« PoprzedniaDalej »
his servants who had delivered them from the hand of the spoiler.
How comes it, sir, that the President has so high a regard for the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case, and so profound a contempt for its decision in the “ Amistad” case? Is it because the Dred Scott case is a decision against liberty and life, and the “ Amistad” case a decision in favor of liberty and life? By what logic does the President hold the one binding upon us, and the other not binding upon us? He recommends an appropriation to be made by us, to be paid to Spain, to be distributed among these Spanish claimants, “because,” he says, "they are clearly entitled to restitution under the treaty of 1795.” Appropriate out of your treasury money to be paid to Ruiz and Montez to the amount of the value of fifty-three human souls. Have you that amount in your treasury? What is the value of a human soul? The question, "What will a man give in exchange for his soul?” has been asked, but never answered. In keeping with this recommendation of the President, to pay those Spanish claimants for their kidnapped Africans, is that other recommendation for the purchase of Cuba and her six hundred thousand slaves, at a price. As a representative and citizen of the United States, I beg leave to protest against this attempt to convert this government into a mere pirate and slave-trader.
This traffic in slaves is condemneu and outlawed by all civilized nations. By statute we have declared this traffic on the high seas piracy, and punishable with death. By our treaty at Ghent, with Great Britain, we have solemnly declared, without respect to time or place, that “the traffic in slaves is irreconcilable with the principles of humanity and justice,” and that both Great Britain and the United States
“are desirous of continuing their efforts to promote its entire abolition;" and it is thereby agreed “that both the contracting parties shall use their best endeavors to accomplish so desirable an object." (U. S. Statutes at Large, vol. 8, p. 223.)
The President gravely says that we should annex Cuba in order to put an end to the 'African slave-trade, and that until this is done there is no hope for benighted Africa. The sincerity of the President's professions of sympathy for
benighted Africa” might not tax our credulity quite so much, if the President had executed our laws against this traffic at home, and if he had not asked us to pay these Spaniards for kidnapping Africa's children.
This Cuban annexation is only another attempt by legislation to maintain the political equilibrium of the slave with the free States, by the increase of slave representation in Congress. While this sectional party thus press these sectional measures upon us and upon the country, with equal zeal they resist all attempts to enact into a law that muchneeded and beneficent national measure, the Homestead Bill, which has thrice passed this House, and has been as often defeated by this sectional party in the Senate. That measure, sir, which would give free homes to the homeless families of all our citizens, North and South (and in the latter section they are legion) finds no favor in this message, and was but the other day resisted and attempted to be defeated by the vote of every representative of the slave interest, save one, on this floor. This measure would fill our vast Territories with a free and industrious population; would greatly increase the number of landed proprietors, and the measure of our wealth; it would secure to every family the means of acquiring that competence which, politically speaking, is the very
rock of life, on which the citizen may stand erect, unawed by power, unbribed by gain, ready to return the supercilious sneer, to smile at the haughty frown, to give to truth its due force, and scorn "the embroidered lie."
This measure, so just, so national, and beneficent, is resisted by this sectional party. There stands the long list of aggressions of this sectional Democratic party, to which, in the brief time allowed me, I have but referred:
The repeal of the laws for the protection of free labor; the repeal of the laws for the protection of freedom and free labor in the Territories; the conquest of foreign territory for slavery; the admission into the Union of a foreign slave State; the rejection by this sectional party of the Homestead Bill; the restriction of the right of petition; the restoration of fugitive slaves at the national expense; the attempt to reward slave pirates for kidnapping Africans; the attempt to acquire Cuba, with her six hundred thousand slaves; the attempt to fasten upon an unwilling people a slave constitution; the attempt to enact a sedition law, thereby restricting the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech, in direct violation of the constitution, which declares that Congress shall make no law abridging either; and the attempt, by extra-judicial interference, to take away from the people and their representatives the power to legislate for freedom and free labor in the Territories.
OHN MITCHEL, an Irish patriot and journalist, was born November
3, 1815, near Dungiven, County Derry, Ireland. His father was a Presbyterian clergyman. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and after practising as an attorney became assistant editor of the Nation,” the organ of the Young Ireland party. In 1848 he withdrew from the Association and issued a new journal called the • United Irishman," in which he boldly threw down the gauntlet to Lord Clarendon, the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, whom he termed Her Majesty's Executioner-General and General Butcher of Ireland.” He was arrested, March 21, 1848, on the charge of publishing three seditious articles, and just after his release on bail was rearrested on a charge of treason-felony. He was convicted and sentenced to transportation for fourteen years. In 1853 he escaped from Van Diemen's Land to the United States, when he published his “ Jall Notes." He established the “ Citizen" in New York and subsequently the Southern Citizen ” in Knoxville, Tennessee. During the Civil War he was editor of the Richmond Examiner " and supported the cause of slavery and the South. At the close of the war he suffered imprisonment, but on his release by order of President Johnson he started the “ Irish Citizen in New York. Returning to Ireland in 1874, he was elected to Parliament from Tipperary; but when declared ineligible he was re-elected. He died in 1875. He published "A Life of Hugh O'Neill ” (1845) for the “ Library of Ireland," and a " History of Ireland from the Treaty of Limerick” (1868).
THE LAW IN IRELAND
SPEECH DELIVERED FROM THE DOCK AT DUBLIN, MAY 26, 1848
HAVE to say that I have been found guilty by a packed jury—by the jury of a partisan sheriff—by a jury not
impanelled even according to the law of England. I have been found guilty by a packed jury obtained by a juggle—a jury not impanelled by a sheriff, but a juggler.
[The high sheriff hereupon called for the protection of the court, upon which Baron Lefroy interposed and declared that the imputation was unwarranted and unfounded, and then proceeded to pass sentence of transportation beyond the Beas for a term of fourteen years. John Mitchel broke the
silence that followed the realization of the severity of this sentence thus :)
The law has done its part, and the Queen of England, her Crown and government in Ireland, are now secure, pursuant to act of Parliament. I have done my part also. Three months ago I promised Lord Clarendon, and his government in this country, that I would provoke him into his courts of justice, as places of this kind are called, and that I would force him publicly and notoriously to pack a jury against me to convict me, or else that I would walk a free man out of this court and provoke him to a contest in another field. My lord, I know I was setting my life on that cast, but I knew that in either event the victory should be with me, and it is with me. Neither the jury, nor the judges, nor any other man in this court presumes to imagine that it is a criminal who stands in this dock.
I have shown what the law is made of in Ireland. I have shown that her Majesty's government sustains itself in Ireland by packed juries, by partisan judges, by perjured sheriffs.
I have acted all through this business, from the first, under a strong sense of duty. I do not repent anything that I have done, and I believe that the course which I have opened is only commenced. The Roman who saw his hand burning to ashes before the tyrant promised that three hundred should follow out his enterprise. Can I not promise for one, for two, for three, aye for hundreds ?
[These words were responded to by an outburst of voices exclaiming—“For me! for me! promise for me, Mitchel ! and for me!” together with applause, during which the prisoner was removed.]