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troduce your bill? The senator from New York says they have no new measures to originate; no new movement to make; no new bill to bring forward. Then what confidence shall the American people repose in your faith and sincerity, when, having the power in one house, you do not bring forward a bill to carry out your principles? The fact is, these principles are avowed to get votes in the North, but not to be carried into effect by acts of Congress. You are afraid of hurting your party if you bring in your bill to repeal the slave code of New Mexico; afraid of driving off the conservative men; you think it is wise to wait until after the election. I should be glad to have confidence enough in the sincerity of the other side of the chamber to suppose they had courage to bring forward a law to carry out their principles to their logical conclusions. I find nothing of that. They wish to agitate, to excite the people of the North against the South to get votes for the Presidential election; but they shrink from carrying out their measures, lest they might throw off some conservative voters who do not like the Democratic party. But, sir, if the senator from New York, in the event that he is made President, intends to carry out his principles to their logical conclusion, let us see where they will lead him. In the same speech that I read from a few minutes ago, I find the following. Addressing the people of Ohio, he said: “You blush not at these things, because they have become as familiar as household words; and your pretended free-soil allies claim peculiar merit for maintaining these miscalled guarantees of slavery, which they find in the national compact. Does not all this prove that the Whig party have kept up with the spirit of the age; that it is as true and faithful to human freedom as the inert conscience of the American people will permit it to be? What then, you say, can nothing be done for freedom, because the public conscience remains inert? Yes, much can be done, everything can be done. Slavery can be limited to its present bounds.” That is the first thing that can be done—slavery can be limlted to its present bounds. What else? “It cAN BE AMELIORATED IT CAN AND MUST BE ABOLISHED, AND You AND I CAN AND MUST DO IT.” There you find our two propositions; first, slavery was to be limited to the states in which it was then situated. It did not then exist in any territory. Slavery was confined to the states. The first proposition was that slavery must be restricted and confined to those states. The second was that he, as a New Yorker, and they, the people of Ohio, must and would abolish it; that is to say abolish it in the states. They could abolish it no where else. Every appeal they make to northern prejudice and passion is against the institution of slavery everywhere, and they would not be able to retain their Abolition allies, the rank and file, unless they held out the hope that it was the mission of the Republican party, if successful, to abolish slavery in the states as well as in the territories of the Union. And again, in the same speech, the senator from New York advised the people to disregard constitutional obligations in these words: “But we must begin deeper and lower than the composition and combination of factions or parties, wherein the strength and security of slavery lie. You answer that it lies in the Constitution of the United States and the Constitutions and laws of slaveholding states. Not at all. It is in the erroneous sentiment of the American people. Constitutions and laws can no more rise above the virtue of the people than the limpid stream can climb above its native spring. Inculcate the love of freedom and the equal rights of man under the paternal roof; see to it that they are taught in the schools and in the churches; reform your own code; extend a cordial welcome to the fugitive who lays his weary limbs at your door, and defend him as you would your paternal
gods; correct your own error that slavery is a constitutional guarantee which may not be released, and ought not to be relinquished.” I know they tell us that all this is to be done according to the Constitution; they would not violate the Constitution except so far as the Constitution violates the law of God—that is all—and they are to be the judges of how far the Constitution does violate the law of God. They say that every clause of the Constitution that recognizes property in slaves is in violation of the Divine law, and hence should not be made; and with that interpretation of the Constitution they turn to the South and say, “We will give you all your rights under the Constitution as we explain it !” Then the senator devoted about a third of his speech to a very beautiful homily on the glories of our Union. All that he has said, all that any other man has ever said, all that the most eloquent tongue can ever utter, in behalf of the blessings and the advantages of this glorious Union, I fully indorse. But still, sir, I am prepared to say that the Union is glorious only when the Constitution is preserved inviolate. He eulogized the Union. I, too, am for the Union; I indorse the eulogies; but still, what is the Union worth, unless the Constitution is preserved and maintained inviolate in all its provisions? Sir, I have no faith in the Union loving sentiments of those will not carry out the Constitution in good faith, as our fathers made it. Professions of fidelity to the Union will be taken for naught, unless they are accompanied by obedience to the Constitution upon which the Union rests. I have a right to insist that the Constitution shall be maintained inviolate in all its parts, not only that which suits the temper of the North, but every clause of that Constitution, whether you like it or dislike it. Your oath to support the Constitution binds you to every line, word, and syllable of the instrument. You have no right to say that any given clause is in violation of the Divine law, and that, therefore, you will not observe it. The man who disobeys any one clause on the pretext that it violates the Divine law, or on any other pretext, violates his oath of office. But, sir, what a commentary is this pretext that the Constitution is a violation of the Divine law upon those revolutionary fathers whose eulogies we have heard here to-day ! Did the framers of that instrument make a Constitution in violation of the law of God? If so, how do your oonsciences allow you to take the oath of office? If the senator from New York still holds to his declaration that the clause in the Constitution relative to fugitive slaves is a violation of the Divine law, how dare he, as an honest man, take an oath to support the instrument? Did he understand that he was defying the authority of Heaven when he took the oath to support that ininstrument? Thus, we see, the radical difference between the Republican party and the Democratic party, is this: we stand by the Constitution as our fathers made it, and by the decisions of the constituted authorities as they are pronounced in obedience to the Constitution. They repudiate the instrument, substitute their own will for that of the constituted authorities, annul such provisions as their fanaticism, or prejudice, or policy, may declare to be in violation of God's law, and then say, “We will protect all your rights under the Constitution as expounded by ourselves; but not as expounded by the tribunal created for that purpose.” Mr. President, I shall not occupy further time in the discussion of this question to-night. I did not intend to utter a word; and I should not have uttered a word upon the subject, if the senator from New York had not made a broad arraignment of the Democratic party, and especially of that portion of the action of the party for which I was most immediately responsible. Everybody knows that I brought forward and helped to carry through the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and that I was active in support of the Compromise measures of 1850. I have heard bad faith attached to the Democratic party for that act too long to be willing to remain silent and seem to sanction it by tacit acquiescence.
CHAPTER XXIII. PUBLIC DEMONSTRATIONS-COMMITTEE SERVICE–PUBLIC LANDS.
IMMEDIATELY after the election in 1858, Judge Douglas, for the purpose of recruiting his health, le Chicago with his family for Washington by the way of the Mississippi river. When in St. Louis he was the recipient of many public honors and courtesies. On his way South, he was met some fifty miles north of Memphis by a delegation of the citizens of that prosperous city, who earnestly invited him to remain over there and partake of the hospitalities which it would be their pride as well as pleasure to extend to him and his family. Gratified beyond measure by this most unexpected greeting at the hands of the people of a southern city, he accepted the cordial invitation, and on the day after his arrival, addressed a very large assemblage of citizens, to whom he repeated the policy and principles he had advocated in the campaign that had just closed in Illinois. He declared that he could speak no sentiments in Tennessee that he could not speak as freely in Illinois, and that any opinions that could not be uttered in the one state as acceptably as in the other were necessarily unsound and anti-Democratic. He on the next day proceeded down the river to New Orleans, where a grand reception awaited him. He reached there at night, and as the steamer neared the city he was greeted with a salute and an illumination. He was escorted to the hotel by the military and a vast concourse of people. At the hotel he was welcomed by the mayor as the guest of the city, and also welcomed by the Hon. Pierre Soulé on the part of the citizens. To these addresses, in which he was congratulated upon his recent victory in Illinois, he responded in a suitable manner. On the 6th of December he addressed a mass meeting in Odd Fellows Hall, in a speech of which we have already given some extracts, and in which he repeated the famous doctrines so often defended by him in the Illinois campaign. After leaving New Orleans he staid some days at Havana,
and then proceeded to New York by steamer. In the meantime the authorities of New York in anticipation of his arrival had unanimously voted that, “it is eminently due to this esteemed patriot and distinguished senator that the city of New York, through its constituted authorities, should extend to him a cordial welcome on his arrival, in order to express their admiration of the man, and of the principles which he has so long and so ably defended,” and therefore appointed a committe to extend to Mr. Douglas the hospitalities of the city. When he reached New York he was met by committees of the city councils and escorted to the Everett House. As soon as his presence in New York was ascertained, a meeting of citizens was held at Philadelphia to adopt measures for his reception there. The city council voted the use of Independence Hall for that purpose. On his arrival there on the 4th of January, 1859, he was escorted to the venerated hall, and was there formally welcomed by Mayor Henry on behalf of the authorities, and by W. E. Lehman, Esq., on behalf of the people. The speeches on this occasion have been preserved, and in a more comprehensive biography of Mr. Douglas will form a most interesting chapter. When leaving Philadelphia he was accompanied by a large delegation of his friends, who continued with him until he had crossed the Susquehanna, when he was met by a committee of citizens of Baltimore, who, in behalf of the people of that city, welcomed him to the soil of Maryland. In the evening of January the 5th, he was greeted with a serenade at the Gilmore House, and having been introduced to the assemblage of persons in Monument Square, addresssd them—returning his acknowledgments for the honors received by him, and again repeating the truths and arguments he had been accustomed to express to the people of Illinois. On his arrival at Washington he was welcomed by thousands of the people of that city—people who held no office and expected none, and therefore had no dread of official frowns. On reaching his own house he made a suitable acknowledgment for the kindness of his old friends and neighbors. His whole journey from Chicago to Washington was a succession of popular manifestations of admiration for the man who had had the boldness to maintain the right, and had the ability to overcome and vanquish all the opposition arrayed against him.
SERVICES ON COMMITTEES IN CONGRESS,
While Mr. Douglas was at Havana, Congress had assembled, and a caucus of the Democratic senators had arranged the Senate committees. In this arrangement Mr. GREEN, of Missouri, was named as chairman of the Committee on Territories in place of Mr. Douglas. This, it will be remembered, was done while Mr. Douglas was absent. No reason was given for it until late in the year, when Mr. Gwin stated the reason in his speech at Grass Valley, California.
When Mr. Douglas first took his seat in the House of Representatives he was assigned a place on the Committee on Elections, from which committee at that session he made the celebrated report upon the constitutional powers of Congress to regulate the manner and time of holding elections in the states. The Whig Congress of 1841 and 1842 had passed a law requir. ing the states to elect members of Congress by districts. New Hampshire, Georgia and some other states had disregarded this law and had elected their representatives by general ticket. The question whether the members thus elected against the provisions of the act of the previous Congress was one that was considered of great importance. Mr. Douglas made an elaborate report upon the subject, being a complete vindication of the rights of the states, and his report was adopted as the
judgment of the house by a most decided majority. At the
next session he was placed on the Judiciary Committee, from . which he reported the bill extending the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States district and circuit courts to all cases arising on the lakes—thus giving to the internal commerce and navigation the same judicial protection that was enjoyed on the coast.
At the opening of the next Congress, Mr. Douglas was made chairman of the Committee on Territories in the House of Representatives, and held that position until he closed his services in that body. When he took his seat in the Senate he was made chairman of the Committee on Territories, and had been regularly elected to the position every year from December 1847, to December 1857, inclusive. In December 1858, for the reasons given by Mr. Gwin, he was displaced. It has been stated that he was tendered the chairmanship of another committee but he declined it—if politically unfitted for the one he was equally so for the other.