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[203] after nearly three weeks fruitless balloting, and under it Howell Cobb, of Georgia, was chosen Speaker on the 63d ballot, receiving 102 votes to 99 for Winthrop, and 20 scattering (mainly on the Buffalo platform). Mr. Cobb1 was one of the most determined Democratic advocates of Slavery Extension, and constituted the Committees of the House accordingly.

Gen. B. Riley, the Military Governor of California, had issued2 a Proclamation calling a Convention of the People of California to frame a State Constitution. Such Convention was accordingly held, and formed a State Constitution whereby Slavery was expressly prohibited. State officers and members of Congress (all Democrats) were in due course elected under it; and Gen. Taylor communicated3 the Constitution to Congress, at whose doors the members elect from the new State stood for many ensuing months patiently awaiting their admission to seats. For, among the various propositions introduced at this session, looking to the same end, Mr. Clay had already submitted4 the following basis of a proposed Compromise of all differences relating to the territories and to Slavery:

1. Resolved, That California, with suitable boundaries, ought, upon her application, to be admitted as one of the States of this Union, without the imposition by Congress of any restriction in respect to the exclusion or introduction of Slavery within those boundaries.

2. Resolved, That, as Slavery does not exist by law, and is not likely to be introduced into any of the territory acquired by the United States from the Republic of Mexico, it is inexpedient for Congress to provide by law, either for its introduction into, or exclusion from, any part of the said territory; and that appropriate territorial governments ought to be established by Congress in all the said territory not assigned as within the boundaries of the proposed State of California, without the adoption of any restriction or condition on the subject of Slavery.5

5. Resolved, That it is inexpedient to abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia, whilst the institution continues to exist in the State of Maryland, without the consent of that State, without the consent of the people of the District, and without just compensation to the owners of Slaves within the District.

6. But Resolved, That it is expedient to prohibit, within the District, the Slave-Trade in slaves brought into it from States or places beyond the limits of the District, either to be sold therein as merchandise, or to be transported to other markets without the District of Columbia.

7. Resolved, That more effectual provision ought to be made by law, according to the requirement of the Constitution, for the restitution or delivery of persons bound to service or labor in any State, who may escape into any other State or Territory in the Union. And,

8. Resolved, That Congress has no power to prohibit or obstruct the trade in slaves between the slaveholding States, but that the admission or exclusion of slaves brought from one into another of them, depends exclusively upon their own particular laws.

The debate on this proposition of compromise was opened by Southern Democrats, all speaking in disparagement of its leading suggestions, or in scarcely qualified opposition to the whole scheme. Mr. H. S. Foote, of Mississippi, condemned especially the proposition “that it is inexpedient to abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia,” as implying a right in Congress to legislate on that subject, which he utterly denied. He condemned still more emphatically the assertion that “Slavery does not now exist by law in the territories recently acquired from Mexico;” insisting that the mere fact of Annexation carried the Constitution, with all its guaranties, to all the territories obtained

1 Since, a Confederate Major-General.

2 June 3, 1849.

3 February 13, 1850.

4 January 29, 1850.

5 3, 4, relate to Texas and her boundary.

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