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Turney of Tennessee, Underwood of Kentucky, Wales of Delaware, Yulee of Florida—Total, 32.
Nays-Baldwin of Connecticut, Bell of Tennessee, Chase of Ohio, Clarke of Rhode Island, Davis of Massachusetts, Dayton of New Jersey, Dodge of Wisconsin, Ewing of Ohio, Greene of Rhode Island, Hale of New Hampshire, Hamlin of Maine, Miller of New Jersey, Pearce of Maryland, Seward of New York, Smith of Connecticut, Upham of Vermont, Walker of Wisconsin, Winthrop of Massachusetts—Total, 18.
The next day the bill was passed without a division. The title was amended to read, “A Bill to establish a Territorial Government for the Territory of Utah;" and the bill was sent to the House.
WHAT BECAME OF THE COMPROMISE. On the 1st of August, the Senate, on motion of Mr. Douglas, after debate, proceeded to the consideration of the bill and amendment reported by him for the admission of California. An amendment was proposed to limit her southern boundary by the line of 36° 30', which was rejected. The bill was debated daily until the 12th, when it was ordered to a third reading, and on the next day was passed-yeas 34, nays 18.
On August 7th Mr. Pearce introduced a bill making proposals to Texas for the establishment of her northern and western boundaries, its general features and objects being the same as those contained in that part of the Omnibus Bill relating to this question; and, after discussion and amendment, the bill, on August 9th, passed the Senate by yeas 30, nays 20.
As soon as the bill for the admission of California had passa ed, Mr. Douglas moved to take up the bill to establish a Territorial Government for New Mexico. The motion prevailed, and that bill was considered by the Senate, and on the 15th of August was read a third time and passed-yeas 27, nays 10.
The Fugitive Slave Bill was taken up on August 15th; was ordered to a third reading on the 23d by a vote of yeas 27, nays 12, and passed on the 26th without a division.
On the 28th of August the Bill to Suppress the Slave-trade in the District of Columbia, being the last of the series of measures recommended by Mr. Clay's committee of thirteen, was taken up in the Senate. During its consideration Mr. Seward moved as a substitute a bill abolishing slavery in the
District of Columbia, which proposition was debated at great length. The amendnient was rejected, but five senators voting for it, viz., Chase, Dodge of Wisconsin, Hale, Seward, and Upham.
THE EXCLUSION OF FREE NEGROES BY THE STATES. During this debate, the powers and authority of South Carolina and Louisiana to prohibit immigration and residence of negroes within their respective limits was elaborately discussed, the debate at times becoming animated, and frequently very personal. Upon that point Mr. Douglas said:
“My own state has been frequently referred to in this debate as containing a provision in her Constitution similar to the one complained of in South Carolina, Louisiana, and other states. Illinois has a provision in her Constitution making it the duty of the Legislature to provide efficient means for keeping all negroes from coming into the state who were not natives of or residents in the state at the time of the adoption of that instrument. Here, then, is a clear case of legislation of this description in a free state. We, too, have a constitutional provision upon this subject; and, before that constitutional provision was adopted by an overwhelming majority of our peopleit having been submitted to the people separately, and independent of the balance of the Constitution, so as to get an expression of the popular voice on the subject—even before that provision was adopted, our laws provided that if a negro came into the state he was required to procure a white man to go his security for good behavior, and in the event of his failing to give the security he was hired out to service for one year; if, at the end of the year, he still failed to give it, he was hired out for another year; and so on until he could find some white person to go security for his good behavior, and that he would not become a charge upon the public. Such has been the legislation of my own state from the time she was first admitted into the Union, and I presume it has been the same in other free states. Those provisions were rigidly enforced; and now, when I hear that Massachusetts can not get a trial of the constitutional question involved in that legislation, I will assure the senators from that state that, if they will come to Illinois, we will furnish them all the facilities to test the constitutional question. We are willing to have the right tested so far as we are concerned. The trial, then, can take place between two free states of the Union, where there will be no sectional prejudices, no hostile feelings incited, and where we can have a fair trial upon the constitutional questions involved. We believe that we have a right to pass all those laws that we deem necessary to the quiet and peace of our own community. These laws are passed among us as police regulations; they are executed as such. There is no difficulty in having a trial there, and an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States; and then we can see whether we have the right or not. We believe that we have the right. We border upon slave states upon two sides. We do not wish to make our state an asylum for all the old, and decrepit, and broken down negroes that may be sent to it. We desire every other state to take care of her own negroes, whether free or slave, and we will take care of ours. That law was adopted for the purpose of preventing other states inundating and colonizing Illinois with free negroes. We do not believe it to be wise and politic to hold out inducements for that class of people to come and live among us. Those who have been born in the state, or who were resident there at the time of the
enactment of these laws, are protected in the enjoyment of all their civil rights, but they are not placed upon an equality with the whites. They are not permitted to serve on juries, or in the militia, or to vote at elections, or to exercise any other political rights. They are recognized as inhabitants, and protected as such in all their rights of person and property. While we protect those who are there, and their posterity, we do not intend to be inundated by colonies of negroes from other states, sent to us in order to get rid of the trouble of them at home.
It is for this reason that Illinois has adopted this system of legislation, and, having adopted it, we do not desire to insist on it unless it is consistent with the Constitution of the United States. We are willing to have that question tested. We invite any gentleman who deems it right to oppose these laws to bring his suit. We will furnish him all facilities for having the question decided, and then we shall know whether the right exists or not. I would much have preferred this question should have arisen between two of the free states of the Union, when there would have been no prejudices or sectional jealousies, or other improper motives to enter into it to bias our judgment and excite our passions, than to see it arrayed here as one of the sectional questions between the North and the South.”
On the 16th of September this bill was passed-yeas 33, nays 19. All these bills were acted upon favorably by the House, and were approved by the President.
Pending the question on the passage of this last bill, the following remarks were made in the debate:
Mr. Benton. I wish this morning to make a remark which is called for by what has taken place. I am one of those who insisted, both as a matter of right and as a matter of expediency, that certain bills, commonly called the Omnibus, should be separated, and treated on their own merits. I was answered by arguments of expediency, that the bills would pass sooner all together, and that thereby a better effect would be produced in settling the public mind. I disagreed with those arguments, and I then brought upon myself a great deal of censure in some parts of the country, and especially in my own state. The thing is now over; the votes have been taken, and the results tell what history will tell, that I was right in every thing that I said. We have had votes upon every subject, and, when separated, every subject passed-passed quickly, without a struggle, and by a great majority; and the effect on the public mind has been just as sedative as if the whole dose had been taken at once; and, sir, when we come to look into the yeas and nays on the four leading measures, the admission of California, the Territorial government for Utah and New Mexico, and the settlement of the Texan Boundary question, we find that the yeas who voted for all the four measures amount to just seventeen! and, counting in one who was absent (Mr. Clay), they would have been just eighteen-eighteen out of sixty. That there may be no mistake about it, I will read the names, so that, if I am wrong in any particular, I may be corrected. Those who voted for all the measures are Messrs. Bradbury, Bright, Cass, Cooper, Dodge, Dickinson, Douglas, Felch, Houston, Jones, Mangum, Norris, Shields, Spruance, Sturgeon, Wales, and Whitcomb-just seventeen, and the one absent would make eighteen. And that I hold to be the true strength of the Omnibus Bill, as proved by the result when every memberw as at liberty to vote precisely as he thought right, uninfluenced by any other consideration than what belonged to the bill itself. Then, with respect to the committee of thirteen, I find there were only five of them voting for the whole of these measures ; and I will read their names,
so that, if there be any mistake, I may be corrected: they were Messrs. Bright, Cass, Cooper, Dickinson, and Dodge of Iowa. So that there were only five of the committee out of thirteen who voted for all of these bills; one of them (Mr. Webster) being absent by reason of accepting a cabinet appointment, and another for his health. Now, sir, the majority by which these bills passed severally were these: Utah by a majority of eighteen; Texas Boundary by a majority of ten; California by a majority of sixteen; and New Mexico by a majority of seventeen. I give these results for the purpose of justifying myself in standing out for what I considered to be a parliamentary law in originally wishing to separate all these bills, and I now say that the result has confirmed every thing I said upon this floor.
Mr. Dodge of Iowa. I rise for the purpose of correcting the senator from Missouri. I wish to say, as a historical fact, that I was not one of the committee of thirteen.
Mr. Benton. Ah! then that makes my position so much the stronger, and reduces the number to four out of the whole thirteen.
Mr. Davis of Mississippi. While gentlemen are dividing the honors that result from the passage of these bills, either in a joint or separate form, I have only to say that, so far as I am concerned, they are welcome to the whole. I do not represent that public opinion which required the passage of them, either jointly or separately. If any man has a right to be proud of the success of these measures, it is the senator from Illinois (Mr. Douglas). They were brought before the Senate by the committee, which it is claimed has done so much for the honor of the Senate and the peace of the country, merely stuck together—the work of other men, save and except the little bill to suppress the slave-trade in the District of Columbia. I merely wish to say that, so far as the public opinion of the community which I represent has been shadowed forth in public meetings and in the public press, it has been wholly adverse to the great body of these measures. I voted for one-that which the senator from Virginia originated, and which was modified in the Senate till I thought, as far as we could make it so, it became efficient for the protection of our rights. That was the only one which met my approval.
MR. DOUGLAS ON THE COMPROMISE AFTER ITS ADOPTION.
During the summer and fall of 1851 an animated contest for governor had taken place in Mississippi; Mr. Foote had been the candidate of those who in that state approved those measures, and he had been elected. His duties as governor did not commence until January; he therefore appeared in the Senate at the opening of the session in 1851-2, and on the 4th of that month submitted a resolution declaring that, in the opinion of Congress, the measures of adjustment adopted in 1850 were a settlement of the questions embraced in them, and which ought to be respected and acquiesced in, etc.
Immediately after the adjournment of Congress after the passage of the compromise measures in 1850, Mr. Douglas returned to Illinois. The Northern country had been greatly agitated and excited by the misrepresentations of the terms, character, and requirements of the Fugitive Slave Act. It was
vehemently denounced, and had but few willing or competent defenders. When he arrived in Chicago, that city was in a tempest of abolition fury. The excitement was general, and the vast majority of the people had been led to believe that the act was really and truly of the infamous character that was represented by the abolitionists. The city council, yielding to the storm, had passed resolutions denouncing the act as a violation of the Constitution of the United States and of the law of God, and those senators and representatives who voted for it, and also those who were absent, and, consequently, did not vote against it, as traitors, Benedict Arnolds, and Judas Iscariots. The council also released the “ citizens, officers, and police of the city” from all obligation to assist or participate in the execution of the law, and declared that “it ought not to be respected by any intelligent community.” On the next night a mass meeting of the citizens was held for the purpose of approving and sanctioning the action of the Common Council, and organizing violent and successful resistance to the execution of the law. A committee reported to this meeting a series of resolutions more revolutionary in their character, and going to a greater extent in resisting the authority of the federal government than even those of the Common Council. Numerous speeches in support of the resolutions were received with boisterous and furious applause, pledging their authors to resist even unto “the dungeon and the grave.”
Mr. Douglas appeared upon the stand, and stated that, in consequence of the action of the Common Council and the phrensied excitement which seemed to rage all around him, he desired to be heard before the assembled people of the city in vindication of all the measures of adjustment, and especially of the Fugitive Slave Law. He said he would not make a speech that night, because the call for the meeting was not sufficiently broad to authorize a speech in defense of those measures; but he would avail himself of that opportunity to give notice that on the next night he would address the people of Chicago upon these subjects. He invited men of all parties and shades of opinion to attend and participate in the proceedings, and assured them that he would answer every objection made, and every question which should be propounded, touching the measures of adjustment, and especially the Fugitive Bill. After farther discussion, and much confusion