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He always maintained, on the one hand, that Congress had no legal right to legislate slavery either into or out of a State, and that, on the other hand, the question of slavery or free soil must be determined by the Slate after it had been properly and legally organized, and not by a few squatters sent into a territory by anti-slavery societies or immigrant aid organizations.
The following letter, written in 1852, to United States Senator James Alfred Pearce, of Maryland, and recently published for the first time, very clearly expresses his views:
“PALMYRA, Miss., August 22, 1852. "My Dear Sir: Among the most pleasing reminiscences of my connection with the Senate I place my association with you, and first among the consolations for the train of events which led to my separation from that body I number your very kind letter. If I know myself you do me justice in supposing that my efforts in the session of 1850 were directed to the maintenance of our constitutional rights as members of the Union, and that I did not sympathize with those who desired a dissolution of the Union. After my return to Mississippi in 1851 I took ground against the policy of secession and drew the resolution adopted by the Democratic States' Rights Conven-' tion of June, 1851, which declared that secession was the last alternative, the final remedy, and should not be resorted to under existing circumstances.
“I thought the State should solemnly set the seal of its disapprobation of some of the measures of the compromise. When a member of th United States Senate I opposed them because I thought them wrong and dangerous in tendency, and also because the people in every town, and the legislature, by resolutions of instructions, required me to oppose them. But indiscreet men went too fast and too far. The public became alarmed, and the reaction corresponded with the action, extremes in both instances.
· The most curious and suggestive feature in the case is the fact that those who were originally foremost in the movement were the beneficiaries of the reaction. Having by their extreme course created apprehension, they cried most lustily that the Union was in danger and saved by their exertions. I am, as ever, truly your friend,
“ JEFFERSON DAVIS."
During the first session, after his return to the Senate, Mr. Davis's health was so precarious that he inight have excused himself altogether from attendance, but he was often found, even against the advice of his physicians, not only occupying his seat, but ably battling for the cause of his country.
He found himself constantly pitted against not only the extreme Republicans, but as well against the advocates of the “squatter sovereignty” theory, of which Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, of Illinois, was the ablest and most aggressive champion.
Mr. Alfriend, in his “Life of Davis,” gives the following interesting contrast between these two great representatives of opposing theories—“the Little Giant' of the Northwest and the chivalric leader of Southern Democracy :
Stephen A. Douglas was now in the meridian of lifo and the full maturity of his unquestionably vigorous intellectual powers. For twenty-five years he had been prominent in the arena of politics, and as a member of Congress his course had been so eminently politic and judicious as to make him a favorite with the Democracy, both North and South. To an unexampled degree his public life illustrated the combination of those characteristics of the demagogue: a fertile ingenuity, facile accommodation to circumstances, and wonderful gifts of the ad captandum species of oratory, so captivating to the populace, which in America peculiarly constitute the attributes of the rising man.' Douglas was not wanting in noble and attractivo qualities of manhood. His courago was undoubted, his generosity was princely in its munificenco to his personal friends, and ho frequently manifested a lofty magnanimity. In his early youth, deprived of tho advantages of fortune and position, the discipline of his career was not propitious to the development of the higher qualities of statesmanship—with which, indeed, he was scantily endowed by nature. It is as the accomplished politician, subtle, ready, fearless, and inde
fatigable, that he must be remembered. In this latter character lie was unrivaled.
“Not less than Davis was Douglas a representative man, yet no two men were more essentially dissimilar, and no two lives cver actuated by aspirations and instincts more unlike. Douglas was the representative of expediency-Davis the exponent of principles. In his party associations Douglas would tolerate the largest latitude of individual opinion, while Davis was always for a policy clearly defined and unmistakablo; and upon a matter of vital principle, like Percy, would reluctantly surrender even the ninth part of a hair.' To maintain the united action of the Democratic party on election day, to defcat its opponents, to secure the rewards of success Douglas would allow a thousand different constructions of the party creed by as many factions. Davis, on the other hand, would, and eventually did, approve the dissolution of the party, when it refused an open, manly enunciation of its faith. For mere party success Douglas cared every thing, and Davis nothing, savo as it insured the triumph of constitutional principles. Both loved the Union and sought its perpetuity, but by different methods; Douglas by never-ending compromises of a qnarrel, which he should have known that the North would never permit to be amicably settled; by staving off and ignoring issues which were to be solved only by being squarely met. Davis, too, was not unwilling to compromise, but he wearied of perpetual concession by the South, in the meanwhile the North continuing its hostility, both open and insidious, and urged a settlement of all differences upon a basis of simple and exact justice to both sections.
Douglas was pre-eminently the representative politician of his section, and throughout his career was a favorite with that boastsul, bloated, and mongrel clement, which is violently called the 'American people,' and which is the ruling clement in elections in the Northern cities. In character and conduct
he embodied many of its materialistic and socialistic ideas, its falso conception of liberty, its pernicious dogmas of oquality, and not a little of its rowdyism.
“ Davis was the champion of the South, her civilization, rights, honor, and dignity. He was the fitting and adequate exponent of a civilization which rested upon an intellectual and ästhetical development, upon lofty and generous sentiments of manhood, a dignified conversatism, and the proud associations of ancestral distinction in the history of the Union. Always the senator in the sense of the ideal of dignity and courtesy which is suggested by that title, he was also the gentleman upon all occasions; never condescending to flatter or soothe the mob, or to court popular favor, he lost none of that polished and distinguished manner, in the presence of a fierce Democracie,' which made him the ornament of the highest school of oratory and statesmanship of his country.
“The ambition of Douglas was unbounded. The recognized leader, for several years, of the Northern Democracy, lis many fine personal qualities and courageous resistance to the ultra abolitionists, secured for him a considerable number of supporters in tho southern wing of that party. The presidency was the goal of his ambition, and for twenty years his course had been sedulously adjusted to the attainment of that most coveted of prizes to the American politician. On repeated occasions he had been flattered by a highly complimentary vote in the nominating conventions of the Democracy. Hitherto ho had been compelled to yield his pretensions in favor of older members of his party or upon considerations of temporary availability. It was evident, however, that in order to be President, he must secure the nomination in 1860. The continued ascendancy of the Democracy was no longer, as heretofore, a foregone conclusion, and, besides, there were others equally aspiring and available. His presidential aspirations appeared, indeed, to be without hope or resource, save through