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the government could act on no such presumption.
By becoming the accuser you did not place yourself out of the reach of being accused; and unless you are clothed with the immunity of despotic power, and can claim the benefit of the maxim " that the king can do no wrong," I know not why your conduct, when made the subject of charge, may not be investigated by a court of enquiry. extraordinary pretensions are to derive any support from your distinguished services, you ought to be mindful that the three accused officers put under arrest by you have like claims for distinguished services. On the pages of impartial history their names and gallant deeds must appear with yours, and no monopolizing claims, nor malignant exclusions will be permitted to rob them of their fair share of the glory won by our gallant army, whilst under your command." There can be no doubt that it was this known incompetency in civil affairs, and his total disqualification in temper and disposition that prompted Mr. Fillmore, when asked by his friends in the midst of the ballotting what they should do, to reply, “go for Mr. Webster and save the whig party”—that induced Mr. Clay on his dying bed to advise his son when he should be dead and gone, not to vote for Gen. Scott.
But I leave the chapter of his quarrels with every body and about everything. With such a man for your President what could be expected but the blowing up of cabinets-arrests and court martials by land and by sea-recalls of foreign embassadors-quarrels and ruptures with foreign governments and the d– to pay generally!
I now turn to a more pleasing and gratifying duty, the vindication of the democratic party—its policy-its creed and its candidate. Its policy adorns every page of American history. Its triumphs have emblazoned your flag in every land and on every sea. It has carried your name and fame to every part of the habitable globe. Kings have beheld it and trembled. Nations have gazed upon it and rejoiced. But I speak of it now in its more restricted sense as now being practised and carried out on the recent questions of party controversy.
At this very moment the whig party 18 paying a profound homage to every one of those disputed subjects. They are carrying out in full practice every measure which democracy has established ; making no effort and hardly entertaining a wish to defeat or disturb them. They administer the government without a National Bank. They cellect their own revenues by their own officers and we hear nothing of those anticipated evils of the sub-treasury, which were so confidently predicted. The tariff of 1846 is pouring into our coffers the most ample supplies, and but slight and occasional wishes are expressed in favor of its alteration. The vast accessions to our territory are giving new impulses and directions to commerce, and our people are building up magnificent cities on the shore of the Pacific.
In relation to our creed as recently set forth in our convention, it has extorted from our enemies their loftiest eulogiums and silenced the cavils of the most reckless partisans. On the all absorbing topic of the present canvass it proclaims the most faithful adherence to the compromise in general, and insists on the most rigid execution of the fugitive slave bill in particular. In other words, the democratic party of the United States, amid the dangers of the present conflict, stand immoveably on the Constitution; calm, firm, and erect, holding that sacred instrument in the one hand and the farewell address of the sainted Washington in the other. There she stands, and come what may, there she will stand, with undying devotion to liberty, the Constitution and the Union. In taking this noble stand I am proud to know and to aver, that the democracy of Tennessee stood out in advance of all others. We were the first to assembleafter the passage of the compromise. We assembled in the southern convention. We dissented from that body on several points, and to show our exact opinions, we presented what was called the Tennessee platform. It was the first Union platform ever erected in America. Georgia followed our example. Then Mississippi and several other States. In several instances they almost copied our very words on all the exact sentiments we had adopted. What were those sentiments ? That although the compromise did not award to us all that in our opinion we
went one step farther. We declared that the north must also abide by it, and substantially that we would not submit to the repeal of the fugitive slave bill. This last, the whig party would not say. The whigs of the adjoining States would say it, and did say it, but the whigs of Tennessee would not
For saying in our platform that we would not submit to the repeal, they accused us of being too ultra and affiliating too much with the fire eaters of the south, as they were tauntingly called. We replied, that if we are too ultra for our rights, you are too ultra against them, and we pointed them day after day to their own brethren of Georgia-of Alabama and Mississippi, below whose platform they had immeasurably fallen. tort was too powerful and the reference too obvious. It drove them to the wall. Gen. Zollicoffer, who wrote the first platform, resolved to amend and enlarge it in the midst of the can
On the ever memorable Monday the 23d day of June, 1851, the Republican Banner (the flag-ship of the party) came out with the declaration, extorted from him by the pressure of the canvass, “ that if the fugitive slave bill should be repealed, thus annulling the Constitution, resistance should follow by the whole south united.” This placed, for the first time, both parties on the same platform on the slavery questions. Now, did they come to us, or did we go to them? Let incontrovertable facts, dates and figures answer the question. We constructed our platform in November, 1850. We reaffirmed it in February, 1851, and Gen. Zollicoffer put himselfon it and dragged his party after him not until the June following. And yet an impudence so unblushing is not wanting to ask whence this new born zeal for the compromise, and for the fugitive slave bill in particular? After having furnished the facts and dates, I waste no further time in answering a question founded on a perversion of facts so wilful, or an ignorance of them so profound. But the question is sometimes asked in relation to another speech, which I will answer. It is asked whence my new born zeal for the fugitive slave bill ? My answer is that my zeal is as old as the Tennessee platform, and I
that of any whig creed by many months. That I was the very author of the first declaration written out officially after the compromise was passed, that the fugitive slave bill must be preserved. But how is this, say the whig orators, did you not refuse in your convention speech to rejoice at the passage of the compromise ? Did you not say that your heart would sooner break than rejoice? And has dullness become so profound, as not to understand, how an unwillingness to rejoice over the compromise is compatible with a fixed determination to abide by and maintain it? Did the whigs rejoice? Did any body rejoice in the south ? None except a very few at the first arrival of the news, and whose rejoicings instantly ceased when they learned from every letter and every circular, that came from whigs and democrats, as well as from the acts of Congress themselves, that the compromise had been passed, not because it gave us all that the south was entitled to, but because it was the best that they could obtain for us. Among others the eloquent voice of Mr. Clay came booming to his countrymen that the south had lost all-every thing, but the fugitive slave bill and her honor. All else was lost. After that, no man of sense of any party in Tennessee thought of rejoicing over it. All men and all parties here determined to acquiesce and abide by it, but none had the heart (who had a heart) to rejoice over that poor remnant of rights which Mr, Clay informed us had alone been preserved. Does the farmer go home rejoicing, when he has lost in court one half of the lands which had descended to him from his ancestors ? Does the soldier rejoice when he has been driven and routed from half the field of battle? No, his victory must be full orbedthe enemy must have been captured or driven from the field before he sings the Te Deum of triumph !
Sirs, I begin to take some pains to preserve that convention speech and some others I have made. When I delivered them I had not the vanity to suppose there was much in them, but now that they have become the text book of so many whig orators, I begin to think more favorably of them. Their men of genius refer to them to break, if they men of dullness turn to them to whet their flagging intellects, and when they can think of nothing else to say, with feeble articulation they mutter out something about Governor Brown! Governor Brown! Poor fellows ! I can give them speeches, but I cannot furnish them with brains to understand them. Perhaps in after times their children may read them as productions which their fathers had not the patriotism to approve nor the intellect to refute.
Sirs, this personal vindication of myself lies in exact line with the objects I have before me. The platform which I drew and which the democracy of the State twice sanctioned, has been accepted and adopted by the democracy of the nation. The whig party of the south and the Webster portion of the north, have done the same thing in noble rivalry with us to preserve the Constitution and the Union. Remember, I am speaking of that platform which the southern whigs, the friends of Fillmore prepared, not that lifeless and soulless one which Governor Johnston's committee reported, shutting the door against the agitation of only one half of the slavery questions, whilst they throw it wide open as to all the others. Thus fortified, endorsed and sustained in my sentiments and opinions on the fugitive slave bill by the democracy of the State, as well as of the nation, and by the southern whigs themselves, in the preparation of their platform, my shield is impenetrable to the feeble shaft that strikes it and then falls harmless at
Fellow-citizens, my duty is now done as it relates to the nomination of Gen. Scott, the malign influences that effected it, his incompetency in civil affairs, and his unfitness in temper and disposition to fill the exalted office. The more pleasing one remains of inviting your attention to the claims of Gen. Franklin Pierce to your confidence and support. He is descended from a revolutionary patriot and soldier, whose devotion to liberty was attested on the heights of Bunker's Hill. Educated in one of the best institutions of the north, he entered the world ripe in his scholarship. Engaging in the study and