Post in commenting upon this gentleman's recent speech, takes
much pleasure in finding as it asserts, its favorite doctrine of squatter
sovereignty, or the right of the people of the territory to legislate
absolutely upon all local subjects, and thereby to exclude slavery, fully
maintained and vindicated.
We cannot assent to any such construction of the speech, and of the bill
which it sustains, without imputing duplicity to the former, and an
unconstitutional character to the latter.
For if it is intended to be argued by Senator DOUGLAS, that in creating
territorial Governments invested with the usual powers, they can legislate so
as to exclude and abolish slavery, when the very law which organizes them
declares the territories open to the immigration and settlement of the
slaveholder, we must reject such a proposition as not only unconstitutional,
but as containing upon its very face the mark of treachery.
It would indeed be the climax of specious justice, to proclaim non-
intervention on the part of Congress as the principle of fairness and the
Constitution, yet that it should pass a law conferring upon a tentful of hunters
and outlaws the right to intervene in the most absolute and sovereign
If the Compromise of 1850 and the present bill for the admission of
Nebraska really mean anything of fairness and justice to the South,
But we mistake Mr. DOUGLAS if such an inference can be properly
drawn from his argument and bill.
Indeed, whatever may be his own views on the subject, the bill itself
provides in the first place that all laws passed by the territorial government,
"shall be submitted to the Congress of the United States, and if disapproved,
shall be null and of no effect." And secondly, that "all cases involving title
to slaves "and questions of personal freedom," shall be subject to the ultimate
decision of the Supreme Court of the United States.
This document was produced as part of a document analysis project by Lloyd Benson, Department of History, Furman University. (Proofing info: Entered by Ben Barnhill, Proofed by Ryan Burgess.) This electronic version may not be copied, or linked to, or otherwise used for commercial purposes, (including textbook or publication-related websites) without prior written permission. The views expressed in this document are for educational, historical, and scholarly use only, and are not intended to represent the views of the project contributors or Furman University.