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A BILL

JUN 30 1015

CHARLES ELLIOTT PERKINS
MEMORIAL COLLECTION

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NEBRASKA AND KANSAS.

TO ORGANIZE THE TERRITORIES OF

AND THE

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Congress.

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REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON TERRITORIES.

∙155310125

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.

JANUARY 4, 1854.

Mr. DOUGLAS made the following

REPORT.

[To accompany Bill S. 22.]

The Committee on Territories, to which was referred a bill for an act to establish the Territory of Nebraska, have given the same that serious and deliberate consideration which its great importance demands, and beg leave to report it back to the Senate with various amendments, in the form of a substitute for the bill:

The principal amendments, which your com- ||

proving

Imittee deem it their duty to commend to the fa- mitte Voice of the American people, your com

deemed it their duty to incorporate and perpetuate in their territorial bill the principles and spirit of those measures. If any other considerations were necessary to render the propriety of this course imperative upon the committee, they may be found in the fact that the Nebraska country occupies the same relative position to the slavery question as did New Mexico and Utah when those territories were organized.

The wisdom of those measures is attested, not less by their salutary and beneficial effects in allaying sectional agitation and restoring peace and harmony to an irritated and distracted people, than by the cordial and almost universal approbation with which they have been received and sanc-legal tioned by the whole country. In the judgment of your committee, those measures were intended to have a far more comprehensive and enduring effect than the mere adjustment of the difficulties arising out of the recent acquisition of Mexican territory. They were designed to establish certain great principles, which would not only furnish adequate remedies for existing evils, but in all time to come avoid the perils of a similar agitation, by withdrawing the question of slavery from the halls of Congress and the political arena and committing it to the arbitrament of those who were immediately interested in and alone responsible for its consequences. With the view of conform-perty with him under the protection of law, wheing their action to what they regard the settled ther that property consisted in persons or things. policy of the government, sanctioned by the ap- The difficulties arising from this diversity of opin

It was a disputed point, whether slavery was prohibited by law in the country acquired from Mexico. On the one hand, it was contended, as a proposition, that, slavery having been prohibited by the enactments of Mexico according to the laws of nations, we received the country with all its local laws and domestic institutions attached to the soil, so far as they did not conflict with the Constitution of the United States; and that a law either protecting or prohibiting slavery was not repugnant to that instrument, as was evinced by the fact that one-half of the States of the Union tolerated, while the other half prohibited, the institution of slavery. On the other hand, it was insisted that, by virtue of the Constitution of the United States, every citizen had a right to remove to any Territory of the Union, and carry his pro

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vorable action of the Senate, in a special report, are those in which the principles established by the compromise measures of 1850, so far as they are applicable to territorial organizations, are proposed to be affirmed and carried into practical operation within the limits of the new territory.

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by it to slave property in the territories, so your committee are not prepared now to recommend a departure from the course pursued on that memorable occasion, either by affirming or repealing the 8th section of the Missouri act, or by any act declaratory of the meaning of the Constitution in respect to the legal points in dispute.

ion were greatly aggravated by the fact, that there were many persons on both sides of the legal controversy who were unwilling to abide the decision of the courts on the legal matters in dispute. Thus, among those who claimed that the Mexican laws were still in force, and consequently that slavery was already prohibited in those territories by valid enactment, there were many who insisted upon Congress making the matter certain, by enacting another prohibition. In like manner, some of those who argued that the Mexican laws had ceased to have any binding force, and that the Constitution tolerated and protected slave property in those territories, were unwilling to trust the decision of the courts upon that point, and insisted that Congress should by direct enactment remove all legal obstacles to the introduction of slaves into those territories.

Such being the character of the controversy in respect to the territory acquired from Mexico, a similar question has arisen in regard to the right to hold slaves in the proposed territory of Nebraska when the Indian laws shall be withdrawn and the country thrown open to emigration and settlement. By the 8th section of "an act to authorise the people of the Missouri Territory to form a constitution and State government, and for the admission of such State into the Union to an equal footing with the original States, and to prohibit slavery in certain territories," approved March 6, 1820, it was provided: "That, in all that territory ceded by France to the United States under the name of Louisiana, which lies north of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes north_latitude, not included within the limits of the State contemplated by this act, slavery and involuntary servitude, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the parties shall have been duly convicted, shall be and is hereby forever prohibited: Provided always, That any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any State or territory of the United States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed, and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service as aforesaid."

Under this section, as in the case of the Mexican law in New Mexico and Utah, it is a disputed point whether slavery is prohibited in the Nebraska country by valid enactment. The decision of this question involves the constitutional power of Congress to pass laws prescribing and regulating the domestic institutions of the various territories of the Union. In the opinion of those eminent statesmen, who hold that Congress is invested with no rightful authority to legislate upon the subject of slavery in the territories, the 8th section of the act preparatory to the admission of Missouri is null and void; while the prevailing sentiment in large portions of the Union sustains the doctrine that the Constitution of the United States secures to every citizens an inalienable right to move into any of the territories with his property, of whatever kind and description, and to hold and enjoy the same under the sanction of law. Your committee do not feel themselves called upon to enter into the discussion of these controverted questions. They involve the same grave issues which produced the agitation, the sectional strife, and the fearful struggle of 1850. As Congress deemed it wise and prudent to refrain from deciding the matters in controversy then, either by affirming or repealing the Mexican laws, or by an act declaratory of the true intent of the Constitution and the extent of the protection afforded

Your committee deem it fortunate for the peace of the country, and the security of the Union, that the controversy then resulted in the adoption of the compromise measures, which the two great political parties, with singular unanimity, have affirmed as a cardinal article of their faith, and proclaimed to the world as a final settlement of the controversy and an end of the agitation. A due respect, therefore, for the avowed opinions of senators, as well as a proper sense of patriotic duty, enjoins upon your committee the propriety and necessity of a strict adherence to the principles, and even a literal adoption of the enactments of that adjustment, in all their territorial bills, so far as the same are not locally inapplicable. Those enactments embrace, among other things, less material to the matters under consideration, the following provisions:

"When admitted as a State, the said territory or any portion of the same, shall be received into the Union, with or without slavery, as their constitution may prescribe at the time of their admission." "That the legislative power and authority of said territory shall be vested in the governor and a legislative assembly."

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That the legislative power of said territory shall extend to all rightful subjects of legislation, consistent with the Constitution of the United States and the provisions of this act; but no law shall be passed interfering with the primary disposal of the soil; no tax shall be imposed upon the property of the United States; nor shall the lands or other property of non-residents be taxed higher than the lands or other property of residents."

"Writs of error and appeals from the final decisions of said supreme court shall be allowed, and may be taken to the Supreme Court of the United States in the same manner and under the same regulations as from the circuit courts of the United States, where the value of the property or the amount in controversy, to be ascertained by the oath or affirmation of either party or other competent witness, shall exceed one thousand dollars, except only that, in all cases involving title to slaves, the said writs of error or appeals shall be allowed and decided by the said supreme court, without regard to the value of the matter, property, or title in controversy; and except, also, that a writ of error or appeal shall also be allowed to the Supreme Court of the United States, from the decisions of the said supreme court created by this act, or of any judge thereof, or of the district courts created by this act, or of any judge thereof, upon any writ of habeas corpus involving the question of personal freedom; and each of the said district courts shall have and exercise the same jurisdiction in all cases arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States as is vested in the circuit and district courts of the United States; and the said supreme and district courts of the said territory, and the respective judges thereof, shall and may grant writs of habeas corpus in all cases in which the same are granted by the judges of the United States in the District of Columbia."

To which may be added the following proposition affirmed by the act of 1850, known as the fugitive slave law:

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That the provisions of the "act respecting fugitives from justice and persons escaping from the service of their masters," approved February 12, 1793, and the provisions of the "act to amend and supplementary to the aforesaid act, approved September 18, 1850, shall extend to and be force in all the organized territories," as well as in the various States of the Union.

From these provisions it is apparent that the compromise measures of 1850 affirm and rest upon the following propositions.

First. That all questions pertaining to slavery in the territories, and in the new States to be formed therefrom, are to be left to the decision of the people residing therein, by their appropriate representatives, to be chosen by them for that purpose.

Second. That "all cases involving title to slaves," and "questions of personal freedom," are referred to the adjudication of the local tribunals, with the right of appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Third. That the provisions of the Constitution of the United States, in respect to fugitives from service, is to be carried into faithful execution in all "the organized territories" the same as in the States. The substitute for the bill which your committee have prepared, and which is commended to the favorable action of the Senate, proposes to carry these propositions and principles into practical operation, in the precise language of the compromise measures of 1850.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.

JANUARY 23, 1854.

Mr. DOUGLAS, from the Committee on Territories, submitted the following

AMENDMENT

To bill (S. 22,) "To organize the Territory of Nebraska," viz: strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the following:

That all that part of the territory of the United States included within the following limits, except such portions thereof as are hereinafter expressly exempted from the operations of this act, to wit: beginning at a point in the Missouri river where the fortieth parallel of north latitude crosses the same; thence west on said parallel to the summit of the highlands separating the waters flowing into Green river or Colorado of the west from the waters flowing into the great basin; thence northward on the said highlands to the summit of the Rocky mountains; thence on said summit northward to the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude; thence west on said parallel to the western boundary of the territory of Minnesota; thence southward on said boundary to the Missouri river; thence down the main channel of said river to the place of beginning, be, and the same is, hereby created into a temporary government by the name of the Territory of Nebraska; and when admitted as a State or States, the said Territory, or any portion of the same, shall be received into the Union, with or without slavery, as their constitution may prescribe at the time of their admission: Provided, That nothing in this act contained shall be construed to inhibit the government of the United States from dividing said Territory | ecutive power and authority in and over said Ter.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That the ex

into two or more Territories in such manner and at such times as Congress shall deem convenient and proper, or from attaching any portion of said Territory to any other State or Territory of the United States. Provided further, That nothing in this act contained, shall be construed to impair the rights of person or property now pertaining to the Indians in said Territory, so long as such rights shall remain unextinguished by treaty between the United States and such Indians, or to include any Territory which by treaty with any Indian tribe is not without the consent of said tribe to be included within the territorial limits or jurisdiction of any State or Territory; but all such Territory shall be excepted out of the boundaries and constitute no part of the Territory of Nebraska, until said tribe shall signify their assent to the President of the United States to be included within the said Territory of Nebraska, or to affect the authority of the government of the United States to make any regulation, respecting such Indians, their lands, property, or other rights, by treaty, law, or otherwise, which it would have been competent to the government to make if this act had never passed,

whole number shall never exceed thirty-nine. An apportionment shall be made, as nearly equal as practicable, among the several counties or dis

ritory of Nebraska shall be vested in a governor, who shall hold his office for four years, and until his successor shall be appointed and qualified, unless sooner removed by the President of the Uni-tricts, for the election of the council and represen

ted States. The governor shall reside within said Territory, shall be commander-in-chief of the militia thereof, shall perform the duties and receive the emoluments of superintendent of Indian affairs, and shall approve of all laws passed by the legislative assembly before they shall take effect; he may grant pardons and respites for offences against the laws of said Territory, and reprieves for of-governor shall cause a census or enumeration of the inhabitants and qualified voters of the several counties and districts of the Territory to be taken by such persons, and. in such mode, as the governor shall designate and appoint; and the persons so appointed shall receive a reasonable compensation therefor. And the first election shall be held at such time and places, and be conducted in such manner, both as to the persons who shall superintend such election and the returns thereof, as the governor shall appoint and direct ; and he shall at the same time declare the number of members of the council and house of representatives to which each of the counties or districts shall be entitled under this act. The persons having the highest

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SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That there shall be a secretary of said Territory, who shall reside therein, and hold his office for five years, unless sooner removed by the President of the United States; he shall record and preserve all the laws and proceedings of the legislative assembly hereinafter constituted, and all the acts and proceedings of the governor in his executive department; he shall transinit one copy of the laws and jour-number of legal votes in each of said council disnals of the legislative assembly within thirty daystricts for members of the council shall be declared after the end of each session, and one copy of the by the governor to be duly elected to the council, executive proceedings and official correspondence and the persons having the highest number of semi-annually, on the first days of January and legal votes for the house of representatives shall July in each year, to the President of the United be declared by the governor to be duly elected States, and two copies of the laws to the President members of said house: Provided, That in case of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of two or more persons voted for shall have an equal Representatives, for the use of Congress. And, in number of votes, and in case a vacancy shall case of the death, removal, resignation, or absence otherwise occur in either branch of the legislative of the governor from the Territory, the secretary assembly, the governor shall order a new election; shall be and he is hereby authorized and required and the persons thus elected to the legislative asto execute and perform all the powers and duties sembly shall meet at such place, and on such day, of the governor during such vacancy or absence as the governor shall appoint; but thereafter the or until another governor shall be duly appointed time, place, and manner of holding, and conducting and qualified to fill such vacancy. all elections by the people, and the apportioning the representation in the several counties or districts to the council and house of representatives, according to the number of qualified voters, shall be prescribed by law, as well as the day of the commencement of the regular sessions of the legislative assembly: Provided, That no session in any one year shall exceed the term of forty days, except the first session, which may continue sixty days.

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fences against the laws of the United States until the decision of the President can be made known thereon; he shall commission all officers who shall be appointed to office under the laws of the the said Territory, and shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

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SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That the legislative power and authority of said Territory shall be vested in the governor and a legislative assembly. The legislative assembly shall consist of a council and house of representatives. The council shall consist of thirteen members, having the qualifications of voters, as hereinafter prescribed, whose term of service shall continue two years. The house of representatives shall, at its first session, consist of twenty-six members, possessing the same qualifications as prescribed for members of the council, and whose term of service shall continue one year. The number of representatives may be increased by the legislative assembly, from time to time, in proportion to the increase of qualified voters: Provided, That the

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tatives, giving to each section of the Territory representation in the ratio of its qualified voters, as nearly as may be. And the members of the council and of the house of représentatives shall reside in and be inhabitants of the district or county, or counties, for which they may be elected respectively. Previous to the first election the

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That every free white male inhabitant above the age of twenty-one years, who shall be an actual resident of said Territory, and shall possess the qualifications hereinafter prescribed, shall be entitled to vote at the first election, and shall be eligible to any office within the said Territory; but the qualifications

the legislative assembly, or shall hold any office under the government of said Territory.

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SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That the judicial power of said Territory shall be vested in a supreme court, district courts, probate courts, and in justices of the peace. The supreme court shall consist of a chief justice and two associate justices, any two of whom shall constitute a quorum, and who shall hold a term at the seat of government of said Territory annually; and they shall hold their offices during the period of four years, and until their successors shall be appointed and qualified. ||The said Territory shall be divided into three judicial districts, and a district court shall be held in each of said districts by one of the justices of the supreme court, at such times and places as may be prescribed by law; and the said judges shall, after their appointments respectively, reside in the districts which shall be assigned them. The jurisdiction of the several courts herein provided for, both appellate and original, and that of the probate courts and of justices of the peace, shall be as limited by law: Provided, That justices of the peace shall not have jurisdiction of any matter in controversy when the title or boundaries of land may be in dispute, or where the debt or sum claimed shall exceed one hundred dollars; and the said supreme and district courts, respectively shall possess chancery as well as common law jurisdiction. Each district court, or judge thereof, shall appoint its clerk, who shall also be the regis ter in chancery, and shall keep his office at the place where the court may be held. Writs of error, bills of exception, and appeals, shall be allowed in all cases from the final decisions of said dis

of voters and of holding office, at all subsequent elections, shall be such as shall be prescribed by the legislative assembly: Provided, That the right of suffrage and of holding office shall be exercised only by citizens of the United States, and those who shall have declared on oath their intention to become such, and shall have taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and the provisions of this act: And provided further, That no officer, soldier, seaman, or marine, or other person in the army or navy of the United States, or attached to troops in the service of the United States, shall be allowed to vote or hold office in said Territory, by reason of being on service therein for six months, unless said Territory|| is and has been for that period otherwise his permanent domicil, residence, habitation, and home.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That the legis lative power of the Territory shall extend to all rightful subjects of legislation consistent with the Constitution of the United States and the provisions of this act; but no law shall be passed interfering with the primary disposal of the soil, no tax shall be imposed upon the property of the United States, nor shall the lands or other pro perty of non-residents be taxed higher than the lands or other property of residents. All the laws passed by the legislative assembly and governor shall be submitted to the Congress of the United States, and if disapproved shall be null, and of no

effect.

SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That all township, district, and county officers, not herein otherwise provided for, shall be appointed or elected, as the case may be, in such manner as shall be pro-trict courts to the supreme court, under such revided by the governor and legislative assembly of gulations as may be prescribed by law; but in no the Territory of Nebraska. The governor shall case removed to the supreme court shall trial by nominate, and, by and with the advice and consent jury be allowed in said court. The supreme court, of the legislative council, appoint all officers not or the justices thereof, shall appoint its own clerk, herein otherwise provided for; and, in the first in- and every clerk shall hold his office at the pleastance, the governor alone may appoint all said ofsure of the court for which he shall have been apficers, who shall hold their offices until the end of pointed. Writs of error and appeals from the final the first session of the legislative assembly, and decisions of said supreme court shall be allowed, shall lay off the necessary districts for members of and may be taken to the Supreme Court of the the council and house of representatives, and all United States, in the same manner and under the same regulations as from the circuit courts of the United States, where the value of the property, or the amount in controversy, to be ascertained by the oath or affirmation of either party, or other competent witness, shall exceed one thousand dollars; except only that in all cases involving title to slaves the said writs of error or appeals shall be allowed and decided by the said supreme court without regard to the value of the matter, property, or title in controversy; and except, also, that a writ of error or appeal shall also be allowed to the Supreme Court of the United States from the

other officers.

SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That no member of the legislative assembly shall hold, or be appointed to, any office which shall have been created, or the salary or emoluments of which shall have been increased, while he was a member, during the term for which he was elected, and for one year after the expiration of such term; but this restriction shall not be applicable to members of the first legislative assembly; and no person holding a commission or appointment under the United States, except postmasters, shall be a member of

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