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432 NO PENSION FOR SUPPORT OF FUGITIVE SLAVE ACT.
report accompanying the bill volunteers, without reason or occasion, to the conduct of public functionaries, as well as of others, who, according to some evidence, may have acted very badly.
JAMES OTIS AN EXAMPLE TO MASSACHUSETTS.
LETTER TO THE CAPE COD ASSOCIATION OF MASSACHUSETTS,
JULY 30, 1854.
HERE, again, is an effort against the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act.
SENATE CHAMBER, July 30, 1854. EAR SIR, - I have been honored by the Cape Cod
Association with an invitation to unite with them in their approaching festival at Yarmouth.
Amidst these unprecedented heats it is pleasant merely to think of the seaside; much pleasanter would it be to taste for a day its salt, refreshing air, especially with cherished friends, and stirred by historical memories, in these times bracing to the soul. But my duties will keep me here.
In that part of Massachusetts to which you invite me was born James Otis, one of our immortal names. He early saw the beauty of Liberty, and in those struggles which preceded the Revolution gave his eloquent tongue to her support. To the tyrannical Writs of Assistance, offspring of sovereign power, and at that day regarded as constitutional, he offered inflexible resistance, saying, “I will to my dying day oppose, with all the powers and faculties God has given me, all such instruments of slavery on the one hand and villany on the other. I cheerfully submit myself to every odious name for conscience' sake. Let the consequences be what they will,
I am determined to proceed.” And then again he declared of this outrageous process, “It is a power that places the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer.” With this precision he struck at an engine of tyranny, and with fervid eloquence exposed it to mankind. Such a character should not be forgotten at your commemoration. Were I there, I might ask leave to propose the following sentiment.
The memory of James Otis, of Barnstable, the early orator of American Liberty. Massachusetts cherishes the fame of her patriot child. Let her also imitate his virtues.
I remain, dear Sir, very faithfully yours,
TO THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE.
STRUGGLE FOR REPEAL OF THE FUGITIVE
DEBATE IN THE SENATE, JULY 31, 1854.
ALL efforts of the friends of Freedom in Congress encountered opposition at every stage. Attempts by John Quincy Adams to present petitions were thwarted in every way that vindictive rage could prompt. Propositions for the repeal of obnoxious laws sustaining Slavery were stifled. To accomplish this result, parliamentary courtesy and parliamentary law were both set at defiance. On a former occasion, when Mr. Sumner brought forward his motion for the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act, he was refused a hearing, and obtained it only by taking advantage of the Civil and Diplomatic Appropriation Bill, and moving an amendment to it, which no parliamentary subtlety or audacity could declare to be out of order. On the presentation of petitions against the Fugitive Slave Act, from time to time, he was met by similar checks. Meanwhile anything for Slavery was always in order. An experience of a single day will show something of this.
On the 31st of July, 1854, Mr. Seward, of New York, under instructions from the Committee on Pensions, reported a bill, which had already passed the House of Representatives, for the relief of Betsey Nash, a poor and aged woman, whose husband had died of wounds received in the war of 1812, and asked for its immediate consideration. This simple measure, demanded by obvious justice, was at once embarrassed by an incongruous proposition for the support of Slavery.
Mr. Adams, of Mississippi, moved, as an amendment, another bill, for the relief of Mrs. Batchelder, widow of a person killed in Boston, while aiding as a volunteer in the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act. In the face of various objections this amendment was adopted. Mr. Sumner at once followed by a proposition in the following words :
* Provided, That the Act of Congress, approved September 18, 1850, for the surrender of fugitives from service or labor, be, and the same is hereby, repealed.”
1 See ante, p. 80.
This was ruled out of order, as "not germane to the bill under consideration"; and the two bills, hitched together, one for a military pension, and the other for contribution to the widow of a SlaveHunter, — were put on their passage. Mr. Sumner then sprang for the floor, when a struggle ensued, which is minutely reported in the Congressional Globe. The careful reader will observe, that, in order to cut off an effort to repeal the Fugitive Slave Act, at least two unquestionable rules of parliamentary law were overturned.
MENUmre to introduces a bill
R. SUMNER. In pursuance of notice, I now
ask leave to introduce a bill. MR. STUART (of Michigan). I object to it, and move to take up the River and Harbor Bill.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (MR. COOPER, of Pennsylvania). The other bill is not disposed of. The third reading of a Bill for the relief of Betsey Nash.
The bill was then read a third time and passed.
MR. SUMNER. In pursuance of notice, I ask leave to introduce a bill, which I now send to the table.
MR. STUART. Is that in order ?
MR. BENJAMIN (of Louisiana). There is a pending motion of the Senator from Michigan to take up the River and Harbor Bill.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. That motion was not entertained, because the Senator from Massachusetts had and has the floor.
MR. STUART. I make the motion now.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair thinks it is in order to give the notice.
MR. SUMNER. Notice has been given, and I now, in pursuance of notice, introduce the bill. The question is on its first reading.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The first reading of a bill.
MR. NORRIS (of New Hampshire). I rise to a question of order.