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THE "CORNER STONE" RESOLUTION.
By Duane Mowry, of Milwaukee, Wis. The late Vice President Henry Wilson, while engaged in writing his “History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America,” sent an inquiry to Judge James R. Doolittle concerning the “corner stone” resolution presented in the New York state convention of the Democratic party in 1847. The following is a copy of the letter making such inquiry, which is now in the writer's possession: “Natick, Mass., May 12, 1873. Dear Doolittle: Can you inform me if you wrote the Resolution Field offered in the Convention called the “corner stone?” Field tells me it was handed to him by either Wadsworth or yourself while he was speaking. Yours truly, H. Wilson.”
The reply of Judge Doolittle justified the following statement by Mr. Wilson in the second volume of his book (pp. 126-7): "The Wilmot proviso was the exciting and controlling issue. The discussion was conducted with great spirit and ability. A resolution, prepared by James R. Doolittle, afterward United States Senator from Wisconsin, was offered by David Dudley Field as an amendment to the report of the Committee on Resolutions. This amendment, while promising fidelity to “the compromises of the Constitution” and to “the reserved rights of the States” pledged “uncompromising hostility to the extension of slavery into territory now free." Mr. Field made a powerful speech in its support. * * The amendment was rejected and the resolutions were adopted, though it was claimed that the latter and the nominations were carried not only by an irregularly organized convention, but by a convention without a quorum.”
The following is the language of the resolution mentioned:
“Resolved, That, while the democracy of New York represented in this convention will faithfully adhere to all the compromises of Constitution and maintain all the reserved rights of the states, they declare, since the crises arrived when that question must be met, their uncompromising hostility to the extension of slavery into territory now free, or which may be hereafter acquired by any action of the government of the United States."
The resolution, though it failed in passing the convention of 1847, was adopted with great unanimity and enthusiasm by the progressive wing of the party the next year, known as the “barn-burners” in opposition to the “honkers.” Judge Doolittle says that this resolution became the corner-stone of the free soil party of 1848. It was placed and kept at the head of the column in all free soil papers in New York, New England, and in the west. Its rejection, and the manner of its rejection, aroused most intense indignation. It became the rallying cry—the shibboleth—for free soil and free men in all of the territories of the United States. The abolition party was swallowed up by it. Some of the strong supporters of this resolution in the state of New York at that time were Preston King, David Dudley Field, James S. Wadsworth, Churchill C. Cambreleng, John Van Buren and James R. Doolittle.
It is a long and interesting story, the story connected with this resolution, a story which did much to emphasize the inequities and rank injustice of the institution of slavery in the United States. It did much to bring into public notice the problem which was finally solved by the resort to arms in the war between the states. Of course, few men knew then the momentous question which was so near at hand. Yet it is in this way that great public questions are first proposed for ultimate solution. Mr. Doolittle's part in this great question was far from inconsiderable.
A LETTER FROM ILLINOIS WRITTEN IN 1836.
By Richard H. Beach. The writer of the letter, which we print in full below, was Richard H. Beach, who was born in New York City in 1808. Mr. Beach was married in that place in 1832 to Eliza H. Baldwin. The young couple came west and settled first in Morgan county, Ill., where Mr. Beach taught school. In 1834 they removed to Springfield which was their home the rest of their lives, and where they raised a family of children.
Mrs. Eliza Baldwin Beach died in 1865, and two years later Mr. Beach married Sarah Lavinia Pearson. Sarah Lavinia Beach was known as Lavinia Beach. She was a great worker in the cause of charity and temperance in the city of Springfield. There is now a reading room and mission in the city of Springfield known as the Lavinia Beach Mission. Mr. Beach was engaged in the mercantile business in Springfield and with his partner, E. R. Wiley, established the first clothing store in Springfield, under the firm name of Wiley, Beach & Co. This firm was in business many years.
The letter, which has never before been printed, is interesting because it furnishes information as to the manner and cost of living in the early days of the settlement of central Illinois. The letter is as follows:
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, April 4th, 1836. DEAR SISTER:
The following pages were written something like twelve months since, with a view of sending them on by Mr.
not receivene moment anes many of
Baldwin for your perusal, as well as the rest of my friends, but as Mr. B. did not take Illinois on his return, you and the rest of our family were disappointed in not receiving the long expected “Manuscript” and as it was too voluminous to be sent by mail it has lain unfinished until now. An opportunity offers of sending it by private conveyance, and I willingly embrace it. It is well perhaps that you did not receive it sooner, as my impressions were written down at the moment and I find on looking over my lines that in some instances many of my views were incorrect. Even now I do not wish to convey the idea that the view I have taken of things is such that a person wishing to make the western world his home may implicitly rely on them. What is here written is to be read this way, “to the best of his knowledge.”
The information I can give may be of use to yourself and others who are thinking of the “Far West” as a home. Read and judge, then form your own conclusions. The subject has three points which are particularly prominent and for the sake of order I shall notice under these points, whatever I deem worthy connected with them, viz: Agriculture, Commerce and Manufactures. Everything comes under these three, although in estimating the relative value of each, the order in which they stand would have to be altered. I mean their value as to making money fast or slow. I would place the order thus, First Commerce, Second Manufactures, and Third Agriculture. I am aware that the farmer is the bone and sinew of my country, but the merchant possesses the most power, because he turns the most money, altho perhaps in the end he does not possess as much as the farmer. But of this I shall say nothing further, my business is with facts.
The agriculture is of a different character to that of the east; the farmer raises his corn with half the labour we used to do; his pork costs him but little during the summer and his cattle and horses also, with the exception