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Title: Speeches of the Hon. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi; delivered during the summer of 1858.
Author: Davis, Jefferson
Language: English
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        Speeches of the Hon. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi,

                 Delivered During the Summer of 1858:

                   On Fourth of July, 1858, at Sea.
                   At Serenade, at Portland, Maine.
                    At Portland Convention, Maine.
                    At Belfast Encampment, Maine.
                      At Belfast Banquet, Maine.
                     At Portland Meeting, Maine.
                      At Fair at Augusta, Maine.
                       At Faneuil Hall, Boston.
                         At New York Meeting.
                   Before Mississippi Legislature.
                               &c. &c.

                    To the People of Mississippi.

I have been induced by the persistent misrepresentation of popular
Addresses made by me at the North and the South during the year 1858,
to collect them, and with extracts from speeches made by me in the
Senate in 1850, to present the whole in this connected form; to the
end that the case may be fairly before those by whose judgment I am
willing to stand or fall.

                                                      Jefferson Davis.

                Extracts From Speeches in U.S. Senate.

In the Senate of the United States, May 8, 1850, in presenting the
Resolutions of the Legislature of Mississippi:

It is my opinion that justice will not be done to the South, unless
from other promptings than are about us here--that we shall have no
substantial consideration offered to us for the surrender of an equal
claim to California. No security against future harassment by Congress
will probably be given. The rain-bow which some have seen, I fear was
set before the termination of the storm. If this be so, those who have
been first to hope, to relax their energies, to trust in compromise
promises, will often be the first to sound the alarm when danger again
approaches. Therefore I say, if a reckless and self-sustaining
majority shall trample upon her rights, if the Constitutional equality
of the States is to be overthrown by force, private and political
rights to be borne down by force of numbers, then, sir, when that
victory over Constitutional rights is achieved, the shout of triumph
which announces it, before it is half uttered, will be checked by the
united, the determined action of the South, and every breeze will
bring to the marauding destroyers of those rights, the warning: woe,
woe to the riders who trample them down! I submit the report and
resolutions, and ask that they may be read and printed for the use of
the Senate.--(_Cong. Globe_, p. 943-4.)

In the Senate of the United States, June 27, 1850, on the Compromise

If I have a superstition, sir, which governs my mind and holds it
captive, it is a superstitious reverence for the Union. If one can
inherit a sentiment, I may be said to have inherited this from my
revolutionary father. And if education can develop a sentiment in the
heart and mind of man, surely mine has been such as would most develop
feelings of attachment for the Union. But, sir, I have an allegiance
to the State which I represent here. I have an allegiance to those who
have entrusted their interests to me, which every consideration of
faith and of duty, which every feeling of honor, tells me is above all
other political considerations. I trust I shall never find my
allegiance there and here in conflict. God forbid that the day should
ever come when to be true to my constituents is to be hostile to the
Union. If, sir, we have reached that hour in the progress of our
institutions, it is past the age to which the Union should have lived.
If we have got to the point when it is treason to the United States to
protect the rights and interests of our constituents, I ask why should
they longer be represented here? why longer remain a part of the
Union? If there is a dominant party in this Union which can deny to us
equality, and the rights we derive through the Constitution; if we are
no longer the freemen our fathers left us; if we are to be crushed by
the power of an unrestrained majority, this is not the Union for which
the blood of the Revolution was shed; this is not the Union I was
taught from my cradle to revere; this is not the Union in the service
of which a large portion of my life has been passed; this is not the
Union for which our fathers pledged their property, their lives, and
sacred honor. No, sir, this would be a central Government, raised on
the destruction of all the principles of the Constitution, and the
first, the highest obligation of every man who has sworn to support
that Constitution would be resistance to such usurpation. This is my

My colleague has truly represented the people of Mississippi as
ardently attached to the Union. I think he has not gone beyond the
truth when he has placed Mississippi one of the first, if not the
first, of the States of the Confederation in attachment to it. But,
sir, even that deep attachment and habitual reverence for the Union,
common to us all--even that, it may become necessary to try by the
touchstone of reason. It is not impossible that they should unfurl the
flag of disunion. It is not impossible that violations of the
Constitution and of their rights, should drive them to that dread
extremity. I feel well assured that they will never reach it until it
has been twice and three times justified. If, when thus fully
warranted, they want a standard bearer, in default of a better, I am
at their command.--(_Cong. Globe_, p. 995-6)

                   On Fourth of July, 1858, At Sea.
                       [From the Boston Post.]

The fine ship _Joseph Whitney_, from Baltimore, Captain S. Howes, was
making for this port on the day of the celebration of the nation's
birth, and among an unusually brilliant array of passengers from
different parts of the country, was the distinguished Senator,
Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi. The patriotic suggestion of the
captain, to celebrate the day in a manner befitting the great
anniversary, met with a hearty response from the company, among whom
were zealous republicans, democrats and Americans. A committee was
appointed to invite the Senator to make an address, and he consented.

First, the Declaration of Independence was read by Sebastian F.
Streeter, Esq., of Baltimore, when Senator Davis made an address of
singular felicity of diction and impassioned eloquence, and of such a
character as to command the admiration of those who listened to it. He
commenced by happy allusions to the array of beauty and intelligence
that stood before him from all parts of our common country; he then
passed in review the condition of the feeble and separate colonies of
1776, and contrasted with it the country now--the only proper republic
on earth, as it stood before the world in its wonderful progress in
art, and agriculture, and commerce, and all the elements that
constitute a great nation. When thus sailing on the Atlantic, looking
to the coast of the United States, he was reminded of those bold
refugees from the British and French oppression who crosses these
water to found a home in what was then a wilderness. The memory, too,
arose of the many sorrowing hearts and oppressed spirits since born
over these waves to that refuge from political oppression which our
fathers founded as the home of liberty and the asylum of mankind. Her
terrtiory {sic}, which now stretches from ocean to ocean, contains a
vast interior yet unpeopled; and, with a destiny of still further and
continued expansion of area, why should the gate of the temple be now
shut upon sorrowing mankind? Rather let it be that the gate should be
forever open, and an emblematic flag, hereafter as heretofore, wave a
welcome to all to come to the modern Abdella--fugitives from political

Senator Davis dwelt at some length on the right of search question--on
the insulting claim which Great Britain made to a peace-right to visit
our ships. Under the pretence of stopping the slave trade--a trade
against which the United States was the first nation to raise its
voice--she had interrupted and destroyed a lucrative commerce we had
enjoyed in ivory and other products on the coast of Africa. The late
outrages in the Gulf found us, as a people, with domestic quarrels on
our hands; but if this power counted on existing divisions and on
making them wider, the result showed how great was her error. The
insult was resented by a united people; the Senate, as one man, leaped
up against British pretensions; while England, as suddenly,
astonished, withdrew her pretensions. The claim she so long preferred
is given up--entirely abandoned. The same spirit that resented insult
in the past will resent it in the future. I stand, said the Senator,
substantially on the deck of an American vessel; it is American soil;
the American flag floats over it; its right to course the ocean
pathway is perfect. When the blue firmament reflected its own color in
the sea, it was the unappropriated property of mankind; and it was
arrogant and idle for any nation to deny to the United States her full
enjoyment of this common property. It was for the full and undisturbed
enjoyment of this right that out fathers, when much less prepared for
war than we are now, engaged in the conflict of 1812; and for this
right we were ready to strike in 1858. Let a feign power, under any
pretence whatever, insult the American flag, and it will find that we
are not a divided people, but that a mighty arm will be raised to
smite down the insulter, and this great country will continue united.

Trifling politicians in the South, or in the North, or in the West,
may continue to talk otherwise, but it will be of no avail. They are
like the mosquitoes around the ox: they annoy, but they cannot wound,
and never kill. There was a common interest which run through all the
diversified occupations and various products of these sovereign
States; there was a common sentiment of nationality which beat in
every American bosom; there were common memories sweet to us all, and,
though clouds had occasionally darkened our political sky, the good
sense and the good feeling of the people had thus far averted any
catastrophe destructive of our constitution and the Union. It was in
fraternity and an elevation of principle which rose superior to
sectional or individual aggrandizement that the foundations of our
Union were laid; and if we, the present generation, be worthy of our
ancestry, we shall not only protect those foundations from
destruction, but build higher and wider this temple of liberty, and
inscribe perpetuity upon its tablet.

In the course of his beautiful speech, senator Davis passed a noble
eulogium on our mother country; and dwelt on the many reasons why the
most cordial friendship should be maintained with her; and he
concluded by a tribute to the fair sex--the women--beautiful woman; to
the wondrous educational influence as the mother which she exercised
over the minds of men. It is ever, at all times, felt and
operative--upon the dreary waste of ocean, on the lonely prairie, in
the troublous contests at the national halls. And when the arm is
moved in the deadly conflicts of the battle-field, and the foe is
vanquished, then the gentle influences instilled by women do their
work, and the heart melts into tears of pity and prompts to deeds of

After this intellectual repast, then succeeded congratulations; the
air was made vocal with song; while, through the foresight of the
gallant captain, at the evening hour, the sky about the good ship
Joseph Whitney was brilliant with those various pyrotechnic displays
which must be so grateful to the spirit of patriotic John Adams, of
bonfire and illumination-memory.

           Speech at the Portland Serenade, July 9th, 1858.

After the music had ceased, Mr. Davis appeared upon the steps, and as
soon as the prolonged applause with which he was greeted had subsided,
he spoke in substance as follows:

Fellow Countrymen:--Accept my sincere thanks for this manifestation of
your kindness. Vanity does not lead me so far to misconceive your
purpose as to appropriate the demonstration to myself; but it is not
less gratifying to me to be made the medium through which Maine
tenders an expression of regard to her sister Mississippi. It is
moreover, with feelings of profound gratification that I witness this
indication of that national sentiment and fraternity which made us,
and which alone can keep us, one people. At a period, but as yesterday
when compared with the life of nations, these States were separate,
and in sorts respects opposing colonies; their only relation to each
other was that of a common allegiance to the government of Great
Britain. So separate, indeed almost hostile, was their attitude, that
when Gen. Stark, of Bennington memory, was captured by savages on the
head waters of the Kennebec, he was subsequently taken by them to
Albnny {sic} where they went to sell furs, and again led away a
captive, without interference on the part of the inhabitants of that
neighboring colony to demand or obtain his release. United as we now
are, were a citizen of the United States, as an act of hostility to
our country, imprisoned or slain in any quarter of the world, whether
on land or sea, the people of each and every State of the Union, with
one heart, and with one voice, would demand redress, and woe be to him
against whom a brother's blood cried to us from the ground. Such is
the fruit of the wisdom and the justice with which our fathers bound
contending colonies into confederation and blended different habits
and rival interests into a harmonious whole, so that shoulder to
shoulder they entered on the trial of the revolution, step with step
trod its thorny paths until they reached the height of national
independence and founded the constitutional representative liberty,
which is our birthright.

When the mother country entered upon her career of oppression, in
disregard of chartered and constitutional rights, our forefathers did
not stop to measure the exact weight of the burden, or to ask whether
the pressure bore most upon this colony or upon that, but saw in it
the infraction of a great principle, the denial of a common right, in
defence of which they made common cause; Massachusetts, Virginia and
South Carolina vieing with each other as to who should be foremost in
the struggle, where the penalty of failure would be a dishonorable

Tempered by the trials and sacrifices of the revolution, dignified by
its noble purposes, elevated by its brilliant triumphs, endeared to
each other by its glorious memories, they abandoned the confederacy,
not to fly apart when the outward pressure of hostile fleets and
armies were removed, but to draw closer their embrace in the formation
of a more perfect union. By such men, thus trained and ennobled, our
Constitution was formed. It stands a monument of principle, of
forecast, and, above all, of that liberality which made each willing
to sacrifice local interest, individual prejudice or temporary good to
the general welfare, and the perpetuity of the Republican institutions
which they had passed through fire and blood to secure. The grants
were as broad as were necessary for the functions of the general
agent, and the mutual concessions were twice blessed, blessing both
him who gave and him who received. Whatever was necessary for domestic
government, requisite in the social organization of each community,
was retained by the States and the people thereof; and these it was
made the duty of all to defend and maintain.

Such, in very general terms, is the rich political legacy our fathers
bequeathed to us. Shall we preserve and transmit it to posterity? Yes,
yes, the heart responds, and the judgment answers, the task is easily
performed. It but requires that each should attend to that which most
concerns him, and on which alone he has rightful power to decide and
to act. That each should adhere to the terms of a written compact and
that all should cooperate for that which interest, duty and honor
demand. For the general affairs of our country, both foreign and
domestic, we have a national executive and a national legislature.
Representatives and Senators are chosen by districts and by States,
but their acts affect the whole country, and their obligations are to
the whole people. He who holding either seat would confine his
investigations to the mere interests of his immediate constituents
would be derelict to his plain duty; and he who would legislate in
hostility to any section would be morally unfit for the station, and
surely an unsafe depositary if not a treacherous guardian of the
inheritance with which we are blessed.

No one, more than myself; recognizes the binding force of the
allegiance which the citizen owes to the State of his citizenship, but
that State being a party to our compact, a member of our union, fealty
to the federal Constitution is not in opposition to, but flows from
the allegiance due to one of the United States. Washington was not
less a Virginian when he commanded at Boston; nor did Gates or Greene
weaken the bonds which bound them to their several States, by their
campaigns in the South. In proportion as a citizen loves his own
State, will he strive to honor by preserving her name and her fame
free from the tarnish of having failed to observe her obligations, and
to fulfil her duties to her sister States. Each page of our history is
illustrated by the names and the deeds of those who have well
understood, and discharged the obligation. Have we so degenerated,
that we can no longer emulate their virtues? Have the purposes for
which our Union was formed, lost their value? Has patriotism ceased to
be a virtue, and is narrow sectionalism no longer to be counted a
crime? Shall the North not rejoice that the progress of agriculture in
the South has given to her great staple the controlling influence of
the commerce of the world, and put manufacturing nations under bond to
keep the peace with the United States? Shall the South not exult in
the fact, that the industry and persevering intelligence of the North,
has placed her mechanical skill in the front ranks of the civilized
world--that our mother country, whose haughty minister some eighty odd
years ago declared that not a hob-nail should be made in the colonies,
which are now the United States, was brought some four years ago to
recognize our pre-eminence by sending a commission to examine our work
shops, and our machinery, to perfect their own manufacture of the arms
requisite for their defence? Do not our whole people, interior and
seaboard, North, South, East, and West, alike feel proud of the
hardihood, the enterprise, the skill, and the courage of the Yankee
sailor, who has borne our flag far as the ocean bears its foam, and
caused the name and the character of the United States to be known and
respected wherever there is wealth enough to woo commerce, and
intelligence enough to honor merit? So long as we preserve, and
appreciate the achievements of Jefferson and Adams, of Franklin and
Madison, of Hamilton, of Hancock, and of Rutledge, men who labored for
the whole country, and lived for mankind, we cannot sink to the petty
strife which would sap the foundations, and destroy the political
fabric our fathers erected, and bequeathed as an inheritance to our
posterity forever.

Since the formation of the Constitution, a vast extension of
territory, and the varied relations arising there from, have presented
problems which could not have been foreseen. It is just cause for
admiration--even wonder, that the provisions of the fundamental law
should have been found so fully adequate to all the wants of
government, new in its organization, and new in many of the principles
on which it was founded. Whatever fears may have once existed as to
the consequences of territorial expansion, must give way before the
evidence which the past affords. The general government, strictly
confined to its delegated functions, and the States left in the
undisturbed exercise of all else, we have a theory and practice which
fits our government for immeasurable domain, and might, under a
millennium of nations, embrace mankind.

From the slope of the Atlantic our population with ceaseless tide has
poured into the wide and fertile valley of the Mississippi, with
eddying whirl has passed to the coast of the Pacific, from the West
and the East the tides are rushing towards each other--and the mind is
carried to the day when all the cultivable and will be inhabited, and
the American people will sign for more wildernesses to conquer. But
there is here a physico-political problem presented for our solution.
Were it was purely physical--your past triumphs would leave but little
doubt of your capacity to solve it.

A community, which, when less than twenty thousand, conceived the
grand project of crossing the White Mountains, and, unaided, save by
the stimulus which jeers and prophecies of failure gave, successfully
executed the herculean work, might well be impatient, if it were
suggested that a physical problem was before us, too difficult for
their mastery. The history of man teaches that high mountains and wide
deserts have resisted the permanent extension of empire, and have
formed the immutable boundaries of States. From time to time, under
some able leader, have the hordes of the upper plains of Asia swept
over the adjacent country, and rolled their conquering columns over
Southern Europe. Yet, after the lapse of a few generations, the
physical law to which I have referred, has asserted its supremacy, and
the boundaries of those States differ little now from those which
obtained three thousand years ago. Rome flew her conquering eagles
over the then known world, and has now subsided into the little
territory on which her great city was originally built. The Alps and
the Pyrenees have been unable to restrain imperial France; but her
expansion was a leverish action; her advance and her retreat were
tracked with blood, and those mountain ridges are the re-established
limits of her empire. Shall the Rocky Mountains prove a dividing
barrier to us? Were ours a central consolidated government, instead of
a Union of sovereign States, our fate might be learned from the
history of other nations. Thanks to the wisdom and independent spirit
of our forefathers, this is not our case. Each State having sole
charge of its local interests and domestic affairs, the problem which
to others has been insoluble, to us is made easy. Rapid, safe, and
easy communication and co-operation among all parts of our
continent-wide republic. The network of railroads which bind the North
and the South, the slope of the Atlantic and the valley of the
Mississippi, together testify that our people have the power to
perform, in that regard, whatever it is their will to do.

We require a railroad to the States of the Pacific for present uses;
the time no doubt will come when we shall have need of two or three;
it may be more. Because of the desert character of the interior
country the work will be difficult and expensive. It will require the
efforts of an united people. The bickerings of little politicians, the
jealousies of sections, must give way to dignity of purpose and zeal
for the common good. If the object be obstructed by contention and
division as to whether the route to be selected shall be northern,
southern or central, the handwriting is on the wall, and it requires
little skill to see that failure is the interpretation of the
inscription. You are a practical people and may ask, how is that
contest to be avoided? By taking the question out of the hands of
politicians altogether. Let the Government give such aid as it is
proper for it to render to the Company which shall propose the most
feasible and advantageous plan; then leave to capitalists with
judgment sharpened by interest, the selection of the route, and the
difficulties will diminish as did those which you overcame when you
connected your harbor with the Canadian Provinces.

It would be to trespass on your kindness and to violate the
proprieties of the occasion, were I to detain the vast concourse which
stands before me, by entering on the discussion of controverted
topics, or by further indulging in the expression of such reflections
as circumstances suggest.

I came to your city in quest of health and repose. From the moment I
entered it you have showered upon me kindness and hospitality. Though
my experience has taught me to anticipate good rather than evil from
my fellow man, it had not prepared me to expect such unremitting
attention as has here been bestowed. I have been jocularly asked in
relation to my coming here, whether I had secured a guaranty {sic} for
my safety, and lo, I have found it. I stand in the midst of thousands
of my fellow citizens. But my friend, I came neither distrusting, not
apprehensive, of which you have proof in the fact that I brought with
me the objects of tenderest affection and solicitude--my wife and my
children; they have shared with me your hospitality, and will alike
remain your debtors. If at some future time, when I am mingled with
the dust, and the arm of my infant son has been nerved for deeds of
manhood, the storm of war should burst upon your city, I feel that,
relying upon his inheriting the instincts of his ancestors and mine, I
may pledge him in that perilous hour to stand by your side in the
defence of your hearth stones, and in maintaining the honor of a flag
whose constellation though torn and smoked in many a battle, by sea
and land, has never been stained with dishonor, and will I trust
forever fly as free as the breeze which unfolds it.

A stranger to you, the salubrity of your location and the beauty of
its scenery were not wholly unknown to me, nor were there wanting
associations which bust memory connected with your people. You will
pardon me for alluding to one whose genius shed a lustre upon all it
touched, and whose qualities gathered about him hosts of friends,
wherever he was known. Prentiss, a native of Portland, lived from
youth to middle age in the county of my residence, and the inquiries
which have been made, show me that the youth excited the interest
which the greatness of the man justified, and that his memory thus
remains a link to connect your home with mine.

A cursory view, when passing through your town on former occasions,
had impressed me with the great advantages of your harbor, its easy
entrance, its depth, and its extensive accommodation for shipping. But
its advantages, and if facilities as they have been developed by
closer inspection, have grown upon me until I realize that it is no
boast, but the language of sober truth which in the present state of
commerce pronounces them unequaled in any harbor of our country.

And surely no place could be more inviting to an invalid who sought a
refuge from the heat of a southern summer. Here waving elms offer him
shared walks, and magnificent residences surrounded by flowers, fill
the mind with ideas of comfort and of rest. If weary of constant
contact with his fellow men, he seeks a deeper seclusion, there, in
the back ground of this grand amphitheatre, lie the eternal mountains,
frowning with brow of rock and cap of snow upon the smiling fields
beneath, and there in its recesses may be found as much of wildness,
and as much of solitude, as the pilgrim weary of the cares of life can
desire. If he turn to the front, your capacious harbor, studded with
green islands of ever varying light and shade, and enlivened by all
the stirring evidences of commercial activity, offer him the mingled
charms of busy life and nature's calm repose. A few miles further, and
he may site upon the quiet shore to listen to the murmuring wave until
the troubled spirit sinks to rest, and in the little sail that
vanishes on the illimitable sea, we may find the type of the voyage
which he is so soon to take, when, his ephemeral existence closed, he
embarks for that better state which lies beyond the grave.

Richly endowed as you are by nature in all which contributes to
pleasure and to usefulness, the stranger cannot pass without paying a
tribute to the much which your energy has achieved for yourselves.
Where else will one find a more happy union of magnificence and
comfort, where better arrangements to facilitate commerce? Where so
much of industry, with so little noise and bustle? Where, in a phrase,
so much effected in proportion to the means employed? We hear the puff
of the engine, the roll of the wheel, the ring of the axe, and the
saw, but the stormy, passionate exclamations so often mingled with the
sounds, are no where heard. Yet, neither these nor other things which
I have mentioned; attractive though they be, have been to me the chief
charm which I have found among you. For above all these I place the
gentle kindness, the cordial welcome, the hearty grasp, which made me
feel truly and at once, though wandering far, that I was still at

My friends, I thank you for this additional manifestation of your good

                  Speech at the Portland Convention.

On Thursday, August 24th, 1858, when the Democratic Convention had
nearly concluded its business, a committee was appointed to wait on
Mr. Davis, and request him to gratify them by his presence in the
Convention. He expressed his willingness to comply with the wishes of
his countrymen, and accordingly repaired to the City Hall. On entering
he was greeted in the most cordial and enthusiastic manner. After
business was finished, he proceeded to the rostrum, and, addressing
the Convention, said:

Friends, fellow-citizens, and brethren in Democracy, he thanked them
for the honor conferred by their invitation to be present at their
deliberations, and expressed the pleasure he felt in standing in the
midst of the Democracy of Maine--amidst so many manifestations of the
important and gratifying fact that the Democratic is, in truth, a
national party. He did not fail to remember that the principles of the
party declaring for the largest amount of personal liberty consistent
with good government, and to the greatest possible extent of community
and municipal independence, would render it in their view, as in his
own, improper for him to speak of those subjects which were local in
their character, and he would endeavor not so far to trespass upon
their kindness as to refer to anything which bore such connection,
direct or indirect--and he hoped that those of their opponents who,
having the control of type, fancied themselves licensed to manufacture
facts, would not hold them responsible for what he did not say. He
said he should carry with him, as one of the pleasant memories of his
brief sojourn in Maine, the additional assurance, which intercourse
with the people had given him, that there still lives a National
Party, struggling and resolved bravely to struggle for the maintenance
of the Constitution, the abatement of sectional hostility, and the
preservation of the fraternal compact made by the Fathers of the
Republic. He said, rocked in the cradle of Democracy, having learned
its precepts from his father,--who was a Revolutionary Soldier--and in
later years having been led forward in the same doctrine by the
patriot statesman--of whom such honorable mention was made in their
resolutions--Andrew Jackson, he had always felt that he had in his own
heart a standard by which to measure the sentiments of a Democrat.
When, therefore, he had seen evidences of a narrow sectionalism, which
sought not the good of the whole, not even the benefit of a part, but
aimed at the injury of a particular section, the pulsations of his own
heart told him such cannot be the purpose, the aim, or the wish of any
American Democrat--and he saw around him to-day evidence that his
opinion in this respect had here its verification. As he looked upon
the weather-beaten faces of the veterans and upon the flushed cheek
and flashing eye of the youth, which told of the fixed resolve of the
one, and the ardent, noble hopes of the other, strengthened hope and
bright anticipations filled his mind, and he feared not to ask the
questions shall narrow interests, shall local jealousies, shall
disregard of the high purposes for which our Union was ordained,
continue to distract our people and impede the progress of our
government toward the high consummation which prophetic statesmen have
so often indicated as her destiny?--[Voices, no, no, no! Much

Thanks for that answer; let every American heart respond no; let every
American head, let every American hand unite in the great object of
National development. Let our progress be across the land and over the
sea, let our flag as stated in your resolutions, continue to wave its
welcome to the oppressed, who flee from the despotism of other lands,
until the constellation which marks the number of our States which
have already increased from thirteen to thirty two, shall go on
multiplying into a bright galaxy covering the field on which we now
display the revered stripes, which record the original size of our
political family, and shall shed its benign light over all mankind, to
point them to the paths of self-government and constitutional liberty.

He here referred to the history of the Democratic party, and numbered
among its glories the various acts of territorial acquisition and
triumphs through its foreign intercourse in the march of civilization
and National amity, as well as in the glories which from time to time
had been shed by the success of our arms upon the name and character
of the American people. He alluded to the recent attempt by some of
the governments of Europe, to engraft upon National law a prohibition
against privateering. He said whenever other governments were willing
to declare that private property should be exempt from the rigors of
war, on sea as it is on land, our government might meet them more than
half way, but to a proposition which would leave private property the
prey of national vessels and thus give the whole privateering to those
governments which maintained a large naval establishment in time of
peace, he would unhesitatingly answer no. Our merchant marine
constituted the militia of the sea--how effective it had been in our
last struggle with a maritime power, he need not say to the sons of
those who had figured so conspicuously in that species of warfare. The
policy of our government was peace. We could not consent to bear the
useless expense of a naval establishment larger than was necessary for
its proper uses in a time of peace. Relying as we had and must
hereafter upon the merchant marine to man whatever additional vessels
we should require, and upon the bold and hardy Yankee sailor, when he
could no longer get freight for his craft, to receive a proper
armament, and go forth like a knight errant of the sea in quest of
adventure against the enemies of his country's flag.

He said our country was powerful for all military purposes, and if
asked to compare her armies and her navy with those of the great
powers of Europe, he would answer, that is not our standard. History
teaches that our strength is in the courage and patriotism, the skill
and intelligence of our people. A part of the American army was before
him, and a part of the American navy was lying in the harbor of their
city. That army and that navy had fought the battles of the
Revolution, of the "war of 1812" and of the war with Mexico, and would
never be found wanting, whilst the patriotism of the earlier days of
the Republic, proved a sufficient cement to hold the different parts
of our wide spread and extending country together. He said that
everything around him spoke eloquently of the wisdom of the men who
founded these colonies-their descendants, who sat before him,
contrasted strongly, as did their history and present power, stand out
in bold relief, when compared with those of the inhabitants of Central
and Southern America. Chief among the reasons for this, he believed to
be the self-reliant hardihood of their forefathers who, when but a
handful, found themselves confronted by hordes of savages, yet proudly
maintained the integrity of their race and asserted its supremacy over
the descendants of Shem, in whose tents they had come to dwell. They
preferred to encounter toil, privation and carnage, rather than debase
their lineage and race. Their descendants of that pure and heroic
blood have advanced to the high standard of civilization attainable by
that type of mankind. Stability and progress, wealth and comfort, art
and science, have followed their footsteps.

Among our neighbors of Central and Southern America, we see the
Caucasian mingled with the Indian and the African. They have the forms
of free government, because they have copied them. To its benefits
they have not attained, because that standard of civilization is above
their race. Revolution succeeds Revolution, and the country mourns
that some petty chief may triumph, and through a sixty days'
government ape the rulers of the earth. Even now the nearest and
strongest of these American Republics, which were fashioned after the
model of our own, seems to be tottering to a fall, and the world is
inquiring as to who will take possession; or, as protector, raise and
lead a people who have shown themselves incompetent to govern

He said our fathers laid the foundation of Empire, and declared its
purposes; to their sons it remained to complete their superstructure.
The means by which this end was to be secured were simple and easy. It
involved no harder task than that each man should attend to his own
business, that no community should arrogantly assume to interfere with
the affairs of another--and that all by the honorable obligation of
fulfiling that compact which their fathers had made.

He then referred to the commercial position of Maine, and spoke of her
brightly unfolding prospects of prosperity and greatness. Many
considered her wealth to consist of her forests, and that her
prosperity would decline when her timber was exhausted--he held to a
different opinion, and thought they might welcome the day, when the
sombre shadows of the Pine gave place to verdant pastures and fruitful
fields. Was he asked, what then was to become of the interest of
ship-building? He would answer--let it be changed from wood to iron.
The skill to be aquired be a few years' experience, would at a fair
price for iron, enable our ship builders to construct iron ships,
which, taking into account their greater capacity for freight and
greater durability, would be cheaper than vessels of wood, even whilst
timber was as abundant as now;--at least such was the information he
had derived from persons well informed upon those subjects.

He expressed the gratification he felt for the courtesy of the
Democracy in Maine, and doubted not that the Democracy of Mississippi
would receive it, with grateful recognition, as evincing fraternal
sentiment by kindness done to one of her sons, not the less a
representative, because a humble member of her Democracy.

                    Speech at Belfast Encampment.

About the o'clock the troops at the encampment being under arms, Col.
Davis was escorted to the ground and reviewed them. He was then
introduced to the troops by Gen. Cushman, as follows--

Officers and fellow soldiers, I introduce to you Col. Jefferson Davis,
an eminent citizen of Mississippi,--a man, and I say a hero, who has,
in the service of his country, been among and faced hostile guns.

Col. Davis replied as follows--

Citizen Soldiers:--I feel pleased and gratified at the exhibition I
have witnessed of the military spirit and instruction of the volunteer
militia of Maine. I acknowledge the compliment which has been paid to
me, and I welcome it as the indication of the liberality and national
sentiment which makes the militia of each State the effective, as they
are the constitutional defenders of our whole country.

To one who loves his country in all its parts, it is natural to
rejoice in whatever contributes to the prosperity and honor, and marks
the stability and progress of any portion of its people. I therefore
look upon the evidence presented to me of the soldierly enthusiasm and
military acquirements displayed on this occasion, with none the less
pleasure because I am the citizen of another and distant State. It was
not the policy of our government to maintain large armies of navies in
time of peace. The history of our past wars established the fact that
it was not needful to do so. The militia had bee found equal to all
the emergencies of war. Their patriotism, their intelligence, their
knowledge of the use of arms, had given to then all the efficiency of
veterans, and on many bloody fields they have shown their superiority
over the disciplined troops of their enemies. A people morally and
intellectually equal to self-government, must also be equal in
self-defence. My friends, your worthy General has alluded to my
connection with the military service of the country. The memory arose
to myself when the troops this day marched past me, and when I looked
upon their manly bearing and firm step. I thought could I have seen
them thus approaching the last field of battle on which I served,
where the changing tide several times threatened disaster to the
American flag, with what joy I would have welcomed those striped and
starred banners, the emblem and the guide of the free and the brave,
and with what pride would the heart have beaten when welcoming the
danger's hour, brethren from so remote an extremity of our expanded

One of the evidences of the fraternal confidence and mutual reliance
of our fathers was to be found in their compact or mutual protection
and common defence. So long as their sons preserve the spirit and
appreciate the purpose of their fathers, the United States will remain
invincible, their power will grow with the lapse of time, and their
example show brighter and brighter as revolving ages roll over the
temple our fathers dedicated to constitutional liberty, and founded
upon truths announced to their sons, but intended for mankind. I thank
you, citizen soldiers, for this act of courtesy. It will long and
gratefully be remembered, as a token of respect to the distant State
of which I am a citizen, and I trust will be noted by others, as
indicating that national sentiment which made, and which alone can
preserve us a nation.

                 Banquet After Encampment at Belfast.

The Mayor then gave:

The heroes who have fought our country's battles: may their services
be appreciated by a grateful people.

Loud calls being made for Col. Jefferson Davis, that gentleman arose
and said:

The sentiment to which he was called to respond excited memories which
called up proud emotions, though their associations were sad. He could
not reply to a compliment paid to the gallantry of his comrades in the
war with Mexico, without remembering how many of them now mingle with
the dust of a foreign land, and how many of them have sunk after the
day of toil was done by reason of the exposure endured in the service
of their country. The land has mourned, and still mourns, the fall of
its bravest and best, and truly are our laurels mingled with the
cypress, 'tis well, and 'tis wise, 'tis natural and 'tis proper, that
in looking on the laurels of our glory we should pause to pay a
tribute to the cypress which weeps over them, and having paid this
tribute to the gallant dead, the memory of whose service can never
die, we pass to the consideration of their acts, and the beneficial
results which their sacrifices have secured. When that war begun, our
history recorded evidence only of the power of our people for defence.
The Fabian policy of Washington, admirably adapted to the condition of
the Colonies, achieved so much in proportion to the means, that he
would be rash indeed who should attempt to criticise it.
The prudent, though daring course of Jackson, fruitful as it was of
the end to be attained, did not yet serve to illustrate the capacity
of our people for the trials and the struggles attendant on the
operations of an invasive war. Hence it was commonly asserted that the
American people, though they might resist attack, were powerless to
redress aggression which was not connected with the invasion of their
territory. The idea of reliance upon undisciplined militia was treated
with contempt and derision. To borrow a simile from the pit, we were
regarded as dung-hill soldiers, who would only fight at home. In the
war with Mexico our armies carried their banners over routes hitherto
unknown, through mountain passes where nature had almost completed the
work of defence, and penetrated further into the enemy's country than
any European army has ever marched from the source of its supplies.
Not to prolong the comparison by a reference to events of a remote
period, he would only refer to the last campaign in European war. The
combined armies of France and England, after preparation worthy of
their great military power, advanced through friendly territory to the
outer verge of the country, against which they directed a war of
invasion, and after a prolonged siege by sea and by land, finally
captured a seaport town which they could not hold. Before them lay the
country they had come to invade, but there, at the outer gate, their
march was arrested, and in sight of the ships which brought them
supplies and reinforcements, they terminated a campaign, the scale and
proclaimed objects of which had caused the world to look on in
expectation of achievements the like of which man had not seen. Why
was it so? was it not that they were unable to move from the depot of
supplies, though a distance less than half of that over which our army
passed before reaching a productive region would have brought the
allied forces to a country filled with all the supplies necessary for
the support of an army. Is it boastful to say that American troops,
and an American treasury, would have encountered and have overcome
such an obstacle? He did not forget the complaints which had been made
on account of the vast expenditures which had been made in the
prosecution of the war with Mexico; but he remembered with pride the
capacity which the country had exhibited to bear such expenditure, and
believed that our people had no money standard by which to measure the
duty of their government, and the honor of their flag. We bear with us
from the wars in which we have been engaged no other memory of their
cost than the loss of the gallant dead. To the printed reports and
tabular statements we must go when we desire to know how many dollars
were expended. The successful soldier when he returns from the field
is met by a welcome proportionate to the leaves which he has added to
the wreath of his country's glory. Each has his reward; to one, the
admiring listener at the hearthstone; to another, the triumphal
reception; to all, the respect which patriotism renders to patriotic
service. To the soldier who, in the early part of the Mexican war, set
the seal of invincibility upon American arms, and subsequently by a
signal victory dispersed and disorganized the regular army of Mexico,
his countrymen voted the highest reward known to our government. Twice
before have the people in like manner manifested their approbation and
esteem. Thus has the military spirit of the country been nursed;
to-day it needs not the monarchial bundles of ribbons, orders and
titles to sustain it. Thus has the American citizen been made to
realize that it is sweet and honorable to die for one's country; and
to feel proudest among his family memories of the names of those who
successfully fought or bravely died in defence of the national flag.
Often he had had occasion to feel, and to mark the mingled sensation
of pride and of sorrow with which friends revert to those who
gallantly died in the field. Even at this now remote day he could not
travel in Mississippi without having the recollection of his fallen
comrades painfully revived by meeting a mother who mourns her son with
the agony of a mother's grief; a father, whose stern nature vainly
struggles to conceal the involuntary pang, or tender children who know
not the extent of their deprivation, though it is indeed the sorest of
all. Let none then be surprised that he could not see thee laurel save
through the solemn shade of the cypress. Time, however, softened the
shadow long before it withers the leaf. On his way to this place he
learned that it was possible, and he seized the occasion to visit the
residence of Gen. Knox, of revolutionary memory. His own desire to see
something which had been identified with a patriot soldier who had so
largely contributed to the success of the revolution, and the
establishment of the institutions we inherited, was but an indication
of the military sentiment which lives in the American heart. It turns
the step of the traveller from his direct path, it attracts the boy in
his first reading, it fires the ambition of the youth, and encircles
the veteran with the kindness of his neighbors, and swells the train
which follows his bier when, his duty to his country performed, he
answers the summons of his God, and is translated to a better sphere.
It is that same military enthusiasm which calls you from the
avocations and the pleasures of home to the duties and discomforts of
the camp, that you may prepare yourselves whenever your country needs
it to render her efficient service. On the militia of the country the
rights of its citizens, and the honor of its flag, must mainly depend
in the event of a war; they only need to be organized and instructed
to render them a secure reliance. Mingled with the great body of the
people, identified with their feelings and their interests, proud of
the prowess of their fathers and jealousy careful of the country's
honor, if properly instructed and prepared, the first trumpet call
should bring from plain and from mountain a citizen soldiery who would
encircle the land and check the invader with a wall of fire. Your plan
of encampment seems best suited to the purposes of practical
instruction. A pilgrim in search of health, his steps had been
fortunately directed to Maine, the courtesy of the commander of this
encampment had induced him to visit it and to review the troops. In
all respects it had been to him most gratifying. The appointments, the
movements, the stern faces, and stalwart forms of the men, spoke of
the power to do, and the will to dare whatever it was needful and
proper to perform. This day to manifest respect to a citizen of a
distant State, whose only claim upon them is that he has been an
American soldier, and is an American citizen, they had cheerfully
marched through heavy mire. So much had they given to so small a
demand on their natural sentiment, he could not doubt they would with
equal alacrity, and with the same firm step, march over a field miry
with the blood of comrade and of foe, where opposing causes make to
men a common fate.

Among the objects which were of interest to him and which he had hoped
to visit, was the fortification at the narrows of the Penobscot.
During the last session of congress he had endeavored to obtain an
appropriation for the completion of the work which had advanced to the
point which made it effective against shipping, but left still liable
to be carried by land attack. He was not of those who thought it
necessary to raise walls wherever an enemy might land and march, for
he would say that henceforward there would remain to an invading army
but to choose between captivity and a grave. To protect commercial
ports against naval assault forts are needful and should be completed
so as to render them defensible by small garrisons, and to save those
garrisons as far as possible from the sacrifice of life. Our people
require no wall to separate them from other countries, unless it be
needful for our own restraint. Our policy is peace, and the fact
shines brightly on the pages of our history that not one acre of its
extensive acquisitions have been claimed as the spoil of the sword.
Unpeopled deserts have been purchased, and on its own application a
community has been admitted to our family of states. But we have
offered to the world the singular example of conquered territory
returned to the vanquished.

Permit me in this connection, whilst ever mindful of the just relation
and necessity for concurrent action between the civil and military
departments of government, to bear testimony to the value of the
militia for the purposes of peace. The principle of self-government
and the spirit of independence are so deep rooted in the American mind
that our people would illy brook the enforcement of law by any
extraneous power, and it is to be hoped we never will see a case in
which the people of a State will not be able to maintain the civil
authority, and vindicate offended law against all opposers whomsoever.
To give energy and activity to such popular action the organization of
the militia will be most convenient whenever force shall be needful.
It is not a little remarkable that though the first Presidents in
emphatic language from time to time recommended a thorough
organization of the militia as one of the most important duties of the
government, but little more has yet been done than to make provisions
for supplying them with arms, and for calling them out when required
for federal purposes. There is a moral effect arising from the
spectacle of each State possessed of a body of instructed militia,
ready not only to maintain its government at home, but to unite with
the militia of other States and to form an army upon which all can
rely whenever a common danger calls for a common defence. It has been
thus that from time to time the fraternity of our revolutionary
fathers has been renewed among their sons, and additional assurance
has been given that the sentiment of nationality on which our Union
was founded could never die. That the expansion of the circle did not
weaken its cohesive power, nor the piling of arch upon arch endanger
the foundation on which our political temple was built. It was not a
structure of expediency; master workmen cleared away the surface where
the errors and prejudices of ages had accumulated, dug deep down to
the unmutable rock of truth, and with unchanging principles
constructed the walls to stand till time should become eternity. Who
is there, then, forgetful of his revolutionary descent, insensible to
the pride which the name of the United States justly inspires,
faithless to the duty which the bond of his fathers imposes, and
reckless of all which the honorable discharge of that duty ensures,
would unite with impious purpose to destroy that foundation, and
strive, with sacrilegious hand to tear the flag under which we had
marched from colonial dependence to our present national greatness.
Away with speculative theories, and false philanthropy of
abstractions, which tend to destroy one half, one third, aye, or a
single star of that bright constellation which lights the pathway of
our future career, and sends a hopeful ray through the clouds of
despotism which hang over less favored lands.

Our mission is not that of propagandists--our principles forbid
interference with the institutions of other countries; but we may hope
that our example will be imitated, and should so live that this model
of representative liberty, community independence, and government
derived from the consent of the governed, and limited by a written
compact, should commend itself to the adoption of others. We now stand
isolated among the great nations of the earth; the opposition of
monarchial governments to the theory on which ours is founded, points
to the possibility of an alliance against us, by which what is termed
national law may be modified and warped to our prejudice if not to our
assailment. It needs the united power, harmonious action and
concentrated will of the people of all these States to roll the wheel
of progress to the end which our fathers contemplated, and which their
sons, if they are wise and true, may behold. May the kindness and
courtesy which have characterized the present occasion on which
Mississippi has been greeted by Maine, be a type of the feeling which
shall ever exist between the extremes of our common country. From
Florida to California, from Oregon to Maine, from the centre to the
remotest border, may the possessors of our constitutional heritage
appreciate its value, and faithfully, fraternally labor for its
thorough development, looking back to the original compact for the
purposes for which the Union was established, and forward to the
blessing which such union was designed and is competent to confer.

                   Speech at the Portland Meeting.

When it became known that Mr. Davis had arrived at the Hall, he was
loudly called for. Hon. Joseph Howard, chairman of the meeting, then
introduced Mr. Davis, who, on coming forward, was greeted with cheer
upon cheer from the vast audience. As soon as the prolonged and
enthusiastic applause with which he was welcomed had subsided, Mr.
Davis, addressing the audience as fellow citizens and Democratic
brethren, said that the invitation with which he had been favored to
address them, evinced a purpose to confer together for the common
good--for the maintenance of the constitution, the bond of union. He
would not be expected to discuss local questions; he would not in this
imitate the mischievous agitators who inflame the Northern mind
against the Southern States. He came among them, an invalid, advised
by his physician to resort to this clime for the restoration of his
health; as an American citizen, he had not expected that his right to
come here would be questioned; as a stranger, or if not entirely so,
known mainly by the detraction which the ardent advocacy of the rights
of the South had brought upon him, he had supposed that neither his
coming nor his going would attract attention. But his anticipations
had proved erroneous. The polite, the manly, elevated men, lifted
above the barbarism which makes stranger and enemy convertible terms,
had chosen, without political distinction, to welcome his coming, and
by constant acts of generous hospitality to make his sojourn as
pleasant as his physical condition would permit.

On the other hand, men who make a trade of politics, and whose capital
consists in the denunciation of the institutions of other States, had
erroneously judged him by themselves, and had regarded his coming as a
political mission; wherefore it was, he was led to suppose, that the
scavengers of that party had been employed in the publication of
falsehoods, both in relation to himself and his political friends at
the South.

So far as it affected him personally their attacks were no more than
the barking of a cur, which, by its clamor, indicates the inhospitable
character of the master who keeps him. If his friends and himself
were, as had been falsely charged, Disunionists and Nullifiers, they
might naturally have looked for kinder considerations from a party
which circulates petitions for a "prompt and peaceful dissolution of
the Union" on account of the incompatibility of the sections--from a
party, which, having proved faithless to the obligation of the
constitution in relation to the fugitive from service or labor, then
declares null and void the law which their dereliction made it
necessary for Congress to enact. The fealty of himself and friends to
the constitution, and their honorable discharge of its obligations was
their rebuke to this party, in whose hostility he found the highest
commendation in their power to bestow.

By reckless fabrication, by garbling and inserting new words into
extracts, they had attempted to deceive the people here as to his
opinions, and had crowned the fraud by the absurd announcement that
his was the creed on which the people of Maine must vote next Monday.

It was due to the hospitality which he had received at their hands
that he should not interfere in their domestic affairs, and he had not
failed to remember the obligation; when republicans had introduced the
subject of African slavery he had defended it, and answered
pharisaical pretensions by citing the Bible, the constitution of the
United States and the good of society in justification of the
institutions of the State of which he was a citizen; in this he but
exercised the right of a freeman and discharged the duty of a Southern
citizen. Was it for this cause that he had been signalized as a
slavery propagandists? He admitted in all its length and breadth the
right of the people of Maine to decide the question for themselves; he
held that it would be an indecent interference, on the part of a
citizen of another State, if he should arraign the propriety of the
judgment they had rendered, and that there was no rightful power in
the federal government or in all the States combined, to set aside the
decision which the community had made in relation to their domestic
institutions. Should any attempt be made thus to disturb their
sovereign right, he would pledge himself in advance, as a State-rights
man, with his head, his heart and his hand, if need be, to aid them in
the defence of this right of community independence, which the Union
was formed to protect, and which it was the duty of every American
citizen to preserve and to guard as the peculiar and prominent feature
of our government.

Why, then, this accusation? Do they fear to allow Southern men to
converse with their philosophers, and seek thus to silence or exclude
them? He trusted others would contemn them as he did, and that many of
our brethren of the South would, like himself, learn by sojourn here,
to appreciate the true men of Maine, and to know how little are the
political abolitionists and the abolition papers the exponents of the
character and the purposes of the Democracy of this State.

And now having brushed away the cob-webs which lay in his path, he
would proceed to the consideration of subjects worthy of the audience
he had the honor to address.

Democrats, patriots, by whatever political name any of you may be
known, you have a sacred duty to perform to your ancestry and to
posterity. The time is at hand when for good or for evil, the
questions which have agitated the public mind are to be solved. Is it
true as asserted by northern agitators that there is such contrariety
between the North and the South that they cannot remain united! Or
rather, is it not true as our fathers deemed it, that diversity in the
character of the population, in the products and in the institutions
of the several States formed a reason for their union and tended to
secure to their posterity the liberty which was the common object of
their love, and by cultivating untrammeled intercourse and free trade
between the States, to duplicate the comforts of all?

There was a time when the test of patriotism was the readiness to
sever the bond which bound the colonies to the mother country.
Recently our people with joyous acclamation have welcomed the
connection of the United States with Great Britain, by the Atlantic
cable. The one is not inconsistent with the other. When the home
government violated the charters of the colonies, and assumed to
control the private interests of individuals, the love of political
liberty, the determination at whatever hazard to maintain their
rights, led our fathers to enter on the trial of revolution. Having
achieved the separation, they did what was in their power for the
development of commerce. They secured free trade between the States,
without surrendering State independence. Their sons, not only free,
but beyond the possibility of future interference in their domestic
affairs, now seek the closest commercial connection with the country
from which their fathers achieved a political separation.

Had the proposition been made to consolidate the States after their
independence had been achieved, all must know it would have been
rejected--yet there are those who now instigate you to sectional
strife for the purpose of sectional dominion and the destruction of
the rights of the minority. Do they mean treason to the Constitution
and the destruction of the Union? Or do they vilely practice on
credulity and passion for personal gain? The latter is suggested by
the contradictory course they pursue. At the same time they proclaim
war upon the slave property of the South, they ask for protection to
the manufactures of the staple which could not be produced if that
property did not exist. And while they assert themselves to be the
peculiar friends of commerce and navigation, they vaunt their purpose
to destroy the labor which gives vitality to both; whilst they
proclaim themselves the peculiar friends of laboring men at the North,
they insist that the negroes are their equals; and if they are sincere
they would, by emancipation of the blacks, bring them together and
degrade the white man to the negro level. They seek to influence the
northern mind by sectional issues and sectional organization, yet they
profess to be the friends of the Union. The Union voluntarily formed
by free, equal, independent States.

We of the South, on a sectional division, are in the minority; and if
legislation is to be directed by geographical tests--if the
constitution is to be trampled in the dust, and the unbridled will of
the majority in Congress is to be supreme over the States; we should
have the problem which was presented to our Fathers when the Colonies
declined to be content with a mere representation in parliament.

If the constitution is to be sacredly observed, why should there be a
struggle for sectional ascendency? The instrument is the same in all
latitudes, and does not vary with the domestic institutions of the
several States. Hence it is that the Democracy, the party of the
constitution, have preserved their integrity, and are to-day the only
national party and the only hope for the preservation and perpetuation
of the Union of the States.

Mr. Jefferson denominated the Democracy of the North, the natural
allies of the South. It is in our generation doubly true; they are
still the party with whom labor is capital, and they are now the party
which stands by the barriers of the constitution, to protect them from
the waves of fanatical and sectional aggression. The use of the word
aggression reminded him that the people here have been daily harangued
about the aggressions of the slave power, and he had been curious to
learn what was so described. It is, if he had learned correctly, the
assertion of the right to migrate with slaves into the territories of
the United States. Is this aggression? If so, upon what? Not upon
those who desire close association with the negro; not upon
territorial rights, unless these self-styled lovers of the Union have
already dissolved it and have taken the territories to themselves. The
territory being the common property of States, equals in the Union,
and bound by the constitution which recognizes property in slaves, it
is an abuse of terms to call aggression the migration into that
territory of one of its joint owners, because carrying with him any
species of property recognized by the constitution of the United
States. The Federal government has no power to declare what is
property anywhere. The power of each State cannot extend beyond its
own limits. As a consequence, therefore, whatever is property in any
of the States must be so considered in any of the territories of the
United States until they reach to the dignity of community
independence, when the subject matter will be entirely under the
control of the people and be determined by their fundamental law. If
the inhabitants of any territory should refuse to enact such laws and
police regulations as would give security to their property or to his,
it would be rendered more or less valueless, in proportion to the
difficulty of holding it without such protection. In the case of
property in the labor of man, or what is usually called slave
property, the insecurity would be so great that the owner could not
ordinarily retain it. Therefore, though the right would remain, the
remedy being withheld, it would follow that the owner would be
practically debarred by the circumstances of the case, from taking
slave property into a territory where the sense of the inhabitants was
opposed to its introduction. So much for the oft repeated fallacy of
forcing slavery upon any community.

If Congress had the power to prohibit the introduction of slave
property into the territories, what would be the purpose? Would it be
to promote emancipation? That could not be the effect. In the first
settlement of a territory the want of population and the consequent
difficulty of procuring hired labor, would induce emigrants to take
slaves with them; but if the climate and products of the country were
unsuited to African labor--as soon as white labor flowed in, the
owners of slaves would as a matter of interest, desire to get rid of
them and emancipation would result. The number would usually be so
small that this would be effected without injury to society or
industrial pursuits. Thus it was in Wisconsin, notwithstanding the
ordinance of '87; and other examples might be cited to show that this
is not mere theory.

Would it be to promote the civilization and progress of the negro
race? The tendency must be otherwise. By the dispersion of the slaves,
their labor would be rendered more productive and their comforts
increased. The number of owners would be multiplied, and by more
immediate contact and personal relation greater care and kindness
would be engendered. In every way it would conduce to the advancement
and happiness of the servile caste.

No--no--it is not these, but the same answer which comes to every
inquiry as to the cause of fanatical agitation. 'Tis for sectional
power, and political ascendency; to fan a sectional hostility, which
must be, as it has been, injurious to all, and beneficial to none. For
what patriotic purpose can the Northern mind be agitated in relation
to domestic institutions, for which they have no legal or moral
responsibility, and from the interference with which they are
restrained by their obligations as American citizens?

Is it in this mode that the spirit of mutual support and common effort
for the common good, is to be cultivated? Is it thus that confidence
is to be developed and the sense of security to grow with the growing
power of each and every State? Is it thus that we are to exemplify the
blessings of self-government by the free exercise in each independent
community of the power to regulate their domestic institutions as
soil, climate, and population may determine?

Among the questions which have been made the basis of recent
agitation, and has contributed as much, perhaps, as any other to
popular delusion, was the act known as the Missouri Compromise. It
will be remembered that the agitation of 1819 on the subject of
slavery, was not masked as it has been since, by pretensions of
philanthropy--it was an avowed opposition to the admission of a
slave-holding State. A long and bitter controversy was terminated by
the admission of the State of Missouri, and the prohibition of slavery
north of the parallel of 36 deg. 30 minutes. He, and those with whom
he most concurred, had always contended that Congress had no
constitutional power to make the interdiction. But the people having
generally acquiesced, the matter was considered settled; and when
Texas, a slave-holding State, was admitted into the Union, Southern
men, regarding the Missouri Act as a compact, assented to the
extension of the line through the territory of Texas, with a provision
that any State formed out of the territory north of 36: 30: should be
non-slaveholding. But when, at a subsequent period, we made extensive
acquisitions from Mexico, and it was proposed to divide the territory
by the same parallel, the North generally opposed it, and after a long
discussion, the controversy was settled on the principle of
non-intervention by Congress in relation to property in the
territories. The line of the Missouri Compromise was repudiated. And a
Senator who had been most prominent in denouncing the repeal of the
Missouri Compromise as a violation of good faith on the part of the
South, in 1850, described it as a measure which had been the grave of
every Northern man who supported it, and objected to the boundary of
36: 30: for the territory of Utah, because of the political
implication which its adoption would contain.

The act having been thus signally repudiated by the denial in every
form of the power of Congress to fix geographical limits within which
slavery might or might not exist; when it became necessary to organize
the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, it was but the corollary of
the proposition which had been maintained in 1850 to repeal the act
which had fixed the parallel of 36: 30: as the future limit of slavery
in the territory of Louisiana.

Consistency demanded so much; fairness and manhood could not have
granted less. He was not then a member of Congress; but if he had
been, he should have voted for that repeal; for although in 1850 he
had favored the extension of the Missouri Compromise line to the
Pacific Ocean, and believed that it would most conduce to the harmony
of the States, he had yielded to the action of the Government, and
considered the position then taken as conclusive against the retention
of the line in Louisiana and Texas, which its beneficiaries had
refused to extend through the territories acquired from Mexico. As a
general principle, he thought it was best to leave the territories all
open. Equality of right demanded it, and the federal government had no
power to withhold it. Whatever validity the Missouri Compromise act
had, it derived from the acquiescence of the people. After 1850 then
it had none. The South had not asked Congress to extend slavery into
the territories, and he in common with most Southern statesmen, denied
the existence of any power to do so. He held it to be the creed of the
Democracy, both in the North and the South, that the General
Government had no constitutional power either to establish or prohibit
slavery anywhere; a grant of power to do the one must necessarily have
involved the power to do the other. Hence it is their policy not to
interfere on the one side or the other, but protecting each individual
in his constitutional rights, to leave every independent community to
determine and adjust all domestic questions as in their wisdom may
seem best.

Politicians of the opposite school seemed to forget the relation of
the General Government to the States; even so far as to argue as
though the General Government had been the creator instead of the
creature of the States. He had learned that attempts had been made to
impress upon the people of Maine the belief that they were in danger
of having slavery established among them by decree of the Supreme
Court of the United States. He scarcely knew how to answer so palpable
an absurdity. The court was established, among other purposes, to
protect the people from unconstitutional legislation; and if Congress,
in the extreme of madness, should attempt thus to invade the
sovereignty of a State, it would be within the power, and would be the
duty of the court, to check the aggression by declaring such law void.
The court have, on more than one occasion, asserted the right of
transit as a consequence of the guarantees of the Constitution, but it
would require much ingenuity to torture the protection of a traveller
or sojourner into an assertion of a right to become resident and
introduce property in contravention of the fundamental law of the
State, or of a citizen to hold property within a State in violation of
its constitution and its policy. The error of the proposition was so
palpable that, like the truth of an axiom, it could not be rendered
plainer by demonstration.

It is not within the scope of human foresight to see the
embarrassments which may arise in the execution of any policy. When it
was declared that soil, climate, and unrestrained migration should be
left to fix the _status_ of the territories, and institutions of the
States to be formed out of them, no one probably anticipated that
companies would be incorporated to transport colonists into a
territory with a view to decide its political condition. Congress, as
he believed, yielding too far to the popular idea, had surrendered its
right of revision and thus had recently lost its power to restrain
improper legislation in the territories. From these joint causes had
arisen the unhappy strife in Kansas, which at one time threatened to
terminate in civil war. The Government had been denounced for the
employment of United States troops. Very briefly he would state the

The movement of the Emigrant Aid Societies of the North was met by
counteracting movements in Missouri and other Southern States. Thus
opposing tides of emigration met on the plains of Kansas. The land was
a scene of confusion and violence. Fortunately the murders which for a
time filled the newspapers, existed nowhere else; and the men who were
reported slain, usually turned up after a short period to enjoy the
eulogies which their martyrdom had elicited. But arson, theft and
disgraceful scenes of disorder did really exist, and bands of armed
men indicated the approach of actual hostilities. What was the
Government to do? Perhaps you will say, call out the militia. But that
would have been to feed and arm one of the parties for the destruction
of the other. To call out the militia of neighboring States would have
been but little better. The sectional excitement then ran so high,
that they would probably have met upon the fields of Kansas as
combatants, the government in the meantime furnishing the supplies for
both armies. It was necessary to have a force--one which would be free
from sectional excitement or partisan zeal and under executive
control. The army fulfiled these conditions. It was therefore
employed. It dispersed marauding parties, disarmed organized invaders,
arrested disturbers of the peace, gave comparative quiet and repose to
the territory, without taking a single life, aye, or shedding one drop
of blood. The end justified the means, and the result equaled all that
could have been anticipated.

The anomalous condition of a territory possessing full legislative
power, but not invested with the sovereignty of a State, justified the
anxiety exhibited by Congress to be relieved from the embarrassment
which the case of Kansas presented. The Senate passed a bill to
authorize a convention for the preparation of a constitution for the
admission of Kansas as a State. It however failed in the House of
Representatives, and the legislature of Kansas, availing themselves of
the plenary power conferred upon them by the organic act, proceeded to
provide for the assembling of a convention, and the formation of a
constitution. The law was minute and fair in its provisions, so nearly
resembling the bill of the Senate that the one was probably copied
from the other. It seemed to secure to every legal voter every
desirable opportunity to exercise his right. One of the parties of the
territory, however, denying the legal existence of the legislature,
chose to abstain from voting. The other elected the delegates who
formed the constitution. The validity of the instrument he has been
denied, because it was not submitted for popular ratification. He held
this position to be wholly untenable, and could but regard it as a
gross departure from the principle of popular sovereignty. A
people--he used the word in its strict political sense--having the
right to make for themselves their fundamental law, may either
assemble in mass convention for that purpose, or may select delegates
and limit their power to the preparation of an instrument to be
submitted to a popular decision; or they may appoint delegates with
full powers to frame the fundamental law of the land. Whether they
adopt one mode or the other is a question with which others have no
right to interfere, and he who claims for Congress the power to sit in
judgment on the manner in which a people may form a constitution, is
outside of the barrier which would restrain him from claiming for
Congress the right to dictate the instrument itself. If the right
existed to form a constitution at all, the power of Congress in
relation to the instrument was limited to the simple inquiry: is it
republican? In this view of the case it would not matter to him the
ninety-ninth part of a hair whether a people should chose to admit or
exclude slave property. Their right to enter the Union would be a
thing apart from that consideration.

He had felt great doubt as to the propriety of admitting Kansas, and
had only yielded those doubts to the peculiar necessities which seemed
to make the case exceptional. The inhabitants of the territory had
however decided not to enter the Union upon the terms proposed, and he
thought their decision was fortunate. They had not the requisite
population; their resources were too limited to give assurance that
they would be able to bear the expenses of their government and
properly to perform the duties of a State. But more than this, their
legislative history shows that they are wanting in the essential
characteristics of a community; whichever party has had the control of
the legislature, has manifested by its acts not a desire to promote
the public good, and protect individual rights, but a purpose to war
upon their political opponents as a hostile power. The political party
with which he most sympathized had marked its legislation by requiring
test oaths, offensive to all our notions of political freedom; and the
other party had assumed to take from the territorial executive the
control of the militia and to place it in irresponsible hands, where,
it reports speak truly, it has been employed in the most wanton
outrages and disgraceful persecution of citizens of the opposite
political party. He held, therefore, that the decision of the
inhabitants was fortunate and wise. It was well, that before they
assume the responsibilities of a State, they should gather population,
develop the natural resources of the country, and above all acquire
the homogeneous character which would give security to person and
property, and fit them to be justly denominated a community.

A stranger, and but a passing observer of events in Maine, he had
nevertheless seen indications of a reaction in popular opinion, which
promised hopefully for the future of Democracy, _hopefully_, it might
be permitted for one to say who believed that the success of the
Democracy was the only hope for the maintenance of the constitution
and the perpetuation of the Union which sprung from and cannot outlive
it. If the language of his friend who preceded him should prove
prophetic, the waving of the banner he described would be the dawning
of a day which would bring gladness and confidence to many a heart now
clouded with distrust, and loud would be the cheers which, on distant
plain and mountain, would welcome Maine again to her position on the
top of the Democratic pyramid. He saw a brighter sky above him; he
felt a firmer foundation beneath his feet, and hoped ere long through
a triumph achieved by the declaration of principles, suited to every
latitude and longitude of the United Slates, to receive the assurance
that we have passed the breakers --that our ship may henceforth float
freely on--that our flag, no longer threatened with mutilation or
destruction, shall throw its broad stripes to the breeze and gather
stars until its constellation shines a galaxy, and records a family of
States embracing the new world and its adjacent islands.

                 Speech at State Fair at Augusta, ME.
               [From the Eastern Argus, Sept 29,1858.]

On Thursday evening a large and brilliant audience assembled in the
Representatives' Hall, in the Capitol, to listen to the distinguished
statesman from Mississippi, who, upon brief notice and without a
moment's leisure for preparation, had kindly consented to address the
Agricultural Society. We have already spoken of the gratifying
character of what he termed his desultory remarks and of the cordially
enthusiastic manner in which both the orator and his address were
received. As the occasion, as well as the character of the remarks,
will make them interesting to the whole people of our State, we are
gratified in being able to lay before our readers a more extended and
accurate report of them than has before appeared.

At about half-past eight o'clock, the Society came into the Hall,
already crowded in every part, and its President, Hon. Samuel F.
Perley, in brief and complimentary terms, introduced Col. Davis, who
advanced to the speaker's stand, and was received with loud and
prolonged applause. He said:

Ladies and gentlemen, friends and countrymen: To the many acts of
kindness received from the people of Maine, I have to add the welcome
reception this evening. The invitation of the Agricultural Society,
with the attendant circumstances, serve further to impress me with the
hospitality of ray fellow citizens of this State. Coming here, an
invalid, seeking the benefits which your clime would afford, and
preceded by a reputation which was expected to prejudice you
unfavorably towards me, I have everywhere met courtesy and considerate
attention, from the hour I landed on your coast to the present time.
It was natural to ask, whence come these manifestations? Is it because
the opinion which had been formed has been found to be unjust, and the
reaction has been in proportion to the previous impulse? Or is it the
exhibition of your regard for loyalty to one's friends, and devotion
by a citizen to the community to which he belongs? Either the one or
the other is honorable to you; but there is a broader and more
beneficent motive--the prompting of that sentiment which would cause
you to recognize in every American citizen a brother. That feeling
which Daniel Webster indicated when he met me in company with your
distinguished townsman, ex-Senator Bradbury, and taking us with the
right hand and with the left, said in the peculiarly impressive manner
which belonged to him, "My brethren of the North and of the South, how
are ye?"

It is usual to offer to an Agricultural Society nothing less than a
prepared address, and had I come with an intention to speak to you, I
should not have failed to make that preparation which is evidence of
due regard for the audience. The invitation under which I now speak,
having been given and accepted this evening, I have no power to do
more than to offer you desultory remarks on such subjects as my visit
to the Fair have suggested, and which may occur to me as I progress.

With great pleasure I have witnessed evidences of much attention and
deep interest in agriculture. It is the basis of all wealth. It is the
producer--brings all new contributions to the general store. The
mechanic arts are essential to its success, and they serve by changing
the form, to multiply the value of agricultural products. And commerce
too, by exchanging the products of individuals and of countries,
enhances the value of labor, and increases the comfort of man. They
are all essential to each other. I have no disposition to magnify or
depreciate either, but my proposition is, that the soil is the source
from which human wealth springs. In addition to these pursuits,
society requires what are termed liberal professions. They are not
producers, though they may contribute, by diffusing knowledge, to
increase production. They may be necessary to give security to
property and to take care of some physical wants. For instance you
have lawyers and doctors; and the less need you have of them the
better; for though necessary, like government, it is evil which makes
them so. As to another class--those who have the cure of souls--their
mission is so sacred, their function so high as to place them beyond
comment; and of them I have nothing to say, except that I propose to
say nothing.

Among the products of agriculture I of course intended to include the
farmer's stock, and I must here bear my tribute of admiration to the
fine display which has been made of horned cattle; particularly of
work oxen, remarkable for their size, their adaptation to the purposes
for which they are kept and the docility and yet the unflagging spirit
which they manifested in the trials of strength and of deep ploughing.
I have not before seen such fine specimens of the Devon cattle,--of
course I speak of them as they present themselves to the eye--not
pretending to judge of their relative value to other stock exhibited.
Improvement in the breed of domestic animals goes hand in hand with
agricultural mechanism, to give the ability to make two blades of
grass to grow where but one grew before, and thus to render you indeed
benefactors. Skill in the use, and ingenuity in devising and
constructing implements, serve to render labor productive, and relieve
it of its most dreary drudgery. It is this mechanical ingenuity which
has compensated for the high price of labor among us, and aided in the
development of resources which makes our country the greatest of the
earth. Blest by soil, climate and government, if we are, as claimed,
pre-eminent among nations, it is because we have added to other
advantages a more general cultivation of the mind. The superiority is
attributable not so much to physical energy, activity and
perseverance, as to the improvement of that portion of the man which
lies above the eyes.

Though you have done much for the improvement of agricultural
implements, your work is far from being completed. It is not a little
surprising that we should, to this day, have no reliable rule by which
to make a plough, and though the model has been improved, certainly it
is yet not unlike, and so far as exact science is concerned, is on a
par with that implement as used by the Romans, and as it appeared in
ancient architecture; the form, proportion and angular relation of the
parts, and the adjustment of the whole to the power to be applied,
offer problems alike interesting to the mechanic, and useful to the
cultivator. In your ploughing matches sufficient evidence was afforded
of the fitness of the implements employed to turn deep and wide
furrows; but should we be content with such result as is obtained by
trying different models, and then copying one which is found to be

Maine was so richly endowed with harbors and forests of ship timber
that it was naturally to be expected, as it has fallen out, that the
pursuits of navigation would most occupy the attention of her people.
But let not her sons look to the period when her forests have
disappeared as that beyond which her prosperity may not continue.
There are large tracts of land which when labor is no longer directed
to lumber, will become, in the hands of the farmer, what the valley of
the Kennebec now is. The land may not offer soil so deep as alluvial
districts, nor be at first as productive as those on which a deep
vegetable mould has accumulated, yet its productiveness may not be
less permanent than those. In them the elements which support the
farmer's crop may be exhausted by cultivation or carried down into
substrata of gravel or sand. In the remote West to which so many are
pressing, the emigrant will encounter an arid climate in which
irrigation is necessary to ensure a return for the labor of husbandry,
and this involves an original expenditure which it will usually
require large capital to bear. In this climate the sun, like a mighty
pump, is daily raising the water which the currents of cold air from
the mountains, or from the sea, precipitate in the form of genial
showers during the period of your growing crops; and the granite of
the mountains slowly, but steadily disintegrating, gives up its
fertilizing property to be scattered by unseen hands over plain and
over valley. With care and with skill in its use I can see no end to
the productiveness of that portion of your land which is fit for

Your crops, and your mode of tillage are different from that to which
I am accustomed, and the result is that each supplies a different
segment in the circle of man's wants. I am glad that it is so, that it
must necessarily be so. Glad, because it is an everlasting bond
between us; one which, whilst it binds, renders both doubly
prosperous. Blessed is our lot in this, that our fathers linked us
together, and established free trade between us. In the diversity of
climate, and of crops, there is an assurance that entire failure
cannot occur. If disaster and blight should fall upon one section, it
need not go to a foreign land in search of bread. Famine, gaunt
famine, with its skeleton step, can never pass our borders whilst the
free trade of the Union continues.

But difference in pursuits, in population, and domestic institutions,
have been made the basis of hostile agitation, and urged as a cause of
separation. To my mind the reverse would be the rational conclusion.
Each exchanging, the surplus of that which it can best produce for the
surplus of another which it most requires, the benefit must be mutual,
and the advantage common. Here is a commercial, a selfish bond to hold
us together. But I will stop here, because the current of my thought
is carrying me beyond the limit of topics proper to the occasion, and
I must offer as an apology the fact, that though myself a cultivator
of the soil, my mind has for several years been given so much to
political subjects, that in speaking without having previously
arranged what to say, the thought inadvertently runs from the matter I
wished to present, into collateral questions of governmental concern.
Before turning back, however, into the original channel, permit me to
say that the diversity of which I have been speaking, formed no small
inducement to the union of the States, and that it has been through
that union that we have attained to our present position, and stand
to-day, all things considered, the happiest, and among the greatest in
the family of nations.

In looking around upon the evidences you have brought of mechanical
and agricultural improvement, I have viewed it not with the curiosity
of a stranger, but with the interest of one who felt that he had a
part in it, as an exhibition of the prosperity of his country. The
whole confederacy is my country, and to the innermost fibres of my
heart I love it all, and every part. I could not if I would, and would
not if I could, dwarf myself to mere sectionality. My first allegiance
is to the State of which I am a citizen, and to which by affection and
association I am personally bound; but this does not obstruct the
perception of your greatness, or admiration for much which I have
found admirable among you.

Yankee is a word once applied to you as a term of reproach, but you
have made it honorable and renowned. You have borne the flag of your
country from the time when it was ridiculed as a piece of striped
bunting, until it has come to be known and respected wherever the ray
of civilization has reached; and your canvass-winged birds of commerce
have borne civilization into regions, where it is not boasting to say,
but for your prowess it would not have gone. You have a right to be
proud of your achievements as well on the land as the sea. Well may
you point as you do with satisfaction, to your school houses and your
work-shops, and to the fruits they have borne on the forum and in the
council chamber, and in the manufactures which have increased the
comforts of our own people, and have encircled the globe to find
exchangeable products required at home. Those are the greatest and
most beneficent triumphs--the triumph of mind over matter. These are
the monuments of greatness, which resist both time and circumstance.

I have spoken of diversity among the people of the United States; yet
there is probably greater similitude than is to be found elsewhere
over the same extent of country, and in the same number of people. In
language, especially, our people are one; surely much more so than
those of any other country. The diversity between the people of the
different States, even those most remote from each other, is not as
great as that between inhabitants of adjoining countries of England,
or departments of France or Spain, where provinces have their separate
dialects. And chief among the causes for this I would place the
primary book, in which children of my day learned their letters, and
took their first lessons in spelling and reading. I refer to the good
old spelling book of Noah Webster, on which I doubt if there has been
any improvement, and which had the singular advantage of being used
over the whole country. To this unity of language and general
similitude, is to be added a community of sentiment wherever the
American is brought into contrast or opposition to any other people.

If shadows float over our disc and threaten an eclipse; if there be
those who would not avert, but desire to precipitate catastrophe to
the Union, these are not the sentiments of the American heart; they
are rather the exceptions and should not disturb our confidence in
that deep-seated sentiment of nationality which aided our fathers when
they entered into the compact of union, and which has preserved it to
us. You manifest that sentiment to-day in the courtesy which you have
extended to me. In what other land could a countryman go so far from
his home and receive among strangers the attention which could only be
expected from friends? But it is not your kindness only, which has
caused me here to feel at home; I have been brought in contact with
men of my own pursuit, the tillers of the ground and the breeders of
stock; and in my intercourse with this class of your citizens, I have
been further confirmed in the high estimate heretofore placed upon
that portion of our population. Happily for our country and its
institutions, extensive territory and favorable climate, have
attracted a large part of our population to agricultural pursuits. It
is in the individuality, the sobriety, and self reliance of the rural
population that I look for the highest development of those qualities
essential to self-government, and the brightest illustration of
patriotic devotion. They may not be the best informed, but learning
and wisdom are by no means equivalent terms. Isolation and entire
dependence upon himself; give independence of character and favor that
self-inquiry which best enables man to comprehend and measure the
motives of his fellow. Crowded together in cities originality is lost,
mind becomes as it were acadamized; and though the intercourse is
favorable to the acquisition of knowledge, it is most unfriendly to
that individuality, independence, and purity, without which republican
governments rapidly sink into decay. It was probably in this view that
Mr. Jefferson said, great cities were sores upon the body politic.
Needful for the purposes of commerce, required for the exchanges on
which agricultural and manufacturing industry depend for their
prosperity,--they are not evils which we could desire to see abated.
My desire, however, is, that the rural districts shall not lose their
relative importance or cease to control in public affairs. Misled and
deceived they may be, interested in a public wrong they cannot be, and
theirs is the sober thought upon which reliance must be placed for the
correction of errors and delusions, which may temporarily prevail.

In societies like this the farmers have the opportunity of comparing
opinions and results, and thus increasing the amount of their
knowledge. The spirit of emulation which is excited must lead to
improvement, by better directing energy in their pursuit. The
publication of the results and the comparisons thus instituted with
what is done in other States, encourages State pride and developes
community feeling. Whatever tends to the cultivation of the idea of
State sovereignty and community independence, strengthens the
foundation on which rests our federal government--the fruition of that
principle which led our fathers into the war of the revolution, where
they purchased with their blood the rich inheritance transmitted to

Man once received the title of Domitor Equi, he being proud of the
achievement of taming the horse, and then, so far as we can learn,
gentler woman sat like Penelope handling the distaff. Subsequently
there arose a race of Amazons, who, aspiring to the feats of man, lost
the gentleness of woman; but in our happy land and day, rising above
the one without running to the excess of the other, lovely woman, with
all the gentle charms which graced a Penelope, musters her energy when
occasion requires, and displays her prowess in commanding the horse.
Among the interesting features of the exhibition I shall remember the
equestrianism of the ladies. Though it was beautiful in every sense of
the word, it was not regarded as mere sport, but the rather looked
upon as part of that mental and physical training which makes a woman
more than the mere ornament of the drawing-room--fits her usefully to
act her appropriate part in the trying scenes to which the most
favored may be subjected--to become the mother of heroes, and live in
the admiration of posterity.

Fears had once been entertained and much opposition was formerly made
to an extension of the area of the United States. A wiser policy,
however, prevailed, and the introduction of new regions, increasing
the variety of our productions, have magnified the advantages of free
trade between the States, and made us almost independent of other
countries for the supply of every object whether of necessity or of
luxury. I would be glad to extend our boundary and make the circle of
our products complete, so that, whilst we would encourage commerce
with christendom we should be, commercially as we are politically,
absolutely independent, whenever it should be proper or necessary to
terminate intercourse with any or every other country. A statesman of
former days wished that the Atlantic was a sea of fire, that it might
be a barrier to shut out European contamination. Whatever fear was
once justifiable, no apprehension now need to exist, that our people
will imitate or seek to adopt the political theories of Europe. We
have recently rejoiced in the success of the attempt to establish
telegraphic communication with England; because in closer commercial
ties we saw no danger of political influence. I was happy this evening
to receive assurances that the success of that enterprise was at last
complete. I have not been of those whose doubts were stronger than
their hopes--thanks to a sanguine temperament. I have from the
beginning anticipated success, and have heretofore said that if the
present attempt riled I was sure that Yankee enterprise and skill
could make a cable and lay it across the Atlantic. And we look forward
to the result with hope, not doubting, that the closest commercial
connexion with other countries can only bring to us benefits. We are
not, and have not been, political propagandists, yet believing our
form of government the best, we properly desire its extension and
invite the world to scrutinize our example of representative liberty.

The stars on our flag, recording the number of the States united, have
already been more than doubled; and I hopefully look forward to the
day when the constellation shall become a galaxy covering the stripes,
which record the original number of our political family, and shall
shed over the nations of the earth the light of regeneration to
mankind. It has sometimes been said to he our manifest destiny that we
should possess the whole of this continent. Whether it shall ever all
be part of the United States is doubtful, and may never be desirable;
but that in some form or other, it should come under the protectorate
or control of the United States, is a result which seems to me, in the
remote future, certain. It waits as the consequence upon intellectual
vigor, upon physical energy, upon the capacity to govern, and can only
be defeated by a suicidal madness, of which it does not belong to the
occasion to treat.

I would not be understood to advocate what is called fillibustering.
Our country has never obtained territory except fairly, honorably and
peaceably. We have conquered territory, but have asserted no title as
the right of conquest, returning to Mexico all except the part she
agreed to sell and for which we paid a liberal price. England having
fillibustered around the world, has reproached us for aggrandizement,
and we point to history and invite a comparison. There is no stain
upon our escutcheon, no smoke upon our garments, and thus may they
remain pure forever! The acquisitions of which I spoke, the
protectorate which was contemplated, were such as the necessities of
the future should demand, and the good of others as much as our own
require, and this step by step, faster or slower, will, I believe,
finally embrace the continent of America and its adjacent islands.

I am not among those who desire to incorporate into our Union,
countries densely populated with a different race. Deserts, 'tis the
province of our people to subdue. A mere handful of inhabitants, such
as existed in Louisiana, are soon enveloped in the tide of
immigration; of this character of acquisition I have no fear; but the
mingling of races is a different thing. I have looked with interest
and pleasure upon the crosses of your cattle and horses, and saw in it
the evidence of improvement. Let your Messengers, your Morgans, your
Drews, and your Eatons be mingled with each other and with new
inportations; so with your Durhams, Devons, Ayreshires and your
Jerseys. The limit to these experiments will be where experience shows
deterioration. There is one cross which it is to be hoped you will
avoid: 'tis that which your Puritan fathers would not adopt or even
entertain. They kept pure the Caucasian blood which flowed in their
veins, and therein is the cause of your present high civilization,
your progress, your dignity and your strength. We are one, let us
remain unmixed. In our neighbors of Southern and Central America we
have a sufficient warning; and may it never be our ill-fortune to
learn by experience the lessons taught by their example.

It is due to the hospitality and kind consideration with which I have
been treated since I first came among you that I should not leave you
under any doubt in relation to the accusations which have been busily
circulated against me. And this, it is to be hoped, will not be
mistaken for egotism, since the greatest interest I have in doing so
is to justify you to yourselves. I know of no selfish purpose, unless
a proper desire for esteem he such, which would lead me to attempt to
undeceive you, so far as any of you may have been imposed upon. I
certainly do not expect to change my residence from the State in which
I was reared; and I long since avowed the intention never again to
receive official trust from any other authority than that of the
people of the State of which I am a citizen. It has been represented
to you that you were showering attentions upon one who was hostile to
your interests, and regardless of your rights. I am grateful to you
for the constant evidence you have given that you discredited the
statement, and I am therefore the more anxious that you should not
remain in doubt. The public record contains all I have said and done,
and in it nothing can be found to sustain the statement. Of this I am
quite sure, because it has always been with me a principle to exercise
public functions in the spirit of the Constitution and the purposes of
the Union. If I know myself, I have never given a vote from a feeling
of hostility to any portion of our common country; but have always
kept in view the common obligation for the common welfare, and desired
by maintaining the constitution in each and every particular, to
perpetuate the blessings it was designed to secure, and to transmit
the inheritance received from our fathers unmutilated and
uncontaminated to remotest posterity. In some positions it has
devolved upon me to study interests in Maine, with a view to secure
for them proper provision, and I feel that I am justified in saying
they were considered as became one who had sworn to protect the
Constitution, and who had a function to perform in relation to a
sovereign State of the Union. Heretofore I have been prompted merely
by what I believed to be duty to you from me as an officer under the
Constitution. Hereafter, though the principles on which I will act
cannot vary, I should be less than a man if I did not feel deeper
interest in whatever concerns you. I shall always bear with me most
pleasurable recollections of my sojourn among you, and hope it may be
my good fortune some day to meet some of you in Mississippi, and thus
have it in my power to reciprocate, imperfectly it may be, the
kindness which you bestowed upon me. I thank you for your polite
attention, and cordially wish for you, one and all, present and future

       Speech at the Grand Ratification Meeting, Faneuil Hall,
                  _Monday evening, Oct. 11th, 1858._

Countrymen, Brethren, Democrats--Most happy am I to meet you, and to
have received here renewed assurance--of that which I have so long
believed--that the pulsation of the democratic heart is the same in
every parallel of latitude, on every meridian of longitude throughout
the United States. But it required not this to confirm me in a belief
so long and so happily enjoyed.--Your own great statesman who has
introduced me to this assembly has been too long associated with me,
too nearly connected, we have labored too many hours, sometimes even
until one day ran into another, in the cause of our country, for me to
than to understand that a Massachusetts democrat has a heart
comprehending the whole of our wide Union, and that its pulsations
always beat for the liberty and happiness of its country. Neither
could I be unaware such was the sentiment of the democracy of New
England. For it was lay fortune lately to serve under a President
drawn from the neighboring, State of New Hampshire, [applause,] and I
know that he spoke the language of his heart, for I learned it in tour
years of intimate connection with him, when he said he knew "no north,
no south, no east, no west, but sacred maintenance of the common bond
and true devotion to the common brotherhood." Never, sir, in the past
history of our country, never, I add, in its future destiny, however
bright it may be, did or will a man of higher and purer patriotism, a
man more devoted to the common weal of his country, hold the helm of
our great ship of State, than that same New Englander, Franklin
Pierce. [Applause.]

I have heard the resolutions read and approved by this meeting; heard
the address of your candidate for Governor; and these added to the
address of my old and intimate friend, Gen. Cushing, bear to me fresh
testimony, which I shall be happy to carry away with me, that the
democracy, in the language of your own glorious Webster, "still
lives," lives not as his great spirit did, when it hung 'twixt life
and death, like a star upon the horizon's verge, but lives like the
germ that is shooting upward, like the sapling that is growing to a
mighty tree, the branches of which will spread over the commonwealth,
and may redeem and restore Massachusetts to her once glorious place in
the Union.

As I look around me and see this venerable hall thus thronged, it
reminds me of another meeting, when it was found too small to contain
the assembly--that great meeting which assembled here, when the people
were called upon to decide what should be done in relation to the
tea-tax. Faneuil Hall, on that occasion, was found too small, and the
people went to the Old South Church, which still stands--a monument of
your early history. And I hope the day will soon come when many
Democratic meetings in Boston will be too large for Faneuil Hall!
[Applause.] I am welcomed to this hall, so venerable for its
associations with our early history; to this hall of which you are so
justly proud, and the memories of which are part of the inheritance of
every American citizen; and feel, as I remember how many voices of
patriotic fervor have here been heard; that in it originated the first
movements from which the Revolution sprung; that here began that
system of town meetings and free discussion which is the glory and
safety of our country; that I had enough to warn me, that though my
theme was more humble than theirs, (as befitted my poorer ability,)
that it was a hazardous thing for me to attempt to speak in this
sacred temple. But when I heard your statesman (Gen. Cushing) say,
that a word once here spoken never dies, that it becomes a part of the
circumambient air, I felt a reluctance to speak which increases upon
me as I recall his expression. But if those voices which breathed the
first instincts into the Colony of Massachusetts, and into those
colonies which formed the United States, to proclaim community
independence, and asserts it against the powerful mother country, --if
those voices live here still, how must they feel who come here to
preach treason to the Constitution, and assail the Union it ordained
and established? [Applause.] It would seem that their criminal hearts
should fear that those voices, so long slumbering, would break their
silence, that the forms which look down from these walls behind and
around me, would walk forth. and that their sabres would once more be
drawn from their scabbards, to drive from this sacred temple fanatical
men, who desecrate it more than did the changers of money and those
who sold doves, the temple of the living God. [Loud cheers.]

And here, too, you have, to remind you, and to remind all who enter
this hall, the portraits of those men who are dear to every lover of
liberty, and part and parcel of the memory of every American citizen.
Highest among them all I see you have placed Samuel Adams and John
Hancock. [Applause.] You have placed them the highest and properly;
for they were the two, the only two, excepted from the proclamation of
mercy, when Governor Gage issued his anathema against them and their
fellow patriots. These men, thus excepted from the saving grace of the
crown, now occupy the highest place in Faneuil Hall, and thus are
consecrated highest in the reverence of the people of Boston.
[Applause.] This is one of the instances in which we find tradition
more reliable than history; for tradition has borne the name of Samuel
Adams to the remotest corner of our territory, placed it among the
household words taught to the rising generation, and there in the new
States intertwined with our love of representative liberty, it is a
name as sacred among us as it is among you of New England. [Applause.]

We remember how early he saw the necessity of _community
independence_. How, through the dim mists of the future, and in
advance of his day, he looked forward to the proclamation of that
independence by Massachusetts; how he steadily strove, through good
report and evil report, with the same unwavering purpose, whether in
the midst of his fellow citizens, cheered by their voices, or whether
isolated, a refugee, hunted as a criminal, and communing with his own
heart, now under all circumstances his eve was still fixed upon his
first, last hope, the community independence of Massachusetts! And
when we see him, at a later period, the leader in that correspondence
which waked the feelings of the other colonies and brought into
fraternal association the people of Massachusetts with the people of
other colonies--when we see his letters acknowledging the receipt of
the rice of South Carolina, the flour, the pork, the money of
Virginia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and others, contributions
of affection to relieve Boston of the sufferings inflicted upon her
when her port was closed by the despotism of the British crown--we
there see the beginning of that sentiment which insured the
co-operation of the colonies throughout the desperate struggle of the
Revolution, and which, if the present generation be true to the
compact of their sires, to the memory and to the principles of the
noble men from whom they descended, will perpetuate for them that
spirit of fraternity in which the Union began. [Applause.]

But it is not here alone, nor in reminiscences connected with the
objects which present themselves within this hall, that the people of
Boston have much to excite their patriotism and carry them back to the
great principles of the revolutionary struggle. Where in this vicinity
will you go and not meet some monument to inspire such sentiments? On
one side are Lexington and Concord, where sixty brave countrymen came
with their fowling pieces to oppose six hundred veterans,--where
peaceful citizens animated by the love of independence and covered by
the triple shield of a righteous cause, finally forced those veterans
back, and pursued them on the road, fighting from every barn and bush,
and stock, and stone, till they drove them to the shelters from which
they had gone forth! [Applause.] And there on another side of your
city stand those monuments of your early patriotism, Breed's and
Bunker's Hill whose soil drank the sacred blood of men who lived for
their country and died for mankind! Can it be that any of you tread
that soil and forget the great purposes for which those men bravely
fought, or nobly died?" [Applause.] While in yet another direction
rise the Heights of Dorchester, once the encampment of the great
Virginian, the man who came here in the cause of American
independence, who did not ask "Is this a town of Virginia?" but, "Is
this a town of my brethren?" who pitched his camp and commenced his
operations with the steady courage and cautious wisdom characteristic
of Washington, hopefully, resolutely waiting and watching for the day
when he could drive the British troops out of your city. [Cheers.]

Here, too, you find where once the Old Liberty Tree, connected with so
many of your memories, grew. You ask your legend, and learn that it
was cut down for firewood by the British soldiers, as some of your
meeting houses were pulled down. They burned the old tree, and it
warmed the soldiers enough to enable them to evacuate the city.
[Laughter.] Had they been more slowly warmed into motion, had it
burned a little longer, it might have lighted Washington and his
followers to their enemies.

But they were gone, and never again may a hostile foe tread your
shore. Woe to the enemy who shall set his footprint upon your soil; he
comes to a prison or he comes to a grave! [Applause.] American
fortifications are not intended to protect our country from invasion.
They are constructed elsewhere as in your harbor to guard points where
marine attacks can he made; and for the rest, the breasts of Americans
are our parapets. [Applause.]

But, my friends, it is not merely in these military associations, so
honorably connected with the pride of Massachusetts, that one who
visits Boston finds much for gratification. If I were selecting a
place where the advocate of strict construction of the Constitution,
the extreme asserter of democratic state rights doctrine should go for
his text, I would send him into the collections of your historical
association. Instead of finding Boston a place where the records would
teach only federalism, he would find here, in bounteous store, that
sacred doctrine of state rights, which has been called the extreme and
ultra opinion of the South. He would find among your early records
that at the time when Massachusetts was under a colonial government,
administered by a man appointed by the British crown, guarded by
British soldiers; the use of this old Faneuil Hall was refused by the
town authorities to a British Governor, to hold a British festival,
because he was going to bring with him the agents for collecting, and
naval officers sent here to enforce, an unconstitutional tax upon your
commonwealth. Such was the proud spirit of independence manifested
even in your colonial history. Such the great stone your fathers hewed
with sturdy hand, and left the fit foundation for a monument to state
rights! [Applause.] And so throughout the early period of our country
you find Massachusetts leading, most prominent of all the States, in
the assertion of that doctrine which has been recently so much

Having achieved your independence, having passed through the
confederation, you assented to the formation of our present
constitutional Union. You did not surrender your state sovereignty.
Your fathers had sacrificed too much to claim as the reward of their
trials that they should merely have a change of masters. And a change
of masters it would have been had Massachusetts surrendered her State
sovereignty to the central government, and consented that that central
government should have the power to coerce a State. But if this power
does not exist, if this sovereignty has not been surrendered, then, I
say, who can deny the words of soberness and truth spoken by your
candidate this evening, when he has plead to you the cause of State
independence, and the right of every community to he the judge of its
own domestic affairs? [Applause.] This is all we have ever asked--we
of the South, I mean,--for I stand before you one of those who have
been called the ultra men of the South, and I speak, therefore, for
that class; and tell you that your candidate for Governor has asserted
to-night everything which we have claimed as a right, and demanded as
a duty resulting from the guarantees of the Constitution, made for our
mutual protection. [Applause.] Nor is here alone in that such doctrine
is asserted, the like it has been my happiness to hear in your
daughter, the neighboring State of Maine. I have found that the
democrats there asserted the same broad, constitutional principle for
which we have been contending, by which we are willing to live, for
which we are willing to die! [Loud cheers and cries of "good!"]

In this state of the case, my friends, why is the country agitated?
What is there practical or rational in the present excitement? Why,
since the old controversies, with all their lights and shadows, have
passed away, is the political firmament covered by one dark pall, the
funeral shade of which increases with every passing year?

Why is it, I say, that you are thus agitated in relation to the
domestic affairs of other communities? Why is it that the peace of the
country is disturbed in order that one people may assume to judge of
what another people should do? Is there any political power to
authorize such interference? If so, where is it? You did not surrender
your sovereignty. You gave to the federal government certain
functions. It was your agent, created for specified purposes. It can
do nothing save that which you have given it power to perform. Where
is the grant of the Constitution which confers on the federal
government a right to determine what shall be property? Surely none
such exists; that question it belongs to every community to settle for
itself: you judge in your case; every other State must judge in its
case. The federal government has no power to create or establish; more
palpably still, it has no power to destroy property. Do you pay taxes
to an agent that he may destroy your property? Do you support him for
that purpose? It is an absurdity on the face of it. To ask the
question is to answer it. The government is instituted to protect, not
to destroy property. In abundance of caution, your fathers provided
that the federal government should not take private property, even for
its own use, unless by making due compensation therefore. One of its
great purposes was to increase the security of property, and by a more
perfect union of forces, to render more effective protection to the
States. When that power for protection becomes a source of danger, the
purpose for which the government was formed will have been defeated,
and the government can no longer answer the ends for which it was

Why, then, in the absence of all control over the subject of African
slavery, are you agitated in relation to it? With Pharisaical
pretension it is sometimes said it is a moral obligation to agitate,
and I suppose they are going through a sort of vicarious repentance
for other men's sins. [Laughter.] Who gave them a right to decide that
it is a sin? By what standard do they measure it? Not the
Constitution; the Constitution recognizes the property in many forms,
and imposes obligations in connection with that recognition. Not the
Bible; that justifies it. Not the good of society; for if they go
where it exists, they find that society recognizes it as good. What,
then, is their standard? The good of mankind? Is that seen in the
diminished resources of the country? Is that seen in the diminished
comfort of the world? Or is not the reverse exhibited? Is it in the
cause of Christianity? It cannot be, for servitude is the only agency
through which Christianity has reached that degraded race, the only
means by which they have been civilized and elevated. Or is their
charity manifested in denunciation of their brethren who are
restrained from answering by the contempt which they feel for a mere
brawler, whose weapons are empty words? [Applause.]

What, my friends, must be the consequences of this agitation? Good or
evil? They have been evil, and evil they must be only, to the end. Not
one particle of good has been done to any man, of any color, by this
agitation. It has been insidiously working the purpose of sedition,
for the destruction of that Union on which our hopes of future
greatness depend.

On the one side, then you see agitation, tending slowly and steadily
to that separation of the states, which, if you have any hope
connected with the liberty of mankind, if you have any national pride
in making your country the greatest of the earth, if you have any
sacred regard for the obligation which the acts of your fathers
entailed upon you,--by each and all of these motives you are prompted
to united and earnest effort to promote the success of that great
experiment which your fathers left it to you to conclude. [Applause.]
On the other hand, if each community, in accordance with the
principles of our government, whilst controlling its own domestic
institutions, faithfully struggles as a part of the united whole, for
the common benefit of all, the future points us to fraternity, to
unity, to co-operation, to the increase of our own happiness, to the
extension of our useful example over mankind, and the covering of that
flag, whose stars have already more than doubled their original
number, [applause,] with a galaxy to light the ample folds which then
shall wave either the recognized flag of every state, or the
recognized protector of every state upon the continent of America.

In connection with the idea, which I have presented of the early
sentiment of community independence, I will add the very striking fact
that one of the colonies, about the time that they had resolved to
unite for the purpose of achieving their independence, addressed the
colonial congress to know in what condition they would be in the
interval between their separation from the government of Great Britain
and the establishment of the government for the colonies. The answer
of the colonial congress was exactly that which might have been
expected--exactly that which state rights democracy would answer
to-day, to such an inquiry--that they must take care of their domestic
polity, that the congress "had nothing to do with it." [Applause.] If
such sentiment continued--if it governed in every state--if
representatives were chosen upon it--then your halls of legislation
would not be disturbed about the question of the domestic concerns of
the different states. The peace of the country would not be hazarded
by the arraignment of the family relations of people over whom the
government has no control. In harmony working together, in
co-intelligence for the conservation of the interests of the country,
in protection to the states and the development of the great ends for
which the government was established, what effects might not be
produced? As our government increased in expansion, it would increase
in its beneficent influence upon the people; we should increase in
fraternity; and it would be no longer a wonder to see a man coming
from a southern state to address a Democratic audience in Boston.
[Applause, cries of "good, good."]

But I have referred to the fact that, at an early period,
Massachusetts stood pre-eminently forward among those who asserted
community independence. And this reminds me of an incident, in
illustration, which occurred when President Washington visited Boston,
and John Hancock was Governor. The latter is reported to have declined
to call upon the President, because he contended that every man who
came within the limits of Massachusetts must yield rank and precedence
to the Governor of the State; and only surrendered the point on
account of his personal regard and respect for the character of George
Washington. I honor him for it,--value it as one of the early
testimonies in favor of State Rights, and wish all our governors had
the same high estimate of the dignity of the office of Governor of a
State as had that great and glorious man. [Applause.]

Thus it appears that the founders of this government were the true
Democratic States Rights men. That Democracy was States rights, and
States rights was Democracy, and it is to-day. Your resolutions
breathe it. The Declaration of Independence embodies the sentiment
which had lived in the hearts of the people for many years before its
formal assertion. Our fathers asserted that great principle--the right
of the people to choose the government for themselves--that government
rested upon the consent of the governed. In every form of expression
it uttered the same idea, _community independence_, and the dependence
of the government upon the community over which it existed. It was an
American principle, the great spirit which animated our country then,
and it were well if more inspired us now. But I have said that this
State sovereignty--this community independence--has never been
surrendered, and that there is no power in the federal government to
coerce a State. Does any one ask, then, how it is that a State is to
be held to its obligations? My answer is: by _its honor_, and the
obligation is the more sacred to observe every feature of the compact,
because there is no power to force obedience. The great error of the
confederation was that it attempted to act upon the States. It was
found impracticable, and our present form of government was adopted,
which acts upon individuals and does not attempt to act upon States.

The question was considered in the convention which framed the
constitution, and after discussion the proposition to give power to
the general government to enforce upon a resistant State obedience to
the law was rejected. It was upon this ground of exemption from
compulsion that the compact of the States became a sacred obligation;
and it was upon this honorable fulfilment principally that our fathers
depended for the security of the rights which the Constitution was
designed to secure. [Applause.]

The fugitive slave compact in the Constitution of the United States
implied that the States should fulfil it voluntarily. They expected
the States to legislate so as to secure the rendition of fugitives.

And in 1788 it was a matter of complaint that the colony of Florida
did not restore fugitive negroes from the United States who escaped
into that colony, and a committee, composed of Hamilton, of New York,
Sedgwick, of Massachusetts, and Madison, of Virginia, reported
resolutions in the Congress instructing the committee for foreign
affairs to address the _charge d'affaires_ at Madrid to apply to his
majesty of Spain to issue orders to his governor to compel them to
secure the rendition of fugitive negroes to any one who should go
there entitled to receive them. This was the sentiment of the
committee, and they added, by way of example, as the States would
return any slaves from Florida who might escape into their limits.

When the Constitutional requirement was imposed, who could have
doubted that every State faithful to its obligations would comply
without raising questions as to whether the institution should or
should not exist in another community over which they had no control.
Congress was at last forced by the failures of the States, to
legislate on the subject, and this has been one of the causes by which
you have been disturbed. You have been called upon to make war against
a law which would never have been enacted, if each State had
faithfully discharged the obligation imposed by the compact of the
Constitution. [Cheers.]

There is another question connected with this negro agitation. It is
in relation to the right to hold slaves in the Territories. What power
has Congress to declare what shall be property? None, in the territory
or elsewhere. Have the States by separate legislation the power to
prescribe the condition upon which a citizen may enter on and enjoy
the common property of the United States? Clearly not. Shall those who
first go into the territory, deprive any citizen of the United States
subsequently emigrating thither, of those rights which belong to him
as an equal owner of the soil? Certainly not. Sovereignty jurisdiction
can only pass to these inhabitants when the States, the owners of that
territory, shall recognize the inhabitants as an independent
community, and admit it to become an equal State of the Union. Until
then the Constitution and laws of the United States must be the rules
governing within the limits of a territory. The Constitution
recognizes all property gives equal privileges to every citizen of the
States; and it would be a violation of its fundamental principles to
attempt any discrimination. [Applause.] Viewed in any of its phases,
political, moral, social, general, or local, what is there to sustain
this agitation in relation to other people's negroes, unless it be a
bridge over which to pass into office--a ready capital in politics
available to missionaries staving at home-reformers of things which
they do not go to learn--preachers without and audience--overseers
without laborers and without wages--war-horses who snuff the battle
afar off, and cry: " Aha! aha! I am afar off from the battle." [Great
laughter and applause.]

Thus it is that the peace of the Union is destroyed; thus it is that
brother is arrayed against brother; thus it is that the people come to
consider--not how they can promote each other's interests, but how
they may successfully war upon them. And the political agitator like
the vampire fans the victim to which he clings but to destroy.

Among culprits there is none more odious to my mind than a public
officer who takes an oath to support the Constitution--the compact
between the States binding each for the common defence and general
welfare of the other--yet retains to himself a mental reservation that
he will war upon the principles he has sworn to maintain, and upon the
property rights the protection of which are part of the compact of the
Union. [Applause.]

It is a crime too low to be named before this assembly: It is one
which no man with self-respect would ever commit. To swear that he
will support the Constitution--to take an office which belongs in many
of its relations to all the States; and to use it as a means of
injuring a portion of the States of whom he is thus the
representative; is treason to every thing honorable in man. It is the
base and cowardly attack of him who gains the confidence of another,
in order that he may wound him. [Applause.]

But we have heard it argued--have seen it published--a petition has
been circulated for signers, announcing that there was an
incompatibility between the sections; that the Union had been tried
long enough, and that it had proved to be necessary to separate from
those sections of the Union in which the curse of slavery existed. Ah!
those modern saints, so much wiser than our fathers, have discovered
an incompatibility requiring separation in those relations which
existed when the Union was formed. They have found the remnants only
of a diversity which existed when South Carolina sent her rice to
Boston, and Maryland and Pennsylvania and New York brought in their
funds for her relief.

They have found the remnants only; for from that day to this the
difference between the people has been constantly decreasing, and the
necessity for union which then arose in no small degree from the
diversity of product, and soil and climate, has gone on increasing,
both by the extension of our own territory and the introduction of new
tropical products; so that whilst the difference between the people
has diminished, the diversity in the products has increased, and that
motive for union which your fathers found exists in a higher degree
than it did when they resolved to be united.

Diversity there is of occupation, of habits, of education, of
character. But it is not of that extreme kind which proves
incompatibility, or even incongruity; for your Massachusetts man, when
he comes to Mississippi, adopts our opinions and our institutions, and
frequently becomes the most extreme southern man among us. [Great
applause.] As our country has extended--as new products have been
introduced into it, the free trade which blesses our Union, has been
of increasing value.

And it is not an unfortunate circumstance that this diversity of
pursuit and character has survived the condition which produced it.
Originally it sprang in no small degree from natural causes.
Massachusetts became a manufacturing and a commercial State because of
the connection between her fine harbor and water power, resulting from
the fact that the streams make their last leap into the sea, so that
the ship of commerce brought the staple to the manufacturing power.
This made you a commercial and manufacturing people. In the Southern
States great plains interpose between the last leaps of the streams
and the sea. Those plains most proximate to navigation, were the first
cultivated, and the sea bore their products to the most approachable
water power, there to be manufactured. This was the first cause of the
difference. Then your longer and more severe winters--your soil not as
favorable for agriculture, also contributed to make you a
manufacturing and commercial people.

After the controlling cause had passed away--after railroads had been
built--after the steam engine had become a motive power for a large
part of machinery, the characteristics originally stamped by natural
causes continued the diversity of pursuit. Is it fortunate or
otherwise? I say it is fortunate. Your interest is to remain a
manufacturing and ours to remain an agricultural people.

Your prosperity is to receive our staple and to manufacture it, and
ours to sell it to you and buy the manufactured goods. [Applause.]
This is an interweaving of interests, which makes us all the richer
and all the happier.

But this accursed agitation, this offensive, injurious intermeddling
with the affairs of other people, and this alone it is that will
promote a desire in the mind of any one to separate these great and
growing States. [Applause.]

The seeds of dissension may be sown by invidious reflections. Men may
be goaded by the constant attempt to infringe upon rights and to
traduce community character, and in the resentment which follows it is
not possible to tell how far the case may be driven. I therefore plead
to you now to arrest a fanaticism which has been evil in the
beginning, and must be evil to the end. You may not have the numerical
power requisite; and those at a distance may not understand how many
of you there are desirous to put a stop to the course of this
agitation. But let your language and your acts teach them to
appreciate a faithful self-denying minority. I have learned since I
have been in New England the vast mass of true State Rights Democrats
to be found within its limits--though not represented in the halls of

And if it comes to the worst; if, availing themselves of a majority in
the two Houses of Congress, our opponents should attempt to trample
upon the Constitution; to violate the rights of the States; to
infringe upon our equality in the Union, I believe that even in
Massachusetts, though it has not had a representative in Congress for
many a day, the State Rights Democracy, in whose breasts beats the
spirit of the revolution, can and will whip the Black Republicans.
[Great applause.] I trust we shall never be thus purified, as it were,
by fire; but that the peaceful progressive revolution of the ballot
box will answer all the glorious purposes of the Constitutional Union.

I marked that the distinguished orator and statesman who preceded me
in addressing you used the words _national_ and _constitutional_ in
such relations to each other as to show that in his mind the one was a
synonym of the other. And does he not do so with reason? We became a
nation by the constitution; whatever is national springs from the
constitution; and national and constitutional are convertible terms.

Your candidate for the high office of governor--whom I have been once
or twice on the point of calling your governor, and whom I hope I may
be able soon to call so, [applause]--in his remarks to you has
presented the same idea in another form. And well may Massachusetts
orators, without even perceiving what they are saying, utter
sentiments which lie at the foundation of your colonial as well as
your revolutionary history, which existed in Massachusetts before the
revolution, and have existed since, whenever the true spirit which
comes down from the revolutionary sires has been aroused into
utterance within her limits. [Applause.]

It has been not only, my friends, in this increasing and mutual
dependence of interest that we have formed new bonds. Those bonds are
both material and mental. Every improvement in the navigation of a
river, every construction of a railroad, has added another link to the
chain which encircles us, another facility for interchange and new
achievements, whether it has been in arts or in science, in war or in
manufactures, in commerce or agriculture, success, unexampled success
has constituted for us a common and proud memory, and has offered to
us new sentiments of nationality.

Why, then, I would ask, do we see these lengthened shadows, which
follow in the course of our political day? is it because the sun is
declining to the horizon? Are they the shadows of evening; or are
they, as I hopefully believe, but the mists which are exhaled by the
sun as it rises, but which are to be dispersed by its meridian
splendor? Are they but evanescent clouds that flit across but cannot
obscure the great purposes for which the Constitution was established?

I hopefully look forward to the reaction which will establish the fact
that our sun is yet in the ascendant--that the cloud which has covered
our political prospect is but a mist of the morning--that we are again
to be amicably divided in opinion upon measures of expediency, upon
questions of relative interest, upon discussions as to the rights of
the States, and the powers of the federal government,--such discussion
as is commemorated in this historical picture [pointing to the
painting.] There your own great Statesman, Webster, addresses his
argument to our brightest luminary, the incorruptible Calhoun, who
leans over to catch the accents of eloquence that fall from his lips.
[Loud applause.]

They differed as Statesmen and philosophers; they railed not, warred
not against each other; they stood to each other in the relation of
affection and regard. And never did I see Mr. Webster so agitated,
never did I hear his voice so falter, as when he delivered his eulogy
on John C. Calhoun. [Applause.]

But allusion was made to my own connection with your favorite departed
Statesman. I will only say on this occasion, that very early in the
commencement of my congressional life, Mr. Webster was arraigned for
an offence which affected him most deeply. He was no accountant; all
knew that there was but little of mercantile exactness in his habits.
He was arraigned on a pecuniary charge--the misapplication of what is
known as the secret service fund; and I was one of the committee that
had to investigate the charge. I endeavored to do justice, to examine
the evidence with a view to ascertain the truth. As an American I
hoped he would come out without stain or smoke upon his garments. But
however the fame of so distinguished an American Statesman might claim
such hopes, the duty was rigidly to inquire, and rigorously to do
justice. The result was that he was acquitted of every charge that was
made against him, and it was equally my pride and my pleasure to
vindicate him in every form which lay within my power. [Applause.] No
man who knew Daniel Webster, would have expected less of him. Had our
position been reversed, none such could have believed that he would
with a view to a judgment ask whether a charge was made against a
Massachusetts man or a Mississippian. No! it belonged to a lower, a
later, and I trust a shorter lived race of statesmen ["hear," "hear,"]
to measure all facts by considerations of latitude and longitude.
[Warm applause.]

I honor that sentiment which makes us oftentimes too confident, and to
despise too much the danger of that agitation which disturbs the peace
of the country. I honor that feeling which believes the Constitutional
Union too strong to be shaken. But at the same time I say, in sober
judgment, it will not do to treat too lightly the danger which has
beset and which still impends over us. Who has not heard our
Constitutional Union compared to the granite cliffs which line the sea
and dash back the foam of the waves, unmoved by their fury. Recently I
have stood upon New England's shore, and have seen the waves of a
troubled sea dash upon the granite which frowns over the ocean, have
seen the spray thrown back from the cliff, and the receding wave fret
like the impotent rage of baffled malice. But when the tide had ebbed,
I saw that the rock was seamed and worn by the ceaseless beating of
the sea, and fragments riven from the rock were lying on the beach.

Thus the waves of sectional agitation are dashing themselves against
the granite patriotism of the land. If long continued, that too must
show the seams and scars of the conflict. Sectional hostility must
sooner or later produce political fragments. The danger lies at your
door, it is time to arrest it. It is time that men should go back to
the origin of our institutions. They should drink the waters of the
fountain, ascend to the source, of our colonial history.

You, men of Boston, go to the street where the massacre occurred in
1770. There learn how your fathers unfaltering stood for community
right. And near the same spot mark how proudly the delegation of the
democracy came to demand the removal of the troops from Boston, and
how the venerable Samuel Adams stood asserting the rights of the
people, dauntless as Hampden, clear and eloquent as Sidney.

All over our country these monuments, instructive to the present
generation, of what our fathers felt and said and did, are to be
found. In the library of your association for the collection of your
early history, I found a letter descriptive of the reading of the
address to his army by Gen. Washington during one of those winters
when he sought shelter for the ill clad, unshod, but victorious army
with which he achieved the independence we enjoy; he had built a log
cabin for a meeting house, and there reading his address, his sight
failed him, he put on his glasses and with emotion which manifested
the reality of his feelings, said, "I have grown gray in the service
of my country, and now I am growing blind." Who can measure the value
of such incidents in a people's history? It is a privilege to have
access to documents, which cause us to realize the trials, the patient
endurance, the hardy virtue and moral grandeur of the men from whom we
inherit our political institutions, and to whose teachings it were
well that the present generations should constantly refer.

If you choose still further to stretch your vision to South Carolina,
you will find a parallel to that devotion to their country's cause
which illustrates the early history of the Democrats of Boston. The
prisoners at Charleston, when confined upon the hulks where they were
exposed to the small pox, and, wasted by the progress of the
infection, were brought upon the shore and assured that if they would
enlist in his majesty's service they should be relieved from their
present and prospective suffering, but if they refused the rations
would be taken from their families, and themselves sent to the hulks
and exposed to the infection. Emaciated as they were, distressed with
the prospect of their families being turned into the street to starve,
the spirit of independence, the devotion to liberty, was so warm
within their breasts that they gave one loud hurrah for General
Washington, and chose death rather than dishonor. [Loud applause.] And
if from these glorious recollections, from the emotions they excite,
your eye is directed to your present condition, and you mark the
prosperity, the growth and honorable career of your country, I envy
not the heart of that man whose pulse does not beat quicker, who does
not feel within him the exultation of pride at the past glory and the
future prospects of his country. These prospects are to be realized if
we are only wise and true to the obligations of the compact of our
fathers. For all which can sow dissension can stop the progress of the
American people, can endanger the achievement of the high prospects we
have before us is that miserable spirit, which, disregarding duty and
honor, makes war upon the Constitution. Madness must rule the hour
when American citizens, trampling as well upon the great principles at
the foundation of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
of the United States, as upon the honorable obligations which their
fathers imposed upon them, shall turn with internicine hand to
sacrifice themselves as well as their brethren, upon the altar of
sectional fanaticism.

With these views, it will not be surprising to those who differ from
me, that I feel an ardent desire for the success of the State Rights
Democracy, that convinced of the destructive consequences of the
heresies of their opponents, and of the evils upon which they would
precipitate the country, I do not forbear to advocate, here and
elsewhere, the success of that party which alone is national, on which
alone I rely for the preservation of the Constitution, to perpetuate
the Union, and to fulfil the purposes which it was ordained to
establish and secure. [Loud cheers.]

My friends, my brethren, my countrymen--[applause]--I thank you for
the patient attention you have given me. It is the first time it has
been my fortune to address an audience here. It will probably be the
last. Residing in a remote section of the country, with private as
well as public duties to occupy the whole of my time, it would only be
under some such necessity for a restoration of health as has brought
me here this season, that I could ever expect to make more than a very
hurried visit to any other portion of the Union than that of which I
am a citizen.

I will say, then, on this occasion, that I am glad, truly glad, that
it has been my fortune to stay long enough among the New Englanders to
obtain a better acquaintance than one can who passes in the ordinary
way through the country, at the speed of the railroad tourist. I have
stayed long enough to feel that generous hospitality which evinces
itself to-night, which has showed itself in every town and village of
New England where I have gone--long enough to learn that though not
represented in Congress, there is within the limits of New England a
large mass of as true Democrats as are to be found in any portion of
the Union. Their purposes, their construction of the Constitution,
their hopes for the future, their respect for the past, is the same as
that which exists among my beloved brethren in Mississippi.

It is not a great while since one who was endeavoring to pursue me
with unfriendly criticism opened an article with my name and "gone to
Boston!"--He seemed to think it a damaging reflection to say of me
that I had gone to Boston--I wish he could have been here to look upon
these Democratic faces to-night, and to listen to your resolutions and
the words of your Massachusetts speakers, he might have been taught
that a man might go and stay at Boston and learn better Democracy than
many have acquired in other places.

I shall gratefully carry with me the recollections of this and of
other meetings witnessed since I have been among you. In the hour of
apprehension I will hopefully turn back to my observations here--here
in this consecrated hall, where men so early devoted themselves to
liberty and community independence; and will endeavor to impress upon
others who know you only as you are misrepresented in the two Houses
of Congress, [applause,] how true and how many are the hearts that
beat for constitutional liberty, and with high resolve to respect
every clause and guaranty which the Constitution contains, are pledged
to faithfully uphold the rights of any and every portion of the
States, and of the people. [Tremendous cheering.]

                   Speech in the City of New York,
               _Palace Garden Meeting, Oct. 19, 1858._

Countrymen, Democrats:--When I accepted this evening the invitation to
meet you here, it was to see and to hear, not to speak. I have
listened with pleasure to the language addressed to you by your
candidate for the highest office in the State. It is the language of
patriotism; it is an appeal to the common sense of the people in favor
of that fraternity on which our Union was founded, and on which alone
it can long continue to exist. I have rejoiced to hear the applause
with which such sentiments, when he uttered them, have been received
by those here convened, and trust it is but an indication of that
onward progress of reaction which I believe has already commenced, and
which is to sink to the lowest depths of forgetfulness the struggle
which has so long agitated the country, and prompted an internecine
war against your countrymen. [Applause.]

Truly has the distinguished gentleman pointed out to you the extreme
absurdity of attempting to excite you upon the ground of southern
aggression upon the north. We have nothing to aggress upon. We have
not now, as he has told you, the power, though once we had, to
interfere with your domestic institutions. We never had the will to do
so. And if we had the power now, true to the instincts and history of
our fathers, we would abstain from intermeddling in your domestic
affairs. [Applause.] I have no purpose on this or any other occasion
to mingle in the consideration of those questions which are local to
you. I am not sufficiently learned in conchology to do it if I would,
[laughter,] and I have too great a respect for community independence
to do it if I could. My purpose then is, simply in answer to your
call, to offer you a few reflections, such as may occur to me, as I
progress, upon those questions which are common to us all, and which
belong to the memories of our fathers, and are linked with the hopes
of our children. [Applause.] If; then, without preparation, I do it in
unvarnished phrase, if I cannot carry you along with me because of the
want of that flowing diction which might catch the ear, still I ask
you to hear me for my cause, for it is the cause of our country, it is
the cause of democracy, it is the cause of human liberty. [Applause.]

Who now stand arrayed against the democratic party? The relations of
parties and the issues upon which we have been divided have changed.
What now is the basis of opposition to the democratic party? It is
twofold--interference with the negroes of other people, and
interference with the rights now secured to foreigners who expatriate
themselves and come to our land. ["Hear, hear," and applause.] To each
community belongs the right to decide for itself what institutions it
will have. To each people sovereign within their own sphere, belongs,
and to them only belongs, the right to decide what shall be property.
You have decided it for yourselves. Who shall gainsay your decision?
Mississippi has decided it for herself; who has the right to gainsay
her decision? The power of each people to rule over their domestic
affairs lies at the foundation of that Declaration of Independence to
which you owe your existence among the nations of the earth; that
declaration which led your fathers into and through the war of the
revolution. _It is that which constitutes to-day the doctrine of
State-rights, upon which it is my pride and pleasure to stand._
[Applause.] Congress has no power to determine what shall be property
anywhere. Congress has only such grants as are contained in the
Constitution. And the Constitution confers upon it no power to rule
with despotic hand over the inhabitants of the Territories. Within the
limits of those Territories, the common property of the Union, you and
I are equal; we are joint owners. Each of us has the right to go into
those Territories, with whatever property is recognized by the
Constitution of the United States. [Applause.] Congress has no power
to limit or abridge that right. But the inhabitants of a Territory
when as a people they come to form a State government, _when they
possess the power and jurisdiction which belongs to the people of New
York, or any other State, have the right to decide that question, and
no power upon earth has the right to decide it before that time._

[At this point the Young Men's Democratic National Club, with banners
and transparencies, entered the garden, and were received with
enthusiastic cheers.]

The dull remarks, my friends, which I was in the course of making to
you, have been interrupted by a beautiful episode, which I am sure
will more than exceed the whole value of the poem, if I may thus
characterize my dull speech. And I am glad that foremost among all the
transparencies and banners, comes this flag which speaks of the "Young
Men's Democratic National Club."--[Three cheers for Davis.] It is on
the young men we must rely. I have found that in every severe
political struggle, where the contest on the one side was for
principle, and on the other for spoils, it has been the gray-haired
father and the boy with the peach bloom upon his cheek upon whom
principles had to rely for support. My own generation--and I regret to
say it--seems too deeply steeped in the trickery of politics to be
able to rise above the influence of personal and political gain into
the pure field of patriotism. And I am therefore glad to see the
"Young Men's Democratic National Club" leading this procession.

But to return to the argument I was making. I said that Congress had
no power to legislate upon what should be property anywhere; that
Congress had no power to discriminate between the citizens of the
different States who should go into the Territories, the common
property of all the States, but that those Territories of right
remained open to every citizen, and every species of property
recognized in the Constitution, until the inhabitants should become a
people, form a fundamental law for themselves, and, as authorized by
the Constitution, assume the powers, duties, and obligations of a
State. And now, my friends, I would ask you, further, of what value
would a congressional decision upon that subject be? If it be a
constitutional right, as I contend it is, then it is a matter for
judicial decision. If Congress should assert that such is not the
right of each of our citizens, and the courts appointed as an arbiter
in such cases should decide that it is their right, the enactment
would, therefore, be void. It, on the other hand, it is not a right,
but Congress should assert it to be one, and the courts should declare
that no such right exists under the Constitution, then, Congress has
no power to create it; and it is in this sense that Congress has not
the power to establish or prohibit slavery anywhere. [Applause.]

What, then, has been the foundation of all this controversy? Your
candidate has justly pointed out to you that unpatriotic struggle for
sectional aggrandizement which has brought about this contest--a
contest, as it were, between two contending powers for national
predominance--a contest upon the one side to enlarge the majority it
now possesses, and a contest upon the other side to recover the power
it has lost, and become the majority. This is the attitude of hostile
nations, and not of States bound together in fraternal unity. This is
the feeling that one by one is cutting the strands which originally
held the States together. You have seen your churches divided; you
have seen trade turned aside from its accustomed channel; you have
seen jealousy and uncharitableness and bickering springing up and
growing stronger day by day, until at last, if it continue, the cord
of union between the States reduced simply to the political strand,
may not suffice to hold them together. Once united by every tie of
fraternal feeling, shoulder to shoulder, step by step, our fathers
went through the revolution, prompted by a common desire for the
common good, and animated by devotion to the principle of popular
liberty. They struggled against the mother country, because that
country endeavored to legislate for the colonies, and the colonies
claimed as a right that they must not be taxed except by their own
representatives, and refused to submit to unconstitutional
legislation. If now, in this struggle for the ascendency in power, one
action should gain such predominance as would enable it, by modifying
the Constitution and usurping new power, to legislate for the other,
_the exercise of that power would throw us back into the condition of
the colonies._ And if in the veins of the sons flows the blood of
their sires, _they would not fail to redeem themselves from tyranny
even should they be driven to resort to revolution._ [Applause.]

And what is the other question of difference now? It is the agitation,
as a national question, of the right of foreigners to suffrage within
these States. Now, I ask, what power has Congress over the question?
Yet members to Congress are elected upon that question. How would
Congress legislate upon it?--They say, by modifying the naturalization
laws. What do those laws confer? The right to hold real estate and the
right to devise it by will; the right to sue and be sued in the courts
of the United States; and the rights to receive passports and
protection from the government of the United States. Who wishes to
withhold those privileges from foreigners? Nobody alleges it. But they
say that the ballot-box must be protected from foreign votes. Has
Congress the right to say that foreigners shall not vote within the
limits of your State? Are you willing to leave that to Congress?
[Cries of " No, no, no," and applause.] In some of the States, by
State legislation, foreigners are permitted to vote before they can
become citizens under the naturalization laws. The naturalization laws
are not, therefore, controlling over the question of suffrage. The
power of Congress is limited to the establishment of a uniform rule of
naturalization throughout the States. But what further do they couple
with these demands which they make for congressional legislation? They
proclaim their purpose to be to exclude paupers and criminals from
abroad.--Do paupers and criminals come for the right of suffrage? They
come here for bread, or to fly from the laws which they have violated.
Whether they shall be entitled to vote or not, would neither increase
nor diminish the number of that class by a single individual. But, my
friends, who is a pauper, or who is a criminal? Is a man a pauper
merely because he comes here without property, without money in his
purse? Go, look along your lines of internal improvements, where every
mile has mingled with it the bones of some foreigner who labored to
create it. Go to your battle fields, where your flag has been borne
triumphantly, and where fresh laurels have been added to the brow of
your country, and there you will find the sod dyed as deep by the
blood of the foreign born as by that of the native citizen.
[Applause.] Is the able-bodied man, who comes here to contribute to
your national interests by building up your public works, or aiding in
the erection of your architectural constructions, or who bears your
flag in the hour of danger, and who bleeds and dies for your country,
is he the pauper you desire to exclude? And who is the criminal? Is it
he who, flying from the persecution of despotic governments, seeks our
land as the Huguenot did, as did Soule, the stern American orator, as
many others within your limits have done under more recent struggles
for liberty in Europe? [Applause.] Then, who are the paupers and
criminals? Is that to be decided by the ruling of other countries, by
the laws of France, or of England? Or is it to be decided by your own
laws, by your own rules of judicature? If by the latter, then there is
no good ground for controversy. We do not advocate that any country
shall empty its poor houses, get rid of the duty of supporting its
paupers, and throw that charge upon us. We could not permit any
country to empty its prisons and penitentiaries to mingle that portion
of its population with ours. But we do war against the use of terms
that delude the people, and are intended to exclude the high-spirited
and hard-working men who contribute to the bone, the sinew, and the
wealth of our country. [Applause.]

Such, then, my friends, is the opposition to the democracy, the only
national party. The opposition, I say, claims two things from the
federal government, neither of which it has the constitutional power
to perform. It agitates this section of the Union in relation to
property which it has not, and of which, I say, it knows literally
nothing. For had the orator (Mr. Giddings) who was quoted to-night,
known anything of the relations between the master and the slave, he
would not have talked of the slave armed with the British bayonet. Our
doors are unlocked at night; we live among them with no more fear of
them than of our cows and oxen. We lie down to sleep trusting to them
for our defence, and the bond between the master and the slave is as
near as that which exists between capital and labor anywhere. Now,
about the idea of British bayonets in the hands of slaves: The
delusion which has always excited my surprise the most has been that
which has led so many of the northern men to strike hands with the
British abolitionists to make war on their southern brethren. If they
could effect their ends, and Great Britain could insert the wedge
which should separate the States, what further use would she have for
the northern section? You are the competitors of Great Britain in the
vast field of manufacture, whom she most fears, and though she may be
with you in the scheme which would effect a separation of these
States, yet the moment that separation should be effected she would be
under the promptings of interest your worst enemy. [Applause.] Our
fathers fought and bled to secure the common interests of the country.
They reclaimed us from colonial bondage to national independence. They
stamped upon it free trade in order that the interests of all might be
promoted, that each section might be interwoven with the other--in
order that there might be the strongest bond of mutual dependence. And
step by step, from that day to this, that common and mutual dependence
has been growing.

From the seeds of narrow sectionality and purblind fanaticism, have
sprung the tares which threaten the principles of that declaration
which made the Colonies independent States, and of that compact by
which the States were united by a bond to-day far more valuable than
when it was signed. You have among you politicians of a philosophic
turn, who preach a high morality; a system of which they are the
discoverers, and it is to be hoped will long remain the exclusive
possessors. They say, it is true the Constitution dictates this, the
Bible inculcates that; but there is a higher law than those, and call
upon you to obey that higher law, of which they are the inspired
givers. [Laughter and applause.] Men who are _traitors_ to the compact
of their fathers--_men who have perjured the oaths they have
themselves taken_--they who wish to steep their hands in the blood of
their brothers; these are the moral law-givers who proclaim a higher
law than the Bible, the Constitution, and the laws of the land. This
higher-law doctrine, it strikes me, is the most convenient one I ever
heard of for the _criminal_. You, no doubt, have a law which punishes
a man for stealing a horse or a bale of goods. But the thief would
find more convenient a higher law which would justify him in keeping
the stolen goods. The doctrine is now advanced to you only in its
relation to property of the Southern States, thus it is the pill
gilded, to conceal its bitterness; but it will re-act deeply upon
yourselves if you accept it. What security have you for your own
safety if every man of vile temper, of low instincts, of base purpose,
can find in his own heart a higher law than that which is the rule of
society, the Constitution, and the Bible? _These higher-law preachers
should be tarred and feathered, and whipped by those they have thus
instigated. This, my friends, is what was called in good old
revolutionary times. Lynch Law._ It is sometimes the very best law,
because it deals summary justice upon those who would otherwise escape
from all other kinds of punishment. The man who with sycophantic face
and studied phrase, and with assumed philosophic morality, preaches
treason to the Constitution and the dictates of all human society, is
a fit object for a Lynch law that would be higher than any he could
urge. [Applause.]

My democratic friends, I am deeply gratified by the exhibition which
is before me. I see here a field of faces, assembled in the name of
Democracy, and over it high, bright and multiplied for the occasion,
as stars have been added by Democracy to the flag of our country,
blaze the lights which typify democratic principles, pointing upward,
to guide our country to that haven of prosperity which our fathers saw
in the distant future, and which they left it for their sons to
attain. It we are true to ourselves, true to the obligations which the
Constitution imposes upon us, and if we are wise and energetic in the
struggles which lie before us, our path is onward to more of national
greatness than ever people before possessed. We are held together by
that two-fold government, which is susceptible of being made perfect
in the small spheres of State limits, and capable of the greatest
imperial power, by the combination of these municipal powers into one
for foreign action. It is a form of government such as the wit of man
never devised until our fathers, with a wisdom that approached
inspiration, framed the Constitution, and transmitted it as a legacy
to us. It devolves upon every one of you, to see that each provision
of that Constitution is cordially and faithfully observed. If
cordially and faithfully observed, the powers of hell and of earth
combined can never shake the happiness and prosperity of the people of
the United States. [Applause.] With every revolving year there will
arise new motives for holding tenaciously to each other. With every
revolving cycle there will come new sources of pride and national
sentiment to the people. Year after your flag will grow more
brilliant, by the addition of fresh stars, recording the growth of our
political family, and onward, over land and over sea, the progress of
American principles, of human liberty illustrated, and protected by
the power of the United States, will hold its way to a triumph such as
the earth has never witnessed. [Applause.] On the other hand, what do
we see? A picture so black that if I could unveil it, I would not in
this cheery moment expose a scene so chilling to your enthusiasm, and
revolting to your patriotic hearts. My friends, feeling that I have
already detained you too long, I now return to you my cordial thanks
for the kindness with which you have received me to-night.

              Speech Before the Mississippi Legislature.

Mississippians: Again it is my privilege and good fortune to be among
you, to stand before those whom I have loved, for whom I have labored,
by whom I have been trusted and honored, and here to answer for
myself. Time and disease have frosted my hair, impaired my physical
energies, and furrowed my brow, but my heart remains unchanged, and
its every pulsation is as quick, as strong, and as true to your
interests, your honor, and fair fame, as in the period of my earlier

It is known to many of you, that at the close of the last session of
Congress, wasted by protracted, violent disease, I went, in accordance
with medical advice, to the Northeastern coast of the United States.
Against the opinion of my physician, I had remained at Washington
until my public duties were closed, and then adopted the only course
which it was believed gave reasonable hope for a final restoration to
health--that is, sought a region where I should be exempt from the
heat of summer, and from political excitement.

In one respect at least, this accorded with my own feelings, for
physically and mentally depressed, fearful that I should never again
be able to perform my part in the trials to which Mississippi might be
subjected, I turned away from my fellows with such feelings as the
wounded elk leaves his herd, and seeks the covert, to die alone.
Misrepresentation and calumny followed me even to the brink of the
grave, and with hyena instinct would have pursued me beyond it.

The political positions which I had always occupied, justified the
expectation that in New England I should be left in loneliness. In
this I was disappointed; courtesy and kindness met me on my first
landing, and attended me to the time of my departure. The
manifestations of comity and hospitality, given by the generous and
the noble, aroused the petty hostility of the more extreme of the
Black Republicans, and their newspapers assailed me with the low abuse
which for years I had been accustomed to receive at their hands. I had
always despised their malice and defied their enmity; their assaults
did not surprise me, but when I found them echoed in Southern papers,
it did astonish, I will confess, it did pain me, not for any injury
apprehended to myself, but for its evil effect upon the cause with
which I was identified.

Was it expected that to public and private manifestations of kindness
by the people of Maine, I should return denunciation and repel their
generous approaches with epithets of abuse? If they had deserved such
reproach, they could not merit it at my hands. A guest hospitably
attended, it would have been inconsistent with the character of a
gentleman, to have done less than acknowledge their kindness, and it
was not in my nature to feel otherwise than grateful to them for the
many manifestations of a desire to render pleasant and beneficial the
sojourn of an invalid among them. But they did not deserve it, and I
am happy to state as the result of my acquaintance with them, that we
have a large body of true friends among them, men who maintain our
constitutional rights as explicitly and as broadly as we assert them,
and who have performed this service with the foreknowledge that they
were thereby to sacrifice their political prospects, at least, until
through years of patient exertion they should correct error, suppress
fanaticism, and build for themselves a structure on the basis of
truth, which had long been unwelcome and might not soon be understood.

But there were other evidences of regard more valuable to me than
exhibitions of personal kindness. Regard for the people of
Mississippi, founded on a special attention to their history; the
gallant services of your sons in the field, were publicly claimed as
property which Mississippi could not appropriate to herself; but which
were part of the common wealth of the nation, and belonged equally to
the people of Maine. Could I be insensible to such recognition of the
honorable fame of Mississippi? No, the memory of the gallant dead, who
died at Monterey and Buena Vista, forbade it.

At a subsequent period, when in Massachusetts, one of her
distinguished sons, (Gen. Cushing,) paid a compliment to the feat
performed by the Mississippi Regiment in checking the enemies cavalry
on the field of Buena Vista one Black Republican newspaper denied the
originality of the movement, and claimed it to have been previously
performed by an English regiment at Quatre Bras. This claim was
unfounded; the service performed by the British Regiment having been
of a totally different character and for a different purpose.--A
Southern paper, however, has gone one step beyond that of the
Massachusetts paper, and denies the merit claimed for the service
rendered by saying that it was the result of accident, growing out of
the peculiar conformation of the ground on which the regiment rallied
and that it was necessary for the safety of the regiment, being like
the act of a man who leaps from a burning ship and takes the chance of

If this only affected myself, I should leave it, like other
misrepresentations, unnoticed, but it concerns the hard earned
reputation of the regiment I commanded. It affects the fame of
Mississippi, and propagates an error which may pollute the current of

We live in an age of progress, and it requires a progressive age to
produce a military critic who should discover that a soldier deserved
no credit for availing himself of the accidents of ground. One half of
the science of war consists in teaching how to take advantage of the
irregularities of the ground on which military movements are to be
made, or defensive works are to be constructed. The highest reputation
of Generals in every age has resulted in their skill in military
topography. The most marked compliment ever paid by one General to
another, was that of Napoleon to Cæsar, when he halted on his
encampments without a previous reconnoisance. But the regiment did not
rally as stated, for it had not been dispersed; neither was their
movement the result of their own necessity, or adopted for their own
safety. They were marching by the flank, on the side of a ravine, when
the enemy's cavalry were seen approaching. They could have halted on
the side of the ravine, which was so precipitous that they would have
been there as sate from a charge as if they had been in Mississippi.
They could have gone down into the ravine, and have been concealed
even from the sight of the cavalry. The necessity was to prevent the
cavalry from passing to the rear of our line of battle, where they
might have attacked, and probably carried our batteries, which were
then without the protection of our infantry escort. It was our
country's necessity and not our own which prompted the service there
performed. For this the regiment was formed square across the plain,
and there stood motionless as a rock, silent as death, and eager as a
greyhound for the approach of the enemy, at least nine times,
numerically, their superiors. Some Indiana troops were formed on the
brink of the ravine with the right flank of the Mississippi Regiment,
constituting one branch of what has been called the "V". When the
enemy had approached as near as he dared and seemed to shrink from
contact with the motionless, resolute living wall which stood before
him, the angry crack of the Mississippi rifle was heard, and as the
smoke rose and the dust fell, there remained of the host which so
lately stood before us but the fallen and the flying. The rear of our
line of battle was again secured, and a service had been rendered
which in no small degree contributed to the triumph which finally
perched upon the banner of the United States.

I am not a disinterested, and may not be a competent judge, but I know
how I thought, and still believe, that your sons, given by you to the
public service in the war with Mexico, have not received the full
measure of the credit which was their due. They, however, received so
much that we might be content to rest on the history as it has been
written. But it constitutes a reason why we should not permit any of
the leaves to be unjustly torn away.

To return to the consideration of the less important subject, the
misrepresentation of myself; I will again express the surprise I felt
that when abolition papers were assailing me with a view to destroy
any power which I might acquire to correct the error which had been
instilled into the minds of the people of the North in relation to
Southern sentiments and Southern institutions, that they should have
received both aid and comfort from Southern newspapers, and been
bolstered up in the attempt to misrepresent my political position.
When the charge was made, which was copied in Northern papers, that I
had abandoned those with whom I co-operated in 1852, to produce a
separation of the States, my friend, the editor of the Mississippian,
seeing the misrepresentation of my position, and naturally supposing,
as we had no discussion in 1852, the reference must have been made to
the canvass of 1851, quoted from the resolutions of the State-Rights
Democratic Convention, and from an address published by myself to the
people, to show that my position was the reverse of that assigned to
me. Before proceeding, I will advert to a reference which has been
made to him, as my "organ." He is no more my "organ" than I am his. We
have generally concurred, I and have been able to understand and
anticipate his positions as he has mine. I am indebted to him for many
favors. He is indebted to me for nothing. As Democrats, as gentlemen,
as friends, we occupy to each other the relation of exact equality.

Notwithstanding that irrefutable answer to the charge, it has been
reiterated, and, as before, located in the year 1852. It is known to
you all that our discussions were in 1851. I then favored a convention
of the Southern States, that we might take counsel together, as to the
future which was to be anticipated, from the legislation of 1850. The
decision of the State was to acquiesce in the legislation of that
year, with a series of resolutions in relation to future
encroachments. I submitted to the decision of the people, and have in
good faith adhered to the line of conduct which it imposed. Therefore
in 1852 there is no record from which to disprove any allegation, but
you know the charge to be utterly unfounded, and charity alone can
suppose its reiteration was innocently made. Neither in that year nor
in any other, have I ever advocated a dissolution of the Union, or the
separation of the State of Mississippi from the Union, except as the
last alternative, and have not considered the remedies which lie
within that extreme as exhausted, or ever been entirely hopeless of
their success. I hold now, as announced on former occasions, that
whilst occupying a seat in the Senate, I am bound to maintain the
Government of the Constitution, and in no manner to work for its
destruction; that the obligation of the oath of office, Mississippi's
honor and my own, require that, as a Senator of the United States,
there should be no want of loyalty to the Constitutional Union.
Whenever Mississippi shall resolve to separate from the Confederacy, I
will expect her to withdraw her representatives from the General
Government, to which they are accredited. If I should ever, whilst a
Senator, deem it my duty to assume an attitude of hostility to the
Union, I should, immediately thereupon, feel bound to resign the
office, and return to my constituency to inform them of the fact. It
was this view of the obligations of my position, which caused me, on
various occasions, to repel, with such indignation, the accusation of
being a disunionist, while holding the office of Senator of the United

I have been represented as having, advocated "Squatter Sovereignty" in
a speech made at Bangor, in the State of Maine, A paragraph has been
published purporting to be an extract from that speech, and
vituperative criticism, and forced construction have exhausted
themselves upon it, with deductions which are considered authorized,
because they are not denied in the paragraph published.

In this case, as in that of the charge in relation to my position in
1852, there is no record with which to answer. I never made a speech
at Bangor. And a fair mind would have sought for the speech to see how
far the general context explained the paragraph, before indulging in
hostile criticism.

Senator Douglas, in a speech at Alton, adopting the paragraph
published, and evidently drawing his opinion from the unfair
construction which had been put upon it, claims to quote from a speech
made by me at Bangor, to sustain the position taken by him at
Freeport. He says:

"You will find in a recent speech, delivered by that able and eloquent
statesman, Hon. Jefferson Davis, at Bangor, Maine, that he took the
same view of this subject that I did in my Freeport speech. He there

"'If the inhabitants of any territory should refuse to enact such laws
and police regulations as would give security to their property and
his, it would be rendered more or less valueless, in proportion to the
difficulty of holding it without such protection. In the case of
property in the labor of a man, or what is usually called slave
property, the insecurity would be so great that the owner could not
ordinarily retain it. Therefore, though the right would remain, the
remedy being withheld, it would follow that the owner would be
practically debarred, by the circumstances of the case, from taking
slave property into a Territory where the sense of the inhabitants was
opposed to its introduction. So much for the oft repeated fallacy of
forcing slavery upon any community.'"

It is fair to suppose, if the Senator had known where to find the
speech from which this extract was taken, that he would have examined
it before proceeding to make such use of it. And I can but believe, if
he had taken the paragraph free from the distortion which it had
undergone from others, that he must have seen it bore no similitude to
his position at Freeport, and could give no countenance to the
doctrine he then announced. He there said:

"The next question Mr. Lincoln propounded to me is: 'Can the people of
a territory exclude slavery from their limits by any fair means,
before it comes into the Union as a State?' I answer emphatically, as
Mr. Lincoln has heard me answer a hundred times, on every stump in
Illinois, that in my opinion, the people of a territory can, by lawful
means, exclude slavery before it comes ill as a State. [Cheers.] Mr.
Lincoln knew that I had given that answer over and over again. He
heard me argue the Nebraska bill on that principle all over the State,
in 1854, and '55, and '56, and he has now no excuse to pretend to have
any doubt upon that subject. Whatever the Supreme Court may hereafter
decide as on the abstract question of whether slavery may go in under
the Constitution or not, the people of a territory have the lawful
means to admit or exclude it as they please for the reason that
slavery cannot exist a day or an hour anywhere unless supported by
local police regulations, furnishing remedies aid means of enforcing
the right of holding slaves. Those local aid police regulations can
only be furnished by the local Legislature. If the people of the
Territory are opposed to slavery they will elect members to the
Legislature who will adopt unfriendly legislation to it. If they are
for it, they will adopt the legislative measures friendly to slavery.
Hence no matter what may be the decision of the Supreme Court, on that
abstract questions still the right of the people to make it a slave
territory or a free territory, is perfect and complete under the
Nebraska Bill. I hope Mr. Lincoln will deem my answer satisfactory on
this point." This is the distinct assertion of the power of
territorial legislation to admit or exclude slavery; of the first in
the race of migration who reach a territory, the common property of
the people of the United States to enact laws for the exclusion of
other joint owners of the territory, who may in the exercise of their
equal right to enter the common property, choose to take with them
property recognized by the Constitution, built not acceptable to the
first emigrants to the Territory. That Senator had too often and too
fully discussed with me the question of "squatter sovereignty" to be
justified in thus mistaking my opinion. The difference between us is
as wide as that of one who should assert the right to rob from him who
admitted the power. It is true, as I stated it at that time, all
property requires protection from the society in the midst of which it
is held. This necessity does not confer a right to destroy, but rather
creates an obligation to protect. It is true as I stated it, that
slave property peculiarly requires the protection of society, and
would ordinarily become valueless in the midst of a community, which
would seek to seduce the slave front his master, and conceal him
whilst absconding, and as jurors protect each other in any suit which
the master might bring for damages. The laws of the United States,
through the courts of the United States, might enable the master to
recover the slave wherever he could find him. But you all know, in
such a community as I have supposed, that a slave inclined to abscond
would become utterly useless, and that was the extent of the

The extract on which reliance has been placed was taken from a speech
made at Portland, and both before and after the extract, the language
employed conclusively disproves the construction, which unfriendly
criticism has put upon the detached passage. Immediately preceding it,
the following language was used:

"The Territory being the common property of States, equals in the
Union, and bound by the Constitution which recognizes property in
slaves, it is an abuse of terms to call aggression the migration into
that Territory of one of its joint owners, because carrying with him
any species of property recognized by the Constitution of the United
States. The Federal Government has no power to declare what is
property enywhere.{sic} The power of each State cannot extend beyond
its own limits. As a consequence, therefore, whatever is property in
any of the States, must be so considered in any of the territories of
the United States until they reach to the dignity of community
independence, when the subject matter will be entirely under the
control of the people, and be determined by their fundamental law. If
the inhabitants of any territory should refuse to enact such laws and
police regulations as would give security to their property or to his,
it would be rendered more or less valueless, in proportion to the
difficulty of holding it without such protection. In the case of
property in the labor of man, or what is usually called slave
property, the insecurity would be so great that the owner could not
ordinarily retain it. Therefore, though the right would remain, the
remedy being withheld, it would follow that the owner would be
practically debarred by the circumstances of the case, from taking
slave property into a territory where the sense of the inhabitants was
opposed to its introduction. So much for the oft repeated fallacy of
forcing slavery upon any community."

And in a subsequent part of the same speech, the matter was treated of
in this wise:

"The South had not asked Congress to extend slavery into the
territories, and he in common with most other Southern statesmen,
denied the existence of any power to do so. He held it to be the creed
of the Democracy, both in the North and the South, that the general
government had no constitutional power either to establish or prohibit
slavery anywhere; a grant of power to do the one must necessarily have
involved the power to do the other. Hence it is their policy not to
interfere on the one side or the other, but protecting each individual
in his constitutional rights, to leave every independent community to
determine and adjust all domestic questions as in their wisdom may
seem best."

In other speeches made elsewhere, in New England and in New York the
equality of the South as joint owners was declared and maintained, as
I had often done before the people of Mississippi and in the Senate of
the United States when the subject was in controversy. The position
taken by me in 1850, in the form of an amendment offered to one of the
compromise measures of that year, was intended to assert the equal
right of all property to the protection of the United States, and to
deny to any legislative body the power to abridge that right. The
decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case has fully
sustained our position in the following passage:

"If Congress itself cannot do this, (prohibit slavery in a Territory,)
if it is beyond the powers conferred on the Federal Government--it
will be admitted, we presume, that it could not authorize a
territorial government to exercise them. _It could confer no power on
any local government established by its authority, to violate the
provisions of the Constitution._

"And if the Constitution recognizes the right of property of the
master in a slave; and makes no distinction between that description
of property and other property owned by a citizen, _no tribunal_,
acting under the authority of the United States, whether legislative,
executive, or judicial, has a right to draw such a distinction, or
deny to it the benefit of the provisions and guarantees which have
been provided for the protection of private property against the
encroachments of the government."

At the time of the adoption of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, it certainly
was understood that the constitutional rights to take slaves into any
territory of the United States should thenceforth be regarded as a
judicial question; and therefore special provision was made to
facilitate the bringing of such questions before the Supreme Court of
the United States. After the decision to which reference has just been
made, the prominent advocate of the bill at the time of its enactment
should have been estopped from recurring to his "squatter sovereignty"
heresies, though the decision should have been different from his
anticipation or desire. And as much interest has been felt in relation
to his position, and some inquiry has been made as to my view of it, I
will here say, that I consider him as having recanted the better
opinions announced by him in 1854, and that I cannot be compelled to
choose between men, one of whom asserts the power of Congress to
deprive us of a constitutional right, and the other only denies the
power of Congress, in order to transfer it to the territorial
legislature. Neither the one nor the other has any authority to sit in
judgment on our rights under the Constitution.

Between such positions, Mississippi cannot have a preference, because
she cannot recognize anything tolerable in either of them.

Having called your attention to the speech made at Portland, to show
that other parts of it disprove the construction put upon the
paragraph, which was taken from it, and reported to be a part of the
speech delivered at Bangor, it may be as well on this occasion to
state the circumstances under which the speech was made at Portland.
Immediately preceding the State election, I was invited, by the
democracy of that city, to address them, and my attention was
especially called to a delusion practiced on the people of Maine, by
which many were led to believe that there was a purpose on the part of
the South, through the government of the United States, to force
slavery not only into the territories, but also into the
non-slaveholding States of the Union. It was represented to me that in
the last Presidential canvass that one of the Senators of Maine had
convinced many of the voters that if Mr. Buchanan should be elected,
slavery would be forced upon Maine, and that the other Senator was
arguing that the Dred Scott decision of the Supreme Court had given
authority to introduce and hold slaves in that State. To counteract
such impressions, injurious to the South and her friends, the remarks
which have been extracted were made.

On that, as on other occasions, it was deemed a duty to correct
misrepresentation and seek to vindicate our purposes from the
prejudice which ignorance and agitation had created against us. If it
was in my power in any degree to allay sectional excitement, to
cultivate sounder opinions and a more fraternal feeling, it was a task
most acceptable to me, and one for the performance of which I could
not doubt your approval. But it has been my fortune to be the object
of a malice which I have not striven to appease because I was
conscious that it rested upon no injury or injustice inflicted by me.
The land swarms with Presidential candidates, announced by their
agents or their friends, or by themselves, as the mode most available
for preventing too zealous and partial friends from putting them in
nomination. To these it was the source of unfounded apprehension, that
I went to the coast of New England, instead of returning to
Mississippi. If any of them had known the necessity which kept me from
home, it is fair to suppose the aspirant for such distinction could
not have been guilty of the meanness of suppressing that fact, and
allowing misrepresentation to do its work in my absence.

For the wretch who is doomed to go through the world bearing a
personal jealousy or a personal malignity, which renders him incapable
of doing justice, and studious of misrepresentation, I can only feel
pity, and were it possible to feel revengeful, could consign him to no
worse punishment than that of his own tormentors, the vipers nursed in
his own breast.

But long have I delayed what is my chief purpose, to speak to my
friends, the men whose good opinion is to me of importance only second
to the approval of my own conscience. So far as they have
misunderstood me, it is a pleasure to set forth the true meaning of
both my words and my deeds. To my traducers I have no explanations to
offer and no apologies for any one. If State Rights men in the excess
of their zeal have censured me, I have no reproaches for them, but
cheerfully bear the burden which may be imposed upon me by zeal in the
cause to which my political life has been devoted, and in imitation of
Job, would bless the State Rights Democracy of Mississippi, even if
the object of its vengeance: "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in

If I had been asked what interpretation might possibly be put upon the
published sketch of the remarks made by me at sea on the Fourth of
July last, speculation would have been exhausted before it would have
occurred to me that my State Rights friends would consider themselves
described under the head of "trifling politicians," who could not
believe that the country would remain united to repel insult to our
flag as it had recently been on the occasion of the attempt to
exercise visit and search in the Gulf of Mexico, under the pretext of
checking the African slave trade. The publisher of that sketch has
already announced that it was not a report, and that for its language
I could not justly be considered responsible. To this it is needless
that I should add any thing. But I have treated it, and will treat it
in the view necessarily taken by those who construed it before such
denial was made.

During the period of greatest adversity, in the hour of gloom and
defeat, the State Rights Democracy had no cause to complain of my
fealty. We struggled together, fell together, rose together, and to
them I am indebted for whatever of consideration or position I
possess. Endeared to me by our common suffering; grateful to them for
the steadfast support with which they have honored me, accustomed to
refer with pride to my identity with them, it would have been strange
indeed, if when separated from them under circumstances which turned
any eyes, with more than ordinary anxiety towards my home, I should
then have sought an occasion to heap reproachful language upon them.

Often it has been my duty to repel the accusations of others who
sought to attribute to the State Rights Democracy opinions not their
own, and to impute to them the purpose to agitate for the destruction
of the government we inherited. As one of the State Rights party, I
deny that the language published is a picture of me or my class, and I
have as little disposition now, as at any former time, to separate
myself from the body of the party, with which I have so long acted,
which I rejoice to see in power at home, and daily more and more
respected in the other States.

I have thus defined who were not meant, and will now tell who were
meant. Firsts they were the noisy agitators who were constantly
disturbing the public peace and proclaiming that slavery is so great
an evil, that the preservation of the Union is subordinate to the
purpose of abolishing it. They who object to any protection, on the
high seas or elsewhere, being given to slave property by the
government of the United States; who would rejoice in any insult
offered to the national flag if borne by a vessel sailing from a
Southern port; and who have been for some time back circulating
petitions for a dissolution of the Union on the ground of the
incompatibility of the sections. And to these may be added the few,
the very few of Southern men who fancying that they would have
advantages out of the Union which they cannot possess within it,
however fully the compact should be observed and State Equality
maintained, desire its dissolution, and taking counsel of their
passions, decry the labors of all who seek to preserve the government
as our fathers formed it, and to develop the great purposes for which
it was ordained and established.

The other phrase which has been the subject of comment was, "and this
great country will remain united." How "united" is set forth in the
language to which this clause was a conclusion, "united to protect our
national flag whenever a foreign power, presuming on our domestic
dissention, should dare to insult it." The unanimity with which men of
all parties in the two houses of Congress rallied to support the
executive in maintaining the rights of our flag, had been the subject
of my commendation. Upon that fact the idea expressed rested. At worst
it could but have evinced too much credulity, and I trust I may die
believing that whenever the honor of our flag shall demand it, every
mountain and valley and plain, will pour forth their hardy sons, and
that shoulder to shoulder they will march against any foreign foe
which shall invade the rights of any portion of the United States.

And here permit me as a duty to you, and an obligation upon myself, to
pay the tribute which I believe to be due the Northern Democracy.
Having formed my opinion of them upon insufficient data, I have had
occasion, after much intercourse with them, to modify it. I believe
that a great reaction has commenced; how far it will progress I do not
pretend to say, but am hopeful that agitation will soon become
unprofitable to political traders in New England, and this hope rests
upon the high position taken by the Northern Democracy, and upon the
increased vote which in some of the States, under the more distinct
avowal of sound principles, their candidates have received. You may
now often hear among them not only the unqualified defence of your
constitutional rights, but the vindication of your institutions in the
abstract, and in the concrete.

In the town of Portland, just preceding the election, a Democrat of
large means and extensively engaged in commercial transactions and
city improvements addressed the Democracy, arguing that their
prosperity depended upon their connection with countries, the products
of which were dependent upon slave labor; and the future growth and
prosperity of their city depended upon the extension of slave labor
into all countries where it could be profitably employed. He showed by
a statistical statement the paralysing effect which would be produced
upon their interest by the abolition of slavery. The Black Republican
papers of course abused him, and compared him to Davis and Toombs, but
his sound views were approved by the Democracy, and so far as I could
judge, he gained consideration by their manly utterance.

A generation had been educated in error, and the South had done
nothing in defence of the abstract right of slavery. Within a few
years essays have been written, books have been published, by northern
as well as by southern men, and with the increase of information,
there has been a subsidence of prejudice, and a preparation of the
mind to receive truth. Our friends are still in a minority. It would
be vain to speculate as to the period when their position will be
reversed. Whether sooner or later, or never, they are still entitled
to our regard and respect. A few years ago those who maintained our
constitutional right, and to secure it voted for the Kansas and
Nebraska bill, went home to meet reproach and expulsions from public

Even their social position was affected by that political act. The few
years, however, which have elapsed, have produced a great change. They
have recovered all except their political position. That bill which
was considered when it was enacted, a Southern measure, for which
Northern men bravely sacrificed their political prospects, has of late
been denounced at the South as a cheat and a humbug. A poor return
certainly, to those who conscientiously maintaining our rights,
surrendered their popularity to secure what the men for whom they made
the sacrifice now pronounce to have been a cheat. It is true that bill
has recently received in some quarters a construction which its
friends did not place upon it when it was enacted. But it should be
judged by its terms and by contemporaneous construction.

When I visited the people of Mississippi last year, the question of
greatest public excitement, was connected with the action of the
Executive in relation to the admission of Kansas as a State of the
Union. You had been led to suppose that the President would attempt to
control the action of the convention, and if the constitution was not
submitted to a popular vote, would oppose by all the means within his
power, the admission of the State within the Union. You were also
excited at a dogma which had been put forth, to the effect that no
more slave States should be admitted. I agreed with you then, that if
the President took such position he would violate the obligations of
his office, and be faithless to the trust which you had reposed in
him. I agreed with you then, that the exclusion of a State, because it
was slaveholding, would be such an offence against your equality as
would demand at your hands the vindication of your rights. What has
been the result? The convention framed the constitution, submitted
only the clause relating to slavery to a popular vote, and applied for
admission. The President in his annual message referred in favorable
terms to the application, then not formally made, and when the
Constitution reached him transmitted it to Congress with a special
message, in which he fully and emphatically maintained the right of

After the convention had adjourned, Mr. Stanton, acting Governor of
the Territory, called and extra session of the Freesoil Legislature,
which has been elected, and it passed an act to submit the whole
constitution to a popular vote. The President removed him from
office,--a further evidence of the sincerity with which he was
fulfiling your expectations in relation to Kansas. And it gives me
pleasure here to say of him, what I am assured I can now say with
confidence, that he will not shrink a hair's breadth from the position
he has taken, but will move another step in advance, and fall, if fall
he must, manfully upholding the rights and defying the insolence of
ill-gotten power.

When the bill was presented to the Senate for the admission of the
State of Kansas, after a long discussion, it was adopted, with a
provision which required the State after admission to relinquish its
claim to all the land asked for in its ordinance, except 5,000,000
acres, that being the largest amount which had been ever granted to a
State at the period of its admission. There was also a provision
declaratory of the right of the people to change their constitution at
any time; though the instrument itself had restricted them for a term
of years. I considered both those provisions objectionable; the first,
because it was directory of legislation to be enacted by a State; and
the second, because it was inviting to a disregard of the fundamental
law, and had too much the seeming of a concession to the anti-slavery
feeling which was impatient for a change of the constitution. That
bill failed in the House, and was succeeded by a bill of the
Opposition which recognized the right of Kansas to be admitted with a
pro-slavery constitution, provided it should be adopted by a popular
vote. This also failed, and in the division between the two Houses, a
com- {sic}

As there has been much diversity of opinion in relation to that law,
and I think much misapprehension as to its character, I will be
pardoned for speaking of it somewhat minutely.

When it was known that the Conference Committee had prepared a bill, I
mittee of conference was appointed, which framed the bill that became
a law. being at the time confined to my house by disease, invited my
colleague and the Representatives from the State to visit me, that we
might confer together and decide upon the course which we would
pursue. Before the evening of our meeting, a distinguished member of
the House of Representatives, a member of the Committee, called and
read to me the bill which they had prepared. It contained some
features which I considered objectionable. He concurred with me, and
promised to use his efforts to have them stricken out. When the
Mississippi delegation assembled, our conference was full, and marked
by the desire, first to protect the rights of our State, and secondly,
to secure unanimity of action by its delegation. The objections which
were urged, referred, as my memory serves me, entirely to the features
which I had reason to hope would be stricken out. One of the
delegation announced an unwillingness to support the proposed
modification of the Senate proposition, lest it should be considered
as yielding the point on which we had insisted that Congress could not
require the Constitution to be submitted to a popular vote. I refer to
the lamented Quitman, whose sincere devotion to Southern interests, no
one, who knew him, could question. I regretted that he deemed it
necessary to vote, finally, against the measure, but I honor the
motive which governed his course.

The ordinance which was attached to the Constitution, was not a part
of it, but a condition annexed to the application for admission. If
Congress had stricken the ordinance out, the effect, I believe, would
have been that of admitting the State without any reservation of the
public land; would have transferred as an attribute of sovereignty the
useful as well as the eminent domain. The Southern Senators who
received the soubriquet of Southern ultras, held that position in
1850, in relation to the public lands of California, and it
constituted one of their objections to the admission of that State at
the time it was effected. To modify the ordinance, that is to change
the condition on which the inhabitants of Kansas proposed to enter
into the Union was necessarily to give them the right to withdraw
their proposition.

It remained then for Congress if they reduced the amount of land asked
for in the ordinance, either to provide the mode in which the
inhabitants should accept or reject the modification or leave them to
do it in such manner as they might adopt. The convention was defunct,
the legislature was black republican and thought to be entitled to
little confidence, and it seemed to be better that Congress should
itself provide the mode of ascertaining the public will than leave
that duty to the territorial legislature, such as it was believed and
proven to be. It was a mere question of expediency, and I think the
best course was pursued.

To have admitted the State without modification of the ordinance,
would have been to grant five times as much of the public land as had
ever been given to a State at the period of admission.

There was nothing to justify such a discrimination, and otherwise the
State could not be admitted without referring the question or
violating the principle of State sovereignty.

As a condition precedent, the general government may require the
recognition of its right to control the primary disposal of the land,
but can have no right to impose a condition with the mandate that it
shall be subsequently fulfiled and no power to enforce the mandate if
the State admitted should refuse to comply. Not for all the land in
Kansas, not for all the land between the Missouri and the Pacific
ocean, not for all the land of the continent of North America, would I
agree that the federal government should have the power to coerce a

The necessity for having all conditions agreed upon before the
admission of a State was demonstrated by Mr. Soule, in 1850, in the
discussion of the bill for the admission of California. Mr. Webster
replied to him but did not answer his argument, and the course of
events seems likely to verify all that Senator Soule foretold.

Of the three methods which were supposable, I think Congress adopted
the best; it was the only one which was attainable and secured all
which was of value to the South. It was the admission by Congress of a
State with a pro-slavery Constitution; it was the triumph of the
principle that forbade Congress to interfere either as to the matter
of the Constitution or the manner in which it should be formed and

The refusal of the inhabitants to accept the reduced endowment offered
to them, and their decision to remain in a territorial condition, was,
in my opinion, wise on their part and fortunate on ours. The late
Governor, Denver, has forcibly pointed out to them their want of means
to support a State government, and the propriety of giving their first
attention to the establishment of order and the development of their
internal resources. There were many reasons to doubt the fitness of
the inhabitants of Kansas to be admitted as a State.

The condition of the country and the previous legislation of Congress
made the case exceptional, and, in my judgment, justified the course
adopted. I have, therefore, no apology or regret to offer in the case.

The Northern opponents of the measure have, among other denunciatory
epithets, applied to it those of "bribery" and "coercion." "Bribery"
to give less by twenty millions of acres of land than was claimed, and
"coercion" to leave them to the option of receiving the usual
endowment, or waiting until they had an amount of population which
would give some assurance of their ability to maintain a State
government. Though such is the requirement of the law, and designed to
secure exemption from the mischievous agitation which has for several
years disturbed the country and benefitted only the demagogues who
make a trade of politics, we may scarcely hope to escape from a
renewal of the agitation which has been found so profitable. The next
phase of the question will probably be in the form of what is termed
an "enabling act,"--a favorite measure with the advocates of "squatter
sovereignty," who, claiming for the inhabitants of a Territory all the
power of the people of a State, nevertheless consider it necessary
that Congress should confer the power to form a Constitution and apply
as a State. Congress has given authority for admission in some cases,
but I think it better to avoid than to follow the precedent. Not that
I am concerned for the doctrine of "squatter sovereignty," but that I
would guard against the mischievous error of considering the federal
government as the parent of States, and would restrict it to the
function of admitting new States into the Union, barring all
pretension to the power of creating them.

It seems now to be probable that the Abolitionists and their allies
will have control of the next House of Representatives, and it may be
well inferred from their past course that they will attempt
legislation both injurious and offensive to the South. I have an
abiding faith that any law which violates our constitutional rights,
will be met with a veto by the present Executive.--But should the next
House of Representatives be such as would elect an Abolition
President, we may expect that the election will be so conducted as
probably to defeat a choice by the people and devolve the election
upon the House.

Whether by the House or by the people, if an Abolitionist be chosen
President of the United States, you will have presented to you the
question of whether you will permit the government to pass into the
hands of your avowed and implacable enemies. Without pausing for your
answer, I will state my own position to be that such a result would be
a species of revolution by which the purposes of the Government would
be destroyed and the observance of its mere forms entitled to no

In that event, in such manner as should be most expedient, I should
deem it your duty to provide for your safety outside of a Union with
those who have already shown the will, and would have acquired the
power, to deprive you of your birthright and to reduce you to worse
than the colonial dependence of your fathers.

The master mind of the so-called Republican party, Senator Seward, has
in a. recent speech at Rochester, announced the purpose of his party
to dislodge the Democracy from the possession of the federal
Government, and assigns as a reason the friendship of that party for
what he denominates the slave system. He declares the Union between
the States having slave labor and free labor to be incompatible, and
announces that one or the other must disappear. He even asserts that
it was the purpose of the framers of the Government to destroy slave
property, and cites as evidence of it, the provision for an amendment
of the Constitution. He seeks to alarm his auditors by assuring them
of the purpose on the part of the South and the Democratic party to
force slavery upon all the States of the Union. Absurd as all this may
seem to you, and incredulous as you may be of its acceptance by any
intelligent portion of the citizens of the United States, I have
reason to believe that it has been inculcated to no small extent in
the Northern mind.

It requires but a cursory examination of the Constitution of the
United States; but a partial knowledge of its history and of the
motives of the men who formed it, to see how utterly fallacious it is
to ascribe to them the purpose of interfering with the domestic
institutions of any of the States. But if a disrespect for that
instrument, a fanatical disregard of its purposes, should ever induce
a majority, however large, to seek by amending the Constitution, to
pervert it from its original object, and to deprive you of the
equality which your fathers bequeathed to you, I say let the star of
Mississippi be snatched from the constellation to shine by its
inherent light, if it must be so, through all the storms and clouds of

The same dangerously powerful man describes the institution of slavery
as degrading to labor, as intolerant and inhuman, and says the white
laborer among us is not enslaved only because he cannot yet be reduced
to bondage. Where he learned his lesson, I am at a loss to imagine;
certainly not by observation, for you all know that by interest, if
not by higher motive, slave labor bears to capital as kind a relation
as can exist between them anywhere; that it removes from us all that
controversy between the laborer and the capitalist, which has filled
Europe with starving millions and made their poor houses an onerous
charge. You too know, that among us, white men have an equality
resulting from a presence of the lower caste, which cannot exist where
white men fill the position here occupied by the servile race. The
mechanic who comes among us, employing the less intellectual labor of
the African, takes the position which only a master-workman occupies
where all the mechanics are white, and therefore it is that our
mechanics hold their position of absolute equality among us.

I say to you here as I have said to the Democracy of New York, if it
should ever come to pass that the Constitution shall be perverted to
the destruction of our rights so that we shall have the mere right as
a feeble minority unprotected by the barrier of the Constitution to
give an ineffectual negative vote in the Halls of Congress, we shall
then bear to the federal government the relation our colonial fathers
did to the British crown, and if we are worthy of our lineage we will
in that event redeem our rights even if it be through the process of
revolution. And it gratifies me to be enabled to say that no portion
of the speech to which I have referred was received with more marked
approbation by the Democracy there assembled than the sentiment which
has just been cited. I am happy also to state that during the past
summer I heard in many places, what previously I had only heard from
the late President Pierce, the declaration that whenever a Northern
army should be assembled to march for the subjugation of the South,
they would have a battle to fight at home before they passed the
limits of their own State, and one in which our friends claim that the
victory will at least be doubtful.

Now, as in 1851, I hold separation from the Union by the State of
Mississippi to be the last remedy--the final alternative. In the
language of the venerated Calhoun I consider the disruption of the
Union as a great though not the greatest calamity. I would cling
tenaciously to our constitutional Government, seeing as I do in the
fraternal Union of equal States the benefit to all and the fulfilment
of that high destiny which our fathers hoped for and left it for their
sons to attain. I love the flag of my country with even more than a
filial affection. Mississippi gave me in my boyhood to her military
service. For many of the best years of my life I have followed that
flag and upheld it on fields where if I had fallen it might have been
claimed as my winding sheet. When I have seen it surrounded by the
flags of foreign countries, the pulsations of my heart have beat
quicker with every breeze which displayed its honored stripes and
brilliant constellation. I have looked with veneration on those
stripes as recording the original size of our political family and
with pride upon that constellation as marking the family's growth; I
glory in the position which Mississippi's star holds in the group; but
sooner than see its lustre dimmed--sooner than see it degraded from
its present equality-would tear it from its place to be set even on
the perilous ridge of battle as a sign round which Mississippi's best
and bravest should gather to the harvest-home of death.

As when I had the privilege of addressing the Legislature a year ago,
so now do I urge you to the needful preparation to meet whatever
contingency may befall us. The maintenance of our rights against a
hostile power is a physical problem and cannot be solved by mere
resolutions. Not doubtful of what the heart will prompt, it is not the
less proper that due provision should be made for physical
necessities. Why should not the State have an armory for the repair of
arms, for the alteration of old models so as to make them conform to
the improved weapons of the present day, and for the manufacture on a
limited scale of new arms, including cannon and their carriages; the
casting of shot and shells, and the preparation of fixed ammunition?

Such preparation will not precipitate us upon the trial of secession,
for I hold now, as in 1850, that Mississippi's patriotism will hold
her to the Union as long as it is constitutional, but it will give to
our conduct the character of earnestness of which mere paper
declarations have somewhat deprived us; it will strengthen the hands
of our friends at the North, and in the event that separation shall be
forced upon us, we shall be prepared to meet the contingency with
whatever remote consequences may follow it, and give to manly hearts
the happy assurance that manly arms will not fail to protect the
gentle beauty which blesses our land and graces the present occasion.

You are already progressing in the construction of railroads which,
whilst they facilitate travel, increase the products of the State and
the reward of the husbandman, are a great element of strength by the
means they afford for rapid combination at any point where it may be
desirable to concentrate our forces. To those already in progress I
hope one will soon be added to connect the interior of the State with
the best harbor upon our Gulf coast. When this shall be completed a
trade will be opened to that point which will produce direct
importation and exportation to the great advantage of the planter as
well as all consumers of imported goods; and furnishing "exchange,"
will protect us from such revulsion as was suffered last fall when
during a period of entire prosperity at home, our market was paralyzed
by failures in New York.

The contemplated improvement in the levee system, will give to our
people a mine of untold wealth; and as we progress in the development
of our resources and the increase of our power, so will we advance in
State pride and the ability to maintain principles far higher in value
than mountains of gold or oceans of pearl.

But I find myself running into those visions which have hung before me
from my boyhood up; which at home and abroad have been the hope
constantly attending upon me, and which the cold wing of time has been
unable to wither. I am about to leave you to discharge the duties of
the high trust with which you have honored me. I go with the same love
for Mississippi which has always animated me; with the same confidence
in her people, which has cheered me in the darkest hour. As often as I
may return to you, I feel secure of myself, and say I shall come back
unchanged. Or should the Providence which has so often kindly
protected me, not permit me to return again, my last prayer will be
for the honor, the glory and the happiness of Mississippi.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Speeches of the Hon. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi; delivered during the summer of 1858." ***

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