« PreviousContinue »
fame, while envy, and jealousy, and blind partisan bigotry, and partisan domination shall stand overwhelmed and blinded amid the transcendent effulgence that shall emanate from the pages of that history wherein is weighed the actions of men at the gates of eternity. [Turning to Governor Seward, he said :)
HONORED SIR: In the name and on behalf of the freemen of Minnesota, I bid you welcome--welcome to our rising city, our infant state our homes, our altars, and our fires.
Fellow, CITIZENS: Governor Seward, of New York, who has received at the hands of a grateful people, who have thronged the waysides to honor him as he journeyed hither, one continued ovation from his own "sweet Auburn," along the shores of the great lakes to the falls of St. Anthony, in the language of Burke I can truly say that the people have everywhere “leaped upon him like children upon a long absent father," now stands before you. Hon. John W. North:
Fellow Citizens: We have met to-day to listen to a statesman who has long held a high place in the affections of our people; as well for his services to our territory and state, as for his lifelong devotion to the service of our common country; one who, by the united voice of friends and opponents, has been classed at the head of our living statesmen.
There is nothing remarkable in the homage that is paid to power, or in the empty praise that follows the rising fortunes of the mere politician. But when the people—unmoved by other considerations than those of genuine esteem and profound gratitude for noble services--come forth, as on the present occasion, in unprecedented numbers, to testify their appreciation of political integrity, profound statesmanship, and genuine manhood, it may well be marked as an exponent of the public virtue, and a guaranty that such qualities will continue to be sought for in our public servants. It teaches, also, that there are sublimer heights than those of official position or the chair of state-more enduring glory than a term of office or the brief prerogatives of power.
When profligate statesmen were framing mischief by law, and setting at defiance every principle of morality in the wild frenzy of partisan legislation, there was one to remind them that there was a “higher law" than the enactments of men, and which could not be thwarted or evaded by all their arts. When the body politic was convulsed by a disease too deep to be discovered by the political quacks who are ever administering anodynes and saving the Union, there was one who could discern the real sources of evil, and, from the serene heights of political philosophy, inform bewildered politicians that this was no ephemeral struggle." caused by a few fanatics, but " an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces," and which could not be terminated until our country became wholly slave territory or wholly free.
And now, when the spirit of slavery has seized the reins of government, controlled its legislation, grasped free territory, and degraded the judiciary so low as to teach the inhuman doctrine that one portion of the people have no rights" that the other portion " are bound to respect," there is one to tell them the simple but sublime truth that “the whole race suffers when injustice is done to the humblest and most despised of its members.
These, fellow citizens, are noble sentiments, and worthy of the statesman of your choice-a statesman whose patriotism is not bounded by sectional lines of mountains and rivers, nor his philanthropy by nationality--a friend of the oppressed of every land--a friend alike of the north and of the south, of the east and of the west, of the older states and the infant territories. I have the honor to introduce to you the honorable William H. Seward, of New York. MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., -John HUTCHINSON, Esq. :
Senator Seward : In behalf of the citizens of Minneapolis, of Hennepiu county, and this north western state, I take pleasure in extending to you a heartfelt welcome. We welcome you as the friend of freedom; we welcome you as the expounder and bold advocate of constitutional rights, and the true embodiment of republican principles. It is with unfeigned joy that we look upon you, for the first time, today, on our own soil. We are not unmindful, sir, of the fact that much of your life has been devoted to the good of your country, and that in the American senate you have ever been foremost in cementing into one common brotherhood this glorious confederacy, ever toiling assiduously for the supremacy of right and for our national prosperity, ever supporting those measures founded in justice, truth and equality, and ever fearlessly opposing tyranny, oppression and wrong.
And while the republicans of Minnesota were foremost, in the convention at Chicago, in presenting you as our standard-bearer, yet they were among the first to acquiesce and show their fidelity to principle by their firm and enthusiastic support of the present nominee. Asking you to take one hasty glance at our unequaled products and vast resources, I again bid you welcome, and have the honor, fellow citizens, to present to you the first living American statesman and senator, WILLIAM H. SEWARD. DUBUQUE, Iowa, -W. B. ALLISON, Esq. ::
Senator Seward: In the name and on behalf of the republicans of the state of lowa, on behalf of the thousands now present, and especially on behalf of the people of this city, whom you have honored by coming among us, I convey to you a cordial, sincere and heartfelt welcome, and an assurance of the exalted sense which we entertain of your character and public services.
The highest moral and intellectual qualities, steadily and triumphantly devoted to the noblest purposes, always command the respect and admiration of an enlightened and Christian people. Though few of the vast multitude now present have ever before met you face to face, yet all have long since learned to admire the eloquent zeal with which you have, for a series of years, maintained that our government was formed, in part, to foster and protect free labor, and to discourage and prohibit, whenever it has the power, slave labor. We all remember with what patriotic devotion you have ever opposed the federal recognition of human bondage, and with what power and eloquence you have battled against the apologists for and supporters of this fivefold barbarism. We remember your gallant but unavailing services in the great contest of 1854, in opposition to the ruthless hands that tore from the statute books the Missouri restriction, which had so long stood as a wall against the encroachments of human servitude.
Iowa was the first sovereign state that indorsed your efforts, and at the ballot box placed the seal of condemnation upon that act of perjury; and up to this hour has. stood true to the position then taken.
We remember your eloquent appeals in behalf of the citizens of Kansas in the hour of need and of peril. We remember, also, that your voice and your vote in the senate have ever been in favor of a policy tending to build up and unfold the infant settlements in our expansive west. Especially do we remember your aid in securing to our own state the munificent land grants which will advance us at least a decade in all that develops our material progress. We remember that you have ever aided in the improvement of our own western rivers and harbors--the great natural highways by which we are enabled cheaply to reach the markets of the
We remember that the cause of domestic industry, of education, of whatever, in short, is calculated to render us a prosperous, united and happy people, has found in you a watchful and efficient advocate.
With all these memories clustering about us and clinging to us, the enthusiasm with which we to-day greet you is but the spontaneous effusion of grateful and patriotic hearts. We recognize you as once the forerunner and now the champion of that million army which marches under the broad banner of republicanism. It is eminently fitting that the people of one sovereign state should assemble to hear and interchange sentiments with the distinguished men of other sovereign states.
1 See ante, page 96.
We are bound together by a thousand ties of interest, of sympathy, of affection and of duty. We have one common origin, one common constitution, one common country, and one common destiny. Especially is it fitting, then, at this hour of general distrust and alarm, that we should inquire “where we are, and whither we are tending."
It has been said the noblest homage a freeman can give, or a freeman receive, is the homage of hearts; that homage the thousand hearts that encircle you tender to you to-day, not the homage due a senator alone, but due the distinguished scholar and statesman whose fame is commensurate with the civilized world, and whose name is sacred to the oppressed everywhere. I do but echo the language of the throng that has crowded around you when I say again that to you we extend a cordial and friendly greeting. Saint JOSEPII, Mo.,—T. J. Boynton, Esq. :1
Senator SEWARD: I have been delegated by the republicans of St. Joseph to bid you, in their name, and in the name of all our citizens, welcome to our city. We greet you as the foremost man of this age--as the man whose philosophical statesmanship has won for him a name which is as broad as the globe, and which will live forever-as the man whose views are more consonant with that spirit of progress which is abroad in the world than the views of any other man of any country. We greet you as the citizen of our country, the broad philanthropy of whose teachings has done most to educate that spirit of progress and give it the true direction.
In one of your late speeches, you have predicted that the time is not distant when the Empire State and the Keystone State and the Old Dominion of the country will lie here in the Mississippi valley. This is a subject in which we, immediately, of the Missouri valley, are vitally interested. As selfish men, we have peculiar reason to greet you cordially; for when those measures which are matters of life or death for us have been deserted by those who should have been their proper and peculiar advocates, they have been championed by yourself. Some of us are republicans, but we are all business men; and we watch the fate, in congress, of those ineasures for the development of the west on which depends the prosperity or the decline of our city with the most anxious solicitude. We have nor those who are waiting to hear you. Once again, as republicans, as citizens of St. Joseph and of the great West, we bid you welcome. LEAVENWORTH, Kansas,—A. CARTER WILDER, Esq. :?
Sir: I am charged with the very honorable and grateful duty of expressing to you the profound regard and affectionate esteem of my fellow citizens assembled before you; and to extend to you a most cordial welcome to this metropolis of Kansas. We have watched, with pride and gratification, the demonstrations of respect and kindness which have attended every step of your journey from Auburn to Leavenworth. Such sincere homage is due to your character and illustrious public services; and no people have more reason to manifest their gratitude for your fidelity and friendship than the free people of Kansas.
Though holding a seat in the United States senate from the state of New York, Kansas and the Pacific claim you as their senator and statesman.
For when you retire, as perhaps you will do on the fourtlı of March next, from the place to which the empire state deputed you as her senator, and when one who reads the record of your speeches and your votes is asked what state did the occupant of that vacant chair represent, he will be forced to answer, I cannot tell !
Judging from your acts, it would seem that, whosoever were weak and lowly, whosoever brought peril and reproach upon their advocate, whosoever could do nothing in return for countenance and support rendered, they were the persons whom you put yourself forward to represent and defend. You took upon yourself the burdens which others rejected, and braved the unpopularity by which
others were dismayed. And thus the heart of the American people is with the man who was always in advance of their opinions, always seeing clear at the hour the truth which was to dawn upon their vision after it had been derided for many days; always combating boldly for the right, which had not yet become respected and acknowledged. LAWRENCE, Kansas,-Mayor DEITZLER:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD: The people of Lawrence, through a committee of citizens, and through their municipal authorities, have requested me to extend to you, and to the ladies and gentlemen constituting your party, a hearty welcome to the hospitalities of their city, and to assure you that they appreciate highly the distinguished compliment paid them, in being thus favored with an opportunity of seeing, hearing, and greeting the great republican chief whose name and fame are known and honored throughout the civilized world.
As we stand here, to-day, upon the ground where the Kansas rebellion, socalled, had its origin, and against which were directed, most frequently and persistently, the fierce and violent assaults of the myrmidons of slavery, and look back upon those scenes of oppression and wrong, and feel that we have in our midst the great and good man who, by his eloquent appeals and timely remonstrance, roused the great freedom-loving heart of the north to generous sympathy and noble deeds in our behalf, the occasion becomes one of deep and solemn interest.
In contemplating your distinguished and self-sacrificing services in defense of our cause-services which have enshrined the name of William H. Seward in the bearts of the freemen of Kansas--we are moved, by every sentiment of manly gratitude, and by every feeling of devotion to true greatness and real worth, to pray, with earnestness, God bless, and preserve for a long life of usefulness to the world, the purest patriot and the greatest statesinan of the age.
Again we welcome you to the heart of “the Saratoga of Freedom." Governor ROBINSON ::
The freemen of Kansas will not permit that Lawrence alone shall have the honor of bidding you welcome to the state of their adoption. Hence are they here in person, from every county and hamlet, and they bid me give words to their welcome, so far as hearts, throbbing with admiration and love, have utterance.
Owing to the recent settlement of our territory, the rudeness of our homes, the unparalleled obstacles thrown in the way of our progress, and the unprecedented drouth and consequent distress among our people, we cannot hope to receive you with that pomp and circumstance which have marked your progress hither; but we bring, what other states have not to give hearts overflowing with gratitude and respect due to the deliverer of a people from present and impending evil.
In the days of our political thraldom, when we were mocked with the promise of sovereignty, that we might be enslaved; when our people were persecuted, defrauded, plundered and murdered, that they might be driven to despair and crushed out; then it was that you, our honored guest, stood by us, denounced the tyranny, and interpreted the “handwriting upon the wall" in the ears of the whole nation, until the knees of the tyrant trembled with fear, and his heel was removed from the necks of our people.
The contest which has waged in this country since Kangas was opened to settlement, and before, is not local, but general; is not one of arms, but of ideas. It is true that there has been an occasional collision of arms in Kansas, and a bloody hand struck down one of the noblest and most gifted members of the senate; but here, our weapons of war are exchanged for husbandry--and, like truth crushed to earth, Charles Sumner has risen, and is found in the thickest of the conflict.
With this exception, this warfare has been one of ideas, of mind, of intellect, not carnal, but spiritaal; and it is in such a conflict we recognize William H. Seward ns commander-in-chief of freedom's host, and as such we welcome him to our
1 See ante page 101.
hearts and homes. His distinguished staff we also welcome as most worthy aids to such a general in such a cause.
In 1854, on the floor of the senate of the United States, you accepted the challenge of the slave power in these memorable words: “Come on, then, gentlemen of the slave states; since there is no escaping your challenge, I accept it in behalf of freedom. We will engage in competition for the virgin soil of Kansas, and God give the victory to the side that is stronger in numbers as it is in right.
Six years have elapsed, and to-day we present you Kansas free, to grace your triumph, with a constitution adopted by her people, without a stain of slavery to mar its beauty.
The times are most auspicious. The clouds that have so long darkened our political horizon are fast dispersing southward, and victory is marching upon victory throughout the entire north. With propriety, therefore, may we greet you on this occasion, as a conquering hero, fresh from the field of battle. God grant these triumphs may extend till they shall place the honest statesman of Illinois in the seat of power, with our guest at his right hand, when the conflict between freedom and the federal power shall be effectually and forever repressed.
Again, I welcome you to Kansas. In behalf of the people of whatever party, I welcome you as a statesman whom all Christendom is proud to honor. In behalf of those who battled for freedom on the soil of Kansas, I welcome you as their champion and defender. And in behalf of all the people, of whatever age, condition or sex, I welcome you as their deliverer from despotiv rule and the blighting curse of human slavery. CørCAGO, -JOHN WENTWORTH, Mayor:
Senator Seward: In welcoming you to our city, I should do injustice to the sentiments of the friends of free labor did I not congratulate you on the fresh laurels you have acquired by the different speeches you have made on your western tour. They have placed the devotees of human liberty under additional obligations to you, and given them new proof that you had “ rather be Right than be President." The truths, which you have uttered with so much eloquence and directness, will outlive the messages of presidents, and reproduce themselves at every attempt of avarice to make merchandise of Humanity. We consider ourselves under the greater obligations to you for the frankness and candor with which you have presented the sole issue of the day; since timid men, over-anxious for success, sometimes manifest a disposition to detract from the moral force of our certainly approaching victory by denying our faith and otherwise lowering our standard. It was our presidential candidate who uttered the words of prophetic truth, that these United States must eventually all be free or all be slave. Most heartily do we thank you for keeping this “irrepressible conflict” before the people in your travels; and never have you presented it with more persuasive accuracy than in your recent speeches. The laborers of this country must own themselves, and the least we can do to effect this object is, in the language of our presidential candidate, "to arrest the further spread of slavery, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction." Speeches like yours are the most effective weapons in the warfare for this extinction. We want no hostile incursions, servile insurrections, nor any illegal act of any kind. They will only retard the progress of the anti-slavery move
All that is wanted is a corrected southern opinion, reformed legislation, a rightfully interpreted constitution, and that you, sir, shall remain in the senate to originate and advocate measures until this nation shall claim you from the service of the state of New York, and make you the successor of one whose proverbial honesty and published opinions made him the nearest to your own personality that the late convention could get, withoilt depriving the country of your invaluable services in the senate.
i See ante page 108.