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MARCA 2, 1836.]
Slavery in the District of Columbia.
numerous, are opposed to the agitation of the question, Author of our religion-have been magnified into im. ander existing circumstances, and will vote against the portance. I do not believe there is any State in this abolition of slavery in this District at the present mo. Union (unless the information which we have received ment, but would be unwilling to give any vote which from the Senators from Vermont might make that State might pledge them for the future. Here are the ele. an exception) where penal laws of the character pro. ments of discord. Although we can all, or nearly all, posed would not advance, instead of destroying, the agree in the general result, yet we should differ essen- cause of the abolitionists. I feel confident such would tially in the means of arriving at it. The politic and be the event in Pennsylvania. Severe legislation, unthe wise course, then, is to adopt my motion that the less there is a manifest necessity for it, is always preju. prayer of the memorialists ought to be rejected. Each dicial. This question may be safely left to public opin. gentleman will arrive at this conclusion in his own way. ion, which, in our age and in our country, like a mighty Although we may thus travel different roads, we will all torrent sweeps away error. The people, although they reach the same point. Should the committee go one may sometimes be misled in the beginning, always judge step further than report this very proposition, we should correctly in the end. Let severe penal laws on this sub. at once be separated into four divisions; and the resultject be enacted by any State; let a few honest but mis. must be that the whole subject would finally be laid guided enthusiasts be prosecuted under them; let them upon the table, and thus the abolitionists would obtain a be tried and punished in the face of the country, and victory over the friends of the Union both to the North you will thus excite the sympathies of the people, and and to the South.
create a hundred abolitionists where one only now exBefore I made the motion now before the Senate, I ists. Southern gentlemen have no right to doubt our deliberately and anxiously considered all these embar- sincerity upon this subject; and they ought to permit us rassing difficulties. At the first, I was under the im. to judge for ourselves as to the best mode of allaying pression that the reference of this subject to a commit. the excitement which they believe exists among our. iee would be the wisest course. In view of all the selves. difficulties, however, I changed my opinion; and I am If the spirit of abolition had become so extensive and Row willing, most cheerfully, to assume all the respon- so formidable as some gentlemen suppose, we might sibility which may rest upon me for having made this justly be alarmed for the existence of this Union. Com. motion.
paratively speaking, I believe it to be weak and powerI might have moved to lay the memorial upon the ta- less, though it is noisy. Without excitement, got up ble; but I did not believe that this would be doing that here or elsewhere, which may continue its existence for justice to the South which she a right to demand at some time longer, it will pass away in a short period, our hands. She is entitled to the strongest vote, upon
like the other excitements which have disturbed the the strongest proposition, which gentlemen can give, public mind, and are now almost forgotten. without violating their principles.
Mr. WALKER said it was with no ordinary emotions I have but a few words more to say. As events have that he felt constrained to participate in the debate upon deprived me of the occupation assigned to me by the Sen. this question. Having served (said Mr. W.) but a few ator from North Carolina, (Mr. MANGUM,] I feel myself days in my present station, never heretofore having oce at liberty to invade the province allotted by the same cupied a seat in any legislative assembly, State or na. gentleman to the Senator from New York, (Mr. Wrigut,] tional, borne down by a severe domestic bereavement, and to defend a distinguished member of the Albany with which it has pleased Providence to afflict me since regency. In this I am a mere volunteer. I choose thus the commencement of this session, gladly, most gladly, to act, because Governor Marcy has expressed my opin. would I have given a silent vote upon this occasion. But ions better than I could do myself.
there are considerations connected with this question, And here permit me to say that, in my judgment, involving so deeply the vital interests of my constituents southern gentlemen who are not satisfied with his last -the repose of my country, the perpetuity of that Union message, so far as it relates to the abolitionists, are very which is dearer to me than life, for I have no desire to unreasonable. With the general tone and spirit of that survive its dissolution-that I am impelled by a solemn message no one has found any fault-no one can justly sense of duty to express my opinions on this subject. find any fault. In point of fact, it is not even liable io llie A petition has been presented to the Senate, requestsolitary objection which has been urged against it, that ing Congress to abolishi slavery in the District of Colum. he did not recommend to the Legislature the passage of bia. Two motions have been made in relation to this a law for the purpose of punishing those abolitionists petition: one to refuse to receive it, and the other to who, in that state, should attempt to excite insurrection reject the prayer of the petitioners. The former has and sedition in the slaveholding States, by the circula- | the precedence in the order of decision here, and is re. tion of inflammatory publications and pictures. It is garded by me as expressing more strongly our disapprotrue that he does not advise the immediate passage of bation of this petition than the rejection of the prayer of such a law, but this was because he thought public opin. | the petitioners. ion would be sufficient to put them down. He, how- But we are met in the threshold of this discussion by ever, looks to it as eventually proper, in case, contrary a preliminary question, which is honestly believed by to his opinion, such a measure should become necessary many of all parties, from the South as well as the North, to arrest the evil. He expressly asserts, and clearly to interpose a constitutional barrier against the rejection proves, that the Legislature possesses the power to pass of this petition. We are told that to reject the petition such a law. This is the scope and spirit of his message. is to abridge the right of petition and to violate the con.
Ought he to have recommended the immediate pas- stitution. With my oath to support that sacred instru$age of such a law? I think not. The history of man- ment yet fresh upon my lips and green in my memory, kind in all ages demonstrates that the surest mode of did I suppose that a constitutional obligation was impogiving importance to any sect, whether in politics or re- sed upon us to receive all petitions addressed and preligion, is to subject its members to persecution. It has sented to us, whatever their language, character, or become a proverb, that "the blood of the martyrs is the tendency might be, my vote should be given against the seed of the church.” By persecution, religious sects, rejection of this memorial. The rights of my constitumaintaining doctrines the most absurd and the most ex- ents are infinitely dear to me, but they do not desire to travagant-doctrines directly at war with the pure faithi secure those rights by trampling down the constitution and principles announced to the world by the Divine of the Union,
VOL. XII, -44
Slavery in the District of Columbia.
(MARCH 2, 1836.
The first article of the amendments to the constitution or gangrened malice of these or any other abolitionis relied upon as denying to us all power to reject this ists, put in jeopardy all that is dear to the people of petition. That article is as follows: “Congress shall Mississippi, by consenting to receive these or any other make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or petitions of a similar character. prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the My bonorable friend, the distinguished Senator from freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the Pennsylvania, (Mr. Buchanan,) bas referred us to varipeople peaceably to assemble and to petition the Gov. ous enactments of the British Parliament, limiting the ernment for a redress of grievances.” What is it on number of petitioners, or providing for their dispersion this subject that Congress cannot do? It can “make no by an armed force, or annexing various precedent conlaw" "abridging" the right of the people peaceably ditions and limitations restricting the right of petition, to assemble and to petition the Government for a re- and imposing penalties upon the exercise of that right. dress of grievances." Do we propose to abridge this Now, the illustration afforded by a reference to these right? Do we attempt to say to the people, either by a laws appears to me to weaken the position assumed by law or otherwise, that they shall not peaceably assemble that Senator. It was with a knowledge of all these laws, and petition the Government for a redress of grievances and others of a congenial character, that the declaratory Do we say they shall not assemble, or that, when assem- amendment was introduced into the constitution, with a bled, they shall not petition? Or even that, when the view to protect the American people against the enactpetition is subscribed, they shall not present it for ment of similar law's by the Congress of the United ihe action of this body? We say none of these things. States. But we undertake to pass no such laws, or any Notwithstanding our refusal to receive this petition, the laws whatever on this subject; we propose to exercise people may again assemble, again subscribe and present no such power, nor do we impose any limitations or rehere another and another petition, precisely similar to strictions upon the exercise of the right of petition. that now before us; and this right we do not undertake It is said, however, that wbat we cannot do by the to abridge or question. But when the people have passage of a law, we will accomplish by adopting the fully exercised and exhausted the right of petition, as present motion. What we cannot do by a law, has been secured by the constitution, and presented that petition already stated: the constitution states it, by declaring here, then our rights begin, and we may, in determin. that we cannot abridge“ the right of the people peacea. ing the order of our own proceedings, reject the whole bly to assemble and petition the Government for a repetition; or, what is nearly the same thing, reject the dress of grievances." Now, this right remains untouched; prayer, which is the vital part of it, or refer the petition, it cannot be touched by any order this House may now or postpone indefinitely the consideration of it, or lay it make upon this petition. It is positive legislative acupon the table, to sleep the sleep of death, and the tion, limiting the exercise of the right of petition, that is constitutional rights of the people are not infringed by | forbidden by the constitution, and not the mere order adopting any of these modes. I am not willing to be this House may make after the presentation of the petiaccused of violating the sacred right of petition; my tion here, when the right secured by the constitution veneration of that right is as great as that of any Senator has been fully exercised and exhausted. upon this floor; but this right is not assailed or invaded It is said that to reject a petition is to render the by refusing to receive the petition, but remains in its right of petition an empty form. As well might it be full force, unimpaired and undiminished, subject to be contended that to reject the prayer, which is the vital exercised in all its extent, whenever the people resolve part of the petition, would render nugatory the right of to petition for a redress of grievances. I repeat it, we petition, as to say that this right is invaded by rejecting do not say that the people shall not assemblethat they the petiiion itself. To reject the prayer is to deprive shall not petition-thal they shall not present their peti- | the memorial of all vitality--to make it a dead letter, an tions here-we do not, in any manner, limit the action empty sound, a mere preambulary-nothing. A petition of the petioners, either by the adoption of any law or without a prayer is an absurdity-it is not a petition; and rule on this subject; we do not even say that this peti- if we may reject a part of the petition, the only part tion shall not be read or discussed; but when all this which makes it a petition, why may we not reject the bas taken place, we may refuse to receive the petition, whole petition? A petition is a written prayer for us to either because its language is offensive, or because it do or not to do a certain act; and if we reject the asks us to violate our oathis and the constitution, or be prayer, we do substantially reject the petition itself. If cause it requests us to disturb the harmony of the Union, the rejection of these petitions could induce the abolior for any other cause the Senate may deem sufficient, tionists to refrain from sending here any further similar for the constitution is silent upon this topic, leaving it memorials, it should constitute a strong reason in favor where it ought to be left, to the sound, well-regulated of adopting this motion. It is because I wish, not by discretion of the Senate on this subject; and as we can- the enactment of any law, or the adoption of any rule mot and do not undertake to limit or prescribe the man. abridging the right of petition, but by the moral infiuner in which the people shall exercise the right of ence of our votes and opinions, to arrest the transmission petition, so neither can we permit these or any other of abolition memorials to this House, that I vote against petitioners to usurp the power of this body, and dictate receiving the petition. The friends of both motions are the manner in which we shall act upon their petition. Nor equally opposed to the abolitionists; both desire to put is there any thing clearer to my mind, than that to com- out these balls of fame, which are kindled at the North pel the Senate to receive all petitions, however wild or in the fires of fanaticism, and blown into tenfold fury visionary they might be, or destructive of the Union or here, in the very act of endeavoring to extinguish them. of the constitution, would be to interpolate in that instru- We are told, that to reject these petitions is to inment a most dangerous provision. Suppose the Senate crease their number. and have these petitions been refuse to grant the prayer of these petitioners, and that diminished in number by receiving them in times that another and another petition for the same purpose is are past? Has this course been heretofore successful, presented from day to day, and week to week, must we or, rather, have not these petitions multiplied from for ever continue to receive these petitions, and render year to year? Are they not now increasing? And can the Senate a registering tribunal for abolition memorials, we expect, by yielding any thing from courtesy to fa. denouncing the institutions and people of the South? My natical incendiaries, to diminish their number, or arrest constituents have rights on this floor, as well as these the surges of that mighty food which threatens to overpetitioners; and I shall not, to gratify the blind fanaticism | whelm ihe institutions of the country? No! It is only
Marca 2, 1836.]
Slavery in the District of Columbia.
by indomitable firmness and resolution, by a spirit of re. jury of the country. To liberate the slaves of this Dissistance unsubdued, unconquerable, by a resort to the trict, even with compensation, would be equally a viovery strongest measures, that we can hope to arrest the lation of the constitution; for, to liberate them, is not to mad career of the incendiary, or strike down that Mo. take them for the use of the public, by a transfer of loch banner which waved in blood-stained triumph over property to the Government or its agents. Unless, the desolate fields of St. Domingo, and beneath whose ihen, this Government has the power, which none pre. gloomy folds so many thousands are now summoned to tend, to purchase and hold slaves, to gratify the morbid the crusade, against the lives and property of the peo- sensibility of a few miserable fanatics, it can never, in ple of the South. Will persuasive measures, will cour- any manner, constitutionally affect the institution of tesy, will mildness and moderation, check this fearful slavery in this District. Do not the people of this Disspirit? Have they checked it? Or will they, or can they, trict live under the guarantees of the constitution? Or rescue us from the dangers and difficulties by which we could Congress, by the mere passage of a law, take are environed? It is by meeting these incendiaries at from the people of this District their lands, their lots, the onset of their attack, and sternly rebuking them, by their houses, as well as their slaves? If Congress have the rejection of all their petitions, that we may indulge such a power, the Government of this District is the the hope that here, at least, they will cease to disturb very climax of despotism. The States of Virginia and the repose of the country.
Maryland had no such power; they could not, thereTo reject the petition, it is said, is to condemn the fore, impart it in the cession of this District; they never petitioners unheard. I am not for introducing here the intended to impart any such authority; they never would principles of Rhadamanthus, to punish first, and hear bave ceded this District upon any such conditions. afterwards; although it is true that the “dura regna, Fully persuaded, then, that we have no authority over the gloomiest caverns of Rhadamanthus, are the appro. the case embraced in the petition, I shall vote against priate abodes of abolition incendiaries. But have not receiving it. Gentlemen tell us that they look at slavery these petitioners been heard? Has not their petition been in the States as the constitution looks at it, as a question read here, and fully discussed? They cannot say, beyond their control. And why not look at slavery in ustrike, but hear me," for we have heard them, and the District as the constitution looks at it, and leave it the question is, shall we receive their petition? Why also where the constitution found and left it? The inis this motion on the reception of the petition propound stitution of slavery, as it exists in the States, I will not ed, if we may not answer no, as well as ay? Is the discuss here, either as an abstract or a practical question, propounding of this question an empty form, or is the because we have no control over it. But this I will say, question already answered in the affirmative, by the con- that the people of the South, so much abused by aboli. stitution itself? The very question propounded is itself tion petitioners, will be declared by faithful history as a violation of the constitution, if we may not give a neg- unsurpassed in any age or country in all that adorns the ative as well as an affirmative answer.
Under the power
character of man. Her heroes, her patriots, her statesdelegated by the constitution to each House, to “deter- men, will live among the brightest models of human exmine the rules of its proceedings," the call for this pre- | cellence, when the blind spirit of fanaticism, which now liminary question may be demanded as a matter of right; assails her institutions, shall be remembered only to be and the right to propound the question involves the condemned and execrated. right to vote in the negative, or affirmative, without any The constitutional provision, so much relied on by violation of the constitution.
the opponents of this motion, guaranties the right of There is another reason influencing me to oppose the petition for but one purpose, “a redress of grievan. reception of this petition. Why receive the petition,
W bose grievances? Certainly those of the petiwhen the Government has no constitutional power to tioners. Now, is it any grievance of these petitioners, grant the redress requested? Would not the reception all far distant from this District, that the people within of the petition, under such circumstances, be an idle its limits own lands, or lots, or slaves? And why should ceremony? Congress has no constitutional power to they ask us to receive their petition for a redress of abolish slavery in the District of Columbia. It is said, grievances, which those who are alone concerned Congress has a grant of “exclusive legislation" over neither know nor acknowledge? And what is this propthis District. So has Congress, under the same clause osition which we are asked to receive and consider? of the constitution, “like authority" over “all places" It is a proposition to violate the constitution, and enpurchased from any of the States; and, upon the danger the Union. It is a proposition for rapine, plunsame principles, Congress might therefore abolish der, and spoliation. It is a proposition, not merely to slavery in all those places purchased in the slaveholding attempt to render the slaves of this District freemen, States, or, what is still stronger, introduce and estab. but, in its inevitable results and consequences, to renlish slavery in all those places purchased from the der the freemen of this District slaves; to chain thein to non-slavehoiding States. But this is a grant of “exclu- the car of a despotic central power, whilst the wild sive,” not of unlimited, power of legislation; a grant spirit of fanaticisin lashes her fiery steeds over the broonty of legislative power over the District, to the exclu- ken columns and shattered fragments of the constitusion, in all cases whatsoever,” of any concurrent jution, and, driving onward in exulting triumph to the risdiction. There are, however, other clauses in the very Capitol of the nation, waves her black and bloodconstitution which limit and restrict this power as re- stained banner from the very dome, where now float gards this District, especially the provision which for: the glorious kindred emblems of our country's Union. bids Congress to deprive any citizen of his " property" The mighty revolution proposed by these petitioners " without due process of law;" and further declares, would make this District a den of thieves and assassins,
nor shall private property be taken for public use of liberated slaves and blacks already free. It is without just compensation.” But this petition proposes threatened with a sale to the Dutch, but the District to take from the people of this District their slaves, would not be worth selling after you had delivered it up which are their “private property,” “ without due pro- to the negroes. This proposition would make the Discess of law,” " without compensation,” and for no trict an asylum for fugitive slaves from the Slates, the "public use," the only case in which private property grand citadel of abolitionism, whence it would light the can be taken, even with compensation; and that com- torch of the incendiary, and whet the knife of the pensation, the Supreme Court of the Union has decided, assassin, upon the very borders of Virginia and Marymust first be paid or tendered under the finding of a land. It would fill the whole District to overflowing SENATE.)
Slavery in the District of Columbia.
(Marce 2, 1836.
with a free negro population, drunk with the wild templation of the mighty stake which is at hazard, and spirit of fanaticism, and render it utterly impossible for see wbat we can do to maintain and perpetuate the any southern man to legislate here, except at the peril blessings of this great confederacy. Let us also never
of his life. And can we, ought we, will we, submit to forget that now is the time for exertion; for if the sun of this? No, never. Oh, my country! are we American this Union should once set, it will go down for ever; that Senators, and is this the Senate Chamber of the Ameri. there will be no morning to the midnight of that unican Union, in which we are constrained to debate such a versal despotism which would ensue upon the setting of proposition as this?
the sun of the American Union, Mr. President, let us all awake to the momentous con- A distinguished Senator from Massachusetts, (Mr. sequences of the perpetual agitation of this fearful ques. WEBSTER,) in a celebrated debate here, declared, ihat tion; let us shake off all somnambulism, and contemplate whenever the Union was in danger, he should be found for a few moments the true character and inevitable in the inidst of the combat, crying “to the rescue, to consequences of abolition agitation. It is a question, not the rescue.” Sir, the Union is in danger; the battle is of abolition, or anti-abolition, but of union or disunion. now going on; it is progressing in this Senate chamber; The vital current freezes around my heart when I conhere, here, we are endeavoring to resist the efforts of template the bare possibility of a dismemberment of this abolition incendiaries; and will he not now come to the Union; but, with a view to prevent this dread catastro- rescue! Now is the accepted time; now is the day for phe, it is time to address the people of the North in the the salvation of his country's Union. language of truth; to tell them that abolitionists are dis. May I also be permitted to call upon the eminent Sen. unionists; that their success would be the success of dis.
ator from South Carolina (Mr. Calhous] to come for. union; that is they love this Union, let them all now rise ward, as he did in the days of his early glory, as the in the majesty of their strength, and put down for ever champion of the honor and perpetuity of this Union. those fanatical incendiaries, who are threatening to
Whilst the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. WEBSTER] place in jeopardy all that is dear to the people of the shall sternly rebuke the fanatical abolitionists of the South. We ask them to teach the abolitionists, that to North, let the voice of the Senator from South Carolina persist in their mad career unchecked is to endanger [Mr. Calhoun] be heard, in endeavoring to prevent the the Union, and that their object, the abolition of slavery formation of a southern sectional and geographical party, in the South, would not and never can be accomplished; which must prove fatal to the permanency of this con: that they may fill every pulpit, every college, every State federacy. Not many years past, ihese two senators were of the North, with abolition incendiaries, and yet they engaged upon opposite sides of a great controversy, when will not, cannot, accomplish their object. They may
the scales of intellectual superiority were left in equipoise. check the amelioration of the condition of slaves in the Now, let them go forward together, the one with the South, heretofore so rapidly progressing; they may de- good broadsword of Richard, ihe other with the keen prive them of many privileges which they before enjoyed; sabre of Saladin, not to engage in another political they may substitute distrust for confidence, avid subject tournament with each other, but to go forward together the slave, from dire necessity; to much severer discipline;
as champions of the Union against the abolitionists of they may change the now truly happy and pastoral condi- the North, as champions of the Union against sectional tion of the southern slaves into one of chains and bondages wreath their brows with unfading laurels; laurels that
or geographical parties in the South), and they will they may almost extirpate the negro race, for they are unfit for freedom; but this is all they can accomplish. No, this
can never be gathered upon the grave of their country's is not quite the full extent of their victory. They may
Union; laurels that can flourish only in that holy Ameri• occasionally incite a few negroes to insurrection. Here
can atmosphere, which embraces the whole country, and and there, for a short time, a few of our generous and all its parts. chivalrous people may fall beneath the knife of the black
To iny honorable and distinguisbed friend, the Senator insurgent, urged on by northern abolitionists. Now and from Pennsylvania, (Mr. BUCHANAN,) most happy am 110 then a few of our dwellings may be consumed by the say, it is unnecessary to appeal. He has avowed sentiments torch of the incendiary; a few, a very few, of the mothers, upon this floor, on this subject, worthy of the best days sisters, wives, and children, of the people of the South of the republic; worthy of Pennsylvania, the keystone may fall in one indiscriminate and unsparing massacre;
of the arch of the Union: worthy of the spirit in which but the grand object of the abolitionists can never, never, the constitution was formed, and which can alone perbe accomplished. They may publish document after petuate its blessings. And, Mr. President, let us all have document, and print after print, and it will all be vain
ihe same proud consciousness of endeavoring to dis. and nugaiory. They will not have made the slighest charge our duty. Let us send forth the dove from this approach towards the grand object of all their efforts. Senate chamber, to return with the olive branch of No; our peculiar institutions we will yield only at the peace. Let us endeavor to find some political Ararat, point of the bayonet, and in a struggle for their defence
where the ark of our Union, now tossing upon the dark we would be found invincible.
surges of tumultuous passions, inay yet repose, and where This is not the language of a nullifier or secessionist.
we may truly declare that the deluge of bitter waters No; it is the opinion of one who ever has opposed and
has subsided. will continue to oppose these doctrines, as fatal to
Mr. President, whilst I cannot say there is no dar. the perpetuity of the American Union. It is the language ger to the Union from abolition incendiarism, yet neither of a man whose love of this Union is as warm as the vital can I agree with the very eloquent Senator from South blood that gushes from his heart; who values his own Carolina (Mr. Preston) in believing that the case is desdestiny here as less than a bubble bursting on the ocean perate; that Europe is against us, the North against us, surge, compared with the duration of this Government, and that abolitionism must triumph or dismeinber the and life itself as utterly worthless, were this Union dis
Uniun. Whilst the thrilling but lugubrious tones, membered. It is because he thus loves and values the the melancholy bodings, of that Senator were echoing Union that he would warn the people of the North that through these halls, could we not almost fancy that the the unchecked efforts of the abolitionists do endanger this sun of the Union was now sinking beneath the horizon; Union; that we ask for the strongest and most decisive that darker and yet darker clouds were gathering round measures against them; and that they may be made to us; that the elemental strife had already commenced, know and feel that they can in no contingency effect and that fanaticism had already drawn the line which their object. Let us all then rouse ourselves to the con- marked the boundaries of a dismembered empire? This
Marcu 2, 1836.)
Slavery in the District of Columbia.
was a picture of fancy; but what are the facts? That tion that if this Government is to continue to accomSenator seems to have no confidence in the people of plish the great purpose for which it was established, it the North; he seems to regardihem as abolitionists by can only be by administering it in the same spirit in some imperious, irresistible necessity. My confidence which it was created. in the American people, in the people of the North as When the constitution was framed, the great and well as the South, is firm and unshaken. It is the peo- leading interests of the whole country were considered, ple who established and maintained, and will perpetuate, and, in the spirit of liberality and compromise, were ad. this Union. It is they who will come to the rescue justed and settled. They were settled upon principles when the Union is in danger; it is they who will sacri. that ought to remain undisturbed so long as the con. fice abolitionism, as a burnt offering, upon the altar of stitution lasts, which I hope will be for ever; for although our country's welfare. From the humblest cottage they liberty may be preferable to the Union, yet I think the will come forward, with American bearts and American Union is indispensable to the security of liberty. At feelings, and triumphantly sustain those honorable Sena. the formation of the constitution, slavery existed in many tors from the North, who are so nobly maintaining here of the States; it was one of the prominent interests that the cause of our common country. They will be hailed, was then settled; it, in all its domestic bearings, was upon their return to their constituents, as the preservers left exclusively to the respective States; to do with as of that Union which the people value above all price, they might think best, without any interference on the and which they are resolved to transmit to their children, part of the federal Government. This, it is admitted by all whole and inviolate, in undiminished glory. Shall every gentleman who has addressed you, is now the we then despair of this Union, when our brethren of the case in every slaveholding State; therefore it is only ur. North are rising to crush out the fangs of those vipers ged that Congress has the power to abolish slavery in that are nissing among them? Look at Boston, at Utica, the District of Columbia. It should never be forgotat Albany, at New York, at Philadelphia, and say, are not ten that, when the constitution was formed and adopied, the people of the North preparing to put their feet upon wbat is now the District of Columbia was then comprethe fanatical disturbers of our country's repose? And are hended within two of the slaveholding States, Maryland they not doing it in a spirit of manly, American patriot- and Virginia. ism, worthy of the best days of our republic, and with a Suppose, when all the details of the constitution had vigor beyond the law? Say not, then, that the people of been adjusted, it had been foreseen that the District of the North and the South have no common sympathies or Columbia would be formed out of a tract of country ceaffection. Our whole history is one of a common origin, ded by those States, and situated in the centre between of common wrongs, and sympathies, and resistance, and them, it had been asked of the members of the conventriumphs, and it will be the history of a common destiny, tion, what do you intend as to the District? You have The descendants of New England, of New York, of placed the question of slavery in the States entirely unPennsylvania, will be with us, as their fathers were, in der their control within their respective limits-do you the hour of gloom and danger, when they baptized with intend that Congress shall bave the power to abolish their blood the sunny plains of Carolina, and mingled slavery in the District? Would not every man have an. their ashes with those of our forefathers, upon the bat- swered in the negative? tle fields of the South. More especially do we regard It has been said that when petitions to abolish slavery with heartfelt gratitude the noble efforts of the people are presented to either house of Congress, those who of the great State of New York, against abolition incen- demand the question whether they shall be received, diarism.
and thus produce discussion, are agitators, and produce They are fighting our battles against a powerful soe; excitement on this delicate subject. To me it seems they are fighting our battles beneath the banner of the this is unfair. Let us for a moment consider the circumconstitution and the Union; and shall we, can we, withhold stances of the country, and the situation in which we from them the tribute of our heartfelt gratitude? And
are all placed. if public opionion should be found insufficient to check There are twenty-four States, several Territories, and this fanatical spirit of abolitionism, Governor Marcy, of this District. Thirteen of these States have no slaves, New York, in his executive message, proposes to sup. the other eleven have slaves; in fact, their slaves constipress it by legislative enactments. Go on, then, noble tute a large item of all the property they own. During and enlightened Chief Magistrate of New York; go on, the past year, it has so happened that many newspapers, virtuous and patriotic people, and put down abolition in pamphlets, and pictorial representations, made their ap. cendiarism, and you will erect to yourselves a monument, pearance, and were, through the mail, and by other upon which the American people will engrave, in letters means, extensively circulated in the slaveholding States. never to be effaced-New York, her patriots, l:er states- By these means a spirit of discontent was created, men, and her people; they have preserved the Union. which occasioned much excitement and disorder in And if there are any of any party on this floor, who various places, and rendered it necessary, in a summary come forth as witnesses or champions in the cause of manner, to put to death several white persons, and a abolition, let them stand alone in their glory; the glory of number of slaves. In various quarters of the Union aiding in the dismemberment of this Union. And should
there were assemblages of people, who expressed their they succeed in destroying this Government, let them opinions with great freedom. In the course of the fall not suppose that the present age, or that posterity, will and winter, many of the State Legislatures have been rank them with the wise, the virtuous, the good, or the in session; they bave been addressed on this subjeci by truly pious. Vo; on this side the tomb, amid the tears their respective Governors; they have expressed pub. that patriots shed over the ruins of our departed glory, licly their opinions. The President, in his message, they would be pointed out with loathing and disgust, as has invited the attention of Congress to it; the Senate guilty traitors and criminals; and when thay have esca- has referred that part of the message to a special comped in the grave the horrors of this living deatli, postermittee, which has made a lengthy report, accompanied ity will inscribe upon their tombstones that damning ep by a bill, which is now upon our dockel, and must, in itaph of everlasting infamy-Here lies a destroyer of the due course, be discussed, and either ed or rejected. American Union.
Are all these to be called agitators, and charged with Mr. WHITE succeeded to the floor, and thus address. unnecessarily producing excitement? If not, how is it ed the Chair:
that members of Congress are to be thus charged, when Mr. President: I address you under the solemn convic- petitions are presented that we must in some mode dis