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exact constitutional principles, and carefully If it is nothing more than an abstraction, of aiming to include and regard the rights, inter- course there is no use in talking about reducests, and feelings of all the people of the whole | ing it to practieet Now will any one, who is country,—they must, if they are patriots, agree not yet wholly delivered over to insanity, tell to be silent. They can devise nothing so good, us if the Republican plan of legislating slavery in the Union; if they would carry their point out of the Territories can ever be put in practice out of the Union, let them dare openly to say under our present form of government? Or so. It is time they were understood.
if the fire-eating doctrine of legislating Slavery It is just as pernicious to charge, too, that into the Territories can be put in practice, those men who, with calm judgment and a wise either? And if they cannot, then how can it foresight, espouse this policy, in our present be made out that both of these extreme parties critical situation,-known as the policy of Non are not themselves abstractionists,—and that the INTERVENTION,—are therefore disposed to policy of Non-Intervention is not the only pracfavor the spread and wider establishment of the tical policy and doctrine as yet proposed ? institution of Negro Slavery, or are even so Suppose the Republicans do elect their Presmuch as indifferent to its spread and establish- | ident; what are they going to do next? Can ment; they simply declare their unwillingness they pass laws in Congress, which their Chief to become a meddlesome party to a question Executive will stand ready to enforce, with that is to be settled solely by their fellow- the whole army and navy of the United States citizens in the Territories, feeling sure that the at his back, forbidding slaveholders to take latter will, in good time, adjust all questions their slaves into the common Territories, when to their own peaceful and permanent satisfac- the highest Court of the nation has decided tion. They further declare, in the spirit of a
that they may ? On this single issue, even if true and generous patriotism, their unwilling- they could elect their President, the Republiness to involve this freest republic on the globe can party could not carry a working majority in a quarrel that, to-day, threatens all our more in either branch of Congress ; and the only pracprecious institutions with a common ruin. tical measure remaining—that of Non-InterUnquestionably they entertain their individual vention, -would have to be finally adopted. opinions on the subject, each and all of them; Besides,—the Republicans have already acbut they sternly refuse to thrust in those opin- cepted and indorsed this very policy of Nonions where they have no right, and where, too, Intervention; they deliberately voted in Conthey can work only the widest and wildest gress, under the Crittenden-Montgomery Bill, mischief.
to remand back to the people of Kansas the Foremost among all our public men and so-called “ Lecompton Constitution,” and solstatesmen of to-day, STEPHEN A. Douglas emnly agreed that if the people declared for represents and embodies in his career this safe the establishment of slavery in their midst
, and sound political doctrine of Non-Interven- they should have it,—but otherwise, not! Here, tion. No man living has more boldly, unflinch- then, is an open and deliberate adoption of ingly, and consistently upheld it and defended the policy of Non-Intervention on the part of it, in all its length and breadth. He has shown the Republicans; it seems it was no mere abthat neither the flattery of friends nor the oppo- straction two years ago, whatever they may sition of foes could for a moment shake his agree for party purposes to call it to-day. And steadfastness where steadfastness was above all further than this, one of their prominent Senthings necessary. He, pre-eminently, seems to ators, about the same time, introduced a bill have conceived the high patriotic spirit in into the Senate, giving the people of Arizona which the foundations of this broad policy were authority to elect all their territorial officers, laid; and, in the defence of its leading points from the Governor downwards! It surely must and the thorough comprehension of its under- have been a queer abstraction, that promised lying principles, he has proved his perfect to be so popular and to work so well. Have ability, as a statesman, to cope with the difficul- they dropped it, then, from patriotic, or from ties of one of the most dangerous issues that has selfish and sectional motives? Is it any more beset us, in the whole course of our political of an abstraction now, than it was then? On history.
the other hand,—could the Secessionists and The doctrine of Popular Sovereignty, which Disunionists carry out their scheme for a Slave is the legitimate fruit of this rule of Non-Code in the Territories? Never. The North Intervention, has been flouted and ridiculed by would no more consent to that than the South the political gamblers who realizeadow perfectly would to the Republican plan of legislation. it blocks the wicked game, in which they play No sane man seriously thinks of such a thing with the happiness of more than thirty millions Besides, if the South insist on congressional of people as a stake; they call it the hard name legislation for Slavery, its protest against conof an empty and sounding Abstraction as if gressional legislation inimical to Slavery at it were no more than one of their own base once loses its whole force; all interference with and unworthy political tricks, instead of the the subject, on the part of Congress, has long great and enduring principle on which such" ago been declared, both by Congress and the men as Clay and Webster, Cass and Calhoun, people of the country, full of mischief and believed this Negro Question could be settled practically impossible. The leading men of forever!
all sides have so agreed to consider it. Here,
then, stand the two extreme parties angrily | the Territories, is specious and sophistical; it facing one another; each professedly deter- implies, in the first place, that we lack faith in mined to carry into practice its own dogma, man to do for himself what shall be both right when it is known beforehand to be not only and for his highest interests,—and in the second impracticable, but of the last danger to the place, that we are bound to make and keep continued union of these States. It is conceded men free from sin even against their own that neither of these parties can carry its own choice; this last is mere casuistry, and has
plan into effect; while it is undeniable that the nothing to do with politics. Politics is no abr party occupying a safe, constitutional middle- straction, as we said before, but the veriest
ground between them both, and pledged to practicability conceivable. Moreover, if a citNon-Intervention from beginning to end, is the izen of any free State entertains so conscienonly party that can expect, in this present tious a concern about keeping slave labor out crisis, to receive the indorsement of the patri- of the Territories, all he has got to do is simply otic and peace-loving masses of the country. to show his conscientiousness by removing into
This Non-Intervention policy, too, is some- them at once, and fairly and openly doing thing of a positive nature; it is not a mere what he can, and what he would have an negation, like a profession of general philan- undoubted right to do, to forward the desire thropy without any ability to reduce itself to nearest his heart. He would be especially practice; nor, on the other hand, is it a de-anxious to do this, too, if he knew that thus he mand, made in the spirit of a threat, that a could not only strike a blow at Slavery, but peculiar kind of property, existing only by the perpetuate the unity and peace of the States law of certain localities, shall receive govern- also. Far from us would be the desire to influment protection where it can neither claim ence his fixed opinion, or to cavil at his enternor obtain it. The two factions that stand in taining whatever opinions on the subject to such hostile attitudes over against one another him might seem best; we would do nothing put forth pretensions that can never be realized, more than suggest to him a practical, and still and which they know can never be realized; a peaceful, mode of furthering the aims by while here is a broad, sound, safe, and positive which he has set so large a store. measure, already agreed to once by both fac- It is worth while to consider, also, that if we tions that are now engaged in opposing it, and scout so fair, so constitutional, so democratic, squarely indorsed by the whole country in the and so thoroughly safe a mode of adjusting an Presidential years of 1852 and 1856. We overgrown evil at this time, on the plausible, hazard nothing in the assertion that this same but very untenable, ground that it is our duty statesmanlike measure will receive its third to protect the new Territories against such an and final popular indorsement in the coming evil as slavery, and thus make the matter seFall election, and that the reliable statesman cure against all possible chances and miswho has so courageously held all parties alike chances in the future,- we manifestly publish to their own sacred pledge and covenant, will our belief that the citizens of the several be triumphantly selected to see that the legal States, in going to reside in the Territories, provisions of that measure are every where have parted in some mysterious way with the faithfully and religiously executed.
capacity they clearly possessed, in the States, The people cannot go over this ground thus for self-government, and are less fitted, as bastily outlined in the above remarks, too citizens of the Territories than as citizens of often or with too much thoroughness. It has the States, to administer affairs of higher income to that point at last, where each one of us terest to themselves than to any other persons must sit down to ask himself in all seriousness living! The very statement is sufficient to if we can live together in peace any longer; betray a shaken, if not a tottering, faith in the and if it be possible, then upon' what terms perpetuity of self-government, and and conditions ? The time demands the ser- course, in the progress and exaltation of the vices of no mere politicians, but of statesmen human race. When once we declare, or even only; publicists of large, varied, and thorough feel, a timid fear lest our citizens cannot take experience, who understand men,
compre- better care of themselves than any fostering hend the interests and sentiments of all parts government establishments at a distance can of the country, and would see exact justice for them, we may as well say farewell to every done to all alike.
thing else ; for, surely, the moment the people Reflection will only make the solution pro- themselves are incapable of being trusted, all posed for our present difficulties more plain else has gone by the board. It was against and simple to every man’s comprehension. just this paralyzing timidity on the part of The scheme of Non-Intervention is perfectly those who happened to be associated with our clear to the common mind,--wears no air of government at the time, that Jefferson boldly fraud or trickery, has not the remotest resem- took and courageously maintained the stand he blance to sectionalism, and, best and chiefest of did, signalizing his career as a public man all, asserts over again the perfect capability of as that of no other public man has been sigman, under a free government, to fashion and nalized in our history. It was he who laid the establish his own political institutions. The corner-stone of true Democracy in the imobjection so eagerly made to it, that we neglect mortal Declaration of Independence ; and, our duty in neglecting to keep slavery out of | happily for us as a people, his faith in man
never wavered, nor did his courage fail from offices are exceedingly few and jealously limthe day on which his hand drafted that sacred ited, and its entire authority is derived from chart of popular liberty till the grave finally nothing but the first grants and concessions of shielded him from the venomous vituperation the people themselves ; therefore it cannot of his natural enemies.
thrust itself in with impunity, and rarely with It is folly to plead the duty of interference, a healthy effect, between the people and their either on moral or pecuniary grounds, where own clear and lasting interests. the duty of no interference is so obvious. No man of capacity for reflection can deny that It is high time, moreover, we had a settled and his highest duty is toward the larger results; permanent TERRITORIAL SYSTEM. Our expeand these demand, both on the score of peace rience under the operation of the broad, demo and permanent advantage, simply that we shall cratic principles that give us national life, has not arrogantly attempt to legislate where legis- certainly suggested the outline of such a system, lation can work nothing but mischief. Is it even if it has not established a platform for the such a hard thing, that, having a political ma- same already. We know very well that, thus chine at our hands which we call Congress,we far, States have been admitted into the conmust forbear tampering and meddling where federacy with institutions of their own selection, we can do no possible good ? Is it always the and it is beyond all question that they will best way to assert authority, whether we pos- continue to come into the common family on sess it or no, lest we may somehow be charge- the same terms, whether Congress passes the able with not having any? And are we so intermediate time in factious wrangling about very sure that we are responsible to such an them or not. Thus has Popular Sovereignty extent for the conduct of our brethren in the always vindicated itself at last, as, in this Territories, that we must needs fashion their
country, it always must. And this being the institutions after our own individual spirit and case, it is simply proposed now to establish a pattern ? And, farther than that still, do we permanent Territorial System on that very know that we understand their wants as sover- basis,— the only one that is either consonant eign citizens of a young Territory, better than with the principles of our government, or acthey understand them? Or, finally, are they ceptable to the masses in all sections of the noť as capable of taking care of the slavery country. The need of it is apparent enough; if question while in a Territorial condition, as nothing else went to prove it, the present when they afterwards come to form themselves condition of affairs would certainly furnish into a State ?
testimony of an overwhelming character. To A very plain and ready thought will serve live along together in this chronic state of to dissolve the entanglement and perplexity in
quarreling, with this inflammawhich many well-minded men have suffered tion of passions and constant excitement of themselves to be involved, relative to the ad- bad blood between the two sections, is morally justment of the whole subject. It is this: in impossible; it must end in a fatal explosion, if politics, the important question is not, what, it be much longer continued. Those who know in this man's opinion, or that man's opinion, and understand best about the ordinary charought to be done, but-what, under all the cir- acteristics of human nature, are well enough cumstances and obediently, of course, to the convinced on this point; they feel certain that operation of certain great underlying princi- this dangerous game between selfish political ples, can be done? If we can only fix upon factions can be played with impunity no longer. an answer to this inquiry, and still preserve Divested of its unimportant and impractithe spirit and follow the sense of those cardi- cable issues, the only question involved in nal principles from which we draw national relation to the Territories is, after all, whether life and sustenance, there is an end to all our Congress possesses the power to form political present difficulties. But if government is to be institutions for the people anywhere. It is used as a missionary organ for the propagation admitted that the Constitution vests in Conof this doctrine of morals
, or that glittering gress the care of the public lands, empowering heresy, it is manifest that, in a democracy, that body both to protect them from foreign government has ceased to subserve the just hands and to dispose of them for the largest purpose of its establishment. The true demo- popular benefit ; but it is utterly denied that cratic idea is, that “mankind is governed too Congress can create institutions for the settlers, much ;” and it is a fatal error for us as a whether of one kind or another. That pepeople to fall into, to expect the general culiar and highly important work they must government to inculcate a special code of do for themselves, and none others can do it morals, or furnish protection to a particular for them. This single great fact cannot be species of property, rather than to leave the gainsayed by any political party or faction in inhabitants of each separate locality to do this, the country. For, the moment another body, or even not do it, for themselves. However like Congress, for example, assumes to establish strong may be the inclination to have our the political condition of the inhabitants of an brethren in the Territories as free from guile, at inchoate State, that moment the inhabitants of least, as we believe we are ourselves, it is no that same State become mere subjects; their part of the duty of the general government to domain is no more than an outlying dependgive itself any care about such concerns. Its ency of an arrogant central government; they
exist only as they have political authority whose property it is in common; and let it delegated to them,—by a body, too, that has no exercise, under the charter of the Constitupolitical authority to delegate,-instead of tion, all that authority which is necessary to being prima facie sovereigns over Congress, | the fullest protection and fairest disposal of and over every other created political body | the public domain, with a view solely to its known under our Constitution.
early settlement by citizens from all the States And is this, we seriously ask, the limit and alike ;-but here let the work of Congress extent of our liberties? How comes it that cease; it can go no farther; it cannot erect Congress can organize institutions, or consti- political communities, nor found institutions of tutions, for any of us ? Whence was its any sort for such communities; it may deal power derived ? Being only a creation itself, temporarily with the external property, but it and not a creator, it must of course have been cannot say that the people who buy it and invested with so high an authority. But settle upon it shall, or shall not, form themwhen? where? If by the people themselves, selves into such political communities as they then it is plain that the people are the true are allowed to form, under the broad prosovereigns, after all; but if not by the people, visions of the common Constitution. Here then it follows that the authority was assumed the final stand must be taken,-has been in the first place. One or the other of these taken already. This shall constitute the dialternatives must be accepted.
viding line, over which the people of the If, then, as we must finally admit, Congress country insist that no Congresses ought, or derives all the powers it may properly exercise shall dare, to go. If we respect this division, from the hands of the people, and if the we may continue our national existence in people, therefore, are alone sovereign, where amity and peace; otherwise, there must be is the inconsistency in the position that the broils and contentions till the “bitter end,” so people, rather than Congress, shall take the long desired of fanatics on both sides, shall formation of their political institutions into finally come. their own hands? Or where is the hardship, The Republicans, as they take their present except to interested politicians, in settling the position, not only declare that slavery shall present troubles in this sound, constitutional, not go into the Territories at all, but that it and thoroughly democratic manner? Those shall be kept out in only one way; and that who object, do it because it is too short and way, by Congressional legislation ! Here it is easy a method of securing peace, for their they show themselves totally impracticable ; hopes of political favor and preferment; or unless they can remove an evil by a process because it terminates an exciting controversy, patented by themselves, which is sure to entail through the continuance of which they hoped, many worse evils in its operation, they prefer in good time, to work the overthrow of a great not to remove it at all; it will serve them a national fabric too mighty for them to control. better turn, they think, as a topic for inflamIt would be the best policy to adopt,—this new matory and mischievous harangues ! Such a Territorial Policy,-if it were only for the temper argues but little for the genuineness of sake of bringing each of these sets of reckless their professed philanthropy, to charge no political gamblers to nought.
more. They betray the suspicious fact that It is very certain that no American Con- they are more solicitous about the mode of gress can again pass such restrictions as the preventing, or curing, an evil than they are Missouri Compromise, whether in the interest about the one serious fact of preventing, or of slave labor or free. The day for that sort curing, it. Now if it has become apparent of things has gone by. We may combine to that slavery can never be established in, or elect such Congresses as we choose, either North kept out of a Territory by an Act of Congress, or South; but when the question is brought and that the very discussion of it puts the before them, if indeed it ever shall be again, — matter farther away from the possibility of whether they will interfere to prohibit one adjustment than ever,-is it not the best proof thing or to establish another,-it will be found of sincerity the Republicans can give, to be that no body of representatives will venture willing to adopt such a measure as shall be to interpose their opinions and prejudices practical, and at the same time effective and between the actual settlers and their prefer- permanent ? To stand out for an impossibility,
No fact is plainer, or more emphatic, especially when the stubbornness is attended than this; and he who has not yet got his with so much actual danger to the whole Union, eyes open to observe it, must needs confess is no less an act of crime than it is of folly, and himself ignorant of the whole temper and stamps those who are guilty of it as men not tendency of public affairs in the country. No safe to be either followed or trusted. political party can hope to come into power, The people of the Territories themselves that fears to inscribe a doctrine like this upon will settle the matter; of that we have every its banner, in letters large and legible ; for the needed assurance. And, what is better, they people have set their stamp of approval upon will so settle it that their posterity to the the same, and they have not yet learned to latest generations will be satisfied with their forget that they are sovereign.
decision. That is something. But if slavery, Let Congress protect and dispose of the soil, or any other local institution, should be either acting merely as trustee for the several States established among them, or denied to them by
the authority of Congress, occasions would | JEFFERSON,—that pure and placid patriot arise in the future without number, when it and most thorough of all Democrats. Diswould be charged that no distant political sensions were frequent and radical in the body had any right to perform this business for | cabinet of the First President, between the them; and it would even be insisted that their i timid element that always looked backward decision was not binding. The Congressional over its shoulder to the English Constitution mode is liable to this objection always, even if as the perfection of human wisdom, and the to none more immediately serious. It would other element that put full faith in the capacity ever be open, too, to the charge of corrupt of the people for self-government. It was the legislation, since the men are few whose votes spirit of the former that interposed a frame-work, could not be influenced by some sort of pres- called an Electoral College, between the people sure, either in one way or the other, without and their highest rulers, because it was afraid regard to the settlers at all.
to trust them directly with so imposing a reAre the politicians and factionists, then, sponsibility: The same element has run afraid to trust the people,- to let them alone through all our history till the present time. with their own affairs? Is this the first fruits Jefferson stood forth the representative of the of our boasted system of government, that other element. He firmly believed in man's just when and where the people themselves can ability to create his own institutions,-a docrestore a peace so long unknown, their arro- trine that is rapidly making its way in Europe, gating leaders concede that they are not willing while a party in our own country dispute and to trust them ? Have the people, then, so deny it as a similar party disputed and denied grossly degenerated ? Are they less compe- it before! It was the clear and powerful pen tent to-day to manage their own local concerns of Jefferson that did more than any voice or than they were in the time of Jefferson ? Is word, in those days, to drive out the pernicious it indeed true that the ancient virtues have monarchical element from our national coungone out of them ? Are they not quite as cils, and establish the broad and enduring competent to decide whether slave labor is, or democratic principle, which has stood through is not, good for them, as any Congress can be ? evil report and good report unshaken to this And if they are not, then how is Congress to day. be more so ? — the same body that receives all The SECOND ERA occurred under Jackson. its authority from the people, and could not He found the popular will largely interfered even claim an existence unless the people first with, and sought to be entirely controlled, by spoke it into being ?
the overshadowing Money Power, wielded by This distrust of the popular virtue, and the a party that opposed, because they could not popular capacity, presages the certain decay use him; and such advancement had already and death of the political party that indulges been made to this end, through the legislative it. It ought to do so in a government like this. process, as to excite serious fears in the minds If faith diminishes in that direction, the sheet- | of those who reposed their hopes for freedom anchor is gone. Thus far in our history, a in the unbiassed expression of the popular lack of such faith has been fatal to those who will. Without pausing to count the cost, the sought to manage and direct public affairs old hero entered the lists at once, threw the without it; and we are assured that it will whole weight of his character into the contest, always work the same result in the future. and fought courageously for the people and popAnd it is just as true on the other hand, that ular rights until complete victory was secured. whenever an issue of the highest magnitude This was the long-to-be-remembered war with has been fairly presented to the people for the gigantic Money Power,-a transplanted their disposal, their clear instincts and intelli- aristocracy—that openly bribed or defied our gent judgment have found a ready solution public men for its own ends, and essayed to for all perplexities and entanglements. The undermine the plainest rights of the people people being masters, it is proper that their through the forms of legislation. servants, when unable to adjust difficulties of a The THIRD Era is this day upon us. It is most threatening nature, should deferentially signalized by a consolidated attempt of extremrefer them back to their wiser discretion and ists, factionists, and sectionalists everywherefinal disposal. For when the people in this North and South alike-to force upon the country have once settled a question, it may people, for purely selfish purposes, a system of be considered settled forever. They are above legislation that would take their inherent power bribery or corruption, and they understand out of their own hands, and, in short, make their own interests best.
Congress superior to its creators. As in the
two other eras, it is a deliberate and desperate We have just entered upon the THIRD effort to curtail the people of their own natuEra in the Political History of the country. rally derived power, -on one side, from motives Every nation has a tidal ebb and flow in its of passion and fanaticism, leading to nothing affairs, marked by certain events that remain practical, or permanent, or wise, –and, on the indelibly written on the pages of its history. Other, from motives mainly of selfishness, and a The First Era in our political life, after we spirit that would either “rule or ruin." But had seriously entered upon the experiment of both sides are agreed on this point,—that they a Constitutional existence, was in the time of are in pursuit of power ; and this they do not