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[145] in the States, was affirmed — Yeas 201, Nays 7. The third proposition, affirming that “Congress ought not to interfere in any way with Slavery in the District of Columbia,” prevailed — Yeas 163, Nays 47--the Nays, of course, from the North. And the third clause, being now divided, the question was taken on the remaining part--“because it would be a violation of the public faith, unwise, impolitic, and dangerous to the Union” --and that was also affirmed — Yeas 129; Nays 74: the Nays being all from the North, and nearly all Whigs. The remainder of the proposition was then affirmed — Yeas 169; Nays 6.

The Committee appointed under the above resolution consisted of Messrs. Pinckney of South Carolina; Hamer of Ohio; Pierce of New Hampshire; Hardin of Kentucky; Jarvis of Maine; Owens of Georgia; Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania; Dromgoole of Virginia; and Turrill of New York — all Democrats, but Hardin, a Southern Whig. This Committee, in due season, reported, First, That Congress possesses no constitutional authority to interfere, in any way, with the institution of Slavery in any State of this confederacy. Secondly, That Congress ought not to interfere in any way with Slavery in the District of Columbia. And, “for the purpose of arresting agitation, and restoring tranquillity to the public mind,” they recommended the adoption of this resolve:

That all petitions, memorials, resolutions, propositions, or papers relating in any way to the subject of Slavery, or the abolition of Slavery, shall, without either being printed or referred, be laid upon the table.

This resolve was adopted — Yeas 117, Nays 68; the Nays being substantially, but not entirely, composed of the Whig members from the Free States.

Amazing as it may seem, this heroic treatment was not successful in “arresting agitation, and restoring tranquillity to the public mind ;” so that, when this Congress met for the second session, it was found necessary to do the work all over again. Accordingly, Mr. Albert G. Hawes, (Democrat) of Kentucky,1 offered a resolution, providing:

That all memorials, etc., on the subject of the abolition of Slavery, should be laid on the table, without being referred or printed, and that no further action should be had thereon.

Which was adopted-Yeas 129; Nays 69--the Nays mainly Northern Whigs, as before. All debate was precluded by the Previous Question.

And still the agitation refused to be controlled or allayed; so that, on the meeting of the next Congress, Mr. Patton, of Virginia,2 offered the following “as a timely sacrifice to the peace and harmony of the country:”

Resolved, That all petitions, memorials, and papers touching the abolition of Slavery, or the buying, selling, or transfer ring of slaves in any State, District, or Territory of the United States, be laid upon the table without being debated, printed, read, or referred; and no further action whatever shall be had thereon.

The Previous Question having against been ordered, this resolve was adopted — Yeas 122; Nays 74--the Nays, as before, mainly, if not entirely, the Whig members from the Free States.

1 January 18, 1837.

2 December 21, 1837.

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Henry L. Pinckney (1)
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