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kiriT.lc'r-'.'L^, ?...! th.1 ?fa, lh..l?.e fa. (o Oljlo there slay. his master in attempting to reclaim him, he fellow, ..Kl <h.i M I." VoutJ cau nun ^ [j^ Unon the institutions of th*tKut?U''h? had examined the laws of Ohio, and he found . th?t * a man d-d a lawful act and another killed gagod ? il, they cslUd him a murderer 1 He constitution of the United Sinus provided for the lecUtmio* of lugnive .Uvea, and the Supreme Court of the United States had decided ?M that clause of the constitution ao far executed itself a. that the master or hia agent had the right to pursue hi* .lava and re take him. If, then, the slave killed him, ho killed him doing When be heurd such declaration* made on (his floor by tho irentlemun from Ohio, (Mr. Giddik.is ;) when their -laves were invited to run away, end,were lold, if you kill your UMU t#r in attempiing to retake you, you are clever follows; when the gentleman Irom Massachusetts (Mr. Pal??m] declared that there were thousand* of slavea in New Bedlord who had paid for theinstlve* by their heels t and when, in the face of ihew declarations, a ship from a Northern Style came to this District and took off a .hip load of slaves, to pay for them selves by their heals also, it wa. time to meet this matter a. became a representative f.om the South. He loved thoUnion; it had cost him und hi. much; there was not a battle field, from Saratoga to Camden, but had drank the hfe-Woodof ' ?,me of his family and relatives, but love it as he did, he hailed dissolution with pleasure and joy, if they were continu " ally -o be taunted by fanatic, and hypocntes; if their wives and little ones vve.e to be assassinated and destroyed by in^ termeddling men with hearts black as hell. 1 the feeling of his heart; he could say nothing less J he South asked no favors ; and if gentlemen supposed that because they had said nothing until driven to it by their unhallowed machi nation. and intrigues, that they were afraid to investigate the question, they had mistaken the South alti>gether. He fell, and he would here express most profound obli gation. to hi. Northern and Western Democratic Iriends, who had stood by them in defence of the right, of the South to.ll e number of twenty-five or thirty, in a vote wh.ch had recently been taken, while on the other .ide not a Northern or VVest ern man had stood by Southern right.. He clashed the Abolitionist, of the North in two division. : one a set of fana tic. who, though possessing no genuine social feeling., were honest men, and the other men who made use of them to se cure .eat. in Congress and power and elevation for them selves, who stirred up the strife , vile hypocrite., who went around to the factories ond sunday schools gelling children and women to sign petition, on matter, with which they bad no concern to bring them to Congress. Such miserable sub terfuges, such vile and wicked resorts, disgraced humanity. He denied that slavery was eilher a moral, social, or po'f" cal evil; they had nothing to do with it; it was a matter which belonged to the South. He asked gentlemen if the agonizing, heartrending cry of the slave in the middle parage, kldnapH from Africa, had ever arisen from *h.ps from North Carolina No; Massachusetts ond Khode Island could tell u. "bout it; it had rung from their vessels, and that inhuman traffic had hocn a source of their wealth ; almost every thing in the town of Newport, Jlhode Island, had been made out of it, and Rhode Island had been represented ill the other end of the Capitol by one of these stave dealers, for it hail so been charged upon that floor. The North had brought this institution upon them ; the descendant, of those who landed at Plymouth, andI of Roger William*, had sold them their slaves ami pocketed the money. And now they were enlisted in aciussde againsttheir property; and they had recently undertaken to kidnap and decoy away soventy-five in one vessel from this District; and gentle'lien came here and with long faces complained that the people of thia city had risen to defend their rights. He had heard of a member of Congress who bad gone yesterday to the iail for the purpose of giving counsel to these felons, who were caught flagrante delicto ! lfe had beard that a member of this House had v duntenred his services?had gone to the jail for the purpose of throwing the weight of his character and in fluence and tafenU in defence of men who had plundered the owner, in the District of their slaves, and were caught with the negroes in their poflse?non ! Mi. GIDDINGS asked to lie permitted to exp.ain, and, the floor being yielded,,said, if the gentleman alluded to him he would say unhesitatingly?it was due to the gentleman from North Carolina that he should say to him, and the House, and the country, most distinctly, that he did visit the prison yesterday. He did ao in the character of a man, as well as . member of this House ; he said to the keeper of the prison, who eo far as he knew behaved entirely gentlemanly, that he came there to say to those men who were incarcerated under this charge that thev should have counsel provided for them. The keeper of the prison heard every word he uttered?that he had brought with him a gentleman who would .erve as their counsel; that he did it for the purpnneof protecting their legal rights, so that upon theii trial they might h-vo the law. of the land dealt out to them as they were to other peo|de ; * that he was persuaded no illegal violence would be used. For that purpose, and from hi. own promp ing. of humanity, he had vtailed them to givo them this information. Now let gentlemen ?ay what they pleased. Mi. GAYLE. Was the gentleman's object to reward these men and approve their course ? Or was U mere benevolence to defend men who could not defend themselves ' , Mr. GIDUINGS wa. glad the gentleman from Alabama had put to him that question. He had gone there to aay to those men that no mob violence should take their live*; that hi. influence, and the aid of counsel, and the law .houM save them from a barbarous mob. He had g>?ne there from the promptings of humanity ; he bad never aeen or heard ol them, or known any thing of them, before. Mr. GAYLE. Did not the gentleman go there for the pur po?c of encouraging these people ' . Mr. JOHNSON, of Arkanaat, Tose .imulianeou.ly with Mr. GAYLE, and desired to ask the gentleman from Ohio one question. Mr. GIDDINGS expressed a willingneas to answer ques tions which might lie propounded. . Mr. VENABLE, however, resumed the floor, a. hi. time was ao rapidly running away. He would ask the geDtlcinao from Ohio why it was so necessary to go to these men in jail and assure them they should be safe from the mob Did not every man know that tbey were in no danger when sately lodged there > Il waa a work of supererogation. The gen tleman was careful to vi.il those who had been caught in stealing and carrying away slaves ; had he gone to see the poor burglar, the felon who was confined in jail for other Crimea > No ! The sympathies of his heart were drawn out to nothing there but these aevenly-five negroes, and the men who had stolen them ! Mr. GIDDINGS. Does the gentleman want me to nnawer that question ' , Mr. VENABLE declined to give way, and after further remarks, moved an amendment to ihe resolution lo make the committee consist of nine members instead of five, and that they be elected by ballot instead of being appointed by the Speaker. Mr. HASKELL (the floor being yielded) deaired to ask the gentleman from Ohio two questi<xis, and that the gentle man would give him, as fer as he should find it convenient, ? categorical answer : the first was, whether he justified those slaves who bed lately made an attempt to eacape from their owners in the District of Columbia in that attempt 1 Mr. GIDDINGS, (addresaing the Speaker.) Have I the fl The SPEAKER. Does the gentleman from North Caro line yield the flwr to the gentleman from Ohio. Mr. VENABLE assented. Mr. GIDDINGS eaid to the question which had Iwen put o him, whether ho justified the slavea who had left their mas tiers in the District of Columbia in pursuit of their liberty, he could have no hesitation in answering before an assembled universe. He held, aa did our fetbera in 1776, that all men are born equal, and that to protect their rights to life, liberty, and the puisuit of happiness Governments sre frsmed among men. Now, believing that mankind as they came from God, were equal, he had ever been taughtby his fathers?and here he would aay to the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. \ aw a?li) that he (Mr. G.) boasted not that his father, fought lor liberty. Why did not the gentleman himself fight for it Before he aaaailcd him (Mr. G.) let him put himself reel us in atria - Mr. HOUSTON, of Delaware, rose to a point of order. Mr. GIDDINGS begged not to be interrupted until be bad finished the answer to the gentleman's question. The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Ohio will give way ? the gentleman from Delaware rises to a point of order. Mr. HOUSTON stated hie point to be, whether, upon a per imble and feaolution stating that a member of this House .bed been menaced by persons out of this House foi his psrti cipation, or alleged participation, in certain civil and criminal transections, it was competent for his friend from I ei nessee to put the queation to the gentleman from Ohio whether he justified this ect > . Mr. GIDDINGS. I take no exception to the question. The SPKAKEK replied to Mr. Hoisto* that the gentle roan from Ohio was not obliged to answer any question, but that, in the wide range allowed to the debate, it wss eertainly competent for the gentleman from Tennessee to put the ques tion, and for the gentleman from Ohio to answer it if be pleased. * Mr. GIDDINGS (resuming) remarked that he ssw gentle men from the South were excited on the rabject, and he might become excited. But it was a beautiful question, and if the doughfaces would only not interfere tbey would have a line fight. He was ststing his view#(he continued) on the rights of humanity, and he said to the gentleman from Tenneame that he held precisely with the fathers of 1776, lo whom he had alluded. Ha held to the principle for whieh the gentleman's fathera and hia contended at Bunker Hill and Yorktown i be held to the principle on which thia Government was based for ita rapport?that man was free and equal ; and that he who attempted lo interfere between his God and him self, to interfere wiih his God-given rights, did it at his peril. He held that he who stepped between him and hia God, and attempted either to rob him of his life or Uberty, did it at his peril, and so fur as God and nature had bestowed on him (be power, he should not do it. He h< id that every human being who vauie into the world and breathed th? air God had created, came into it with this right j and ho who attempted to interfere with it did *o at hi* peril. He held that there never wan a more just and righteous retribution iban wan in flicted upon the African* in 1804, when Decatur and Bomer* went there, and when these men who eua'aved their lellow men were made themselves to bite the dust. There never wa* a more goriou* cau?e to tight for; nor would he usk for a more gloriousdeath than to die in just audi a cause. He held that it waa right, and he held that any man when he enslaved hia fellow-man?when the hand of p.iwcr waa brought to bear ou hia (iod-given righta?hia "inalienable right*," i to use the worda of our fathers,) had the right to defend that liberty, and, to come down to the gentleman's specific ques tion? Mr. H ASKELL. I am very glad to hear you reach it. Mr. GIDDINGS, (continuing hia sentence,) I say that the slaves of thia District, when they felt the hand of oppression hearing on them, possessed before the univeVsal world und be fore God himself the right to free themselves by any means God has put into the powor Mr. HASKELL. The gentleman has answered that ques tion. I am satisfied. Mr. GIDDINGS, (retaining the floor.) I am not. I want to finish my answer. Mr. HASKELL. Inasmuch as the gentleman has justified thia attempt of these slaves to escape from their rigbtful own ers, I call on him to know whether he justifies the thieves who stole them ' Mr. GIDDINGS. I do not know that there wereany thieves. Mr. HASKELL. The men, then, the individuals, the par ties who were engaged i^ this kidnapping ? Mr. GIDDINGS. I aay, unhesitatingly, where laws are in force ; where legal constitutional laws of the land enforce pe nalties on such actions, they an* to be obeyed. I am not per mitted to interfere with the righta of the |>cople of this Dis trict, because I owe allcgiance to my Government, and he who interferes does it at his peril. There can be no difference between the gentleman and myself on that subject. . Mr. HASKELL. Then do I understand the gentleman to justify these men .' Mr. GIDDINGS. I nay that those who did it did it at their peril. Mr. HA8KELT.. Does the gentleman condemn these in-" dividual* ? Mr. GIDDINGS. I say unquestionably, if they did itthey violated the law. Mr. HAfKELL. Docs the gentleman consider it a viola tion of law ' Mr. GIDDINGS. Unquestionably, if they aided slaves in escaping. I am not very conversant with the laws of this Dis trict, though I have had occasion to look into them some?I un-) derstand it is a jamal act in this District. Now, it is wrong to violate this law, because in entering society we bind ourtelvc* to keep the laws which are couttitutionully euacted. There is a legal crime? Mr. HASKELL. Wns there any moral crime ? Mr. GIDDINGS. I do riot believe there is the least moral crime on earth in maintaining the rights God has given me, Mr. VENAULE interfere I, and claimed the floor. I lie SPEAKER state I that ihe gentleman from North Carolina was entitled to the fliior. * Mr. GIDDINGS declined to yield, as the floor had been given him for explanation, until he had concluded. I tie SPEAKER reminded the gentleman from Ohio that the floor was^ only given him by consent of the gentleman from Ni>rth Carolina, who now claimed his right to it. Mr. GIDDINGS yielded. Mr. TOOMBS was not averse to bringing up the investi gation that was s.iught to lie arrived at, but he objected to dignify it with the claim of privilege. He denied that the resolution contained a question of privilege, or one that ought t > be inquired into by this House. When he addr.ssed the J House on tjic question of order, he held ax he now held, that all privileged qurstions must be questions of privilege, and that no question c.mld necessarily be a privileged question that ! did not involve a question of privilege, A member rises, and ! says he rises to a question of privilege. The Chair must ! hear hiin when he submits the mutter to the chair, ihat he ' may decide whether it is a privileged i uestion, and that must ; be determined," if it is a question of privilege. Now he de- I nied the ground taken by the gentleman from Pennsylvania, ( Mr. J. K. Lvokiisoll ) He wholly denied that ibis body I iud the right of the British Parliament on questions of privi- I lege. He claimed lhat the people of this country had rights 1'he rights of the citixens were better secured by the laws of the land than they were by the libertine construction ol privi lege which for so many centuries oppressed the people of Great Britain. There Vvas not a more undefined, arbitrary, and unjust principle on the face of the earth, and he denied the \ conclusion to be rights at which the Sjieaker had arrived after reading the British law of privilege. He held that such prin ciple* were not to govern tbis body, and he denied that the extract read from the Mauual hail any authority over them. Mr. Jefferson merely stated it was a principle of the British Parliament, not as a principle of this House; he submitted the argument on both sides. This was considered in 1800 in the reign of terror, during the administration ol the elder Adams, and the republican party, with which he hod ever agreed, held distinctly that thi* H"U?e had no other privilege than was given to it by the constitution, and that they could not refer to the common law of Parliament for power of any sort. He held that doctrine to this day. This was a Government limited in its powers by the constitution, and to the constitution they must look for their powers; and if they were not there they were nowhere, and the exercise of such powers w as a usurps ti >n on the part of this House, and an aggression on the rights of the citirens, which be stood there this day to defend. He stood there to defend the rights of the mob, and he offered the consti ution of the l.nited Slates in opposition to the punish ment which this House might attempt to inflict. He cared not what were the facts of this case ; he submit ted to the constitution, which declared, under the general au thority, that Congress had power to make all laws nccesssry and proper for carrying into execution the powers given them, but he denied the right of the common Isw of Parliament. If the rights and duties defined by the constitution were not suf ficiently piotected, let Congress pass all laws under the cliuse to which he had referred that were nore<sary and proper to protect those rights. Until such Isws were passed there was no power to punish. This was a question which goes to the foundation ol government. It was a question affecting the foundation of popular liberty, which it was more important they should defend than an individual who bad shown himself to be unworthy of protection. He beggtd to call the attention of the House to the argu ment of Mr. Jefferson in the Manual. It was in these words: I he editor of the Aurora having, in his psper of February 19, 180?, inserted some paragraphs defamatory of the Senate, aid tailed in his appearance, he was ordered to be committed." He would here take occasion to remark that eveiy news paper editor in the country, under the authority claimed by the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. J. R. I e a moll) and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, msy be dragged before them snd confined ; and against such bound less, limitless power of privilege, and in defence of the rights of (lie country,Jhe called upon every friend of liberty to stand forth. The SPEAKER reminded the gentleman from Georgia thai ihe Chair had pronounced no opinion on the facts; and at some length be reiterated the ground assumed by the Chair. Mr. TOOMB* waa showing thst tbc principle had not been properly quoted, and the clause of the constitution to which reference bsd been made was of no force unless laws were enacted to carry it out. He would like to know how this House was to do it f Could they do it directly or infer entially ' This Government derived its powers from the con stitution. Such was their authority. Tyrsnny had assumed thousands and tens of thousands of forms under the rules of Parliament. Oppression was spread over the land ; and here our forefathers intended to limit and define it, and to secure the rights and liberties of the people. Tbis he was showing by the quotation he was reading from the Manusl, and he contended that thia privilege ?f Parliament was of no force here, further than it was prescribed by the constitution and carried out by laws properly enacted in accordance with the constitution. But to proceed: " In deflating the legality of thisAirder, it was insisted, in support of it, that every man, by the law of nature, and every bo.hr of men, possesses the right of self-defence ; that all pub lic functions?* are essentially vested with the powers of self preservation j that (h y Iwtc in inherent right to do nil sctsne cesssrj to keep themselves in a condition to rliwhar^c the trusts confided to them ; that, whenever authorities are given, the m<-*nsof carrying them into execution are given by necessary implication; that thus we see the Hritiah Parlisment exercise the right of punishing contempts, all the Ststc legislatures exer cise the same power, and every court does ihe same ; that if we have it not, we set at the mere; of every intm.ler who may enter onr doors or gallery, and, Ity noise and tumult, render [ proceeding in business impracticable , that if our tranquillity is to be perpetually disturbed by newspaper defamation, it will not be possible to exercise our fnnetions with the requisite eoolnesa and deliberation; and that we must therefore have a power to punish these dis urbers of onr m ace and proceed ings. " 1 That was the argument of the gentleman from Pennsylva nia. It was the argument of federalism in 1800 against the publishing by an editor of lhat which tie believed to lie right. "To this it was answered thst the Parliament and courts of England have cognizance of contempts by th "express provi- : sions of their law , that the State legislature" have equal au- 1 thnrity, because their jKiwera are plenary ; they represent tlseir constituents completely, and possets all their powers, 1 except auch as their eonstitntions have expressly denied them ? that Ihe courts of the several States have the seme power* by the laws of their States, and those of the Federsl Government hy the same Slate laws adopted in each State, by a law of Con gress | that none of these bodies, therefore, derive those pow ers from natural or necessary rght, but from express law, lhat Congress have no such natural or neeeassry power, nor *ny powers but such as are given them hy the constitution , thai that has gtvrn them directly exemption from personal ar rest, exemption from question elsewhere for what is laid in their House, and power over their own members and proceed ings , for these no further law is necessary, the constitution bein* the law ; that, moreover, by that article ol the oonstitu tion which authorize* them ' to make all laws "Wwry " nroner tor carrying into execution the powers vetted b> tin; constitution in them,' they may provide by law lor au undis turbed exercise of their foiictiusis ( e. g. tor the punuhmen contempts, of alfrays or tumult m their nresenee, t|,c Uw be made, it doe. not exist, and doe. not exist tram their own neglect j that, in the ?u?.au time, however, they are not unprotected, the ordinary magistrates wd.oowU of law being op?n and competent to puniah all unjustifia c [urbance* or defamations, and eve,, their own serge-n , who may aimulut deputies ad Hbitvm to aid him, (3 Grey, 59, 147, ?'55 ) . equal to small disturbances \ that, on requiring a p - \fous law, tlie cou.titutiou had regard to the inviolably o the citizen a* well a* ol the member ; a? should one House, tWe regular form of a bill, aim at too broad privileges, it may In: checked by the other, and both by the 1 resident; artd also us, the law being promulgated, tlie citizen will kuow how o avoid offence." The gentleman from Pennsylvania told him bta views were too limited, and therefore he had here given that genl enwii the judgment of others bused on unanswerable argument. He knew not how far the gentlemau from Pennsylvania an ie differed on the fundamental principle* of Government, hut this be would undertake to assert, that that gentleman a argu nxMit was untenable when he justified Ite doctrine of con tempts. The extract wb.ch he had read quoted the clause of the constitution which gave Congress power to pass laws that were necessary for the execution of the powers given by the constitution, and then added, ? but till the law bemadet does not exist." Well, then, where was their law it did noi exist, and hence gentlemen claimed the right luexeicuing those powers to go back to the laws of Parliament, which he had no heaitation in suying waa an abuse of power, lie had the pleasure last night to hea. the District Attorney arguing on the street to a mob that the lawa of the land were sufficient for the punishment of offenders But it seemed the gentle man from Massachusetts (Ml. Packet) did not deem them sufficient, for be cornea here and claim- the I'W^ntery i privilege. It was not for the lawa of the land that he asked, hut for the undetined and undefinable privilege off arliament. Now he (Mr. T.) stood hv the privilege ol the people in tins great controversy. He would tell this House, the gentlemen from the South especially, that under this very ina.dtous ques tion of privilege, by avoiding the other branch of Congres. and the Executive, they intended to reach the object aimed at. They had heard from a member of this House this day that there was no moral criminality in an act recently com- i milted ; there was only one step further to go, and that step would not be taken in broad day, but in the night. And when this act, in which there was no moral ciiminahty, was committed, they might expect to see this House protect its members by its own privileges. 1 here was a question of deep importance to the South; and hence he wished this question of privilege decided; he wished to know and he wished the people to know, the limits of the privileges of this House. Every man has a right to know the laws under which he lives but the law ol privilege depended upon the construction of the House, and if such a decision were to prevail there would be us base slaves living under this Government as any_ that were now in the jail of this Di-tricU Yes, and he wished to te the American people that if the people of this District were to bo dependant for their liberties and their rights on the judg ment of this House on their own privileges, they wou.d de serve the fetters of the felon if they tolerated the presence of thin House lor a single night. The iieople of this District havo rights, too ; they have the rights of natuie. The rights and privileges of this people must stand on some safer ground than the decision of this House on a question affecting its own privileges. In am they might call lor order? in vain would their District Attor ney argue before a mob when their rights were trampled upon? ,,, vain would this House be invoked if the people here had no security , and be trusted in God that discord would reign forever?he wanted no peace among them until their rights | were secured. .... . j i Hear again the authority from which he had read : 1 " Hut if one branch may assume in own privileges without ? And tbi? was what this House was doing now. The man who clia-ed a member of this House was to be punished un der the law of privilege. Such was to be the operation of I this law of privilege, which be tailed upon his countrymen every where to mark and to resist: . , II it it ,1U4y do it on tlie spur of the occasion, conceal tlie law in its own breast, and after the fact committed, make ! its sentence both the law and the judgment on that tact; it the I offence is to be kept undefined, and to be declared only ex r mta and according to the passions ot the moment, and there be W limitation eifl?r i.. .h? ? ishnient, the condition of the citizen will be penlous mdeed. This was the doctrine, and thc*e weic the arguments used i in 1800, when they had to look at the extent of their nghu | and at the tenure bv which they vindicated and held them. ^ | ?' Which of these doctrines is to prevail timo will decide. Well, the time has come. It had become the duty of the ! 30th Congress to decide whether it had been adopted by the Sneaker of this House, who ruled that the caae stated in the resolution More the House was embraced in the l'"^''^'8 given and be^owed by the constitution. He thought the Spe >ker was wrong. The privileges of this House were de fined bv the constitution, and they could not go any wh re eke to 'seek for them. Ho was for supporting the supreme law. This doctrine, that there was po moral crime in violat ing the civil law, men would do well to consider. Men would do well to remember that they deri'e their protection from the law. It was becauae there waa a reliance on law that there waa no fear of physical force. ?? Where there is no fixed law, the judgment on any parti cular case is the Uw of tKat single case only, and dies with it. When a new aud even a similar case ane< a, the judgment wh t is to make and at the same time apply the law is open to ques tion and consideration, as are all new laws , ^r,'n||V^i gress, in the mean time, in their care for the zen as well as for their protection, may declare by law what it necessary and proi?cr to enable them to carry into execution the power vested in them, and thereby hang up a rule for the inaction of all, which may direct the con.lucj of the caizen ?ml at the same time test tht judgments they shall themselves pronounce in their own case." He did not propose to go further with the diseuawon cf the question whether the facta of thia case were auch as ought to be inquired into by this House. He would not if theyr went fen times further. He asserted that no privilege w.,i invaded and therefore any proceedinga in the case by this Houae were improper and unnecessary. . - Mr. MORSE was extremely happy that the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Toombs) had raised thia question of P,,v,jfKp' and had taken the views which be had just expressed. They were the views which he deaired to eipress, if he could have obtained the floor on the question of order which wa, recently nendiiit. He denied the right of Hue Hou?e to interfere with questions of privilege and contempt, when ?he c,rcuI^,'n?*! on which they were l?need were not immediately cont ?c^ with thia Houae. All thiaridiculoua nonaenae about quest ions had grown up without authority of law. He f> u the constitution contained a sample clause in relation to pn i lege*. and, though it had been read several timea, he the attention o< the Houae while be read it again, as he though iti language would bear him out in the opinion he entertain ed. In speaking of Senator* and me inhere of Congrew the framera of the constitution aay : ?? They shall in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the t.eace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and hi going to and returning from the same , and for any speechordebate'neither House they shall not be questioned in any other place. From thia language do they derive authority lo Pun"b for contempt any person who violatea their privileges IIIg* e rrhV'-^ Th. prt.il??? which brlon, .. -b" '?' Congress were first privilege from arrest for debt; and 'fa member 'ahouUl be arrested for debt dnnng the se?,on of Con gress, or while he is journeying to the seat of government i returning to his home, the courts of law would give him et ho -?uw b. from 1 to law was all that waa necessary ; and would ihia House ol I Representatives plsoe itself ?l?ove the law and ask for more than waa claimed by the Parliament of England ? A quea'ion had ariaen in the other branch of Congr which involved the privileges of the Senate, ami a person ha. been incarcerated. He had applied to the court, for pro!ec^ tion, but they have decided, very properly, perhapa, tha had been guilty of contempt, and that the Senate was su pre me. But to what a dangeroua length might not this power Ihi carried ' Here the Houae furnished sccuaer, witnes?, ami I judge. This Hoose wss the judge of its own rights snd pn vileges, and of what was a violation of the privileges ol its mem hers as well as of the privileges of the House. Now, he de ! nied the power of the House under thia privilege to drag per sons before this bodv lor such alleged violatimia of privilege ss that contemplated by this resolution. Their privilege was ; protection from arrest, except in certsin sprctfi?l cases, and from being questioned for any speech or debate in the House. If they were charged with libel in a court of justire, the l.be consisting of words spoken in debate, they would have a right to plead this protection. This was an illustration of the pri vilege which the cons'itution bestowed Congress could not cons itnto itself a great supervisory power ; it must submit to ' the law. To hia mind this was one of the plainest and atm ' p|e?t questions. Although they had heard so murh det at# 1 about it, it was simply s persons! privilege bestowed by the 1 constitution, of whirh the courts, and not this House must be the judge ; snd he hoped the courts would have sufficient independence to resist the .ssumptions of this House. . On motion of Mr. 8 TA >TON, the Honse adjourned. McNcltt, the elerk who absconded from New Yoik, was arrrsied a' Matanxa^ and will be brought back by the barque " Louisa," in which he sailed. Tmt Svow.?The depth at Poughkeepeie on Wednesday, according to the Albany Evening Journal, was six inches , at Springfield it waa about four inchea; at Boston three. The Springfield Gaiette says: ??A friend Informs as that on the 19th of April, 18*1?-jort twenty?even years ago to-dey-the snow wm eighMnche. deep, and two gentlemen of thle town rode to Hartford and beck in ? aleigh on that day." WA SHINGT O N. ?Liberty aud Union, now and ibrever, one and inite parable." SATURDAY, APRIL 22, 1848. ROAD, HARBOR, AND RIVER IMPROVEMENTS. The recent debate in the Senate upon an appro priation tyr repair of the Cumberland dam, Ohio rivef, and the masterly argument in lavor ol the appropriation by the distinguished Senator from South Carolina, have revived tq public notice the provision^ of the celebrated Ordinance of July, 1787, for the government of the Northwestern Territory. The waste lands of the United States, which have constituted that immense fund of national wealth usually called the Public Lands, were then the pro perty of several States, and not a National domain. These lands were the disputed possession of the States of Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Those States, by various acts, ceded the property and jurisdiction of these lands to the Unit ed States, and from the lands so ceded the greater part of our Western and Southwestern States have been formed. The Ordinance of 1787 was for governing part of this ceded territory. This Ordi nance embraced certain fundamental principles, be ing principles involved in the contracts, or treaties, or acts of cession, in the following words : 44 It is 4 hereby ordained and declared by the authority 4 aforesaid that the following articles shall be con 4 sidered as articles of compact between the origi 4 nal States and the People and States in the said 4 territory, and forever remain unalterable, unless 4 by common consent, to wit." Then follows an enumeration of several distinct articles, and in the 4th article we find the following provision : 44 The 4 navigable waters leading into the Mississippi and 4 the St. Lawrence, and the carrying places between 4 the same', shall be cosimonjhighways, and forever 4 free as well to the inhabitants of said territory as ' to the citizens of thf United Slates and those of 4 any other States that may be admitted into the 4 Confederacy, without any tax, impost, or duty 4 therefor." The 41 navigable waters" leading into the Mis sissippi are well ktjbwn. So are also the 44 naviga ble waters" leading into the St. Lawrence. These last in the territory over which the Ordinance ex tended are the great lakes, an3 no other. 1 hese lakes, therefore, and their carrying places, are 44 common highways and forever free" to all citi zens of the United Slates, 44 without any tax, im- | post, or duty thprefor." The idea, t|en, which has been advanced by some politicians that the waters leading into the Mississippi and the harbors on these lakes can be improved by (he Stales, and with the aid ol cer tain impost duties, is utterly fallacious, and direct ly at variance with the conditions upon which these lands were ceded and accepted. The jurisdiction of these 44 common highways" is in the Unite<j States, and the United States alone ; and, unless tht United Slates make the improve ments which tlese waters require, in order to ren der 44 the navigation thereof safe and easy,' it is much to'be doubted whether it can be done, or, in other words, whether any power but that of the United States can do it. In this opinion we are sustained, indeed, by the invariable practice of the United States from the first improvement on these rivers and lakes to the present day. And even the United States, in die<r sovereign power over these waters, cannot improve them by any 44 tax, impost, or duty," laid upon any river, harbor, or locality, but only from the general fund of the United States, as they are 44 common highways forever free" for the use and benefit of the whole country ; which use can never be embarrassed by any 44 tax, impost, or duty'* upon them?that is, upon any of the 14 navi gable waters leading into the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence." OUR COMMISSIONERS TO MEXICO. We have before announced that Mr. Clifford, adjunct Commissioner to Mexico, arrived at Vera Cruz on the morning of the 2d instant, and left at noon on the 3d for Mexico. We now learn that Mr. Sevier, Commissioner and Minister Plenipotentiary, arrived safely at Vera Cruz, and departed thence on the 8th instant for the city of Mcxico. 1 OPENING OF THE ILLINOIS CANAL. On the 10th instant the first boat passed from the Illinois and Michigan canal into the waters of Lake Michigan. This canal has supplied the only wanting link in a continuous water communication from New York, by way of the Lakes, to New Orleans making, we believe the most extended in land navigation in the world. DEPARTURE OF STEAMERS FOR EUROPE. The Steamer Hirernia left her wharf at New York on Wednesday afternoon for Liverpool, via Halifax, with ninety-nine passengers for the for mer port. She carried out $458,975 in specie. The steamer Washington left New York on Thursday morning for Southampton and Bremen, with about fifty passengers. Mr. Homer, of Bos ton, a pafuienger in this steamer, taken charge ol the resolutions passed by Congress congratulating France on the establishment of a Republican Gov ernment Col. Richard M. Johnson has announced him self to his Democratic friends as a candidate for the office of Governor of the State of Kentucky. The regular nominee of his party is Lazari's W. I'ow eli.. The Hon. John J. Crittenden, it will be remembered, is the Whig candidate,of whose elec tion there pan he no doubt. Mr. J. Fennimore Cooper- (the author) has a series of articles in the Albany Argus upon the French Revolution and its probable consequences. Mr. Cooper puts no faith whatever in the opinion that a Republic will be permanently established in France. The idea that all classes in Franco unite in believing there is an end to the French monarchy, Mr. Cooper rejects. That they may attni thus to unite, he thinks probable, the object being to pre serve order. The Carlists, he thinks, have now strong hopes of seeing Henry V. on the throne of his ancestors. The Whigs of Portland (Main.j on Friday elected their candidate.for Mayor, Mr. Greeley. The vote stood as follows : Greeley 922 ; Howard (Loco) 715; scattering 126. Mr. Greeley gained 111 votes over the last trial. A Patat Paoaim.?If five sod a half y?rd? make ? perch, how many will make a trout' CONGRESS AND THIS DISTRICT. It is a subject of very just regret that certain occurrences?in their nature purely local, and which in any olher part of the country would be the sub ject of Municipal Law and jurisdiction?have, not un naturally. happening within the District of a lew miles square in which Congress holds its session, and over which it has exclusive power of legisla tion, attracted the notice of Congress, and, in dif ferent forms, occupied the attention of both Houses during the whole of their sittings of Thursday. What induced the propositions in each House is in part explained in the report of the proceedings in the House of Representatives. To which we will only add?not desiring to be instrumental in adding any thing to an excitement which we trust will be evanescent and eventually harmless?that the attempt furtively to carry off from this?ciiy a number of slaves, evidently prepared for it by a previous organization among themselves, and con cert with persons out of the District, necessarily produced among their owners and the owners of slaves generally in this District, and in the adjoin ing counties of Maryland and Virginia, an irritated feeling against those who were at the bottom of this unlawful and unjustifiable proceeding. This excitement found an object for its manifestation on the establishment of the iXalioiial Era, a paper for some time past published in this city, in which the abstract question ot slavery has been freely discus sed, but not more freely than it frequently is in Congress. It seemed to be thought, because a paper of that description was published here, it must have had some influence in the disaffection of the deported slaves and some hand in the conspiracy which must have preceded their evasion. The reader will observe, in another column of this sheet, what the publisher of that paper says for himself, and iu his declarations we ourselves place full confidence. I his publication of his, made on Wednesday evening, either did not circulate generally or was not satisfactory ; and on that evening, as on the evening before, a considerable gathering of per sons took place, in the neighborhood and in front of the office of the " National Era," threat ening its demolition, but without committing any actual violence other than the breaking of some of its windows by boys, who were glad apparently of an opportunity, iu the presence of grown men, to in dulge their mischievous propensities. Of the as sembled multitude, few probably were intent upon violence. Some doubtless were present under the influence of curiosity merely, to see what was going to be done ; and a number certainly went to the scene with the determination to do what they could to prevent the city from being disgraced and degraded in its own and the world's estimation by any act of unlawful violence. VV hat took place in Congress 011 Thursday in consequence of the state of things which we have thus brielly sketched, the reader will learn from the preceding columns. On Friday the Senate did not sit, having on Thursday adjourned over to Monday ; and, though the House of Representatives did sit, it might as well not have done so, as the whole day was devoted to a discussion of the above subject, out of which, frequently as it occurs, the best that can be said of it is that no good ever cam 2; for, as regards this question, concerning a description of popula tion which exists in some'States and not in others, it is impossible that the debaters on the one side and those 011 the other ever can comprehend one another's feelings or convictions. This Debate arose, as we have above intimated, without any necessity, and thus far has resulted in nothing. In connexion with the abpve subject we will state, that in the course of Wednesday?the Mayor of the city being immovably confined to his bed by the very severe indisposition under which he has lately labored, and qnable therefore to act in the premises?the fallowing Appeal to citizens disposed to respect the laws and preserve order, was issued iu handbill form, and extensively circulated : TO THE CITIZENS OF WASHINOTON. It if well known to you that event* have transpired within the last few day* deeply affecting the peace and character of our community. The danger haa not yet pested away, but deraanila increased vigilance from the friend* uf order. I he cool, deliberate judgment of the people of this com munity, unexceptionably and unequivocally declare^ can, and will, wo doubt not, if the law is found insufficient, re dress any grievance in a manner worthy of themselves ; but fearful c.cts of lawless and irresponsible violence can only aggravate the evil. I'he authorities, municipal and police, have thus far re strained actual violence ; and they now invoke the citizena of Washington to austain them in their further efforts to main tain the peace and preserve the honor of the city. The peace and character of the capital of the republic must be preserved. The Mayor of the city (confined to his bed by sickness) fully concurs in the above. W. LENOX, President Board of Aldermen. J. H. GODDARD, April 20, 1848. Captain Auxiliary Guard. At a later period in the day, the City Authori ties. determined to leave nothing undone which might contribute to the preservation of the peace of the city, adopted the further measures to give greater efficiency to its police which are recited in the subjoined report of the proceedings of the City Councils: ? IN THE BOARD OF COMMON COUNCIL, TmasiiAr, Arnit. SO, 1848. The Board met pursuant to a special call of the Mayor. All the members prese nt. The following communication was received from the Mayor. Wasui^ores, Amul 20, I84tf, To the Board of Aldermen and Board of Common Council / Gcrtlbmbit : I have convened the two Boards this even ing in consequence of the threatened disturbance of the peace of the city. 8erious indisposition has rondered it out of my power to act with that promptitude, energy, and decision which the circum stances require. I, therefore, respectfully request the two Boards, in compliance with the provisions of the Charter, to elect a Mayor, to serve during my inability to act. Respectfully, W. W. 8EATON, Mayor. The communication having been read? A message was received from the Board of Aldermen stat ng that they have passed a joint resolution authorizing a joint meeting ?f the two Boards forthwith, for the election of a Mayor to serve during the inability of the present Mayor ; which resolution was taken up, reed, and adopted. On motion of Mr. Filmku, the Board then took a reces? for the purpose of going into joint meeting, [The proceedings of the joint meeting resulted in the elec tion and instsllation of Prraa Poaca, Eaq. as Mayor of the city, to serve during the disability of thepreaent Mayor.] The Board of Common Council having resumed its session? A message was received from the Board of Aldermen stal ing that they had passed resolutions authorising the Msyor to preserve the peace of the city, as follows : Resolved by the Board of Aldermen and Board of Com mon Council of the City of Wathingtot1, Th?t the Mayor be and be is hereby authorised and requested to adopt such measures as may appear to him best calculated to allay the excitement now existing amongst a portion of the people of this city, and for the preservation of the peace ami order thereof. Mewlied, That the Mayor be and he is hereby authorised to appoint ouch additional number of apetial police constables ax amy to him appear n? cautery to enable him to carry the foregoing resolution into effect; and the Mayor is hereby au thorized to pay the expenses which ahall be incurred iwcarry irig into eilect these resolutions out of the general fund. ' IHL i'heiie resolutions were immediately taken up for considera tiun ; and were read three timet* and passed. The Board adjourned till to morrow at 10 o'clock A. M. Board OF Aldkrmkv, Fbioat, April 31, 1848. Board met at 10 o'clock A. M. agreeably to adjournment. 'I he i'KKsiiiKHT laid before the Board the following mes sage fiom the Mayor, which was road :) , Mifon'a Ornci, Wa?hi5uton, April 21, 1848. To the Board of Aldermen and Hoard of Common Council .? Gkntlkmk.v : In compliance with the call of the two Boards, coiainunicatid to me at a late hour yesterday afternoon, and induced to do *o by tbo peculiar circumstances under which that call was made, I entered at once upon the dutiee of this resjtonsiblti office, with a determination to preserve, at all hazaids, the peace of the city during the few days to which my appointment, by your election, is limited. After a night of some anxiety, it atfoids me the greatest sa tisfaction to say, that there was not then, nor at any time during the last three days' of intense excitement throughout the city, (caused by the acta of lawless men, who are stranger* to us and the enemiea of our peace,) a single breach of the peace committed, nor the slightest particle of property of any description destroy* d, (except perhaps a few panes of glass, by iniachievous boy a,) by the immense assem blages which have tilled some of our streets by night and by day. For your support, and your cordial co-operation with your fellow-citizens and the police, you have my warmest thanks : I request it may be continued until the nect sjity for it ceases, if it has not ceascd already. The prompt and efficient action of the President of the Unit* d States for securing, in addition to your exertions, the peace of the city, deserves, in my opinion, a public expression of your approbation. I am not aware of the necessity of any legislation at this time in addition to a resolution adopted yesterday. Should cir cumstances lead me te believe any thing further is required, it will be promptly submitted to you. Respectfully, <Scc. PETER FORCE. On motion of Mr. Mauht, ordered that the said message be refcrrt d to a committee, to consist of four members. Messrs. Maury, Adams, Mudd, and Barclay were appoint ed sa d committee. , Mr. Frf.rcii oirered a joint resolution tendering the thank* of the Corporation of Washington to the Pres dent of the United States ; which was referred to the same committee. And then the Board adj lurned. The Board of Common Council was also in ses sion yesterday, and, after having received a com munication from the Mayor of the same tenor as that above inserted in the Aldermen's proceedings, adjourned without entering upon any business. It affords us great pleasure to announce the com plete restoration of quiet. In passing along 7th street ! last night we observed nothing whatever to indicate ! that its peace had even been threatened. Thanks to the lirmness of the order-loving People of Wash ington, the few irresponsible evil spirits who would j have cast a stigma on the well-established character of our law-abiding community have been indig : nantly rebuked and frowned down. The following, which appeared in our Daily paper of Wednesday, will probably explain more particu larly to the readers of this sheet the nature of the occurrences which gave rise to the excitement that has been so happily allaye'?: [from OCR CITr REPORTER. 1 ? . During the whole of Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday last very great excitement has prevailed in this city and Georgetown, arising out of the tact that many citizens of the two places had been deprived of their servants, and its being ascer'ained 1 that they had been taken on board a suspicious vessel which I had brought wood to this city, and left the wharf at the foot i of iSevMith street on Saturday night, and act sail down the I river. Although among the-missing slaves were abo-t eigh teen or twenty from Georgetown, it was alio ascertained there ! were more than thirty belonging to citizens of Washington. The citizens of Georgetown determined on 8unday to give chaae to the piratical schooner; and having procured the steamboat Salem, Captain Baker, the pursuers, about thirty in number, armed with markets and other weapons, left Georgetown at one o'clock, and as quickly as possible follow ed the schooner down the Potomac. There were vatioos re ports in the city on Monday night that the runaway slaves had been captured, after a desperate struggle, in which seven of their number were killed ; but none of these reporta were true. Nothing was known of either the fugitive* or their pursuers until about seven o'clock on Tuesday morning, when the Salem arrived at our steamboat wharf, bringing with her the schooner and all the slaves prisoners, together with Ed ward Sayres, a white man, who was captain of the schooner, and a person named Daniel Drayton, of Philadelphia, who had chartered her. It appears that the Salem discovered the schooner (called the Peer!) lying in Cornfield harbor, at the mouth of the Potomac, about two o'clock on Monday morning. The fugi tives, seventy-seven in number, were fast asleep below, and Edward Sayrea, the captain, Cheater English, a white boat man, and Daniel Drayton were also below. The Salem be ing immediately tun alongside the Pearl, the Georgetown party almost instantaneously boarded her, fastened down the hatches, and secured the fugitives and the white men on board. The movement was a rapid and successful one, and all on board the Pearl were thus made prisoners without bloodshed, although it was evident that the slaves would have resisted if there had been any chance of escape. On the arrival of the Salem snd the schooner at the steam boat wharf yesterday a large number of persons were assem bled, some of whom used very threatening language towards the white men who were brought up prisoners ? and if the latter escaped without serious personal injury, it was owing to the prudence and firmness of the guard by whom they were attended, and their being quickly conveyed to jail in a hack, which was pressed into immediate requisition. We called at the jail yesterday, after the safe lodgment of the prisouers and the fugitives, and we learned from the com mitment of Justice Williams, who went down the Potomac in the Salem with the pursuing party, that'Ed want Sayrea, Chester English, and Daniel Drayton have been committed for fuilher examination on the charge of aiding slaves to esca|>e from their owners. The fugitives consist of thirty-eight men, twenty-sif wo men, and thirteen children. They are now all in prison. It is certainly *ery much, as we conceive, to the credit of the pursuing party that they succeeded in capturing the fugi tivea and their si lers and abettors without bloodshed, and in so expeditious and effectual a manner. Diniel Drayton, Chester English, ami Edward Sayre* were on Friday finally committed by Justices (iondark and Wiuuaa to snswer at the June term of the Criminal Coart to the charge of having " stolen, taken, and carried away ** seventy-six slaves, residents in this county, on the 16th of April, 1N48. The bail demanded by the magistrates ie one thousand dollar* for each slave. As yet no bail has been of fered for either of these men. Ota TMociijn Dollars Rswark.?Governor Yours, of New York, has offered a reward of $1,000 each for the ar rest of John Mother, of Columbia county, who has been in dicted for burglary, arson, and conapiracy, and Jyhn Mil/rr and Coonrod C. Wheeler, of Taghkanic, charged with the murderous assault on Sheriff Johr II. Smith, already detailed in our columns. Wa learn at the Navy Department that, under an order of the Department of the 3d ultimo, the sloop '? Albany," Com mander Kei.lt, about tha I at inetant, was dispatched from Tuapan to Laguayra, the port nearest to Caraccas, to com municate with our Charg4 d'Affairea, the Hon. Bi*?"i?J* SaiBLita, and give all mciliary protection to oar commerce in that quarter.?Union.