SLAVERY IN THE TERRITORIES.

SPEECH OF MR. DAVIS,

OF MISSISSIPPI,

In the Senate, February 13 and 14, 1850.

[p2]
Mr. DAVIS, of Mississippi, addressed the Senate as follows:

[p4]
When the honorable Senator from Kentucky [Mr. Clay] introduced the resolutions now under discussion, I thought it my duty to present my views of what I considered injustice to those whom I represent, and to offer some opposition to the dangerous doctrines which I believed he then presented. Whether it was impatience at finding any of his opinions controverted, or whether it was that he sought an adversary so feeble as to secure an easy victory, I know not, and it matters not to me. He challenged me to this discussion whenever I was ready. I was ready then, and meet him now. It has been postponed at his option, and not mine; and that, when he prepared and delivered his speech before the Senate, I did not immediately follow him, was because I could not obtain the floor. I now come to lift the glove he then threw down, and trust in the justice of the cause in which I stand.

[p5]
The country has been induced to expect and notwithstanding all previous evidence against it, even I had cherished the hope that the great power of that Senator, and his known influence in the country, would have been exerted in a crisis so dangerous as this, with the high and holy purpose of preserving the Union. I had hoped from him a compromise that would have contained the spirit of that which, in another dangerous period in the history of this country, brought calm and sunshine, instead of the gloom which then lowered over us. In this hope I have been disappointed grievously disappointed by the character of the resolutions which he has introduced, and yet more grievously disappointed in the remarks by which they were prefaced. If that great power and influence to which I have alluded, and that eloquence. upon which multitudes have hung entranced, and remembered only to admire, had now been exerted in the cause of the weak against the strong, the cause of the Constitution against its aggressors, the evils by which we are surrounded might perhaps have been removed, and the decline of that Senator's sun been even more bright than its meridian glory. But, instead of this, he has chosen to throw his influence into the scale of the preponderating aggressive majority, and in so doing vehemently to assert his undisputed right to express his opinions fearless of all mankind. Why, sir, there was nothing to apprehend, and I presume no one will dispute the right of the Senator to advance his opinions in any decorous language he might choose.

[p6]
Mr. President, my feelings and my duties run in the same channel. My convictions of what is necessary to preserve the Union correspond with my opinions in relation to the local and peculiar interests which I particularly represent. I have therefore no sacrifices to make, unless it be that personal sacrifice I make in appearing under circumstances like those which now surround me.

[p7]
The greater part of the Senator's argument has been directed against the right of the southern States to that equality of enjoyment in the Territories to which they assert they are entitled. He has rebuked the spirit of abolitionism as the evil of the country, but, in doing so, instead of describing it as a factious, disorganizing, revolutionary spirit, he has only spoken of it as the offspring of party, the result of passion. Now, Mr. President, I contend that the reverse is true. I contend that it is the want of party which has built up this faction and rendered it dangerous; that so long as party organization preserved its integrity, there was no place for a third party, and no danger from it. If this were merely the result of passion, I should then have hopes which I cannot now cherish. If it were the mere outbreak of violence, I should see some prospect for its subsidence. But considering it, as I do, the cold, calculating purpose of those who seek for sectional dominion, I see nothing short of conquest on the one side, or submission on the other. This is the great danger which hangs over us not passion not party; but the settled, selfish purpose which alone can sustain and probably will not abandon the movement. That upon which it originally rested has long since passed away. It is no longer the clamor of a noisy fanaticism, but the steady advance of a self-sustaining power to the goal of unlimited supremacy. This is the crevasse which the Senator described a crevasse which he figuratively says is threatening submersion to the whole estate, while the owners are quarrelling about the division of the profits. Yes, sir, a moral crevasse has occurred: fanaticism and ignorance political rivalry sectional hate strife for sectional dominion, have accumulated into a mighty flood, and pour their turgid waters through the broken constitution, threatening not total submersion, but only the destruction of a part of the estate that part in which my constituency, as well as that of the Senator, is found.

[p8]
What, then, under such circumstances as these, does the Senator propose as a remedy? Does he call all the parties to check the breach. which threatens danger to one? Does he lend his own hand to arrest the progress of the flood? No. He comes here, representing those southern interests which are at. stake, surrenders the whole claim of the South, and gives a support to abolitionism which no northern man no, nor every northern. man in the Senate could have afforded. However much we may regret, our surprise must be limited by the recollection that we had some cause to anticipate this. The public press had given us last summer a letter from him, addressed to the Abolitionists of Ohio a man most notorious among them being upon the committee in which that very ordinance of 1787 was treated as a great blessing and slavery as a curse. The representatives of the South have never sought to violate that compromise or concession, whatever it may be called, that was made in 1787. The representatives of the South have not entered into arguments upon the blessings and evils of slavery. They have said, from time to time, that it was a domestic institution; that it was under their own control; and that they claimed for it only the protection which the Constitution accords to every other species of property. Less than that they can never take, unless they are willing; to become an inferior class, a degraded caste in the Union.

[p9]
A large part of the non-slaveholding States have declared war against the institution of slavery. They have announced that it shall not be extended, and with that annunciation have coupled the declaration that it is a stain upon the Republic that it is a moral blot which should be obliterated. Now, sir, can anyone believe, dues any one hope, that the southern States in this Confederacy will continue, as in times gone by, to support the Union, to bear its burdens, in peace and in war, in a degree disproportioned to their numbers, if that very Government is to be arrayed in hostility against an institution so interwoven with its interests, its domestic peace, and all its social relations, that it cannot be disturbed without causing their overthrow? This Government is the agent of all of the States; can it be expected of any of them that they will consent to be bound by its acts, when that agent announces the settled purpose in the exercise of its power to overthrow that which it was its duty to uphold? That obligation ceases whenever such a construction shall be placed upon its power by the Federal Government. The essential purpose for which the grant was made being disregarded, the means given for defence being perverted to assault, State allegiance thenceforward resumes its right to demand the service, the whole service, of all its citizens.

[p10]
The claim is set up for the Federal Government not only to restrict slavery from entering the Territories, but to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, to abolish it in the arsenals and dockyards, to withdraw from it the protection of the American flag wherever it is found upon the high seas; in fact, to strip it of every protection it derives from Government. All this under the pretext that property in slaves is local in its nature, and derives its existence from municipal law. Slavery existed before the formation of this Union. It derived from the Constitution that recognition which it would not have enjoyed without the confederation. If the States had not united together, there would have been no obligation on adjoining States to regard any species of property unknown to themselves. But it was one of the compromises of the Constitution that the slave property in the southern States should be recognized as property throughout the United States. It was so recognized in the obligation to restore fugitives recognized in the power to tax them as persons recognized in their representation in the halls of Congress. As a property recognized by the Constitution, and held in a portion of the States, the Federal Government is bound to admit it into all the Territories, and to give it such protection as other private property receives.

[p11]
I do not propose to follow the argument of the Senator from Georgia, [Mr. Berrien.] I will not mar its beauty or weaken its force by anything which I can say. I believe that his argument upon that point was so conclusive, as to require no addition, if I had the power to make it. It becomes us, it becomes you all who seek to preserve this Union, and to render it perpetual to ask, why is this power claimed? Why is its exercise sought? Why is this resolution to obstruct the extension of slavery into the Territories introduced? It must be for the purpose of political power; it can have no other rational object. Every one must understand that, whatever be the evil of slavery, it is not increased by its diffusion. Every one familiar with it knows that it is in proportion to its sparseness that it becomes less objectionable. Wherever there is an immediate connection between the master and slave, whatever there is of harshness in the system is diminished. Then it preserves the domestic character, and strictly patriarchal relation. It is only when the slaves are assembled in large numbers, on plantations, and are removed from the interested, the kind, the affectionate care of the master, that it ever can partake of that cruelty which is made the great charge against it by those who know nothing of it, and which, I will passingly say, probably exists to a smaller extent than in any other relation of labor to capital. It is, then, for the purpose of political power; and can those who, in violation of constitutional rights, seek and acquire political power, which, in progress of time, will give them the ability to change the Constitution of the United States, be supposed just then to be seized with a feeling of magnanimity and justice, which will prevent them from using the power which they thus corruptly sought and obtained? Man, Mr. President, may become corrupted by the possession of power; he may seek it for pure motives, and be corrupted by its exercise. The reverse of this all history and all reason deny....

[p14]
But, Mr. President, it is my purpose, and I am sorry, even for one moment, to have diverged from it, calmly and briefly to direct my attention to the main argument of the Senator from Kentucky. I claim, sir, that slavery being property in the United States, and so recognized by the Constitution, a slaveholder has the right to go with that property into any part of the United States where some sovereign power has not forbidden it. I deny, sir, that this Government has the sovereign power to prohibit it from the Territories. I deny that any territorial community, being a dependence of the United States, has that power, or can prohibit it, and therefore my claim presented is this, that the slaveholder has a right to go with his slave into any portion of these United States, except in a State where the fundamental law has forbidden it. I know, sir, that the popular doctrine obtains, that every community has that power; and I was sorry to hear the Senator from Kentucky, in some portion of his speech, assent to it, though in others he did oppose it. Who constitute the communities which are to exercise sovereign rights over the Territories? Those who, in the race for newly-acquired regions, may first get there. By what right, sir, do they claim to exercise it? The Territories belong to the United States, and by the States only can sovereignty be alienated. If a mass of persons, sufficiently great to seize upon one of the Territories of the United States, should, by a revolution, wrest it from us, then they would have sovereignty, and could establish any fundamental laws they chose; but until that high act of revolution is performed, it will not cease, save by their consent, to be a Territory belonging to the United States. The sovereignty rests in the States, and there is no power, save that of the States, which can exclude any property, or can determine what is property, in the Territories so held by the States in common. That power the States have not delegated; it can be exercised rightfully only by compact or agreement of the States. It is, therefore, that I have held and hold that the Missouri compromise derived its validity from the acquiescence of the States, and not from the act of Congress....

[p18]
But the Senator from Kentucky did not stop here. If he had paused at this controverted point if he had only asserted that the Constitution gave power at one place or another it would not have presented the dangerous aspect it wears in this discussion. But he goes further. He declares and his position, his high name, may do us great injury by the declaration that slavery does not exist, that it is interdicted by the law from the Territories acquired from Mexico; and, moreover, that it is excluded by a decree of nature, and of nature's God, from the land. The Senator quoted no law. He referred to a date when there was no law. Upon the point of prohibition I took issue with him, and upon that point I propose to present the proof. I have here, sir, the act of 1824, the decree of 1829, and the act of 1837, in the original language, which, I believe, are all that can be found of action of the Mexican Government, upon that subject; and, by one competent for the purpose, I have had them translated. The act of 1824, is for the prohibition of the traffic in slaves. It declares;

[p19]
"decree of the 13th July, 1824. "Prohibition by Congress of the Traffic in Slaves.

[p20]
"The Sovereign Constituent Congress of the United States of Mexico has thought it proper to decree as follows:

[p21]
1. The commerce or traffic in slaves is forever prohibited in the territory of the United States of Mexico, under whatever flag, and coming from whatever Power, (or country.)

[p22]
2. Slaves which shall be introduced against the tenor of the foregoing article are free, from the single fact of treading the territory of Mexico.

[p23]
3. Any vessel, whether national or foreign, in which slaves shall be introduced, shall be irreversibly forfeited, with all its cargo; and the owner, supercargo, captain, master, and pilots, shall suffer the punishment of ten years' imprisonment.

[p24]
4. This decree shall have effect from the very day of its publication. But, as to the penalties prescribed in the foregoing article, it shall not have such effect for six months, with reference to the colonists who, in virtue of the law of the 14th October last, as to the colonization of the isthmus of Gonzacoalcos, disembarked slaves for the purpose of introducing them into Mexican territory."

[p25]
This was a prohibition against taking slaves into California and New Mexico from the United States, while those Territories belonged to the Mexican Republic. This is the only case in which a permanency is declared for the policy avowed, is the only prohibition, and it is now clearly inoperative. Next is the decree of 1829, the decree of a usurper passed not by forms of law, but in violation of them. It declares:

"15TH DAY OF April, 1829.

"Decree of the Government, in virtue of Extraordinary Powers, abolition of Slavery in the Republic.

[p26]
1. Slavery is (or literally remains) abolished in the republic.

[p27]
2. Those are consequently free who were heretofore considered as slaves.

[p28]
3. When the condition of the Treasury admits of it, the proprietors of slaves will be indemnified in a manner to be settled by the laws."

[p29]
That decree was not executed. That some proprietors lost their slaves is not doubted; but that it was not fully executed is clear; from the fact that, in 1837, legislation occurred to carry out the object of the decree:

"5th day, April 4, 1837.

" Law.

[p30]
"Slavery is (or literally remains) abolished in the republic, without any exception whatever.

[p31]
1. Slavery is (or literally remains) abolished, without any exception, in all the republic.

[p32]
2.. The owners of slaves manumitted by the present law, or by the decree of the 15th September, 1829, (summary of that month, page 2, 137,) will be indemnified for the value of the same; this value to be estimated by the valuation of their personal qualities; for which purpose a judge will be named by the commissary general, or his representative, and another by the owner, and in case of disagreement, a third, named by the proper constitutional alcalde without interposition of appeal of any kind from this decision. The indemnification of which this article speaks will not be elective as regards the emigrants of Texas that may have taken a part in the revolution of that department.

[p33]
3. The same owners to whom will be given gratis the original documents of the valuation referred to in the anterior article will present them to the Supreme Government, who will ordain that the general treasury issue the corresponding bonds for value of the respective amounts.

[p34]
"The payment of said bonds will take place in the manner which the Government may judge most equitable, conciliating the rights of individuals with the actual state of the public funds."

[p35]
Here it will be seen, by comparison, that when perpetuity is intended, a distinct expression is used, as in the act of 1824 para siempre, forever
. This is not found in the abolition decree or act of Congress. How, therefore, do gentlemen learn the intent, and how will they proceed to give the stamp of eternal to the act of a government which furnishes annual revolutions?

[p37]
This law was never carried out. So far as I have been able to learn, the appraisement, which was a part of the law, with which it was to go into effect, was never made, nor in any manner compensation rendered. More, sir, so far as I have been able to learn, this decree for the abolition of slavery, and the act of 1837, were both in violation of the wishes of the States and individuals particularly concerned. It was enacted against their will, by usurpation of power, first on the part of the Dictator, and secondly on the part of the Mexican Congress.

[p38]
We have, in our practice and in our principles of government, nothing which can be considered as a parallel to a dictator, as known in the history of Mexico. The nearest parallel which I can imagine is, to suppose that in a period of invasion and imminently great danger, martial law should be declared over the whole of the United States. Suppose, in that case, that the Executive of the United States, vested with extraordinary power, Should decree that slavery was abolished throughout the United States by virtue of the powers which he held under martial law, does anybody believe it would be submitted to? Will any man contend that such a decree would have the validity of law in this Union? Will any man contend that if a future Congress should legislate in conformity thereto, and to compensate those who had lost their slaves under such a decree, the owner would be thereby compelled to submit to the decree? Or does any man believe that even if the right were conceded to our Congress to pass an emancipation act, providing that the slaves should be liberated by paying for them, the passage (if such an act would be obligatory upon the owners before the compensation was made? All these points failed in the Mexican case. So far, then, as I can view this case, with my notions of constitutional construction, it was void in the beginning, and remained void to the end.

[p39]
But suppose it was a law. However informal the enactment, that supposition may be made from the fact that slavery did not exist in Mexico at the time we acquired the territory. Suppose it be conceded that by law it was abolished could that law be perpetual? could it extend to the territory after it became the property of the United States? Did we admit territory from Mexico subject to the constitution and laws of Mexico? Did we pay fifteen millions of dollars for jurisdiction over California and New Mexico, that it might be held subordinate to the law of Mexico? In the discussion upon that treaty by which we acquired the territory, it was a very general opinion that we should get jurisdiction, and jurisdiction alone; that all the land would be found to be covered by grants which had become valid, so that we should not get public domain. Under the present construction, it seems that we did not get jurisdiction either.

[p40]
The argument made here and elsewhere for the continuance of the laws of Mexico is drawn from the laws of nations in relation to a conquered territory. I do not intend to go into that discussion. It is gratifying to every one, and marks the progress of civilization, to observe step after step taken to soften the rigors of war, and to ameliorate the condition of the subjugated. But, sir, this is not a conquest. This people came not to us as a conquered race. We acquired the territory by purchase and treaty, and we .got from Mexico only that which she was willing to sell. The negotiation of the treaty shows that our commissioner endeavored even to get a small strip off from Sonora, and was refused upon the ground that they would not interfere with the limits of a State. They sold us that which they were willing to part from; and whatever it was worth to us, we paid them much more than it was worth to them.

[p41]
It is not to the law of nations, it is not to the moral feeling of the age, in relation to a conquered people, that we are to look. It is to the treaty, to the terms of the treaty, and to the principles of the Constitution of the United States. Of the two articles the 8th and 9th the one secures all the rights of property to the Mexicans in the territory at the time of its acquisition; the other guaranties a further admission to the rights of citizenship:

[p42]
"Article VIII. Mexicans now established in territories previously belonging to Mexico, and which remain for the future within the limits of the United Slates, as defined by the present treaty, shall be free to continue where they now reside, or to remove at anytime to the Mexican republic, retaining the property which they possess in the said Territories, or disposing thereof, and removing the proceeds wherever they please, without their being subjected on this account to any contribution, tax, or charge whatever. Those who shall prefer to remain in the said territories, may either retain the title and rights of Mexican citizens, or acquire those of citizens of the United States. But they shall be under the obligation to make their election within one year from the date of exchange of ratifications of this treaty; and those who shall remain in the said territories after the expiration of that year, without having declared their intention to retain the character of Mexicans, shall be considered to have elected to become citizens of the United States.

[p43]
"Article IX. The Mexicans who, in the territories aforesaid, shall not preserve the character of citizens of the Mexican republic, conformably with what is stipulated in the preceding article, shall be incorporated into the Union of the United States, and be admitted at the proper time (to be judged of by the Congress of the United States) to the enjoyment of all the rights of citizens of the United States, according to the principles of the Constitution; and in the mean time shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty and property, and secured in the free exercise of their religion without restriction."

[p44]
The Commissioners of Mexico had no idea that they were, by treaty, transferring their law abolishing slavery into the United States. They had no conception that we were to be bound by the edicts and statutes of Mexico. And certainly if such an idea had been entertained by the Senate, it could not have been sanctioned by two-thirds of them. But this is not left undecided, or to mere speculation. This question wag brought up in the discussion between the Commissioners, and it will be found, by a letter directed to the then Secretary of State (the Hon. Jas. Buchanan) by our agent, Mr. Trist, dated at Tacubaya, February 4, 1847, that the Mexican Commissioners pressed this point, the continuation of their law for the exclusion of slavery, upon Mr. Trist, in the earnest language which was read by the Senator from Kentucky.

[p45]
But the Senator did not read all that was said in reply to the Mexican Commissioners. I believe it appears in his revised speech. After telling them that such a proposition could not be entertained, Mr. Trist says:

[p46]
"I concluded by assuring them that the mere mention of the subject in any treaty to which the United States were a party was an absolute impossibility; that no President of the United States would dare to present any such treaty to the Senate; and that, if it were in their power to offer me the whole territory described in our projet, increased tenfold in value, and, in addition to that, covered a foot thick over with pure gold, upon the single condition that slavery should be excluded therefrom, I could not entertain the offer for a moment, nor think even of communicating; it to Washington. The matter ended in their being fully satisfied that this topic was one not to be touched, and it was dropped with good feeling on both sides."

[p47]
Then, sir, the people of Mexico cannot expect that their law shall be recognized by our Government. The Commissioner of the United States rejected the proposition as one which could not be entertained.

[p48]
With this state of facts, the Senate have ratified the treaty. Under the belief that the Constitution of the United States covers all the territory which belongs to the States, under the conviction that the Supreme Court of the United States, sitting in judgment under the Constitution, would sustain us in such rights, we have tried to organize Territorial governments; we have tried to transfer this question from Congress to the Supreme Court of the United States; we have asked for the establishment of district courts in California, for the simple admission that the Constitution of the United States prevailed over that country, in order to wring from those who opposed our rights under it, some opportunity to test them legally. After all this, and when Congressional agitation has prevailed to prevent the slaveholder from migrating with his property, and sharing in the determination of the fundamental law, we are now told, with patronizing air, that we ought not to object since we have not been prohibited from participation in the Territories by Congress, and that in the case of California we are bound to accept such terms as the inhabitants of the Territory possessing it, under such circumstances, shall think fit to dictate to us. That the will of the conglomerated mass of gold-hunters, foreign and native, is to be taken as the decree of nature, and to be held authoritative for the exclusion of citizens of the United States from equal privileges which the Constitution declares, and was established to secure.

[p49]
Why, sir, what choice is there between this and the Wilmot proviso?I, for one, would prefer the Wilmot proviso. I demur, sir, after the House had killed the Wilmot proviso, against any claim to a dukedom for him who brings the lifeless corpse into the Senate. I will not agree to grant it, even under the threat of being left to kill all future Percys, without the aid of the knight who found the body by the wayside; least of all, have I any thanks to return to the Senator from Illinois, for the ground which he says he has assumed among his constituents in opposing the Wilmot proviso; that it had no application, because, slavery being already excluded from the Territories, it was wholly unnecessary to prohibit it by new enactment.

[p50]
Sir, I prefer the Wilmot proviso to that position; I prefer it, because the advocate of the Wilmot proviso attempts to rob me of my rights, whilst acknowledging them, by the admission that it requires legislation to deprive me of them. The other denies their existence....

[p123]
The case in which this discrimination against the South is attempted, the circumstances under which it was introduced render it especially offensive. It will not be difficult to imagine the feeling with which a southern soldier during the Mexican war received the announcement that the House of Representatives had passed that odious measure, the Wilmot proviso; and that he, although then periling his life, abandoning all the comforts of home, and sacrificing his interests, was, by the Legislature of his country, marked as coming from a portion of the Union which was not entitled to the equal benefits of whatever might result from the service to which he was contributing whatever power he possessed. Nor will it be difficult to conceive, of the many sons of the South whose blood has stained those battle-fields, whose ashes now mingle with Mexican earth, that some, when they last looked on the flag of (heir country, may have felt their dying moments embittered by the recollection that that flag cast not an equal shadow of protection over the land of their birth, the graves of their parents, and the homes of their children so soon to be orphans. Sir, I ask northern Senators to make the case their own to carry to their own fireside the idea of such intrusion and offensive discrimination as is offered .to us realize these irritations, so galling to the humble, so intolerable to the haughty, and wake before it is too late, from the dream that the South will tamely submit. Measure the consequences to us of your assumption, and ask yourselves whether, as a free, honorable, and brave people, you would submit to it?

[p124]
It is essentially the characteristic of the chivalrous that they never speculate upon the fears of any man, and I trust that no such speculations will be made upon the idea that may be entertained in any quarter that the South, from fear of her slaves, is necessarily opposed to a dissolution of this Union. She has no such fear; her slaves would be to her now as they were in the revolution, an element of military strength. I trust that no speculations will be made upon either the condition or the supposed weakness of the South. They will bring sad disappointments to those who indulge them. Rely upon her devotion to the Union, rely upon the feeling of fraternity she inherited and has never failed to manifest; rely upon the nationality and freedom from sedition which has in all ages characterized an agricultural people; give her justice, sheer justice, and the reliance will never fail you.

[p125]
Then, Mr. President, I ask that some substantial proposition may be made by the majority in regard to this question.It is for those who have the power to pass it to propose one. It is for those who are threatening us with the loss of that which we are entitled to enjoy, to state, if there be any compromise, what that compromise is. We are unable to pass any measure, if we propose it; therefore I have none to suggest. We are unable to bend you to any terms which we may offer; we are under the ban of your purpose; therefore from you, if from anywhere, the proposition must come. I trust that we shall meet it, and bear the responsibility as becomes us; that we shall not seek to escape from it; that we shall not seek to transfer to other places, or other times, or other persons, that responsibility which devolves upon us; and I hope the earnestness which the occasion justifies will not be mistaken for the ebulition of passion, nor the language of warning be construed as a threat. We cannot, without the most humiliating confession of the supremacy of faction, evade our constitutional obligations, and our obligations under the treaty with Mexico, to organize governments in the territories of California and New Mexico. I trust that we will not seek to escape from the responsibility, and leave the country unprovided for, unless by an irregular admission of new States; that we will act upon the good example of Washington in the case of Tennessee, and of Jefferson in the case of Louisiana; that we will not, if we abandon those high standards, do more than come down to modern examples; that we will not go further than to permit those who have the forms of government, under the Constitution, to assume sovereignty over territory of the United States; that we may at least, I say, assert the right to know who they are, how many they are where they voted, how they voted and whose certificate is presented to us of the fact, before it is conceded to them to determine the fundamental law of the country, and to prescribe the conditions on which other citizens of the United Slates may enter it. To reach all this knowledge, we must go through the intermediate stage of territorial government.

[p126]
How will you determine what is the seal, and who are the officers of a community unknown as an organized body to the Congress of the United States? Can the right be admitted in that community to usurp the sovereignty over territory which belongs to the States of the Union? All these questions must be answered, before I can consent to any such irregular proceeding as that which is now presented in the case of California.

[p127]
Mr. President, thanking the Senate for the patience they have shown towards me, I again express the hope that those who have power to settle this distracting question those who have the ability to restore peace, concord, and lasting harmony to the United States will give us some substantial proposition, such as magnanimity can offer, and such as we can honorably accept.I, being one of the minority in the Senate and the Union, have nothing to offer, except an assurance of cooperation in anything which my principles will allow me to adopt, and which promises permanent, substantial security.


Transcribed by T. Lloyd Benson, Department of History, Furman University, from the Congressional Globe, 31st Congress, 1st Session, Appendix, 149-157 (February 13-14, 1850).