As Yet They Have Not The Power
John Alexander Logan of Illinois
United States House of Representatives, December 9 1859

Mr. LOGAN. Yes, sir; and I state the proposition distinctly to-day that Illinois is a Democratic State, and that a Democratic Legislature triumphantly elected Judge DOUGLAS over the traducers of the Constitution in our own State. The gentleman made this charge for political purposes; that it might be heralded to the North, South, East, and West, that an allegation had been made against Judge DOUGLAS, and that he had no friend upon this floor who had the manliness to repel that charge as it should have been repelled. I tell the gentleman now, since he has refused this morning, to bring forward his proof, that from this time forth, I shall never notice it. I scorn to notice it any further, and the reason for it is this: I made a charge once, in the Legislature of the State of Illinois, and I stood up and did prove it, when called upon for the proof, and did not shrink from responsibility, and like a spaniel cower -

Mr. KELLOG, of Illinois. Does the gentleman call me a spaniel coward?

Here Mr. Kellog advanced in a threatening attitude toward Mr. LOGAN. They were with some difficulty kept apart by members surrounding them, in the midst of the utmost confusion and disorder. Several members rose to questions of order, but the Clerk refused to entertain any question of order, or to listen to any debate until the House came to order. Order being partially restored,

Mr. MORRIS, of Pennsylvania, said: Mr. Clerk, is the Sergeant-at-Arms in the House to preserve order?

The CLERK. The Clerk does not know whether the Sergeant-at-Arms is or is not in the Hall, or whether the Clerk has the power to call on him if he was. The Clerk now sees that the Sergeant-at-Arms is here in accordance with his duty. Gentlemen are respectfully requested to take their seats.

Mr. LOGAN. I hope gentlemen will allow me to proceed. I assure gentlemen that I am in no danger of receiving injury.

[Continued excitement and confusion, the Clerk knocking loudly with the gavel.]


Mr. LOGAN. I want to know whether, if my friends are assailed on this floor, I shall not have the opportunity of addressing myself to the House, for the purpose of showing the character of the accusation. I will do it in as mild a temper as I am capable of. If that privilege be not allowed to me, and to my friends, then I only say that the delegation from Illinois have not the same rights on this floor that are granted to delegations from other States. If I am to be hissed; if I am to be clapped down, or if I am to be intimidated in this Hall, allow me to say that I have as many rights, whether they be respected or not, as any other man on the floor. [Claps and hisses.]

Mr. BARR. I will say to the Clerk that if the applause and hissing in the gallery be not stopped, I will move a resolution that the galleries be cleared.

Mr. GROW. Well, Mr. Clerk, I hope similar demonstrations will be stopped on the floor at the same time.

Mr. FLORENCE. The example is set on this floor; and until the demonstrations cease here, the galleries cannot be cleared. [Applause in the galleries.]


Mr. LOGAN. So far as the constituents of my worthy colleague are concerned, I have nought to say. I know nothing about them. I suppose he believes they are as good citizens as any of us represent. I do not attempt to draw any line of distinction between his constituents and my own, except as respects their action in governmental affairs. The question is, is the Republican party of Illinois the kind of party mentioned by my colleague? Does it obey the laws, does it yield to the Constitution of the country? I say it does not. I say to you, gentlemen of the South, that you need not think that the Republican party of Illinois - where I reside, and of which I am proud to say I am a native - are for the Constitution. They are not, and never have been, its friends. They are not law-abiding people, and never have been. They are not Constitution-loving people, and they never have been; and if the gentleman tells us that his people - the Republican portion of them - are for the Constitution; that his Republican constituents protect the rights of the South, and stand by those of the North, West, and East, I deny it.


And when these gentlemen tell you that they are willing to give you all the rights you are entitled to under the Constitution, I say to you they are willing to do no such thing. Are they willing to give you the fugitive slave law? One gentleman said he was. Would my worthy colleague [Mr. KELLOG] vote for a fugitive slave law? I do not know whether he would or not; I cannot say. But I can only say this, that if he did his constituents would find a better Abolitionist than he the next time and would send him in his place; there is no doubt about that. So far as the people of Illinois are concerned, the Republicans there would not vote for a man who would vote for the fugitive slave law. Then your constitutional rights that they talk so much about - what are they? Keep slavery where it is; they will not interfere with it; for the reason that they have not the power. They will not interfere with it where it is, as the Republican candidate for Speaker said the other day. That is true. I do not suppose the gentleman, or any other member of the Republican party would attempt to interfere with slavery where it is, for the reason that as yet they have not the power; but they would interfere with it in States where it is not, because when a man's slave runs away and comes to their houses, they will feed him and send him into Canada through the underground railroad. By these means they would interfere with slavery.


The Congressional Globe, The Official Proceedings of Congress, Published by John C. Rives, Washington, D. C.
Thirty-Sixth Congress, 1st Session, New Series...No. 6, Monday, December 12, 1859, pages 83, 84, 85.