No Interference With Slavery In The States
Muscoe R. H. Garnett of Virginia
United States House of Representatives, December 7 1859

The gentleman from New York [Mr. CLARK] told us yesterday that he never knew an Abolitionist in New York; he in whose district the church of Doctor Cheever reverberates, Sunday after Sunday, with sentiments of treason and bloodshed; he in whose State a Senator was chosen, to represent the people in this Congress, marked above all others by his bold, imperturbable calculations, by his deep-laid plans, by his acting upon a calculated system, where you can mark out his course, step by step, from year to year - all connected parts of one whole - who, as my friend from South Carolina [Mr. KEITT] showed yesterday, before he ever entered the Senate, uttered sentiments the same in substance though not in form as Helper's - a Senator who preaches up to the country that there is an irrepressible conflict between the two sections of the country, which must result in the overthrow of one or the other - a Senator who is a representative man of his party, whom they intend to nominate for the presidency, and if they do not do it, it will be only because they are scared out of it! No Abolitionists in New York or in the North! when at Albany one hundred minute guns were fired there in mourning for the death of John Brown! No Abolitionists in Natick! when a large public meeting of sympathy was held for Brown, of which a Senator from the State of Massachusetts was present! No Abolitionists in Massachusetts! when, in the Senate of Massachusetts, they found nearly a majority in favor of adjourning on the day of the execution of Brown! No Abolitionists at Cleveland! when, as a friend from Indiana tells me, that city was draped in mourning, and five thousand men were attending a public meeting, to express their sentiments upon that event, upon the day of the execution of Brown!

You do not mean to interfere with slavery in the States! So the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. SHERMAN] told us yesterday, though his remarks are somewhat diluted in the report of them which appears in the Globe to-day. He and his party do not mean to interfere with slavery in the States; but they mean to hold southern people to the yoke, and to organize Territory after Territory, into which no southern man shall be permitted to go with his property. They mean to hem us in, as with a wall of fire, as I think Mr. SEWARD said, until the institution is so cribbed and confined that it will perish for want of sustenance. They do not mean to interfere with slavery in the States, and yet when a band of assassins violate the sacred soil of my native State, we hear not one word of denunciation from you. You do not mean to interfere with slavery in the States, and yet you find societies at the North planning deliberately to render the institution valueless upon the borders, by running off the slaves, until the owners are compelled to sell them to the South, or to emancipate and give them up to you. You do not mean to interfere with slavery in the States, and yet, though the Constitution guarantees the right of reclaiming fugitives from labor, laws are passed refusing to allow us the use of northern jails; you turn your judges out of office if they assist in enforcing the law for the reclamation of fugitives from labor, and you attack and use violence against our citizens when they appear there to reclaim their property. Call you this no interference with slavery in the States? Call you the incessant war against it waged from your press, your pulpit, and your hustings, no interference with slavery in the States? Why do you not carry on this crusade against monarchy in Europe, or against aristocracy in England, if it is a mere desire to correct public evils all over the world? Why not organize a society against slavery in Cuba and Brazil? Why not inaugurate political crusades against every system of government that we disapprove in every part of the world? No, sir; these benefits, those kind offices are reserved for us - for your brethren, your fellows of the southern States.

Years ago, as far back as 1836, Governor Marcy then Governor of the State of New York, advised the Legislature of that State to pass laws preventing and suppressing incendiary appeals of abolition societies - few in number at that time - inciting the slaves to insurrection. These few societies have become numerous. Their principles are the shibboleth of the great political party of the North. Yet what Governor of any of the northern States dare now make such a recommendation as Mr. Marcy made twenty-three years ago! When Walker organizes a company of filibusters and descends on Nicaragua, a country with which we are at peace, you appeal to the neutrality laws that are properly on your statute books - you say we have no right to allow our territory to be used for organizing piratical expeditions against a friendly foreign Power; and you call on the President of the United States to use the Army and Navy to suppress such expeditions, and to protect this foreign Power from them. And you do so properly. Nay, when Commodore Paulding exceeds his legal power in order to execute this law; when he does what he has no right to do in making a descent on this foreign country, you pass resolutions of approval. But here we are - no foreign State - we are confederated States; here we are, no half-barbarian Nicaragua, but your brethren of the Anglo-Saxon race; your fellow-citizens under a common flag, under the pretended protection of a common Constitution - and which one of your States will pass laws suppressing these expeditions against the South? Which one of your States will pass neutrality laws to punish the men who advise and the men who take part in these piratical expeditions against the peace and safety of the southern States? So far from it, when you discover men actually concerned in them, you allow them, with impunity, to publish statements declaring that they take themselves to Canada to evade United States process. With impunity your Senators rise in the other end of the Capitol and denounce the Federal judiciary, because of its process to summon them as witnesses. With impunity, men high in your society, men at the head of your literary circles, men like Dr. Howe, acknowledge their complicity by supplying money and arms to expeditions aimed against the South, and then they flee from the jurisdiction of the Federal court.


The Congressional Globe, The Official Proceedings of Congress, Published by John C. Rives, Washington, D. C.
Thirty-Sixth Congress, 1st Session, New Series...No. 1, Wednesday, December 8, 1859, page 44.