Изображения страниц

"Let what is within moulder and decay. Why, wit the pestilence around?"

strive to open the wretched charnel-house, and spread

[ocr errors]

How long has it been since we saw an account | terrible of despotisms? Let me say, in the eloof a bookselling establishment being broken quent language of Kotzebueup in the South, the property destroyed, the owners compelled to fly for personal safety? Why was their property destroyed? Why were they driven from the country? The public prints of the day said it was because they had a book for sale that was written by a negro. No man will be safe to read the Declaration of Independence in the State of Virginia, if their statute should be enforced. Dare any man proclaim "that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the suit of happiness?" Dare any man say that God "hath made of one blood all nations to dwell upon the face of all the earth?"


The spirit of Slavery has not only subdued and stopped the mouths of men in the slave States, but there are men in the free States that yield their independence and forfeit their manhood at the dictation of the taskmasters at the South. It has affected, in a greater or less degree, a proportion of the Democratic party at the North. In the language of an eloquent writer

The spirit of Slavery has passed upon the power of the party like a thing of necromancy, winning them to its command and bowing them to its will, until they have stood stricken and panting before it like cornered deer before the inexorable hunter."

They have forfeited their manhood and their independence. They have sacrificed their opin ions and principles, at the command of the Southern slaveholder. Who was more clamer

It is made a crime by statutes in some of the slave States to say that man cannot hold property in man, or that man cannot hold property in a slave. If by word or deed-yea, by invisible thought or unuttered wish" any man should attempt to inculcate the doc-ous for the Wilmot Proviso than many of the trine that slaves are not property, or that man eannot hold property in man, he will be forced to leave the country. You men of the slave States must burn the Declaration of Independence; you must expunge from the records of your court the Will of Washington; you must proscribe the writings of Jefferson, and the free and glorious sentiments of Randolph; you must erase from the memory of man the teach ings of the conscript fathers of the Republic; you must blot from the history of your country the glories of Lexington and Bunker Hill. Why was John Adams born, or why did Washing ton live? The heroes of the Revolution died in vain; they waded through rivers and seas of blood to establish Independence. But there is a despotism to-day reigning over the minds of men in parts of this country, as absolute as there is in any Christian country in the world.

Democracy of the free States? Who denounced the fugitive slave law more fiercely and terr bly than the Democracy of Ohio? But who is now more subservient to the Slave Power than they? It is true, we have seen some signs of insurrection and rebellion in this House since the sitting of the present Congress. I am glad to see it. And if any of those who manifes this independence should feel symptoms of spinal disease, I hope they will receive such remedies from their constituents as will remove all complaints. I have not the least doubt that the advocates of Slavery this day feel more respect for those members of the Democratic party from the free States who refuse to sid Slavery, than they do for the man who gives them his support. When the inquiry is made, why these men humble themselves at the cou mand of the taskmaster, the reply is, they are national men, and they fear the Union will be I take no pleasure in repeating these things. dissolved. I have no such apprehension, and I would be glad to avoid it if I could, but II have no patience with the man who talke would not be a proper representative of a free people if I did not this day declare the truth.

It will be said, no doubt, that these statutes are necessary for the safety of the white race where Slavery exists. I do not doubt that these laws are deemed absolutely necessary to the very existence of the white popuation; but I say it is the most grievous misfortune that could befall any people. Where these statutes exist, "Freedom can only be a name." If these statates are necessary for the personal safety of the white race in the slave States, (and it is declared by men of truth they are,) then I say I am furnished with an argument against the extension of Slavery that is incontrovertible and conclusive upon the subject. If the press has to be muzzled, if there has to be a clasp upon the month and a seal upon the lips, if free and glorious thoughts have to sicken and die unuttered, why try to extend this, the most

about it; and, without meaning disrespect to any one on this floor, I say, if there is any man who is the object of scorn and contempt, it is the Northern man who can be frightened from his propriety by the Slavery "raw-head and bloody-bones."

It is not my prerogative to give advice to my Democratic friends; but I caution them against becoming Union doctors. It always kills the doctor, but the patient survives. The fate of the great Webster should be a warning to all Northern men not to sacrifice themselves in any such way. Mr. Webster turned Union doctor; he cut loose from his friends at the North, the men that had stood by him in all his troubles and trials-men, whose respect for him amounted almost to adoration. He turned from them; he threw himself into the arms of the South. On the 7th of March, 1850, made his great speech in favor of the fugitive

lave bill. He aided, by his great powers, at powers, to ass that measure. A little more than two ears thereafter, a Convention was held by the Whig party, to nominate a candidate for Pres. dent. The few remaining friends that Mr. Webster had, were represented in that Convenion. They expected the Whig delegates from he South would support him. The whole ountry knew what services he had rendered hem-the mighty efforts he had put forth to id in passing their favorite measure. But not ne single vote could be had for him from the lave States. No appeals that could be made ould bring a single man to his support. I be ieve it is conceded that his days were shortend by the action of that Convention. Webster lied; but the Union lives, and will live for generations yet to come.

There has been a series of acts perpetrated ecently by the Pro-Slavery party in this counry, that would astound the world, if mankind had not ceased to be astonished at any act, Jowever outrageous, they might commit. I refer to the recent election frauds in Kansas and Minnesota. I take but one specimen in Kansas. I take the Oxford precinct, in John en county. There was a Democratic majority of fifteen hundred returned from a place where everybody that knows anything about it knows there were not three hundred voters. These names, that were returned as being voters in that precinct, were copied from the Cincinnati business directory. The return showed upon its face that it was a fraud. At the time of the return, no man in the Territory pretended that it was genuine. Nobody pretended there was any such number of voters there. Nobody pretends any such thing now-the evidence of the fraud being so complete and overwhelming that it could not be resisted. Under these circumstances, Governor Walker rejected the return; no honest man could have done any thing else. After doing this, he published a statement of the facts and circumstances, justifying himself for what he had done.

In the face of all this evidence, the papers in the South have raised a yell over it, more terrible than would be raised if a lighted torch had been thrown into a den of wolves. For doing this act of justice, the Governor forfeited the confidence of the party, and, we have strong reason to believe, for this act has been compel led to resign his office. What kind of a sight is this for honest men to look upon? An American statesman, for refusing to become a party to the most infamous fraud the world has ever seen, is branded as a traitor to his party and driven from office. This, perhaps, is enough upon this one case. I will now refer to Minnesota. There is a county, there called Pembina; and, from the best information I can obtain, it has but a very small population, that part of it which properly belongs to Minnesota not having more than fifteen or twenty voters. This county, we are informed, returned a ma


jority of six hundred for the Democratic candi. date for Governor. This district of country had six delegates in the Constitutional Convention. How many Representatives in the Legislature, now I cannot tell; but I presume quite as many as it had delegates in the Convention. From other places in that country, where there were but very few white settlers, there were large numbers of votes returned. We have an account in one place of a hundred savages that were led to the polls to vote; not one of them could tell their names, or could speak a word of our language. They were bedaubed with their war-paint, armed with bows and arrows, and war clubs; dressed in their breech-clouts, if they were dressed at all; led on and directed how to vote, no doubt, by some individual who was probably appointed nominally as an Indian agent, but made it his business to manufacture bogus votes for his party.

How long is the country to submit to this? If we can believe the statements that are made in regard to these frauds, we are bound to believe that, in the last election held in Minnesota, hundreds of degraded savages, that could not speak a word of our language, that have no possible conception of our form of Government, went to the polls; and every one of them, by the direction of somebody, because they could have no mind of their own, voted the Democratic ticket, and the vote of each and every one counted as much as the vote of the most intelligent man in that Territory. Thus it is a Democratic Governor is elected-members of the Senate and House of Representatives. These statements have been before the country for months; I have not seen them disputed; I believe them to be true, and, what is more, I have not heard a word of condemnation from any paper of the party, or from any member of the party, either public or private; and from all the information I have, I am reluctantly led to believe that the party justifies these wrongs.

The question may be asked, why does it justify these wrongs? There is but one solution to the question. Slavery has done it; Slavery has taken possession of the party, and debauched it. These are the legitimate fruits of a system that teaches that one class of men have no rights that another class is bound to respect. It is founded in wrong, it is a matter of force, and the same principle and spirit that teaches that black men have no rights that white men are bound to respect, will defraud white men of their rights whenever ambition or interest demands it. It is a part of the plan of the slave party in this country to hold the entire control of the Government, and to appropriate to themselves its emoluments and its honors; where there are ruffians and robbers that can be brought from adjoining States, with revolvers and bowie-knives, to drive honorable men from the polls, and stuff ballot boxes with fraudulent votes, and elect dishonest men to office, that plan is adopted; where ruffians, revolvers, and

Territory, to this day, there has reigned therein the most terrible despotism the world has ers seen. The wrongs and outrages that this coustry suffered before the Revolution were noth ing, compared with the wrongs suffered by the people of Kansas ever since its organization. I have known of no reign of terror that has arist

bowie-knives, cannot be obtained, hideous sav-solemn assurance of perfect freedom, emigr ages, bedaubed with their war paint, and armed ted there. But since the organization of the with their war-clubs, are made to do the voting. But when neither border ruffians nor savages can be obtained, what then? The Cincinnati business directory is brought up, and casts fifteen hundred votes. But when there are neither ruffians, savages, nor business directories, to be obtained, then what? Then they resort to the imagination, and the pure bogus votes are fured anywhere in modern times, that has equalei nished. Because Slavery has done all these things, I oppose its extension into any free territory.

the reign of terror that existed there during the last three years, unless it was the reign terror in France, 1791. The murders in France were more numerous, but those that were pu to death were charged with being aristocrat despots, foes to the rights of man; while in Kansas, if a man was known to be in favor of the establishment of a free State in that Teri tory, he was a mark for the assassin's dagger.

There are other and special reasons why Slavery should not be admitted into Kansas. The first, and one which I deem entirely conclusive, is: Thirty-seven years ago, a solemn compact was entered into, between the North and the South, whereby it was agreed, upon sufficient consideration, that there never should be any Since the organization of that Territory, every Slavery north of 36° 30′ north latitude. This right that freemen hold dear has been tal compact was strictly observed on the part of from them. At the first election that was beli the North. The South got everything that in the Territory, the actual settlers and resi they contemplated, and the States of Florida dents were driven from the polls by ruffi and Texas, with territory sufficient to make four villains, and murderers, from Missouri and other States, in addition to what was originally States of this Union. The rights of the people contemplated; she received and appropriated of the Territory were trampled in the dis them to her own use. The North submitted Their ballot-boxes were stuffed with fraudulent quietly to it, because she believed the national faith required it. But just as the North got ready to appropriate her part of the consideration for this compact, the South demanded its abrogation. The Missouri compromise was repealed, in violation of national faith and honesty, in violation of the principles that should govern the intercourse of all honorable men. But not- This ruffian band, calling themselves legiss withstanding the repeal of the Missouri com- tors, were no doubt sustained by the Admini promise, it was promised that the future inhab-tration. The army of this great nation itants should be perfectly free to govern them there to back and protect them in trampling selves. The act repealing the Missouri com-upon the rights of the people of that Territory promise contained this very anomalous provis. ion, the like of which was probably never seen in any act of any legislative body before, and I presume never will be seen again. I quote the provision:

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

The people of Kansas were not only to be free, but they were to be perfectly free. It has been said frequently, by metaphysicians, that no human being is perfect-no human laws are perfect-but the people of this Territory were to approach nearer Divinity than any other created beings. They were to be perfectly free, subject only to the Constitution of the United States. This part of that act, I believe, has been justly denominated a stump speech. This organic act went forth to the world containing this pledge, that the people of these Territo ries were to be perfectly free. The Territory of Kansas was organized in pursuance of that act. The people of the free States, having this

votes. Men were elected to the Territorial Legislature who were not residents of the Te ritory; and if we are to judge of the character of men who constituted that body by the w that were passed by them, there certainly Deve has been a meeting of any such fiends in any other place, except Pandemonium.

I say, now, that if the actual settlers there had possessed the power to have driven them from the legislative halls by force and violence, they would have been justified in so doing. I work not justify force and violence, and mob lav, when there is any legal mode of redressing wrongs; but here there was none. These usurp ers obtained their places by force and violence, and if the actual settlers had no other mean of defending themselves against the acta these tyrants, they would have been justified in the sight of God and man, if they had take them from the legislative halls, and hanged them by their necks until they were dead. This legislative body passed the most odious and oppressive laws-laws that would almost rival in cruelty the code of the most absolute despot ism now in existence. The Administration appointed wicked and depraved men to office, while this band of usurpers were enacting la to crush the hearts and lives of the Free State men, The courts of the Territory were r ning their course of infamy. In a court held there by a judge appointed by the President of the United States, the grand jury, under the

harge of the court, presented a hotel as a nuiance. On an order issued from that court, he building was destroyed, the order being xecuted by a sheriff appointed by the bogus egislature. The building was first fired upon ith cannon, but, being too strong to be destroyd that way, it was blown up with powder. And thy was this done? For no other reason but ecause it belonged to Free State men. The ouse of Governor Robinson was burned, beause he was a Free State man. These Free tate men had wronged no one -they had ttempted to wrong no one.

In the mean time, Dow, a Free State man, om the State of Ohio, was shot down dead in he public highway, in open day, by a man amed Coleman. Dow was guilty of no offence hatever had given no provocation. It was a old-blooded, premeditated murder. Yet the aurderer has never been punished, or even ried, to this day, but, if I am correctly inormed, was rewarded for it by an appointment s an officer in the Kansas militia. Barber, nother Free State man, from the State of Ohio, As murdered by a man named Clark, who, it 3 said, at the time of committing the murder, ras holding the office of Indian agent, under he appointment of the Administration, and is ow in the land office in the Territory. Brown, nother Free State man from the State of Ohio, as chopped to death with hatchets, and his angled, bloody, and dying body was taken to is house and thrown into the presence of his rife. The murderers of Brown, I believe, have ever been punished, and never even been tried. have it from a source that I can rely upon, hat the town of Ossawatomie was burned, a art of the inhabitants were murdered, and the emainder were driven out, houseless and homeess, into the world. Women and tender infants were compelled to lie on the cold, damp ground, with nothing to protect them from the rain and torms but tents made of thin cloth. When his town was burned and destroyed, when its nhabitants were either murdered or driven way from their homes, the army of this great ation was in sight, the witnesses of these deeds of horror, but did not interfere. Why did it not? Because the power that controlled it did mot desire to do so. The army was not there or any such purpose. It was to protect the Slavery party.

very Constitution would be a palpable violation of one of the best-established principles of the common law; that is, that no person shall take advantage of his own wrong. The Missouri compromise was repealed to put Slavery into Kansas. This was a great wrong, and one for which this nation may yet repent in dust and ashes. To admit Kansas as she is to be presented, this great principle, that I have stated, would be violated. I never will consent to do any such thing. The repeal of the Missouri compromise I regard, as I have already said, a great wrong to the North, when there was no necessity for it. I am determined, while I have the honor to hold a place upon this floor, that by no act of mine shall you ever reap any ben efit therefrom.

Before this was done, the South had more territory than the North-they have a decided advantage in soil and climate; more than this, they had therein what they call a heaven-born institution, one that they believed has received the sanction of the Most High. With their rich and productive soil, with their warm and genial sun, with their patriarchal institution of Slavery, that has descended in a direct line from Abraham to the people of Georgia, with collateral branches into Missouri and other slave States, they must multiply and become as the stars of the firmament, and shine forever and ever. With this institution, you will grow up a great and powerful people. When the Yankees come to invade your rights, (as you say they are doing now,) these men that you hold as bondmen, that cannot say their lives are their own, not even if they say it "subject to the Constitution of the United States;" these beings, that are not the owners of the wool that grows on the top of the head

"The place where the wool ought to grow," these persons that we have been so eloquently and vehemently told are so well clothed and so well fed, and so joyous and so happy, will no doubt feel sensible of the mighty blessings you have conferred upon them; will be ready to go out to battle for you. These men will, no doubt, willingly lay down their lives; will rejoice in the glorious privilege of suffering martyrdom, in defence of this heaven-born institution.

But, to return to the Lecompton Constitution. I will not stop to inquire whether the Territorial Legislature had any power to call a ConBut why multiply these cases? Crimes stitutional Convention or not. I will deal in nough have been perpetrated by the Slavery no such abstractions. It is sufficient for me to arty in that Territory, since 1854, to condemn to know that it has Slavery in it, and that a world. Its path has been marked by crimes the large majority of the people of the Territory noat horrible, and red with human blood. If had no part in making the Constitution. By believed in special judgments of God, I should the despotic acts of tyrants, they were deprived xpect to hear of sweeping tornadoes, wide wast- of all power; and as a full and entire refutation ng earthquakes, deadly plagues, and scathing of the assertion made upon this floor and elseghtning, hurling the perpetrators of these crimes where, that the people of the Territory had a o swift destruction. The crowning act of all fair opportunity to take a part in framing that hese wrongs is now presented in the form of a Constitution, I adopt an extract from the letConstitution, to be forced upon the people with- ter of Robert J. Walker, resigning his office as ut their consent. To admit Kansas with a Sla- Governor of that Territory, and use it as an

argument. On this point, the Governor says:
"On reference to the Territorial law, under which the
Convention was assembled, thirty four regularly-organ-
ized counties were named as election districts for vele.
gates to the Convention. In each and all of these coun-
ties it was required by law that a census should be taken
and the voters registered; and when this was completed,
the delegates to the Convention should be apportioned ac-
cordingly. In nineteen of these counties, there was no cen-
sus, and, therefore, there could be no such apportionment
there of delegates based upon such census. And in fif-
teen of these counties, there was no registry of voters.
These fifteen counties, including many of the oldest or
ganized counties in the Territory, were entirely disfran-
chised, and did not give, and (by no fault of their own)
could not give, a solitary vote for delegates to the Con
vention. This result was superinduced by the fact that
the Territorial Legislature appointed all the sheriffs and
probate judges, in all these counties, to whom was as-
signed the duty, by law, of making this census and regis-
try. These officers were political partisans, dissenting
from the views and opinions of the people of these coun-
ties, as proved by the election in October last. These offi-
cers, from want of funds, as they allege, neglected or re-
fused to take any census or make any registry in these
counties, and, therefore, they were entirely disfranchised,
and could not give, and did not give, a single vote at the
election for delegates to the Constitutional Convention.
"And here I wish to call attention to the distinction,
which will appear in my inaugural address, in reference
to those counties where the voters were fairly registered,
and did not vote. In such counties, where a full and free
opportunity was given to register and vote, and they did
not choose to exercise that privilege, the question is very
different from those counties where there was no census
or registry, and no vote was given, or could be given, how
ever anxious the people might be to participate in the elec-
tion of delegates to the Convention Nor could it be said
these countics acquiesced; for wherever they endeavored,
by a subsequent census or registry of their own, to supply
this defect, occasioned by the previous neglect of the Ter-
ritorial officers, the delegates thus chosen were rejected
by the Convention. I repeat, that in nineteen counties out
of thirty-four, there was no census. In fifteen counties
out of thirty-four, there was no registry, and not a solitary
vote was given, or could be given, for delegates to the Con-
vention, in any one of these counties. Surely, then, it can-
not be said that such a Convention, chosen by scarcely
more than one-tenth of the present voters of Kansas, rep-
resented the people of that Territory, and could rightfully
impose a Constitution upon them without their consent.
These nineteen counties, in which there was no census,
constituted a majority of the counties of the Territory; and
these fifteen counties, in which there was no registry,
gave a much larger vote at the October election, even
with the six months' qualification, than the whole vote
given to the delegates who signed the Lecompton Consti-
tution on the 7th November last."

This must put the question forever at rest. It is unanswered, and is unanswerable. The peo

ple of that Territory are now lifting their im ploring hands and streaming eyes, and calling upon the Congress of this great nation for re lief. It would be no violence to truth to 887, that for the last three years the people of that Territory have suffered

"The spurn of menials;

A despot's vengeance, a false country's earse." I ask you this day, will you relieve them; o will you enforce this Constitution, when you know it will have to be done at the bayonet's point and the cannon's mouth? In such i contest, do you believe that a God of justice, dí love, and of mercy, could be on your side? A! gentlemen on the other side are in the habit of quoting Scripture for their purpose, I will quote 8ome for their consideration: "Reason takes up the language of Scripture, and repeats with earnest conviction," "Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not go unpunished." "The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked, but he blesseth the habitation of the just."

If this Government persists in its crimes against Kansas, it must suffer the penalty of these national sins. It is one of the irrevoca ble decrees of God, that for every violation of his laws there is a penalty; and this pensity will come, just eo certain as the sound of the thunder follows "the lightning's fiery wing." I tell you the day of settlement approaches. If you pass this Lecompton Constitution, the low muttering thunder that was heard three years ago in the North and West, will break out with tenfold tury. The fires that were then kindled will sweep over the country, "like red tongues of demons, to blast and devour." I say to you that the tyrants in Kansas that have trampled the rights of freemen in the dust, whose hands are red with innocent blood, will receive the just reward of their wickedness and their crimes. A weak and wicked Administration may throw its shield around them; but

"Neither men, nor devils,

Nor sheltering angels, can protect them."



« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »