Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

1 The

This bill gives to every citizen of the United States, ! carefully limited, but without any limitation in respect “who is the head of a family,” and to every person of in the public lands. loreign birth residing in the country, who has declared But I cannot so read the words “ disposed of" as to his intention to become a citizen, though he may not be make them embrace the idea of "giving away. the head of a family, the privilege of appropriating to true meaning of words is always to be ascertained by the himself one hundred and sixty acres of Government subject to which they are applied, and the known general land, of settling and residing upon it for five years; and intent of the lawgiver. Congress is trustee under the should his residence continue until the end of this period, Constitution for the people of the United States to “dishe shall then receive a patent on the payment of twenty. pose of” their public lands, and I think I may venture to five cents per acre, or one-fifth of the present Govern. assert with confidence that no case can be found in which ment price. During this period, the land is protected a trustee in the position of Congress has been authorized from all the debts of the settler.

to “dispose of property by its owner, where it has ever This bill also contains a cession to the States of all the been held that these words authorized such trustee to give public lands within their respective limits "which have away the fund intrusted to his care. No trustee, when been subject to sale at private entry, and which remain called upon to account for the disposition of the property unsold after the lapse of thirty years." This provision placed under his management before any judicial tribuembraces a present donation to the States of twelve mil. nal, would venture to present such a plea in his defense. lions two hundred and twenty-nine thousand seven hun. The true meaning of these words is clearly stated by dred and thirty-one acres, and will, from time to time, Chief Justice Taney in delivering the opinion of the Court transfer to them large bodies of such lands which, from (19 Howard, p. 436). He says, in reference to this clause peculiar circumstances, may not be absorbed by private of the Constitution, “It begins its enumeration of powers purchase and settlement.

by that of disposing; in other words, making sale of the To the actual settler, this bill does not make an abso- lands, or raising money from them, which, as we have allute donation; but the price is so small that it can ready said, was the main object of the cession (from the scarcely be called a sale. It is nominally twenty-five States), and which is the first thing provided for in the cents per acre; but considering this is not to be paid un- article." It is unnecessary to refer to the history of the til the end of five years, it is, in fact, reduced to about times to establish the known fact that this statement of eighteen cents per acre, or one-seventh of the present the Chief Justice is perfectly well founded. That it never minimum price of the public lands. In regard to the was intended by the framers of the Constitution that these States, it is an absolute and unqualified gift.

lands should be given away by Congress is manifest from I. This state of the facts raises the question whether the concluding portion of the same clause. By it, ConCongress, under the Constitution, has the power to give gress has power not only “to dispose of” the territory, away the public lands, either to States or individuals. but of the other property of the United States." In the On this question, I expressed a decided opinion in my language of the Chief Justice (p. 437), “And the same message to the House of Representatives, of the 24th power of making needful rules respecting the territory is February, 1859, returning the agricultural college bill. in precisely the same language applied to the other proThis opinion remains unchanged. The argument then perty of the United States, associating the power over the used applies, as a constitutional objection, with the territory, in this respect, with the power over movable or greater force to the present bill. There it had the plea personal property—that is, the ships, arms, or munitions of consideration, growing out of a specific beneficial pur- of war, which then belonged in common to the State sovepose; here, it is an absolute gratuity to the State without reignties.” the pretext of consideration. I am compelled, for want The question is still clearer in regard to the public lands of time, in these last hours of the session, to quote in the states and Territories within the Louisiana and largely from this message

Florida purchases. These lands were paid for out of the I presume the general proposition will be admitted, public Treasury from money raised by taxation. Now, if that Congress does not possess the power to make do-Congress had no power to appropriate the money with nations of money, already in the Treasury, raised by which these lands were purchased, is it not clear that the taxes on the people, either to States or individuals. power over the lands is equally limited ? The mere con

But it is contended that the public lands are placed version of this money into land could not confer upon upon a different footing from money raised by taxation, Congress new power over the disposition of land which and that the proceeds arising from their sale are not they had not possessed over money. If it could, then a subject to the limitations of the Constitution, but may trustee, by changing the character of the fund intrusted be appropriated or given away by Congress, at its own to his care for special objects from money into land, might discretion, to States, corporations, or individuals, for give the land away, or devote it to any purpose he thought any purpose they may deern expedient,

proper, however foreign from the trust. The inference is The advocates of this bill attempt to sustain their po- irresistible that this land partakes of the very same chasition upon the language of the second clause of ihe racter with the money paid for it, and can be devoted to third section of the fourth article of the Constitution, no objects different from those to which the money could which deciares that “the Corgress shall have power to have been devoted. If this were not the case, then, by dispose of, and make all needful rules and regulations the purchase of a new Territory from a foreign governrespecting the territory or other property belonging to ment out of the public Treasury, Congress could enlarge the United States." They contend that, by a fair

inter- their own powers, and appropriate the proceeds of the pretation of the words “ dispose of” in this clause, sales of the land thus purchased, at their own discretion, Congress possesses the power to make this g ft of pub- to other and far different objects from what they could lic lands to the States for purposes of education.

have applied the purchase money which had been raised It would require clear and strong evidence to induce by taxation. the belief that the framers of the Constitution, after II. It will prove unequal and unjust in its operation having limited the powers of Congress to certain, pre- among the actual settlers themselves. cise, and specific objects, intended, by employing the The first settlers of a new country are a most merito words“ dispose of,” to give that body unlimited power rious class. They brave the dangers of savage warfare, over the vast public domain. It would be a strange suffer the privations of a frontier life, and, with the hand anomaly indeed, to have created two funds, the one by of toil, bring the wilderness into cultivation. The "old taxation, confined to the execution of the enumerated settlers, ' as they are everywhere called, are public bene. powers delegated to Congress, and the other from factors. This class have all paid for their lands, the the public lands, applicable to all subjects, foreign and government price, or $1 25 per acre. They have con. domestic, which Congress might designate. That this structed roads, established schools, and laid the founda. fund should be “disposed of," not to pay the debts of tion of prosperous Commonwealths. Is it just, is it the United States, nor “to raise and support armies," equal, that, after they have accomplished all this by their nor“ to provide and maintain a navy,” nor to accom- labor, new settlers should come in among them and replish any one of the other great objects enumerated in ceive their farins at the price of twenty-five or eighteen the Constitution, but be diverted from them to pay the cents per acre ? Surely the old settlers, as a class, are debts of the States, to educate their people, and to entitled to at least equal benefits with the new. carry into effect any other measure of their domestic give ihe new settlers their lands for a comparatively policy—this would be to confer upon Congress a vast nominal price, upon every principle of equality and and irresponsible authority, utterly at war with the justice, you will be obliged to refund out of the commuo well-known jealousy of the Federal power wbich pre- Treasury the difference which the old have paid above vailed at the formation of the Constitution. The na- the new settlers for their land. tural intendment would be that, as the Constitution III. This bill will do great injustice to the old soldiers confined Congress to well-defined specific powers, the who have received land warrants for their services in funds placed at their command, whether in land or fighting the battles of their country. It will greatly money, should be appropriated to the performance of reduce the market value of these warrants. Already the duties corresponding with these powers. If not, a their value has sunk, for one hundred and sixty acre Government has been created, with all its other powers I warrants, to sixty-seven cents per acre, under an appre

If you

per acre.

bension that such a measure as this might become a law. | tinction was an inadvertence; but, it is, nevertheless, a What price would they command, when any head of a part of the bill. family may take possession of a quarter section of land, VIII. The bill creates an unjust distinction between and not pay for it until the end of five years, and then persons claiming the benefit of the preëmption laws. at the rate of only twenty-five cents per acre? The While it reduces the price of the land to existing preëmp. magnitude of the interest to be affected will appear in the tors to 627 cents per acre, and gives them a credit on this fact that there are outstanding unsatisfied land warrants sum for two years from the present date, no matter how reaching back to the last war with great Britain, and long they may have hitherto enjoyed the land, future even Revolutionary times, amounting in round numbers, preëmptors will be compelled to pay double this price to seven and a half millions acres.

There is no reason or justice in this discrimiIV, This bill will prove unequal and unjust in its opera- nation. tion, because, from its nature, it is confined to one class IX. The effect of this bill on the public revenue must of our people. It is a boon expressly conferred upon the be apparent to all. Should it become a law, the reduccultivators of the soil. While it is cheerfully admitted tion of the price of lands to actual settlers to 25 cents that these are the most numerous and useful class of our per acre with a credit of five years, and the reduction of fellow.citizens, and eminentiy deserve all the advantages its price to existing preëmptors to 62 cents per acre, which our laws have already extended to them, yet there with a credit of two years will so diminish the sale of should be no new legislation which would operate to the other public lands as to render the expectation of future injury or embarrassment of the large body of respectable revenue from that source beyond the expenses of survey artisans and laborers. The mechanic who emigrates to and management illusory. The Secretary of the Interior the West, and pursues his calling, must labor long before estimated the revenue from the public lands for the next he can purchase a quarter-section of land ; while the fiscal year at $4,000,000 on the presumption that the tiller of the soil who accompanies him obtains a farm at present land system would remain unchanged. Should once by the bounty of the Government. The numerous this bill become a law, he does not believe that $1,000,00 body of mechanics in our large cities cannot, even by will be derived from this source. emigrating to the West, take advantage of the provisions This bill lays the ax at the root of our present admirable of this bill without entering upon a new occupation, for and system. The public land is an inheritance of vast which their habits of life have rendered them unfit.

value to us and to our descendants. It is a resource to V. This bill is unjust to the old States of the Union in which we can resort in the hour of difficulty and danger. many respects; and among these States, so far as the It has been managed heretofore with the greatest wisdom, public lands are concerned, we may enumerate every under existing laws. In this management, the rights of State east of the Mississippi, with the exception of Wis- actual settlers have been conciliated with the interests consin and a portion of Minnesota.

of the Government. The price to all has been reduced It is a common belief, within their limits, that the older from $2 per acre to $1 25 for fresh lands, and the claims States of the Confederacy do not derive their propor- of actual settlers have been secured by our preemption tionate benefit from the public lands. This is not a just laws. Any man can now acquire a title in fee-simple to opinion. It is doubtful whether they could be rendered a homestead of 80 acres, at the minimum price of $1 25 more beneficial to these States under any other system per acre for $100. Should the present system remain, than that which at present exists. Their proceeds go into we shall derive a revenue from the public lands of the common Treasury to accomplish the objects of the $10,000,000 per annum, when the bounty land warrants Government, and in this manner all the States are bene are satisfied, without oppression to any human being. fited in just proportion. But to give this common inherit. In the time of war, when all other sources of revenue are ance away would deprive the old States of their just seriously impaired, this will remain intact. It may beproportion of this revenue, without holding out any, the come the best security for public loans hereafter, in least, corresponding advantage. While it is our common times of difficulty and danger, as it has been heretofore. glory that the new states have become so prosperous and Why should we impair or destroy this system at the prepopulous, there is no good reason why the old States sent moment ? What necessity exists for it? should offer premiums to their own citizens to emigrate The people of the United States have advanced with from them to the West. That land of promise presents in steady but rapid strides to their present condition of itself sufficient allurements to our young and enterprising power and prosperity. They have been guided in their citizens, without any adventitious aid. The offer of free progress by the fixed principle of protecting the equal farms would probably have a powerful effect in encourag- rigtits of all, whether they be rich or poor. No agrarian ing emigration, especially from States like Illinois, Ten, sentiment has ever prevailed among them. The honest nessee, and Kentucky, to the west of the Mississippi, and poor man, by frugality and industry can, in any part of could not fail to reduce the price of property within their our country, acquire a competence for himself and his limits. An individual in States thus situated would not family, and in doing this he feels that he eats the bread pay its fair value for land when, by crossing the Mississip- of independence. He desires no charity, either from the pi, he could go upon the public lands, and obtain a farm government or from his neighbors. This bill, which proposes almost without money and without price.

to give him land at an almost nominal prii e, out of the VI. This bill will open one vast field for speculation. property of the government, will go far to demoralize Men will not pay $1 25 for lands, when they can pur. the people, and repress this noble spirit of independence. chase them for one-fifth of that price. Large numbers of It may introduce among us those pernicious social actual settlers will be carried out by capitalists upon theories which have proved so disastrous in other coun. agreements to give them half of the land for the improve tries.

JAMES BUCHANAN. ment of the other half. This cannot be avoided. Secret

WASHINGTON, June 22, 1860. agreements of this kind will be numerous.

In the entry

In the Senate the question, Shall. this bill of graduated lands, the experience of the Land Office justifies this objection.

pass notwithstanding the objections of the Pre. VII. We ought ever to maintain the most perfect sident? was put and lost, as follows: equality between native and naturalized citizens. They are equal, and ought always to remain equal, before the Yeas-Messrs. Anthony, Brown, Chandler, Clark, laws. Our laws welcome foreigners to our shores, and Doolittle, Durkee, Fessenden, Fitch, Foot, Foster, Guin, their rights will ever be respected.

While these are the Hale, Hamlin, Harlan, King, Lane, Latham, Nicholson, sentiments on which I have acted through life, it is not, Polk, Pugh, Rice, Simmons, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Trumin my opinion, expedient to proclaim to all the nations of bull, Wade, Wilkinson, and Wilson. the earth that whoever shall arrive in this country from Republicans in Roman, 19; Democrats in a foreign shore, and declare his intention to become a citizen, shall receive a farm of 160 acres, at a cost of 25 Italics, 9. Total, 28. or 20 cents per acre, if he will only reside on it and culti- NAYS-Messrs. Bragg, Chesnut, CRITTENDEN, Davis, vate it.

The invitation extends to all; and if this bill Fitzpatrick, Green, Hemphill, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson becomes a law, we may have numerous actual settlers (Tenn.), Johnson (Ark.), Mallory, Mason, Pearce, Powell, from China, and other Eastern nations, enjoying its bene- Sebastian, Wigfall, Yulee-18. fits on the great Pacific slope. The bill makes a distinc

All from the South, and all Democrats, ex. tion in favor of such persons over native and naturalized citizens. When applied to such citizens, it is confined to cept Mr. Crittenden (Am.), of Kentucky. such as are the heads of families; but when applicable to several Senators were paired, which accounts persons of foreign birth recently arrived ou our shores, for the light vote. So the bill failed, not hav. the heads of families, provided they have filed a declara- | ing received the requisite two-thirds vote neces. tion of intention to become citizens. Perhaps this dis. lo ry to pass it over the Executive Veto.

DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM,

ADOPTED BY THE UNITED STATES SENATE. On the first of March, 1860, Mr. Davis, of pursuance of it, are hostile in character, subversive of Mississippi, submitted to the Senate the follow the Constitution, and revolutionary in their effect. ing Resolutions :

On the 8th May following, Mr. Clingman, of

North Carolina, addressed the Senate at length 1. kesolved, that in the adoption of the Federal Con. on these resolutions, niaintaining the position stitution, the states adopting the same acted severally that the Constitution does guarantee the right as free and independent sovereignties, delegating a portion of their powers to be exercised by the Federal Gov. of holding slaves in the Territories of the Uni. ernment for the increased security of each against ted States, but that the epforcing of that rigbt, dangers, domestic as well as foreign; and that any in: by Congressional action, was inexpedient, and nation of their citizens, with the domestic institutions of would be of no practical value to the Slave the others, on any pretext whatever, political, moral, States; also, that the South waived that right or religious, with a view to their disturbance or subver- in agreeing to the Compromises of 1850 and the sion, is in violation of the Constitution, insulting to the Kansas-Nebraska Act (repeal of the Missouri States so interfered with, endangers their domestic peace and tranquillity-objects for which the Constitution was compromise) of 1854. Mr. C. also reviewed formed--and by necessary consequence, tends to weaken the proceedings of the National Convention at and destroy the Union itself.

2. Resolved, That negro Slavery, as it exists in fifteen Charleston, and concluded as follows: States of this Union, composes an important portion of Entertaining these views, I have been disposed to abtheir domestic institutions, inherited from their ances- stain as much as possible from the discussion of these tors, and existing at the adoption of the Constitution, þy questions, and I really hope that we shall not press them. which it is recognized as constituting an important ele- I think no advantage can grow out of it. I greatly fear ment in the apportionment of powers among the States; that I have occupied more of the valuable time of the and that no change of opinion or feeling on the part of Senate than I intended. I felt, however, that from me, in the non-slaveholding States of the Union, in relation to my position, some explanation was necessary. I think this institution, can justify them, or their citizens, in that the gentlemen on the other side of the Chamber have open or covert attacks thereon, with a view to its over- given us a platform already. We shall have to fight throw; and that all such attacks are in manifest viola-them; we had better make up our minds to go into the tion of the mutual and solemn pledge to protect and de- contest, and meet them on the rea issue they tender us. fend each other, given by the States respectively on en- In ten days, we shall probably nave their derlaration tering into the constitutional compact which formed the

war from Chicago, and the clash of arms will com.gence Union, and are a manifest breach of faith, and a viola- very soon. It is time for us to close our ranks. I am tion of the most solemn obligations.

ready to fight under any flag and any standard-bearer 8. Resowed, That the Union of these States rests on

that may be given us. I can adopt any of those platforms the equality of rights and privileges among its mem- that were presented at Charleston, I leave all that to bers; and that it is especially the duty of the Senate, our political friends assembled in convention. I know which represents the states in their sovereign capacity, that they will present a platform, and present a man less to resist all attempts to discriminate either in relation objectionable to me than the candidate on the other side. to persons or property in the Territories, which are the I regard them as the deadly political enemies of my seccommon possessions of the United States, so as to give tion; as the enemies of the Constitution of the United advantages to the citizens of one State which are not States. I want to embark in the contest and fight them equally assured to those of every other State.

with closed and serried ranks on our side. I have spoken 4. Resolved, That neither Congress nor a Territorial only in behalf of the Democratic party, of the ConstituIegislature, whether by direct legislation or legislation tion, and the country. of an indirect and unfriendly character, possess power to annul or impair the constitutional right of any citizen MR. BENJAMIN ON POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY. of the United States to take his slave property into the common Territories, and there hold and enjoy the same

Senator Benjamin, of Louisiana, followed: while the Territorial condition remains.

Mr. Berjamin.-Mr. President, I had no intention of 6. Resolved, That if experience should at any time joining in this debate, or of uttering one word on the reprove that the judicial and executive authority do not solutions now before the Senate; but, sir, I have listened possess means to insure adequate protection to consti- with intense surprise to what has fallen from the Senator tutional rights in a Territory, and if the Territorial Gov- from North Carolina this morning, and I cannot remain ernment should fail or refuse to provide the necessary quiescent and by silence appear to give consent to what remedies for that purpose, it will be the duty of Congress he has said in relation to the action of certain Southern to supply such deficiency.

delegates in the recent Convention at Charleston, 6. Resolved, That the inhabitants of a Territory of • The Senator from North Carolina thinks that political the United States, when they rightfully form a con- races can best be run without the load of principles. The stitution to be admitted as a State into the Union, may Senator from North Carolina thinks that the best way to then, for the first time, like the people of a State when get success in a political contest is not to bother yourself forming a new Constitution, decide for themselves with the baggage of principle, but let your candidate run whether Slavery, as a domestic institution, shall be with nothing on his back, anu probably in that way he maintained or prohibited within their jurisdiction; and may run the faster and reach the goal the sooner. And "they shall be received into the Union with or without again, the honorable Senator thinks that, because the Slavery, as their Constitution may prescribe at the time Cincinnati platform was acceptable to the whole Demoof their admission."

cracy in 1856, there is and can be no reason why De. 7. Resolved, That the provision of the Constitu- mocrats who stood on that platform at that time should tion for the rendition of fugitives from service or labor, be dissatisfied with it now. without the adoption of which the Union could not have Mr. President, let us look a little back, behind 1856, in been formed, and that the laws of 1793 and 1850, which relation to that platform, and to the living issue on which were enacted to secure its execution, and the main fea- we are separated as regards that platform. We all suo tures of which, being similar, bear the impress of nearly member, sir-no man can forget that, in the exciting seventy years of sanction by the highest judicial author. contest which took place on the Kansas-Nebraska bill

, ity, should be honestly and faithfully observed and those who were the firmest supporters of the bill difered maintained by all who enjoy the benefits of our com. in principle on that one point which now threatens to di. pact of Union; and that all acts of individuals or of vide the Democratic party. They differed openly; they State Legislatures to defeat the purpose or nullify the avowed their differences; they provided for the final requirements of that provision, and the laws made in settlement of those differences. Sir, when we met in

car sus, undor the lead of the honorable Senator from guide and a pole star by which the Democratic party cou!3 Illinois, who introduced the Kansas-Nebraska bill, it guide the ship of State, a sudden and alarming heresy was found that the Democrats from the North and the sprung up in the North, and something was said about the Demoorats from the South could not agree in princi- right of the Legislature of the Territories not to destroy ple. The Democrats from the South then took the posi. Slavery; not to abolish it; not to confiscate by direct lelion that the Constitution of the United States was plain gislation the rights of the citizens of the South who might and clear. The rights of the people of the South were find themselves in the Territories with their property, but, placed upon that instrument. I agree with the Senator by a side blow, by indirection, and by failure to perforin from Mississippi (Mr. Davis) that we have nothing to do duty, by "unfriendly legislation," to do that which constiin thly controversy with natural rights or natural princi. tutionally they had no power to do by any direct effort of ples. Those rights and those principles, which lie at the legislative will. Now, sir, the Cincinnati platform, with foundation of social organization and civil government, which the gentleman from North Carolina seems to be so were proper subjects of examination and consideration much in love, and which he thinks is sufficient for the conwith the fathers. They did take them into consideration. stitutional rights of the South, would be sufficient for that They decided them. They have given us a chart by purpose, is sufficient for that purpose properly construed : which now we are bound all to direct our course; and that but when the delegates of a great party, assembled tochart is the Constitution of our country Resting the gether from all portions of the Confederacy, recently met, rights of the South upon that constitution, when the dis and the proposition was made to them to adopt the Cincussions arose upon the Kansas- Nebraska bill, the Sena. cinnati platform, it was made under what circumstances, tors from the South who met in caucus, or in convention, and with what view! It was made with a knowledge or in primary meeting, if you choose so to say, all agreed, of every man in that Convention that two distinct'y without a dissenting voice, that, by the true construction opposite interpretations were put upon that platforin of the Constitution of the United States, the Territories -one at the South, and the other at the North. belonging to the United States were the common pro- Mr. Clingman.-The Senator will allow me to ask him if perty of all; that each State had equal rights in those these two opinions were not upon whether a Territorial Le Territories; that amongst those rights was the right of gislature could legislate for or against Slavery? Are thost the citizens of the different states to emigrate to those the opinions to which he refers ? Territiories with their property of every nature and kind; Mr. Benjamin.-The opposite constructions are put in and, when there, we contended ihat there was no power several points. One point is, whether the Territorial Leander heaven that could drive us out of those Territories, gislature has a right to abolish Slavery in the Territories or deprive us therein of the protection of the Const.tution or not, before forming a State Constitution; and another and the laws, until the people of the Territory should is, whether or not it is the duty of the Federal Government make a constitution and form a State.

to protect the rights of the people of the South in the Ter. The Senator from Illinois did not agree with us in ritories. Upon those two points opposite interpretations that. He has been consistent. The Senator from Illi and opposite principles' exist, and were developed in the nois held that there was a power in the people of a Charleston Convention. Territory ; he believed in Popular Sovereignty; he be- Mr. Clingman. I will answer the gentleman when he is lieved in some inherent right in the people when assem. through. bled, even in the original inchoate shape in which they Mr. Pugh.-Do I understand the gentleman to say that come as emigrants to the Territories, to pass laws to every member of the Convention agreed that the platform govern themselves ; to mold their own Institutions, as he had received two interpretations, or that it was susceptible phrased it, and included in that power the right to act of it? against slavery. We could not agree. Morning after Mr. Benjamin.--I understand that opposite interpremorning we met, for the purpose of coming to some tations were plainly and openly given to that platform understanding upon that very point; and it was finally in Convention, by men whose good faith no man his understood by all, agreed to by all, made the basis of a ever yet disputed to my kņowledge, compromise by all the supporters of that bill, that the Mr. Pugh.—I do not think that was the ground of the Territories should be organized with a delegation by Con- difference of opinion at all. I said there never were two gress of all the power of Congress in the Territories, and interpretations that could be fairly given to it; that the that the extent of the power of Congress should be deter- platform purposely, in the language of the Senator from mined by the courts. Firm in our belief of our rights, North Carolina, referred that question to judicial tribu. conscious that in the Constitution we had guaranty nals; that the difference of opinion arcse upon the judicial enough; knowing that it was impossible for a judicial tri- question; it did not arise upon the platforin; and that bunal to make other than one decision, we said that we consequently it was a false accusation. I say that cerwould stand by that decision when made ; and if it tainly in no unkind spirit to the Senator ; but I say the should be determined by the Supreme Court of the platform is not susceptible of two interpretations; that it United States that there was a power in this Government referred a controversy to arbitration. There might be a to deprive the people of the south of their fair share of difference of opinion as to the particular arbitration of it, the common Territories of the Union, if that power in this but there was none as to the terms of submission. Goveroment existed in Congress, and if Congress dele- Mr. Benjamin.-I read, Mr. President, with as much gated all its power to the Territories, we would stand by attention as I was capable of, everything that occurred in the decision and agree that we asserted a right that found that convention, and I saw the statement over and over no warrant in the Constitution; and, on the other hand, again made in the convention, and not controverted, that our brother Democrats of the North, and the Senator different opinions were put upon that platform in different from Illinois at their head, agreed that if the Supreme parts of the country, Court of the United States should determine that the Con

Mr. Pugh.-I certainly controverted it for one gress of the United States had no power to interfere not recollect who else may have stated it. It may have with Southern rights in the Territories, if, consequently, been repeated a great many times; but I did controvert it. we had had not the power that we could delegate at all, Mr. Benjamin.-Now, sir, I say, in relation to that Ci:then the Democrats of the North would join us in showing cinnati platform, which the Senator from North Carolina respect and obedience to that decision, and stand with seems to think ought to have amply suficed the South, and us on the principle that we advocated as the true one. to have sufficed the Democratic party, these two opposite None of us supposed at the time that the decision would interpretations were known to be, intended to be given to come so quick. None of us knew of the existence of a it. Further, I say this : I say it was avowed at Charleston, controversy then pending in the federal courts that over and over again, that if a construction was given to would lead almost immediately to the decision of that that platform by which it should be clearly stated that the question. We provided in the Kansas act itself; we in people of the South were entitled to have their slaves protroduced an express clause having for its avowed object tected in the Territories against any direct interference, to bring that question before the courts for decision, either by Congressional or Territorial legislation; if that

Well, sir, the question did come before the courts, and was avowed; if the doctrine of the party was asserted to the Supreme Court of the United States, in the decision in be that the Legislature of the Territory, whilst a Territory the Dred Scott case, has determined-gentlemen say it is existed in its inchoate organization, had no right to interno decision-as doctrine, or as opinion, or in some way has fere with Slavery, then it was said, again and again, that declared that the Congress of the United States has no no northern State could be carried upon that ground. power so to legislate as to destroy the rights of the people of Mr. Clingman.-On the question as to whether a Territhe South in their slave property in the Territories, and the torial Legislature could legislate against Slavery or for it, judges have said as a proposition, so clear that it required I ask the Senator whether that would not necessarily no argument, that the Congress possessing no such power, be a question which a court must determine; that if the it was plain that it could give none to the Territorial Legisla- Legislature legislated or acted in any way, could we, by ture. I do not understand that the gentlemen from the North, our opinions, settle it; or is it not, from necessity, a judithe members of the Democratic party, controvert that.

cial question ? But at a time when we supposed that we all at length Mr. Benjamin.-The Senator is directing me entirely stood upon one common platform; that we had at last a' out of the line of my argument. I must beg him to allow

I do

me to proceed in my line. That is not at all what I am as he said, had erred more through ignorance than de at. It has no reference at all to my line of argument. sign. Mr. Benjamin then defended the Democratic Sena

I say this : I say that distinctly opposite interpreta- tors from the charge of having undertaken to dictate to tations, or distinctly opposite principles, if you choose, in the Charleston Convention what sort of platform it relation to Southern rights under the Constitution, were should make. When the Kansas bill was before the avowed at Charleston, by men professing all to be Demo Senate, the Senator from Illinois called a caucus ot crats; and that, in my judgment, it is a brand upon the Democratic Senators every morning to decide on their good faith of the Democratic party, it is an imputation action for the day. The late Senatorial caucus had done upon their honor, it is unworthy of them, and unworthy no more than that. Yet for this it had been charged of us all, that we should go before the people of this with seeking to diminish the Senator's chance for success. country and ask their votes in favor of one party or an- Mr. Benjamin next examined Mr. Douglas's charge that other, with the avowed purpose of presenting opposite seventeen Democrati State

had adopted a platform interpretations or opposite sets of principles in the two looking to the dissolution of the Union, and had placed sections of the Confederacy, as being the principles of a themselves under the lead of Mr. Yancey, an avowed common party, and forming a common party creed. I disunionist. His State had vcted for that platform, and say that I will never be a party to any such contest as he should vote for the Senate resolutions, and he denied that. If I go into an electoral contest, I want to know that the Senator from Illinois had correctly stated the the principles of the party with which I act, and I want, meaning of either. Nobody here wanted to make a slave before the people of my State, before the people of the code, a slang term which Mr. Douglas had picked up country, to declare those principles, to stand by them, to from the Republicans, nor to force Slavery on an unfind them written in letters of light, so that no man can willing people. The attacks upon the Democratic Sena. dare misconstrue them, and by them to stand, and with tors were wanton and unprovoked, and he should repel them, if need be, fall,

them, The Senator had defended his consistency at That I understand to have been the position of the dele. great length, which was not the issue between them. gation of Louisiana at Charleston, Taking that position, The issue was that the Senator from Illinois had made a determined that they would not palter to public preju- bargain and had violated it. To prove this he should dices by using words in any double sense; that all they not go further back than 1857, up to which time the Sena. did and all they said must go forth to the country inca- tor from Illinois was looked upon by the Democratic pable of misconstruction; when they found it impossible party with pride and favor. Why was it that a Senator to have the principles upon which alone they could go who had thus been treated with favor should now be into the Presidential contest, stated thus clearly and thus separated from his former associates ? That he had plainly, they withdrew, rightly withdrew, honorably with passed over in his speech, and he (Benjamin) would supdrew. I applaud them; I approve them; I stand by ply the deficiency. them. I think they did as became high-minded and hon- Mr. Benjamin then went into a history of the Kansas orable citizens. I think the State will show itself grateful act, pointing out the differences between Democrats and to them for their act.

Republicans and Douglas Democrats. At that time Now, the honorable Senator says he is willing to go the Democrats being unable to agree as to the power of with Democrats upon almost any platform; that almost the people of the Territories, it was agreed to refer the any one that we can elect would be preferable to the ad- subject to the Courts and to abide by the decision. He versaries against whom we are to be opposed.

never had attacked the Senator's consistency. It was his Mr. Clingman.-I said any of those proposed. I alluded consistency that constituted his great crime--adhering to those proposed in the Convention.

still to views which he had agreed to abandon when the Mr. Benjamin.-I suppose so. Now, Mr. President, I Court decided the question, and which the Court had am not willing to go for any man, I do not care whether decided against him. This he charged was bad faith. The his name has been proposed or not, who is not willing to Senator no longer worshipped at the Democratic shrine, stand upon a platform of principle, of constitutional prin- but had wandered forth after strange gods. The Senator ciple. I am willing to go for any man, whether nained from Ilinois had admitted that he made this bargain, and or not, who will pledge his honor to stand faithfully and yet he had been engaged since 1857 in trying to explain squarely upon a platform of sound principles; and when away, in conjunction with the Republicans, the decision a platform of sound constitutional principles shall be of the Court, and to render it useless in case it should be adopted by a Democratic Convention, satisfactory to me, affirmed. He quoted from the Dred Scott decision to show with my views of constitutional right, and satisfactory to that the principle of right to slave property in the Ter. my people-principles satisfactory to my people, I say; ritories was decided by it. On this point he argued at I care not for men—then you may put upon that platform great length to show that Congress had full power over any man who can stand upon it honorably, and I will the Territories within the limits of its constitutional vote for him; I will maintain him; I will canvass my power; that the Constitution forbid the prohibition of State in his behalf; I will spend all my time and all my Slavery in the Territories by Congress; and as the Territo. breath in his cause, wherever, whenever, and however, 1 rial Government derived all its powers from Congress, the may be asked by his friends. That far, sir, I am willing Territorial Legislature could not do more than Congress to go; but I have no stomach for a fight in which I am to could. No sooner was this decision made than it was have my choice between a man who denies me all my attacked by the Republicans, and the Chief-Justice rights openly and fairly and a man who admits my rights assailed as having colluded with the President of the but intends to dlch them. I have no choice there. United States. The Senator from Illinois got over his bar

gain by saying that he did not agree to abide by the

decision in the Dred Scott case; but when the case was After Mr. Douglas's famous speech of May 15th carried up from the Territorial Courts to the Supreme and 16th, on these resolutions, Mr. Benjamin Court, he would obey that. This was an afterthought, addressed the Senate again, speaking of Mr. Mr. Lincoln for a seat in the Senate To save himself

first announced in the canvass of 1859, when pressed by Douglas as follows:

from defeat, he introduced his theory as to the power of M:. Benjamin said, when we met here in December, the people in the Territories. [Mr. Benjamin then read the public mind was greatly disturbed by the irruption of from the discussions between Messrs. Liucoln and Douglas a band of fanatics into a State of the Union, with the to show that the former was much more candid in his ans. avowed intent to liberate the slaves. A large number of wers than the latter, and he confessed he was not such an resolutions have been offered, all relating to the relation ultra Anti-Slavery man as he supposed.) Mr. Dougląg of the General Government to Slavery in the States and told us here that he would abide the decision of the Court, Territories. The large number and variety of these re- but at home he turns his back on his promise, repudiates solutions, required that those who professed to belonging his words, and tells his people that he has so arranged the to the same party should meet, in order to harmonize Kansas bill that in spite of the decision the people of the and act in concert. A meeting of Democratic Senators Territories can keep slaves out. To be twice deceived was therefore held to accomplish this purpose. The by the same man would be to make them dupes and fools. Senator from Illinois, in a speech occupying two days, Even Mr. Lincoln was shocked at his profligacy, and had presented the extraordinary spectacle of advocating charged bim with bad faith. The election came off, and his own claims to the Presidency, and denouncing those though Mr. Douglas was successful by the arrangement who had dared to express their views on subjects before of the Legislative Districts, Mr. Lincoln beat him 4,000 on the Senate. The Senator from Illinois assumed that he the popular vote. (Mr. Benjamin next read from Mr. was the embodiment of the Democratic party, and that Douglas's Harper's Magazine article, to show that he had all who opposed him were rebels. He arraigned other absolutely copied Mr. Lincoln's arguments of 1858, and Senators, and charged them and the representatives of claimed them as discoveries of his own. Mr. Benja seventeen States at Charleston as being on the high road min warned Mr. Douglas that the tendencies of his docto disunion. After having thus assailed everybody, he trines were to drive him back, step by step, to the Black announced that he had only spoken in self-defense, and Republican camp.) We already find him using the argu with princely magnanimity agreed to forgive those who, ments and quoting the language of the Republicen party

BENJAMIN ON DOUGLAS.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »