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Augusta County: N. Sargent to Alexander H. H. Stuart, October 24, 1859

Sargent discusses ex-Whig hopes to nominate a candidate for the 1860 presidential election in hopes of influencing the Republican's selection of a canidate in the race. Sargent also discusses the political effects of Brown's raid at Harper's Ferry, and asks for Stuart's opinions on the matters.

Oct. 24, 1859


My dear Sir

Gov. Hunt was here on Thursday. I spent the evening with him as did several Old Whigs--Hoags, Tayloe, Wallach & others. Of course the political aspect of the country did not escape observation, and all concurred in the opinion that the conservative opposition ought to raise its standard & stand by it.

To the question, What ought now to be done? I replied that the conservative party ought, in my judgment, to call an early National Convention, nominate candidates for whom moderate Republicans can vote, men in whom all true national conservative men have confidence, & then let the Republicans take what course they may think proper. Such a nomination would, I [unclear: thot], secure the election of the ticket, & the eventual union of all, save the ultra

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ists of the Opposition, North & South. But how shall that Convention be called, & by whom? Was the next inquiry. My reply was, "by the Opposition State Convention, to be held at Richmond, Va. on the 14th Dec.

The opinion seemed to be concurred in that by some such course we should take possession of the track and by presenting an unexceptionable ticket compel the Republican party to adopt it.

The outbreak at Harper's Ferry must exert no small influence upon political movements. It is a [unclear: chuk] upon the Republicans, & must make them more [deleted: ready to] pliable, yielding and conciliatory;--less audacious, confident & exacting. In this state of things it seems to me that boldness, decision & prompt action on our part, is the dictate of sound policy. Timidity & hesitation always invite aggression and encourage assumption.

I should be glad to have your views on this subject.

In regard to candidates; I have no personal preferences, except one, & that I will not name to you. Among a number of good men, we must be governed by policy in the selection of candidates. The Blairs, it is well for us to bear in mind, are for Mr. Bates; and so is Mr. Colfax of Ind. & many of the prominent Republicans of the West. That being the case, would they not exert a strong influence, should he be placed in nomination as I have indicated, in inducing the party of which they are leaders, to adopt our ticket? especially if some Republican, say Foot or Fessenden, were placed on the ticket?

What I rather fear is, that your convention, excited by the late scenes & outrages, will adopt some resolution, or give expression to some sentiment not calculated to "turn away wrath," but to invite by "touching the raw" of the North. I hope, however, you will be able to prevent this.

Mr. Hodge told me he had addressed a letter to you at Richmond, & was desirous to hear from you in reply.

It seems to be generally [unclear: concluded] that the Harpers Ferry transactions have laid Seward on the shelf, as well as Chase, Banks & all others belonging to the "irrepressible conflict" section of the R. party.

I have had congestive chills & fever which came near ending my carreer.

With true regard
Your friend & obat Servt

N. Sargent

When do you deliver your Agricultural address? Hon A. H. H. Stuart

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