The Republican Platform
THIS Convention of Delegates, assembled in pursuance of a call to the people of the United States, without regard to past political differences or divisions, who are opposed to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise -- to the policy of the present administration -- to the extension of slavery into tree territory; in favor of the admission of Kansas as a free State -- of restoring the action of the Federal Government to the principles of Washington and Jefferson, and for the purpose of presenting candidates for the offices of President and Vice-President, do --
Resolve, That the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence, and embodied in the Federal Constitution, are essential to the preservation of our Republican Institutions, and that the Federal Constitution, the
4rights of the States, and the union of the States, must and shall be preserved.
Resolved, That with our Republican fathers, we hold it to be a self-evident truth that all men are endowed with the inalienable right of life, liberty; and the pursuit of happiness, and that the primary object and ulterior design of our Federal Government is to grant these rights to all persons under its exclusive jurisdiction. That, as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, it becomes our duty to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it, for the purpose of establishing slavery in the territories of the United States by positive legislation, prohibiting its existence or extension therein. That we deny the authority of Congress, of a Territorial Legislature, of any individual or association of individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any territory of the United States, while the present Constitution shall be maintained.
Resolved, That the Constitution confers upon Congress sovereign power over the territories of the United States for their government, and that in the exercise of this power, it is both the right
5and the imperative duty of Congress to prohibit in the territories those twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and slavery.
Resolved, That while the Constitution of the United States was ordained and established by the people "in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty," and contains ample provisions for the protection of the life, liberty, and property of every citizen, the dearest constitutional rights of the people of Kansas have been fraudently and violently taken from them.
Their territory has been invaded by an armed force;
Spurious and pretended legislative, judicial, and executive officers have been set over them, by whose usurped authority, sustained by the military power of the government, tyrannical and unconstitutional laws have been enacted and enforced;
The right of the people to keep and bear arms has been infringed; test oaths of an extraordinary and entangling nature have been imposed as a condition of exercising the right of suffrage and holding office;
The right of an accused person to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury has been denied;
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, has been violated;
They have been deprived of life, liberty, and property, without due process of law;
That the freedom of speech and of the press has been abridged;
The right to choose their representatives has been made of no effect;
Murders, robberies, and arsons have been instigated and encouraged, and the offenders have been allowed to go unpunished;
That all these things have been done with the knowledge, sanction, and procurement of the present national administration, and that for this high crime against the Constitution, the Union, and humanity we arraign that administration, the President, his advisers, agents, supporters, apologists, and accessories, either before or after the fact, before the country and before the world; and that it is our fixed purpose to bring the actual perpetrators of these atrocious outrages, and their accomplices, to a sure and condign punishment hereafter.
Resolved, That Kansas should be immediately admitted as a State of this Union, with her president free Constitution, as at once the most effectual way of securing to her citizens the enjoyment of the rights and privileges to which they are entitled, and of ending the civil strife now raging in her territory.
Resolved, That the highwayman's pica that might makes right, embodied in the Ostend Circular, was in every respect unworthy of American diplomacy, and would bring shame and dishonor upon any government or people that gave it their sanction.
Resolved, That a railroad to the Pacific Ocean, by the most central practical route, is imperatively demanded by the interests of the whole country, and that the federal government ought to render immediate and sufficient aid in the construction, and as an auxiliary thereto, to the immediate construction of an emigrant road on the line of the railroad.
Resolved, That appropriations by Congress for the improvement of rivers and harbors of a national character required for the accommodation and security of an existing commerce, are authorized by the Constitution, and justified by the obligations of government to protect the lives and property of its citizens.
Resolved, That we invite the affiliation and cooperation of men of all parties, however differing from us in other respects, in support of the principles herein declared, and believing that the spirit of our institutions, as well as the Constitution of our country, guarantees liberty of conscience and equality of rights among citizens, we oppose all legislation impairing their security.
John Charles Fremont
The following sketch of the life of this distinguished man, who will be, if he lives, the next President of the United States, we take from the New York Tribune.
JOHN C. FREMONT, whom the People's Convention at Philadelphia have selected to head the grand exploring expedition in search of the lost and almost forgotten landmarks of the Constitution, is still a young man. His father, who died when he was a child, was a Frenchman, his mother a Virginian. He was born at Savannah on the 21st of January, 1813, and educated at Charleston, South Carolina, where his mother, left a widow with three children, had taken up her residence. The circumstances of the family were exceedingly narrow, and the childhood of Fremont was surrounded by privations and difficulties which with
10a powerful nature like his, naturally tended to develop the heroic elements of his character.
At Charleston, Fremont enjoyed, the instructions of Dr. John Robertson, who, in the preface to a translation of Zenophon's Retreat of the Ten Thousand, which he published in 1850, records with pride the remarkable proficiency of his pupil. In 1828 he entered the junior class of Charleston College. After leaving which he employed himself for some time as a teacher of mathematics. In 1833 he obtained that post on board the sloop-of-war Natchez, which had been sent to Charleston to put down the nullifiers (a purpose similar to that for which he is now nominated for President), and on board of her he made a cruise of two years and a half. On his return he adopted the profession of a surveyor and railroad engineer, and was employed in that capacity under Captain Williams of the Topographical Engineers in the survey of a route from Charleston to Cincinnati. When this survey was suspended, he accompanied Captain Williams in a reconnoissance of the country then occupied by the Cherokees, after which he joined M. Nicolet, a distinguished French savan in the employ of the United States, in an exploring expedition over the north-western prairies. He was employed in this survey, in which he acted as
11principal assistant, during the years 1838 and 1839, and while absent upon it was appointed a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Topographical Engineers. While reducing the materials of this survey, and preparing maps and a report, he resided for some time at Washington, where he formed the acquaintance of the family of Mr. Benton, resulting in his marriage, in 1841, to one of Mr. Benton's daughters.
Shortly after, in May, 1842, he started on the first of his three great exploring expeditions. This expedition, which occupied about five months, resulted in the exploration of the famous South Pass across the Rocky Mountains, and in the ascent by Fremont and four of his men of the Wind River Peak, the highest summit of the Rocky Mountain chain. The report of this exploration attracted great attention, both at home and abroad, as well for its unpretending modesty as for the importance of the information contained in it. This report was scarcely published when its author started on a second expedition designed to connect the discoveries of the first one with the surveys to be made by Commodore Wilkes of the Exploring Expedition on the Pacific coast, and thus to embrace a connected survey of the almost unknown regions on both sides of the Rocky
12Mountains. The party, including thirty-nine persons, started from the village of Kansas on the 29th of May, 1843, and were employed in the exploration till August of the next year. It was this exploration that first furnished any accurate information as to the Great Salt Lake, the great interior basin of Utah, and the mountain range of the Sierra Nevada, and first brought to light, as it were, the region now constituting the Territory of Utah and the State of California.
After preparing the report of this expedition in the spring of 1845, Fremont, now a captain, set out on a third, expedition designed to make a more particular survey of the regions which he had previously visited. It was while engaged in this expedition, and before he had received any intimation of the commencement of the war with Mexico, that, after having himself been once ordered off by the authorities, he was induced by the entreaties of the American settlers in the valley of the Sacramento, whom the Mexicans threatened to drive out of the country, to put himself at their head. Thus led, they defeated the Mexicans. Fremont put himself into communication with the naval commanders on the coast, and soon in conjunction with Commodore Stockton, obtained complete possession of California, of which, on the 24th of August
13he was appointed by Stockton, Military Commander. The fighting, however, was not yet over. The Californians rose in insurrection; but the arrival of General Kearney with his dragoons from New Mexico, enabled the Americans, after some hard-fought battles, to maintain themselves in possession. Pending these operations, a commission arrived for Fremont as Lieutenant-Colonel -- a promotion which neither ho nor his friends had solicited, but which he gladly received as a ratification on the part of the government of his intervention, on his own responsibility, in the affairs of California.
From the moment of Kearney's arrival a dispute had sprung up between him and Commodore Stockton as to the chief command. Kearney sought to throw upon Fremont the responsibility of deciding between their respective claims. This he declined, professing his readiness, if they would agree between themselves, to obey either; but declaring his intention, till that point was settled, to continue to obey the commander under whom he had first placed himself, and by whom the war had been conducted. Kearney was greatly dissatisfied at this, but dissembled his resentment till they both reached Fort Leavenworth on their return home, when he arrested Fremont for disobedience
14of orders and brought him to trial before a court-martial.
As this court held that Kearney was the rightful commander, they found Fremont guilty of the charges, and sentenced him to be dismissed from the service. Mr. Polk, then President, signed the sentence as being technically right, but at the same time offered Fremont a new commission of the same grade as that of which he had been deprived. This Fremont refused, and returned a simple citizen to private life. Thus, discharged from the service of the government, he undertook a fourth exploring expedition of his own, with a view to discover a passage across the Rocky Mountains southerly of the South Pass, near the head of the Arkansas, which might serve the purpose of a railroad communication with California. He started from Pueblo, on the Upper Arkansas, with thirty-three men and a hundred and thirty-three mules; but, misled by his guides, all his mules and a third of his men perished in the snows and cold of the Sierra San Juan, and he himself arrived on foot at Santa Fe with the loss of every thing but his life. Not, however, to be baffled, he refitted the expedition, and in a hundred days, after fresh dangers, reached the banks of the Sacramento.
In the rising State of California in which he
15had become one of the earliest American proprietors by the purchase during his former visit of the since famous Mariposa grant, Mr. Fremont took a great interest. He was active in the formation of the State constitution, and in securing in that document a positive exclusion of Slavery, and was chosen one of the first Senators to represent the new State in Congress. A short term of two years fell to his lot, and, owing to the delay in the admission of the State, he sat in the Senate only one short session. On the expiration of his term the political control of the State had passed into new hands, of which a striking proof was given in the choice of John B. Weller, a decided Pro-Slavery man, as his successor in the Senate.
Mr. Fremont now devoted himself to developing the resources of his California estate, which had been discovered to be rich in gold; but, in addition to the loss of his commission, as the only reward he had realized for his services in California, he now found himself greatly annoyed by claims against him for supplies which, during his campaign in California, had been furnished to the United States on his private credit. During a visit to London he was arrested on one of these claims, and it was only after great delay that the Government of the United States was finally
16induced to relieve him from further annoyance by the payment of these debts. In maintaining his right to the Mariposa property, he was also obliged to encounter many annoyances on the part of the government which resisted his claim, but finally, by repeated decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, he triumphed over all of them.
Having exhibited a singular force of character and a distinguished ability in every undertaking to which he has applied himself, he has now been called by the loud voice of his fellow-citizens in almost all parts of the Union, to place himself at the head of a new, more difficult, but at the same time most glorious enterprise -- that of rescuing the Government and the Union from the hands of revolutionary family of New Jersey, a State that a body of unprincipled politicians, who threaten to has produced a large number of eminent men, subject the country to the double misery of despotism and of anarchy. May he be as successful in this as in everything else that he has undertaken! And that he will be, who can doubt? for surely every honest man in the country will hasten to aid him with his voice and his vote.
William Lewis Dayton
We are indebted to the able editor of the Boston Chronicle for the following sketch of this eminent statesman.
WILLIAM LEWIS DAYTON, the Republican candidate for Vice-President, belongs to an old revolutionary family of New Jersey, a State that has produced a large number of eminent men, whose names are imperishably recorded on the pages of their country's history. The Daytons were among the early settlers of New Jersey. They were people of good standing in the colonial times, and in the Revolution became conspicious for their services in the patriotic cause. Elias Dayton was a General of Brigade. His son, Jonathan Dayton, was conspicuous as a member of the national legislature, and was elected speaker of the House of Representatives in 1795. Joel
18Dayton, a farmer, and not a public man, resided at Baskenridge. His eldest son was WILLIAM LEWIS DAYTON, who was born on the 17th of February, 1807. He was graduated at the College of New Jersey, in 1825. He made choice of the legal profession, but want of health prevented his being admitted to the bar until five years later, in 1830. He studied with Governor Vroom, one of the first lawyers of the country. In 1835, he was chosen a member of the Senate of New Jersey, though Monmouth county, in which he resided, was a strong Democratic place, and Mr. Dayton was a thorough-going Whig. We believe the county was never before or afterwards carried by the Whigs. It shows how popular he must have been to be able to cause his political opponents so completely to "conquer their prejudices," for in those days the lines of division were strongly drawn between the Whigs and the Democrats. Appointed to the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Dayton was instrumental in effecting valuable legal reforms, a fact that shows his superiority to professional influences, lawyers being generally conservative in all their ideas, and particularly averse to changes in modes of legal procedure. The next year he was made a justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, and, though
19he was but twenty-nine years old, he early obtained a high reputation as a jurist. No name stands higher than his on the roll of the Judges of New Jersey. He held the office three years, at the end of which time he returned to the bar, and soon became its head, as for some time before he had been one of its most brilliant ornaments.
Mr. Dayton's career as a national statesman commenced in 1842, when he was in his thirty-sixth year. Samuel L. Southard, a man of the highest talent and reputation, and who had done much to elevate the character of New Jersey in the national councils, died that year. At the time of his death he was a member of the United States Senate, in which body he had served for many years. The legislature of New Jersey not being in session at the time, a vacancy was thus caused in that State's delegation; it was filled by Executive appointment, and Governor Pennington named Judge Dayton to fill it. This appointment was approved by the legislature, which elected Mr. Dayton to serve out the balance of Mr. Southard's term. That term expiring in 1845, he was reelected for a full term of six years. He served in the Senate from the 6th of July, 1842, to the 4th of March, 1851. He soon became known to the nation as one of the ablest members of the Senate,
20which then commanded the highest respect of the people, a position which in these latter days it has done much to forfeit by its servility to executive power. He spoke on the various great questions that came before the Senate, and his speeches were remarkable for the evidences they contained of various, extensive, and well-digested attainments, their vigorous logic, and their strict pertinence to the subjects under discussion. No senator was more respected, or enjoyed a larger measure of public confidence and esteem. His retirement from the public service was a loss that was felt, the more so that the Senate was losing its high character through the withdrawal from it of many of its oldest and best members. We have understood that if President Taylor had lived, Senator Dayton was to have been appointed to one of the first diplomatic posts within his gift, and doubtless he would have filled the place with that usefulness which has marked all his official life.
The nomination of Mr. Dayton is on all accounts an excellent one. His long experience in the Senate has made him familiar with the order of proceeding in that body, and qualified him to preside over its deliberations. His character is pure, and commends him to the confidence of the
21people. It was due to the Whigs, so many of whom are engaged in the movement against the extension of slavery, that one of the nominees should be selected from among their old leaders, and in naming Mr. Dayton as the candidate for the Vice-Presidency, the Philadelphia Convention did no more than justice to a numerous and influential portion of the opposition, whose hostility to the encroachments of slavery in past times is the best guaranty for their present sincerity and for their future labors being rightly directed. On the leading question of the day, that to settle which in favor of freedom has caused so many old political foes to forget past quarrels, and to unite in order the better to labor for their country's welfare, Mr. Dayton's views are every thing that could be desired. He is no sudden convert to the party of freedom, as the views of that party concerning the power of Congress to legislate with respect to slavery in the territories were entertained by him years ago, and were boldly expressed long before the repeal of the Missouri Compromise was thought of. "It does seem to me," he said, in his speech on the Treaty with Mexico, "that if there ever were any doubts on this question as to the power of Congress to legislate with respect to slavery in the territories, those doubts must be held settled
22by the past conduct of the government." It is well known that President Taylor intended to settle the disputes about slavery that he found existing when he came into power, in a manner which would have been very liberal to the North, and at the same time have been strictly just to the South. His death -- the most serious loss our country ever sustained in that way, as it opened up the political field to a gang of political agitators, who sought to make "political capital " out of the slavery question -- caused the failure of his plans, and the triumph of the pro-slavery interest under the lead of Northern flunkies. Mr. Dayton was one of the most intimate and influential advisers of President Taylor, in this matter, and was first among those who were relied upon to carry the proper measures through the Senate. The country would never have been cursed, and insulted, and degraded in the eyes of the world, by the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law, had the views of Mr. Dayton and his friends prevailed, -- as would have been the case had President Taylor lived. Such a man is well worthy of the votes of all who would have something done to put a stop to the usurpations of the slave power, and who would have the high places of government filled with high-minded and able statesmen. The opposition
23can carry the country if they choose to do so. They have it in their power, through union, to strike down the revolutionists at Washington, and to place the government once more in the hands of men who will administer it according to the terms of the Constitution. With such candidates as FREMONT and DAYTON they can unite with perfect propriety, those candidates being the representatives of ideas that are entertained by three fourths of the voters of the country, and which therefore ought to predominate in and control the councils of government. Union is victory always, but it is emphatically so in this election, on the part of the opposition. The very fact that the electoral system operates most unequally against us should cause us to contend the more earnestly, so that our success shall be the more striking, and more the result of our labors than of the favors of fortune.
The Republican Candidate.
The following admirable parallelism between WASHINGTON, the father of his country, and FREMONT, the finder and preserver of Republics, we copy from the New York Independent.
As our readers well know, we were not of the number of those who urged most strenuously the selection of Colonel Fremont by the Convention at Philadelphia, as the standard-bearer, in the great political campaign which is now upon us, of those principles of justice, humanity, and liberty to which our earnest adherence is given. While highly appreciating, and heartily admiring, the noble and signal qualities of this gentleman, we felt a desire that if possible some well-tried Captain in the ranks, which so long have stood unconquered for the Right, should be selected to lead them to the victory which is now, we trust and believe, before them. But since this selection has been made, we are led most clearly to recognize in it the good hand of God; and to feel, as we almost never have felt hitherto, that Providence has raised up, has endowed, and has trained this workman for his office, the Man for the Hour. If the election in November shall result, as we are well persuaded
25that it will, in placing him in the chair of the President of these United States, then we are compelled to say that in no one instance in all the history of our nation, since the freight of the Mayflower was landed at Plymouth, will the guiding and governing mind of God, interposing for our protection, have been more clearly shown than in raising him up to meet this crisis.
Young, unworn, entirely fresh in political life, there are upon him no marks of past controversies, there are about him no odors of past political errors, or partisan wrongs. Of an inventive, prompt, and discriminating mind, as all his history shows, and now in the full and perfect prime of every power, he is able to meet, if any man can, the whole demand of the present emergency. Of French extraction, on his father's side, he is yet thoroughly an American, by birth, by training, by his maternal ancestry, and by all his ideas of government and of religion. Born in Georgia, and educated at the institutions of South Carolina, his chosen home has still been at the West, and his ardor for freedom has never failed or wavered. A child of poverty, and a man of the people, his career has been more signally heroic than that of any other living American; and he has won his steady way to opulence and honor, through the unaccustomed paths of self-denial and fortitude.
Delicate in frame, entirely modest and unassuming in deportment, he has inspired the love of the stalwart and fiery pioneers of the West, as almost no man before has done; and his name would now rally thousands on the borders to any
26most difficult and hazardous enterprise. Of extraordinary executive and administrative powers, he combines with these equally the tastes of the scholar, the practised enterprise and skill of the soldier. His name is as well known in the Old World as in the New, And while the South has furnished his birthplace, and the wildernesses of the West the chosen scene of his chief exertions, California, the youngest and wealthiest of the States, owes to him her exploration and her subsequent conquest, and to him in great part her present freedom. The whole country, therefore, and every part of it, has an interest in his name. The young men of the country, especially, must rally to him as their natural leader, with ready enthusiasm. His very name seems a watchword for liberty; and already crowds make the echoes ring with the stirring refrain of Free-soil, Free-speech, Free-men, and FREMONT!
With him in the Presidential chair, the last threat of disunion will speedily and for ever be silenced at the South. The bravos who steal unsuspected into the Senate-chamber, and whose only reply to an argument is the bludgeon, will be as whist as a London pickpocket with the police-man beside him, before the intrepid and self-poised will of him who has faced the mountain-snows while they were daintily dallying at home; of him whom Indians and Mexicans could not scare -- though with tenfold his force -- now wielding the treasury and the army of the country. Nay, with him in that chair we have the firmest conviction that all sections will feel safe,
27and that speedy calm will succeed the recent and the present agitations; while his life and his words give the amplest guaranty that the influence of the government will all be employed on the side of freedom and its benign order.
It is somewhat curious to notice the striking correspondences between the history of this young Republican Captain, and that of him whom our fathers took as their leader, in the first great struggle for Liberty on this continent. A part of these have been noticed by the papers, and by speakers. Others we have not seen referred to. They are interesting and suggestive. Washington was left in childhood, by the death of his father, to the charge of his mother. Fremont was so likewise, at a still earlier period, and in circumstances certainly much less auspicious. Washington had early a passion for the sea, so strong that a midshipman's warrant was obtained for him by his friends. Fremont went to sea, and was there employed for more than two years. Washington was introduced to public life through his service on the frontiers, as a surveyor and civil engineer. Fremont won his discipline and his early fame in the same department, and by his use and practice in it became fitted, in mind and body, to "endure hardness." Washington learned all that he knew of war in Indian combats and the strife of the wilderness, and rose thus to the rank of Colonel in the provincial troops. Fremont's school was the same, and he has gained the same rank. Washington had had small experience as a legislator, until he was called to the head of the Government. He
28was taken for his well-tried general qualities, and not for any distinction he had achieved as a diplomatist or a statesman; and here again the parallel holds. Washington was sneered at by the men of routine, was hated and assailed by the tones of that day, as a soldier who had "never set a squadron in the field;" until his energy and patience drove them all out of it. The same class of attacks are now made on Fremont; to be answered we trust, in the same impressive way. His friends early felt that Washington was specially fitted and preserved of Providence to become the head of the nation; as Rev. Samuel Davies expressed it, that "Providence has hitherto preserved him in so signal a manner for some important service to his country." The same expectation, becoming almost a premonition, has for years been general among the friends of Fremont. Dr. Robertson his early teacher, expressed it in the preface to his edition of the Anabasis, published years ago, in these words: "Such, my young friends, is an imperfect sketch of my once beloved and favorite pupil, who may yet rise to be at the head of this great and growing Republic. My prayer is that he may ever be opposed to war, injustice, and oppression of every kind, a blessing to his country and an example of every noble virtue to the whole world." Washington was called to the head of the army at the age of forty-four; and if Colonel Fremont shall live to see the 4th of March next we confidently expect that the singular parallel will so far be perfected!
Col. Fremont's Letter of Acceptance.
NEW YORK, July 8, 1856.
Gentlemen -- You call me to a high responsibility by placing me in the van of a great movement of the people of the United States, who, without regard to past differences, are uniting in a common effort to bring back the action of the Federal Government to the principles of Washington and Jefferson. Comprehending the magnitude of the trust which they have declared themselves willing to place in my hands, and deeply sensible to the honor which their unreserved confidence in this threatening position of the public affairs implies, I feel that I cannot better respond than by a sincere declaration that, in the event of my election to the Presidency, I should enter upon the execution of its duties with a single-hearted determination to promote the good of the whole country, and to direct solely to this end all the power of the government, irrespective of party issues, and regardless of sectional strifes.
The declaration of principles embodied in the resolves
30of your Convention, expresses the sentiments in which I have been educated, and which have been ripened into convictions by personal observation and experience. With this declaration and avowal, I think it necessary to revert to only two of the subjects embraced in the resolutions, and to those only because events have surrounded them with grave and critical circumstances, and given to them especial importance.
I concur in the views of the Convention deprecating the foreign policy to which it adverts. The assumption that we have the right to take from another nation its domains, because we want them, is an abandonment of the honest character which our country has acquired. To provoke hostilities by unjust assumptions, would be to sacrifice the peace and character of the country, when all its interests might be more certainly secured and its objects attained by just and healing counsels, involving no loss of reputation.
International embarrassments are mainly the results of a secret diplomacy, which aims to keep from the knowledge of the people the operations of the government. This system is inconsistent with the character of our institutions, and is itself yielding gradually to a more enlightened public opinion, and to the power of a free press, which, by its broad dissemination of political intelligence, secures in advance
31to the side of justice the judgment of the civilized world. An honest, firm and open policy in our foreign relations, would command the united support of the nation, whose deliberate opinions it would necessarily reflect.
Nothing is clearer in the history of our institutions than the design of the nation in asserting its own independence and freedom to avoid giving countenance to the extension of slavery. The influence of the small, but compact and powerful class of men interested in slavery, who command one section of the country, and wield a vast political control as a consequence, in the other, is now directed to turn back this impulse of the revolution, and reverse its principles. The extension of slavery across the continent is the object of the power which now rules the government, and from this spirit has sprung those kindred wrongs in Kansas, so truly portrayed in one of your resolutions, which prove that the elements of the most arbitrary governments have been vanquished by the just theory of our own.
It would be out of place here to pledge myself to any particular policy that may be suggested to terminate the sectional controversy engendered by political animosities operating on a powerful class, banded together by a common interest. A practical remedy is the admission of Kansas into the Union as a free State. The South should, in my judgment,
32earnestly desire such a consummation. It would vindicate its good faith; it would correct the mistake of the repeal, and the North, having practically the benefit of the agreement between the two sections, would be satisfied, and good feeling be restored. The measure is perfectly consistent with the honor of the South, and vital to its interests.
That fatal act which gave birth to this purely sectional strife, originating in the scheme to take from free labor the country secured to it by a solemn covenant, cannot be too soon disarmed of its pernicious force. The only genial region of the middle latitudes left to the emigrants of the Northern States for homes, cannot be conquered from the free laborers who have long considered it as set apart for them in our inheritance, without provoking a desperate struggle. Whatever may be the persistence of the particular class which seems ready to hazard everything for the success of the unjust scheme it has partially effected I firmly believe that the great heart of the nation which throbs with the patriotism of the free men of both sections, will have power to overcome it. They will look to the rights secured to them by the Constitution of the Union, as their best safeguard from the oppression, of the class, which by a monopoly of the soil, and of slave labor to till it, might, in time, reduce them to the extremity of laboring upon the same terms with the slaves. The great body of non-slave
33holding freemen, including those of the South, upon whose welfare slavery is an oppression, will discover that the power of the General Government over the public lands may be beneficially exerted to advance their interests and secure their independence. Knowing this, their suffrages will not be wanting to maintain that authority in the Union, which is absolutely essential to the maintenance of their own liberties, and which has more than once indicated the purpose of disposing of the public lands in such a way as would make every settler upon them a free-holder.
If the people entrust to me the administration of the Government, the laws of Congress in relation to the Territories will be faithfully executed. All its authority will be exerted in aid of the National will to re-establish the peace of the country, on the just principles which have heretofore received the sanction of the Federal Government, of the States, and of the people of both sections. Such a policy would leave no aliment to that sectional party which seeks its aggrandisement by appropriating the new territories to capital in the form of slavery, but would inevitably result in the triumph of free labor, the natural capital which constitutes the real wealth of this great country, and creates that intelligent power in the masses alone to be relied on as the bulwark of free institutions.
Trusting that I have a heart capable of comprehending our whole country with its varied interests, and confident that patriotism exists in all parts of the Union, I accept the nomination of your Convention in the hope that I may be enabled to serve usefully its cause, which I consider the cause of Constitutional Freedom.
Your obedient servant,
J. C. FREMONT.
To Henry S. Lane, President of the Convention.
Judge Dayton's Letter of Acceptance.
TRENTON, N. J., July 7,1856.
Gentlemen -- I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter informing me that, at a Convention of Delegates, recently assembled in Philadelphia, I was unanimously nominated as their candidate for the Vice Presidency of the United States and requesting my acceptance of such nomination.
For the distinguished honor thus conferred, pleased to accept for yourselves and in behalf of the Convention you represent, my sincere thanks.
I have only to add, that having carefully examined the resolutions adopted in that Convention, as indicating the principles by which it was governed, I find them, in their general features, such as have heretofore had my hearty support. My opinions and votes against the extension of slavery into free territory, are of record and well known. Upon that record I am willing to stand. Certainly nothing has since occurred which would tend to modify my opinions previously expressed upon that subject. On the contrary, the repeal of the Missouri Compromise (that greatest wrong, [portentous of mischief,) but adds strength to the conviction, that these constant encroachments must be calmly, but firmly, met; -- that this repealing Act should be itself repealed, or remedied by every just and constitutional means in our power.
I very much deprecate all sectional issues. I have not been in the past, nor shall I be in the future, instrumental in fostering such issues. But the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and, as a consequence, the extension of slavery, are no issues raised by us ; they are issues forced upon us, and we act but in self-defence when we repel them. That section of the country which presents these issues is responsible for them ; and it is this sectionalism which has subverted past compromises, and now seeks to force slavery into Kanzas. In reference to other subjects
36treated of in the resolutions of the Convention, I find no general principle or rule of political conduct to which I cannot and do not yield a cordial assent. But while thus expressing a general concurrence in the views of the Convention, I cannot but remember that the Constitution gives to the Vice President little power in matters of general legislation; that he has not even a vote except in special cases; and that his rights and duties as prescribed in that instrument are limited to presiding over the Senate of the United States. Should I be elected to that high office, it will be my pleasure, as it will be my duty to conduct, so far as I can, the business of that body in such a manner as will best comport with its own dignity; in strict accordance with its own rules, and with a just and courteous regard to the equal rights and privileges of all its members.
Accepting the nomination tendered through you, as I now do, I am, gentlemen,
Very respectfully yours,
W.M. L. DAYTON.
To Henry S. Lane, President of the Convention.