According to the Paxton Annals of Platte County, Missouri, Hall Wilkerson is known to have voted in favor of the Jackson Resolutions, a strongly worded pro-slavery statement by the Missouri state legislature in 1849

-See Annals of Platte County, Missouri, by William McClung Paxton, p. 142

Early in the year 1849 there began a series of discussions in the Missouri Legislature concerning the slavery question, or rather the power of Congress over slavery in the territories. On the 15th of January Hon. C. F. Jackson, senator from Howard, afterward Governor of the State, introduced into the Legislature a series of resolutions as follows:

Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri: 2. That the Federal constitution was the result of a compromise between the conflicting interests of the States which formed it, and in no part of that instrument is to be found any delegation of power to Congress to legislate on the subject of slavery, excepting some special provisions, having, in view the prospective abolition of the African slave trade, made for securing the recovery of fugitive slaves; any attempt therefore on the part of Congress to legislate onthe subject, so as to affect the institution of slavery in the States, in the District of Columbia, or in the territories, is, to say the least, a violation of the principles upon which that instrument was founded.

2. That the territories, acquired by the blood and treasure, of the whole nation, ought to be governed for the common benefit of the people of all the States, and any organization of the territorial governments excluding the citizens of any part of the Union from removing to such territories with their property, would be an exercise of power by Congress inconsistent with the spirit upon which our federal compact was based, insulting to the sovereignty and dignity of the States thus affected, calculated to alienate one portion of the Union from another, and tending ultimately to disunion. [207]

3. That this General Assembly regard the conduct of the Northern States on the subject of slavery as releasing the slave-holding States from all further adherence to the basis of compromise, fixed on by the act of Congress of March 6, 1820, even if such act ever did impose any obligation upon the slave-holding States and authorizes them to insist upon their rights under the constitution; but for the sake of harmony and for the preservation of our Federal Union they will still sanction the application of the principles of the Missouri Compromise to the recent territorial acquisitions, if by such concession future aggressions upon the equal rights of the States may be arrested and the spirit of anti-slavery fanaticism be extinguished.

4. The right to prohibit slavery in any territory belongs exclusively to the people thereof, and can only be exercised by them in forming their constitution for a State government, or in their sovereign capacity as an independent State.

5. That in the event of the passage of any act of Congress conflicting with the principles herein expressed, Missouri will be found in hearty co-operation with the slave-holding States, in such measures as may be deemed necessary for our mutual protection against the encroachments of Northern fanaticism.

6. That our Senators in Congress be instructed and our Representatives be requested to act in conformity to the foregoing resolutions.

The foregoing resolutions were known as the Jackson Resolutions, from the name of their mover, but their real author was Hon. W. B. Napton, of Saline county, latterly a judge of the Supreme Court, who admitted the fact to the writer. Space is given to an account of the Jackson resolutions in this volume from the fact that, at the time, they engaged a large share of the attention of the leading politicians, and prominent men of the county. The representative of the county voted for them, but the sentiment of his constituents was not unanimous in their favor. There were many who thought their passage untimely, unwise, and that they foreboded eventually a dissolution of the Union.

Col. Thomas H. Benton, Missouri’s distinguished Senator, was especially opposed to the resolutions. He thought (and correctly, too,) that they were aimed at him, and designed to deprive him of his seat in the United States Senate, which he had held for nearly thirty consecutive years. The last section commanded him to act in accordance with the resolutions, the spirit of which he had often vigorously opposed. [208]

Col. Benton appealed from the action of the Legislature to the people of Missouri and canvassed the State against the Jackson resolutions. In the summer of 1849 he spoke in Springfield. The meeting was held in Fairer’s grove, in the southern part of town. While in Springfield Col. Benton was the guest of Joseph Moss, Esq. The meeting was largely attended. It had been reported that Hon. Thos. B. Neaves, the county’s representative, and John W. Hancock, the State Senator, both of whom had voted for the Jackson resolutions, had declared, with some others, that “Old Bullion” should not speak inSpringfield, and trouble was imminent, the Benton men being on hand instrong force, to protect their leader. No disturbance occurred, save that, during the delivery of the speech, Mr. Hancock rose with his hat on, and asked the speaker if he might propound to him a series of questions. “Who are you, sir?” sternly demanded Mr. Benton;1 “take off your hat, sir, when you address a gentleman. “I am John W. Hancock, sir,” returned Mr. H., “and I am State Senator from this district.” Mr. Hancock then put his questions ina respectful manner, but Mr. Benton paid noattention to them.

Col. Benton’s speech in Springfield was longremembered by those who heard it. He maintained that the spirit of nullification and treason lurked inthe Jackson resolutions, especially in the fifth; that they were a mere copy of the Calhoun resolutions, offered in the United States Senate, February 19, 1847, and denounced by him (Benton) at the time as fire-brands, and intended for disunion and electioneering purposes. He said he could see no difference between them, except as to the time contemplated for dissolving the Union, as he claimed that Mr. Calhoun’s tended directly and the Jackson resolutions ultimately to that point. Col. Benton further argued that the Jackson resolutions were in conflict with the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and with the resolutions passed by the Missouri Legislature, February 15, 1847, wherein it was declared that I the peace, permanency and welfare of our national union depend upon a strict adherence to the letter and spirit” of that compromise, and which instructed the Missouri Senators and Representatives to vote in accordance with its provisions. Inconclusion, Col. Benton warned his bearers that the Jackson resolutions were intended to mislead them into aiding the scheme of ultimately disrupting the national union, and entreated them to remain aloof from them. [209]

1 “I knew well enough who he was, ” Col. Benton afterwards said, “but I wanted to- make him bow to me and take off his hat like a d —d nigger!

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