Speech of Edward Stanly, of N. Carolina, exposing the causes of the slavery agitation. Delivered in the House of Representatives, March 6, 1850

31st CONG…1st SESS. Causes of the Slavery Agitation--Mr. Stanley. HO. OF REPS.
Causes of the Slavery Agitation
North Carolina

In the House of Representatives

March 6, 1850

measure in the same length of time ever has before in the United States.

The gentleman from Missouri, [Mr. Bowlin,] in his published remarks, contrary to my expectation, after he heard my reply, adheres not only to his original unfounded objections, but adds new ones. He appears to think he can make up in extravagant and utterly baseless assertion, what he lacks in fact and in argument; and in proportion as I have exposed and swept away his objections, does his ardor and vehemence of their real existence increase. Near the end of his rhodomontade against the bill, eh undertakes to detail numerically what is in each section. Now, in order to his complete and unescapable exposure, I beg leave to quote entire, the eighteenth section of that bill in which he says is to be found most of its enormities and indefeasible features, and especially the foundation for the allegation, that Mr. Whitney, from mere neglect, or any other cause, can abandon the project before the completion of the road, and yet hold land and road both as far as he has gone.

"Sec. 18. And be it further enacted, That if said Whitney and his assigns shall not, within two years from the passage of this act, locate and survey at least two hundred miles of said road from its eastern terminus, and have commenced the work and completed at least ten miles of the road, it shall be lawful for Congress, and such right is hereby reserved, to repeal this act; and all rights and privileges conferred on said Whitney, his heirs, and assigns, shall be forfeited and cease. And if, after having commenced and constructed a part of said road, said Whitney and his assigns shall, without good and sufficient reasons, neglect to prosecute said work, and progress with the construction of said road, for the period of twelve months, Congress reserves the right to revoke all the rights and privileges conferred by this act on said Whitney and his assigns, and to transfer the same to some other person or persons, for carrying out and accomplishing the object contemplated by this act. But in such case, said Whitney and his assigns shall possess and hold such part of the lands set apart for the construction of this road, or the avails thereof, if sold, as the length of the road constructed may entitle him or them to, according to the provisions of this act; and the route for said road shall be located and surveyed from its eastern terminus to the Pacific ocean, and the road constructed and completed one-third of the whole extent within nine years from the passage of this act; and one other third shall be made and completed within six years thereafter, and the entire road shall be furnished and in a condition for use within twenty-five years from the passage of this act; and on failure of said Whitney and his assigns to complete any of the sections of said road, within the period herein specified, without good and sufficient reasons for such neglect, to be judged of by Congress, the same right is reserved to Congress to revoke the rights and privileges conferred on them, and to transfer the same to some other person or persons as aforesaid, the said Whitney and his assigns retaining such part of the lands, or the avails thereof, as they may be justly entitled to from the extent of the road constructed, according to the provisions and requirements of this act; and Congress further reserves the right and power, at any time, to alter or amend this act, as the public interest may require, so far as it can be done without impairing the rights and privileges of said Whitney and his assigns."

Now, any one who can discover in the foregoing section the monstrous objections he urges, or the particular one to which I allude, that he can quit the road before completion, and yet hold land and road both as far as the road is completed, would have no difficulty in finding a like feature in the decalogue or Lord's prayer. I am utterly astounded at such perversions, (unintentional doubtless.)

A word as to an additional track, if the Government wants one made. Now, it will be entirely optional with Congress whether one is made or not, or, if made, whether Mr. Whitney shall make it. If they employ him to construct one, they must, of course, remunerate him in some way. The first track will cost absolutely nothing. It is to collect no more tolls than are necessary to operate the road and keep it in repair--it is to divide no dividends to Mr. Whitney, or any one else. If a second is made, the two tracks united are to collect sufficient tolls to pay for the construction of one.




In the House of Representatives,

March 6, 1850.

The house being in Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, on the President's Message transmitting the Constitution of California--

Mr. STANLY said:

This hour rule, Mr. Chairman, compels us to economize time very closely, and consolidate ideas as much as possible. I will try and do so, that I may not write out anything more than I shall say.

I wish to say a few plain things in a plain way. I wish to say a little for Buncombe--not only the western, but the eastern Buncombe which I represent; and, if honorable gentlemen are not desirous to hear this, I advise them to take themselves, on this rainy day, to a more comfortable place than this. I intend most of what I say for my constituents. I have not spoken before, because I thought when matters of such vast magnitude were involved, we ought to wait, and hear what the people at home have to say of them. Now, I feel prepared not merely to express my own opinions, but those also of my honest constituents. I hope to say nothing offensive to any gentleman; certainly, I have no such desire. I shall most carefully avoid to strike the first blow. If I am assailed, I must take care of myself in the best way I may; and now to come right at it.

I have heard a great deal said here, and read much recently, of "encroachment on the South--aggressions on the South;" and though I know we have cause in some respects to complain of the conduct of a portion of our northern people, I cannot include the whole North in the just censure due to the conduct of the aggressors. I have attentively watched the debate here and in the Senate. I have looked at the party newspapers of the day, and I have been brought to the settled belief--yea, conviction--that much of the hue and cry is caused by a malignant wish to embarrass the Administration, and to build up the party whom the people hurled from power in November, 1848. Many of the speeches here, relative to the admission of California, are marked by unkind allusion to the President, and sometimes improper and furious, though feeble, aspersions as to his motives.

It seemed to me that if gentlemen, from the South especially, believed our peculiar institutions were in danger, they would desire to produce harmony of feeling--to speak calmly, as to brethren in the midst of a common danger--that they would try and produce united action. But instead of manifesting such a disposition, the Administration is ruthlessly assailed, and the Whig party fiercely denounced. For examples of these party speeches, I refer to that of the gentleman from Mississippi, [Mr. Brown,[ and of the gentleman from Maryland, [Mr. McLane,] who on this matter made a party speech, and tried, as he did before the House was organized, to blow his boatswain's whistle, and pipe all hands on his side to duty. There were other speeches of a like character. I want to show that this agitation--this attempt to excite alarm--is now, as it was last summer, in the southern States, for party purposes. I believe I can show it.

In 1837, when Mr. Van Buren was President, an abolition petition, presented by a gentleman from Vermont, I think, produced a great tumult here. A southern meeting was held in a committee-room down stairs. Patton's resolution, which rejected abolition petitions, was the fruit of that meeting. Presenting this petition was one of Mr. Calhoun's "encroachments." Mr. Van Buren's friends found it necessary to sustain him, as a "northern man with southern principles," and then he made this abolition excitement the platform for his election to the Presidency. In vain did the Whigs at that time warn the southern country he would be a traitor--that his past life had shown he was unsound upon the question of slavery. No matter what should be the consequence to the South, his game was to be played. In 1838, when Mr. Woodbury was in Van Buren's cabinet, and was engaged in that interesting correspondence to his sub-treasurers, Mr. Atherton, of New Hampshire, who was called the prince of humbugs, introduced his wooden-nutmeg, doughfaced, chivalry resolutions. A caucus was held, in which southern Van Buren Democrats sat side by side with the worst anti-slavery men, from which secret caucus all the southern Whigs were excluded; and these resolutions then denounced as Janus-faced, and double-meaning, were the hybrid offspring of that caucus. These resolutions were to quiet agitation. I denounced them, and refused to vote for them, and I was sustained at home. They were also denounced, if I mistake not, by other southern gentleman, as betraying the South.

[A late article in the Republic, in this city, exposes the Atherton caucus, by giving a true account of their origin.]

When General Harrison was nominated, he was denounced as an Abolitionist, Mr. Clay was an abolitionist, and Mr. Van Buren's doughfaces were the friends and "allies of the South." I hope the race of doughfaces is extinct. They were a miserable set of beings--mere puppets of Van Buren--anti-slavery men at home, allies of the South here. Now and then, one is alive, mourning for the lost spoils, and editing a paper that tries to alarm the South by the old song of 1838, "The Whigs are Abolitionists." Once we were told there are no Democratic Abolitionists at the North. Now how changed! Even in the Senate, a member of that body [Mr. Clemens, of Alabama, a Democrat, on the 17th January, 1850] said:

"I said the people of the South had been heretofore laboring under the delusion that the northern Democrats were their friends. I said it was a delusion, and I was glad to have an opportunity of explaining it to them. God deliver me from such friends as the northern Democrats! I would rather trust northern Whigs to-day. They commenced the game earlier, and have not to go so far to get in a proper position. Look at the resolutions of Democratic legislatures, and the messages of Democratic governors, and the resolutions adopted by Democratic conventions, and then tell me about northern Democrats being the friends of the South."

Mr. Calhoun, too, thinks all the northern people are "more or less hostile to us." Sir, I will not admit that either of the great parties of the North, as such, are hostile to the South. Some members of each are hostile--are fanatical; but the great body of both parties at the North, I cannot believe, are traitors to the Constitution and the Union. And, sir, it affords me pleasure to say, that when I hear bold and manly speeches, such as those made by the gentlemen from Illinois [Mr. Bissell] and from Indiana [Mr. Fitch,] I honor their intrepidity--I feel that the Union is safe. The time has passed, I hope, when I can be unjust to a patriot because he differs with me in political opinions. My intercourse with members of the Democratic party in my own State Legislature, removed many prejudices; my intercourse with gentlemen of that party here has proved that many of them are true to the Union; and upon such questions as those now under discussion here, I shall be proud to be allowed to tender them the right hand of fellowship, and to acknowledge them as worthy laborers in a common cause. But I who speak not here of the doughfaces--the men who, for party purposes, agitate the country, that they may win the spoils of office. I had rather meet Abolitionists here than such men--if they can be called so.

No; I would say, with a slight alteration of one of Canning's verses:

"Give me the avowed, erect, and manly foe;

Open, I can meet, perhaps may turn his blow;


But of all the plagues, great Heaven, they wrath can send,

Save, oh save me, from a doughface friend!"

But, sir, to pursue my argument. In proof of the charge I make, that there is a desire to produce agitation for party purposes, I beg attention to a short extract from the "Union" newspaper (Democratic) of this city. I call the attention of my honest Democratic colleagues to this. In the "Union" of February 14, 1850, I find the following:

"The southern Whigs have proved themselves to be the worst enemies of the South, and of southern institutions. But the present is no time for crimination and recrimination. Let the patriots of all parties," &c., &c.

"No time for crimination?" Then why deal in it? "Patriots of all parties!" But as the northern Whigs are ceaselessly denounced as Abolitionists, and the southern Whigs "enemies of the South," who are the "all parties?" Those, I suppose, who vote for the "regular nominees of the Democratic party!"

My Democratic colleagues, I know, cannot justify such conduct. I will not descend to crimination; but what an argument! If the whole North are hostile to the South, and if the southern Whigs are "the worst enemies of the South, and southern institutions," what are to become of those southern States in which the Whigs have the majority?

Besides this extract, just quoted, there are others of like character--one of which was read to us yesterday by the gentleman from Florida, [Mr. Cabell.]

In the Union of February 28, 1850, in the leading editorial article, we are told:

"The alliance of northern Abolitionist-Federalists, and southern slaveholding Whigs, has attempted to prostrate


31st Cong…1st SESS. Causes of the Slavery Agitation--Mr. Stanly. PRICE $3 FOR THIS SESSION.

the Democratic party of the North, who stood for half a century firmly by the compromises of the Constitution, which protected southern institutions, and it had succeeded in compelling the northern Democracy to modify its position in relation to the institutions and interests of the South."

No "time for crimination!" and the northern Democracy has "modified its position." How? By alliance with the Abolitionists? There are other charges of the like character in this and other papers which I have no time to read.

Sir, is this no proof of the design to agitate for party effect? It proves that now, as in 1838, it is, what my colleague from the Buncombe district called it, "a game." In his speech, in 1844, my colleague, [Mr. Clingman,] as reported in the Appendix to the Congressional Globe, of the 28th Congress, first session, referred to the "fact, that although there was near eighty Democratic members from the free States in the House of Representatives, only thirteen, 'with all possible coaxing,' voted for the rule. How is it with the southern wing of the party? Its members make most vehement speeches in favor of the rule; declare that the Union will be dissolved if it is abolished; and charge as high treason all opposition to it. They are especially vehement in their denunciations of me, and desire to make the impression that its loss, if it should be rejected, is mainly to be attributed to my speech against it."

"The game which they have been playing off, is seen through by everybody here, and it is getting to be understood in the country."

Just as the game which Bobadils are playing off now is understood--and I adopt the language of my colleague in what follows--I think it was true of the party to whom it was applied then, in 1844, and especially true now, of those of the South who wish disorder should reign, and of the one-idea, fanatical, Wilmot-proviso men of the North. Hear these words: "The game which they have been playing off, is seen through by everybody here, and it is getting to be understood in the country. There was a time when gentlemen, by giving themselves airs, and talking largely of southern rights, in connection with this subject, were able to give themselves consequence at home; but that day has passed. Its mock tragedy has degenerated into downright farce, and nobody will be humbugged much longer in this way. But the matter is important in one respect. Nothing could more fully show the utter profligacy of the party--its total want of all principle--than the course of its northern and southern wings on this question. They hope, however, by thus spreading their nets, to drag in votes in both sections of the Union, and thereby get into power."

Yes, sir, there's the true secret of this agitation--"get into power"--"to the victors belong the spoils"--adhere to Democratic nominations, even for doorkeeper, or the granite doughfaces will let the Union be dissolved.

I concur in what my colleague said of this agitation in 1844, and especially in a note to his speech, in which he says, that "a certain prominent southern politician, seeing that his course had rendered him unpopular generally, seized upon this question to create excitement between the North and the South, and unite the South thereby into a political party, of which he expected to be the head. There are also individuals at the North who, through professing opposition to the rule, are, in my opinion, really desirous of its continuance, as a means of producing agitation in that quarter. A portion of them entertain the hope, that the excitement there may attain a sufficient height to enable them successfully to invade the institutions of the South; but the larger number are simply seeking to produce a strong prejudice in the popular mind in the free States, against southern institutions and men, on which to base a political party strong enough to control the offices of the country."

Now, sir, I think a prominent southern politician is playing the same game, and the one-idea Wilmot-proviso men, are still trying to control the offices of the country. Some want to get to Congress, or to stay there, or to be placed at the head of some important committee, by voting for the "favorite candidate" of the party.

It was a "game" when my colleague referred to it--it is a "game" now. I fear my colleague does not remember this speech!

Mr. CLINGMAN said, yes.

Mr. STANLY. Well, sir, I will print the extract from the speech of 1844, and let it go to Buncombe, with the late speech of my colleague. Yes, sir, the "game" is still to be played, and now the "refusal to surrender fugitive slaves" is another northern aggression complained of. I admit, the northern States have acted badly in this instance. Both parties have played the game too far of trying to get abolition votes. I cannot see how any man, who has sworn to support the Constitution, can refuse to pass any law that may be deemed necessary. The conduct of the northern States, in this respect, is admitted by some of their own citizens, to be without excuse. No one condemns it more decidedly than I do; and I believe, from all I have heard, this abuse will be remedied.

But still, the noise made about this is part of the "game," part of the "party operations." One would suppose from speeches made here, that no slaves had escaped from the South until CASS's defeat.

But to the recent history of this. In 1838, shortly after the Atherton resolutions were passed, a worthy gentleman from Kentucky, then a member of this House, introduced a resolution I hold in my hand, which I will print:

"Mr. Calhoon, of Kentucky, moved that the rules in relation to the order of business be suspended, to enable him to move a resolution; which was read at the Clerk's table, and is in the words following, viz:

"Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary be instructed to report a bill, making it unlawful for any person to aid fugitive slaves in escaping from their owners, and providing for the punishment in the courts of the United States of all persons who may be guilty of such offence.

"And that they be further instructed to report a bill, making it unlawful for any person in the non-slaveholding States of this Union to use any means to induce slaves from their owners, and providing for the punishment, in the courts of the United States, of all persons who may be found guilty of such offence.

"And on the question, 'Shall the rules be suspended for the purpose aforesaid?'

"It passed in the negative--yeas 90, nays 107."

Among the nays were Mr. Atherton, and fifty-four other northern "allies of the South."

Now, sir, is it not singular, that from that period down to the present, as far as my knowledge extends, no effort has been made, until General Taylor's election, to demand additional legislation upon this subject?

If any such effort has been made, I do not know it. Were there no fugitive slaves since 1838? Well, Mr. Van Buren was President three years after that, and no bill passed for fugitive slaves. In the twenty-fifth Congress, from 1837 to 1839, Mr. Polk was Speaker. From 1839 to 1841, twenty-sixth Congress, Mr. HUNTER, of Virginia, was Speaker--Democratic majority here, and no bill for fugitive slaves!

Tyler was President from April 1841, to March, 1845. During the first year of Tyler's term, Mr. White, of Kentucky, was Speaker; and from 1843 to 1845, Mr. Jones, of Virginia, was Speaker, and a Democratic majority here, with a Virginia president, and no bill for reclaiming fugitive slaves!

Then, from March 1845, to March 1849, Mr. Polk, a southern President, and during two years Mr. Davis, of Indiana, a Democratic Speaker, and still no bill for the reclamation of fugitive slaves! Nothing said by Virginia members even, from 1838 till now!

Mr. VENABLE. Will my honorable colleague allow me to remind him that before the presidential canvass, at the first session of the last Congress, on the abduction of a number of slaves from this District, I raised that question, and delivered a speech upon that subject?

Mr. STANLY. My colleague may have raised the question at that time, but there was no legislative action in this House on that subject, nor any attempt to procure any, that I know of. And my colleague raised the question, when there was great excitement here, on account of one act of outrage. He did not still try to procure action on the part of Congress, to enable the southern people to recover their slaves.

Mr. BAYLY. Will the gentleman allow me to put him right on a matter of fact?

Mr. STANLY. If not out of my time.

Mr. BAYLY understood the gentleman to say, that from 1838, the time of Atherton's resolution, to this time, nothing has been said by Virginia members on the subject of the surrender of fugitive slaves.

Mr. STANLY. Nothing for the action of Congress.

Mr. BAYLY. Well, the subject was before the Legislature of Virginia in 1841 and 1842, and it was never brought before this House, because we came to the conclusion that the law of 1793 was as nearly perfect as it could be, and that it only required that it should be executed in good faith.

Mr. STANLY. Yes, sir, and you changed your opinion of that law as soon as General Taylor was elected President. And I would ask, why legislate further, if that law is sufficient? We cannot create "good faith" by act of Congress. I admit, Mr. Chairman, that Virginia is still a great and glorious Commonwealth. She has much to be proud of in the past history of this country. She needs no eulogy from me, and, though I must censure, and shall ridicule the conduct of some of her public men, I shall speak respectfully of the State. Many of my dearest friends and nearest relatives reside within her borders, and they have, I believe, done no discredit to her, in peace or war. But, sir, the Old Dominion is too much in the habit of taking care of the affairs of the General Government, and the debates in her legislature are not as important in the eyes of the country as they are to the chairman of Ways and Means, [Mr. BAYLY.] And I should be glad to know why, if the Representatives from Virginia thought the law of 1793 sufficient, did the gentleman from Virginia [Mr. MEADE] introduce his resolution soon after General Taylor's election, proposing to instruct the Committee on the Judiciary to report a bill providing for the apprehension of fugitive slaves?

So I repeat, from 1838 to 1848--until December, 1848, when the gentleman from Virginia [Mr. MEADE] offered his resolution--all the southern Democracy, now crying out at this dreadful aggression, never moved a finger to procure any law relative to fugitive slaves! No, sir; they were "as mute as a mouse in a cheese"--yes, sir, as a first family Virginia mouse in an English cheese. The reason was, as my colleague [Mr. VENABLE] said, in some poor verses quoted by him in his speech,

"The laurels were fairly portioned

The spoils were fairly sold."

Mr. VENABLE. The "lands," I said.

Mr. STANLY. I accept the correction; it was printed "laurels," but my colleague is right; the southern Democracy, whatever of "spoils" they got, won no "laurels" during the last ten years with their northern allies.

No, sir; the truth is, CASS was a "used up man," Taylor was elected, the "spoils" were gone, the cohesive power was lost.

Truly, as Job said, "Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder?"

I have watched the progress of the debate in the Senate, and from the published speeches in the newspapers, I see a respectable Senator from Virginia [Mr. MASON] said he wanted the bill acted on "as soon as practicable," but had "little hope it would afford the remedy it is intended to afford;" "it depends upon the loyalty of the people to whom it is directed."

Another Senator (from South Carolina--Mr. BUTLEN) said "he had no very great confidence that this bill will subserve the ends which seem to be contemplated by it." Why, then, I ask, so zealously urge the passage of it? One of these Senators [Mr. MASON] also intimated that it might become necessary, for the States whose citizens lost negroes, "to make reprisals on the citizens of the State offending!" Now this, it seems to me, would be but a poor way of doing justice to our citizens. If one rogue in Ohio or Pennsylvania steals a negro, we are to take the wagon-horse of some honest old farmer, who lived hundreds of miles from the thief! Will not this produce civil war? Will it enable us to recover fugitive slaves?

Now, sir, I think I have proved that this newborn zeal for legislation, to enable us to recover fugitive slaves, is all owing to the defeat of General CASS.

Well, sir, among other reasons given why we should think of dissolution, is the fact, that the



31st CONG…1st SESS. Causes of the Slavery Agitation--Mr. Stanly. HO. OF REPS.

southern States are annoyed by the "agitation of Abolitionists." The Southern Address says, I think, it commenced about the year 1835. It commenced, sir, before the year 1787. The Quakers have for more than a hundred years been opposed to slavery. In 1671 George Fox advocated emancipation. But the aggressive agitation consisted in sending abolition petitions; and I remember well, before the repeal of the "twenty-first rule," southern gentlemen said if that rule should be repealed, and these petitions received, the Union would be dissolved. My colleague [Mr. CLINGMAN] had the boldness to vote against the twenty-first rule. I commend him for it. But he was denounced by various southern gentlemen--by Mr. A. V. Brown, afterwards Governor of Tennessee, Mr. Cobb, of Georgia, our Speaker, Mr. Stiles, of Georgia, and by Mr. R. M. Saunders, of North Carolina. Some extracts of their speeches are before me, and I will print them, to show them how much mistaken they were. Mr. Brown, of Tennessee, was arguing against making the petitions "the subject of reference, report, and debate in this hall." "Our safety," said he, "depends upon it." He begged the "real friends" of the South, if they could not altogether exclude those petitions, not to refer them for debate, &c. And he added:

"The South will hold no man guiltless who shall go one inch beyond the right of petition. He must answer for every fire that may be kindled, and for every drop of blood that may be shed. Yes, sir; I will say to the gentlemen from New York and from North Carolina, [Mr. CLINGMAN,] if this House shall go one inch beyond that, they may have to stand answerable for the shattered and broken fragments of the Union itself."--[See Appendix in Cong. Globe, 28th Congress, 1st Session.]

I have an extract before me from the speech of Mr. Stiles, of Georgia, which I will print. Mr. Stiles spoke under excitement, and very wildly.

Extract from the speech of Mr. Stiles, of Georgia, House of Representatives, January 28 and 30, 1844, on the twenty-fifth rule, relating to abolition petitions. In replying to the remarks of Mr. CLINGMAN, (Appendix to Congressional Globe, 28th Congress, 1st session, page 262,) he spoke of the Constitution as a citadel, a fortress; and this rule was a "barrier;" and he said:

"While that remains, the fortress stands; when it is gone, the fortress falls. That barrier can be removed only by someone within. The fortress can be taken--the citadel lost--only by treachery in the camp. I will pursue this simile no further. But let me till the member from North Carolina, that if this rule is lost from the relation in which he stands to, and the part which he has borne in, this transaction, he may go home to his constituents, and to his grave, covered with the unenviable immortality of having betrayed the interests of the South--in having surrendered the Constitution of his country."

Mr. R. M. Saunders, of North Carolina, thought with others whose remarks I have just quoted.

Mr. R. M. Saunders, arguing against the argument that to receive petitions would silence the "clamor about the right of petition," said:

"They might as soon expect to extinguish the conflagration by adding fuel to the flames. I repeat, then, there is but one alternative--rejection without action, or reception and action. There is no middle ground can satisfy those who are resolved to press this matter, whatever its consequences.--[Appendix to Cong. Globe, 28th Congress, 1st Session, January 1844, page 85.]

How much mistaken! Since the repeal of the rule, how seldom we see an abolition petition!

Mr. Saunders appeared to have been sincerely distressed. He appealed to the doughfaces in an extract before me:

"Mr. Saunders said: I ask the gentlemen from Maine, if there be any here, who have hitherto stood by us, why they should now give way? I turn to our friends from Connecticut, and ask them why they should yield? If I appeal in vain, I turn to those by whom I know the appeal will be answered--by patriotic New Hampshire, whose sons, like her granite basis, have hitherto breasted the storm; they, I know, will not give way. So I call upon our friends from the Keystone State not to surrender, because a single soldier in the South has deserted us on this trying occasion." --[See Appendix to Cong. Globe, 28th Congress, 1st Session.]

How much mistaken, I say again, these gentlemen were! Mr. CLAY always argued, Receive these petitions, and much of this clamor will cease. The result shows he was right. When I had the honor of being in Congress in 1839, while the twenty-first rule was in force, I do not think I exaggerate when I say, that during the period of three or four months, we had what were called abolition petitions presented here, signed by more than one hundred thousand men and women. Like the camomile flower, "the more it is trodden upon, the faster it grows," this right of petition, when denied, was most earnestly asserted. How stands the fact now? We have been here more than three months, and not one single abolition petition has been presented! Hence the Union will not be dissolved because of this aggression. This aggression has ceased. No, sir; there is no danger to this Union from any such cause. In this happy land, the people will occasionally be guilty of some extravagant conduct. We have a numerous population who are not always employed.

What was said by one of England's great poets of her people, can with truth be said of ours,

"Whose only grievance is excess of ease,

Freedom their pain, and plenty their disease."

When they cannot war against the twenty-first rule, they will form peace societies. Noble motives prompt them in this. These agitators, comprising a small portion of our northern people, not only seek distinction by their noisy opposition to slavery, but they contend, among other things, for what they term "the rights of women." I do not know what are the rights they claim--whether they think women should vote--should come to Congress, &c.; but if they give to the New England women more rights than those our North Carolina women have, they will not have a republican government.

Some of these agitators do not believe any judge has a right to administer an oath--they do not acknowledge the authority of any magistrate. Such people deserve our pity, or contempt; they ought not to be reasoned with; denunciation, like the storm upon the traveler, but makes them fold the cloak of prejudice closely around them, and go on with more energy; forbearance toward their follies--as it did with their right of petition--like the influence of the sun, will drive them to the shades of retirement.

But complaint is made against the North, because they will not stop the agitation and aggression of these fanatics. How can they stop them? New York cannot quiet the disturbances of her Anti-renters. A mob in the city of New York last year, because of some misunderstanding between two actors, nearly destroyed a valuable building, and caused the death of several persons. Massachusetts, some years ago, could not in her peaceful borders prevent the destruction of a convent; Dorrism nearly produced civil war in Rhode Island; Philadelphia has had a church destroyed, and an Abolition hall burnt down by her staid population.

If these terrible outbreaks cannot be prevented, how can the northern people suppress fanaticism? And yet we are told by gentlemen, the Union will be dissolved unless this agitation ceases.

Who can reason with fanaticism?

"You may as well go stand upon the beach

And bid the main flood bate his usual height;

You may as well use question with the wolf,

Why he hath made the ewe bleat for the lamb;

You may as well forbid the mountain pines

To wag their high tops, and to make no noise,

When they are fretted with the gusts of Heaven"--

as try and suppress fanaticism by reason and by law.

We give more importance to these agitators than they deserve, by supposing that all who are opposed to slavery are disposed to interfere with slavery in the States. It is a great mistake. Our Quakers, in North Carolina and elsewhere, are all opposed to slavery. In 1824, I think, Mr. R. M. Saunders presented one of their petitions here. The Quakers, in all countries, are among our best population. They are industrious, sober, orderly. They try and do unto others as they wish others to do unto them; but they are no agitators. It is a part of their religion to oppose slavery. Every year they express, in mild terms, their opposition to it. I received from my district a few days since, a paper before me, from one of the best men I ever knew--a Quaker. It is entitled, "Minutes of the North Carolina Yearly Meeting, held at New Garden, Guilford county, 11th Month, 1849." They send a memorial to the Senate and House of Representatives, in which they say:

"Your memorialists further show, that they believe themselves conscientiously constrained to bear their testimony against the unrighteous system of slavery. Many of them have made pecuniary sacrifices to obtain a quiet conscience; and they respectfully ask Congress to take the subject under deliberation, and legislate for its amelioration or extinction, as far as they constitutionally can; for we believe it to be anti-Christian in practice, inasmuch as it is at variance with the divine precept of 'doing to others as we would they should do to us.' We believe it to be anti-republican, because it does not accord with the declaration of American independence--with that self-evident truth, that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

"And we suggest, for your consideration, the propriety of our Government acknowledging the independence and nationality of the Republic of Liberia, and extending to her the same comity as other nations.

"Your memorialists and petitioners desire that you may be guided and influenced in your legislation by that wisdom which is profitable to direct, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated."

Now, these men are among our best citizens; some of them were slaveholders. I know one who emancipated fifty slaves. It would be a moderate estimate to say he sacrificed to his conscience $25,000. Yet these people would be the last to encourage violence. These men would not fight; but in the hour of trial, I believe many of them would do as one did in Rhode Island in the Dorr rebellion. He found a soldier at his post, exhausted by fatigue and want of food. "Friend," he said, "I cannot use arms, but I will take care of thy musket until thou has refreshment." Ask these men what has been the effect of the agitation of Abolitionists, and they will tell you it has checked emancipation. I contend that it is wrong to suppose that the great body of our northern people, who believe slavery to be an evil, as our Quakers do, are therefore disposed to interfere with the southern States, or are "enemies of the South."

But, to another "aggression on the South." In 1843, Massachusetts passed resolutions recommending a change in the Constitution of the United States. The recommendation was, that the third clause of the second section of the first article of the Constitution should be so changed as to abolish the representation of the southern States for their slaves. This proposition was denounced as tending to disunion. A gentleman from Virginia, [Mr. Gilmer,] and one from South Carolina, [Mr. BURT,] said of it, "a proposition precisely similar to that now under consideration was made by the notorious Hartford Convention." I think when that amendment is made, others will be made, and disunion will be the inevitable consequence.

But though the Legislature of Massachusetts did wrong in this instance, it does not follow that while our present Constitution stands, she would interfere with slavery in the southern States. If it evinces a disposition to interfere, it admits also the want of power under the Constitution. Our State legislatures sometimes do silly things. They resolve one year against the resolves of the year before. But I wish to call the attention of my colleague, [Mr. CLINGMAN,] who no doubt regards these Massachusetts resolutions as an "aggression," to some proceedings of the last legislature of our State. We had before us, in the winter of 1848-'49, a proposition to amend our State constitution. In the gubernatorial canvass of 1848, an issue unwisely was made upon the propriety of striking out from our State constitution a provision which requires that all voters for the Senate shall own fifty acres of land. The Democrats raised the cry of "free suffrage." The Whig candidate--a most estimable gentleman--was understood to oppose free suffrage. As might have been expected, the Democrats nearly elected their candidate in a State that gave Taylor more than eight thousand majority over Cass. But when the proposition was brought forward to amend our constitution, some of the members from my colleague's [Mr.


31st CONG…1st SESS. Causes of the Slavery Agitation--Mr. Stanly. HO. OF REPS.

CLINGMAN] district were earnest in advocating the "white basis." They probably remembered what my colleague said in his speech in December, 1847, of the "white race being superior to the black; of course a country filled with the former is more vigorous and prosperous than one filled with a mixed race."

When the proposition was before the legislature, other amendments were offered beside that relating to "free suffrage."

That I may be understood, let me state, that by our State constitution, the House of Commons is composed of members elected from the counties "according to their federal population." The article seems to have been copied from the Constitution of the United States, which Massachusetts wished to amend in 1843--the "third clause of the second section of the first article." One western gentleman proposed in the North Carolina Legislature:

"And be it further enacted, That the constitution be so amended as to provide that the Senate shall hereafter be apportioned among the several counties of this State, according to the Federal basis, and the members of the House of Commons, according to the white population of the State."

For this amendment, forty-one western members voted--Whigs and Democrats, and among them some of the best men in our State.

Another gentleman proposed "that, in all future arrangements of senatorial districts, the whole number of white population of the State alone, shall be divided by fifty, and every fiftieth part of the white population alone shall be entitled to a Senator."

Our State senators are elected according to a basis of taxation.

Another gentleman--a bolder and truer man is rarely to be found--proposed an amendment, that "the members of the House of Commons be apportioned according to the white population of the State"--rejected--yeas 36, nays 66. And then, just as these political movements are made in the northern States, another gentleman from my colleague's district [Mr. CLINGMAN] moved that "the words Federal population" be struck out of the constitution, and "free white population" be inserted in the stead--rejected--28 to 66.

This last gentleman--a Democrat--thought he would go beyond what the Whig member had proposed. Shall these men be called Abolitionists? Nor, sir--no; they would be the first to take up arms, if it were necessary, against them. But in Massachusetts, a proposition of the like character is denounced as being "the result of wicked designs of ambitious agitators and ignorant fanatics." I ask my colleague [Mr. CLINGMAN] what shall be said of the "white basis" advocates in western North Carolina? Are they agitators? I think the people in eastern North Carolina will ask my colleague to stop agitation at home, before he threatens to dissolve the Union for agitation abroad.

Now, Mr. Chairman, the members of our state Legislature, who made these propositions, are not fanatics. They are true sons of the old North State. They live in the most beautiful land that the sun of heaven ever shone upon. Yes, sir; I have heard the anecdote from Mr. CLAY, that a preacher in Kentucky, when speaking of the beauties of Paradise--when he desired to make his audience believe it was a place of bliss--said it was a Kentucky of a place. Sir, this preacher had never visited the western counties of North Carolina. I have spent days of rapture, in looking at her scenery of unsurpassed grandeur, in hearing the roar of her magnificent waterfalls, second only to the great cataract of the North; and while I gazed for hours, lost in admiration, at the power of Him, who, by his word, created such a country as this, and gratitude for the blessings he had scattered upon it, I thought that if Adam and Eve, when driven from Paradise, had been near this land, they would have thought themselves in the next best place to that they had left. I could but think--I hope reverently--of what was told the children of Israel, by their leader, they should have, when he said:

"For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths, that spring out of valleys and hills;

"A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig-trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil, olive, and honey; a land wherein thou shalt eat bread, without scarceness; thou shalt not lack anything in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass."

And to this country, for want of a railroad, the East are strangers. And now, when our patriotic sons at home, forgetting all party calls, are, with united effort, struggling nobly to build this road, to make us better acquainted, to build up cities in the East, to give our farmers a market for their produce, to stop the tide of emigration, to bind the East and West together, in dissoluble bonds of interest and affection, our ears are saluted here with the hoarse brawling of disunion--and we are invited to contemplate the glories of a Southern Confederacy, in which Virginia and South Carolina are to have great cities, to be supported by the colony or plantation of North Carolina!--a Southern Confederacy, in which the rulers will lead us into an unholy crusade, as far as Vera Cruz, to conquer territory, to give the "sons of the Presidents" a market!

When the American army was rejoicing at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown--when the acclamations of our revolutionary patriots, and their thanks to Providence, were poured forth from their grateful hearts--it is said that a Scotchman, whose bullock had been taken to supply the wants of the soldiers, was heard to shout through the army, "Beef! beef! beef!" when he was clamoring for the price of his property. The genius of the illustrious Patrick Henry has given this man an unenviable notoriety. In the minds of the people of North Carolina the name of John Hook will be associated with the advocates of disunion and civil war.

But the hearts of the great mass of our people of both parties are right. Our great railroad must and will be built. In a few years, the enlivening sound of the steam whistle will be heard in the recesses of our forests; beautiful villages will spring up among us, and the "little hills shall rejoice on every side;" the "valleys shall stand so thick with corn that they shall laugh and sing."

Yes, sir, we will build this road; and with the electro-magnetic telegraph, we can communicate news in a few hours to places distant hundreds of miles. And let insurrection take place, our gallant mountain boys--and among the first of them, the "white basis" members of our legislature--will come down by thousands to our aid. They will come "as the winds come when navies are stranded."

But I must hurry on. Inexorable, relentless time will not stay his march, even to hear me speak of the future glories of North Carolina.

I come now to another reason assigned by some why we should think of disunion. It was also referred to in the Southern Address. It is the "notorious GOTT'S resolution." Now what is it?

I have a copy before me. In December, 1848, Mr. GOTT offered this resolution. It had to southern gentlemen an offensive preamble, "of the traffic in human beings," &c.; but the resolution is as follows:

"Resolved, That the Committee for the District of Columbia be instructed to report a bill as soon as practicable prohibiting the slave-trade in said District."

The resolution was adopted, afterward reconsidered, and no action I believe was ever afterward had upon it. And here, by the way, I wish I could have some good reason why the southern Democracy voted for the previous question, with the Abolitionists, on this resolution? Why was action desired, except for agitation? But this is the GOTT resolution--this is THE resolution which roused the South, and brought about the Southern convention which issued the Southern Address. It proposes simply to abolish the slave-trade in this District.

If I understand correctly the opinions of Mr. CLAY, in his recent and former speeches, he has expressed his willingness that the slave-trade in this District should be abolished. But because he was a candidate for the Presidency, he has been called an Abolitionist. But I have strong southern authority to support GOTT's resolution. A distinguished Senator from Alabama--one very worthy of the place he adorns, a gentleman of ability, of dignified senatorial deportment, respected by all who know him, and, I am proud to say, a native of my own state, [Mr. KING]--in a recent debate in the Senate, used very strong language upon this subject. This gentleman had so good a character, that even John Tyler conferred office on him without injuring him. He said, very properly, "he asked no act of Congress to carry slavery anywhere." The Senator is opposed to the Wilmot proviso, as I am; and I concur with him entirely in what he says of abolishing slavery in this District. I have an extract from his remarks, which I will print, not having time to read them.

Mr. KING, of Alabama, said:

"That whether the Congress of the United States has, under the Constitution, the right to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia or not, it would be as gross a violation of good faith towards Maryland and Virginia, as if it had been expressly prohibited in the Constitution, as long as those States remained slaveholding States.

"With regard to what is called the slave-trade, I have never seen the day--and Senators are aware of it, I presume, from the course I have pursued heretofore--when I was not willing to pass a law for the purpose of breaking up those miserable establishments that exist under the very eyes of Congress itself, and are so offensive to many gentlemen, who feel perhaps more sensitive on the subject than I do. I am free to say that I am the very last man who would be willing to encourage such establishments."

Did GOTT's resolution propose to do anything else but "break up these miserable establishments?" And yet, if this is done, the Nashville Convention will be instructed to prepare for a dissolution of the Union! And a bill was reported from a committee, I learn of the last Congress, of which the gentleman from Mississippi [Mr. BROWN] was a member, to abolish the slave-trade in this District. Again, I say, sir, that had General CASS been elected President, we should not have heard all this outcry.

Here allow me to say, sir, that no man in his senses believes Congress will ever be guilty either of the outrage or the folly of abolishing slavery in this District, excepting, of course, those fanatics who think the Constitution is an "agreement with hell." If any sensible man ever thought of it, I would ask him cui bono? Would it not inevitably lead to the abolition the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. MANN] spoke of? Would it not separate husband and wife, parent and child? Any owner of a slave can take him out of the District when he pleases. And what would be the condition of those free negroes now married to slaves? I do not believe we will ever have a President who would approve such a bill. If Mr. Van Buren were President, I would trust even him; and although he had pledged himself to veto the bill, I believe he would do it.

Such an act would justly be regarded by the southern States as a declaration of hostility on the part of the North, and they would act accordingly.

[Here Mr. STANLY was rudely interrupted by Mr. HILLIARD, of Alabama, which led to controversy between Mr. HILLIARD and Mr. STANLY, which is reported at length in the Daily Globe of March 7, 1850, to which paper Mr. S. specially refers, as other reports have been garbled.]

Mr. Chairman, when I was interrupted by the gentleman from Alabama, I was speaking, I think, of the aggression on the South.

Yes, the South has been terribly oppressed! Out of the sixty years since the Constitution was framed, the South has had the Presidents all of the time, except twelve years and one month. We have had our share of other high offices. How is it now? In the midst of this formidable invasion of our rights, when the Abolitionists are so strong, we have elected a southern President, who was said to be the owner of more than two hundred slaves, and that, too, against the nominees of the Baltimore Convention, when it was said "there was no slaveholder on their ticket!"

We have a southern Speaker, with whose manner of discharging the duties of the Chair I have no complaint to make. And what a spectacle his election presented! So strong was party feeling with some gentlemen from the non-slaveholding States, that when the issue was a northern or a southern Speaker, they refused to vote for a northern Speaker. This speaks volumes; party feelings must always influence us--must always be felt by the North and West--and southern votes will always be wanted.

A majority of the Cabinet are from slaveholding States. In the Supreme Court we have five to four. In the army and navy, we have our full share. Of the foreign ministers, we have more than our share. But still, "Gott's resolution," or some other aggression, troubles us. Let me record another instance of northern liberality. When General Harrison died, Mr. Tyler became


31ST CONG…1ST SESS. Causes of the Slavery Agitation--Mr. Stanly. HO. OF REPS.

President. Mr. Southard, of New Jersey, was chosen President of the Senate; he died, and did the North practise aggression on us? Did they elect a northern President of the Senate? No; they elected a distinguished Senator [Mr. Mangum] from my own State.

Mark, Mr. Chairman, my argument is, not to defend the Abolitionists, or agitators, but to prove that the North--the great body of the people-- are not enemies to the South. And, to pursue this argument, how did the votes stand in the last Presidential election?

I have not time to make a very accurate statement, but this statement is nearly correct:

In what are called the free States,

Taylor received 925,646 votes.

Cass 812,855

Van Buren 291,678


In the slaveholding States,

Taylor and Fillmore received 435,378

Cass and Butler 409,436

Van Buren 299


Whole number of votes, (excluding South Carolina, whose

electors are chosen by her legislature) 2,875,292

Majority of Union men over Free-Soilers and Abolitionists, only two millions five hundred and eighty-three thousand three hundred and fifteen--more than two millions five hundred thousand!

Taylor's majority, although he was reported to be the owner of two hundred slaves, was more than one hundred thousand. And this majority in the non-slaveholding States, where he was opposed by General Cass, who is reported to have said he thanked God he never owned a slave--said he never would, and prayed for the abolition of slavery!

Is this hostility to the South? No, sir; the true secret is, the spoils are gone; some editors are turned out of office--others are disappointed; or, to use the words of my colleague, [Mr. Clingman,] in an extract before me, as reported in the Appendix to the Congressional Globe, 28th Congress, first session, page 285, he said of the Democratic party, what I would say of the doughfaces:

"It will be found on examination, this party is governed by seven principles--as John Randolph is reported to have said of Thomas Ritchie--the five loaves and the two fishes. Or, in the language of John C. Calhoun, late a distinguished leader of this party, remarkable for his powers of generalization and condensation, and who was thereby enabled to analyze, simplify, and reduce to a single element these various principles, it is the 'spoils of party,' held together by the cohesive power of public plunder."

And here, sir, let me say another word to my colleague, while I think of it.

I hope he will pause in his hasty course, until he hears from the people in the eastern part of the State. In case of civil war, they are more likely to be injured by insurrection and by foreign foes than my colleague's constituents.

According to the census of 1840, as nearly as I can ascertain, in the district of my colleague, [Mr. Outlaw,] from the northeastern counties, the population was

White. Slave.

42,458 33,053

Wilmington district 49,486 33,238

Washington 49,308 37,665

Now, what is the condition among my colleague's "white basis" constituents?

Buncombe district, (Clingman's)--white population, 60,039; slave ditto, 9,229.

These eastern districts are on the sea-coast. My colleague's is the most inaccessible point to a foreign foe, in the United States. I do not believe, sir, the good people he represents are willing to engage in foreign or civil war, for any aggression yet committed, and not even to recover fugitive slaves; and I do not believe my colleague's constituents ever lost a slave by northern Abolitionists. Bad men sometimes steal our slaves; if that aggression can be stopped by my colleague, he will do us great service.

I hope to be allowed to speak to my colleague for my constituents--to speak as an eastern man, and as a slaveholder. If, in the providence of God, any calamity befalls us on account of our slaves, I shall be among my people. I shall not inquire, as the servant of my friend from Kentucky [Mr. Marshall] did, when he told his servant John he wished him to go to Mexico. "Master," said John, after reflection, "how far is the camp from the battle-ground?" His master could not answer satisfactorily, and John declined to go. My affections, my interest, my duty, all bind me with hooks of steel to my home. The graves of my forefathers, for several generations, are there; the dearest friends I have on earth are there; there I expect to live, and there I hope to die; and whatever calamity may come, their fate will be my fate, "their God will be my God."

I wish now, sir, to say a word to the gentleman from Virginia, [Mr. Meade,] who did me the honor to send me a copy of his speech early in the session.

I protest, as a southern man, against the doctrines of this speech, delivered before the gentleman's constituents in August, 1849; and I think, if copies of it were circulated in New Mexico, and the people understood the gentleman was an influential man at home, and in Congress, it would be enough of itself to exclude slavery from that territory.

Mr. Ashe. The gentleman to whom you refer is not in the House--he is not in the city--he is sick.

Mr. Stanly. I am sorry to hear of the gentleman's illness, though I shall make no remarks of an offensive character. If I had heard he had been taken sick shortly after the delivery of this speech, I should not have been at a loss to account for his illness. I am obliged to my colleague for the motive which prompts the interruption.

The gentleman [Mr. Meade] says: "We are no propagandists of slavery; had we no slaves, there is not a man present who would vote to bring them among us." I am glad to hear the declaration. The gentleman probably concurs in opinion with my colleague, [Mr. Clingman,] when he said, a country filled with the white race "is more vigorous and prosperous than one filled with a mixed race." My colleague shakes his head; he will find, on examination, I am right in stating what he said--a sentiment that will answer better for the hills of Buncombe, than for eastern lowlands, for negroes thrive in some parts of our country where white people can hardly live. The bilious fever is sometimes, in the lowlands, very fatal to the white race. I have heard a highly intelligent gentleman, and a large slaveholder, say he had never known a negro to die from the bilious fever. But I should be glad to be informed why the gentleman from Virginia would not bring them among us, if they "elevate our character'--a sentiment that meets my hearty condemnation; for if it be true, the "owner of sixty slaves' is more elevated in his character than the owner of five--then he who holds no negroes cannot be elevated in his character! I know a certain district in the United States, in which it was urged that a Democratic candidate, "the owner of sixty slaves," was more worthy of public confidence than a Whig, who did not even own half a dozen; but it was not argued that the large slave owner was more "elevated in character" for that reason.

Again: the gentleman from Virginia [Mr. Meade} says:

"The situation of Virginia is more critical than any of her sisters. She has a slave population of near half a million, whose value is chiefly dependant on southern demand."

Now, sir, if I understand this, it means that Virginia slave owners raise negroes to sell. If so, I say it is horrible to think of. I have spent most of my life among slaveholders--religious men of all denominations are slaveholders--but I do not know one man in my district, or my State, who raises negroes for "southern demand"--to sell. I should be ashamed to own such a constituent.

Again, says the gentleman from Virginia:

"The whole civilized world is now uniting in a crusade against American slavery, even where it now exists."

I do not admit the correctness of this assertion; but if it be true, how, I ask, shall we improve our condition by dissolving the Union? Both the great parties of the country admit their obligation to stand by the Constitution. What will be the crusade when that Constitution is destroyed?

Again, says the gentleman from Virginia:

"While it must be admitted that strong objections may be urged to the institution of slavery, yet there are advantages also, which, in the opinion of many, are full compensation for the evils attending it. Our past history testifies to the fact, that it elevates the character of the white man. Though we have been in a numerical minority in the Union for fifty years, yet during the greater part of that period we have managed to control the destinies of this nation."

The gentleman from Indiana [Mr. Fitch] has already commented on this remark, and I have but one word to add. Are we not, now, by our share in the great offices of the Republic, still controlling the destinies of this nation?

But the gentleman says:

"The diffusion of our population is essential to our very existence."

It may be so in Virginia, but it is not so in North Carolina; if we are let alone, we can manage ours. Is this diffusion to go on indefinitely? If New Mexico is admitted into the Union, and abolishes slavery, where will the diffusion then be? I see no danger to our existence in the admission of New Mexico as a free State. I had rather have her there, than to have a free Mexican State not under the influence of our Constitution and laws.

But in the gentleman's speech he takes another view of the subject. He says:

"If, in the mean time, the Mexican States on the Rio Grande should be annexed, (as they will be, if they are to come in as free States,) we shall be entirely cut off from the hope we now have a letting off this population, then probably valueless as property, among a people already, to a certain extent, homogeneous, and with whom they may readily and naturally amalgamate."

Now, sir, this is worse, if possible, than the idea of "southern demand." Here is a bright picture for the citizens of New Mexico! Amalgamate! What will the inheritors of the old Castilian blood and spirit say to that?

The gentleman's speech has been extensively circulated; newspapers have copied large portions of it; each member of Congress, I learn, has been politely furnished with a copy. If it reaches New Mexico, and her people understand the gentleman expresses the opinions of the South, he will be entitled to the credit or the blame of keeping slaves from New Mexico.

I wish now, sir, to say a word to some of the agitators on this floor, who have been guilty of unkind and cruelly-uncharitable speeches. A gentleman from Massachusetts, [Mr. Mann,] who has the reputation of being a man of letters and of cultivated taste, gave utterance to expressions which he must have known were offensive to every southern man in this House. He drew a horrid picture of the probable consequences of disunion. Some expressions are, I think, modified in his printed speech; and my blood ran cold, to hear a gentleman of his age and standing apparently delight in wounding our feelings. I will not repeat the expression to which I refer. I could not speak of them in respectful terms. Sir, I have no personal acquaintance with the gentleman from Massachusetts; but if he be the man I have heard of, as possessing a cultivated mind, adorned with rare classical attainments--if his speech is a fair exhibition of his feelings, I fear he will furnish another melancholy example of the truth of the assertion, that a cultivated intellect is not always attended with a cultivated heart--that a man's mind may be "rich with the spoils of time," and his heart of flinty coldness. The gentleman is not unknown to the country as an able and eloquent lecturer to literary institutions; his services in the cause of education have been valuable; he has proved in that offensive speech, that with him "knowledge is a Swiss mercenary, ready to combat either in the works of sin, or under the banner of righteousness"--ready to give wholesome advice to young men when entering upon life, or to fan the flames of fanaticism.

The gentleman seemed to speak without regret at the thought that "domestic fury and fierce civil strife" should reign among us. What reason--what motive--can prompt the gentleman from Massachusetts thus to speak to us? It cannot give him strength at home. No one accuses any northern man of wishing to establish or extend slavery; and if the gentleman will withdraw himself from his philosophical reveries for a few moments, and ask himself, with the remembrance that there is an eye that sees the thoughts of the heart, "What good have I done, what good did I hope to do, by outraging the feelings of any of the members of this House?" I think the "still small voice" will tell him, None, none! I fear the gentleman will prove it is true.

"Heart-merit wanting, mount we ne'er so high, Our height is but the gibbet of our name."


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If I might presume to advise one so competent to give advice as the gentleman from Massachusetts is, I would tell him, Better keep at your lectures--have them published and puffed by your friends. In this way, good may be achieved by your efforts. Your eloquence may be praised--extracts may be published from your lectures--exciting the admiration of sophomores and of men. But I beg the gentleman to remember, that though he speak with the "tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity," he will become as "sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." And another gentleman, from Pennsylvania, [Mr. Stevens,] in a speech which was apparently deliberately prepared, gave utterance to sentiments, clothed in language that a southern gentleman would not use to a respectable negro. I expected some ultraism from this source. That gentleman is known as a man of excessive humanity. And since anti-masonry will no longer answer for a hobby-horse--since Morgan's mysterious disappearance has ceased to agitate the public mind in the North--the gentleman must preach against the horrors and the despotism of slavery. I hope his next speech will be fit to be read in the families of Pennsylvania farmers. I hope the gentleman will find some other Morgan to frighten the grandmothers and children of Pennsylvania with. But I ask him to let us alone.

Mr. Chairman, if these gentlemen's mind were not as inaccessible to reason as their hearts seem devoid of kindness toward a portion of their countrymen, I would gladly ask them to listen to some few facts. When I was a young man, and first observed public events in North Carolina, free negroes voted as white citizens. Free negroes voted in North Carolina until an amendment was moved in our State constitution, in 1835. And in the town of Newbern, where I lived, according to my recollection, out of three hundred voters, sixty of them were free blacks. And when the proposition was made in our convention, in 1835, to deprive free negroes of the privilege of voting, it was opposed by some of our ablest and best men. I think the vote stood sixty-five for abolishing the right and sixty against it; and among these sixty are recorded the names of Judges Gaston and Daniel, then two of the judges of our Supreme Court; Mr. Rayner, favorably known here; and I think also Mr. Montgomery and Mr. Charles Fisher, afterward members of Congress from my State; and other gentlemen whose names I cannot now remember. Well, sir, what is the effect of the agitation of Abolitionists? Have you improved the condition of the free negroes? Far from it. And if the same proposition were submitted to a State convention in North Carolina, at this day, not one man would vote for it. Within my own memory, emancipation of a slave was a matter of frequent occurrence. A simple petition to the court, on half a sheet of paper, at the request of the master, alleging his slave had rendered meritorious services, and the slave was made free. But these fanatics circulated papers containing doctrines like those avowed in the speeches I have referred to, and the inevitable consequence was, that legislation interfered, for insurrection was talked of in the infamous papers of the Abolitionists, and a feeling that it was necessary to protect our firesides and our homes, compelled us to be careful. And how is it now? Emancipation is a difficult matter. In extraordinary cases, our legislature sometimes emancipates. Our laws allow slaves to be emancipated by will, but not to remain in the State. As the public mind became excited, our people thought it wrong to allow emancipation when free negroes could visit our northern States, and return with mischievous intentions; and legislation threw difficulties in the way of emancipation.

This has been the effect of men holding the opinions of the gentlemen from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, [Messrs. Mann and Stevens,] and publishing them, as they have. Emancipation was going on daily; but not so now. Northern gentlemen who can understand how the whole of their section can be excited by passing a resolution, declaring you shall not petition for anything and everything, can also understand how denunciation, threats, and impudent interference with our rights, can excite our people to feeling of resistance. That feeling has caused them to oppose emancipation. Sir, I remember well when we had negro meeting houses, and negro preachers, some of whom could read and write well; but your philanthropists--those men who would rather look on rivers of blood than that slavery should be extended one inch, and have such horror of chains, shackles, and despotism--sent incendiary documents among our slaves, exciting them to insurrection. As an inevitable result, education was forbidden. Self-protection required it--protection for the slaves required it. And this is another fruit of your sympathy for the slave! But we do not deny them religious instruction. In one town in my district the negroes have a clergyman of their own, and their own church--a Methodist church. I wish northern gentlemen could see them, neatly dressed, with cheerful faces, as they are going to worship. I wish they could hear their heart-rejoicing songs, when they sing praises to their Maker. They would think better of slaveholders and less of Abolitionists. Our people regard slaves as property, but not as cattle raised for market.

Meeting-houses are scattered all over our country, and our negroes attend worship as their masters do. Many of them are members of those highly respectable denominations, Baptists and Methodists; and when their masters live in very retired situations, clergymen are employed, in some instances, who preach to the slaves, and instruct them in their religious duties, in chapels on the farms. I know, I am proud to say, one such in my district. I know of another instance, where a large slaveholder, living out of the reach of a church, has a minister of one denomination employed by the year to preach to his negroes--and that minister not of the same church of which the master is a member. These masters are good men, and are looking forward to the account they are hereafter to give for their treatment of those who are placed under their care. Yes, sir; and one such man does more acts of benevolence in one year than a thousand of your fanatics who lecture on the evils of slavery. These slaveowners regard their negroes as human beings, in whose nostrils God has breathed the breath of life--in whose bosoms He has implanted a living soul--and they treat them accordingly. Many of our slaveholders are from Yankee land. Many own slaves, who purchased them to prevent their separation from their families.

I tell these Abolitionists, you are the men who have "riveted the chains." But for your efforts, thousands of slaves would have been educated and emancipated--would have been returned to Africa, and Liberia, under the influence of the Christian religion--would have realized what the psalmist said: "Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God."

Slavery is an evil--we know it. It is an evil to the white man. No laboring population in any country, except our own northern people, are so well taken care of, so well supplied with all the necessaries of life, as our slaves are. Whatever of evil there is in slavery has been increased by the agitation of Abolitionists--those miserable wretches who denounce us constantly--those sincere dis-unionists, who say the American Union is a "covenant with death," and an "agreement with hell," and ought to be "immediately" dissolved. These men are sometimes courted by both parties of the North, in doubtful contests, and therefore made to appear stronger than they really are. These are they who have increased the evils of slavery.

But let them alone; in a few years more they will be universally despised, and they "will be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem."

Our people are denounced as a blood-thirsty generation. Hear one or two facts. Our laws punish with death anyone who is guilty of stealing a slave, or of concealing him with the intent to enable him to escape. Two cases have been tried within three years, in my district. One was an Irishman, a tailor, little over twenty-one years of age, who was, upon testimony too clear to be disputed, proved guilty. He had not been many years in the United States, and those slave owners who were on the jury, unanimously recommended him to the executive clemency, which was approved by a slaveholding judge, and he was pardoned by a slaveholding governor. The petition to the governor was signed by the good man who owned the slave. He had slave owners for his counsel, of his own selection, who received no pay; and I am happy to know this man afterward distinguished himself in Mexico with that gallantry for which the Irish are remarkable. The other case occurred within a year past. An Irish sailor-boy came to the sea-port town in which I reside. A runaway slave was found on board after the vessel had started on her voyage. He was arrested and brought to trial. He was a stranger, pennyless, and without an acquaintance or friend. He had counsel of his own choice, slaveholders, who defended him without reward, or the hope of reward in this world. The jury of slaveholders, far above the influence of prejudice exacted by the course of the Abolitionists, when there was a possibility that this boy, not eighteen years old, was the dupe of some other person, acquitted him. He was discharged, and treated as kindly in that community as one of our own people.

And yet, these are the people whom the Abolitionists vilify, as being fond of manacles, chains--as despots.

But I must hurry on. One word as to the Wilmot proviso. I shall not discuss the constitutional question--the subject is worn out. It would be as great an outrage to the southern people to enact it, as if it were constitutional. The southern people, with great unanimity, believe, as I do, that to enact the Wilmot proviso would be "an act of gross injustice and wrong." And though, as a private citizen, and a member of our State Legislature, I have opposed the suggestion of a dissolution of the Union, should it be adopted, yet I believe the people of my State will feel called upon, if it is enacted in any law this session, to consult in a State convention, if it is not time to inquire whether our northern brethren intend to regard us as equals, or to treat us with unkindness? Whatever North Carolina does, I shall abide by. She will not, without great cause of complaint, be driven to think of disunion. I believe the minds of a large majority of both parties there, regard, with horror, the thought of disunion; but if your legislation here impresses upon the mind of her people that you are unfriendly to us, she will, without bluster or threats, provide for her honor and security in such manner as the world will justify. I will not believe you will enact the Wilmot proviso--there is no necessity for it. I have too good an opinion of our northern members to believe it. All admit that new States, after they are admitted, can either tolerate or prohibit slavery. Then there is no practical question at issue. The northern States are stronger than the southern--but I hope they will remember, though it is "excellent to have a giant's strength, it is tyrannous to use it as a giant." And tyrannous legislation must produce sectional animosities.

While on this subject, I wish to say a few words to my colleague [Mr. Clingman] upon the constitutional question. I wish I had time to read at length some extracts from his speech; but I have not--I will print them.

From Mr. Clingman's speech, December 22, 1847, on the slavery question, [Appendix to Congressional Globe, 30th Congress, 1st session;]

"I am now brought, Mr. Chairman, to the direct consideration of the great question, as to the extent of the powers and duties of Congress in relation to slavery in the territories of the United States. Upon this subject, a distinguished politician from the South, [Mr. Calhoun] in the other wing of this building, some twelve months since, laid down certain doctrines which are, in substance, as near as I can remember them, these: The territories of the United States, being the common property of the Union, are held by Congress in trust for the use and benefit of all the States and their citizens. Secondly, that Congress has no right to exclude, by law, any citizens of the United States from going into any part of said territories, and carrying with them and holding any such property as they are allowed to hold in the States from which they come. This view, though perhaps plausible at the first glance, really the most shallow and superficial that could possibly be presented. Admitting the first general proposition to be true, (and no fair mind can question it,) that the territories of the United States are held by Congress in trust for the use and benefit of all the States and their citizens, I am free to confess, that if Congress should see that it was most advantageous to allow all the citizens to occupy the territory in common with the property, it doubtless ought so to provide. But it is equally clear that if, on the other hand, Congress should see that all the citizens of the United States could not thus advantageously occupy all the territory in common, it might divide the same so as to assign certain potions to particular classes or persons.


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"All the power that can be exercised, belongs to Congress alone. Congress has power to make all needful rules and regulations. But the wants of all communities are, in legal contemplation, the same. The wants of the territories may be, and in fact are, just as great as those of the States. It seems to me, then, Mr. Chairman, with due deference to those who have given the subject greater consideration than I have been able to do, that Congress, in legislating for the territories, is controlled only by the Constitution of the United States. It is equally true, however, that the people of the several States are likewise controlled by this Constitution. Whether acting in convention, or through their ordinary legislative governments, they can do nothing contrary to it.

"Congress then, has over the territory, just such powers as its legislature would have after it became a State. Both are controlled by the Constitution of the United States, the supreme law of the land. As this Constitution is silent in relation to slavery, it has been argued on the one hand that Congress can do nothing to exclude it from the territory. On the other hand, it is asserted, with equal confidence, that for the same reason there is no power to establish the institution. These two opposite views are worthy antagonists, and I shall leave them to contend, not fearing that either will ever obtain a victory over the other."

"If then, Congress possesses general legislative powers over the territories, as I contend, it is idle to deny that slavery may either be permitted or forbidden to exist there."

In another part of my colleague's speech, he gives utterance to opinions rather contradictory to those just quoted. The inconsistency is glaring; but it is fairer, upon such a subject, to quote it than to withhold it:

"I do not pretend that any section of the Union can insist fairly that territory should be acquired for her benefit. We are doubtless all bound, in good faith, to adhere to the Constitution and Union, with such boundaries as it had when we became parties to it. But I do say, that if the Government should acquire territory, it takes it under the Constitution, for the benefit of all; and a decree that any section, or its citizens, shall be excluded from all such territory, would be as great a violation of the Constitution as the Government could possibly commit. Such is substantially this proposed exclusion of slavery from all the territories hereafter to be acquired."

If the author of this speech means anything, it must be this, that after territory is acquired, "Congress possesses general legislative powers," and slavery may either be permitted or forbidden to exist there; but if Congress shall decree that slavery shall be excluded "from all the territories hereafter to be acquired," it will be as great a violation as the Government could possibly commit!

Sir, I cannot understand how these views can exist, in the same mind, at one and the same time. It looks as if one part of the speech was addressed to a Whig Buncombe, and another part to a Democratic Buncombe; one to the eastern Buncombe, and the other to the western Buncombe.

It reminds me of a verse I read somewhere in my youth, made by one just beginning to write verses--and his first should have been his last--who described a fight on the water, and wrote:

"The stranger and his crew then stormed the boat, And all at once jumped in, and all at once jumped out."

And further, upon the constitutional question, my colleague argued, very properly, that there could be no difficulty; for, speaking of the Missouri compromise, he said:

"There was, however, a settlement made at length, upon terms which, though unequal to the South, were at variance with the spirit of the Constitution."

My colleague is regarded now, in some parts of the South--even in South Carolina--as very sound upon the slavery question. I have been denounced as unsound, for entertaining precisely the same opinions as my colleague does.

And upon the general justice of the duty of the General Government to protect slave property, I desire, in passing, to say, I heard with pleasure the able and statesmanlike argument of the gentleman from Georgia, [Mr. Toombs,] made here a few days ago. It gives me more pleasure to add my feeble tribute of commendation to this speech--though I do not agree in all the gentleman said--because the gentleman's opposition to his own friends, and his course in this House, before we were organized, met with my decided condemnation.

And while this in mind, I will beg to say one word to another gentleman from Georgia, [Mr. Stephens.]

Before we were organized, that gentleman was understood to call down curses on all those who would not stand up for their section. I made allowance for the gentleman's excited feelings, but I heard the remark with pain. I had read his eloquent speeches with profit and with pleasure, and I had anticipated the pleasure of doing my duty here under his lead; and when he, and his friends who acted with him, [Messrs. Toombs, Hilliard, and others,] in the southern caucus, voted against Mr. Calhoun's Southern Address, and did not "stand up for a section," I approved their conduct. When he, and the estimable and highly talented gentleman, my predecessor, [Mr. Donnell,] and six other southern gentlemen, were denounced as traitors, for voting to lay Clayton's compromise bill on the table, I defended their course. And without having had an opportunity, in the midst of professional pursuits, to examine that bill, I defended their conduct at home, from my knowledge of their character, and justified their not standing up "for a section." According to Mr. Calhoun's platform of amending the Constitution, even the Senator from Mississippi, [Mr. Foote,] we have within a day or two heard, cannot stand up with Mr. C. for his section. Our worthy Speaker, in that southern convention, could not stand up, according to the address, for "his section." He thought the doughfaces had not had justice done them--the address was against the whole North. The author of that address, who endeavored to excite the public mind, only recommended to the South "to be united;" but has recently, by his ultraism, disunited them, and I should be glad to know which side the Nashville convention will take; and I should be glad to be informed why those who censure others for not standing up for a section did not vote for a southern Speaker, when the contest was between a northern and a southern Speaker. But I hope the gentleman from Georgia will come back, and let the whole country have the aid of his abilities; and I express now the wish that was in my mind when the gentleman invoked his curses--I hope "the accusing spirit blushed as he gave it in, and the recording angel dropped a tear upon the word, and blotted it out forever."

A single word to the gentleman from Florida, [Mr. Cabell,] who took part against his friends in the early part of the session. I hope, before he aids to bring about dissolution, he will see that his constituents can take care of the Indians at home, without the aid of the General Government.

I desire to notice, very briefly, a few remarks of my colleague's speech delivered this session. There are some portions of my colleague’s remarks which I hope were uttered without due consideration. he spoke of a "collision as inevitable, and the sooner it comes the better." What kind of collision did he mean? He made statements of the "existing revenue system operating hardly on the South." How? Does he mean the Democratic British tariff of 1846? And yet he says; "Looking, therefore, at all these different elements, in greater increase of population, more wealth, and less poverty and crime, we have reason to regard our people as prosperous and happy." Then, I ask, how does the existing revenue system operate hardly upon us? for my colleagues says; "Nor is it true we are poorer than the North, for the slaveholding States are much richer, in proportion to their population, than the free."

I should be glad to know what facts has my colleague discovered, to cause him to change his opinions on the tariff question. In his speech, delivered this session, he used some phrases that I think I have heard from Mr. Calhoun, and Mr. McDuffie' but in 1844, my colleague made a speech, in which he avowed opinions that did him honor.

I have some quotations before me from that speech, which I will print.

Extract from Mr. Clingman's speech, [from the Appendix to Congressional Globe, 28th Congress, first session;]

"We [the Whigs] are in favor of such a tariff as will produce all the revenue necessary to the support of the Government, economically administered, without the money arising from the sales of the public lands."

He was opposed to a "horizontal tariff," by which, I suppose, he meant the compromise act of 1833, or the South Carolina tariff. In 1844, my colleague advocated "incidental protection to our manufacturers and artisans, to sustain our own industry against the oppressive regulations of others, and counteract, as far as practicable, the hostile restrictions of foreign nations." Good Whig doctrine. My colleague took then "a common sense, practical view of this question. We have had theory and parade enough on it." What theory, except the South Carolina theory, that the "existing revenue system operates hardly on the South?"

In 1844, when this speech was delivered, the tariff of 1842 was in operation. The tariff of 1846 is said, by its friends, to be "a free-trade tariff." I say it is a tariff for the benefit of English labor. How could my colleague advocate the tariff of 1842, and think the existing system "operates hardly on the South?"

How his opinions have changed since 1844, when he thus spoke of the tariff of 1842:

"This favorable state of our finances has been produced, thus far, without any practical injury having resulted to any section of the country. Not only cotton, but all of our other productions, command a better price than they did before the passage of the tariff; while foreign articles which we import and consume are generally cheaper--I believe I might say, invariably so."

And upon this tariff, which is spoken of in some portion of the southern country as an "aggression on the South," I wish I had time to read an extract from a speech of as true-hearted a southern gentleman as breathes--from one of spotless reputation, and whose high talents and character have shed honor on his country. I will print some extracts from his speech.

Extract from the speech of Mr. Berrien, of Georgia, April 9th, 1844--[Appendix to the Congressional Globe, 28th Congress, 1st Session:]

Mr. Berrien was referring to the charge that the South was "oppressed." He said he was "speaking as a southern man," and he was disputing the charge that there was suffering. He might have been accused of not "standing up for his section;" but he argued as follows:

"It is a mere question of fact; and I answer it by affirming--what I presume no one will deny--that there is a sensible, obvious improvement in the condition of the country since August, 1842. Whether it be because the tariff of that year, or in spite of it, I repeat, is not a subject of my present inquiry: I am dealing with fact, not theory; and these things I take to be undeniable, in the comparison between the two periods.

"1. The credit of the Government was prostrate, and it has been redeemed. Its bills were protested. Its treasury notes were below par. It sought a loan, and could not obtain it, either here or in Europe, but upon terms which were humiliating to a great nation. It could not go into the market and borrow money upon terms as favorable as would be accorded to a responsible individual. All this has been changed. Its stock is above par. The Government has ample means to meet its current expenditures, and such is now its credit, that it could command on loan any amount of money it might require.

"2. The treasury was empty. It is now replenished, has an increasing income probably adequate to its wants, and the means, if need be, of adding to it.

"3. The commerce and navigation of the country have increased.

"4. Its agricultural condition has improved.

"5. There has been a marked improvement in the price of our great staple.

"6. A reduction of prices of almost all if not absolutely of every article of our consumption.

"7. To crown the whole, every branch of industry has been stimulated to increased activity, and confidence has been restored.

"Mr. President: It is pressed upon us in this argument that the act of 1842 imposes undue and peculiar burdens on southern industry--on the planting interest of the South. This, sir, is to me an awakening suggestion--the burden, if it exists, operating alike on my constituents and myself, and upon me, personally, to the whole extent of the productive property which I possess. A little reflection, however, relieves me from apprehension. I know that any tax which the Government can impose, in so far as it operates upon consumption, can only compel the southern planter to share in the burden which all consumers have to bear. Experience satisfies me, too, that this cannot be to the whole amount of duty, but the foreign producer must bear his proportion of it in the diminished profits of capital. I know that the price of southern produce has not fallen since these duties were imposed. I know, too, that the price of articles of southern consumption have not risen, but have been sensibly diminished."

I shall surely not be blamed for an unwillingness to believe that the existing system of revenue operates hardly on the South and West; and again, I ask, why could not such a man as William Gaston--why cannot our Grahams and Moreheads--see this oppression?

I shall never forget a speech I heard from North Carolina's most distinguished son--Gaston--in the earlier part of my life. It was, I think, at an Union meeting, after North Carolina had been called the "Rip Van Winkle of the South." because she would not nullify an act of Congress. "Better, far better," said Mr. Gaston, "be called the Rip Van Winkle of the South, than the Cata-


31st CONG…1st Sess. Causes of the Slavery Agitation--Mr. Stanly. HO. OF REPS.

line of the historian, or the Captain Bobadil of the poet--better sleep on forever, than wake to treason or disunion." These words were from the son of one whose father's blood was shed by the enemies of his country; they were from the heart and lips of a patriotic Christian gentleman, who was long honored by my native State, and whose memory is still cherished by all her true-hearted sons. His mortal remains repose within the borders of that town in which these "words that burn" were spoken--it is a part of the country I represent. When I forget the applause these sentiments met with from that people, I shall forget them; and when I do that, my "tongue will cleave my mouth, and my right hand lose her cunning."

But my colleague complains of the amount of money expended at the North, and he says; "North Carolina, for example, is burdened to the extent of not less than three millions, and yet does not get back one hundred thousand dollars in any way from the Government. The clear loss in a pecuniary point of view, on account of the action of the Government, may be set down at three millions annually. the southern States generally are in the same condition."

Now, I cannot imagine how my colleague calculates this three millions of burden. I fear it is, to use his own words, a "want of accurate knowledge of all the facts renders it impossible to determine precisely the effect which our revenue system produces."

I should be glad to see these "facts" stated. I suspect my colleague is as much mistaken in this calculation as he is in the number of fugitive slaves escaping from "few counties in Maryland." He said, "a few counties in Maryland had, within six months, upon computation, lost one hundred thousand dollars' worth."

He is surely mistaken. A Senator from South Carolina [Mr. Butler] said that "thirty thousand dollars' worth of slaves were stolen from Kentucky annually;" and he added, "The loss to the people of the slaveholding States may be estimated at two hundred thousand dollars annually." Whose computation is right? And my colleague says Delaware loses "one hundred thousand dollars' worth of slaves each year." My colleague makes the loss of a "few counties in Maryland," and the loss of the State of Delaware, as great as Mr. Butler thinks is the loss of the "slaveholding States;" and yet the members from Kentucky, Delaware, and Maryland, do not threaten to dissolve the Union.

But the complaint is, a small amount of money is expended at the South. Whose fault is this?

Mr. Tyler vetoed a bill that contained an appropriation of twenty thousand dollars for the improvement of Cape Fear River. And when Congress made an appropriation of fifty thousand dollars for opening Roanoke inlet, on the coast of North Carolina, Mr. Tyler pocketed the bill. Is this aggression? It was an outrage, and well-becoming a strict constructionist of the school of 1798 and 1799. This is a work of inestimable value to a large portion of my State. I hope to live to see it perfected. The people in mine and my colleague's [Mr. Outlaw] district, will soon hold a convention relative to this subject--a convention not to dissolve the Union, but to open a communication by which we can reach New York by steam in a few hours--to facilitate our intercourse, and bind us together indissolubly. Virginia politicians have opposed this work and will oppose it. Open this communication, and in the event of domestic rebellion, we should speedily have thousands of New Yorkers--with whom our intercourse is now so frequent and so friendly--brought on the wings of steam, ready to stand by us.

Let not gentlemen complain of the North on this score. When these internal-improvement questions arise, I will promise to bring ten--yes, twenty--Whigs or Democrats from the North or the West, for any southern Democrat my colleague will find.

My colleague, when speaking of the possibility of a dissolution, said:

"Subjecting the goods of the North to a duty, with those from other foreign countries, would at once give a powerful stimulus to our own manufacturers. we have already sufficient capital for the purpose; but if needed, it would come in from abroad. English capitalists have filled Belgium with factories. why did this occur? Simply because provisions were cheaper there, and taxes lower than in England. The same motives would bring them into the southern country, since both the reasons assigned are much stronger in our case. It has already been proved that we can manufacture some kinds of goods more cheaply thank the North."

What would the "free-trade" gentleman of the South say to that? Would not South Carolina be oppressed by that tariff law?

But we are to have "English capital." England is too well satisfied with the tariff of 1846, to lend us money to enable us to impose duties on "other foreign countries." England! who forbade our forefathers to manufacture--who punishes any many who induces an artisan to leave her shores--lend us capital! In 1844, my colleague had "no reliance on the sincerity of the British Government." Then he said; "England, who had abolished slavery in her West India islands, was seeking to interfere with the insinuation in other countries." I do not believe our people will be in love with this idea.

My colleague spoke of the "other acquisitions of territory" to be made "after the next Presidential election."

I do not understand what this means. I hope he does not mean that we are to engage in foreign war again, as was intimated in the Baltimore convention by Mr. Hannegan--that we should annex Yucatan, and Cuba. I thought the defeat of General Cass had secured us from the dread of such horrid consequences. I advocated General Taylor's election upon the ground that he was opposed to foreign war. Are we to forbid New Mexico to become a free state, if she prefers it? How far are we to go before we consent to allow a free State to exist south of us? Must we have "every man's land that adjoins our own?"

There is but one other portion of my colleague's remarks to which I will advert:

"Have not prominent northern politicians, of the highest positions and the greatest influence, whose names are well known to all gentlemen on this floor, already declared that there is nothing in the Constitution of the United States which obstructs, or ought to obstruct, the abolition of slavery by Congress in the States?"

My colleague is better acquainted with politicians than I am; but I do not know any northern politician who has avowed such an opinion. Even the Buffalo convention did not go that far. Again, he says:

"In twenty-five years, if we are surrounded by free States, the condition of the South would be "that of Ireland; and soon, by the destruction of the remnants of the white population, become that of St. Domingo." And he adds: "Northern men not only admit it, but constantly, in their public speeches avow it to be their purpose to produce this very state of things."

Sir, I must deny this--my colleague is greatly mistaken. Since I read his speech I have inquired, and I am proud to say, I have been unable to learn, when northern men, or one single northern man, ever avowed so atrocious a sentiment. I can hear of no such man. Surely such a wretch never contaminated this place.

I never heard of but one man so wicked as to think without horror of insurrection in the southern States, and he was a Van Buren Democrat from Ohio, [Benjamin Tappan, former Senator.]

My colleague spoke with contempt of those who uttered the "insane and senseless cry of Union, Union." He was "disgusted" at it. The disgust is but two years old.

In December, 1847, thus spoke my colleague:

"It would be vain, however, for us on either side to hope for such prosperity as we have hitherto enjoyed. If the stream of our national existence should be divided, each branch must roll a diminished volume, and would be able only to bear a lesser burden. Such a separation would be the saddest of all partings. We should feel that our way was lonely, like that of Hagar in the desert--desolate as the wanderings of our first parents, when crime had just begun," &c., &c.

Very handsomely in the same strain:

"We have a community of interest, which it would seem that no party madness could break up. We have, too recollections of the past, which, to American feelings, are stronger even than calculations of interest."

This was neither insane nor senseless, but rational, and sensible, and well becoming a Representative of the old North State.

A single word as to California: This will be a "test question." The "California proviso" one gentleman from Alabama [Mr. Ince] denounced. What is it but declaring that the people of each State shall have a right to decide for themselves?

We have high southern authority for this, Mr. Polk said, in his message in 1848:

"Whether Congress shall legislate or not, the people of the acquired territories, when assembled in convention to form State constitutions, will possess the sole and exclusive power to determine for themselves, whether slavery shall or shall not exist within their limits. If Congress shall abstain from interfering with the question, the people of these territories will be left free to adjust it as they may think proper, when they apply for admission, as States, into the Union. No enactment of Congress could restrain the people of any of the sovereign States of the Union, old or new, North or South, slaveholding or non-slaveholding, from determining the character of their own domestic institutions as they may deem wise and proper. Any and all the States possess this right, and Congress cannot deprive them of it."

In the Southern Address it is said:

"Slavery is a domestic institution. It belongs to the States--each for itself--to decide whether it shall be established or not; and if it be established, whether it should be abolished or not."

The Southern Address, also, in referring to the Missouri question in 1819, censures those who advocate amendments, "having for their object to make it a condition of her admission, that her constitution should have a provision to prohibit slavery." The address states:

"Those who objected to the amendments rested their opposition on the high ground of the right of self-government. They claimed that a territory, having reached the period when it is proper for it to form a constitution and government for itself, becomes fully vested with all the rights of self-government," &c., &c.

The address argues further, that to assume that Congress had a right to require anything but that the government must be republican, "would be tantamount to the assumption of the right to make its entire constitution and government."

I commend this address to those Democratic members who are talking of the "California proviso."

I believe, Mr. Chairman, if we reject the application of California for admission as a State, it will be productive of the most calamitous consequences. It will raise a sectional feeling throughout this broad land that may never be allayed. I cannot vote against her admission for any reason I have yet hear. I do not see how any one can make her admission a "test question," who does not wish to bring about a dissolution of the Union. As a southern man, I want her to be admitted--the sooner the better. I advocated the election of our present Chief Magistrate, "not merely as a Whig, but as THE GREAT REPRESENTATIVE AND CHAMPION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF THE RIGHT OF MAN TO SELF-GOVERNMENT." I will not consent to remand her--her people are, most of them, our own citizens. There might be danger of our compelling her to form a government without our aid. She will, I trust, soon be one of us. If no other southern man votes as I do, I will vote for the admission of California. Dead or alive, (as an Irishman said,) if I can get here, I will vote for her admission.

A single word upon the question of territorial governments; I see no plan better than that recommended by the President, and I shall cordially support it.

I have no time for much argument, but will only present a few questions, and conclude. As a southern man, I feel indignant at the instances of violated faith, and disregard of constitutional obligations on the part of some of our northern States, relative to fugitive slaves. But I believe, from all I can see and hear, that they will do us justice in this respect. But is a dissolution of the Union to remedy this evil? Will not a separation greatly increase it?

If the Union is dissolved, will Abolition societies be dead? Far from it.

What is to become of all the property owned by the United States? What of all the money in the hands of the disbursing officers? Where will all the office-holders go? There will be the voice of lamentation heard in Old Virginia that day! But independent of all considerations of interest, I believe the people of the Old Dominion are truly attached to the Union. They ought to be. Her sons have "ruled its destinies." They have had a full share of its honors and offices. Sir, I believe there are office-holders enough, natives of Virginia, to whip any army of disunionists that can be raised in the State.

Why did not the southern Democracy, who now talk of disunion, take care to provide in the Oregon bill, and other bills containing the Wil-


31st CONG…1st SESS. Causes of the Slavery Agitation--Mr. Stanly. HO. OF REPS.

mot proviso, when Mr. Polk was President, that slavery should exist south of a certain line? No; it might have disturbed the harmony of the party.

Zachary Taylor is now President--that makes the difference.

If, by any aggressions on the part of the North, which I do not anticipate, this Union is to be dissolved, I tell gentlemen North Carolina will form no part of a Southern Confederacy, whose ruling politicians entertain opinions like those avowed by some of the southern Democracy on this floor. We will build our great railroad, and before we become hewers of wood and drawers of water for Virginia and South Carolina, we will try--trusting in Providence--to stand up, "solitary and alone." They would soon involve us in war on account of black sailors. North Carolina has not been treated by these sisters with kindness or respect. In 1842, South Carolina passed resolutions, and sent them here, reflecting very unbecomingly on North Carolina, and intimating that she was encouraging abolition, because her people voted against Mr. Van Buren! Time has proved we were right. Virginia, but a few years since, in her legislature, upon some question relating to railroads, was so discourteous to North Carolina as to call for a proper, but dignified rebuke, from our Governor, Graham, in his message to our legislature.

Besides, the general tone of the newspapers, and sometimes public speeches of gentlemen of those States, prove that they regard our people as inferior to theirs. No sir; if we had a Southern Confederacy, let North Carolina go as "Hagar in the desert," rather than in company where she would be regarded as an inferior. If Tennessee--our own Tennessee, our daughter--will join us, we can stand against the world in arms. No dissolution could separate us; we should continue as closely united as the Siamese twins.

If North Carolina should join a Southern Confederacy with Virginia and South Carolina, her fate would be that of the dwarf who went to war in company with the giant. In one engagement the dwarf lost a hand, and his companion coming to his relief, they carried the day. In the next the dwarf lost an eye, but his companion aided him, and they were victorious. But the giant appropriated the spoils, and the dwarf's share was glory and the honor of service with the giant. We should not prove dwarfs in any contest; but our treatment after the battle was over would be like that of the dwarf.

I have read recently in a newspaper that a plan has been made, if certain questions are not settled, to break up our organization, by resorting, if necessary, to bowie-knives and pistols. I do not believe it. I hope it is a slander. A part of the same slanderous story is, that one fifth of the members of this House, having a right to call the yeas and nays, will continue to do so, and if that will not succeed, to resort to violence. It may sometimes be proper to defeat an attempt to force any measure, without opportunity of debating it, in the manner referred to--calling yeas and nays, &c.; but as to resorting to violence, and attempting to stop the wheel of Government by this means, I will not believe any man in his senses ever dreamed of it. But if such a wicked scheme were on foot, I have a remedy to propose. There are two hundred and thirty-one members of this House; one third of these is seventy-two; two thirds, one hundred and fifty-four. Now, by the Constitution, two thirds can expel a member. If two thirds of us do our duty, all will be well. A member's privilege protects him, no matter what he says here; but he might be arrested for a breach of the peace; and should any member here resort to violence for such purposes as are referred to in the newspapers, he will soon find himself where he ought to be--in the penitentiary.

I advise all gentlemen, who contemplate schemes of disunion, to read Burr's trial. They may find some valuable hints there; they may learn that a man may be guilty of treason, though he may not be corporally present when the overt act is committed.

Mr. ASHE. Does my colleague mean that calling the yeas and nays is treason?

Mr. STANLY. No; I do that frequently myself; I refer to a newspaper statement of an organized plan to break up the Government by violence.

A word or two now of the proposed Nashville convention. I see no necessity of any such convention. I see great reason, since the late demonstration of the Senator from South Carolina, [Mr. CALHOUN,] why that convention should not meet, and ought not to meet. He said, in the Southern Address, "Be united." Many of his own friends cannot go with him in his proposition for amending the Constitution. No one knows what the convention will or can do. The Wilmot proviso will not pass; that is one "test question." There is no possibility a bill will be passed abolishing slavery in this District; that, with some, is another "test question." Then, as to fugitive slaves, let us see whether additional legislation will not be granted this session; and that ought to be a "test question" for those States who have lost fugitive slaves. Then, as to the admission of California--as to what is called, maliciously, the Executive proviso--he who goes to the Nashville convention, to produce opposition to the Government on this account, is no friend of his country, and is in favor of disunion, no matter what Congress does or refuses to do.

Nashville, I would have thought, would have been the last place selected for the meeting of such a convention. Near that city is the grave of Andrew Jackson. I differed in opinion with this celebrated man, as to the propriety of some of his measures, while he was President; but he won my highest admiration, by his patriotic firmness in putting down nullification in 1833. His services to his country then threw into the shade, or rather added brightness to, his military renown; and if he had rendered no other service to his country, he would have been entitled to the lasting gratitude of his countrymen.

When that convention meets, I suppose some Democrat will offer a resolution testifying the respect of that body for his memory. What will they say of his administration as President? What of that admirable message of January 16, 1833, the last paragraph of which deserves to be printed in letters of gold?

I think it would be an outrage upon the feelings of the people of this country--an insult to the memory of General Jackson--to allow that convention to meet in Nashville, to consider the propriety of dissolving the Union.

I do not believe the people of Nashville will permit it; and if that convention meets, and a proposition is made to consider even whether the Union ought not to be dissolved, I hope the citizens of Nashville will drive every traitor of them into the Cumberland river.

If any of the good people of North Carolina have thought that it might be possibly proper for them to attend that convention, they will think better of it, I have no doubt, after they read the recent extraordinary speech of a Senator from South Carolina [Mr. CALHOUN.] In that speech, he tells us our government is "as absolute as that of the Autocrat of Russia, and as despotic in its tendency as any absolute Government that ever existed." And then he tells us, what no southern man has ever thought of before, that in addition to all that politicians, public meetings, and State legislatures have demanded, we must have, to save the Union, an amendment of the Constitution, "which will restore to the South, in substance, the power she possessed, of protecting herself before the equilibrium between the sections was destroyed by the action of this Government." Was ever a proposition more preposterous? I have tried, since the speech was delivered, to ascertain what this proposed amendment is, and I cannot. Congress is to obey his suggestions, no matter what they are, to be communicated in his own time! Sir, he asks impossibilities; and I am compelled to believe he asks them because he knows they are impossibilities. I have heard several speeches here, containing ideas similar to some of those advanced in this speech; we have had little dribbling streams--the spring from whence they sprung is now exposed to view.

Mr. Chairman, my honorable colleague before me, [Mr. VENABLE,] gave utterance to some opinions in his speech, which I regret I have not time to reply to. I think my colleague's words are stronger than he intended. He says; "The bitter waters of strife are about to be substituted for the refreshing streams of patriotic affection." I hope not. He wants no "waters of strife." It is not in his nature to enjoy them.

I have time only to refer to one part of my colleague's speech, [Mr. VENABLE.] He says; "The South has kept faith with the North in all things in which the covenant bound them." As far as North Carolina is the South, she has kept faith; but that is not so with all the South.

I agree with my colleague that we have cause of complaint against some of the northern States, who have done outrage to the Constitution, and treated us shamefully in regard to fugitive slaves. We have cause of complaint on account of their resolutions upon the subject of slavery. But some of my colleague's political associates forget that this Constitution was framed, not only to protect southern property, but to encourage American labor North, as well as South. Have we had no warfare against the protective tariff? Yes, for more than twenty years; and when the compromise bill in 1833 was passed, the home valuation feature was inserted with the express purpose of giving protection to American manufacturers. Yet when the compromise expired, some of our southern politicians violently opposed the home valuation feature, and talked of a dissolution of the Union, if the protective policy was revived.

Sir, I know better than my colleague, from my being on the sea-board, the losses our people have sustained from fugitive slaves; and I believe the compromise act, which was passed to gratify or to save from trouble a portion of the South, sacrificed as many millions of dollars of northern property as the whole South ever lost in thousands of dollars in fugitive slaves. But I will not dwell longer on my colleague's speech. He is an amiable gentleman--very companionable--possessing no small literary acquirements. What Goldsmith said of his friend Hickey, I think I can say of my colleague, [Mr. VENABLE:]

"He cherished his friend, and relished his bumper, Yet one fault he had, and that was a thumper"--

not only that of being an attorney, but my colleague is from one of the "double F V's"--a first family of Virginia gentleman--a strict constructionist--republican--Democrat of the school or "1798-99;" and to expect anything reasonable in politics, from such a quarter, is most unreasonable.

Mr. Chairman, I must conclude. I have spoken freely--I think the times require it. I have not intended to speak offensively to any gentleman in this House; but I have spoken what I believe my duty to my country demanded, and I have spoken what I believe to be true.

I have an abiding trust and confidence in the Ruler of nations, that he will not suffer evil counsels to prevail among us. He, without whose knowledge not a sparrow falleth to the ground, will, I hope, preserve this country, that we shall continue to be an asylum to the oppressed of all lands. I believe that as hundreds of years will have passed by, and generation after generation passed away, in the words of the great defender of the Constitution, [Mr. WEBSTER,] "Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable," will continue to be a sentiment dear to every true American heart.

Yes, I believe in a special Providence. Washington was preserved through countless dangers, and in one battle had two horses shot under him. "The Great Spirit," as the Indian chief told him, preserved him from harm. He was called on, in peace, to put down rebellion, and preserve the Union.

Jackson, too, rendered great and important services to his country in war, and by his firmness in time of peace, crushed the spirit of disunion during his administration. And when we remember the long and faithful service of the incorruptibly honest man--of the patriot-soldier, now at the helm of state--when we remember how his life was spared, when in the midst of dangers--whose conduct has thrown a blaze a glory on the arms of his country--who can doubt that he will perform his duty to the Union--that "whatever dangers may threaten it," he will "stand by it and maintain it in its integrity, to the full extent of the obligation imposed, and the power conferred upon him by the Constitution?" His civil administration, I


31st CONG…1st SESS. Admission of California--Mr. Thurston. HO. OF REPS.

trust, will be so glorious, that it will eclipse his military renown.

Let the storm of party roll on--let politicians carry on their party manoeuvres--the hearts of the southern people are right. They are watching our deliberations, in the hope that our measures will prove "salutary examples, not only to the present, but to future times; and solemnly proclaim that the Constitution and the laws are supreme, and the Union indissoluble." They will say amen in response to me, when I say, God grant the day may never come, when I shall behold a citizen of California, Maine, or Florida, and say "he is not my countryman."

Mr. Chairman, when the gallant Ethan Allen surprised Ticonderoga, and demanded of the commander that he should surrender the fort, he asked Allen, "By what authority?" "I demand it," replied Allen, "in the name of the great Jehovah, and of the Continental Congress!"

Invoking the protection of the great Jehovah, for our whole country, in the name of the people of North Carolina, I say this Union cannot be, shall not be, destroyed. Those whom God hath joined together, no man, or set of men, can put asunder.





March 25, 1850

In Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, on the President's Message transmitting the Constitution of California.

Mr. THRUSTON said:

Mr. CHAIRMAN: I have come here as the delegate from the Territory of Oregon. I have the honor of being the first recognized Representative from the Pacific coast, and am at this time the only one accredited from that country on this floor. I come from the toil-worn people of that distant Territory, to speak and act in all cases, as I believe they would do, were they here, acting in my stead. I come here, sir, not as a party man, though I belong to a party; and not as a sectional man, though I belong to a section. Though by the law, I may be entitled to all the rights, save one, to which a Representative from a State is entitled, yet, as a matter of courtesy to the members of the House, if not of ease to myself, I shall refrain from all debate, except on such questions as my territory is immediately interested in; and on such I shall endeavor to confine myself to the question. On such questions, I have no doubt, the members of this Congress. whether sitting as a House, or as a committee, will be disposed to grant me the privilege of speaking, and do me the honor to listen while I speak.

The question of the admission of California into the Union as a State, is one in which, for several reasons, my Territory is deeply interested. California and Oregon are twin sisters. They are allied together, by cords so strong, by feelings so similar, and by occupations so widely different--and for that reason more important to each other--that you cannot even jostle the one, without the other's feeling the motion. When you raise the knife over one, the other expects to bleed. When adversity withers the foliage of the one, the leaves of the other wither; and when you insult and abuse the one, the fire of indignation flashes across the countenance of the other. And, indeed, so closely are we allied, and so dependent the one on the other, and so sympathetic are we, that the pulsations of the heart of the one send the very life-blood into the extremities of the other; and I must confess, that I involuntarily partake so fully of this spirit, that not a few times in this House, and in the other end of the Capitol, I have had my best feelings deeply wounded, as I have heard California and her people slandered, and perfectly overwhelmed with hard words, because they have dared to make use of one of the first laws of nature, protect themselves--because they have dared to construct for themselves a State constitution, and have knocked at your door for admission. For this, they are called "usurpers," "fugitives from justice," "Sandwich Islanders," "Indians," "ne-

Speech of Edward Stanly, of N. Carolina, exposing the causes of the slavery agitation. Delivered in the House of Representatives, March 6, 1850
Speech of Edward Stanly, of N. Carolina, exposing the causes of the slavery agitation. Delivered in the House of Representatives, March 6, 1850. Washington: Gideon & Co., printers, 1850. 16 p. Caption title.
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E423 .S78
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Joyner NC Stacks
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