I think Seward has made a grievous mistake by his Central American speech. He has given a new argument to those who say that he leaps upon every hobby without regard to principle. I have felt very sore towards Banks for not putting Giddings at the lead of the territorial committee. His name there would have been a proclamation to the whole country, North and South, that on slavery in the Territories we are in earnest. There is much private and public gnashing of teeth over the committees.To William Jay, February 22:—
The debate on Kansas has begun, and will drag along for weeks and months,—perhaps throughout the session. The Nebraska bill was pressed with whip and spur, in order to carry forward the plot; but I do not see any signs of such a course now. My colleague has opened effectively on the facts. Really, the wickedness of this case is too great for belief. As I meditate it, I feel at a loss how to present it,—by what handle,—for it is all wickedness. Have you any suggestion or special points to be pressed? I foresee that the facts are to be disputed, and the legality of the legislature assumed. This was Toucey's course. Could our facts be established beyond dispute, it would be impossible to maintain the validity of that legislature without self-stultification. The slavemongers are very angry with Wilson,—all which is to his credit. It shows that he has done his work.To Theodore Parker, February 25:—
Wilson has earned his senatorship. He has struck a hard blow, and made them all very angry. It was the great event of his life. Circumstances cast upon him the office of answering Toucey, and he did it with effect.To John Jay, March 4:—
I have watched closely the questions between us and England,1 and never at any moment have they seemed to me to have any vitality. I have thought it a mistake on the part of Seward to take part in them, and thus help magnify them, or at least draw to them public attention, which is precisely what the Administration desires. There is no honesty in the way in which these questions have been pressed. The old trick of Alcibiades is repeated, who cut off his log's tail in order to give the people of Athens something to tall about. Everything is now attempted to divert attention from Kansas. I have the cause of arbitration and of peace so much at heart that I should be glad in any demonstration for them which did not tend to magnify our foreign dangers and preoccupy the public mind. Feeling that I could not touch these questions at this moment without giving the enemy an opportunity for a new cry, and that in point of fact there has not yet been any real exigency, I have thus far been silent. Should the danger threaten, you will hear from me. What say you to this ,objection to the admission of Kansas with her present constitution founded (1) on the small population, and (2) on the imperfect returns of votes on the constitution caused by the invasion?