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which defends them, have been read by the boundary has been fixed by the United people.
States, Texas may bring the question Because slavery does not exist in the before the Supreme Court. But that territories acquired from Mexico, and is there are questions too large for any not likely to be introduced there, that is tribunal of that kind to try, - great the reason why it is unnecessary, and, there - political questions, national, territorial fore, inexpedient for us, to legislate upon the questions, which exceed their limits ;subject.
for such questions their powers are utÎn regard to the treatment of the claims terly incompetent.” He will not insist of Texas upon the United States for the that this particular question is beyond territory of New Mexico, which she calls the range of the court; but he claims that her own, wishing to include the most popu- the United States are now invested solely lous part of that territory within her own and exclusively with that power which boundaries, Mr. Clay has offered a line of was common to both the contracting parpolicy somewhat different in principle, ties, to fix, ascertain, and settle the western though identical in aim with that offered and northern limits of Texas. He contends by the President. Claiming for the gene- for the full power of the Government, unral government an unquestionable and un- der a clear and obvious necessity, to disdivided power of deciding the controversy pose of any portion of its territory, as the and fixing the line of boundary, he advises public good may require, when the limits that a certain portion of the debts of Texas of that State are ascertained. With regard shall be assumed by the general govern- to Texas, all is open and unfixed. The terment, in compensation for the resignation, ritory was purchased from Mexico at the by Texas, of all pretensions on her part, price of $15,000,000, and a costly barto the territory in question. That then, a gain !! and Texas cannot claim, as her boundary shall be given to her, adding own, what has been purchased by the nalargely to her extent, and yet not including tion. the populous parts of New Mexico, nor Mr. Clay proposes that as Texas had inimpairing the integrity of that territory, so curred a debt before her annexation, for soon to become an important member of which her revenues were pledged, the the Union.
people of the United States, being in the The language of the resolution of Annex- enjoyment of those revenues, may, with ation is, that “ Congress doth consent that propriety, pay a portion of this debt. He the territory properly included within, and states, that in the resolutions of Annexarightfully belonging to the Republic of tion it is clearly stipulated, that, in no event, Texas, may be erected into a new State ;" should the United States become liable for, leaving the ascertainment of the boundary or charged with any portion of the debt or for a future time, as follows: “Said State liabilities of Texas;" but, says Mr. Clay, to be formed, subject to the adjustment of there is a third party, who was no party to all questions of boundary, &c., &c." the annexation, that is to say, the creditor
Mr. Clay argues, that as Mexico and of Texas, who advanced the money on the the United States, conjointly, might have faith of solemn pledges made by Texas to fixed the boundaries of Texas, the power him to re-imburse the loan by the appronow lodges solely in the United States, priation of the duties received on foreign which was jointly possessed and exercised imports. by her with Mexico.
By the letter of the law, and the terms How is it with regard to the limits of the resolutions of Annexation, we are of new States ? (we add of ourselves.) not under any obligation to assume auy The people of a certain territory peti- portion of the debts of Texas. But if we tion to be made a State, with certain should, from other considerations, see fit to boundaries ; their petition is granted, with do so, then there is a kind of propriety in such boundaries as Congress, in its wisdom, our assuming that portion for which the may see fit to mark out upon the domain ; revenues were pledged. and this is the mode in which the bounda- The policy of Mr. Clay differs from that ries of new States have been defined. of President Taylor, in the single point of
' Ir. Clay adds, that possibly after the the method by which the boundary between New Mexico shall be ascertained. Both , fore most evidently resides in Congress itagree as to the sufficiency of the laws of self. But it may be highly improper and Mexico, still in force there, to render any inexpedient,-perhaps it may even be an act action of Congress upon her territory, in of tyranny and dishonor—to employ that regard to slavery, unnecessary. Mr. Člay, power in this particular instance. indeed, advises the establishment of a ter- Mr. Clay urges that it never could have ritorial government, by which a line of entered into the thoughts of the people of boundary must, of course, be adopted. Maryland and Virginia, when they made President Taylor would only protect the the cession of their territory, that slavery people of New Mexico from aggression, would be abolished in the District before it until they shall be strong enough to form a was abolished in their States; and it would sovereignty of their own, and then have be taking an unfair advantage of them to the question of boundary settled by the make use of their gift in a manner contrary Supreme Court.
to their wishes. This is the argument from The plan of Mr. Clay is probably the dishonor. It is necessary also to conone most acceptable to Texas, and, per- sult justice. If slavery is abolished in the haps, to the South generally, were it not District, the owners of the slaves must be for the prejudice of that portion of the fully compensated for their loss; and, moreUnion against the exercise of power neces- over, as the wishes of the people ought, sary to the fixation of the boundary. It is in all important cases, to be consulted, the also, in all probability, the one that will be assent of the inhabitants of the District received with greatest favor in New Mexi- must be obtained, if we would remove co, as it promises a speedy protection and from the act the imputation of tyranny. liberation. The inhabitants of that terri- The people of the District have no repretory have sent a petition, requesting the sentation; and, it is, therefore, necessary establishment of a more efficient govern- to use the greatest delicacy and caution ment to protect them against the inroads in making laws for them, and to consult of the Indian tribes, from which they re- their wishes in so momentous a matter. present they are suffering dreadfully at the These conditions must all be fully satispresent time. They are also strongly op- fied, Mr. Clay argues, before it can be posed to Union with Texas : considera- either just, honorable or expedient to aboltions, which will ensure the popularity of ish slavery in the District of Columbia. Mr. Clay's plan of legislation. That of In regard to the slave trade in that Dis-, the President, on the other hand, avoids trict, however, Mr. Clay speaks of it in much argument, and leaves the question terms of the severest condemnation and of boundary to be settled by a competent abhorrence, and would have it immediately tribunal, if indeed there is any evidence abolished, by authority of the general govupon which the Court will find it possible ernment. to found a decision.
It seems, at first view, an intolerable Of equal moment in this formidable con- thing that the seat of government of a troversy is the question of the abolition of free country should be contaminated by slavery in the District of Columbia. Mr. the presence of a slave. This is the enClay argues against it; not upon the ground thusiastic view of the matter : we forget, in of its unconstitutionality,--for he contends indulging it, that the District, being chiefly that the power of Congress to legislate for inhabited by officers of the government, the district is unquestionable by the very and representatives of the entire nation, words of the Constitution itself, but because does necessarily, in itself, represent not it is necessary to have regard to the inten- merely the free, but the slave States. tions of the ceding States, out of whose terri- Southern Representatives residing in the tory the district was originally composed. District, become citizens of the District. All that remains of the District at present, is They, of course, bring with them their dothat which was ceded by Maryland, the mestic servants, to whom they are personportion given by Virginia having been sub- ally, often tenderly, attached. It is necessequently retroceded to that State. The sary to pay a regard to their feelings, in power to abolish slavery in the District does this matter at least. The District reprenot indeed lodge in Maryland, and it there-1 sents the entire nation, and the domestic
institutions of every State in the nation ; a cessity, a shifting line ; it cannot be fixed consideration not merely therotic, but very upon any, equitable principles. If an practical ; and which, lying as it were la- equal division of territory is to be made, tent, and unrecognized, in the mind of Nor- (and it is now necessary to exclude Calithern legislators, has made them hitherto fornia, she having declared against the inextremely reluctant to employ the power troduction of slavery ; and New Mexico is of Congress against slavery in the District
. in a fair way, also, to take a similar course In regard to the securing and restitution with her sister territory,) between the of runaway slaves, the action of the North and the South, it will be either equiNorthern States has been, in many in- valent to a direct legislation, establishing stances, adverse to that provision of the Con- slavery in one part of the territory, and stitution which requires it. Mr. Clay hopes forbidding it in another; or it will be a that the Legislatures of Northern States measure wholly useless and of no avail to may be induced, by calmer considerations, the South. to retrace their steps in this direction. We By whatever means the introduction or conceive that the opposition of some por- prohibition is legalized, whether by a joint tions of the Northern people to the re-de- resolution of compromise, or by an act, or livery of slaves, has arisen from the very a proviso attached to an act, such legalizageneral opinion entertained there that ne- tion by act, by resolution, or proviso, will groes are badly treated by their mas- be an implied denial, a giving up of the ters in the South ; that they are made great doctrine of the South,- for which it merchandize of, and bought and sold with has contended so stoutly,—that Congress out remorse. This opinion has arisen has no power to legislate for the territories. chiefly from the observations of Northerners Adverse to that doctrine, and insisting, for residing in the District of Columbia, where our own part, on the constitutionality of a they see a traffic in slaves carried on within direct legislation for the entire territory, sight of the Capitol. The abolition of this we are unwilling to admit the principle of traffic, it appears to us, would be not merely such a compromise as has been proposed, a humane, but a highly politic measure as a basis of legislative action. for the South, and would serve to quiet
The establishment of a line of comproexcitement and agitation.
mise, dividing one part of the territory from Mr. Clay's last resolution, that Congress another, is a division of what ought not to has no power to prohibit or obstruct the be divided ; a division of sovereignty; it is a trade in slaves between the slave-holding denationalization of the public councils ; we States, seems to be almost a necessary de- even doubt the constitutionality of the duction from the admission of a sovereign measure. The North enjoys as full and power in those States over the institution complete a sovereignty over the new terriitself. The owner of a slave, in one State, tories as the South ; and is it allowable for is also the owner of him in the State ad- a majority in Congress tacitly to yield the joining; he, therefore, has an unquestiona- power of legislation, the sovereign power ble right to move him across the boundary, which is inherent in the North as truly as unless forbidden by one or other of the two it is in the South-which is inherent not in sovereignties themselves.
any one State or group of States, but in Laying aside, for the present, all propo- the entire nation ? Not so, however, in case sitions for a direct legislative prohibition the power were expressly reserved of legisof slavery in the territories, not as they are lating in future for the territory South of unconstitutional, but as they are ill-timed the line as might seem expedient : but the and unnecessary, we come upon the second South would not agree to any reservation ; line of policy which has been proposed — if a line is adopted
the adoption is final. the policy of establishing a line of compro- Mr. Clay is opposed to the adoption of a mise on one side of which slavery shall be line. Were the line established, he says, it prohibited, and on the other, permitted, if would be illusory to the South ;-that not tacitly established.
slavery will not establish itself there, being The objections to this measure are ob- already interdicted by nature, and the fiat vious and insuperable.
of the people in California and New MexiWhatever line is adopted will be, of ne- co: and it would be mere madness to at
tempt a direct legislative action, establish- 1 It must be a shifting line, because with ing slavery where it is interdicted, both by every new addition of territory a new dinature and by circumstance.
vision must be made. Should the line be that if slavery be interdicted north of the drawn through New Mexico, and a portion line, the South will have gained nothing, of that territory given up to the South, and unless it be established by the same act, the division regarded as an equitable one, no south of the line ; but that is an impossi- sooner then shall we have added Cuba, or, bility : there could not be twenty votes got by cession from Mexico, the countries south in favor of it. It has been said, he con- of Texas, the line has ceased to be equitatinues, that non-legislation on this point, ble and must be moved farther south. We in regard to California, implies the same need not speak now of Canada, though it thing as the exclusion of slavery from that is easy to see how the addition of the two region. “ That,” says Mr. Clay, Canadian States, with the vast territories cannot help: that, Congress is not re- attached to them, would rouse the jeal
If nature has pronounced ousy of the South, who would then dethe doom of slavery upon those territories mand a re-adjustment of the line, were its -if she has declared, by her immutable position unsettled, or if not, then the purlaws, that slavery cannot and shall not be chase of more territory to maintain the balintroduced there, whom can you reproach ance on their side. but nature, or nature's God? Congress But the adoption of such a line implies we cannot ;-Congress abstains ;-Congress an idea, false, and contrary to nature, of is passive ;-Congress is non-active in the the causes of this great controversy. The plan which proposes to extend no line ;- people of the North, looking upon slavery leaves the entire theatre of these territories merely as a form of government, and which untouched by legislative enactment, either might be erected upon any soil and in any to exclude or admit slavery.” “I ask climate, have placed too little confidence again,” he continues, " if you will listen to in nature and necessity. They have not the voice of calm and dispassionate reason, considered that slavery cannot be carried -I ask of any man from the South to risé out over the prairies of the West, or into and tell me, if it is not better for his sec- the defiles of the Rocky Mountains. The tion of the Union that Congress should re-growers of cotton, of tobacco, of rice, and main passive, on both sides of any ideal of
seek out such fields as are suitaline, than that it should interdict slavery ble to the products which they cultivate ; on one side of the line, and be passive in and these are the only products to which regard to it on the other side of the line ?” slave labor can be profitably applied ; there
A compromise line adopted by resolu- is a limit to this institution, beyond which tion, is an act equivalent to the establish- if it is attempted to be forced, as it has ment of a fundamental law. Though it be been in some parts of the continent, it is not an act in a strictly legal sense, it is a depressed and extinguished by the slow something more than an act; it is more but certain operation of natural laws. effectual, because it is irreversible, irrevo- Such was the fate of slavery in Connecticable, and cannot be repealed. It is a re- cut, in New York, in New Jersey, in signation, or rather a division, of the high- Pennsylvania, and such, beyond all reaest function, that of sovereignty over per- sonable doubt, must be its fate in Delasons, by a mere majority, between two sec- ware, in Maryland, in Virginia, in Tennestions of the nation. We say, therefore, it is see, in Kentucky, and in Missouri. The equivalent to a fundamental law, and in negro laborer thrives in climates where the so far as it has any effects whatever, must white laborer perishes; negro labor is not prohave the effects of such a law.
fitable excepting under circumstances pecuA line of compromise, to be an equitable liarly favorable; the crop must be one of line, should be a shifting line ; nor should four kinds, already mentioned; for though it be a parallel of latitude, as it is a division maize and other grains are largely cultiof property,-nay, more, a division of sov- vated at the South, they are not counted ereignty; it must be drawn, if justly, with among the great sources of wealth: were regard not merely to the extent but the corn to be the only export of the South, probable value of the territory so divided. her wealth might be soon counted. The fixing, therefore, of a line of compromise offer, we must accept them too; Minesota would be, in another sense of the word, a and Oregon will have to be received ; with compromise of the laws of nature. decency we cannot refuse them. At best,
Were the line so drawn as to embrace coun- we can only defer and procrastinate ; they tries in which negro labor is unprofitable, the must come in ; they are knocking at the institution of slavery would be forced out door, and if we, the door-keepers, refuse upon territories wholly unfitted to receive them entrance, the nation will, without it-territories like New Mexico and Cali- much controversy, elect new door-keepers fornia, where the labor of white men, more hospitable than we. artizans and tillers of the soil, is not Balance of Power !—who holds it? Who only possible but profitable. Governments is it that wedges in this detestable dehave a weighty responsibility in directing lusion between the Northern and Souththe course of the emigrant; in preparing ern sides of this body of one soul and one the way for him ; in showing him to what life ? The States of Europe, existing lands, to what waters he should repair,-in in a condition of perpetual hatred and preserving him from the rapacity of specu- alarm, held together by no principle of lators, and from the disastrous effects of right, no declaration of liberty, but if at all, his own ignorance. But it is perhaps all in by temporary and interested alliances, convain to speak of these things in this age of fessions of mutual weakness or wickedness; “individual enterprise.” Governments their governments, the prize of every milihave now only to bury the dead, if we ac- tary adventurer; the system itself a chaos, cept the tenets of a certain school. changeful as rolling smoke clouds, which
Visions of colonial prosperity are dash- assume every instant a new figure and posied by the experience of a single man ; if tion ; to-day, a monarchy, and the affiliaone man cannot make wheat grow in the tion of monarchies ; to-morrow a revolution, deserts, a thousand never will; if rice and a demagogue changing swiftly into a dessugar abhor the climate of New Mexico, pot, and then an expansive and soon collapif cotton refuses to be profitable there, the sing empire,-in such a chaos, what can South will storm and legislate to little pur- England do for herself, but maintain a pose. The master may take his slaves BALANCE of Power ? England holds the into a new region, to contend there with Balance of Power for Europe; wisely and new difficulties, but it were far better for him prudently for the most part, with a clear to give them a new discipline, to give a new head, and an unflinching resolution, she direction to their energies at home, than to watches the contending powers of the confollow a dream. But when the madness tinent, and, when the scale turns to her of the private man is stimulated by legis- own disadvantage, hurls in her cannon and lation, when he is gravely sent to his ruin her ships to make the balance again even. by Senates and Houses of Assembly, then England holds the Balance of Power for comes calamity indeed ; and the State bu- Europe ; but who holds it here? There ries her citizens in the wilderness, she buries is no analogy. America contemns, denies her treasures there, something better than and denounces this doctrine of divisions. gold,—the spirit and the energy of young Late in the day we have this new delusion adventure.
of a Balance of Power, sprung upon us by And what is the origin of this monstrous the State of South Carolina. Is she the procedure ? this attempt to force out the third party, forsooth, between the Northinstitution of slavery upon soils unfitted to ern and the Southern halves of this great sustain it ? To maintain what ? The empire, of this nation of twenty millions, Balance of Power!
absorbing a continent, and holding the desThere are now fifteen against fifteen. tinies of arts, arms and commerce in her California, New Mexico, the coming States hopeful future? of Oregon and Minesota, and perhaps the In the closing remarks of his speech, two Canadas, will turn the scale ; and then, Mr. Clay alludes, with great force,
to the what becomes of your Balance of Power consequences of a dissolution of the Union, We have admitted Texas; we are bound, or to a cecession from it, of any portion of therefore, by obligations as solemn as oaths, the slave States. Were the Union disto admit California. When the Canadas solved, it would be no remedy nor redress