Page images
PDF
EPUB

cases.

qualifications, citizens of the State of Michigan, although they were not citizens of the United States. That is precisely what we did in Illinois under the old constitution. We allowed an unnaturalized foreigner who possessed certain qualifications to vote in that State, although he had not become a citizen of the United States; in other words, we made him a citizen of the State of Illinois, and authorized him to vote at our elections, notwithstanding the fact that he had not complied with the law of Congress in regard to citizenship, That is all Virginia has done, and I believe it is only in limited

But, sir, I did not wish to open a debate on this subject. I referred to the Virginia case only for illustration. The simple question here is, shall we authorize the present legal voters of Minnesota to vote for the election of delegates to form a State constitution? I hope the amendment will not be adopted.

I appeal to the Senate not to go into a political discussion upon aliens and Know Nothingism, and other questions, on these measures, for the reason that we are near the end of the session. This day was set apart for Territorial business, and there is as much as we can dispose of if we confine ourselves to the bills themselves, without these long discussions. I appeal, therefore, to the Senate to allow us to have a vote. This question is well understood by every senator present. It has been thoroughly discussed. I have not the slightest idea that any gentleman can have his opinions changed, or his stock of knowledge added to or diminished materially by a discussion. The only effect of this discussion will be to occupy the entire day, and compel us to have a night session, or else oblige us to lose all these Territorial bills for to-day. Of course, if I cannot get a vote to-day, I shall feel compelled to press these measures every day until I can get a vote. I refrain from replying even to that part of the argument which touched my own State, and where I think it did her injustice, in order to get a vote.

As I do not wish to reply to my friend, I desire now to call his attention to an error into which he has fallen. He overlooks one clause in the Indiana and Illinois laws to which he has referred. I will read the Illinois law :

66 That all white male citizens of the United States who shall have attained to the age of twenty-one years, and have resided in said Territory six months previous to the day of election, and all persons having in other respects the legal qualifications to vote for a representative in the General Assembly of said Territory, be, and they are hereby, authorized to vote". -at the election to form a State constitution. That includes inhabitants unnaturalized, who, by the Territorial laws, and the Ordinance of 1787, were authorized to vote. If the senator will turn to the Indiana law, he will find a similar clause there :

" That all male citizens of the United States who shall have attained the age of twenty-one years, and resided in said Territory at least one year previous to the election, and shall have paid a country tax,”

66 and all persons having, in other respects, the legal qualifications to vote for representatives in the General Assembly of said Territory, be, and they are hereby, authorized to choose representatives.”

The organic law of Indiana Territory was the Ordinance of 1787; or organic law of Illinois Territory was the Ordinance of 1787; and so with all the northwestern Territories. The Ordinance of 1787, which constituted the organic law of those Territories, .expressly provided that citizens of the different States residing there and having a certain amount of property, should vote; and it expressly authorized unnaturalized persons to vote, as well as naturalized citizens, provided they owned property. If my friend will look into the matter, he will find that there is no question that, under the organic law of those Territories, unnaturalized foreigners could and did vote while they were Territorios; and then the acts authorizing those Territories to form constitutions and State governments, provided that all citizens of the United States could vote, and also, all such other persons as were qualified to vote in the Territories by existing laws, showing clearly that there was an express recognition of the rights of unnaturalized foreigners to voto who were authorized to vote under the Territorial laws. That brings those cases exactly within the limits of the bill now under consideration.

OPPOSITION TO MINNESOTA.

The bill met with considerable opposition in both houses of Congress. In the Senate, Mr. Thompson, of Kentucky, made a most remarkable speech against it, which is entirely too rich to be lost, but which our limits preclude our giving here. This was on the 24th of February; and in reply to it, Mr. Douglas made a speech which we give in a subse. quent part of the work.

On the 12th of June, 1857, Mr. Douglas being at Springfield, Illinois, addressed the Grand Jury of the United States Court, at their request, upon the affairs of Kansas and Utah, and the recently decided Dred Scott case. The reader will observe that at the time Mr. Douglas made this speech, he had no doubt but that President Buchanan would remove Brigham Young and all his followers from office, would cause a searching investigation to be made into all the crimes

[ocr errors]

that have been perpetrated in Utah, and would execute the laws, by military force if necessary. No temporizing policy, no half-way measures, says Mr. Douglas, will answer. "He would first repeal the organic act, absolutely and unconditionally, blotting out of existence the Territorial government, and bringing Utala under the sole and exclusive jurisdiction of the United States government.”

No man can fail to see that the mode of grappling with the Utah question which Mr. Douglas suggests, is the only way in which the great problem of “ What is to be done with Utah ?" can be solved. It must be settled in the

way

he indicates, sooner or later. We give this speech in a subse. quent part of the work,

CHAPTER XII.

THE LECOMPTON CONSTITUTION-BRITISH AGGRESSION-1858.

New Aspect of Affairs at the Federal Capitol-Mr. Douglas calls on

the President for Information in regard to Affairs in Kansas-Great Speech of Mr. Douglas against the Lecompton Constitution-Speech in Favor of the Crittenden-Montgomery Amendment-Speech on the English Bill—Speech in favor of conferring on the President Power to punish British Outrages.

THE LECOMPTON CONSTITUTION.

THE first session of the 35th Congress met in December, 1857. On the 8th, President Buchanan sent to Congress his first annual message. On the 9th, Mr. Douglas addressed the Senate on that part of the message referring to affairs in Kansas.

This speech is a calm and clear examination of the question -whether or not Kansas could be received into the Union, with the Lecompton constitution.

a

MR. PRESIDENT : When yesterday the President's message was read at the clerk's desk, I heard it but imperfectly, and I was of the impression that the President of the United States had approved and indorsed the action of the Lecompton convention in Kansas. Under that impression, I felt it my duty to state that, while I concurred in the general views of the message, yet, so far as it approval or indorsed the action of that convention, I entirely dissented from it, and would avail myself of an early opportunity to state my reasons for my dissent. Upon a more careful and critical examination of the message, I am rejoiced to find that the Presi. dent of the United States has not recommended that Congress shall pass a law to receive Kansas into the Union under the constitution formed at Lecompton. It is true that the tone of the message indicates a willingness on the part of the President to sign a bill, if we shall see proper to pass one, receiving Kansas into the Union under that constitution. But, sir, it is a fact of great significance, and worthy of consideration, that the President has refrained from any indorsement of the convention, and from any recommendation as to the course Congress should pursue with regard to the constitution there formed.

The message of the President has made an argument--an unanswerable argument, in my opinion-against that constitution, which shows clearly, whether intended to arrive at the result or not, that, consistently with his views and his principles, he cannot accept that constitution. He has expressed his deep mortification and disappointment that the constitution itself has not been submitted to the people of Kansas for their acceptance or rejection. He informs us that he has unqualifiedly expressed his opinions on that subject in his instructions to Governor Walker, assuming, as a matter of course, that the constitution was to be submitted to the people before it could have any vitality or validity. He goes further, and tells us that the example set by Congress in the Minnesota case, by inserting a clause in the enabling act requiring the constitution to be submitted to the people, ought to become a uniform rule, not to be departed from hereafter in any case. On these various propositions I agree entirely with the President of the United States, and I am prepared now to sustain that uniform rule which he asks us to pursue, in all other cases, by taking the Minnesota provision as our, example.

I rejoice, on a careful perusal of the message, to find so much less to dissent from than I was under the impression there was, from the hasty reading and imperfect hearing of the message in the first instance. In effect, he refers that document to the Congress of the United States—as the Constitution of the United States refers it-for us to decide upon it under our responsibility. It is proper that he should have thus referred it to us as a matter for Congressional action, and not as an administration or executive measure, for the reason that the Constitution of the United States says that “ Congress may admit new States into the Union.” Hence we find the Kansas question before us now, not as an administration measure, not as an Executive measure, but as a measure coming before us for our free action, without any recommendation or interference, directly or indirectly, by the administration now in possession of the Federal Govern.

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »