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The southern press. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1850-1852, June 27, 1850, Image 1

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Officx, Pennsylvania Avenue south side, between
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Vol. 1* Washington, Thursday* June 27, 18JO. Ho. lO.
I 1 II ' "II I "I II??WL! ! ' '.. . ' 1 I 11 '- " 11 "- 1 - ?
Hon. S. W. INGE, at AlrtMmw.
Mr. INGE next obtained the floor, and
I propose to discuss, the policy of the Ad- j
ministration in reference to the Territories
of New Mexico and California, the constitutional
rights of the South therein, and the '
probable consequences of their violation.
Admonished by the history of this Gov- <
eminent, which is a narrative of aggressions I
by the North upon the South?of faith bro- '
keu and compromises disregarded in the on- (
ward career of power?I do not feet that itj ,
jj,incumbent upon a Southern Reprfesenta-! ,
five to offer any measure for the adjustment; (
of existing difficulties. I have no more!
peace-otie rings to lay at the feet of power, to
be indignantly spurned. If a returning J
sense of justice should at any time actuate
the majority to propose a settlement consis- |
tent with our rights and honor, they cannot ,
doubt its readv acceptance. Until that i
time, the appropriate discharge ot my duty
will lead me to expose the devices of fraud,
to resist the assaults of power, and to defend
the South, by whomsoever assailed.
The message of the Executive distinctly
announces the policy of the Administration.
This policy has been adopted after the most
thorough investigation, and is presented to
us as the final result of long and anxious reflection.
Coming from the highest functionary
known to the Constitution of the
country, it claims from this House a candid '
and dispassionate consideration. The in- :
fluence of an executive recommendation is
usually all powerful; like the whistle ol
Rhoderic Dhu, it rallies a whole clan to its i
support. But, in the present case, ominous '
signs of discord are already apparent on the \
other side of the House; and its seems that t
the present Executive is doomed to the fate <
ot the unfortunate Actaeon, who was torn to '
Utr kia atnn k aii n/ls W kntaftop rnoti
uictca uj uio vnu ijuvaitua* ?? uaibivi UIOJ <
ne the fate of his author, however, or the :
views of members in regard to the details ol 1
the policy suggested, a majority of this J
House will concur in its most important recommendation.
This message changes the aspect of 4
sectional question; it supersedes an old issue
and presents a new one. The "Wilmot
Proviso" is no longer the question of the
day; it has given place to the "California '
Proviso," which is presented to this House '
and the country with the unqualified endorsement
of the Executive It is impor- <
tant that the people interested should be ad- 5
vised of this change and the motives which j
prompted it. The open defiance of the i
South to the Wilmot Proviso," and the f
sternly expressed determination to resist it j
"at %11 hazards and to the last extremity," \
havesrwakened the Union-loving propensi- I
ties of this administration and its Northern 1
supporters. The representatives of the
North, with the exception of a few "distinctive
Free-Soilers," are willing to abandon?r-nay
have already abandoned?the
"Wilmot Proviso," and all are coming, in
unbroken phalanx, to the support of the Ex- :
ecutive recommendation; believing the
South will resist the Wilmot Proviso, with
characteristic discretion they recede. On
the other hand, the South are not committed
against the present admission of California
as a State, and it is believed that, with the
whole power of this Administration exerted
in its favor, and by an invocation to the >
party prejudices of our people, the Amini^- <
tration party every where will support thft i
measure; and thus, by a division of our
strength, (which was irresistible, when
united against the Wilmot Proviso,) the
South will be Dowerlesa. and submission to
the California proviso inevitable. I am foi
the union of the South, in support of the
Constitution and of the rights which descended
to us by inheritance; but there is only
1 one basis of union for Southern men?opposition
to the declared policy of the present
Administration, which seeks to build
up an imperishable power on the ruins ol
the Constitution and the South.
No argument is necessary to show the
identity of these two measures. The Wilmot
Proviso excludes the citizens of the South
with their property from emigrating to the
Territories of the Union, and appropriates
the common property of the several sovereignties
composing the Union to the exclusive
use and occupation of th?"people of the
non-slaveholding States, and is enacted by
Congress primarily. ?The California Proviso
is the same thing, literally and in substance,
incorporated into a so-called constitution,
and Congress is recommended, by
the present admission of California, to enact
it secondarily. The message clearly assumes
that the people of the slaveholding
States have no rights in these Territories,
and recommends the latter measure, from obvious
reasons of political expediency, as the
preferable mode of exclusion. In the opinion
of the Administration, the question now
is, not whether the South shall be excluded,
but in what manner it shall be done. 1
must be permitted to decline the discussion
of a false issue ; to insist upon my right to
be heard upon the merits of this question,
and to protest, in the name of the Southern
people, against this prejudgment of their
The origin of this policy may be seen in
the movements of General Riley early in the
preceding year. His first act was the issuance
of a proclamation declaring the Mexican
law to be in force ; laying off the country
into districts, and calling upon the transient
adventurers who had been lured thither
to elect delegates, to assemble in convention
for tbe formation of a constitution, preparatory
to its admission, as a State, into the
Union. But Riley is a plain, blunt old soldier,
more competent to the work of demolishing
than of organizing communities ; and
none know better than the presifa Executive
that military and drip grpatness are not
always inseparable. To ponsummate tbe
designs of the cabinfot, teamdem art em, Mr.
King, then a member of Congreaa elect from
Georgia, was instructed to follow General
Riley. The message informs us that?
" With a riew to tha AuthAil execution of the
treaty, so far as lay in the power of the Executive,
and to enable Congress to act at the present
leasion with a* MT knowledge and u little difficulty
as possible on nil matters of interest in thase
rerritories, I sent the Hon. Thomas Butler King
ts bearer of despatches to 'California, and certain
?Ulcere to California and New' Mexico, whose
luties are particularly defined in the accompanying
etlera of instruction addressed to them severally
>y the proper department.-"
The accompanying letter of Mr. Crawnrd
"You are fully poesnseed of the President's
riews, and can with propriety suggest to the peo>le
of California the adoption of measures. best
aleulated to give them effect."
If any doubt exist that the initiatory proreeding*
of Riley were approved by the
Cabinet, or that he only did what King was
luthorbeod to do. by the carle blanche of Mr.
Clayton, 1 need only refer to the extracts
read by the gentleman from Virginia, [Mr.
Seddonl?the tot from the commander ol
she eme station, as fbttows r ?
" The steamer Edith has been sent to Mazatlan
ror me necessary intelligence, una, on ncr arrival
with information that no other than a revenue law
Had been paaaed, General Riley issued a proclamation
for the election of the necessary executive
tnd judiciary officers under the existing laws, and
recommending, at the same time, the election of
lelegates to a convention to form a State Cottsti;ution.
Mr. King arrived at the time these proclanations
were about being issued, and it wot matter
f great congratulation that the Government, by
mtieipation, had approved of the latter measure.
Every means will be used to give the people of
California an opportunity of expressing their
wishes on this point, and of bringing the matters
jo a happy conclusion."
The second from a dispatch of the Secretary
of War to General Riley, dated August
24, 1849 :
"War Department, August 24, 1849.
" In view of the exercise of the most important
lolitical right which appertains to the people of
California?that of forming a constitution and
taking admission into the Union of these States?
this Department has watched with great care and
lolicituae the steps already taken to effect these
jbjects. Regarding your proclamation of the 3d
Fune last as a notice intended in part to render
popular action uniform in respect to the desired
irganization into A more perfect government, it is
teen, with great satisfhction, that your proposi.ions
had been accepted with great cheerfulness
tnd alacrity, except iu few instances, where it is
tupposed selfish and unpatriotic motives prevailed.
*? * * *
" Secretary of War.
" Brevet Brig. Gen. Riley,
" Monterey, California."
But, as more conclusive than all else, ]
refer to the following extract from the proc
amation itself:
" The method here indicated to attain what is
lesired by all, viz ; a more perfect political organisation,
is deemed the most direct and safe that
am be adopted, and one fully authorized by law.
[t is the course advised by the President and by the
Secretaries of State and of War of the United States,
ind is calculated to avoid the innumerable evilc
vliioh must necessarily result from any attempt at
llegttl local legislation. It is therefore hoped that
t will meet the approbation of the people of California,
and that all good citizens will unite in carrying
it into execution.
'Given at Monterey, California, this 3d day of
lune, A. D. 1849. B. RILEY,
" Bt.Brig. Gen. U.S.A., and Gov. of California.
" Official: H. W. Halleck,
" Bt. Capt. and Sec'y of State."
The verbal and confidential instructions
given to Mr. King are not imparted in the
message ; but they can be ascertained with
facility and certainty by looking to his act*
and declarations, which are presumed tc
accord therewith. The pregnant sentence
last quoted evidently refers to " views " not
expressed in the written instructions, and
which the Administration deemed it expedient
to reserve as a part of the hidden history
of- this transaction. From various sources,
official and unofficial, we are advised that
Mr. King approved of the plan of operations
originated in the proclamation of General
Riley, urged on their rapid execution, and
in a few months after his arrival in California,
the transient adventurers in San Francisco
and its neighborhood elected delegates, I
in conformity with the requirements of this
proclamation, who speedily thereafter assembled
in conventirn and adopted the constitution
which the President says, " I earnestly
recommend may receive the sanction of Congress."
We have strong reasons to believe that
the " proviso" incorporated into this constitution
was approved by Mr. King, who
was understood to speak by authority of the
Administration in support of its views, and
who could "with propriety suggest to the
people of California the adoption of the
measures best calculated to give them j
Put this is of little imnortance in mensur
ing the responsibility of the Cabinet. The
Constitution of California has been published
by the press of the country, and is accessible
to all. The Cabinet have duly con- j
sidered its provisions. They know that a
few thousand trancient adventurers, allured
by the auri sacra fames, from every quarter
of the globe, to the shores of San Francisco
and Sacramento, have, without the authority
of Congress, elected delegates to a convention,
which convention has defined the
limits of a State, extending through ten degrees
of latitude on the Pacific, with to
area sufficient for half a dozen States of the
first magnitude, and embracing all that is
valuable for mining, commercial, or agricultural
purposes within the Territory ol
California. And afte^au assertion of sovreignty
over this national acquisition?less
justifiable than the decrees of Cortes in the
palace of Montezuma, or the legislation of
ri7arm unrtn fallpn Ihrnnr nf tlit> Inrat
?the convention adopted a fundamental
clause, forever excluding the people of the
South from its occupancy. With a full
knowledge of the adoption of the slavery
restriction on the Constitution of California,
the President " eamestly recommends that
it may receive the sanction of Congress."
The message argues in support of the restriction
as follows:
"In advising an early application by the people
of these territories for admission ae States, I vu
actuated principally by an earnest desire to afford
to the wisdom and patriotism of Congress the opSortunity
of afoiding pcfcti*ipn? pf hhtfer and angry
issentions among tie people of the United States.
"Under the Constitution every State has the
right of establishina, and flrom time to time altering,
its municipal laws and domestic institutions,
independently'of every ofhpr Sun# of the General
Government, subject only to the prohibitions and
guarantees expressly set forth in the Constitution
of the United States."
Lest the passage of the 44 Wilraot provi
jo" by Congress might occasion " bitter and
angry dissensions among the people of the
United States," the Californians were advised
to adopt it. Their right to do so is
considered unquestionable, because " every
State has the right of establishing and from
time to time altering, its municipal laws and
domestic institutions." The first statement
assumes that the Southern people only object
to a certaiu form of exclusion, and will
acquiesce in every other that the Cabinet
may suggest and the Californians adopt;
the second, that California is a State with
full sovereignty, when in fact it has not vet
been advanced to the rank of a territorial
dependency of the Union.
When the nartnle nf f!nlifr?rnia alter a
suitable period of territorial tutelage, and in
i pursuance of au act qf Congress, assemble in
hs&fftffcfition toadopt a constitution, tbey will
I possess the power, " under the general principles
of the Constitution," to determine
their own domestic institutions. But the
scheme to exclude the people of half the
; States of this Confederacy by the present
population now roaming over that Territory,
is in conflict with the whole spirit of the Constitution,
and ought not " to receive the
.sanction of Congress."
From all the facts disclosed, it appears
that the present State organization of California
is the mere creature of a Cabiuet intrigue,
designed to relieve the present Executive
from either an approval or a veto of
the Wilmot Proviso. 1 have no hesitation
in asserting, that the policy recommended is
more obnoxious to the Sohth than the measure
it was intended to supersede. The
Wilmot Proviso is a bold and open exercise
of power by the Congress of the United
States, which has the admitted right to legislate
for the Territories, subject to the restraints
of the Constitution; while the people
who have assumed to incorporate the
same proviso into the constitution of California
have no color of authority to legislate
for any purpose or to the most limited extent.
The several States composing this Confederation
acquired an indefeasible title to
the Territories of California and New Mex
ico Dy the treaty ol tsiuadalupe Hidalgo,
the ratifications of which were exchanged
on the 30th of May, 1848. The several
States, or the people thereof, became joint
tenants of this common domain, entitled to
equal rights therein, which the Federal Government,
as the agent of all, is under the
highest obligation to protect. In accordance
with this obligation, it devolved on the
last Congress to extend over it Territorial
governments, which would invite the emigration
of American citizens, with their
property of every description, from every
section bf the Union. But the prevailing
conflict of opinions and passions was fatal
to harmonious action. Congress expired
without the exercise of its legitimate authority
over the Territories, leaving thepo
subject to the Constitution of the United
States, which is "the supreme law of the
land to the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,
"made under the authority of the United
States;" and to the local laws of the Territory,
as they existed at the conclusion ol
the treaty, regulating the relations of the inhabitants
with each other, not in conflict
with either the Constitution or the treaty.?
The termination of the war left a government
de facto in full operation, competent
to administer the laws, until a more effective
government could be provided by Congress.
Upon that subject, Mr. Buchanan says:
"In the meantime the condition of the people of
California is anomalous, and will require on their
Sirt the exercise of great prudence and discretion,
y the conclusion or the treaty of peace, the military
government which was established over them
under the laws of war, as recognized by theprac
tice of all civilized nations, has ceased to derive
its authority from this source of power. But is
there, for this reason, no government in California?
Are life, liberty, and property under the
orotection of no existinp' authorities ? This would
be a singular phenomenon in the face of the world,
and especially among American citizens, who are
distinguished above all other people for their lawabiding
character. Fortunately, they are not reduced
to this sad condition. The termination of
the war left an existing government?a government
dt. facto?in full operation ; and this will continue,
with the presumed consent of the people,
until Congress snail provide for them a territorial
government. The great law of necessity justifies
this conclusion. The consent of the people is
irresistibly inferred from the fact that no civilized
community could possibly desire to abrogate an
existing government, when the alternative presented
would be to place themselves in a state of
anarchy, beyond the protection of all laws, and
reduce them to the unhappy necessity of submitting
to the dominion of the strongest.
This was the condition of California and
New Mexico when the present Administration
succeeded to office, on the 4th of March
I now proceed to inquire what were the
duties of the Executive in relation to these
territories ? Under our form of government,
the President possesses neither legislative
nor judicial power. The Constitution distinctly
defines the several departments and
the appropriate functions of each, vesting in
the President powers purely executive :
"The executive power shall be vested in a President
of the United Slates of America."
"The President shall l>e commander-in-chief nf
the army and navy of the United Statea."
"He shall take care that the laws ahull he faithftillv
We have seen that a government it facto wan in
operation, with full capacity for the preservation
of order and the efficient administration of the
laws. It wtu) hiu duty.tq the extent of his power,
to maintain the existing government uiitil'Congress
exerted its paramount power to abrogate it,
and to " take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
'.The Con?iilutinn was " the supreme
law of the land/'and if it had been faithfully executed?if
the great principle which it embodies
of equal rights to nil the citizens of the several
States of this confederacy had been recognized
and enforced in that territory?a slaveholding people
would now and forever hereafter control its
political destiny. But, instead of sustaining the
government it facto, the first movement of die
Administration wus to send out an emissary to
instigate its overthrow. Instead of taking care
" that the laws be faithfully executed," the Con-'
stitution, which i? "the supreme law of the land,"
has been contemptuously disregarded, and the <
civil code of a brevet brigadier general recognized ;
as "the supreme law of the land." Instead of
awaiting the action of Congress, the only lawmaking
power of the Government, the Cabinet
usurps the power of legislation; and, not being itself
of easy locomotion, does the work by proxy.
The task Of giving a government to California,
.which, at thelaat session, 990 members of Congress
found it impossible to perform, is readily done by a
single member,under a deputation from t ne Cabinet.
Verilv, Mr. King has discovered that there is more
potency in a Cabinet authorisation than in a
commission derived from seventy thousand freemen
of Georgia; that it is better to serve one than
many masters.
If the past history of our countrj had (Vimished
no precedents to guide the Administration, its interference
in the affairs of California would excite
less surprise, and might be cltaritubly imputed to
a misconception of its powers. But at least two ;
cases?strictly analagous?are indelibly impressed
upon our records; one (the acquisition of Lotus- j
iana) under the administration of Mr. Jefferson, <
in 1803; the other (the acquisition of Florida) under
that of Mr. Monroe, in^820?both of the first
magnitude in their day, entitled now to the highest
importance as preecdehts, because their consideration
elicited all the wisdom and virtue of
their respective eras, and. more than all, because
'"A AdtaivKakAyl tKf> A/I 111 I 111 ut Mil I ft t) nf
inweir cnmuiiouru uu??*? ?? w.
"our earlier Presidents," ill the purer and better
days of the Republic. Both were acquisition* of
territory front foreign powsr"??*eUk'd oy a foreign
population, and ucquired by a treaty or cession at
in the present case, and were Subject to the same
lawe, viz: the Constitution of the United States,
the treaties of cessions, and the private local laws,
not in conflict with either. Did Mr. Jefferson
send a political emissary to Louisiana to advise
the contented Creoles, numberingabout 90,000, to
rise up in defiance of the powers of Congress, and
establish a revolutionary government subversive
of the government dc facto 7 If tiny had done so,
would ne have " earnestly reconuntiided" to Con,
gress the immediate admission of that immense
territory, containing an area of in<Ve than 1,100000
sqithre miles, as one State into this Union ?
On the contrary, Mr. Jefferson called Congress together
on the 17th of October, 1803, t\ree weeks
earlier than the day fixed by the preceding Congress,
and submitted the country to its jurisdiction.
A similar policy was pursued by Mr. Monroe,
who followed the illustrious example of Jefferson;
from which the present Cabinet, though pledged
to imitate our "earlier Presidents," has Veen the
first to depart. 1 repeat, "the first to depart."
notwithstanding the inferences which may be
drawn from the following sentence of tin message:
"It is understood that the people of the western
part of California have formed a plan of a State
constitution, and will soon submit the same u the
judgment of Congress, and apply for admiiViion
as a State. This course on tneir part, though in
accordance with, was not adopted exclusively in
conseouence of, any expression of my wishes, inasmuch
as measures tending to this end had been
promoted by the officers sent there by my predecessor,
and were already in active progress of exv
ecution beforeany communication from mereuchcd
Very true. Riley was sent to California by the
I preceding Auiiuiiiniruuuii; uui met pruciaiiiuuuu
was not issued until the arrival of King, and
it was ascertained that the present government
had, " by anticipation," approved of that measure
If King's instructions had conflicted with
Riley's programme of organization, of course the
proclamation would have been suppressed; for
King was at once recognized by the public functionaries
in that distant province as tne bearer ol
the Sultan's firman, from whom there was no
appeal, and no alternative but obedience or the
bow-string. The present Cabinet dare not make
the charge directly that Mr. Polk gave countenance
to the scheme which has been so successfully
carried out under their Administration. They
can only venture to say that measures tending
that way had been promoted by officers sent there
by Mr. Polk, from which some may draw the inference
that he approved the course adopted by
his own subordinates. If made directly or inferentially,
I should feel authorized, firoin an exainU
nation of the subject, to regard it us a craven aspersion
of the chnracter of that emiuerit statesman,
whose fame is ifow the fame of his country,
of which you, and I, and all of us are the guardians.
In his annual message of Decemlwr S5th, IH48,
the last official communication embracing this subject,
we find his views stated with the dignity and
independence befitting the importance ??f t,te subject
and his high official station. Uiiumc-o ... equivocation
and untrumelled by the restraints of
political expediency, his opinion on rhe subject of
the Wilmot Proviso was proclaimed to Congress,
with the notification that the enactment would be
resisted by the Presidential veto. At the same
time, he urged that it was " the solemn duty of
Congress to provide, with the least practicable delay,
for New Mexico and California, regularly
organized territorial governments." Congress
was further admonished of the danger of delay,
and earnestly invoked, for the sake of the Union,
" to adjust at its present session this, the-only dangerous
question wnich lies in our path."
These recommendations are too plain to be mistaken
or misrepresented, and are, in effect, a die- i
claimer on the part of the Executive of legislative
power, and a reference of the subject to Congress
for its adjustment; they are a condemnation " by
anticipation" of the proceedings of Riley and
Khtg, and an unanswerable refutation of the views
.V.? T"V.n ?,l,n|0 n/.lin,r r.1
President Polk may he summed up in a few words
?the immediate adjustment of this question by Congress
without the Wiltnot Proviso. This was announced
in his first message after the acquisition
of those territories, with singular felicity and
power, and reiterated in each succeeding one with
an earnestness of feeling and a force of argument
which increased with the imminence of the danger.
A recurrence to the action of the late Executive is
gratifying to his friends.. He did not look for the
rules of nis conduct to selfish expediency, but to
the unchanging principles of the Constitution.
He did not rely upon a concealment of his opinions
for the success of his Adminstration, but
upon a thorough understanding of himself, his
motives, and his principles, by the great mass of
his countrymen. It was his characteristic to meet
danger with heroism, and to grapple with the passions
and prejudices hostile to the Constitution
and the Union, and overpower them by the irresistible
force of truth. In vivid and sublime contrast
with his successors, he sought safety neither
in a concealment bf opinion or postponement of
action. I am happy to believe that nis countrymen,
forgetful of past party divisions, are now
paying to his memory the tribute of their admiration
and gratitude; that his posthmous fame is undarkened
by the mist? which surrounded its morning
An Administration which shuns responsibility,
practises concealment, nnd resorts to the cunning
devices of political expediency, cannot long survive
the public contempt. The present one, not
yet a year old, wears the aspect of effete and
tmbectle senility. In the hour of its conception,
the seeds of death were planted in the heart of the
embryo, and the throes and agonies of its parturition
were unmistakable evidences that they had
germinated and would speedily fructify into a harvest
of death. The living principle of popular
supjwrt no longer gives sustenance to its tottering
decrepitude, Its recommendation of inaction, in
reference to the question which of all others demands
immediate action, springs from a consciousness
of weakness, and is the wail of the sick old
man, who begs for repose when the deepening
shades of eternal night are closing around him.
But the hiss of human passions by this querulous
appeal cannot be hushed. Events roll on, casting
their lengthened shadows before I hem, threatening,
in their unchecked course the destruction of
the Constitution and the Union.
I trust that the remarks I have felt constrained
by a sense of duty to make, touching the proposed
policy of the Administration, will in no degree be
attributed to partisan opposition. My object is to
discuss the question of the rights of the Southin the
Territories of California and New Mexico, its
prrsent aspect?to show that the Wilmot "proviso"
has been susperseded by the Executive recommendation,
which the South may and will
defeat, if they meet it with firm, united, and determined
resistance. Regarding this as a practical
question, I shall insist not only upon the abstract
right, but the actual usufruct of the South in this
common property; and I acknowledge no party
obligations which can restrain me in demanding
both. No dangers which threaten the diaaolutjon
of parties or or the Union art terrible enough to
justify a further sacrifice on our part. I appeal to
the Constitution, and demand for my'section the
right to carry ne^ro slaves upon the land of which I
ihey are joint tenanUi. To those who are disposed
:o resist my views, I commend a more attentive
reading of that instrument. They will find that
t not only guarantees slavery where it exists, but
provides for its extension. In the States where
davea existed, they were made the basis of appor:ionment
and taxation, thereby contributing two
if the great elements neeessury to republican government,
viz : representation to express its voice,
ind money for its support.
To extend the institution indefinitely, it prohibited
the passage of any law to stop the importation
of slaves lYoni Africa, and elsewhere, prior to the
year 1808. Another clause, with a view to its
perpetuatiou forever, provides A>r the re-capture of
lugiuvca who escape 10 non-siuvenoiumg oiaies.
Notwithstanding these plain stipulations between
the slaveholding and non-slaveholding States, constituting
the essential, vital provisions of the Constitution,
without which all admit the Confederation
could not have been formed, we are cantingly
told that '* slavery is a sin, and the North is opposed
to its extension.". ' We, the philanthropists
of this day, are better than the sages and
heroes, purified by the trials of the Revolution
and covered with its glories, who assembled in the
old hall of the Confederation in 1787." I have
no reply to make to these pharisnical pretensions;
they are beneath contempt. I am content with the
religion of the Bible, ana the Constitution of our
fathers, uncorrupted by the comments of the
pseudo moralists and statesmen who now shed
their coruscations upon us. I shall certainly not
condescend to reply to the puling sophistry niton
this subject, so often heard in this House. Were
1 disposed to argue the question of slavery, without
reference to the Constitution, in all its relations,
religious, moral, social, and political, no
fear of its successful vindication would restrain
ine. It would seem to be profanation to call an
institution of society irreligious or immoral, which
iN expressly and repeatedly sanctioned by the
word of God; which existed in the tents of the
patriarchs, and in the households of His own
chosen people; and a perversion of the truth or
history to aenounce that institution as a social or
political evil, which existed in all the free States
of antiquity, and is inseparably connected with the
arts and arms, the science and literature, the painting
and statuary of Greece and Rome?upoq
which was erected a civilization which lit up the
ancient world, and now illumes our own 1 But in
our country we have the moat striking and brilliant
illustrations of the benefits of slavery, in the
vast areas redeemed from the wilderness, where
malaria forbade the emigration of whites, and
which now teem with the production of Southern
staples; in the large amount of valuable exports,
the pfroduct of slave labor, which freight the keelt
of commerce to every harbor of the world, and
bring in return imports of corresponding value;
?iw. i .....i ,.c
people, without example in any other social organization;
in our political stability, where no armed
police is necessary for the suppression of mobs,
and the mace of the civil magistrate is omnipotent.
But I cannot pursue these general reflections,
which are out of place when uttered here. Our
right on each side grew out of the Constitution,
and 1 am willing to abide by its stipulations and
compromises without re-opening for controversy
questions which were definitively settled by its
adoption. Slavery being recognized by the Constitution,
and provision made for its perpetuation
and extension in the clauses referred to, I consider
all the parties to it, according to every
known principle of legal construction, as estopped
Sy the record from assailing it bv word or act.
The people of the North could with much more
propriety assail any other species of properly
ncla under the municipal laws of the several
States; for, with two exceptions, viz: the right of
property in negro slaves, and the exclusive right
of authors and inventors "to their respective
writings and discoveries," the Constitution does
not recognize the private rights of property, nor
stipulate for their protection, but leaves them at
they existed under the municipal laws. It results
that we have a double protection: the municipal
laws of the several States, and the express stipulations
of the Constitution. Slaves were regarded
its a kind of property entitled to special and peculiar
favor, and were therefore singled out by the
Constitution from the mass of other property?
invested with higher dignity and guarded with
greater security?too precious to be intrusted
solely to State laws, the Constitution has thrown
its protecting asgis around it.
Upon all these points, however, Northern re-1
prescntntives pretend to differ with us, and insist
upon the right to exclude the South from the common
property. It remains to be seen whether the
South will meet the "California proviso," with
resistance, "at every hazard,"and to the last ex"
... .u. ,i;J iu <> > 1
am unwilling; to live under the Union without the
Constitution; the North cannot live and flourish
without the Union. Much as they hate slavery,
they love the Union more, and are willing to go
no further in their aggressions than is consistent
with its duration. This is strikingly illustrated
in the history of the "WiJmot Proviso."
Upon the first in'roduction of that measure in
the 29th Congress, it received the sanction of thh
House, as it aid at every succeeding session until
the present. Within a few days past it has been
laid upon the table by the voles of those known
to be pledged to the exclusion of slavery from
every toot of the common domain. This is a movement
to elude Southern resistance and save the
Union. They clung with iron tenacity to this
favorite measure, until convinced that the choice
was between the Proviso and the Union; and then
true to their instincts, they chose the latter. But
the South has not gained the battle. The enemy
has only changed front, to wheel into line, and
renew the assault. Our only safety now is in
standing to our arms.
They have deposed their old leaders?Hale,
Sowartl, and Gidclings?and rallied under the banner
of 'Uhe hero that never surrenders." Upon
that banner is inscribed, "the Union without the
Constitution." As the Roundheads of Cromwell,
when they charged the foe, were ordered to sing
hosannas to the King of Hosts, they shout hosannas
to "the Union," and for the same reasons.
They know it is a word of inspiration to every
American citizen, calling up memories full ol
glory and grandeur?a word of idolatrous worship,
engraven upon the altar of our political temple.
As the Persians fall prostrate before the
rising sun, so we are expected to bow to the
omnipotence of a word. I greatly mistake the
character of our people, and underrate their intelligence,
if a recollection of past glories can make
them insensible to present shame. Not. all the
prestige which clusters around the brow of the
military hero, nor the charmed sway of the word
"Union," can lull the people of the South into
submission. The wrongs practised tinder this
Union have induced them to reflect upon ite
operations, and to inquire whether, in the course
of events, its dissolution would l?e promotive of
their security and happiness or otherwise. With
oui exunguismtig me love 01 tne fsoutn lor tne
Union, these reflection# have led to the opinion
that we have within ourselves till the elements of
wealth, prosperity and national power, which,
under a separate confederation, would be developed
with unexampled rapidity.
With a territory of more than eight hundred
thousand square miles, and a population of nine
millions, we would at least be more respectable in
dimensions and numbers than were our ancestors
of 177b', at the commencement of the revolutionary
contest and, if the worst calmi#os resulted from
dissolution, would not have a sturdier foe to encounter
nor a more protracted triumph over oppression.
But there would be no cause of war, in
the event of separation : as our Northern neighbor#
would be no longer responsible for the "sin of
slavery," of course they would let us alone, in our
harmless pursuit of happiness and prosperity,
j Our policy would not induce us to have much connection
with them. Manufacturing skill is more
advanced and labor cheaper in Ola tlmn in New
England; and tho latter would be consequently relieved
from the manufacture annually of 500,000
bags of Southern cotton, a# a direct communication
would immediately spring up between our
Southern ports and Europe; tne coastwise trade
would be measurably broken up, and we would
110 longer have need of Northern bottom#. Our
exports are now about double those of the North,
and our imports should correspond; but they do
not average much more than one-fourth. The
explanation of this is, that our import* do not
notr return to us directly, but much the larger portion
reach ua indirectly through the ports of the
Worth, and ara there taxed with the onerous nroAts
of capitalists, importers, merchants, shipowners,
and others, who thus mainly subsist upon
Southern labor.
This unnatural course of trade is one of the effects
of the Union, and, in the absence of ita commercial
regulations, the natural laws of trade
would resume their asc endency, and the services
of the commercial classes of the North be no longer
required. Her tonnage now is inconsiderable,
and Iter shipping would be insufficient for the
great demands of our exports and imports ; but
the English ship-owners would underbid those of
the North, who would not be required to serve us
in this way.
What Would be lite effects of all this upon the
great commercial marts now revelling in oppufence
??upon her nourishing nuuiuAtcturing towns,
swelling into the importance of cities??upon her <
vast tonnage, increasing with the iuc-reoHS of
Southern production* ? I leave these to be answered
by the demagogue who, in the event of
dissolution, would be doomed ,to howl forever
amid tlie desolation he will have caused.
The Federal Government raises annually from
imports more than thirty millions of dollars which
go into the national treusury, and indirectly un
immense sum is levied upon the South for the
benelit of Northern manufacturers. This revenue
is expended chiefly in the North ; and while the
South pays tribute to this Government, she is
scarcely permitted to share in the largess.
Under a separate Southern Confederation, we
would be relieved of these burdens; the wealth of
our soil would accumulate in the hands of its natural
proprietors, to be expended within our own
limits in works of utility and taste.
Our monopoly of the valuable staples of cotton,
tobacco, sugar, and rice, would insnre us the chief
control of the commerce of the world. Our natural
facilities of intercommunication would invite
an extended internal commerce. Holding the
mouth of the Mississippi, and the most important
part of its navigable trunk, ull the produce of the
non-slavfeholding States, which seeks egress to the
ocean through its channel, would pay us tribute.
Cuba, with her institution of slavery and kindred
sympathies, is ready to spring into our embrace,
and a field of indefinite extension invites us South
and West of the Rio Grande. With these views
of future wealth and grandeur lightening up the
path of our destiny, can you believe that we fear
to tread it alone? When these points, barely
*: i A.li? ~i-i ? i -ii
iiuuccu in my rcumi iva, nrc luiiy t-iunurairu 111 an
their amplitude before the Southern Convention to
assemble in Nashville in June next, can you doubt
the unanimity of the Soutli ? I believe that love
of the Union is still strong with the Southern people;
but will it be increased by a bold and free discussion
ofjhese topics?
The objepts of this convention are to maintain
the rights of the South, under the Constitution,
and save the Unioivt but I submit to the consideration
of the representatives of the North, if it
would not be better, by a timely display of magnanimity
on their part, to concede the one object,
and thereby accomplish the other, without forcing
us to this perilous expedient ? The meeting o!
this convention is decreed by the irreversibh
voice of the people, unless the action of Congress,
in due time, remove the causes of present complaint
and future apprehension ; und whilst I
avow its object to be conservative, I should be
wanting in candor were I not to declare that it
may lead to other and far different results. The
intense excitement of the public mind is comparatively
powerless now, because of the diversity of
views in regard to the proper remedy for the mis
chief. But this heat is favorable to (Vision of
mind upon subordinate details, and the recommendations
of the convention are not likely to
meet with a cold reception front the masses,
especially if they are extreme or-rcvolutionary.
Their effect will be to consecrate the public mind
upon an organized plan of action, which will be
carried into execution with a celerity and energy
which no opposition dare to encounter.
The meeting of the Convention will be preceded
by popular elections for delegates;occurring about
the same time throughout the whole South. In
this canvuss all those questions which tend to the
estrangement of the people from the Union will
necessarily be introduced, and augment, without
measure, the present excitement. With these
I causes of aggravation, who can estimate the force
of the pressure from without upon this convention?
Ime Continental Congress of '76 were swept
on by the Htorm of popular excitement to the declaration
of American Independence, which forever
dissolved our union w ith Ureal Britain. The acts
of insult and injury which kindled the fires of the
revolution were trivial, in comparison with those
which now inflame the public mind of the South.
Have our people forgotten the memorable declaration,
that "when a long train of abuses and
usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object,
evinces a design to reduce them under absolute
despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to
?i. * rr I. i i ' i
i uw uw ?iii much guvu iiiuciii, uuu iu uroviue iiuw
I guards for their future security?" I wurn the
| North, that the living truth here uttered animates
every Southern heart, and that every voice in
that Convention will proclaim it; that millions of
treeinen will shout their joyous responses, until
every hill and valley of the South resound with
the anthem. Do not delude yourselves with the
fata! error, that the resistance of the South is confined
to one form of aggression?the Wilmot Proviso;
and that your objects can be accomplished
by adopting the substitute proposed by the Cabinet.
The same resistance will be offered to the
admission of California. We know that the latter
measure would be followed by immediate results
more injurious to us than the application of the
Wilmot Proviso to all the Territories of the Union.
Representation in both branches of Congress
would instantly follow its admission, and two additional
Free-soil Senators would give efficient aid
in extending this favored principle to our remaining
territory. The strict balance of power no
longer exists in the Senate, but with the aid of b
few heroic friends fVom the non-slaveholding
States, that theatre has heretofore been doubtful
battle-ground. But with any accession to the
strength of the North, the parliamentary struggle
could be 110 longer maintained. From this consideration
alone, the present admission of California
would meet with determined and unmeasured
Will the representatives of the North attempt,
by the power of numbers, to outrage the Constitution
and degrade the South by the admission of
this Territory as a State, without the offer of
some equivalent? I suggest to them to remember
that we are sworn to support the Constitution,
and could scarcely sit in taine acquiescence and
witness its open and shameful violation. The
attempted consummation of such an net would be
the overthrow of the Constitution which the
people we represent would resist by force*of arm*.
We are here as the representatives of the people,
but our obligations to the Constitution and the
South less than those of other individual citizens,
who, in the aggregate are the prople I We assume
additional obligation* when we come as representatives;
but we urc relieved from those which rested
upon us as private citizens? My individual oj>in-1
ion is, Hint it the Southern people ought to resist n
measure of aggression, niter its consummation,
we licre nre under the .same or n higher obligation
to resist its consummation. These suggestions
arc made, not in the nature of threats or menace.
I do not underrate the firmness of the North; as a
matter of discretion, it in always proper to assume
that your antagonist is firm, even if the fact Indoubtful.
But the course proper to be pursued in
any and every event is for the determination of
Southern members. I am willing to suggest, and
if my course is not approved, to follow any path
of honor which may oe pointed out by thoae who
are older and wiser. I truat that we shall stand
together ns one man, and present our breaats as
the shield of the Constitution.
I Power ok Interest.?The island which now
constitutes the city and county of New York, was
purchased of the Indians in 1626, for twenty /our
dollars ! Thia seems cheap : yet if that sum had
been invested at compound interest, at 7 per cent,
the accumulated capital would now amount to
sixty-four millions of dollars, or more than the
city and county is now worth, deducting what has
been expended on the real estate since it was pur*
I chased from the Indjaiyi. I
" The Southern Press,"?Trl-weekly,
M published on Tuesdays, Thursday, and Saturdays
of each week.
The Southern Press,"?Weekly,
Is published every Wednesday.
"or one square of 10 lines, three insertions, f I 00
? every subsequent insertion, "25
Liberal deductions made on yearly advertising.
$7- Individuals may forward the amount of their
subscriptiuus at our ruk. Address, (post-paid)
Washington City.
? I
For the purpose of perfecting a complete
adjustment of the present difficulty and obtaining
a clear acknowledgment of our
rights under the Constitution, we contend
that the u timaturn of South?the last resort?should
he the Missouri Compromise of
3ti deg. 30 m. It is so recommended by,*
the Nashville Convention, and we are
pleased to see that the suggestion meets with
a generally favorable reception by the people
of the South. It is true that this is a
concession too great to be agreeable to many,
but tho fact that it has already been agreed
to, in former years, and in a Millar case, is
a far greater argument in favor of this plan
uf settling the present difficulty than is generally
aupposed. It has now the force of
precedent, and the solemu sanction of a
treaty between the two great sections of the
Union. It is but a fresh recognition of a
principle which is already established, and
which formerly received the unqualified assent
of the American people. There is no
forfeiture ot honor on the part of the South
in nrrp.nlintr what nhn haa alr?ndv
under similar circumstances, and for the attainment
of a similar object.
But not only does the Missouri Compromise
come to u? sanctioned by the Nashville
Convention, but it will, in its adoption, settle
the present alarming difficulty, and restore
peace and a fraternal* feeling between
the now opposing sections. Run the line
through to the Pacific Ocean, and it can go
no farther.
All the territory on one side is ours, to
be in the possession, if they choose to settle
upon it, ot Southern men with their property
of every description. No new schemes of
injustice?no fresh demands can then be
made upon us by the North. "Finality"
will be given to the question?the evil of
the day?the great hobby of the fanatics.? ?
Free Soilism will receive a deadly wound?
a perfect quietus, and the foul spirit of Abolitionism
will skulk away derided and despised,
from the councils of the Nation.?
The five bleeding wounds which the Committee
of Thirteen have been so long vainly
endeavoring to heal, and the "broken arm
which the old doctor in the Washington Republic
has so assiduously desired to "fcet,"
neglecting the other wounded members, will
be made whole iiftthe twinkling of an eye!
In view of the benefits likely to result,
we would hesitate long before we disapproved
of this plan of settlement, or pronounced
it impolitic or unwise on our part to act in
reference to its adoption. It is a platform
for all to unite upon?it is nothing new?it
secures our rights against any farther invasion.
The Southern States r.an stnnrl l>v
this for the Union?for it they can stand
without the Union. It is truly a position of
impregnable strength.
Willis and Forrest?Legal Procedings.
We have already stated, among our law
intelligence, that Mr. Willis had commenced
legal proceedings against Mr. Forrest,
for the assault committed by the latter
| on the former, in Washington Square, on
Monday last, in which the damages are set
down at ten thousand dollars, or some other
nominal sum between that and a million.
Some intimations were held out from some
quarters, based principally on the remarks
of Mr. Willis before the police, that a duel
might grow out of the affair, or at least a
journey to Canada, for some such belligerent
purpose. We perceive, however, that
the fashion has changed within the last
twenty years, very considerably, in New
York, and that men of fashion do not now
think of fighting with pistols when they can
make war against each other with pettifoggers.
Well, it is perhaps as good a course
to take as any other.
As tar as Mr. Forrest is concerned, we
believe he received the intimations of such
a suit being commenced against him, with
feelings of great delight and satisfaction.
On the trial, the unfortunate artLt will have
an opportunity ol bringing forward all the
evidence in reference to the unhappy diflicumes
which caused him to proceed to the
extremity "which he did in Washington
Square?an extremity which we by no
means justify?which was contrary to law,
and cannot be approved of, whatever may
be its terrible aggravation, or the agonizing
feeling which caused him to adopt such a
course. Indeed, this atlair between Forrest
and the coterie of male dandies who were
around Mrs. Forrest while he was on professional
journeys, will be brought forward,
and the whole evidence given to the world,
from the beginning to the end?from alpha
to omega. Only a portion, and a small portion,
of the evidence has yet appeared in
the public journals?that which was given
to the Legislature of Pennsylvania. Sinco
that time, new, stronger, more powerful,
more startling evidence, of a remarkable
character, has voluntarily come forth and
been furnished to Mr. Forrest, with Additional
facts, which will, when placed before
this or any other community, tend to
set the matter in a most important tight relative
to him as an injured man, and the fashionable
scoundrels who tresspassed on his
grounds, his home, and his house during his
periods of absence.
This is, indeed, a lamentable and mel
aucholly affair. We mean not to say a single
word calculated to do injustice to anyone. We
have seen much, and read much, and heard
much, and we have reason to believe that
some of the most astounding revelations will
yet come on this community, like a thunder
clap, for which few will be prepared, andwinch
few will be able to resist. The spoilers
of Edwin Forrest's happiness have been
a clique of personages who ought to hs
scouted, cut, denounced, and turned out of
decent society in a Christian and moral community.
We have had too much of these
foreign immoralities, under the name of
fashion, introduced into our simple social system
on this continent, and it is time for an
independent and moral public opinion, sustained
by the press, to take groud against
any further introduction of fashionable, political,
or philosophical socialism, from *?Y
part of the Old World,

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