History of Ontario Co. & Its People

Vol. 1, Pub. 1911  Pg.  87 - 96

Thanks to Deborah Spencer for transcription of these pages.

If you would like to submit Ontario Cemetery data to this site please contact me.  Copyright resides with the contributor.  Any additions or correction you may have on any of these cemeteries, please email me with the information and I will gladly add it.

 

 Return to Home Page                                     Return to History Index  

 

IX.   POLITICAL REVOLUTION AT HAND 

Ontario County’s Protest against Repeal of the Missouri Compromise--Conscience Whigs Obtain a Newspaper Organ--A Roll of Honor--Call for County Anti-Nebraska Convention--Delegates Elected to State Convention--Resolutions against Slavery Extension. 

Through the refusal, in 1851, of the conservative or Silver Gray wing of the Whig party to follow the leadership of William H. SEWARD, and the consequent defection of the Whig organ of Ontario county, the Repository, the way opened for the establishment in Canandaigua of a new paper to voice the sentiments of the Anti-Slavery or Conscience Whigs, and Nathan J. MILLIKEN, of Seneca Falls, was called to undertake the task.  These were but the local expressions of a ferment that was permeating the North.  The people of the Free States, both Whigs and Democrats, had become determined to prevent the extension of the area of slavery, as had been shown as early as 1846 by the votes of their representatives in Congress in support of the Wilmot Proviso excluding slavery from new acquisitions of territory.  Although those representatives had supinely retreated from their position the following year and the Whigs had nominated General TAYLOR on a platform silent on the slavery question, public sentiment at the North was crystallizing and intensifying, the people of the North were becoming impatient and disgusted at the cowardly attitude of both the old parties, and, even as early as 1852, the portents heralded the complete reorganization of political forces. 

The editor of the new paper at Canandaigua aggressively declared that “without seeking to enlist the interference of government with the affairs of slavery, as now existing in the several States, it will firmly and earnestly oppose its extension over territory now free, and resist by all honorable means the admission of new slave States and the encroachments of the slave power upon the rights and interests of the people.

Regarding the present law, providing for the recovery of fugitive slaves, as unnecessarily stringent in its provisions, and unjust in its practical operation, it will claim, and on all proper occasions exercise, the privilege of urging its entire repeal or essential modification, and of exposing to public condemnation the shameful and dangerous abuses by which its execution is often characterized.” 

This editorial, expressing the sentiments of the Conscience Whigs of 1852, shows that the young men of that time were animated by a spirit of liberty and supported principles of government that were not only destined to create a new political organization, but that were to direct the policy of that organization for years to come. 

The election of General PIERCE, the Democratic candidate for the Presidency in 1852, was on a platform that solemnly promised the country repose from slavery agitation, on the basis of the so-called Missouri compromise, but Archibald DIXON, Henry CLAY’s successor in the Senate, appearing as the champion of the arrogant slave oligarchy of the South, in December, 1853, proposed that when the bill to organize the territory of Nebraska should come before that body he would move that “the Missouri compromise be repealed, and that the citizens of the several States shall be at liberty to take and hold their slaves within any of the territories.” 

The bill when reported from the committee, of which Senator Stephen A. DOUGLAS, of Illinois, was chairman, proposed the organization of the territories of Kansas and Nebraska.  It specifically declared the Missouri compromise inoperative and void and that “its true intent and meaning was not to legislate slavery into any Territory or State and not to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people perfectly free to regulate their domestic institutions in their own way.”

This was a fire brand that aroused the people of the Free States. 

To express the feeling of the people in Ontario county, a public meeting was held, the call for which appeared in The Times of February 23, 1854, and read as follows: 

Freedom to the Territories. 

The citizens of Ontario county, opposed to the Repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the extension of Slavery into the new territories of Nebraska and Kansas, as contemplated by the bill lately introduced in the United States Senate, by Mr. DOUGLAS, are invited, irrespective of party, to meet at the Court House, in Canandaigua, on Tuesday, the 28th of Feb. instant, for the purpose of protesting against that proposed violation of plighted faith.  (signed):

Hiram METCALF,

J. B. SANDS,

E. W. GARDNER, Jr.

Gideon GRANGER,

John REZNOR,

John S. BATES,

Wm. HILDRETH,

Henry HOWE,

Wm. H. LAMPORT,

Harlow MUNSON,

S. R. WHEELER,

R. SIMMONS, 2d,

P. P. BATES,

N. W. RANDALL,

Benj. GAUSS,

John B. COOLEY,

H. N. JARVIS,

David PICKET,

Wm. DEMMING,

Jas. S. COOLEY,

J. P. FAUROT,

John J. LYON,

S. V. R. MALLORY,

D. A. ROBINSON, Jr.

T. J. McLOUTH,

Reuben MURRAY, Jr.

A. N. HUDSON,

T. E. HART,

A. G. MURRAY,

James M. BULL,

John P. HUDSON,

Charles COY,

W. FAILING,

Edward BRUNSON,

S. CORSON,

L. B. GAYLORD,

Harry WARD,

Orson BENJAMIN,

N. J. MILLIKEN,

Henry W. TAYLOR,

Owen EDMONSTON,

Francis MASON,

Solomon GOODALE, Jr.

Geo. L. WHITNEY,

Wm. F. REED,

Wm. G. LAPHAM,

Wilmouth SMITH,

Nelson PARMALEE,

E. G. LAPHAM,

Seth C. HART,

Amos JONES,

Waldo CURTISS. 

Of the men whose name appear on the above roll of honor, only one, E. W. GARDNER, Esq., of Canandaigua, survives at this writing, but they embraced representatives of both Whig and Democratic parties, were from all parts of the county, and for the most part were prominent in political movements of the succeeding months and in the organization of the new party. 

This first Anti-Nebraska meeting must have been a notable gathering.  It is recorded that it was attended by “a large number of the most influential and respectable citizens of the county.” 

Hon. Albert LESTER, presided; and there were six vice presidents; Henry W. TAYLOR, of Canandaigua; Amos JONES, Esq., of Hopewell; Amos A. POST, Esq., of Seneca; Hon. John LAPHAM, of Farmington; Z. Barton STOUT, Esq., of Richmond; and Judge Lyman CLARK, of Manchester.  T. HINCKLEY and J. C. SHELTON acted as secretaries. 

A committee of five, consisting of E. G. LAPHAM, Gideon GRANGER, Orson BENJAMIN, M. A. WILSON, and Peter S. BONESTEEL, offered the following resolution: 

Resolved, That we, the citizens of Ontario county, standing upon all the compromises of the Constitution, and willing to abide by all the preserved rights of the States, have viewed with regret the proposition now pending before the American Congress to repeal the Missouri Compromise, and thus open the vast territories of Nebraska and Kansas to the incursions of slavery; and we enter our SOLEMN PROTEST against this violation of plighted faith. 

The speeches which followed were evidently not couched in as moderate language as that of the resolution.  Judge TAYLOR denounced the Douglas fraud; Hon. Alvah WORDEN appealed to the audience whether they would submit if the bill became a law, and was responded to in a spirit and manner the most emphatic and enthusiastic; E. G. LAPHAM spoke eloquently and most earnestly against the Nebraska bill and urged all parties of the North to unite and resist the further extension of slavery; M. O. WILDER urged the necessity of acting then, if the whole of the United States was not to be surrendered to slavery; Hon. Joshua A. SPENCER, of Utica, present as a spectator, declared that Canandaigua was the place of all others where a meeting of this kind should be held.  It being the former home of Stephen A. DOUGLAS, he should know of this meeting, and know what his early friends and neighbors thought of “fraud, dishonesty, and falsehood.”  Ontario county should speak out in such tones as to cause his knees to knock together with fear.  So the speeches were mentioned in the succeeding issue of the local Anti-Slavery organ, and the reporter added these comments: 

“The meeting, composed as it was, of all parties, and nearly a third of it composed of gray-haired men who were voters and active citizens when the Missouri compromise was passed, was one of the most solemn and earnest protests against its repeal that there yet has been.  If it has no influence at Washington, it will have a good effect here.  In response to the earnest and powerful appeals of the speakers, the people will be aroused to act.  They will hereafter prevent the election of ‘Northern men with Southern principles,’ and take the forsaken position of our forefathers that slavery, instead of being extended, shall be abolished wherever Congress has the power to do it.  So mote it be.” 

Political revolution was in the air!  The “domestic institution” of the South had overstepped the bounds of safety. 

The meeting held in Canandaigua, February 23, 1854, was not a political convention in the usual sense of that term.  Neither the men who called it nor those who participated in its proceedings had any clear conception of what was to result from the movement on which they had embarked.  They assembled simply as citizens to protest against a threatened violation of what was considered throughout the North as the plighted faith of the Nation, but that the issue was recognized as a momentous one and as likely to lead to a serious division between the North and South is evidenced in the report we have of the speeches made at the meeting. 

The events of the succeeding weeks in that pregnant year of 1854 intensified the feeling of the people.  Upon the passage by Congress of the bill for the organization of the territories of Nebraska and Kansas, with the proviso that slavery might be extended to those territories, public indignation over the matter increased.  The demand for organized action by the friends of liberty became more and more insistent, and finally it was determined to call an “Anti-Nebraska” State convention, to be held in Saratoga, August 16. 

This was really the first step taken in New York State toward the organization of the Republican party.  Similar conventions were held in all the Free States.  In Michigan, Wisconsin, Maine, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, the coalitionists adopted the name “Republican.”  But in New York the call was not for a convention at which to organize a new party.  It is true the National Whig party was practically dead, “died of an attempt to swallow the Fugitive Slave law” according to the popular verdict.  It could neither speak nor keep silence on what had become the paramount issue, slavery extension.  But under the inspiring leadership of William H. SEWARD, its dominant or “Woolly Head” faction in this State was holding its forces together and its leaders were reluctant to surrender its organization or confess it a wreck.  They yet hoped to rally the opponents to slavery extension under the Whig banner and so unite the North.

The call for a county mass meeting at which to elect delegates to this proposed State convention read as follows: 

Mass Convention 

The undersigned respectfully invite the electors of the County of Ontario, without distinction of party, who disapprove of the late pro-slavery legislation of the present Congress, and who are in favor of the repeal or modification of the Nebraska and Kansas bill, and likewise of the fugitive slave law of 1850, the rejection of new States applying for admission to the Union with slavery tolerating constitutions, and the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia and in all the territories of the United States, to assemble in Convention at the Court House in Canandaigua on Saturday, the 5th day of August, at 12 o’clock M., for the purpose of appointing five delegates from each Assembly district to the great State convention, to be held at the village of Saratoga Springs, on Wednesday, the 16th day of August next, and for the purpose of expressing their views in relation to the growing assumptions and aggressions of the slave power. 

Thos. TERRY,

J. F. GUE,

Allen WOOD,

C. C. GREEN,

H. PADELFORD,

J. DEWEY, Jr.

E. P. GUE,

David WOOD,

Z. PADDLEFORD,

M. FINLEY,

Rob’t ROYCE,

Aaron POMEROY,

A. Spencer WOLCOTT,

W. DOOLITTLE,

E. SWAN,

G. BROWN,
J. A. HEAZLIT,

L. B. STOUT,

J. GARLINGHOUSE,

H. ASHLEY,

John OGDEN,

G. WILLSON,

S. WILLSON,

M. MUNGER,

R. STEVENS,

Theodore E. HART,

John WARFIELD,

D. F. ALVERSON,

J. C. FAIRCHILD,

Jesse CAMPBELL,

Edward C. GRIFFITH,

John MOSHER,

L. B. ANTISDALE,

Jas. ANDERSON, Jr.

D. A. ANDERSON,

W. HURD,

J. S. DUNHAM,

M. A. ROBINSON,

Lorenzo E. CLARK,

Thos. H. STRINGHAM,

N. J. MILLIKEN,

Chester STODDARD,

Edwin BARNARD,

Enos KENT,

W. F. CURRY,

Andrew MERRELL,

Isaac PLATT,

I. R. PECK,

H. KENDALL,

E. P. POMEROY,

John W. TAYLOR,

A. S. BUEL,

Chas. C. MURPHY,

William P. JUDD,

Andrew PEEZ,

Frederick JUDD,

N. PARMELE,

Samuel HOUGH,

H. E. BOSTWICK,

Josiah PORTER,

Abram PIERCE,

R. C. MUNSON,

J. D. THOMPSON,

F. F. WILSON,

L. K. BETTS,

J. F. SALMON,

R. C. STILES,

C. W. HIGBY,

A. BAGLEY,

H. S. WILKINSON,

B. F. ADAMS,

Luther MUNSON,

Joseph S. STEELE,

Joseph BUTLER,

J. A GOSS,

W. P. SPEAKER,

C. H. SEYMOUR,

John BEMENT,

H. H. TITUS,

I. C. WEBSTER,

P. D. HORTON,

Oliver H. ROYCE,

S. V. R. MALLORY,

J. MORSE, Jr.

Peter PITTS,

G. W. PITTS,

N. HICKS,

N. H. LEE,

L. HAWES,

N. ASHLEY,

Gideon PITTS,

W. C. STOUT,

D. A. PIERPONT,

S. T. SEWARD,

Orson BENJAMIN,

John LAMPORT,

W. CHILDS,

Charles JONES,

J. H. BUNNEL,

Cornelius DAVIS,

Daniel SPRING,

Orrin HART,

W. M. CHIPMAN,

Austin PERSONS,

Wm. TOZER.

Seneca SMITH,

Thos. C. BURLING,

Isaac O’DELL,

Reuben MURRAY, Jr.,

J. M. HOWEY,

Francis J. LAMB,

Henry W. TAYLOR,

Frederic MUNSON,

A. D. PLATT,

G. C. SEELYE,

Abraham FISH,

W. N. SMITH,

D. W. MARTZ,

Wm. COLLINS,

Horace SIMMONS,

C. H. MARSH,

Wm. WOOLSTON,

Phineas FABES,

Geo. T. WHEATON,

Harlow MUNSON,

Thayer GAUSS,

A. H. BRADLEY,

G. N. ALLEN,

Augustus BUELL,

Edward BRUNSON,

L. H. BRUNSON,

E. J. BRUNSON,

Charles L. LEETE,

H. W. HAMLIN,

H. FIFIELD,

T. H. KELLOGG, Jr.,

Morris NEWTON,

Wm. HOBART,

Seely SERGENT,

John MOULTON,

E. M. BRADLEY,

H. BEACH,

John WILLEY,

John C. BEACH,

Daniel T. WEBSTER,

William BRADLEY,

Reuben NORTON,

Charles WILLIAMS,

Thomas SMITH,

Z. J. WHEELER,

George ALLEN,

Samuel HOW,

M. TOOKER,

S. B. POND,

Franklin EDGERTON,

David SHERRELL,

G. W. BARBER,

John H. STOTHOFF,

Milton EDMONSTON,

James SNOW,

Albert BANTA,

W. C. SHEAR,

H. K. CORNELL,

Joseph JUNE,

Edward WILCOX,

Timothy HOWLEY,

J. Q. ADAMS,

Daniel STEWART,

George PLUMER,

Samuel PARKER,

Linus M. GOODWIN,

John J. STONE,

Isaac N. HART,

H. O’DELL,

David CARLOUGH,

Harris ANDREWS,

Lewis COLLER,

L. MILES,

Richmond CASE, Jr.,

Isaac D. PECK,

Wm. PICKETT,

Samuel H. BUSH,

N. G. WILSON,

J. H. MASON,

S. F. AMBLER,

John WOOD,

Stephen SAXTON,

A. J. PIERCE,

J. W. HAWLY,

I. R. PARCELL,

J. B. SANDS,

Jesse MASON,

John S. BATES,

Henry PARDEE,

Curtiss BENNETT,

William SMITH,

M. LEWIS,

Albert SIMONDS,

Hezekiah FERGUSON,

Geo. W. CLARK,

Geo. N. WEST,

J. CRONK,

B. B. TRASK,

Wm. I. TROMER,

M. A. NORTON,

B. NEWMAN,

H. PECK,

T. O. SMITH,

P. S. RICHARDSON,

S. F. FOWLER,

Wm. GALLUP,

A. L. PEET,

Oliver H. GROW,

E. W. FRISBIE,

T. M. BIDDLECOM,

Alver WARREN,

V. V. DRAPER,

C. S. WRIGHT,

V. R. W. HORTON,

M. O. WILDER,

R. VanVRANKEN,

S. C. HERSEY,

Charles MONROE,

C. S. MORRIS,

G. W. ATCHLEY,

Benj. GATES,

B. M. PADGET,

John FRAZER,

Conrad CLINE,

John W. JUNE,

Charles E. JONES,

Daniel UPRIGHT,

I. R. SNOW,

W. A. SMITH,

Zenas WHEELER,

T. E. HURLRICK,

Thomas PADDEN,

A. Y. PECK,

John ARNOLD,

W. D. GREGORY,

M. Q. McFARLAND,

John DEPUE,

Harry GREGORY,

Jonathan HERRIOT,

John B. COLLER,

Chester A. COLLER,

John PECK,

Welcome ARNOLD,

Liberty HAYDEN,

George DUNKEL,

John S. CHAPIN,

E. N. GREEN,

C. REMINGTON,

Wm. W. WARREN,

L. O. LAMPMAN,

Wm. McGINES,

E. E. CLARK,

W. G. ANTIS,

L. J. SUTHERLAND,

J. L. ADAMS,

L. C. AYLSWORTH,

P. P. BATES,

Samuel TALLMADGE,

James WALLING,

Marcus BICKFORD,

A. H. PARKS,

John STOCKWELL,

D. W. FISH,

Joseph BRISTOL,

Andrew ROWLEY,

Ansel PERKINS,

W. D. NORTON,

T. R. GROW,

Elijah EATON,

David HEATH,

Wm. B. LYNCH,

Jonathan WEST,

F. SALE,

Wm. W. MARSH,

J. M. BEAVER,

J. GREENMAN,

John Q. HOWE,

Chester GAYLORD,

Wm. WHITING,

Harvey RICE,

H. W. JONES,

James COVERT,

S. C. BROWN. 

Not all those who signed the call for the county mass meeting of February 23, endorsed the progressive step embraced in this supplementary movement.  Among the signers of the first call were a number of “Silver Grays,” as that faction of the Whig party was called which had taken the ground that to reopen the slavery agitation would be to disrupt the Union.  Alvah WORDEN, one of the local leaders of that faction, had spoken eloquently in support of the resolution adopted.  But the Silver Grays, many of whom were sincere opponents of slavery extension, distrusted Seward’s leadership, and refrained from identifying themselves with a movement that had in it the possibilities of disunion.  Some of the Democrats, too, who had participated in the earlier meeting held aloof from this.  It was hard for the leaders of either party to take a step that meant the loosening of old political ties. 

Francis GRANGER and Alvah WORDEN, like many other Whig leaders, never came into the Republican party, though Mr. GRANGER at least rendered valiant service to the Union as a War Democrat.  E. G. LAPHAM, on the other hand, was a type of the younger leaders of the Northern Democracy who, after a little natural hesitation at the leap, identified themselves with the new political organization and gained recognition as among its most earnest supporters and advisers. 

The Ontario county Anti-Nebraska convention was held in the court house at Canandaigua on the day appointed, Saturday, August 5.  Ira R. PECK, of East Bloomfield acted as temporary chairman and Orson BENJAMIN, of Canandaigua, as secretary.

Committees were appointed as follows:  On organization--Jedediah DEWEY, Jr., Frederick W. COLLINS, John S. BATES, S. A. CODDING and Thomas STRINGHAM; on resolutions--N. J. MILLIKEN, Silas C. BROWN, Orlando MORSE, Edward BRUNSON, and E. W. SIMMONS.  Upon recommendation of the committee on organization, permanent officers of the convention were chosen as follows:  President, Henry PARDEE, of Victor.  Vice-Presidents, J. H. MASON, of Canandaigua; T. J. McLOUTH, of Farmington; Platt REYNOLDS, of Manchester; Zebina LUCAS, of Canandaigua; A. J. SHANNON, of Seneca.  Secretaries, Myron ADAMS, of East Bloomfield; E. W. SIMMONS, of Bristol, and John MOSHER, of Canandaigua.  Mr. PARDEE declined to act as chairman of the meeting and Jedediah DEWEY, Jr., of Manchester, was elected in his place.  Committees were appointed to nominate delegates to the Saratoga convention, as follows:  For the Eastern district, William D. GREGORY, Lucius HOW, and Alfred DEWEY; and for the Western district, Joseph GARLINGHOUSE, A. G. MURRAY, and Silas C. BROWN.  On recommendation of these committees, delegates were elected as follow:  For the Eastern district, John M. BRADFORD, Charles W. SABIN, Hiram ODELL, Thomas J. McLOUTH, and John Q. HOWE:  for the Western district, Lyman HAWES, Asa BALL, E. W. SIMMONS, Ira R. PECK, and John MOSHER. 

Resolutions were adopted declaring that the South, in procuring an organization of the territories of Nebraska and Kansas under laws designed to effect the establishment of slavery therein, had released the North from obligations to sustain or respect any compromises save those of the Constitution:  pledging the members of the convention to use all constitutional means to defeat the unhallowed project of slavery extension, to ensure the repeal or modification of the Nebraska and Kansas bill, to procure the repeal or modification of the Fugitive Slave law of 1850, the rejection of new States applying for admission to the Union with slavery tolerating constitutions, and the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia and in all the territories of the United States; pledging them, irrespective of party, to support no candidate for Congress who was not fully committed to an active and vigorous advocacy of the measures and policy herewith set forth; tendering thanks to Hon. Andrew OLIVER, representative in Congress from this district, for his manly and determined opposition to the infamous Nebraska swindle; approving of the organization and object of the Emigrant Aid Society; and deprecating the proposition to nominate a State ticket at the Saratoga convention. 

The Saratoga convention of the 15th of August was notable for the resolutions adopted upon the recommendation of a committee of which Horace GREELEY was chairman.  These resolutions declared the right of the general Government to prohibit “the extension, establishment, or perpetuation of human slavery in any and every territory of the United States,” denounced the doctrine of Popular Sovereignty as a surrender to the slave power, asserted that “free labor and slave labor cannot co-exist on the same soil,” and approved the efforts then in progress for the colonization “with free souls and strong arms” of Kansas and other territories.  The convention then adjourned until September 26, for the purpose of taking action in regard to the nomination of candidates for State offices.

 

Html Created by Dianne Thomas  

 

These electronic pages may be printed as a link or for personal use, but is NOT to be reproduced
in any format for profit or presentation by ANY other organization or persons.

Copyright  2007 - 2015

Return to Home Page

[NY History and Genealogy]