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“AUBURN, May 19th, 1844."
“ AUBURN, June 12, 1844. “ Our Revolutionary sires sung of the Tree of DEAR SIR :-The Whig State Central CommitLiberty' they planted and watered with blood, and tee of Michigan could hardly have been conscious we, who rest under its branches, justly boast of its how seductive would be the call they were makfruits and rejoice in its protection. Yet the exile, ing upon me in their invitation for the 4th of July though invited from other lands, too often finds himself an unwelcome intruder beneath its shade. Independent of the great satisfaction I should Masses of our countrymen too hastily seize and enjoy in becoming acquainted with the citizens of satisfy themselves with its unripened fruits, while to your State who support the great party upon a whole race it yields nutriment as bitter as Apples which I have bestowed my confidence and affecof Sodom. Let us stir the earth as then, and apply tion, there is nothing in the range of human to the roots of our noble Tree the fresh mould of knowledge I so much desire as to see and study knowledge and religion, so shall it produce for all the Great West, its resources, its condition, its alike and abundantly the sweet fruits of peace, se- prospects, and its growing influence upon the descurity and virtue.
tinies of our Country and of our Race. Gentlemen, Let the Whigs of the Eighth Dis- But, my dear Sir, I have been long a truant to trict look to this : they are not mere partisans, po
domestic duties, and neglectful of personal interliticians of the day, nor of the season, politicians The inconvenience of this error must be from interest nor expediency. When I had the corrected. I cannot, therefore, gratify my desire honor to be elected Chief Magistrate of this State, to see the West, at this juncture. I received in the Eighth Senate District a majority I should the more deeply regret this, if I had the equal to my entire majority in the State. During vanity to believe for a moment that what I could the short interval of seven weeks between my elec- say would at all promote the success of the tion and inauguration, I received more than a Whig party in Michigan. I could only speak of thousand applications for offices. Of these applica- the beneficent operations of the Tariff, and invoke tions two only came from beyond theCayuga Bridge. the People of Michigan to let it stand ; of the To that region I look continually, confidingly, and desirableness of saving the avails of the Public always, for the spirit which shall not merely re- Lands, and applying them to Education, and the store prosperity when it has been lost, but which improvement of our interior communications by shall constantly renovate and regenerate Society. water, and invoke the aid of the people of MichiLook at our neglected and decaying Public Works. gan in favor of a policy more important even to Who shall renew and complete them but the Whigs? | them, than to the State to which I belong; of the Look at the Tariff Law, which constitutes our deplorable error of adding bulwarks to the falling system of Protection ! passed in the Senate of the institution of Slavery, which is the chief cause of United States on compulsion by a casting vote our national calamities, and the only source of naperfidiously pledged to its speediest possible re- tional danger, and implore the Free People of peal. Who has saved it but the Whigs? Look i Michigan “ to stand by the cause of human freeat the stain of Repudiation on our National Honor. dom;" and of the importance of liberal naturaliWho shall efface it but the Whigs? Look at the zation, as a chies element in our growing empire; intolerance, turbulence, conflagrations and shed- and appeal to the enlightened People of Michigan ding of blood in the streets of an Eastern City, to instruct their elder brethren of the East on a and say how shall such crimes be averted but by principle which lies at the base of Western prosestablishing the truth that all men are equal be- perity. fore the Constitution and the Laws ? And who But there can be no need of such appeals to shall do this but the Whigs, who always main- such a people, and at least I shall have no special tained the supremacy of the Laws ?
claims on the attention of those whom I should Look at the threatened extension of our territo- address. ry, for the mere purpose of extending the public Accept, my dear sir, for yourself and your asdomain of Slavery, and adding new bulwarks to sociates, assurances of my very high respect, and support that accursed institution. Who shall post- believe me, most respectfully your obedient serpone this evil now? A Whig Senate. Who can vant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. prevent it hereafter but a Whig Administration and To M. EACKER, &c., State Committee.” a Whig Congress ? And who shall lead the way in those great measures but the Whigs of Western
We give one more of these letters, and New-York-who led the way in 1837 and 1838, give it entire, because of the honor it does and in 1840 ? And who so fit a leader as Henry to a noble Commonwealth, first on the list Clay, whose self-sacrificing patriotism has so often of immovably Whig States, and to two of postponed its own rewards to save the interests, the her illustrious Statesmen whom the Counpeace and the welfare of his Country ?
try delights to honor. Gov. Seward, havI am, gentlemen, with great respect, Your humble servant,
ing been urgently invited to attend a great
gathering of the Whigs of Western MassaWILLIAM H. SEWARD.” To the Whigs of Michigan, who soon lowing answer :
chusetts at Springfield, returned the folafter addressed him a similar and pressing
“ AUBORN, July 29, 1844. invitation, he returned the following an
GENTLEMEN :—The earliest studies of every citiswer:
zen in the history of Democracy in America carry
him at once to Faneuil Hall, the Council Cham
who were not naturalized at all, nor entiber of Boston, and to Lexington and Bunker Hill, tled to be. Hardly less baleful was the the battle-fields of Massachusetts. When sedition raised her thousand clamors, and
obstinate assertion of our adversaries in the fears of the dissolution of the Union came thick
Free States that Mr. Clay was as favoraand fast upon me in a foreign land, opening a sad ble and as much committed to the Annexaperspective of commotions, declining public virtue
tion of Texas as Mr. Polk-an assertion and the calamities of endless civil war, the voice
for which some color of countenance was of Massachusetts, delivered by DANIEL WEBSTER, defending our glorious Constitution, not for her
indeed extorted from the letters written by interests, nor her sake, nor her glory alone, but for Mr. Clay to Alabama, but which was none the peace, welfare and happiness of the whole the less a fraud and a falsehood, not only American People, quelled the storm, dispelled the in the absolute fact but in the consciousalarm, and assured mankind of the stability of
ness of its utterers. The votes thrown “ Liberty and Union, then and forever, one and inseparable.”
away on Birney in this State alone because Whenever and wherever fraud has planned a of such assertion would have sufficed to mine to subvert a pillar of the Constitution, or elect Mr. Clay. Other influences conPower has meditated a blow, against the. People,
spired with these to carry Mr.
Polk into or against a citizen, or against an exile, or against
the Presidential Chair, bring Texas into a slave, against anything in the shape of a Free Society, or against anything in the shape of a man,
the Union, and plunge the country into a John QUINCY ADAMS of Massachusetts has been destructive, needless and therefore crimiseen watching the design with eagle eye, and in nal War with Mexico. Gov. Seward, the moment of the attempted perpetration of the
having done all that man could do to arert crime the conspirators fell, the intended victim rose free and safe, and the deliverer, unrewarded
these foreseen calamities so long as effort and unthanked, set himself again on his endless would avail, returned to his profession watch for the cause of Freedom and Humanity. when the result of the struggle of ’44 was If I could be allowed to sit in the silence that
declared, discharging his duty as a private would become me in the proposed gathering of the Whigs of Massachusetts, or if they would be con
citizen and a Whig with unwavering fidelitent with my merely expressing the veneration and
ty and biding in faith the dawning of a reverence I cherish for them and her, I might be brighter day. persuaded to accept the hospitalities tendered to
On the evening of the 12th of March, But they have another object; I am required to speak. Massachusetts and her sons "stand
1846, a horrible destruction of human life there,' needing no praise from me, and asking took place in Cayuga County. John G.
My life has already become a living Van Nest, a worthy farmer residing in offence against my own conviction of propriety. Fleming, three miles south of Auburn, I cannot instruct
, nor can I consent to seem as if with his wife, infant son and mother-inI thought I could instruct, those from whom it is my pride to learn. I must therefore, gentlemen,
law, was butchered outright, and a guest again decline your kind invitation. But I will named Van Arsdale severely wounded. second in this State your noble efforts for Clay The murderer was a negro, unknown to and the Constitution with what ability I possess. the victims or the survivors of the family; Past relations excuse my advocacy here, and it but he stole a horse and rode away upon seems not altogether unbecoming, because it is at least dutiful and grateful.
it, was traced north to where he exchanged Accept, gentlemen, renewed assurances of grate- it for another, also stolen; and thence into ful and affectionate respect and friendship. Oswego County, where, at a point forty
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. miles from Fleming, he was overtaken George Ashmun, George Bliss, &c., Esqrs.” and arrested next day. He proved to
be a half Indian, half negro, twenty-two A concurrence of malign influences deprived the Whigs of the victory in that lived nearly all his life and spent five years
years old, born in Auburn, where he had desperate contest to which they were en
in the State Prison under a conviction for titled. Prominent among these influences were the outbreak of Nativism in several
horse-stealing. He was taken back to the of our great cities, whereby the Adopted slayer, and ordered to stand committed for
scene of the tragedy, fully identified as the Citizens, alarmed for their dearest rights, trial as the murderer. But the immense, were driven pell-mell into the Loco-Foco
excited concourse by this time assembled ranks, while thousands were naturalized on
there could ill brook the idea of awaiting purpose to vote for Polk as the way to put down Nativism, and many Immigrants voted
the slow process of indictment, trial and execution. They were fierce for his blood
then and there, and would brook no delay. , way, and as often for one party as the Pious deacons and sage justices clamored other. But in the election for delegates to savagely for an opportunity to tear him the Constitutional Convention, which took limb from limb, and it was only by strata- place soon after this murder, though the gem that the officers having charge of the Whig ticket was headed by Judge Conkprisoner were enabled to baffle the fren- ling of the U. S. District Court, who at zied crowd and run him into Auburn jail, any other time would have been elected, with the bloodhounds in full cry on their | the adverse candidates were all chosen by track. The mob dispersed to diffuse their ) about 1,000 majority. The popular fury excitement and thirst for blood all over the against negroes, excited by this murder, interior of our State. The funeral of the coupled with the belief that the Whigs victims soon followed, and a mighty con- would favor the extension of the Right of course assembled around the encoffined re- Suffrage to Blacks, while their adversaries mains of the four lamented victims, to avowedly would not, was mainly instruwhom Rev. A. B. Winfield, pastor of the mental in producing this result. And its Church whereof those victims were mem- influence was felt, though not so strongly, bers, preached a sermon of which the fol- in many other counties. lowing is the conclusion :
Freeman was indicted for murder on the “ If ever there was a just rebuke upon the falsely 18th of May, and arraigned for trial on 80-called sympathy of the day, here it is. Let any the 1st of June. It was still a test of man in his senses look at this horrible sight, and then think of the spirit with which it was perpetrated, courage to whisper, in any part of the and, unless he loves the murderer more than his county, a word in extenuation of his crime, murdered victims, he will, he must confess, that
or to doubt that he was legitimate prey for the law of God which requires that he that shed the gallows. But William H. SEWARD deth man's blood by man shall his blood be shed' had inquired into the matter, and become is right, is just, is reasonable. Is this the way to
satisfied that the prisoner was of unsound prevent murder, by sympathy? It encourages it. It steels the heart and nerves the arm of the assassin: mind, at once shattered and imbecile, and
“ But capital punishment is said to be barbarous, that he was not morally accountable for his cruel, savage. What does this amount to? Why, deed. He appeared in Court on the arthat God commands that which is barbarous, cruel raignment as a volunteer counsel for the and savage! Most daring blasphemy! But all punishment is for the good of the culprit, or else it accused, and entered a plea of Not Guilty is tyrannical! The wretch who committed this by reason of Insanity, and demanded a prehorrid deed has been in the school of a State Pris- liminary trial on that issue. That plea was en for five years, and yet comes out a murderer! especially odious to the popular mind, as it Besides, it is an undeniable fact that murder has increased with the increase of this anti-capital-pun- had recently escaped the gallows by means
was believed that several great criminals ishment spirit. It awakens a hope in the wretch, that by adroit counsel law may be perverted, and of it, one of them at Auburn. If a popujurors bewildered or melted by sympathy ; that by lar vote of the County could then have judges infected with it, their whole charges may been taken on hanging Freeman and his be in favor of the accused ; that by the lavishment counsel together, the affirmative would, of money, appeals might be multiplied, and, by doubtless, have had an immense majority putting off the trial, witnesses may die. Why, none of us are safe undor such a false sympathy as The Court took time to consider the plea, this; for the murderer is almost certain of being and, on the 24th, decided that the issue of acquitted! If I shoot a man to prevent him break- sanity or insanity should be separately tried, ing into my house and killing my family, these gen; and ordered jurors to be drawn for the trial. tlemen will say I did right. But if he succeeds, and murders my whole family, then it would be bar
Hon. John Van Buren, Attorney General, barous to put him to death! Oh, shame, shame! with Luman Sherwood, District Attorney, I appeal to this vast assembly to maintain the laws appeared for the People; Gov. Seward, of their country inviolate, and cause the murderer with his partners, Christopher Morgan and to be punished.”
S. Blatchford, to whom David Wright was The excitement thus created overspread added, at Gov. Seward's request, by asthe whole region, and swept everything in signment of the Court, were counsel for its course. As an example of its blind the prisoner. A jury was, after a sharp fury--Cayuga had for some years been a struggle, empaneled, and the trial proclosely balanced County in Politics, rarely, ceeded. since 1837, giving 300 majority either Freeman, it appeared, had been a va
VOL. V. NO. VI. NEW SERIES.
grant, errand-boy and menial from his in- oner's counsel demanded that this verdict fancy, staying where he could, and picking be rejected, and a simple verdict
of “ Sane” up his living by doing odd jobs here and or “ Insane" required. The Court refusthere. That he was inefficient and intract- ed, and the counsel excepted. On the 6th able was notorious; some attributing his of July, the District Attorney moved on inaptness to an obtuseness akin to idiocy, the trial on the indictment, which Mr. while others suspected it had its root in in- Seward opposed, but the Court overruled dolence and knavery. When hardly seven- him, and refused to hear argument. The teen years of age, he had, by perjury, been prisoner was arraigned, and asked if he desent to State Prison on a conviction of manded a trial on the indictment. He anstealing a horse he never saw, and had swered “No." “Have you counsel ?” there, by reason of his rudeness and inca- “I don't know." “Are you able to empacity, been beaten over the head so that, ploy counsel ?" "No." The Court di(as was afterward proved,) the drum of rected the clerk to enter a plea of “Not his ear was broken and his left temporal
” and that the trial proceed. Mr. bone was ever after carious and diseased. Seward here interposed an affidavit, asking He was henceforth more sullen and stupid a continuance of the case, because of the than ever, complained of deafness, seemed prisoner's ir firm mind and helpless condito have little memory,
but brooded ever on tion, the popular excitement against him, the idea that he had worked five years in and the absence of a witness deemed matethe State Prison for nothing, and ought to rial to prove his insanity. Motion denied. be paid for it. In this state of mind he A motion to quash the indictment for cause was liberated on the expiration of his sen- was overruled; as was a challenge to the tence in September, 1845, and continued array of the panel for like cause. The trial to mutter about his five years' service, and went on ; a jury was obtained; and, on that he must and would be paid for it, to the 23d, a verdict of Guilty was recorded. all who would listen to him and to some On the 24th, Freeman was sentenced to be who would not, down to the time of the executed on the 18th of September folmurder. To those who visited him in jail | lowing. between the tragedy and the trial, his talk The counsel for the prisoner promptly was substantially the same. He insisted interposed a bill of exceptions, alleging that he could read, and seemed on trying to errors and misdirections on various points do so, but merely uttered such incongruous in the course of the trial. The argument words and phrases as came into his head, on this bill was made before the Supreme having no reference to the open page be Court, by Mr. Seward for the prisoner, and fore him. When asked why he killed the Attorney General Van Buren for the PeoVan Nests, he only repeated his old story ple, and Chief Justice Beardsley delivered about his five years' service, and that he the opinion of the Court, sustaining the must be paid for it. He denied that he exceptions, reversing the judgment against had killed the child, however, and manifest- Freeman, and granting a new trial. Meaned sensibility when accused of it. He said time, the Judge visited Freeman repeatedly to one witness that Van Nest said to him, in his cell, became satisfied of his mental “If you are going to eat my liver, I will disability, and refused to try him again. In eat yours;” whereupon he (Freeman) fact, it became speedily so evident that no struck him. It appeared that Freeman's one could reasonably doubt it Gradually brother had died of brain fever, an uncle declining in health and strength, Freeman was a wandering lunatic, an aunt had died became more and more palpably idiotic and deranged. Freeman himself had been to deranged, and finally died in prison, August various lawyers' offices to get justice for his 21st, 1847. five years' service, had visited Mrs. God- If to statesmen are awarded honors and frey, whose horse he was convicted of steal- to conquerors laurels, he who saves a coming, on the same errand. After a protract-munity from its own blinding frenzy and ed and arduous trial, the jury returned this baleful passions is deserving of its grateful verdict,“We find the prisoner sufficiently remembrance. That Freeman was not sound in mind and memory to distinguish torn in pieces to satiate the wolfish ferocity between Right and Wrong."
of a mob, was due to the tact of his custo
dians'; th at he was not deliberately chokedfounded on the humiliation of Labor, as necessary to death, while half insane, half idiotic, for
to the perfection of a chivalrous Republic. The
party of Freedom maintains universal suffrage, an offence of which he had no moral con
which makes men equal before human laws, as sciousness, is due to the persevering fidelity they are in the sight of their common Creator. and self-forgetting humanity, of William The party of Slavery cherishes ignorance, beH. Seward.
cause it is the only security for oppression. The The hum of preparation for the contest party of Liberty demands the diffusion of knowof 1848 again summoned Gov. S. to the ledge, because it is the only safeguard of Republi
can institutions. political arena. Early convinced that Gen. “ The party of Slavery patronizes that Labor Taylor combined with eminent fitness for which produces only exports to commercial nations the station, an unequalled popularity among
abroad, tobacco, cotton and sugar, and abhors the
Protection that draws grain from our native fields, those who are not decided partisans, but
lumber from our native forests, and coal from our whose votes, as they are cast into this scale
native mines, and ingenuity, skill and labor from or that, determine the result of an election, the free minds and willing hands of our own people. he was, though not prominent in the can- “ The party of Freedom favors only the produc
tions of such minds and such hands, and seeks to vass, a decided advocate of the nomination
build up our Empire out of the redundant native of Gen. T. up to the assembling of the
materials with which our country is blest. Whig National Convention at Philadelphia, “ The party of Slavery leaves the mountain, ravine and thenceforth an ardent and assiduous and shoal to present all their natural obstacles to champion of his election. Though he spoke internal trade and free locomotion, because Rail
roads, Rivers and Canals are highways for the esfrequently in our State, the certainty of an
cape of bondmen. overwhelming Whig triumph here rendered
The party of Liberty would cover the country speaking well nigh superfluous, and he with railroads and canals to promote the happiness therefore accepted
invitations to address the of the people, and link them together with the inWhigs of Pennsylvania and of Ohio, to set
dissoluble bonds of friendship and affection. forth the reasons which induced him-ar
“ The party of Slavery maintains its military
defences, and cultivates the martial spirit, for it dently devoted to the preservation of every knows not the day, nor the hour, when a standing inch of Free Territory from the irruption army will be necessary to suppress and extirpate of Slavery and hoping for the Emancipa- the insurrectionary bondinen. tion of the Enslaved universally—to unite
“ The party of Freedom cherishes peace, be
cause its sway is sustained by the consent of a in the support of Gen. Taylor. The fol
happy and grateful people. The party of Slavery lowing extract from his speech at Cleve- fortifies itself by adding new slave-bound domains, land, Ohio, will convey a fair idea of his on fraudulent pretext and with force. views and positions:
“ The party of Freedom is content and moder
ate, seeking only just enlargement of Free Terri“ There are two antagonistical elements of So. tory through fear of change. ciety in America-Freedom and Slavery. Free- “ The party of Slavery declares that institution dom is in harmony with our system of Govern- necessarily beneficent, and approved by God, and ment, and with the spirit of the age, and is there- therefore inviolable. fore passive and quiescent. Slavery is in conflict “ The party of Freedom seeks complete and uniwith that system, with justice and with humanity, versal emancipation. You, Whigs of the Reserve, and is therefore organized, defensive, active, and and you especially, Seceding Whigs, none know perpetually aggressive.
so well as you that these two elements exist, and “Freedom insists on the emancipation and'eleva- are developed in the two great National parties of tion of Labor; Slavery on its debasement and the land as I have described them. That existence bondage. Slavery demands a soil moistened with aud development constitute the only reason you tears and blood ; Freedom, a soil that exults un- can assign for having been enrolled in the Whig der the elastic tread of Man in his native majesty. party, and mustered under its banner, so zealously
“ These elements divide and classify the Ameri- and so long. And now, I am to contend that can People into two parties; each of these parties the evil spirit I have described has possessed one has its court and its sceptre. The throne of the party without mitigation or exception, and that one is amid the rocks of the Alleghany mountains, the beneficent one has on all occasions, and fully, the throne of the other is reared on the sands of directed the action of the other. But I appeal to South Carolina. One of these parties, the party of you, to your candor and justice, if the beneficent Slavery, regards disunion as among the means of spirit has not worked chiefly in the Whig party, defence, and not always the last to be employed. and its antagonist in the adverse party.” The other maintains the Union of the States, one
Gen. Taylor was chosen President and and inseparable, now and forever, as the highest duty of the American people to themselves, to
Mr. Fillmore Vice-President in the elecposterity and to mankind.
tion which soon followed, and in this State “ The party of Slavery uphold an aristocracy the Whig ascendancy, owing to the bitter