Secession movement at the South.views of the Hon. Reverdy Johnson--Preposition from Governor Magoffin, of Kentucky--speech of Senator Wade--a view from the Republican press--Incidents, &c., &c., &c.
Hon. Reverdy Johnson before the U. S. Supreme Court.At the conclusion of his great argument in the Albany Bridge case, before the Supreme Court, on Thursday last, Mr. Johnson asked the indulgence of the Court to refer to the present condition of the country, and then delivered the peroration which we give below: May it please your Honors, indulge me with a word or two before I conclude. This may be the last time that the Court will sit in peaceful judgment on a Constitution acknowledged and obeyed by all. God, in his providence, and for our sins, may, in his inscrutable wisdom, suffer the folly and wickedness of this generation to destroy the fairest, noblest fabric of constitutional freedom ever erected by man. Its whole history, from the first moment of its operation even to the present hour, bears evidence of its unrivaled excellence. Our country, our whole country, has, from the first, prospered under it, and because of it, with a rapidity, and in a manner, before or since, unknown to nations. That prosperity vindicates the wisdom and patriotism of its good and great founders. Is this prosperity now to cease? Is it now to be dashed to the earth? Are the hopes of civilized man, the world over, now to be blasted? Are we to become the jest, the scorn, the detestation of the people of the earth? Is all memory and reverence for the great dead, who, living, we admired and adored, to be now forgotten? Is all gratitude for the mighty, trying struggle of our fathers now to end? Are the warnings, the parting warnings of the peerless men of all this world now to be disregarded and despised? Is the country of Washington, consecrated by his valor, wisdom and virtue to freedom and peace, now to be converted into a wild science of disorder, fraternal strife, bloodshed, war? May heaven in its mercy forbid! May it stay the arm of the madman, arrest it in mid-career before it strikes the fatal parricidal blow. May it give time for reason and patriotism to resume their sway! May it remove the delusions of the misguided; strengthen the efforts of the patriotic; impart heavenly fire to the eloquence of the faithful statesman; silence, by the universal voice of the good and true men of the nation, the utterings of treason now tainting the air and shocking the ear of patriotism, and the whinings of imbecility now discouraging and sickening the honest public heart! May it, above all, rekindle that fraternal love which bound us. together by ties stronger, infinitely stronger, than any which mere government can create, during the whole of our revolutionary struggle, and has since cheered us on in our pathway to the power and renown which have made us, until now, the wonder and admiration of the world! But, if all shall fail us, and ruin come; if chaos, worse than chaos, is to be our fate, the spirits of those who have departed, and the survivors who have administered justice in this tribunal in the general wreck and wretchedness that will ensue, will be left this consolation: that their recorded judgments, now, thank God, the rich inheritance of the world, and beyond the spoiler's reach, will, till time shall be no more, testify to the spotless integrity, the unsurpassed wisdom, the ever bright patriotism of the men who, from the first, have served their country in this temple, sacred to justice and duty, and to the matchless wisdom of our fathers, who bequeathed it and commended it to the perpetual reverence and support of their sons, and remain a never-dying dishonor and reproach to the sons who shall have caused or permitted its destruction.
Letter from the Governor of Kentucky.Gov. Magoffin, of Ky., has issued a circular letter to the Governors of all the slave States, submitting a series of propositions as a basis for a settlement of the pending difficulties. He says: ‘ Should the propositions be approved, they can be submitted to the assembling Legislatures and Conventions of the slave States, and a Convention of all of said States, or of those only approving, be called to pass upon them, and ask a general Convention of all of the States of the Union that may be disposed to meet us on this basis for a full conference. The present good to be accomplished would be to arrest the secession movement, until the question as to whether the Union can be preserved upon fair and honorable terms, can be fully tested. If there be a basis for the adjustment of our difficulties within the Union, nothing should be left undone in order to its development. To this end, it seems to me there should be a conference of the States in some form, and it appears to me the form above suggested would be most effective. I, therefore, as the Governor of a State having as deep a stake in the perpetuity of the Union, and at the same time as much solicitude for the maintenance of the institution of slavery as any other, would respectfully beg leave to submit for your consideration the following outline of propositions: ’ B. Magoffin:
- 1st. Repeal, by an amendment of the Constitution of the United States, all laws in the free States in any degree nullifying or obstructing the execution of the fugitive slave law.
- 2d. Amendments to said law to enforce its thorough execution in all the free States, providingcompensation to the owner of the slave from the State which fails to deliver him up under the requirements of the law, or throws obstructions in the way of his recovery.
- 3d. The passage of a law by Congress, compelling the Governors of free States to return fugitives from justice, indicted by a grand jury in another State, for stealing or enticing away a slave.
- 4th. To amend the Constitution so as to divide all the Territories now belonging to the United States, or hereafter to be acquired, between the free and slave States, say upon the line of the 37th degree of north latitude — all north of that line to come into the Union with requisite population as free States, and all south of the same to come in as slave States.
- 5th. To amend the Constitution so as to guarantee forever to all the States the free navigationof the Mississippi river.
- 6th. To alter the Constitution so as to give the South the power, say in the United States Senate, to protect itself from unconstitutional and oppressive legislation upon the subjectof slavery.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
The Anti-abolition mob in Boston.A dispatch from Boston, dated Sunday, gives a fuller account of the mobbing of Wendell Phillips, the abolition orator there, on that day. His subject was "Mobs and Education, " and Music Hall was filled by several thousand persons to hear him. The dispatch says: ‘ Anticipating some disturbance, the Chief of Police, with a large force, was present, and several military companies, acting under private orders from the authorities, were in readiness at their armories. The audience in the body of the hall seemed composed of those usually attending Sabbath services there, and embracing about an equal proportion of ladies. The galleries and wings were crowded with men, apparently strangers to the preaching of Theodore Parker and those who succeed him. ’ Phillips spoke of mobs in general, and the mob which broke up the late John Brown meeting in particular. His remarks were distinguished by his usual eloquence of words, in the denunciation of everything and everybody disagreeing with the extreme views peculiar to himself. He spoke of the ignorance of the daily press of Boston, and the miserable incapacity of the city government. Under the first head, Mr. Fay, who presided over the meeting raised on the ruins of the John Brown convention, received the full measure of the speaker's abuse. Under the second, he said that, with the exception of the Atlas and Bee, no daily paper has uttered a word of hearty, fitting rebuke of the mob, and the daily press were nothing but despicable tools. The Mayor he held personally responsible for allowing the disgraceful attack upon peaceable citizens in Tremont Temple. Phillips spoke nearly an hour and a half, the meeting being interrupted occasionally, but very briefly, by stamping and hissing. At the close of the meeting a large crowd had gathered outside the building, and on the appearance of Phillips, a great rush was made, but whether with a purpose of violence toward him, seemed uncertain. His friends rallied, and with a large force of police escorted him to his residence in Essex street, a mob of several hundred pressing around, cheering and yelling. The mob for sometime blocked up Washington and Essex streets, stopping the horse cars and crowding the people miscellaneously.--The cold weather, and the urgent arguments of the police, dispersed the crowd in about half an hour, and the usual Sabbath day quiet was restored. It was a most exciting scene. The Union men are determined and desperate. The military were at their armories, ready to be called out in case their services were needed. To-night a John Brown apotheosis meeting was held in the Joy street colored church.--The Rev. J. Stella Martin spoke. He said the mobocrats had so dampened the John Brown zeal that his admirers have concluded to have no celebration just now.
Senator Wade's speech.The insulting speech of Senator Wade, of Ohio, made on Monday, is not important save as far as it is an exposition of the views of his party. As the position of spokesman seems to have been accorded him, we give some extracts of his remarks: ‘ Gentlemen tell us that even eight States are going to retire and form a government of their own, and that we have no power of our own to prevent it. But we have power. What power have we? Will they tell us? He had disavowed any intention to harm a hair of the head of anybody. You will not wait for an overt act from Mr. Lincoln, but are determined to go out on the supposition that he will commit an overt act. Is there anything you complain of in the character, habits or principles of Mr. Lincoln? The Vice President is beyond suspicion. The day of compromises is at an end. After the experiences we have had in Congress, it is absolutely ridiculous to talk about them. The moment the American people cut loose from the sheet anchor of liberty, that moment the Republic is at an end. We must submit to the unmistakable verdict of the people. He said he would yield to no compromise. They had won the victory as all others had, and had no compromises to make. The controversy must be met alone by the Constitution, and when we go astray from that we shall get into difficulty. The South claims a constitutional right to secede from the Union. If that be so, we have and never had any government. South Carolina is a small State, and we should not miss her much if she was swallowed by an earth- quake to-morrow. Of himself, he would allow her to go, but as a member of this Congress and a supporter of the Constitution, he could not do so. A State has no constitutional right to go out — they can revolutionize, and if they conquer they are right, but if they are conquered they are rebels. ’ That is the character of all revolutions. If successful, all well; if unsuccessful, the Government treats them as traitors. He did not see any cause to apprehend that any party intends to make war on the seceding States.--He only asserted the right to do so, if we see fit. He would not advise or counsel to it.--He would be very tender of the rights of the people, who were about to break up a government under which they had deliberately come to the conclusion that they could not live.--But he apprehended that the necessities of our position would compel us to take an austere ground. Although a State secedes, he cannot recognize the right to go out of the Union until she gains the consent of the Union. The Chief Magistrate's duty is to execute the law in every part and parcel of the Government. He cannot be released from this obligation. Nothing in the Constitution of the United States warrants his saying that a single star has fallen. He is sworn not to know that a State has seceded, or pay the least respect to the resolutions declaring that they have done so. * * * The Senator from Texas says he will force the ignominious treaty in Fanuell Hall. Well, you may. We know your powers. We know your bravery. We do not want to fight with you; but, nevertheless, if you drive us to the necessity, we will use all the powers of the Government to maintain it intact in all its integrity. If we overthrow it, ours will be the same fate as a thousand governments that have been subverted. If you are the weakest, then you must go to the wall. That is all about it. That is the condition in which we stand. I can see no power in the Government to release a Senator from this position. I did not take an oath to support the Constitution. Unless one seceded, there was no such immunity. No way, then, can it be done, except by standing upon the Constitution of the United States and demanding equal justice for all, and vindicating the flag of the nation. But you may make your way out, by making war and vindicating the right of independence.--If you do so, you should have history in mind. No man would regret more than himself the disruption of any portion of the United States by those who think themselves impelled by grievances from which there was no honorable release. But it is a matter of prejudice, superinduced by listening to the enemies of the Republican party, as if we were enemies. We have been branded as traitors and as John Brown men. But if the South will secede, we will preserve the glorious future. Mexico owes England eight million. They will ask of us protection.--They have all the elements to build up a glorious Republican empire. Still we would do anything for Union.
Our country's dangers and the Remedy. [from the Albany Atlas. (Rep,) Dec. 15]Substantially, Republicans and Democrats, and all classes of people, must concede that the question of the rights of Southern, as well as Northern property in the Territories, during the territorial condition, has been judicially settled. Why not accept this settlement as a disposition of the whole controversy? Nobody's opinion will be compromised by such a course.--It will be a mere acquiescence in the decisions of the tribunal which the Constitution created to decide such questions — Why cannot the Republicans in Congress take this view of the subject, and vote for a declaratory resolution affirming such a settlement? Why cannot Mr. Lincoln avow his acceptance of this ruling of the co-ordinate branch of the government, to which the decision of the subject properly belongs, and his determination in his official action to abide by it? Thus the Republicans in Congress, and the President elect, could give instant and permanent peace to the country, and become the saviors, instead of the destroyers of the nation. Is not this a time for them to yield to the impulses of patriotism, and rise to the courage and responsibilities of the emergency? Let them meet the opportunity, avert the impending calamities and preserve their country, and successive generations of freemen will bless their memories and long ages of history will enroll them among the benefactors of the human race. But it is possible that all parties may prefer that an adjustment, substantially upon the basis which we have proposed, should assume the form of an amendment of the Constitution — and we can appreciate that some not willing to accept it as a true exposition of the meaning of the Constitution in its present form, may, nevertheless, be quite willing to adopt it and engraft it upon the fundamental law. The Constitution is singularly obscure upon the subject of power over the Territories. Such power as has been hither to exercised has been rather inferred from that instrument than founded upon any express provisions touching this subject. Might it not be well to follow a declaratory exposition by Congress, with an amendment of the Constitution to the following effect: "The Congress may establish governments for the Territories of the United States; and any Territory having a population equal to the constituency of one member of Congress, and having adopted, by a vote of the citizens of the United States resident therein, a Constitution, republican in form, may be admitted by the Congress into this Union as a State; and neither the Congress, nor the people of a Territory, during the territorial condition, shall, by legislation or otherwise, annul or impair rights of property recognized by the laws of any of the States." This amendment is drawn in harmony with the Constitution. It does not mention the word slavery, and yet it fully covers the case. It also defines the power of Congress over the Territories and contains wholesome provision about the admission of new States, which will be appreciated without further explanation. We appeal to the North, to the reasonable, thinking men of all parties, whether there is anything dishonorable or humiliating on the part of this section of the Union, in settling the pending difficulties on the terms which we have proposed? We insist there is not, and that, in the face of dangers, the extent and calamity of which no human foresight can measure, there ought not to be any hesitation. So far as the question of interest is concerned, we should be ashamed of our section of the Union if it feared to trust itself to the freest and most open competition in the Territories, with the men, the labor, the property and the enterprise of any of the States. Give all a fair field, admit the emigrants from any and all of the States, with the rights of property which they enjoyed at home, and if the settlers from New York and the free North lose in the race, it will be their own fault and they will have no right to complain. We are quite willing to take the chances, that, when new States come to be formed, their influence and their ideas will predominate in all territory adapted by climate and soil to our Northern cultivation, and it requires no generosity on our part to surrender the residue to our Southern brethren.
Another free port.The Newport (R. I.) Advertiser of Wednesday, after fervently hoping that the Union will not be dissolved, attributes the decline of Rhode Island maritime interests to the operation of the Union into which she so tardily entered. In case of a dissolution, and the formation of a confederacy from which New England shall be excluded, the Advertiser trusts that the Commonwealth founded by Roger Williams will prefer original sovereignty to a confederation with Massachusetts fanaticism. The magnificence of Newport harbor leads the Advertiser to refer to the history of Hamburg. Bremen, &c., as encouraging "a separate political organization that would command the respect of the world."
Political Revolution "down Bast."The remarkable circumstance that the Hon Isaac Davis, an old and sterring Democrat, has been elected Mayor of Worcester — the hotbed of Massachusetts ultra-republicanism — is thus alluded to by the Transcript, (Republican,) of that city: ‘ A city that on the 6th day of November cast two thousand six hundred and forty-eight Republican votes to thirteen hundred and forty-eight for all others — just two to one--on the 8th of December, gives a majority of one hundred and seventy-three for the Democratic candidate, under the name of Citizens' ticket. Some of the causes for this change are not far to seek, others are of a more doubtful nature. ’ And again it says: ‘ It is certainly a singular circumstance that in fourteen cities of this Commonwealth — every one but one giving a Republican plurality, all but two giving a Republican plurality, all but two giving a Republican majority — the Republicans can only elect their municipal officers in three. ’
High prices for Negroes.The Huntsville (Ala.) Advocate, of the 12th inst., says: ‘ The negroes belonging to the estate of Samuel Townsend, deceased, were sold here last week, on twelve months time, with interest from date. There were one hundred and sixty- six of them, old and young, and they brought one hundred and thirty-six thousand six hundred and forty-two dollars--an average of eight hundred and thirty-six thousand six hundred and forty-two dollars--an average of eight hundred and twenty-three dollars and fourteen cents a piece. They were an ordinary lot of negroes, and the prices they brought were astonishing. We are glad to see the confidence our people have in this species of property, and that they are determined to maintain this one of their fixed institutions. Let the South keep united — act in concert — agree upon the same policy, and the institution is safe, permanent, and profitable in or out of the Union. ’
The army bill of South Carolina.Some of our contemporaries have analyzed the military bill now pending in the Legislature of South Carolina, and state the following as the force therein provided for:
|the Major General and Brigadier (without a staff) will cost||$5,668|
|the Colonel and other staff officers for a regiment, will cost||10,228|
|two horses apiece for the General officers, and one apiece for the regimental officers; seven in all, at State rates||672|
|1,000 privates to a regiment, without Clothing allowance||228,000|
|for 10,000 men||2,430,000|
|for 40 musicians to a regiment||9,120|
|for 10 regiments||91,200|
|additional cost for horses for cavalry, supposing there are three mounted regiments||288,000|
|cost of artillery, a company to each regiment, say 200 horses in all||19,200|
|Field and other officers for 10 regiments||100,228|
|Horses for all the above||4,128|
|10,000 privates, pay, rations and clothing.||2,430,000|
The Alabama Navy.The Mobile Tribune says that Captain S. S. Taylor has rigged out a schooner, mounted two heavy guns, and taken on board fifty hardy, active, well drilled sea rovers, with which he intends to defend the Alabama coast.
Meeting of the Pennsylvania and Ohio Delegations.
Washington, Dec. 15.--At a meeting of the Pennsylvania delegation to night, including the two Senators, Mr. Stevens alone being absent, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted: Resolved, That, in our judgment, it is the opinion of the people of Pennsylvania that the constitutional rights of all sections should be respected and secured. Resolved, That all the laws should be faithfully and promptly executed, and that the union of the States, the Constitution and laws of the United States, should be maintained and enforced in all their integrity. At the conference of the Ohio delegation tonight, all were present except Senator Wade and Representative Wade. Though no resolutions were passed, the concurrent sentiment was the maintenance of the Union and the enforcement of the laws.