Address to the Democracy and the People of the United States, by the National Democratic Executive Committee.
To the Democracy and the People of the United States:
FELLOW-CITIZENS: The election of the next President and Vice-President of the United States is at hand. Four distinct organizations are in the field. The Republican party making bold and open war upon the institutions of fifteen sovereign States of this Union. The Constitutional Union party, repudiating all platforms and standing simply on the catch words "Constitution and the Union." Two parties, each calling itself Democratic; one, however, following the fortunes of one man, Mr. Douglas, and differing from the Republicans in making insidious, instead of open, war, upon the South. The other, standing inflexibly on the Constitution of the country, makes no concealments as to its interpretation of that instrument, its rallying cry being the equality of the States. We purpose, calmly and impartially, to survey the field, and to give the reasons why, the latter party should be considered as the Democratic party, and how the dearest interests of country, race, and of human progress, are concerned in its success.
Why is it that the Democratic party is disrupted, and its wings arrayed in bitter opposition to each other? Why is it that the veterans who achieved its time-honored triumphs no longer move with the old energy and harmony to meet the antagonists they have so often defeated? What firebrand has been thrown into their midst, lighting up intestine fires, and consuming as with a devouring flame? Let the plain, unvarnished record answer.
In 1856, the Democratic party, after a most bitter contest, elected James Buchanan President, and John C. Breckinridge Vice-President of the United States. The new administration was inaugurated and went into operation. Its policy was foreshadowed in the inaugural address. The Supreme Court, in a case before it, the Dred Scott case, gave its decision on the question of difference in the Democratic ranks — a decision which previously every Democrat had solemnly pledged himself to abide by as the authoritative exposition of the Democratic faith. That august tribunal declared the Missouri Compromise act unconstitutional and void; enunciated the right of the South to take and hold their slave property in the Territories; denied to the Territorial Legislature any right to interfere with such property, and proclaimed that a Territory could only settle the question of slavery at the time it came to form a constitution, preparatory to its admission into the Union as a sovereign State.
This was looked upon by all sound Democrats as the final settlements of the question, and it was believed that the agitation of slavery would be forever withdrawn from the halls of Congress. Who has kept up this agitation? Who has resisted this decision? Who has declared that "It matters not what way the Supreme Court may hereafter decide as to the abstract question, whether slavery may or may not go into a Territory under the Constitution, the people have the lawful means to introduce or exclude it, as they please." And, again: "No matter what the decision of the Supreme Court may be on that abstract question, the right of the people to make a slave Territory, or a free Territory, is perfect and complete under the Nebraska bill." Mr. Douglas thus, in his Illinois contest, set the people above the Constitution, and violated his own pledges in the Kansas-Nebraska act.
Now was presented to the country the sad spectacle of our once valiant champion exerting his entire energies to overthrow the party which had so honored him; and, with the flag of rebellion and insurrection in his hand, endeavoring to seduce the party from its principles. His friends have not hesitated to affiliate with the Republican party to compass his ends. In Oregon they united with the Republicans in the canvas of last year and this; and Mr. Logan the leading Republican of that State, fought the canvas on the doctrine of squatter sovereignty alone. In New Jersey his friends, Messrs. Adrian and Riggs, were returned to Congress by the votes of the Republican party, and against the regular Democratic party. So with Reynolds, Haskin, and Clarke, in New York; with Hickman and Schwartz in Pennsylvania; with John G. Davis in Indiana. Republicans were returned to Congress over Democrats by the opposition and with the collusion of the friends of Mr. Douglas. Thus was Arnold defeated in Connecticut, Hughes and Ray in Indiana, Taylor and Russel in New York, Phillips, Leidy, Ahl, Gillis, and Deward, in Pennsylvania, Hall and Burns in Ohio, and Wortendyke in New Jersey. Mr. Douglas himself, all the while, has vehemently opposed and denounced the Democratic administration in the Senate; has refused to be governed by the voice of his party; has warred upon his Democratic colleagues, with a single exception; has voted against them, not simply on the vexed question of slavery, but against their nominations, and has even joined the Republicans in their efforts to exclude from the Senate the two Democratic Senators from the State of Indiana.
Owing his election in Illinois to the Senate, over his competitor, Mr. Lincoln, to the position maintained throughout
2that canvass, that no matter what was the decision of the Supreme Court, the Legislature of a Territory could lawfully exclude slavery therefrom by unfriendly legislation, he resolved to engraft his heresy of squatter sovereignty, of which this was an exemplification, upon the creed of the Democratic party; and he declared in his Dorr letter that on this condition only would he accept the nomination of the Convention for the Presidency. Thus one man undertook to lay down the platform of an entire party, and to place out of the pale of that party its own President; all but two of its Senators; all but some half a dozen of its Representatives in Congress; to brand as anti-Democratic the platforms and the men of nearly every State where the party was in possession of the Government. It is to be wondered at that the South became alarmed, and that it lost its confidence in him who once was by them trusted and admired?
It must be remembered, too, that the resistance to Mr. Douglas' nomination was not confined to the Southern States. It was wide-spread throughout all the States, and was predominant in Oregon, California, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey — States whose votes, with an almost united Sough, were essential to success in the coming election. It was also predominant in Massachusetts.
Under such circumstances were his claims vehemently urged for the Presidency. The press, telegraph, and every art of management was used to secure the election of delegates favorable to his nomination. The maxim of the immortal Jackson was reversed, and the man was made to seek the Presidency, not the Presidency the man.
Heretofore, the delegates chosen by the Democracy of the United States met in National Conventions as brothers, to consult together in a spirit of harmony and concession — to lay down the principles of the party, and to nominate candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency, not objectionable (in numbers) to any respectable portion of the party, and therefore likely to receive its united and harmonious support. For this purpose was the two-third rule adopted in the first National Democratic Convention that was ever held in this country; and actuated by the motives which begot it, the Democracy have repeatedly in National Conventions, whenever a respectable opposition presented itself refused to nominate some of its ablest statesmen, and by the nomination of others, less objectionable, have marched on to victory, and the development and enforcement of their principles. It will be recollected that Mr. Van Buren received a considerable majority at the Democratic National Convention in 1844, yet no one then contended that he therefore, was entitled to the nomination. On the contrary, the Convention, regarding the opposition of the minority to his nomination as entitled to consideration and respect, refused to nominate him, but nominated Mr. Polk, (against whom there was no objection,) and under his banner the Democratic party achieved one of its greatest triumphs. It was this principle of harmony and concession, of respect and consideration for the opinions and views of the minority, which bound the Democracy together with bands of steel, and made them invincible on the day of battle. It was the talismanic motto under which we marched to victory — the secret and the key-stone to our success.
Far different was the spirit displayed at Charleston and Baltimore by the friends of Mr. Douglas. They came to nominate him, or break up the Convention. Many of their prominent men boldly and openly avowed the purpose — "Rule or ruin," was their motto. They met the opinions and views of the seventeen reliable Democratic States, almost united in opposition to the nomination of Mr. Douglas, with insult and derision.
The Democratic States were wedded to no one man. They had their favorites, but they put forth no claim that even one of them should be nominated. They were willing to take any one of the illustrious and distinguished statesmen of our party except Mr. Douglas. He had made himself obnoxious to them for the reasons already mentioned, and they asked that he should not be thrust down their throats. Was the request an unusual one? Our history as a party shows that it was not. Was the request an unreasonable one? Who will say so, when they reflect that upon the States which made it, chiefly devolved the task of electing the nominees of the Convention? Yet the Douglas delegates not only turned a deaf ear to this request, but in the most high-handed and reckless manner with sacriligious hands tore down the landmarks of the party, and trampled upon Democratic comity and usages, in order to foist that one man upon the Convention. With any other Democrat they could have had harmony and union, and presented to-day the spectacle of a united and invincible party. We put it to the conscience and judgment of every honest man. Are they not guilty of having divided the party? Did they not thus take "the first, fatal, and irrevocable stride towards disunion of the States?" From this unenviable position no ingenuity nor device, nor wholesale and reckless charges against others can relieve them. "Inexorable logic" stamps the grave crime upon their brows. Representing states, nearly all of which were hopelessly Black Republican, they claimed that they were entitled to dictate both the platform and the candidates, and to this end the system of tactics, which we had witnessed outside of the Convention, was, for the first time in our history, (and we earnestly hope the last,) steadily and persistently enacted in it. Rules were made and violated at pleasure. The decisions of an impartial President were adopted, and then overruled, as it suited their purpose. The usages of Democratic Conventions were followed, and then shamefully violated, as it accorded with their designs. Everything was made to bend to the one great purpose for which they assembled — the nomination of Mr. Douglas. It cannot certainly be considered strange that honorable men, unused to such scenes, should leave the Convention, and that it was finally virtually broken up.
The first act of injustice was.
The Committee on Permanent Organization reported the following rule, known as the unit rule: — "That in any State which has not provided or directed by its State Convention how its vote may be given, the Convention will recognize the right of each delegate to cast his individual vote." This rule was in violation of the rule of all former Conventions, which left to the delegation from each State the right to determine how the vote should be cast; and it was smuggled into the report of the committee and brought before the Convention in the following manner: At the first meeting of the committee, when all its members were present, this rule was brought before the committee and rejected. The committee went on, discharged their other business, and adjourned to an informal meeting in the morning, to enable the chairman to make out the report and submit it to the committee for its approval. At this latter meeting, when some six or eight members of the committee opposed to the rule were absent, not having received notice of a called meeting for other business, and regarding the work as virtually finished, the rule was again brought forward and adopted. In this disrespectable manner was this rule brought before and adopted by the Convention.
By it the votes of the minority, in the delegations of Indiana, Vermont, New York, and Ohio, amounting to twenty-seven and a half, or fifty-five delegates, opposed to Mr. Douglas, were thrown for him; while on the final ballot, at Baltimore, it gave him votes in Massachusetts, ten; Pennsylvania, ten, New Jersey, two and a half; Maryland, two and a half; Virginia, three; North Carolina, one; Arkansas, one and a half, Missouri, four and a half; Tennessee, three; and Kentucky three, in all forty-one; which he would not have received had the ancient rules and usages of the former conventions, leaving the majority in each State to determine how the vote of the State should be cast, been adhered to. Yet the ink was hardly dry that recorded the passage of the resolution, before the very men who clamored for its adoption, sought to violate it, and actually succeed in their efforts.
In the case of New Jersey, where the State conventions recommended the delegates to vote as a unit, the Douglas delegates overruled the decision of the President that by the term recommended the Convention had provided the mode for casting the vote of the State, and allowed the two or three Douglas delegates to cast their individual votes.
The record of proceedings shows this withdrawal was done in sorrow and not anger; not for the purposes of disunion, but to receive instructions from their constituents. The friends of Mr. Douglas, at least, should not complain. Words, however,
3are inadequate to express the bitterness of their animosity. Had not the Democracy of the South the same right to state the terms upon which they would hold fellowship with their sister States, as Douglas had to dictate to them the platform of their Democracy? The southern States gave their interpretation of the Democratic creed, and a portion of them insisted upon its recognition by the Convention as the condition of their support. They were denied this, and withdrew from the Convention. They at least did nothing more than pursue the course which Mr. Douglas announced in his Dorr letter he would pursue in the event of his platform not being adopted; for, if he could not stand on a different platform as a candidate, it logically followed that his position was that of antagonism and resistance both to platform and candidate.
But, notwithstanding the withdrawal of fifty-one delegates, no nomination was made at Charleston; and, after a struggle of ten days, an adjournment was had to Baltimore, under the following resolution:
"Resolved, That when this Convention adjourns it adjourn to reassemble at Baltimore on Monday, the 18th day of June next, and that it is respectfully recommended to the Democratic party of the several States to make provision for supplying all vacancies in their respective delegations to the Convention when it shall reassemble."
The Convention met at Baltimore. Most of the States responded to the invitation above recited, and their delegates presented their credentials, and asked admission into the Convention. How were they treated by the friends of Mr. Douglas?
Benjamin F. Hallett was regularly appointed a delegate from Massachusetts to the National Convention; the same Convention appointed K. L. Chaffee as his alternate. Owing to sickness, Mr. Hallett was unable to attend the Convention at Charleston, and, in his absence, Mr. Chaffee, his alternate, took his place. At Baltimore, however, Mr. Hallett was present, but the Convention actually turned him out; actually turned out the regular delegate, and gave the seat to the alternate!
The same course was adopted in regard to the eighth electoral district of Missouri. Mr. Johnson B. Garder, the regular delegate, was unceremoniously ousted out of his seat, and Mr. O'Fallen, the contingent, voted in. Heretofore it has always been considered that the alternate acted only in the absence of the principal, but this Convention gravely determined that the true test for admission into that Convention consisted in an affirmative answer to the question, Are you for the nomination of Stephen A. Douglas?
The next step was to vote out the regular delegation from the State of Louisiana, who were re-appointed to Baltimore by the convention that originally appointed them and also to exclude the regular delegates from Alabama, who were appointed by a new convention called by the Democratic committee of the State. The history of the cases is this: After the secession at Charleston, the Democratic Central Committee of Louisiana, the only association in that State having the power to assemble the Democracy in convention, called together the State convention, representing every country in the State, and that convention re-appointed the same delegates to Baltimore. A few irresponsible men called another convention, at which the Democracy of the State were not represented. In the case of Alabama, the Democratic Central Committee called a new convention, to be elected by the Democracy of the several counties. This convention met, and sent back the regular delegates to Baltimore. A number of persons, however, issued a call, published in only three papers in the State, addressed to the people, not the Democracy, of Alabama, for another convention which met and appointed a set of delegates, the leaders of whom never cast a Democratic vote in his life, and who openly avowed that he was going to Baltimore to vote for Mr. Douglas, in order to break up the Democratic party. Yet the so-called national convention voted out the regular delegates elected by the Democracies of these States, and voted in the bogus delegates.
In the case of Arkansas, the Congressional conventions of the State which nominated the Democratic candidates for Congress, re-appointed the delegates to Baltimore. Yet this Convention deliberately voted out the regular delegates so elected in the first district; while they declared that the regular delegates, elected in the same manner, in the second district, were entitled to their seats; and then, in defiance of the resolution of the Democratic State Convention of Arkansas instructing the delegates to vote as a unit, and in utter violation of their own unit resolution, they divided the vote of the State, giving the bogus delegates from the first district the right to cast one vote, and the regular delegates from the second district two votes; nay, they even went further, and resolved that, in case the regular delegates from the second district did not vote, the bogus delegates from the first district were to cast the full vote of the State. And yet, after such high-handed procedure as this, we are meekly told by the Douglas committee that "it must be conceded that the report of the Committee on Credentials was so liberal and conciliatory toward the seceders and their friends as to be hardly just to the representatives of the National Democracy from this State."
In the case of Georgia, the Douglas men themselves called a State convention for the purpose of having the seceding delegates repudiated by the Democracy of that State. Every shade of the Democratic party of the State participated in the election of delegates. The Convention met, and upon taking a vote, the seceding or regular delegates were sent back to Baltimore, by a vote of two hundred and ninety-nine to forty-one. The forty-one Douglas delegates then bolted, and also appointed delegates. Yet the Douglas Committee on Credentials at Baltimore, in defiance again of the resolution of the Georgia Convention instructing their delegates to vote as a unit, and in utter violation of their own rule upon the subject, reported in favor of dividing the vote of the State, giving one half to the regular delegates, and one half to the bogus appointees of the forty-one bolters! But this was too great an outrage even for this Convention, and they voted to admit the regular delegates, and thus placed the brand of bogus upon the brow of H. V. Johnson, the Douglas candidate for Vice-President! Commenting upon this action, the Douglas Executive Committee characterizes it as an "extravagance of liberality!"
Thus was the Democracy of sovereign States wantonly disfranchised in a National Convention, and thus were Democrats compelled to give up all fellowship with men so regardless of their own honor, and the welfare and unity of the Democratic party.
But it is claimed that Mr. Douglas was nominated by a two-thirds vote. The Douglas Executive Committee, in a recent address, declares:
"After all secessions, as well as the refusal of certain delegates from Georgia and Arkansas, together with the entire delegations from Texas and Mississippi to occupy their seats, our National Convention at Baltimore yet retained four hundred and twenty-four delegates, or two hundred and twelve electoral votes; being ten more than two-thirds of the electoral votes of the whole Union. But some of these delegates, (as in the case of Georgia) refrained from voting, the majority of the delegates having retired; others, (as in the case of Arkansas,)
4although full delegations, and authorized, in case of any secession, to cast the whole vote of their State, preferred only to cast that which would be a fair proportion between the seceders and themselves; and yet others (as in the case of Delaware, and portions of the delegates from Kentucky and Missouri,) declined to vote, but refused to secede. This accounts for the fact that upon the second ballot, by States, Mr. Douglas received only one hundred and eighty-one and a half votes; Mr. Breckinridge receiving ten and a half, Mr. Guthrie four votes, the States of South Carolina (eight) and Florida (three) having authorized no delegates to any Convention at Baltimore. Here is the ballot as recorded:"
|New Jersey||—||—||2 Ë|
"On motion of Mr. Clark, of Missouri, at the instance of Mr. Hoge, of Virginia, the question was then propounded from the Chair, whether the nomination of Douglas should or should not be, without further ceremony, the unanimous act of the Convention, and of all the delegates present; the Chairman distinctly requesting that any delegate who objected, (whether or not having voted) should signify his dissent. No delegate dissented; and thus, at last, was Stephen A. Douglas unanimously nominated in a Convention representing more than two-thirds of all the electoral votes, as the candidate of the Democratic party for the Presidency of the United States."
"Was it irregular thus to propose a candidate? If so, Lewis Cass was irregularly nominated at Baltimore in 1848, which no man ever pretended, for the same method was adopted in his case."
First. It is not true that General Cass was nominated in 1848 in a similar manner. Such a procedure, the nomination of a candidate by resolution prior to his receiving two-thirds of the vote of the Convention where there was a contest, never before was witnessed in a National Democratic Convention. This resolution was another innovation upon Democratic usages.
Second. It is not true that the Chairman notified the delegates that those who did not object should be counted as voting for the resolution. No published proceedings of that Convention puts any such remark in his mouth. On the contrary, every published proceeding, including those published at the time in the Baltimore, Washington, and New York papers, reported by different reporters, conclusively demonstrates that he gave utterance to no such language. But, even if he did, it was not in his power, and was not within the scope of his duties as a presiding officer, to dictate to delegates what course they should pursue, or to bind them by his mere ipse dixit. Each delegate had the right to vote, or not to vote, as to him seemed proper; and of that he was the sole judge, answerable for his course to his constituency alone. The Convention had decided that in accordance with the established usages of the party, it required two-thirds (two hundred and two votes) of the electoral votes to nominate. The highest vote at any time attained by Mr. Douglas was one hundred and eighty-one and a half, and the whole number cast one hundred and ninety-six. How were two hundred and two votes to be manufactured out of one hundred and ninety-six votes all told, fourteen and a half of which were cast against him?
Eighteen delegates remained in the Convention as spectators, taking no part whatsoever in its deliberations, and expressly declaring that they were not bound by its decision. Various devices were tried to compel these eighteen delegates to vote. Mr. Church, of N. Y., had offered a resolution declaring Mr. Douglas the nominee, when he had received only one hundred and seventy-three and a half votes. We quote the following proceedings which then ensued:
"The question was loudly called for."
"Mr. Jones, of Pennsylvania, said he was ready to support the nominee of the Convention when he shall be nominated by the rules of the Democratic party. At Charleston it was determined that two-thirds of all the electoral college was necessary to a nomination."
"It was objected that debate was not in order."
"The President (Mr. Todd) so ruled."
"Mr. Jones raised a question of order — that the rule adopted at Charleston could not be repealed except on one day's notice."
"Mr. Church explained the action at Charleston, and said his resolution was intended to change the rule of instruction adopted at Charleston. New York had come here to pour oil on the troubled waters, and had faithfully endeavored to do so. They had yielded everything except personal honor to heal the divisions which existed. He proceeded to condemn the action of the seceding delegates."
"Mr. W. S. Gittings, of Maryland, entered a protest against the propositions of Mr. Church, of New York. A rule was adopted at Charleston that two-thirds of all the votes of the electoral college was required to nominate a candidate for President."
"The Chair explained, that at Charleston the then president was instructed not to declare any one nominated unless he received two-thirds of the electoral college, (202 votes.)"
"Mr. Gittings said there were two-thirds of the electoral college here, and if gentlemen voted who declined to vote, Douglas would be nominated by a two-thirds vote. He hoped there would be more ballots to see what gentlemen would do, and that Mr. Church would withdraw his resolution."
"Cries of That's it — that's it — yes — yes."
"Mr. Hoge, of Virginia, said he hoped there would be no more ballots, and if those gentlemen who declined to vote did not vote, he should treat them as out of the Convention."
"Mr. Church then withdrew his resolution till another ballot was had."
Yet, after this notice served upon these 18 delegates, they again refused to vote; and it is simply ridiculous to say that the President could record their votes as cast in favor of the resolution. Mr. Church boldly declared that the "resolution was intended to change the rule of instruction adopted at Charleston," requiring a two-thirds vote to nominate the candidate.
Of the 18 delegates who remained in the Convention as spectators, five where from Kentucky, six from Delaware, and seven from Missouri.
The five delegates from Kentucky filed a written protest in which they stated that though they remained in the Convention, they "will not participate in its deliberations, nor hold ourselves or our constituents bound by its action, but leave both at full liberty to act as future circumstances may dictate;" (signed by G. A. Caldwell, W. W. Williams, W. Bradley, Samuel B. Field, and Thos. J. Young.)
Mr. Saulsbury, of Delaware, announced, in behalf of the six delegates from his State who remained in the Convention, but refused to vote, that "in future they should decline to vote, reserving to themselves the right to act hereafter as they deemed proper."
The seven delegates from Missouri gave notice that they would remain in the Convention, but would take no part in its deliberations. And these are the votes upon which this committee base their two-third vote Mr. Douglas.
But even admitting that the President did give notice that those who did not object should be counted in favor of the resolution; even admitting the proposition that his mere ipse dixit had the power to bind the delegates who did not dissent, even in the face of their declarations that they would not vote, we now proceed to show that no opportunity was afforded to any delegate to object to the passage of the resolution. The extract of the proceedings which we have heretofore quoted, shows that debate upon this resolution was decided to be out of order; and, under this ruling, Mr. Jones, of Pennsylvania, who rose to enter his dissent, was unceremoniously gagged. Having thus closed their mouths, this committee contends that because they did not then speak, they must be counted as having voted for the resolution.
By no rule of justice or of right can the 14Å¾ votes given for Mr. Breckinridge and Mr. Guthrie be counted as having been cast for the resolution declaring Mr. Douglas the nominee. Having steadily, through repeated ballots, voted against Mr. Douglas, they were not allowed to object to the resolution when it was offered, nor even given the opportunity of voting against it. Here are the proceedings at this stage:
"Mr. Clarke then moved to declare Stephen A. Douglas the Democratic nominee for the Presidency. [Applause.]
Mr. Hoge, of Virginia, offered a resolution to that effect, which was read.
The resolution declaring S. A. Douglas the unanimous choice of the Convention for the Presidency was adopted by a shout of ayes and cheers, which lasted a considerable time.
The band of the Keystone Club appeared in the gallery and struck up and tune, which was greeted with renewed cheers.
The President (Col. Todd) declared Stephen A. Douglass, of Illinois, the unanimous choice of the Democracy of the United States as their candidate of the Presidency. [Loud cheers."]
The vote in favor of the resolution was alone taken! The negative voted was not put to the convention!
But, as if still further to demonstrate that the eighteen delegates from Kentucky, Delaware and Missouri, took no part at all in the proceedings, we call attention to the vote for Vice President, when they again refused to vote!
But the nine votes counted for the eighteen delegates who refused to vote, with the 14Ë votes cast for Messrs. Breckinridge and Lane, added to the 181Ë given for Mr. Douglas, gives only a total of 205, seven less than the vote claimed by this Committee. Where do they get the remaining seven votes? From Georgia and Arkansas. The State of Georgia was entitled to 10 votes in the Convention, to be cast by 20 delegates. The Democracy of Georgia, however, appointed 40 delegates to cast the 10 votes, and instructed them to vote as a unit, the majority to determine the action of the State. Eleven of the delegates remained in the Convention, but the majority who seceded protested against these eleven being allowed to vote, and the Convention decided by a vote of 148 to 100, that those remaining from that State were not, under the unit rule, entitled to vote.
At Baltimore, the seceding delegates from Georgia, re-appointed by the State Convention, refused to take their seats; but one of them (Mr. Gaulden,) however, came into the convention, but did not pretend to Vote, because, Under the decision of the Convention, he was not entitled to vote, as the majority had determined not to take their seats, in the Convention.
And yet these are the persons decided, by the Convention to be mere Spectators, and not delegates, who had no right to vote, and never did vote in the Convention, who are now represented as delegates by the Douglas Committee, and pressed into the service, for the purpose of manufacturing a two-third vote for Mr. Douglas.
Under the decision of the Convention, the two delegates, Messrs. Flournoy and Stirman, who remained in the Convention at Charleston, were allowed to cast one vote; the three bogus delegates from the first Congressional district, one vote, and the withdrawing delegates, who were re-accredited to Baltimore, two votes. The latter declined to take their seats, and Mr. Stirman withdrew.
He is thus reported:
"Mr. Stirman, of Arkansas when his State was called, said, in Justice to himself, and with sorrow, he parted, with the Convention, he could not longer remain after what had been done."
Thus a majority of the delegates actually admitted to the Convention, had withdrawn or refused to take their seats, and under the unite rule, the minority had not right to vote. Yet the Committee have counted both the Ë vote of Mr. Stirman who had withdrawn, increased the one vote awarded by the Convention to the bogus three, to a vote and a half, and thus secured an additional vote from Arkansas in favor of the resolution. In this way the Douglas Committee got six additional votes from Georgia, and one from Arkansas in favor of the resolution, thus increasing their figures from 205 to 212 votes.
We now propose to show, beyond cavil, that even the vote (181Ë) given by the Douglas Executive Committee, in the foregoing table, as having been cast for Mr. Douglas, is based on error. Let us examine the matter.
Massachusetts is put down at 10 votes for Mr. Douglas, when they were only ten delegates entitled to cast live votes remaining in the Convention from that State. Massachusetts had thirteen votes, represented by 26 delegates: sixteen of these delegates withdrew, and joined the Breckinridge and Lane Convention, leaving, we repeat, but ten delegates to cast live votes.
Vermont was represented by 10 delegates, with the right to cast five votes. She is reported as having given the whole live to Mr. Douglas, instead of 4Ë one of the delegates (Mr. Stoughton) having withdrawn, and joined the other Convention.
Minnesota is recorded as having cast her full vote for Mr. Douglas, when three of her delegates entitled to 1Ë votes refused to vote for him, and withdrew from the Convention:
"Mr. Decker, of Minnesota, said he and two of his colleagues desired to announce the conclusion at which they had arrived; they went to Charleston, and came to Baltimore, actuated only by a desire to promote the harmony, union and integrity of the Democratic party; but unfortunately for them and the country, their desires and efforts had failed; they had been ready for any exertions and sacrifices to promote their object, and they now took this step, in view of the responsibilities resting upon them before the people. In conclusion, he announced their determination to vacate their seats, taking with them the credentials which accredited them to the National Democratic Convention."
Pennsylvania is put down as having given twenty-two-and-a-half votes, when 12 of her delegates, entitled to six votes, withdrew and joined the other Convention. As Pennsylvania is only entitled to 27, she cast one and one-half more votes for Mr. Douglas than her delegation were entitled to.
Virginia appears to have given 3 votes for Mr. Douglas, when only five of her delegates, entitled to 2Ë votes, remained in the Convention.
North Carolina had but one delegate, entitled to cast one-half a vote in the Convention, yet he is recorded as having cast one vote.
Tennessee, with only five delegates in the Convention, is put down at 3, instead of 2Ë.
New York is put down at 35 votes, when it is well known that two of her delegates withdrew from the Convention, and joined the other Convention.
These make a total of 11 votes, which added to the 18 bogus delegates from Alabama, the 12 bogus delegates from Louisiana, and the 3 bogus delegates from Arkansas, counting 16Ë votes, make a total of 27Ë; votes to be subtracted from the 181Ë, leaving the vote of Mr. Douglas at only 154!
But even this was a forced vote — forced by a violation of the usages of the Democratic party, by which the votes of 31 delegates from New York, in addition to the two above alluded
6to, 12 from Ohio and 9 from Indiana, making a total of 52 delegates entitled to 26 votes, hostile to the nomination of Mr. Douglas, were voted for him. Subtract these from 154, and it leaves 128, as the actual strength of Mr. Douglas in the Convention.
Had the rules and usages of former Conventions, whereby the vote of each State was to be determined by the majority of the delegates, been followed, Mr. Douglas would have gained 1 vote in Maine, 2Ë votes in Connecticut, and lost 10 in Massachusetts, 2Ë in New Jersey, 10 in Pennsylvania, 2Ë in Maryland, 3 in Virginia, 1 in North Carolina, 1Ë in Arkansas, 4Ë in Missouri, 3 in Tennessee, 3 in Kentucky, making a net loss of 37Ë, to which add the votes of Alabama 9, and Louisiana 6, represented by the bogus delegates, who would not then have gained admission into the Convention, and we have 52Ë votes to be deducted from 181Ë, leaving 129 as the true vote under the rule of former Conventions, really cast for Mr. Douglass in the Convention.
1O5Ë votes were cast for President, to which must be added Ë vote from Minnesota, 3 votes from Delaware, and 8 votes from South Carolina, who took no part in the nomination of Mr. Douglas, and who, before either Convention adjourned, endorsed the action of the Maryland Institute Convention, making in all 117 votes.
This number has been since largely increased by the endorsement of delegates after the adjournment of the Conventions, who took no part in the proceedings of either, or who, having taken part in the Douglas Convention, have since repudiated its action.
Thus neither Convention has presented a candidate nominated by two-thirds of the votes of the electoral colleges. Which, therefore, is entitled to the support of the Democracy, as the embodiment of its principles, and as endorsed by the weight and influence of the party?
The committee to whom we have referred, charge that we are the disunion party, and therefore are not entitled to support. Let us consider the platforms of the two Conventions, and make some inquiries into the antecedents of its candidates and supporters.
The platform of the Maryland Institute Convention, endorsed at Charleston by seventeen sovereign States, is as follows:
"First. That the government of a Territory organized by an act of Congress is provisional and temporary; and during its existence, all citizens of the United States have an equal right to settle with their property in the Territory without their rights, either of person or property, being destroyed or impaired by Congressional or Territorial legislation."
"Second. That it is the duty of the Federal government. In all its departments, to protect, when necessary, the rights of persons and property, in the Territories, and wherever else its constitutional authority extends."
"Third. That when the settlers in a Territory, having an adequate population, form a State Constitution, the right of sovereignty commences: and being consummated by admission into the Union, they stand on an equal footing with the people of other States; and the State thus organized ought to be admitted into the Federal Union, whether its Constitution prohibits or recognizes the institution of slavery."
That of the Front Street Theatre Convention, is as follows:
"Resolved, That we, the Democracy of the Union, in Convention assembled, hereby declare our affirmation of the resolutions unanimously adopted and declared as a platform of principles by the Democratic Convention at Cincinnati, in the year 1856, believing that Democratic principles are unchangeable in their nature when applied to the same subject-matter."
"Resolved, That it is in accordance with the true interpretation of the Cincinnati Platform, that during the existence of Territorial governments, the measure of restriction, whatever it may be, imposed by the Federal Constitution on the powers of a Territorial legislature over the subject of domestic relations, as the same has been or shall hereafter be finally determined by the Supreme Court of the United States, should be respected by all good citizens, and enforced with promptness and fidelity by every branch of the Federal Government."
Referring to our platform, the Douglas Committee say that "nothing could be more vague and unsatisfactory than these resolutions; they deal in ‘truisms’ of the tamest significance, or rather, as the controversy then stood, of no significance at all." It may be well to pause here and point attention to the fact that this Douglas Committee shrink from the task of taking issue with these resolutions, and that they thus virtually admit that they contain no doctrine to condemn. Let the Douglas speakers in the North who have been ringing the charge of "slave code," "slave code," take notice of the virtual admission of their Executive Committee that the resolutions contain no such doctrine.
The committee were wise in not attacking a platform which defies assault.
The first resolution emphatically declares that "the government of a Territory organized by an act of Congress is provisional and temporary," thereby rebutting the conclusions that such a Territory can frame any permanent institutions whatever, or can establish, during its territorial existence, any fundamental law whatever. It is an inchoate and imperfect government, instituted for a brief period — the creature of Congress. This resolution, in connection with the third resolution, which declares that "when the settlers in a Territory, having an adequate population, form a State Constitution, the right of sovereignty commences; and being consummated by admission into the Union, they stand on an equal footing with the people of other States; and the State thus organized ought to be admitted into the Federal Union, whether its constitution prohibits or recognizes the institution of slavery," is entirely consistent with the Kansas-Nebraska act. That the government of a Territory is provisional and temporary, that it is the creature of Congress, the history of the Territories conclusively establishes. Congress has always either reserved the veto power over the acts of a Territorial Legislature, or conferred it upon the Governor of the Territory, appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
But, as in the Cincinnati platform, the third resolution emphatically declares that when the people come to form their permanent institutions, when they come to lay down their fundamental law, which shall govern not only the people, but their legislative bodies and their judicial tribunals, when they are to decide themselves whether slavery shall be an institution or not amongst them. Is the second resolution inconsistent with the first and third? It is in these words, that "it is the duty of the Federal government, in all its departments, to protect, when necessary, the rights of persons and property in the Territories, and wherever else its constitutional authority extends" Why is government instituted at all? Is it to raise armies? Is it to create navies? Is it "to establish a postal system? Is it to collect revenue? Is it to build up a magnificent capital, adorned with works of art and extensive and beautifully arranged grounds, and imposing edifices, of granite and marble? Is it instituted to raise $100,000,000 in order to expend it — to bring annually together, at the national capitol, Senators and Representatives, and then to send them home again — to establish courts and build prisons? No; nothing of the kind. Such are not the objects of government; but they are the instruments of government. These are purely the appliances, by means of which government accomplishes its purpose. The object of government is to protect persons and property, and nothing else. Thus we see, in order to accomplish what seems to be a simple and plain purpose, resort is had to the largest and most complicated means, in order to effect it with certainty and success. Various countries have differed about their form of government; but with all these differences, the purpose has been ever the same — the protection of persons and property.
The second resolution stands inflexibly upon this proposition. Our Government has done much, from our earliest history, to protect the lives and the property of its citizens on its public domain. Where are our armies sent? To our Territories. For what? To protect persons and property, and nothing else. The citizens of our Territories who have been environed by Indian foes, and have fought their way through Indian wars, realize the importance of this protection. Why was our Navy sent to Paraguay? It was on account of a citizen
7of one of the free States — a citizen of Rhode Island. It was a case of offence to property; and the Navy was sent there in order that our government might do its duty in protecting that property. A Government is derelict to the very purpose of its institution; it is derelict to its obligations to the individual citizen, if it fails or hesitates in acting promptly to protect the property as well as the person of that citizen.
These resolutions, taken together, do not establish slavery in the Territories, or recognize the principle of the establishment of slavery; but they declare that the rights of property of the citizens of the several States shall be protected by the Federal arm. They declare, in substance, that if a citizen of a southern State shall go to our common Territories with his slaves, his property in those slaves shall be protected. They declare, in substance, that this provisional and temporary government of a Territory shall not molest or interfere with the right of a southern man to hold his slaves as property in the Territory. They declare, in substance, that if the Territorial Legislature thus interferes, it is the duty of the Federal Government to interpose and prevent this unauthorized, unconstitutional action. But there is no intimation, there can be no inference, from the three resolutions, that the old policy, that Congress can neither establish nor prohibit slavery, has been departed from in the slightest degree. It is purely a question of property; it is purely a question of the protection of the rights of southern men equally with the rights of northern men. It is not a concession of the North; they yield none of their rights. It is simply an act of equal justice upon the part of the North; It is a demand of right upon the part of the South.
The effort is made to charge disunion sentiments upon Breckinridge and Lane, because some individuals now supporting them have at some period of their lives given utterance to extreme sentiments. See with what weight and point the charge goes home to the Front Street Theatre candidates, Douglas and Johnson. One of their staunchest and most eloquent advocates on the floor of the convention, was Colonel Gaulden, of Georgia, who at the Charleston sitting advocated the re-opening of the African slave trade. We quote from the official report:
"Col. Gaulden said he would do all he could to reconcile his friends in Georgia to this doctrine, and denounced congressional protection as an abstraction. In the course of his remarks he referred to Virginia as slave-trading and slave, breeding Virginia."
"A delegate from Virginia objected to the designation applied to that State." —
"Mr. Gaulden. — Well, I'll say slave-trading Georgia, then I don't object to the designation — I am a slave-breeder — I face the music. Come down to my plantation and I'll show you a fine lot of young niggers there, and pure Africans, too."
"Col. Gaulden then proceeded to advocate the revival of the African slave trade, and believed Massachusetts herself would shortly advocate it. He did not see why he should pay $2,000 for a negro from Virginia, when he could buy him in Africa for $50. He denounced the treaty for the suppression of the African slave trade, which, he said, was against the laws of God and nature's God. The doctrine of non-intervention should be applied to that trade. It was inhuman to send back to Africa the negroes at Key West, half of whom would die and the balance be delivered over to cannibalism."
But in controversy we should go to the heart of the matter. How will Mr. Johnson ring this charge to advance his prospects for the Vice Presidency? He was a Senator in Congress in 1848, and on the 7th of July of that year he made a speed to prove that Congress had the power and ought to intervene to protect slave property in the Territories. (See Appendix to the Congressional Globe, 1st sess., 30th Congress, page 891.) Our space forbids extended extracts. He said:
"In no event can the slaveholder of the South be excluded from settling in such Territory with his property of every description."
"Since, therefore, as I have shown, Congress has no power to prohibit slavery, they cannot delegate such a power to the inhabitants of the Territory; they cannot authorize the Territorial Legislature to do that which they have no power to do. The stream cannot rise higher than its source."
"The institution of slavery is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and it has the same protection thrown around it, which guards our citizens against the granting of titles of nobility, or the establishment of religion; therefore. Congress would be as much bound to veto an act of Territorial legislation prohibiting it, as an act violating these rights of every citizen of the Republic."
To show that Mr. Johnson has not abandoned his doctrine of Congressional protection, we quote the following resolutions drafted and then reported by him to the Convention of Georgia, held on the 4th day of last June, which appointed him as a delegate to the National Convention at Baltimore:
"Resolved, That we re-affirm the Cincinnati platform, with the following additional propositions:"
"1st. That the citizens of the United States have an equal right to settle with their property of any kind, in the organized Territories of the United States, and that under the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Dred Scott, which we recognize as the correct exposition of the Constitution in this particular, slave property stands upon the same footing as all other descriptions of property, and that neither the General Government, NOR ANY TERRITORIAL GOVERNMENT, can destroy or impart the right to slave property in the common Territories, any more than the right to any other description of property; that property of all kinds, slaves as well as any other species of property, in all the Territories, stand upon the same equal and broad constitutional basis, and subject to like principles of recognition and protection in the LEGISLATIVE, Judicial, and Executive Departments of the Government."
"2d. That we will support any man who may be nominated by the Baltimore Convention for the Presidency, who holds the principles set forth in the foregoing proposition, and who will give them his indorsement, and that we will not hold ourselves bound to support any man, who may be the nominee, who entertains principles inconsistent with those set forth in the above propositions, or who denies that slave property in the Territories does not stand on an equal footing, and on the same constitutional basis of other species of property."
Mr. Douglas, in his letter to Hon. Wm. A. Richardson, read before the Convention, uses this emphatic language: "Intervention means disunion." Then, according to Mr. Douglas, Mr. Johnson, his colleague on the ticket with him, is a dis-unionist. And, according to the second resolution offered by Mr. Johnson before the Georgia Convention, he stands pledged not to support or vote for Mr. Douglas.
But in our survey of the field we must not neglect the Constitutional Union party. It is an old party, under a new guise. In 1856 they had a platform of the strictest kind, and a secret organization protected by tests and oaths. Then they waged war upon our foreign citizens and upon a certain religious creed. The same leaders now come forward repudiating platforms — announce themselves as the only Union party, and ask for votes without any declaration of their principles. Their platform is the "Constitution and the Union." The Republicans assert they are for the Constitution and the Union, yet their platform gives an interpretation to the Constitution which will destroy that Constitution and break up this Union. For which we have high authority — Mr. Fillmore, the candidate for the Presidency, in 1856, of the very men who constitute the Constitutional Union party of the present day. The Douglas Democrats avow they are for the Constitution and the Union; yet their platform, as interpreted by their standard bearer, Mr. Douglas, tramples under foot the decision of the Supreme Court, proclaims a higher law, and permits the first-squatters in a Territory to exclude the people of fifteen sovereign States therefrom; reducing them to a condition of vassalage, and doing little less injury to the Constitution of the country than the platform of the Republicans.
The true Democratic party stands on the Constitution and the Union, and their interpretation recognizes the perfect equality of the States, and maintains inviolate the genius of the events, necessities, and history which brought into one confederacy so many independent sovereignties. Which of these three interpretations is the interpretation of the Constitutional Union party? Or will they scorn each and all, and fall back upon their repudiated and odious platform of 1856?
8We feel that an intelligent people will demand at the hands of men asking their favor a frank avowal of their principles. We feel that they will recognize as a true Union party the organization which stands boldly on the Constitution of their country, and proclaims the just doctrine of the equality of the States.
We have referred to the warnings of Mr. Fillmore against this party. The public mind has become alarmed. The mischievous effect of its doctrines has been shown in the John Brown raid, and the recent burnings and pillages in Northern Texas. Bold, unscrupulous and vindictive leaders are at its head. They have adopted the once scorned dogma of Garrison, that slavery is a covenant with hell and an agreement with death. Sumner proclaims the barbarism of slavery. Burlingame the necessity of an anti-slavery Bible and an anti-slavery God. Seward and Lincoln the irrepressible conflict. They, with a fanaticism rapidly getting intense as that of Peter the Hermit, are fanning the flames of sectional strife soon to break out in intestine war. They are practically leading a Crusade against the South. Thanks to the mercies of the Almighty, brotherly love, the memories of a glorious history, the common sacrifices of our fathers, the unparalleled progress to empire and renown of our people, have not lost their influence. Honest and true men all through the North have, determined to crush out the monster of Northern disunion and fanaticism. A paralysis has come over the energies of the inciters of servile war. The common sense of the people revolts at the consummation of their foul designs. Good men and true are rallying from the mountains and the plains, from city and country, from the farm, the shop, and the busy marts of trade, to preserve and perpetuate the glorious heritage bequeathed to us by our fathers.
But where is Mr. Douglas in this struggle of good men and true, for the perpetuation of the faith of these fathers? He is allied with the Constitutional Union party of the South, and quasi allied with the Republican party at the North. He like Seward, has proclaimed the higher law. At Springfield he declared that the citizen of a Territory "DOES NOT DERIVE POWER FROM CONGRESS, FOR HE HAS ALREADY DERIVED IT FROM GOD ALMIGHTY" One of his principal supporters, Mr. H. L. Seymour, in his recent speech at Rochester, New York, said: "AFTER ALL THAT HAS BEEN SAID ON THE SUBJECT, THERE IS A HIGHER LAW. ITS FIAT IS GIVEN IN THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE. POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY IS THE EXPRESSION OF THAT LAW." Mr. Hickman, the boldest and clearest intellect of the followers of Mr. Douglas, now upbraids him for his timidity and treachery, has manfully cast off the mask, and is now an avowed leader in the Republican ranks. His fugleman, Forney, openly advocates a coalition with the Black Republicans to defeat our candidates. We see presses, and leaders, and orators pulling down the Douglas and raising the Republican flag. We say to the Democrats of the olden time and to the young Democrats of the present day, beware of the insidious advances of the enemy. Beware of the first fatal step towards Republicanism and towards disunion. Rally to the old flag. Rally on the tried leaders. Be not sloughed off into the Abolition camp with Hickman and others. We implore you to weigh these facts, and we believe you will be satisfied of the tendency of the Douglas organization towards Republicanism. Indeed the entire organization will melt and is melting away. The freesoilism of it is now being absorbed in the Republican ranks, and the true Democrats, of whom there are large numbers, are falling back in to line with the old comrades, with whom they have achieved the triumphs of Democracy.
Consider the spectacle presented to us by the Democratic and the Douglas candidates for the Presidency. Mr. Breckinridge has retired to his quiet home in Kentucky, there calmly and with dignity to await the verdict of the people. Mr. Douglas is traversing the country, especially in the North and East, dosing out the panacea of "squatter sovereignty" as a remedy for all our ills, appealing to the "higher law," and endeavoring, with the magic of his words and his presence, to cajole the people to his support. In this he will miserably fail. In the exalted position of President of these United States, the people will exact something more than the qualities of a traveling mountebank. Mr. Douglas in his recent letter has averred that his object was to take the question of slavery out of the halls of Congress; and yet during this whole Administration he has kept up the slavery agitation with a persistency and fierceness amounting almost to insanity. It has caused him to neglect every other duty in Congress except the defence of his consistency, and the advocacy of his views in regard to slavery. He has been remarkable for his facility in dodging votes, and when he did vote, for his votes with the Republicans. With that party not only did he vote on the Lecompton question, but on most incidental questions, in total inconsistency with his former votes. With that party he coalesced, not simply in his votes on such minor questions as the election of a public printer, &c., but in determining who in the Senate of the United States were the representatives of the sovereign States of Indiana. He has been a rebel, both to the organization and to the principles of the party. He has voted against its platform and its candidates.
To conciliate Republican votes, be has indulged in vulgar flings at the South. He prefers the clams of Rhode Island to the niggers of the South. "I HAVE MUCH MORE FONDNESS FOR YOUR CLAMS THAN I HAVE FOR THEIR NIGGERS." These things have sunk deep into the hearts of the American Democracy; and even if he should expend his clam-baking operations to the coast of Labrador, trying on his way the infinite relish of freshly-caught mackerel, halibut, and cod, he will find that whilst the people are pleased with the jovial qualities of the bail, well-met fellow, they will despise and reprobate the public man.
Words cannot express the magnitude of the blessings which a benignant Providence has showered upon us — a vast and extended area, spanning the entire continent, and reaching from the cold North down even to tropical heat — a population now large and most rapidly increasing — the enjoyment of abundant comforts and even great luxuries of life — a union of industrial interests, varied by soil and climate — a paternal and kindly government, founded on the principle for which, we have ever and shall ever contend. Shall discord enter this magnificent abode? Shall the Union be broken up? Shall poverty, anxiety, distress and internal wars take the place of wealth, content and successful enterprize? Our countrymen, do not close your eyes to the danger of this! When the danger comes, it will come from the selfish ambition of individuals, whose talents enable them to sow the seed, of strife in a party which for many generations has supported this glorious government, founded on political and social rights to every citizen — a government distinguished alike for its benignity, its wisdom, and its strength — the glory of the age, and the admiration of the friends of freedom, and of the rights of man throughout the habitable globe.
Fellow Democrats, to the work! Stand on your platform, and cling to your candidates. You are contending for the Constitution of your country, and for the union of these States. Let us fight the good fight, as our fathers did. Our candidates have been baptized in blood in the wars of the country, and have in every act of their lives signalized their patriotism and self-sacrifice. The crisis of the times has placed them before the people. You know their principles. There is no silence as in the case of Bell and Everett. There are no shuffling disguises as in the case of Douglas and Johnson. There is no war upon both the Constitution and the Union, as in the case of Lincoln (the sympathizer with Mexico and now the sympathizer with fanaticism) and Hamlin. But their motto and our motto is —
"THE CONSTITUTION AND THE EQUALITY OF THE STATES: THESE ARE SYMBOLS OF EVERLASTING UNION. LET THESE BE THE RALLYING CRIES OF THE PEOPLE!"
In behalf of the National Democratic Executive Committee.
ISAAC I. STEVENS,