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Vol. 1. Washington, Friday, June 98, ISM. No. 11.
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SPEECH OF
Mr. J. . WOODWARD, of S. Carolina,
On tu relation* between tie United States and their
Territorial Districts: delivered in House qf Representatives,
July 3, 1848.
The House being in Committee of the Whole
on the State of the Union on the Civil and Diplomatic
Appropriation Bill, Mr. WOODWA RD, of j
South Carolina, having obtained the floor, said?
Mr. Chairman: Some days since 1 thought proper
to addres the House in reply to a speech made |
Dy the honorable gentleman from Virginia, (Mr.
Bayly,) upon the question of the right of Congress
to legislate for the settlers upon the public ,
lands. It was not my intention at that time logo \
into the general argument, but only to develop ,
the true practical issue before the country, and to ,
show that he had uot presented it fuUy and fairly.. (
True, in order to prevent misapprehension, I used! ,
the occasion to define my position, but with na
view of entering upon an argument in defence of
it, I expressly reserved that for a Aiture occasion.
I shall embrace the one now offered.
Are slaveholders, under the common Cwiatitution
of the Union, entitled, with their slaves,, to
public kinds, which are the property of the UfiSeT
States? This is the true question at issue,I takebut
little interest in any inquiry into the power of Congress
within the territory, except as it affects this
question. I care as little about the authority attributed
to the first settlers or Mexican pre-occupants,
oraa to the supposed abiding force of laws
ana institutions leu in tne conquered territories uy.
Mexico, except as they bear upon this question.
If I could have a guaranty that the rights, honor,
and safeey of the Soulnern States and people
were to fife respdeted and maintained, I should ,
feel disposed to indulge gentlemen iu any opinions
they might choose to entertain in relation to these
abstract questions. If you could separate their
reasoning from tlie practical consequences that
are to flow from it, I should not object to them for
reasoning as best suited their fancies. But, sir,
in the nature of things such a separation is impossible.
The vital interests, if not ths very
safety of the South, are dependent upon the conclusions
to which gentlemen may come. Their
logic is to be law to the Sonth; radical, fundamental
law; law upon which our destiny is to depend,
unless indeed we should choose to take our
destiny out of other people's hands. If it be
true that the Constitution affords no guaranty for
us in this emergency; if Congress, too, be impotent
for our defence; if our rights are to be held
even less sacred than the laws and institutions
left by Mexico in the conquered country, as our
Northern friends insist must be done, then is the
condition of the Southern States humiliating and
deplorable in the extreme.
1 deprecate the agitation of these questions an<j
their introduction into politics. Would that they
had never risen. But it will not do fbr those whq
have made the occasion, to askathat it may be
permitted to paas in silence. I know it would be
a great accommodation to some gentlemen to dq
so. And I should find no difficulty in fabricating
plausible excuses that would be perfectly satisfactory
to my constituents, especially when found to
be endorsed by any desirable number of political
writers; and should I prove incompetent to the
task, I could find friends ready sind ekilfol to
serve me. Should I choose to gratify others by
taking such a course, instead of being here under
the scowls of angry partisans, glared upon by
fierce and hungry ambition, with its horse-leach
cry of "give, give," its Anaconda maw, that
nothing can over-glut, I atofeddjind myself in thf
midst of smiliner faces and sympathetic hearts,
the object of hearty gratitude for the present, and
possibly not without hopes of more substantia)
reward for the Aiture.
But, Mr. Chairmain, I shall proceed with th^
argument. And my intention is to present a fair
and ingenuous argument. I shall wound no gen*
tleman 's feelings intentionally, but shall leave ev
ery one wholly without excuse for not following
an example of frank and liberal discussion.
"The people of the territories have exclusive
right to manage their own internal affairs?to
govern themselves." This is one of the proposi*
tions to be met. Sir, there runs throughout this
phrase more lurking sophistry than was ever
couched in the same number of words, while os
its front it presents about as available an ad cap'
tandtun as a politician could find convenient t6
make use of for any electioneering emergency
whatever.
In the first place, occupants found upon a public
domain, external to some sovereignty owning
it, can in no proper sense be called "a people,"if
we aw to have any regard for political science aft
taught from Kant backwards through the whole
train of public writers. Except we mean to repudiate
all such political science as was recogr
nized and acted on by our forefathers, and as-aume
to ordain new doctrines and ideas according
as the exigency of party may require, no one can
be warranted in calling such inhabitants as I have
described "apeople." 1 have no time allowed
me to argue this question. I shall take it for
granted that gentlemen who step forth to argue
such questions know something?at least, thai
when the occasion indicates the necessity of doing
so, they will look into the books and learn
something. How many individuals buying tracts
of land in the public domain would constitute s
people ? How close together should they reside
to constitute them one people? How far apart to
make them two peoples? How many peoples
might they erect themselves into within a given
circumference?say two hundred miles souare?
and each group declare itself absolutely inaepend,ent
of the others?
In the second place, the word territory is a terra
of geography, used by the framers of tne Constitution
in that sense, as synonymous with public
lands, or public domain. The word will be found
in the Constitution in the singular number, not as
. descriptive of any defined and limited region of
country, coincident with a sphere of political jurisdiction,
but as applicable to all the public lands
every where in all their detached parts and fracr
tions. But-in the language of the day, it is used
as a political term indicative of a certain fcrm and
condition of society, with established jurisdictional
limits, within which, by constructive ownership
and eminent domain, the people there have
the right to make and enforce law. In short, sir,
according to the argument of certain gentlemen,
territory means a State, a commonwealth. When
our forelhthers made reference to any portion of
territory marked out for settlement and political
organization, the word " district" was invariably
made use of?the same word that is applied to the
' seat of the Federal Government?a term by-theby
that would never have been applied to a community,
supposed to possess the power of sell
regulation.
In the third place: This people, it is said, have
a right to manage their own " internal affairs"?
to govern themselves. Now, sir, it is here assumed
that all affairs internal to their supposed
limits are their affairs. No one has anv riehts
there but themselves. True, we, the people of
the United States, are the owners of 99 acres in a
hundred of all the lands there, and these inhabitants
could have emigrated thither only by our permission
and under our laws,and have acquired noth,
rag beyond the fragments of land that each one severally
occupies. We are the owners of all intermediate
tracts separating one settler from another, and
of all the region encompassing them about, to an indefinite
extent. And yet, when, upon the pret
race of having become the owners of a ftw acres,
at a nominal price, or probably no price at all,
they assume to qualify our title to all the rest; to
affix conditions to its purchase and occupation; to
determine what shall he the state of human society
in ail the rest; to repel us, the very owners,
upon a political test; to practise a sort of naturalization
System, to the exclusion of a part of thfc
rightfril owners of the soil; they are said to be doing
n >thing more than managing their internal affairs.
Shr, is it not manifest that, in excluding the people
. J of the South from the public lands, the settler*
would be assuming to do more than manage their
internal affairs? They would undertake, thereby,
to determine their external relations to the United
State*, and to subject their ownership of the public
land* to terms and eanditione that did not originally
attach to it.
But, air, to take a brief general view of tht
subject. H is an essential part of a people or
commonwealth that it pomeas certain geoprapht<
eel limits. It must have a place on the earth, aa?
Know its place; and, to constitute it an indepen |
lent State, it mast be capable of maintaining iu
liniita and excluding all jurisdictions it baa not
sonsent^d to admit. It must alao, and moat especially,
have the power of preserving its own unity
*nd indiviaibility, to prevent ite own subdivision
and dissolution. How will your eolouiats or settlers
stand when tried by these teats ? Suppose one
settlement sltould refuse to unite with another settlement,
where would be the authority to coerce it?
Which would be supreme over the other ? Who.
would define and settle the question of boundary
between them.
In the Oregon country there is a colony on the
Willamette river. Its whole occupancy is not
greater then 30 miles square. Oregon is about 7u0
miles square. Has this colony jurisdiction throughout
the whole region? Are all the "affairs " internal
to that region internal affairs ? Does their
diminutive "self " fill all the land, and upon the
idea of w^f-government, entitle them to cover the.
land with their jurisdiction ? If not, what ia
(heir compass sad extent ? How <ar beyond the
border settlements ? Are their boundary lines
straight or crooked? Suppose the United States
should draw a hue tight about them, could they
g.n'fffi'i ,rry
LA .._i. .1 :.ui? j :nin'
nui mn)u?ii mc nnunjci vuhwiii^ mivw ?u?/
two colonies. What would be the consequence ?
Would they, like Polypus propagate by division ;
and, for each sundered sovereignty, would two
juveniles spring up ?
In this same Territory of Oregon there is another
settlement on Pugit Sound, about 150 miles
north of the one mentioned. There is likely to,
be a third on the Walla-walla, about 900 miles
eastward of the other two. All these are separated
by extensive regions of waste, mount ainous
country. Suppose each should claim to be independent
of the other, could it maintain its right to
oe so? If not, which should control the other
two ? If Congress shquld erect them into one
colony, under a common charter of government,
could they insist upon separate existence and selfgovernment?
It must be manifest to every one
that such a charter would bind the whole into one
society. No local constitution could spring up
under it. Such a constitution could find no geoprapnical
limits. It could not determine its own
shone or place on the face of the earth.
The language of Mr. Madison is decisive of
this question, and I propose to bring to the attention
of the committee a passage from his writings,
which I was perfectly astonished to hear my
friend from Virginia, (Mr. Bayly,)'repeat in support
of his position. In the 38th No. of the Federalist,
alluding to the public lands, Mr. Madison
says :
" Congress have assumed the administration of
this stock, (the public lands.) Congress have undertaken
to do more?tbey have proceeded to
form new States; to erect temporary government^
?to appoint*officers for them ; and to prescribe
the conditions on which such States shall be admitted
into the confederacy. All this has been
done, and without the least color of constitutional
authority. Yet no blame has been whispered ;
no alarm has been sounded. A gteat ana independent
ftind of revenue is passing into the hands
of a single body of men, wiio can raise troops to
an indefinite number, and appropriate money to
their support for an indefinite period of time.
And yet there are men who have not only been
*il*nt MimMaljirs nf thin nroancci. but who are the
advocates of the system Which exhibits it; and ai
die same time, urge against tha new system
the objections which we have heard. Would
they not act with more consistency in urgitig the
establishment of the latter, as 110 less necessary to
guard the Union against the future powers and
resources of a body constructed like the existing
Congress, than to save it from the dangers threat*
ened by the present impotency of that assembly!
" I mean net, by any dung hare said, lo-lhrow
censure on the measures which have been pursued
by Congress. I am sensible they could not hart
done otherwise. The public interest, the necessity
of the case, imposed upon them the task of over*
leaping their constitutional limits. But is not thf
fact an alarming proof of the danger resulting
from a government which does not possess regular
powers commensurate to its objects ? A dissolution
or usurpation is the dreadful dilemma to
which it is continually exposed."
Does this look as if Mr. Madison thought there
was competent authority with the inhabitants ol
the colonial settlements to institute temporary governments,
and erect themselves into new States,
against the authority of the United States ? If
this power naturally belonged to the inhabitants,
how could Mr. Madison say that the old Congress
"could not have done otherwise?" That
" the public interest, the necessity of the case,
imposed upon them the task of overleaping their
constitutional limits." He makes it an argument
for the new constitntion, that it supplied the defects
of the old in this respect, ana removed the
necessity for usurpation. He upbraids tha conduct
of those who stood by and saw Congress
usurp these powers under the old system, and yet
raised a great outcry because the same were made
legitimate in the new constitution. Mr. Madisoh
addressed this language to the American people at
a time when they were debating the question of
the adoption of the new constitution ; and he told
them in plain words, before they had adopted the
instrument, that he recognized in Congress all the
powers, in this respect, which it ought to have
nad under the old system. And, so far from
branding the old Cpngress with usurpation, he
speaks of what they did as a l'task imposed
upon them " by the inexorable necessity of the
case?imposed upon them, because there was nowhere
else an authority that could assume to perform
it. And yet we have Mr. Madison introduced
here to show that this task belonged naturally
and originally, as a' very Bacrea privilege,
to the inhabitants of the settlements!
Consider, sir, the weight of Mr. Madison's
authority. It is not the mere opinion of an eminent
lawyer or statesman. Mr. Madison was a
member of that convention ; one of the very ablest
and far the most attentive and watchful. He sat
r?/vm rlair tn flnir \ifyititxo- flnurn OVArir tKino> aati)
and done, for tlie information of posterity vq5
time to come. He speaks, therefore, as a iiistorian,
a chronicler, an eye witness. He tells what
he saw with his own eyes, heard with his own
ears, and, with his own hands, helped to perform,
is testimony like this to give way to metaphysical
inductions drawn from the Declaration of Independence?
To hear gentlemen talk, a stranger
would suppose that the Declaration was a body of
authentic law, ratified and adopted by the same
convention that ratified the Constitution. That
Declaration was nothing more than a revolutionary
pronxincianunto ; a glorious one, indeed, but
still nothing more. If gentlemen will examine
the Constitution, they will find that in many respects
it pays little respect to some doctrines oj
tne Declaration. Congress, for instance, is invested
with supreme and perpetual legislative dominion
over all the people resident in tnia city and
District, without their consent, numerous as they
may become.
You have a Senate elected by State Legislatures:
a President elected by colleges. And this President,
thus elected by persons removed from the
people, elects fifty times as mnny officers ns all
the people themselves. He elects all the greai
officers of State. He elects the entire body of executive
officers from his cabinet down. He elect*
the whole body of judicial magistracy, from thi
Supreme Court down; and that, ton, for life. Hi
elects the entire corps of dignitaries and agents entrusted
with the foreign relations of the country.
He elects every naval and military officer. There n
not a single office of profit?civil, military, diplo
uioiivi juuittniy inav to hui put at 1110 uiQirvoai.
Such are tlie provisions of our republican Constitution.
And vet gentlemen find it difficult to persuade
themselves that this same Constitution
could so far have lost sight of the.Democratic
principle aa to entrust Congress with a temporary
and parental authority over a company of settler*
upon the public domain!
There is other authority than that of Mr. Madir
son equally conclusive ; to say nothing of the
whole current of judicial decisions by the ablest
jurists from the beginning, and the uniform action
of Congress, without dispute or controversy, of
the case cited from Mr. Giles by the honorable
member from Virginia makes no exception ts
what I have asserted. That was a case wherf
a negro had been imported as a slave in violatiofi
of the lawk of the United States against the Have
trade. Th? question was, whether such negrd
M under the jurisdiction of Congress, whose laws
were violated, or the State Legislature. The decision
was that he fell under State authority.
The argument related to the question of the rights
of the sovereign States. True,'the consequent
ictien of Congress in the matter placed the territorial
districts on the same footing with the States
in litis particular-, but tliia implied nothing more
than that the charter governmenta of sueh districts
were supposed to have conferred upon theui
authority ui the matter. It was not meant that
previous to such charters the people found on the
public land would have had any such jurisdiction.
Certainly John Jacob Astor and his trappers on
the Oregon river could not have ousted Congress
of jurisdiction in a like case.
But the advocates of the right of independent
legislation in the districts, involve tbeinselves-in a
most extraordinary dilemma. By wliat course of
reasoning would they establish the authority of
the Constitution over those districts i The people
there arc not parties to the Constitution. What
right has Congress to "coin money " for them, or
regulate " weights and measures, or " establish
post-offices and post roods "?or, indeed, to exercise
over them any of the delegated powers?
THwemee (j i ntrifla h. ,?isi SMS aiaVi ahumm *A
iia. The* ir* nnl twnrMMitMl kw nnr do lk?v
participate in the election of President. The
maxim of the right of self-government is not
restricted to " internal affairs, as the argument
of gentlemen would seem to imply. It comprehends,
where it exists, all affairs, internal and
external. We have no more right to force upon
them the Constitution of the United States, than
to subject them to the legislation of Congress.
Both acts are equally incompatible with their
right of self-control. But, sir, it in needless to
argue further against such egregious folly.
But gentlemen will insist on tne source of power
in Congress being pointed out. 1 am anxious to
satisfy their demand ; but ray position is so
strongly fortified by authority, and by the manifest
aosurdity of the opposite position, and rests
so stably in the sound sense of practical aud judicious
minds, that I could not feel justified in
detaining the committee with a detailed argument.
1 shall satisfy myself, therefore, with giving n
clue to, what 1 conceive to be, the true view of I
the question.
Tne great and fundamental usurpation of the
old Congress, under the articles of confederation, i
was the assumption of authority to own external
provincial dependencies. This being done, almost '
everything else followed as a matter of course.
The convention that framed the Constitution;
found those dependencies constituent elements of
the Union. They found the Union composed
partly of sovereign States, and partly of dependent
colonies. And for the Union, so conditioned
and constituted, they made the Constitution.
The Constitution, in its preamble, expresses itself
to be made " for the United States ; that is, for
the States already united. The Constitution did
uot create the Union, but only made a new government
for it. I could adduce an abundance of
authority in support of this proposition. The
convention did not think it worth while to create
a power to own these dependencies. Such a
power, although usurped, haid been folly executed
and finished, and had resulted in a permanent
condition of things. The territories are therefore
only alluded to in the Constitution as already
belonging to the United States. The territorial
districts, with their governments?their United
States judges, governors, and councils?their delegates,
sitting 011 the floor of Congress, with the
privilege of debate?continued over under the new
Constitution, just as they existed under the
articles of confederation. No mention wus made
of them in the new Constitution.
The force of what I have said will become more
striking from an illustration. Suppose we should
all become convinced that Texas had been uncon. ftitutSortally
admitted into the U"nion?would wtthink
of expelling her ? Surely not. Would we
thing of altering tlie Constitution so as to legalize
the act? Not at all. Although conventions should
be actually in session, with competent authority
to ratify the act, a proposition for that purpose
would be laid on tlie table as nugatory. .And
such a course would not be yielding to the force
of mere precedent, but to the force of circumstances?an
irreversable condition of things. Thus
will be seen the situation of the ft-amers of the
Constitution in relation to the territorial possessions.
And if we will endeavor to realize their
situation, we shall find no difficulty in realizing
how they reasoned.
Now, from the ownership of a colony there followed,
as a matter of course, the right to make
all laws " necessary and proper " to a colonial
possession. The ftict of ownership imposed upon
Congress the task of government. There was no
need of any grant of power. And this is in conformity
with the whole method of the Constitution,
which is, to indicate the subject of power,
without pretending^to specify or enumerate what
laws Congress may make upon the subject.
They are only required to be necessary and appropriate
laws. The convention did not, in fhet;
expressly create any power. It was thought sufr
licient that Congress had undoubted possession of
the subject I admit, as I have long since been
convinced, that the power to dispose of and make
all needful rules and regulations concerning tlie
territory regards the territory simply as property.
But it will be asked, why this minor power was expressed,
and the greater are omitted? Because b
portion of the territory lay within the jurisdiction
of sovereign States, and a State might, upon the
pretext of eminent domain, claim a power paramount
to that of the land owner; ana as the organized
districts were shortly to become States,
and there would be, in that event, danger of the
.tame pretence being set up by them, the power
was expressed in general terms. The expression
of this power, therefore, was to effect an unequivocal
exclusion of any State power, as my friend
from Virginia (Mr. B.) has properly argued.
This provision of the Constitution is, strictly
speaking, a prohibition upon the States.
[As to the higher power of legislating for the
territories, no particular state could make any
pretension to such a power, and a provision in
the Constitution for the purpose of barring such
pretension, would have been nugntoryj
Let me not be misunderstood. The colonial
powers of Congress should conform to the liberal
principles of colonization that characterize the
age, and should be in strict subordination to our
own Constitution. The United States, the parent
country, Rhould mark out and fix the boundaries
of the region to be colonized, establish the unity
and indivisibility of the inhabitants within those
limits, provide for them a charter of government
or organic law, therein disabling them to do any
ihing'in derogation of the rights and privileges of
the people or the United states, and with this
leave them to manage what might be properly and
strictly, their own " internal concerns." Such is
the provincial system of enlightened nations:
such is what Congress ought to nave done, and is
precisely what it did do, from the first.
But f am here met by my friend from Virginia
(Mr. Bati.t) with the maxim, deltgtUiu turn dele
fart?a delegate cannot delegate Din power* to
mother. 'iTie application in, that if Congrewhave
anthority to leginlate for the district*, h
-annot transfer that power to tfie district itself.
He wholly misconceives the spirit of the maxim,
ft amount* to nothing more than that a member
>f Congress.cannot appoint his proxy, or that
Congress could not disperse, leaving as a substi.ute
another body of men to take its place. It
Iocs not mean that we could not ammiiit suborlinatc
instruments to act in a different sphere
rom ourselves. If it did, then would the charter
given to the city of Washington, and every other
such charter, be null and void, and the mayor And
tldertnen would have to be appointed by ilte Prudent,
and confirmed by the Senate, as United
States officers. The ntaxitn in question is one of
self-government, and in traitHferrtng to lite territorial
districts the right to be governed by delegates
of their own choice, we would be carrying
-nit the maxim instead of violating it. We are
not their delegates.
I must not be understood as *aying that in
enacting territorial governments Congress ha* not
in any particular provision violated uie rights of
the several States, or the profile thereof. I know
that Congress has dons this. The power of Congress
over it* territories cannot be exerted in a
manner to affect injuriously the right* of third
parties; that ia, the several States or people
thereof. Congress could not do this, nnd of
court* no subordinate anthority could do it. And
accordingly this having been done in the ordinance
of 1767, at the ?Kry first session of Conpeas
under the new Otnstitution, Mr. Madison
being present in his nH, ? charter of government
for the territory south of the Ohio river was
enacted, and a clause inserted disabling the territorial
legislature to pass any law excluding citizens
who should immigrate with their slaves.
And the law I believe passed sub aiUntio. No
controversy grew out of ,the proposition. It was
the mode ot executing 4he first compromise between
slave and free SUMS?which was upon the
line of the Ohio river?*. oomprouiise acquiesced
in by an authority competent to do so. And if
this, mode be now abandoned, then are the slave
States deprived of the poor privileges left them by
the Missouri Compromise, and the principle of the
Wilinot Proviso becomes predominant south of
'i6P 30\ as it is north of the same line, by force
of that compromise. He, therefore, who is opposed
to Congress perfuming the solemn duty to
the South of iinposingptch prohibitum upon the
territorial legislature, is proviso man, practically,
if not at heart. And lui deceptive and daluaive
maxun or "non-inierr^|tk>o will not long disguise
it* sophistry ft-onv'fl# Southern people.
But it is catrtwtdsd. pardon me, sir, if
I nay pretende<P*ihat, (n passing any'law in relation
to slavery, Congress would oe assuming
jurisdiction over the question. Indeed! Sir, do
we assume jurisdiction in disclaiming jurisdiction?
If Congress have not jurisdiction, can it
uot say so ? And if there be doubt and political
agitation on the subject, ought it not to say sof
And more especially, in instituting a territorial
government, which is to take charge of the constitutional
rights of the citizen, ought not Congresi
to disable that government from doing what
the Constitution has disabled Congress from
doitg? A word or two more on this subject presently.
I will proceed, to show what it is Congress
can do and what it cannot do, in this particular.
Nobody wanted to be informed that Congress
has no Jurisdiction of the question of slavery.
But gentlemen seem to be in a perfect mist as to the
true meuning of thiB proposition. It means that
Congress cannot make the existence of slavery a
Juestionable point, and assume jurisdiction to
ecide that question, affirmatively or negatively.
The only issue involved in the question of slavery,
is, "to be or not to be;" and the only decision
that could be made upon that issue, would
be, yea or nay?slavery shall exist, or shall not
exist. Clearly Congress has no such jurisdiction.
But, sir, it is a great mistake to suppose that there
is any difference, in this respect, between slaves
and any other form of property. Neither can
Congress assume jurisdiction of the question of
the general institution of property. It cannot
make that institution a questionable point, and
assume to decide the question. It cannot abrogate
property, and substitute communism, much
less wrest lus property out of the hands of the
citizen, and throw it away. Nor can it assume
jurisdiction of the question of any particular
species of property; it cannot ordain that cattle,
or houses, or land, shall not be property; these
matters are above the authority of all legislatures,
Federal or local. But do gentlemen understand
by this that Congress cannot, within its legitimate
sphere, enact conservative laws in relation
I to the substance, passing by the question .of property?
Is it not its solemn duty, wherever it ha*
jurisdiction, to make all laws necessary to protect
the rights of the citizen in his property ot every
kind, without any exception? If it can legislate
for this District, is it not bound to take care of
the rights of property here?negro property, as
well as other kinds? And shall it be permitted to
exonerate itself of this solemn obligation, under
the sophistical pretext that it has no jurisdiction
over the qwition of slavery ? Sir, the gentleman
from Ohio (Mr. Giddino*) will go with you for
this sort of "non-intervention," both this District
and the Territories. Congress may pass lawn
taxing negro property even in a State; it might
enact a law tnat a slave should not be employed
to' drive a stage coach conveying the United
States mail. But this kind of jurisdiction confers
no right to say that negroes shall not be property?it
assumes that they are property. Gentlemen
appear to forget the fundamental ideas ol
our political institutions. All legislative power is
conservative under our system. The duty ol
Government is to protect every right, and meet
every guaranty provided by the Constitution
making authority. With this authority rests all
the guaranties of the Constitution.
And what is the Constitution making authority
It is a Convention. A name degraded of late frou
its high political sense, and applied to ever)
species of political rendezvous or gathering
Everything now-a-day is Convention, excep
Convention in the true sense.
Convention, with us, is a systematic and regu
lated institution. It is supreme over all others
It is supposed to be identical with the people. i<
is the form of regulated and instituted sovereignty,
It lias power to ordain Constitutions or change
mem. 11 limKca ur nucra uic guvcnuunu ill an
its departments. It has in ita hands every kind
of power?legislative, judicial, and executive. It
can distribute thein among as many departments
of government as it may please to create; put all
in one department, or take back all if it chooses,
The Constitution it prescribes to the government,
the government is as absolutely bound to obey,
as the individual citizen is to obey the municipal
laws made by the government. The individual
rights of men, and most empatically personal
rights in property, are the special objects of a
Constitution. These rights exist prior to, and
independent of, Constitutions; and even Convention
could not violate them without giving caust
for popular revolution. Every right and im;
mumty ordained or recognized by Convention,
and guarantied in the Constitution, the Government,
in all its departments, legislative, judicial;
and executive, is bound to protect and conserve.
For no other purpose was it created. All the
powers of government are conservative; and il
has no legitimate right to destroy anything foi
the sake of which it was instituted. It would b?
better to have no government at all, than a government
to destroy. To say that, because Congress
has authority to make laws in relation to
property, it has a right to destroy property, is just
as absurd as to argue, that because a pilot hat
authority to conduct q vessel into port, he may
sink her to the bottom Of the sea; or that, because
the watchman is placed upon the tower to guard
the city, he may-set lire to it, and burn it to the
ground. The member that does not ke*f)w this
much of our institutions, bad better go home, and
let his constituents fill the vacancy.
I shall now proceed to apply these views to the
particular question that now agitates the country.
But, first, it will be important to point out an essential
distinction. There are two sets of guaranties
in the Constitution in reference to slaves. The
one consists in the Obligation of Congress to protect
a State against insurrection; the other secures
the private individual in his rights of property, and
the surrender of fugitive slaves. The first regards
slavery as a public institution, and involves a
question of State rights; die second contemplates
individual slaves as private property, and involves
a question of private personal right; having no reference
to any matter of State rights. Now, a law
compelling an emigrant to the public lands to
emancipate his slaves, would violate the latter
right; that in, the private right, and not the State
right. Thin is self-evident, and I may proceed
with my argument.
The rights of property in a slave are recognized
by the Constitution of the United States More
titan this, sir; they arc guarantied by that instrument.
A slave escaping from one State to another,
is required by the Constitution to be delivered up
to the person entitled to bis service; and Congress
has ever acknowledged itself bound to enforce this
injunction of the Constitution. There is, therefore,
not only a recognition but a guaranty in the
Constitution. But the Constitution goes still further.
Before the union of the States, a slave escaping
from one State to another, could not, by
the comity of nations, be demanded bade; he became
free, if the local laws made him free. The
Constitution, therefore, in reauring fugitive slaves
to be delivered up, enlarged the rights of the master,
and diminished the rights oCthe slave. Before
the Constitution, the dominion of a master
was limited to a single State; it wad, afterwards,
by the affirmative action of the Constitution, extended
to the whole Union?the entire sphere of
the action of the General Government. Tne Con
dilution, therefore. not onlv recognized, but
guarantied, and enforced, and not only guarantied
and enforced, but enlarged the rights of the
master. The rights of the master, therefore, are
co-extensive in space with the Constitution.
This recognition, guaranty, and enlargement,
does not apply solely to the slave Stalep, but to
every port or the United States. Any State may
establish slavery; and if Massachusetts should
think proper to do so to-morrow, her oitieens
would become entitled to all the guaranties of the
Constitution iu relation to slaves; and a slave escaping
from her jurisdiction into Vermont would
have to be delivered up. The Constitution would
stand ready to restore the properly to its owner,
and to take IVom the slave his usurped liberty;
slavery, therefore, is national, and exists by recognition
nnd guaranty everywhere. The institution
is legally possible in every region covered by the
Constitution. If the States should all abolish
slavery to-day, and a hundred years hence restore
it, tha Constitution would be found ready to guaranty
and sustain it.
1 shall hardly be required to prove what your
courts have uniformly decided; that the obligation
imposed on local authorities to deliver up fugitive
mnvrei, rrnin ujhjh uic r menu uoviTiimnii, wii?rever
it has local jurisdiction; that is, in the District
of Columbia, territories, and on board of ships at
sea. Surely it will not be pretended that Congress
is not bound to do what it is bound to require
every one else to do. To say so would be just^as
absurd as to suppose that the Supreme Being, in
enjoining right and justice upon the moral creatures
of the universe, reserved to himself the privilege
and monopoly of doing wrong.
These guaranties are not for the benefit of States,
as such, but private citicens?individuals. The
State is not the owner of slaves, it is the citizen
that owns them; and he does not own them officially,
or in a public capacity, but in his private individual
capacity. The relation between master
and slave is not a public, but a private, personal
relation; and thin private right of the citizen the
Constitution guaranties. And this brings me to
another part of my argument.
All the guaranties of the Constitution in favor of
persons are absolute, and exist wherever the Constitution
is the supreme law of the land. The
guaranties to persons have no reference to the
federal idea. Trial by jury, compulsory process
to compel attendance of witnesses, exemption ol
property from seizure for public uses, except for
compensation, are immunities, wot of States but
citizens, and they apply not only to citizens but to
aliens. A Chinese who hud first touched our soil
but yesterday, would be entitled to these privileges,
and if the Constitution be the Constitution of the territories,
as none will deny, he would be entitled to
them in the territories. The gentleman from Indiana,
(Mr. Pkttit,) asked my colleague, (Mr. Rhett,)1
whether a citizen of South Carolina emigrating to
a territory remained still a citizen of South Carolina,
and retained his immunities as such. It was
a nugatory question; for, as I before said, citizenship
is not necessary to entitle one to the privileges
in question. If a Turk should land on our shores
lu'iuuiiuw) lie v? uuiu ut eiuiiieu w puivuuov ?
slave, and purcasinghim, he would be at once entitled
to all the guarantiee of the Constitution. Yea,
sir, a convict, transported hither for his crimes,
fresh from a British penitentiary, could enjoy
the guarunties of the Constitution in South Carolina,
that gentlemen would refuse to the soldiers of
the Palmetto regiment, in the country they have
helped to conquer. The nature und extent ol
the guaranties in question may be made perfectly
plain.
Suppose that, insteud of sovereign States, tin
Union consisted of dependent provinces, as some
desired it should do-, and'suppose all the guaranties
I have enumerated remained the same they
now afe, as the friends of a consolidated government
intended they should do; for no one desired
that the citizen should be deprived of his rights
i and immunities, though the States were deprived
1 of their sovereignty: Is it not plain that no aitI
thority could abrogate them, except an authority
competent to alter or amend the Constitution!
i To wit: a convention of the whole Uniou ? Now,
what is the difference between the powers of this
this Government within the States, and within the
" territorial districts ? Within the States it is a fed*
i erutive limited government; in the territory it is a
consolidated government, and will so continue until
the districts become States. A citizen in a district
bears the same relation to this Government, that
I the citizens of the States would all have borne had
the States been reduced to dependencies. In a
f State the immunities of the citizens are subject to
, two forma of convention: a convention of the
r State, and conventions of all the States acting by a
, specific majority of three-fourths. In a district,
t which has no sovereignty, the citizen is subject
only to the national form of convention. There is,
therefore no authority competent to abrogate the
private rights of persons in a district, except con*
j ventions in the last mentioned form.
It would seem, from what I have just said, that
| the co-equality of the States is not necessary to
my argument; as State rights are not involved in
the question. Nor does the argument appear to
depend upon the equal ownership of the people
or the Union in the public domain. The true
j foundation appears to be the equality and univer*
salily of civil rights and immunities under the
Constitution of tne United States, and the equal
' and uniform action of that instrument upon all
[ the people of the Union. In regard to all personal
I guaranties, the Constitution of the United States j
acts upon the people of the Union as one mass,
uuu me vrnim ui luc uu/.ciirt iu uicsc iiiiim^iiiitn
ure directly upon tlie United States, and are irrespective
and independent of State sovereignty.
Having shown what are the rights of all free
inhabitants and citizens of the United States in
the territories, the question arises, what action is
' it the duty of this Government to take on the
subject in organizing territorial governments?
Sir, this question is briefly answered. The
, action of the Congress on the subject at its first session,
and afterwards, under the Constitution, is
] conclusive. ?
At the very first session of Congress under the
. present Constitution, in the fourth month of the
session, a territorial government for the district
, south of the Ohio river was provided. In the
charter, there was an injunction laid upon the
, local legislature, to make no law interfering with
the rights of emigrants to take their slaves to the
> territory. This right had been violated by the
ordinance of 1787, and the Congress deemed it its
. duty to prohibit the like ft>r the friture, and to see
i to the faithful execution of the Constitution by its
subordinate government.
The next year a charter of government was provided
for the district of Tennessee, and a clause
was inserted prohibiting the district legislature
from enacting any law ''tending to the emancipation
of slaves."
Some years afterwards a government was provided
for the district of Mississippi, with a similar
clause.
The Constitution had denied.the power of interference
to Congress, and Congress, therefore felt it
to be its duty to extend its prohibition to iu creature
government, for whose conduct it ought to be
held responsible. Thus was the first compromise,
which was upon the line of the Ohio river, carried
out in good faith by this Government.
But in process of time new territory was acquired
west of the Mississippi, and the North
demanded that a new compromise should be made
upon a line far south or the first. The South
was overborne by a majority, or rather, sold by
Presidential aspirants. We submitted: but with
many heart-burnings; anil the blush of shame
upon our cheek. Recently, we have made still
another acquisition of territory; and when we ask
nothing more thun that Congress should execute
lite Missouri compromise in good faith, how are
we answered? We are cooly told that Congres*
has no right to interfere?no power to protect the
Constitution from infringement, or the rights of
citizens, under the Constitution, from outrage by
a chartered company of settlers whom Congress
itself shall create. Sir, what justification could
you make for taking from the people of the South
their own Constitution, and the rights therein
guaranteed by solemn oaths, and subjecting them
to the caprice, ignorance, or fanaticism of a chartered
corporation in New Mexico or California ?
The people of the South will not long delay to
haTe an answer to this question.
The Congress is now employed in devising a
form of government for Oregon. We all see and
frel the absurdity of the doctrine that Congress
cannot legislate for the territorial districts We
are about to appoint governors and judges for
Oregon, as has been uniformly done in every instance
from the very first month of the first session
ever held. There ia a provision in the Oregon
bill enjoining it upon the territorial legislature
not to disturb the fundamental rights secured
to individuals or persous by the Constitution of
the United Slates?right of habeas corpus, trial
by jury, exemption or property fVom seisure, of
persons from arrest without affidavit of probable
cause, &c., <&?., and no one imagines that Congress
is making a question about these rights, or
assuming jurisdiction to determine such a question;
but oil can see, tliat it is only executing the
Constitution by imposing upon its creature government
what the Constitution has eiijoined upon
Congress ftself. Thus, sir, when the object is to
carry out the Missouri compromise north of 360
30', no question is made about the right of Congress
over the territory; but when we come to the
fine of 360 30*, and the South demands the benefit
of that compromise, it in discovered that Congress
has no authority to interfere in such matters.
"Non-intervention," is the patriotic maxim.
There ifl authority to secure ajl immunities but
ours. The people of the territorfea fflrafet fiot be1
interfered with, h would be contrary to the'
Declaration of Independence?violative of the
maxim of self-government. Sir, the .territorial
council may intervene to destroy us, but our
Gloveniment and our own Constitution cannot in
irrvcuc iu pnncui ur?. iiie peupie ui wic ouuui
will have these matters explained.
No paternal and protective intervention from
our Government and Constitution, to which we
have ever been true and faithfhl! But do gentlemen
deprecate all intervention! No, air, no!
They invoke the intervention of a motley crew of
Mexicans, Mormons, adventurers, and trespassers
upon the public domain. These inhabitants
have been wickedly taught that they have rights
paramount to those of the United States, and
among them the right to exclude slaveholders.
Should a slaveholder presume to enter the territory,
it would be regarded as in derogation of the
rights of the inhabitants, and the opinions of distinguished
characters of the United States would
be referred to to prove it. What slaveholders,
therefore, could ever penetrate the country without
the certainty of encountering a motly mob,
enraged at the idea that some sacred right of
theirs was encroached upon f
New Jersey and the Compromise.?The following
resolutions were adopted by the Legislature
of New Jersey?by the Senate unanimously?
in the House by a vote of 40 to 17:
Resolved, That the Union of the States is of inestimable
value to the people of New Jersey, to
America, and to the cause of civil liberty throughout
the world.
Resolved, That the advice of the immortal
Washington in his Farewell address to the people
of the United Suites, to avoid sectional divisions
and animosities, and to frown indignantly upon
every attempt to alienate one section of the country
from another, is deserving of profound respect
and veneration from all patriotic citizens,
and that no existing circumstances will warrant
our disregard Of that advice at the present time.
Resolved, That we regret the systematic attempts
of many misguided persons to alienate one
section of our country, from another, and that
New Jersey, the battleground of the Revolution,
deprecates any action in Congress or elsewhere,
which may have such a tendency, or serve to endanger
the Union of the States.
Resolved, That our Senators and Representatives
in Congress ore hereby requested to vote on
ill questions of a sectional character in such manner,
consistent with a right construction of tht
Constitution, as will have a tendency to allay any
geographical animosities which may exist, and
promote the cause of hqrmony iu our national
councils. .
; \*><
Augusta Canal Flour.?We have been favored
with a Hack of the fllour made in Augusta
at the Cunningham Mills, lYom the pure Georgia
Wheat of this year's crop. It is superfine, and
makes as exquisite rolls and loaves as any we
have ever seen. Families ueed not desire a better
article, and it is important to know that these
mills make the different "grades" of flour, varying
in quality according to the quulity of wheat
used. Mine host of the Pulaski House, to whom
a specimen of this flour has been sent, confirms
the good opinion which we have expressed of this
article. Our friends, Messrs. Linton & Co., oi
Augusta, write to us that they are already beginning
to grind the new wheat in considerable quantities.
The crop, they say, comes in well, saving
the occasional rust which has touched the article
in certain localities. Last year they were all ready
fbr the most extensive operations, but the untimely
frost nipped their hopes in the bud. Now, the
pomise is good, and, we are glad to hear it.
Heaven send that the high prices of cotton may
not divert any of the labor now directed to the
cultivation of wheat. But then we have the regions
on the Tennessee within reach. We wish
our friends all the success which their enterprise
deserves. We understand that F. Sorrel, Esq.,
md probably other ..houses, will keep a constant
supply of this flour on luuid.?Savannah Republican.
Georgia Lumber.?From the 1st of January,
1850, to the 10th inst., there were shipped from
ports of Savannah and Darien 16,860,073 feet of
lumber, of which 10,764,000 ft. were shipped
from Savannah.
The Cenhus or Boston.?An enumeration of
the inhabitants of Boston, has recently been made
under the municipal authorities. From this it appears
that the city is radidly increasing in the number
of its population, and the amount of its trade.
i ne present imputation is put down at 138,788,
of which 52,961 are Irish, and 10,359 Germans,
English, &c., showing a total population of 63,320,
which will be surprising to most people, as
Boston has been supposed to be principally composed
of natives. But when we consider the
large number of public works which have been
put up in and around Boston, we need not be astonished
at this influx of foreigners. Besides, a
large number of our original native population
has been enabled by the excellent railroad diverging
from the city in all directions, t? remove to the
smaller towns in the neighborhood.
The whole number of colored persons in Boston,
with all its professed sympathies for the black
race, is only 2,112, which is only a few hundred
more than there were in 1820, showing a very
feeble increase.?A*. Y. Evening Pott.
Prom the Jacksonville (Ala.) Republican, 18M, in*f.
Cotton Factory.
Ma. Grant?Sir: I presume that it is not generally
known that we now are no longer dependent
on other States fbr our factory thread?perhaps
there are some who have not yet learned this
fact. The factory of Burton & Mallory, oh
Chockoloco, is now in successful operation, turning
out daily, a large quantity of thread, manufactured
out of the material raised in our own I
county. Specimens are to be seen of this thread
- i . I-?'- I
111 mi mc siuri'B in jncKHonvuie, ana t uo ihh iiw?tate
to recommend it to be as good an article as
any nwde in Georgia or Tennessee. Messrs.
Btirton and Mallory expect to supply this 'county
with thread, and it is to be hojied that they will
be patronised by those who wish to buy, in preference
to any oilier factory. All we need to make
our county the great manufacturing portion of
Alabama, is energy and enterprise; for such credit
is due to Messrs. Burton A Mallory.
Success to Mnllory & Burton, success to their
thctory, and may they be sustained by the patronage
or a liberal community, and may o?r county
be well filled with such men. Nothing but the
manufacturing interest, can develope the resources
of our country, fertile in soil, and rich in the
minerals.
A Citizen or Benton.
Missusim Cotton Crop.?The Jackson Misrimppian
of the 7th instant, says : "Since publishing
our last statement of the cropa of Mississippi,
we have received letters from about fifteen
adaitioaal counties. We are sorry to say that we
have never in our life known a more gloomy prosCl.
We shall not make 250,000 bales in the
ith; the number ought to be 700,000 bales at
l?Mt."
? Thn Oouthora Pi ?ss.'-Tri-weekly,
la published on Tuesdays^ Thursdays and Saturdays
" The Southern Ptoss,' '?Weekly,
la published every Wednesday.
advertising rates.
For one aqua*? of 10 lines, three insertions, fl Oft
tt every subsequent insertion, 25
Liberal deductions made on yearly advertising.
(y> Individuals may forward the amount of their
subscriptions at oar risk. Address, (poet-paid)
ELLWOOD FISHER,
Washington City.
A Warning; to Abolitionists.
It gives us pleasure to state that one of a
gang of Abolitionists, wi o have, for some
time past, infested Lewis county, with F.e
notorious John G. Fee at their head, was
arrested a few days ago, on a charge of
| having persuaded the slaves of Gen. Thomas
Marshall and Mr. Jenkins, of that county,
to run away. He was brought up for examination
at the Court House in this city on
Tuesday last, before Esquires Wood and
Collins; and, in default of bail in the sum of
five hundred dollars, committed to jail to take
his trial at the next term of the Mison Circuit
Court, but will probably be bailed out
by some of his fellow Abolitionists, as we
are informed that Fee is on the alert, in
order to find those who will endorse for his
appearance.
The name of the man arrested is William
Haines, (or Hoynes)?a very good name to
travel on?and the proof against bim being
quite strong, it is fought that he must flee
the country, if he wishes to avoid the walls
of the penitentiary.
There are others of this band who are
under strong suspicions, and their movements
will be narrowly watched. The people of
the river counties have been long enough an
noyed by these reckless robbers, and it is
time, in all conscience, that the civil laws of
the State, at least, should be enforced against
them. Mr. Fee himself, would do well to
improve the golden opportunity still left, for
seeking an asylum in stftne more congenial
clime than Kentucky, for it is impossible tor
slaveholders to be secure in their property
while such men areft permitted to hold intercourse
with the slave population. Indeed,
we auvise him to " leave the country for the
country's good," and go where he can enjoy
iegrp society with less danger to his own
peace and safety than in Lewis county.
The man, Haines, who has been arrested,
professes to be distributing books for the
American Missionary Society, and, we believe,
occasionally lectures the people upon
Christianity; but the general impression
teems to be that he is not one of the Lord's
chosen, and that the Missionary Society, In
choosing him i.s an agent, made a miserable
poor choice. This aside, however *, the fellow
has been fully committed for trial according
to the laws of Kentucky, and we hope,
if guilty, he may atone for his termerity in
the case by expiating his cri.x.e in tl'.e confines
of a State Prison, and that others may
take timely warning from his fate.
From the Portsmouth Pilot.
U. 8. Sterner Vixen.
The performanc^lf this petit model of a
war steamer which left here a few days since
lor Washington, has been most satisfactory
during her last cruise, of some eight or nine
months.
Previous to her being repaired and fitted
out at this yard, her performance was very
indifferent, and the accommodations for the
officers and men any thing but comfortable.
The Department came very near selling her
with the "Spitfire" as useless. She was
rebuilt at this yard under the command of
Commodore Sloat, and Mr. Hartt, Naval
a?i? ti :? I
CU1131I UUIU1 . X lie entitle was u*c?uauivu,
re-arranged, the shafts raised, boilers turned
end for end, and several other alterations
under the direction of William Seweli,
Esq., U. S. N. He attached a new cut
off, of his own invention, to the engine,
which, we are informed, is extremely simple
and works remarkably well. The officers
and men have, by the present arrangements,
comfortable quarters, and are highly
pleased with her ana her performances.?
Her expenses are very small, indeed ; being
one hundred dollars per month less than a
gun brig. She did more duty and visited
more ports than four gun brigs could have
done in the same space of time; therefore
being equal to four, at less than one-fourth
of the expense. She has another advantage.
She can get into the small ports
close up to the towns or cities, where her
presence is of much more service than a vessel
in the offing, some ten or twenty miles
distant.
She reflects much credit upon those who
fitted her out, and upon her efficient commander
Capt. Ward, upon whose instance
she was overhauled.
This Navy Yard is the best located of
any in the United States for fitting out and
repairing steamers, there being a large steam
engine establishment and foundry almost adjoining.
The engines for the new oteamer
Powhatan are building at the Gosport
Iron Works.
Some second and third class steamers are
much wanted in our Navy.
From the Norfolk Herald.
Poposed Social Convention on Important
Business.
The Richmond Enquirer, provoked by a
parade in a New York paper of a long list
of steam vessels in the process of building
in that port, indulged in some severity of remark
on the apathy of its own State, which
with advantages for commerce and resources
of wealth, certainly not less than th;:se enjoyed
by the "Empire State," had not yet
bu.lt the first ocean steamer ; and indignantly
asked?"Is it not a disgrace to Vi:ginia,
that the four cities and towns, in the
ct.t. ?? o:?l.
I-CIJ UVSV1II VI MIC uimc, lu nu. inv.iimond,
Petersburgh, Norfolk and Portsmouth,
cannot support a single line or boat
upon the Ocean? Why is this? It is not
for want of means to build them, nor on account
of any lack of business, but from a
slavish dependence upon Yankee skill and
enterprise. Every thing must be left to be
executed by the people of the North. Why
not make an effort for a line of steamers be'ween
our towns and Liverpool? It all
would unite whose interest would be promoted,
the scheme would be crowned with
success."
To this the Portsmouth Pilot respondedln
a stirring article, with some appropriate
suggestions, among which was a proposition
to hold a convention of the tide-water
towns at Old Point Comfort, on the approaching
Fourth of July, "to take steps to
petition the Legislature of Virginia for an
act of incorporation for an Ocean Steam
Navigation Company," '

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