Page images
PDF
EPUB

design to trespass many moments on the Senate ; but al- Take all these resolutions together, and the deduction low me to read and offer a very few comments upon which we must necessarily draw from them is a denial to some portions of the Democratic platform. The first re- Congress of any power whatever to legislate upon the solution that treats upon the subject is in these words— subject of Slavery. The last resolution denies to the peoI read just so much of it as is applicable to my present ple of the Territories any power over that subject, save remarks:

when they shall have a sufficient number to form a con"That Congress has no power under the Constitution to in- stitution and become a State, and also denies that Conterfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several gress has any power over the subject; and so the resolu. States, and that all such States are the sole and proper judges tions hold that this power is at least in abeyance while of everything appertaining to their own affairs not prohibited the Territory is in a Territorial condition. That is the by the Constitution."

only conclusion which you can draw from these resoluI take it that this language, thus far, is language which tions. Alas! for short-lived Territorial Sovereignty! It meets a willing and ready response from every Senator came to its death in the house of its friends; it was buried here-certainly it does from me. But in the following by the same hands which had given it baptism ! resolution I find these words:

But, sir, I did not rise for the purpose of discussing Resolved, That the foregoing proposition covers, and was these resolutions, but only to read them, and state the intended to embrace, the whole subject of Slavery agitation action which I propose to take in view of them. I may in Congress."

-I probably shall-take some subsequent occasion, when The first resolution which I read was adopted years I shall endeavor to present to the Senate and the counago in Democratic Conventions. The second resolution try a fair account of what is the true issue presented to which I read was adopted in subsequent years, when a the people for their consideration and decision. different state of things had arisen, and it became neces- My object now is to show only that the Cincinnati Con. sary to apply an abstract proposition relating to the vention has indorsed and approved of the repeal of the States, to the Territories. Hence the adoption of the lan- Missouri Compromise, from which so many evils have guage contained in the second Resolution which I have already flowed-from which, I fear, more and worse read.

evils must yet be anticipated. It would of course, be ex. Now, sir, I deny the position thus assumed by the Cin- pected that the Presidential nominee of that Convention cinnati Convention. In the language of the Senator from would accept, cordially and cheerfully, the platform preKentucky (Mr. Crittenden), so ably and so appropriately pared for him by his party friends. No person can obused on Tuesday last, I hold that the entire and unquali- ject to that. There is no equivocation on his part about fied sovereignty of the Territories is in Congress. That the matter. I beg leave to read a short extract from a is my judgment; but this resolution brings the Territories speech of that gentleman, made at his own home within precisely within the same limitations which are applied the last few days. In reply to the Keystone Club, which to the States in the resolution which I first read. The paid him a visit there, Mr. Buchanan said: two taken together deny to Congress any power of legis- “ Gentlemen, two weeks since I should have made you & lation in the Territories.

longer speech; but now I have been placed on a platform Follow on, and let us see what remains. Adopted as a of which I most heartily approve, and that can speak for me. part of the present platform, and as necessary to a new Being the representative of the great Democratic party, and state of things, and to meet an emergency now existing, cording to the platform of the party, and insert no new plank,

not simply James Buchanan, I must square my conduct acthe Convention says:

nor take one from it." "The American Democracy recognize and adopt the princi: ples contained in the organic law establishing the Territories of which is to declare here that I can maintain political

These events leave to me only one unpleasant duty, Kansas and Nebraska, as embodying the only sound and safe solution of the Slavery question, upon which the great national associations with no party that insists upon such docidea of the people of this whole country can repose, in its de trines ; that I can support no man for President who termined conservatism of the Union--non-interference by Con. avows and recognizes them; and that the little of that gress with Slavery in the States and Territories."

power with which God has endowed me shall be emThen follows the last resolution:

ployed to battle manfully, firmly, and consiciently for “ Resolved, That we recognize the right of the people of all the his defeat, demanded as it is by the highest interests of Territories, including Kansas and Nebraska, acting through the country which owns all my allegiance. the fairly-expressed will of the majority of actual residents,

The President.—The question is on the motion of the and whenever the number of their inhabitants justifies it, to Senator from Maine to be excused from further service form a constitution, with or without domestic Slavery, and be on the Committee on Commerce. admitted into the Union upon terms of perfect equality with th, other States."

The motion was agreed to.

ACCEPTANCE OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES.

MESSRS. LINCOLN AND HAMLIN ACCEPT. The following is the correspondence between the officers of the Republican National Convention and the candidates thereof for President and Vice-President:

CHICAGO, May 18, 1860. To the Hon. ABRAHAM LINCOLN, of Ilinois.

SIR: The representatives of the Republican Party of the United States, assembled in Convention at Chicago, have this day, by a unanimous vote, selected you as the Republican candidate for the office of President of the United States to be supported at the next election; and the undersigned were appointed a Committee of the Con. vention to apprise you of this nomination, and respectfully to request that you will accept it. A declaration of the principles and sentiments adopted by the Convention accompanies this communication.

In the performance of this agreeable duty we take leave to add our confident assurance that the nomination of the Chicago Convention will be ratified by the suffrages of the people.

We have the honor to be, with great respect and regard, your friends and fellow-citizens.

GEORGE ASAMUN, of Massachusetts,

President of the Oonvention.
WM. M. EVARTS, of New-York,
JOEL BURLINGAMR, of Oregon,

EPHRAIM MARSH, of New-Jersey,
GIDEON WELLS, of Connecticut,
D. K. CARTER, of Ohio,
CARL SCHURZ, of Wisconsin,
JAMES F. Simmons, of Rhode Island,
John W. North, of Minnesota,
Gro. D. BLAKEY, of Kentucky,
PETER T. WASHBURN, of Vermont,
A. C. WILDER, of Kansas,
EDWARD H. Rollins, of New Hampshire,
FRANCIS S. CORKRAN, of Maryland,
NORMAN B. JUDD, of Illinois,
N. B. SMITHERS, of Delaware,
Wm. H. McCRILLIS, of Maine,
ALFRED CALDWELL, of Virginia,
CALEB B. SMITH, of Indiana,
Austin Blair, of Michigan,
Wm. P. CLARKE, of Iowa,
B. Gratz Brown, of Missouri,
F. P. Teacy. of California,
E. D. WEBSTER, of Nebraska,
G. A. Hall, of District of Columbia,
JOHN A. ANDREW, of Massachusetts,
A. H. REEDER, of Pennsylvania,

SPRINGFILD, ILL., May 28, 1860.
Hon. GEORGE Ashyun, President of the Republicar
National Conoention.

Sir: I accept the nomination tendered me by the Convention over which you presided, and of which I am

formally apprised in the letter of yourself and others, | as just and necessary to the preservation of the National acting as a Committee of the Convention for that pur- organization and the sacred right of representation, thie pose.

action of the Convention over which you continued to The declaration of principles and sentiments, which preside; and thus approving it, and having resolved to accompanies your letter, meets my approval ; and it sustain it, I feel that it does not become me to select the shall be my care not to violate, or disregard it, in any position 1 shall occupy, nor to shrink from the responsipart.

bilities of the post to which I have been assigned. Imploring the assistance of Divine Providence, and Accordingly, I accept the nomination from a sense of with due regard to the views and feelings of all who were public duty, and, as I think, uninfluenced in any degree represented in the Convention; to the rights of all the by the allurements of ambition. States, and Territories, and people of the nation; to the I avail myself of this occasion to say that the confidence inviolability of the Constitution, and the perpetual uni in my person and public character implied by the action harmony and prosperity of all, I am most happy to co- of the Convention, will always be gratefully remembered; operate for the practical success of the principles declared and it is but just, also, to my own feelings, to express my by the Convention.

gratification at the association of my name with that of Your obliged friend and fellow-citizen, my friend Gen. Lane, a patriot and a soldier, whose great ABRAHAM LINCOLN. services in the field and in council entitle him to the

gratitude and confidence of his countrymen. A similar letter was sent to the nominee for The resolutions adopted by the Convention have my the Vice-Presidency, to which the following is cordial approval. They are just to all parts of the Union, the reply.

to all our citizens, native and naturalized, and they forni

a noble policy for any administration. WASHINGTON, May 30, 1860. The questions touching the rights of persons and proGENTLEMEN : Your oficial communication of the 18th perty, which have of late been much discussed, find in instant, informing me that the representatives of the these resolutions a constitutional solution. Our Union is Republican party of the United States, assembled at Chi: a Confederacy of equal sovereign States, for the purposes cago, on that day, had, by a unanimous vote, selected enumerated in the Federal Constitution. Whatever the me as their candidate for the office of Vice-President of common Government hoids in trust for all the States must the United States, has been received, together with the be enjoyed equally by each. It controls the Territorios resolutions adopted by the Convention as its declaration in trust for all the States. Nothing less than sovereignty of principles.

can destroy or impair the rights of persons or property. Those resolutions enunciate clearly and forcibly the The Territorial Governments are subordinate and tempoprinciples which unite us, and the onjects proposed to be rary, and not sovereign; hence they cannot destroy or accomplished. They address themselves to all, and there impair the rights of persons or property. While they is neither necessity nor propriery in niy entering upon a continue to be Territories they are under the control of discussion of any of them. They have the approval of Congress, but the Constitution nowhere confers on any my judgment, and in any action of mine will be faith- branch of the Federal Government the power to discrimifully and cordially sustained.

nate against the rights of the States or the property of I am profoundly grateful to those with whom it is my their citizens in the Territories. It follows that the citipride and pleasure politically to coöperate, for the nomi- zens of all the States may enter the Territories of the nation so unexpectedly conferred; and I desire to tender Union with their property, of whatever kind, and enjoy it through you, to the members of the Convention, my sin during the territorial condition without let or hindrance, cere thanks for the confidence thus reposed in me. Should either by Congress or by the subordinate Territorial the nomination, which I now accepi, be ratified by the Governments. people, and the duties devolve upon me of presiding over These principles flow directly from the absence of the Senate of the United States, it will be my earnest sovereignty in the Territorial Governments, and from the endeavor faithfully to discharge them with a just regard equality of the States. Indeed, they are essential to that for the rights of all,

equality, which is, and ever has been, the vital principle It is to be observed, in connection with the doings of of our Constitutional Union. They have been settled the Republican Convention, that a paramount object legislatively-settled judiciously, and are sustained by with us is to preserve the normal condition of our Territo- right reason. They rest on the rock of the Constitutioutorial Domain as homes for Free men. The able advocate they will preserve the Union. and defender of Republican principles, whom you have It is idle to attempt to smother these great issues, or to nominated for the highest place that can gratify the misrepresent them by the use of partisan phrases, which ambition of man, comes from a State which has been are misleading and delusive. The people will look be made what it is, by special action, in that respect, of the neath such expressions as “Intervention,” “ Congresswise and good men who founded our institutions. The ional Slave Code," and the like, and will penetrate to the rights of free labor have there been vindicated and real questions in volved. The fiiends of Constitutional maintained. The thrift and enterprise which so distin- equality do not and never did demand a" Congressional guish Illinois, one of the most flourishing States of the Slave Code," nor any other code in regard to property in glorious West, we would see secured to all the Territories the Territories. They hold the doctrine of non-intervenof the Union; and restore peace and harmony to the tion by Congress, or by a Territorial Legislature, either whole country, by bringing back the Government to what to establish or prohibit Slavery; but they assert (fortifi. it was under the wise and patriotic men who created it. ed by the highest judicial tribunal in the Union) the plain If the Republicans shall succeed in that object, as they duty of the Federal Government, in all its departments, hope to, they will be held in grateful remembrance by the to secure, when necessary, to the citizens of all the busy and teeming millions of future ages.

States, the enjoyment of their property in the common I am, very truly yours, Territories, as everywhere else within its jurisdiction.

H. HAMLIN. The only logical answer to this would seem to be to The Hon. GEORGE Ashmon, President of the Convention, claim sovereign power for the Territories, or to deny and others of the Convention.

that the Constitution recognizes property in the services

of negro slaves, or to deny that such property can exist. MR. BRECKINRIDGE ACCEPTS.

Inexorable logic, which works its steady way through

clouds and passion, compels the country to meet tho WASHINGTON City, July 6, 1860. issue. There is no evasive middle ground. Already the Dear Sir: I have your letter of the 230 ultimo, by signs multiply of a fanatical and growing party, which which I am officially informed of my nomination for the denies that under the Constitution, or by any other law, office of President of the United States by the Democratic slave property can exist; and ultimately the struggle National Convention lately assembled at Baltimore. must come between this party and the National Demo

The circumstances of this nomination will justify me in cracy, sustained by all the other conservative elements referring to its personal aspect.

in the Union. I have not sought nor desired to be placed before the I think it will be impossible for a candid mind to discountry for the office of President. When my name was

cover hostility to the Union or a taint of sectionalism presented to the Convention at Charleston, it was with in the resolutions adopted by the Convention. The drawn by a friend in obedience to my expressed wishes. Constitution and the Union repose on the equality My views had not changed when the Convention reas of the States, which lies like a broad foundation undersembled at Baltimore, and when I heard of the differences neath our whole political structure. As I construe which occurred there, my indisposition to be connected them, the resolutions simply assert this equality. They prominently with the canyass was confirmed and ex. demand nothing for any state or section that is not pressed to many friends.

cheerfully conceded to all the rest. It is well to rememWithout discussing

the occurrences which preceded the ber that the chief disorders which have afilicted our nominations, and which are or soon will be well under country have grown out of the violation of State equality, stood by the country, I have only to say that I approved, and that as long as this great principle has been respected

I

I am,

we have been blessed with harmony and peace. Nor will, and no more shall we be troubled with the agitation of it be easy to persuade the country that resolutions are this dangerous question, because it will be removed as sectional which command the support of a majority of well from the Territorial legislatures as from the halls of the States, and are approved by the bone and body of Congress—when we shall be free to turn our attention to the old Democracy, and by a vast mass of conservative more useful issues, promotire of our growth in national opinion everywhere, without regard to party.

greatness. It has been necessary more than once in our history, Our Union must be preserved! But this can only be to pause and solemnly assert the true character of this done by maintaining the Constitution inviolate in all its Government. A memorable instance occurred in the provisions and guaranties. The Judicial authority, as struggle which ended in the civil revolution of 1800. provided by the Constitution, must be maintained, and its The Republicans of that day, like the Democracy of this, decisions implicitly obeyed, as well in regard to the rights were stigmatized as disunionists, but they dobly conduct property in the Territories as in all other matters. ed the contest under the Constitution, and saved our po- Hoping for success, and trusting in the truth and justice litical system. By a little constitutional struggle it is of the principles of our party, and in that Divine Proviintended to assert and establish the equality of the dence that has watched over us and made us one of the States, as the only basis of union and peace. When this great nations of the earth, and that we may continue to object, so national, so constitutional, so just, shall be merit Divine protection, I cheerfully accept the nomina. accomplished, the last cloud will disappear from the tion so unanimously conferred on me, and cordially inAmerican sky, and with common hands and hearts the dorse the platform adopted by the Convention. States and the people will unite to develop the resources I have the honor to be, sir, with much respect, of the whole country, to bind it together with the bonds

Your friend and obedient servant, of intercourse and brotherhood, and to impel it onward

JOSEPH LANE, in its great career. The Constitution and the Equality of the States ! These

MR. DOUGLAS ACCEPTS. are symbols of everlasting Union. Let these be the ral. lying cries of the people.

WASHINGTON, Friday, June 29, 1860. I trust that this canvass will be conducted without GENTLEMEN : In accordance with the verbal assurance rancor, and that temperate arguments will take the which I gave you when you placed in my hands the place of hot words and passionate accusations.

authentic evidence of my nomination for the Presidency Above all, I venture humbly to hope that Divine Provi. by the National Convention of the Democratic party, I dence, to whoin we owe our origin, our growth, and all now send you my formal acceptance. Upon a careful our prosperity, will continue to protect our beloved examination of the platform and principles adopted at country against all danger, foreign and domestic. Charleston and reaffirmed at Baltinore, with an additional with great respect, your friend,

resolution which is in perfect harmony with the others, I Joun C. BRECKINRIDGE. find it to be a faithful embodiment of the time-honored The Hon. C. CUSHING, President of the Democratic National principles of the Democratic party, as the same were pro. Convention.

claimed and understood by all parties in the Presidential GEN. LANE'S ACCEPTANCE,

contest of 1848, 1852, and 1856.

Upon lookirg into the proceedings of the Convention WASHINGTON, June 30, 1860.

also, I find that the nomination was made with great Hon. CALEB CUSHING, PRESIDENT OF THE DEMOCRATIC NA- unanimity, in the presence and with the concurrence of TIONAL CONVENTION :

more than two-thirds of the whole number of delegates, SIR-I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the and in accordance with the long-established usages of communication you make in behalf of the Democratic the party. My inflexible purpose not to be a candidate, National Convention, in which you inform me that, on the nor accept the nomination under any contingency, excepi 23d inst., I was unanimously nominated by that party for as the regular nominee of the National Democratic party the office of Vice-President of the United States, with the and in that case only upon the condition that the usages, request that I shall accept the nomination,

as well as the principles of the party, should be strictly The platform adopted, and of which you inclose me a adhered to, had been proclaimed for a long time and copy, meets with my hearty approval, as it embodies become well known to the country. These conditions what I have been contending for as the only means of having all been complied with by the free and voluntary stopping sectional agitation, by securing to all equality action of the Democratic masses and their faithful repreand constitutional rights, the denial of which has led to sentatives, without any agency, interference, or procurethe present unhappy condition of public affairs.

ment, on my part, I feel bound in honor and duty to Compromises of constitutional principles are ever dan- accept the nomination. In taking this step, I am not gerous, and I am rejoiced that the true Democracy has unmindful of the responsibilities it imposes, but with firm seen fit to plant a firm foot on the rock of truth, and to reliance upon Divine Providence I have the faith that the give the people an opportunity to vindicate their love of people will comprehend the true nature of the issues injustice and fraternal regard for each other's rights. volved, and eventually maintain the right.

Non-intervention on the subject of Slavery, I may em- The peace of the country and the perpetuity of the phatically say, is that cardinal maxim of the Democracy Union have been put in jeopardy by attempts to interfere -non-intervention by Congress and non-intervention by with and control the domestic affairs of the people in the Territorial Legislatures, as is fully stated in the first reso- Territories, through the agency of the Federal Governlution of the adopted platform,

ment. If the power and the duty of Federal interference In vain should we declare the former without insisting is to be conceded, two hostile sectional parties must be upon the latter; because, to permit Territorial legisla- the inevitable result—the one inflaming the passions and tures to prohibit or establish Slavery, or by unfriendly le- ambitions of the North, the other of the South, and each gislation to invalidate property, would be granting powers struggling to use the Federal power and authority for to the creature or agent, which, it is admitted, do not ap- the aggrandizement of its own section, at the expense pertain to the principal, or the power that creates; besides of the equal rights of the other, and in derogation of which, it would be fostering an element of agitation in the those fundamental principles of self-government which Territory that must necessarily extend to Congress and were firmly established in this country by the American the people of all the States.

Revolution, as the basis of our entire republican system. If the Constitution establishes the right of every citizen During the memorable period of our political history, to enter the common territory with whatever property he when the advocates of Federal intervention upon the sublegally possesses, it necessarily devolves on the Federal ject of Slavery in the Territories had well-nig) “precipi. Government the duty to protect this right of the citizen tated the country into revolution," the Northern Intervenwhenever and wherever assailed or infringed. The De- tionists demanding the Wilmot Proviso for the prohibition mocratic party honestly meets this agitating question, of Slavery, and the Southern interventionists, then few in which is threatening to sever and destroy this brotherhood number, and without a single Representative in either of States. It does not propose to legislate for the exten. House of Congress, insisting upon Congressional legislasion of Slavery, nor for its restriction, but to give to each tion for the protection of Slavery in opposition to the State and to every citizen all that our forefathers proposed wishes of th: people in either case, it will be remembered to give-namely, perfect equality of rights, and then to that it required all the wisdom, power and influence of a commit to the people, to climate, and to soil, the determi- Clay and a Webster and a Cass, supported by the consernation as to the kind of institution best fitted to their re. vative and patriotic men of the Whig and Democratic parquirements in their constitutional limits, and declaring as ties of that day, to devise and carry out a line of policy a fundamental maxim, that the people of a Territory can which would restore peace to the country and stability to only establish or prohibit Slavery when they come to form the Union. The essential living principle of that policy, as a constitution, preparatory to their admission as a State applied in the legislation of 1850, was, and now is, noninto the Union.

intervention by Congress with Slavery in the TerritoIf, happily, our principles shall prevail, an era of peace ries. The fair application of this just and equitable prinand harmony will be restored to our distracted country, 'ciple restored harmony and fraternity to a distracted coun.

[ocr errors]

"

try. If we now depart from that wise and just policy | the propriety of acting in so gave a matter with greater which produced these happy results, and permit the coun. deliberation, I concluded, as I informed you at the time try to be again distracted; if precipitated into revolution by a private note, to defer a formal acceptance until after by a sectional contest between Pro-Slavery and Anti-Sla- my arrival at home.

Now that I have had all the leisure I could desire for revery interventionists, where shall we look for another Clay, another Webster, or another Cass to pilot the ship of State fection upon the circumstances under which the nominaover the breakers into a haven of peace and safety ? tion was made, the purity of the motives and the lofty

The Federal Union must be preserved. The Constitu- j spirit of patriotism by which the Convention was animation must be maintained inviolate in all its parts. Every ted, as evinced in all its proceedings, I can appreciate right guaranteed by the Constitution must be protected more justly the honor done me by the nomination; and, by law in all cases where legislation is necessary to its en though it might have been more fortunate for the country joyment. The judicial authority, as provided in the Con- had it fallen upon some one of the many distinguished statesstitution, must be sustained, and its decisions implicitly men whose names were brought to the notice of the Con. obeyed and faithfully executed. The laws must be ad- vention, rather than myself, I accept it, with all its possiministered and the constituted authorities upheld, and ble responsibilities. Whatever may be the issue of the all unlawful resistance to these things must be put down ensuing canvass, as for myself, I sball ever regard it as a with firmness, impartiality and fidelity, if we expect to proud distinction-one worth a lifelong effort to attainenjoy and transmit unimpaired to our posterity, that to be pronounced worthy to receive the highest office in blessed inheritance which we have received in trust from the Government at such a time as the present, and by such the patriots and sages of the Revolution.

a Convention as that which recently met in Baltimore-a With sincere thanks for the kind and agreeable man

Convention far less imposing by the number of its memner in which you have made known to me the action of bers, large as it was, than by their high character. In it the Convention, I have the honor to be,

were men venerable alike for their age and their public Your friend and fellow citizen,

services, who could not have been called from their volun. S. A. DOUGLAS.

tary retirement from public life, but by the strongest sense Hon. Wm. H. Ludlow, of New-York; R. P. Dick, of

of patriotic duty; others, though still in the prime of life, North Carolina ; P. C. WICKLIFF, of Louisiana, and others ranking with the first men of the country by honors and of Committee.

distinctions already acquired in high official positions,

State and national, many of them statesmen worthy to fill MR. FITZPATRICK DECLINES.

the highest office in the government; a still greater num

ber occupying the highest rank in their respective profesWASHINGTON, June 25, 1860.

sional pursuits; others distinguished by their intelligence GENTLEMEN : Your letter of today, informing me that I and well-earned influence in various walks of private life, “have been unanimously nominated by the National Con

and all animated and united by one spirit and one purvention of the Democratic party, which met at Charleston pose-the result of a strong conviction that our political on the 230 day of April last, and adjourned to meet at system, under the operation of a complication of disorders, Baltimore on the 18th day of June, as their candidate for is rapidly approaching a crisis when a speedy change must the office of Vice-President,” was duly received.

take place, indicating, as in diseases of the physical body, Acknowledging with the liveliest sensibility this distin

recovery or death, guished mark of your confidence and regard, it is with no The Convention, in discarding the use of platforms, exordinary feelings of regret that considerations, the recital

act no pledge from those whom they deem worthy of the of which I will not impose upon you, constrain me to de highest trusts under the Government; wisely considering cline the nomination so flatteringly tendered. My desig- that the surest guaranty of a man's future usefulness and nation as a candidate for this high position would have fidelity to the great interests of the country, in any oftibeen more gratifying to me if it had proceeded from the

cial station to which he may be chosen, is to be found in united Democracy-united both as to principles and men.

his past history conne ed with the public service. The The distracting differences at present existing in the pledge implied in my acceptance of the nomination of the ranks of the Democratic party were strikingly exemplified National Union Convention is, that should I be elected, I both at Charleston and at Baltimore, and, in my humble will not depart from the spirit and tenor of my past opinion, distinctly admonish me that I should in no way

course; and the obligation to keep this pledge derives a contribute to these unfortunate divisions.

double force from the consideration that none is required • The Black Republicans have harmoniously (at least in

from me. Convention) presented their candidates for the Presidency You, sir, in your letter containing the official announce. and Vice-Presidency. So have the Constitutional Union

ment of my nomination, have been pleased to ascribe to party (as it is termed). Each party is already engaged in me the merit of moderation and justice in my past public the contest. In the presence of such organizations we still, career. You have likewise given me credit for a uniunfortunately, exhibit a divided camp. What a melan. forin support of all wise and beneficent measures of legis. choly spectacle ! It is calculated to cause every Democratic lation, for a firm resistance to all measures calculated to citizen who cherishes the Constitution of his country to engender sectional discord, and for a lifelong devotion to despord, if not to despair, of the durability of the Union.

the Union, harmony, and prosperity of these States. Desirous, as far as I am capable of exercising any influ- Whether your personal partiality has led you to overence, to remove every obstacle which may prevent a resto- state my merits as a public man or not in your enumeraration of the peace, harmony, and perfect concord of that tion of them, you have presented a summary-a basis of glorious old party to which I have been inflexibly devoted all sound American statesmanship. It may be objected from early manhood—a party, which, in my deliberate that nothing

is said in this summary, in express terms, of opinion, is the only real and reliable ligament which binds the obligations imposed by the Constitution; but the the South, the North, the East, and the West together upon duty to respect and observe them is clearly implied, for constitutional principles—no alternative was left to me without due observance in the conduct of the Govern. but that which I have herein most respectfully communi- ment of the Constitution, its restrictions, and requirecated to you.

ments, fairly interpreted in accordance with its spirit For the agreeable manner in which you have conveyed and objects, there can be no end to sectional discord-no to me the action of the Convention, accept my sincere security for the harmony of the Union. thanks.

I have not the vanity to assume that in my past conVery truly your friend and obedient servant,

nection with the public service I have exemplified the

B. FITZPATRICK, course of a sound American statesman; but if I have To Wx. H. LUDLOW, of New-York, and others.

deserved the favorable view taken of it in your letter, I 'The Democratic National Committee subse- which I have heretofore been guided, not altogether to dis

may hope, by a faithful adherence to the maxims by quently nominated the Hon. Herschel V. John- appoint the confidence and expectations of those who son, of Georgia, who accepted the position. have placed me in my present relation to the public; and

if, under Providence, I should be called to preside over MR. BELL ACCEPTS.

the affairs of this great country as the Executive Chief of

the Government, the only further pledge I feel called upon NASHVILLE, May 21, 1860. to make is, that the utmost of my ability, and with whatDEAR SIR: Official information of my nomination to the ever strength of will I can command, all the powers and Presidency by the National Union Convention, of which influence belonging to my official station, shall be employed you were the presiding officer, was communicated to me and directed for the promotion of all the great objects for by your letter of the 11th inst., at Philadelphia, on the which the Government was instituted, but more espeeve of my departure with my family for my place of resi- cially for the maintenance of the Constitution and the dence in Tennessee; and diffident as I was of my worthi- Union against all imposing influences and tendencies. ness, I did not hesitate to signify my intention to accept I cannot conclude this letter without expressing my the position assigned to me by that distinguished and pa- high gratification at the nomination to the second office triotic body. But for convenience, and under a sense of under the Government, of the eminently-gifted and distinguished statesman of Massachusetts, Edward Everett, , ing a single eye to that meritorious object. As far as the a gentlemen held by general consent to be altogether purchase of Mount Vernon is concerned, that object bas worthy of the first.

been effected, under the judicious and efficient man. Tendering my grateful acknowledgments for the kind j agement of the Regent and Vice-Regents of the Assoand complimentary manner in which you were pleased ciation, with the aid of their intelligent and active assistto accompany the communication of my nomination, I ants throughout the Union. But a sum of money equal am, dear sir, with the highest respect,

to that already raised is still wanting for the repair of Your obedient servant,

JOHN BELL. the Mansion, the inclosure of the land purchased, the To the Hon. WASHINGTON HUNT,

restoration of the house and grounds, as far as practi

cable, to their condition in 1800, and the establishment MR. EVERETT'S ACCEPTANCE. of a permanent fund for their conservation.

I ONA that I am desirous still to enjoy the privilege of coöpeBoston, May 29, 1860.

rating in this noble work, which, however, it will be iner MY DEAR SIR: I have duly received your letter of the possible for me to do to any advantage, whatever may 11th, in which you inform me officially, that the National be the result of the present canvass, if I am drawn into Union Convention, recently in session at Baltimore, had the vortex of a strenuously contested election. There done me the honor to nominate me as its candidate for are many parts of the country which I have not yet the office of Vice-President of the United States.

visited. I had promised myself a rich harvest from the I am deeply impressed with this manifestation of the patriotic liberality of the States on the Gulf of Mexico, favorable opinion of the Convention, comprising as it did and of those on the Mississippi River (which I have not among its members so many persons distinguished for yet been able to visit, with the exception of Missouri, public service, patriotism and intelligence; and fairly through often kindly invited), and I confess that it is representing a considerable portion of the conservative very painful to me to withdraw from that broad field feeling of the country. For the great cordiality with of congenial labor to tread the thorny and thankless which, as you inform me, my name was proposed and paths of politics. received, my warmest thanks are due.

Apart from the pecuniary aspects of the case, which, The grateful acceptance of such a nomination would, however, are of considerable importance, I will candidly under ordinary circumstances, be a matter of course; say that in holding up to the admiring veneration of the but it has unavoidably been with me the subject of long Anierican people the peerless name of Washington, and anxious hesitation. The grounds of this hesitation I (almost the only bond of fraternal sentiment which the owe it to the Convention which has honored me with bitterness of our sectional controversies has left us), I this mark of its confidence, and to myself, to explain; feel as if I was doing more good, as far as I am able to Joath as I am to dwell on matters of personal interest do any good, and contributing more to revive the kindly of no importance to the public.

feeling which once existed between North and South, It is generally known that I have, for some years and which is now, I grieve to say, nearly extinct, than I past, retired from active participation in political life, could possibly do by engaging in the wretched scramble not, as I hope I have shown, from indolence or want of for office-which is one great source of the dangers that sympathy with my fellow-citizens in the pursuit of the threaten the country. great objects of social life. The reasons of my retire- These considerations, and others of a still more personal ment have been more than once publicly stated, and I nature, have necessarily occasioned me to reflect long and beg to repeat them here from my speech at the Union anxiously, before accepting the nomination with which meeting in Paneuil Hall last December:

the Union Convention has honored me. In yielding at "I did not suppose that anything could occur which length to the earnest solicitations which have been adwould make me think it my duty to appear again on this dressed to me, from the most respectable sources in almost platform, on any occasion of a political character; and every part of the Union, I make a painful sacrifice of had this meeting been of a party nature, or designed to inclination to what I am led to believe a public duty. It promote any party purposes, I should not have been has been urged upon me, and I cannot deny that such is here. When compelled, by the prostration of my health, my own feelings, that we have fallen upon times that call five years ago, to resign the distinguished place which I upon all good citizens, at whatever cost of personal conthen filled in the public service, it was with no expectation, venience, to contribute their share, however humble, to no wish, and no intention of ever again mingling in the the public service. scenes of public life. I have, accordingly, with the par- I suppose it to be the almost universal impression—it is tial restoration of my health, abstained from all partici- certainly mine-that the existing state of affairs is expation in political action of any kind; partly because I tremely critical. Our political controversies have subhave found a more congenial, and, as I venture to think, stantially assumed an almost purely sectional charactera more useful occupation, in seeking to rally the affec- that of a fearful struggle between the North and the tions of my countrymen, North and South, to that great South. It would not be difficult to show at length the name and precious meniory which are left almost alone perilous nature and tendency of this struggle, but I can of all the numerous kindly associations which once only say, on this occasion, that, in my opinion, it cannot bound the different sections of the country together, and be much longer kept up, without rending the Union. I also because, between the extremes of opinion that have do not mean that either of the great parties in the country long distracted and now threaten to convulse the coun- desires or aims at a separation of the States as a final try, I find no middle ground of practical usefulness, on object, although there are extremists in nsiderable which a friend of moderate counsels can stand."

numbers who have that object in view. While a potent .'t having been suggested to me, notwithstanding these and a baleful influence is exercised by men of this class, avowals, that I might be thought of, at the Union Con- in both sections of the Union, a portion of the conservavention, as a candidate for the Presidency, I requested, tive masses are insensibly and gradually goaded into conby telegraphic message and by letter, that my name, if currence with opinions and sentiments with which, in the brought forward, might be withdrawn. It is true that in outset, they had no sympathy. Meantime, almost wholly these communications I had only in view a nomination neglecting the main public interests, our political controto the Presidency, none other having been suggested to versies turn more and more on questions, in reference to me; but all the reasons above indicated, which led me which, as abstract formulæ, the great sections of the in advance to decline such a nomination, apply with country differ irreconcilably, though there is nothing equal force to the Vice-Presidency. These reasons, of practically important at stake which requires the discuscourse, still exist in unimpaired force, and I cannot now sion to be kept up. These controversies are carried on take an active part in politics without abandoning a with steadily increasing bitterness and exasperation. The deliberately formed purpose, and even exposing myself passions thus kindled have already led to acts of violence to the suspicion of insincerity in its persistent avowal. and bloodshed, approaching to civil war in the Territories, Without dwelling upon these consideratinns, of which, and attempted servile insurrection in the States.

The however, I am sure the weight will be admitted, I beg great religious and philanthropic associations of the coun. leave to advert for a moment to my connection with the try are sundered, and the kindly social relations of North movement for the purchase of Mount Vernon, to which and South seriously impaired. The national House of your letter alludes in such obliging terms. The favor Representatives, hovering on the verge of anarchy, rewhich has attended my exertions in that cause (if I may quires weeks to effect an organization, which ought to be without indelicacy say anything on that subject) has been the work of an hour, and it holds its sessions (many of its mainly the result of my known and recognized discon- members, I am told, armed with concealed weapons, on nection from party politics. If it could have been even the crust of a volcano. The candidates for the Presidency plausibly insinuated that I was, or intended to become, representing respectively the dominant sectional ideas, a candidate for high political 'honors, I should, în my will, at the ensuing election, in all probability, be supvarious excursions in aid of that fund, have laid myself ported by a purely geographical vote. In other words, open to the imputation of speaking one word for Mount we are already brought to a pass, at which North and Vernon and two for myself.” As it is, the people through South cannot and will not coöperate in the periodical out the Union have generously given me credit for hav. I reorganization of the Government.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »