Horatio Seymour of New York always refused to consider any aspect of African slavery as a paramount issue in the country; He felt that “for seventy years the Union had existed with slavery; it need not perish overnight because of it.” He rightly saw anti-slavery rhetoric against the South as designed to divert attention from speculation and corrupt politics in the North.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com
Virtue More Dangerous Than Vice
“As one looks back at the antics of the abolitionists – Garrison burning a copy of the Constitution in a public square; Gerrit Smith playing “possum” at an asylum while the John Brown he had encouraged was found guilty of treason and hauled out to be hanged; self-righteous ranters pleading from their pulpits for the export of rifles to Kansas; industrious Mrs. Stowe embalming the slippery sentimentality of her half-truths in the lachrymose pages of Uncle Tom’s Cabin; even Democratic David Wilmot trying to repair with his famous proviso the political fences he had broken down with his vote for a lower tariff . . .
[T]here comes to mind the words of the ancient philosopher which a president of Yale was always happy to remember”: “Virtue is more dangerous than vice because the excesses of virtue are not always subject to the restraints of conscience.”
(Horatio Seymour of New York, Stewart Mitchell, Harvard University Press, 1938, pp. 229-230)