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question of slavery in the territories, and leave the people therein free to act as they pleased. We give no debates upon the bill for the reason that they are now, in extenso, within the reach and remembrance of all who take any in* terest in the matter. The bill passed the Senate on the 3d day of March, 1854, by the following vote:
Yeas—Messrs. Adams, Atchison, Badger, Bayard, Benjamin, Brodhead, Brown, Butler, Cass, Clay, Dawson, Dixon, Dodge of Iowa, Douglas, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Geyer, Gwin, Hunter, Johnson, Jones of Iowa, Jones of Tennessee, Mason, Morton, Norris, Pettit, Pratt, Rusk, Sebastian, Shields, Slidell, Stuart, Thompson of Kentucky, Thompson of New Jersey, Toucey, Weller, and Williams, —37.
Nays—Messrs. Bell, Chase, Dodge of Wisconsin, Fessenden, Fish, Foot, Hamlin, Houston, James, Seward, Smith, Sumner, Wade, and Walker,—14.
It was delayed in the House till the 23d day of May, when it passed that body, striking out what was called the Clayton amendment, restricting the rights of aliens so far as suffrage was concerned.
The following is the vote in the House:
Democrats from Slave States
Whigs from Slave States
Total, 109 100
It was returned to the Senate, and on the 25th of May, the House amendment was concurred in by a vote of 36 to 13. On the 30th of May, it was signed by the President, and thus became the law under which those territories were organized. It would seem that both the North and the South construed the Kansas-Nebraska Bill alike, so far as the slavery question was concerned, at the time of its passage,—that the intention of Congress was to give to the people of the territories full power to dispose of this as well as other questions. It is now, however, contended by many, especially in the South, that such power cannot be exercised by a territorial legislature—that slavery may exist in the territories, under the protection of the Constitution of the United States, which recognizes it as property and is bound to protect all species of property alike. For this they rely upon the following points in the decision of the Court in the Dred Scott case.
"1. Congress can exercise no power over the rights of persons or property of a citizen in the Territory which is prohibited by the Constitution. The government and the citizen, whenever the Territory is open to settlement, both enter it with their respective rights defined and limited by the Constitution.
"2. Congress have no right to prohibit the citizens of any particular State or States from taking up their home there, while it permits citizens of other States to do so. Nor has it a right to give privileges to one class of citizens which it refuses to another. The Territory is acquired for their equal and common benefit—and if open to any, it must be open to all upon equal and the same terms.
"3. Every citizen has a right to take with him into the Territory any article of property which the Constitution of the United States recognizes as property.
"4. The Constitution of the United States recognizes slaves as property, and pledges the federal government to protect it. And Congress cannot exercise any more authority over property of that description than it may constitutionally exercise over property of any other kind.
"5. The act of Congress, therefore, prohibiting a citizen of the United States from taking with him his slaves when he removes to the Territory in question to reside, is an exercise of authority over private property which is not warranted by the Constitution."
To this it is replied, that while it is true that the owner of slaves may take them to a Territory as property, still he must submit to the local law of the Territory when he gets them there, be it friendly or otherwise.
Thus is the sentiment of the country divided into three great parties, which may be properly designated the Prohibitionists, the Protectionists and the Non-interventionists. The prospect for a speedy and peaceful settlement of the vexed question is by no means encouraging. Would that it were; for we presume no one will deny that the continued agitation of this delicate and disturbing question is a great public misfortune. It destroys fraternal relations between v the States and embitters the minds of the people. It creates sectional discords and divisions, disturbs the national councils, and is gradually but surely alienating the affections of the citizens from their government. The political energies of the country, that should be spent in building up those great commercial, industrial, moral, and social institutions which constitute the monuments of national greatness and power, are exhausted in the business of engendering internal hatred, contentions and strife. Let it be the effort of every patriot to do away with this deplorable state of things,—to settle this question by the safe and wise principles our fathers established, there to rest forever undisturbed. Only thus will peace and harmony again be restored to the country— only thus shall we present to the world the spectacle of a great, free, and happy people, united as one family in in-' terest, in affection, and aim; ever moving onward in the pathway of prosperity and progress, as well as in all that contitutes national greatness, glory, and renown.
The first National Conventions of delegates elected by the people to nominate candidates for President and VicePresident, were held in 1840. Both the Whig and Democratic parties nominated in that way for that campaign. Previous to that period nominations were made by caucuses called by the members of Congress, in which they only were admitted to vote. Alleged abuses and intrigues led to the change of nominating, by delegates chosen from each congressional district. Up to 1848, no issue in reference to slavery seems to have been raised between the parties in their platforms; or, rather, up to that time no necessity seems to have arisen for the conventions to take particular notice of the subject. In the midst of the slavery agitation of that year, the two parties held their conventions. The Whig party nominated Gen. Zachary Taylor for President, and Millard Fillmore for Vice-President, and adjourned without laying down any platform. The Democratic convention nominated General Lewis Cass for President, and General William 0. Butler for Vice-President, and passed the following resolution on the question of slavery:
"Resolved, That Congress has no power under the Constitution to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several States, and that such States are the sole and proper judges of everything appertaining to their own affairs, not prohibited by the Constitution; that all efforts of the abolitionists, or others, made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery, or to take incipient steps in relation thereto, are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences; and that all snch efforts have an inevitable tendency to diminish the happiness of the people, and endanger the stability and permanency of the Union, and onght not to be countenanced by any friend of our political institutions."
In 1852, the Democratic convention at Baltimore nominated General Franklin Pierce for President, and William R. King for Vice-President, and adopted the following resolutions referring to slavery:
"Resolved, That Congress has no power under the Constitution to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several States, and that such States are the sole and proper judges of everything appertaining to their own affairs, not prohibited by the Constitution; that all efforts of the abolitionists, or others, made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery, or to take incipient steps in relation thereto, are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences; and that all such efforts have an inevitable tendency to diminish the happiness of the people, and endanger the stability and permanency of the Union, and ought not to be countenanced by any friend of our public institutions.
"Resolved, That the foregoing proposition covers, and was intended to embrace, the whole subject of slavery agitation in Congress, and therefore the Democratic party of the Union, standing on this national platform, will abide by, and adhere to, a faithful execution of the acts known as the compromise measures, settled by the last Congress—the act for reclaiming fugitives from service or labor included; which, being designed to carry out an express provision of the Constitution, cannot with fidelity thereto be repealed, or so changed as to destroy or impair its efficiency."
The Whig convention, at Baltimore, soon after, nominated General Winfield Seott for President, and William