relation to the treaty with Denmark
, and aided in establishing the rule that treaties can be abrogated only by act of Congress.
H wrote to Theodore Parker
, Jan. 3, 1856:—
This evening I dined in the company of several of the judges of the Supreme Court, and in the shuffle for seats at the table found myself next but, one to Curtis1 throughout a protracted dinner of two or three hours. I had not seen so much of him for years, and make haste to send you the pleasant impressions which I had. Commodore Morris got between me and the judge; Governor Brown of Mississippi, who believes slavery divine, on my left.
In the course of our conversation Curtis said that he had not voted since he had been a judge, and he professed entire ignorance of politics and parties.
I thought also that he showed it. My conversation with him was so agreeable that I shall call upon him, which I have not done thus far since I have been here in Washington.
Again, January 9:—
Unjust judges may at least be frightened if not condemned.
If I were not a senator, I would organize petitions to the House for the impeachment of all who have trespassed against liberty, from wisconsin to Massachusetts.
Think of this.
The presentation of the petitions would remind these judges that a power was growing in the country which would yet summon them to justice.
What are the chances of the personal liberty law?
I had hoped to challenge a discussion of that here in reply to any allusion to Massachusetts; but Gardner's message is the beginning of an embarrassing “fire in the rear,” which compels me to alter my tactics.
Again, January 20:—
The House is at a dead-lock.
The slave oligarchy now says, “Anybody but Banks.”
If the Republicans would seriously unite on another man the enemy would allow the plurality vote and a consequent election; but this would give victory to (1) the slave oligarchy, (2) the petty squad of dissentients, and (3) the American organization in contradistinction to the Republicans.
My counsel has been to stick to Banks, and leave the future to take care of itself.
The House of Representatives, which had been chosen in the summer
of 1854, when the agitation growing out of the Nebraska
bill was at its height, contained a large anti-Administration majority, which however was an unorganized mass, made up in part of Republicans and in part of Know Nothings or Americans
, who were divided into different sections,—some Northern and others Southern in their affiliations, and the Northern
division being itself separated into several