Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

SENATE.]

Caln Quarterly Meeling MemorialSpeculation in Indian Claims.

[Jan. 11, 1856.

tween the course he (Mr. C.) had pursued, and the one Mr. KING, of Alabama, could see no difference bethe Senator recommends. A reference of these peti- | tween discussing the question on this or on the former tions is not necessary to give jurisdiction to the Competition. The language of this memorial, indeed, being mittee for the District, in order to bring out their opin more respectful, there seemed to be a propriety to conion and that of the Senate on the highly important point fine the debate to it, rather than to extend it on the on which the Senator anticipated so much unanimity. other, the words of which were calculated to produce A resolution may be moved expressly denying the pow so much bitterness and excitement. er of Congress, and referred to the committee; and, if Mr. WEBSTER hoped that the Senator from Pennno other should move it, he (Mr. C.) would, if accept. sylvania would not take a course by which all the ordiable to the Senator from Virginia. So far from the two rary business of the morning would be obstructed, and courses being incompatible, they were, in his opinion, that the consideration of this memorial would be deferin perfect harmony, and, together, formed the true red until the other petitions had been received. course. Let the Senate, by a unanimous rejection of Mr.CALHOUN thought the debate which commenced these vile slanders on the slaveholding States, show a on Thursday ought to be resumed and continued. He just indignation at the insult offered ihem; and let it saw no reason why this memorial should take priority be followed by the passage of a resolution, with like over the one presented from Obio; why we should break unanimity, denying the power of Congress to touch the away from that petition to receive this, merely because subject of emancipation in this District; and much, the language in which it was couched was respectful; that very much, would be done to put down agitation, to is, as respectful as could be expected. For, however restore confidence to the South, and preserve harmony temperate it might seem, the same principle was imto the Union.

bodied in it; and the inuendoes conveyed were as far The question of postponement till Monday was then from being acceptable as the bare faced insolence of the determined in the affirmative.

other. He hoped the debate would go on on the first On motion of Mr. WEBSTER, it was

petition; that the question would be met manfully; and Ordered, That when the Senate adjourn, it adjourn that, at the same time, we should not encroach upon the to meet on Monday.

hour which ought to be devoted to other business. The Senate then adjourned.

Mr. KING, of Alabama, said his object was to avoid excitement. The object of the petitioners in both me

morials was the same. It intends the abolition of slaMONDAY, JANUARY 11.

very and of the traffic in slaves in the District of Colum. The honorable A. CUTHBERT, from Georgia, appear bia. He had no wish to shrink from the question; on ed and took his seat.

the contrary, he was desirous of giving a direct vote.

Let the motion of the Senator from Pennsylvania preCALN QUARTERLY MEETING MEMORIAL.

vail, and certainly the object of the gentleman from After the reception of sundry executive communica- South Carolina would be attained. It would say to all tions and memorials,

who hold the same sentiments with these petitioners, that Mr. BUCHANAN said he was now about to present no further action would be had on any similar memothe memorial of the Caln quarterly meeting of the reli- rials, except merely to read and to reject them. He had gious society of Friends in Pennsylvania, requesting hoped that this session would pass away without any adCongress to abolish slavery and the slave trade in the ditional excitement. But the legislation here upon the District of Columbia. On this subject he had expressed subject had produced tenfold agitation. Suppose you his opinions to the Senate on Thursday last, and he had reject the petition from Ohio because the language is no disposition to repeat them at present. He would say, disrespectful, will that put an end to this excitement? however, that, on a review of these opinions, he was Any man must be blind not to see that an impression, perfectly satisfied with them. All he should now say and a well-founded one, would go abroad that it was not was, that the memorial which he was about to present received on that account merely, and that legislation was perfectly respectful in its language. Indeed, it was had on it in reference only to the language in which could not possibly be otherwise, considering the respect it was couched. The course pointed out by the Senaable source from which it emanated.

tor from Pennsylvania puts an end to all this. It says It would become his duty to make some motion in re distinctly, we will reject what we will not, cannot, ought gard to this memorial. On Thursday last he had sug not to receive. He had no disposition and no intention gested that, in bis judgment, the best course to pursue to take any part in the debate. He should give a silent was to refer these memorials to a select committee, or vote. to the Committee for the District of Columbia. Ke still Mr. CLAY said that he had not risen to take a part in thought so; but lie now found that insurmountable ob. the principal question. He did not think, however, that stacles presented themselves to such a reference. these petitioners ought to have any monopoly of the

In presenting this memorial, and in exerting bimself, time and attention of the Senate. He could not consent so far as in bim lay, to secure for it that respectable re to it. He had a motion himself which he wished to preception by the Senate which it deserved, he should do sent, and to which he attached much importance. He his duty to the memorialists. After it should obtain this should therefore more that this whole matter be laid on reception, he should have a duty to perform to himself the table, at least until the necessary business of the and to his country. He was clearly of opinion, for the morning be got through with. reasons he had stated on Thursday last, that Congress The question being taken, the memorial, &c., was orought not, at this time, to abolish slavery in the District dered to lie on the table. of Columbia, and that it was our duty promptly to place this exciting question at rest. He should therefore move

SPECULATION IN INDIAN CLAIMS. that the memorial be read, and that the prayer of the Mr. BLACK said he had received, and would take memorialists be rejected.

this occasion to present, a memorial from a number of the Mr. PRESTON said that the question was already citizens of Mississippi, residing in the northern part of raised by his colleague, and he trusted that the Senator that State, on an important subject. It related to exfrom Pennsylvania would not urge any action on this pe- tensive frauds said to be about to be practised on the Gortition until some disposition was made of tbe one pre-I memorialists suppose, at least the quantity of upwards

ernment in relation to the public lands, involving, as the sented on Thursday by the gentleman from Ohio.

Jas, 11, 1836.]

Speculation in Indian Claims.

(SENATE.

of two millions of acres of public lavd. lle was inform the public lands. It was said these frauds had been the ed that there was much excitement on the subject in result of misconstruction of the President's language, that State, and that other memorials would be forwarded, and he wished it may turn out so: But he hoped, to numerously signed. It appears by the treaty of Dan- whatever committee ile subject might be referred, that cing Rabbit creek, that, to each Choctaw head of a fami- every effort would be used to bring these nefarious cully desirous of remaining and becoming citizens of Alabama prits before the world, and to hold them up to the inor Mississippi, a reservation was made of six hundred dignation they deserve for having attempted to commit and forty acres of land, to include improvements, and to so outrageous a robbery on the public property. From each child a less quantity, adjoining the improvement of what he had gathered, there had been no project since the parent; the land to be patented to claimants after a the famous Yazoo business, which had been so nefariresidence thereon of five years. It was made neces ous as the schemes which had been carried on in Missary, under the 14th article, which contains this pro- sissippi, and he hoped every pains would be taken to vision, that all intending to avail themselves of this ad- ferret out the abuse. vantage should record their names with the Indian Mr. WHITE, of Tennessee, made a few remarks on agent within six months after the making of the treaty. the subject. He said be was led to believe, from inThis register was kept by the agent at that time, (Colo- formation which had reached him, chiefly through the nel Ward,) but it appears that, by mistake, some names newspapers, that a plan had been laid for an immense were omitted, or, if recorded, the register has been speculation, under cover of the Indian treaty referred to; mutilated.. The memorialists state that some specu- in pursuance of which, the claims that might be allowed lators, seizing upon the advantage which this circum to certain Indians under the treaty, to a very large stance afforded, have gone to the Indians who have re amount, bad been bought up by individuals. His be. moved beyond the Mississippi river, and have procured, lief was, that claims of this kind had been purchased for a trifling consideration, very numerous claims, to be up, by using the names of the Indians, but entirely for preferred, sufficient to cover all, or nearly all, the good the benefit of other persons. The Government, (Mr. land remaining. He was informed that some of these w. said,) in his opinion, lay under a high responsibility gentlemen, speculating on these claims, no doubt from to protect the Indians in the rights reserved by the “patriotic motives," had sold out their chances for im- treaty. By this speculation in the contingent claims of mense sums. He was also informed that, seizing upon the Indians, if sanctioned by Congress, great injustice the advantage of the fact that these lands had been re would be done to them. He hoped, he said, that not a served from the late sales, they were endeavoring to ex claim of this description would be allowed until it was act large amounts from the settlers to quiet their posses-ascertained that the whole amount of it would enure sions, and secure their homes, under the apprehension solely and exclusively to the benefit of the Indian enthat these claims will finally be made good. Mr. B. titled to it. So far as he was concerned, as a member said he had no doubt there were some few cases in which of the committee to whom it was proposed to refer this individuals among the Choctaws had suffered detriment subject, he wished to be understood that he would not by their names not appearing in the register kept by the consent that any man but an Indian should enjoy the agent, who have conformed to the requisitions of the benefit of any one of these claims. No white man treaty; but he had no doubt that those cases were very should, with his consent, enrich himself by the beggary few indeed, and those should meet, when presented, of those people, whom he considered peculiarly under with the favorable attention of Congress. Wbat be the guardianship of the United States. desired at present was, to put all on their guard against Mr. WEBSTER remarked that the fame of these these claims, and to prevent the innocent settlers from speculations had reached the State in which he resided. being taken in by them. They must come into the action. These reservations had been made in the expectation of Congress; and while he was ready to do justice to the that they would be productive of substantial benefits to meritorious claims, he would at the same time say it was the Indians. It seemed, however, that the substantial his firm conviction that few, very few, will be found to benefits had been in another quarter. He wished to be of that character. He would advise the settlers, know if he had understood that these grants, obtained therefore, against causeless apprehension, and all es by the speculators, would require the sanction of Con. pecially against dealing in such improbable chances. gress to make them valid. if so, he was very glad to Mr. B. said he had been informed that one hundred sec hear it. tions had been reserved at a single land office, without Mr. BLACK, in explanation, stated that some of the any power so to reserve. The land should, after baving grants were registered in the proper manner, and be. been proclaimed, have been sold.

longed to the Indians, and he hoped these would not As to the direction which this memorial shall take, he be prejudiced. Others would require the sanction of remarked that he was not allogether sure that it proper-Congress. ly belonged to the Committee on Private Land Claims. Mr. KING, of Alabama, stated (as well as lie could He did not desire the investigation in which these claims be heard) that, owing to the negligence of the agent, would probably involve the committee; yet, if the Sen or by some means, some of those who were regularly ate thought that the proper direction, he was ready to registered had not received their lands. The evidence undertake it, and they should be subjected to the of iheir claims was ordered to be presented to Congress strictest scrutiny. They cannot be passed without le at the last session, but was not sent; and as the acting gislative action, and none of them shall pass until

, agent had gone on to render the sales, he hoped none after the fullest investigation, they shall be found to be of those who had legally availed themselves of the projust.

visions of the treaty would be injured. The claim of a After a few words from Mr. KING, of Alabama, in white citizen ought not to be disallowed, if it should be audible to the reporters, from the loud conversation in found that the Indians received all the advantages guarthe privileged seats,

antied to them by the treaty. Mr. CLAY expressed his gratification that the Sena Mr. WHITE briefly explained that, under the fourtor from Mississippi had brought forward this subject; teenth article of the treaty, no Indian was to receive a and stated that he had received accounts of extensive patent for his land unless he had resided on it for five frauds said to have been committed under the Choctaw years. He wished it to be understood that he did not treaty. It had even been said that the extent of these intend to give any opinion on these claims in advance. frauds would amount to ten millions of dollars out of 1 There were none presented to be relied on, on which

SENATE.]

Abolition of Slavery--Sufferers by Fire in New York.

[Jan. 12, 1836.

up; when

to found an opinion. But, as one of the Committee on has not, however, done so; and probably will not, withIndian Affairs, he was determined not to permit any out a call from the Senate. location of a white citizen unless he was satisfied that Mr. C. then offered the following resolutions, whichi the full benefit of the reservation had resulted to the lie upon the table for one day: Indian.

Resolved, That the President be requested to commuThe petition was then referred to the Committee on nicate to the Senate (if it be not in his opinion incomPrivate Land Claims.

patible with the public interest) whether, since the terSUFFERERS BY FIRE IN NEW YORK.

mination of the last Congress, any overture, formal or inMr. WEBSTER, from the Committee on Finance, re

formal, official or unofficial, has been made by the French

Government to the Executive of the United States, to ported a bill for the relief of the sufferers by the fire in

accommodate the difficulties between the two Governthe city of New York; which was read twice. Mr. W. stated that he should ask the Senate to act

ments respecting the execution of the convention of the on this bill at an early day, perhaps to-morrow.

4th day of July, 1831; and, particularly, whether a de

spatch from the Duc de Broglie, the French Minister of SUPPRESSION OF INDIAN HOSTILITIES.

Foreign Affairs, to the French chargé de affaires at Mr. WEBSTER, from the Committee on Finance, Washington, was read, and the original or a copy of it reported a bill making appropriation for suppressing furnished by him to the Secretary of State, for the purthe hostilities with the Seminole Indians, with an amend-pose of indicating a mode in which those difficulties might ment.

be removed. Mr. W. explained briefly the necessity for acting on Resolved, also, (under the restriction above mentioned) this bill at once, and stated that the amendment in in the event of any such overture having been made, creased the appropriation from 80,000 to 120,000 that the President be requested to inform the Senate dollars.

wbat answer was given to it; and if the original or a copy The amendment was ordered to be engrossed, and of any such despatch were received, that he be further the bill to be read a third time.

requested to communicate a copy of it to the Senate. THE UNITED STATES AND FRANCE.

DISTRICT BANKS. Mr. CLAY rose and said it must be obvious to every

Mr. Berton's resolution to appoint a special commit

tee on the banks of the District of Columbia was taken observer of passing events, that our affairs with France are becoming every day more and more serious in their character, and are rapidly tending to a crisis. Mutualtion to a special committee, intimating that the Commit

Mr. SOUTHARD made some observations in opposiirritations are daily occurring, from the animadversions of the public press, and among individuals, in and out

tee for the District of Columbia might be instructed to of office, in both countries; and a state of feeling,

make the inquiries. greatly to be deprecated, if we are to preserve the re

After a few words from Mr. BENTON, in reply, lations of peace, must certainly be the consequence.

Mr. SOUTHARD stated that he wished to prepare an According to the theory of our constitution, our diplo- lution on the table; which motion was agreed to.

amendment, and moved to lay, for the present, the resomatic concerns with foreign countries are intrusted to the President of the United States, until they reach a

SLAVERY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. certain point involving the question of peace or war,

The motion of Mr. Calhoun, not to receive the petiand then Congress is to determine on that momentous tions from Ohio, coming up in order, question. In other words, the President conducts our Mr. LEIGH said he proposed to make some remarks, foreign intercourse; Congress alone can change that in and moved to postpone the subject until to-morrow; tercourse from a peaceable to a belligerent one. This which was agreed to. right to decide the question of war carries along with

EXECUTIVE PATRONAGE. it the right to know whatever has passed between our own Executive and the Government of any foreign Pow

The special order, being the bill to repeal the 1st and

2d sections of an act to limit the terms of office of cerer. No matter what may be the nature of the correspondence-whether official or not-whether formal or

tain officers therein named, was taken up; and the bill informal-Congress has the right to any and all informa

was considered as in Committee of the Whole, and retion whatever which may be in the possession of the ported without amendment, after some remarks from other branch of the Government. No Senator here could

Mr. CALHOUN and Mr. CUTHBERT. have failed to have been acquainted with the fact that the

Mr. WRIGHT asked for the yeas and nays on the contents of a most important despatch or document has question of the engrossment of the bill, and they were been discussed, and a most important overture canvassed

ordered accordingly, in the different newspapers--in private and political cir- the bill for a third reading, and decided as follows:

The question was then taken on the engrossment of cles-by individuals: every body, in fact, knows what has taken place, except the Congress of the United

YEAS— Messrs. Benton, Black, Calhoun, Clay, ClayStates. The papers friendly to the administration--in

ton, Crittenden, Ewing, Goldsborough, Kent, King of deed, the whole circle of the American press--are in Georgia, Leighi, McKean, Mangum, Moore, Naudain, possession of the contents of a paper which this body Prentiss, Preston, Robbins, Southard Swifi, Tomlinson, has not been yet allowed to see; and I have one journal, Tyler, Webster, White—24. a Southern administration journal, before me, which

NAIS--Messrs. Brown, Buchanan, Cutlibert, Grundy, states a new and important fact in reference to it. I have

Hendricks, Hill, Hubbard, King of Alabama, Knight, said that our situation with France grows every day Linn, Morris, Niles, Robinson, Ruggles, Shepley, Tallmore embarrassing--the aspect of our relations with her madge, Wall, Wright-18. more and more dark and threatening. I could not, there

The Senate then adjourned. fore, longer delay in making the following motion. I should have done so before, but for a prevalent rumor

TUESDAY, JANUARY 12. that the President would soon make a communication to

SUFFERERS BY FIRE IN NEW YORK. Congress, which would do away the necessity of the res On motion of Mr. WEBSTER, the Senate proceeded olutions which I now submit, by laying before Congress to consider the bill for the relief of the sufferers by the the information which is the object of my motion. He l fire in the city of New York.

March 11, 1836.)

Slavery in the District of Columbia.

(SENATE.

are

opinions he entertainel, to give his support lo the pres of some of my constituents. I will therefore state one ent motion.

reason, and one only, that governs me in the vote I shall The Senate has by voting to receive this petition, on give. The petitioners pray for two things in their me. the ground on which the reception was placed, assumed morial: one the abolition of slavery; and the other a the principle that we are bound to receive petitions to suppression of the slave tradle in the District of Columabolish slavery, whether in this District or the States; bia. Now, sir, believing as I do that there is a slave that is, to take jurisdiction of the question of abolishing trade carried on in this District which I believe im. slavery whenever and in whatever manner the abolition proper, unjust, and inhuman, and ought to be suppressists may think proper to present the question. le con. ed, and, were it examined and brought to light, would sidered this decision pregnant with consequences of the not be justified by any Senator on this floor, I cannot most disastrous character. When and how they were to. vote to reject the petition. I would have preferred its occur it was not for him to predict; but he could not be reference to a committee, and to have this slave trade mistaken in the fact that there must follow a long train inquired into, and the facts reported to the Senate; but of evils. What, he would ask, must hereafter be the as no Senator has moved its reference, I will not at this condition on this floor of the Senators from the slave- stage of the business make the motion, but will content bolding States? No one can expect that what has been myself with voting against the motion of the Senator done will arrest ihe progress of the abolitionists. Its from Pennsylvania, which is, to reject the prayer of the effects must be the opposite, and instead of diminishing | petition. must greally increase the number of the petitions. Under Mr. PRESTON srid: No one, Mr. President, de the decision of the Senate, we of the South are doomed plores more than I do the fact that the Senate has taken to sit here and receive in silence, however outrageous jurisdiction of these petitions, so far as to receive them. or abusive in their language towards us and those whom i opposed the reception of them as strenuously and as we represent, the petitions of the incendiaries who are zealously and as perseveringly as I could; and I endeavmaking war on our institutions. Nay, more, we

ored to warn the Senate of the disastrous consequence bound, without the power of resistance, to see the Sen. which might result from giving even thus much counteate, at the request of these incendiaries, whenever they nance to the petitioners. I was overruled; and it is a think proper to petition, extend its jurisdiction on the matter of additional regret that I was overruled by the subject of slavery over the States as well as this Districi. vote of one half of the representation of my own section Thus deprived of all power of effectual resistance, can and interests. I am sorry, sir, that the Senate has reany thing be considered more hopeless and degrading ceived these petitions; but, having done so, what is now than our situation; to sit here, year after year, session my duty? On this question I do not hesitate. I wished after session, hearing ourselves and our constituents vili the strongest action against the abolitionists. Failing fied by thousands of incendiary publications in the form in that, I shall go for the next strongest. I might conof petitions, of which the Senate, by its decision, is ceive a case in which the Senate could adopt or discuss bound to take jurisdiction, and against which we must a course of action upon this subject that would make it rise like culprits to defend ourselves, or permit them to my duty not to participate in its councils; and if such a go uncontradicted and unresisted? We must ultimately case should occur, I will withdraw myself from the be not only degraled in our own estimation and that of body, and take advice of my constituents. But as long the world, but be exhausted and worn out in such a as I remain a member of this body, I shall feel myself contest.

specially called upon to give my most anxious attention Whatever may be the feelings of others, he, for one, to the progress of its deliberations upon these petitions. if he stood alone, would not give liis countenance to so I shall continue to warn gentlemen of the dangerous dangerous an assumption of jurisdiction in any manner ground upon which they are adventuring. I shall conor form whatever. To vote for the motion now pend. tinue to proclaim the duties of this Government and the ing would, in his opinion, give such countenance; and, rights of my constituents. I will let it be known by my if he had no other reason, would prevent him from give declarations, and by the record of my votes, that I have ing it his support.

endeavored, to the last, to give such shape to your proBut he had other reasons. In his view of the subject, ceedings as to avert, as far as practicable, the calamithe vote to receive gave a fatal stab to the rights of the ties with which I deeply fear the agitation of these ques. people of the slaveholding States, as far as it could be tions is pregnant. I vote for the rejection of the prayer given here; and the present motion was vainly intended of these petitions, as the strongest expression of disapto pour a healing balm into the wound. So far from probation now left to us to give to them. doing good, it can but do mischief. It can have no infu. Mr. DAVIS, of Massachusetts, said he had been a si. ence whatever in stopping the mischief at the North, lent but he hoped not inattentive listener to the debate. while it is calculated to throw the South off its guard. It had been his purpose not to engage in it, if his votes Thus viewed, he was compelled to say that the very could be made iniclligible without. He had, however, worst possible direction has been given to the subject, last evening felt the necessity of some explanation, and as far as we were concerned, and that in voting for the had resolved to make it this morning; but, suffering as present molion we would increase rather than diminish he then was under indisposition, he could not venture the mischief. What the votes of Senators from other upon the task further than to state, in as few words as quarters would not be able to effect standing alone, to possible, the principles upon which he should record his create a false security among those we represent, might vote on the question now to be taken. be effected with the aid of ours.

This question is now considered momentous, but, in Entertaining these views, it was impossible for him to bis humble opinion, it had acquired an importance in vote for the motion. But could he vote against it? No. this place which it did not deserve. The subject had It would put him in a false position, which he did not called to its investigation the talents, wisdom, and singu. choose to assume. With these alternatives there was lar eloquence, of this enlightened and distinguished but one course left for him to pursue, consistently with body. The fervid animation which had pervaded the his sense of duty-to abstain from all participation in debate had kindled a zeal, an ardor, in the minds of the the further progress of this question.

gentlemen, until the subject had been wrought up into Mr. KNIGHT said: The vote that I shall give on this its present apparently grave and important character. question may be different from the vote of many of my But he would call the attention of the Senate back for friends here, and probably variant from the expectations I a moment to the proposition actually before it. And

SENATE.]

Slavery in the District of Columbia.

(March 11, 1836.

what was it? A few persons, represented as humble tained matter fit for the consideration of Congress? but respectable individuals of the religious sect called Would not the petitioners and the public understand by Friends, had presented here their petition, in unobjec that vote that slavery here and in the States, in the tionable language, requesting Congress to inquire into judgment of the Senate, stands on a different footing in the propriety of abolishing slavery-where? Yes, regard to Congress? That the Senate had agreed to where? Not in the States of this Union; they have not act on the subject by considering it, because it had invited a consideration of that matter, nor alluded to it; constitutional power so to do? It was not a direct decithey have nowhere touched that disturbing topic, or sion of that question, but it was so by implication. claimed any right for this Government to interfere with In view of this state of public opinion as to constitu. it; but they ask you to turn your eyes upon this District tional power, and of this decision made here, he had of Columbia--this ten miles square-over which you ex endeavored to think, with the Senator from Pennsylvaercise exclusive legislative power; and here, in this nia, that his motion was judicious, and would accomplish place, and in this place alone, to do two things: to abol his purpose of tranquillizing public sentiment; but, when ish slavery, and to suppress the slave trade. This was he saw this great and uniform current of public opinion all. And yet it seemed to him as if, through the whole on the question of right, he thought there should be debate, the subject had been argued and the petition some urgent emergency to justify a refusal to consider treated as if it demanded the abolition of slavery in the the subject, and to let it pass through the usual forms several States, by an act of this Government. It was of deliberation. The measlire was characterized here this, and this alone, which drew to it the all-absorbing as it would be elsewhere. It had been said and reiterinterest whicli appeared to pervade some minds. How ated on this floor, « let us receive the petition, and then had this petition, tbus limited in its objects, been treated? treat it with the contempt it deserves, by an instant reThe petitioners were met at the door with a proposition jection of the prayer.” What was he to understand by to shut it in their face, and to forbid their entrance. A this? He made the inquiry in no invidious or reproachgreat and strenuous effort was made, and, I doubt not, ful sense, for he believed gentlemen uttered the sentiwith sincerity of purpose, believing it to be useful, to ments in their minds, and gave to the measure the charrepel them, to send them away with a stern denial of acter which they conceived belonged to it. But what their right to address this body. The debate had been was he to understand? Just wbat the public would unJong, ardent, and imposing, and, at its termination yes. derstand: that there was a purpose of rejection without terday, a vote was taken which overruled the motion to deliberation; that, from this decision, petitioners might reject, and the petition is now rightfully brought into consider it hopeless to come here, because they would the custody of the Senate. This vote seemed to decide understand the determination of this body as inexorable, that it contained matter suitable for this place, and prop both in regard to abolition and the traffic in slaves in er to be here considered. The question then arose, what this District as a market. was to be done with it? The Senator from Pennsylva He was not prepared to embrace this broad proposinia, (Mr. BUCHANAN,] his worthy friend, had, in an early tion, for it combined too many grave matters; nor did stage of the proceedings, intimated his purpose of mov he like it in other respects, as it seemed to him to be ing to reject the prayer of the petition; in other words, designed only for extraordinary cases. It was like rethat the Senate would not legislate upon the abolition of jecling a bill on its second reading, which he had never slavery, or the suppression or modification of the slave known done but once, and then because it was deemed trade in the District of Columbia. He gave the honorable vexatious; and he at that time thought it a harsh, inexpeSenator all credit for the ability with which he had sustain dient measure, characterized rather by resentment than ed the motion, for the purity of purpose which had in deliberation. Every thing had conspired to convince duced him to offer it, and for sincerity, when he had re him that, if the Senate would give power and efficacy peatedly declared his object to be to restore peace and to their vote, if they would satisfy a reasoning public of harmony, by discountenancing such petitions. If he con. their wisdom and prudence, they must do it by showing curred in that opinion, if he thought that would be the con that public that they had treated the subject calmly, dis. sequence, he would cheerfully give the measure his sup- passionately, and with reference to the whole country. port. But, after considering the matter, with an anxious Why, he asked, do you have standing committees? Why and sincere desire to co-operate with the mover, he was a rule that all subjects-yes, all subjects shall be reobliged, in the conscientious discharge of his duty, to ferred to them? Why do you require these committees separate from him; and he had risen to state his reasons to examine and report upon the matters intrusted to for doing so, and it should be only a simple statement. them? Why have a rule which requires each and every The first motion was out of the usual course of legisla. | bill to be read on three different days before it can be tion. It was a sudden, prompt denial of a right to ap- passed? Il is to secure deliberation; it is that this body pear, and seemed designed raiher to deter than to con. may be what it is called--a deliberative body, acting in ciliate the petitioners. The second was alike unusual; the great matters confided to it with a calm considera. for, while it admitted the right to appear, it denied the tion which onght to secure public confidence and reright to a delibera!e hearing, and differs more in form spect. In his opinion, this subject, which had been: than in substance.

wrought up into one of exciting :magnitude, demanded The Senator from South Carolina (Mr. Calioun) had cool, dispassionate consideration, and ought to have just informed us that the slaveholders entertained the taken the usual course of other matters. He would opinion that Congress had no constitutional power to have moved the commitment of the petition to the Com.' touch slavery in the District of Columbia. It would be mittee for the District of Columbia, but there was little folly for bim (Mr. D.) to attempt to disguise the fact hope of carrying it, and he was, besides, unwilling to that a vast majority of the people of the free States embarrass the motion of the Senator from Pennsylvania, entertain exacily the opposite opinion. He did not which lie seemed to have much at heart. remember to have heard this doctrine advanced before He had spoken of this petition as if it stood fortlı here this debate, either here or elsewhere, although peti- like the other business before them, having supporters tions had been sent here at every session, and sometimes to press it forward; but this motion to reject was a vol. debate had arisen upon them. What, he would ask, untary motion; yes, a voluntary motion. And what, he was the fair interpretation of the vote taken here yester: asked, do I mean by that? He meant that no one had risen day, by which this petition was received by an over. here, or in the other llouse, to advocate the prayer of whelming majority? Was it not declaring ihat it con the petitioners; no one had asked for any legislative

« AnteriorContinuar »