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IN the Senate, 13th March, 1856, Mr. DOUGLAS, from the Committee on Territories, presented and read a very long Report on affairs in Kansas. Mr. COLLAMER also presented and read a Minority Report. As soon as the reading was completed, Mr. SUMNER took the floor, and made the following remarks:
MR. SUMNER. In those two reports, the whole subject is presented characteristically on both sides. In the report of the majority, the true issue is smothered; in that of the minority, the true issue stands forth as a pillar of fire to guide the country. The first report proceeds from four senators; but against it I put, fearlessly, the report signed by a single senator [Mr. COLLAMER], to whom I offer my thanks for this service. Let the two go abroad together. Error is harmless, while reason is left free to combat it.
I have no desire to precipitate the debate on this important question, under which the country already shakes from side to side, and which threatens to scatter from its folds civil war. Nor, indeed, am I disposed to enter upon it until I have had the opportunity of seeing, in print, the elaborate documents which have been read to us to-day. But I cannot allow the subject to pass away, even for this hour, without repelling, at once, distinctly and unequivocally, the assault which has been made upon the Emigrant Aid Company of Massachusetts. That company has done nothing for which it can be condemned under the laws and constitution of the land. These it has not offended in letter or spirit; not in the slightest letter, or in the remotest spirit. It is true, it has sent men to Kansas; and had it not a right to send them? It is true, I trust, that its agents love Freedom, and hate Slavery; and have they not a right to do so? Their offence has this extent, and nothing more. Sir, to the whole arraignment of that Company, in the report of the Committee on Territories, I now for them plead "Not Guilty!" and confidently appeal to the country for that honorable acquittal which is due to their patriot services. The outrages in Kansas are vindicated, or extenuated, by the alleged misconduct of the Emigrant Aid Company. Very well, sir; a bad cause is naturally staked on untenable ground. You cannot show the misconduct. Any such allegation will fail. And you now begin your game with loaded dice.
Afterwards, 19th March, Mr. DOUGLAS introduced "A Bill to authorize the people of the Territory of Kansas to form a Constitution and State Government, and to provide for their admission into the Union, when they have the requisite population." Subsequently, Mr. SEWARD moved, by way of substitute, another Bill, providing for immediate action, and entitled "A Bill for the admission of the State of Kansas into the Union." Debate ensued, and was continued, by adjournment, from time to time. In the course of this debate, on the 19th and 20th of May, Mr. SUMNER made the following speech.
HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
EORGE AUGUSTINE THAYER
NOVEMBER 14, 1925
You are now called to redress a great transgression. Seldom in the history of nations has such a question been presented. Tariffs, army bills, navy bills, land bills, are important, and justly occupy your care; but these all belong to the course of ordinary legislation. As mean and instruments only, they are necessarily subordinate to the conservation of government itself. Grant them or deny them, in greater or less degree, and you will inflict no shock. The machinery of government will continue to move. The State will not cease to exist. Far otherwise is it with the eminent question now before you, involving, as it does, liberty in a broad Territory, and also involving the peace of the whole country, with our good name in history for
Take down your map, sir, and you will find that the Territory of Kansas, more than any other region, occupies the middle spot of North America, equally distant from the Atlantic on the east, and the Pacific on the west; from the frozen waters of Hudson's Bay on the north, and the tepid Gulf Stream on the south, constituting the precise territorial centre of the whole vast continent. To such advantages of situation, on the very highway between two oceans, are added a soil of unsurpassed richness, and a fascinating, undulating beauty of surface, with a health-giving climate, calculated to nurture a powerful and gene
rous people, worthy to be a central pivot of American institutions. A few short months only have passed since this spacious mediterranean country was opened only to the savage, who ran wild in its woods and prairies; and now it has already drawn to its bosom a population of freemen larger than Athens crowded within her historic gates, when her sons, under Miltiades, won liberty for mankind on the field of Marathon; more than Sparta contained, when she ruled Greece, and sent forth her devoted children, quickened by a mother's benediction, to return with their shields or on them; more than Rome gathered on her seven hills, when, under her kings, she commenced that sovereign sway, which afterwards embraced the whole earth; more than London held, when, on the fields of Crecy and Agincourt, the English banner was carried victoriously over the chivalrous hosts of France.
Against this territory, thus fortunate in position and population, a Crime has been committed which is without example in the records of the past. Not in plundered provinces, or in the cruelties of selfish governors, will you find its parallel; and yet there is an ancient instance, which may show, at least, the path of justice. In the terrible impeachment by which the great Roman orator has blasted, through all time, the name of Verres, amidst charges of robbery and sacrilege, the enormity which most aroused the indignant voice of his accuser, and which still stands forth with strongest distinctness, arresting the sympathetic indignation of all who read the story, is, that, away in Sicily, he had scourged a citizen of Rome - that the cry "I am a Roman citizen" had been interposed in vain against the lash of the tyrant governor. Other charges were, that he had carried away productions of art, and that he had violated the sacred shrines. It was in the presence of the Roman Senate that this arraignment proceeded; in a temple of the Forum; amidst crowds, such as no orator had ever before drawn together, thronging the porticos and colonnades, even clinging to the house-tops and neighboring slopes, and under
the anxious gaze of witnesses summoned from the scene of crime. But an audience grander far, of higher dignity, of more various people and of wider intelligence, the countless multitude of succeeding generations, in every land where eloquence has been studied, or where the Roman name has been recognized,
has listened to the accusation, and throbbed with condemnation of the criminal. Sir, speaking in an age of light and in a land of constitutional liberty, where the safeguards of elections are justly placed among the highest triumphs of civilization, I fearlessly assert that the wrongs of much-abused Sicily, thus memorable in history, were small by the side of the wrongs of Kansas, where the very shrines of popular institutions, more sacred than any heathen altar, have been desecrated; where the ballot-box, more precious than any work in ivory or marble, from the cunning hand of art, has been plundered; and where the cry "I am an American citizen" has been interposed in vain against outrage of every kind, even upon life itself. Are you against sacrilege? - I present it for your execration. Are you against robbery ?—I hold it up for your scorn. Are you for the protection of American citizens?—I show you how their dearest rights have been cloven down, while a tyrannical usurpation has sought to install itself on their very necks!
But the wickedness which I now begin to expose is immeasurably aggravated by the motive which prompted it. Not in any common lust for power did this uncommon tragedy have its origin. It is the rape of a virgin Territory, compelling it to the hateful embrace of Slavery; and it may be clearly traced to a depraved longing for a new slave State, the hideous offspring of such a crime, in the hope of adding to the power of Slavery in the National Government. Yes, sir, when the whole world, alike Christian and Turk, is rising up to condemn this wrong, and to make it a hissing to the nations, here in our Republic, force-ay, sir, FORCE- has been openly employed in compelling Kansas to this pollution, and all for the sake of political power. There is the simple fact, which you