen the same fact printed repeatedly; and I have had especial reason to suppose it 10 be true. A common im. pression to that effect has certainly existed. I wish to know this morning whether I am authorized to understand--for the language of the Senator is somewhat equivocal; his denial that he had made the avowal seemed to be modified that the Senator does not consider himself responsible to the law of honor, or not? Let him say ay, and I shall know what course to take. It is not sufficient for him to say he has never said so and so. Let him say that he does hold himself responsible to the laws of honor, and I give him my word that I will give bim an opportunity to prove it.
Mr. Benton also offered extracts from certain other printed speeches of Mr. Foote which were deemed inadmissible by the committee and ruled out.
Mr. Benton then filed the following exception to the ruling of the committee.
Mr Benton having offered extracts from Mr. Foote's speeches, which he deemed insulting to him at the session before the present one, as evidence of malice on the part of Mr. Foote, and the same being rejected by the committee, as being more remote than they could admit, he (Mr. Benton) excepts to that decision, and asks that this, his exception thereto, be entered on the record.
Gen. Edny, of North Carolina, summoned at the request of Mr. Footh, being duly sworn according to law, testified as follows:
Examined by Mr. Foote.
Question 1. A conversation between yourself and me touching my ap prehending an attack from Mr. Benton, and my consequent determination to defend myself, having been referred to, please state to the committee al the particulars of that conversation, if indeed any such occurred in your recollection ?
Answer. I had a conversation with Mr. Foote, three days after the difficulty of the 26th of March. Mr. Foote stated to me that he had been advised to arm himself, or in consultation with friends had been se advised, in case of an attack upon him by Mr. Benton. He further stated that he had no malice, personally, towards Mr. Benton whatever, and that he would exceedingly regret the necessity of defending himself, for that he
had acted upon the principle through life, to never attack any man: that on four occasions he had exchanged shots with others, and had personal difficulties, and always acted entirely on the defensive. He then said that he was apprehensive that Mr. Benton inight attack him in the Senate, or about the Senate, and, if so, in shooting, he might kill one of his friends That if Mr. Benton approached him in the aisle back of the Senators' seats as there were generally persons sitting in that outside aisle, the lives of others would be endangered by the rencontre. He then submitted to me, whether, in the event of an attack upon him in the Senate by Mr. Benton he had not better retreat from his seat into an open aisle, and then place himself in an attitude of defence. He then stated that he would, under no circumstances, fire upon Mr. Benton unless self-defence became absolute, and that he intended to wait until Mr. Benton came to the head of the aisle, and then say to him, “ Upon your peril, if you advance another pace, I will kill you. He then stated ihat he was feeble and shot badly, but that he intended, if it became necessary, to lay his pistol on his left hand in order to steady it.
Cross-examined by Mr. Benton. Question 1. Did you tell any part of that conversation to Mr. Benton ? Answer. I never did. Question 2. Had you received hospitality in Mr. Benton's house ? Answer. I had, and was treated with very marked hospitality by him.
Question 3. What is the reason that you did not inform Mr. Benton o. that conversation ?
Answer. For the very cogent reason, that I think it would have been a breach of confidence, and a departure from the principles of a gentleman.
Question 4. Was Mr. Foote armed, or in the habit of being armed at that time?
Answer. He stated to me that he was armed: I did not see the arms.
Question 6. Did he wear his arms hidden on his person, and, if so, how hid ?
Answer. I do not know, they were not exhibited.
Question 7. Who did he say informed him that Mr. Benton intended to attack him, and advised him to arm?
Answer. I do not think he mentioned any names.
Question 8. Did you hear Mr. Foote say what was his reason for speaking to Mr. Benton, or at Mr. Benton the way he did in the Senate ?
Answer. He said he believed Mr. Benton's object was to brow-beat or bully the Senate, and I think he added that he felt it his duty as a Southern Senator to defend the Southern cause.
Question 9. Did you hear him say how the Southern cause was to be defended against Mr Benton ?
Answer. I did not.
Question 10. Did you ever hear Mr. Foote say anything about driving Mr. Benton out of the Senate ?
Answer. I never did hear him make any remark connected with driving Mr. Benton out of the Senate. He said he believed Mr. Benton's objec was to so demean himself in the Senate, that the body would be obliged te
expel him, but that they would do no such thing, that they understood their duties better than that.
Question 11. Or driving him out of the Democratic party?
Answer. I do not remember that I ever heard him make any such remark, and I never heard him speak of driving him out of the committees.
Question 12. Did you ever hear Mr. Foote say that he intended to say anything in debate to Mr. Benton in the Senate, and, if so, of what character ?
Answer. My recollection is that he said he did not intend to say any. thing more to Mr. Benton in the Senate after what had occurred. That he intended to abstain from all personal allusion.
Question 13. Did you ever hear Mr. Foote say that Mr. Benton did not speak to him, and had not taken any notice of what he said to him in the Senate before the 26th of March?
Answer. I heard him speak on another occasion. I think subsequently, of the relations existing between Mr. Benton and himself. He said that Mr. Benton and himself, some years before, had had some difficulty, and that they did not speak to each other. That some time thereafter, he was standing at the Senate door, and Mr. Benton came up to him in a very familiar way, and put his hand upon his shoulder, and made some explanation in reference to the difficulties which had separated them theretofore. Mr. Foote then remarked to him that he was glad of the explanation ; tha: he had no malice towards him ; and that he was the most remarkable man that ever lived. I think Mr. Foote inade that remark to Mr. Benton a: the time; I do not know that he made any remark relative to Mr. Benton's not noticing him previous to the 26th of March.
Question 14. What time did he say all that took place?
Answer. I have an indistinct recollection that it was some two or three years ago ; some years past, at all events.
Question 15. What did he say was the subject matter of the difficulty or what was the purport of the explanation ?
Answer. My recollection is, that it was something that had been conmunicated to Mr. Benton, that Mr. Foote should have said about him. and that Mr. Benton had taken offence at it, and then made the explanation to Mr. Foote; and that was the reason that Mr. Foote assigned for making the remark, that he was the most remarkable man that ever lived The Committee then adjourned to Thursday next, at 10 o'clock, A. M.
JAMES J DICKENS,
Clerk to the Select Committee.
United States Senate, Select COMMITTEE OF April 17, 1850.
Thursday, June 6, 1850.
The following witnesses attended
Mr. Benton and Mr. Foote also attended.
Mr. Benton offered a paper, which was directed to be filed, but not entered upon the journal.
Mr. Benton then offered the following pages, being extracts from a letter of Mr. Foote to Henry A. Wise, dated June 23d, 1849, with a request that they should be entered upon the record.
They were ordered to be so entered, and are as follows:
"Mr. Benton complains that he was not invited to attend the meeting of the Southern members of Congress. I should have thought that a man of his sagacity would have been able to account for this failure to secure his valuable presence, without feeling himself compelled to impute unworthy designs to those who got up the meeting. I will enlighten him though a litile, on this point. He was not invited to be present, because he was known to be hostile to the adoption of all defensive measures against abolition and free soil hostility; because it was as well known then as it is now, that he was a free soil man in opinion and feeling; because he was known to be in secret correspondence with the enemies of the South, and had already entered into a compact with certain abolition and free soil managers, to sacrifice Southern honor and Southern prosperity upon the altar of his own political advancernent." “I wish heartily that I could now let Mr. Benton off; but, as he so
sometimes says, ' In order to vindicate the truth of history,' I must send one or two more shafts at him. Would any man believe, who is only familiar with Mr. Benton's more recent history, that he was once a raving nuLLIFIER and secESSIONIST, and an advocate for armed resistance to laws regularly enacted by Congress, in pursuance of the established parliamentary formula, and backed and sustained by the decisions of the Supreme Court of the Union ? Strange as these accusations may appear to some I will sustain both, and immediately, by irrefragable proof.”
“ Will he be re-elected to the Senate from Missouri ? This seems somewhat more doubtful; but the prospect of his defeat is, upon the whole, rather flattering than otherwise. Indeed, it cannot be doubted that he must be inevitably defeated, unless the whigs take him up as their candidate, and unless he is able to draw off a considerable number of democratic members of the legislature from the support of some regularly nominated democratic candidate, which I suppose not 10 be at all probable, from present indications. Some of Mr. Benton's friends seem to hope, that he will be able to gull the people of Missouri into the support of his senatorial pretensions, by his project of a grand national highway from the Mississippi to the Pacific. But so practical a population as the people of Missouri are reputed to be, can never, in my judgment, be so taken