BENTON AND FOOTE.
A rich scene is said to have passed in the Senate on Wednesday, between these redoubtable Democrats.
Col. Benton had introduced a bill defining the boundaries of Texas. Mr. Foote in the papers a bill on the same subject, and with provisions somewhat similar. Mr. Foote, who is always ready to make a three hour speech on any question, thereupon mounted the Missourian and charged him with stealing his thunder. He, Foote, did not steal anything, and he would not allow any body to steal from him. According to the report in the Intelligencer, he proceeded:––Rich. Whig.
"Now, sir, I appeal to the Senate and the country, whether I have not a right to complain of the honorable Senator from Missouri for having thus unceremoniously appropriated to himself the work of my hands and the result of my painful mediations? If the honorable Senator had condescended to ask my consent to becoming godfather to a measure which, in its purer and less objectionable shape, did not originate with him; if he had given me due notice of his intention thus to pirate upon the poor creations of my intellect; had this astounding liberty been taken by a friend, or by one friendly to the South in her present trying position, I should not, perhaps, have seriously complained of the outrage. But, sir, the case is a very difficult one indeed. The offensive conduct by which I am noticing has been practised by an individual more responsible, in my judgement, than any man living or dead, for the unhappy condition in which the republic is involved. It was he that urged so imperiously through the Senate the odious Oregon bill passed eighteen months since. It was he that voted against the Mexican treaty, by which a territorial domain so invaluable was secured to the nation. It was he who attempted after the treaty had become part of the supreme law of the land, to nullify its provisions, by setting up what is known as the protocol in opposition to it. It is he who presumes to disobey the instructions of the Missouri legislature, to whom he owes the Senatorial robes which now invest his person, and all the opportunities of acquiring renown and influence which he has enjoyed for the last thirty years. It is he who has taken it upon himself to wander off some thousands of miles into the bosom of his own State, and inveigh, in language of the coarsest scurrility and most envenomed abuse, against men whom he dares not here meet in debate––whose characters, public and private, are as spotless as purity itself––and whose whole lives have been illuminated and adorned by the practice of all those virtues which bespeak the patriot, the philanthropist, and the christian. This, sir, is the heroic chieftain who, when far distant from the objects of hostility, denounces them as traitors, disunionists and villains, and threatens on getting sight of them in the Senate house, to demolish them forever; but who, when he gets here once more among us, is mysteriously and stoically silent, or, assuming a truly lamb-like meekness of aspect and of manner, and a soft nasality of intonation, coos around the Senate chamber, "as gently as any sucking dove." This, sir, is the person who has presumed, in the very bosom in one of the large slave States of the Union, to declaim fiercely against slavery and to give forth all the encouragement which, as "a southerner and slave holder," he had it in his power to supply to the enemies of our institutions north of Mason and Dixon's line. This is the Democratic leader who has scattered confusion and discord through the whole Democratic ranks of the North, who, but for him and his accursed teachings, I verily believe, would, under the sage and honest councils which emanated from the honorable Senator from Michigan who sits before us, (Gen. Cass,) have stood firmly and fearlessly in the non-interference doctrines of the renowned Nicholson letter.
"This is the 'learned Theban' who has taken it upon himself to proclaim, in more than one speech, now in print, not only that Congress has a right under the Constitution to legislate upon slavery in its territories, but who has even gone so far as to assert that no man of scuse on the continent now doubted the authority of Congress to legislate in this matter; though he knew well at the time that the honorable Senator from South Carolina, (Mr. Calhoun,) the honorable Senator form Michigan (Mr. Cass,) the honorable Senator from Georgia, (Mr. Berrien,) and thousands and hundreds of thousands beside, in different parts of the Republic, possessed of understanding, at least as sound and as trustworthy as his own, entertained opinions directly the reverse of that which he was thus fiercely fulminating; among whom I must mention the Senator from Texas (Mr. Houston,) who sits over the way, and who, in his anti-Gadsden letter, has so emphatically declared himself opposed to the Wilmot Proviso upon every ground of opposition heretofore assumed to it. This, too, sir, is the indiscreet rhetorician, whose inflammatory addresses to large popular assemblies in Missouri, during the last summer, are said to have produced a most startling effect among the slave population in the surrounding country; who, as it is reported, by twenties and forties, put themselves in full flight for the Father of Waters, and made their escape into the neighboring State of Illinois. (Here Mr. Benton left his seat, walked towards the door of the Senate chamber, and passed out of it.) See, Mr. President, he flies as those same deluded sons of Africa among whom his eloquence is reported to have awoken a general stampede. He escapes me just as I was able to compare him to that degenerate Roman Senator, whom Cicero once addressed in language that will never perish, exclaiming with majestic cadence: Quousque tandem abutere Catalina, nostra patientia?" As Tully said of that same degenerate Roman, I feel that I can say for now, for myself and all my friends, in relation to him who has just quit our sight: "Tandem aliquando, Quirites, L. Catilinain fuerentem audacia, scelus anhelant cin, postem palrice nefaric molientem vobis atque huic urbi ferrem flamnumque minitantem, ex urbe, vel ejecimus, vel emissimus, vel ipsum ingredientum verbas proseccuti sumus." I may well add: "Abiit, evasil, erupit."
"Benton and Foote," Raleigh (NC) Register, January 26, 1850, p. 2.