Committee on Territories, to authorize the people of Kansas to assemble and form a Constitution for themselves.
Subsequently the Senator from Georgia (Mr. Toombs), brought forward a substitute for my bill, which, after having been modified by him and myself in consultation, was passed by the Senate.
This of itself ought to be sufficient to show that my colleague was an instrument in the plot to have a Constitution put in force without submitting it to the people, and to forever close his mouth from attempting to deny.
No man can reconcile his acts and former declarations with his present denial, and the only charitable conclusion would be that he was being used by others without knowing it. Whether he is entitled to the benefit of even this excuse, you must judge on a candid hearing of the facts I shall present.
When the charge was first made in the United States Senate, by Mr. Bigler
, that my colleague had voted for an Enabling Act which put a Government in operation without submitting the Constitution
to the people, my colleague (Congressional Globe
, last session, part 1, page 24) stated:
I will ask the Senator to show me an intimation from any one member of the Senate, in the whole debate on the Toombs bill, and in the Union from any quarter, that the Constitution was not to be submitted to the people.
I will venture to say that on all sides of the chamber it was so understood at the time.
If the opponents of the bill had understood it was not, they would have made the point on it ; and if they had made it we should certainly have yielded to it, and put in the clause.
That is a discovery made since the President found out that it was not safe to take it for granted that that would be done which ought in fairness to have been done.
I knew at the time this statement was made, that I had urged the very objection to the Toombs bill two years before, that it did not provide for the submission of the Constitution
You will find my remarks, made on the 2d of July, 1856, in the appendix to the Congressional Globe
of that year, page 179, urging this very objection.
Do you ask why I did not expose him at the time?
I will tell you-Mr. Douglas
was then doing good service against the Lecompton iniquity.
The Republicans were then engaged in a hand-to-hand fight with the National Democracy
, to prevent the bringing of Kansas
into the Union
as a slave State against the wishes of its inhabitants, and of course I was unwilling to turn our guns from the common enemy to strike down an ally.
, however, on the same day, and in the same debate, probably recollecting, or being reminded of the fact, that I had objected to the Toombs bill when pending, that it did not provide for the submission of the Constitution
to the people, made another statement which is to be found in the same volume of the Congressional Globe
, page 22, in which he says:
That the bill was silent on the subject is true, and my attention was called to that about the time it was passed; and I took the fair construction to be, that powers not delegated were reserved, and that of course the Constitution would be submitted to the people.
Whether this statement is consistent with the statement just before made, that had the point been made it would have been yielded to, or that it was a new discovery, you will determine ; for if the public records do not convict and condemn him, he may go uncondemned, so far as I am concerned.
I make no use here of the testimony of Senator Bigler to show that Judge Douglas must have been privy to the consultation held at his house, when it was determined not to submit the Constitution to the people, because Judge Douglas denies it, and I wish to use his own acts and declarations, which are abundantly sufficient for my purpose.
I come to a piece of testimony which disposes of all these various pretenses which have been set up for striking out of the original Toombs
proposition, the clause requiring a submission of the Constitution
to the people, and shows that it was not done either by accident, by inadvertence, or because it was believed that the bill, being silent on the subject, the Constitution
would necessarily be submitted to the people for approval.
What will you think, after listening to the facts already presented, to show that there was a design with those who concocted the Toombs bill as amended, not to submit the Constitution
to the people, if I now bring before you the amended bill as Judge Douglas
reported it back, and show the clause of the original bill