The North Will Never Tolerate A Division Of Territory
John Hickman of Pennsylvania
United States Senate, December 12 1859

Sir, I have never uttered a political sentiment in my life, that I can remember, that I would not utter here in the hearing of the South - not one. I have always stood by the Democratic party when I believed it to be right. I adhere to the principles of the Democratic party; and I have always opposed that party when I believed it to be wrong; and I intend to do so forever. There shall not be any misunderstanding between any gentlemen upon the Democratic side of the House and myself. I feel perfectly certain that the party has been bankrupted by this Administration of James Buchanan. I know it. I know it; for whenever the Democratic party can no longer control northern masses, then that party is bankrupt; and that is the condition of that party to-day. There is not a northern State, not one, as there is scarcely a northern county, that can be carried upon the doctine upon which Mr. Buchanan this day bases his Administration. I want the party to put itself exactly right at Charleston; and, if it will not put itself right, I want it to put itself plainly wrong. I do not want the people, either of the North or of the South, to be deceived by any platform which can be interpreted in one way in one section and in another way in another section. If it is the sentiment of the Democratic party that slavery shall travel with the column of our advancing civilization, I say, put it so before the people, express it plainly, and receive the northern verdict upon it.

I should have said something about Union meetings at the North, but my friend from New York [Mr. HASKIN] has rendered that entirely unnecessary. I say this, which will cover everything I should have said at greater length: that there is no sentiment now in the North which can plant itself upon southern policy, as I understand it, and live; for the reason that it would be governed by selfish considerations. And if this condition of things existing between the North and South shall lead to a dissolution of this Union, which no one would deplore more than I should; all I can say is, the North, under those circumstances, will endeavor to take care of themselves. I have never seen a northern man, in latter times, that was much scared. I know many men have been alarmed, in times past, at the cries of dissolution; but I have never yet seen a northern man who expressed any alarm as to the results of a dissolution of the Union. I will state what my conviction is on the subject. I do not know, however, that I thoroughly understand what is meant by a dissolution of the Union. If it means a dividing line of sentiment between the North and South, and virtual non-intercourse, why we have reached that dissolution already, for northern men cannot now travel in the South; and, as I understand it, any postmaster in any village of the South, where the receipts of the office would not amount to five dollars, can, if a letter bearing my frank goes into his hands, open it, examine it, and burn it, on the pretext that it is incendiary. Sir, we have reached that dividing line between the North and the South. But, if dissolution means that there is to be a division of territory, by Mason & Dixon's line, or by any other line, I say "no;" that will never be. I express my opinion - and that opinion may go before the country, whether false or true - when I say "no;" the North will never tolerate a division of the territory. [Applause from the Republican benches.]

Mr. GARTRELL. I should like to know how you are to prevent it.

Mr. HICKMAN. I will tell you how it will be prevented. I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet; but I express my belief that there is as much true courage in the North, though it may not be known by the name of chivalry, [sensation,] as there is in the South. I do not use the word contemptuously, for I admire chivalry everywhere. There is as much true courage at the North as there is at the South. I always believed it, and, therefore, I will express it; and I believe, sir, that with all the appliances of art to assist, eighteen millions of men reared to industry, with habits of the right kind, will always be able to cope successfully, if it need be, with eight millions of men without these auxiliaries. [Great sensation, some applause from the Republican benches and the galleries, and hisses in other parts of the Hall.]


The Congressional Globe, The Official Proceedings of Congress, Published by John C. Rives, Washington, D. C.
Thirty-Sixth Congress, 1st Session, New Series...No. 8, Wednesday, December 14, 1859, pages 120-121