The Kansas Question In Congress
THE KANSAS QUESTION IN CONGRESS.
The House, on Monday, was brought to a direct vote on the question of admitting Kanas to the Union under the Topeka Free State Constitution. By a union of the Fillmore Know-Nothings with the Border-Ruffian Democracy, the bill was defeated by one majority. The slaveholders and dough-faces exulted over their victory, feeling sure that the last chance of making Kansas a Free State had been lost. Next morning, however, Mr. Barclay (Dem.), of Pa., who had voted with the majority, moved a re-consideration of the vote, declaring his intention to vote for the bill. Houston, of Alabama, on behalf of the slaveholders, applied the plantation whip to the baek of Mr. Barclay, but did not succeed in frightening him.
On Thursday, Mr. Barclay’s motion to reconsider the vote by which the bill to admit Kansas into the Union with the Topeka Constitution was rejected, was called up and adopted, and the bill passed, by 99 yeas, to 97 nays. The bill was then passed finally, and a motion to reconsider voted down.
Senator Douglas, alarmed by the storm gathering at the North, now proposes to abandon his bill, introduced in March last, providing for the admission of Kansas to the Union after her population shall amount to 92,343. He has presented a new bill, by which, in utter defiance of the doctrine of “popular sovereignty,” he proposes to override the Territorial Legislature; that a new census of the legal voters of the Territory shall be taken by five Commissioners, to be appointed by Congress, selected from the different, sections of the Union and representing fairly all political parties; that the Commissioners make a fair apportionment of delegates to be elected by each County to form a Constitution and institute a State Government. When the apportionment shall be made, the Commissioners are to remain in session every day, except Sunday, at the place most convenient for the inhabitants of said Territory, to hear all complaints, examine witnesses, and correct all errors in said list of voters, which list shall be previously printed and generally circulated through the Territory, and posted in at least three of the most public places of each election district; and so soon as all the errors have been thus corrected in said lists, the Commissioners are requested to cause a corrected list of the legal voters to be printed, and copies furnished to each Judge of Election, to be put up at the places of voting, and circulated in every county in the Territory before the day of election–no person to be allowed to vote whose name does not appear on the list as a legal voter; the election for delegates to take place on the day of the Presidential election, and the Convention to asemble on the first Monday in December, to decide, first, whether it be expedient for Kansas to come into the Union at that time, and if so decided, to proceed to form a Constitution and State Government, which shall be of republican form. Kansas then to be admitted under such Constitution on an eqnal footing with the original States. The bill provides further, that no law shall be enforced in the Territory infringing the liberty of speech, or of the Press, or the right of the people to bear arms, &c. It also provides punishment for illegal voting, or fraud and violence at elections, and authorizes the use of the military for that ‘purpose. The main point is, that the persons designated by the census as the present inhabitants of the Territory, shall decide all points in dispute at a fair election, without fraud or violence, or any other improper influences. All the white male inhabitants over 21 years of age are to be allowed to vote, if they have resided in the Territory three months previous to the day of election, and no other test shall be required; no oath to support the Fugitive Slave law or any other law, nor any other condition whatever.
There is an appearance of fairness in this, but it is outrageously unjust, because a large proportion of the Free-State settlers have been driven out of the Territory by persecution and violence. Douglas and his slaveholding masters no doubt feel sure that they can make Kansas a slave State under this arrangement.