Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

ized power should step in, to restore order and industry, under the guarantee of free and stable institutions. England tenders the security of her crown, and the best usages that have ever grown up under a crown. We should offer the support of our Constitution, and the earnest of prosperous freedom which it has assured to our northern Republic. Which they would choose, the southern Republics have already evinced, in the forms they have adopted; and the encroachments of our transatlantic brethren would never have been attempted, but for the departures manifested in late movements from the principles of the founders of our Government. While Great Britain has been breaking down slavery and monopoly in the West Indies, the hand that has been felt from this quarter was that of the fillibuster. Cuba was ready to fly to the embraces of the United States, when she was repelled by two successive lawless expeditions, unmistakably marked by the features of the buccaneers who ravaged that island of old.

unless the principle avowed as the basis of it, by Walker, shall prevail. The triumph of "military rule" over civil institutions in the slave States, and their separation from the free States, North and West, must be won as the first step to conquest; and then, as the next step, the whole power of the free Republics on this side of the Atlantic, and the hostile feeling, if not the direct force of Europe, must be encountered. The connection of the Atchison-Kansas conspiracy with that of Walker's against Central America is visible in the instruments who put them in motion. The same men, North and South, encourage both. Funds were raised for them in the same quarters; and such men as Colonel Titus are seen to emerge at one time in Kansas, at another in Nicaragua. The masses of the people nor their elevated statesneither of the North nor South, of the East or West, not even the great body of the slaveowners, have any heart in the propagation of slavery. Apart from the politicians who use the question for their own advancement, the design has no support but in the enemies of the Union, who hate free government from the bitterness of their hearts, or from a vanity they would dignify as aristocratic pride.

men,

In my opinion, the propagation of slavery can only be successfully resisted by the propagation of freedom. It is this mission, arrogated by Great Britain as peculiarly hers, which has conferred on her the preponderance she holds in almost every portion of the earth. She has swayed it with an iron hand, but everywhere of late years AngloSaxon justice, civilization, and Christianity, wherever they prevailed, have allowed every man to feel the comfort of laboring for himself, and he has labored all the better for his country. Great Britain has her hands full in christian

And what have been the concomitants of General Walker's invasion? A proclamation revoking the constitutional decree delivering the greatest mass of the people from slavery; and the principle thus manifested was fitly illustrated by military executions, butcheries in the streets of the cities, and, lastly, by the conflagration of one of the oldest. These atrocities had the effect of uniting the people of these distracted States, at last, in one common object-the expulsion of the oppressor. Happily for the fame of our country, the renewal of this horrible enterprise has been thoroughly rebuked by the patriotism, courage, and decision of Commodore Paulding. The name has acquired a new luster to emblazon that which it inherits from the Revolution. If the commodore's act had the sanction of the Administration || izing, civilizing, and improving, for commercial in advance, or shall receive it now, some proof will be given that it is not altogether degenerate, and much will have been done to remove from us the aversion, the want of confidence in the justice of this Republic, and the fear that it countenances a design to fix a yoke on Central America, instead of rescuing it from usurpation-results to be hailed as tending to fit our Government for the relation it should hold towards the Republics of this continent.

usefulness, the old continents. She must leave
to us the regeneration of the new one; and this I
find, from a paper in a late Westminster Review,
marked by the editor with an unusual notification
ascribing it to "an able and distinguished contrib-
utor," seems to be the opinion of some of the
great men of England. This eloquent writer, de-
scribing the missions of what he calls "the four
Empires," RUSSIA, FRANCE, GREAT BRITAIN, and
the UNITED STATES, assigns its office to the latter
in the following passage:

"And it may once for all be assumed that the human race,
whatever Cabinets or Parliaments may think of it, will not
be driven from their inevitable course. The work whic

If, on the other hand, the Administration takes part with Walker and the faction in this country that support him, it will show to all the world that the scheme for the propagation of slavery by has begun so largely will go forward. The Asiatic indethe sword, of which it has given strong indica-pendence which survives will narrow down and grow feetions in Kansas, is extended to the whole regions of the South. Such a scheme can never succeed

bler, and at last die. The will and the intellect of the more
advanced races will rule in due time over that whole con-

C

by deeds of emancipation, make this deliverance, if the General Government would take the charge of the deportation to the region it might acquire for them-a gradual and voluntary emancipation by individuals, if not by States, would thus in time be accomplished. I hold that it is the duty of the nation to offer this boon to slaveholders and to the slave States to enable them to have complete control of the subject, which is the source of so much anxiety and mischief to them.

sinent. The genius of France will follow the shores of the Mediterranean; the line of kingdoms which divides the empires of England and Russia will grow thinner, till their frontiers touch. In spite of Clayton-Bulwer treaties, and Dallas-Clarendon interpretations of them, the United States will stretch their shadow ever further sonth. Revolution will cease to tear the empire of Montezuma. The falling Republics of Central America will not forever be a temptation, by their weakness, to the attacks of lawless ruffians. The valley of the mighty Amazon, which would grow corn enough to feed a thousand million mouths, must fall at last to those who will force it to yield its treasures. The ships which carry the cominerce of America into the Pacific, carry, too, American justice and American cannon as the preach-condition of Maryland and Virginia, Tennessee ers of it. The Emperor of Japan supposed, that by Divine

right, doing as he would with his own, he might close his country against his kind; that when vessels in distress were driven into his port, he might seize their crews as slaves, or kill them as unlicensed trespassers. An armed squadron, with the star-spangled banner flying, found its way into the Japan waters, and his serene Majesty was instructed that in nature's statute-book there is no right conferred on any man to act unrighteously, because it is his pleasure; that, in their own time, and by their own means, the upper powers will compel him, whether he pleases or not, to bring his customs into conformity with wiser usage."

What a change would soon be wrought in the

and Kentucky, and in my own State, Missouri, if a smooth way were opened into the heart of the tropics-prodigal of wealth in the soil, in the mines, and in the forests; where the labor of the robust and skillful freedman, assisted by the capital and instruction, and inspired by the energy of enterprising American merchants, miners, or planters, would start everything into life. The mixed condition of the four different classes which, in our grain-growing States, obstruct each other; The starting-point in this new career is the re- the masters dependent on the slaves, the slaves on sumption of the progress which received its im- their masters; the free negroes hanging on the pulse in the revolution tending to the deliverance skirts of both; while the great mass, the free white of the white laboring class of this country from laborers, are cast out, in a great measure, from emthe superincumbent weight of African slavery. ployment and all ownership in the soil, would be This redemption of our own race from its vassal- succeeded by the most useful of all the tillers of the age under slavery has been brought to a stand- earth, small freeholders and an independent tenstill, and six millions of our free white kindred antry. The influx of immigrants from Europe endure deprivation, corporeal and intellectual, and the North, with moderate capital already runfrom the slave occupation of the soil and of the ning into Maryland and Virginia, would, as these pursuits which would add to their means of living States sloughed the black skin, fill up the rich and their sources of mental improvement. Nei-region around the Chesapeake bay, the noblest ther the slave owners, nor the slave States, are bay in the world, fed by the most beautiful rivers, responsible for the arrest of the enfranchisement || and brooded over by the most genial climate, and which promised blessings to the toilers of both make it fulfill the prediction of Washington, who races. For, whether as a slave or free man, the|| said, slavery abolished, it would become "the garpresence of multitudes of the black race is found den of America." The wilderness shores of the to be fatal to the interests of our race; their antag-great inland sea, now almost as silent as in the onism is as strong as that of oil and water, and so long as no convenient outlet, through which the manumitted slave can reach a congenial climate and country willing to receive him, is afforded, the institution of slavery stands on compulsion. But let me suppose Central Americatempting in gold and every production of the tropical soil to stimulate exertion, with a climate innoxious only to the black man-were opened up to him, under circumstances to advance him in the scale of humanity, how long before masters in all the temperate slave States would make compositions to liberate them on terms that would indemnify them for transplantation? Hundreds of more benevolent owners would, from a sense of public good and for conscience sake, by wills, or

days of Powhatan, would be alive with population; and the waters, now covered with swans, wild geese, and wild ducks, would be covered with sails and kept in commotion by the rush of steamers over them. The great rivers that run to waste over many latitudes of the healthful temperate zone would thunder with machinery, and the little Merrimac in Massachusetts, which, though frozen half the year, produces ninety millions of manufactures, would find more than a hundred rivals in giant streams which are precipitated in the Chesapeake. The mountains would give to the hand of free labor boundless wealth in coal, salt, and ores, and their surface in pasturing innumerable herds and flocks. The plains and valleys would teem with grain, the lowlands with meadow, and the

Old Dominion, instead of being "the lone mother of dead empires," would resume her hereditary crown and nascent strength, imparting new growth to all her offspring States. The noble ambition which once led the way to preeminence in this great Confederacy must again be attained by a love of liberty, by love of justice, by a magnanimous patriotism, prompt to make any sacrifice of temporary convenience for the great moral and political principles, the foundation of free institutions. The attempt to enforce slavery in Kansas and Central America by the sword, and thus make the whole intermediate space on the continent fall under its ascendency, will fail. There is no Mohammed to establish such a do

minion, nor is this age-the age of Christian strength and popular power-one to succumb to slavery propagandist prophets. Indeed, the Moslems all over the world have fallen so low, under the influence of this part of their creed, that they are obliged to surrender, and take the law from the accursed nations they stigmatize as Franks. The civilized world is at war with the propagation of slavery, whether by fraud or by the sword; and those who look to gain political ascendency on this continent by bringing the weight of this system, like an enormous yoke, not to subject the slaves only, but also their fellow-citizens and kindred of the same blood, have made false auguries of the signs of the times.

[ocr errors]

KANSAS AND THE SUPREME COURT.

SPEECH

OF

JOHN P. HALE, OF NEW HAMPSHIRE.

Delivered in the United States Senate, January 19 and 21, 1858.

The Senate proceeded to the consideration of the motion to refer so much of the President's message as relates to Kansas affairs to the Committee on Territories.

shows that he understands the Nebraska bill just exactly as well as if he had been here, part and Mr. HALE. Mr. President, in addressing my- the reason why I am opposed to this measure. parcel of it at the time it was passed. That is self to the Senate, on this occasion, permit me to say that I am not one of those who think that the was opposed to the bill; I have been opposed introduction of this subject into the debates of to it in its origin, in its progress, in its consumthe Senate was either premature or ill-timed. Imation, and in its effects. I was opposed to the believe that it was appropriately introduced; that planting of the seed, to its swelling and bursting its introduction was expected by the public; and, into life, to its spreading foliage, and I am opposed considering the extraordinary position of the to the ripe fruit which we are about to gather President of the United States, I should think from it. Having said that, I come back to say that those who differed from him widely upon the what the object of the bill was. measure which is so prominent would have been I have but one rule by which to judge of the derelict in their duty if they had failed to chal-objects of a public act, and that is, by reading lenge at the very outset the doctrine promulgated it; and thus seeing what its purport, meaning, in his message. I may excuse myself and I can only speak for myself, though it is not impossible that some friends who sympathize with me may have been governed by the same motive-when I say that thus far I have refrained from throwing myself prominently before the Senate and before the country on this question, for the reason that I believed there was a greater curiosity in the land to know what other men thought, and what they would say, than there was to know what so humble an individual as myself would say.

object, and intent is, as embodied in the bill it self. I do not go to the motives of individual what it means; and if I were in a court of law, gentlemen who voted for the bill, and ask them and the construction of the Kansas-Nebraska act was up, and I could bring the affidavit of every man that voted for it, and they should swear that it was not their intention to introduce Slavery received by the court; it would not begin to raise into any Territory or State, that would not be a presumption as to what the intention of the

act was.

But, sir, you must look to the act itself, to the history of the times in which it was passed, and to the state of things to which it was made to apply, in order to get at its object.

The Kansas-Nebraska bill on its face professes to be a very harmless affair. The gist of it is comprised in these few lines:

"It being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate Slavery into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domesne institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States."

Amongst those gentlemen for the expression of whose sentiments the public waited with deep and earnest and anxious solicitude, promirent stood the Senator from Illinois, [Mr. DOUGLAS ;] and however I may animadvert upon his position in some respects, I must do him the credit to say that in that emergency he fully met the public expectation, and frankly and ably met the issue which the President had tendered to him. So far I accord with him; and as I accord with him on one other point, I may as well mention it at once, and then go on to the livergence. I agree with him in opposing this We begin to understand something of the great Lecompton Constitution, in opposing the recom- popularity of this bill at the South. It is bemendation of the President to force it on the cause Congress most graciously condescends to necks of an unwilling people; I agree with him inform the slave States that they do not mean there entirely and fully; but I am not opposed to to abolish Slavery in those States-"it being he Lecompton Constitution, I am not opposed to the true intent and meaning of this act not to he President's attempt to force it on the necks "exclude Slavery from any State." The Repreof that people, I am not opposed to this attempt sentatives of those States must have breathed to substitute force for reason, because it is con- more freely, as Mr. Webster said on another ocrary to the principles and policy of the Nebraska casion, when they were assured that Congress ill, but because it is in exact conformity with did not mean to abolish Slavery in their States. hem, part of the original programme, carrying it We had said so individually, over and over again; out, if not in letter, in spirit exactly. Sir, if but I take it the public mind must have been here has been a controversy between that dis- put at rest when it was embodied in a solemn inguished Senator and the President of the legislative enactment, that the Congress of the nited States, I think the palm of victory must United States did not mean to abolish Slavery be awarded to the President, and that notwith-in any State. The act goes further, and assures tanding he was out of the country, away over in us of the free States that Congress did not mean England, discharging the high diplomatic duties to legislate Slavery into our States. Sir, this hich his country had devolved on him, I think was gracious and gratuitous. I do not know hen he undertakes to bring in the Federal army to how gentlemen may receive it; but I tell the orce this Constitution on the people of Kansas, he | Congress of the United States, that when they

[ocr errors]

declare that they do not mean to legislate Slavery into New Hampshire, and when the Supreme Court of the United States say they mean to adjudicate that it is there or is not there, I will fling it in their face, with the contempt that such a gratuitous offer deserves. I shall have something to say about the Supreme Court by and by; and lest I should shock the sensibilities of some men who look with great reverence on that tribunal, I shall preface my remarks, in regard to it, with some extracts from the writings of Jefferson, as a sort of breaking-up plough, before I come with a sub-soil one. I shall come to that, however, presently.

I aver here that the object of the Nebraska bill was to break down the barrier which separated free territory from slave territory; to let Slavery into Kansas, and make another slave State, legally and peacefully if you could, but a slave State anyhow. I gather that from the history of the times, from the character of the bill, from the measure, the great measure, the only measure of any consequence in the bill, which was the repeal of the Missouri restriction. I know gentlemen say they did not mean it, but I cannot deal with individuals. I must deal with the act and with the Government; I must deal with the purport of the act, and the policy of the Government in passing it. I know no other rule by which to judge of an act, but to examine the natural and legitimate consequences that are to follow from it. In discussing this matter, I may say some things that have been said by others, and possibly some that have been said by myself before; but the difficulty is, that these obnoxious doctrines are pushed at us so frequently that in meeting and resisting them, it sometimes becomes necessary to travel over ground which has been occupied before.

I say, then, sir, that the rule by which to judge of the intent, the object, the purpose of an act, is to see what the act is calculated to do, what its natural tendency is, what will in all human probability be the effect. Before the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska act, there stood upon your statute-book a law by which Slavery was prohibited from going into any territory north of 36° 30'. The validity and constitutionality of that law had been recognised by repeated decisions of the courts of the several States. If I am not mistaken, I have a memorandum by me, showing that it had been recognised by the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana. So far as I know, the constitutionality of that enactment was unquestioned, and the country had reposed in peace for more than a generation under its operation. By and by, however, it was discovered to be unconstitutional, and it was broken down. The instant it was broken down, Slavery went into Kansas; but still, gentlemen tell us they did not intend to let Slavery in; that was not the object. Let me illustrate this. Suppose a farmer has a rich field, and a pasture adjoining, separated by a stone wall which his fathers had erected there thirty years before. The wall keeps out the cattle in the pasture, who are exceedingly anxious to get into the field. Some modern reformer thinks that moral suasion will keep them in the pasture, even if the wall should be taken down, and he proceeds to take it down. The result is, that the cattle go right in; the experiment fails. The philosopher says: "Do not blame me; that was not my intention; but it is true, the effect has followed." I retort

|

upon him: "You knew the effect would follow: and, knowing that it would follow, you intended that it should follow."

But, sir, we are not without the book on this subject, if we are compelled to go to the avowed declarations and sentiments of the gentlemen who advocated the bill. An honorable Senator, who usually sits before me, but who is not now in his seat-I mean the Senator from South Carolina. [Mr. EVANS,] and I may say of him, what I would not say if he were present, a man in whose heart and in whose lips there is no guile and no deceit, a man who could not utter a falsehood he tried in 1856 delivered a speech on this question, in which he divulged and laid open, as his own character is, the purpose he had in roting for the bill. He was speaking for the South and no man of all the South controverted him. and said nay. I will tell you what he saidshall not use his very words, but I will state his argument fairly. He referred to a declaration of the honorable Senator from Massachusetts, [M WILSON,] and said the Abolitionists had avowed that it was their intention to abolish Slavery in the Territories and in the District of Columbia, and he apprehended that their purpose was to abolish it everywhere when they could, and that they would, when they got into power, aboli Slavery, not only in this District and in the Teritories, but in the States. He said that the consummation was to be reached by an amendment to the Federal Constitution authorizing Congress to do this, which requires the assent of three-fourths of the States; and in this view of the controversy, one slave State was as good a three free States; and, therefore, as a guarantee against the encroachments of the Anti-Slavery spirit, they wanted Kansas for a slave State. That is the argument of the honorable Senator from South Carolina. It is the truth-no more true after he said it than it was before; no more palpable to any man who would not see after the avowal, than it was before.

That was the purpose; but the bill itself say its object was to leave the people "perfectly free." It seemed to intimate that we had a kind of freedom in this country before, but it was an imperfect sort. They were mere tyros, those old mes of the Revolution, those gray-headed sages of the Federal Convention, hoary and venerable with age, ripe with experience, honored and venerated for their lives of fidelity and of valor; they had but an imperfect notion of freedom. It was reserved to the new lights of this latter day to dis cover and proclaim to the world what perfect freedom was, and the illustration was to be made in Kansas. I shall trace the history of presently. It seemed to be implied that there never had been perfect freedom in the formation of any Constitution before. I stand here, sir, amid the representatives of thirty-one States, a majority of whom, I think, have emerged from Territorial condition to one of State sovereignty, and I ask the Senators from each and every one. if, in the formation of your State Constitutions, your people did not enjoy perfect liberty? Wa any restraint imposed upon you? In the case of California, it was said that her Constitution was formed under the prestige of a military proc lamation issued by General Riley; but I the Senators from California, called as that Car vention was, whether, when the delegates got together, they did not exercise perfect freedo and form and submit to Congress just exactly

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »