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the intervention of this distant Congress, than that of the traitors within the very citadel of their rights!

Having thus shown the pledges of the Democracy to the people of Kansas, I affirm—

8. That to be found recreant to them now, when the practical test is upon us, would be a gross breach of faith, and a disgraceful desertion of duty, from which there is no escape from public condemnation.

9. That the approval of the Lecompton constitution, however the result of the election of the 21st of December next may eventuate, whether there be a slave State or a free State, involves this breach of faith and desertion of duty because,


First. That constitution, while it is asserted that it is submitted to the people in the essential point, thus recognizing an obligation to submit it in some mode, cannot, in any event, be rejected by the people of Kansas. The vote must be for its approval, whether the voter votes one way or another. The people may be unwilling to take either of the propositions, and yet must vote one or the other of them. They have to vote constitution with slavery," or "constitution with no slavery" but the constitution they must take. They have no business with the constitution; slavery they may dabble in. With that they are graciously permitted to meddle. But as for their organic law, "hauds of, ye plebians; your touch is unholy!" They come to exercise their will at the polls. They find a clenched fist on either hand. No open palm, unless first they give up their franchise as to the constitution. Then, oh! then, they may be permitted to vote on one subject only. Is there a Democrat here who would stand that? If there is, he ought to go West and learn a little of the character of these independent men of the border.

A scheme like this, to submit a part of the constitution, while it pretends to submit all, is a device so thin as to have no upper nor under side. It is so transparent that its statement is its badge of fraud. It is an attempt to carry out a salutary principle, in part, which was established in its entirety. It is worse. It compels the voter to swear to support a constitution before he can vote to kill it; and then he is not allowed to strangle it. It is an attempt, by a pretended submission in part, to carry the idea of a total submission; and thus force an unsubmitted constitution on an unwilling people.

If that convention could legally submit one question, and withhold all others, they can reserve that one question, or all The submission of one clause, be it slavery or banks, judiciary or taxation, liquor of legislature, is an argument against the reservation of any other; and, of course, against all others. This juggle will not do. It is too nice to be honest.

Again take this slavery question, and observe how the mystigogue and demagogue have combined to cheat the people. The constitution has a slavery article, (VII.) It recognizes in its first section the right of property in slaves and their increase. In the second section, it permits emancipation by the Legislature on payment to the owners of "a full equivalent in money for the slaves so emancipated." The emancipation and slavery clause are bound together in the same article.

Now turn to the schedule! Suppose the constitution with slavery is voted then slavery and emancipation remain as in the seventh article. But suppose "constitution with no slavery" is carried: what then? The seventh article shall be stricken out; slavery and emancipation go out together; but the right of property in slaves now in the Territory shall not be interfered with In other words, if Kansas be made a slave State, slaves can be introduced from abroad; and as fast as they come, the Legislature may emancipate. That is your slave State. If it be a free State, there can be no emancipation of slaves or their increase forever.

Now, will gentlemen tell me which would be the free State, which the

slave? This beautiful specimen of a constitution is not unlike certain animaculæ found by naturalists, where the two polypi may be made to change heads; for the head of one may be ingrafted on the body of another by placing the tail of the one in the mouth of the other. The two heterogeneous extremities will readily unite so as to confound all of our notions of identity.

How can you expect freemen to vote for such a schedule of chicanery? "Oh! if the free-State men would vote," say the politicians, "how it would release the Democracy from its dangerous dilemma." For my part, I will never go begging Republicans to sustain the standing and character of the party to which I am devoted. Follow the right line, and that party need not coax or wheedle to sustain its dignity and supremacy.

Second: There is not, à priori, by the election of delegates, a legal approval of the constitution. Although there were fifteen counties entitled to vote for delegates, for which there was no census or registry, which could not participate in the election, as Governor Walker proclaimed on September 16, 1857, yet it does not follow that the constitutional convention was an unlawful assemblage; nor does it follow, if it were lawful, that their constitution is to be void, without the popular suffrage in its favor.

This the people had here expressly reserved to them in the organic actthe confirming or dispensing power. The Territorial Legislature could not affect that organic act. The sovereignty in this case never departed from the people. It was not lodged in the convention. It was clearly understood, and universally expected, that it would be exercised by the people. The President expected it. He regrets the failure to submit it. Any attempt to abridge or take away this popular sovereignty is a fraud of so hideous a character, that language has no term of reproach, nor the mind any idea of detestation, adequate to express or conceive its iniquity.

If that sovereignty was lodged in the convention, who lodged it there? 1st. Did Congress? No; for the act does not provide for the calling of a convention, or the formation of a constitution. There has been no legisla tion by Congress on the subject.

On the contrary, Congress, by rejecting Mr. TooмBS' bill, refused thus to initiate such proceedings.

2d. Did the Territorial Legislature? If Congress could not do it, it could not. It was the creature of Congress of the organic act. It could not do what the organic act, under which it lived, did not authorize. The creature could not do what the creator refused to permit to be done. What authority had this convention? If it had none from Congress, could it be claimed that the Territorial Legislature had an authority from the people to call this convention? Unless that be expressly shown, it will not be implied. If it be not expressly shown, that sovereignty was reserved to the people. The Territorial Legislature derived its powers from the act creating it. Those powers are defined, and but generally defined, in the twenty-fourth section:

That the legislative power of the Territory shall extend to all rightful subjects of legislation consistent with the Constitution of the United States and the provisions of this act.”

In no part of the act is there any express power to call a convention to frame a constitution. Who will say that such a power can be implied? Such a power dissolves the territorial government. Its own death by suicide cannot be within the purview of the Territorial Legislature. If it can compass its own death, it can kill the power of Congress which called it into being.

This is in accordance with right reason. It is in accordance, too, with precedent. I am not one of those who swear in the words of any master. Precedents depend for their force on their intrinsic worth. Precedents serve only to illustrate principles, and to give them a fixed authority. Prin

ciples are the result of reason. "Authority is a long bow, the effect of which depends upon the strength of the arm which draws it, and reason is a cross-bow of equal efficacy (if well directed) in the hands of a dwarf or a giant."

Authority and reason unite to declare that no Territorial Legislature has the power to call a constitutional convention. It cannot override the organic law, any more than it can destroy the Constitution of the Union. This is reasonable. It does not depend on the strength of him who utters it; but authority does. We have that authority from statesmen of such conspicuous greatness that no one will question them-Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and James Buchanan.

Jefferson always spoke of the first constitution of Virginia, adopted in 1776, as wanting the popular sanction. In 1824 he regarded the acquiescence of the people even as no supply for the want of original power from them. Here are his words:

"To our convention no special anthority had been delegated by the people to form a permanent constitution, over which their successors in legislation should have no power of alteration. They had been elected for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, and at a time when the establishment of a new government had not been proposed nor contemplated. Although, therefore, they gave to this act the title of a constitution, yet it could be no more than an act of legislation, subject, as their other acts were, to alteration by their successors. It has been said, indeed, that the acquiescence of the people has supplied the want of original power. But it is a dangerous lesson to say to them, 'Whenever your functionaries exercise unlawful authority over you, if you did not go into actual resistance it will be deemed acqiescence and conformation.' Besides, no authority has yet decided whether the resistance must be instantaneous; when the right to resist ceases; or whether it has yet ceased. Of the twenty-four States now organized, twenty-three have disapproved our doctrine and example, and have deemed the formal authority of their people a necessary foundation for their constitution."

In the Arkansas case the question was fairly met by General Jackson's Attorney General, who decided that the Legislature could not act in the formation of a State government. In the Michigan case, Mr. Buchanan held, in 1835, that Legislatures "had no right whatever to pass laws enabling the people to elect delegates to a convention for the purpose of forming a State constitution. It was an act of usurpation on their part."

If Jefferson, Jackson, and Buchanan were right, if reason is right, then where is the authority of this Lecompton convention?

It is said that precedents are found in Michigan and California. Ah! but in those cases there was no doubt as to the popular approbation. Irregularities and formalities may be disregarded when the popular voice gives the substance to the application. But in a case like this of Kansas, form is substance. When the voice of the people is ambiguous, or in doubt, or against the constitution, it is clear Congress should require a popular verdict before it should pass judgment. Even in Wisconsin, where Congress provided for a convention in March, 1847, it sent the constitution back to be submitted to the people. This was wise and constitutional. The people rejected the first constitution, made a second, and were admitted under it in May, 1848.

I need not here refer to the case of Minnesota, where, in the enabling act, provision is made for submission. I only refer to it now to show that the policy of this country is becoming fixed in that way. Our earlier constitutions were not submitted, as the President remarks; but lately the people are taking a deep interest in constitutional questions. They not only like to pass upon them, but it is their privilege to do so by that surest of all modes-the silent ballot. Wherever this is possible, no agent shall intervene between them and their will. That is Democracy! Its progress may be marked in the fact that twenty-one out of thirty-one of the present constitutions of these States have been submitted to the people. Here is the list:

States whose constitutions* have been submitted to the people for ratification.

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States whose constitutions are not known to have been submitted to the people for rati

October 23, 24, 25..


Wisconsin........ .April.


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So much for precedents. The weight of them is in favor of the principle of submission.

It has been argued that the Lecompton convention was a legal body; but legal only as a petitioning body praying for a certain object. I cannot say that I have seen anything of a prayerful character about that body. Their ordinance about the public lands-as impudent as it is startlingdoes not seem to be in a prayerful mood. But be that as it may, suppose they are legal petitioners, I contend that that is not the proper mode for the formation of States. It might do if there were a popular sanction; otherwise, most certainly not.

But I will go further. I will admit just now, for the argument, that the convention had an authoritative existence; that the Territorial Legislature had power to convoke it; nay, more, that it has prepared a legal constitution; and yet I say it has no power to adopt it. That lies with the people, under the organic law. Oh, yes, gentlemen may say, is not the convention legal? If that, why not its product? If that be legal, is it not intervention to do aught save admit Kansas, under this contrivance, as an equal State. The convention may be legal. It may have all the forms of law. It may even be authorized by the organic act; and its action may be in accordance with authority and precedent; but still I say it lacks the life-giving spirit by which it can be made a State coequal with my own-Ohio. It may be legal-may seem so. Its forms many be skillfully drawn. It may be as good in its general provisions as the President says it is. So you may see a languishing body have all its parts, and yet be useless for many purposes of life; you may reckon all the joints of a dead man; but the heart is cold, the joints stiff, the pulses still, and it is only fit for the grave. So with this constitution; it may be legal and formal, but until the popular breath is breathed into it, it is of no validity or force. It is worse; it is not only pulseless-heartless-but it is, through trickery and fraud, a mass of detestable putrescence. Without that popular confirmation, it will never, never be suffered to appear above ground. No scientific galvanism contained in that schedule can inform or vivify its decaying members. Divine power worked a miracle to bring forth LazaThere is no power in this land to do that office for this unwholesome thing. If it be dragged into this Hall for "admission," with a rope round its neck, in defiance of the popular will of Kansas, there will be scalpels used with a keen readiness, never before illustrated in political surgery.


Third. I deny, therefore, that it is congressional intervention in domestic affairs to question the form and mode of this application for the admission of Kansas. I do not affirm that Congress should say for Kansas whether she should have a bank, or not; (though if a bank becomes "vested" how are the people to get rid of it?) should have a Governor of twenty years' residence in the Union, or not; should pass on the taxing power of the

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State, as to the public lands, or not; should have slavery, or not.

In domestic affairs the constitution may have all the excellencies of Plato's Ideal, More's Utopia, and Harrington's Oceana; it may be the transcript of angels from the tablets of the Omniscient Law-Giver; yet, if unsubmitted to the people, I would not vote for its admission. We have no right to force on men what is best for them in our own opinion. This has been the plea of despotism for ages. It is the hard dogma that sustains the perjured dynasties of Europe on their thrones. It is founded on the petrefaction of the human heart.

Neither, in domestic matters, do I care how bad the constitution may be, ethically or politically. If submitted, my approbation follows that of the people. This is non-intervention.

But when Congress undertakes to protect the people, in judging of these matters of domestic concernment, let it be done thoroughly and well. Let not Congress give the protection which the wolf gives the lamb. Let Congress, when it guaranties self-government, see to it that it is not a mockery, or a phantom, but a real, living, glowing reality-an opportunity for public volition, informed by conscience, and irradiate with intelligence-to decide for themselves, under the constitution, as to the laws under which they are to live.

For myself, I but repeat the expression of the Democracy of the capital. district of Ohio, when I say that, however we may dislike slavery, we are utterly indifferent, as a political question, whether slavery goes to Kansas or not; provided the people pass on it honestly and fairly. Let it be a slave State; let it, on the other hand, be a free State; but let it be a State which is solf-governing, for otherwise it is not republican.

When the bill of Mr. Dunn was presented to this body, for the pacification of Kansas, it made provision for the slaves in Kansas to remain there. The Democracy opposed that bill, because Congress, by it, undertook to intervene on the subject. Let the people pass such a provision in their constitution, and it shall be no objection to me that it is right or wrong. My answer is, it is the people's will! Congress, by Dunn's bill, was wrong in thus attempting to fix the status of any person in the Territory. The people can fix it as they please. It is their business. Far better let African slavery be established than an irresponsible tyranny. It matters not, that it may be changed the next day, or the next year. Anglo-Saxon independence will not brook this organized despotism. The English language has not servile syllables enough to spell out the presumptuous audacity of those delegates of Kansas, who have dared thus to steal the livery of sovereignty in the face of the thirty millions of thinking freemen of America! It is no question of African slavery, no maudlin sentimentality about the black race; but it is the right of the white man that is attempted to be filched from him by a pack of land-hucksters and political jobbers.

I have pledged myself to vote for the admission of Kansas as a slave State, if fairly made so. I am here to redeem that pledge; and now, today, would rather have Kansas a slave State, than to have its self-government beaten down under the heels of an irresponsible cabal. Fill Kansas with negroes as compactly as the district of my friend from South Carolina, where there are one hundred and ten thousand negroes to five thousand voters; am I right? (to Mr. KEITT.) [Mr. KEITT, (in his seat.) Yes, that's right. I wish there were more of them.]-but, in the name of Democratic fealty and Democratic sense, let us stand like men of trust and men of honor, to the sovereignty of the people, in whose will constitutions are but wisps of straw, and whose breath can make and unmake law, as it can make and unmake congressmen.

I said I was utterly indifferent as to the character of the domestic institutions formed and regulated in the constitution, provided they were all approved by that perfect freedom of action guarantied to the people by the Kansas and Nebraska bill.

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