are endeavoring to secure to themselves the benefits of an open question, and
a new struggle in the succeeding Congress. It is not believed, however, that
the honest republicans of the north, thus advised of their (the restrictionistsj
ultimate objects, will go with them through their criminal course."
The defeat of the amended Senate resolution admitting
Missouri did not delay the continued discussion of the Mis-
souri Question. This question was, however, presented in a
new form on February 14th and for that day surpassed in
nation-wide interest even the counting of the presidential elec-
toral votes. Missouri had in conformity with both state and
national law cast her votes for President and Vice President
and had three electoral votes to be counted by Congress. The
question arose whether these three votes could be officially
counted since Missouri had not been admitted. Clay reported
a compromise resolution whereby the results of the election
were to be stated in two ways â€” one by including Missouri's
votes, and one by omitting these votes. Clay explained the
policy of this by stating that since there was opposition to
recognizing Missouri as a state and since the votes of Missouri
would not effect the results of the elections, he thought it wise
to avoid dispute and to adopt the resolution. The discussion
following this report was remarkable for its violence. However,
the resolution was adopted by a vote of ninety-five to fifty .^Â°
This left the question of admitting Missouri an open one before
The Senate was the first to take action. A resolution of
admission was introduced by Mr. Roberts, which contained
the proviso that the fourth clause of the twenty-sixth section
of the third article of Missouri's constitution should be modified
as soon as the provisions of that constitution would admit,
so that this clause would not be applicable to any persons who
were citizens of the United States and that until this clause
*<> Annals, pp. 1147-1166.
300 Missouri Struggle for Statehood.
was so modified no law should be passed in conformity with its
import. ^^ After several amendments had been proposed, this
resolution was rejected by a vote of nineteen to twenty-four
on February 21st.^2
On the same day that the Senate rejected the Roberts'
resolution, the House again took the Missouri Question under
consideration. On the following day Clay proposed that a
House committee of twenty-three members be appointed to
act jointly with a Senate committee, which joint committee
was to consider the question of Missouri's admission and of Mis-
souri's present condition.^^ Clay's proposal was adopted and the
House committee was selected â€” Clay being chairman. The Senate
concurred in the proposition on the 24th inst., and appointed
seven of its members to act with the House committee. ^^ The
joint committee reported on the 26th and this report, known
as the Second Missouri Compromise, was adopted without
change by the House on that day, by the Senate on the 28th
inst., and was approved by the President on March 2ndi^^ The
full text of this compromise report, of which Clay was the
author, was as follows:
Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States
of America in Congress assembled. That Missouri shall be admitted into this
Union on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever, upon
the fundamental condition, that the fourth clause of the twenty-sixth section of
the third article of the constitution submitted on the part of said State to Congress
shall never be construed to authorize the passage of any law, and that no law
shall be passed in conformity thereto, by which any citizen of either of the States
in this Union shall be excluded from the enjoyment of any of the privileges and
immunities to which such citizen is entitled under the Constitution of the United
States: Provided, That the Legislature of the said State, by a solemn public act,
shall declare the assent of the said State to the said fundamental condition, and
shall transmit to the President of the United States, on or before the fourth
Monday in November next, an authentic copy of the said act; upon the receipt
whereof the President, by proclamation, shall announce the fact: whereupon,
and without any further proceeding on the part of Congress, the admission of the
said state into this Union, shall be considered as complete."
Writing of this compromise to the editors of the Missouri
Intelligencer and the St. Louis Enquirer, Barton said:
>i Annals, p. 35111.
" Ibid., p. 364.
" Ibid., p. 1219.
Â»< Ibid., p. 382.
** Ibid., pp. 383, 388ff; pp. 123Gflr.
*^Stat. at Large, 2nd Scss. IG Cong., Ill, 645; Annals, p. 1228.
Second Missouri Compromise. 301
"This promise in writing obligatory required of our General Assembly is
precisely tantamount to their ofllc-ial oaths to support the Constitution of the
United States, which they have taken in obedience to our state Constitution
.... What power Congress has to dictate any condition, however nugatory
and unmeaning, our State must decide for itself. I believe, however, no better
terms could be got from the north; and if they do abandon their free negro crusade,
they at the same time dictate to, and humiliate Missouri; which, after losing
their removed restriction, is some satisfaction to them." "
*' Mo. IntelL, April 16, 1821 (letter dated Feb. 27, 1821); St. Louis Enq.,
March 31, 1821.
STATEHOOD IN THE UNION.
The news of the passage of the resolution providing for
the admission of Missouri was received by Missourians with
joy. This joy was, however, founded mainly not on the pleasant
anticipation of final statehood in the Union within a few months
or on a relief from suspense regarding what might have been
Missouri's fate, but was founded on the defeat of the eastern
slavery restrictionists. Missouri took more delight in seeing
her eastern enemies defeated than in the good she obtained
from her victory. The latter was appreciated but the former
was uppermost in the minds of Missourians. The editor of
the St. Louis Enquirer on May 26th made the following com-
ment in this connection:
"The news of the admission of the State was received in this place with
evident manifestations of pleasure â€” it beamed in the countenances of all, and was
a subject of mutual congratulation â€” But there were no 'boastings,' or 'bonfires;'
the people here knew too well what was due to propriety and their own dignity â€”
It was for the second triumph of the Union and Missouri, that they felt rejoiced."
These people had for years been heckled, opposed, and in-
sulted by eastern Congressmen and eastern newspapers, until
mere victory over the restrictionists was more desired than the
fruits of victory. A most concrete illustration of this almost
revengeful attitude was a public dinner given on April 10th in
This dinner was "in celebration of our late triumph over
eastern policy and eastern artifice. We enjoy the right of self-
government, and will be admitted into the Union on a condition
perfectly nugatory and foolish." ^ A large number of toasts
were given of which the following were representative:
"The 27th day of February â€” Missouri will hail it as the day of her deliverance
from artful and ambitious politicians."
"The Senate of the United States â€” Our buckler in the late conflict."
"The House of Representatives â€” A majority virtuous."
> Mo. Intell., April IG. 1821.
Statehood in the Union. 303
"The Constitution of the United States â€” The meaning cannot be perverted
to answer the purpose of eastern politicians, or make free negroes citizens of
"The Constitution of Missouri â€” Formed by men understanding their powers,
it conflicts with no superior instrument, and will forever defy Eastern acuteness."
Accompanying this spirit of jubilance over the defeat of
the east was a feeling of contempt and hatred of the restriction-
ists in Congress. This found expression in newspaper articles
and in public speeches. One of the most striking of these was
a poem which appeared in the editorial column of the St. Charles
Missotirian of May 9th. The following stanzas were selected
from this piece:
"A Song for the Special Use of Certain Members of Congress.
Tune â€” "Paddy's Wedding."
How shrewd are we, who plainly see,
And if we don't we "guess" it O,
The way to shine and pockets line.
And all men will confess it O;
A negro slave we scorned to have.
So sold them for the dollars O;
Nutmegs of wood are just as good
If â€” no detection follows O.
Tid re i, &c.
Then let's join in the dance, we'll caper
With Luce and with Judy quite cheerly O,
The African fair though duskish they are
We cannot but cherish sincerely O.
Our citizens rights exertion invites
We'll "aid and assist and abet them" O.
Then buzza for the scheme! their rights
Or go to the devil to get them O
Tid re i, &c.
There is evidence to believe that the slavery restriction-
ists in Missouri aided the eastern and northern members of
Congress. At least this report appeared in the National In-
telligencer of March 10th and in the St. Louis Enquirer of April
4th. The former contained the following article:
"We believe, indeed, that such as opposed the admission of Missouri, in order
to compel her, by refusing to admit her on any other terms, to introduce into her
constitution a clause inhibiting slavery, labored under the disadvantage of in-
correct information, and of a misapprehension of the effect of the course which they
proposed. The private letters from Missouri ought not so much to have been
relied on as the unanimous declaration of her authorized agents."
304 Missouri Struggle for Statehood.
And this caused the following comment in the Enquirer:
"For sixteen years a system of secret communication has been carried on
from this place to the seat of the general government. It has attacked the char-
acters of individuals, the rights of property, and the best interests of the country.
Nothing virtuous, honorable, just, or advantageous to the country could escape
it, and every department of the general government was made a reservoir of lies
and poison. â€” Finally, this indefatigable agent of mischief has attacked the sov-
ereignty of the state of Missouri, and has undertaken to array a majority of con-
gress against her rights by imposing on the members from the non-slaveholding
states the most unparalleled falsehoods. Secret communications have been made
to eflfect this object, stating that the Restrictionists were getting into power in
Missouri, and that the majority of the people were now in their favor. Various
information has given intelligence of their infernal work, and there rests not a
doubt but that Missouri is largely indebted to it for all the humiliation to which
she has been subjected this winter.
To Missourians the hero of the second Missouri Com-
promise and of Missouri's triumph over the eastern restric-
tionists was Henry Clay. To him they justly gave the credit
of obtaining the passage of the admission act. His name and
deeds were toasted and lauded in speech and verse throughout
Closely related to the joy of Missourians in their triumph
over the East was their appreciation of the emptiness of the
fundamental solemn-public-act condition contained in the
Missouri resolution of Congress. As one Missouri writer
succinctly expressed himself: "the result of the act of Congress
appears to be absurd in the extreme. Our legislature is called
upon to annihilate a particular clause in our constitution, or
pass a law that will be tantamount to such annihilation ....
They [Congress] require the legislature to do that which, under
the constitution, they have not the right to exercise." ^ The
same writer continued: "the legislature may enact a law de-
claring no law passed in conformity to the clause aforesaid [the
free negro and mulatto clause] in the state constitution shall
be binding; but .... It would be a mere legislative act, sub-
ject to be repealed by the next succeeding legislature .... [after
the President has admitted Missouri] The State will then be a
member of the Union â€” the legislature of the succeeding session
may repeal the law so enacted under the requisition of Congress,
and we may be precisely in the same situation as it we had been
Â« Mo. Gaz., April 4, 1821, article by "Philo."
Statehood in the Union. 305
admitted without so much ceremony .... Upon the whole,
I conclude, that the friends of Missouri, have triumphed over
their opponents â€” and they must have seen and known the full
bearing of the law that was passed, and knew that we should
be admitted without, in fact, any restriction, though seemingly
otherwise." ^ The editor of the St. Louis Enquirer commented
in a similar strain on the emptiness of the solemn-public-act
condition: "Now if there be anything in the constitution of
Missouri incompatible with the rights of citizens in other states,
how can the legislature expunge the inconsistency, or sit in
judgment on its constitutionality? .... The leaders of the
north will now leave Washington with the same feelings which
the disappointed ambassadors of the Hartford Convention
experienced some five or six years ago." ^
The inhabitants of Missouri were not only pleased with
their triumph over the East and with the ridiculousness of the
solemn-public-act condition, but above all they took pride in
their having maintained a consistent position of independent
statehood since the adoption of the Missouri constitution of
1820 and the organization of the State government in that year.
This position had been repeatedly attacked in Congress but
was never given up by Missouri and her representatives. Public
opinion in Missouri was unanimous on the point that Missouri
was a state, had a state constitution and state government,
could not become a territory unless force was used, and that
whether admitted or not by Congress she would continue to
exercise all the functions of a state except those national duties
and privileges that centered in Washington. Not once during
the winter of 1820-21 were these principles compromised on the
part of Missouri and care was taken that no act of her repre-
sentatives could be interpreted even by implication as derogatory
to these principles. That this attitude finally was impliedly
endorsed by Congress was a source of much satisfaction to
'Ibid., April 18. 1821; cf.. Ibid., March 28, 1821. an editorial.
Â« March 24, 1821. See also editorial in St. Charles Missourian, Apr. 11. 1821.
M S â€” 20
306 Missouri Struggle for Statehood,
The editor of the St. Louis Enquirer on April 28, 1821,
summarized conditions relating to these contentions as fol-
"The first thing that strikes us in the resolution is, that it now admits
by fair, direct and necessary implication, that Missouri is a sovereign and in-
dependent state. It admits this by treating with the legislature of the state,
as now organized under the state constitution, and admitting its authority to
enter into a compact with the general government as fully as any other state
The act to be done by Missouri has nothing in it derogatory to her state
sovereignty. She is not required to repeal, expunge, or alter any part of her
constitution. She is only requested so to construe her present constitution as
not to impair the rights of any citizen of any one of the states
The deferred admission is unpleasant to our feelings; but really, we see no
practical inconvenience resulting from it. The state authorities are in full opera-
tion; all their acts are valid; .... We say that there can be no doubt about
the validity of all the acts of the State authorities; and our position is maintained
by principle, and by practice, and by the admission of Congress. â€”
1. By principle: because Missouri having had the consent of Congress to
become a state government at a certain time and place, and having framed it
in the way consented to, became, by that act, a sovereign state, and needs no
second consent of congress upon the same point. â€”
2. By practice: because almost every new state which has been admitted
into the Union, put their state authorities, executive, legislative and judicial,
into operation before the last form of admission was gone through; all the acts
done by them in such intervals have been held valid â€” and if valid for an interval
of one or two months, they are equally so for as many, or any number of years.
3. By the admission of Congress: because in the very resolution, now under
examination, the sovereign, independent, and federal character of ISIissouri is
recognized by the fact of treating with her in those characters.
We perceive some error, as we believe, in the understanding of some of our
citizens about this resolution; they speak of it as the act of our enemies, as a
thing imposed upon us by the enemies of Missouri. Such is not the fact. The
resolution was not the work of the enemies of Missouri; they opposed it, and would
rejoice to see it opposed here: but it is the work of the devoted friends of Mis-
souri and of the Union, brought forward by the zeal and abilities of Henry Clay,
and supported in one house or the other by one or more members of every state
in the Union, except Ohio."
One of the most interesting side-lights on the struggle in
Congress leading up to the Second Missouri Compromise re-
lated to the status of Missouri's senators and representatives
elected to Congress in 1820. This was also an important ques-
tion to Missourians of that day. When Senators Barton and
Benton, of Missouri, arrived in Washington in November,
1820, they were either denied their seats in the Senate or policy
dictated their not demanding seats. Scott, however, whose
term as Territorial Delegate from Missouri had not expired if
Missouri was still a Territory and who had also been elected
in 1820 as Congressman from Missouri State, took his seat in
Statehood in the Union. 307
the House, presented the Missouri constitution to that body,
and made several motions. On having been asked in what
capacity he so acted, Scott repHed "as a member from the state
of Missouri." ^ PoHcy, however, dictated his withdrawal from
his seat. Sometime toward the end of the session, probably
after the passage of the Missouri resolution. Barton, Benton
and Scott, all took their seats in Congress as Senators and
Representatives from the State of Missouri.^ Scott was at-
tacked in Missouri for having acted as a delegate of the Terri-
tory of Missouri. The editor of the St. Louis Enquirer replied
to this charge with warmth.'^
Scott also replied on May 5th, in a letter dated "State of
Missouri, Ste. Genevieve, April 12, 1821:"
Sir: â€” .... I never did act as delegate, during the late session of congress.
I took my seat in no other capacity than as the representative from the state of
Missouri. I had seen other members from new states allowed that privilege,
before the admission of their state into the Union I believed the repre-
sentative from the state of Missouri entitled to the same privilege, and unhes-
itatingly took my seat, presented the constitution of the state, and .... On
being afterwards asked, by what right I made these motions, and in what capacity
I acted? I answered, as a member from the state of Missouri. My right to act
in that capacity being then, for the first time, doubted by some, and not wishing
prematurely to bring up the question of our state rights, or embarrass our friends
.... I instantly withdrew from my seat ; . . . . The fact that I maintained the
ground that I was a member from the state, and not a delegate, is fiu-ther proven
in this, that congress made a special appropriation for the payment of the sen-
ators and representative from Missouri, which was quite unnecessary as to me,
if I had acted as delegate, which I had the right to do if I had chosen so far to
compromit the independence and rights of the state â€” for I had one session to
serve as delegate under my former election.
My having been entered on the journals of congress as the delegate from the
territory, was not my act, but the act of the officer, who seeing me in my place,
and not having official knowledge of Missouri as a state, (the constitution not
having been then presented,) entered me down as the delegate; â€” but in all the
calls from the chair .... for the delegate from Missouri, .... I never once
It is true that I did present the constitution of the state of Missouri, and move
the reference of our land law; these were the only two acts I did in the house
during the session, and my reasons for so doing were these â€” first, I believed I
had the right so to do, as a member; and secondly, because I could not get those
things done by others. But I am conscious that no portion of my conduct has
ever authorized even an inference that I considered or represented Missouri as
a territory ; nor could any act of mine bear a construction prejudicial to the state
pretensions or the state rights of Missouri.
With much respect.
your obedient servant,
^ St. Louis Enq., May 5, 1821, letter of Scott dated April 12, 1821.
* St. Louis Enq., March 24, 1821. The Annals were silent on this.
' April 28, 1821.
308 Missouri Struggle for Statehood.
Although Barton, Benton and Scott did not sit in this
session of Congress until toward the close, they received the
same pay for their past year's services that was allowed other
Congressmen. In the general appropriation bill for the sup-
port of the government, approved March 3, 1821, special men-
tion was made on this point as follows: "For the compensation
of the senators and representatives elected by Missouri, six
thousand dollars." ^ The other members of Congress were
provided for in a lump appropriation clause. Thus while Mis-
souri was not officially regarded by Congress as a State, was not
admitted into the Union until August, 1821, and was not al-
lowed representatives in Congress until March, 1821, still her
two senators and one representative drew salary from the
United States government through act of Congress for over a
year prior to August, 1821, i. e. practically from the passage
of the Enabling Act in 1820.
Although the Missouri admission act was received with
general favor in the State, no haste was advocated except in
St. Charles and St. Louis counties in complying with the solemn-
public-act condition.^ In these two counties, however, a demand
was made for an extra session of the general assembly and in
St. Charles county a petition was circulated by members of the
legislature requesting the governor to call such a session at an
early date. Rumors circulated that the question of a state
bank was back of this demand for immediate statehood in the
Union. An article appeared in the St. Charles Missourian over
the penname "A Constituent" opposing the calling of an extra
session in 1821, stating that there was no urgent need for such
a session, and declaring that the expense of one, which would
reach ten thousand dollars, could ill be borne at that time.^Â®
However, despite the absence of any general demand for an
extra session and the depleted condition of the State treasury,
Governor McNair issued the following proclamation:
Â« Stat, at Large, III. 628.
"Mo. Intell., May 7, 1821, editorial.
â€¢o Mo. Intell., May 21, 1821, from the St. Charles Mo.
Statehood in the Union. 309
"By The Governor of The State of Missouri
Whereas, great and weighty matters, claiming the consideration of the General
Assembly of the State of Missouri, form an extraordinary occasion for convening
them: I DO. by these presents, appoint. Monday the fourth day of June next,
for their meeting at the town of St. Charles, the temporary seat of government
for this state: Hereby requiring the respective Senators and Representatives
then and there to assemble in General Assembly, in order to receive such com-
munications as shall then be made to them, and to consult and determine on such
measures as in their wisdom may be deemed meet for the welfare of the state.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto affixed my private seal, (there being
no seal of state yet provided.) Given xmder my hand at St. Charles, the twentieth
day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-
one, and of the independence of the state of Missouri the first.