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"2d. The admission forthwith of California into the Union, with the boundaries which she has proposed.

"3d. The establishment of territorial governments, without the Wilmot Proviso, for New Mexico and Utab, embracing all the territory recently acquired from Mexico not contained in the boundaries of California.

" 4th. The combination of these two last measures in the same bill.

" 5th. The establishment of the western and northern boundaries of Texas, and the exclusion from her jurisdiction of all New Mexico, with the grant to Texas of a pecuniary equivalent; and the section for that purpose to be incorporated in the bill admitting California and establishing territorial governments for Utah and New Mexico.

"6th. More effectual enactments of law to secure the prompt delivery of persons bound to service or labor in one state under the laws thereof, who escape into another state; and,

“7th. Abstaining from abolishing slavery, but, under a heavy penalty, prohibiting the slave-trade in the District of Columbia."

MR. CLAY AND MR. WEBSTER.

129

CHAPTER VIII.

Great Compromise Struggle of 1850.—Mr. Clay and Mr. Webster the prin

cipal Figures in the Picture. – Mr. Webster's 7th of March Speech, and its prodigious Effect upon the Public Mind.--Striking Extracts therefrom.-Mr. Calhoun's last Speech in the Senate, in which he urges that the Admission of California shall be made a test Question.-Emphatic Protest by the Author to this Portion of the Speech, and painful Altercation with Mr. Calhoun in Reference to the disputed Point. Proceedings of the Nashville Convention.—Wise and patriotic Conduct of Judge Sharkey, the President thereof, which prevents immediate Mischief.-Judge Sharkey arrives in Washington, and is offered the Department of War, which he declines.—Some Account of Judge Sharkey's Life and Character.

The contest between the friends of peace and those whose conduct was at this period seriously threatening to disturb the public repose, was now fairly in progress. Of all the champions of the measures of compromise, Mr. Clay and Mr. Webster undoubtedly commanded the largest share of the public respect, and their course in Congress awakened in various quarters much both of commendation and of dispraise. Mr. Clay had delivered at an early period of the session several speeches of marked ability and eloquence, which had called forth gratifying responses in all parts of the republic. It was now evident that old party prejudices were fast giving way to sentiments of a very different character all over the land. Public men of considerable prominence and of no mean influence, who had been the steady and unswerving opponents of the measures of policy in past times advocated by Mr. Clay even from the commencement of their political career, were every day approaching him kindly, and tendering to him their future friendship and support. Many of the old supporters of Jackson were seen to come into his presence, and were heard to avow their devotion to his person and character. Men from whom he had been estranged for twenty years, and who were known to have pursued him at a former period with charges of a nature even to touch his reputation for integrity, were now heard to disavow these charges formally, and to confess that they had done him the most cruel injustice. It was most evident to all that no living man could do so much as Mr. Clay then had it in his power to do to suppress the commotion which was already furiously raging, and to keep in abeyance, for the present at least, the horrors of intestine conflict. About this time, at Mr. Clay's instance, I addressed numerous letters, to eminent and well-known persons residing in various states of the Union, asking their opinion of the compromise measures, their replies to which were uniformly published in the Union newspaper, then edited by the veteran Ritchie, and were supposed by some to have had a more or less beneficial effect in maturing public sentiment, and in removing prejudice from the minds of good citizens.

Mr. Webster's 7th of March speech, delivered, as will be observed, anterior to the raising of the Committee of Thirteen, had produced beneficial effects every where, which effects were displaying themselves throughout the republic. IIis statement of facts was generally looked upon as unanswerable; his argumentative conclusions

MR. WEBSTER'S 7TH OF MARCH SPEECH.

131

appeared to be inevitable; his mild, conciliatory, and persuasive tone had penetrated and softened the sensibilities of all patriots. What reasonable and well-intentioned man could indeed refuse his assent to such prop. ositions as the following, which are extracted from that same memorable speech ? "My opinion has been, that we have territory enough, and that we should follow the Spartan maxim, 'Improve, adorn what you have;' seek no farther. I think that it was in some observations that I made on the Three-million Loan Bill that I avowed this sentiment. In short, sir, it has been avowed quite as often, in as many places, and before as many assemblies, as any humble opinions of mine ought to be avowed.

“But now that, under certain conditions, Texas is in the Union, with all her territory, as a slave state, with a *solemn pledge also that, if she shall be divided into many states, those states may come in as slave states south of 36° 30', how are we to deal with this subject? I know no way of honest legislation, when the proper time comes for the enactment, but to carry into effect all that we have stipulated to do. I do not entirely agree with my honorable friend from Tennessee, * that, as soon as the time comes when she is entitled to another representative, we should create a new state. On former occasions, in creating new states out of territories, we have generally gone upon the idea that, when the population of the territory amounts to about sixty thousand, we would consent to its admission as a state. But it is quite a different thing when a state is divided, and two or more

* Mr. Bell.

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states made out of it. It does not follow in such a case that the same rule of apportionment should be applied. That, however, is a matter for the consideration of Congress when the proper time arrives. I may not then be here; I may have no vote to give on the occasion ; but

Ι I wish it to be distinctly understood that, according to my view of the matter, this government is solemnly pledged, by. law and contract, to create new states out of Texas, with her consent, when her population shall justify and call for such a proceeding, and, so far as such states are formed out of Texan territory lying south of 36° 30', to let them come in as slave states. That is the meaning of the contract which our friends, the Northern Democracy, have left us to fulfill; and I, for one, mean to fulfill it, because I will not violate the faith of the government. What I mean to say is, that the time for the admission of new states formed out of Texas, the number of such states, their boundaries, the requisite amount of population, and all other things connected with the ad. mission, are in the free discretion of Congress, except this, to wit, that, when new states formed out of Texas are to be admitted, they have a right, by legal stipulation and contract, to come in as slave states.

“Now, as to California and New Mexico, I hold slavery to be excluded from those territories by a law even superior to that which admits and sanctions it in Texas: I mean the law of Nature, of physical geography—the law of the formation of the earth. That law settles for ever, with a strength beyond all terms of human enactinent, that slavery can not exist in California or New Mexico. Understand me, sir; I mean slavery as we re

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