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H. OF R.]
Abolition of Slavery.
[Feb. 6, 1837.
were the fruits of the true issue, as gentlemen were territory, but would have erecled a separate and inde. pleased 10 term it. Mr. P. said he thanked Heaven he pendent State, in the hosom of the confederacy, not had no participation in the production of those fruits. subject to the laws of the Federal Government, but at He thanked Heaven that the incendiary fanatics, against full liberty to pursue whatever career she pleased, no whom he had contended faithfully, had never boasted of matter what confusion or disorder might have resulted advantages that he had given them, nor proclaimed a from her movements. triumph which they had been enabled to achieve through But to return to the resolution relating to abolition. his instrumentality. It was his peculiar fortune to be One assailant, he would have supposed, might have been abused and vilified by a ceriain portion of the South on sufficient to destroy so poor a breast work, especially the one side, and by all the abolitionists upon the other. when that assailant was the distinguished member from It troubled not his peace. He had an approving con. New York. But it still stvod firm; ay, as firm as the science of which nothing could deprive him, and was pillars of honesty and truth; and, therefore, one of his determined to move on calmly in the even tenor of his colleagues from South Carolina (Mr. Pickens) had come way. He knew that justice would yet be done him, to the aid of that honorable member. He, too, had de. even by those who now denounced him, and he would nounced the resolution. He had called it is miserable," continue to protect their interests, in spite of their "pitiful,” and, following the example of the honorable curses, and regardless of iheir enmily.
member from New York, bad endeavored to demonIt was the lot of others, on the contrary, to be lauded strate that it was owing to that resolution that Mr. ADAMS by !hat portion of the Souih who were displeased with had acted as he had done, and that all the unpleasant and him, and also by the very incendiary enemy with whom exciting scenes of the day had happened. they were contending for the righis and welfare of the Mr. P. said he cared nothing for the epitheto his colinjured South. He did not pretend to account for this league had thought proper to apply to that resolution. remarkable coincidence. Conscious of the purity of his Epithets were not argument, and argument was necesown motives, he never cast impulations upon the mo. sary to prove that the epithels were warranted. But he tives of others. It was true there were many things in would tell his colleague one thing. The gentleman from the political operations of the present day that passed Kentucky, (Mr. Hawes,] who introduced the resolution, his comprehension; but still he was willing to believe was not present to defend i:. He would tell him another that it was more the result of his own obtuseness of in- thing. It had been adopted by an overwhelming matellect than of any thing wrong in the operations them. jority of the whole House; and, therefore, if it was really selves. He was a Soutlierner, but he could not under-pitiful, there were so many to divide the censure, that stand why papers, professedly devoted to the South, scarcely any one would feel its weight. He would tell should hail the election of individuals friendly to aboli. him yet another thing. It was adopted by an overtion as political triumphs, nor why Southerners and whelming majority of the Representatives from the slave: abolitionists should choose the same mode of action, holding States; und, therefore, if all who voted for it? leading invariably to the advantage of the latter. He were disloyal to the South, she might indeed be consid. 'n was a free-trade man, but he could not understand why ered as having been surrendered to the enemy. There : papers, professing free-trade principles, should be op. were on that floor upwards of a bundred slaveholding posed to a reduction of high protective duties, and be delegates, and of all that number not more than sixteen constantly filled with speeches and essays in favor of the had voted against the resolution; upwards of eighty on manufacturers, and the obligation of the Government to the one side, and sixteen on the other.
Mr. P. said he sustain their monopoly. He was a strict constructionist, did not profess to understand the interests of the slave. but he could not understand upon what principle of holding States better than other members from those strict construction those professing the doctrine acted, States, and he was, therefore, sincerely rejoiced at the who advocated the continuance of an enormous surplus almost undivided support that his miserable resolution in the Treasury, with a view to its distribution among had received from the slaveholding interest within those the States, rather than a reduction of unnecessary and walls. Miserable as it might be, the support that had oppressive taxes to the legitimate necessities of Govern. been given it showed the absolute necessity for its adop. ment. He was a Stale-rights man, but he could not tion. It showed its importance and its policy. More understand why the admission of Michigan was opposed than that, it showed its great and growing popularity. because she was a State, nor why the voice of her peo. At the last session, the slaveholding vote in favor of this ple was to be rejected, because they had chosen to resolution was, perhaps, not more ihan two thirds; now, assemble in convention, in their sovereign capacity, it is more than four filihs. This great increase of slave. without the permission of their Legislature. He held holding votes would not have taken place but for the that the power of the people was supreme, and that favor the resolution has acquired in ihe slave holding constitutions and legislatures were but organized expres. States. It is its strength with the people that has caused sions of their will, and authorized agents to execute their their delegates to rally around it with such unanimity pleasure. He certainly would not venture to say to the and ardor. And that strength will increase still more. people of South Carolina that they had no right to as- The occurrences of this very day will increase it. If any semble in convention, in their sovereign capacity, if the thing on earth can show the necessity of laying abolition Legislature of their state should presumptuously forbid papers on the table without printing, reference, or 8C. it. And what he would assert and maintain for his tion of any kind whatever, it is the extraordinary legis. own Siale, he did not feel warranted to deny to the Jalive play that has this day been enacted on this ihea. people of Michigan. He saw no anarchy in their con- tre; the tragedy, the farce, the painful excitement, the duct. He saw nothing but a peaceful and rightful as. Judicrous burlesque, the contempt and ridicule brought semblage of the people, for the lawlul purpose of giving upon this House, and the deep disgrace inflicted on our their assent to the act of Congress, and with the laudable country. Mr. P. said he would tell his colleague yet design of effecting their admission into the confederacy another thing. That same miserable resolution had been of the States. In his humble judgment, 10 have rejeci. sustained by a decided majority of Charleston district. ed her application for admission would have been con- The late congressional canvass turned exclusively upon duct infinitely more liable to the charge of anarchy and the abolition question. True, he had lost his election by revolution. She would then have been a Stale, but out a very small majority. But the approval of his conduci, of the Union; and Congress in that event would not only by a majority of the voters, was equally true, not with. bave dismembered the Union of a large portion of its | standing. A large number of those who voted for bis FEB. 7, 1837.)
Censure of Mr. Adams.
[H. OF R.
red to hat H: ungkan.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7.
CENSURE OF MR. ADAMS, in the district. he ples: 2 Mr. P. said his respected competitor himself had As soon as the reading of the journal was concluded,
openly expressed his concurrence in his course, and he Mr. ADAMS rose and said the minutes on the journal
rejoiced that that course would be sustained hereafter of the proceedings of yesterday were not, in one particog to abelisby intellect and eloquence so admirably calculated to ular, sufficiently explicit. The journal stated that Mr.
sustain it. Yes, (said Mr. P.,) I glory in that course. I THOMPSON, of South Caroline, moved a modification of ofit , especial glory in that resolution. I glory that for once, at least, his own resolution “at the suggestion of Mr. Lewis, of
in my life, I looked to the true welfare of the South, in Alabama;" whereas, Mr. A. contended that the journal connexion with the happiness and harmony of our whole should set forth that Mr. Lewis had moved, or offered common country. I am proud that, in having pursued to move, that resolution as an amendment, and that then
that course, I have been cheered by the cordial “well Mr. Thompson, of South Carolina, accepted it. se, ton, les done" of heads as sound and hearts as pure as any that After some conversation between Messrs. ADAMS,
undertook to proscribe me, here or elsewhere; of ven. THOMPSON of South Carolina, LAWLER, EVER-
It belongs entirely to “ Mr. Adams next stated he had in bis possession a the individual States and to the people. The State paper, upon which he wished to have a decision of the Legislatures, if they choose, may sustain it from their speaker. The paper, he said, came from twenty pertreasuries. They have the right to do so; hut Congress
sons declaring themselves to be slaves. He wished to has no such right; nor will the people of the South ever know whether the Speaker would consider this paper submit to be taxed that the proceeds of the taxes may
as coming under the rule of the House." be applied to the purchase of their slaves, with a view Mr. ADAMS said it must be perfectly within the rectheir emancipation or removal inlo Africa. As to ab-ollection of the Speaker, that what was there stated in olition, he would only remark, that while others strug- the Globe was correct. He did not present the petigle to create excitement, he would endeavor to prevent tion, but kept it in his possession. He had stated to the it: while others are calling for a Southern convention, Speaker that he had in his possession a paper purporthe would endeavor to avert its necessity; while others ing to be from twenty-two slaves, and he had asked the are sapping the foundations of the Union, he would en- Speaker whether a petition of this kind would come deavor to confirm it; and, with these views, he sincerely under the rule of the 18th of January last; and the hoped that as the resolution, of which he was the origi. Speaker said, as it was a novel question, he would take mal mover, had been adopted at the last session, and re- the sense of the House upon it. He had also stated, adopted at the present, so it would continue to be before he commenced presenting his petitions, that he slipted and enforced during every succeeding Congress, had some in his possession wbich it had occurred to him while there was a single fanatic io infest this ball, or an were impositions; as, by the order of the 18th of Janu. American patriot to defeat his object.
ary, members who had an attachment to the right of After a few incidental observations by Mr. Cam. petition were liable to imposition. He bad stated that, BRECENG, Mr. LAW LER, Mr. WISE, and Mr.
among the petitions which were in his possession, he de! FER, the House adjourned, without coming
to any I had the suspicion that some of them were not genuine;
H. OF R.]
Censure of Mr. Adams.
[FEB. 7, 1837.
and he would appeal to members to say whether he had on almost every petition day, the gentleman bad come in
As be had before said, however, he had not presented Mr. ELMORE trusted there was no intention of ar.
unanimity that, it gave him pleasure to say, had been Mr. JENIFER said, if the gentleman paid such vene- manifested on the present occasion, he hoped and ration to the right of petition, why not present his pe. trusted that, so far as he was concerned, and so far as tition to the House without asking the decision of the he was identified with the South, they would present Speaker? That gentleman had never paid so much re. but one imbodied, single, unbroken phalans. gard to the decisions of the Speaker 'heretofore, as it He desired a word of explanation from the gentleman must be within the recollection of every gentleman that, from New York, (Mr. CAMBRBLENG, ) in relation to some
FEB. 7, 1837.)
Censure of Mr. Adams.
(H. OF R.
remarks that were said to have fallen from him yester / the consequences to myself personally what they may, day, though Mr. P. himself had not heard them. He to censure or expel any member for the utmost latitude had been informed this morning that the gentleman had of inquiry or remark in which he may indulge, whilst said to the effect that be trusted there was virtue and acting in what he may regard, however erroneously, as spirit enough (and this was in reply to Mr. P.) in the the discharge of his duty, and keeping within the limits North and in the South to put down fanaticism in the of parliamentary order. Let me not be understood as one, and rebellion in the other.
approving the conduct of the gentleman from MassaMr. CAMBRELENG explained. What he had said chusetts. Far from it; no one more strongly condemns was, that there was virtue and spirit enough among the it. I concur with those who think that lie has trifled vast population of this Union, East, West, North, and with the patience of the House, to the great delay of its South, which would keep the two extremes from business, and wantonly tortured the feelings of a large breaking down the barriers of the constitution; but he portion of its members, by the minuteness with which had not used the word “rebellion,” but “insurrection," he has dwelt upon the contents of offensive petitions, and bad made no application to the gentleman from and the names and characters of those who signed them. South Carolina.
I cannot hold bim guiltless in unnecessarily introducing Mr. PICKENS was perfectly satisfied, and had not and enlarging upon this irritating topic of abolition; eshimself understood the gentleman as saying what he had pecially be seems to me much to blame for leaving the referred to, but others had.
House so long under an evident and painful mistake in Mr. LAWLER then took the foor, and insisted, at relation to the petition in his possession, by suppressing some length, that the explanation of the member from information of its contents. Nor do i believe that he Massachusetts was any thing but satisfactory, and he has succeeded, by the explanation he has offered, in conmade an earnest appeal to him to retract what he had vincing one human being, except himself, of the proprie. done.
ty of his course. Indeed, in one respect that explanaMr. ROBERTSON desired that the resolution before tion must rather be regarded in the light of an aggrava. the House might be again read.
tion, reiterating, as it did, the offensive doctrine that The resolution offered by Mr. DROMGOOLE, and ac- slaves bave a right to send their petitions into this hall. cepted by Mr. Tuompson, of South Carolina, as a modi. That gentleman is too intelligent io assert, in his calmer fication of one previously offered by him, was then read moments, the preposterous position, that those who unby the Clerk.
der the constitution are recognised as property, who Mr. ROBERTson resumed. Mr. Speaker, I wished the constitute no part of the body politic, can exercise poresolution proposed by my colleague (Mr. DROMGOOLE] litical rights. He ought to have foreseen the conseread again, that I might be certain
I correctly apprehend- quences which have ensued from suggesting a doubt ed its import. I cannot vote for it. Called upon as the upon that subject: But whatever may be my opinion, Southern members are to unite in one phalanx to sus- or that of the House, of the absurdity or impropriety of tain it, I cannot obey the summons without, as I consci- / raising such a question here, it by no means follows entiously believe, overleaping the barriers of the consti- that we can make it the ground of a penal proceeding, tution, and violating, in the person of the gentleman from The gentleman bas cleared himself of any supposed Massachusetts, (Mr. Adams,] that liberty of speech guar contempt, by disclaiming, in the most solemn manner, antied to every member in this hall. I am sorry, sir, to any intentional disrespect. He has declared that his stand in the way of gentlemen who seem so impatient for real object was to obtain the Speaker's construction of the floor; but I cannot forego the opportunity allowed one of our standing orders, and to conform to that conme of explaining the reasons which govern my vote. Istruction. We are not authorized to discrt dit this vill detain them but a few moments.
statement. But if we were, or if the disclaimer had I have taken no part, Mr. Speaker, in the stormy de- never been made, with what propriety can we censure bate which the extraordinary conduct of the gentleman him for making an inquiry wbich the Speaker himself from Massachusetts bas elicited. I was, sir, I confess, seems to have regarded so doubtful as to decline an. unwilling to trust to the emotions which that conduct swering, and referred to the judgment of the House? could not fail to excite in the busom of every Southern How punisb him for inquiring of the proper organ of man. There was danger the first impulse might hurry the House, whether he had the right to present a peti. us too far; for it is ever in moments of high excitement, tion under a subsisting order, which right one of my of exasperation, such as we have just witnessed, that colleagues, (Mr. WISE,] and other members, explicitly the most fatal precedents are established, and that, too, assert that order clearly gave him. It is true, sir, I do often under the influence of high and honorable motives. not agree with those wbo entertain this opinion. Broad It is due, therefore, to ourselves, to the member implica and comprehensive as is the resolution of the 18th of ted, and to the country, now that some degree of calm January, requiring, in terms, all papers relating to ness is restored, to weigh well the consequences of the slavery to be laid upon the iable without reading, it measure proposed under such circumstances for our could not have contemplated the recep'ion of petitions adoption. To drag a member to the bar of this House, from slaves; and it was matter of surprise to me that the and cause him to be publicly censured by the Speaker, Speaker should have hesitated for one moment so to de. must be regarded by him and by all as a heavy punishment, cide. But if the Chair doubted, more especially if and we ought to be able to give satisfactory reasons for members in their places maintain the construction that inflicting it. Let us look to the resolution which pro. such petitions must be admitted under the resolution, fesses to assign them. It declares that the member in how is it that we can single out the member from Massaquestion, by stating that he had a petition purporting to chusetts, and censure him for suggesting a doubt, or be from slaves, and inquiring whether it came within the making an inquiry, relative to its proper interpretation? meaning of a certain resolution, as preliminary to its But it may be said he is not to be censured for asking presentation, has given color to the idea that slaves have the question, but because tbat question gives color to ibe right of petition, and of bis readiness to be their or- the idea that slaves may petition, and that he is willing gan. Yes, sir; we charge that by stating a fact, and ma- to be their organ. Absurd and offensive as such an idea king an inquiry, he has given color to an offensive idea; certainly is, I am yet to learn that members of Congress and it is for the crime of intimating that idea we demand may be proceeded against criminally for intimating or his punishment. I cannot go this length. So long as I uttering opinions here which a majority may consider bave the honor of a seat here I will never consent, be heretical or odious. On the contrary, I hold the prop
H. OF R.)
Censure of Mr. Adams.
(FEB. 7, 1837.
osition, in its broadest extent, that no member can be favor? The rights of the petitioner may be coextensive challenged, bere or elsewhere, for the assertion of any with the constitutional power of Congress, but cannot principle or sentiment, however preposterous, uncon. transcend it. It is an absurdity in terms to talk of a stitutional, or monstrous, so long as he keeps within the right to petition, where there is not a correlative power limits prescribed by our rules for the preservation of to grant. Why ask what cannot be given? Where order. He may undertake, if he will, to prove that there exists a rational doubt, petitions, I agree, ought to Congress ought to repeal the constitution, or to abolish be received and considered; and no one will go further the Union. Nothing, surely, could be more absurd, to respect the right, within just and reasonable bounds. nor more insulting. It would be to invite the House to But where the petition is plainly unjust or unconstituviolate the instrument it bas sworn to observe; in effect, tional, where it cannot be granted without robbing to commit perjury and treason. Yet who will say that others of their property or their rights, without violating he could be subjected, on that account, to censure or that instrument we have sworn to observe, or endangerexpulsion? What member will be safe for a day, if ing the Union it is our duty to guard, it is insulting in its such a doc'rine shall prevail? A minority, at least, character, whatever may be its language, and ought not should beware of a precedent which, once established, to be entertained. It is idle to receive a petition we are would not long tolerate any difference of opinion with predetermined to reject; and no wrong is done by rethe dominant majority. The power of the House to fusing to entertain an application wbich it is indecorous prescribe rules for the presentation and receplion of or unjust to make, or unlawful to grant. Suppose a pepetitions must be admiited; but I deny that the resolu. tition praying to take away a man's by act of Con tion of censure now under consideration can be justi- gress, to abolish the trial by jury, establish a national fied under any subsisting rule of the House, or any law church, or do any thing else prohibited by the constituof the land; and I trust that gentlemen will pause before tion: to wbat end receive it? And do not these abolition they set a precedent which may recoil upon themselves, memorials propose to violate the constitution? Do they and give a death-blow to the freedom of discussion se. not seek to take away what that constitution recognises cured to us by the constitution, and wbich is the best as property, and forbids to be taken except for public guarantee of the public liberty.
use? But gentlemen say it is more respectful to receive While up, Mr. Speaker, I will correct a misconcep- them, and Jay them upon the table without reading them. tion into which the gentleman from New York (Mr. Sir, I deny it. They who tell them at once, frankly, GRANGER) seems to have fallen in regard to the views of that they will not receive them, because they ask wbat myself and other Southern members who voted against ought not to be granted, treat them with full as much the resolution of the 18h of January. That gentleman, respect as those who, boasting to be the exclusive friends if I correctly understood him, considered our vote as in- of the right of petition, receive them, and lay them Auenced by the motives which governed his-the be- aside, without deigning to look at them. It is a mere lief that it trenched upon the right of petition.
pretence, a mockery, to call this respect for the right of [Mr. GRANGER explained. He said the gentleman petition. from Virginia had misapprehended him. He had un- This, Mr. Speaker, is the view I took of the resolution derstood the gentleman from Virginia, and other South- of the 18th January. Believing that the abolitionis's deern gentlemen who voted with him, as doing so on the manded what Congress had no moral or constitutional ground that they were opposed 10 ihe reception of me. power to concede, I was not willing to give their memo. morials on the subject of abolition, and bad given them rials admission. I was not willing that this ball, devoted credit for their manly and consistent course on that oc- as it should be to harmonious deliberations for the comcasion.]
mon good of the Union, should be made a receptacle for Mr. R. said he was pleased to learn that he had been foul and odious libels upon the character and institutions mistaken; but the vote had been misinterpreted, here of the Southern people. But the House bave ordered and elsewhere, hy those who had thought it worthy their
otherwise. These offensive memorials, in many cases notice; and he desired then, so far as he was concerned, signed by women and children ignorant of the institutions to correct the erroneous construction. I voted, sir, under which we live, and not knowing, it is to be hoped, (continued Mr. R.,) against the resolution in question, the consequences of their folly, bave been received-out because, by requiring all abolition memorials to be laid of respect, it is said, to tbe right of petition-and are to upon the table, it necessarily implied that such me. be preserved forever among the archives of the nation. murials should be received. I have uniformly denied If there were any hope of success, I would ask a reconthe propriety of their reception, and am daily more and sideration of the resulution under which this outrage is more convinced that the greater part of the annoyance
inflicted upon us, and an order to the Clerk to deand agitation experienced here from the abolitionists liver them back to those who presented them. Sir, has arisen from this favor shown to their memorials. I have told gentlemen from the North, and I tell them The power of the House to refuse to receive them can. again, that they do not, and will not, I fear, until it shall not be justly denied. The parliamentary rule itself be too late, appreciate the motives or the feelings of the which, upon the presentment of a petition, regularly Southern and Southwestern people, Perhaps they canrequires the question to be put whether it shall be re- not: for it is a law of our nature ihat we do not, without ceived, necessarily implies that power; for the moment difficulty, enter into the feelings of others differently it is admitted that this question may be put, it follows situated from ourselves. A parent only can know the that it may be answered either affirmatively or negative extent of parental affection; he only who has experienced ly; and, consequently, that the reception, in the exer- it can realize the strength of that tie which binds the cise of a sound discretion, may be refused.
husband to his wife. So, sir, Northern men can have The right of petition, like all other human rights, but a faint conception of the emotions we experience at must have some limits. It is generally admitted that the the unceasing assaults aimed at our peace, our property, House may refuse to receive petitions indecorous or in. our rights, and our institutions. They sit secure and unsulting in their language. But where is the rule or the moved, while the missiles destined to assail and annoy us reason of confining this power to objections on the are prepared before their eyes, and coolly and most score of language? Why not refuse to receive them philosophically wonder at the warmth of the South. where the subject matter is beyond our jurisdiction, or How, sir, would they bear similar aggressions upon the application so palpably immoral, unjust, or unconsti- themselves? Would they sit calmly, and listen to pe. lutional, as to require no deliberation and deserve no titions for the re-establishment of slavery in the non