Our readers are well aware that the 2d clause of the 3d section of the Constitution, gives to Congress, in these very words, “power to make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States,” and they are equally aware that a faction of the Democratic party contend, that the words we have cited apply only to territories, as property, and that Congress thereby derives no power to regulate or control the inhabitants of a territory in reference to their municipal affairs.

If the latter interpretation of this clause be in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution, our fathers were sadly in the wrong, when they fancied that the provisions of the ordinance of 1787 was in agreement with the Constitution which was submitted to Congress a few months later than the date of the ordinance. It is true, that the inhabitants of our territories desire as much freedom in their municipal concerns as is consistent with a proper development of the territory into a State, and that they require Congress to let them alone in all matters wherein our legislators can be of any assistance. But the territories do not ignore that protection which is demanded of Congress to enable them to carry out their own views of self-government, provided those views be republican in character. So much is essential, as appears from the 4th section of article 4th of the Constitution, which obligates Congress to guarantee to every State a republican form of government. Nor do the territories refuse that protection against invasion and domestic violence which Congress is bound, by the same section last cited, to afford, when the same shall be demanded by the Legislature or Executive of the territory.

But, as in our own territory we have painfully experienced, when the aid of the Government is exerted to suppress the voice of the people, and to force institutions upon them which were consonant with neither their soil, climate nor inclinations, the territories solemnly, as they will effectually, protest against such interference. When a political party goes a step further and proposes a code by which slavery may be forced upon an unwilling people, and whereby that people may be compelled to foster and maintain it, the attempt is too absurd to commend itself to the approbation of any sensible or just man.

During the discussion in the United States Senate which in 1850, resulted in the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, the people were told by the then, greatest statesman of the north, that slavery was prevented from extending northward and westward by the law of God—in other words, that the climate, soil and productions of the Territories north of 36° 30′, would not permit the extension of slavery thither, and consequently our Territories above that line would be sacred to freedom, whatever our Legislators might do. On this assurance, the northern Legislators by whose aid the Fugitive Slave Act was passed, acted; and for a time the subject seemed to be at rest. The subsequent unwise projection of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which in its achievement overthrew the Missouri Compromise, again brought the slavery question into the halls of Congress and before the people, creating discord in our Territories and disrupting political parties in its course. The mischief thus occasioned has led one branch of the Democratic party to disclaim all connections by Congress with the Territories, and this dogma, so perniciously insisted upon, is about to be tested in Congress by the bill which Mr. Nelson, of Tennessee, has introduced for the prohibition and punishment of polygamy in the Territories.

If we understand the partisans of Mr. Douglas, Congress has no power to prohibit this monstrosity, and if so, then the fairest lands on our continent may be devastated and destroyed by a band of unprincipled men, who in defiance of all laws, human and divine, may introduce a system of corruption which shall impede the development of labor and ultimately ruin the Territories which they assume to rule. If Congress has no power to avert such a catastrophe, it is time the American people were informed of the fact, and we look to the measure introduced by Mr. Nelson, to elicit such a discussion of the sections we have cited, as will settle the relations between the Federal Government and the Territories of this Republic.

Our people are fully aware that the ante-election manifestoes of political parties are no criteria of what may be expected of them when they attain official power. The administration which now holds the reins of power, came into office with the most pointed and profuse expressions of non-interference with the wishes of the territorial inhabitants. Practically, it has interfered in the most reckless and abandoned manner, and to an unscrupulous extent, with the rights of majorities in territories, and only pretermitted its course when its minority pioneers were utterly unable longer to practice fraud, or with the assistance of government to succeed by force. Our citizens are not likely soon to forget the struggles through which they passed in achieving their right to maintain such institutions as a majority of them desired; and when another faction of the Democratic party attempts to cajole them with professions of popular sovereignty and non-interference by the Federal Government, they will know how to treat such professionals with the contempt which they merit.

That the territories of the United States, at least north of the 36 1/2 parallel of latitude are especially marked by nature for the development of free labor, we think no sane man doubts. It is equally certain that no population will ever attempt to carry slaves into such Territories as a means of profit.—If the lands are poor, slavery would be entirely unproductive—if rich, migration of free persons thither would limit the continuance of slavery there to the time when a State should be organized out of such Territories, whatever the General Government might meanwhile do to force slavery into or sustain it within the Territory. Apart then, from political considerations, it would argue stultification on the part of slaveholders to carry their slaves into our northern domains, and such stultification no great body of slaveholders will ever commit.

Our Territories do not object to that paternal care which the fathers of our Republic extended over their Territorial domains; but they do object to our Territories being made the counters of political gamblers and being governed by every caprice of political parties. They ask for a well settled and defined policy on the basis of the constitutional rights of the inhabitants of Territories, and when such policy shall be settled, they demand that it shall be permanent. But while this question is open there will not be sufficient confidence in the stability of anything to give our Territories a chance to expand, as they are desirous and able to do under favorable circumstances. We anxiously await the proceedings of Congress in the matters referred to, and are not without hopes that during the present session a Territorial policy will be inaugurated which will enable our public domains to be unmolested hereafter by reckless politicians.