« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
HON. ALFRED IVERSON,
OUR TERRITORIAL POLICY;
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, JANUARY 9, 1860.
The Senate proceeded to consider the following l of the truth and propriety of this doctrine, as I am of the resolution, which was submitted by Mr. Pugh De- doctrine of salvation declared to man in the sacred Word
of God. But whilst I insist upon the absolute riglit of the cember 15, 1859:
southern people to legal protection in the possession and Resolved, That the Committee on Territories be in enjoyment of their slave propetry in the Territories of the structed to inquire into the expediency of repealing so United States, and the power and duty of Congress to give much of the acts approved September 9, 1850, for the or such protection, I utterly deny the power of Congress, under ganization of territorial governments in New Mexico and the Constitution or otherwise, to exclude slavery from the Utah, as requires that all the laws passed by the Legisla Territories, or of abolishing it, if there. To regulate and tures of those Territories shall be submitted to Congress protect the property of the citizen is one thing; to deprive for approval or rejection.
him of it is another, and altogether different thing. One is The pending question being on the following not only within the power of all Governments, but is one
of the main objects and obligations of all Governments. amendment submitted by Mr. HARLAN, to add: The other cannot be done in our Government and under
And said committee is also instructed to inquire into the our Constitution, except for the public use, and not then propriety of authorizing the people of each of said Terri without just compensation to the owner, Such is the lantories
to elect all their territorial officers, executive, legis guage of the Federal Constitution.” lative, and judicial, in such manner as the Legislatures thereof shall provide
Now, sir, if I ever did maintain the doctrine of Mr. IVERSON said:
“popular sovereignty," as explained, advocated, Mr. President: The Senator from Ohio, [Mr. and enforced by the Senator from Ohio and the Pugh,) in a speech delivered a few days since in I great majority of the northern Democracy, I have this Chamber, took occasion to read some extracts long since changed my opinion, and repudiated it from a speech made by me on the 26th day of July, as a heresy; and certainly, sir, it is more honor1848, in the House of Representatives, whilst i | able to renounce error, when convinced of one, was a member of that body The object of the than to adhere obstinately to it. . I commend the Senator in making this reference was to show that I candor and honesty, as well as the courage and I was once in favor of the doctrine of " popular fortitude, which I have exhibited in this respect, sovereignty,” as now understood and advocated to the imitation of the Senator from Ohio. But, by that Senator and those who agree with him in sir, I fear that, instead of retracing the great error the northern States.
into which that Senator and thousands of his Perhaps, sir, it would be sufficient for me, if I northern Democratic friends have fallen, he and admitted the charge, to refer the Senator to an they, under the lead of the distinguished Senator extract of a speech delivered by me at Griffin, in from Illinois, (Mr. Douglas, are plunging deeper the State of Georgia, on the 14th of July last, in and deeper into the abyss of political error and which, speaking of that doctrine, I said:
injustice. “I shall not stop here to argue the doctrine of congres But, sir, what did I say, in 1848, on the occasion sional protection to slavery in the Territories, nor to com alluded to; and how far did I adopt or advocate bat the errors of squatter sovereignty.' I take the occa the doctrine of “squatter sovereignty” in the sion to confess that I was once the advocate of the latter heresy-carried away by its attractive but delusive sophis- | Territories of the United States? Let the circumtry, which, like the “ignis fatuus,'lures only to destroy, and stances under which that speech was delivered be without serious examination into its truth and general bcar- l stated and remembered. General Cass was the ings and looking at it as the only alternative of the Wilmot || presidential candidate of the Democratic party, proviso, I was ready to take it as the best we could get;? || of which I was a member. General Taylor was Subsequent investigation and reflection soon convinced me the opposing candidate of the Whig pariy. The that the only true theory, in relation to territorial govern- || Oregon bill was under discussion in the House. ments in the Union, is, that both the power and the duty are conferred and imposed upon Congress to pass laws for the
The northern Free-Soil party having the majority protection and regulation of slavery, wherever it exists or
in that body, brought forward the Wilmot promay exist upon the common soil. Yam as well convinced " viso, excluding slavery from the Territory of Ore
gon. The question was upon the adoption of that into political communities by gradual, regular, and proviso. My speech was intended mainly as an natural emigration, and after territorial governattack upon that odious, unconstitutional, unjust, ments had been instituted and conferred upon and insulting indignity to the southern people. them by Congress, had been left, uninfluenced by General Cass had only a short time previously outside pressure, to form their political and doproduced his celebrated Nicholson letter, in which mestic institutions for themselves, no southern he advocated the doctrine of “popular sovereign- man would probably, ever have complained of or ty,” or the non-intervention of Congress upon the denied them that privilege, or have invoked the subject of slavery in the Territories. It was a power and duty of the Federal Government to new doctrine, or, at any rate, it was new to me. protect slaveholding emigrants in the possession It was plausible, and, even with the construction of their slave property. which some then put upon it, and which now But, sir, the history of emigration into the Terseems to be the settled construction of the north - ritories for the last ten or twelve years, has taught ern Democracy, it was considered by many south- the southern people a severe and salutary lesson. ern men as less obnoxious to objection and less It has opened their eyes to the inevitable effects dangerous in its practical results to the rights and and fatal results of the “squatter sovereignty' interests of the South than the Wilmot proviso. doctrine of General Cass and his northern friends.
There were two constructions given to General | The settlement and fate of California satisfied me Cass's Nicholson letter. His southern friends and the whole South, that under that doctrine, as and supporters maintained that it meant only that the established policy of the Government, the Congress was not to intervene to establish or ex southern people, with their slave property, would clude slavery, but that the people of a Territory be as effectually excluded from all the public Terwere to be left free to the exercise of the power ritories as they could possibly be by the Wilmot of deciding the question of slavery or no slavery proviso. The emigration to California was under when they came to form a constitútion and State the general impression and understanding that government for admission into the Union. That Congress would not interfere to change the local they 'have such power at such time, no portion of Mexican law which prohibited slavery, but would the Democratic party, North or South, have ever leave the people to establish and regulate their denied or disputed; and that power, to be exer domestic institutions in their own way. Congress, cised in that way and at that time, has been uni- in fact, refused and neglected to establish any versally approved by the southern people of all territorial government, but left the people, who parties. The southern opponents of General Cass | swarmed into that country from the great northern asserted that he meant to claim for the people of free-soil hive, to set up a government of their own, a Territory the exclusive power and right to de- and admitted her into the Union with an anti-slatermine that question at any time during their very constitution. The “Free-Soil” majority territorial existence, and that Congress could not which then controlled Congress knew well that intervene to correct or annul their decision. Now, such would be the result of the “non-intervention” sir, in my speech of 1848, I expressly disclaimed action of the Federal Government. The northern the intention to express any opinion or make any Whigs insisted upon positive prohibition. The decision upon the question of constitutional power, northern Democrats, whilst they repudiated the either in Congress or the Territories, except so Wilmot proviso, were unwilling to give the protecfar as to deny the power in Congress to prohibit i tion of Federal laws to slavery, and left the whole or exclude slavery. I did not affirm the doctrine subject to the people of the Territory. The result of congressional protection-neither did I assert was what all parties expected and anticipated, and the right of the people of the Territories, during what all parties at the North desired and intended. their territorial existence, to decide the question | The Mexican law prohibited slavery. Slavery for themselves. I maintained only the total want could not, therefore, be safely introduced into Calof authority in Congress to exclude slavery by ifornia. No man would risk such valuable prodirect prohibition.
perty when it had no reliable protection. Few of It i: true, sir, that, in the speech alluded to, I did the southern people emigrated to California; none express my willingness, waiving the question of of them carried their slaves with them. The conpower, to acquiesce, as a matter of expediency, sequence was inevitable. A State government in the privilege of the people of the Territories was formed, without any previous territorial govto establish or prohibit slavery at any time. Iernment, and without the authority of Congress; did not admit it as a constitutional right. I con- slavery was excluded, and the State admitted into sidered it, and assented to it, only in the light of the Union. expediency, and as contrasted in that respect to Sir, I saw then the practical operation of the the Wilmot proviso; and, sir, if emigration to the new dogma of “popular sovereignty.” It roused Territories had been conducted from that time to me, as well as the South generally, to a more critthis, as of former years, in the natural and usual | ical examination of the whole subject, and I beway; if it had continued to flow into them through came convinced at an early day that the doctrine of the natural and regular channels; if it had been “non-intervention," as interpreted by its northern left to the control and promptings of individual advocates, though plausible, was as erroneous as it interests and inclinations; if no extraneous and was delusive and fatal to the rights of the southern extraordinary influences had been brought to bear people. I was, in 1850, one of the most decided apon it for the accomplishment of political objects; opponents of the admission of California into the if no spurious, hot-bed emigration had been | Union. I opposed the whole batch of the compoured into the Territories, supported and en promise measures of that memorable period. I couraged by northern abolition aid societies, and opposed them because they recognized the doctrine stimulated by the rabid anti-slavery feeling of the of squatter sovereignty;" and were founded upon free States; if the people of the Territories, formed and connected with the admission of California
into the Union with a free-State constitution. Sir, || passing the Kansas bill, and in using the language when the southern people, upon a more mature to which I have referred and quoted, Congress ininvestigation of the doctrine in question, and a tended to confer a power which it did not itself knowledge of its practical workings in the case of possess, and which it could not exercise without California, came to understand its true character
a gross usurpation. Such a presumption would and bearing, and to comprehend and appreciate stultify the Congress of 1854, which passed that their just rights under the Constitution, and as bill, and make it odious and contemptible in the equals in the Confederacy, they universally repu- | eyes of all intelligent and honorable men. diated and condemned it. And when the Kansas But, sir, what construction has been put upon Nebraska bill was passed, receiving, as it did, the that act by a large portion, if not a majority of sanction of the great body of the southern people the northern Democracy? What construction has of all parties, it was with the universal under- been put upon it by Judge Douglas and that large, standing at the South that it did not contain the respectable, and powerful section of the northern doctrine of“ squatter sovereignty”as advanced by Democracy which has followed his lead on this General Cass, and subsequently so strenuously important subject? And under what circumstances sustained and urged by the distinguished Sena- and influences was Kansas settled up and its fate lor from Illinois, (Mr. Douglas,] and his anti as a political community and State decided? The Lecompton friends.
Senator from Ohio (Mr. Pugh) knows, the SenThe language of a part of the thirty-second sec ate knows, the whole country knows, that from tion of that bill, as applicable to Kansas, reads as the very passage of the Kansas bill, it was confollows:
tended, asserted, and urged, by Judge Douglas “ It being the true intent and meaning of this act not to and the northern Democracy that it not only conlegislate slavery into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefroin, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free
ferred the power, but was intended by its framers to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their to confer the power on the people of that Terriown way, subject only to the Constitution of the United tory, to establish or prohibit slavery at pleasure, States."
or, in the language of the bill itself, “ to form and Now, sir, what we of the South understood by | regulate their domestic institutions in their own this clause, was, that Congress was not to assume way, subject only to the Constitution of the Unithe power or attempt to establish slavery in Kan- | ted States," at any and all times during the exsas or to exclude it therefrom-that Congressistence of the territorial government; and it was should not declare, by resolution or law, either further contended and urged, that the exclusion, that slavery should exist or should not exist in prohibition, or abolition of slavery by the TerriKansas; but that the people of that Territory, torial Legislature was no violation of the Constiwhen forming a State constitution for the pur-tution of the United States, and might, therefore, pose of admission into the Union, had the power, | be rightfully done. and should be left perfectly free to exercise it, of Sir, it was with this construction of that act, establishing or excluding slavery, as in their sov and under the impression prevailing all over the ereign capacity of a State they might choose and free States, that those emigrant aid societies were determine. Such, sir, was our understanding of formed from the hot-beds of northern abolitionthe Kansas bill; such the general interpretationism, which poured their thousands, armed with of it at the South; such the uniform construction || carpet bags and Sharpe's rifles, into Kansas to put upon it by all the southern people from that make up a majority of its population, to control the day to this. "To that doctrine I have never been Territorial Legislature, and fix its political comopposed; on the contrary, I advocated it in 1848, plexion and destiny as a free State. It was with and have ever since given it my cordial sanction. this understanding that the northern Abolitionists
But neither I, or any other southern man, as | pushed forward at the very outset their mongrel far as I know, have ever admitted the right of the hordes of free-soil emigrants, with the object and people of a Territory to decide the question of sla- | determination of controlling the question by the very or no slavery, at any time during their terri- || power of numbers and the force of arms. "It is torial existence, or before the formation of a State irue, sir, that under the influence of the early emiconstitution. The people of a Territory, after the gration from Missouri, the most contiguous and formation ofa territorial government by Congress, convenient State, the first Legislature of Kansas and under the power of legislation conferred upon did recognize the existence of slavery, and passed them by the organic act, may, through their Ter-| laws for its regulation and protection. They esritorial Legislature, recognize the existence of sla- tablished what the Senator from Illinois (Mr. very, if it in fact exists in the Territory, and pass | Douglas) and others have so often and so conlaws to regulate and protect it. This power can, temptuously designated as a “slave code;" but in my opinion, be exercised by Congress itself, how long did it exist? No longer than the northas I shall hereafter attempt to show, and may ern construction of the Kansas-Nebraska act could therefore be rightfully conferred upon the Terri- | work out its legitimate and certain results. As tories; but I deny, and so do the southern people soon as slavery was recognized by the Legisladeny, that the Kansas-Nebraska act conferred, or ture of Kansas, the northern abolition sentiment intended to confer, upon the territorial govern was aroused; it raised its gorgon head and hands ments enacted by that act, the power to exclude, and soon overran Kansas with its abolition scum. prohibit, or abolish slavery. We deny that Con- | The violent, heated, and bloody character of the gress itself has any such power, and in this posi- || contest for supremacy; the uncertainty of its retion we have been sustained by the Supreme Court sult; the doubtful security of slave property, and of the United States in the case of Dred Scott. If the danger of its final and total loss, deterred emiCongress could not exercise that power itself, it | gration from the southern States, whilst most of could not confer it upon the territorial govern- | those who had gone into the Territory with their ment; and surely it cannot be supposed that in Il slaves at an early day, abandoned it in disgust or