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blighting effects upon the plains of Kansas, the Supreme Court has come to the rescue, and that he now is triumphantly sustained in his opposition to this doctrine in 1848, 1850, and 1851. Sir, whether we have been sustained and our consistency vindicated is not so material as to find out which is right in the point at issue, then and now, between the Senator from Mississippi and myself.
The country has been informed that I was removed from the post of chairman of the Committee on Territories, in 1858, because I uttered at Freeport, Illinois, the identical sentiments contained in the speeches and letters of acceptance of Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Breckinridge in 1856. I do not complain of my removal from the committee. I acknowledge that, if it be true that my opinions were so heretical that I did not fairly and honestly represent the sentiments of the Senate on these great questions, it was right to displace me and put a man there who did. But when you displace me for that reason, do not charge that I have changed, when the fact is that you have changed your own opinions.
Now, sir, there is a difference of opinion, it seems, on this question, between me and a majority of the Democratic Senators. It was painful to me to find that this difference of opinion had grown up, and that they had determined to make this new test by which my orthodoxy was to be questioned, and I was to be branded as a heretic. While I regretted that determination on the part of some political friends here, I cannot recognize, and do not now recognize, the right of a caucus of the Senate, or of the House, to prescribe new tests for the Democratic party. Senators are not chosen for the purpose of making party platforms. Under our political system there has grown up an organization known as a national convention, composed of delegates elected fresh from the people, to assemble once in four years to establish a platform for the party and select its nominees. The Cincinnati platform was the only authoritative exposition of Democratic faith until the Charleston convention met. I have stood firmly, faithfully, by the Cincinnati platform, and have looked confidently to the Charleston convention to find it reaffirmed. You gentlemen who differ with me agreed to appeal to Charleston as the grand council that should decide all differences of political opinion between you and me. I agreed, also, to look to the Charleston convention as the representatives of the party assembled from every State in the Union; and after great deliberation, three days' debate in committee, and a very elaborate and able debate in full convention, the party deter
mined, by an overwhelming majority, in favor of the readoption of the Cincinnati platform.
Therefore I am no longer a heretic. I am no longer an outlaw from the Democratic party. I am no longer a rebel against the Democratic organization. The Charleston convention repudiated this new test, contained in the Senate caucus resolutions, by a majority of twenty-seven, and affirmed the Cincinnati platform in lieu of it. Then, so far as the platform is concerned, I am sustained by the party-the only authority on earth which, according to Democratic usages, can determine the Democratic creed. The question now is whether my friend from Mississippi will again acquiesce in the decisions of his party upon the platform which they have adopted, or is he going to retire from the party, bolt its nominations, break it up, because the party has concluded not to change from its position of 1856. Are my friends around me here going to desert the party because the party has not changed as suddenly as they have?
The party decided at Charleston also that I was the choice of the Democratic party of America for the Presidency of the United States, giving me a majority of fifty votes over all the other candidates combined; and yet my Democracy is questioned. [Laughter.] So far as I am individually concerned I want no further or higher indorsement. My friends who know me best know that I had no personal desire or wish for the nomination; know that I prefer a seat in the Senate for six years to being President, if I could have the nomination, and be elected by acclamation; and know that my name never would have been presented at Charleston except for the attempt to proscribe me as a heretic, too unsound to be the chairman of a committee in this body, where I have held a seat for so many years without a suspicion resting on my political fidelity.
I was forced to allow my name to go there in self-defence; and I will now say that had any gentleman, friend or foe, received a majority of that convention over me, the lightning would have carried a message withdrawing my name from the convention. I have not lust enough for office to desire to be the nominee against the known wishes and first choice of a majority of my party. In 1852, the instant Franklin Pierce had a majority vote, the telegraph carried my message congratulating him as the choice of the party; and it was read in the convention before the vote was announced. In 1856, the instant Mr. Buchanan received a majority vote, the lightning carried my message that James Buchanan, having received a majority of the votes of the party, in my opinion, was entitled to the nomination,
and that I hoped my friends would give him the requisite twothirds, and then make the vote unanimous. Sir, I would scorn to be the standard-bearer of my party when I was not the choice of the party. All the honors that a national convention can confer are embraced in the declaration of their first choice for their standard-bearer, repeated on fifty-seven ballots. I ask nothing more. The party will go on and do what its own interest and its own integrity may require.
But, sir, I do rejoice that this good old Democratic party, the only organization now left sufficiently national and conservative in its principles and great in its numbers to preserve this Union, has determined to adhere to the great principle of nonintervention by the Federal Government with the domestic affairs of distant Territories and provinces. It is a pleasing duty to me to defend this glorious old party against those who would destroy it because the party will not change its platform to suit their purposes. The leadership at Charleston, in this attempt to divide and destroy the Democratic party, was intrusted to appropriate hands. No man possessed the ability, or the courage, or the sincerity in his object, for such a mission, in a higher degree than the gifted Yancey. He has a right to feel proud of his achievements at Charleston. In 1848, at Baltimore, he proclaimed the same doctrine, and failed to get a State to stand by him in seceding; there his doctrines were repudiated. Boldly and fearlessly he put his protest on record against the doctrine of non-intervention, and withheld his assent to the support of the nominee, because he conscientiously believed that the South ought to insist on the doctrine of intervention by Congress in support of slavery in the Territories, when the people did not want it. Overruled by five or ten to one in Baltimore in 1848, overruled unanimously at Baltimore in 1852, in 1856 he concluded that perhaps he would make a virtue of necessity, and submit to non-intervention; and he got up instructions in favor of non-intervention, and succeeded in putting it in the platform in 1856. But very soon he came to the conclusion that this great Democratic party was not competent to preserve and maintain the rights of the South under the Constitution. He came to the conclusion that it was time for them to institute some other organization for the maintenance of Southern rights. That he was conscientious and sincere in his views I do not doubt; but that they lead directly, inevitably, to a dissolution of the Union, and the formation of a Southern confederacy, if carried out, I think is beyond all question. Doubtless many Senators have seen the letter of Mr. Yancey to Mr. Slaughter, of the date of June 15,
1858, upon the subject of "precipitating the cotton States into revolution." In order that the Senate and the country may see that I do Mr. Yancey full justice I shall have the whole letter read.
MONTGOMERY, June 15, 1858.
DEAR SIR: Your kind letter of the 15th is received.
I hardly agree with you that a general movement can be made that will clear out the Augean stable. If the Democracy were overthrown, it would result in giving place to a greater and hungrier swarm of flies.
The remedy of the South is not in such a process. It is in a diligent organization of her true men for the prompt resistance to the next aggression. It must come in the nature of things. No national party can save us; no sectional party can ever do it. But if we could do as our fathers did -organize "committees of safety" all over the cotton States (and it is only in them that we can hope for any effective movement)-we shall fire the Southern heart, instruct the Southern mind, give courage to each other, and, at the proper moment, by one organized, concerted action, we can precipitate the cotton States into a revolution.
The idea has been shadowed forth in the South by Mr. Ruffin; has been taken up and recommended by the Advertiser, under the name of "League of United Southerners," who, keeping up their old party relations on all other questions, will hold the Southern issue paramount, and will influence parties, legislatures, and statesmen. I have no time to enlarge, but to suggest merely.
In haste, yours, etc.,
W. L. YANCEY.
SENATOR DOUGLAS.-That letter, it is due to Mr. Yancey to state, was intended as a private letter to his friend, Mr. Slaughter, and was published without his authority. Having been republished and severely commented upon by the editor of the Richmond South, Mr. Yancey addressed a letter to Mr. Roger A. Pryor, in which he declared that it was a private letter, written in the freedom and carelessness of private confidence, and was subject to hostile criticism. Therefore, he proceeded to explain more fully what his views were upon the question. I have endeavored to obtain an entire and perfect copy of this letter to Mr. Pryor, without success. I find, however, a long extract, embodying probably the whole of its material parts, in the National Intelligencer of September 4, 1858, which, I have no doubt, gives a fair representation of Mr. Yancey's opinions. In the forepart of the letter Mr. Yancey says: "to be candid, I place but little trust in such States as Delaware, Maryland, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri." He then proceeds to give his reason why he cannot trust them. Delaware he regards as nominally a slave State, but substantially anti-slavery. On that he differs in opinion from the distinguished Senator from Delaware [Mr. Bayard], who thinks that Delaware has such an in
terest in slavery that it is worth while to break up the Democratic party on account of slavery. [Laughter.] But Mr. Yancey has not much trust in Delaware and Maryland. He cannot trust Maryland because, he says, she keeps Abolitionists in Congress. Then, he says, he cannot trust Missouri because she, for a long time, sustained a Free-Soiler in the Senate, and afterward in the House of Representatives-alluding to Colonel Benton. Then, he says, he cannot trust Tennessee because she kept an Abolitionist here in the Senate so long, and reëlected him; and, besides, he says Tennessee never had his confidence; a Methodist conference refused to expunge certain anti-slavery opinions which John Wesley had inserted into the ritual. He cannot trust Kentucky because Kentucky, for so many years, sustained such Free-Soilers as Clay and Crittenden! [Laughter.] He then says:
"It is equally true that I do not expect Virginia to take any initiative steps toward a dissolution of the Union when that exigency shall be forced upon the South. Her position as a border State, and a well-considered Southern policy (a policy which has been digested and understood, and approved by the ablest men in Virginia, as you yourself must be aware), would seem to demand that, when such movement takes place by any considerable number of Southern States, Virginia and the other border States should remain in the Union, where, by their position and their counsels, they could prove more effective friends than by moving out of the Union, and thus giving to the Southern confederacy a long Abolition hostile border to watch. In the event of the movement being successful, in time Virginia, and the other border States that desired it, could join the Southern confederacy and be protected by the power of its arms and its diplomacy."
So it seems that, in 1858, a well-digested plan had been matured and approved by many of the ablest men of the South, and even in Virginia; and that by that plan it was not expected that Virginia, and these other unsound border States, were to go out of the Union when the South was forced to dissolve-using the word "forced." A very enviable position Mr. Yancey puts the Old Dominion in! He wishes to retire from you, and asks you to remain with us, in order that you may annoy and distract and betray us, for the benefit of those that go out; and he holds out the assurance that, in the course of time, perhaps Virginia and Maryland and Kentucky and Tennessee and Missouri may become sound enough to be admitted into the Southern confederacy. He is going to keep you on probation a while, guarding