Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Speech on the Admission of Kansas, Under the Lecompton Constitution, Delivered in the Senate of the United States, March 4, 1858 >> Page 304

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Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 304
tion of the people is, according to the theory of our
Government, for all the purposes for which the people
elected it, the people, bona fide, being the only way in
which all the people can assemble and act together.
I do not doubt that there might be some cases of such
gross and palpable frauds committed in the formation
of a convention, as might authorize Congress to investi-
gate them, but I can scarcely conceive of any. And
when a State knocks at the door for admission, Con-
gress can with propriety do little more than inquire if
her Constitution is republican. That it embodies the
will of her people must necessarily be taken for
granted, if it is their lawful act. I am assuming, of
course, that her boundaries are settled, and her pop-
ulation sufficient.
If what I have said be correct, then the will of
the people of Kansas is to be found in the action
of her constitutional convention. It is immaterial
whether it is the will of a majority of the people of
Kansas now, or not. The convention was, or might
have been, elected by a majority of the people of
Kansas. A convention, elected in June, might well
frame a Constitution that would not be agreeable to a
majority of the people of a new State, rapidly filling
up, in the succeeding January ; and if Legislatures are
to be allowed to put to vote the acts of a convention,
and have them annulled by a subsequent influx of
immigrants, there is no finality. If you were to send
back the Lecompton Constitution, and another was to
be framed, in the slow way in which we do public
business in this country, before it would reach Con-
gress and be accepted, perhaps the majority would be
turned the other way. Whenever you go outside of