Stone Collection: Volume 43 - Item 47
47. Edward Stanly, Speech of Edward Stanly, of N. Carolina, Exposing the Causes of the Slavery Agitation. Delivered in the House of Representatives, March 6, 1850 ([Washington, DC]: Gideon & Co., [1850?]). (16 p.)
Speech in defense of slavery that reinvigorates the term “bunkum,” a variant of “buncombe.” (The slang has been around since the debate in Congress over the Missouri Compromise in 1820 when a representative from western North Carolina, Felix Walker, refused to yield the floor and insisted on giving a rambling, barely incoherent speech for his constituents back home. [See February 1820, “This Month in History for North Carolina,” on the North Carolina Collection web site for the libraries of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]) The speaker in this case begins with these words. “I wish to say a few plain things in a plain way. I wish to say a little for Buncombe [a county in western North Carolina]—not only the western but the eastern Buncombe, which I represent; and if honorable gentlemen are not desirous to hear this, I advise them to take themselves on this rainy day, to a more comfortable place than this.” After fifteen pages of meandering elocution, he concludes as follows. “Mr. Chairman, I must conclude. I have spoken freely; I think the time requires it. I have not intended to speak offensively to any gentleman in this House; but I have spoken what I believe my duty to my country demanded, and I have spoken what I believed to be true. I have an abiding trust and confidence in the Ruler of nations, that he will not suffer evil counsels to prevail among us. He, without whose knowledge not a sparrow falleth to the ground, will, I hope, preserve this country, that we shall continue to be an asylum to the oppressed of all lands. I believe that as hundreds of years have rolled by, and generation after generation passed away, in the words of the great defender of the Constitution (Mr. Webster,) ‘Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and insuperable,’ will continue to be a sentiment dear to every true American heart.” The speaker continues in this vein for another five paragraphs before sitting down.