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and soil, and of the laws of God, should be run to establish institutions for a people; yet out of a regard for the peace and quiet of the country, out of respect for past pledges, out of a desire to adhere faithfully to all pledges, and out of a desire to adhere faithfully to all compromises, I sustained the Missouri Compromise so long as it was in force, and advocated its extension to the Pacific. Now when that has been abandoned, when it has been superseded, when a great principle of self-government has been substituted for it, I choose to cling to that principle, and abide in good faith not only by the letter, but by the spirit, of the last compromise, (namely, that of 1850, in which the right of framing their own constitutions, whether by the admission or prohibition of slavery, was conceded to Utah and New Mexico.) “Sir, I do not recognize the right of the Abolitionists of this country to arraign me for being false to sacred pledges, as they have done in their proclamation. Let them show when and where I have ever violated a compact. I have proved that I stood by the compact of 1820 and 1845, and proposed its continuance in 1848. I have proved that the Freesoilers and Abolitionists were the guilty parties who violated that compromise then. I should like to compare notes with those Abolition confederates about adherence to compromises. When did they stand by or approve of any one that was ever made “Did not every Abolitionist and Freesoiler in America denounce the Missouri Compromise in 1820? Did they not for years hunt down ravenously for his blood every man who assisted in making that compromise ? Did they not in 1845, when Texas was annexed, denounce all of us who went for the annexation of Texas and for the continuation of the Missouri Compromise line through it? Did they not in 1848 denounce me as a slavery propagandist for standing by the principles of the Missouri Compromise, and for proposing to continue the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific Ocean * Did they not violate and repudiate it then 2 Is not the charge of bad faith true as to every Abolitionist in America, instead of being true as to me and the committee, and those who advocate this bill? . “They talk about the bill being a violation of the compromise measures of 1850. Who can show me a man in either House of Congress who was in favor of the compromise measures of 1850, and who is not now in favor of leaving the people of Nebraska and Kansas to do as they please upon the subject of slavery according to the provisions of my bill? Is there one 2 If so, I have not heard of him. This tornado has been raised by the Abolitionists, and the Abolitionists alone. They have made an impression on the public mind in the way which I have mentioned, by a falsification of the law and the facts; and this whole organization against the compromise measures of 1850 is an Abolition movement. I presume they had some hope of getting a few tender-footed Democrats into their plot; and acting on what they supposed they might do, they sent forth, publicly to the world the falsehood that their address was signed by the Senators and a majority of the Representatives from the State of Ohio; but when we come to examine the signatures we find no one Whig there, no one Democrat there, none but pure, unadulterated Abolitionists. * * “Now I ask the friends and the opponents of the measure to look at it as it is. Is not the question involved, the simple one, Whether the people of the territories shall be allowed to do as they please upon the question of slavery, subject only to the limitation of the Constitution ? # * * “When you propose to give them a territorial government, do you not acknowledge that they are capable of self-government? Having made that acknowledgment, why should you not allow them to exercise the rights of legislation ? Oh, these Abolitionists are entirely willing to concede all this, with one exception. They say they are willing to trust the territorial legislature, under the limitations of the Constitution, to legislate on the rights of inheritance, to legislate in regard to religion, education, morals, to legislate in regard to the relations of husband and wife, of parent and child, and guardian and ward, upon every thing pertaining to the dearest rights and interests of white men, but they are not willing to trust them to legislate in regard to a few miserable negroes. That is their single exception. They acknowledge that the people of the territories are capable of deciding for themselves concerning white men, but not in relation to negroes. The real gist of the matter is
this: Does it require any higher degree of civilization, intelligence, bravery, and sagacity, to legislate for negroes than for white men 2 If it does, we ought to adopt the Abolition doctrine and go with them against this bill. If it does not, if we are willing to trust the people with 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.” Mr. CAss, while the Nebraska bill was under consideration in the Senate, delivered a speech in which the following paragraphs are found: “Mr. President, for some years we have heard a great deal about the fundamental articles of compact, by which governments for the territory north-west of the Ohio were originally instituted; and a good many erroneous impressions have prevailed concerning them. What were they Having lived under a territorial government in that region many years of my life, the history of the organizations of these political communities is perfectly familiar to me. The Congress of the old Confederation, in 1787, passed a law establishing the northwestern territory. It was styled an ordinance, and many have supposed that it derived peculiar solemnity from the use of this term. But this is a mistake. “Be it ordained,” &c., was the formula of enactment before the Constitution, and this ordinance had no more validity than the usual acts of the old Congress. It has been supposed, too, that the whole of this act constituted a compact. That is an equal error. “Now, sir, what is a compact? I have just adverted to the dictionary, to the old and standard English lexicographer, to ascertain its meaning, and here it is: “A compact is a contract, an accord, or agreement between two or more to do or forbear something.” Now, sir, in applying this definition to the case before us, let us inquire who were the “two or more’ parties or persons by whom this contract was made 2 It will be hard to find them. The law was passed, as I have said, by the old Confederation; and there never was, in fact, any other party to it. What did they undertake to do? They undertook to establish five articles containing various provisions of more or less importance, affecting the rights and interests of the people then occupying, or who might in all time to come occupy, the region oyer which the ordinance extended. And they declared that they should never be altered but in the mode pointed out. And will any man seriously contend that is a compact! What other party was there to it? There were some thousands of people then living in that country, not one of whom heard of this contract, which was forever to bind them for years and years after its promulgation. It is an insult to common sense to say, that they and their posterity are bound by such a one-sided instrument as that. “Besides, if there had not been a single man in those regions, how could a compact be established which was forever to operate on a people thereafter to exist there, when no provision was made for submitting it to their assent, under any circumstances or in any future time? It is idle, sir, to talk of the obligatory nature of a compact thus declared to be such by one party, without the existence of any other party at the time, and without any arrangement for procuring its concurrence when such party should come into existence. This ordinance is destitute of the first essence of mutual obligation. —“But, sir, independent of the fatal objection of the want of parties, there was another equally fatal, and that was the want of power. Nothing was more certain than that the Congress of the Confederation had not the slightest authority to establish territorial governments; and there is no man who will turn to the Articles of Confederation and examine them, who will have the least doubt upon the subject.” “Mr. MADIsoN said, in speaking upon the subject, “all this has been done,’ that is, governments have been organized, ‘without the least color of constitutional authority.’ And Mr. ADAMs said “that the ordinance of 1789 had been passed by the old Congress of the Confederation without authority from the States.” “These remarks prove that the States of the north-west territory have full power to establish slavery in them if they see fit. “The Senator from Illinois, Mr. Douglas, told us the other day, proved to us, indeed, that his State recognized the existence of slavery, notwithstanding its eternal interdiction in the
ordinance of 1789. And I have never heard, until recently, that the power of the other north-western States to do the same thing was either doubted or denied. If they cannot by their conventions regulate the condition of slavery as they please, they have not a just political equality in the Union.”
1. After the Nebraska bill was passed in the Senate, the “Emigrant Aid Society” was incorporated by the Massachusetts Legislature, on the 4th of May, 1854, which was some weeks before the bill passed the House and became a law. A new charter was received in February, 1855. The object of its formation was to make Kansas a free State, by furnishing aid to emigrants who would go there for that purpose. The general policy of Massachusetts had been to aid men to stay in the Commonwealth, by establishing manufactures, and by other means, rather than to aid them to leave it.
2. The debates in Washington, and the passage of the bill, created a powerful sectional excitement throughout the country, but especially in Kansas, where there was a severe struggle be\tween the pro-slavery and the Free-soil party for the political ascendency. Lecturers went through portions of the Northern States to obtain recruits, and money, and arms, describing the physical advantages of the territory to be such that it could be made a terrestrial paradise. The love of adventure, the love of money, the love of liberty, and hatred or jealousy of the South, were appealed to, successfully for obtaining emigrants. Nor were Southern men idle. Border ruffians and free State ruffians met in Kansas as a battle-ground. And elsewhere “shrieking, bleeding Kansas’’ was successfully employed by demagogues to electioneer for them, as the especial friends of liberty, or of slavery, as the case might be. In Congress, too, those who spoke on this subject became, if possible, more intemperate in their language. Mr. SUMNER's speech entitled “The crime against Kansas,” and Mr. BROOKE's assault on him for what he said in that speech concerning South Carolina and Senator BUTLER, were exponents of the feeling which to some extent existed in the two sections of the country to which these gentlemen be