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CHAPTER XIV.

1850-Mr. Clay on Abolition, Disunion, Secession and Non-Intervention -California admitted-Utah and New Mexico given Territorial Governments-Texas Boundary Bill passed-Also Fugitive Slave Law-Abolition of Slave Trade in District of Columbia-Seward proposes amendment-Defeated-Clay, Benton, Winthrop, Douglas and others.

With the death of President Taylor, and the accession of Millard Filmore to the Presidency, the hostility of the Administration to Mr. Clay was withdrawn-but that fact did not reconcile the ulras of either section to the bills of the Committee of Thirteen as one measure.

On the 22d of July, Mr. Clay again spoke in their defense, and made one of his most eloquent pleas for Union and peace. Extracts:

"Mr. Clay: It is said, Mr. President, that this 'omnibus,' as it is called, contains too much. I thank, from the bottom of my heart, the enemy' of the bill who gave it that denomination. The omnibus is the vehicle of the people, of the mass of the people. And this bill deserves the name for another reason; that, with the exception of the two bills which are to follow, it contains all that is necessary to give peace and quiet to the country. It is said sometimes, however, that this omnibus is too heavily weighted, and that it contains incongruous matter. It is not that the bill has too much in it; it has too little according to the wishes of its opponents; and I am very sorry that our omnibus can not contain Mr. Wilmot, whose weight would break it down, I am afraid, if he were put there. (Laughter.) No, sir, it is not the variety of the matter-it is not the incongruity, the incompatibility of the measures and the bill, but it is because the bill does

1 President Taylor.

not contain enough to satisfy those who want the 'Wilmot,' as it has been properly called, placed in the omnibus.

"Why, Mr. President, how stands the fact? There is not an Abolitionist in the United States, that I know of-there may be some-there is not an Abolition press, if you begin with the Abolition press located in Washington, and embrace all others, that is not opposed to this bill-not one of them. There is not one Abolitionist in this Senate Chamber, or out of it, any-where, that is not opposed to the adoption of this compromise plan. And why are they opposed to it? They see their doom as certain as there is a God in Heaven who sends his providential dispensations to calm the threatening storm and to tranquilize agitated men. As certain as that God exists in Heaven, your business (turning toward Mr. Hale), your vocation is gone.

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"I believe from the bottom of my soul, that the measure is the re-union of this Union. I believe it is the dove of peace, which, taking its aerial flight from the dome of the Capitol, carries the tidings of assured peace and restored harmony to all the remotest extremities of this distracted land. I believe that it will be attended with all these beneficent effects. And now let us discard all resentment, all passions, all petty jealousies, all personal desires, all love of place, all hoaning after the gilded crumbs which fall from the table of power. Let us forget popular fears, from whatever quarter they may spring. Let us go to the limpid fountain of unadulterated patriotism, and, performing a solemn lustration, return divested of all selfish, sinister, and sordid impurities, and think alone of our God, our country, our consciences, and our glorious Union; that Union without which we shall be torn into hostile fragments, and sooner or later become the victims of military despotism, or foreign domination.

"Mr. President, what is an individual man? An atom, almost invisible without a magnifying glass—a

mere speck upon the surface of the immense universenot a second in time, compared to immeasurable, neverbeginning and never-ending eternity; a drop of water in the great deep, which evaporates and is borne off by the winds; a grain of sand, which is soon gathered to the dust from which it sprung. Shall a being so small, so petty, so fleeting, so evanescent, oppose itself to the onward march of a great nation, to subsist for ages and ages to come-oppose itself to that long line of posterity which, issuing from our loins, will endure during the existence of the world? Forbid it, God! Let us look at our country and our cause; elevate ourselves to the dignity of pure and disinterested patriots, wise and enlightened statesmen, and save our country from all impending dangers. What if, in the march of this nation to greatness and power, we should be buried beneath the wheels that propel it onward? What are we-what is any man worth who is not ready and willing to sacrifice himself for the benefit of his country when it is necessary?

"Now, Mr. President, allow me to make a short appeal to some Senators-to the whole of the Senate. Here is my friend from Virginia (Mr. Mason), of whom I have never been without hopes. I have thought of the Revolutionary blood of George Mason which flows in his veins of the blood of his own father-of his own accomplished father-my cherished friend for many years. Can he, knowing, as I think he must know, the wishes of the people of his own State; can he, with the knowledge he possesses of the public sentiment there, and of the high obligation cast upon him by his noble ancestry, can he hazard Virginia's great and most glorious work-that work, at least, which she, perhaps more than any other State, contributed her moral and political power to erect? Can he put at hazard this noble Union, with all its beneficial effects and consequences, in the pursuit of abstractions and metaphysical theories-objects unattainable, or worthless, if attained

-while the honor of our own common native State, which I reverence and respect with as much devotion as he does, while the honor of that State and the honor of the South are preserved unimpaired by this measure?

"I appeal, sir, to the Senators from Rhode Island and from Delaware; my little friends which have stood up by me, and by which I have stood, in all the vicissitudes of my political life; two glorious little patriotic States, which, if there is to be a breaking up of the waters of this Union, will be swallowed up in the common deluge, and left without support. Will they hazard that Union, which is their strength, their power, and their greatness?

"Let such an event as I have alluded to occur, and where will be the sovereign power of Delaware and Rhode Island? If this Union shall become separated, new unions, new confederacies will arise. And, with respect to this-if there be any-I hope there is no one in the Senate, before whose imagination is flitting the idea of a great Southern Confederacy to take possession of the Balize and the mouth of the Mississippi-I say in in my place, never! Never will we who occupy the broad waters of the Mississippi and its upper tributaries consent that any foreign flag shall float at the Balize or upon the turrets of the Crescent City-Never! Never! I call upon all the South. Sir, we have had hard words, bitter words, bitter thoughts, unpleasant feelings toward each other in the progress of this great measure. Let us forget them. Let us sacrifice these feelings. Let us go to the altar of our country and swear, as the oath was taken of old, that we will stand by her; we will support her; that we will uphold her Constitution; that we will preserve her Union. and that we will pass this great, comprehensive, and healing system of measures, which will hush all the jarring elements and bring peace and tranquility to our homes. The measure may be defeated. may be defeated. It is possible that, for the chastise

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ment of our sins or transgressions, the rod of Providence may still be applied to us, may still be suspended over us. But if defeated, it will be a triumph of ultraism and impracticability—a triumph of a most extraordinary conjunction of extremes; a victory won by Abolitionism; a victory achieved by Free Soilism; the victory of discord and agitation over peace and tranquility; and I pray to Almighty God that it may not, in consequence of the inauspicious result, lead to the most unhappy and disastrous consequences to our beloved country." (Applause.)

"Mr. Barnwell: It is not my intention to reply to the argument of the Senator from Kentucky, but there were expressions used by him not a little disrespectful to a friend whom I hold very dear, and to the State which I in part represent, which seem to me to require some notice.

"As to the State of South Carolina, I do not, as I need not, defend her by words.'

"Mr. Clay Mr. President, I said nothing with respect to the character of Mr. Rhett, for I might as well name him. I know him personally, and have some respect for him. But, if he pronounced the sentiment attributed to him of raising the standard of disunion and of resistance to the common Government, whatever he has been, if he follows up that declaration by corresponding overt acts, he will be a traitor, and I hope he will meet the fate of a traitor. (Great applause in the galleries, with difficulty suppressed by the Chair.)

"The President: The Chair will be under the necessity of ordering the gallery to be cleared if there is again the slightest interruption. He has once already given warning that he is under the necessity of keeping order. The Senate Chamber is not a theater.

Mr. Clay resumed: "Mr. President, I have heard with pain and regret a confirmation of the remark I made, that the sentiment of disunion is becoming familiar. I hope it is confined to South Carolina. I

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