Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

BOOK 1.]

TREATY OF PEACE WITH MEXICO.

49

1

the right of Congress to prohibit slavery passed with an amendment incorporating
in a Territory

, or to pass any law which into it the anti-slavery clause of the ordi-
would have the effect to deprive the citi-nance of 1787. Mr. Calhoun, in the Sen-
zens of any slave State from emigrating ate, declared that the exclusion of slavery
with his property (slaves) into such Terri- from any territory was a subversion of the
tory. The introduction of the resolutions Union; openly proclaimed the strife be-
was prefaced by an elaborate speech by tween the North and south to be ended,
Mr. Calhoun, who demanded an immediate and the separation of the States accom-
vote upon them. They never came to a plished. His speech was an open invoca-
vote; they were evidently introduced for tion to disunion, and from that time forth,
the mere purpose of carrying a question to the efforts were regular to obtain a meet-
the slave States on which they could be ing of the members from the slave States,
formed into a unit against the free States ; to unite in a call for a convention of the
and so began the agitation which finally slave States to redress themselves. He
led to the abrogation of the Missouri Com- said: “The great strife between the North
promise line, and arrayed the States of one and the South is ended. The North is
section against those of the other.

determined to exclude the property of the The Thirtieth Congress, which assem- slaveholder, and, of course, the slaveholder bled for its first session in December, 1847, himself

, from its territory. On this point was found, so far as respects the House of there seems to be no division in the North Representatives

, to be politically adverse in the South, he regretted to say, there to the administration. "The Whigs were was some division of sentiment. The in the majority, and elected the Speaker; effect of this determination of the North Robert C. Winthrop, of Massachusetts, was to convert all the Southern population being chosen. The President's message into slaves; and he would never consent contained a full report of the progress of to entail that disgrace on his posterity. the war with Mexico; the success of the He denounced any Southern man who American arms in that conflict; the vic- would not take the same course. Gentletory of Cerro Gordo, and the capture of men were greatly mistaken if they supthe City of Mexico; and that negotiations posed the Presidential question in the Were then pending for a treaty of peace. South would override this more important The message concluded with å reference one. The separation of the North and the to the excellent results from the indepen-South is completed. The South has now dent treasury system.

a most solemn obligation to perform--to The war with Mexico was ended by the herself to the constitution—to the Union. signing of a treaty of peace, in February, She is bound to come to a decision not to 1848, by the terms of which New Mexico permit this to go on any further, but to and Upper California were ceded to the show that, dearly as she prizes the Union, United States, and the lower Rio Grande, there are questions which she regards as from its mouth to El Paso, taken for the of greater importance than the Union, boundary of Texas. For the territory thus This is not a question of territorial governacquired

, the United States agreed to pay ment, but a question involving the conto Mexico the sum of fifteen million dol- tinuance of the Union.” The President, lars

, in five annual installments; and be in approving the Oregon bill, took occasides that, assumed the claims of Ameri-sion to send in a special message, pointcan citizens against Mexico, limited to ing out the danger to the Union from the three and a quarter million dollars, out of progress of the slavery agitation, and urved and on account of which claims the war an adherence to the principles of the ordi(stensibly originated. The victories achiev- nance of 1787—the terms of the Missouri ed by the American commanders, Generals compromise of 1820-as also that involved Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott, during and declared in the Texas case in 1875, as that war, won for them national reputa- the means of averting that danger. tions, by means of which they were brought The Presidential election of 1818 was prominently forward for the Presidential coming on. The Democratic convention. succession.

met in Baltimore in May of that year; The question of the power of Congress to each State being represented in the conlegislate on the subject of slavery in the vention by the number of delegates equal Territories, was again raised, at this session, to the number of electoral votes it was enon the bill for the establishment of the titled to; saving only New York, which Oregon territorial government. An amend- sent two sets of delegates, and both were ment was offered to insert a provision for excluded. The delegates were, for the the extension of the Missouri compromise most part, members of Congress and office. line to the Pacific Ocean; which line thus holders. The two-thirds rule, adopted by extended was intended by the amendment the previous convention, was again made to be permanent, and to apply to all future a law of the convention. The main questerritories established in the West. This tion which arose upon the formation of ainendinent was lost, but the bill was finally the platform for the campaign, was the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

doctrine advanced by the Southern mem- | tually that the money of the Constitution bers of non-interference with slavery in -gold and silver-was the only currency the States or in the Territories. The can- to ensure a successful financial working of didates of the party were, Lewis Cass, of the government, and prosperity to the peoMichigan, for President, and General Wm. ple. 0. Butler, of Kentucky, for Vice-Presi The new President, General Zachary dent.

Taylor, was inaugurated March 4, 1849. The Whig convention, taking advan- | The Senate being convened, as usual, in tage of the popularity of Genl. Zachary extra session, for the purpose, the Vice Taylor, for his military achievements in President elect, Millard Fillmore, was duly the Mexican war, then just ended; and installed; and the Whig, cabinet officers his consequent availability as a candidate, nominated by the President, promptly nominated him for the Presidency, over Mr. confirmed. An additional member of the Clay, Mr. Webster and General Scott, who Cabinet was appointed by this administrawere his competitors before the convention. tion to preside over the new Home DeMillard Fillmore was selected as the Vice-partment” since called the “Interior," presidential candidate.

created at the previous session of ConA third convention was held, consisting gress. of the disaffected Democrats from New The following December Congress met York who had been excluded from the in regular session-the 31st since the orBaltimore convention. They met at Utica, ganization of the federal government. New York, and nominated Martin Van The Senate consisted of sixty members, Bnren for President, and Charles Francis among whom were Mr. Webster, Mr. CalAdams for Vice President. The princi- houn, and Mr. Clay, who had returned to ples of its platform, were, that Congress public life. The House had 230 members; should abolish slavery wherever it consti- and although the whigs had a small matutionally had the power to do so—[which jority, the House was so divided on the was intended to apply to the District of slavery question in its various phases, Columbia)—that it should not interfere that the election for Speaker resulted in with it in the slave States—and that it the choice of the Democratic candidate, should prohibit it in the Territories.. This Mr. Cobb, of Georgia, by a majority of party became known as “Free-soilers," three votes. The annual message of the from their doctrines thus enumerated, and President plainly showed that he compretheir party cry of “free-soil, free-speech, hended the dangers to the Union from a free-labor, free-men.” The result of the continuance of sectional feeling on the election, as might have been foreseen, was slavery question, and he averred his deterto lose New York State to the Baltimore mination to stand by the Union to the full candidate, and give it to the whigs, who extent of his obligations and powers. At were triumphant in the reception of 163 the previous session Congress had spent electoral votes for their candidates, against six months in endeavoring to frame a sat127 for the democrats; and none for the isfactory bill providing territorial governfree-soilers.

ments for California and New Mexico, The last message of President Polk, in and had adjourned finally without accomDecember following, gave him the oppor-plishing it, in consequence of inability to tunity to again urge upon Congress the agree upon whether the Missouri compronecessity for some measure to quiet the mise line should be carried to the ocean, slavery agitation, and he recommended or the territories be permitted to remain the extension of the Missouri compromise as they were slavery prohibited under line to the Pacific Ocean, passing through the laws of Mexico. Mr. Calhoun brought the new Territories of California and New forward, in the debate, a new doctrineMexico, as a fair adjustment, to meet as extending the Constitution to the territory, far as possible the views of all parties. and arguing that as that instrument recog. The President referred also to the state of nized the existence of slavery, the settlers the finances; the excellent condition of in such territory should be permitted to the public treasury; government loans, hold their slave property taken there, and commanding a high premium; gold and be protected. Mr. Webster's answer to silver the established currency; and the this was that the Constitution was made business interests of the country in a pros- for States, not territories; that it cannot perous condition. And this was the state operate anywhere, not even in the States of affairs, only one year after emergency for which it was made, without acts of from a foreign war. It would be unfair Congress to enforce it. The proposed exnot to give credit to the President and to tension of the constitution to territories, Senator Benton and others equally promi- with a view to its transportation of slavery nent and courageous, who at that time had along with it, was futile and nugatory to battle against the bank theory and without the act of Congress to vitalize national paper money currency, as strongly slavery under it. The early part of the nurged and advocated, and to prove even- 1 year had witnessed ominous movements

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

doctrine advanced by the Southern mem-tually that the money of the
bers of non-interference with slavery in -gold and silver-was the
the States or in the Territories. The can- to ensure a successful finan
didates of the party were, Lewis Cass, of the government, and prosi
Michigan, for President, and General Wm. ple.
0. Butler, of Kentucky, for Vice-Presi The new President,
dent.

Taylor, was inaugurat
The Whig convention, taking advan- The Senate being con
tage of the popularity of Genl. Zachary extra session, for the
Taylor, for his military achievements in President elect, Milla
the Mexican war, then just ended; and installed; and they
his consequent availability as a candidate, nominated by the
nominated him for the Presidency, over Mr. confirmed. An ad
Clay, Mr. Webster and General Scott, who Cabinet was appoir
were his competitors before the convention. tion to preside ov
Millard Fillmore was selected as the Vice- partment” since
presidential candidate.

created at the A third convention was held, consisting gress. of the disaffected Democrats from New The followin York who had been excluded from the in regular sess Baltimore convention. They met at Utica, ganization of New York, and nominated Martin Van | The Senate Bnren for President, and Charles Francis among who Adams for Vice President. The princi- houn, and ples of its platform, were, that Congress public life should abolish slavery wherever it consti- and althy tutionally had the power to do so—[which jority, the was intended to apply to the District of slavery Columbia]—that it should not interfere that the with it in the slave States--and that it the che

should prohibit it in the Territories. This Mr. x party became known as “Free-soilers," three

from their doctrines thus enumerated, and Presi
their party cry of “free-soil, free-speech, hend
free-labor, free-men.” The result of the con
election, as might have been foreseen, was la
to lose New York State to the Baltimore mi
candidate, and give it to the whigs, who
were triumphant in the reception of 163
electoral votes for their candidates, against
127 for the democrats; and none for the
free-soilers.

The last message of President Polk, in
December following, gave him the oppor
tunity to again urge upon Congress 1
necessity for some measure to quiet
slavery agitation, and he recommun
the extension of the Missouri compro
line to the Pacific Ocean, passing the
the new Territories of California and
Mexico, as a fair adjustment, tom
far as possible the views of all
The President referred also to the
the finances; the excellent com
the public treasury; governm
commanding a high premium
silver the established curreno
business interests of the count
perous condition. And this
of affairs, only one year of
from a foreign war. It was
not to give credit to the B
Senator Benton and other
nent and courageous, who
to battle against the
national paper money
urged and advocated,

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

is of the United States at the option

ly said: “Coming from

10, I owe it to myself, I owe it to the subject, to hly power could induce me specitic measure for the ini lavery where it had not be1, either south or north of that

If the citizens of those choose to establish slavery, and

come here with constitutions eswing slavery, I am for admitting m with such provisions in their consti

ions; but then it will be their own work, and not ours, and their posterity "vill have to reproach them, and not us, for forming constitutions allowing the institation of slavery to exist among them.”

Mr. Seward of New York, proposed a all renewal of the Wilmot Proviso, in the foland lowing resolution: “Neither slavery nor ques. involuntary servitude, otherwise than by on in-conviction for crime, shall ever be allowed in which in either of said territories of Utah and

er of the New Mexico;" but his resolution was re.:!15, provid-jected in the Senate by a vote of 23 yeas to ifornia--the 33 nays. Following this, Mr. Calhoun aish and New had read for him in the Senate, by his che Texas boun- friend James M. ason of Virginia, his

ct of Columbia last speech. It embodied the points coy· ve law. It was ered by the address to the people, pre

pposed by many, pared by him the previous year; the probto the spirit of dis- ability of a dissolution of the Union, and

under threat of se- presenting a case to justify it. The tenor :: to become the source of the speech is shown by the following exilus than it proposed to tracts from it: “I have, Senators, believed

from the first, that the agitation of the subzu were referred to a special ject of slavery would, if not prevented by promptly reported a bill some timely and effective measure, end in

imprehensive plan of com- disunion. Entertaining this opinion, I
... Vr. Clay proposed. Among have, on all proper occasions, endeavored to
iris offered, was the following: call the attention of each of the two great
that as slavery does not exist parties which divide the country to adopt
i is not likely to be introduced some measure to prevent so great a disaj-
if the territory acquired by the ter, but without success. The agitation has
tutes from the Republic of Mexi- been permitted to proceed, with almost no
inexpedient for Congress to pro- attempt to resist it, until it has reached a

law either for its introduction into period when it can no longer be disguised
sreclusion from any part of the said ter- or denied that the Union is in danger.
ftury; and that appropriate territorial You have had forced upon you the great-
steroments ought to be established by est and gravest question that can ever
Congress in all of the said territory, and come under your consideration:
2:3igned as the boundaries of the proposed the Union be preserved? *
State of California, without the adoption Instead of being weaker, all the elementos
of any restriction or condition on the sub- in favor of agitation are stronger now than
ject of slavery." Mr. Jefferson Davis of they were in 1835, when it first commenced,
Mississippi, objected that the measure gave while all the elements of influence on the
nothing to the South in the settlement of part of the South are weaker. Unless
the question; and he required the exten- something decisive is done, I again ask
sion of the Missouri compromise line to what is to stop this agitation, before the
the Pacific Ocean as the least that he great and final object at which it aimsma
would be willing to take, with the specific the abolition of slavery in the Statesis
recognition of the right to hold slaves in consummated? Is it, then, not certain that
the territory below that line; and that, be- if something decisive is not now done to
fore such territories are admitted into the arrest it, the South will be forced to choose
Union as States, slaves may be taken there between abolition and secession? Pospread

How can

« ПредишнаНапред »