Admission of Kansas
The first struggle in the House of Representatives, on the question of admitting Kansas into the Union, under the Lecompton constitution, has resulted adversely. On the question of reference, the policy of the opponents of admission prevailed by a small majority. It is not decisive of the result-but it may be taken as a very significant omen, that Kansas will not be admitted at all on the present application.
The policy of friends of the measure was to have it referred to a select committee of thirteen, with power to report by bill or otherwise, on the admission of the State. This proposition was made by Mr. Hughes, of Indiana, and he afterwards modified it so as to make the reference to a select committee, but without instructions. The power of appointing the committee, unless specifically directed otherwise by Congress, belongs to the Speaker.
The opposition to this movement was not taken up by the Abolition side of the House, but by Mr. Harris, of Illinois, who has never been suspected of anti-slavery politics. He moved a substitute for the resolution, by which the select committee of thirteen was instructed to inquire into all the facts connected with the formation of the constitution: whether the convention had been properly authorized and was duly elected; the constitution is republican; and whether it has fairly received a majority of the votes of the people; and whether it is satisfactory to the people of the State; and, generally, into all the disputed questions of law and fact, in regard to the elections and the constitution, with power to send for persons and papers.
The main object, of closing up discussion, and sending this distracting question to the people of Kansas, to be settled by themselves, is thus defeated for the present, perhaps lost altogether. There may be a pause, indeed, while this committee is prosecuting its inquiries, but on the coming in of the report, the fires will break out again, and the sectional warfare of which it is the occasion and the pretext, rage again with increased fury. Possibly, the labors of the committee may result in such a report as will give strength to the pacificating measure, and secure the admission of the new State. But we apprehend that the action of members will be decided by fixed preconceived opinions, and by general affiliations of party, and that nothing which can be advanced, by way of reasoning, or certified to as an additional fact, will affect the final vote. the best hope is, that the plain emergencies of the case-the dangers which will more and more develop themselves every day that this Kansas controversy remains a topic for discord in Congress-the prospect of early relief by means which will do no substantial wrong to any principle of right, or substantial interest in Kansas, and the further consideration of enabling Congress to turn to the real business of the country, which suffers from the absorption of its attention in these furious quarrels, will have the effect of prevailing on some among the moderate members of the opposition, to waive scruples upon non-essential matters of form, and for the sake of these great advantages, let Kansas come in, and assume the exclusive control of her own affairs. It is one chance, still, for a restoration of quiet, but we confess not a very encouraging one, at this time; still it is a hope that we are not willing to resign.