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2nd proof completed Apr. 11th, 2007. Errata corrected Apr. 13th. Submitted Apr. 13th.
[Signature] James G. Blaine
TWENTY YEARS OF CONGRESS: FROM LINCOLN TO GARFIELD. WITH A REVIEW OF THE EVENTS WHICH LED TO THE POLITICAL REVOLUTION OF 1860.
BY JAMES G. BLAINE.
NORWICH, CONN.: THE HENRY BILL PUBLISHING COMPANY. 1884.
COPYRIGHT, 1884, BY JAMES G. BLAINE.
All rights reserved.
ELECTROTYPED AND PRINTED BY RAND, AVERY, AND COMPANY, BOSTON, MASS.
CONTENTS OF VOLUME I.
CHAPTER I. A REVIEW OF THE EVENTS WHICH LED TO THE POLITICAL REVOLUTION OF 1860. Original Compromises between the North and the South embodied in the Constitution.—Early Dissatisfaction with National Boundaries. —Acquisition of Louisiana from France by President Jefferson.— Bonaparte's Action and Motive in ceding Louisiana.—State of Louisiana admitted to the Union against Opposition in the North.— Agitation of the Slavery Question in Connection with the Admission of Missouri to the Union.—The Two Missouri Compromises of 1820 and 1821.—Origin and Development of the Abolition Party.—Struggle over the Right of Petition.
CHAPTER II. Review of events before 1860 (continued).—Early Efforts to acquire Texas.—Course of President Tyler.—Mr. Calhoun appointed Secretary of State.—His Successful Management of the Texas Question. —His Hostility to Mr. Van Buren.—Letters of Mr. Clay and Mr. Van Buren opposing the Annexation of Texas.—Mr. Clay nominated as the Whig Candidate for the President in 1844.—Van Buren's Nomination defeated.—Mr. Polk selected as the Democratic Candidate.—Disquietude of Mr. Clay.—His Change of Ground.—His Defeat.—Prolonged Rivalry between Mr. Clay and General Jackson.—Texas formally annexed to the Union.
CHAPTER III. Review (continued).—Triumph of the Democratic Party.—Impending Troubles with Mexico.—Position of Parties.—Struggle for the Equality of Free and Slave States.—Character of the Southern Leaders.—Their Efforts to control the Government.—Conservative Course of Secretaries Buchanan and Marcy.—Reluctant to engage in War with Mexico.—The Oregon Question, 54 deg. 40', or 49 deg..—Critical Relations with the British Government.—Treaty of 1846.—Character of the Adjustment.—Our Probable Loss by Unwise Policy of the Democratic Party.
CHAPTER IV. Review (continued).—Relations with Mexico.—General Taylor marches his Army to the Rio Grande.—First Encounter with the Mexican Army.—Excitement in the United States.—Congress declares War against Mexico.—Ill Temper of the Whigs.—Defeat of the Democrats in the Congressional Elections of 1846.—Policy of Mr. Polk in Regard to Acquisition of Territory from Mexico.—Three- Million Bill.—The Famous Anti-slavery Proviso moved by David Wilmot.—John Quincy Adams.—His Public Service.—Robert C. Winthrop chosen Speaker.—Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.—Presidential Election of 1848.—Effort of the Administration to make a Democratic Hero out of the Mexican War.—Thomas H. Benton for Lieutenant-General. —Bill defeated.—Nomination of General Taylor for the Presidency by the Whigs.—Nomination of General Cass by the Democratic Party. —Van Buren refuses to support him.—Democratic Bolt in New York. —Buffalo Convention and the Organization of the Free-soil Party. —Nomination of Van Buren and Charles Francis Adams.—Mr. Clay's Discontent.—Mr. Webster's Speech at Marshfield.—General Taylor elected.—The Barnburners of New York.—Character and Public Services of Mr. Van Buren.
CHAPTER V. Review (continued).—Contrast between General Taylor and General Cass.—The Cabinet of President Taylor.—Political Condition of the Country.—Effect produced by the Discovery of Gold in California. —Convening of Thirty-first Congress.—Election of Howell Cobb as Speaker.—President Taylor's Message.—His Recommendations Distasteful to the South.—Illustrious Membership of the Senate.—Mr. Clay and the Taylor Administration.—Mr. Calhoun's Last Speech in the Senate. —His Death.—His Character and Public Services.—Mr. Webster's 7th of March Speech.—Its Effect upon the Public and upon Mr. Webster.—Mr. Clay's Committee of Thirteen.—The Omnibus Bill.— Conflict with General Taylor's Administration.—Death of the President.—Mr. Fillmore reverses Taylor's Policy and supports the Compromise Measures.—Defeat of Compromise Bill.—Passage of the Measures separately.—Memorable Session of Congress.—Whig and Democratic Parties sustain the Compromise Measures.—National Conventions.—Whigs nominate Winfield Scott over Fillmore.—Mr. Clay supports Fillmore.—Mr. Webster's Friends.—Democrats nominate Franklin Pierce.—Character of the Campaign.—Overwhelming Defeat of Scott.—Destruction of the Whig Party.—Death of Mr. Clay.— Death of Mr. Webster.—Their Public Characters and Services compared.
CHAPTER VI. Review (continued).—The Strength of the Democratic Party in 1853.—Popular Strength not so great as Electoral Strength.—The New President's Pledge not to re-open the Slavery Question.—How he failed to maintain that Pledge.—The North-west Territory.—Anti- slavery Restriction of the Missouri Compromise.—Movement to repeal it by Mr. Clay's Successor in the Senate.—Mr. Douglas adopts the policy of repealing the Restriction.—It is made an Administration Measure and carried through Congress.—Colonel Benton's Position. —Anti-slavery Excitement developed in the Country.—Destruction of the Whig Party.—New Political Alliances.—American Party.—Know- Nothings.—Origin and Growth of the Republican Party.—Pro-slavery Development in the South.—Contest for the Possession of Kansas.— Prolonged Struggle.—Disunion Tendencies developing in the South. —Election of N. P. Banks to the Speakership of the House.—The Presidential Election of 1856.—Buchanan.—Fremont.—Fillmore.— The Slavery Question the Absorbing Issue.—Triumph of Buchanan.— Dred Scott Decision.—Mr. Lincoln's Version of it.—Chief Justice Taney.
CHAPTER VII. Review (continued).—Continuance of the Struggle for Kansas.— List of Governors.—Robert J. Walker appointed Governor by President Buchanan.—His Failure.—The Lecompton Constitution fraudulently adopted.—Its Character.—Is transmitted to Congress by President Buchanan.—He recommends the Admission of Kansas under its Provisions. —Pronounces Kansas a Slave State.—Gives Full Scope and Effect to the Dred Scott Decision.—Senator Douglas refuses to sustain the Lecompton Iniquity.—His Political Embarrassment.—Breaks with the Administration.—Value of his Influence against Slavery in Kansas. —Lecompton Bill passes the Senate.—Could not be forced through the House.—The English Bill substituted and passed.—Kansas spurns the Bribe.—Douglas regains his Popularity with Northern Democrats. —Illinois Republicans bitterly hostile to him.—Abraham Lincoln nominated to contest the Re-election of Douglas to the Senate.— Lincoln challenges Douglas to a Public Discussion.—Character of Each as a Debater.—They meet Seven Times in Debate.—Douglas re- elected.—Southern Senators arraign Douglas.—His Defiant Answer. —Danger of Sectional Division in the Democratic Party.
CHAPTER VIII. Excited Condition of the South.—The John Brown Raid at Harper's Ferry.—Character of Brown.—Governor Wise.—Hot Temper.—Course of Republicans in Regard to John Brown.—Misunderstanding of the Two Sections.—Assembling of the Charleston Convention.—Position of Douglas and his Friends.—Imperious Demands of Southern Democrats. —Caleb Cushing selected for Chairman of the Convention.—The South has Control of the Committee on Resolutions.—Resistance of the Douglas Delegates.—They defeat the Report of the Committee.— Delegates from Seven Southern States withdraw.—Convention unable to make a Nomination.—Adjourns to Baltimore.—Convention divides. —Nomination of both Douglas and Breckinridge.—Constitutional Union Convention.—Nomination of Bell and Everett.—The Chicago Convention.—Its Membership and Character.—Mr. Seward's Position. —His Disabilities.—Work of his Friends, Thurlow Weed and William M. Evarts.—Opposition of Horace Greeley.—Objections from Doubtful States.—Various Candidates.—Nomination of Lincoln and Hamlin.— Four Presidential Tickets in the Field.—Animated Canvass.—The Long Struggle over.—The South defeated.—Election of Lincoln.— Political Revolution of 1860 complete.
CHAPTER IX. The Tariff Question in its Relation to the Political Revolution of 1860.—A Century's Experience as to Best Mode of levying Duties.— Original Course of Federal Government in Regard to Revenue.—First Tariff Act.—The Objects defined in a Preamble.—Constitutional Power to adopt Protective Measure.—Character of Early Discussions. —The Illustrious Men who participated.—Mr. Madison the Leader.— The War Tariff of 1812.—Its High Duties.—The Tariff of 1816.— Interesting Debate upon its Provisions.—Clay, Webster, and Calhoun take part.—Business Depression throughout the Country.—Continues until the Enactment of the Tariff of 1824.—Protective Character of that Tariff.—Still Higher Duties levied by the Tariff of 1828. —Southern Resistance to the Protective Principle.—Mr. Calhoun leads the Nullification Movement in South Carolina.—Compromise effected on the Tariff Question.—Financial Depression follows.— Panic of 1837.—Protective Tariff passed in 1842.—Free-trade Principles triumph with the Election of President Polk.—Tariff of 1846.—Prosperous Condition of the Country.—Differences of Opinion as to the Causes.—Surplus Revenue.—Plethoric Condition of the Treasury.—Enactment of the Tariff of 1857.—Both Parties support it in Congress.—Duties lower than at Any Time since the War of 1812.—Panic of 1857.—Dispute as to its causes.—Protective and Free-trade Theories as presented by their Advocates.—Connection of the Tariff with the Election of Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency. —General Review.
CHAPTER X. Presidential Election of 1860.—The Electoral and Popular Vote.— Wide Divergence between the Two.—Mr. Lincoln has a Large Majority of Electors.—In a Minority of 1,000,000 on Popular Vote.—Beginning of Secession.—Rash Course of South Carolina.—Reluctance on the Part of Many Southern States.—Unfortunate Meeting of South-Carolina Legislature.—Hasty Action of South-Carolina Convention.—The Word "Ordinance."—Meeting of Southern Senators in Washington to promote Secession.—Unwillingness in the South to submit the Question to Popular Vote.—Georgia not eager to Secede.—Action of Other States. —Meeting of Congress in December, 1860.—Position of Mr. Buchanan. —His Attachment to the Union as a Pennsylvanian.—Sinister Influences in his Cabinet.—His Evil Message to Congress.—Analysis of the Message.—Its Position destructive to the Union.—The President's Position Illogical and Untenable.—Full of Contradictions.—Extremists of the South approve the Message.—Demoralizing Effect of the Message in the North and in the South.—General Cass resigns from State Department.—Judge Black succeeds him.—Character of Judge Black.—Secretaries Cobb, Floyd, and Thompson.—Their Censurable Conduct in the Cabinet.—Their Resignation.—Re-organization of Cabinet.—Dix, Holt, Stanton.—Close of Mr. Buchanan's Administration. —Change in the President's Course.—The New Influences.—Analysis of the President's Course.—There were two Mr. Buchanans.—Personal and Public Character of Mr. Buchanan.
CHAPTER XI. Congress during the Winter of 1860-61.—Leave-taking of Senators and Representatives.—South Carolina the First to secede.—Her Delegation in the House publish a Card withdrawing.—Other States follow.—Mr. Lamar of Mississippi.—Speeches of Seceding Senators. —Mr. Yulee and Mr. Mallory of Florida.—Mr. Clay and Mr. Fitzpatrick of Alabama.—Jefferson Davis.—His Distinction between Secession and Nullification.—Important Speech by Mr. Toombs.—He defines Conditions on which the Union might be allowed to survive.—Mr. Iverson's Speech.—Georgia Senators withdraw.—Insolent Speech of Mr. Slidell of Louisiana.—Mr. Judah P. Benjamin's Special Plea for his State.—His Doctrine of "A Sovereignty held in Trust."— Same Argument of Mr. Yulee for his State.—Principle of State Sovereignty.—Disproved by the Treaty of 1783.—Notable Omission by Secession Senators.—Grievances not stated.—Secession Conventions in States.—Failure to state Justifying Grounds of Action.— Confederate Government fail likewise to do it.—Contrast with the Course of the Colonies.—Congress had given no Cause.—Had not disturbed Slavery by Adverse Legislation.—List of Measures Favorable to Slavery.—Policy of Federal Government steadily in that Direction. —Mr. Davis quoted Menaces, not Acts.—Governing Class in the South. —Division of Society there.—Republic ruled by an Oligarchy.— Overthrown by Election of Lincoln.—South refuses to acquiesce.
CHAPTER XII. Congress in the Winter of 1860-61.—The North offers Many Concessions to the South.—Spirit of Conciliation.—Committee of Thirteen in the Senate.—Committee of Thirty-three in the House.—Disagreement of Senate Committee.—Propositions submitted to House Committee.— Thomas Corwin's Measure.—Henry Winter Davis.—Justin S. Morrill— Mr. Houston of Alabama.—Constitutional Amendment proposed by Charles Francis Adams.—Report of the Committee of Thirty-three.— Objectionable Measures proposed.—Minority Report by Southern Members.—The Crittenden Compromise proposed.—Details of that Compromise.—Mr. Adams's Double Change of Ground.—An Old Resolution of the Massachusetts Legislature.—Mr. Webster's Criticism Pertinent. —Various Minority Reports.—The California Members.—Washburn and Tappan.—Amendment to the Constitution passed by the House.—By the Senate also.—New Mexico.—The Fugitive-slave Law.—Mr. Clark of New Hampshire.—Peace Congress.—Invited by Virginia.—Assembles in Washington.—Peace Measures proposed.—They meet no Favor in Congress.—Territories of Colorado, Dakota, and Nevada originated. —Prohibition of Slavery abandoned.—Republicans in Congress do not ask it.—Explanation required.—James S. Green of Missouri.— His Character as a Debater.—Northern Republicans frightened at their own Success.—Anxious for a Compromise.—Dread of Disunion. —Northern Democrats.—Dangerous Course pursued by them.—General Demoralization of Northern Sentiment.
CHAPTER XIII. Mr. Lincoln's Journey from Springfield to Washington.—Speeches on the Way.—Reaches Washington.—His Secret Journey.—Afterwards regretted.—Precautions for his Safety.—President Buchanan.— Secretary Holt.—Troops for the Protection of Washington.—Inauguration of Mr. Lincoln.—Relief to the Public Anxiety.—Inaugural Address. —Hopefulness and Security in the North.—Mr. Lincoln's Appeal to the South.—Fails to appease Southern Wrath.—Dilemma of the South. —The New Cabinet.—The "Easy Accession" of Former Times.—Seward Secretary of State.—Chase at the Head of the Treasury.—Radical Republicans dissatisfied.—Influence of the Blairs.—Comment of Thaddeus Stevens.—The National Flag in the Confederacy.—Flying at only Three Points.—Defenseless Condition of the Government.— Confidence of Disunion Leaders.—Extra Session of the Senate.— Douglas and Breckinridge.—Their Notable Debate.—Douglas's Reply to Wigfall.—His Answer to Mason.—Condition of the Territories.— Slavery not excluded by Law.—Public Opinion in Maine, 1861.—Mr. Lincoln's Difficult Task.—His Wise Policy.—His Careful Preparation. —Statesmanship of his Administration.
CHAPTER XIV. President Lincoln and the Confederate Commissioners.—Misleading Assurance given by Judge Campbell.—Mr. Seward's Answer to Messrs. Forsythe and Crawford.—An Interview with the President is desired by the Commissioners.—Rage in the South.—Condition of the Montgomery Government.—Roger A. Pryor's Speech.—President determines to send Provisions to Fort Sumter.—Advises Governor Pickens.—Conflict precipitated.—The Fort surrenders.—Effect of the Conflict on the North.—President's Proclamation and Call for Troops.—Responses of Loyal States.—Popular Uprising.—Democratic Party.—Patriotism of Senator Douglas.—His Relations with Mr. Lincoln.—His Death.— Public Service and Character.—Effect of the President's Call on Southern States.—North Carolina.—Tennessee.—Virginia.—Senator Mason's Letter.—Responses of Southern Governors to the President's Call for Troops.—All decline to comply.—Some of them with Insolent Defiance.—Governors of the Free States.—John A. Andrew, E. D. Morgan, Andrew G. Curtin, Oliver P. Morton.—Energetic and Patriotic Action of all Northern Governors.—Exceptional Preparation in Pennsylvania for the Conflict.—Governors of Free States all Republicans except in California and Oregon.—Critical Situation on Pacific Coast.—Loyalty of its People.—President's Reasons for postponing Session of Congress.—Election in Kentucky.—Union Victory.—John J. Crittenden and Garrett Davis.—John Bell.— Disappoints Expectation of Union Men.—Responsibility of Southern Whigs.—Their Power to arrest the Madness.—Audacity overcomes Numbers.—Whig Party of the South.—Its Brilliant Array of Leaders. —Its Destruction.
CHAPTER XV. Thirty-Seventh Congress assembles.—Military Situation.—List of Senators: Fessenden, Sumner, Collamer, Wade, Chandler, Hale, Trumbull, Breckinridge, Baker of Oregon.—List of Members of the House of Representatives: Thaddeus Stevens, Crittenden, Lovejoy, Washburne, Bingham, Conkling, Shellabarger.—Mr. Grow elected Speaker.—Message of President Lincoln.—Its Leading Recommendations. —His Account of the Outbreak of the Rebellion.—Effect of the Message on the Northern People.—Battle of Bull Run.—Its Effect on Congress and the Country.—The Crittenden Resolution adopted.— Its Significance.—Interesting Debate upon it in the Senate.—First Action by Congress Adverse to Slavery.—Confiscation of Certain Slaves.—Large Amount of Business dispatched by Congress.—Striking and Important Debate between Baker and Breckinridge.—Expulsion of Mr. Breckinridge from the Senate.—His Character.—Credit due to Union Men of Kentucky.—Effect produced in the South of Confederate Success at Bull Run.—Rigorous Policy adopted by the Confederate Government.—Law respecting "Alien Enemies."—Law sequestrating their Estates.—Rigidly enforced by Attorney-General Benjamin.—An Injudicious Policy.
CHAPTER XVI. Second Session of Thirty-seventh Congress.—The Military Situation. —Disaster at Ball's Bluff.—Death of Colonel E. D. Baker.—The President's Message.—Capital and Labor.—Their Relation discussed by the President.—Agitation of the Slavery Question.—The House refuses to re-affirm the Crittenden Resolution.—Secretary Cameron resigns.—Sent on Russian Mission.—Succeeded by Edwin M. Stanton. —His Vigorous War Measures.—Victories in the Field.—Battle of Mill Spring.—General Order of the President for a Forward Movement. —Capture of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson.—Prestige and Popularity of General Grant.—Illinois Troops.—General Burnside's Victory in North Carolina.—Effect of the Victories upon the Country.—Continued Success for the Union in the South-West.—Proposed Celebration.— The Monitor and the Merrimac.—Ericsson.—Worden.—Capture of New Orleans by Farragut.—The Navy.—Its Sudden and Great Popularity. —Legislation in its Favor.—Battle of Shiloh.—Anxiety in the North.—Death of Albert Sidney Johnston.—General Halleck takes the Field.—Military Situation in the East.—The President and General McClellan.—The Peninsular Campaign.—Stonewall Jackson's Raid.—Its Disastrous Effect.—Fear for Safety of Washington.—Anti- Slavery Legislation.—District of Columbia.—Compensated Emancipation. —Colonization.—Confiscation.—Punishment of Treason.
CHAPTER XVII. Ball's Bluff Disaster.—Mr. Conkling's Resolution of Inquiry.— Unsatisfactory Reply of Secretary Cameron.—Second Resolution.— Second Reply.—Incidental Debate on Slavery.—Arrest of General Charles P. Stone.—His History.—His Response to Criticisms made upon him.—Responsibility of Colonel Baker.—General Stone before the Committee on the Conduct of the War.—His Examination.—Testimony of Officers.—General Stone appears before the Committee a Second Time.—His Arrest by Order of the War Department.—No Cause assigned. —Imprisoned in Fort Lafayette.—Solitary Confinement.—Sees Nobody. —His Wife denied Access to him.—Subject brought into Congress.— A Search for the Responsibility of the Arrest.—Groundless Assumption of Mr. Sumner's Connection with it.—Mr. Lincoln's Message in Regard to the Case.—General Stone's Final Release by an Act of Congress. —Imprisoned for One Hundred and Eighty-nine Days.—Never told the Cause.—Never allowed a Trial.—Appears a Third Time before the Committee.—The True Responsibility for the Arrest.—His Restoration to Service.—His Resignation.—Joins the Khedive's Service.
CHAPTER XVIII. The National Finances.—Debt when the Civil War began.—Deadly Blow to Public Credit.—Treasury Notes due in 1861.—$10,000,000 required. —An Empty Treasury.—Recommendation by Secretary Dix.—Secretary Thomas recommends a Pledge of the Public Lands.—Strange Suggestions. —Heavy Burdens upon the Treasury.—Embarrassment of Legislators. —First Receipts in the Treasury in 1861.—Chief Dependence had always been on Customs.—Morrill Tariff goes into Effect.—It meets Financial Exigencies.—Mr. Vallandigham puts our Revenue at $50,000,000, our Expenditures at $500,000,000.—Annual Deficiency under Mr. Buchanan.—Extra Session in July, 1861.—Secretary Chase recommends $80,000,000 by Taxation, and $240,000,000 by Loans.— Loan Bill of July 17, 1861.—Its Provisions.—Demand Notes.—Seven- thirties.—Secretary Chase's Report, December, 1861.—Situation Serious.—Sales of Public Lands.—Suspension of Specie Payment.— The Loss of our Coin.—Its Steady Export to Europe.
CHAPTER XIX. The Legal-tender Bill.—National Finances at the Opening of the Year 1862.—A Threefold Contest.—The Country thrown upon its own Resources.—A Good Currency demanded.—Government takes Control of the Question.—Authorizes the Issue of $150,000,000 of Legal-tender Notes.—Mr. Spaulding the Author of the Measure.—His Speech.— Opposed by Mr. Pendleton.—Position of Secretary Chase.—Urges the Measure upon Congress.—Speeches by Thaddeus Stevens, Mr. Vallandigham, Mr. V. B. Horton, Mr. Lovejoy, Mr. Conkling, Mr. Hooper, Mr. Morrill, Mr. Bingham, Mr. Shellabarger, Mr. Pike and Others.—Spirited and Able Debate.—Bill passes the House.—Its Consideration by the Senate.—Speeches by Mr. Fessenden, Mr. Sherman, Mr. Sumner, Mr. Bayard, Mr. Collamer and Others.—Bill passes the Senate.—Its Weighty Provisions.—Secretary Chase on State Banks.—Policy of the Legal-tender Bill.—Its Effect upon the Business and Prosperity of the Country.—Internal Revenue Act.—Necessity of Large Sums from Taxation.—Public Credit dependent on it.—Constitutional Provisions.—Financial Policy of Alexander Hamilton.—Excises Unpopular.—Whiskey Insurrection.—Resistance by Law.—Supreme Court Decision.—Case of Hylton.—Provisions of New Act.—Searching Character.—Great Revenue desired.—Credit due to Secretary Chase.
CHAPTER XX. Elections of 1862.—Mr. Lincoln advances to Aggressive Position on Slavery.—Second Session of Thirty-seventh Congress adjourns.— Democratic Hostility to Administration.—Democratic State Conventions. —Platforms in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.—Nomination of Horatio Seymour for Governor of New York.—The President prepares for a Serious Political Contest.—The Issue shall be the Union or Slavery.—Conversation with Mr. Boutwell.—Proclamation of Emancipation.—Meeting of Governors at Altoona.—Compensated Emancipation proposed for Border States.—Declined by their Senators and Representatives.—Anti-slavery Policy apparently Disastrous for a Time.—October Elections Discouraging.—General James S. Wadsworth nominated against Mr. Seymour.—Illinois votes against the President.—Five Leading States against the President.— Administration saved in Part by Border States.—Last Session of Thirty-seventh Congress.—President urges Compensated Emancipation again.—Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863.—Long Controversy over Question of Compensation for Slaves.—Test Case of Missouri. —Fourteen Million Dollars offered her.—General Pope's Campaign. —Army of the Potomac.—Battle of Antietam.—McClellan removed.— Burnside succeeds him.—Defeat at Fredericksburg.—Hooker succeeds Burnside.—General Situation.—Arming of Slaves.—Habeas Corpus.— Conscription Law.—Depressed and Depressing Period.
CHAPTER XXI. The President's Border-State Policy.—Loyal Government erected in Virginia.—Recognized by Congress and Senators admitted.—Desire for a New State.—The Long Dissatisfaction of the People of Western Virginia.—The Character of the People and of their Section.—Their Opportunity had come.—Organization of the Pierpont Government.— State Convention and Constitution.—Application to Congress for Admission.—Anti-slavery Amendment.—Senate Debate: Sumner, Wade, Powell, Willey, and Others.—House Debate: Stevens, Conway, Bingham, Segar.—Passage of Bill in Both Branches.—Heavy Blow to the Old State.—Her Claims deserve Consideration.—Should be treated as generously at least as Mexico.
CHAPTER XXII. National Currency and State Bank Currency.—In Competition.—Legal- tender Bill tended to expand State Bank Circulation.—Secretary Chase's Recommendation.—Favorably received.—State Bank Circulation, $150,000,000.—Preliminary Bill to establish National Banks.— Fessenden.—Sherman.—Hooper.—National Bank System in 1862.— Discussed among the People.—Recommended by the President.—Mr. Chase urges it.—Bill introduced and discussed in Senate.—Discussion in the House.—Bill passed.—Hugh McCulloch of Indiana appointed Comptroller of the Currency.—Amended Bank Act.—To remedy Defects, Circulation limited to $500,000,000.—National Power.—State Rights. —Taxation.—Renewed Debate in Senate and House.—Bill passed.— Merits of the System.—Former Systems.—First Bank of the United States.—Charters of United-States Banks, 1791-1816.—National Banks compared with United-States Banks.—One Defective Element.— Founded on National Debt.
CHAPTER XXIII. Depression among the People in 1863.—Military Situation.—Hostility to the Administration.—Determination to break it down.—Vallandigham's Disloyal Speech.—Two Rebellions threatened.—General Burnside takes Command of the Department of the Ohio.—Arrests Vallandigham. —Tries him by Military Commission.—His Sentence commuted by Mr. Lincoln.—Habeas Corpus refused.—Democratic Party protests.— Meeting in Albany.—Letter of Governor Seymour.—Ohio Democrats send a Committee to Washington.—Mr. Lincoln's Replies to Albany Meeting and to the Ohio Committee.—Effect of his Words upon the Country.—Army of the Potomac.—General Hooker's Defeat at Chancellorsville.—Gloom in the Country.—The President's Letters to General Hooker.—General Meade succeeds Hooker in Command of the Army.—Battle of Gettysburg.—Important Victory for the Union. —Relief to the Country.—General Grant's Victory at Vicksburg.— Fourth of July.—Notable Coincidence.—State Elections favorable to the Administration.—Meeting of Thirty-eighth Congress.—Schuyler Colfax elected Speaker.—Prominent New Members in Each Branch.—E. D. Morgan, Alexander Ramsey, John Conness, Reverdy Johnson, Thomas A. Hendricks, Henry Winter Davis, Robert C. Schenck, James A. Garfield, William B. Allison.—President's Message.—Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.—First proposed by James M. Ashley. —John B. Henderson proposes Amendment which passes the Senate.— Debate in Both Branches.—Aid to the Pacific Railroads.—Lieutenant- General Grant.
CHAPTER XXIV. Presidential Election of 1864.—Preliminary Movements.—General Sentiment favors Mr. Lincoln.—Some Opposition to his Renomination. —Secretary Chase a Candidate.—The "Pomeroy Circular."—Mr. Chase withdraws.—Republican National Convention.—Baltimore, June 7.— Fremont and Cochrane nominated.—Speech of Dr. Robert J. Breckinridge. —Mr. Lincoln renominated.—Candidates for Vice-President.—Andrew Johnson of Tennessee nominated.—Democratic National Convention.— Chicago, August 29.—Military Situation discouraging.—Character of the Convention.—Peace Party prevails.—Speeches of Belmont, Bigler, Hunt, Long, Seymour.—Nomination of General McClellan for President.—George H. Pendleton for Vice-President.—Platform.— Suits Vallandigham.—General McClellan accepts, but evades the Platform.—General Fremont withdraws.—Success of the Union Army. —Mr. Lincoln's Popularity.—General McClellan steadily loses Ground.—Sheridan's Brilliant Victories.—General McClellan receives the Votes of only Three States.—Governor Seymour defeated in New York.
CHAPTER XXV. President's Message, December, 1864.—General Sherman's March.— Compensated Emancipation abandoned.—Thirteenth Amendment.—Earnestly recommended by the President.—He appeals to the Democratic Members. —Mr. Ashley's Energetic Work.—Democratic Opportunity.—Unwisely neglected.—Mr. Pendleton's Argument.—Final Vote.—Amendment adopted.—Cases arising under it.—Supreme Court.—Change of Judges at Different Periods.—Peace Conference at Fortress Monroe.— Secretary Chase resigns.—Mr. Fessenden succeeds him.—Mr. Fessenden's Report.—Surrender of Lee.—General Grant's Military Character.— Assassination of President Lincoln.—His Characteristics.—Cost of the War.—Compared with Wars of Other Nations.—Our Navy.—Created during the War.—Effective Blockade.—Its Effect upon the South.— Its Influence upon the Struggle.—Relative Numbers in Loyal and Disloyal States.—Comparison of Union and Confederate Armies.— Confederate Army at the Close of the War.—Union Armies compared with Armies of Foreign Countries.—Area of the War.—Its Effect upon the Cost.—Character of Edwin M. Stanton.
CHAPTER XXVI. Relations with Great Britain.—Close of the Year 1860.—Prince of Wales's Visit to the United States.—Exchange of Congratulatory Notes.—Dawn of the Rebellion.—Lord Lyons' Dispatch.—Mr. Seward's Views.—Lord John Russell's Threats.—Condition of Affairs at Mr. Lincoln's Inauguration.—Unfriendly Manifestations by Great Britain. —Recognizes Belligerency of Southern States.—Discourtesy to American Minister.—England and France make Propositions to the Confederate States.—Unfriendly in their Character to the United States.—Full Details given.—Motives inquired into.—Trent Affair. —Lord John Russell.—Lord Lyons.—Mr. Seward.—Mason and Slidell released.—Doubtful Grounds assigned.—Greater Wrongs against us by Great Britain.—Queen Victoria's Friendship.—Isolation of United States.—Foreign Aid to Confederates on the Sea.—Details given.— So-called Neutrality.—French Attempt to establish an Empire in Mexico.—Lord Palmerston in 1848, in 1859, in 1861.—Conclusive Observations.
LIST OF STEEL PORTRAITS.
THE AUTHOR ABRAHAM LINCOLN CHARLES SUMNER STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS WILLIAM PITT FESSENDEN JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE HENRY WINTER DAVIS THADDEUS STEVENS BENJAMIN F. WADE ELIHU B. WASHBURNE ROBERT C. SCHENCK WILLIAM D. KELLEY SAMUEL SHELLABARGER JUSTIN S. MORRILL GEORGE S. BOUTWELL REUBEN E. FENTON OLIVER P. MORTON ZACHARIAH CHANDLER HENRY B. ANTHONY THOMAS A. HENDRICKS SIMON CAMERON JAMES W. GRIMES JOHN P. HALE JOHN SHERMAN WILLIAM WINDOM JOHN B. HENDERSON JOHN J. INGALLS FREDERICK T. FRELINGHUYSEN CARL SCHURZ JOHN A. LOGAN
MAP SHOWING THE TERRITORIAL GROWTH OF THE UNITED STATES
TWENTY YEARS OF CONGRESS.
Original Compromises between the North and the South embodied in the Constitution.—Early Dissatisfaction with National Boundaries. —Acquisition of Louisiana from France by President Jefferson.— Bonaparte's Action and Motive in ceding Louisiana.—State of Louisiana admitted to the Union against Opposition in the North.— Agitation of the Slavery Question in Connection with the Admission of Missouri to the Union.—The Two Missouri Compromises of 1820 and 1821.—Origin and Development of the Abolition Party.—Struggle over the Right of Petition.
The compromises on the Slavery question, inserted in the Constitution, were among the essential conditions upon which the Federal Government was organized. If the African slave-trade had not been permitted to continue for twenty years, if it had not been conceded that three-fifths of the slaves should be counted in the apportionment of representatives in Congress, if it had not been agreed that fugitives from service should be returned to their owners, the Thirteen States would not have been able in 1787 "to form a more perfect union." These adjustments in the Constitution were effected after the Congress of the old Confederation had dedicated the entire North-west Territory to freedom. The ancient commonwealth of Virginia had, for the good of all, generously and patriotically surrendered her title to the great country north of the Ohio and east of the Mississippi, which to-day constitutes five prosperous and powerful States and a not inconsiderable portion of a sixth. This was the first territory of which the General Government had exclusive control, and the prompt prohibition of slavery therein by the Ordinance of 1787 is an important and significant fact. The anti-slavery restriction would doubtless have been applied to the territory south of the Ohio had the power existed to impose it. The founders of the government not only looked to the speedy extinction of slavery, but they especially abhorred the idea of a geographical line, with freedom decreed on one side, and slavery established on the other. But the territory south of the Ohio belonged to the Southern States of the Union,—Kentucky to Virginia; Tennessee to North Carolina; Alabama and Mississippi to Georgia, with certain co-extensive claims put forth by South Carolina. When cessions of this Southern territory were made to the General Government, the States owning it exacted in every case a stipulation that slavery should not be prohibited. It thus came to pass that the Ohio River was the dividing-line. North of it freedom was forever decreed. South of it slavery was firmly established. Within the limits of the Union as originally formed the slavery question had therefore been compromised, the common territory partitioned, and the Republic, half slave, half free, organized and sent forth upon its mission.
The Thirteen States whose independence had been acknowledged by George III., occupied with their outlying territories a vast area, exceeding in the aggregate eight hundred thousand square miles. Extended as was this domain, the early statesmen of the Union discovered that its boundaries were unsatisfactory,—hostile to our commercial interests in time of peace, and menacing our safety in time of war. The Mississippi River was our western limit. On its farther shore, from the Lake of the Woods to the Balize, we met the flag of Spain. Our southern border was the 31st parallel of latitude; and the Spanish Floridas, stretching across to the Mississippi, lay between us and the Gulf of Mexico. We acquired from Spain the right of deposit for exports and imports at New Orleans, but the citizens of the Union who lived west of the Alleganies were discontented and irritated to find a foreign power practically controlling their trade by intercepting their access to the sea. One of the great problems imposed upon the founders of the Union was to remove the burdens and embarrassments which obstructed the development of the Western States, and thus to render their inhabitants as loyal by reason of material prosperity as they already were in patriotic sympathy. The opportunity for relief came from remote and foreign causes, without our own agency; but the courageous statesmanship which discerned and grasped the opportunity, deserved, as it has received, the commemoration of three generations. The boundaries of the Union were vastly enlarged, but the geographical change was not greater than the effect produced upon the political and social condition of the people. The ambitions developed by the acquisition of new territory led to serious conflicts of opinion between North and South,—conflicts which steadily grew in intensity until, by the convulsion of war, slavery was finally extinguished.
TERRITORIAL CESSIONS IN AMERICA.
A great European struggle, which ended twelve years before our Revolution began, had wrought important changes in the political control of North America. The Seven Years' War, identical in time with the French and Indian War in America, was closed in 1763 by numerous treaties to which every great power in Europe was in some sense a party. One of the most striking results of these treaties on this side of the Atlantic was the cession of Florida to Great Britain by Spain in exchange for the release of Cuba, which the English and colonial forces under Lord Albemarle had wrested from Spanish authority the preceding year. England held Florida for twenty years, when among the disasters brought upon her by our Revolution was its retrocession to Spain in 1783,—a result which was accounted by our forefathers a great gain to the new Republic. Still more striking were the losses of France. Fifty years before, by the Treaty of Utrecht, France had surrendered to England the island of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia (then including New Brunswick), and the Hudson-bay Territory. She now gave up Canada and Cape Breton, acknowledged the sovereignty of Great Britain in the original thirteen Colonies as extending to the Mississippi, and, by a separate treaty, surrendered Louisiana on the west side of the Mississippi, with New Orleans on the east side, to Spain. Thus, in 1763, French power disappeared from North American. The last square mile of the most valuable colonial territory ever possessed by a European sovereign was lost under the weak and effeminate rule of Louis XV., a reign not fitted for successful war, but distinguished only, as one of its historians says, for "easy-mannered joyance, and the brilliant charm of fashionable and philosophical society."
The country which France surrendered to Spain was of vast but indefinite extent. Added to her other North-American colonies, it gave to Spain control of more than half the continent. She continued in possession of Louisiana until the year 1800, when, during some European negotiations, Bonaparte concluded a treaty at San Ildefonso with Charles IV., by which the entire territory was retroceded to France. When the First Consul acquired Louisiana, he appeared to look forward to a career of peace,—an impression greatly strengthened by the conclusion of the treaty of Amiens the ensuing year. He added to his prestige as a ruler when he regained from Spain the American empire which the Bourbons had weakly surrendered thirty- seven years before, and he expected a large and valuable addition to the trade and resources of France from the vast colonial possession. The formal transfer of so great a territory on a distant continent was necessarily delayed; and, before the Captain- general of France reached New Orleans in 1803, the Spanish authorities, still in possession, had become so odious to the inhabitants of the western section of the Union by their suspension of the right of deposit at New Orleans, that there was constant danger of an armed collision. Mr. Ross of Pennsylvania, an able and conservative statesman, moved in the Senate of the United States that the government be instructed to seize New Orleans. Gouverneur Morris, a statesman of the Revolutionary period, then a senator from New York, seconded Mr. Ross. So intense was the feeling among the people that a large army of volunteers could have been easily raised in the Mississippi valley to march against New Orleans; but the prudence of Mr. Jefferson restrained every movement that might involve us in a war with Spain, from which nothing was to be gained, and by which every thing would be risked.
THE PURCHASE OF LOUISIANA.
Meanwhile Mr. Robert R. Livingston, our minister at Paris, was pressing the French Government for concessions touching the free navigation of the Mississippi and the right of deposit at New Orleans, and was speaking to the First Consul, as a French historian observes, in a tone which "arrested his attention, and aroused him to a sense of the new power that was growing beyond the sea." Mr. Livingston was re-enforced by Mr. Monroe, sent out by President Jefferson as a special envoy in the spring of 1803, in order to effect some adjustment of the irritating questions which were seriously endangering the relations between France and the United States. The instructions of Mr. Madison, then secretary of State, to Mr. Monroe, show that the utmost he expected was to acquire from France the city of New Orleans and the Floridas, of which he believed France either then was, or was about to become, the actual owner. Indeed, the treaty by which France had acquired Louisiana was but imperfectly understood; and, in the slowness and difficulty of communication, Mr. Madison could not accurately know the full extent of the cession made at San Ildefonso. But Mr. Jefferson did not wait to learn the exact provisions of that treaty. He knew instinctively that they deeply concerned the United States. He saw with clear vision that by the commercial disability upon the western section of the Union its progress would be obstructed, its already attained prosperity checked; and that possibly its population, drawn first into discontent with the existing order of things, might be seduced into new and dangerous alliances. He determined, therefore, to acquire the control of the left bank of the Mississippi to its mouth, and by the purchase of the Floridas to give to Georgia and the Mississippi territory (now constituting the States of Alabama and Mississippi) unobstructed access to the Gulf.
But events beyond the ocean were working more rapidly for the interest of the United States than any influence which the government itself could exert. Before Mr. Monroe reached France in the spring of 1803, another war-cloud of portentous magnitude was hanging over Europe. The treaty of Amiens had proved only a truce. Awkwardly constructed, misconstrued and violated by both parties, it was about to be formally broken. Neither of the plenipotentiaries who signed the treaty was skilled in diplomacy. Joseph Bonaparte acted for his brother; England was represented by Lord Cornwallis, who twenty years before had surrendered the British army at Yorktown. The wits of London described him afterwards as a general who could neither conduct a war nor conclude a peace.
Fearing that, in the threatened conflict, England, by her superior naval force, would deprive him of his newly acquired colonial empire, and greatly enhance her own prestige by securing all the American possessions which France had owned prior to 1763, Bonaparte, by a dash in diplomacy as quick and as brilliant as his tactics on the field of battle, placed Louisiana beyond the reach of British power. After returning to St. Cloud from the religious services of Easter Sunday, April 10, 1803, he called two of his most trusted advisers, and, in a tone of vehemence and passion, said,—
"I know the full value of Louisiana, and have been desirous of repairing the fault of the French negotiators who lost it in 1763. A few lines of a treaty have restored it to me, and now I must expect to lose it. . . . The English wish to take possession of it, and it is thus they will begin the war. . . . They have already twenty ships of the line in the Gulf of Mexico. . . . The conquest of Louisiana would be easy. I have not a moment to lose in putting it out of their reach. . . . The English have successively taken from France the Canadas, Cape Breton, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and the richest portions of Asia. But they shall not have the Mississippi, which they covet."
The discussion went far into the night. The two ministers differed widely in the advice which they gave the First Consul; one was in favor of holding Louisiana at all hazards; the other urged its prudent cession rather than its inevitable loss by war. They both remained at St. Cloud for the night. At daybreak the minister who had advised the cession was summoned by Bonaparte to read dispatches from London, that moment received, which certainly foreshadowed war, as the English were making military and naval preparations with extraordinary rapidity. After reading the dispatches, the First Consul said,
"Irresolution and deliberation are no longer in season. I renounce Louisiana. It is not only New Orleans that I will cede, it is the whole colony without any reservation. I know the value of what I abandon. It renounce it with the gravest regret. To attempt obstinately to retain it would be folly. I direct you to negotiate this affair with the envoy of the United States. Do not even wait the arrival of Mr. Monroe. Have an interview this very day with Mr. Livingston. . . . But I require a great deal of money for this war. I will be moderate. I want fifty millions for Louisiana."
The minister, who was opposed to the sale, interposed, in a subsequent interview, some observations "upon what the Germans call the souls, as to whether they could be the subject of a contract or sale." Bonaparte replied with undisguised sarcasm,—
"You are giving me the ideology of the law of nature. But I require money to make war on the richest nation in the world. Send your maxims to London. I am sure they will be greatly admired there."
The First Consul afterwards added, "Perhaps it will be objected that the Americans will be found too powerful for Europe in two or three centuries; but my foresight does not embrace such remote fears. Besides, we may hereafter expect rivalries among the members of the Union. The confederations, which are called perpetual, only last till one of the contracting parties finds it in his interest to break them."
SUCCESS OF JEFFERSON'S DIPLOMACY.
Two days after this conversation Mr. Monroe opportunely arrived, and on the 30th of April the treaty ceding Louisiana to the United States was formally concluded. Mr. Monroe and Mr. Livingston had no authority to negotiate for so vast an extent of territory; but the former was fully possessed of President Jefferson's views, and felt assured that his instructions would have been ample if the condition of France had been foreseen when he sailed from America. Communication with Washington was impossible. Under the most favorable circumstances, an answer could not be expected in less then three months. By that time British ships would probably hold the mouths of the Mississippi, and the flag of St. George be waving over New Orleans. Monroe and Livingston both realized that hesitation would be fatal; and they boldly took the responsibility of purchasing a territory of unknown but prodigious extent, and of pledging the credit of the government for a sum which, rated by the ability to pay, was larger than a similar pledge to-day for five hundred millions of dollars.
The price agreed upon was eleven million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in six per cent United States bonds, the interest of which was made payable in London, Amsterdam, and Paris, and the principal at the treasury in Washington in sums of three millions per annum, beginning fifteen years after the bonds were issued. In a separate treaty made the same day, the United States agreed to pay twenty million francs additional, to be applied by France to the satisfaction of certain claims owed to American citizens. Thus the total cost of Louisiana was eighty millions of francs, or, in round numbers, fifteen millions of dollars.
No difficulty was experienced in putting the United States in possession of the territory and of its chief emporium, New Orleans. The French Government had regarded the possession of so much consequence, that Bernadotte, afterwards King of Sweden, was at one time gazetted as Captain-general; and, some obstacles supervening, the eminent General Victor, afterwards Marshal of France and Duke of Belluno, was named in his stead. But all these plans were brushed aside by one stroke of Bonaparte's pen; and the United States, in consequence of favoring circumstances growing out of European complications, and the bold and competent statesmanship of Jefferson, obtained a territory larger in area than that which was wrested from the British crown by the Revolutionary war.
It seems scarcely credible that the acquisition of Louisiana by Jefferson was denounced with a bitterness surpassing the partisan rancor with which later generations have been familiar. No abuse was too malignant, no epithet too coarse, no imprecation too savage, to be employed by the assailants of the great philosophic statesman who laid so broad and deep the foundations of his country's growth and grandeur. President of a feeble republic, contending for a prize which was held by the greatest military power of Europe, and whose possession was coveted by the greatest naval power of the world, Mr. Jefferson, through his chosen and trusted agents, so conducted his important negotiation that the ambition of the United States was successfully interposed between the necessities of the one and the aggressive designs of the other. Willing to side with either of these great powers, for the advantage of his own country, not underrating the dangers of war, yet ready to engage in it for the control of the great water-way to the Gulf, the President made the largest conquest ever peacefully achieved, and at a cost so small that the total sum expended for the entire territory does not equal the revenue which has since been collected on its soil in a single month in time of great public peril. The country thus acquired forms to-day the States of Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota west of the Mississippi, Colorado north of the Arkansas, besides the Indian Territory and the Territories of Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. Texas was also included in the transfer, but the Oregon country was not. The Louisiana purchase did not extend beyond the main range of the Rocky Mountains, and our title to that large area which is included in the State of Oregon and in the Territories of Washington and Idaho rests upon a different foundation, or, rather, upon a series of claims, each of which was strong under the law of nations. We claimed it first by right of original discovery of the Columbia River by an American navigator in 1792; second, by original exploration in 1805; third, by original settlement in 1810, by the enterprising company of which John Jacob Astor was the head; and, lastly and principally, by the transfer of the Spanish title in 1819, many years after the Louisiana purchase was accomplished. It is not, however, probable that we should have been able to maintain our title to Oregon if we had not secured the intervening country. It was certainly our purchase of Louisiana that enabled us to secure the Spanish title to the shores of the Pacific, and without that title we could hardly have maintained our claim. As against England our title seemed to us to be perfect, but as against Spain our case was not so strong. The purchase of Louisiana may therefore be fairly said to have carried with it and secured to us our possession of Oregon.
The acquisition of Louisiana brought incalculable wealth, power, and prestige to the Union, and must always be regarded as the master- stroke of policy which advanced the United States from a comparatively feeble nation, lying between the Atlantic and the Mississippi, to a continental power of assured strength and boundless promise. The coup d'etat of the First Consul was an overwhelming surprise and disappointment to the English Government. Bonaparte was right in assuming that prompt action on his part was necessary to save Louisiana from the hands of the English. Twelve days after the treaty ceding Louisiana to the United States was signed, the British ambassador at Paris, Lord Whitworth, demanded his passports. At Dover he met the French ambassador to England, General Andreossy, who had likewise demanded his passports. Lord Whitworth loaded General Andreossy with tokens of esteem, and conducted him to the ship which was to bear him back to France. According to an eminent historian, "the two ambassadors parted in the presence of a great concourse of people, agitated, uneasy, sorrowful. On the eve of so important a determination, the warlike passion subsided; and men were seized with a dread of the consequences of a desperate conflict. At this solemn moment the two nations seemed to bid each other adieu, not to meet again till after a tremendous war and the convulsion of the world."
THE DESIGNS OF ENGLAND FOILED.
England's acquisition of Louisiana would have proved in the highest degree embarrassing, if not disastrous, to the Union. At that time the forts of Spain, transferred to France, and thence to the United States, were on the east side of the Mississippi, hundreds of miles from its mouth. If England had seized Louisiana, as Bonaparte feared, the Floridas, cut off from the other colonies of Spain, would certainly have fallen into her hands by easy and prompt negotiation, as they did, a few years later, into the hands of the United States. England would thus have had her colonies planted on the three land-sides of the Union, while on the ocean-side her formidable navy confronted the young republic. No colonial acquisition ever made by her on any continent has been so profitable to her commerce, and so strengthening her military position, as that of Louisiana would have proved. This fact was clearly seen by Bonaparte when he hastily made the treaty ceding it to the United States. That England did not at once attempt to seize it, in disregard of Bonaparte's cession, has been a source of surprise to many historians. The obvious reason is that she dreaded the complication of a war in America when she was about to assume so heavy a burden in the impending European conflict. The inhabitants of the Union in 1803 were six millions in number, of great energy and confidence. A large proportion of them were accustomed to the sea and could send swarms of privateers to prey on British commerce. Independent citizens would be even more formidable than were the rebellious colonists in the earlier struggle with the mother country, and, acting in conjunction with France, could effectively maintain a contest. Considerations of this nature doubtless induced the Addington ministry to acquiesce quietly in a treaty whose origin and whose assured results were in every way distasteful, and even offensive, to the British Government.
The extent and boundaries of the territory thus ceded by France were ill-defined, and, in fact, unknown. The French negotiator who conferred with Monroe and Livingston, declared a large portion of the country transferred to be no better known at the time "than when Columbus landed at the Bahamas." There was no way by which accurate metes and bounds could be described. This fact disturbed the upright and conscientious Marbois, who thought that "treaties of territorial cession should contain a guaranty from the grantor." He was especially anxious, moreover, that no ambiguous clauses should be introduced in the treaty. He communicated his troubles on this point to the First Consul, advising him that it seemed impossible to construct the treaty so as to free it from obscurity on the important matter of boundaries. Far from exhibiting any sympathy with his faithful minister's solicitude on this point, Bonaparte quietly informed him that, "if an obscurity did not already exist, it would perhaps be good policy to put one in the treaty." In the possibilities of the First Consul's future, the acquisition of Spanish America may have been expected, or at least dreamed of, by him; and an ill-defined, uncertain boundary for Louisiana might possibly, in a few years, be turned greatly to his advantage.
EXPANSION OF OUR BOUNDARIES.
There was certainly obscurity enough in the transfer to satisfy the fullest desire of Bonaparte. France ceded Louisiana to the United States "with all its rights and appurtenances," as acquired by the retrocession from Spain under the treaty of San Ildefonso, Oct. 1, 1800; and by that treaty Spain had "transferred it to France with the same extent it then had in the hands of Spain, and that it had when France previously possessed it, and such as it should be with the treaties subsequently entered into between Spain and other States." This was simply giving to us what Spain had given to France, and that was only what France had before given to Spain, —complicated with such treaties as Spain might have made during the thirty-seven years of her ownership. It was evident, therefore, from the very hour of the acquisition, that we should have abundant trouble with our only remaining neighbors in North America, Spain and Great Britain, in adjusting the boundaries of the vast country which we had so successfully acquired from France.
Fortunately for the United States, the patriotic and far-seeing administration of Mr. Jefferson was as energetic in confirming as it had been in acquiring our title to the invaluable domain. As soon as the treaty was received the President called an extra session of Congress, which assembled on the 17th of October, 1803. Before the month had expired the treaty was confirmed, and the President was authorized to take possession of the territory of Louisiana, and to maintain therein the authority of the United States. This was not a mere paper warrant for exhibiting a nominal supremacy by floating our flag, but it gave to the President the full power to employ the army and navy of the United States and the militia of the several States to the number of eighty thousand. It was a wise and energetic measure for the defense of our newly acquired territory, which in the disturbed condition of Europe, with all the Great Powers arming from Gibraltar to the Baltic, might at any moment be invaded or imperiled. The conflict of arms did not occur until nine years after; and it is a curious and not unimportant fact, that the most notable defeat of the British troops in the second war of Independence, as the struggle of 1812 has been well named, occurred on the soil of the territory for whose protection the original precaution had been taken by Jefferson.
With all these preparations for defense, Mr. Jefferson did not wait to have our title to Louisiana questioned or limited. He set to work at once to proclaim it throughout the length and breadth of the territory which had been ceded, and to the treaty of cession he gave the most liberal construction. According to the President, Louisiana stretched as far to the northward as the Lake of the Woods; towards the west as far as the Rio Grande in the lower part, and, in the upper part, to the main chain of mountains dividing the waters of the Pacific from the waters of the Atlantic. To establish our sovereignty to the shores of the Pacific became a matter of instant solicitude with the watchful and patriotic President. In the previous session he had obtained from Congress an appropriation of two millions of dollars "for the purpose of defraying any extraordinary expenses which may be incurred in the intercourse between the United States and foreign nations." In the confidential message which so promptly secured the money, the President suggested that the object to be accomplished was a better understanding with the Indian tribes, and the fitting out of an exploring and scientific expedition across the continent, though our own domain at the time was terminated on the west by the Mississippi. It was believed, that, between the lines of the message, Congress could read that our negotiations with France and Spain touching the free navigation of the Mississippi might soon reach a crisis. Hence the prompt appropriation of a sum of money which for the national treasury of that day was very large.
LEWIS AND CLARKE EXPEDITION.
The two men selected to conduct the expedition across the continent, Meriwether Lewis and William Clarke, were especially fitted for their arduous task. Both were officers in the army, holding the rank of captain. Lewis had been private secretary to the President, and Clarke was brother to the heroic George Rogers Clarke, whose services were of peculiar value in the Revolutionary struggle. Before they could complete the preparations for their long and dangerous journey, the territory to be traversed had been transferred to the United States, and the expedition at once assumed a significance and importance little dreamed of when Jefferson first conceived it. The original design had been a favorite one with Mr. Jefferson for many years. When he resided at Paris as our minister, before the Federal Government was organized, he encouraged a similar expedition, to be fitted out in Kamtchatka, to sail to our western coast, and thence to come eastward across the continent. This design was to be executed by the somewhat noted John Ledyard, a roving and adventurous man from Connecticut, who had accompanied Captain Cook on his famous voyage to the Pacific, and whom Jefferson afterwards met in Paris. The necessary authority was obtained from the Russian Government; but, after Ledyard had reached the borders of Kamtchatka, he was suddenly recalled, driven with speed day and night in a closed carriage, on a return journey of several thousand miles, and set down in Poland, penniless, and utterly broken in health. This strange action was the offspring of jealousy on the part of the Empress Catharine, who feared that the energy of the young and vigorous government of the United States would absorb the north-west coast of America, upon which the Russian Government had already set its ambition.
The success of the Lewis and Clarke expedition aided greatly in sustaining our title to the Oregon country. The joint leaders of it became celebrated by their arduous achievement, and were rewarded accordingly. Lewis was appointed governor of Louisiana territory in 1807, and held the position until his death in 1809; while Clarke was for a long period governor of the territory of Missouri, serving in that capacity when the State was admitted to the Union. But while the Lewis and Clarke expedition largely increased our knowledge of the country, and added to the strength of our title, it did not definitely settle any disputed question. With Spain we had constant trouble in regard to the boundaries of Louisiana, both on the west in the direction of Texas, and on the east along the confines of Florida. She had always been dissatisfied with Bonaparte's transfer of Louisiana to the United States. If that result could have been foreseen, the treaty of San Ildefonso would never have been made. The government of the United States believed that Louisiana, as held by France, had bordered on the Rio Grande, and that, by the treaty with Bonaparte, we were entitled to territory in the direction of Florida as far as the Perdido. In the vexatious war with the Seminoles, General Jackson did not hesitate to march across the line, capture Pensacola, and seize the Barancas. The comments, official and personal, which were made on that rash exploit, led to controversies and estrangements which affected political parties for many years after. Jackson's hostility to John Quincy Adams, his exasperating quarrel with Clay, his implacable hatred for Calhoun, all had their origin in events connected with the Florida campaign of 1818.
To compose the boundary troubles with Spain, a treaty was negotiated in 1819, which, with many gains, entailed some signal losses upon the United States. The whole of Florida was ceded by Spain, an acquisition which proved of great value to us in every point of view. As Florida had become separated from the other Spanish colonies by the cession of Louisiana, the government at Madrid found difficulty in satisfactorily administering its affairs and guarding its safety. South of the United States, to the Straits of Magellan, the Spanish flag floated over every foot of the continent except the Empire of Brazil and some small colonies in Guiana. The cession of Louisiana to Bonaparte involved the loss of Florida which was now formally transferred to the United States. But Spain received more than an equivalent. The whole of Texas was fairly included in the Louisiana purchase,—if the well-studied opinion of such eminent statesmen as Clay, John Quincy Adams, Van Buren, and Benton may be accepted,—and we paid dearly for Florida by agreeing to retreat from the Rio Grande to the Sabine as our south-western frontier, thus surrendering Texas to Mexico. The western boundary of the Louisiana territory was defined as beginning at the mouth of the Sabine (which is the boundary of the State of Louisiana to-day), continuing along its western bank to the 32 deg. of north latitude, thence by a line due north to the Red River, thence up the Red River to the 100th meridian west from Greenwich, or the 23d west from Washington, thence due north to the Arkansas, thence following the Arkansas to its source in latitude 42 deg., and thence by that parallel to the Pacific Ocean. Should the Arkansas fall short of the 42 deg., a due north line to that parallel was to be taken. The United States solemnly renounced all claim to territories west or south of the line just mentioned, and Spain renounced all claim to territory east or north of it. Thus all boundary disputes with Spain were ended, and peace was secured, though at a great cost; as events in after years so fully proved.
LOUISIANA ADMITTED AS A STATE.
Meanwhile territorial government had been established over a large section of the country acquired from France; and it was rapidly peopled by an enterprising emigration, almost wholly from the Southern States. Louisiana sought to enter the Union in 1811, and then for the first time occurred an agitation in Congress over the admission of a slave State. Opposition to it was not, however, grounded so much upon the existence of slavery as upon the alleged violation of the Constitution in forming a State from territory not included in the original government of the Union. Josiah Quincy of Massachusetts made a violent speech against it, declaring that if Louisiana were admitted, "the bonds of this Union are virtually dissolved; that the States which compose it are free from their moral obligations; and that, as it will be right of all, so it will be the duty of some, to prepare definitely for a separation, amicably if they can, violently if they must." Mr. Quincy was disquieted at the mere thought of extending the Union beyond its original limits. He had "heard with alarm that six States might grow up beyond the Mississippi, and that the mouth of the Ohio might be east of the centre of a contemplated empire." He declared that "it was not for these men that our fathers fought, not for them that the Constitution was adopted. Our fathers were not madmen: they had not taken degrees at the hospital of idiocy." He maintained with great vehemence that there was "no authority to throw the rights and liberties of this people into 'hotchpot' with the wild men of the Missouri, nor with the mixed, though more respectable, race of Anglo-Hispano-Gallo-Americans who bask on the sands in the mouth of the Mississippi." Mr. Quincy's sentiments were far more radical than those held by the mass of Northern or New-England people, yet there was undoubtedly a strong opposition to the admission of Louisiana. Many Northern men had opposed the purchase of the territory from France, believing it to be unconstitutional; and they dreaded the introduction of senators and representatives from territory which they considered foreign. Nevertheless the bill admitting the State passed the House by a vote of two-thirds of the members. The opposition was wholly from the North, and largely from New England. The contest was confined to Congress— the issue failing to excite popular interest. A majority of the people, both North and South, were convinced that the ownership of the mouth of the Mississippi was of inestimable value to the Union, and that it could not be permanently secured except by admitting as a State the territory which included and controlled it. This conclusion was strengthened by the near approach of war with Great Britain, soon after formally declared. The advantage of a loyal and devoted population at New Orleans, identified in interest and in sympathy with the government, was too evident to need argument. If the weight of reason had not already been on the side of admitting Louisiana, the necessities of war would have enforced it.
Six years after Louisiana entered the Union, Missouri applied for admission as a slave State. A violent agitation at once arose, continued for two years, and was finally allayed by the famous compromise of 1820. The outbreak was so sudden, its course so turbulent, and its subsidence so complete, that for many years it was regarded as phenomenal in our politics, and its repetition in the highest degree improbable if not impossible. The "Missouri question," as it was popularly termed, formally appeared in Congress in the month of December, 1818; though during the preceding session petitions for a State government had been received from the inhabitants of that territory. When the bill proposing to admit the State came before the House, Mr. James Tallmadege, jun., of New York, moved to amend it by providing that "the further introduction of slavery be prohibited in said State of Missouri, and that all children born in that State after its admission to the Union shall be free at the age of twenty-five years." The discussion which followed was able, excited, and even acrimonious. Mr. Clay took an active part against the amendment, but his great influence was unavailing in the face of the strong anti-slavery sentiment which was so suddenly developed in the North. Both branches of Mr. Tallmadge's amendment were adopted and the bill was passed. In the Senate the anti-slavery amendment encountered a furious opposition and was rejected by a large majority. The House refused to recede; and, amid great excitement in the country and no little temper in Congress, each branch voted to adhere to its position. Thus for the time Missouri was kept out of the Union.
On the second day after the opening of the next Congress, December, 1819, Mr. John Holmes presented a memorial in the House of Representatives from a convention which had been lately held in the District of Maine, praying for the admission of said district into the Union "as a separate and independent State, on an equal footing with the original States." On the same day, and immediately after Mr. Holmes had taken his seat, Mr. John Scott, territorial delegate, brought before the House the memorial presented in the previous Congress for the admission of Missouri on the same terms of independence and equality with the old States as prayed for by Maine. From that hour it was found impossible to consider the admission of Maine and Missouri separately. Geographically remote, differing in soil, climate, and products, incapable of competing with each other in any pursuit, they were thrown into rivalry by the influence of the one absorbing question of negro slavery. Southern men were unwilling that Maine should be admitted unless the enabling Act for Missouri should be passed at the same time, and Northern men were unwilling that any enabling Act should be passed for Missouri which did not contain an anti-slavery restriction. Mr. Clay, then an accepted leader of Southern sentiment,—which in his later life he ceased to be,—made an earnest, almost fiery, speech on the question. He declared that before the Maine bill should be finally acted on, he wanted to know "whether certain doctrines of an alarming character, with respect to a restriction on the admission of new States west of the Mississippi, were to be sustained on this floor." He wanted to know "what conditions Congress could annex to the admission of a new State; whether, indeed, there could be a partition of its sovereignty."
THE FIRST MISSOURI COMPROMISE.
Despite the eloquence and the great influence of the Speaker, the Southern representatives were overborne and the House adopted the anti-slavery restriction. The Senate refused to concur, united Maine and Missouri in one bill, and passed it with an entirely new feature, which was proposed by Mr. Jesse B. Thomas, a senator from Illinois. That feature was simply the provision, since so widely known as the Missouri Compromise, which forever prohibited slavery north of 36 deg. 30' in all the territory acquired from France by the Louisiana purchase. The House would not consent to admit the two States in the same bill, but finally agreed to the compromise; and in the early part of March, 1820, Maine became a member of the Union without condition. A separate bill was passed, permitting Missouri to form a constitution preparatory to her admission, subject to the compromise, which, indeed, formed one section of the enabling Act. Missouri was thus granted permission to enter the Union as a slave State. But she was discontented with the prospect of having free States on three sides,—east, north, and west.
Although the Missouri Compromise was thus nominally perfected, and the agitation apparently ended, the most exciting, and in some respects the most dangerous, phase of the question was yet to be reached. After the enabling Act was passed, the Missouri Convention assembled to frame a constitution for the new State. The inhabitants of the Territory had become angered by the long delay imposed upon them, caused, as they believed, by the introduction of a question which concerned only themselves, and which Congress had no right to control. In this resentful mood they were led by the extremists of the convention to insert a provision in the constitution, declaring that "it shall be the duty of the General Assembly, as soon as may be, to pass such laws as may be necessary to prevent free negroes or mulattoes from coming to or settling in this State under any pretext whatever." As soon as the constitution with this obnoxious clause was transmitted to Congress by the President, the excitement broke forth with increased intensity and the lines of the old controversy were at once re-formed.
The parliamentary struggle which ensued was bitter beyond precedent; threats of dissolving the Union were frequent, and apprehension of an impending calamity was felt throughout the country. The discussion continued with unabated vigor and ardor until the middle of February, and the Congress was to terminate on the ensuing fourth of March. The House had twice refused to pass the bill admitting Missouri, declaring that the objectionable clause in her organic law was not only an insult to every State in which colored men were citizens, but was in flat contradiction of that provision in the Federal Constitution which declares that "the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States."
THE SECOND MISSOURI COMPROMISE.
The defeat, apparently final, of the admission of Missouri, created intense indignation. Southern senators and representatives charged that they were treated unjustly by the North, and dealt with unfairly in Congress. In pursuance of the compromise of the year before, Maine had been admitted and her senators were in their seats. The organs of Southern opinion accused the North of overreaching the South in securing, under the name of a compromise, the admission of Maine, while still retaining the power to exclude Missouri. A feeling that bad faith had been practiced is sure to create bitterness, and the accusation of it produces increased bitterness in return. The North could easily justify itself by argument, but the statement without argument apparently showed that the South had been deceived. The course pursued by the senators from Maine, —John Holmes and John Chandler,—in voting steadily for the admission of Missouri, tended greatly to check recrimination and relieve asperity of feeling. Mr. Holmes was a man of ability, of experience in public affairs, and of eminent distinction at home. With a rare gift of humor, and with conversational talent almost unrivaled, he exerted an influence over men in private and social intercourse which gave him singular power in shaping public questions. He was an intimate friend and political supporter of Mr. Clay, and their cordial co-operation at this crisis evoked harmony from chaos, and brought a happy solution to a question that was troubling every patriotic heart. They united in a final effort, and through the instrumentality of a joint committee of seven senators and twenty- three representatives,—of which Mr. Holmes was chairman on the part of the Senate, and Mr. Clay on the part of the House,—a second and final compromise was effected, and the admission of Missouri secured. This compromise declared that Missouri should be admitted to the Union upon the fundamental condition that no law should ever be passed by her Legislature enforcing the objectionable provision in her constitution, and that by a solemn public act the State should declare and record her assent to this condition, and transmit to the President of the United States an authentic copy of the Act. Missouri accepted the condition promptly but not cheerfully, feeling that she entered the Union under a severe discipline, and with hard and humiliating conditions. It was in this compromise, not in the one of the preceding session, that Mr. Clay was the leading spirit. Though the first was the more important, and dealt with larger questions of a more enduring nature, it did not at the time create so great an impression on the public mind as the second, nor did its discussion produce so much antagonism between the North and the South. Thirty years after these events Mr. Clay called attention to the fact that he had received undeserved credit for the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which he had supported but not originated. On the other hand, he had received only the slightest mention for his agency in the second compromise, which he had really originated and carried through Congress. The second compromise had passed out of general recollection before Mr. Clay's death, though it had made him a Presidential candidate at forty-three years of age.
The most remarkable fact connected with the excitement over the Missouri question, which engrossed the country for more than two years, was the absence of any premonition of its coming. There had been no severe political struggle in the nation since the contest between Madison and De Witt Clinton in 1812. Monroe had been chosen almost without opposition in 1816, and, even while the Missouri controversy was at its height, he was re-elected in 1820 by a practically unanimous vote, the North and the South being equally cordial in supporting him. In the House of Representatives, where the battle was so fierce, and the combatants were so evenly divided, Mr. Clay had been chosen speaker with only eight adverse votes, and these were given by men who acted from personal prejudice, and not from political difference. But the outbreak indicated, and indeed heralded, the re-forming of old party lines. The apparent unanimity only concealed a division that was already fatally developed. The party of Jefferson by its very success involved itself in ruin. Its ancient foe, the eminent and honorable party of Federalists, made but a feeble struggle in 1816, and completely disappeared from the national political field four years later, and even from State contests after the notable defeat of Harrison Gray Otis by William Eustis for governor of Massachusetts in 1823. But no political organization can live without opposition. The disappearance of the Federalists was the signal for factional divisions among their opponents; and the old Republican party, which had overthrown the administration of John Adams in 1800, which had laid the embargo, and forced a war with England, was now nearing its end. It divided into four parts in the Presidential election of 1824, and with its ancient creed and organization never re-appeared in a national contest. Jefferson had combined and indeed largely created its elements. He beheld it everywhere victorious for a quarter of a century, and he lived to see it shattered into fragments by the jealousy of its new leaders. The Democratic and Whig parties were constructed upon the ruins of the old organizations. In each were to be found representatives of the Republicanism of Jefferson and the Federalism of Hamilton. The ambition of both to trace their lineage to the former was a striking proof of its popular strength.
The Missouri question marked a distinct era in the political thought of the country, and made a profound impression on the minds of patriotic men. Suddenly, without warning, the North and the South, the free States and the slave States, found themselves arrayed against each other in violent and absorbing conflict. During the interval between the adoption of the Federal Constitution and the admission of Missouri, there had been a great change in the Southern mind, both as to the moral and the economic aspects of slavery. This revolution of opinion had been wrought in large degree by the cotton-plant. When the National Government was organized in 1789, the annual export of cotton did not exceed three hundred bales. It was reckoned only among our experimental products. But, stimulated by the invention of the gin, production increased so rapidly, that, at the time of Missouri's application for admission to the Union, cotton-planting was the most remunerative industry in the country. The export alone exceeded three hundred thousand bales annually. But this highly profitable culture was in regions so warm that outdoor labor was unwelcome to the white race. The immediate consequence was a large advance in the value of slave-labor, and in the price of slaves. This fact had its quick and decisive influence, even in those slave-holding States which could not raise cotton. The inevitable and speedy result was a consolidation of the political power necessary to protect an interest at once so vast and so liable to assault.
It was not unnatural that this condition should lead to a violent outburst on the slavery question, but it was nevertheless wholly unexpected. The causes which let to it had not been understood and analyzed. The older class of statesmen, who had come down from the period of the Revolution, from the great work of cementing the Union and framing the Constitution, deplored the agitation, and viewed the results with the gravest apprehension. The compromise by a geographical line, dividing the slave States from the free, was regarded by this class of patriots as full of danger,—a constant menace to the peace and perpetuity of the Union. To Mr. Jefferson, still living in vigorous old age, the trouble sounded like an alarm- bell rung at midnight. While the measure was pending in Congress, he wrote to a member of the House of Representatives, that "the Missouri question is the most portentous one which has ever threatened the Union. In the gloomiest hour of the Revolutionary war I never had any apprehensions equal to those which I feel from this source." Men on both sides of the controversy began to realize its significance and to dread its probable results. They likened the partition of the country by a geographical line unto the ancient agreement between Abraham and Lot, where one should go to the right, and the other to the left, with the certainty of becoming aliens, and the possibility of becoming enemies.
THE MISSOURI ADJUSTMENT SATISFACTORY.
With the settlement of the Missouri question, the anti-slavery agitation subsided as rapidly as it had arisen. This was a second surprise to thinking men. The results can, however, be readily explained. The Northern States felt that they had absolutely secured to freedom a large territory west and north of Missouri. The Southern States believed that they had an implied and honorable understanding,—outside and beyond the explicit letter of the law, —that new States south of the Missouri line could be admitted with slavery if they desired. The great political parties then dividing the country accepted the result and for the next twenty years no agitation of the slavery question appeared in any political convention, or affected any considerable body of the people.
Within that period, however, there grew up a school of anti-slavery men far more radical and progressive than those who had resisted the admission of Missouri as a slave State. They formed what was known as the Abolition party, and they devoted themselves to the utter destruction of slavery by every instrumentality which they could lawfully employ. Acutely trained in the political as well as the ethical principles of the great controversy, they clearly distinguished between the powers which Congress might and might not exercise under the limitations of the Constitution. They began, therefore, by demanding the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, and in all the national forts, arsenals, and dock- yards, where, without question or cavil, the exclusive jurisdiction belonged to Congress; they asked that Congress, under its constitutional authority to regulate commerce between the States, would prohibit the inter-State slave-trade; and they prayed that our ships sailing on the high-seas should not be permitted by the government to carry slaves as part of their cargo, under the free flag of the United States, and outside the local jurisdiction that held them in bondage. They denied that a man should aid in executing any law whose enforcement did violence to his conscience and trampled under foot the Divine commands. Hence they would not assist in the surrender and return of fugitive slaves, holding it rather to be their duty to resist such violation of the natural rights of man by every peaceful method, and justifying their resistance by the truths embodied in the Declaration of Independence, and, still more impressively, by the precepts taught in the New Testament.
While encountering, on these issues, the active hostility of the great mass of the people in all sections of the Union, the Abolitionists challenged the respect of thinking men, and even compelled the admiration of some of their most pronounced opponents. The party was small in number, but its membership was distinguished for intellectual ability, for high character, for pure philanthropy, for unquailing courage both moral and physical, and for a controversial talent which has never been excelled in the history of moral reforms. It would not be practicable to give the names of all who were conspicuous in this great struggle, but the mention of James G. Birney, of Benjamin Lundy, of Arthur Tappan, of the brothers Lovejoy, of Gerrit Smith, of John G. Whittier, of William Lloyd Garrison, of Wendell Phillips, and of Gamaliel Bailey, will indicate the class who are entitled to be held in remembrance so long as the possession of great mental and moral attributes gives enduring and honorable fame. Nor would the list of bold and powerful agitators be complete or just if confined to the white race. Among the colored men—often denied the simplest rights of citizenship in the States where they resided—were found many who had received the gift of tongues, orators by nature, who bravely presented the wrongs and upheld the rights of the oppressed. Among these Frederick Douglass was especially and richly endowed not only with the strength but with the graces of speech; and for many years, from the stump and from the platform, he exerted a wide and beneficent influence upon popular opinion.
THE ABOLITION PARTY ORGANIZED.
In the early days of this agitation, the Abolitionists were a proscribed and persecuted class, denounced with unsparing severity by both the great political parties, condemned by many of the leading churches, libeled in the public press, and maltreated by furious mobs. In no part of the country did they constitute more than a handful of the population, but they worked against every discouragement with a zeal and firmness which bespoke intensity of moral conviction. They were in large degree recruited from the society of Friends, who brought to the support of the organization the same calm and consistent courage which had always distinguished them in upholding before the world their peculiar tenets of religious faith. Caring nothing for prejudice, meeting opprobrium with silence, shaming the authors of violence by meek non-resistance, relying on moral agencies alone, appealing simply to the reason and the conscience of men, they arrested the attention of the nation by arraigning it before the public opinion of the world, and proclaiming its responsibility to the judgment of God.
These apostles of universal liberty besieged Congress with memorials praying for such legislative measures as would carry out their designs. Failure after failure only served to inspire them with fresh courage and more vigorous determination. They were met with the most resolute resistance by representative from the slave- holding States, who sought to deny them a hearing, and declared that the mere consideration of their propositions by Congress would not only justify, but would inevitably precipitate, a dissolution of the Union. Undaunted by any form of opposition, the Abolitionists stubbornly maintained their ground, and finally succeeded in creating a great popular excitement by insisting on the simple right of petition as inseparable from free government and free citizenship. On this issue John Quincy Adams, who had entered the House of Representatives in 1831, two years after his retirement from the Presidency, waged a memorable warfare. Not fully sympathizing with the Abolitionists in their measures or their methods, Mr. Adams maintained that they had the right to be heard. On this incidental issue he forced the controversy until it enlisted the attention of the entire country. He finally drove the opponents of free discussion to seek shelter under the adoption of an odious rule in the House of Representatives, popularly named the "Atherton gag," from Mr. Charles G. Atherton, a Democratic representative from New Hampshire, who reported it to the House in December, 1838. The rule was originally devised, however, in a caucus of Southern Democratic members. In the light of the present day, when slavery no longer exists in the land, when speech is absolutely free, in and out of Congress, it is hard to believe that during the Presidency of Mr. Van Buren, and under the speakership of Mr. Polk, the House of Representatives voted that "every petition, memorial, resolution, proposition, or paper, touching or relating in any way or to any extent whatever to slavery or the abolition thereof, shall on presentation, without any further action thereon, be laid upon the table, without being debated, printed, or referred."