December 5, 1860: Franklin Pierce calls for Union

Franklin Pierce
Franklin Pierce

From the National Republican, Dec. 5, 1860:

Ex-president Pierce has written a letter to a friend, on the national crisis, which is published in the Washington Constitution. In it he says: “I trust the South will make a large draft on her devotion to the Union, and be guarded by the wise moderation which the exigency so urgently calls for. Can it be that this flag, with all the stars in their places, is no longer to float at home, abroad, and always, as an emblem of our united power, common freedom, and unchallenged security? Can it be that it is to go down in darkness, if not in blood, before we have completed a single century of our independent national existence? I agree with you, that madness has ruled the hour in pushing forward a line of aggressions against the South, but I will not despair of returning reason, and of a returning sense of constitutional right and duty.”

Pierce had some influence in the South, having supported the Lecompton Constitution in Kansas, but he was not a very effective president, and his Unionist urging didn’t do much good.

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