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lict which is now raging in Virginia. Senators and Congressmen are engaged in disputations and speeches, while soldiers are working out the problem in their own way, and it is within the range of possibility that a disastrous battle may place the capital in the hands of the Confederates; and the news which has just come in that the latter have passed Bull Run, a small river which flows into the Potomac, below Alexandria, crossing the railroad from that place, is a proof that Fairfax Court-House was abandoned for a reason. It is stated that the Confederates have been repulsed by the 69th (Irish) Regiment and the 79th (Scotch) New York Volunteers, and as soon as this letter has been posted I shall proceed to the field (for the campaign has now fairly commenced) and ascertain the facts. If the Confederates force the left of McDowell's army, they will obtain possession of the line to Alexandria, and may endanger Washington itself. The design of Beauregard may have been to effect thi
ore us. In 1798 she fixed her great general rule — that the Federal Government should not be resisted until it had committed some deliberate, palpable, and dangerous infraction of the Constitution. What infraction of this sort has been committed by the Federal Government? What is it — where is it — when was it committed? Has the present Administration per-petrated any such aggression? And if the seceding States had remained in the Union, could Congress, with twenty-one majority in one House, and eight in the other, have committed any outrage upon the rights of Virginia, or of the South? Virginia, then, on her own established principles of political action, ought not now to present the spectacle she does of extreme excitement, and ought not and cannot, consistently rush upon the violent and unconstitutional measures involved in these Senate resolutions, much less secede from the Union. She ought — it becomes her dignity and her ancient renown — to look calmly, even placidly
its appropriations to the term of two years. Each Senator and member therefore must judge for himself, upon his conscience and oath, and before God and the country, of the wisdom, and justice, and policy, of the President's demand. Whenever this House shall become a mere machine wherewith to register the decrees of the Executive, it will be high time to abolish it. He believed he had the right to say that, so far as the gentlemen upon this side of the House are concerned, however they mightis still, thank God, for compromise. The Border States' propositions were projected by a gentleman from Maryland, and presented by a member from Tennessee, and, with Mr. Crittenden's propositions, were repeatedly and severally rejected in this House by the almost unanimous vote of the Republicans. Mr. Crittenden's Compromise, which received the vote of every Southern member upon this floor, excepting one from Arkansas, never on any one occasion received one solitary vote from the Republic
r the abolition of slavery. He contended that the very title was enough to show that the Constitution was to be put aside. Mr. Bingham (Mich.) asked if he contended this was not a slaveholders' rebellion. Mr. Breckinridge--I do, sir; I do. He then referred to the refusal of last session to make any compromise, though the Southern leaders said they would be satisfied with the Crittenden Compromise. But all efforts were refused, and now any offers of peace are ruled out of order in one House, and it is vain and idle to argue for it. He wanted to let the country know that Congress deliberately refused the last effort to avert the horrors of an internal struggle. But why utter words? I shall trouble the Senate no longer. I know that no argument or appeal will have any effect. I have cherished all my life an attachment to the union of these States under the Constitution of the United States, and I have always revered that instrument as one of the wisest of human works, but now
ers, in such manner and under such penalties as each House may provide. 2. Each House may determine the rulerecy, and the ayes and nays of the members of either House, on any question, shall, at the desire of one-fifth rom the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place. r the Confederate States shall be a member of either House during his continuance in office. But Congress may,xecutive Departments a seat upon the floor of either House, with the privilege of discussing any measure appert not, he shall return it with his objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter t. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, toge reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of that House, it shall become a law. But in all such cases, the vnst the bill shall be entered on the journal of each House respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by
nt to which it has been urged that the free States wanted to pass. Now, how does the fact stand? Let us render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's. We reached, at the last session, just the point where we were in the power of the free States; and then what was done? Instead of an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, conferring power upon Congress to legislate upon the subject of slavery, what was done? This joint resolution was passed by a two-thirds majority in each House: Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That the following article be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of said Legislatures, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution, viz.: art. 13. No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Cong
United States, consisting of Edward Everett, of Massachusetts, Franklin Pierce, of New Hampshire, Millard Fillmore, of New York, Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, Martin Van Buren, of New York, Thomas Ewing, of Ohio, and James Guthrie, of Kentucky, who shall request from the so-called Confederate States the appointment of a similar commission, and who shall meet and confer on the subject in the city of Louisville on the first Monday of September next. And that the committee appointed from this House notify said commissioners of their appointment and function, and report their action to the next session as an amendment of the Constitution of the United States, to be proposed by Congress to the States for their ratification, according to the fifth article of said Constitution. Mr. Washburne, (interrupting its reading.) I object to the introduction of that resolution. We have had enough of it read. Mr. Cox. I move to suspend the rules to enable me to introduce it. The reading of
ion, and the other the Southern; and no bill to become a law unless concurred in by a majority of each Section of both Houses. This would retard legislation on some subjects, but it would afford the South (which is a decided minority as compared with the North, and will become more so from year to year) a guarantee that their peculiar interests would not be sacrificed to sectional prejudices or fanaticism. Perhaps it might be sufficient to have a Northern and a Southern Section in only one House, leaving the other as it is at present. 7. Whatever plan, either of reconstruction or separation, might be adopted by the Convention, should only become binding upon the States, after being ratified by three-fourths of the eleven Confederate States, and also by three-fourths of the twenty-three United States. 8. The suppression of hostilities for three months, and the turning of men's thoughts to plans for mutual benefit instead of mutual destruction, would be almost sure to open the e