Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

non-extension of slavery into Kansas, and the Union is eventually in quite as much danger from its extension as from its non-extension, although there is not so much said about it. I am free to admit, that if slavery is imposed upon Kansas and such a monstrous iniquity as has occurred shall be approved, my faith in the virtue and capacity of the people to sustain a wise and just republican government will be somewhat shaken. If the people so decide, “God save the Commonwealth.” But they are too much aroused just now to permit any such thing. Of prophesies and threats there has been an abundance. It is asserted that somebody has said, “if slavery is extended, the Union is worthless and ought to be dissolved.” And somebody has said, that if sixteen States elect a President, fifteen States won't stand that. And somebody else has said, that if Colonel Fremont is elected it will be the duty of somebody to march to Washington and seize the archives and the treasury. I had rather have the sub-treasury at New York than the treasury. These exhibitions of froth and folly are not all on one side of any particular line. Nor do the people who make them all wear petticoats; but it is true that some of them come from old grannies, whose age and experience should have taught them better. We have seen that the real issue in the present Presidential canvass is between the Democratic and the Republican parties, – the extension or the non-extension of slavery. All other matters are at this time of minor import. The distinctive principle of the American party, be it good or bad, is out of sight at present, swallowed up in the all absorbing question whether slavery shall be imposed upon Kansas. The party may perhaps preserve its organization. The result of its action in this election will avail it nothing further; but its capacity for mischief by a pertinacious adherence to its candidates may be very great.

What is the duty of the Whigs 2 What is now the duty of those who, with a steady adhesion to their principles and a cheerful devotion to the cause, have followed the glorious Whig banner so long as it was flung to the breeze, alike conscious of a faithful performance of duty, whether in victory or defeat?

Some of those who have heretofore been prominent members of the Whig party have announced their intention to support Mr. Buchanan. It has been reported, that a distinguished gentleman of our own State upon being rallied upon his transition from the Whig to the Democratic party, replied, that if he was about to leave the ranks of Orthodoxy he would not stop at Arminianism, but would go on to infidelity at once. What a marvellous felicity of illustration that gentleman possesses!

Another gentleman known as a Whig, a senator from Missouri, in declaring his intention to vote for Mr. Buchanan, says, “while I cannot approve and do not intend to adopt the platform of principles promulgated by the late Democratic convention at Cincinnati, I feel assured that notwithstanding the exceptional doctrines it announces, especially those referring to our foreign relations, the administration of Mr. Buchanan would be safe, prudent, and conservative.” For myself, I do not understand this support of Mr. Buchanan without adopting his platform. It is said that he is the platform. There is no such separation to be made. If you vote for the man, you vote for the platform, for he is pledged to it. A man may

“Steal the livery of the court of heaven
To serve the devil in.”

But the service he performs will be a devilish service, and the anthems he sings will not be “holiness to the Lord.” A man may train in the Democratic ranks with a Whig overcoat on, but he must hurrah for the Democratic candidates and keep step to the music of the Democratic party. The outward habiliments will not determine the character. The ass covered his shoulders with the lion's skin, but the tremendous roar which he expected would follow turned out to be nothing but the bray of the donkey, after all. Let no Whig vote for Mr. Buchanan with the supposition that the Democratic party have changed their policy respecting Kansas. Up to the time of the election in Maine, no measures were taken by the administration for the relief of the Free State settlers. To all appeals the answer was, “Obey the laws.” Mr. Governor Geary, upon whose appointment there were some hopes of an intention to mete out a better measure of justice, made haste very slowly to assume the duties of his office, notwithstanding the disorders which it was his duty to suppress were most notorious. It seemed as if he was purposely kept back until that election should give some indication of the feeling of the people. If every thing went well in Maine, then Woodson might be left to follow the course of Shannon, and the banditti permitted to pursue their ravages as territorial militia. The eighteen thousand pounder in Maine struck terror and dismay into the administration at Washington, and the echoes were forthwith heard in Kansas. Mr. Geary made all speed about that time to his government, and the St. Louis News, before he reached that point, proclaimed that there was a lull in the affairs of Kansas. Atchison, with his invading army, was probably told, “It won't do, you must go back or Buchanan will be defeated; ”—while the arrest of some 130 Free State men on a charge of treason and murder, for attacking those who had been committing depredations upon them, may serve to satisfy even the border ruffians that their interests are well cared for in the mean time. How long the “lull” will last, remains to be seen. Whether the storm will rage again may depend upon which way the wind blows on the 4th of November.

Others of the Whigs, not being willing to go to the –, I beg your pardon, gentlemen, - not being willing to go into infidelity in this way, have sought some other association. A convention calling itself a Whig Convention, was held a short time since in this State. That there were Whigs in it I have no doubt; but there is some evidence that it was not a Whig convention. The suppression of a reasonable discussion, and by unearthly noises, is neither Whig principle nor Whig practice. But let that pass. You doubtless looked with solicitude for the views of the convention upon the great question of the canvass, – the only question of practical importance. The presiding officer, professing to give a somewhat full and formal expression of opinion in relation to the momentous issues now before the people of the United States, says of Kansas, –

“I cannot forget, moreover, that there are diseases in the political, as well as in the physical system, for which mere local applications and mere topical treatment are utterly insufficient and often injurious, and where the only hope of a radical cure is in purifying and invigorating and building up anew the general health of the patient. Wise physicians in such cases prescribe what I believe they call an alterative medicine. And this deplorable Kansas malady will, in my opinion, prove to be precisely one of this class of disorders. It demands an alterative; and those who rely so much upon direct applications for the relief of the superficial symptoms, distressing as they are, will find themselves, I fear, grievously disappointed.”

It appears to me that the symptoms have not been very superficial. We all agree that an alterative is necessary; but what is to be the particular medicine 2 Pills of lead and powders of gunpowder are very powerful alteratives, but they do not generally improve the condition of the patient.

There is some significance in the inquiry afterwards made by the presiding officer in the course of his speech. What had a Republican House of Representatives “accomplished for suffering, bleeding Kansas 2" (Not very superficial!) Adding, “does any man here doubt that if men of less extreme and extravagant views, men more conciliatory and practical in their purposes, had been in Congress, those odious and abhorrent Kansas laws would have been repealed before the session closed?” How this repeal might have been accomplished is not said. Men more conciliatory and practical in their purposes, might probably have obtained a repeal of some of those odious and abhorrent laws by the compromise of voting for Toombs's bill, which would assuredly have sealed the fate of Kansas, and made it a Slave State beyond redemption.

Another distinguished speaker, and a personal friend, said:—

“How any man can acquit the administration of President Pierce from being the source and origin of most of the disorders which are now distracting that region and spreading their exciting influence over the country, I cannot see. I admit that all the elements of trouble in that territory are not directly chargeable to the administration; but the administration was responsible, – first, for the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and then for its course in countenancing the illegal votes from a neighboring region which put into power a legislature which had the forms of law, but which in its election and rule was an embodiment of injustice; and for giving its support to the measures of that body, which are disgraceful to humanity, disgraceful to liberty, and disgraceful to the spirit of the age. Now the duty of the administration was as plain as the light of the sun at noonday. The whole of this work should have been undone. This legislature should have

« AnteriorContinuar »