Слике страница
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ted States.

It sherefore appears (continued the President) the

Feb. 9, 1837.)
Censure of Mr. Adams.

[H. of R. counted, MARTIX VAN BOREX then has, 167 yotes. In The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE then announceither event, MARTIN VAN BUREN, of New York, is ed that the object for which the two Houses were aselected President of the United States; and I therefore sembled, under the constitution, had been accomplished, declare that MARTIN Van Buren, baving received a and that the Senators would retire to their chamber in majority of the whole number of electoral votes, is duly order.

elected President of the United States for four years, The Senators then rose and retired in the order they 11 commencing the 4th day of March, 1837.

came, the members of the House rising in their places The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE then announced and remaining uncovered. the votes for Vice President of the United States, as re. Mr. THOMAS, from the committee on the part of the ported by the tellers, as follows:

House of Representatives, to join such committee as For Richard M. Johnson, of Kentucky

might be appointed on the part of the Senate, to ascer. If the votes of Michigan be counted

147 tain and report a mode of examining the votes for Presa If the roles of Michigan be not counted

144 ident and Vice President of the United States, and of For FRANCIS GRANGER, of New York

77 notifying the persons elected of their election, reported: Por Jour TILBB, of Virginia

47 That the joint committee, in further execution of the For WilliAN SMITH, of Alabama

duties with which they were charged by the two Houses

of Congress, have agreed to the following resolution, in were the sotes of Michigan counted, the highest num. which their committee recommend to the House of Rep. ber of votes for Vice President of the United States resentatives to concur: would be 147; and if those votes be not counted, the Resolved, That a committee of one member of the highest number of votes for that office will be 144. Senate be appointed by that body, to join a committee But, in either event, no person has received a majority of two members of the House of Representatives, to be of the electoral votes for Vice President of the United appointed by that flouse, to wait on Martin Van Bus States

; and I do therefore declare that, no person having REN, of New York, and notify him that he has been duly received such majority, no person has been elected to elected President of the United States for four years, that office; that RICHARD M. JORNSON, of Kentucky, and commencing with the 4th day of March, 1837. Frakcys GRANGER, of New York, are the two highest The above resolution having been concurred in, on the list; and it now devolves on the Senate of the On motion of Mr. GLASCOCK, United States, as provided in the constitution, from The House adjourned. those two persons to elect a Vice President of the Uni

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9.

CENSURE OF MR. ADAMS.
For President. Vice President.

The CHAIR announced the unfinished business, being the question of privilege involved in the consideration

of the following resolutions in relation to Mr. Adams. States,

The original resolution moved by Mr. W. THOMPSON was modified by him, at the suggestion of Mr. DROM GOOLE, as follows;

"1. Resolved, that the Hon. Jorn Quincy ADAMS, a member of this House, by stating, in his place, that he had in his possession a paper purporting to be a petition

from slaves, and inquiring if it came within the meaning 7 New Hampshire

of a resolution heretofore adopted, (as preliminary to its 14 Massachusetts

presentation,) Das given color to the idea that slaves 4 Pihode Island 8 Connecticut

have the right of petition, and of his readiness to be

their organ; and that for the same he deserves the cen. New York

sure of this House.

"2. Resolved, That the aforesaid JOAN Q. ADAMS 30 Pennsylvania

receive a censure from the Speaker, in the presence of 10 Maryland

10 the House of Representatives." 2 Firginia 23

Mr. Bynum had offered the following, as a substitute: 15 North Carolina

15 11 South Carolina

Strike out all after the word " Resolved," and insert, 11 "That an attempt to present any petition or memorial

from any slave or slaves, or free negro, from any part of

the Union, is a contempt of the House, and calculated 3 Louisiana

to embroil it in a strife and confusion incompatible with the dignity of the body; and that any member guilty of

the same justly subjects himself to the censure of the 4 Missouri

House, 3 Arkansas

" Resolved, That a committee be appointed to inquire

into the fact whether any such altempt has been made 24 Whole number of 170 14

by any member of this House, and report the same to 11 26

47 23 electors, were the

the House as soon as practicable." voles of Michigan

The question immediately pending was the following counted

amendment to the amendment, moved by Mr. PATTON: 16 Necessary, were the

Resolved, That the right of petition does not belong Thes of Michigan

to slaves of this Union; that no petition from them can

be presented to this House without derogating from the 291 Whole number of 167

23 rights of the slaveholding States and endangering the elecions, were the votes of Michigan

integrity of the Union. not counted

« Resolved, That every member who shall hereafter present any such petition to this House ought to be

Number of electone appoint

od in cach Slate,

Martin Van Buren.

Daniel Webster.

Wm. H. Harrison.

Willie P. Mangum.

Hugh L. While.

Richard M. Johnson.

Francis Granger.

John Tyler.

William Smith.

10 Maine

10
7

10
7

14

14

4

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

H. OF R.)

Censure of Mr. Adams.

(FEB. 9, 1837.

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

rest.

[ocr errors]

considered as regardless of the feelings of this House, incidentally. He would, however, remark that his in. the rights of the South, and an enemy to the Union. terposition was not to be considered as imputing to the

Resolved, That the Hon. John Q. Adams having | gentleman from Kentucky a departure from the opin. solemnly disclaimed a design of doing any thing dis ion now suggested, but as a notice to the House of the respectful to the House in the inquiry he made of the limits within which the discussion ought to be confined.) Speaker as to the petition purporting to be from I concur, sir, in the opinion as expressed by the slaves, and having avowed his intention not to of Chair, and do not design discussing that question, but fer to present the petition the House was of opinion only intend to refer to the constitution incidentally, and that it ought not to be presented therefore, all further as necessary to the understanding of the views which I proceedings as to his conduct now cease."

feel it my duty to submit. Sir, I beg leave to read the Mr. FRENCH, being entitled to the floor, addressed preamble of the constitution of the United States: the House as follows:

“ We the people of the United States, in order to Mr. Speaker: Nothing but a sense of duty could in form a more perfect union, establish justice, insare do. duce me to trouble the House upon this delicate and ex mestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, citing question. As an evidence, here and elsewhere, of promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings my disposition not to consume the time of the House, I of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and need only refer to my uniform silence during the pres. establish this constitution for the United States of Amer. ent session. I trust, then, sir, that the few considera.ica." tions which I feel it my duty to submit to the House and This preamble declares that we the people, in order the country will be attributed to their proper motives. to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our

The question of the abolition of slavery by Congress posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution. Yes, is one, sir, which I had considered so fully settled by sir, the States, by their delegates in the federal conventhe compromises of the constitution of the United States, tion, made the constitution, and the people of the States 28 not to be deemed a debateable question. I had en adopted it; and, therefore, it is the constitution of the tertained the hope that such would be the judgment of people. But, sir, it is important to inquire who are this House. And when, sir, the first abolition petition embraced by the expressions in that instrument, “ we received at the commencement of the last session was the people," and "the people." The people of the promptly, and without debate, laid upon the table, upon several States choose the members of this House. The the yeas and naye, by a large majority of this House, !| right of “the people to be secure in their persons, considered the question as wisely and prudently put to houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches

The public journals and the country at large and seizures, shall not be violated." hailed that decision in the same light. But, sir, in this The powers not delegated to the United States, most reasonable expectation we have all been disap nor probibited by it to the States, are reserved to the pointed.

States, respectively, or to the people." Who, then, are The many scenes of excitement which we have expe- embraced by "we the people," and "the people!" rienced in this House, growing out of the agitation of Those, Mr. Speaker, who ordained and established the the subject, have gone to the country. The numerous Constitution, and their posterity-citizens only. I will petitions and memorials praying for the abolition of sla: also read from the constitution ibe following clause: very, on days set apart by the rules of the House for “Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportion. the presentation of petitions, have been made to cut such ed among the several States which may be included a figure as to exclude, in a great measure, petitions within the Union, according to their respective numupon all other subjects, and thus other and necessary bers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole business has been neglected.

number of "free persons, including those bound to serFor one, Mr. Speaker, I had determined not to take vice for a term of years, and excluding Indiana not taxany part in the discussions upon this subject; but be ed, three fifths of all other persons.” lieving that discussion cannot be prevented, and that we Sir, I read this clause to show the basis, contained in from the slave States ought not any longer to forbear the constitution, upon which the right of the people Asserting our rights, I bave resolved to break my silence, to federal representation depends, and by which it is and, in behalf of those who sent me here, to contend for secured, and to prove that if ihe abolitionists succeed in them.

the accomplishment of their objects, they destroy this In doing this, Mr. Speaker, I shall not be unmindfull very basis, and overturn the Government. Suppose, of the rights and feelings of honorable members on this for example, that three fifths of the slaves of Louisiana foor, nor of that temperance wbich should character were equal in numbers to the whole wbite population ize the discussion.

of that State. In such case, one half of the members of Sir, the constitution of the United States is the work Congress in the House of Representatives would be of the wisest heads and the best hearts. The liberties based upon the slave population of that State. If, then, of this people cost much blood and treasure; and those slavery in that State were abolished by Congress, the who best knew their cost, and therefore could best ap- State would lose its right, as now guarantied to it by preciate their worth, endeavored to preserve and per- the constitution. That right is, that the people of the petuate them. For this purpose Government was in State owning slaves as private property at the adoption stituted.

of the constitution shall be entitled, so far as the action at the time of the adoption of the constitution, slave. of this Government is concerned, to a continuance of ry existed in the States. And are we of this age better that state of things, to wit: to the right of property in than those who waded through the Revolution? Might slaves, and to the right of representation based upon we not bear with slavery as they did? Did they not rec three fifths of them. If, then, Congress were to abolish ognise the right of property in slaves, and guaranty it slavery in that State, this fundamental right of the slave by that instrument? Can Congress break through those States would be destroyed or cut off; for they would guarantees, and abolish slavery?

have no right to keep the slaves within their limits, (The SPEAKER suggested that the debate on this sub. but, being free, they would go wbere they pleased. ject had heretofore taken a wide range, and he felt it This provision of the constitution does not let in the his duty to confine it as much as possible to the resolu slaves as participants in federal representation, nor as tions under consideration. He did not think the con entitled to such representation, but' is e provision for stitutional question could be otherwise alluded to than the benefit of those who ordained and established the

1

FEB. 9, 1837.)

Censure of Mr. Adams.

(H. or R.

constitution, and their posterity-for the benefit of citi enable them to realize, at the hands of their representazens only.

tives, the benefits of representation the benefits of le. Had slaves any voice in ordaining or establishing the gislation. It is, therefore, a sacred right, and should be constitution? Did any of them vote for delegates to so regarded. As the right, therefore, to petition the any of the conventions? Were any of them elected, or Government for a redress of grievances belongs to those legally qualified either to vote or be elected? Are any who are entitled to be represented in the Congress of of them now so qualified or entitled? No, sir; for al. tbe United States, it is important to inquire who are so though they are human beings, or, as denominated in entitled. Sir, all the citizens living under the proteca the constitution, persons, they were and are regarded tion of the constitution of the United States are not onin that instrument as property. They therefore have ly entitled to be represented bere, but are represented; no political rights secured to them by the constitution and all are citizens except our colored population, the of the United States.

Indian tribes, and aliens. - Yes, sir, the citizens of the Sir, what would the people to the North and East States, of the Territories, and of the District of Colum. think, if we from the slave States were to petition Con bia, are represented here. Every member of this gress to deprive them of one half of their right, as now House is a representative of the District, and so cunstisecured to them by the constitution, to representation tuted by the constitution of the United States. The in the Congress of the United States-by excluding members of this House, notwithstanding the Territories from the computation of their federal numbers one half have delegates here, also represent the Territories. of their population? Would they not think and say we But, sir, it may be said that the Indian tribes and were enemies to the Union? Would they not say we foreigners have petitioned this Government in numerous were jeoparding all their rightscivil, political and re instances; and that, therefore, the practice of the Gov. ligious? 'Would they not say we would, if successful in ernment establishes the riglit of others, who are not cit. our objects, overturn the Government? Would they izens, to petition the Government. It is true, sir, that not call upon us to stop? Would they not point out to the Indian tribes and foreigners have petitioned this us their rights, as guarantied by the constitution? Would Government; but this was tolerated by the Government they not urge upon us the compromises of the constitu as matter of favor, and not of right. Tbis argument, tion? Would they not insist that we sbould live up to drawn from the practice of the Government, therefore our bargain with them? And would they not have reason fails. Hence the conclusion to which my mind is conon their side? Yes, sir, all this they could and would do. ducted is, that, according to the theory of our Govern

May we whose rights are thus assailed, as we con ment, slaves, who are not citizens, but inhabitants mereceive, by the abolitionists, not make these appeals to ly, bave no right to petition the Government for a re. them? May we not call upon bonorable members from dress of their grievances; and hence the further conclu. the North and East, when they return home, to explain sion is, that the honorable gentleman from Massachu. to their people the fearful and ruinous consequences. setts, in bringing before the House tbe question whethwith which, if they persevere, they threaten the coun. er slaves have the right of petition, did that wbich he try! To tell them " we the people” of the United had no right to do.' States are one great political family, possessing equal The honorable gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. rights and privileges; of our desire to live in peace; and CUSHING) who last addressed the House upon these res. to ibis end, whilst we concede to them the right to enjoy, olutions contended that the right of petition was a nat. unmolested by us, all their rights, we claim from them ural right, derived from our Creator; and, being a natural the reciprocal right to the undisturbed enjoyment of right, so derived, belonged to all human beings. If that ours?

gentleman meant that all men have the natural right to The view of the constitution, Mr. Speaker, which supplicate the Deity, he is right. If he meant that all bave endeavored to present, is conclusive against the men, while in a state of nalure, had the right to petition right of Congress to interfere in any manner whatever their fellow-beings for what they wanted, he is right. If with slavery in the States; for Ibat which the constitu he meant that all men, in their personal relations and intion guaranties to the States, of right belongs to the tercourse, bave the same right now, he is right. But if States, and is beyond the reach of the powers of Con he meant that all men have the right to petition the Gov. gress to take away; slavery, therefore, and ibe question ernment, I think he is wrong... of abolition, are questions which belong to the States Sir, there was a time when civil government did not alone within whose limits slavery exists.

exist; and how can a man be said to have a natural right Another of the purposes for which I have exhibited to petition a political being who had no voice in its cre. this view of the constitution is the better to enable us ation-who is neither party nor privy to the body politic. to decide the question, to whom does the right to peti. That gentleman was pleased also to favor us with what tion the Government for a redress of grievances belong! he termed the 'abstract opinions of the abolitionists I maintain that “we the people," "the people," citi- opinions which, as he said, they honestly and conscienzens only, possess the right of petition under th's Gov- tiously entertained. And what are those opinions! That trament. Those, sir, who ordained and established the slavery is, in the abstract, a social, moral, and political Constitution, and their posterity-bose who are entitled evil. I will not, Mr. Speaker, debale the question to be represented in the Congress of the United States; whether slavery be or be not, in the abstract, a social, those, in short, whose moral property the Government is. moral, or political evil, but I refer to what ihe honora

The right of petition belongs to the people in their ble gentleman said to prove what are the grievances of sovereign capacity. It grows out of, and appertains to, the abolitionists, and what their objects. Slavery, ac. the doctrine of self-government. it is a right that ac cording to this exposé of tbeir views, is their grievancecompanies the riglit of representation. The right of universal emancipation, then, must be their object. petition and the right of representation may, thoiefore, If they prevail in that object, through the action of be denominated kindred rights. The right of petition, Congress, what becomes of the rights of the slave States, as was well said by the honorable gentleman from Mas. as guarantied to them by the constitution! What be. sachusetts who last addres-ed the House on these reso comes of the Government? Sir, it is plain that the end lutions, (Mr. Cushing, ) is a right reserved by the peo of these things, if successful, terminates in the overthrow ple, and is not granted by the constitution to them. of the Government. This view of the subject, therefore, Ibis reserved right is only guarantied by the constitu. bas also an unfortunate bearing upon the conduct of the tion. It is a right reserved by the people, the better to ! honorable gentleman whom it is proposed to censure.

[ocr errors]

other heresy, which considers it the bounden duty, of the station tions and papers on the subjects embraced in it from all by the laws and constitution of the country. They con- te of enlarging the right of petition. Will any one contend far they would have gone, to get rid of this feature in e

our system of civil polity, is not now to be considered. The paper gives to the blacks planted at Liberia the right of peti, springing, as it did, out of the necessities of the times; dit nga ana then, forms no justification or excuse for the honorable in the States, as the exclusive subject of municipal State of guided

legislation. And, be it a blessing or be it a curse, they well with

H. OF R.)
Censure of Mr. Adams.

[FEB. 9, 1837.

T Sir, the history of abolition petitions in this House du. to a close. With the same design, he had made several ring ihe last and present sessions of Congress, and of the attempts to obtain the floor, when this subject was last efforts of a large majority of this House to avoid the agi- under debate, but was not so fortunate as to attract the tation and consequent excitement, here and elsewhere, attention of the Speaker. of this dangerous question, are known to this House and Whatever, sir, (said Mr. M.,) may have been the to the country. I will not attempt to repeat them, but origin of this matter, and however we may regret the will call the attention of the House to the resolution of course which it has taken, I think it must now be ap. the 18th of January, by which this House ordered all parent to every one that it is not likely to lead to any petitions, memorials, propositions, and papers, relating practical good. The resolutions pending before the to slavery or the abolition of slavery, presented to the House grow out of a subject that never fails to awaken House, to be received and laid upon be table, without the liveliest sensibility, on the part of some gentlemen, niel, no being printed or referred. It reads as follows, to wit: whenever it is named-a sensibility not allogether war.

Resolved, That all petitions, memorials, resolutions, ranted, I think, by the circumstances of the case, but propositions, or papers, relating in any way, or to any wbich, whether warranted or not, is certainly very in extent whatever, to the subject of slavery, or the aboli. imical to any thing like calm and temperate investigation of slavery, shall, without being either printed or re tion. As an evidence of it, witness the condition of this ferred, be laid upon the table, and that no further action hall, since this apple of discord was first introduced. whatever shall be had thereon.”

How opposite to that which should ever characterize the What, sir, was the object of this House in passing this proceedings of a deliberative assembly! resolution? It was to give peace to this House and the

In relation to this exciting question--I mean, sir, said Ganda country on this exciting question. That object was Mr. M., the question of slavery-give me leave to say known to us all. It was known to the honorable gentle. that I occupy, comparatively speaking, à neutral poman in question. His conduct, therefore, in bringing be.

sition here. I come from a quarter of this Union which fore the House the question of the right of slaves to pe. is just so far north of “ Mason and Dixon's line" as not more titiuri

, by inquiring of the Chair if a petition from slaves to believe in the doctrine that slavery is a blessing; and the pe came within that resolution, defeats the object of the yet not sufficiently far north of it to be a convert to that a saling House, and is disrespectful to the House.

The terms of the resolution are broad and comprehen every good citizen to embark in a crusade for the pur: sive; and, considered without reference to those to whom pose of puting it down. The people of the State which is the right of petition belongs, the circumstances under i have the honor to represent, whatever views they may which it was adopted, and the object the House had in entertain as to the abstract question of slavery, never: april persons. But when considered in reference to these con sider that, by that glorious charter which made as one siderations, the resolution neither enlarges nor abridges people--a free, a happy, and, I trust in God, a united the right of petition. It leaves the right of petition as it people—this whole question was left to the separate, stood before its passage. Does that resolution, thier, en. sovereign, and independent States, who originally came

of The did not into the confederacy. How far they then went, or how the slaves inhabiting the island of Cuba have a righi, under the resolution, to petition House? Or that it Bat, viewing it as a part and parcel of that system; tion? In short, does it confer the right of petition to all and owing its to the mutual

ot. The broadness of the resolution, fathers, they now regard it, sir, so far as it exists withgentleman from Massachusetts.

The conclusion, then, Mr. Speaker, to which my own are.content to leave it with the States tbemselves, to be sense of duty conducts me, is, that ibat honorable gentle regulated according as their wisdom and justice and man, by raising the question of the right of slaves to pe. sound policy may direct. tition this House, did wrong-in fact, by so doing threw As the friend, then, of those on both sides of this con. a fire brand into the House, in contempt of all its efforts troversy, standing, as it were, upon the dividing line to allay all excitement upon this subject, and especially between liberty and slavery, I would entreat gentlemen of the settled judgment of the House, as expressed by to withdraw this exciting topic of discussion. A conthe passage of ibe resolution of the 18th January. That linuance of it is worse than useless. Alienation, distrust, he has, by his conduct in question, trifled with the unkindness, are its only fruits. I would appeal to the Hlouse, its feelings and its character, and therefore ought North, that while they stand up here for the right of to be censured. In voling for the resolution to censure petition secured by the constitution, and which, I trust; that bonorable gentleman, I shall not be influenced by they will never abandon, they would yet so exercise it any unkind or unfriendly feeling towards him personally. as not to infringe upon the rights of others; and, as far as But, sir, whilst I feel it my duly, in my representative may be consistent with the conscientious discharge of character, to disapprove of his conduct, I shall give my their duly, not to wound the feelings, or, if you please, vote under a lively sense of his liigh character for talents i the prejudices, of their fellow-countrymen in other porand learning, and of the distinguished ability with which tions of the Union. And I would appeal to the Southhe has discharged the important duties of the high and to what is often denominated on this foor. the generuus honorable stations which he has filled at home and South--to throw no impediment in the way of the eser. abroad.

cise of this unquestionable privilege, unless indeed they If the majority of this House are satisfied with the ex see a clear, a settled, a determined, fixed resolution to planations of that bonorable gentleman, and think prop-, interfere with their own peculiar local habits and instituer to excuse him, they can do so. Those explanations tions. That no such intention exists, on the part of the have not satisfied me, and I shall do my duty.

people of the North, I sincerely believe. Some few faMr. MILLIGAN said that he did not rise to enter into nalice, perhaps, or misguided philanthropists, may desire The discussion. Far from it. His object was rather to it, but the great body of the population of the free make an effort, perhaps an uosuccessful one, to draw it Sates are opposed to any improper interference.

[ocr errors]

FEB. 9, 1837.)

Censure of Mr. Adams.

(H. of R.

[ocr errors]

With regard to the original resolution, and the various bracing it. It had been said, also, the slave had no amendments and substitutes which have since been of constitutional rights but through his master. This fered, and wbich are now the immediate subject of con. was not s0; and he put the cases of murder, or unpro. sideration before the House, I would only remark, that voked assault, and that of alleged kidnapping, where they assume facts which have been distinctly denied by his legal rights were recognised, and frequently put in the honorable gentleman against whom they are alleged, force. and that they all propose, in relation to that distinguish Mr. PICKENS explained that if the gentleman from ed and venerable man, a course of action which I am Maine was alluding to his argument, he (Mr. P.) bad very certain but few members in this hall will be willing not said the slave had no legal rights, but that he had no to adopt. For myself, sir, if I even believed that he had constitutional or political rights. That was a question either said or done aught which could justly subject him he should like to bear the gentleman argue. to the animadversion of the House, I should ponder long, Mr. EVANS was referring to constitutional or legal and ponder well, before I could consent to visit him rights, which he insisted had been secured to the slave. with the rigor that is proposed. I should bave to dis. He then adverted to the general character of the peti. card from my memory the recollection of his long and tions praying for the abolition of slavery in the District eminent public services; and forget, what I never can of Columbia, in none of which was there found any harsh forget, that at one time he occupied what was once the language in relation to the peculiar instilutions of the proudest station upon earth, and discharged its duties South or Southern men, nor any expressed or implied with a moderation and a wisdom which reflected the wish to in'erfere with those institutions. There might highest honor upon himself, and glory upon his country'. ( be a few solitary exceptions, but it should be borne in

But, sir, I rose, as I said, not to prolong but to en mind that there was much warmth on boih sides. The deavor to arrest this painful discussion. Only a few right of the abolitionists to petition, however, should have short weeks of the present session of Congress remain. been respected, and their memorials continued to be reA vast amount both of public and private business is yet ceived, as they formerly had been. While this was done, unacted upon. Nearly all your appropriation bills for their numbers were few and their efforts feeble; but carrying on the operations of the Government for the they had increased in numbers, and become more pow. the current year; a proposition to readjust, or rather to erful, from the manner in which they had been treated break down, the tariff; a new-born project to give away by Congress. They contended that slavery was a great the public domain; and, though last not least, a measure moral, social, and political evil, and was, besides, indeof contingent war with Mexico, are all in reserve. With fensible by argument; and the refusal of the House to a view, therefore, of improving the brief interval which listen to them, and argue with them, justified them, in remains anterior to our adjournment, and enabling the their own opinion, in these allegations; but there was House to dispose of this great accumulation of business, nothing insulting in this. Even that language was borI now move you, sir, that this whole subject be laid upon rowed from Virginia; and he was about to cite some ibe table.

passages from the debates in that State on the adoption Mr. GHOLSON called for the yeas and nays on this of the constitution, containing this declaration, when motion.

Mr. PATTON arose, and hoped the Chair would re. Mr. ADAMS rose and said, that if he should say any strict the limits of the debate within the proper range of tbing now which was not strictly in accordance with the order. If the gentleman was suffered to go on in this rules of the House, he hoped' he would be excused, way, it must be obvious that a debate was springing up considering the position he occupied. He did not de which would be interminable. sire these resolutions to be laid on the table without being The CHAIR reminded the House that he had several heard.

times interposed to confine the debate within the proper Mr. GHOLSON called Mr. Adams to order.

limits, and had repeatedly reminded gentlemen that Mr. MILLIGAN said, if the gentleman from Massa- they were taking too wide a range, but in the performchusetts felt at all aggrieved by the motion to lay the ance of that duty he had not been sustained by the resolutions on the table, he would withdraw it.

House. As he had been called upon, however, he Mr. ADAMS did feel aggrieved by the motion to lay should enforce the rule, and take the sense of the House on the table.

whether the gentleman from Maine should be allowed Mr. MILLIGAN then withdrew the motion to lay the to proceed. resolutions on table.

Mr. CAMBRELENG asked for the yeas and nays; Mr. ADAMS did not wish to interrupt the delibera- giving, as a reason for so doing, that upon this vote would tions of the House; but if the resolution of censure was depend whether the business of the session should be to be passed, he wished to be heard in his own defence. entirely set aside or not. If the resolution did not pass, be would then ask of the The yeas and nays having been ordered, and the House to determine on the only question which would Chair being about to propound the question, be then before it.

Mr. ELMORE wished to say one word. He was perMr. EVANS insisted that the charge of offence, on fectly willing, if it should be the wish of the House, to the part of the gentleman from Massachusetts, was too hear the question fully discussed, but otherwise vague to justify a vote of censure upon him. There was Several members here rose and addressed the Chair. nothing specific. The resolution did not set forth any Mr. CLAIBORNE, of Mississippi, caught the eye of thing like contempt towards the House, or even an in. the Chair, and inquired if this motion for leave was de. fringement of its rules, but that he had “ given color to bateable. the idea that slaves had the right to petition. Mr. E.

The CHAIR believed it was not. held that the House had the right to punish a member Mr. WISE would submit whether this was the proper for a determined violation of its rules; because, other. mode of deciding whether a discussion was relevant or wise, the whole business of the country might be ob. irrelevant. Was there any precedent for it? On the structed by a disorderly member; but no man could be contrary, had not the practice heretofore been that the punished for the expression of his honest opinions. The Chair decided wbether the course of remarks of gentlelimitation to this, such as personalities, reflections upon men was irrelevant; and if the gentleman objected to the the past conduct of the House, &c., were expressly laid decision of the Chair, that he then took an appeal! Mr. down in the lex parliamentaria. With reference to the W. wished to know if the office of the Chair was not to right of slaves to petition, he said there were cases em interpose in that manner? And wby had it been departed

VOL. XIII.-105

« ПретходнаНастави »