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The Gag Debate

The Gag Debate image
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We give below a mere sketch bate, on June 10, this being all ced find space for. The report at Ie occupies four and a half columns of the Emancipator. Themembersofthe House are certainly not deficiënt in ihe organ of language. The suggestion of Mr. Cushing, that the House is rapidly losing the confidence and respect of the people, on account of its boisterous deportrnent, endless discussions and ncglect of business, and that, f the game course is still pursued, they will ultimately abolish a House which accomplishes no good for them, is worthy of nolice. All history confirma his position, and we have no rcason to expect thal the workiugs of human nature in our own country will difi'er essentially frora wha tliey have always been. The question being on Mr. Stuart'si reslion to adopt the rules of the last House, which have not been suspended by any resolutions of this session, Mr. Nesbit, of Georgia, said he must be pcrmitted to say, ihat as a maller of tasle, these eight hour discussion?, were wholly inadmissible, on all principies of rhetoric. He had listened with strong, wilh burning indignation io the languiigc which bad been indulged in by the hoajy headed gentleman from Massachusetts.Mr. Adatns. - Is the previou9 question to be opplied after remaike like Uiese? (Several voices. - "Cerlainly is.' Mr. Nesbit resutned. I could, said he, tieal n term9 of strong cotnujendation in regard to the character of that gentleman's head. Would that I could say as nmch iii relation to his hean ! Mr. Adatns.- Is thia in order for the gentleman to talk about my head and my heart? [Laughter.] The Chair called Mr. Nesbit to order. He proceeded to say, thai the outpourings of that honorable and venerable gentleman compelled him to think of the nquiry ofthe Mantuan bard: 'Tantro ne in animis eseleslibua irte?" (Dwell8 such anger in Heavenly minds?) Possibly he might be doing that gentleman injustice, but as a Southern man he could not but repudíate and repróbate the course he had pursued in these discu3sions. Ae he looked at the gentleman while throwing fcrth such sentiments and language, hewas forcibly reminded of Vcsuvius, which while its summit was clothed in white, vomiled a fiory strcaro, whlch spread desohitioa and ruin wherever it carne. Mr. N. said lie would nol, even if he could, think of venluring within ihe reach of the arm of the venerable giant, because he might certainly calcúlate on annihilaiion as ihe consequence, He complimented Mr. Everelt, of Vermont, because he had made the motion that the questbn of reception be laidon the tablc - a motion which, t seems, exceeded all tho anticipations which the laveholdera had formed of the servility of the Northern members. Mr. Brown, of Perinsylvaniá, read his propoaition lo establish a rule which should forbid the reception of abolition petitions during the whoIeCongress, except such as might be 6gncd by the residents of the slaveholding territories, nsking for the action of Congress in reference to the par ttcular territorios where they may íeside. Mr. B. urged upon the South ihe necesáity ofsettling the question without delay. When it should be settled, he hoped he question would not be again stirred till the Cünstitution was either ultered, or blown into atoms. Mr. Alford, of Ga., made an eloquent appeal to the South to go against all compromises. This was no time for the South o submit. Sa d he, with the South it is the darkeat hourofall, and if thero is one single man that has the soul of his fathers in mm, he would stand firm to the deuth. - II is our duty to be firm until a rule símil established rejecting abolilion petitionsaltogether. Ought not every Southern man to Btand like the Rock of ages, and suffer himself to becut topieces before heyields up the point? Mr. Pickens preferred parliamentary law to any rules the House had ever adopted.Mr. Ilabersham, of Georgia, contended the House had no right to pass n any shape upon the question of abolition: no, not even ihough three fourths of the inhabitnts of the District should petition in favor of abolition, Congress could not take way the vested rights of the remaining R Mr. Gentry, of Tennessee, believed the outh had lost much from having taken wrong ground. It raust be manifest to every body that it would be impossible ttucA longer to keep abolition petitions out f the House. The accession ofstrength on the side of the North, under the new census, would render the hope of this fu'e, and he held it better that we should QO voluntarily and in lime, what we should eventually have to do, whether willing or not. Butwhatthen? Was the Southern Ciuse to be considered as lost, i f a nasty, JiUhy, contemptible abolition petition should nad its way into the House? If so, tbenthe destinies of the South were not worth nghting for. Mr. Gamble, of Ga., was not to be alarmed by all the threats of danger to the South, on of the movements of the aboluionists. He thought there was no danger vvhatever to be apprehended from that class of men. There was no reality m all this; these dangers tothe Southern otates were all imaginary. Mr. Gilmer, of Virginia,(late Governor) went for the proposition of Mr. Brown because it settled the question for the whole Congress. He thought there was a material advantage in that. Mr. Stuart, of Virginia, said lie entertained no fears on this subject. He did not boastof firmer nerves than other gentlemen, but be looked with contempt on the cry that there was danger to be apprehended from this question of abolnion He proposed a postponement of the question till the next session, where he wou ld beready to meet gentlemen of all parlies, and discuss the suhject to the bottom. He ivanted to know wkat Northern men meant, by their effbrts to trample on the rihts of the South? Mr. Wise had no objection to break a lance with his colleague, (Mr. Stuari) eiUier now or next December. He had heard it said, that nor'hern men had said, that they would not organize this House, until Southern men ncknowledged their right to! present abolition petitions here. This was the most fearful question that had ever been presen;ed to the South. If it was true, as had been stated, that the next census would reduce the power of the South,! that very ftict was the strongest possible reason why the South should not now yield what it alreadj held. Mr. Marshall, of Kentucky, observed that Mr. Adama and Mr, Wise were opposed to the compromise measure. Hei touched on party politics, and mentioned some who prophe&ied that this session would come to nothing, and that it was all humbuggery. He was called to order.Mr. Cushing, of MassacliuseUs, called on the whig party to proceed to action.- The rcsponsibility rested on them. The party had forty majority in the House; if they could not agree on all the rules, they could proceed under the Parliamentary law,as was practiced by the English House of Commons. He mentioned that the character of the House was fust sinking in the estimation of the people. The last Congress had spent thirty days in organizing, and now again, a fortnight had been consumed in the same preliminary process; - and he admonished them ihat the time must come, and will come, when anoiher Cromwell will be juatified by the people, in purging these Halls. In this House it was nothing but words, words?, words. Ile clo- sed by entrealing gentlemen to act. Mr. Wise, in answer to some remarks of, Mr. Stanley of N. C, asked him if he did' not thank those Northern members of the opposition, who voted with him on this question, and did he not thank them for: passing the rule by their vote last year? Mr. Stanley said: No, sir: I never did, and do not thank them. They are entiiled lo no thanks. The hynocritical wretches' voted for party purposes. I said so last: year; my reponed speech will show it. ij do not thank them, iór the Globe said they' were Jorccd to vote as they did. And they have not sluck to us. We had fewerthis1 year than we had last. Does this deserve!greatgratitude? 1 caonot trust them, I know they are not sincere. I have proved ihat and can do so again. And these are the friends of the Souih for whose valuftble service the gentlemen from Virginia and iNorth Carolina, (Messrs Wise & Rayner,) are co overwhelmed with gratitude! The gentleman from Pa. (Mr. Ingersoll) will present aboliiion petitions, and the gentleman from Philadelphia (Mr. Brown,) says hois in favor of the rule! Mr. Brown here rose, and asked Mr. S. if he intended toapply suchepithetstothe party with which he (Mr. B.) acted in this House? Mr. Stanly said he apologized if he had síikl any thing to the House, which he ought not to say; but the gentleman from Philadelphia (Mr. Brown) migkt take it to himxelfidie pleased out ufthe House. Let; the gentlemen understand it was meant for himself. He, (Mr. S.) was at his ser-: vice.(This was rather hard usage, after going all lenglha with the South, to be told to their faces that they wcre hypocritical and insincere, and if they chose to be dissalisfied with such treaiment, they could have the privilege of obtaining satisfaction accordingto the most approved style of honor, by being shot through with a rifle or pistol ball! Mr. Stanty undoubtedly ineant to insult the mernbers referred to, calculating probably that he could doit with impuBity. These Souihern people make hard masters.)VV. C. Johnson declared his determination of maintaining his own independent course, without aeking who was on the right hand or on the left. He hud entered into nounderstanding for the present or future. He thought those who were so eloquent aboul delay, would do better if they would debute Jess. They did most of the speaking. Mr. Winthrop,of Mass. wished to cali tho attention of the country to a single fact : this House had once heen organized. How had it happened thal we were disorganized again? Had northern Whiga voted forit? He left to the country to say who was responsiblefor this state of things. I The vote was finally taken ayes 119 niays 103 . Mess'. Adams and Wise both voted in the negative.