I tell the senator that Kansas, welcomed as a free State, a ministering angel shall be to the republic, when South Carolina, in the cloak of darkness which she hugs, “lies howling.”
The senator from Illinois [Mr. Douglas] naturally joins the senator from South Carolina, and gives to this warfare the superior intensity of his nature.
He thinks that the national government has not completely proved its power, as it has never hanged a traitor.
But if occasion requires, he hopes there will be no hesitation; and this threat is directed at Kansas, and even at the friends of Kansas throughout the country.
Again occurs a parallel with the struggles of our fathers; and I borrow the language of Patrick Henry, when, to the cry from the senator of “Treason!
I reply, “If this be treason, make the most of it!”
Sir, it is easy to call names; but I beg to tell the senator that if the word “traitor” is in any way applicable to those who reject a tyrannical usurpation, whether in Kansas or elsewhere, then must some new word of deeper color be invented to designate those mad spirits who would endanger and degrade the republic, while they betray all the cherished sentiments of the fathers and the spirit of the Constitution, that slavery may have new spread.
Let the senator proceed.
Not the first time in history will a scaffold become the pedestal of honor.
Out of death comes life, and the “traitor” whom he blindly executes will live immortal in the cause.
Among these hostile senators is yet another, with all the prejudices of the senator from South Carolina, but without his generous impulses, who, from his character before the country and the rancor of his opposition, deserves to be named,—I mean the senator from Virginia [Mr. Mason], who, as author of the Fugitive Slave bill, has associated himself with a special act of inhumanity and tyranny.
Of him I shall say little, for he has said little in this debate, though within that little was compressed the bitterness of a life absorbed in support of slavery.
He holds the commission of Virginia; but he does not represent that early Virginia, so dear to our hearts, which gave to us the pen of Jefferson, by which the equality of men was declared, and the sword of Washington, by which independence was secured.
He represents that other Virginia, from which Washington and Jefferson avert their faces, where human beings are bred as cattle for the shambles, and a dungeon rewards the pious matron who teaches little children to relieve their bondage by reading the Book of Life.
It is proper that such a senator, representing such a State, should rail against free Kansas.
Such as these are natural enemies of Kansas, and I introduce them with reluctance, simply that the country may understand the character of the hostility to be overcome.
He closed his speech about three in the afternoon as follows:
The contest which, beginning in Kansas, reaches us, will be transferred soon from Congress to that broader stage, where every citizen is not only spectator but actor; and to their judgment I confidently turn.
To the people, about to exercise the electoral franchise in choosing a chief magistrate of the republic, I appeal to vindicate the electoral franchise in Kansas.
Let the ballot-box of the Union with multitudinous might protect the ballot-box in that Territory.
Let the voters everywhere, while rejoicing in their own