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covered by it. When the Compromises of session; and, for my own part, I acknowledge 1850 were accepted in 1852 by the Na- now that, as the Senator from Illinois well knows, tional Conventions of the two great parties, last session, I was perhaps as much opposed to
when I came to this city, at the beginning of the as a settlement of the distracting contro- the proposition, as the Senator from Texas now versy therein contemplated, no hint was is. "The Senator from Iowa knows it ; and it was added that the Nebraska region was opened for reasons which I will
not now mention or sugo thereby to Slavery.
gest. But, sir, I have from reflection and investigation in my own mind, and from the opinions of others--my constituents, whose opinions I am
bound to respect---come to the conclusion that Several petitions for the organization of now is the time for the organization of this Tera Territory westward of Missouri and Iowa ritory. It is the most propitious time. The treawere presented at the session of 1851-2, but ties with the various Indian tribes, the titles to no decisive action taken thereon until the better be made now than at any future time ; for,
whose possessions must be extinguished, can next session, when,
as the question is agitated, and as it is underDec. 13th.—Mr. W. P. Hall of Mo., par- stood, white men, speculators, will interpose, and suant to notice, submitted to the House a interfere, and the longer it is postponed the more bill to organize the Territory of PLATTE, cult
it will be to extinguish the Indian title in that
we will have to fear from them, and the more diffiwhich was read twice, and
sent to the Com-country, and the harder the terms to be imposed. mittee on Territories. From that Com- Therefore, Mr. President, for this reason, without mittee,
going into detail, I am willing now that the quesFeb. 2d, 1853.—Mr. W. A. Richardson of tion shall be taken, whether we will proceed to
the consideration of the bill or not.” Ill. reported a bill to organize the Territory of NEBRASKA, which was read twice and
The meaning is here diplomatically veiled, committed.
yet is perfectly plain. Gen. Atchison had been Feb. 9th.—The bill was ordered to be averse to organizing this Territory until he taken out of Committee, on motion of w. could procure a relaxation of the Missouri P. Hall.
Restriction as to Slavery; but, seeing no Feb. 10th.— The bill was reported from present hope of this, he was willing to the Committee of the Whole to the House, waive the point, and assent to an organizawith a recommendation that it do not pass.
tion under a bill silent with respect to Mr. Richardson moved the previous ques- Slavery, and of course leaving the Missouri tion, which prevailed.
Restriction unimpaired. Mr. Letcher of Va. moved that the bill do lie on the table : Lost; Yeas 49 (mainly
Gen. Pierce was inaugurated President Southern); Nays 107.
on the 4th March, 1853 ; and, in his InauguThe bill was then engrossed, read a third ral Address, referred to the discussions contime, and passed ; Yeas 98; Nays 43, (as cerning Slavery and the Compromises of before).
1850 in the following terms : Feb. 11th. The bill reached the Senate “I believe that involuntary servitude, as it exand was referred to the Committee on Terri- ists in different States of this confederacy, is retories.
cognized by the Constitution. I believe that it
stands like any other admitted right, and that the Feb. 17th.-Mr. Douglas reported it with States where it exists are entitled to efficient remeout amendment.
dies to enforce the constitutional provisions. I March 2nd.—(Last day but one of the hold that the laws of 1850, commonly called the session), Mr. Douglas moved that the bill be tional, and to be unhesitatingły carried into effect.
Compromise Measures,” are strictly constitutaken up : Lost : Yeas 20 ; (all Northern I believe that the constituted authorities of this but Atchison and Geyer of Mo.) ; Nays 25 ; Republic are bound to regard the rights of the (21 Southern, 4 Northern).
South in this respect, as they would view any March 3rd.—Mr. Douglas again moved laws to enforce them should be respected and
other legal and constitutional right, and that the that the bill be taken up.
obeyed, not with a reluctance encouraged by abMr. Borland of Ark. moved that it do lie stract opinions as to their propriety in a different on the table : Carried : Yeas 23 ; (all South- state of society, but cheerfully, and according ern but 4;) Nays 17; (all Northern but to the decisions of the tribunal to which their exAtchison and Geyer). So the bill was put convictions, and upon them shall I act. I fer:
position belongs. Such have been, and are, my to sleep for the session.
vently hope that the question is at rest, and that On the motion to take up-Mr. Rusk of no sectional, or ambitious, or fanatical exciteinent Texas objecting-Mr. Atchison said : may again threaten the durability of our institu
tions, or obscure the light of our prosperity." “I must ask the indulgence of the Senate to say one word in relation to this matter. Perhaps The XXXIIId Congress assembled at there is not a State in the Union more deeply in Washington, Dec. 5th, 1853, with a large terested in this question than the State of Mis- Administration majority in either House. souri. If not the largest, I will say the best: Linn Boyd of Ky. was chosen Speaker of tion of it that in half a century will become a the House. The President's Annual MesState, lies immediately west of the State of Mis-- sage contained the following allusion to the we will organize the territory at this session of subject of Slavery : Congress, or whether we will do it at the next “ It is no part of my purpose to give promi
nence to any subject which may properly be re- tioned by the approving voice of the American garded as set at rest by the deliberate judgment People, your Committee have deemed it their duty of the people. But, while the present is bright to incorporate and perpetuate, in their territorial with promise, and the future full of demand and bill, the principles and spirit of those measures If inducements for the exercise of active intel any other consideration were necessary to render ligence, the past can never be without useful les- the propriety of this course imperative upon the sons of admonition and instruction. If its dan Committee, they may be found in the fact that the gers serve not as beacons, they will evidently Nebraska country occupies the same relative fail to fulfill the object of a wise design. When position to the Slavery question, as did New. the grave shall have closed over all, who are now Mexico and Utah, when those Territories were endeavoring to meet the obligations of duty, the organized. year 1850 will be recurred to as a period filled with It was a disputed point, whether Slavery was anxious apprehension. A successful war had probibited by law in the country acquired from just terminated. Peace brought with it a vast Mexico. On the one hand, it was contended, as augmentation of territory: Disturbing questions a legal proposition, that Slavery, having been arose, bearing upon the domestic institutions of prohibited by the enactments of Mexico, accordone portion of the confederacy, and involving ing to the laws of nations, we received the country the constitutional rights of the States. But, not with all its local laws and domestic institutions withstanding differences of opinion and sentiment attached to the soil, so far as they did not conflict wbich then existed in relation to details and with the Constitution of the United States ; and specific provisions, the acquiescence of distin that a law either protecting or prohibiting Slavery, guished citizens, whose devotion to the Union was not repugnant to that instrument, as was can never be doubted, has given renewed vigor evidenced by the fact that one-half of the States to our institutions, and restored a sense of repose of the Union tolerated, while the other half proand security to the public mind throughout the bibited, the institution of Slavery. On the other confederacy. That this repose is to suffer no hand, it was insisted that, by virtue of the Con. shock during my official terın, if I have power stitution of the United States, every citizen had to avert it, those who placed me here may be as- a right to remove to any Territory of the Union, sured."
and carry his property with him under the proDec. 15th.—Mr. A. C. Dodge of Iowa sub- tection of law, whether that property consisted mitted to the Senate a bill (No. 22)
of persons or things. The difficulties arising
from this diversity of opinion, were greatly agorganize the Territory of Nebraska,” which gravated by the fact that there were many perwas read twice, and referred to the Com- sons on both sides of the legal controversy, who mittee on Territories.
were unwilling to abide the decision of the courts - Jan. 4th.—Mr. Douglas, from said Com- on the legal matters in dispute ; thus, among
those who claimed that the Mexican laws were mittee, reported said bill with amendments, still in force, and, consequently, that Slavery was which were printed. The following is the already prohibited in those Territories by valid accompanying Report:
enactment, there were many who insisted upon
Congress making the matter certain, by enacting The Committee on Territories, to whom was re- another prohibition. In like manner, some of
ferred a bill for an act to establish the Terri- those who argued that Mexican law had ceased tory of Nebraska, have given the same that to have any binding force, and that the Constitu
tion tolerated and protected Slave property in serious and deliberate consideration which its those territories, were unwilling to trust the deci. great importance demands, and beg leave to sion of the courts upon the point, and insisted report it back to the Senate with various amend that Congress should, by direct enactment, re
move all legal obstacles to the introduction of ments, in the form of a substitute for the bill:
Slaves into those Territories. The principal amendments which your com- Such being the character of the controversy in mittee deem it their duty to commend to the fa- respect to the territory acquired from Mexico, a vorable action of the Senate, in a special report, similar question has arisen in regard to the right are those in which the principles established by to hold slaves in the Territory of Nebraska, when the Compromise Measures of 1850, so far as they the Indian laws shall be withdrawn, and the are applicable to territorial organizations, are country thrown open to emigration and settleproposed to be affirmed and carried into practi- ment. By the 8th section of "an act to authorize cal operation within the limits of the new Terri- the people of Missouri Territory to form a Contory.
stitution and State Government, and for the adThe wisdom of those measures is attested, not mission of such State into the Union on an equal less by their salutary and beneficial effects, in footing with the original States, and to prohibit allaying sectional agitation and restoring peace Slavery in certain Territories," approved March and harmony to an irritated and distracted peo- 6th, 1820, it was provided; “That in all that terple, than by the cordial and almost universal ritory ceded by France to the United States under approbation with which they have been received the name of Louisiana, which lies north of 36 and sanctioned by the whole country. In the degrees 30 minutes north latitude, not included judgment of your Committee, those measures within the limits of the State contemplated by were intended to have a far more comprehensive this act, Slavery and involuntary servitude, and enduring effect than the mere adjustment of otherwise than in the punishment of crimes difficulties arising out of the recent acquisition whereof the parties shall have been duly conof Mexican territory. They were designed to victed, shall be, and are hereby, prohibited : Proestablish certain great principles, which would vided always, That any person escaping into the not only furnish adequate remedies for existing same, from whom labor or service is lawfully evils, but, in all time to come, avoid the perils of clained in any State or Territory of the United similar agitation, by withdrawing the question of States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed, Slavery from the Halls of Congress and the po- and conveyed to the persons claiming his or her litical arena, and committing it to the arbitration labor or service, as aforesaid." of those who were immediately interested in, and Under this section, as in the case of the Mexican alone responsible for, its consequences. With a law in New Mexico and Utah, it is a disputed view of conforming their action to what they re- point whether Slavery is prohibited in the Negard as the settled policy of the Government, sanc- l braska country by valid enactment. The decision of this question involves the constitutional peals shall be allowed and decided by the said power of Congress to pass laws prescribing and Supreme Court, without regard to the value of regulating the domestic institutions of the various the matter, property, or title in controversy; and Territories of the Union. In the opinion of those except, also, that a writ of error or appeal shall eminent statesmen who hold that Congress is also be allowed to the Supreme Court of the invested with no rightful authority to legislate United States from the decisions of the said upon the subject of Slavery in the Territories, Supreme Court by this act, or of any judge the 8th section of the act preparatory to the ad. thereof, or of the district courts created by this mission of Missouri is null and void; while the act, or of any judge thereof, upon any writ of prevailing sentiinent in large portions of the habeas corpus involving the question of personal Union sustains the doctrine that the Constitu- freedom; and each of the said district courts tion of the United States secures to every citizen shall have and exercise the same jurisdiction, in an inalienable right to move into any of the all cases arising under the Constitution and Territories with his property, of whatever kind laws of the United States, as is vested in the and description, and to hold and enjoy the same circuit and district courts of the United States ; under the sanction of law. Your Committee do and the said supreme and district courts of the not feel themselves called upon to enter upon the said territory, and the respective judges thereof, discussion of these controverted questions. They shall and may grant writs of habeas corpus, in all involve the same grave issues which produced cases in which the same are granted by the the agitation, the sectional strife, and the fearful judges of the United States in the District of struggle of 1850. As Congress deemed it wise Columbia. and prudent to refrain from deciding the matters To which may be added the following proposi. in controversy then, either by affirming or repeal. tion affirmed by the act of 1850, known as the ing the Mexican laws, or by an act declaratory fugitive slave law. of the true intent of the Constitution, and the That the provisions of the “act respecting extent of the protection afforded by it to Slave fugitives from justice, and persons escaping from property in the Territories, so your Committee the service of their masters," approved Februare not prepared to recommend a departure from ary 12, 1793, and the provisions of the aet to the course pursued on that memorable occasion, amend and supplementary to the aforesaid act, either by affirming or repealing the 8th section approved September 18, 1850, shall extend to, of the Missouri aci, or by any act declaratory of and be in force in, all the organized Territories, the meaning of the Constitution in respect to the as well as in the various States of the Union. legal points in dispute.
From these provisions, it is apparent that the Your Committee deem it fortunate for the Compromise Measures of 1850 affirm, and rest peace of the country, and the security of the upon, the following propositions : Union, that the controversy then resulted in the First. — That all questions pertaining to adoption of the Compromise Measures, which Slavery in the Territories, and the new States the two great political parties, with singular to be formed therefrom, are to be left to the deci. unanimity, have affirmed as a cardinal article of sion of the people residing therein, by their aptheir faith, and proclaimed to the world as a propriate representatives, to be chosen by them final settlement of the controversy and an end for that purpose. of the agitation. A due respect, therefore, for Second. That “all cases involving title to the avowed opinions of Senators, as well as a slaves,” and “questions of personal freedom," proper sense of patriotic duty, enjoins upon your are to be referred to the adjudication of the local Committee the propriety and necessity of a strict tribunals, with the right of appeal to the Supreme adherence to the principles, and even a literal Court of the United States. adoption of the enactments of that adjustment, Third.—That the provisions of the Constituin all their territorial bills, so far as the same are tion of the United States, in respect to fugitives pot locally inapplicable. Those enactments em from service, is to be carried into faithful exebrace, among other things, less material to the cution in all the original Territories,” the same matters under consideration, the following pro- as in the States. visions :
The substitute for the bill which your ComWhen admitted as a State, the said Territory, mittee have prepared, and which is commended or any portion of the same, shall be received into to the favorable action of the Senate, proposes to the Union, with or without Slavery, as their con carry these propositions and principles into pracstitution may prescribe at the time of their ad-tical operation, in the precise language of the mission ;
Compromise Measures of 1850. That the legislative power and authority of said Territory shall be vested in the Governor and a Legislative Assembly ;
That the legislative power of said Territory Jan. 24th.—The bill thus reported was shall extend to all rightful subjects of legislation, consistent with the Constitution of the United considered in Committee of the Whole and States, and the provisions of this act; but no postponed to Monday next, when it was law shall be passed interfering with the primary made the order of the day. disposal of the soil; no tax shall be imposed The bill was further considered Jan. 31st, upon the property of the United States; nor Feb. 3rd, Feb. 5th, and Feb. 6th, when an shall the lands or other property of non-residents be taxed higher than the lands or other property amendment reported by Mr. Douglas, deof residents.
claring the Missouri Restriction on Slavery Writs of error and appeals from the final deci- inoperative and void,” being under considsions of said Supreme Court shall be allowed, eration, Mr. Chase of Ohio moved to strike United States in the same manner and under the out the assertion that said Restriction same regulations as from the Circuit Courts of the United States, where the value of the pro- lation of 1850, commonly called the Compromise
was superseded by the principles of the legisperty or amount in controversy, to be ascertained by the oath or affirmation of either party, or
Measures." other competent witness, shall exceed one thvusand dollars ; except only that, in all cases involv
This motion was defeated by Yeas 13; ing title to slaves, the said writs of error or ap- Nays 30, as follows:
YEAS— To strike out :
souri Restriction. Mr. Dixon thought if that was Messrs. Allen, Ohio, Hamlin, Me.
the object, (and he was in favor of it), it should Cass, Mich.
Seward, N. Y. be approached in a direct and manly way. He Chase, Ohio, Smith, Conn.
was assailed for this in The Union newspaper Everett, Mass. Stuart, Mich. Fish, N. Y.
Sumner, Mass. next morning : but his suggestion was substanFoot, Vt. Wade, Ohio, tially adopted by Douglas, after a brief hesitaWalker, Wisc.-13.
tion. Mr. Dixon's proposition, having been NAYS— Against striking out :
made in Committee, does not appear in the JourMessrs. Adams, Miss. Fitzpatrick, Ala. nal of the Senate, or it would here be given in Atchison, Mo. Geyer, Mo.
March 2nd, when the vote was taken on Mr.
Chase's amendment, to add to Sec. 14 the
following words : Butler, s. c. Sebastian, Ark.
“ Under which the people of the Territory, Clay, (C. C.) Ala. Shields, Ill. Dawson, Ga. Slidell, La.
through their appropriate representatives, may, Dixun, Ky.
if they see fit, prohibit the existence of slavery Thompson, Ky.
follows: Feb. 15th.—The bill having been dis- YEAS-For Mr. Chase's Amendment : cussed daily until now, Mr. Douglas moved Messrs. Chase,
Hamlin, to strike out of his amendment the words
Dodge of Wisc. Seward, above quoted (which the Senate had re- Fessenden, Smith, fused to strike out on Mr. Chase's motion,)
NAYS- Against Chase's Amendment : of non-intervention by Congress with Slavery in Messrs. Adams,
Hunter, the States and Territories, as recognized by the Atchison,
Johnson, legislation of 1850, (commonly called the Com
Jones of Iowa, promise Measures,) is hereby declared inopera- Bell,
Jones of Tenn. tive and void ; it being the true intent and mean. Benjamin,
Mason, ing of this act not to legislate Slavery into any Brodhead,
Morton, Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, Brown,
Norris, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to Butler,
Pettit, form and regulate their domestic institutions in Clay, (C. C.)
Pratt, their own way, subject only to the Constitution Clayton,
Rusk, of the United States"
Shields, which prevailed-Yeas 35; Nays 10--as Dodge of Iowa, Slidell, follows :
Mr. Badger of N. C. moved to add to the
“ Provided, That nothing herein contained
shall be construed to revive or put in force any Butler, Norris,
law or regulation which may have existed prior Cass, Pearce,
to the act of 6th of March, 1820, either protecting, Clayton, Pettit,
establishing, prohibiting, or abolishing SlaDawson, Pratt,
Carried ; Yeas 35 ; Nays 6, as follows :
Thompeon of Ky. YEAS_For Badger's Amendment :
Jones of Iowa,
Benjamin, NAYS--Against said Amendment:
Jones of Tenn.
Dodge of Iowa, Seward,
Shields, [NOTE.-Prior to this move of Mr. Douglas,
Slidell, Mr. Dixon (Whig) of Ky. had moved to insert a
Smith, clause directly and plainly repealing the Mis- Fitzpatrick,
Dodge of Wisc. Rusk,
Dodge of Iowa, Sebastian,
Mr. Chase then moved to amend the Messrs. Adams,
Boundary section of Mr. Douglas's amendDodge of Wisc. Sebastian-6. ment, so as to have but one Territory Mr. Clayton now moved to strike out so named Nebraska, instead of two, entitled much of said Douglas amendment as per- respectively, Nebraska and Kansas ; which mits emigrants from Europe, who shall have was defeated-Yeas 8; Nays 34-as foldeclared their intention to become citizens, lows: to vote : Carried ; Yeas 23; Nays 21- YEAS-For having but one Territory : as follows:
Seward, YEAS–For Clayton's Amendment :
Fessenden, Smith, Messrs. Adams,
NAYS—For severing Nebraska from
Jones of Iowa,
Benjamin, Jones of Tenn.
Pettit, Messrs. Chase,
Dodge of Wisc. Sebastian,
Dodge of Iowa, Shields,
Mr. Douglas's amendment
was then Williams-21. Mr. Chase moved to amend, by provid- Committee of the Whole to the Senate.
agreed to, and the bill reported from the ing for the appointment of three Commis
A motion to strike out the amendment, sioners residing in the Territory to organ- allowing emigrant aliens who have declared ize the Territory, divide it into election their intention to become citizens to vote, districts, notify an election on the first Mon was agreed to—Yeas 22 ; Nays 20-as day in September then ensuing, etc., at
follows: which election the people should choose their own Governor, as well as a Territo- YEAS— To strike out said provision : rial Legislature—the Governor to serve for Messrs. Adams,
Evans, two years, and the Legislature to meet not
Houston, later than May, 1855.
Hunter, This extension of the principle of
Johnson, "Squatter Sovereignty" was defeated- Brodhead,
Jones of Tenn. Yeas 10; Nays 30-as follows :
Pratt, ry to choose their own Governor, etc.
NAYS—Against striking out :
Dodge of Wisc. Pettit,
Dodge of Iowa, Seward, NAYS— Against said proposition :
Jones of Tenn.
The question on the engrossment of the
bill was now reached, and it was carried
Yeas 29 ; Nays 12-as follows: