slavery prohibition by Congress, and the Territorial Legislatures
are expressly forbidden from legislating so as to impair the rights of property.
I know there are some who are sincere in this talk about compromise; but there are others who are merely making it a pretext, who come here claiming something in the hope that it will be refused, and that then, upon that refusal, their States may be carried out of the Union
I should like to know how much more secure we can be in regard to this question of slavery.
These three territorial bills cover every square inch of territory we have got; and here is an amendment to the Constitution
embracing the whole question, so far as the States and the public lands of the United States
I am as much for compromise as any one can be; and there is no one who would desire more than myself to see peace and prosperity restored to the land; but when we look at the condition of the country, we find that rebellion is rife; that treason has reared its head.
A distinguished Senator
once said, “When traitors becomes numerous enough, treason becomes respectable.”
Traitors are getting to be so numerous now that I suppose treason has almost got to be respectable; but God being willing, whether traitors be many or few, as I have hitherto waged war against traitors and treason, and in behalf of the Government
which was constructed by our fathers, I intend to continue it to the end. [Applause in the galleries.]
The President pro tempore
, of Tennessee
, we are in the midst of a civil war; blood has been shed; life has been sacrificed.
Who commenced it?
Of that we will speak hereafter.
I am speaking now of the talk about compromise.
Traitors and rebels are standing with arms in their hands, and it is said that we must go forward and compromise with them.
They are in the wrong; they are making war upon the Government
; they are trying to upturn and destroy our free institutions.
I say to them that the compromise I have to make under the existing circumstances is, “ground your arms; obey the laws; acknowledge the supremacy of the Constitution
— when you do that, I will talk to you about compromises.”
All the compromise that I have to make is the compromise of the Constitution of the United States
It is one of the best compromises that can be made.
We lived under it from 1789 down to the 20th of December, 1860, when South Carolina
under-took to go out of the Union
We prospered; we advanced in wealth, in commerce, in agriculture, in trade, in manufactures, in all the arts and sciences, and in religion, more than any people upon the face of God's earth had ever done before in the same time.
What better compromise do you want?
You lived under it till you got to be a great and prosperous people.
It was made by our fathers, and cemented by their blood.
When you talk to me about compromise, I hold up to you the Constitution
under which you derived all your greatness, and which was made by the fathers of your country.
It will protect you in all your rights.
But it is said that we had better divide the country and make a treaty and restore peace.
If, under the Constitution
which was framed by Washington
and the patriots of the Revolution, we cannot live as brothers, as we have in times gone by, I ask can we live quietly under a treaty, separated as enemies?
The same causes will exist; our geographical and physical position will remain just the same.
Suppose you make a treaty of peace and division: if the same causes of irritation, if the same causes of division continue to exist, and we cannot live as brothers in fraternity under the Constitution
made by our fathers, and as friends in the same Government, how can we live in peace as aliens and enemies under a treaty?
It cannot be done; it is impracticable.
But, Mr. President
, I concur fully with the distinguished Senator
in the dislike expressed by him to a change in the form of our Government.
He seemed to be apprehensive of a dictatorship.
He feared there might be a change in the nature and character of our institutions.
I could, if I chose, refer to many proofs to establish the fact that there has been a design to change the nature of our Government.
I could refer to Mr. Rhett
; I could refer to Mr. Inglis
; I could refer to various others to prove this.
The Montgomery Daily Advertiser
, one of the organs of the so-called Southern Confederacy, says:
Has it been a precipitate revolution?
It has not. With coolness and deliberation the subject has been thought of for forty years; for ten years it has been the all-absorbing theme in political circles.
From Maine to Mexico all the different phases and forms of the question have been presented to the people, until nothing else was thought of, nothing else spoken of, and nothing else taught in many of the political schools.
This, in connection with other things, shows that this movement has been long contemplated, and that the idea has been to separate from and break up this Government, to change its nature and character; and now, after they have attempted the separation, if they can succeed, their intention is to subjugate and overthrow and make the other States submit to their form of government.
To carry out the idea of the Senator
, I want to show that there is conclusive proof of a design to change our Government.
I quote from The Georgia Chronicle
Our own republican Government has failed midway in its trial, and with it have nearly vanished the hopes of those philanthropists who, believing in man's capacity for self-government,