« AnteriorContinuar »
your sutisfaction. I have not attempted to support my corrupted itself and perverted the principles of the two answers by argument, for that could not be done in a vernment; has set itself openly against the great home short letter; and, restraining myself from going into interests of the people, by neglecting to protect their general politics, I have confined my remarks to the industry, and by refusing to improve and keep in order particular subjects upon which you requested me to the highways and depots of commerce; and even now is write. Your obliged fellow-citizen,
urging a measure in Congress to abdicate the constituEDWARD BATES. tional power and duty to regulate commerce among the
States, and to grant to the States the discretionary
power to levy tonnage duties upon all our commerce, JUDGE BATES'S LETTER
under the pretense of improving harbors, rivers, and
lakes; has changed the status of the negro slave by makIN SUPPORT OF LINCOLY.
ing him 20 longer mere property, but a politician, an
antagonist power in the State, a power to which all other St Louis, June 11, 1860. powers are required to yield, under penalty of a dissolu. 0. H. BROWNING, Esq., Quincy, Ill.
tion of the Union; has directed its energies 10 the gratiDEAR SIR: When I received your letter of May 22d, I ; fication of its lusts of foreign domain, as manifested in its had no thought that the answer would be so long de- persistent efforts to seize upon tropical regions, not belayed; but, waiving all excuses, I proceed to answer cause those countries and their incongruous people are it now.
necessary, or even desirable, to be incorporated into cur Under the circumstances of the case it ought not to pation, but for the mere purpose of making Slave States, have been doubted that I would give Mr. Lincoln's nom- in order to advance the political power of the party in ination a cordial and hearty support. But in declaring the Senate and in the choice of the President, so as my intention to do so, it is due to myself to state some of effectually to transfer the chief powers of the Goverament the facts and reasons which have a controlling influence from the many to the few; has in various ipsiances over my mind, and which I think ought to be persua- endangered the equality of the coördinate branches of the sive arguments with some other men, whose political Government, by urgent efforts to enlarge the powers of opinions and antecedents are, in some important parti- | the Executive at the expense of the Legislative depart culars, like my own.
ment; bas a'tempted to discredit and degrade the Judi There was no good ground for supposing that I felt ciary, by affecting to make it, at first, the arbiter of any pique or dissatisfaction because the Chicago Con- | party quarrels, to become soon and inevitably the pasvention failed to nominate me. I had no such feeling. sive registrar of a party decree. On party grounds, I had no right to expect the nomina- In most, if not all these pa rticulars, I understand the tion. I had no claims upon the Republicans as a party, Republican party (judging it by its acts and by the for I have never been a member of any party, so as to known opinions of many of its leading men) to be the be bound by its dogmas, and subject to its discipline, ex- exact opposite of the Democratic party; and that is the cept only the Whig party, which is now broken up, and ground of my preference of the one party over the other. its materials, for the most part, absorbed in other organi. And that alone would be a suflicient reason, if I had no zations. And thus I am left, alone and powerless, in- other good reasons, for supporting Mr. Lincoln against deed, but perfectly free to follow the dictates of my own any man who may be put forward by the Democratic judgment, and to take such part in current politics as party, as the exponent of its principles and the agent 10 my own sense of duty and patriotism may require. work out, in practice, its dangerous policies. Many Republicans, and among them, I think, some of The third party, which, by its formation, has destroyed the most moderate and patriotic of that party, honored the organization of the American and Whig parties, bas me with their confidence and desired to make me their nominated two most excellent men. I know them well, candidate. For this favor I was indebted to the fact that as sound statesmen and true patriots. More than thirty between them and me there was a coincidence of opin- years ago I served with them both in Congress, and from ion upon certain important questions of government. that time to this I have always held them in respect and They and I agreed in believing that the National Govern- honor. But what can the third party do toward the elec ment has sovereign power over the Territories, and that tion of even such worthy men as these against the two it would be impolitic and unwise to use that power for great parties which are now in actual contest for the the propagation of negro Slavery by planting it in Free power to rule the nation? It is made up entirely of por. Territory. Some of them believed also that my nomina- tions of the disintegrated elements of the late Whig and tion, while it would teri 'o soften the tone of the Repub- American parties--good materials, in the main, I admit, lican party, without any abandonment of its principles, but quite too weak to elect any man or establish any might tend also to generalize its character and attract principle. The most it can do is, here and there in par the friendship and support of many, especially in the ticular localities, to make a diversion in favor of the border States, who, like me, had never been members of Democrats. In 1856, the Whig and American parties their party, but concurred with them in opinion about (not forming a new party, but united as allies), with enthe government of the Territories. These are the grounds, tire unanimity and some zeal, supported Mr. Fillmore for and I think the only grounds, upon which I was sup- the Presidency, and with what results ? We made a ported at all at Chicago.
miserable failure, carrying no State but gallant little As to the platform put forth by the Chicago Conven. Maryland. And, surely, the united Whigs and Amerition, I have little to say, because, whether good or bad, cans of that day had a far greater show of strength and that will not constitute the ground of my support of Mr. far better prospects of success than any which belong to Lincoln. I have no great respect for party platforms in the Constitutional Union party now. In fact, I see no general, They are commonly made in times of high ex possiblity of success for the third party, except in one citement, under a pressure of circumstances, and with the contingency-the Destruction of the Democratic party. view to conciliate present support, rather than to esta- That is a contigency not likely to happen this year, for, blish a permanent system of principies and line of badly as I think of many of the acts and policies of that policy for the future good government of country. party, its cup is not yet full-the day has not yet come The Conventions which form them are transient in when it must dissolve in its own corruptions. But the their nature ; their power and influence are consumed in day is coming, and is not far off. The party has made the using, leaving no continuing obligation upon their re- itself entirely sectional; it has concentrated its very bespective parties. And hence we need not wonder that ing into one single idea; negro Slavery has control of all platforms so made are hardly ever acted upon in prac. its faculties, and it can see and hear nothing else"one tice. I shall not discuss their relative merits, but con- stern, tyrannic thought, that makes all other thoughts tent myself with saying that this Republican platform, its slaves !” though in several particulars it does not conform to my But the Democratic party still lives, and while it lives, it views, is still far better than any published creed, past or and the Republican party are the only real antagonistic present, of the Democrats. And as to the new party, it powers in the nation, and for the present, I must choose has pot chosen to promulgate any platform at all, except between them. I choose the latter, as wiser, purer, two or three broad generalities which are common to the younger and less corrupted by time and self-indulgence. professions of faith of all parties in the country. No The candidates nominated at Chicago are both inen who, party, indeed, dare ask the confidence of the nation, as individuals and politicians, rank with the foremost of while openly denying the obligation to support the Union the country. I have heard no objection to Mr. Hamlin and the Constitution and to enforce the laws. That is a personally, but only to his geographical position, which is common duty, binding upon every citizen, and the failure thought to be too far North and East to allow his personal to perform it is a crime.
good qualities to exercise their proper influence over the To me it is plain that the approaching contest must be nation at large. But the nomination for the Presidency is between the Democratic and the Republican parties; and, the great controlling act. Mr. Lincoln, his character, between them, I prefer the latter.
talents, opinions and history will be criticised by thouThe Democratic party, by the long possession and sands, while the candidate for the Vice-Presidency will be abuse of power, has grown wanton and reckless; has passed over in comparative silence.
Mr. Lincoln's nomination took the public by surprise, bolding them up to the public as the leading doctrines because, until just before the event, it was unexpected. of the person assailed, and drawing from them their own But really it ought not to have excited any surprise, for uncharitable inferences. That line of attack betrays a such unforeseen nominations are common in our political little mind conscious of its weakness, for the falsity of its history. Polk and Pierce, by the Democrats, and Harri- logic is not more apparent than the injustice of its deson and Taylor, by the Whigs, were all nominated in this signs. No public man can stand that ordeal, and, howextemporaneous manner-all of them were elected. I ever willing men may be to see it applied to their adverhave known Mr. Lincoln for more than twenty years, and saries, all flinch from the torture when applied to themtherefore have a right to speak of him with some confi- selves. In fact, the man who never said a foolish thing, dence. As an individual, he has earned a high reputation will hardly be able to prove that he ever said many wise for truth, courage, candor, morals, and amiability; so that, ones. as a man, he is most trustworthy. And his particular, I consider Mr. Lincoln a sound, safe, national man. He he is more entitled to our esteem than some other men, his could not be sectional if he tried. His birth, education, equals, who had far better opportunities and aids in early the habits of his life, and his geographical position, conlife. His talents, and the will to use them to the best ad- pel him to be national. All his feelings and interest are vantage, are unquestionable; and the proof is found in the identified with the great valley of the Mississippi, near fact that, in every position in life, from his humble begin- whose centre he has spent his whole life. The valley is ning to his present well-earned elevation, he has more than not a section, but, conspicuously, the body of the nation, fulfilled the best hopes of his friends. And now, in the full and, large as it is, it is not capable of being divided into vigor of his manhood, and in the honest pride of having sections, for the great river cannot be divided. It is one made himself what he is, he is the peer of the first man of and indivisible, and the North and the South are alike the nation, well able to sustain himself and advance his necessary to its comfort and prosperity. Its people, too, cause, against any adversary, and in any field, where mind in all their interests and affections, are as broad' and and knowledge are the weapons used.
general as the regions they inhabit. They are emigrants, In politics he has but acted out the principle of his a mixed multitude, coming from every State in the Union, own moral and intellectual character, He has not con- and from most countries in Europe; they are unwilling, cealed his thoughts nor hidden his light under a bushel. therefore, to submit to any one petty local standard. With the boldness of conscious rectitude and the frank- They love the nation as a whole, and they love all its ness of downright honesty, he has not failed to avow his parts, for they are bound to them all, not only by a feel. opinions of public affairs upon all fitting occasions. ing of common interest and mutual dependence, but also
This I know may subject him to the carping censure by the recollections of childhood and youth, by blood and of that class of politicians who mistake cunning for wis- friendship, and by all those social and domestic charities dom and falsehood for ingenuity; but such men as Lin which sweeten life, and make this world worth living in. coln must act in keeping with their own characters, and The valley is beginning to feel its power, and will soon be hope for success only by advancing the truth prudently strong enough to dictate the law of the land. Whenever and maintaining it bravely. All his old political ante- that state of things shall come to pass, it will be most cedents are, in my judgment, exactly right, being square fortunate for the nation to find the powers of Government up to the old Whig standard. And as to his views about lodged in the hands of men whose habits of thought, “the pestilent negro question," I am not aware that he whose position and surrounding circumstances, constrain has gone one step beyond the doctrines publicly and them to use those powers for general and not sectional habitually avowed by the great lights of the Whig party, ends. Clay, Webster, and their fellows, and indeed sustained
I give my opinion freely in favor of Mr. Lincoln, and I and carried out by the Democrats themselves, in their hope that for the good of the whole country, he may be wiser and better days.
elected. But it is not my intention to take any active The fo ving, I suppose, are in brief his opinions up- part in the canvass For many years past, I have had on that subject : 1. Slavery is a domestic institution little to do with public affairs, and have aspired to no within the States which choose to have it, and it exists political office; and now, in view of the mad excitement within those States beyond the control of Congress. which convulses the country, and the general disruption 2. Congress has supreme legislative power over all the and disorder of parties and the elements which compose Territories, and may, at its discretion, allow or forbid the them, I am more than ever assured that for me, personexistence of Slavery within them. 3. Congress, in wis- ally, there is no political future, and I accept the condi. dom and sound policy, ought not so to exercise its power, tion with cheerful satisfaction. Still, I cannot discharge directly or indirectly, as to plant and establish Slavery myself from the life-long duty to watch the conduct of in any Territory theretofore free. 4. And that it is unwise men in power, and to resist, so far as a mere private man and impolitic in the Government of the United States, to may, the fearful progress of official corruption, which for acquire tropical regions for the mere purpose of convert- several years past has sadly marred and defiled the fair ing them into Slave States.
fabric of our Government. These, I believe, are Mr. Lincoln's opinions upon the If Mr. Lincoln should be elected, coming in as a new matter of Slavery in the Territories, and I concur in man at the head of a young party never before in power, them. They are no new inventions, made to suit the ex- he may render a great service to his country, which no igencies of the hour, but have come down to us, as the Democrat could render. He can march straight forward Declaration of Independence and the Constitution have, in the discharge of his high duties, guided only by his own sanctioned by the venerable authority of the wise and good judgment and honest purposes, without any necessity good men who established our institutions. They are to temporize with established abuses, to wink at the delinconformable to law, principle and wise policy, and their quencies of old party friends, or to unlearn and discard utility is proven in practice by the as yet unbroken cur- the bad official habits that have grown up under the mis rent of our political history. They will prevail, not only government of his Democratic predecessors. In short, he because they are right in themselves, but also because a can be an honest and bold reformer on easier and cheaper great and still growing majority of the people believe terms than any Democratic President can be-for, in prothem to be right; and the sooner they are allowed to ceeding in the good work of cleansing and purifying the prevail in peace and harmony, the better for all con- administrative departments, he will have no occasion to cerned, as well those who are against them as those who expose the vices, assail the interests, or thwart the ambi. are for them.
tion of his political friends. I am aware that smalll partisans, in their little warfare
Begging your pardon for the length of this letter, I against opposing leaders, do sometimes assail them by remain, with great respect, your friend and obedient the trick of tearing from their contexts some particular servant, objectionable phrases, penned, förhaps, in the hurry of
EDWARD BATES. composition, or spoken in the ? :nt of oral debate, and
THE MONROE DOCTRINE.
So much has been wildly said of what is and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on termed the “ Monroe Do rine,” in regard to the great consideration, and on just principles, acknowledged, influence of European Powers on this continent, oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their
we could not view any interposition for the purpose of that we publish exactly what President Monroe destiny, by any European power, in any other light than said on the subject. We copy from the Seventh as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward
the United States. In the war between these new governAnnual Message of Mr. Monroe, dated December ments and Spain, we declared our neutrality at the time 2, 1823 :
of their recognition, and to this we have adhered, and
shall continue to adhere, provided no change shall occur, " It was stated, at the commencement of the last session, which in the judgment of the competent authorities of this that a great effort was then making in Spain and Portugal Government, shall make a corresponding change on the to improve the condition of the people of those countries, part of the United States indi-pensable to their security. and that it appeared to be conducted with extraordinary “The late events in Spain and Portugal show that Europe moderation. It need scarcely be remarked that the re- is still unsettled. Of this important fact no stronger proof sult has been, so far, very different from what was then can be adduced than that the allied powers should have anticipated. 'Of events in that quarter of the globe, with thought it proper, on a principle satisfactory to them. which we have so mich intercourse, and from which we selves, to have interposed by force in the internal concerns derive our origin, we have always been anxious and in of Spain. To what extent such interposition may be car: terested spectators. The citizens of the United States ried, on the same principle, is a question to which all cherish sertiments the most friendly in favor of the liberty independent powers, whose governments differ from and happiness of their fellow-men on that side of the theirs, are interested-even those most remote, and surely Atlantic. In the wars of the European powers, in matters none more so than the United States. Our policy in rerelating to themselves, we have never taken any part, gard to Europe, which was adopted at an early stage of nor does it comport with our policy so to do. It is only the wars which have so long agitated that quarter of the when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced, that globe, nevertheless remains the same, which is, not to we resent injuries or make preparation for our defense. interfere in the internal concerns of any of its powers; to With the movements in this hemisphere we are of neces. consider the Government, de facto, as the legitimate siiy inore immediately connected, and by causes which Government for us; to cultivate friendly relations with it, must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial obser- and to preserve those relations by a frank, firm, and
The political system of the allied powers is essen- manly policy; meeting, in all instances, the just claims of tially different in this respect from that of America. every power, submitting to injuries from none. But in This difference proceeds from that which exists in their regard to these continents, circumstances are eminently respective governments.
And to the defense of our own, and conspicuously different. It is impossible that the which has been achieved by the loss of so much blood and allied powers should extend their political system to any treasure, and matured by the wisdom of their most portion of either continent without endangering our enlightened citizens, and under which we have enjoyed peace and happiness; nor can any one believe that oui unexampled felicity, this whole nation is devoted. We southern brethren, if left to themselves, would adopt it of owe it, therefire, to candor, and to the amicable relations their own accord. It is equally impossible, therefore, existing between the United States and those powers to that we should behold such interposition, in any form, declare, that we should consider any attempt on their with indifference. If we look to the comparative strength part to extend their system to any portion of this hemi- and resources of Spain and those new Governments, and sphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the their distance from each other, it must be obvious that existing colonies or dependencies of any European power she can never subdue them. It is still the true policy of we have not interfered, and shall not interfere. But with the United States to leave the parties to themselves, in the governments who have declared their independence, the hope that other powers will pursue the same course."
STATES AND STATESMEN ON THE SLAVERY QUESTION.
WISCONSIN FOR FREE SOIL.
cept as a punislıment for crime, of which the party shall
have been duly convicted according to law. The following resolutions were adopted by Resowed, That His Excellency the Governor is herethe Wisconsin (Democratic) Legislature in 1848, by requested immediately to forward a copy of the forewith only three dissenting 'votes in the Senate going resolutions to each of our Senators and Represen
tatives, to be by them laid before Congress. and five in the House :
THE DEMOCRACY OF MAINE FOR THE WILMOT Whereas, Slavery is an evil of the first magnitude, morally and politically, and whatever may be the
PROVISO. consequences, it is our duty to prohibit its extension in
Resolutions adopted by a Convention of the all cases where such prohibition is allowed by the Constitution : Therefore,
Democratic party of Maine, in June, 1849 : Resowed, By the Senate and Assembly of the State of Resolved, That the institution of human Slavery is at Wiscousin, that the introduction of Slavery into this variance with the theory of our government, abhorrent country is to be deeply deplored; that its extension to the common sentiments of mankind, and fraught with ought to be prohibited by every constitutional barrier danger to all who come within the sphere of its influence, within the power of Congress ; that in the admission of that the Federal Government possesses adequate power new territory into the Union, there ought to be an in- to inhibit its existence in the Territories of the Union; hibitory provision against its introduction, unless clearly and that we enjoin upon our Senators and Representaand unequivocally admitted by the Constitution—inas- tives in Congress to make every exertion and employ all much as in all cases of doubtful construction, the Rights their influence to procure the passage of a law forever of Man and the cause of Liberty ought to prevail. excluding Slavery from the Territories of California and
Resolved, That our Senators in Congress be, and they New-Mexico. are hereby, instructed, and our Representatives are re
DELAWARE FOR FREE TERRITORY. quested, to use their influence to insert into the organic act for the government of any new territory already The following preamble and resolution wore acquired or he eafter to be acquired, that is now free, an adopted by the Legislature of Delaware in ordinance forever p.ohibiting the Slavery or involuntary servitude into said territory ex- / 1847 :
Whereas, A crisis has arrived in the public affairs of MR. WEBSTER AGAINST SLAVERY EXTENSION the Nation, which requires the free and full expression of the peop'e, through their legal representatives; and In the United States Senate, in Aug., 1848, Whereas, the United States is at war with the Republic, Mr. Webster, in speaking on the bill to organize of Mexico, occasioned by the Annexation of Texas, with a view to the addition of Slave Territory to our country, the Territory of Oregon with a clause prohibit and the extending of Slave power in our Union; and ing Slavery, said: Whereas, In the opinion of the General Asseinbly, such acquisitions are hostile to the spirit of our Free Iusti. The question now is, whether it is not competent te tutions, and contrary to sound morality; therefore be it
Congress, in the exercise of a fair and just discretion, tc Resolved, By the Senate and House of Representatives say that, considering that there have been five siave. of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met, That holding States (Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri our Senators and Representatives in Congress are hereby and Texas) added to the Union out of foreign acquisi. requested to vote against the annexation of any Territory tions, and as yet only one Free State, whether, under his 10 our Union, which shall not thereafter be forever free state of things, it is unreasonable and must in the from Slavery.
slightest degree to limit their farther extensi.? That i:
the question. I see no injustice in it. As to the power MASSACHUSETTS AGAINST SLAVERY.
of Congress I have nothing to add to what I said the The following resolution was passed by the tension of the area of Slavery on this continent, no
other day. I have said that I shall consent to no Es Legislature of Massachusetts in 1847, in con- any increase of Slave Representation in the other nection with others on the subject of the Mexi- House of Congress. can war.
MILLARD FILLMORE'S VIEWS. Resolveul, That our attention is directed anew to the wrong and ' enormity" of Slavery, and to the tyranny
His Buffalo Letter of 1838. and usurpation of the “Slave Power," as displayed in the
BUFFALO, Oct. 17, 1878. history of our country, particularly in the annexation of Texas, and the present war with Mexico, and that we are of the committee appointed by “The Anti-Slavery Society
SIR: Your communication of the 13th inst., as chairman impressed with the unalierable condition, that a regard
You solicit for the fair fame of our country, for the principle of of the County of Erie,” has just come to hand. morals, and for ihat righteousness that exalteth a nation, my answer to the following interrogatories : sanctions and requires all constitutional efforts for the subject of Slavery and the Slave-trade, ought to be re
1st. Do you believe that petitions to Congress, on the destruction of the unjust influence of the Slave power ceived, read, and respectfully considered by the represenand for the abolition of Slavery within the limits of thie United States.
tatives of the people?
2d. Are you opposed to the annexation of Texas to this MASSACHUSETTS AGAINST Union under any circumstances, so long as slaves are held
therein ? SLAVERY.
3d. Are you in favor of Congress exercising all the The Massachusetts State Convention, held at power it possesses to abolish the Internal Slave-trade be. Springfield, in the latter part of the month of tween the States ?
4th. Are you in favor of immediate legislation for the September, 1847, and at which Daniel Webster Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia ? was nominated as a candidate for the Presi- Answer.-I am much engaged, and have no time to dency, passed the following among other re- enter into argument, or explain at length my reasons for solutions :
my opinions. I shall therefore content myself, for the
present, by answering all your interrogatories in the afir. Resolved, that the war with Mexico-the predicted, if mative, and leave for some future occasion a more exnot the legitimate offspring, of the annexation of Texas-tended discussion on the subject. begun in a palpable violation of the Constitution, and I would, however, take this occasion to say, that in thus the usurpation of the powers of Congress by the Presi- frankly giving my opinion, I would not desire to have it deni, sad carried on in reckless indifference and disregard understood in the nature of a pledge. At the same tine of the blood and treasure of the Nation-can have no that I seek no disguise, but freely give my sentiments on object which can be effected by the acquisition of Mexi- any subject of interest to those for whose suffrages I am a can territory, under the circumstance of the country- candidate, I am opposed to giving any pledge that shall unless under adequate securities for the protection of deprive me hereafter of all discretionary power. My own human liberty-can have no other probable result than character must be the guaranty for the general correctthe ultimate advancement of the sectional supremacy of ness of my legislative deportment. On every important the Slave Power,
subject I am bound to deliberate before I act, and espe After recommending “Peace with Mexico, cially as a legislator, to possess myself of all the informa
tion, and listen to every argument that can be adduced without dismemberment,” and “No addition of by my associates, before I give a final vote. If I stand Mexican Territories to the American Union," pledged to a particular course of action, I cease to be a the Convention
responsible agent, but I become a mere machine. Should
subsequent events show, beyond all doubt, that the course Resolved, That if this course should be rejected and the I had become pledged; pursue was ruinous to my conwar shall be prosecuted to the final subjection or dismem- stituents and disgraceful to myself, I have no alternative, berment of Mexico, the Whigs of Massachusetts now de. no opportunity for repentance, and there is no power to clare, and put this declaration of purpose on record, that absolve me from my obligation. Hence the impropriety, Massachusetts will never consent that Mexican Territory, not to say absurdity, in my view, of giving a pledge. however acquired, shall become a part of the American I am aware that you have not asked my pledge, and i Union, unless on the unalterable condition that there believe I know your sound judgment and good sense too shall be neither Slavery por Involuntary Servitude therein, well to think you desire any such thing. It was, however, otherwise than in the punishment of crime.”
to prevent any misrepresentation on the part of others, Resolved, That in making this declaration of her pur- that I have felt it my duty thus much on this subject. pose, Massachusetts announces no new principle of action I am, respectfully, your obedient servant, in regard to her sister Siates, and makes no new applica
MILLARD FILLMORE. tion of principles already acknowledged. Sne merely W. Mills, Esq., chairman. states the great Ainerican principle embodied in our Declaration of Independence-the political equality of per
ME. FILLMORE'S ALBANY SPEECH OF 1856. sons in the civil state; the principles adopted in the legislation of the States under the Confederation, and some.
The following is Mr. Fillmore's speech, detimes by the Coustitution—in the admission of all the livered at Albany, in July, 1856 : new States formed from the only Territory belonging to Mr. Mayor and Felloro-Citizens : This overwhelming the Union at the adoption of the Constitution—it is, in demonstration of congratulation and welcome almost de short, the imperishable principle set forth in the ever prives me of the power of speech. Here, nearly thirty memorable Ordinance of 1787, which has for more than years ago, I commenced my political career. In this half a century been the fundamental law of human building I first saw a legislative body in session; bat at liberty in the great valley of the Lakes, the Ohio, and that time it never entered into the aspirations of my We Mississippi, with what brilliant success, and with what heart that I ever should receive such a welcome as miis unparalleled resulıs, let the great and growing states of in the capital of iny native State. Ohio, Indialia, Ilinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, answer You have been pleased, sir, to allude to my former and declare,
services and my probable course if I should again be
called to the position of Chief Magistrate of the nation. I think we would submit to it? No, not for a moment, It is not pleasant to speak of one's self, yet I trust that And do you believe that your Southern brethren are less the occasion will justify me in briefly alluding to one or sensitive on this subject than you are, or less jealous of two events connected with my administration. You all their rights? If you do, let me tell you that you are know that when I was called to the Executive chair by a mistaken. And, therefore, you must see that if this sec. bereavement which shrouded a nation in mourning, that tional party succeeds, it leads inevitably to the destruc. the country was unfortunately agitated from one end to tion of this beautiful fabric reared by our forefathers, ce. the other upon the all-exciting subject of Slavery. It mented by their blood, and bequeathed to us as a pricewas then, sir, that I felt it my duty to rise above every less inheritan'e. sectional prejudice, and look to the welfare of the whole I tell you, my friends, that I feel deeply, and therenation. I was compelled to a certain extent to overcome fore I speak earnestly on this subject (cries of you're long-cherished prejudices, and disregard party claims. right !") for I feel that you are in danger. I am deterBut in doing this, sir, I did no more than was done by mined to make a clean breast of it. I will wash my nany abler and better men than myself. I was by no hands of the consequences, whatever they may be ; and means the sole instrument, under Providence, in har-|I tell you that we are treading upon the brink of a volmonizing these difficulties. There were at that time cano, that is liable at any moment to burst forth and noble, independent, high-souled men in both Houses of overwhelm the nation. I might, by soft words, inspire Congress, belonging to both the great political parties of delusive hopes, and thereby win votes. But I can never the country-Whigs and Democrats-who spurned the consent to be one thing to the North and another to tho dictation of selfish party leaders, and rallied around my South. I should despise myself, if I could be guilty of adıninistration in support of the great measures which such duplicity. For my conscience would exclaim, with restored peace to an agitated and distracted country. the dramatic poet: Some of these have gone to their eternal rest, with the
" Is there not some chosen curse, blessings of their country on their heads, but others yet
Some hidden thunder in the stores of han, survive, deserving the benediction and honors of a
Red with uncommon wrath, co blist the man
Who owes his greatness to his country's ruin » grateful people. By the blessings of Divine Providence, our efforts were crowned with signal success, and when
In the language of the lamented, but immortal Clay I left the Presidential chair, the whole nation was pros-"I had rather be right than be President !" perous and contented, and our relations with all foreign It seems to me impossible that those engaged in this nations were of the most amicable kind. The cloud that can have contemplated the awful consequences of suc. hung upon the horizon was dissipated. But where are If it breaks asunder the bonds of our Union, and we now? Alas ! threatened at home with civil war, and spreads anarchy and civil war through the land, what is from abroad with a rupture of our peaceful relations. I it less than moral treason? Law and common sense shall not seek to trace the causes of this change. These hold a man responsible for the natural consequence of are the facts, and it is for you to ponder upon them
of his acts, and must not those whose acts tend to the de the present Administration I have nothing to say, for I struction of the Government, be equally held responsi know and can appreciate the difficulties of administering ble? this government, and if the present Executive and his And let me also add, that when this Union is dissolved, supporters have with good intentions and honest hearts it will not be divided into two republics, or two mon made a mistake, I hope God may forgive them as I freely archies, but be broken into fragments, and at war with do. But, if there be those who have brought these cal- each other. amities upon the country for selfish or ambitious objects, it is your duty, fellow-citizens, to hold them to a strici MR. FILLMORE'S LETTER TO A NEW-YORK UNION responsibility.
MEETING IN 1859. The agitation which disturbed the peace of the country in 1850, was unavoidable. It was brought upon us
The following is an extract from a letter of by the acquisition of new territory, for the government Mr. Fillmore, (dated Dec. 16, 1859), in reply to of which it was necessary to provide territorial organ- an invitation to attend a Union Meeting at zation. But it is for you to say whether the present agitation, which distracts the country and threatens us with Cooper Institute, New-York. civil war, has not been recklessly and wantonly pro- But it seems to me that if my opinions are of any imduced, by the adoption of a measure to aid personal ad- portance to my countrymen, they now have them in a vancement rather than in any public good.
much more responsible and sat sfactory form than I Sir, you have been pleased to say, that I have the could give them by participating in the proceedings of Union of these States at heart; this, sir, is most true, for any meeting. My sentiments on this unfortunate quesif there be one object dearer to me than any other, it is tion of slavery, and the constitutional rights of the South the unity, prosperity, and glory of this great republic; in regard to it, have not changed since they were made and I confess frankly, sir, that I fear it is in danger. I manifest to the whole country by the perforibance of a say nothing of any particular section, much less of the painful duty in approving and enforcing the fugitive several candidates before the people. I presuine they Slave Law, What the Constitution gives I would coir are all honorable men. But, sir, what do we see ? An cede at every sacrifice. I would not seek to enjoy its kasperated feeling between the North and the South, on benefits without sharing its burdens and iis responsibilithe most exciting of all topics, resulting in bloodshed ties. I know of no other rule of political right or expediand organized military array.
ency. Those were my sentiments then-they are my But this is not all, sir, We see a political party pre sentiments now. I stand by the Constitution of my senting candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presi-country at every hazard, and am prepared to maintain deacy, selected for the first time from the Free States it at every sacrifice. alone, with the avowed purpose of electing these candi- Here I inight stop; but since I have yielded to the im. dates by suffrages of one part of the Union only, to rule pulse to write, I will not hesitate to express, very briefly, over the whole United States. Can it be possible that my views on one or two events which have occurred those who are engaged in such a measure can have seri- since I retired from office, and which, in all probability, ously reflected upon the consequences which must inevi- have given rise to your meeting. This I cannot do inteltably follow, in case of success? Can they have the ligibly, without a brief reference to some events which madness or the folly to believe that our Southern breth- occurred during my administration. ren would submit to be governed by such a Chief Magis- All must remember that in 1849 and 1850, the country trate? Would he be required to follow the same rule was severely agitated on this disturbing question of prescribed by those who elected him, in making his ap- Slavery. That contest grew out of the acquisition pointments ? If a man living south of Mason and Dixon's of new territory from Mexico, and a contest between the line be not worthy to be President or Vice-President, North and South as to whether Slavery should be toler would it be proper to select one from the same quarter ated in any part of that Territory. Mixed up with this, as one of his cabinet council or to represent the nation was a claim on the part of the slavehelding States, that in a foreign country ? Or, indeed, to collect the revenue, the provision of the Constitution for the rendition of or administer the laws of the United States? If not, fugitives from service should be made available, as the what new rule is the President to adopt in selecting men law of 1793 on that subject, which depended chiefly on for office, that the people themselves discard in selecting State officers for its execution, had become inoperative, him? These are serious, but practical questions, and in because State officers were not obliged to perform thai order to appreciate thein fully, it is only necessary to duty. turn the tables upon ourselves. Suppose that the South, After a severe struggle, which threatened the integrity baving a majority of the electoral votes, should declare of the Union, Congress finally passed laws settling these that they would only have slaveholders for President questions; and the Governinent and the people for a and Vice-President, and should elect such by their ex- time seemed to acquiesce in that compromise as a final clusive s'affrages to rule over us at the North. Do you settlement of this exciting question; and it is exceedingly