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This course of proceeding has carried us in safety through many a trouble, and I trust will carry us safely through many more, should many more be destined to assail us. The Wilmot Proviso seeks to take from its legitimate tribunal a question of domestic policy, having no relation to the Union, as such, and to transfer it to another, created by the people for a special purpose, and foreign to the subject matter involved in this issue. By going back to our true principles, we go back to the road of peace and safety. Leave to the people, who will be affected by this question, to adjust it upon their own responsibility, and in their own manner, and we shall render another tribute to the original principles of our Government, and furnish another guaranty for its permanence and prosperity. I am, dear sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. O. P. NICHOLSON, Esq., Nashville, Tenn.
The next session of the same Congress opened under very different auspices. The Mexican War had been terminated, so that none could longer be deterred from voting for Slavery Exclusion by a fear that the prosecution of hostilities would thereby be embarrassed. General Taylor had been elected President, receiving the votes of Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Florida -a moiety of the Slave States-over Gen. Cass, now the avowed opponent of Slavery Restriction. Many of the Northern Democrats considered themselves absolved by this vote from all extra-constitutional obligations to the South, and voted accordingly.
Dec. 13. Mr. J. M. Root of Ohio, offered the following:
"Resolved, That the Committee on Territories be instructed to report to this House, with as little delay as practicable, a bill or bills providing a territorial government for each of the Territories of New Mexico and California, and excluding Slavery therefrom."
A call of the House was had, and the previous question ordered.
Mr. W. P. Hall of Mo. same do lie on the table. Nays, 106.
moved that the
Lost: Yeas, 80;
PENNSYLVANIA-Charles Brown, Charles J. In.
OHIO-William Kennon, jun., John K. Miller William Sawyer-3.
ILLINOIS.-William A. Richardson-1.
Total Nays from Free States-8.
Mr. Robinson of Ind. moved a reconsideration of this vote, which motion (Dec. 18), on motion of Mr. Wentworth of Ill., was laid on the table: Yeas, 105; Nays, 83.
[Messrs. Clapp, Clark, and Wiley of Me., voted to lay on the table, as did Messrs. Lord of N. Y., Job Mann of Pa., Richey of Ohio, Henley and Wick of Indiana, R.
Smith of Ill. Messrs. C. Brown and Levin of Pa. did not now vote. The rest, very much as before, except that a few more voted.]
Dec. 20th. Mr. C. B. Smith accordingly reported a bill, establishing the Territorial Government of Upper California, which was read twice and committed.
Jan. 3rd. He reported a similar bill for the organization of New Mexico, which took the same direction.
Jan. 15th.-Mr. Julius Rockwell of Mass.
moved that these bills be made the special order for the 23d instant. Negatived: Yeas, 114 (not two-thirds); Nays, 71 (nearly a sectional vote).
Feb. 26-7th.-The bill was taken out of committee, and engrossed for a third reading. Mr. Meade of Va. moved that it do lie on the table. Negatived: Yeas, 86; Nays,
It was then passed by the following similar vote:
Yeas-All the Whigs from the Free States, with Aylett Buckner (Whig) of Ky., and all the Democrats also, except
PENSYLVANIA.-Samuel A. Bridges-1. OHIO.-William Kennon, jun., John K. Miller, William Sawyer-3. Total-4.
Nays-All the Members from Slave States, except Mr. Buckner aforesaid, with
The resolve then passed: Yeas, 108; the addition of those from Free States just Nays, 80, viz. :
Yeas-All the Whigs from Free States, and all the Democrats, but those noted as Nays below, including the following, who had voted against the same principle at the former session :
MAINE. Asa W. H. Clapp, James S. Wiley-2.
INDIANA-Charles W Cathcart, Thomas J. Henley, John L. Robinson, William W. Wick-4.
Messrs. Clark and H. Williams of Maine, Birdsall and Maclay of New-York, Brodhead and Mann of Pa., Pettit of Ind., Ficklin and McClelland of Ill., who voted with the South at the for
mer session-now failed to vote.
Mr. Jackson of N.Y., who then voted with the South, had been succeeded by Mr. H. Greeley,
who voted with the North.
Nays-All the Members voting from the Slave States, with the following from the Free States: NEW-YORK.-Henry C. Murphy-1.
This bill was read twice in the Senate, (Feb. 28th), and referred to the Committee on Territories.
March 3d.-Said Committee was discharged from its further consideration, and Mr.
Douglas moved that it be taken up in Senate, which was negatived. Yeas, 25; Nays, 28 (all but a sectional vote). That was the end of the bill; the Senate having already determined to affix its essential provisions to the Civil and Diplomatic Appropriation bill, and thus avoid and defeat the Slavery Exclusion contained in the House bill, and force the House to agree to organize the Territories, without such provision, or leave the Government without appropriations. this succeeded, we shall see.
The Civil and Diplomatic Appropriation bill having passed the House in the usual form, came up to the Senate, where it was debated several days.
Feb. 21st.-Mr. Walker of Wisc. moved an amendment, extending all the laws of the United States, so far as applicable, to the Territories acquired from Mexico.
Mr. Bell of Tenn. moved to add further
sections organizing the State of California, to be admitted into the Union on the 1st of October next. This was rejected: Yeas 4 (Bell, Dodge of Iowa, Douglas, Davis); Nays 39.
Feb. 26th.—Mr. Dayton of N. J. moved that the President be vested with power to provide a suitable temporary government for the Territories. Rejected; Yeas 8; Nays 47.
The question recurred on Mr. Walker's amendment, modified so as to read as follows:
The bill being returned to the House, thus amended, this amendment was (March 2d) voted down--Yeas 101; Nays 115-as follows:
Yeas, all the members from the Slave
OHIO-William Kennon, jr., William Sawyer
ILLINOIS-Orlando B. Ficklin, John A. Mc-
Total, thirteen from Free States; eightyeight from Slave States. (Only two from Slave States absent or silent.)
"Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That the Constitution of the United States, in so far as the provisions of the same be applicable to the condition of a Territory of the United States, and all and singular the several acts of Congress respecting the registering, recording, enrolling, or licensing ships, or vessels, and the entry and clearance thereof, and the foreign and coasting trade and fisheries, and all the acts respecting the imposing and collecting the duties on imports, and all the acts respecting trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes, and all the acts respecting the public lands, or the survey or sale thereof, and all and singular the other acts of Congress of a public and general character, and the provisions whereof are suitable and proper to be applied to the territory West of the Rio del Norte, acquired from Mexico by the treaty of the second day of February, 1848, be, and the same are hereby, extended over, and given full force and efficiency in all said territory; and the President of the United States is hereby authorized to prescribe and establish all proper and needful rules and regulations (in conformity with the Constitution of the United States) for the enforcement of the provisions of the Constitution herein before referred to, of said laws in said territory, and for the preservation of order and tranquillity, and the establishment of justice therein, and from time to time to modify or change the said rules and regulations in such manner as may seem to him The Senate resolved to insist on its discreet and proper; and to establish, temporarily, amendment, and ask a conference, which was such divisions, districts, ports, offices, and all arrangements proper for the execution of said laws, granted, but resulted in nothing. Messrs. and appoint and commission such officers as may Atherton of N. H., Dickinson of N. Y., be necessary to administer such laws in said ter- and Berrien of Ga., were managers on the ritory, for such term or terms as he may prescribe, part of the Senate, and insisted on its whose authority shall continue until otherwise provided by Congress; said officers to receive amendment, organizing the Territories withsuch compensation as the President may prescribe, out restriction as to Slavery. Messrs. Vinnot exceeding double the compensation heretofore ton of Ohio, Nicoll of N. Y., and Morehead paid to similar officers of the United States or its of Ky., were appointed on the part of the territories, for like services; and to enable the House. These, after a long sitting, reportsame to be done, the sum of two hundred thousand ed their inability to agree, and were discharged.
dollars be appropriated, out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated."
YEAS—For Mr. Walker's proposition: Messrs. Atchison, Houston, Hunter, Johnson of La.
Nays, all the Whigs from Free States, and all the Democrats from Free States, except those named above.
So the House refused to concur in this amendment, and the bill was returned to the Senate accordingly.
The bill being now returned to the House, Mr. McClernand of Ill. moved that the House do recede from its disagreement; Carried Yeas 111; Nays 106.
Mr. Morehead of Ky. moved to amend so as to provide that nothing in this section
Mr. R. W. Thompson of Ind. moved that the House concur with the Senate, with an amendment, which was a substitute, extending the laws of the United States over said Territories, but leaving them unorganized, as follows:
"That the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, authorized to hold possession of and occupy the Territories ceded by Mexico to the United States, by the treaty of the 2nd of Feb., eighteen hundred and forty-eight, and that he be, and hereby is, authorized for that purpose, and in order to maintain the authority of the United States, and preserve peace and order in said Tertory, to employ such parts of the army and navy of the United States as he may deem necessary, and that the Constitution of the United States, so far as the same is applicable, be extended over
"Sec. 2nd. And be it further enacted, That, until the fourth day of July, eighteen hundred and fifty, unless Congress shall sooner provide for the government of said Territories, the exist ing laws thereof shall be retained and observed, and that the civil and judicial authority hereto fore exercised in said Territories shall be vested in, and exercised by, such person or persons as the President of the United States shall appoint and direct, to the end that the inhabitants of said Territories may be protected in the full and free enjoyment of their liberty, property, and religion: provided, nevertheless, that martial law shall not be proclaimed or declared in said Territories, or either of them, nor any military court established or instituted, except ordinary courts martial for the trial of persons belonging to the army and navy of the United States; and the imprisonment of any citizen of said Territories for debt is hereby forbidden.
"Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That, to enable the President to carry into execution the provisions of this act, the sum of two hundred thousand dollars is hereby appropriated out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated."
The question being reached on amending the Senate's proposition as proposed by Mr. Thompson, it was carried: Yeas 111; Nays
[All the Southern Members in the negative, with Levin and a few of the Northern Democrats; the residue with all the Northern Whigs in the affirmative.]
The House now proceeded to agree to the Senate's amendment, as amended; Yeas 110; Nays 103, [the same as before; the friends of the Senate's proposition voting against it, as amended, and vice versa, on the understanding that Mr. Thompson's amendment would exclude Slavery.]
The bill as thus amended being returned to the Senate, it refused to agree to the House's amendment, and receded from its own proposition; so the bill was passed and the session closed, with no provision for the government of the newly-acquired Territories.
Committee on Territories, reported to the Aug. 6, 1846.-Mr. Douglas, from the House a bill organizing the Territory of Oregon.
Said bill was discussed in Committee of the Whole, and the following amendment agreed to:
"And neither Slavery, nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist in said Territory, except for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted."
On coming out of Committee, this amendment was agreed to-Yeas 108; Nays 44. [The Nays are all Southern, but Charles J. Ingersoll, Orlando B. Ficklin, and possibly one or two others; and all Democrats, but some half a dozen from the South, of whom Robert Toombs has since turned Democrat.] The bill Stephen A. Douglas did not vote. passed the House without further opposition, was read twice in the Senate, and referred; and Mr. Westcott of Florida made a report thereon from the Committee on Territories; but the Session closed without further action on the bill.
This Congress reassembled, Dec. 7th, 1846. On the 23d, Mr. Douglas again reported his bill to provide a territorial government for Oregon, which was read twice and committed: Jan. 11th, 1847, was discussed in Committee, as also on the 12th and 14th, when it was resolved to close the debate. On the 15th, it was taken out of Committee, when Gen. Burt of S. C. moved the following addition (already moved, debated, and voted down in Committee) to the clause forbidding Slavery in said Territory:
north of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north "Inasmuch as the whole of said Territory lies latitude, known as the line of the Missouri Compromise."
The purpose of this is clear enough. It was intended to recognize the Missouri line, not as limited to the territories possessed by the United States at the time said line was established, but as extending to all that had since been, or hereafter should be, territory henceforth to be acquired by us acquired, so as to legalize Slavery in any south of 36° 30′.
Mr. Burt's amendment was negativedYeas 82; Nays 114.
the following Members from Free States The vote was very nearly sectional; but voted in the minority:
PENNSYLVANIA.-Charles J. Ingersoll-1. ILLINOIS-Stephen A. Douglas, Robt. Smith-2 IOWA.-S. C. Hastings-1.
In all, 5.
No Member from a Slave State voted in
the majority. The bill then passed-Yeas! 134; Nays 35 (all Southern).
Jan. 15th.-The bill reached the Senate, and was sent to the Judiciary Committee, consisting of
Messrs. Ashley, Ark. Breese, Ill.
Berrien, Ga. Dayton, N. J.
The bill continued to be discussed, and finally (Aug. 1st) was got out of Committee; when Mr. C. B. Smith moved the Previous Question thereon, which was ordered.
August 2d.—The House came to a vote on an amendment made in Committee, whereby the following provision of the original bill was stricken out :
Jan. 25.-Mr. Ashley reported the Oregon "That the inhabitants of said Territory shall bill with amendments, which were ordered to be entitled to enjoy, all and singular, the rights, be printed. privileges, and advantages granted and secured 29th.--Said bill, on motion of Mr. West- to the people of the Territory of the United States cott, was recommitted to the Judiciary Com-northwest of the river Ohio, by the articles of compact contained in the ordinance for the gov. ernment of said Territory, passed the 13th day
Feb. 10th. Mr. Ashley again reported it of July, seventeen hundred and eighty-seven; with amendments. and shall be subject to all the conditions, and reMarch 3d.-It was taken up as in Com-strictions, and prohibitions in said articles of committee of the Whole, when Mr. Evans of pact imposed upon the people of said territory Me. moved that it be laid on the table. Defeated-Yeas 19, (all Whigs but Calhoun of S. C., and Yulee of Florida); Nays 26; (24 Dem., with Corwin of Ohio, and Johnson of La.).
Mr. Westcott of Fla. immediately moved that the bill do lie on the table, which prevailed-Yeas 26; Nays 18, (a mixed vote, evidently governed by various motives); but the negatives were all Democrats, but Corwin and Johnson aforesaid. This being the last day of the session, it was evident that the bill, if opposed, as it was certain to be, could not get through, and it was, doubtless, in behalf of other pressing business that many Senators voted to lay this aside. It was, of course, dead for the session.
The House refused to agree to this amendment-Yeas 88; Nays 114.
The Members from the Free States who voted with the South to strike out, wereNEW-YORK-Ausburn Birdsall-1.
OHIO-William Kennon, jr., John K. Mil
ILLINOIS-Orlando B. Ficklin, John A. Mc
Clernand, William A. Richardson-3.
INDIANA-John L. Robinson, William W.
Mr. John W. Houston of Delaware voted in the majority.
The bill was then passed: Yeas 128; Nays 71.
[This vote was almost completely sectional. Mr. Houston of Delaware voting in the majority as before: otherwise, Members from Free States in the affirmative; those from Slave States in the negative.]
Dec. 6th, 1847.—The XXXth Congress assembled; Robert C. Winthrop (Whig) of Mass. was chosen Speaker of the House. when Mr. Badger of N. C. moved its indeAug. 3rd. This bill reached the Senate, President Polk, in his Annual Message, re-finite postponement: negatived, 47 to 1, gretted that Oregon had not already been organized, and urged the necessity of action (Yulee). It was then sent to the Committee on the subject.
Feb. 9th. Mr. Caleb B. Smith of Indiana reported to the House a bill to establish the territorial government of Oregon; which, by a vote of two-thirds, was made a special order for March 14th. It was postponed, however, to the 28th; when it was taken up and discussed, as on one or two subsequent days. May 29th, it was again made a special order next after the Appropriation bills. The President that day sent a special message, urging action on this subject. July 25th, it was taken up in earnest; Mr. Wentworth of Illinois moving that debate on it in Committee cease at two o'clock this day.
Mr. Geo. S. Houston of Ala. endeavored to put this motion on the table. Defeated-Yeas 85; Nays 89, (nearly, but not fully, a sectional division). Mr. Geo. W. Jones of Tenn. moved a reconsideration, which was carried-Yeas 100; Nays and the resolution laid on the tableYeas 96; Nays 90.
The Senate had had under consideration, from time to time through the Session, a bill of its own, reported by Mr. Douglas, which was finally referred to a Select CommitteeMr. Clayton of Delaware, Chairman-and
by said committee reported some days before the reception of the House bill. It was then dropped.
Aug. 5th.-Mr. Douglas reported the House Bill, with amendments, which were printed.
Aug. 10th.-After some days' debate, the Senate proceeded to vote. Mr. Foote of Miss. moved that the bill do lie on the table. Defeated: Yeas 15 (Southern) ; Nays 36.
On the question of agreeing to this amendment:
"Inasmuch as the said Territory is north of thirty-six deg. thirty min., usually known as the [line of the] Missouri Compromise."
It was rejected: Yeas 2 (Bright and Douglas); Nays 52.
Mr. Douglas moved to amend the bill, by as it came from the House: Yeas 29; Nays inserting after the word "enacted":
"That the line of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes of north latitude, known as the Missouri Compromise line, as defined in the eighth section of an act entitled, 'An Act to authorize the people of the Missouri Territory to form a Constitutional and State Government, and for the admission of such State into the Union, on an equal footing with the original States, and to prohibit Slavery in certain Territories, approved March 6th, 1820,' be. and the same is hereby, declared to extend to the Pacific Ocean; and the said eighth section, together with the compromise therein effected, is hereby revived, and declared to be in full force and binding, for the future organization of the Territories of the United States in the same sense, and with the same understanding with which it was originally adopted; and-" Which was carried-Yeas 33; Nays 21 -as follows:
YEAS-For recognizing the Missouri line as rightfully extending to the Pacific: Messrs. Atchison,
Johnson of Md.,
Johnson of Ga.,
Davis of Miss.,
Foote of Miss.,
Johnson of Md.,
(All from Slave States.)
So the bill became a law, and Oregon a Territory, under the original Jefferson or Dane Proviso against Slavery.
THE COMPROMISE OF 1850.
THE XXXIst Congress commenced its first Session at Washington, Dec. 3d, 1849; but the House was unable to organize-no person receiving a majority of all the votes for Speaker-until the 22nd, when, the Plurality rule having been adopted by a vote of 113 to 106, Mr. Howell Cobb of Ga. was elected, having 102 votes to 100 for Robert C. Winthrop of Mass., and 20 scattering. It was thereupon resolved-Yeas 149; Nays 35-"That Howell Cobb be declared duly elected Speaker;" and on the 24th both Houses his first Annual Message, in President Zachary Taylor transmitted to the course of which he says:
"No civil government having been provided by Congress for California, the people of that Territory, impelled by the necessities of their political condition, recently met in Convention, for the purpose of forming a Constitution and State Government; which, the latest advices give me reason to suppose, has been accomplished;
NEW YORK-Ausburn Birdsall-1.
Otherwise, from Slave States, all Yeas; from Free States, all Nays.
Aug. 12th.--The Senate, after voting down various propositions to lay on the table, etc., finally decided to recede from its amendments to the Oregon bill, and pass it
admission of California into the Union, as a Sovereign State. Should such be the case, and should their constitution be conformable to the
requisitions of the Constitution of the United States, I recommend their application to the favorable consideration of Congress.
"The people of New-Mexico will also, it is believed, at no very distant period, present themselves for admission into the Union. Preparatory to the admission of California and New-Mexico,