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be sure that I remember him with interest, if I may be allowed to remind you that he helped to make me the Speaker of the Thirtieth Congress, when the vote was a very close and strongly contested vote, and when certain gentlemen of the West and the East, whom I remember with no unkindness, refused me their support. I certainly thought well of Mr. Lincoln then, and I have not a syllable to say against him now. If he should become President of the United States by fair constitutional means, he shall have my best wishes for his success; and I will stand by the Union and the Constitution with him and under him as long as he stands by them himself. I think none of us Constitutional Union men in New England are of that party, if there be any such, which would overturn the coach, because they may have had no hand in selecting the driver; or which would scuttle the ship, because they may have been overruled in the choice of a captain. And I repeat the remark, and rejoice at the emphatic response which you have given to it once, and are ready to give to it again, that if Mr. Lincoln should be fairly chosen President of the United States, I will stand by the Union and the Constitution with him and under him, as long as he will stand by them himself. There are, indeed, some things in his old record, if I mistake not, which are much better calculated to satisfy other people, my friends, than they are to satisfy those who have nominated him. When one of our own Massachusetts delegation of that day moved a summary resolution, or bill, for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, Mr. Lincoln gave a bold, plump, manly negative to the proposition; and he repeated his Nay to the same substantial measure when it was presented in another form by Mr. Joshua R. Giddings. I commend this record to those who are dealing so critically and so calumniously with the record of Mr. Bell on the same subject. I should like to hear them read these votes of Mr. Lincoln fairly and squarely to their abolition friends in New England. They may find that these old records are two-edged swords.
Why, Mr. President, our friend Colonel Sever informed me, just as I was entering the Hall, a few moments since, that a pamphlet had recently been published in the Southern States, which proved conclusively, from these old records, that John Bell and Edward
Everett were the veriest free-soilers and abolitionists in the whole country! But I do not suppose that the Republican party of Massachusetts will give them their support exactly upon that showing. There is no public man, among the living or the dead, of our own land or of any other land, whose record — if not too insignificant to have any record-may not be twisted and distorted by malicious adversaries.
But the question is not where a man was twelve years ago, but where he is now, — with whom he is now acting, in what direction he is now moving, to whom and to what he is now committed. Old records are nothing. Names are nothing. Men are nothing, in a campaign like the present. There is but one, simple, but all-sufficient and all-embracing consideration, certainly, which will govern my own vote at the coming election; and if it could govern the vote of every other man in the Union, I should have no fears for the result. It is no consideration of slavery or anti-slavery. It is no question of personal or of party triumph. It is the conviction which has taken possession of my whole heart and soul and mind, that the best and highest interests of our country, and of every human being who inhabits our country, — yes, I will not scruple to include black as well as white, bond as well as free, that all our dearest moral and religious interests, as well as our highest political and social interests, demand a truce, a long truce- if possible, a final truce and termination to the fratricidal strife which has been so long waged between the North and the South. Peace, concord, the restoration of national harmony, of mutual good-will and of individual good nature, this is the one great want of our land, in all its relations, at this moment. Nothing but mischief— nothing but mischief-has thus far resulted from the sectional criminations and recriminations which have so long formed the whole web and woof of our public debate. Extravagant and untenable doctrines have been advanced and advocated, both at the North and at the South, in mere spite towards each other, and measures have been set on foot which would never have been dreamed of, except in a spirit of retaliation and revenge. Bad blood has been engendered; bad language has fallen from lips educated to better utterances; and blows, alas, have some
times followed words. Both the Northern and the Southern mind need rest and repose, in order to recover from the fever and frenzy which recent domestic struggles have produced. A four years' truce to all these dismal and dreary and wholly abstract disputes and bickerings about squatter sovereignty, and Dred Scott decisions, and Southern oligarchies, and sectional aggressions, would do more to restore and advance just views. of the Constitution, and just views of freedom, and just views of slavery too, than all the harangues and philippics which have been composed and uttered since the days of Demosthenes and Cicero.
It is not often I find any thing on this subject in an English paper to agree with, but here is a slip from the London "Athenæum," published on the very day I left Liverpool, and which comes very near to expressing the whole truth of the matter. It is a paragraph from a brief review of a book called "Slavery Doomed," by a Mr. Edge, who I should think might be a twinbrother or at least a cousin-german of a certain Mr. Helper, and who hails Mr. Lincoln as the first anti-slavery President of the United States, and looks forward to the extinction of slavery, and of the Union too, and of the cotton crop more especially, as the result of his election. After speaking of this book, and after alluding to the rejection, many years ago, of what it calls Mr.. Jefferson's scheme of emancipation, the writer in the "Athenæum says as follows:
"Since then, wild schemes have been propounded, and wilder plans attempted; the whole question has become imbittered, and a life and death feud has sprung up where the sole chance lay in friendly and unimpassioned relations. Steady-going minds have flung themselves with heat and ardor into the fray; gentlemen have become ruffians while discussing the best mode of dealing with it; Christians have developed into savages ; while the few calm men, at least on the pro-slavery side, who can really hold their own in times of tumult, have withdrawn from the contest altogether, seeing no chance for rational philosophy to be heard in a company of madmen hacking at each other's throats. Thanks to certain indiscreet partisans, Abolition, as a feasible and practicable good, has been delayed yet another generation, to the grief of all honest men, and the confusion of all wise ones."
Now, whether this writer is correct or not in what he says about Abolition as a practicable and feasible good, he has presented a most forcible and graphic picture of the condition of things at this moment in our country, and has placed the responsibility where it belongs - where it justly belongs for the delay and indefinite postponement of any measures, which have ever been either feasible or practicable, for ameliorating the condition of any portion of the African race on this continent.
I repeat, fellow-citizens, we need a restoration of national harmony; of that fraternal feeling between different members of the Union which was so eloquently and admirably advocated by the gallant and true-hearted Crittenden in his late noble speech, in order that all the great interests of our country may once more be calmly and justly considered and provided for. And national harmony can never be restored by the triumph of either of the extreme parties, whether of the North or the South. Certainly, it cannot be restored by the triumph of a party, which has wholly refused to recognize the Southern States in the selection of their candidates, and which does not pretend to rely upon, or to anticipate, a single electoral vote from any one of those States. Certainly, it cannot be restored by the triumph of a party, at least one of whose candidates is so identified with those who would award the holiest crown of martyrdom to the very instigator and organizer of insurrection and treason, and so many of whose organs and orators are daily denouncing the South as a land of barbarism, and daily exulting in the proclamation of an irreconcilable and irrepressible conflict between the slave States and the free States. It would be madness to expect from such a triumph any thing but renewed agitation, renewed irritation, renewed outbreaks of fanaticism at one end of the Union and fury at the other, which no patriot and no Christian can contemplate without a shudder.
For myself, my friends, I have nothing to seek from any candidate or any party, and I can take but a humble share in what remains of this campaign. Neither my health nor my engagements will allow me to mingle, often in the strife of tongues. But I rejoice that I am here in season to give a vote for the candidates whose nomination you are assembled to ratify; to give
a vote which shall virtually and practically say, "That man of blood, and treason, and massacre, was not right. The men of the South are no barbarians, to be reviled and defied, but our brethren, with whom we delight to dwell, and mean to dwell, in unity. And there is no conflict between the free States and the slave States which moderation, and reason, and justice, and patriotism cannot repress, and ought not to repress, at once and for ever."
That vote may be in a minority or in a majority; one of many or one of few. I have not been at home long enough to calculate the chances of success, even if I desired to do so; but, whatever may be the result, it will at least secure to him who gives it the cheering consciousness, of having done what he could to arrest the progress of as mad and mischievous a strife as ever disturbed the peace or endangered the union of a great and glorious country.