The Francis Preston Blair Family in Politics - Vol. 1

By William Ernest Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
THE COMPROMISERS

Never did there devolve on any generation of men higher trusts than now devolve upon us, for the preservation of this Constitution and the harmony and peace of all who are destined to live under it.--DANIEL WEBSTER, 1850.


1

THE strain under which political affiliations and friendships labored from 1849 to 1861 caused them to snap and break asunder. The reformers of the thirties and forties forced the "peculiar institution" of slavery to the fore. Many honest men pondered over the question of what would be best for the United States. Should they allow the South to depart in peace, or should they compromise their principles to save the Union?

Blair knew that if he remained a partner of Rives, the rising animosities between anti-slavery and pro-slavery men would affect the welfare of the non-partisan Globe. He must either sell his share to Rives or persuade Rives to sell to him. More than once he permitted John A. Dix, Stephen A. Douglas, and others of his friends almost to persuade him to set up a press to be dedicated to the interests of the Northern Democracy. But the sage advice from Lindenwald kept him free to offer independent advice to the party. Your "independence should at all events be maintained," wrote Van Buren, for "your usefulness, now, is greatly promoted by it."1

When the political Globe was suspended, Blair and Rives continued their friendly relations in business in Jackson Hall. He trusted Rives with all business transactions and asked Rives for money when he needed it. The names of Mrs. Blair and Betty occur often on the pages of the old ledger, which shows that they had received ten or twenty dollars for this or that.

____________________
1
Van Buren MSS., Blair to Van Buren, Mar. 24, 1850; Blair MSS., Van Buren to Blair, Mar. 3, and May 6, 1850.

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