Page images
PDF
EPUB

each and every State against invasion, either from foreign powers or from any portion of the United States.

*

[ocr errors]

*

[ocr errors]

Sir, what were the causes which produced the Harper's Ferry outrage? Without stopping to adduce evidence in detail, I have no hesitation in expressing my firm and deliberate conviction that the Harper's Ferry crime was the natural, logical, inevitable result of the doctrines and teachings of the Republican party, as explained and enforced in their platform, their partisan presses, their pamphlets and books, and especially in the speeches of their leaders in and out of Congress. (Applause in the galleries.)

Order being restored, Mr. Douglas proceeded :

I was remarking that I considered this outrage at Harper's Ferry as the logical, natural consequence of the teachings and doctrines of the Republican party. I am not making this statement for the purpose of crimination or partisan effect. I desire to call the attention of members of that party to a reconsideration of the doctrines that they are in the habit of enforcing, with a view to a fair judgment whether they do not lead directly to those consequences on the part of those deluded persons who think that all they say is meant in real earnest, and ought to be carried out. The great principle that underlies the organization of the Republican party is violent, irreconcilable, eternal warfare upon the institution of American slavery, with the view of its ultimate extinction throughout the land ; sectional war is to be waged until the cotton fields of the South shall be cultivated by free labor, or the rye fields of New York and Massachusetts shall be cultivated by slave labor. In furtherance of this article of their creed, you find their political organization not only sectional in its location, but one whose vitality consists in appeals to northern passion, northern prejudice, northern ambition against southern States, southern institutions, and southern people.

Can any man say to us that although this outrage has been perpetrated at Harper's Ferry, there is no danger of its recurrence ? Sir, is not the Republican party still embodied, organized, sanguine, confident of success, and defiant in its pretensions? Does it not now hold and proclaim the same creed that it did before this invasion It is true that most of its representatives here disavow the acts of John Brown at Harper's Ferry. I am glad that they do so; I am rejoiced that they have gone thus far; but I must bo permitted to say to them that it is not sufficient at they disavow the act, unless they also repudiate and denounce the doctrines and teachings which produced the act. Those doctrines remain the same; those teachings are being poured into the minds of men throughout the country, by means of speeches, and pamphlets, and books, and through partisan presses. The causes that produced the Harper's Ferry invasion are

*

*

*

now in active operation. Is it true that the people of all the border States are required by the Constitution to have their hands tied, without the power of self-defence, and remain patient under a threatened invasion in the day or in the night? Can you expect people to be patient, when they dare not lie down to sleep at night without first stationing sentinels around their houses to see if a band of marauders and murderers are not approaching with torch and pistol ? Sir, it requires more patience than freemen ever should cultivate, to submit to constant annoyance, irritation and apprehension. If we expect to preserve this Union, we must remedy, within the Union, and in obedience to the Constitution, every evil for which disunion would furnish a remedy.

Upon the conclusion of this speech Mr. Fessenden attempted to break its force by a violent partisan attack on Mr. Douglas and the Democratic party; to which Mr. Doug. las instantly replied, repelling the assaults and vindicating the position of the Democratic party upon the slavery question. We invite attention to extracts :

MR. DOUGLAS' REPLY.

Sir, I desire a law that will make it a crime, punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary, after conviction in the United States court, to make a conspiracy in one State, against the people, property, government, or institutions of another. Then we shall get at the root of the evil. I have no doubt that gentiemen on the other side will vote for a law which pretends to comply with the guarantees of the Constitution, without carrying any force or efficiency in its provisions. I have heard men abuse the Fugitive Slave Law, and express their willingness to vote for amendments; but when you came to the amendments which they desired to adopt, you found they were such as would never return a fugitive to his master. They would go for any fugitive slave law that had a hole in it big enough to let the negro drop through and escape; but none that would comply with the obligations of the Constitution. So we shall find that side of the House voting for a law that will, in terms, disapprove of unlawful expeditions against neighboring States, without being efficient in affording protection.

But the senator says it is a part of the policy of the northern Democracy to represent the Republicans as being hostile to southern institutions. Sir, it is a part of the policy of the northern Democracy, as well as their duty, to speak the truth on that subject. I did not suppose that any man would have the audacity to arraign a brother senator here for representing the Republican party as dealing in denunciation and insult of the institutions of the South. Look to your Philadelphia platform, where you assert the sovereign power of Congress over the Territories for their government, and demand that it shall be exerted against those twin relics of barbarism-polygamy and slavery.

*

*

[ocr errors]

*

I have said and repeat that this question of slavery is one of climate, of political economy, of self-interest, not a question of legislation. Wherever the climate, the soil, the health of the country are such that it cannot be cultivated by white labor, you will have African labor, and compulsory labor at that. Wherever white labor can be employed cheapest and most profitably, there African labor will retire and white labor will take its place.

You cannot force slavery by all the acts of Congress you may make on one inch of territory against the will of the people, and you cannot, by any law you can make, keep it out from one inch of American territory where the people want it. You tried it in Illinois. By the Ordinance of 1787, slavery was prohibited, and yet our people, believing that slavery would be profitable to them, established hereditary servitude in the Territory by Territorial legislation, in defiance of your federal ordinance. We maintained slavery there just so long as Congress said we should not have it, and we abolished it at just the moment you recognized us as a State, with the right to do as we pleased. When we established it, it was on the supposition that it was for our interest to do so.

*

*

*

*

My object is to establish firmly the doctrine that each State is to do its own voting, establish its own institutions, make its own laws without interference, directly or indirectly, from any outside power. The gentleman says that is squatter sovereignty. Call it squatter sovereignty, call it popular sovereignty, call it what you please, it is the great principle of self-government on which this Union was formed, and by the preservation of which alone can it be maintained. It is the right of the people of every State to govern themselves and make their own laws, and be protected from outside violence or interference, directly or indirectly. Sir, I confess the object of the legislation I contemplate is to put down this outside interference; it is to repress this "irrepressible conflict;" it is to bring the government back to the true principles of the Constitution, and let each people in this Union rest secure in the enjoyment of domestic tranquillity without apprehension from neighboring States. I will not occupy further time.

REPLY TO SENATOR DAVIS.

On the 26th of Jannary, Mr. Douglas made the following remarks, in his reply to Gen. Jeff. Davis, senator from Mississippi.

Mr. DOUGLAS.--I think if the senator from Mississippi had carefully read my speech, he would have found no necessity for vindicating the President of the United States from any criticism that I had made upon his letter, or from any issue that I had made with the President growing out of that letter. Certainly, in my speech, there is no criticism upon the President, none upon his letter, no issue made with him; on the contrary, an express disclaimer of any such issue. I quoted the paragraph from the President's letter in reply to Gov. Wise, and I will quote it again :

“I am at a loss to discover any provision in the Constitution or laws of the United Statos which would authorize me to take steps for this purpose.” [That is, preserving the peace between the States.]

My impression, from reading the President's letter, was that he was inclined to the belief that the Constitution conferred no power upon the Federal Government to interfere. But still, it might be that such was not the President's meaning, and that he only wished to be understood as saying that existing laws conferred po authority upon him to interfere. Hence, in order to make no issue with the President upon that subject, I stated, I shall not stop to inquire whether he meant to be understood as denying the power of Congress to confer authority, or denying that the authority was yet conferred. My simple object was to obtain suitable legislation to redress similar evils in the future; that if the present laws were not sufficient-I believe there are none on the subject-Congress ought to enact suitable laws to the extent that the Constitution authorized, to prevent those invasions. I quoted it for the purpose of showing the necessity of legislation by Congress. My argument was founded upon that supposed necessity. I proceeded to demonstrate that the Constitu. tion conferred the power on Congress to pass laws necessary and proper to protect the States, and I called upon Congress to exercise that power. I made no issue with the President.

But the senator intimates that the legislation of which I spoke would lead to an act of usurpation that would endanger the rights of the States, and yet goes on to prove that the President of the United States does not differ with mo in regard to that constitutional power. If the President agrees with me on that point, I am glad of it. If lie differs with me it would not change my opinions nor my action, but I respectfully submit, when I only propose such legislation as the Constitution authorizes and requires, it is hardly fair to say that that means an attack upon the sovereignty of the States.

The legislation that I propose on this point of combinations, was this: that it shall be lawful for the grand juries of the United States courts to indict all men who shall form conspiracies or combinations to invade a State or to disturb or molest citizens, property, or institutions; and that it shall be proper for the petit jury in the United States conrts, under the judge, to try and convict the conspirators, and to punish them by confinement in the penitentiaries or prisons within the respective States where the conspiracies or combinations aro formod. That was the power that I proposed should be con

ferred by law on the federal courts. I never proposed to intrust to the President an army to go and seek out conspiracies, to seek out combinations, and to punish them by military rule. My whole argument was that the federal courts should have jurisdiction over these conepiracies and combinations; that the conspirators should be indicted, and convicted according to law, and punished to the extent of their power. But in case of an organized body of men, or a military force in the act of invading, I would confer authority to use military force to the extent necessary to prevent that—not the conspiracy.

The senator says he has got that power now. The President of the United States, I apprehend, thought not, for this reason : He said the only power lie had got was the authority conferred by the two acts to which he alluded, to wit: to protect the United States against invasion from foreign powers and Indian tribes; and he stated that the invasion of one State from another State did not come within the specifications of the statute for protecting the United States against foreign powers and Indian tribes. If the senator thinks that that power is there, when we get the legislation before us it will be proper to make amendments which will reach each objection he may raise. The two propositions I maintained in my argument, and those provided for in my resolution, were these : first to protect each State against invasion--the case of actual invasion being then in process of execution ; second, to make it criminal to form conspiracies and combinations in any State or Territory, or any place within the United States, against the institutions, property or governinent of any other State or Territory of this Union. Those were the propositions.

REPLY TO SENATOR SEWARD,

On the 29th of February, Mr. Seward made his great speech on the occasion of his presenting the Wyandott Constitution of Kansas. It was a speech of much ability, and no doubt, when he had concluded, Mr. Seward imagined that he had dealt a death-blow to the Democratic party. Mr. Douglas immediately replied to Mr. Seward, taking up seriatim the points of his speech, and scattering his sophistries to the winds. By general confession Mr. Douglas has rarely appeared to better advantage on the floor of the Senate than in this triumphant extempore reply to Mr. Seward. In the language of the correspondent of the “Cleveland Plaindealer," “He decapitated the mighty Philistine with his own sword.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »