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The southern press. [volume] (Washington [D.C.]) 1850-1852, July 09, 1850, Image 1

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3d and 4 J streets.
Mr. T. 8. BOCOCK, of Virginia.
1m the Hemes or Representatives,
momqay, June 3, 1850.
Upon the difficulty between the North and the
South upon the Slavery Question.
The House being in Committee of the
Whole on the California Message?
; Mr. BOCOCK said:
Mr. Chairman : When I attempted, now
many weeks ago, to obtain the floor, 1 did bo,
under the belief that I had some remarks to
submit, not inappropriate to the condition of
the debate as it then stood. But so long has
been the period of my probation in getting an
opportunity to submit my views, ana so great
has been the change in the aspect of affairs
T A? X _XX A _ J X. J - ? - xl X ?_1_ _ X - tf _ t -t
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Vol. 1. Washington, Tuesday, July 9, 1850. No. 19.
since l nrsi auenipwu vo au so, i iuti wnai imgni
then have been not altogether inappropriate,
would now appear antiquated, if not antediluvian
; and though I shall make some efforts to
modernise tha views which I shaft submit, by
examining, to some extent, the compromise recently
proposed in the Senate, I must be so
candid as to say, that I do not come forward
with any high expectation of adding much to
the interest felt, or the information possessed
on the absorbing questions which are connected
with the message under consideration.
Neither do I come into this discussion with
another view of which I might by some be suspected.
I am a Virginian, connected with that
State by every tie of interest, affection, and
duty, and certainly desire no higher meed of
Eraise for my public conduct, than that it should
e considered worthy of Virginia. Under
these circumstances, it may well be supposed
that I have not heard with entire composure
everything which has been said during the
present session, in relation to that time-honored
State. Contemptible insinuations and foul aspersions
have been freely uttered against her.
Some gentlemen liavc spoken of her, as if they
were pouring out from a full heart the accumulated
malignity of years. Others have attacked
her with such a hearty good-will, as well might
lead us to conclude that they were acting under
the deliberate conviction, tliat their only mode
of acquiring lasting notoriety was, to attach
themselves, even in the character of dcfamers,
with something honorable and respected. There
mav be wisdom, as the world calls it in their
course. Certainly notoriety has been achieved
in an eminent degree by deeds of bad repute.
The unhappy youth who, with impious hand,
set fire to the temple of the great Diana, gained
what he sought, a place in history, as permanent
as that of him who founds an empire. Even the
serpents which, floating over the bosom of the
waters, attacked Laocoon, the Genius of Trojan
liberty, and clasping him in their foul coils, crushed
him to death, gained thereby an immortality
as lasting as his own. Scarcely less worthy than
these, are the men who seek to degrade and injure
an unoffending community. Whether such
were the only means by which they could gain
notoriety, they had to determine for themselves.
What has Virginia done? Rather, what has she
not done for the Union, and wliat has she received
atits hands? Whatever may be said of
the number of her sons who hold offices of labor
here under this Government, (and I think
there is a great exaggeration about this; for I know
of none from the district which I represent,) the
State has asked but little, and received but little.
What interest of hers lias ever been the subject
of special protection ? What rivers of hers have
been cleared?what roads constructed?what
harbors improved? On the other hand, she has
been taxed for the protection of other interests,
for the construction of other roads, for the im
provement of other rivers and harbors. Look,
then, to the beautiful Northwest, laid out into
live States, teeming with an active population,
and studded with thriving towns! This was her
gift. You solicited it at her hands, and received
it by her conveyance, acknowledging in every
form her title to it Now you say you owe her
no thanks, because it was never hers. Look to
your battle-fields, nearly all of which are white
with the mouldering bones of her slaveholding
sons. You admired their prowess and praised
their heroism once; now you say that they lived
in habitual crime. Behold where sleep the long
line of her Presidents?her Washington, her
Jefferson, her Madison, her Monroe! You sought
their services in council then; you say now that
the election of each was a sectional triumph?a
slave victory. So long, you say, with complaint,
did the South hold the Government! You were
too kind then, or you are unjust now. But Virginia
will go on unchecked in her course, and
undimned in any lustre she may possess. When
the bright travelers of the heavens shall be retarded
or annoyed, because curs and spaniels
bay and bark at them, then it will be necessary
to protect Virginia against such assaults and
such assailants. She needs no defence now.
Her spirit sits self-possessed amid her mountains
and her valleys, and unfolding to her sons the
scroll of her past history, she proclaims, with
affectionate warning, " Sic itur ad antra.
I come not forward, I repeat for the purpose
of defending her now. I have simply desired to
add my suggestions to those which have been
made by others, in reference to the critical condition
of the country, and the best way to rescue
it These suggestions may appear humble
enough. Indeed, Mr. Chairman, when I think
of the contests for the floor which prevail here,
and the unimportant use to which it is put when
obtained, perhaps, most especially in my own
case, I am very forcibly reminded of a custom
which once prevailed, and perhaps does still, in
the markets of the East. The venders of fruit
proceeding into the midst of the market place,
cry out with a loud voice, " In the name of the
Prophet, in the name of the Prophet-?figs."
But though we may have nothing better than
figs to offer, we are all disposed to believe, that
there may be some peculiar merit in our own
figs, which will make them serviceable, if not to
the country, at least to our own districts.
Without further preface I proceed to the subject
in hand. It has been charged, Mr. Chairman,
on this floor and elsewhere, that the excite
ment which ha* existed, and to some extent still
does exist in this House, and in the country, on
the slavery agitation, has been mainly the result
of a party agitation gotten up and continued
with a new to weaken and embnrrass the present
Administration of the Executive Department
of the Government. This is a grievous
charge, whether we consider the enormity of the
means represented to have been used, or the littleness
of the purpose for which they arc said
to have been employed. The sum of the charge
is, that the Democratic party of this country,
forgetful of every obligation owed to themselves,
to the Constitution, and to the country at
large, have been willing to inflame the public
(Missions, to array one section of the Union
against the other, and to weaken if not destroy
the very bonds themselves which bind the
Union together, solely for the purpose of weakening
aud embarrassing this Administration.
Now, sir, if we look to the speeches of Whig
Senators, to the givings-out of Whig letter-writers,
and to the angry collisions among different
branches of the Whigs everywhere, we shall be
apt to conclude that no such exertions, even if
legitimate, were necessary on the part of the
Democrats for this purpose. The Whigs will
accomplish it themselves.
{Mr sir, Is this charge true1 If it is, we may
expect to find upon a review of the history of
tiie country, that the agitation, so to call it, begun
at some time subsequent to the election of
the present Chief Magistrate, and has been carried
on by the Democratic party ever since.
Do gentlemen forget, or do tliey imagine that
the country has forgotten ? Had we 110 compromise
committee in the Senate of the last
Congress, raised on tbo solemn motion of the
gentleman who now fills tho first place in the
gift of the present Executive? Did he not, as
chairman of that committee, make a report,
which gave rise to a most interesting discussion,
and to long and anxious sittings in the
Senate, one of which at least lasted throughout
the watches of the night ? Did we have here
no scenes of excitement, or, as gentlemen would
call it, agitation! Surely wc all know that we
But eoming down to the present session of
Congress, who have made the strongest and the
boldest speeches on this floor in defence of
Southern rights and against Northern aggression!
Certainly among them have been the
distinguished gentlemen from Georgia, [Mr.
Toombs] and from North Carolina, [ Mr. Clingman,]
and my gallant friend from Florida, [Mr.
Cabell.] And have they all united in a Democratic
agitation with a view to weaken and embarrass
this Administration? While I would
gladly welcome them into the Democratic ranks,
and predict for them there, with their talents
exerted in a good cause, a higher distinction
than they can otherwise gain, yet, sir, I respect
them too much to intimate any belief that party
considerations have in this case influenced them. )
Even tliis Nashville Convention itself, the ad- i
vanced post in this Southern movement, whence j
hod that its origin? If I am not greatly misti.- I
ken it sprang from a convention in the State of <
Mississippi, composed of Whigs and Demo- <
crats alike, over which a distinguished Whig <
judge presided. And have all these united in a i
Democratic agitation with a view to weaken and -j
embarrass this Administration? And is this the '
Administration whose advent was to be as when i
one proclaimeth glad tidings? which was to give i
repose and quiet to the country ? under whose 1
uplifted flag all sections, all classes, and all par- i
ties were, like the waters of Avoca, to mingle
in place ? Is this the mighty Neptune, whose i
trident was to be uplifted, and lo! the waves of i
popular commotion were to sinx to reai 5 ~ 11
this bo he, alas how fallen!"
But, sir, the history of the country will in
fact show, tliat this excitement commenced
when the notorious gentleman from Pennslyvania
[Mr. Wilmot] introduced into this House
his famous (or, if not unparliamentary, I might
say, his infamous) Proviso as an amendment to
the three million bill. Since then, as that proviso
and other kindred measures have been constantly
pressed, the excitement has increased,
until it has become all-prevading. It is true, j
that some Southern Whigs have shown them- <
selves disposed not to take sides with their own
section, but rather against it in this controversy, 1
and thus have entitled themselves to be called, I
by those who like the word (I detest it) South- 1
ern doughfaces! I believe that this term has 1
been thrown in the teeth of certain conservative 1
Northern gentlemen for the purpose of deterring
them from pursuing a liberal course lest it might i
inure to the benefit of the party to which they
belong. But admit that a Northern doughface
is all tliat his enemies charge, then a Southern
doughface is as much worse than a Northern one,
as it is worse to abandon a week section, to
which we owe duty, for the strong one, than to
quit a strong section for a weak one. But enough
gallant patriots liavc been found among the
Whigs ready to stand by the cause of the injured
South to redeem that party from any
sweeping or general condemnation, and the
cause from the charge of being a Democratic
agitation! I am surprised that a charge so unsustained
should have been made. My surprise
could only be increased by the assurance that
one man Deyona loose wno ruiiKc 11, put iaitn
in it. To investigate fully whether the excitement
which prevails is well or ill founded, would
require me to consume all my time upon the
question, whether the course of the North towards
the South has been one of nggression or
not As that field has been already occupied i
far better than I could hope to do it, and as there 1
are other topics connected with this subject 1
which I wish to present, I will only so far touch ]
upon this branch of the subject as to subserve '
another purpose, that is, to show how far the '
North has observed the compromises which she i
has made with the South. The differences which 1
arose in the Federal Convention on the subject i
of slavery were adjusted by compromise. The '
result of this compromise was, that three 1
clauses were inserted in the Constitution on the ]
subject of slavery. One provided tliat the slave I
trade should not be abolished prior to the year '
1808. This met the views and promoted the i
interests, us they thought, of the extreme
North as well as of the extreme South. Yir- ]
ginia and the middle States opposed it. The '
right of capturing slaves on the coast of Afri- <
ca, or purchasing them up and bringing them 1
to this country, was enjoyed to their hearts' >
content by the New England adventurers under 1
this clause. The States that had opposed it of- <
fered no impediments, because it was a consti- '
tutional guarantee. 1
Another clause in the Constitution stipulated <
that persons held to service or labor in one
State, escaping into another, " shall l>e delirrred
up." This was exclusively for the benefit of 1
the slaveholding States; and what, I ask, has be- 1
come of it? Nearly all candid men admit that it
has become in effect a nullity?and some North- 1
ern gentlemen tell me, it must remain so. Yes,
sir, a right solemnly guarantied to the South,
and "without which the Union would never
have been formed," is to be practically enjoyed
by us no longer; the Constitution to this extent
is to be nullified, and slaves escaping to our sister
States are to be withheld, instead of being
delivered up.
In addition to the two clauses about slavery
already mentioned, one other was inserted in
the Federal Constitution. It is the well-known
provision about taxation and representation,
containing in itself a compromise, which, though
still carried out, is an eyesore to the North,
which she has appeared long anxious to get rid
of. How bitterly they talk of slave representation!
Besides these, nothing else was said in the
Constitution on the subject; and I think myself
authorized to infer, not from the proceedings of
the Convention alone, but from the action of the '
Government for years after the Constitution went
into operation, that here it was supposed by all, i
the power of Congress over the subject ceaned.
In 1788 and '89, only a year or two after the 1
Constitution was framed, Virginia and Maryland i
ceded to the United States ten miles square on <
the Potomac, as a site for the General Govern- 1
ment. The district of country thus ceded, was i
peopled with their own fcllow-citizcns, holding '
slave property like themselves. Does anv man 1
imagine that they would have surrendered them i
up, to run the hazard of being stripped of their 1
property at the option of the Representatives 1
from other States] Would Virginia and Mary- 1
land have incurred the risk of their kindness
being turned into a curse against themselves, by
having this District converted into a den of refuge
for fugitive slaves?a magazine whence incen- !
diary publications, fire-brands, and death, might ,
be scattered broadcast over the South? No, sir, ,
it is impossible. Then why was nothing stipu- i
[ / t V i i
lated on the subject? Himply because it was not
dreamed for long years afterwards that Congress
would claim the ]>ower to abolish slavery anywhere,
directly or indirectly. This is the ouly
reasonable supposition that occurs to me.
Well, sir, in 1803, the United States acquired
from France the territory of Louisiana, for the
good of the North as well as of the South, and
by Northern votes as well as Southern. Of the
sixteen Senators from the northern States, eleven
voted for it and live against it, moretlian twothuds
being in its favor. It was a large tract of
country, over all of which laws prevailed tolerating
slavery. Yet, sir, no effort was made to
ultolish or prohibit it, in the treaty, or in the
laws establishing territorial governments in it,
until 1819, when Missouri apptiod for admission
into the Union. Then for the first time the
claim was asserted, boldly, stoutly, roundly asserted*
The patent nostrum hod had hud not
been at that time invented, that soil received as
slave soil should remain so, and that soil received
as free soil should remain free. That nostrum
did not suit the stomach of the majority then.
rne most wise ana sagacious statesman of the
country undertook then to explain the reason
of this claim on the part of the North, and 1 do
not know tliat his hypothesis was ever discredited.
This was his eolation: The Federal party,
living chiefly in the North, hjid been beaten by
the Republican party, most of whoin were in
the South, in every pitched battle. But though
beaten they had not been routed; though vanquished
they had not been anhilated.
Gathering new energy and courage from defeat,
they seized upon this ground, and deter- .
mined here to make a last desperate effort to
[join that ascendancy which till then they had
been ever unable to obtain. Well might this
claim, thus usserted, have fallen upon the ear of
even Jefferson, who was not too partial to the peculiar
institution, like the sound of a tire-bell at
night. He saw in it dangers unspeakable, some
of which have already fallen upon the country.
To his eye it hung over the future prospects of
the country like a dark cloud, in whose baleful
shade, dangers increased and multiplied, and in
the wild madness of approaching power, danced
and rioted like witches on Walpurgis night.
But, sir, a compromise intervened, and these
dangers appeared to vanish, and the cloud to
roll gracefully away. The line of 3fi deg. 30
inin. was established as the boundary between
slaveholding territory and free-soil. And many
fondly hopfld that the dread question was forever
settled. By this compromise the North
took from the South nine hundred and seventy
thousand square miles out of one million three
hundred and rtftv t.hmiaiind imnrltr i'.niril.o
of Louisiana territory, acquired as slave territory.
But, sir, upon the altar of the country,
the South mode the surrender as a peace-offering.
And though the compromise was thus injurious
to her, when made she determined to
jarry it out, in all its spirit, and to the letter.
When Texas was annexed, laws allowing slavery
prevailed over her whole extent. But the
South agreed to run the line of 36 deg. 30 mill,
through her limits to be the boundary between
the slave States and free States which might be
formed out of her territory.
When Oregon was to be provided with a ter- i
ritorial government, the South agreed that the
North might take it without a word, if she
would consent to take it as a renssertion of the
Missouri Compromise line. And when the
North refused so to take it, but claimed it by
the strong arm of power, many Southern men?
the late President of the United States among
them?thought best themselves to adhere to
this line and give it up, without a serious contest.
Now, a considerable amount of territory
has been acquired of Mexico, a larger part of
which is North of 36 deg. 30 min., and some
South of that line. Does the North adhere to
the line, or propose any division whatsoever of
the territory f No, sir, she docs not. Almost
the entire North declare that they are opposed to
slavery going to any part of that territory. And
of the various propositions, pending either in
this body or the Senate, for settling the question,
every one appears to me to be founded
upon the idea that the North is to get all and
the South nothing. My examination of them
must be brief. Triere is, first, the Wilinot Proviso
scheme, which proposes at once to declare
l>y act of Congress, tluit slavery shall go to no
part of this territory. It proposes, at one bold,
ruffian-like blow to take onr heads off. It is
rutfian-like, but it is open. There is, next, what
is called the President's plan, as announced in
the California message. This proposes to admit
California in all her length and breadth,
with a prohibition of slavery contained in her
PnnctlfllflAn Ar?/J aa fA tkn nwUns'ina if w?/v.
1/VIIUWUUV.VIK *IHU MO K\/ WIV I^IIlbVliCO) 11/ yiv/
poses to leave them under their present form of
government,) if form may be predicated of that
which form has none,) until they shall make
State constitutions likewise.
This is called a u rum-action policy." It is a
policy of non-action on t he part of Congress, but
is it non-action everywhere ? The government
existing in New Mexico is based mainly upon
military rule, the military governor receiving his
appointment and authority from the Executive
of the United States, who is the corner-stone of
the whole structure. The Administration proclaims,
through the Secretary of State, that the
laws of Mexico, regulating the relations of persons
with each other, is still in foVce there.
Then this is not a policy of non-action, but an
Executive anti-slavery prohibition is proclaimed
there which will as effectually prevent slaves
from going to those territories as the YVilmot
Proviso itself. The State constitution, when
formed, will be formed by anti-slavery settlers,
ind of course will be anti-slavery. The policy,
then, effectually excludes the"South from all participation
in these territories. I know that I
lave been guilty of what may appear to some
llmost as sacrilege, hy speaking thus freely of
the President's plan and the Executive course.
They say we are exciting party feeling by doing
jo. Well, sir, will they criticise, and if necessary
disapprove the conduct of the President?
Oh, no; he is their President, and they look to
aim, perhaps, for place and promotion. To
tneir vision, in rns mouth is the gift 01 promising,
ind in his right hand is the horn of plenty. Then
they will not, and we must not examine into his
I'onduct; and however injurious, therefore, to ,
the interests of our constituents may he his acts
Mid recommendations, they are to be passed
over in silence. This doctrine will not do for ,
freemen, or the representatives of freemen.
We eluim the right freely and impartially to ex- j
inline into the public acts of our public servants,
however distinguished or exalted. I have
not intended to do either more or less.
Next we come to the compromise, or, as its ,
friends delight to call it, 44 the plan of adjustment,"
reported to the Senate by the Committee ;
jf Thirteen. This commences by providing j
for the admission of California as a State, in i
ill her length and breadth, with the prohibition i
af slavery contained in her constitution. Thus
far it is identical with the President's plan; but i
in regard to the Territories of New Mexico and
Utah it differs. It provides for them, as the
phrase goes, territorial governments, without
the proviso. But, sir, does it leave to the South
I have not apoken here of the inatancea in
which the ordinance of 1787 had been applied to
liferent parts of the Northwestern Territory,
rhose instances were considered only as carrying
>ut a contract, pre-existent to the Constitution,
md recognized therein, of course only to the ex?nt
pf its original scope.
any chance whatsoever to enjoy any part of
these territories ? The Mexican laws are not
repealed, and no assurance whatever is given
us that our property shall be secure there. The
very distinguished chairman of the committee
who reported this plan, has repeatedly declared
his belief that those territories are closed to the
admission of slaves ; and if so closed, must remain
so. In the report introducing these compromise
propositions, it is stated that u there
was never any occasion for it (the proviso) to
accomplish the professed odject with which it
was originally offered." And again: " The proviso
is, as to all these regions in common, a mere
abstraction." And, sir, really this view seems
to be carried out iu the plan of adjustment, so
far as it relates to the territories. In order to
maintain their property there, the South would
have, first, to nieet^the question of tiic continued
existence of Mexican laws. Tliat being decided
in her favor?if it should be, and I think
it ought?then would arise the question whethor
tllivnmr la fko /\^ aMoniat
v* id wro uraiuiu |AiwuvV) uiuiuvipal
law. She would be told that there waa no
Eositive law there tolerating slavery, and would
isist on her part that such law was not necessary
for its legal existence. Supposing this
also to be decided in her favor, what comes
next? We have struggled through these difficulties
with much ado, and a few slaves, perhaps,
go there. There is among many of the citizens
a strong anti-slavery prejudice. They entice
slaves away from then- masters; they aid
them in making their escape from the country ;
they do a thousand tilings to render the tenure
by which they are held insecure, and their value
worthless. It is not theft, and under the clause
inserted in the territorial bills by the committee,
no laws could be passed by the territorial legisl
iture to punish these offences, for it is prohibited
from passing any law " in respect to African
But let the amendment offered in the Senate,
giving such a power to the territorial legislatures
pass. Then all these difficulties are supposed
to have been mat and vanquished, and
slaves are slowly getting into Mexico. What
then? Is the power of Congress exhausted
when she gives a territorial government ? By
no means. On the contrary, she has the power
to amend that territorial government whenever
she chooses. If she has the power now to puss
the Proviso, she will have it then; and looking
to the report of the committee, it may then with
apparent propriety be passed. The reason there
given for not passing it now is?not that it is
unconstitutional?not that it is unjust?hut simply
that there is no occasion for it. If the only
reason for not passing the Proviso now is, that
it is not necessary, (and that is the one insisted
on,) of course if it were necessary it would be
right to pass it, and whenever it does become
necessary. Hero, then, is an end to all our
hopes. But not content to give up all of the
territory from Mexico by the late treaty of Guadalupe
Hidalgo, it goes further in its career of
adjustment. It aajusts away from the South
about one-third of Texas which she already
My view of the resolutions annexing Texas to
the United States is this: Texas was admitted
claiming certain boundaries; the United States
had no care ?how large they were, provided no
injustice was done to other nations. If Texas
had claimed to the Salt I jike, and no other nation
had set up a counter-claim, she would have
been entitled to retain those boundaries. Mexico
did set up a counter-claim to a portion of the
territory claimed by Texas, ana the United
Slates representing Texas, had authority to
make concessions to Mexico in adjusting the
boundary with her. And here her power ceased;
she did not exercise that power, nnd consequently
the claim of Texas remained just as if the.
United States had not reserved any such authority
over her limits! It was in effect a contract
between the United States and Texas, stipulating
that Texas should have the territory she
claimed, unless upon h particular condition some
of it should be given up. This condition, however,
never having happened, the contract is left
absolute. But apart from all this, the annexation
resolutions provide for territory in Texas
north of 36 deg. 30 min.; this plan of adjustment
cuts her down to about 31 deg. It takes, indeed,
for New Mexico a great deal of territory,
which was, by the maps, never included in that
province while a part of the Mexican Republic.
Nor does it stop here in its career of adjustment;
it contemplates adjusting away a sum
supposed to be about fifteen millions of dollars,
of which the South must pay her share. To
this, then, we come. All the territory acquired
from Mexico is given up, and not content with
that, two States as large as Mississippi, out of
Texas south of 36 deg. 30 min., are given np,
also; and for this privilege of being thus fleeced,
we are to pay our part of fifteen millions of
dollars. But the tale of our wrongs is not yet
told. We are also to permit the slave trade to
be abolished in the District of Columbia, by allowing
Congress to liberate slaves on certain
conditions. The power to abolish slavery in
the District would thereby be conceded utterly,
because the condition is a mere matter of whim,
and can be varied at any time.
As to the fugitive slave bill, proposed as a
part of this plan of adjustment, the best thing
that I have heard said in its favor is, that it
leaves us still the law of '93, which we have all
along had. It does not take that away. If it
did, and left us solely to its own provisions, we
should be badly off indeed. And such is to be
the end of our State resolves, of our brave declarations,
and of our Nashville Conventions.
Though 8.1 id thousands of times before, never
were more applicable the words of Shakspeare,
"Oh most Inme and impotent conclusion."
When the King of France, with forty thousand
men, inarched up the hill and then marched
down again, he made a creditable performance
?a brilliant manoeuvre, indeed, compared to
what this would be.
My objections to voting for the admission of
. oi.i. J a -A:
i-uiii<jriuu an a oum% uinwrr iitsr present cuuuutution,
if not absolutely insuperable, are very
threat. If the citizens of that territory, acting
by virtue of authority regularly granted, and in
pursuance of prescribed form, had made a constitution
excluding slavery, we could but have
acquiesced. But tliis constitution is based upon
usurpation and revolution. At the ratilication
of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the sovereignty
over this territorvpassed into the people
of the several States. They could have ceded
it, or any part of it, away again immediately to
raise the money to be paid to Mexico. From
thcin that sovereignty could never pass except
by their consent given by their agents or by revolution.
Their consent has never been given;
but On the contrary has been refused, expressly
at the time when the last Congress refused to
pass a bill to allow the people of California to
form a State Constitution. It is, then, a case of
revolution. And made by whom ? If by citizens
owning the soil ana regularly settled in
the country, it might to some extent be palliated.
But it has been to a considerable extent by
wanderers and sojourners?men who had temporarily
left their homes elsewhere, to repair their
fortunes out of the gold of the United States, and
then to return again. Many of them have returned
to the United States already, as 1 understand,
and doubtless had the intent to do so while
sitting in the California Convention. Such persons,
usurping an authority not granted to them,
have undertaken to mould the organic law of the
country over which they wandered, and of much
more that they h*d not ?etn, and in so moulding
the organic law hare excluded our rights thereinAnd
doubtless one consideration which operated
to induce them to do so, was the fear that otherwise
n northern majority would not admit the
State into the Union. So that revolution there,
with agitation and threats here; will have effectually
excluded us from a country acquired by the
common blood and treasure, and peculiarly adapted
at present to our institutions. Mr. Clat says
very truly, in his repot introducing his compromise,
" California, of all our recent territorial acquisitions
from Mexico, was that in which, if anywhere
within them, the introduction of slavery
was most likely to take place." And I will add
the opinion, derived from information considered
good, that even now, if all improper restraints
and influences were withdrawn, the introduction
of slavery there would take place. I forbear to
draw any picture of the effect of such introduction
upon the condition of the South. It is clear
that it would be highly beneficial.
Now, sir, it is needless for me to arguethatthis
territory, being the property of the people of the
United States, it was for their Representatives to
determine when, and by whom, and over how
much of that territory a new authority should be
established. It was for Congress to say whin a
State constitution should be formed in California,
who should be the voters, and what should be the
bounds of the new State.
Gentlemen talk a great deal about the right of
the people there to govern themselves. Dia they
not go there, most of them, to occupy deliberately
territory which they knew belonged to all the
Eieople of the United States? But unless defined
y law, who shall say who are the people that
should govern themselves ? Shall women be included,
or boys, or, foreigners, or idiots, or the
insane? If these classes are to he evelmle<f. whn
excludes them unless the competent law-making
power? Did the first hundred who went there
constitute a people who could exercise sovereignty
over the whole territory ? As applicable to this
subject, I beg leave to quote a passage from a
speech delivered by the Hon. Daniel Webster, in
1848, in the Supreme Court of the United Slates,
ou the Rhode Island case. He said:
1 " Is it not obvious enough that men cannot get
together and count themselves and say we are so
many hundreds, and so many thousands, and
judge of their own qualifications, and call themselves
the people, and set up a government?"
" What is this but anarchy? "
Well, sir, neither the President of the United
States nor General Riley had authority to take
the place of the law-making power. It does not
in tne slightest degree lend to reconcile me to
this revolutionary movement, that it has been
approved and was encouraged by the President
of the United States. If he whose duty it was,
to the extent of his authority, to maintain the
rights of the United States, has encouraged their
invasion?if, when Congress, the proper authority,
had refused to the people of California the
right to take the sovereignty over that territory,
he encourages them to ao so?if at a time when
every man of reflection in the country might
have known, and af Ipnal nne ni?mk?r nfliia r.oV>.
inet believed, that the verdict would be against
the South, he encourages a measure by which
the verdict must of necessity be rendered?then,
sir, these considerations tend rather to increase
than diminish my objections to sanctioning this
Omitting now the question of the power of
Congress to admit a State with two representatives,
without an enumeration of her inhabitants,
to prove that she in constitutionally entitled to
them, I think I have shown strong grounds of
opposition to the admission of California. Indeed,
I fear if we sanction all this irregularity
and usurpation, Congress may surrender all authority
over any territory hereafter. It would
certainly, therefore, require some strong equivalent
to make me willing to sanction it^^utd it is
needless for me to say that such equivalent is not
given in a series of measures to each of which in
itself I should be opposed. This is my estimate
of this compromise, and upon it I must act. I
shall not complain if other gentlemen view it differently.
Some for whom I have high respect
seem to do so. They must act upon their own
views of propriety. But if they seek, by the
power of pertinacity or by the weight of authority,
to compel us to act upon their convictions
instead of our own, I tell tnem for myself, once
for all, their labor is in vain. Gentlemen may
So on. They may roll upon our ears the thuners
of the press; they may flash befbre our eyes
the fictitious lightning of a made-up public opinion;
they may pile up their letters mountain high; |
they may heap Pelion upon Ossa, and Ossa upon
Olympus, until they scale the heavens?my course
is clear. Anchored upon a conscientious conviction
of duly, no storm will shake me, and no
perils move. There is one voice that 1 shall ever
respect. When a voice shall come from my constituents,
and come I think it never will, requiring
my support for such a measure, it will then
be time enougli for me to decide whether I shall
obey, or seek in retirement and in the walks or
private life that self-respect which I could nevef
nope to retain if I yielded my honest convictions
of duty to any stress or weight of influence
whatsoever. 1 have spoken of this compromise
as it iB; how it may be altered, of course I know
not, and consequently cannot say what effect
mime uiluitLiiuuo muy nave upon my juugmeni.
To gain my support for the measure, they must
be neither unimpartial nor trivial. I am willing
to vote for any fair compromise, but I am not
commissioned to make a surrender. I am sincerely
desirous, if possible, to sec the question
settled, but it is too much to ask that the South
should be sacrificed by her own votes. When
r' ou ask that, I say, at once, " 1 don't go for it."
think 1 have shown that every plan now under
consideration for settling the question of slavery
in our newly acquired territories is based upon
the idea that the South is to get nothing, and the
North everything.
Now, Mr. Chairman, if you ask whether there
has been aggression, I refer you to the general
understanding of the country a few years ago.
Was it not universally understood that the line of
36? 30' was to be the line of adjustment and
division on this subject between the free and slave
States, until a very few years ago? I ask the
Northern gentlemen if it was not so with the
Northen people? Even as late as February 1,
1845, the distinguished gentleman from Massachusetts,
[Mr. Winthrop,] in a speech delivered
here, and quoted again by himself a few days
since, said, speaking in relation to Oregon, a territory
not coming strictly under the express terms
of the Missouri Compromise?" It seems to be
understood that this institution is to be limited by
the terms of the Missouri Compromise, and is nowhere
to be permitted in the American Union
above the latitude of 36? 30'." From this it is
clearly inferrible that it was not to be restricted
South, and was of course aimed more especially
at her. Well, sir, we should deplore very deeply
the occurrence of such an event. But it behooves
us to say, that between dishonor and dan
ger the choice in easy, and if those regiments
should ever come down upon us, we would endeavor
to be true to our ancient reputation. We
should seek to mingle hospitality with our resistance.
We would give them, as far as we could,
a warm welcome, such a welcome as a distinGishcd
Senator from Ohio said, that he, if a
exican, would give the Americans?" with
bloody hands to hospitable graves."
Then, sir, there has been a class of threats,
ushered in by the member from Massachusetts,
(Mr. Maw.) In a speech, delivered here on the
15th of February, 1850, he uses the following
"Perhaps the dissolution of the Union is the
means fore-ordained by God for the extinction of
slavery; and did I not foresee its doom before any
very'long period shall have elapsed, without the
unspeakable horrors of a civil and servile war, I
cannot say to what conclusions the above considerations
would lead my own mind."
Most amiable gentleman! He gives us to understand
that if he did not think that slavery in
our limits would, "before any very long period,"
fall, by this agitation, I suppose he does not know
that he woulanot be willing to accomplish that
result by disunion, servile and civil war.
Servile and civil war are united in his picture.
He intimates that the Northern men and the
slaves, would unite in making war upon us. Fit
allies, this passage shows that such as he would
I be, for ?egroes in the work of a midnight massa
ere of sleeping women and children. We would
not fear him elsewhere!
Having shown from what quarter the threats
have come, 1 proceed, with far more brevity than
I once intended, to examine how far force can be
able to preserve the Union.
1 say, then, first, that the idea presents a moral
impossibility. Say that a number of Slates think
proper to withdraw from the Union, and you
inarch force against them and subdue them, you
cannot subdue their will, and compel them to
choose senators and representatives in Congress.
If they do not participate in your government,
they are subject to laws in the making of which
they have no part.
They are no longer sovereign States, but conquered
and subject provinces ; and your union of
sovereign Stales is of course broken. But let
me tell you more, you would not escape yourselves.
It would at any rate require a large army
stationed in the South to maintain your authority
over your conquered provinces. Yearly recruits
in large numbers would be. called for to supply
the ranks. You remember the story of the fabled
Minotaur, to which the flower of the Grecian
O' were yearly offered up as a sacrifice. Your
ern army would be a sad reality, a thousand-fold
worse than nil that was ever qaid of the
fabled Minotr.ur. Thousands yearly would be
the number of your best young men tnat it would
drain front you. And behold the end! It is
maintained in the field for years ; success is supposed
to have crowned its exertions : on *mbi
tious general who has led it on from victory to
victory, is at its head; mad ambition seizes nim
and military pride inflames his army ; they turn
back upon you and subdue you in turn, and so
out of the dark abyBS of civil war, the demon of
military despotism emerges, and rules over all.
But the idea of preserving the Union by force,
involves farther a political wrong. You have no
right to employ force against a sovereign State,
should she resolve to leave the Union. Ours is a
peculiar form of government. I admit that if a
part of an aggregate, sovereign community rebels,
the government of the community has tne right
to reduce it to subjection. But our government is
not based on an aggregate political community ; it
is founded on a union of a number of sovereign
States. The Constitution was adopted by each
State for itself; it is sustained by State action -,
Senators, Representatives, and Presidential Electors,
being all chosen by States. It is to be
amended,, if at all, by State action ; State organization
is in all, and under all. The General Government
being the creature of the several States,
should it attack one of them, it would be the creature
attacking the creator. But to make the point
clearer still: Each State has over it two governments,
both adopted by its own action. One is |
the Slate government, which acts only upon the
State itself; the other is the federalgovernment,
acting upon the other States also. TTte latter government
makes the supreme law of the land,
while circumscribed in its action by constitutional
But in matters not placed by the Constitution
of the United 8tates under the control of the General
Government, nor denied to the States, the
State Governments make the supreme law for
their own lands, respectively* State laws are as
supreme in their limits, where not in conflict with
the United States Constitution, as the laws of
Congress are when made in pursuance of that instrument.
Now suppose a difference of opinion
between these two sets of agents, as to whether a
particular power lies properly in the scope of the
one, or the other ; who snail decide ? To give to
either set of agents the right to decide, is to make
its will the only limit to its own power. You
must refer the dispute to the arbitrament of the
sovereign. Now it is the great American doctrine
that the soverignty under our system is in
the people, and the only remaining question is,
who are the tovereign people ? . Not the people of
the United States in the aggregate, for there are
no such people. In what one respept, or for what
one purpose are the people offlhe United States
ever aggregated ? Not one. Then soveraign people
are the people of the Slates severally ; they
therefore have the right to make or unmake governments
for themselves.
The idea of maintaining the Union by force, if
the Southern States should think themselves called
upon to withdraw, would imply lastly a physical
impossibility. You would be physically unable
to Bubdue those States. The very idea of the
question being put to the test is shocking to every
feeling of our nature ; and the calculation of the
chances of the result has something in it much
akin to the calculation of the chances whether one
should win or loose in a death struggle with a near
relation. But a bold practice is often necessary
for a rapid and malignant disease. I do not intend
to imitate a bad exumple, and draw any disparaging
comparison between northern ana southern
valor. Whenever it becomes necessary, it will be
easily shown that it is no more in conformity with
true history than with good taste, to charge that
the military history of tlie South is less brilliant
than that of the North. I go upon the admission
that a proper share of valor is possessed by both
regions, and yet contend that it would be impossible
to subdue the South. Though numerically
wearker than the north, she is in that respectq uite
strong. She is supposed to have about nine millions
of people, three millions of which are set
down as slaves.
Of the six milions which remain, take one-half,
or three millions, as males. Of these, take again
one-half as being of military age, neither too old
nor too young, and from the remaining million
and a half, deduct one-sixth as non-combatants,
from infirmity or from any other cause.
This leaves us 1,250,000 fighting men. We
would be acting on the defensive; you on the offensive.
We would be contending for rights
considered vital to us; you for power, or else for
speculative philanthropy. We would be engaged
around our altars and fire-sides; you would be
employed far from your household gods. But it
has been said by some that the South has a
source of peculiar weakness in her slave property.
I controvert the proposition. In all wars, tne beligcrent
nations have much the larger part of their
population engaged in the work of production.
We should necessarily require the labor of our
three millions of slaves, or such of them as are
of working age, in raising supplies for the country
and the army, and woula find need for as
many whites besides, in the same business. Of
the three millions of slaves, a larger number would
be engaged in the business of production than
would be the case if they were whites,because more
ol the females could be employed in held labor m
the one case than the other. To this extent our
slaves would be a source of strength rather thpn
weakness. This advantage might be counterbalanced,
and probably would, by the escape of a
few from the slave States to the abolition States,
or else to the northern army. But these escapes
would be comparatively few, and insurrections
never. For these, a time of repose and security
is necessary. Plans are to be laid, concert of action
is to be gotten up; and among a population
too, that do not, to any great extent, read, or
write, or travel about. In time of war, when the
clash of arms is heard around, and those who
cannot go to the battle field, are daily and nightly
on the beat, with guns in hand, then, sir, the
spirit of insurrection lies dormant. What insurrections
have evfer .occurred in this country in time
of war? So far from it, slaves have ofien been
found anxious to fight for their masters, and aide
by side with them. I contend, on theother hand,
that there would be many elements of weakness
in the northern States. Break up the relations
between North and South, and your coasting and
carrying business will be broken up, and a large
commercial interest would call out for peace.
The raw material would be taken from your factories
to a great extent, and a large manufacturing
interest would rise up and clamor for peace. The
markets for northern goods would be taken awav,
and a very extensive mercantile interest would,
with uplifted hands, beseech Ibr peace. With
all these interests interposing themselves in the
way of war, how long could it be kept up?
Northern men! 1st me commend these things to
your dispassionate consideration, and ask you to
test them in the light of history. The great military
powers of the world have nearly all been
large shareholding nations?the Jews, the Grecians,
the Romans, and the Goths. In our own
revolutionary struggle we were all slaveholding
States, aqd three millions of such people success*
fttlly defended themselves against twenty millions
of h9i-il?Tf^oid?n '
Tbm Southern !* ,"-Tri-wwekly rIs
published on Tuesdays, Thursday. tad Saturday#
of each week.
?' The Southern Preea,"?Weekly,
Is published every Saturday.
For one square of 10 lines, three insertions, f 1 Ot#
? every subsequent insertion, - ? 16
Liberal deductions nude on yearly advertising.
t. tl ' - >
CP Individuals may forward the amount of their
subscriptions at our risk. Address, (puat-paid)
Washington City.
If you say that there were very few slaves at.
the North, I answer, that, according to General
Knox'a report, the South, where most of the
slaves were, * bore more than her proportional
share" in the men furnished, as she did also in
its expensesand its battles. In the Mexican war,
we furnished more than our share of men, and
have never been behind. 1 claim no particular
credit for it to our section. It lias been the result
of peculiar circumstances, perhaps; but it shows
how far it i# true as charged that we are weukencd
by slavery. We, too, are an agricultural people;
irou are to great extent commercial and manuacturing.
The history of nations shows nothing
more clearly, than that agricultural people are the
strongest, especially for defensive war.
Can it be doubted, that the idea of holding the
South in thia Union by fbrce if she resolvi s to
leave it, involves a moral impossibility, a political
wrong, and a physical impossibility? I do not
think there is room for doubt. By all this, I do
not mean to be understood as saying that the time
for disunion has arrived. On the contrary, I desire
that such a time may never come, and to prevent
it, in my judgment, it is necessary that fwirties
should understand each other, and the state of
their relations Let not northern gentlemen think
to say we are the majority, and will give loose to
our unbridled will. The minority has terrible
power, if you call it out. Think not to pans unconstitutional
and oppressive laws, and enforce
them by the sword. Thia Union is based not
upon the sword, but upon the interest of its several
members. It is held together, not by the iron
chains of power, but by the silken cords of affection.
Well has it been said,
" Stout were the hearts, and strong the minds
Of those who framed, in high debate,
The immortal league of love, that binds
Our fair broad empire State with State."
We must commend this Government to the interest
of all, by a course of strict and impartial
justice. We must gather around it the love and
afTection of all, by conciliation and kindness. Not
only the deliberate opinions, but us fhr as possible
the feelings of the different sections must be
respected. Above all, we must keep this Government
to its legitimate and clearly constitutional
powers. Even doubtfiil powers must be avoided.
The structure of our system is to be maintained
in form and vigor, by keeping it upon its proper
base, rather than by seeking to stay it by props
when it has begun to tumble. If we shall be able
to learn these lessons of wisdom from our present
dangers, we shall be early able to remove them.
The Missouri Compromise, in its real intent nnd
meaning?that by which the North has gained so
much, and to which the South has adhered so
fnithAilIy?can be re-enacted, and other suitable
measures speedily framed. Then we shall have
occasion to rejoice that this crisis ever urose. It.
will be a grand era in our history?it will constitute
a new point of departure whence, forgetting
the bitterness of the past, and remembering only
its glories, we shall enter upon a future growing
brighter, till in the fur distance it will be spanned
by the bow of perpetual peace and promise.
py The Nashville Banner, which makes light
f the proceedings of the Southern Convention,
fmts forth such stern admonitions as the followng
u We repeat?let the North now take heed !
The time is at hand when the South will he as a
unit on the question?not to contend for mere
abstractions, but under the lead of other men
than those lately assembled here, to repel unendurable
wrong; under wiser counsels, to vindicate
at least her honor, even if her rights can
no longer be maintained. The great body o
the American people, North and South, have the
credit of jxtssoasing common sense.?of knowing
the value" of what they have in possession.
Let them now, if they would indeed have their
children inherit the blessing they enjoy, come
to the rescue of the Republic against fanaticism,
wncrever 11 inav rear iu mneous ironi. ix-i triem
feel that the crisis in nearly reached?that the
Eublic mind must be quieted, or the glories which
ave been the admiration of all Inn tin will pass
away like " the baseless fabric of a vision." '
Manufacturers and the Operatives.?We
extract the following interesting passage from the
the acts of the Federal Government, cannot dearticle
entitled u Commercial Chronicle and Review,
in the June number of Hunt's Merchant's
\ Magazine. The writer is speaking of Lowell:
u During- the past year there has been a growing
difficulty in procuring hands, and many looms
have been idle from the impossibility of procuring
them at such wages as would leave any
profit to the companies. It has doubtless been
the case that the nigh prices of the raw material
have prevented the ability to advance wages, and
it is also the case that the character of the hands
is changing?that is to say, the females now employed
are Irish immigrants to a greater extent
than ever before, and these drive out the American
girls, in spite of the wishes or interests of
the factory agents. Necessity compelled the
employment of some of these, and when once
taken in, emmigrants have at their heels numberless
relatives to be sent for, and these must
have places.
u When business is pressing, each week brings
new hands seeking labor, and the agent finds,
with their well known clanishness that the old
hands apply for situations for newly arrived
friends, if he resists, he is shortly told that
another place is open where all can get work to
pother. To keep his old hands, therefore, lie
is compelled to take the new ones, and this only
lays the foundation for more extensive future
arrivals. By this process it Is that the popul u
tion of Lowell is becoming altogether lri h.
This fact would indicate that the misfortunes of
Ireland are not altogether owing to the characters
of the people, but to the absence of capital
and of enterpnze among those who can command
it. Tne course of affairs, however, makes
the number of American employees annually
less, hastening the period when Lowell will become
a second Manchester. The spread of
manufactures in other regions of the United
States is more rapid than in Lowell, if we are
guided by the quantity of cotton taken annually
for consumption from the ports, as follows:
1840. 1860. In'e. pr. ct.
Consumed at Lowell 47,112 7 626 67
" elsewhere 247,888 439 380 78.
Total, ' 296,000 618,000
w This is exclusive of the considerable increase
which lias taken place in western and
southwestern factories that obtain their cotton
direct from the plantations.
"The continued improvements which arc being
made in machinery, and the use of steam
power, are constantly making the high water
rents of Lowell more burdensome, and the
probability is that circumstances of cheaper power,
and easier and cheaper access both to markets
and raw material, will continue to cause
the more rapid extension of manufactures into
new and Southern States. In the latter particularly,
the mass of unemployed white labor
that can he directed to the profitable production
of fabrics, is such as to make a material change
in the prosperity of that region, which has certainly
progressed less rapidly in wealth since tho
numbers of unproductive whites have increased
to an important figure."
The citizens of Austin have held a large
and enthusiastic meeting, at which Chief Justice
Hemphill presided. A voluminous report and
a number of spirited resolutions were adopted.
The meeting urges upon the people of the State
the necessity of holding similar meetings in
every county, to bring about prompt action ir)
regard to Sapta ?e.
b'W ' 1
! ? ' ; 1

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