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FEB. 11, 1837.)

House at sa tions. , test, by

OF DEBATES IN CONGRESS.

1718

Right of Petition.

(H. OF R.

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addresses itself to passion or feeling, but to get from the House a coul and

for that opinion I am all who confide in me, or have any claims upon me; so far my personal interest extends. It is with the deepest regret, the most mournful re. responsible to my constituents, and Mr. Speaker, we have taken an oath to support the

constitution. That constilution was framed to support this and all other property. If, then, we appeal to any

powers, rights, or reasons, above and beyond that instru10 Come to the conclusion that in this I had been en. compelled to say I had been constrained ment, we disregard the bond which is the only obliga.

tion and contract between us; and, as it seems to me, to Petition this House. er alely and fatally of opinion that a slave has the right put the case of a slave condemned to be hanged for From that vote, that a majority of this House were delib | the oaths we have taken to support it. It is in vain to

crime, and applying for pardon, with no one to apply From this proposition, if true, a corollary follows, as

to but us. In such a case he is out of the power, custoconclusively and inevitably as a corollary follows from a

dy, and protection, of his master, and is not the subject demonstration of any proposition in Euclid, that the con stitution of the United S!ates is no effective barrier to che action of Congress

of property. Any general proposition that slaves can

petition cannot be maintained in this way. The law gro slave to alter or abolish it. on the right of property in a ne- makes provision how he may be pardoned without ap

plying here. The faith and confidence of the South can. is the general understanding, tions of all its natural and awful consequences, and this This has filled my mind with the melancholy anticipa- not be restored by extravagances of this sort.

We must come to the simple question: Du you, the the meaning and import of that vote, which has caused | So, say so-plainly, calmly, and promptly. If not, say as far as I am informed of majority, mean that our slaves can petition Congress? If

It is due ofitee slaveholding community.

to us, and to yourselves, that you should be now under. not the

leard and am cheered with hope that such is stood upon this point. I hope that you will not answer ted, and have been thus understood. The motion to reConstruction put on this vote by many who vo- to this inquiry under any party drill, as is supposed by

the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. Pickens,] but consider would seem to indicate that this hope is not en- that you will give us your real opinion. I, like that

gentleman, wish the South to know, since this question, In the few considerations that I shall throw out, let never before thought of, as far as I know, has been

I wish the South to know the every thing that is calculated to irritate raised, the exact truth.

deliberate judgment of gentlemen in truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I do the decision they shall now make upon this momentous not wish, by any irritating, provoking, or even vindicquestion,

full of consequences of fearful import. Let tive, and much less by appealing to the tender feelings me not throw Passion of any kind.

deliberate expression of opinion on this point. SUTAERLAND) imagine that any question of order, or Sir, let not the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. I can assure the gentleman from South Carolina, that

my course has not been produced by any drill on either any question as to time and manner of introducing this side. I am certain, however, that even this question vote will make.

Knowing that my own confidence was subject to the inveterate party feelings heated to frenzy: greater than is conamon to gentlemen of the South, and In such a state of things nothing is sacred. I know knowing that hat

confidence is shaken to its founda. there are those in this country, of all political sects, who tions, I cannot but

feel that the confidence of others, less are willing to make any use of this subject of negro slafirm than my owns

I am and have been daily sensible of these opecause for uneasiness, and although the late proposition Althoughnthe à octrines of the abolitionists give good rations going on around me, and see their effects.

Sir, the very moment the gentleman from Massachuin another branch of this Legislature, to incorporate the

selts put bis question, I felt it, and saw it in all its sad Colonization Society in this District, is far more calcula- consequences. I felt nothing but sorrow and sadness. has happened before, bear no comparison to the belief question of novelty and difficulty, I felt surprise, and even ted to create uneasiness; yet both together, and all that when the Chair announced to the House that it was a that Congress will assume the ground that they may re

astonishment. I thought it was so easy to have escaped ceive the petitions of slaves; that the constitution is no

any further trouble about it. Not much acquainted Satisfy us while we are even left in doubt on this ques- this, and felt still nothing but sorrow that such a fire. security for the property in negro slaves. Nothing can with questions of order, I became somewhat resigned to tion. The point h 3S

been made and seriously urged, not brand should have been thrown in among us, mingled but by others also, that a slave has the right to petition. New York (the chairman of the Committee of Ways and only by the gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. ADAMS,] | with a dread of its consequences, until a gentleman from The venerable and that a slave in the streets of Constantinople may petition

distinguished gen:leman has urged Means) attempted to make sport, and turn it off as a the Grand Seignor,

Sir,

“ hoax" or a "joke," originating in the South. not refuse to listen or-Grand Mogul, and that be dare this produced in me feelings of any kind rather than

what had prevailed with me before. If the gentleman to him, and therefore infers that a be analogous.

if he can prove that Con. from Massachusetts was “hoaxed" it was bis misfortune, gress are the masters of the slaves, here his cases might but that was no reason why an attempt should be made ongress;

The He bas referred to the right of a British to "hoax” us in so solemn and serious a matter. urged tbat the right to petition is older than, and para

In that case all are free. He has gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. SUTAERLAND) remount to, ibe constitution. All this goes to show, if it this monstrous proposition in this House. Gentlemen

lied upon this as some excuse for the introduction of shows ibe property in a slave. The constitution was formed to deservedly so, as the Ex-President, must be taken to be

any thing that the constitution does not secure all, and surely a gentleman who has stood as high, and whole Soulb, person and properly, under the discretion protect person and property. This argument places the serious when they make from their places propositions

of this, or indeed of any kind, be they what they may. Grand Seignor, in Constantinople, they may make them ! this House and this country as the chairman of the Com.

majority of Congress; and, like the When, then, a gentleman occupying a place as high in at their pleasure.

subject

slave may petition

subject to petition.

and at the mercy of all free or slaves,

H. OF R.]

Right of Petition.

(Feb. 11, 1837.

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miltee of Ways and Means proposed to treat the subject | Yet, sir, if they claim to hold our property, and consewith levity, and justify the introduction of a paper of that quently our safety and independence, at their discretion, kind into this House, and a proposition so fraught with it is but too plain that this claim will produce any other mischief, upon the ground that some one from the South fruit sooner than brotherly love and kindness. That had played a trick on the gentleman from Massachusetts, however the personal friendships (no other cause of difI was struck with surprise, as well as with other emo- ference existing) may continue the same, and probably tions that I need not now express in terms. There are in most instances will continue,'still the general and things of which sport cannot be made; and this is one final result will and must be, not the kind and gentle of them. What would you think of a man that would grasp of love and friendship, but the ungentle grapple attempt to make fun of death? As well might gentle of death; and the issue must be blood. A reflection not men undertake to do that.

more terrible to one than to the other, and not more to The ladies of the North appear to be very anxious either than to all men; but an issue to be deprecated, as about their sisterhood at the South. God bless them, should also all things calculated to lead to it, by all sr. I wish them all happiness, North and South, in men in their sober senses, and from which may God whatever situation they may be found. Let me not say in his mercy shield me, and mine, and my country! a word to wound or offend them; but I am persuaded Mr. LANE said he had moved the reconsideration of they give themselves a great deal of unnecessary trouble the vote taken upon the first resolution, for the purpose about us. As they seem to have set out as valiant chev. of substituting one less equivocal in its characler--a res. aliers, determined to break a lance in defence of the op: olution not susceptible of any and every possible con. pressed, it is probable that any appeal to them looking struction--that shall banish all doubt from the mind of like a regard to their own interest would be coldly re. the good man and the patriot-that shall not arm the fa. ceived; yet I would modestly say to them that, living natic of the North, or ihe discontented politician of the among the people myself, I have some chance to know South, with weapons to disturb the public repose. That, something aboui the effect likely to be produced in the before he proceeded to assign the reasons which had inSouth by their interference; and I am afraid the bene. duced this course, be desired the indulgence of the firs will not be as great as they suppose.

House while he should set himself right before bis consir, to the gentlemen and ladies of the North, and to the

stituents, the House, and the country, in relation to this gentlemen from that quarter in this House, and espe- subject.' It was one upon which his opinion had been cially to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Suti• made up long before he had a seat in this hall; and ERLAND) who last spuke, that I neither ask nor despise since which he had seen nothing, heard nothing, to the sympathy of the North, or of him, so kindly ex. shake, much less change it, either in reference to the pressed, but that, in fixing their eyes upon our dangers power of Congress, or iis duły, in its action upon aboliand perils, they are very prone to forget their own. tion petitions. They all seem to forget that, while they kindle up strife, That Congress have no power to interfere with sla. rebellion, and civil war, as they think, only in the South, very, as it exists in the States, is a proposition too clear and weep over it, the flame they are kindling may reach to admit of a doubt. The wildest fanatic does not claim their own dwellings-ay, sir, may break out first in their this power on the part of Congress. own quarters. While they fix their imaginations upon That Congress does possess that power over the subkindling fagots and smoking habitations in the South, the ject, in the District of Columbia, to the same extent with real flame may appear bursting loose from their own bed- the Slales, in their respective jurisdictions, to his mind, chambers, their own dwellings; and their own wives, hus- was equally true. That, while he honestly entertained bands, friends, and children, may be the first and real this opinion, he was free to state that its exercise, to any sufferers. I do not address myself to the fears or passions extent, would be injurious to that species of property of any, but to their reason. And, sir, if zeal has left any in the hands of the owners in the neighborhood of the reason remaining, cannot gentlemen perceive that civil District, and fearfully dangerous to the tranquillity of war, division, and disuuion, with all their horrid conse- the Union. quences, cannot be confined to one quarter of the Sir, (said Mr. L.,) what do these petitioners, called Union only? Let me address myself to å consideration abolitionists and (by way of contempl) fanatics, but whom that will bring men to reflection, if any thing can-to he would cali, whether male or female, the citizens of dollars and cents. If men cannot think of their own the United States, call upon Congress to do? To abolish wives and children, and the dangers and perils that will slavery as it exists in the States? No, sir. To interfere be fall them on account of their imaginations too strongly with it in any manner in the States? Certainly not. dwelling upon thie dangers, real or fancied, they think They set forth that, in their opinion, slavery, in the ab impending over our wives and children, they may be stract, is a great moral, political, and religious evil, and brought to feel, or their huckstered, adored thousands pray for its abolishment in the District of Columbia, to and millions in manfactories, when a single fagot ap- ther with the slave trade-a traffic carried on, within plied would reduce them all to ashes and smoke in an the District, as inhuman as it is disgraceful to the Ameri. hour. Do they suppose that there is no discontent in

can people. That, as a member of the Committee on their own country? No combustible matter that would the District of Columbia, he bad examined the jail, the take fire from a spark kindled in the South? However, common property of the people of every portion of this it is useless to address reason to those whose zeal has Union, and, to his surprise, he found that prison the caused them to overlook this.

common receptacle for the safe keeping of slaves, bought Whether we sit here as brothers, consulting upon the up in the neighboring States by the dealers in human common welfare, happiness, and prosperity, of our com- flesh, and there detained until the master or an agent mon family and country, or whether one portion of us shall find it convenient to drive them to a Southern mar. is making claims to power never granted over ihe other, kei; and all this without regard to comfort or convewhether the constitution bas any obligatory force to nience. In one ins'ance he found, in a damp loathsome prolect our properly, seems now about to be decided. room of eight feet square, a mother and six or seven i have lived in friendship and at ease, mingling equally children. Nor is this all. Within this District are private with men here from all parts of the Union, and no man prisons, into wbich they are driven in droves, and kept has felt more gratefully the kindness and friendsbip of for weeks and months, and then shipped to the South. Northern brethren, and acknowleged it more openly or This, all this cruelly, this loathsome suffering, this in. frankly than 1 bave done, or returned it more cordially. I human traffic, is carried on in open day, in presence of

Feb. 11, 1837.1

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1722 OF DEBATES IN CONGRESS. Right of Petition.

(H. OF R. freedom. It is this cruel, this disgraceful trade, those clusion, that now, the event having passed, without the American people, at the seat of liberty and boasted petitioners humbly and respectfully pray you to abolish. being in any degree affected by this exciting subject,

the honest abolitionist evade it. Mr. L. said, in conmember of this House, he would receive these petitions, reler them, and act upon them promptly and effectively. the nation, of the business of this House, the resolution

remedy this evil, (Mr. L. said,) as a and with reference to which much of the past excite. He would treat them kindly, and combat their errors with reason. Mr. L. sail he did not intend in these re.

ment may be attributed, he hoped, for the tranquillity of

now proposed in the place of the one on a former day slave or slaves for his own use, or part with those for understood at the North. Daarks to include the individual who should purchase a

rejected would be adopted, with such a majority as

shall speak peace to the South, and that cannot be mis. dich he had no lise. Mr. L, said, upon the resolution rejected, reconsider fer from bis honorable colleague (Mr. PICKENS) on any

Mr. WADDY THOMPSON said he regretted to dif. ed, and now a substitute proposed, he had but little to question of such interest to the South as the one immesay. He had voted against its adoption, moved its re.diately pending; but he felt it due to those gentlemen consideration, and would now yote most cheerfully for who had shown a disposition to meet this question, to its substitute. The honorable gentleman from South / say that he was satisfied with the amendment proposed Carolina (Mr. PICKERS] says he voted for the resolution by the gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. INGERSOLL,] because that punisbing a member for presenting a peti. because he believed it covered all the material points, tion from slaves was conclusive they had no right to pe. if not the whole ground. Although he did not feel au. that its ad. plico presupposed a right in the slave to pe modification of his resolution, still he would consider

Hr. L. had voted against it for the reason tition. If

thorized to take the responsibility of accepting it as a should be the absence of the right?

crime

such right existed, why resolve that it himself justified in voting for the amendment. He was sir, it is remarkable that an honorable gentleman from he might be disposed, under certain circumstances, to to present? Why not resolve at once glad to give gentlemen from the North the opportunity

of setting themselves right on this subject; and although sented to Ibis House a resolution so equivocal in its lan- | bimself as doing that which was most improper if he

alive to this subject, should have pre- cavil for the ninth part of a hair, yet he would consider guage, so doubtful in its character. What is the lan- were to split hairs on a question like the present-a quesmeaning, what the construction it tion of pacification. He considered it to have been his

duty to have said thus much; and, if he had not mistathat any member who shall bereafter pre- ken the general sentiment of the South, they would re. sent any petiiio

from the slaves of this Union ought to spond to it. be considered

Sregardless of the feelings of the House, Mr. HOWARD moved a reconsideration of the vote

esouthern States, and unfriendly to the by which the resolution of yesterday, directing Mr. Whitgitt Union."

ney to be brought before the bar of the House, was It provided that any member who sball hereafter pre- adopted; which motion was entered, and lies over. [It

petitio sent any.

from the slaves of this Union. The being a privileged question, was entertained by the sentence are, first, that the members of this House have plain and inevitable inferences to be drawn from this Chair, and recorded.]

The subject was further discussed by Messrs. WISE, been in the babit of presenting such petitions; secondly, HARRISON of Missouri, ASHLEY, (the last two genonly possessed such right, but had exercised it. that it had been lawful to do so; and, lastly, the slave not tlemen in explanation,) UNDERWOOD, CRAIG, and

ANTHONY, (the latter merely urging the House to take Sir, had this resolution been adopted, and trust me,

the question, as they had already consumed a whole

week in a debate which could in no way benefit the iticians of the Soutb, Aame of disconlent;

if any such there are, fanning the country, any portion or section of it, or even a solitary master, in every hai, yes, upon every stump, at every individual.) Mr. TAYLOR rose amidst loud cries of us,

"question!" sounding the alarm, danger, dan. ger, disunion! Tbe resolution would have been tor- He said it had been his intention to submit a few re

marks to the House in support of his proposition, but and every thing

It would have been rightly denounced he was admonished by the loud calls of question," and upon the slave, at the South as loosening instead of drawing the cord would most cheerfully yield to the expressed wish of the

The South would have been in a polit. | House. His chief object in rising, however, was to the tide of abolition ical flame; in the North, the politicians would have blown state, that the gentleman from Pennsylvania having of bear upon the administration. In the face of all this, to its height, and all brought to fered a modification, and Mr. T. having been urged by

one of his colleagues to accept it, he had then declined, the honorable gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Pick and he now desired to give a single reason. Exs] says the rejectio

He had the South to the fearful precipice of disunion; that they of other members were, and having listened attentively

on of such a resolution bas driven done so for the purpose of waiting to see what the views resolution which has saved them from the precipice, and that the acceptance of that amendment as a modification tread upon volcanoes. Sir, it was the rejection of that to the debate in its progress, he had become satisfied able gentlemen from ihe South join with their real, not

spirit of the volcano. Let honor of his own would insure greater harmony in the House, pretended, friends ; let them go with him and those with whom he acted

wbich being all-important in the consideration and dis

position of the question, therefore he accepted it. -wild the friends of the constitution, of Mr. T. subsequently explained that, in accepting the the Union, of liberty, of equal rights-with the demo- amendment of the gentleman from Pennsylvania, she cratic parly, the friends of the administration, in the wished, at the same time, to retain also the original res. adoption of a resolution, in ils language pointed, in its olution, to come in after Mr. INGERSOLL's, and form, to. see, hear, or read it, shall understand it as one man

obvious. A resolution that all who gether, one distinct proposition. that the slaves of this Union have no right to petition Con. / ed to move, one of which was to insert, where it was re.

Mr. ADAMS then read certain amendments he wishgress for tbe abolition of slavery. Such a resolution ferred to, the words of the resolution of the 18:h of Jan. to all. The fanatic of the North Cannot pervert it, nor I and papers, relating in any way, or to any extent what. will be understood in the South, and will be satisfactory uary, ordering "all petitions, memorials, resolutions,

calmed the troublea

meaning clear and

H. OF R.)

Right of Petition.

[FEB. 11, 1837.

ever, to the subject of slavery, or the abolition of sla. What was ihe position of the House! He would ven, very," to be laid on the table, without being printed ture to say that it was the first time, since the formation or referred, and that no further action should be had of this Government, that the House had been called on thereon.

to do a deed like the present. What was the question Mr. A. then addressed the House at length, and went of privilege! It was, whether a member should be on to show that he was in no way responsible for the de. brought to the bar for an alleged disrespect to the bale which had occurred. He now believed the paper House; and the vote of the House upon such a question to be a forgery by a slaveholding master, for the pur. is a judicial rather than a legislative proceeding. The pose of daring bim to present a petition purporting to power of punishing for contempt is one inherent in all be from slaves. That having tbus reason to believe it a legislative bodies, to protect them from insult, and to forgery, he should not present it as a petition, whatever enforce their authority; but those who are the objects might be the decision of the House on the question be of that power are entitled to all the privileges of de. fore them. If he should present it all, it would be to fendants in courts of justice. After that question had invoke the authority of the House to cause the author been discussed, and after the collected reason of the of the forgery to be prosecuted for the forgery; which House had seen that such a proposition could not be he certainly would do, if there were a competent ju sustained, another resolution was introduced, which had dicial authority to try the offender, and he could require also been decided to be in order as a question of priviand obtain evidence to prove the fact.

lege. The judgment of this House had been given. Mr. GRANGER said he was about to proceed to ad- The verdict of acquittal had been entered in favor of dress some remarks to the House, but it had been inti- the accused; and now, for the first time in the history of mated to him that the proposition of the gentleman this nation, after having been solemnly acquitted here, from Massachusetts (Mr. Adams] had been accepted. as in a court of justice under other circumstances, we

(Cries of no! no! order! order! question! question!] were called on to open this verdict of acquittal for the

Mr. G. said he would tell the House, once for all, new action of the House. It was the rich prerogative that, if he stood there until to-morrow's sun should of that justice which is tempered by mercy to hold out rise, nothing should put him down but the rules its hopes, its blessings, and its privileges, to the accused, of the House. Sir, (said Mr. G.,) has it come to this, to the last syllable that was possible. When a verdict : that when a question of this magnitude is under discuss of “guilty" bad been returned, a new trial might be sion, involving the most important, and, as he supposed, granted; but where before bad it been heard that, after ty? well-setiled principles of law, and when gentlemen dare the innocence of an accused person had been solemn. not to have resort to the gag-law of the previous ques- ly recorded, he should again be brought up for a new tion, a member claiming his privilege here, and claim- trial before the same tribunal? ing to be heard in the exercise of that privilege, is to be It is a well-setiled principle in law that no man shall the hunted down with cries of “ order! order! question! be twice put in jeopardy for the same offence; yet here, question?" I am the last man to be silenced in that way, after the legally constituted tribunal of our country has to por will I yield the floor.

recorded its verdict of acquittal, ibe seals of that verdict The ground he had taken in the commencement of are to be torn open, and ihe gentleman from Massachuthis controversy was well known. This was the first setts is to be again put upon bis defence; for it is useless 4 moment in which a coldness had ever existed between to deny that, if the resolution, the rejection of which has to the honorable gentleman from Massachusetts, [Mr. Ad- been reconsidered, is now open for amendment in the AMS) and himself. Mr. G. had thought that that gen. manner proposed, it is equally so for the introduction of tleman had unnecessarily thrown into the House a ques- a proposition of censure as severe as that upon which hat tion on which he had not been well advised, and on this discussion commenced. As there is nothing in our up which he should have been better informed before he rules requiring immediate action upon a motion to rely bad brought it to the consideration of the House. He consider, it is in fact establishing the doctrine that, after (Mr. G.) had no disguise on this subject. Let any man This House shall bave passed its judgment of acquittal present here a petition from slaves, in reference to the upon a person brought to the bar for a contempt, it can, to question of the abolition of slavery, and he would be the at any time thereafter, open that verdict, and change

its first man to record his vote that no such right of peti. decision to one of more or less severity than the former, tion existed. The institutions of our country bad been according to tbe temper of the House at the moment of so established that, if the right of slaves to appear in its action. It appeared to him that such a proposition this hall and petition for their freedom was acknowl- was too monstrous to be tolerated. edged, from that day there would be here nothing but Although he would not willingly weary the attention a continued scene of anarchy and confusion. This was of the House, which at last he had been so fortunate as a position too plain to be controverted. He did not to secure, he would detain them long enough to say that know whether the abolitionis's contended for such a the position he had taken might be illustrated by instan. doctrine, for he knew very little of their views or opin. ces that would occur to the mind of every gentleman who ions; nor did he know whether the gentleman from Mas heard him, and wbich were freed from the excitement sachusetts himself contended for it. He (Mr. G.) had with wbich this question was mingled. We had ordervery little to say as to the probability of a dismember. ed a citizen (R. M. Whitney) to the bar of the House, ment of the Union arising from these causes, or of the to answer for an alleged contempt towards one of its wisdom or folly of legislating upon these abstract prop- committees, and he will probably be brought before us ositions. He would say, however, that there was a on Monday. Suppose that, after a full action of the point beyond which he would not go, not particularly House upon his case, a resolution should be passed, and in reference to the gentleman from Massachusetts and he be discharged without censure: will any gentleman his position now, but for the great cause of justice to contend that such a vole could be reconsidered, and this every citizen who should be placed, bere or elsewhere, citizen, for the same act, be again placed upon his de. on his trial. The Speaker had decided that the resolu- fence? Or, suppose a case that bas happened, and very tion of the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. PATTON] still probably may again happen: a citizen is brought to our held the question as one of privilege; that resolution bar for a breach of privilege, consisting in an assault up. had been rejected; the vote had been reconsidered, and on a member. The accused is acquitted upon the testi. the House now again stood on the same question of mony of witnesses to the transaction who chance to be privilege upon which it had yesterday recorded its ver-present, but who reside in remote sections of the Union. dict.

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Fra. 11, 1837.

OF DEBATES IN CONGRESS.

1726

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[H. OF R. Right of Petition. What would be thought of the opening of such a verdict for a second action of the House-and that, too, not

the residue. who had been once pronounced innocent? Am I to be tinct proposition; and the Chair very properly decided

A gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. PAR

KER) had moved a division of the resolution of the gentold that the testimony upon which the House acted against the expressed wishes, of bim tleman from Virginia, so as to get a vote upon each dis

that the resolution was so worded, that if the vote upon ment! What then! Soppose an impeachment by this substantive proposition would be left, and the resolution House, and an acquittal by the Senate: is there a gen

upon ttenpan bere who will contend that such a judgment swallowed, then, as one unbroken dose. Many gentle. the record, to guide its judge the first proposition were taken, no distinct independent

was not therefore susceptible of division. It was to be Could he reconsidered, and a new decision be made, be. men, to his (Mr. V's) knowledge, bad voted against it,

testimony was in writing, and might constitute because they supposed it involved a very severe censure

upon which to rest such second verdict? upon the honorable gentleman from Massachusetts, (ur. desire to shrink from the responsibility of meeting the advance, as they supposed, the motives of some honora

G. said that he did not take this ground from any | ADAMS;) others voted against it because it impeached, in tleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. ADAMS.] With the liar circumstances, might hereafter deem it a duty to

upon the petition in the possession of the gen. ble member of this House, who, under some very pecu. exception of one gentleman from tbat section of the present a petition from a slave, As a whole, therefore, country holding itself aggrieved, he (Mr. G.) had been they voted against it, though, as I well know, they be. the first man to enter his protest against the course pur. | lieved that slaves have constitutionally no right to peti. sued by the gentleman from Massachusetts. Stage after tion Congress. And yet the honorable gentleman from well aware/hese abstract questions upon the House, result in good.

not vote upon the motion to reconsider, because he be. that the decision, however made, would not lieves that the vote of Thursday was a fair exponent of verdict of the House, which resulted in favor of the ac- right of slaves to petition! The gentleman's course was

But gentlemen insisted upon a recorded the sense of a majority of this House upon the abstract and every other civilized nation upon earth, denies the review a resolution which he (Mr. V.) feared he had

every principle of justice and of law, in this no doubt a conscientious one; but he entreated him to right of opening this record of innocence, to give a chance too precipitately formed. Was the stand he had taken

kind to those gentlemen of the North who bad for the Mr. G. said that he had endeavored to obtain the floor / last two years so firmly co-operated with us, here and

question

stage, in the

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cused; and

for a verdict of guilt.

but had been set obyehen sides of the House a better trate the mischievous doings of Northern abolitionists?

ing this verdict would not produce

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had a right to and cruel impeachment of the motives of an honorable

had given his vote against such reconsideration; but as Was it not any thing but charitable? I tell the gentlehe believed the House had exceeded its powers in open:

many gentlemen from the North voted in the majority uce a new result, he should not vote up- on Thursday, because they supposed that the resolution on any of een positions then before them.

then negatived implied a severe imputation upon the and the whole country that this important and agitating

Br. VANDER POELsaid he congratulated the House motives of the gentleman from Massachusetts. Lubject was about to assume such a sbape as that all, or resolution is a fair exponent of the sense of the majority

And does he still adhere to the sentiment that that ed. He had voted for the original resolution wbich was in doing and declaring something that the crisis demand. in any effort they may make to set themselves right be.

fore this House and this nation! Suppose that whole rejected day before

Yesterday, and the vole to reject numbers of Northern gentlemen should rise in their which had just been had no difficulties or scruples to overcome;

reconsidered. In voting for it, he places, and tell us that they did not believe in the right ed in one and all of

He believ. of slaves to petition, but that they voted in the negative pressed or implied, the propositions which it either ex- on Thursday, because the resolution then under con

of petition this body, where slavery exists 5

any legislative body of any State member of tbis House: would the gentleman from Souih

or had he any doubt of the sound. Carolina still pertinaciously adhere to bis faith? Would ness or justness of the proposition, that if any gentleman he still persist in the course he bad prescribed for him. should hereafter present a petition from slaves, he would self? He appealed to that gentleman's bigh sense of justly expose himself to the displeasure, if not the cen- | justice, and he appealed to his regard for the past ef. sore, of this House.

The idea that slaves had a right to forts of Northern gentlemen to put down the abolitionists, petition the American Congress was indeed too monstrous to justify any labored attempt at refutation; but at

and to his regard for that great Southern interest which

was assailed by the petitions with which fanatics were the resolution of the Bentleman from Virginia (Mr. PAT- | impeach the motives which tave influenced any gentlethe same time he was well satisfied that the vote upon constantly pestering us. Sir, said Mr. V., I will not this House upon the abstract right of slaves to petition. TOX] was not an expression of the sense of a majority of men in the course they have seen fit to pursue in relathere were not twent He believed, he hoped, for the honor of the nation, that

tion to this agitating subject. They are doubtless pa

triotic. But I will take occasion to say, that as a NorthAt the same time, he lieved in the abstract right of slaves to petition Congress. y members in this House wbo be ern man, opposed with all my soul to be mad schemes

of ihe Northern abolitionists, and feeling the full weight which be (Mr. V.) so much deplored, was not a fair ex. ponent of the sense knew that the vote of Thursday, of obligation that rests upon me to fulfil that sacred

compact of the constitution-not to interfere with the by the vote which would now soon be given. the right of slaves to petition, as would be demonstrated of the majority of this House as to domestic relations of our Southern brethren, my incen

tives to duty have by no means been strengthened by It would be recollected that the resolution which was

the speeches, the doctrines, and the propositions, of just reconsidered Contained some two or three propositions, so connected as to be indivisible; propositions in advocated his policy, his views, and his measures, upon

the honorable gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr.

Pickens,) and of other Southern gentlemen who have one of which gentlemen might believe, and disbelieve this subject. We have for the last two years heard

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