Chamber, might, for a large part of this session, have supposed that here stood the representatives of belligerent States, and that, instead of men assembled here to confer together for the common welfare, for the general good, he saw here ministers from States preparing to make war upon each other; and then he would have felt that vain, indeed, was the vaunting of the prowess of one to destroy another. Or if, sir, he had known more—if he had recognized the representatives of the States of the Union—still he would have traced through this same eternal, petty agitation about sectional success, that limit which can not fail, however the Senator from New York (Mr. Seward) may regret it, to bring about a result which every man should, from his own sense of honor, feel, when he takes his seat in this Chamber, that he is morally bound to avoid as long as he retains possession of his seat. To express myself more distinctly: I hold that a Senator, while he sits here as the representative of a State in the Federal Government, is in the relation of a minister to a friendly court, and that the moment he sees this Government in hostility to his own, the day he resolves to make war on this Government, his honor and the honor of his State compel him to vacate the seat he holds. It is a poor evasion for any man to say: “I make war on the rights of one whole section; I make war on the principles of the Constitution; and yet, I uphold the Union, and I desire to see it protected.” Undermine the foundation, and still pretend that he desires the fabric to stand! Common sense rejects it. No one will believe the man who makes the assertion, unless he believes him under the charitable supposition that he knows not what he is doing. Sir, we are arraigned, day after day, as the aggressive power. What Southern Senator, during this whole session, has attacked any portion, or any interest, of the North? In what have we now, or ever, back to the earliest period of our history, sought to deprive the North of any advantage it possessed? The whole charge is, and has been, that we seek to extend our own institutions into the common territory of the United States. Well and wisely has the President of the United States pointed to that common territory as the joint possession of the country. Jointly we held it, jointly we enjoyed it in the earlier period of our country; but when, in the progress of years, it became apparent that it could not longer be enjoyed in peace, the men of that day took upon themselves, wisely or unwisely, a power which the Constitution did not confer, and, by a geographical line, determined to divide the Territories, so that the common field, which brothers could not cultivate in peace, should be held severally for the benefit of each. Wisely or unwisely, that law was denied extension to the Pacific Ocean. I was struck, in the course of these debates, to which I have not been in the habit of replying, to hear the Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. Hale], who so very ardently opposed the extension of that line to the Pacific Ocean, who held it to be a political stain upon the history of our country, and who would not even allow the southern boundary of Utah to be the parallel of 36° 30′, because of the political implication which was contained in it (the historical character of the line), plead, as he did a few days ago, for the constitutionality and legality and for the sacred character of that so-called Missouri Compromise. I, for one, never believed Congress had the power to pass that law; yet, as one who was willing to lay down much then, as I am now, to the peace, the harmony,
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