by treaty, and secured the privilege to any “Southern slaveholder to enter any part of it, attended by his slave property, and to enjoy the same therein, free from all molestation or hindrance whatsoever.”
He also condemned the resolve relating to the boundaries of Texas
, contending that “her right to that part of New Mexico
, lying east of the Rio Grande
, was full, complete, and undeniable.”
But he did not object to abolishing the Slave-Trade in the District
, “provided it is done in a delicate and judicious manner;” and he would consent to the admission of California
, “above the line of
36° 30′,” “provided another new Slave State can be laid off within the present limits of Texas
, so as to keep up the present equiponderance between the Slave and Free States of the Union
, and provided further, all this is done by way of compromise, and in order to save the Union
--as dear to me as any man living.”
Mr. J. M. Mason
, of Virginia
, though anxious to do his utmost for “adjusting these unhappy differences,” still more pointedly dissented from Mr. Clay
Sir, so far as I have read these resolutions, there is but one proposition to which I can give a hearty assent, and that is the resolution which proposes to organize territorial governments at once in these territories, without a declaration, one way or the other, as to their domestic institutions.
But there is another which I deeply regret to see introduced into this Senate, by a Senator from a Slaveholding State; it is that which assumes that Slavery does not now exist by law in those countries.
I understand one of these propositions to declare that, by law, Slavery is now abolished in New Mexico and California.
That was the very proposition advanced by the non-slaveholding States at the last Session; combated and disproved, as I thought, by gentlemen from the Slaveholding States, and which the Compromise bill1 was framed to test.
So far, I regarded the question of law as disposed of; and it was very clearly and satisfactorily shown to be against the spirit of the resolution of the Senator of Kentucky.
If the contrary is true, I presume the Senator from Kentucky would declare that, if a law is now valid in the territories abolishing Slavery, it could not be introduced there, even if a law was passed creating the institution, or repealing the statutes already existing — a doctrine never assented to, so far as I know, until now, by any Senator representing one of the slaveholding States.
Sir, I hold the very opposite, and with such confidence, that, in the last Congress, I was willing, and did vote for a bill to test this question in the Supreme Court.
Yet this resolution assumes the other doctrine to be true, and our assent is challenged to it as a proposition of law.
Mr. Jefferson Davis
, of Mississippi
, with equal energy, objected to so much of Mr. Clay
's propositions as relate to the boundary of Texas
, to the Slave-Trade in the Federal District, and to the concession that Slavery does not exist by law in the newly acquired territories.
But, Sir, we are called upon to receive this as a measure of compromise!
As a measure in which we of the minority are to receive something.
A measure of compromise!
I look upon it as but a modest mode of taking that, the claim to which has been more boldly asserted by others; and, that I may be understood upon this question, and that my position may go forth to the country in the same columns that convey the sentiments of the Senator from Kentucky, I here assert, that never will I take less than the Missouri Compromise line extending to the Pacific Ocean, with the specific recognition of the right to hold Slaves in the territory below that line; and that, before such territories are admitted into the Union as States, slaves may be taken there from any of the United States, at the option of the owners.
I can never consent to give additional power to a majority to commit further aggressions upon the minority in this Union; and I will never consent to any proposition which will have such a tendency, without a full guarantee