Page:Speeches, Arguments, Addresses, and Letters of Clement L. Vallandigham.djvu/308

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306
VALLANDIGHAM'S SPEECHES.

my opinions and position; and briefly, but most frankly, you have them.

My only answer to those who indulge in slander and vituperation, was given in the card of the 17th of April, herewith inclosed.[1]




EXECUTIVE USURPATION.

Speech delivered in the House of Representatives, July 10, 1861.[2]

"After some time be past."

The House was in Committee of the Whole, the subject under consideration, The State of the Union, when Mr. Vallandigham, obtaining the floor, said: Mr. Chairman: In the Constitution of the United States, which the other day we swore to support, and hy the authority of which we are here assembled now, it is written: " All legislative powers herein granted, shall be vested in a Congress of the United States." It is further written, also, that the Congress, to which all legislative powers granted, are thus committed—" Shall make no law abridgfing the freedom of si)eech or of the press." And, it is yet further written, in protection of Senators and Reptc

  1. See Supplement, page 554.
  2. This speech was delivered soon after the opening of the extra session of Congress, convened on the 4th of July, 1861. No speech was ever delivered in the midst of greater personal danger—^not even Cicero*s defence of Milo. The galleries were filled with an excited soldiery and infuriated partisans threatening assassination. A leading Abolition paper in New York had, two days before, declared that, if an attempt was made to speak for peace, "The aisles of the Hall would run with blood." Arbitrary arrests for opinion and speech, had already been commenced. Almost without sympathy upon his own side of the House, and with a fierce, insolent, and overwhelming majority upon the other side, Mr. Yal landigham, calm, and unawed, met every peril, and spoke as firmly, solemnly, and earnestly, as under ordiniry circumstances. The "motto" prefixed to the speech is from Lord Bacon's Will, and is significant, interpreted, as it has now been, by the light of two years^ experience. Sonje three hundred thousand copies of tho speech, in various forms, were published and circulated in the United States. It was published, also, in England and on the Continent.