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To Charles Sumner.

WASHINGTON, Apl. 13, 1850.

MY DEAR SUMNER: I am surprised that you have not received a copy of my speech - It was printed here on the 4th of April in the Intelligencer, and by the mail of the 5th I sent you a copy. The Union and the Globe were dilatory; but the Era had it in full on Thursday, and I suppose on that morning you must have rec'd it in that paper. The Intelligencer I sent doubtless miscarried. To-day the Union commences the publication of it headed, " Union and Freedom, without Compromise". It seems almost ludicrous to me to see such an old-fashioned Liberty document, by the side of the Patent Democracy of the Union. Last evening I sent you a pamphlet copy which you reed today or will receive tomorrow (or Monday) I suppose. I am obliged to you for speaking to Punchard. I hope he will publish; though I confess that the speech is too long. Tell him, however, it was necessary to be full at the outset, and hereafter I shall study limits.
I am glad the speech pleased you on a cursory- glance, and, I hope, you will not feel obliged to change your judgment on a more deliberate perusal. I think there is some diffuseness which could have been corrected with a little more pains. But I designed it for the masses, and hoped to render a permanent service to the, cause by furnishing a tolerably unexceptionable document for circulation. Hence the fullness of authorities and citations, which I should have avoided if I had aimed at reputation solely.
It would be really gratifying to me if our friends in Massachusetts should think fit to publish a handsome edition; and I feel much obliged to you for your effort in the matter. The fact - if it should become a fact - made known here would have a good effect and stimulate the circulation of them from this place and in other places. Should the publication be made I would esteem it an additional mark of kindness-if you would correct the proof. The Copy used should be the Era, Intelligences, Globe or Union, where the speech was printed in full. It should be corrected by the pamphlet copy which is most correct in type - though somewhat abridged in order to bring it in 16 pages. The pamphlet copy, however, is not more correct than the Globe or Union where it appeared in full.
I do not think it certain yet, though highly probable, that the Cabinet will break up. In that event, it is although doubtful who will succeed. I believe the Seward influence will be, if not predominant, influential. You mistake when you say, " Seward is with us". He bolds many of our antislavery opinions, and will never, I believe, abandon them. But he means to give his support to the Taylor Platform of non-action. He tells me he thinks this as far as we can get at present. He will vote for California, as a Free State. He would have voted, he says, for California as a Slave State. He will vote for the Proviso in the Territories. He knows it cannot pass, and he knows that it could pass if the Administration were favorable . He will not make his support of the Administration, conditional upon the Administration's support of the Proviso. But he will support the Administration and vote for the Proviso. The Proviso being rejected and he will make no great effort to secure its adoption - perhaps would prefer not to see the Administration embarassed with it—he will fall back upon the Administration plan of non-action. I tell you this that you may not be disappointed and that you may understand why Seward will ill be likely to have considerable influence in the organization of the new Cabinet if one should be organized. Non-action is General Taylor's own plan. It suits. him. Neither Webster nor Clay, I imagine, are agreeable to him. They are both for the Cass plan of non-intervention. Seward is against the Webster, Clay and Cass plan and for the Taylor.
As for the Democracy, I have more hope from it than you have. It is probable, however, that the Hunkers will require another defeat to bring them to their senses. Cass is full of hope just now, a few weeks ago he thought himself used up. The Buchanan star was in the ascendant. Already I have reason to believe the Hunkers are parcelling out the offices in anticipation. But they are deceiving themselves. A leading gentleman of Ohio was written to to the effect that he had best relax his zeal for slavery restriction, and that he might look to a certain high office. His answer was that " Ohio must not be regarded as a party to any such arrangement - that his vote would never be obtained except for a reliable antislavery Democrat, - if for a democrat at all." I learn from Connecticut that the Free Soil democrats hold the balance of power and that no man can be sent to the Senate of the United States (unless by a union of Hunkers, Whigs and Democrats) except 'a true and known opponent of Slavery and the Slave Power. So also from Ohio I learn that the signal democratic victory there as it is called is only a triumph of Free Soil. The Free Democrats hold a reliable balance of power. And a large number at least six of those claimed as Democrats will not support the Democratic nominee for Governor unless he will openly take Free Democratic ground. Here the outside appearance of Democracy is bad. But the fire of regeneration is burning within, and the party is sure to become antislavery - reliably antislavery I mean long before the Whig party will - unless indeed the Slaveholders propose emancipation and Compensation, which would convert the Capitalists into Emancipationalists at once. In the mean time the Free Democracy must maintain its organization and maintain too (which I deem very important) its democratic principles in relation to other subjects than Slavery. This will constitute a powerful pressure on the Democracy—depose Hunkerism from its ascendancy - and finally bring about the result we all desire.
I have written tediously, and have left myself neither time nor space for much that I wish to say about current events here. Boston is doing nobly. I hope we shall have the Committee and secure the admission of California at all events.
Give my best regards to Palfrey when you see him. Is there any foundation for the story that he thinks of withdrawing and that a Compromise Candidate is to be selected? I trust not. Remember me also to Adams, Parker, Wilson and other friends. Has Burlingame returned from Europe yet?
Ever faithfully yours,

P. S. What has become of that edition of your writings?
P. S. 2d. If Palfrey should withdraw would there be any possibility of putting Leavitt (Joshua) on the track and inducing the democrats to go for him? He would be a most important accession to our strength and perhaps his prominence in the Cheap Postage might secure votes for him.


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Annual Report of the American Historical Association; Volume II; Washington, Government Printing Office; 1903

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