Speech of Mr. Wm. B. Preston, of Virginia in the House of Representatives, February 7, 1849, on the Formation of a New State Out of the Territories of California and New Mexico
Washington DC: J. & G.S. Gideon, 1849.
First Edition. Softcover. Very Good. 16 pp, in original self-wrappers. Some handling wear, light foxing. Preston proposed the creation of a single new state from all of the former Mexican territory. It was generally assumed that this would not be a slave state (the land not being conducive to plantation farming), but Preston took no explicit stand on the slavery issue in his bill. Instead he argued that Congress should not make "such rules and regulations as are necessary for the government of the territories" for this would be like "a foreign government" (such as the British) making a critical decision for "a people abroad" (such at the American colonies). "Territorial dominion was given to us," he argues, "not that we might place slavery there, or freedom there--not that we might go into municipal legislation in detail for these provinces--but it was that we should rear up there sovereign and independent States." When a stipulation forbidding slavery was added to the bill later in the month, it was defeated after an all-night session of name-calling and fistfights. Sabin 65385.