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should be nominated by the Whig convention, fairly, I should not oppose his election. I stand now upon the same declaration. General Taylor has been nominated fairly, as far as I know, and I cannot, therefore, and shall not, oppose his election. At the same time, there is no man who is more firmly of opinion that such a nomination was not fit to be made. But the declaration that I would not oppose General Taylor, if nominated by the Whig party, was of course subject, in the nature of things, to some exceptions. If I believed him to be a man who would plunge the country into further wars for any purpose of ambition or conquest, I would oppose him, let him be nominated by whom he might. If I believed that he was a man who would exert his official influence for the further extension of the slave power, I would oppose him, let him be nominated by whom he might. But I do not believe either. I believe that he has been, from the first, opposed to the policy of the Mexican war, as improper, impolitic, and inexpedient. I believe, from the best information I can obtain, — and you will take this as my own opinion, Gentlemen,— I believe, from the best information I can obtain, that he has no disposition to go to war, or to form new States in order to increase the limits of slavery.
Gentlemen, so much for what may be considered as belonging to the Presidency as a national question. But the case by no means stops here. We are citizens of Massachusetts. We are Whigs of Massachusetts. We have supported the present government of the State for years, with success; and I have thought that most Whigs were satisfied with the administration of the State government in the hands of those who have had it. But now it is proposed, I presume, on the basis of the Buffalo platform, to carry this into the State elections, as well as into the national elections. There is to be a nomination of a candidate for Governor, against Mr. Briggs, or whoever may be nominated by the Whigs; and there is to be a nomination of a candidate for Lieutenant-Governor, against Mr. Reed, or whoever may be nominated by the Whigs; and there are to be nominations against the present members of Congress. Now, what is the utility or the necessity of this? We have ten members in the Congress of the United States. I know not ten men of any party who are more zealous, and firm, and inflexible in their opposition against slavery in any form.
And what will be the result of opposing their reelection? Suppose that a considerable number of Whigs secede from th Whig party, and support a candidate of this new party, what will be the result? Do we not know what has been the case in this State? Do we not know that this district has been unrepresented from month to month, and from year to year, because there has been an opposition to as good an antislavery man as breathes the air of this district? On this occasion, and even in his own presence, I may allude to our Representative, Mr. Hale. Do we want a man to give a better vote in Congress than Mr. Hale gives? Why, I undertake to say that there is not one of the Liberty party, nor will there be one of this new party, who will have the least objection to Mr. Hale, except that he was not nominated by themselves. Ten to one, if the Whigs had not nominated him, they would have nominated him themselves; doubtless they would, if he had come into their organization, and called himself a third party man.
Now, Gentlemen, I remember it to have occurred, that, on very important questions in Congress, the vote was lost for want of two or three members which Massachusetts might have sent, but which, in consequence of the division of parties, she did not send. And now I foresee that, if in this district any considerable number of Whigs think it their duty to join in the support of Mr. Van Buren, and in the support of gentlemen whom that party may nominate for Congress, the same thing will take place, and we shall be without a representative, in all probability, in the first session of the next Congress, when the battle is to be fought on this very slavery question. The same is likely to happen in other districts. I am sure that honest, intelligent and patriotic Whigs will lay this consideration to their consciences, and judge of it as they think they ought to do.
Gentlemen, I will detain you but a moment longer. You know that I gave my vote in Congress against the treaty of peace with Mexico, because it contained these cessions of territory, and brought under the authority of the United States, with a pledge of future admission into the Union, the great, vast, and almost unknown countries of New Mexico and California.
In the session before the last, one of the Southern Whig Senators, Mr. Berrien of Georgia, had moved a resolution, to the effect that the war ought not to be continued for the purposes of conquest and acquisition. The resolution declared that the war with Mexico ought not to be prosecuted by this government with any view to the dismemberment of that republic, or to the acquisition, by conquest, of any portion of her territory. That proposition he introduced into the Senate, in the form of a resolution; and I believe that every Whig Senator but one voted for it. But the Senators belonging to the Locofoco or Democratic party voted against it. The Senators from New York voted against it. General Cass, from the free State of Michigan, Mr. Fairfield, from Maine, Mr. Niles, from Connecticut, and others, voted against it, and the vote was lost. That is, these gentlemen, — some of them very prominent friends of Mr. Van Buren, and ready to take the field for him,— these very gentlemen voted not to exclude territory that might be obtained by conquest. They were willing to bring in the territory, and then have a squabble and controversy whether it should be slave or free territory. I was of opinion that the true and safe policy was, to shut out the whole question by getting no territory, and thereby keep off all controversy. The territory will do us no good, if free; it will be an encumbrance, if free. To a great extent, it will produce a preponderance in favor of the South in the Senate, even if it be free. Let us keep.it out, therefore. But no. We will make the acquisition, bring in the territory, and manage it afterwards. That was the policy.
Gentlemen, in an important crisis in English history, in the reign of Charles the Second, when the country was threatened by the accession to the throne of a prince, then called the Duke of York, who was a bigot to the Roman Catholic religion, a proposition was made to exclude him from the crown. Some said that was a very rash measure, brought forward by very rash men; that they had better admit him, and then put limitations upon him, chain him down, restrict him. When the debate was going on, a member is reported to have risen and expressed his sentiments by rather a grotesque comparison, but one of considerable force: —
"1 hear a lion, in the lobby, roar!
I was for shutting the door and keeping the lion out. Other more confident spirits, who are of the character of Van Amburgh, were for letting him in, and disturbing all the interests of the country. When this Mexican treaty came before the Senate, it had certain clauses ceding New Mexico and California to the United States. A Southern gentleman, Mr. Badger, of North Carolina, moved to strike out those clauses. Now you understand, that if a motion to strike out a clause of a treaty be supported by one third, it will be struck out; that is, two thirds of the Senate must vote for each clause, in order to have it retained. The vote on this question of striking out stood 38 to 14, not quite one third being against the cession, and so the clause was retained. And why were there not one third? Just because there were four New England Senators voting for these new territories. That is the reason.
I hope I am as ardent an advocate for peace as any man living; but I would not be carried away by the desire for peace to commit an act which I believed highly injurious, likely to have consequences of a permanent character, and indeed to endanger the existence of the government. Besides, I believed that we could have struck out the cessions of territory, and had peace just as soon. And I would be willing to go before the people and leave it to them to say, whether they would carry on the war any longer for acquisition of territory. If they would, then they were the artificers of their own fortunes. I was not afraid of the people on that subject. But if this course had continued the war somewhat longer, I would have preferred that result, rather than that those territories lying on our southern border should come in hereafter as new States. I should speak, perhaps, with more confidence, if some Whigs of the North had not voted for the treaty. My own opinion was then clear and decisive. For myself I thought the case a perfectly plain one, and no man has yet stated a reason to convince me to the contrary.
I voted to strike out the articles of cession. They would have been struck out if four of the New England Senators had not voted against the motion. I then voted against the ratification of the treaty, and that treaty would have failed if three New England Senators had not voted for it, and Whig Senators too. I should do the same thing again, and with much more resolution I would have run a still greater risk, I would have endured a still greater shock, I would have risked any thing, rather than have been a participator in any measure which should have a tendency to annex Southern territory to the States of the Union. I hope it will be remembered, in all future time, that on this question of the accession of these new territories of almost boundless extent, I voted against them, and against the treaty which contained them, notwithstanding all inducements to the contrary, and all the cries, which I thought hasty and injudicious, of "Peace! Peace on any terms!" I will add, that those who voted against the treaty were gentlemen from so many parts of the country, that its rejection would have been an act rather of national than of local resistance. There were votes against it from both parties, and from all parties, the South and the West, the North and the East. What we wanted was a few more New England votes.
Gentlemen, after I had the honor of receiving the invitation to meet my fellow-citizens, I found it necessary, in the discharge of my duty, though with great inconvenience to my health, to be present at the closing scenes of the session. You know what there transpired. You know the important decision that was made in both houses of Congress, in regard to Oregon. The immediate question respected Oregon, or rather the bill respected Oregon, but the question more particularly concerned these new territories. The effect of the bill as passed in the Senate was to establish these new territories as slaveholding States. The House disagreed. The Senate receded from their ground,
O and the bill passed, establishing Oregon as a free Territory, and making no provision for the newly acquired territories on the South. My vote, and the reasons I gave for it, are known to the good people of Massachusetts, and I have not heard that they have expressed any particular disapprobation of them.
But this question is to be resumed at the first session of the next Congress. There is no probability that it will be settled at the next session of this Congress. But at least at the first session of the next Congress this question will be resumed. It will enter at this very period into all the elections of the South.
And now I venture to say, Gentlemen, two things; the first well known to you, that General Cass is in favor of what is called the Compromise Line; and is of opinion that the Wilmot Proviso, or the Ordinance of 1787, which excludes slavery from territories, ought not to be applied to territories lying south of 36° 30'. He announced this before he was nominated, and if he had not announced it, he would have been 36:' 30' farther off from being nominated. In the next place, he will do all he
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