Stone Collection: Volume 92 - Item 19
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19. [John M.] Niles, Speech of Mr. Niles, of Connecticut, on the Petition of a Society of Friends in Pennsylvania, Praying for the Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia, in Senate, February 15, 1836 (Washington, DC: Blair and Rives, 1836). (14 p.)
Speech in opposition to a motion introduced by Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina to refuse to receive a petition calling for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. The issue was whether the question abolition should be debated in the U.S. Senate. The speaker thought that such a debate was not only appropriate, but expected. “Rights and duties are reciprocal; if the people have the right to petition Congress, it is our duty to receive them” (italics in original).