True Democracy — History Vindicated. — Speech of Hon. C. H. Van Wyck, of New York.
The House being in Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union —
Mr. VAN WYCK said:
Mr. CHAIRMAN: For many weeks I was a patient listener to eloquent speeches from the leaders of the so-called Democratic party on the floor of this House.
Why do they charge the Republicans as agitators, when they themselves have been sounding the notes of disunion, and preaching violence, for the only purpose of alarming the timidity of one and the weakness of another section of a common country; of arraying faction against faction; first, to steel the heart against all sentiments of humanity, and then nerve the arm to execute its unholy impulses; charging treason upon the North, and counselling the South to rebellion and resistance?
When you, gentlemen, came to this Capitol, the agitation occasioned by the Harper's Ferry riot was subsiding. In the discharge of what you call a patriotic duty, you gathered together the elements of that unfortunate strife, and increased the turbulence in the public mind.
The storm which gathered for a moment across a summer sky, then broke in the sunshine and dissipated in the rain drops, you call back, and by the eloquence of words and the impulse of fear, in the "chambers of your imagery" you generate a storm whereby you seek to send forth hurricane and tempest to prostrate the oaks and temples of the Republic in one common ruin. The torch of the incendiary had been smothered, and you seize the blackened flambeau, rush forth with the madness and folly of the suicide, and essay to light up the flames of civil war and fratricidal strife.
You, gentlemen, and not John Brown, have unchained the whirlwind of angry passion and bitter invective; you have unbarred the thunder and loosened the lightning shaft, whereby you sought to rend asunder the people of a great nation, so that, in your own language on this floor, the "Union might be wrecked from turret to foundation stone," and "the Constitution torn in tatters." Then from the ruins of one, and the dismembered body of the other, you might erect a confederacy cemented by the blood, watered by the tears, and strengthened by the groans of your bondmen; which would fill the measure of your avarice and feed the cravings of your ambition.
Day after day, with the most vindictive language, have we been arraigned as guilty of arson, treason, and murder; so base was the charge, so unjust the imputation, we meet them with our Weapons at rest.
The gentleman from Louisiana, [Mr. DAVIDSON,] whose ambition at one time seemed to be that he might appear in this Hall armed with a double-barrel shot gun, in his speech on the 22d day of December; in a defiant manner, said:
"I honestly believe that if you were tried before a jury of conscientious men, a jury of men who believe in a God of all justice and mercy, and all intelligence, you would be found guilty, as accessories before the fact, to all the dreadful deeds of Brown and his associates."
You talk of God, justice, and, mercy, who hold, claiming by Divine authority, four million human beings in hopeless and irretrievable bondage, and ostracize free white men who will not sing hosannas to your traffic in the bodies and souls of men, and stigmatize as murderers and felons those who will not applaud the cruelty which tramples upon all the attributes of the mind, the affections of the heart given by the Almighty to the children of His own creation!
That same gentleman desired to present to the consideration of this House one of John Brown's pikes; let me urge him to extend his cabinet of curiosities and add one of the chains and branding irons of his coffle gang, tied by the lash with which the backs of women and children are scourged, and then, to watch them, a sleek, well-fed bloodhound, with quick scent, trained to snuff in the air the track of the fleeing fugitive;
2let him present these as symbols, the one of Brown's folly, and the other of his own high type of civilization.
From the deluge of Democratic speeches, I learn, that the alpha and omega of your religion and Democracy are the divinity and benefits of human servitude. You are continually forcing this issue upon us. Said the Democratic Senator, [Mr. BIGLER,] a few weeks since, in the Senate Chamber:
"From the hour I first came into political life, to the present day, I have never gone through a political campaign in which the rights of the South were not an important, if not the leading issue."
The leprosy of slavery is "in the warp and woof" of your organization. When the Democratic Convention, in 1856, endorsed the policy of Franklin Pierce in the destruction of the Missouri line and his Kansas forays, I became satisfied that its organization was in the hands of the slave power, and that it was hereafter to be used to extend slavery wherever the flag of the Union might float, and forgetful of its ancient glories, had made allegiance to slavery propagandism the test of good fellowship. With many Democrats throughout the Union, I could no longer worship the divinity when the spirit had fled. The system under which we had grown to be a great and happy people, which had been engrafted on the laws and policy of Democratic Administrations, and was entwined in the expressions of speech and habitudes of thought, was stricken down by the rude hand of invasion. The first attack commenced in 1850, but in 1852 the Democratic Convention professed to check the invader; and while it did not propose to repair the breach, it promised to stay his destructive hand. And Pierce, in his inaugural, promised that he would cicatrize the wound, by an assurance that no fresh incursions should be made. In 1854 the invader commenced sapping and mining, seized the outworks, toppled the battlements to the ground, stormed the strong fortress, and obtained possession. The spirit of Democracy, thus driven from her own home, erected its standard; and while the glory of many achievements remained with the old organization, the fame and honor of its ancient faith gathered legions of its former victorious armies, who believed in Democracy because of its principles, and embracing the principles, assumed the name under which Jefferson triumphed. Could it be expected that we should sit quietly by and see the acts of every Democratic Administration rebuked; could we hold political fellowship with those who were willing to crucify the memory of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe; could we calmly witness the desecration which could say that the men who made the Constitution, and hewed out the path which has led to glory, knew not its provisions, and understood not its spirit? And because I refuse to unite in this unholy work of demolition, and lay my hands on the uniform and time-honored legislation of three-fourths of a century; because I would not unite in this assault upon the memory of the buried dead; because I would not rise up and declare their legislation unjust, unconstitutional, and with abolition tendencies, am I to be reproached as an apostate from Democracy? Sir, I would rather desert a political organization, than to turn traitor to my own conscience, and be guilty of moral treason to my own judgment.
I question no man's right to change his religious or political views; but I demand, as justice, that when I profess the faith, I shall be recognised as adhering to the policy, of the Democratic fathers.
The Christian may turn Jew or Mohammedan; but how would you stigmatize him, should he insist upon substituting the new doctrines under the name of the faith he abandoned? The liberty-loving Democrat may become a slavery propagandist; but how will history judge his attempt to hide the enormities of his position under the mantle of his ancient name, and rendezvous with his confederates in the temple Jefferson built, and Madison, Monroe, and Jackson, guarded with so much care? The patent of my Democracy is in the records of Democratic Administrations, and by it I stand or fall.
As a Democrat, I believe slavery to be a crime against the laws of God and nature, violative of the instincts of a common humanity; that it degrades the African, paralyzes the energies of the Anglo-Saxon, prevents the full development of the resources of the country, and granting to the masses of the people but little of material prosperity and happiness.
I believe that each State is supreme in its own borders, uncontrolled by foreign power; at liberty to retain or revive relics of a barbarous, unchristian age, whether they be slavery or polygamy.
I believe that the Territories belong to the people, and not the States; and that the Representatives of the people have the sole control and management thereof until they become States; and that Congress should protect them from everything which would have a tendency to retard their settlement or diminish their value; and, as the entire history of the world shows, and our own country establishes, that slavery is a mildew and blight, that Congress should keep free territory free during its territorial condition, unless for any cause it delegates such power to be exercised by the people therein.
I believe that slavery is a local institution, existing entirely and sustained alone by virtue of the law of the State which creates it, not recognised as such beyond the State limits, only so far as the Constitution of the United States regards the right of each State to retake, and the obligation of sister States to return, fugitives from justice or labor.
Such, sir, is the platform of the Republican party. Does it not contain the recorded principles of the Democratic party, and of all parties, from the adoption of the Constitution down to 1847?
Listen to a resolution of the gallant State of Georgia, whose entire delegation on this floor and in the Senate make loud and valorous boasts that no man elected on the Republican platform
3shall ever be inaugurated President. On the 12th day of January, 1775, she said:
"To show the world that we are not influenced by any interested or contracted motives, but a general philanthropy for all mankind, of whatever language or complexion, we hereby declare our disapprobation and abhorrence of the unnatural practice of slavery in America — a practice founded in injustice and cruelty, and highly dangerous to our liberties, debasing part of our fellow-creatures below men, and corrupting the virtue and morals of the rest, and is laying the basis of that liberty we contend for upon a very wrong foundation. We therefore resolve at all times to use our utmost endeavors for the manumission of our slaves in this colony, upon the most safe and equitable footing for the masters and themselves."
Men of Georgia, go by the graves of your fathers, renew your love of country, and recall your treasonable designs. The serious charges you make against us but react upon the memory of your ancestors. We stand this day on the Georgia resolutions of 1775. Such were the sentiments of all the patriots of the Revolution. Under their influence, your fathers — I mean your liberty-loving fathers, for I suppose the Tories of Georgia did not, even in that day, subscribe to the above resolutions — aided to achieve the freedom of our country. The desire of universal liberty warmed the heart of the American soldier; and, in the hope of its final establishment and full fruition, he sacrificed property and life. By men breathing such sentiments, the Constitution and Union were established; and now you say that the mere enunciation of the same principles must produce dissolution, anarchy, and a reign of terror.
Washington said, in 1786:
"It being among my first wishes to see some plan adopted by which slavery in this country may be abolished by law."
Franklin, who lent the powers of a great soul to achieve our independence, and then brought the wisdom of a great mind to aid in constructing a Constitution, became, almost immediately after its adoption, president of an Abolition society.
"We have seen mere distinction of color made, In the most enlightened period of time, a ground of the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man."
Mr. Henry said:
"I deplore slavery with all the pity of humanity; I repeat again, it would rejoice my soul that every one of my fellow-beings was emancipated."
Mr. Jefferson said:
"And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who, permitting one half of the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots and these into enemies. Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever. Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate, than that these people are to be free. What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man, who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment, and death itself, in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment be deaf to all those motives whose power supported him through his trials, and inflict on his fellow-men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose! When the measure of their tears shall be full; when their groans shall have involved heaven itself in darkness, doubtless a God of justice will awaken to their distress, and, by diffusing light and liberality among their oppressors, or, at length, by His exterminating thunder, manifest His attention to the things of this world, and that they are not left to the guidance of a blind fatality."
Dare you, now, believe these sentiments? Would you suffer a press in the Southern States to publish them? Would you allow a man, except under pain of death, to read them in the ears of your slaves? And must I be expatriated and disfranchised because I merely re-echo them? Sir, these principles were born in the shock of the Revolution, and were baptized in the blood of your fathers and mine on the battle-fields of the North and South. In the light of so universal a sentiment of universal liberty among the patriot framers of the Constitution, will you say that the Declaration of Independence is but a "glittering generality?" When the pillars of the Republic shall have crumbled in the dust; when her libraries shall have been sacked and burned; when a free press and free speech shall be dragged, as Hector, at the chariot wheels of a slave oligarchy; when the traditions of the battle-fields of arms and opinions of the Revolution shall be forgotten by an unworthy posterity, then tell them that the great Bill of Rights for all mankind was but a glittering generality. No, sir; our fathers threw it out, not as a wandering comet, to dazzle for a moment by its brilliant coruscations, but as a sun, far above the mists and exhalations of avarice and power, to shine upon and for all, to the remotest generations.
Such sentiments were repeated by your great men in Virginia in 1832, shortly after the slave insurrection at Southampton, when over sixty of your white persons were slain. They were then in convention, discussing the question of emancipation; and when all the horrors of a servile war were fresh in their memories, your statesmen proposed to remedy the evil, not by the penitentiary and gallows, but by applying the principle of universal liberty. Such were the opinions of Moore, Rives, Powell, Preston, Randolph, Marshall, and a host of others.
"You may close upon his mind every avenue to knowledge, and cloud it over with artificial night — yoke him to your labor as an ox. You may do this, and the idea that he was born to be free will survive it all; it is allied to his hope of immortality; it is the ethereal part of his nature, which oppression cannot reach; it is a torch lit up is his soul by the hand of the Deity, and never meant to be extinguished by the hand of man. If gentlemen do not see or feel this evil of slavery whilst the Federal Union lasts, they will see and feel it when it is gone. We cannot correct the march of time, nor stop the current of events."
Among the number who thus spoke was Charles J. Faulkner, who lately has avowed so much of disunion, and been duly rewarded by an appointment at the hands of this slavery-controlled Administration. The disunionist Faulkner is worthy a foreign appointment; while the disunionists Phillips and Garrison would only be worthy of stripes and imprisonment. Disunion for slavery or for freedom are quite different things. Mr. Faulkner, on the 20th day of January, 1832, speaking of emancipation, said:
"I shall reckon it among the proudest incidents of my life, that I have contributed my feeble aid to forward a revolution so grand and patriotic in its results. The people demand it. I have raised my voice for emancipation. Sir, tax my lands; vilify our country; carry the sword of extermination through our now defenceless villages; but spare us, I implore you, spare us the curse of slavery, that bitterest drop from the chalice of the destroying angel."
This he said while the soil of Virginia was yet moist with the blood of his murdered countrymen. He further added:
"Slaves are held, not by any law of nature, not by any patent from God. Sir, I am gratified to perceive that no gentleman has yet risen in this hall the avowed advocate of slavery. The day has gone by when such a voice could be listened to with patience or forbearance."
Men of Virginia, can you believe that such opinions were uttered in the Old Dominion scarce thirty years ago? Now, take down Helper; place them side by side, and determine which is the more treasonable and incendiary. How can you "rest o' nights" while such sentiments are slumbering in the debates and archives of your Commonwealth? Get some country squire to pronounce judgment, and commit them to the flames.
Formerly, the courts of nearly all your States held that slavery was merely a right existing by positive law of a municipal character, without great foundation in the law of nature.
Congress, guided by the prevailing sentiment of the nation, exercised its power over free territory by prohibiting slavery. This was the universal action of Congress, unless it was restrained by the act of purchase or cession. In the territory ceded to the General Government by the Carolinas and Georgia, those States, in ceding, expressly did so on the condition that Congress should not prohibit slavery therein. Those States, which had but recently been discussing the national Constitution, were presumed to be well informed as to its spirit and provisions; and the mere fact of their restraining Congress was an acknowledgment on their part that Congress did have the right to exercise the power, and they desired to guard against it. When Louisiana was purchased, Napoleon, in the treaty of sale, provided that the rights of the inhabitants should be protected; and one of those rights then existing was slavery. Congress, however, did interfere, and exercise a power over the Territories, by prohibiting the foreign and domestic slave trade.
From the ordinance of 1787, prohibiting slavery in the territory northwest of the Ohio, down to 1848, Congress, on eighteen different occasions, and during each Democratic Administration, did, without interruption or rebuke, exercise the power of governing the Territories, furnishing their officers, and retaining a negative or approval upon the acts of respective Territorial Legislatures. In the case of Florida, Congress, five times, between 1823 and 1838, approved of, and eleven times, during the same period, amended the laws of her Legislature.
The people will not, if gentlemen on this floor dare, impugn the Democracy of Jackson. During his Administration, in 1836, a law was passed, declaring "that no act of the Territorial Legislature incorporating any banking institution, hereafter to be passed, shall have any force or effect whatever until approved or confirmed by Congress." Twice did Jackson arrest the Legislatures of Wisconsin and Florida in violation of this law. This power was questioned in 1820, when Mr. Monroe (and all his Cabinet, with possibly the exception of Mr. Calhoun, a majority of whom were slaveholders) and his Democratic Administration acknowledged the right, and approved its exercise.
Even in 1848, Mr. Polk signed, and a Democratic Administration approved, the Oregon bill, in which slavery was prohibited. It is said Mr. Polk approved the bill because the Territory lay north of 36° 30'. That does not weaken the force of the argument that he recognised the existence of the power, from the fact of exercising it. The line of 36° 30', by its very terms, only extended to the Louisiana purchase, and could not be applied to any other Territory, unless especially enacted. It did not reach west of the Rocky Mountains; and when the South insisted that the line, in 1847-'48, should be extended to the Pacific, the very fact that they urged an extension of the line by Congress is an irresistible argument that they believed Congress had the power so to extend it. They claimed that, in the spirit of the legislation of 1820, the line should be extended to the Pacific. They did not question the power of Congress so long as they hoped to control its exercise. Hence, there was no possible restraint on Mr. Polk from vetoing the Oregon bill, had he or his party believed Congress possessed no such power. Polk had only to restrain legislation, not to undo, but to keep from doing, in order to save the Constitution.
In 1854, the Democratic party believed, or professed to believe, that Congress had no such power, and it had no hesitation in destroying the work of the fathers. By way of episode, allow me to add that Mr. Buchanan, at Lancaster, November 23, 1819, offered a resolution that the Representatives in Congress are most earnestly "requested to use their utmost endeavors, as members of the National Legislature, to prevent the extension of slavery in any of the Territories or States which may be created by Congress." Does Mr. Buchanan an occupy that position to-day? He went a step further in behalf of freedom than the Republicans on this floor. Was Mr. Buchanan a murderer and traitor in 1819?
In 1810 and 1828, the Supreme Court of the United States recognised and affirmed this power of Congress under the Constitution.
Such is the uniform and concurrent historical, legislative, and judicial history of this subject, down to 1848. At that time, the fruitful valleys and rich mines of California aroused the lust of gain and desire for power in the breast of the slaveholder. They sought a market on the Pacific coast for their human merchandise, and were avaricious for the control of that princely domain, and they knew their only way was through and over the well-defined legislation of the country. They also knew the influence a few slave owners would exercise; that less than three hundred thousand controlled fifteen States of the Union, and they sought to take the arm of Congress between their unholy desires and the object of their ambition. Lewis Cass was easily moulded to their purposes. In his famous Nicholson letter, which procured for him the title of father of squatter sovereignty, he says:
"I am strongly impressed with the opinion that a great change has been going on in the public mind upon this subject — in my own as well as others."
Change from what? Clearly from the restrictive
5policy of Congress. If squatter sovereignty had always been the faith of the party, there was no occasion for a change. In the same letter, he declares the result of the change to be, "leaving the people of the Territories to regulate their internal concerns in their own way; they are just as capable of doing so as the people of the States." This was to be the open-sesame for the extension of slavery on the Pacific coast. It was all the slave power demanded. Under it they expected to expand and conquer. But the swift current of events brought California into the Union before they could stake the hazard on the race; and this day we rejoice that, in the land of the setting sun, the clanking chains of oppression grate not with nature's harmony, and her soil is not wet with the sweat and tears and blood of the slave.
In 1847, the Northern Democracy did not doubt the constitutional right of Congress to prohibit slavery in the Territories, but claimed that Congress should not act upon the subject until the war with Mexico was terminated, and it should be first ascertained whether we were to acquire additional domain. The Legislatures of all the Democratic free States, save one, passed resolutions demanding that slavery should be prohibited in the Territories. At that time Lewis Cass was not nominated for the Presidency, and amid the "noise and confusion" of that session, the change had not commenced coming over "the spirit of his dream," for in the Senate he nowhere denied the power of Congress, at the proper time, to restrict slavery.
Daniel S. Dickinson, whose Democracy has never been questioned south of Mason and Dixon's line, said in yonder Senate Chamber, on the the 1st day of March, 1847 — for he had not yet experienced a change of heart, although he shortly after became an anxious inquirer when he heard the blowing of the South wind:
"I would not have added one single word upon the subject of slavery; but it is due to the occasion tbat my views upon it should be fully understood. So far as I am advised or believe, the great mass of the people of the North entertain but one opinion on the subject, and that is the same which was entertained by many at the South. They regard the institution as a great moral and political evil, and would that it had no existence. But being an institution of local sovereignty, they deny that such sovereignty, or its people, can justly claim the right to regard it as transitory, and to erect it in the territory of the United States without the authority of Congress, and they believe that Congress may prohibit its introduction into the territories while they remain such."
Commenting upon the resolution of New York demanding a fundamental provision restraining slavery from the Territories, he continued:
"The Territory contemplated is California, which is now free, and if it is obtained by us it will be free until it is incorporated by us, and cannot become slave territory without the legislation of Congress; and in and by such legislation a fundamental article prohibiting slavery can be properly inserted. This resolution, then, instructs us that, when any territory shall be brought within our jurisdiction by the act of Congress, whatever that act may be, to insert in such act a fundamental clause prohibiting slavery; and so I am ready to vote, instructed or uninstructed."
But he was not willing to insert it in an appropriation bill. On the same day, Hon. Reverdy Johnson, then a Whig Senator from Maryland, now one of the leaders of the slavery-extending Democracy, said:
"I believe, I have ever believed since I was capable of thought, that slavery is a great affliction to any country where it prevails; and so believing, I can never vote for any measure calculated to enlarge its area, and to render more permanent its duration; and above all, disguise it as we may, if the laws of population shall not be changed by Providence, or man's nature shall not be changed, it is an institution sooner or later pregnant with fearful mischief. The opinion I hold upon this institution is not now for the first time formed or expressed by a Southern man. The history of our country proves this. At the period of the Declaration of our Independence, at the period of this Constitution, there was but one sentiment upon the subject among enlightened Southern statesmen. What I have said was, on every proper occasion, more forcibly said by them, and as foremost among them, Messrs. Jefferson and Madison."
Now, sir, do Mr. Dickinson and his friends, and Mr. Johnson and his friends, occupy that position? The Republican party is standing this day on the platform they gave us in 1847. Were they murderers and traitors? Why should we be now?
In December, 1847, Mr. Dickinson began to bend before the Southern blast, and he introduced a resolution in the Senate —
"That the true spirit and meaning of the Constitution will be best observed, and the Confederacy strengthened, by leaving all questions concerning the domestic policy of the Territories to the Legislatures chosen by the people thereof."
And in his speech on the 12th day of January, 1848, he said:
"The resolution declares that the domestic policy of the people of a Territory shall be left with them; and if that power resides in Congress, as is contended," (which he did not then deny,) "it should be delegated to the people of the Territory, and be exercised by them."
For the benefit of conservative old-line Whigs, Mr. Webster said, August 12, 1848:
"We certainly do not prevent them from going into these Territories with what is, in general law, called property. But these States have by their local laws created a property in persons, and they cannot carry their local laws with them. Slavery is created and exists by a local law which is limited to a certain section, and it is asked that Congress should establish a local law in other Territories to enable Southern Senators to carry their particular law with them. There is a belief prevailing that slave labor and free labor cannot exist together. He had a letter from Mr. Mason, in which it is stated that ‘slave labor will expel free labor.’"
An irrepressible conflict older than SEWARD'S Rochester speech.
I beg pardon for quoting Mr. Webster. I know the latter-day saints in the Democratic party, in this and the Senate Chamber, have lately discovered that the great expounder was mistaken about the Constitution, as were the fathers and framers thereof. Only a few days ago, in the Senate, Senator WIGFALL said:
"Why, sir, there was the most distinguished man this country has ever seen, Daniel Webster, the great expounder of the Constitution, as he was called; and: I hazard the assertion, that if there was a single thing about which he was more profoundly ignorant that any man in the United States, it was the Constitution of the United States."
For the benefit of that portion of the Democracy who are now the self-constituted custodians of the memory and reputation of Henry Clay, I commend his remarks in the Senate, in 1850:
"So long as God allows the vital current to flow through my veins, I will never — no, never — by word or thought, by mind or will, aid in admitting one rood of free territory to the everlasting curse of human bondage."
Were Webster and Clay murderers and traitors? Then why are we? Their faith is now our political creed. If we are deserving imprisonment and death, then, hyena-like, go cast your harsh denunciations at their rifled graves, expose
6them to political execration, and hang their bones from your gibbets in chains.
In 1848, many Democrats did not experience the sudden conversion which overtook Lewis Cass, and the stone which was rejected at Philadelphia became the head of the corner at Buffalo, and was laid with great care by the Ludlows, the Van Burens, the Caggers, the Richmonds, and a host of others, among whom it would be disrespectful to omit my distinguished colleague, [Mr. JOHN COCHRANE.] I have not the honor of their political fellowship now, although I never deserted the principles they taught me. When my friend's [Mr. JOHN COCHRANE] attention was called to the resolutions at Utica, he would none of it, but desired to meet at Philippi. Let him beware; for on that field may appear to him the ghost of the murdered Caesar. It might not have been at the base of Pompey's pillar he stabbed the principles he so earnestly and eloquently — and his followers believed honestly — professed; but they stood between him and the aim of his ambition.
Did any Northern Democrat, Hunker or Barnburner, dream, in July, 1848, that neither Congress nor the people could exclude slavery from the Territories? No, sir; not one. Greene C. Bronson, who, I believe, was never suspected by friend or foe of having any Abolition tendencies, the hardest granite in the quarry, receiving an invitation from Mr. John Cochrane to address a political meeting, most respectfully declined. In his letter he said:
"Slavery cannot exist where there is no positive law to uphold it. It is not necessary that it should be forbidden; it is enough that it is not specially authorized. State laws have no extra-territorial authority; and a law of Virginia, which makes a a man a slave there, cannot make him a slave in New York, nor beyond the Rocky Mountains. If our Southern brethren wish to carry their slaves to Oregon, New Mexico, or California, they will be under the necessity of asking a law to warrant it; and it will then be in time for the free States to resist the measure, as I cannot doubt they would with unwavering firmness. But if our Southern brethren should make the question, we shall have no choice but to meet it; and then, whatever consequences may follow, I trust the people of the free States will give a united voice against allowing slavery on a single foot of soii where it is not now authorized by law."
Do Mr. Bronson and his friends now maintain that position? This very day, the Republicans are occupying that ground. Was he a murderer and traitor? Then why are we?
In 1849, the Democratic party in the State of New York became a unit on substantially the basis of Mr. Bronson's letter. The slave power soon forced them from it; and from the resolutions of the united Democracy in that State, the Republicans have compiled their political catechism.
The compromise measures of 1850 were acquiesced in, for the reason that the Democratic Convention and Franklin Pierce assured us it was the last great finality; and as all our territory was provided for, the disturbing question could never arise. Scarcely had his pledge reached the extreme of the Union, when, like a shock of thunder in a clear sky, the public mind was startled with the cry of repeal of the Missouri line, and the sea of slavery agitation was again lashed into a furious foam. To feed the encroaching spirit of aggression, the Democratic party had to go mousing back thirty years in order to find some law to repeal, to satisfy its insatiable desire. Congressional restrictions stood between the slave breeders and the golden shores of California, and it receded at their command. The compromise line which your fathers and ours then planted as a barrier on which might break and rebound the dark and advancing wave of slavery, stood between them and the rolling prairies of Kansas and Nebraska. And the edict went forth for its demolition for no other object than the spread of slavery. It lay within their reach, and they supposed would be an easy prey to their peculiar institution.
The sword that was to strike down the barrier to slavery was to be drawn from the scabbard of popular sovereignty. This new doctrine was the rallying cry of the Democracy of 1856, and was endorsed in Mr. Buchanan's letter of acceptance. Who then believed it was a myth, and meaningless? Were the Northern Democrats told that this new opinion was to be supplanted in less than four years, and that they must surrender at discretion, and recede from the position they honestly sustained?
The South was again beaten at her own game, "for the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands;" but the victory cost Northern freemen treasure and blood. The power she so much coveted passed from her reach, and, by the retribution of a wise Providence, she was not allowed to reap the hopes of her folly and wickedness:
They turned to ashes on the lips."
Twice had she struck down the monuments of the past to gratify her unholy lust for gain and power, and twice was she prevented from reaching the crown. The South could have no rest while Mordecai sat at the king's gate; while the prohibitory clause guarded the freedom of the western plains; but she perished on the gallows erected for another. Freedom could not be overcome by all the power of fraud, of unjust legislation, and a willing Executive; then she must be bound and taken in the temple of justice, and throttled by a political decision.
Calhoun and Buchanan, in the Senate of the United States, assumed it as a cardinal faith of the Democratic party, that one co-ordinate department of the Government could not control the exercise of the other while acting in its proper sphere.
When did South Carolina experience a baptism into this new love and undying allegiance to the merging of all departments of Government into the Judiciary? Has she forgotten that, in her nullifying ordinance of 1832, she went so far as to prohibit any appeal, or the transmission of any records, from her State courts to the Supreme Court of the United States, under pain of fine and imprisonment?
Let me not be misunderstood; I yield to no man in my devotion to the laws and judicial decisions; but I claim the right to seek the repeal of an unjust law, or the reversal of a decision which shocks the humanity of the nation. This very hour, Virginia is waging an irrepressible
7conflict in the Court of Appeals, in the State of New York, to nullify one of the humane laws of that State, so that slavery may be allowed the right, in defiance of State laws, to roam throughout the Union. And when Virginia, as she undoubtedly will, notwithstanding her clamor for State rights, carries the Lemmon case to the Supreme Court of the United States, that court will sustain Virginia, and then all the States will be slave. Even to so outrageous a decision, we would not propose armed or factious resistance. We would obey it; but, at the same time, we would indulge the hope that the awakening of the public mind, the arousing of a righteous indignation, would send some rays of light down into the subterranean vaults from whence Dred Scott decisions emanate; that the conscience and judgment of the court would see the folly and wickedness, and reverse its own decisions.
We will obey the law, right or wrong; but when we feel and believe it to be wrong, we must be allowed an effort to make it right.
The records of the world show that the last and most insidious attacks made on the rights of the people have been through the Judiciary. How often has "man looked for judgment and beheld oppression." The history of England is full of admonition. We cannot forget the Star Chamber and High Commission; with what avidity English judges were ready to obey the behests of English monarchs, whether to confiscate property or to sacrifice life. The divine right of kings received judicial acknowledgment from the judges of Charles I, and the right of Parliament to tax the American colonies was protected by the bench, What faith now are the followers of the Democratic party called upon to profess? Said Mr. IVERSON, a few days since, in the Senate Chamber:
"I wish the Democratic party was purer and better than it is. I am afraid it is becoming itself, if not corrupt, at least corruptible."
On another occasion:
"But I believe that the greater portion of the Northern Democratic party — those who belong to that organization in the Northern States — are to-day as rotten as the Black Republicans."
Corrupt, rotten — expressive adjectives. I make no such charges; but a dignified, venerable, gray-headed Democratic Senator thus solemnly arraigns the Northern Democracy. At a later day, to point his former speeches, he adds:
"The large portion, if not the whole, of the Northern Democracy are unsound. I mean on the question of Territorial rights; their position is quite as fatal to the rights of the Southern States as the Wilmot proviso itself."
It is for me to
Nor set down aught ill malice."
I only desire the Democracy to see to what indignities they must be subjected, if they manifest any unwillingness to bow down and worship this black Juggernaut of slavery. Unsound, rotten, corrupt! To show that slavery propagandism controls the Democratic party, and is now moulding its destinies, only notice that Mr. Buchanan, in his late message, says:
"I cordially congratulate you upon the final settlement, by the Supreme Court of the United States, of the question of slavery in the Territories. The right has been established of any citizen to take his property, of any kind, including slaves, into the common Territories belonging equally to all the States of the Confederacy, and to have it protected there under the Federal Constitution. Neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature, nor any human power, has any authority to annul or impair this vested right."
I ask the Democratic party, where now is your popular sovereignty? Where the right of the people of the Territories? What will become of that portion who were leaders of the radical Barnburners? What a record will stare them in the face! Free-Soilers in 1848, popular sovereignty men in 1856, denyers of both in 1860.
When did you, gentlemen, first incorporate this article into your creed? Did you believe it when you begged from Congress the privilege to retake your slaves in the Territories? Did you believe it in 1854-'55-'56, when, at the sacrifice of much money and blood, you were determined to force slavery into Kansas? If the people in that Territory had no right to exclude slavery, you would never have waged so cruel and unnatural a warfare. Why did you struggle, if the Constitution gave you all you could obtain after a hard-fought victory? No, gentlemen, you never believed it; not for one moment. It was not until defeat stared you in the face in Kansas, that you sought to arm yourself with a last and doubtful resort.
Within a few weeks, the Legislature of Nebraska, by law, prohibited slavery therein; and the willing tool of this Administration vetoed the bill. The people of that Territory, now numbering some forty or fifty thousand, along whose rivers villages and cities are springing up as if by magic, whose prairies are teeming with the fruits of free and educated industry, are told that they cannot frame their domestic institutions, even to keeping back "the bitter water that causeth the curse."
Only a few days since, the Legislature of Kansas enacted a law prohibiting slavery within the Territory, and another pliant Administration-pro-slavery Executive vetoes the bill; and that people, who were assured by the Democratic party on this floor, a year ago, that they had age and experience and numbers sufficient to assume the rights and position of a sovereign State, if they would only submit to a Constitution recognising human bondage, are now told that they have no inherent or delegated power to stop the tread of the slave hunter. Yet what Democratic leaders, what Democratic organs, even in the free States, dare rebuke the insolence and spurn the outrage? Possibly you may turn on us, and say, why do we object; that we were opposed to the Nebraska bill? You told us, in 1854, that the men of the North, in 1820, opposed the Missouri line; granted. Did that give you the right, when you wrenched all but that from us, to turn and steal that little also. And when, again, you drive us to the wall, and take all but the uncertain privilege of popular rights, and tell us we must wage the warfare on the soil of the Territories; and, while we protest that you leave us so little, must we quietly submit that you should finally come and despoil us even of that?
It is due to truth to say that, in the circle of the Democratic family, on this subject there is an irrepressible conflict now waging; they differ
8about the meaning of the Constitution; quarrel about the Cincinnati platform, seeming to forget it was designed to have a Northern as well as Southern exposure; and have a furious contest as to what has been decided by the Dred Scott decision. This organization will allow no toleration of individual opinion on this slavery question. You may claim it, as did Galileo and Wickliffe, at the risk of the anathemas of a religious despotism. See the political executions of the last two years. No matter how humble the man, how unimportant his situation, if he suffered the least glimmer of anti-slavery sentiment he must be excluded from the pale of the party, as a warning to all others that a like rebellion should merit and receive a like fate.
Pause for a moment, and see the positions Democratic leaders must assume in waging this unholy war to extend slavery. Senator JEFFERSON DAVIS said, in Mississippi, in July last:
"Thus for a long period error scattered her seed broadcast, while reason, in over confidence, stood passive. The recent free discussion by the press and on the forum have dispelled delusions which had obscured the minds of a generation, until even among ourselves it was more easy to find the apologist than the defender."
Alexander H. Stephens, the acknowledged leader of the Democracy on this floor during the last Congress, said in Georgia, in June last:
"Negro slavery is but in its infancy; it is a mere problem of our Government; our fathers did not understand it. I grant that the public men of the South were once against it, but they did not understand it."
Negro slavery in its infancy! That fact must he consoling to those exceedingly pious gentlemen who are claiming for African slavery a Divine origin, from the curse denounced against Canaan in the frantic rage of Noah's delirium. In its infancy! When gentlemen justify it because it has existed in all ages of the world. The gentleman from South Carolina, [Mr. KEITT,] on this floor, adds his testimony:
"The sentiments which the great men of the Revolution entertained upon the question of slavery are immaterial to me. The institution had not been discussed; its character and capacities had not been tested; besides, they were imbued with the influence of the French encyclopedists, and were affected by the abstractions of the Declaration of Independence."
The gentleman from Virginia [Mr. SMITH] said:
"The gentleman refers to the sentiments of distinguished revolutionary men, and asks me if I repudiate them. Sir, many of those sentiments, of course, I repudiate; many of those sentiments are false in philosophy and unsound in fact."
As gentlemen daily pass through the rotunda of this Capitol, do they ever pause to consider the magnificent painting representing their fathers in Congress signing this now vilified Declaration of Independence? Why, sir, since the world began, save the band of Apostles gathered with Christ at the last supper, never has there been convened so grave, deliberate, and determined a body of men. When you are in the presence of the lifelike representation of your patriot fathers, there must come down a withering rebuke from the silent canvas, reproving your ingratitude and infidelity, in stigmatizing the work before them as abstractions and the frenzies of French encyclopedists.
Sir, such impiety needs only the rebuke of silence. Where are the Danites who assassinate men if they are suspected of slandering the history of the South? Who now are the cold-blooded slanderers of your history and the memory of your great men? Why not seize your canes, and clutch your knives, and drive such men from your borders?
Has it come to this — the solemn Declaration of your own fathers you call generalities and abstractions — their well-settled principles of freedom you stigmatize as delusions — their established policy and laws you rebuke, under the insolent arrogance that the public men of the South "did not understand the system of negro slavery;" and this in face of the fact that for years they had been struggling against the despotism of royalty to suppress slavery and the slave trade.
You have a right to change your views and condemn your fathers. We have a right to pursue their policy and venerate their memories. For this, you may reproach and proscribe, and deprive us of all participation in the administration of this Government; yet you cannot control us by threats of danger or blandishments of power. For us, "Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abi-Ezer?"
Do you ever reflect upon the treason of your insane threats? Said the member from South Carolina, [Mr. KEITT:]
"The South will resist, to the overthrow of the Government, the ascendency of the Republican party. Should the Republican party succeed at the next Presidential election, my advice to the South is, to snap the cords of the Union at once and forever."
Said the member from Mississippi, [Mr. DAVIS:]
"The Black Republicans showed their organized rebellion when they presented Fremont as a sectional candidate for the Presidency, as a representative of their system of free labor in opposition to our system of slave labor. Against that rebellion we intend to act; we mean to put it down, even if we have to do it with the bayonet. Gentlemen of the Republican party, I warn you; present your sectional candidate for 1860, elect him as a representative of your system of labor, and we of the South will tear the Constitution into pieces."
Sir, craze your brain, nerve your arm, precipitate this issue upon us, and we are ready. Our Northern fathers were told by an English officer, "Disperse, ye rebels; throw down your arms, and disperse." Their answer, if necessary, shall be our answer.
"I, to-day, have more affection for an Englishman than a Black Republican."
Quite likely. Many of the men in the South, during the Revolution, experienced the same thrill of joy in loving a British red-coat, or a Hessian child-butcher, better than an American patriot or a colonial rebel.
You also threaten to dissolve the Union in case another demand is not complied with. The member from Georgia [Mr. CRAWFORD] said:
"We have now four million slaves. In some twenty-five years hence we will have eight million. We demand expansion. We will have expansion, in spite of the Republican party."
The member from Mississippi [Mr. SINGLETON] said:
"We have now four million slaves in fifteen States; we will, in fifty years from now, have sixteen million. But I tell you the institution of slavery must be sustained. Yes,
sir; we will expand this institution; we do not intend to be confined within our present limits; and there are not men enough in all your borders to coerce three million armed men in the South."
Have you, gentlemen, made any calculation where you will expand your institution when you have withdrawn from the Union? Have you the madness and folly to believe that you could wrest it from the States who retain their allegiance to the Constitution and Government?
There is yet another plank in this modern Democratic platform. Mr. KEITT adds:
"It is also incontrovertible that all the inhabitants of a State cannot be educated; the ordinance of God condemns mankind to labor, and certain menial occupations are incompatible with mental cultivation."
Does the slaveholder impiously claim to be above mankind, so as to be beyond the reach of the ordinance of God? Are you so privileged and exalted an order, that you are not required to yield allegiance to that ordinance? You insist Canaan shall be kept under the curse of excited Noah. By what right do you endeavor to skulk from the ordinance, given by the Almighty himself: "in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground?" This explains the hostility of Southern Democracy to free men, free labor, and free schools.
Freemen — laboring men of the North — and, if it be not treasonable, of the South, are you willing to aid in extending into the common Territories a system whose corner-stone is the ignorance of the people, and which will establish the policy that labor "is incompatible with mental cultivation?" Must the honest-hearted laborer, as he reads the record of science, history, and government, in a free press, and around whose humble fireside, after the toil and sweat of the day, from the various libraries of the land, are poured out the treasures of all ages; and in the mind of his child, if there be a diamond, it will be developed by education, and finally shine in his country's history; is he to be told that mental cultivation is incompatible with labor?
And you now declare, in case this system of oppression and ignorance be not expanded, you will sever every tie that binds the Union. You say you have counted the cost. Have you the vision of a seer, to reach far down through coming time, and see all the horrors of such an event? They will not end in decades, centuries, or cycles. If you force dissolution upon us, we can only hope —
It were done quickly."
On this subject, how appropriate to-day is the language of Lewis Cass and Daniel S. Dickinson on the 1st day of March, 1847, in the Senate Chamber. Said the former, speaking of dissolution:
"That word has got to be quite a common one in our national vocabulary. It frightened me once; but I have seen it so often, that its face has become quite familiar, and does not inspire the least dread. I recognise it as an old acquaintance, changing from time to time its drapery, but still preserving its identity. Our constituents, the American people, will take care of us and the crisis, too, and they will still take care of the Union, and guard it from any unholy touch."
The latter said:
"I have no gloomy forebodings over the dissolution of the Union; politicians could not dissolve it, if they would; and would not, if they could. It will live on, sir, long after we are laid in the dust. Pillar after pillar shall strengthen and adorn the edifice, while others, the venerable and gray-headed, who are yet unborn, shall occupy these seats, and these walls echo to their voice."
Why will you not, then, heed the counsel of the statesmen of the past and present? You profess much sympathy for the free laborers of the North, and brand them as white slaves. Take within your sympathies the free whites of the South, and unite with us to give them free homes in the West. Insist not upon your expansion theory, nor plant on that virgin soil a servitude which will disgrace them; for your own people feel more keenly than we, that —
Charge not upon us the folly of your weakness. Envy not the North. You possess now more than half the Union, to the exclusion of Northern freemen; with a climate genial, to nurture the fruits of the tropics, and a soil rivalling that of the Nile in richness. Saving the blight of slavery, "among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion;" while the North wrestles with the waterfall, digs into the mountains, struggles with the quarry, and cultivates, here and there, a fruitful valley. Be content to let slavery wear itself out on your own soil. You may suffer plagues and pestilence; you may harden your hearts, as did Pharaoh; but in God's own time He will bid you "let the people go;" and He will lead them to a land of rest.
You say the slave, in many cases, kisses the hand that smites him, and prefers his yoke to freedom. So did the Israelites, even when the Lord was their pillar of cloud by day and fire by night; for in the wilderness they hankered for the yokes and flesh-pots of Egypt. Ages of oppression will destroy the ability and inclination to resist.
Byron makes Bonnivard, the brave prisoner of Chillon, to say:
Fettered or fetterless to be;
I learned to love despair.
My very chains and I grew friends;
So much a long communion tends
To make us what we are."
Gentlemen talk about the brute force of majorities, and declare they will not submit. We are now told, "Dare you but exercise the right of freemen, in a clear and constitutional mode; elect for President a man of your choice, and believe in the teachings of all parties down to 1848, and ‘the dogs of war shall be let loose upon you.’" Already you are making appropriations of thousands to build arsenals, to purchase arms, and are now mustering forces, as you say, to threaten and coerce the North. You may bind in chains the body of your slave; you may subject him to the lash and imprisonment; but when, in the insolence of long-enjoyed power, you seek to coerce individual opinion and political action by craven threats, did we yield we would deserve to be slaves.
Shall I be frightened when a madman stares?"
We meet you in no unkind spirit. We desire that no "son of man" should "prophesy against the forest of the South field." We are glad that you are commencing to live on your own account; that is the true wealth of nations. We are gratified that you are weaving your own garments; it is true they look a little rough at present, but persevere. After the lapse of years, (probably not in your time, but your posterity will see it,) science will render you much aid. All arts are rude among a people which is just assuming independence of its neighbors.
You cannot expect the advantages of machinery, until some Yankees go down and explain the mode and manner of its use; for now, in your great rage and passport system, the tyranny of travel is exceedingly irksome in your empire, especially to the Yankee who is at all fond of the free use of his limbs; so you will have to forego the advantages of machinery a time longer. I see by one of your papers, that when you learn to make shoe pegs, then your brogans you will no longer import from the North; all you want now is toleration and industry to make you a great nation. This is well enough, but for your frightful gasconade. You declare, that should a Republican President be elected, he can never be inaugurated in this Capitol. How will you prevent it? I judge from your military preparation you mean force. Where will you get your gunpowder? You make none south of Delaware. Where will you get your fire-arms? South of Mason and Dixon's line you manufacture none in all your borders. Can you retain it now, by force? If so, you will do infinitely better than you did in 1814. The English then, without any fear, could have crowned a king in your Capitol. They drove five thousand of your men from Bladensburg; and although you knew the design of the enemy was to invade and burn, you retreated, and stopped not to fire a gun in its defence.
I impugn not your courage, nor reflect upon your motives; I but hazard the opinion that, had the Capitol stood amid the rocks of New England or the rough hills of the North, five thousand of her yeomanry would have struck, and, if necessary, perished, in its defence. Since that time, some of your people have been very solicitous about the archives. You know Governor Wise, in 1856, had Fremont been elected President, was prepared to march with one hundred thousand men to the Capitol, and seize the archives; but some persons very wickedly suggested that it might be the treasury he was after. Impossible! who ever alleged that a Southern Democrat was actuated by mercenary motives? You say you will magnanimously withhold the blow, if we will consent that the Constitution recognises property in man, and the corresponding right to take it into all the Territories of the Union. That we never can do, for our fathers never did, but guarded carefully against any such implication. Madison said "he would not consent that the Constitution should recognise the idea of property in man."
In the Constitution, the word "servitude" was stricken out, and the word "service" unanimously inserted; the former being thought to express the condition of slaves, and the latter the obligations of free persons. The term "legally" was erased, because it was thought equivocal, and favoring the idea that slavery was legal in a moral view, and "under the laws thereof" substituted. Why, then, should we admit what our fathers never conceded? The Constitution merely recognises the right of each State, and the obligations of sister States, to restore her fugitives, whether from service or justice; and as by this provision it did not pretend to designate what might or might not be crimes, leaving that with each State, any State might make a new and additional enumeration of crimes, and have her rights respected under this provision. So the Constitution did not legalize and sanction existing forms of labor, any further than protecting each State in her systems of labor, whatever they might be; and should new forms of labor be introduced in a State, they would be protected in the rendition provision, and the Constitution not be chargeable with the folly or wisdom of existing or new forms of labor.
The white men of the North are now excluded from fifteen slave States of the Union; they are driven from your borders simply because they exercise the right of thought and speech. Such as South Carolina, Georgia, and Kentucky, are, you sought to make California, Oregon, and Kansas. While you claim the right to carry into the common Territories your slaves, and the local law which creates them, and the public opinion which sustains it, you deny to the men of the North the right to take what is dearer to them than property — their principles. You deny them the free use of the mails; you exercise a censorship of the press, and inquisition of individual thought, more revolting than a Russian despotism. Even here, in the calmness of deliberation, the distinguished gentleman from the noble State of Missouri, where the bonds of slavery are weakening and dissolving, where the steam engine is puffing the dark wave to the remote South, [Mr. ANDERSON,] said:
"I now predict that, unless a revolution stall take place in the public sentiment of the North, of which I have now no hope, within the next twelve months, no man from that section of the Union will be permitted to travel through the Southern States, unless he brings with him evidences of conservative feelings and sentiments towards the people of the South and its domestic institutions."
These, sir, are the liberal principles of that party which knows no North, no South, no East, no West, and is self-boasting in the virtues of a great nationality, and clamorous over the fact that Fremont had no electoral votes in the fifteen States where just such intolerance as has been thundered in our ears dominates over all. Remove the despotism of opinion and anarchy of violence from your own people, and an unfettered judgment in your own States would rally thousands around the standard of free labor, free schools, and free soil. See the once proud State of Virginia, laying her hands on the mails, and authorizing some prejudiced justice to sit in judgment and condemn to the flames all publications that excite his ire. And this, beyond all things,
11shows the outrage and enormity of the system, which cannot be sustained, except upon the destruction of all those rights which should be the boast of a free people.
A few years ago, a half-naturalized Hungarian was seized in Smyrna by Austria, and claimed as a criminal against her laws. This nation was aroused, and American cannon would have echoed along the classic shores of the Mediterranean, and American blood crimsoned her waters, had a hair of Martin Koszta's head been injured. Mr. Buchanan is begging for the army and navy to redress the rights of American citizens in Mexico and Central America; yet here, within the States, upon the citizens thereof, outrages are committed which should mantle the cheeks of barbarism with shame, and no lamentation comes from the solicitous Executive. This system of outrage, this reign of terror, you seek to extend over all the land.
You charge upon the North an occasional outbreak of disorder, for which the guilty are duly punished, while your own people violate the laws of your State and the natural rights of the white man, condemning him without trial, and inflicting barbarous punishment without judicial judgment and sentence. Some men of South Carolina arrested a free white laborer, mobbed him in the streets of their city, subjected him to stripes at the hands of a slave, all in violation of the laws of the State. You may boast of your chivalry, but such men are dastards, whom it would be "base flattery to call cowards." The slave trader lands a cargo of merchandise from Africa, and your juries refuse to punish the pirate. A few months ago, a woman with a sick child was driven from a village of Georgia, because she had written to her friends at the North her impressions about slavery. A whole community, the Bereans, were exiled from the soil of Kentucky for no crime; they were only obnoxious in entertaining the opinions proclaimed by Washington and Jefferson. Are such the men you propose arming to seize the Capitol and archives? Rest assured, braver men than they fled from the British in 1814.
Mr. CRAWFORD. The gentleman —
Mr. VAN WYCK. The gentleman must excuse me.
Mr. CRAWFORD. The gentleman has stated as a fact —
Mr. VAN WYCK. The gentleman must excuse me.
Mr. CRAWFORD. I understand the gentleman to state as a fact that a woman was driven from Georgia with a sick child. I desire to say that I never heard of it before; it is news to me; and I do not believe a word of it.
Mr. VAN WYCK. The gentleman does not read the papers, then; that is all I have to answer.
Mr. CRAWFORD. Will the gentleman give the authority for his assertion?
Mr. VAN WYCK. I will furnish it some other time.
Mr. CRAWFORD. Then you have no authority with you.
Mr. BINGHAM. He says he has it not here.
Mr. VAN WYCK. Your despotism is as galling upon the whites as the blacks. Slavery must prescribe what books they shall read. Your population is about eight million; yet you control their destinies and compel their opinions. How many men from the South on this floor are non-slaveholders? How many in the Senate, and among the foreign appointments? Your soil was invaded by Brown and a few followers, and Virginia is convulsed from centre to circumference. In violation of all law, your citizens were shot down, and you had a right to feel outraged and indignant. Governor Wise headed the Virginia militia; the Federal Executive sent sixteen marines, who captured Brown — about the same number, I believe, Jackson sent, in 1832, to conquer South Carolina, and place her in her proper orbit in the political heavens. Innocent women and children were murdered in Kansas; her virgin soil was moistened with the blood of Free-State men, and the light of her burning dwellings flamed against the midnight sky. The Executive was implored; but Pierce, upon looking through the Constitution, could find no authority to interfere; and the darkest page of our history was written in blood. A slave gets loose, and is committing grand larceny by running away with himself; no necessity for consultation then; the lightning flashes the message to use the land and naval force to restore the fleeing fugitive, and the court-house of a free Commonwealth is surrounded by bayonets and chains. Your homes in Virginia were invaded; we regret and sympathize with you; but have you no regrets or sympathies for the homes, just as sacred as yours, invaded in Africa? Had you tears for the children that were rendered fatherless, and the wives widowed and driven shelterless, upon the open prairie in Kansas, by men having no claim to manhood but the name?
You reproach the North because, while we condemn the crime, we admire the noble qualities of manhood which Brown possessed. Your own Wise did as much; he said he was "brave, honest, and sincere;" and is it no cause of regret that such noble traits should be wasted in a reckless enterprise? You think it impossible that the man can be separated from the crime. Do you not remember, in the darkest hour of the Revolution, when almost all was lost but courage and hope, the young, the brave, and accomplished English officer descended to the character of a spy, and, through Arnold's treachery, well-nigh eclipsed the rising sun of our independence? Can the mind conceive a greater crime, not only against America, but freedom and the world? He was arrested, tried, and executed; and notwithstanding the enormity of the offence, Washington and his generals, and the American people, sympathized with the heroic bearing and gallant address of the criminal; they overlooked the spy, and thought of the grand nobility of his manhood; and, had it not been for the exigency of the public service, would gladly have pardoned the offender. And at this day, no American child
12reads the history of his country, but drops a tear on the page which records the fate of Andre.
You ask the men who are born amid the free institutions of the North, where repose is given to their cradled hours in songs of universal liberty, whose limbs are strengthened by the air from the bold mountains, and whose hearts are warmed to all mankind by the lessons of the Revolution and the teachings of the Saviour, to restrain their anti-slavery sentiments, and believe, with you, that slavery is a Divine institution. Never, sir; never. There is no attribute of the Almighty, no command of His word, no spirit of His gospel, that can tolerate such a sentiment. "Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man;" was among the bill of rights God gave to the Jewish people. "A new command give I unto you, that ye love one another; whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them," was the great charter for man's guidance, given by the Saviour to both Jew and Gentile; to all the world. A necessary corollary of these great principles led, in many years, to the enunciation, in the Declaration of American Independence, that all men are created equal, and that each has an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
While you eclipse the mind and dwarf the soul, you concede to the slave both, in prohibiting to him all means of knowledge by reading, and admitting him to be subject to the saving power of the atonement; you say that slavery is a great missionary institution, redeeming from heathenism and converting to Christianity; you say that slaves become Christian men; that the Bible teaches slavery. Why, then, do you not allow them to read that Bible, so they may comfort the unfulfilled longings of their souls, by a full realization that their lot is the will of the Almighty, and "thus saith the Lord" has enjoined it?
The distinguished gentleman from South Carolina, [Mr. KEITT,] after arrogating to the South all the glory of arts, and arms, and literature, acquired by the nation, then adds, speaking of the North:
"What achievements of arms have illustrated their escutcheons? Sir, if a Northern army should come down to subjugate the South, it will be the first one in our history that encamped on Southern soil. Will it come now, when it did not come in the trials of the Revolution? In 1781, when all the forces of the British were gathering upon the soil of Virginia, what help had she from the North?"
The gentleman is evidently alarmed at his own shadow. Sir, it has never been thought or intimated that we are to subjugate the South. "What achievements of arms have illustrated their escutcheons?" Has the gentleman forgotten the battle-fields of the Revolution and the war of 1812? I will not charge that he willingly seeks to cast an imputation on the patriotism and courage of our fathers. While I honor the memory of his ancestors, I would rescue that of my own from unjust aspersions, and hurl back the calumny in the face of its author. I regret that, in the blindness of fanaticism and a reckless sectionality, the distinguished gentleman should malign the Northern patriots of the Revolution.
Sir, I will indulge in no unkind remark to wound the feelings of any man; but the charge must be met, and history vindicated, let the consequences fall where and as they may. One other gentleman spoke of Massachusetts burning witches in the ancient times. Does he not know that your own people burn slaves at the stake, and it seems to awaken no horror in your minds?
Mr. DAVIS, of Mississippi, (interrupting.) I pronounce the gentleman a liar and scoundrel. I pronounce the gentleman's assertion false — utterly false.
Mr. VAN WYCK. My time is short, and I hope not to be interrupted.
Mr. DAVIS, of Mississippi. You have no right to utter such foul and false slanders.
Mr. GARTRELL. I rise to a point of order. It is, that no member upon this floor has a right to libel the people of any section of this country, and then deny to the Representatives of that people the right to reply. I pronounce the assertion made by the gentleman false and unfounded. [Cries of "Order!" on the Republican side.]
Mr. VAN WYCK. I have heard such words before, and I am not to be disturbed or interfered with by any blustering of that sort. I am not here to libel any part of the Union.
Mr. DAVIS, of Mississippi. Will you go outside of the District of Columbia, and test the question of personal courage with any Southern man?
Mr. VAN WYCK. I travel anywhere, and without fear of any one. For the first eight weeks of this session, you stood upon this floor continually libelling the North and the people of the free States, charging them with treason, and all manner of crimes, and now you are thrown into great rage when I tell you a few facts.
Mr. DAVIS, of Mississippi. Mr. Chairman —
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from New York cannot be interrupted, except by a point of order; and the Chair appeals to gentlemen of the Committee not to violate the rules of the House. The Chair trusts they will not do so.
Mr. DAVIS, of Mississippi. I shall observe them, sir, if others do; but I certainly will not permit Southern people to be slandered.
Mr. VAN WYCK. If gentlemen are so sensitive in regard to their own feelings, I ask them to be as sensitive also to the feelings of others. If they were, we would not have had such wholesale denunciations of the people of the North as we had during the first eight weeks of this session.
Massachusetts has able sons to defend her reputation; but I do know she was the first to light the flames of the Revolution, and I believe she will be the last to desert the watch-fires of the Union. The eloquent gentleman from Virginia, [Mr. BOTELER,] in his endeavor to fasten an unkind imputation on the North, in my judgment misconceived history when he said Virginia, in 1775, sent succor to Massachusetts. There was no narrow sectionalism in those days. When the militia of his native county marched to Massachusetts,
13it was to fight the battles of Virginia; it was to vindicate the rights and strike down the enemies of Virginia. The battle for your rights, gentlemen, was fought on Northern soil; your homes, for a long while, were untouched by the foreign invader; for many years, your buildings were left free from the torch of the Hessian incendiaries, your women from indignities, and your helpless children from a cruel death. All this was sustained in the North; her commerce dismantled, her fields laid waste, her towns and villages sacked and burned, her unoffending children and women massacred. Could the men of the South do less than rush to the aid of their own cause, by succoring Massachusetts? The impulse of freedom was equally strong in Virginia and Massachusetts; it was the cause of the United Colonies; but Massachusetts, then, as now, for her hatred of tyranny, was specially designated as the victim, and led the van in freedom's army. Your fathers were not the men to repose in listless inactivity; and, having no enemy at home to fight, they were willing to spill their blood and lay their bones on the cold hills of the North. Let him be anathema, maranatha, who is not willing to do justice to you and them.
The glory of the men of the Revolution, from whatever section, belongs not to the North or the South. It is a union of glory which can never be dissolved. It belongs to the world, wherever Liberty is worshipped, and Freedom receives the incense of her struggling millions. Sir, no enmity, however malignant, can blacken their memory. They are as far above your reach as the bold and heaven-defying eagle is above the earth-crawling and hissing serpent. You boast, and you have a right to boast, that you gave us a Washington; and, like Moses of old, he led our armies to the promised land; but his Joshuas and Aarons he gathered from the North. Because you gave us a Washington, and his bones rest on Southern soil, we mean to preserve the Union forever. Mount Vernon and Monticello shall long be the Mecca and Medina of the Northern pilgrim.
Washington was clothed with absolute power over the army. When he thought you wanted a general, he sent you Lincoln, then Gates. At Camden, you had a sufficiency of troops. Your army numbered four thousand, and the enemy two thousand; yet you were overborne. I would scorn to charge it to a lack of courage. Then he sent the old Quaker of Rhode Island, General Greene, and he saved the men of Carolina.
After the attack on Charleston, in 1776, you were free from a foreign foe until 1779. Then the enemy removed a part of his forces to the South, because he expected sympathy and succor from the Carolinas and Georgia, on account of the great number of tories in those States; and he did receive it. At the battle of King's Mountain, in the enemy's ranks of fifteen hundred, probably thirteen hundred were Carolina and Georgia tories; hence the opening of a new seat of war in the South. I speak not to your injury. No country ever produced truer, braver patriots, than the Carolinas and Georgia. They had a stern conflict. They had to fight the English on the coast, and their tory countrymen at the hearthstone.
The greatest cruelty and spoliation you suffered was at the hands of your native tories, and from threats of rebellion and violence. I conclude their descendants are numerous on that soil. With their blood, seem to have descended their principles. But your brave men and women of the Revolution we can never forget. You may proscribe, imprison, and subject to stripes, our countrymen; distract and divide this great Confederacy; divorce yourselves from us with all the bitter, burning passions of brotherly hate; yet the memory of your dashing Marion and impetuous Sumter, the heroism of your women at Charleston, will be cherished as long as freedom has a shrine in the hearts of the American people.
Would Washington, the son of Virginia, see his mother in jeopardy, and not rush to her relief? In 1781, when Cornwallis appeared in Virginia, although Clinton had a large fleet in the bay and a large army in the city of New York, with brave impetuosity he marched his Northern army, composed of men of all sections of the Union, and, with their tents, they "encamped on Southern soil;" and the evening of the 18th day of October, 1781, drew its mantle over the mangled and lifeless Northern soldier on the field of Yorktown. Virginia's visit "had been returned," and the evidences were the bones left whitening on your sunny plains. Will gentlemen talk of Northern courage? Where were fought the battles of 1812, 1813, and 1814? Whence came the seamen that humbled the proud navy of England, and gave us distinction on the seas? It is true, you had your splendid victory at New Orleans; but that did not conquer a peace, for the treaty was signed before that battle was fought. Still, that did not detract from the glory of Jackson, or the valor of his troops. In all our wars, the North and the South conjointly achieved the victory, and are equally entitled to the glory.
Sir, in reading of the men of the Revolution, I have not been wont to limit their patriotism by State lines, or estimate their valor by the country where born. Whether the rough blasts of the North hardened their frames, or a Southern sun quickened their blood, to me, whether from the North or South, like the men whom Zebah slew at Tabor, "each one resembled the children of a king."
Notwithstanding he now claims for the South all the glory of the past, the same distinguished gentleman, in his own State, in 1856, lamenting that South Carolina had no history, said:
"Where is your history? It is yet in tradition. The struggle is coming, the future is gloomy and lowering, and I cannot tell what it will bring forth. Now is the time. Every memorable people, at all times, have had a history written on their monuments, on their pyramids, or in books. South Carolina has none. A few years ago, your greatest man died. The nation mourned, and Clay and Webster strewed flowers upon his tomb. Finally, he came in a ship clothed in crape; the State mourned, but no monument rises to mark his fame."
Such was the mournful condition of South Carolina, as faithfully portrayed by one of her most eloquent and earnest defenders. Why had
14South Carolina no history? Why had Calhoun no monument? You will find a ready answer in the acts and declarations of your fathers. Now, such as South Carolina is, do you wish to make the States hereafter to be added to the Union? Do you wish to entail upon them an inheritance which, in after years, will compel from one of her sons so mournful a eulogium?
Gentlemen on this floor here have been dolorous in their lamentations as to the heavy burdens they have suffered since the adoption of the Constitution, and that they have now become insupportable; and they have not the philosophy to say they can
Than fly to others that they know not of."
As we have had Democratic Administrations most of the time of their oppression, now, in order to relieve the miseries, real or imaginary, I know of no other remedy but a change of rulers; and for their sakes we must make a vigorous effort to restore the Republic to the principles of Madison and Jefferson, so that their troubled spirits may find rest.
You know a certain remnant of Northern Democracy is a faithful ally. It has bent and bowed at your command. No doubt the old Free-Soil leaders believe as they did in 1848; but you must now allow them to assume any disguise, adhere to any standard, if they can only be camp-followers of a victorious legion. But you are determined, if they enter the Charleston Convention, it must not be erect and with banners flying, but as the serpent when he entered the garden. You mean that the only entrance shall be through a "hole in the wall;" but when they enter, they will find "greater abominations" than appeared in Ezekiel's vision. They will find "that the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it, and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it." Treat them kindly, for they speak "half in the speech of Ashdod," and will have to lisp, for they "cannot frame to pronounce" your shibboleth.
You taunt us with cowardice; that we have not the courage to do as Brown did. May it long be our boast, as it is now our pride, that we have not the courage to do wrong.
Who dares do more, is none."
Why this boast of courage? Are you not aware that bravery is an instinct of the man and brute creation? You see it in the gentle wren and the bold eagle, in the tiniest insect and the king of the forest, in all nations, in every age of the world, in all climates, and under all forms of society. You never heard of a nation lacking bravery. It is not the result of education or religion; but the nearer you reach the barbarian and uncivilised, the stronger the instinct, the more stubborn the bravery, the greater indifference to torture and death. See the Goths and Vandals, as they poured out of the cold and gloomy recesses of the North, and overran the polished Roman Empire. See the Russian heart stand unyielding before the science-directed missiles "of the Allies. See the North American savage, with soul unsubdued, ready to brave all dangers in battle. Your knowledge of history will teach you that the most unconquerable bravery comes from the cold climates and rough regions of northern countries. Again I ask, why do gentlemen thus talk? Mark the first and second wars with England. Go home, and ask the remnant of the gallant Palmetto regiment, who received the shock of battle on the plains of Mexico, where stood the New York volunteers, who, with them side by side, were in the thickest of the fight, at Churubusco, Cerro Gordo, and Chepultepec; and, when your gallant Butler fell at the head of the regiments of my State and yours, Northern warriors joined yours to carry him from the field, and regret that one so brave had fallen? Ask your own regiment what they think of Northern bravery.
In the history of the country you provoked and incited a controversy in which you met Northern bravery face to face on the plains of Kansas, and yon quailed before it and fled. Ask your border-ruffian banditti what they think of Northern courage? After the fight at Ossawatomie, where Brown received his cognomen, your men cowered at the very thought of meeting the stern freemen of the North, sustained by right, in battle array, and they made a precipitate flight, not waiting for the morning dawn, in spite of just such vaunts and boasts as you daily make on the floor of this House. Talk no more of Northern courage. You have felt their steel and seen their metal. They went not to meet in bloody strife, but to carve them out homes and fortunes amid those boundless prairies; but you met them as enemies, hedged up your highways, prevented their passage over your rivers by cannon, and compelled them to toil with arms in the furrow; "for the builders, every one, had his sword girded by his side, and so builded, and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared." Sir, these men went as men of peace:
Our fathers crossed the sea,
To make the West, as they the East,
The homestead of the free."
But, sir, while bravery is an instinct, true courage is the result of an educated head and disciplined breast; not to delight in the exhibition of physical ferocity, for mere gratification or personal resentment, but courageous from principle, to resist aggression and defend the right, at all hazard and every sacrifice.
Gentlemen have rebuked the great State which, in part, I represent. Sir, she needs no defence at my hands. Unlike South Carolina, she has a history written in books; also in the blood of her fathers, and the battle-fields of the Revolution and the second war; upon her monuments and her aqueducts; in all her industrial, commercial, mechanical, manufacturing, benevolent, and educational enterprises. It is written upon her mountain sides; by the banks of her rivers, and upon her flowing streams; in her thousands of miles of telegraph, railroad, and canal navigation; in her commerce, that whitens every sea, and floats the stars and stripes in every port of the wide, wide world. When did she ever hesitate
15to respond to the demands of her country, whether the call was for treasure or blood? The craven, traitorous notes of disunion are never heard in her borders, from the Canada frontier to the valley of the Susquehanna, from the inland seas to the crested waves of the Atlantic.
Let me speak of my own people — the district I more immediately represent. In the days of the Revolution, her soil was pressed with the foot of the invader, and her women and children felt the knife and tomahawk and merciless barbarities of savage warfare. Through the valley of the Mamakating and by the mountains of Minisink
With all his howling, desolating band."
On the evergreen mountains and by the Crystal streams of Sullivan, and in the valleys of Orange, rest the bones of those who nobly fought and fell. The graves of those brave men have never been violated by the steps of the disunionist, or their long repose disturbed by the sound of rebellion. In that district still stands the old mansion occupied by Washington; in it the same chair in which he sat, and the same table on which he wrote his celebrated answer to the mutinous letter of Armstrong, and presented to the world the spectacle of an army "victorious over its enemies, victorious over itself." On the same spot, too, he disbanded his grand army.
You reproach us because we will not do the menial service of hunting down your runaway slaves. There is not a man on this floor, of your own number, who would thus demean his manhood or disgrace his nobility. In my district, there may be two or three men who believe with you that slavery is a Divine institution, and ought to be extended. There are none who would resist the execution of your fugitive slave law; but I am frank and proud to tell you, I do not believe there is one who would place his hand upon the heaving breast of the fleeing fugitive who is panting for liberty as the hart panteth for the water-brooks, although there be symbols of ownership, in the brand of the master on his cheek, the rust of the iron on his limbs, and the scars of the lash on his back. No, sir; I rejoice that there is not one who, if he gave him a cup of cold water, would not feel that he could claim the blessing, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Not one who, if asked for bread, would give him a stone; if asked for a fish, would give him a serpent.
Because we do this, you say we are no longer Democrats. The people of the North can read and think; they are in a land of churches and free schools. When Pierce, in less than two years after his election, betrayed the Democracy into the hands of the slave trader, the people of his native New Hampshire — then and now as firm in Democracy as her granite hills are by the sounding sea — deserted the organization and rebuked his power. In less than two years after Buchanan is elected — and, outdoing Pierce, is willing to sell for less than thirty pieces of silver the constitutional rights of a free people into the hands of a despotic oligarchy — the people of his native Pennsylvania, now and then true to the principles bequeathed by Jefferson and Madison, seize the hand of the assassin of the rights of the people. And the Democracy of the North are firmly planted upon the ancient faith, that freedom is more desirable than servitude. The remote East, from New Hampshire, stretches forth her arms, and receives a welcome from the far West, even from the young sister which is nestled amid the head-waters of the Mississippi, and greet each other over the Keystone of the Union — "a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass."
The honorable member from South Carolina, [Mr. ASHMORE,] in his speech on Thursday last, in an eloquent and glowing description of the South, presented to our imaginations an array of greater proportions than the grand army Napoleon led to Moscow. They will probably take counsel of prudence, and remain at home; they might find a Russian winter in their path. Does the gentleman, candid and frank as I know him to be, forget that portion of history which assures him that many good men in the South dreaded rebellion against England in consequence of the insecurity that would follow to slave property? that this system of bondage prevented his people from bestowing the full measure of their abilities to the cause of Independence? that two of the serious defeats you suffered in the South were in consequence of your chattels suddenly converting themselves into sentient beings, and leading the enemy upon your armies? Are not the obstacles which your fathers encountered increasing every year, not only from the addition of numbers, but the intelligence which you say you are implanting in their minds? Will the slaves quietly stay at home and work, while the kindhearted patriarchs are engaged in the easy task of chastising the "heathen round about?" Look at the rigors of your fugitive slave law — the cruelties of your statutes — the jails in your own cities filled with slaves when you are about transporting them from place to place — the mother driving the cold steel to the heart of her offspring, rather than their limbs should be chafed with the chains of endless bondage — see within the very shadow of this Capitol, while the Representatives of a great and free people are deliberating, innocent, guiltless human beings driven, chained in gangs, guarded by armed men, and then answer the question. Or will you do as did good old Abraham — whose patriarchal system you so much venerate — when he heard Lot was taken captive, "armed his trained servants born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan." Try it; marshal your black regiments — your trained servants; you must be satisfied it is a Divine arrangement. You claim the attachment of your slaves; they certainly ought to love as did the trained servants of Abraham. You boast to have taken them into the covenant and circumcised them in the new faith.
I will not contemplate the collision of arms and banquet of blood to which you invite us, for I believe it to be the aim of civilization and mission of Christianity to teach
And justice more than mail."
Sir, I desire not, I will not, suffer myself to institute a comparison between the North and the South, but when gentlemen talk of armies of five hundred thousand to control opinion in the North, it must be they are talking to amuse our fancy; they certainly are not weak enough to suppose they can excite our fears. If a book of two hundred pages convulses your empire, and is so deadly a spark in your dangerous magazine; if John Brown and twenty followers could frighten your brave men, and make your women nervous, as one of your Virginia lawyers said in the late State trials in that State, do not deceive yourselves by any delusion that you can annihilate eighteen million freemen.
Gentlemen tell us, in certain contingencies they will dissolve the Union. However much you desire it, whatever of power and influence the "Gulf squadron" may bring to bear upon that issue, neither you nor your children's children will witness that gloomy event.
When you undertake such treason, there will be a Palmetto regiment to stand by New York, to save the ark of the covenant. We cannot surrender our principles at your dictation. We prefer an anarchy of opinion to an order like the order of Warsaw, founded on despotism. "Peace, and at such a time!" No, sirs; you will long have to march to the music of the Union; that music which is everywhere uprising, from the fields where labor is repaid, and the workshops where industry is rewarded; from the machinery which, through the instrumentality of steam, is doing the bidding of man; from the gigantic steamers that plow our rivers and lakes; from the buzz of the electric telegraph; and the scream of the iron horse. We are bound together by a common language, a common religion, and a common destiny. Majorities will still control the affairs of the nation. You cannot, you dare not, resist. We threaten not with bayonet, revolver, and bowie knife, but with the silent ballot,
As lightning does the will of God."
Your own people would rebuke your mad ambition. Their arm of power would be raised, and the voice of prayer ascend to spare us the curse of a ruptured brotherhood. They would suffer you to commit no such treason against human hope. They never would indulge you in the agricultural pursuit of which so flippantly you have spoken, "to run a burning plowshare over the foundations of the Republic."
The weal or woe of nations is in the hands of the American people, and they never will betray their trust. Their progress is onward; their aim is upward. Your blind and reckless infatuation cannot stay the advancing column. Throw in your lot with theirs, and it will be a "light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees;" but you have not the supernatural power, neither would your unholy designs deserve the Almighty aid which would "let the shadow return backward."
When you force this issue upon your own people, they will not move alone, but the spirit of him who was cradled in South Carolina and entombed in Tennessee will lead their hosts. When you raise the parricidal arm to stab the liberties of your country, you will hear the voice of the great Jackson, warning you now, as he did South Carolina in 1832, when he said:
"And then add, without horror and remorse, this happy Union we will dissolve; this picture of peace and prosperity we will deface; this free intercourse we will interrupt; these fertile fields we will deluge in blood; the protection of that glorious flag we will renounce; the very name of Americans we discard. And for what, mistaken men, for what do you throw away these inestimable blessings? Their object is disunion, but be not deceived by names — disunion by armed force is treason. Tell them that, compared to disunion, all other evils are light, because that brings with it an accumulation of all; declare that you will never take the field unless the star-spangled banner of your country shall float over you; that you will not be stigmatized when dead, and dishonored and scorned while you live, as the authors of the first attack on the Constitution of your country."
Not only guided by the spirit and prophetic admonition of Jackson, but, arming themselves with the ancient seal of Virginia, representing Virtue as their tutelary genius, robed in the drapery of an Amazon, resting one hand upon her lance, holding with the other a sword, trampling upon Tyranny under the figure of a prostrate man, having near him a crown fallen from his head, and bearing in one hand a broken chain, and in the other a scourge, while beneath the word Virginia is inscribed, sic semper tyrannis; under this sign they would march, and march to conquer. Then, from among the tribes of your own people, you would see "the shadow of mountains, as if they were men." It would be they who would move "Birnam wood to Dunsinane;" it would be they who would furnish the Macduffs to meet you on the field.
Humanity, with all its fears,
With all the hope of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
We know what master laid thy keel,
What workmen wrought thy ribs of steel;
Who made each mast, and sail, and rope,
What anvils rang, what hammers beat,
In what a forge and what a heat
Were shaped the anchors of thy hope!
Fear not each sudden sound and shock;
'Tis of the wave, and not the rock;
'Tis but the flapping of the sail,
And not a rent made by the gale!
In spite of rock and tempest's roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea;
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee!"
REPUBLICAN EXECUTIVE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE.
Hon. Preston King, N.Y., (Chairman,) J. W. Grimes, Iowa, L. F. S. Foster, Conn., on the part of the Senate; Hon. E. B. Washburne, Illinois, John Covode, Penn., (Treasurer,) E. G. Spaulding, N. Y., J. B. Alley, Mass., David Kilgore, Ind., J. L. N. Stratton, N.J., on the part of the House of Representatives.
During the Presidential Campaign, Speeches and Documents will be supplied at the following reduced prices: Eight pages, per 100, 50 cents; sixteen pages, per 100, $1.00; twenty-four pages, per 100, $1.50. Address either of the above Committee.
GEORGE HARRINGTON, Secretary.