previous next

[354] him, “You have hit me in a vital point, and now I must recover by striking you in a vital point” ; to which Mr. Mason replied: “What is that — slavery?” Seward said, “Yes.” Without the protective tariff, the wealth and influence of the New England States would be very much diminished, and the popularity of Mr. Seward so far impaired as to destroy his hopes of the Presidency, unless he found a remedy for the disease. The agitation of the abolition of slavery commenced, therefore, at that time, in selfish and sordid considerations, and from those motives it was continued by its originators, the fanatics joining them and fanning the flame until Mr. Seward announced “the irrepressible conflict.” There were, in point of fact, very few sincere fanatics at that time, and those not at all among the politicians. John Quincy Adams, the ablest and most daring of the agitators, as well as the most vindictive, because he and his father had been curtailed of their “fair proportions,” as he thought, by not being elected to the Presidency for the second term, did not pretend to any false philanthropy or fanaticism, but put his action upon the ground that by the provision of the constitution which allowed fractional representation for “all others” besides the whites, the North was governed by the votes of slaves; and you doubtless recollect his ferocious declaration to Mr. Dillet, of Alabama, when he remonstrated against his abolition scheme, and said, “The gentleman from Massachusetts does not reflect how much blood will be shed and how many lives lost if his scheme succeeds” ; and Mr. Adams roared out at the top of his voice, “Let it come, though millions be bathed in blood.”

Soon after Mr. Seward left the gubernatorial chair of New York, he went to Washington to argue a cause in the Supreme Court (he told me, I think, that it was a patent case), and from Washington he came to Richmond. Mr. Webster, with whom it was my good fortune to hold the most cordial relations — and a man of larger heart and more genial nature I never knew — wrote me a very warm letter of introduction by him, and I entertained him at my house at night, because he said he had not time to stay to dinner next day. Mr. Stanard, Mr. Leigh, Mr. Johnson, and all the prominent lawyers of Richmond and many others were invited to meet him. In the course of the evening, when Mr. Seward and myself were sitting on a sofa, Messrs. Stanard and Leigh, who were among Seward's green ones, being on the opposite side of the room, the conversation turned upon the annexation of Texas, then

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Seward (6)
Robert C. Stanard (2)
B. W. Leigh (2)
John Quincy Adams (2)
Webster (1)
James M. Mason (1)
Edward Johnson (1)
Dillet (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: