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And now, fellow-citizens, what a glorious party the Democratic party has ever been! Man is but the being of a summer's day, whilst principles are eternal. The generations of mortals, one after the other, rise and sink and are forgotten; but the principles of Democracy, which we have inherited from our revolutionary fathers, will endure to bless mankind throughout all generations. Is there any Democrat within the sound of my voice—is there any Democrat throughout the broad limits of good and great old Democratic Pennsylvania, who will abandon these sacred principles for the sake of following in the train of a military conqueror, and shouting for the hero of Lundy's Lane, Cerro Gordo, and Chapultepec ?
“Remember, O my friends! the laws, the rights,
PERSONAL AND POLITICAL RELATIONS WITH THE PRESIDENT ELECT AND
WITH MR. MARCY, HIS SECRETARY OF STATE-BUCHANAN IS OFFERED
new President, General Pierce, and his Secretary of State, will best explain his relations to this administration; and he has himself left a full record of the circumstances under which he accepted the mission to England in the summer of 1853.
(FROM GENERAL PIERCE.]
Concord, N. H., November 1, 1852. MY DEAR SIR:
Your kind letter of the 26th instant was received yesterday.
Your conclusion as to attending the meeting at Tammany Hall was what I should have expected, marked by a nice sense of the fitness of things.
The telegraphic despatches received late this evening would seem to remove all doubt as to the result of the election. Your signal part in the accomplishment of that result is acknowledged and appreciated by all. I hope to have the pleasure of meeting you at no distant day.
(FROM GENERAL PIERCE.)
Concord, N. H., December 7, 1852. MY DEAR SIR :
I have been hoping ever since the election that I might have a personal interview with you, if not before, certainly during the present month. But the objections to such a meeting suggested by you while I was at the seashore now exist, perhaps even with greater force than at that time. With our known pleasant personal relation a meeting would doubtless call forth many idle and annoying speculations and groundless surmises.
An interchange of thoughts with Colonel King (whose returning health is a source of great joy to me) would also be peculiarly pleasant and profitable, but here, again, there are obstacles in the way. He cannot come North, and I cannot go to Washington. Communication by letter is still open. My thoughts for the last four weeks have been earnestly turned to the formation of a cabinet. And although I must in the end be responsible for the appointments, and consequently should follow my own well-considered convictions, I cannot help saying often to myself how agreeable it would be to compare conclusions upon this or that point with Mr. Buchanan. I do not mean to trouble you with the many matters of difficulty that evidently lie in my path. So far as I have been able to form an opinion as to public sentiment and reasonable public expectation, I think I am expected to call around me gentlemen who have not hitherto occupied cabinet position, and in view of the jealousies and embarrassments which environ any other course, this expectation is in accordance with my own judgment, a judgment strengthened by the impression that it is sanctioned by views expressed by you. Regarding you with the confidence of a friend, and appreciating your disinterested patriotism as well as your wide experience and comprehensive statesmanship, I trust you will deem it neither an intrusion nor annoyance when I ask your suggestions and advice.
If not mistaken in this, you will confer a great favor by writing me, as fully as you may deem proper, as to the launching (if I may so express myself) of the incoming administration, and more especially in regard to men and things in Pennsylvania. In relation to appointments requiring prompt action after the inauguration, I shall, as far as practicable, leave Concord with purposes definitely formed, and not likely to be changed.
Should you deem that I ought not thus to tax you, burn the letter, but give me, as of yore, your good will and wishes.
I shall regard, as you will of course, whatever passes between us as in the strictest sense confidential.
Very truly, your friend,
(MR. BUCHANAN TO GENERAL PIERCE.]
WHEATLAND, near LANCASTER, December 11, 1852. MY DEAR SIR :
Your favor of the 7th instant reached me last evening.
You do me no more than justice in “regarding me with the free confidence of a friend,” and I can say in all sincerity that, both for your own sake and that of the country, I most ardently desire the success of your administration. Having asked my suggestions and advice " as to the launching of the incoming administration," I shall cheerfully give it, with all the frankness of friendship.
Your letter, I can assure you, has relieved me from no little personal anxiety. Had you offered me a seat in your cabinet one month ago, although highly gratified as I should have been with such a distinguished token of your confidence and regard, I would have declined it without a moment's hesitation. Nothing short of an imperative and overruling sense of public duty could ever prevail upon me to pass another four years of my life in the laborious and responsible position which I formerly occupied. Within the past month, however, so many urgent appeals have been made to me from quarters entitled to the highest respect, to accept the State Department, if tendered, and this, too, as an act of public duty, in view of the present perplexed and embarrassing condition of our foreign relations, that in declining it, I should have been placed in an embarrassing position from which I have been happily relieved by your letter.
But whilst I say this in all sincerity, I cannot assent to the correctness of the general principle you have adopted, to proscribe in advance the members of all former cabinets; nor do I concur with you in opinion, that either public sentiment or public expectation requires such a sweeping ostracism. I need scarcely, therefore, say that the impression which you have derived of my opinion in favor of this measure, from I know not whom, is without foundation. I should be most unjust towards my able, enlightened and patriotic associates in the cabinet of Mr. Polk, could I have entertained such an idea. So far from it that, were I the President elect, I should deem it almost indispensable to avail myself of the sound wisdom and experienced judgment of one or more members of that cabinet, to assist me in conducting the vast and complicated machinery of the Federal Government. Neither should I be diverted from this purpose by the senseless cry of “Old Fogyism” raised by “Young America.”
I think the members of Mr. Polk's cabinet should be placed upon the same level with the mass of their fellow-citizens, and neither in a better nor a worse condition. I am not aware that any of them, unless it may be Governor Marcy, either expects or desires a cabinet appointment; and certainly all of them will most cheerfully accord to you the perfect right of selecting the members of your own cabinet. Still, to be excluded from your consideration, merely because they had happened to belong to Mr. Polk's cabinet, could not be very gratifying to any of them.
To apply your own metaphor, “ the launching of the incoming administration will, perhaps, be a more important and responsible duty than has ever fallen to the lot of any of your predecessors. On the selection of the navigators to assist you in conducting the vessel of State, will mainly depend the success of the voyage. No matter how able or skilful the commander may be, and without flattery, I cheerfully accord to you both ability and skill, he can do but little without the aid of able and skilful subordinates. So firmly am I convinced of this truth, that I should not fear to predict the result of your administration as soon as I shall learn who are the members of your cabinet. In former times, when the Government was comparatively in
its infancy, the President himself could supervise and direct all the measures of any importance arising under our complex but most excellent system of government. Not so at present. This would no longer be possible, even if the day consisted of forty-eight instead of twenty-four hours. Hence, from absolute necessity, the members of your administration will exercise much independent power. Even in regard to those questions submitted more directly to yourself, from want of time to make minute examinations of all the facts, you must necessarily rely much upon the representations of the appropriate Secretary. My strong and earnest advice to you, therefore, is not to constitute your cabinet with a view to harmonize the opposite and fleeting factions of the day; but solely with the higher and nobler view of promoting the great interests of the country and securing the glory and lasting fame of your own administration. You occupy a proud and independent position, and enjoy a popularity which will render any able and honest Democrat popular who may be honored by your choice for a cabinet station, provided they are properly distributed over the Union. In this respect, you are placed in a more enviable position than almost any of your predecessors. It was a maxim of old Simon Soyder, the shrewd and popular Governor of our State, that the very best man ought to be selected for the office, and if not popular at the moment, he would soon render himself popular. In view of these important considerations, I would earnestly recommend to you the practice of General Washington, never finally to decide an important question until the moment which required its decision had nearly approached.
I know that a state of suspense is annoying to the human mind; but it is better to submit to this annoyance for a season than to incur the risk of a more permanent and greater evil.
You say that you will leave Concord" with purposes definitely formed and not likely to be changed."
But is Concord the best locality in the world for acquiring reliable information and taking extended views of our whole great country? To Boston I should never resort for this purpose. Pardon me for suggesting that you ought not to have your resolution definitely fixed until after your arrival in Washington. In that city, although you will find many interested and designing politicians, there are also pure, honest and disinterested Democratic patriots.
Among this number is Colonel King, whom you so highly and justly commend. He is among the best, purest and most consistent public men I have ever known, and is also a sound judging and discreet counsellor. You might rely with implicit confidence upon his information, especially in regard to the Southern States, which I know are at the present moment tremblingly alive to the importance of your cabinet selections. I might cite the example of Mr. Polk. Although in council with General Jackson, he had early determined to offer me the State Department, yet no intimation of the kind was ever communicated to me until a short time before his arrival in Washington, and then only in an indirect manner; and in regard to all the other members of his