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position was made in the senate to amend the naval appropriation bill so as to provide three steam vessels for its suppression. Mr. Seward warmly advocated the motion, but it failed, by yeas eighteen, nays twenty-five. He availed himself of the occasion, however, to call the attention of the country to an elaborate bill that he had submitted to the senate, at a previous session, for arresting the slave trade, which he pledged himself to bring to the consideration of the senate at the next meeting of congress.
Congress also neglected to adopt any decisive measures for constructing a railroad to the Pacific ocean, and curtailed the mail facilities already existing between California and the eastern states. A large portion of the time of the senate, as well as that of the house, was occupied in debates on the subject of slavery. The resolutions of Mr. Jefferson Davis, and those of Mr. Douglas, consumed several weeks of the session in the senate, while the delay in electing a speaker, and the discussion of the resolution offered by Mr. Clark, of Missouri, in the house, seemed to leave little opportunity for the consideration and disposal of various important practical measures, awaiting the action of congress.
Avoiding the usual summer resorts, Mr. Seward sought recreation during the month of July (1860), in brief visits to cherished friends in Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts. He was unable to escape public attentions on the way, but was interrupted at various places with popular demonstrations of respect and affection. At Windsor and Bellows Falls, in Vermont; Keene and Dover, in New Hampshire; Bangor and Portland, in Maine, and many lesser places, large crowds of people assembled to greet him. The public authorities of the states, cities and towns welcomed his appearance among them. Mr. Seward spoke briefly in response to the addresses that were made to him, eliciting hearty applause. After a brief stay with his friend, Israel Washburn, Jr.,' Mr. Seward proceeded homeward through the state of Massachusetts
. At Boston he was received with distinguished honor. The governor of the state' presented him to the people, in a complimentary speech, which was received by them with repeated expressions of cordial sympathy. Brief addresses were also made by Charles Francis Adams and Henry Wilson, who had accompanied Mr. Seward from the depot to the Revere House. A band of music played several national airs; and, although it was nearly midnight, the crowd listened to Mr. Seward's speech with singular enthusiasm. Mr. Seward spoke as follows:
2 Nathaniel P. Banks. See Appendix,
i Since elected governor of the state of Maine. Vol. IV. 11
* CITIZENS OF Boston-OF MASSACHUSETTS: I have heard your explanation from my excellent and esteemed friend, the chief magistrate of your state. Something, however, seems to me to be due from myself, to you and to the country, for the unexpected surprise which has overtaken me. It is so contrary to the habit of my whole life to be arrested on a journey which had for its object but the performance of a duty of friendship, and was commenced and prosecuted, and hoped to be ended, in a manner entirely private, that I am sure some explanation will be expected of me. That explanation is a very simple one.
I have made a great mistake. I have committed a great blunder. I have been very weak. My first mistake was in supposing that it was safe to trust myself on a railroad through New England and down east, instead of the telegraph. I found out my mistake only when it was too late; for although I succeeded in finding the wide-awakes at Bangor fast asleep in the middle of the day, yet I very quickly discovered that they woke up quite too soon for the convenience of a quiet traveler. I certainly have not besought, and have not desired, any demonstration of consideration at the hands of my fellow citizens. There are many reasons why I prefer to seek the satisfaction of the attempt to perform my duty, in my own conscience and not in the acclamations of my fellow men; but it is God's will that we must be overruled and disappointed, and I have submitted with such graciousness as I can.
" Fellow citizens, I have endeavored, all along the road—for this, I think, is the seventh or eighth time that I have been called out to meet a kind and cordial welcome on this day only-I have endeavored to accommodate myself to this form of reception by treating it as a light and trivial affair, trusting that those who have been so exceedingly kind to me would believe, after all, that there was gratitude, unexpressed and strong, concealed under the face of a simple, honest good nature. But, fellow citizens, the case is altered when I come upon the soil of Massachusetts. I cannot say that I have a veneration, though I have a profound affection, for Vermont. Her statesmen are not my teachers—her people are but my equals. Although I honor them and respect and love them their fidelity to the interests of their country and to the cause of justice and humanity, they are still but my fellow laborers in the vineyard. I can say the same of New Hampshire, that I know none of her statesmen or her sons who were earlier in the field than the statesmen and sons of New York. I can say the same of the state of Maine, which I have visited--great and honorable as the works are which have been done in those states by the champions of human rights. I am their equal; I have received their cordial welcome as an expression of esteem and kindness. But it is altogether different in the state of Massachusetts. Here I can play no part; I can affect no disguise; because, although not a son of Massachusetts, nor even of New England born, I feel and know it my duty to confess that if I have ever studied the interests of my country, and of humanity, I have studied in the school of Massachusetts. If I have ever conceived a resolution to maintain the rights and interests of these free states in the union of the confederacy, I learned it from Massachusetts.
" It was twenty-two years ago, not far from this season, when a distinguished and venerable statesman of Massachusetts had retired to his home, a few miles in the suburbs of your city, under the censure of his fellow citizens, driven home by the peltings of remorseless pro-slavery people, that I, younger then, of course, than I am now, made a pilgrimage, which was not molested on my way, to the Sage of Quincy, there to learn from him what became a citizen of the United States, in view of the deplorable condition of the intelligence and sentiment of the country, demoralized by the power of slavery. Thence I have derived every resolution, every sentiment, that has animated and inspired me in the performance «f my duty as a citizen of the United States, all the intervening time. I know, indeed, that those sentiments have not always been popular, even in the state of Massachusetts. I know that citizens of Massachusetts, as well as citizens of other states, have attempted to drive the disciples of that illustrious teacher from their policy. But it is to-night that I am free to confess that whenever any man, wherever he might be found, whether he was of northern or southern birth, whether he was of the solid men of Boston,' or of the light men of Mississippi, has assailed me for the maintenance of those doctrines, I have sought to commune with his spirit, and to learn from him whether the thing in which I was engaged was worthy to be done. What a commentary upon the wisdom of man is given in this single fact, that fifteen years only after the death of John Quincy Adams the people of the United States, who hurled him from power and from place, are calling to the head of the nation, to the very seat from which he was expelled, Abraham Lincoln, whose claim to that seat is that he confesses the obligation of that higher law which the Sage of Quincy proclaimed, and that he avows himself, for weal or wo, for life or death, a soldier on the side of freedom in the irrepressible conflict between freedom and slavery.
** This, gentlemen, is my simple confession. I desire, now, only to say to you, that you have arrived at the last stage of this conflict before you reach the triumph which is to inaugurate this great policy into the government of the United States. You will bear yourselves manfully. It behooves you, solid men of Boston, if such are here—and if the solid men are not here, then the lighter men of Massachusetts—to bear onward and forward, first in the ranks, the flag of freedom.
"But let not your thoughts or expectations be confined to the present hour. I'tell you, fellow citizens, that with this victory comes the end of the power of slavery in the United States. I think I may assume that a democrat is a man who maintains the creed of one or the other branch of the democratic party, as it is confessed at the present day. Assuming this to be correct, I tell you, in all sincerity, that the last democrat in the United States has been already born,
"Gentlemen, it remains only to thank you for this kind reception, and to express my best wishes for your individual health and happiness, and for the prosperity and greatness of your noble city and most ancient and honored state.”
Mr. Seward passed a day at Quincy with Charles Francis Adams, visiting the old homestead and the tombs of John Quincy Adams and John Adams. The remainder of his journey homeward was inter rupted only by the hearty greetings of the people.
As the presidential canvass advanced, a universal apathy seemed to prevail, and the democratic party began to be sanguine of success. Invitations now pressed upon Mr. Seward, chiefly from his most devoted friends, to enter the campaign. Influenced by these appeals, he left home on the last day of August. At Lockport, at Niagara Falls, and at other places, both in New York and in Canada, on his way to Michigan, he met with a variety of public demonstrations, to which he responded in brief acknowledgments
. At Detroit, where he arrived on the evening of the 3d of September, great preparations had been made for his reception. He was escorted from the boat to his lodgings by a grand torchlight procession. The display was brilliant and imposing, and the entire population of the city seemed to be in the streets. On reaching the house of Senator Chandler, Mr. Seward was introduced to the people, who had gathered there, by his associate, in a few appropriate remarks. After some playful talk about the absurdity of his requiring any introduction to the citizens of Detroit, Mr. Seward said: " It is
It is a surprise, fellow citizens, to be received in this city, which I honor and love so much, with demonstrations of kindness—I had almost said affection—such as could not have been surpassed, I think, in the province through which I have passed to-day, on the visit of its hereditary prince and governor. If I do not say how much I am gratified, how deeply this welcome affects me, please to understand that I can find no words in which to express my acknowledgments; so take what the tongue seems to suppress for what the heart confesses. I have said, in my inmost soul, long ago, that the wishes of the republican people of Michigan should be with me, in all practical points, equivalent to a command. You have called me here, not to speak of yourselves nor of myself, but to discuss the great interests of our country involved in the election of Abraham Lincoln to the office of President of the United States. I have come, cheerfully, gladly, proudly, in obedience to your command. To-morrow I will hear from you what you think of that important question, and then I will, to those who may choose to listen to me, explain my view of the condition and prospects and hopes of the republican party of the country. Until then, fellow citizens, I hope that my respected and esteemed brethren of the wide-awake association', who have done me the compliment of electing me a member, will allow me to go to sleep, whatever they may do for the rest of the night; and to-morrow I promise to perform a soldier's duty in their association."
1 The “Wide-Awakes," of whom mention is frequently made in these pages, were an association peculiar to the campaign of 1860, originating early in that year in Hartford, Connecticut. Composed mostly of young men, they organized with uniforms and military discipline, bearing in their evening parades, each man, a torch. Wherever the republican party existed, the wideawakes were a certain element.
LUX ET VERITAS,
RECEPTION AND SPEECHES AT DETROIT.
(On the following day, Mr. Seward delivered an able and elaborate speech to one of the largest audiences ever assembled in the United States. This speech was published simultaneously the next morning in the newspapers of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Detroit, and afterward copied into all the principal republican journals in the Union, and, both in tone and argument, gave to the whole canvass its marked characteristics of dignity and patriotism, unknown in any previous presidential election. It will be found in this volume, under the title of “The National Divergence and Return.")
In the evening of the same day, Mr. Seward was honored with another grand procession of wide-awakes gathered from the inte. rior of the state and the shores of lake Erie. Halting in front of his lodgings, they were addressed by him as follows:
“Fellow Citizens: If I appear in obedience to your call to-night, I hope it will only be a new illustration of an old practice of mine, never to give up an honest and virtuous attempt, though I may fail in it the first time. I tried to-day and utterly failed to make the republicans of Michigan hear, and now, in obedience to your call to-night, renew the effort. The end of a great national debate s at hand. It is now upon us, and the simple reason is that the people have become at last attentive, willing to be convinced, and satisfied of the soundness of the republican faith. It has been a task. We had first to reach the young through the prejudices of the old. I have never expected my own age and generation to relinquish the prejudices in which they and I were born. I have expected, as has been the case heretofore in the history of mankind, that the old would remain unconverted, and that the great work of reformation and progress would rest with the young. That has come at last; for though the democratic party have denied the ascendency and obligations of the higher law,' still they bear testimony to it in their persons, if not in their conversation. Democrats die in obedience to ‘higher law,' and republicans are born, and will be born, and none but republicans will be born in the United States after the year of 1860. The first generation of the young men of the country educated in the republican faith has appeared in your presence, by a strong and bold demonstrative representation to-night. It is the young men who constitute the wide-awake force. Ten years ago, and twenty years ago, the young men were incapable of being organized. Four years ago they were organized for the distraction of the country and the republican cause. To-day the young men of the United States are for the first time on the side of freedom against slavery. Go on, then, and do your work. Put this great cause into the keeping of your great, honest, worthy leader, Abraham Lincoln. Believe me sincere when I say, that if it had devolved upon me to select from all men in the United States a man to whom I should confide the standard of this cause—which is the object for which I have lived and laborid and for which I would be willing to die—that man would have been Abraham Lincoln."