Washington (DC) National Era, "Senator Wilson and the Disunionists," January 29, 1857

    Source citation
    “Senator Wilson and the Disunionists,” Washington (DC) National Era, January 29, 1857, p. 19: 3.
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    Washington (DC) National Era
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    Senator Wilson and the Disunionists
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    Meghan Allen, Dickinson College
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    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print.  Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.


    The following is the letter of Hon. Henry Wilson to the Disunion Convention at Worcester:

    SENATE CHAMBER, January 10, 1857.

    DEAR SIR: I have received your note, enclosing the call of several citizens of Worcester who believe “the existing Union to be a failure,” upon the people of Massachusetts, “to meet in Convention at Worcester, on Thursday, the 15th of January, to consider the practicability, probability, and expediency, of a separation of the free and slave States;” and inviting me, in behalf of the Committee of Arrangements, “to be present, or to communicate my sentiments on the subject in question.” Your Committee of Arrangements could not expect me to “be present” at you Convention; but as you have invited me “to communicate my sentiments,” I will frankly do so.

    I have read with sincere and profound regret, this call on the people of Massachusetts “to meet in Convention to consider the practicability, probability, and expediency, of separation of the free and slave States.” I regret to find gentlemen rushing into a movement which can have no other issues than to put a burden upon the cause to which they have given so many years of self-sacrificing toil, and to impair their influence in the future. Impotent for good, this movement can only be productive of evil. It may be seized upon by adroit political leaders to alarm the timid; to deceive and mislead those who have already been deluded and misled by artful men into the support of the interests of Slavery, only add to the power of those in the North and in the South, who have used the people to secure the ascendancy of the slave propagandists.

    The American people are a patriotic people. They love their country—their whole country. The preservation of that Union which makes us one people, is with them a duty imposed alike by interest and patriotism. If the movement at Worcester shall have any effect at all, it will only serve to array against those who are battling to arrest the further extension of Slavery, and the longer domination of the slave perpetualists, that intense, passionate, and vehement spirit of nationality which glows in the bosoms of the American people.

    I avail myself, therefore, of your invitation to “communicate my sentiments” to the Convention, to frankly announce to you and the signers of the call, that I have no sympathy for, nor can I have any connection with, any movement which contemplates the dissolution of the Union. The logic of the head and the logic of the heart teach me to regard all such movements, either in the North or the South, as crimes against Liberty. I denounced, during the late canvass, the unpatriotic and treasonable language of Southern politicians and presses. I have denounced them here on the floor of the Senate. I shall hold the incoming Administration responsible before the country, if it bestows its patronage upon the Richmond Enquirers, Charleston Mercurys, and the New Orleans Deltas, and I shall resist the confirmation of the Wises, the Floyds, and the Rhetts, of the South, if they shall be placed before us for official positions.

    I cannot but indulge in the hope, that when the signers of this call assemble in the heart of our good Commonwealth, they will conclude to leave all the impotent and puerile threats against the Union to the Southern slave propagandists, and proclaim their readiness to follow, in the conflicts of the future, the banner of “Liberty and Union,” around which rallied, in the late canvass, nearly fourteen hundred thousand intelligent and patriotic American freeman. A firm and inflexible adherence to his constitutional and patriotic position will, I am confident, secure the prohibition of Slavery in all places under the exclusive authority of Congress, overthrow the slave power in the National Government, and prepare the way for the peaceful emancipation of the bondman by the consent of the people in the slaveholding States.

    Yours, truly, HENRY WILSON.

    Rev. T. W. Higginson.

    How to Cite This Page: "Washington (DC) National Era, "Senator Wilson and the Disunionists," January 29, 1857," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/index.php/node/272.