Saturday, July 06, 2013

"infringing the liberty of speech or of the press, or the right of the people to bear arms"

Last week, Mr. Douglass made a report on Kansas affairs, which proposes a new bill, providing for the appointment of five Commissioners by the President, who are to take a census of all the legal voters in the Territory, and make a fair apportionment of the delegates to be elected by each county to form a Constitution. No person is to be allowed to vote whose name does not appear on the list as a legal voter. The election for delegates is to be held on the day of the Presidential election, and the Convention is to assemble on the first Monday in December, and decide whether it be expedient for Kansas to come into the Union at that time, and if so to proceed to form a Constitution and State
Government, which shall be of Republican form. The bill provides further that no law shall be enforced in the Territory infringing the liberty of speech or of the press, or the right of the people to bear arms; illegal voting to be punished, or fraud and violence at elections; all white male inhabitants of 21 years of age are to be allowed to vote if they have resided in the territory 3 months previous to the day of election, and no other test shall be required. No law shall be made, or have force or effect which shall require a test oath or an oath to support any act of Congress or other legislative act, as a qualification for office, or as a juror, or which shall restrain or prohibit the free discussion of any law or subject of legislation, or the free expression of opinion thereon by the people of the Territory. This bill passed the Senate on the 3d, by a vote of 33 yeas to 12 nays.

   In the House, on the 30th June, the bill to admit Kansas with her free Constitution, as a State, was rejected by one majority. On Tuesday, Mr. Barclay moved a reconsideration of the vote, upon which a warm debate sprung up, but pending a motion to lay Barclay's motion on the table, Mr. Howard presented the Report of the Kansas Investigating Committee. The Committee report the following, facts and conclusions established by the testimony:--

  1. That each election in the Territory held under the organic or alleged Territorial law has been carried by organized invasion from the State of Missouri, by which the people of the Territory have been prevented from exercising the rights secured to them by the organic law.
  2. That the alleged Territorial Legislature was an illegally constituted body, and had no power to pass valid laws, and their enactments are, therefore, null and void.
  3. That these alleged laws have not, as a general thing, been used to protect persons and property and to punish wrong, but for unlawful purposes.
  4. That the election under which the sitting delegate, John W. Whitfield, holds bis seat, was not held in pursuance of any valid law, and that it should be regarded only as the expression of the choice of those resident citizens who voted for him.
  5. That the election under which the contesting Delegate, Andrew II. Reeder, claims his seat, was not held in pursuance of law, and that it should be regarded only as an expression of the choice of the resident citizens who voted for him.
  6. That Andrew H. Reeder received a greater number of votes of resident citizens than John W. Whitfield for Delegate.
  7. That in the present condition of the Territory a fair election cannot be held without a new census, a stringent and well guarded election law, the selection of impartial Judges, and the presence ot United states troops at every place of election.
  8. That the various elections held by the people of the Territory preliminary to the formation of the State Government, have been as regular as the disturbed condition of the Territory would allow; and that the Constitution passed by the Convention, held in pursuance of said elections, embodies the will of a majority of the people.
  As it is not the province of your Committee to suggest remedies for the existing troubles in the Territory of Kansas, they content themselves with the foregoing statement of facts.
  All of which is respectfully submitted.
                          WILLIAM A. HOWARD,
                          JOHN SHERMAN.
  On the 3d inst., Mr. Barclay's motion to reconsider was carried by a vote of 101 to 97.--
The bill then passed, yeas 100, nays 99.

- Raftsman's Journal., Clearfield, Wednesday, July 9, 1856. Vol. 2.--No. 47. Pg. 5

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