Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 2.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
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August 14, 26, 1852


[Published by desire of the Club.] [2]

GENTLEMEN:---Unlike our young friend [3] who has just taken his seat, I do not appear before you on a flattering invitation, or on anyPage  136 invitation at all; but, on the contrary I am about to address you, by your permission, given me at my own special request. Soon after the Democratic nomination for President and vice-President in June last at Baltimore, it was announced somewhat ostentatiously, as it seemed to me, that Judge Douglas would, previous to the election, make speeches in favor of those nominations, in twenty-eight of the thirty-one States. [4] Since then, and as I suppose, in part performance of this undertaking, he has actually made one speech at Richmond, Virginia. [5] This speech has been published, with high commendations, in at least one of the democratic papers in this state, and I suppose it has been, and will be, in most of the others. When I first saw it, and read it, I was reminded of old times---of the times when Judge Douglas was not so much greater man than all the rest of us, as he now is---of the Harrison campaign, twelve years ago, when I used to hear, and try to answer many of his speeches; and believing that the Richmond speech though marked with the same species of ``shirks and quirks'' as the old ones, was not marked with any greater ability, I was seized with a strong inclination to attempt an answer to it; and this inclination it was that prompted me to seek the privilege of addressing you on this occasion. In the speech, so far as I propose noticing it now, the Judge rebukes the whigs for calling Gen. Pierce ``a fainting General;'' eulogizes Gen. Scott's military character; denounces the whig platform, except as to the slavery question, which he says is a plank stolen from the democratic platform; charges that Gen. Scott's nomination was forced on the South by the North on a sectional issue; charges Gen. Scott with duplicity, and intent to deceive in his letter of acceptance; attempts to ridicule Gen. Scott's views on naturalization; charges that Gen. Scott, in his letter of acceptance, has pledged himself to proscription; denounces as dangerous the election of military men to the Presidency; says the hand of Providence saved us from our first and only military administration; speaks of Mr. Fillmore and his administration. In addition to these specific points, a constant repetition of something more than insinuations and yet something less than direct charges, that Gen. Scott is wholly under the control of Seward of New York; and that abolitionism is controlling the whole whig party, forms a sort of key-note to the whole speech. As a further characteristic of the speech, it may be noted that a very small portion of it is devoted to Pierce, and almost the whole of it to attacks upon Scott.

Page  137As I desire to say something on each of these matters, and as the evening is already partially spent, I propose going only about halfway through, reserving the remainder for a subsequent meeting. As to the Judge's rebuke of the whigs for calling Pierce ``a fainting General,'' in which he insists that they mean to impute cowardice to Gen. Pierce, and that it is cowardly and false in them to cast such an imputation, I have only to say that, Gen. Pierce's history being as it is, the attempt to set him up as a great General, is simply ludicrous and laughable; and that the free merry people of the country have laughed at it, and will continue to laugh at it, in spite of the querulous scolding of Judge Douglas or of anybody else; and further, that if the Judge has any real honest indignation against unjust imputations of cowardice, he will find a much ampler field for the indulgence of it against his own friends, who are everywhere seeking by reference to an old affair with Gen. Jackson, to throw such an imputation upon Gen. Scott.

As to the Judge's eulogy on Gen. Scott's military character, in which he says ``I will not depreciate his merits as a soldier, because truth and honor forbid it,'' I have but to remark that whoever will read the speech through and carefully note the imputations implying ignorance and stupidity, and duplicity and knavery, against Gen. Scott in almost every paragraph, will I think, conclude that the eulogy on his military character, was dictated quite as much by the Judge's view of the party impolicy of assailing that character, as by a love of truth and honor.

In denouncing the whig platform generally, the Judge gives no reason other than that it is ``a whig concern'' and that all democrats are presumed to be opposed to it. This needs no answer other than that for the same reason all whigs are presumed to be in favor of it. But as to the slavery question, the Judge says it was a plank stolen from the democratic platform. [6] On what authority does he make this declaration? Upon what fact, or what reasoning from facts does he base it? I had understood and now understand, as the indelibly written history of the country, that the compromise measures were not party measures---that for praise or blame, they belonged to neither party to the exclusion of the other; but that the chief leaders in their origin and adoption were whigs and not democrats. I had thought that the pen of history had written, acknowledged, and recorded it as facts, that Henry Clay, more than any other man, or perhaps more than any other ten men, was the originator of that system of measures; and that he together with Webster and Pearce [7]Page  138 of Maryland, (not Gen. Pierce,) were its most efficient supporters in its progress. I knew, or supposed I knew, that democrats, numerous and distinguished, gave it able and efficient support; and I have not sought, or known of any whig seeking to deprive them of the credit of it. Among these last Judge Douglas himself was not the least. After the close of the session of Congress at which these measures were passed, Judge Douglas visited Chicago, in this State, and the measures, if not the Judge himself, were there clamorously assailed. He succeeded in getting a hearing at a public meeting, and made a speech which silenced his adversaries, and gave him a triumph most complete. It was afterwards written out and published. I saw a copy, and read it once hastily, and glanced over it a second time. I do not now remember seeing anything in it to condemn, and I do remember that I considered it a very able production---by far superior to any thing I had ever seen from Judge Douglas, and comparing favorably with any thing from any source, which I had seen, on that general subject. The reading of it afforded me a good deal of pleasure; and I never said, or inclined to say any thing in disparagement of it. But as the Judge, in his Richmond speech, has thought fit to speak so confidently, and, in my judgment so unjustly, of stealing, I will venture to suggest that if he had stolen none of the ideas of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, and other whigs, which he had been listening to for the last preceding six or eight months, he might → not have been able to get up quite so creditable a speech at Chicago as he did.

But the Judge asserts in substance, that the nomination of Scott was forced on the south by the north, on a sectional issue; and he argues that such a nomination is exceedingly perilous to the safety of the Union. As evidence that the nomination was forced on the south by the north, the Judge says, ``every southern delegation voted against him more than fifty times, day after day, and night after night.'' This is not quite correct, for one, two, or more of the Virginia delegation voted for Scott every ballot after the first; but call it substantially correct to say that the Southern delegations did not vote for Scott, does it follow, in the sense the Judge would have us to understand, that they voted against Scott? If so, then, by the same rule, in the democratic Convention, every delegation north and south, voted against Gen. Pierce thirty-four times.

Now, according to the Judge's logic, the nomination of Pierce was forced on the whole country by some mysterious and invisible agency, ``a defiance of the thirty-four times repeated protest and remonstrance of the delegates from ALL the States of the Union represented in the Convention.'' Still the Judge thinks the nominationPage  139 of Scott, made in compliance with the original preference of nearly half the whig convention, is extremely perilous to the safety of the Union; but that the nomination of Pierce, made contrary to the original preference of every man in the democratic Convention (and every man out of it, I presume) is to be the very salvation of the Union!!! It may be said that although every member of the democratic convention preferred some other man, finally they all honorably surrendered their preferences and united on Pierce. Very well, if the whole democratic convention could honorably, and without being forced, go over to Pierce, why could not HALF the whig convention, as honorably and as free from force, go over to Scott?

But, according to the Judge's view, Scott's nomination was not only forced upon the south, but was forced upon it, on a sectional issue. Now, in point of fact, at the time the nomination was made, there was no issue, except as to who should be the men to lead the campaign upon a set of principles previously put in writing and acquiesced in by the whole convention; and those principles, too, being precisely such as the south demanded. When the platform, which I understand to be just such as the south desired, was voted upon by the convention---the whole south, and more than half the north voted for, and adopted it, by a vote of 226 to 66; those who voted against it made no further opposition to it. On the adoption of the platform arose the only sectional issue which came before the convention, and by the vote it passed from an issue into a decision, and left no issue before the convention, except as to men. It is proper to notice too, that on the first ballot for a candidate for the presidency, Scott's vote only lacked one of doubling the numbers of all the votes cast against the platform; so that of Scott's original friends in the convention, more than half may have been, and within one of half must have been original platform men. If Scott should throw himself into the hands exclusively of those who originally preferred him, to be controlled by the majority of them, in utter disregard of all those who originally preferred others, it is still probable that the majority would lead him to adopt the platform or union view of the slavery question.

But the gist of all the Judge's views is, that Scott's nomination, made as it was, is more perilous to the safety of the Union, than all the scenes through which we have recently passed in connection with the slavery question. Well, we ought all to be startled at the view of ``peril to the Union,'' but it may be a little difficult for some shortsighted mortals to perceive such peril in the nomination of Scott. Mark you, it is the nomination and not the election, whichPage  140 produces the peril. The Judge does not say the election, and he cannot mean the election, because he constantly assures us there is no prospect of Scott's election. He could not be so alarmed at what he is so sure will never happen. In plain truth I suppose he did mean the election, so far as he meant anything; but feeling that his whole proposition was mere nonsense, he did not think of it distinctly enough to enable him to speak with any precision.

As one point in support of his charge of duplicity against Gen. Scott, Judge Douglas attempts to show that Gen. Scott in his letter of acceptance, framed language studiously for the purpose of enabling men north and south to read it one way or the other, as the public pulse should beat in their particular localities, and he insists that the language so designed will be so used. He quotes Scott's language as follows, ``I accept the nomination, with the resolutions annexed,'' and then he criticises it as follows: ``Now gentlemen I desire to know what is the meaning of the words `with the resolutions annexed.' Does he mean that he approves the resolutions? If so, why did he not say so, as the candidate for the Vice Presidency, Mr. Graham, [8] did in his letter of acceptance? Or why did he not do as that gallant and honest man, Frank Pierce did, and say, `I accept the nomination upon the platform adopted by the convention, not because this is expected of me as a candidate, but because the principles it embraces command the approbation of my judgement.'

``There you have (continues the Judge) an honest man speaking from an honest heart, without any equivocation, dissimulation, or mental reservation. Here you find that Gen. Scott accepts the nomination with the resolution annexed---that is to say, using language susceptible of two constructions---one at the North, and another at the South. In the North it will be said he accepts the nomination notwithstanding the platform; that he accepts it although he defies the platform; that he accepts it although he spits upon the platform. At the South it will be said he accepts it with the approval of the platform. I submit the question to you whether that language was not framed studiously for the purpose of enabling men, North and South to read it one way or the other as the public pulse should beat in their particular localities. Again, I submit to you, was it the General-in-chief of the armies who fought the battles in Mexico, that conceived this part of the letter, or was it his commander-in-chief, Gen. Seward, who dictated it?'' [Great applause.]

What wonderful acumen the Judge displays on the constructionPage  141 of language!!! According to this criticism of his, the word ``with'' is equivalent to the word ``notwithstanding,'' and also to the phrases, ``although I defy,'' and ``although I spit upon.'' Verily these are wonderful substitutes for the word ``with.'' When the builders of the tower of Babel got into difficulty about language, if they had just called on Judge Douglas, he would, at once, have construed away the difficulty, and enabled them to finish the structure, upon the truly democratic platform on which they were building. Suppose, gentlemen, you were to amuse yourselves some leisure hour, by selecting sentences, from well known compositions, each containing the word ``with'' and by striking it out, and inserting alternately, the Judge's substitutes, and then testing whether the sense is changed.

As an example, take a sentence from an old and well known book, not much suspected for duplicity, or equivocal language; which sentence is as follows:

``And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.''

Try, for yourselves, how Judge Douglas' substitutes for the word ``with'' will affect this sentence. Let Judge Douglas be brought to understand that he can advance the interest of a locofoco candidate for the presidency by criticising this sentence; and forthwith he will hie away to the African church in Richmond, Virginia, and make a great speech, in which he will find great difficulty in understanding the meaning of the words ``walked with God.'' He will contrast it, greatly to its disadvantage, with the language of that gallant and honest man, Frank Pierce! He will show that it is, and was designed to be, susceptible of two constructions, one at the North, and another at the South; that at the North the word ``with'' will be read ``NOTWITHSTANDING,'' ``ALTHOUGH HE DEFIES,'' ``ALTHOUGH HE SPITS UPON;'' and finally he will thrill, and electrify, and throw into spasms of ecstasy his African church auditors by suggesting that such monstrous duplicity could not have been conceived by Enoch or Moses, but must have been dictated by Gen. Seward!!!

As another example, take from Judge Douglas' ratification speech a sentence in relation to the democratic platform and the democratic ticket, Pierce and King, which is as follows:

``With such a platform, and with such a ticket, a glorious victory awaits us.''

Now according to the Judge's rule of criticising Gen. Scott's language, the above sentence of his will, without perversion of meaning admit of being read in each of the following ways:

Page  142``NOTWITHSTANDING such a platform, and notwithstanding such a ticket, a glorious victory awaits us.''

``ALTHOUGH WE DEFY such a platform, and although we defy such a ticket, a glorious victory awaits us.''

``ALTHOUGH WE SPIT UPON such a platform, and although we spit upon such a ticket, a glorious victory awaits us.''

Similar examples might → be found without end; but the foregoing are enough, if indeed anything was wanting to show the utter absurdity of the Judge's criticism. Can any two fair minded men differ about the meaning of this part of Gen. Scott's letter? Do his friends, north and south, read it differently, as Judge Douglas asserts they will? Nothing is too absurd for the malice of his fault finding enemies; but where among his millions of friends can a single one be found who is supporting him because he understands him to defy, and spit upon the Whig platform?

Judge Douglas also perceives the same duplicity in Gen. Scott's language about the Public Lands, and about Naturalization; but his criticisms upon it, are so similar to that which I have already reviewed, that I am willing to trust my review of the one, to stand as answer to the whole.

But, in addition to the charge of duplicity, the Judge also seizes upon what Gen. Scott says about naturalization, on which to base a charge of ignorance and stupidity against Gen. Scott. Scott, in his letter of acceptance, suggests the propriety of so altering the naturalization laws as to admit to the rights of citizenship, such foreigners as may serve one year in time of war, in the land or naval service of the United States. The Judge insists that it is uncertain whether the General means this to be an addition to the present laws on the subject, or a substitute for them; but by a few brief dashes, he argues himself into the belief that the General means his proposition to be a substitute---to embrace the only law on naturalization; and then the Judge bewails the supposed condition of things, when the numbers of the army and navy must either be swelled to a million, or the bulk of the foreigners must remain unnaturalized, and without rights of citizenship among us. He admits the General does not say that he intends his proposition to embrace the only law; but inasmuch as he does not say the contrary, he must so mean it, because, the Judge argues, to maintain the present laws, and such as Scott proposes, together, would be unconstitutional. He quotes from the constitution, and shows that there can be but one uniform rule of naturalization; and swelling with indignation, he grows severe on Gen. Scott, and asks, ``Is it possible that this candidate for the presidency never read the constitution?''

Page  143He insists that to add Scott's proposition to the present laws, would establish two rules because it would admit one person on one set of reasons and another person on another; and hence the unconstitutionality. Now it so happens that the first Congress which ever sat under the constitution, composed in a great part of the same men who made the constitution, passed a naturalization law, in which it was provided that adult aliens should come in on one set of reasons; that their minor children should come in on another set; and that such particular foreigners as had been proscribed by any State, should come in, if at all, on still another set. Will Judge Douglas sneeringly ask if the framers of this law never read the Constitution? Since the passage of the first law, there have been some half a dozen acts modifying, adding to, and substituting, the preceding acts; and there has never been a moment from that day to this, when, by the existing system, different persons might → not have become naturalized on different sets of reasons.

Would it be discourteous to Judge Douglas to retort his question upon him, and ask, ``Is it possible that this candidate for a nomination to the Presidency never read the naturalization laws?'' Cases under these laws, have frequently arisen in the courts, and some of them have gone to and passed through, the Supreme Court of the United States. Certainly in some, probably in every one of these cases, one of the parties could have gained his suit by establishing that the laws were unconstitutional; and yet I believe Judge Douglas is the first man who has been found wise enough or enough otherwise, as the case may be, to even suggest their unconstitutionality.

Even those adopted citizens, whose votes have given Judge Douglas all his consequence, [9] came in under these very laws. Would not the Judge have considered the holding those laws unconstitutional, and those particular votes illegal, as more deplorable, than even an army and navy, a million strong?

If the Judge finds no cause to regret this part of his assault, upon the General, I certainly think that the General needs not.

The man recovered of the bite,

The dog it was that died.

[The Club adjourned to Wednesday evening August 26, on which evening the Speech was concluded as follows:] [10]

When I spoke on a previous evening, I was not aware of what IPage  144 have since learned, that Mr. Edwards, [11] in his address to you, had, to some extent, reviewed Judge Douglas' Richmond speech. Had I known this, I probably should [have] abstained from selecting it as the subject of my remarks; because I dislike the appearance of unfairness of two attacking one. After all, however, as the Judge is a giant, and Edwards and I are but common mortals, it may not be very unfair. And then it is to be considered too, that in attempting to answer the Judge, we do not assail him personally; but we are only trying to meet his mode of conducting the assault which the whole party are making upon Gen. Scott.

Taking up the Richmond speech at the point where I left it, the next charge is that Gen. Scott has pledged himself to a course of proscription. This charge the Judge makes → in the following language---

``Gen. Scott, in his letter of acceptance,---in cunning and adroit language---solemnly pledges himself that no democrat shall ever hold office under his administration; but that abolition whigs may do so without the slightest hindrance.''

Upon this the Judge indulges himself in a long comment, in the course of which he falls into a strain of wailing pathos which Jeremiah in his last days might → envy, for the old soldier democrats to be turned out of office by Gen. Scott. And finally he winds up with the use of Clayton's name in such connection, as to insinuate that he, as Secretary of State under Gen. Taylor, had been exceedingly proscriptive.

In the first place, I think it will be in vain, [that] any fair minded man will search for any such solemn pledge in the letter of acceptance, as Judge Douglas attributes to it. Indeed, the Judge himself seems to have thought it would not be quite safe to his reputation to leave his allegation without furnishing it the means of escape from a charge which might → be brought against it; for he immediately adds, ``This is my translation of that part of his letter.'' He then quotes from the letter, as follows---

``In regard to the general policy of the administration, if elected I should, of course, look among those who may approve that policy for the agents to carry it into execution; and I should seek to cultivate harmony and fraternal sentiments throughout the whig party, without attempting to reduce its members by proscription to exact conformity to my own views.''

Now it appears to me the Judge's translation of this may be called a very free translation---a translation enjoying a perfectPage  145 freedom from all the restraint of justice and fair dealing. So far from having solemnly pledged himself that no democrat should ever hold office, the evident sense of the sentence shows that he was not speaking or thinking of the democrats at all---that he was merely giving an assurance that difference of opinion among whigs should not be regarded, except in the higher offices through which the general policy of the administration is to be conducted.

But suppose the translation is correct, I still should like to hear from the Judge where are the democratic office holders who are to be made to ``walk the plank'' by Gen. Scott, after having told us in this very speech that the Taylor and Fillmore administrations have proscribed nearly every democrat in office. The Judge's pathos on this subject reminds me of a little rumor I heard at Washington about the time of Gen. Taylor's inauguration. The Senate was democratic and could reject all the nominations. The rumor was that the democratic clerks from Illinois, appealed to our democratic delegation to save them their places if possible; but that the delegation told them no; ``we prefer your heads should fall; the sight of your blood will aid us to regain our lost power.'' Judge Douglas was then at the head of our delegation, and will know better than I whether the rumor was true.

A word now about Clayton, and his proscriptive disposition and practices, as insinuated by Judge Douglas. It is matter of public history, that on Saturday night before Taylor was inaugurated Monday, Mr. Polk nominated Edward Hannegan, a democrat, as minister to Prussia, and that the Senate confirmed the nomination; and that Clayton, a few days after becoming Secretary of State, to which department such appointments belong, allowed him to go, and receive the outfit and salary of $18,000. This is public history, about which there is no disputing. But the more private history, as I have heard and believe it, and as I believe Judge Douglas, knows it, is still more favorable to Clayton's character for generosity. It is that Mr. Clayton induced Mr. Polk to make the appointment, by an assurance that the new administration would not revoke it. Hannegan had been a Senator from Indiana six years, and, in that time, had done his state some credit, and gained some reputation for himself; but in the end, was undermined and superseded by a man who will never do either. He was the son of an Irishman, with a bit of the brogue still lingering on his tongue; and with a very large share of that sprightliness and generous feeling, which generally characterize Irishmen who have had anything of a fair chance in the world. He was personally a great favorite with Senators, and particularly so with Mr. Clayton, although of opposite politics. HePage  146 was now broken down politically and pecuniarily; and Mr. Clayton, disregarding the ties of party came to his relief. With a knowledge of the exact truth on this subject, how could Judge Douglas find it in his heart to so try to prejudice the nation against John M. Clayton? Poor Hannegan! [12] Since his return, in a heated, and unguarded moment, he spilled the life of a favorite brother-in-law, and for which he is now enduring the tortures of deepest mental agony; yet I greatly mistake his nature, if, ever to be released from his extreme misery, he could be induced to assail John M. Clayton, as one wanting in liberality and generosity.

Next Judge Douglas runs a tilt at Gen. Scott as a military politician, commencing with the interrogatory ``Why has the whig party forgotten with an oblivion so complete all that it once said about military politicians?'' I retort the question, and ask, why has the democratic party forgotten with an oblivion so complete all that it once said about military politicians?

But the Judge proceeds to contrast Scott with General Pierce and with all our General presidents, except Taylor; and he succeeds in showing that Scott differs from them, in having held a military commission longer than any of them; in holding such a commission when nominated for the presidency, in not having been a physician or farmer and in not having held civil office. He does not stop to point how any of these differences is material to the question of his qualification for the presidency; but he seems to assume that disqualification must necessarily follow from these facts. Let us not adopt this conclusion too hastily. Let us examine the premises. He has held a military commission a long time---over forty years. If you assert that this has bred in him a thirst for war, and a distaste for peace, ``the known incidents of a long public life'' abundantly prove the contrary. Among them are his successful efforts for peace and against war in the South Carolina Nullification question, on the burning of the Caroline, and on the Maine boundary question. [13] The mere fact that he held a military commission when he was nominated, I presume no one will seriouslyPage  147 contend proves anything to the point. Nor is it perceived how the being a physician or farmer, should qualify a man for office. Whatever of sound views of government is acquired by the physician and farmer, is acquired not in their regular occupations, but by reading and reflection in the hours of relaxation from their regular occupations. It is probable that the leisure time for such reading and reflection would, in time of peace, be quite as abundant with an officer of the army, as with a physician or farmer.

But Gen. Scott has not held civil office, and General Pierce has; and this is the great point. Well, let us examine this too. Gen. Pierce has been in the State Legislature and in congress; and I misread his history if it does not show him to have had just sufficient capacity, and no more, of setting his foot down in the track, as his partizan leader lifted his out of it---and so trudging along in the party team without a single original tho't or independent action. Scott, on the contrary, has on many occasions, been placed in the lead, when originality of thought and independence of action, both of the highest order, have been indispensable to success; and yet he failed in none. What he has performed in these stations bears much stronger resemblance to the duties he would have to perform as president, than any thing Gen. Pierce has ever done. Indeed they were literally, in every instance, executive duties---functions delegated to Gen. Scott by the president, because the president could not perform them in person. Is it not great folly to suppose that the manner of performing them is any less a test of his capacity for civil administration than it would be if he had held a civil office at the time? They say we rely solely on Gen. Scott's military reputation. Throw it aside then. In comparing the candidates let no consideration be given to military reputations. Let it be alike forgotten that Gen. Pierce ever fainted, or that Gen. Scott ever made a ``fuss'' or wore a ``feather.'' Let them be placed in the scales solely on what they have done, giving evidence of capacity for civil administration; and let him kick the beam who is found lightest.

But, we cannot help observing the fact, that the democrats, with all their present horror of military candidates, have themselves put a general on the track. Why is this? It must have been by accident or by design; and it could not have been by accident, because I understand the party has become very philosophical, and it would be very unphilosophical to do such a thing by accident. It was by design, then. Let us try to trace it. They made their nomination before we made ours; but they knew we ought, and therefore concluded we would, not nominate Gen. Scott, and they shaped their course accordingly. They said ``confound these old generals, is therePage  148 no way of beating them? In 1840 we thought it would be mere sport to beat Harrison. We charged that his friends kept him in a cage; that he was an abolitionist, so far as he had sense enough to be anything; and we called him a petticoat general, and an old granny; but the election showed we had not hit upon the true philosophy. Again when Taylor was put up, we did not venture to call him an old granny, but we insisted he was not a whig; and, to help along, we put up a general against him, relying on our accustomed confidence in the capacity of the people to not see the difference between one who is a general, and one who is called a general, but we failed again. History is philosophy teaching by example, and if we regard the examples it has given us, we must try something new, before we can succeed in beating a general for the presidency.''

Accordingly they nominated Pierce. It soon came to light that the first thing ever urged in his favor as a candidate was his having given a strange boy a cent to buy candy with. An examination of the official reports of his doings as a general in Mexico, showed him to have been the victim of a most extraordinary scene of mishap, which though it might → by possibility have so happened with a brave and skillful general, left no considerable evidence that he was such. Forthwith also appears a biographical sketch of him, [14] in which he is represented, at the age of seventeen, to have spelled ``but'' for his father, who was unable to spell it for himself. By the way I do wish Frank had not been present on that trying occasion. I have a great curiosity to know how ``old dad'' would have spelled that difficult word, if he had been left entirely to himself. But the biography also represents him as cutting at the enemy's flying cannon balls with his sword in the battles of Mexico, and calling out, ``Boys there's a game of ball for you;'' and finally that he added enough to a balance due him to raise the whole to three hundred dollars, and treated his men.

When I first saw these things I suspected they had been put forward by mischievous whigs; but very soon I saw the biography published at length in a veritable democratic paper, conducted by a man whose party fidelity and intelligent co-operation with his party, I know to be beyond suspicion. Then I was puzzled. But nowPage  149 we have a letter from Gen. Shields, [15] in which, speaking of Pierce and himself, he says, ``As we approached the enemy's position, directly under his fire, we encountered a deep ditch, or rather a deep narrow, slimy canal, which had been previously used for the purpose of irrigation. It was no time to hesitate, so we both plunged in. The horse I happened to ride that day was a light active Mexican horse. This circumstance operated in my favor, and enabled me to extricate myself and horse after considerable difficulty. Pierce, on the contrary, was mounted on a large, heavy American horse, and man and horse both sank down and rolled over in the ditch. There I was compelled to leave him . . . After struggling there, I cannot say how long, he extricated himself from his horse, and hurried on foot to join his command, &c.''

Now, what right → had a brigadier general, when approaching the enemy's position, and directly under his fire, to sink down and roll over in a deep slimy canal and struggle there before he got out, how long, another brigadier general cannot tell, when the whole of both their brigades got across that same ``slimy canal,'' without any difficulty worth mentioning? I say, Judge Douglas, ``Is this manoeuvre sanctioned by Scott's Infantry Tactics as adopted in the army?'' This ludicrous scene in Gen. Pierce's career had not been told of before; and the telling of it by Gen. Shields, looks very much like a pertinacious purpose to ``pile up'' the ridiculous. This explains the new plan or system of tactics adopted by the democracy. It is to ridicule and burlesque the whole military character out of credit; and this [thus?] to kill Gen. Scott with vexation. Being philosophical and literary men, they have read, and remembered, how the institution of chivalry was ridiculed out of existence by its fictitious votary Don Quixote. They also remember how our own ``militia trainings'' have been ``laughed to death'' by fantastic parades and caricatures upon them. We remember one of these parades ourselves here, at the head of which, on horse-back, figured our old friend Gordon Abrams, [16] with a pine wood sword, about nine feet long, and a paste-board cocked hat, from front to rear about the length of an ox yoke, and very much the shape of one turned bottom upwards; and with spurs having rowels as large as the bottom of a teacup, and shanks a foot and a half long. That was the last militia muster here. Among the rules and regulations, no man is to wear more than five pounds of cod-fish for epaulets, or more than thirty yards of bologna sausages for a sash; and no two men are toPage  150 dress alike, and if any two should dress alike the one that dresses most alike is to be fined, (I forget how much). Flags they had too, with devices and mottoes, one of which latter is, ``We'll fight till we run, and we'll run till we die.''

Now, in the language of Judge Douglas, ``I submit to you gentlemen,'' whether there is not great cause to fear that on some occasion when Gen. Scott suspects no danger, suddenly Gen. Pierce will be discovered charging upon him, holding a huge roll of candy in one hand for a spy-glass; with B U T labelled on some appropriate part of his person; with Abrams' long pine sword cutting in the air at imaginary cannon balls, and calling out ``boys there's a game of ball for you,'' and over all streaming the flag, with the motto, ``We'll fight till we faint, and I'll treat when it's over.''

It is calculated that such opposition will take ``Old Fuss and Feathers'' by surprise. He has thought of, and prepared himself for, all the ordinary modes of assault---for over-reachings, and under-minings; for fires in front and fires in the rear; but I guess this would be a fire on the ``blind side''---totally unlooked for by him. Unless the opposition should, once more sink down, and roll over, in that deep slimy canal, I cannot conceive what is [to] save Gen. Scott.

But Judge Douglas alluding to the death of General Taylor says it was the hand of Providence which saved us from our first and only military administration. This reminds me of Judge Douglas' so much wanted [vaunted?] confidence in the people. The people had elected Gen. Taylor; and, as is appointed to all men once to do, he died. Douglas chooses to consider this a special interference of Providence, against the people, and in favor of Locofocoism. After all, his confidence in the people seems to go no farther than this, that they may be safely trusted with their own affairs, provided Providence retains, and exercises a sort of veto upon their acts, whenever they fall into the ``marvelous hallucination,'' as the Judge calls it, of electing some one to office contrary to the dictation of a democratic convention. The people have fallen into this hallucination in two of the presidential elections of the four since the retirement of Gen. Jackson. The present struggle is for the best three in five. Let us stand by our candidate as faithfully as he has always stood by our country, and I much doubt if we do not perceive a slight abatement in Judge Douglas' confidence in Providence, as well as in the people. I suspect that confidence is not more firmly fixed with the Judge than it was with the old woman, whose horse ran away with her in a buggy. She said she trusted in Providence till the britchen broke; and then she didn't know what onPage  151 airth to do. The chance is the Judge will see the breechen break, and then he can at his leisure, bewail the fate of locofocoism, as the victim of misplaced confidence.

Speaking of Mr. Fillmore, the Judge calls him, ``a man who, previous to that time (his accession to the presidency) had never furnished such proofs of superiority of statesmanship as to cause him to be looked to as a candidate for the first office.'' O ho! Judge; it is you, is it, that thinks a man should furnish proof of superiority of statesmanship, before he is looked to as a candidate for the first office? Do please show us those proofs in the case of your ``gallant and honest man, Frank Pierce.'' Do please name a single one that you consider such. What good thing, or even part of good thing has the country ever enjoyed, which originated with him? What evil thing has ever been averted by him? Compare his proofs of statesmanship with those of Mr. Fillmore, up to the times respectively when their names were first connected with presidential elections. Mr. Fillmore, if I remember rightly, had not been in Congress so long as Mr. or Gen. Pierce; yet he did acquire the distinction of being placed at the head of one of the most important Committees; [17] and as its Chairman, was the principal member of the H.R. in manturing the tariff of 1842. On the other hand, Gen. Pierce was in Congress six whole years, without being the chairman of any committee at all; and it was at the beginning of his seventh year when he was first placed at the head of one; [18] and then it was a comparatively unimportant one. To show by comparison, to the people of Illinois, the estimate in which Mr. Pierce was held, let me mention, that Douglas and McClernand [19] were each, placed at the head of an important committee, at the commencement of their second term; while it was not till the commencement of Pierce's fourth term, or rather of the fourth congress of which he had been a member, that he was admitted to the head of a less important one. I have no doubt that Col. McClernand is as much the superior of Pierce as this difference in the estimation in which they were held in Congress, would indicate. I have glanced over the Journals a little to ascertain if I could, what it is, or was, that Gen. Pierce had originated; and the most noted of any thing I could see, was a proposition to plead the Statute of Limitations against certain RevolutionaryPage  152 claims; and even this I believe he did not succeed in having adopted. There is one good democrat in our town who I apprehend would turn against Pierce if he only knew of this; for I have several times heard him insist that there is nothing but unmitigated rascality in Statutes of Limitation.

Judge Douglas says Mr. Fillmore, as president, ``did no harm to the country,'' and he says this in such connection as to show that he regards it a disparagement to an administration to be able to say no more for it, than that it ``did no harm to the country.'' And please Judge, is not an administration that ``does no harm,'' the very beau ideal of a democratic administration? Is not the very idea of beneficence, unjust, inexpedient, and unconstitutional, in your view? Take the present democratic platform, and it does not propose to do a single thing. It is full of declarations as to what ought not to be done, but names no one to be done. If there is in it, even an inference in favor of any positive action by the democracy, should they again get into power, it only extends to the collecting a sufficient revenue to pay their own salaries, including perhaps, constructive mileage to Senators. Propose a course of policy that shall ultimately supplant the monstrous folly of bringing untold millions of iron, thousands of miles across water and land, which [while?] our own hills and mountains are groaning with the best quality in the world, and in quantity sufficient for ten such worlds, and the cry instantly is ``no.'' Propose to remove a snag, a rock, or a sand-bar from a lake or river, and the cry still is ``no.''

I have seen in a dirty little democratic issue, called ``papers for the people,'' what is there called a ``democratic Battle Hymn.'' The first stanza of the delectable production runs as follows:

``Sturdy and strong, we march along,

Millions on millions of freemen bold;

Raising the dead, with our iron tread---

The noble dead, of the days of old!''

Now I do not wish to disturb the poet's delicious reverie, but I will thank him to inform me, at his earliest convenience, whether among the ``noble dead'' he saw ``stirred up'' there were any from the hulls of flats and keels, and brigs, and steam boats, which had gone to the bottom on questions of constitutionality?

After speaking rather kindly of Mr. Fillmore, the Judge proceeds to find fault with ``certain features'' of his administration, for which, he says, the Whig party is responsible, even more than Mr. Fillmore. This is palpably absurd. The Whigs hold no department of the government but the executive, and that is in the handsPage  153 of Mr. Fillmore. What can they be responsible for which he is not? What led the Judge to make this absurd declaration is equally plain. He knew the Whigs of Virginia were partial to Mr. Fillmore, and he supposed to hold him up as a good man sacrificed, might → excite his friends against Scott; but suddenly it occurs to him it will not do to leave the thing in such shape, as that the Whig party may claim it as an indorsement, to any extent, of a Whig administration. It was with some regret, that the Judge could do no more for lack of time than merely glance at these ``certain features.'' He had before, in his ratification speech at Washington, glanced at the same features, not having sufficient time to consider them at length. It is to be hoped that in some one of the twenty-seven speeches yet to come, he will find time to be a little more specific.

One of these ``certain features'' is that the proper satisfaction was not insisted upon, for the shooting of the Americans in Cuba last year. He says that, whether they were right → or wrong, they were, by a treaty stipulation, entitled to a trial, which was not given them. Now whether there is a treaty stipulation that American citizens shall not be punished in the Spanish dominions, without a fair trial, I know not; but it strikes me as most remarkable that there should be. Without any express treaty stipulation, it would seem to me to be a plain principle of public law. The question is, did the principle apply to these fifty men? Were they ``American citizens'' in the sense of that principle? The position they had assumed was, that they were oppressed Spanish subjects, and as such, had a right → to revolutionize the Spanish government in Cuba. They had renounced our authority and our protection; and we had no more legal right to demand satisfaction for their treatment, than if they had been native born Cubans. Their butchery was, as it seemed to me, most unnecessary, and inhuman. They were fighting against one of the worst governments in the world; but their fault was, that the real people of Cuba had not asked for their assistance; were neither desirous of, nor fit for civil liberty.

But suppose I am mistaken, and that satisfaction should have been demanded of Spain for the shooting of the fifty in Cuba. What should have been the nature of the satisfaction? Not pecuniary certainly? A disavowal of the act by the government, with the punishment of perpetrators? The very nature of the case made this impossible. The satisfaction, if sought at all, must have been sought in war. If Judge Douglas thought it cause for war, upon him rests the responsibility of not bringing a proposition before the Senate to declare war. I suppose he knows that under the constitution, Congress, and not the president, declares war. Does not his omission toPage  154 move in the matter, in Congress, coupled with his greediness to agitate it before ratification meetings, and African church audiences, prove that he feels much greater concern for a presidential election, than he does to vindicate the honor of the nation, or to avenge the blood of its citizens?

The extravagant expenditures of the present administration is another of the Judge's ``certain features.'' On this subject his language is very general, for want of time no doubt. At the ``ratification'' he says, ``You find the expenditures nearly doubled, running up to about sixty millions of dollars a year, in times of profound peace.'' At Richmond he says, ``I should like to know why a whig administration costs more in a profound peace than a democratic administration does during a great war.'' I have not had the opportunity to investigate this subject as I would like to do before undertaking to speak upon it; but I have learned enough to feel confident that the expenditures (of 1850-51 for instance) have not, by any plausible mode of estimating them, amounted to sixty millions, or to more than the expenditures of a ``democratic administration in a great war,'' by at least ten millions of dollars.

I take the following from a paper which, is not often misled, and never intentionally misleads others---the National Intelligencer:---

``In the discussions which have taken place, in the newspaper and elsewhere, on the financial question, an attempt has been made to hold the present administration responsible for an alleged large increase of the expenditures of the Government. With the growth of the Government, and the additional cost of governing newly acquired and distant territories, it could not well be otherwise than that the expenses of the Government must be somewhat increased, but not to anything like the amount at which it has been stated; as, for example in the ``Union'' of a few days ago, in which the expenditures of Government were charged to have reached fifty two millions of dollars, instead of the thirty seven millions which they had reached at one period of the Van Buren administration.

``Let us briefly analyze this sweeping charge. It is not true, in the first place, that the expenditures of the Government last year amounted so high as fifty millions. In so large an expenditure, however, a few millions more or less would by some persons be thought to make little difference. But the actual payments during the year amounted to only forty eight millions of dollars, instead of fifty two millions (or fifty millions, as estimated by others,) as will be seen by the following statement, made up from authentic materials:

Page  155``The payment (net expenses) of the Government for fiscal year 1850 and 1851 were . . . . . $48 005,878

From which deduct---

One Mexican instalment. . .

. . . . .$3 242 400

Mexican indemnity claims..

. . . . . 2 516 691 5 759,091

42 246,787

Duties refunded on sugar and molasses wrongfully collected (see decisions of Supreme Court) . . . . .

. . . . . $513 850

Debentures . . . . . 867 268

Excess of duties . . . . . 896 024

Expenses of collecting the revenues and sales of lands . . . . .

. . . . . 2 051 708 4 328,845

--------- ----------

38 917,936

Census expenses . . . . . 672 500

Three and five per cent. funds to states, and repayment of lands erroneously sold . . . . . 74 345

Smithsonian Institution . . . . . 30 910 777,755

--------- ----------

37 140 177

And mail service---Navy Department . . . . . 1 303,365


35,837 812

Payments to volunteers . . . . . 635 380



``Of the expenditures of the last year nearly six millions of dollars, it will be seen, went to pay in part for our little property in California.

``The duties refunded, and the expenses of collecting the revenues, &c., amounting to more than four millions of dollars, would, under former Administrations, according to the then existing laws, have been paid by and deducted from the revenue by collectors. Now every thing is paid into the Treasury and repaid to the employees, &c.

``The items under the third division of the above statement are surely not `ordinary expenses' of Government.

``The revenue from the Ocean Mail Steamers not appearing inPage  156 the receipts of the Treasury, the fourth item of the above should not be added to the expenses.

``The volunteers (comprising the fifth item) ought to have been paid years ago. Why, then, does that hold a place in the account of `ordinary expenses' of the Government?

``A just computation of the `ordinary' expenditures of the Government for the year 1851 is, therefore, by this analysis, reduced to little more than thirty five millions of dollars, being a less annual amount, as before stated, than the Government expenditure had risen to before the Whigs had ever had any effective share in the administration of the General Government.''

By this it appears that in this twice made assault upon the administration, Judge Douglas is only mistaken about twenty five millions of dollars---a mere trifle for a giant!

I come now to the key-notes of the Richmond speech---Seward---Abolition---free soil, &c. &c. It is amusing to observe what a ``Raw Head and Bloody Bones'' Seward is to universal Locofocoism. That they do really hate him there is no mistake; but that they do not choose to tell the true reason of their hatred, is manifest from the vagueness of their attacks upon him. His supposed proclamation of a ``higher law'' [20] is the only specific charge I have seen for a long time. I never read the speech in which that proclamation is said to have been made; so that I cannot by its connection, judge of its import and purpose; and I therefore have only to say of it now, that in so far as it may attempt to foment a disobedience to the constitution, or to the constitutional laws of the country, it has my unqualified condemnation. But this is not the true ground of democratic hatred to Seward; else they would not so fondly cherish so many ``higher law'' men in their own ranks. The real secret is this: whoever does not get the State of New York will not be elected president. In 1848, in New York, Taylor had 218 538 votes---Cass 114 319, and free soilism, under Van Buren 120 497, Taylor only lacking 16 234 of beating them both. Now in 1852, the free soil organization is broken up, Van Buren has gone back to Locofocoism, and his 120 thousand votes are the stakes for which the game in New York is being played. If Scott can get nine thousand of them he carries the State, and is elected; while Pierce is beaten unless he can get about one hundred and eleven thousand of them. Pierce has all the leaders, and can carry a majority; but that won't do---he cannot live unless he gets nearly all. Standing in the wayPage  157 of this Seward is thought to be the greatest obstacle. In this division of free soil effects, they greatly fear he may be able to get as many as nine out of each hundred, which is more than they can bear; and hence their insane malice against him. The indispensable necessity with the democrats of getting these New York free soil votes, to my mind, explains why they nominated a man who ``loathes the Fugitive Slave Law.'' In December or January [21] last Gen. Pierce made a speech, in which, according to two different news paper reports, published at the time in his vicinity and never questioned by him or any one else till after the nomination, he publicly declared his loathing of the Slave law. Now we shall allow ourselves to be very green, if we conclude the democratic convention did not know of this when they nominated him. On the contrary, its suposed efficacy to win free soil votes, was the very thing that secured his nomination. His Southern allies will continue to bluster and pretend to disbelieve the report, but they would not, for any consideration, have him to contradict it. And he will not contradict it---mark me, he will not contradict it. I see by the despatches he has already written a letter on the subject; but I have not seen the letter, or any quotation from it. When we shall see it, we shall also see it does not contradict the report---that is, it will not specifically deny the charge that he declared his loathing for the Fugitive Slave Law. I know it will not, because I know the necessity of the party will not permit it to be done. The letter will deal in generalities, and will be framed with a view of having it to pass at the South for a denial; but the specific point will not be made and met.

And this being the necessity of the party, and its action and attitude in relation to it, is it not particularly bright---in Judge Douglas to stand up before a slave-holding audience, and make flings at the Whigs about free soil and abolition! Why Pierce's only chance for presidency, is to be born into it, as a cross between New York old hunkerism, and free soilism, the latter predominating in the offspring. Marryat, [22] in some one of his books, describes the sailors, weighing anchor, and singing:

``Sally is a bright Mullatter,

Oh Sally Brown---

Pretty gal, but can't get at her,

Oh, Sally Brown.''

Now, should Pierce ever be President, he will, politically speaking, not only be a mulatto; but he will be a good deal darker one than Sally Brown.

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