Provided, That no this act shall be so construed as to prevent the people of said Territory, through the properly constituted legislative authority, from passing such laws, in relation to the institution of Slavery, as they may deem best adapted to their locality, and most conducive to their happiness and welfare; and so much of any existing act of Congress as may conflict with the above right of the people to regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, be, and the same is hereby, repealed.It is highly probable that this proposition could not have been defeated on a call of the Yeas and Nays in the House — which was doubtless the reason why it was never acted on. The House bill was never taken up, save at a late day,5 so as to enable the Senate bill to be moved as an amendment. There was a violent struggle in the House for and against closing the debate on this measure, and it was finally agreed that said debate should terminate on Saturday the 20th. And now, Mr. Alex. H. Stephens, of Georgia, originated, and was enabled to execute, a parliamentary maneuver which, if recognized as legitimate, must prove an important aid to party despotism and a screen to vicious legislation through all future time. The right of a majority to prescribe a reasonable limit to discussion — to afford
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2 March 3d.
3 Messrs. Bell, of Tennessee, Houston, of Texas, and Walker, of Wisconsin, who had voted against Mr. Chase's amendment above cited, and Mr. James, of Rhode Island, who had not voted on it at all, now voted Nay. Messrs. Bayard, of Delaware, Cass, of Michigan, Thompson, of Kentucky, Geyer, of Missouri, Thomson, of New Jersey, who did not vote for or against Gov. Chase's amendment, whereon we have given the Yeas and Nays, were now present and voted for the bill.
4 January 31st.
5 May 8th.
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