previous next

[167]

In order to give more pertinency to that question? I will read an extract from Trumbull's speech in the Senate, on the Toombs bill, made on the 2d of July, 1856. He said:

We are asked to amend this bill, and make it perfect, and a liberal spirit seems to be manifested on the part of some Senators to have a fair bill. It is difficult, I admit, to frame a bill that will give satisfaction to all, but to approach it, or come near it, I think two things must be done.

The first, then, he goes on to say, was the application of the Wilmot Proviso to the Territories, and the second the repeal of all the laws passed by the Territorial Legislature. He did not then say that it was necessary to put in a clause requiring the submission of the Constitution. Why, if he thought such a provision necessary, did he not introduce it? He says in his speech that he was invited to offer amendments! Why did he not do so? He cannot pretend that he had no chance to do this, for he did offer some amendments, but none requiring submission.

I now proceed to show that Mr. Trumbull knew at the time that the bill was silent as to the subject of submission, and also that he, and every body else, took it for granted that the Constitution would be submitted. Now for the evidence. In his second speech he says: “The bill in many of its features meets my approbation.” So he did not think it so very bad.

Further on he says:

In regard to the measure introduced by the Senator from Georgia [Mr. Toombs], and recommended by the Committee, I regard it, in many respects, as a most excellent, bill ; but we must look at it in the light of surrounding circumstances. In the condition of things now existing in the country, I do not consider it as a safe measure, nor one which will give peace, and I will give my reasons. First, it affords no immediate relief. It provides for taking a census of the voters in the Territory, for an election in November, and the assembling of a Convention in December, to form, if it thinks proper, a Constitution for Kansas, preparatory to its admission into the Union as a State. It is not until December that the Convention is to meet. It would take some time to form a Constitution. I suppose that Constitution would have to be ratified by the people before it becomes valid.

He there expressly declared that he supposed, under the bill, the Constitution would have to be submitted to the people before it became valid. He went on to say:

No provision is made in this bill for such a religion. This is objectionable to my mind. I do not think the people should be bound by a Constitution, without passing upon it directly, themselves.

Why did he not offer an amendment providing for such a submission, if he thought it necessary? Notwithstanding the absence of such a clause he took it for granted that the Constitution would have to be ratified by the people, under the bill.

In another part of the same speech, he says:

There is nothing said in this bill, so far as I have discovered, about submitting the Constitution which is to be framed, to the people, for their sanction or rejection. Perhaps the Convention would have the right to submit it, if it should think proper; but it. is certainly not compelled to do so, according to the provisions of the bill. If it is to be submitted to the people, it will take tune, and it will not be until some time next year that this new Constitution, affirmed and ratified by the people, would be submitted here to Congress for its acceptance, and what is to be the condition of that people in the meantime?

You see that his argument then was that the Toombs bill would not get Kansas into the Union quick enough and was objectionable on that account. He had no fears about this submission, or why did he not introduce an amendment to meet the case?

A voice--“Why didn't you? You were Chairman of the Committee.”

Mr. Douglas--I will answer that question for you.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Kansas (Kansas, United States) (2)
Georgia (Georgia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Lyman Trumbull (2)
Toombs (1)
Stephen A. Douglas (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December (2)
July 2nd, 1856 AD (1)
November (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: