quarrel over that which we have not, and which we have no very honest way of acquiring.
Let us settle the difficulties that threaten us now, and not anticipate those which may never come.
Let the public mind have time to cool; let us forget, in the general prosperity, the mutual dependence and the common glory of our country, that we have ever quarreled over the question that we have put at rest; and perhaps when, in the march of events, the northern provinces of Mexico are brought under our sway, they may come in without a ripple on the political sea, whose tumultuous waves now threaten to ingulf us all in one common ruin.
In offering to settle this question by the admission of New Mexico, we of the North who assent to it propose a great sacrifice, and offer a large concession.
We propose to take in a State that is deficient in population, and that possesses but imperfectly many of the elements of a member of the Union, and that will require, in one form or another, even after its admission, the aid of the General Government.
But we make the offer in a spirit of compromise and good feeling, which we hope will be reciprocated.
And now, Mr. President, I appeal to Senators on the other side, when we thus offer to bridge over seven-eighths of the frightful chasm that separates us, will you not build the other eighth?
When, with outstretched arms, we approach you so near, that by reaching out your hands you can clasp ours in the fraternal grasp from which they should never be separated, will you, with folded arms and closed eyes, stand upon extreme demands which you know we cannot accept, and for which, if we did, we could not carry our constituents?
There was no response to this; and the Senate, after having refused--30 to 25--to postpone the subject to take up the Kansas Admission
bill, proceeded to vote on Mr. Clark
's substitute, which was in these words:
Resolved, That the provisions of the Constitution are ample for the preservation of the Union, and the protection of all the material interests of the country; that it needs to be obeyed rather than amended; and that an extrication from our present dangers is to be looked for in strenuous efforts to preserve the peace, protect the public property, and enforce the laws, rather than in new guarantees for peculiar interests, compromises for particular difficulties, or concessions to unreasonable demands.
Resolved, That all attempts to dissolve the present Union, or overthrow or abandon the present Constitution, with the hope or expectation of constructing a new one, are dangerous, illusory, and destructive; that, in the opinion of the Senate of the United States, no such reconstruction is practicable; and, therefore, to the maintenance of the existing Union and Constitution should be directed all the energies of all the departments of the Government, and the efforts of all good citizens.
The vote was now taken on this substitute, which was adopted, as follows:
Yeas.--Messrs. Anthony, Baker, Bingham, Cameron, Chandler, Clark, Collamer, Dixon, Doolittle, Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Grimes, Hale, Harlan, King, Seward, Simmons, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Trumbull, Wade, Wilkinson, and Wilson-25 [all Republicans].
Nays.--Messrs. Bayard, Bigler, Bragg, Bright, Clingman, Crittenden, Fitch, Green, Gwin, Hunter, Johnson, of Tennessee, Kennedy, Lane, of Oregon, Mason, Nicholson, Pearce, Polk, Powell, Pugh, Rice, Saulsbury, and Sebastian-23 [all Democrats, but two Bell-Conservatives, in italics].
, of Georgia
, of Louisiana
, of Texas
, and R. W. Johnson
, of Arkansas
--who had voted just before against taking up the Kansas
bill-had now absented themselves or sat silent, and allowed Mr. Clark
's resolves to supplant Mr. Crittenden
's, which were thus defeated.
They doubtless did this in obedience to a resolve, preconcerted with Messrs. Davis
, etc., to accept no adjustment or concession which did not receive the vote of a majority of the Republicans.
In the last hours of the session,1
the subject was called up by Mr. J. M. Mason
, of Virginia
, when Mr. Clark
's substitute aforesaid was reconsidered and rejected-22 to 14-in order to have a direct vote on the