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The chairman of the Caucus, Mr. Bright, a bitter enemy of Mr. Douglas, appointed the following cast:
Mr. Green of Missouri, who had supplanted Mr. Douglas as chairman of the Committee on Territories ; Mr. Fitch of Indiana, an ancient hater of Mr. Douglas ; Mr. Bigler of Pennsylvania, the shadow of the President; Mr. Gwin of California, whose hostility to Mr. Douglas is implacable and proverbial; and Mr. Chestnut of South Carolina. Excepting Mr. Chestnut, who is really an amiable gentleman, and a man of great ability, of what singular material was this committee composed! and that, too, when there were such men as Mason, Hunter, Clingman, and Brown, in the Senate! This committee of five were to report their platform to the Democratic members of the Senate, in caucus; and after its approval there, it was to be introduced into the Senate for adoption.
Mr. Bright could not have selected a better committee for the purpose of heading off Mr. Douglas at Charleston. A manifesto was therefore expected from this committee of five, which would be pointedly directed to the overthrow of the distinguished senator from Illinois, and his doctrine of popular sovereignty. It was hoped by Messrs. Bright, Fitch, Gwin and Co., that by the action of this caucus, such new tests might be introduced at the Charleston Convention, as would make it impossible for Mr. Douglas to receive the nomination. The whole proceedings of the committee were what might have been anticipated.
PLATFORM OF THE CAUCUS.
The following are the material resolutions of the caucus platform :
4. Resolved, That neither Congress nor a Territorial legislature, whether by direct legislation or legislation of an indirect and unfriendly character, possesses the power to annul or impair the constitutional right of any citizen of the United States to take his slave property into the common Territories, and there hold and enjoy the same while the Territorial condition remains.
5. Resolved, That if experience should at any time prove that the judiciary and executive authority do not possess the means to insure adequate protection to constitutional rights in a Territory, and if the Territorial government should fail or refuse to provide the necessary remedies for that purpose, it will be the duty of Congress to supply such deficiency.
6. Resolved, that the inhabitants of a Territory of the United States, when they rightfully form a constitution to be admitted as a State into the Union, may then, for the first time-like the people of a State when forming a new constitution-decide for themselves whether slavery, as a domestic institution, shall be maintained or prohibited within their jurisdiction; and if Congress admit them as a State “they shall be received into the Union with or without slavery, as their constitution may prescribe at the time of their admission."
It remains to be seen what disposition the United States Senate will make of this Utopian piece of Senatorial-caucus patchwork; this modern bed of Procrustes. At all events, it is too short for the Little Giant.
The material and obnoxious features of the caucus platform will be found in those provisions in which the caucus, to use the language of Senator Bayard, on the Trumbull amendment, “attempted to give a judicial exposition of the Constitution, and to usurp judicial power" by deciding against the right of a Territorial legislature to control the slavery question in violation of the Cincinnati platform, and in advance of the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States.
These resolutions, when translated into plain English, in effect declare that if the people of a Territory desire slavery, and pass laws to introduce and protect it, Congress will not interfere with their decision ; but if they do not want it, and so decide in their legislation, Congress ought to interfere, to force it on them, by the enactment of a code for its protection in the Territories.
Is this the boasted principle of non-intervention with slavery in States, Territories and the District of Columbia, to which the party was pledged by the Cincinnati platform ? Is this the principle, "ancient as free government itself,” of which Mr. Buchanan spoke in his letter accepting the Cincinnati nomination, when he said that the Kansas-Nebraska Act “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 ?"
We should be doing injustice to the Democratic party-no less than to those gentlemen concerned-to omit to state the fact that the introduction of these resolutions was deemed unfortunate and improper by at least twelve southern senators, as was announced in caucus pending the discussion.
Nor is it unworthy of note to mention the further fact that Messers. Pugh and Douglas are understood to have been the only senators from the free States who raised their voices in caucus against this gross departure from the usages, creed and established policy of the Democratic party. Nay, if well-accredited and uncontradicted rumors are to be believed, the main champions of these resolutions were Messrs. Bright, Fitch, Gwin and Lane-all representing free States.
Mr. Lane, who was so loud in his declarations, in 1856, in favor of the doctrines of popular sovereignty, and the right of the people to introduce or exclude slavery at their pleasure during their Territorial condition, is represented in the public press as having declared in the Senate caucus, that “he did not wish to live in a republic which would not protect slavery in the Territories by act of Congress—that he could not conceive how a southern man could consent to remain in the Union without such Congressional protection, and that he had no respect for any man who would not vote for an act of Congress, protecting slavery in the Territories."
THE STATE CONVENTIONS.
Conventions of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan; also of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and New York-Claims of the North-west-Conclusion.
CONVENTIONS IN THE NORTHWEST.
THE northwestern States began to hold their State Conventions, and to elect delegates to the National Democratic Convention at Charleston, early in 1860
Illinois was first in the field. She held her Convention at Springfield, on the 4th of January, 1860, and unanimously adopted, among others, the following resolutions:
Resolved, That the Democracy of Illinois do reassert and affirm the Cincinnati platform, in the words, spirit and meaning with which the same was adopted, understood and ratified by the people in 1856, and do reject and utterly repudiate all such new issues and tests as the revival of the African slave-trade, or a congressional slave code for the Territories, or the doctrine that slavery is a federal institution, deriving its validity in the several States and Territories in which it exists from the Constitution of the United States, instead of being a mere municipal institution, existing in such States and Territories "under the laws thereof."
Resolved, That the Democratic party of the Union is pledged in faith and honor, by the Cincinnati Platform and its indorsement of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, to the following propositions :
1. That all questions pertaining to African slavery in the Territories shall be forever banished from the halls of Congress.
2. That the people of the Territories respectively shall be left perfectly free to make such laws and regulations in respect to slavery and all other matters of local concern as they may determine for themselves, subject to no other limitations or restrictions than those imposed by the Constitution of the United States
3. That all quostions affecting the validity or constitutionality of any Territorial enactments shall be referred for final decision to the Sapreme Court of the United States, as the only tribunal provided by the Constitution which is competent to determine them.
Resolved, That wo recognize the paramount judicial authority of the Supreme Court of the United States, as provided in the Constitution, and hold it to be the imperative duty of all good citizens to respect and obey the decisions of that tribunal, and to aid, by all lawful means, in carrying them into faithful execution.
Resolved, That the Democracy of Illinois repel with just indignation the injurious and unfounded imputation upon the integrity and impartiality of the Supreme Court, which is contained in the assumption on the part of the so-called Republicans, that, in the Dred Scott case, that august tribunal decided against the right of the people of the Territories to decide the slavery question for themselves, without giving them an opportunity of being heard by counsel in defence of their rights of self-governmont, and when there was no Territorial law, enactment or fact before the court upon which that question could possibly arise.
Resolved, That whenever Congress or the legislature of any State or Territory shall mako any enactment, or do any act which attempts to divest, impair or prejudice any right which the owner of slaves, or any other species of property, may have or claim in any Territory or elsewhere, by virtue of the Constitution or otherwise, and the party aggrieved shall bring his case beforo the Supreme Court of the United States, the Democracy of Illinois, as in duty bound by their obligations of fidelity to the Constitution, will cheerfully and faithfully respect and abide by the decision, and use all lawful means to aid in giving
it full effect according to its true intent and meaning: Resolved, That the Democracy of Illinois view with inexpressible horror and indignation the murderous and treasonable conspiracy of John Brown and his confederates to incite a servile insurrection in the slaveholding States, and heartily rejoice that the attempt was promptly suppressed, and the majesty of the law vindicated, by inflicting upon the conspirators, after a fair and impartial trial, that just punishment which the enormity of their crimes so richly merited.
Resolved, That the Harper's Ferry outrage was the natural consequence and and logical result of the doctrines and teachings of the Republican party, as explained and enforced in their platforms, partisan presses, books and pamphlets, and in the speeches of their leaders, in and out of Congress, and for this reason an honest and law-abiding people should not be satisfied with the disavowal or disapproval by the Republican leaders of John Brown's acts, unless they also repudiate the doctrines and teachings which produced those monstrous crimes, and denounce all persons who profess to sympathize with murderers and traitors, lamenting their fate and venerating their memory as martyrs who lost their lives in a just and holy cause.
Resolved, That the delegates representing Illinois in the Charleston