fasten to the Civil and Diplomatic Appropriation bill, a “rider,” organizing the new Territories
with no restriction on or impediment to the introduction of Slavery, calculating that a sufficient number of the Northern
friends of the Administration would permit this to pass rather than see the Government
crippled and the President
constrained to call an extra session of Congress — always a portent of evil to the party in power.
Accordingly, the great Appropriation bill having passed the House
, and been reported to and several days debated in the Senate, Mr. Walker
, of Wisconsin
, moved to add a section extending the laws of the United States
over “the territory west of the Rio del Norte
, acquired from Mexico
by the treaty of February 22, 1848,” and authorizing the President
to “prescribe and establish all proper and needful regulations for the enforcement” of the Constitution
and laws in said Territory; as also “to appoint and commission such officers as may be necessary to administer such laws,” etc., etc. This passed the Senate by 29 Yeas1
to 27 Nays; but the bill being thus returned to the House
, the Senate's amendment was there (March 2) rejected: Yeas 100 (thirteen of them from Free States) to Nays 114 (all from Free States). The bill was then returned in its original shape to the Senate.
The Senate insisted on its amendment, and asked a conference, which was granted, but nothing came of it. The Committee reported to either House
its inability to agree, and was discharged.
(Democrat), of Illinois
, now moved that the House
recede from its non-concurrence in the Senate's amendment, which prevailed — Yeas 111; Nays 106; whereupon Mr. Richard W. Thompson
(Whig), of Indiana
, moved that the House do concur with the Senate with an amendment
, which was, in fact, a substitute for the Senate's project, and of which the gist was a provision that “until the 4th of July, 1850, unless Congress shall sooner provide for the government of said Territories, the existing laws thereof shall be retained and observed
” --in other words, that the laws of Mexico
, whereby Slavery was abolished throughout her entire area, should continue in force in said Territories of New Mexico
The Senate's amendment, as amended
, was then agreed to: Yeas 110; Nays 103.
And thus the bill, late at night of what was necessarily the last day of the session, was returned to the Senate.
The majority of that body were fairly caught in. their own snare.
They had vociferously protested that Congress should not adjourn without providing for the government and quiet of the new territories; and had threatened to defeat the General Appropriation
bill and leave the Government
penniless if this were not acceded to by the House
And here was the bill proposing to do just what they had insisted must
be done, and could not with safety be postponed.
It was only objectionable in that it provided (as was done in the case of Louisiana
) that the social conditions which had existed prior to our acquisition should remain unchanged until Congress, or the People more