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YEAS To engross the bill for its third prospect before us. However obscure we may reading :
individually be, our connection with this great
transaction will perpetuate our names for the Messrs. Adams,
praise or for the censure of future ages, and perAtchison, Hunter,
haps in regions far remote. If, then, we had no
other motive for our actions but that of an hon-
ferent to that scene and that prospect. But indi-
vidual interests and ambition sink into insignifiButler, Morton,
cance in view of the interests of our country and Clay, Norris,
of mankind. These interests awaken, at least in
me, an intense solicitude.
It was said by some in the beginning, and it
has been said by others later in this debate, that Douglas, Shields,
it was doubtful whether it would be the cause Evans, Slidell,
of Slavery or the cause of Freedom that would Fitzpatrick, Stuart,
gain advantages from the passage of this bill. I Williams--29.
do not find it necessary to be censorious, nor NAYS-- Against the engrossment :
even unjust to others, in order that my own
course may be approved. I am sure that the Messrs. Chase,
honorable Senator from Illinois (Mr. Douglas) Dodge of Wisc. Seward,
did not mean that the Slave States should gain Fessenden, Smith,
an advantage over the Free States; for he disFish, Sumner,
claimed it when he introduced the bill. I believe, Foot, Wade,
in all candor, that the honorable Senator from Hamlin, Walker-12.
Georgia (Mr. Toombs), who comes out at the
close of the battle as one of the chiefest leaders March 3rd.— The rule assigning Fridays of the victorious party, is sincere in declaring his for the consideration of private bills, having own opinion that the Slave States will gain no been suspended, on motion of Mr. Badger, unjust advantage over the Free States, because the Senate proceeded to put the Nebraska- he disclaims it as a triumph in their behalf. NotKansas bill on its final passage, when a long red here and in the country, during this contest,
withstanding all this, however, what has occurand earnest debate ensued. At a late hour has coinpelled a conviction that Slavery will gain of the night, Mr. Seward of N. Y. ad- something, and Freedom will endure a severe, dressed the Senate, in opposition to the bill, though I hope not an irretrievable, loss. The as follows:
slaveholding States are passive, quiet, content,
and satisfied with the prospective boon, and the Mr. PRESIDENT :-I rise with no purpose of Free States are excited and alarmed with fearful further resisting or even delaying the passage forebodings and apprehensions. The impatience of this bill. Let its advocates have only a lit. for the speedy passage of the bill, manifested by tle patience, and they will soon reach the object its friends, betrays a knowledge that this is the for which they have struggled so earnestly and condition of public sentiment in the Free States. so long. The sun has set for the last time upon They thought in the beginning that it was necesthe guaranteed and certain liberties of all the un sary to guard the measure by inserting the Claysettled and unorganized portions of the Ameri- ton amendment, which would exclude unnaturcan continent that lie within the jurisdiction of alized foreign inhabitants of the Territories from the United States. To-morrow's sun will rise in the right of suffrage. And now they seem willing, dim eclipse over them. How long that obscu with almost perfect unanimity, to relinquish that ration shall last, is known only to the Power safeguard, rather than to delay the adoption of that directs and controls all human events. the principal measure for at most a year, perFor myself, I know only this—that now no hu- haps for only a week or a day. Suppose that man power will prevent its coming on, and that the Senate should adhere to that condition, which its passing off will be hastened and secured by so lately was thought so wise and so important others than those now here, and perhaps by only -what then ? The bill could only go back to those belonging to future generations.
the House of Representatives, which must either Sir, it would be almost factious to offer fur. yield or insist ! In the one case or in the other, ther resistance to this measure here. Indeed, suc- a decision in favor of the bill would be secured; cessful resistance was never expected to be made for even if the House should disagree, the Senate in this Hall. The Senate floor is an old battle would have time to recede. But the majority ground, on which have been fought many con- will hazard nothing, even on a prospect so certests, and always, at least since 1820, with for- tain as this. They will recede at once, without tune adverse to the cause of equal and universal a moment's further struggle, from the condition, freedom. We were only a few here who engaged and thus secure the passage of this bill now, toin that cause in the beginning of this contest. night. Why such haste ? Even if the question All that we could hope to do-all that we did were to go to the country before a final decision hope to do—was to organize and to prepare the here, what would there be wrong in that? There issue for the House of Representatives, to which is no man living who will say that the country the country would look for its decision as authori- anticipated, or that he anticipated, the agitation tative, and to awaken the country that it might of this measure in Congress, when this Congress be ready for the appeal which would be made, was elected, or even when it assembled in Dewhatever the decision of Congress might be. We cember last. are no stronger now. Only fourteen at the first, Under such circumstances, and in the midst of it will be fortunate if, among the ills and acci- agitation, and excitement, and debates, it is only dents which surround us, we shall maintain that fair to say, that certainly the country has not number to the end.
decided in favor of the bill. The refusal, then, to We are on the eve of the consummation of a let the question go to the country is conclusive great national transaction-a transaction which proof that the Slave States, as represented here, will close a cycle in the history of our country- expect from the passage of this bill what the Free and it is impossible not to desire to pause a mo. States insist that they will lose by it-an advan. ment and survey the scene around us, and the tage, a material advantage, and not a mere ab
straction. There are men in the Slave States, as as to admit Missouri a new Slave State, but in the Free States, who insist always too pertina. upon the express condition, stipulated in favor ciously upon mere abstractions. But that is not of the Free States, that Slavery should be forever the policy of the Slave States to-day. They are prohibited in all the residue of the existing and in earnest in seeking for, and securing, an ob- unorganized Territories of the United States ject, and an important one. I believe they are lying north of the parallel of 36 deg. 30 min. north going to have it. I do not know how long the latitude. Certainly, I find nothing to win my advantage gained will last, nor how great or favor toward the bill in the proposition of the comprehensive it will be. Every Senator who Senator from Maryland (Mr. Pearce] to restore agrees with me in opinion must feel as I do, the Clayton amendment, which was struck out that under such circumstances he can forego in the House of Representatives. So far from nothing that can be done decently, with due voting for that proposition, I shall vote against respect to difference of opinion, and consistently it now, as I did when it was under consideration with the constitutional and settled rules of legis- here before, in accordance with the opinion lation, to place the true merits of the question be adopted as early as any political opinions I ever fore the country. Questions sometimes occur had, and cherished as long, that the right of sufwhich seem to have two right sides. Such were frage is not a mere conventional right, but an the questions that divided the English nation be- inherent natural right, of which no government tween Pitt and Fox—such the contest between can rightly deprive any adult man who is subject the assailant and the defender of Quebec. The to its authority, and obligated to its support. judgment of the world was suspended by its I hold, moreover, sir, that inasmuch as every sympathies, and seemed ready to descend in fa- man is, by force of circumstances beyond his vor of him who should be most gallant in con- own control, a subject of government someduct. And so, when both fell with equal chival where, he is, by the very constitution of huinan ry on the same field, the survivors united in society, entitled to share equally in the conferraising a common monument to the glorious but ring of political power on those who wield it, if rival memories of Wolfe and Montcalm. But he is not disqualified by crime; that in a despotic this contest involves a moral question. The government he ought to be allowed arms, in a Slave States so present it. They maintain that free government the ballot or the open vote, as African Slavery is not erroneous, not unjust, not a means of self protection against unendurable inconsistent with the advancing cause of human oppression. I am not likely, therefore, to restore nature. Since they so regard it, I do not expect to this bill an amendment which would deprive to see statesmen representing those States indif- it of an important feature imposed upon it by the ferent about a vindication of this system by the House of Representatives, and that one, perhaps, Congress of the United States. On the other the only feature that harmonizes with my own hand, we of the Free States regard Slavery as er- convictions of justice. It is true that the House roneous, unjust, oppressive, and therefore abso- of Representatives stipulates such suffrage for lutely inconsistent with the principles of the white men as a condition for opening it to the American Constitution and Government. Who possible proscription and slavery of the African. will expect us to be indifferent to the decisions I shall separate them. I shall vote for the former of the American people and of mankind on such and against the latter, glad to get universal sufan issue ?
frage of white men, if only that can be gained Again : there is suspended on the issue of this now, and working right on, full of hope and concontest the political equilibrium between the fidence, for the prevention or the abrogation of Free and the Slave States. It is no ephemeral Slavery in the Territories hereafter. question, no idle question, whether Slavery shall Sir, I am surprised at the pertinacity with go on increasing its influence over the central which the honorable Senator from Delaware, power bere, or whether Freedom shall gain the mine ancient and honorable friend, (Mr. Clayascendancy. I do not expect to see statesmen ton,] perseveres in opposing the granting of the of the Slave States indifferent on so momentous right of suffrage to the unnaturalized foreigner a question, and as little can it be expected that in the Territories. Congress cannot deny him those of the Free States will betray their own that right. Here is the third article of that con. great cause. And now it remains for me to declare, vention by which Louisiana, including Kansas in view of the decision of this controversy so near and Nebraska, was ceded to the United States : at hand, that I have seen nothing and heard no- “ The inhabitants of the ceded territory shall thing during its progress to change the opinions be incorporated in the Union of the United which at the earliest proper period I deliberately States, and admitted as soon as possible, accordexpressed. Certainly, I have not seen the evi: ing to the principles of the Federal Constitution, dence then promised, that the Free States would to the enjoyment of the rights, privileges, and acquiesce in the measure. As certainly, too, I immunities of citizens of the United States; and may say that I have not seen the fulfillment of the in the mean time they shall be maintained and promise that the history of the last thirty years protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, would be revised, corrected, and amended, and property, and the religion they profess.” that it would then appear that the country, dur
The inhabitants of Kansas and Nebraska are ing all that period, had been resting in prosperity, citizens already, and by force of this treaty must and contentment, and peace, not upon a valid, continue to be, and as such to enjoy the right of constitutional, and irrevocable compromise be suffrage, whatever laws you may make to the tween the Slave States and the Free States, but contrary. My opinions are well known, to wit: upon an unconstitutional and false, and even in. That Slavery is not only an evil, but a local one, famous, act of Congressional usurpation. injurious and ultimately pernicious to society,
On the contrary, I am now, if possible, more wherever it exists, and in conflict with the conthan ever satisfied that, after all this debate, the stitutional principles of society in this country. history of the country will go down to posterity I am not willing to extend nor to permit the exjust as it stood before, carrying to them the ever- tension of that local evil into regions now free lasting facts, that until 1820 the Congress of the within our empire. I know that there are some United States legislated to prevent the introduc- who differ from me, and who regard the Constitution of Slavery into new Territories whenever tion of the United States as an instrument which that object was practicable ; and that in that year sanctions Slavery as well as Freedom. But if I they so far modified that policy, under alarmi
could admit prop ion so incongruous with apprehensions of civil convulsion, by a constitu- the letter and spirit of the Federal Constitution, tional enactment in the character of a compact, and the known sentiments of its illustrious founders, and so should conclude that Slavery was cover so great a field ; and it is reasonably to be national, I must still cherish the opinion that it hoped that the part of it nearest to the North is an evil ; and because it is a national one, I am Pole will be the last to be inundated. But Af the more firmly held and bound to prevent an in- rican slave emigration is to compete with free crease of it, tending, as I think it manifestly does, emigration of white men, and the source of this to the weakening and ultimate overthrow of the latter tide is as ample as the civilization of the Constitution itself, and therefore to the injury of two entire continents. The honorable Senator all mankind. I know there have been states from Delaware mentioned, as if it were a startwhich have endured long, and achieved much, ling fact, that twenty thousand European immi. which tolerated Slavery, but that was not the grants arrived in New York in one month. Sir, Slavery of caste, like African Slavery. Such he has stated the fact with too much moderation. Slavery tends to demoralize equally the subject. On my return to the capital a day or two ago, ed race and the superior one. It has been the I met twelve thousand of these emigrants who absence of such Slavery from Europe that has had arrived in New - York on one morning, given her nations their superiority over other and who had thronged the churches on the followcountries in that hemisphere. Slavery, where ing Sabbath, to return thanks for deliverance ever it exists, begets fear, and fear is the parent from the perils of the sea, and for their arrival in of weakness. What is the secret of that eternal, the land, not of Slavery but of Liberty. I also sleepless anxiety in the legislative halls, and even thank God for their escape, and for their coming. at the firesides of the Slave States, always asking They are now on their way westward, and the new stipulations, new compromises and abroga- news of the passage of this bill, preceding them, tion of compromises, new assumptions of power will speed many of them towards Kansas and and abnegations of power, but fear? It is the Nebraska. Such arrivals are not extraordinary apprehension, that, even if safe now, they will —they occur almost every week ; and the imminot always or long be secure against some inva- gration from Germany, from Great Britain, and sion or some aggression from the Free States. from Norway, and from Sweden, during the Eu. What is the secret of the humiliating part which ropean war, will rise to six or seven hundred proud old Spain is acting at this day, trembling thousand souls in a year. And with this tide is to between alarms of American intrusion into Cuba be mingled one rapidly swelling from Asia and on one side, and British dictation on the other, from the islands of the South Seas. All the imbut the fact that she has cherished Slavery so migrants under this bill, as the House of Reprelong and still cherishes it, in the last of her Ameri. sentatives overruling you have ordered, will be cun colonial possessions ? Thus far Kansas and good, loyal, Liberty-loving, Slavery-fearing citiNebraska are safe, under the laws of 1820, zens. Come on, then, gentlemen of the Slave against the introduction of this element of na- States. Since there is no escaping your chaltional debility and decline. The bill before us, lenge, I accept it in behalf of the cause of Freeas we are assured, contains a great principle, á dom. We will engage in competition for the glorious principle; and yet that principle, when virgin soil of Kansus, and God give the victory fully ascertained, proves to be nothing less than to the side which is stronger in numbers as it is the subversion of that security, not only within in right. the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, but There are, however, earnest advocates of this within all the other present and future Territo- bill, who do not expect, and who,
suppose, do ries of the United States. Thus it is quite clear not desire, that Slavery shall gain possession of that it is not a principle alone that is involved, Nebraska. What do they expect to gain? The but that those who crowd this measure with só honorable Senator from Indiana (Mr. Pettit] much zeal and earnestness must expect that says that by thus obliterating the Missouri Comeither Freedom or Slavery shall gain something promise restriction, they will gain a tabula rasa, by it in those regions. The case, then, stands on which the inhabitants of Kansas and Nebrasthus in Kansas and Nebraska : Freedom may ka may write whatever they will. This is the lose, but certainly can gain nothing; while Sla- great principle of the bill, as he understands it. very may gain, but as certainly can lose no- Well, what gain is there in that? You obliter. thing.
ate a Constitution of Freedom. If they write a So far as I am concerned, the time for looking new Constitution of Freedom, can the new be on the dark side has passed. I feel quite sure better than the old ? If they write a Constituthat Slavery at most can get nothing more than tion of Slavery, will it not be a worse one? I Kansas ; while Nebraska–the wider northern ask the honorable Senator that. But the honorregion-will, under existing circumstances, es- able Senator says that the people of Nebraska cape, for the reason that its soil and climate are will have the privilege of establishing institutions uncongenial with the staples of slave culture, for themselves. They have now the privilege of rice, sugar, cotton, and tobacco. Moreover, establishing free institutions. Is it a privilege, since the public attention has been so well and so then, to establish Slavery? If so, what a mockeffectually directed toward the subject, I cher-ery are all our Constitutions, which prevent the ish a hope that Slavery may be prevented even inhabitants from capriciously subverting free from gaining a foothold in Kansas. Congress institutions and establishing institutions of Slaonly gives consent, but it does not and cannot very! Sir, it is a sophism, a subtlety, to talk of introduce Slavery there. Slavery will be em conferring upon a country, already secure in the barrassed by its own overgrasping spirit. No blessings of Freedom, the power of self-destrucone, I am sure, anticipates the possible re-estab. tion. lishment of the African Slave-trade. The tide of What mankind everywhere want, is not the emigration to Kansas is therefore to be supplied removal of the Constitutions of Freedom which there solely by the domestic fountain of slave pro- they have, that they may make at their pleasure duction. But Slavery has also other regions be- Constitutions of Slavery or of Freedom, but the sides Kansas to be filled from that fountain. There privilege of retaining Constitutions of Freedom are all of New Mexico and all of Utah already when they already have them, and the removal within the United States; and then there is Cuba of Constitutions of Slavery when they have them, that consumes slave labor and life as fast as any that they may establish Constitutions of Freedom one of the slaveholding States can supply it; and in their place. We hold on tenaciously to all besides these regions, there remains all of Mexi- existing Constitutions of Freedom. Who deco down the Isthmus. The stream of slave nounces any man for diligently adhering such labor flowing from so small a fountain, and bro-Constitutions ? Who would dare to denounce ken into several divergent channels, will not any one for disloyalty to our existing Constitutions, if they were Constitutions of Despotism science, and down at least until this very session and Slavery? But it is supposed by some that of the Congress of the United States, it has had this principle is less important in regard to Kan the force and authority not merely of an act of sas and Nebraska than as a general one-a general Congress, but of a covenant between the Free principle applicable to all other present and States and the Slave States, scarcely less sacred future Territories of the United States. Do ho than the Constitution itself.' Now then, who are norable Senators then indeed suppose they are your contracting parties in the law establishing establishing a principle at all ? If so, I think they | Governments in Kansas and Nebraska, and abegregiously err, whether the principle is either rogating the Missouri Compromise? What are good or bad, right or wrong. They are not esta- the equivalents in this law? What has the North blishing it, and cannot establish it in this way. given, and what has the South got back, that You subvert one law capriciously, by making makes this a contract ? Who pretends that it is another law in its place. That is all. Will your anything more than an ordinary act of ordinary law have any more weight, authority, solemnity, legislation ? If, then, a law which has all the or binding force on future Congresses, than the forms and solemnities recognized by common first had? You abrogate the law of your prede- consent as a compact, and is covered with tracessors--others will have equal power and equal ditions, cannot stand amid this shuffling of the liberty to abrogate yours. You allow no barriers balance between the Free States and the Slave around the old law, to protect it from abrogation. States, tell me what chances this new law that You erect none around your new law, to stay the you are passing will have ? hand of future innovators.
You are, moreover, setting a precedent which On what ground do you expect the new law to abrogates all compromises. Four years ago, you stand? If you are candid, you will confess that obtained the consent of a portion of the Free you rest your assumption on the ground that the States-enough to render the effort at immediate Free States will never agitate repeal, but always repeal or resistance alike impossible—to what we acquiesce. It may be that you are right. I am regard as an unconstitutional act for the surrennot going to predict the course of the Free States. der of fugitive slaves. That was declared, by the I claim no authority to speak for them, and still common consent of the persons acting in the less to say what they will do. But I may venture name of the two parties, the Slave States and the to say, that if they shall not repeal this law, it Free States in Congress, an irrepealable law-not will not be because they are not strong enough to even to be questioned, although it violated the do it. They have power in the House of Repre- Constitution. In establishing this new principle, sentatives greater than that of the Slave States, you expose that law also to the chances of repeal. and, when they choose to exercise it, a power You not only so expose the fugitive slave law, greater even bere in the Senate. The Free States but there is no so anity about the articles for are not dull scholars, even in practical political the annexation of Texas to the United States, strategy. When you shall have taught them that which does not hang about the Missouri Coma compromise law establishing Freedom can be promise; and when you have shown that the abrogated, and the Union nevertheless stund, you Missouri Compromise can be repealed, then the will have let them into another secret, namely: articles for the annexation of Texas are subject that a law permitting or establishing Slavery can to the will and pleasure and the caprice of a tembe repealed, and the Union nevertheless remain porary majority in Congress. Do you, then, exfirm. If you inquire why they do not stand by pect that the Free States are to observe compacts, their rights and their interests more firmly, I will and you to be at liberty to break them; that tell you to the best of my ability. It is because they are to submit to laws and leave them on the they are conscious of their strength, and, there statute-book, however unconstitutional and howforé, unsuspecting, and slow to apprehend danger. ever grievous, and that you are to rest under no The reason why you prevail in so many contests, such obligation? I think it is not a reasonable is because you are in perpetual fear.
expectation. Say, then, who from the North There cannot be a convocation of Abolitionists, will be bound to admit Kansas, when Kansas however impracticable, in Faneuil Hall or the shall come in here, if she shall come as a Slave Tabernacle, though it consists of men and women State ? who have separated themselves from all effective The honorable Senator from Georgia, [Mr. political parties, and who have renounced all Toombs,] and I know he is as sincere as he is political agencies, even though they resolve that ardent, says if he shall be here when Kansas they will vote for nobody, not even for them comes as a Free State, he will vote for her adselves, to carry out their purposes, and though mission. I doubt not that he would ; but he will they practice on that resolution, but you take not be here, for the very reason, if there be no alarm, and your agitation renders necessary such other, that he would vote that way. When compromises as those of 1820 and of 1850. We Oregon or Minnesota shall come here for admisare young in the arts of politics ; you are old. sion-within one year, or two years, or three We are strong; you are weak. We are, there years from this time—we shall then see what fore, over-confident, careless, and indifferent; your new principle is worth in its obligation upon you are vigilant and active. These are traits the slaveholding States. No; you establish no that redound to your praise. They are mentioned principle, you only abrogate a principle which not in your disparagement. I say only, that was established for your own security as well as there may be an extent of intervention, of aggres- ours; and while you think you are abnegating sion on your side, which may induce the North, and resigning all power and all authority on this at some time, either in this or in some future subject into the hands of the people of the Terrigeneration, to adopt your tactics and follow your tories, you are only getting over a difficulty in example. Remember now, that by unanimous settling this question in the organization of two consent, this new law will be a repealable statute, new Territories, by postponing it till they come exposed to all the chances of the Missouri Com here to be admitted as States, slave or free. promise. It stands an infinitely worse chance of Sir, in saying that your new principle will not endurance tban that compromise did.
be established by this bill, I reason frúin obvious, The Missouri Compromise was a transaction clear, well settled principles of human nature. which wise, learned, patriotic statesmen agreed Slavery and Freedom are antagonistical elements to surround and fortify with the principles of a in this country. The founders of the Constitution compact for mutual considerations, passed and framed it with a wledge of that antagonism, executed, and therefore, although not irrepeal. and suffered it to continue, that it might work able in fact, yet irrepealable in honor and con. out its own ends. There is a commercial antagonism, an irreconcilable one, between the sys- | establishment of no new ones in favor of Slavery; tems of free labor and slave labor. They have and thus to turn away the thoughts of the States been at war with each other ever since the Go which tolerate Slavery, from political efforts to vernment was established, and that war is to perpetuate what in its nature cannot be perpetcontinue forever. The contest, when it ripensual, to the more wise and benign policy of emanbetween these two antagonistic elements, is to be cipation. settled somewhere; it is to be settled in the seat This, in my humble judgment, is the simple, of central power, in the Federal Legislature. easy path of duty for the American Statesman. The Constitution makes it the duty of the central I will not contemplate that other alternative-the Government to determine questions, as often as greater ascendancy of the Slave Power. I believe they shall arise, in favor of one or the other that if it shall ever come, the voice of Freedoin party, and refers the decision of them to the will cease to be heard in these Halls, whatever majority of the votes in the two Houses of Con may be the evils and dangers which Slavery shall gress. It will come back here, then, in spite of produce. I say this without disrespect for Repreall the efforts to escape from it.
sentatives of Slave States, and I say it because This antagonism must end either in a separa- the rights of petition and of debate on that are tion of the antagonistic parties—the Slavebolding effectually suppressed-necessarily suppressed States and the Free States-or, secondly, in the in all the Slave States, and because they are not complete establishment of the influence of the always held in reverence, even now, in the two Slave power over the Free-or else, on the other Houses of Congress. When freedom of speech hand, in the establishment of the superior influ- on a subject of such vital interest shall have ence of Freedom over the interests of Slavery. ceased to exist in Congress, then I shall expect It will not be terminated by a voluntary secession to see Slavery not only luxuriating in all new of either party. Commercial interests bind the Territories, but stealthily creeping even into the Slave States and the Free States together in links Free States themselves. Believing this, and beof gold that are riveted with iron, and they can- lieving, also, that complete responsibility of the not be broken by passion or by ainbition. Either Government to the people is essential to public party will submit to the ascendancy of the other, and private safety, and that decline and ruin are rather than yield the commercial advantages of sure to follow, always, in the train of Slavery, I this Union. Political ties bind the Union to- am sure that this will be no longer a land of gether—a common necessity, and not merely a Freedom and constitutional liberty when Slavery cominon necessity, but the common interests of shall have thus become paramount. Auferre empire—of such empire as the world has never trucidare falsis nominibus imperium atque, ubi before seen.
The control of the national power solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellanto; is the control of the great Western Continent; Sir, I have always said that I should not de. and the control of this continent is to be, in a spond, even if this fearful measure should be very few years, the controlling influence in the effected : nor do I now despond. Although, reaworld. Who is there, North, that hates Slavery soning from my present convictions, I should so much, or who, South, that hates emancipation not have voted for the compromise of 1820, I so intensely, that he can attempt, with any hope have labored, in the very spirit of those who esof success, to break a Union thus forged and tablished it, to save the landmark of Freedom welded together? I have always heard, with which it assigned. I have not spoken irreverequal pity and disgust, threats of disunion in the ently even of the compromise of 1850, which, as Free States, and similar threats in the Slave all men know, I opposed earnestly and with diliholding States. I know that men may rave in gence. Nevertheless, I have always preferred the heat of passion, and under great political ex- the compromises of the Constitution, and have citement; but I know that when it comes to a wanted no others. I feared all others. This was question whether this Union shall stand, either a leading principle of the great statesman of the with Freedom or with Slavery, the masses will South, (Mr. Calhoun). Said he: uphold it, and it will stand until some inherent "I see my way in the Constitution ; I cannot vice in its Constitution, not yet disclosed, shall in a compromise. A compromise is but an act cause its dissolution. Now, entertaining these of Congress. It may be overruled at any time. opinions, there are for me only two alternatives, It gives us no security. But the Constitution is viz.: either to let Slavery gain unlimited sway, stable. It is a rock on which we can stand, and or so to exert what little power and influence I on which we can meet our friends from the nonmay have, as to secure,
the ultimate slaveholding States. It is a firm and stable dominance of Freedom.
ground, on which we can better stand in opposi. In doing this, I do no more than those who tion to'fanaticism than on the shifting sands of believe the Slave Power is rightest, wisest, and compromise. Let us be done with compromises. best, are doing, and will continue to do, with my Let us go back and stand upon the Constitu. free consent, to establish its complete supremacy. tion.". If they shall succeed, I still shall be, as I have I stood upon this ground in 1850, defending been, a loyal citizen. If we succeed, I know they Freedom upon it as Mr. Calhoun did'in defendwill be loyal also, because it will be safest, wisest, / ing Slavery. I was overruled then, and I have and best for them to be so. The question is one, waited since without proposing to abrogate any not of a day, or of a year, but of many years, and, compromises. for aught I know, many generations. Like all It has been no proposition of mine to abrogate other great political questions, it will be attended them now; but the proposition has come from sometimes by excitement, sometimes by passion, another quarter-from an adverse one.
It is and sometimes, perhaps, even by faction ; but it about to prevail. The shifting sands of comprois sure to be settled in a constitutional way, with mise are passing from under iny feet, and they out
any violent shock to society, or to any of its are now, without agency of my own, taking hold great interests. It is, moreover, sure to be settled again on the rock of the Constitution. It shall be rightly; because it will be settled under the no fault of mine if they do not remain firm. This benign influences of Republicanism and Chris- seems to me auspicious of better days and wiser tianity, according to the principles of truth and legislation. Through all the darkness and gloom justice, as ascertained by human reason. In pur- of the present hour, bright stars are breaking, suing such a course, it seems to me obviously as that inspire me with hope, and excite me to perwise as it is necessary to save all existing laws severance. They show that the day of compro and Constitutions which are conservative of mises has past forever, and that henceforward. Freedom, and to permit, as far as possible, the all great questions between Freedom and Slavery:
if I can,