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Xxi. The Presidential canvass of 1860.

the vote polled for Fremont and Dayton in 1856 considerably exceeded the solid strength, at that time, of the Republican party. It was swelled in part by the personal popularity of Col. Fremont, whose previous career of adventure and of daring — his explorations, discoveries, privations, and perils — appealed, in view of his comparative youth for a Presidential candidate, with resistless fascination, to the noble young men of our country; while his silence and patience throughout the canvass, under a perfect tempest of preposterous yet annoying calumnies, had contributed to widen the circle of his admirers and friends. A most wanton and brutal personal assault1 on Senator Sumner, of Massachusetts, by Representative Brooks of South Carolina, abetted by Representatives Keitt, of South Carolina, and Edmundson, of Virginia, doubt-less contributed also to swell the Republican vote of the following Autumn. Mr. Sumner had made an elaborate speech in the Senate on the Kansas question — a speech not without grave faults of conception and of style, but nowise obnoxious to the charge of violating the decencies of debate by unjustifiable personalities. Yet, on the assumption that its author had therein unwarrantably assailed and ridiculed Judge Butler--one of South Carolina's Senators, and a relative of Mr. Brooks--he was assaulted by surprise while sitting in his place (though a few minutes after the Senate had adjourned for the day), knocked to the floor senseless, and beaten, while helpless [300] and unconscious, till the rage of his immediate assailant was thoroughly satiated. Mr. Sumner was so much injured as to be compelled to abandon his seat and take a voyage to Europe, where, under the best medical treatment, his health was slowly restored. The infliction on Brooks, by a Washington court, of a paltry fine2 for this outrage, tended to deepen and diffuse popular indignation at the North, which the unopposed reelection of Brooks — he having resigned, because of a vote of censure from a majority of the House — did not tend to allay. Of Fremont's aggregate vote--1,341,812--it is probable that all above 1,200,000 was given him on grounds personal to himself, or from impulses growing out of the Sumner outrage.

Accordingly, the elections of 1857 exhibited a diminution of Republican strength — the eleven States which had voted for Fremont, giving him an aggregate popular majority of over 250,000, now giving but little over 50,000 for the Republican tickets. All the New England States were still carried by the Republicans, but by majorities diminished, in the average, more than half, while that of Connecticut was reduced from 7,715 to 546. So, in Ohio, Gov. Chase was this year reflected by 1,481, though Fremont had 16,623; while Gov. Lowe, in Iowa, had but 2,151, where Fremont had received 7,784; and Gov. Randall was chosen in Wisconsin by barely 118, where Fremont had received 13,247. No Republican State was actually revolutionized, however, but New York; where — owing, in part, to local questions and influences — Fremont's magnificent plurality of 80,000 was changed to a Democratic plurality of 18,000. It appeared in this, as in most other Free States, that the decline or dissolution of the “American” or Fillmore party inured mainly to the benefit of the triumphant Democracy; though Pennsylvania, and possibly Rhode Island, were exceptions. To swell the resistless tide, Minnesota and Oregon--both in the extreme North--each framed a State Constitution this year, and took position in line with the dominant party--Minnesota by a small, Oregon by an overwhelming, majority — the two swelling by four Senators and four3 Representatives the already invincible strength of the Democracy.

The Opposition was utterly power-less against this surge; but what they dare hardly undertake, Mr. Buchanan was able to effect. By his utterly indefensible attempt to enforce the Lecompton Constitution upon Kansas, in glaring contradiction to his smooth and voluble professions regarding “Popular Sovereignty,” “the will of the majority,” etc., etc., he enabled the Republicans, in 1858, to hold, by majorities almost uniformly increased, all the States they had carried the preceding year, and reverse the last year's majority against them in New York; carry Pennsylvania for the first time by over 26,000 majority; triumph even in New Jersey under an equivocal [301] organization; bring over Minnesota by a close vote; and swell their majority in Ohio to fully 20,000. They were beaten in Indiana on the State ticket by a very slender majority, but carried seven of the eleven Representatives in Congress, beside helping elect an anti-Lecompton Democrat in another district; while Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin, chose Republican tickets — as of late had been usual with them — by respectable majorities, and the last named by one increased to nearly 6,000. California and Oregon still adhered to Democracy of the most pro-Slavery type, by decisive majorities.

Illinois was this year the arena of a peculiar contest. Senator Douglas had taken so prominent and so efficient a part in the defeat of the Lecompton abomination, that a number of the leading Republicans of other States were desirous that their Illinois brethren should unite in choosing a Legislature pledged to return him, by a vote substantially unanimous, to the seat he had so ably filled. But it was hardly in human nature that those thus appealed to should, because of one good act, recognize and treat as a friend one whom they had known for nearly twenty years as the ablest, most indefatigable, and by no means the most scrupulous, of their adversaries. They held a sort of State Convention, therefore, and presented Abraham Lincoln as a Republican competitor for Mr. Douglas's seat; and he opened the canvass at once,4 in a terse, forcible, and thoroughly “radical” speech, wherein he enunciated the then startling, if not absolutely novel, doctrine that the Union cannot permanently endure half Slave and half Free. Said Mr. Lincoln:

If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to Slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this Government cannot permanently endure half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect that it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of Slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new--North as well as South.

This almost prophetic statement, from one born in Kentucky, and who had been known, prior to the appearance of the Dred Scott decision, as a rather conservative Whig, was put forth, more than four months before Gov. Seward,5 as if under a like pre-monition of coming events, said:

These antagonistic systems are continually coming into closer contact, and collision results.

Shall I tell you what this collision means? They who think that it is accidental, unnecessary, the work of interested or fanatical agitators, and therefore ephemeral, mistake the case altogether. It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces; and it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slave-holding nation, or entirely a free-labor nation. Either the cotton and rice-fields of South Carolina and the sugar plantations of Louisiana will ultimately be tilled by free labor, and Charleston and New Orleans become marts for legitimate merchandise alone, or else the rye-fields and wheat-fields of Massachusetts [302] and New York must again be surrendered by their farmers to slave culture and to the production of slaves, and Boston and New York become once more markets for trade in the bodies and souls of men. It is the failure to apprehend this great truth that induces so many unsuccessful attempts at final compromise between the Slave and Free States; and it is the existence of this great fact that renders all such pretended compromises, when made, vain and ephemeral.

Mr. Lincoln, in his brief Spring-field speech, furnished the shortest and sharpest exposition ever yet given of the doctrine vaunted as “Popular Sovereignty,” viz.:

This necessity [for a popular indorsement of the policy embodied in the Nebraska-Kansas bill] had not been overlooked; but had been provided for, as well as might be, in the notable argument of “Squatter Sovereignty,” otherwise called “sacred right of self-government ;” which latter phrase, though expressive of the only rightful basis of any government, was so perverted, in this attempted use of it, as to amount to just this: That, if any one man choose to enslave another, no third man shall be allowed to object.

Mr. Douglas promptly joined issue; and an oral canvass of unequaled interest, considering the smallness of the stake, was prosecuted by these capable and practiced popular debaters, before immense audiences of their fellow-citizens, up to the eve of the State Election. In the event, Mr. Douglas was successful, securing 54: to 46 of the members of the Legislature, and being promptly reelected by them; but the candidates favorable to Mr. Lincoln had a plurality of the popular vote.6

The Elections of 1859 were not especially significant, save that, in New York, what remained of the “American” party, instead of nominating a State ticket of their own men, adopted the expedient of selecting their candidates alternately from the tickets of the two great parties — of course, powerfully aiding that which must otherwise have been beaten throughout. The 25,000 votes thus cast elected three of the Democratic candidates by majorities of 328 to 1,450; while the Republicans placed on the “American ticket” had majorities ranging from 45,104 to 49,447; and one Republican candidate was chosen over the joint vote of both the adverse parties. In this “balance-of-power” movement of the Americans was fore-shadowed the “Fusion” electoral tickets of 1860.

The indignant, scornful rhetoric wherewith Mr. Webster had scouted the suggestion, that Slavery might possibly be established in New Mexico, and spurned the idea of “reenacting the laws of God” by prohibiting it there, had scarcely died out of the public ear, when the Legislature of that vast Territory proceeded, at its session in 1859, to do the very thing which he had deemed so inconceivable. Assuming the legal existence of Slavery in that Territory, in accordance with the Dred Scott decision, the Legislature proceeded to pass “An act to provide for the protection of property in slaves,” whereby severe penalties were provided for “stealing,” or “enticing away” said property, or “inciting” said property to “discontent” or “insubordination.” The spirit of this notable act is fairly exhibited in the following provisions: [303]

Sec. 10. Any person may lawfully take up or apprehend any slave who shall have run away, or be absenting himself from the custody or service of his master or owner, and may lawfully use or employ such force as may be necessary to take up or apprehend such slave; and such person, upon the delivery of such slave to his master or owner, or at such place as his master or owner may designate, shall be entitled to demand or recover by suit any reward which may have been offered for the apprehension or delivery of such slave. And, if no reward have been offered, then such person so apprehending such slave shall, upon the delivery of such slave to his master or owner, or to the sheriff of the county in which such slave was apprehended, be entitled to demand and recover from such owner or master the sum of twenty dollars, besides ten cents for each mile of travel to and from the place where such apprehension was made.

Sec. 11. If any sheriff of any county within this Territory shall fail or refuse to receive with proper care any runaway slave so offered to him for safe-keeping, by such person apprehending the same, or his agent, such sheriff shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined in a sum not less than five hundred dollars to the use of the Territory, shall further be liable to the owner of such slave for his value, recoverable by civil suit, and shall be ineligible for reelection to the said office.

Sec. 20. Any slave who shall conduct himself disorderly in a public place, or shall give insolent language or signs to any free white person, may be arrested and taken by such person before a justice of the peace, who, upon trial and conviction, in a summary manner, shall cause his constable to give such slave any number of stripes upon his or her bare back, not exceeding thirty-nine.

Sec. 21. When any slave shall be convicted of any crime or misdemeanor, for which the penalty assigned by law is, in whole or in part, the fine of a sum of money, the court passing sentence on him may, in its discretion, substitute for such fine corporal punishment, or branding, or stripes.

Sec. 26. No slave shall be permitted to go from the premises of his owner or master after sunset and before sunrise, without a written pass, specifying the particular place or places to which such slave is permitted to go; and any white person is authorized to take any slave who, upon demand, shall not exhibit such pass, before any justice of the peace, who, upon summary investigation, shall cause such slave to be whipped with not more than thirty-nine stripes upon his or her bare back, and to be committed to the jail, or custody of a proper officer, to be released the next day, on demand and payment of costs by the owner or master.

Another act passed by the same Legislature, “Amendatory of the law relative to contracts between masters and servants” (peons), has this unique provision, which might have afforded a hint to South Carolina in her worst estate:

Sec. 4.--No Court of this Territory shall have jurisdiction, nor shall take cognizance, of any cause for the correction that masters may give their servants for neglect of their duties as servants; for they are considered as domestic servants to their masters, and they should correct their neglect and faults; for, as soldiers are punished by their chiefs, without the intervention of the civil authority, by reason of the salary they enjoy, an equal right should be granted those persons who pay their money to be served in the protection of their property; Provided, That such correction shall not be inflicted in a cruel manner, with clubs or stripes.

These acts were directly inspired from Washington, and were enacted under the supervision and tutelage of the Federal officers stationed in the Territory. Some of these were personally slaveholders; others were only anxious to commend themselves to the notice and favor of their superiors; and it was easy for them to persuade the ignorant Mexicans, who mainly composed the Legislature, that such acts would cause the heavenly dews of Federal patronage to fall in boundless profusion on the arid, thirsty hills of their Territory. And, while the number of slaves held in New Mexico might never be great, its salubrity, and the ease wherewith a mere subsistence is maintained there, might well have commended it to favor as a breeding-ground of black chattels for the unhealthy swamps and lowlands of Arkansas and Louisiana. In any case its subservience [304] to the Slave Power was assured by the mere legalization of lifelong bondage and unrequited labor on its narrow but fertile intervales, and in its mines of precious ore.

The XXXVIth Congress assembled at Washington Monday, December 5, 1859. The Senate was still strongly Democratic, though the Republican minority therein had grown gradually, until it numbered twenty-four. Indiana, Minnesota, California, and Oregon, were still represented by Democrats, as were in part Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois; but the strong anti-Lecompton wave of 1858 had swept into the House delegations from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, decidedly hostile to the Administration; and these, with unanimous Republican delegations from all the New England States, left no clear majority for any party. On the first ballot for Speaker, Thomas S. Bocock, Dem., of Virginia, received eighty-six votes; John Sherman, Rep., of Ohio, sixty-six; Galusha A. Grow, Rep., of Pennsylvania, forty-three: twenty-two were divided between three “Americans” or Southern Whigs, and thirteen were scattered mainly upon anti-Lecompton Democrats: whole number cast, 230; necessary for a choice, 116.

Mr. Burnett, of Kentucky, now moved that the House adjourn till to-morrow, which was negatived — Yeas 100; Nays 130: whereupon Mr. John B. Clark,7 of Missouri, rose, and, amid a shower of objections and interruptions, proposed the following preamble and resolution:

Whereas, certain members of this House, now in nomination for Speaker, did indorse and recommend the book hereinafter mentioned,

Resolved, That the doctrines and sentiments of a certain book called “ The Impending Crisis of the South--How to meet it,” purporting to have been written by one Hinton R. Helper, are insurrectionary and hostile to the domestic peace and tranquillity of the country; and that no member of this House who has indorsed and recommended it, or the compend from it, is fit to be Speaker of this House.

The book thus advertised was written by a young North Carolinian of the poorer middle class, who, having migrated to California, and spent some time in the Northern States, had imbibed ideas respecting Slavery which it was not safe to express in his native State. Those ideas he had embodied in his “Impending crisis,” which was, in substance, a vehement appeal to the poor whites of the South against persistence in servility to the slaveholders, backed by ample statistics, proving Slavery specially injurious and degrading to them, as well as baleful and blighting to the entire South. This book, being deemed effective as an anti-Slavery argument, whether in the North or in the South, had been recommended to general attention, in a circular signed by two thirds, at least, of the Republican members of the last Congress, including, of course, many of those returned to the present. Messrs. Sherman and Grow, between whom the Republican vote for Speaker was divided, were both among the signers of this circular. Hereupon, Mr. Clark proceeded to make, amid interruptions and questions of order, such a speech as a slaveholder might be expected to make on such a theme; urging [305] that no man who had recommended such a book as Helper's ought to be chosen Speaker, and insisting on discussing the contents and bearings of that book at leisure; whilst several Republican members, instead of reprehending this discreditable interruption of the proper business of the House, and demanding that the Clerk should proceed to call the roll for another attempt to elect a Speaker, rose to deprecate, and explain, and apologize, and insist that, if they had signed a recommendation of any such book, it was in total ignorance of its contents, which they utterly condemned and repudiated. Thus, amid great confusion, Mr. Clark carried the point he was aiming at; and the House, after one more refusal — Yeas 113; Nays 115--consented to adjourn at a little past two o'clock, without taking a second ballot for Speaker.

In the Senate, also, Slavery agitation was commenced from the Democratic side, even before that body had been fairly organized, by a resolve, introduced by Mr. Mason, of Virginia, calling for the most elaborate inquiry into the recent tragedy at Harper's Ferry, and requiring the Select Committee thereon to report “what legislation may, in their opinion, be necessary for the future preservation of the peace of the country,” etc.; and hereupon the Senate plunged into a discussion, which lasted several days.

Mr. Clark, in like manner, resumed his dissertation on Helper immediately on the assembling of the House next morning, having all manner of documents read from the Clerk's desk; and spinning out his remarks to the utmost length. When he had, closed, Mr. John A. Gilmer,8 of N. C., moved a substitute, condemning all attempts at renewing Slavery agitation; whereupon Mr. Washburne, of Ill., moved that the whole subject be laid on the table, which was defeated by a tie vote: Yeas 116; Nays 116: and the debate went on, simultaneously with that on John Brown and his doings in the Senate. A second ballot for Speaker was not obtained until the close of the third day's proceedings, when Mr. Sherman received 107 votes; Mr. Bocock 88; Mr. Gilmer 22; and there were 14 scattering. And still the two Houses continued to debate John Brown and Helper, by way of discouraging Slavery agitation, interspersed with readings of the choicest and spiciest extracts from Helper, and occasional ballots for Speaker--Mr. Sherman's vote rising to 112, while 116 were necessary for a choice. The total vote was diminished, after a few days, as members paired off and left Washington; but Mr. Sherman continued to lack from three to five of an election; until finally, after eight weeks had been thus spent, he peremptorily declined; and Mr. William Pennington--ex-Governor of New Jersey, and now, for the first time, a member of the House — was presented in his stead. Mr. Bocock was also withdrawn, and the entire pro-Slavery strength concentrated, so far as possible, on Mr. Wm. N. H. Smith, “American,” of N. C. The next (fortieth) ballot gave Pennington 115; Smith 113; John G. Davis, anti-Lecompton Dem., of Ind., 2; and there were 4 scattering: necessary to a choice 118. Finally, on the forty-fourth ballot,9 Mr. Smith's name [306] having been withdrawn, the vote was declared: for Pennington 117; John A. McClernand, Dem., 85; John A. Gilmer, Amer., 16; and there were 15 scattering. Mr. Henry Winter Davis, of Md., who had hitherto voted with the Americans, now cast his vote for Pennington, and elected him — he having the exact number necessary to a choice. John W. Forney, anti-Lecompton Dem., was soon after elected Clerk by a close vote.

The majority in the Senate was not merely Democratic of tile Lecompton or extreme pro-Slavery caste; it was especially hostile to Senator Douglas, and determined to punish him for his powerful opposition to the Lecompton bill, by reading him out of the party. To this end, Mr. Jefferson Davis submitted10 an elaborate series of resolves, whereof the following is the most material:

4. Resolved, That neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature, whether by direct legislation or legislation of an indirect and unfriendly nature, possess the power to annul or impair the constitutional right of any citizen of the United States to take his slave property into the common Territories; but it is the duty of the Federal Government there to afford for that, as for other species of property, the needful protection; and, if experience should at any time prove that the Judiciary does not possess power to insure adequate protection, it will then become the duty of Congress to supply such deficiency.

These resolutions he modified, “after a conference with friends,” and submitted afresh11 presenting the material proposition in this shape:

4. Resolved, That neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature, whether by direct legislation or legislation of an indirect and unfriendly character, possesses power to annul or impair the constitutional right of any citizen of the United States to take his slave property into the common Territories, and there hold and enjoy the same while the territorial condition remains.

The discussion of the series consumed a large share of the time and attention of the Senate during the entire session. It ultimately transpired that they were the work of a “Lecompton” or regular Democratic caucus, and that their ulterior object was the reading of Mr. Douglas, and other tenacious champions of “ Popular Sovereignty,” out of the Democratic party. At length,12 the Senate came to a vote on the first of the series, which was as follows:

1. Resolved, That, in the adoption of the Federal Constitution, the States adopting the same acted severally as free and independent sovereignties, delegating a portion of their powers to be exercised by the Federal Government for the increased security of each against dangers, domestic as well as foreign; and that any intermeddling by any one or more States, or by a combination of their citizens, with the domestic institutions of the others, on any pretext whatever, political, moral, or religious, with a view to their disturbance or subversion, is in violation of the Constitution, insulting to the States so interfered with, endangers their domestic peace arid tranquillity — objects for which the Constitution was formed — and, by necessary consequence, tends to weaken and destroy the Union itself.

This resolve was aimed directly at the Republicans, and was passed by a strict party vote — that is, by the votes of all others in the affirmative, against the Republicans in the negative: Yeas 36; Nays 19.13 [307]

2. Resolved, That negro Slavery, as it exists in fifteen States of this Union, composes an important portion of their domestic institutions, inherited from their ancestors, and existing at the adoption of the Constitution, by which it is recognized as constituting an important element in the apportionment of powers among the States, and that no change of opinion or feeling on the part of the non-slaveholding States of the Union, in relation to this institution, can justify them or their citizens in open or covert attacks thereon, with a view to its overthrow; and that all such attacks are in manifest violation of the mutual and solemn pledge to protect and defend each other, given by the States respectively on entering into the constitutional compact which formed the Union, and are a manifest breach of faith, and a violation of the most solemn obligations.

This was adopted: Yeas 36; Nays 20; the division being identical with the foregoing, save that Mr. Trumbull, of Illinois, was now present, adding one to the Republican vote.

While the above resolve was under consideration, Mr. Harlan, of Iowa, moved to add to it as follows:

But the free discussion of the morality and expediency of Slavery should never be interfered with by the laws of any State, or of the United States; and the freedom of speech and of the press, on this and every other subject of domestic and national policy, should be maintained inviolate in all the States.

This was rejected: Yeas 20; Nays 36 (as upon the adoption of the second resolve, with the order reversed).

3. Resolved, That the Union of these States rests on the equality of rights and privileges among its members; and that it is especially the duty of the Senate, which represents the States in their sovereign capacity, to resist all attempts to discriminate either in relation to persons or property in the Territories, which are the common possessions of the United States, so as to give advantages to the citizens of one State which are not equally assured to those of every other State.

This was also adopted — Yeas 36; Nays 18: the Yeas, as upon the first vote; as also the Nays, except that Messrs. Grimes and King did not vote.

The next was the touchstone — its passage by a party vote the object of the movement. It reads:

4. Resolved, That neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature, whether by direct legislation or legislation of an indirect and unfriendly character, possesses power to annul or impair the constitutional right of any citizen of the United States to take his slave property into the common Territories, and there hold and enjoy the same while the territorial condition remains.

This important resolve — the sentence and death-knell of “Popular Sovereignty” --was passed by the decisive majority of thirty-five Yeas to twenty-one Nays14--every Democratic Senator present but Mr. Pugh, of Ohio, voting for it; though Messrs. Latham, of California, Fitch, of Indiana, Rice, of Minnesota, and perhaps one or two others, had been known in other days as friends of Mr. Douglas, and champions of his doctrine. Mr. Douglas himself was absent throughout, [308] by reason of sickness. The negative vote on this grave proposition was made up of the twenty Republicans aforesaid, and Mr. Pugh. Neither Mr. Crittenden, nor either of the Maryland Senators, had the courage to oppose a proposition whereby Mr. Jefferson Davis and his confederates were permitted to brand, by an imposing vote of the Senate, not only the Republicans, but the Douglas or anti-Lecompton Democrats also — composing an immense majority of the people of the Free States--in effect, as unfaithful to their Constitutional obligations, and making war on the guaranteed rights of the South.

Mr. Clingman, of North Carolina, proposed the following:

Resolved, That the existing, condition of the Territories of the United States does not require the intervention of Congress for the protection of property in slaves.

To this, Mr. Collamer, of Vermont, moved to alter the amendment, so as to make it read:

Resolved, That the existing condition of the Territories of the United States does not, and, in our opinion, never will, require, etc.

This was rejected — Yeas 16; Nays 33. Then Mr. Clingman's amendment was adopted: Yeas 26; Nays 23.15

5. Resolved, That, if experience should at any time prove that the Judicial and Executive authority do not possess means to insure adequate protection to constitutional rights in a Territory, and if the territorial government should fail or refuse to provide the necessary remedies for that purpose, it will be the duty of Congress to supply such deficiency.

Mr. Clingman proposed to amend this, as follows:

Provided, That it is not hereby intended to assert the duty of Congress to provide a system of laws for the maintenance of Slavery.

This was rejected — Yeas 12; Nays 31--only Messrs. Clark, Clingman, Dixon, Foot, Foster, Hale, Hamlin, Latham, Pugh, Ten Eyck, Trumbull, and Wilson, voting in the affirmative.

The original resolution was then adopted ; as follows: Yeas 35; Nays 2--Messrs. Hamlin and Trumbull: the Yeas being as upon the adoption of the first resolve, with the subtraction of Messrs. Brown and Thomson, and the addition of Mr. Ten Eyck.

6. Resolved, That the inhabitants of a Territory of the United States, when they rightfully form a Constitution to be admitted as a State into the Union, may then, for the first time, like the people of a State when forming a new Constitution, decide for themselves whether Slavery, as a domestic institution, shall be maintained or prohibited within their jurisdiction; and “they shall be admitted into the Union, with or without Slavery, as their constitution may prescribe at the time of their admission.”

This was also adopted, as follows: Yeas 33--same as on the first resolve, less Brown, Mallory, and Pugh; Nays 12--Bingham, Chandler, Dixon, Foot, Foster, Hale, Pugh, Simmons, Ten Eyck, Trumbull, Wade, and Wilson. 0

7. Resolved, That the provision of the Constitution for the rendition of fugitives from service or labor, without the adoption of which the Union could not have been formed, and the laws of 1793 and 1850, which were enacted to secure its execution, and the main features of which, being similar, bear the impress of nearly seventy years of sanction by the highest judicial authority, should be honestly and faithfully observed and maintained by all who enjoy the benefit [309] of our compact of union, and that all acts of individuals or of State Legislatures to defeat the purpose or nullify the requirements of that provision, and the laws made in pursuance of it, are hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in their effect.

This, the last of the series, was likewise adopted, as follows: Yeas 36; Nays 6: Yeas as in the first instance, except that Messrs. Pearce and Thompson did not vote, their places being filled by Messrs. Ten Eyck and Thomson; while the Nays were Messrs. Chandler, Clark, Foot, Hale, Wade, and Wilson.

The Senate then proceeded, on motion of Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, to reconsider Mr. Clingman's resolution hitherto given--Mr. Wilson stating that, for himself and his friends, they wished to have nothing to do with any part of the series, and therefore moved the reconsideration; which prevailed: Yeas 26; Nays 8. And the resolution of Mr. Clingman, being reconsidered, was rejected.

And so, Mr. Jefferson Davis's entire series, without the change of a comma, affirming and emphasizing the worst points of the Dred Scott decision, and asserting as vital truths propositions which even the Southern Democracy voted down when first presented to a Democratic National Convention by Mr. Yancey in 1848, were now adopted by the United States Senate as necessary deductions from the fundamental law of the land.

The Democratic National Convention of 1856 had decided that its successor should meet at Charleston, S. C., which it accordingly did, on the 23d of April, 1860.

Abundant premonitions of a storm had already been afforded. One delegation from the State of New York had been chosen by the Convention which nominated State officers at Syracuse the preceding Autumn; while another had been elected by districts, under the auspices of Mr. Fernando Wood, then Mayor of the Commercial Emporium. The former was understood to favor the nomination of Senator Douglas for President; the latter to oppose it, and incline to entire acquiescence in whatever the South might propose or desire. Two delegations had, in like manner, been chosen from Illinois, under similar auspices. The National Committee had issued tickets to what it esteemed the regular, or anti-Wood, delegation from New York, admitting them to seats in the Convention, and excluding their competitors. Francis B. Flournoy, of Arkansas, was chosen temporary Chairman; Gen. Caleb Cushing, of Massachusetts, was, on the second day, made permanent President, and a Committee on Platform, consisting of one member from each State, appointed. On the third day, the contests were decided in favor of the anti-Wood delegation from New York and the Douglas men from Illinois. On the fourth, no progress was made. On the fifth, Mr. Avery, of North Carolina, from a majority of the Committee on Platform (17 to 14), but representing a minority of the People and of the Electors of President, reported a series, whereof the material proposition was as follows:

Resolved, That the platform adopted at Cincinnati be affirmed, with the following resolutions:

That the National Democracy of the United States hold these cardinal principles on the subject of Slavery in the Territories: First, That Congress has no power to abolish Slavery in the Territories; second, that [310] the Territorial Legislature has no power to abolish Slavery in the Territories, nor to prohibit the introduction of slaves therein, nor any power to destroy or impair the right of property in slaves by any legislation whatever.

Mr. Henry B. Payne, of Ohio, on behalf of the members of said Committee from all the Free States but California, Oregon, and Massachusetts--States entitled to choose 172 Electors, while those represented in the majority report were entitled to but 127 Electors — reported a platform, which, as finally modified, was presented by Mr. Samuels, of Iowa, in the following shape:

1. Resolved, That we, the Democracy of the Union, in Convention assembled, hereby declare our affirmance of the resolutions unanimously adopted and declared as a platform of principles by the Democratic Convention at Cincinnati, in the year 1856, believing that Democratic principles are unchangeable in their nature, when applied to the same subject-matters; and we recommend, as the only further resolutions, the following:

Inasmuch as differences of opinion exist in the Demoeratic party as to the nature and extent of the powers of a Territorial Legislature, and as to the powers and duties of Congress, under the Constitution of the United States, over the institution of Slavery within the Territories:

2. Resolved, That the Democratic Party will abide by the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States on the questions of Constitutional law.

3. Resolved, That it is the duty of the United States to afford ample and complete protection to all its citizens, whether at home or abroad, and whether native or foreign.

4. Resolved, That one of the necessities of the age, in a military, commercial, and postal point of view, is speedy communication between the Atlantic and Pacific States; and the Democratic Party pledge such constitutional government aid as will insure the construction of a railroad to the Pacific coast, at the earliest practicable period.

5. Resolved, That the Democratic party are in favor of the acquisition of the Island of Cuba, on such terms as shall be honorable to ourselves and just to Spain.

6. Resolved, That the enactments of State Legislatures to defeat the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law, are hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in their effect.

Mr. Avery's report from the majority was ultimately modified by him so as to read as follows:

Resolved, That the platform adopted by the Democratic party at Cincinnati be affirmed, with the following explanatory resolutions:

First. That the government of a Territory organized by an act of Congress, is provisional and temporary; and, during its existence, all citizens of the United States have an equal right to settle with their property in the Territory without their rights, either of persons or property, being destroyed or impaired by congressional or territorial legislation.

Second. That it is the duty of the Federal Government, in all its departments, to protect, when necessary, the rights of persons and property in the Territories, and wherever else its constitutional authority extends.

Third. That when the settlers in a Territory having an adequate population form a State Constitution, the right of sovereignty commences, and, being consummated by admission into the Union, they stand on an equal footing with the people of other States; and the State thus organized ought to be admitted into the Federal Union, whether its constitution prohibits or recognizes the institution of Slavery.

Fourth. That the Democratic party are in favor of the acquisition of the Island of Cuba, on such terms as shall be honorable to ourselves and just to Spain, at the earliest practicable moment.

Fifth. That the enactments of State legislatures to defeat the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law, are hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in their effect.

Sixth. That the Democracy of the United States recognize it as the imperative duty of this Government to protect the naturalized citizen in all his rights, whether at home or in foreign lands, to the same extent as its native-born citizens.

Whereas, one of the greatest necessities of the age, in a political, commercial, postal and military point of view, is a speedy communication between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts: Therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Democratic party do hereby pledge themselves to use every means in their power to secure the passage of some bill, to the extent of the constitutional authority of Congress, for the construction of a Pacific Railroad, from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, at the earliest practicable period.

[The report concludes with resolves 5 and 6 of the Douglas platform, for which see preceding column.] [311]

Gen. Benj. F. Butler, of Massachusetts, disagreeing with both these reports, proposed simply to reaffirm the Cincinnati platform, and there stop.

The majority report, it will be noted, was concurred in by the representatives, in Committee, of each of the fifteen Slave States, with those of California and Oregon. Mr. Avery, in introducing it, very frankly and fairly set forth its object, and the grounds of difference with the minority, as follows:

I have stated that we demand at the hands of our Northern brethren upon this floor that the great principle which we cherish should be recognized, and in that view I speak the common sentiments of our constituents at home; and I intend no reflection upon those who entertain a different opinion, when I say that the results and ultimate consequences to the Southern States of this confederacy, if the Popular Sovereignty doctrine be adopted as the doctrine of the Democratic party, would be as dangerous and subversive of their rights as the adoption of the principle of Congressional intervention or prohibition. We say that, in a contest for the occupation of the Territories of the United States, the Southern men encumbered with slaves cannot compete with the Emigrant Aid Society at the North. We say that the Emigrant Aid Society can send a voter to one of the Territories of the United States, to determine a question relating to Slavery, for the sum of $200; while it would cost the Southern man the sum of $1500. We say, then, that, wherever there is competition between the South and the North, that the North can and will, at less expense and difficulty, secure power, control, and dominion over the Territories of the Federal Government; and if, then, you establish the doctrine that a Territorial Legislature which may be established by Congress in any Territory has the right, directly or indirectly, to affect the institution of Slavery, then you can see that the Legislature by its action, either directly or indirectly, may finally exclude every man from the slaveholding States as effectually as if you had adopted the Wilmot Proviso out and out. * * *

But we are told that, in advocating the doctrine we now do, we are violating the principles of the Cincinnati platform. They say that the Cincinnati platform is a Popular Sovereignty platform; that it was intended to present and practically enforce that great principle. Now, we who made this report deny that this is the true construction of the Cincinnati platform. We of the South say that, when we voted for the Cincinnati platform, we understood, from the fact that the Territories stand in the same position as the District of Columbia, that non-interference and non-intervention in the Territories was that same sort of non-interference and non-intervention practiced in the District of Columbia. Now, we maintain that Congress has no right to prohibit or abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia. Why? Because it is an existing institution. It becomes the duty of Congress under the Constitution to protect and cherish the right of property in slaves in that District, because the Constitution does not give them the power to prohibit or establish Slavery. Every session of Congress, Northern men, Southern men, men of all parties, are legislating to protect, cherish and uphold, the institution of Slavery in the District of Columbia. * * *

It is said that the Cincinnati platform is ambiguous, and that we must explain it. At the South, we have maintained that it had no ambiguity; that it did not mean Popular Sovereignty; but our Northern friends say that it does mean Popular Sovereignty. Now, if we are going to explain it and to declare its principles, I say, let us either declare them openly, boldly, squarely, or let us leave it as it is in the Cincinnati Platform. I want, and we of the South want, no more doubtful platforms upon this or any other question. We desire that this Convention should take a bold, square stand. What do the minority of the committee propose? Their solution is to leave the question to the decision of the Supreme Court, and agree to abide by any decision that may be made by that tribunal between the citizens of a Territory upon the subject. Why, gentlemen of the minority, you cannot help yourselves! That is no concession to us. There is no necessity for putting that in the platform, because I take it for granted that you are all law-abiding citizens. Every gentleman here from a non-slaveholding State is a law-abiding citizen; and, if he be so, why we know that, when there is a decision of the Supreme Court, even adverse to his views, he will submit to it. * * *

You say that this is a judicial question. We say that it is not. But, if it be a judicial question, it is immaterial to you how the platform is made, because all you will have to say is, “This is a judicial question; the majority of the Convention were of one opinion; I may entertain my own opinion upon tile question; let tile Supreme Court settle it.” * * *

Let us make a platform about which there can be no doubt, so that every man, North [312] and South, may stand side by side on all issues connected with Slavery, and advocate the same principles. That is all we ask. All we demand at your hands is, that there shall be no equivocation and no doubt in the popular mind as to what our principles are.

Mr. Payne, on the other side, quoted at length from the Cincinnati platform, from Mr. Buchanan's letter of acceptance, and from speeches of Howell Cobb, John C. Breckinridge, James L. Orr, A. H. Stephens, Judah P. Benjamin, James A. Bayard, James M. Mason, Robert Toombs, etc., to show that “ Non-Intervention” with “Popular Sovereignty” was the original and established Democratic doctrine with regard to Slavery in the Territories.

The debate was continued, amid great excitement and some disorder, until Monday, April 30th, when the question was first taken on Gen. Butler's proposition; which was defeated — Yeas 105; Nays 198--as follows:

Yeas--Maine, 3; Massachusetts, 8; Connecticut, 2 1/2; New Jersey, 5; Pennsylvania, 16 1/2; Delaware, 3; Maryland, 5 1/2; Virginia, 12 1/2; North Carolina, 10; Georgia, 10; Missouri, 4 1/2; Tennessee, 11; Kentucky, 9; Minnesota, 1 1/2; Oregon, 3--105.

Nays--Maine, 5; New Hampshire, 5; Vermont, 5 ; Massachusetts, 5; Rhode Island, 4; Connecticut, 3 1/2; New York, 35; New Jersey, 2; Pennsylvania, 10 1/2 ; Maryland, 2 1/2; Virginia, 2 1/2; South Carolina, 8; Florida, 3; Alabama, 9; Louisiana, 6; Mississippi, 7; Texas, 4; Arkansas, 4; Missouri, 4 1/2; Tennessee, 1; Kentucky, 3; Ohio, 23; Indiana, 13; Illinois, 11 ; Michigan, ; Wisconsin, 5; Iowa, 4; Minnesota, 2 1/2; California, 4--198.

The question was next taken on the regular minority report, as presented in a modified form by Mr. Samuels; which was adopted, by the following vote:

Yeas--Maine, 8; New Hampshire, 5; Vermont, 5; Massachusetts, 7; :Rhode Island, 4; Connecticut, 6; New York, 35; New Jersey, 5; Pennsylvania, 12 ; Maryland, 3 1/2; Virginia, 1; Missouri, 4; Tennessee, 1; Kentucky, 2 1/2; Ohio, 23; Indiana, 13; Illinois, 11; Michigan, 6; Wisconsin, 5; Iowa, 4; Minnesota, 4--165.

Nays--Massachusetts, 6; New Jersey, 2; Pennsylvania, 15; Delaware, 3; Maryland, 4 1/2; Virginia, 14; North Carolina, 10; South Carolina, 8; Georgia, 10; Florida, 3; Alabama, 9; Louisiana, 6; Mississippi, 7; Texas, 4; Arkansas, 4; Missouri. 5; Tennessee, 11; Kentucky, 9 1/2; California, 4; Oregon, 3--138.

Hereupon, Mr. L. P. Walker, of Alabama, presented the written protest of the delegates from that State, 28 in number, showing that they were expressly instructed by the State Convention which elected them not to acquiesce in or submit to any “Squatter Sovereignty” platform, but to withdraw from the Convention in case such a one should be adopted. Among the resolves so adopted and made binding on their delegates by the Alabama State Convention, were the following:

1. Resolved, by the Democracy of the State of Alabama in Convention assembled, That, holding all issues and principles upon which they have heretofore affiliated and acted with the National Democratic Party to be inferior in dignity and importance to the great question of Slavery, they content themselves with a general reaffirmance of the Cincinnati platform as to such issues, and also indorse said platform as to Slavery, together with the following resolutions:

2. Resolved further, That we reaffirm so much of the first resolution of the platform adopted in the Convention by the Democracy of this State, on the 8th of January, 1856, as relates to the subject of Slavery, to wit: “The unqualified right of the people of the Slaveholding States to the protection of their property in the States, in the Territories, and in the wilderness in which Territorial Governments are as yet unorganized.”

3. Resolved further, That, in order to meet and clear away all obstacles to a full enjoyment of this right in the Territories, we reaffirm tile principle of the 9th resolution of the Platform adopted in Convention by the Democracy of this State, on the 14th of February, 1848, to wit: “ That it is the duty of the General Government, by all proper legislation. to secure an entry into those [313] Territories to all the citizens of the United States, together with their property of every description; and that the same should be protected by the United States while the Territories are under its authority.”

4. Resolved further, That the Constitution of the United States is a compact between sovereign and co-ëqual States, united upon the basis of perfect equality of rights and privileges.

5. Resolved further, That the Territories of the United States are common property, in which the States have equal rights, and to which the citizens of every State may rightfully emigrate, with their slaves or other property recognized as such in any of the States of the Union, or by the Constitution of the United States.

6. Resolred further, That the Congress of the United States has no power to abolish Slavery in the Territories, or to prohibit its introduction into any of them.

7. Resolved further, That the Territorial Legislatures, created by the legislation of Congress, have no lower to abolish Slavery, or to prohibit the introduction of the same, or to impair by unfriendly legislation the security and full enjoyment of the same within the Territories; and such constitutional power certainly does not belong to the people of the Territories in any capacity, before, in the exercise of a lawful authority, they form a Constitution preparatory to admission as a State into the Union; and their action, in the exercise of such lawful authority, certainly cannot operate or take effect before their actual admission as a State into the Union.

8. Resolved further, That the principles enunciated by Chief Justice Taney, in his opinion in the Dred Scott case, deny Territorial Legislature the power to destroy or impair, by any legislation whatever, the right of property in slaves, and maintain it to be the duty of the Federal Government, in all of its departments, to protect the rights of the owner of such property in the Territories; and the principles so declared are hereby asserted to be the rights of the South, and the South should maintain them.

9. Resolved further, That we hold all of the foregoing propositions to contain cardinal principles--true in themselves — and just and proper and necessary for the safety of all that is dear to us; and we do hereby instruct our delegates to the Charleston Convention to present them for the calm consideration and approval of that body — from whose justice and patriotism we anticipate their adoption.

10. Resolved further, That our delegates to the Charleston Convention are hereby expressly instructed to insist that said Convention shall adopt a platform of principles, recognizing distinctly the rights of the South, as asserted in the foregoing resolutions; and if the said National Convention shall refuse to adopt, in substance, the propositions embraced in the preceding resolutions, prior to nominating candidates, our delegates to said Convention are hereby positively instructed to withdraw therefrom.

11. Resolved further, That our delegates to the Charleston Convention shall cast the vote of Alabama as a unit, and a majority of our delegates shall determine how tile vote of this State shall be given.

12. Resolved further, That an Executive Committee, to consist of one from each Congressional District, be appointed, whose duty it shall be, in the event that our delegates withdraw from the Charleston Convention, in obedience to the 10th resolution, to call a Convention of the Democracy of Alabama, to meet at an early day to consider what is best to be done.

The Alabama delegation concluded with the following statement:

The points of difference between the Northern and the Southern Democracy are:

1. As regards the status of Slavery as a political institution in the Territories whilst they remain Territories, and the power of the people of a Territory to exclude it by unfriendly legislation; and

2. As regards the duty of the Federal Government to protect the owner of slaves in the enjoyment of his property in the Territories so long as they remain such.

This Convention has refused, by the Platform adopted, to settle either of these propositions in favor of the South. We deny to the to the people of a Territory any power to legislate against the institution of Slavery; and we assert that it is the duty of the Federal Government, in all its departments, to protect the owner of slaves in the enjoyment of his property in the Territories. These principles, as we state them, are embodied in the Alabama Platform.

Here, then, is a plain, explicit and direct issue between this Convention and the constituency which we have the honor to represent in this body.

Instructed, as we are, not to waive this issue, the contingency, therefore, has arisen, when, in our opinion, it becomes our duty to withdraw from this Convention. We beg, Sir, to communicate this fact through you, and to assure the Convention that we do so in no spirit of anger, but under a sense of imperative obligation, properly appreciating its responsibilities and cheerfully submitting to its consequences.

The Alabama delegation, which [314] included ex-Gov. John A. Winston, Wm. L. Yancey, Reuben Chapman, ex-M. C., and other prominent citizens, thereupon withdrew from the Convention.

Mr. Barry, of Mississippi, next announced the withdrawal of the entire Mississippi delegation. Mr. Glenn, of Mississippi, stated the grounds of such withdrawal, as follows:

Sir, at Cincinnati we adopted a Platform on which we all agreed. Now answer me, ye men of the North, of the East, of the South, and of the West, what was the construction placed upon that Platform in different sections of the Union? You at the West said it meant one thing; we of the South said it meant another. Either we were right or you were right; we were wrong or you were wrong. We came here to ask you which was right and which was wrong. You have maintained your position. You say that you cannot give us an acknowledgment of that right, which I tell you here now, in coming time will be your only safety in your contests with the Black Republicans of Ohio and of the North. (Cheers.)

Why, sir, turn back to the history of your own leading men. There sits a distinguished gentleman, Hon. Charles E. Stuart, of Michligan, once a representative of one of the sovereign States of the Union in the Senate, who then voted that Congress had the constitutional power to pass the Wilmot Proviso, and to exclude Slavery from the Territories; and now, when the Supreme Court has said that it has not that power, he comes forward and tells Mississippians that that same Congress is impotent to protect that same species of property! There sits my distinguished friend, the Senator from Ohio (Mr. Pugh), who, but a few nights since, told us from that stand that, if a Territorial Government totally misused their powers or abused them, Congress could wipe out that Territorial Government altogether. And yet, when we come here and ask him to give us protection in case that Territorial Government robs us of our property and strikes the star which answers to the name of Mississippi from the flag of the Union, so far as the Constitution gives her protection, he tells us, with his hand upon his heart — as Gov. Payne, of Ohio, had before done — that they will part with their lives before they will acknowledge the principle which we contend for.

Gentlemen, in such a situation of things In the Convention of our great party, it is right that we should part. Go your way, and we will go ours. The South leaves you — not like Hagar, driven into the wilderness, friendless and alone — but I tell Southern men here, and, for them, I tell the North, that, in less than sixty days, you will find a united South standing side by side with us. (Prolonged and enthusiastic cheering.)

Mr. Mouton, of Louisiana, briefly announced that all the delegates from his State but two would withdraw from the Convention, and protested against the right of the two to act or cast any vote in behalf of the State.

Hon. James Simons, of South Carolina, announced the withdrawal of the delegation from that State, in a communication signed by all the thirteen members thereof; in the words following:

We, the undersigned delegates appointed by the Democratic State Convention of South Carolina, beg leave respectfully to state that, according to the principles enunciated in their Platform at Columbia, the power, either of the Federal Government or of its agent, the Territorial Government, to abolish or legislate against property in slaves, by either direct or indirect legislation, is especially denied; and, as the Platform adopted by the Convention palpably and intentionally prevents any expression affirming the incapacity of the Territorial Government so to legislate, that they would not be acting in good faith to their principles, or in accordance with the wishes of their constituents, to longer remain in this Convention, and they hereby respectfully announce their withdrawal therefrom.

Mr. John Milton, of Florida, next announced the unanimous withdrawal of the delegation from that State, in a protest signed by five delegates, which was read by Mr. Eppes, whereof the essential portion is as follows:

Florida, with her Southern sisters, is entitled to a clear and unambiguous recognition of her rights in the Territories; and this being refused, by the rejection of the majority report, we protest against receiving the Cincinnati Platform with the interpretation that it favors the doctrine of Squatter Sovereignty in the Territories — which doctrine, in the name of the people represented by us, we repudiate.


Mr. Guy M. Bryan, of Texas, next announced the withdrawal of the entire delegation from that State. In their protest against the platform adopted by the Convention, they declared

That it is the right of every citizen to take his property, of any kind, including slaves, into the common territory belonging equally to all the States of the Confederacy, and to have it protected there under the Federal Constitution. Neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature, nor any human power, has any authority, either directly or indirectly, to impair these sacred rights; and, they having been affirmed by the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case, we declare that it is the duty of the Federal Government, the common agent of all the States, to establish such government, and enact such laws for the Territories, and so change the same, from time to time, as may be necessary to insure the protection and preservation of these rights, and prevent every infringement of the same. The affirmation of this principle of the duty of Congress to simply protect the rights of property, is nowise in conflict with the heretofore established and well-recognized principle of the Democratic party, that Congress does not possess the power to legislate Slavery into the Territories, or to exclude it therefrom.

It is sufficient to say that, if the principles of the Northern Democracy are properly represented by the opinion and action of the majority of the delegates from that section on this floor, we do not hesitate to declare that their principles are not only not ours, but, if adhered to and enforced by them, will destroy this Union.

Mr. B. Burrow, of Arkansas, announced the withdrawal of three delegates from that State, for these reasons:

1st. Because the numerical majority have usurped the prerogatives of the States in setting aside the Platform made by the States, and have thus unsettled the basis of this Convention, and thereby permanently disorganized its constitution. Its decrees, therefore, become null and void.

2d. Because we were positively instructed by the Democracy of Arkansas to insist on the recognition of the equal rights of the South in the common Territories, and protection to those rights by the Federal Government, prior to any nomination of a candidate; and, as this Convention has refused to recognize the principles required by the State of Arkansas, in her popular Convention first, and twice subsequently reasserted by Arkansas, together with all her Southern sisters, in the report of a Platform in this Convention; and, as we cannot serve two masters, we are determined first to serve the Lord our God. We cannot ballot for any candidate whatsoever.

Mr. J. P. Johnson, on behalf of that portion of the Arkansas delegation who had concluded not to leave the Convention until after time had been afforded for consultation, said he hesitated, “because he conceived that the stability of the Union itself was involved in the action taken here by the Southern representatives.”

The Georgia delegation here asked leave to retire for consultation, which was granted. Messrs. Bayard and Whiteley--Senator and Representative in Congress from Delaware--now retired from the Convention and joined the seceders Mr. Saulsbury the other Senator, gave his reasons for not retiring at this time, and the Convention adjourned for the night.

Next morning, May 1st, Mr. Henry L. Benning presented a notification from twenty-six of the thirty-four delegates from Georgia, that they had decided to withdraw from the Convention--four of them in obedience to a vote of the majority, which they had opposed.

Mr. Johnson, of Arkansas, now announced the withdrawal, after due consideration and consultation, of the remainder of the delegation from his State; but Mr. F. B. Flournoy gave notice that he did not concur in this action

The formal protest and withdrawal of ten delegates from Louisiana was now presented. It states that these delegates act in obedience to a resolution [316] passed by the Democracy of Louisiana in State Convention at Baton Rouge, March 5, 1860, in the following words:

Resolved, That the Territories of the United States belong to the several States as their common property, and not to individual citizens thereof; that the Federal Constitution recognizes property in slaves; and, as such, the owner thereof is entitled to carry his slaves into any Territory in the United States; to hold them there as property; and, in case the people of the Territories, by inaction, unfriendly legislation or otherwise, should endanger the tenure of such property, or discriminate against it by withholding that protection given to other species of property in the Territories, it is the duty of the General Government to interpose, by the active exertion of its constitutional power, to secure the rights of the slaveholder.

The two remaining delegates from Louisiana gave notice that, though they did not personally desire to withdraw front the Convention, they should be governed by the action of the majority of their delegation.

Mr. W. B. Gaulden, of Georgia, made a speech against the course taken by his colleagues, on the following grounds:

I am not in favor of breaking up this Government upon an impracticable issue,--upon a mere theory. I believe that this doctrine of protection to Slavery in the Territories is a mere theory, a mere abstraction. (Applause.) Practically, it can be of no consequence to the South, for the reason that the infant has been strangled before it was born. (Laughter.) You have cut off the supply of slaves; you have crippled the institution of Slavery in the States by your unjust laws; and it is mere folly and madness now to ask for protection for a nonentity — for a thing which is not there. We have no slaves to carry to these Territories. We can never make another Slave State with our present supply of slaves. But, if we could, it would not be wise; for the reason that, if you make another Slave State from your new Territories with the present supply of slaves, you will be obliged to give up another State--either Maryland, Delaware, or Virginia--to Free Soil upon the North. Now, I would deal with this question, fellow-Democrats, as a practical one. When I can see no possible practical good to result to the country from demanding legislation upon this theory, I am not prepared to disintegrate and dismember the great Democratic party of this Union. * * *

I would ask my friends of the South to come up in a proper spirit, ask our Northern friends to give us all our rights, and take off the ruthless restrictions which cut off the supply of slaves from foreign lands. As a matter of right and justice to the South, I would ask the Democracy of the North to grant us this thing; and I believe they have the patriotism and honesty to do it, because it is right in itself. I tell you, fellow-Democrats, that the African Slave-trader is the true Union man. (Cheers and laughter.) I tell you that the slave-trading of Virginia is more immoral, more unchristian in every possible point of view, than that African Slave-trade which goes to Africa and brings a heathen and worthless man here, makes him a useful man, Christianizes him, and sends him and his posterity down the stream of time to enjoy the blessings of civilization. (Cheers and laughter.) Now, fellow-Democrats, so far as any public expression of the State of Virginia--the great Slave-trading State of Virginia--has been given, they are all opposed to the African Slave-trade.

Dr. Reed, of Indiana--I am from Indiana, and I am il favor of it.

Mr. Gaulden--Now, gentlemen, we are told, upon high authority, that there is a certain class of men who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. Now, Virginia, which authorizes the buying of Christian men, separating them from their wives and children, from all the relations and associations amid whom they have lived for years, rolls up her eyes in holy horror when I would go to Africa, buy a savage, and introduce him to the blessings of civilization and Christianity. (Cheers arid laughter.)

Capt. Rynders, of N. Y.--You can get one or two recruits from New York to join with you.

The President.--The time of the gentleman has expired. (Cries of “Go on! Go on!” )

The President stated that, if it was the unanimous wish of the Convention, the gentleman could proceed.

Mr. Gaulden.--Now, fellow-Democrats, the slave-trade in Virginia forms a mighty and powerful reason for its opposition to the African slave-trade, and in this remark I do not intend any disrespect to my friends from Virginia. Virginia, the Mother of States and of statesmen, the Mother of Presidents, I apprehend may err as well as other mortals. I am afraid that her error in this regard lies in the promptings of the almighty dollar. It has been my fortune to go into [317] that noble old State to buy a few darkies; and I have had to pay from $1,000 to $2,000 a head, when I could go to Africa and buy better negroes for $50 apiece. (Great laughter.) Now, unquestionably, it is to the interest of Virginia to break down the African slave-trade, when she can sell her negroes at $2,000. She knows that the African slave-trade would break up her monopoly, and hence her objection to it. If any of you Northern Democrats — for I have more faith in you than I have in the carpet-knight Democracy of the South--will go home with me to my plantation in Georgia, but a little way from here, I will show you some darkies that I bought in Maryland, some that I bought in Virginia, some in Delaware, some in Florida, some in North Carolina; and I will also show you the pure African, the noblest Roman of them all. (Great laughter.) Now, fellow-Democrats, my feeble health and failing voice admonish me to bring the few remarks I have to make to a close. (Cries of “Go on, go on.” ) I am only sorry that I am not in a better condition than I am to vindicate before you today the words of truth, of honesty, and of right, and to show you the gross inconsistencies of the South in this regard. I come from the First Congressional District of the State of Georgia. I represent the African slave-trade interest of that section. (Applause.) I am proud of the position I occupy in that respect. I believe that the African slave-trader is a true missionary, and a true Christian (applause); and I have pleaded with my delegation from Georgia to put this issue squarely to the Northern Democracy, and say to them, Are you prepared to go back to first principles, and take off your unconstitutional restrictions, and leave this question to be settled by each State? Now, do this, fellow-citizens, and you will have peace in the country. But, so long as your Federal Legislature takes jurisdiction of this question, so long will there be war, so long will there be ill-blood, so long will there be strife, until this glorious Union of ours shall be disrupted and go out in blood and night forever. I advocate the repeal of the laws prohibiting the African Slave-trade, because I believe it to be the true Union movement. I do not believe that sections whose interests are so different as the Southern and Northern States can ever stand the stocks of fanaticism, unless they be equally balanced. I believe that, by reopening this trade, and giving us negroes to populate the Territories, the equilibrium of the two sections will be maintained.

The Convention now proceeded to ballot for President, having first adopted, by a vote of 141 to 112, the rule requiring two-thirds of a full Convention to nominate. Candidates were put in nomination, and, on the first ballot, Stephen A. Douglas, of Illinois, received 145 1/2 votes; Robert M. T. Hunter, of Virginia, 42 votes; James Guthrie, of Kentucky, 35 votes; Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee, 12; Daniel S. Dickinson, of New York, 7; Joseph Lane, of Oregon, 6; Isaac Toucey, of Connecticut, 2 1/2; Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, 1 1/2; Franklin Pierce, of New Hampshire, 1. On the next ballot, Mr. Douglas had 147; and lie continued to gain slowly to the thirty-second, when he received 152 1/2 votes. He fell off on the thirty-sixth to 151 1/2, which vote he continued to receive up to the fifty-seventh ballot, on which Guthrie received 65 1/2, Hunter 16, Lane 14, Dickinson 4, and Jefferson Davis 1. The Convention (May 3d), on motion of Mr. Russell, of Virginia, by a vote of 195 to 55, adjourned, to reassemble at Baltimore on Monday, the 18th of June; recommending to the Democratic party of the several States whose delegations had withdrawn, to fill their places prior to that day.

The seceding delegates assembled at St. Andrew's Hall--Senator Bayard, of Delaware, in the chair — and adopted the platform reported to the Convention by Mr. Avery, as aforesaid; and, after four days deliberations, adjourned to meet at Richmond, Va., on the second Monday in June. The Wood delegates from New York attended this meeting, but were not admitted as members.

The regular Convention reassembled at the Front-street Theater in [318] Baltimore, pursuant to adjournment. Some days were spent in considering the credentials of contesting delegates from certain Southern States. The decisions of the Convention were such as to increase the strength of Senator Douglas. When it was concluded, Mr. Russell, of Virginia, Mr. Lander, of North Carolina, Mr. Ewing, of Tennessee, Mr. Johnson, of Maryland, Mr. Smith, of California, Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, Mr. Caldwell, of Kentucky, and Mr. Clark of Missouri, announced the withdrawal of the whole, or of a part, of the delegations from their respective States. Gen. Cushing resigned the chair of the Convention, which was immediately taken by Gov. David Tod, of Ohio (a Vice-President at Charleston), amid enthusiastic cheers. Gen. B. F. Butler, of Massachusetts, announced the determination of a majority of the delegates from his State not to participate further in its deliberations. He said:

We have not discussed the question, Mr. President, whether the action of the Convention, in excluding certain delegates, could be any reason for withdrawal. We now put our withdrawal before you, upon the simple ground, among others, that there has been a withdrawal in part of a majority of the States, and further (and that, perhaps, more personal to myself), upon the ground that I will not sit in a Convention where the African slave-trade — which is piracy by the laws of my country — is approvingly advocated. (Great sensation.)

The Convention now proceeded to vote for President; and, on the first ballot, Mr. Douglas had 173 1/2; Guthrie 10, Breckinridge 5, and there were 3 scattering. On the next ballot, Mr. Douglas had 181 1/2, Breckinridge 7 1/2, Guthrie 5 1/2; whereupon, on motion of Mr. Sanford E. Church, of New York, the following resolution was adopted:

Resolved unanimously, That Stephen A. Douglas, of the State of Illinois, having now received two-thirds of all the votes given in this Convention, is hereby declared, in accordance with the rules governing this body, and in accordance with the uniform customs and rules of former Democratic National Conventions, the regular nominee of the Democratic party of the United States, for the office of President of the United States.

Hon. Benjamin Fitzpatrick, of Alabama, was now nominated for Vice-President, receiving 198 1/2 votes to 1 scattering. [He declined, two days thereafter, and the National Committee substituted Hon. Herschel V. Johnson, of Georgia.]

Gov. Wickliffe, of Louisiana, now offered the following resolve, as an addition to the platform adopted at Charleston:

Resolved, That it is in accordance with the true interpretation of the Cincinnati Platform, that, during the existence of the Territorial Governments, the measure of restriction, whatever it may be, imposed by the Federal Constitution on the power of the Territorial Legislatures over the subject of the domestic relations, as the same has been, or shall hereafter be, finally determined by the Supreme Court of the United States, should be respected by all good citizens, and enforced with promptness and fidelity by every branch of tile General Government.

Mr. Payne, of Ohio, moved the previous question, and this was also adopted, with but two dissenting votes.

The Seceders' Convention, which met, first at Richmond on the 11th of June, adjourned thence to Baltimore, and finally met at the Maryland Institute on the 28th of June. Twenty-one States were fully or partially represented. Hon. Caleb Cushing was chosen its President. Mr. Avery, of North Carolina, submitted his Charleston platform, which was unanimously adopted. It was resolved that the next Democratic National Convention should be held at Philadelphia. [319]

The Convention now proceeded to ballot for a candidate for President, when John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, received the unanimous vote--105--of the delegates present; and Gen. Joseph Lane, of Oregon, was nominated for Vice-President by a similar vote. And then, after a speech from Mr. Yancey, the Convention finally adjourned.

The Constitutional Union (late “American” ) party held a Convention at Baltimore on the 19th of May; and, on the second ballot, nominated John Bell, of Tennessee, for President; he receiving 138 votes to 114 for all others. Sam Houston, of Texas, had 57 votes on the first, and 69 on the second ballot. Edward Everett, of Massachusetts, was then unanimously nominated for Vice-President. The Convention, without a dissenting voice, united on the following

Platform :

Whereas, Experience has demonstrated that Platforms adopted by the partisan Conventions of the country have had the effect to mislead and deceive the people, and at the same time to widen the political divisions of the country, by the creation and encouragement of geographical and sectional parties; therefore,

Resolved, That it is both the part of patriotism and of duty to recognize no political principle other than the Constitution of the country, the Union of the States, and the enforcement of the laws, and that, as representatives of the Constitutional Union men of the country in National Convention assembled, we hereby pledge ourselves to maintain, protect, and defend, separately and unitedly, these great principles of public liberty and national safety, against all enemies, at home and abroad; believing that thereby peace may once more be restored to the country, the rights of the People and of the States reestablished, and the Government again placed in that condition of justice, fraternity, and equality, which, under the example and Constitution of our fathers, has solemnly bound every citizen of the United States to maintain a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

The “Republican” National Convention met at Chicago, Ill., on Wednesday, May 16th. All the Free States were strongly represented, with Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, the District of Columbia, and the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska. There was a delegation present claiming to represent Texas, but it was afterward found to be fraudulent. David Wilmot, of Pennsylvania, was chosen temporary Chairman, and George Ashmun, of Massachusetts, President. A Platform Committee of one from each State and Territory was appointed on the first day, from which Committee a report was submitted on the evening of the second, when it was immediately and unanimously adopted. That report or Platform is as follows:

Resolved, That we, the delegated representatives of the Rhepublican electors of the United States, in Convention assembled, in discharge of the duty we owe to our constituents and our country, unite in the following declarations:

1. That the history of the nation, during the last tour years, has fully established the propriety and necessity of the organization and perpetuation of the Republican party; and that the causes which called it into existence are permanent in their nature, and now, more than ever before, demand its peaceful and constitutional triumph.

2. That the maintenance of the principle promulgated in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Federal Constitution, “ That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” is essential to the preservation of our Republican [320] institutions; and that the Federal Constitution, the Rights of the States, and the Union of the States, must and shall he preserved.

3. That to the Union of the States this nation owes its unprecedented increase in population, its surprising development of material resources, its rapid augmentation of wealth, its happiness at home and its honor abroad; and we hold in abhorrence all schemes for Disunion, come from whatever source they may: And we congratulate the country that no Republican member of Congress has uttered or countenanced the threats of Disunion so often made by Democratic members, without rebuke and with applause from their political associates; and we denounce those threats of Disunion, in case of a popular overthrow of their ascendency, as denying the vital principles of a free government, and as an avowal of contemplated treason, which it is the imperative duty of an indignant People sternly to rebuke and forever silence.

4. That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of powers on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.

5. That the present Democratic Administration has far exceeded our worst apprehensions, in its measureless subserviency to the exactions of a sectional interest, as especially evinced in its desperate exertions to force the infamous Lecompton Constitution upon the protesting people of Kansas; in construing the personal relation between master and servant to involve an unqualified property in persons; in its attempted enforcement, everywhere, on land and sea, through the intervention of Congress and of time Federal Courts, of the extreme pretensions of a purely local interest; and in its general and unvarying abuse of the power intrusted to it by a confiding people.

6. That the people justly view with alarm the reckless extravagance which pervades every (department of the Federal Government; that a return to rigid economy and accountability is indispensable to arrest the systematic plunder of the public treasury by favored partisans; while the recent startling developments of frauds and corruptions at the Federal metropolis, show that an entire change of administration is imperatively demanded.

7. That the new dogma that the Constitution, of its own force, carries Slavery into any or all of the Territories of the United States, is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit provisions of that instrument itself, with contemporaneous exposition, and with legislative and judicial precedent; is revolutionary in its tendency, and subversive of the peace and harmony of the country.

8. That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of Freedom: That, as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished Slavery in all our national territory, ordained that “no person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution on against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to Slavery in any Territory of the United States.

9. That we brand the recent reopening of the African slave-trade, under the cover of our national flag, aided by perversions of judicial power, as a crime against humanity and a burning shame to our country and age; and we call upon Congress to take prompt and efficient measures for the total and final suppression of that execrable traffic.

10. That in the recent vetoes, by their Federal Governors, of the acts of the Legislatures of Kansas and Nebraska, prohibiting Slavery in those Territories, we find a practical illustration of the boasted Democratic principle of Non-Intervention and popular Sovereignty embodied in the Kansas-Nebraska bill, and a demonstration of the deception and fraud involved therein.

11. That Kansas should, of right, be immediately admitted as a State, under the Constitution recently formed and adopted by the House of Representatives.

12. That, while providing revenue for the support of the General Government by duties upon imports, sound policy requires such an adjustment of these imposts as to encourage the development of the industrial interests of the whole country: and we commend that policy of national exchanges which secures to the working men liberal wages, to agriculture remunerating prices, to mechanics and manufacturers an adequate reward for their skill, labor, and enterprise, and to the nation commercial prosperity and independence.

13. That we protest against any sale or alienation to others of the Public Lands held by actual settlers, and against any view of the Homestead policy which regards the settlers as paupers or suppliants for public bounty ; and we demand the passage by Congress of the complete and satisfactory [321] Homestead measure which has already passed the House.

14. That the Republican Party is opposed to any change in our Naturalization Laws, or any State legislation by which the rights of citizenship hitherto accorded to immigrants from foreign lands shall be abridged or impaired; and in favor of giving a full and efficient protection to the rights of all classes of citizens, whether native or naturalized, both at home and abroad.

15. That appropriations by Congress for River and Harbor improvements of a National character, required for the accommodation and security of an existing commerce, are authorized by the Constitution, and justified by the obligations of Government to protect the lives and property of its citizens.

16. That a Railroad to the Pacific Ocean is imperatively demanded by the interests of the whole country; that the Federal Government ought to render immediate and efficient aid in its construction; and that, as preliminary thereto, a daily Overland Mail should be promptly established.

17. Finally, having thus set forth our distinctive principles and views, we invite the cooperation of all citizens, however differing on other questions, who substantially agree with us in their affirmance and support.

The Convention, having already decided, by a vote of 331 to 130, that a majority vote only of the delegates should be required to nominate, proceeded, on the morning of the third day of its session, to ballot for a candidate for President of the United States, with the following result:

  1st Ballot. 2d. 3d.
William H. Seward, of New York 173 1/2 184 1/2 180
Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois 102 181 231 1/2
Simon Cameron, of Pennsylvania. 50 1/2 Withdrawn  
Salmon P Chase, of Ohio 49 42 1/2 24 1/2
Edward Bates, of Missouri 48 35 22
William L. Dayton, of New Jersey 14 10 Withdr'n
John McLean, of Ohio 12 8 5
Jacob Collamer, of Vermont 10 Withdrawn  
Scattering 6 4 2

Abraham Lincoln having, on tile third ballot, within two and a half votes of the number necessary to nominate him, Mr. David K. Cartter, of Ohio, before the result was announced, rose to change four votes from Chase to Lincoln, giving the latter a clear majority. Mr. McCrillis, of Maine, followed, changing ten votes from Seward to Lincoln; Mr. Andrew, of Massachusetts, also changed a part of the vote of that State from Seward to Lincoln; and Mr. B. Gratz Brown, of Missouri, changed the eighteen votes of that State from Bates to Lincoln. Others followed, until Mr. Lincoln had 354 out of 466 votes, and was declared duly nominated. On motion of Mr. Wm. M. Evarts, of New York, seconded by Mr. John A. Andrew, of Massachusetts, the nomination was made unanimous.

In the evening, the Convention proceeded to ballot for Vice-President, when Hannibal Hamlin, of Maine, received, on the first ballot, 194 votes; Cassius M. Clay, of Kentucky, 101 1/2; and there were 1656 cast for other candidates. On the second ballot, Mr. Hamlin received 367 votes to 99 for all others, and was declared duly nominated. On motion of Mr. George D. Blakey, of Kentucky, the nomination was made unanimous.

On motion of Mr. Joshua R. Giddings, of Ohio, it was

Resolved, That we deeply sympathize with those men who have been driven, some from their native States and others from the States of their adoption, and are now exiled from their homes on account of their opinions; and we hold the Democratic party responsible for the gross violations of that clause of the Constitution which declares that citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the several States.

And then, after a brief speech by the President, the Convention adjourned, with nine hearty cheers for the ticket.

The canvass for the Presidency, thus opened, was distinguished from all that had preceded it, not more by the number of formidable contestants, [322] 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 Ohio16--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, Douglas, 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, [323] and be protected in, the use of such property in said Territory. And Congress is bound to render such protection wherever necessary, whether with or without the cooperation of the Territorial Legislature.

We have seen how thoroughly this last doctrine is refuted by Col. Benton in his strictures on the Dred Scott decision. If it were sound, any blackleg might, with impunity, defy the laws of any Territory for-bidding the sale of lottery tickets or other implements of gambling. Or the Indian trader might say to the United States Agent: “Sir, I know you have a law authorizing and directing you to destroy every drop of liquor you find offered or kept for sale on an Indian reservation; but my liquor is property, according to the laws of my State, and you cannot touch it. I have a Constitutional right to take my property into any Territory, and there do with it as I please — so, Hands off!” He who does not know that this is not law, nor compatible with the most vital functions of government, can hardly have considered the matter patiently or thoughtfully.

The Douglas platform was practically eviscerated by the ready acceptance at Baltimore of Gov. Wickliffe's resolve making the dicta of the Supreme Court absolute and unquestionable with regard to Slavery in the Territories. The Dred Scott decision was aimed directly at “Squatter Sovereignty:” the case, after being once disposed of on an entirely different point, was restored to life expressly to cover this ground. Ambiguous as was the Cincinnati plat-form, the upholder of “Popular Sovereignty” in the Territories, who, at the same time, regards the Dred Scott decision as binding law, and its authors as entitled to make further and kindred decrees controlling his vote and action with regard to the extension of Slavery, maintains positions so inconsistent and contradict tory as to divest him of all moral power in the premises — all freedom of effective action.

The canvass was opened with great spirit and vigor by Mr. Douglas in person; he speaking in nearly every Free, and in many if not most of the Slave States, in the course of the Summer and Autumn. A ready and able debater, he necessarily attracted large crowds to his meetings, and infused something of his own fiery impetuosity and tireless energy into the breasts of his supporters.

But the odds were soon seen to be too great; since the partisans of Breckinridge, not content with their manifest preponderance in all the Slave States, insisted on organizing in and dividing the Democratic strength of the Free States as well. Nay, more: in several of those States--Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, and Oregon--the leaders of the Democracy in previous contests were mainly found ranged on the side of Breckinridge; while, in nearly or quite every Free State, enough adherents of the Southern platform were found to organize a party and nominate a Breckinridge ticket, rendering the choice of the Douglas Electors in most Free States hardly possible.

The Democrats, as we have seen, had divided on a question of principle--one deemed, on either side, of overwhelming consequence. Pathetic entreaties and fervid appeals had been [324] lavished at Charleston on futile attempts to bring them to an agreement, that the party first and the Union next might be saved from imminent dissolution. Personal aspirations, doubtless, had their weight; but the South could have taken any candidate — perhaps even Douglas himself — if he were standing squarely, openly, on the Avery or Breckinridge platform; and so, probably, could the Northern delegates have consented to support Breckinridge or Howell Cobb on the Payne-Samuels or Douglas platform. Never was an issue more broadly made or clearly defined as one of conflicting, incompatible assumptions. And nowhere in the Slave States did the Breckinridge men consent to any compromise, partnership, coalition, or arrangement, with the partisans of Douglas, though aware that their antagonism would probably give several important States to the Bell-Everett ticket. But the Douglasites of the Free States, on their part, evinced a general readiness to waive their prestige of regularity, and support Electoral tickets made up from the ranks of each anti-Republican party. Thus, in New York, the “Fusion” anti-Lincoln ticket was made up of ten supporters of Bell and Everett, seven of Breckinridge and Lane, and the residue friends of Douglas. No doubt, there was an understanding among the managers that, if all these could elect Mr. Douglas, their votes should be cast solid for him; but the contingency thus contemplated was at best a remote one, while the fact that those who had the prestige of Democratic regularity consented to bargain and combine with bolters and “Know-Nothings,” tended to confuse and be-wilder those who “always vote the regular ticket,” and were accustomed to regard a Democratic bolter with more repugnance than a life-long adversary. The portents, from the outset, were decidedly unfavorable to Mr. Douglas's election.

And, from the shape thus given to the canvass, his chances could not fail to suffer. The basis of each anti-Lincoln coalition could, of course, be nothing else than hostility to the Republican idea of excluding Slavery from the territories. Now, the position directly and thoroughly antagonistic to this was that of the Breckinridge party, which denied the right to exclude, and proclaimed the right of each slaveholder to carry Slavery into any territory. The position of Mr. Douglas was a mean between these extremes; and, in an earnest, arduous struggle, the prevailing tendency steadily is away from the mean, and toward a positive and decided position on one side or the other. The great mercantile influence in the seaboard cities had one controlling aim in its political efforts — to conciliate and satisfy the South, so as to keep her loyal to the Union. But Douglasism, or “Squatter Sovereignty,” did not satisfy the South--in fact, since the failure to establish Slavery in Kansas, was regarded with special loathing by many Southrons, as an indirect and meaner sort of Wilmot Proviso. Wherever a coalition was effected, the canvass was thenceforth prosecuted on a basis which was a mumbling compromise between the Bell and the Breckinridge platforms, but which was usually reticent with regard to “Popular Sovereignty.” [325]

But the salient feature of the canvass was the hearty accord of the coalesced parties North of the Potomac, in attributing to the Republican platform and to Mr. Lincoln apprehended consequences that were, by the South, attributed to Douglas and “Squatter Sovereignty.” The Democratic National Convention and party had been broken up, not because of any suspicion of Republicanism affecting either faction, but because the South would not abide the doctrine of Mr. Douglas, with regard to Slavery in the Territories. Yet here were his supporters appealing to the people from every stump to vote the coalition ticket, in order to conciliate the South, and save the country from the pangs of dissolution! It was not easy to realize that the Pughs, Paynes, Richardsons, Churches, etc., who had so determinedly bearded the South at Charleston and at Baltimore, defying threats of disruption and disunion, were the very men who now exhorted the People to vote the coalition Electoral tickets, in order to dispel the very dangers which they had persistently invoked, by supporting the Payne-Samuels platform, and nominating Douglas for President.

It is more difficult to treat calmly the conduct of the “American,” “Conservative,” “Union,” or Bell-Everett party of the South; or, more accurately, to reconcile its chosen attitude and professions in the canvass with the course taken by thousands of its members immediately on the announcement of the result, with the ultimate concurrence of many more, including even the eminent and hitherto moderate and loyal Tennessean whom it had deliberately presented as an embodiment of its principles by nominating him for the Presidency. That party was mainly composed of admiring disciples of Clay and Webster, who had sternly resisted Nullification on grounds of principle, and had united in the enthusiastic acclaim which had hailed Webster as the triumphant champion of our Nationality, the “great expounder of the Constitution,” in his forensic struggle with Hayne. It had proudly pointed to such men as William Gaston, of North Carolina, Sergeant S. Prentiss, of Mississippi, Edward Bates, of Missouri, George W. Summers, of Virginia, John J. Crittenden, of Kentucky, and James L. Petigru, of South Carolina, as the exponents of its principles, the jewels of its crown. It had nominated and supported Bell and Everett on a platform which meaningly proclaimed fidelity to “The Union, the Constitution, and the Enforcement of the Laws,” as its distinctive ground. To say that it meant by this to stand by the Union until some other party should, in its judgment, violate the Constitution, is to set the human understanding at defiance. It either meant to cling to the Constitution and Union at all hazards and under all circumstances, and to insist that the laws should be enforced throughout the country, or it was guilty of seeking votes under false pretenses. Unlike the Douglas Democracy, it was a distinct, well-established party, which had a definitive existence, and at least a semblance of organization in every Slave State but South Carolina. It had polled a majority of the Southern vote for Harrison in 1840, for Taylor in 1848, had just polled nearly forty per cent. of that vote for Bell, and [326] might boast its full share of the property, and more than its share of the intelligence and respectability, of the South. This party had but to be courageously faithful to its cardinal principle and to its abiding convictions to avert the storm of civil war. Had its leaders, its orators, its presses, spoken out promptly, decidedly, unconditionally, for the Union at all hazards, and for settling our differences in Congress, in the Courts, and at the ballot-box, it would have prevented the effusion of rivers of precious blood. It was perfectly aware that the Republicans and their President elect were powerless, even if disposed, to do the South any wrong; that the result of the elections already held had secured17 an anti-Republican majority in either branch of the ensuing Congress; that the Supreme Court was decidedly and, for a considerable period, unchangeably on the same side. In the worst conceivable event of the elections yet to come, no bill could pass respecting the Territories, or anything else, which the “Conservatives” should see fit unitedly to oppose. And yet, South Carolina had scarcely indicated unmistakably her purpose, when many Bell-Unionists of Georgia, Alabama, and other Southern States, began to clamor and shout for Secession. They seemed so absorbingly intent on getting, for once, on the stronger side, that they forgot the controlling fact that the side on which God is has always at last the majority.

The early State Elections of 1860 had not been favorable to the Republicans. They had begun by carrying New Hampshire by 4,443--a satisfactory majority; but were next beaten in Rhode Island--an independent ticket, headed by William Sprague for Governor, carrying the State over theirs, by 1,460 majority. In Connecticut, Gov. Buckingham had been re-elected by barely 541 majority, in nearly 80,000 votes — the heaviest poll ever had there at a State Election. It was evident that harmony at Charleston would have rendered the election of a Democratic President morally certain. But, after the disruption there, things were bravely altered. Maine, early in September, elected a Republican Governor by 18,091 majority; Vermont directly followed, with a Republican majority of 22,370; but when Pennsylvania and Indiana, early in October, declared unmistakably for Lincoln — the former choosing Andrew G. Curtin her Governor by 32,164 majority over Henry D. Foster, who had the hearty support of all three opposing parties; while Indiana chose Gen. Henry S. Lane by 9,757 over T. A. Hendricks, his only competitor, with seven out of eleven Representatives in Congress, and a Republican Legislature — it was manifest that only a miracle could prevent the success of Lincoln and Hamlin the next month.

Yet the mercantile fears of convulsion and civil war, as results of Mr. Lincoln's election, were so vivid and earnest that the contest at the North was still prosecuted by his combined adversaries with the energy of desperation. New York, especially, was the arena of a struggle as intense, as [327] vehement, and energetic, as had ever been known. Her drawn battle of the year before, and the perfect accord in this contest of the anti-Republican parties, gave grounds for hope, if not confidence, that she might now be carried against Lincoln, especially as the City was expected to give a far larger majority for “Fusion” than she had ever yet given for any man or party. Abundance of money for every purpose doubtless contributed to the animation of the struggle on this side, while painful apprehensions of Southern revolt, in case Lincoln should be elected, rendered the “merchant princes,” whose wealth was largely, if not wholly, locked up in the shape of Southern indebtedness, ready to bleed freely for even a hope of preventing a result they so dreaded as fatal to their business, their prosperity, and their affluence.

Gov. Seward--who had made a political tour through the North-West during the Autumn, wherein his speeches in behalf of the Republican cause and candidates were of a remarkably high order, alike in originality, dignity, and perspicuity — closed the canvass, the night before Election, in an address to his townsmen at Auburn, which concluded with these truthful and memorable words:

Now here is the trinity in unity and unity in trinity of the political church, just now come to us by the light of a new revelation, and christened “Fusion.” And this “Fusion” party, what is the motive to which it appeals? You may go with me into the streets to-night, and follow the “Little Giants,” who go with their torchlights, and their flaunting banners of “Popular Sovereignty;” or you may go with the smaller and more select and modest band, who go for Breckinridge and Slavery; or you may follow the music of the clanging bells; and, strange to say, they will all bring you into one common chamber. When you get there, you will hear only this emotion of the human heart appealed to, Fear,--fear that, if you elect a President of the United States according to the Constitution and the laws to-morrow, you will wake up next day, and find that you have no country for him to preside over! Is not that a strange motive for an American patriot to appeal to? And, in that same hall, amid the jargon of three discordant members of the “Fusion” party, you will hear one argument; and that argument is, that, so sure as you are so perverse as to cast your vote singly, lawfully, honestly, as you ought to do, for one candidate for the Presidency, instead of scattering it among three candidates, so that no President may be elected, this Union shall come down over your heads, involving you and us in a common ruin!

Fellow-citizens, it is time, high time, that we know whether this is a Constitutional government under which we live. It is high time that we know, since the Union is threatened, who are its friends, and who are its enemies. The Republican party, who propose, in the old, appointed, constitutional way, to choose a President, are every man of them loyal to the Union. The disloyalists, wherever they may be, are those who are opposed to the Republican party, and attempt to prevent the election of a President. I know that our good and esteemed neighbors--(Heaven knows I have cause to respect, and esteem, and honor, and love them, as I do; for such neighbors as even my Democratic neighbors, no other man ever had)--I know that they do not avow; nor do they mean to support, or think they are supporting, disunionists. But I tell them, that he who proposes to lay hold of the pillars of the Union, and bring it down into ruin, is a disunionist; and that every man who quotes him, and uses his threats and his menaces as an argument against our exercise of our duty, is an abettor, unconscious though he may be, of disunion; and that, when to-morrow's sun shall have set, and the next morning's sun shall have risen on the American people, rejoicing in the election of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency, those men who to-day sympathize with, uphold, support, and excuse the disunionists, will have to make a sudden choice, and choose whether, in the language of the Senator from Georgia, they will go for treason, and so make it respectable, or whether they will go with us for Freedom, for the Constitution, and for eternal Union.

1 May 22, 1856.

2 Of $300.

3 Minnesota chose three Members to the House, on the assumption that her population was sufficient to warrant her in claiming that number — or, at least, soon would be. She has since chosen but two, being entitled to no more — in fact, hardly to so many — under the Census of 1860.

4 At Springfield, Ill., June 17, 1858.

5 At Rochester, N. Y., Oct. 25, 1858.

6 For Lincoln, 124,698; for Douglas, 121,130; Lincoln's plurality, 3,568. But over 4,000 Democratic votes were scattered and lost, in obedience to directions from Washington--Mr. Douglas's apprehended return being exceedingly distasteful to President Buchanan.

7 Since known as an active and bitter Rebel.

8 “American.”

9 February 1, 1860.

10 Feb. 2, 1860.

11 Feb. 29, 1860.

12 May 24, 1860.

13 Yeas--Messrs. Benjamin, Bigler, Bragg, Bright, Brown, Chesnut, C. C. Clay, Clingman, Crittenden, Davis, Fitzpatrick, Green, Gwin, Hammond, Hemphill, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson, of Ark., Johnson, of Tenn., Kennedy, Lano (Oregon), Latham, Mallory, Mason, Nicholson, Pearce, Polk, Powell, Pugh, Rice, Sebastian, Slidell, Thomson, of N. J., Toombs, Wigfall, and Yulee--36.

Nays--Messrs. Bingham, Chandler, Clark, Collamer, Dixon, Doolittle, Fessenden, lost, Foster, Grimes, Hale, Hamlin, Harlan, King, Simmons, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Wade, and Wilson--19.

14 Yeas--Messrs. Thomson (John R.,) of New Jersey, Bigler, of Pennsylvania, Rice, of Minnesota, Bright, of Indiana, Gwin and Latham, of California, Lane, of Oregon--in all, seven from Free States; with Messrs. Kennedy and Pearce, of Maryland, Hunter and Mason, of Virginia, Bragg and Clingman, of North Carolina, Chesnut and Hammond, of South Carolina, Iverson and Toombs, of Georgia, C. C. Clay and Fitzpatrick, of Alabama, Brown and Davis, of Mississippi, Benjamin and Slidell, of Louisiana, Mallory and Yulee, of Florida, Hemphill and Wigfall, of Texas, Crittenden and Powell, of Kentucky, A. Johnson and Nicholson, of Tennessee, Green and Polk, of Missouri, R. W. Johnson and Sebastian, of Arkansas--28 from Slave States alone — every Slave State but Delaware being fully represented, and casting its full vote for this proposition. Total 35.

The Nays were--Messrs. Fessenden and Hamlin, of Maine, Clark and Hale, of New Hampshire, Sumner and Wilson, of Massachulsetts, Simmons, of Rhode Island, Dixon and Foster, of Connecticut, Collamer and Foot, of Vermont, King, of New York, Ten Eyck, of New Jersey, Pugh and Wade, of Ohio, Trumbull, of Illinois, Brigham and Chandler, of Michigan, Doolittle, of Wisconsin, Grimes and Harlan, of Iowa--21.

15 Yeas--Messrs Bigler, Bingham, Bragg, Chandler, Clark, Clingman, Collamer, Crittenden, Dixon, Doolittle, Foot, Grimes, Hale, Hamlin, Harlan, Johnson, of Tennessee, Kennedy, Latham, Polk, Pugh, Simmons, Ten Eyck, Toombs, Trumbull, Wade, and Wilson--26.

Nays--Messrs. Benjamin, Bright, Brown, Chesnut, Clay, Davis, Fitzpatrick, Green, Hammond, Hunter, Iverson, Lane, Mallory, Mason, Nicholson, Pearce, Powell, Rice, Saulsbury, Sebastian, Slidell, Wigfall, and Yulee--23. [All from Slave States but Bright, Lane, and Rice.]

16 Recently, U. S. Senator from that State; elected over Gov. Chase in 1853-4; succeeded by him in turn in 1859-60; since, a candidate for Lieut. Governor, under Vallandigham, in 1863.

17 New York had chosen 10; Pennsylvania 7; New Jersey 3; Ohio 8; Indiana 4; Illinois 5; and Missouri 6 anti-Republicans to the House; rendering it morally certain that, but for Secession, mr Lincoln would have had to face an Opposition Congress from the start.

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