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CHAP. II. slavery, and be admitted into the Union upon terms of perfect equality with the other States."

We have already seen how deliberately the spirit and letter of "the principle" was violated by the Democratic National Administration of President Pierce, and by nearly all the Democratic Senators and Representatives in Congress; and we shall see how the more explicit resolution was again even more flagrantly violated by the Democratic National Administration and party under President Buchanan.

For the time, however, these well-rounded phrases were especially convenient: first, to prevent any schism in the Cincinnati Convention itself, and, secondly, to furnish points for campaign speeches; politicians not having any pressing desire, nor voters the requisite critical skill, to demonstrate how they left untouched the whole brood of pertinent queries which the discussion had already raised, and which at its next national convention were destined to disrupt and defeat the Democratic party. For this occasion the studied ambiguity of the Cincinnati platform made possible a last coöperation of North and South, in the face of carefully concealed mental reservations, to secure a presidential victory.

It is not the province of this work to describe the incidents of the national canvass, but only to record its results. At the election of November, 1856, Buchanan was chosen President. The popular vote in the nation at large stood: Buchanan, 1,838,169; Frémont, 1,341,264; Fillmore, 874,534. By States Buchanan received the votes of fourteen slave States and five free States, a total of 174

electors; Frémont the vote of eleven free States, CHAP. II. a total of 114 electors; and Fillmore the vote of one slave State, a total of eight electors.1

In the campaign which preceded Mr. Buchanan's election, Mr. Lincoln, at the head of the Frémont electoral ticket for Illinois, took a prominent part, traversing the State in every direction, and making about fifty speeches. Among the addresses which he thus delivered in the different counties, it is interesting to read a fragment of a speech he made at Galena, Illinois, discussing the charge of "sectionalism," the identical pretext upon which the South inaugurated its rebellion against his Administration four years afterwards:

You further charge us with being disunionists. If you mean that it is our aim to dissolve the Union, I for myself answer that it is untrue; for those who act with me I answer that it is untrue. Have you heard us assert that as our aim? Do you really believe that such is our aim? Do you find it in our platform, our speeches, our conventions, or anywhere? If not, withdraw the charge.

But you may say that though it is not our aim, it will be the result, if we succeed, and that we are therefore disunionists in fact. This is a grave charge you make against us, and we certainly have a right to demand that you specify in what way we are to dissolve the Union. How are we to effect this?

The only specification offered is volunteered by Mr. Fillmore in his Albany speech. His charge is that if we 1 The vote more in detail was as follows:

For Buchanan, slave States, Alabama, 9; Arkansas, 4; Delaware, 3; Florida, 3; Georgia, 10; Kentucky, 12; Louisiana, 6; Mississippi, 7; Missouri, 9; North Carolina, 10; South Carolina, 8; Tennessee, 12; Texas, 4; Virginia, 15. Free States, California, 4; Illinois, 11; In

diana, 13; New Jersey, 7; Penn-
sylvania, 27. Total, 174.

For Frémont, free States, Con
necticut, 6; Iowa, 4; Maine, 8;
Massachusetts, 13; Michigan, 6;
New Hampshire, 5; New York,
35; Ohio, 23; Rhode Island, 4;
Vermont, 5; Wisconsin, 5. To-
tal, 114.

For Fillmore, slave State,
Maryland, 8.


elect a President and Vice-President both from the free States it will dissolve the Union. This is open folly. The Constitution provides that the President and VicePresident of the United States shall be of different States; but says nothing as to the latitude and longitude of those States. In 1828 Andrew Jackson, of Tennessee, and John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina, were elected President and Vice-President, both from slave States; but no one thought of dissolving the Union then on that account. In 1840 Harrison, of Ohio, and Tyler, of Virginia, were elected. In 1841 Harrison died and John Tyler succeeded to the presidency, and William R. King, of Alabama, was elected acting Vice-President by the Senate; but no one supposed that the Union was in danger. In fact, at the very time Mr. Fillmore uttered this idle charge, the state of things in the United States disproved it. Mr. Pierce, of New Hampshire, and Mr. Bright, of Indiana, both from free States, are President and Vice-President, and the Union stands and will stand. You do not pretend that it ought to dissolve the Union, and the facts show that it won't; therefore the charge may be dismissed without further consideration.

No other specification is made, and the only one that could be made is, that the restoration of the restriction of 1820 making the United States territory free territory would dissolve the Union. Gentlemen, it will require a decided majority to pass such an act. We, the majority, being able constitutionally to do all that we purpose, would have no desire to dissolve the Union. Do you say that such restriction of slavery would be unconstitutional, and that some of the States would not submit to its enforcement? I grant you that an unconstitutional act is not a law; but I do not ask and will not take your construction of the Constitution. The Supreme Court of the United States is the tribunal to decide such a question, and we will submit to its decisions; and if you do also, there will be an end of the matter. Will you? If not, who are the disunionists, you or we? We, the majority, would not strive to dissolve the Union; and if any attempt is made it must be by you, who so loudly stigmatize us as disunionists.

But the Union, in any event, will not be dissolved.

We don't want to dissolve it, and if you attempt it we won't let you. With the purse and sword, the army and navy and treasury in our hands and at our command, you could not do it. This government would be very weak indeed if a majority with a disciplined army and navy and a well-filled treasury could not preserve itself, when attacked by an unarmed, undisciplined, unorganized minority. All this talk about the dissolution of the Union is humbug, nothing but folly. We do not want to dissolve the Union; you shall not.

With three presidential tickets in the fieldwith the Democrats seeking the election of Buchanan and Breckinridge, the Americans, or KnowNothings, asking votes for Fillmore and Donelson, and the Republicans making proselytes for Frémont and Dayton - the political campaign of 1856 was one of unabated activity and excitement. In the State of Illinois the contest resulted in a drawn battle. The American party held together with tolerable firmness in its vote for President, but was largely disintegrated in its vote on the ticket for State officers. The consequence was that Illinois gave a plurality of 9164 for Buchanan, the Democratic candidate for President, while at the same time it gave a plurality of 4729 for Bissell, the Republican candidate for Governor.1

Half victory as it was, it furnished the Illinois Republicans a substantial hope of the full triumph which they achieved four years later. About a month after this election, at a Republican banquet given in Chicago on the 10th of December, 1856, Abraham Lincoln spoke as follows, partly in criticism of the last annual message of President 1 For President, Buchanan ernor, Richardson (Democrat), (Democrat), 105,344; Frémont 106,643; Bissell (Republican), (Republican), 96,180; Fillmore 111,372; Morris (American), (American), 37,451. For Gov- 19,241.


Galena "Advertiser," copied into "State

the Illinois Journal,"

August 8, 1856.

CHAP. II. Pierce, but more especially pointing out the rising star of promise:

We have another annual presidential message. Like a rejected lover making merry at the wedding of his rival, the President felicitates himself hugely over the late presidential election. He considers the result a signal triumph of good principles and good men, and a very pointed rebuke of bad ones. He says the people did it. He forgets that the " people," as he complacently calls only those who voted for Buchanan, are in a minority of the whole people by about four hundred thousand votes — one full tenth of all the votes. Remembering this, he might perceive that the "rebuke" may not be quite as durable as he seems to think that the majority may not choose to remain permanently rebuked by that minority.

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The President thinks the great body of us Frémonters, being ardently attached to liberty, in the abstract, were duped by a few wicked and designing men. There is a slight difference of opinion on this. We think he, being ardently attached to the hope of a second term, in the concrete, was duped by men who had liberty every way. He is the cat's-paw. By much dragging of chestnuts from the fire for others to eat, his claws are burnt off to the gristle, and he is thrown aside as unfit for further use. As the fool said of King Lear, when his daughters had turned him out-of-doors, "He's a shelled peascod." [That's a sheal'd peascod.]


So far as the President charges us Iwith a desire to change the domestic institutions of existing States," and of "doing everything in our power to deprive the Constitution and the laws of moral authority," for the whole party on belief, and for myself on knowledge, I pronounce the charge an unmixed and unmitigated falsehood.

Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion can change the government practically just so much. Public opinion, on any subject, always has a "central idea," from which all its minor thoughts radiate. That "central idea" in our political public opinion at the beginning was, and until recently

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