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Full text of "Proceedings and address, of the Democratic State Convention : held at Syracuse, January tenth and eleventh, 1856"

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PROCEEDIMaS 



AND 



ADDRESS 



Imnaatk ^iiitt €m\k\\im, 



HELD AT 



SYRACUSE, 



JANUAEY TENTH AND ELEVENTH, 



1856. 



ALBANY; 

1856. 



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PROCEEDIiaS. 



Pursuant to the call of the Democratic State Central Com- 
mittee, the delegates from the several Assembly Districts 
met at noon on the 10th day of Januar3^, A. D. 1856, in 
the City Hall, in the city of Syracuse. 

Mr. Ballard, of Cortland, called the Convention to order, 
and on his motion, Hon. JOHN J. TAYLOR, of Tioga, was 
appointed temporary chairman. 

Mr. Taylor, on taking the chair, addressed the Conven- 
tion as follows : 

Gentlemen of the Convention : 

Accept my thanks for the distinguished honor you have 
conferred upon me in inviting me to preside over your inci- 
pient proceedings. I do not deem this a proper occasion to 
make an address, nor is it necessary that I should. You are 
all aware of the duties we have to discharge, in expressing 
the sentiments of the democrats of this state, and in selecting 
delegates to represent them in the National Convention. I 
trust we shall each feel the responsibility of these duties 
and hope we shall so discharge them as to have the appro- 
bation of our own consciences and the approval of oilr 
constituents. Let us so shape our action that it witlbe in 
accordance with sound national principles, and tend to secure 
equal rights to every portion of our country. 

Mr. Brown, of Jefferson, and Mr. Clinton, of Erie, were 
appointed temporary Secretaries. 



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On motioii) the counties were called, when the following 
delegates appeared : 

Albany Jas. M. Kimball, H. H. Van Dyck, Nicholas Hill, Jr., 

Francis Kearney. 

JtUegany .L. P. Weatherby, J. M. Mott. 

Broome 0. C. Crocker. 

Cattaraugus Gr. S. Hickox, Patrick Sliort. 

Cayuga J. N. Knapp, John L. Parker, B. S. Titns. 

Chautauque L. B. Smith, Samuel W. Bagnell. 

Chemung William E,. Jndson. 

Chenango S. S. Meritt, Horace Packer. 

Columbia William A. Carpenter, Thomas M. Burt. 

Cortland Horatio Ballard. 

Delaware 0. M. Allaben, Charles Maples. 

Dutchess Gilbert Dean, Joseph Martin. 

Mrie .......Israel T. Hatch, Allen Potter, H. P. Clinton, M. R. 

Loreland. 
Fulton ^ Hamilton Daniel Smith. 

Genesee. Dean Richmond, F. M. Craig. 

Herkimer George W. Pine, George B. Judd. 

Jefferson Leyi H. Brown, Charles K. Loomis. 

Kings S. E. Johnson, Wm. Marion, D. D. Briggs, D. A. 

' Wright. 

Livingston William C. Hawley, James Faulkner.. 

Madison S. T. Fairchild. 

Monroe Jas. C. Campbell, Justus Yale, S. B. Jewett. 

Montgomery Francis Newkirk, David Spraker. 

New York Michael Murray, P. Matthews, George H. Purser, L. 

Harrison Smith, Thomas W. Adams, Albert Smith, 

George W. Roome, Asahel Reed, Hiram Engle, Benj. 

P. Fairchild, E. C. McConnell, Heiiry P. West, 

Daniel W. Norris, John Cochrane, L; B. Shepard. 

Niagara., William Vandevoort, A. V. E. Hotchkiss. 

Oneida George Graham, J. Thomas Spriggs. 

Onondaga C. B. Wheeler, John M. Strong, Charles F. Williston, 

Wm. Taylor. 

Ontario Myron H. Peck. 

Orange , .D. E. Fowler, C. S. Potter. 

Oswego .Benjamin E. Bowen. 

Otsego Charles McLean, Daniel Y. Boden, 

Putnam A. Prince. 

Queens Manns Kelly. 

Rensselaer A. McConihe, William Harrington, Gilbert WestfaU. 

Richmond Thomas Burns. 



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5 

St. Lawrence. ..,,11. W. Judson, John L. Russell, Notte S. Elderkin. 

Seneca Josiali T. Miller. 

Steuben T. N. McCabe. 

Suffolk. .William H. Ludlow. 

Schenectady Nich. Vandebogart & Alex. J. Thompson—Contestants. 

Sullivan F. A. Devoe. 

Tioga .John J. Taylor. 

Tompkins Lewis Vankirk, H. D. Barto, Jr. 

UUter Peter Rowe, T. R. Westbrook. 

Washington Atherton Hall. 

Wayne. ........ .Greorge W. Paddock, Pomeroy Tucker. 

Westchestei' . .E. J. Horton, George \Y. Ditchet. 

Wyoming T. S. Gushing. 

Yates L. S. Ayres. 

The county of Schenectady, the 14th District of New 
York, and one district from the county of Kings, were found 
to be contested, whereupon 

On motion of Mr. Purser, of New York, a committee of 
five upon contested seats was appointed. 

Gn motion of Mr. Ballarp, of Cortland, it was ordered 
that a committee of one from each judicial district, be ap- 
pointed to report permanent officers. 

The Chair announced the following committee on contest- 
ed seats : — Messrs. Purser, Westbrook, Campbell, Mbrritt, 
Judson. 

Committee on Organization : — Messrs. Roome, 1st ; Mar- 
tin, 2d ; Harrington, 3d ; Hall, 4th ; Ludington, oth ; 
Ballard, 6th ; Hawley, 7th; Potter, 8th. 

Mr. Cochrane, of New York, moved that the rules of the 
late Assembly be the rules of the Convention. Carried. 

On motion of Mr. Jewett, the Convention adjourned to 
3 P.M. 



THEBE O'CLOCK, P. M. 

The Convention re-assembled, pursuant to adjournment. 

Mr. Ballard, from the committee for that purpose, sub- 
mitted the following officers for the permanent organization 
of the Convention : 



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president— WILLIAM H. LUDLOW. 

Vice Presidents — Geoege H. Purser, Joseph Martin, 
Alon^o McConihe, John L. Russell, George B. Judd, 
Charles McLean, Jamel Faulkner, A. V. E. Hotchkiss. 

Secretaries — Levi H. Brown, H. P. Clinton, Hiram 
Engle, Horace Packer. 

The President, on taking the Chair, spoke as follows : 

I thank you, gentlemen, for the honorable position you 
have assigned to me. Rest assured, that to the full extent 
of my ability, I shall impartially discharge the duties of the 
Chair. 

Gentlemen, you have here assembled under circumstances 
of great and vital interest. You are now on the eve of an 
important National Convention, and you are called on at 
this time, not only to make judicious selections of delegates 
to that Convention, but you are also called on torlay down 
a platform of principles, which shall truly represent the 
Democracy of our State, and which at this period of politi- 
cal chaos, shall proclaim to the Democratic brotherhood of 
the Union, where the Democracy of New York stand, what 
they mean and what they want. 

Gentlemen, it is my most earnest desire that wisdom and 
moderation may guide your counsels, and that their result 
may be alike acceptable to yourselves, and to the constitu- 
encies whom you severally represent. 

And gentlemen, it is my most earnest further desire, that 
the delegates from the Empire State may meet their co- 
laborers at Cincinnati, on a footing of proud equality. I 
am confident that no act of this Convention will compromise 
that attitude. 

Mr. Dean, of Dutchess, moved the appointment of a com- 
mittee of sixteen to report an Address and resolutions. 
The motion was adopted. 

Mr. Jewett, of Monroe, moved the appointment of a com- 
mittee of sixteen — two from each Judicial District— to re- 



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port a list of delegates to the Democratic National Conven- 
tion. Carried. 

Mr. Cochrane, of New York, moved to adjourn until 7 
P, M. Carried. 



EVENING SESSION, 
The Convention met at 7 o^clock. 
The Chair annnounced the following committees : 

ADDRESS AND RESOLUTIONS. 
District. 

1 — Cochrane and Shepard, of New York. 

2 — Dean, of Dutchess, and Briggs, of Kings. 

3— Hill, of Albany, and Westbrook, of Ulster. 

4 — Spraker, of Montgomery, and Russell, of St. Lawrence. 

5 — LooMis, of Jefferson, and Taylor, of Onondaga. 

6 — ^Fairchild, of Madison, and Taylor, of Tioga. 

7 — Tucker, of Wayne, and McKay, of Steuben. 

8 — Potter, of Orleans, and Wetherby, of Allegany. 

ON SELECTION OF DELEGATES TO THE NATIONAL CONVENTION. 
District. 

1 — NoRRis and Adams, New York. 

2 — Wright, of Kings, and Fowler, of Orange. 

3 — Westpall, of Rensselaer, and Carpenter, of Columbia. 

4 — JuDSON, of St. Lawrence, and Newkirk, of Montgomery. 

5 — Graham, of Oneida, and Woolworth, of Lewis. 

6 — Merritt, of Clienango, and Crocker, of Broome. 

7 — Jewett, of Monroe, and Titus, of Cayuga. 

8 — Richmond, of Genesee, and Yandervoort, of Niagara. 

The Convention then took a recess to await the reports 
of the committees. 

On the re-assembling of the Convention, 

Mr. Purser read the report of the committee on contest- 
ed seats in the New York cases, and Mr. Westbrook in the 
Schenectady case. 

The committee arrived at the following results : 

First and Third Districts, New ForA;— That the Contestants, S. E. Johnson 
and Marius Keily, had magnanimously withdrawn in favor of Messrs. D. A. 
Wright and William Marion. 



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8 

Tenth District ^ iVew? Forfc— That Mr. Fairchild is entitled to the seat instead 
of Mr. Swackliammer. 

Fourteenth District, New For/c— That the committee cannot decide "between 
the contestants, and reports a vacancy in this seat. 

Schenectady County — That neither side is strictly regular, and that both 
contestants be admitted to seats, with power to cast one vote. 

The question being on the report of the committee, a di- 
vision was called for, and the Chair stated that the question 
would be put on each case separately. 

The case of the lO.th district in New York being taken 
up, the contestants, Messrs. SwACKHAMMER and Faiechild, 
were heard. 

A motion was made to amend by admitting both dele- 
gates. 

The amendment was rejected and the report of the com- 
mittee agreed to. 

In the case of the 14th district in New York, the report 
of the committee was agreed to. 

ThQ Schenectady case coming up, Mr. Ballard stating 
that he understood the committee to report that neither side 
was regular, moved to amend so that both delegates be re- 
jected. 

A discussion ensued, and various motions and amendments 
were proposed, when, under the previous question, the Con- 
vention was brought to a vote on the report, and it was 
rejected. 

A motion of Mr. Ballard to reject both claimants was 
then adopted. 

The Convention then took a recess till 10 o'clock, to hear 
the report of the committee on resolutions. 



TEN O'CLOCK P. M. 

Mr. Hill, of Albany, from the committee for that purpose, 
reported the following Address : 



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ADDRESS 



Fellow Citizens : — 

We address you in the name of the Democratic Party. Our 
reflections, uniting with the experience of the past, have 
satisfied us that the prosperity of the country depends upon 
the permanent ascendancy of democratic principles. Whether 
we are right in this you must judge. If not, we have erred with 
some of the wisest patriots and statesmen that ever lived. We 
are far from claiming that the Democratic Party has never gone 
astray, or that all good men have adopted its faith. Good men 
have sometimes opposed it, but we think from mistaken views ; 
and bad men have sometimes joined it under a like delusion. 
What we claim for it is, that its political creed is in harmony 
with the true spirit of our institutions, and that it cannot fail in 
upholding them while it keeps near the light of its own princi- 
ples. We invite your attention to some considerations on this 
subject. 

The Democratic Party was designed merely as a means of 
influencing the course of public or governmental affairs, by the 
concentrated action of political opinion ; leaving all other mat- 
ters to the free and unbiassed choice of the citizen. It was not 
organized, as some of its former professed friends seem to have 
assumed, to keep watch and ward over the entire domain of taste 
and sentiment, thought and duty ; or to act as a spy upon the 
private opinions or pursuits of men, or sit in judgment upon 
their consciences, or control even their outward conduct, except 
through the rightful action of government. These are heresies 
of modern growth, entirely alien to the principles for which the 
illustrious defenders of our faith, with Jefferson at their head, 
steadfastly contended in former years. Their objects were purely 
governmental in their nature, and their political creed, though 
broad enough to reach every subject of governmental concern, 
extended no farther. On other subjects, where government 
could not or should not act, their creed was either silent, or 
spoke only to admonish us of the duty of forbearance, and the 
2 



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10 

danger of interfering. It was fashioned, indeed, with most wise 
and cautious reference to the true principles of regulated liberty ; 
proscribing no one for the opinions he held, the altar at which he 
worshipped, or the place where he was born ; and countenancing 
no tyranny over him in any of his private relations. For it was 
the creed of men who, with arms in their hands, had just re- 
buked the unrighteous intermeddling of one Usurper, and feared 
that another might succeed ; men who had read history, and 
knew how surely this evil spirit of tyrannical encroachment lurks 
in the shadow of power ; and how it destroys the energy of the 
citizen, wastes the springs of public action, and eradicates fi:om 
whole communities the virtues of self-dependence, courage and 
patriotism. If the past has left any admonition for tlie present 
which should be heeded by every statesman and every friend of 
the country, it is that the powers of States and Nations have 
been pressed beyond due limits ; and that the business of govern- 
ing men, by organic public force, has been overdone. This truth 
is deeply graven in the history of those Nations which have com- 
pelled their subjects to submit for centuries to minute police 
regulations, until they ceased to rely, not only on themselves, 
but almost on Providence ; and looked listlessly to government 
as the fountain of morals, religion, right and duty — the author 
and finisher of all things. Its importance is attested by all those 
limitations upon governmental action so carefully prescribed in 
our written constitutions ; and the democratic creed, in view of 
the never-ceasing tendencies of power to enlarge itself, warns us 
that unslumbering, nay, " eternal vigilance, is the price of liberty." 
The disregard of these admonitory lessons, gleaned from the 
bitter experience of the past, has betrayed many into erroneous 
views of the true objects of political association, and the appro- 
priate functions of government ; errors harmless enough while 
they remain mere speculations of the closet, but which are found 
eminently mischievous in practice. Without adverting at pre- 
sent to other illustrations, let us turn for a moment to the course 
which some now invite us to take with regard to the subject of 
domestic slaver}^ More than once during the period of our na- 
tional existence, the efiforts of men professing unbounded sympa- 
thy for the slave, to induce government to act in furtherance of 



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u 

their theories, forgetful of every other object of political associa* 
tion, have given just cause for serious alarm. And recently, nay 
within the last few months, other men, with loud professions of 
democracy on their lips, while their hearts are far from it, have 
banded themselves for renewed and more formidable efforts to 
evoke the spirit of Abolitionism, with all the gloomy passions 
which wait on it. This last organization was deemed so impor- 
tant by its authors and abettors, as to call for the instant aban- 
donment of every other political creed, and its advent was 
accordingly ushered in by a formal resolution announcing that 
the Whig and Democratic parties were to exist no longer ; that 
henceforward there were to be no more Whigs nor Dj n >ci'ats, 
but that all were to be Anti-Slavery Republicans. Nor was the 
surprise excited by this announcement at all diminished when 
we were told in effect afterward, by the Chief Captain of the new 
forces thus mustered against the peace of the Union, that the 
owners of slaves were to be treated as an odious "Aristocracy," 
which *' in every case and throughout all hazai'ds, should be ab- 
horred and avoided j" that the interests of the North and South, 
were therefore directly and irreconcilably antagonistic ; that the 
citizens of these different sections of our coinmon country could 
no longer dwell together in unity ; that the compromises of the 
constitution were a hollow truce which had been kept too long ; 
that Congress must be urged to set them at defiance, and assume 
uncompromising, aggressive, anti-slavery ground ; and that every 
other effort of government must be subordinated to this, and 
every other test of political faith at once abandoned I And to 
remove all doubt from our minds, as to the temper and resolution 
with which the warfare was to be waged, we were told a little 
later, through the columns of a leading paper devoted to the 
cause, that the South was about to be called into fearful account; 
not " for commerce, but for vengeance, .'" 

When we consider that these avowals were made in the name 
of what now claims to be a great party, and that they were not 
uttered in the heat of blood, but prepared for the public eye after 
consultation and deliberation, they invest the subject with a so- 
lemn and startling interest, and may well excite gloomy forebo- 
dings as to the future. • The time is come, fellow-citizens, when 



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12 

the ground on which We istand should be carefully examined, and 
the course we are to take in the coming" struggle clearly deline- 
ated and Understood. 

Without pausing to inquire here whether Congress has power 
to act in accordance with the views of this new sect — a question 
which admits of no answer but an unhesitating negative, if we 
rightly appreciate the tendency of their doctrines — v/e pass to the 
more practical and broader inquiry whether it ought to adopt 
them ? Let us give these men the benefit of their disclaimers. 
Let us admit that they do not propose to interfere with slavery 
now in either of the old thirteen states ; that they intend no 
insult to their brethern of those states, while branding them as 
objects of governmental distrust and abhorence ; that they are 
athirst for peace and tranquility, while invoking the demons of 
discord ^nd strife ; that they venerate the Union, while denounc- 
ing the wisdom which framed it as " treason against humani- 
ty ; " and that they hope to perpetuate its blessings by joining 
hands with them who hate and curse it and pray for its over- 
throw. Grant that all of them do not see the tendency of their 
actions, or the inevitable end of their career, and that they are 
doing this evil with a vague expectation that some possible good 
may come at last. Still, the question is not what they intend or 
ultimately expect, but what course should others take whose 
sense of duty is yet unsubdued by the frenzy of fanaticism or the 
lust of power ? Is it wise, is it just, is it right in any conceiva- 
ble view — nay, is it not both absurd and criminal — to counten- 
ance the theories which now, for the first time in our national 
history, this motley throng of politicians claim shall be enforced, 
"■ in every case and throughout all hazards,^^ by direct govern- 
mental action. 

We have assumed that they are not yet so far gone in delusion 
as to meditate any present assault upon slavery in the old thir- 
teen states ; though even this is but an inference, perhaps an 
unwarranted one, from their silence. In the strange document 
called their " platform of principles," drawn up by a professed 
abolitionist, and unanimously adopted as the permanent basis of 
their organization, we find the following distinct avowals^ which 
show how wide a field of agitation they mean ultimately to occu- 



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13 

py, and how little they are disposed to restrict it out of deference 
to the constitution : — 

*' Resolved J That the federal government, "being one of defined and limited 
"powers &c.,we most earnestly deny its right to establish, uphold or tolerate 
" slavery in any portion of the public domain, or to connive at its existence in 
" the federal territory by any means whatever. 

" Resolved J That since there can be no legal slavery in the Territories of our 
*' Union, there can be no slave States legally formed out of such Territories j'' &c. 

The powers of the general government in respect to slavery 
are the same to day that they were when the Union was formed, 
and if they have not been exceeded heretofore by the admission 
of slave states, they cannot be hereafter. In other words, if Con- 
gress has no power to admit new slave states now, as these 
theorists broadly affirm, it has had none at any time, and every 
act of that nature, whether past or future, may be treated as a 
mere usurpation, not obligatory upon any one. Suppose the car- 
dinal doctrines inculcated by the resolutions we have quoted to 
be adopted as an elementary portion of our national policy, and 
to have become, what their authors mean they shall be, "the 
creed of political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touch- 
stone by which to try the services of those we trust f at once 
the prompter and the guide of individual duty and public action. 
Everything hitherto done under which new slave States have been 
formed out of territory once constituting part of the public do- 
main, must be then deemed unconstitutional, and therefore abso- 
lutely invalid for any practical end. Louisiana, Missouri, and all 
other States received into the Union in violation of the dogma on 
which alone resistance for the future is to be based, have none 
of the rights of States under the Confederacy I If they are con- 
sidered members of it for any purpose, they hold their position by 
sufferance only ; not in virtue of the constitution I They are not 
entitled to be represented in the councils of the Nation, nor to 
its aid in suppressing domestic insurrection, or in repelling 
foreign invasion ; and every faithful believer in this new creed is 
bound to say so by his votes, in Congress and out of it I Indeed, 
we are told that they have not a "republican form of govern- 
ment f that they are uncongenial and therefore unfit associates 
for the free States ; that they are mere "Aristocracies/' which 



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14 

" in every case and throughout all hazards, must be abhorred and 
avoided ;" and so they should be thrust from the Union, or com- 
pelled to change their domestic policy I Such, fellow-citizens, 
are some of the teachings of Anti-Slavery Republicanism. Such 
the broad and dismal field of agitation which it opens to our view, 
and on which it urges government to enter. 

The problem of domestic slavery was one of the most delicate 
and difficult which the framers of the federal constitution had to 
solve. The institution then existed in nearly all the States, in- 
cluding New York ; and was deeply interwoven with the social 
habits and industrial pursuits of our people. It had been fasten- 
ed upon us by the coercive policy of the mother country, undevi- 
atingly and perseveringly pursued through an hundred years ; 
and one question was, whether it was compatible with that 
* * republican form of government " which the United States were 
about to " guaranty to every State in this Union." If it was not, 
no Union could be formed, and the hopes and aspirations of the 
patriots who looked upon this as essential to complete the great 
work of the Revolution, and secure its fruits, must perish. Our 
fathers, with Washington as their presiding officer, deliberated 
upon it, not in the spirit of Anti-Slavery Eepublicanism, but like 
men on whose decision hung the fate of a Nation ; invoking the 
spirit of peace, of mutual forbearance, conciliation and comproniise. 
They balanced the countless practical and certain advantages of 
Union, against the vain hope of theoretical perfection in govern- 
ment, and our present constitution is the fortunate result of their 
decision. No one who believes that their decision was wise, and 
thanks God for bringing their counsels to such a termination, 
can consistently say that a " republican form of government '' is 
incompatible with the toleration of American slavery. And no one 
we believe will say so, who truly reveres the constitution, and 
meditates no assault, now or hereafter, on its benificent adjust- 
ments and wise compromises. 

The Anti-Slavery Republican Party, however, invites us to aid 
in giving ascendancy to men who have said and do say so, and 
who strive to make their dogmas the foundation of governmental 
action, as well as the test and limit of political faith. Men who, 
had they stood by when Washington and his compatriots fi.nished 



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their labors, and given utterance to their present views, would 
have denounced the constitution as a " covenant of blood ! " 
They admit that it tolerates slavery, and that, while it provides 
for the return of fugitive slaves, it is impressively silent as to 
the admission of new slave states, and imposes no express duty 
to interfere with the subject anywhere or in any form. They 
admit, indeed, that it treats slavery as an aflair of local sov- 
reignty, which the people of each of the original states at least 
may deal with as they please, irrespective of the views and wishes 
of the people of other states And though they rail against its 
compromises, they admit too — ^for they cannot falsify history — 
that the Union could not have existed, if their spirit, instead of 
the spirit of peace, had prevailed. No one moreover will proba- 
bly deny, that had some prophet rent the veil of the future, and 
revealed the time when Congress was to act in accordance with 
the new theories now proposed, every Southern state would have 
refused to join the confederacy. And suppose even that the 
power to enforce these theories could be found in some ambigu- 
ous clause of the constitution, and that, if exercised, an astute 
legal philologist might be able to maintain it. Still the question 
is not one of law alone, nor of pliilology, nor metaphysics ; but 
of practical statesmanship, of wise govermental expediency, of 
good faith, honesty and fair dealing. And we put it to you as 
such, and ask you again, ought the power to be exercised ? 

Conceded power in government is not always to be put in re- 
quisition ; doubtful power never. What a lawyer tells us we 
can do, is not an unerring test of human conduct even in the 
most inconsiderable affairs of private life ; but other considera- 
tions frequently remain to control the course of duty. This is 
peculiarly so in public affairs as to matters where the govern- 
ment is left free to act or forbear. Many formidable powers 
which Congress possesses by universal consent have been wise- 
ly suffered to remain in repose ; for example, its power over do- 
mestic commerce, and in respect to bankruptcy. On these and 
other subjects it has studied forbearance as the true policy of 
government, seldom obtruding on the field of local sovreignty, 
even when its power to do so was undoubted, except in accord- 
ance with some supposed and imperious public exigency, and 



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16 

then retiring as soon as the exigency ceased. The principle 
should be extended to every case where federal power may be 
safely dispensed with, especially if the right to interpose it is 
seriously doubted by intelligent men, and bad consequences are 
likely to flow from its exercise. 

iSTothing is clearer, fellow citizens, than that the policy of Anti- 
Slavery Republicanism, if prosecuted in the reckless spirit which 
has thus far characterised it, will lead to consequences which no 
one can contemplate without dismay. Other exercises of con- 
gressional power as to slavery have shown some respect to con- 
stitutional limits, tothe prevailing temper and exigencies of the 
times, and to the issues of good or evil likely to result. Whether 
they were prompted by one motive or another is a question of no 
moment now, except with those who hope to rise and prosper by 
turbulent and irrelevant appeals to mere prejudice and passion. 
These and all other measures should be judged to-day, as they 
will be in -after times, by their practical adaptation to the just 
ends of government, and their tendency to secure the peace and 
well being of the country. Whatever else may be said of them, 
they were not animated by that spirit which, repudiating the 
constitutional definition of a '' republican form of government,'' 
and vaunting its indifference to the fate of the Union, denounces 
the citizens of one section of it as the special objects of govern- 
mental *' abhorrence," and asserts that the North and South are 
the natural enemies of each other ! It was not so with the act 
called the Missouri Compromise, which was the result of most 
anxious, patient and patriotic endeavors to harmonise conflicting 
views, and allay for the time the frenzy of sectional strife. Nor 
with its repeal^ which assumed to banish the spirit of discord from 
the council chambers of the Nation, by limiting the range of 
federal action, and enlarging the domain of local sovereignty. 
The temper and policy of Anti-Slavery Eepublicanism, however, 
is far different. It abhors conciliation. It disdains peace. It 
calls back the spirit of discord. It will have nothing to do with 
local sovreignty of any kind, and least of all with that which 
looks for its warrant to the consent or choice of the people. It 
invokes the arm of the Nation, and proclaims congressional war 
•i— war without truce or relenting, and, for aught we see, war 



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without end ! And so sublimated are its theories that its adhe- 
rents cannot advance one argument for their adoption founded 
on the plain principles of the constitution ; nor any argument, in- 
deed, except such as proves, if it proves anything, that slavery 
should be assailed everywhere, and at all times, in spite of con- 
stitutions and compacts. We invite you consider not merely the 
outward form of their creed, but its inner life and irrepressible 
practical tendencies. They ask for congressional intervention on 
the assumed ground that slave-holding, under all circumstances, 
is absolutely incompatible with religion, as well as republican 
principles ; so much so indeed that government cannot innocently 
let it alone ! And when told that the constitution was fashioned 
upon a different theory, they admit and lament the fact, exalt 
themselves above the constitution, above^the government, and 
appeal to a " higher law I " The light by which our fathers 
walked and toiled will not do for them. They seek the pure 
empyrean I In the language of Mr. Webster, they are '^ above 
ordinances." They pant for absolute perfection, and will counte- 
nance nothing which falls short of it ! On other subjects of pub- 
lic concern, however, they are more modest in their pretensions ; 
peccable like other men, and far less exacting. They believe in 
governmental jobs, and steamships, and high tariffs, and lavish , 
expenditures, and mortgages of revenue, and vast public debts, 
and all the fraudulent contrivances by which the few are enabled 
to enrich themselves at the expense of the many. These they 
can countenance and tolerate — nay, lobby for, advocate and prac* 
tice — notwithstanding all their specious and hollow cant about 
duty, and human rights, and governmental perfection I They 
economise in their zeal for public purity, and would confine its 
benefits wholly to the colored race ! 

Congress is one of the mere agents of government. Its powers 
are derived from the constitution, and it has no right to act upon 
theories which that instrument repudiates, whether they are good 
or bad. Every attempt thus far to extend its control over the 
subject of slavery, however guarded and conciliatory, has been 
fraught with danger. Angry sectional controversies, alienated 
feeling, enfeebled patriotism, have uniformly resulted from such 
measures. And if this new experiment upon the public tran- 
B 



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quility shall thrive, and all the powers of government be surren 
dered to Anti-Slavery Eepublicanism, who can tell what the 
future has in store for us ? When one half the people of the Union 
shall be taught to curse it as irreligious and anti-republican, and 
the other half to denounce it as a fraud on their rights, an 
open enemy to their state policy, and their homes, who shall 
answer for its fate ? An act of Congress x^assed one year 
may be repealed the next. You may call it a compact if you 
please, and declare it irrepealable ; but this will not change its 
nature. And so the passage of every act will be only the signal 
light fot a new mustering of hostile forces, agitation succeeding 
agitation with increased intensity, until every tie of fraternal 
feeling shall be utterly destroyed, and the blind instinct of sec- 
tional hate take th^ place of patriotism. Grant even that the 
Union is strong enough to survive the struggles of our day and 
generation to which this line of policy invites us. What will it 
be to them who shall succeed us, but a heritage of endless dis- 
cord ; or at best, a worthless memorial of blessings won by hero- 
ism, and lost by folly ? And even for ourselves — ^for the interest 
of those now living- — is it nothing to have the Nation smitten 
with an incurable disease; to waste it with perpetual fever, or 
rack it with convulsions ? Will it prove to us an efficient protec- 
tor while struggling against coming death, its strength emacia- 
ted, and its functions all perverted ? 

We are no alarmists, and are as little disposed to inspire you 
with unmanly fears, as to be shaken by them ourselves. The 
dangers of which we speak are not undefined shadows, floating 
in the far-off horizon of the future. They are substantial things 
— objects of sense — and we must deaL with them. Washington 
saw them more than half a century ago, and in the last solemn 
act of his public life warned his countrymen against them. They 
have alarmed the patriotism of later times, and in 1839, a states- 
man of New York, now gone to his rest, but whose loss at this 
crisis is more deeply deplored than ever, addressed his fellow- 
citizens on the subject. And after a masterly review of the va- 
rious clauses of the constitution indicating the conciliatory spirit 
in which the Union was formed- — the clause for reclaiming fugi- 
tive slaves included — ^he asked :— 



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" Are there any wlio will blame our venerable fathers, the delegates in the 
" convention of 1787, for giving their assent to this clause of our constitu- 
" tion ? All the old thirteen States assented to it, and to all the other con- 
* ' cessions and compromises which have been mentioned as connected with 
**the subject of domestic slavery. The people of all the States assented to 
" them, and fifty years of internal peace and abundant prosperity have at- 
' 'tested the .wisdom of the Convention. What American citizen will now 

* • rise, and claiming to be purer than Washington, the President of that con- 
* ' vention, purer and more patriotic than the sages who supported him in the 
"gr^at work of forming our constitution, as they had previously in the 
'' achievement of our Independence, will cast the first stone at the temple of 
* ' human liberty which they erected ? Who that loves his country will open 
' ' again the delicate and troublesome compromises thus formed, thus settled, 
' ' and now consecrated by time and happy experience, with the hope of 
' ' reaching better results from the present temper and feeling of the country ? 
'' Who will cast upon the ocean of time aiid chance the "invaluable blessings 
'■ we have gained, the triumph to humian liberty we have secured, for the 
' ' dark and stormy prospect which presents itself of more perfect success in a 

* * new effort ,? Who will wantonly trample upon the faith we have solemnly 
' * pledged to our brethern of other States, upon entering the confederacy, in 
" the hope of moulding them to a more yielding disposition in some future 
" compact ? Who will boldly strike at the Union itself, and stake its fate 
^'against his sympathy for the slave V^ -^(Address hy Hon, Silas Wright, Can- 
ton; July4ih, 1839.) 

We cannot forbear, fellow-citizens, from adding to these ad- 
monitions the warning of one who was never moved by unreal 
danger, whose name is a passport to every democratic heart, and 
whose memory is revered in all lands where freedom has a shrine 
or a worshipper. We mean Andrew Jackson. In his farewell 
address to the people of the United States, he tells us : — 

^' The constitution cannot be maintained nor the Union preserved in oppo- 
* ' sition to public feeling, by the mere exertion of the coercive powers confi- 
" ded to the general government. The foundations must be laid in theaffec- 
*' tions of the people, in the security it gives to life, liberty, character and 
*' property in every quarter of the country, and in the fraternal attachment 
" which the citizens of the several States bear to one another as members of 
" one political family, mutually contributing to promote the happiness of 
" each other. Hence the citizens of every State should avoid everything cal- 
*' culated to wound the sensibilities or offend the just pride of the people of 
*' other States ; and they should frown upon any proceedings within their 
*' own borders likely to disturb the tranquility of their political brethren in 
*'other portions of the Union." ^^ * * " All such efforts," he adds, 



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" are in direct opposition to the spirit in which, the Union was formed, and 
*'must endanger itg safety. Motives of philanthropy maj be assigned for 
*' this unwarrantable interference, and weak men may persuade themselves 
" for a moment that they are laboring In the cause of humanity, and assert- 
*' ing the rights of the human race ; but every one will see that nothing but 
* * mischief can come from these improper assaults upon the feelings and rights 
' ' of others. Rest assured, that the men found busy in this work op dis- 

"CORD ARE not WORTHY OF YOUR CONFIDENCE, AND DESERVE YOUR STRONGEST 
*' REPROBATION." 

Let US heed these impressive lessons of patriotism, and oppose 
those who invite us to engage with them in this new anti-sla- 
very crusade. Reject with abhorence the treasonable fallacy 
that sectional strife is either wise or patriotic or necessary. 
Leave the people of the Territories to settle their own policy in 
regard to slavery. Extend to them every needed protection for 
the free and fair exercise of their choice, but go no further. ^ All 
rational men concede^ — even Anti-Slavery Republicanism hesi- 
tates to deny — that when they are admitted as States, their right 
to establish or abolisk the institution will become perfect, and 
no power on earth can question their decision. If they are ad- 
mitted to-day with an anti-slavery constitution, they may change 
it to-morrow without consulting our wishes ; and should Congress 
attempt to prevent their doing so, it would be an invasion of 
sovreignty, which might be lawfully resisted by force of arms. 
Or should they come into the Union with a constitution which 
prescribes no line of policy on this subject, but leaves it to be 
settled by State legislation afterwards, the result will be the 
same. And so they will have their own way at last, as we have 
had ours. Why not then abstain at once from all intermeddling, 
and stop useless agitation ? We believe the people are tired of 
it, and desire peace. It promises no good, none whatever, but 
only evil, and that continually— evil in our national councils, in 
the different States, in churches and every where. Other and- 
direr forms of evil will follow if we persist in urging Congress 
to act on theories at war alike with the constitution and common 
sense. Can we not afford to rely on the unwritten but steady 
laws of population in the disposition of questions of this kind? 
Have we travelled so far away from Democracy that we dare 
not trust the people of the territories with the management of 



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any of their own affairs? Is no faith to be placed in the in- 
stincts and interests of intelligent men, or in anything except 
the coercive powers of government ? Or do we really believe 
that all good must come to us, if at all, through acts of Congress ; 
and that duties have no existence or validity until prescribed by 
statute ? This, fellow citizens, is the creed of Anti-Slavery Ke- 
publicanism ; not of the Democratic party. 

Still another party — the natural fruit, if not an essential part 
of the teeming diseases of the times — has been recently organized, 
whose creed is at war with the genius and spirit of our institu- 
tions. It seeks to veil its heresies under a specious name, and 
asks to be a-ecognized as ^'The American Party;" though its 
authors chose for themselves the humbler and more apt designa- 
tion of '' Know-Nothings." Its creed on the slavery question is 
of the most plastic and accommodating kind. In the non-slave- 
holding portions of the country, especially in the New England 
States and Ohio, it agrees with Anti-Slavery Republicanism in 
almost every thing except the mere ascendancy of party leaders. 
In the slaveholding portions of the country it has endeavored, 
though generally w^ithout success, to gain ascendancy by pro- 
fessing to favor an opposite policy — a policy in accordance with 
prevailing local opinions. While in New York and some other 
places it aims to reach the seats of power by a " middle passage," 
or rather by being sometimes on one side and sometimes on the 
other ; favoring each in turn without being constant to either. 

So far, therefore, as it proposes to guide the actions of men or 
influence the course of national affairs on the subject of slaverj^ 
its creed is emphatically know-nothing ; or rather it is a jumble 
of contradictions. Whether the ^' soldiers of fortune " who lead 
this enterprise shall ultimately act with or against their Whig 
brethren in the ranks of Anti-Slavery Republicanism, depends on 
time and chance ; perhaps on '' pay and rations." Its distinctive 
mission, to use the cant language of the day, seems to be religious 
instead of political, and it proposes to intervene in sectarian ra- 
ther than sectional strife. Justice requires us to concede, hoAv- 
ever, that even its sectarian preferences are somewhat loose and 
indiscriminate ; for in certain portions of the Union it is said 
to be Catholic, and in others Protestant. Nay, we have heard it 



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intimated by professed adherents of the " Order'' claiming to be 
more liberal than the rest, that in truth it had no preference for 
any religious sect; nor indeed any religion at all ! Lest we 
should misinterpret or misunderstand its true position, and unin- 
tentionally mislead you in reference to it, we transcribe one of 
the oaths exacted from each member as a condition to the enjoy- 
ment of its privileges. It is in these words :-- - 

*' You promise and declare that you will support in all political matters, 
" for all political offices, tlie second degree members of tliis Order, j)r6vided 
''it be necessary for the American interests, [i. e., the interests of the 
^' American or Enow-Nothing party.] That, if it may be done legally, you 
'' will, when elected to any office, remove all , foreigners, aliens or Roman 
*' Catholics from office; and that you will not ai^point any such to office. 
"AH this you promise and declare on your honor as Americans, to sustain 
"and abide by, without any hesitation or mental reservatio?i whatever, so 
" help 3^ou God and keej) you steadfast. You furthermore promise and de- 
' ' clare that you will riot vote nor give your influence for any man for any 
" office in the gift of the people, unless he be an American born citizen, in 
''favor of American born citizens ruling America; nor if he be a Roman 
" Catholic. That you will iiot, under any circumstances, expose the name 
" of any member of this Order, nor reveal the existence of such an organiza- 
" tion. ''^' * ^ t^ ^M And that you will ever seek the political advance- 
" ment of those men who are good and true members of tliis Order. 

Yfe assume that all this is meant to shadow forth some propo- 
sed line of conduct which is ultimately to take the form of gov- 
ernmental polic}'', if its authors succeed in gaining ascendancy 
in the Nation, as they have temporarily done in this and some 
other States ; and that, unlike certain rarely gifted persons whose 
capabilities are as apt to seek development in one direction as 
another, but who never accomplish anything, they have definite 
and substantial objects in view, and mean finally to do something. 
What is it ? What are their aims and purposes ? Upon what 
new and, untried experiments do they mean to urge the govern- 
ment ? 

The first step in their proposed line of conduct is exceedingly 
clear. They mean to get possession of all the offices of govern- 
ment, and subject all its powers to their control. To accomplish 
this, men are decoyed into secret places, and bound by oaths to 
act upon hitherto unheard of tests of political duty. Instead of 
swearing '' not at all," or swearing to '' support the constitution," 



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tliey swear fealty to a self-constituted and irresponsible tribunal 
whose decrees are not to be examined by or known to any but 
the initiated. Without inquiring why these men-' love darkness 
better than light," if it be not that " their deeds are evil/' let us 
put another question : What right hay e. they to cast down the 
time-honored democratic test of official qualification — " Is he hon- 
est ? Is he capable ? Is he faithful to the constitution ? *' And 
whence did they get power to substitute that other test—'' Is he 
a good and true member of, this Order ? Is he an American born 
citizen ? Is he Protestant ? Is he Catholic ? ^' 

The federal constitution declares that '' no religious test shall 
ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust, un- 
der the United States." A commentator upon that instrument 
who has won an imperishable name in the, world of letters as 
v/ell as jurisprudence, Mr. Justice Story, explains the object of 
the clause thus : 

''The framers of tlie constitution were fully sensible of the dangers from 
this source, marked out in the history of other ages and countries, and not 
wholly unknown to our own. They knew that bigotry was unceasingly vigi- 
lant in its stratagems to secure to itself an exclusive ascendancy over the 
human mind, and that intolerance was ever ready to arm itself with all the 
terrors of the civil power to exterminate those who doubted its dogmas or 
resisted its infallibility. The Catholic and Protestant had alternately waged 
the most ferocious and unrelenting warfare on each other, and Protestantism 
itself, at the very moment it was proclaiming the right of private judgment, 
prescribed boundaries to that right, beyond which if any dared to pass he 
must seal his rashness with the blood of martyrdom. The history of the 
parent country, too, could not fail to instruct them in the use and abuses of 
religious tests. They there found the pains and penalties of non- conformity 
written in no equivocal language, and enforced with a stern and vindictive 
jealousy. * '^ * It is easy to foresee that, without some prohibition of 
religious tests, a successful sect in our country might, by once possessing 
power, pass test laws which would secure to themselves a monopoly of all the 
offices of trust and profit under the national government.'^ 

The authors and abettors of Know-jSTothingism may not have 
read Judge Story, but it is entirely clear that Ae has read them. 
And however anxious they may be to veil their real designs from 
the men now living, they were not hid from our fathers.* Those 
designs, so far as they relate to the practical application of a 
religious test of official qualification, are not only directly at war 



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with the genius of the constitution, but with its plain words. The 
Bemocratic Party repudiates all such heresies ; nay, abhors them. 
It believes with Jefferson, that opinions of every kind may be 
tolerated by a government which leaves reason free to combat 
them. It says with Milton—" Let truth and falsehood grapple. 
Who ever knew truth put to the worse in a free and open encoun- 
ter ?" It holds with the constitution, that no man should be sub- 
ject to political disabilities, persecution or any other penalty, on 
account of his religious belief ; that to invoke organized political 
action for such a purpose is unwise and unjust not only, but 
absurd. It unchains the mind, throws wide open the portals of 
truth, and bids all enter, seek and find. And it tells them to rely 
on government for protection in the pursuit of their object, so 
long as they aim at private ends, and do not invade the rights of 
others. But when they form themselves into political parties, 
and claim to control the course of public affairs, they must subor- 
dinate their theories to those of the government, or be content to 
be numbered among its enemies. Let the advocates and adher- 
ents of Know-Nothingism remember, that just so far as they seek 
to gain or monopolize power by the application of religious tests, 
they, like Anti-Slavery Republicanism, repudiate the constitu- 
tion, and affirm that there is a "higher law" for governmental 
agents and politicians. 

The intolerance af Know-Nothingism, however, reaches far 
beyond what we have nientioned, and brings the Protestant as 
well as Catholic within its interdicting curse. It binds each of 
its members, as we have seen, "not to vote or give his influence 
for any man, for any pffice in the gift of the people, unless he be 
an American horn citizen f and even then he is to be prescribed, 
unless, in addition, he is "in favor of American born citizens 
ruling America !" The man who, like Lafayette, Kosciusko, 
Montgomery, De Kalb, Steuben, or Hamilton, was born in a 
foreign land, is to be disqualified from holding office for that 
reason alone ; though he has been admitted to all the rights of 
citizenship under the constitution and laws of the United States. 
No matter whether his religious belief is in accordance with the 
prescribed standard or not, nor how long he has lived among us, 
nor what may be his intelligenccj or his titles to public respect 



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or gratitude : nay, though he has been attracted hither by the 
purest devotion to the cause of Republican liberty, and has 
offered his blood as a sacrifice upon its altars. All this is nothing, 
for he is not an American hj hirth I The Order sits in judg- 
ment upon his nativity, finds him guilty of being born in the 
wrong place, and condemns him to civil banishment ! And so 
even though his stars were propitious, and he was born in strict 
accordance with the decrees of the Order, on American soil ; still 
he is to be proscribed, unless he unites with its leaders in advo- 
cating intolerance ; in other words, unless he satisfies them that 
he is in favor of excluding all but American born citizens from 
office I 

Let us remind you again that the creed of every political party 
which is truly loyal to government, and means to act under it, 
and not against it, will always be found in harmony with its 
fundamental principles. And we ask all candid men who have 
been incautiously lured into the ranks of Know-Nothingism, to 
re-examine its distinctive doctrines, and compare them with those 
embodied in the constitution. They will be found in direct an- 
tagonism to each other. The constitution strives to banish the 
spirit of religious intolerance in government as alien to the true 
principles of civil liberty ; while Know-Nothingism erects an 
altar to it, and compels men to bow down and worship it ! The 
constitution declares that all citizens are eligible to office, irre- 
spective of the accident of birth, except the office of President ; 
but Know-Nothingism denounces this as unwise, and arrays 
itself in open opposition to it ! The constitution tells each officer 
and agent of government to look to its precepts and doctrines 
for the rule and measure of public duty ; while Know-Nothingism 
commands them to look for guidance to the counsels and decrees 
of politicians ! Th6 constitution moreover favors publicity in all 
organized efforts to influence the action of government, and sub- 
mits them to the ordeal of public scrutiny ; while Know-Nothing- 
ism^ shrouds itself in congenial darkness, plots in secret, and for- 
bids scrutiny 1 

If the Know-Nothing and Anti-Slavery Republican parties, or 
any other class of men in the community, are dissatisfied with 
our present form of government, and wish to change its organic 
4 



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structure^ no one denies their right to attempt it by fair means. 
Let them take the open field, and tell the people plainly that this 
is their purpose. The citizen will then know what to expect 
from them, and be prepared to act accordingly. But to make 
their way to place and power under the false pretence that they 
are friends of the constitution, that they believe in its principles, 
and mean to act in accordance with its spirit, while secretly re- 
pudiating its fundamental teachings, is neither manly nor honest. 

We have forborne to' speak of a third class of men who have 
been misled into false views of the nature and true office of go- 
vernment. We mean those who, within the last year or two, 
organized themselves into a political party to enforce the single 
virtue of Temperance, leaving the other virtues to shift for them- 
selves. After urging our State Legislature to disregard the 
constitution by passing a law in violation of it— a law the au- 
thorship of which none of its followers are willing to avow— it 
has quietly subsided, along with the waning remnant of the old 
Abolition party, into the ranks of Anti-Slavery Republicanism. 
Both will be remembered hereafter for their good intentions, their 
bad deeds, and their ignoble end. 

Fellow-citizens, the parties of which we have spoken have ori- 
ginated in one common errors — an error into which the Democratic 
Party can never fall until it renounces its ancient faith. They 
have mistaken the proper ends of political association, and the 
true office and limits of human government. While professing 
to act under the constitution, and in accordance with its spirit, 
they have exalted themselves above it, and appealed to a "higher 
law." Their respective creeds assume that neither the guidance 
of reason, the lights of education, the injunctions of religion, nor 
the promptings of a wise self-interest, can be relied on in any 
relation of life. Philanthropy must be taught by act of Congress, 
or men will never practice it ! Religion must be controlled by 
politicians, or heresy will be the order of the day ! And unless 
Temperance is hunted down by policemen, and hedged in with 
penalties, it can never be secured I The entire field of human 
endeavor must be scanned with anxious care, not to find how 
much of it can be safely left to individual freedom and responsi- 
bility, but how far Government can encroach on it 1 Its inter- 



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meddling hand must be seen and felt everywhere and at all 
times, constantly trenching on those moral agencies, which — - 
guided by a Power wiser and more benificent than that of politi- 
cians — ^are silently influencing the course of human conduct and 
shaping the destinies of men and nations. 

We believe it may be said with confidence that if the Demo- 
cratic party has ever deviated into errors like those to which 
we have alluded, it has not persevered in them. It cannot do so 
withoiit being false to its own principles. Keflecting and patri- 
otic men everywhere acknowledge the value of its past achiev- 
ments, and admit that its services were never needed more than 
at this hour. They are not needed to guard any one interest of 
the country, but every one ; to maintain our written constitu- 
tions, which, under Providence, protect us all ; and to secure 
and perpetuate the blessings of sound and wise administration. 
They will be needed in all coming vicissitudes, whether of war or 
peace, adversity or prosperity. It is almost the only association 
of men, political or religious, which sectional strife and fanaticism 
have not utterly prostrated ; certainly the only one which has 
power to cast upon the political evils which afl3ict the Nation 
and menace its life. Let its once victorious legions be again 
summoned to the field of controversy. Let its voice go forth as 
of old, cheering the hearts, and arousing the courage, and re-ani- 
mating the hopes of his friends. And let every one who has 
named its name and professed its faith in former years, strive 
with earnestness and singleness of purpose for the attainment of 
these ends ; remembering that " a house divided against itself 
cannot stand." 

Mr. Shepabd, from the committee for that purpose, re- 
ported the following resolutions : 

Resolved, That our Federal Government being restrained by the Constitu- 
tion to specific functions, the legitimate province of national politics is con- 
fined within the same limits ; and that every popular agitation or movement 
that aims to transcend these constitutional bounds, and to avail itself of the 
organic force of government to accomplish its purposes, is a perversion of the 
uses and objects of party, tending to great and serious usurpations in govern- 
ment, and when unjustly enforced against any particular section of the coun- 
try is a tyranny that should be resisted by ^.11 good citizens. 



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Besolvedy That the agitation of the slavery question by the people of the 
non-slaveholding States, with a view to impair the security of the domestic 
institutions of the South, whether pursued in demonstrations by political 
conventions or by discussion and legislation in Congress, falls within this 
category ; and that the experience of the past has shown that, while it has 
compassed no good, it has resulted in serious evils, weakening the brother- 
hood of the States, and that mutual and unconstrained association that was 
once their chief bond of union, and substituting in their place the domineer- 
ing influence of political parties and the coercive power of the Federal Gov- 
ernment. 

Resolved^ That the recent manifestation of this evil spirit in the organization 
of the so-called Republican party, by showing to what a treasonable head it 
has already arrived, demonstrates the unfortunate tendency of all its antece- 
dent steps in this agitation. And that we point to its avowed doctrine of 
hostility to the Constitution, its imputation upon the spirit in which it origi- 
nated, its denial of the equality of the States, and its invocation of a higher 
law than 'the Constitution, and its whole scheme of civil discord to be accom- 
plished by political usurpation, as the natural result and consummation of the 
latetudinarian doctrines and false and erroneous policy which, since the 
foundation of the government, have characterised the creed of the opponents 
of the Democracy. 

Resolved, That the determination of Congress, avowed in the Kansas- 
Nebraska bill, to reject from the national councils the subject of slavery in 
the Territories, and to leave the people thereof free to regulate their domestic 
institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United 
States, is one that accords with the sentiments of the Democracy of this State, 
and with the traditional course of legislation by Congress, which, under de- 
mocratic auspices, has gradually in successive territorial bills extended the 
domain of popular rights, and limited the range of congressional action. And 
that we believe this disposition of the question will result most auspiciously 
to the peace of the Union, and the cause of good government. 

Resolved, That (in the language of the recent message of President Pierce to 
Congress) *''the people of the Territory by its organic law possessing the right 
to determine their domestic institutions, are entitled, while deporting them- 
selves peacefully, to the free exercise of that right, and must be protected in 
the enjoyment of it, without interference on the part of the citizens of any 
of the States." 

^^ Resolved, That the Democracy of the State of New York deem this a fit 
" occasion to tender to their fellow citizens of the whole Union, their heart- 
" felt congratulations on the triumph, in the recent elections in several of 
*Hhe Northern, Eastern and Western, as well as Southern States, of the 
'* principles of the Kansas-Nebraska bill and the doctrines of civil and religious 
* * liberty which have been so violently assailed by a secret political order known 
*' as the Know-Nothing party ; and we hold it to be our highest duty to con- 



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29 

*' tinue our efforts in the maintenance and defence of those principles and the 
** constitutional rights of every faction and every class of citizens against 
"their opponents of every descrijption, whether the so-called Republicans, 
*^ Know-Nothings or Fiisionists ; and to this end we look with confidence to 
"the support and support and approbation of all good and true men — friends 
" to the Constitution and the Union throughout the country." 

Resolved, That though we have encountered in the field of politics for up- 
wards of twenty years, as our determined and most effective opponent, the 
Whig party, we cannot forbear the expression of our regret at its death. And 
we deem it due to the memory of a gallant adversary to say, that its open 
and manly warfare, the national scope of its principles, and the liigh tone 
and ability of its leaders, made it an antagonist worthy of the "democracy ; 
and that the record of its life contrasts well v/ith that of the secret, sectional, 
and narrow-minded factions which have succeeded it, and which claim to 
divide its political inheritance. 

Resolved, That the administration of President Pierce has merited the appro- 
val of the Democracy of this State and the Union, manifesting as it has on 
every occasion in which the national honor has been involved, a most patri- 
otic and determined spirit, exhibiting in all its departments, vigilance, 
energy and rigid probity, protecting the treasury from the corrupt combina- 
tions of Congress by the exercise of the veto power, and maintaining the 
cause of democracy by the enunciation of sound opinion and the example of 
good government and wise measures. 

Resolved, That the delegates selected by this Convention to represent the 
State of New York in the National Convention, are hereby instructed to cast 
the vote of this State as a unit, and that a majority of the delegates are here- 
by authorised to fill all vacancies occurring in their body. 

The question was taken on the Address and it Avas adopted. 
(Messrs. Van Dyck and Burt voting in the negative.) 

A division being called for on the Resolutions, they were 
adopted ; the first, third and fifth, seventh, eighth and ninth, 
unanimously, and the second, fourth and sixth with two dis- 
senting votes — ^ilessrs. Van Dyck and Burt. 

The Convention then adjourned till 9 A. M. of Friday. 



Friday, January 12. 
The Convention met to hear the report of the committee 
appointed to nominate to it Delegates to the National Demo- 
cratic Convention. The Committee reported the following 
names which were adopted by acclamation : 



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CONSOLIDATION OF THE ARGUS & ATLAS. 

^[r. CoMSTOCK having purchased the interest of Mr. Johnson" in 
the Argus, and Mr. Cassidy that of Mr. Van Dyck in the Atlas, 
they have effected an arrangement for the consolidation of the 
two papers nnder the name of THE ATLAS & ARGUS, and for 
conducting the Newspaper and the Job Printing Establishment 
connected therewith, as sole Proprietors, under the co-partnership 
designation of COMSTOCK & CASSIDY. 

The Proprietors cannot be mistaken in saying that the union of 
the tw-o Democratic Papers at the Capitol, had long been regarded 
by Democrats of the State, as essential to the restoration and 
perpetuation of harmony, and the renewal and continuance of 
strength and vigor in their party. Formidable obstacles have 
hitherto stood in the way of such a consummation, and they have 
not now been surmounted except by the exercise of a considera- 
ble degree of patience and perseverance, the active exertions of 
friends, and the assumption by the proprietors of no inconsidera- 
ble pecuniary responsibilities. They think they do not mistake 
the Democratic sentiment of the State, when they confidently 
trust to it for an appreciation of the motives of their action, and 
for protection and support in this enterprise. 

The consolidated paper probably commences with a larger sub- 
scription list — =having reference to all its editions — than any other 
Democratic pa,per in the Union. But it is by no means as large 
as a proper remuneration for the sacrifices connected with bring^- 
ing the tw^o establishments together and an efficient support of 
the paper, as well as a vigorous advocacy of Democratic princi- 
ples in this section of the Union, require. The proprietors believe 
that if their political friends — -and they include in the term all 
who intend to act with the Democratic party of the nation — will 
co-operate with them, this paper may have an ample support, 
and, it will perhaps not be deemed a lack of modesty on their 
part to add, may render important service in securing the triumph 
of the doctrines and candidates of the Democratic party. 

May they not appeal to their political friends and remind them 
that a favorable opportunity— one wdiich has not been afforded 
for years- — is now presented for placing a newspaper at the 
Capitol of the State on a permanent and influential basis, and of 
thus contributing whatever may be done through such an agency, 
to the strength, consolidation, and permanency of the party ? 
They respectfully ask the co-operation of Democrats in extending 
the circulation of The Atlas & Argus. 



TERMS FOR THE ALBAM ATLAS & ARGIS. 



TERMS FOR SINGLE SUBSCRIPTIONS. 
ATLAS & ARGUS (Daily)— Eight dollars 

per annum, payable half yearly, or seven 

dollars if paid in advance. 
ATLAS & ARGUS (Semi- Weekly)— Four 

dollars per annum, payable half yearly, or 

three dollars if paid in advance. 
ATLAS & ARGUS (Weekly)— One dollar 

and fifty cents per annum mvariably, unless 

paid in advance. If paid in, advance one 

dollar. 

ilf^ No new subscriptions for the Weekly 
will be received unless paid in advance. 



SPECIAL TERMS FOR PACKAGES. 

To any one who will send us Ten subscrib- 
ers lor the Daily, with payment in advance, 
($70,) wo will send a copy of the Daily for 
one year. 

To any one who will send us Ten subscrib- 
ers for the Semi- Weekly, and payment in ad- 
vance, ($:^0,) we will send a copy of the Semi- 
Weekly for one year. 

To any person who will send us Ten sub- 
scribers for the Weekly — the packages to he sent 
to one address — and payment in advance, ($10,) 
a copy of the Weekly for one year. 



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