Benjamin F. Dowell Calls for Compromise
April 16, 1862

In this public letter from April 1862, Benjamin F. Dowell blamed both the "fanatical abolition party at the North and the secession nullification party at the South" for provoking the Civil War, and he called for "conciliation and compromise."

Jacksonville, OGN., April 18, 1862

To the “Democratic Committee” of Jackson County Oregon.—Gentlemen: I have learned that, at the democratic meeting held at Jacksonville on the 5th inst., I was nominated as a candidate for State Senator, and your Chairman handed me, a few days since, the resolutions which were passed at the meeting.

As I cannot support the resolutions, I am compelled to decline the nomination. In my opinion, “the republican party” is not “wholly to blame for our present difficulties;” but the fanatical abolition party at the North and the secession nullification party at the South are both to blame for the present war. In my judgment, no State has the constitutional right to peacefully secede from the Union, without the consent of Congress.

I have opposed nullification, abolition, secession and disunion, from a boy to the present time; and I intend to do it, and to live in the Union and under the protection of the Government and the stars and stripes, as long as life shall last.

I am politically opposed to many of the acts of the President and his appointees, yet I am for my government, and for the perpetuity of the Union and its constitutional republican institutions.

The American people should submit to many wrongs, and try to correct the evils at the ballot box before they resort to the force of arms and attempt to destroy the most free and the best government on earth. A good citizen should avoid doing anything which cannot benefit himself, and which he knows will irritate and annoy his neighbor. So in politics. The citizens of the United States, North and South should obliterate party lines, and repeal the obnoxious laws and ordinances on both sides.

Hoping that a spirit of conciliation and compromise may prevail; that the fugitive slave law may be faithfully executed; That the personal liberty bills, North and South may be repealed, so that harmony and confidence may be restored; and that our star spangled banner may soon wave triumphantly and peacefully throughout every county in every State, I have the honor to remain

Yours, very respectfully,


Weekly Oregon Statesman, 28 April 1862.