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nection with the government at that time.

I have one other remark to make. In my observations upon
slavery as it has existed in this country, and as it now exists, I
have expressed no opinion of the mode of its extinguishment or
melioration. I will say, however, though I have nothing to pro
pose, because I do not deem myself so competent as other gen
tlemen to take any lead on this subject, that if any gentleman
from the South shall propose a scheme, to be carried on by
this government upon a large scale, for the transportation of
free colored people to any colony or any place in the world, I
should be quite disposed to incur almost any degree of ex
pense to accomplish that object. Nay, Sir, following an ex
ample set more than twenty years ago by a great man,* then
a Senator from New York, I would return to Virginia, and
through her to the whole South, the money received from the
lands and territories ceded by her to this government, for any
such purpose as to remove, in whole or in part, or in any way
to diminish or deal beneficially with, the free colored popula
tion of the Southern States. I have said that I honor Vir
ginia for her cession of this territory. There have been received
into the treasury of the United States eighty millions of dollars,
the proceeds of the sales of the public lands ceded by her. If
the residue should be sold at the same rate, the whole aggre
gate will exceed two hundred millions of dollars. If Virginia
and the South see fit to adopt any proposition to relieve them
selves from the free people of color among them, or such as
may be made free, they have my full consent that the govern
ment shall pay them any sum of money out of the proceeds
of that cession which may be adequate to the purpose.

And now, Mr. President, I draw these observations to a

* Mr. Rufus King.



FOR THE CONSTITUTION AND THE UNION. 365

close. I have spoken freely, and I meant to do so. I have
sought to make no display. I have sought to enliven the oc
casion by no animated discussion, nor have I attempted any
train of elaborate argument. I have wished only to speak my
sentiments, fully and at length, being desirous, once and for all,
to let the Senate know, and to let the country know, the opin
ions and sentiments which I entertain on all these subjects.
These opinions are not likely to be suddenly changed. If there
be any future service that I can render to the country, con
sistently with these sentiments and opinions, I shall cheerfully
render it. If there be not, I shall still be glad to have had an
opportunity to disburden myself from the bottom of my heart,
and to make known every political sentiment that therein



And now, Mr. President, instead of speaking of the possibil-
: ity or utility of secession, instead of dwelling in those caverns
of darkness, instead of groping with those idea v s so full of all
that is horrid and horrible, let us come out into the light of day ;
let us enjoy the fresh air of Liberty and UnionJ let us cherish
those hopes which belong to us ; let us devote ourselves to those
great objects that are fit for our consideration and our action ;
let us raise our conceptions to the magnitude and the impor
tance of the duties that devolve upon us ; let our comprehen
sion be as broad as the country for which we act, our aspira
tions as high as its certain destiny ; let us not be pigmies in a
case that calls for men. Never did there devolve on any gen
eration of men higher trusts than now devolve upon us, for the
preservation of this Constitution and the harmony and peace
of all who are destined to live under it. Let us make our gen
eration one of the strongest and brightest links in that golden
chain which is destined, I fondly believe, to grapple the people
of all the States to this Constitution for ages to come. HWe
have a great, popular, constitutional government, guarded by
law afld-by jttdiea&ire, and defended by the affections of the
whole people. No monarchical throne presses these States to
gether, no iron chain of military power encircles them ; they
live and stand under a government popular in its form, repre
sentative in its $iaracter, founded upon principles of equality,
and so constructed, we hope, as to last for ever^JJ In all its his-_
tory it has been beneficent ; it has trodden down no man s lib-
31*



366 SPEECH OF THE 7ra OF MARCH, 1850,

erty ; it has crushed no State. Its daily respiration is liberty and
patriotism ; its yet youthful veins are full of enterprise, courage,
and honorable love of glory and renown. Large before, the
country has now, by recent events, become vastly larger. This
republic now extends, with a vast breadth, across the whole
continent. The two great seas of the world wash the one and
the other shore. We realize, on a mighty scale, the beau
tiful description of the ornamental border of the buckler of
Achilles :

" Now, the broad shield complete, the artist crowned
With his last hand, and poured the ocean round ;
In living silver seemed the waves to roll,
And beat the buckler s verge, and bound the whole."



NOTE.

Page 358.

Letter from Mr. Webster to the Editors of the National Intelligencer,
inclosing Extracts from a Letter of the late Dr. Clianning.

Washington^ February 15^, 1851.
MESSRS. GALES & SEATON :

Having occasion recently to look over some files of letters written
several years ago, I happened to fall on one from the late Rev. Dr.
W. E. Channing. It contains passages which I think, coming from such
a source, and written at such a time, would be interesting to the country.
I have therefore extracted them, and send them to you for publication
in your columns. Yours respectfully,

DANIEL WEBSTER.



Boston^ May 14*7i, 1828.
MY DEAR SIR :

I wish to call your attention to a subject of general interest.

A little while ago, Mr. Lundy of Baltimore, the editor of a paper
called " The Genius of Universal Emancipation," visited this part of the
country, to stir us up to the work of abolishing slavery at the South, and
the intention is to organize societies for this purpose. I know few ob
jects into which I should enter with more zeal, but I am aware how
cautiously exertions are to be made for it in this part of the country. I



FOR THE CONSTITUTION AND THE UNION. 367

know that our Southern brethren interpret every word from this region
on the subject of slavery as an expression of hostility. I would ask if
they cannot be brought to understand us better, and if we can do any
good till we remove their misapprehensions. It seems to me that, be
fore moving in this matter, we ought to say to them distinctly, " We
consider slavery as your calamity, not your crime, and we will share
with you the burden of putting an end to it. We will consent that the
public lands shall be appropriated to this object; or that the general
government shall be clothed with power to apply a portion of revenue
to it."

I throw out these suggestions merely to illustrate my views. We
must first let the Southern States see that we are their friends in this
affair ; that we sympathize with them, and, from principles of patriotism
and philanthropy, are willing to share the toil and expense of abolishing
slavery, or I fear our interference will avail nothing. I am the more
sensitive on this subject from my increased solicitude for the preserva
tion of the Union. I know no public interest so important as this. I
ask from the general government hardly any other boon than that it will
hold us together, and preserve pacific relations and intercourse among
the States. I deprecate every thing which sows discord and exasper
ates sectional animosities. If it will simply keep us at peace, and will
maintain in full power the national courts, for the purpose of settling
quietly among citizens of different States questions which might other
wise be settled by arms, I shall be satisfied.

My fear in regard to our efforts against slavery is, that we shall make
the case worse by rousing sectional pride and passion for its support,
and that we shall only break the country into two great parties, which
may shake the foundations of government.

I have written to you because your situation gives you advantages
which perhaps no other man enjoys for ascertaining the method, if any
can be devised, by which we may operate beneficially and safely in re
gard to slavery. Appeals will probably be made soon to the people
here, and I wish that wise men would save us from the rashness of en
thusiasts, and from the perils to which our very virtues expose us.
With great respect, your friend,

WM. E. CHANNING.

HON. DANIEL WEBSTER.



TRIBUTE TO MR. CALHOUN.



ON the morning of the 31st of March, 1850, Mr. Calhoun died at his
lodgings in Washington. Although his health had been for some time
failing, he gave his attendance in the Senate, and took part in its deliber
ations, till a short time before his decease. On the 4th of March he ap
peared in his seat, but not feeling himself equal to the task of address
ing the Senate, a speech prepared by him on the existing controversies
was read by Mr. Mason of Virginia. On the 7th of March he was again
present during the delivery of Mr. Webster s speech, and followed him
with a few remarks relative to the acquisition of Texas. On the 13th
of March he appeared in the Senate and spoke in public for the last
time. On the 1st of April his lamented decease was announced by his
colleague, Mr. Butler. On that occasion Mr. Webster made the follow
ing remarks.

I HOPE the Senate will indulge me in adding a very few words
to what has been said. My apology for this presumption is the
very long acquaintance which has subsisted between Mr. Cal
houn and myself. We were of the same age. I made my first
entrance into the House of Representatives in May, 1813. I
there found Mr. Calhoun. He had already been a member of
that body for two or three years. I found him then an active
and efficient member of the House, taking a decided part, and
exercising a decided influence, in all its deliberations.

From that day to the day of his death, amidst all the strifes
of party and politics, there has subsisted between us, always,
and without interruption, a great degree of personal kindness.

Differing widely on many great questions respecting our insti
tutions and the government of the country, those differences
never interrupted our personal and social intercourse. I have

* Remarks in the Senate, on the 1st of April, 1850, on occasion of the de
cease of Hon. John Caldwell Calhoun, Senator from South Carolina.



TRIBUTE TO MR. CALHOUN. 369

been present at most of the distinguished instances of the exhi
bition of his talents in debate. I have always heard him with
pleasure, often with much instruction, not unfrequently with the
highest degree of admiration.

Mr. Calhoun was calculated to be a leader in whatsoever as
sociation of political friends he was thrown. He was a man of
undoubted genius and of commanding talent. All the country
and all the world admit that. His mind was both perceptive
and vigorous. It was clear, quick, and strong.

Sir, the eloquence of Mr. Calhoun, or the manner in which he
exhibited his sentiments in public bodies, was part of his intellect
ual character. It grew out of the qualities of his mind. It was
plain, strong, terse, condensed, concise ; sometimes impassioned,
still always severe. Rejecting ornament, not often seeking far
for illustration, his power consisted in the plainness of his prop
ositions, in the closeness of his logic, and in the earnestness and
energy of his manner. These are the qualities, as I think, which
have enabled him through such a long course of years to speak
often, and yet always command attention. His demeanor as a
Senator is known to us all, is appreciated, venerated, by us all.
No man was more respectful to others ; no man carried himself
with greater decorum, no man with superior dignity. I think
there is not one of us, when he last addressed us from his seat
in the Senate, his form still erect, with a voice by no means in
dicating such a degree of physical weakness as did in fact pos
sess him, with clear tones, and an impressive, and, I may say,
an imposing manner, who did not feel that he might imagine
that we saw before us a Senator of Rome, while Rome survived.

Sir, I have not, in public nor in private life, known a more
assiduous person in the discharge of his appropriate duties. I
have known no man who wasted less of life in what is called
recreation, or employed less of it in any pursuits not connected
with the immediate discharge of his duty. He seemed to have
no recreation but the pleasure of conversation with his friends.
Out of the chambers of Congress, he was either devoting him
self to the acquisition of knowledge pertaining to the immedi
ate subject of the duty before him, or else he was indulging in
those social interviews in which he so much delighted.

My honorable friend from Kentucky * has spoken in just terms

* Mr. Clay.



370 TRIBUTE TO MR. CALHOUN.

of his colloquial talents. They certainly were singular and em
inent. There was a charm in his conversation not often equalled.
He delighted especially in conversation and intercourse with
young men. I suppose that there has been no man among us,
who had more winning manners, in such an intercourse and
such conversation, with men comparatively young, than Mr.
Calhoun. I believe one great power of his character, in general,
was his conversational talent. I believe it is that, as well as a
consciousness of his high integrity, and the greatest reverence for
his talents and ability, that has made him so endeared an object
to the people of the State to which he belonged.

Mr. President, he had the basis, the indispensable basis of all
high character; and that was unspotted integrity and unim-
peached honor. If he had aspirations, they were high, and hon
orable, and noble. There was nothing grovelling, or low, or
meanly selfish, that came near the head or the heart of Mr. Cal
houn. Firm in his purpose, perfectly patriotic and honest, as
I am sure he was, in the principles that he espoused, and in the
measures that he defended, aside from that large regard for the
species of distinction that conducted him to eminent stations
for the benefit of the republic, I do not believe he had a self
ish motive or selfish feeling. However he may have differed
from others of us in his political opinions or his political prin
ciples, those principles and those opinions will now descend to
posterity under the sanction of a great name. He has lived
long enough, he has done enough, and he has done it so well,
so successfully, so honorably, as to connect himself for all time
with the records of his country. He is now an historical char
acter. Those of us who have known him here will find that
he has left upon our minds and our hearts a strong and lasting
impression of his person, his character, and his public perform
ances, which, while we live, will never be obliterated. We shall
hereafter, I am sure, indulge in it as a grateful recollection, that
we have lived in his age, that we have been his contemporaries,
that we have seen him, and heard him, and known him. We
shall delight to speak of him to those who are rising up to fill
our places. And, when the time shall come that we ourselves
must go, one after another, to our graves, we shall carry with us
a deep sense of his genius and character, his honor and integ
rity, his amiable deportment in private life, and the purity of his
exalted patriotism.



TRIBUTE TO ME. ELMORE.



ON the decease of Mr. Calhoun, the Hon. Franklin H. Elmore was
appointed his successor by the Governor of South Carolina. On the
6th of May he took his seat in the Senate, but in an infirm state of
health. On the 29th of the same month he expired. It again devolved
on Mr. Butler to perform the painful duty of announcing the decease of
a colleague, on which occasion the following remarks were made by
Mr. Webster.

MR. PRESIDENT, I sincerely sympathize with the honorable
member from South Carolina, whose painful duty it has been,
within so short a period, to announce the death of another col
league. I sympathize, Sir, with all the people of South Caro
lina, by whom, as I know, the gentleman now deceased was
greatly respected and loved. I sympathize with that domestic
circle to whom his death will be a loss never to be repaired.
And, Sir, I feel that the Senate may well be the object of con
dolence on the death of a gentleman so well known in the
other branch of the legislature, of so much experience in the
various duties of public and official life in his own State, and
who has so recently come into this body with every qualifica
tion to render here important public service, and with every
prospect of usefulness, except so far as that prospect may have
been dimmed by serious apprehensions in regard to his health.

Sir, I had the good fortune to become acquainted with Mr.
Elmore ten or twelve years ago, when he was a member, and I
may say a leading member, of the House of Representatives.
I had formed a very favorable opinion of his character, as a

* Remarks in the Senate of the United States, on the 30th of May, 1850, on
occasion of the decease of Hon. Franklin Harper Elmore.



372 TRIBUTE TO MR. ELMORE.

man of integrity and uprightness, of great respectability, and
great talent. I regretted his departure from the councils of the
nation, because a person with his qualifications and with his
habits of business grows every day more useful in our political
circles, so long as he remains in the possession of his faculties
and in the active performance of his duties. It happened to
me, Sir, some years afterwards, and not now many years since,
to form a personal and more private acquaintance with the de
ceased. I had the pleasure of seeing him among his own
friends, of cultivating his acquaintance in the midst of those
circles of social life in which he was regarded as a treasure and
an ornament. I owe, Sir, to him whatever is due for kindness
and hospitality, for generous welcome, and for an extension of
the civilities and courtesies of life.

I shall cherish his memory with sincere regard as a valuable
and able public man, and a gentleman entitled to high estima
tion in all the relations of life.



FUGITIVE SLAVE BILL/



MR. PRESIDENT, At an early period of the session I turned
my attention to the subject of preparing a bill respecting the
reclamation of fugitive slaves, or of certain amendments to the
existing law on that subject. In pursuance of this purpose, I
conferred with some of the most eminent members of the pro
fession, and especially with a high judicial authority, w T ho has
had more to do with questions of this kind, I presume, than
any other judge in the United States. After these consulta
tions and conferences, as early as in February, I prepared a
bill amendatory of the act of 1793, intending, when a proper
time came, to lay it before the Senate for its consideration. I
now wish to present the bill to the Senate unaltered, and pre
cisely as it was when prepared in February last.

MR. DAYTON. I hope that the paper will be printed.

The bill was then laid on the table and ordered to be printed, as
follows :

A BILL amendatory of " An Act respecting Fugitives from Justice and
Persons escaping from the Service of their Masters," approved Feb
ruary 12, 1793.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, That the provisions of
the said act shall extend to the territories of the United States ; and that
the commissioners who now are, or who may hereafter be, appointed by
the Circuit Courts of the United States, or the District Courts where Cir-

* Remarks made on the 3d of June, 1850, in presenting to the Senate " A
Bill amendatory of An Act respecting Fugitives from Justice and Persons es
caping from the Service of their Masters, " approved February 12, 1793.

VOL. v. 32



374 FUGITIVE SLAVE BILL.

cuit Courts are not established, or by the Territorial courts of the United
States, all of which courts are authorized and required to appoint one or
more commissioners in each county to take acknowledgments of bail
and affidavits, and also to take depositions of witnesses in civil causes,
and who shall each, or any judge of the United States, on complaint be
ing made on oath to him that a fugitive from labor is believed to be
within the State or Territory in which he lives, issue his warrant to the
marshal of the United States, or to any other person who shall be will
ing to serve it, authorizing an arrest of the fugitive, if within the State
or Territory, to be brought before him or some other commissioner or
judge of the United States court within the State or Territory, that the
right of the person claiming the services of such fugitive may be ex
amined. And on the hearing, depositions duly authenticated and parol
proof shall be heard to establish the identity of the fugitive and the
right of the claimant, and also to show that slavery is established in the
State from which the fugitive absconded. And if on such hearing the
commissioner or judge shall find the claim to the services of the fugi
tive, as asserted, sustained by the evidence, he shall make out a certifi
cate of the material facts proved, and of his judgment thereon, which he
shall sign, and which shall be conclusive of the right of the claimant or
his agent to take the fugitive back to the State from whence he fled.
Provided, that if the fugitive shall deny that he owes service to the
claimant under the laws of the State where he was held, and, after being
duly cautioned as to the solemnities and consequences of an oath, shall
swear to the same, the commissioner or judge shall forthwith summon a
jury of twelve men to try the right of the claimant, who shall be sworn
to try the cause according to evidence, and the commissioner or judge
shall preside at the trial, and determine the competency of the proof.

Sec. 2. And le it further enacted, That the commissioner shall re
ceive ten dollars in each case tried by him as aforesaid, the jurors fifty
cents each, and the marshal or other person serving the process shall re
ceive five dollars for serving the warrant on each fugitive, and for mile
age and other services the same as are allowed to the marshal for simi
lar services, to be examined and allowed by the commissioner or judge,
and paid by the claimant.



THE BOUNDARIES OF TEXAS.*



WHILE the debate was in progress in the Senate of the United States,
upon the resolutions of Mr. Clay, a motion was made by Mr. Foote of Mis
sissippi, for a committee of thirteen, to consider and report a comprehen
sive plan of adjustment of all the matters in controversy on the subject
of slavery. This motion prevailed, and a committee was appointed by
ballot, composed of the following persons : Messrs. Clay, Bell, Berrien,
Bright, Cass, Cooper, Dickinson, Downs, King, Mangum, Mason, Phelps,
and Webster. This committee, on the 8th of May, reported by their
chairman (Mr. Clay) a bill, the principal provisions of which were the
admission of California with the existing boundaries, the establishment
of territorial governments for Utah and New Mexico without the Wilmot
Proviso, the settlement of the boundary controversy between New Mex
ico and Texas, the surrender of fugitive slaves, and the prohibition of the
slave trade in the District of Columbia.

While this bill was under consideration, a motion was made by Mr.
Turney of Tennessee to strike out the thirty-ninth section, which con
tained a proposal, to be offered to the acceptance of the people of Texas,
for the settlement of their boundary controversy with New Mexico.
On this motion Mr. Webster spoke as follows :

I WISH to make a few remarks upon this question, consider
ing it a very important one, under all the aspects in which it is
presented. This bill contains three leading subjects, the admis
sion of California into the Union, the establishment of territo
rial governments for New Mexico and Utah, and the settlement
of the boundary line between the United States or New Mexi
co and the State of Texas. I am in favor of each and every
one of these subjects, and should be inclined to vote for them,

* Remarks in the Senate of the United States, on the 13th of June, 1850, on
a Motion to strike out the thirty-ninth section of "The Compromise Bill,"heing
the section relative to the Boundaries of Texas.



376 THE BOUNDARIES OF TEXAS.

separately or together, as may best suit the convenience or the



Online LibraryDaniel WebsterThe works of Daniel Webster (Volume 05) → online text (page 36 of 53)