Kansas as it Passed the Senate.
The Kansas Lecompton Bill as it finally passed the Senate, is an entirely different bill from what it was when it entered that body. It has been purified; through much tribulation it has been purged of its objectionable features. Its fangs have been drawn and it is now a very harmless thing. The concentrated indignation of the country against the outrageous idea that a people can be bound to a Constitution which had never been submitted to them for ratification; with no right to change it for a series of years, whether it embodies the will of the majority or no; and be so bound by parties in Convention, to whom no such power was ever delegated, has shewn to the majority in Senate, the necessity of incorporating a measure in the bill, repudiating the idea, in the following words: -
Nothing in this act shall be construed or infringe any right of the people, asserted in the Constitution of Kansas, at all times to alter, reform or abolish their form of government, in such manner as they may think proper, Congress hereby disclaiming any authority to intervene or declare the construction of the Constitution of any State, except to see that is republican in form, and not in conflict with the Constitution of the United States.
This, taken in connection with the newly expressed determination of Gen. Calhoun, President of the Lecompton Convention – forced from him by the same irresistible power of a people’s indignation – to issue certificates of election to persons actually chosen to the State Legislature, by legal majorities, puts an entirely new aspect upon Kansas matters. It places the government of the State in the hands of the majority of the people; it recognizes their right and their power to re-construct their Constitution immediately or to frame a new one; it places a Free State Legislature at once in power in the State; it elects Free State Senators and one Representative in Congress. What more can be asked than that majorities shall rule; that the people shall be unmolested in their rights to establish their own frame of government? This is all that has ever been contended for by any party, and the Senate Kansas-Lecompton bill secures these great objects.
It would have been better in every point of view, could the Kansas Constitution have some before Congress stamped with the approval of the people upon it. There is no dispute that the people had not a right to express their opinions here. It would have been better still, had the Lecompton question come before the country without being encumbered and harassed with the hideous and bold fraudulent intents of Gen. Calhoun, whereby the people of Kansas were to have a bogus legislature established over them and even to be held for seven years, obedient to a Constitution which they never sanctioned. All the hard feelings; all the unprofitable discussion; all the delay in the public business; all the damage and disaster that has accrued from those original sins, would then have been avoided. Factious disturbers of the public peace would not have been elevated to the prominence they have temporarily gained; and the business of the nation would have been dispatched in regular and orderly succession, instead of being entirely set aside, as it has been, to the great detriment of the public service.
But the things that are passed cannot be recalled. We may rectify the errors that have been committed by seizing gold of and improving favorable events that are now presented to us. Lecompton, deprived of its odious features, rendered innocuous by the reversal of the restrictive clause and the tardy recognition of the Legislature that has been elected under its provisions, and to administer it, is now before the Representatives in Congress. The country is tired of the subject. The people earnestly desire to see it settled. It has been a weary, perplexing subject. Should the House of Representatives pass the bill with the Senate amendments, Kansas will thus be admitted into the Union in the most ready and most feasible manner that can now be devised. It would appear that the opponents of Lecompton will have gained all they ask for and that the people of the State can proceed to organize their government, with all their rights secured, as well under this bill, as under any other that can be framed.
As the case now stands before the country, farther opposition seems needless. The opponents to the iniquities of the Lecompton Convention have triumphed in all they have undertaken. The people of Kansas can take the Lecompton constitution, with this Senate bill, and overturn it at once and in a day; cast it out as unclean, and establish a constitution which shall receive the high sanction of their majorities, and, if they have the wisdom to frame it, to establish one that shall challenge the admiration of the world. This is the position of the question as it appears to the people. They see now, notwithstanding the admitted errors and frauds which have, heretofore, enveloped the whole matter, that a path is opened, a straight path, by which the wrong can be made right, and the State of Kansas be established as a member of the Union, in justice, and upon the great American principle of popular sovereignty.