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There can never be any good feeling between B. and D.50 but their friends are no doubt at work to bring about a reconciliation and in that event the Buchanan convention for June 8th would either be abandoned or adopt the nominees of the Douglas convention. A few days will probably determine the course of the Administration in regard to Douglas and that determination will of course govern to a great extent the action of the factions in Illinois.
I see some of the pro-slavery papers in our state are assailing me for opposing the admission of Oregon on a false statement of the grounds of my opposition. My only object in saying anything on the question was to disavow the objection, that of negro extension, in which some of our Republican friends founded their opposition.
I knew very well that such a position could not be maintained in our State and strange to say, I am falsely charged with advocating the very objection which I disavowed, I know not how this false report was started. No telegraph report which I ever saw so represented me, though some of my own friends seem to have been misled by the false report. The correction has probably reached the Republican papers before this and I trust they will set me right in the matter.
The bill was up again day before yesterday and passed the Senate as it probably will the House also. I cannot understand the policy of our friends who voted to admit Oregon with the certain knowledge that it will introduce into the Senate two more pro-slavery Senators.
The idea that it was a free state seems to have been allpowerful with some; but a free state which like California till the present session votes uniformly with the slave power cannot surely be of much service to freedom. No delegation from any state worked more efficiently than that of California to force slavery into Kansas and now we will have two senators from Oregon who will not be behind any others in their zeal to force upon the country the doctrines of the Dred Scott decision. Besides, it puts it hopelessly out of our power to have control of the Senate in 1860, when, should we carry the President, the pro-slavery party will have it in their power to check
50 Buchanan and Douglas.
all our measures of reform by their majority in the Senate for at least the two first years of the new administration.
These are considerations of policy, but a substantial objection to the admission is a want of the requisite population, which I do not suppose exceeds fifty thousand at the outside.
I made some additional remarks on the question of admission which appeared in yesterday's Globe and which you will probably see.
Is it the understanding to run J. H. Matheny for Congress in the 6th Dist, and can anything be gained by doing so ?51 He must have changed since the last election or his position is more adverse to us than that of Harris now is. I do not wish to interfere at all with what our friends may deem best in the 6th District, but the past course of Matheny does not recommend bim to me.
If Congress adjourns on the 7th of June, I shall expect to be in Springfield on the 16th.
LYMAN TRUMBULL. Do not understand me as recommending the taking up of Harris. I would like to see a good Republican elected in his place.
TRUMBULL TO PALMER.
Washington, June 19, 1858. My Dear Sir,
I should long ago have answered yours of May 25th but I expected to have met you at the Convention.52 The Senate did not adjourn till Wednesday, the day the Convention met and as I did not like to leave till the final adjournment I had to forego being at Springfield.
I see by the telegraph report that the convention was numerously attended and I trust all went off well. There is no escaping a direct conflict with Douglas. His effort will be
61 James H. Matheny, prominent lawyer of Springfield, member Constitutional Convention, 1847.
52 The State convention of June 16 that nominated Lincoln for the Senate.
to secure a re-election in spite of the Republican party. His plan as indicated in his last speech in the Senate is to create the impression that there is an alliance between a few Lecompton office holders and the leading Republicans to defeat him, the former opposing him because he would not consent to force a constitution on the people of Kansas and the latter from personal considerations. He will claim great credit for independence and for having defeated the Lecompton Constitution and appeal to the masses of all parties to sustain him for the great good he has done and is capable of doing. Will be especially severe on Dr. Leib 3 and a few other office holders whom he thinks assailable and unpopular and will seek to create a sympathy among our friends by charging that he is being persecuted by the Lecomptonites. It would seem to me that such a game could not win and if the Administration has any positive strength it certainly cannot. What I fear is, that all so-called Democrats may act together in the election of members of the Legislature and leave the question as to who is to be Senator to be settled by them after the election. I think some of the Cabinet regretted to see that the Buchanan convention had made district nominations.
Crittenden came to me after I had said a word the other day to repel the charge of Douglas that the Republicans and office holders were acting in concert and said that I ought to have no controversy with Douglas, that he was opposing the Administration, etc. I mention this to show it is not unlikely an effort may be made to carry the Americans of Illinois for Douglas. I do not understand Douglas to be opposed to the Administration. He is at war with Mr. Buchanan personally and that is the extent of his opposition. Since the English bill passed, he no longer consults with or seems to cultivate the good will of Republican Senators and his votes on all questions are of late with the Administration. Had Douglas cut loose from the pro-slavery party and come out against the doctrines of the Dred Scott case, it would have embarassed the Republicans very much to have opposed him, but now we ought to be able to present an undivided front against him.
63 Dr. Charles Leib one of the Buchanan leaders in Illinois.
I fully appreciate the considerations you suggest in regard to Mr. Lincoln and feel more deeply than anyone else the obligations we are under to him.54 I certainly feel it a duty and shall take pleasure in standing by him to the utmost of my ability in the coming contest.
Do you intend running again for the Senate and can I do anything for you? It is not my intention to return to Illinois for some weeks unless political considerations make it necessary. Suppose the canvass will not begin before some time in August, but when it does begin I shall be ready to take part wherever it is supposed I can do any good. It looks to me as if our prospects were good for carrying the State. I am a little afraid about Madison County. The American element is so strong in that county that we are in danger of losing it.
Harris I suppose will be a candidate for re-election and he has behaved so well this last session that it will be difficult to defeat him unless the Administration element in the district is much stronger than I suppose.
Hon. Robert Smith 55 wants to be returned and situated as things are in that district I fear he cannot be beat. He and the whole delegation, unless it be Harris, will fall into the proslavery camp and be again in full communion if they are reelected unless I am greatly mistaken.
I have no expectation that any of them will go with the Republicans, unless a state of things should arise which makes it necessary for them to rely on Republican support for a reelection.
I shall be glad to hear from you frequently. I see by the papers that the Americans in Macoupin still keep up their organization. What nonsense it is for them to undertake to maintain their district organization.
54 Palmer had written Trumbull May 25, urging on Trumbull his moral obligation to promote Lincoln's election in view of what had happened in 1854. Trumbull Manuscripts, Library of Congress. The Democrats alleged that in 1854 Trumbull had violated a triple bargain by which he was to be elected to Congress, the radical anti-slavery men were to have the General Assembly offices, and Lincoln the senatorship. Ottawa Free Trader, September 25, 1858 ; Our Constitution, October 23, 1858 ; Rushville Times, August 27, 1856.
05 Robert Smith of Alton, member of Congress 1843-1849, 1857-1859. He was not re-elected 1858 but was succeeded by Philip B. Fouke of Belleville.
TRUMBULL TO PALMER.
Washington, Dec. 19, 1858. John M. Palmer, Esq.
My Dear Sir,
I shall be rejoiced to see you here and hope nothing may occur to prevent your coming. Do not, I beg of you, let the election of a Congressman go by default. Our friends ought to bring out a candidate and use the greatest activity to give him as large a vote as possible. I have no doubt the vote given to Matheny would elect and with a united effort it might be given. At all events Harris majority could be reduced and that would help us next time.
I wish very much it were possible to set an active Republican committee at work in every county in the District from now till the day of election. Such an effort would accomplish wonders at this special election.
Douglas stock has fallen wonderfully since his decapitation by his senatorial colleagues of the pro-slavery order. Suppose he will hardly reach here before the Legislature acts on his case.
The Buchananites of our State, a good part of whom are in Washington, still talk about defeating D's election. I hope they may accomplish it, but have not faith in all they say.
I think the great contest of this session will be on the bill to organize Arizona. Do not expect any serious attempt to carry out the President's recommendations as to foreign matters.