Sunday, March 07, 2010

Name that Speaker

I haven't posted a quiz in a long time, so here's one. Who delivered a speech in 1858 that included the following passage? I have added paragraph breaks for readability.
If the inhabitants of any territory should refuse to enact such laws and police regulations as would give security to their property or to his, it would be rendered more or less valueless, in proportion to the difficulty of holding it without such protection.

In the case of property in the labor of man, or what is usually called slave property, the insecurity would be so great that the owner could not ordinarily retain it. Therefore, though the right would remain, the remedy being withheld, it would follow that the owner would be practically debarred by the circumstances of the case, from taking slave property into a territory where the sense of the inhabitants was opposed to its introduction.

So much for the oft repeated fallacy of forcing slavery upon any community.

About the illustration (which does not necessarily contain the figure who gave the speech):
A bitter indictment of the Democratic administration's responsibility for violence and bloodshed in Kansas in the wake of the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act. (See also "Forcing Slavery Down the Throat of a Freesoiler" and "Democratic Platform Illustrated," nos. 1856-8 and 1856-11.) The print appeared during the presidential campaign of 1856. In the center stands Democratic incumbent Franklin Pierce, dressed in the buckskins of a "border ruffian," as the violent, proslavery invaders of the Kansas territory from Missouri were known. He has planted his foot on an American flag which is draped over Liberty, who kneels at his feet imploring, "O spare me gentlemen, spare me!!" Pierce is armed with a rifle, and has a tomahawk, dagger, pistol, and scalp on his belt. At right a similarly outfitted Lewis Cass stands licking his lips and scoffing, "Poor little Dear. We wouldnt hurt her for the world, would we Frank? ha! ha! ha! . . ." At the far right Democratic senator Stephen Douglas kneels over a slain farmer and holds up the hapless victim's scalp, exclaiming, "Hurrah for our side! Victory! Victory! "We will subdue them yet." "On the far left Democratic candidate James Buchanan and secretary of state William Marcy (with his characteristic fifty-cent" trouser patch) kneel over another victim and empty his pockets. Buchanan lifts the man's watch, saying,"T'was your's once but its mine now, "Might makes right," dont it." Pierce responds, "You may bet your life on that, ole Puddinhead," and says to Liberty, "Come Sis--sy, you go along wid me, I'le take Good care of "you" (hic) "over the left."" In the left background a cottage burns, and the mad widow of a murdered settler stands before a group of ruffians. Widow: "Come husband let us go to heaven, where our poor Children are." Ruffian, thumbing his nose: "Ho! ho! She thinks I'm her husband, we Scalped the Cus and she like a D--m fool went Crazy on it, and now she wants me to go to heaven with her, . . . " In the distance are further scenes of pillage and murder. Attribution to Magee is based on the print's clear stylistic similarity to his "Forcing Slavery Down the Throat of a Freesoiler" (no. 1856-8). A number of satires published by John Childs during the 1856 campaign are also attributable to Magee on stylistic grounds.


  1. Stephen A. Douglas?

    Knowing you, that may be too obvious an answer!


  2. Brett,

    Thanks for your vote. I'll remain mum for the time being, except to say that I hope all is going well.

  3. Well, Brett took my guess. It does sound like Douglas' Freeport Doctrine from the debates with Lincoln.

  4. Anonymous12:39 PM

    Jefferson Davis, right?

  5. My thanks to Brett and captainrlm for taking a stab even though they suspected (correctly!) that it was a trick question. My hat's off, though, to franceshunter. Remarkably, the quote comes from a speech delivered by none other than Jefferson Davis in Portland, Maine on September 11, 1858.

    Brett and the captain understandably mistook the quote to be from Stephen Douglas's Freeport speech, delivered the prior month, because that's exactly what it sounds like. It points out that Douglas's point was, in one sense, simply a truism. How ironic that it helped to deny Douglas the Democratic nomination in 1860!

    It also shows that Davis was not simply a rabid secessionist, as he is usually assumed to be.

    Davis's speech got him in hot water back in Mississippi, and he backpedaled furiously. More, perhaps, in due course. Meanwhile, thanks again for participating.

  6. Good stuff.

    It did seem too easy to be Douglas, but why not guess?


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