THE SERIAL, of which this is the initial number, will be continued, by monthly issues, till the Presidential Election. Its object is to present, in the most concise form practicable, the principles and aims of the Republican party, the issues involved in its contest with the Slave Power and its Democratic allies; the sentiments of the leading statesmen of the country, past and present, in reference to those issues, and such other matters of interest as may be evolved in the progress of the political struggle upon which we have entered. What Republican will desire, in the way of fact, argument, and opinion, for himself and for his neighbor, to inform the ignorant convince the prejudiced, and stimulate the lukewarm, will be given in this POCKET PISTOL series, in a form at once compact, neat, and at a price which will enable our Republican Clubs to put a copy of it into the hands of every voter who can read.
For that portion of the work which has proceeded from the pen of the editor, nothing is claimed beyond what may be due to honest convictions, honestly
ivexpressed. If his criticisms are just, and his arguments sound, the rhetoric may safely be left to take care of itself. But for the opinions of the Fathers of the Confederacy, and for those of the scarcely less eminent and equally patriotic statesmen of a later day, which he has here given, he asks the most earnest attention of all. Let not their familiarity obscure any one's perception of their real significance. They demonstrate, with absolute conclusiveness, the identity of the views entertained by the Republicans of to-day, on the overshadowing issue that neither the people nor the politicians can longer ignore, with those entertained and his compeers, and from their day down to the time of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, a large majority of our statesmen, South as well as North, whose names are to be known to history. Thus, too, they prove that the fact of sectionalism rests not with us, but with our opponents — the allies of the Slave power, and abettors of its most unconstitutional usurpations; while the Republican party is alike conservative in its principles, patriotic in its purposes, and national in its policy.
New-York, June 5, 1860.
The Republican Platform. Adopted at Chicago, May 17th, 1860.
The Republican Party a Necessity.
Resolved, That we, the delegated representatives of the Republican Electors of the United States, in Convention assembled, in the discharge of the duty we owe to our constituents and our country, unite in the following declarations:
First. That the history of the nation, during the last four years, has fully established the propriety and necessity of the organization and perpetuation of the Republican party, and that the causes which called it into existence are permanent in their nature, and now, more than ever before, demand its peaceful and constitutional triumph.
Its Foundation Principles.
Second. That the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence, and embodied in the Federal Constitution, is essential to the preservation of our republican institutions; that the Federal Constitution, the rights of the States and the Union of the States, must and shall be preserved; and that we reassert "these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by
6"their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
Is True to the Union.
Third. That to the Union of the States this nation owes its unprecedented increase in population ; its surprising development of material resources; its rapid augmentation of wealth; its happiness at home and its honor abroad; and we hold in abhorrence all schemes for disunion, come from whatever source they may; and we congratulate the country that no Republican member of Congress has uttered or countenanced a threat of disunion, so often made by Democratic members of Congress without rebuke, and with applause from their political associates; and we denounce those threats of disunion, in case of a popular overthrow of their ascendancy, as denying the vital principles of a free Government, and as an avowal of contemplated treason, which it is the imperative duty of am indignant people strongly to rebuke and forever silence.
Uphold State Sovereignty.
Fourth. That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions, according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on
7which the perfection and endurance of our political faith depends, and we denounce the lawless invasion, by armed force, of any State or Territory, no matter under what petext, as among the gravest of crimes.
Sectionalism of the Administration.
Fifth. That the present Democratic Administration has far exceeded our worst apprehensions in its measureless subserviency to the exactions of a sectional interest, as is specially evident in its desperate exertions to force the infamous Lecompton Constitution upon the protesting people of Kansas — in construing the personal relation between master and servant to involve an unqualified property in persons — in its attempted enforcement everywhere, on the land and sea, through the intervention of Congress and the Courts, of the extreme pretentions of a purely local interest, and in its general and unvarying abuse, of the power intrusted to it by a confiding people
Sixth. That the people justly view with alarm the reckless extravagance which pervades every department of the Government; that a return to rigid economy and accountability is indispensable to arrest the system of plunder of the public treasury by favored partisans; while the recent startling developments of fraud and corruption at the Federal metropolis, show that an entire change of administration is imperatively demanded.
A Political Heresy.
Seventh That the dogma that the Constitution, of its own force, carries slavery into any or all the Territories of the United States, is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit provisions of that instrument itself, with cotemporaneous exposition, and with legislative and judicial precedent, is revolutionary in its tendency subversive of the peace of the country.
Freedom the Normal Condition of the Territories.
Eighth. That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom; that as our republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that no person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a Territorial Legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any territory of the United States.
The African Slave-Trade.
Ninth. That we brand the recent reopening of the African slave-trade, under the cover of national flag, aided by perversions of judicial power, as a crime against humanity, a burning shame to our country and age, and we call upon Congress to take prompt and efficient measures for
9the total and final suppression of that execrable traffic.
Slavery vs. The People.
Tenth. That in their recent vetoes, by their Federal Governors, of the acts of the Legislatures of Kansas and Nebraska, prohibiting slavery in those territories, we find a practical illustration of the boasted Democratic principle of non-intervention and popular sovereignty, embodied in the Kansas and Nebraska bill, and a demonstration of the deception and fraud involved therein.
Admission of Kansas.
Eleventh. That Kansas should, of right, be immediately admitted as a State, under the constitution recently formed and adopted by her people, and accepted by the House of Representatives.
Development of Our Industrial Interests.
Twelfth. That while providing revenue for the support of the General Government by duties upon imposts, sound policy requires such an adjustment of these imposts as to encourage the development of the industrial interests of the whole country, and we commend that policy of national exchanges which secures to the workingmen liberal wages, to agriculture remunerating prices, to mechanics and manufacturers an adequate reward for their skill, labor, and enterprise, and to the nation commercial prosperity and independence.
Thirteenth. That we protest against any sale or alienation to others of the public lands held by actual settlers, and against any view of the free Homestead policy which regards the settlers as paupers or supplicants for public bounty, and we demand the passage by Congress of the complete and satisfactory Homestead measure which has already passed the House.
Rights of Citizenship.
Fourteenth. That the Republican party is opposed to any change in our Naturalization laws, or any State legislation by which the rights of citizenship hitherto accorded to immigrants from foreign lands shall be abridged or impaired; and in favor of giving a full and efficient protection to the rights of all classes of citizens, whether native or naturalized, both at home and abroad.
River and Harbor Improvements.
Fifteenth. That appropriations by Congress for River and Harbor Improvements, of a national character, required for the accommodation and security of an existing Commerce, are authorized by the Constitution and justified by an obligation of the Government to protect the lives and property of its citizens.
Sixteenth. That a railroad to the Pacific Ocean is imperatively demanded by the interests of the whole country; that the Federal Government ought to render immediate and efficient aid in its
11construction, and that as preliminary thereto a daily overland mail should be promptly established.
Seventeenth. Finally, having set forth our distinctive principles and views, we invite the co-operation of all citizens, however differing on other questions, who substantially agree with us in their affirmance and support.
Thus frankly and explicitly does the Republican party can party set forth its principles and its aims. The former, so far as they relate to the question of slavery, are in entire accordance with those held by Washington, Jefferson, and their compeers; the latter are alike national in scope and beneficent in their tendencies. To the sectionalism now controls the (so-called) Democratic party, and shapes all its activities, we oppose the principles and policy of the founders of our Confederacy, whose nationality of feeling can no more be questioned than their devotion to the interests of Republican Institutions. With them Liberty was the National Idea and the National Interest; Slavery an anomalous system, exceptional in its character, an accident rather than an institutuion, whose perturbations would necessarily soon cease through the operation
12of the polity they had established. Their purposes were right, though the fulfillment of their hopes is yet in the future. While we enjoy the fruition of their labors, let us honor their memory by completing the work which they so well begun.
The Freedom of the Territories.
The Republican party contends for no mere abstraction. It makes no professions of philanthropy, even, though it is not doubted that a conviction of the inhumanity of slavery has aided multitudes of its members to see its impolicy. The issues involved in our controversy with the slave power are of an eminently practical character. Our growth as a nation, our advance in power, in material prosperity, and aesthetic culture, the progress of civilization in the New, and of liberal principles throughout the Old World — all these are to be effected, favorably or adversely, by the result of this controversy ; for slavery impoverishes the soil ; slavery retards the progress of the arts; slavery is, of necessity, the enemy of common schools ; slavery puts upon honest labor the brand of degradation ; slavery demoralizes the master and imbrutes the slave ;
13slavery, in time of war, endangers the public safety, and, in time of peace, is fruitful in outbreaks of lawless violence and ruffian passions. The territories are an invaluable trust committed to the guardianship of the nation, for the benefit of millions of freeman, who will desire them for their future homes. Whatever is calculated to depreciate their value, to retard their development, to shut out from them the institutions of learning, and hinder the progress of the liberal arts, be condemned and opposed, as both impolitic and unjust. We have only to contrast the slave States with the free, to see how destructive of material prosperity as well as hostile to educational and moral progress, is this pet institution of the South.
The territories, we are told, are our common inheritance, and therefore the slave States have the same right of occupancy therein that the free States have. True, the same right. But it does not follow, that because our northern farmer may take thither his sheep and cattle, the southern planter may therefore take his slaves, and hold them there as property. As well may the polygamist of Utah claim toleration for this "peculiar institution," in all the national domain, as the slaveholder for his. Because, in the
14first place, slavery is outside of the natural Iimitations of property, just as polygamy is outside of the institution, of Christian marriage. Milton, who was a philosopher as well as poet, and none the less a champion of liberty, tersely expresses the limitation of property rights, in the following lines:
Above his brethren, to himself assuming
Authority usurp'd, from God not given:
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,
Dominion absolute; that right we hold
By his donation ; but man over men
He made not lord ; such title to himself
Reserving, human left from human free."
So far as slaves can be called property at all, they are so only by the local law or the local custom ; beyond the jurisdiction of such law, or the force of such custom, are men. The law of nature never confounds humanity with property. And, again, though joint ownership carries with it the right of joint occupancy, the simplest principle of justice forbid that one party should so use the property as to destroy or greatly depreciate its value, or practically exclude the other from all participation in its benefits. Because A. and B. are joint of a house, it does not follow that A. may convert his undivided half of it into a brothel, or a
15hospital for the insane, or a gambling hell, or an infirmary for small-pox or yellow fever patients Yet, neither the wickedness of the one use, nor the peril to life of the other, would more certainly exclude B. from his possession, than the establishment of in any given territory abridges and depreciates the rights and the property interests of freedom in such territory. The freeman has a property convertible into, and represented by, material values —
In the respectability of labor:
Slavery destroys this in its degradation of the laborer.
In free speech a free press:
Slavery permits the existence of neither within the limits of its jurisdiction.
In the of common school education:
The conditions essential to the life of slavery are fatal to the existence of common schools.
In a provident agriculture, which develops and makes the most of all the resources of the soil:
Slavery is a wasteful and improvident system, that exhausts the soil, until, to use the eloquent language of Mr. Faulkner, of Virginia, it becomes "barren, desolate, and seared, as it were by the avenging hand of heaven."
5. In the progress of the mechanic arts, by which labor is rendered more productive, and the of society is ameliorated :
To all of which slavery is, by the very law of its vicious existence, irreclaimably hostile.
We might extend this view of the case indefinitely, for the antagonism freedom and slavery must necessarily exhibit itself at every point of contact, socially, politically, pecuniarily, and morally. How fatuous, then, the pretence, that they can, in joint occupancy, possess the territories, and, like brothers in blood and faith, dwell together in unity.
The Voice of the Fathers.
"Though dead, they yet speak to us." No one can deny that those who laid the foundations of our nation in the broad principles of freedom, comprehended their own purpose, and understood the meaning of the ordinances constitutions which they framed. So, when we see Jefferson drafting an ordinance that forever excludes slavery from the national domain, and his compeers, in the last Congress under the confederacy, and the first under the constitution, giving to the principle their earnest support, and Washington,
17as President, approving it, as embodied in a law, we may safely conclude that they did not regard the policy of slavery-restriction as either sectional or unconstitutional; and we must be pardoned if we prefer their interpretation of our organic law to that given by Mr. Douglas and a pro-slavery Democracy. Their desire to restrict slavery grew naturally out of their views of the system itself. What these were, we may learn from their own declarations, which they have left on record. Let us look at them.
In a letter to John F. Mercer, dated September 9th, 1786, the illustrious Washington avowed it as among his first wishes, "to see some plan adopted by which slavery in this country may be abolished by law." In a letter written in April, of the same year, to Robert Morris, he said : "There is not a man living who wishes, more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it (slavery) ; but there is only one proper and effectual mode by which it can be accomplished, and that is by legislative authority ; and this, as far as my suffrage will go, shall never be wanting." These views, substantially, were repeated from time to time, up, almost,
18to the day of his death ; and the sincerity of his convictions were evidenced in his last will and testament, by which he emancipated all his slaves.
Democracy says, "We have Jefferson to our father" — but if it be indeed so, we have, in the principles which it advocates, the policy which it pursues, a melancholy illustration of the old adage, " The best of families will run out." It is seldom, we would venture to hope, that the third generation from an illustrious stock exhibits such evidence of degeneracy. Jefferson was a zealous advocate of the policy of slavery restriction, with his own hand drafted an ordinance for its exclusion from the northwest territory. That which was subsequently prepared by Mr. Dane, of Massachusetts, and under whose operation an empire was preserved to freedom substantially copied from Mr. Jefferson, and is commonly spoken of as "the Jefferson-Dane Ordinance." Why the author of the Declaration of Independence should labor so earnestly to prevent the extension of slavery, is obvious enough to those who have read his denunciations of the system itself. Says he, in his "Notes on Virginia :"
"There must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our people, produced by the existence of slavery among us. The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions — the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other.
The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose rein to the worst of passions, and, thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities. The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances. And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who, permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part and the amor patria of the other.
And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure, when we have removed their only firm basis — a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? that they are not to be violated but by his wrath ? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever; that considering numbers, nature, and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation is among possible
20events; that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest."
"This evil (slavery) has preyed upon the very vitals of the Union, and has been prejudicial to all the States in which it has existed."
Mason, of Virginia.
[He was, if we mistake not, the grandfather of the present Senator Mason, of evil fame, as the author of the infamous Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.] There is a striking similarity of sentiment and expression between his views and those of Jefferson. Says he:
"Slavery discourages arts and manufactures. The poor despise labor when performed by slaves. They prevent the emigration of whites, who really enrich and strengthen a country. They produce the most pernicious effect on manners. Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of Heaven on a country. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities."
Pinckney, of Maryland.
In a speech delivered before the Maryland House of Delegates, in 1789, the Hon. William Pinckney said:
"I have no hope that the stream of general liberty will forever flow unpolluted through the mire of partial bondage, or that they who have been habituated to lord it over others, will not, in time, become base enough to let others lord it over them."
There, after all, is the great danger. Two years before Pinckney thus spoke, the Hon. Luther Martin, of the same State (one of the profoundest thinkers and most accomplished jurists of his day), expressed his sense of this danger, in the following language:
"Slavery is inconsistent with the genius of republicanism, and has a tendency to destroy those principles on which it is supported, as it lessens the sense of the equal rights of mankind, and habituates us to tyranny and oppression."
And Jefferson, as we have already seen, gives forcible utterance to the same idea, in the question :
"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure, when we have removed their only firm basis — a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?"
This testimony of our earlier statesmen might be rendered much more voluminous, but scarcely more conclusive, did we include the sentiments of the Franklins, Warrens, Shermans, Adams', and others of the North, contemporaries with Washington and Jefferson. But against them the stale cry of "sectionalism" might be uttered — not justly indeed ; but what would its utterers care for that? So we have called to the witness-stand only the National men of the South. That they knew whereof they affirmed, and that they spoke in sorrowful conviction of what they affirmed, admits of neither doubt nor denial.
Is it, then, upon the whole, good statesmanship or decent morality, to extend to territory now free an institution which Washington and Jefferson, and Madison and Monroe, and almost every statesman of our revolutionary era, denounced and abhorred, as unjust in itself and perilous to the liberties of the country? So thought not
In a speech, in the United States Senate, in 1850, he declared that no earthly power should compel him to vote for the introduction of slavery where it had not before existed. And, again, he expressed his determination in the following emphatic language:
"So long as God allows the vital current to flow through my veins, I will never, NEVER, NEVER, by word or thought, by mind or will, aid in admitting one road of free ternary to the everlasting curse of human bondage."
Was Henry Clay a sectionalist? The great Southern statesman agreed in this with the still greater Northern statesman,
In 1848, he said:
"I have made up my mind, for one, that under no circumstances will I consent to the further extension of the area of slavery in the United States, or to the further increase of slave representation in the House of Representatives."
And, three years later, in the summer of 1851:
"I never would consent, and never have consented, that there should be one foot of slave territory beyond what the old thirteen States had at the formation of the Union. Never, NEVER."
Thomas H. Benton.
In his "Thirty Years in the United States Senate," he says:
"My opposition to the extension of slavery dates farther back than 1844 — forty years farther back — and as this is a suitable time for a
24general declaration, and a sort of general conscience delivery, I will say that my opposition to it dates from 1804, when I was a student at law in the State of Tennessee, and studied the subject of African slavery in an American book — a Virginian book — Tucker's edition of Black-stoned Commentaries,"
In a speech delivered in St. Louis, in 1856, Mr. Benton quoted the language of Clay (which we have already given), and added:
"It was a great and proud day for Mr. Clay, toward the latter days of his life, and if an artist could have been there to catch his expression as he uttered that sentiment, with its reflex on his face, and his countenance beaming with firmness of purpose, it would have been a glorious moment in which to transmit him to posterity — his countenance all alive and luminous with the ideas that beat in his bosom — that was a proud day. I could have wished that I had spoken the same words. I speak them now, telling you were his, and adopting them as my own."
Thomas Marshall, of Va.
Hon. Thomas Marshall, in a speech delivered in the Virginia Legislature, in 1832, objects to slavery,
"Because it is ruinous to the whites, retards improvements, roots out an industrious population, banishes the yeomanry of the country — deprives
25the spinner, the weaver, the smith, the shoemaker, the carpenter, of employment and support."
Judge Gaston, of N.C.
In a speech before the Literary Societies of the College of North Carolina, he thus spoke: "Disguise the truth as we may, and throw the blame where we will, it is slavery which, more than any other cause, keeps us back in the career of improvement. It stifles industry, and represses enterprise ; it is fatal to economy and providence ; it discourages skill ; impairs our strength as a community, and poisons morals at the fountain head."
Working Men, North and South.
Ponder these truths, and see how significantly they designate slavery as the great enemy of the industrial classes everywhere ; and resolve, as you would bequeath free homes and free institutions to your children, and your children's children, that no inch of the national domain, now free, shall ever be surrendered to the curse and blight of slavery.
Democracy — Then and Now..
Our nation began its life by a solemn affirmation that "all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which
26are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." That as, then, the great American idea. Not that it originated with our forefathers, for it is as old as the race, but because it was, by common consent, adopted as the foundation principle of our government. It was honored as such by all of our earlier statesmen. Jefferson regarded the conviction that our liberties are the gift of God, as the only firm basis of a nation's security. There was no "rhetorical flourish" about the man, but in all that he affirmed concerning human rights, he was in downright earnest. And he was right. The party which recognized him as its founder and leader, also accepted his faith, believingly and lovingly. That which now claims the title of democratic, repudiates that faith with hatred and derision. It should then, in simply honesty, repudiate the democratic name as well.
Now, the whole party is drifting slavery-ward, and into an insolent denial of human rights. It began by justifying the usurpations of the slave power, for a consideration; now its ablest champions justify slavery as right in itself . Thus Charles O'Conor declares, that "It is not only not unjust, it is just, wise, and beneficent." Then, it necessarily follows that the slave-trade, which
27our nation denounces as piracy, is also "just, wise, and beneficent." So, while the northern wing of the party justifies slavery, the Southern wing demands the re-opening of the foreign slave-trade. If the party succeeds in prolonging its tenure of power, the Southern wing will, as usual, compel the adoption of its policy to the still further impoverishment and debasement of the white laborer. His condition is already most pitiable wherever slavery prevails. Extend the institution, and you correspondingly extend the influences that depress and degrade labor everywhere.
The Poor Whites of the South.
Says Gov. Hammond, of S. C. :
"They obtain a precarious subsistence by occasional jobs, by hunting, by fishing, by plundering fields or folds, and too often, by what is in its effects far worse, trading with slaves, and inducing them to plunder for their benefit."
Says Mr. Wm. Geary of the same State:
"A man who is an observer of things, could hardly pass through our country without being struck with the fact, that all the capital, enterprise, and intelligence, is employed in directing slave labor; and the consequence is, that a large portion of our poor white people are wholly neglected, and are suffered to while away an existence
28in a state but one step in advance of the Indian of the forest. It is an evil of vast magnitude, and nothing but a change in public sentiment will effect its cure."
Says Mr. Farren, another Southern writer:
"In the more southern portion of this region, the non-slaveholders posses generally, but very small means; and the land which they possess is almost universally poor, and so sterile, that a scanty subsistence is all that can be derived from its cultivation ; and the more fertile soil being in the possession of the slaveholder, must forever remain out of the possession of those who have none." This is the kind of fruit that slavery bears for poor white laborers. Do they wish to gather it, for themselves and their children, more abundantly in the territories? If so, the way is easy.
Surrender this heritage of freedom, at the demand of the slave power, and you have cursed it for yourselves and your children forever.
The enslavement of the laborer — the subversion of free institutions, and the substitution of those of despotism — these are the doctrines that flow naturally from the ethics of slavery. So we
29find southern writers relinquishing their defence of slavery on the ground of the color of its victim or his descent from Ham, and placing it on the broader and more logical basis of condition. "The laborer," we are told, "should be the property of the capitalist." Mr. George Fitzhugh, in a recent work published in Richmond, Va., says; "But for Christianity, Free Society would be a wilderness of crime; and Christianity has not fair play and a proper field of action, where Government has failed to institute the peace-begetting and protecting influence of domestic slavery."
"Make the laboring man the slave of one man, instead of the slave of society, and he would be far better off." "Two hundred years of liberty have made white laborers a pauper banditti. Free society has failed, and that which is not free must be substituted."
"Say the Abolitionists, ‘Man ought not to have property in man.’ What a dreary, cold, bleak, inhospitable world this would be, with such doctrine carried into practice!"
"Slavery has been too universal not to be necessary to nature, and man struggles in vain against nature." "Free society is a failure. We slaveholders say, you must recur to Domestic Slavery, the oldest, the best, and the most common form socialism."
"Free society is a monstrous abortion, and slavery the healthy, beautiful, and natural being
30which they are trying, unconsciously, to adopt." "The slaves are governed far better than the free laborers at the North are governed. Our negroes are not only better off as to physical comfort than free laborers, but their moral condition is better."
"We do not adopt the theory that Ham was the ancestor to the negro race. The Jewish slaves were not negroes; and to find the justification of slavery to that race, would be to weaken its Scriptural authority, and to lose the whole weighs of profane authority — for we read of no negro slavery in ancient times." * * * * "Slavery, black or white, is right and necessary."
"Nature has made the weak, in mind or body, slaves." * * * "The wise and virtuous, the brave, the strong in mind and body, are born to command."
"Men are not born entitled to equal rights. It would be far nearer the truth to say, that ‘some were born with saddles on their backs, and others booted and spurred to ride them — and the riding does them good.’ ‘They need the reins, the bit and the spur.’ ‘Life and Liberty are not inalienable.’ The Declaration of Independence is exuberantly false, and aborescently fallacious."
Southern Democracy Endorses It.
The Richmond (Va.) Enquirer, the leading Democratic paper of the South, endorses this doctrine, which thus truculently assails
31Free Society, and would reduce the laboring man everywhere, whatever his color, to the condition of the slave, or to that of the beast, rather, ready saddled to be rode by the capitalist, booted and spurred, under the plea, by way of justification, that "the riding does them good." Says the Enquirer: "Until recently, the defence of slavery has labored under great difficulties, because its apologists — for they were merely apologists — took halfway ground. They confined the defence of slavery to mere negro slavery, thereby giving up the slavery principle, admitting other forms of slavery to be wrong; and yielding up the authority of the Bible, and of the history, practices, and experience of mankind. Human experience, showing the universal success of slave society, and the universal failure of free society, was unavailing to them, because they were precluded from employing it, by admitting slavery in the abstract to be wrong. The defence of mere negro slavery involved them in still greater difficulty. The laws of all the Southern States justified the holding ofWHITE MEN in slavery, provided that through the mother they were descended, however remotely, from a negro slave. The bright mulattoes, according to their theory, were wrongfully held in slavery."
"The line of defence, however, is changed now, and the North is completely cornered, and dumb as an oyster. The South now maintains that slavery is right, natural, and necessary. It shows that all
32divine, and almost all human authority justifies it. The South further charges, that the little experiment of free society in Western. Europe has been, from the beginning, a cruel failure, and that symptoms of failure are abundant in our North. While it is far more obvious that negroes be slaves than whites — for they are only fit to labor, not to direct — yet the principle of slavery is, in itself, right, and does not depend on DIFFERENCE or COMPLEXION."
John C. Calhoun.
This man, probably, did more than any other to extirpate Jeffersonian democracy from the Southern States, and to introduce in its stead a political philosophy worthy of the darkest period of the Dark Ages. He still called himself democratic — probably with something of that grim pleasantry which Satan might be expected to indulge in after his fall, in claiming for himself anangelic nature. Certainly his type of democracy (we mean Calhoun's, not Satan's, though, probably, the difference between the two is nothing to speak of) differs as widely from Jefferson's as absolutism does from republicanism. At first, his reactionary philosophy made but little progress at the South: he was denounced by men of all parties as false, not merely to the democratic principle, but to the Constitution itself; for, at
33that time, the spirit infused into the masses by the doctrines of the Revolution had not utterly died out under the blighting influence of slavery. But Calhoun was persistent and logical, and today his principles are accepted by a majority of the statesmen of the South. In regard to the relation that should exist between Capital and Labor, his whole theory was condensed in the following proposition: "The proper condition off the laboring class is slavery, and the capitalist ought always to own the laborer".
This is Calhoun democracy. There is little if any other type left, South or North.
The Hon. Benjamin Watkins Leigh, of Virginia, thus substantially disfranchises the laboring man. Says he: "There must be some peasantry, that is, men who tend the herds and dig the soil, who have neither real nor personal capital of their own, and who earn their daily bread by the sweat of the brow. I ask gentlemen to say whether those who depend upon their daily labor for subsistence, can or do ever enter into political affairs? They never do, never will, never can."
In the spirit President Drew, of William Mary College, Virginia, asks:
"How can he get wisdom that holdeth the plow, that glorieth in the goad, that driveth oxen, is occupied in labor, and whose talk is of bullocks? * * * Contrasting the condition ofwhite slaves (the laboring population) in New England with our slaves in the South, is like comparing Egyptian bondage, under Pharoah's taskmasters, with millenial glory.
In one of his annual messages to the Legislature of South Carolina, this distinguished apostle of the Calhoun democracy says: "No community ever existed without domestic servitude, and we may confidently assert that none ever will. In the very nature of things there must be persons to discharge all the different offices of society, from the highest to the lowest. Some of these offices are regarded as degrading, though, they must and will be performed. When these offices are performed by members of the political community, a dangerous element is obviously introduced into the body politic. * * * It will be fortunate for the non-slaveholding States if they are not, in less than a quarter of a century, driven to the adoption of a similar institution, or take refuge from robbery and anarchy under a military despotism. * * * In a word, the institution of domestic slavery, supercedes the necessity of an order of nobility." All of which means, that labor (not color) is the badge of servitude; that slaves, or a military
35despotism, can alone save us from anarchy, and that the elective franchise cannot be safely entrusted to the hands of the laboring population. This contemptuous estimate of the laborer is a natural result of slavery. Wherever the cause exists, the effect will be found — whether it be in South Carolina, or in Kansas; in Alabama or New Mexico. He is no friend of the laboring man, then, who will consent to the extension of this labor-degrading institution over territory now free. No matter under what specious pretence of comity, or by what cunning sophistry of argument it is urged — it is simply a proposition to abridge the liberties and degrade the manhood of the laborer, and load him down with social and political disabilities, in all the territories of the Union; thus robbing the people of the free States, the immigrant from foreign lands, and their children, to the latest generation, of that glorious heritage of freedom bequeathed to us by our fathers. For this robbery there is no justification; for this contempt of the laboring man, but one excuse — and that is found in the fact that so many of our working population, both native and immigrant, consent, through their political association with the Calhoun democracy, to this
36robbing of themselves, and degradation of their class. For the immigrant, indeed, there is this apology — he is deluded by the word democray, which in his mind stands for something widely different from fraternity with slavery aggression, which honored name. The idea which the word democracy represents to his mind (if he be, indeed, a true lover of freedom) is found actualized in the creed of the Republican party; while the most odious of despotic principles, and the most abhorrent of despotic practices, are taught and wrought by that great pro-slavery, party which is democratic only in name. Let this delusion be dissipated, and the thousands who fly from the oppressions of the Old World to enjoy the liberties of the New, will take appropriate position in the ranks of the Republican organization, while every native-born citizen who covets for our land the glory that only free institutions can give it, and who has the intelligence to see how incompatible with these is the policy which would nationalize slavery, will be found shoulder to shoulder with them, in the struggle to bring back our government to the inaugurated by its fathers.
THE REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN
EDITED BY WILLIAM H. BURLEIGH, Esq.
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Democracy — True and False.
NAMES should represent things. If they do not, they are deceptive, and become "a delusion and a snare." To designate opposites by one and the same word, would be to confound distinctions, and confuse and perplex ordinary minds. If a scrupulous regard for the rights of others may be called justice, to apply that term to a reckless disregard of those rights, would be an abuse, not of language merely, but of the intellectual and moral perceptions of all to whom such perversion of language was addressed. If persisted in, its effect would be gradually to blunt these perceptions, and produce such ethical confusions as would necessarily lead to vicious results. So in everything. A government by the people, and for the people, is a very different affair from a government by a select few, primarily
40for their own advantage, and only secondarily, if at all, for the good of the people. The one is a democracy, the other an oligarchy. You may perversely designate the latter, by the name which appropriately belongs to the former, but you do not thus change its nature. Credulous people may, indeed, be thus misled, to their own and to their country's hurt, but even this cannot last always. The time must come when the most obtuse will no longer be cheated by a word, which the old significance has gone, and a new and opposite one been foisted upon it at the demand of tyranny.
The Instrument of the Slave Power.
The Slave Power is an oligarchy — the so-called Democratic party is the instrument whereby it rules the nation. Whatever that power demands, the party stands ready to bestow — whether it be new territories, new laws, or new constitutions, All of it already given, not excepting the last ; for the dicta of the Supreme Court, in what is known as the Dred Scott decision, interpolates into the Constitution doctrines so radically diverse from all previously interpretations of that instrument, as to make it essentially a new Constitution. If that interpretation is to be accepted as binding upon the American people, we are no longer living under
41the Constitution which our fathers gave us, "to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity," but under one which surrenders every foot of our territory to slavery, and imposes upon our free population all those disabilities inseparable from that institution — such as a restriction of free speech, a denial of the liberty of the press, the curtailment of educational opportunities, and the of the social status of the laborer through the degradation of labor. But our so-called democracy accepts this interpretation, and demands that the whole American nation abide by it. In so it ceases to be a and becomes simply the facile instrument of a slaveholding oligarchy. "The greatest good of the greatest number," is no longer its "the aggrandizement of me few, at the expense of the many." It is not our purpose, here, to prove that such interpretation is forced, unnatural, and false — that it contradicts history, and ignores the declarations and the acts of the framers of the Constitution — as it is, and does — but simply to show its antagonism to the democratic principle, and its practical denial of the political philosophy taught by Jefferson, the father and founder of the old time Democratic party.
The true Democratic Idea.
It is this; Man's incidents are superior to his accidents; or, in other words, upon what he is, in himself, and not upon his ancestry, his position, his wealth, or other surroundings, his rights depend. They are inseparable from the man, and so "self-evident." From this, the political axiom that "government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed," necessarily results ; and so, also, that these powers are to be used for the good of the governed, who can be rightfully ruled only by a delegated authority. True Democracy, then, recognizes the man first of all, as the object of its regard; and next, the inherent dignity of labor, without which there can be no progress, no civilization. Whatever, therefore, depresses labor, or detracts from its dignity, or makes it the badge of servilism, strikes a blow at civilization itself, and retards the progress of our race, in all that contributes to its highest development. Slavery does this. The moment that you attach to the idea of labor the condition of servilism, labor and servilism are convertible terms. It is impossible, within the sweep of this estimate, that either labor or the laborer should be respected; and, as a general who see themselves disesteemed by
43society, soon catch the trick of it, and learn to disesteem themselves; and the loss of self-respect too frequently heralds the loss of all true manliness and integrity.
The Anti-Democratic Democracy.
The so-called Democratic party shows itself anti-democratic in this: that it assents to the monstrous proposition that Slavery has the right of joint occupancy with Freedom of every foot of our national territory; but as such joint occupancy is clearly impossible, the proposition gives to Slavery the whole.
It shows itself anti-democratic in this: that it consents to subject the free laborer, whether native-born or immigrant, to the competition of slave in all our territories.
It shows itself anti-democratic in this: that it denies to the free population of any territory the right of excluding slavery from its limits, thus placing a non-slaveholding majority at the mercy of a slaveholding minority, and rendering the people powerless to save their soil, their institutions, and the future of their State from the blight of an institution every land where it is known.
Both Factions for Slavery.
This denial, too, comes from both sections of the bicephalous democracy. One portion says : "The Constitution, by its own inherent force, takes slavery into all the National domain ; and Congress is bound to intervene for its protection there, if such intervention shall be demanded." The other, while clamoring for territorial or squatter sovereignty, and insisting upon non-intervention by Congress, distinctly admits the binding authority of the decision of the Supreme Court, which has already, so far as its dicta can do so, broken down all barriers to slavery, and given up to its desolation the vast territories which our fathers consecrated to freedom. Practically, so far as this question of slavery in the territories is concerned, the difference between the Breckinridge wing and the Douglas wing of the divided democracy, is just the difference between tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee; both declaring, substantially, the same conclusion ; the one reaching it at a single bound, the other by successive steps. Both are wrong — both, too, are anti-democratic; but the bolder statement of the claims of the slave power, commands the greater measure of our respect, for its very audacity relieves it from the suspicion of hypocrisy.
Hostility to the laboring masses.
But not in its pro-slavery policy only, which would degrade the free laborers of the country, by subjecting them to the competition of slaves, and through the association of labor with servilism, does the so-called democracy exhibit its anti-democratic principles and tendencies. In a still more direct manner, if possible, does it take sides against the laboring masses of the country, whenever their interests are found in conflict with the real or supposed interests of slavery. The course of the party in reference to the Homestead Bill furnished a striking illustration of its subserviency to the slave power. The operation of this bill, had it been suffered to become a law, would have been to apportion our unappropriated lands, in small quantities, among a multitude of hardy pioneers, thus inviting an industrious and energetic population into our unsettled territories. That this population would have been mainly, if not exclusively, non-slave-holders, there can be little doubt; and in this fact lies the secret of the slave power's opposition to the measure. Small farms and slavery are not quite compatible: the former are suited to the wants of our free laboring population ; the latter demands large plantations, over which to extend the wasteful culture incident to uncompensated
46toil. So the slave power steadily opposes the policy of "land for the landless," under the conviction, doubtless, that it does not comport with its own, of "niggers for the niggerless." But there is no reason why our Free State democrats should do this, except that which is found in long allegiance to the South, and their confirmed habit of implicit obedience to all the requirements of slavery. So as our national legislation is controlled by this interest, it is in vain to hope that a project so beneficent in itself, and so adapted to the promotion of free labor and the creation of free States, will be suffered to reach its consummation. If it receives the sanction of a Republican House, a Democratic Senate will either -Tote it down, or so modify and emasculate it by "amendments," as to render it comparatively, if not absolutely, valueless; or, if the Senate gives a reluctant assent, it is doubtless, with the full knowledge that a pro-slavery Executive will interpose his negative for its destruction. "The slaveholding interest," remarks a shrewd observer and an able writer," understands that it cannot well exist where small freeholds prevail and hence it opposes, with all its great power, all pre-emptive and homestead laws, knowing if our new states and Territories are to be occupied in
47quarter sections, they will be occupied by working farmers, and not by speculators and great planters."
Slavery vs. Free Homesteads.
The Public Lands belonging to the United States and under the control of Congress, amount to not less than one thousand millions of acres. Said the Hon. G. A. Grow, in the House of Representatives, February 29th, 1860:
"What disposition shall be made of inheritance is a question of no small magnitude. Three times, within seven years, a Homestead Bill has passed this House, and been defeated each time by the Democratic majority in the Senate. On the vote on the Homestead Bill in the House last Congress, out of 130 Democrats, but 31 voted for it; and in the Senate, on the test vote between taking up the Homestead Bill, after it had passed the House, and only required the vote of the Senate to make it a law, so far as Congress was concerned, or to take up the bill for the purchase of Cuba, but one Democrat voted for the Homestead, and only six at any time, while every Republican in the Senate, and every one in the House, with a single exception, was for the Homestead. Of all the representatives of the slave States, but three in the House voted for it, and but two at any time in the Senate. So the Democratic party, as a party, arrayed itself in opposition to this beneficent policy. The Republican party, on the other
48hand; is committed to this measure by the votes in Congress, by its resolves in State Conventions, and by its devotion to the great central idea of its existence — the rights and interests of Free Labor."
Do not these facts clearly indicate which party, the Republican or the Democratic, is the friend of the laboring man, and devoted to "the greatest good of the greatest number?" If it is democraticto legislate for slaveholders and monopolists against the interests of the millions who earn their bread in the sweat of their brows, then the party claiming that political appellation is entitled to it. But if, on the other hand, a true appreciation of these interests, and an earnest advocacy of measures which would best promote them, constitute the only valid title to that once honored we must concede it to the Republican organization.
The Struggle in Congress.
A brief history of the struggle in Congress in behalf of the policy of "land for the landless," will show how willing the so-called Democratic party has been to sacrifice the interests of the poor white laborer, North and South, at the demand of the slave power. We glean the facts from a very able article in the "Tribune Almanac
49of 1860," and commend them to the earnest attention of laboring men everywhere.
The question at issue, as there stated, is this: "Shall the public domain be open to monopoly by speculators, leading inevitably to a landed aristocracy ? or shall it be reserved for actual occupants, in small qnantities, at a nominal price, or without price ?"
On the 20th of January, 1859, a bill relating to pre-emptions reported from the committee on Public Lands, was before the House, when Mr. Grow, of Pennsylvania, moved to amend it by adding the following, as an additional section:
"‘Be it further enacted, That form and after the passage of this act, no public land shall be exposed to sale by proclamation of the President, unless the same shall have been surveyed, and the return of said survey duly filed in the Land Office, for ten years or more before such sale.’
"The force and effect of this amendment would be to give the pre-emptors ten years the start of the speculators and land monopolists. That is to say: with the addition of Growls amendment to the existing laws and regulations touching the public lands, they would be, open to pre-emption ten years before they could come within the grasp of the speculator, thus giving the poor, industrious settler ample time to ‘clear up’ his farm, and for it from the proceeds
50of the soil. This was just what the South and the Democracy did not want, as the sequel will show.
"The slaveholding aristocracy, who are bold enough when it is necessary to be bold, but who are crafty as well as bold, forthwith resorted to parliamentary tactics to avoid a direct issue upon Mr. Grow's proposition.
"The first movement was a motion to refer the bill and amendment to the Committee of the Whole, familiarly and aptly styled ‘the tomb of the Capulets’ If that reference had been carried, the bill would never have been reached, and would never have been heard of afterward."
It failed, however — ayes 90, nays 92. The House was thus brought to a direct vote upon Mr. Grow's amendment, which was carried — " yeas, 98; nays, 81. Every Republican voted in the affirmative, as did also ten Northern Democrats; of the votes from the slave States, all but nine were in the negative, and only one of that number (Mr. Blair, of Missouri, a Republican), as shown by a subsequent vote, was really in favor of it.
Mr. Grow's amendment having been thus incorporated into the bill, the next question was upon its passage. It was lost — yeas, 91 ; nays, 95. Mr. Blair's was the only vote given in the affirmative from the slave States, and but eight
51Northern Democrats sustained the bill — the majority voting with the slave power against the interests of their own constituents.
The effect of Mr. Grow's amendment would have been to secure the great bulk of the lands to pre-emptors, and give them such ample time for payment as would save them from the extortions of usurers, to which they are now often compelled to submit. Well might Mr. Cavanaugh (one of the Democratic representatives from Wisconsin, who voted with the minority) say, in view of the defeat of this measure:
"It was to the Republican side of the House to whom we were compelled to look for support of this just and honorable measure. Gentlemen from the South, gentlemen who have broad acres and wide plantations, aided here to-day, by their votes, more to make Republican States in the North, than by any vote which has been cast within the last two years. These gentlemen come here and ask us to support the South; yet they, to a man almost, vote against the free, independent labor of the North and West."
Well, too, might Mr. Cavanaugh's faith in such Democracy be shaken. Notwithstanding he was a "birthright member" of the party, and held his political faith by inheritance, had been attached to its organizations from boyhood, and
52had religiously cherished its doctrines, he confessed that when he saw Southern gentlemen (and, he might have added, the great majority of Northern Democrats also) come up and refuse, by their votes, to aid his constituents, refuse to place the actual tiller of the soil, the industrious laborer, beyond the grasp and avarice of the speculator, he faltered, he hesitated. So, too, do thousands of honest Democrats "falter and hesitate," when they see the cumulative evidence, which every hour furnishes, that their party is democratic only in name, while in purpose and in act it is devoted to the interest, which is implacably hostile to free labor and to all the great interests of the working-men of the North and West.
Republicans True to these Interests.
On the 1st of February the bill to secure homesteads to actual settlers was called up, and the previous question having been ordered, the House was put to a direct vote upon the bill, without debate. A motion to lay it on the table was lost — yeas, 77, nays, 113. The bill was then passed — yeas, 120; nays, 76. But three Southern members voted in the affirmative, "thereby marking unmistakably the sectional character of the opposition to it."
"The Republican vote, with a solitary exception, was given solid for the bill. Of the Northern members, connected with the Democratic party, twenty-nine voted for the bill, and six voted against it Thus, of the entire Democratic vote in the House, a large majority was against the bill, but even this is less important than the other fact, that the Southern wing of the party was almost unanimously against it, it being this Southern wing which controls in the party councils, and which, when out-voted in the House, has other departments of the government, the Senate and the President, with which it is more powerful, and by means of which it has, so far, rarely failed to defeat measures, however popular and beneficial, which it dislikes."
In the Senate, where "the Democratic majority was larger, and in which the representation of the slaveholding States is proportionally greater," the bill was not permitted to reach a direct vote, though the earnest efforts of its friends were directed to that result.. On the 17th of February, Mr. Wade, of Ohio, moved to postpone all prior orders, and take up the Homestead Bill, which had passed the House. "I do not propose," he, "to discuss it for a single moment, and I hope none of its friends will
54debate it, because it has been pending before Congress for several years, and I presume every is perfectly well acquainted with all its provisions, and has made up his mind as to the course he will pursue in regard to it. I have no hope that anything I could say would win an opponent of the bill to its support; and I hope every friend of the measure will take no time in debate, but will try to get a vote upon it, for I think it is the great measure of the session. All I want, all I ask, is to have a vote upon it."
Mr. Wade's motion prevailed — yeas, 26; nays, 23; the Republicans voting unanimously in the affirmative, and every Southern Senator, with one exception, in the negative. Seven Northern Democrats, all representing new States, also voted for it.
Defeated by the Slave-Democracy.
But, though the Senate had decided to it up, the Southern managers were resolved it should not come to a direct vote, and so filibustered against at, till the hour of twelve o'clock arrived, when the Vice-President decided that the Cuba bill, having been assigned for hour, was the subject pending before the Senate. Mr. Wade moved to postpone the twelve o'clock order, and continue the consideration of the
55bill. The motion prevailed — yeas 27, 26; but the Vice-President stated that the question was still on Mr. Hunter's filibustering motion to set it aside, and take up the consular and diplomatic appropriation bill. After brief by Messrs. Seward and Wade, exhorting the friends of the bill to stand firm, the vote was taken on Mr. Hunter's motion — then a tie vote — when the Vice-President voted in the affirmative, and the Homestead bill was crowded aside for that day. Of the twenty-eight votes in favor of sustaining the bill, only three were from the South.
On the 19th of February, Mr. Wade made another effort to take up the Homestead bill, but his motion was voted down — yeas 24, nays 31. Several subsequent efforts to take it up, encountered the opposition and failed.
Said Mr. Seward:
"After nine hours yielding to the discussion of the Cuba question, it is time to come back to the great question of the day and the age. The Senate may as well meet face to face the issue which is before them. It is an issue presented by the competition between these two questions. One, the Homestead bill, is a question of homes, of lands for the landless freemen of the United States. The Cuba bill is a question of slaves for the slaveholders of the United States."
Said Mr. Wade:
"I am very glad that this question has at length come up. I am glad, too, that it has antagonized with this nigger question. [Laughter.] I have been trying here for nearly a month to get a straightforward vote upon this great measure of land for the landless. I glory in that measure. It is the greatest that has ever come before the American Senate, and it has now come so that there is no dodging it. The question will be, shall we give niggers to the niggerless, or lands to the landless?"
On Mr. Doolittle's motion to set aside the Cuba bill ("niggers to the niggerless") to take up the Homestead bill ("lands to the landless") the vote was — yeas 19, nays 29. So this beneficent measure, which Mr. Wade justly characterized as "the greatest that has ever come before the American Senate," was defeated for the session, by a Democratic majority in the Senate.
The Struggle Renewed.
Since then, another session of has been held — another determined effort has made for Free Homesteads — and another has been the result. The history of this struggle is too recent, to require recapitulation here. Briefly, it may be proper to say that the House, by a large majority, passed a Homestead bill,
57admirably adapted to the necessities of pre-emptors, and whose practical operation could not fail to add largely to the wealth of the nation, the prosperity of the settlers upon our Public Domain, and the rapid conversion of our Territories into thriving and well-conditioned States. The Senate, however, not only did not concur in this beneficent legislation, but passed another bill, radically different from that adopted by the House, oppressive and partial in its operation, and burdened with conditions so repugnant to justice as to render its rejection by the House a matter of paramount duty. This was done, and the House adhered to its own bill. Committees of conference were appointed, finally, when it became evident that the friends of Free Homesteads must accept the "half loaf," and somewhat adulterated at that, or submit to the alternative of "no bread," a compromise was reluctantly assented to, and a bill, modified in accordance therewith, was passed by both branches of Congress. The principal points of difference between the bill and of the Senate, and the leading provisions of that which finally passed, are succinctly set forth in the remarks of the Hon. Mr. Colfax, of the House of Representatives on the report of the Committee of Conference. Said he:
"I am instructed by the Committee of Conference on the disagreeing votes of the two Houses on the Homestead bill, to report that, after twelve meetings of the different conferences that have been appointed, they this morning finally agreed. I hold in my hand the report of the committee, which can be read if any gentleman desires it. But perhaps it would render the report clearer and more intelligible if I should briefly state its leading features. The Senate bill all the members of the House are familiar with. The conferees upon the part of the House finding, after the most earnest efforts, that it would be utterly impossible for them to induce the Senate to agree to the House bill, have been discussing what changes could be made in the Senate bill, so as to render it acceptable enough for the House to accept, rather than the whole should fail. They have finally agreed upon a report, as follows; In the first place, I will pay that the bill, as it passed the Senate, provided now upon the public two years before they should be required to purchase their lands, but should then pay for them at the rate of $1.25 per acre, thus removing them entirely from within the purview of the benefits which would apply to the hereafter upon the public lands. This point the House conferees refused to accede to, and if persisted in, we should have again reported a disagreement. Finally, however, a compromise was arranged on this point, and to protect the pre-emptors now on the government
59land, which was to be advertised this fall for sale, we changed the Senate bill so as to protect them for at least two years from land to allow them then to secure their homes at one half the government price, namely, sixty-two and a half cents per acre. I need scarcely add, that if the Senate could have been induced to give them the benefit of their twenty-five cent per provision, we should have insisted on it inflexibly; but what I have stated is the very lowest point that could be obtained. The second change we have made in the Senate bill is in relation to the scope of land coming under the operation of the law. The House bill embraced all the government land, offered or unoffered, except such as was specially reserved. The Senate bill confined its provisions to land subject to private entry, exclusively. As I have explained on a former occasion, the expression "subject to private entry" means such as are left after the lands have been once regularly brought into market, exposed to public sale, and the speculators have taken such as they see fit to purchase. The difference between these two bills seemed so radical as to be incapable of adjustment, and the scope of farming land covered by the Senate bill was so limited, there being but little, if any, in Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, California, Oregon, and Washington, that the House conferees declined to accept it. But on this, too, we finally effected a compromise. By our report, all the land subject to private entry is included, and, in addition, all the odd-numbered
60sections of the surveyed public lands, which have not been opened to public sale — a most material and beneficent enlargement of the Senate bill. We were offered, after this agreement, whichever of the unoffered lands we chose, and we took the odd-numbered sections. The reason for this was, that the sixteenth section of a township being reserved for school by our land laws, the four adjoining sections to it, on the north, west, east, and south, are 9, 15, 17 and 21, all odd-numbered sections, which are thus for homestead settlers, who have reserved for them eighteen out of the thirty-five disposable sections in each township of six miles square.
"On all these lands, actual settlers, who are heads of families, are allowed, after having occupied the top five years, to purchase at twenty-five per acre, which is about the average cost price of the public lands to the government. We struggled, of course, to include all young men twenty-one are heads of families, and to adopt the free homestead principle of the House bill; but on these points the Senate was inflexible, and we took what we did because it was the very best we could get. The bill originally provided that the homestead settler might acquire title to his land at any time by paying fall government prices; but desiring to promote actual settlement, we provide that be cannot do this until he has been on the land six months. When he stays, or his family, if he deceases, the
61full five years, he obtains it at twenty-five cents per acre. The Senate have also agreed to out the eighth section or their bill, which makes it imperative upon the President to expose all public lands to sale within two years after they shall have been surveyed, which we held would be peculiarly oppressive upon the pioneers who had gone to the frontier to settle upon the public lands, and to which we could never have consented. Now, Mr. Speaker, I desire to state, in conclusion, that the compromise we have made upon this subject is not in accordance with what I should desire to have passed, if I had the power to frame the bill myself; but it is the very utmost we could obtain from the Senate, as now constitute. The Senators who served with us on the conference have notified by me, and also by my colleague (Mr. Windon, of Minnesota), that we regard this as but a single step in advance toward a law which we shall demand from the American Congress, enacting a comprehensive and liberal homestead policy. This we have agreed to as merely an avant courrier. We shall demand it at the next session of Congress and until it is granted; until all the public lands shall be open to all the people of the United States; and I state this publicly, that no one shall regard us as estopped hereafter, because we accepted this half-way measure rather than to allow the whole thing to fail. I should have added that all persons, whether citizens or those who have only declared their intentions, are allowed to go on the lands under this bill, but are required to
62perfect their naturalization before the five years expire, and the patent issues. I now demand the previous question on concurring on the report of the Committee, and passing the bill as thus amended."
Mr. FARNSWORTH: "I desire to ask the gentleman from Indiana whether this bill confines its benefits to those who are heads of families?"
Mr. COLFAX: "It does, because we failed, despite our utmost efforts, in procuring its extension to all; but we shall appeal to the young men to demand of those who make and who cute the laws, that the system inaugurated by this bill, shall be widened so as to admit them to its benefits, and I will join them in this demand."
Mr. GROW: "I just desire to say that we have taken this bill, not because it is what we want, but on the principle that ‘half a loaf is better than no bread,’"
Notwithstanding this bill had been shorn of its more liberal features, and was justly by the friends of the Homestead principle "as but a single step in advance toward" its adoption, it yet encountered, in the House, the almost unbroken hostility of the Southern members, and obtained only ten votes from the regular Northern Democracy — the affirmative vote, on its adoption, being politically divided as follows:
Republicans, 97; Northern Democrats, 10; Anti-Lecompton Democrats, 5 ; Southern Democrats,
633; American, 1. In announcing its passage, the New York Tribune remarked:
"The House of Representatives has finally consented to take a half loaf rather than no bread with regard to Free Homesteads. It was thought best to submit to flagrant wrong rather than subject the pioneers of Minnesota and Kansas to the calamity of being divested of the homes which are their all, yet which they are utterly unable to buy of the government in the present dearth of money, coupled with low prices for their products in those frontier regions."
But even this "half loaf" has been snatched from the hands of "the pioneers of Minnesota and Kansas," and they are still left exposed "to the calamity of being divested of the homes which are their all." President Buchanan vetoed the bill — not unexpectedly, we presume, to some of the Northern Democrats who voted for it, constrained by the demands of their constituencies, but who were quite willing that it should be defeated at last by the negative of the Executive.
The history of the struggle is an instructive one. It shows the "irrepressible conflict" between the rights and interests of free labor and the pretensions and claims of the slave power. It shows, too, that in this conflict the Democratic party (so-called) has steadily taken sides with the
64slaveholding interest against the rights and interests of free labor, while the Republican party has as uniformly maintained those interests against the arrogant pretensions, and insolent demands of the slave power.
In the review of the subject, it is evident —
1st. That the claims of the slave power and the rights and interests of free labor, are irreconcilable;
2d. That the former represents a purely sectional interest, while, the latter is broadly national;
3d. That the success of the homestead principle cannot be reasonably hoped for until we have a republican majority in both branches of Congress, and a Republican Executive.
To this end, let all who really desire the triumph of a reform so wide-sweeping and beneficent, direct their energies, ignoring all former party associations, if need be, and remembering that the test of democratic principles is in deeds, not words — that no party that forgets or neglects the interests of the toiling millions, can be democratic in fact, whatever it may be in name, and that while the most pernicious policy for a nation is the one which degrades labor, its wisest and most fruitful in happy results is that which honors labor, vindicates its rights, guards its
65interests, and places within its grasp the means of rendering its mission a beneficent one to the state and its rewards to the laborer himself, at once abundant and secure.
THE PRINCIPLE AND ITS REPRESENTATIVE.
We have seen that LABOR is essential to all progress — that in proportion as it is free, its rights secured, its interests guarded, its essential dignity maintained, is its productive capacity increased, and it becomes an element of strength, of progress and of glory to a nation. Free labor, then, is our great national instrumentality for achieving a great destiny. The vindication of its rights and the guardianship of its interests, is our highest political duty. Let us discharge it with all faithfulness.
The right principle should be represented by the right man. There would be something incongruous in the association of the name of the tyrant of Naples with political reforms, or of that of some disciple of Voltaire with schemes of Christian evangelism. But when the child of democratic institutions becomes the champion of a true democracy — when the nursling of the
66church consecrates his matured power to her defence — it all seems congruous, natural, in harmony with eternal laws.
So, too, the rights of labor seem fittingly represented by ABRAHAM LINCOLN, whose inheritance of poverty taught him self-reliance; whose early with him sympathy with the laboring poor; whose integrity, coupled with a will that parleys with no doubt, has won for him the respect and confidence of all who know him; and whose energy and industry, in every labor which has been committed to his hands, have achieved for him a competence and an enviable position among his fellow-men. He is a living illustration of our free institutions — of the energy which they develop — the stimulus which they impart — the rewards which bestow. Self-reliant, sagacious, energetic, honest in the best sense of the word, and educated by that great teacher, Necessity, which has trained his mind to practical uses, and given it a directness, a comprehensiveness, and a vigor of action, that the mere scholar never attains, be exemplifies the relation existing between our disabilities and our possibilities — in other words, he shows us, in his career, that neither an humble station, nor poverty that imposes the necessity of constant toil
67and denies all but the slenderest opportunities of intellectual culture, nor difficulties nor disappointments incident to a life so hedged with hardship, need exclude a true man from knowledge, fame, influence, high position. "Thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things," is the voice of the Eternal Justice that speaks to us in tones of both warning and encouragement, in all our struggles with adverse circumstances.
The Man for the Occasion.
What kind of a man Mr. Lincoln is, we might readily infer from his history, opportunities have been few — but he has wrung from them the largest results that they were capable of yielding. He has attempted no task which he has not diligently performed, assumed no trust which he has not faithfully fulfilled. He has proved himself equal to every position in which be has been placed, and given evidence of an executive ability that justifies the confidence of the people that he will worthily discharge the weighty responsibilities which they are about to lay upon him. To the questions, "Is he honest? Is he capable?" we respond "Yes!"
Let us, however, hear what those who have known him long and well, can say of him. The
68Hon. Schuyler Colfax, in a recent letter to his speaks of him:
"However men may differ as to political principles, no one in this broad land, from, the most gifted Senator to the bitterest partisan, has ever whispered the slightest doubt of the unbending integrity and inflexible honesty of Abraham Lincoln. . . . Reared amid all the disadvantages of orphanage and poverty, without the benefit of classical or collegiate education, and wish only such attainments as could be acquired during the stern toils of frontier life, our gallant standard-bearer has so cultivated, in maturer years, his native intellect, that he stands before the American people now, a giant in intellect as he is in stature, and one of the best and truest representatives of the self-made men of the Republic. Nor is this all. His election will prove that, under our institutions, the Presidency is not more accessible to the child of wealth, of culture and of distinction, than to the poor farm boy of the Western prairies — -and that here, if nowhere else in the wide world, is merit the true test of distinction and fame. Elected, as he undoubtedly will be, flunkeyism and aristocracy will be banished from the White-House, I trust not only for his term, but forever thereafter; and the People's President, himself both the child and the champion of free labor, will welcome there with the hearty greetings of an honest heart the humble pioneer of the distant West as cordially as if he stood before him glittering with the stars and jewels that adorn the most
69talented and distinguished diplomats from abroad."
The Hon. George Ashmun, of Massachusetts, in a recent speech, said:
"I know Abraham Lincoln well. I sat with him in Congress, and a truer or more loyal man never held a seat in the House of Representatives. You may say he is not the handsomest man in the world, but we did not nominate him for ball-room purposes. We wanted a man of loyal heart, and we found him in Abraham Lincoln."
So speaks the West — and so responds the East. The People will take up the cry, when they go to the ballot-box in November next, and say, "We want a man of loyal heart, and we find him in Abraham Lincoln."
In the meantime, he shall speak for himself, that our readers may see, in his utterance, what manner of man stands before them as the representative of the principle of freedom.
The Republicans of Boston celebrated Thomas Jefferson's birthday, on the 13th of April, 1858. Among invited to be present was the Hon. Abraham Lincoln, who responded in the following letter, which, we hesitate not to say, would reflect honor on any, even the most gifted, of the statesmen of the land. It has been well said of
70it, "It is a platform in itself, worthy of the endorsement of all who believe in the fundamental doctrines of free government."
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., April 6, 1858.
GENTLEMEN: — Your kind note, inviting me to attend a festival in Boston, on the 13th inst., in honor of the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, was duly received. My engagements are such that I cannot attend. Bearing in mind that about seventy years ago two great political parties were first formed in this country; that Thomas Jefferson was at the head of one of them, and Boston the headquarters of the other, it is both curious and interesting that those supposed to descend politically from the party opposed to Jefferson, should now be celebrating his birthday in their own original seat of empire, while those claiming political descent from him, have nearly ceased to breathe his name everywhere.
Remembering, too, that the Jefferson party was formed upon its supposed superior devotion to the personal rights of men, holding the rights of property to be secondary only, and greatly inferior: and then assuming that the so-called Democracy of to-day are the Jefferson, and their opponents the anti-Jefferson party, it will be equally interesting to note how completely the two have changed ground as to the principle upon which they were originally supposed to be divided.
The Democracy of to-day hold the liberty of
71one man to be absolutely nothing, when in conflict with another man's right of property. Republicans, on the contrary, are for both the man and the dollar, but in case of conflict the man before the dollar.
I remember being once much amused at seeing two partially intoxicated men engaged in a fight with great coats on, which fight, after a long and rather harmless contest, ended in each having fought himself out of his own coat and into that of the other. If the two leading parties of this day are really identical with the two in the days of Jefferson and Adams, they have performed the same feat as the two drunken men. But soberly, it is now no child's play to save the principles of Jefferson from total overthrow in this nation.
One would state with great confidence that he could convince any sane child that the simpler propositions of Euclid are true; but nevertheless, he would fail, with one who should deny the definitions and axioms. The principles of Jefferson are the definitions and axioms of free society. And yet they are denied and evaded, with no small show of success. One dashingly calls them "glittering generalities." And others insidiously argue that they apply only to "superior races,"
These expressions, differing in form, are identical in object and effect — the supplanting the principles of free government, and restoring those of classification, caste, and legitimacy. They would delight a convocation of crowned heads plotting the people. They are the vanguard,
72the sappers and miners of returning despotism. We must repulse them, or they will subjugate us.
This is a world of compensations, and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave. Those who deny to others, deserve it not themselves; and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.
All honor to Jefferson — to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity, to introduce merely revolutionary document an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling block to the harbingers of reappearing tyranny oppression.
Your obedient servant,
Messrs. H. L. PIERCE, and other, &c.
So beautifully and eloquently speaks the man who stands before the world to-day, as the representative of free institutions, in their contest with despotic principles and retrogressive systems. And his life speaks even more eloquently than his words, in indication of the policy that puts the man before the dollar, and has in abiding faith in the ETERNAL JUSTICE that shall vindicate the RIGHT, and confound and subvert the Wrong. With such a representative, and in such a cause, there is no such word as fail.