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Jones of Pa, a leader among the Nebraskans admitted when pressed by the South, that there was no power in the territorial legislature to exclude slavery. The doctrine now contended for is that there is no power either in Congress or in the territories while in a territorial condition to exclude slavery. Pierce does not quite avow this doctrine in his present message, but the way he is going on he will in the next one.

The issue is to be distinctly made whether slavery shall spread over all the territories even in defiance of the action of the territorial Legislatures, or whether it shall be kept out of them by the action of Congress and an executive disposed to carry out that action. The action of the Democrats who favored the repeal of the Missouri Compromise both here and in Illinois clearly shows that an endorsement of that measure, which now means the opening of all territories to the introduction of slavery, is to be made a test question.

For one I cannot and will not act with any party having such a creed and I think the better course for all our friends will be to keep out of the conventions both State and National. We must adopt the course suggested by the New York Evening Post if we do not mean to submit to any terms which the Slaveocrats may think proper to impose. I would say keep clear of all conventions called by the Nebraskaites.

I do not apprehend any serious difficulty about my seat. The more that matter is stirred the worse it will be for those doing it. Douglas is not here, nor can I learn when he will be. The message took us all by surprise. No one unless some particular favorite had any notice that it was to be sent in. The House refused to let it be read and some in our body think we should have pursued the same course. No speaker yet20 and the prospect looks as gloomy as ever. I reckon the opposition can stand it to do without a Congress if Pierce can. I set it down as a fixed fact that an organization will be affected somehow but when or how no one can tell.

Yours truly,


20 N. P. Banks, Jr., of Massachusetts, was chosen speaker in February, after 133 ballots. He was a former Know Nothing.

Your letter did not contain any list of names. You speak of sending one. What have you done that some of the papers are complaining of the weakness of your backbone?



Washington, Jany. 24, 1856. Dear Palmer,

I am sorry you should think of supporting the candidate of the Cincinnatti Conventional under any circumstances. The nominee of that Convention, be he who he may, will be pledged to the Nebraska matter and you know what that means. The general Government is now under the control of the slave interest and if the nominee of the Cincinnatti Convention succeeds it is to continue so. The general government is prostituted to slavery and all its powers and patronage is now expected to extend it into free territory. The President would no more appoint a man Governor of Kansas who was in favor of making it a free state man than he would cut his finger off and if he did appoint such a man the Senate would instantly reject him.

Not only is this so, but even in the free state of Illinois there is no officer of the United States so insignificant that he would not be instantly removed if he was known to be opposed to the Kansas Act. Every opponent of that measure is shut out from all participation in the administration of the government, so far as it is in the power of the so-called Democracy to accomplish it. Neither a party nor any of its candidates which makes slavery extension the fundamental article of its creed can have my support.

I do not apprehend that we will be forced to choose between the candidate of the Nebraskaites and such men as Seward,22 Filmore,23 or Lane 24 In such an event I should feel com

21 The Democratic National Convention was held in Cincinnatti, June 2nd, and endorsed the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. James Buchanan was nominated for the Presidency:

22 William H. Seward, at that time in the U. S. Senate from New York, a former Whig and supposed to be strongly anti-slavery.

28 Millard Fillmore, who succeeded to Presidency in 1850, on the death of Taylor: He ran on the Know Nothing Ticket that year.

24 Henry Smith Lane, of Indiana, made permanent president of the Republican Party at the National Convention in June, 1856.

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pelled to follow a masterly inactivity. But I hope better things and trust that a Democrat opposed both to slavery extension and abolition may be run. There will probably be three candidates: 1st, the candidate of the Nebraskaites; 2. The candidate of the Know Nothings, who will most likely be Crittenden 25 The candidate of the so-called Republicans, who possibly may be Fremont26 or Judge McLean27

When I speak of the Republicans I do not mean such as have assumed that name in Illinois and who oppose the fugitive slave law, the admission of any more slave states under any circumstances, but I mean all these who on the slavery question simply make this issue, opposition to its spread into free territory. The Republicans will I think be willing to abandon their altruisms and stand upon this one position so far as slavery is concerned, and on that issue with fair candidates it is my opinion that every Northern State can be carried. Know Nothingism I am glad to see is becoming almost wholly a southern element. Let the South take it and keep it. Shall be glad to get rid of it in the north.

No speaker yet. Richardson has declined and his supporters to-day voted for Orr.29 Fuller30 has also withdrawn.

The President to-day sent us a message on Kansas affairs as full of perversion and false assumptions as his annual message. The Administration is getting anxious for an organization—think we will have it before long. There is no trouble about my seat. McConnel & Co are having all this trouble for nought. How it does grieve their righteous souls to have me here. Hope they may survive it. Let me hear from you often.

Yours truly,


* John Jordan Crittenden, of Kentucky, attorney general under President's Harrison and Fillmore, Senator from Kentucky 1817-19, 1835-41, 1842-48, 1855-61, author of the Crittenden Compromise.

20 John C. Fremont, Republican candidate for the Presidency in 1856.

27 John McLean, received 196 votes against Fremont's 359 in the Republican Convention; Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court 1829-1861.

28 See note 19.

20 James Lawrence Orr, of South Carolina, who deprecated the agitation of the slavery question but was a devoted friend of the Union. He was made Speaker in 1857.

80 Henry M. Fuller of Pennsylvania.


Senate Chamber, May 21, 1856.
Dear Palmer,

I have just recd a letter from Springfield from a Gentleman high in the counsels of the Know Nothings saying that you would receive all their votes for Congress provided you did not abuse them. This of course you would not do, as it is not your nature to abuse anybody. They are anxious for you to be elected, knowing as I presume they do, that one of their own men would stand no chance. I am told that you would receive all the votes that Yates:1 got, if it were clearly known and understood that you stood upon Anti-Nebraska ground and I am quite sure you would get votes enough which Yates did not receive to render your election quite sure.

My correspondent suggests that it would place you all right before the District if you were to attend the Bloomington Convention82 and suggests whether it would be well for you to do so. The suggestion strikes me favorably. That convention is evidently going to be a very respectable one. It will nominate Bissell33 for Governor and I presume take conservative measures avoiding all altruisms. I think we can carry the State. The news which I have received from Illinois within the last two weeks both by letters and local papers, very many of which are sent to me, is more encouraging than at any previous period.

Judd writes me very encouragingly. Alfred Kitchell,34 of Richland, has made a speech recently denouncing Douglas & Co. He is a valuable man in that locality. Koerner will I think be with us. That he is privately so I know, but whether he will come out publicly I am not advised.

I am anxious that you should be in position to be the candi. date for Congress against Harris and if you are I count sure on your election.

Very truly yours,

LYMAN TRUMBULL. 31 Richard Yates, of Jacksonville, a member of the Thirty-second and Thirtythird Congresses and defeated for reëlection by Thomas L. Harris, of Petersburg. Later War Governor of Illinois.

32 The Republican State Convention was held at Bloomington on May 29, 1856. John M. Palmer was elected Chairman of the Convention.

83 William H. Bissell was elected Governor in 1856 to succeed Matteson.

34 Alfred Kitchell, of Richland, was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1847 and was Commissioned Circuit Judge of the Twenty-fifth District in 1859.



Senate Chamber, July 31, 1856. Hon. J. M. Palmer,

Dr. Sir.

Why do you not write. Have been anxious to hear from you and know what the Filmore movement at Springfield means. Is it possible that the Know Nothings can suffer themselves to be made tools of by Douglas & Co. They of course are aging on the movement.

Richardson has just returned and I am told brags largely on Illinois. Am told he says the Know Nothings86 are acting secretly and intend giving the Republicans a terrible stab at the election by polling a very heavy vote. Douglas, I hear, now says there will be no doubt about Illinois. Will the Americans support you or are they going to get out a candidate of their own. Harris told Woodworth that Fremont would not get two hundred votes in Sangamon County and Richardson told him that Buchanan would carry the State by 20,000 and that he would even carry his, Woodworth's, 34 District. He went so far as to advise W. to keep out of the fight. He told Woodworth that B. S. Morris37 was to run for Governor as the Filmore candidate. This all shows that the Nebraskaites are acting in concert with the Know Nothings but it is all gammon about Filmore having any strength in Woodworth's district and I trust it is equally so as to other parts of the State. You see what the Nebraskaites are expecting. We must head them.

Are you making any arrangements for the canvass in your District ?88 I will be home early in September and attend meetings wherever I can be of service. I have directed a large number of documents to you for distribution. You know I will be on hand to do what I can to promote your election. Am send

80 The Know Nothings a secret organization, took the name of "The American Party."

86 James H. Woodworth, Republican Congressman from Chicago.

37 Buckner s. Morris, candidate for Governor in 1856, polling a very small vote.

38 July 29, 1856. W. H. Herndon wrote Trumbull that Palmer's chances for Congress were not good because the old line Whigs objected to so many former Democratic candidates. August 11 he wrote saying that sentiment was turning strongly to Palmer, but that he refused to run. Trumbull Manuscripts, Library of Congress. See also State Register, August 14, 1856.

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