Views of Senator Cameron on Public Affairs—His Position on Slavery.
HARRISBURG, Saturday, Feb. 8, 1856.
DEAR SIR: I have at 12 o’clock received your letter of this morning, and reply to it immediately.
To your first interrogatory:
“Have you ever, at any time, been, or are you now, or will you ever be, in favor of the so-called Kansas-Nebraska bill, passed by Congress at its last session?”
Answer—From the day it was introduced in the Senate to this time, I have been opposed to the bill, nor shall I ever favor it.
2. “Would you, if elected to the Senate of the United States, use all honorable and fair means to effect the restoration of the so-called Missouri Compromise, which was literally and virtually abrogated by the passage of the aforesaid Kansas-Nebraska bill?”
3. “Would you, if elected to the Senate of the United States, use all honorable and fair means in your power to effect a repeal of what is commonly known as the Fugitive Slave law?”
Answer—The passage of the Compromise Measures was acquiesced in by the North, and I had hoped the questions growing out of it had been settled, but as the South has been the first to violate it, I hold the bill subject to revision, and will act with the North upon this and all questions connected with the subject of Slavery? I answer—I will.
4. “Do you recognize the right of Congress, and, if so, would you act upon such right, and use your vote and influence to legislate for all Territories now belonging, or which may hereafter be acquired, by the United States, to the utter and entire exclusion of Slavery or involuntary servitude in said Territories?”
My answer is that I recognize the right, and would so legislate.
5. “Would you oppose by all and every honorable and fair means in your power, the extension of Slavery and involuntary servitude over territory now free, or anywhere or any time, now or hereafter, wherever or whenever it may be endeavored, by its friends, to introduce it?”
For an answer to this, I could readily refer to my Senatorial course—especially my vote on the Wilmot Proviso; but that there may be no misunderstanding, I most emphatically answer in the affirmative.
6. “Would you at all times, and upon all occasions, protest and preserve inviolate in this respect, as in all others, the rights, immunities and privileges of the North, as guaranteed to them by our Constitution and laws, against any and all encroachments of our sister States, compromising and composing the Southern part of our National Confederacy?”
Answer—A Northern man who would not protect and preserve the rights of the North is unworthy of the respect of any honorable man, and for those rights I would battle until the last, either in a public or private interest.
7. “Are you in favor of and would you vote, act, and use your influence in favor of such a system of public rates and duties as would most effectually, and beyond all doubt, guard our home industry and manufactures against foreign competition and pauper labor?”
Answer—My principles have always been in favor of the “American system.” I have never doubted as to what was the true policy of the country, and I answer your interrogatory in the affirmative.
8. “Do you still in this respect adhere to and abide by the sentiments and doctrines contained in the speech delivered by you in the Senate of the United States on the 19th day of July, 1846?”
Answer—I most certainly do.
9. “Do you recognize the right of Congress to legislate and make appropriations for the improvement of our rivers and harbors?”
I do recognize the right—greatly deplore the Executive vetoes on this subject, and will use every means in my power for the passage of bills for the improvement of the Rivers and Harbors.
10. “Are you in favor of such a change in our National laws, pertaining to the naturalization of our foreign citizens, as will compel all of them arriving in this country, after the passage of such an act, to remain in this country at least 21 years before being entitled to the rights of suffrage as they now possess them, and will you use your veto and influence to accomplish such change?”
This, you last interrogatory, I answer in the affirmative.
It was noon when I received your letter. Visitors and friends have crowded my room since I commenced writing, or I should have written more in detail. Your inquiries were direct—the answers are as direct and to the point. Still I must regret that I had no time to elaborate them more fully.
Very respectfully yours, &,
J.M. KIRKPATRICK, Esq., House of Representatives.