Press enter after choosing selection

Speech Of Hon. Herschel V. Johnson

Speech Of Hon. Herschel V. Johnson image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

Washinoton, June 26. The following is tlie speech of Hon. Herschel V. Johnson, of Georgia, last night, at the National Hotel, on accepting the nomination for the Vice Presidency on the ticket with Stephen A. Douglas : " Mr. Chairman, Gentlemen of the Executive Committee oí' the National Democratie Party, and fellow Giti zens : " 1 was taken by surprise when I re ceived a telegraphic dispatch in üaltimore, at 3 o'clock this day, that the Hon. Benjamín Fitzpatriek had dealined the noniination teudered hiui by the democratie convention, and that it was deaiunded ol me to accept it. It is knowu to mauy oí you that my name was freely mentioned at Jialtirnore in connection with this nomiuation, and that I persistently reïused to countenance it, but invariably urged that, il' Ueorgia was to be thus honored, it was due to auother of her eons, diatinguished for his talents and great public services. This was my earnest desire, and the desire of the delegation of which I was a member. But the couventiou, in its wisdom, deemed it best to nomínate a statesinan oí Aiaoama. it wasentirely satisfaotory. Alabaraa is tho child of Goorgia, and the inother oordially responds to any compliment bostowed upoa her daughter. These are the circumstanoes under whiah I have boen asíigned this distiuguishod posilion, and whiüb demand that disinolination should yield to the voice of duty. " The national democratie party is in a peculiar coiidition. It is assailed in the house of its profesa. d iriends, and threatened with overthrow. The country is in a peculiar condition. It is on the eve oí a seetional conflict which inay sweep down all political partios, and termínate in a dissolution of the LTuion. It is the duty of patriots and statesmen to uoite in averting these threateued calamities. " It rnay not be inappropriate to reiet to tlie eircuiustauoed which imperil the nationai deuiooracy. The Alabatna delegation went. to the convention at Charleston inatructed to demantl tliolncorporation into the plaiform of the party of the proposition that Congress should interven for the proteetion of slavery in the Territorios, and to withclraw it' the demand should be rei'used. It was refused, and I think properly rofused. That delegatiou did retire, and with them a laige portion of the delegations from the cutton States. Why shouU they have retired ? The record shows that, if they had rernained ai their post, they had the power to have preve"ted tho nomination oí any candidato wbo inight be obnoxious to the South. Thus reduced by secessions, the couvention adjourned to Baltimore, and requested the States to fill the vacancies in their respective delegations. The conveution re-assemb!ed on the 18th iust. The seceding delegations wero returned, some accredited to Richmond, and others to Baltimore by the way of iïichmond, and instructed to make the saine domand, and to withdraw if it should be retused. Delegates were appointed in Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia, by the nutional democrats oí those States, to üil the vacant seuts of the seceders. Those of Alabama und Louisiana were admitted and the sece ding delegations rejected, and the seceding delegatea frorn Georgia were admitied to seats. They all took umbrage at the deeisions ol the convention touch ing the various contests for seats. " They retired, organized, and nominatad candidates for the Presideuey and Vice Presidency, and they claim to be the ' national deinocracy of the United States.' Now if they were actuated by ' principie,' if it was their purpose in good iaith to obtain the recognition of the principie of Congressional protection for slavery ia the Territories, why not wait until a proper time arrived to bring that subject beforo the conventiou, aud then, according to their instructions, withdraw from the body ? The reason is palpable; they were vvaging war against a distihguished man, not ' for ' the maintenance of the ' principie;' they were willing to jeopard the integrity of the democratie party and the triumphs of its cherishcd principies, rather than see its will proclaimed in the nomiuation of its favorite. "Adtnitting, lor the sake of argument, Mr, Douglas to be as obnoxious as they allego he is, yet there never was a tima when the South, united, oould not doieat his nomination. Why, then, should they have seceded ? Why not romain at their post ? Why seek to dismember and destroy the party ? I question not the palriotism of any, but tho people will hold thern responsible soonor or later for all the ills that may fluw from their errors. " I said the demand for Congressional intervention was properly rejected at Charleston, and why do I do so ? Beoause it was the agreement between the North and the South that the slavory agitation should be removed from the halls of Congress, and the people of the Territorios be lett perfectíy freo to reg ulute their domostio institutions in their own way, subjuct to the constitulion of the United States. " This was the principio of the compromise mo;tsure of 1850, and praotically applied to tho Kansas-lSlebraska nct of 1854. It was adopted by both the great political partios oí tlio Unitcl States in 1852. It triumphed in the eleotion of Franklin Pierce in that your, and James Buchanun in 185(5. It is, perh.ips tho best ground oí' compromiso botween the Norlh and the South which human ingiHiuity can deviso, and by it the cteinocratic party at least, of all sections, should be wilhiig to abide. It gives advantagcs to neither section ovor the other, becauso it refersall questions oí' disputo between them, either as to Congressional or Territorial power over the subjuct of s'avery to the tinal ai'ljitrament of tho 8ii]ireino Court of the TJnited States. It is, therefore, sato lor the South. ItB practical working is not without satisiactory results. Wliore the people of a Territory dosiro slave labor, and the soil and límate are suitod to it, slaverv will go; where these conditions do not exist, it will not go. This finds an ilUibtration in New Mexico, where lavery is eetablished, and in those Territorios where it is excluded. ünly a few days ago propositions to repeal the slavery laws of New Mexico, on the one haDd, and the anti-slavery laws of Kansas, on the other, were made and ed in the Senate. Suppose the sepropositions, or either of them, prcvailed is t not certain that the country would have beon thrown into the highest excitemeut? but by their rojection non-in tervention was practioall'y adhered to, and tho public mind is satisfied and quiet. Let us rnaintain it firmly and faithfully. We are bound to it by every cousideratiou of interest and obligation oí compact. lts abandomncnt would prove fatal to the national democratie party, and ultimately to the Union itself. It vvill drive the South into intense sectionalism, and ihe North into the ranks of black republlcanism. I do not say every man of tho North, for I know that the great body of tho northern de moeracy will remain true to the constitution, despito the overvvhelmmg flood ol its relentless cohorta. But I mean that the free labor States would be controlled by black republicans, and would not be able to return a single member to either house of Congres friendly to the constitutional rights of the South. I trust that such a condition of things may never exist, but, if it should, I know of no way by which the IJnion can be saved. " Henee tho doctrine of Congressional intervention as advocated by this new bom sectional party, is fraught with peril to the country. The question is now distinctly presen' ed to the people whether tLey will adhere to the doctrine of non-intervontioD, or whether thay vvill abandon it, - whether thcv will re-open the slavery agitation by reqniring Congress to take jurisdiction over it, or whe har they will give repose to the public mind and security to the Union by leaving it, where the coinpi-omise leaves it, to the Ireo action of the people of the Territorios, and the eoratitution of' the United States. The issue is fairly made up. It is intervention and noD-intcrvention lts decisión involves the destiny oi t'hia gieat republic, and the highest interests of the civilized vvorld. Oorapared w'.th it the aspirations ot raen and the fate of poliüoal parties sink into utter insigniñciince. Where shall we look for deliverance from these threa:ened evils ? It has been the mission of the democratie party o ilio Uaion in a thousund perüe to res cueour country from impeodiog êahitn ities. lts past pareer abounds with lic roic passages, and is illustrated witl the most glorious achievuments in the cause of constitutional liberty. It is the party of Jeffcrson, and Madison, anc Jackson, and Polk, whose administra tions cons'ituto grand apecha in our na tional history. It is the party of the constitution, and I look to it with confi dence. Where else shall the patrio look in these times oí' poliüoal defeetion and sectional agitation ? Let its integri ty be permaneatly destroyed and the doctrine of non-intervention overthrown and then the best hopes of the stal es man may vvell be clouded with gloom and darkness. " It is to maintain these that I con sent to take the position now assignec me, and welcome the consequences o personal good or personal ill whioh tha position may bring. Nothing else eoulc induce moto brave the detraction whioh it invites and iucur the heavy responsi bility which it imposes. "I have nothing to add but the e.? pression of my profound llwnks for the honor thus unexpectedly conferred upon me, and my cordial acknowledgmcnk for the fiattering terms in which 1 have been notified of my nomination. What ever may be honorably dono I shall cheerfully úo to maintain the integrity of the party and the triumph of its principie."