and the judges and marshals were supporters of the Fugitive Slave
law; and this was regarded as a favorite jurisdiction for the defence of persons who in their zeal for the reclamation of slaves had exceeded their authority or violated State regulations.
The motion to take the bill up prevailed against Chase
's plea for further time.
The day was Friday, set apart for private bills,—‘our day of justice,’ as Sumner
called it. Toucey
made a brief statement of its provisions, without any allusion to its specific purpose.
There was an evident reluctance to enter upon a full discussion of its purport, and it seemed likely to pass without question.
, however, who was familiar with points of practice and jurisdiction, took the floor, and began his remarks with a comment on the favor and precedence always accorded in the Senate to every proposition which was supposed to favor the interests of slavery.
He objected to the bill as a novelty in our judicial system, an invasion of State rights, and a step, or rather a stride, towards despotism.
His clear exposition brought the whole question before the Senate, and the debate at once took a wide range, covering the repeal of the Missouri Compromise
, the significance of the recent defeats of the Administration, the political associations of senators, and other features of the conflict between freedom and slavery.
spoke at length, discursively and somewhat loosely, but with great energy.
He upbraided the Compromise senators for continually reviving, by new measures and harangues, the agitation which they had undertaken to suppress, and pointed to the spirit of resistance in the free States awakened by the aggressions of slavery.
This reference to the Northern
uprising called up Douglas
, who spoke with the audacity which never failed him, and ascribed the Democratic
defeats to the secret Know Nothing order.
, the master of an incisive style, contested Douglas
's assumption as to the significance of the elections.
Benjamin and Bayard
spoke for the South
betrayed the frequency with which he had partaken of his usual refreshment.
He was called to order by Sumner
for accusing Wade
of falsehood; and though the point was then decided in his favor, he was shortly after declared out of order by the chair.
The evening had now come, and the chandeliers were lighted.
, the new antislavery senator from Connecticut
, who had been waiting for an opportunity to deliver a speech on slavery in the District