There is a lull now with regard to Cuba. The whole movement may have received an extinguisher for the present; but I think we shall hear of it when Congress meets, in a motion to purchase this possession of Spain. This question promises to enter into the next Presidential election. The outrages caused by the Fugitive Slave bill continue to harass the country. There will be no end to them until that bill becomes a dead letter. It is strange that men can be so hardened to violations of justice and humanity, as many are now, under the drill of party. Mr. Webster has done more than all others to break down the North; and yet he once said, in taunt at our tameness, “There is no North!” The mischief from his course is incalculable. His speech at the reception of the President was regarded—and I think justly—by many Englishmen as insulting. Our State politics promise to be very exciting. There has been a prodigious pressure upon me to take the field; but thus far I have declined. Under present circumstances I do not see my way to speaking. I am unwilling to defend the coalition, as in so doing I shall seem to be defending my own election; and I do not wish to seem to pursue Winthrop. His defeat seems to me inevitable, though in a contest like the present there must be an allowance for accidents and for treachery.To J. G. Whittier, October 7:—
Will not Higginson see the matter in a practical light? I respect him so much, and honor his principles so supremely, that I am pained to differ from him; but I do feel that we must not neglect the opportunity afforded by alliances—not fusion—with the Democrats to prevent the Whigs from establishing themselves in the State. Palfrey is now earnestly of this inclining; so is Hopkins; also Burlingame,—and all these stood out before.To John Bigelow, October 24:—
I heard of your illness, while I was in New York, with great regret. Time and distance did not allow me to see you at your suburban retreat, although I wished very much to confer with you, particularly on the subject of your letter. Let me say frankly, however, that I despair of any arrangement by which any candidate can be brought out on the Democratic side so as to receive active support from antislavery men. Nor do I see much greater chance on the Whig side. The tendency of both the old parties at present is to national conventions; and in both of these our cause will perish. The material for a separate organization, by which to sustain our principles, seems to exist nowhere except in Massachusetts. Had the Barnburners kept aloof from the Hunkers in 1849, the Democratic split would have been complete throughout the free States, and it would have affected sympathetically the Whig party. A new order of things would have appeared, and the beginning of the end would have been at hand. But the work in some way is to be done over. There will be no peace until the slave-power is subdued. Its tyranny must be overthrown, and freedom, instead of slavery, must become the animating idea of the national government. But I see little chance of any arrangement or combination by which this truly Democratic idea can be promoted in the next Presidential contest.