Justice Has Never Been Done Us
Albert Gallatin Brown of Mississippi
United States Senate, December 19 1859

All we ask - and, in asking that, we shall never cease - is, that our property, under the common Government, be put upon the same footing with other people's property; that this Government of ours shall be allowed to draw no insulting discrimination between slave property and any other kind of property; that wherever the authority of the Government extends, it shall be given to us in an equal degree with anybody else; and, by that, I say again, I mean given to the extent of affording us adequate and sufficient protection. Who does not know that, in the last two or three years, emigrant trains were robbed in Utah by the Mormons; not robbed of slaves, but robbed of other kinds of property. What was done? An army was promptly sent to repair the injury, at an expense, I dare say, when we shall sum up the bill and pay it, of $20,000.000. Who believes that if the property had been our slaves, any reparation would have been insisted upon? Is the Government so prompt to send armies to protect us against the underground process? No. Twenty millions of property may be stolen from us, and the Government stands by and contents itself with simply remonstrating, with giving gentle hints that it is all wrong. When I say this is done by the Government, I do not mean the government of James Buchanan, or Franklin Pierce, or Millard Fillmore; but I mean the Government in whosever hands it happened to rest. Justice has never been done us; our property has never been treated like the property of other people; has never received the same sort of protection, the same kind of security. While the Government has been ready to protect other people's property on the high seas and in the Territories; while it has been ready to make war at home and declare war against foreign countries for the protection of other people's property, we have received no such guarantees from it. I demand them. I demand to be treated as an equal. If you will insist upon taxing me as an equal, I do not feel disposed to come up and pay my taxes, simply to know the Government through its power to make exactions on me. I do not choose to perform military service, and spill my blood and risk my life and lay down the lives of my people for the common protection, in defense of a Government which only knows me through its powers to tax me. I claim the same right to protection on the part of my people as I concede to you. Wherever your property is on the face of God's habitable globe, on the sea or on the land, I claim that the arms and power of this Government must go to protect and defend it. For that was the great object of creating the Government; and when it falls short of that object, it fails in its great mission, the great purpose for which it was created.

I know of no mission which this Government has to perform except to protect the citizen in his life, his liberty, and his property. When it fails in these great essentials, it has failed in everything; and I stand even in this august presence to say, as I have said in the more august presence of my immediate constituents, the Legislature of my State - and if they choose to repudiate me for saying it, I am willing to be repudiated - that whenever the Government fails, I do not ask it to refuse, but when it fails to protect me and my people in our lives, our liberties, and our property, upon the high seas or upon the land, it ought to be abolished. If that be treason, gentlemen, make the most of it. That is all I have said; and by that proposition living or dying, sinking or swimming, surviving or perishing, I mean to stand here and elsewhere.


The Congressional Globe, The Official Proceedings of Congress, Published by John C. Rives, Washington, D. C.
Thirty-Sixth Congress, 1st Session, New Series...No. 12, Wednesday, December 21, 1859, page 187