Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

days did not hold out a false signal of equal rights, and then gag and plunder and murder their victims, under the hollow pretence of being a territorial militia, enforcing the laws.

The result of this horrible iniquity has been stated in the appeals for aid recently made to the people of the Eastern States. God grant that hearts may feel and hands may open as they never felt and opened before, in aid of the Free State settlers in Kansas, that the storms of the coming winter may not sweep over the desolate hearthstones of those who have perilled their all in the cause of freedom.

It has been said in high quarters and low quarters that all the difficulties in Kansas have been occasioned by the Emigrant Aid Society; that if it had not been for the interference of that Society, Kansas would in the natural course of things have come in quietly as a free State. But the resolution of the Platte County borderers, adopted before the Emigrant Aid Society was even thought of, show the utter hollowness and falsity of all such pretences. I have no authority to speak for the Emigrant Aid Society, and know nothing of its plans and purposes except what is before the public. I am willing to take it for granted that the main object of that society was to facilitate the introduction of settlers into Kansas with a view of making it a free State, and perhaps of ultimately deriving a profit to the corporation. If it were solely with the purpose of aiding in the settlement, with the view of securing the Territory to freedom, it was a perfectly legitimate object. The repeal of the Compromise opened the Territory to such efforts on both sides. It was just what was to have been anticipated. So long as the effort was made in good faith to promote actual settlement, no reasonable exception could be taken. - It was the introduction of those who were not settlers, for the purpose of voting and over

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

awing the inhabitants, which furnished ground of complaint; and I have yet to learn that there is a particle of evidence that the Emigrant Aid Society has done any such thing. What has been charged upon it was that it paid the expenses of emigrants, which it had a perfect right to do, but which it denies having done. I am aware that near the close of the examinations before the investigating committee of the House of Representatives, some testimony was introduced to the effect that two or three persons who were leaving the Territory just after the election, said the Emigrant Aid Society paid their expenses to come there and vote. Some reckless person may so have said, but I doubt it. If the declaration were made under the circumstances stated, it would furnish no proof against the society or its members. But no such charge was made or suggested until the damning proof of illegal voting by the Missourians required some set-off, if one could possibly be conjured up. And then came this proof of declarations by nobody knows who. It was entirely an after-thought. No one with a grain of common sense, and any knowledge of the facts, ever believed a word of it. It may be true that if Kansas becomes a free State it will be owing to the lawful and judicious action of the members of the society, counteracting the unholy projects of the border slave-holders, and the unscrupulous politicians. This is the head and front of its offending. Honor, then, to the Emigrant Aid Society. Honor to the City of Lawrence, which it founded, and to its Free State hotel, the walls of which still stand, notwithstanding the patriotic labors of the sheriff's posse. And, above all, and beyond all, honor to the stout hearts and strong arms which have resisted oppression, and abide the issue with the stern determination that Kansas shall be free.

It was but a matter of course that great interest should be manifested respecting the course of the different political parties on the subject in the impending presidential election. There are three parties in the field, and we have their platforms before us.

It
may

be well to devote a few moments to a review of them. The Democratic Convention have collected together a mass of truisms about which no controversy exists, and reëndorsed their adhesion, nominally, to all that they have maintained heretofore. There is a declaration of eternal hostility to a National Bank. As the Bank was killed by General Jackson, about a quarter of a century ago, and Mr. Webster long since characterized it as an obsolete idea, this plank of the platform was probably designed as a wooden slab, to be placed over its grave. There is a resolution in favor of the veto power, and another against a system of internal improvements. But a democratic Senate having, within a few days, passed bill after bill making appropriations for internal improvements, over, and notwithstanding, the President's veto, it seems clear that these are shifting planks of the platform, which can be removed at any time when the party is in danger, if it stand too firmly upon them. There is a resolution in favor of the sub-treasury, respecting which no one now proposes a change; and one against fostering one branch of industry at the expense of another, which no one seeks to do. There is a resolution that it is the duty of the government to enforce and practise the most rigid economy in conducting our public affairs — exemplified by a most wasteful and extravagant expenditure whenever the party is in power; and one in favor of a strict construction of the Constitution, which the party uniformly construes in the most lax manner, or wholly disregards upon flimsy pretexts, whenever it suits their purposes. Witness, for ex

ample, the admission of Texas, with an agreement that it shall be divided into five States, there being no constitutional authority for the admission, or the agreement. There are resolutions against the American party, the design of which is to secure the vote of the naturalized citizens, while the party privately makes love to the American party, and proposes a union whenever the defeat of the Republican party shall require it. So much for show and humbug ; and then comes the plank of planks, in the denunciation of the Republican party as a sectional party, in the support of the extension of slavery by the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, — in the nominal recognition of the right of the inhabitants of the territories to form their own institutions respecting slavery, - a principle which the party were violating in Kansas at the very time it was promulgated; closing with a call upon the next administration for every proper effort to secure our ascendency in the Gulf of Mexico; which means, being interpreted, that measures be taken to give Cuba the opportunity to form her institutions, in the faith that she cannot form them amiss in relation to slavery. The American party, or rather the southern section of it, after a political thanksgiving, presents the perpetuation of the Federal Union, the recognition of the reserved rights of the States, non-intervention in those things that belong exclusively to individual States — opposition to a union between church and state—investigation into abuses, and strict economy; respecting all which, that party has no distinctive features. There is, besides, the maintenance and enforcement of all laws, until said laws shall be repealed, or shall be declared null and void by competent judicial authority, which is broad enough to embrace the enforcement of the laws of the usurping legislature of Kansas, and was probably de

signed to cover that very case, in the slave-holding States at least. Witness the nomination of Donelson, to say nothing, just now, of Mr. Fillmore. The remaining portion relates mainly to the distinctive principle of that party, that “ Americans must rule America."

The Republican party, addressing its call to all without regard to past differences, who agree in its principles, first resolved that the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence, and embodied in the Federal Constitution, are essential to the preservation of our republican institutions, and that the Federal Constitution, the rights of the States, and the union of the States, shall be preserved." This, with an indorsement of some particular principles of the Declaration and of the Constitution may be regarded as "the glittering and sounding generalities” of the platform. The application of these principles to the nonextension of slavery, with a recital of the wrongs of Kansas and a resolution in favor of her admission under the Topeka constitution, the denunciation of the highwayman's plea, that "might makes right,” and a declaration of opposition to all legislation impairing the security of liberty of conscience and equality of rights among citizens, furnish the fanatical and sectional portion of it. There is besides a support of a railroad to the Pacific, and other internal improvements of a national character.

There is nothing in the platform of either of these parties adverse to the integrity of the Union. On the contrary, each professes its entire devotion to it. And the Union is in just about as much danger from the success of one as that of another. The dissolution of the Union is not dependent immediately upon the issue of this election. The great, the all absorbing issue in the controversy is the extension or

« AnteriorContinuar »