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has now been received. Under all advantages, and with expectation awakened by the tone which preceded it, it has been discharged, and has spent its force. It
may become me to say no more of its effect than that, if nobody is found, after all, either killed or wounded by it, it is not the first time in the history of human affairs that the vigor and success of the war have not quite come up to the lofty and sounding phrase of the manifesto.
The gentleman, sir, in declining to postpone the debate, told the Senate, with the emphasis of his hand upon his heart, that there was something rankling here, which he wished to relieve. [Mr. Hayne rose and disclaimed having used the word rankling.] It would not, Mr. President, be safe for the honorable member to appeal to those around him, upon the question whether he did, in fact, make use of that word. But he may have been unconscious of it. At any rate, it is enough that he disclaims it. But still, with or without the use of that particular word, he had yet something here, he said, of which he wished to rid himself by an immediate reply. In this respect, sir, I have a great advantage over the honorable gentleman. There is nothing here, sir, which gives me the slighest uneasiness; neither fear, nor anger, nor that which is sometimes more troublesome than either, the consciousness of having been in the wrong. There is nothing either originating here, or now received There, by the gentleman's shot. Nothing original
, for I had not the slightest feeling of disrespect or unkindness towards the honorable member. Some passages, it is true, had occurred, since our acquaintance in this body, which I could have wished might have been otherwise; but I had used philosophy, aud forgotten them. When the honorable member rose, in his first speech, I paid him the respect of attentive listening; and when he sat down, though surprised, and I must say even astonished, at some of his opinions, nothing was farther froin my intention than to commence any personal warfare; and through the whole of the few remarks I made in answer, I avoided, studiously and carefully, every thing which I thought possible to be construed into disrespect. And, sir, while there is thus nothing originating here, which I wished at any time, or now wish to discharge, I must repeat, also, that nothing has been received here which rankles, or in any way gives me annoyance. I will not accuse the honorable member of violating the rules of civilized war
- I will not say that he poisoned his arrotes But whether his shafts were, or were not, dipped in that which would have daused rankling if they had reached, there was not, as it happened, quite strength enough in the bow to bring them to their mark. If he wishes now to find ose shafts, he must look for them elsewhere; they will not be found fixed and quivering in the object at which they were aimed. The honorable member complained that I had slept on his speech. have slept on it
, or not slept at all. The moment the honorable member sat down, his friend from Missouri rose, and, with much honeyed commendation of the speech, suggested that the impressions which it had produced were too charming and delightful to be disturbed by other sentiments or other sounds! and proposed that the Senate should adjourn. Would it have been quite amiable in me, sir, to interrupt this excellent good feeling? Must I not have been absolutely malicious, if I could have thrust myself forward to destroy sensations thus pleasing? Was it not much better and kinder, both to sleep upon them myself, and to allow others, also, the pleasure of sleeping upon them? But if it be meant, by sleeping upon his speech, that I took time to prepare a reply to it, it is quite a mistake; owing to other engagements, I could not employ even the interval between the adjournment of the Senate and
its meeting the next morning in attention to the subject of this debate. Neverthless, sir, the mere matter of fact is undoubtedly true
I did sleep on the gentleman's speech, and slept soundly. And I slept equally well on his speech of yesterday, to which I am now replying. It is quite possible that, in this respect, also, I possess some advantage over the honorable mem ber, attributable, doubtless, to a cooler temperament on my part; for in truth I slept upon his speeches remarkably well
. But the gentleman inquires why he was made the object of such a reply. Why was he singled out? If an attack had been made on the east, he, he assures us, did not begin it - it was, the gentleman from Missouri. Sir, I answered the gentleman's speech, because I happened to hear it; and because, also, I choose to give an answer to that speech, which, if unanswered, I thought most likely to produce injurious impressions. I did not stop to inquire who was the original drawer of the bill. I found a responsible endorser before me, and it was my purpose to hold him liable, and to bring him to his just responsibility without delay. But, sir, this interrogatory of the honorable member was only introductory to another. He proceeded to ask me whether I had turned upon him in this debate from the consciousness that I should find an overmatch if I ventured on a contest with his friend from Missouri. If, sir, the honorable member, ex gratia modestiæ, had chosen thus to defer to his friend, and to pay him a compliment, without intentional disparagement to others
, it would have been quite according to the friendly courtesies of debate, and not at all ungrateful to my own feelings. I am not one of those, sir, who esteem
tribute of regard, whether light and occasional, or more serious and deliberate, which may be bestowed on others, as so much unjustly withholden from themselves. Bnt the tone and manner of the gentleman's question, forbid me thus to interpret it. I am not at liberty to consider it as nothing more than a civility to his friend. It had an air of taunt and disparagement, a little of the loftiness of asserted superiority, which does not allow me to pass it over without notice. It was put as a question for me to answer, and so put as if it were difficult for me to answer, whether I deemed the member from Missouri an overmatch for myself in debate here. It seems to me, sir, that is extraordinary language, and an extraordinary tone for the discussions of this body.
Matches and overmatches! Those terms are more applicable elsewhere than here, and fitter for other assemblies than this. Sir, the gentleman seems to forget where and what we are. This is a Senate; a Senate of equals; of men of individual honor and personal character, and of absolute independence. We know no masters; we acknowledge no dictators. This is a hall for mutual consultation and discussion, not an arena for the exhibition of champions. I offer myself
, sir, as a match for no man; I throw the challenge of debate at no man's feet. But, then, sir, since the honorable member has
the question in a manner that calls for an answer, I will give him an answer; and I tell him that, holding myself to be the humblest of the members here, I yet know nothing in the arm of his friend from Missouri, either alone or when aided by the arm of his friend from South Carolina, that need deter even me from espousing whatever opinions I may choose to espouse, from debating whenever I may choose to debate, or from speaking whatever I may see fit to say on the floor of the Senate. Sir, when uttered as matter of commendation or compliment, I should dissent from nothing which the honorable member might say of his friend. Still less do I put forth any pretensions of my own. But when put to me as matter of taunt, Í throw it back, and say to the gentleman that he could possibly say nothing less likely than such a comparison
to wound my pride of personal character. The anger of its tone rescued the remark from intentional irony, which otherwise, probably, would have been its general acceptation. But, sir, if it be imagined that by this mutual quotation and commendation; if it be supposed that, by casting the characters of the drama, assigning to each his part, — to one the attack, to another the cry of onsety — or if it be thought that by a loud and empty vaunt of anticipated victory any laurels are to be won here; if it be imagined, especially, that any or all these things will shake any purpose of mine, I can tell the honorable member, once for all, that he is greatly mistaken, and that he is dealing with one of whose temper and character he has yet much to learn. Sir, I shall not allow myself, on this occasion - - I hope on no occasion
to be betrayed into
any loss of temper; but if provoked, as I trust I never shall allow myself to be, into crimination and recrimination, the honorable member may, perhaps, find that in that contest there will be blows to take as well as blows to give; that others can state comparisons as significant, at least as his own; and that his impunity may, perhaps, demand of him whatever powers of taunt and sarcasm he may possess. I commend him to a prudent husbandry of his But, sir, the coalition! The coalition! Aye, “the murdered coalition !" The gentleman asks if I were led or frighted into this debate by the spectre of the coalition. “ Was it the ghost of the murdered coalition," he exclaims, “ which haunted the member from Massachusetts
, and which, like the ghost of Banquo, would never down?” “The murdered coalition!” Sir, this charge of a coalition, in reference to the late administration, is not original with the honorable member. It did not spring up in the Senate. Whether as a fact, as an argument, or as an embellishment, it is all borrowed. He adopts it, indeed, from a very low origin, and a still lower present condition. It is one of the thousand calumnies with which the press teemed during an excited political canvass. It was a charge of which there was not only no proof or probability, but which was, in itself, wholly impossible to be true. No man of common information ever believed a syllable of it. Yet it was of that class of falsehoods which, by continued repetition through all the organs of detraction and abuse, are capable of misleading those who are already far misled, and of further fanning passion already kindling into flame. Doubtless it served its day, and, in a greater or less degree, the end designed by it. Having done that, it has sunk into the general mass of stale and loathed calumnies. It is the very cast-off slough of a polluted and shameless press. Incapable of further mischief, it lies in the sewer, lifeless and despised. It is not now, sir, in the power of the honorable member to give it dignity or decency, by attempting to elevate it, and to introduce it into the Senate. He cannot change it from what it is an object of general disgust and scorn. On the contrary, the contact, if he choose to touch it, is more likely to drag him down, down, to the place where it lies itself.
But, sir, the honorable member was not, for other reasons, entirely happy in his allusion to the story of Banquo's murder and Banquo's ghost. It was not, I think, the friends, but the enemies of the murdered Banquo, at whose bidding his spirit would not down. The honorable gentleman is fresh in his reading of the English classics, and can put me right if I am wrong; but according to my poor recollection, it was at those who had begun with caresses, and ended with foul and treacherous murder, that the gory locks were shaken. The ghost of Banquo, like that of Hamlet, was an honest ghost. It disturbed no innocent man. It knew where its appearance would strike terror, and who
would cry out, A ghost! It made itself visible in the right quarter, and compelled the guilty, and the conscience-smitten, and none others, to start, with
“ Prithee, see there I behold I look ! lo!
Their eyeballs were seared was it not so, sir ?--who had thought to shield themselves by concealing their own hand, and laying the imputation of the crime on a low and hireling agency in wickedness; who had vainly attempted to stifle the workings of their own coward consciences, by circulating, through white lips and chattering teeth, « Thou canst not say I did it!" I have misread the great poet, if it was those who had no way partaken in the deed of the death, who either found that they were, or feared that they should be, pushed from their stools by the ghost of the slain, or who cried out to a spectre created by their own fears, and their own remorse,
“ Avaunt! and quit There is another particular, sir, in which the honorable member's quick perception of resemblances might, I should think, have seen something in the story of Banquo, making it not altogether a subject of the most pleasant contemplation. Those who murdered Banquo, what did they win by it? Substantial good? Permanent power? Or disappointment, rather, and sore mortification dust and ashes the common fate of vaulting ambition overleaping itself? Did not even-handed justice, ere long, commend the poisoned chalice to their own lips? Did they not soon find that for another they had “ filed their mind !” – that their ambition, though apparently, for the moment successful, had but put a barren sceptre in their grasp ? Aye, sir,
“A barren sceptre in their gripe,
Sir, I need pursue the allusion no further. I leave the honorable gentleman to run it out at his leisnre, and to derive from it all the gratification it is calculated to administer. If he finds himself pleased with the associations, and prepared to be quite satisfied, though the parallel should be entirely completed, I had almost said I am satisfied also — but that I shall think of. Yes, sir, I will think of that.
In the course of my observations the other day, Mr. President, I paid a passing tribute of respect to a very worthy man, Mr. Dane, of Massachusetts. Ît so happened that he drew the ordinance of 1787 for the government of the North-western Territory. A man of so much ability, and so little pretence; of so great a capacity to do good, and so unmixed a disposition to do it for its cwn sake; a gentleman who acted an important part, forty years ago, in a measure the influence of which is still deeply felt in the very matter which was the subject of debate, might, I thought, receive from me a commendatory recognition.
But the honorable gentleman was inclined to be facetious on the subject. He was rather disposed to make it a matter of ridicule that I had introduced into the debate the name of one Nathan Dane, of whom he assures us he had never before heard. Sir, if the honorable member had never before heard of Mr. Dane, I am sorry for it. It shows him less acquainted with the publie men of the contry than I had supposed. Let me tell him, however, that a
sneer from him at the mention of the name of Mr. Dane is in bad taste. It may well be a high mark of ambition, sir, either with the honorable gentleman or myself
, to accomplish as much to make our names known to advantage, and remembered with gratitude, as Mr. Dane has accomplished. But the truth is, sir, I suspect that Mr. Dane lives a little too far north. He is of Massachusetts, and too near the north star to be reached by the honorable gentleman's telescope. If his sphere had happened to range south of Mason and Dixon's line, he might, probably, have come within the scope of his vision !
I spoke, sir, of the ordinance of 1787, which prohibited slavery in all future times north-west of the Ohio, as a measure of great wisdom and foresight, and one which had been attended with highly beneficial and permanent consequences. I supposed that on this point no two gentlemen in the Senate could entertain different opinions. But the simple expression of this sentiment has led the gentleman, not only into a labored defence of slavery in the abstract, and on principle, but also into a warm accusation against me, as having attacked the system of slavery now existing in the Southern States. For all this there was not the slightest foundation in any thing said or intimated by me. I did not utter a single word which any ingenuity conld torture into an attack on the slavery of the South. I said only that it was highly wise and useful in legislating for the north-western country, while it was yet a wilderness, to prohibit the introduction of slaves; and added, that I presumed, in the neighboring state of Kentucky, there was no reflecting and intelligent gentleman who would doubt that, if the same prohibition had been extended, at the same early period, over that commonwealth, lier strength and population would, at this day, have been far greater than they are. If these opinions be thought doubtful, they are, nevertheless, I trust, neither extraordinary nor disrespectful. They attack nobody and menace nobody. And yet, sir, the gentleman's optics have discovered, even in the mere expression of this sentiment, what he calls the very spirit of the Missouri question! He represents me as making an attack on the whole south, and manifesting a spirit which would intefere with and disturb their domestic condition. Sir, this injustice no otherwise surprises me than as it is done here, and done without the slightest pretence of ground for it. I say it only surprises me as being done here; for I know full well that it is and has been the settled policy of some persons in the south, for years, to represent the people of the north as disposed to interfere with them in their own exclusive and peculiar concerns. This is a delicate and sensitive point in southern feeling; and of late years it has always been touched, and generally with effect, whenever the object has been to unite the whole south against northern men or northern measures. This feeling, always carefully kept alive, and maintained at too intense a heat to admit discrimination or reflection, is a lever of great power in our political machine. It moves vast bodies, and gives to them one and the same direction. But the feeling is without adequate cause, and the suspicion which ex ists wholly groundless. There is not, and never has been, a disposition in the north to interfere with these interests of the south. Such interference has never been supposed to be within the power of government, nor has it been in any way attempted. It has always been regarded as a matter of domestic policy, left with the states themselves
, and with which the federal government had nothing to do. Certainly, sir, I am, and ever had been, of that opinion. The gentleman, indeed, argucs that slavery in the abstract is no evil.“ Most assuredly I need not say I differ with him altogether and most widely on that