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No Southern man has ever introduced this question into the halls of legislation. Of this the senator must be well aware. If be knowt an instance to the contrary, I should be extremely glad to be informed of it. The question is not now brought up by any movement of ours; it is forced upon us by the senator from New Hampshire. The South bas been silent, resting firmly, discreetly, mid with dignity, upon her rights which are guarantied to us by the Constitution. It is only in defense of her acknowledged rights that she undertakes to say any thing. The senator from New Hampshire has now introduced a bill which is calculated to produce mischief. Are we to remain silent? Or, if we use language of just indignation, are we to be charged with endeavoring to make ourselves popular in the South? Let me say to the senator from Illinois that this is a most ungenerous proposition. He says that no unworthy motives lie at the foundation of this measure. Why, I can imagine no more unworthy motive than unprincipled demagogism. I would soorn myself if I could for a moment permit myself to give countenance to any thing so unworthy. I would say, with all possible courtesy to the senator from Illinois, for whom I entertain the highest respect, and whose general feelings of justice for us in the South we all understand and appreciate— be will permit me to say to him, in a spirit of perfect courtesy, that there are various ways of becoming popular. Our constituents will have confidence in ua if they see we are ready here to maintain their interests inviolate. And it may be, also, that the senator from New Hampshire will strengthen himself in proportion as his conduct is denounced. But I beg the senator from Illinois to recollect that there is another mode of obtaining that popularity which is expressed in the adage, " In medio tutiuimtu ibit," and that there is such a thing as winning golden opinions from all sorts of people; and it may be that a man of mature power, young, and aspiring as he may do to high places, may conceive that, by keeping clear of all union with the two leading factions, he will more or less strengthen himself with the great body of the American people, and thus attain the high point of elevation to which his ambition leads. But if the senator from Illinois thinks that a middle course in regard to this question is best calculated to serve his purpose, he is mistaken.'
"Mr. Douglas. 'The senator has hit it precisely when he says that sometimes the course advised in the familiar adage which he has quoted is intlced the course of duty and of wisdom. I do believe that upon this question, that is the only course which can win " golden opinions" from reflecting men throughout the country.'
"Mr. Foote (in his seat). 'Golden opinions from all sorts of people.' "Mr. Douglas. 'In the North, it is not expected that we should take the position that slavery is a positive good—a positive blessing. If we did assume such a position, it would be a very pertinent inquiry, Why do you not adopt this institution? We have molded our institutions at tbo North as we have thought proper; and now we say to you of the South, if shivery be a blessing, it is your blessing; if it be a curse, it is your curse; enjoy it: on you rest all the responsibility! We are prepared to aid you in the maintenance of all your constitutional rights; and I apprehend that no man, South or North, has shown more consistently a disposition to do so than myself. From first to last, I have evinced that disposition. But my object was to inform the people of the South how it is that gentlemen professing the sentiments of the senator from New Hampshire get here; how it is that they will see others coming here with similar sentiments, unless they reflect more calmly and coolly, and take a different course; and how this imprudent and violent course is calculated to crush us who oppose abolitionism. If any unpleasant feeling has been excited by these remarks of mine, I regret it. I know that it is not always pleasant to tell the truth plainly and boldly, when it comes home to an individual; but what I have said is the truth, and we all know it and feel it.
"I think the introduction of this bill has been ill timed. I doubt its expediency in any circumstances; but, brought up at present, it is peculiarly calculated to produce unnecessary excitement; and I will never consent to the introduction of such a bill under the present circumstances. I am willing to instruct your committee to inquire whether any formal legislation be necessary for the purpose of suppressing kidnapping, mobs, rioting, and violence in the District of Columbia. I am prepared to meet the responsibility of passing the most stringent laws against any illegal acts. That is my position. My views in relation to this subject are well known. I have always supported, by my vote, the rule excluding abolition petitions. I voted with you of the South to sustain it. It was repealed against my vote. I was ready to stand by it as long ns it was necessary for your protection. I will vote for any other measure necessary to protect yonr rights; but I claim the privilege of pointing out to you how you give strength and encouragement to the Abolitionists of the North, by the imprudent expression of what I grant to be just indignation, and which you deem it to be necessary so to utter in selfdefense."
Throughout his whole term of service, the personal bearing of Mr. Giddings has been unexceptionable, and in accordance with the strictest requirements of parliamentary decorum. We have seen him taunted, rebuked, insulted—all but struck; yet we never saw him forget his knowledge of the presence he was in, much less engage in any thing like one of those pugilistic encounters of which the records of the House, in recent years, afford so many humiliating evidences.
On one occasion, when an insult was regarded by him as very direct and gross, he manifested his appreciation of it by this reply—a type of his conduct in all such instances:
"It is related of a veteran marshal, who had grown old in the service of his country, and who had fought a hundred battles, that he happened to offend a young and fiery officer, who spat in his face for the purpose of insulting him. The general, taking his handkerchief from his }iooket and wiping his face, remarked, 'If I could wash your blood from my soul as easily as I can this spittle from my face, you should not live another day.'
"I will say to the member that I claim no station superior to the most humble, nor inferior to the most exalted. In representing what I believe to be the views of my people, and what I deem their interests and the interests of the North, I made the remarks I did. I say to him, that at the North we have a different mode of punishing insults from that which exists at the South. With us, the man who wantonlv assails another is punished by public sentiment. To that sentiment I appeal. It will do justice both to the member and myself."
It may truly be said that there is no member of the House more constantly attentive to the duties of his station or the interests of his constituents than Mr. Giddings.