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Page 357




[Description: 688EAF. Page 357. In-line image. A crowd of people, both men and women are gathered around a notice that is posted on a wall of a building, outside. The notice begins with the large words: "Notice! Deomcrats Arouse Arouse!" ]

The following notice was posted up, bright and early, yesterday
morning, on the meetin'-house, and on the center
school-house, and on Bill Johnston's store:

“The Democrats of Downingville, without distinction of party, are requested
to meet at the center school-house to-morrow evening, February 9, at seven


Page 358
o'clock, to settle the question about the next Presidency, and choose a Dele
gate to the Baltimore Convention. The country expects every Democrat to
do his duty, and the whole Democracy of all parties is especially requested to
attend. The interest of the country and the Democratic party is at stake.
Therefore, come one, come all. And it is expected that every true Democrat
will leave all party prejudices at home.

By order of the Democratic Town Committee.

Pursuant to the above notice, the largest and most respectable
Democratic meeting ever held in Downingville assembled
at seven o'clock, and filled the school-house chock full.

Joshua Downing, Esq., Postmaster (Uncle Joshua), was
unanimously appointed Chairman, and Mr. Seth Stiles (school-master),
was chosen Secretary. Uncle Joshua took the chair,
amid the cheers of the meetin'. He's always been Chairman
of the Democracy this last thirty years. So he knew what
he had to depend upon, and come prepared for it. Aunt
Keziah had combed his hair all down smooth, and he wore his
fur hat and go-to-meetin' coat. The chairman put on his
spectacles, and read the notice calling the meetin', and says
he, “Gentlemen and fellow-Democrats, the important business
we have before us seems to be to settle the question about
the next Presidency, and choose a delegate to Baltimore.
As there is two branches to the business, which shall we take
hold of first?”

Doctor Briggs. I move that we take the question of the
Presidency first, as that comes first in the notice, and I take
it that is the main question.

Chairman. If that is your minds, gentlemen, you will

Bill Johnson, (in a sharp, loud voice.) Hold on there, Squire,
or Mr. Chairman, I should say; don't put that ere question
yet, for I've got something to say first. I don't think that
would be the best way to go to work. I've no notion of
taking hold of the poker at the hot end. Let us go to work


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and choose a Delegate first, while we are cool, and go into
the Presidency arterwards. We are all quiet and unanimous
now, and it is the largest meeting of the Democracy that
we've ever had since Old Hickory's second term. It looks as
if the good Old Hickory times was coming back again, and
the Democracy of the country will once more be on its legs.
Now, I say, seeing we've got into a little clear, smooth water,
don't let us rile it. The next Presidency is a ticklish question,
and if we begin to stir it, may be it 'll be hard work to
see bottom. Therefore, Squire, I move that we begin our
business t'other eend foremost; and I move that we choose
Major Jack Downing for our Delegate to Baltimore.

Chairman. If that is your minds, gentlemen, you will
please to—

Solomon Jones, (trader at the upper corner, and nateral
enemy to Bill Johnson, trader at the lower corner.) Mr. Chairman,
I hope that motion won't pass. I didn't come here to be
ketched in an Abolition trap, and I won't be if I can help it.
I don't want no underhand work, and I shan't take a step on
the road till I can read on the guide-board where it's going to.
Before we choose a delegate, I want to know what he is going
to do. Let the work be chalked out beforehand, and then
choose the best man to do it. I'm a Democrat of the Jackson
stamp, but I aint no Abolitionist. I always went for Jackson,
and will always go for his successors, as long as they
follow in his footsteps. I always went for Van Buren as long
as he followed in Jackson's footsteps; but when he turned
Abolition I don't go for him no more, nor his son John neither.

Bill Johnson. Squire, I wish you to put my question, to
choose Major Jack Downing to Baltimore. If we can't trust
him as a good Jackson Democrat, there isn't a man in the
United States that we can trust. He was always the old
Gineral's right hand man. And as for Abolition traps, I wish


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Mr. Jones's store was as free from rum-traps and gin-traps as
I am from Abolition traps—

Solomon Jones. Mr. Chairman, I call the gentleman to order.
I want to know, before he goes any further, whether this is a
temperance meeting or a Democratic meeting?

Bill Johnson. It is as much of a temperance meeting as it
is an Abolition meeting. If Mr. Jones brings in Abolition,
I've jest as good a right to bring in temperance. And as for
traps, sir, if the gentleman undertakes to talk about Abolition
traps, I'll jest let him know the war can be carried into Africa.
Yes, sir, the boot is decidedly on t'other leg. The trap is all
on t'other side, sir; all on the slavery side. I'm a good Jackson
Democrat; but I've no notion of being ketched in a
slavery trap. And that's why I want to send a delegate to
Baltimore that we can depend upon, such as Major Downing;
one that'll keep us out of the slavery trap. For, I tell you,
sir, the South has got the slavery trap set all over the country,
and covered with a good many pieces of sly tempting bait.
There's a bit of nice-flavored Buchanan bait here, and a strong
Cass bait there, and a little Douglas bait further along, and
a fat Houston bait out yonder, and on the middle of the pan
there's a mysterious bit of Butler bait, nicely rolled in meal —
yes, sir, all rolled in meal, and what's more, to make it easy
to swallow, it's rubbed over with a little Van Buren oil. Now,
sir, I don't swallow none of them baits, and no man don't get
my vote for President without he comes right up to the chalk
first, and declares, up and down, that he isn't no slavery man.

Doctor Briggs. Mr. Chairman, it seems to me neighbor
Johnson has got hold of the hot end of the poker after all, and
has fairly got to stirring the Presidency with it, whether we
will or no. So that my motion to go into the question of the
Presidency first seems to be carried without being put to vote.
Now, sir, I am glad to see that Mr. Jones and Mr. Johnson


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agree exactly in one thing, that is, that they wont neither of
'em move a step in the dark, nor stir an inch till they know
where they are going to. Mr. Jones wont vote for a delegate
till he knows his man, and knows exactly what that delegate
is going to do. And Mr. Jonnson wont vote for a President till
he knows his man, and knows he's all right, and isn't no
slavery man.

Solomon Jones. Nor I wont vote for no President till I know
he's all right, and isn't no Abolitionist.

John Robinson. Mr. Chairman, nor I wont vote for no President
that isn't a friend to Cuba. If a lot of fellers is a mind
to go and help Cuba get her independence, I say I don't
want a President that'll be dogging after 'em and stopping
of 'em.

Sargent Joel Downing. For my part, Mr. Chairman, I've
made up my mind not to vote for any man for President that
won't go for Kossuth, clear up to the hub, and stand ready to
fight the Russian Bear, if he meddles with Hungary. I say
freedom is the right of everybody, and I go for it; and I want
a President that'll go for it, too, up to fifty-four forty and fight,
if it can't be got without. I call that good Jackson doctrine.
Old Hickory would go for it if he was alive, and the Democracy
must see that he has a successor that'll go for it now. That's
the foundation of the Democratic principle—freedom for everybody.

Solomon Jones. Freedom for everybody, is it? I want to
know if the gentleman means freedom for the niggers south
of Mason and Dixon's line? If he does, I pronounce him a
bloody Abolitionist, and no Democrat.

Sargent Joel. I said freedom for everybody, and I'll stick to
it. You can't split a hair; nobody can't split hairs now Mr.
Calhoun's dead. And you can't split a principle; and I say
the foundation of the Democratic principle is freedom for everybody,


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and I'll stick to it. And I want a President that will
carry that principle out straight on all sides, in Hungary and
everywhere else. And when we choose our delegate to Baltimore,
I shall move to give him instructions to vote for a
Kossuth candidate for the Presidency.

Solomon Jones. Then, sir, you are an Abolitionist, and your
candidate will be an Abolitionist, and the whole South will be
agin you; and you'll find, if you can't split hairs, you can
split the country, and the whole Democracy will be torn to
flinders, and we shall loose all the offices.

Sargent Joel. I don't fight for offices, I fight for liberty;
freedom for everybody; that's my motto.

Deacon Snow. I feel it my duty, Mr. Chairman, to caution
our Democratic brethren not to be too rash. I think we aught
to have a President that will be prudent, and not get us into
any tangling alliances with other nations, and will carry out
the safe neutrality doctrines laid down by Washington.

Doctor Briggs. Mr. Chairman, we seem to be going all
round Robin Hood's barn, but I don't see as we are anywhere
near coming to the point. Now, sir, it seems to me the way we
should go is as plain as the road to mill. Is this a Democratic
meeting? and are we all Democrats? That's the question.
If we are all Democrats, then of course we all want a Democratic
President; and we aught to fix ourselves on that point,
and not be looking round for any other nails to hang our hats
on. Therefore, I move that we instruct our delegate to Baltimore
to vote for a candidate for President that is a stanch
Democrat, and in favor of all sound Democratic principles.

Chairman. Are you ready for that question? If that is
your minds, gentlemen, please—

Solomon Jones. Mr. Cheerman, I oppose that motion, and
before it's put I want to know what is sound Democratic principles.
I want to know if Abolition is one of 'em?


Page 363

Bill Johnson. And I want to know if slavery is one of 'em?

Sargent Joel. And I want to know if Russia's tramplin'
down Hungary is one of 'em?

John Robinson. And I want to know if Cuba is one of 'em?

Deacon Snow. Mr. Chairman, as there seems to be some
confusion and misunderstanding about Democratic principles,
and there don't seem to be much chance of doing anything till
these matters are settled, I move that Squire Downing, our
venerable Chairman, shall make a plain, full statement to this
meeting of all the sound Democratic principles; and then we
shall have something to go by.

[This was seconded all round, and Uncle Joshua, coloring a
little, laid his specs on the desk, and got up out of his chair.]

Chairman. Gentlemen and Democrats, as for the Dimocratic
principle, I view it is very important we should have a
fair understanding of it, for it is the vital principle of the
party, and without it we can't hold together. In the old
Gineral's time, if my memory sarves me right, we had three
principles to go by—one was the Bank, and one was the
Tariff, and t'other was the Internal Improvements. That is to
say, them was the principles we had to fight agin. Them was
the Whig principles; and the Democratic principle was to
fight agin the three Whig principles. And as long as we
stuck to that we beat, and got the offices. But the science
of politics has advanced a good deal in these latter years,
since the Gineral's time, and so many new principles are
crowded in, helter skelter, that we get kind of confused and
mixed up. I don't think they do any good. Some of these
new principles, instead of holding us together, seem to be
pretty likely to blow us apart like gun-powder But the good
old Jackson principles work t'other way; they hold us together
like wax, and give us the offices. Therefore, I think
we may safely say we go agin the Bank, we go agin the


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Tariff, and we go agin Internal Improvements. And I think
our delegate to Baltimore should be instructed to stand on
that platform.

Bill Johnson. I move that we amend that platform by
adding that we go agin slavery.

Solomon Johnson. I move, Mr. Cheerman, that we amend it
by adding that we go agin Abolition.

Sargent Joel. I move that we amend it by adding that we
go agin Russia.

Chairman. Shall we put the question on the platform, with
the three amendments added to it?

Deacon Snow. Mr. Chairman, if these amendments are
added, I think there's a number of other amendments that
aught to be added besides, particularly the neutrality doctrines
of Washington. Therefore, I move that we adjourn
this meeting for one week, and that the whole subject be referred
to a committee, to be appointed by the Chairman, and
that they report to the next meeting a Democratic platform
containing all the sound simon-pure Democratic principles.

[Deacon Snow's motion was put and carried, and the Convention

Note from Major Jack Downing to Mr. Gales & Seaton.

My Dear Old Friends:—I've correctified the minutes of
Secretary Stiles, and send it to you to publish, to let our
Democratic brethren, all over the country, know that we've
made a rally here to try to save the party (which you know
we thought awhile ago was dead), and so fur we've met with
very encouraging success.