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[235] treaty of peace: can it, for an instant, be pretended that Congress, in such a contingency, would have no authority to interfere with the institution of Slavery, in any way, in the States? Why, it would be equivalent to saying that Congress has no constitutional authority to make peace.

Mr. Adams proceeded to show that Texas was then [prior to her annexation] the arena of a war concerning Slavery — a war based on an effort to reestablish Slavery where it had been abolished by Mexico; and that our country was powerfully incited to take part directly therein, on the side of Slavery; and might yet be impelled to do so. In view of this probability, he asked--

Do you imagine that while, in the very nature of things, your own Southern and South-western States must be the battle-field upon which the last great conflict must be fought between Slavery and Emancipation — do you imagine that your Congress will have no constitutional authority to interfere with the institution of Slavery in any way, in the States of this confederacy? Sir, they must and will interfere with it — perhaps to sustain it by war; perhaps to abolish it by treaties of peace: and they will not only possess the constitutional power so to interfere, but they will be bound in duty to do it, by the express provisions of the Constitution itself. From the instant that your slaveholding States become the theater of war — civil. servile, or foreign — from that instant, the War powers of Congress extend to interference with the institution of Slavery in every way by which it can be interfered wilt, from a claim of indemnity for slaves taken or destroyed, to the cession of the State burdened with Slavery to a foriegn power.

In 1842,1 when the prospective annexation of Texas, and a consequent war with Mexico, first loomed above the horizon, Mr. Adams returned to the subject; and, with reference to certain anti-Slavery resolves recently offered by Mr. Giddings, of Ohio, and the action of the House thereupon, said:

What I am now to say, I say with great reluctance and with great pain. I am well aware that it is touching upon a sore place; and I would gladly get over it if I could. It has been my effort, so far as was in my power, to avoid any allusion whatever to that question which the gentleman from Virginia tells us that the most lamb-like disposition in the South never can approach without anger and indignation. Sir, that is my sorrow. I admit that the fact is so. We can not touch that subject without raising, throughout the whole South, a mass of violence and passion, with which one might as well reason as with a hurricane. That, I know, is the fact in the South ; and that is the fact in this House. And it is the reason why members coming from a Free State are silenced as soon as they rise on this floor; why they are pronounced out of order; made to sit down; and, if they proceed, are censured and expelled. But in behalf of the South and of Southern institutions, a man may get up in this House and expatiate for weeks together. On this point, I do complain; and I must say I have been rather disappointed that I have not been put down already, as speaking out of order. What I say is involuntary, because the subject has been brought into the louse from another quarter, as the gentleman himself admits. I would leave that institution to the exclusive consideration and management of the States more peculiarly interested in it, just so long as they can keep it within their own bounds. So far, I admit that Congress has no power to meddle with it. So long as they do not step out of their own bounds, and do not put the question to the people of the United States, whose peace, welfare, and happiness, are all at stake, so long I will agree to leave them to them-selves. But when a member from a Free State brings forward certain resolutions, for which, instead of reasoning to disprove his positions, you vote a censure upon him — and that without hearing — it is quite another affair. At the time this was done, I said that, so far as I could understand the resolutions proposed by the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Giddings], there were some of them for which I was ready to vote, and some which I must vote against; and I will now tell this House, my constituents, and the world of mankind, that the resolution against which I would have voted was that in which he declares that what are called the Slave States have the exclusive right of consultation on the subject of Slavery. For that resolution, I never would vote; because I believe that it is not just, land does not contain constitutional doctrine. I believe that, so long as the Slave States are able to sustain their institutions, without going abroad or calling upon other parts of

1 April 15.

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