now moved the following, as an addition to the amendment just adopted:
But the Army and Navy shall not be employed for the purpose of subjugating any State, or reducing it to the condition of a Territory or province, or to abolish Slavery therein.
This was rejected by the following vote:
Yeas--Messrs. Breckinridge, Bright, W. P. Johnson, of Mo., Kennedy, Latham, Nesmith, Polk, Powell, and Saulsbury--9.
Nays--Messrs. Anthony, Bingham, Browning, Carlile, Chandler, Clark, Collamer, Cowan, Doolittle, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Grimes, Hale, Harlan, Harris, Howe, Johnson, of Tenn., King, Lane, of Ind., Lane, of Kansas, McDougall, Morrill, Pomeroy, Sherman, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Wade, Willey, and Wilson--30.
The original amendment was then rejected, so as to strike out all these declaratory propositions, and leave the bill as it came from the Committee of the Whole; when it was engrossed, read a third time, and passed.
Bearing in mind that this debate occurred three days before the battle of Bull Run
, that it was initiated by a pro-Slavery Democrat from Kentucky
, and that it occurred when loyal men still generally and confidently expected that the Rebellion
would soon be suppressed, leaving Slavery intact, it may be well to note some of the significant intimations which it elicited from the more conservative Republicans; as follows:
Mr. Dixon (of Conn.) “Mr. President, the Senator from Kentucky [Mr. Powell] has alluded to remarks of mine, and has said that I have declared on this floor, that, if it were necessary to abolish Slavery in order to save the Union, Slavery should be abolished.
Mr. President, I have said no such thing.
What I said was this: that, if the war should be persisted in, and be long protracted, on the part of the South, and, in the course of its progress, it should turn out that either this Government or Slavery must be destroyed, then the people of the North--the conservative people of the North--would say, ‘Rather than let the Government perish, let Slavery perish.’
That is what I said; and I say it now,and shall continue at all times to say the same; not, by any means, as a threat, but as a warning and an admonition.”
Mr. Browning (of Ill.) Mr. President, I cannot say, in common with the Senator from Virginia [Mr. Carlile], that I regret that this amendment has been proposed to the Senate.
I shall certainly vote against it; it does not meet my views, nor receive my approbation; but it may still be well that it has been offered; as it affords us an opportunity of comparing notes, understanding the opinions of each other, and giving the country at large a distinct understanding of what the purpose and intentions of the Congress of the United States are. I speak only for one; I intend to speak very briefly, but very plainly, my sentiments on this subject.
I differ, furthermore, from the Senator from Virginia, in the supposition that the institution of Slavery has had nothing to do in involving the country in the calamities which now press upon it. Had it not been for the sentiments and opinions which are engendered, fostered, and cherished by the institution of Slavery, I cannot persuade myself to believe that there ever would have been found a disloyal heart to the American Constitution upon the American continent.
I believe that the whole trouble has grown out of the institution of Slavery, and its presence among us; and (as I remarked) the sentiments and opinions which it necessarily engenders, fosters, and cherishes.
The war, it is true, is not a war for the extermination of Slavery.
With the institution of Slavery where it exists, the General Government has nothing, as a Government, to do; nor has the General Government ever assumed the power of, in any shape or manner, controlling the institution of Slavery, or its management, in the States where it exists.
The General Government has never been aggressive either upon the Slave States or upon the institution of Slavery.
These troubles have all grown out of precisely the opposite — not the aggressions of the General Government, or of the Free States--but out of the aggressions of Slavery itself, and its continual struggles for expansion and extension to countries where it had no right to go, and where our fathers never intended it should go. If Slavery had been content to remain where the Constitution placed it — if it had been content with the privileges and immunities which the Constitution guaranteed to it — the Free States and the Slave States of this Union could have lived together in a perpetual bond of fraternity.
Mr. President, History gives no instance, in my judgment, of such long-suffering and forbearance as there has been, not by the, people of the Slave States, but as there has been exhibited by the people of the Free