Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Speech Delivered at Barnwell C.H., S.C., October 29, 1858 >> Page 332

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Page 332

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 332
True, Congress might have avoided that specific occa-
sion and August vote by swallowing the land ordinance
and all, and asking no security for the remainder of
the public lands ; but Kansas could still have refused
to organize as a State, and no power under our Consti-
tution could have interfered. It is all words, and
nothing more. Congress was charged with bribing
Kansas to become a slave State. But the bribe was
by the conference bill, four millions of acres of land
instead of twenty-three millions. If we had given her
the whole twenty-three millions for her useless slavery
clause, there might have been some ground for the
charge. Yet it would have been of no avail, for Kansas
could, under no bribe or coercion known to our Govern-
ment, have been compelled to accept the constitution
or ordinance, or become a State against her own will
at any period whatever. I will not presume that any
one is less proficient in Constitutional lore, or is less
conversant with the history of Congressional proceed-
ings in the admission of new States than myself. But
I will say that I am incapable of comprehending them
at all if in this conference bill there was any compro-
mise" of southern principle or interests, any concession
whatever by the South, any departure from the strict-
est construction of the Constitution, or any material
deviation from the usual practice of the Government.
The people of Kansas have, by an overwhelming
majority, rejected the land ordinance as modified by
Congress, and refused to come into the Union on such
terms. Be it so. It is what I expected what
I rather desired. It sorts precisely with what I felt
when I saw Kansas thrust herself into Congress and
demand reeking with blood and fraud to be enrolled