« PreviousContinue »
HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
29. Fifty-third and last ballot:-Scott, 159; Fillmore, 112; Webster, 21.
For Vice-President, William A. Graham, of North Carolina, was nominated on the second ballot..
"The Whigs of the United States, in convention assembled, adhering to the great conservative principles by which they are controlled and governed, and now as ever relying upon the intelligence of the American people, with an abiding confidence in their capacity for self-government and their devotion to the Constitution and the Union, do proclaim the following as the political sentiments and determination for the establishment and maintenance of which their national organization as a party was effected:
"First. The government of the United States is of a limited character, and is confined to the exercise of powers expressly granted by the Constitution and such as may be necessary and proper for carrying the granted powers into full execution, and that powers not granted or necessarily implied are reserved to the States respectively and to the people.
"Second. The State governments should be held secure as to their reserved rights, and the general government sustained in its constitutional powers, and that the Union should be revered and watched over as the palladium of our liberties.
"Third. That while struggling freedom everywhere enlists the warmest sympathy of the Whig party we still adhere to the doctrines of the Father of his Country, as announced in his Farewell Address, of keeping ourselves free from all entangling alliances with foreign countries and never quitting our own to stand upon foreign grounds; that our mission as a republic is not to propagate our opinions, or impose upon other countries our form of government by artifice or force, but to teach by example and show by our suc cess, moderation, and justice the blessings of self-government and the advantages of free institutions.
"Fourth. That, as the people make and control the government, they should obey its Constitution, laws, and treaties as they would
Martin Van Buren, 8th president; born at Kinderhook, N. Y., December 5, 1782; lawyer; surrogate of Columbia county; member of state senate, 1813-20; attorney general of state of New York, 1815-19; delegate to state constitutional convention, 1821; United States senator from March 4, 1821 to 1828, when he resigned to become governor of New York State; resigned March 12, 1829 to become secretary of state of the United States; resigned August 1, 1831, having been appointed minister to Great Britain, but the senate rejected the nomination; elected vice president, 1832; elected president in 1836; defeated for reelection in 1840; anti-slavery candidate for president in 1848; died at Kinderhook, N. Y., July 24, 1862.
retain their self-respect and the respect which they claim and will enforce from foreign powers.
"Fifth. Governments should be conducted on principles of the strictest economy, and revenue sufficient for the expenses thereof in time of peace ought to be derived mainly from a duty on imports, and not from direct taxes; and in laying such duties sound policy requires a just discrimination, and, when practicable, by specific duties, whereby suitable encouragement may be afforded to American industry equally to all classes and to all portions of the country.
"Sixth. The Constitution vests in Congress the power to open and repair harbors and remove obstructions from navigable rivers whenever such improvements are necessary for the common defense and for the protection and facility of commerce with foreign nations or among the States, said improvements being in every instance national and general in their character.
"Seventh. The Federal and State governments are parts of one system, alike necessary for the common prosperity, peace, and security, and ought to be regarded alike with a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment. Respect for the authority of each, and acquiesence in the just constitutional measures of each, are duties required by the plainest considerations of national, State, and individual welfare.
That the series of acts of the Thirty-second Congress, the act known as the Fugitive Slave law included, are received and acquiesced in by the Whig party of the United States as a settlement in principle and substance of the dangerous and exciting questions which they embrace; and, so far as they are concerned, we will maintain them and insist upon their strict enforcement until time and experience shall demonstrate the necessity for further legislation to guard against the evasion of the laws on the one hand and the abuse of their powers on the other, not impairing their present efficiency; and we deprecate all further agitation of the question thus settled as dangerous to our peace, and will discountenance all efforts to continue or renew such agitation, whenever, wherever, or however the attempt may be made; and we will maintain this system as essential to the nationality of the Whig party and the integrity of the Union."
HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Except for its brevity, manner of detailed treatment, and some differences on miscellaneous topics which the general public was not inclined to consider important, the Whig platform was identical with the Democratic. It was dictated by the southern delegates, who, on the first day of the convention, held a caucus and decided on the resolutions that they would accept.1 The last plank, which was as absolute and comprehensive an endorsement of the southern position as the Democrats had put forth, was warmly debated by the convention and adopted by a vote of 212 to 70.2 There was not an expression or allusion in the platform that could be construed as of sympathetic feeling toward the great anti-slavery constituency of the Whig party.
In nominating General Scott the party was understood to have been actuated by the same spirit of discretion that it had so conspicuously shown and that had proved so wise in 1848. He had in no way been identified with the controversies on the slavery question, and was expected, on account of his colorless views, military distinction, and the high respect in which he was held, to be acceptable to the whole country. It could well be said that he belonged equally to both sections, as he was a southerner by birth and ancestry but a northerner by residence.
The old-line Whig leaders fully believed that the Compromises of 1850 had settled the slavery issue. The party had been founded and maintained for ideas
1Edward Stanwood, A History of Presidential Elections, p. 183. 2Greeley and Cleveland's Political Text-Book for 1860, p. 19.