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understand me to wish to undertake the discharge of the duty, for it is one of the last duties I should wish to perform ; but, though one of the youngest members upon this floor, I should be unworthy of a place upon this floor, if I were to permit a transaction of this character to take place and to go out without an investigation, and that investigation by a committee of this body. I think, sir, that the Senate owe it to themselves to proceed in. stanter towards such a step. Having made that suggestion, sir, I leave it to older, wiser, and sager heads than mine ; but, if nobody else moves in the matter, I will.
Mr. Foote, (in his seat.) I court an investigation.
Mr. Borland. One reinark, sir. So far from thinking that this was so serious a matter that the Senate is called upon to take notice of it, I think it is a very ridiculous affair, which the Senate should be rather ashamed of, and say as little about as possible. I am one of the youngest members of the Senate, but I did noi think that any danger was on foot at all
Mr. Foote. A single remark, sir
Mr. Borland, (interposing.) I did not mean anything personal in my remark.
Mr. Foote. I know the Senator did not. Sir, I know my own words; I know my own intentions; and I have never threatened any personal attack upon that Senator (Mr. Benton] in my life-never. So help me God, I have never had any such intention at all against any human being. I wished and endeavored to settle this great question in such a manner as was consistent with my duty and honor. Now, sir, so far as my conduct is concerned, I beg to state, in advance of the investigation, that if it can be proved by circumstance or declaration, in any shape or form, that I armed myself for the purpose of attacking the Senator, that I armed myself for the purpose of assassination, as charged—I beg that even if a case for suspicion can be made out against me, I may be expelled from the Senate, of which I should hold myself to be wholly unworthy. For, so help me Heaven, I only wore the arms shown--a single pistol--because I had been threatened, and had been informed by friends that I was likely to be attacked. I resolved under no circumstances to make an attack myself, but only to provide for my own defence. Instead of putting the lives of my friends in darger, I simply advanced to the area in front of the chair, for the purpose of defending myself
, if the Senator from Missouri should come round and advance down the aisle, for the purpose of attacking me. I repeat, that if any honorable Senator here thinks that in this occurrence, so far as I am concerned, there is the least ground of suspicion, either of my motives or of my conduct, I beg that an investigation may be made, for the honor of the Senate, of my constituents, and for my own personal honor.
Mr. Dodge, of Wisconsin. Mr. President, I deeply deplore the unhappy and violent scene which has just occurred. I do think that it is due to the dignity of the Senate, and to the high character that this body has ever maintained for peace and good order, that the matter which has just transpired should be referred to a committee, that it may be fully investigated and reported upon. It should be properly understood by ourselves and by the people of the United States. Sir, I have known the Senator from Missouri intimately for thirty-five years. I have never known him to break the peace or to carry arms; but I have always believed him to be
a man who would defend himself under any and all circumstances. When he arose, and advanced towards the Senator from Mississippi, [Mr. Foote,] I went up to him, to prevent, if I could, anything which would endanger the peace of this body. I thought it to be my duty to endeavor to maintain the peace of the Senate. The Senator from Missouri has been my bosom friend for thirty-five years, and I would stand by him in all situations in which a man could be placed upon earth ; nor am I otherwise than friendly to the Senator from Mississippi. But, sir, if gentlemen have personal difficulties, the floor of the Senate is not the proper place upon which to settle them. There is plenty of room out of the Senate the streets are large, the grounds are spacious; and it is said there are good battle grounds, if gentlemen choose to occupy them, though I most sincerely hope that none will do so. But, sir, a due regard for the respect and dignity of the Senate constrains me to urge, in the strongest terms, that the subject be referred to a committee for investigation, and such action as this body may deem to be due to its own character.
Sir, I have nothing to say about the violence of the scene or the drawing of the pistol. These are their own affairs, and are matters that they must decide upon their own responsibility ; but, for the honor of this body, and for the honor of the whole country, I am certain that these things should be stopped. We ought to have an end to wrangling and to personalities; we were sent here for greater and nobler purposes. The Senate of the United States has heretofore been considered as one of the most dignified and decorous bodies of men in the world; and we owe it to ourselves to vindicate the Senate from disrepute, so far as it can be done, which attaches to it in consequence of a scene like this. I hope I am not troublesome. It is not often, Mr. President, that I trespass on the time of the Senate, and I would have greatly preferred that any other Senator should have moved in this matter. I feel that it ought not to be permitted to pass in silence. No one can regret more than I do that such an occurrence should have transpired in this hall between two members of the body, and of the same political party ; but, as such is unhappily the fact, I wish to see everything presented in a fair and proper point of view. I move you, then, sir, that a committee of five be appointed by the Chair to investigate the whole matter, and report all the facts to the Senate.
The VICE-PRESIDENT. It is moved that a committee of five be appointed.
Mr. Mangum. Mr. President, I have drawn up very hastily a resolution to the same effect as the motion of the honorable Senator from Wisconsin. I concur entirely with all that he has said. I had determined to propose the number seven to constitute the committee, instead of five, as proposed by the honorable Senator from Wisconsin. While I am up, I will say that I must decline being upon the committee.
Mr. DoDGE. I accept of the modification.
Resolved, That a committee of seven be appointed to investigate the disorder of to-day in the Senate, and that they report to the Senate
as shall befit the occasion, and that they have power to send for persons and papers, and to examine witnesses.
Mr. Dodge, of Wisconsin. I accept of that. It expresses my views.
Mr. Clay. I have no personal feelings in this unhappy controversy. I think the course which has been proposed is a very proper one. It is proper to investigate the facts which unforiunately occurred, 'I presume, under the eyes of most of the Sanators present, although I did not see it, my attention being at the moment called in a different direction. But I think the resolution does not go far enough. I think that the two Senators who are placed in this unpleasant relation towards each other should be required to enter into some obligation, and give some assurance to the Senate that they will keep the prace, and that they should either voluntarily or other
before a magistrate, and give the necessary pledges; or that they should both pledge themselves, in their places, to the Senate, that they will not proceed further in this matter than what has occurred to-day-at least not while the Senate is in session. I hope the Senators will readily make such assurances, and I think it would be highly creditable to them both.
Mr. MANGUM. I concur in that.
Mr. Benton. I have done nothing upon God Almighty's earth to justify any charge against me of any intention to commit a breach of the peace; and I will rot in jail before I will give any promise of the kind. I will not bind myself. I am not armed, sir. I brought nothing into the Senate. It is a lying and cowardly insinuation to intimate that I am guilty of bringing arms here, in order to justify the cowardly act of another. I have done nothing, sir, and I will rot in jail before I will give any pledge or promise whatsoever, which shall admit, even by implication, that I have been guilty of any wrong in the matter.
Mr. Clay. I did not make any allusion to what has passed. I simply expressed a wish in relation to the future-in reference to the future. was in hopes that the Senators might be ready to present some obligations that the matter should go no further.
Mr. Foote. Mr. President, I feel the obligation as much as any one I have only this to say: I am a constitution-loving man. I know that I have constitutional rights, and I am in the habit of maintaining them upon the floor of the Senate, and I am not disposed to infringe the rights of othI never threatened a human being in my life with personal danger
. and consequently I never executed a threat. I have never worn arms in my life for the purpose of making an attack upon any man, nor unless! had myself been threatened with personal violence, as I have been now My friends earnestly persuaded me, being diminutive in size and in feeble health, and being actually menaced, to wear arms in my own defence. It was a painful thing to do. I am not in the habit of doing so. I put on arms, supposing it possible that I might be attacked, and simply for the purpose of defending myself
. Having a constitutional right to bear arms in my own defence, I exercised it.
Mr. Mangum (interposing.) I hope the honorable Senator will indulge me one moment. I move that the doors of the Senate be closed.
Mr. FootE. I trust not.
Mr. Mangum. I find it protested against on every side, and I will not insist on it.
Mr. Foote. I hope my friend will not insist upon it, when public esplanation is necessary on my part. Now, Mr. President, I say again, that
I do now, and I shall always, wear arms for defence, whenever I suppose myself in danger. Sir, I never have assailed any man, young or old, in my life, either by menace or in actual attack. It is only when I consider my. self in danger that I have done it. I have always preferred a different mode of settling such matters, and consequently have always kept the door wide open for honorable satisfaction, in order to avoid anything of this kind.
In reply to the Senator from Kentucky, who is entitled to the respect and praise of us all for his chivalry and his high sense of honor, I have no hesitation in saying to him that I consider it exceedingly improper to wear arms for the purpose of attacking any one, or to form a scheme for the purpose of attacking any one, or to do anything towards the execution of a scheme of violence growing out of this affair. I have no hesitation in saying, that in what occurred here a few days since, I was satisfied. regards what has occurred here to-day, I attach very little importance to it. I have never made, and I shall never make, an attack upon any member of the Senate ; but I shall stand firmly and calmly prepared to defend myself from any dangers that threaten me, when they are exhibited. shall seek—and for reasons known to honorable Senators—no further remedy than the present hour has afforded. At the same time, I must say that I stand upon the ground which compels me, as a man of honor, to do and perform whatever I may have been invited to do.
Ai the solicitation of several members, Mr. F. yielded the floor, remarking, that if it was proposed to act upon the resolution now, he would suspend any remarks for the present.
Mr. Dickinson. I wish merely to make a remark, in order that my action may not be misunderstood. I have been in this body six years, and my own course will indicate substantially what I think with regard to pro
After the confusion was partly quelled here, I called the attention of the Chair to the business, and, from the remark made by the Senator from Missouri, I understood him to say that the matter was not thus to be disposed of. Allow me to say that I had no expectation of proceeding with the business. My object in calling the attention of the Chair to the business in hand was to induce quiet and order on the part of Senators. I had no expectation or desire to see this matter shuffled off. It is altogether too grave an affair to be so treated, and I concur entirely in the motion of the Senator from Wisconsin [Mr. Dodge,] in relation to the investigation of this affair.
Mr. Hale rose, but gave way at the earnest request of
Mr. BENTON, who said: I owe the Senator from New York a word of explanation. It struck me that the object of the Senator, in calling the attention of the Chair to proceeding with the order of business, was as if nothing happened, and I said that I did not choose to have the matter passed over as lightly as that.
Mr. Hale. I desire to make a single remark of explanation, in answer to the Senator from Arkansas [Mr. BORLAND.) I cannot be misunderstood when I say that I have no personal feeling to gratify. Of course the Senator from Mississippi (Mr. Foote) understands it. I do not know a human being towards whom I have the least cause of enmity in the world; and I will take occasion to say here what would not perhaps be proper to say on another occasion, in relation to an affair that happened between the honorable Senator from Mississippi and myself when I first became a member of
5--Sen. Doc. 170.
priety and order.
this body, which was the subject of newspaper comment. Soon after that occurrence we had an amicable adjustment between us; and there is now no Senator with whom I have had more pleasant intercourse since that time than with the honorable Senator from Mississippi. That is the cause of my suggesting this now.
Now, sir, with regard to this matter, the whole world will know it. The crowd in the gallery, and on the floor of the Senate, see it. The news of this transaction is already going upon the telegraph with lightning speed, to the remotest borders of the Republic. And do we think we can still the fact that violence has been threatened, and arms have been exhibited within the American Senate? These facts are notorious already, and it is idle to shut our eyes to another fact, that rumor, with her hundred tongues, will magnify this affair ten, and perhaps a hundred fold. Perhaps it may be rumored at St. Louis, before the sun goes down to night, that there has been a fight on the floor of the American Senate, and several Senators have been shot, and are weltering in their gore. (Laughter.] Even this suggestion is not too extravagant. It is not only for the purpose of vindicating the character of the Senate, but to set history right, and inform the public as to what did take place, that I made the suggestions which I do, and which I hope to find seconded by the Senators from Michigan and from North Carolina.
In conclusion, sir, let me simply say, that if the appointment of this committee shall be referred to the chair, I beg most sincerely that I may not be appointed upon it myself.
Mr. BORLAND-I am well aware that the Senator from New Hampshire is right when he says that the eyes of the world are upon the Senate, but, for that very reason I think there is less necessity for any investigation. For my part, I cannot see what is the use of it. Every body knows what has been done, and the investigation will show no more. I suppose the reporters of the Senate, whose business it is to note everything that is said, will have written it down, and it will appear in the prints of to-morrow. I see, therefore, no necessity for investigation. What I intended to say was this, that I did not attach as much importance to a committee as others, because I really did not apprehend any danger. I saw no cause for apprehending danger. With regard to my own course of conduct, during the short term of service I have rendered here, I believe I have never commited any breaches of the peace, nor committed any acts of violence upon this floor, and I trust I never shall. If I have difficulties to settle with Senators, I shall take another place.
The question being then taken upon the resolution, it was agreed to, in the following form:
Resolved–That a committee of seven be appointed to investigate the disorder of to-day in the Senate, and that they report to the Senate what befits the occasion, and have power to examine witnesses and take testimony in the case.
Mr. Mangum moved that the Chair appoint the committee, with the provision that, if any members declined to serve on that committee, the Chair should be at liberty to appoint others in their place.
The question being taken upon this motion, it was agreed to.
Mr. Clay said-It is always unpleasant to differ with the presiding officer, and, as I can accomplish my object in an equally short time, I with