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power and indisputable integrity of character, might prompt a decent and civil avoidance of rude and acrimonious invective, either on the part of the advocates of slavery restriction, or on the part of those who were formerly its adversaries.

CHAPTER VI.

Session of Congress closing on the 3d of March, 1849.-Important Test

Question raised by Mr. Douglas, of Illinois, in Connection with the Oregon Bill, which was then pending.–Defeat of Mr. Douglas's Proposition by the unexpected but effective Interposition of Mr. Wm. H. Seward, who had not yet taken his Seat as a Senator from New York. -Mr. Seward at that Time opposed to all Compromise of the Slavery Question. —Extract from a memorable Speech of his, delivered in the United States Senate in the Year 1850, having Relation to this Subject. - Mr. Seward's Cleveland Specch in 1848.—Important Extracts therefrom.-General Taylor's Administration. — Violent Excitement beginning to rage both North and South upon the Slavery Question, and in Connection with the Admission of California.-Unfortunate non-action Policy of General Taylor's Administration.— Alarming Condition of the Country.-Election of Messrs. Gwin and Fremont United States Senators from California. - Attempt of Colonel Thomas H. Benton to revive his decaying Popularity by becoming the Champion of Californian Admission.--Efforts of the Author to defeat this Scheme of selfish Ambition. Retrospect of Colonel Benton's Attempt, about the Close of Mr. Polk's Administration, to bring about the Rescission of the Treaty with Mexico, by which all the territorial Domain recently acquired would have been lost to the United States but for the Defeat of that Attempt.-Signal Defeat of this unpatriotic Scheme, and remarkable Particulars connected therewith not heretofore divulged. Colonel Benton deprived in Democratic Caucus of the Chairmanship of the Committee of Foreign Affairs in the Senate on the Motion of the Author, after a two-days' Struggle, by a Majority of one Vote only.-Mr. Benton's extraordinary Attack on Mr. Calhoun and Others in his public Speech delivered in Missouri in the Summer of 1848, and Mr. Calhoun's overwhelming Response thereto, drawn up at Author's earnest Instance. -Short Sketch of Colonel Benton's public Character, and Delineation of his intellectual Qualities.

OREGON QUESTION-STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS.

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In the last days of the session of Congress terminating on the night of the 3d of March, 1819, Mr. Douglas, of Illinois, raised an important test question in connection with the bill then on its passage for the organization of the new Territory of Oregon, by the introduction of the following amendment thereto:

"That the line of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes of north latitude, known as the Missouri Compromise line, as defined in the eighth section of an act entitled 'An Act to authorize the people of the Missouri Territory to form a Constitution and state government, and for the admission of such state into the Union on an equal footing with the original states, and to prohibit slavery in certain · territories, approved March 6th, 1820,' be, and the same is, hereby declared to extend to the Pacific Ocean; and

; the said eighth section, together with the compromise therein effected, is hereby revived, and declared to be in full force and binding for the future organization of the territories of the United States, in the same sense and with the same understanding with which it was origin: ally adopted." This amendment was carried in the Senate, but defeated in the House by an almost strictly sectional vote; so that the author of " The American Conflict” would seem to be justified in the following declaration which he has made in the thirteenth chapter of his voluminous and interesting work: "So Oregon became a territory consecrated to free labor without compromise or counterbalance, and the Free States gave notice that they would not divide with slavery the vast and hitherto free territories then just acquired from MEXICO."

In a well-known letter published in the National In

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telligencer, a few weeks after the close of the session of Congress which had now just terminated, Mr. William H. Seward, a newly-elected senator from the State of New York, but who had not then taken bis seat as such, claimed much, and doubtless deserved credit for the success of his efforts on the last night of the session to defeat all compromise of the territorial question in the various modes proposed, preferring to keep it open for settlement by the incoming administration of General Taylor. This gentleman, it would seem, had never believed in the value of legislative compromises, and afterward, in a speech delivered by him in the month of March, 1850, when the compromise enactments of that period were under discussion, he used the following memorable words: “It is insisted that the admission of California shall be attend, ed by a compromise of questions which have arisen out of slavery. I am opposed to any such compromise, in any and all the forms in which it has been proposed, because, while admitting the purity and the patriotism of all from whom it is my misfortune to differ, I think all legislative compromises which are not absolutely necessary radically wrong and essentially vicious. They involve the surrender of the exercise of judgment and conscience on distinct and separate questions, at distinct and separate times, with the indispensable advantages it affords for ascertaining truth ; they involve a relinquishment of the right to reconsider in future the decisions of the present on questions prematurely anticipated; and they are acts of usurpation as to future questions of the province of future legislators."

This gentleman had delivered a speech at Cleveland,

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WILLIAM H, SEWARD.

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Ohio, in 1848, in which he had doubtless stated his conscientious convictions, the spirit and character of which will be made sufficiently evident by the citation of the following striking extracts: "There are two antagonistical elements of society in America, freedom and slavery. Freedom is in harmony with our system of government, and with the spirit of the age, and is therefore passive and quiescent. Slavery is in conflict with that system, with justice, and with humanity, and is therefore organized, defensive, active, and perpetually aggressive.

“Freedom insists on the emancipation and elevation of labor; slavery demands a soil moistened with tears and blood-freedom a soil that exults under the elastic tread of man in his native majesty.

“These elements divide and classify the American people into parties. Each of these parties has its court and its sceptre. The throne of the one is amid the rocks of the Alleghany Mountains, the throne of the other is reared on the sands of South Carolina. One of these parties, the party of slavery, regards disunion as among the means of defense, and not always the last to be employed; the other maintains the Union of the States one and inseparable, now and forever, as the highest duty of the American people to themselves, to posterity, to mankind."

I have no acrimonious strictures to apply to what has just been cited. Perhaps, though, the eminent personage who delivered, with so much apparent deliberation, the celebrated Cleveland speech, will not take special offense if I venture to suggest that what is reputed as having fallen from his lips on this very memorable occasion

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