"It was while in the lower house of Congress that Franklin Pierce took that stand on the slavery question from which he has never since swerved a hair’s breadth."

"He fully recognized, by his votes and by his voice, the rights pledged to the South by the Constitution.... [W]hen the first imperceptible movement of agitation had grown to be almost a convulsion, his course was still the same. Nor did he ever shun the obloquy that sometimes threatened to pursue the northern man who dared to love that great and sacred reality — his whole, united, native country — better than the mistiness of a philanthropic theory.... With his view of the whole subject, whether looking at it through the medium of his conscience, his feelings, or his intellect, it was impossible for him not to take his stand as the unshaken advocate of Union, and of the mutual steps of compromise which that great object unquestionably demanded.... Those northern men, therefore, who deem the great causes of human welfare as represented and involved in this present hostility against southern institutions, and who conceive that the world stands still except so far as that goes forward,— these, it may be allowed, can scarcely give their sympathy or their confidence to the subject of this memoir. But there is still another view, and probably as wise a one. It looks upon slavery as one of those evils which divine Providence does not leave to be remedied by human contrivances, but which, in its own good time, by some means impossible to be anticipated, but of the simplest and easiest operation, when all its uses shall have been fulfilled, it causes to vanish like a dream. There is no instance, in all history, of the human will and intellect having perfected any great moral reform by methods which it adapted to that end; but the progress of the world, at every step, leaves some evil or wrong on the path behind it, which the wisest of mankind, of their own set purpose, could never have found the way to rectify."

From "The Life of Franklin Pierce" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, consulted on the occasion of the University of New Hampshire's idea that maybe it ought to rename its Franklin Pierce Law School.

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