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The Welsh In Oneida County, New York  |  Evans  |  The Welsh Politics |  23

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Though the space devoted to abolition was reduced after the election of 1844,
Y Cenhadwr still continued to work for the cause. Beside Everett's own articles there were many contributions from Morris Roberts, and the other supporters of the party. Aid was even received from the old country. In the issue for June 1845 appeared a long letter from W. Rees of Liverpool, in which he expressed great surprise and sorrow that any of the Welsh in the United States should give their votes for slavery and urged them to vote for Congressmen who were opposed to slavery. (21) Such letters appeared frequently.

The endeavor always was to convince the Welsh that action for the aid of the slave was necessary and that such action could not be looked for in the Democratic or Whig parties, but must be sought through the Liberty Party. When in 1848 the Free Soil Party was formed with its principle of no slavery in the territories, Everett like most of the others in the Liberty Party was willing to put aside for the time his more radical doctrines and joined it. He would have preferred John P. Hales to Martin Van Buren as candidate for president, but he rejoiced to see Van Buren and thousands of others, who had in times gone by worked on the side of the slave masters, now changing to the side of freedom. (22) Among these thousands there were many Welsh. In Oneida the work of Everett and his followers was telling. The abolition sentiment was strong enough in September of 1848 so that the Oneida Cymanfa of the Congregationalists passed a resolution that they would oppose the extension of slavery and do what they could to end slavery in the districts where the general government had authority. (23) The votes in Remsen and Steuben in 1848 showed a strong support for Fish, the Whig nominee for governor; the vote for Dix does not indicate that his supporters were all Free Soilers, for certain divisions of the Whigs and Democrats supported him also. At any rate, the anti-slavery men had largely increased their vote. When the Congressional Cymanfa a second time passed resolutions against slavery in 1849, though had to admit that "our people generally consider themselves opposed to slavery and for the freedom of the slaves, but the greatest part of them continue to give their votes to the slave holders and assert at the same time that they are indeed standing for the cause of the slave", (24) yet there was evident among them greater confidence in the success of the cause. Indeed with the majority of the ministers behind the movement, it could be but a short time before the mass of the people were drawn into line.

For lack of the necessary facts one cannot follow in detail the development among the Welsh of that anti-slavery spirit which was not satisfied with the refusal of both Whigs and Democrats to take action against slavery and was angered by their weak-kneed concessions to the South in the Compromise of 1850. The publication of
Uncle Tom's Cabin, first as a serial in 1853 in Y Cyfaill and then in book form by Everett, was calculated to stir up a more active anti-slavery spirit among them.

But it was for the Kansas-Nebraska Act to bring the Welsh as a body to the anti-slavery cause. There was no refuge for the anti-Nebraska Democrats and Whigs among the Welsh in the Know Nothing party; they had to seek the ranks of the Free Soilers. Though but few of the Oneida Welshmen had responded to Everett's exhortations that they should go to Kansas to aid in making it a free state, there was a general opposition among them to this last encroachment of the slave power upon the north and a general opposition to the Democratic party which had put through this act. The Whig party disappeared and its members, like the old Democrats, were ready for a new party organized on the basis of opposition to slavery extension by Congressional action, and when the Republican Party was organized, they were behind it almost to a man.

The Campaign of 1844 had stirred up the Welshmen in Oneida, but now in 1856 they were really aroused as well as all the other Welsh settlements in the country, and in this campaign they were all ranged together. All of their periodicals save
Y Cyfaill, which was neutral, were strong for the Republican Party. (25) All through the summer of 1856 Y Cymro Americanaidd had its columns filled with Republican campaign arguments and reports of the founding of Fremont clubs and the holding of Republican meetings among the Welsh. Political tracts of many kinds were gotten out in the Welsh, Summer's Crime Against Kansas was translated and circulated as campaign material and a Welsh Life of Fremont was scattered among them. Never had the Welsh been so roused over a political issue; and they were unanimous now. From Troy, New York came the word that in their little settlement there "The Welsh are as true as steel to freedom; (26) the Carbondale (PA where there was a large Welsh settlement) Transcript said: "In all our political experience we have never known the Welsh as a class so thoroughly aroused to the importance of action as at the present crisis. It is general throughout the extensive Welsh settlements in various parts of the Union. They have established Fremont Clubs in most of their settlements and we learn that our Welsh citizens intend holding one or two Republican meetings during the fall, when it is expected that they will be favored by addresses from some distinguished Welshmen from abroad." (27)

In Oneida County there was the same general union of the Welshmen in the new party as elsewhere. They held a meeting in Holland Patent, October 11, 1856, at which were present delegates from all the Welsh settlements in the county. Reports from these delegates "showed that in many of the towns nearly every Welsh voter was openly for Freedom and Fremont while in several others the 'black list' was hopelessly small. The committee of arrangements reported that inasmuch as they were advised that the Welsh electors of Oneida County were almost universally for Freedom and Fremont, they deemed it unnecessary to call a county mass meeting, but recommended the holding of a series of town and school meetings to sympathize with and aid the oppressed freemen in Kansas and further the Republic cause. Town committees of three were appointed for the calling of school district meetings and the circulation of Republican documents. (28)

The Welsh were now united in one party and that party organized on the principle of opposition to slavery. It was what Everett and his supporters had worked for and the work, once done, was permanent. To this day the Welsh have stayed close to the Republican Party, voting with it regularly until a portion of them broke away to follow Roosevelt in 1912.

The excuse for giving this account of the Welsh in politics in some detail is the interest which attaches to the process of absorption by the American body of an alien people, especially a people who speak a different tongue. The interest which they take in current political affairs, the ease or lack of it which they show in adopting the political methods they find here, and the strength of the feeling aroused in them by political issues, all these indicate the adaptability of the race to new and changed conditions, and the development of any of these characteristics over a period of time makes an interesting study in amalgamation. The facts are too scattered at present to allow for a complete study of this kind in connection with the Welsh. This chapter has served its purpose if it has indicated what have been the tendencies of the Welsh in political affairs in America.

The growth and the decline of the Welsh church and the Welsh press, as well as the causes for both, serve to show the process of amalgamation and if they have indicated how these Welshmen have been absorbed into the American body, giving up to a certain extent the special institutions they brought with them, these chapters will have served their end.

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