No Surrender of Principle.
As a part of the record of the times we quote, from time to time, the expressions of the mouth-piece of the president elect. Yesterday we were furnished with the paragraph which we copy below. We are assured therein that black republican "principle" is to be adhered to. True, it is now softened to a single proposition — the "Wilmot," especial pains being taken to declare that states can be admitted, with or without slavery, as a majority of their people may decide. This is some comfort, in consideration of the fact that on Monday next the republican party of Illinois, are to hail, with immense satisfaction, the inauguration of their governor elect, who, as a member of congress, declared that, as the representative of his party, he would oppose the admission of any slave state. It is consoling to know that Gov. Yates takes charge of the state government of Illinois, with a repudiation, by the central exponent of his party, of his extreme and impracticable views, as a member of congress.
In this last ukase Mr. Lincoln is certainly explicit on one point — the "Wilmot." He tells us there can be "no abandonment of this position by himself or his party."
As he can do nothing in the matter, without the action of congress, and as there is not the remotest probability that Mr. Lincoln, with the present Union, can have a congress which will carry out his views in regard to his "Wilmot," his asseverations amount to nothing further than that they show an indisposition to settle, in any way, except by his own party process, existing difficulties. His daily out givings lead to the inevitable conclusion that he wants no Union but such a one as he predicted could exist. He wants no Union with the slave states, and his entire course indicates that he desires that the southern secessionists may fulfil their threats, and cause the fifteen slave states to cut loose from the free states. He would have his declaration verified — "this Union cannot exist, permanently, part slave and part free." Mr. Lincoln has said this, and as president, we can only infer from his "promptings" in the Journal, that he desires separation from the slave states, unless they conform to his peculiar views. Mr. Lincoln is a party man. He would be considered a patriot, but his patriotism has no wider scope than prospective party advantage. The loss of a state or two, or half the states, is of no consequence to him, further than the extent of the loss to the republican party. A Union that is unanimous for Mr. Lincoln and his party, is the only Union worth caring for. The out-givings of the exponents of the partisan opinions of that party demonstrate this.
Will they bear this one fact in mind? When they get the Union dissolved — have kicked off fifteen states of the confederacy — they have to contend for supremacy with near two millions of white men, who believe that the republican leaders have caused all our present difficulties, and who are against them — distrust them, and will repudiate them by the first vote that can be had in the states which stand by the old confederacy? Mr. Lincoln demands that such policy shall be pursued as will inevitably result in disunion — in the secession of all the slave states. In a new confederacy, caused by his own and his party's course, he may find new party shapes that will prove disastrous to his party expectations. Without a south to pick at, Mr. Lincoln will have no party. In the absence of such agreeable! and profitable! employment, the gulls who have followed Lincoln and his fellows may find time for reflection, and, at least, wonder that they have been such fools as to sacrifice the white man's highest hopes, in an impracticable struggle about the negro. But to Mr. Lincoln's last order to the republican phalanx to "stand firm." Here it is:
NO SURRENDER OF PRINCIPLE — The recent presidential battle was fought over the question of slavery extension. The republicans took ground in favor of free territories, and the right and duty of congress to exclude slavery there from. On that ground it conquered, and its flinching from that position — no surrender of principle. We want the president elect and republican members of congress to say to the south and to the world, that slavery shall not pollute another inch of free soil belonging to the government, if it is in their power to prevent it. We have steadily opposed the restoration of the Missouri compromise line, and are equally opposed to any other legislation that shall surrender any free territory to slavery. We are just selfish enough to want it all for freedom. When states are to be formed out of the territories, then let the people framing those states say whether they will or will not have slavery, and let congress respect their decision; but until that time let the republican party use all its power to keep the territories free. We are opposed to any amendment of the constitution that shall give to slavery further guaranties, rights or privileges beyond those now given. We want to see our government turned back into the channel in which its framers originally placed it — a channel leading it to freedom — and we are utterly opposed to legislation looking or tending in any other direction. Slavery is the creature of local law, and slave-holders, as such, have no rights or privileges under the constitution — except a congressional representation of their peculiar property, and a national law for the rendition of fugitives — and these are all the rights they ever ought to have, and, in our humble opinion, all that they will ever get. — We believe that slavery will ultimately become extinct in this country, and we do not want to see any legislation by congress that shall extend the period of its existence. We would not interfere with slavery where it exists by virtue of state law — we would not deprive it of any rights it now has under the constitution; but we would have congress use its power to prevent the extension of the evil. Republican members of congress have pledged themselves to this policy, and they must live up to it or basely betray the trust reposed in them by their constituents. We believe that Mr. Lincoln is planted firmly on this ground, and will not abandon it. So far as he and the republican party can accomplish it, the TERRITORIES shall be free. The character of the states to be formed out of the territories must be determined by the people who frame and adopt their constitutions. There will be — there can be — no abandonment of this position by Mr. Lincoln or his party.
Gov. Yates, it is expected, will take occasion in his inaugural message, to repudiate his congressional arguments for "no more slave states," and urge that the people are competent to make their own state constitutions, This will be some advance on the original black republican platform. Lincoln may yet conclude that the people of a territory are equally competent to control their own affairs. This, however, will depend altogether upon "how it will affect the party."