Excerpt from Speech of Hon. Thomas L. Clingman, of North Carolina, on the Subject of Congressional Legislation, as to the Rights of Property in the Territories: Delivered in the Senate of the United States, May 7 and 8, 1860
Iknow it is said that the Dred Scott decision has modified the question. I confess I do not think so. I fully agree to the decision in the sense in which the Senator from Mississippi explains it but let us test it for a moment in this way in that decision the court says the Missouri com promise line, or the Wilmot proviso, is unconstitutional. Granted but suppose they had decided the other way, and said it was constitutional, would the northern men have had a right to come forward and say, this question being settled in our favor, the Supreme Court having admitted that the Wilmot proviso is constitutional, we now want to go in for intervention against slavery? Iam sure every Democrat in the South would have said at once, though you have this power, you are not bound to exercise it. 'well suppose the court decided that Congress have the right to protect, and not to prohibit, can we honorably and fairly, without a great pressing necessity, abandon the policy of non-intervention I think not.
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