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speech.” I have done so, however, the more readily, because I have already had an opportunity of expressing my views else. where. It so happened, Sir, that on the very day on which the compromise bill was introduced into this chamber, I was making a speech on the same subject in the other end of this Capitol. While the distinguished Senator from Kentucky (Mr. Clay) — who is not now among us, but who, we all hope, will soon return to his place reinvigorated by the ocean breezes of New England — was reading the report of the committee of Thirteen here, I was addressing the House there. I remember it the more strongly because that distinguished Senator, with the resistless fascination which belongs to him, had drawn off a large portion of the audience, which, under other circumstances, I might have reasonably expected, and had left me with quite too many empty seats, both on the floor and in the galleries, for the inspiration which is so necessary to success in an effort of that kind. But so far as it may be important to me to inform my constituents of the views and opinions which I entertain on this subject, that speech will answer my purpose.
I will only say, then, here and now, that I have changed no opinion or intention which I then expressed. I am in favor, now as then, of the unconditional and immediate admission of California to the Union, and for that measure, I rejoice to say, I have at last had the satisfaction of voting. I am in favor, now as then, of settling this boundary line between New Mexico and Texas as a separate and independent question, and for that measure, also, my colleague (Hon. John Davis) and myself have already given votes, which proved to be essential to its passage. And with regard to New Mexico herself, for the purpose of avoiding that strife and contention which, I fear, is always destined to spring up in this country, whenever a Territorial Government is proposed to be established on soil now free, and in regard to which any question of slavery can arise, I am in favor, now as then, of pursuing the plan proposed by the late lamented President of the United States, - the plan of admitting New Mexico as a State, as soon as she shall present herself with a republican Constitution, and of postponing all consideration of this Territorial question until that time shall arrive.
To these views, Sir, I still adhere. No change of administra
tion, and no change of my own position, has altered them in the slightest degree. If this bill, therefore, is pressed to a vote, I shall vote against it. If, in the mean time, however, a motion shall be made to apply to New Mexico the principle of the ordinance of 1787, I shall vote in favor of that motion.
I am aware, Sir, that the revival of this principle has been stigmatized in some quarters as odious and offensive to the South. I can only say that I shall vote for it in no spirit of offence. I shall vote for it for no mere purpose of obtaining a sectional preponderance, and with no vain view of crowding slavery out of existence by confining it within its present limits. But shall vote for it because I believe such a restriction to be for the highest and best interests, for the present and for the permanent welfare, of the new Commonwealth, whose destinies are now about to be determined. My own earnest desire, however, would be, that the Congress of the United States should, at no distant day, accept and ratify the Constitution which New Mexico herself has framed; and, should thus settle this question, once and forever, in the only way in which it cau be fully and finally settled. It has already been stated by the President of the United States that this Constitution will come here in the shape of a "petition” to Congress to admit New Mexico into the Union. Now, it would seem to me nothing more than justice that, instead of going on with the bill under consideration, we should wait to receive this petition, in order to have the views and wishes of the people of New Mexico fairly before us, and in order that we may decide intelligently and deliberately upon the suggestions which they may make in regard to their own future condition. At any rate, Sir, these are the views which I expressed elsewhere many months ago, and these are the views upon which I shall act here to-day.
PROTEST AGAINST THE ADMISSION OF CALIFORNIA.
REMARKS IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES ON RECEIVING A PRO
TEST FROM A NUMBER OF SOUTHERN SENATORS, AUGUST 14, 1550
Mr. President, I would respectfully ask of the Chair whether the question upon receiving this protest is understood to include the proposition to enter it on the journal ? In other words, is there to be more than one question upon this subject? Will the question be first on receiving the paper, and then on entering it upon the journal ?
THE PRESIDENT. The question now is on the reception of the paper.
MR. WINTHROP. I think it important that the distinction, which I have stated, should be taken by the Senate and by the Chair. If the question is merely whether this paper shall be received by the Senate, and shall be placed with other papers which are respectfully presented, on the files of the Senate, without being entered upon the journals, I should have no objection to such a course.
THE PRESIDENT. The Chair, on reflection, would state to the Senator, that the reception of the paper would carry it on the journal.
MR. WINTHROP. I presumed that such would be the decision of the Chair. There is, then, but one question to be decided; and that is, shall the paper be received, and entered upon the journals of the Senate ?
Sir, I have always been in favor of the largest courtesy, and of the most liberal construction of rules, in regard to petitions, memorials, and other papers, which might be presented to Con
gress. My honorable friend, the Senator from Illinois, (Gen. Shields,) has compared this question to a question upon receiving a petition. I am inclined to think that the Senator from Vir. ginia, who presented the paper, would be the last who would desire to place it on that ground. I am inclined to think that his views with regard to the reception of petitions are much more circumscribed than my own. While I should go for the largest liberty of presenting petitions, properly so called, from any part of the people of the United States, upon any subject upon which they may see fit to address us, he would be disposed to limit that reception by certain rules, to which I need not allude. It seems to me, however, that there is no analogy whatever between the question of receiving petitions, or memorials, or remonstrances from the people, and that of receiving a protest from honorable members of this body — who are privileged to speak here, and to vote here, in their own persons — with a view to entering that protest upon the journal.
Sir, the Constitution has already secured to the honorable member from Virginia, and to those who are associated with him in this proceeding, the privilege of entering upon the journal the only protest really worth making. That constitutional protest does not consist, indeed, of a lengthened argument or a heated appeal on any question which may be submitted to us.
But it consists in that which is more potent than any argument or any appeal — the emphatic word “no.” That protest remains on the journal. The Constitution has secured them the right of placing it there, and there it stands. Their explanations are for themselves, and for the States which they represent.
I remember, Sir, at this moment, but one parliamentary body in the world, which acknowledges an inherent right in its members to enter their protests upon the journals.* That body is the British House of Lords. It is the privilege of every peer, as I understand it, to enter upon the journals his protest against any measure which may have been passed contrary to his own indi. vidual views or wishes. But what has been the practice in our
* The privilege of "inserting in the record an opinion contrary to the resolution of the majority” is secured to the members of the Executive Council of Massachusetts, by a special provision of the Constitution, and other State Constitutions may contain similar provisions.
own country? You, yourself, Mr. President, have read to us an authority upon this subject. It seems that in the earliest days of our history, when there may have been something more of a disposition than I hope prevails among us now, to copy the precedents of the British Government, a rule was introduced into this body for the purpose of securing to the Senators of the several States this privilege which belongs to the peers of the British Parliament. That proposition was negatived. I know not by what majority, for you did not read the record; I know not by whose votes; but the rule was rejected. It was thus declared in the early days of our history that this body should not be assimilated to the British House of Lords in this respect, however it may be in any other; and that individual Senators should not be allowed the privilege of spreading upon the journals the reasons which may have influenced their votes.
I am sure, that my honorable friend from Virginia would be the last, and that the State which he represents would be the last, in these later days of the Republic, to endeavor to bring about a greater analogy between that body and this, and to attempt to secure for us privileges which have heretofore been confined to an aristocratic peerage. I say this in the utmost sincerity, and with the most perfect respect for the honorable Senator from Virginia. Indeed, nothing goes more against my own heart, than to refuse any privilege which may be asked by a minority, upon this or upon any other question.
But, Sir, I cannot forget that the day has been when I myself have desired to place my name - not indeed upon the journals of this body, for I have come here too recently to have had any desires on the subject, but upon the records of another body, in opposition to more than one measure which has been brought up for my vote. Where is the protest against the annexation of Texas? If the precedent which it is now proposed to establish, had been in existence at that time, can there be a doubt that Northern Senators, if not Southern Senators — for there were Senators from the South, as well as Senators from the North, who considered that measure unconstitutional, and I have now in my eye an honorable Senator from Georgia (Mr. Berrien) who coöperated with us at the time on constitutional grounds — can