The Constitutional Union Convention
Leavenworth Daily Times, May 11, 1860
Well, this national body at Baltimore has acted. And what of its action? For that is the only important question.
Ex-Senator Bell, of Tennessee, is its Presidential nominee.
Where is his influence? What its extent? We admit, as everybody will admit, that he is a man of excellent character and of no ordinary experience and ability. We admit, as anybody will admit, also, that his tendencies have been towards Republicanism; that he has no sympathy with the extremists of the Slave States, and they none with him; that he is, as far as he dare be, of the school of the old liberal Whigs of the South, for the Union now and always—with or without slavery.
This, too, must be added. That whatever the Know-Nothings, as such, could do, was done by them, to secure his nomination.
Now with these facts, how shall we answer the questions we have asked? How determine his influence and its extent, or the influence and power of the party which is to support him.
We make answer, first, as to the North or the free states.
That, as we believe, is fixed in purpose.—It is for free territory and free soil. So far as it is Republican, it is fearlessly and boldly so. So far as it is Douglas it is covertly, though earnestly for both. Against this double influence—one active, the other negative—against the effects of this influence, both in fact positive, so far as relates to slave soil and slave labor on Free Soil—what can Ex-Senator Bell and his party do in the Free States? Nothing. They will be powerless as a child. The North will not feel them.
Now let us answer as to the South and the Slave States.
"Caucus is King." This is an old axiom. And caucus has ruled in every Slave State.—Packed Conventions and a "tape" rule have controlled everything. All, of course, has been done in the name of the people; but the people have really had little or nothing to do with either. Yet, underneath, in every state of the South—there is a feeling—deep, strong, and, in a majority of them, controlling—which would revolt at disunion, which would resist a Yancey to the death, and fight as they would a common foe the disorganizing, seceding views of the class which he leads.
This opposition will be the basis of Bell's strength, and that will chiefly be found in Tennessee and North Carolina, in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Kentucky, or in what are known as the grain-growing Slave States. Whom then will the Constitution Union Party hurt? Whom can it hurt? Only the Sham—the Slave Democracy! Only the extremists of the South.
We are content. Every sign—every action, is for Republicanism, and the great cardinal constitutional principle of liberty it avows.