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the call of the gentleman from Ohio, [Mr. Duncan) plainly and distinctly read; and if your records were silent on it, there are now here within this Capitol more than two hundred witnesses to attest the fact.
Sir, this charge of ignorance has not even the merit of novelty to recommend it to public favor. We have long since yielded the claim of “all the talents and all the decency” to those who have so modestly claimed it. I mean, sir, that we had yielded to that modest assumption before the present session of Congress. Since the occurence of this New Jersey case, howeve I believe they have, by common consent, discontinued any further claim to a monoply of all the decency, at least.
Mr. Speaker, I have been surprised at the remedy proposed by the minority for all these alleged outrages committed by this House in the New Jersey case. They call on the people to “rise in their majesty, and assert and vindicate their rights at the ballot boxes." At the ballot boxes! What, sir, have we been doing but that, throughout this whole controversy ? What the people can do there, let them learn from the conduct of Gov. Pennington and his Privy Council at the ballot boxes! I did not expect that the gentleman had the heart to utter such a word. What avail the ballot boxes, in an age and country where it is boldly maintained that a partisan Governor can set them aside at his pleasure, substitute his own friends in their stead, and, by affixing the broad seal to the nefarious deed, defend and protect it from all correction ? If these things can be done, and then justified here, I again ask, of what avail are the ballot boxes against party misrule and Federal domination ? The ballot boxes may speak in the voice of thunder, and yet a Whig Governor can speak louder than they. New Jersey knows the truth of what I declare, because New Jersey has felt it. The majority of the committee, and of this House, hare sustained throughout this controversy, the rights and liberties of the people of that noble and gallant State; the minority have, throughout, justified the usurpations of its Governor and Privy Council. We have succeeded in putting into their seats those who have been in truth and in fact chosen by the people. They have been prevented from in
troducing, as members, on this floor, those who were rejected by the people, and whose only recommendation was, “that they had found favor in the eyes” of Governor Pennington. Baffled in the committee room, defeated in their views on this floor, the minority have appealed to the American people. They appeal as an oppressed and much injured minority, whose counter report has been rejected and suppressed by those who should have acted on it. This faint and sickly cry of persecution and oppression is to be another one of those false issues which have been raised, in order to divert the public mind from the real merits of this controversy. The minority have not made a fair statement on the subject. They have neither stated all facts, nor stated them in a proper order and connection. How were the facts in the committee-room ? The minority asked that the presentation of our report should be suspended until theirs should be prepared, and both be submitted together. Two periods were mentioned by them. The vote was taken on the longest time first. The majority did vote against the longest, intending to vote for the shortest time. But, sir, to our surprise, the proposition as to the shortest time was withdrawn by one of the minority, and now the complaint, is, that we would give no right at all. Gentlemen seem to have gone on the idea that every thing must be done in their own way, or not done at all. This was strikingly illustrated on this floor on the presentation of their report. When they came in with it, the House was actually engaged in discussing and considering the report of the majority. Now, what was the very reasonable and modest request of these gentlemen ? It was that the House should lay down the business then on hand-put aside the further consideration of the report of the majority, and take up that of the minority. The question was asked of the Speaker, whether, if this was done, the report of the minority, in the event of a debate on it, would not take precedence of all debate and action on that of the majority. The SPEAKER decided that it would. Thereupon the House determined to proceed in regular order ; to debate and decide on the report first presented, and when that was done to take up that of the minority. Sir, was there
any oppression in all this? What right had these gentlemen to come bustling into the House, and to demand that every thing should stand aside for them, and that their report should have a preference over that of the majority? At the first moment after the report of the majority was disposed of, the gentleman from Virginia, [Mr. Dromgoole,] rose in his place, and expressed a hope that the House would now, by universal consent, agree to receive the report of the minority, and that both reports and testimony be printed. Sir, from what quarter did opposition come, to this proposal? Not from us, but from two of their own friends. One of them expressly declared, that he did not want it received;" that he wanted it to go forth to the world a suppressed report.” The minority seized on the suggestion, ceased to ask for its reception, and have sent it forth in blazing capitals as a suppressed report.
Mr. Speaker: in the appeal to the American people, which the minority have been pleased to take, we most heartily unite. We are perfectly willing to meet them at the bar of an enlightened and impartial public opinion. But we want that appeal to be fairly presented, with no errors of fact to mislead, and no false clamor of injustice and oppression to excite public sympathy. We mean to stand at that bar as the advocates for the supremacy of the popular will; they must be there as the defenders of the conduct of those who have violated and outraged that supremacy. We will be there, relying on the broad merits, on the truth and justice of our cause, they standing on nothing but technical presumptions, at open war with the facts, and on the supposed magic of the broad seal, desecrated as it was in this bold attempt to destroy the rights and liberties of the people of New Jersey. The minority, in sending forth their appeal, invoke a decision in their favor, in order to save this Government from becoming “ worse than a Turkish despotism !” We assert that the danger lies altogether in a different direction. We maintain that whenever the time shall arrive when returning officers begin to substitute their wills for that of the people—when your State Governors assume to make Representatives in Congress, in face of the very records of our elections, then indeed “
“ a worse than Turkish despotism” will have fallen on this country.