« PreviousContinue »
mere agency provided by the ordinance to the state of things which existed under the new Constitution - not by that, or any other 'act of Congress, but by the clause of the Constitution which declares that contracts and engagements entered into by the government of the Confederation should be obligatory upon the government of the United States established by the Constitution. Here, then, was a contract entered into between Virginia and the Federal Congress, which was rendered valid by a stipulation of the Constitution of the United States. From that transfer of the sovereignty by Virginia, and this recognition of it by the Constitution of the United States, is derived the authority to organize governments in these territories. When, therefore, Congress have organized governments for the several territories parcelled out of the Northwestern Territory, they have not acted under the power which you are now calling into exercise, but under the power derived from the transfer of the sovereignty of Virginia, and the provision of the Constitution of the United States which gave validity to that act.
That disposes of the first class of territorial governments organized by the United States — those in the Northwestern Terri. tory. Now, with regard to the second: that is, governments wwhich have been organized in territories which were heretofore portions of different States of this Union, which were unlocated at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and which have, by subsequent cession, been transferred to the United States, precisely the same principle was applicable to them, as in the case which I have been considering. Georgia ceded to the United States an extent of territory which now constitutes the two great States of Alabama and Mississippi. While they remained under the sovereignty of Georgia it was competent to her to have ora ganized territorial governments within their limits; but she ceded them to the United States, and transferred, not merely the soil, but, by the express terms of the articles of cession, the sovvereignty and jurisdiction. She did more. She stipulated for the organization of territorial governments within those territories. This was therefore sufficient authority for establishing territorial governments in the Territories of Mississippi and Alabama. Tennessee was territory ceded from North Carolina to the United States, and was in like condition.
Then there remains the other class of territorial governments, organized upon territory acquired by the United States from
foreign powers; and for the organization of governments within those territories it was always competent to the United States to do whatever was necessary for the fulfillment of its treaty stipulations, which, by the act of ratification, became the supreme law of the land.
I suggest to you, then, sir, that this alone furnishes a sufficient explanation (without resorting to the supposition that our ancestors did not anticipate the future extension of the limits of the Republic) why there was no express power to organize territorial governments contained in the Constitution — namely, that the grant of such power was wholly unnecessary; that with regard to the unlocated territory of the United States — that which was within its limits at the time of the formation of the Constitution - it was competent for the government of the United States to establish governments by virtue of the transfer of the sovereignty of Virginia, and the recognition of the validity of that transfer as an engagement of the former government, by the Constitution of the United States; that in relation to territory within the limits of particular States, the same power was acquired by the cession and transfer of sovereignty of the ceding States. And with regard to such territory as should be acquired from foreign nations, it was competent to the government of the United States to establish territorial governments, in virtue of treaty stipulations which they were authorized to make, and bound to execute.
EFFECT OF THE MEXICAN CONQUEST
(United States Senate, February 11th, 1850) HAVE united, heretofore — at some personal hazard of popularity and station - I have united with my friends of the
free States; foreseeing the consequences of the measures which were then in operation — foreseeing the evils which they would bring upon us, I have joined with them at some such hazard in the effort to prevent it. We failed. The evil is upon us. The territory which we have acquired by an expenditure of blood and treasure is about to subject us — unless under the mercy of Providence, we are guided by wiser counsels than those we have exhibited - to an expenditure, in comparison with which the blood and treasure expended upon the Mexican conquest would sink into insignificance. I have united with the representatives of the free States in the effort to prevent the occurrence of this difficulty. Nay, sir, if some two or three of them could have remained firm upon the ground they had occupied, it would have been prevented. I am desirous now to unite in averting, if it be possible, the dangers which are threatened. It may require some self-sacrifice: it may require the sacrifice of popularity or official station. I am willing to make it, if you will present to me any ground upon which an honest man may unite with you in giving peace to the country. I know, sir, that in making this offer the sacrifice upon my part would be comparatively trilling with those of men in the earlier stages of life, with more extended prospects for the future, and with greater political aspirations. But I am willing to give you all I have. It may be less than the widow's mite, but it is all that I have to give, for the first desire of my heart is that to which you cannot minister.
I have endeavored thus to present to the consideration of the Senate the impressions of my own mind, in relation to the magnitude and difficulty of this subject, for the purpose of urging upon them the truth of the conviction, which I feel, that if these difficulties can indeed be surmounted, it is only by a calm, dispassionate, and, as far as may be, impartial consideration of them, under a full sense of the duties which we owe to each other as members of this great society of States. And I derive something of hope — oh, no, sir, that falls far short of conveying what I would express — I derive a hope amounting almost to confidence, from the cheering recollection that these difficulties, these self-same difficulties, existed at the time of the adoption of our Constitution, and that they were then surmounted by the patriotism of our fathers.
There are other difficulties which have been connected with this subject. They have been generated by the madness of fanaticism; by the colder, more calculating, more selfish spirit of political demagogues; by the excitable and excited feelings of a wronged and insulted people. These may be surmounted, if we resolve to meet them in the unselfish, self-sacrificing spirit which our duty demands from all and from each of us, with a determination, on every side of this great question, to yield whatever may be yielded without a sacrifice, not of mere speculative opinion, but of constitutional principle. Sir, there have been many crises in the brief history of this Republic -- appalling dangers have often menaced us — and we have more than once stood
upon the brink of a precipice from which one advancing step would have plunged us into the fathomless abyss of anarchy, with all its countless horrors. At least such has been the picture presented to us by our political orators and political essayists, from the rostrum and from the press. And yet, sir, in the deepest hour of gloom, there has ever been found some auspicious moment in which the light of truth has penetrated the clouds of folly and passion, of fanaticism and selfishness; has dissipated the mists of error; has awakened the slumbering patriotism of our countrymen, and has revealed to us our glorious charter, unscathed amid the tumult, in all its original strength and vigor. So may it ever be! In the darkest hour of our national fortunes let us never despair - no, sir, let us never despair. For myself, though age has somewhat checked the current of my blood, I would still cling to this hope with all the hopefulness of youth.
I have an abiding confidence that the God of our fathers will be the God of their children, that he will be our God; that he will graciously enable us to preserve that glorious fabric, which his mercy and his goodness, not the might and strength of our ancestors, enabled them to construct; and that countless generations, enjoying the rich heritage which they have transmitted to us, and which, by his blessing, we will transmit to them, will in distant ages unite in the tribute of gratitude to their memories, which, in this our day, it is our privilege to offer.
Yet, sir, we must not forget in indulging in this hope that the providence of God is often exerted through the agency of man, and that we must be mindful of our own duties if we would hope for his mercy. I ask of my honorable associates in this chamber, then, to come to the consideration of this subject in that spirit of conciliation which can alone lead to a propitious result. I ask them to remember that we are brethren of a common family, united by a thousand social as well as political ties. I ask them especially to remember, that in such a conflict as that which menaces us, the splendor of victory would be dimmed by the unnatural character of the strife in which it was achieved.
SIERRE ANTOINE BERRYER, one of the most noted parliamentary Hoorators of France during the second quarter of the nine
a teenth century, was born at Paris, January 4th, 1790. He was the son of an eminent advocate of Paris who educated him for his own profession. He joined his father in supporting the Bour. bons against Napoleon I., and in the Hundred Days' campaign he followed Louis XVIII. to Ghent as a volunteer. He was one of the counsel for the defense at the trial of Marshal Ney. He took part in many of the most important trials of his time, especially in the defense of the Press when the Police Department undertook to enforce the censorship against Parisian newspapers. In 1830 he was elected a member of the French Chamber of Deputies, retaining his seat after the revolution of July, when the other Legitimists withdrew in a body. He resisted unsuccessfully the abolition of the peerage, and advocated trial by jury in the prosecution of newspaper editors for libel. In the troubles of 1832 he was arrested, but was acquitted on his trial, for organizing an insurrection in favor of the Count of Chambord. He was a member of the National Assembly which was called after the Revolution of February 1848. His parliamentary career closed with his protest against the coup d'état of 1851. Twelve years later he reappeared as a deputy to the Corps Legislatif. He was elected a member of the French Academy in 1854. In 1865 he visited Lord Brougham, and the benchers of the Temple and of Lincoln's Inn gave him a banquet. He died in November 1868 at his country seat at Augerville.