John Murray Forbes to N. M. Beckwith, January 17, 1858

    Source citation
    John Murray Forbes to N. M. Beckwith, January 17, 1858, in Sarah Forbes Hughes, ed., Letters and Recollections of John Murray Forbes (2 vols., Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1900), 1: 300.
    Date Certainty
    Michael Blake
    Transcription date

    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.



    Milton, January 17, 1858.

    My dear Beckwith, -- . . . I suppose you get out of the papers all our politics. They are, in a nutshell: James Buchanan, or rather James Platform, having sold himself to the South, has blundered right and left, and especially has played into the hands of Douglas, who will make capital enough out of squatter sovereignty to divide the North at the next election, and will quietly turn to the South and say to their old file leaders, "That old fool Buchanan was spoiling your game; Kansas was gone, and he was ruining the Democratic party at the North for an abstraction; your only allies are the Northern Democrats: you know me to be just as deeply pro-slavery as any man can be who can get a show of hands at the North; vote for me and you get the power four years longer, and with the help of official patronage, and using the land-stealing mania adroitly, and above all by returning from bullying to the traditional policy of the South, viz., political management, you can continue to divide the North and retain power indefinitely, or at any rate until, with Northern men and money, you have gained all the territory you want; and then you can try bullying again, and either govern or dissolve the Union."

    Such, I fear, is the programme, and to my eye the "situation" looks worse than it has any time since the Nebraska villainy was planned. Douglas has retrieved his position, lost by that folly, and from his superior boldness is the most dangerous opponent free principles can have. Of course, we shall fight him to the last!

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