Speech of Hon. Alexander H. Stephens on the Bill to Admit Kansas as a State


A 3 O/ S

ADMISSION OF KANSAS. The House having under consideration the bill reported from the Committee on Territories, providing for the admission of Kansas into the Union as a State, with the constitution prepared at Topeka by the free-State party. Mr. STEPHENS said: I propose, Mr. Speaker, before I proceed1* to what I have arisen mainly to say on this occasion, to ask the consent of the House to allow me now to offer the amendment which I stated yesterday I wished to propose to the bill now before us. Mr. WASHBURN, of Maine. If the gentleman asks that consent now, I shall object to it, as I shall at all times. Mr. STEPHENS. On the motion to commit the.bill to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, the amendment is not inorder, unless by unanimous consent. Mr. WASHBURN. I understand that to be a side measure, intended to destroy the bill, and I shall object-to it now, and at all times. Mr. STEPHENS. I state to the gentleman that I have no side blows for this bill, nor is my amendment intended as any side measure. I wish my proposition to come distinctly before the House as a substitute for the pending bill. I am opposed out and out to this bill as it now stands. I want no misunderstanding on that point. I will, however, vote for the substitute; and what I want is a direct vote between the bill now pending, and the substitute offered as an amendment. But as the gentleman from Maine will not allow me to offer my proposition as an amendment, I now move to amend the motion to commit this bill to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, by adding to it, “With instructions to report this amendmentin lieu of the original bill-,” in other words, with instructions to strike out all in the original bill, and to insert my amendment in lieu thereof. That is the motion which I submit to the House, and upon it I shall proceed with what I have to say. * It is immaterial to me, Mr. Speaker, if I can get a vote in the House on the proposition submitted by me, whether it goes to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Unions or not. I am jj myself prepared to vote on it to-day, either in the । House or in the Committee of the Whole on the j state of the Union. But I am inclined to think that | it had better go to the committee. We can then 1 take'up this amendment, and consider it in detail. ' It may be some gentlemen would suggest modifications, which I would accept. We can then discuss the merits of the original bill. Its friends can amend that, if they wish. My amendment can be put in such form as a majority of the committee may desire, if a majority be favorable to its objects. I therefore shall vote for the reference. But the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Campbell] । the other day said, that the motion to refer or j commit, made by the gentleman from Indiana, [Mr. Dunn,] and which is now pending, was equivalent, if successful, to a defeat of the bill. The gentleman from Maine [Mr. Washburn] also followed in the same line. Now, I told ' these gentlemen, day before yesterday, and I state it again to the House, that I do not consider the motion to commit the bill to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the. Union, if carried, as equivalent to a defeat of the measure at all. By no means, sir. What is the argument of those who say a reference of the bill is tantamount to its defeat? Nothing better than this,«.s argued by the gentleman from Maine, to wit: that all the friends of the Kansas bill, two years ago, when that bill was referred to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, considered it as equivalent to its defeat. That is his argument, and the authority adduced by him to sustain it. Sir, it is immaterial to me what certain friends of the Kansas bill may have thought would be the effect of its reference, when it was referred. If they considered,that reference as equivalent to its defeat, the sequel showed that they were in error. That is all. It was referred. It was considered two weeks in committee, and it was then passed. Mr. WASHBURN. Will the gentleman allow me to say that that was simply because they broke down the rules of the House in two instances. If tliey had not they never could have got that bill out of committee.

4 mitted to the committee whether it will be taken up or not; and a majority of the committee have the expressly-granted power to determine, without debate, whether they will then act on it, or lay it aside for other business; and so on to the second, and so to the third, and to the fourth, and to the one hundred and fiftieth, if you please ? Was it not perfectly competent for a majority of the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, when the Kansas bill was in committee, to pass over other bills, and take up that bill when they wished to do so ? This they did. Each bill was laid aside as it was reached. They had a right to do it. They violated no rule in doing it. The number of bills laid aside to reach it was only eighteen, I think. But if the number had beendegion—if there had been one hundred, or five hundred, or a thousand, it would have made no difference. Sir, the rule in this case is as clear as it could be made; and the action of the committee on that occasion was strictly in order. This I maintain, and defy an answer or reply to it. Now, then, sir, as to the 119th rule. When the committee on that occasion had laid aside the first bill, and the second bill, and the third bill, and so on, until they had come to the Kansas bill, the eighteenth in order—which they had a right to do—they took it up for consideration; and after it had been discussed for two weeks in committee, which was as long as was thought proper by the House, the 119th rule was resorted i to, to stop debate in committee and bring the subject before the House for a vote. That rule is as ; follows: “A motion to strike out the enacting words of a bill shall । have precedence of a motion to amend; and, if carried, shall be equivalent to its rejection.” Under this rule, a motion was made by myself in committee to strike out.the enacting words of the Kansas bill—a motion which took precedence of all motions to amend, as the rule says. The motion was properly put; and it was carried by a vote of one hundred and three for it, to but twenty-two against it, as I have said. Where, then, was there any violation of the rules in this? But the gentleman from Ohio, [Mr. Campbell,] who says he wishes to reply to what I say, insisted the day before yesterday that this 119th rule never was intended to apply in committee. The rule, in its language, was too clear, too overwhelming, too unanswerable; but to avoid its conclusiveness against him, he said it was made to apply to the House, and not to the Committee of the Whole, fyc. Well, sir, let us see how this subterfuge will avail the gentleman. The history of this rule, as given in our Manual, is as follows: “ In 1814, a Committee of the Whole struck out the first and only section of a bill, and so reported to the House. Mr. Speaker Cheves refused to receive the report, on the ‘ground that it was tantamount to a rejection of the bill, which the committee had not power to do.” Just as the gentleman now says. .“After this, that the merit of questions might be tested in Committee of the Whole, rule 119 was adopted.” This history clearly shows that it was expressly adopted for the Committee of the Whole, 8pc. I have produced this additional authority to show that there ^as no violation of the rule on the Mr. STEPHENS. Will the gentleman state what two instances? Mr. WASHBURN. In thefirstplace, by deciding that under the 119th rule you might strike out the enacting clause of the bill. In the second place, by rising and reporting the bill to the House when there was no quorum voting, as every body knows. Mr. RICHARDSON. The gentleman from Maine is totally mistaken when he says there was no quorum. Mr. STEPHENS. I hope the gentleman from Illinois will let me proceed. The gentleman from Maine is mistaken in both his instances. The record shows that the tellers, Mr. Clingman and Mr. Sapp, reported 103 in favor of the motion, and 22 against it. That is more than a quorum— one hundred and eighteen was a quorum—one hundred and twenty-five voted. Though a great many present refused to vote, more than a quorum, however, did vote on the motion to strike out. It does not require a quorum to vote on a motion to rise, as every one knows. And as far as the violation of the 119th rule is concerned, I have this to. say to the gentleman—as I said the day before yesterday—that nothing can be clearer than that everything done in the committee on the passage of the Kansas bill under the 119th rule, was legitimate and proper; and that no rule of this House was violated or overrode on that occasion. This I intend to show beyond cavil or doubt. The charge that there was no quorum voting is answered by the record, as I have stated; then as to the two other charges—for besides the * charge relating to the 119th rule now made, the gentleman from Mai ne, [Mr. AV a shb urn, ] or some other gentleman, said, two days ago, that there was another rule violated. What one I do not know—for no one was mentioned—but the statement was, that the committee had violated the rules of the House by setting aside other bills having priority in the order of business on the Calendar to the Kansas-Nebraska bill. That w-as one statement; and I think it -was also said that upwards of a hundred bills were thus set aside to reach this one. Now, Mr. Speaker, I Have the ! rules of the House before me, and ask the attention of tlie House to the 135th rule:. “In Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union the bills shall be taken up and disposed of in their order on the Calendar; but when objection is made to the consideratjon of a bill a majority of the corpmittee shall decide, without debate, whether it shall be taken up and disposed of,'or laid aside; provided, that general appropriation bills, and, in ime of war, bills for raising men or money, and bills concerning a treaty of peace, shall be preferred to all other bills at the discretion of the committee- and when demanded by any member the question shall first be put inregard to them.” Even in times of war, appropriation bills, and bills relating to treaties of peace, have no other preference, except that the question of taking them up first shall be first put. A majority may .ay even them aside. Sir, could a rule be written more plainly? Can language be more clear or more distinct than this —that when the Hou^e goes into the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, and when the first bill in order is read by the Clerk, and a gentleman objects to taking it up, it is then sub­

5 occasion alluded io—that the Committee of the Whole on the Kansas bill did just exactly what the rule intended that they might do, and fully empowered them to do. But gentlemen say, if this rule was intended to be applied to the Committee of the Whole, why has it never been put in practice before? That was the argument of the gentleman from Maine,. Well, Mr. Speaker, my reply to him is, that it has been put in practice before. It was adopted in 1822. Ten days after its adoption, on the 2d of March, 1822, first session of the Seven teeth Congress, I find the Journal of the House record thus: “The House took up and proceeded to consider the bill for the relief of Benjamin Freeland and John M. Jenkins; and the amount reported thereto from the Committee of the Whole House, on the 14th instant, being read as follows : ‘ striking out the enacting clause of said billd “ The question was put on concurringwith the Committee of the Whole House in the said amendment, “And passed in the affirmative.” Here the committee did the very same thing, ten daysafterthe rule was adopted, that was done on the Kansas bill. What did the House do? Did they say that the Committee of the Whole had acted improperly? No, sir. The Journal i says: “ the question was taken upon concurring with the Committee of the Whole on said amendment, and it passed in the affirmative.” 1 find in the first session of the Eighteenth Congress, on the 22d of May, this’record: “The question was then taken to concur with the Committee of the Whole House on striking out the enacting words of the bill from the Senate, entitled ‘An act relative to the Patent Office and to the salary of the superintendent thereof,’ “And passed in the affirmative.” Again, sir, in the first session of the Twenty- First Congress, I find on the Journal this record: “The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole House on the bill (No. 127) for the relief of Walter Livingston, deceased, and after some tinip spent therein, the Speaker resumed the chair, and Mr. Storrs, of New Fork, reported the same, with the enacting clause stricken' out.” “The question was then put, that the House do concur with the Committee of the Whole House in striking out the enacting words of said bill, “And passed in the affirmative—yeas 84, nays 59.” I find in the same Congress, in the action of the House on the bill for the relief of John Robinson, that “The question was then put to concur with the Committee of the Whole House in striking out the enacting words of the bill (No. 175) for the relief of John llobmson, “And passed in the affirmative. “ So the land bill was rejected.” Sir, I shall not go on with this record. It is sufficient for me to state to those gentlemen who complain of my motion under this rule, that their not knowing that such a motion had ever been made before does not seem to me, to be an argument of much merit or force. I show you, Mr. Speaker, the House, and the country, the rule. No man can question that. I show you, also, its history; and from that, that it was made for just such a purpose as the one I applied it to. No man now can gainsay that. I go further, and show you the practice of the House under it. No man can any longer question that. Then, sir, how can gentlemen rise up here, and say that the passage of the Kansas .and Nebraska bill was accomplished by overriding the rules of the House ? Gentlemen may have been surprised and astonished at the parliamentary tactics practiced und^r the rule; they may never have dreamed of how the friends of a measure, in committee,. ' could vote to strike out the enacting words—thus apparently defeating it—and then, wheh it was so reported to the House, reverse their position, disagree to the report of the committee striking out the enacting words, and then pass it. They may not have understood the process by which a bill might be temporarily apparently killed by its friends in Committee of the Whole, for the purpose of getting it out, and then revived again in the House, by disagreeing to the report of the committee; but this is the whole of it. This is the ground of all this clamor about the violation of the rules of the House, in the passage of the Kangas bill—for it is nothing but clamor. ; The charge of a violation of rules has not the ' semblance of a fact to rest upon. And let no man hereafter say that sending a bill to. the Committee of the Whole is equivalent to its defeat. Our rules requiring this committee, and directing how business shall be disposed of in it, are wise i and proper. And the rules, when properly administered, work harmoniously for the perfection and dispatch of legislation. It is-only those who do not understand them who see confusion and mystery in them. Where, then, was the wrong or the fraud perpetrated on the rules in the passage of the Kansas bill ? It exists only in the fancy of gentlemen who declaim so violently on the subject. I said, sir, I intended to vindicate the action both of the committee and the House on that occasion, and put the matter beyond all future cavil or doubt. This, I think, I । have done. Now, sir, I intend also, with the [ same confidence, to vindicate the principles of that bill against the equally unfounded assaults which have been made upon them. What, sir, are those assaults ? The gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Campbell] said i the other day, and again says, that the passage of the Nebraska bill was the origin of all the troubl1* in' the country. Sir, what troubles does he allude to ? What troubles have we upon us ? Standing in my place in the Hall of the Representatives of the United States, I ask to-day, what troubles is the country laboring under ? Were any people of the world evermore prosperous than the people of the United States now are ? We are at peace with all 1 other nations; we hear of no complaint about Fed- J eral taxes or high tariffs; we hear of no disarrangement of the currency or of the finances of the I country; we hear of no clamor against banks; our tables are not loaded down with petitions or remonstrances against grievances of any sprt; thrift and plenty seem to be smiling over the land from one extent to the other. Our commerce was never more flourishing; agriculture never yielded a more bountiful supply from the bosom of the earth to the tillers of her sqil than it now does, nor was the average value of products .ever higher. Industry, in every department of business, whether upon the ocean or the land, never had more inducements to ply its energies, not only for competency

6 is this fraud, this iniquity, this‘crime against nature and against God? It is the simple declaration of the principle that the people of the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska—the pioneer freemen there—our own brothers in flesh and blood—going there from every State of the Union, for the purpose of settling that distant frontier— there to build up new homes for themselves and their posterity—should have the right, without limitation or restriction from any quarter, save the Constitution of the United States, to form and mold just such institutions for their own government as they pleased—a right which lies at the foundation of all our State governments, and upon which the whole Republic, in its several parts, is built and established. This is the fraud, this is the iniquity, this is the great crime of crimes, .the security to the people of the Territories of the right of self-government under the Constitution. The amount of the crime is, that freemen shall be permitted to make such constitutions, republican in form, for their own government, without dictation or control from any other power, as they please. Tell it wherever you go, that this was the monstrous outrage committed by an American Congress in 1850, the middle of' the nineteenth century, on the Territories of Utah and New Mexico, and repeated by the same body in 1854, on the Territories of Nebraska and “ bleeding Kansas!” This is the whole of it— nothing more and nothing less. These troubles we now hear of—these efforts to getup civil war— these shouts at the announcement that civil war has already commenced—are but part and parcel of that spirit which animated a portion, and only a portion, of the opposition to the Kansas bill, during the pendency of that measure in this House. That same spirit at the North that had so bitterly opposed the establishment of tHis great principle of territorial policy in 1850 could not bear the idea of its being carried out in the future. I recollect very well, sir, that while the Kansas bill was progressing here, a newspaper in the city, of New York, edited by a man of great ability, untiring energy and industry, and who is now the head and front—the animating spirit of the present opposition, and civil war champion’s undertook to lecture this House as to our duty in regard to that bill. We were told then by him what an enormous Wrong it would be; and when the measure was about to pass an editorial in that paper reached here, from which I wish to present some extracts, to show that it is the same spirit ■now at work: “ We urge, therefore, unbending determination on the part of the northern members hostile to this intolerable outrage, and demand of them, in behalf of peace—in behalf of freedom—in behalf of justice and humanity—resistance to the last. Better that confusion should ensue—better that discord should reign in the national councils—better that Congress should break up in wild disorder—nay, better that the Capitol itself should blaze by the torch of the incendiary, or fall and bury all its inmates beneath its crumbling ruins, than that this perfidy and wrong should be finally accomplished.” This is the language of the New York Tribune in reference to the Kansas bill a few days before | it passed. Yes, sir, even then that editor declared 1' that it was better that this Capitol should be burnt and comforts, but for tlie accumulation of riches and wealth. Never did labor, in all its branches, receive more readily than i t now does fair and justly compensating wages. Our internal and foreign trade was never in a more flourishing condition. What are the troubles, then, of which the gentleman speaks ? Why, sir, if one could cast his eye over this wide Republic at this time, and see the thrift.and prosperity in every d epartmant of industry, arising from our benign institutions, he would almost be compelled to exclaim, that all the troubles of which we hear grow out of nothing but that exuberance of liberty and multitude of blessings which seem to be driving us on to licentiousness. This we see in the mobs at Cifitinnati, Louisville, New Orleans, in this city, and in San Francisco. The laws have been set aside; force has been resorted to; arms have been used; and men have been slain. But the absorbing theme now is the “ civil war,” as it called, in Kansas. This is the announcement made in a neighboring city, the commercial metropQlis of this Union, the other night, according to a report of their proceedings which I find in a newspaper, to a large crowd of people there assembled. I see it was proclaimed that civil war was raging in Kansas; and that that assembly gave shouts of applause at the announcement! These are the troubles I suppose of which the gentleman speaks — troubles produced not by this Kansas bill, but by tire mischievous designs and reckless purposes of those who, in their efforts to defeat the quiet and peaceful operation of the sound purposes of that bill, have for some time been engaged in their unholy work of attempting to get up civil war in the country, and can now shOut in applause at even the most distant prospect of success. This, sir, is the work of that class of restless malcontents, who have for years been endeavoring to produce a sectional conflict in this country; who have no.regard for the constitutional equality of the States of this Union; who repudiate the most sacred obligations of that compact which binds us together, arid who have proclaimed that Constitution itself is a league with death and a covenant with hell! How far they shall be permitted to go on with their work until checked by a sound reactive public sentiment—how far they shall get sympathy and cooperation from those whom they are now attempting to mislead —how far they may be successful in their long cherished wish for civil strife, I cannot say. That is a problem for the future to settle; that, depends upon the virtue, intelligence, and integrity of the people. But that they’ought not to succeed—that they ought not only to be discouraged, butrebuked and condemned in every part of this country, and by every man who has a spark of patriotism in his bosom, as well in tire North as in the South, I this day maintain. But the gentleman from 'Ohio says all this comes from the Kansas bill. How ? In what way ? What is there wrong in that Kansas measure ? Ithas been said thatitis a fraud. It has been said that itis the greatestof iniquities. It has been said that it is a crime against God. It has been said that it is a crime against nature. Well, sir, what

7 of the Executive, and became,the law of the land. The revolutionary spirit, however, which invoked the burping of the Capitol, did not stop with defeat in all tliree of the departments of legislation. Members of Congress with others, beaten in the Hotfte of Repiesentativps, beaten in the Senate} failing in their threats'and denunciations of the Executive, betook themselves forthwith to plotting schemes to defeat the will of the people as constitutionally expressed. Societies were formed, one of them by members of this House, immediately after the bill passed; money was raised; circulars were issued,—all with the avowed purpose of sending people to Kansas to prevent the peaceful and quiet operation of the wise and beneficent principles of the territorial law—movements having a direct tendency to kindle this civil war of which we now hear. The Capitol fortunately was not burnt—that suggestion did not. take. Digorder did not reign here—that suggestion did not take, But bodies of men were organized—not allowing the legitimate laws of nature, of climate, and of soil to determine the character of the pioneer population from all the States alike whp might choose to make settlement thare. Men were sent out in large companies,' witji ,arms and munitions of war; Sharpe’s rifles- were sent; artillery was sent. ' What for? Did these colonists go to Kansas a$ our forefathers sought homes at Plymouth, St. I Mary’s, Jamestown, and Savannah? Or did they I not rather go ns the traip-bands of (Cortes and Pizzaro went forth thirsting'for the conquest of ) the Montezumas and the Incas? Was not their sole object to effect by force and violence what they had failed to do by legislation ? What other meaning can be put tipon thefollowing manifesto which was published in the “ Herald of Freedom,’’their organ at Lawrence, the head-quarters of these emigrants in the Territory: I; “Come one,eomeall,slaveocrats andnulliflers; we have rifles enough, and bullets enough, to send you all to your (and Judas’s) ‘ own place.’ ‘ If you’re coming, why don’t you come along ?’ ” Was not this a direct invitation to arms ? And whatever troubles or disturbances exist in Kat* 1 sas, let them not be charged to the Kansas bill, | but to those who have sworn in their wrath that I that bill never shall work out its natural and legitimate results, if they can prevent it. As well might the wars about points of doctrine and religious creeds which have disgraced Christendom, be charged upon the heavenly principles of the gospel. Christ himself said that it was impossible but that offenses in this world of wickedness would come. When bad men are at worh, they cannot be prevented. The principles of that bill are-in no way responsible for any outrages or trampling upon rights by parties on the other side of the controversy, got up and provoked in that Territory by designing men outside, for mischievous purposes. And the friends of that bill—- those who stand pledged to its principles-—condemn outrages on either or both sides alike. Blit a word, sir, as to the nature and extent of these difficulties. Are they not greatly exaggerated and magnified ? Let us look at the facts. Some men, it is true, haye. been killed—some on by the torch .of an incendiary—better that the Government should go into dissolution, than that the people colonizing and settling Kansas and Nebraska should be just as free‘as the people of New York, or, as he states it, than that this act of perfidy and wrong should be finally accomplished. Whatwrong did the act contain? Wrong to whom ? to whom was there anything in it either wrong or unjust ? Was it wrong to the people of the South, one larg# section of tf e Union, to permit them to enjoy an equal and fair participation of the public domain purchased by the common blood and common treasure of all ? Was it wrong or unjust to permit the people of New York, Massachusetts, and pther States of the .North going into a new Territory,-to be as free there as they were in their native homes? Was it wrong or unjust to allow all from all the States, who might be disposed to quit the old States, and seek to better their fortunes by cutting down the, forests of the West, turning up its virgin soil, and making the wilderness to blossom as the rose, to enjoy the same rights which their fathers did in the early formation of all our present State constitutions and governments? ■ Whom, I say, did the bill wrong? To whom did it deal any injustice ? Was it the slave, the African, whom his southern master might take there ? How could it be unjust , even to him? Is not his condition as much bettered by new lands and virgin soils as that of his master? Is not expansion of that portion of southern population quite as necessary for their comfort and well-being as it is for the whites? Would you keep them hemmed in. in their present limits, until subsistence shall fail,and starvation shall effect the objects of a misguided humanity? Without stopping here to say a word upon'the subject of southern society, and therelation which the negro there sustains to the white man, either as to the necessity of that relation, or its wisdom or propriety, uoes it work any wrong or injury ‘to the slave to take him from old lands to new lands? Is nothis condition bettered by the change J And have we not new lands enough for all? Your Topeka convention, which formed the pretended free-State constitution now before us, proposed to exclude the negro and mulatto forever from that country. Upon the score of humanity, then, even towards the “poor negro” about whom so much sympathy is attempted to be .excited, I ask, which does him the greater wrong, the Kansas bill, or the project of-your free-State constitution? Who, to him, is the Good Samaritan in this case? The Free-Soil Levite, who would leave him to starve without land to work ? or his humane southern master, who is willing to provide both land and shelter, food and raiment? Where, then, is the wrong of this bill ? It consists in nothing but permitting the freemen of our own race to settle this question of the status of the African amongst themselves, as they in their wisdom and patriotism may think best for the happiness of both races, just as the freemen of our own race did in each of the old thirteen States of the Union. • But, sir, the House did not heed this lec^re of the editor. The bill passed this body; it passed the Senate; it received the constitutional approval

8 both sides. And wha^else could have been expected? What other result could have been looked for by those instigating the movements I have alluded to ? The first man killed in the Territory was Davis. He fell by the hands of those calling themselves free-State.men. Then Dow, a free-State man, was killed by Coleman; but the. quarrel between them arase about a land claim. ‘It was a private and personal‘matter. Coleman immediately gave himself up to the legal authorities, claiming to have acted in self-defense. Whether he did or not, I do not know, and will not pretend to say; but a friend of Ddw, of the name of Branson, having made threats of avenging his death, was arrested under a peace warrant, and, while in the hands of an officer, was rescued by a party of free-State men. Warrants were taken out for these, and they took shelter in Lawrence, W’here they put themselves in defiance of the civil authorities. The posse was called out to aid in the arrest, and this led first to the seige of Lawrence, and then to the capitulation of December last. In this war, no lives were lost. Two or three other homicides had been committed in the Territory;-but in all, from the organization of the Territory, up to the attempted assassination of Sheriff Jones, I think not exceeding half a dozen 1 In what part of the United States, sir, in the same length of time, with the same population they have in Kansas, have there been fewer murders or deaths by violence? How many were killed in the riots last year in Cincinnati? How many in Louisville, Kentucky? I venture -to say to-day, that with all this clamor about civil war in Kansas, more lives have not been lost there, sincedhe organization of the Territory, than have been in several of the large city elections of the United States within the last twelve months. It is not my wish to make light of these things, but to take a calm and dispassionate view of them. A strong and general tendency to disregard law and order is one of the most lamentable evils of the day. It is not confined to Kansas, but it is seen and felt everywhere. our object, and that of all good men, should be to check it rather than excite it. Then, sir, as to the election in Kansas and the ' laws passed by their Legislature. One word upon this point. The first election was held there for a Delegate to Congressin November,<1854. That there were illegal votes on both sides I have no doubt; but I believe it is admitted by every one that, notwithstanding the efforts of the emigrant aid companies to prevent it, General Whitfield had much the larger number of the legal votes of the Territory, aad was duly elected. In March afterwards grater efforts were made to carry the Legislature. The result was the commission or certificate of election by Governor Reeder Himself to a large majority of both branches of that body; They were therefore legally constituted as a legislative body. There may have been illegal voting on both sides, as there is doubtless in all our elections. But upon the well-settled and'fixed principles on which all our representative institutions rest, and without a maintenance of'which there can be neither “jaw nor order,” that is now a closed question. The laws, therefore, of that Legislature must be observed and obeyed until repealed or modified by legislative power, or set’ aside by the courts as void. And upon the character of these laws I wish to make but a passing remark. The gentleman from Indiana [Mr. Colfax] pointed out quite a number of them the other day, which he said were very bad ones. Well, Sir, I am not going to discuss their respective merits. Perhaps some them are bad; it would be an extraordinary code if it were otherwise. ‘I know the advocates of the present government in the Territory—the law-and-order party there—do not themselves approve of all of them! I will read what they say on tile subject: “The law for the protection of slave property has also been much misunderstood. , The right to pass such a law is expressly stated-by Governor Reeder in his inaugural message, in which he says: ‘ A Terri torial Legislature may undoubtedly act upon the question to a limited and partial extent, and may temporarily prohibit, tolerate, or regulate slavery in the Territory, and in an absolute or modified form, with all the force and effect of tiny other legislative act, binding until repealed by the same power that enacted it.’ There is nothing in the act itself, as has been charged, to,prevent a free discussion of the subject of slavery. Its bearing on society, its morality or expediency, or whether it would be politic or impolitic to make this a slave State, can be discussed here as freely as in any State in this Union, without infringing any of the provisions of tips law. To deiiy the right of a person to hold slaves under the law in this Territory is made penal; but, beyond this, there is no restriction to the discussion of the slavery question in. any aspect in which it is capable of being considered. We do not wish to be understood as approving of all the laws .passed by the Legislature; on the contrary, we would state that there are some that we do not approve of, and which are condemned by public opinion here, and which will no doubt be repealed or modified at the meeting of the next Legislature. But this is nothing more than what frequently occurs,’both in the legislation of Congress and of the various State Legislatures. The remedy for such evils is to be found in public opinion, to which, sooner or later, in a Government like ours, all laws must conform.” Mr. COLFAX. What is the date of that ? Mr. STEPHENS. Last November. Now, sir, I have examined this whole code of laws, and as a whole, some few exceptions out, I say that no State in the Union has got better ones. There are some in it I do not approve—there are some in all the codes I have ever seen that I do not approve. I will not go to the gentleman’s State, or to any other gentleman’s State, to find laws that I do not approve. We have plenty of them in my own State. And the gentleman ought to feel highly blessed if he has none in Indiana that he disapproves. We have a great many in Georgia I do not approve. There is one in particular which I fought in the Legislature and opposed ’before the courts with all the power that I had. It was a law making it penal to bear concealed deadly weapons. I am individually opposed to bearing such weapons. I never bear weapons of any sort; but I believed that it was the constitutional right of every American citizen to bear arms if he chooses, and ju^t such arms, and in just such way, as he chooses. I thought that it was the birthright of every Georgian to do it. I was defeated in our Legislature. I was defeated before our courts. The question went up to the highest judical tribunal in our State, the Supreme Court, which sustained the law. In that decision all had to acquiesce. Sir, the people in all the States

9 affected by it in the Territqry, then I might have resorted to the courts. Mr. CAMPBELL. Did not the gentleman vote to repeal it because of its unconstitutionality ? Mr. STEPHENS. Standing as it did, I did, for that and other reasons. As long as it stood as a .regulation founded on the principle of a division of the Territory, I was willing to abide by it; but when it was abandoned and repudiated as such, it xas, in my judgment, an odious and unjust restriction. But I do not wish the gentleman to divert me from the line of argument I was pursuing. Mr. CAMPBELL. If the gentleman voted to repeal it in 1854 because it was unconstitutional, why did he vote to fasten it upon Texas in 1846, unless, in the meanwhile, there was a change in the Constiaition? Mr. STEPHENS. For the^very reason that I have just stated. In 1845, on the annexation of Texas, I voted for it, upon the principle of a division of the Territory. Congress has a right to pass all needful laws and regulations for the Territory, as property; so said Mr Madison; this ' includes the power to divide, if necessary or needful for public peace and harmony. When I voted for it, it was upon that principle. And, sir, it was in 1850, after the. gentleman’s party had repeatedly—in. 1846, 1847, 1848, 1849, and 1850 —denied, repudiated, and scouted at what they now call the time-honored compromise of our fathers of 1820, that I voted for the reestablishment of the old principle in our territorial policy ^of leaving the public domain open for the free and equal settlement and colonization of the people from all the States alike, without congressional limitations or restrictions upon any. This principle was reestablished in 1850—after the one proposed in 1820 had been abandoned—and this principle I voted to carry out in 1854, in the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska. Mr. CAMPBELL. Will the gentleman ex- plain to the House and to the country, how it is that a measure may be constitutional which excludes slavery on one side of a given line-in.a Territory belonging to the people-of the States in common, and unconstitutional on the other? Mr. STEPHENS. My explanation of the point the gentleman makes is this: Upon the principle of a division of the Territory as public property between the two sections, it might be constitutional to set aside a portion to one by fixed lines and boundaries/ while the appropriation of the whole of it to that section would be manifestly wrong, unjust, and therefore unconstitutional. Just as in the case of the division of the surplus revenue—public property—among the States—the part assigned to each, on division fairly and justly made, was constitutionally held; but if some States had taken all to the exclusion of the rest, that would have been manifestly unjust, and therefore unconstitutional. But I have given my views at large upon this subject once before this session. Mr. CAMPBELL. * Well then----- Mr. STEPHENS. I do not wish the gentleman to divert me from my argument by a continuation of questions upon other’subjects. Mr. CAMPBELL. I hope I may be fortunate have to obey, the laws as pronounced and expounded by the courts,. The difference between a republic and .a monarchy is, that the one is a government of laws, subject to be changed by the people ; the other is a government dependent upon the caprice or whim", and arbitrary will of one man. And. when the people of a Republic array themselves against their laws, the first step is into anarchy, and then comes monarchy. The speech of the gentleman from Indiana is sufficiently answered by the address of his own party adopted at Pittsburg, though those who issued it seemed not to be eonscious of the effect of the admission. That address, after specifying the same objectionable laws in the Kansas code which he has, says: “ That these despotic acts, even if they had been passed by a Legislature duly elected by the people of the Territory, would have been null and void, inasmuch as they are, plainly in violation of the Federal Constitution, is too clear for argument. Congress itself is expressly forbidden by the Constitution of the United States to make any laws abridging the'freedom of speech and of the press; and it is absurd to suppose that , a Territorial Legislature, deriving all its power from Congress, should not be subject to the same restrictions.” The latter is a very clear, proposition, to my mind. Neither Congres's nor a Territorial Legislature can pass any law abridging the freedom of Speech or of the press. This is, indeed, too-clear for argument. I indorse that part of the Pittsburg platform. But not a single disturbance in the Territory has grown out of either of these laws complained of as despotic. But if there had —if these laws be so clearly unconstitutional and so manifestly violative of the freedom of speech and of the press, why should not any party aggrieved refer the question to the judicial tribunals ? If the case is so clear, why not go to the courts? There are Federal courts in the Territory; and an appeal can be taken to the same high tribunal that all of us in such matters have to appeal to in the last resort—the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. CAMPBELL, of Ohio, (interrupting.) I rise to propound a question, if it is entirely agreeable to the gentleman from Georgia, and not otherwise. Mr. STEPHENS. Perfectly agreeable; but I hope the gentleman will not take much of my time. Mr. CAMPBELL. I was similarly responded to on a former occasion, and I shall take warning, and occupy but a moment of the gentleman s time. Why did not you, and those who sought to disturb the time-honored compromise of our fathers of 1820 , if they regarded the eighth section of the Missouri act as unconstitutional, resort to the courts to test its constitutionality ? Mr. STEPHENS. There is a case of that sort now before the Supreme Court. Mr. CAMPBELL. Why, instead of bringing’ all this trouble on the country, did he not then resort to the courts? Mt. STEPHENS. Why, Mr. Speaker, it was first my ..duty as a legislator, believing it to be wrong, to vote to repeal it, and I did, so, [laughter;] and if the Congress of the United States had not repealed it, and I had been personally

10 enough to get the floor at the expiration of the gentleman’s hour, and therefore will not press my inquiries now on this interesting point. Mr. STEPHENS. Now, gir, just here I wish to say a word more about “ that time-honored compact of our fathers,” which it is .said has been violated. Mr. Speaker, f say that the fathers who made this Republic, from the beginning of it—from the date of the Constitution and up to 1820, never in a single instance exercised the power of excluding the migration of slaves from any of the States of this Union to the common territory. The gentleman now claims to follow the fathers of the Republic. Well, I suppose General Washington, Mr. Madison, and Mr. Jefferson, are as eminently entitled as any others to occupy that position. Mr. Jefferson especially is often quoted by those holding seats on this side of the House. Mr. Jefferson, it is said, was against slavery. * I grant that. But how ? Mr. Jefferson was in favor of every State retaining and exercising jurisdiction over the subject for itself. | Mr. Jefferson wms himself opposed to the passage of'that restriction in 1820, now called a time-honored compact. I do not care as to what his abstract opinions were. I believe he was for providing for the gradual abolition of slavery in Virginia. But his plan was for thepeople of Virginia to do it for themselves,‘without any interference from abroad or influence from thid Government— I mean after the present Constitution was formed and adopted. I have Mr. Jefferson’s sentiments here before me on this particular Missouri restriction, when it was passed. It is immaterial what his opinions of slavery were—what did he think of that measure ? The author o'f the Declaration of Independence is often appealed to a» authority by the gentleman’s party. Sir, if the departed Jefferson could returmfrom the realms above—if the seals of thetombat Monticello could be broken, and that spirit could be permitted to revisit the earth, believe you that he would speak I a different sentiment to-day from that he uttered then? Here is the letter which Mr. Jefferson wrote. It is tbb long to read the whole; but in this letter to Mr. Holmes, of Maine, dated the 29th April, 1820, after strongly condemning the establishment of a geographical line, and the attempt to restrain the “diffusion of slavery over a greater surface,” he says: “An abstinence, too, from this act of power would remove the jealousy excited by the undertaking of Congress to regulate the condition of Hie different descriptions of men composing a State. This, certainly, is the exchSsive right of every State, which nothing in the Constitution has taken from them and given to the General Government. Could Congress, for example, say that the now freemen of Connecticut should be freemen, and that they shall not emigrate into any other State ?” This is plain and explicit, and on the very question. - I Again, in a letter to Mr. Madison on the saiffe subject, he says: “ I am indebted to you for ypur two letters of February 7 and 19. This Missouri question, by a geographical line of division, is the most portentous one I have ever contemplated.” * * * “Is ready to risk the Union for any chance of restoring his party to power, and wriggling himself to the head of it.” The*allusion here is evidently to Rufus King, who was the first mover of the restriction. Such, sir, were the sentiments of him who was not only the author of the Declaration of Independence, but the author of the ordinance of 1787, under the'old Confederation. This is what he said of the restriction of 1820, under out' present Constitution. Here is also Mr. Madison’s emphatic opinion against the same measure. I cannot take up my time in reading it. I state the fact, and challenge contradiction. Jefferson was against the restriction of 1820. Madison was against it, and Jack- son Was against it. No man can deny these facts. It was reluctantly accepted by the South, however, as an alternative, and only as an alternative, for the sake of peace and harmony. And who are those now who call it a sacred compact? Those very men, the gentleman and his party, who denounced every man from the,North as “ a doughface,” who from 1846 to 1850 were in favor of abiding by it for the sake of union and harmony. Not a man can be named from the North who was willing to abide by that line of division during the period I have stated who was not denounced by the gentleman and his party as “a doughface.” Who now are the “ dough-faces?” And ■if the gentleman wishes to know what tree brought forth that better fruit of which he spoke the other day, I will tell him. It was not the Kansas tree, but that old political upas planted by Rufus King in 1820. It grew up; it flourished, and it sentits poisonous exhalations throughout this country till it came well nigh extinguishing the life of the Republic in 1850. Mr. CAMPBELL. That tree was planted when—[Cries of “Order!” “Order!”]—when slavery w'as first brought to the shores of America. [Cries of “ Order!” “ Order!”] Mr. STEPHENS. Well, then, Mr. Speaker, it is much older than the Kansas bill. It was planted before the Government was formed. The Constitution itself was grafted upon its stock. The condition or slavery of the African race, as it exists amongst us, is a “ fixed fact” in the Constitution. From this a tree has indeed sprung —bearing, however, no troubles or bitter fruits. It is the tree of national liberty, which, by the culture of statesmen and patriots, has grown up and flourished, and is now sending its branches far and wide, ladened with no fruit but national happiness, prosperity, glory, and renown. . Mr. CAMPBELL. Will the gentleman from Georgia read the preamble to the Constitution? • Mr» STEPHENS. Yes; and I believe I can repeat it to him. It is “ in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity. ’ ’ Mr. CAMPBELL. “ And secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” * Mr. STEPHENS. Yes, sir, to themselves and their posterity—not to the negroes and Africans—and what sort of liberty? Constitutional liberty; that liberty which recognized the inferior condition of the African race amongst them; the liberty which we now enjoy; the liberty which all the States enjoyed at that time, save one, (for all were then slaveholding, except Massachu-

months afterwards, was, “ All’s well!” He recognized this Legislature after it was organized, and after he knew full weft how it was elected. I must therefore receive with many grains'of allowance what he now asserts, all tending towards nothing more strongly than the impeachment of his own official integrity. His position is not such as to warrant me, as afair man, now to back him in his present revolutionary movement. I see no sufficient grievance even alleged to justify me in. doing.it. Grant that some of the laws passed by the Legislature that Reeder certified to as having been duly elected were bad laws—not a single case of oppression, growing out of any one of these laws, has arisen. I was on this point when interrupted by the gentleman from Ohio, [Mf. Campbell.] How does it appear but that the courts would pronounce these laws unconstitutional, as some on this floor maintain that they are ? Why resort to revolution until the courts fail? Nay, more: if a majority of the people of Kansas are opposed to these laws, as is so boldly asserted on this floor, why can they nothave them repealed by the next Legislature, soon to be elected, even if the courts should sustain them ? The ne^t Legislature is to be chosen in October. Why not settle that question at the ballot-box ? Is not that a fair and just way of settling such questions? Is it not the way we have to do in all our States? Are those who press this ex parte constitution upon us afraid of the ballot-box? Whatever else maybe said of the acts of the Kansas Legislature, they certainly secured the purity of the fountain of po- •litical power. Here is a part of their election law: “ Sec. 24. If any person, by menaces, threats, and force, or by any other unlawful means, either directly or indirectly, attempt to influence any qualified voter in giving his vote, or to deter him from giving the same, or disturb or hinder him in the free exercise of his right of suffrage, at any election held under the laws of this Territory, the person so offending shall, on conviction thereof, be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor, and be punished by fine not exceeding five hundred dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year. “ Sec. 25. Every person who shall, at the same election, vote more than once, eithgjat the same or a different place, shall, on conviction, be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor, and be punished by fine not exceeding fifty dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding three months. “ Sec. 26. Every person not being a qualified voter according to the organic law and the laws of this Territory, who shall vote at any election within this Territory, knowing that he is not entitled to vote, shall be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor, and punished by fine not exceeding fifty dollars. “Sec. 27. Any person who designedly gives a printed or written ticket to any qualified voter of this Territory, containing the written or printed names of persons for whom saul voter does not design to vote, for the purpose of causing such voter to poll his vote contrary to his own wishes, shall, on conviction, be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor, and punished by fine not exceeding five hundred dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding three months, or by both such fine and imprisonment. “ Sec. 28. Any person who shall cause to be printed and circulated, or who shall circulate, any false and fraudulent tickets, which upon their dice appear to be designed as a fraud upop voters, shall, upon conviction, be punished by fine not exceeding five hundred dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail, not exceeding three months, or by both such fine and imprisonment. “ This act to take effect and be in force from and after its passage.”—Chap. 52, p. 281. setts.) That is the sort of liberty. None of your Socialism liberty. None of your Fourierism liberty. Constitutional liberty—“ law and order” abiding liberty. That is the liberty which they meant to perpetuate. Now, Mr. Speaker, to return from this digression—I was on the subject of the Kansas laws— I had a good deal to say on that point I tpust no w omit; for I have a good deal I wish also to say on the measure immediately before us, and the amendment which I have submitted, and my time is rapidly passing away. I shall proceed, then, to the bill and the amendment. The bill under .consideration proposes to admit Kansas as a State at once under the Topeka constitution. I am opposed to it; because that constitution was formed without any authority of law, either from the territorial authorities or from Congress. It was formed in open opposition to law; it was formed by men in open rebellion, with arms in their hands, against the only legally- constituted government in the Territory. The leaders most conspicuous in getting it up are pow under arrest for treason. Whether they are guilty or not, I will not even express an opinion. That is a question for the courts—the Federal courts— not the courts created by the Territorial Legislature, but the United States courts, with ai^ appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States—to determine. I do not wish in any way to interfere with that judicial question. Let these gentlemen stand nr fall according to their guilt or innocence, as it may be made to appear before the proper tribunals, At the proper time. Let us not, in the mean time,prejudge the case either-foror against them. The man who claims to be Governor under this Topeka constitution is now in custody awaiting his trial for the highest offense known to the laws and Constitution of the United States. 1 am opposed to this bill,.because.we have no evidence that a majority, or anything like a majority, of the - people of Kansas are in favor of this pretended Topeka constitution. It is an ex parte proceeding from beginning to end. It was got up by a party. It was contrived by Governor | Reeder;, and though he and his associates now) place the whole grounds of their justification | upon the plea that the Territorial Legislature was i composed of usurpers—that the election was carried by an invasion of non-residents, who passed laws 1^iat they cannot submit to, yet it must be recollected by all fair-minded men that this Legislature, however elected, was organized under the auspices of Governor Reeder himself, tie was the judge of the election returns of its members in the first instance, and he duly commissi-med a large majority of both branches of it, and gave his own official certificate that they were duly elected. If what is now asserted by him and others be true, why did he not at the proper time arrest it ? Why now lay a complaint at the door of the President for not preventing an invasion of Kansas, or setting aside the legislative election, while he, as G°vernorJ made no complaint to the President? He was the sentinel placed upon the watch-tower in Kansas. The only cry heard from him by the President or the country, during this now-pretended invasion, and for several long