I received a note from you some two weeks since, and I have deferred writing either to yourself or Mr Bradburm because the people here in favor of Sunday lectures have been tardy in getting in motion.
The subject had not been much canvassed prior to the receipt of your letter, and nothing definite has yet been arrived at. You are aware, I suppose that it takes time to bring about a thing of this kind. However, the prospect now is that it will be accomplished, and before many days I expect to be able to extend an invitation to Mr Bradburn to come here, or perhaps some other person will do it in my stead.
I thought it most expedient to write this to you under the circumstances, especially as so long a time has elapsed since you wrote.
If an invitation is extended to Mr Bradburn it will be directed to your care. You will oblige me by acquainting him with the purpose of this letter.
November Wednesday [?] 21, ’55
Dear B.: ____ about [?] us [?],
____ ____ I left
Friday, Sept. 16, [?] ’55
I give up visiting the city to-day,
because I am not very well, & shall need all my strength for our passage by
I do not see, with sufficient clearness, the ____ of your invention, to justify me in urging, on my own account, any one to advance the money you need. Perhaps, however, I may find someone who would be disposed, after examining the invention, to advance the necessary means, from his faith in its worth. If so, I will commend him to you; of course, without appraising him, myself, of the nature of your discovery.
I think we may be about some two weeks.
Most Sincerely Yours,
Sarah Hoyt sets out for
She is going to Fin du Las,
I write this in great haste and have hardly time to think of any thing else to tell you, except what I have already written. The Hildreths are about going to Auburndale for the summer. I have little to tell you of myself. My book is nearly written, and partly printed - but will not be published perhaps for a year or two - will make 400 pages, or more - hope to make a fortune by it - Should have written you had I any thing important to tell you - Have felt very sorry to hear that you have been in ill health - hope you are better now - Do write me - had hoped you would come in [?] here to live - My love to Mrs Bradburn.
[The following is upside down on the bottom of the page.]
Lysander Spooner, of
____ ____, get - Nanny [?]
____ ____ - ____
____ Jan. 31 Milburn [?]
When your last reached me, I was suffering so under there ____ of fever & ____, that I did not try, even, to find when that fine daughter of our friends, the Hoyts, arrived, or whether or not she came to Cleveland at all.
As the best means of driving that discuss from my system, I have concluded to make a protracted sort of clamming[?] excursion. We mean to leave here early next month. At what ____, precisely, we shall ____ the Summer, if you are really to have a Summer, this year, down East, I do not know; but it must be near Boston, & at a point where the cost of keeping body & mind [?] together shall be as little as will consist with the preservation of that union.
I am glad you “expect to make”
your “fortune by” your new book; for really, - whatever may she come of that
expectation, - The
What strange duress[?] in the political world, you have had in ____! But I have been quite out of that world, for the last year & a half, & ____, as in the state of my health [?] I could only doze [?], over my ____. - I was sorry to find so many Free Soilers, Hale & Wilson among them, falling into Know Nothingism. This going for “the nippers” [?] at the sort [?] of “the puddies[?]”, strikes [?] me as not exactly the thing, for intelligent people who have souls to save. [?] I trust you are not “one of ‘em”. I do not know but I referred to this subject in a former note to you, & may have been expecting myself. I had a bit of pleasant correspondence respecting it with ____ ____.
Once in a while, I get a glimpse
of our friend French. He continues his editing,
down here at
I had a letter, a few days ago,
from “Noggs”, & answered it in reason [?] for the answer to reach him at Niagra[?]
My doctors tell me I need seven months of quiet, within [?] the scent of ocean air. I shall try to get it, though it will have cost me great pains to do so.
Most Truly Yours,
I was glad, & so was my wife, to receive, through Mr. Koenance[?], a message of love from you; with a casual intimation, that you were about getting “a patent”.
I suppose I understand for what the latter is to be, & begin already to solace myself with the hope, that I may yet find something to rest on.
What is the difference between your old friend M. Lion[?], & my old friend Chose; I mean Anti-Slavery wise? The latter has done what he could to narrow the forth-coming Phila. [?] platform to a couple of meassne[?] plouhs.[?] But he tells our old-fashioned friends, that they must be careful, that the man to be placed on that platform is of great anti-slavery breadth, yet free from all fanatical or fantastic notions, touching measures generally, & construing the Constitution in particular. To which man is especial all that[?] points, I hardly need say.
But I am for either “a representative man”, or one who can win, that is, “an available man”, as Gov. C. would say, or one through whom some “practical advantage” can be derived to “the cause”. And I do not believe I have in[?] either. If he, & them such as he, will force us upon a narrow platform, I will do my best to secure a candidate for it of corresponding dimensions. And that, I say, is necessary, in order to make his grand “availability” principle “practically” available”. He professes not to think so; which makes me query, if his own unfortunate - unfortunate, [?] I mean, in reference to any immediate Presidential prospects - reputation for breath, may not, of course vary unconsciously to himself, have something to do with our non-agreement.
I declare I don’t know but I am taking almost a malicious pleasure in pressing those who have so long offended me, with the doctrine of “availability”; a doctrine which hardly could have existed in the absence of some formulation for that of “total depravity”! This, really, the only opportunity which has occurred in a Presidential contest, of applying the doctrine. I say that, because I believe there is a chance of electing an Anti-Nebraska man, provided we shall nominate one who has never done good enough to make himself infamous with “the people”; though I do not believe that chance is at all as good as many a wiser man than myself believes it to be. And even you will not deem it ____ to go for some such man as ____ with a chance of winning two articles of my creed, than it was to go for so ____ any a man as ____ with certainty of Cosing [?] the whole ____.
A very active A.S. in this State
has intense abhorrence of Judge M. Lion[?] & an implied faith in the
immaculateness[?] of Dr. Bailey. He
declares he would sooner go for the Devil than for the Judge. Yet Bailey tells
I see, that Sumner has lost his dignity. That loss must be the cause’s gain. (See p. 5.)
Have [?] your feelings changed
towards Gerrit Smith? I inferred, from
an observation of
My health is decidedly less bad. But I am not yet the man I hope to be. My ears trouble me; but my surgeon [?] assures me it is not because “they are too long” - The cause which he explained for the ____ of a “distinguished” Doctor of Divinity in this city.
I have just read the ____ account
of the assault on Sumner, yesterday. Most an atrocious act it was! If B.P.[?] Wade, of this State, or Henry
Of Sen. Granger, who has been, in a speech before the lower House of Congress, repeating some of your ideas, I know not whether he is a man to all ____ to what he ____. But it would have been alike modest & honest in him to have made some acknowledgement of his indebtedness to “one Lysander Spooner”.
I see your friend French,
occasionally. He has got up a campaign
paper, for which he calls “The Barkleons[?]”.
I wish it may profit him, & import strength to his own, for I
suppose we all need to be strengthened in the spinal region. I had hoped Gov. C___ would confer some
office on French, since the latter’s was the first ____ to ____ the former’s
name for the Gubernatorial Chair of Ohio.
But the truth is, C___ , in distributing the executive favor of the
Commonwealth has sought to conciliate enemies, rather than acknowledge
obligations to friends, as a means, of ____, of achieving something “available
to the cause”. I tried to induce the
Governor to give the Canal [?] Collection ____ of
I suppose Hildreth, though not
well pleased with the “slavery” of his present position, may fix his residence
Our ____ had, a few days ago, a
____ presented to her; whereat “all hands” ____ to ____ more than
I saw our friends, the Hoyts. I have heard nothing, nor have I heard ____ of of theirs, since I was at their house. I desire to be remembered by them.
With the love of Francis & of my own, I am
The Cleveland Herald of May 9th,
which you sent me, was not recd until yesterday. It shows that you are a little more of a
compromiser than I was aware of.
Although I was aware that you had some proclisties[?] that way. I have thus far been in a very enviable state
of indifference as to the coming election.
I may possibly become more interested in the course of the canvass, if
there should be enough fighting in Hanras[?] and enough broken heads at
I expect to receive my patent
this week for the invention I spoke to you of and I have great confidence that
it is going to be valuable. I wish I had
the money for it now, that I might give my attention to other things. I think the world is “perishing for lack of
knowledge”, which I could give them; and I every day reproach myself for being
engaged in any such commonplace business as making money, or getting a
living. But since the world does not
sufficiently appreciate my genius to buy my books, I have no alternative but to
ask them to buy my beds and chairs. If I
should establish a good reputation for beds and chairs, that may prove such a
stepping stone to public favor, that I may
You see what brilliant visions I am indulging myself with and I have no doubt I shall have your hearty prayers my success, especially in the mechanical department.
I heard that Kitteredge [?] had
Give my love to Mrs Bradburn.
An indignation meeting was held
at Faneuil [?] Hall last night, on account of Sumner. Hillard, [?] Malley, [?] Pelag [?]
Please do not give Mrs Hoyt any information at all in regard to my letter to Booth. Let them sweat. Neither of them would give me a particle of information to save my life. My should I achieve their curiosity, or their fears. They have neither the honor or magnanimity to appreciate any thing I might do, at the expense of my own feelings, to achieve theirs. Though I would not stoop to annoy them, I am nevertheless pleased that they should be annoyed, when it can so happen without my fault.
I wish to know the course [?] of
proceeding, to obtain a patent for a mechanical invention. I am as utterly ignorant in the premises as
an idiot would ____ be. I seek the information for a friend. He is somewhat
apprehensive that his invention , may be ____ by new mechanical ____ to
construct a model of it, should he ___ ___ one. I believe that both ___ & a
description of the ___ thing invented are required to be sent to the office in
ILLEGIBLE – TOO LIGHT
P.S. Of course, you’ll [?] not
____ to visit your next to
P.S. 2nd. Would it be of use for Mr Muether [?] to visit
Please send your answer to the
patent part of this letter James Atwater [?], Care of William Atwater [?] &
I shall be glad to hear from you
at any time, at
Louis [?] Tippan [?] told me he should be right glad to have your pamphlet distributed, as you proposed to Smith if the money could be raised; would even pay for the distribution himself, had he $30,000 to spend. Gooddell thinks he could almost move the _____ hall, had he such friends to help him as Garrison has.
[This letter seems to be missing the introduction]
[On the left hand margin it
reads]: mailed at ____
Mrs. Haughton [?] ____ Miss B. as quite an attractive person;
graceful, & intellectual, with grand blue eyes, & a spirited face. Does not think she ever really loved Mr. S.,
but believes she would have married him soon enough, had he been in possession
of the means of giving her a home, which was what she most felt the need of, felt
the need of so much that she would have taken almost any respectable man to secure
[next page; it seems as if some of this letter may have been torn off]
to understand it was pretty much all gammen[?] on her part; doing so by aside looks, gestures, perhaps words, & what not.
Mr. H. does not think B. was very attractive, such a woman as a man would be particularly likely to fall in love with. He says she was smart, though.
H. Remarked, on hearing Mrs.
Houghton’s observations, that they confirmed her original opinion, that Miss B.
was not a woman of principle. Yet Mrs.
A: [in different handwriting] Miss B.’s not having S., has probably been modified, somewhat, by some little account I gave her of the former’s letters to Mr. S.
I have not yet had a chance to learn if the other Mrs. H. has heard from Miss B. suspect she has not.
I do not know to=day, that we
shall return to
With F.’s [?] regards, I am truly yours,
The article was sent to Mr Atlantic,
about the first of August last, with a note from myself to Underwood, [?] who lately
returned the paper, saying it
only because the
I have reced enough of the Atlantic,
not to be able to imagine why the “Leaves” were excluded, if
You & I probably do not
differ as to what was meant to be “the sentiment” of that article. I was willing enough to ____
So; I have done nothing to get
I meant to follow up the “Leaves”
with others, should they be accepted; the norm being one under which I could
say almost anything, & yet people within
I have just sent to T.L. Severance,
I return Mrs Bradburn’s letter. The Editor of the Traveller[?] (I do not know his name) said he knew you, that he was a member of the legislature with you. He impressed quite a high opinion of your powers. I think it probable he will permit the discourse. I think he said that very likely that you did not know him.
Your very truly
L. E. Sewall
Thanks, dear Spooner, for your
sympathetic letter. An old English
Clivine[?], an authority you will of course
At what hours or hour,
Mrs Frances H Bradburn
Care of George Bradburn Esq.
[Written along right side]
Obituary of George Bradburn
Dec 1- 1879
Died at Milrose, on the 26th inst. aged 74 years.
Of the strong men of the
anti-slavery cause, in its days of trial - of those in whose ability, fidelity,
and courage most reliance was placed - George Bradburn was one of the select
few. He enlisted at an early day, and
continued in the service more than twenty years; doing a great deal of speaking,
Absurd and exclusive social,
political, and religious customs, opinions and, prejudices found little mercy
at his hands. The more hoary and
He was a delegate to the World’s
Anti-Slavery Convention, held in
To one clinical bigot, who feared
that the anathemas of the Convention against slavery might be so sweeping as to
conflict with the apostle Paul’s apparent sanction of it, Bradburn replied that
if it were proved that the New Testament sanctioned American Slavery, he would
some [sic] of the priests then present, that it was omitted from the published reports of the debates. Truly the world has moved in more senses than one within the last forty years; and the abolitionists did their part towards making it move.
In addition to his labors as a
platform speaker, he served four years - from 1839-1842 inclusive
[There give Mrs Child’s poem.]
To George Bradburn, the bold opposer of any limitation of sight by the graduation of color, and the true reacted champion of Woman’s Freedom, this volume is presented with the best wishes & gratitude of the Author.
God give you strength to run, Un___ by Earth or Hell. The race [?] you have began so gloriously and well!
This tribute to him was presented
His His [sic] colloquial powers in private had the same characteristics, and were perhaps as attractive, as those exhibited in his public speeches. It can hardly be necessary to say that he had hosts of friends. It could not be otherwise with a man so frank, courageous, and largehearted. For the last twenty years he has been little before the public. An increasing deafness has contributed, among other things, to keep him in private. It is understood that a memoir of him is likely to be preferred: which will certainly be highly valued by those who were associated with him in anti-slavery days.
Would it not be well to refer to
his being dead as one of the Delegates from this Country to “The World’s
Convention” held in
aged 73 years.
[Written down the left-hand
margin is] Lysander Spooner,
Of the strong men of the
anti-slavery cause, in its days of trial - of those in whose ability, fidelity,
and courage most reliance was placed - George Bradburn was one of the select
few. He enlisted in the service more
than twenty years; doing a great deal of speaking and some writing; and was
among the most effective, more, a champion to be trusted. He became, at one time, more widely known
throughout the Northern States, than almost any
[Here give Mrs Child’s poem]
Surely in this country, and
within this century, no other cause has so tested the moral natures of men and
women, as did the anti-slavery cause in its early days: and no one who knew
George Bradburn at that time will
His colloquial powers in private
had the same characteristics, and were perhaps as attractive, as those
exhibited in his public speeches. It can
hardly be necessary to say that he had hosts of friends. It could not be otherwise with a more so
frank, courageous, faithful, and
[Written on a separate page.]
L. Spooner Esq.
Sir I had the pleasure a few days since of receiving yours of the 29 th saying you inclosed [sic] to me No Treason No. 2 which come [sic] safely to hand - also a second copy - for which I sincerely thank you. I fear my intrusive correspondence has become an annoyance to you, as to the Republican to whom you were so kind as to send a copy of your pamphlet. I seldom see that paper. Did you get the Advocate I sent you? I showed the first NP. to several friends and by some means they have lost it which I regret very much. The truth is the Southern papers are afraid to publish any thing ofthe [sic] however much approved.
You are no doubt well apprised of
the situation of
Again sir I thank you for your kindness and would it were in my power to reciprocate your favors.
Your friend and humble servant
In: S. Briekey [?]
Captain Drayton [?]
To the Editor of the Commonwealth.
I see by my weekly Commonwealth,
just arrived, that an effort is about to be made in
For the whole four years that these men were in prison, I paid the rent of Capt. Drayton’s [?] house - supplied his family with fuel, and with many other necessities of life, writing them nearly every month, and furnished a committee of ladies [?] with the means to set up a little shop for Mrs D.: all amounting to $ 648.20
Sent to S.P. Blanchard [?],
Sent to Capt. D. G. [?] when in prison, & gave them since coming out, in checking one quarter’s rent in advance $ 198.50
Expenses of Mrs Drayton to, at,
Omiting re [?] $8.00
Total $ 1027.76
Beside this, at the advice of
Horace Mann in February 1851, I entered into an agreement with Daniel Rutcliffe
Esq, [?] at Washington to pay him $1000 for engaging to use his influence and
exert his labours to effect the release of captives D. G. [?] by getting the
signatures of the owners of the slaves of the Pearl [?] to a release of all
claims against them. Of this sum I was
to pay $400 down, and the balance $600, in case he was successful in getting
the men out of prison that
You see therefore that $1427.76
have passed through my hands alone to aid these men; and I know that something
else was done for
Charles D. Cleveland.
Will the editor of the Commonwealth please in sert [sic] the above in the Daily & Weekly, and oblige his friend.
Ch [?] D.
Please let the print be carefully read, particularly the figures.
[Copy of Prof. Cleveland’s
article to the
To the editor of the Commonwealth,
I see by my weekly Commonwealth,
just received, that an effort is about to be made in
For the whole four years that these men were in prison, I paid the rent of Capt. Drayton’s house - supplied his family with fuel, and with many other necissaries [sic] of life, visiting them nearly every month, and furnished a committee of ladies with the means to set up a little shop for Mrs D.; all amounting to $648.26
Sent to J.P. Blanchard,
procuring counsel $101.00
Sent to Capt. D. & S. when in prison, and gave them since
coming out, including one quarter’s rent in advance $198.50
Expenses of Mrs Drayton to, at,
aid in her husband’s release $72.00
Printing to [?] $8.00
Besides this, at the advice of
Horace Mann in February 1851, I entered into an agreement with Daniel Ratcliffe
[?] Esq, at
You see therefore that $1427.76 have passed through my hands alone to aid these men; and I know that something else was done for Captain Drayton by others in this city, in answer to the occasional appeals in the National Era. [?]
Charles D. Cleveland
Will the Editor of the
Commonwealth please insert the above in the Daily & Weekly and
oblige his friend. Chs.[?]
Please let the proof be carefully read, particularly the figures”.
I believe the foregoing is a true
Wendell Phillips & others.
“Mess Wendell Phillips
& Lysander Spooner.
Your letter of the 11th (postmarked 15th), in relation to the account I sent the Commonwealth of the money contributed in this city for Capt Drayton, is received, and I must say that I am not a little surprised at its tone. Though you do not know me personally, I did flatter myself that you knew enough about my character to know that I could do nothing ‘designedly’ to lessen, a single cent, any amount that might be proposed to raise for one who had suffered so much for the cause of human freedom. At least, Gentlemen, I could never suppose any such thing of any one of you. You speak, also, of the ‘professed’ object of my article, as if [it] had some other than that which it professed to have. I cannot but feel hurt that you should have made such an insinuation. The fact in relation to the matter is simply this.
I had heard from various quarters, that impressions had been made upon the friends of humanity at the North, either by Capt. D. or others, that after his troubles and during the time of his imprisonment, the friends of the cause have, and I in particular, had not done what we ought to
[It seems a line or two may be missing from the bottom of the 1st page.]
and him and his family. It was to counteract this impression that I sent the article. It was my real as well as my ‘professed’ object. But as you seem to think it would have a tendency to lessen the amount that might be raised for Capt. D. I rejoice that you had it withheld. You may return it to me, or throw it into the fire, as you choose. If you send a copy to Capt. Drayton, as you propose, and which you are at perfect liberty to do, would not simple justice demand that you should send with it, or after it, this very [?] disclaimer.
And now allow me to notice one or
two other remarks in your letter. You
say, ‘ It is generally supposed that you (I) had a very active agency in
inducing Capt. D. to undertake the
In the fall of 1847, a coloured
man by the name of Stevenson, called a ____ for and. He said his wife and 5 children were slaves
A few days after I received a
letter from a gentleman of Washington, saying that there were two or three
slave cases there of great distress - females, who had for months been
concealed by humane families to prevent their being sold; that it was
exceedingly desirous that they should soon be got off; and that, if I should
see Capt. Drayton, I might tell him the facts, and state that he would be paid
liberally for his aid in the work. I
sent for Capt. Drayton to call on me. I
read to him the letter, and told him that if he would be able to get a vessel at
his own cost and entirely at is own risk, I thought the friends of humanity
here would privately aid him, and that I would give him a letter to this
So also in the case of poor Hankly. [?] Though I was not privy [?] to that expedition, yet those in this city who were, and who furnished the means, though they deeply deplore the issue, (as he was doubtless murdered, and thrown into the Ohio) yet they feel no blameworthiness, as he went encouraged, [?] well knowing the danger, and in fact seeming to court it.
In the postscript to your letter, by Mr Hildreth, he says that Capt. Drayton complained that I wished to be the sole channel through which benefactors [?] should be conveyed to his family. [?] Nothing could be further from the truth. At least half a dozen persons here, men and women, can testify that I tried to interest them in the case. On this matter I might easily fill a page, but I will not try your patience, nor take up my time with such details.
Mr Hildreth also remarks that
“Capt Drayton’s firmness [?] saved me from a danger which I was earnest to
avert”. If he means by this he’s not
divulging my name as privy to the enterprise, let me say, that I wrote to
Horace Mann distinelly, [?] that if it would be the least service to Capt.
Drayton, he had full liberty to proclaim all my knowledge of the affair, and
the aid I had rendered him, though I could not answer for Mr Davis and
the other gentlemen. But his doing this,
had I gone on as a witness to state the whole truth, would have involved
him in at least one additional enterprise of the kind, before I knew him, and
would doubtless have greatly increased the wrath of the slaveholders against
him, and injured his cause, and, as Mr Mann thought could do no good. But if Mr H means that I was “earnest to
avert” the necessity of going to
Trusting that this communication, extended to a much greater length than I intended, will place some phases of this subject in a new light to you. I remain,
Prof. Charles D. Cleveland,
Yours of Feby. 18th
was duly recd, and would have been sooner answered, had there seemed to be any
urgent occasion for an immediate
We hope you will acquit us of any
intention to do injustice to you. Our
only object was to protect the interests of Capt. Drayton from injury. If, in attempting to do that, we have
indulged in any unjust suspicions as to your feelings towards him, we trust the
circumstances will excuse us in your estimation. We knew that Capt. D. felt that
We trust you will excuse us for
adding, that we think that all those persons, without exception,
who participated, in any way, either by persuasion, or by
We do not now express an opinion
We shall feel obliged if you suggest these views to the other parties, for whom they are designed.
The original deposited in P.O. March 31/54
Prof. Charles D. Cleveland,
We have seen an article of yours
relative to Capt. Drayton, sent to the Editor of the
The professed object of the article is to convince the friends of the Capt. D. here, that the friends in Phila. have not “been remiss” in regard to him.
As we are not aware that
It is, that, if you have done
your duty to Capt. Drayton, we see no occasion for your publishing it to the
world, especially in this manner and at this time. If you have not done,
The ____ and professed object of
your article seem to assess [?] that, in your own opinion, you have done all
for Capt. D. which you can ever be under obligation to do. We think that may depend on
circumstances. It is generally supposed
that you had a very active agency in inducing him to undertake the
Capt. D. was in prison four years
and four months. He came out with a
mined [?] canstribution; [?] and has since
We think Capt. Drayton ought to
Having been asked to sign this letter, and having had occasion to be pretty well informed of the relations between Mr Cleveland and Capt. Drayton, I do so without hesitation. Capt. Drayton does not complain, and never did complain, so far as I know, of any want of interest in his case on the part of the Philadelphia friends, but only that Mr Cleveland insisted upon being the exclusive conduit pipe through which their benevolence might pass, and that he stood in the way of what some others, could they but have found out his family, would like to have done. Upon the justice of these complaints I do not at this time, intend to express any opinion. I do not doubt that Mr Cleveland may have found Captain Drayton and his family troublesome - but from the peculiar relations in which he stood to them, this was no more than he might have expected. Captain Drayton’s steady firmness saved Mr Cleveland from a danger which he was very anxious and earnest to avert; and even some injustice, on the part of Captain Drayton (if he has been guilty of any) would altogether fail to justify Mr Cleveland in the publishment of the document above referred to, and of which the design is too obvious to be concealed.
Captain Daniel Drayton
Some days ago your wife left at
my house a letter of a most extraordinary character, addressed to me,
purporting to be dictated by you, signed in your name. ____ all I had done for you and yours; the
time & labor spent on your behalf, & in behalf of your family the whole
four years you were in prison; the money I raised at two separate [?] times for
your counsel; and considering, too the letters which I received from you, (and
which I now have) after you had been three years in prison, expressing the
warmest gratitude towards me for all my exertions in
You ask, “ where is the six hundred of the thousand dollars that you collected for me me, [sic] to pay over to Mr Ratcliffe[?], but which Mr Ratcliffe never got”? I answer I know not where it is, and that, for the best of all reasons - it never was collected, and as you pretend ignorance of the facts in the case, I will take the pains, briefly, to enlighten you.
Early in 1851, Mr Ratcliffe, the lawyer at Washington, made a proposition to your counsel, Horace Mann, then in Congress, that he would undertake to pressure the release of yourself & Capt Sayres, by going to the owners of the slaves of the Pearl, & getting them to sign a paper for your pardon by the President, on condition that he should receive one thousand dollars - $400 to be paid down, & the remaining $600 if he should succeed in the object before the next Winter. Mr Mann wrote immediately to me, & advised the friends of the cause here to accept the proposition. I laid the letter before a few persons, & it was deemed best to accede to the plan; and the burden of raising the amount of $400 cash, and the pledges for the $600 in case of success. I myself assumed, as no one else seemed willing to undertake it. I raised the $400 - sent it on to Mr Ratcliffe, & gave him my bond [?] that he should have the $600 if he succeeded in getting you released by the Winter. The result was, that Mr Ratcliffe did not succeed in getting you out by the time specified, (though the event was probably accelerated by his efforts,) and of course not a cent of the $600 was ever raised, because never needed.
Fortunately, and if, for the
first time in my life my integrity is to be called in question. I may say
providentially, Mr Ratcliffe’s receipt for the $400, attested by D Baily [?] of
Here I would end; but as your letter informs me that you are sick, & perhaps unable to work & in need, though I have no ____ to undertake to ____ any thing more for you, I send you the enclosed five dollars. I am your well wisher,
Philad. Nov [?] 14. 1853
Miss [?] Wendell Phillips
& Lysander Spooner
Your letter of the 11th (postmarked 15th) in relation to the account I sent to the Commonwealth of the money contributed in this city for Capt Drayton, is received, & I must say that I am not a little surprised at its tone. Though you do not know me personally, I did flatter myself that you knew enough about my character to know that I could do nothing “designedly” to lessen, a single cent, any amount that might be proposed to raise for one who had suffered so much for the cause of human freedom. At least, Gentlemen, I could never suppose any such thing of any one of you. You speak, also, of the “professed” object of my article, as if it had some other than that which it “professed” to have. I cannot but feel hurt that you should have made such an insinuation. The fact in relation to the matter is simply this.
I had heard from various
quarters, that impressions had been made upon the friends of humanity at the South
either by Capt. D. or others, that after his troubles and during the time of
his imprisonment, the friends of the cause here, and I in particular had not
done what we ought to aid him and his family.
It was to counteract this impression that I sent on the article. It was my real as well as my
“professed” object. But as you seem to
think that it would have a tendency to lessen the amount that might be raised
for Capt D. I
And now allow me to notice one or two other remarks in your letter. You say, “It is generally supposed that you (I) had a very active agency in inducing Capt D. to undertake the Pearl enterprise”, & have had his intimated to me before, & nothing but my reluctance to appear before the public in such a matter, has withheld me from giving a full statement of the case, which would materially qualify, if not dispel this supposition. I can give you, of course, in my limited time ____ but the merest outline of the facts. But this I feel that, for your satisfaction, I ought to do.
In the Fall of 1847, a coloured
man by the name of Stevenson [?] called on me for aid. He said his wife & 5 children were slaves
A few days after I received a
letter from a gentleman of Washington, saying that there were two or three
slave cases there of great distress - females, who had for months been
concealed by humane
To also in the case of poor
Konkling[?]. Though I was not privy to that expedition, yet those in this city
who were, & who furnished the means, though they deeply deplore the issue, [?]
(as he was doubtless murdered, & thrown into the
In the postscript to your letter, by Mr Hildreth, he says that Capt Drayton complained that I wished to be the sole channel through which benefactors should be conveyed to his family. Nothing could be further from the truth. At least half a dozen persons here, men & women, can testify that I tried to interest them in the case. [?] On this matter I might easily fill a page, but I will not try your patience nor take up my time with such details.
Mr Hildreth also remarks that
“Capt Drayton’s firmness saved me from a danger which I was earnest to
avert”. If he means by this his not
divulging my name as privy to the enterprise, let me say, that I wrote to Horace
Mann distinctly, that if it would be the least service to Capt Drayton, he had
full liberty to proclaim all my knowledge of the affair, & the aid I
had rendered him, though I could not enclose[?] for Mr Davis & the other
Gentlemen. But his doing this, had I
gone on as a witness to state the whole truth, would have involved him
in at least one additional enterprise of the kind, before I knew him, and
injured his cause, and, as Mr Mann thought could do no good. But if Mr H. means that I was “earnest to avert”
the necessity of going on[?] to
____ that this communication, extended to a much greater length than I intended, will place some phases of this subject in a new light to you, I remain,
Chl [?] D.
[There was a piece of paper included with the letter with the following]
Lysander Spooner Esq
[The following was written down the left-hand margin]
Prof. L. D. Cleveland’s Letter to Wendell Phillips & others Feby 18/1854
Dr [?] Sir.
Yours of the 5th reached Mr G [?] due course of mail.
I thank you for the 2 nos. “No Treason” which you sent me, I wish you will continue to send me the other nos. as they are published,
I refered [?] [sic] you to my views contained in the 1st one of the Constitutional History. Which you will find at Little T Browning [?] I am interested in your discussion of the question.
Respectfull yours ____ [?]
Hon [?] Archer Locke [?] “
Cape May (C. H.) [?] Jan 29th 1854
I think I am a little better than when I saw you last (at the de___[?].
I was foreordained, that I should reach Cape May.
I was foreordained that I should not stop with the people with whom I intended to stop.
I was foreordained that I should fall in with first rate people - I don’t think I could have been suited in New Jersey - every attention is paid me that I could wish.
I should have been very glad, had it been foreordained that you could come in every night and morning to see me, as while I was in Boston.
I wish you would see Mr Marsh
what he is doing with those books - whether he is making sales of them or not -
also find out whether he has sent any to the Anti
I wish to hear from you. Please not forget to send the paper.
No more at present.
I still remain
[On the envelope]
Mr Lysander Spooner
No 25 Cornhill [?]
[On the left-hand margin]
Capt. Daniel Drayton to L. Spooner
Cape May ____ ____
I received your kind letter yesterday - it gave me much pleasure to hear that you and so many of my friends were well - also that I have heard from friend Cleveland. I received a letter from friend Cleveland this day a week ago, stating to me he had sent a Copy to my friends to be published if they thought proper - not stating to me that you Bostonians had bluffed him off so smugly - and I was surprised to find in it a five dollar bill enclosed which I soon found out on reading the letter that it was not sent out of any sympathy or friendship toward me but was “hush money” for fear I should have the copy of the letter I sent him published, (I mean the one you read). for [sic] I believe he has just as much sympathy for me as I told Horace Mann he had at the time of my trial for the slaves - and that is about as much as he has for a big red dog.
I should have sent his kind
letter and money back, but I thought I would doing injustice to myself no to
take the interest on the money I believe he has belonging to me in his
possession could I have my rights of him; for I shall certainly die with the
belief that that man has some six or seven hundred dollars in his hands that he
has collected for our benefit. He told
my wife when she left for
If it was foreordained, that he should cheat me out of that money I can’t help it. But he showed himself to be an infernal coward and scoundrel by taking the advantage of me when I was so situated that I could get no redress of him.
I am glad you took such a stand in bluffing him off in his rascality.
If you and my friends think proper that the Copy of that letter be published, I will send it on to you - yourself and Mr Hildreth know the contents of it.
In my last letter from Mr Jackson, he stated to me that when I wanted money I must write for it, and as this opportunity will serve please say to him, I shall be out of money in two or three weeks.
My health gradually improving and
if it continues to do so I am in hopes to be able to leave Cape May about the
first of May. - at any rate long enough to try the Galvanic [?]
Please give my love to Miss Richie Mr Jackson and all my inquiring friends too numerous to mention.
No more to mention at present.
The Celebrated “Nigger
Lysander Spooner Esq” Thief.
I received your letter this morning, it give [sic] me much pleasure in hearing from you. And also received a copy that you sent to Prof. Cleveland. I am sorry that the letter I received from Cleveland I committed to the flames I never answered Clevelands [sic] letter as I thought it best to keep silence with him until I met him face to face. He wrote to the Post Master to know if I had received a letter from him and at my request it was not answered
Enclosed I send you a copy of the letter which I sent to him, and in that you will see the names of all those concerned with me except one, and. Mr Hildreth knows him, and you can use that letter as you and my friends think best, only take care of it. I am happy to say my health is gradually improving and I hope that your request will be granted and that you will see me in Boston by the first of July if it is foreordained, give my love to Mr. Jackson, Mr Ritchie, and and [sic] all my enquiring [sic] friends.
No more at present but still remain Yours Respectfully
Lysander Spooner Daniel Drayton
It has been some time since I have heard from any of you. - Since I last wrote to you, I can’t say that my health has improved any; I then expected to have been in Boston Sometime [sic] in July, - But since the hot weather has come on, and mosquitoes [?] here in abundance I have lost eleven lbs. of flesh, but I intend as soon as the weather and my health will permit to come on to Boston.
I wish you would see Mr. Marsh and see what success he has in selling those books - I should have written to friend Jackson, but supposed he was most of his time out of the city.
You will oblige me to see him and ask him to forward me some funds if he has any on hand - rember[?] my love to Maria and all inquiring friends.
Please direct your letter to A.A. Woodward as I shall probably not be in Court House.
I still remain your affectionate friend, Daniel Drayton
[There is also an envelope with the following]
Lysander Spooner, Esq
No 25 Cornhill,
You will please excuse me for not answering your letter before; as I supposed you would hear from me through Mr Jackson. My health is some better than when I wrote to you last - I am very sorry to hear that our friend Mr Hildreth has met with such an accident - I hope he will soon recover again.
I have never heard a word from friend Cleveland since you Boston boys gave him such a shot. -
I shall come on to Boston as soon as my health and the weather will permit - we have it very warm and ____ here and I expect it is no better with you.
Please give my love to all inquiring friends.
No more at present.
Yours very respectfully
[There is also an envelope with the following]
Lysander Spooner Esq
Will you please call upon Mr. Marsh soon as convenient and inform him that he has made a mistake and put up Mr Walker’s book instead of mine, and that I am afraid he has made the same mistake in sending to Syracuse I wish him to send me 50 of the bound books and 25 of the pamphlet. And he will great oblige me by sending them by the express on Monday next. Please send in care of E. R. Shusen [?] of this city 107 Middle Street.
Will you permit me again to
trouble you to call upon Mr. Marsh and get him to send me 100 books - each of
my Narritive [sic] - being an equal number of the bound & paper
covers - in all 200 copies. I have met
with quite good success here and hope to do more before I leave.
Please call upon Mr. Garrison and
ascertain whether he made any arrangements, about me going to Syracuse and if
he has please
[There is an envelope included with the following]
Lysander Spooner Esq
From Thomas Carle
Phila Apl 12-1846
I had intended sooner to have,
stated briefly to you the view which I take of Mr. Spooner’s Book. It is, that it displays much talent, and is
plausible, but not convincing. - He
appears to hold to the same definition of law which I would give:
If every inferior judge and
justice of the Peace sheriff
But it may be said that the supreme
court is to be the only judge
This would not obviate the difficulty, nor sustain the position of Mr. L: for if the people chose to concede such authority to a supreme court, then that supreme court would be, when backed by the sword or by numbers, the strongest power: its will would be law; but, as past experience has proved, and as knowledge of human frailty must back, its decisions, although law, would be often any thing rather than justice. It would be a tyranny as bad as that of the thirty tyrants of Athens; and no people would long submit to it. If the judges were appointed for life, the people would dismiss them by insurrection or a change of the Constitution: and if they were appointed for a limited term, they would not reappoint them, but put others in their places who would conform to the will of the sovereign power, viz either force or numbers. Force or numbers must of necessity, be the ultimate law giver, and I think it would be far from an improvement to permit the Supreme Court to make the law in conformity to its own views of justice rather than to expound the law in conformity to the views of the people, as expressed in the Constitution, and the laws enacted in consistency with it, by the popular representation. Moreover, ____ cannot, in good faith, take [?] the office of judge and undertake to annul the Constitution and statutes, wherever they depart from their own views of justice; for the judges are the appointed agents of the people, to perform a particular service, & every one knows that the American people never intended they should perform such a service as that.
I dissent, too, from the opinion,
that slavery had no legalized existence in this country prior to the
Declaration of Independence. The acts of
parliament concerning the slave trade, the local legislation,
Nor do I agree that every
principle enunciated in the Declaration of Independence became law, or was
intended by a single one of the signers to become so. Most of the instrument is merely
preambulatory, and the only part that [?] was [?] designed or has ever been
construed to have the force of a law, was the part that which declared the
States independent of the British Crown, and even that part was probably
expected to derive its authority
But admitting the correctness of
Mr L’s views, that slavery did not legally exist before the Declaration of
Independence, or that if it did before exist that instrument was designed to
abolish it; still I could not admit that our present Supreme Court or Congress
would have a Constitutional right to abolish it practically through the
Writ of Habeas Corpus or otherwise: because I believe it was not designed, nor
would it be submitted to, that of that State Constitutions and laws, and
overrule all the
I may here remark that if a judge’s notions of right, are to regulate his judicial conduct, then, if slavery should be abolished either by a change of the Constitution of the Union, or by a legislative act of a state, a judge who holds to the divine right of slave holding might refuse to liberate a slave on habeas corpus, on the ground that the act of abolition was unjust, & therefore not law: and some of our religious bigots would soon insist that witches should be put to death, and heretics exterminated, by force of the divine law of Moses. I am well persuaded that not a single one of those who hold that slavery has no legal existence, would recognize the course of reasoning which he now adopts, if it had been introduced to support a measure that he was opposed to.
However inaccurate the language of the Articles of Confederation might have been, I believe that the term “free inhabitants” quoted in chap. 7. by Mr L. was both intended and construed to mean, inhabitants who were not slaves, or at least that slaves were among the persons intended to be excepted from the privileges therein conferred.
All laws must of necessity be
construed with reference to the existing state of society when they were
framed. Any other course would make
judicial decisions mere jargon; and this principle of construction is fully
recognized in the doctrine universally
Mr L. says that to say that the constitution of the United States intended to sanction slavery, is the same thing as to say that it did sanction it. In this I agree with him fully; and having no doubt that it intended to sanction it, I can of course have no doubt that it did sanction it. - He, however, makes a distinction between the intention of the constitution itself. I can make no such distinction, at least not to the extent that I infer he wereto make it. If we were clearly satisfied that the makers of the constitution meant that it should have a certain construction, then that is its true construction and meaning. If we doubt as to their intentions, then we may also doubt, and then only as to its true construction. - By the makers of the constitution, I include both the framers and ratifiers of the instrument, and I have not a shadow of doubt that both understood it as upholding, to a certain extent, both slavery and the slave trade, and as most unequivocally contemplating the continuance of slavery under it in the clause relating to representation & taxation.
He says that this meaning can only be gathered by “external evidence”, and that “legal rules of interpretation reject all aid of exterior evidence”. - But we do not know the meaning of any word or sentence, otherwise than by exterior evidence. Words and phrases have no intrinsic fitness of expression sufficient to guide us for a moment. And legal rules of interpretation expressly sanction this reference to exterior evidence, in the principle laid down by Blaestone, [?] that the courts must consider the mischief that existed & was presumably intended to be remedied. Congress and the Courts decided, with entire unanimity, that the mischief that was intended to be remedied, was the escape of fugitive slaves; and the decision of those who lived as this time ought be, and is considered conclusive, in reference to ambiguous language (though I cannot deem the language ambiguous in this case): - in as much as they must know better than posterity what was the mischief, in public contemplation, when the law was made. Mr S. objects to taking historical evidence, to aid in the construction of a law, but we must take it, if posterity is to construe the law in reference to the mischief intended to be remedied, although we have no occasion to take it here, because the unanimous construction of those who lived at the time, and had no occasion to resort to history, is conclusive as to the mischief and the remedy.
Language is continually changing in meaning, and hence we must resort to historical evidence for the construction of ancient writings.
All the rules of construction brought in question, are only applicable to remove doubt as to the meaning of the makers of the law. Now I can have no doubts, and those who lived at the time never had any, as to this matter. I know that the intentions of the people have been questioned, but I can have no doubts on the subject, in consideration of the action of Congress and the judiciary, without a word of protest from any quarter, immediately after the ratification of the Constitution.
Whether the theories upon this and other questions connected with the abolition, be right or wrong, it is certain that it is not well to waste our strength in endeavoring to introduce remedies preparatory to abolition which it will be more difficult to introduce than to effect abolition itself.
I think it far easier to abolish
slavery than to change the construction of the Constitution on this point: far
easier to abolish slavery than to abolish voting on the union: far easier to
abolish slavery, through the actions of the old parties, than to bring into
power a party on the single question of abolition, or indeed any party; except
one of the old ones, in substance, whether in name or not: - easier to abolish
slavery itself than the internal slave trade: easier to abolish it than to
induce the people to abstain from from slave produce: probably easier to
The proper course is, in my opinion, to petition continually and universally, both to Congress & the State Legislatures, for nothing short of entire abolition through a change of the Constitution: to make abolition tickets & vote them, putting on them all persons on other tickets who will go for abolition: To have fewer abolition newspapers & publish more abolitionism in the newspapers of the day: and to take man as he is, and conform to his natural [?] judgement and habits, rather than to expect the miracle of making him such a creature, and to act in such a manner, as has never been done before.
Those who strain their
professions [?] of morality too high, always sink their practice below that of
others: as the Garrisonians who object to voting at all, on account of slavery,
labouer most zealously for the election of pro-slavery whigs: and the Liberty
party, who assumed the extravagant rule of voting for no man who would give his
private vote at the polls for any but an abolitionist, have fallen, in New
Hampshire, to voting for those who not only
Will you not be this way during the spring or summer. H would afford myself and others much pleasure to see you. We regretted much that your last story was so short.
____ a pretty extensive
There appears now a very fair prospect of carrying free suffrage in the New York Convention. It is probable that the new victors [?] of ____ Stewart, and those who go with him, have contributed materially to this state of things. By a discreet use of the balance of power, the Abolitionists would soon become irresistible.
Yours very truly,
G Bradburn Esq Thomas Earle
I have just read all of Curry’s
Speech for the first time. I send it to
you entire for I know you will admire it.
A fearless logical statesmanlike production is so refreshing in these
times of childish whimpering to get sugarplums or avoid a flogging - when so
many wanting courage to tell the truth and fearing to tell a lie, take a mean [?]
evasive cours [sic] to avoid both, why may not the Devil be a statesman Devil
by nature has he not a right to assume devilhood to be the highest state &
Hell the greatest good & so advocate their legitimate extension. But who can have any patience for those who
disclose all relationships for the Devil & profess the most intense
antihillism [?] & yet
All this half any ground is so flimsy that it must ultimately give way and leave every man a choice of their two provisions. The sooner it comes the better because no body fights [?] for freedom so long as he is in this foggy middle position. Pardon me for writing this boring [?] letter to say only what you already know so much better than I. My excuse is “I didn’t mean to”.
Yours most truly
J. H.[?] Fowler [?]
THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THE STATES
J. L. M. CURRY, OF ALABAMA
The House being in the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, and having under consideration the President’s Annual Message-
Mr. CURRY rose and said:
Mr. Chairman: None of the opinions I shall utter will probably meet the approbation of a majority in this House, but I shall seek the to challenge confidence, if not concurrence, by the manner in which I shall avow and discuss them. Much of what I shall say will not be new to those who have studied the questions, but it has been said with much truth, that it is necessary for each generation to discuss anew the great problems of human speculation, which continually come back, after certain intervals, for re-examination.
Scarce a speech has been made or an essay written, for ten years, against slavery, in which the opinions of the early fathers of the Republic are not introduced. These, however, were but mere speculations, and were not ingrafted in upon the organic law; and actual results are a safer standard by which to measure abstract principles. Besides, times have changed since this Government was first inaugurated as an experiment, not yet satisfactorily tested. Then there were but little over half a million slaves, and scarce a pound of raw cotton exported. In 1784, a vessel containing eight bags of cotton was seized at the custom house in Liverpool, on the conviction that so much cotton could not be the growth of America. In 1787, in the debate on the slave representation, in the convention that framed the Constitution, Mr. Pinckey said:
“North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, in their rice and indigo, had a peculiar interest which might be sacrificed”
Cotton was not mentioned, for in that year there were but one hundred and eight bales shipped from the United States. Now there are near four million slaves, worth $3,500,000,000; and of southern products, there were exported last year $200,000,000, and those exports enter materially into the comforts, necessities, and luxuries of the world. Last year the cotton crop of the South was near four million two hundred and fifty thousand bales; $161,000,000 worth was exported. Bain, in his history of cotton manufacture, says:
“It is impossible to estimate the advantage to the bulk of the people from the wonderful cheapness of cotton goods.”
“The peasant’s cottage may, at this day, with good management, have had as handsome furniture for beds, windows, and tables,, as the house of a substantial tradesman sixty years since.”
African slavery is now a great fact - a political, social, industrial, humanitarian fact. Its chief product is king, and freights northern vessels, drives northern machinery, feeds northern laborers; and clothes the entire population. Northern no less than southern capital and labor are dependent in great degree upon it, and these results were wholly unanticipated by the good men who are so industriously paraded clouds of witnesses against the institution.
Slavery has altered, and men’s opinions have altered. It is now of tremendous significance and consequence. The interests associated with and dependent upon it are too momentous for it to be treated as an idle thing - made football of politicians and fanatics, and its existence and security imperiled by rash counsels and rasher action. Involving and comprehending so much; being the source of wealth and power and greatness; contributing so abundantly to civilization and humanity, it is unreasonable that the South should demand its extension and protection, and exhibit sensitiveness at the threat to surrender her “with a cordon of free territory, and to compel slavery, like a serpent in a ring of fire, to sting itself to death?”
The North has demanded expansion; and is now so urgent in getting rid of superabundant population as to demand that the Government shall gratuitously provide free homes as an inducement to emigration. But for an outlet, subsistence would have pressed close on the heels of production, and there would have been that irrepressible conflict between capital and labor which excites so much apprehension among reflecting men, and of the disastrous harvest of which New England is now reaping the “first fruits” in the strikes at Lynn, Natick, Marblehead, and other neighboring towns. To deny future expansion to the South, is either cold, ferocious, malevolent cruelty, or it is a significant concession that our system is not subject to the same evils afflict or threaten the more populous North. The South needs expansion, now or hereafter. The right, the liberty, must not be gainsaid or restricted. We legislate for the future. A decade, a century, may be but a span in a nation’s history. He is a poor statesman, and worse philanthropist, who will do nothing for posterity has done nothing for him. Keeping the slaves, increasing rapidly, within circumscribed limits, while the whites diminish by emigration, is the inexorable effect or purpose of the merciless policy [sic] which denies to us expansion. The numerical ascendency [sic] of the blacks, or the vast disproportion of the races, with the exhaustion of the productive capabilities of the soil, will render emancipation certain, or slavery unprofitable, or the destruction of the white race probable, or the establishment of another Jamaica but a question of time; where, according to blacks, seventy thousand colored people, and only fifteen thousand whites; and the African breed, through the parliamentary system and the electoral franchise, has the control of Government.
This normal law of national being, this necessity of growth, must find development, if possible, in the limits of the Union. For years, the action of the General Government denied or qualified this essential right, and prohibited to the South that equality of condition, without which the Government could not and ought not have been established. Mr. Webster, who was ostracized for not keeping pace with the precipitate tread of anti-slaveryism, said in 1847:
“We shall take the first, last, and every occasion which offers, to oppose the extension of slavery.”
And in 1848:
“I shall oppose all such extension, at all times and under all circumstances, even against all inducements; against all limitations of great interests; against all combinations, aainst all compromise.”
The Republican party, [sic] so powerful and well disciplined, harmonizes to-day solely in its advocacy of this one controlling, overmastering dogma.
All ‘territory” outside the limits of a sovereign State, “belonging to the United States,” is common property, and every citizen has equal rights in and to it. It was acquired by the Federal Government for the common benefit of the States united. It is held by the Government, acting as the agent of the people of the several States, for their common use. The universal conviction at the South is, that we have the right to emigrate unmolested, with our slaves, to any Territory belonging to the United States. Seward and the Republicans say, “No; Congress, by positive legislation, must exclude us.” Prominent men in the North, some of whom act with a more healthy organization than the Republican, say, “No; the Territorial Legislature may lawfully exclude us.” Only a question about the mode of exclusion, which is to be accomplished be either process. In one event, we are to be killed by the congressional garrote; in the other, by the more stealthy process of territorial poison. Bear with me, while to both I endeavor to apply the touchstone of logic.
The doctrine of congressional exclusion is tersely and boldly expressed in the Republican platform, which declares that “the Constitution confers upon Congress sovereign power over the Territories of the United States for their government; and that, in the exercise of this power, it is both the right and the duty of Congress” to prohibit slavery in the Territories. The powers of the Federal Government are expressed in the grants of the Constitution; and, to authorize the exercise of power, it is not barely necessary to show the absence of prohibition, but an affirmative grant, or a “necessary and proper” implication from such affirmative grant. What clause warrants the inference of such supreme power? The unsuccessful search of the bird sent out from Noah’s ark typifies the effort to locate the exact clause which authorizes this gigantic claim of sovereignty. As Mr. Clay said of the constitutional power to incorporate a national bank, it is a vagrant power. Mr. Curtis, in his argument of the Dred Scott case, had been called upon by the opposing counsel to point out the precise clause on which he based the power of Congress, and not to support an assertion of the power by citing Constitution passim. “Their call,” said Mr. Curtis, “shall be answered. I give them notice that my argument; as well as in his recent able pamphlet, he confined himself to that clause. Mr. Benton, in his review of the Dred Scott decision, scornfully repudiated the idea that that clause contained any such substantive power; and asserts that the Territories, as political entities, are never once mentioned in the Constitution, and the word “territory” occurring but once, and that as property, assimilates to other property - as land, in fact; and as a thing to be “disposed of - to be sold.”
Most usually, however, the advocates of this power agree with Mr. Curtis and the distinguished gentleman from Ohio, [Mr. Corwin,] and base the assumption upon the power of Congress “to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States.” This clause was adopted without debate in the convention; and, says Judge Campbell, “was demanded by the exigencies of an exhausted Treasury, and a disordered finance, for relief by sales, and the preparation for sales, of public lands.” It was little imagined that there was lurking under thus apparently innocent verbiage a supremacy in Congress over the territory nearly equal to that claimed by British Parliament over the colonies; and that Congress, when it exercised jurisdiction over this public property, could launch out into the shoreless, starless sea of discretion, determining the rights and disabilities of inhabitants, and disfranchising whole communities of their property-rights. It is an assertion of power to create and establish the social and political system if every new State; and hence the action of the Republican Legislatures of Ohio, Vermont, Connecticut, &c., instructing their members of Congress to vote against the admission of new States into the Union, thus concurring in the recommendation of the Hartford convention, to curtail the slave power by preventing the admission of any more slate States.
In this clause, “territory and other property” is the subject, the corpus of the grant. The power given is to make needful rules and regulations for the property of the United States. The most common analysis of the phraseology shows that “territory” is spoken as one of the kinds of property. If it be a general, absolute, unlimited, sovereign grant of executive legislation over the property, the other clause in the Constitution giving executive legislation over the seat of government and places purchased for forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings was entirely unnecessary. It was a cumulative and specific grant of what was, in more general and comprehensive phrase, elsewhere granted. In the case of United States vs. Gratiot, as well as the Dred Scott case, the judges say that “the term ‘territory’ is merely descriptive of one kind of property, and is equivalent to the word ‘land.’”
If the construction placed on this clause is be correct, and unlimited legislative power be conferred, and a substantive authority for civil government be conveyed, the conclusion seems irresistible, that Congress can exclude slavery from every foot of the public domain, whether in Alabama or in Kansas, whether in the States or in the Territories. The power to “make rules and regulations” applies as well to “territory or other property” in the States as in the uninhabited wilderness. From this clause alone does Congress derive the power to dispose of the public lands, and this power operates in as well as out of the States. Towards the common territory, Congress cannot adopt any rule which is not common and uniform to every State, and has no rightful power to exclude property recognized by the Constitution of the United States, or by the constitution and laws of a particular State.
The claim of sovereign power over the inhabitants of the soil, as derived from power to dispose of the soil, or lands, or territories, is a re-enactment and revival of the “essential facts and constitutive elements of the feudal system.” That system blended sovereignty with property, and attributed the proprietor of the soil, over the inhabitants, almost all the rights we call sovereignty, and such as are possessed by the Government. I ascribed to the possessor of the fief all the rights of public power; and the proprietor of the soil could enact laws, impose taxes, and render justice. Guizot, in his history of civilization of France, says the feudal regime was considered by the mass of the population as an enemy to be fought, and exterminated at every hazard. From its origin to its destruction, from its epoch of splendor, and at the period of its degradation and decay, the feudal system was never accepted by the people. The Republican doctrine, deduced from proprietorship of the soil, from the possession of real property, is as repugnant to all American ideas of personal rights and personal liberty — to the elemental necessity of the consent of a people to the existing Government – as feudalism was to France, when whoever struck a blow at it had popularity.
To this claim of sovereign power over the Territories, as derived from any source, I might, as against the Republicans, have conclusively interposed the decision in the Dred Scott case, wherein the act of Congress prohibiting slavery in the Territory was solemnly adjudged to be unconstitutional and void. The decision was full and proper and essential. So satisfactory and grateful was it to the South, there is danger of forgetting one of the old State-rights landmarks. The Supreme Court is not to be regarded as the ultimate arbiter for the decision of all constitutional questions. Besides the fact, that the judiciary can only take cognizance of technical cases – there are many political questions that can not be drawn within its authority – it should never be elevated above the sovereign parties to the Constitution, who, as sovereign and independent States, having formed the compact, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction. The judiciary, as well as the Executive or Legislature, may usurp dangerous powers and is alike subject to the ultimate right of judgment by parties to the Constitution. To use the language of Madison’s report:
“However true it may be, that the judicial department is, in all questions submitted to it by the forms of the Constitution, to decide in the last resort, this resort must necessarily be last in relation to the authorities of the other departments of the Government: not in relation to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact, from which the judicial, as well as the other departments, hold their delegated trusts. On any other hypothesis, the delegation of judicial power would annul the authority delegating it.”
We accord to this decision a higher authority that that claimed for the ordinary current of judicial decision, because the court, in this instance, was made the umpire of the question by express legislative enactment; and to its weight as an adjudication is superadded the authority of a law, admitted by its opponents to be not unconstitutional.
The second mode by which exclusion from the common property is to be accomplished, or the right of the South to expansion is to be or may be defeated, is through the alleged power of a Territorial Legislature. This theory is of recent birth, and is differently explained and limited – sometimes not without confusion of ideas and misapplication of terms; but its zealous advocates press it, under euphonious and popular names, as if, like some quack medicine, with equally attractive nomenclature, it were the never-failing catholicon for all the ills that our body politic is heir to. It is an erroneous opinion that this mode of exclusion is advocated solely by a fragment of the Democratic party at the North. Not an instance can be cited, since 1850, wherein the Republicans or Free Soilers, whatever may have been their paper theories, have failed to vote for every measure practically carrying it out. During the Kansas controversy, various amendments were proposed and sustained by the Republicans, empowering the Territorial Legislature to exclude slavery, or construing the bull so al to recognize this power. I am informed that that party in Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Oregon, incorporated this doctrine in their platforms, and conducted their political campaigns on that issue. Once a Territorial Legislature was regarded as the creature of Congress, limited in its powers of legislation, as having no sovereignty, and as being wholly subordinate to the creative power. Its action was revisable; and a single act of Congress could sweep it out of existence. Its power being derivative, it must conform to the law of its being; and neither by direction or indirection could it transcend the powers of its Federal creator. Latterly, however, territory is only common property if then, until it is organized into a territorial government; when, by some legerdemain or hocus-pocus, it becomes a quasi or absolute sovereign, and is invested with the indefeasible power of self-government. If, on any subject, the will of the Territory is not supreme, slavery is not the exception; for the great expounder of this new dogma asserts that a “Territorial Legislature can lawfully exclude slavery, either by non-action or unfriendly legislation.” This power is variously derived, from the alleged inherent power of self-government, existing in every distinct political community, and from the Kansas-Nebraska bill, as indorsed by the Cincinnati platform. To the first derivation, I have no answer to make beyond the statement that it is in entire consistency with the first great experiment of squatter sovereignty – the creation of the State of California, whose admission into the Union, under the circumstances, was the most unparalleled outrage ever perpetrated on people pretending to be free. To the second source of power, I reply that, if found there, the South was most miserably duped in that famous measure for silencing agitation. Whatever may have been the purpose of the framer of that bill – and he says in his contribution to Harper, that it was to remove any obstacle of the fee exercise of popular sovereignty – it was supported by the South because of its repeal of the Missouri restriction, and because we thought we had secured a safeguard against territorial unfriendly legislation, by the provision rendering all such legislation subject to the Constitution of the United States, and by the further provision giving appeal to the courts of the United States, in all cases where the property of slaves was involved. If we were mistaken, this power to exclude slavery by unfriendly legislation – this squatter sovereignty covered up under ambiguous language in the Kansas bill, after the repeal of the Missouri restriction – is but a refined imitation of the barbarity f the petty Celtic tyrant, who fed his prisoners salted food till they called eagerly for drink, and then let down and empty cup into the dungeon, and left them to die of thirst.
A territorial government is the creature of Congress; is provision and temporary; and it is idle to pretend that it can usurp authority not conferring in the act of organization, and exercise power beyond the constitutional competency of its creator. Any argument drawn from the supposed analogy between such governments and the American colonies is imperfect and illusory, as most analogical reasoning is. According to the British theory, Parliament is omnipotent; and no American statesman has claimed over the Territories what has been claimed over the colonies – the power to bind in all cases whatsoever. The dependencies are essentially different, and are held by a different tenure. The British Government regards the colonial condition as permanent and unchangeable. Canada was a colony one hundred years ago. She is a colony now. Territorial governments are temporary and permissive public corporations; and the Federal Government leaves them to manage their local affairs, in the full control of their domestic policy, save as restrained by the limitations of the Constitution and the purpose of equal enjoyment, for which Congress, as the trustee of the common and joint property, holds and exercises its trusteeship. The colonies relied upon the charters received from the Crown as the guarantees of their freedom from oppressive interference by the mother country; and also upon revolution – the power to make good their claim to liberty by bloody arbitrament of the sword. Our organized Territories are mere subordinate communities outside the limits of the States; held in pupilage and training, until prepared to take rank and position with sister confederate sovereignties. If an organized Territory possess inherent rights of self-government, and can, during its pupilage, fix and determine absolutely its social institutions, decide what shall and what shall not be property, and by an unfriendly legislation exclude slavery, it is superior, in some respects, to a State organization; and it is gross tyranny not to pass the bill introduced by the gentleman from Illinois, [Mr. Morris,] providing for the election of all officers by the inhabitants of a Territory. We should forthwith abdicate our ill-held power, and carry it out to its logical consequences this doctrine of squatter sovereignty. Out laws appointing Governors and judges, our defrayment of the expenses of government, and our claim of authority to repeal the organic act, and transfer the inhabitants to a different jurisdiction, are unauthorized and indefensible assumptions and superiority.
If a Territorial Legislature be sovereign; if it can exercise legislative supremacy while it does not violate the Federal Constitution even, if its authority to that extent be unlimited, then, to use a solecism, it is more sovereign than a State Government, and the difficulty presented in the case of Utah is remediless; for obviously it is contrary to the neoteric theory of popular sovereignty to repeal the act organizing the Territory, so long as nothing is done in conflict with the Constitution of the United States. In addition to the Federal Constitution, State are restrained by fundamental laws of their own imposing. Judicial, executive, and legislative powers are accurately mapped out, and their limits strictly defined; but under this modern political discovery, a majority in a Territory is absolute, save, as hindered by the prohibitions of the Federal compact, the Government may become despotic or anarchical, and outrages may be committed revolting to public decency, shocking to the moral sense, and subversive of personal and proprietary rights. A political theory involving such consequences in an instructive lesson against departing from established constitutional landmarks!
Every southern State has repudiated this doctrine of squatter sovereignty, and pronounced it a wrong, destructive of their rights and equality. Last summer it was announced and heralded by telegraph, that a distinguished candidate for the Presidency would not accept from the Charleston convention a nomination if tendered to him, if that convention should declare that slavery existed, by virtue of the Constitution, in the Territories beyond the power of the inhabitants to exclude it. Whether conditions so defiantly prescribed will be accepted remains to be seen. Certainly the nomination of such a man would be an indorsement of his docrines [sic], and a construction of the platform, according to his views, to be carried into the practical administration of the Government, would be dishonoring to the South, demoralizing to the party succumbing to be a menace, and a practical negation of the right of southern citizens to emigrate to the common territory with that form of labor to which they have been accustomed. If the southern States have been sincere in their declarations of hostility to squatter sovereignty, or the claim set up of power of the Territorial Legislature to exclude slavery, they will insist upon a clear, distinct, and unequivocal repudiation of the heresy. It should be done in unambiguous terms, not susceptible of a double construction. We want no Villafranca treaties to be discussed in tedious Zurich conferences, but a manly and honest assertion of principles. However others may act, Alabama has spoken. For twelve years nearly every political convention, of all parties, held in the State, has condemned this doctrine of popular sovereignty, as applied to Territories. Between its advocates and her, there is a great gulf fixed, which the mechanical genius and inventive faculties of a presidential convention cannot bridge over.
The true principle is, that if a master can go into the Territories or upon territory, his slave can accompany him; and neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature can divest him of any title to his property. Just as soon as territory is acquired slave property is legal and constitutional, and no power can invalidate until a sovereign interposes. The Constitution, proprio vigore and instanter, extends over the acquisition; and, in the language of Chief Justice Taney, in the Dred Scott case, “the right of property in a slave is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution.” The condition of a negro is not changed by his entrance into a Territory. There is no law, constitutional, international, or local, which will make him a slave or a freeman. If he was a slave at the time of entering, he remains such; if free, his status is not changed. Slavery or freedom adheres to him on the territory belonging to the United States. There can be no law in a Territory excluding slavery, as there is no power having jurisdiction competent to emancipate or alter the condition of the negro. If a negro was a slave in a State, his servitude continues in a Territory.
Slavery is not anywhere, as asserting in the Harper magazine article, “the creature of local legislation,” or the creature of local or municipal law. That it must be established and supported solely by positive municipal law, is gross error, sustained chiefly by judicial dicta, which were irrelevant to a decision on the particular facts of the case decided. No law, I believe is found on our statute-books authorizing the introduction of slavery; and if positive precept is essential to the valid exercise of slavery, the tenure by which our slaves are held is illegal and uncertain. A citizen of a southern State, or a slaveholding country like Brazil or Cuba, can carry with impunity his slave into any country where, “by the laws thereof,” slavery is not prohibited. The passage of a master with his slave through the territory of a non-slaveholding state, does not change the condition of the slave, unless there is a legislative enactment to that effect; and the law of nations protects the master in transitu, enforces the law of the domicile, if that protection does not contravene public policy and the essential interests of the community. It is well-settled legal principle that a person born into slavery in a foreign State, would not be liberated by the accident of intogression into another country, where there was no law opposed to the existence of the rights of the master, without valid cause, by the authorities of another State, is a violation of that law. (See Judge Campbell’s opinion in the case of Dred Scott vs. Sanford.) Inless there is a positive prohibitory law in foreign State, I can take my slave there, and have him protected. Mr. Webster, in his correspondence in the Creole case, contended hat property in slaves did not cease extra-territorially, and out Government, in several instances, has maintained the same doctrine.
It has been frequently stated in Congress that slavery was not introduced into a single British colony by the authority of law, and that there is not a statute in any slaveholding State legalizing African slavery, or “constituting the original basis and foundation of title to slave property” MR. BENJAMIN, in a very masterly speech in the Senate, showing that slavery was protected by the common law of the world, pressed the argument that every one of the States would be slave State yet and now but for the passage of laws prohibiting slavery therein. “All has to pass positive acts of legislation to accomplish the purpose of getting rid of slavery.” This principle has been repeatedly questioned by Abolitionists and Republicans. On the 21st of March, 1842, Mr. Giddings introduced his famous resolutions on the Creole case, one of which asserts that –
“Slavery, being an abridgment of the natural rights of man, can exist only by force of positive municipal law, and is necessarily confined to the territorial jurisdiction of the power creating it.”
A noted abolitionist Senator [MR. SUMNER]
makes as text of one of his inflammatory harangues: “Freedom national, and
slavery sectional.” The late Republican
The Illinois resolution but adopted a suggestion of Judge DOUGLAS, in his attempted rejoinder to the observation of Judge Black, in his Harper article. He quotes and adopts a dictum taken from an opinion of Judge Storey, whose anti-slavery prejudice and bias are well known and lamented, in the case of Prig vs. the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, that “the state of slavery is deemed to be a mere municipal regulation, founded upon, and limited to, the range of territorial law;” and thus he coincides with Giddings and SUMNER. Cobb, in his very learned treatise on slavery, by irrefragable proofs, demonstrates that the dictum of Judge Storey was not at all necessary to the decision of the case, and is wholly unsustained by adjudications; yet is greedily adopted, and made substratum of a theory which upsets a recent decision of the same court, and effectually excludes, if carried into practice, the Souty from occupancy if common territory. With bold assertion and ingenious sophistry, the Dred Scott decision is evaded, in part, and mystified; while an assertion of a judge in another case is laid hold on, to bolster a theory contrary to the practice of the Government since its organization, and utterly destructive of the rights of a minority section of the Confederacy. Whatever may been Judge Story’s legal erudition – and it was cyclopedian – he has never been regarded as an authoritarative exponent of Democratic sentiment or constitutional law. It may gratify some of the special political admirers of the great expounder of squatter sovereignty, to know that the son and biographer of Judge Story records, in his Life, that the Judge repeatedly and earnestly spoke to his family and intimate friends of this decision, from which Judge DOUGLAS quotes so approvingly and complacently, as being a “triumph of freedom.” The biographer argues that it was a judgment adverse to slavery, and a “triumph of freedom,” because it localized slavery, made it a municipal institution of the States, and not recognized by law.
Slavery exists in the State where the owner
dwells, exists out of the State, exists in the Territories, exists everywhere, until it comes within
the limits of a sovereignty that prohibits it.
The Constitution, as that profound lawyer and statesman, Judge Berrien
argued, recognizes slavery in a
The treaty of peace between Great Britain
and the United States, signed at Paris on the 3rd of September, 1783, on the
part of the United States by three northern men – Adams, Franklin, and Jay –
and which treaty was subsequently, by the Constitution, made the supreme law of
the land, recognized “property in negroes.” The Constitution of the
It may not be amiss to sustain this claim to the protection by high authority. The President, crowning a long life of usefulness, patriotism, and devotion to the Constitution, congratulates the country upon just settlement of the question os slavery in the Territories by the Supreme Court, and asserts the right of every citizen under the Federal Constitution. The Vice President, so justly popular with the American people, vindicates the same right. One of the mose eminent lawyers of this or any other country, now an honored member of out highest court, in 1850 said that “the doctrine that the Government, holding the power of peace and war, of making compacts and alliances, of acquiring Territories and forming governments, owing no duties to the property of fifteen States or those Territories, is a proposition addressed to the credulity of the South, and which nothing but credulity can tolerate.” Mr. Calhoun, who stood –
“Like the great sea-mark, standing every flaw,
And saving those that eyed him,”
In his letter to Colonel Benton, writing of the character and object of the Government says:
“Its power and authority having for their object the more perfect protection and promotion of the rights and safety of each and all, it is bound to protect, by their united power, the safety, the rights, and the interests of the citizens of all, wherever its authority extends. That was the object for conferring whatever power and authority it has; and if it fails to fulfill that, it fails to perform the duty for which it was created. It is enough for it to know that the right, interest, or property, of a citizen of one of the States, to make it its duty to protect it, whether in the Territories or on the high seas, or anywhere else. Its power and authority were conferred on it, not to establish or abolish property or right of any description, but to protect them.”
The resolutions of the Senate caucus, which were called for by the exigencies of the times, and which are sustained by every Democratic Senator but two, concede the same right of protection.
It is objected by some to this claim for Federal protection, that is necessarily involves or concedes the right of congressional prohibition. Nothing can be more illogical than to confound protection with destruction – the power, by legislation, of facilitating the enjoyment of a right and of throwing obstructions in the way of the exercise of such a right, Numerous instances will readily occur to any thoughtful mind, where Congress has the power of affirmative without the power of negative legislation. Congress can make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; nor depriving a person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor interfering with the trial of crimes by jury, except in cases of impeachment; but Congress can certainly legislate affirmatively to secure the enjoyment of, or remove obstructions to, the constitutional prerogatives. If the right to hold slaves in a Territory cannot be interfered with prejudicially by Congress, it most assuredly can prevent its creature from accomplishing the same unconstitutional purpose by unfriendly legislation. It is simply absurd to pretend that to destroy is the correlative of protect.
A less consequential, but, in some a more important objection to the claim is its alleged inconsistency with non-intervention, as proclaimed in the Cincinnati platform. If this were true, I might simply say, “Grant it, and what then?” But it is not true, and the application of the same term to the States and this District as to the Territories, demonstrates, without further argument, the bad logic which would restrict us to non-action. I challenge the production of a line in the legislation of 1850, as applied to the Territories, in the Kansas bill, or in the Cincinnati platform, which can fairly be tortured into a relinquishment of the right of the South to protection. Non-interference or non-intervention could mean nothing else than that Congress would abstain from questions over which it had no control; would neither establish not abolish slavery; would not intervene to accomplish purposes of doubtful constitutionality.
Non-intervention, as used by some, is a shallow device, and means that the Federal Government is the enemy of slavery; that it ignores it, and will not recognize or protect it; and that it will not lend its power to uphold and sustain it. It is a shuffling, but disastrous, compromise between our rights to protection, and the power claimed to cripple or abolish. It is a relinquishment of the duties of Government, and an abandonment of our equality of manhood. Complete non-intervention in reference to slavery, in aggressive action against us; is discrimination exceptional and adverse to slave property; is “accumulated and unequal protection to antagonist and rival interests.” We entered the compact, and delegated the exercise of certain sovereign powers, that they might be used more effectively for our protection and security. If the Federal Government refuses us protection from unfriendly legislation, or “refuses to carry the claims of the slaveholder for redress to the proper tribunal the slaveholders must establish a Government that will render adequate protection, or become and easy prey to foreign rapacity or domestic fanaticism.” “If the slaveholder is to have no surrender of his fugitive slave, he must have an army or navy guard his frontiers or coasts and to punish the enemy who harbors his property. If the slaveholder can enjoy no share of the common property of the Union, he must be exempt from taxes and military contributions. Protection is the price paid by Government for the support of its citizensm and I can conceive of no disgrace more heavy, no degradation more bitter, than the denial of this right of protection, with a simultaneous claim for maintenance against the slaveholder.”
It may be said that these are judicial questions and mere abstractions, which can be safely left to the future to be determined as exigencies may arise. In a late memorable case, appeals have been made from the Supreme Court to popular prejudice as passion, and interpretations of the decision form parts of political platforms. History is full of instances of judicial subserviency, and political opinions very often control judicial conduct. The famous Somerset case, the direful spring of unnumbered woes, was decided under circumstances that reflect no credit on the moral courage of the eminent judge. The proposition of Senator SEWARD, to put the Supreme Court on the side of freedom, is fearfully admonitory of the influence of popular excitement on the judiciary. If I could lift my voice so as to be heard by the South; if she would heed the admonition of a loyal son, in tones of earnest entreaty, I would beseech her not again to commit the fatal mistake of yielding to party necessity what may be essential to future safety; not to concede a principle, which, however apparently abstract or impracticable, may, in the hands of hostility or fanaticism, prove a potent engine of mischief or destruction.
[The hour expired at this point, but, by unanimous consent, Mr. CURRY was allowed to proceed.]
As said Pitt, on the East India Bill:
“It would be folly in the extreme, to suppose that the principle once admitted would operate only on the present occasion. Good principles might sleep; but bad ones never. It is the curse of society that, when a bad principle is once established, bad men will always be found to give it full effect.”
Mr Chairman, for what is the democratic party contending? Is it for spoils and patronage, or for principle? Is this immense array of means, this combination of agencies, this drilling for the strife, but to win a victory, barren and fruitless and Pyrrhan? Are we to struggle for a President, merely to dispense executive patronage and feed a greedy swarm of leeches? This is of no avail, is mischievous, unless accompanies by practical results, by a triumph of principle. The election of a President, however pure and patriotic, will be as deceptive as Dead Sea fruit, unless accompanied by a corresponding elevation of popular sentiment. Sir, there is no strength in numbers, in a mere aggregation of men. A party must be animated by a common faith; be vitalized by principle; must employ imperishable truth; and its principles must not be mere exceptional maxims, politic and convenient forms, applicable only to temporary exigencies, and to be laid aside to make snake sloughs off its skin.
I have finished, Mr. Chairman, what I have to say on these questions, endeavoring to compress into one hour what, if properly elaborated, would have required several; but I cannot close without repelling an accusation which has been made on this floor, and at Chicago and elsewhere, that the President and the Democratic party, in favoring the admission of Kansas with the Lecompton constitution, were endeavoring to fasten “a fraud” upon the country, and “force a constitution upon the people of Kansas against their will.” One Senator, [Mr. DOUGLAS,] who was most conspicuous in his hostility to the Administration, and his warfare on the Democratic organization, while recording his own services, and fighting the battle against such an “arrogant demand,” and against the consummation of such a “fraud” as the admission of Kansas, congratulated his Republican allies for the successful and valuable aid rendered in that contest against the “Lecompton fraud.”
The Kansas struggle has passed into history. Violence and wrong were committed on both sides and there is much connected with the question discreditable to the country. As one member of the last Congress, I repel with scorn all imputation, whether it come from the Republican or disorganizing and recusant Democrat, of a purpose to “consummate a fraud,” or “force” an unwilling State into the Union. It is demonstrable that the Lecompton constitution was legally and validly made and ordained as the organic law of the people of Kansas so far as they had power to institute a government. The “sense” of the inhabitants was taken upon the expediency of calling a convention to frame a State constitution. They decided in favor of the convention, and the Legislature passed a law authorizing the election of delegates, and at a subsequently legal and fair election, the delegates were chosen. The country will not forget that there is no allegation of the slightest fraud, nor of a single illegal vote at the elections I have specified. Up to this time, there is no pretense of fraud or illegality; and the refusal of a majority, even to vote on the questions, does not affect the previous legal proceedings, and the right of a convention thus summoned to frame and ordain a fundamental law. I only interpose this brief explanation lest silence might be construed into acquiescence, into an unfounded censure.
The Alabama Legislature unanimously passed resolutions authorizing the Governor to call a convention of the State, in the event of the refusal to admit Kansas under the Lecompton constitution, supposing that these alleged irregularities were but flimsy pretenses to keep a slave State out of the Union. The President and the Cabinet, and the great bulk of the Democracy in Congress, including every Democrat from the South, sustained and favored the admission of Kansas under that constitution. It is too heavy and exception upon party fidelity, too entire a surrender of personal manhood, to demand support at this time for the highest office in the world for any man who denounced what so large a majority of the Democracy desired and sought to accomplish, as “the consummation of a fraud.”
104 William St N. York
Lysander Spooner Esq
Dear Sir. Yours of 31 Octo. is recd.
By referring to the Principia of 17 Feb. 1862 I find that the quoted paragraph to which you allude was taken not from a “letter” (as you have it) but from a “reply” of J.C. Calhoun to T.H. Bouton ___ made at sufferance, in the U.S. Senate. of which, J [?]Haik[?], they were both members at the time.
The debates in the “Daily Glove”, or Journals of Congress ought to continue it, or give some close to it. Of the date I can give no further account or verification nor can I tell whether I obtained the extract. It was probably from some newspaper report of a speech in which it was quoted in Some Editorial. In any Am. Slave Code. Peod I. Chap 23 “Origin of the relation V its Subjects” Pp 258 to 285 there are abundant authorities to the Same Point, but I do not find their of Calhoun. My health has been feeble the past Summer, but is, I hope, somewhat improving.
Yours truly (see over)
Should you succeed in authenticating the extract & fixing its date and attendant circumstances, please in form me the particulars as I contemplate a further use of it, and wish to have it in the [?]right[?] shape.