Mr. WADE. On Saturday last, when the Senate had under consideration a resolution to adjourn at an early period, I stated that one great reason I had for voting against it was the deep and abiding interest that the people of Western Virginia seemed to feel in the great question of their admission into the Union as a State. I did not like to see this Congress adjourn without acting upon that subject, and I was fearful that we should bring the session to a close before we could act upon it. It was suggested to me that there would be ample time to act upon it within the time indicated in the resolution to adjourn. Well, sir, that may be; I believe there is time; but I feel and know that if I fail to succeed with the present motion, the time has gone, and gone forever. Therefore it is that I now make an appeal to every Senator on this floor who is favorable to the admission of that State, to embrace the opportunity presented by this motion to stand by me and to stand by this measure until we carry it through. I do not think it need take half an hour. It has already been debated, so far as debate will elucidate the subject, and I do not propose to debate it myself. The people of Western Virginia, at all events, are determined that they never will travel side by side with their old associates any longer. They cannot do it; and they appeal to us, as an act of justice, to let them into the Union on the same principles on which other States are admitted.
Mr. GRIMES. Let us dispose of this bill, and then we will take up yours.
Mr. WADE. There was a vote to suspend your bill I believe.
Mr. GRIMES. No; there was not. It has not been suspended.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question is on the motion of the Senator from Ohio.
Mr. GRIMES. I desire to say to the Senator that I am with him to get in the new State of West Virginia, but the bill under consideration I conceive to be of vast importance; and I do not wish to be put in the position of antagonizing that bill against this. If he will be content to let us take a vote on this proposition, I will vote with him to take up this bill.
Mr. HALE. I am in the same condition.
Mr. WADE. I always listen to reason, and if gentlemen tell me I am antagonizing something and working against my friends, I am the last man to place myself in that position if I know it.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Does the Senator withdraw his motion?
Mr. WADE. Yes, sir; I withdraw it for the present; but I give notice that I shall embrace the very first opportunity when this question is out of the way to renew it.
CHANGE OF TOPIC
Mr. WADE. I now renew my motion to take up the bill for the admission of West Virginia.
Mr. CHANDLER. I desire to ask the Senator from Ohio to give me about three minutes to pass a couple of bills that the Secretary of the Treasury thinks are of importance. They will not take over three minutes, I think. They are Senate bills, and it is important to have them acted on to-day.
Mr. WADE. I do not think this will take over half an hour.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question is on the motion of the Senator from Ohio.
Mr. TRUMBULL. That question is an important one, and undoubtedly it will take every moment of time from now until the adjournment. The Senator from Ohio is very much mistaken in supposing that the bill to admit Western Virginia into the Union will pass in the course of half an hour. It is a very important question, and I cannot conceive that such a bill as that should go through the Senate in so short a time. I hope the bill will not be taken up. I think it will result in postponing some very important measures that we ought to act upon, and it will consume the whole time, and then I doubt whether there is time, if we do nothing else, to dispose of this one bill. I hope that the Senate will not take it up. We had a few days ago what I supposed was a test vote on taking it up, and if the Senate does take it up, I am satisfied it will be in the way of the transaction of much other business during the session.
Mr. WADE. I hope we shall not be bluffed off by this implied threat of the gentleman that he is going to talk us out of doors.
Mr. TRUMBULL. I am not going to talk long.
Mr. WADE. But you very plainly give out that it will take the whole session to pass this bill. I do not think anybody else supposes it will take the whole session to pass the bill. It is a very important measure, and therefore it is argued that it must have a very important amount of gab over it. I do not think that follows, for I have seen as much talk over very unimportant measures as I have over important ones. It is an important measure, but it is plain, palpable, and evident to every one. It needs no argument to illustrate it; it will receive no particular light from arguments from any source here, because it is plain to the comprehension of every Senator, and every Senator understands it now as well as his fellows do, and knows whether this measure is reasonable or unreasonable. I know that there is now measure which is pressed upon this Congress with so much earnestness and zeal as this measure; no one in which so great a number of people feel such a vital interest as in this. We are told it is a very important measure. It is important. Nobody doubts that; and nobody doubts its necessity as well. You cannot postpone it long if you would. There is no reason why you should wish to do it if you could. The people of Western Virginia are entitled to what they ask; they have earned it by their loyalty, by their privations, and by their perils; and they are entitled to the good will and good fellowship of this Senate, to endeavor to do for them that which they have fairly earned. I hope we shall take up the bill, and I hope no friends of the measure will think it necessary to make very long arguments on the subject.
Mr. POMEROY. I certainly hope this measure will be acted upon, and taken up for that purpose. It must be apparent to every one that it is due to these gentlemen, due in fact to this State of Western Virginia, that some decision be had. The hope deferred in this matter maketh the heart sick; and I think it is due to that people, who are loyal, who are true, that at least the Senate should act. If they are not to come in under their constitution, they ought to know it. If they are to come in, they certainly should know it. I think it is inflicting a great injury on them not to decide the question one way or the other.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question is on the motion of the Senator from Ohio, to proceed to the consideration of the bill for the admission of West Virginia.
Mr. TRUMBULL. I ask for the yeas and nays.
The yeas and nays were ordered; and being taken, resulted - yeas 25, nays 11; as follows:
YEAS - Messrs. Carlile, Clark, Collamer, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Grimes, Hale, Harris, Henderson, Howe, Lane of Indiana, Lane of Kansas, Pomeroy, Sherman, Simmons, Start, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Wade, Wilkinson, Willey, Wilmot, Wilson of Missouri, and Wright - 25.
NAYS - Messrs. Anthony, Bayard, Browning, Chandler, Doolittle, Kennedy, King, Powell, Saulsbury, Trumbull, and Wilson of Massachusetts - 11.
So the motion was agreed to; and the Senate, as in Committee of the Whole, resumed the consideration of the bill (S. No. 365) providing for the admission of the State of West Virginia into the Union, the pending question being on the amendment of Mr. SUMNER, in lines sixteen and seventeen of the first section, to strike out the words "the children of all slaves born within the limits of said State shall be free," and to insert in lieu thereof:
Within the limits of said State there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, otherwise than in the punishment of crime whereof the party shall be duly convicted.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. Upon this amendment the yeas and nays have been ordered.
The question being taken by yeas and nays, resulted - yeas 11, nays 24; as follows:
YEAS - Messrs. Chandler, Clark, Grimes, King, Lane of Kansas, Pomeroy, Sumner, Trumbull, Wilkinson, Wilmot, and Wilson of Massachusetts - 11.
NAYS - Messrs. Anthony, Bayard, Browning, Carlile, Collamer, Doolittle, Foot, Foster, Harris, Henderson, Howe, Kennedy, Lane of Indiana, Powell, Rice, Saulsbury, Sherman, Simmons, Stark, Ten Eyck, Wade, Willey, Wilson of Missouri, and Wright - 24.
So the amendment was rejected.
Mr. WILLEY. I wish to make a verbal amendment to the preamble.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The preamble is not in order to be amended until the body of the bill shall be perfected.
Mr. WILLEY. I now offer the amendment which has been printed and laid on the tables of the Senators.
The Secretary read the amendment, as follows:
Strike out all the bill after the second line in the first section, excepting the last section, and insert:
That West Virginia is hereby admitted into this Union on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever, upon the fundamental conditions that from and after the 4th day of July, 1863, the children of all slaves born within the limits of said State shall be free, and that no law shall be passed by said State by which any citizen of either of the States in this Union shall be excluded from the enjoyment of any of the privileges and immunities to which such citizen is entitled under the Constitution of the United States: Provided, That the convention that ordained the constitution aforesaid, to be reconvened in the manner prescribed in the schedule thereto annexed, shall, by a solemn public ordinance, declare the assent of the said State to the said fundamental conditions, and shall transmit to the President of the United States, on or before the 15th day of November, 1862, an authentic copy of said ordinance; upon the receipt whereof, the President, by proclamation, shall announce the fact; whereupon, and without any further proceeding on the part of Congress, the admission of said State into the Union shall be considered as complete.
Mr. WADE. I have an amendment which I wish to offer to the amendment. It seems to me reasonable that some provision should be made for slaves that are born just before the period fixed as well as for all born afterwards who are to be free. I move to amend the amendment of the Senator from Virginia by inserting after the word "free," in the eighth line, the words, "and that all slaves within the said State who shall at the time aforesaid be under twenty-one years of age, shall be free when they arrive at the age of twenty-one."
I hope the Senators from Virginia will agree to it. I know it is a pretty strong movement in the direction of anti-slavery principle, but it asks no sacrifice of principle from the people there. It will make their bill run much smoother in the other House and much smoother with us. Gentlemen must be well aware that the vote I have just given against the proposition of my friend from Massachusetts was a very harsh and unsavory vote for me to give, but I thought it inharmonious and inconsistent with the real purpose we all had in view in admitting this new State. Still, it does seem to me that when we are making provision that the children of all slaves that shall be born after the 4th of July, 1863, shall be free absolutely, it is no more than right to say that all the children in the State at that period, who are under the ago of twenty- one, shall be free as soon as they arrive at that age. That places them on the footing of all other persons, and still leaves a great residuum of slave population there that it does not interfere with; it leaves some rather hard cases undoubtedly; but then there are a great many of that class who are old, who have been in families a great while, and to whom probably it would be no great favor to interfere with their status. This provision I think is necessary. There is something exceedingly harsh and abrupt in the provisions of this bill unless it is smoothed down, softened, and rendered harmonious by such a provision as I now offer.
Mr. POMEROY. I want to inquire of the chairman whether, as the amendment now stands, it extends to all the counties named in the committee's bill, or only to those counties covered by the amendment of the Senator from Virginia?
Mr. WADE. I propose to amend the amendment. I suppose his amendment will be adopted, and the original bill rejected. I have no doubt that that is not to pass. This will be a substitute, as I understand, for the bill reported by the committee.
Mr. POMEROY. This, then, is an amendment to the amendment.
Mr. WADE. Yes, sir; it is an amendment to the amendment of the Senator from Virginia, because his proposition is the only one, I suppose, that will receive favor here. For myself, I am not now disposed to go for the original measure. I am satisfied that it would not be very safe legislation for us to admit the State under that first arrangement, and I suppose there is no idea here now of doing that. I suppose if the State is admitted it will be under the amendment offered by the Senator from Virginia, and I hope as amended by myself. I hope my amendment will be agreed to.
Mr. WILLEY. It is hardly necessary for me to say that I should have greatly preferred, if the State of West Virginia is to be admitted, that is should be according to the constitution exactly as it was submitted by that portion of the people of Virginia, without any condition and without any amendment. But, sir, feeling that the views, sentiments, and opinions of others in this body are entitled to all respect, I have deemed it but right to make an advance beyond what was personally agreeable to myself, and to offer the proposition, by way of amendment, which was read at the desk a while ago; and I had hoped that it would be the pleasure of the Senator from Ohio to allow the sense of the Senate to be taken on that amendment. I appreciate very highly the motives operating upon that Senator; I appreciate very highly and very gratefully the active cooperation he has given me in the progress of this matter; and I wish just here to make, very respectfully, some suggestions which I think very worthy of consideration.
I wish to suggest to the Senator from Ohio what will be the operation of his amendment if it prevails. I hope he will believe me when I say that in whatever form this bill shall pass, if it pass at all, the interests, the welfare, of the negro should by no means be overlooked; but I submit to him this consideration, whether practically and in point of fact the operation of his amendment, if passed, will not be prejudicial to the welfare and the interests of that portion of the slaves to be affected by it. If it pass, the result will be that all slaves under twenty-one years of age will be made free when they arrive at twenty-one years of age. That will embrace all ages from twenty-one down to one year. Nearly all those slaves now are in counties lying along the borders, or what will be the borders of the old State of Virginia if this bill passes. What will be the practical result? Nearly all these young slaves, instead of remaining at home under the mild system of usage and government which necessarily prevails within all the section proposed to be embraced in this new State, will be silently, at about a convenient age for sale, transferred across the border which lies at hand, either into Kentucky or into Virginia, or if need be, further south, into the cotton fields of the South, and there sold. Thus, instead of operating so as to secure the freedom of the class of negroes to be affected by this amendment, it will transfer them from slavery under its mild form in West Virginia to the cotton fields of the South, or the tobacco fields of the east, almost inevitably.
Another consideration: many of these are females, and if you would allow them to remain in the State all their offspring would be free. Pass this amendment, and they will be not only transferred to a worse form of slavery in a worse climate, to which they are not accustomed, but the offspring of all such as will be sold and transferred to the South will also forever remain in slavery, whereas if they remain in the State of West Virginia their offspring will be free.
Mr. LANE, of Kansas. Will the Senator permit me to ask him a question?
Mr. WILLEY. Certainly.
Mr. LANE, of Kansas. Will public sentiment in this new State sanction such action.
Mr. WILLEY. I will answer the Senator. I have already stated to the Senator, if I caught his ear, that nearly all these slaves lie in the counties of West Virginia which are contiguous to the old part of the State and to Kentucky, and they will be silently transferred. Public sentiment will know nothing about it. Public sentiment will not be affected by it. They will be silently transferred, and it will be impossible, in my estimation, to stop the transfer. And now I submit a question to the Senator who propounded one to me: with his views - I say nothing of my own - of the feelings of regard for public sentiment of the owners of these young slaves, who would thus sell them to the South, does he concede that they would be apt to be influenced by public sentiment? I can assure the Senator that such will be the practical result of this amendment if it is adopted.
I wish to make another suggestion to the Senator and to the Senate. We have within West Virginia a very considerable amount of secession sentiment yet. It is silent; it is under the ban of public opinion; it at present cowers, but it will avail itself of anything by which it may possibly stir up the prejudices of the people, and this will be used as an element and as an instrument by which an effort will be made to defeat this whole measure, and to prevent the convention, that it is proposed to reconvene, from adopting the fundamental proposition suggested, and the result of that will be that all the slaves in West Virginia will retain their present status, and there will be no freedom either to those who are living or to those who may be born.
I wish to make the further suggestion, whether, after the exhibition of loyalty to the Union, of fidelity to this Government, and after the exhibition of the public sentiment of that section of the State in regard to this matter, it is not a question which may safely and well be left to the management of public sentiment within the State. The passage of this amendment will tend to embarrass us. We have already embarrassments enough; we have already in this struggle for a State, and for a free State, a load sufficiently burdensome to carry; and I had hoped that it would be consistent with the feelings and the wishes and the principles of the honorable Senator from Ohio, to allow us to carry my amendment, if it be the sentiment of the Senate that it shall be carried, virtually giving to this Union what I have no doubt he so much desires, and the majority of the Senate so much desire, a free State in due time, and according to that plan of gradual emancipation which has been followed in all the present free States where slavery existed at the time of the Revolution. There, I believe, the slaves in esse were never freed; they were left slaves for life; and then the children who were freed were not set at liberty until twenty-five, twenty-seven, and twenty-eight years of age in many instances; seeing, as our wise fathers did see, that it was not only best for the interests of the masters and the welfare of the State, but was likewise better for the welfare of the slave himself, that this plan and process of gradual emancipation should be the one adopted.
I do not wish to detain the Senate in regard to this question. If it be the pleasure of the Senate to pass this amendment, I would respectfully suggest to the Senator from Ohio that he fix the age at twenty-five or twenty-seven years, or something of that kind; but I trust that it may be his pleasure, upon reflection, to withdraw the proposition altogether, and let us give him a State in due time of the character which he desires, and which he admires. Judging from his expression, the purpose is not seriously entertained to pass the bill as reported by the committee, and I shall not detain the Senate by further argumentation on that matter. I submitted my views the other day, showing that there was an absolute incompatibility between the interests, the commercial relations, the social feelings, the habits, the wishes of the people in the valley counties proposed to be included, and the people within the limits of the proposed State, as provided in their constitution. It is said from very high authority, that whom God hath joined together let not man put asunder. The reverse of the maxim is true, whom God hath put asunder let no man attempt to put together. There is no identity of interest, there is no homogeneousness between the people of the valley and the people west of the Alleghany mountains, and we are to-day verifying that remarkable prediction of Mr. Webster, that whenever there was an attempt to withdraw Virginia from the Union, it would be seen that the inhabitants living upon the waters in that State which flow into the valley of the Mississippi would inevitably go with the people of that valley. As well, said he, might you expect to see the current of the Ohio and the vast rivers of that valley reversing their course, as to expect that Western Virginia should go into any southern organization.
I hope, sir, that the Senate will reject the amendment of the Senator from Ohio, and taken the halfway proposition which we have made too it, and let us know whether, in that form, we can be admitted.
Mr. LANE, of Kansas. I desire to answer the Senator from Virginia, by a reference to a little of our experience or history. In February, 1856, the people of Kansas adopted a constitution in which we freed the slaves of Kansas on the 4th of July subsequently. The attempt stated by the Senator from Virginia was made by a portion of the slaveholders of Kansas, to spirit their slaves out of the State, but the slaves themselves stopped that business. They said to their masters, "we are to be freed on the 4th day of July, and you shall not take us from the borders of Kansas." They remained there and were freed there by the operation of the Topeka constitution and the law subsequently passed. I suppose the slaves of Virginia have as much sense as the slaves of Kansas had in 1856. Even if public sentiment would justify such an outrage - and I say it with all respect to the Senator from Virginia - the community that would permit such an outrage is not yet prepared for freedom. The slaves of Kansas said to the slaveholders, "you shall not take us out of Kansas," and they stopped it at the threshold, as I believe will be done in Virginia. I hope the amendment proposed by the Senator from Ohio will be adopted. I am as anxious for the reception of Virginia as a free State into the Union as either of the Senators from that State.
Mr. CARLILE. Mr. President, I am opposed to all these conditions, and would prefer the admission of West Virginia under the constitution as it has been presented to Congress; but if it shall be found to be the opinion of the Senate that conditions must be annexed, that we cannot be admitted at once under the action of the people within the proposed boundary so far as it has been had, I then desire to ascertain as far as I can what will be required by the Senate for our admission, in order that our people, if willing to accept your terms, may come here with that which will be acceptable to Congress at its next session. And, sir, since this subject was first suggested, we had it before our committee, of inserting some such provision as that proposed by the amendment of the Senator from Ohio, I have reflected upon it, and am satisfied that if the slaves that are to be born after the 4th of July, 1863, are to be freed, it is to the interest of the white people of Western Virginia that some such amendment as that of the Senator from Ohio shall be adopted. Otherwise we should present the anomalous condition of a State existing, for the lifetimes of all that are now in being, neither free nor slave. If it be an advantage that the State shall be made a free State, then I hold that those who are now in existence are entitled to the enjoyment of the benefit of that advantage as much as those who are to come after them. It would be a strange thing indeed, if a child born on the 3d day of July, 1863, should be a slave for life, while one born the next day was free from the instant he appeared in the world. I do not concur with my colleague in the opinion that the cupidity of those who own slaves within the boundary proposed, no matter whether residing remote or near the line between the two States, will be such as to induce any considerable number of those persons to transport beyond the limits of the proposed boundary their slaves, and pocket their value.
Mr. WADE. I do not wish to detain the Senate any longer on this subject; but it does seem to me that this State of West Virginia is essentially a free State. It is because it is a free State, and is forever to be a free State, that you are here now asking a separation. Why, then, should we stand niggling over the question whether there shall not be a few in this anomalous condition of slavery extending indefinitely into the future? I do not believe the spectacle would be gratifying to the people there, who have nobly emancipated themselves from that condition. I believe, with the Senator from Virginia who has just spoken, that in this there would be a strange and harsh anomaly, one inexplicable, one that no man who has had anything to do with this bill could justify to himself or to his constituents, when challenged on the subject. Suppose the question was put, "when you provided for the freedom of all born after a certain period, why did you not make the same provision for that great number of persons who happened to be in esse a little before that period? Was there any great reason why all born after a particular day should be free, and all those born the year before, or the month before, or the week before, should be slaves?" It strikes me that that would not be satisfactory to anybody. It is not in harmony with the reasoning of the human mind; it would not subserve the purposes of common justice. And let me say to the Senator from Virginia, [Mr. WILLEY,] you are to be a free State; you are to be numbered with the free States; you have seen fit to put your fate with the free States; you have asked to join us, and to abide with us in all time to come; you will be a free State, and you will not wish to leave any marks of your former servitude any longer than you can help. Having made up your minds most nobly, as you have, and come forward and asked admission on these great free principles, for Heaven's sake do not stickle over this. There must be a little compromise here. There is no question that touches the feelings of mankind, like that involved even in this case, that does no require some compromise. We have gone to the very verge of northern feeling in order to admit you, because we know you are all right at heart, and by the time your constitution is in operation you will be glad that we recommended to you the amendment I have proposed. I hope it will be adopted, and not grudgingly, by the other side.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question is on the amendment of the Senator from Ohio to the amendment of the Senator from Virginia.
The amendment to the amendment was agreed to.
Mr. CARLILE. I propose to amend the amendment of my colleague, by inserting after the word "shall," in the sixteenth line, the words, "after the said ordinance shall be submitted to a vote of the people in said State of West Virginia, and be ratified by the vote of the majority of the people thereof."
Mr. WILLEY. This amendment of my colleague seems to me a very extraordinary one. A vote of the majority of the people is a very extraordinary sort of vote. It is not usual, I believe, when you submit a thing, that a majority of the people shall be required, men women, and children, and negroes themselves, for I suppose they are called people. But I object to it on the other grounds, and I will state the grounds of the objection. The people of Northwestern Virginia have been very much harassed. They have had difficulties of a diverse character in this reorganization of the State. A great many elections have been held. In appointing the convention which ordained this constitution, and in reassembling the Legislature to give their assent to it, they have incurred a great deal of expense and a great deal of delay, and they are not in a condition to incur much more, unless it be absolutely necessary. The operation of the amendment of my colleague would be to have not only a new convention, assenting to this fundamental proposition, but sending it back to the people, imposing on the people the very considerable cost as well as the trouble of a new election. To avoid that, and to provide for any incident which might arise in the prosecution of their object, the convention which ordained the constitution now before Congress, wisely, as I think - and especially does it appear to be wise in the light of the amendment of my colleague - refused to dissolve the convention, but by express stipulation in a schedule adopted by them, appointed certain commissioners who were authorized to reassemble the convention upon any occasion necessary; and by looking to the second section of the schedule annexed to the constitution, as printed and laid before the Senate, the Senate will see who the commissioners are who have been appointed, and on turning to the eleventh section of the schedule it will appear "that the commissioners hereby appointed shall have power, if it become necessary, to reconvene the members of this convention on such day as they may prescribe," so that the convention is still is existence, still a legal body, and it has provided for its own reassembling.
In a matter like this, and especially after the voluntary expression of the people at the polls in regard to the subject involved in this amendment at the election when they adopted this constitution, it does seem to me there is no necessity for sending this question back to them; but let the people of West Virginia, in convention assembled, to be reconvened under the authority and power reserved in the schedule annexed to the constitution, say whether they will assent to this proposition or not, as I think they have a perfect right to do, without going through all these formalities again, without imposing upon our people the trouble and expense that it necessarily would impose upon them, and accomplish as satisfactorily, I am sure, the object designed by us all, as if there is another election held. The people do not want to be troubled with it in my humble estimation, and there is no necessity for doing it. The proposition, as I have presented it, is almost a literal copy of the celebrated Missouri resolution. The question of the adoption by the people of the State of Missouri of the condition prescribed by Congress was not submitted to the people even in convention assembled, but to the Legislature; and if the Legislature consented they were thereupon to be admitted into the Union without any further proceedings whatever. I follow this precedent, and I go a little further, as we have it in our power to do, by submitting it not to the Legislature of the new State, but to the people themselves in convention to be assembled under the authority which I have mentioned. I hope my colleague will withdraw his proposition.
Mr. CARLILE. Mr. President, I did not detain the Senate by any explanatory remarks upon the amendment, because I supposed the propriety of it would not be questioned. I use the word "people" as synonymous with "voters." It is so used, I believe, in other portions of this bill; but I will, with the consent of the Senate, modify my amendment by adding, after the word "people," the words which the Secretary has now taken down," entitled to exercise the right of suffrage under the laws of the State of Virginia," which will settle at once what I suppose would have been settled anyhow.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator can modify his amendment at his own pleasure.
Mr. CARLILE. I have so modified it; and now, at this stage, it is better for me to make the remarks I intended to make upon submitting a further amendment, which I conceive it my duty to do under the request of the Legislature through whose action this memorial reached this body.
My colleague says that the provision which is contained in his amendment is a copy of the action of Congress in regard to Missouri. There is this important difference Mr. President; and I will show, I think, before I am done, wherein it is important. The resolution with regard to Missouri made it the duty of the first Legislature that should assemble in Missouri to accept this fundamental condition, which was, that the Legislature never would pass any law excluding from the State of Missouri citizens of other States. My colleague's proposition does not submit this question to the Legislature of the State, but proposes to submit it to the convention that formed the constitution, itself the creature of another convention; and, as I shall show, composed, to a very considerable extent, of members who were elected with a much smaller vote than were the members who composed the Legislature of the State.
In this case, the members of the convention to whom my colleague proposes to submit these conditions precedent to our admission, changing the Constitution proposed by them as essentially as if you were to turn day into night, were elected last fall. They submitted a constitution - the one now before the Senate - to the people, recognizing all existing rights of property and social institutions as they now exist. This constitution the people adopted. These conditions change the fundamental law, interfere with the existing rights of the people, propose that their own domestic institutions shall be changed at the bidding of Congress, if some thirty or forty gentlemen who last year composed a convention shall assent thereto. Three hundred and forty thousand people, in everything pertaining to their government, represented by fifty thousand voters, are to be bound by these gentlemen who met last year to frame for, and propose to this people a constitution which, if adopted, was to be the organic law.
Missouri was a Territory seeking admission as a State. In the case before the Senate, a State consents to the formation of another State within its own limits. In the case of Missouri the Legislature was to be elected under the new constitution after the passage by Congress of the resolution which my colleague cites as a precedent. Of course, the question involved in the resolution came directly before the people of Missouri in the election of members of the Legislature. Let it be remembered, too, that the Missouri resolution was in direct conflict with the treaty by which that Territory was ceded to the United States, and, therefore, a nullity.
It will be remarked, too, by the Senate that there are three fundamental conditions now in the amendment of my colleague, which must be accepted before the assent of Congress, if his bill shall pass, can be given to the admission of the State of West Virginia: first, upon the fundamental condition that all slaves born after the 4th of July, 1863, shall be free; second, that all slaves under the age of twenty-one years shall be free upon arriving at that age; third, that the clause in the constitution excluding free negroes from the limits of that State shall never be so construed as to authorize the passage of any law on the part of the Legislature excluding from it citizens of the several States of this Union.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator will suspend his remarks to receive a message from the House of Representatives.
Mr. CARLILE. Certainly.
CHANGE OF TOPIC
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Virginia [Mr. CARLILE] is entitled to the floor on the amendment moved by himself to the amendment of his colleague to the bill (S. No. 365) providing for the admission of the State of West Virginia into the Union.
Mr. CARLILE. Mr. President, the great object to be attained, and one of the great benefits that I expect the people of the proposed new State will derive upon their admission into the Union, is the unanimity of sentiment and the cordiality of action which it will bring about. The convention which have assembled looking to the formation of this State, the Legislature in its action looking to the formation of the State, all have carefully respected the time-honored and established law of our State, which is never to make any change in our organic laws until the proposed change is first submitted to the people of the State, and by them ratified and adopted. Now, sir, three changes of so much importance as to justify the Congress of the nation in withholding from that people their assent to their separate organization, are incorporated in this amendment. That they are important and of the highest moment to the people who are to be subject to these provisions, is shown by the fact that the Senate is unwilling to act without an acceptance of these conditions. Would it not be a departure from all our ideas which have grown with our growth and strengthened with our strength, and which we derive from the fundamental proposition that lies at the basis of all our institutions, to wit, that all governmental power is derived from the people, if we were to subject them to solemn fundamental covenants, holding that people responsible for the fulfillment of these conditions, and refusing to consult them as to whether they are willing to be bound by these stipulations.
Sir, from the beginning of this movement I have taken, I may say without arrogating anything to myself, a prominent position in the front rank in favor of this separation; but I have done it always with the conviction that every step that was to be taken, every act that was to be done, should be approved by the people themselves who are to be affected by the proposed action. I am indebted to the Wheeling Intelligencer of the first day of this month for furnishing to me a quotation from some remarks that I made in the convention when the proposition was pending before that body to authorize the sense of the people to be taken on the proposed new State, which I will read, showing that I am acting in perfect accordance with every movement I have made connected with this subject from its incipiency. Upon a resolution which I had the honor to submit to that convention, and which gave rise to this proceeding which is now before the Senate, instructing a committee "to report an ordinance providing for the formation of a separate State out of, and to be composed of the following counties, to wit" - naming them - some discussion arose. There was a desire on the part of members of the convention to include within the resolution counties which I have not named, and in reply I stated what I now read:
"That I was not for including within the limits of this new State a single county which I did not believe, by a large majority of its people, would desire to be a part and parcel of it."
The ordinance providing for taking the sense of the people within the proposed boundary upon a new State and - in the event a majority should be found voting for it - providing for the organization of a convention to form a constitution for the government of the new State, expressly provides, in so many words, that the constitution thus formed shall be submitted to the people at the polls for their ratification or rejection; and in pursuance of that provision of the ordinance, this constitution now before the Senate was, after its adoption by the convention, proposed to the people of the State, and their votes, to the extent that they voted, were taken upon it. Would it be a compliance with this spirit of the ordinance of the convention to change that constitution, to add other and further provisions deemed by the Senate of so much importance as to require an addition, and to hold that people responsible for the fulfillment of these conditions, without you first consult them upon it, and they agree to it? I put that question to the Senate. I put it to Republicans, to Democrats, to Whigs; I put it to men of every complexion and of every hue of political opinion whether it would not be a strange anomaly in the history of this country if three provisions of so much importance as those that are proposed in this amendment are to be placed upon a people, and they expected to carry them out in good faith without ever having been consulted upon them. I cannot for a moment entertain the idea that the amendment I propose will be rejected by this body.
But, Mr. President, there are other considerations; there are other reasons why this should be done. In the proposed boundaries of the amendment now pending before the Senate, the tables show some forty-seven thousand voters, forty-seven thousand persons within those boundaries entitled to exercise the right of suffrage, and who did exercise it at the last presidential election. The returns which are now in the possession of the Senate show that but about nineteen thousand of those forty-seven thousand voted upon this proposition. A majority of the voting population within the boundaries of this proposed new State have never assented even to the constitution that is now before you by a direct vote at the polls. The only assent that has been given which strengthens the vote at the polls is the assent given by those counties through their representatives in the General Assembly who were present and voted; and because of the request of that body thus given, I have felt it my duty, and shall continue to feel it to be my duty, to ask the Senate for a vote directly upon the proposition which is transmitted to us through the Legislature, and which we are requested to present to the Senate.
But, sir, if we have to go back, if the request of the Legislature cannot be granted, if, after a discharge of our duty here by complying with that request, the Senate shall determine that that cannot be granted, but that other and further steps are necessary to be taken in order to secure our admission, I shall, as I have done heretofore, insist at every step that the people shall have at least the privilege of pronouncing upon any and every proposition. Why do we want this new State? Because of the interests that will be promoted in times of peace. We know that in the time of war it matters not where we are, so far as the material and pecuniary interests of the people are to be affected. The separation by mere imaginary lines dividing States will not give to the people within the proposed new State any greater or increased security from the horrors of war and the desolation of war than if they were not separated. The great objects to be promoted by this separation are to be enjoyed upon the return of peace with the single solitary object, which I consider a very important one to us at this particular time - that of uniting together as many of our people as we can in the same cause and for the same object. I believe that a separation and organization of this State will, the instant it is accomplished, at least quiet very many who are now induced to adhere to their secession proclivities because of this singular idea that they owe their first allegiance to the State. Get them within our own boundaries, give them our own State in which they reside, and we will direct their allegiance as we have adhered to our own to the State and to the Federal Government of which it forms a part. That, sir, is the only advantage now to be derived by immediate action on this proposition. The other privileges are to be enjoyed when peace shall once more smile upon our country.
Mr. POMEROY. I simply wish to say, in a single word, that if this amendment of the Senator's is adopted, or even if there is a prolonged discussion upon it, the simply effect will be to put off the measure for this session. If the Senator himself is not in favor of the admission of Western Virginia, he need not expect others to be; and if the people of Western Virginia do not send Senators here who are in favor of this measure, they certainly cannot expect to get it through.
Mr. CARLILE. I do not think there has been anything that I have said or done to justify the remark of the Senator from Kansas. As I stated in the outset, I am in favor of the admission of West Virginia, if you admit her under the constitution which she has brought here; but you refuse that, and seek to impose conditions upon her people changing radically the fundamental law as they had adopted it, and deny to them even an opportunity to say whether or not your terms are acceptable to them. The Senator from Kansas is in favor of the admission of West Virginia upon certain conditions. He proposes to admit West Virginia with such a constitution as he shall prescribe for the government of her people. I propose to admit her with the constitution she has formed for her own government. I am in favor of her admission without conditions upon the precise terms that she asks.
Mr. POMEROY. The amendment that has been proposed will allow the State of Virginia to come into the Union speedily by the action of the convention. I supposed that these people were anxious for immediate action. It has been so represented to the committee. As the chairman has very well stated this morning, we acted on the idea that immediate action was called for in this matter. If the Senator from Virginia himself, representing that State, takes the responsibility of proposing an amendment which delays the matter for another year, he alone is responsible for the effect of that vote. We are for admitting the State, and providing that the convention may accept or reject the proposition immediately, and come into the Union.
Mr. CARLILE. Mr. President, I trust I am aware of the responsibility I assume, and I shall take care of all its consequences without calling upon the Senator from Kansas, or troubling him in the slightest degree. I intend to show, before I get through, that the suggestions of the Senator are not founded in a correct understanding of the proposition before the Senate. What does it propose, if this bill shall pass, and you hold that people bound by stipulations and fundamental conditions to which they have never assented? Even your own amendment does not provide for the admission of the State earlier than sixty days after the 15th day of next November; and that brings us to the middle of next January. This Congress will meet here on the first Monday of December next. If we come here with a constitution framed in accordance with the suggestions that have been thrown out to us by this body, emanating from the people - not in obedience to your direction, or not in obedience to your exaction, but emanating from them spontaneously, for the purpose of securing their admission into the Union, acting upon the suggestions they have received at your hands - what is there to prevent the admission of the State, under such a constitution, earlier than you provide in that amendment for her admission, when the Congress meets here on the 1st day of December next, and the amendment itself runs it into the middle of January before she is admitted? There is nothing in that idea at all.
I intend to deal frankly with the Senate. I have no concealments, never have any, and never intend, in a representative capacity at least, to conceal from my brethren and colleagues who are to act with me, any opinions that I entertain. What are they? Supposing - as I suppose I will see when I move the test amendment, which I shall, to this proposition - that the Senate is unwilling to admit us without conditions, I shall vote against any bill, if it is pressed, exacting conditions, for the purpose of going home to my people, asking them to assemble a convention between this and the first Monday in December, and act upon the suggestions which we have received here from the Senate, if they desire to do so, and come here with a constitution that will enable Congress, without any arbitrary stretch of power, to admit us at once without delay. That is the course I propose to take, whenever the Senate shall, as I presume it will, by a majority of its votes refuse to so amend the amendment of my colleague as to strike out all his proposition after the word "whatever." And why do I do it? Mr. President, the people of West Virginia not only desire an admission into the Union; but they wish to preserve their liberties under the Constitution of the United States, and I shall be mistaken if they surrender the high privilege of freemen, that of forming for themselves, free and untrammeled, their own organic law. They will never consent that this Congress shall prescribe for them a form of government. Such exercise of power has never been submitted to by the people of this country since the day our fathers declared the independence of the colonies; prior to that, forms of government were prescribed for them by the British Crown. The exercise of such a power by Congress, if submitted to by the people of West Virginia, would not only affect them, but it would be an assertion of power over a free people that would alarm the fears of the patriot and encourage the traitor in arms. The people of West Virginia value constitutional liberty; they do not look alone to their interests, isolated and disconnected from the interests of their fellow-citizens throughout the entire country. In proof of this I will take occasion to read some remarks which I had the honor of submitting to the convention when this very proposition was before it, in June of last year, and the convention acted in accordance with the suggestions of the remarks which I shall read; and to show that their devotion to this Union is higher and greater than any other consideration that influences them, and that they were then willing, it would in the slightest degree complicate the difficulties that then surrounded us, and still surround us, to forego for the time action upon their proposed separation. I read from the National Intelligencer of the 22d of June, 1861:
"The objects of the new State organization in Western Virginia were very clearly stated in the Wheeling convention, on the 14th instant, by Mr. JOHN S. CARLILE, a prominent mover in the new movement. We copy his concluding remarks from the report of the Wheeling Intelligencer:
"Let us pursue the policy laid down in the declaration, and let us repudiate Letcher and his transfer; let us assemble a Legislature here of our own, sworn to support, not the southern confederacy constitution, but that which Washington and Madison formed; the Constitution of our fathers, under which we have grown and prospered as never people grew and prospered before."
"Let us maintain our position under that tree of liberty watered by the blood and tears of the patriots of the revolution, planted by them, its roots having taken deep hold and firm hold in the hearts of a great people; and having, from a little spot on earth, spread from the Atlantic to the Pacific, embracing, I might say, a continent, and spreading its branches of protection over the whole unbounded land. Let us organize a Legislature swearing allegiance to that Government, and let that Legislature be recognized by the United States Government, as the Legislature of Virginia.
"Then we have still a direct recognition of the protecting care of our ancient Government, and then we will effect this separation. But now, with no Legislature recognized as owing allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, we could not do it.
"With the Legislature recognized as still the Legislature of the State, with Virginia in the Union, with a Legislature recognized by the Government of the United States, and with its assent to our separation, our way is clear. And if the southern confederacy dares to interpose, we have the strong arm of that same old Government to be thrown around us and to shelter us from harm.
"Let us then go on as we propose. Let us be recognized as the true and lawful authorities, speaking for and on behalf of the loyal people of the whole State of Virginia. Give us that recognition, and then the separation will come. And I here say that one of the first acts I shall perform, if no one else does it - and I believe it a duty I owe to the people who have honored me with a seat in Congress - will be to obtain from that body a legislative declaration recognizing this Legislature as the Legislature of the State; and then let my friends, the representatives, assent to it, and my word for it, we will be the State of New Virginia.
"It is a mere question now, of whether we shall wait until we are solemnly recognized as the true, legal, constitutional representatives of the people of Virginia, or whether we shall now attempt an impossibility; for every man who will reflect a moment will know that until rebellion is crushed, no assent will be attained for our separation from the rebellious portion of this State.
"But, sir, there is another object which I have at heart. Two great objects influence and govern my actions. The first, I am free to say, the dearest, the highest, and the nearest my heart, is the perpetuity of the Union. Keeping forever undimmed the thirty-four stars that now deck the constellation of our national ensign, adding to them, as we have done, star after star; when that is done, when safety and perpetuity are again secured to that flag, then we can consider our own State interests; then we can consider the interests of our own immediate section of this State; but until then we owe it to our loyal brothers throughout the length and breadth of this great land to stand by them and aid them in resisting a crime the greatest that has ever been attempted to be perpetrated on humanity.
"Let us do this, succeed in this, and we will succeed in all we desire in a very short time. Let us bring peace again to our Loudon, Alexandria, and Hampshire friends. Let our brothers over the mountains, through our aid and assistance, and that of this great and good Government of ours, again see harmony throughout the land, again sit around their hearthstones with their families, and again instil in the quiet hours of peace the lessons the Father of his Country has bequeathed to us in his Farewell Address. Then we may say to them, 'we love you still as brothers, but your interests and ways and ours are diverse. Let this line be drawn between us. We will have two separate and distinct sovereign States, but brethren, we will all be American citizens!'"
Sir, I have no fear of any responsibility that I may assume in the conscientious and honest discharge of my representative duty here, with such a record as that to which I have briefly referred upon this subject. On the contrary, instead of assuming responsibilities, I feel that I am but carrying out the will and the wishes of that people. I feel that I am but acting in accordance with what would be the desire of the representatives in the Legislature who sent to us this memorial, praying their admission under the constitution which is now before the body. The early accomplishment of the object, of course, is desirable. No one could desire it more than I do. But when I find we will not hasten the accomplishment of that object; when I find that we have to go over this session of Congress; when I find that under no circumstances can we get into the Union until the next session of Congress, I greatly prefer that that mode to which I referred shall be pursued by our people of their own motion, making a constitution for themselves, and if they desire they can make it in accordance with the suggestions given to us by the Senate, and come here ready, prepared, without any conditions to be imposed, to seek admission into the family of States on the meeting of Congress on the first Monday of December next. I will not delay therefore at all our admission. The amendment of my colleague contemplates a delay now to a point of time beyond which there is any necessity for our remaining out of the Union as a separate State.
But, sir, there are other considerations. The great object that I have in view is unanimity among our people. The great object I have in view is to prevent anything like divisions and dissensions, and to heal up what we have. We have too many already; and I know that if you attempt to impose upon that people conditions in their organic act without consulting them, such an attempt will be viewed by them as an assertion of powers not conferred upon you by the Constitution. The people of Northwestern Virginia have given abundant evidence that they know their rights, and knowing, dare maintain them.
Mr. LANE, of Kansas. I should like to ask the Senator from Virginia a question.
Mr. CARLILE. Certainly.
Mr. LANE, of Kansas. Does he now belong to the party that undertook to place conditions on the admission of Kansas into the Union under a constitution formed by her?
Mr. CARLILE. No, sir. I will say, if my record is worth anything to the Senator from Kansas, the first time I ever differed in my life with the Democratic party after I arrived at maturity, was upon the passage of that very Kansas-Nebraska bill in 1854; and I was elected in opposition to the organization of that party a member of the other branch of Congress in the spring of 1855.
Mr. WILSON, of Massachusetts. Will the Senator from Virginia give way to enable me to have a committee of conference appointed on a bill which has been returned from the House.
Mr. CARLILE. Certainly.
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