previous next
[304] to the Slave Power was assured by the mere legalization of lifelong bondage and unrequited labor on its narrow but fertile intervales, and in its mines of precious ore.

The XXXVIth Congress assembled at Washington Monday, December 5, 1859. The Senate was still strongly Democratic, though the Republican minority therein had grown gradually, until it numbered twenty-four. Indiana, Minnesota, California, and Oregon, were still represented by Democrats, as were in part Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois; but the strong anti-Lecompton wave of 1858 had swept into the House delegations from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, decidedly hostile to the Administration; and these, with unanimous Republican delegations from all the New England States, left no clear majority for any party. On the first ballot for Speaker, Thomas S. Bocock, Dem., of Virginia, received eighty-six votes; John Sherman, Rep., of Ohio, sixty-six; Galusha A. Grow, Rep., of Pennsylvania, forty-three: twenty-two were divided between three “Americans” or Southern Whigs, and thirteen were scattered mainly upon anti-Lecompton Democrats: whole number cast, 230; necessary for a choice, 116.

Mr. Burnett, of Kentucky, now moved that the House adjourn till to-morrow, which was negatived — Yeas 100; Nays 130: whereupon Mr. John B. Clark,1 of Missouri, rose, and, amid a shower of objections and interruptions, proposed the following preamble and resolution:

Whereas, certain members of this House, now in nomination for Speaker, did indorse and recommend the book hereinafter mentioned,

Resolved, That the doctrines and sentiments of a certain book called “ The Impending Crisis of the South--How to meet it,” purporting to have been written by one Hinton R. Helper, are insurrectionary and hostile to the domestic peace and tranquillity of the country; and that no member of this House who has indorsed and recommended it, or the compend from it, is fit to be Speaker of this House.

The book thus advertised was written by a young North Carolinian of the poorer middle class, who, having migrated to California, and spent some time in the Northern States, had imbibed ideas respecting Slavery which it was not safe to express in his native State. Those ideas he had embodied in his “Impending crisis,” which was, in substance, a vehement appeal to the poor whites of the South against persistence in servility to the slaveholders, backed by ample statistics, proving Slavery specially injurious and degrading to them, as well as baleful and blighting to the entire South. This book, being deemed effective as an anti-Slavery argument, whether in the North or in the South, had been recommended to general attention, in a circular signed by two thirds, at least, of the Republican members of the last Congress, including, of course, many of those returned to the present. Messrs. Sherman and Grow, between whom the Republican vote for Speaker was divided, were both among the signers of this circular. Hereupon, Mr. Clark proceeded to make, amid interruptions and questions of order, such a speech as a slaveholder might be expected to make on such a theme; urging

1 Since known as an active and bitter Rebel.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Sherman (2)
Galusha A. Grow (2)
John B. Clark (2)
House (1)
Hinton R. Helper (1)
Henry C. Burnett (1)
Thomas S. Bocock (1)
Americans (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December 5th, 1859 AD (1)
1858 AD (1)
1st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: