In Congress, the Seminole War was finally starting to attract attention. The gag rule
remained in effect, prohibiting discussions of slavery, but Congress still had to debate funding for the war. On February
1841, Joshua Reed Giddings, a fiery antislavery Congressman from Ohio, followed in the footsteps of John Quincy
Adams in his attempts to flaunt the gag rule. Using parliamentary rules to brilliant effect, Giddings delivered a three-hour
diatribe against the war that was simultaneously a ringing indictment of slavery. Peppering his speech with historical
references to the Black Seminoles, Giddings described the war as the prostitution of the federal army "to the base purpose of leading
on an organized company of Negro catchers."
Stewart Joshua R. Giddings 62-64, Giddings Speeches 17. The record of
the speech as delivered to Congress can be found in the U.S.
Congressional Globe, 26th Cong., 2nd Sess., 346-352.
Part 3, Exile: l