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The Life, Speeches, and Public Services 





Union Candidates for the OfRces of President and 
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The well-known "Union Edition" is the most popular 
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has given nearly the whole of Mr. Bell's Congressional 
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Life, Speeches, and Public Services 


[ O H N BELL, 

Together with a Sketch of the Life of 


Union Candidates for the Offices of President and Vice- 
President of the United States. 




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The emergency in whicli the country is now placed is 
one that requires skilful pilotage at the helm of State ; 
seldom since the troublous times at the outset of our 
national life has there been such need of calm and mode- 
rate counsels, of considerate and well-tried patriotism, of 
eminent judgment, of spotless probity, of sterling states- 
manship, of long experience in the man who for four 
years is to direct, and in a great degree control, the 
weighty affairs of public life. Strife and partisanship 
are rife ; politics is but another word for discord ; at the 
North and at the South passion rages ; blood has even 
been shed in the broils that have arisen ; fraternal har- 
mony, such as has hitherto existed, seems banished from 
the breasts of all ; the watchwords of party are substi- 
tuted for the signals of concord ; European senators 
comment openly in parliament on the lamentable state 
of affairs that prevails here, and warn the reformers of 

6 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

the results to which republicanism has already led ; 
English journals point their articles with allusions to 
our sad condition, and openly proclaim that the demo- 
cratic States of America are a failure. Many even 
among ourselves sadly acknowledge the force and the 
truth of these reproaches. Among those of truest patri- 
otism and profoundest wisdom not a few despair of the 
accomplishment of that destiny which it once seemed 
was secure. The broils and turmoils, the confusion and 
discord, the hatred and ill words that are now daily to 
be seen and heard by him who watches the current of 
public affairs, are enough to dishearten indeed the faint 
and distrustful. 

But instead of sitting with folded hands and averted 
eyes, instead of bewailing a calamity which, although 
impending, has yet not befallen us, it is the part of true 
lovers of their country to be up and doing. When a 
fire is discovered in a household, the family do not 
forthwith lament and tear their hair because destruction 
and conflagration are imminent. They set to work to 
put out the flame before an absolute blaze is kindled ; 
and the nearer the danger, the harder they work. 
When a party on board ship is about to mutiny, those 
who remain firm do not calmly submit, but if they are 
wise, endeavor to control the dangerous crew, to induce 
as many as possible to adhere to the rightful authority, 
to put down if possible all who oppose the proper ofii- 
cials and the correct management of the vessel. The 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 7 

captain has a right under such circumstances to call 
upon even the passengers to arm themselves and render 
him their assistance. If instead they remain helplessly 
wringing their hands, they deserve their fate ; they are 
as bad as the mutineers. Just such is the condition ol 
this country at present. Her peril was never greater, 
but it is not unavoidable. It behooves those who wish 
to see her extricated from that peril to leave nothing 
undone to accomplish their object. If the ship is sink- 
ing, let all hands go to the pumps. 

In this strait a number of men, honest, upright, 
known for their long public services, their unblemished 
integrity, and their unquestioned patriotism, have nomi- 
nated for the Presidency John Bell of Tennessee. That 
he should have received the nomination at the hands of 
such men and at such a time ; that so many from the 
Korth and the South, old Democrats, and old Whigs, 
and former members of the American party, men who 
had many of them recently kept aloof from politics, but 
who, impelled by the desperate state of the country, make 
now a strong effort to save it from disunion, that such 
men should concur in selecting John Bell as the fittest 
of all in the nation to embody their doctrines, and to 
uphold their standard, to lead their hosts in the furious 
strife sure to ensue, is certainly reason why his claims 
upon his countrymen should be fairly considered. 

John Bell is a native of the great west ; he represents 
that immense and growing empire which already exerts 

8 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

such a mighty influence ; he is neither from the extreme 
south nor the extreme north ; his birth-place is neutral 
ground. He was born on a farm near Nashville, Ten- 
nessee, on the 18th of February, 1797. At that era in 

f, our country Washington still lived ; indeed, he had not 
yet retired from the Presidency. Hamilton and Pinck- 
ney, and Jefferson and Adams, and the worthies who 
had brought the nation triumphantly through the troubles 
that beset its growth immediately after the close of the 
Eevolution, were in the palmiest days of their genius, 
at home ; abroad. Napoleon was rising into prominence ; 
the French revolutionists were, however, not entirely 
subdued by the might of his will who was then over- 
running Italy with a magical celerity. Talleyrand, and 
Burr, and Madison were discussing French and Ameri- 
can affairs; and in England, Fox, and Pitt, and Burke, 
and Sheridan were the magnates of the day. At such 
an epoch, when so many and such great men were 
crowding the public stations of the Western and the 
Eastern world, away in the forests of occidental Ten- 
nessee, the young child came into existence who was 
destined, after the lapse of half a century, to be as pro- 
minent as any of them all. Many of these men had 
never heard, and never did afterwards in all their lives, 
hear of the spot where Bell was born ; it was then 

f almost a wilderness ; it was a backwood where now it 
is a garden, it was a wild and rough region, inhabited in 
great part by such as Daniel Boone and David Crocker, 

Life of Hon. John Bell. ' 9 

pioneers of that teeming civilization which now crowds 
cities by the side of cites, and long ago thrust out the 
red race to make room for the white men, to whom the 
continent is given. Tennessee has produced her share 
of worthies ; she has given two Presidents to the Union, 
although neither of them was born on her soil : but at 
the time Bell came into the world, she had few either 
worthy or unworthy inhabitants. However, many who 
lived within her borders had emigrated thither from 
more cultivated regions ; many were persons originally 
of culture and intelligence, and although they lacked 
the exciting influences of attrition and contact with 
congenial mind, they did not lose all regard for educa- 
tion and refinement. That this was the case with the 
family of Bell is evident, for his father, although only in 
moderate circumstances, was careful to prepare his son 
to receive a collegiate education, and afterwards sent him 
to Cumberland College, now Nashville University, 
where he graduated in 1814, at the early age of seven- 
teen. In those seventeen years his native State had 
therefore increased in wealth and population sufficiently 
to support an institution of the dignity of a college ; and 
of course, the young student must have been diligent 
and his parents anxious, or amid so few advantages as 
were accessible, he would hardly have been ready to 
avail himself of those offered by his alma mater, especially 
at so almost juvenile an age. 

The law is in this country the field that presents most 

10 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

attractions to an aspiring youth. It seems to hold out 
the promise of a speedier entrance ujDon a career, to 
afford a training for the after struggles of political life, 
to be the sphere where intellectual gladiators most like 
to contend, next after that grand arena in which the fate 
of nations is decided. To the law, therefore, young 
Bell, whose budding talents already gave promise of the 
future harvest into which they were to ripen, to the law 
young Bell directed his attention. So assiduous were 
his studies and so unflagging his energies that in two 
years, when he was but nineteen, he was admitted to the 
bar of Tennessee. He was already a man, if not in 
years, yet in maturity of judgment and development of 

; his powers, and established himself at Franklin, in 
Williamson county, Tennessee. The estimate put upon 
his abilities by his new neighbors, the mark that he 
immediately made among men is evinced by the fact that 
in less than a twelvemonth he was nominated and elected 
to the State Senate ; not yet twenty years of age. There 
he soon found that experience comes not without years, 
if talent does ; and although a re-election was proffered 
him by his constituents, he wisely declined the honor, 
and for ten years thereafter devoted himself to the per- 
sistent practice of his profession. The little episode in 
the State Senate, of not a year, was all that he saw of 
political or public life until he was nearly thirty years old. 
Mr. Bell entered Congress in 1827, when the discus- 

^'"'Isions concerning the United States Bank were at their 

Life of Hon. John Bell. ii 

height. James K. Polk and David Crocke^ were among £ 
his colleagues ; his election was carried while Adams 
and Jackson were rival candidates for the Presidency ; 
there were giants in those days, but even among such 
men as" Benton, and Buchanan, and Crawford, and Ean- 
dolph, the young politician held his own. He was origi- 
nally elected over Felix Grundy, one of the most promi- 
nent men of the day, and who was upheld by Jackson, 
then President, and of course immensely powerful in 
Tennessee, but not powerful enough to defeat this tyro ; 
so popular had Bell already become' among those with 
whom he lived, and who therefore knew him best. Their 
estimation of his ability and his services continued; they 
were evidently amply satisfied with his endeavors, for 
they re-elected him to Congress for fourteen successive ^•'' 
years. His first important vote in the House of Eepre- . 
sentatives was against allowing the sale of the United T^ 
States Bank stock held by the Government ; this suffi- 
ciently indicates his politics at that time. Indeed,' he 
entered Congress a warm admirer of John C. Calhoun, >< 
but, as his after course sufficiently demonstrates, not a 
blind follower of the great South Carolinian. That Mr. 
Bell deserved well of his constituents, is evidenced by 
the promptness with which he began to labor for their 
interests. Exactly one month from the date of his 
entrance into Congress, he made a short speech in support 
of a resolution offered by himself, favoring the establish- ^ 
ment of an armory on Harpeton Kiver, in Tennessee. 

12 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

This may seem a shght circumstance, hut it is full of sig- 
nificance ; it indicates that the young Congressman was 
anxiously caring for his native State. And the cogency 
of his arguments, together with the skill with which they 
were presented, was such as to induce the House to agree 
to his resolution without a division. A happy augury 
for the career thus successfully begun. Mr. Bell has 
never since forgotten that he represents the West, and 
although by no means bigoted in his attachment to that 
part of our common country, he has always striven to 
further her welfare and advance her true progress. That 
his abilities were conspicuous, although he was surrounded 
by men like Everett, and Letcher, and Choate, is mani- 
fest from the repeated compliments paid to his judgment 
and wisdom by different members of the House in the 
course of the most animated debates ; even Edward 
Everett, so excellent a judge of oratory, speaking of 
" the manly force which enchained the attention" of his 
auditors. A very able speech made by Bell, late in his 
.^ first session, on " Land Claims in Tennessee," proves that 
he had still at heart the welfare of those by whom he 
had been sent to Congress. He who so faithfully served 
a portion of the country, would not be unlikely to serve 
the whole with equal fidelity : we have high authority 
for saying, " thou hast been faithful over few things, I 
will make thee ruler over many things." And amidst 
• all his close attention to the peculiar welfare of Tennes- 
see, Mr. Bell was never accused of narrow-minded or 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 


bigoted preference of lier interests ; he could take in the 
whole, and was not anxious to sacrifice the North or the 
South to benefit the rest. 

A proof that he was actuated only by what he 
considered true policy, and not by prejudice, may be 
found in the fact that, although a Western man, he 
opposed the appropriation of money by the general 
Government for the construction of roads and canals 
in the States. Western States, of course, would have 
been the ones most to benefit by such a measure, but as 
his views of the powers of Government did not favor 
such a construction of the Constitution, he never allowed 
his inclinations to influence his judgment. In this may 
be seen a peculiar trait of Mr. Bell's character, a freedom 
from undue partiality ; a really unbiased judgment : 
always moderate, calm, and conservative, amid the wild- 
est strife of party, he was conscientious, and unmoved by 
any considerations save those of patriotism and honor. 
He kept his head clear from prejudices either towards one 
side or the other, and was able to steer clear of those that 
beset the violent on either hand. . He has been, not exactly 
such a character as Lord Halifax is described by Macau- 
lay, not a " Trimmer," but one who held the scales with 
equal hand, and balanced all the arguments pro and con. 
Such a man may not have aroused either the bitter ani- 
mosities of foes, or the quite as violent predilections of 
friends ; he may never have been prominent as a parti- 
san, but he is a truer statesman, a realer friend to his 

1^ Life of Hon. John Bell. 

country than many who make louder professions, but 
are ready to sacrifice their country either to hate or to 
love, in an emergency. In medio tutissimus ibis, is a 
good maxim in politics as well as in poetry, and although 
Mr. Bell has never hesitated to take a decided stand on' 
all public questions of moment, he has not taken an 
exaggerated one. He has been willing to acknowledge 
the good to be seen and said on both sides of all ques- 
tions. This same peculiarity is still further evidenced by 
the fact that although objecting to parts of the system of 
Internal Improvements, he was favorable to the policy 
of improving the great rivers and lake harbors. It 
requires some force of character to withstand the gibes 
of opponents at apparent inconsistency, but every sensi- 
ble man must be apparently inconsistent at times, although 
perhaps never more really consistent with his own cha- 
racter than at the very moment he is accused of fluctua- 
tions. Mr. Bell was proof against such attacks ; secure 
in the rectitude of his intentions, and convinced of the 
justice of his views, he calmly but determinately persisted 
in his course. That he has not changed in this regard, 
may be seen in the fact that he is to-day the candidate 
of the party whose rallying word is conservatism ; which 
is eminently the moderate one, which goes all lengths 
with neither side, and is content to bear the reproaches 
of lukewarmness and uncertainty from the more violent 
adherents both of the .South and the North, rather than 
to war openly against those whom it considers brethren. 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 


How Mr. Bel] was regarded as a business man in tlie 
House may be judged when it is stated that he was 
fifteen years Chairman of the Committee on Indian ^ 
Affiiirs ; and a quarter of a century or more ago, Indian 
affliirs constituted an important subject of legislation. 
JSTo estimate can be formed of their consequence then, 
from what is accorded them now. The committee was 
undoubtedly one of the most important, and the position 
of its head reflects equal credit on Mr. Bell's judgment 
and abilities. To have so long sustained the position 
also indicates his political consequence, for the Speaker 
of the House would not have been likely to appoint a 
man of inferior influence to a place of such importance. 
During the second Congress in which he served, Mr. 
Bell spoke on the following subjects: The AVestern 
Armory, a New- York Memorial respecting Southern 
Indians, the Condition of the Indians, the Removal of 
the Indians, a Memorial of the New England Society of 
Friends, the Printing of the State Laws in relation to 
Indians, Revolutionary Pensions, the Case of Judge 
Peck, Tennessee Refuse Lands, Baltimore and Ohio 
Railroad, the Message Vetoing the Maysville Road Bill ; 
a list which shows the grasp of his mind, and the energy 
with which he applied his abilities to the various subjects 
which rose into prominence. Many of his speeches, it 
will be seen, related to the Indians, whose removal be- 
yond the Mississippi was at that time frequently discussed 
in Congress. 

l6 Life of Hon. John BellJ 

Anotlier subject that then agitated the public, and 
continued to do so for many years, was the Tariff ques- 
tion. Mr. Bell was at this time opposed to the protective 
system ; indeed his political friends were, for some years 
after his entrance into public life, especially those of 
Calhoun. He opposed Mr. Clay and John Quincy 
Adams particularly in the matter of the Tariff, making 
a speech against protection in 1832. He, however, after- 
wards saw reasons to change his views, and like Clay 
himself, in our own country, with regard to the United 
States' Bank, and Sir Kobert Peel on the Corn Laws, in 
England, and other great statesmen, did not hesitate 
openly to avow a change when it was once formally con- 
summated in his own mind. Herein is a mark of an 
intellect superior to petty considerations ; the mind itself 
grew into another state, did not remain dormant and 
stupid, developed into another phase, and its owner was 
true to himself by casting the slough of his former 
convictions when once it was outgrown. He had no 
scruples of pride in this matter ; he was honest and 
fearless in avowing that he entertained different notions 
on this subject from those he had once professed, and 
the manly independence of the avowal must recommend 
itself to all who admire either manliness or independence. 
A little soul would have hesitated, and parleyed, and 
equivocated, and deceived. Other little souls may per- 
haps not recognise or appreciate the magnanimity of the 
course taken instead by the subject of this memoir. 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 17 

It may not be amiss to allude here to the fact that 
even political friendships and personal preferences were 
not allowed to stand in the way of what John Bell con- 
sidered to be his duty. Despite his warm attachment to ^ 
Mr. Calhoun, despite his hearty approbation of many of f^ 
Calhoun's doctrines, Mr. Bell was no blind adherent. " 
He openly opposed the great southerner's course in 
regard to Nullification, and was made Chairman of the 
Judiciary Committee with especial reference to the ques- 
tions connected with that subject which might have to 
be considered and reported on. Another instance this 
of profound and lofty patriotism rising superior to all 
other considerations, and similar to what occurred at the y 
final rupture between Mr. Bell and Gen. Jackson, which NsZ 
took place some years after. The latter circumstance 
was in consequence of the famous Kemoval of the 
Deposits, of which Bell did not approve, and against 
which he formally protested. When that act was con- 
summated, he withdrew his adherence from the former 
chief of his party, preferring what he regarded as prin- 
ciple to the chances of success with a party with whose 
doctrine he no longer concurred. This proceeding on his 
part, as well as his previous action in regard to Nullifica- 
tion, is significant of the fact that Mr. Bell had a mind 
of his own — he formed his own opinions, and determined 
upon his own conduct. Although never violent, he was , 
yet inflexible when he desired to be so : excellent traits ^ p. 
these in a man who may be destined to wield the execu- 

l8 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

tive powers of the American government. He will be 
no tool in the hands of others ; he, so calm in judging, 
can yet be nnmovable when once he has judged ; neither 
the threats of foes nor the persuasions of friends, nor 
the considerations of mere party ascendancy or personal 
popularity, avail to swerve him from the course he 
regards as right. 

His views in relation to canal improvements may be 
gathered in an extract from a speech made by him in 
January 1831, which will be found in the appendix. 
They are characterized by far-seeing judgment and admi- 
rable policy, and expressed in a terse and manly style. 
His independence is manifested in this very speech, which 
might be supposed to conflict with the doctrines advanced 
by him in relation to the famous Cumberland road. 
However, he held that different doctrines should be 
applied to roads from those referring to canals ; and he 
did not hesitate to uphold the distinction with all the 
ability of his logical mind. This speech recommends 
Mr. Bell to the warmest friends of Western progress. 
Made thirty years ago, without the remotest prospect of 
its being used when he should be a Presidential candi- 
date, its sincerity is unquestionable as its logic is unan- 

Indicaj:ions of the views held by Mr. Bell in regard to 

nullification are readily to be found. The position he 

viheld as Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary made 

, it his duty to report a bill providing for the execution 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 


of the revenue bills, in certain cases, which was the 
famous Enforcement bill ; this portion of his career shows 
two things very plainly ; first, that he had no sympathy 
thirty years ago with those who were anxious to go out \Q 
of the union because certain circumstances in it were 
disagreeable; and secondly, that he was anxious to 
enforce the laws of the land, however distasteful under 
certain circumstances they might be. Applying the 
same rules that governed his conduct then to the present 
emergencies in public affairs, we learn that he would 
probably have no sympathy with the hot heads of to-day, 
who, because they are aggrieved at some circumstances 
doubtless displeasing, and naturally so, are willing to 
rush off in a state of anarchy and break asunder the 
bonds that unite the confederacy; and also, that they 
who, disliking a constitutional provision which, it may be, 
is offensive to their feelings and repugnant to individual 
judgments, counsel open violation and disobedience of 
the law, can get no aid or comfort from him ; nay, more, 
that he would again, now, as he did in '32, favor an 
•' enforcement" of whatever is law. What better doctrine 
for this crisis can be had than such as dictated the con- 
duct of Mr. Bell a quarter of a century ago, and is as 
applicable to the contests of to-day as it was to the strug- 
gles about nullification and the enforcement of the 
revenue laws? In these instances Bell rose superior to 
party, and personal considerations. He was an admirer 
of Calhoun ; he was a free tariff man ; but he frowned 

20 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

on nullification, and defended the enforcement of a law 
of whose policy he did not approve. His example might 
be studied and imitated with profit now. 

Mr. Bell's conduct in regard to the United States Bank 
was similar to that of a large number of old Jackson Demo- 

, crats. He was in favor of the bank, althouojh he voted 
against its re-charter in 1832, because he believed the 
subject -was brought forward with a partisan purpose, 
and solely with a view to injure Gen. Jackson. The 
question was raised four years before the expiration of 
the old charter, and Bell supposed that the President 
would veto the bill (as he did), and that consequently his 
popularity would be affected immediately previous to the 
Presidential election. When, however, ' Gen. Jackson 
went so far as to remove the deposits, Bell entirely dis- 
approved of that remarkable measure, and refused to 
vote for a resolution approving it ; here, again, manifest- 
ing a supremacy to mere party views. This refusal was 
the commencement of his rupture with the President ; 
the breach was widened, and eventuated in his accession 
to the Whig party of which he was so long a member 
and a leader. 

This change of party relations was accelerated by his 

K election to the Speakership of the House of Kepresenta- 

^ tives in 1834. In June of that year, Mr. Stevenson, who 

had held the position for several sessions of Congress, was 

appointed minister to England, and resigned his former 

place, when James K. Polk became the candidate 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 21 

of the Jackson party for the succession. Mr. Bell was 
supported against the entire administration influence and 
the old Democratic party, by the Whigs and that portion 
of the Democracy which sympathized with him and the 
Whigs, in their opposition to Yan Buren, who was to 
succeed Jackson as head of the party. Bell was elected, 
and Jackson never forgave him. 

The complete change in his political relations was 
however only consummated when the Presidential elec- 
tion came round, and Bell absolutely supported another i 
man than Yan Buren for the office. The doctrine that 
all subordinate officials who disapprove of the conduct 
of their superiors in any degree, should be forthwith 
removed, was strongly upheld by Jackson and Yan 
Buren, but was regarded by Bell and his friends as highly 
reprehensible. This was the ostensible reason of their 
final accession to the ranks of the Whig party, a move- 
ment which, however, began years before, and was only 
perfected by their support of White for the Presidency 
in opposition to Yan Buren. Judge White carried the 
State of Tennessee (Jackson^s own State) ; doubtless in a ; 
great measure this success was owing to the effiDrts of 
Bell. It had been imagined that Tennessee could not 
possibly oppose its old hero ; there had scarcely existed 
an organized opposition there for years ; Jackson's per- 
sonal and political influence was absolute and overwhelm- 
ing ; but the political character of the State was entirely 
changed ; in the four succeeding presidential campaigns, 

22 Life of Hon.* John Bell. 

Tennessee was found arrayed against the Democratic 
party. The influen9.e of Bell may be judged of from 
these facts ; for if this remarkable change was not entirely 
owing to him, he probably contributed quite as signally 
as any other man to its production. He was himself of 
course re-elected to Congress, and continued a member 
of it as a Whig, until 1841. During this time he twice 
was nominated against Mr. Polk for the Speakership, 
and thus identified himself as the head of the Congres- 
sional opposition to Yan Buren's administration ; but the 
dominant party each time outvoted him, although only 
by a dozen ballots. His prominence is sufficiently indi- 
cated by the fact that his political friends so repeatedly 
selected him, and it will be remembered successfully, as 
the antagonist of Mr. Polk (from the same State with 
himself), and as their leader in those close and continual 
contests which marked the last years of the Jackson and 
Van Buren dynasty. Successful in 1888, in wresting 
the electoral vote of Tennessee away from Van Buren, 
when only two States in the entire Union were able to 
cast their vote for "White, and three times candidate 
against Van Buren's nominee for the Speakership of the 
House, Mr. Bell was fully prepared for the position 
among the Whigs which he assumed at the time of Gen. 
Harrison's nomination, ' It would be singular, if after 
the lapse of so many years, he should be destined to 
succeed his old competitor in a higher seat than that for 
which they so often contended with varying fortune; 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 23 

if after Polk has been in his grave for more than a 
decade, Bell also should be elected President of the 
United States. 

Mr. Bell's career in Congress previous to the great 
Harrison campaign was not marked by any peculiar 
circumstances, other than those we have already 
recounted ; several of his speeches in opposition to the 
Van Buren administration will be found in the after 
portion of this volume ; they display especially his eager 
desire that the government should be economically 
carried on, and afford a key-note to the conduct likely 
to be his, should he himself be elevated to the control _ 
of public affairs. One of these speeches is an able 
defence of the dignity and rights of the House of Kepre- 
sentatives, showing conclusively that Mr. Bell's sympa- 
thies were eminently with the popular branch of the 
.government; he frequently made attempts to curtail 
unnecessary expenditures, and to check the extravagance 
of the administration which he opposed. Those extra- 
vagances, and the general mismanagement of affairs, were 
such as to provoke the remarkable rising of the people 
which resulted in the election of Gen. Harrison to the 
presidency. Bell's determined opposition to the Yan 
Buren democracy was by this time so prominent, and 
his talents and political character were regarded as 
so entirely national in their renown and influence, that -^nJ^ 
no one was surprised when he entered the cabinet of 
Harrison as Secretary of War; a reward for his long and 

24 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

important services that was universally recognised as 
his due. 

It is hardly necessary to relate the facts relative to 
Gen. Harrison's short-lived presidential career. Every 
reader of political history, or even of general affairs, 
knows that he summoned a Congress, but died before 
its meeting, and within a month of his inauguration. 
Every One knows too that President Tyler, retaining the 
cabinet of his predecessor in their places, the Congress 
was convened under his auspices ; and that the great 
cardinal measure of Whig policy, the establishment of a 
new United States bank, was one of the first subjects 
of discussion and preparation among the eminent men 
who composed the national legislature. As the Whig 
party had a very decided majority in both Houses, the 
measure was passed without delay, although deliberately, 
and sent to the President for his sanction ; he, instead, 
vetoed the bill, but promised to approve of another 
under certain conditions. The Whigs, under Clay, 
forthwith prepared another bill, and subjected it before- 
hand to the inspection of the President, that they might 
be secure against the mortification of a second veto from 
the man whom they had themselves put into power. 
The first veto was resolved upon, and the message for it 
drawn, without a consultation of the President with his 
Cabinet — without reference to them, and without their 
knowledge, except from hearsay and accident. They 
first became aware of it by street rumor, and in para- 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 25 

graphs in the Madisonian, and letters to the New York 
Herald, and their first absolute knowledge of it was 
obtained on coming in upon the President while he was 
drawing it. This was a great slight to his Cabinet, and 
very unaccountable to ministers who, only two short 
months before, had been solicited to remain in their 
places, had been saluted with expressions of confidence, 
and cheered with the declaration that their advice and 
counsel would be often wanted. They felt the slight 
of the neglected consultation as well as disappointment 
at the rejected bill, but the President consoled them for 
the disappointment by showing himself ready and even 
impatient for another bill. The Secretary of War (Mr. 
Bell) gives the following account of an interview with 
Mr. Tyler. 

" I called on the President, on official business, on the 
morning of Monday, the 16th of August, before the first 
veto message was sent in. I found him reading the 
message to the Secretary of the Treasury (Mr. Ewing). jp-^ 
He did me the honor to read the material passages to me. 
I also congratulated him upon the happy circum- 
stance of the delay which had taken place in sending 
his veto message. The heat and violence which might 
have been expected, if the veto had been sent in imme- 
diately upon the passage of the bill, would now be 
avoided. Time had been given for cool reflection ; and 
as the message did not exclude the idea of a bank in 
some form, no unpleasant circumstance would be likely 
to follow. He expressed his great surprise that there 
should be so much excitement on the subject ; said that 

26 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

he had had his mind made up on the bill before him 
from the first, but had delayed his message, that there 
should be time for the excitement to wear off; that 
nothing could be more easy than to pass a bill which 
would answer all necessary purposes ; that it coald be 
done in three days. The next day, having occasion to 
see the President again, he requested me to draw up a 
brief statement of my views upon the subject, showing 
the practical advantages and necessity of such a fiscal 
institution as he had thought of proposing. Such infor- 
mation as I could hastily collect from the heads of the 
principal disbursing bureaus of the department I handed 
him on the evening of the same day, knowing that time 
was of the utmost importance, in the state in which the 
question then was. He received the statements I gave 
him with manifest indifference, and alarmed me by 
remarking, that he began to doubt whether he would 
give his assent (as I understood him) to any bank." 

The second veto came ; and the entire cabinet, except 
Mr. Webster, immediately resigned. Thus, the talented 
government composed of Webster, Bell, Ewing, Badger, 
Crittenden, and Granger, was disbanded. The Whig 
party throughout the country approved of the conduct 
of the cabinet. The Whig majority of the Tennessee 
Legislature signified its approbation of the step, in the 
particular instance of Mr. Bell, by offering him at the 
next session after his withdrawal from the cabinet, the 
office of United States Senator ; but he declined it, and 
remained in retirement until 1847. 

On the Slavery question, Mr. Bell's course has always 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 27 

been characterized by extreme moderation and wisdom, 
as well as by the natural concomitant of those traits — 
profound patriotism. When the agitation, which is now 
so violent, took its rise, so long ago as in 1836, or even 
sooner, Mr. Bell, a Southern man, but living so near the 
North as to have become national rather than exclu- 
sively Southern, took that middle and moderate ground 
which he has ever since maintained. The presentation 
of anti-slavery petitions in Congress was the first step in 
the agitation which is now culminating. Those petitions 
awakened the most violent discussions in the House of 
Representatives, of which, in 1836, Mr. Bell was a mem- 
ber. He alone, of the Tennessee delegation, favored 
their reception ; and, although assailed for this at home, 
was sustained by the people. Although he did not 
sympathize with the aim of the petitioners — to abolish 
slavery in the District of Columbia — he yet recognised 
and upheld the right of petition, however offensive even 
to his own notions the exercise of the right might chance 
to be. Still later, in 1838, when resolutions were intro- 
duced to receive such petitions, and lay them on the 
table, he voted in the negative, in order that they might 
be referred to a committee. What stronger evidence 
than this could be asked for, in a consistent Southern 
man, of a desire to yield something to the North, of an 
anxiety for harmony and concord between the conflict- 
ing elements in the nation? His speeches give ample 
evidence of the same spirit, throughout the long and 

28 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

trying period during which he was a member of the 
United States Senate — from 1847 to 1859. 

The South never accused him of being derelict to her 
interests ; some few violent men were dissatisfied with his 
course, but he was promptly re-elected to his seat in the 
Senate at the expiration of his first term of service. He 
was at one time, indeed, requested by the State Legislature 
^ of Tennessee to resign, but the people supported him in 
■^ his resolution to refuse acceding to this request. It was 
made four years after the vote complained of, and by men 
who were not members of the State Legislature at the 
time the vote was cast ; and Mr. Bell considered himself 
perfectly justifiable in disregarding it. With this solitary 
exception, there is no instance of dissatisfaction from his 
native State having been manifested towaixis her faithful 
son. F^r more than thirty years he served her in the 
national councils, and she was all that while a slave 
state ; for all that time Mr. Bell upheld moderately but 
firmly the rights and interest of slaveholders, and was 
recognised by the South as one of her devoted sons. 
And yet he has studiously, meanwhile, preserved the 
kindest relations with the North ; he has of late received 
the nomination for the presidency from a convention in 
which northern men greatly predominated. 

The estimation in which he is held has been caused by 

his consistent and pa4:riotic endeavors to stem the current 

1^ of violence and disunion. Mr. Bell, as a Whig, was studi- 

ously opposed to the policy of annexing Mexico and 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 29 

the other Spanish American States ; and when the storms 
of discord rose highest his efforts at effecting a compromise 
were persistent. He endeavored incessantly to allay the 
troubled waves, to pour oil on the waters of strife ; he 
brought in a compromise bill, but, without any vanity 
or pique, laid it aside when he discovered that it did not 
prove acceptable ; for with him personal honor or success 
was always subordinate to patriotism. He favored the 
great compromise measures of 1850, although he would 
have been glad to see the issues then mooted fully 
settled by the division of Texas into states, as provided 
in the act of annexation; for he apprehended whenever 
the question of that division should arise, that the har- 
mony of the nation might be again disturbed. 
. In 1854, when Mr. Douglas introduced the famous 
Nebraska bill and the repeal of the Missouri compromise, 
Mr. Bell again was mindful of the entire country and not V 
of a single portion of it only, although that portion was "^ 
his home, and the State which he represents belonged to 
it. He 'protested against the passage of the measure, 
denouncing it as a violation of a compact fairly sealed, 
as an unsettling of principles already settled, as a reopen- 
ing of the sectional controversies of which the country was 
perfectly tired, as an imperilling of the peace and safety of 
the Union. Mr. Bell's course in this emergency was, how- 
ever, unavailing to stem the torrent of feeling aroused by 
Mr. Douglas. But he persisted in the line of conduct he 
had chosen. He was determined to know no north and 

30 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

no south, and did whatever in him lay to assuage the agi- 
tations of the time. He had endeavored successfully to 
recommend the compromises effected by Clay and Web- 
ster to the reception of his constituents and of the entire 
South, and now he was anxious, since the Nebraska bill 
had become a law, that no worse results should flow from 
it than were unavoidable. So he again showed his mode- 
ration, his fairness, his love of justice, when the Kansas 
question arose. In the controversy on the admission of 
that territory Mr. Bell took decided ground against the 
Lecompton Constitution, and made an elaborate speech, 
charging that the measure was ill-timed and likely to 
prove disastrous alike to its originators and to the union. 
And yet, with all his anxiety for fairness, he never 
swerved in his fealty to the South or her institutions. 
His speeches are full of indications of his loyalty. He 
maintains the peculiar institution to be, in many of its 
peculiarities, excellent, and expresses an opinion that 
abstract notions must not be allowed to conflict with prac- 
ticalities, or if they do, must give way. Universally 
beloved and esteemed by his Southern colleagues, the 
integrity of his motives and the well-intentioned character 
of his acts have never been impugned by the most facti- 
tious. Some may have thought him too much inclined 
to yield, too willing to accede for the sake of peace, but 
he has in no instance been accused of recreancy. And 
he has indeed always been willing to yield somewhat ; he 
has openly avowed this as a principle ; he boasts that he 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 31 

is not impracticable. Rather than that the fabric of our 
union should be destroyed, he has been ready to sacrifice 
several minor things ; emulous in this of the character 
of Clay and Webster and other worthies of that high 
sort. He is anxious, and has always been so, to cultivate 
the kindest relations with both of the great portions of 
our common country, to obey the parting mandate of 
Washington and know no north and no south ; he is, and 
has always been, emphatically, a Union man, a Union 
lover, a Union preserver. His whole career from the 
start has been of this sort ; every act indicates it ; every 
speech expresses it. 

Kot remarkable, however, only for love of country, but 
for ability to serve it ; not only for moderation and 
patriotism, and conservatism, excellent and desirable as 
these qualities are ; not only for eminent impartiality ; not 
only for those lofty traits of character, which indicate 
worth rather than talent, which give weight, and import- 
ance, and influence to men in everyday afiairs as well as 
to a statesman in public life, which are to the full as 
essential as talent — for what is talent without integrity 
and firmness, but a misdirected power, an engine without 
a master, a railroad train without a conductor — Mr. Bell 
is acknowledged by all to possess these characteristics ; 
he has passed through a long career of public useful- 
ness unblemished by reproach, without having ever ex- 
cited personal vituperations, or having ever suffered ob- 
loquy or disgrace. His State, and his constituents, and his 

32 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

country have retained him in postg of consequence, and 
offered him honors, even when he has been obliged to 
decline them. All this indicates not only worth but 

A clear head, penetration into character, and ability 
to perceive the significance of events, far-sightedness in 
politics, excellent judgment, so much that he has been 
able always to remain moderate, and no greater proof of 
judgment could be furnished, — ^logical ability, and 
(in his service on committees, as well as in the period 
during which he was a member of Gen. Harrison's and 
President Tyler's cabinets) administrative talent were 
evinced, abundant energy, the most thorough atten- 
tion to the duties of whatever office, undoubted industry, 
— surely the traits most desirable in governmental offi- 
cers, are all his. Firmness seems a trait especially likely 
to be put to the test in the next incumbent of the Presi- 
dential chair, and firmness has been evinced on several 
occasions by John Bell in a remarkable degree. Pos- 
sessing so many indispensable qualifications, fitted by 
his long experience and his mature age for the most im- 
portant posts, the list of his powers is altogether posi- 
tive. Should he be placed in the lofty post of President 
of the United States, there can be but little doubt that 
all the anticipations of the warmest friends of himself 
and of his country will be realized, and all the enco* 
miums hitherto paid him amply justified. 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 33 


The speeches that constitute the remainder of this 
volume, are, with one or two exceptions, selected from 
those made in Congress, by the subject of this memoir ; 
it has been deemed advisable to furnish only such por- 
tions of them as iudicate Mr. Bell's sentiments and con- 
duct in regard to the great public questions which have 
arisen during his career. As in every speech there 
must be much matter pertinent only at the moment of its 
delivery, we have endeavored to free the pith or core so 
far as possible from the less material parts that envelop 
it, never, however, in any instance garbling, nor omitting 
any sentences or words from those passages pretended to 
be presented to our readers. A completely faithful expo- 
sition of Mr. Bell's views on the subjects discussed, will, 
we beheve, be thus afibrded. 


Shortly after Mr. Bell's entrance into Congress as a 
member of the Lower House, the question of devoting 
part of the public lands in Tennessee to the educational 
purposes of that State, was mooted ; Mr. Bell's maiden 
effort of any great length or ambition was made on this 
occasion, April 29, 1828. 

We subjoin a few lines merely, which demonstrate the 

34 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

sentiments he entertained on the question at issue, and 
also evince his anxiety for the best interests of those 
whom he represented. 


Mr. Bell, of Tennessee, said : — The gentlemen who 
have spoken in opposition to the bill have declared their 
readiness to support it if it can be shown that the gene- 
ral Government is under any obligation to make provi- 
sion for the support of common schools in Tennessee. 
This obligation, I think, can be made to appear to the 
satisfaction of every one. By an express article in the 
compact entered into in 1787, between the Congress of 
the Confederation and the people north-west of the river 
Ohio, it is stipulated on the part of the Confederation 
that " schools and the means of education should for ever 
be encouraged." This generous stipulation in favor of 
light and knowledge may have been in pursuance of the 
conditions upon which "Virginia ceded that noble region 
to the United States (my researches on this point have 
not gone so far back), or it may have been the dictate of 
the wisdom of those who then had the guidance of our 
national councils ; but whether it was the offspring of 
the State which gave, or of the Confederation which 
received, I conceive it cannot be more highly or appro- 
priately commended than by saying that it was worthy 
of a period in which an enlightened love of liberty pre- 
vailed over the sordid calculations of wealth. When 
North Carolina ceded her Western Territory, now the 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 35 

State of Tennessee, to the United States, she made it an 
express condition in her act of cession, that the inhabit- 
ants of that territory should enjoy " all the privileges, 
benefits, and advantages" set forth in the ordinance or 
compact I have already mentioned, one only excepted, 
not now necessary to be adverted to. 

THE HOUSE, June 2, 1834. 

Gentlemen of the House of Representatives : — 

With the greatest sincerity I declare to you, that 
although I am duly and gratefully impressed by this 
mark of the partiality and confidence of the House, and 
by no means insensible to the distinction intended to be 
conferred on me, it is not without some distrust of the 
wisdom of my course in accepting this station, which 
your choice has assigned me. Without the slightest ex- 
perience in the chair, it may be justly apprehended that 
your selection of a presiding ofiicer has been too much 
influenced by personal kindness and friendship. And I 
shall be quite happy if the public interest shall suffer no 
detriment through a defective administration of the duties 
of the chair. In ordinary times, and under ordinary 
circumstances, I could flatter myself that, by diligent 
application, I might be able, in a short time, to supply 
the want of experience, and to justify in some degree, 
the confidence indicated by the House. That more than 
usual embarrassments must be encountered at this mo- 
ment, by an incumbent of the chair, will be admitted by 
all. The impatience, not to say irritation — the natural 

36 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

result of a protracted session — the excitement growing 
out of those sharp conflicts of opinion upon questions of 
public policy — conflicts exasperated and embittered at 
the present moment in an extraordinary degree — all pre- 
sent themselves to increase the difficulties and call forth 
the exertions of a new and unpractised incumbent of the 
chair. And I feel, gentlemen, that whatever exertions 
may be made on my part must be vain, without your 
forbearance — nay, that they must fail altogether, without 
your cordial support and co-operation. When I reflect 
how great are the interests connected with this House, 
its character and action — interests not of a day nor of a 
party, but of all time, of posterity, and of all the parties 
which are or ever will be arrayed against each other — 
and when I further reflect how much the character and 
action of this House depends upon a skilful, firm, and 
impartial administration of the duties of the chair, I con- 
fess I feel the deepest solicitude. 

It is not so generally understood, I regret to believe, as 
it should be, in how great a degree the measures of a 
legislative assembly are modified and influenced by the 
manner of its deliberations. All will concede that if it 
shall ever happen that this body shall fall into disrepute, 
and fail to command the respect and confidence of the 
people, our institutions will be in the greatest peril. 
Not only the character of the House, the wisdom and 
efficiency of its action, but the existence of our admira- 
ble frame of polity itself, may be said to depend, in some 
degree, upon the order and dignity of the deliberations 
of this House. While, then, I entreat the indulgence of 
the House to my own defects, I earnestly invoke the as- 
sistance of every member of it in endeavoring to main- 
tain and preserve, so far as depends upon the proceedings 

Life of Hon. John Bell. • 37 

of this body, those great and primary interests of consti- 
tutional government and freedom, in support of which, I 
am sure, whatever difference of opinion there may be 
upon points of construction, policy, or administration, 
there is not a heart here, nor an American heart anywhere, 
that does not beat high. 

speaker's chair, March Srdj 1835. 

Gentlemen of the House of Representatives : — 

It is a late hour, but I hope I may be allowed one 
word, in acknowledgment of the many obligations I 
am under to this House. 

Duly sensible, as I am, of the value of that testimony 
of respect for your presiding officer which you have this 
night ordered to be placed upon the journals of the 
House, and as much bound as I am by that compliment, to 
express my sensibility to your kindness, I am still more 
solicitous, upon this occasion, the last that may offer to 
me, to express a yet deeper and more abiding sense of 
gratitude for that continued indulgence to my faults, 
that marked forbearance and tenderness to my many 
deficiencies, which have been manifest on your part, from 
the first moment I took this chair, and which have con- 
tinued to be manifested up to this, the last allotted hour 
of the present Congress. The feelings inspired by a 
recollection of so much generosity I am unable ade- 
quately to express, but they shall have a place in this 
bosom so long as there is a pulsation there. 

38 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

But this is not the extent of the obligations I am under 
to you, gentlemen. If the public service had suffered 
essentially from any defect in me, the memory of your 
generous indulgence would afford me but a qualified 
pleasure, but you have, upon every occasion, given to mei 
your presiding ofi&cer, liable to err, and actually erring, 
as he often did, your firm support in his efforts to prevent 
the effect of what seemed to him to be error in others ; 
and thus you reconciled your continued forbearance 
towards him with your duty to the public, in supporting 
the regularity and dignity of the proceedings of the 

It is needless to declare to you how feeble, how utterly 
incompetent, the efforts of any one must be to discharge 
the duties of this station, without the cordial support of 
the Members of this House. The satisfaction I derive 
from the reflection that I have had your cordial and 
necessary supp">rt, is greatly heightened by two con- 
siderations — the one personal to myself, the other of a 
public nature. Inexperienced as I was, when the duties 
of the Chair were suddenly devolved upon me, I could 
deserve your support, in attempting to maintain the just 
authority and respect of the Chair, only by bringing to 
the discharge of its various duties a resolute determina- 
tion to perform them with impartiality, and a suitable 
firmness and decision. However I may have failed in 
these purposes in particular instances, unconsciously and 
through the weakness of our common nature, I feel a 
proud satisfaction in believing that you have always 
duly appreciated my intentions and my desires. 

But I have yet a higher gratification, founded upon 
the experience I have had in the Chair ; whatever may 
be the occasional disorders and intemperance incident to 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 39 

times liigWy excited by party conflicts, we have just 
reason to hope that there will always remain a collective, 
an aggregate feeling and determination in this House to 
forbear those extremes, those excesses, which, if in- 
dulged, would justly forfeit the respect and confidence 
of the country. 

None will question, that whatever concerns the charac- 
ter and respectability of this House, as a co-ordinate 
branch of the legislative department of the Government, 
concerns likewise the interests, the very being, of free 
institutions, and the rights and happiness of the human 
family. Whether this House shall continue to hold and 
actually exercise its due proportion of the powers of this 
Government ; whether it shall continue to contribute 
its due weight and authority in shaping the policy of 
this great country, and in elevating it to that high 
destiny which the friends of political and civil liberty 
in every part of the world, so devoutly desire ; whether, 
indeed, such a destiny shall ever be ours, depends greatly 
upon the rank which this House shall continue to hold 
in the affections, the respect, and confidence, of the great 
body of the people. 

The recollection that, while I have had the honor to 
fill this station, I have had your co-operation and confi- 
dence in my feeble efforts to sustain the due importance 
and respectability of this House, will be a source 01 
high gratification to me in the future vicissitudes of my 
life, whatever they may be. And now, at the moment 
of a separation, which, with many of us, may be perma- 
nent, I may be permitted to say, that if, upon any occa- 
sion, I have seemed to fail in the respect which is always 
due from the Chair to the House, and to all its members, 
I can, with the utmost sincerity, affirm that it was never 

40 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

intentional ; and I beg to express my ardent wishes for 
the continued and uninterrupted health and happiness of t| 
every individual of which this House is composed. 


February 24, 183Y. ] 

The following remarks are presented here as indicat- 
ing the views entertained by Mr. Bell in regard to the 
economical administration of the general government, 
and his aversion to unnecessary expenditure. 

Mr. Bell said : — He rose for the purpose of calling the 
attention of members to a few facts connected with the 
subject under consideration, and with the subject of the 
Treasury, and the expenditures of the Government gene- 
rally, which he thought were either unknown to many 
honorable members, or, if known, had not received that 
attention which, from their extraordinary nature, they 
were entitled to receive from the representatives of the 
people and the guardians of the public interests. 

The fact that the permanent expenditures of the 
Government had been doubled in amount within a few 
years past had been noticed heretofore. I wish (said Mr. 
B.) to bring to the notice of honorable gentlemen another 
most improper and unprecedented anomaly in the action 
of Congress, upon the subject of the appropriation and 
expenditure of the public moneys. The Committee of 
Ways and Means have given their sanction to appropri- 
ations for the service of the present year, amounting to 

Life of Hon. John Bell. ^ 41 

upwards of thirty millions, if I have not made some mis- 
take in the estimate of this amount. Besides these, there 
are other bills reported by the standing committees of 
the House, which will swell them to about thirty -five 
millions — an amount but little short of the appropriations 
to the same objects made at the last session of Congress. 
Do the members of this house know what proportion 
of the appropriations of the last year remain unexpend- 
ed ? The honorable chairman of the Committee of Ways 
and Means has told us that the present bill appropriates 
about nine hundred thousand dollars to fortifications ; 
and that, he contends, ought to be voted, because it does 
not exceed the usual amount annually appropriated to 
the same objects. Sir, it is true that this does not exceed 
the amount usually appropriated, but the honorable gen- 
tleman has omitted to inform us that there was on the 
1st of January a balance of upwards of six hundred thou- 
sand dollars remaining in the Treasury of the appropria- 
tions of the last year to the same objects, besides be- 
tween two and three hundred thousand, in the hands of 
the disbursing officers, yet unexpended. He has neglected 
to inform us that, in fact, about nine hundred thousand 
dollars of the last year's appropriations to fortifications 
remain to be expended during the present year ; for I 
take it for granted, that the work upon the fortifications 
has not been persisted in to any great extent during the 
winter. Thus, sir, instead of the amount proposed to be 
applied to this branch of the public service during the 
present year, we propose to apply double that amount. 
Is there anything in the present high prices of labor and 
materials, any thing in the great demand for laborers of 
all kinds, or is there anything in the present prospect 
of peace with all nations which calls for this unusual 

42 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

amount to be applied to fortifications ? Are we not push- 
ing these works too rapidly to admit of solid construc- 
tions ? But, sir (said Mr. B.), I do not attach much im- 
portance to this view of the subject. Not only double 
but treble, and quadruple the amount of these appropria- 
tions can be expended by the government, if it is found 
necessary in order to increase appropriations — if we shall 
by our imprudent compliance with the demand of the 
Executive encourage a race between appropriations and 
disbursements — if the appropriations are to be increased 
according to the ability of the Government to expend, 
or rather waste, as much as this House shall, from year 
to year, be found willing to appropriate. I repeat, if this 
shall be the measure of our appropriations, we need not 
care how large they are, they will be expended. 


The extract here appended is taken from a speech on 
financial matters, whose interest is now entirely past. 
The selection is made as afibrding an indication of Mr. 
Bell's careful attention to the management of the govern- 
ment in all its details, and his anxiety to avoid every 
temptation to extravagance. The date of the speech is 
March 12th, 1887. 

Mr. Bell said he would make but a remark or two 
upon the motion which he proposed to make in relation 
to the amendment of the Senate. 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 43 

The House had incorporated the clause for a distri- 
bution of any surplus which might be in the Treasury at 
the end of the year, among the States, into the fortifica- 
jtion bill, by a large and decisive majority. The Senate 
amended the bill by striking out this most important 
provision ; and this House, upon a reconsideration of the 
subject, reaffirmed their first decision, and disagreed to 
the amendment of the Senate, by a majority equally 
decisive, and one which, under the circumstances, I 
might say was overwhelming. The Senate has thought 
proper, nevertheless, to insist upon its amendment ; and 
the question is now presented whether we shall recede 
from the ground we have taken, or firmly adhere to a 
measure which we believe to be of vital interest. \ The 
question is one of vast magnitude, of the greatest import- 
ance, and connected directly with the permanent interest 
and welfare of the whole country. We have now to 
decide whether this, the popular branch of the National 
Legislature, whether we, the representatives of the peo- 
ple, to whom the Constitution has intrusted in an espe- 
cial manner the guardianship and the duty of preserving 
the public treasure, shall surrender up our trust, abandon 
our own views of public duty, and conform to the wishes 
of the Senate. A principle of deep interest is thus in- 
volved in this question besides that of mere expediency. 
In relation to the particular measure under consideration, 
can any one doubt the line of duty thus plainl}^ marked 
out to us ? Are we not bound in justice to ourselves, 
in justice to the Constitution and to the best interests 
of the country, firmly to adhere to our first resolve ? 
Upon the point of expediency, whatever doubt may have 
existed in the minds of any, whether there would be a 
surplus of any considerable amount at the end of the 

44 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

year, when this proposition was first submitted, surely 
now, since the land bill has been laid upon the table, 
and not the slightest prospect remains of reviving it attj 
the present session, there is no longer any ground of ] 
uncertainty as to that question. All must now admit f 
not only that there will be a surplus, but that it will be 
a very largft one ; and the question is now presented, andi; 
must be decided by the vote which we are about to take, J 
whether the fifteen or twenty millions in the Treasury,, 
over and above the demands of the public service, willl 
be more secure when deposited with and distributed! 
among the several States of the Union, or in State banks^ 
over which we have no control, whose condition at this^ 
moment is inflated, uncertain, and perilous in the highestt 
degree. Those who think the States less safe and trust- j 
worthy than the numerous State banks which hold the^j 
public moneys in deposit will, of course, be against us. 

Another great question is presented, and must be;! 
decided by our present action. It is, whether we shall l; 
suffer a surplus revenue, the unavoidable and unfore-j 
seen result of past legislation, to remain in the National l! 
Treasury to tempt the next Congress, as it has done the ; 
present one, to swell the expenditures of the Government 
in a degree and in a manner wholly inconsistent with 
every idea of economy. I do not intend to enter further 
into the argument. I have observed, at another step of 
the progress of this measure, that I considered the argu- 
ment, both for and against, fully before the country ; 
and I conclude by moving that this House do insist upon 
its disagreement to the Senate's amendment. \ 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 45 


Friday, Sepiemher 8, 1837. 
Mr. Bell announced to the House the death of his 
late colleague, the Hon. James Standefer, in the follow- 
ing terms : — 

Mr. Speaker : The melancholy duty has been as- 
signed me, by my colleagues, of announcing to the 
House the death of one of our members. 

James Standefer, while on his journey to this place, 
in order to enter upon his duties as a member of this 
House, was, on the 20th of last month, suddenly arrested 
by the hand of the Great Destroyer of human existence. 
By this unexpected event, the country is deprived, at a 
period of more than common interest and difficulty, of 
the services of a most devoted and patriotic public 
servant, and this House of an honest and worthy mem- 
ber. My late colleague was remarkable for an equani- 
mity of temper, and a kindness of feeling, combined 
with a justness of perception in all the concerns of life, 
at least of ordinary occurrence, which without the ad- 
vantages of early culture, or of books, at any time, 
procured for him throughout a life which was not short, 
the respect and esteem of numerous friends, and raised 
him to the rank of a useful and meritorious citizen. 
The same qualities of heart and mind, aided by a repu- 
tation for honesty which he nobly earned, and continued 
to maintain by the most scrupulous regard for truth and 
justice in all his transactions, public and private, caused 
him to be repeatedly chosen to the Legislature of his 

46 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

own State ; of which body he was a usefal and respected 
member. He was, for many years, a member of this, 
and I am sure that his quiet and unobtrusive manners — 
his punctual discharge of all the duties assigned him in 
the organization of the House, must have secured the 
respect of his associates. To these evidences of his 
worth, I might add, that in the late war with Great 
Britain, he approved himself an intrepid soldier. He 
was, above most men I have known, who have risen in 
any degree into public view, under similar circum- 
stances, free from the pride and vanity of mere station : 
never anxious to appear what he was not ; content to 
be classed with the useful and faithful, he made no pre- 
tensions ; had no aspirations beyond his real deserts. 
If, therefore, my lamented colleague cannot be said to 
have possessed any of those shining endowments which 
are required to make a figure in this House, which 
strike our fancy, or command our admiration, he might 
still justly lay claim to other and humbler attributes, 
which, upon the whole, constitute a character of solid 
merit, and often one of more enduring fame ; and that 
the due and usual tribute of respect be paid to his 
memory by this House, I move, sir, the resolution 
which I hold in my hand : — ■ 

Resolved^ That as a testimony of respect for the 
memory of the deceased, the members of this House 
will go into mourning by wearing crape on the left arm 
for thirty days. 

The Resolution was unanimously adopted. 
Mr. Bell then moved that the House adjourn. 
And it adjourned accordingly. 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 47 


Extract from a speecli made Sept. 19, 1837. 

Note. — Mr. Bell then entered into an elaborate examination of the 
state of the Treasury, to show that there would be a surplus of twenty- 
millions ; and then proceeded : 

I have now, sir, shown that, taking the statements of 
the several reports of the Secretary of the Treasury as 
correct, if the funds lying dead in the hands of disburs- 
ing officers be brought forth and applied in aid of the 
expenditures of the last quarter of the year, as they 
should be, the fourth instalment due the States can be 
paid, with all other actual demands against the Treasury 
during the year, and not scarcely more than a nominal 
deficit ; but if, as has always been the case heretofore, a 
portion of the actual demands upon the Treasury shall 
not be presented for payment at the depositories of the 
public money within the year, there will be a surplus, in 
fact, still left in the Treasury at the end of the year. 

The question now is, whether the States have not 
acquired rights under the act of 1836, which it is not 
competent for Congress to annul or defeat without their 
consent. It is a question of power and of right in the 
Greneral Government, whether, after the States have 
accepted the terms of the Deposit Act ; after many of 
them have anticipated the funds which they expected to 
receive in payment of the fourth instalment, and made 
other important arrangements connected with their 
financial interest and condition, they will not have just 
cause to complain of a breach of faith, if this Govern- 
ment shall now proceed to abrogate the compact by 

48 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

legislative action merely, and -without any communica- 
tion with the States. I call upon those gentlemen espe- 
cially, who hold to what is called the State Rights party, 
to say upon what grounds they can support the bill 
tinder consideration ? Will it not be a usurpation, a 
"clear assumption of power on our part, and an insulting 
disregard of the State sovereignties, if, after deluding 
them with promises of these funds upon certain con- 
ditions, which have been acceded to by the States, we 
should claim the power to postpone the execution of the 
compact, or to annul the whole proceeding uncondi- 
tionally, without reference to their wishes or interests, 
and even without consulting them ? 

But, sir, we have the same grand object, inviting us to 
reject this bill, which operated with many gentlemen in 
giving their support to the Deposit Act of 1836. The 
question is now, as then, whether we shall set about cur- 
tailing the extravagance and profligacy of the Grovern- 
ment in its expenditures. We have tried every other 
plan, every other occasion, in vain. If we would prove 
ourselves what we profess to be — if we be ourselves in 
earnest — if we are seriously the advocates of retrenchment 
and reform, we can never hope, in our time, for a more 
propitious season to make one more bold and determined 
effort. '' Now's the day, and now's the hour." If we 
suffer ourselves to be deluded by the arguments and 
the devices of the advocates of power, and shall let this 
opportunity pass, we need never hope again. 

There is only one expedient left, and that is, to with- 
hold the supplies; stop the money; keep the Treasury 
drained and low ; cut off the means ; and I engage that 
the expenditures shall be reduced, for once, to the actual 
wants of the Government. I call upon the experienced 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 


members of tlie House — and there are some who have 
had seats here for more than twenty years — to say, if any 
time could be so fit, or promise equal success, in effecting 
this great object, as the present. I repeat, if the means 
are not supplied, the expenditures must cease. 


Made shortly after Mr. Bell's entrance into the United 
States Senate, on the 12th of Aug. 1848. 

Mr. Bell said he was a southern Senator, and deeply 
involved in southern interests ; but he must have greatly 
mistaken his true course if the arguments to which he 
had listened were correct. There were wiser heads than 
his, but still, in the vote which he should give, he must con- 
form to his own judgment. He believed that the Senator 
from South Carolina, and those who concurred with him, 
had placed the South in a wrong position, when they assum- 
ed that by the decision of this question the die would be 
cast, and the issue must now be made which involves the 
dissolution of the Union. He contended that this issue 
was prematurely made, when it was made, on the Oregon 
bill. If we are to quarrel with the North, let us be sure 
that in all respects our ground of dispute is tenable for 
us. The vote of the House has been cited here as evi- 
dence that this issue could no longer be avoided. He 
came to no such conclusion. He knew and felt the influ- 
ence of too many sympathies with the North. Until a 


50 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

vote of Congress should, on the subject of the Southern 
Territories, actually separate the Union, he never would 
believe that such a vote could be given. As to this 
question, he had voted against laying this bill on the 
Table, and against its postponement, because he desired 
to give his Southern friends an opportunity of having a 
committee of conference from which he expected nothing 

When, in 1850, the anti-Slavery agitation consequent 
upon the admission of Texas, had become excessively 
violent, Mr. Bell suggested a plan for accommodating the 
differences between the North and the South, the gist of 
which, and his material arguments in its favor, may be 
learned from the following exordium of a speech made by 
him February 28, 1850. 


I will not trouble the Senate by reading more than 
the last clause of the short preamble by which I have 
thought proper to preface the propositions which I design 
to present. It is in these words : 

Whereas, The joint resolution for annexing Texas to 
the United States, approved March 1, 1845, contains the 
following condition and guarantee, that is to say : "New 
States of convenient size, not exceeding four in number, 
in addition to said State of Texas, and having sufficient 
population, may hereafter, by the consent of said state, be 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 


formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be enti- 
tled to admission under the provisions of the Federal 
Constitution ; and such states as may be formed out of 
that portion of said Territory lying south of 36° 80' north 
latitude, commonly known as the Missouri Compromise 
Line., shall be admitted into the Union with, or without 
slavery, as the people of each state asking admission may 
desire ; and in such a State or States as shall be formed 
out of said territory north of said Missouri compromise 
line, slavery or involuntary servitude [except for crime] 
shall be prohibited." 

The first proposition I propose to submit, sir, is in 
these words : 

^^ Resolved., That the obligation to comply with the con- 
dition and guarantee above recited in good faith, be dis- 
tinctly recognised, and that, in part compliance with the 
same, as soon as the people of Texas shall, by an act of 
their Legislature, signify their assent, by restricting the 
limits thereof within the territory lying east of the Trinity 
and south of the Red River, and when the people of the 
residue of the territory claimed by Texas lying south of 
the 34th degree of north latitude and west of the Trinity 
shall, with the assent of Texas, adopt a constitution 
republican in form, they be admitted into the Union upon 
an equal footing in all respects with the original States." 

" I do not know, Mr. President, that there has been any 
desire manifested in the Southern States that a new slave 
State should be now admitted into the Union, if it were 
practicable. I have seen no notice of any such desire ; 
no manifestation of any expectation even that such a 
proposition would be offered. Nevertheles.s, sir, I am of 

52 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

opinion that it would have a most salutary and healing 
influence at this time throughout the whole South. I am 
aware of the existence of a sentiment, prevalent to some 
extent at the South, which supposes it probable — so 
strong is the sentiment at the North, in the free States, 
against the extension of the slave power in Congress — 
that at any time hereafter, when in the course of events 
this proposition shall come directly from the people of 
Texas, the guarantee and conditions of the joint resolu- 
tion referred to in the preamble will not be complied with. 
They feel no assurance on tliis point. 

" I do not say that this expectation or this apprehension 
is justified by anything I have seen avowed at the North ; 
certainl}^ not by anything I have heard avowed in this 
hall ; for upon this point I must do the gentlemen of the 
North justice, and say that in speaking of the compara- 
tive extent and quantity of free and slave territory in 
the United States, the large territories of Texas, embrac- 
ing some two or three hundred square miles, have been 
uniformly pointed to as slave territory, out of which 
other slave States may properly, and without infringing 
upon the sentiments and opinions of the North, be admit- 
ted into the Union. It is for the purpose of meeting and 
quieting this apprehension of the South, and for the 
soothing effect which the admission of such a State into 
the Union now would have, that I have thought proper 
to propose it. 

''Again, Mr. President, it has been commonly the prac- 
tice of the Government heretofore, when practicable, that 
when a slave State has been admitted, a new free State 
should be contemporaneously admitted. And so when a 
free State at the North was newly admitted, if found 
practicable, a new slave State at the South came in at 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 53 

.lie same time. It was upon this principle that Maine 
was severed from Massachusetts and erected into a sepa- 
rate State when Missouri came in. Michigan and Arkan- 
sas were contemporaneously admitted, I believe, in con- 
formity with the same sentiment. Iowa and Florida 
were, I believe, admitted in the same way. Sir, I am 
aware that this practice cannot be long continued. No 
expectation can be, or is as far as I know, indulged by 
tlie South, tiiat it can be continued for any length of time 
to come. But now it is proposed to admit California as 
a free State. Here is a Territory, here is a population 
authorizing the admission of a slave State, and thus, if 
Texas were to assent to the formation of the new State, 
the practice might be continued up to this time at least. 
I have said, sir, that no expectation of continuing this 
practice which has obtained heretofore, can be indulged 
by the South. Sir, what is the prospect before the slave 
States on this subject ? Nebraska and the Territory of 
Minnesota will soon, very soon, form two additional free 
States. Oregon will present the country with four new 
Slates ; two very soon, and two more to follow at a sub- 
sequent time. I speak advisedly on this subject, from 
my knowledge of the territory there. Two new free 
States will before a great while be formed there, and two 
may be postponed to some more remote period. Cali- 
fornia and New Mexico will give us four new States, if 
not six. Here, sir, at the lowest calculation, we have 
four to Oregon, four to New Mexico and California, and 
two to the new Territories already formed in the North- 
west ; to say nothing of the territory still further north 
and west of the waters of the Missouri, we shall have ten 
new free States ! And where is the equivalent to the 
slave States to be found? My first proposition is to 

54 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

admit one new State now, in conformity with ancient 
practice, which must soon be abandoned. I propose to 
restrict the State of Texas, to the territory lying east of 
the Trinity and south of Eed Kiver ; a territory large 
enough to form a magnificent State, and one of the first 
class. The population in these limits is altogether suffi- 
cient to authorize the formation of a State. I am advised 
that it is equal to the existing ratio of representation in 

" The new State proposed to be admitted into the Union 
with the assent of Texas, includes all the territory now 
claimed by Texas lying west of the Trinity and south of 
the thirty-fourth parallel of North latitude. The terri- 
tory proposed for the new State, it will be perceived, is 
of very large extent ; the population is more than suffi- 
cient to justify the formation of a new State, exceeding 
the population east of the Trinity by many thousands. 

" The proposition does not involve nor ask of the North 
any violation of sentiment or feeling there, unless it be 
one based upon a design of violating sacred obligations, 
which I am sure does not exist. It is in strict conformity 
with the plighted public faith of the whole country, North 
and South. What forbids it, then ?" 


The wisdom and patriotism of the remarks which fol- 
low commend them to all. They were made in the Se- 
nate on the 5th of July, 1850. 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 55 

" Sir, — No man wlio loves his country, no man who has 
any just pride in the reflection that he is an American 
citizen, but must desire that these dissensions should 
cease ; for, sir, it is not a mere question whether we shall 
preserve the union ; for that may be, and yet prove no 
great boon either to ourselves or to posterity. The ques- 
tion Is, not whether these States shall continue to be united 
according to the letter of the covenant by which they 
are bound together ; it is, whether they shall continue to 
be practically and efficiently co-operative in carrying out 
the great end of the association. The question is, 
whether mutual trust and confidence shall continue to 
animate and encourage mutual efforts, in promoting and 
multiplying common benefits ; or whether mutual hatred 
and distrust shall step in to check all progress, to dis- 
tract and confound all joint endeavors for the common 
welfare ; in fine, to entail upon the country all the evils 
of endless discord ? That is the question. And when 
you present that issue to me, I say at once, give me 
separation ; give me disunion ; give me anything in 
preference to a union sustained only by power; by 
constitutional and legal ties, without confidence. If 
our future career is to be one of eternal discord and of 
angry crimination and recrimination, give me rather 
separation with all its consequences. If I am to be at 
peace in reality, and if I am to be at war, let me know 
it at once, that I may put my house in order, and be 
ready to meet the consequences. So, sir, if I could dic- 
tate the course of Congress in the pending difficulties, I 
would say, let the adjustment be made in the real spirit 
of concession — compromise and conciliation. Let us 
have some assurance, that the promised peace shall be 
permanent. Stay this agitation ; allay this burning fever 

56 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

that threatens to consume the system. Terminate this 
suspense, which is more intolerable than an open rupture. 
If we of the South have made up our minds to yield 
nothing ; to endure nothing ; or if a better spirit actuate 
us, and we are prepared both to yield something and en- 
dure something, and yet cannot bring our northern breth- 
ren to any terms of just and equitable arrangement, and 
they will continue to vex and harass us, now and for 
ever, let us resolve, ancJ let them suffer us, to manage our 
own affairs in our own way. But I trust it will never 
come to this issue. 

" Sir, to suppose that there is one member of this body 
who is not ready to sacrifice, to concede something of his 
individual sentiments and opinions to secure an adjust- 
ment of these questions — were he untrammeled by 
pledges, to which he may owe his position here, and 
which he may not violate without dishonor — to suppose 
that there is one man here from the North or the South, 
who is not prepared to sacrifice his individual views to 
the good of his country, were he free to do so, is to sup- 
pose him utterly unworthy of the station he holds. To 
suppose th^ there is one member of this body, who, 
upon a cold and selfish calculation of personal advance- 
ment, would insist upon extreme issues, is to suppose 
him a wretch who does not deserve to live. 

" Still it cannot be disguised, that the questions to be 
decided are beset with difficulties and embarrassments 
on every side. Whatever way we turn, we are met by 
obstacles, and opposing interests and influences. To state 
some of the more prominent of these interests and influ- 
ences may be of use now in our attempt to compose these 
distracting questions ; and if we should happily succeed in 
our efforts to give present quiet to the country, it may 

Life of Hon. John Bell. ^57 

prove of some advantage to those who come after us briefly 
to review the causes, remote and proximate, which have 
precipitated the present crisis. 

" I take the existence of the institution of slavery in a 
number of contiguous states of the union, composing a 
somewhat distinct and compact geographical group or 
section, and the non-existence of any such relation or 
institution in an equal or greater number of states, -con- 
stituting an equally distinct and separate group or section, 
to be the primary cause of the existing embarrassments 
and dissensions. But I shall assume this to be an inve- 
terate and incurable disease of our system, one which 
cannot be eradicated or removed without absolute de- 
struction. It was born in the system ; it has grown up 
with it, and while the system itself lasts, for anything 
we can now descry in the future, it must continue to give 
rise to occasional paroxysms of annoyance and disturb- 
ance. The best we can do will be so to accommodate 
the operation of the system to this inevitable condition 
of its existence, as to keep down inflammation. 

"From the nature of this inherent element of dissen- 
sion, it will be readily perceived that one of the most 
active influences to be encountered by the statesman 
who desires to preserve our system of government, is 
the spirit of fanaticism, religious and philanthropic. 
Another not less active, and more powerful for mischief, 
is the spirit of party and the rivalries and jostlings of 
personal ambition. Add to these sectional jealousies — 
the jealousies of sectional sway and domination — jea- 
lousies springing in part from economical considerations 
naturally incident to a country of such vast extent, and 
of somewhat distinct productive capacity and adaption — 
jealousies of free and slave labor, incident to the dis- 


58 Life of hon. John Bell. 

tinct and different social relations in the two sections — and 
we have before us a general outline of the causes wbicli 
have produced the present disturbances, and . of tli 
obstacles and influences which exist to prevent aii^ 
satisfactory adjustment of them." 


Mr. Bell's views on our foreign relations, and oru 
European politics generally, are definitely expressed in 
the following extracts from a speech opposed to inter 
vention in the struggle between Austria and Hungary,' 
delivered by him in the Senate, on the 18th of April; 
1852 : it would be absurd to commend the sentimenti 
avowed, as they have since been accepted as the expo 
nents of the national conduct. It is well, however, i^ 
remember that at the time they were uttered, the current' 
of popular*feeling and fancy had set in quite the oppc 
site direction. We also call particular attention to th 
remarkable prophecy of Louis Napoleon's career, whic.f ^ 
has since been verified by history. 

" It will be perceived, Sir, from the tenor of these intn 
ductory remarks, that I have not risen to continue f J 
discussion upon the subject of the policy of intervent' 
or non-intervention, by the United States, in the affair^ . 
quarrels of Europe. It is not a question of intervent' t 
or non-intervention, then, theoretical or practical ; it is n< 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 59 

the cause of bleeding Hungary, nor of her highly-gifted, 
though over-zealous and presumptuous chief, who no 
sooner set his foot upon our shores than he commenced 
to teach us the true interpretation of international law, 
and to give us lessons upon the moral duties of oui posi- 
tion in the great family of nations; nor is it the cause 
of liberty in Europe or of human rights in general ; nor 
is it the'question as to what is to be the fate of Europe, or 
the consequences of recent changes, or the present con- 
dition of affairs on that continent upon its future destiny 
— however interesting such questions or inquiries may 
be — that I avail myself of the privilege of addressing 
the Senate. 
I " My purpose is to call the attention of the Senate, and 
of the country, so far as I may be able by my humble 
voice, to another question — to another and far different 
inquiry, suggested by the resolutions under consideration, 
and fairly embraced within their scope. That inquiry is, 
how are we to be affected — how is this continent to be 
affected — how is the New World to be affected by the 
recent changes and present condition of affairs in the Old 
World? How are American ideas and interests of 
government to be affected by European ideas and insti- 
tutions ? This I consider the great American question 
of the times; and one which may w^ell occupy the 
thoughts and attention of the Senate and of the country. 
I could only desire that the inquiry had an abler exposi- 
tor than I may hope to be. And I would that I had an 
opportunity of going into the subject under circumstances 
ess embarrassing and more propitious and favorable 
\ > a hearing. I regret — I deplore — that I have neither 
^^|e ability nor the favorable occasion for doing justice 
t^a subject which appears to me to be one of the highest 

6o Life of Hon. John Bell. 

importance to the future condition and fortunes of this 

" France holds in her hands the issues of peace or of 
war. If she is quiet, all may be quiet. But can she — 
will she be quiet? She cannot. Louis Napoleon must 
distw^h the peace of Europe or fall. It is upon France that 
the world now fixes its gaze ; and with whatever seem- 
ing composure the result of her present anomalous posi- 
tion, and the development of her policy may be awaited, 
it is impossible but that the most callous and fearless 
statesman of the times must expect them with some soli- 
citude. It is true, this second Napoleon may be suddenly 
cut off. It is true there may be a revulsion of public 
sentiment so universal as to drive him from power. In 
either of these events France may become once more 
the prey of faction, and relieve the apprehensions of her 
neighbors, and of all Europe, by exhausting her energies 
and resources in rending her own vitals. But if Louis 
Napoleon shall survive the perils which attend him 
in the initiative operations of his government, then, I 
say, France will become aggressive. If there was nothing 
in the singular spirit, and, to me, mystical genius of that 
daring man, who has seized into his own hands the con- 
struction of a government for a great people, leading to 
the conclusion that he would become aggressive, and 
plunge his country into war, he is still under a political 
necessity to make war. It is true that in doing so he 
may but rush upon his fate. Be it so. He cannot pause 
in his career. He must give employment to his four 
hundred thousand soldiers, or they will divide and assimi- 
late with the factions, or fraternize with the republicans. 
At all events, to prevent these dissensions in his army, 
]ie must have the control of large means ; and they can 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 6l 

only be acquired by levying contributions upon the 
resources of his neighbors. He wants, too, the prestige 
of military renown to still further conciliate and consoli- 
date the esteem and affections of Frenchmen. 

" This remarkable man has hitherto, in his policy, his 
tact and energy in civil affairs, evinced many kindred 
qualities, and trod with striking fidelity in the footsteps 
of his illustrious relative. Doubtless like him he con- 
siders himself the child of destiny — born to carry out all 
that was projected by the great Napoleon : Imperial 
power attained — the boundaries of France enlarged to the 
Rhine — the kingdom of Italy reconstructed and restored — the 
pride of England humbled^ or her power broken, and a 
barrier interposed to the ambition of Russia^ or a close league 
entered into with that great power for an equal partition of 
the empire of the world." 

" The great curse of Europe of the present day is, that 
the theories and doctrines of the champions and advocates 
of liberty and republicanism have all along proceeded 
upon the same error, which rendered all the philosophy 
of the schools of antiquity abortive, and, for the most part, 
utterly useless to mankind. They all proceeded upon 
abstractions. All their theories of society and govern- 
ment, all their ideas of liberty and equalitj^, and the 
forms they would institute to secure them, are founded 
upon some preconceived notion of what they conceive 
ought to be right and proper, without the slightest refer- 
ence to any practical test — to any thing that has been 
proved to be sound and practicable in the past history of 
the world. Sir, to get right and to be able to construct 
true and practical systems of government, they must first 
reconstruct their system of philosophizing ; they must 
reconstruct their own theories and adapt them to human 

62 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

nature as they have seen it developed in the past — as 
they see it displayed at present. They must adapt them 
to the races of men, as they perceive them to exist in all 
their varieties and differences of capacities and propensi- 
ties, without troubling themselves about the question of 
original unity or equality. They must form their theo- 
ries upon experience, and not upon fancy. They must 
come to understand that the competency of man for self- 
government is not a simple or unquestionable, but that- 
it is a complex and conditional proposition — that it may 
be true of one and the same people at one stage of their 
progress and not at another ; and as to races, they must 
come to learn that every race has a civilization peculiar 
to itself, and physical and mental faculties of various 
grades of capacity for improvement and development, as 
all history testifies. In short, they must adopt the method 
of reasoning and theorizing pointed out by the great 
founder of modern progress — Bacon. When they shall 
have done this they will have taken the first step towards 
a true progress in the science of government. Discard- 
ing all unmeaning cant and catch terms about liberty and 
equality, they must come to know that there is a liberty. 
— that there is an equality which is agreeable to nature — 
a liberty and equality resting on a basis that will stand ; 
and that all else is spurious, delusive, and mischievous." 
" On the continent of Europe there are now, in truth, 
but two great Powers — France and Eussia — or at most 
three, if Prussia be so considered. Austria lies prostrate 
and paralyzed by the variety and implacable antipathies 
of the races which occupy her provinces and dependencies. 
Prussia must be more or less fettered by the jealousies 
of the petty sovereignties in her neighborhood, and the 
democratic spirit which may still infect her subjects." 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 63 


Mr. Bell's advocacy of the Koad to the Pacific, it will 
be seen, was earnest, logical, and eloquent. On the 5th 
of February, 1853, he said : 

" Four years ago, Mr. President, I gave my consent to 
the project of Mr. Whitney, and I am not prepared to 
say even at this day that that was a very wild or extrava- 
gant project. A majority of the Legislatures of seven- 
teen different States of this Union were brought to concur 
in the propriety of making that experiment. They did 
not look nicely at what it might cost the country. They 
were willing to give the millions of acres of public lands 
which were proposed by that gentleman for the making 
of what many of them must have known from the lights 
that were before them to be an experiment. And so to 
make a remark pertinent to one that fell from the Senator 
from South Carolina to-day — that if this road shall turn 
out to cost fifty per cent, or one hundred per cent, more 
than we suppose in the bill before us, and prove to be a 
failure, he considers that all the expense will fall on the 
Government and be a total loss, I say that even then it 
will not be a failure. We may be making an experiment 
as to the cost of the road, it is true, but if it shall cost 
$80,000 a mile instead of $40,000, I shall consider it 
a profitable experiment to the country and to the world.. 
And again, if the road were to stop at the base of the 
mountains, and could go no farther, still every one hun- 
dred, or four hundred, or five hundred miles you advance 
with it, suppose it stops there, is so much space over- 
come and gained in the transit between the Atlantic 

64 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

States and the Pacific Coast. You shorten the land trans- 
portation, jou shorten the transportation of troops and 
munitions of war by that much. The expense and labor 
are not lost. The honorable Senator's argument is a 
failure when he attempts to show that if we cannot 
accomplish all we propose, all is lost. Every hundred 
miles we proceed with the railroad is so much gained. 
But to recur to the history of this project. 

" The Senator from South Carolina says the project is 
premature. Five years ago, I believe, we ratified in this 
body the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Then, if the 
Senator had anything to object to making inroads upon 
the Constitution of the land in this age of progress, then 
was the time for him to come forward with his objections. 
But from the moment that treaty was ratified, and Cali- 
fornia became ours by a stronger and more imperative 
necessity than existed before, when we had only Oregon, 
it was settled that we were to keep up with this progress, 
and connect the Atlantic and Pacific together. It was 
then as inevitable as is now the necessity of making this 
road, to my mind, and I think it will be to every other 
Senator who will consider it for a moment calmly and 
without prejudice. We must have this tie, this bond, 
this channel of communication, if we mean to hold the 
territory which was ceded to us b}^ that treaty. And, 
Sir, for fear I shall forget it, let me now, although it is 
not strictly in the order of my remarks, call the Senator's 
attention to another point in answer to one part of his 
argument in which he complains of the infraction of the 
Constitution, and of what this progress has done. He 
should go back to the admission of Louisiana into the 
Union through a treaty with France, and commence this 
breach of the Constitution there, and he will trace it on 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 65 

to the admission of Florida through a treaty with Spain, 
and then I trust he will come to the admission of Texas ; 
and when he complains of what progress has done in 
beating down the barriers of the Constitution in regard 
to the acquisition of territory, and the improvements 
projected to hold it in our control and dominion, I trust 
he will reflect upon the mode in which Texas was ad- 
mitted into the Union. I do not know that he was in 
public life then, but I know that he is associated with 
gentlemen who gave their hearty concurrence to the 
measure for the admission of Texas. The greatest breach, 
in my opinion, ever made in those barriers, was made by 
the mode in which Texas was admitted into the Union ; 
and if the honorable Senator has no fault to find with 
that, surely he ought no longer to complain. I mean 
the admission of Texas by a resolution passed by a 
majority of the two Houses of Congress." 


Mr. Bell's course in relation to this famous measure is , 
sufficiently stated in his own language, on the 3d of /< 
March, 1854. 

Mr. Bell said : 

" Mr. President: — I feel greatly embarrassed in under- 
taking to address the Senate at this time, particularly 
since the sentiment of the body has been so decidedly 
expressed, not only in regard to the feature which is 
considered the most important in the Bill, but in regard 

66 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

to every other to which I propose to address my remarks. 
I regret, Sir, that I feel under any necessity to trespass 
at all upon the attention of the Senate upon this subject, 
and particularly when I observe the solicitude of the 
friends of the Bill for its immediate passage. But the 
relations in which I stand to this measure, I think, for- 
bid me to forbear. My own self-respect would forbid 
that I should forbear, however painful it may be to me 
to express any views in opposition to a measure which 
seems to commend itself to the almost unanimous ap- 
proval and support of my Southern friends. 

" Mr. President, no one in this body knows better 
than yourself the fact that I took decided grounds in 
opposition to the Nebraska Bill at the last session of 
Congress. I opposed it with the greatest earnestness. 
That bill contained no provision for the repeal of the 
Missouri Compromise in any form or shape whatever. I 
wish to state now that I did not advise the introduction 
of that feature into the bill of this session. It so hap- 
pened that I was absent from the city when the bill was 
first reported from the Committee on Territories, of 
which I was a member, but I was present when the 
amendment to the original bill, containing a provision 
for the virtual repeal of the Missouri Compromise, was 
under consideration in the Committee. It was the first 
time that the bill of this session in any shape fell under 
my notice. 

" The first notice I had that the repeal of the Missouri 
Compromise was in contemplation by any one, was the 
introduction of the bill for that purpose by my friend 
from Kentucky (Mr. Dixon), not as I was informed that 
my friend meant to assume the responsibility of origi- 
nating such a proposition, but to make the object explicit 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 67 

and unequivocal, which seemed to be implied in one 
provision of the bill, as first reported. The honorable 
Chairman of the Committee on Territories (Mr. Douglas), 
knows that I had barely time, when this bill was first 
brought to my notice in committee, to glance over its 
provisions. I saw that the objections I had urged to the 
Nebraska Bill of the last session of Congress would apply 
to the measure then before the Committee, and my 
impressions against the expediency of introducing any 
clause affecting the Missouri Compromise were strong : 
but as I had not considered the proposition in all its 
aspects, I agreed that the amendment might be reported ; 
but, as the honorable Chairman of the Committee will do 
me the justice to admit, I did so with the express reserva- 
tion of the privilege of opposing the passage of the bill, 
if, upon a careful examination of the subject, I should 
feel it my duty to do so. (Mr. Douglas bowed his assent 
to the correctness of the statement.) 

" The question of the repeal of the Missouri compro- 
mise being thus fairly presented for consideration to the 
Senate, finding upon inquiry that the general sentiment 
of Southern senators was favorable to the measure 
brought forward, as it seemed to be, with the concur- 
rence of a large number of JSTorthern gentlemen, approv- 
ing, as I did, the principle of the compromise acts of 
1850, and not wishing to separate myself from my 
friends, I resolved to take no step in opposition until I 
should have full time to consider the subject in all its 
bearings, and be able to supply the deficiencies of my 
own judgment and experience from the lights which 
might be shed by others on the subject in the discussion. 
I have accordingly voted uniformly with my Southern 
friends on all questions of amendment, without any par- 

68 Life of Ron. John Bell. 

ticiilar examination on my part as to their wisdom or 
propriety, and leaving it to them to perfect the bill in 
any way they thought expedient and proper. I have 
listened with profound interest and attention to all that 
has been said in debate on both sides of the question. I 
have sought to be enlightened in the private conferences 
of the friends of the bill, and have given the subject the 
most serious reflection, to see if I could discover any suf- 
ficient grounds or reasons to overrule the objections 
which had presented themselves to my mind in favor of 
the course of my friends from the South. I make this 
statement, not that I suppose any views which I may 
now be able to present upon this subject will have any 
greater weight with the Senate, but to explain my silence 
during the preceding discussions." 


The following extracts from a speech on slavery, made 
July 2, 1856, are replete with political wisdom, and 
breathe a spirit of the loftiest patriotism. 

" If there is any one of those theoretic or speculative 
problems which might have been propounded at an early 
period of the Government, as to what would be the 
practical operation of our system under the Constitution, 
which has been so far solved by experience as to be 
reduced to an axiom or maxim, it is, that no question 
of constitutional power of the class called constructive 


Life of Hon. John Bell. 69 

powers involving any great political party or otlier inte- 
rest can ever be settled or established by any number 
of congressional enactments — no, not even by repeated 
judical decisions. The idea that stability can be given 
to the decisions of Congress upon such questions is 
founded upon the false hypothesis that the great material 
interests of the country, the public exigencies, party com- 
binations and interests, popular opinions and sentiments, 
remain the same at all times without change or fluctu- 

" The history of the Government for the last sixty 
years, furnishes many memorable examples of the sound- 
ness of this position. Allow me to refer to a few of them. 
The question of the power of Congress to establish a 
bank was one of the very first questions of this class 
which arose, and after the fullest consideration by Con- 
gress a United States Bank was chartered for twenty 
years. At the close of that term in 1811, Congress 
refused to renew the charter for the want of power. In 
1816 a new bank was chartered, for another term of 
twenty years, and in 1836 Congress again decided that 
no power was granted by the Constitution to charter a 
bank. In the meantime, the Supreme Court of the 
United States, by repeated decisions, sustained the power, 
and, Sir, there can be no doubt that when the public 
exigencies demand it, another United States Bank will 
be chartered. Then there was the question of the con- 
stitutional power of Congress to enact a protective tariff. 
One of the earliest acts of Congress clearly recognised 
the power, and it was not questioned for a quarter of a 
century, but at a later period this power was so vigo- 
rously, if not successfully assailed, that it now stands upon 
a sort of half-way ground, or a compromise between 

70 Life of Hdn. John Bell. 

direct and incidental protection. I may also add tlie 
question of the power of Congress to improve the great 
rivers of the interior and the lake harbors, the decisions 
npon which have fluctuated with almost every change 
of administration for the last thirty years. 

" Then, Sir, may I not refer to the Slavery Restriction 
Act of 1820, the repeal of which laid the groundwork 
of all these Kansas difficulties? That act stood upon the 
statute book for upwards of thirty years undisturbed, 
and yet the power of Congress to pass it has lately been 
successfully questioned." 

" I trust I may be permitted to say, without offence, 
that, in the long tract of time, no example can be found 
of a delusion, engendered in the heat of controversy, 
more complete than that which appears to have taken 
possession of the minds of those who pressed the Ne- 
braska Bill to its final passage through Congress." 

" Within the last eighteen or twenty months, an extra- 
ordinary effort has been made to organize a national 
party, upon a principle having no connexion with the 
subject of slavery, which those who conceived and put 
its machinery in operation supposed had sufficient vital 
force in every section of the Union to insure its unity, 
and, while it might not put aside all other questions, yet 
had strength enough to subordinate and control them ; 
but it remains to be seen whether the disturbing question 
of slavery may not render that movement abortive. 
Should that be the fate of this third part}^, then, unless 
some effective measure shall be offered for composing 
the strife in Kansas, by one of the two great parties 
which are committed to the slavery issues as the basis of 
the presidential campaign, so fair and reasonable, as to 
make it dangerous to the other to reject it — the country 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 71 

will soon find itself on tlie verge of a precipice. What- 
ever deviation may now exist from a distinct geographical 
line, in the present composition of parties, each day will 
find them approximating more and more closely to a 
purely sectional organization. When that result shall 
appear, then we may know that one step has been taken 
in a fatal direction, and that but one more will remain 
to be taken, until we shall be plunged into the vortex 
of revolution." 

'' The condition of bondage in which the African race 
is held in some of the States of the Union has been 
regarded by liberal and enlightened statesmen in every 
part of the world as a defect or blemish in the fair fabric 
of liberty erected in America. But while they regret 
the defacement, they acknowledge and appreciate the 
force of the circumstances which controlled the skill and 
genius of the immortal architects ; but. Sir, it unfortu- 
nately happens that some portion of our own country- 
men — the political virtuosos and philanthropists, belong- 
ing to an age softened and refined by a higher cultivation, 
and having a nicer perception of moral beauty than 
their rugged ancestors — are so offended at what they 
regard as a gross deformity, rather than an accidental and 
enforced blemish in this glorious structure, are prepared, 
with parricidal hands, to raze it to its foundation, unless 
they can reform it according to their improved taste. 

"It is fortunate for the happiness, of mankind, Mr. 
President, that the illustrious founders of our republican 
system did live in a different age — the age of Franklin, 
of Washington, and other compatriots of the same 
period — call it a barbarous age, if you please. It is 
fortunate for mankind that they belonged also to a far 
different class of men. They were philosophers and 

72 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

statesmen as well as pTiilantliropists ; and whatever 
difference of opinion or sentiment was held among them 
on the subject of slavery — some regarding it as a great 
political, moral, and social evil; and others, doubtless, 
regarding it as but a process, under Providence, in the 
great work of the world's civilization — yet, when they 
came to arrange the plan of a constitution for the United 
States, they all agreed to regard slavery as an existing 
and stubborn fact in the social condition of some of the 
States, and that any attempts to change or control it 
would be fatal to any efficient plan of union which could 
be devised. They therefore wisely determined to leave 
the institution of slavery to be regulated, abolished, or 
upheld, in the exclusive discretion of the States in which 
it existed. Foreseeing that slavery would eventually 
recede from the North, and be confined to the planting 
States of the South, they provided not only for its pro- 
tection, but also for the protection of the general interests 
of the States in which it might exist, against any partial 
or hostile legislation of the free States. For that pur- 
pose, they gave to the slave States a representation in 
the popular branch of the ITational Legislature larger 
in proportion to their free inhabitants than they gave to 
the freemen of the North, by adding three-fifths of the 
slaves to the whole number of free persons. In order 
to reconcile the people of the North to this concession, 
they provided what was supposed at the time to be 
something like an equivalent — the apportionment of 
direct taxes among the States was to be in the ratio of 
Federal representation. That they might remove every 
cause of dissension between the free and the slave States, 
which they supposed could possibly arise to jeopard the 
harmony and permanence of the Union they purposed 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 73 

to consolidate, th^j further provided that slaves escaping 
into the free States should be restored to their masters. 

" But, sir, how feeble and unavailing is the greatest 
human sagacity in the founding of political systems to 
provide adequate securities against the disturbing force 
and influence of faction, of personal ambition, and the 
love of power. 

" The framers of the Constitution foresaw that in pro- 
cess of time a strong anti-slavery sentiment would, by the 
force of habit and early education, spring up in the north, 
which might become a dangerous source of discord be- 
tween the free and slave states, and they guarded against 
that evil by the provisions already mentioned, but they 
did not foresee or calculate the full effect of the quicken- 
ing energies of the great governmental machine they were 
about to put in motion in subduing and driving out the 
numerous and powerful Indian tribes then inhabiting the 
region beyond the Alleghany range of mountains — in 
accelerating the march of settlement and civilization west- 
ward, until it reached the banks of the Mississippi, then 
the extreme boundary of the United States ; nor did they 
foresee how soon this boundary, embracing a territory 
that seemed to them ample enough to satisfy the wants 
and ambition of a great republic, would be overleaped ; 
and the very system of government they were then 
engaged in founding would be extended into the vast 
and then unexplored regions beyond the Mississippi ; 
nor least of all did they foresee that the existence of 
slavery in one section of the Union, and its non-exist- 
ence in another, would lead to the practical introduction 
of a balance-of-power policy in this country, similar to 
that which has been the source or the pretext for so many 
desolating wars among the states of Europe." 

74 Life of Hon. John Bell. 


We give copious extracts from Mr. Bell's famous 
speech on this subject. Thej require neither explanation 
nor comment. Mr. Bell himself (Feb. 23, 1856) details 
the history of the resolutions and of his own conduct. 

Mr. Bell said : "I desire to present a certain preamble 
and resolutions, passed by the Legislature of the State of 
Tennessee ; and I ask that they may be read." 

The Secretary read them as follows : 

" Whereas, the Act of 1820, commonly called the Mis- 
souri Compromise Act, was inconsistent with the princi- 
ples declared and laid down in the acts of 1850, better 
known as the Compromise Acts of that year, and whereas, 
the Missouri Compromise Act was a palpable wrong done 
to the people of the slaveholding states, and should have 
been repealed ; and whereas, the principles of the Kansas- 
Kebraska Bill meet our unqualified approbation, and 
should have received the cordial support of our Senators 
and Representatives in Congress. Whereas, one of those 
Senators, Hon. John Bell, in a speech delivered against 
the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, May 25, 1854, said : ' A no- 
ble, generous, and high-minded Senator from the South, 
within the last few days before the final vote was taken 
on the bill, appealed to me in a manner which I cannot 
narrate, and which affected me most deeply. The recol- 
lection of it affects and influences my feelings now and 
ever will. I told the honorable Senator that there was 
one feature in the bill which made it impossible that I 
should vote for it if I waived all other objections. I said 

Life of Hon. John Bell. T5 

to otliers who had made appeals to me on the subject, 
that while it would afford me great pleasure to be sus- 
tained by my constituents, yet, if I was not, I would 
resign my seat here the moment I found my course upon 
this subject was not acceptable to them. As for my 
standing as a public man, and whatever prospect a pub- 
lic man of long service in the councils of the country 
might be supposed to have, I would resign them all with 
pleasure. I told that gentleman that, if upon this, or 
any other great question affecting the interest of the 
South, I should find my views conflicting materially with 
what should appear to be the settled sentiment of that 
section, I should feel it my imperative duty to retire. I 
declare here to-day, that if my countrymen of Tennessee 
shall declare against my course on this subject, and that 
shall be ascertained to a reasonable certainty, I will not 
be seen in the Senate a day afterwards.' Therefore, 

" Be it resolved by the General Assembly of the State 
of Tennessee, that we fully concur with the Hon. John 
Bell as to the duty of a Senator when the voice of his 
constituency has decided against him on a question mate- 
rially affecting their interest. 

" Be it further resolved. That in our opinion the voice 
of Mr. Bell's countrymen of Tennessee, in the recent 
elections, has declared against his course on the Kansas- 
Nabraska Bill, a question of vital importance to the 

" Be it further resolved. That our Senators in the Con- 
gress of the United States, are hereby instructed and our 
Kepresentatives are requested to vote for the admission 
of Kansas as an independent State, under what is termed 
the Lecompton Constitution, transmitted to thg Senate 
and House of Representatives in Congress assembled by 

76 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

President Buchanan, in his message to them dated the 
2d of February, 1858. 

"Be it further resolved. That the Governor of this 
State forward a certified copy of these resolutions to our 
Senators and Representatives in the Congress of the 
United States. 

"Adopted, February 10, 1858. 

"Daniel S. Donelson, 
" Speaker of the House of Representatives. 
"John C. Bukch, 
" Speaker of the Senate." 

Mr. Bell said, — " Mr. President, the novel and as I 

A think extraordinary character of these resolutions will, 

Nl I trust, be a sufficient apology for me, if I should extend 

I my remarks somewhat farther on them than under other 

circumstances might seem appropriate and meet for such 

an occasion. 

" The first thing which I think will strike the atten- 
tion of every gentleman who has listened to the reading 
of the preamble and the two resolutions, of the series 
which have been presented to the Senate, will be the 
time or date of their adoption by the Legislature of Ten- 
nessee, which was on the 10th of this month, nearly four 
years after the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. You 
know, Sir, that it has been usual in the past history of 
this country, when the constituents of a representative in 
either branch of Congress feel themselves aggrieved by 
his course or vote upon a question materially affecting 
their interests, to express their displeasure and declare 
their censure promptly, or within some reasonable space 
of time after the knowledge of the obnoxious course or 
vote has reached them. This is sometimes done by call- 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 


ing public meetings of the people for tliat purpose, in 
other instances bv resolves of the Legislature when it 
shall be assembled, if it be not in session when the poli- 
tical transgression occurs. In this case, in regard to my 
vote on the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, there was no public 
meeting of the people called to censure or disapprove 
mj course, nor was there the least excitement among the 
people on the subject, nor has there been any resolve of 
the Legislature of my State upon the subject until the 
present month, nor am I aware that I have lost a politi- 
cal friend on that ground since the passage of the Kansas- 
Nebraska Act. 

" The next thing which will be apt to strike the atten- 
tion of those who have listened to the reading of the first 
clause of the preamble of these resolutions, with some 
surprise, is the uncommon hardihood manifested by the 
majority of the Legislature of my State to indorse and 
approve unconditionally the repeal of the Missouri com- 
promise, after the mischievous results of that measure 
have become so patent and unmistakable in the develop- 
ments of the last four years. They cannot plead igno- 
rance of those results, particularly after the President 
had duly and frankly informed them, in his late Special 
Message, that one of those results has been the convul- 
sion of the Union, and has shaken it to its very centre, 
that it has lighted up the flames of civil war in Kansas, 
and produced dangerous sectional parties throughout the 
confederacy. (I use the language of the President.) The 
question, whether Kansas shall become a Slave State or 
a Free State, has rivetted the attention of the whole 
people to such a degree, that no person has thought of 
anything else. Those who supported this preamble and 
resolutions may have had some reason to ignore the 

78 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

statement of the President, which they do not care to 
give to the public in express terms. That purpose may 
be easily conjectured. But I pass on. 

" The majority of the Legislature say, in the first reso- 
lution of the series — 

" ' That we fully concur with the Hon. John Bell as 
to the duty of a Senator when the voice of his consti- 
tuency has decided against him on a question materially 
affecting their interest.' 

" The second resolution declares — 

" '■ That in our opinion the voice of Mr. Bell's country- 
men of Tennessee, in the recent elections, has declared 
against his course on the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, a ques- 
tion of vital importance to the South.' 

" I agree that the Kansas-Kebraska Bill was a question 
of the deepest importance to the South, but I disagree 
with the majority of the members of the Legislature of 
Tennessee in the opinion expressed by them that the 
people of Tennessee have declared against my course in 
the recent elections. 

" I take it for granted that by the * recent elections ' 
referred to in the second resolution, the three general 
elections which have taken place in Tennessee since the 
passage of that act, are included under the descriptive 
adjective ' recent ;' and I proceed briefly to notice those 
elections in the order in which they occurred. 

" The first election which occurred in Tennessee after 
the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act was in August, 
1855, about fifteen months after the passage of the Kan- 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 


sns-Kebraska Act. The staple of the discussion in the 
canvas which preceded that election was Americanism, 
oi; the principles and formula adopted by the party 
which had recently sprung up in the country. This was 
so on both sides, pro and con. The Kansas-JSTebrask'a 
Bill may have been adverted to to some extent, but I 
never heard during the pendency of that election that 
the Kansas-Nebraska question was made one of any 
interest except in those districts the former representatives 
of which had voted against that bill. The result of that 
election was that the party in opposition to the Demo- 
cracy, in other words the Americans and Whigs, who 
did not properly belong to the American party, but who 
stood in opposition to the Democracy, carried the majo- 
rity of the members of both Houses of the Legislature ; 
but the Democratic candidate for governor defeated the 
American candidate by some three thousand votes. I 
have not recently referred to the statistics on this subject 
and state them from my present recollection. I will not 
go into the particular causes which lead to the defeat of 
the American gubernatorial candidate in that election, 
considering it inexpedient under the circumstances, be- 
cause to do so might lead to a discussion between my 
colleague and myself, who was the candidate of the 
Democratic party in that election. 

" In the canvas of that election, I did not participate 
even to the extent of making a single speech, not feeling 
called upon to do so by any attack upon my course upon 
the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. Nor was I called upon by 
the leaders of the American party to say anything in 
their support, they feeling the utmost confidence in their 
strength to carry the election without any aid from me. 

" If I were technically minded on such a subject as 

8o Life of Hon. John Bell: 

this, I miglit bar all further proceedings against me as 
to any pledges I may have made, by pleading that upon 
questions of political transgression, after so great a lapse 
of time, there ought to be no reckoning ; but I disdain 
such a protection. 

" The next election which came off was in November, 
1856, two years and six months after the passage of the 
Kansas-Nebraska Bill. In that election, as you know, 
Sir, Mr. Fillmore was the candidate of the American 
party — Mr. Buchanan, of the Democratic party. In the 
canvas which preceded that election, Americanism, as in 
1855, was the principal subject of controversy. The 
Kansas-Nebraska Bill, however, was occasionally intro- 
duced in the public discussions and to some extent debated, 
but in the progress of the canvas, both these subjects, 
on the part of the leaders of the Democracy, came to be 
but little dwelt upon, and towards the close of the canvas 
they may be said to have been superseded altogether. 
The strong inclinations developed in the canvas at the 
North of the probable success of Mr. Fremont, the candi- 
date of that formidable Republican party which has had 
such potent effects in the elections of the South, furnished 
a more powerful aid. 

*' Now as to the question whether at any time, since the 
passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, there has been any 
settled sentiment in the South in relation to the wisdom 
of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, I venture to say that at 
no time since the passage of that measure has there been 
any settled sentiment of the people of the South in its 
favor. If you take the result of the several elections 
which have taken place during the last two or three years 
in the South, as a test of the sentiment of the people on 
this questiouj I grant you that a large majority would 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 81 

appear to have been in favor of it ; but what are those 
elections in general, and in almost every instance, but a 
trial of strength between parties in which many other 
questions are mixed up with this, both in the South and 
in the North, so that they show nothing conclusively as 
to the number of citizens anywhere who approved or dis- 
approved of such a measure. Besides, in several States 
of the South it may have been that the s^timent in favor 
of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise appeared too 
strong to be resisted, and that the opposition, upon princi- 
ples of expediency, might not choose to make any issue 
with them upon that subject. 

"Again, there is another consideration entitled to great 
weight in showing whether these elections afford any 
proof whatever of a settled sentiment on the part of the 
people in relation to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. There 
is in every State of the South, in every community, a 
large class of quiescent citizens who follow their party 
leaders and vote with them in all elections, who cannot 
be moved to investigate or take any interest in questions 
bearing only remote consequences. Whatever may have 
been the sentiments of a majority of the people of the 
South, in the last two or three years, on this subject, I 
venture the assertion now, that if they were all polled 
and their free opinions, uninfluenced by party considera- 
tions, or interest, or associations, ascertained, an over- 
whelming majority would pronounce the repeal of the 
Missouri Compromise the most unfortunate measure ever 
sanctioned by Congress. 

" From these views it will be seen that I do not 
acknowledge the instructions of my Legislature as carry- 
ing with them any obligation of obedience ; neverthe- 
less, there is no member of this body who would be less 

82 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

willing to detract from, or to disparage, or to treat with 
indiiference or disrespect, any expression of the opinions 
of a legislative body, in whatever form such opinions 
may be addressed to their Senators and Eeprescntatives, 
whether in the language of instruction or that of recom- 
mendation, or any other form which they think proper. 
Their views and opinions, in all cases, are entitled to 
respect ; and when their opinions, expressed in the form 
of instructions, or any other form, appear to have pro- 
ceeded from convictions springing from a full under- 
standing of the subject in hand, in all its bearings and 
consequences, I would say they were entitled to great 
weight and influence with the Senator in deciding upon 
his course in relation to it — nay. Sir, in whatever case 
the expression of the opinions of the Legislature should 
come to me, formed upon such an understanding of its 
bearings and consequences as I have described, and 
involving no constitutional difficulty, I should shape my 
course in deference to, and in conformity with, that 

"But, Sir, that is not the present case; and it is un- 
necessary to inquire under what circumstances of know- 
ledge, or of influence, this instructing resolution has been 
adopted by a majority of the members of the Legisla- 
ture of Tennessee. I know, we all know, that we have 
not full and satisfactory knowledge of many material 
and important facts connected with the Lecompton Con- 
stitution and its presentation here ; and I have no reason 
to suppose that the members of the Legislature of Ten- 
nessee had more light or better information than we 
have here. But if, after availing myself of all the in- 
formation within my reach, I should find myself con- 
strained, by a sense of duty, to take a course adverse to 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 83 

that recommended by a majority of the members of the 
Legislature of Tennessee, it will be some consolation to 
me to know that when the proposition to instruct their 
Senators in Congress was first debated and brought to a 
vote in the House of Eepresentatives of the Legislature 
of my State, but a few weeks ago, it was voted down ; 
and it will still be greater consolation to me to know, 
under all the circumstances, that at least three-fourths, 
so far as I am informed, of my political friends in the 
Legislature, and perhaps even a greater proportion to 
the last, manifested their confidence in me by deciding 
that, on a question so great and involving such conse- 
quences as the present, and in the absence of full in- 
formation upon the subject, I should be left free to take 
whatever course, in my judgment, should be best and 
safest for the protection of all great interests of the 
country. This they did under circunastances which 
warrant me in declaring that, by their conduct, they 
furnished a-n example of moral courage rarely, if ever, 
equalled, and never surpassed, in the political history of 
the country. 

" They represent slaveholding communities ; they 
were themselves at the same time sensititively alive to 
the consequences of any error they might fall into, 
which course might compromise southern rights. They 
sat as members of the Legislature, in the midst of a 
slaveholding community ; and any one can appreciate 
the embarrassments and obstructions which they had to 
encounter from the sensitiveness of the owners of slaves, 
engendered and created by the long-continued agitation of 
the subject of slavery, to every step or movement of 
their representatives on a question touching even re- 
motely their rights and interests. To add to the embar- 

84 Li^e of Hon. John Bell. 

rassments arising from this cause, private advices and 
assurances from persons in Washington, said to be well 
informed and reliable, were circulated, to the effect that 
the admission of Kansas, with the Lecompton Constitu- 
tion, would not only make it a slave State for the 
present, but that it could be maintained permanently as 
such. Meanwhile, one of the most influential and lead- 
ing journals of Tennessee, in the interest of the Ameri- 
can and Whig parties, took decided ground in favor of 
the admission of Kansas under the Lecompton Constitu- 
tion, announcing that the time had come when the South 
must stand up against the North, come what might, and 
at the same time pointing its battery on every southern 
man who should dare to take an opposite course ; and, in 
effect, denouncing them as recreants to southern rights, 
and allies of northern Abolitionists. Sir, it is not sur- 
prising that under such a fire there should be some fal- 
tering in the ranks of the minority of the Legislature ; 
but yet the great body of that minority moved steadily 
on in their course of opposition to the policy of in- 

" I will endeavor not to disappoint their generous 
confidence in me, and as the best assurance I can give 
of my gratitude and my high appreciation of their noble 
daring, I will try to imitate it ; and I now declare that, 
whatever might have been done under other circum- 
stances, when I behold the angry storm-cloud which now 
lowers over my country and theirs, if I should cower to 
it, and desert my post, I should consider myself self- 
abased — unworthy of the confidence of such friends, and 
false to the great trust confided in me by my constituents. 
I move that the resolutions be printed." 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 85 


The extracts which follow afford a complete exposi- 
tion of the character and tone of Mr. Bell's sentiments in 
regard to the later phases assumed by the slavery agita- 
tion ; they were made in a speech on the Lecompton 
Constitution, March 18, 1858. 

" I do not mean to go into an estimate of the value of 
the Union, nor of the consequences which would flow 
from its destruction ; but I mean to go into an investiga- 
tion of the question before the Senate — the proposition 
to admit Kansas into the Union under the Lecompton 
constitution — to show that the rejection of this measure 
would not be a fit pretext to be adopted by the South for 
the purpose of leading to that final issue to which the 
Senator from Georgia has alluded. It concerns not only 
the Senate, but the whole country, to look at this ques- 
tion in a different light from that in which the honorable 
Senator from Georgia has presented it. 

" I know that it is supposed by some that the day will 
come when the North, in the arrogance of its power, will 
furnish just such a pretext as I have indicated; and the 
Senator from Georgia and others have argued this ques- 
tion on the ground that it will come ; but I must see it 
come before I will calculate the value of this Union. I 
trust that day will never come. I do not believe it will 
come, if the South is wise and true to itself. I will not 
have the South truckle or surrender any of their rights. 
I would not have them yield one jot or tittle of their 
rights ; but I would have them make no questionable 

86 Life of Hoii. John Bell. 

issues in advance, stir up no strife upon unnecessary 
abstract questions, having no practical value ; but to do 
always what is just and right upon all questions. When a 
people or a territory applies for admission into the Union, 
under a constitution fairly formed, with the assent of the 
people excluding slavery, I would admit it promptly ; 
and when an application comes, on the other hand, from 
the people of a territory who have fairly formed a con- 
stitution recognising slavery, I would insist upon its 
admission as a slave State. If the North should not 
agree to this, it would then be time enough to consider 
of the proper remedy. But I would make no such issue 
with the North now, and before any occasion for it has 
arisen ; and I regret most sincerely to hear any Senator 
from the North suggesting that such an issue will ever 
be tendered from that quarter. 

" With regard to the present question, I lay down as 
the basis of my conclusion as to what ought to be done, 
that the solution of it which promises the speediest ter- 
mination of this dangerous slavery agitation is the true 
one. This dangerous agitation has continued long 
enough. There has been no mitigation of it in the last 
four years. There have been intervals of apparent 
repose, but it was just such repose as foreboded in- 
creased disorder and commotion. It is time to termi- 
nate it. 

. "I consider that the most fearful and portentous of all 
the results of the Kansas-Nebraska Act was to create, to 
build up, a great sectional partj^ My friend from Ohio, 
who sits near me (Mr. Wade), must allow me to say that 
I regard his party as a sectional one. 

" I consider that no more ominous and threatening 
cloud can darken the political horizon at any time. 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 87 

How formidable this party has already become may 
be well illustrated by the fact that its representative 
candidate, Mr. Fremont, was only beaten in the last 
Presidential election by the most desperate efforts ; and 
I feel warranted in saying, but for the imminent prospect 
of his success, which shone out near the close of the 
canvas, Mr. Buchanan would not have attained his pre- 
sent high position." 

Speech on receiving the news of his nomination for the 
Presidency, made in Philadelphia, May 11, 1860. 


" Fellow-Citizens — It would be contrary to the feelings 
of our nature, if I did not feel deeply sensible of the 
compliment which you have paid me to-night, by an as- 
semblage on this occasion, a large portion of whom, I 
flatter myself, have come hither in approval of the pro- 
ceedings of the Baltimore Convention which has just 
adjourned. I know it is impossible, that I can have 
caused this large assemblage of exclusive friends of 
mine, or of the cause in which I have been put forward 
by an assembly, formed, as I am told, of as great, pure, 
and distinguished individuals, patriots, statesmen, as has 
ever collected upon any similar occasion in the United 
States. I know that I cannot have the honor nor the 
unanimous approval of an assembly like this. Still, 
I flatter myself that the large majority of them have 
gathered here to-night to signify their approval, and 

88 Life of H6n. John Bell. 

to give their sanction, so far as they can by their 
manifestations of interest, to the cause in which those of 
the Convention, as well as myself, are engaged. I do not 
appear before you, as my distinguished friend did me the 
justice to state, to make you a regular speech, either 
upon the topics of the day or upon the issues which 
have distracted and agitated the country, or for anything 
else than to express my simple acknowledgments 
for the honor done me by the nomination at Baltimore, 
and to thank you for this manifestation of your kindness 
and confidence in me. If you will allow me to address 
a few words to you without touching upon those ques- 
tions about which there may be great differences of 
opinion, even in this assembly, I would like to call your 
attention to the causes which have led to the Convention 
at Baltimore recently. It is not the democratic party 
that have assembled by their representative delegates 
there. It is not the republican party, it is not the 
American party, it is not the whig party. What party 
is it that is to be the popular party ? " 

A Voice — " The constitutional Union party." 
Mr. Bell — " Yes, we trust it is to be the party of the 
country, of the constitution, which cannot be mentioned 
in this locality without calling up sensations and remem- 
brances that must thrill every heart, every bosom. It is 
the cause of the Union, the party of the Union, which 
we hope the people will inaugurate. I trust they will. 
(" Cries of They will, they have.") I was not a witness of 
the proceedings of that Convention, but I repeat again 
I call it constitutional, judging from the names I have 
seen of gentlemen who held it to be their duty to 
come forward at this period of the country, at this 
crisis, if I may call it such, of the country ; gentlemen 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 89 

wbo had retired long from public affairs, of able and 
large experience, of comprehensive and sagacious views, 
who thought that the condition of the country required 
of them as patriots, as men taking an interest not only 
in the present, but in the future of these States, to come 
forth and to manifest, by their presence, by their councils, 
and b}^ their zeal, their sense of the impending 
dangers, and to strive, as far as in them might lie, to 
allay the existing threatening dissensions and alienations, 
to call back the country to the true objects of govern- 
ment and the true purposes for which it was instituted, 
instead of exhausting their time in distracting topics and 
discussions upon abstract questions, chiefly to the neglect 
of the great vital and material interests of every section 
of the Union, to the disparagement of the country, to 
the withdrawal of vigilance and watchfulness from the 
conduct of public affairs. This state of things has led 
to the disparagement of our country, not only in the eyes 
of its own citizens and of her institutions, but it has cast a 
stain on us in the opinion of foreign nations, and of the most 
enlightened friends of liberty and republican institutions 
throughout Europe. The honor, the purity, and the"^ 
glory, and the practical results of republican institutions 
are developed in a way that has not met the anticipation 
of the fathers and founders of this great government. 
(Cries of " That's so," and applause.) It is true, it is so. 
There is no man of reflection and observation but 
must feel a consciousness of it. We do not feel the same 
confidence in the practical results of our glorious repre- 
sentative republican government that we did forty years 
ago — that we did twenty years ago. My experience, my 
own feeling and observation have continued long enough 
for me to perceive clearly and distinctly the marked 

go Life of HT)n. John Bell. 

change in the public confidence, not only of our fellow- 
citizens, but of the most illustrious advocates of repub- 
lican institutions in every civilized nation of the world. 
Their eyes are upon us. 

" Those distinguished gentlemen who met at Baltimore 
the other day, banished from their councils and considera- 
tions the discussions which have so long prevailed upon 
the subject of the institutions of the South, and the diver- 
sity of feeling between the people of the North and the 
South. They consider those feelings as called up in the 
canvas and discussed for party purposes, in the main 
by zealots, notwithstanding there are honest men in 
both sections of the country who have no party objects 
in the questions which they have espoused. They 
do not think that the further agitation and discus- 
sion of these subjects can lead to any public good, 
either to the North or to the South, but nothing but mis- 
chief to one or the other, or both, or to the cause of our 
common country. These gentlemen have called atten- 
tion, as far as they could, by their example, by their 
counsel, by their sentiments and deliberate and wise pro- 
ceedings, to the necessity of repressing the mischievous 
doctrines and discussions which have so long agitated 
the country. My fellow-citizens, I must say I feel 
it to be a compliment I am unworthy of, that they 
should think proper, out of the host of distinguished, 
able, experienced statesmen, such as sat in the Con- 
vention — the delegates from almost every large State 
presenting gentlemen, intelligent, capable, experienced, 
and who have proved themselves worthy of great trusts 
by a long period of public service — that from among such 
illustrious and distinguished men, they should have 
selected me to occupy a position which should rather have 

Life of Hon. John Bell. gi 

been assigned to another — the highest position in this 
government, in the hope and trust that in and through 
me, with the will of the people, they might restore 
harmony to this distracted country — (Loud cheers) 
that we should bring back the government to its 
ancient character, and that questions of domestic po- 
licy and questions of foreign policy should be national. 
It might be regarded as a forlorn undertaking to 
attempt to restore harmony to this country. It would 
be, my countrymen, if I could not conceive it to be a 
fact, which I can, that the large majority of the people, 
both of the Democratic and Kepublican party, were conser- 
vative in their feelings — loved the Union — would not 
do anything wilfully or with premeditation that tended 
to its destruction or to the introduction of anarchy and 
the overthrow of our glorious constitution. (Applause.) 
I trust that the masses, that the majority of both parties 
are sound — that they love the Union as I do — both 
North and South. There are extreme sentiments, how- 
ever, that belong to a considerable class in both sec- 
tions, who, though they may love the Union, have a 
most unfortunate mode of manifesting it to the country. 
(Laughter and applause.) I wish to say nothing that could 
disturb the composure of their feelings, if there be any of 
them in this assembly to-night. I regard the majority of 
the Kepublican party and the majority of the Democratic 
party as devoted to this constitution and this Union. 
No ! when I come to the conclusion that this is to be 
doubted, then I shall conclude that it is scarcely worth 
an effort to preserve the safety of this country. The 
struggle that we make is against the extremes on both 
sides. The gentlemen who have been present at the 
Baltimore Convention have supposed that the contests 

g2 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

of these sectional issues are not worth the mischiefs that 
have grown out of them — that it was not the purpose 
for which this great government was instituted to settle 
abstract questions further than they were settled by the 
constitution. (Applause.) In the spirit of the constitu- 
tion, and in the spirit of our illustrious ancestors at 
the organic period of our government, all these ques- 
tions should be considered — but in no other. It is 
in the hope that we can inaugurate a party by which 
these distracting issues shall be banished from the 
public councils, from the hustings, from our popular 
elections — that the people will open their eyes to the 
mischiefs that have flowed, and will continue to flow out 
from these distractions. It is in this hope that the 
Baltimore Convention has acted. This is my hope. 
Whether successful or not — if we can introduce a new 
era, a new period in the affairs and administration of 
this government, in relation to these questions, we shall 
not have labored in vain. Those patriotic hearts will 
not have been agitated and stirred and excited in vain. 
Fellow-citizens, I will not continue a discussion of these 
topics. My course, in regard to them, for the last twenty 
years, is well known ; and not only in regard to these, 
but in regard to every question of domestic and foreign 
policy. I trust that the period is not very remote when 
the glory, and the honor, and the true interests of this 
great country will be the only objects that actuate the 
great parties that will exist hereafter. (Loud applause.) 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 93 


The character of the Convention which nominated Mr. 
Bell is here described in a letter written for the New York 
Express from Mr. Brooks, one of the New York State 

"The best days of the old Whig and Democratic 
parties never brought a more able body of men together. 
They represented all classes, and the highest tone and 
quality of men. Merchants and lawyers, farmers and 
manufacturers, men of the professions and intelligent 
men of labor, were all pi'esent. Yirginia sent her A. H. 
Stewart, Summers, Goggin, Scott, and men of that class. 
The North Carolina delegation was headed by Govs. 
Morehead and Gilmer, assisted by many who had been 
distinguished in the Government and State service. 
Tennessee came with grandsons of Patrick Henry, one 
of whom thrilled all hearts with a speech that had the 
life and nerve of his gi'eat ancestor. Ex-Gov. Brown, 
Andrew Jackson Donnelson, and other eminent men also 
formed a part of this distinguished delegation, and of 
coarse they were a unit for John Bell, and not without a 
large share of influence for others. The Mississippi dele- 
gation were led off by Judge Sharkey, a man pre-emi- 
nent at home, and worthy the confidence and esteem of 
the country for his high-toned national sentiments. 
Kentucky was represented by such men as Crittenden 
and Leslie Coombs, and the former would have received 
the first honors of the convention if he had consented to 
the use of his name. Georgia also had an able delegation 
nearly all of them cotton-planters, and what was better, 

94 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

it was one of tbe most conservative and patriotic of the 
delegations present. Maryland — and Baltimore especi- 
ally — with the Kennedys and the Mayor of the city, wer^ 
represented by those equally distinguished for their 
ability and their hospitality. The Southern Opposition 
Members of Congress were generally here, but gave way 
in the convention for those who had been more especially 
sent from their homes to represent the National and 
Conservative sentiments of their respective States. If 
now, you turn to the delegations east and west, you will 
see a body of men almost equally distinguished. From 
New England — there were such men as Wilder, Hil- 
lard, Grinnell, Crocker, Warren, Bell of Mass ; from 
Vermont, John Wheeler, distinguished for scholarship 
and personal independence, Phelps, and others ; from 
Connecticut, the Rockwells, Baldwins, and Dunhams ; 
from New York, ex-Gov. Hunt, B. Davis, Noxon of 
Syracuse, Ogden, St. John, Girard, Tallmadge, and 
many of her merchant princes of town and country ; 
from New Jersey, Randolph, Bishop, Clark, Condict, 
including an honorary Vice President of fourscore 
and eight years, and one almost a public servant of 
the country as far back as the war of the Revolution. 
Ohio, too, sent her Pendletons, Harrisons, Trimbles, and 
other men of note; and Pennsylvania, by J. R. Inger- 
soll, H. M. Fuller, Markley, and others. These names 
will give the public some idea of the personnel of the 
Convention, and the character and deportment of all. 
The Delegates have won the entire respect and esteem of 
the whole community. The nominations were received 
with immense enthusiasm by the Whigs, Americans, and 
non-partizan men of Maryland, including many Demo- 
crats. The Mayor of the cit}^, Mr. Swann, promised ten 

Life of Hon. John Bell. 95 

tliousancl majority for the ticket and hardl}^ any nomina- 
tion could be more satisfactory in this conservative 
quarter of the country. The North Carolina, Kentucky, 
and Tennessee Delegations promise their States for the 
new Union Ticket. The Virginians are more than hope- 
ful of the result, in the present distracted state of the 
Democratic party. It is a ticket that either wing of the 
Democratic party will prefer in many parts of the country 
to the success of either of the Buchanan or Douglas 
extremes, which so many of them have been opposing 
for the last three or four 3^ears. The platform came from 
Kew York, and was unanimously adopted by the Con- 
vention ; and no one who really honors — 

*' The Constitution of the United States — 

" The Union of the States, and 

" The Enforcement of the Laws — 
can take exception to it. You can have no idea of the 
entire unanimity with which the Declaration of Principles 
was made and received, and the enthusiastic spirit with 
which it was adopted. The Convention throws aside all 
mere partisan platforms, and stands upon a record which, 
while it tolerates all reasonable differences of opinion, 
submits to the Constitution of the country and the decrees 
of the Courts as the proper exponent of all disputed 
claims and questions. If " error of opinion does not 
cease to be dangerous, when reason is left to combat it," 
there can be no danger in the ultimate acquiescence of 
what, under the Constitution, is made the supreme law 
of the land. 

" There were many impressive and interesting scenes in 
the Convention, which it did one's heart good to partici- 
pate in and witness. The fraternal and cordial love of 
country, manifested by all who were present ; the gene- 

96 Life of Hon. John Bell. 

ral respect, sympathy and good will of each member of 
the Convention towards his friend and the States repre- 
sented ; the more than loyal devotion to the Union, as it 
is ; the desire that the past be forgotten, and to let by- 
gones be by-gones ; the high-toned attachment to the 
Constitution of the country, and respect to the memory 
of the men who framed it ; the generally avowed obedi- 
ence to law, strike where and whom it might ; the 
touching allusions to Washington, the great political 
father and example of the country, a full-length portrait 
of whom adorned the rear wall of the church edifice 
where the Convention were assembled ; the several 
addresses — some of them quite unsurpassed for power 
and eloquence — gave to the proceedings of the two days 
the most intense interest and the highest satisfaction. 
Finally, in the evening, two immense mass meetings 
were held here — one in the church, and the larger one in 
Monument Square — which was mapped out as with a sea 
of heads. The speaking, with banners, music, mottoes, 
portraits, and insignia, was kept up to near midnight; 
and, finally, another ratification was demanded on the 
Square, by the multitude, for to-night. The Baltimo- 
reans, as well as the visitors, seem to have their hearts in 
the matter, and all believe that if the people will sanction 
all this National Union Convention has done so harmo- 
niously, the result will be most glorious for the peace of 
the country and the prosperity of the whole nation. 

"E. B." 



Edward Everett, one of the most successful and 
accomplished of American statesmen, is, as is well-known, 
a Kew Englander, so that the ticket which nominates 
him for the Yice-Presidencj represents both parts of the 
Union ; Mr. Everett, however, himself does that ; he is as 
popular in New Orleans as in Boston. He was the son of 
a clergyman, the Eev. Oliver Everett, who was not only 
pastor of the famous ISTew South Church in Boston, but 
at one time in his life Judge of the Massachusetts Court of 
Common Pleas. His illustrious son was born on the 7th 
of April, 1794, in Dorchester. His distinguished talents 
were early evident, as well as his passion for acquiring 
knowledge, which is still, perhaps, the most marked 
peculiarity of his nature. At the unprecedented age of 
thirteen years he entered Harvard College, and at nine- 
teen he graduated with the highest honors of his class, 
thus presaging the future successes he was to attain all 
through life. Indeed his biography is only a history of 
successes which now seem likely to be crowned with a 
more brilliant one than even he has yet achieved. 
However, after graduating he studied divinity, not 

98 Life of Hon. Edward Everett. 

dreaming of the more worldly career in store for him. 
He was meanwhile appointed tutor in the College where 
he had so lately been a student, and where he must have 
been younger by several years than most of those whom 
he instructed. When only nineteen he became pastor 
of the Brattle Street Church in Boston, and the next 
year so great was his reputation for learning that he was 
chosen Professor of Greek Literature by his Alma Mater. 
This precocity is as unparalleled as its prompt recogni- 
tion by his contemporaries. Meanwhile he had pub- 
lished several books on religious subjects, to which he 
seems still to have inclined. He went abroad in 1815, 
spent two years at the University of Gottingen, and 
altogether four years in Europe, at the expiration of 
which period he entered upon his Cambridge duties ; at 
the same time assuming the editorial control of the 
North American Review, and before laying down this 
charge in 1824, he published a translation of Buttman's 
Greek Grammar. 

In 1824 he entered public life, having been elected to 
Congress, the nomination coming unsolicited and un- 
sought from the young men of his district. This was 
during the administration of John Quincy Adams, whom 
Mr. Everett warmly supported. He was returned to 
Congress for five successive terms, and served as a mem- 
ber of the Committee on Foreign Relations during the 
entire time ; for one term he was its Chairman. The 
famous report on the Panama mission was drawn by 
him, and was the first of the State papers for whose 
composition he has since become renowned. That he 
should have been selected to write this is a sure proof of 
the estimation in which 'he was held, for he had but just 
entered Congress, and was the youngest member of the 

Life of Hon. Edward Everett. gg 

Committee from which it emanated. His eloquence at 
this time had already become remarkable for the grace 
and spirit which have made him the first of orators. 
The national attention was first attracted to his extra- 
ordinary powers by an oration delivered in 1824, 
daring the visit of Lafayette to this country. The vene- 
rable Frenchman was present ; the occasion was one 
fitted to call forth all the talent of the speaker ; he 
succeeded, and from that time was recognised as one of 
the most eminent orators of America. In Congress, 
however, he confined his efforts closely to the subject he 
was discussing ; he took part in all the great debates on 
national affairs, but reserved the display of his peculiar 
powers for other fields. Here he was noted rather for 
his immense industry and his almost unprecedented 

In 1834 he was elected Governor of Massachusetts, and 
held the office for four successive years, being re-elected 
annually. In 1839 Marcus Morton defeated him in a 
gubernatorial contest, by a majority of one vote. 

In 1841 he was appointed Minister to England, and 
filled that position for four years ; and it has been uni- 
versally admitted that our country has never had a 
representative abroad whose entire conduct reflected 
more honor on the people and government whose ambas- 
sador he was. The Maine Boundary question and the 
famous burning of the Caroline were both subjects of 
prolonged discussion during his mission, but his skill 
and independence contributed largely to their satisfactory 
and honorable adjustment. In 1843 Mr. Everett was 
appointed Commissioner to China, but declined the post. 
He returned to this country in 1845, and was imme- 
diately elected President of Harvard University, with 

lOO Life of Hon.* Edward Everett. 

whose history he has been connected in the various capa- 
cities of student, tutor, professor, president: he remained 
in the last-mentioned position only three years, when his 
health obliged him to resign. 

In 1850 he entered Mr. Fillmore's cabinet, being con- 
sidered both by the President and the country, the man 
best fitted to fill the place left vacant by the death of 
Webster. He remained in office only till the expiration 
of Mr. Fillmore's term, some four months, but crowded 
an immense deal of business into that short space. He 
found time to discuss the Lobos question and the fish- 
eries with Great Britain, to conclude an International 
Copyright Convention with the same nation, to review 
the whole subject of Central American affairs, and espe- 
cially distinguished himself by the masterly discussion 
of the tripartite Convention proposed by France and 
Great Britain to the United States, guaranteeing to Spain 
in perpetuity the possession of Cuba. The document 
written by him on this occasion is without doubt one of 
the ablest diplomatic papers that have emanated from 
the American Government since its origin, and was 
accepted at the time by the entire country as a complete 
exposition of the American position It was unanswer- 
able in logic and perfect in style. Before Mr. Everett's 
term as Secretary of State had expired, he was elected 
to a seat in the United States Senate, but retained it only 
a short while ; during that while, however, he made 
an elaborate speech on Central American affairs. He 
resigned in 1853, and since then has been prominently 
before the public in his orations, which are universally 
acknowledged to be unrivalled specimens of chaste and 
elegant English, of felicitous imagery, and graceful 
thought. Their themes have been various, but their 


Life of Hon. Edward Everett. loi 

style invariably admirable. An oration on Charity, 
several times delivered ; one on Astronomy, at the open- 
ing of the Albany Geological Hall, in August, 1856 ; 
one delivered at Dorchester on Revolutionary History ; 
another on Franklin, are familiar to the country as speci- 
mens of oratory quite unsurpassed, in their peculiar ex- 
cellences, in our language. 

Perhaps no one thing in his brilliant career has 
contributed more materially to Mr. Everett's popularity 
and to the nationality of his fame, than his well-known 
and recent efforts in the Mount Yernon cause. They 
have undoubtedly accomplished the result towards which 
they were directed — the preservation of Washington's 
home and tomb ; they have also endeared Mr. Everett 
personally to his countrymen, and essentially widened 
his fame. Yery possibly they have secured his ele- 
vation to the post which has been held by Jefferson, 
and Adams, and Calhoun, and Fillmore, by turns, but 
by none more accomplished in statesmanship, none purer 
in patriotism than Edward Everett. 

102 The Platform. 



We, the people of the United States, in order to form 
a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic 
tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote 
the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty 
to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish 
this constitution for the United States of America. 



1. All Legislative powers herein granted, shall be 
vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall 
consist of a Senate and House of Pepresentatives. 


1. The House of Pepresentatives shall be composed 
of members chosen every second year by tlie people of 
the several States, and the electors in each State shall 
have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most 
numerous branch of the State legislature. 

2. No person shall be a Pepresentative who shall not 
have attained to the age of twenty-five years, and been 
seven years a citizen of the United States, and who 
shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State 
in which he shall be chosen. 

3. Pepresentati ves and'direct taxes shall be apportioned 
among the several States wliicli may be included within 
this Union, according to their respective numbers, which 
shall be determined by adding to the whole number of 
free persons, including those bound to service f-»r a term 
of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths 
of all other persons. The actual enumeration shall be 
made within three years after the first meeting of the 
Congress of the United States, and within every subse- 
quent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall 
by law direct. The number of Pepresentatives shall 

The Platform. 


not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each State 
shall have at least one Representative ; and until such 
enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hamp- 
shire shall be entitled to choose three, Massachusetts 
eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, 
Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Penn- 
sylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia 
ten. North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Geor- 
gia three. 

4. When vacancies happen in the representation from 
any State, the executive authority thereof shall issue 
writs of election to fill such vacancies. 

5. The House of Representatives shall choose their 
Speaker and other oflS.cers; and shall have the sole power 
of impeachment. 


1. The Senate of the United States shall be composed 
of two Senators from each State, chosen by the legisla- 
ture thereof, for six j^ears ; and each Senator shall have 
one vote. 

2. Immediately after they shall be assembled in con- 
sequence of the first election, they shall be divided, as 
equally as may be, into three classes. The seats of the 
Senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expi- 
ration of the second year ; of the second class, at the 
expiration of the fourth year ; and of the third class, 
at the expiration of the sixth year ; so that one third 
may be chosen every second year ; and if vacancies 
happen by resignation, or otherwise, during the recess 
of the legislature of any State, the executive thereof 
may make temporary appointments until the next meet- 
ing of the legislature, which shall then fill such vacan- 

3. No person shall be a Senator who shall not have 
attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years 
a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when 
elected, be an inhabitant of that State for which he shall 
be chosen. 

4. The Vice-President of the United States shall be 
President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless 
they be equally divided. 

104 ^^^ Platform. 

5. The Senate shall choose their other officers, and 
also a President ^ro tempore, in the absence of the Yice- 
President, or when he shall exercise the office of Presi- 
dent of the United States. 

6. The Senate shall have the sole power to try all 
impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they 
shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of 
the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall pre- 
side ; and no person shall be convicted without the con- 
currence of two thirds of the members present. 

7. Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not 
extend further than to removal from office, and disquali- 
fication to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or 
profit, under the United States ; but the party convicted 
shall, nevertheless, be liable and subject to indictment, 
trial, judgment, and punishment, according to law. 


1. The times, places, and manner, of holding elections 
for Senators and Pepresentatives, shall be prescribed in 
each State by the legislature thereof: but the Congress 
may at any time, by law, make or alter such regula- 
tions, except as to the places of choosing Senators. 

2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every 
year, and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in 
December, unless they shall by law appoint a difi'erent 


1. Each House shall be the judge of the elections, 
returns, and qualifications, of its own members, and a 
majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do busi- 
ness ; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to 
day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance 
of absent members, in such manner, and under such 
penalties, as each House may provide. 

2. Each House may detej-mine the rules of its pro- 
ceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, 
and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member. 

3. Each House shall keep a journal of its proceed- 
ings, and, from time to time, publish the same, except- 
ing such parts as may, in their judgment, require 

The Platform. 105 

secrecy ; and the yeas and nays of the members of either 
House, on any question, sliall, at the desire of one fifth 
of those present, be entered on the journaL 

4. Neither House, during the session of Congress, 
shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more 
than three days, nor to any other place than that in 
which the two Houses shall be sitting. 


1. The Senators and Representatives shall receive 
a compensation for their services, to be ascertained 
by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United 
States. They shall, in all cases, except treason, felony, 
and breach of tlie peace, be privileged from arrest 
during their attendance at the session of their respective 
Houses, and in going to, and returning from, the same ; 
and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall 
not be questioned in any other place. 

2. No Senator or Representative shall, during the 
time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil 
office under the authority of the United States, which 
shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof 
shall have been increased, during such time; and no 
person, holding any office under the United States, shall 
be a member of either House during his continuance 
in office. 


1. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the 
House of Representatives ; but the Senate may propose 
or concur with amendments, as on other bills. 

2. Every bill, which shall have passed the House of 
Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become 
a law, be presented to the President of the United 
States ; if he approve, he shall sign it, but if not, he shall 
return it, with his objections, to that House in which it 
shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at 
large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If, 
after such reconsideration, two thirdsof that House shall 
ascree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the 
objections, to the other house, by which it shall like- 
wise be reconsidered, and, if approved by two thirds of 


lo6 The Platform. 

that House, it shall become a law. But in all such cases 
the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas 
and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and 
against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each 
House, respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by 
the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after 
it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a 
law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the 
Congress, b}^ their adjournment, prevent its return, in 
which case it shall not be a law. 

3. Every order, resolution, or vote, to which the con- 
currence of the Senate and House of Representatives 
may be necessary, (except on a question of adjourn- 
ment,) sliall be presented to the President of the United 
States ; and before the same shall take etfect, shall be 
approved by him, or, being disapproved by him, shall be 
re-passed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Pe- 
presentatives, according to the rules and limitations pre- 
scribed in the case of a bill. 


The Congress shall have power, 

1. To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and ex- 
cises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common de- 
fence and general welfare, of the United States ; but all 
duties, imposts, and excises, shall be uniform throughout 
the United States: 

2. To borrow money on the credit of the United 
States : 

3. To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and 
among the several States, and with the Indian tribes : 

4. To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and 
uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies, throughout 
the United States: 

5. To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of 
foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and mea- 
sures : 

6. To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the 
securities and current coin of the United States : 

7. To establish post-offices and post-roads : 

8. To promote the progress of science and useful arts, 

The Platform. 107 

by securing, for limited times, to aiitliors and inventors 
the exclusive right to their respective writings and dis- 
coveries : 

9. To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme 
Court : 

10. To define and punish piracies and felonies, com- 
mitted on the high seas, and offences against the law of 

1 1 . To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, 
and make rules concerning captures on land and water ; 

12. To raise and support armies ; but no appropriation 
of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two 
yeai-s : 

13. To provide and maintain a navy : 

14. To make rules for the government and regulation 
of the land and naval forces : 

16. To provide for calling forth the militia to execute 
the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel 
invasions : 

16. To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplin- 
ing, the militia, and for governing such part of them as 
may be employed in the service of the United States 
reserving to the States respectively, the appointment of 
the officers, and the authority of training the militia, ac- 
cording to the discipline prescribed by Congress : 

17. To exercise exclusive legislation in all cjtses 
whatsoever, ov^er such district, (not exceeding ten miles 
square,) as may, by cession of particular States, and the 
acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the govern- 
ment of the United States, and to exercise like authority 
over all places, purchased by the consent of the legislature 
of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection 
of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other need- 
ful buildings : — And 

18. To make all laws which shall be necessary and 
proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, 
and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the 
government of the United States, or in any department 
or officer thereof. 


1. Tlie migration or importation of such persons, as 

io8 The Platform. 

any of the States, now existing, shall think proper to ad- 
mit, shall not be prohibited by the Conojress prior to the 
year one thousand eight hundred and eight ; but a tax or 
duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding 
ten dollars for each person. 

2. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not 
be suspended, unless when, in cases of rebellion or inva- 
sion, the public safety may require it. 

3. No bill of attainder, or ex post facto law, shall be 

4. No capitation or other direct tax, shall be laid, un- 
less in proportion to the census or enumeration, herein 
before directed to be taken. 

5.. No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported 
from any State. No preference shall be given by any 
regulation of commerce or revenue, to the ports of one 
State over those of another ; nor shall vessels bound to, 
or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay 
duties, in another. 

6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in 
consequence of appropriations made by law ; and a regu- 
lar statement and account of the receij^ts and expenditures 
of all public money shall be published, from time to time. 

7. No title of nobility shall be granted by the United 
States : And no person, holding any office of profit or 
trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Con- 
gress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, 
of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign 


1. No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or 
confederation ; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin 
money ; emit bills of credit ; make any thing butgold and 
silver coin a tender in payment of debts ; pass any bill of 
attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obliga- 
tion of contracts, or grant any title of nobility. 

2. No State shall, without the consent of the Congress, 
lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except 
what may be absolutely necessary for executing its in- 
spection laws ; and the net produce of all duties and im- 
posts, laid by any State on imports or exports, shall be 

The Platform. 109 

for the use of the treasury of the United States ; and all 
such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of 
the Congress. No State sliall, without the consent of 
Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, orsln'ps 
of war, in time of peace, enter into any agreement or 
compact with another State, or with a foreign power, or 
engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such immi- 
nent danger, as will not admit of delay. 



1. The Executive power shall be vested in a Presi- 
dent of the United States of America. He shall hold 
his office during the term of four years, and together 
with the Yice-President, chosen for the same term, be 
elected as follows : 

2. Each State shall appoint, in such manner as the 
Legislature thereof may direct, a number of Electors, 
equal to the whole number of Senators and Representa- 
tives, to which the State may be entitled in the Con- 
gress : but no Senator or Representative, or person hold- 
ing an office of trust or protit, under the United States, 
shall be appointed an Elector. 

3. The Electors shall meet in their respective States, 
and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one, at 
least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same State with 
themselves. And they shall make a list of all the per- 
sons voted for, and of the number of votes for each ; 
which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit, 
sealed, to the seat of the government of the United 
States, directed to the President of the Senate. The 
President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the 
Senate and House of Representatives, open all the cer- 
tificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The per- 
son having the greatest number of votes shall be the 
President, if such number be a majority of the whole 
number of Electors appointed ; and if there be more 
than one, who have such majority, and have an equal 
number of votes, then the House of Representatives 
shall immediately choose, by ballot, one of them for 
President; and if no person have a majority, then, 

no The Platform. 

from the five highest on the Hst, the said House shall, 
in like manner, choose the President. But in choosing 
the President, the votes shall l)e taken by States, the 
representation from each State having one vote ; a quo- 
rum for this purpose, shall consist of a member or mem- 
bers from two thirds of the States, and a majority of all ^ 
the States shall be necessary to a clioice. In every case, 
after the choice of the President, the person having the 
greatest number of votes of the Electors shall be the 
Yice-President. But if there should remain two or 
more who have equal votes, the Senate shall choose 
from them, by ballot, the Yice-President. 

4. The Congress may determine the time of choosing 
the Electors, and the day on which they shall give their 
votes ; which day shall be the same throughout the 
United States. 

5. Wo person, except a natnral-born citizen, or a citi- 
zen of the United States at the time of the adoption of 
this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of Presi- 
dent ; neither shall any person be eligible to that office 
who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five 
years, and been fourteen years a resident within the 
United States. 

6. In case of the removal of the President from office, 
or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the 
powers and duties of the said office, the same shall, 
devolve on the Yice-President, and the Congress may 
by law^ provide for the case of removal, death, resigna- 
tion, or inability, both of the President and Yice-Presi- 
dent, declaring what officer shall then act as President, 
and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability 
be removed, or a President shall be elected. 

T. The President shall, at stated times, receive for his 
services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased 
nor diminished during the period for which he shall 
have been elected, and he shall not receive within that 
period, any other emolument from the United States, or 
any of them. 

8. Before he enter on the execution of his office, he 
shall take the following oath or affirmation : 

9. " I do solemnly swear, (or affirm,) that I will faith- 

The Platform. in 

fully execute the office of President of the United States, 
and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, 
and defend, the Constitution of the IJnited States." 


1. The President shall be commander-in-chief of the 
army and navy of the United States, and of the militia 
of the several States, when called into the actual service 
of the United States ; he may require the opinion, in 
writins:, of the principal officer in each of the execu- 
tive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties 
of their respective offices, and he shall have power to 
grant reprieves .and pardons for offences against the 
United States, except in cases of impeachment. 

2. He shall have power, by and with the advice and 
consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two 
thirds of the Senators present concur ; and he shall 
nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the 
Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public minis- 
ters, and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all 
other officers of the United States, whose appointments 
are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall 
be established by law : but the Congress may by law 
vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they 
think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of 
law, or in the heads of departments. 

3. The President shall have power to fill up all va- 
cancies that may happen, during the recess of the Sen- 
ate, by granting commissions, which shall expire at the 
end of their next session. 


1. He shall, from time to time, give to the Congress 
information of the state of the Union, and recommend 
to their consideration such measures as he shall judge 
necessary and expedient ; he may, on extraordinary 
occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and 
in case of disagreement between them, with respect to 
the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such 
time as he shall think proper ; he shall receive ambas- 
sadors and other public ministers ; he shall take care 
that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commis- 
sion all the officers of the United States. 

112 The Platform. 


1. The President, Yice-President, and all civil officers 
of the United States, shall be removed from office, on 
impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or 
other high crimes and misdemeanors. 



1. The Judicial power of the United States shall be 
vested in the Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts 
as the Congress may, from time to time, ordain and 
establish. The judges, both of the Supreme and inferior 
courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior, 
and shall, at stated times, receive for their services a 
compensation, which shall not be diminished during 
their continuance in office. 


1. The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law 
and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of 
the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be 
made, under their authority ; to all cases affecting am- 
bassadors, other public ministers, and consuls; to all 
cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction ; to contro- 
versies to which the United States shall be a party ; to 
controversies between two or more States, between a 
State and citizens of another State, between citizens of 
different States, between citizens of the same State 
claiming lands under grants of different States, and 
between a State, or the citizens thereof, and foreign 
States, citizens, or subjects. 

2. In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public 
ministers, and consuls, and those in which a State shall 
be a party, the Supreme Court shall have original juris- 
diction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the 
Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both 
as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such 
regulations as the Congress shall make. 

3. The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeach- 
ment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in 
the State where the said crimes shall have been com- 

The Platform. 113 

mitted ; but when not committed within any State, the 
trial shall be at such place, or places, as the Congress 
may by law have directed. 


1. Treason against the United States shall consist only 
in levying war against them, or in adhering to their 
enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall 
be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two 
witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open 

2. The Congress shall have power to declare tlie pun- 
ishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work 
corruption of blood, or forfeiture, except during the life 
of the person attained. 



1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each State 
to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings, of 
every other State. And the Congress may, by general 
laws, prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, 
and proceedings, shall be proved, and the elfect thereof. 


1. The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all 
privileges and immunities of citizens in the several 

2. A person charged in any State with treason, fe- 
lony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be 
found in another State, shall, on demand of the execu- 
tive authority of the State from which he fled, be deli- 
vered up, to be removed to the State having jurisdic- 
tion of the crime. 

3. No person held to service or labor in one State, 
under the laws thereof, escaping into another, sliall, in 
consequence of any law or regulation therein, be dis- 
charged from such service or labor, but shall be deli- 
vered up on claim of the party to whom such service or 
labor may be due. 

114 The Platform. 


1. New States may be admitted by the Congress into 
this Union ; but no new State shall be formed, or 
erected, within the jurisdiction of any other State ; nor 
any State be formed, by the junction of two or more 
States, or parts of States, without the consent of the 
legislatures of the States concerned, as well as of the 

2. The Congress shall have power to dispose of and 
make all needful rules and regulations respecting the 
territory, or other property, belonging to the United 
States ; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so con- 
strued as to prejudice any claims of the United States, 
or of any particular State. 


1. The United States shall guaranty to every State in 
this Union a republican form of government, and shall 
protect each of them against invasion ; and, on applica- 
tion of the legislature, or of the executive, (when the 
legislature cannot be convened,) against domestic vio- 


1. The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses 
shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to 
this Constitution, or, on the application of the legisla- 
tures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a 
convention for proposing amendments, which, in either 
case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part 
of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures 
of three fourths of the several States, or by conventions 
in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of 
ratification may be proposed by the Congress : Pro- 
vided, that no amendment, which may be made prior to 
the year one thousand eight hnndred and eight, shall, 
in any manner, afi*ect the first and fourth clauses in the 
ninth section of the first article ; and that no State, 
without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suf- 
frage in the Senate. 

The Platform. 115 


1. All debts contracted, and engagements entered 
into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as 
valid against tlie United States, under this Constitution, 
as under the Confederation. 

2. This Constitution, and the laws of the United States 
which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all trea- 
ties made, or which shall be made, under the authority 
of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the 
land ; and the judges in every State shall be bound 
thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any 
State to the contrary notwithstanding. 

3. The Senators and Representatives before men- 
tioned, and the members of the several State legisla- 
tures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the 
United States, and of the several States, shall be bound, 
by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution ; but 
no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification 
to any office or public trust, under the United States. 


1. The ratification of the Conventions of nine States 
shall be sufficient for the establishment of this ConstiHi- 
tiou between the States so ratifying the same. 



Congress shall make no law respecting an establish- 
ment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; 
or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ; or 
the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to 
petition the government for a redress of grievances. 

A well regulated militia being necessary to the secu- 
rity of a free State, the right of the people to keep and 
bear arms shall not be infringed. 

ii6 The Platform. 


Ko soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in 
any house, without the consent of the owner ; nor, in 
time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. 


The right of the people to be secure in their persons, 
houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches 
and seizures, shall not be violated ; and no warrants 
shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath 
or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to 
be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. 


N"o person shall be held to answer for a capital, or 
otherwise infamous, crime, unless on a presentment or 
indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in 
the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual 
service, in time of war, or public danger ; nor shall any 
person be subject, for the same offence, to be twice put 
in jeopordy of life or limb ; nor shall be compelled, in 
any criminal case, to be a witness against himself, nor 
be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due 
process of law ; nor shall private property be taken for 
public use, without just compensation. 


In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy 
the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial 
jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall 
nave been committed, which district shall have been 
previously ascertained by law ; and to be informed of 
the nature and cause of the accusation ; to be confronted 
with the witnesses against him ; to have compulsory 
process for obtaining witnesses in his favor ; and to have 
the assistance of counsel for his defence. 

The Platform. 117 


In suits at common law, where the vahie in contro- 
versy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by 
jury shall be preserved ; and no fact, tried by a jury, 
shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the 
United States, than according to the rules of the com- 
mon law. 


Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive 
lines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments in- 


The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights 
shall not be construed to deny or disparage others 
retained by the people. 


The powers not delegated to the United States by the 
Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are 
reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. 


The judicial power of the United States shall not be 
construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, com- 
menced or prosecuted against one of the United States 
by citizens of another State, or b}^ citizens or subjects 
of any foreign State. 


1. The Electors shall meet in their respective States, 
and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one 
of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same 
State with themselves ; they shall name in their ballots 
the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots 
the person voted for as Yice-President ; and they shall 
make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, 
and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of 

Ii8 The Platform. 

the niimher of votes for each, which hsts they shall sign, 
and certify, and transmit, sealed, to the seat of the 
government of the United States, directed to the Presi- 
dent of the Senate ; the President of the Senate shall, in 
the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, 
open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be 
counted ; the person having the greatest number of 
votes for President shall be the President, if such num- 
ber be a majority of the whole number of Electors ap- 
pointed ; and if no person have such majority, then, 
from the persons having the highest numbers, not 
exceeding three, on the list of those voted for as Presi- 
dent, the House of Representatives shall choose imme- 
diately, by ballot, the President. But, in choosing the 
President, the votes shall be taken by States, the repre- 
sentation from each State having one vote ; a quorum 
for this purpose shall consist of a member or mem- 
bers from two thirds of the States, and a majority 
of all the States shall be necessary to a choice. And if 
the Plouse of Representatives shall not choose a Presi- 
dent, whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon 
them, before the fourth day of March next following, 
then the Yice-President shall act as President, as in 
case of the death, or other constitutional disability, of 
the President. 

2. The person having the greatest number of votes as 
Yice-President shall be the Yice-President, if such num- 
ber be a majority of the whole number of electors ap 
pointed ; and if no person have a majority, then, from 
the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall 
choose the Yice-President ; a quorum for the purpose 
shall consist of two thirds of the whole number of Sena- 
tors ; a majority of the whole number shall be necessary 
to a choice. 

3. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the 
office of President, shall be eligible to that of Yice-Pre- 
sident of the United States. 

Nov. 8 ISHOT]] 

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