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tenance, together with that pathetic
that pathetic came president of the senate, presiding eloquence which only an old man can be judge of the court of errors, member of possessed of, caused him to be well-nigh the canal board, etc. worshipped by the assemblages which In the presidential campaign of 1844 he gathered to hear him speak.
was a delegate to the Democratic national In 1834, Mr Dickinson was elected convention, and afterward took an active the first president of the municipal organ- part in the canvass for Polk and Dallas, a ization of Binghamton. He was a member prominent issue in the campaign being of the Democratic national convention at the annexation of Texas. He was one of Baltimore in 1835, which nominated Van the state electors, and assisted in casting Buren and Johnson. He was elected to the vote of New York for the successful the State Senate in 1836, and served, as candidates. In December of the same senator and member of the court for the year Governor Bouck appointed him
United States Senator, in place of Hon. N. P. Tallmadge, who had resigned. The state legislature elected Mr. Dickinson for the succeeding regular term of six years, which expired March 3, 1851. He was chairman of the committee of finance, and took a conspicuous part in all prominent measures, including the annexation of Texas, the war with Mexico, the settlement of the Oregon difficulty with Great Britain, the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, the questions growing out of the acquisition of territory, the compromise measures of 1850, and the formation of governments for New Mexico, California, and Oregon. His first effort of importance in the Senate was a speech in advocacy of the annexation of Texas.
It may be of interest at the present DANIEL STEVENS DICKINSON.
time to recall the fact that Mr. Dickinson (This early portrait, copied from a daguerreotype, was was always something of an “expansionfarnished by D. C. Kibourn, Esq., of Litchfield.)
ist.” In a speech delivered in 1849 he correction of errors, for four years.
In said : “I saw an empire on the north 1840 he was nominated for lieutenant- coming in; and whilst I declare myself in governor. The whole Democratic ticket, favor of the accession at the earliest state and national, was defeated, though practicable moment, no one, I hope, fears Mr. Dickinson received five thousand that I expect to extend slavery there, or, more votes in the state than the presiden- because I am in favor of annexing this, tial electors. His name was again brought that there is no other direction in which foward in 1842, and although he published this Union is to expand. [A voice: 'Is a letter of declination, he was nominated, it Cuba?'] Yes ; Cuba and Canada both. and elected by twenty-five thousand
Let the one take care of itself. We'll take majority. As lieutenant-governor he be
the other first."
In 1848 Mr. Dickinson was a member character of the man to whom it was of the convention which nominated Lewis addressed : Cass for the presidency, who was defeated "In the earlier part of our acquaintance, by the popular military hero of the hour, my dear sir, occurrences took place, which General Zachary Taylor.
I remember with constantly increasing In the session of 1850, the excitement regret and pain ; because the more I have growing out of the question of slavery in known of you, the greater have been my the territories having increased to esteem for your character and my respect alarming extent, both in and out of for
talents. But it is your noble, Congress, Henry Clay introduced in the able, manly, and patriotic conduct, in Senate a proposition for "an amicable support of the great measures of this arrangement of all questions in contro- session, which has entirely won my heart versy between the free and the slave states, and secured my highest regard. I hope growing out of the subject of slavery.” A you may live long to serve your country; select committee of thirteen was organized, but I do not think you are ever likely to to which the whole matter was referred. see a crisis, in which you may be able to Mr. Dickinson was a member of this do so much, either for your own discommittee. Besides Henry Clay, the tinction or for the public good. You have chairman, Daniel Webster, General Cass, stood, where others have fallen ; you have William R. King, John M. Clayton, and advanced with firm and manly step, where others of the oldest, ablest, and most others have wavered, faltered, and fallen conspicuous of the senators, were his and for one, I desire to thank you associates. The consideration of this im- and to commend your conduct out of the portant question continued during nearly fulness of an honest heart." eight months, and was brought to a close In August, 1851, Mr. Dickinson by the passage of bills admitting California addressed a large gathering at the as a State, defining the boundaries of Centennial Celebration of Litchfield Texas, organizing the territories of New county. During the two days devoted Mexico and Utah by acts silent on the to the exercises an address was also subject of slavery, prohibiting the slave delivered by Hon. Samuel Church, LL.D., trade in the district of Columbia, and Chief Justice of the State, a poem was amending the fugitive slave law.
read by Rev. John Pierpont, which was It was at the close of the session of followed by a discourse from Rev. Horace 1850 that Mr. Webster indited a letter to Bushnell, D. D. It was at this time that Mr. Dickinson which has long been re- Mr. Dickinson revisited the scene of his garded as a most graceful and delicate childhood, in the town of Goshen. exhibition of the best traits of a great and In 1853 Mr. Dickinson was appointed noble character. The unpleasant“ occur- collector of the port of New York, but he rences" alluded to by Mr. Webster were declined the position. From the expirasome sharp passages in debate which took tion of his senatorial term up to the place at an early period in their senatorial breaking out of the rebellion, he was acquaintance. The following extract from devoted mainly to his professional busithe letter is an eloquent tribute to the ness and home pursuits.
* In December, 1850, Mr. Webster addressed a note to Mr. Dickinson, requesting him to exert his influence in support of a certain measure. The concluding sentence was :
“I pray you give the subject one of your beneficent smiles.''
After the election of Abraham Lincoln, In 1861 Mr. Dickinson was elected and as the national political affairs began Attorney General of the State of New to assume a serious and threatening York upon the Union ticket, which was aspect, he exerted himself earnestly to elected by a majority of over one hundred avert the impending catastrophe. Unfor- thousand votes. In 1862 the name of tunately, as the people then generally Mr. Dickinson was used in connection believed, his and all other endeavors in with the gubernatorial nomination, but that direction failed of success.
without his wish or encouragement. He The first gun fired at Sumpter aroused supported, with all his zeal, the lamented anew all his love for the Union. He was and patriotic General James S. Wadsworth, among the earliest of those who compre- the Union nominee. hended the situation and came to the Prior to the State election of 1863, Mr. support of the government, though the Dickinson declined a renomination for administration had not been of his party the office of Attorney-General. He was nor of his choice. He made the opening nominated by President Lincoln upon the speech from the principal stand in front joint commission to arrange indemnities of the Washington monument in Union arising under the settlement of the NorthSquare, at the great mass meeting held in western boundary between the United New York, April 20, 1861, at which States and Great Britain, and the nominaGeneral John A. Dix presided ; and from tion was unanimously confirmed by the that time onward he devoted himself un- Senate without the usual reference; but sparingly to the work, speaking day after the position was declined. In December day, frequently twice on the same day of the same year, Governor Fenton with great popular effect, to large assem- tendered him a seat upon the bench of blages of the people in New York state, the Court of Appeals, but that appointment in New England, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, was declined also. and some of the western states. He spoke The last of Mr. Dickinson's “campaignin Connecticut several times during the ing" was in the year 1864, when he war, as many will remember.
labored unceasingly for the reëlection of rallying his fellow citizens, of all classes, Abraham Lincoln.* Undoubtedly the to the support of the government, he took fatigue and extraordinary exertions incidecided ground against keeping up party dent to this campaign did much to divisions-exhorting all loyal men, of undermine his naturally vigorous constituwhatever party, to come to the aid of the tion and hasten his untimely end. From administration.
that time he aged rapidly, appearing fully Mr. Dickinson participated actively in ten years older than he really was at the raising troops for the war in the vicinity of time of his death. his home. The 85th N. Y. Volunteers, In the spring of 1865, and among the enlisted under authority granted to him last of his public acts, President Lincoln from the war department, was named in tendered to Mr. Dickinson the office of his honor "The Dickinson Guard,” to United States District Attorney for the which he presented a stand of colors. A Southern District of New York. Though battery raised at Binghamton and vicinity unsolicited and unexpected, the appointalso bore his name.
ment was accepted, and from that time to * In the Baltimore convention, which renominated Lincoln, Mr. Dickinson received 109 votes for Vice-President on the first ballot. History has recorded that Andrew Johnson received the nomination.
the close of his life he was actively tended to me so generously, beyond the engaged in the discharge of the duties of power of language to delineate. We have that important office. His death occurred met together, my friends, to interchange suddenly April 12, 1866, at the residence opinions upon the principles of the governof his son-in-law, Samuel G. Courtney, ment under which we live; to speak of Esq., in New York city. Though he was our beloved Union, now menaced with denied the fondly cherished hope that he danger, and to contribute our influence to would be permitted to die in his own its preservation and perpetuity. home at Binghamton, long known as “The “I come among you from another state, Orchard," yet his second desire, to be under circumstances, to me, of peculiar laid in Spring Forest cemetery, so near,
interest. Early in the present century, a was not denied him.
farmer of slender pecuniary means, but Had not Mr. Dickinson's life been strong in generous and manly purpose almost wholly devoted to public and pro- and self-reliant industry, residing in a fessional duties, he might undoubtedly secluded and romantic section of this have become a poet of distinction. An state, removed with his wife and a family early and learned friend wrote of him : of
children to the interior of New “Mr. Dickinson was a born poet.” The York, where the wilderness was but little best known of his poetical compositions broken by the habitations of man. There
“To Lydia" (his wife), “ Come to he rekindled his domestic altar-fires, and my Grave Alone,” “There is a Time,” in the true spirit of his native state, for “To Bessie Boyd," "Lines written in the first winter devoted the best part of 1841,” “The Spirit Land,” “Ode for the his humble abode to the purposes of a Times," * "I'm Growing Gray," and the common school, under a Connecticut 'Song of the Perished Elm.”
teacher. Before his sturdy stroke' the An extract from an address by Mr. forest vanished, the wild beast was driven Dickinson on the anniversary of the adop- from his lair, and under the influence of tion of the Constitution of the United his example the schoolhouse sprung up, States, delivered on the park (now Bush- the church was reared, the cultivated field, nell park) in Hartford, September 17, the extended meadow and nodding harvest, 1861, will show in what "fond recollec- greeted the eye of the traveller, and homes tion” and reverence he held the state of of comfort and gathering-places of affechis birth :
tion arose on every hand. Thus, in the ** Were I to remain unmoved by deep hardy virtues and simple tastes of the emotion, upon an occasion so replete with primitive settlements, were his family interest, after an introduction so kind, reared and educated, and among them a and a reception so flattering, I might well son aged six years at the time of his be deemed unappreciative and ungrateful; change of residence. But
rolled and although utterance and expression onward, and may fail me, you have the assurance that 'A change came o'er the spirit of my
dream my heart is touched by the honor ex
The boy had changed to manhood,' * This spirited poem was written in February, 1864, in response to a question by a lady, “Are you for peace?". Secretary of War Stanton secured the poem for publication, and it was widely copied by the loyal press of the country. It was read by the tragedian Murdock before a large audience in the Senate Chamber, at the request of President Lincoln.
+ He was introduced to the audience by Mayor Henry C. Deming.
and had gone out to fight the battles of old gray rock, and danced along so life. He had stood in senates and in merrily to the music of its own rippling, forums with the most distinguished of the was there, but some of those who drank of land; had been laden with the world's its waters now drink of the waters of life, honors, and time and bereavement had which flow out from the rock of ages. written care upon his brow, and silvered But the boy of six years has been spared, his head with the snows of life's approach- and has returned, covered with years, to ing winter. He had revisited the home discharge a sacred obligation of duty and of his birth and of his early years, when affection—to cast his humble offering life had no disguises, hope no blights, and upon the lap of her who gave him birth, the roses along his pathway were thornless; and sent him forth into the world, probut the cottage, like those he had first tected by the angel wings of a mother's known there in the holy relation of blessing. He has come to tell of his parents, had mouldered to dust; the wide country's rise, to rejoice in her progress, stone hearth and broad fireplace were not to mourn over her present decline, and to there; and where, alas ! were the little unite in invocations to Heaven that he group who had gathered around them? may not witness her downfall. The garden-plat could be traced by the fragment of stone wall remaining, but the damson-trees, and fennel-bed, and rose- “And now on taking leave, in the name bush, had perished. The little pathway of that Constitution which we all love and to the old gate was obliterated, and the revere, in the name of this sacred Union pattering of tiny feet was heard there no of our fathers which shelters and protects more ; some were walking the golden us, for the honor and kindness extended streets of Paradise, and some were yet
me, and the attentions shown me upon lingering in paths that lead but to the this my return to my early home, I can grave.' The broad-leaved maples near only tender you the sincere tribute of an the door had disappeared, and those who appreciative and grateful heart. planted them, and sought their shade,
“'Yon sun that sets upon the sea were reposing under the shadow of that
We follow in his flight: tree whose foliage is sadeless. The cool
Farewell awhile to him and thee, spring which gurgled from beneath the My native land-good night.'"