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A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF HIS ANTECEDENTS.
MILLARD FILLMORE was born in the township of Locke, Cayuga county, Western New-York, 7th Jan. 1800. He is consequently at present in the 57th year of his age, and his preservation, as an amateur of paintings would say, is remarkably good. The first records of his family lead us to Essex county, Mass., where, on the 19th of June, 1701, John Fillmore, a mariner, intermarried with Abigail, daughter of Abraham and Deliverance Tilton. These names carry us back to the times of the early Puritans.
Nathaniel Fillmore, of Bennington, Vermont, grandson of the aforesaid John Fillmore, mariner, and father of the subject of this sketch, intermarried with Phæbe Millard, daughter of Doctor Abiathar Millard, of Pittsfield, Mass., a lady whose many virtues and domestic accomplishments will survive the stone on which they stand recorded.
Two years after Millard's birth, Nathaniel Fillmore lost his property in Locke township, and removed, in 1802, to Sempronius (now Niles), where he resided for twenty-one years, after which he made his final removal to Aurora, where he still resides, in the enjoyment of a vigorous old age.
Until his fifteenth year, Millard Fillmore assisted his father on the farm, and such education as he received was snatched in the intervals of labor; he was then verbally apprenticed to a woolcomber and clothier in the neighborhood, and found employment during the winter months as a teacher, in order to clothe himself and buy such books as he required for further progress.
In his nineteenth year, his acquirements, so far superior to his station, recommended him to the notice of the late Judge Wood, of Cayuga, who helped him with money enough to purchase the
remainder of his time from his employer. After this he entered the judge's office where he studied law and general literature, and picked up a competent knowledge of land-surveying, with the proceeds of which, and by teaching school during winter, he was soon enabled to clear off all pecuniary indebtedness to his benefactor. In 1822, he entered a law office in Buffalo, and was admitted to practice in the spring of the succeeding year. In 1826, he married Abigail Powers, a descendant on the mother's side from the Lelandes, of Sherborn, Mass.; and two years afterwards, he was elected, by a fusion of Whig and Anti-masonic votes, to the State Legislature. His own district returned him to serve in the 23d, 25th, 26th, and 27th Congresses, in the last of which he filled the important post of Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means. His professional engagements were now so large that he refused to serve in Congress any more, the 27th Congress having expired March, 1843. In 1844, there was a strong effort made by the Whigs of New-York to put his name for vice-president on a ticket with Henry Clay's for president. Elected as Comptroller of NewYork State in 1847, he was finally elected vice-president under Gen. Taylor, in 1848; and by the death of that honest and lamented officer on the 9th of July, 1850, Millard Fillmore, the wool-comber's apprentice of Cayuga county, became called upon to discharge the functions of the highest office now, or at any former period, known to, or existing among men.
As this memoir is not a political one, we shall content ourselves with saying, that Daniel Webster was Secretary of State under Mr. Fillmore up to the period of his death, and was succeeded in that high and arduous post by the Hon. Edward Everett. In the fall of 1854, Mr. Fillmore, having suffered severe domestic afflictions, set out for a tour of Europe; and was only recalled from there by the announcement of his unsolicited nomination at Philadelphia.
In person he is about five feet nine inches in height, of a full but not unwieldy habit, and with a countenance whose natural benevolence is set off by the profusion of silvery hair which clusters round his square and massive forehead. His mind is logical, and his style of speaking is argumentative and close, without the smallest pretensions to rhetoric. His language is remarkably clear, and the precision with which he analyses a sophistical statement gives ample evidence that his legal education has not been thrown away. Without the harshness or angularities of “Mr. Gradgrind,” who was forever calling for “facts,” Mr. Fillmore seems to feel the same substantial hunger, and never allows himself to be satisfied with a mere theory.
AMERICAN PLATFORM PUT FORTH AT PHILA
DELPHIA, FEB 22, 1856.
1. An humble acknowledgment to the Supreme Being who rules the Universe, for His protecting care, vouchsafed to our fathers in their successful Revolutionary struggle, and hitherto manifested to us, their descendents, in the preservation of the liherties, the independence and the union of these States.
2. The perpetuation of the Federal Union, as the palladium of our civil and religious liberties, and the only sure bulwark of American Independence.
3. Americans must rule America, and, to this end, native-born citizens should be selected for all State, Federal, and municipal offices, or government employment, in preference to naturalized citizens; nevertheless,
4. Persons born of American parents residing temporarily abroad, should be entitled to all the rights of native-born citizens; but,
5. No person should be selected for political station (whether of native or foreign birth,) who recognizes any allegiance or obligation of any description to any foreign prince, potentate, or power, or who refuses to recognize the Federal and State Constitution (each within its sphere) as paramount to all other laws as rules of political action.
6. The unqualified recognition and maintenance of the reseryed rights of the several States, and the cultivation of harmony and fraternal good-will, between the citizens of the several States, and to this end, non-interference by Congress with questions appertaining solely to the individual States, and non-intervention by each State with the affairs of any other State.
7. The recognition of the right of the native-born and naturalized citizens of the United States, permanently residing in any Territory thereof, to frame their constitution and laws, and to regulate their domestic and social affairs in their own mode, subject only to the provisions of the Federal Constitution, with the right of admission into the Union whenever they have their requisite
population for one Representative in Congress. Provided always, That none but those who are citizens thereof, and State, under the Constitution and laws thereof, and who have a fixed residence in any such Territory, ought to participate in the formation of the Constitution, or in the enactment of laws for said Territory or State.
8. An enforcement of the principle that no State or Territory can admit others than native-born citizens to the right of suffrage, or of holding political office, unless such person shall have been naturalized according to the laws of the United States.
9. A change in the laws of naturalization, making a continued
residence of twenty-one years, of all not heretofore provided for, an indispensable requisite of citizenship hereafter, and excluding all paupers and persons convicted of crime from landing upon our shores; but no interference with the vested rights of foreigners.
10. Opposition to any union between Church and State: no interference with religious faith or worship, and no test oaths for office, except those indicated in the 5th section of this platform.
11. Free and thorough investigation into any and all alleged abuses of public functionaries, and a strict economy in public expenditure.
12. The maintenance and enforcement of all laws until said laws shall be repealed, or shall be declared null and void by competent judicial authority.
13. Opposition to the reckless and unwise policy of the present administration in the general management of our national affairs, and more especially as shown in removing “ Americans” (by designation) and conservatives in principle, from office, and placing foreigners and ultraists in their places; as shown in a truckling subserviency to the stronger, and an insolent and cowardly bravado towards the weaker powers; as shown in re-opening sectional agitation, by the repeal of the Missouri Compromise; as shown in granting to unnaturalized foreigners the right to suffrage in Kansas and Nebraska ; as shown in its vacillating course on the Kansas and Nebraska question; as shown in the removal of Judge Bronson from the collectorship of New-York upon false and untenable grounds; as shown in the corruptions which pervade some of the departments of the Government; as shown in disgracing meritorious naval officers through prejudice or caprice; and as shown in the blundering mismanagement of our foreign relations.
14. Therefore, to remedy existing evils, and prevent the disastrous consequences otherwise resulting therefrom, we would build up the “American party,” upon the principles herein before stated, eschewing all sectional questions, and uniting upon those purely national, and admitting into said party all American citizens (referred to in the 3d, 4th, and 5th sections), who openly avow the principles and opinions heretofore expressed, and who will subscribe their names to this platform. Provided, nevertheless, that a majority of these members present at any meeting of a local Council where an applicant applies for membership in the American party, may, for any reason by them deemed sufficient, deny admission to such applicant.
15th. A free and open discussion of all political principles embraced in our platform.