The writer recollects hearing a prominent man in the new party, who about that time was making a public speech, declare with great emphasis that, “as for the niggers, they are where they ought to be.”
The speaker on that occasion was one of many who belonged to the debris
of the broken — up Whig party, and who drifted into Republicanism because there was no other more attractive harbor to go to. One of these men was Abraham Lincoln
, whom I heard declare in his debate with Douglas
at Alton, Illinois
: “I was with the old-line Whigs from the origin to the end of their party.”
The Whigs were never an Anti-Slavery party.
The recruits to Republicanism from that quarter were generally very tender on “the nigger question,” and the most they were prepared to admit was that they were opposed to slavery's extension.
These men largely dominated the new party.
They generally dictated its platforms, which, compared with earlier Abolition utterances, were extremely timid, and they had much to do with making party nominations.
Their favorite candidates were not those whose opinions on the slavery question were positive and well understood, but those whose views were unsettled if not altogether unknown.
When General Fremont
was nominated for the Presidency, not one in ten of those supporting him knew what his opinions on that subject were, and a good many of them did not care.
was accepted in much the same way.
It is true that, from certain expressions about the danger to our national house from being “half free” and “half slave,” and other generalizations