* - GIDDINGS, Joshua Reed, (1795 - 1864), a Representative from Ohio; born in Tioga Point (later Athens), Bradford County, Pa., October 6, 1795; moved with his parents to Canandaigua, N.Y., in 1795; received a common-school education; again moved with his parents to Ashtabula County, Ohio, in 1806; completed preparatory studies; served in the War of 1812; taught school; studied law; was admitted to the bar in February 1821 and commenced practice in Jefferson, Ohio; member of the State house of representatives in 1826; elected as a Whig to the Twenty-fifth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Elisha Whittlesey; reelected to the Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh Congresses and served from December 3, 1838, until March 22, 1842, when he resigned, after a vote of censure had been passed upon him by the House in response to his motion in defense of the slave mutineers in the Creole case; subsequently elected to the Twenty-seventh Congress to fill the vacancy caused by his own resignation; reelected as a Whig to the Twenty-eighth through Thirtieth Congresses, as a Free-Soil candidate to the Thirty-first through Thirty-third Congresses, elected as an Opposition Party candidate to the Thirty-fourth Congress, and reelected as a Republican to the Thirty-fifth Congress; and served from December 5, 1842, until March 3, 1859; chairman, Committee on Claims (Twenty-seventh and Thirty-fourth Congresses); declined to be a candidate for reelection; appointed consul general to the British North American Provinces by President Lincoln on March 25, 1861, and served until his death; died in Montreal, Canada, May 27, 1864; interment in Oakdale Cemetery, Jefferson, Ohio.SPEECH OF HON. J.R. GIDDINGS*,
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
JANUARY 12, 1859.Mr. GIDDINGS said: Mr. Chairman, two days since, my friend from Maine, [Mr. Washburn] took occasion to call attention to the great issue which now divides the people of these States. I listened to him with unusual pleasure. I fully accorded with his views. It is certain that one of our political organizations holds that a State or Territory, when forming a State Constitution, and acting within our Federal powers, may authorize its people to enslave a portion of mankind, doom them to live without knowledge, to grope their way to physical death, amid the darkness of moral and intellectual night! The other party emphatically denies those doctrines, declaring that human Governments are limited in their just powers by the law of eternal right & wrong, and can impart to no man authority or moral right to rob, enslave, or murder his fellow beings; that the object and duty of Governments are to protect every human soul in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and happiness.
These positions are antagonistic. The gulf that separates the Republican and Democratic parties is broad and deep; one reasoning and acting for Freedom, the other for Slavery, it becomes impossible for them to agree on any collateral question.
The President, in his message, has spoken for his party. In the first paragraph, he recognizes the dogma that human souls may be enslaved and transformed into property; and the entire message constitutes an argument for extending the curse of human bondage. If his predicate be correct, his efforts to acquire Cuba, and parts of Mexico and Central America, cannot be wrong. Indeed, his labors in behalf of the foreign and domestic slave trade are based upon the doctrines of his party; & those men who are now engaged in bringing African slaves into Georgia and other Southern States must stand or fall with the party Whose doctrines they support; for if Slavery be right, the slave trade cannot be wrong.
I have often spoken on this subject, and do not intend to enlarge upon it at this time. I have defined the issue thus briefly for the purpose of calling attention to some incidents in that train of events which developed this issue, with the same moral certainty with which effect always follows cause.
I am led to the discharge of this duty from the consideration that I have long participated in those incidents, and have been somewhat familiar with some of the measures which have conduced to the bringing of this great question before the country.--I am also induced to do this from the consideration that many honest men are desirous that Republicans shall modify, change, or abandon their doctrines.
It is certain that our principles were promulgated in the Declaration of Independence; that the signers of that first charter of American liberty declared that all men are endowed by their Creator with the unalienable, the abstract right to enjoy life, liberty, and happiness; and that the framers of the Constitution, recognizing this primal doctrine, ordained "that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law." Our doctrine seems to have met with universal approval, except by the Tories of that day, up to the year 1791; the first denial of it by any Whig was published by Thomas Paine, in his essay upon "the Rights of Man," wherein he declares that "whatever a whole nation chooses to do, it has right to do." No person can fail to see the identity of this doctrine with that now proclaimed by the Democratic party, alleging that the people of a Territory, in framing a Constitution, may without injustice authorize Slavery, if they choose. The doctrines of Paine and of the Democratic party are identical in denying that human governments are limited by the law of eternal right and wrong. They agree that the people of a nation or State may, if they choose, authorize murder, robbery, and piracy; for all these are embraced in the term "Slavery."
But the doctrine of Paine would probably have passed unnoticed by the statesmen of that age, except for a tacit approval by Mr. Jefferson, who carelessly expressed a desire that the work might be reprinted. The approval, however, referred to the work as a whole, and not to this particular dogma. But this circumstance called out John Quincy Adams, at that time a young lawyer of Boston, who, in a series of well-considered articles, exposed the error of Paine, and clearly demonstrated the limited power of human Governments--showed their inability to change the natural or innate character of any act; that murder, or piracy, or robbery, is inherently wicked and criminal, rendered so by the Creator, by the immutable law of right and wrong, and must retain their inherent wickedness, though ten thousand human statutes pronounce them just, and authorize their commission; that the legitimate powers of government are limited to the protection, and do not expend to the destruction, of man's inalienable rights. This vindication of the self-evident truths promulgated in the Declaration of Independence, and repeated in the Constitution, was published while most of the signers of that great charter of Liberty and most of the framers of the Constitution were living. It emanated from the son of one of the most distinguished of those patriots. It attracted the attention of Gen. Washington, then President of the United States, who soon after tendered to young Adams foreign mission. Every person will see the perfect identity of the views proclaimed by Mr. Adams and those avowed by the Republican party.
The institution of Slavery was then acknowledged to be wrong. In the language of Henry Clay, it was "looked upon as a curse-- a curse to the slave, and a grievous curse to the master," a crime which they were constrained to tolerate, but could not justify.
The people of the Free States regarded it as relic of the more barbarous ages, unsuited to Christian civilization, and they repudiated and abolished it.
But the Southern States suffered it to remain undisturbed until it become chronic, and men began to look around for arguments in favor of its continuance. Those of more desperate character began to deal in slaves, making merchandise in human flesh their regular vocation. Planters began to look upon these crimes as common, became familiar with them, and eventually justified their perpetration by what they termed the necessity of surrounding circumstances. Of course, they viewed Northern men, who advocated universal freedom and justice to all, with distrust, and soon after with determined opposition.--This feeling become so strong as to defeat the election of Mr. Adams to the Presidency in 1828, although his previous Administration bad been able, pure, and patriotic.
It was the good fortune of that renowned statesman to have lived at the time when the Declaration of Independence was promulgated. He had mingled freely with the patriots who devoted their lives to the support of its "self-evident truths;" he had drank deeply at the fountains of Liberty; he had fully imbibed the spirit of that heroic age. Soon after his defeat in the Presidential campaign, he became a member of this body; and while here he adhered most strictly to the doctrines of the Revolution, and strove to develop the real issue which then existed between slave and free labor. While the Slave Power was constantly persecuting him, endeavoring to prostrate his influence, be was laboring to bring out to the public view the secret doctrines and motives which controlled its advocates. If gentlemen will consult the debates of this body during the time he served here, or his biography, they will find that he was constantly endeavoring to develop the precise issue now existing between the Republican and Democratic parties. I may be permitted to cite an instance. In 1844, the Legislature of Massachusetts sent to this House a memorial, asking an amendment of the Constitution, so as to apportion the representation in Congress according to the free population of the several States. It was referred to a select committee of nine members, some of whom were regarded as among the ablest statesmen of the South. As chairman, Mr. Adams drew up a report. It was based upon the self-evident truths that all men have equal right to live, to that liberty which is necessary to acquire knowledge and attain happiness. It was read to the committee, and considered maturely. Of the eight members besides himself, I alone signed this report; but no one denied its doctrines. He and I had hoped that Governor Gilmer, of Virginia, and other Southern members, would have had the moral courage to admit or deny its principles; but they evidently feared to do so.
I will give another instance, illustrating his confidence in the truths of that instrument. When Southern men had long been in the habit of threatening a dissolution of the Union, some people of Massachusetts became tired of the bombast, and sent a petition to this body, praying Congress to take measures for the peaceful and immediate separation of the States composing our Confederacy. Its presentation by Mr. Adams created great sensation in this body; and a resolution of censure was immediately offered, and the aged patriot was forthwith arraigned at the bar of the House.--The enemies of Freedom were loud in their exultations; they fully expected to prostrate his influence. A distinguished and eloquent son of Kentucky was appointed to manage the prosecution. Some of Mr. Adams's friends faltered, others became alarmed, and made indecent haste to deny all sympathy with him, and publicly to repudiate his doctrines; but these things did not move him. A deep and absorbing interest pervaded this body and the community generally. Every member was in his seat. The spacious galleries were crowded to their utmost capacity. Against him were arrayed Gilmer and Wise and Cooper and Johnson, and a host of distinguished men from the slave States. Marshall led the assault in an able and effective speech, showing, to the apparent satisfaction of all Southern members, that Mr. Adams had been guilty of treason to the people and to the Government of these States, by presenting the petition.
As Marshall closed, the distinguished statesman rose from his seat. His movements were deliberate, and his whole bearing was dignified. His form was erect under the weight of nearly four-score years. There he stood, venerable for his age, for his great learning, for his important services, for the high honors bestowed on him. He entered upon no argument. He put forth none of that terrible invective which had so often caused his enemies to tremble and turn pale. He merely called for the reading of the "first paragraph in the Declaration of Independence," and the Clerk read that portion which sets forth the natural rights of "all men to life, liberty, and happiness." And with unusual emphasis he read that part which declares "Governments to be instituted among men to secure the enjoyment of these rights;" and when he bad read the sentence which declares that "whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right and the duty of the people to modify or abolish it," Mr. Adams stopped him, and in a loud, distinct, end solemn voice, repeated the last member of the sentence, then turning to the Speaker, he declared, "if there be any principle dear to the American heart, it is the right of the people to modify or abolish their Government when ever it becomes destructive of the liberties or happiness of any portion of its inhabitants." And having avowed these doctrines as the basis of his vindication, he boldly challenged them to the issue. Every person present felt the strength of his position. His stalwart foes were suddenly prostrated. His persecutors were confounded. Not one of their number could be persuaded to admit or deny those great truths.
It is also due to the truth of history to say that other members sympathized with Mr. Adams, and assisted him in these efforts, in a greater or less degree, according to the interest which they felt in the subject.--Among these most active were Hon. Wm. Slade, of Vermont, Hon. Seth M. Gates, of New York, and at a later period, Hons. John P. Hale and Amos Tuck, of New Hampshire, and John G. Palfrey, of Massachusetts. Indeed, I shall not soon forget the expression of the aged patriot, when his learned colleague (Mr. Palfrey) closed his first able speech in favor of human rights. The countenance of the "old man eloquent" seemed radiant with hope as he exclaimed, "thank God, the seal is broken; the seal is broken; Massachusetts is no longer silent." The lovers of Liberty in this body saw at that period, most clearly, that men holding the doctrine of the Republican fathers would never seek to wield the power of Congress, or of the Federal Government, to enslave mankind, or to deprive them of those rights with which the God of nature had endowed them. They well understood that the real issue was based upon primal truths, although Southern men would not--nay, dared not--acknowledge it. Mr. Adams labored through life to bring out the real facts to the public view. If was his ruling principle, which exhibited itself strong in death. I visited him while prostrate upon what was then supposed his death-bed. In the silent chamber, I sat beside the dying patriot. His lamp of life seemed flickering in its socket. His voice was feeble, but bis words were earnest. I told him that his physicians feared to have him converse upon any subject likely to excite emotion. Looking me full in the face, said he, "I am on the verge of eternity; I shall never meet you again in this world; I must talk;" and he proceeded to say that he had no hope for the perpetuity of our Government, or for the liberty of our people, except that which was based upon its return to the doctrines on which it had been originally founded; and he exhorted me to exert whatever influence I could for the attainment of that object. He subsequently lingered awhile between this and the spirit world, until the kind angel whispered his release to a higher sphere.
Mr. Chairman, I had at times led, in my own mind, to compare the anxiety of the dying Adams to form the present issue, with that of some living politicians to abandon it. He, however, had the benefit of great experience. He saw and knew that the slave power wielded the Government; that the interests of the institution guided the legislation of Congress and controlled the Executive action; it made and unmade our United State Bank; it festered our domestic manufactures, and then made war upon our manufacturing interests; it dictated a protective tariff, and then repudiated the policy, it encouraged, then abandoned, the iron interest, just as the prosperity of slave labor seemed to require. And when from this forum members endeavored to give information to the people, their lips were sealed by gag rules; the freedom of debate was stricken down, and the right of petition denied, that Slavery might be encouraged. Every measure and policy of Government was made to bend to the interest of that institution. These things were clearly seen by Mr. Adams and his contemporaries, and their efforts to bring out those important facts to the understanding of the people were constant and unyielding. To me it was then incomprehensible how any man could expect that Government would do justice to the laborers of our free States, while its whole patronage and influence were exerted in favor of the most arrant despotism towards the laborers of the South. Some Southern members were more consistent. They boldly asserted that labor must everywhere be compulsory; that both North and South the capitalists owned the laborers; that the influence and powers of the Government should therefore be exerted for the protection of capitalists, and leave them to take care of the laborers; and they wielded its powers for that object. I was then, as now, incapable of comprehending how an issue, in regard to tariff, or upon any other collateral question, could effect a radical reform in our Government. The necessity for basing our political efforts upon the essential truths avowed by our Republican fathers was to me most obvious.
I had assisted in trying the experiment of uniting men of conflicting principles for the purpose of carrying the election in 1840, and driving the Democratic party from power. I labored earnestly for the election of Harrison and Tyler, believing that if we succeeded, we should, among other reforms, regain the freedom of debate in this body. After the result was known, and while the President-elect was on his way to this city, I made an effort to speak on the subject of Slavery- I was met at every step by slave holders and by gag rules, but I succeeded.--My friends regarded my effort as successful--as an achievement. But the President, whom I had assisted to elect, expressed his abhorrence of all attempts to agitate the question of human rights; and when, after his arrival, I called at his quarters to pay him the customary respect, he gave me such unequivocal evidence of his indignation, that I was constrained to surrender my own self-respect, or to withhold all further manifestations of respect for him. While he lived, his influence was exerted in favor of the gag rules--in favor of Slavery; and the next year I was publicly censured and driven from my seat in this body, for avowing doctrines which no slaveholder dared deny; but they united with Northern serviles to censure me for uttering truths on which no man of reputation presumed to take issue. This occurred under a Whig Administration, for whose election I had labored most earnestly; and by a House, a large majority of whose members belonged to the party with whom I had always acted. these facts illustrate the fallacy of uniting conflicting elements merely to carry an election. They show that when the Executive thus elected assumes any definite policy, the party at once dissolves into its original elements, and the various factions turn their weapons against each other. The disbandment of the Whig party in 1841, left no remaining doubt on the minds of thinking men, that, a political party, to become permanent, must base its organization upon immutable truth; and the failure of President Tyler to carry out the views of the party who elected him constituted an importent step towards the development of our present issues.
Mr. Clay, the Whig candidate in 1844, was committed to our doctrines; but by surrendering his opposition to the annexation of Texas, he lost the support of a portion of the Northern vote, and was therefore defeated. His failure constituted another lesson to politicians, against the policy of uniting political opponents for the mere purpose of carrying an election.
The annexation of Texas, with the avowed purpose of extending and eternalizing Slavery, constitutes an important chapter in the progress of events, showing that the Democratic party then acted upon the doctrines now avowed, but evaded every effort to compel them to show their colors.
In 1848, the two great parties, in their National Conventions and in their platforms, carefully avoided any issue upon the subject of Slavery. But such was the popular feeling, that a new party was formed; and although it did not adopt the rights of mankind, enunciated in the Declaration of Independence; as the basis of its organization, it founded its claims to support upon its devotion to Freedom. Its numbers were respectable, and so many votes were drawn from the Democratic party, that the Whigs elected their candidate. But the new Administration upon its entrance into office, was beset with the same difficulties which surrounded that of General Harrison, in 1841. General Taylor could find no definite doctrine nor policy on which he had been elected, or to which he had been committed. Of course, the conflicting elements were unable to unite; they separated, and the party disbanded, and the necessity for selecting immutable truth as the basis for a political organization became still more apparent.
At the assembling of the Thirty-first Congress, some eight members separated from the old parties, avowing their determination to vote for no man to the office of Speaker, who hesitated to pledge himself so to arrange the committees as to secure respectful reports upon Northern petitions in regard to Slavery. Both of the leading organizations saw that this would at once develop the great issue which they feared, and they rejected the proposition. Under those circumstances, no candidate could command a majority of the votes, and after a Contest of three weeks they united in a resolution, declaring that the member receiving the highest number of votes should be elected. The Democrat candidate was thus elected, and the Whig party actually died by its efforts to prevent the development of that influence which defeated all its measures.--From that day, it appears only in history. But it were in vain for historians to record transpiring events, if statesmen, politicians, and people, close their eyes to the obvious teachings of these examples, and strive to maintain a political party composed of discordant elements, with no common principle on which all can unite.
The advocates of liberty had greatly increased in 1852. Their National Convention was characterized for its dignity, and the high moral and political character of its members. Its platform of principles was more elevated and statesmanlike than had been previously put forth by any political party. But as neither of the old organizations openly denied the truths of our Declaration of Independence, the friends of Freedom forbore to reiterate them, as such reiteration would constitute no issue with either of the other parties.
They had denounced all agitation upon the subject of Slavery; indeed, they avoided making any issue between themselves. Neither denied any doctrine or policy which the other asserted; and this timidity determined many of their members to take a more distinct position whenever an opportunity should be presented. The people generally felt it unbecoming intelligent men, unworthy of the descendants of our revolutionary sires, to fear the investigation or the public discussion of human rights.
Fortunately, at that time the people who had settled in Kansas were calling for a Territorial Government. That region had been solemnly consecrated to Freedom; and the right of its inhabitants to life, liberty, and property; was to be again recognized or denied by Congress. It appeared inevitable that members of this body must be driven from their hiding places. I had for some years looked to that period with hope and expectation that it would bring out the issue between Liberty and Slavery. But the chairman of the Senate's Committee on Territories, feeling the difficulty of his position, and desirous of retaining the confidence of his constituents & at the same time to avoid a conflict with the slave power, determined to adhere to the old expediency of evasion; yet he appeared undecided and vacillating. He reported his bill to organize the Territory, then moved its recommitment, changed it, and reported it; and finally resolved on denying the right of Congress to enforce within our Territories that provision of the Constitution which declares that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;" and to assert, in opposition to this distinct declaration, that the people of a Territory may, if they choose, deprive a portion of the human family of life, liberty, and properly--may rob them of their intelligence, their manhood.
This doctrine being so modified as to limit the power of excluding Slavery to the Convention which might frame their State Constitution, became for the time being the avowed doctrine of their party leaders; and, after the lapse of more than sixty years, the dogma put forth by Mr. Paine in 1791 was avowed in the Senate, in this House, and by individuals of the party throughout the nation. The advocates of this atheism attempted to sanctify it by calling it "popular sovereignty," and argued that a people, when forming a Government, may authorize piracy and murder and robbery, if they choose to do so; that the right to enslave our fellow men constitutes one of the very elements of "self-government."
This avowal of unlimited tyranny, without reference to the Constitution, or to that eternal law of right and wrong which was ordained by nature's God, so aroused the people at the elections in 1854, that the Democrats were left in a minority in this body.
But the opposition was composed of convicting elements; some were slaveholders, some Americans, but most of them were Republicans. These factions could not unite in the election of speaker, or on any object touching Slavery. The Republicans adopted resolutions pledging their support to any member who would so arrange the committees as to secure respectful reports on Northern petitions in regard to Slavery, precisely as the advocates of Freedom had done in 1840. The Democratic party and fourteen Americans discarded this reasonable proposition; but those two parties could not agree with each other, and a contest unequalled in our political history followed. For nine weeks the conflict raged, until a distinguished Republican from Massachusetts was made Speaker; and it would appear that the whole nation must have seen the necessity for bringing the radical question of human rights before the people for decision. The Democratic party, in 1856, when assembled in General Convention, officially avowed the doctrine proclaimed by their leaders in 1854. Thus, by the force of circumstances, was that party driven, step by step, after more than twenty years' resistance, to take a definite position in regard to the greatest question which ever agitated the Christian World. These circumstances had been created by Adams and Slade and Gates and Palfrey and Hale and King and Allen and Wilmot and Root and Durkee and Julian, and other members of Congress, and by societies and lecturers and editors who had labored among the people, to drive the advocates of opposition to an avowal of their doctrines.
To effect this object, I had toiled for many years. I had, in this body, asserted the doctrine of man's inalienable rights, and called on gentlemen of the Democratic party to admit or deny it; but I had called in vain. I had traveled and spoken in thirteen States; I had written essays and newspaper articles; I had compiled a volume of what I regarded as interesting incidents, showing the secret workings of the slave power. These had been gathered with great labor from more than two hundred documents reposing in our library under the accumulated dust of many years. To expose this moral and political infidelity, I had encountered Southern opposition and Northern distrust; and I greatly rejoiced to see that party compelled to avow its doctrines; for I well knew that the avowal of its principles would show that its days were numbered.
When the Republicans met in National Convention, in June, 1856, but one alternative lay before them; they were constrained to take position upon the undying truths promulgated in the Declaration of Independence, and perpetuated in the Federal Constitution, or discard those doctrines, repudiate the Constitution, and unite with the Democratic party. The platform of the Republican party was a necessity, rendered imperious by circumstances. So obvious was this necessity, that in the committee appointed to draw up a confession of political faith, not a member seemed to entertain a doubt us on the subject. I was myself one of the committee, and speak from actual knowledge. The entire platform as it now stands,* was adopted in committee by an unanimous vote, and reported to the Convention, which adopted it without a dissenting voice.
The issue thus formed was afterwards confirmed by the Supreme Court, acting as the agent of the slave power. That tribunal, not able to contradict or evade the lan-
* The following is a copy of the Republican platform adopted at Philadelphia, June 10, 1856:
"This Convention of Delegates, assembled in pursuance of a call addressed to the people of the United States, without regard to past political differences or divisions, who are opposed to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise; to the policy of the present Administration; to the extension Slavery into Free Territory; in favor of the admission of Kansas as a Free State; of restoring the action of the Federal Government to the principles of Washington and Jefferson; and for the purpose of presenting candidates for the offices of President and Vice-President, do resolve:
"1. Resolved: That the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence, and embodied in the Federal Constitution are essential to the preservation of our Republican institutions, and that the Federal Constitution, the rights of the States, and the union of the States, must and shall be preserved.
"2. Resolved: That, with our Republican fathers, we hold it to be a self-evident truth, that all men are endowed with the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that the primary object and ulterior design of our Federal Government were to secure these rights to all persons under its exclusive jurisdiction; that, as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished Slavery in all our National Territory, ordained that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, it becomes our duty to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it for the purpose of establishing Slavery in the Territories of the United States by positive legislation, prohibiting its existence or extension therein. That we deny the authority of Congress, of a Territorial Legislation, of any individual, or association of individuals, to give legal existence to Slavery in any Territory of the United States, while the present Constitution shall be maintained.
"3. Resolved: That the Constitution confers upon Congress sovereign powers over the Territories of the United States for their government; and that in the exercise of this power, it is both the right and the imperative duty of Congress to prohibit in the Territories those twin relics of barbarism — Polygamy, and Slavery.
"4. Resolved: That while the Constitution of the United States was ordained and established by the people, in order to "form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty," and contain ample provision for the protection of the life, liberty, and property of every citizen, the dearest Constitutional rights of the people of Kansas have been fraudulently and violently taken from them; Their Territory has been invaded by an armed force; Spurious and pretended legislative, judicial, and executive officers have been set over them, by whose usurped authority, sustained by the military power of the government, tyrannical and unconstitutional laws have been enacted and enforced; the right of the people to keep and bear aims has been infringed. Test oaths of an extraordinary and entangling nature have been imposed as a condition of exercising the right of suffrage and holding office. The right of an accused person to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury has been denied; The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, has been violated; They have been deprived of life, liberty, and property without due process of law; That the freedom of speech and of the press has been abridged; The right to choose their representatives has been made of no effect; Murders, robberies, and arsons have been instigated and encouraged, and the offenders have been allowed to go unpunished; That all these things have been done with the knowledge, sanction, and procurement of the present National Administration; and that for this high crime against the Constitution, the Union, and humanity, we arraign that Administration, the President, his advisers, agents, supporters, apologists, and accessories, either before or after the fact, before the country and before the world; and that it is our fixed purpose to bring the actual perpetrators of these atrocious outrages and their accomplices to a sure and condign punishment thereafter. * * *
"7. Resolved, That a railroad to the Pacific Ocean by the most central and practicable route is imperatively demanded by the interests of the whole country, and that the Federal Government ought to render immediate and efficient aid in its construction, and as an auxiliary thereto, to the immediate construction of an emigrant road on the line of the railroad.
"8. Resolved, That appropriations by Congress for the improvement of rivers and harbors, of a national character, required for the accommodation and security of our existing commerce, are authorized by the Constitution, and justified by the obligation of the Government to protect the lives and property of its citizens.
"9. Resolved, That we invite the affiliation and cooperation of the men of all parties, however differing from us in other respects, in support of the principles herein declared; and believing that the spirit of our institutions as well as the Constitution of our country, guarantees liberty of conscience and equality of rights among citizens, we oppose all legislation impairing their security."
guage of the Declaration of Independence insulted the intelligence and common sense of the people by gravely deciding that the signers of that instrument said that which they did not mean, and intended that which they did not say. But that decision transferred the issue to the record. It has parsed into history, and will remain subject to the inspection of future generations. Our party was founded on these doctrines. By the inherent force of these principles it has increased beyond all precedent. The Republican States now include two-thirds of our free population. This platform was framed and adopted by a Convention authorized by the people, & must remain until another Convention of like powers shall assemble Men who deny these doctrines may vote with us, preferring our organization to that of the Democratic party. We should treat them kindly, encourage them in every proper manner; but we cannot claim them as Republicans, while they deny our essential doctrines. Men who believe in and adhere to our principles, do not propose any modification; and those who do not believe them surely have no right to demand a surrender of them.
It is undoubtedly true, that some who desire to defeat the Democratic party desire to modify the Republican platform; and it is equally certain that no man who desires the success of our doctrines will advise us to abandon their support. It must be obvious that every effort to change our position tends to our defeat, though it may not be so designed. Our troops are in the field; our enemy is before us; our ranks are serried, and ready for the conflict; and he must be a secret enemy or a doubtful friend who would advise us to change position in the face of the enemy, who is ready to charge so soon as he sees us begin to waver.
Of the character of the issue thus formed, I may be permitted to remark, that no other ever has, and I think no other ever will, take so deep a hold upon the American mind as that which relates to the natural, the inalienable rights of mankind. These constitute the basis of the Republican platform now, as they did in 1776. The devotion of the American people to Liberty then proved invincible upon those battlefields where they met the enemies a Freedom at the cannon's mouth; and it will not prove less efficient at this day, when the conflict is at the ballot box. We are not only stimulated by our love of liberty, by all the sacred recollections which cluster around our Revolution, but we have sworn that 'no
person' under our jurisdiction 'shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.' Allegiance to the Constitution, to human nature, and to God, constrain us to maintain our republican doctrines.
I speak of the fundamental truths which constitute the basis of our political faith, as they constituted the basis of the Declaration of Independence. These truths are immutable and unchangeable as their Divine Author. They must forever remain the basis of our action, while the Constitution shall be maintained, or the party shall exist. On matters of policy, our platform may be changed to suit occasions as they arise: but the great central truth on which we all unite must remain unchanged. The Constitutional powers of Government must at all times be wielded to secure every human soul under its exclusive jurisdiction in the enjoyment of the rights which God has bestowed on him.
To this doctrine there can be no modification. There is no neutral ground between right and wrong, between Liberty and Slavery. Every human being is entitled to live, to that liberty which is necessary to unfold his moral nature, and prepare for heaven. And he that is not with us on this point, must be against us. And when politicians suggest that the Republican party shall abandon this primal truth, I reply, there is a million of electors in these States. who will not abandon this doctrine of the Constitution, this faith of our republican fathers. Men who have labored ten, fifteen or twenty years, to bring out this great principle, will not suddenly abandon it, face to the right about, and again submit to the domination of the slave power. They will nut be deceived, nor defrauded of their votes. They will sustain no man for the office of President or Vice President, because they do not know whether he is right or wrong; but candidates, to obtain support, must show by their past action or present pledges that they stand unconditionally upon these primal doctrines.
I am aware that our opponents charge the Republican party with abandoning their platform, because members of this body voted at our last session for the amendment to the Lecompton Constitution, in order to defeat that infamous measure. Even the President, in his message, repeats this charge. For the benefit of that high functionary, and others, I will say that members of Congress did not make the Republican platform, and they cannot unmake it. The people who framed it will see to its preservation. True, the President has cause to complain. We left our fortress, and, by strategy in the open field, we captured his Lecompton host; but it is not usual for prisoners thus to complain of the superior science
of their captors.
It has been objected, that a political party cannot stand upon moral and religious truth. I reply, it cannot at this day stand without such basis. The progress of Christian civilization has demonstrated that the popular mind can be no longer satisfied with mere questions of policy, while the Government is made to sanction the most arrant despotism, and encourage crimes of the most flagrant character.
We do not say the black man is, or shall be, the equal of the white man; or that he shall vote or hold office, hwwever just such position may be; but we assert that he who murders a black man shall be hanged; that he who robs a black man of his liberty or his property shall be punished like other criminals. We deny that crime depends upon the complexion of him against whom it is committed.
Sir, our Government should have led the nations of the earth in this glorious work; but it is now too late for us to aspire to that proud position. The Emperor of Russia is at this time engaged in freeing the slaves of his Empire, while our President is seeking the extension of human bondage. England long since repudiated African slavery. France imitated the noble example. Several Mohammedan Princes have shown themselves better Christians than American statesmen, by abolishing slavery and the slave trade in their dominions. Even phlegmatic Holland is in advance of us in the great cause of emancipation.
But it now appears to be generally expected, both North and South. East and West, by statesmen and people, that the Republican party will come into power at the next Presidential election; nothing can prevent this but their own divisions: and it is proper that we should forewarn the people of Cuba, and of Mexico. and of Central America, that if, by any means, they come under the jurisdiction of our Constitution, its provision will be enforced; and that "no person among them shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Having sworn allegiance to the doctrines of the fathers, we are expected to carry them out in good faith.
Mr. Chairman, from childhood I have mingled with the people. I know their love of justice, their devotion to liberty. The great American heart beats in sympathy for the oppressed, for justice to ourselves and to mankind. The popular voice demand the exercise of our constitutional powers to drive oppression from our Territories, from our ships while sailing upon the high seas, from this District; to exclude it from all support by Congress, by the Executive, by our courts; to condemn it as an outlaw; and that the legitimate powers of Government shall be exerted for Freedom. Give the people an opportunity, and they will elect a President and Vice President, a Senate and House of Representatives, pledged not merely to these purposes, but to put forth the moral influence of our nation to drive oppression from the earth.
To the attainment of this object my official labors have long been directed. Those labors are now drawing to a close; and I shall soon surrender the cause, so far as I am officially concerned, to other and abler hands. My political pathway has been rugged--beset with difficulties. I have been constrained to meet many of my fellow-members on the field of intellectual conflict, and at times those conflicts have been severe; but I am not conscious of having assailed any man except in self-defence, and I separate from my opponents without a feeling of unkindness; indeed, if my desire, my earnest prayer, could avail, they should all be just and wise, and pure and happy.--Here, for many long years, I have counseled with friends and combated opponents. The scenes through which I have passed rush upon the recollection, as I am about to bid adieu to this arena of my political life. 1 shall leave it with emotions, but not with regret. I shall bear with me to private life many interesting recollections of the great contest which gives character to the age in which we live. And I beg to assure you, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, that whether in public or in private life, in prosperity or adversity, whether living or dying, my heart's desire and prayer to God shall be that every human soul may enjoy that liberty which is necessary to protect and cherish life, attain knowledge, and prepare for heaven; and, when I shall have passed away, let my epitaph announce that I hated oppression and wrong-- that I loved Liberty and Justice.[The Belmont Chronicle, St. Clairsville, Ohio, Thursday, February 24, 1859. New Series Vol. 3, No. 9. Pg. 1]
Saturday, March 08, 2014
"the legitimate powers of government are limited to the protection, and do not expend to the destruction, of man's inalienable rights...."
...Again, the court says in its opinion in the Peacock case that if we had been ceded to the United States by a treaty of peace "would the Constitution extend to it forthwith ex propria vigore with the result that crime could not be suppressed because there was no provisions for a grand Jury or for unanimous verdict by petit Juries and questions of private right could not be settled for the same reason that there was no provision for unanimous verdicts, and the rights of the people however hostile to Keep and bear arms could not be infringed, and trade with other countries might be suspended because there was no law extending the United States shipping and custom laws to the newly acquired Territory and no machinery for the collection of duties under United states laws and vessels registered under the laws of the required territory would be without a flag, so that, in a word, there would be anarchy in place of order?"It can be safely asserted, that if the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States were held to be in force there at that time. Then so must also have been the remainder of the amendments to the Constitution.
Now let us see how this reasoning has been upheld by the authorities in the United States. In the first place less than a month after the decision in the Peacock case the Hawaiian Supreme Court in an opinion by Judge Frear, who also wrote the decision in the Peacock case, held per syllabus, "The registry laws of Hawaii were not abrogated immediately upon the annexation of these Islands to the United States," and the court said, 'The Hawaiian registration laws are a part of the municipal legislation of these Islands which was to remain in force temporarily by the terms of the Joint
Resolution of annexation,"
On September 12, 1899, this decision was reviewed by Hon. John W. Griggs (22 Opinions of Attorney General, p. 579. 581) who said, "the Joint resolution of Congress for the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands provide that 'the municipal legislation of the islands, * * * not inconsistent with mine," and then said, "With due re- this joint resolution * * * shall United States shall otherwise deter- remain in force until Congress of the spect to the judgments of the Supreme Court of Hawaii, I am unable to admit that a Hawaiian registry can now be issued to a vessel and the flag of Hawaii, "the usual token of registration, be flown by her," and "By the very language of the resolution municipal legislation inconsistent with the resolution shall not remain in force, and upon these views I am constrained to hold that the registration laws of Hawaii have been abrogated as a necessary consequence of annexation."
What did the Supreme Court of Hawaii say in regard to this last provision of the resolution of annexation? In the decision following the Peacock case. Republic v. Edwards, 12 Haw, 55, they said, in construing the provision that "The municipal legislation of the Hawaiian Islands, not enacted for the fulfillment of the treaties so extinguished and not inconsistent with this joint resolution nor contrary to the Constitution of the United States, nor to any existing treaty of the United States shall remain in force," etc, that it was only by inference that they could hold that laws inconsistent with the resolution or contrary to the Constitution or to any existing treaty, were abrogated, and that to hold that the sentence made such an inference was to hold that it was intended to be, not, as it purports, an affirmative declaration of what should continue, but an indirect repeal of what was not declared to continue. On general principles such a construction should not be favored." The reasoning of the court was that the "inference is one of repeal and that repeals by implication are not favored." But the rule as stated does not apply here for Congress if it did anything abrogated and annulled such legislation and did not "re peal" it. A statute can be repealed only by the power which passed it, and Congress in acting upon our laws did not repeal any of them but it did abrogate and annul many of them. But regardless of this question the judgment of the local Supreme Court that laws inconsistent "with this Joint Resolution' and "contrary to the Constitution of the United States" and "any existing treaty" remain In force regardless of the provision of the resolution, and that these provisions were "intended to be merely declaratory and not remedial" and therefore are of no force or effect to abrogate inconsistent or contrary laws in expressly and emphatically repudiated by Attorney General Griggs where he says that "with all due respect to the Judgments of the Supreme Court in Hawaii," by "the very language of the resolution municipal legislation inconsistent with the resolution shall not remain in force," (22 Opinions of the Attorney General, p. 580. 581).
And here it should be noted that the "very language of the resolution" is this same speaking of "legislation inconsistent" therewith as it is of laws "not contrary to the Constitution" and that it must follow that by "the very language of the resolution" laws "contrary to the Constitution" were abrogated.
The reasoning of the Peacock case and other cases in which Chief Justice Frear wrote the opinion of the court is based principally upon what the court calls a "transition period"' and it is this "transition period' theory upon which the later decision in the Marshall case is based. That is that there was a period during which we were in a state of transition from a foreign country (with reference to the United States) to a country which became a part of the United States.
This theory this Court does not think sound, and believes that not only the authorities but the reasoning as set forth in the case of ex-parte Edwards, 13 Haw., p. 32, states the law as it is, and that the conclusion therein arrived at that the "Hawaiian Islands were a part of the United States on the 10th day of August, A. D. 1898; that the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States were in force here at that time....
[Evening Bulletin, Honolulu, Territory Of Hawaii, Wednesday, July 24, 1901. Vol. XI. No. 1898. Pg. 4 - Excerpted from the article "Deprived of Liberty Unconstitutionally" (Cont'd. from page 1)]
Our hired servants in government were not delegated the authority to tell We The People what our rights are. Nor were they given the authority to tell us how, when or where they can or cannot be exercised. Our hired servants are BOUND by We The People's Constitution to "secure" those "blessings of liberty" for us. We can only be punished for abuse or misuse of our Constitutionally secured rights. But the right itself can never be Constitutionally removed.
Friday, March 07, 2014
"seem determined to settle the question of their personal rights by the only resort left them--powder and ball."
"The friends of the Administration brand every man as a traitor that contends that the Constitution is amply sufficient...."
Loyalty then and Now.The friends of the Administration brand every man as a traitor that contends that the Constitution is amply sufficient to suppress the rebellion and re-assert the majesty of the law--that the military should be made subservient to the civil power--that the accused has a right to a speedy and impartial trial by his peers--that the people should be secure in their persons and property--that no one shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law--that no law shall be made abridging freedom of speech or freedom of the press. Such language as this is deemed traitorous by the Shoddy patriots of to-day; and yet strange to say, we can find it almost word for word in the platform of the Abolitionists who nominated Fremont, in Philadelphia, in 1856. This platform was adopted by the very men who are to-day denouncing the Democracy as "traitors" and "copper-heads." It seems that what was the highest type of "loyally" then, is "disloyalty" now.--
Here is the resolution:
"Resolved, That while the Constitution of the United States was ordained and established by the people, in Order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, and secure the blessing of liberty, and contains ample provisions for the protection of the life, liberty, and property of every citizen, the dearest constitutional rights of the people of Kansas have been fraudulently and violently taken away from them--their territory has been invaded by an armed force--spurious and pretended legislative, judicial and executive officers have been set over them, by whose usurped authority, sustained by the military power of government, tyrannical and unconstitutional laws have been enacted and enforced--the rights of the people to keep and bear arms have been infringed--test oaths of an extraordinary and entangling nature have been imposed as a condition of the right of suffrage or holding office--the right of an accused person to a speedy and public trial by on impartial jury has been denied--the right of the people to be secure in their persons, homes, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures has been violated,--they have been deprived of life, liberty and property without the due process of law--that the freedom of speech and of the press has been abridged--the right to choose their representatives has been made of no effect--murders, robberies, arsons have been instigated and encouraged, and the offenders have been allowed to go unpunished--that all these things have been done with the knowledge, sanction and procurement of the present administration; and that for this high crime against the Constitution, the Union, and humanity, we arraign the administration, the President, his advisers, agents, supporters, apologists, and accessories, either before or after the facts, before his country, and before the world; and that it is our fixed purpose to bring the perpetrators of these atrocious outrages, and their accomplices, to a sure and condign punishment hereafter."[Dayton Daily Empire, Dayton, Ohio, Wednesday, October 28, 1863. Vol. I. No. 61 Pg. 2]
Condemned Out of their Own Mouths.The New York World revives the following resolution adopted by the Republican Convention when Fremont was nominated. Out of their own mouths the Radical criminals are condemned. Their acts for the past two years in the Southern States have been precisely those which in the following resolution they describe as "high crimes against the Constitution, the Union and humanity" and "atrocious outrages." The Radicals have committed these crimes and outraged not against a Territory, but against sovereign and coequal States in the Union. Wrongs of this kind they pronounced worthy of "condign punishment." Yet knowing and condemning the wrong, they chose it for their course, and now tsk the people to reward them for their crimes by continuing them in power. Here is the resolution:
Resolved, That while the Constitution of the United States was ordained and established by the people in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence and secure the blessings of liberty, and contains ample provisions for the protection of the life, liberty and property of every citizen, the dearest constitutional rights of the people of Kansas have been fraudulently and violently taken from them--their territory has been invaded by an armed force--spurious and pretended legislative, judicial, and executive officers have been set over them, by whose usurped authority, sustained by the power of the Government, tyrannical and unconstitutional laws have been enacted and enforced--the rights of the people to keep and bear arms have been infringed--test oaths of an extraordinary and entangling nature have been imposed, as a condition of exercising the right of suffrage and holding office--the right of an accused person to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury has been denied--the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures has been violated--they have been deprived of life, liberty and property without due process of law--that the freedom of speech and of the press has been abridged--the right to choose their representatives has been made of no effect-- murders, robberies and arsons have been instigated and encouraged, and the offenders have been allowed to go unpunished--that all these things have been done with the knowledge, sanction and procurement of the present Administration, and that for this high crime against the Constitution, the Union and humanity, we arraign the Administration, the President, his advisers, agents, supporters, apologists and accessories, either before or after the facts, before the country and before the world, and that it is our fixed purpose to bring the actual perpetrators of these atrocious outrages, and their accomplices to a sure and condign punishment hereafter.[The Ottawa Free Trader, Ottawa, Ill., Saturday, July 4, 1868. Volume 28. Number 47. Pg. 2]
REPUBLICAN PLATFORM.The following is the platform adopted by the Philadelphia Convention, which met on the 17th.
This Convention of delegates assembled in pursuance of a call addressed to the people of the United States without regard to past political differences or divisions, who are opposed to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise; to the policy of the present administration; to the extension of slavery in free territory; in favor of the admission of Kansas as a free State; of restraining the action of the federal government to the principles of Washington and Jefferson, and for the purpose of presenting candidates for the offices of President and Vice President; do
Resolve, That the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Federal Constitution, are essential to the preservation of our Republican institutions, and that the Federal Constitution, the rights of the States, and "the Union of the States must and shall be preserved."
Resolved, That with our Republican fathers we hold it to be a self-evident truth, that "all men are endowed with the inalienable right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" and that the primary object and ulterior design of our Federal government were to secure these rights to all persons within its "exclusive jurisdiction." That, as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished Slavery in all our National territory, ordained that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law," it becomes our duty to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it for the purpose of establishing Slavery in the United States, by positive legislation prohibiting its existence or extension therein. That we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, of any individual or association of individuals to give legal existence to Slavery in any territory of the United States while the present Constitution shall be maintained.
Resolved, That the Constitution confers on Congress sovereign power over the territories of the United States for their government, and that in the exercise of this power, it is both the right and the duty of Congress to prohibit in the territories those twin relics of barbarism, Polygamy and Slavery.
Resolved, That while the Constitution of the United States was ordained and established by the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty; and it contains ample provisions for the protection of the life, liberty, and property of every citizen, the dearest constitutional rights of the people of Kansas have been fraudulently and violently taken from them, their territory has been invaded by an armed force, spurious and pretended legislative, judicial and executive officers have been set over them, whose usurped authority has been sustained by the military power of the government, tyrannical and unconstitutional laws have been enacted and enforced, the rights of the people to keep and bear arms have been infringed upon, test-oaths of an extraordinary and entangling nature have been imposed as a condition of exercising the right of suffrage and holding office, the right of an accused person to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury has been denied, the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, has been violated; they have been deprived of life, liberty and property, without due process of law. That the freedom of speech and of the press has been abridged, the right to choose their representatives his been made of no effect, murder, robberies and arson has been instigated and encouraged, and the offenders have been allowed to go unpunished; that all these things have been done with the knowledge sanction and procurement of the present administration, and that for this high crime against the Constitution, the Union and humanity, we arraign that administration, the President, his advisers, agents, supporters, apologists and accessories, either before or after the facts, before the country and before the world; and that it is our fixed purpose to bring the actual perpetrators of these atrocious outrages and their accomplices to a sure and condign punishment hereafter.
Resolved, That Kansas should be immediately admitted as a State of the Union, with the present Free Constitution, as at once the most effectual way of securing to her citizens the enjoyment or the rights and privileges to which they are entitled, and of ending the civil strife now raging in her territory.
Resolved, That the highwayman's plea, that might makes right, embodied in the Ostend Circular, was in every respect unworthy of American diplomacy, and would bring shame and dishonor upon any people or government that gave it their sanction.
Resolved, That a railroad to the Pacific ocean, by the most practicable route, is imperatively demanded by the interests of the whole country, and that the Federal Government ought to render immediate aid to its construction; and, as an auxiliary thereto, to the immediate construction of an emigrant road on the line of the road.
Resolved, That appropriations by Congress for the improvement of rivers and harbors of a national character are required for the accommodation and security of our existing commerce, and are authorized by the constitution, and justified by the obligation of government to protect the lives and property of its citizens.
Resolved, That we invite the affiliation and co-operation of the men of all parties, however different from us in other respects, in support of the principles herein declared; and believing that the spirit of our institutions, as well as the constitution of our country guarantees Liberty of Conscience and Equality of Rights among citizens, will oppose all legislation impairing their security.[Raftsman's Journal, Clearfield, Wednesday, June 25, 1856. Vol. 2.---No. 45. Pg. 3]
Gee democrats, WHAT HAPPENED to your 'party'?Glorious Fountain--The Old Guard To The Rescue--From 6,000 to 8,000 Democrats In Council--Patriotic Resolutions Adopted.Last Saturday was a proud day for the Democracy of Fountain county, they will long remember the day as one of the brightest in their history, as the day when they with united voice spoke in tones and language not to be mistaken, against the wicked and tyrannical Administration and policy that is now rendering asunder and grinding to stone our beloved country.
The day opened beautiful and was auspicious for the gathering of a free and independent people. At an early hour in the morning, the sturdy and unflinching patriotic Democracy began to assemble from all directions, and by the hour of 10 o'clock A.M. the town was alive with people, and it was soon observed that the Court House would be wholly insufficient to accommodate but a very small proportion of the vast throng who has arrived and were constantly pouring in.
Procession after procession came in, headed by bands of martial music and the Star Spangled Banner--the flag of our country. Fountain county was not alone represented, but numbers came in from Parke, Vermillion, Warren and Benton counties, and many from our sister State of Illinois.
The convention was organized in the court room and adjourned to meet at the Fair Grounds, north of town, where the committee on resolutions made their report. Upon the reading of the resolutions they were adopted with enthusiastic cheers.
Mr. Tipton being called for, came forward and made an able speech, fully demonstrating the wickedness and corruption that now control the affairs of our Government.
After the conclusion of Mr. Tipton's speech, Mr. H.H. Dodd, of Indianapolis, was introduced and made one of the best speeches that was ever made in our place; for two long hours he held the vast crowd together, standing in a hot sun, as if by a chain of magic. His speech was both eloquent and argumentative, convincing all who heard him that the Democratic party alone can relieve our beloved country from despotism and anarchy which now environ it. The speakers were greeted with cheer after cheer from the honest throats of the multitude.
We were somewhat disappointed in the morning, when it was ascertained that Mr. Voorhees would not be present; but we confess we had no reason for disappointment in regard to the speakers, nor neither had the Democracy. The speakers filled the bill exactly, and we doubt whether the crowd would have been much better entertained or went away feeling better if all the speakers had been present that were invited.
The morning showed conclusively that the Democracy are in earnest and they mean that their actions indicate--that they are tired of the way our affairs are controlled, and are not willing, as vassals and slaves, to sit idly by and see their liberties wrested from them.
They have plainly spoken, and it will be well for the crazy fanatics who now are making war upon our Constitution, to pay heed to the lesson taught by their resolutions.
The following resolutions were reported to the Committee and were unanimously adopted with the greatest enthusiasm.
Whereas, The Democracy of the State of Indiana, are to assemble at Indianapolis on the 20th of May next, in pursuance of a call of the Democratic State Central Committee, for the purpose of considering together and adopting some plan for concert of action, by which our unhappy and distracted country may be restored to peace, instead of being rent by 'war's desolation.' And,
Whereas, We believe every locality--every county in Convention assembled, should give in advance to said State Mass Convention, an honest and candid expression of the sentiments of the Democracy of their respective counties on the subject of the terrible crisis through which the people are passing. The Democracy of Fountain county, in the expression of the sentiments entertained,
1. Resolves, That the fundamental principles which distinguish the present administration are based upon ignorance and wickedness, and an entire aversion to the doctrine that "governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." In attempting to abridge the freedom of speech and of the press, to deprive the people of the right to keep and bear arms, to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, and to the right to the writ of habeas corpus.
2. That we regard as odious, illegal and unjust, the confiscation and conscription acts, that we hold the emancipation proclamation as an unwise, impolitic act, an usurpation founded on no law, based only on the will.
3. That the declaration of martial law by the President in the loyal States of the North, is an act of military tyranny unnecessary, unjust and unlawful, and subversive of the civil rights of the citizen.
4. That the suppression of the writ of habeas corpus by the President of the loyal States, is not only unconstitutional, but an act of executive despotism, for which he ought, and should be impeached, and we declare the act absolutely void, and it should be disregarded by all those who are intrusted with the execution and administration of the laws.
5. That although the Morrill tariff, the confiscation, the conscription and the indemnity laws are obnoxious, unwise, and unjust, we will submit to them under protest, claiming a right to a free and full criticism of all acts of the party in power, and the merits of all enactments, asking only an untrammeled court for the settlement of constitutional questions, and a free ballot for a redress of our grievances.
6.That freedom of speech and the press belongs to the citizens as a constitutional right. It is an ancient and unalienable right of the people to canvass public measures and public men; it is a home-bred right, a fireside privilege. It has ever been enjoyed in every house, cottage and cabin in the Nation, and is not to be drawn into controversy; it is as undoubted as the right of breathing the air and walking on the earth, belonging to private life as a right, and to public life as a duty.
7. That we utterly condemn the blundering policy of the administration, which is desolating the land and blighting our National honor, and that we will use every lawful and honorable effort to depose the weak and wicked counsels now administering our public affairs, and place in their stead wisdom, experience and patriotism.
8. That we do recommend to the people of the United States, that there be a cessation of hostilities, and speedy arrangements made for the proper adjustment of our National difficulties, and the restoration of the Union, by calling a convention of the States of the Union to participate therein.
9. That our soldiers have our deepest sympathies, that we admire their courage and endurance upon the tented field and ensanguined plain, and truly hope that each one may return to meet the greetings of kind friends, and enjoy the hospitality of home, and repose in security under the banner of a happy, prosperous and united country.[Daily State Sentinel, Indianapolis, Ind., Saturday Morning, May 2, 1863. Vol. XII. Number 3,919. Pg. 2]