Слике страница

Feb. 6, 1837.)

Abolition of Slavery.

[H. Or R.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

contemplating the nature of our political institutions, ings. Sir, let me not be misunderstood; for although tracing their formation and establishment, he will find the honorable member is far advanced into the autumn nothing which would necessarily produce or justify the of bis career, yet (Mr. M. said) be entertained a vener. course of proceedings which have occurred here for the ation for his learning and experience which he should lust and present sitting of Congress. Sir, (said Mr. M.,) always cherish with pride. why is it, then, that we are weekly, and almost daily, But, Mr. Speaker, (said Mr. M.,) the proceedings of

drawn into the consideration of abstract, impracticable, this day should admonish us of the danger of being en and (Me. M. said he must be permitted to say) improper, thrown into unusual excitements, and acting hastily un

if not reprehensible subjects, by the course adopted by der such influences. Mr. M. said he was aware of the the venerable member from Masachussetts? (Mr. ADAMS.) nature of the petition which the honorable member bad Is it from any defect in the forms or principles of our offered before he had, by innuendoes, explained it; but proceedings? Is it inherent in the compact upon which some gentlemen had supposed that it affected the conrests all that is valuable in our institutions? Is it to be stitutional rights of their stales—their rights to their found and justified in the condition and circumstances slave property; and, supposing this, it was very natural of our country! Can it be traced to a want of patriotic for them to be suddenly alarmed. devotion in any considerable portion of our country to It now, however, appears probable that some misthe Union! Would it be charitable to attribute it to chievous persons have trifled with the honorable memany disappointment of individual ambition, seeking re- ber from Massachusetts; and he, in turn, seeks to trifle renge fur such disappointments in attempting to ruin with the House and country, by treating with seriousness that which it could not rule!

that which was probably, in its origin, levity. The resOn no one of these inquiries, Mr. Speaker, (said Mr. Qlution to censure the honorable member is not, it seems, 11.,) can we find a satisfactory solution of the question framed upon the real facts of the case, and assumes too why we are now presenting to the country the deplora- much; and, as it now stands, cannot be maintained. It ble spectacle, shown off every petition day, by the hon should describe truly the matters to justify its adoption. orable member from Massachussetts, in presenting the Mr. M. would have no hesitation, when the honorable abolition petitions of his infatuated friends and constitu. member shall be guilty of a violation of the rules and ents. The House has, with a unanimity almost unparal rights of the House, and that violation shall be apparent, leled, prescribed a rule for its government in respect to to vote any censure merited by the offence; and this, these petitions, with which it is, upon experience, as too, notwithstanding his age and character, because he well (Mr. M. ventured the opinion) us the considerate is not elevated above law by any age or any character. men of all parties, in every portion of the confederacy, Mr. M. said he had always viewed this question of Well satisfied. Yet the honorable member has made abolition and its progress with the deepest solicitude, as bimself to believe that it was his duty, against the sense affecting the political integrity of the confederacy. In of the whole House, (Mr. M. believed, with but few the formation of this Union it was, as we well know, one exceptions,) against the sense of the whole country, of the greatest: obstacles to be overcome, and was only including his own political friends, (if any he has,) io surmounted by a spirit of concession and compromise resist the execution of that rule with a degree of vio. which it is feared does not exist now. In that compro lence paralleled only by revolutionary madness of des mise, we of the free States agreed to the doctrine of peration. Sir, (said Mr. M.,) it becomes me, the House, non-interference in the domestic institutions and conand the country, to remember that the venerable gentle cerns of the others. Some few of our people, however, men from Massachusetts has occupied the executive pretending to a boly zeal, worthy of a better and more chair

, and administered the duties of the highest office lawful cause, influenced by what they claim to be paraof the civilized worid. And it becomes us, also, to re mount considerations to the obligations of the constituspect his gray bairs, his old age, his long public services, tion and the integrity of the republic, regardless of conand to seek out apologies and excuses in his behalf, if sequences, insidiously violate the spirit of the compact possible, for the obstinacy and ebullitions of temper by interfering with the subject in this District. And which on these occasions hé so often exhibits, and which we are now again called upon by our Southern brethren

sy much opposed to cool deliberation and the dignity to know whether we will live up to the agreement we of the proceedings of this House. Thus shielded and have made; whether we will keep the faith and perform protected by his age and public character, it has been our bargain. This is the true question propounded to Maltep of surprise to those who are not spectators of us.in all these proceedings. And, Mr. Speaker, (said our proceedings, that a member of his great learning Mr. M.,) as for me and my household, my constituents and experience should so far forget his dignity as to pre- and friends, I say, without reservation, we will. Is Sume upon that age and character 's a license to him to there a patriotic heart in this hall, in this nation, is there innoy and tride with the House and its most solemn a friend to the welfare of the republic, who can answer and satisfactory regulations.

that he will not? Mr. M. did not believe there was one; Sir

, (said Mr. M.,) while we contemplate the charac. and he therefore asked that honorable members from ter and respect the age of the honorable member, char- the South should give themselves no uneasiness on ac. ily claims ibat we should also remember the frailty of count of these ill-advised proceedings. Mr. M. relied ter nature, and that man is mortal. It would be unjust upon the patriotism and good faith of the people of the to believe that, in the prime and vigor of manhood, the North to abide by the compact they have made. He honorable member would have adopted the course of knew that this reliance would not fail. action which, at this late period of his life, seems to con. Mr. W. THOMPSON said he was sorry to see the air of lod him. The high noontide of that life has long since levity which it is attempted to throw over this matter. passed with bim, and its wane is no doubt upon him, be. He felt very differently. What, sir, is it a mere trifle to fore he is either aware or sensible of it; for it cannot be hoax, to trifle with the members from the South in this believed that, in the days of his more acute perceptions, way and on this subject? Is it a light thing, for the he could bave yielded to influences which now seem to amusement of others, to irritate, almost to madness, the

whole delegation from the slave States? Sir, it is an agIn this, (Mr. M, said,) by the aid of a liberal charity, gravation. It is intimated that the petition does not pray he found both the cause and apology for the course of for the abolition of slavery, but a very different objeci. proceedings adopted by the member, and for the conse It makes not the slightest difference; it is the attempt to quent disorders and delays which occur in our proceed. I introduce a petition from slaves for any object; as inso

have the mastery:

H. OF R.)

Abolition of Slavery.

(FEB. 6, 1837.

lent if it be for one purpose as for another. It is the Mr. P. said, if this House was to be made the tribunal naked fact of the presentation of a petition from slaves. before which we were to be traduced and slandered, if Bui, sir, there is another view of this matter, which, in we were to be made the instruments through which de. my judgment, makes the thing worse. The gentleman nunciation and falsehood are to be heaped upon one half from Massachusetts had been presenting abolition (peti- of this confederacy, if we are to sit here and have our tions all the morning; it is bis daily labor of love; and feelings harrowed up and wounded by those who pre. I appeal to every member on the floor, if the conduct of tend to be our brethren, better, far better, for us to the member was not such as to induce every one to be grasp the pillars that support the noble edifice of our lieve that it was an abolition petition. He allowed reso. Union, and make them rock and toller to their deepest lutions to be presented on that supposition, and speeches foundation, even though we, together with the Philis. to be made, without undeceiving ihe House. This tri- tines, should be overwhelmed and perish in one universal Aing was an additional contempt of the House; how ruin. He (Mr. P.) would loathe and detest to hear his much befitting the age and standing of the gentleman heart beat, if it could beat, with one single emotion of it is not for me to say.

affection for this Union, if it is to be made babitually a Mr. T. tben further modified his resolution by substic vehicle of abuse and imputation upon his constituentstuting the three following resolutions:

Union that is to bring death and ruin upon my own home 1. Resolved, that the honorable Joan Q. Adams, by and country. He would not use moderate language on an effort to present a petition from slaves, has committed such a topic, and he would most cheerfully vote for the a gross contempl of this House.

resolution of his colleague, (Mr. Thompson.) Viewing, 2. Resolved, 'That the member from Massachusetts as he did, the attempt which had been made as an outabove named, by creating the impression, and showing rage upon this House, perpetrated in a spirit of wanton. the House, under that impression, that the said petition ness, sporting with the feelings of those who were here was for the abolition of slavery, when he knew that it was under a com.non constitution, with equal rights, and en. not, has trifled with the House.

titled to equal respect, he looked upon such conduct as 3. Resolved, that the honorable John Q. Adams re. amenable to the laws of the land, and could be shown as ceive the censure of ihe House for his conduct referred aiding and abetting insurrection. When the proceed. to in the preceding resolutions.

ings of this day get abroad throughout the country-that Mr. PICKENS observed that it bad not been his in a member of this House held a petition from slaves, and tention to address the House upon this subject; he bad was here the avowed and ready receptacle of such på. not intended to utier one word, if it had not been for pers from slaves, what might be the consequences no the remarks that fell from his friend from Virginia, (Mr. man could foretell. WISE,) and that he would now endeavor to preserve all He (Mr. P.) was astonished to hear the gentleman the calmness he could, considering the momentous top- from Kentucky, (Mr. Hardix,] an able lawyer, maintain ics which had been drawn into this discussion, Mr. P. that we were bound to receive petitions under the con. perfectly agreed with the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. stitution. Mr. P. here read the amendment in the conWise) in reference to the resolutions which the member stitution securing the right of the people peaceably to asfrom. Charleston (Mr. PINCKNEY] introduced last ses. semble and petition for redress of grievances, &c.; and then sion, and which had been substantially adopted again at asked if we were engaged in passing any act abridging this session, by which all this class of petitions had been the freedom of speech, or the right of the people peacereceived into this · House. They were miserable and ably to assemble and petition, &c. He contended that, pitiful resolutions; pitiful, because they had trifled with if we were to pass such an act, it would be null and the rights of the South, and trifled with the rights of this void, because unconstitutional; and this was the meaning House. He could thank God that he had nothing to do of that part of the constitution; but when they peaceably with their passage, and the deep responsibility they had assemble and petition, their rights under the constitubrought down upon their authors. He would say, in lion ended, and our rights under the same instrument reply to the remarks of the gentleman from New York, commenced. As well might it be urged that the peti. [Mr. GRANGER,] in censure of the gentlemen from the tion must necessarily be granted and forced through, as South who supported those resolutions, “ Thou canst

to say that we cannot judge of the propriety of its recep. not say I did it.", When those resolutions passed, be tion or rejection; we must necessarily judge of the pro(Mr. P.) had predieted what had now come to pass: the priety of receiving any papers whatever that may be scenes which we now see passing around us the intro, presented to our judgment; it is our right and duty, duction of all kinds of vile petitions from free negroes and as a reflecting or rational assembly; it is inherent. And slaves, which, under the resolutions, are treated with the issue made upon the right of petition is merely a di. the respect, in advance, of having them received and version intended for public effect. Jaid upon the table. But, (said Mr. P.,) although these Mr. P. then made some other remarks, tending to were his opinions, yet, as long as we were members of show that it must not be supposed that he was apprethis body, we were bound to maintain its dignity, and do hensive,' or feared for any thing that might be brought what we could to prevent scenes calculated to harass upon the country. No; he said that South Carolina had and insult the feelings of a large portion of the members no fears on this subject; she knew her rights, and, knoxof this House, by calling down our censure upon the ing them, was resolved to maintain them, or to perish in gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Adams) for his wan- the attempt. She asks no favors of this Government on ion attempt to introduce the rights of slaves upon this this question; and, as one of her representatives, he proud foor, and by avowing he held a paper in his pocket ly disdained to ask any forbearance whatever. He knew purporting to be a petition from slaves, signed by twen the power of this Government, and the rights of his iy-two. Mr. P. said this admitted that he had commu- country; and while South Carolina was prepared to de nication with slaves, and was evidence, in law, of collu- fend the latter, she defied ihe former, sion. It broke down the principle that the slave could Mr. CAMBRELENG observed that he was not among only be known through his master. For this he was in the number of those who despaired of the safety of the dictable, under statute, for aiding and abelting insurrec. Uvion, let the hurricane . come from what quarter i tion; and for such conduct is he not amenable to the would-from the North or from the South. censure of this House? The privilege of speech pro- sufficient virtue and power among a large population, is tected a member from being questioned before any oth. every quarter of the Union, to keep the two extreme er tribunal, but does not exempt bim from being ques. I from breaking duwn the pillars of the confederacy tioned before this House,

There wa

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

whether threatened with fanaticism on the one hand, or setts, [Mr. Adams.] That gentleman knew well, by his insurrection on the other. This was the first time he own showing, that, when he asked for information from (Mr. C.) had ever risen to speak upon this subject; he the Chair on this subject, he was entering upon that had felt as gentlemen from the South, when the honora which was calculated deeply to wound the feelings of ble member from Alabama (Mr. LEWIS) presented his the South; it was obvious, therefore, that his intention resolution; he felt, that great as the sacrifice was to had been to inflict a wound; and why, he (Mr. G.) would bring to the bar of this House one who had occupied the inquire, why should he have asked such a question of highest station on earth, as President of the United of the Chair, when he must have known what would be States, yet thought that it ought to be made. But now, the answer? His intentions being evidently euch, nameafter having heard the explanation of the honorable gens ly, to cast a spark which would immediately kindle into tleman, (Mr. Adams,) he viewed the subject altogether a flame, he should feel himself recreant to every proper in a different light. It appeared to him that that gen. feeling of the heart and mind, if he did not give his vote tleman (Mr. ADAMS) had been hoaxed by some young for this resolution. men in Fredericksburg. The two gentlemen from Mr. PINCKNEY said that, from the peculiar position South Carolina (Mr. PICKENS and Mr. THOMPSON) must

in which he stood in relation to this question, he was conpardon bim for attaching less importance to this whole strained to throw himself upon the indulgence of the affair as it now stood, and if he could not treat it with House. He concurred entirely with the gentleman from the same solemnity. The venerable gentleman from Alabama, (Mr. Lewis,] that this subject ought not to be Massachusetts bad evidently been not only hoaxed in re discussed by Southern members. Opposed, as he always gard to the Fredericksburg petition, but insulted in the was, to the agitation of the subject of slavery on that very petition for making the inquiry about which he foor, he was decidedly of opinion that now, more than was now arraigned before the House. The contents of ever, under the extraordinary circumstances of the presthe petition were known in this House before the gen. ent case, no Southern delegate should have said a word. tleman from Massachusetts announced them. It was l'he decision of the question should have been left enmanifestly designed to make him appear ridiculous, by tirely to the members from the non-slave holding portions presenting a petition praying for bis own expulsion. It of the Union. He was sure that, if the decision was left came from a slaveholding quarter, and was no doubt de to them, without any of that excited debate which always signed to insult bim for presenting so frequently aboli- injures a cause, however intrinsically good, the enlight. tion petitions.

ened patriotism and liberal feeling of the members from MF. DAWSON called upon Mr. CAMBRELENG to men the non-slaveholding States would have done all that was tion wbo it was that had played this hoax; whoever it necessary either to satisfy the injured feelings of the might be, he ought to be expelled from this House. South, or to maintain the order and dignity of that honMr. BOULDIN expressed the same opinion.

orable House, both of which had been outraged by the Mr. CAMBRELENG said he would 'not answer the extraordinary conduct of the gentleman from Massachu. question as to persons; he had merely heard it stated setts, (Mr. Adams,] against whom resolutions of censure near him that the character of the petition was known had been moved. But, instead of simply demanding the before the gentleman from Massachusetts alluded to its action of the House upon this matter, and having the contents. There were two reasons why he should not seal of its reprobation placed instantly and promptly upvote as he had first intended to have done for the resolu on the indignity that had been offered both to the South tion of censure: the first was, because, viewing the mat. and to the House, member after member bad risen, speech ter in the light he had placed it, he thought it too trifling after speech had been made, resolution upon resolution & Tatter for which to bring one who had been President had been offered, by Southern members, until excite. of the United States to the bar of the House; and the ment had risen to the very highest pitch; and, now, what second reason was, because that gentleman had, by the was the consequence! Why, the gentleman from Masarowal of his hostility to the abolition of slavery in this sachusetts tells us that, if the gentlemen who have moved District, made some atonement for the disorder he had these resolutions wish to have him censured by the occasioned from week to week in presenting these pe House, they mast modify their resolutions, by striking titions. It was due to the gentleman from Massachu. out all that relates to the abolition of slavery; for the setts to say, further, that he iook the occasion, on pre- petition which bad caused all this excitement not only senting the first petition some years ago, praying for the does not pray for the abolition of slavery in the District abolition of slavery in this District, to state explicitly, lest of Columbia, but prays for directly the reverse, and even bis opinions might be misunderstood by the petitioners denounces him (Mr. ADAMS) for intermeddling with the and the country, that he was utterly opposed to the subject. It seems, then, (said Mr. P.,) that the petition prayer of the petition; he had distinctly said that he which the gentleman offered to present is not a petition viewed the subject as one of those cases in which the in point of fact; that it is nothing more than a quiz, ur remedy was to be considered worse than the disease. hoax, which has been played off upon the gentleman He (Mr. C.) should, therefore, with these views of the bimself; and that, probably, in retaliation for the joke case, sot now give his vote to the proposition for cen. practised on himself, he determined to carry it still fur. suring that honorable gentleman, [Mr. Adams.] iher, by playing it off upon the House. But whether

Mr. GLASCOCK thought that wbat had fallen from the petition was genuine or not; whether it prayed for the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. Patrox,] so far from the abolition of slavery, or the expulsion of the gentle. being a satisfactory explanation, only helped to make man himself; and whether the gentleman was in jest or the matter worse.

earnest, his conduct was unquestionably reprehensible, [Mr. Patrox explained. When he (Mr. P.) saw the and such as ought to be visited with the severest censure House proceeding with haste and warmth, he had mere.

of the House. If the petition was genuine, it was an in. ly risen to express bis opinion that perhaps it would be dignity to the House to have offered to present it, pur. necessary first to know if we had the facts; he (Mr. P.) porting, as it did, to come from slaves. Does not the did not know what the facts were, but he felt that it was gentleman know that the right of petition only attaches undoubtedly necessary that, in such a case, the House to the free white people of the Union, and that slaves ought first to be assured of the facts. ]

can only be heard in a legisiative body through the agenMr. G. proceeded. He (Mr. G.) would, after the ex. cy of their owners? But if the petition was a hoax, then planation he had heard, confine himself to the statement the conduct of the gentleman was still more unjustifia. which had been made by the gentleman from Massachu- 1 ble. It was adding insult to injury: first, by creating the

YOL. XIII.-101

H. OF R.]

Abolition of Slavery.

(FEB. 6, 1837.

impression that it was a genuine petition, and pro to complete bis argument, and it was delayed accord. ducing a scene of unparalleled excitement in the House; ingly. The member from North Carolina knew of Mr. and then, as if he revelled in the tempest he had raised, P's intention, and of his motive for delaying ils execu. turning it all into ridicule, by telling us now, after a pro tion, because he bad communicated with him on the subtracted debate of several hours, that the petition is in fa ject. [Mr. Byrum signified assent.] But, as be had vor of slavery, not against it, and that it was more against already stated, he was anticipated by the the member himself than any thing else. The gentleman, if such is from Kentucky. The resoluiion, not withstanding, had his disposition, may enjoy this joke, and enjoy this scene; bad his most cordial concurrence; and, if gentlemen de. but farces of this kind neither suit the humor of the sired to lay it to his door, he was perfectly willing to asslaveholding States, nor comport with the character and sume its palernity. Considering ihe present resolution, dignity of the Legislature of the nation. But the gen. then, and the one adopted last session, as one and the tleman says he did not present this petition, nor offer to same, and himself responsible therefor, what was the bispresent it; he only stated that he had such a petition, and tory of that much-abused resolution? Every gentleman inquired of the Chair wbether it would come under the recollects the occurrences that transpired last session. order of the House, by which all papers relating to sla After three months of extraordinary excitement, arising very are directed to be laid upon the table, without from a most injudicious contest on the question of recep: printing or commitment, or any action whatsoever. tion, or, in other words, on the great constitutional

It would seem, then, (said Mr. P.,) that this notable question of the right of petition, a resolution was adopthoax of a slave memorial was an ingenious device, by ed by the House, referring all abolition memorials to a which the gentleman had attempted to manifest his con select committee, with instructions to report that Contempt for an order solemnly adopted by this House, un gress cannot interfere with the institution of slavery in der ihe pitiful pretext that because the said hoax had the District of Columbia, because it would be a violareference to slavery, it must, therefore, be received and tion of the public faith, and dangerous to the existence laid upon the table, as included in the general and com of this Union. That resolution was adopted by a very prebensive scope of the aforesaid order. If this was the large majority; and when the committee submitted their object of the gentleman, so far from mending the mat report, another resolution, recommended by the commit. ter, it only made it worse; for, according to his own tee, was subsequently adopted by the House, directing showing, he had not only offended the House, in ear that all abolition papers should, without being printed or nest, or trifled with it, if in jest, but, in either case, had referred, be laid upon the table, and that no further acdetermined, if possible, to throw ridicule upon a resolu tion whatever should be had thereon. By the adoption of tion wbich the House had thought proper to adopt for the first resolution, particularly when taken in connexits own governance, in relation to all papers connected ion with the report of the committee, the faith of the with the subject of the abolition of slavery. Mr. P. had nation was solemnly pledged to the slavebolding States no doubt that this laudable motive was duly appreciated that no interference whatever would be attempted, on by the House, and that they would manifest their high the part of the Federal Government, with the institution sense of the ingenuity of the gentleman in the manner of slavery in the District of Columbia. By the adoption that became them. But it was not Mr. P's object to of the second, an equally solemn assurance was given discuss the conduct of that gentleman; that had been am that no further agitation of the subject of slavery would ply done by others. He rose for another and a very dif be permitted within the ball of the House of Representferent purpose; one somewhat personally affecting bim atives. The latter was an appropriate corollary to the forself, and but for which he would not have troubled the mer, and showed conclusively that the House did not inHouse with a single observation. Pointed allusions, tend to "hold the word of promise to the ear, and break which he felt it his duty to notice, had been made by 1 it to the hope.” The great object of all those proceed: two gentlemen to the resolution adopted at the last ses. ings was to allay excitement, to repress the fanatical sion, in relation to abolition, and of which be was proud spirit of abolitionism, to restore harmony to our distractthat he had been the mover. The gentleman from New ed country, and to strengthen and burnish that beautiYork (Mr. GRANGER) had endeavored to prove that the ful constitutional compact which binds us in unity as a famattempt by the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Ad. ily of Stales. And that object has been attained. The AMS] to offer a petition from slaves, and all the mischief resolutions alluded to were satisfactory to the South and and excitement produced by that attempt, were all en satisfactory to the North. Their success succeeded the tirely owing to the adoption of the resolution to which expectations of their most sanguine advocates. Every he had just adverted. Such an argument was scarcely thing that has occurred since the last session of Congress worthy of serious refutation; but, coming from the high affords abundant evidence of this. Abolition meetings source it did, he could not permit it to pass unnoticed. and lectures were incomparably fewer and less numer Strictly speaking, Mr. P. had no connexion with the or. ous than formerly. Several Legislatures of the non der or resolution recently adopted and now in force. slaveholding States had adopted admirable and patrioti The Speaker had decided that the resolution adopted resolutions against the abolitionists, and in favor of the last session ceased its operation with the termination of constitutional rights of the Southern States, as regards that session. The resolution now in force was moved by their peculiar domestic polity. The spirit of the per Mr. Hawes, a member from Kentucky. Mr. P. did ple every where was against abolition.

It was manifest not say this by way of avoiding any responsibility con ly going down, thougti, in its dissolution, it heaved an nected with that movement; far from it. He had voted struggled with convulsive agony. This was clearl for the resolution most cordially, because it was identical proved by the comparative fewness and exclusive cha with the one adopted last session, and which originated acter of the memorials presented to the House this se with himself. Nay, more: he had intended to have re. sion. They are decidedly fewer than those presente newed that proposition this session, but was anticipated last session, and, with only two or three exceptions, ar by the member from Kentucky.

A gentleman from all signed by women and children. This is a remark North Carolina (Mr. Bynum) had the floor upon the ble fact, and well worthy of altention. Last year the question of reception, raised upon a memorial presented were upwards of 20,000 male signatures; now we ha by the member from Massachusetts, (Mr. A DAMS.} He scarcely any thing but female. The fact is undeniab had spoken on one Monday, and was to have concluded that the proceedings of the last session have been pr on the next. Courtesy demanded the postponement of ductive of immense advantage. They have roused i the resolution until he should have had an opportunity patriotism of the nation, and chained down fanaticism

FEB. 6, 1837.)

Abolition of Slavery.

(H. OF R.

its den of darkness. But it is because the spirit of aboly of the right of a slave to memorial ze that House; and lition is thus repressed and kept down by the resolutions he would therefore say nothing further upon that point. of this House that it struggles and screams as it does But again: the gentleman from New York, (Mr. GRAN. with demoniac rage. Its element is agitation, its life-GER,] after denouncing the resolution, contends that the blood is excitement. Give it the question of reception only true way to treat the subject of abolition is to al. give it a daily contest on the right of petition-produce low every memorial to be considered on its merits, and constant confusion and turmoil here-produce a corre. to be received or rejected, as the House may think spanding spirit in every section of the Union—and this proper to determine, after a manly trial of the issue on is all it wants and all it asks. Like the abhorrent ibe question of reception. No doubt (said Mr. P.) animal that preys on corpses, it thrives and fattens on every abolition journal in the country is of the same the distresses of the country. All that it asks is to kin- opinion. Mr. P. said he had recently been favored by dle a flame at the Capitol that may consume the Union. the editor of “The Friend of Man,” with a number of Allow it to do that, and its work is done. Allow it to do that paper. It contained a long review of ihe report he that, and it will soon "cry Hecate, and let slip the dogs had submitted to the House, at the last session, on the of war.” But repress agitation-give no scope for tur- subject of abolition. It not only condemned that remoil-nail the memorials to the table-allow no discus- port, but assailed Mr. P. himself, in the most bitter and sion or action on them-and having noihing to go on, unsparing terms. It insisted that the resolutions adopta no flame to fan, no strife to stir, it must necessarily ed by the House were equivalent to a denial of the droop and die, and soon cease tu infect us with its pestif. right of petition, and charged the House with cruelly erous breath. This is not only the language of common and despotism, arguing very naturally that the right to sense, but it is the testimony of experience. We have petition is a nuility, if, after the memorials are received, the evidence of this session, and of the last six months, they are deposited quietly in the tomb of the Capulets, to prove that abolition has decreased and is decreasing with no hope of resurrection from their sleep of dea'h. And this result has been produced by the resolutions of And it had a great deal about the rights of freemen, and this House; and it is because this result has been pro- the insolence of slaveholders, and ine base servility of duced, and because slavery can no longer be made the the House, declaring unequivocally that it would rather subject of agitation and excitement, ihat the resolu see the Union dissolved than that the free citizens of tion of the last session is now assailed on all sides with the free States should be forced to succumb to slaves. unwonted bitterness and fury.

But then it went most manfully for the question of reThe gentleman from New York (Mr. GRANGER) re ception—the editor, no doubt, chuckling at the recolgrets that Mr. Adams should have offered to present a lection of the memorable vote of three fourths and memorial from slaves, but ascribes it entirely to the cir. more by which the South was defeated in the Senate. cumstance that the resolution now in force requires But the question of reception is the true issue. So that all papers relating to slavery, or the abolition of says the gentleman from New York. So say the aboslavery, shall be laid upon the table. This was the ar litionists. So say certain gentlemen from the slavehold. gument of Mr. Adams himself. But the gentleman ing States. We must not fight the principle of abolition, from New York is mistaken. The resolution is answer but the right of petition. We must not repress the ac. able for no such consequence. In the first place, this tual movements of the fanatics, but give them every adslave memorial has not been received, and never will be. vantage that we can by making factitious issues upon ab. It has not been laid upon the table, and never will be. stract points. We must not meet them upon grounds It does not come within the order of the House, nor on which we are able to conquer them, but on those ever will. This answer is sufficient. The objection to grounds only on which they are most sure to conquer us. the resolution is scattered to the winds. But again: the Well, gentlemen have had their will. Their true issue resolution necessarily embraces only those who are con has been made. The question of reception has been stitutionally entitled to address this House. It relates foreed upon the House, as it was upon the Senate and Exclusively to the free white citizens of the United the South, a second time; has been most signally defeat. States. Slaves are not entitled to petition. They are ed. And how have the abolitionists borne iheir triumph? not known to the Federal Government. They cannot He would tell the House. Another paper, " The Eman. approach it, nor can the Government legislate for them. cipator," had been very kindly sent bim. It hailed with Even in the slaveholding States, a slave can only op. ecstasy the “glorious news from Washington.” It sung proach the Legislature through the intervention of his lo pæan to the victory that had been gained at last master. He has no right to petition for himself. How over "the nullifiers of the South." It rallied its forces absurd, tben, to suppose that he can petition here! If to a renewed conflict with “the dark spirit of slavery." be bad a right to petition, Congress would have the It called upon them to exert all their energies in the correlative right to hear him. But Congress cannot | transmission of memorials to Congress. The enemy was hear bim, cannot act for him, and therefore it is de beaten; the Capitol was theirs; they had only to enter, monstrable that, as Congress cannot hear him, he can and possess the spoils. It was a remarkable fact, that not have a right to be heard. Who ever dreamt, when before that issue was made, very few abolition memorials that resolution was adopted, that any member of this had been sent to be presented to the House. The gen. House would so far forget its dignity as to endeavor to eral understanding was, that, under the resolutions of Erade the resolution, or to cast contempt upon it, by the last session, every memorial of that kind would be attempting to introduce a memorial from negroes! Mr. instantly laid upon the table, there to lie untouched forP. said he would just as suon have supposed that the ever; and under that gloomy and discouraging prospect, gentleman from Massachusetts would have offered a me even the indomitable spirit of fanaticism had no heart to morial from a cow or a horse--for he might as well be send them. But the moment the abolitionists had beard the organ of one species of property as another. Slaves that the Chair had decided that the resolution of the last were property. They were not only recognised as such session expired with the expiration of the session, and, in by the laws of the slaveholding States, but by the fed addition to that, that the question of reception had been eral constitution itself. This could easily be shown by tried and carried in their favor, they revived from the dead, reference to various provisions in that instrument, bear shook off their despondency, renewed the contest with reing on this subject. But the subject itself was too ab. doubled vigor, and began to pour in the memorials with eurd for argument. Not a single member, he was sure, which the gentleman from Massachusetts has entertained ce only excepted, could be persuaded to think serious and edified the House for the last three weeks. Such

« ПретходнаНастави »