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den your columns or weary your readers with extracts of all these speeches, but will refer you to each volume of the “Congressional Globe” for the last ten years, where you will find them fully reported. If you cannot conveniently procure the the “Congressional Globe,” I refer you to an editorial article in the Washington “Union" of October 5, 1858, which, it was reported, received the sanction of the President of the United States previously to its publication, a few weeks after my “Freeport speech” had been delivered. The “Union” made copious extracts of my speeches in 1850 and 1854, to prove that at each of those periods I held the same opinions which I expressed at Freeport in 1858, and, consequently, declared that I never was a good Democrat, much less sound on the slavery question, when I advocated the Compromise measures of 1850, and the Kansas-Nebraska Bill in 1854.
In the article referred to, the Washington Union said:
“We propose to show that Judge Douglas' action in 1850 and 1854 was taken with especial reference to the announcement of doctrine and programme which was made at Freeport. The declaration at Freeport was, that in his opinion the people can, by Jawful means, exclude slavery from a Territory before it comes in as a State;' and he declared that his competitor had 'heard him argue the Nebraska Bill on that principle all over Illinois in 1854, 1855, and 1856, and had no excuse to pretend to have any doubt on that subject.'"
Ti - Union summed up the evidence furnished by my speeches in the Seni te in 1850 and 1854, that the " Freport speech” was consistent with my
with this emphatic declaration.
"Thus we have shown that precisely the position assumed by Judge Douglas at Free port had been maintained by him in 1850, in the debates and votes on the Utah and New Mexican Bills, and in 1854 on the Kansas-Nebraska Bill; and have shown that it was owing to his opposition that clauses depriving Territorial legislatures of the power of excluding slavery from their jurisdictions were not expressly inserted in those measures."
The evidence thus presented by the Washington “Union"-the evidence of an open enemy-is so full and conclusive, that I have uniformly advocated for ten years past the same principles which I avowed at Freeport, that I cannot refrain from asking you to spread the entire article before your readers, as an appendix, if you choose, to this letter.
The question whether the people of the Territories should be permitted to decide the slavery question for themselves, the same as all other rightful subjects of legislation, was thoroughly discussed and definitively settled in the adoption of the Compromise measures of 1850. The Territorial bills, as originally reported on by the Committee on Territories, extended the
authority of the Territorial legislature to all rightful subjects of legislation consistent with the Constitution, without excepting African slavery. Modified by the Committee of Thirteen, they conferred power on the Territorial legislature over all rightful subjects of legislation, except. African slavery. This distinct question, involving the power of the Territorial legislature over the subject of African slavery, was debated in the Senate from the 8th of May until the 31st of July, 1850, when the limitation was stricken out by a vote of yeas 33, nays 19; and the Territorial legislature authorized to legislate on all rightful subjects, without excepting Afrioan slavery. In this form and upon this principle, the Compromise measures of 1850 were enacted.
When I returned to my home in Chicago, at the end of the session of Congress, after the adoption of the measures of adjustment, the excitement was intense. The City Council had passed a resolution nullifying the Fugitive Slave Act, and releasing the police from all obligations to obey the law or assist in its execution. Amidst this furious excitement, and surrounded by revolutionary movements, I addressed the assembled populace. My speech, in wbich I defended each and all of the Compromise measures of 1850, was published at the time, and spread broadcast throughout the country. I herewith send you a copy of that speech, in which you will find that I said
“These measures are predicated on the great fundamental principle that every people ought to possess the right of forming and regulating their own internal concerns and domestic institutions in their own way. It was supposed that those of our fellow-citizens who emigrated to the shores of the Pacific and to our other territories, were as capable of self-government as their neighbors and kindred whom they left behind them; and there was no reason for believing that they have lost any of their intelligence or patriotism by the wayside, while crossing the Isthmus or the Plains. It was also believed that after their arrival in the country, when they had become familiar with its topography, climate, productions, and resources, and had connected their destiny with it, they were fully as competent to judge for themselves what kind of laws and institutions were best adapted to their condition and interests, as we were, who never saw the country, and knew very little about it. To question their competency to do this was to deny their capacity for self-government. If they have the requisite intelligence and honesty to be intrusted with the enactment of laws for the government of white men, I know of no reason why they should not be deemed competent to legislate for the negro.
If they are sufficiently enlightened to make laws for the protection of life, liberty, and property -of morals and education—to determine the relation of husband and wife, of parent and child-I am not aware that it requires any higher degree of civilization to regulate the affairs of master and servant. These things are all confided by the Constitution to each State to decide for itself, and I know of no reason why the same principle should not be extended to the Territories."
This speech was laid on the desk of every member of the Senate, at the
opening of the second session of the 31st Congress, in December, 1850, when, with a full knowledge of my opinions on the Territorial question, I was unanimously dominated in the Democratic caucus, and reëlected by the Senate chairman of the Committee on Territories. From that time to this I have spoken the same sentiments, and vindicated the same posi. tions in debate in the Senate, and have been reëlected chairman of the Committee on Territories at each session of Congress, until last December, by the unanimous voice of the Democratic party in caucus and in the Senate, with my opinions on this Territorial question well known to, and well understood by every senator. Yet Mr. Gwin testifies that I was condemned and deposed by the Senate for the utterance of opinions in 1858, which were put on record year after year so plainly and so unequivocally as to leave neither the Senate nor the country in doubt. Thus docs Mr. Gwin, in his eagerness to be my public accuser, speak his own condemnation, for he voted for me session after session, with my opinions, the same that I spoke at Freepo star him in the face.
On the 4th of January, 1854, I reported the Nebraska Bill, and, as chairman of the Committee on Territories, accompanied it with a special report, in which I stated distinctly “that all questions pertaining to slavery in the Territories, and in the new States to be formed therefron, are to be left to the decision of the people residing therein, by their appropriate representatives to be chosen by them for that purpose.” And that the bill proposed “to carry these propositions and principles into practical operation in the precise language of the Compromise measures of 1850." The Kapsas-Nebraska Act, as it stands on the statute book, does define the power of the Territorial legislature “in the precise language of the Compromise measures of 1850.” It gives the legislature power over all rightful subjects of legislation not inconsistent with the Constitution, sithout excepting African slavery. During the discussion of the measure it was suggested that it was necessary to repeal the 8th section of the act of the 6th of March, 1850, called the Missouri Compromise, in order to permit the people to control the slavery question while they remained in a Territorial condition, and before they became a State of the Union. That was the object and only purpose for which the Missouri Compromise was repealed.
On the night of the 3d of March, 1854, in my closing speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, a few hours before it passed the Senate, I said : “ It is only for the purpose of carrying out this great fundamental principle of self-government that the bill renders the 8th section of the Missouri Act inoperative and void.” The article of the Washington “Union” of October 5, 1858, to which I have referred, quotes this and other passages of my speech on that occasion, to prove that the author of the Nebraska Bill framed it with express reference to conferring on the Territorial legislature power to control the slavery question. And further, that I boldly avowed the purpose at the time in the presence of all the friends of the bill, and urged its passage upon that ground. I have never understood that Mr. Gwin, or any other senator who heard that speech and voted for the bill the same night, expressed any dissent or disapprobation of the doctrines it announced. That was the time for dissent and disapprobation; that was the time to condemn, if there were cause to condemn, and not four or five years later. The record furnishes vo such evidence of dissent or disapprobation; nor does the history of those times show that the Democratic party, in the North or in the South, or in any portion of the country, repudiated the fundamental principle upon which the KansasNebraska Act is founded, and proscribed its advocates and defenders.
If Mr. Gwin did not understand the Kansas-Nebraska Bill when it was under consideration, according to its plain meaning as explained and defended by its authors and supporters, it is not the fault of those who did understand it precisely as I interpreted it at Freeport, and as the country understood it in the Presidential canvass of 1856. Mr. Buchanan, and leading members of his cabinet, at all events, understood the KansasNebraska Act in the same sense in which it was understood and defended at the time of its passage. Mr. Buchanan, in his letter accepting the Cincinnati nomination, affirmed that “this legislation is founded upon principles as ancient as free government itself, and, in accordance with them, has simply declared that the people of a Territory, like those of a State, shall decide for themselves whether slavery shall or shall not exist within their limits." General Cass, now secretary of state, has always maintained, from the day he penned the “Nicholson Letter” to this, that the people of the Territories have a right to deeide the slavery question for themselves whenever they please. In 1856, on the 2d day of July, referring to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, he said: “I believe the original act gave the Territorial legislature of Kansas full power to exclude or allow slavery.” Mr. Toucey, the secretary of the navy, interpreted that act in the same way, and, on the same occasion in the Senate, said:
“The original act recognizes in the Territorial legislature all the power which they can kave, subject to the Constitution, and subject to the organic law of the Territory."
Mr. Cobb, the secretary of the treasury, in a speech at West Chester, Pennsylvania, on the 19th of September, 1866, advocating Mr. Buchanau's election to the Presidency, said :
“The government of the United States should not force the institution of slavery upon the people either of the Territories or of the States, against the will of the people, though my voice could bring about that result. I stand upon the principle-the people of my State decide it for themselves, you for yourselves, the people of Kansas for themselves. That is the Constitution, and I stand by the Constitution." And again, in the same speech, he said: “Whether they" (the people of a Territory) “decide it by prohibiting it, according to the one doctrine, or by refusing to pass laws to protect it, as contended for by'the other party, is immaterial. The majority of the people, by the action of the Territorial legislature, will decide the question; and all must abide the decision when made."
Here we find the doctrines of the Freeport speech, including tion” and “unfriendly legislation " as a lawful and proper mode for the exclusion of slavery from a Territory clearly defined by Mr. Cobb, and the election of Mr. Buchanan advocated on those identical doctrines. Mr. Cobb made similar speechés during the Presidential canvass in other sections of Pennsylvania, in Mainė, Indiana, and most of the northern States, and was appointed secretary of the treasury by Mr. Buchanan as a mark of gratitude for the efficient services which had been thus rendered. Will any senator who voted to remove me from the chairmanship of the Territorial Committee for expressing opinions for which Mr. Cobb, Mr. Toucey, and General Cass were rewarded, pretend that he did not know that they or either of them had ever uttered such opinions when their nominations were before the Senate ? I am sure that no senator will make so humiliating a confession. Why, then, were those distinguished gentlemen appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate as cabinet ministers if they were not good Democrats-sound on the slavery question, and faithful exponents of the principles and creed of the party? Is it not a significant fact that the President and the most distinguishei' and honored of his cabinet should have been solemnly and irrevocably pledged to this monstrous heresy of "popular sovereignty,” for asserting which the Senate, by Mr. Gwin's frank avowal, condemned me to the extent of their power?
It must be borne in mind, however, that the President and members of the cabinet are not the only persons high in authority who are committed to the principle of self-government in the Territories. The Hon. John C. Breckinridge, the Vice-President of the United States, was a member of the House of Representatives when the Kansas-Nebraska Bill passed, and in a speech delivered March 23, 1834, said:
" Among the many misrepresentations sent to the country by some of the enemies of this bill, perhaps none is more flagrant than the charge that it proposes to legislate slavery into Kansas and Nebraska. Sir, if the bill contained such a fclure It would net