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Congress upon the slavery question, we find nothing inconsistent with his present position upon that subject. When he first entered Congress, he manfully battled for the right of petition against the gag rules introduced into that body. He not only voted to receive the petitions of the people, but upon more than one occasion spoke eloquently in favor of this great constitutional right.
In 1845, while he voted against the joint resolution for the annexation of Texas, yet he was not opposed to the measure provided it could be brought about by negotiation and treaty, and provided further that at least an equal portion of said domain should be kept free territory, for the benefit of the great laboring interests of the free States. Had his counsels, and the counsels of Colonel Benton, Silas Wright, and other great lights in the party, been adhered to, the Mexican war and all its evil consequences would have been avoided.
When the "Two-Million Bill" was before the House in 1846-7, proposing to put into the hands of the President a certain amount of money with which to negotiate a treaty of peace with Mexico, Mr. Hamlin stood up side by side with David Wilmot, Preston King, and other influential democrats, in defence of the celebrated "Proviso," known as the "Wilmot Proviso," prepared by Judge Wilmot, yet actually offered by Mr. Hamlin, in the absence of the author. For this proviso he uniformly voted and labored until it passed the House.
In the house of representatives, in Maine, at the session in 1847—to which he was elected immediately after his return from Congress-he introduced resolutions embodying the same sentiments, advocated them in a masterly speech, and mainly through his influence they passed the house with only six nays, and the senate with only one dissenting vote.
Following up his record upon this question, we find him voting in the United States Senate in 1848, in favor of the Jefferson Proviso for the restriction of slaveery in the bill for
the organization of a territorial government for Oregon. Still later, in 1850, he voted to insert a similar restriction in the bills giving territorial governments to Utah and New-Mexico. The proviso being defeated, he voted against the bills in strict accordance with the instructions of a democratic legislature in Maine.
In the same year, 1850, Mr. Hamlin made the first speech in the United States Senate in favor of the unconditional admission of California as a free State, and his speech was then considered one of the most able delivered upon that subject.
He also voted against the bill giving ten millions of dollars to Texas, for the relinquishment of lands to which she never had the slightest title. In 1854, following his own convictions of duty, he labored and voted against the repeal of the Missouri compromise, in strict conformity with the resolutions of the then democratic legislature of Maine, and then in the last Congress did all in his power to defeat the perfidious Lecompton Constitution.
We have thus given Mr. Hamlin's record upon some of the great leading questions connected with the subject of slavery during the last fourteen years, showing that upon no occasion has he ever acted or voted in any way not perfectly consistent with this record. Upon other matters, during his long Congressional career, his votes have been uniformly consistent and in perfect harmony with the character of the man. Upon all matters of financial policy, while he never has been disposed to withhold justice from honest claimants, he has sternly resisted dishonest, fraudulent claims, got up with an intention to rob the treasury. In justice to Mr. Hamlin, we should here say that no man in Congress for the last twenty years has been more faithful, or has labored more untiringly to aid poor but honest claimants upon the bounty of the government than he. There is scarcely a town in the State of Maine, where you will not find men who have been made in
valids in their country's service, widows and orphans, who are now living upon the little bounty obtained for their relief through his prompt and effective influences and labors. No honest complainant, however poor or humble, was ever coldly turned away from the presence of Senator Hamlin. Schemes of public plunder which frequently find their way into Congress, never obtain favor with him.
Another trait of character which has always given him great popularity with the people, is his strict honesty and stern moral integrity. No man can be found who will rise up and say Hannibal Hamlin ever cheated him, politically or in any other way. His whole life has been marked by a strict attention to every public duty incident to his official positions.
As a public speaker is is superfluous for us to speak of our distinguished Senator. In this respect the whole country is well informed. Few men have a more enviable reputation as forensic debators.
Senator Hamlin's sympathies have always been strongly with the masses. This, perhaps, accounts for his great popularity with the people. In proof of this we have only to refer to his election as Governor of Maine, in 1856. Without solicitation on his part and against his wishes at the largest political convention ever holden in the State, he was on the first ballot unanimously selected the standard bearer of the Republicans in the ensuing contest.
The Democrats, aided by the straight Whigs, had carried the State the year before by about five thousand majority, and both branches of the Legislature.
Senator Hamlin stumped the State from one end to the other. Nothing but the great fight between Douglas and Lincoln ever exceeded it. It was a splendid hard-fought canvass. The Democrats had Judge Wells their standard bearer and all the distinguished men of their party in the field, pitted against Hamlin and his coadjutors.
Look at the result. The
Republicans swept the State and elected their distinguished leader by about twenty thousand majority. So highly were Governor Hamlin's services appreciated in the U. S. Senate the Legislature of Maine, with great unanimity, returned hin again to that body for six years. Before he became a member of Congress, Mr. Hamlin had an extensive practice as a lawyer. Since his election to the Senate he has abandoned it, and now, when not actively engaged in his public duties, may be found, like the great and distinguished Silas Wright, at work with his own hands on his farm, in the rural, quiet town.of Hampden, where, at his hospitable home, his numerous friends always meet a hearty welcome.
Such is a brief outline of the life and character of Hannibal Hamlin. Possessed of great legislative experience, wise in counsel, bold and determined in action, true to his friends and his country, he will be triumphantly elected to the high responsible position so honorably filled by a long line of illustrious statesmen in the past.
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 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 convention to apprize 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,
GEO. ASHMUN, of Massachusetts,
D. K. CARTTER, of Ohio,
CARL SCHURZ, of Wisconsin,
JAMES F. SIMMONS, of Rhode Island,
JOHN W. NORTH, of Minnesota,
GEO. 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,
E. D. WEBSTER, of Nebraska,
G. A. HALL, of District of Columbia,