Biographical Sketches of Eminent American Statesmen, with Speeches, Addresses and Letters

By B. F. Perry | Go to book overview
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SPEECH OF B. F. PERRY, OF SOUTH CAROLINA.

In the National Democratic Convention at Charleston, S. C., May, 1860.

MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN OF THE CONVENTION:--I thank you for this opportunity unanimously awarded me by the Convention, of defining my position in remaining here whilst my colleagues have seen proper to withdraw from the Convention. First, however, I have a word to say to the distinguished gentleman from Illinois, Governor Richardson, who has just taken his seat. He told us the truth, a wellknown truth, when he said that the Kansas-Nebraska bill was a compromise between the Northern and Southern Democracy on the subject of slavery in the Territories. That compromise proposed to take the question of slavery from Congress and refer it to the people of the Territories under the Federal Constitution. All questions of Territorial legislation on the subject of slavery would go to the Supreme Court, and the decision of that tribunal was to be final and conclusive. This was the compromise, as has been also just stated by the honorable member from Georgia, Mr. Seward. At the time this compromise was made, the Southern Democracy had an abiding confidence of their right to carry their slaves into the Territories, which were the common property of all the States, and, moreover, they had a conviction that the Supreme Court of the United States would so decide whenever the question was properly made. With this confidence and conviction on their minds, they were willing to, and did assent to, the non-intervention of Congress as a compromise. By that compromise I am willing to stand,

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