« ПретходнаНастави »
OF DEBATES IN CONGRESS.
altested and put 3
kwetu mans de servere censuren for, if birong feeling and bring forward a resolution asserting the strong language are ever to be excused, it is when they
I will not give test implication n,
(H. OF R. Case of R. M. Whitney. early part of the day, to reconsider the vote by which
Hr. HOWARD said that he had made a motion, in the for the arrest of Mr. Whitney had been adopted, and be resolution directing the Speaker to issue his warrant
the Sergeant-at-arms, be brought to the bar of this he had done so under the impression that it would facili- ! tee, acting by the authority of this House, under a reso
House, to answer for an alleged contempt of the House, in peremptorily refusing to appear and give evidence as
a witness on a summons duly issued by a select committale the action of the House on the important public lution of the 17th of January last, in the matter of a let.
business. Since that time, however, he had been in- ter, expressing said refusal, addressed by the said R. M. draw the motion to reconsider. duced to change his mind, and he would therefore with- Whitney to the committee, and by the committee refer
red to the House; and that he be forth with furnished Og resolution; wbich was considered and adopted: Mr. CALHOON, of Kentucky, submitted the follow. with a copy of the report of said committee and of the
letler aforesaid. Resolved, That R. M. Whitney, now in the bands of The House then adjourned. erance of your race from bondage. Cultivate, rather, a force, unless you wish to put far off all hope of the deliv- than our own, have abolished it, we, who boast of our
attachment to the principles of civil liberty, and our high obedient to your own masters; not answering again; not “ Be patient.”
* Resist not evil.” “Be regard for the inalienable rights of man, should still cherpurloiningi but showing all good fidelity, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward."
ish it in our very bosom.
In their strong conceptions of the character and con. But why, I am asked, do you assert the right of the dulged in the indiscriminate use of harsh and severe per.
sequences of this evil, abolitionists have sometimes in. to be colle Pelition, if his exercise of the right ought not sonal epithets, to which I have felt a deep repugnance.
With me, however, it has been a subject rather of rebe the in the present case, to say yes or no to a proposition man freedom. Let those denounce and recriminate who
which I contend. But when I am called on, as are excited and drawn forth in the sacred calıse of hu. no, and give my reasons for thus saying. expressly denies that right, I must and will say never themselves transgress the bounds of prudence,
when they feel strongly in wbat they believe to be a a vote which shall, even by the remo- good cause; and especially those who have never opepty, and nolbing but property; that be “ he has no assert that my colored brother is prop. posed or countenanced the opposing of mob power to
the progress of free discussion. Most heartily do I dismore right approve of the indiscriminate use of such epithets as whatever." fact, "no legal or constitutional rights nian-stealers
, robbers, and pirates, on the one side, and vile I have sa
bart the deliverance of the slaves must the abolitionists, however, I can say that language of viarise from under other quarter than themselves. Let me tuperation is giving place to sober arguments, addressed DO! be misunderstood. The idea of an attempt by Con. to the reason and conscience and enlightened self-interSress to abolish slavery in the States of this Union bas est of the slaveholder; and I will hope that the intellect
a ware, been entertained by any. No of the South will henceforth be employed in answering by individuals, or abolition by force of discriminate denunciations of those who urge them.
is contemplated than that of voluntary those arguments, rather than indulging in harsh and inlegislation, acting risdiction. If the
within the sphere of its admitted Justood at the Southa
a bolitionists have ever been under- lowing resolutions, which I find among those adopted by these, they have as entertaining views different from the late anti-slavery convention of the State of Pennsylentertain, however, the opinion that Congress possesses been greatly misrepresented. They vania :
" Resolved, That in Christian meekness we intend to and tbat the Sta. e Legislatures have like power in their stitution so evidently unjust as that of slavery, to examine respective States; freedom of speech
and they seek, in the exercise of that its operations upon all classes of the community, both to tbem by the constitution, to produce a public senti
and of the press which is guarantied individually and collectively, confident that, if they do so ment which shall, by its fair and legitimate influence, be convinced of its deep sinfulness, and thus be prepared
with unprejudiced minds and sincere motives, they will effect the legislation they so much desire. They believe that
to commence, immediately, the great work of freeing "they are endowed by their Creator with the inaliena
“all men are created equal;” that themselves and their country from its paralyzing influ. ble rights of life, laberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" and that to the Creator alone belongs the high prerog. colored people of this State to maintain a peaceful and
“ Resolved, that the convention recommend to the ative of holding property in man. on the broad basis of these truths, they assert that the which they may be placed; that thus they may be in
Planting themselves moral deportment in all the departments in life in the highest wrongs which he can inflict upon his fellow-bondage, and refute the calumnies of those wbo say they assumption and exercise of that rigbt, by man, is among strumental in delivering their oppressed brethren from seek to communicate to the minds of others-not to
Their own deep conviction of this truth they cannot be elevated in character in these United States." slaves, with whom
“ Resolved, that we earnestly recommend the colored if they did, they would only admonish to patience and iheir moral, social, and religious duties, and thus show
they hold no intercourse, and whom, people, both bond and free, to endeavor to fulfil all submission-but to their masters, to those communities to the world that they deserve to be free." within their limits, to the wrongs of slavery, and furnish feeling, and pure in spirit. My judgment and my lieart in whose Legislatures resides the power to put an end, Here is abolitionism, sound in principle, chastened in relief from its complicated evils. They look at slavery approve it. word; and are amazed that philanthropy itself should servant, with some conception of what is comprehended in that I am, gentlemen, very respectfully, your obedient that, while ot ber nations, less free in their institutions
WILLIAM SLADE. over the existence of such an evil;
WASHINGTON, February 15, 1837.
other delivera emancipalione
have so long slept
H. Or R. )
Case of R. M. Whitney.
(FEB. 13, 1837.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13.
Mr. GHOLSON offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That Reuben M. Whitney be now permitted The SPEAKER announced that Reuben M. Whitney, to examine witnesses before this House, in relation to now in custody for an alleged contempt of the authority bis alleged contempt. of the House, was without the bar, waiting the further
Mr. HAYNES said he understood that the prisoner pleasure of the House.
denied the power of the House, and that it seemed The Chair also stated that the accused had been fur proper to dispose of this preliminary question first. nished with copies of the papers referred to in the reso.
Mr. LINCOLN then read a resolution which he in. lution adopted on Saturday last.
tended to offer, (as below.) Mr. PATTON moved that the Sergeant-at-arms be
Mr. GHOLSON said it appeared to him they had sedirected to bring the prisoner to the bar of the House; lect committees enough already, for the period of the which motion prevailed.
session, and the matters before the House to be acted The accused having been placed at the bar, the
upon. Where existed, let him ask, the necessity for SPEAKER addressed him as follows:
raising a committee! All they could do would be to "Reuben M. Whitney: You have been brought before bring their report before the House; and the House the House, by its order, to answer the charge of an al. would, when called upon to act on it, be in precis-ly the leged contempt of this House, in having peremptorily
same situation they were that morning. He had supposed refused to give evidence in obedience to a summons that the object of bringing Mr. Whitney to the bar was duly issued by a committee of this House, wbich com.
for him to disprove or to purge himself of an alleged con. mittee bad, by an order of the House, power lo send for tempt to the House. Well, he has appeared, in obedipersons and papers.
ence to its order, and Mr. G. could see no objection to “ Before you are called upon to answer in any manner
his setting about immediately to disprove the charge to the subject matter of this charge, it is my duty, as the against him, if it was in bis power. presiding officer of this House, to inform you that, by Mr. MERCER did most sincerely hope that the House an order of the House, you will be allowed counsel, would so far respect its own dignity as to adhere to its should you desire it. If you have any request to make old established forms of proceeding. That form had in relation to this subject, your request will now be re- invariably been the appointment of a committee to direct ceived and considered by the House. If, however, you
the mode of proceedings. are now ready to proceed in the investigation of the Mr. PATTON then renewed the suggestion that the charge, you will state it, and the House will take order respondent ought to retire during the deliberations of accordingly."
the 'House on the preliminary proceedings. This had To which the accused replied, that he held in his always been the uniform course. hand a paper in relation to the charge, wbich he re. The CHAIR stated ibat such had been the uniform spectfully requested might be received and read. course in former cases; and, believing it to be the sense The following paper was then read:
of the House, he directed the Sergeant-at-arms to take “ The undersigned answers that his refusal to attend
Reuben M. Whitney from the bar; which was done. the committee, upon the summons of its chairman, was
Mr. BOULDIN said he wished only to make one sug. not intended or believed by him to be disrespectful to gestion. One proposition of the gentleman, brought the honorable the House of Representatives, nor does he before the House, was that he was willing to go before now believe that he thereby committed a contempt of the committee, if that committee would go into the the House,
committee room unarmed. He was sure the committee “ His reasons for refusing to attend the committee are
did not wish to go into the room armed. He wished to truly stated in his letter to that committee.
suggest to the committee and to the House that this "He did not consider himself bound to obey a sum
would avoid all further trouble about the matter. mons issued by the chairman of the committee.
Mr. LINCOLN said it was very far from his intention " lle had attended, in obedience to such a summons,
to place himself in the attitude of a prosecutor in this before another committee, voluntarily, and without ob.
The committee had contented themselves by de. jections to the validity of the process; and would have tailing the circumstances of the refusal of this witness altended in the same way before the present committee, tion on the subject; and because of this course having
to appear before them, without recommending any ac. but for the belief that he might thereby be exposed to insult and violence.
been pursued by the committee, he (Mr. L.) had come “He denies, therefore, that he bas commitied a con
forward the other day, and introduced a proposition di: tempt of the House, because
recting the Speaker to issue his warrant for the arrest
of this witness. He had not intended, after the adoption “ First. The process upon him was illegal, and he was not bound to obey it. And
of this order, to take any further part in the matter, and " Secondly. Because he could not attend without ex.
should not then have arisen to bring before the House posing himself thereby to outrage and violence.
another proposition, if it had not been for the fact that "If the House shall decide in favor of the authority attention to the course of proceeding which it would be
no other person present appeared to have turned their of the process
, and that the respondent is bound to obey necessary for the House to adopt on this occasion. In it, then he respectfully asks, in such case, that, in con. sideration of the peculiar circumstances in which he is looking into the precedents as to the mode of proceeding placed, as known to the House, the committee may be for the purpose of procuring the action of the House
in such cases, he had found that it would be necessary, instructed to receive his testimony upon interrogatories to be answered on oath before a magistrale, as has been
on the subject, that some direction should be given by done in orber instances in relation to other witnesses;
the House as to the mode of proceeding; because lie or that the committee be instructed to prohibit the use
believed it would be impossible for the House to act on or introduction of secret and deadly weapons in the for the purpose of indicating the course which he
it without some preliminary measures being laken; and, committee room during the examination of the wii.
thought should be adopted, he sent to the Chair the fol"And in case he shall think it necessary, he prays to lowing amendment: be heard by counsel, and to be allowed to offer testimo.
Sirike out all after the word “ Resolved," and insert, ny on the matters herein submitted.
" That a committee of privileges, consisting of seven “R. M. WHITNEY."
members, be appointed and instructed to report the
FEB 13, 1837.)
Case of R. M. Whilney.
(H. OF R.
mode of proceeding in relation to Reuben M. Whitney, mit to the House this question: The witness had repre. who is now in custody, a waiting the order of this House; sented to the House that certain difficulties presented and that said coinmittee have leave to execute the duty themselves to him, which prevented his appearing before assigned them immediately."
the committee, one of which was that be apprehended Mr. MCKAY said he had voted, on Friday last, when some personal danger; but could this witness not confide the subject was before the House, to require the Speaks in the justice of the House, that it would take measures er to issue his summons to bring Reuben M. Whitney to to protect him from injury while he was before one of the bar, and he had done so with a good deal of reluc. its committees! Shall he assert, as a right, that the tance; not that he at all doubted the power of the House, in the first place, must adopt certain measures House to punish a witness in cases of flagrant contempt. which he had indicated, before he could appear before This witness has now appeared at the bar, and declared this committee? explicitly that, in refusing to appear before the commit. Mr. H. contended that no individual in the United tee, he did not intend to commit a contempt to the House, States had this right, and that this in itself was a conor to call in question its authority, and had given reasons tempt of the Government of the United States; and, for big refusal. Now, Mr. Mck. was unwilling to con- while this course was persisted in, it appeared to him su me any more of the public time, to the exclusion of that the House could not, in a proper sense of what was all the important business of the country, in an investi- due to itself and to the Government, take any course gation of the power of the House, and in hunting up other than to require the witness to obey the command recedents to sustain that power.
of the Government. He should be as ready as any one It seemed to Mr. McK., he said, that the witness him. to take every proper measure to protect a witness; besell, in an alternative presented by him to the House, cause a witness there was properly under the protection had opened the door to overcome any further embarrass. of the House; and if any individual member of the House ment. He had stated several alternatives. One was, that should undertake to do that which was a violation of its the committee should be prohibited from the use or protection, the law furnished a remedy. Unquestionawearing of deadly weapons: this was an alternative Mr. bly the House was under the necessity of adopting measMek. had no disposition to consider. Another was, his ures to vindicate the rights of citizens; but it seemed to offer to give his testimony, upon interrogatories, and him that this was not the proper stage of the proceeding swearing to it before a magistrate; in other words, a pri- | for the consideration of this question. It appeared to Fate examination. Now, let him (Mr. McK.) ask, would him that the only course which it was necessary for them not the witness's testimony, taken in this way, be just now to pursue, to save the time of the House, was to as valuable to the committee as if written in their pres- have a committee to take testimony, if testimony was neence! Surely it would. As the object of the commit- cessary. Gentlemen had asked, why the necessity of apfee must be, and as the object of the House in raising pointing a committee to make a report, when that report the committee itself was, to procure testimony bearing would have to be examined again by the House? It'this on the subject-matters to be investigated, could they do ohjection was a proper one, it would lie against every better than by pursuing the very course indicated and committee which was appointed by the order of the tendered by ibis witness himself? Surely the House House; your standing committees as well as your select would not consume the balance of the session in discuss- committees. If it was proper to have committees to exing the parliamentary law on the subject of contempts, amine other cases, it was proper to have one to examine and in investigating the conduct of the members of one this case; and he could see no ohjection which would of its committees towards a witness brought before lie against this committee, which would not lie equally them. Would they consume another week upon it? | against any other committee of the House. which they certainly would do unless his suggestions Mr. HUNTSMAN said: Mr. Speaker, it seems to me were adopted. Suppose the witness be brought to the that to adopt the resolution of the gentleman from Magbar, and is heard by counsel; suppose they question the sachusetts would be acting prematurely. Why appoint power of the House, and, in vindication of their client, another committee upon that subject, before we ascergo into the conduct of the various members of the select tain certainly that there may be a disputable matter for committee, what would be the certain result? It would us to act upon? If I understand the nature of Mr. Wbit. consume the balance of the session.
ney's plea, there are three positions assumed in it: Ist, He would again ask if they could now punish the wit. he says that he intended no contempt to this House; deas for contempt. The dignity of the House had been | 2d, that he does not believe that that summons, or provindicated; the witness had been brought to the bar, and cess, which was issued by the chairman of the commitesplicitly disclaimed any intention to commit a contempt, tee, was a legal process; 34, that if the House shall deter or to be guilty of disrespect towards the House. More- mine that it was, he is willing to answer in two ways: eser, he declares himself ready and willing to give his 1st, that he will answer any interrogatories submitted, testimony in the way it is obtained from many other wit. if permitted to swear to them before a justice of the Desses. Mr. McK. concluded by expressing a hope that peace, as in other cases of a similar character; or, 21, the House would consume no further time in the matter, ihat he is willing to go to the committee room, provibut at once instruct the committee to take the testimony ded the members thereof are restricted from wearing of Mr. Whitney by filing interrogatories.
arms during his examination. It appears to me, sir, Mr. HOAR could not understand the question as the that, before the appointment of any committee, the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. McKay) had. He House should first determine upon bis first pr. position, had understood that gentleman as saying that the mode to wit: was the process legal? was he bound to answer? of avoiding this difficulty was already pointed out by the If the House shall thus determine, (as probably it will,) respondent. Well, what was the course wbich was that he is bound to answer, he then professes a willingpointed out by the respondent? Why, he had said, in ness to answer in one of the two modes. If the House the first place, that he did not intend any contempt of shall determine to accept either of the modes, then let the House; and, in the second place, he had said that, him answer, and the question is at an end. If the House provided the House would do certain things which he shall determine, however, that neither of these modes had indicated, he would be willing and ready to testify of answering is acceptable to the House, then there He did not understand this as an indication of the wil- may be a necessity for the appointment of a committee lingness of this witness to obey the command of the to make such rules for the government of Whitney's Government issued by that House. Mr. H. would sub. trial as may best comport with that object. lle can H. OF R.)
Case of R. M. Whitney.
(Feb. 13, 1837.
then be heard by counsel. But if the House shall deter- brought to the bar of the House. But, sir, I do not mine that he may answer in one of the modes proposed, wish this House to be put in such a situation as it may then much valuable time, much expense, will be saved, loge much valuable time, expend much money, and that can be bestowed upon much more valuable subjects gain nothing but a reprimand upon Reuben. than any contest we can have with Reuben M. Whitney. Mr. CAMBRELENG hoped that the time of the
There are most of the appropriation bills yet to pass, House might not be consumed in discussing this mere seven or eight hundred bills upon your table, and not matter of form, as to whether this subject should go to three weeks of your session yet remains. The Tennessee a select committee or not, when the important appro. land bill, which has been here for twelve or fifteen priation bills to carry on the operations of the Govern. years, waiting for the action of the House; and if this ment were yet unacted on. He did not think it was investigation shall take the range anticipated, it will oc- necessary to send this question to a committee, and be cupy all the balance of the session, to the utter exclu. appealed to the gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. sion of all other business whatever.
Lincoln,) who had offered this resolution, to withdraw Notwithstanding all this, I have voted for the inquiry, | it, because that House could just as well determine on and all the subsequent proceedings to bring him before the mode of proceeding as any sever members of it
1 the bar of this House. Since this question was last up, could who might be appointed a committee for this purI have examined some of the cases which have arisen in pose. Inasmuch as Mr. Whitney was now at the bar of this House upon the subjects of contempt. The cases the House, he trusted the House would not permit this seem to show that this House has never prescribed any question to go to a committee, but that they would de. rules for the punishment of contempts, but a simple rep- cide it there, and decide it promptly. If this was not rimand of the culprit is the extent of its powers. There done, the wheels of Government must stop, because there dre two remarkable cases: the first of Johnson Ander- was no money appropriated for any one branch of the son, for an attempt to bribe a member of this House. public service. He hoped that those gentlemen who That was certainly a more flagrant offence than the re- had voted to bring this individual to the bar of the fusal to appear before a committee of the House to give House would vote to dispose of his case with all possi. W testimony. Afier several weeks' discussion and exami- ble despatch. nation of Anderson's case, he was found guilty; and Mr. MANN, of New York, said it was foreseen, before what then? Why, sir, he was called up before the the committee presented this question to the deliberate Speaker, who, with much gravity, reprimanded him. A consideration of the House, thai it would ultimately roll reprimand, then, sir, is the extent of the punishment. itself into a question of greater magnitude for considera. If this is all, (as seems to be generally understood,) the tion and determination than any question that had been punishment you can inflict for a contempt, ! conceive, propounded there for a long time. And why so? It was is not only a prodigal waste of the time and money of because the decision of that House, and the course of the people, but it is worse: it is a farce acted before the its proceedings in regard to this question, involved the people; it lessens the dignity of the House, to be arrayed cause of free government throughout the world; and for ihree weeks in a controversy with Reuben M. Whit the action of bat House, upon a matter like the one unney; at the end of which, suppose we find him guilty of der consideration, was to be regarded in the history of every thing charged, why, all the punishment we can this country as for or against free government. inflict upon him is an exquisitely nice-worded reprimand Sir, (continued Mr. M.,) what spectacle are we pre-in from the Speaker.
senting bere, as the House of Representatives of the The next case of contempt was the case of the hon. | United States, to the consideration of all those nations orable Samuel Houston. Alter three weeks' investiga- and countries with whom we are on such terms of anity tion, engrossing the time of the House and the money and peace as that they take cognizance of the proceed. of the people, to the exclusion of all other business, he ings of this House? Are we offering to them an exam. was found guilty pro forma, called to the bar of the ple for their imilation? Or are we offering to them a House pro forma; and the honorable Speaker, with a de spectacle for their ridicule and contempt! Sir, it begree of splendor and elegance seldom equalled, pro- comes the dignity of this House to vindicate its character nounced a handsome eulogy (which was merited) as the representatives of this, ihe only free nation of the upon the life and transactions of the honorable culprit, earth, before a tribunal of the civilized world, in regard and ended by saying, “I am commanded by the House to this matter. I care not, therefore, sir, when the nato reprimand you, and you are reprimanded accordingly.” tional character of this country, in all future times, is to This was the substance of the whole precisely like be involved, (which, upon first view, seems not to bave Anthony's oration over the dead body of Cæsar. After struck the minds of all gentlemen,) I say, sir, I care not bestowing tbe most handsome eulogy ever delivered what becomes of your pitiful appropriation bills to carry upon Cæsar, he says, " Yet Brutus says he (Cæsar) was on your Government. This question involves considerambitious; and Brutus is án honorable man.” In this ations of far higher import, and more imperiously calls case, the honorable House says Mr. Whitney has com- upon the House to vindicate its character, as the guarmitted a contempt, and the House is composed of hon. dians of civil liberty, than all the appropriation bills
you orable men; and you, Mr. Whitney, are reprimanded, could pass here from this time to the end of time. according to order. It is lamentable, Mr. Speaker, Now, sir, why is this all so? Why, sir, you have dithat this House has never passed any laws authorizing a rected one of the committees of this House to make an more consummate punishment upon those who act in investigation. That committee, in the course of the incontempt of its authority than a simple reprimand. vestigation, have deemed it proper to take what they Let this controversy end as it may, it amounts to noth. deemed to be exceptions to an answer given them by a ing; or, in other words, it is worse than nothing, for so witness. What was that answer? Was there any thing I consider a reprimand. I shall, therefore, vote to dis. 1 in that answer, given by that witness, which ought to pose of this case as early as possible, so that the House have disturbed the most fastidious member of thai comcan act upon something that may be beneficial to the mittee, in and of itself? country, and not consume the whole session in the case Mr. MASON, of Ohio, here rose and called the genof the Congress of the United States against Reuben M. lleman from New York to order, on the ground of ir. Whitney, or Reuben M. Whitney against the Congress relevancy. of the United States. of Mr. Whitney I know nothing; Mr. MANN. The gentleman will reduce the point I never saw him, to my knowledge, before he was to writing
Peb. 13, 1837.)
Case of R. M. Whitney.
(H. OF R.
Mr. MASON understood the question before the maintained, and carried on. Sir, it is due to the world House to be on the amendment of the gentleman from that we should tell them that, as guardians of the rights Massachusetts.
of our own citizens, as well as maintainers of the cause The CHAIR said it was, and pronounced the course of free government every where, we should point out of argument of the gentleman from New York to be here, from the very temple of liberty itself, what ought within the strict limits of that subject.
to be done. Mr. MANN resumed. Sir, I will save the gentleman In conclusion, Mr. M. said he would not spend one the necessity of calling me to order, for I will proceed single moment in institu!ing an inquiry into forms of in order. I am in order. I am going on to show why proceeding, but he was for calling upon the accused the character of this House and the nation demand that at once to enter upon his defence, give hiin his counsel, this House of Representatives ought immediately to per. and let that counsel cross-examine the witnesses. Init this examination of this witness, in regard to the al- Mr. VANDERPOEL said that the question before leged contempt for which be stands now arraigned at us was, what were the relative merits of the two propothe bar of the thouse, under the gaze of the American sitions--the one made by the gentleman from Massachupeople. I am going on to show, sir, why you should setss (Mr. LINCOLN) and the other by the gentleman examine the witness forth with, instead of raising a com- from Mississippi, (Mr. Gholson.] He had no hesitation mittee to hunt up precedents and report forms and in saying that, unless a better plan was suggested than modes of procedure.
that which was presented by the gentleman from MasMr. LINCOLN begged to explain, for he thought he sachusetts, he would vote for the resolution of the gen. had been misunderstood. The object in raising the tleman from Mississippi. Expedition in this matter was committee was merely to report a simple mode of pro certainly an object. We might talk as much as we ceeding, and very little delay would ensue, which would pleased about the vast importance of this subject; about be amply made up by the saving of time afterwards. its connexion with the cause of free government Mr. L. then read his amendment.
throughout the world. For his (Mr. V's) part, he Mr. MANN. I do not misunderstand the gentleman, could not regard it as being of sufficient importance to sir; but, in my judgment, his plan is paying more re- justify us in such a consumption of time with it as to gard to shadows than to the substance. Now, is it not put in jeopardy the general appropriation bills. in the power of the gentleman himself to cross-examine The wheels of Government must be kept in motion. the witnesses! Would he feel any reluctance to do it? Our days here were almost numbered; and if there wag If so, sir, I will do it; I can do it, too; having had a lit- not a general disposition here to despatch this matter, tle experience since this session commenced, as well as your appropriation bills were most assuredly in danger. formerly, in the cross-examination of witnesses before Why, then, instead of proceeding immediately with the a committee.
case, refer the matter back to a select committee, for It seems, Mr. Spoaker, that the gentleman from Mas. the purpose of reporting to us the form of proceeding sachusetts does not choose to appear here as a prosecu- we should pursue? The Chair could appoint a commit. tor in this case, and that is the reason he wants this res- tee to examine witnesses on the part of this House. olution adopted. Now, I ask the gentleman not to The gentleman from Mississippi would, no doubt, so shrink from the responsibility of coming here with a modify his amendment as to authorize the Speaker to resolution, and moving the arrest of this witness. I appoint such catechists or prosecutors, and then we foresaw what would be the result. I foresaw, before could proceed immediately with the trial. - The gentlethe committee left their room with their report, that this man from Massachusetts had told us that he had looked was to become one of the most important questions, in into the precedents, and he had doubtless concocted regard to the character of the American Congress, pre- some plan of proceeding. Let the gentleman now sugsented for a long time. It is to be decided here, and gest it to us; and if he (Mr. V.) approved of it he would for the approval and approbation of the civilized world, probably vote for it; but he could not, and would not, whether a witness shall be compelled to go before a contribute to the delay that would be consequent upon committee whose members stand with arms in tbeir the passage of his resolution. Mr. Whitney had already hands to protect themselves for what that committee been under arrest for two days; and it was due to him, may deem wrong.
and to the regard that we all cherished for the liberty of Sir, (continued Mr. M.,) bring the person accused to the citizen, that we should proceed in the matter with your bar, and give him an opportunity of placing his the least practicable delay. vindication before this House, and in the hearing of Mr. LANE said, to his mind, the question presented each member of it. If there ever was an occasion, if to the House is a plain one, so far as it regarded the there ever will be another occasion, for demanding, at course to be adopted in relation to the case as it now the hands of this House, and at the expense of every stands. The defendant has been brought to the bar of moment of its time from this to the end of the session, the House, to answer for an alleged contempt in not more than the present, then I cannot conceive one. il giving evidence before one of its comunitiees. To which will, however, promise to relieve the gentleman from he answers, that he intended no contempt to this House, Missachtisetts (Mr. Lincoln) from the office he seems and manifested his perfect willingness to give evidence unwilling to assume upon himself. if he does not before the committee, provided they shall appear unchoose to assume the responsibility of coming here in armed, or that he will appear and answer interrogatories favor of that resolution, as well as myself, for I agreed submitted before a justice of the peace. to the resolution of calling the witness here, then I will The defendant, Mr. Whitney, stands before this flouse assume the duties alternately, and in vindication of what purged of all contempt; and the only remaining question I deem to be just to the character of this House, that of is to examine witnesses for the purpose of informing the instituting the most scrutinizing and most careful cross- House whether the reasons alleged are or are not true, examination of these witnesses in regard to what the ac
in order to enable the House, as judges in this case, to Clised has intimated here. Let it be determined by this come to a correct conclusion whether the defendant House, let it be determined before the eyes not only of ought to be protected or not. this wory but of every civilized country of the earth, This would be the proceeding in a court of law, wben whether the proceedings of this House are to be vindi-brought up before the court. if he disclaimed all conCated, and asserted, and maintained; and in what man- tempt, and gave bis reasons for nol obeying the process Der those proceedings are to be asserted, vindicated, of the court, witnesses would be called upon and ex.
VOL. XIII, -110