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Democratic conventions. The second resolution which I read was adopted in subsequent years, when a different state of things had arisen, and it became necessary to apply an abstract proposition, relating to the States, to the territories. Hence the adoption of the language contained in the second resolution which I have read.
THE POWER OF CONGRESS.
Now, sir, I deny the position thus assumed by the Cincinnati Convention. In the language of the Senator from Kentucky, (Mr. Crittenden,) so ably and appropriately used on Tuesday last, I hold that the entire and unqualified sovereignty of the territories is in Congress. That is my judgment; but this resolution brings the territories precisely within the same. limitations which are applied to the States in the resolution which I first read. The two taken together, deny to Congress the power of legislation in the territories.
DENIAL OF POWER.
Follow on, and let us see what remains. Adopted as a part of the present platform, and as necessary to a new state of things, and to meet an emergency now existing, the Convention says:
Resolved, That the American Democracy recognize and adopt the principles contained in the organic laws establishing the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, as embodying the only sound and safe solution of the slavery question, upon which the great national idea of the people of this whole country can repose in its determined conservatism of the Union, NONINTERFERENCE BY CONGRESS WITH SLAVERY IN STATES AND TERRITORIES."
Then follows the last resolution : -
“Resolved, That we recognize the right of the people of all the territories, including Kansas and Nebraska, acting through the legally and fairly expressed will of a majority of actual
residents, and whenever the number of inhabitants justifies it, to form a constitution, with or without domestic slavery, and be admitted into the Union upon terms of perfect equality with the other States."
(( ET TU BRUTE."
Take all these resolutions together, and the deduction which we must necessarily draw from them is a denial to Congress of any power whatever to legislate upon the subject of slavery. The last resolution denies to the people of the territory any power over the subject, save when they shall have a sufficient number to form a constitution, and become a State, and also denies that Congress has any power over the subject; and so the resolutions hold that power is at least in advance while the territory is in a territorial condition. This is the only conclusion which you can draw from these resolutions. Alas for shortlived territorial sovereignty! It came to its death in the house of its friends; it was buried by the same hands that gave it baptism!
But, sir, I did not rise for the purpose of discussing these resolutions, but only to read them. I may, I probably shall, take some subsequent occasion when I shall endeavor to present to the Senate and the country a fair account of what is the true issue presented to the people for their consideration and decision.
My object now is to show only that the Cincinnati Convention has indorsed and approved the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, from which many evils have already flowed; from which, I fear, more and worse evils must yet be anticipated. It would, of course, be expected that the presidental nominee of that convention would accept, cordially and cheerfully, the platform prepared for him by his party friends. No person can object to that. There is no equivocation on his part about the matter. I beg leave to read a short extract from a speech of that gentle
man, made at his own home, within the last few days. In reply to the Keystone Club, which paid him a visit there, Mr. Buchanan said : —
"Gentlemen, two weeks since I should have made you a longer speech, but now I have been placed upon a platform of which I most heartily approve, and that can speak for me. Being the representative of the great Democratic party, and not simply James Buchanan, I must square my conduct according to the platform of the party, and insert no new plank, nor take one from it."
THE RIGHT STEP.
These events leave me but one unpleasant duty, which is to declare here that I can maintain political association with no party that insists upon such doctrines; that I can support no man for President who avows and recognizes them, and that the little of that power with which God has endowed me shall be employed to battle manfully, firmly, and consistently for his defeat, demanded as it is by the highest interest of the country which owns all my allegiance.
LETTERS OF ACCEPTANCE.
LETTERS OF ACCEPTANCE OF MESSRS. LINCOLN AND HAMLIN.
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 Honorable ABRAHAM LINCOLN, of Illinois.
SIR: The representatives of the Republican party of the United States, assembled in convention in Chicago, have, this day, by an 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 Convention 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 assurances 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.
GEO. ASHMUN, of Massachusetts,
President of the Convention,
And the Chairmen of the various State delegations.
SPRINGFIELD, ILL., MAY 23, 1860.
Hon. GEORGE ASHMUN, President of the Republican National Convention. 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, acting as a committee of that Convention, for that purpose.
The declaration of principles and sentiments, which accompanies your letter, meets my approval; and it shall be my care not to violate, or disregard it, in any part.
Imploring the assistance of Divine Providence; and with due regard to the views and feelings of all who were represented in the Convention; to the rights of all the States and territories, and people of the nation; to the inviolability of the Constitution, and the perpetual union, harmony, and prosperity of all, I am most happy to co-operate for the practical success of the principles declared by the Convention.
Your obliged friend and fellow-citizen,
A similar letter was sent to the nominee for the Vice-Presidency, to which the following is the reply.
WASHINGTON, MAY 30, 1860. Gentlemen: Your official communication of the 18th instant, informing me that the representatives of the Republican party of the United States, assembled at Chicago, on that day, had, by a unanimous vote, selected me as their candidate for the office of Vice-President of the United State has been received, together with the resolutions adopted by the Convention as its declaration of principles.
Those resolutions enunciate clearly and forcibly the principles which unite us, and the objects proposed to be accomplished. They address themselves to all, and there is neither necessity nor propriety in my entering upon a discussion of any of them. They have the approval of my judgment, and in any action of mine will be faithfully and cordially sustained.
I am profoundly grateful to those with whom it is my pride and pleasure politically to co-operate, for the nomination so unexpectedly conferred; and I desire to tender through you, to the members of the Convention, my sincere thanks for the confidence thus reposed in me. Should the nomination, which I now accept, be ratified by the people, and the duties devolve upon me of presiding over the Senate of the United States, it will be my ear.est endeavor faithfully to discharge them with a just regard to the rights of all.
It is to be observed, in connection with the doings of the Republican C_nvention, that a paramonnt object with us, is, to preserve the normal condition of our territorial domain as homes for free men. The able advocate and defender of Republican principles, whom you have nominated for the highest place that can gratify the ambition of man, comes from a State which has been made what it is, by special action in that respect, of the wise and good men who founded our institutions. The rights of free labor have there been vindicated and maintained. The thrift and enterprise which so distinguished Illinois, one of the most flourishing States of the glorious West, we would see secured to all the territories of the Union; and restore peace and harmony to the whole country, by bringing back the government to what it was under the wise and patriotic men who created it. If the republicans shall succeed in that object, as they hope to, they will be held in grateful remembrance by the busy and teeming millions of future ages.
I am, very truly, yours,
Hon. GEORGE ASHMUN, President of the Convention, and others of the Committee.