« PreviousContinue »
are here; the Union is here still. Here they will all be; and I expect that, in the exercise of public reason, the free choice of these states, these places will all be filled. If I contemplate in any case that it may be necessary to fight for this Union, it is because treason and sedition may arise, not alone or only in a state of the south, but in states of the north, anywhere and everywhere, be excited and armed, so as to assail the Union; and whenever it shall come to that, whether it is in my own state or in any other state of the Union, then I expect that, whatever can be done having been done-as I have already indicated that all shall be done which reason can do then I expect that what is right to be done shall be done in the way in which treason in the last resort is necessarily as well as lawfully met
Mr. Mason.--Mr. President, giving the honorable senator the full advantage of his present commentary upon the speech that preceded it, I yet place before the American people the fact that he proposes but one remedy, either to preserve this Union or to restore it, and that is the ultima ratio regum.
Mr. SEWARD.-Not to restore-preserve.
Mr. Mason.-I will take his own language. Let the facts be what they may, he presents but one remedy-the argument of the tyrant-force, compulsion, power. This is the only resort that the honorable senator has evinced, either in his speech or in his commentary. He says he
He says he is for punishing sedition and treason, whether it is found in the south or in the north.
I have been surprised at the delusion which the honorable senator from Virginia has been able to practise upon himself, so as to make out of a speech, peaceful, fraternal, cordial, such as I have made, a declaration of war. I cannot account for it, how it is that, while his sense of honor remains clear and bright--as I confess with pleasure it does—he avoids by design personalities which might irritate, yet his judgment is, somehow or other, so under the influence of his passion that he can see nothing but war in a speech which proposes simply this: that since this Union is in danger, every other question should be subordinate to the consideration and the removal of that danger by the pacific, constitutional action of the American people; by speech first, by vote, by consultation, by supplying and inaintaining the credit of the government, and, in the last alternative, after having exhausted all the existing means of settlement, and all others that might be suggested; and finally, after a constitutional convention of the United States, called in the forms of the constitution—then, to stand by this good old flag, and, if it is to fall from its eminence, be wrapped in its folds.
That honorable senator could have recollected that I came into the committee of thirteen; that I listened to every proposition that was made; that I gave it deliberate—will any one say it was not fraternal ?-consideration. Will any one say that I offered up no prejudices, no concessions, to propitiate an arrangement? Which one of all the propositions that have been made have I refused to consider ? None. When I have voted to substitute a constitutional provision for the settlement of this question, such as that which was offered by the honorable senator from New Hampshire (Mr. CLARK], in preference to the proposition which requires us to take, in an unconstitutional and ineffectual way, the sentiments of the people on the proposition of the honorable senator from Kentucky, did I do it in a spirit otherwise than that which belongs to a representative of the people who seek concessions ? In regard to this very proceeding of the honorable senator's state which he so proudly commends, and in terms to which I respond, have I not recommended to my own state, and is it not acting, in sending commissioners to meet the other states in that convention? Does not the honorable senator know that the state of New York stands ready to hear and consider every plan, whether within the forms of the constitution or without them, to settle this question peacefully and without resort to the sword, and that I am with the state of New York in that action? It is simply because I have learned from the interest in which-the honorable senator will excuse me for saying I understood him to speak, that neither any suggestion that has been made yet and considered, nor any that that convention can make and consider and submit, or any other that has yet been projected, will be satisfactory to that interest of secession or disunion in which interest he speaks. I then have submitted alone that further one: that when all these have failed, then the states of this Union, according to the forms of the constitution, and in the spirit in which it was made, shall take up this controversy about twenty-four negro slaves scattered over a territory of one million fifty thousand square miles, and say whether, with the honorable senator froin Virginia, they are willing to sacrifice all this liberty, all this greatness, all this happiness, and all this hope, because they have not intelligence, wisdom and virtue enough to adjust a controversy so frivolous and contemptible.
THE REPUBLICAN PLATFORM.'
CHICAGO, MAY, 1860.
Resolved. That we, the delegated representatives of the republican electors of the United States, in convention assembled, in discharge of the duty we owe to our constituents and our country, unite in the following declarations :
FIRST. That the history of the nation during the last four years has fully established the propriety and necessity of the organization and perpetuation of the republican party, and that the causes which called it into existence are permanent in their nature, and now more than ever before demand its peaceful and constitutional triumph.
SECOND. That the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the declaration of independence and embodied in the federal constitution, "That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” is essential to the preservation of our republican institutions; and that the federal constitution, the rights of the states, and the Union of the states, must and shall be preserved.
Third. That to the Union of the states this nation owes its unprecedented increase in population; its surprising development of material resources; its rapid augmentation of wealth; its happiness at home and its honor abroad; and we hold in abhorrence all schemes for disunion, come from whatever source they may; and we congratulate the country that no republican member of congress has uttered or countenanced the threats of disunion, so often made by democratic members, without rebuke and with applause from their political associates; and we denounce those threats of disunion, in case of a popular overthrow of their ascendency, as denying the vital principles of a free government, and as an avowal of contemplated treason, which it is the imperative duty of an indignant people sternly to rebuke and forever silence.
Fourth. That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the states, and especially the right of each state, to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depends, and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any state or territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.
FIFTH. That the present democratic administration has far exceeded our worst apprehension in its measureless subserviency to the exactions of a sectional interest, as is especially evident in its desperate exertions to force the infamous Lecompton constitution upon the protesting people of Kansas—in construing the personal relation between master and servant to involve an unqualified property in persons --in its attempted enforcement everywhere, on land and sea, through the intervention of congress and of the federal courts, of the extreme pretensions of a purely local interest, and in its general and unvarying abuse of the power entrusted to it by a confiding people.
Sixth. That the people justly view with alarm the reckless extravagance which pervades every department of the federal government; that a return to rigid
i See ante, page 76.
economy and accountability is indispensable to arrest the systematic plunder of the public treasury by favored partisans; while the recent startling developments of frauds and corruptions at the federal metropolis, show that an entire change of administration is imperatively demanded.
SEVENTA. That the new dogma that the constitution of its own force carries slavery into any or all of the territories of the United States, is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit provisions of that instrument itself
, with cotemporaneous exposition, and with legislative and judicial precedent, is revolutionary in its tendency and subversive of the peace and harmony of the country.
Eighth. That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom; that as our republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that no person should be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law,” it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any territory of the United States.
Nints. That we brand the recent reöpening of the African slave trade, under the cover of our national flag, aided by perversions of judicial power, as a crime against humanity, and a burning shame to our country and age, and we call upon congress to take prompt and efficient measures for the total and final suppression of that execrable traffic.
TENTA. That in the recent vetoes by the federal governors of the acts of the legislatures of Kansas and Nebraska, prohibiting slavery in those territories, we find a practical illustration of the boasted democratic principle of non-intervention and popular sovereignty, embodied in the Kansas-Nebraska bill, and a demonstration of the deception and fraud involved therein.
ELEVENTH. That Kansas should of right be immediately admitted as a state, under the constitution recently formed and adopted by her people, and accepted by the house of representatives.
TWELFTH. That while providing revenue for the support of the general government by duties upon imports, sound policy requires such an adjustment of these imposts as to encourage the development of the industrial interests of the whole country, and we commend that policy of national exchanges which secures to the workingmen liberal wages, to agriculture remunerating prices, to mechanics and manufacturers an adequate reward for their skill, labor and enterprise, and to the nation commercial prosperity and independence.
THIRTEENTH. That we protest against any sale or alienation to others of the public lands held by actual settlers, and against any view of the free homestead policy which regards the settlers as paupers or suppliants for public bounty, and we demand the passage by congress of the complete and satisfactory homestead measure which has already passed the house.
FOURTEENTH. That the republican party is opposed to any change in our naturalization laws, or any state legislation by which the rights of citizenship hitherto accorded by emigrants from foreign lands shall be abridged or impaired; and in favor of giving a full and efficient protection to the rights of all classes of citizens, whether native or naturalized, both at home and abroad.
FIFTEENTH. That appropriation by congress for river and harbor improvements of a national character, required for the accommodation and security of an existing commerce, are authorized by the constitution and justified by the obligation of government to protect the lives and property of its citizens.
SIXTEENTH. That a railroad to the Pacific ocean is imperatively demanded by the interests of the whole country; that the federal government ought to render immediate and efficient aid in its construction; and that, as preliminary thereto, a daily overland mail should be promptly established.
SEVENTEENTH. Finally, having thus set forth our distinctive principles and views, we invite the coöperation of all citizens, however differing on other questions who substantially agree with us in their affirmance and support.
SPEECHES AT THE CHICAGO CONVENTION.
WM. M. Evarts, Chairman of the New York Delegation:
The state of New York, by a full delegation, with complete unanimity of purpose at home, came to this convention and presented to its choice one of its citizens, who had served the state from boyhood up, who had labored for and loved it. We came from a great state, with, as we thought, a great statesman, and our love of the great republic, from which we are all delegates, the great American Union, and our love of the great republican party of the Union, and our love of our statesman and candidate, made us think that we did our duty to the country, and the whole country, in expressing our love and preference for him. For, it was from Gov. Seward that most of us learned to love republican principles and the republican party. His fidelity to the country, the constitution and the laws; his fidelity to the party and the principle that the majority govern; his interest in the advancement of our party to its victory, that our country may rise to its true glory, induces me to assume to speak his sentiments, as I do, indeed, the opinions of our whole delegation when I move you, as I do now, that the nomination of Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, as the republican candidate for the suffrages of the whole country for the office of chief magistrate of the American Union, be made unanimous. John A. ANDREW, Chairman of the Massachusetts Delegation:
I am deputed by the united voice of the Massachusetts delegation to second the motion just proposed by the distinguished citizen of New York, who represents the delegation of that noble state. I second that motion, therefore, in the name of Massachusetts, that the nomination of Abraham Lincoln be made unanimous. Gentlemen, the people of Massachusetts hold in their heart of hearts, next to their reverence and love for Christian faith, their reverence and love for the doctrine of equal and impartial liberty. We are republicans, more than & hundred thousand strong, of the old stamp of the Revolution. We have come up here--the delegation from Massachusetts—from the ground where on Bunker's Fill the Yankees of New England met the deadly fire of Britain. We have come from Concord, where was spilled the first blood of the Revolution; from Lexington, where the embattled farmers fired the shot that was heard around the world. We have come from Faneuil Hall, where spoke the patriots and sages and orators of the earliest and best days of American history, where our fathers heard propounded those doctrines and principles of liberty and human equality which found their enunciation and exposition in the constitution of Massachusetts, and by which, under judicial decision, human slavery was banished from the venerable soil of that ancient commonwealth, before the Colonies became a united People. We have come from the shadow of the old South church, where American liberty was baptized in the waters of religion. We hold the purpose firm and strong, as we have held it through the tedious struggle of years now gone by, to rescue, before we die, the holy ark of American liberty from the grasp of the Philistines. Yes, sir, whether in the majority, or without the majority of the American people, there we stand. Whether in victory or in defeat, there we stand, and, as said the Apostle, “having done all
, still there we will stand, and because of our love and of our faith.' The affection of our hearts and the judgment of our intellects bound our political fortunes to William Henry Seward, of New York, him who is the brightest and most shining light of this political generation, him who by the unanimous selection of the foes of our cause and our men, has for years been the determined standard-bearer of liberty-William H. Seward whether in the legislature of his native state of New York, whether as governor of that imperial commonwealth, or whether as senator of the United States,