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Full text of "Speech of C. L. Vallandigham, with the proceedings and resolutions of the Democratic meeting held in the city hall, Dayton, Ohio, Monday evening, Oct. 29, 1855"


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Monday Evening, Oct. 29, 1855, 




Fuit hcec sapientia quondam, 
Puhllea privatis secermre, sacra profanis. — Horace. 

jlkernas ojyes esse Eomanaa nisi inter seniet iptsi seditionihus saiviant. Id unum ve- 
ntnum, earn labein civitatihm opulentta repertam, ut mayna imperia movtalia essent. 


Then only both Commonwealth and Religion will at length, if ever, flourish in Christ- 
endom, when either they who goverm discern between civil and religious (religion and 
politics ;) or they only wlio so discern, shall be admitted to govern. Till then nothing 
but troubles, persecutions, commotions, can be expected, the inward decay of true reli- 
gion among ourselves, and the utter overthrow at last by a common enemy.— Milton, 


The Present State of the Democratic Party in Ohio ; and its Duty. 

After some preliminary remarks explanatory of the object of the 
meeting, and the reasons why it was proper and expedient thus early 
to discuss before the people the great question which must make up 
the chief issue in the campaign of 1856, and to organize preparatory 
thereto — 

Mr. VALLANDIGHAM said that he proposed as the text, or 
" rubric, " of what he had to say to-night, the following inquiries : — 

Why has the Democratic Party suffered defeat in Ohio ? Why 


These, Mr. President, are grave questions. I propose to answer them 
plainly — boldly — not as a partizan, but as a patriot ; and for the opin- 
ions which I shall this night avow, I alone am responsible. I speak 
not to please, but to instruct, to warn, to arouse, and if it be not pre- 
sumption, to save, while to be saved is yet possible. Tlie time for plain 
Anglo-Saxon out-speaking is come. Let us hear no more the lullaby 
of peace, when there is no peace ; but rather the sharp clang of the 
trumpet stirring to battle ; at least the alarm bell in the night when the 
house is on fire over our heads. Or, better still, give us warning 
while the incendiary is yet stealing '' with whispering and most guilty 
diligence," and flaming torch, toward our dwelling, that we may be ready 
and armed against his approach. 

First then : The Democratic party of Ohio suflered defeat because 
it became disorganized ; and it was disorganized because it held not, in 
all things, to sound doctrine, vigorous discipline, and to true and good 

men. It began to tamper with heresy and with unsound men — to look 
after j>oZ/c3/, falsely so called, and forget sometimes the true and hon- 
est ; not mindful, with Jackson, that the right is always expedient — at 
least that the wrong never is ; and that an invigorating defeat is ever 
better than a triumph which leaves the victor weaker than the con- 
quered. This is a law of nature, gentlemen, and we may claim no 
immunity from punishment for its infraction. I speak of the Demo- 
cratic party of Ohio, because we are our own masters, and have a 
work of our own to perform. But the evil, in part, lies outside the 
State. It infects the whole party of the Union, as such. It ascends 
into high places, and sits down hard by the throne. But I affect the 
wise caution of Sallust, remembering that concerning Carthage it is 
better to be ailent, than speak too little. Yet we as members must par- 
take of the weakness and enervation of other parts of the system ; 
and atrophy is quite as fatal, though it may not be so speedy, as corrup- 
tion and gangrene. 

The inquiries, gentlemen, which I have proposed, assume the truth 
of the facts which they imply. Are they not true ? That we have been 
defeated is now become history. But defeat did not disorganize us. 
Had not discipline first been lost, we could not have been overpowered. 
I know, indeed, that some have affirmed that we, too, are an effete par- 
ty, ready to be dissolved and pass away. It is not so. Dissolu- 
tion and disorganization are wholly different things. The Democratic 
party is not a thing of shreds and patches, organized for a transient 
purpose and thrown hap-hazard together in undistinguishable mass, 
• without form, consistency or proportion, by some sudden and tempora- 
ry pressure, and passing away with the occasion which gave it being ; 
or catching for a renewed but yet more ephemeral existence, at each 
flittincT exigency as it arises in the State ; moulding itself to the form of 
every popular humor, and seeking to fill its sails with every new wind 
of doctrine as it passes, either in zephyr or tempest, over the waves of 
public caprice ; born and dying with the breath which made it. No, 
sir. The Democratic party is founded upon principles which never 
die : hence it is itself immortal It may alter its forms ; it must change 
its measures ; — for as in principle it is essentially conservative, so in pol- 
icy it is tlie party of true progress ; — its individual members and its lead- 
ing spirits, its representative men cannot remain the same. But wherev- 
er there is a people wholly or partially free, there will be a Democratic 

party more or less developed and organized. But no party, gentlemen, 
is at all times equally pure and true to principle and its mission. And 
whenever the Democratic party forgets these, it loses its cementing and 
power-bestowing element; it waxes weak, is disorganized, is defeated : — 
till purging itself of its impurities, and falling- back and rallying within its 
impregnable entrenchments of original and eternal principles, it returns 
like "eagle lately bathed," with irresistible might and majesty to the 
conflict, full of hope and confident in victory. Sir, it is this recupera- 
tive power — this vis mcdicalrix — which distinguishes the Democratic 
party from every other ; and it owes this wholly to its conservative ele- 
iiicnl, FIXED POLITICAL i'RiNciPLES. I say political principles — princi- 
ples dealing peculiarly with government — because it is a roLiTicAL par- 
ty, and must be judged according to its nature and constitution. Re- 
cognizing, in their fullest extent, the imperative obligations of personal 
religion and morality upon its members, and also that in its aggregate 
being it dare not violate the principles of either, it is yet neither a 
Church nor a Lyceum. It is no part of its mission to set itself up a.s 
an e.xpoundcr of ethical or divine truth. Still less is it a mere phi- 
lanthropic or eleemosynary institution. All these are great and no- 
ble, each within its peculiar province, but they form no part of the 
immediate business and end of the Democratic party. And it is be- 
cause that party sometimes will forget that it is the first and highest du- 
ty of its mission to be the depositary of immutable political principles ; 
and steps aside after the dreams and visions of a false and fanatical 
progress ; sometimes political, commonly philanthropic or moral ; that 
it ceases to be powerful and victorious ; for God has ordained that truth 
shall ever in the end be vindicated, and error chastised. 

Forgetting the true province of a political party, the Democracy of 
France and Germany has always failed, and ever must fail. It aims 
at too much. It invokes government to regenerate man, and set him - 
free from the taint and the evils of sin and suffering. It seeks to control 
the domestic, social, individual, moral and spiritual relations of man. - 
It ignores or usurps the place of the iireside, the church and the lyce- 
um: and emulating thus the folly of Icarus, and spreading its wings for 
too lofty a flight into upper air, it has melted like wax before the sun. 
Indirectly, indeed, government will always, sir, aflect more or less all 
these relations for good or evil. But departing from its appointed or- 
bit, confusion, not less surely or disastrously, must follow, than from a 


like departure by the heavenly bodies from their fixed laws of motion. 
And, indeed, the greater and by far the gravest part of the errors of De- 
mocracy everywhere, are to be traced directly to neglect or infraction 
of the funjlamental principle of its constitution ; that man is to be con- 
sidered and dealt with by government, strictly in reference to his rela- 
tions as a political being. 

These reflections, Mr. President, naturally lead me to the first in- 

Personal dissension : — a turning aside after mere temporary and mis- 
called expediency ; a faith in and following after weak, or uncertain, or 
selfish, or heretical men ; neglect of party tone and discipline, as essen- 
tial to the morale, and hence the success of a party, as of an army, and 
just as legitimate ; these, and the like minor causes of disorganization 
and defeat, I pass over. They are incident to all parties, and although 
never to be too lightly estimated, yet rarely occasion lasting or very se- 
rious detriment. Commonly, indeed, sir, they are but the diagnostic, 
or visible developement of an evil which lies deeper — just as boils and 
blotches upon the surface of the body show that the system is tainted 
and distempered witliin. Neither do I pause, gentlemen, to consider bow 
far the final inauguration of the grand scheme of domestic policy, which 
the Democratic party so many years struggled for, and the consequent 
prostration and dissolution of the Whig party, have contributed to the 
loss of vigilance and discipline ; since an organization healthy in all 
other things, must soon recover its wonted tone and soundness. Sir, the 
Democratic party has principle to fall back upon, and it has, too, a 
trust to execute not less sacred and almost as difficult as its first work. 
It is its business to pi-eserve and keep pure and incorrupt that which it has 
established. And this, along with the new political questions which in 
the world's progress, from day to day spring up, will give us labor 
enough and sweat enough, without a wild foray into the province of 
the benevolent association, the lyceum or the church ; to return 
thence laden, not with the precious things, tlie incense and the vessels of 
silver and gold from off the altar, but the rubbish and the oftal, — the big- 
otries, the intolerance, the hypocrisies, the persecuting spirit, and what- 
ever else of unmixed evil has crept through corruption, into 'the outer or 
the inner courts of the sanctuary. 

I know, indeed, gentlemen, that every political party is more or less 

directly afiected, as by a sort of magnetism, by all great public move^ 
ments upon any subject ; and it is one of the peculiar evils of a democ- 
racy that every question of absorbing, though never so transient inter- 
est — moral, social, religious, scientific, no matter what — assumes, soon- 
er or later, a political shape and hue, and enters into the election con- 
tests and legislation of the country. For many years, nevertheless, sir, 
questions not strictly political, exerted but small influence upon parties 
in the United States. The memorable controversies -tyhiclx preceded 
the American Revolution, and which developed and disciplined the 
great abilities of the giants of those days — founded, indeed, as all must 
be, upon abstract principles drawn from the nature of man considered 
in his relation to government — were yet strictly legal and political. The 
men of that day were not cold metaphysicians, nor wicked or mischiev- 
ous enthusiasts — else we had been subjects of Great Britain to this day. 
Practical men, they dealt with the subject as a practical question; and 
deducing the right of Revolution ; the right to institute, alter or abolish 
government, from " the inalienable rights of man," the American Con- 
gress summed up a long catalogue of injuries and usurpations wholly 
political, as impelling to the separation, and struck out of the original 
draught of the Declaration of Independence, the eloquent, but then mis- 
timed declamation of Jefferson against tlie African Slave Trade. Sir, 
it did not occur to even the Hancocks and the Adamses of the New 
England of that day, that the national sins and immoralities of Great 
Britain, could form the appropriate theme of a great state paper, and 
supply to a legislative assembly the most potent arguments where-with 
to justify and defend before the world, a momentous political revolution. 
Discoveries such as these are, belong to the patriots and wise men — 
the Sewards, the Sumners, the Ilalcs, and the Chases of a later and 
more enlightened age. 

Our ancestors Avent to war, indeed, about a preamble and a princi- 
ple: but these were political — the right of the British Parliament to tax 
America. And they did not stop to inquli-e whether war was humane 
and consistent with man's notion of the gospel of peace. Their po- 
litical rights were invaded, and they took up arms to repel the aggres- 
sion. Nor did tliey, sir, in the temper and spirit of the pharisaic rab- 
bins and sophisters of '55, ask of each other whether morally or piously, 
the citizens of the several colonies were worthy of fellowship. They 
were resolved to form a political union, so as to establish justice and to 


secure domestic tranquility, tiie common defence, tlie general welfare, 
and the blessings of liberty to themselves and posterity : and the Catho- 
lic of Maryland and the Huguenot of Carolina ; the Puritan Roundhead 
of New England and the Cavalier of Virginia ; the slavery-hating, though 
sometimes slave-trading, saint of Boston and the slave-holding sinner 
of Savannah ; Washington and Adams, Rutledge and Sherman, Madi- 
son and Franklin, Pinckney and Ellsworth, all joined hands in holy 
brotherhood, to ordain a Constitution which, silent about temperance, 
forbade religious tests and establisJwienls, and provided for the extra- 
dition of Jugitive slaves* 

The questions which engaged the great minds of Washington and 
the men who composed his cabinets, were also purely political. — 
" Whiskey,'^ indeed, sir, played once an important part in the drama, 
threatening even civil war ; but it was as the creature of the tax-gath- 
erer, not the theme of the philanthropist or the ecclesiastic. Even the 
Alieji and Sedition Laws of the succeeding administration — renascent 
now by a sort of Pythagorean meternpsycliosis, in the form of a secret 
oath-bound conspiracy — were defended then solely on political grounds. 
" The principles of '98," which at that time convulsed the country in 
the struggle for their predominance, were, indeed, abstractions, though 
of \xAn\iQ practical value — but they were constitutional and political ab- 
stractions. Equally is it true tliat all the capital measures in every 
Administration from '98 to 1828, were of a kindred character — except, 
only, the Missouri Question; that " fire bell in the night," which filled 
Jefi'erson with alarm and despair. But this was transient in itself; 
though it left its slumbering and treacherous ashes to kindle a flame not 
many years later, whicii tlireatens to consume this Union with fire un- 

But within no period of our history, gentlemen, Avere so many and 
such grave political questions the subject of vehement and sometimes 
exasperated discussion, as during the administrations of Jackson and 
his successor, continuing down, many of them, to 1847. Among these 
f name Internal Improvements, the Protective System, the Public 
Lands, Nullification, the Removal of the Indians, the United States 
Bank, the Removal of the Deposites, Removals from Ofi^ice, the French 
Indemnity, the Expunging Resolutions, the Specie Circular, Executive 

*NoTB. — Botli these provisions were carried unanimously, without debate and with- 
out vote.— 3 Mad. Pap. 1366, 1447, 1456, 1468. 

Patronage, the Independent Treasury, Distribution, the Veto Power, 
and their cognate subjects. Never were greater questions presented. 
Never was greater intellect or more abundant learning and ingenuity 
brought into the discussion of any subjects. And never, be it remem- 
bered, was the Democratic party so powerful. It was the power and 
majesty of principle and truth, working out their developement through 
machinery obedient to its constitution and nature. True, Andrew Jack- 
son was then at the head of the party, and his name and his will, mov- 
ing all things with a nod, were a tower of strength. But an hundred 
Jacksons could not have upheld a party one day which had been false 
to its mission. 

Within this period, indeed. Anti-masonry rose, flourished and died ; 
the first in the United States, of a long line oi third parties — the terlium 
quid of political sophisters — based upon but one tenet, and devoted to 
a single purpose. But even in this, the professed principle was solely 

Following the great questions of the Jackson era, came the Annexa- 
tion of Texas, the Oregon question, and the Mexican War; during or 
succeeding which, that pestilent and execrable sectional controversy, 
ReipubliccB porleritum ac poene funus, was developed and nurtured to 
its present perilous magnitude. 

Here, gentlemen, a new epoch begins in our political history. A 
new order of issues and new party mechanism are introduced. At this 
point, therefore, let us turn back and trace briefly the origin and histo- 
ry of those grievous departures from the ancient landmarks, which, fill- 
ing the whole country with confusion and perplexity, have impaired, 
more or less seriously, the strength and discipline of the Democratic 

In the State of Massachusetts — not barren of inventions — in the year 
1811, at a meeting of an ecclesiastical council, a committee was ap- 
pointed, whereof a reverend doctor o^ Salem was chairman, to draught 
a constitution for the first " Temperance Society" in the United States. 
The committee reported in 1813, and the society was established. It 
languished till 1826, and "languishing did live." Nathan Dane was 
among its first presidents. In that year of grace, sir, at Boston, died 
this association ; and from its ashes sprang the " American Society for 
the promotion of Temperance ;" the parent of a numerous offspring. 
This association was in its turn, supplanted by the Washingtonian So- 


cietiea of 1841 ; and they again by the Sons of Temperance. The el- 
dest of these organizations taught only temperance in the use of ardent 
spirits ; their successors forbade wholly all spirituous, but allowed vin- 
ous and fermented liquors. The Washingtonians enjoined total absti- 
nence from every beverage which by possibility might intoxicate : and 
so also did the Sons of Temperance. But all these organizations, gen- 
tlemen, in the out-set at least, professed reliance solely upon " moral 
suasion," and denied all political purpose or design in their action.— 
They were voluntary associations, formed to ■persuade men to be tem- 
perate. This was right ; was reasonable ; was great and noble; and 
immense results for good, rewarded their labors. The public was in- 
terested evei*y where. The cause became popular — became powerful. 
Designing men, not honest, were not slow to discover that it might be 
turned into a potent political engine for the advancement of personal or 
party interests. Weak men, very honest, were dazzled and deluded 
by the bright dream of intemperance expelled and man restored to his 
original purity, by the power of human legislation. And lo, in 1855, in 
this the freest country upon the globe, fourteen States, by statute brist- 
ling all over with fines, the jail and the penitentiary, have prescribed 
that neither strong drink nor the fruit of the vine, shall be the subject 
of contract, traffic or use within their limits. Temperance, which Paul 
preached and the Bible teaches as a religious duty, and leaves to the 
church or the voluntary association, is now become a controlling ele- 
ment at the polls and in legislation. Political parties are perverted in- 
to great temperance societies ; and the fitness of the citizen for office, 
o-uaged now by his capacity to remain dry. His palm may itch ; his 
whole head may be weak, and his whole heart corrupt ; but if his tongue 
be but parched, he is competent. 

And now, sir, along with good came evil ; and when the good turned 

to evil, the plague abounded exceedingly. 1 pass by that numerous 

host of lesser isms of the day, full all of them, of folly or fanaticism, and 
fit only to " uproar the universal peace, confound all unity on earth ;" 
which, nevertheless, have excited much public interest, numbered many 
followers, and flowing speedily into the stream of party politics, aid- 
ed largely to pollute its already turbid and frothy waters. I come 
to that most recent fungous devclopement of those departures from orig- 
inal and wholesome political principle : Know-Nothingism ; as barbar- 
ous in name, as, in my judgment, it is dangerous in essence. 


The extraordinary success, gentlemen, which had attended political 
temperance and abolition, revealed a mine of wealth, richer than Cali- 
fornia placer, to the office-hunting demagogue. Ordinary political top- 
ics were become stale — certainly unprofitable. But he, it now appear- 
ed, who could call in the aid of moral or religious truths, touched an 
answering chord in the heart of this very pious and upright people ; a 
people so keenly sensitive, too, each one to the moral or religious sta- 
tus of his neighbor. 

Not ignorant, sir, of the corroding bitterness of religious strife ; and 
mindful of the desolating persecutions for conscience sake, of which 
governments in times past had been the willing instruments, the founders 
of our federal Constitution forbade, in clear and positive language, all 
religious tests and establishments : and every state, in terms more or 
less emphatic, has ordained a similar prohibition. The Constitution of 
Ohio, declaring that all men have a natural and indefeasible right to 
worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience, 
provides that " no preference shall be given by law to any religious so- 
ciety, nor shall any interference with the rights of conscience, be per- 
mitted ; and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for 

By prohibitions, positive and stringent as these are, gentlemen, our 
fathers in their weakness, thought to stay the flood of religious intole- 
rance. Vain hope ! The high road to honor and emolument, lay through 
the " higher law " reforms of the day. Moral and religious issues 
alone were found available. The roll of the *' drum ecclesiastic" could 
stir a fever in the public blood, when the thunders of the rostrum fell 
dull and droning upon the ears of the people. It needed but small 
sagacity, therefore, to foresee that the prejudices of race and sect, must 
prove a still more powerful and wieldy engine. The Pope of Pilgrim's 
Progress grinned still at the mouth of the cave full of dead men's bones, 
and Fox's Book of Martyrs lay shuddering yet with its hideous engrav- 
ings, under every protestant roof. How easy, then, to revive, or rath- 
er, to fan into a flame, this secret but worse than goblin dread of Papa- 
cy and the Inquisition. Add to this that a majority of Catholics are 
foreigners, obnoxious, therefore, to the bigotry of race and birth also ; 
add further, that silence, secresy and circumspection are weapons po- 
tent in any hands : add still, that to be over-curious is a controlling ele- 
ment in the American character. Compound, now, all these with a 


travesty upon the signs, grips and macliinery of already existing or- 
ganizations, and you have the elements and mechanism of a great and 
powerful, but assuredly not enduring party. 

In the month of January, 1854, the telegraph on lightning wing, 
speeds through its magic meshes, the astounding intelligence that at 
the municipal election of the town of Salem, (not unknown in history,) 
in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, men not known to be candi- 
dates were, by an invisible and unknown agency, said to be a secret 
oath-bound society without even so much as a name, elected by 
heavy majorities over candidates openly proclaimed. In March and 
in April, similar announcements appear from other quarters. The mys- 
tery is perplexing : the country is on fire : and lo, in October, nine 
months after this Salem epiphany, from Maine to California, the myth- 
ic " Sam " has established his secret conclaves in every city, village, 
county and state in the Union. 

And here again, sir, the protestant clergy forgetting, many of them; 
their divine warrant and holy mission — I speak it with profoundest sor- 
row and humiliation — have run headlong into this dangerous and de- 
moralizing organization. They have even sought, in many places, to 
control it, and through it, the political affairs of the country : and, sad 
spectacle, are found but too often, foremost and loudest and most clam- 
orous among political brawlers and hunters of place. I rejoice, sir, 
that there are many noble and holy exceptions — ministers mindful of 
their true province, and preaching only the pure precepts and doctrines 
of that Sacred Volume without which there is no rehgion, and no sta- 
bility or virtue worth the name, in either church or state. Neverthe- 
less, covertly or openly, the protestant clergy and church have but too 
much, lent countenance and encouragement to the order. And the 
truth must and shall be spoken both of church and of party. 

In seizing upon the Temperance and other moral and religious move- 
ments. Party invaded the territory of the Church. The church has 
now avenged the aggression, and gone into party ; not with the might 
and majesty of holinesss ; not to purify and elevate : but with distorted 
feature, breath polluted and wing dripping and droiling in mire and 
stench and rottenness, to destroy and pollute in the foul embrace, 
whatever of purity remained yet to either church or the hustings. The 
church has disorganized and perverted party ; and in its turn, parly 
has become to the church as '« dead flies in the ointment of the apoth- 


ecary.'* Church and State each abandoning its peculiar province, and 
meeting upon the common ground of fanaticism and proscription, have 
joined hands in polluting and incestuous wedlock. The constitution 
remains indeed unchanged in letter ; but this unholy union has render- 
ed nugatory one among its wisest and most salutary enactments. 

But, gentlemen, all these are in their nature and from circumstances 
essentially ephemeral. No powerful and controlling interests exist to 
cement and harden them into strength and durability. They are 
among the epidemic diseases which for a season, infect every body 
politic, leaving it, if sound in constitution and not distempered other- 
wise, purified and strengthened. In all these, too, the Democracy as a 
party, has stood firm and uncontaminate : although, indeed, individual 
members have in every state and county, been beguiled and led astray ; 
and thereby the aggregate power and influence of the party, greatly im- 

Especially, sir, is the present order of " Know-Nothings " evanes- 
cent. Even now it totters to the earth. In the beginning, indeed, it 
was perhaps the purpose of its founders to hold it aloof from the great 
sectional controversy between the North and the South ; and to mould 
it into a permanent national party. But circumstances are stronger 
than men ; and already throughout the north, it has become thoroughly 
abolitionized. Hence it must speedily dissolve and pass away ; or re- 
main but a yet more hateful adjunct of that one stronger and more du- 
rable organization in which every element of opposition to the Demo- 
cratic party, must sooner or later, inevitably terminate — the Abolition 
HORDE OF THE NoRTH. For howcver tortuous may be its channel or re- 
mote its fountain, into this turbid and devouring flood, will every brook 
and rivulet find its way at last. 

The consideration of this great question, Mr. President, I have natu- 
rally and appropriately reserved to the last. It is the gravest and 
most momentous, full of embarrassment and of danger to the country • 
and in cowering before or tampering with it, the Democratic party of 
Ohio has given itself a disabling, though I tnist not yet mortal wound. 

I propose, then, sir, to trace fully the origin, developement and pro- 
gress of this movement: and to explore and lay open at length, its re- 
lations, present and prospective, to the Democratic party and to the 


Slavery, gentlemen, older in other countries also, than the records of 
human society, existed in America at the date of its discovery. The 
first slaves of the European, were natives of the soil: and a Puritan 
governor of Massachusetts, founder of the family of Winthrop, be- 
queathed his soul to God, and his Indian slaves to the lawful heirs of his 
body. Negro slavery was introduced into Hispaniola in 1501: more 
than a century before the colonization of America by the English. 
Massachusetts by express enactment in 1641, punishing "manstealing" 
with death : — and it is so punished to this day under the laws of the 
United States — legalized yet the enslaving of captives taken in war, and 
of such "strangers," foreigners, as should be acquired by purchase : 
while confederate New England two years later, providing for the 
equitable division of lands, goods and '-persons " as equally a part of 
the "spoils" of war, enacted also the first fugitive slave law in Ameri- 
ca. White slaves — convicts and paupers some of them ; others at a 
later day, prisoners taken at the battles of Dunbar and Worcester, and 
of Sedgemoor — were at the first, employed in Virginia and the British 
West Indies. Bought in England by English dealers, among whom 
was the queen of James II, with many of his nobles and courtiers, some 
of them perhaps of the house of Sutherland ; they were imported and 
sold at auction to the highest bidder. In 1620, a Dutch man of war 
first landed a cargo of slaves upon the banks of James River. But 
the earliest slave ship belonging to English colonists, was fitted out in 
1645, by a member of the Puritan church of Boston. Fostered still by 
English princes and nobles : confirmed and cherished by British legis- 
lation and judicial decisions, even against the wishes and in spite of 
the remonstrances of the Colonies, the traffic increased ; slaves multi- 
plied, and on the Fourth of July, 1776, every colony was now become 
a slave state ; and the sun went down that day upon four hundred and 
fifty thousand of those who in the cant of eighty years later, are 
styled "human chattels," but who were not by the act of that day 

Eleven years afterwards, delegates assembling at Philadelphia, from 
every state except Rhode Island^ ignoring the question of the sinful- 
ness and immorality of slavery, as a subject with which they as the re- 
presentatives of separate and independent states, had no concern, foun- 
ded a union and framed a constitution, which leaving with each state 
the exclusive control and regulation of its own domestic institutions, 


and providing for the taxation and representation of slaves, gave no 
right to Congress to debate or to legislate concerning slavery in the 
states or territories, except for the interdiction of the slave trade and 
the extradition of fugitive slaves. The Plan of Union proposed by 
Franklin in 1754, had contained no allusion even to slavery ; and the 
Articles of Confederation of 1778, but a simple recognition of its exist- 
ence — so wholly was it regarded then, a domestic and local concern. 
In 1787 every State, except perhaps Massachusetts, tolerated slavery 

either absolutely or conditionally. But the number of slaves north 

of Maryland, never great, was even yet comparatively small ; not ex- 
ceeding forty thousand in a total slave population of six hundred thou- 
sand. In the North, chief carrier of slaves to others even as late as 
1807, slavery never took firm root. Nature warred against it in that 
latitude ; otherwise every state in the Union, would have been a slave- 
holding state to this day. It was not profitable there ; and it died out 
— lingering indeed in New York till July 1827. It died out: but not 
so much by the manumission of slaves, as by their transportation and 
sale in the South : and thus New England, sir, turned an honest pen- 
ny with her left liand, and with her right, modestly wrote herself down 
in history, as both generous and just. 

In the South, gentlemen, all this was precisely reversed. The earli- 
est and most resolute enemies to slavery, were southern men. But cli- 
mate had fastened the institution upon them ; and they found no way 
to strike it down. From the beginning indeed, the Southern colonies 
especially had resisted the introduction of African slaves ; and at the 
very outset of the revolution, Virginia and North Carolina interdicted 
the slave trade. The Continental Congress soon after, on the sixth of 
April, 177G, three months earlier than the Declaration of Independence, 
resolved that no more slaves ought be imported into the thirteen colo- 
nies. Jefl:erson in his draught of the Declaration, had denounced the 
king of England alike for encouraging the slave trade, and for foment- 
ing servile insurrection in the provinces. Ten years later, he boldly 
attacked slavery in his "Notes on Virginia :" and in the Congress of 
the Confederation, j^rior to the adoption of the Constitution, with its 
solemn compacts and compromises upon tfie suhject of slavery, proposed 
to exclude it from the territory northwest the river Ohio. Col. Mason 
of Virginia, vehemently condemned it, in the Convention of 1787. 
Nevertheless it had already become manifest that slavery must soon die 


away in the North, but in the South continue and harden into perhaps 
a permanent, uneradicable system. Hostile interests and jealousies 
sprang up, therefore, in bitterness even in the Convention. But the 
blood of the patriot brothers of Carolina and Massachussetts, smoked 
yet upon the battle fields of the Revolution. The recollection of their 
kindred language and common dangers and sufferings, burned still fresh 
in their hearts. Patriotism proved more powerful than jealousy, and 
good sense stronger than fanaticism. There were no Sewards, no 
Hales, no Sumners, no Greeleys, no Parkers, no Chase, in that 
Convention. There was a Wilson ; but he rejoiced not in the name 
of Henry; and he was a Scotchman. There was a clergyman — 
no, not in the Convention of '87, but in the Congress of '76 : but it 
was the devout, the learned, the pious, the patriotic Witherspoon ; 
of foreign birth also, a native of Scotland, too. The men of that day 
and generation, sir, were content to leave the question of slavery 
just where it belonged. It did not occur to them, that each one 
among them was accountable for "the sin of slaveholding" in his fel- 
low ; and that to ease his tender conscience of the burden, all the 
fruits of revolutionary privation and blood and treasure ; all the recol. 
lections of the past ; all the hopes of the future : nay the Union, and 
with it, domestic tranquility and national independence, ought to be ofT- 
ered up as a sacrifice. They were content to deal with political ques- 
tions ; and to leave cases of conscience to the church and the schools, 
or to the individual man. And accordingly to this Union and Constitu- 
tion, based upon these compromises — execrated now as "covenants 
with death and leagues with hell" — every state acceded : and upon 
these foundations, thus broad, and deep and stable, a political super- 
structure has, as if by magic arisen, which in symmetry and proportion > 
and, if we would but be true to our trust, in strength and durability, 
finds no parallel in the world's history. 

Patriotic sentiments, sir, such as marked the era of '89, continued 
to guide the statesmen and people of the country, for more than thirty 
years, full of prosperity : till in a dead political calm, consequent upon 
temporary extinguishment of the ancient party lines and issues, the 
Missouri Question, resounding through the land with the hollow moan 
of the earthquake, shook the pillars of the Republic even to their deep 
Within these thirty years, gentlemen, slavery as a system, had been 


abolished by law or disuse, quietly and without agitation, in every slate 
north of Mason and Dixon's line — in many of them, lingering, indeed, 
in individual cases, so late as the census of 1840. But except in half 
a score of instances, the question had not been obtruded upon Con- 
gress. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, had been passed without oppo- 
sition and without a division, in the Senate ; and by a vote of forty- 
eight to seven, in the House. The slave trade had been declared pira- 
cy punishable with death. Respectful petitions from the Quakers of 
Pennsylvania, and others, upon the slavery question, were referred to 
a committee, and a report made thereon, which laid the matter at rest. 
Other petitions afterwards were quietly rejected, and in one instance, 
returned to the petitioner. Louisiana and Florida, both slave holding 
countries, had without agitation, been added to our territory. Ken- 
tucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, slave states 
each one of them, had been admitted into the Union, without a mur- 
mur. No Missouri Restriction, no Wilmot Proviso had as yet reared 
its discoi'dant front to terrify and confound. Non intervention was 
then both the practice and the doctrine of the statesmen and people of 
that period : though as yet, no hollow platform enunciated it as an arti- 
cle of faith, from which, nevertheless, obedience might be withheld, 
and the platform "spit upon," provided the tender conscience of the 
recusant did not forbid him to support the candidate and help to se- 
cure the " spoils." 

Once only, sir, was there a deliberate purpose shown, by a formal 
assault upon the compromises of the Constitution, to array the prejudi- 
ces of geographical sections upon the question of slavery. But origin- 
ating within the secret counsels of the Hartford Convention, it partook 
of the odium which touched everything connected with that treasonable 
assembly ; till set on fire by a live coal from the altar of jealousy and 
fanaticism, it burst into a conflagration six years later. And now, sir, 
for the first time in our history under the Constitution, a strenuous and 
most imbittered struggle ensued, on part of the North — the Federalists 
of the North — to prevent the admission of a State into the Union ; re- 
ally because the North — the Federalists of the North — strove for the mas- 
tery and to secure the balance of power in her own hands ; but ostensi- 
bly because slave-holding, which the Missouri constitution sanctioned, 
was affirmed to be immoral and irreligious. In this first fearful strife, 
this earliest departure from the Constitution and the ancient sound pol- 


icy of the country, ihe NoHh — for the truth of history shall be vindica. 

ted THE North was the aggressor : and that, too, without the slightest 

provocation. Vermont in New England ; Ohio, Indiana and Illinois 
out of territory, once the property of slave-holding Virginia, had been 
admitted into the Union ; and Michigan organized into a territorial gov- 
ernment, without one hostile vote from the South, given upon the ground 
that slavery was interdicted within their limits. Even Maine had been 
permitted by vote of Congress, to slougli ofi'from Massachusetts, and be- 
come a separate state. But now Missouri knocked for admission, with 
a constitution not introducing, but continuing slavery which had exist- 
ed in her midst from the beginning ; and four several times at the first, 
she was rejected by the North. The South resisted ; and the storm 
raged. .Jefferson, professing to hate slavery, but living and dying him- 
self a slave-holder, or in the delicate slang of to-day, a " slave breeder," 
loving yet his country with all the fervid patriotism of his early man- 
hood five and forty years before, heard in it " the knell of the Union ;" 
and mourned that he must *• die now in the belief that the useless sac- 
rifice of themselves by the generation of 1776, to acquire self-govern- 
ment and happiness to their country, was to be thrown away by the 
unwise and unworthy passions of their sons :" consoling himself, the 
only solace of the patriot of fourscore years, that he should not live to 
weep over the blessings thrown thus recklessly away for " an abstract 
principle ;" and the folly and madness of this " act of suicide and of 
treason against the hopes of the world." 

But the incantations of hate and fanaticism had evoked the hideous 
spectre ; and it ought to have been quelled never to re-appear. The ap- 
palling question was now stirred ; and it should have been met and re- 
settled forever, by the men of that day, on the original basis of the Con- 
stitution : — not left as a legacy of discord, a Pandora's box full of all 
evil, of mischief and pestilence, to the next generation. They were 
not true to themselves : they were not true to us. They cowered be- 
fore the goblin ; and laid before it peace offerings and a wave offering, 
and sent us their children to pass through the fire in the valley of Hin- 
nom. Setting aside the compromises of the Constitution, and usurp- 
ing power not granted to Congress, they undertook to compromise 
about that which had already been definitely and perman'ently settled 
by that instrument. This was the beginning, sir, of that line of paltry 
and halting compromises ; of fat-brained, mole-eyed, unmanlike expe- 


pedients which put the evil day off, only to return laden with aggrava- 
ted mischief. They hushed the terrible question for a moment ; and 
the election machinery moved on, and the spoils of the Presidency were 
divided as before. But it was " a reprieve only, not a fmal sentence." 
The "geographical line " thus once conceived for the first time, and 
held up to the angry passions of men, was as Jefferson had foretold, 
never obliterated, but rather by every irritation, marked deeper and 
deeper. And after fifteen years truce, it re-appeared in a new and 
far more dangerous form : and enduring already for more than half 
the average life-time of man, has attained a position and magnitude 

which neither demands nor will hearken to any further compromise. 

Nevertheless, sir, but for the insolent intermeddling of the British gov- 
ernment and British emissaries — continued to this day, with the super- 
addition now of Napoleon the Third — it might have slumbered for 
many years longer. 

In England, gentlemen, the form of personal bondage disappeared 
even to its last traces, from her own soil, about the beginning of the 
seventeenth century : its legal existence continued till 1661: its worst 
realities remain to this day ; for although in that very humane and 
most enlightened Island, there be no involuntary servitude except as a 
punishment for crime, yet in England, poverty is a crime, punishable 

with the worst form of slavery or by starvation and death. 

Three hundred years ago she began the traffic in negro slaves. Queen 
Elizabeth was a sharer in its gains. A hundred and fifty years later, 
at the peace of Utrecht, England undertook by compact with Spain, to 
import into the West Indies, within the space of thirty years, one hun- 
dred and forty-four thousand negroes, demanding, and with exactest 
care securing, a monopoly of the traffic. Queen Anne reserved one 
quarter of the stock of the slave trading company to herself, and one 
half to her subjects : to the king of Spain, the other quarter being con- 
ceded. Even so late as 1750, Parliament busied itself in devising 
plans to make the slave trade still more effectual : while in 1775, the 
very year of the Revolution, a noble earl wrote to a coloftial agent, 
these memorable words : " We cannot allow the colonies to check or 
discourage in any degree, a traffic so beneficial to the nation." Between 
that date and the period of first importation, England had stolen from 
the coast of Africa, and imported into the new world, or buried in 
the aea on the passage thither, not less than three and a quarter millions 


of negroes — more by half a million than the entire population of the 
Colonies. In April 1776, the American Congress resolved against the 
importation of any more slaves. But England continued the traffic, 
with all its accumulated horrors, till 1808 ; for so deeply had it struck 
its roots into the commercial interests of that country, that not all the 
efforts of an organized and powerful society ; not the influence of her 
ministers ; not the eloquence of all her most renowned orators, availed 
to strike it down for more than forty years after this its earliest interdic- 
tion in any country, by a rebel congress. Nevertheless, sir, slavery 
in the English West Indies, continued twenty-seven years longer. But 
the loss of her American colonies and the prohibition of the slave trade, 
had left small interest to Great Britain in negro slavery. Her philan- 
thropy found room now to develope and expand in all its wonderful 
proportions. And accordingly, in 1834, England — England, drunk 
with the blood of the martyrs, stoning the prophets and rejecting the 
apostles of political liberty in her own midst — robbed by act of Parlia- 
ment, one hundred millions of dollars from the wronged and beggared 
peasantry of Ireland ; from the enslaved and oppressed millions of In- 
dia, from the starving, overwroiight, mendicant carcasses of the white 
slaves of her own soil, to pay to her impoverished colonists plundered 
without voice and without vote in her legislature, the stipulated price of 
human rights ; and with these the wages of iniquity, in the outraged 
name of God and humanity, mocked the handful of her black bonds- 
men in the West Indies, with the false and deluding shadow of liberty. 
Exeter Hall resounded with acclamation : bonfires and illuminations 
proclaimed the exultant joy of an aristocracy fat with the pride and 
lust of domination. But in that self same hour — in that self same 
hour, from the furnaces of Sheffield and the manufactories of Birming- 
ham : from the wretched hovels of Ireland, full of famishing and pesti- 
lence : from ten thousand work-houses crowded with leperous and per- 
ishing paupers, the abodes of abominable cruelties, which not even the 
pen of a Dickens has availed to portray in the full measure of their 
enormity ^Snd from the mouths of a thousand pits and mines, deep 
under earth, horrid in darkness, and reeking with noisome vapor, the 
stupendous charnel houses of the living dead men of England, there 
went up, and ascends yet up to heaven, the piercing wail o£ desolation 
and despair. 
But England became now the great apostle of African liberty. Ignor- 


ing, sir, or putting under at the point of the bayonet, the political 
rights of millions of her own white subjects, she yet prepared to con- 
vict the world of the sinfulness of negro slavery. Exeter Hall sent 
out its emissaries, full of zeal and greedy for martyrdom. The Brit- 
ish government took up the crusade ; — not from motives of religion or 
philanthropy. Let no man be deceived. No, sir. Since the days of 
Peter the Hermit and Richard the Lion-hearted, England, forgetting 
the Holy Sepulchre, had learned many lessons : and none know better 
now their true province and mission, than Elnglish statesmen. But the 
American experiment of free government had not failed. America had 
grown great — had grown populous and powerful. Her proud example 
towering up every day higher and illuminating every land, was pene- 
trating the hearts of the people and threatening to shake the thrones of 
every monarchy in Europe, Force against such a nation, would be 
the wildest of follies. But to be odious is to be weak ; and internal 
dissension had wasted Greece and opened even Thermopylae to the Bar- 
barian of Macedon. The Missoui'i Question had revealed the weak 
point of the American Confederacy. Achilles was found vulnerable in 
the heel. In spent venlum erat, intestina discordia dlsnolvi rem Ro- 
manam posse. 

The machinery which had etlccted emancipation in the British West 
India Islands, of use no longer in England, was transferred to Ameri- 
ca. Aided by British gold ; encouraged by British sympathy, the agi- 
tation began herein 1835 : and so complete was it in all its appoint- 
ments, so thorough the organization and discipline, so perfect the elec- 
tric current, that within six months, the whole Union was convulsed. 
Affiliated societies were established in every Northern State, and in al- 
most every county : lecturers were paid and sent forth into every city 
and village : a powerful and well supported press, fed from the treasu- 
ries and working up the cast ofi* rags of the British societies, poured 
forth a multitude of incendiary prints and publications, which were 
distributed by mail throughout the Union : but chiefly in the Southern 
States and among the slaves. Fierce excitement in the SonA followed. 
And so great became the public feeling and interest, that President 
Jackson, so early as the annual message of 1835, pressed earnestly 
upon Congress, the duty of prohibiting the use of the mail for transmit- 
ting incendiary publications to the South. But prior to the sitting of 
Congress, the Abolition Societies, treading again in the footsteps of the 


emancipationists in England, had prepared, and now poured in a flood 
of petitions, praying Congress to take action upon the subject of slave- 
ry. The purpose was to obtain a foothold, a fulcrum, in the Capitol ; 
for without this, the South could not be effectually embroiled, and little 

could be accomplished even in the North. But no appliances were 

left untried. Agitators, tlieir breath was agitation : quiescence would 
have been a sentence of obscurity and dissolution. And accordingly, 
in May 1835, the American Anti-slavery Society was established in 
New York ; its object being the immediate and unconditional abolition 
of negro slavery in the United States. It was a permanent organiza- 
tion, to be dissolved only upon the consummation of its purpose. The 
object of attack was the South : the seat of war the North. Public 
sentiment was to be stirred up here against slavery because it was a 
moral evil, and a sin in the sight of the Most High, for the continuance 
of which one day, the men of the North were accountable before heav- 
en. Slaveholders were to be made odious in the eyes of northern men 
and foreign nations, as cruel tyrants and taskmasters ; as kidnappers, 
murderers and pirates, whose existence was a reproach to the North, 
and whom it were just to hunt down and exterminate as so many beasts 
of prey to whom even the laws of the chase extended no indulgence. 
To hold fellowship and union with slaveholders, was to partake of all 
their sins and enormities : it was to be " in league with death and cov- 
enant with hell." The Constitution and Union were themselves sinful ; 
and as such they ought forthwith to be abrogated and dissolved. And 
thus, sir, the earlier abolitionists, who were zealots, began just where 
their successors of to-day who are traitors, have ended. 

A separate political organization was not, at the first, proposed ; and 
each man was left to his ancient party allegiance. The revolution was 
to be a moral and religious revolution ; and its principles, propagated 
by petitions, lectures, societies and the press, in the North, were 
through these instrumentalities, to penetrate Congress and the legisla- 
tures of tl^ South • and if not hearkened to there, then to efl"ect a dis- 
memberment of the Union, by secession of the North, or secession 
forced upon the South. 

Slavery, gentlemen, had before this, been the subject of earnest and: 
sometimes angry controversy in Congress and elsewhere. But a pow- 
erful and permanent organization, founded for such a purpose and 
working by such appliances, had never yet existed. Coming thus in 


such a questionable shape, even the Nortli started back aghast as at 
*' a goblin damned :" and it was denounced as treason and madness 
from the first. Its presses were destroyed, its assemblies broken up, 
its publications burned, and its lecturers mobbed everywhere, and more 
than one among them murdered in tlie midst of popular tumult and in- 
dignation. Tlie churches, tlic school houses, the court houses and tlie 
public halls, were alike closed against them. Misguided men, fanat- 
ics, emissaries of England, traitors; tliese were among the mildest of 
epithets which in every place and almost from every tongue, saluted 
their ears. The very name of" Abolitionist " became a bye-word and 
a hissing. Not an advocate, and scarce even an apologist for the men or 
their course, was found in either hall of Congress. Members presented 
their petitions with great reluctance ; and as late as the twenty-eighth of 
December, 1837, Mr. Calhoun rejoiced that " every senator without ex- 
ception," had confessed himself opposed to the agitation. A bill to 
punish by severe penalties, any post-master who .should knowingly put 
into the mail, any incendiary publication directed to the South, had by 
the casting vote of Vice President Van Biiren, been ordered to a third 
reading. The Senate dechned to refer or in any way act upon the nu- 
merous petitions presented, while the House refusing to read, print or 
refer, laid them forthwith upon the table. In January, 1838, the Seu' 
ate by a majority of four to one, adopted a series of resolutions de- 
nouncing the Abolition movement " on whatever ground or pretext 
urged forward, political, moral or religious," as insulting to the South 
and dangerous to her domestic peace and tranqiiility : and further, con- 
demning all efforts toward the abolition of slavery in the District of 
Columbia and the Territories, as a breach of good faith ; a just cause 
of serious alarm to the states in which .slavery exists ; and of most mis- 
chievous tendency. At the following session, the House of Representa- 
tives by a majority of more than one hundred and fifty, passed resolu- 
tions stronger if possible than these ; and some time later, censured and 
almost expelled John Quincy Adams, for presenting an ab^tion peti- 
tion looking to a dissolution of the Union. ^B 

Outside of Congress also, sir, Abolition received up to this period, 
just as little countenance or support. By both of the great political 
parties it was utterly and indignantly repudiated ; while from none of the 
political and scarce any of even the religious journals and periodicals of 
the day, did it find either aid or comfort. Especially, sir, was the De- 


tnocratic party then sound on this question. General Jackson had al- 
ready denounced in strong language officially, the " wicked and un- 
constitutional attempts of the misguided men, and especially the emis- 
saries from foreign parts " who had originated the Abolition movement. 
President Van Buren in his inaugural address, had volunteered a pledge 
to veto any bill looking to the abolition of slavery in the District of Co- 
lumbia. Benton, Buchanan, Wright, Allen, all concurred; and voted 
also for the resolutions which passed the Senate. In Ohio, the Demo- 
cratic State Convention of January 8, 1840, planted itself firmly upon 
the rock of the Constitution, and taking high and patriotic ground, con- 
demned the efforts then being made for the abolition of slavery in the 
District of Columbia, " by organizing societies in the free states, as hos- 
tile lo the spirit of the Constitution and destructive of the harmony oj 
the Union ;" and resolving that " we as citizens of a free state, had no 
right to interfere " with slavery elsewhere, denounced the Abolition 
movement and Abolition societies, declaring that while they " ought to 
be discountenanced by every lover of peace and concord, no sound 
democrat would have any part or lot with them." It was also further 
resolved, as if in the very spirit of prophecy, that " political abolition- 
ism was but ancient Federalism under a new guise, and only a new 
devise for the overthrow of Democracy." 

These resolutions, sir, were adopted with but three dissenting voices, 
in a more numerous assemblage of delegates than ever before had met 
in the State. 

GEORGE W. ELLS, Esq., one of the old Liberty (abolition) guard, here in- 
terrupting, said that historical statements ought to be correct : that he had been a 
member from Licking county, of the convention referred to ; and that he knew 
that the resolutions quoted had never passed ; but were smuggled into the pro ■ 
ceedings, iu order to be circulated through the South, to aid Mr. Van Buren. 

Mr. VALLANDIGHAM. Sir, I have before me the official record 
of the proceedings of that convention, signed by the late lamented 
Thomas L. IIamkr, president of the convention ; a man too candid, too 
brave an^|p true to lend himself to so base and detestable a fraud for 
any such^UPpose. Vou libel the gallant dead : and it is quite too late 
in the day after the lapse of fifteen years, for you, sir, by your own pa- 
rol testimony, to seek to impeach the absolute verity of the record. 
And I repeat now again, and desire you to liear and understand it, that 
these resolutions did pass that convention, and pass, too, with but three 
dissenting voices in that the largest State Convention ever before as- 


sembled in Ohio. And if you, sir, happened to be one of the three who 
voted against these resolutions, I can only say that you had the misfortune 
to find yourself in a very small and most inglorious minority, I assert 
further, that three weeks after that convention, Benjamin Tappan, then 
a senator in Congress from Ohio, quoting these same resolutions and 
affirming the statement which I have just made, concluded a speech of 
remarkable precision and clearness, by declining even to present a peti- 
tion from citizens of the state, praying for the abolition of slavery in the 
District of Columbia. 

A few months later — mark you, Mr. President, Ohio then took the 
lead in denouncing the treason and fanaticisms of Abolition — the Democ- 
racy of the Union, assembled in general convention at Baltimore, pass- 
ed without a dissenting vote, that memorable resolution, penned by that 
pure and incorruptible patriot, Silas Wright ; and which penetrated 
then the heart also and not the ear only, of every democrat, to the full and 
utmost significancy of every word and letter, rephdiating •' incipient 
steps " even, by Congress in relation to " questions of slavery " of every 
sort, as calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous conse- 
quences ; and such as ought not to be countenanced by any friend of 
our political institutions. 

Such, Mr. President, was Abolition in the North, fifteen years 

ago. — Such it is not now. To the philosophic historian who in a 

future age, shall sit amid the ruins of my country, to write her decline 
and fall, I leave the sad but instructive office of tracing its progress and 
exploring the causes which step by step, have lead to its present por- 
tentous developement. I propose but a brief and hasty summary. 

Slowly emerging from obscurity and odium, Abolition began to fix 
attention, not as hitherto, by its sound and fury, but, losing none of 
these, rather now by its increasing numbers and influence. Design- 
ing men soon foresaw that of all ihe movements of the day, none prom- 
ised so abundant and perhaps durable a harvest to him who should 
organize and discipline its wild crusading forces into a regular political 
party. Fanaticism and a false religious zeal, conjoined with that pes- 
tilent but ever potent spirit which is so sorely oftended at the mote that 
is in our brother's eye, and which makes each man jealous over his 
neighbor's conscience, could easily be arrayed under the banner of 
sectional hate and bigotry : and thus a distinct political faction be com- 
pounded out of these elements. Such a party, sir, united by these the 


strongest though not most durable ties, was soon shuffled together ; 
and not long after, supplanted the system of affiliated societies. It 
formed separate tickets, and in 1844, supported a candidate for the 
presidency. But prior to 1848, it attained as a party, comparatively 
small weight in elections. The vehement contests and grave political 
questions which convulsed the two great parties of the country, over- 
shadowed all interest in the feeble but still earnest and active Aboli- 
tion band. But that band meantime, was steadily increasing by ac- 
cessions now and then from the Democrats, but chiefly from the Whigs ; 
some honest men and the discontented and rejected spirits of each, nat- 
urally dropping off and falling into its ranks. Abolitionists — many of 
them styling themselves at this period in their history, the " Liberty 
Party" — gained now in some counties, the balance of power; and 
hence became there an object of courtship to the other parties. In 
New England yet earlier, but all over the North in 1844, the Whig 
party began to trim and falter upon the question. The defeat of Clay 
and the Annexation of Texas gave a new impetus to Abolition, and 
many more, upon these pretexts, fell into its ranks. Meantime the 
steady, persistent, never wearying labors of its orators and press, full 
of grossly false and exaggerated portraitures of slavery, and libels upon 
southern society, working by day and by night, in the church, the 
schools and the lecture room ; at the public meeting, the fire-side and 
the sick bed, fomenting thus hate and jealousy of the South everywhere, 
and that, too, for the most part, without counteracting influence from 
any quarter, had poured the leperous distilment deep into every vein 
and artery of the northern body politic. 

Just at this point, sir, in the history of the Abolition movement, came 
the Oregon controversy, and after that tlie Mexican war, embroiled by 
the now terrible question of the acquisition of a very large tract of 
Mexican territory. Pride or vanity wounded by the settlement of the 
the Oregon boundary at Forty-Nine : ambition disappointed of ofiice : 
the nomu^tion of Generals Cass and Taylor in 1848 ; and the manifest- 
ly approt^ing dissolution of the Whig party, all contributed to throw 
a large portion of that party in the North, and not a few from the Dem- 
ocratic host, into the ranks of the Abolitionists ; who swelled now by 
such great ascessions, threw off wholly the odious name bf Abolition, 
and organizing into one body under a new title, at Buffalo, announced 
Martin Van Buren as their candidate for the Presidency. In the midst 


of all this chaos in the pohlical elements, arose that pernicious bubble, 
the " Wilmot Proviso," which convulsing the country for more than 
four years, in its various forms, had well nigh precipitated us head- 
long into the bottomless gulf of Disunion. 

Assuming now the specious name of" Free Soil,'' and disguising its 
odious principles and its true purposes, under the false pretence of No 
Extension of Slavery, tlie Abolition party addressed itself to minds full 
now of hate towards the South and her institutions, and ready alike to for- 
get the true mission of a political party, and the limitations of the Consti- 
tution. But the united patriotism, talent and worth of the North and 
South, rallied to the rescue of this the last grand experiment of free gov- 
ernment, from the thick darkness of failure and of ruin by the parricidal 
hands of its own children. The Compromise of 1850 followed ; intended 
and believed to be a final adjustment of this appalling controversy. It 
was designed to be a covenant of peace forever : — sealed and attested by 
the self-sacrifice of Webster, Clay and Calhoun, the most illustrious 
triumvirate of great men and patriots, in any age or any country. But 
to no purpose : the yawning gulf did not close over them. The origin 
of the evil lay deeper ; and it was not reached. No gr-eat question of a 
like nature and magnitude, was ever adjusted by a legislative compro- 
mise, in a popular government. The evil lay in that great and most 
pernicious error which pervaded and penetrated so large a portion of 
the Northern mind, that the men of the North, if not under the Consti- 
tution, yet by some " higher law " of conscience had a right, and as 
thev would escape that fire which is not quenched, were bound to in- 
termeddle and in some way to legislate for the abolition of the " ac- 
cursed system." No act of Congress, no number of acts, could heal 
a malady like this, rooted in presumptuous self-righteous, and aggrava- 
ted by the corroding poison of sectional jealousy and hate. For such, 
sir, there is no sweet oblivious antidote in legislation. Set on fire by 
these passions, applied now to that case which coming nighest home, 
appealed most plausibly and most strongly to their impulses and their 
prejudices, a large part of the North resolved to render nugatory the 
chief slavery compromise of the Constitution, by trampling under foot 
and resisting or obstructing the execution of the Fugitive Slave Act of 
1850. And three years later, reinforced now by many recruits from 
the Democratic ranks, and by almost the entire Whig force of the 
North, disbanded finally by the overthrow of 1852, but reorganized in 


part under the banner of Know-Nothingism, the Abolition handful of 
1835, swelled now to a mighty host, rallied in defence of the Missouri 
Restriction, and shook the whole land with a rocking tempest of popu- 
lar commotion, more dangerous than even the storm of 1850. 

Here then, gentlemen, let me pause to survey the true nature and 
full extent of the perils which thus encompass us : and to enquire, 
What remains to be done, that they may be averted. 

In January, 1838, Mr. Calhoun spoke with alarm, then derided as 
visionary, of the danger which to him seemed already as certain as it 
would be disastrous, from the continued, persevering, uncounteracted 
efforts of the Abolitionists, imbuing the rising generation at the North, 
with the belief that the institutions of the So,uth were sinful and im- 
moral ; and that it would be doing God's service to abolish them, even 
should it involve the destruction of half her inhabitants as murderers 
and pirates at best. Sir, what was then prophecy, is now history. 
More than half the present generation in the North, have ceased to 
look upon Southern men as brethren. Taught to hate first the institu- 
tions ot the South, they have very many of them, by easy gradations, 
transferred that hatred to her citizens. Learning to abhor what they 
are told is murder, they have found no principle either in nature or 
in morals, which impels them to love the murderer with fraternal affec- 
tion. Organized bands exist in every northern State, with branches in 
Canada, which make slave stealing a business and a boast : and that 
outrage which if any foreign state, or any state of this Union even, in 
any thing else, were to encourage or permit in any of her citizens, 
would by the whole country with one voice, be regarded as a just cause 
of instant war or reprisals, is every day consummated without rebuke, or 
by connivance, or the direct sanction of many of the members of this 
Confederacy. By school books and in school houses ; in the acade- 
mies, colleges and universities ; in the schools of divinity, medicine 
and law, these same sad lessons of hate and jealousy, are every day 
inculcated. Even the name and the fame of a slaveholding Washington 
have ceased to cause a throb in many a northern heart. The entire 
press of the North, in journals, newspapers, periodicals, prints and 
books, with not many manly and patriotic exceptions, has either been 
silent or lent countenance and support knowingly or carelessly, to the 
systematic and treasonable efforts of those who are resolved to pull 
down the fabric of this Union. Literature and the arts are put under 


conscription for the same wicked purpose. Not a northern poet Ironi 
Longfellow and Bryant down to Lowel, but has sought inspiration from 
the black Helicon of Abolition : and the poison from a hundred 
thousand copies of false and canting libels in the form of works of fie* 
tion, is licked up from every hearthstone. While the " Tribune " of 
Greeley, one among ten thousand " sold to do evil," at once the tool 
and the compeer of Seward in his traitorous purpose to make him- 
self a name in history — the antithesis of Washington — bj'- the subvers- 
ion of this Republic ; gathering up with persevering and most devilish 
diligence, every murder, every crime, every outrage, every act of cruel- 
ty, rapine or lust, upon white or upon black, real or forged, throughout 
the South, sends it forth wijiged with venom and malice, as a faithful wit- 
ness of the true and general state of southern society, and the legiti- 
mate fruit of slaveholding. In the public lecture and anniversary ad- 
dress ; at the concert hall and upon the boards of the theatre ; nay 
even at the festivals of our ancient charitable orders, this same dark 
spirit of mischief is ever present dropping pestilence from his wings. 
Even history is corrupted and figures marshalled into a huge lie, to 
compass the same treacherous end. 

Here, again, too, the clergy and the church, gentlemen, mindful less 
than ever of their true province and vocation, have one by one joined 
in the crusade ; till nineteen-twentieths of northern pulpits, resound ^ 
every sabbath, in sermon or prayer, with imprecation upon slavehold- 
ers. Already has disunion and consequent strife, ensued in all the 
chief religious sects, three only excepted. Outside of these, and some- 
times within them too, the religion of the Bible is but too often super- 
seded by the gospel of Abolition ; and the way of salvation taught to 
lie through sympathy with that distant portion of the African race 
which is held in bondage south of Mason's and Dixon's line. Thus the 
spirit of persecution is superadded to the jealousies of sectional posi- 
tion, and the furnace of hate heated seven times hotter than is wont. 

They who would not turn a deaf ear to the express requirements of 
the Constitution, are beguiled and drawn astray by the hollow pretence 
of Opposition to the Extension of Slavery — a pretence alike false and 
unmanly, and opposed to the spirit of the constitutional compact, and 
the principle which forbids to intermeddle with slavery in ihe states. 

Others, sir, who may care nothing for the sinfulness or immorality of 
slaveholding, are wrought to jealousy by the false and impudent outcry 


against the " aggressions of the slave power ; " " the grasping spirit 
of the South," " southern bluster and bravado : " and many an arrant 
coward hires himself to be written down a hero, for his wondrous cour- 
age in lending the eye a terrible aspect on his own hustings, at the men- 
tion of a "fire eater" from the Carolinas, or repelling indignantly six 
weeks after the oflfence, on the floor of Congress, the insolence of some 
'' slave dealing " member from Virginia who is perhaps at the moment, 

a hundred miles from the Capitol. Thus the claim of the South to 

participation in the common territory purchased by the common blood 
and treasure of the Union : nay even her demand that the solemn com- 
pact of the constitution be fulfilled and her fugitives restored to her, 
are denounced alike as arrogant " slave driving " assaults and aggres- 
sions upon the rights of the North. 

Others again are persuaded that the South is weak, is unwilling and 
dare not resist : is afraid of insurrection, and dependent for safety and 
bread and existence, upon the proverbial fertility and magnanimity of 
New England. As if no Henry, no Lee, no Jefferson, no Pinckney, no 
Sumpter, no Hayne, no Laurens, no Carroll, no George Washington 
had ever lived : as if the spirit of Marion's men lingered not yet upon 
the banks of Santee ; and the fierce courage of the Butler who rose 
pale and corpse-like from the bed of death, to lead the Palmetto regi- 
ment to battle at Cherubusco, foremost in the ranks and "nearest 
the flashing of the guns," was already become extinct. 

The political parties also, at the North, gentlemen, have faltered and 
some of them fallen before Abolition. The Whig party, bargaining 
with, courting and seeking to absorb it into its own ranks, has itself at 
last been swallowed up and lost. Political Temperance and Know- 
nothin^ism are rapidly drifting into the same vortex. The spirit of 
Anti-masonry transmigrated some years ago, into the opaque body of 
Abolitionism. Fourierism, Anti-rentism, the party devoted to Women's 
Rights, and all the other is7ns of the day, born of the same generating 
principle, are already fully assimilated to their common parent : for all 
these isms, sir, like the nerves of sense, run in pairs. Even the Dem- 
ocratic party, never losing its identity, never ceasing to be national, 
and even now the sole hope of the country, if it will but return to its 
ancient mission and discipline ; the only organized body round which 
all true conservatives and friends of the Constitution and Union may 

rally, lias nevertheless in whole or in part, at some period or another, 
in every state, cowered before or tampered with this dark spectre. 

Just such, too, as public feeling in the North is, so is its legislation . 
Vermont has passed a law repealing in effect, within her limits, 
the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, and abrogating so much of the Consti- 
tution as requires the rendition of fugitives from service. Connecticut, 
enacting a similar statute, has gone a step farther, and outraged every 
dictate of justice, in the effort to make it effectual. Massachusetts, 
tlie " model commonwealth " of the times, improving yet upon the 
work of her sister states, provides also that whatsoever member of her 
bar shall dare appear in behalf of the claimant of a fugitive slave, 
shall ignominiously be stricken from her court rolls, and forbidden to 
practice within her limits. Legislation of a kindred character, exists, 
sir, in other states also ; and New England will doubtless yet find hum- 
ble imitators even in the West. Already, indeed, the Supreme Court of 
Wisconsin, has deliberately released from her penitentiary upon ha- 
beas corpus, a prisoner convicted on indictment before a United 
States court, of resisting the laws and ofFicers of the United States, in 
a slave case. Judges elsewhere have held that no citizen of the United 
States living south, may dare set his foot with a slave, upon the north- 
west shore of the Ohio at low water mark even, without by that act, though 
but for a moment and from necessity, working instant emancipation of 
the slave. Not many months ago, a mingled mob of negroes white and 
black, at Salem in Ohio, entered a railroad train, and by violence tore 
from the ftimily of a slaveholder passing through the state from neces- 
sity and at forty miles an liour, the nurse of his infant child. A Mas- 
sachusetts legislature has demanded of her Executive, the removal of 
an able, meritorious and upright judge, for the conscientious discharge 
within her limits, of the duties of an oflice which he held under author- 
ity of the United States : and a Massachusetts ecclesiastical conclave, 
three hundred in number, rose as one man on the announcement of 
the outrage, and shouted till the house rang again with their plaudits. 
And a Massachusetts University rejected also the same judge for the 
same cause, when proposed for a professorship in the institution. 

Thus, sir, within little more than two years from the death of her 
noblest son, whose whole life and whose dying labors were exhausted 
in defending the Union and holding the commonwealth of his adoption, 
up to the full measure of her revolutionary patriotism and greatness, 


has the star of Massachusetts been seen to fall from heaven and begin 
to plunge into the utter blackness of disunion. In vain now, sir, from 
the grave of the statesman of Marshfield, there comes up the warning 
cry : " Let her shrink back ; let her hold others back, if she can ; at 
any rate let her keep herself back from this gulf full at once of fire and 
of blackness : full, as far as human foresight can scan, or human imag- 
ination fathom, of the fire and the blood of civil war, and of the thick 
darkness of general political disgrace, ignominy and ruin," No : she 
is fallen. Sumner has supplanted Winthrop ; and a Wilson crawled 
up into the seat which Webster once adorned. 

And add now to all this, gentlemen, that already that portentous and 
most perilous evil, against which the Father of his country so solemnly 
and earnestly warned his countrymen, a party bounded by geographic- 
al lines — a Northern Party, standing upon a northern platform, doing 
battle for northern issues, and relying solely for success, upon appeals 
to northern prejudices and northern jealousies, is novif for the first time 
in our history, fully organized and consolidated in our midst. Add 
further, that to the Thirty-Fourth Congress, fourteen Senators and a 
majority of Representatives have been chosen, who in name or in fact, 
are Abolitionists ; Ohio contributing to this dark host, her entire delega- 
tion in House and Senate, one only excepted : and thus for the first 
time also, since the organization of our government, the House of Rep- 
resentatives been converted into a vast Abolition conventicle, full of 
men picked out for their hatred of the South, and who cannot be true 
to the Constitution and the Union, without treachery to the expecta- 
tions and the purposes of those who elected them. And then reflect 
yet further, that this vast and terrible magazine of explosive elements* 
is gathered together just upon the eve of a presidential election with 
all its multiplied and convulsing interests ; and that soon Kansas will 
knock for admission into the Union, thus surely precipitating the crisis : 
and who, tell me I pray you, may foresee what shall be the history of 
this Republic at the end of two years from to-day. 

All this, gentlemen, the spirit of Abolition has accomplished in twen- 
ty years of continued and exhausting labors of every sort. But in all 
that time, not one convert has it made in the South : not one slave 
emancipated, except by larceny and in fraud of the soleJmn compacts 
of the Constitution. Meantime public opinion has wholly, radically 
changed in the SoiUh. The South has ceased to denounce, ceased to 


condemn slavery ; ceased even to palliate and begun now almost as one 
man, to defend it as a great moral, social and political blessing. The 
bitter and proscriptive warfare of twenty years, has brought forth its 
natural and legitimate fruit in the South. Exasperation, hate and re- 
venge are every day ripening into fullest maturity and strength : and 
throughout her entire extent, she awaits now but the action of the North, 
to unite in solemn league and covenant to resist aggression even unto 

But the South, sir, has forborne a little. I say she has forborne 
a little. She has not yet associated and formed political parties to put 
down Masonry and Odd Fellowship in the free states and in the territo- 
ries, upon the pretext that these institutions are sinful and immoral. 
She has not yet organized societies, and fostered and protected them 
by her legislation, to steal that which our law recognizes as property ; 
and refused restitution on the pretext that by the " higher law " of con- 
science, no right of property exists in the thing stolen. Neither, sir, 
has any southern State ; no, not even " fire-eating " South Carolina, 
sought as yet to compensate herself for the fugitives which we have ab- 
ducted, by enacting laws to encourage the slave trade, by punishing 
with fine and imprisonment in her penitentiary for years, any one of 
her citizens who should aid in enforcing the laws of the United 
States against the traffic ; striking from ner court rolls, any attorney 
within her limits, who should appear in behalf of the prosecution, and 
excluding all who hold the office of United States Commissioner or 

Judge, from any office or appointment under her authority. How long 

before all this shall have been done, is known to Him only whose om. 
nicient eye penetrates and illumines the clouds and thick darkness of 
the future. 

Thus, then, Mr. President, by little and little at first, but now as with 
a flood, fraternal affection is wasted away : hate and jealousy and dis- 
cord, nourished and educated into maturest developement ; and one by 
one, the real and strong cords which bind us together as a confederacy, 
snapped asunder, or stretched to their utmost tension. It needs no 
spirit of prophecy, not even a human sagacity above the ordinary lev- 
el, to foretell just how long the habits, forms and paper parchments of 
a union can last, when its life-giving principle, and nourishing and sus- 
taining virtue, are wasted and gone. Sir, he is yet but in the swaddling 
bands of infancy, who does not ah'eady see that there is wanting but 


some strono- convulsion, or even but some sudden jar in the system, to 
hurl us headlong down into the abyss of disunion. 

I know, gentlemen, that to many, all this is as " a twice told tale vex- 
ing the dull car of a drowsy man.." They hearkened not to the voice 
of Webster, Clay and Calhoun, while yet among the living: neither 
would they believe, though these three men rose from the dead. Be- 
ing dead, they yet speak. The dead of all ages speak. All history 
lifts up its warning voice. Livy and Tacitus are full of saddest and 
most instructive teachings. But let us not deceive ourselves. It is not 
in their pages that we are to read the lessons of that danger which 
threatens us with destruction. There has been to us, no slow and grad- 
ual progression of five hundred years, to the full growth and stature of 
a great nation : neither is it in reserve for us to pass through the mel- 
lowing and softening gradations of luxury, vice, corruption and ener- 
vation for five hundred years more, to our final fall as an empire. No. 
The history of Greece, is the true study for the American statesman. 
There he will find the chiefest lessons of political wisdom adapted to 
our peculiar exigencies. He will learn there how internal dissension 
and discord, may prostrate a state in the full vigor of its manhood : 
and indeed that it is only in the manhood of a confederacy, that there 
is strength enough and energy enough in the members to rend each 
other in pieces : and that in the decadence of a state ; in decay and 
atony, it is a Ca3sar within, or a Macedonian phalanx or Roman le- 
gion from without, which overwhelms the State. In Thucydides, 
he may learn how a thirty years civil war exhausted Greece, and pre- 
pared her first for the haughty domination of the conquering member of 
the confederacy ; and finally for that yoke of foreign despots, which 
galls and burns into her neck to this day. 

Let us improve these lessons. It is not yet too late to be saved. 
The current may still be turned back, and the Union restored to its 
former sound and healthy condition ; though many a gaping scar shall 
attest the wounds she has received from the hands of her own chil- 

What then remains to be done ? — 1 answer this momentous ques- 
tion, Mr. President, by declaring first, what will not heal the sick man 
of America. 

First then : closing our eyes and our ears to the truth and laughing 
all danger to scorn, will not do it. The scoffs and derision of the dilu- 


vian world, did not stay the fountains of tlie great deep, nor seal up the 
windows of heaven. 

Professions and resolutions of love for the Union and Constitution, 
whether hypocritical or sincere, will not do it, while at the same mo- 
ment we stril<e the blow which destroys both. Nor will legislative 
compromises and finalities : nor yet national conventions and presi- 
dential elections. None of these. 

Least of all, sir, will platforms of themselves, avail anything. Time 
was when they had a meaning, and when the partisan who repudiated 
or doubted even, an abstract principle, was stricken down by a surer 
and heavier blow of popular wrath, than he who " bolted " a nomina- 
tion. But that day is past. The best of platforms is now too often 
but a spider's snare : the weak and imsuspecting house fly is caught 
and devoured ; the stout, blue bottle, carrion insect breaks through its 
meshes. A sound system of faith is indeed still proclaimed ; but men- 
tal reservation is now tolerated. The Thirty-Nine Articles are sub- 
scribed ; but a wide margin and much space between the lines, allowed 
for liberal interpretation. Obedience is no longer expected or required, 
to the platform, if the professor will but support the candidate. And 
thus, sir, the aged worshiper, who lingers yet around the altar, and 
the simple-minded convert of yesterday, whose burning faith receives 
the creed as an enunciation of eternal principles, the sacred canon of 
political scripture, are alike amazed to learn from the organ of the ecu- 
menical council, interpreting by authority, that it is only the gospel ac* 
cording to Judas, whereby a general amnesty is proclaimed to all I'eb- 
els and deserters : — a cumbrous but convenient piece of machinery 
whereby apostates may be restored, if not to favor, at least to position 
and office in the party. Witness the bold and impudent fraud of the 
platform promulgated by the Grand Council of Know-Nothings at 
Philadelphia ; which yet a subordinate State Council of the same order, 
assembled at Cleveland, and bound by the stringent oaths, to obe- 
dience, had assumed in advance to repudiate. And need I but 
allude to that State Democratic Convention of Ohio, which resolving to 
adhere to and support the Baltimore platform, rugged all over as it is, 
with denunciations of all and every attempt of whatsoever shape or col- 
or or pretence, in Congress or out of it, to keep up the slavery agita- 
tion, did yet with amiable and most refreshing consistency, resolve that 
the Democracy of Ohio would use all power under the Constitution^ 


*' to prevent the increase, to mitigate, and finally to eradicate — tear up 
by the roots — the evil of slavery." 

Either away then with platforms, at least as a sanative process, and 
until a sounder public virtue be restored ; or require a strict and ready 
and honest obedience to the principles which they proclaim. 

What then remains to be done ? 1 answer, first, that whatever it 

may be, it is to be done by and through the Democratic party, and the 
national Whigs and others who may act with it in this crisis : for 
" when bad men combine, good men must associate." There is 
no hope, none, in any other organization. To that party therefore, 
and through it, to all true patriots and conservatives, I address myself; 
and answer further : — We must return to the principles, follow the 
practices, imitate the good faith and fraternal affection, and restore 
the distinctions with which our ancestors set out at the commencement 
of this government. We must learn a wise and wholesome conserva- 
tism : learn that all progress is not reform ; and that the wildest and 
most pernicious and most dangerous of all follies, is to attempt to square 
our political institutions and our legislation, by mere abstract, theoret- 
ical and mathematically exact, but impracticable truths. We must re- 
member, also, our true mission as a political party ; and retrace our 
steps from outside the territories of the lyceum and the church ; and 
drive back the clergy and the church to their own domain. We must 
build up again the partitions which separate sacred things from pro- 
fane : and begin once more to " Render unto Ccesar the things that 
are Ccesar^s, and unto God the things that are God's.''^ We must set 
out again to pronounce upon political questions, without essaying to 
try them by the touchstone of our own peculiar notions of moral or di- 
vine truth : and thus relegate temperance to the voluntary association, 
religion to the church, and slavery to the judgment and conscience of 
those in whose midst it exists, or is sought to be established ; — casting 
aside that false and dangerous and most presumptuous self delusion, 
that we are to give account each one as citizens, for the sins or immor- 
alities of our fellow men. Slavery, indeed, sir, where it exists, or to 
the people among whom it is proposed to introduce it, may be and 
it is to them, a political subject in part. To us of the North, it is and 
can be none other than an ethical or religious question. For disguise 
and falsify it as you will : marshal and array your figures and your 
. facts to lie never so grossly, it is the sinfulness and immorality of slave- 


holding as viewed by the northern mind, and tiiis alone, which has 
stirred the people of the North to such a height of folly and madness. 
And yet if immoral, it concerns only the people of the states and terri- 
tories, where it exists ; if sinful, they only are the offenders : and even 
if a political evil, it is they alone who feel the curse. It is, therefore, 
and can be, of no possible concern to us ; except, indeed, upon the 
principle of that self sufficient, self righteous and most pernicious ego- 
ism which it is time now to purge out of the system. 

But a high and imperative constitutional obligation also, Mr. Presi- 
dent, devolves here upon the Democratic party. 

The accidents and the necessities of its settlement, determined the 
political character of this continent ; and divided it into separate colo- 
nies as perfectly independent one of the other, as any foreign states. 
A common subjection to the crown of Great Britain, gave the first no- 
tion of a common federal government ; and the aggressions of that 
crown, and of parliament, compelling civil war, forced our fathers into 
a union and articles of confederation. The Constitution of '89, ex- 
tended the powers and the efficiency, but did not alter the nature of the 
general government. That instrument, sir, was framed by delegates 
appointed not by the old Congress, but by the States as sovereign and 
independent communities. State conventions ratified it ; and it was 
binding only as between those States which acceded to it. They con- 
sented to yield up to a common government, certain delegated powers, 
for the good of the whole ; reserving all others, each to itself. We are 
a confederacy, sir, of sovereign, distinct, independent States: in all 
things not brought into the common fund of power, just as thoroughly 
foreign to each other, (except only in a common language and fraternal 
affection,) and as subject to the obligations and comities of the law of 
nations, as France and England. With the domestic police and insti- 
tutions of Kentucky, or any other State, the people of Ohio have no 
more right to intermeddle, than with the laws or form of government 
in Russia. Slavery in the South, is to them, as polygamy in the Turk- 
ish Empire : and for the political evils, or the sinfulness and immorali- 
ty of the one, they are in no wise more responsible than for the other. 
Or — to select the same subject matter — they have no more right to in- 
terfere with, nor are they in any degree more accountable for, the con- 
tinuance of slavery in Virginia, than for its existence in Persia. 
Neither, sir, have the people of the northern States, any greater right 


under the Constitution, to deny admission into the Union, to a State, be- 
cause its laws sanction involuntary serritude ; or to prescribe that 
slavery shall not be tolerated in a territory, than to abolish it in a State 
already in the Union. The converse of this proposition, is sheer, rank, 
unmixed, unannointed federalism ;— just tlie federalism of Alexander 
Hamilton, who in the convention of '87, would have made the States 
wholly subordinate to the General Government : — mere adjuncts; <' cor- 
porations for local purposes." The reasons, sir, are obvious, and they 
are conclusive. It is a fundamental principle of tbe democratic theory, 
and of our institutions, that to the people of each particular state, coun- 
ty, township, city and village, shall be committed as far as possible, the 
exclusive regulation of their more immediate and local aflfairs. In other 
words, that power, whenever it is practicable, shall be diffused to the 
utmost, and never centralized beyond urgent necessity. Again, the 
only limitation prescribed in the Constitution, for the fitness of a State 
for fellowship with us, is that such State shall establish a " republican " 
or representative form of government. Now, it is too late to allege at 
this day, and quite too absurd, that the existence of the domestic insti- 
tution of slavery in a State, makes its form of government anti-repub- 
lican, and therefore unconstitutional. Such an argument is not worth 
a serious refutation. Again : the territories are the common properly 
of the States in their federal capacity, purchased by the common blood 
and treasure of all ; and as much the property of South Carolina as of 
Massachusetts. They are tenants in common of this property : and for 
one State to demand the exclusion of another from participation in their 
use in common in every respect, is arrogant and unfounded assump- 
tion of superiority : and fifty fold move oficnsive, when the pharisaic 
pretence is set up that they are more holy than that other State, whose 
inhabitants are sinners before God exceedingly, and who would pollute 
the territory, by the introduction of their wickedness upon its soil : — 
assuming thus to be keeper of the conscience and custodian of the 
morals of the people of the territory ; putting on the robes and ascend- 
ing into the judgment seat of the Almighty. Sir, if the inhabitants of 
Cape Cod are not satisfied with the coparcenary, let them seek by par- 
tition, to hold in severalty ; and obtaining thus the very small and almost 
infinitesimal portion which is tlieir share, exert over it, such acts of own- 
ership as to them may seem meet; but not attempt insolently, to take 
possession and control of the whole. 


Manifestly then, sir, tlie agitation of tlie slavery question, finds no 
warrant or countenance, but direct and emphatic condemnation in the 
Constitution. That part of the instrument which apportions the repre- 
sentation and taxation of slaves, for the most part executes itself, and 
admits only of direct attack by amendment or nullification. The 
clause which empowers Congress to prohibit the slave trade, has long- 
since been (quietly carried into effect ; and the South has never sought 
to disturb it. The sole remaining instance in which Congress may 
legislate in reference to slavery, is for the extradition of fugitives. 
From its very nature, sir, this presents a capital point for assault by 
Abolitionists. Long before the act of 1850, they had by state legisla- 
tion or public odium, rendered nugatory the act of 1793, and were la- 
boring for its direct repeal by Congress. They openly repudiated that 
part of the Constitution upon which it was founded ; and as early as 
1843, a general convention of Abolitionists, assembled at Buflalo,and 
composed of the ablest and most distinguished members of the party, 
resolved that whenever called upon to swear to support the Constitu- 
tion, they would by mental reservation, regard that clause in it, as ut- 
terly null and void, and forming no part of the instrument. Neverthe- 
less, sir, in the adjustment of 1850, provision was made to enforce this 
solemn compact. And hence, the popular tumults, the mobs, the forci- 
ble rescues and tlie nullifying acts of the New England States, and 
other parts of the North ; which yet find countenance and applause 
even, from a thousand presses and tens of thousands of citizens, upon 
the pretext tliat tlie rendition of fugitives is distasteful apd revolting 
to the North. Yes, Abolitionist, it is the Constilulion which you at- 
tack ; not the act of 1850, It is the extradition of " panting fugitives " 
under any circumstances, or by virtue of any law, at which you rebel. 
Be manly, then, and outspoken and honest. Act the part of cowards 
and slave stealers no longer. Assail the Constitution itself, and do it 
openly : — it is the Constitution which demands the restoration: — and 
cover not up your assaults any longer, under the false and beggarly 
pretence that it is the act of Congress which you condemn and abhor. 

I know, sir, that it is easy, very easy, to denounce all this as a de- 
fense of slavery itself. Be it so: be it so. But I have not discussed 
the institution in any respect ; moral, religious qx political. Hear me. 
1 express no opinion in regard to it : and as a cifiaen of the North, I have 
ever refused and will steadily refuse, to discuss the system in any of 


these particulais. It is precisely this continued and persistent discus- 
sion and denunciation in the North, which has brought upon us this 
present most perilous crisis : since to teach men to hate, is to prepare 
them to destroy at every hazard, the object of their hatred. Sir, I am 
resolved only to look upon slavery outside of Ohio, just as the founders 
of the Constitution and Union regarded it. It is no concern of mine ; 
none, none : nor of yours, Abolitionist. Neither of us will attain heav- 
en, by denunciations of slavery: nor shall we, I trow, be cast into hell 
for the sin of others who may hold slaves. I have not so learned the 
moral government of the universe : nor do I presumptuously and impi- 
ously aspire to the attributes of Godhead ; and seek to bear upon my 
poor body, the iniquities of the world. 

I know well indeed, Mr. President, that in the evil day which has be- 
fallen us, all this and he who utters it, shall be denounced as " pro- 
slavery:" and already from ribald throats, there comes up the slaver- 
ing, driveling, idiot epithet of " dough-face." Again, be it so. These, 
Abolitionist, are your only weapons of warfare : and I hurl them back 
defiantly into your teeth. I speak thus boldly, because I speak in and 
to and for the North. It is time that the truth should be known, and 
heard, in this the age of trimming and subterfuge. I speak this day not 
as a northern man, nor a southern man ; but, God be thanked, still as a 
United States man, with United States principles : — and though the worst 
happen which can happen— though all be lost, if that shall be our fate ; 
and I walk through the valley of the shadow of political death, I will 
live by them ^nd die by them. If to love my country ; to cherish the 
Union ; to revere the Constitution : if to abhor the madness and hate 
the treason which would lift up a sacrilegious hand against either : if 
to read that in the past, to behold it in the present, to foresee it in the 
future of this land, whicli is of more value to us and the world for ages 
to come, than all the multiplied millions who have inhabited Africa 
from the creation to this day :— if this it is to be j^o- slavery, then, in 
every nerve, fibre, vein, bone, tendon, joint and ligament, from the top- 
most hair of the head to the last extremity of the foot, I am all over and 
altogether a pro-slavery man. 

To that part, now, Mr. President, of the Germans who have been be- 
trayed upon tliis question, I address a word of caution. Little more 

than a year ago, availing themselves of the Nebraska question as the 
pretext, mischievous and designing demagogues, just at the moment 


they prepared to deny you the full enjoyment of your own political 
rights here in Ohio, persuaded some of you to trail in the dust at the 
heels of the Abolition rout. Tiiey told you, and you believed it, some 
of you, that failing to establish civil liberty against the crowned op- 
pressors of your fatherland, and seeking for it as exiles in America, 
you had the right, nevertheless, to intermeddle Avith personal liberty 
among the inhabitants of other States and Territories : to form political 
associations exclusively German : to adopt platforms of your own 
as such : to instruct us in the science of govtrnment, the nature of 
free institutions, and the value of freedom : to require of us to give away 
our public lands to all alike, naturalized or alien, white or hlack : to de* 
nounce the people of the South because of the " curse of slavery :" to 
repeal the fugitive slave law : to abolish slavcholding throughout the 
States, in conformity with, as you alleged, and perhaps by virtue of 
power derived from, the Declaration of Independence : and finally to 
propose to convert your good old German May festival, into an Aboli- 
tion mass meeting, in our very midst. These things they persuaded 
some of you to believe and do. But at this very moment, and by the 
self-same demagogues, was the the knife put to your own throats, and 
you were quietly guillotined and your heads thrust into the basket ; upon 
just the principles they had persuaded you that you had the right to in- 
termeddle with the domestic, moral and religious concerns of other 
States and Territories. Opening now your eyes to the fraud thus prac- 
ticed upon you ; learning the true character of the men who beguiled 
you, and remembering that the first State which breasted and turned 
back the torrent which was sweeping you, and your hopes and your 
rights before it, was the slave-holding State of Virginia, through the 
Democratic party of Virginia ; followed up by every southern State, 
Kentucky alone excepted, — retrace your steps now into the ranks of 
that party : stand fast to your true interests and true position : concern 
yourselves no longer with the business of others, but quietly enjoy and 
calmly defend your own rights, remembering always, those who have 
ever sustained you in whatsoever truth and liberty and justice demand 
for you. 

Addressing myself now finally, Mr. President, to the Democratic 
party of Ohio, I say: You are a political party. Hence all your prin- 
ciples must as well take shape and color, as reflect them, from the fun- 
damental institutions of the country. And those principles which be- 


long to Democracy universal and theoretical, are to be modified and 
adjudged by the Constitution. It has always been your boast, that you 
are peculiarly the party of the Constitution, and of that Union which 
results from and exists only by the Constitution. And just in propor- 
tion as you value tSese, will you mould and modify your doctrine and 
your practice, to sustain and preserve them in every essential element. 
Sure I am at least, that you will not for the sake of an abstract princi- 
ple, purely or mainly moral or religious, and to us not political, and 
urged now in the very spirit of treason and madness, and far removed 
from every personal concern of yours, sacrifice or even imperil, these 
priceless legacies of a generation at least as good and as wise as we. 
Trust not to past success. Times have changed. For four years you 
filched inglorious triumphs, by fomenting dissensions among your ene- 
mies, and by exhausting all the little arts of partizan diplomacy, to keep 
the Whig and Abolition parties asunder. You wasted your time striving 
to pluck out of the crucible of politics, the fluxes which they threw in ; 
seeking thus vainly to prevent or impede a fusion which was inevitable, 
and which when it came, overwhelmed you as with a flood of lava, in 
disastrous if not ignominious defeat. Was this conduct befitting a 
great and enduring party — conduct worthy the prestige of your name ? 
Learn wisdom from Virginia, your mother State. She is ever invinci- 
ble, because she is always candid and manly and true to principle. Look 
no longer now to availability. Above all, be not deceived by the false 
. and senseless out-cry against that most just, most constitutional and 
most necessary measure, the Kansas-Nelraska Act. The true and on- 
ly question now before you, is whether you will have Union with all its 
numberless blessings intbe past, present, and future ; or Disunion and 
Civil War, with all the multiplied crimes, miseries and atrocities which 
human imagination never Jconceived, and human pen never can por- 

I speak it boldly : I avow it publicly :— it is time to speak thus ; for 
political cowardice is the bane of this, as of all other republics. To be 
true to your great mission and to succeed in it, you must take open, 
manly, one-sided ground upon the Abolition question. In no other 
way can you now conquer. Let us have, then, no hollow compromise ; 
no idle and mistimed homilies upon the sin and evil of slavery, in a 
crisis like this ; no double-tongued, Janus-faced, delphic responses at 
your State Conventions. No : fling your banner to the breeze, and 

boldly meet the issue : Patriotism above mock riiiLANTHRorv : The 
Constitution befoee any miscalled higher law of morals or reli- 
gion ; AND THE Union of more value than many negroes. 

If thus, sir, we are true to the country ; true to the Union and the 
Constitution ; true to our principles, true to our cause and to the grand 
mission which lies before us, we shall turn back yet, the fiery torrent 
which is bearing us headlong down to the abyss of disunion and infamy, 
deeper than plummet ever sounded. But if in this the day of our trial, 
we are found false to all these ; false to our ancestors ; false to our- 
selves ; false to those who shall come after us ; traitors to our country 
and to the hopes of free government throughout the globe ; Bancroft 
will yet write the last sad chapter in the history of the American Re- 

Note 1 ; page H. 
Slavery in Massachusetts. 

" There shall never be auy bond slavery, villeinage, or captivity amongst us, uuh-sn 
it bo lawful captives taken in just wars, and such stranrfers as willingly sell themselves, 
or are sold to us. — [Massachusetts Body of Liberties, 1641 : ji 91. 

"It is also by these confederates agreed, that <fec. .;....... and that according to 

the different charge of each juristiction and plantation, the whole advantage of the war 
(if it please God so to bless their endeavors,) whether it be in lands, goods or pcmons 
shall be proportionably divided among said confederates. — [Articles of Confederation 
&c., May 19, 1613 ; ^ 4 : and Bancroft's United States, vol. 1, p. 168. 

TuE New England Fugitive Slave Law. 
"It ia also agreed that if anif servant run away from his master into any of these con- 
federate jurisdictions, that in such case, upon certificate of one magistrate in the juris- 
diction out of which the said servant lied, or upon due proof, the said servant shall he 
delivered »;> either to his master or au)/ other that pursues and brings such certificate or 
proof." — Ibid. § 8. 

NoTK 2 : page 15. 
The North and the Slave Trade. 
The number of African slaves imported into the port of Charleston, S. C, alone, in 
the years 1804, 1805, 1806 and 1807 (the last year of the slave trade,) was 39,075. 
These were consigned to ninrtif-one British subjects, cif/hti/.ci<)ht citizens of New En-^- 
l&nd, ton French subjects,'and only thirteen citizens of Charleston. — [Compend. of U.S. 
Census, p. 8?>. 

Note 3; page 17. 
Number of Slavi:s in the North. 
Connecticut. 1790, 2, 759 slaves: in 1840, 17 slaves. New Hampshire, in 1790, 158 
slaves: in 1840, 1 slave. Vermont, in 1790, 17 slaves. Rhode Island, in 1790,' 952 
slaves : in 1840, 5 slaves. New Jersey, in 1790, 11,42:) slaves : in 1840, 674 slave's: in 
1850, 2.^6 slaves. Pennsylvania, in 1790, 3,737 slaves : in 1840, 04 slaves. New York, 
in 1790, 21,324 slaves: in 1840, 4 slaves. In 1840, Ohio returned 3 slaves, (6 in 1830) ;' 


Indiana, 3 slaves; Illinoi?, 331; Iowa, 16; AVisconsin, 11. Michig»n returned 24 
slaves in 1810, and 32 in 1830. Maine reports two slaves in 1830. 

No slave schedules were sent to the Northern States in 1850; so that the number of 
IS slaves still in the North cannot he ascertained. — Compend. U. S. Census, p. 82. 

Note 4; page 24. 
The Ohio Resolutions, 1840. Mr. Tappan's Speech. 
" Ohio will do unto others as she claims that they should do to her : as she will not 
permit any interl'eronce with her own institutions, so she will not permit her servants to 
interfere with the institutions of other States. 1 know her will upon this matter; it is 
clear and unequivocal. Resolutions of her Assembly have repeatedly declared her sen- 
timents upon the subject-matter of these petitions, and her decided opinion that the at- 
tempt making by these petitioners, "is hostile to the spirit of the Constitution, and de- 
structive of the harmony of the Union ;" and a recent more numerous assemblage of 
Democratic delegates in a State convention than has ever before met in that State, with 
but three dissenting voices, adopted the following resolutions : 

" Resolved, That in the opinion of this convention. Congress ought not, without the 
consent of the people of the District, and of the States of Virginia, and Maryland, to 
abolish slavery in the District of Columbia; and that the efforts now making for that 
purpose by organized societies in the free States, are hostile to the spirit of the Consti- 
tution, and destructive to the harmony of the Union. 

Resolved, That slavery being a domestic institution recognized by the Constitution 
of the United States, we, as citizens of a free State, have no right to interfere with it, 
amd that the organizing of societies and associations in free States, in opposition to the 
institutions of sister States, while productive of no good, may be the cause of much mis- 
chief; and while such associatfons, for political purposes, ought to be discountenanced 
by every lover of peace and concord, no sound Democrat will have part or lot with 

Resolved: That political Abolitionism is but ancient Federalism, under a new guise, 
and that the political action of anti-slavery societies, is only a device for the overthrow 
Oi Democracy." 

I know, sir, that these resolutions express the deliberate judgment of the Democracy 
of Ohio." — [Senator Tappan's Speech, Fel). 4, 1840: Congressional (ilobe, 1839-40 
page 161. 

Note 5; p.age 28. 
Slave Stealing. 
"The object of this Society is not to aid such as are already in Canada, but such as 
shall arrive at the groat landing, where (Jijorge Harris and Eliza crossed over, and 
where most of those going into the Province also enter ; to ilo which there should be a 
house of reception constantly furnished, to lodge and supply such with food, for a few 
days, until rested, and until work can be found, and they can get homes, and if sick, un- 
til well, and to do whatsoever tends to remedy the res\ilts of slavery." 

The above is the second article of the constitution of the Canada Branch of the Ohio, 
Indiana and Michigan Slave Stealing Society, or •• under-ground railroad." The 
name which it assumes is "The Uncle Tom's Cabin and Relief Society." The Secre- 
tary is the "Rev. Isaac .J. Rice," Missionary at Amhcrsburg, Canada. 

Note C ; page 39. 
The Buffalo Resolution, 1843. 
Resolved, That we hereby give it to be distinctly understood, by this nation and the 
world, that, as Aholitionlvfn, considering that the strength of our cause lies in its right- 
eousness, and our hopes tor it in our conformity to the laws of God, and our support for 
the rights of man, we owe to the sovereign Ruler of the Universe, as a proof of our al- 
legiance to Him, in all our civil relations and offices, whether as friends, <citizens, or as 
public functionaries, sworn to support the Constitution of the United States, to regard 
and treat the third clause of that instrument, whenever applied in the case of a fugitive 
slave, AS utterly null and voin, and consequently as forming no part of the Constitu- 
tion of the United States, whenever we are called upon as sworn to support it." 


Pursuant to notice a portion of the Democratic party of Montgomery 
county met at the City Hall last night, Oct 25, 1855. 

On motion of Jonathan Kenney, Esq., Thos. J. S. Smith, Esq., was called 
to the Chair, and John P. Achey appointed Secretary. 

After some remarks from Capt. E. A. King and C. L. Vallandigham, Esq. 
explanatory of the object of the meeting, on motion of Capt. King, it was re- 
solved that a committee of ten be appointed by the chair to report resolu. 
tions at an adjourned meeting to be held on Monday evening, Oct. 29th. 

The Chair then announced the following as said committee. 

Messrs. E. A. King, William (^udy, D. G. Fitch, Williani Dickey, Dr. E. 
Smith, Daniel Richmond, Geo. W. Honk, Jon. Kenney, David Clark, Dr. 
Wm. Egry. 

On motion of Dr. Walters, the meeting adjourned to meet on Monday 
evening next, Octolter 29th, at the City Hall, at seven o'clock. 

THOS. J. S. SMITH, President. 

J. P. Achey, Secretary. 

Pursuant to the adjournment, the meeting re-assembled in large numbers 
at the City Hall, on Monday evening, Oct. 2'.t, 1855. Thos. J. S. Smith in 
the chair. 

C. L. VALLANDIGHAM, Esq., then being called upon, proceeded to ad- 
dress the meeting for about two hours and a half, in an elaborate, search- 
ing and powerful review of the past and present state of the Sl.vvery Ques- 
tion in the United States, and a consideration of the position and the duty of 
the Democratic party of Ohio in relation to it. 

Col. R. B. CARPENTER, formerly of Covington, Ky., now of Chicago, HI, 
being casually in the city, and present at the meeting, was then called out 
and responded for an hour and a half in a speech replete with logic, wit and 
fact, sustaining to the utmost his high reputation as a public speaker. 

Capt. E. A. KING, from the committee on resolutions, reported the follow- 
ing, which were received severally with loud applause, and adopted without 
a dissenting voice. 

Whereas: Tiie lormal reorganization and consolidation of the _old Aboli- 
tion party of the North, under the name of " Republican party," into an 
avowed northern faction Ijounded by a geographical line, and pledged to an 
unrelenting warfare, even to the destruction of the constitution and the sun- 
dering of the Union, upon the domestic institutions of the people of all the 


Statea lying south of that line, demands of the only National party now in 
existence, the Democracy of the United States, but especially of that of the 
North, that laying aside old issues and controversies, they should come up as 
one man to the full measure of the exigencies which press upon us, and boldly 
meet the new and living questions of the day : 

Therefore, we, a portion of the Democracy of Ohio and the North, in public 
meeting assembled, do resolve and declare : — 

Resolved, That we congratulate the people of the United States, on the fi- 
nal inauguration of the grand scheme of domestic policy for which the Dem- 
ocratic party of the Union so many years contended, and the consequent 
prosperity which, under the auspices of that party, has distinguished every 
section of the country, vindicating at once the sound doctrine and policy of 
that party, and the intelligence, patriotism and discriminating justice of the 
American people. 

Resolved, That the powers of the Federal government, are derived solely 
from the constitutional compact to which'.the several States are parties :" that 
these are limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument consti- 
tuting that compact: that the grants of power made in that instrument, ought 
to be strictly construed by all the departments and agents of the government : 
that all powers not expressly granted or necessarily implied, are expressly re- 
served to the States respectively, or to the people : that it is inexpedient and 
dangerous to exercise powers of doubtful constitutionality. 

Resolved, That in delegating a portion of their poAvers to be exercised by 
the Federal government, the States retained, severally, the exclusive and sole 
right over their own domestic institutions and police, and are alone respon- 
sible for them; and that any intermeddling of any one or more States, or of a 
combination of their citizens, with the domestic institutions and police of the 
others, on any ground or under any pretext whatever, political, moral, or reli- 
gious, with a view to their alteration or subversion, is an assumption of su- 
periority, not warranted by the Constitution, insulting to the States inter- 
fered with, tending to endanger their domestic peace and ti'anquility, subver- 
sive of the objects for which the Constitution was framed, and by necessary 
consequence, tending to weaken and destroy the Union itself. 

Resolved, That domestic slavery as it exists in the southern States of this 
Union, comprises an important part of their domestic institutions inherited 
from their ancestors, and existing at the adoption of the Constitution, by 
which it is recognized as constituting an essential element in the distribution 
of its powers among the States; and that no change of opinion or feeling on 
the part of the other States of the Union in relation to it, can justify them or 
their citizens in open and systematic attacks thereon with a view to its over- 
thx'ow; and that all such attacks are in manifest violation of the mutual and 
solemn pledge to protect and defend each other, given by the States respect- 
ively on entering into the constitutional compact which formed the Union, 
and as such, is a manifest breach of faitli and a violation of the most solemn 
o])ligations, moral and religious. 

Resolved, That Congress has no power, under the Constitution, to inter- 
fere with or control the domestic institutions of the several States ; and that 
such States are the sole and proper judges of everything appertaining to their 
own affairs, not prohibited by the Constitution ; and that all efforts of Abo- 
litionists, or others, by whatever name known, made to induce Congress to in. 
tcrfere with questions of slavery, or to take incipient steps in relation thereto, 
whether for tiie a1)olition of 8la\ery in the District of Columbia, or the Terri. 
tories, or its prohibition therein, or for the interdiction of the coastwise or in. 


tcr-Btato [slavo trade, or the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law, or of the Kan- 
sas Nebraska act, arc calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous 
consequences; and that all such efforts have an inevitable tendency to dimin- 
ish the happiness of the people and endanger the stability and permanency 
of the Union, and ought not to be countenanced by any friend of our politic- 
al institutions. 

Resolved, That regarding these compromises of the Constitution, solemnly 
entered into by its founders, as wise and necessary provisions, and such as 
ought neither to be disregarded nor tampered with, we are for the Constitu- 
tion as it is, and the Union as it is; and that we will preserve, maintain and 
defend both at every hazard, observing with scrupulous and uncalculating fi- 
delity, every article, requirement and compromise of the constitutional com- 
pact between these States, to the letter and in its utmost spirit, and recogniz- 
ing no "higher law" between which and the constitution we know of any 

Resolved, That the Constitution was "the result of a spirit of amity, and 
of that mutual deference and concession which the peculiarities of our polit- 
ical situation rendered indispensable ;" and that by amity, conciliation and 
compromise alone can it and the Union which it established, be preserved : 
and that it is the duty of all good citizens to frown indignantly upon every 
attempt wheresoever and by whomsoever made, to array one section of the 
Union against the other, to foment jealouses or heart burnings between them 
by systematic and organized misrepresentation, denunciation and calumny, 
and thereby to render alien in feeling and affection the inheritors of so noble 
a common patrimony, purchased by our fathers at so great expense of blood 
and treasure. 

Resolved, That the Constitution confers no power upon Congress to estab- 
lish or prohibit slavery in the Territories of the United States: that these Ter- 
ritories are the common property of the States in their federal capacity, pur- 
chased by the common blood and treasure of all the States : and that the peo- 
ple of each and every State, have the right to an equal participation in every 
respect, in the use of these Territories in common, without interference by 

Resolved, That the right of the people of each particular State and Terri- 
tory to establish their own constitution or form of government; to choose and 
regulate their own domestic institutions of every kind, and to legislate for 
themselves, is a fundamental principle of all free government ; that it is the 
self same right to secure which our ancestors waged the war of the Revolu- 
tion ; a right lying at the very foundation of all our free institutions, recog- 
nized in the Declaration of Independence, and established and secured by 
the Constitution of the United States ; and wo hereby endorse and reaffirm 
this now disputed principle, as it is embodied in the Acts for the organization 
of Utah and New Mexico in 1850, and of Kansas and Nebraska in 1854. 

Resolved further, That the foregoing right is no otherwise limited or re- 
stricted by the Constitution of the United States, except so far as the constitu- 
t'on of a State applying for admission into the Union is required to be "re- 
publican," or representative in form ; a limitation in no wise affected by the 
domestic institution of slavery ; and that therefore all efforts to exclude a State 
from such admission, on the ground that her constitution or laws sanction 
slave holding, are violations alike of sound democratic principles and of the 
Constitution of the Union. 

Reiolv d, That the introduction of moral or religious questions into the 
political controversies and issues of the day, is a wide departure from the an- 


cient principles and sound policy of the country: at war with the true inte- 
rests of the people, corrupting alike to morals, religion and politics, and of 
most pernicious and dangerous tendency ; and that therefore we are uncompro- 
misingly opposed to the provisions of the "Maine Liquor Law," so called, the 
principles of the'" Order of Know-nothings," and the fanaticisms and wicked 
and traitorous purposes of Abolitionism. 

Resolced, That the Democracy of Montgomeiy county, relying upon the 
intelligence and patriotism of the people, declare and publish these as the 
principles in defence of which they propose to do battle, and inscribing them 
on their banner, thus boldly and defiantly meet the issues presented 7ioio 
by the combined hosts of the enemies of Democracy ^nd of the Union and 
the Constitution, pledging themselves that that banner shall remain unfurled 
until the great and final battle of 1856, shall have been fought and won. 

Resolved further, That we have full and entire confidence in the ability, 
integrity, patriotism and sound Democracy of Fraxklix Pierce, President 
of the United States. 

On motion of Lsaac Pepper, Esq., of Germantown, it was resolved that a 
committee of five be appointed to superintend the publication of the proceed- 
ings of the meeting in a pamphlet form, and that Mr. Vallandigham be re- 
quested to write out and furnish a copy of his speech for publication with 
the same. 

The Chair appointed the following gentlemen on the committee: — Messrs. 
Isaac Pepper, B. A. King, Thos. B. Tilton, David Clark and Jonathan Ken- 

It was also resolved that the proceedings of the meeting be requested to 
be published in the Washington Union, Ohio Statesman, Cincinnati Enqui- 
rer, Dayton Empire, Germantown Gazette, and Democratic papers gen- 

On motion, the meeting adjourned, at half past eleven o'clock 

THOS. J. S. SMITH, President. 

Jonx P. AcHEY, Secretary. 


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