« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
MR. TRUMAN SMITH, OF CONNECTICUT,
DELIVERED IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, FEBRUARY 10 AND 11, 1854.
The Senate having under consideration the bill to establish Territoriol Governments for Nebraska and Kensas, Mr. SMITH rose and said: Mr. PRESIDENT: I rise to address the Senate on the subject now under consideration with an usual hesitation and reluctance. I have not been in the habit of obtruding myself on the notice of the Senate; and if I depart on the present occasion from the reserve which I have prescribed to myself, and ordinarily observed, it will be owing to my sense of the magnitude of the evils which must result from this measure, if it is to receive the sanction of the two Houses of Congress, and become the law of the land.
It is now almost fifteen years since I became a member of Congress, and I have been almost incessantly present in the one body or the other, with the exception of the 28th Congress, during which I was at home engaged in the discharge of the duties of my profession. I venture to assert here, that there is no member of this or the other House who has taken less part than I have in the agitation of those deplorable sectional questions which have from time to time, and often unnecessarily, been thrown into the two Houses to disturb, in a high degree, the harmony of our public councils, and to put in hazard the peace of the country. I have contented myself with responding in the simple accents of "yea" or "nay" to the various propositions of agitation and disturbance which have been submitted in either House. Ordinarily I have cast my vote in conformity with the predominating sentiment of my own section, for I do not pretend to be a "Northern man with Southern principles," and I have no confidence in any man who does set up that pretention. On one occasion, Mr. President, I did address the Senate at very considerable length on these topics, and it is the only time I have ever spoken to them in either House; it was on the 8th of July, 1850, when the Compromise measures of that year were pending here, being the day before the death of the lamented TAYLOR I undertook to
demonstrate, on that occasion, that there was nothing of practical importance in any or all of so much disturbance here, and so much irritathe questions then in dispute, which occasioned tion elsewhere. Mr. WEBSTER, in a speech delivered in this Chamber shortly after, paid me the high compliment of saying that I had fully succeeded in my object. I appreciate as highly as any member of this body can, the great principles of free government which lie at the foundation of this controversy, but I do not desire to have them introduced here, to become a subject of dispute, except when they can be made to have some useful practical application. As, then, I have not been an agitator, either here or elsewhere, I trust honorable Senators will accord to me a patient hearing, though they may possibly differ from the views which I shall have the honor to present.
I have risen, Mr. President, to discuss the merits of this bill in extenso, and to dwell on topics, in the first instance, which have nothing to do with the slavery question. Unfortunately, that question has been thrust into the bill. I shall, however, state other objections, which should, in my judgment, exclude this measure by the unanimous vote of the Senate; and then we can, if we please, leave the question alluded to undecided.
I say here, in broad terms, that there are objections to the bill which ought to, and I believe would, crush it to atoms, were there not mixed up with it that all-perverting and blinding element-the negro controversy. I do not know that I can get the ear of those honorable Senators who seem anxious to abrogate the 8th section of the act for the admission of Missouri into the Union, but my position is such as to authorize me to make a strong appeal to their candor and their sense of justice. I united with Southern Senators in putting down the Nebraska bill of the last session, on the very objections which I now state, notwithstanding it left the Missouri restriction untouched.
In the first place, Mr. President, I desire to
inquire of the Senate whether it is necessary or least, the States and Territories now organized? expedient for us now to organize two additional The objection of injury to the one and the other territories, when we have already no less than would seem to me insurmountable. If there be five, viz., Minnesota, Oregon, New Mexico, Utah, a stern necessity-political or otherwise-for and Washington? I desire honorable Senators this measure; if it be desirable to smash the to point to any period in the history of this Missouri compromise to relieve the present Adcountry when we had so large a number on ministration from the embarrassments in which hand as at present; and yet it is proposed to it has involved itself by taking the abolitionists add two more. How we came at the last ses- and freesoilers of the North to its bosom, avow sion to suffer the bill to organize the Territory your policy openly, and the motives of that of Washington to pass without objection, is in-policy, and then we shall know where we are! comprehensible to me; for, in my judgment, it was totally unnecessary.
My honorable friend, the chairman of the Comr.ittee on Territories, (M. DOUGLAS,) started at this session with a proposition to establish one territory, which would give us six. I do not know how long that idea lasted: I believe, however, only about one week-when the thought suddenly occurred to the chairman that it would be expedient to divide this one into two territories. And now it seems we are to have seven territoriesin fact a complete litter of territories-to be supported and maintained out of the Treasury of the United States. Sir, I beg leave to enter my earnest protest against this policy. I verily believe that nothing could induce even Southern Senators to vote for this extravagant proposition, were not the negro element mixed up with it. Where, sir, is all this to end? Encouraged by what has already transpired, a convention has been called, as I am informed, in Oregon to form another territory there.
But, sir, I am anticipating. It is said that these Territories should be organized, because by that means the transit of persons and property across the continent would be facilitated. In answer to that I have to say, that this could be done by establishing military posts along the line at trivial expense. But there is a much more effectual means of accomplishing that object, which I will propound for the consideration of honorable members, and that is a Pacific railroad, for which I contended most strenuously at the last session. I wish such a road properly located, and I believe a central location the best, but I may be disposed to concede that point, and go for a southern route, if you will agree to leave us undisturbed on the slavery question. We have made several compromises with you already, gentlemen of the South, which you fly from, or at least manifest a disposition to do so. Will you stand up to the new compromise?
But, after all, sir, this business of creating Territories is no trivial affair, so far as the treasury I admit that the vast expanse within our limits is concerned. During the last four years we ought to be opened for settlement from time to have appropriated no less than $873,332 52 for time as it is needed, but the policy has been al- our Territories. Of this amount, $682,161 37 ready pushed as far as existing exigencies re- has been actually expended-leaving a balance quire. I say, in the first place, to create new of nearly $200,000 unexpended, but which is in territories to carry them up to the unprece-course of being expended, and will soon be exdented number of seven-is contrary to the in-hausted; for I have noticed that the Territories terest of the present organized States, particularly the land States. What, Mr. President, is their present condition? Are they occupied? Are the public lands in them exhausted? Are there not in Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas, vast bodies of public lands untouched? Are there not large quantities in Illinois, a considerable quantity in Indiana, and some in Ohio, to say nothing of the States on the Lower Mississippi and the the Gulf of Mexico? I venture to assert that at least one-half of the lands in these States remain unoccupied. There is a vast quantity of public land within their limits, besides a quantity little less in the hands of speculators.
I say, in the second place, that it is contrary to the interest of the organized Territories to sanction the policy of this bill. There is, sir, the Territory of Minnesota open for settlement, comprising within its limits an expanse large enough to make three States like Pennsylvania. Then there are the Territories of Oregon and Washington, each sufficient for two, if not more States. The Territory of Utah is good for one State. It will hardly do to count New Mexico, for I do not believe that a sensible wolf would go to reside there. Why should we disperse our population? Why not fill up, to some extent at
never fail to get every dollar of their approprintions. The large sum of $873,332 52 was appropriated when we had, in fact, only two Territorial governments for the whole four years, two for three years, and one for only about six months. If the five goverments had been in full blast during the whole period, the aggregate appropriations could not have been less than $1,000,000 or $1,200,000. Every Territory requires an outfit-which is ordinarily $50,000, viz: $25,000 for public buildings, $20,000 for a penitentiary, and $5,000 for a library-so that, if this bill becomes a law, there is to be paid at once out of the treasury $100,000 for the objects indicated. The annual cost of the executive, judicial, and legislative departments is about $30,000; and this will make, for seven Territories, the very considerable aggregate of $210,000 per annum.
And this, sir, is not one-half of the story. Other large expenses will be inevitable. Much will be required to extend our post office and post road system over these Territories. We all know that the Territories and new States do not refund to the Post Office Department the expenses required within their respective jurisdictions for the transportation of the mails.
In the next place, I have to say that we shall
- $4,080 00
1st session-mileage, $1,880; per diem,
1st session-mileage, $5,960; per diem,
session-mileage, $2,577 60;
2d session-mileage, $2,577 60;
have to incur all the expenses of extending our land system throughout this vast extent of country. The lands have to be surveyed or run out into townships and sections, and brought into 2d session-mileage, $1,880; per diem, the market for sale; this will probably require several hundred thousand dollars per annum. We shall have, also, to extinguish the Indian titles: first, such as are possessory; and, secondly, absolute-or where they have acquired the fee by treaty, or where the lands have been patented in conformity thereto. We had in the bill, as it stood originally, an inkling of what we are to expect from this policy. One section appropriated one hundred thousand dollars, and another two hundred thousand dollars, for enabling the President to commence negotiations to extinguish these titles. These clauses, however, have been striken out-I know not for what reason, unless it be by way of preparation for a very rapid progress of the bill through the House of 2 session-mileage, $2.152 80; Representatives, on account of the vast merits of the negro clause. But the honorable chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs had the frankness to announce that these appropriations were not to be abandoned-that they would be put into some other bill. No doubt they will be, And, then, should this bill pass, we shall have a and I fear that the aggregate first proposed will be doubled at least, even at the present session. My honorable and most excellent friend from Massachusetts, (Mr. EVERETT,) who pronounced such an admirable discourse in this chamber yesterday, addressed a very earnest hope to this body, that ample provision might be made for the poor Indians. When these governments are formed, with all their paraphernalia, our people will rush into the Territories, and it would become a matter of necessity to extinguish the Indian title. What sum will be required for this purpose no man can tell. I should not be surprised if it should amount finally to $50,000000 or even $100,000,000. It must be recollected that we are to deal with the titles of halfcivilized-I will not call them savage-tribes, where they own the fee, and are the proprietors of the soil, which will prove a much more serious matter than the acquisition of possessory rights, as in ordinary cases.
It is certain, also, that the adoption of this measure will involve an increase of our army expenditures. The administration is now calling for a large addition to the army, and I have a strong impression resting on my mind that it is really needed, and shall vote for it, unless there be some good reason assigned to the contrary. But if you adopt this measure, a further augmentation will be required sooner or laterat least one regiment of mounted troops for each Territory. Collision with the Indians will be inevitable. Wars will be of frequent occurrence, and the expenditures under this head will extend over a long period-perhaps a quarter of a century.
To this aggregate is to be added at the present Con-
further addition of at least $6,000 per Congress
Nothing could more fully illustrate the inequality and abuses of the mileage system than these details, but there is no hope of a correction at the hands of Congress. Let us, then, combine this with other financial elements adverted to, and give them, in the aggregate, their proper weight.
I insist, in the next place, that this measure is perfectly impracticable. I can demonstate that it is impossible to execute it in conformity with its provisions and terms. You may do something in the nature of execution, but I say it would be a direct and palpable violation of the law. for the exercise of the elective franchise and I refer particularly to those provisions for holding office. I will not detain the Senate by reading the parts of the bill to which I allude, but I can state them briefly: It provides that a person to be capable of voting, or eligible to office, must be twenty-one years of age, a white male citizen of the United States-or an alien, also white, who has declared under oath his intention to become a citizen, and who is an inhabitant of the Territory-or, as it is expressed in another part of the bill, he must have therein "his permanent domicile, residence, habitation, and home."
Sir, I think I can demonstrate, as a legal proposition, that there are, and can be, under your present laws, no inhabitants there. There may be individuals who are bodily within the limits of those Territories; where they are, if I will mention here a matter which Senators any, I do not know. A member of the House may think of trivial importance, and that is the of Representatives from Missouri, (Mr. HALL) expense of delegates to Congress from our Terri-said, at the last session, that there were, in the tories. These are much greater than I had any idea of until I looked into the facts. For the last Congress they were as follows:
whole country now proposed to be organized under the names of Nebraska and Kansas, about five hundred individuals; and another member,
(MR. RICHARDSON,) the chairman of the House Committee on Territories, thought there were about twelve hundred. I do not care which number is assumed to be correct-it being borne in mind that it is now proposed to divide this country into two Territories. We do not know where these five hundred or twelve hundred persons are. We do not know how many are in the proposed Nebraska, or how many in Kansas. Perhaps most or all are in Nebraska, and this would leave few or none for Kansas. However this may be, I will now endeavor to show the Senate that they cannot be called inhabit ants for the purposes indicated in the bill.
The Intercourse Act of 1834 has many provisions which bear on this subject. By the first section of that act, all the country comprised within the limits of the proposed Territories is declared "to be the Indian country." By the second section it is provided "that no person shall be permitted to trade with any of the Indians in the Indian country, without a license therefor from the Superintendent of Indian Af fairs, or Indian Agent, or Sub-Agent; which license shall be issued for a term not exceeding three years;" revocable whenever, in the opinion of the Superintendent, the party has "transgressed" any of the laws or regulations provided for the government of trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, or that it would be improper for him to remain in the Indian country. By the third section, a power of revocation and exclusion is vested in the President of the United States. By the fifth section, licenses to trade are restricted to citizens of the United States; and aliens, though they have declared under oath their intention to become citizens, are wholly excluded By the sixth section, aliens of every class are heavily fined if they enter the "Indian country without a passport." By the tenth section, "the Superintendent of Indian Affairs and Indian agents and sub-agents" are authorized "to remove from the Indian country all persons found therein contrary to law, and the President of the United States is authorized to direct the military force to be employed in such removal." By the twenty-third section, regulations are prescribed for the application of such force, but the details are not material.
Now, I insist that these provisions amount to an utter exclusion of inhabitants from the country in any and every legal sense; end that I am not alone in this opinion, appears from what was said by one of the members above alluded to, (Mr. HALL,) in the House of Representatives, at the last session, as follows: "The gentleman from North Carolina, (Mr. CLINGMAN, in the first place, objects to this Territory, because there are only five or six hundred people settled there. Why is it that there are not more people there? Simply because your laws will not let a white man settle there." And further: "As soon as a white man goes into the Territory, without a license from the Indian Department, there is a company of dragoons to run him out of the Territory."
I have a great respect for, and confidence in, the learning and ability of the chairman of the Committee on Territories, and I should like to
have him explain how he can get 'inhabitants into a country where by law no person has a right to be for a single hour, except by license for a short period, and that too revocable.
Well, sir, in the year 1817, I studied law in companionship with my honorable friend from Delaware, (Mr. CLAYTON,) in good old Connecticut, and I then learned that, in order to constitute an inhabitant, a man must have a settled, permanent residence. There must be no animo revertendi-no intention to go back to his old abode. Can it be said that licensed traders are in this predicament-that is to say, without the animo revertendi-when the law rigidly limits their presence in the Territory to three years, subject to be turned out at any time, at the pleasure of the President, or either of the other officers named in the act. A licensed trader an inhabitant! There are other things in the bill which look very mysterious; but certainly it is a very great mystery how the honorable chairman expects to turn a licensed trader into an inhabitant. As for the people who go there without license, the honorable Mr. HALL tells us that the moment they make their appearance a company of dragoons stood ready, sword in hand, armed to the teeth, to chase them out of the country. Sir, a man was once asked where he lived? He replied, "all along shore." You might as well undertake to convert this personage into an inhabitant, as to call the few people such who have been roaming over that country contrary to law. My honorable friend from Illinois is so anxious to put through the negro clause of this bill, that he has worked himself up to the extravagant proposition, that these people may be legally called inhabitants. They are to be baptised into the name of inhabitants, in viola tion of our most familiar ideas, and all just notions on the subject are to be turned upside down.
Perhaps it will be said that there is some portion of these Territories to which the Indian title has been extinguished; and the honorable chairman may insist that, so far as that portion is concerned, it has got some inhabitants any how; and we may go up hill and down dale, and search out all the nooks and corners of the country, and may perchance find somebody whom we can in a proper sense call an inhabitant, but I very strongly suspect-I have a mind to use the word "guess," for I have an indisputable title to it as a native of New England-that the five hundred people mentioned by Mr. HALL, and the twelve hundred conjectured by Mr. RICHARDSON, will be found on the Indian lands, and in immediate contract with the Indian tribes.
But if it be otherwise, or, in other words, if the population, such as it is, can be assigned to the other part of the Territories, then the honorable chairman, before he can call them inhabitants will have to trample under foot another act of Congress. Yes, sir, another act. I refer, sir, to the act of 1807, by which it is expressly provided, that if any person or persons shall intrude on the public lands, he shall be treated as a trespasser, and it is made the duty of the proper officer of the Government to turn him out, and,
I think, also of the President to employ a mili- DOUGLAS) does not in this bill provide for the tary force if necessary. Here we have the dra-suspension or repeal either of the act of 1804 or goons again; chasing down the inhabitants of that of 1807. Thus he leaves those acts in full the honorable Senator from Illinois. I do not know but that one of them may be the abolition missionary, mentioned by the honorable Senator, who manifested his abolitionism and his hatred of slavery in a very peculiar and remarkable manner, by purchasing and bringing into the country a slave, whether male or female the Senator did not say; perhaps he had better inquire.
Mr. DOUGLAS. I will inquire, if the gentleman wishes it.
Mr. SMITH. No, sir. I have nothing to do with the matter. I surrender the whole negro question to the Senator; he has jurisdiction of it, and I believe of nothing else.
force, so that not only the Governor, but the legislative assembly itself, would be liable to be chased out of the Territories by the dragoons. Suppose some place can be found where it would be lawful to erect a structure for the accommodation of the assembly, and suppose, moreover, that the body convenes and is duly organized, Could they deliberate in peace? Why, sir, in the very midst of a flight of oratory of some patriot on (say) the negro question of which, according to this bill, they are to have sole jurisdiction-the dragoons might appear, and then we should have an universal stampede of Governor, counsellors, and representatives! I can see them, even now, streaming across the country, the dragoons in full chase, with the honorable Senator (who would naturally be at hand to take care of his offspring) following, booted and spurred, close at their heels, and trying to arrest so untimely a procedure by reading the
Besides, what is to be the state of things if we invite our people to rush in before the lands are surveyed? Will it not produce confusion, utter confusion? Suppose on the surveys being made, it turns out that two or more settlers are on the same quarter section, which of them is to have it? To open the country to settlement in advance of the public surveys, is to the last degree absurd. Nay, you do not open it, you only ask our people to violate existing laws, and you make yourselves accessories before the fact to every species of enormity.
Nor can the honorable Senator (Mr. DOUGLAS) get along with the law of 1841, which authorizes pre-emption rights. By the act referred to it is provided that whenever the Indian title to the publie lands has been extinguished, and the same have been surveyed, it shall be lawful for a citi-riot act. zen, or an alien who has declared under oath an intention to become a citizen, to enter upon a quarter section of such lands, settle thereon, and thus acquire the right of pre emption on certain specified terms. Now these lands have not been surveyed, and the difficulty is equally insurmountable in both parts of these Territories, that is to say, where the Indian title has been extinguished and where it has not. I am very sorry that there should be so many obstacles to the progress of the Senator, for I have a sincere respect for him, nay, admiration, on account of his remarkable fecundity in the line of Territories. We have every session the parturition of a Territory, occasionally two at a time as now. I am sorry that the travail throes should be so terrific. I do not believe that even the Cæsarian operation will save the patient. As, however, the honorable Senator is a devotee of progress, he must give birth to a Territory occasionally. I will proffer him a little bit of advice if he will permit me, by way of preparation for "lying in." In the first place, he should have the Indian title extinguished to a good breadth of country; and if he has any respect for the faith of treaties, such country should be located far away from those Indian Territories which we have guarantied and bound ourselves by the most solemn obligations to secure to that unfortunate race forever.
In the next place, the Senator ought to ask for an appropriation to have lands surveyed; and after this has been done, and the country marked off into townships, sections, and quarter sections, the settlers can go there and build their log-cabins when my friend will have people in the country whom he can properly call inhabitants, and then he may go it blind in this business of manufacturing Territories, for aught I care. Hence there are no inhabitants there, and can be none; and, therefore, there can be neither voters nor office-holders, in conformity with the provisions of this bill.
It is a remarkable fact that the Senator (Mr.
But there are other parts of the machinery which will be found nearly as stubborn, if not quite. The Governor of each Territory is to lay off the same into council and representative dis tricts, and every counsellor and representative must be an inhabitant of the district. I would like to witness the process of laying off this country for the purposes indicated. How is it to be done? Where are the villages? Where are the inhabitants so grouped as that they could conveniently be comprised within a district! For aught I can see, in the exuberance of this policy, the Governor would have to manage somewhat in this wise: Log-cabin No. 1, situated near the top of branch so and so, shall be distriet No. 1; and log-cabin No. 2, situated fifty miles northeast of No. 1, shall be district No. 2 and so on, to the end of the chapter. Perhaps the Governor would be reduced to such straits that he would have to constitute any half dozen log-cabins in the same vicinage, each into a distriet by itself, and then each occupant would be sure to get into either the council or the legis lative assembly. I think that if the districts, as they must necessarily be constituted, were laid down on paper, it would east this proceeding into contempt, and render it all a farce from beginning to end.
But, Mr. President, I now come to a question which I deem of much higher importance than any to which I have hitherto adverted. It is s question which, in my judgment, deeply con