Изображения страниц

the great, sacred, fundamental right of prescribing their own institutions, consistent with the Constitution of the country, we must vote for this bill as reported by the Committee on Territories. That is the only question involved in the bill. I hope I have been able to strip it of all the misrepresentation, to wipe away all of that mist and obscurity with which it has been surrounded by this Abolition address.""

To this most able and eloquent, as well as fiery and impassioned speech of Douglas, Mr. Chase responded in bitter terms-alluding ironically to "the gigantic stature of the Senator"-(Douglas was a man of short stature, though powerfully built, Chase a tall and large man) and reaffirming that the Missouri Compromise was a sacred compact, etc., with all the other allegations contained in the address.

Whilst Mr. Sumner characterized the Repeal of the Compromise as "a soulless, eyeless monster-horrid, unshapely, and most fitly pictured in the verse of the poet :

'Monstrum, horrendum, informe, ingens, cui lumen, ademptum,'

[ocr errors]

and this monster is now let loose upon the country.' This was but the beginning of the bitterest and most fiercely contested of all congressional struggles, hitherto made.

1 Cong. Globe, Vol. 28, pp. 275-280.

* Idem, p. 282.


1854-Chase's amendment-He attacks President Pierce and Mr. Douglas in his speech-Extracts from speeches of Hon. Archibald Dixon, Gov. Jones (of Tennessee), Hon. Ben. Wade (of Ohio), and Hon. Wm. H. Seward (of New York).

The Repeal of the Missouri Compromise was now fairly launched on its stormy voyage. The Southern Whigs, with a few exceptions, were warmly in favor of it; as was the entire Democratic party, excepting its Free-soil wing, which could scarcely, however, be deemed a part of the Democracy. Nothing could exceed the virulence of denunciation, by the Free-soil Democrats and Abolition Whigs, of the President, of Douglas, and of the Repeal.

On February 3d, Mr. Chase offered an amendment to Judge Douglas' substitute, to strike. out "from section 14 these words: 'was superseded by the principles of the legislation of 1850, commonly called the Compromise measures, and'

"So that clause will read :

"That the Constitution, and all laws of the United States which are not locally inapplicable, shall have the same force and effect within the said Territory of Nebraska as elsewhere within the United States, except the eighth section of the act preparatory to the admission of Missouri into the Union, approved March 6, 1820.'' It would then stand as a simple repeal, without any reason given for it.

[ocr errors]

In Mr. Chase's argument in support of his motion, he arraigned the President as having violated his pledge, given in his message, to preserve "the repose of the country;" he declared that it was untrue that the Com1 Cong. Globe, Vol. 28, p. 329.

promise of 1850 has superseded the Act of 1820; he quoted from Mr. Atchison's remarks in 1853, that he "had no hope of the Repeal of the Missouri Compromise," as though to demonstrate that this lack of hope on Mr. Atchison's part converted the Repeal into a crime; and from Mr. Douglas' report, to show that when he wrote it, he had not thought it "wise and prudent" to enter into the discussion of "these controverted questions;" and therefore the Repeal was a crime. He states that:

"The Senator from Kentucky (Mr. Dixon), on the 16th of January, submitted an amendment which came square up to repeal, and to the claim. That amendment, probably, produced some fluttering and some consultation. It met the views of Southern Senators, and probably determined the shape which the bill has finally assumed. Of the various mutations which it has undergone, I can hardly be mistaken in attributing the last to the amendment of the Senator from Kentucky. That there is no effect without a cause, is among our earliest lessons in physical philosophy, and I know of no cause which will account for the remarkable changes which the bill underwent after the 16th of January, other than that amendment, and the determination of Southern Senators to support it, and to vote against any provision recognizing the right of any territorial legislature to prohibit the introduction of slavery.'

[ocr errors]

He says the doctrine of supersedure is a novelty—“a plant of but ten days' growth"-that such a proposition was never asserted until "it made its appearance in the Senator's bill." This statement differs so widely from the impression made by the talk between Messrs. Howe and Giddings in March, 1853, that one necessarily asks, "Could Mr. Chase have believed what he said?"

He goes on to state, speaking of Texas and New Mex

'The "slave-holding claim.”—AUTHOR.

* App. Cong. Globe, Vol. 29, p. 135.

ico, in regard to the prohibition of slavery north of 36° 30': "There was a compact between two States"and twists the articles of annexation in 1845 and the measures of 1850 all around in order to show that the Compromise of 1850 did not supersede the Act of 1820. It could scarcely have been ignorance that impelled so able a man as Mr. Chase to argue from the stand-point of absolute perversion of fact, as he certainly did on this question. Was it merely the argumentum ad ignorantiam, designed solely for home effect? For he could not have supposed that such a bald misstatement would be accepted by his brother Senators as that "There was a compact between two States"-when he must have known that they knew that New Mexico was not only not a State in 1850, but was organized as a Territory by the very bill of which he declares as to one of its provisions, "There was a compact between two States;" when, also, it was well and generally known that one of the main features of the Compromise of 1850 was the purchase by the United States from Texas of all her territory that lay north of 36° 30'; that nearly the whole of this purchase was then attached to New Mexico, and that under the bill for her organization as a Territory, she was to come into the Union "as a State, with or without slavery, as her people may decide." Where, then, was any compact between two States?

Do not such reckless misstatements as this, and those contained in the "Address," on the part of a man of Mr. Chase's ability, argue that he knew the position of the Abolitionists to be untenable in the face of fact?

We have seen how, in 1852, the Democracy, the Union, the Constitution, and non-intervention had triumphed over higher law, disunion, and Abolition. Strong as was the sentiment against slavery (and it was not only intense, but world-wide), yet the Northern people, as a majority, had seemed fully to appreciate that the South was, de facto, under the burden and incubus of the presence among them of a race that could be rendered en

durable members of society, only, by being kept in a state of absolute control; and the Abolitionists had long been held in scorn and detestation by them. For these Abolitionists had from the first hooted at the idea of the colonization of the negroes in Liberia, and insisted on their being set free at once, without deportation, as without compensation to their owners. The Northern people had, however, realized the monstrous injustice and cruelty to the South of setting free this race among her citizens, and were in favor mostly of leaving the Southern people to manage their own affairs.

When the original proposition to repeal the Act of Intervention of 1820 was made by Senator Dixon, it was recognized as the bold, direct, and straightforward action of a bold, direct, and straightforward man.

When the deficiency in his bill was pointed out to Judge Douglas by Mr. Dixon, he saw the force of his reasoning, and did not hesitate a moment as to the course it was his duty to pursue. He acknowledged the justice of the claim of the Southern States to an equality in the Union, and he determined at once to do what he was convinced was right and just. From this determination he never swerved, but held to it through revilement of enemies and desertion of those who should have remained his friends. His Free-soil, Abolition opponents saw plainly that they could not rout him by any fair argument, for all law, all fact, all justice, all Constitutional right, were on his side; and this was the reason why they resorted to perversion of fact, and to all manner of inventions of "bold schemes against American liberty"-"atrocious plots"-etc., declaring that there was some hidden and dangerous meaning underneath this plain above-board motion to repeal a most unjust and arbitrary act of Congress.

When Mr. Dixon turned his proposition over to Judge Douglas, it was with the purpose of insuring its success; and, when Douglas took it up and presented it substantially in his bill, it became, to all intents and purposes,

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »