Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/36

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lature and as to the powers and duties of Congress, under the Constitution of the United States, over the institution of slavery in the Territories."

The objections of the Southern delegates to this vague expression in the minority report were explained by Mr. Yancey in a speech in opposition to its adoption. After reviewing the situation he said:

Gentlemen of the convention, that venerable, that able, that revered jurist, the Honorable Chief Justice of the United States, trembling upon the very verge of the grave, for years kept merely alive by the pure spirit of patriotic duty that burns within his breast — a spirit that will not permit him to succumb to the gnawings of disease and the weaknesses of mortality — which hold him, as it were, suspended between two worlds, with his spotless ermine around him, standing at the altar of Justice, has given to us the utterance of the Supreme court of the United States upon this very question. (Applause.)

Let the murmur of the hustings be stilled — let the voices of individual citizens, no matter how great and respected in their appropriate spheres, be hushed, while the law, as expounded by the constituted authority of the country, emotionless, passionless and just, rolls with its silvery cadence over the entire realm, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the ice-bound regions of the North to the glittering waters of the Gulf. (Loud cheering.)

What says that decision? That decision tells you, gentlemen, that the territorial legislature has no power to interfere with the rights of the slave-owner in the territory while in a territorial condition. (Cheers.) That decision tells that this government is a Union of Sovereign States; which States are co-equal, and in trust for which co-equal States the government holds the territories. It tells you that the people of those co-equal States have a right to go into these territories, thus held in trust, with every species of property which is recognized as property by the State in which they live, or by the Constitution of the United States. The venerable magistrate — the court concurring with him — decided that it is the duty of this government to afford some government for the territories which shall be in accordance with this trust, with this delegated trust power held for the States and for the people