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people ? Allow, if you please, that this population has increased, during the last ten years, sufficiently to bring up the whole exist. ing population, slaves included, to nine millions of people. You have then less than ten persons, black and white, bond and free, to a square mile of territory! Is there not room enough here for every degree of expansion which can be predicted, upon the largest calculation, for a century to come ?

Meantime, Sir, do not forget, that the free States, with a population, by the census of 1840, of more than nine millions and a half, and which must now have run up to not less than thirteen or fourteen millions, have only about four hundred and fifty thousand square miles. In other words, the free States, at this moment, have thirty persons to a square mile, while the slave States have only ten!

I exclude all the territories in this calculation. But it is a striking fact, that if all the territories, without exception, not included within the limits of any State, were added to the free States, and a proportion were then instituted between the number of square miles occupied by the free white population of the two classes of States, it would be found that the slave States would fall but little short of their full share. And this, Sir, without making any allowance for the uninhabitable deserts and frozen wastes and mountains of rock and ice, by which these territories are so greatly curtailed in their dimensions, so far as any practical purposes of occupation or enjoyment are concerned.

I repeat, then, Mr. Chairman, it is not with the vain idea of crowding slavery out of existence, that I adhere to the principles of the ordinance of 1787.

Nor is it, Sir, upon any consideration of local power, or with any view of securing a sectional preponderance. For one, I see in the Constitution of the United States an ample security against any real aggression which either section of the Union could be tempted to commit against the other. And even if it were not so, there is a peculiar tie of common interest among the slave States, growing out of this very institution of slavery, which always has made them, and always will make them, a full match for any number of free States which may be included


within the limits of this Union. In our local competitions and party differences, they will find ample room for the exercise of a controlling influence. I am not sure that it is not their destiny always to hold the balance of power among States and between parties, and thus to be able to adopt the proud motto, - præest cui adhæreo, — which may be liberally interpreted " he shall be President, to whom I adhere!"

Sir, the territories which have come under our guardianship are, in my judgment, of more worth than to be made the mere make-weights in the scales of sectional equality. They are entitled to another sort of consideration, than to be cut up and partitioned off, like down-trodden Poland, in order to satisfy the longings, and appease the jealousies, of surrounding States. They are they ought certainly — to be disposed of and regu

lated by us, with a primary regard to the prosperity and welfare of those who


them and of those who are destined to occupy them hereafter, and not with the selfish view of augmenting the mere local power or pride of any of us.

Mr. Chairman, I see in the territorial possessions of this Union, the seats of new States, the cradles of new Commonwealths, the nurseries, it may be, of new Republican empires. I see, in them, the future abodes of our brethren, our children, and our children's children, for a thousand generations. I see, growing up within their borders, institutions upon which the character and condition of a vast multitude of the American family, and of the human race, in all time to come, are to depend. I feel, that for the original shaping and moulding of these institutions, you and I, and each one of us who occupy these seats, are in part responsible. And I cannot omit to ask myself, what shall I do, that I may deserve the gratitude and the blessing, and not the condemnation and the curse, of that posterity, whose welfare is thus in some degree committed to my care ?

As I pursue this inquiry, Sir, I look back instinctively to the day, now more than two hundred years ago, when the Atlantic coast was the scene of events like those now in progress upon the Pacific; when incited, not, indeed, by a love of gold, but by a devotion to that which is better than gold, and whose price is above rubies, the forefathers of New England were planting

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their little colony upon that rock-bound shore. I look back to the day when slavery existed nowhere upon the American continent, and before that first Dutch ship, “ built in the eclipse, and rigged with curses dark,” had made its way to Jamestown, with a cargo of human beings in bondage. I reflect how much our fathers would have exulted, could they have arrested the progress of that ill-starred vessel, and of all others of kindred employment. I remember how earnestly the patriots of Virginia and South Carolina again and again pleaded and protested against the policy of Great Britain in forcing slaves upon them against their will. I recall the original language of the Declaration of Independence itself, as first drafted by Thomas Jefferson, assigning it as one of the moving causes for throwing off our allegiance to the British monarch, that “ he had waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither ;” and that, “ determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he had prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.”

I remember, too, that whatever material advantages may have since been derived from slave labor, in the cultivation of a crop which was then unknown to our country, the moral character and social influences of the institution are still precisely what they were described to be, by those who understood them best, in the earlier days of the Republic. And I see, too, as no man can help seeing, that almost all the internal dangers and domestic dissensions which cast a doubt, or a shadow of doubt, upon the perpetuity of our glorious Union, have been, and still are, the direct or indirect consequences of the existence of this institution. And thus seeing, thus remembering, thus reflecting, how can I do otherwise than resolve, that it shall be by no vote of mine, that slavery shall be established in any territory where it does not already exist ?

These, Mr. Chairman, are the considerations which influence and control my action on the questions before us. I do not ask,

what the Northern States, or what the Southern States, might find most agreeable to their feelings, or most advantageous to their interests. I ask only, — what is right, what is just, what is best, for the permanent welfare of the people of those future commonwealths, whose foundations are now about to be laid, and whose destinies are now about to be determined ? And all my observation, all my experience, all the convictions of my mind and of my heart, unite in replying to this question, that slavery is not only an injustice and a wrong to those who are under its immediate yoke, but that it is an evil and an injury to the highest social, moral, and political interests of any State in which it exists.

Here, then, Sir, I bring these remarks to a close. I have ex. plained, to the best of my ability, the views which I entertain of the great questions of the day. Those views may be misrepresented hereafter, as they have been heretofore; but they cannot be misunderstood by any one who desires, or who is even willing, to understand them. Most gladly would I have found myself agreeing more entirely with some of the friends whom I see around me, and with more than one of those elsewhere, with whom I have always been proud to be associated, and whose lead, on almost all occasions, I have rejoiced to follow.

One tie, however, I am persuaded, still remains to us all — a common devotion to the Union of these States, and a common determination to sacrifice every thing but principle to its preservation. Our responsibilities are indeed great. This vast Re- . public, stretching from sea to sea, and rapidly outgrowing every thing but our affections, looks anxiously to us, this day, to take care that it receives no detriment. Nor is it too much to say, that the eyes and the hearts of the friends of constitutional freedom throughout the world, are at this moment turned eagerly here— more eagerly than ever before — to behold an example of successful republican institutions, and to see them come out safely and triumphantly from the fiery trial to which they are now subjected!

I have the firmest faith that these eyes and these hearts will not be disappointed. I have the strongest belief that the visions and phantoms of disunion which now appall us, will soon be

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remembered only like the clouds of some April morning, or “ the dissolving views” of some evening spectacle. I have the fullest conviction that this glorious Republic is destined to outlast all, all, at either end of the Union, who may be plotting against its peace, or predicting its downfall.

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Let us proceed in the settlement of the unfortunate controversies in which we find ourselves involved in a spirit of mutual conciliation and concession. Let us invoke fervently upon our efforts the blessing of that Almighty Being who is the author of peace and the lover of concord.” And we shall still find order springing out of confusion, harmony evoked from discord, and Peace, Union, and Liberty, once more reassured to our land!

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