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Brown might have done, the latter erasing a few of his more radical markings. Both men knew that the Abolition leaders of the North, from Lundy the Quaker, to Brown of Ossawatomie, had their unknown sympathizers in the South, though the latter were struggling in vain against a tyranny even more terrible than that which fettered the negro. Southern men saw in The Impending Crisis a premonition of an attack upon slavery in the States where it existed, and they were not far from right. Lincoln questioned the wisdom of its gratuitous circulation in 1859 for the same reason.
Later in the month we find Herndon writing to Parker, expressing his approval of two sermons on religious revivals, and reporting the dickerings of Douglas for Republican support in Illinois. Such propositions to trade served only to confirm his suspicions and to redouble his vigilance:
Springfield, Ill., April 17, 1858.
Dear Friend: This moment I received your two sermons on the revivals which madded the people. Revivals are spasmodic; they are not guided by reason or philosophy; they die out, leaving the soul in darkness. Or they finally prepare the soul for a true, God-revival guided by reason and philosophy. I have seen too much and too many of these revivals to fear them, or scarcely respect them. I love and reverence religion with my whole soul; it is as deep in me as my being; but spasmodic feeling is not religion. is undeveloped feeling, and I respect its source. The first sermon is quite appropriate in historical allusion, and the second sweeps principles generously and broadly; they are both excellent.
we will emancipate them for you" (p. 129). "Small-pox is a nuisance; strychnine is a nuisance; mad dogs are a nuisance; slavery is a nuisance; slave-holders are a nuisance, and so are the slave-breeders. We propose therefore, with the exception of strychnine, which is the least of all these nuisances, to exterminate the catalog from beginning to end" (p. 139). "Indeed, it is our honest conviction that all the pro-slavery slaveholders, who are alone responsible for the continuance of this baneful institution among us, deserve to be at once reduced to a parallel with the basest criminals that lie fettered in the cells of public prisons" (p. 158). And more of the same sort.
Friend, I am indebted to you very much
more than I have ever told you, concerning this subject. Your guidance holds me steady, calm, and I look up to God with hope, faith philosophized, knowing that what He has made he has made out "of a perfect material, for a perfect purpose, and for a perfect end," and whose eternal life and laws will lead thereto. There may be some special thing that you and I may differ about, but that makes no difference. Never mind my poor letters, as they are always written in a hurry kind of Quakerish.
Our politics are getting warm, and Douglas sends out feelers to us to trade, but as yet our men stand firm. Propositions have abundantly been made, and which I have heard read. They do not purport to come from Douglas, but you know. You understand, don't you? So soon as I get a moment's time I will answer yours more fully, stating some other things—that is, what I saw in jail at Alexandria, Virginia, etc. Your friend, W. H. HERNDON.
On April 21st the Democratic State Convention was held in Springfield, and Mr. Herndon was a spectator of its proceedings. It affirmed that by sound party doctrine the Lecompton constitution ought to be "submitted to the direct vote of the actual inhabitants of Kansas at a fair election."'1 But when resolutions were introduced approving the course of Senator Douglas, there was a bolt. The bolters, mostly from Chicago and the northern part of the State many of them Buchanan appointees - held a "rump " assembly in another room, and called a convention to meet in Springfield on June 9th. This closed the door to any reconciliation between the Douglas and Buchanan factions; there was to be war to the hilt. Mr. Herndon wrote:
In Court, Springfield, Ill., April 27, 1858.
Dear Sir: This moment I received the Atlantic Monthly, and I am tired of the Law. Before me, and just between me and the Judge, stands a counsellor who is twisting up his mind into knots attempting to show the substantial and essential difference between a traverso whose specific qualities are a certainty to a certain extent in every particular, and one whose properties only require certainty to a common 1 Life of Douglas, by J. W. Sheahan, p. 394 (1860).
extent in every particular. How he will succeed only "tweedle dee and tweedle dum " can tell. This barbarism to me is utterly disgusting.
I picked up the Atlantic, and my eye shot to Henry Ward Beecher the very first thing, and there I saw my friend Parker as large as life and as witty and philosophic as ever. I shook hands with him, for there he stood, as goodnatured and as kind as ever. I see you often in the pulpit and on the platform, but not often in the reviews. I think your criticism very just and very good. I have heard, seen, and studied Beecher. His mind is wholly objective, but quick in instincts of human feeling. He is strong in sentiment. He is a man of great energy and endurance; he is sagacious but not philosophic. I have not read the book, but my wife has. I have no time now.
We had a great double-headed Democratic meeting here -one Buchanan and the other Douglas; they are deeply inimical, malicious, and withering in their mutual curses. Oh! what a sight! Plunderers of the people now at bloody war with each other over the spoils. The Douglas convention was scary, timid and frightened; it acted cowardly. Buchanan's was brave, manly, courageous in its hell-deep iniquity; it was Lucifer-like in act and deed, and we in Illinois anticipate a terrible struggle. Do not forget that it is to be war to the knife. No quarters are to be asked or given; and this the Republicans have unanimously and considerately pondered and agreed to. So look out for squalls.
I have a letter this day from Friend Greeley; his talk about Douglas is policy. He explains and tells us to stand to our own men and principles, and to run them, and none other wants Buchanan men beaten more than Douglas men. This is private. Our boys here did not like Greeley's course, but all is O. K. now.
W. H. HERNDON.
Douglas, it seems, had wavered when the administration, in its infamous" English Bill," had offered him an opportunity to close the rift and unite the party. Pugh of Ohio, who had stood with him hitherto, had retreated across the improvised
1 The reference is to an article by Mr. Parker reviewing a recent book, Life Thoughts from the Discourses of Henry Ward Beecher, by a member of his congregation.
2 Stephen A. Douglas, by Allen Johnson, pp. 343-345 (1908).
bridge, and Douglas hesitated what to do. He knew that the people of Kansas would vote down the land bribe, but he feared that he could not convince his constituency in Illinois that it was not treacherous to yield. Hence the attitude of Greeley in his letter to Mr. Herndon; but when Douglas decided to stand firm Greeley renewed his advice to the Illinois Republicans. Herndon wrote to Parker:
Springfield, Ill., May 29, 1858.
Dear Sir: Yours of the 13th is before me and in answer to which let me say: I would have been highly pleased to have met at your house a few friends, but as it was I did not. My object in visiting Boston was education, and the purposes to which that education was to be specially applied was - Liberty speeches. I expect to be a Republican elector in 1860. I wanted to see the places of Revolutionary memory, and the three living institutions of Boston - Garrison, Parker, and Phillips. So that when I wanted to speak of things I could talk knowingly; and when such men as you were thrown in the way of the Republican march, for base purposes, and by mean men for infamous ends, I wanted to say to the vile slanderers, "You lie!" It is all right. I do not complain, though I must say that I was somewhat disappointed. Do you suppose that this will alter my respect for you? God forbid! You know me to little purpose if you think I am so small as that. Here is my hand and my heart. Let this matter drop from your fingers into the ocean.
We are to have a Republican convention here, in this city, on June 16th. The Buchanan convention comes off here on June 7th. We expect to have fun at the latter. Douglas, it is said, is to be crushed by the Administration: it does not look that way, if we are to judge from what has lately happened in Congress. Friend Greeley seems determined that this shall not be, if he can help it, though he sacrified the Republicans in Illinois. Politicians will use other people's paws to pull the chestnuts out of the fire. Greeley injures us in Illinois while he is trying to sustain Douglas. I have made two political speeches since I saw you - one in this city and one at Petersburg-took high grounds for Freedom. Your friend, W. H. HERNDON.
On the following day Mr. Herndon received a letter from Greeley, in reply to a stinging protest against the interference of the latter in Illinois politics. If the Republicans will not support Douglas for the Senate, he hopes they will stand by Harris for the House. The letter reads:
New York, May 29, 1858.
I have yours of the 7th. I have not proposed to instruct the Republicans of Illinois in their political duties, and I doubt very much that even so much as is implied in your letter can be fairly deduced from anything I have written.
Let me make one prediction. If you run a candidate against Harris and he is able to canvass, he will beat you badly. He is more of a man, at heart and morally, than Douglas, and has gone into the fight with more earnestness and less calculation. Of the whole Douglas party, he is the truest and best. I never have spoken a dozen words with him in my life, having met him but once; but if I lived in his district I should vote for him. As I have never spoken of him in my paper, and suppose I never shall, I take the liberty to say this much to you. Now paddle your own dugout. Yours, HORACE GREELEY.
If he had actually left the Illinois Republicans to paddle their own canoe, the result might have been different in the autumn, but he kept on tossing logs into the stream. By this time it had been determined that Lincoln was to make the race for the Senate, and, in the picturesque Illinois phrase, "set the prairies afire" against Douglas. Herndon wrote to Mr. Parker describing the situation:
Springfield, Ill., June 1, 1858.
I want to talk politics with you a moment, leaving all other things" way behind." way behind." Do you remember, when I was in Boston, I told you that Douglas said, "Do not put any confidence in what Greeley says about his information in relation to the non-passage of the Lecompton constitution?" Has not Douglas proved a prophet once in his villainous life? He told me at the same time that he and the Republicans would work together, soon, on some moves that is, Cuba and Central Mexican affairs; and now as his