On taking the Chair, Judge Parker
This Convention has been called with no view to mere party objects.
It looks only to the great interests of State.
We meet here as conservative and representative men who have differed among themselves as to measures of governmental policy, ready, all of them, I trust, to sacrifice such differences upon the altar of our common country.
He can be no true patriot who is not ready to yield his own prejudices, to surrender a favorite theory, and to clip even from his own party platform, where such omission may save his country from ruin otherwise inevitable.
The people of this State demand the peaceful settlement of the questions that have led to disunion.
They have a right to insist that there shall be conciliation, concession, compromise.
While yet the pillars of our political temple he scattered on the ground, let them be used to reconstruct the edifice.
The popular sentiment is daily gathering strength, and will overwhelm in its progress alike those who seek to stem it on the frail plank of party platforms and those who labor to pervert it to mere party advantage.
The venerable Alex. B. Johnson
, of Utica
, followed, in an address which lauded the good understanding which had always existed between the Democratic party and the South
; which he attributed to a mutual dread of the undue extension and aggrandizement of Federal power.
To a superficial observer, our difficulties consist of revolutionary movements in the Southern States; but these movements are only symptoms of a disorder, not the disorder itself; and, before we can treat the disorder understandingly, with a view to its remedy, we must understand its cause; and we shall find it in the avowed principles on which the late presidential election was conducted to its final triumph-principles inculcating sectional hate in place of federal kindness; in direct contravention with the dying injunctions of the Father of his Country, and of the most eminent of his successors in the presidency, General Jackson.
He proceeded to blame the Republicans, “whose principles and conduct have produced the mischief,” for refusing to give “the South
” such guarantees of her rights as are required; adding:
What the guarantees should be is in vain for us to prescribe, having no power to either inaugurate them or to conduct them to a successful consummation; but, speaking for the Democratic party of this State, and of, we believe, the whole Union, and, indeed, for a vast body of citizens not identified with any party, we feel safe in saying that no guarantee will be unwelcome that shall give the South, and all its property, the same rights that are or shall be possessed by the North and its property: the same rights which the South possessed at the commencement of the confederacy: Slavery being at that time no object of antagonism, but the common institution of all the States but one; and we will accord this equality the more readily, by reason that any settlement which shall continue any inequality between the North and the South will be prejudicial to the permanency of the settlement, and hence should not be offered by the North, even if the South, from a love of the Union, should be willing to remain therein with less than an equality of its advantages.
He considered the prescribed modes of amending the Constitution
, and then continued:
Possibly, all remedies may be withheld till the seceded States shall have become confederated together and refuse to return.
In the possibility of this unhappy determination, and which the present aspect of parties compels us to consider, we are certain that the will of a large portion of the citizens of this State is against any armed coercion, on the part of the General or State governments, to restore the Union by civil war; and, in this connection, we have seen with disapprobation the haste evinced by our Legislature to imbrue their hands in fraternal blood, and the pernicious zeal which, without even the apology of any legislative direction, induced the transmission of this aggressive intention to the governors of not only the seceded States, but of the Border States, who, at the time, were struggling to restrain their citizens from secession, and thus revealing to us, that, unless our Northern people interfere, the mistaken sectionalism, which has produced our present misfortunes, is not to be corrected by any evidence of its destructiveness, but is to be continued by partisans, till the South is either subjugated or destroyed.
The advocates of this horrid violence against the doctrines of our Declaration of Independence, and which, if successful in its object, would