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in spite of us, in either case."1 Greeley's statement in the Tribune of December 22, 1860, was definite. "We are enabled to state in the most positive terms that Mr. Lincoln is utterly opposed to any concession or compromise that shall yield one iota of the position occupied by the Republican party on the subject of slavery in the territories, and that he stands now, as he stood in May last, when he accepted the nomination for the presidency, square upon the Chicago platform."
The failure of the Senate committee of thirteen to agree was followed by Mr. Crittenden's insistent and pathetic effort to bring forward in another form his plan of compromise. January 3 he asked that provision "be made by law, without delay, for taking the sense of the people and submitting to their vote" the propositions which were in substance those which had been placed before the select committee. But neither the extreme northern nor the extreme southern leaders favored compromise in any form at this time, and the former declared their stand in the resolution of Mr. Clark, of New Hampshire, pronouncing the provisions of the Constitution ample for the preservation of the Union." In the vote taken January 16, this resolution was passed (six southern senators refusing to vote) by 25 votes to 23, thus killing that of Crittenden."
1 Letter to Weed, December 17, 1860, Lincoln, Works (ed. of 1894). I., 660. 3 Ibid., 409.
* Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 379.
CAUSES OF THE CIVIL WAR
January 14, 1861, the House committee of thirtythree made its report through its chairman, Corwin; there were seven minority reports signed by fourteen members; and as the members from the cotton states had withdrawn on the failure to pass a resolution declaring it the duty of the government to protect slave property, both at sea and on land,' the report was in effect that of a minority. minority. It proposed resolutions that all attempts of legislatures to hinder the recovery of fugitive slaves were in derogation of the Constitution; that no authority existed outside a slave state to interfere with slavery in such state; that the justice and propriety of a faithful execution of the laws in regard to fugitive slaves be recognized; that it was the duty of the government to enforce the Federal laws, protect the Federal property, and preserve the union of the states; that each state be requested to revise and if necessary amend its statutes to give the citizens of other states the same protection as citizens of such state enjoy; that each state enact laws to prevent setting on foot the lawless invasion of any state or territory; and, finally, as a joint resolution, that the Constitution be so amended that no subsequent amendment having for its object interference with slavery within the states should originate with any but a slave state, or be valid without the assent of all the states. This last, offered in committee by Charles Francis Adams, was later re1 Reuben Davis, Recollections of Miss., 400.
nounced by him in a minority report of his own in which he arrived at the conclusion "that no form of adjustment will be satisfactory to the recusant States, which does not incorporate into the Constitution of the United States a recognition of the obligation to protect and extend slavery." 1 The report also offered draughts of an act for the immediate admission of New Mexico, which then included Arizona, as a state, with the slave code already adopted by the legislature; and also an amended fugitive-slave law, providing that the alleged fugitive be tried in the state from which he was accused of fleeing, and that all offences against slave property be tried where committed.
The resolutions were adopted in the House by a majority of 136 to 53, Charles Francis Adams again changing his mind and voting affirmatively, but Corwin substituted for the proposed constitutional amendment one declaring that "no amendment shall be made . . which authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State." This passed the House, February 28, by a vote of 133 to 65,3 the Senate, March 2, by a vote of 24 to 12.4 It was the sole compromise of the session; was un
necessarily signed by Buchanan; and was accepted by Lincoln himself in his inaugural; but in the up heaval to come received no attention from the states.1
Corwin wrote Lincoln, January 16: "If the States are no more harmonious in their feelings and opinions than these thirty-three representative men, then, appalling as the idea is, we must dissolve and a long and bloody civil war must follow. I cannot comprehend the madness of the times. Southern men are theoretically crazy. Extreme Northern men are practical fools. The latter are really quite as mad as the former. Treason is in the air around us everywhere. It goes by the name of patriotism.
How strong the feeling in Congress against compromise had now become is well expressed by Senator Grimes in a letter, January 28, 1861, to Governor Kirkwood, of Iowa: "Let no man in Iowa imagine for a moment that the Crittenden proposition is for a mere restoration of the Compromise line of 1820. It is simply and truly the application of the Breckinridge platform to all territory now acquired, or hereafter to be acquired south of 36° 30′, and would result, if adopted, in the acquisition and admission of new slave States for the ostensible purpose of restoring what is called the equilibrium of the section. . . . There are other pro
1 Cf. Blaine, Twenty Years of Congress, I., chap. xii.
visions in the Crittenden resolutions which to my mind are wholly inadmissible, but let them pass. My objection is to any compromise. I will never consent to compromises under threats of break
ing up the Government." 1
If we attempt to measure the right or wrong of the Republican refusal we must recognize that the very existence of the Republican party was based upon its opposition to slavery extension or to giving it a firmer constitutional basis. It could not yield this principle without party stultification. Whether, had they yielded and the compromise been adopted, the situation of the country would have been alleviated, is a subject for limitless thought and argument, with futility as an end.
One of Lincoln's objections, the fear of extension of territory to the south, was, despite the southern attitude on the question, a groundless one. The North by this time was firmly set against such movement, and Cuba could only have been ours by a war in which the North, at that period, would certainly not have allowed the country to engage. The possibility of extension of slavery into the vast western region, despite the onflow of free migration and despite climate and physical conditions, has already been considered. We must, however, believe that had Mr. Lincoln and the other prominent Republican leaders been willing to yield so much, secession would not have gone beyond South Carolina. 1 Salter, Grimes, 134.