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the Journal as an imperishable evidence of the fact. With this evidence before us, against whom should the charge of perfidy be preferred?

"Sir, if this was a compact, what must be thought of those who violated it almost immediately after it was formed? I say that it is a calumny upon the North to say that it was a compact. I should feel a flush of shame upon my cheek, as a Northern man, if I were to say that it was a compact, and that the section of the country to which I belong received the consideration, and then repudiated the obligation in eleven months after it was entered into. I deny that it was a compact in any sense of the term. But if it was, the record proves that faith was not observed-that the compact was never carried into effect-that after the North had procured the passage of the act prohibiting slavery in the Territories, with a majority in the House large enough to prevent its repeal, Missouri was refused admission into the Union as a slave-holding State in conformity with the Act of March 6, 1820. If the proposition be correct, as contended for by the opponents of this bill-that there was a solemn compact between the North and South that, in consideration of the prohibition of slavery in the Territories, Missouri was to be admitted into the Union in conformity with the Act of 1820—that contract was repudiated by the North, and rescinded by the joint action of the two parties within twelve months from its date. Missouri was never admitted under the Act of the 6th of March, 1820. She was refused admission under that act. She was voted out of the Union by Northern votes, notwithstanding the stipulation that she be received; and, in consequence of these facts, a new compromise was rendered necessary, by the terms of which Missouri was to be admitted into the Union conditionally, admitted on a condition not embraced in the Act of 1820, and in addition to a full compliance with all the provisions of said act. I think I have shown that to call the Act of the 6th of March,

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1820, a compact, binding in honor, is to charge the Northern States of this Union with an act of perfidy unparalleled in the history of legislation or of civilization."

Of the Act of 1821 and the clauses in the Constitution of Missouri, to which objection was made, he says: "If they did conflict with the Constitution of the United States, they were void; if they were not in conflict, Missouri had a right to put them there and to pass all laws necessary to carry them into effect. Whether such conflict did exist is a question which, by the Constitution, can only be determined authoritatively by the Supreme Court of the United States. Congress is not the appropriate and competent tribunal to adjudicate and determine questions of conflict between the Constitution of a State and that of the United States. Had Missouri been admitted without any condition or restriction, she would have had an opportunity of vindicating her Constitution and rights in the Supreme Court, the tribunal created by the Constitution for that purpose.

"By the condition imposed upon Missouri, Congress not only deprived that State of a right which she believed she possessed under the Constitution of the United States, but denied her the privilege of vindicating that right in the appropriate and constitutional tribunals by compelling her, ' by a solemn public act,' to give an irrevocable pledge never to exercise or claim the right. Therefore, Missouri came in under a humiliating condition-a condition not imposed by the Constitution of the United States, and which destroys the principle of equality which should exist, and by the Constitution does exist, between all the States of this Union. This inequality results from Mr. Clay's compromise in 1821, and is the principle upon which that compromise was constructed. I have before me the 'solemn public act' of Missouri to this fundamental condition. Whoever will take the trouble to read it will find it the

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richest specimen of irony and sarcasm that has ever been incorporated into a solemn public act.""

(On February 14, 1854, an allusion being made to the same "solemn public act" by Mr. Badger, of North Carolina, Mr. Everett asked:

"Mr. Everett: Did not Mr. Clay draw up that provision?

"Mr. Badger: I do not know. I think I recollect hearing Mr. Clay once on this floor say, in substance, that he laughed in his sleeve at the idea that people were so easily satisfied.

"Mr. Butler: I heard him say it."

One can easily imagine that Mr. Clay could laugh in his sleeve to see men pretending to be "satisfied" with, and glad to take refuge under, a political sarcasm never equaled, and a political irony which he, of course, fully appreciated when he placed it before them.)

Douglas further said in this same debate:

"Mr. President, I have also occupied a good deal of time in exposing the cant of these gentlemen about the sanctity of the Missouri Compromise, and the dishonor attached to the violation of plighted faith. I have exposed these matters in order to show that the object of these men is to withdraw from public attention the real principle involved in the bill. They well know that the abrogation of the Missouri Compromise is the incident and not the principle of the bill. They well understand that the report of the committee and the bill propose to establish the principle in all territorial organizations, that the question of slavery shall be referred to the people to regulate for themselves, and that such legislation should be had as was necessary to remove all legal obstructions to the free exercise of this right by the people. "The eighth section of the Missouri act standing in the way of this great principle must be rendered inoperative and void, whether expressly repealed or not, in


1 App. Cong. Globe, Vol. 29, p. 329–331.

' Idem, p. 147.

order to give the people the power of regulating their own domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution.

"Now, sir, if these gentlemen have entire confidence in the correctness of their position, why do they not meet the issue boldly and fairly, and controvert the soundness of this great principle of popular sovereignty in obedience to the Constitution? They know full well that this was the principle upon which the Colonies separated from the crown of Great Britain; the principle upon which the battles of the Revolution were fought; and the principle upon which our republican system was founded. They can not be ignorant of the fact that the Revolution grew out of the assertion of the right on the part of the imperial Government to interfere with the internal affairs and domestic concerns of the Colonies.

The Missouri Compromise was interference; the compromise of 1850 was non-interference, leaving the people to exercise their rights under the Constitution. The Committee on Territories were compelled to act on this subject. I, as their chairman, was bound to meet the question. I chose to take the responsibility, regardless of consequences personal to myself.

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Nothing can be added to Judge Douglas' own declarations that would make them stronger or more unequivocal as regards the Missouri Compromise; and as regards his position on non-intervention, it was identical with that of Henry Clay, who adopted, as his own, Douglas' bill in 1850; and who, it can not be doubted, would have taken exactly the same view that Douglas took in 1854 after the facts, as they really existed, had been presented to his mind.

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1854 President Pierce's position-Letter from Hon. Jefferson DavisFree Soilers' Address-Speech by Douglas.

On the 17th of January, Mr. Douglas gave notice that on the next Monday he would ask the Senate to take up the bill to organize the Territory of Nebraska.

On the same day, Mr. Sumner gave notice that he would offer an amendment, "That nothing herein contained shall be construed to abrogate or in any way contravene the act of March 6, 1820, etc."

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On the 23d, the Monday following, Mr. Douglas submitted a report from his Committee to the Senate, which proposed as a further amendment the bill (or a substitute, rather,) to create two Territories in place of one-one to be called Kansas. And then

"The section providing for the election of a Delegate is amended by adding to the words, 'that the Constitution, and all the laws of the United States which are not locally inapplicable, shall have the same force and effect within the said Territory as elsewhere in the United States,' the following:

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'Except the eighth section of the act preparatory to the admission of Missouri into the Union, approved March 6, 1820, which was superseded by the principles of the legislation of 1850, commonly called the Compromise measures, and is declared inoperative.'

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It is to be noted that this amendment, which practically incorporated the amendment proposed by Mr. Dixon, was reported exactly seven days after notice was given by him of his motion to repeal the eighth section of the act of 1820, and not over five days after the conversation between Mr. Dixon and Judge Douglas, as

1 Cong. Globe, Vol. 28,




Idem, p. 222.

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