Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the then Federal ratio of representation, it shall, if its form of government be republican, be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, with or without involuntary service or labor, as the Constitution of such new State may provide. Mr. ROMAN –I move that when this Conference adjourn, it adjourn to meet at seven o'clock this evening. Mr. CHITTENDEN:—I move an adjournment of the Conference. Mr. ROMAN –Is not my motion first in order? The PRESIDENT:-The question is on the motion of the gentleman from Vermont. The motion to adjourn was put and carried.

T W E L FT H D A Y.
WASHINGTON, TUESDAY, February 19th, 1861.

THE Conference was called to order by the PRESIDENT at eleven o'clock. The proceedings were opened with prayer. The Journal was read by Assistant Secretary PULESTON, and, after sundry amendments, was approved. Mr. SUMMERS:—The Committee on Credentials have received and considered the credentials of Mr. FRANCIS GRANGER, of New York, appointed to fill a vacancy in the delegation from that State, occasioned by the resignation of Mr. ADDISON GARDINER. They are satisfactory, and if no objection is made, the list of delegates from New York will be altered accordingly. No objection was made, and Mr GRANGER's name was added to the list of delegates from New York. Mr. WICKLIFFE:—I ask now that the resolution limiting the time to be occupied by each member in debate be taken up. I have become satisfied that unless we place some restrictions, in this respect, upon the discussions, we shall occupy much more time than we wish to have expended in that way. The session of the present Congress will soon terminate. Our labors will be useless, unless we submit the result of them to Congress in time to secure the approval of that body. The propositions will be debated there, and that debate must necessarily occupy time. I am sure no gentleman wishes to defeat the main purpose of the Conference by delay. The resolution is as follows: Resolved, That in the discussions which may take place in this Convention upon any question, no member shall be allowed to speak more than thirty minutes. Mr. DAVIS:—I move to amend the resolution by inserting ten minutes instead of thirty minutes.

Mr. FIELD:—Is it seriously contemplated now, after gentlemen upon one side have spoken two or three times, and at great length—after the questions involved in the committee's reports have been thoroughly and exhaustively discussed on the part of the South—and when only one gentleman from the North has been heard upon the general subject, to cut us off from all opportunity of expressing our views? Such a course will not help your propositions. Mr. BOUTWELL :—Massachusetts will never consent to this. Mr. WICKLIFFE:—If we cannot get Massachusetts to help. us, we will help ourselves. We got along without her in the war of 1812; we can get on without her again. The disease exists in the nation now. It is of no use, or rather it is too late to talk about the cause, we had much better try to cure the disease. Mr. FIELD:-New York has not occupied the time of the Conference for three minutes. Kentucky has been heard twice, her representative speaking as long as he wished. I insist upon the same right for New York. I insist upon the discussion of these questions without restriction or limitation. Mr. DODGE:-I wish to speak for the commercial interests of the country. I cannot do them justice in ten minutes. Mr. MOREHEAD, of North Carolina:—I am very desirous to reach an early decision, and yet I do not quite like to restrict debate in this way. Suppose, after holding one morning session, we have another commencing at half-past seven in the evening? Mr. CARRUTHERS:-We have come here for the purpose of acting ; not to hear speeches. There is no use in talking over these things; our minds are all made up, and talking will not change them. I want to make an end of these discussions. I move that all debate shall close at three o'clock to-day, and that the Conference then proceed to vote upon the propositions before it. Mr. ALLEN:-The object which brought us together I presume we shall not disagree about. We came here for the purpose of consultation over the condition of the country. If this is true, nothing but harm can come from these limitations upon the liberty of speech. The questions before us are the most important that could possibly arise. Before our present Constitution was adopted it was discussed and examined in Convention for more than three months. We are now practically making a new Constitution. Though we as members differed widely when we came here, I think progress has been made toward our ultimate agreement. I think the general effect of our discussions is to bring us nearer together. I think our acquaintance and our association as members lead to the same end. The gentleman from Kentucky says that we have come here to heal disease. I don’t quite agree with him as to the disease. I differ widely from him as to the proper method of treating it. He seems disposed to apply a plaster to the foot, to cure a disease in the head. If these debates should continue for a week, the time would not be lost, the effect would be favorable. We should have more faith in each other, a more kindly feeling would be produced. Do not let us hurry. You may force a vote to-day, but the result will satisfy none. Such a course will give good ground for dissatisfaction. You may even carry your propositions by a majority, but what weight will such a vote have in Congress or with the people? Mr. CHITTENDEN:—We who represent smaller States intend to be very modest here, but you will need our votes when you seek to place new and important limitations upon a Constitution with which we are now satisfied. I will answer for one State, and tell you that she will not listen to a proposition that comes to her with a taint of suspicion about it. If you will not allow her representatives to participate in the examination and discussion of these propositions here, her people will reject them without discussion, if they are ever called to act on them. She has not occupied the time of this Conference for one minute upon the general subject. She may not wish to do so. I submit whether it is wise for you to cut off her right to be heard here, if she chooses to exercise it. Mr. RANDOLPH:—I agree with the gentleman from Tennessee, that we came here to act and not to talk. We have had talking enough, perhaps too much already. I have drawn up a resolution which I think covers the whole subject, I move its adoption. The resolution was read as follows:

Resolved, That this Convention will hold two sessions daily, viz., from ten o'clock, A. M., to four o'clock, P. M.; and from eight to ten o'clock, P. M.; and that no motion to adjourn prior to said hours of four and ten, P. M., shall be in order, if objection be made; and that on Thursday next, at twelve o'clock, noon, all debate shall cease, and the Convention proceed to vote upon the questions or propositions before them in their order.

The PRESIDENT commenced a statement of the various propositions relating to the subject now pending, when Mr. ALEXANDER moved to lay the whole subject on the table. The motion to lay on the table was negatived by the following vote:–ayes, 48; nays, 54. Mr. GOODRICH:—I call for the division of the question. The PRESIDENT:-So many motions have been made that it is somewhat difficult to decide, by the rules of Parliamentary law, which is in order. I will divide the questions as follows: 1st. Will the Conference hold two sessions daily? 2d. Shall the debate be closed on Thursday at twelve o'clock? 3d. Shall each member be limited to ten minutes in the discussion ? Mr. JOHNSON, of Missouri:-I hope the questions will be decided affirmatively. Mr. CHASE:-It appears to me that we can arrange this whole subject without serious difficulty. If Mr. WICKLIFFE will adhere to his resolution, and the other proposals are withdrawn, we can then proceed. If any gentleman finds it necessary to ask for an extension of his time, it will no doubt be granted to him. Mr. RANDOLPH's proposition exacts too much labor. I think the Conference had better limit the time of each member. I am opposed to fixing a time for terminating the discussion. It will not be agreeable to many who may be cut off. It is contrary to the spirit of the rules we have already adopted. I hope we shall not be compelled to vote on the questions one by one, and I will suggest to Mr. RANDOLPH whether it would not be better that his resolution should be withdrawn. Mr. HOPPIN :—I hope the resolution will pass as it is. We have come here to act. We are all ready to take the vote now. The sooner we vote the better. There is every necessity for prompt action.

« ZurückWeiter »