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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 x 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 doctrine-Mexico, 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 recogThe 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 urged and advocated, and to prove even-year had witnessed ominous movements
Dahtly meetings of large numbers of mem-1 from any of the United States at the option bn from the slave States, led by Mr. of their owner. Calhoun, to consider the state of things Mr. Clay in reply, said: “Coming from between the North and the South. They a slave State, as I do, I owe it to myself, I appointed committees who prepared an owe it to truth, I owe it to the subject, to address to the people. It was in this con- say that no earthly power could induce me dition of things, that President Taylor ex- to vote for a specific measure for the inpressed his opinion, in his message, of the troduction of slavery where it had not beremedies required. California, New fore existed, either south or north of that Mexico and Utah, had been left without line.
If the citizens of those gorernments. For California, he recom- territories choose to establish slavery, and mended that having a sufficient popula- if they come here with constitutions es. tion and having framed a constitution, tablishing slavery, I am for admitting she be admitted as a State into the them with such provisions in their constiC'nion; and for New Mexico and Utah, tutions; but then it will be their own without mising the slavery question with work, and not ours, and their posterity their territorial governments, they be left will have to reproach them, and not us, for to ripen into States, and settle the slavery forming constitutions allowing the instituquestion for themselves in their State con- tion of slavery to exist among them.” stitutions.
Mr. Seward of New York, proposed a With a view to meet the wishes of all renewal of the Wilmot Proviso, in the folparties, and arrive at some definite and lowing resolution: “Neither slavery nor permanent adjustment of the slavery ques-involuntary servitude, otherwise than by tion, Mr. Clay early in the session in- conviction for crime, shall ever be allowed troduced compromise resolutions which in either of said territories of Utah and were practically a tacking together of the New Mexico;" but his resolution was reseveral bills then on the calendar, provid- jected in the Senate by a vote of 23 yeas to ing for the admission of California—the 33 nays. Following this, Mr. Calhoun territorial government for Utah and New had read for him in the Senate, by his Mexico-the settlement of the Texas boun- friend ames Mason of Virginia, his dary-slavery in the District of Columbia last speech. It embodied the points cov--and for a fugitive slave law. It was ered by the address to the people, preseriously and earnestly opposed by many, pared by him the previous year; the probas being a concession to the spirit of dis- ability of a dissolution of the Union, and union-a capitulation under threat of se- presenting a case to justify it. The tenor cession; and as likely to become the source of the speech is shown by the following exof more contentions than it proposed to tracts from it: “I have, Senators, believed quiet.
from the first, that the agitation of the subThe resolutions were referred to a special ject of slavery would, if not prevented by committee, who promptly reported a bill some timely and effective measure, end in embracing the comprehensive plan of com- disunion. Entertaining this opinion, I promise which Mr. Clay proposed. Among have, on all proper occasions, endeavored to the resolutions offered, was the following: call the attention of each of the two great Resolved, that as slavery does not exist parties which divide the country to adopt by law and is not likely to be introduced some measure to prevent so great a disasinto any of the territory acquired by the ter, but without success. The agitation has United States from the Republic of Mexi- been permitted to proceed, with almost no co, it is inexpedient for Congress to pro- attempt to resist it, until it has reached a vide by law either for its introduction into period when it can no longer be disguised or exclusion from any part of the said ter- or denied that the Union is in danger. ritory; and that appropriate territorial You have had forced upon you the greatgovernments ought to be established by est and gravest question that can ever Congress in all of the said territory, and come under your consideration: How can assigned as the boundaries of the proposed the Union be preserved? * State of California, without the adoption Instead of being weaker, all the elemente 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 aims-would be willing to take, with the specific the abolition of slavery in the States—is 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? Indeed
as events are now moving, it will not re- fever from exposure to the hot sun at a cele. guire the South to secede to dissolve the bration of Independence Day, from which Union.
If the agitation goes he died four days afterwards. He was a on, nothing will be left to hold the States 'man of irreproachable private character, together except force.” He answered the undoubted patriotism, and established requestion, How can the Union be saved ? putation for judgment and firmness. His with which his speech opened, by suggest- brief career showed no deficiency of poliing. “To provide for the insertion of a tical wisdom nor want of political training. provision in the constitution, by an amend- His administration was beset with difficul. ment, which will restore to the South in ties, with momentous questions pendiug, substance the power she possessed of pro- and he met the crisis with firmness and tecting herself, before the equilibrium be- determination, resolved to maintain the tween the sections was destroyed by the Federal Union at all hazards. His first action of the government.” He did not and only annual message, the leading state of what the amendment should con- points of which have been stated, evinces sist, but later on, it was ascertained from a spirit to do what was right among all the reliable sources that his idea was a dual States. His death was a public calamity. executive-one President from the free, No man could have been more devoted to and one from the slave States, the consent the Union ner more opposed to the slavery of both of whom shonld be required to all agitation; and his position as a Southern acts of Congress before they become laws. man and a slaveholder-his military repuThis speech of Mr. Calhoun's, is import- tation, and his election by a majority of ant as explaining many of his previous ac- the people as well as of the States, would tions; and as furnishing a guide to those have given him a power in the settsement who ten years afterwards attempted to of the pending questions of the day which carry out ; practically the suggestions no President without these qualihcations chrown out by him.
could have possessed. Mr. Clay's compromise bill was rejected. In accordance with the Constitution, the It was evident that no compromise of any office of President thus devolved upon the kind whatever on the subject of slavery, Vice-President, Mr. Millard Fillmore, who under any one of its aspects separately, was duly inaugurated July 10, 185). The much less under all put together, could new cabinet, with Daniel Webster as Sepossibly be made. There was no spirit of cretary of State, was duly appointed and concession manifested. The numerous confirmed by the Senate. measures put together in Mr. Clay's bill The bill for the admission of California were disconnected and separated. Each' as a State in the Union, was called up in measure received a separate and inde- the Senate and sought to be amended by pendent consideration, and with a result extending the Missouri Compromise line which showed the injustice of the at- through it, to the Pacific Ocean, so as to tempted conjunction; for no two of them authorize slavery in the State below that were passed by the same vote, even of the line. The amendment was introduced and members of the committee which had even pressed by Southern friends of the late unanimously reported favorably upon them Nr. Calhoun, and made a test question. It as a whole.
was lost, and the bill passed by a twoMr. Calhoun died in the spring of 1850 ; third vote ; whereupon tën Southern Senabefore the separate bill for the admission tors offered a written protest, the concludof California was taken up. His death ing clause of which was : “ We dissent took place at Washington, he having from this bill, and solemnly protest against reached the age of 68 years. A eulogy its passage, because in sanctioning meaupon him was delivered in the Senate by sures so contrary to former precedents, to his colleague, Mr. Butler, of South Caro- obvious policy, to the spirit and intent of lina. Mr. Calhoun was the first great ad- the constitution of the United States, for vocate of the doctrine of secession. He the purpose of excluding the slaveholding was the author of the nullification doc- States from the territory thus to be erected trine, and an advocate of the extreme doc- into a State, this government in effect detrine of States Rights. He was an elo- clares that the exclusion of slavery from quent speaker-a man of strong intellect. the territory of the United States is an obHis speeches were plain, strong, concise, ject so high and important as to justify a sometimes impassioned, and always severe. disregard not only of all the principles of Daniel Webster said of him, that “ he had sound policy, but also of the constitution the basis, the indispensable basis of all itself
. Against this conclusion we must high characters, and that was unspotted now and for ever protest, as it is destrucintegrity, unimpeached honor and char- tive of the safety and liberties of those acter!"
whose rights have been committed to our In July of this year an event took place care, fatal to the peace and equality of the which threw a gloom over the country. States which we represent, and must lead, The President, General Taylor, contracted a lif persisted in, to the dissolution of that