than by the sharpness with which the issues were defined by three of the contending parties.
It was, in effect, proclaimed by three of the leading Southern delegates in the Charleston Convention: “The last Presidential election was won by ambiguity, double-dealing, deception — by devising a platform that meant one thing at the North
, and another at the South
But, we are resolved to have no more of this.
We shall now succeed on a clear exhibition of our principles, or not at all.”
And the champions of Popular Sovereignty, who controlled most of the delegations from Free States, were nearly as frank, and quite as firm.
Said a leading supporter of Senator Douglas
--Mr. George E. Pugh
, of Ohio1
--in the Charleston Convention:
Thank God that a bold and honest man [Mr. Yancey] has at last spoken, and told the whole truth with regard to the demands of the South.
It is now plainly before the Convention and the country that the South does demand an advanced step from the Democratic party. “[Mr. Pugh here read the resolves of the Alabama Democratic State Convention of 1856, to prove that the South was then satisfied with what it now rejects.
He proceeded to show that the Northern Democrats had sacrificed themselves in battling for the rights of the South, and instanced one and another of the delegates there present, who had been defeated and thrown out of public life thereby.
He concluded:]” And now, the very weakness thus produced is urged as a reason why the North should have no weight in forming the platform!
The Democracy of the North are willing to stand by the old landmarks — to reaffirm the old faith.
They will deeply regret to part with their Southern brethren.
But, if the gentlemen from the South can only abide with us on the terms they now propound, they must go. The North-West must and will be heard and felt.
The Northern Democrats are not children, to be told to stand here — to stand there — to be moved at the beck and bidding of the South.
Because we are in a minority on account of our fidelity to our constitutional obligations, we are told, in effect, that we must put our hands on our mouths, and our mouths in the dust.
Gentlemen, “said Mr. Pugh,” you mistake us--we will not do it.
The Southern leaders gave repeated and earnest warnings to this effect: “Gentlemen from the North
look well to your doings!
If you insist on your ‘Squatter Sovereignty
’ plat-form, in full view of its condemnation by the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott
case, you break up the Democratic party--nay, more: you break up the Union
The unity of the Democratic party is the last bond that holds the Union
together: that snapped, there is no other that can be trusted for a year.”
Discarding that of the Constitutional Union party as meaning anything in general and nothing in particular, the Lincoln
, and Breckinridge
parties had deliberately planted themselves, respectively, on the following positions:
1. Lincoln.--Slavery can only exist by virtue of municipal law; and there is no law for it in the Territories, and no power to enact one.
Congress can establish or legalize Slavery nowhere, but is bound to prohibit it in or exclude it from any and every Federal Territory, whenever and wherever there shall be necessity for such exclusion or prohibition.
2. Douglas.--Slavery or No Slavery in any Territory is entirely the affair of the white inhabitants of such Territory.
If they choose to have it, it is their right; if they choose not to have it, they have a right to exclude or prohibit it. Neither Congress nor the people of the Union, or of any part of it, outside of said Territory, have any right to meddle with or trouble themselves about the matter.
3. Breckinridge.--The citizen of any State has a right to migrate to any Territory, taking with him anything which is property by the law of his own State, and hold, enjoy,