Abbildungen der Seite



have taken any means to secure amendments Constitution. He denied that the Breckenin a constitutional way, yet Congress was ridge party ever intended to break up the asked to make amendments which somebody Union, but they demanded that the property conjectures the States need! He never would of the Southern States should be protected. attempt to make any such amendments, Six States thought it not safe to remain in which none of the States, he said, wanted. the Union, when two millions of people in Suppose two or three States present amend the North had voted that their property ments, asking Congress to submit them to the ought to be confiscated. They might talk States. In his judgment, Congress could not about the Helper book, but Helper had never pass on the merits of such amendments, but uttered anything so slanderous against the present them to the States as the request South as the sentiments uttered by a Southof certain Sates. He quoted, as a precedent, ern Senator on this floor. What Black Rethe former amendments made in 1789, when publican ally had told the Senator that the Congress took the same course. His views South wanted to make war on Mexico? It would govern his votes.

was a slander. They have enough to do to The consideration of the take care of themselves. Mr. Wigfall then Mr. Wigsall's Four- President's Message being paid a high and eloquent tribute to the Senteenth Speech

resumed, Mr. Wigfall, in ator from Mississippi, (Davis.) The Senator his own peculiar rhetoric and originality of from Tennessee had attacked him (Davis) in manner answered Andrew Johnson. The his absence. If the Senator from Mississippi Senator from Tennessee seemed to think that had been here, he would have answered the he had once, on a former occasion, made a Senator from Tennessee: “Lord Angus, thou great argument, and had, in conséquence, hast lied !" been the subject of special attacks. Wigfall This expression created an outburst of did not believe either-both were halluci- laughter and noise in the gallery, which nations of the Senator's heated imagination. caused the Sergeant-at-Arms to clear it. WigThe Senator also seemed to think Benjamin's fall proceeded, assuming that the South had no farewell was a farce, but Wigfall thought it purpose or desire to make war, but that it was the most serious farce ever witnessed on intended to live under such a' Government as that floor. He then alluded to Johnson's ar- it saw fit. Six States had gone out because gument on the Government's right of pur- 'they chose to do so, and had revoked the chase in Louisiana. Referring to the treaty treaty called the Constitution, though they of cession, he contended that Johnson did not might be willing to make another. He give it a fair construction; and so in regard claimed that the South had a mine of wealth to the admission of Alabama. A monstrous in cotton, and gave a picture of the destroyperversion of the doctrines of Jackson and ed commerce of the North if the ports are · nationalism had been made by the Black Re- blockaded, which will be considered an act publicans. He read from a number of docu- of war. A vessel with a flag of thirty-three ments to show that Jackson considered this stars will be fired on in a Southern port. Guvernment as “a compact of States." He Carrying the flag with the stars which they then argued against the right of coercion, and have plucked thence will be considered an said that any attempt to force the laws upon insult. If the North wants war it can have individuals in a state was the same thing as it—he did not plead for peace. The remainthe coercion of a State, and would bring on a ing portion of his speech was exceedingly civil war. He contended that Jefferson and violent and personal on Mr. Johnson. Jackson bad avowed the right of secession, In the Senate, Friday and Saturday, nothand he read copious extracts from their ing transpired pertinent to our subject. In writings and speeches to sustain this position. the House, Friday, Kellogg, of Illinois, supHe claimed that Madison understood that ported his resolutions, (see page 310,] in a States could, at any time, renounce the Con- long speech. He said that parties and platstitution, and such was the understanding of forms must all be discarded—that all men most of the States when they ratified the must combine to save the Union. He argued


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

in support of his propositions as the best | gress, were entitled to respectful consideraremedy offered, and declared himself for tion at any time, when not coupled with the the whole Union.

threat to dissolve the Union if not granted. Messrs. Smith, of North Carolina, and Hat- The love of the Union was too strong in the ton, of Tennessee, both made Union speeches, affections of the people of all sections to the latter assuming the ground occupied by allow a wide-spread conspiracy to destroy it Andrew Johnson.

to prevail. In the House, Saturday, John Cochrane, A very exciting running debate sprung up (Dem.,) of New York, offered a resolution between Messrs. Cox, (Dem.,) of Ohio, and directing the Secretary of the Treasury to Hutchins and Stanton in regard to personal inform the House whether any, and what, in- matters. Mr. Cox charged Mr. Hutchins and formation has been received by the depart- his sympathizers with being inimical to the ment relative to the recent alleged seizure of Union, because of their extreme tenacity on New York vessels at the port of Savannah, and anti-slavery issues, and arraigned Mr. Hutchif seized, by whom, and by what authority. ins very sharply for his (Hutchins') attack

Ruled out by the objection of Holman, upon Mr. Corwin. Mr. Cox charged that the (Dem.,) of Indiana.

Ohio Supreme Court had colluded with GorCorwin moved to extend ernor Dennison to nullify the Fugitive Slave Corwin's Motion the time for taking a final law and to shield abolition criminals from

vote on his propositions, injustice. Hutchins responded, saying Mr. Cox order to give gentlemen an opportunity to would preserve the Union if he could do so express themselves, as well as to await the by exciting prejudices against the Republican action of the “Peace Convention,” which party. It was hardly fair to add fuel to the might enable the House to come to a better fame of Southern excitement, if it was the conclusion. The time was extended after object of his colleague to preserve rather much disagreement, when Hutchins, (Rep.) of than destroy the Union. Cox retorted. His Ohio, at some length, gave his exposition of colleague was for the Union, if there was views on the crisis. He deemed the move power to crush out Slavery in the States or ment of the Slave States as causeless and Territories, and only in this case ; but he wicked as the revolt of the angels in heaven. (Cox) was for the Union, without qualificaThe remedies proposed he pronounced futile tion or condition, and daring all hazards. for good. Corwin's proposition to amend Simms, (Dem.,) of Kenthe Constitution was opposed to the spirit of tucky, addressed the House Simms' Address. the age. The Crittenden proposition, he in a very able argument, said, the Free States would reject. He re- leveled chiefly at the Republican party, whom ferred to the history of compromises upon he regarded as the chief cause of all the present the Slavery question, contending that they trouble -- they were the chief conspirators were worthless as final settlements. The only against the liberties of the country. He aversettlement that could be permanent was one red that there had been no time since the founded on truth and justice. The verdict commencement of the session that the Repubof the American people had been fairly ob- licans could not have saved the country. He tained, and a judgment should be rendered advocated the plan of Senator Crittenden, upon it. This was not a partisan view of which simply proposed to incorporate in the the case, but all who are really for the Union Constitution the decision of the Supreme could stand upon it, and they must stand Court in the Dred Scott case, and give to the upon it in the end. He could act with all South the Territory south of the line 36 deg. who stood for the Union, and in so doing he 30 min., and the Chicago Platform north of it. did not necessarily adopt their views upon Why would not the Republicans take this? the Slavery or other questions. It was un- of the position of his own State he safd : wise to tamper with the organic law at the

“Sir, you may make the experiment, but you can present time; but propositions to amend the never conquer the South. Their ten million proud, Constitution, originating in States or in Con- free-born necks were never made to wear the yoke




of any mortal power or foe against their will.* You provoke, would spring up, if necessary to avenge it, can conquer them by justice, and not by injustice a million warriors. Kentucky--brave, gallant, loyal, . and the sword. From the first drop of blood shed patient Kentucky - would not hesitate nor falter upon Southern soil by armed soldiery, in a war so when that day comes. She never yet has unjust and unholy as the one you are seeking to despaired of the Republic ; but if you force this issue

* Mr. Simms, like all Southern economists, during upon her and her sister States of the South, rememthis winter's discussion, spoke widely of the fact in ber that in the veins of her children courses the his citations of the numbers of “ proud, free-born blood of old Virginia ; and with them, when the necks” in the entire Slave States. [See the tables final struggle comes, she will share common dangiven on pages 27–28, compiled from the census of gers, common rights, common glories, a common 1860.]

destiny, or a common grave."




THE Peace Convention | sition of his State. It simply Peace Convention

assembled February 4th, in repeated the resolutions Peace Convention Proceedings. Washington, and organized adopted by the Legislature.

Proceedings by the election of John Tyler, of Virginia, as [See page 247.] The Virginia member, in prepresiding officer. It was resolved, in imita- senting the resolutions, urged the immediate tion of the old Constitutional Conventions, as favorable action of the Convention, declaring well as of the recent Conventions in the that his State would be satisfied with nothing Southern States, to sit in secret sessions—ex- less

, and assuring the delegates that prompt cluding not only the public, but members of and decisive action was necessary. Caleb the press—a movement which most Northern B. Smith, of Indiana, deprecated this precipmembers opposed, as uncalled for and un- itate mode of proceeding, and thought it wise. The votes on propositions were to calculated to defeat the very object for which be cast by States — à majority of each the Convention had been called. Messrs. delegation casting it. No action was taken Chase, Ruffin, and others sustained this view; until Wednesday, February 6th, the members and finally, Mr. Guthrie, after a judicious and being engaged in comparing views, to arrange, conciliatory speech, moved the reference of if possible, the terms of propositions likely to this and all similar propositions to a Commeet with favorable consideration. The Ken-mittee of one from each State, to be selected tucky delegation, headed by Mr. Guthrie, by the different delegations. The Commitheld a conference, February 5th, and agreed tee, as appointed, was constituted as follows: upon the general outline of a new plan of James Guthrie, of Kentucky, Chairman; Jas. compromise. It was not made public; but A. Seddon, of Virginia; Reverdy Johnson, of the delegation laid their statement before in- Maryland; James Harlan, of Iowa; Stephen dividåal members of the Convention, to can- T. Logan, of Illinois; Caleb B. Smith, of vass its probable success.

Indiana ; Thomas Ewing, of Ohio; Daniel M. On Wednesday, Seddon, of Virginia, pre- Bates, of Delaware; Thomas White, of Pennsented what was understood to be the propo- sylvania; Peter D. Vroom, of New Jersey;

Roger S. Baldwin, of Con- before the predetermined Peace Convention

Peace Convention Proceedings. necticut; Samuel Ames, of secessionists, who had se

Proceedings. Rhode Island ; Thomas Ruf-cured a Convention, and, fin, of North Carolina ; Highland Hull, of Ver- having secured it, would control it. mont; and Asa Fowler, of New Hampshire. The Committee of One from each State Members were added for New York, Massa- held a session of four and a half hours on chusetts, Missouri, and Tennessee, which Saturday. It voted down the motion by States were not represented in the Conven- David Dudley Field, the New York member, tion until Friday, February 8th. The ap- namely: that no action was necessary on the pointment of this Committee was considered Territorial question. Monday (February 11th) an omen of settlement,the members consti- was consumed in considering the several tuting it being, generally, of the “ conserva- propositions submitted, and in deciding upon tive” order--those understood to favor lib- the order of their consideration. Tuesday eral concessions for the sake of peace. morning a test of sentiment was made by the

The first week closed without action on introduction, by Reverdy Johnson, of a resoany proposition. The outside indications lution which, in a slightly amended form, seemed to favor the adoption of a plan of passed by a vote of 10 to 9: Iowa and Masadjustment which should at least placate the sachusetts not being represented. It read, as remaining loyal States; but, the indisposi- adopted : tion of the Border Slave State delegates to

“ Congress shall have no power to legislate upon include the Seceded States in the compro- the subject of servitude anywhere, except to permise served to foreshadow but a partial set-form its duties under the Constitution in respect to tlement at most. The North, if it must com- fugitives from service or labor, and to suppress the promise by conceding the right of property foreign slave-trade; nor shall any Territorial Govin slaves under the Constitution, and by con- ernment have power to sanction or protect involsecrating to Slavery all the Territory south antary servitude in any Territory north of the southof the old Missouri Compromise line, had no ern boundary of Kansas and the northern boundary design of making those concessions except of New Mexico ; nor to prohibit, or impair, or affect they were accepted as a settlement of the en- the holding of persons to service or labor in any tire question, and would restore the status quo such persons were so held and protected under the

Territory south of said line, in the same manner as of the Union. The Southern members de laws of the State or Territory from which they were clined the responsibility of speaking for the

removed." revolutionary States; hence, the hopes which

It was understood that several who voted had sprung up in some quarters-feared by in the negative would accept it as a finality, the disunionists

, and hoped for by their op. if nothing better were to be obtained. ponents—of an early and final adjustment,

Wednesday and Thursday the Kentucky were not strengthened by the attitude of affairs at the close of the first week. So anx- being prolonged into the evening of the lat

propositions were considered, and the session ious did the Virginians feel in the proceed

ter day, the Kentucky or Guthrie proposiings of the Convention, that Governor

tion was, by a vote of 12 to 11, adopted. Letcher, and a number of the most influential

Its provisions were, in substance : members of the Virginia Legislature, visited Washington during the week, to lend their

“ All Territory of the United States shall be divide aid to the work of adjustment. The voice ed by a line from east to west on the parallel of 36 of Virginia at the polls, February 4th, was deg. 30 min. north latitude ; in all Territory north

of that line involuntary servitude, except as punishfor Union if compromise could be secured

ment of crime, is prohibited while it shall belong to and the “rights of the South” guaranteed; the United States, or be under a Territorial Governand the Governor but answered the wish of ment; in all Territory south of said line involuntary the people in seeking to secure the terms de servitude is recognized as it exists in the Southern manded. That he was anxious to save his States of the Union, while such Territory shall beState from revolution was apparent; but, it long to the United States, or be under the Terri. was equally apparent that he was powerless torial Government; neither Congress nor the Terri



torial Government shall have | absence of sagacity, in not Peace Convention power to hinder or prevent proposing some remedy,

Peace Convention Proceedings.

Proceedings. emigrants to said Territory while the Union was crumfrom taking with them persons held to labor or in. bling to pieces. voluntary servitude, according to the laws and

Mr. Curtis, of Iowa, answered this reference usages of the State from which such persons to Congress with much decision, saying that may be taken, nor to impair the right arising it was a deliberative body, and had a right to out of such relation, and be subject to judicial cognizance. It also provided that States

consider all propositions submitted calmly. formed from the territory either north or south He believed there had been an organized conof the proposed line shall be admitted into the spiracy to break up the Government, and Union on an equal footing with the original States, that no compromise here could have preventwith or without involuntary servitude or labor, as ed it. He inquired of Mr. Guthrie whether their Constitutions may provide. Also, that Con- he thought even his own plan would have gress shall not have the power to establish Slavery arrested that movement? Guthrie answered, in any State, or in the District of Columbia, without that it would have saved some of the States., the consent of Maryland and Virginia. The African Curtis then examined Mr. Guthrie's scheme, slave-trade was forever to be prohibited, and the and demonstrated that its purpose was to fourth Article of the Constitution was not to be

establish and protect Slavery in future acconstrued to prevent any of the States from the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave law. And, lastly, quisitions of Territory by an artful use of it provided that no Territory shall be henceforth ac language, and to that the people of the North quired without the consent of three-fourths of the would never consent. They were pledged Senate."

against it, and would not surrender their This proposition was submitted to the ac- principles, but intended no aggression on the tion of the Convention Friday morning, rights of the South, when Seddon, of Virginia, (understood to rep This firm attitude of the Republican memresent the Hunter faction,) offered the Crit- ber excited no little commotion, particularly tenden resolution on behalf of the minority, as he had insinuated that deception was dewith the amendments of the Virginia Legis- signed in the clause regarding the Territorial lature. Messrs. Dudley Field, Baldwin, and question. It was contended by several, Crowningshield stated verbally that they among whom was Reverdy Johnson, that it disagreed with those reports. An early ad- not only applied to present Territories, journment was had, for members to consult but to future acquisitions also, and, with that with their several Congressional delegations view, he (Johnson) should move an amendprior to voting on the question.

ment, so as to exclude Territory hereafter to Saturday's session was one of earnest de- be acquired. bate. Baldwin, of Connecticut, moved to No vote was taken, and the week's prosubstitute for the proposition of the Com- ceedings closed without any advance having mittee his resolution for a National Conven- been made. tion. This he supported in an able speech. Pending these events, He believed that no other measure would (February 1st-15th,) the


Sentiment Growing. meet with the approbation of the two Houses state of the country was of Congress. Mr. Guthrie, with much earn- calculated to create renewed anxiety for the estness and power, opposed Mr. Baldwin's future. The anti-compromise spirit of the substitute, and advocated the report of the Northern States became more developed with Committee. He urged upon the Convention each day's proceedings of Congress, and with speedy action, There was no time to be every arrival of news from the Southern Conlost. If the Convention really intended to federacy. In the breasts of a large class, a adopt measures which would restore peace feeling akin to rancor was becoming appaand good brotherhood between the States, rent; while the vast majority of Northern they ought to do so at once. He animad- men unquestionably were opposed to any verted, with much severity, upon the refusal settlement which did not imply the power of Congress to meet the exigency, and the forever to prevent a recurrence of the revolu

« ZurückWeiter »