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During the second session of the Thirtieth Congress, December 12, Mr. Lincoln voted for the following resolution, submitted in the House by Mr. Eckert :
"Resolved, That the Committee of Ways and Means be instructed to inquire into the expediency of reporting a Tariff Bill, based upon the principles of the tariff of 1842.”
On the 13th, Mr. Palfrey, of Mass., asked leave to introduce a bill for the repeal of all the acts of Congress establishing slavery in the District of Columbia. Mr. Lincoln, not believing in the expediency of intervention against slavery in the District, without compensation to the slave-owner, separated himself from several of his political friends, and voted against the proposition of Mr. Palfrey.
Later in the day Mr. Root offered the subjoined resolution:
"Resolved, That the Committee on Territories bet 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.”
Of the action of the House this day on the slavery question, Dr. Bailey, of the Era, who was warmly opposed to General Taylor's election, remarks:
"Mr. Palfrey asked leave to introduce a bill for the repeal of all acts of Congress, or parts of acts, establishing or maintaining slavery or the slave-trade in the District of Columbia. Mr. Holmes, of South Carolina, objected, and the question being taken by yeas and
nays, the vote stood, for granting leave, 70; against it, 81. It will be observed that only 151 members out of 228 voted. The House was not full, and some in their seats refused to vote. Had all the members voted, it is doubtful what would have been the result. It will be observed in our report, that very few Democrats of the North and West opposed the motion for leave. A few Northern and Western Whigs are recorded in the negative....... Mr. Root brought forward a resolution, that the Committee on the 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. Root moved the previous question. Hall, of Missouri, moved to lay on the table; Giddings, that there be a call of the House. The Clerk called the roll-187 members answered to their names, and further proceedings in the call were dispensed with. The motion to lay on the table was lost-yeas 80, nays 107. The previous question was seconded, the members passing through the tellers."
The motion was agreed to-ayes 106, nays 80—Mr. Lincoln, as usual, standing by the slavery-restriction clause.
THE GOTT RESOLUTION.
On the 21st of December, Mr. Gott offered in the House the following resolution :
"Whereas, The traffic now prosecuted in this metropolis of the Republic, in human beings, as chattels, is contrary to natural justice and the fundamental principles of our political system, and is notoriously a
reproach to our country throughout Christendom, and a serious hinderance to the progress of republican liberty among the nations of the earth: Therefore,
"Resolved, That the Committee for the District of Columbia be instructed to report a bill, as soon as practicable, prohibiting the slave trade in said District."
The resolution having been read
Mr. Haralson moved that it be laid on the table.
Mr. Wentworth and Mr. Gott demanded the yeas and nays, which were ordered.
And the resolution having been again read
The question on the motion of Mr. Haralson was taken, and resulted-yeas 82, nays 85.
Mr. Lincoln, true to his own convictions of what was best under the circumstances, voted for the Haralson motion to table the resolution, wishing to accompany such a bill with provisions which he considered necessary to its success.
The question then recurring on the demand for the previous question
Mr. Vinton rose to inquire of the Chair whether the resolution was open to amendment.
The Speaker said it would be open to amendment if the previous question should not be seconded.
The question being then taken, the demand for the previous question was seconded-yeas 85, nays 49.
Upon the question, "Shall the main question [upon the adoption of the resolution] be now put ?" the yeas and nays were demanded and ordered; and being taken, the yeas were 112, nays 64.
Mr. Houston, of Alabama, and Mr. Venable, called for the yeas and nays; which were ordered.
Mr. Donnell inquired of the Chair, if it would now be in order to move that there be a call of the House.
The Speaker answered in the negative.
And the main question, "Shall the resolution be adopted?" was then taken, and decided in the affirmative-yeas 98, nays 87--as follows:
YEAS-Messrs. Abbott, Ashmun, Belcher, Bingham, Blackmar, Blanchard, Butler, Canby, Cathcart, Collamer, Conger, Cranston, Crowell, Cummins, Darling, Dickey, Dickinson, Dixon, Daniel Duncan, Edwards, Embree, Nathan Evans, Faran, Farrelly, Fisher, Freedley, Fries, Giddings, Gott, Greeley, Gregory, Grinnell, Hale, Nathan K. Hall, James G. Hampton, Moses Hampton, Henley, Henry, Elias B. Holmes, Hubbard, Hudson, Hunt, Joseph R. Ingersoll, Irvin, James H. Johnson, Kellogg, Daniel P. King, Lahm, William T. Lawrence, Sidney Lawrence, Leffler, Lord, Lynde, McClelland, McIlvaine, Job Mann, Horace Mann, Marsh, Marvin, Morris, Mullin, Newell, Nicoll, Palfrey, Peaslee, Peck, Pettit, Pollock, Putnam, Reynolds, Richey, Robinson, Rockhill, Julius Rockwell, J. A. Rockwell, Rose, Root, Rumsey, St. John, Sherrill, Silvester, Slingerland, Robert Smith, Starkweather, C. E. Stuart, Strohm, Tallmadge, James Thompson, William Thompson, Thurston, Tuck, Turner, Van Dyke, Vinton, Warren, Wentworth, White and Wilson-98.
NAYS-Messrs. Adams, Barringer, Beale, Bedinger, Bocock, Botts, Bowlin, Boyd, Boydon, Bridges, William G. Brown, Charles Brown, Albert G. Brown, Buckner, Burt, Chapman, Chase, Franklin Clarke, Beverly L. Clarke, Howell Cobb, Williamson R. W. Cobb, Coke, Crisfield, Crozier, Daniel, Donnell, Dunn, Alexander Evans, Featherston, Ficklin, Flournoy, French, Fulton, Gaines, Gentry, Goggin, Green, Willard P. Hall, Hammons, Haralson, Harmanson, Harris, Hill, George S. Houston, John W. Houston, Inge, Charles J. Ingersoll, Iverson, Jameson, Andrew Johnson, G. W. Jones, J. W. Jones, Kennon, Thomas Butler King, La Sere, Ligon, Lincoln, Lumpkin, McClernand, McDowell, McLane, Meade, Miller, Morehead, Morse, Outlaw, Pendleton, Peyton, Pilsbury, Preston, Sawyer, Shepperd, Simpson, Smart, Stanton, Stephens, Strong, Thibodeaux, Thomas, R. W. Thompson, Tompkins, Toombs, Venable, Wallace, Wiley, Williams, and Woodward-88.
So the resolution was adopted.
The National Era, which was not inclined to show much mercy toward the supporters of Mr. Taylor's
Administration, gave the following explanation of certain votes cast against the resolution :
"Men will wonder, twenty-five years hence, how eighty-seven men, in an American Congress, could stand up before God, and virtually vote for the continuance of the trade in human beings in the capital of the foremost Republic in the world.
"We would be just, however. A few members from the free States voting nay feared any movement which might tend, in their opinion, to embarrass the question of slavery extension. These voted in the negative on the resolution, not because they were opposed to its object, but because they believed this object could be better attained, after the settlement of the question of slavery in the territories. While dissenting from the policy of these gentlemen, this statement from us is a simple act of justice to them."
On the 21st of December, Mr. McClelland in the House of Representatives offered the subjoined resolution :
"Resolved, That the present traffic in the public lands should cease, and that they should be disposed of to occupants and cultivators, on proper conditions, at such a price as will nearly indemnify the cost of their purchase, management, and sale."
The previous question was called, and a motion was made to lay the resolution on the table, which prevailed. Mr. Lincoln voted against tabling it, because he was ready to do anything which should give the public lands to the people, and not to the speculators.