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NEWS OF 150 YEARS AGO
From The Missouri Democrat, Friday, June 1, 1860.
Lincoln in the South-Sudden Cessation of the Disunion Cry.
The effect of Lincoln's nomination at the South, is little less than miraculous. It seems to have tranquilized all the angry elements in that quarter, the Democratic party alone excepted. The millennium contingent on the establishment of the Southern Confederacy, which was itself to be contingent on the election of a Republican to the Presidency, is evidently postponed. The note of preparation for the marshaling of armed hosts to dissolve the Union in the event of a Republican victory in November, is heard no more throughout the land. The most desperate secessionist threatens no revolt, and advises no treasonable action. Whether all this is to be ascribed to the admitted conservatism of Lincoln's character and opinions, is perhaps doubtful. We are of the opinion that the thinking men of the South are, in reality, more favorable to his election than to that of Douglas. Good reasons, too, can be given in support of this hypothesis. The Republican party, like the Southern Democracy, believe in the power of Congress over the Territories. Both parties reject squatter sovereignty as unsound in theory and anarchical in results. It is therefore their joint interest to have such a mischievous dogma entirely expunged from political platforms. The representation of the States in Congress is based not on the citizen body, but on the whole population. The Constitution declares that five slaves are equal to three white men in the formation of electoral divisions of the population. For every hundred and fifty thousand negroes in the South there is an additional member from that section in the House of Representatives. The South, it is estimated, has probably thirty votes in Congress by virtue of its colored inhabitants. But in Territories white men only vote. Though a settler from Alabama should bring with him two hundred slaves to a Western Territory, his vote would be worth no more than the vote of a “mud-sill” from Massachusetts or Connecticut. Negroes do not count in Territorial elections. Hence, doubtless, the solicitude of the South to keep the contest within the arena in which they do count. The North can send out twenty emigrants to the Territories for the one which the opposite section can send forth, and consequently when a struggle on the subject of slavery sets in, the strength of one party is twenty times that of the other. There is, therefore, solid reason for the equanimity and gratification with which the nomination of Lincoln has been received in the slave States. Senator Benjamin, in his place in the Senate, expressed his surprise and delight on discovering the conservatism, candor and ability of the Republican standard bearer. He was even just enough to acknowledge the superiority of Lincoln to Douglas, and acute enough to detect the arguments of the former in the essays and speeches of the latter. Benjamin's critical acumen has exposed the gross plagiarisms of the Illinois Senator, who, in his controversy with Judge Black, appropriated, it appears, whole pages of Lincoln's speeches. Of the same tenor as Benjamin's spoken manifestos is the written manifesto of Slidell. If we read it aright, it means that the election of Lincoln is preferable-for reasons pertinent to the interest of the Democratic party and the South, to the election of Douglas. This is the reverse of what Breckinridge, and many other leading Democrats said during the Senatorial contest in Illinois. They advised the election of Douglas then as the lesser of the two evils. That position is now abandoned, and one directly the contrary of it assumed. It is virtually proclaimed on the floor of the Senate, that the election of Lincoln will be better for the South, all things considered, that would be the election of Douglas.
But, to whatever causes the sedative influences which Lincoln's nomination has exercised on the Southern mind must be ascribed, the result cannot but be gratifying to every opponent of sectionalism. The canvass this year will not be overshadowed by prospective treason or revolution. The passions which light the torch of war will play no part in the contest. The questions at issue between the two parties will be decided on their merits, by a full vote of the people. It is not too much to say that the signs in the horizon indicate the dawn of another era of good feeling in the political world; and give promise that sectional discord and National Democracy will sink together in the same grave.
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