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James Buchanan, Buchanan's administration on the eve of the rebellion, Mr. Buchanan's administration. (search)
fere with slavery in the States, has been admitted by all parties and confirmed by all judicial decisions ever since the origin of the Federal Government. This doctrine was emphatically recognized by the House of Representatives in the days of Washington, during the first session of the first Congress, Annals of Congress, vol. II, p. 1474, Sept 1, 1789-90. and has never since been seriously called in question. Hence, it became necessary for the abolitionists, in order to furnish a pretext nd liberty of the master who pursued his fugitive slave into a free State were placed in imminent peril. For this he was often imprisoned, and, in some instances, murdered. The Fugitive Slave Law, although passed under the administration of Washington for the purpose of carrying into effect a plain, clear, and mandatory provision of the Constitution, was set at naught. And this was done in the face of a well-known historical fact, that without such a provision the Constitution itself never
tion of the United States. In speaking of him his biographer says, that in 1791 he was appointed District Attorney of the United States, by the Father of his country; and the situation of Attorney General was more than once tendered to him by Washington, but as often declined, for domestic reasons. Brown's Forum, p. 505. But to quote a still higher authority, that of Mr. John Quincy Adams. This learned and profound statesman, in 1839, admitted the right of the people of a State to secede from the Union, whilst deprecating its exercise. We copy entire the three paragraphs relating to this subject from his Discourse delivered before the New York Historical Society, Pages 68, 69. on the fiftieth anniversary of General Washington's Inauguration as President of the United States: In the calm hours of self-possession, the right of a Stateto nullify an act of Congress, is too absurd for argument, and too odious for discussion. The right of a State to secede from the Union, is
erfect unanimity. It is founded upon an express provision of the Constitution, requiring that fugitive slaves who escape from service in one State to another shall be delivered up to their masters. Without this provision it is a well-known historical fact that the Constitution itself could never have been adopted by the Convention. In one form or other under the acts of 1793 and 1850, both being substantially the same, the fugitive slave law has been the law of the land from the days of Washington until the present moment. Here, then, a clear case is presented, in which it will be the duty of the next President, as it has been my own, to act with vigor in executing this supreme law against the conflicting enactments of State Legislatures. Should he fail in the performance of this high duty, he will then have manifested a disregard of the Constitution and laws, to the great injury of the people of nearly onehalf of the States of the Union. But are we to presume in advance that he
ens a disavowal of the act the Governor demands the surrender of the Fort the Major proposes to refer the question to Washington the Governor accepts Colonel Hayne and Lieutenant Hall arrive in Washington on the 13th January the truce letter fr, 81st December. In the mean time information had reached him that the State authorities, without waiting to hear from Washington, had, on the day after Major Anderson's removal, seized Fort Moultrie, Castle Pinckney, the custom house, and post offily, unless it should be explained and disavowed, now proposed to Governor Pickens to refer the question of surrender to Washington. In his answer of the same date to the Governor's menacing request, whilst stating that he could not comply with it, apresents the following alternative: Should your Excellency deem fit, prior to a resort to arms, to refer this matter to Washington, it would afford me the sincerest pleasure to depute one of my officers to accompany any messenger you may deem proper
of November 7th, 1862, that the Southern States received in 1860 less instead of more than the quota of arms to which they were entitled by law. This statement was founded on the report of the committee, which had now been brought fully to his notice. He, notwithstanding, still persisted in his error, and in his letter to the National Intelligencer of the 2d December, 1862, he says: This is most strange contrasted with information given to me last year, and a telegram just received from Washington and a high officer, not of the Ordnance Department, in these words and figures: Rhode Island, Delaware, and Texas had not drawn at the end of eighteen sixty (1860) their annual quotas of arms for that year, and Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Kentucky only in part. Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Kansas were by the order of the Secretary of War supplied with their quotas for eighteen sixty-one (1861) in advance, and Pennsylvania and Maryland