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Title: Political Recollections - 1840 to 1872
Author: Julian, George W.
Language: English
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Transcriber's notes:

  Names have been corrected.  "Indianians" changed to "Indianans".

  LoC call number:  E415.7.J9 1969


POLITICAL RECOLLECTIONS

1840 to 1872.

BY
GEORGE W. JULIAN.

MNEMOSYNE PUBLISHING CO., INC.
MIAMI, FLORIDA
1969


Originally Published in Chicago 1884

COPYRIGHT
By JANSEN, McCLURG & CO.,
A. D. 1883.

First Mnemosyne reprinting 1969
Reprinted from a copy in the
Fisk University Library Negro Collection
Copyright ©1969  Mnemosyne Publishing Co., Inc.  Miami, Florida
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number:
78-83885


PREFACE.

The following chapters are devoted mainly to facts and incidents
connected with the development of anti-slavery politics from the
year 1840 to the close of the work of Reconstruction which followed
the late civil war.  Other topics, however, are occasionally noticed,
while I have deemed it proper to state my own attitude and course
of action respecting various public questions, and to refer more
particularly to the political strifes of my own State.  In doing
this, I have spoken freely of conspicuous personalities in connection
with their public action, or their peculiar relations to myself;
but my aim has been to deal fairly and state only the truth, while
striving to weave into my story some reminiscences of the men and
events of by-gone times, which may interest the reader.  In the
endeavor to elucidate the orderly progress of anti-slavery opinions
and their translation into organized action, I have summarized and
re-stated many of the familiar facts of current American politics
during the period embraced; but I hope I have also made a slight
contribution to the sources of history bearing upon a world-famous
movement, touching which we should "gather up the fragments that
nothing be lost."

  G. W. J.


CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.
THE HARRISON CAMPAIGN--THE BEGINNING OF ANTI-SLAVERY POLITICS.
The "Hard-cider" Frolic of 1840--The Issues--Swartwout and Political
Corruption--The Demand for a Change--Character of Gen. Harrison--
Personal Defamation--Mass-meetings and Songs--Crushing Defeat of
the Democrats--First Appearance of the Slavery Issue in Politics--
Pro-slavery Attitude of Harrison and Van Buren--Events favoring
the Growth of Anti-slavery Opinion--Clay and Mendenhall--Texas'
Annexation and John Tyler.

CHAPTER II.
CAMPAIGN OF 1844--ANNEXATION AND SLAVERY.
The Nomination of Clay--His Position on the Slavery Question and
Annexation--Van Buren's Letter to Hammett, and its Effect upon the
South--His Repudiation, and the Nomination of Polk--The Surprise
of the Country--Unbounded Confidence of the Whigs--The Course of
the New York Democrats--The "Kane Letter"--Trouble among the Whigs
on the Annexation Question--Fierceness of the Contest, and singular
Ability of the Leaders--The Effect of Clay's Defeat upon the Whigs
--Causes of the Defeat--The Abolitionists, and the Abuse heaped
upon them--Cassius M. Clay--Mr. Hoar's Mission to South Carolina--
Election of John P. Hale--Annexation, and War with Mexico--Polk's
Message, and the Wilmot Proviso--The Oregon Question, and Alex. H.
Stephens.

CHAPTER III.
CAMPAIGN OF 1848--ITS INCIDENTS AND RESULTS.
Approach of another Presidential Campaign--Party Divisions threatened
by the Wilmot Proviso--Nomination of Gen. Cass--The "Nicholson
Letter"--Democratic Division in New York--Nomination of Gen. Taylor
--Whig Divisions--Birth of the Free Soil Party--Buffalo Convention
--Nomination of Van Buren and Adams--Difficulty of uniting on Van
Buren--Incidents--Rev. Joshua Leavitt--Work of the Campaign--Webster
and Free Soil--Greeley and Seward--Abuse of Whig Bolters--Remarkable
Results of the Canvass.

CHAPTER IV.
REMINISCENCES OF THE THIRTY-FIRST CONGRESS.
Novel Political Complications--Compromise Measures--First Election
to Congress--Sketch of the "Immortal Nine"--The Speakership and
Wm. J. Brown--Gen. Taylor and the Wilmot Proviso--Slaveholding
Bluster--Compromise Resolutions of Clay and Retreat of Northern
Whigs--Visit to Gen. Taylor--To Mr. Clay--His Speeches--Webster's
Seventh of March Speech--Calhoun--Speech on the Slavery Question.

CHAPTER V.
THE THIRTY-FIRST CONGRESS (CONTINUED).
Fracas between Col. Benton and Senator Foster--Character of Benton
--Death of Gen. Taylor--The Funeral--Defeat of the "Omnibus Bill"
--Its Triumph in Detail--Celebration of the Victory--"Lower Law"
Sermons and "Union-Saving" Meetings--Slaveholding Literature--
Mischievous Legislation--Visit to Philadelphia and Boston--Futile
Efforts to suppress Agitation--Andrew Johnson and the Homestead
Law--Effort to censure Mr. Webster--Political Morality in this
Congress--Temperance--Jefferson Davis--John P. Hale--Thaddeus
Stevens--Extracts from Speeches--Famous Men in both Houses--Free
Soilers and their Vindication.

CHAPTER VI.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.
Pro-slavery Reaction--Indiana and Ohio--Race for Congress--Free
Soil Gains in other States--National Convention at Cleveland--
National Canvass of 1852--Nomination of Pierce and Scott, and the
"finality" Platforms--Free Soil National Convention--Nomination of
Hale--Samuel Lewis--The Whig Canvass--Webster--Canvass of the
Democrats--Return of New York "Barnburners" to the Party--The Free
Soil Campaign--Stumping Kentucky with Clay--Rev. John G. Fee--
Incidents--Mob Law in Indiana--Result of the Canvass--Ruin of the
Whigs--Disheartening Facts--The other Side of the Picture.

CHAPTER VII.
THE REPUBLICAN PARTY (CONTINUED).
A Notable Fugitive Slave Case--Inauguration of Pierce--Repeal of
the Missouri Compromise--Its Effects upon the Parties--The Free
Soil Position--Know-Nothingism--The Situation--First Steps in the
Formation of the Republican Party--Movements of the Know-Nothings
--Mistake of the Free Soilers--Anti-slavery Progress--Election of
Banks as Speaker--Call for a Republican National Convention at
Pittsburg--Organization of the Party--The Philadelphia Convention
and its Platform--Nomination of Fremont--Know-Nothing and Whig
Nominations--Democratic Nomination and Platform--The Grand Issue
of the Campaign--The Democratic Canvass--The splendid Fight for
Fremont--Triumph of Buchanan--Its Causes and Results--The Teaching
of Events.

CHAPTER VIII.
PROGRESS OF REPUBLICANISM.
The Dred Scott Decision--Struggle for Freedom in Kansas--Instructive
Debates in Congress--Republican Gains in the Thirty-fifth Congress
--The English Bill--Its Defeat and the Effect--Defection of Douglas
--Its Advantages and its Perils--Strange Course of the New York
Tribune and other Papers--Republican Retreat in Indiana--Illinois
Republicans stand firm, and hold the Party to its Position--Gains
in the Thirty-sixth Congress--Southern Barbarism and Extravagance
--John Brown's Raid--Cuba and the Slave-trade--Oregon and Kansas--
Aids to Anti-slavery Progress--The Speakership and Helper's Book--
Southern Insolence and Extravagance--Degradation of Douglas--Slave-
code for the Territories--Outrages in the South--Campaign of 1860
--Charleston Convention and Division of the Democrats--Madness of
the Factions--Bell and Everett--Republican Convention and its
Platform--Lincoln and Seward--Canvass of Douglas--Campaign for
Lincoln--Conduct of Seward--Republican Concessions and slave-holding
Madness.

CHAPTER IX.
THE NEW ADMINISTRATION AND THE WAR.
Visit to Mr. Lincoln--Closing Months of Mr. Buchanan's Administration
--Efforts to avoid War--Character of Buchanan--Lincoln's Inauguration
--His War Policy--The Grand Army of Office-seekers--The July Session
of Congress--The Atmosphere of Washington--Battle of Bull Run--
Apologetic Resolve of Congress--First Confiscation Act--Gen.
Fremont's Proclamation and its Effect--Its Revocation--Regular
Session of Congress--Secretary Cameron--Committee on the Conduct
of the War--Its Conference with the President and his Cabinet--
Secretary Stanton and General McClellan--Order to march upon
Manassas.

CHAPTER X.
THE NEW ADMINISTRATION AND THE WAR (CONTINUED).
The Wooden Guns--Conference with Secretary Stanton--His Relations
to Lincoln--Strife between Radicalism and Conservatism--Passage of
the Homestead Law--Visit to the President--The Confiscation Act
and Rebel Land owners--Greeley's "Prayer of Twenty Millions," and
Lincoln's Reply--Effort to disband the Republican Party--The Battle
of Fredericksburg and General Burnside--The Proclamation of
Emancipation--Visit to Mr. Lincoln--General Fremont--Report of the
War Committee--Visit to Philadelphia and New York--Gerrit Smith--
The Morgan Raid.

CHAPTER XI.
INCIDENTS AND END OF THE WAR.
Campaigning in Ohio--Attempted Repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law--
Organized Movement in Favor of Chase for the Presidency--Confiscation
of Rebel Lands--Fort Pillow, and the Treatment of Union Soldiers
at Richmond--Mr. Lincoln's Letter to Hodges--Southern Homestead
Bill, and Controversy with Mr. Mallory--Nomination of Andrew Johnson
--Enforcement of Party Discipline--Mr. Lincoln's Change of Opinion
as to Confiscation of Rebel Lands--Opposition to him in Congress--
General Fremont and Montgomery Blair--Visit to City Point--Adoption
of the XIII Constitutional Amendment--Trip to Richmond, and Incidents
--Assassination of the President--Inauguration of Johnson and
Announcement of his Policy--Feeling toward Mr. Lincoln--Capitulation
of Gen. Johnston.

CHAPTER XII.
RECONSTRUCTION AND SUFFRAGE--THE LAND QUESTION.
Visit of Indianans to the President--Gov. Morton and Reconstruction
--Report of Committee on the Conduct of the War--Discussion of
Negro Suffrage and Incidents--Personal Matters--Suffrage in the
District of Columbia--The Fourteenth Constitutional Amendment--
Breach between the President and Congress--Blaine and Conkling--
Land Bounties and the Homestead Law.

CHAPTER XIII.
MINERAL LANDS AND THE RIGHT OF PRE-EMPTION.
The Lead and Copper Lands of the Northwest--The gold-bearing Regions
of the Pacific, and their Disposition--A legislative Reminiscence
--Mining Act of 1866, and how it was passed--Its deplorable Failure,
and its Lesson--Report of the Land Commission--The Right of Pre-
emption, and the "Dred Scott Decision" of the Settlers.

CHAPTER XIV.
RECONSTRUCTION AND IMPEACHMENT.
Gov. Morton and his Scheme of Gerrymandering--The XIV Amendment--
Hasty Reconstruction and the Territorial Plan--The Military Bill--
Impeachment--An amusing Incident--Vote against Impeachment--The
Vote reversed--The popular Feeling against the President--The Trial
--Republican Intolerance--Injustice to Senators and to Chief Justice
Chase--Nomination of Gen. Grant--Re-nomination for Congress--Personal
--Squabble of Place-hunters--XVI Amendment.

CHAPTER XV.
GRANT AND GREELEY.
The new Cabinet--Seeds of Party Disaffection--Trip to California--
Party Degeneracy--The liberal Republican Movement--Re-nomination
of Grant--The Cincinnati Convention--Perplexities of the Situation
--The Canvass for Greeley--Its Bitterness--Its peculiar Features--
The Defeat--The Vindication of Liberals--Visit to Chase and Sumner
--Death of Greeley.

CHAPTER XVI.
CONCLUDING NOTES.
Party Changes caused by the Slavery Issue--Notable Men in Congress
during the War--Sketches of prominent Men in the Senate and House
--Scenes and Incidents--Butler and Bingham--Cox and Butler--Judge
Kelley and Van Wyck--Lovejoy and Wickliffe--Washburn and Donnelly
--Oakes Ames--Abolitionism in Washington early in the War--Life at
the Capital--The new Dispensation and its Problems.

INDEX


POLITICAL RECOLLECTIONS.

CHAPTER I.
THE HARRISON CAMPAIGN--THE BEGINNING OF ANTI-SLAVERY POLITICS.
The "hard-cider" frolic of 1840--The issues--Swartwout and political
corruption--The demand for a change--Character of Gen. Harrison--
Personal defamation--Mass-meetings and songs--Crushing defeat of
the Democrats--First appearance of the slavery issue in politics--
Pro-slavery attitude of Harrison and Van Buren--Events favoring
the growth of anti-slavery opinion--Clay and Mendenhall--Texas
annexation and John Tyler.

Through the influence of early associations, I began my political
life as a Whig, casting my first presidential ballot for General
Harrison, in 1840.  I knew next to nothing of our party politics;
but in the matter of attending mass-meetings, singing Whig songs
and drinking hard cider, I played a considerable part in the
memorable campaign of that year.  So far as ideas entered into my
support of the Whig candidate, I simply regarded him as a poor man,
whose home was a log cabin, and who would in some way help the
people through their scuffle with poverty and the "hard times";
while I was fully persuaded that Van Buren was not only a graceless
aristocrat and a dandy, but a cunning conspirator, seeking the
overthrow of his country's liberties by uniting the sword and the
purse in his own clutches, as he was often painted on the party
banners.  In these impressions I was by no means singular.  They
filled the air, and seemed to be wafted on every breeze.  Horace
Greeley's famous campaign organ, "The Log Cabin," only gave them
voice and fitting pictorial effect, and he frankly admitted in
later years that his Whig appeals, with his music and wood engravings
of General Harrison's battle scenes, were more "vivid" than "sedately
argumentative."  No one will now seriously pretend that this was
a campaign of ideas, or a struggle for political reform in any
sense.  It was a grand national frolic, in which the imprisoned
mirth and fun of the people found such jubilant and uproarious
expression that anything like calmness of judgment or real seriousness
of purpose was out of the question in the Whig camp.

As regards party issues, General Harrison, singularly enough, was
not a Whig, but an old fashioned States-Rights Democrat of the
Jeffersonian school.  His letters to Harmar Denny and Sherrod
Williams committed him to none of the dogmas which defined a Whig.
No authentic utterance of his could be produced in which he had
ever expressed his agreement with the Whig party on the questions
of a protective tariff, internal improvements, or a national bank.
There was very high Whig authority for saying that the bank question
was not an issue of the canvass, while Van Buren's great measure
for separating the currency from the banks became a law pending
the Presidential struggle.  In fact, it was because no proof of
General Harrison's party orthodoxy could be found, that he was
nominated; and the Whig managers of the Harrisburg Convention felt
obliged to sacrifice Henry Clay, which they did through the basest
double-dealing and treachery, for the reason that his right angled
character as a party leader would make him unavailable as a candidate.
As to John Tyler, he was not a Whig in any sense.  It is true that
he had opposed the removal of the deposits, and voted against
Benton's expunging resolutions, but on all the regular and recognized
party issues he was fully committed as a Democrat, and was, moreover,
a nullifier.  The sole proof of his Whiggery was the apocryphal
statement that he wept when Clay failed to receive the nomination,
while his political position was perfectly understood by the men
who nominated him.  There was one policy only on which they were
perfectly agreed, and that was the policy of avowing no principles
whatever; and they tendered but one issue, and that was a change
of the national administration.  On this issue they were perfectly
united and thoroughly in earnest, and it was idle to deny that on
their own showing the spoils alone divided them from the Democrats
and inspired their zeal.

The demand of the Whigs for a change was well-founded.  Samuel
Swartwout, the New York Collector of Customs, had disgraced the
Government by his defalcations; and, although he was a legacy of
Mr. Van Buren's "illustrious predecessor," and had been "vindicated"
by a Senate committee composed chiefly of his political opponents,
he was unquestionably a public swindler, and had found shelter
under Mr. Van Buren's administration.  He was the most conspicuous
public rascal of his time, but was far from being alone in his
odious notoriety.  The system of public plunder inaugurated by
Jackson was in full blast, and an organized effort to reform it
was the real need of the hour; but here was the weak point of the
Whigs.  They proceeded upon the perfectly gratuitous assumption
that the shameless abuses against which they clamored would be
thoroughly reformed should they come into power.  They took it for
granted that a change would be equivalent to a cure, and that the
people would follow them in thus begging the very question on which
some satisfactory assurance was reasonably required.  They seemed
totally unconscious of the fact that human nature is essentially
the same in all parties, and that a mere change of men without any
change of system would be fruitless.  They laid down no programme
looking to the reform of the civil service.  They did not condemn
it, and their sole panacea for the startling frauds and defalcations
of Van Buren's administration was the imagined superior virtue and
patriotism of the Whigs.  In the light of this fact alone, it is
impossible to account for the perfectly unbounded and irrepressible
enthusiasm which swept over the land during the campaign, and so
signally routed the forces of Democracy.  Something more than empty
promises and windy declamation was necessary, and that something,
in an evil hour, was supplied by the Democrats themselves.

General Harrison was a man of Revolutionary blood.  He commanded
the confidence of the chief Fathers of the Republic.  He was a man
of undoubted bravery, and had made a most honorable record, both
as a soldier and a civilian, upon ample trial in both capacities.
He was unquestionably honest and patriotic, and the fact that he
was a poor man, and a plain farmer of the West, could properly form
no objection to his character or his fitness for the Presidency.
But the Democratic orators and newspapers assailed him as an
"imbecile."  They called him a "dotard" and a "granny."  They said
he had distinguished himself in war by running away from the enemy.
One Democratic journalist spoke of him, contemptuously, as a man
who should be content with a log cabin and a barrel of hard cider,
without aspiring to the Presidency.  The efforts to belittle his
merits and defile his good name became systematic, and degenerated
into the most unpardonable personal abuse and political defamation.
This was exactly what the Whigs needed to supplement their lack of
principles.  It worked like a charm.  It rallied the Whig masses
like a grand battle-cry.  Mass-meetings of the people, such as had
never been dreamed of before, became the order of the day.  The
people took the work of politics into their own keeping, and the
leaders became followers.  The first monster meeting I attended
was held on the Tippecanoe battle-ground, on the 29th and 30th of
May.  In order to attend it I rode on horseback through the mud
and swamps one hundred and fifty miles; but I considered myself
amply compensated for the journey in what I saw and enjoyed.  The
gathering was simply immense; and I remember that James Brooks,
since conspicuous in our national politics, tried to address the
multitude from the top of a huge log cabin.  Large shipments of
hard cider had been sent up the Wabash by steamer, and it was
liberally dealt out to the people in gourds, as more appropriate
and old-fashioned than glasses.  The people seemed to be supremely
happy, and their faces were so uniformly radiant with smiles that
a man who was detected with a serious countenance was at once
suspected as an unrepentant "Loco-foco."  But by far the largest
meeting of the campaign was that held at Dayton, on the 12th day
of September, where General Harrison spoke at length.  He was the
first "great man" I had seen; and, while gazing into his face with
an awe which I have never since felt for any mortal, I was suddenly
recalled from my rapt condition by the exit of my pocket-book.
The number in attendance at this meeting was estimated at two
hundred thousand, and I think it could not have been far out of
the way.  I am sure I have never seen it equaled, although I have
witnessed many great meetings within the past forty years.  The
marked peculiarity of all the gatherings of this campaign was a
certain grotesque pomp and extravagance of representation suggestive
of a grand carnival.  The banners, devices and pictures were
innumerable, while huge wagons were mounted with log cabins, cider
barrels, canoes, miniature ships, and raccoons.

But the most distinguishing feature of the campaign was its music.
The spirit of song was everywhere, and made the whole land vocal.
The campaign was set to music, and the song seriously threatened
to drown the stump speech.  Whiggery was translated into a tune,
and poured itself forth in doggerel rhymes which seemed to be born
of the hour, and exactly suited to the crisis.  I give a few
specimens, partly from memory, and partly from "The Harrison and
Log Cabin Song Book" of 1840, a copy of which is before me:

  What has caused the great commotion, motion, motion,
  Our country through?
  It is the ball a-rolling on, on,
  For Tippecanoe and Tyler too--Tippecanoe and Tyler too;
  And with them we'll beat little Van, Van, Van;
  Van is a used up man;
  And with them we'll beat little Van.

  Like the rushing of mighty waters, waters, waters,
  On it will go,
  And in its course will clear the way
  For Tippecanoe and Tyler too--Tippecanoe and Tyler too;
  And with them we'll beat little Van, Van, Van;
  Van is a used up man;
  And with them we'll beat little Van.

The famous "ball" alluded to in this song originated with the Whigs
of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and was sent by them to a Mass
Convention held at Baltimore.  It was ten or twelve feet in diameter,
and upon the ends of it, on blue ground, were stars corresponding
in number with the States of the Union.  On its wide spaces of red
and white stripes various inscriptions were made, including the
following, which belongs to the poetry and music of the campaign:

  With heart and soul
  This ball we roll;
  May times improve
  As on we move.

  This Democratic ball
  Set rolling first by Benton,
  Is on another track
  From that it first was sent on.

  Farewell, dear Van,
  You're not our man;
  To guide the ship,
  We'll try old Tip.

The following, sung to the tune of "Old Rosin the Bow," was quite
as popular:

  Come ye who, whatever betide her,
  To Freedom have sworn to be true,
  Prime up with a cup of hard cider,
  And drink to old Tippecanoe.

  On top I've a cask of as good, sir,
  As man from the tap ever drew;
  No poison to cut up your blood, sir,
  But liquor as pure as the dew.

  Parched corn men can't stand it much longer,
  Enough is as much as we'll bear;
  With Tip at our head, in October,
  We'll tumble Van out of the chair.

  Then ho! for March fourth, forty-one, boys,
  We'll shout till the heavens' arched blue
  Shall echo hard cider and fun, boys,
  Drink, drink, to old Tippecanoe.

The following kindred verses will be familiar to everybody who
remembers the year 1840:

  Ye jolly young lads of Ohio,
  And all ye sick Vanocrats, too,
  Come out from among the foul party,
  And vote for old Tippecanoe.

  Good men from the Van jacks are flying,
  Which makes them look kinder askew,
  For they see they are joining the standard
  With the hero of Tippecanoe.

  They say that he lived in a cabin,
  And lived on old cider, too;
  Well, what if he did?  I'm certain
  He's the hero of Tippecanoe.

I give the following verses of one of the best, which used to be
sung with tremendous effect:

  The times are bad, and want curing;
  They are getting past all enduring;
  Let us turn out Martin Van Buren,
  And put in old Tippecanoe.
  The best thing we can do,
  Is to put in old Tippecanoe.

  It's a business we all can take part in,
  So let us give notice to Martin
  That he must get ready for sartin',
  For we'll put in old Tippecanoe.
  The best thing we can do
  Is to put in old Tippecanoe.

  We've had of their humbugs a plenty;
  For now all our pockets are empty;
  We've a dollar now where we had twenty,
  So we'll put in old Tippecanoe.
  The best thing we can do,
  Is to put in old Tippecanoe.

The following verses are perfectly characteristic:

  See the farmer to his meal
  Joyfully repair;
  Crackers, cheese and cider, too,
  A hard but homely fare.

  Martin to his breakfast comes
  At the hour of noon;
  Sipping from a china cup,
  With a golden spoon.

  Martin's steeds impatient wait
  At the palace door;
  Outriders behind the coach
  And lackeys on before.

After the State election in Maine, a new song appeared, which at
once became a favorite, and from which I quote the following:

  And have you heard the news from Maine,
  And what old Maine can do?
  She went hell bent for Governor Kent,
  And Tippecanoe and Tyler too,
  And Tippecanoe and Tyler too.

Such was this most remarkable Whig campaign, with its monster
meetings and music, its infinite drolleries, its rollicking fun,
and its strong flavor of political lunacy.  As to the canvass of
the Democrats, the story is soon told.  In all points it was the
reverse of a success.  The attempt to manufacture enthusiasm failed
signally.  They had neither fun nor music in their service, and
the attempt to secure them would have been completely overwhelmed
by the flood on the other side.  It was a melancholy struggle, and
constantly made more so by the provoking enthusiasm and unbounded
good humor of the Whigs.  It ended as a campaign of despair, while
its humiliating catastrophe must have awakened inexpressible
disappointment and disgust both among the leaders and masses of
the party.

This picture of party politics, forty-three years ago, is not very
flattering to our American pride, but it simply shows the working
of Democratic institutions in dealing with the "raw material" of
society and life at that time.  The movement of 1840 was necessarily
transient and provisional, while underneath its clatter and nonsense
was a real issue.  It was unrecognized by both parties, but it made
its advent, and the men who pointed its way quietly served notice
upon the country of their ulterior purposes.

As long ago as the year 1817, Charles Osborn had established an
anti-slavery newspaper in Ohio, entitled "The Philanthropist,"
which was followed in 1821 by the publication of Benjamin Lundy's
"Genius of Universal Emancipation."  In 1831 the uprising of slaves
in Southampton County, Virginia, under the lead of Nat. Turner,
had startled the country and invited attention to the question of
slavery.  In the same year Garrison had established "The Liberator,"
and in 1835 was mobbed in Boston, and dragged through its streets
with a rope about his neck.  In 1837 Lovejoy had been murdered in
Alton, Illinois, and his assassins compared by the Mayor of Boston
to the patriots of the Revolution.  In 1838 a pro-slavery mob had
set fire to Pennsylvania Hall, in Philadelphia, and defied the city
authorities in this service of slavery.  President Jackson and Amos
Kendall, his Postmaster General, had openly set the Constitution
at defiance by justifying the rifling of the mails and the suppression
of the circulation of anti-slavery newspapers in the South.  The
"gag" resolutions had been introduced in the House of Representatives
in 1836, which provoked the splendid fights of Adams, Giddings and
Slade for the right of petition and the freedom of speech.  Dr.
Channing had published his prophetic letter to Henry Clay, on the
annexation of Texas, in 1837, and awakened a profound interest in
the slavery question on both sides of the Atlantic.  We had been
disgraced by two Florida wars, caused by the unconstitutional
espousal of slavery by the General Government.  President Van Buren
had dishonored his administration and defied the moral sense of
the civilized world by his efforts to prostitute our foreign policy
to the service of slavery and the slave trade.  In February, 1839,
Henry Clay had made his famous speech on "Abolitionism," and thus
recognized the bearing of the slavery question upon the presidential
election of the following year.  The Abolitionists had laid siege
to the conscience and humanity of the people, and their moral
appeals were to be a well-spring of life to the nation in its final
struggle for self-preservation; but as yet they had agreed upon no
organized plan of action against the aggressions of an institution
which threatened the overthrow of the Union and the end of Republican
government.  But now they were divided into two camps, the larger
of which favored political action, organized as a party, and
nominated, as its candidate for President, James G. Birney, who
received nearly seven thousand votes.

This was a small beginning, but it was the beginning of the end.
That slavery was to be put down without political action in a
government carried on by the ballot was never a tenable proposition,
and the inevitable work was at last inaugurated.  It was done
opportunely.  Harrison and Van Buren were alike objectionable to
anti-slavery men who understood their record.  To choose between
them was to betray the cause.  Van Buren had attempted to shelter
the slave trade under the national flag.  He had allied himself to
the enemies of the right of petition and the freedom of debate, as
the means of conciliating the South.  He had taken sides with
Jackson in his lawless interference with the mails at the bidding
of slave-holders.  In a word, he had fairly earned the description
of "a Northern man with Southern principles."  General Harrison,
on the other hand, was a pro-slavery Virginian.  While Governor of
Indiana Territory he had repeatedly sought the introduction of
slavery into that region through the suspension of the ordnance of
1787, which had forever dedicated it to freedom.  He had taken
sides with the South in 1820 on the Missouri question.  He had no
sympathy with the struggle of Adams and his associates, against
the gag and in favor of the right of petition, and regarded the
discussion of the slavery question as unconstitutional.  The first
draft of his inaugural was so wantonly offensive to the anti-slavery
Whigs who had aided in his election, that even Mr. Clay condemned
it, and prevailed on the General to modify it.  He had declared
that "the schemes of the Abolitionists were fraught with horrors,
upon which an incarnate devil only could look with approbation."
With such candidates the hour had fairly struck for anti-slavery
men, who believed in the use of the ballot, to launch the grand
movement which was finally to triumph over all opposition; while
to oppose this movement, however honestly, was to encourage men to
choose between parties equally untrustworthy, and by thus prolonging
their rule to defeat all practical anti-slavery work.  It was the
singular mistake of the non-voting Abolitionists at this time,
that, while they looked forward to political action as the ultimate
result of their moral agitation, they vehemently opposed the
formation of an anti-slavery political party, and either withheld
their votes or divided them between these pro-slavery chieftains,
though giving by far the larger proportion to the Whig candidate.

From this time forward anti-slavery progress was more marked.  The
struggle over the right of petition in Congress continued, and was
characterized by a constantly increasing measure of fierceness on
the part of the South.  This is vividly depicted in a passage from
the diary of Mr. Adams, in March, 1841, in which he declares that
"The world, the flesh, and all the devils in hell are arrayed
against any man who now, in this North American Union, shall dare
to join the standard of Almighty God to put down the African slave
trade; and what can I, upon the verge of my seventy-fourth birthday,
with a shaking hand, a darkening eye, a drowsy brain, and with all
my faculties dropping from me one by one as the teeth are dropping
from my head, what can I do for the cause of God and man, for the
progress of human emancipation, for the suppression of the African
slave-trade?  Yet my conscience presses me on; let me but die upon
the breach."

The celebrated trial of Mr. Adams the following year, for presenting
a petition from the citizens of Haverhill, requesting Congress to
take steps toward a peaceable dissolution of the Union, was a great
national event, and his triumph gave a new impulse to the cause of
freedom.  The censure of Mr. Giddings which followed, for offering
resolutions in the House embodying the simplest truisms respecting
the relations of the General Government to slavery, and the elaborate
State paper of Mr. Webster, which provoked these resolutions, in
which he attempted to commit the Government to the protection of
slavery on the high seas, in accordance with the theories of Mr.
Calhoun, still further kept alive the anti-slavery agitation, and
awakened the interest of Northern men.  A kindred aid, unwittingly
rendered the anti-slavery cause, was the infamous diplomacy of
General Cass, our Ambassador to France in 1842, in connection with
the Quintuple Treaty for the suppression of the African slave trade.
His monstrous effort to shield that trade under the flag of the
United States was characterized by Mr. Adams as "a compound of
Yankee cunning, of Italian perfidy, and of French _légéreté_,
cemented by shameless profligacy unparalleled in American diplomacy."
In October, 1842, Henry Clay himself became an anti-slavery agitator
through his famous "Mendenhall Speech" at Richmond, Indiana.  In
response to a petition asking him to emancipate his slaves, he told
the people "that whatever the law secures as property _is_ property,"
and described his slaves as "being well fed and clad," and as
looking "sleek and hearty."  "Go home, Mr. Mendenhall," said he,
"and mind your own business, and leave other people to take care
of theirs."  Mr. Mendenhall was an anti-slavery Quaker; but Mr.
Clay, while rebuking him severely, took pains to compliment the
society itself on its practically pro-slavery attitude, and thus
stung into redoubled earnestness and zeal the men who had recently
been driven out of it on account of their "abolitionism."  On the
day following this speech, which was the Sabbath, he was escorted
to the yearly meeting by Elijah Coffin, its clerk, seated in a very
conspicuous place, honored by every mark of the most obsequious
deference, and thus made the instrument of widening the breach
already formed in the society, while feeding the anti-slavery fires
which he was so anxious to assuage.

The work of agitation was still further kept alive by conflicts
between the Northern and Southern States respecting the reclamation
of fugitives from crime.  Virginia had demanded of New York the
surrender of three colored sailors who were charged with having
aided a slave to escape.  Governor Seward refused to deliver them
up, for the reason that the Constitutional provision on the subject
must be so understood as that States would only be required to
surrender fugitives accused of an offense considered a crime in
the State called upon to make the surrender as well as in the State
asking for it.  Similar controversies occurred between other States,
in all of which the South failed in her purpose.  The anti-slavery
spirit found further expression in 1843 in Massachusetts, whose
Legislature resolved to move, through the Representatives of the
State in Congress, an Amendment to the Constitution, basing
representation on the free population only of the States; which
proposition gave rise to a most memorable debate in the national
House of Representatives.  It was in the August of the same year
that the voting Abolitionists held a National Convention in Buffalo,
in which all the free States, except New Hampshire, were represented;
while in the following year the Methodist Episcopal Church was rent
in twain by the same unmanageable question, which had previously
divided other ecclesiastical communions.

In the meanwhile, the question of Texan annexation had been steadily
advancing to the political front, and stirring the blood of the
people both North and South.  This "robbery of a realm," as Dr.
Channing had styled it, was the unalterable purpose and unquenchable
desire of the slave-holding interest, and its accomplishment was
to be secured by openly espousing the principle that the end
justifies the means, and setting all consequences at defiance.
This is exactly what the Government did.  The diplomacy through
which the plot was prosecuted was marked by a cunning, audacity,
and perfidy, which, in these particulars, leave the administration
of John Tyler unrivalled in its ugly pre-eminence, and form one of
the blackest pages in the history of the Republic.  The momentous
question was now upon us; and on the dawning of the year 1844, all
parties saw that it was destined to be the overshadowing issue in
the ensuing presidential campaign.


CHAPTER II.
THE CAMPAIGN OF 1844--ANNEXATION AND SLAVERY.
The nomination of Clay--His position on the slavery question and
annexation--Van Buren's letter to Hammet, and its effect upon the
South--His repudiation, and the nomination of Polk--The surprise
of the country--Unbounded confidence of the Whigs--The course of
the New York Democrats--The "Kane Letter"--Trouble among the Whigs
on the annexation question--Fierceness of the contest, and singular
ability of the leaders--The effect of Clay's defeat upon the Whigs
--Causes of the defeat--The Abolitionists, and the abuse heaped
upon them--Cassius M. Clay--Mr. Hoar's mission to South Carolina--
Election of John P. Hale--Annexation and war with Mexico--Polk's
message, and the Wilmot proviso--The Oregon question, and Alex. H.
Stephens.

The times were serious.  The fun and frolic of 1840 had borne no
fruit, and that part of our history could not be repeated.  The
campaign of 1844 promised to be a struggle for principle; and among
the Whigs all eyes were turned for a standard-bearer to Mr. Clay,
who had been so shabbily treated four years before.  He was
unanimously nominated on the first of May, with Theodore Frelinghuysen
as the candidate for Vice President.  The party issues were not
very sharply defined, but this was scarcely necessary with a
candidate who was proverbially regarded as himself "the embodiment
of Whig principles."  On the subject of annexation, he clearly
defined his position in his letter of the 17th of April to the
"National Intelligencer."  He declared that annexation and war with
Mexico were identical, and placed himself squarely against it,
except upon conditions specified, which would make the project of
immediate annexation impossible.  On the slavery question, he had
not yet seriously offended the anti-slavery element in his own
party, and was even trusted by some of the voting anti-slavery men.
In a speech at Raleigh, in April of this year, he declared it to
be "the duty of each State to sustain its own domestic institutions."
He had publicly said that the General Government had nothing to do
with slavery, save in the matters of taxation, representation, and
the return of fugitive slaves.  He had condemned the censure of
Mr. Giddings in 1842 as an outrage, and indorsed the principles
laid down in his tract, signed "Pacificus," on the relations of
the Federal Government to slavery, and the rights and duties of
the people of the free States.  In his earlier years, he had been
an outspoken emancipationist, and had always frankly expressed his
opinion that slavery was a great evil.  These considerations, and
especially his unequivocal utterances against the annexation scheme,
were regarded as hopeful auguries of a thoroughly united party,
and its triumph at the polls; while Mr. Webster, always on the
presidential anxious-seat, and carefully watching the signs of the
political zodiac, now cordially lent his efforts to the Whig cause.

With the Democracy, Mr. Van Buren was still a general favorite.
His friends felt that the wrong done him in 1840 should now be
righted, and a large majority of his party undoubtedly favored his
renomination.  But his famous letter to Mr. Hammet, of Mississippi,
dated March 27th, on the annexation of Texas, placed a lion in his
path.  In this lengthy and elaborate document he committed himself
against the project of immediate annexation, and the effect was at
once seen in the decidedly unfriendly tone of Democratic opinion
in the South.  He had been faithful to the Slave oligarchy in many
things, but his failure in one was counted a breach of the whole
law.  By many acts of patient and dutiful service he had earned
the gratitude of his Southern task-masters; but now, when driven
to the wall, he mustered the courage to say, "Thus far, no farther";
and for this there was no forgiveness.  General Jackson came to
his rescue, but it was in vain.  The Southern heart was set upon
immediate annexation as the golden opportunity for rebuilding the
endangered edifice of slavery, and Mr. Van Buren's talk about
national obligations and the danger of a foreign war was treated
as the idle wind.  The Southern Democrats were bent upon his
overthrow, and they went about it in the Baltimore Convention of
the 27th of May as if perfectly conscious of their power over the
Northern wing of the party.  They moved and carried the "two-thirds
rule," which had been acted on in the National Convention of 1832,
and afterward in that of 1835, although this could not have been
done without the votes of a majority of the convention, which was
itself strongly for Van Buren.  The rule was adopted by a considerable
majority, the South being nearly unanimous in its favor, while the
North largely "supplied the men who handed Van Buren over to his
enemies with a kiss."  Even General Cass, the most gifted and
accomplished dough-face in the Northern States, failed to receive
a majority of the votes of the Convention on any ballot, and James
K. Polk was finally nominated as the champion of immediate annexation,
with George M. Dallas as the candidate for Vice President.

The nomination was a perfect surprise to the country, because Mr.
Polk was wholly unknown to the people as a statesman.  Like Governor
Hayes, when nominated in 1876, he belonged to the "illustrious
obscure."  The astonished native who, on hearing the news, suddenly
inquired of a bystander, "Who the devil is Polk?" simply echoed
the common feeling, while his question provoked the general laughter
of the Whigs.  For a time the nomination was somewhat disappointing
to the Democrats themselves; but they soon rallied, and finally
went into the canvass very earnestly, and with a united front.
The Whigs began the campaign in high hopes and in fact with unbounded
confidence in their success.  Their great captain was in command,
and they took comfort in his favorite utterance that "truth is
omnipotent, and public justice certain."  To pit him against such
a pigmy as Polk seemed to them a miserable burlesque, and they
counted their triumph as already perfectly assured.  They claimed
the advantage on the question of annexation, and still more as to
the tariff, since the act of 1842 was popular, and Polk was known
to be a free-trader of the Calhoun school.  As the canvass proceeded,
however, it became evident that the fight was to be fierce and
bitter to the last degree, and that the issue, after all, was not
so certain.  Mr. Polk, notwithstanding his obscurity, was able to
rouse the enthusiasm of his party, North and South, to a very
remarkable degree.  The annexation pill was swallowed by many
Democrats whose support of him had been deemed morally impossible.
In New York, where the opposition was strongest, leading Democrats,
with William Cullen Bryant as their head, denounced the annexation
scheme and repudiated the paragraph of the National platform which
favored it, and yet voted for Polk, who owed his nomination solely
to the fact that he had committed himself to the policy of immediate
and unconditional annexation, thus anticipating the sickly political
morality of 1852, when so many men of repute tried in vain to save
both their consciences and their party orthodoxy by "spitting upon
the platform and swallowing the candidate who stood upon it."
History will have to record that the action of these New York
Democrats saved the ticket in that State, and justly attaches to
them the responsibility for the very evils to the country against
which they so eloquently warned their brethren.  The power of the
spoils came in as a tremendous make-weight, while the party lash
was vigorously flourished, and the "independent voter" was as
hateful to the party managers on both sides as we find him to-day.
Those who refused to wear the party collar were branded by the
"organs" as a "pestiferous and demoralizing brood," who deserved
"extermination."  Discipline was rigorously enforced, and made to
take the place of argument.  As regards the tariff question, Mr.
Polk's letter to Judge Kane, of Philadelphia, of the 19th of June,
enabled his friends completely to turn the tables on the Whigs of
Pennsylvania, where "Polk, Dallas, and the tariff of 1842," was
blazoned on the Democratic banners, and thousands of Democrats were
actually made to believe that Polk was even a better tariff man
than Clay.  This letter, committing its free-trade author to the
principle of a revenue tariff, with "reasonable incidental protection
to our home industries," was translated into German and printed in
all the party papers; and as a triumphant effort to make the people
believe a lie, and a masterpiece of political duplicity employed
by the great party as a means of success, it had no precedent in
American politics.  In later times, however, it has been completely
eclipsed by the scheme of "tissue ballots," and other wholesale
methods of balking the popular will in the South, by the successful
effort to cheat the nation out of the right to choose its Chief
Magistrate in 1876, and by the startling bribery of a great
commonwealth four years later, now unblushingly confessed by the
party leaders who accomplished it.

In the meantime the spirit of discontent began to manifest itself
among the Whigs of the South respecting Mr. Clay's attitude on the
question of annexation, and in a moment of weakness he wrote his
unfortunate "Alabama letter," of the 27th of July.  In that letter
he said:  "I do not think the subject of slavery ought to affect
the question one way or the other.  Whether Texas be independent
or incorporated into the United States, I do not believe it will
prolong or shorten the duration of that institution."  He also
declared that he would be "glad to see it, without dishonor, without
war, with the common consent of the Union, and upon just and fair
terms."  These words were perfectly chilling to his anti-slavery
supporters, who were utterly opposed to annexation on _any_ terms,
because the power of slavery would thus inevitably be extended and
strengthened in the United States.  The letter was an irreparable
mistake.  It was a fresh example of his besetting tendency to
mediate between opposing policies, and undoubtedly drove from his
support many who would otherwise have followed the Whig banner to
the end.

But the Whigs kept up the fight.  The issues were joined, and it
was too late to change front.  The real question in dispute was
that of annexation, and the election of Polk was certain to secure
it, and to involve the nation in war.  Clay was unquestionably
right in saying that annexation and war were identical; and, although
on the slavery question he might be feared as a compromiser, there
was no reason to doubt that, if elected, he would vigorously resist
the annexation scheme, except upon conditions already stated, which
could not fail to defeat it as a present measure and avoid the
calamities of war.  I was inexpressibly disappointed and grieved
by his letter; but I agreed with Cassius M. Clay, that opposition
to annexation except "with the common consent of the Union" was
practically absolute opposition, and I therefore kept up the fight
in which I had enlisted in the beginning and made my first venture
as a stump speaker.  I cared little about the old party issues.
I had outgrown the teachings of the Whigs on the subject of
protection, and especially their pet dogma of "the higher the duty
the lower the price of the protected article."  As to a national
bank, I followed Webster, who had pronounced it "an obsolete idea";
and I totally repudiated the land policy of the Whigs, having at
that early day espoused the principle that the public lands should
cease to be a source of revenue, and be granted in small homesteads
to the landless poor for actual settlement and tillage.  But on
the subject of slavery, though it had escaped my attention in the
hurrah of 1840, I was thoroughly aroused.  This came of my Quaker
training, the speeches of Adams and Giddings, the anti-slavery
newspapers, and the writings of Dr. Channing, all of which I had
been reading with profound interest since the Harrison Campaign.
Being perfectly sure that annexation would lead to slavery-extension
and war, I thought it my clear and unhesitating duty to resist the
election of Polk with all my might.  This I did to the end, and in
doing it I employed substantially the same arguments on which I
justified my separation from the Whigs four years later.

The contest proceeded with its variety of charges and counter-
charges, and was prosecuted on both sides with extraordinary vigor
and zeal in every part of the Union.  I think it was everywhere
and pre-eminently a struggle between the men of brains on either
side.  I am quite sure this was true in my own State.  Indiana was
remarkable at that time, not only for her gifted stump orators,
but for her men of real calibre and power of argument.  On the side
of the Whigs were such men as Oliver H. Smith, Joseph G. Marshall,
George G. Dunn, Joseph L. White, Richard W. Thompson, Caleb B.
Smith, George H. Proffit, Henry S. Lane, Samuel W. Parker, and
James H. Cravens.  The Democrats could boast of Tilghman A. Howard,
James Whitcomb, Edward A. Hannegan, William W. Wick, John Law,
Joseph A. Wright, Jesse D. Bright, John W. Davis, Thomas J. Henly,
and John L. Robinson.  The best talking talent of the nation was
called into service, including such Democratic giants as Thomas H.
Benton, William Allen, Silas Wright, Robert J. Walker, James
Buchanan, and Daniel S. Dickinson; and such Whigs to match them as
Daniel Webster, Rufus Choate, Thomas F. Marshall, Thomas Corwin,
S. S. Prentiss, Thomas Ewing, and W. C. Preston.  The fight was
more ably if not more hotly contested than any preceding national
struggle, raging and blazing everywhere, while the forces marshaled
against each other were more evenly balanced than in any contest
since the year 1800.  The race was so close that the result hung
in agonizing doubt and suspense up to the evening following the
election.  Party feeling rose to a frenzy, and the consuming desire
of the Whigs to crown their great Chief with the laurels of victory
was only equaled by that of the Democrats for the triumph of the
unknown Tennessean whose nomination had provoked the aggravating
laughter of the enemy in the beginning.

It is not possible to describe the effect of Mr. Clay's defeat upon
the Whigs.  It was wholly unexpected, and Mr. Clay especially
remained sanguine as to his triumph up to the last moment.  When
the result became known, it was accepted by his friends as a great
national calamity and humiliation.  It shocked and paralyzed them
like a great tragedy.  I remember very vividly one zealous Whig,
afterward a prominent Free Soiler and Republican leader, who was
so utterly overwhelmed that for a week he lost the power of sleep,
and gave himself up to political sorrow and despair.  Letters of
the most heart-felt condolence poured in upon Mr. Clay from all
quarters, and the Whigs everywhere seemed to feel that no statesman
of real eminence could ever be made President.  They insisted that
an overwhelming preponderance of the virtue, intelligence and
respectability of the country had supported their candidate, while
the larger element of ignorance and "unwashed" humanity, including
our foreign-born population, gave the victory to Mr. Polk.  Their
faith in republican government was fearfully shaken, while the
causes of the great disaster were of course sought out, and made
the text of hasty but copious moralizings.  One of these causes
was the Kane letter, which undoubtedly gave Mr. Polk the State of
Pennsylvania.  Another was the baneful influence of "nativism,"
which had just broken out in the great cities, and been made the
occasion of such frightful riot and bloodshed in Philadelphia as
to alarm our foreign-born citizens, and throw them almost unanimously
against the Whigs.  The Abolitionists declared that Mr. Clay's
defeat was caused by his trimming on the annexation question, which
drew from him a sufficient number of conscientious anti-slavery
men to have turned the tide in his favor.  The famous Plaquemine
frauds in Louisiana unquestionably lost that State to Mr. Clay.
This infamous conspiracy to strangle the voice of a sovereign State
was engineered by John Slidell, and it consisted of the shipment
from New Orleans to Plaquemine of two steamboats loaded with roughs
and villains, whose illegal votes were sufficient to turn the State
over to the Democrats.

But the cause of Mr. Clay's defeat which was dwelt upon with most
emphasis and feeling was the action of the Liberty party.  Birney,
its candidate for President, received 66,304 votes, and these, it
was alleged, came chiefly from the Whig party.  The vote of these
men in New York and Michigan was greater than the Democratic
majority, so that if they had united with the Whigs, Clay would
have been elected in spite of all other opposition.  Mr. Polk's
plurality over Clay in New York was only 5,106, while Birney received
in that State 15,812; and Horace Greeley insisted that if only one
third of this vote had been cast for Mr. Clay, he would have been
President.  The feeling of the Whigs against these anti-slavery
men was bitter and damnatory to the last degree.  The Plaquemine
frauds, the Kane letter, and everything else, were forgotten in
the general and abounding wrath against these "fanatics," who were
denounced as the betrayers of their country and of the cause which
a very great and critical opportunity had placed it in their power
to save.  "The Abolitionists deserve to be damned, and they will
be," said a zealous Whig to an anti-slavery Quaker; and this was
simply the expression of the prevailing feeling at this time, at
least in the West.

But this treatment of the Abolitionists was manifestly unjust.
Their organization four years before was neither untimely nor
unnecessary, but belonged to the inevitable logic of a great and
dominating idea.  A party was absolutely necessary which should
make this idea paramount, and utterly refuse to be drawn away from
it by any party divisions upon subsidiary questions.  It should be
remembered, too, that the Liberty party was made up of Democratic
as well as Whig deserters, and that if it had disbanded, or had
not been formed, the result of this election would have been the
same.  The statement of Mr. Greeley, that one third of Birney's
vote in New York would have elected Clay, was unwarranted, unless
he was able to show what would have been the action of the other
two thirds.  In justice to these Abolitionists it should also be
remembered and recorded, to say the very least, that Mr. Clay
himself divided with them the responsibility of his defeat by his
Alabama letter, and that now, in the clear perspective of history,
they stand vindicated against their Whig assailants, whose fevered
brains and party intolerance blinded their eyes to the truth.
Doubtless there were honest differences of opinion as to the best
method of serving the anti-slavery cause in this exasperating
campaign, and these differences may still survive as an inheritance;
but abolitionism, as a working force in our politics, had to have
a beginning, and no man who cherishes the memory of the old Free
Soil party, and of the larger one to which it gave birth, will
withhold the meed of his praise from the heroic little band of
sappers and miners who blazed the way for the armies which were to
follow, and whose voices, though but faintly heard in the whirlwind
of 1840, were made significantly audible in 1844.  Although they
were everywhere totally misunderstood and grossly misrepresented,
they clearly comprehended their work and courageously entered upon
its performance.  Their political creed was substantially identical
with that of the Free Soilers of 1848 and the Republicans of 1856
and 1860.  They were anything but political fanatics, and history
will record that their sole offense was the espousal of the truth
in advance of the multitude, which slowly and finally followed in
their footsteps.

But the war against slavery was not at all intermitted by the
victory of the Democrats.  Events are schoolmasters, and this
triumph only quickened their march toward the final catastrophe.
Cassius M. Clay, who had espoused the Whig cause in this canvass
with great vigor and zeal, and on anti-slavery grounds, re-enlisted
in the battle against slavery, and resolved to prosecute it by new
methods.  He had been sorely tried by Mr. Clay's Alabama letter
and the Whig defeat, but he was now armed with fresh courage, and
resolved to "carry the war into Africa" by the establishment of
his newspaper, the "True American," in Lexington, in his own State.
His arraignment of slavery was so eloquent and masterly that a
large meeting of slave-holders appointed a committee to wait on
him, and request the discontinuance of his paper.  His reply was:
"Go, tell your secret conclave of cowardly assassins that Cassius
M. Clay knows his rights, and how to defend them."  These words
thrilled all lovers of liberty, and sounded to them like a trumpet
call to battle.  Another fruitful event was the effort of Massachusetts,
in the fall of this year, to protect her colored seamen in the
ports of Charleston and New Orleans, where they were seized on
merchant ships and sold into slavery under local police regulations.
When Mr. Hoar visited Charleston as the accredited agent of his
State for the purpose of taking measures to test the constitutionality
of these regulations, the Legislature of South Carolina, by a vote
of one hundred and nineteen against one, passed a series of outrageous
resolutions culminating in a request to the Governor to expel him
from the State as a confessed disturber of the peace.  He was
obliged summarily to depart, as the only means of escaping the
vengeance of the mob.  This open and insolent defiance of the
national authority could not fail to strengthen anti-slavery opinion
in the Northern States.  The same end was served by an unexpected
movement in New Hampshire.  This State, like Massachusetts and
Vermont, had taken ground against annexation, but it wheeled into
line after Polk was nominated.  John P. Hale, however, then a
Democratic member of Congress from that State, refused to follow
his party, and for this reason, after he had been formally declared
its choice for re-election, he was thrown overboard, and another
candidate nominated.  No election, however, was effected, and his
seat remained vacant during the 29th Congress, but he obtained a
seat in the Legislature in 1846, and the following year was chosen
United States Senator, while Amos Tuck, afterward a prominent Free
Soiler, was elected to the Lower House of Congress.  These were
pregnant events, and especially the triumph of Hale, who became a
very formidable champion of freedom, and a thorn in the side of
slavery till it perished.

In the meantime the hunger for immediate annexation had been whetted
by the election of Mr. Polk, and its champions hurried up their
work, and pushed it by methods in open disregard of the Constitution
and of our treaty obligations with Mexico.  In the last hours of
the administration of John Tyler the atrocious plot received its
finishing touch and the Executive approval, and, in the apt words
of the ablest and fairest historian of the transaction, "the bridal
dress in which Calhoun had led the beloved of the slaveocracy to
the Union was the torn and tattered Constitution of the United
States."  War with Mexico, as prophesied by the Whigs, speedily
followed.  As early as August, 1845, General Taylor was ordered by
President Polk to advance to a position on the Nueces.  In March
of the following year, in pursuance of further orders, his army
again advanced, taking its position on the east bank of the Rio
Grande, and, of course, on the soil of Mexico.  Hostilities naturally
followed, and after two battles the President, in his message to
Congress, declared that "American blood has been shed on American
soil."  This robust Executive falsehood, with which the slave power
compelled him to face the civilized world, must always hold a very
high rank in the annals of public audacity and crime.  It is what
Thomas Carlyle might have styled "the second power of a lie," and
is only rivaled by the parallel falsehood of Congress in declaring
that "by the act of the Republic of Mexico a state of war exists
between that Government and the United States."  In the message of
the President referred to, he recommended that a considerable sum
of money be placed at his disposal for the purpose of negotiating
a peace, and it was on the consideration of this message that David
Wilmot fortunately obtained the floor, and moved his memorable
proviso for the interdiction of slavery in any territory which
might be wrested from Mexico by our arms.  This was the session of
Congress for 1846-47, and the proposition passed the House with
great unanimity as to the Northern members.  At the following
session of Congress, on the 28th of February, 1848, the proviso
again came before the House, and the motion to lay it on the table
failed, all the Whigs and a large majority of the Democrats from
the free States voting in the negative.  It passed the House on
the 13th of December following, on a similar division of parties
and sections, but the Senate refused to concur, and the Thirtieth
Congress adjourned without any provisions whatever for the organization
or government of our recently acquired Territories.

It is worth while to notice in passing that on the first introduction
of the Wilmot proviso, in August, 1846, General Cass was decidedly
in its favor, and regretted that it had been talked to death by
the long speech of John Davis; but on the 24th of December, 1847,
he wrote his famous "Nicholson letter," proclaiming his gospel of
"popular sovereignty" in the Territories, which proved the seed-
plot of immeasurable national trouble and disaster.  "I am strongly
impressed with the opinion," said he, "that a great change is going
on in the public mind on this subject--in my own mind as well as
others"; and he had before declared, on the 19th of February, that
the passage of the Wilmot proviso "would be death to the war, death
to all hope of getting an acre of territory, death to the
administration, and death to the Democratic party."  This was
thoroughly characteristic, and in perfect harmony with his action,
already referred to, respecting the Quintuple treaty; but it showed
how the political waters were being troubled by the slavery question,
and how impossible it was to accommodate the growing anti-slavery
feeling of the country by any shallow expedients.

But another conspiracy against freedom was now hatched; and if the
Senate had strangled the Wilmot proviso, it was gratifying to find
the House ready to strangle this monster of senatorial birth.  I
allude to the now almost forgotten "Clayton Compromise," which
passed the Senate by a decided majority on the 26th of July.  By
submitting the whole question of slavery in all our Territories to
the Supreme Court of the United States, as then constituted, it
would almost certainly have spawned the curse in all of them,
including Oregon, which had long been exposed to peril and massacre
by the reckless opposition of our slave-masters to a government
there without the recognition of slavery.  The defeat of this
nefarious proposition, which was happily followed by the passage
of a bill giving Oregon a territorial government, is largely due
to Alexander H. Stephens, whose motion to lay it on the table in
the House prevailed by a small majority.  In this action he had
the courage to separate himself from the great body of the leading
men of his own section; but in doing so he was prompted by his
supreme devotion to slavery.  This he has since denied and labored
to explain in his private correspondence and published works, but
the record is fatally against him.  He was unwilling to trust the
interests of the South in the hands of the Supreme Court, and his
speech of August 7th, in the House of Representatives, in defense
of his motion, gave very plausible reasons for his apprehensions;
but the Dred Scott decision of a few years later showed how completely
he misjudged that tribunal, and how opportunely his blindness came
to the rescue of freedom.  It seems now to have been providential;
for in this Continental plot against liberty the superior sagacity
of Calhoun and his associates was demonstrated by subsequent events,
while Mr. Stephens, with his great influence in the South, could
almost certainly have secured its triumph if he had become its
champion instead of its enemy.


CHAPTER III.
THE CAMPAIGN OF 1848--ITS INCIDENTS AND RESULTS.
The approach of another presidential campaign--Party divisions
threatened by the Wilmot proviso--Nomination of Gen. Cass--The
"Nicholson Letter"--Democratic division in New York--The nomination
of Gen. Taylor--Whig divisions--Birth of the Free Soil party--The
Buffalo Convention--Nomination of Van Buren and Adams--Difficulty
of uniting on Van Buren--Incidents--Rev. Joshua Leavitt--The work
of the campaign--Mr. Webster and Free Soil--Greeley and Seward--
Abuse of Whig bolters--Remarkable results of the canvass.

The approach of another presidential year was thus marked by a
steadily growing interest in the question of slavery.  The conflict
with it seemed far more irrepressible than ever before.  The Liberty
party had nominated John P. Hale as its candidate in 1847.  The
Whigs in Massachusetts were threatened with an incurable division
into "Conscience Whigs" and "Cotton Whigs," growing out of the
question of annexation and the government of our new Territories.
The same causes were dividing the Democrats of New York, and the
feud was seriously aggravated by remembering the defeat of Mr. Van
Buren in 1844, for the one sin of opposing the immediate annexation
of Texas, while a large majority of the party favored his nomination.
The Van Buren element in the Democratic party threatened revolt in
other States, while both Whigs and Democrats in the North were
committed to the policy of the Wilmot proviso.  This was to be the
great question of the ensuing national canvass, and the roused
spirit of the people of the free States seemed clearly to foreshadow
the triumph of freedom in the organization and government of our
Mexican acquisitions.

But the virtue and courage of our politicians were now to be severely
tried.  The power of party discipline and the tempting bait of the
spoils were to be employed as never before in swerving men from
their convictions.  The South, of course, was a perfect unit, and
fully resolved upon the spread of slavery over our Territories.
It had always been the absolute master of the Northern Democracy,
and had no dream of anything less than the supremacy of its own
will.  Its favorite candidate was now Gen. Cass, and he was nominated
by the Baltimore National Convention on the 22d day of May.  It
was a fit nomination for the party of slavery.  He had been thirsting
for it many years, and had earned it by multiplied acts of the most
obsequious and crouching servility to his Southern overseers.
Again and again he had crawled in the dust at their feet, and, if
they could not now reward him with the presidency, it seemed utterly
useless for any Northern man to hope for their favor.  The "Nicholson
letter" was not all that the South wanted, but it was a very
important concession, and with Gen. Cass as its interpreter it
meant the nearest thing possible to a complete surrender.  In this
National Convention the State of New York had two sets of delegates,
both of which were formally admitted, as a compromise; but the
members of the Van Buren or Free Soil wing refused to take their
seats, and thus held themselves in reserve for such revolutionary
work as should afterward seem to them advisable.

The Whig National Convention met in Philadelphia on the 7th of
June.  The party seemed completely demoralized by the defeat of
Mr. Clay in the previous canvass, and was now in search of "an
available candidate," and inspired by the same miserable policy of
expediency which had been so barren of results in 1840.  The Northern
Whigs appeared to be unanimously and zealously committed to the
prohibition of slavery in our Territories, but equally unanimous
and zealous in the determination to succeed in the canvass.  For
more than a year Gen. Taylor had been growing into favor with the
party as a candidate, and he had now become decidedly formidable.
The spectacle was a melancholy one, since it demonstrated the
readiness of this once respectable old party to make complete
shipwreck of everything wearing the semblance of principle, for
the sake of success.  General Taylor had never identified himself
in any way with the Whig party.  He had spent his life as a mere
soldier on the frontier, and had never given a vote.  He had frankly
said he had not made up his mind upon the questions which divided
the parties.  He not only refused to be the exponent of Whig
principles, but accepted the nomination of bodies of men not known
as Whigs, who scouted the idea of being bound by the acts of any
national convention.  He was a very large slave-owner, and thus
identified in interest, and presumably in sympathy, with the South;
but he could not be induced to define his position.  His active
supporters were chiefly from the slave-holding States and those
free States which had generally given Democratic majorities, while
the men most violent in their opposition to the Wilmot proviso were
his most conspicuous followers; but the Whigs from the free States
vouched for his soundness on the slavery issue.  His letters
contained nothing but vague generalities, and he utterly declined
to commit himself on the question that was stirring the nation to
its depths.  To the different sections of the Union he wore a
different face, and each section seemed confident that the other
would be duped, while cordially joining in a common struggle for
the spoils of office which constituted the sole bond of union.
His early letters, before he fell into the hands of the politicians,
were frank and unstudied, reflecting his character as a plain old
soldier without any political training; but his later letters were
diplomatic, not wanting in style and finish, and obviously written
by others.  His second letter to Allison, on which the campaign
was finally fought, was written in the room of Alexander H. Stephens,
in Washington, after consulting with Toombs and Crittenden, and
afterward forwarded to Taylor, who gave it to the world as his own.
He had constantly about him a sort of political body-guard, or
"committee of safety," to direct his way during the canvass, and
no one could reasonably pretend that any principle whatever would
be settled by the election.  He had whipped the Mexicans, and the
Whig platform was "Rough and Ready," "A little more Grape, Captain
Bragg," and political success.

The nomination, moreover, was accomplished by methods which made
it exceedingly exasperating to Mr. Clay and his friends.  The
treachery of the Whig managers to their great leader exceeded that
which had sacrificed him at the Harrisburg Convention of 1839.
The Whigs of Virginia nominated Taylor on the credit of a forged
dispatch, to the effect that Kentucky had decided in his favor,
and thus abandoned her favorite son.  General Scott had expressed
his willingness to run for Vice President if Clay should be nominated
for President, but the member of Congress who had been authorized
to make this known kept it a secret.  Clay allowed his name to go
before the Convention on the assurance of Governor Bebb that Ohio
would stand by him, but the delegation voted for Scott.  On the
first ballot, even seven delegates from Kentucky voted for Taylor,
and he was nominated by 171 votes, with 63 for Scott, and only 32
for Clay.  Of the votes for Taylor, on the first ballot, 97 were
cast by States that had voted for Polk in 1844; and of the 94 Whig
delegates from the Free States he received the votes of only four.
He was nominated as the candidate of the Whigs who believed in the
extension of slavery, by a Convention which repeatedly and
contemptuously voted down the Wilmot proviso, already endorsed by
all the Whig Legislatures of the Free States, while no platform of
principles was adopted; and Horace Greeley was thus perfectly
justified in branding it as "the slaughter-house of Whig principles."
Such an exhibition of shameless political prostitution has rarely
been witnessed, and three of the leading Whigs of Massachusetts--
Charles Allen, Henry Wilson, and Stephen C. Phillips--left the
Convention in disgust, and severed their connection with the party
forever.

In this state of the country, and of the old parties, a new
organization and another nomination became inevitable.  The followers
of Mr. Van Buren, in New York and other States, were aching for
the opportunity to make themselves felt in avenging the wrong done
to their chief in 1844, and were quite ready to strike hands with
the members of the Liberty party.  The members of that party were
generally ready to withdraw their candidate for President and unite
with the anti-slavery Whigs and Democrats of the Northern States,
if an honorable basis of action could be agreed upon.  The "Conscience
Whigs" of Massachusetts, and thousands of Whigs in other States,
who regarded the freedom of our Territories as a vital issue, and
were thoroughly soured by the nomination of General Taylor, were
equally anxious to fuse with the other elements of political
discontent, and make their voices heard in a new and independent
organization.  There was little time for delay, and as soon as the
troubled political elements would permit, a call was issued for a
National Free Soil Convention, at Buffalo, on the 9th of August.

The Convention was historic.  It marked a new and significant
departure in party politics, and was a conspicuous milestone in
the anti-slavery journey.  It met in a spacious pavilion, and was
one of the largest political gatherings ever assembled in the
country, and animated by unbounded earnestness and enthusiasm.
Its leading spirits were men of character and undisputed ability.
The "Barnburners" of New York were largely in attendance, including
such veteran leaders as Preston King, Benjamin F. Butler, David
Dudley Field, Samuel J. Tilden, and James W. Nye.  Ohio sent a
formidable force headed by Joshua R. Giddings, Salmon Chase, and
Samuel Lewis.  The "Conscience Whigs" of Massachusetts were well
represented, with Charles Francis Adams, Stephen C. Phillips, and
Francis W. Bird, in the front.  The Liberty party sent its delegates,
including such men as the Rev. Joshua Leavitt, Samuel Lewis, and
Henry B. Stanton.  The disappointed Clay Whigs were there, led by
such representative men as Joseph L. White, who were eager to lay
hold of any weapon by which they could hope to strike down the
betrayers of the Whig cause.  The "Land Reformers" and "Workingmen"
of New York were represented, as also the special advocates of
"Cheap postage for the people," who longed to be rid of the tariff
of twenty-five cents on the privilege of sending a single letter
through the mails, and whose wishes afterward found expression in
the platform.

Could these elements be harmonized?  Could the bolters from the
Whig party overcome their traditional hatred of Martin Van Buren?
If so, could the Liberty party men be prevailed upon to give up
their chosen candidate, and labor for the election of the "foxy
old politician" whose reputation for tricky and ambidextrous
political methods had become proverbial?  If not, could the
Barnburners, with their large following, be united on the candidate
of the Liberty party, or some new man?  These questions had to be
met; but preliminary to the nomination was the construction of a
platform.  This was accomplished without serious difficulty, and,
considering the circumstances of the country, it was perhaps the
most admirable declaration of principles ever promulgated by any
party.  It was chiefly the work of Mr. Chase, assisted by Charles
Francis Adams, Benjamin F. Butler, and others, and it declared,
among its pregnant and telling sentences, that "Congress has no
more power to make a slave than to make a king," and that "it is
the duty of the Federal Government to relieve itself of all
responsibility for the existence or continuance of slavery wherever
that Government possesses authority to legislate and is thus
responsible for its existence."  The reading of these declarations
called forth thunders of applause, while the last plank in the
platform "resolved, that we inscribe on our banner free soil, free
speech, free labor, and free men, and under it we will fight on
and fight ever, until a triumphant victory shall reward our
exertions."

The nominating Convention assembled in the large Universalist Church
in Buffalo.  Mr. Van Buren was not understood as desiring the
nomination, but it was now authoritatively stated that he would
accept it if tendered, and that he would, without hesitation or
evasions, accept the platform of the Convention.  The different
elements of this movement had been in conference, and the time for
action was at hand.  In common with my Whig associates, I had all
along felt that I could not support Mr. Van Buren under any
circumstances; but the pervading tone of earnestness in the
Convention, and the growing spirit of political fraternity, had
modified our views.  We saw that several of the great leaders of
the Liberty party were quite ready to meet the "Barnburners" on
common ground.  It seemed very desirable to combine with so large
a body of helpers, and to profit by their experience and training
in the school of practical politics.  Mr. Van Buren had certainly
gone great lengths as the servant of the slave power, but there
was _one_ great and vital issue to freedom on which he had taken
the right side, and maintained it without flinching in the presence
of a great temptation; and for this he had been anathematized by
the South, and driven into retirement.  If nominated by the anti-
slavery men of the free States, and squarely committed to their
principles, it was altogether improbable, if not morally impossible,
that he would again lend himself to the service of slavery.  Besides,
the whole country had been so demoralized by this evil that it was
not easy to find any public man of eminence whose record had been
spotless; and it was a part of the work of earnest anti-slavery
men to forget party memories and prejudices for the sake of the
cause, and to cultivate the virtues of hope and trust, rather than
the spirit of doubt and suspicion, in dealing with a man who was
now ready to unfurl the flag of freedom, and had been stricken down
by her foes.  The nomination of Mr. Van Buren would undoubtedly
mean the freedom of our Territories and the denationalization of
slavery, and this was the great point.  In this movement there was
no element of compromise.  It was wholly unhampered by a Southern
wing; and even should the nominee betray the men who now trusted
him, their choice of him, as their standard bearer, would be
vindicated by the circumstances of the hour.

Mr. Chase, then in the prime of his manhood, and a splendid figure,
was the president of this nominating Convention, and its work
proceeded.  There was a feeling of intense anxiety about the result,
and an earnestness and real seriousness which I have never witnessed
in any other Convention.  There were leading Whigs and Liberty
party men, whose action in respect to Mr. Van Buren was not yet
generally known.  Several delegates remarked, "I want to know what
Samuel Lewis will do before I decide," or, "I want to hear from
Joshua Leavitt."  After the nomination of Mr. Van Buren had been
moved, Mr. Leavitt rose from his seat, and all eyes were instantly
turned upon him.  He was then in middle life, and his tall and
erect form and fine physiognomy were singularly striking.  He was
full of emotion, and seemed at first to lack the power of utterance,
while the stillness of death prevailed in the Convention.  He began
by saying:  "Mr. Chairman, this is the most solemn experience of
my life.  I feel as if in the immediate presence of the Divine
Spirit."  He paused here for a few moments, while there did not
seem to be a dry eye in the Convention; but he proceeded grandly
with his speech, defined his position, and seconded the motion for
Mr. Van Buren's nomination, upon which the mingled political
enthusiasm and religious fervor of the Convention broke over all
bounds, and utterly defied description.  Men laughed and cried at
the same time, and gave themselves up to the perfect abandon of
their feelings.  All divisions had completely died away, and the
nomination of Mr. Van Buren by acclamation became a matter of
course.  Charles Francis Adams was then nominated for Vice President,
when the Convention adjourned, and its members returned to their
homes to prepare for the coming canvass under the banner of "Van
Buren and Free Soil--Adams and Liberty."

The new national party was now launched, and the work of the
presidential canvass began in earnest.  John A. Dix, then one of
the United States Senators from New York, was nominated for Governor,
with Seth M. Gates, the anti-slavery colleague of Adams and Giddings
in Congress, for Lieutenant-Governor.  The Free Soil State Convention
of Ohio set the ball in motion in that State, and the new party,
by securing the balance of power in the Legislature, was able to
place Mr. Chase in the Senate of the United States.  Stephen C.
Phillips was nominated for Governor in Massachusetts, where the
movement was very formidable, and exceedingly annoying to the
"Cotton Whigs."  Like conventions were held in Indiana and other
free States, organizations effected, and candidates nominated,
while the movement extended to the border slave states, in which
it afterward did excellent service.  The canvass of the Democrats
was not remarkably enthusiastic.  The division of the party and
the probable loss of the State of New York had a very depressing
influence.  The Whig canvass was perhaps marked by still less
earnestness and spirit.  It was hollow and false, and the best men
in the party felt it.  The only enthusiasm of the campaign was in
the new party, and it was perfectly spontaneous and fervid.  The
most remarkable feature of this contest was the bitterness of the
Whigs toward the Free Soilers, and especially those who had deserted
from the Whig ranks.  They seemed to be maddened by the imputation
that they were not perfectly sound on the Free Soil issue.  This
was particularly true of Mr. Webster, who had been branded by Mr.
Adams as a "Traitor to freedom," as far back as the year 1843, and
who afterward justified these strong words in his "Seventh of March
Speech."  In the Whig State Convention of Massachusetts, held at
Springfield, in 1847, Mr. Webster, speaking of the Wilmot proviso,
had said:  "Did I not commit myself to that in the year 1838, fully,
entirely?  I do not consent that more recent discoverers shall take
out a patent for the discovery.  Allow me to say, sir, it is not
their thunder."  He then claimed Free Soil as a distinctive Whig
doctrine, and in a speech at Abingdon, he now said:  "The gentlemen
who have joined this new party, from among the Whigs, pretend that
they are greater lovers of liberty and greater haters of slavery
than those they leave behind them.  I do not admit it.  I do not
admit any such thing.  I think we are as good Free Soil men as they
are."  The same ground was urged by Washington Hunt, James Brooks,
and other leading Whigs; and Mr. Greeley declared that "at no time
previously had Whig inculcations throughout the free States been
so decidedly and strongly hostile to the extension of slavery, and
so determined in requiring its inhibition by Congress, as during
the canvass of 1848."  These statements appear very remarkable,
when it is remembered that the Whig nominee was a Louisiana planter,
and that he was nominated at the bidding of the slave-holding wing
of the party, and by a convention which not only contemptuously
voted down the Wilmot proviso, but treated its advocates as
"fanatics."  But even Governor Seward strangely clung to the old
party after the death and burial of its conscience, and seriously
brought his personal integrity into question by urging the support
of General Taylor upon those who favored the abolition of slavery.
In a speech at Cleveland, Ohio, in October of that year, he said:
"Freedom insists on the emancipation and development of labor;
slavery demands a soil moistened with tears and blood--freedom a
soil that exults under the elastic tread of man in his native
majesty.  These elements divide and classify the American people
into two parties," and he proceeded to argue as if the Whigs and
Democrats were thus divided, when he knew that both were in the
absolute control of the slave power.

The Free Soilers, of course, did not particularly relish these
moral lectures on slavery by men who had sold their principles at
public auction for the chance of office and plunder through the
elevation of a mere military chieftain to the Presidency.  But the
Whigs were not content with claiming the complete monopoly of anti-
slavery virtue, and parading it before the country; they became
abusive and insulting to the full measure of their insincerity.
Their talk about "renegades" and "apostates" anticipated the abuse
heaped upon the Greeley men of 1872, when the Republican party had
so completely triumphed over the integrity of its earlier life.
The course of the Whigs in Indiana supplies a striking illustration.
After the presidential election of 1844, I resolved that I would
never vote for another slaveholder, and the course of events and
my own reflections had constantly strengthened this purpose.  I
saw no honorable way of escape, and my position was well known to
my Whig brethren; but, as soon as General Taylor was nominated,
the policy of browbeating and threats was invoked.  I had no taste
for politics, and had determined to devote myself entirely to my
profession.  I was especially anxious to avoid any strife with the
Whigs, who were overwhelmingly in the ascendant in Eastern Indiana,
and in whose ranks were most of my clients and best friends.  But
the party leaders talked to me in the imperative mood.  They saw
my embarrassment, and seemed determined to coerce me into submission
by the supposed extremity of my situation; and I was obliged to
offer them open defiance.  I was made an elector for Van Buren and
Adams in the Fourth Indiana District, and entered upon the contest
with a will; and from that time forth I was subjected to a torrent
of billingsgate which rivalled the fish market.  Words were neither
minced nor mollified, but made the vehicles of political wrath and
the explosions of personal malice.  The charge of "abolitionism"
was flung at me everywhere, and it is impossible now to realize
the odium then attaching to that term by the general opinion.  I
was an "amalgamationist" and a "woolly-head."  I was branded as
the "apostle of disunion" and "the orator of free-dirt."  It was
a standing charge of the Whigs that I carried in my pocket a lock
of the hair of Frederick Douglass, to regale my senses with its
aroma when I grew faint.  They declared that my audiences consisted
of "eleven men, three boys, and a negro," and sometimes I could
not deny this inventory was not very far from the truth.  I was
threatened with mob violence by my own neighbors, and treated as
if slavery had been an established institution of the State, with
its machinery of overseers and background of pauperized whites;
while these same Whigs, as if utterly unconscious of the irony of
their professions, uniformly resolved, in their conventions, that
"the Whig party is the only true Free Soil party."

I was not, of course, a non-resistant in the warfare, and for two
months I gave myself up to the work absolutely.  I was seriously
embarrassed in the outset by the question of transportation, having
neither horse nor carriage, nor the financial ability to procure
either; but an anti-slavery Quaker, and personal friend, named
Jonathan Macy, came to my rescue.  He furnished me an old white
horse, fully seventeen hands high, and rather thin in flesh, but
which served my purpose pretty well.  I named him "Old Whitey," in
honor of General Taylor's famous war steed, and sallied forth in
the work of the campaign.  Having a first-class pair of lungs and
much physical endurance, I frequently spoke as often as three times
a day, and generally from two to three hours at each meeting.  I
spoke at cross-roads, in barns, in pork houses, in saw-mills, in
any place in which a few or many people would hear me; but I was
rarely permitted to enter any of the churches.  I was so perfectly
swallowed up in my work and dominated by the singleness of my
purpose, that I took no thought of anything else; and the vigor of
my invective in dealing with the scurrilous attacks of my assailants
was very keenly realized, and, I believe, universally acknowledged.
With the truth on my side, I was delighted to find myself perfectly
able, single-handed, to fight my battle against the advantages of
superior talent and the trained leadership of men of established
reputations on the stump.  But the fight, as I have said, was
unspeakably relentless, vitriolic and exhausting, and nothing could
redeem it but an overmastering sense of duty and self-respect.
The worst passions of humanity were set on fire among the Whigs by
this provoking insurrection against their party as the mere tool
of slavery, while animosities were engendered that still survive,
and which many men have carried to their graves.  This is only a
single illustration of the spirit of the canvass, for similar
conflicts marked the struggle in Ohio, Massachusetts and other
States, and they were made inevitable by the desperation of a party
already dead in its trespasses, and which deserved a funeral instead
of a triumph.

The results of this contest were most remarkable.  General Taylor
was elected but his triumph was the death of the Whig party.  The
long-coveted prize of the presidency was snatched from General
Cass, and the Democratic party divided and humiliated by its struggle
to serve two masters, while the friends of Mr. Van Buren had their
longed-for revenge.  The Free Soil ticket received a little less
than three hundred thousand votes, and failed to carry the electoral
vote of a single State; but the effect of the movement was inestimably
important.  It seated Chase in the United States Senate from Ohio,
and sent to the lower branch of Congress a sufficient number of
anti-slavery men from different States to hold the balance of power
in that body.  It was very savingly felt in Congress in July of
this year, on the vote by which Oregon, with a territory nearly
equal to that of the thirteen original States, narrowly escaped
the damnation of slavery.  It emphasized the demand of the million
for "cheap postage," and the freedom of the public domain, and thus
helped stereotype these great measures into law; and it played its
part in creating the public opinion which compelled the admission
of California as a free State.  These were great achievements, but
they were mere preliminaries to the magnificent and far-reaching
work of succeeding years, of which the revolt of 1848 was the
promise and pledge.


CHAPTER IV.
REMINISCENCES OF THE THIRTY-FIRST CONGRESS.
Novel political complications--The Compromise Measures--First
election to Congress--Sketch of the "immortal nine"--The speakership
and Wm. J. Brown--Gen. Taylor and the Wilmot proviso--Slave-holding
banter--Compromise resolutions of Clay, and retreat of Northern
Whigs--Visit to Gen. Taylor--To Mr. Clay--His speeches--Webster's
seventh of March speech--Character of Calhoun--Speech on the slavery
question.

The scheme of "pacification" and "final settlement," which was
launched in 1850, under the leadership of Henry Clay, constitutes
one of the chief landmarks in the history of the great conflict
between freedom and slavery.  It was the futile attempt of legislative
diplomacy to escape the fatal logic of antecedent facts.  The war
with Mexico, like the annexation of Texas which paved the way for
it, was inspired by the lust for slave territory.  No sophistry
could disguise this fact, nor could its significance be overstated.
The prophets of slavery saw clearly that restriction meant destruction.
They girded themselves for battle on this issue, and were not at
all placated by Northern disclaimers of "abolitionism," and reiterated
disavowals of any right or purpose to intermeddle with slavery as
the creature of State law.  Its existence was menaced by the policy
of confinement and ultimate suffocation; and therefore no compromise
of the pending strife over its prohibition in New Mexico, Utah and
California was possible.

This strife was aggravated by its peculiar relations to the dominant
political parties.  The sacrifice of Martin Van Buren in 1844,
because of his manly letter on the annexation of Texas, had been
a sore trial to his devoted friends.  They could neither forgive
nor forget it; and when the opportunity for revenge finally came
in 1848, they laid hold of it with the sincerest and most heartfelt
satisfaction.  As we have seen, they bolted from their party, threw
themselves into the Free Soil movement, and thus made the defeat
of Gen. Cass inevitable by the election of Gen. Taylor.  Thousands
of these bolting Democrats, particularly in the State of New York,
cared more for the personal and political fortunes of Mr. Van Buren
than for the slavery question, as their subsequent return to their
party allegiance made manifest; but their action was none the less
decisive in the emergency which called it forth.  The trouble in
the Whig camp was also serious.  The last hopes of Mr. Clay and
his worshipers had perished forever in the nomination of the hero
of the Mexican war and the owner of two hundred slaves, by a
Convention which became famous as "the slaughter house of Whig
principles."  Very many of these Clay Whigs, like the devotees of
Mr. Van Buren, would have been satisfied with almost any dispensation
of the slavery issue if their chief had been nominated, but they
were now enlisted in the anti-slavery army, and, like Joseph L.
White, of Indiana, vociferously shouted for "liberty and revenge."
Mr. Webster and his friends were also profoundly disgusted, and
lent a strong hand to the work of party insubordination, while the
election of Gen. Taylor was quite naturally followed by formidable
party coalitions.  One of these, as already stated, made Salmon P.
Chase a senator of the United States from Ohio, as John P. Hale
had been chosen from New Hampshire some time before, and Charles
Sumner came in a little later from Massachusetts; and the House of
Representatives now contained nine distinctly anti-slavery men,
chosen from different States by kindred combinations, who had
completely renounced their allegiance to the old parties, and were
able to wield the balance of power in that body.  Such were the
complications of the great problem which confronted the Thirty-
first Congress at the opening of its first session, on the third
day of December, 1849.

In this Congress I was a representative, for the first time, of
the Fourth Indiana District.  This district contained a large Quaker
population, and in the matter of liberality and progress was in
advance of all other portions of the State; and yet the immeasurable
wrath and scorn which were lavished upon the men who deserted the
Whig party on account of the nomination of General Taylor can
scarcely be conceived.  The friends of a life-time were suddenly
turned to enemies, and their words were often dipped in venom.  It
seemed as if a section of Kentucky or Virginia had in some way
usurped the geography of Eastern Indiana, bringing with it the
discipline of the slave-master, and a considerable importation of
"white trash."  The contest was bitter beyond all precedent; but
after a hard fight, and by a union of Free Soilers, Democrats, and
Independent Whigs, I was elected by a small majority.  Owing to
serious illness, resulting from the excitement and overwork of the
canvass, I did not reach Washington till the 19th of December--just
in time to cast my vote for speaker on the fifty-sixth ballot in
this first important "dead-lock" in the organization of the House.
With the exception of two Indiana members, I had no personal
acquaintance in either branch of Congress, and, on entering the
old Hall of Representatives, my first thought was to find the Free
Soil members, whose political fortunes and experience had been so
similar to my own.  The seat of Mr. Giddings was pointed out to me
in the northwest corner of the Hall, where I found the stalwart
champion of free speech busy with his pen.  He received me with
evident cordiality, and at once sent a page for the other Free Soil
members.  Soon the "immortal nine," as we were often sportively
styled, were all together:  David Wilmot, of Pennsylvania, then
famous as the author of the "Provsio," short and corpulent in
person, and emphatic in speech; Preston King, of New York, with
his still more remarkable rotundity of belt, and a face beaming
with good humor; the eccentric and witty "Jo Root," of Ohio, always
ready to break a lance with the slave-holders; Charles Allen, of
Massachusetts, the quiet, dignified, clear-headed and genial
gentleman, but a good fighter and the unflinching enemy of slavery;
Charles Durkee, of Wisconsin, the fine-looking and large-hearted
philanthropist, whose enthusiasm never cooled; Amos Tuck, of New
Hampshire, amiable and somewhat feminine in appearance, but firm
in purpose; John W. Howe, of Pennsylvania, with a face radiant with
smiles and good will, and full of anti-slavery fervor; and Joshua
R. Giddings, of Ohio, with his broad shoulders, giant frame,
unquenchable love of freedom, and almost as familiar with the
slavery question, in all its aspects, as he was with the alphabet.
These, all now gone to their reckoning, were the elect of freedom
in the lower branch of this memorable Congress.  They all greeted
me warmly, and the more so, perhaps, because my reported illness
and doubtful recovery had awakened a peculiar interest in my fortunes
at that time, on account of the political situation, and the possible
significance of a single vote.  John P. Hale happened to enter the
hall during these congratulations, and still further lighted up
the scene by his jolly presence; while Dr. Bailey, of the "National
Era," also joined in the general welcome, and at once confirmed
all the good opinions I had formed of this courageous and single-
minded friend of the slave.  I was delighted with all my brethren,
and at once entered fully into their plans and counsels.

An incident connected with the organization of the House, which
caused intense excitement at the time, seems to deserve some notice.
It occurred on the 12th of December, while William J. Brown, of
Indiana, was being voted for as the Democratic candidate for Speaker.
He was a pro-slavery Democrat, through and through, and commanded
the entire and unhesitating confidence of Southern members; and
yet, on the last ballot for him, he received the votes of Allen,
Durkee, Giddings, King, and Wilmot, and came within two votes of
an election.  The support of Mr. Brown by the leading Free Soilers
was a great surprise to both sides of the House, and the suspicion
that some secret arrangement had been made gave birth to a rumor
to that effect.  After the balloting, while Mr. Bailey, of Virginia,
was on the floor, Mr. Ashmun, of Massachusetts, asked him whether
a secret correspondence had not taken place between some member of
the Free Soil party and Mr. Brown, by which the latter had agreed
to constitute the Committees on the Judiciary, on Territories, and
on the District of Columbia, in a manner satisfactory to that party.
Mr. Bailey scouted the idea, and asked Mr. Ashmun what authority
he had for the statement.  Mr. Ashmun replied, "Common rumor"; to
which Mr. Bailey rejoined, "Does not the gentleman know that common
rumor is a common liar?"  Turning to Mr. Brown, he said, "Has any
such correspondence taken place?"  Mr. Brown shook his head, and
Mr. Bailey became more emphatic than ever in his denial.  But the
fever was now up, and the Southern members scented treason.  Several
of them withheld their votes from Mr. Brown because of his Free
Soil support, and thus prevented his election.  He was in a very
trying dilemma with his Southern friends, while the Free Soilers
who had supported him were also placed in a novel predicament, and
subjected to catechism.  The fact was finally revealed in the course
of a long and exciting debate, that Mr. Wilmot _had_ entered into
a correspondence with Mr. Brown on the subject of the organization
of the Committees named, and that the latter _had_ promised in
writing to constitute them as stated in Mr. Ashumn's inquiry--
declaring that he had "always been opposed to the extension of
slavery," and believed that "the Federal Government should be
relieved from the responsibility of slavery where it had the
constitutional right to abolish it."  This, in substance, was the
whole Free Soil gospel; and the disappointment and rage of Southern
members, when the letter was produced, can be more easily imagined
than described.  Mr. Brown labored very painfully to explain his
letter and pacify his Southern friends, but the effort was utterly
vain.  He was branded with treachery and duplicity by Bailey,
Harris, Burt, Venable, Stanton, and McMullen, while no man from
the South pretended to excuse him.  In the midst of great excitement
he withdrew from the contest for Speaker, and the catastrophe of
his secret maneuver was so unspeakably humiliating that even his
enemies pitied him.  But he was unjustly dealt with by his Southern
brethren, whose fear of betrayal and morbid sensitiveness made all
coolness of judgment impossible.  While he possessed very social
and kindly personal traits of character, no man in this Congress
was more inflexibly true to slavery, as his subsequent career amply
demonstrated.  If he had been chosen Speaker he would doubtless
have placed some of the Free Soil members on the Committees specified,
but the whole power of his office would have been studiously
subservient to the behests of the slave oligarchy; and nothing
could excuse the conduct of Mr. Wilmot and his associates but their
entire ignorance of his political character and antecedents.  I
regretted this affair most sincerely, for I knew Mr. Brown well,
and could undoubtedly have prevented the negotiation if I had been
present.

The Speakership was obviously the first question on which the slave
power must be met in the Thirty-first Congress.  No question could
more completely have presented the entire controversy between the
free and slave States which had so stirred the country during the
previous eighteen months.  In view of the well-nigh autocratic
power of the Speaker over legislative measures, no honest Free
Soiler could vote for a candidate who was not known to be sound on
the great issue.  We could not support Howell Cobb, of Georgia,
the nominee of the Democratic party, however anxious our Democratic
constituents might be to have us do so; nor could we vote for Robert
C. Winthrop, of Massachusetts, to please the Whigs and semi-Free
Soilers who affiliated with them, since Giddings, Palfrey and others
had demonstrated that he was wholly untrustworthy in facing the
ragged issue of slavery.  This had been proved by his acts as
Speaker in the preceding Congress.  We therefore united in the
determination to vote for neither of these candidates.  The contest
was protracted till December 22d, when, on the sixty third ballot,
Mr. Cobb was chosen.  The result was effected, by adopting, at the
instigation of the Whigs, what was called the "plurality rule,"
the operation of which enabled a minority to choose the speaker.
The Whigs, when they entered upon this proceeding, well knew that
the Free Soilers were willing and anxious to vote for Thaddeus
Stevens, or any other reliable member of the party.  They well knew
that none of us would vote for Mr. Winthrop, under any circumstances,
and for excellent reasons which we had announced.  Further, they
well knew that without Free Soil votes Mr. Cobb would certainly be
chosen; and yet the angry cry went up from the Whigs in Congress
and throughout the Northern States that the Free Soilers had elected
a slave-holder to be speaker of the House!  For a time the ridiculous
charge served the purpose of its authors, but the subsequent career
of Mr. Winthrop finally and entirely vindicated the sagacity of
the men whose resolute opposition had thwarted his ambition.

In the further organization of the House Mr. Campbell, a Tennessee
slave-holder, was chosen clerk on the twentieth ballot, by the help
of Southern Democrats, over John W. Forney, who was then the
particular friend of James Buchanan, and who had made himself so
conspicuous by his abuse of anti-slavery men that the Free Soil
members could not give him their support.  On the eighth ballot
Mr. Glossbrenner, of Pennsylvania, the nominee of the Democrats,
was chosen sergeant-at-arms, and after fourteen ineffectual ballots
for doorkeeper, Mr. Horner, the Whig incumbent in the preceding
Congress, was continued by resolution of the House.  This was on
January 18th, and the organization of the House was not yet completed,
but further proceedings in this direction were now postponed till
the first of March.

In the meantime the slavery question had been receiving daily
attention.  The strife over the Speakership had necessarily involved
it, and constantly provoked its animated discussion.  The great
issue was the Congressional prohibition of slavery in the Territories,
then popularly known as the "Wilmot proviso"; and the first vote
on it was taken December 31st, upon the motion to lay on the table
Mr. Root's resolution which embodied it.  The yeas were 83, nays
101; being a majority of only 18 in its favor.  The Southern men
seemed to gather hope and courage from this vote.  On January 4th,
the President sent in his special message relative to California
and New Mexico, announcing his famous "Non-action" policy, which
was simply another name for the "Non-intervention" dogma of Gen.
Cass.  A year before he had declared that the new Territories must
not be "surrendered to the pistol and the bowie-knife"; but a new
light now dawned upon him, and he advised Congress to leave the
Territories to themselves till their people should be prepared to
ask admission into the Union as States.  He talked glibly about
"geographical parties" and the "operation of natural causes" as
any trained Whig politician, and seemed to have totally forgotten
his repeated pledges not to interfere with the action of Congress
respecting "domestic questions."  While the hand of the Executive
was thus at work, extreme men in both Houses led the way in violent
and inflammatory speeches.  "When we ask for justice, and to be
let alone," said Mr. Clingman, of North Carolina, "we are met by
the senseless and insane cry of Union, Union!  Sir, I am disgusted
with it.  When it comes from Northern gentlemen who are attacking
us, it falls on my ear as it would do if a band of robbers had
surrounded a dwelling, and when the inmates attempted to resist,
the assailants should raise the cry of peace, union, harmony!"  He
gave out the threat, that unless the slave-holders were allowed to
extend their system over the virgin soil of our Territories, they
would block the wheels of Government, and involve the nation in
the horrors of civil war.  He charged that the free States "keep
up and foster in the bosoms Abolition Societies, whose main purpose
is to scatter fire-brands throughout the South, to incite servile
insurrections, and stimulate by licentious pictures our negroes to
invade the persons of our white women."  Mr. Brown, of Mississippi,
said he regarded slavery "as a great moral, social and _religious_
blessing,--a blessing to the slave, and a blessing to the master."
He graciously admitted that Northern people thought slavery an
evil; but he added, "Very well, think so; _but keep your thoughts
to yourselves_."  Jefferson Davis, then as ever afterward, the
apostle of disunion, declared that "slavery existed in the tents
of the patriarchs, and in the households of His own chosen people";
that "it was established by the decree of Almighty God," and
"sanctioned in the Bible--in both Testaments--from Genesis to
Revelations."  Southern members pointed to the battle-fields of
the Revolution, and warned the people of the free States to beware;
while the menace was uttered that if the representatives of the
Northern States should vote California into the Union as a free
State, without some compensating measures to the South, their
numbers would be decimated by violence.  Mr. Toombs, in referring
to the exclusion of slavery from the common territory, said "I will
then, if I can, bring my children and my constituents to the altar
of liberty, and like Hamilcar, I will swear them to eternal hostility
to your foul domination."  On January 29th, Mr. Clay introduced
his eight resolutions of compromise, which still further weakened
the anti-slavery policy of Northern Whigs; and when, on February
4th, another vote was taken on the Wilmot proviso, it was laid on
the table by yeas 104, noes 75;--showing a majority of 29, and a
change of 47 votes in a little more than one month!  Thus began
the sickening career of political apostacy, which so gathered
momentum during the spring and summer months that it became impossible
to admit the free State of California into the Union until the
passage of the Texas Boundary Bill and the new Fugitive Slave Act
had been made certain.

Early in the session I called on President Taylor with Mr. Giddings
and Judge Allen.  I had a very strong curiosity to see the man
whose name I had used so freely in two exasperating political
campaigns, and desired to stand corrected in my estimate of his
character, if I should find such correction to be demanded by the
truth.  Our interview with the old soldier was exceedingly interesting
and amusing.  I decidedly liked his kindly, honest, farmer-like
face, and his old-fashioned simplicity of dress and manners.  His
conversation was awkward and labored, and evinced a lack of self-
possession; while his whole demeanor suggested his frontier life,
and that he had reached a position for which he was singularly
unfitted by training and experience, or any natural aptitude.  In
the few remarks he addressed to me about farming in the West, he
greatly amused us by saying, "I would like to visit Indiana, and
see your plows, hoes--and other reaping implements"; failing, as
he often did, to find the word he wanted.  He frequently mispronounced
his words, hesitated and stammered, and sometimes made a breakdown
in the middle of a sentence.  But although he seemed to be in the
hands of the slave-holders, and was about to proclaim his policy
of non-intervention with slavery in the Territories, he impressed
me as being personally honest and patriotic.  In this impression
I was fully confirmed later in the session, when he sorrowfully
but manfully resisted the attempt of Senator Davis, his son-in-law,
and other extreme men, to bully him into their measures, and avowed
his sympathy with the anti-slavery sentiment of the country.  I
believe his dying words in July, "I have tried to do my duty," were
the key-note of his life, and that in the Presidential campaign of
1848, I did him much, though unintentional, injustice.

It was about the same time that I called with other Western members
to see Mr. Clay, at the National Hotel.  He received us with the
most gracious cordiality, and perfectly captivated us all by the
peculiar and proverbial charm of his manners and conversation.  I
remember nothing like it in the social intercourse of my life.
One of our party was Hon. L. D. Campbell, then a prominent Whig
politician of Ohio, and an old friend of Mr. Clay, who seemed
anxious to explain his action in supporting Gen. Scott in the
National Convention of 1848.  He failed to satisfy Mr. Clay, whose
eye kindled during the conversation, and who had desired and counted
on the nomination himself.  Mr. Clay, addressing him, but turning
to me, said:  "I can readily understand the position of our friend
from Indiana, whose strong opinions on the slavery question governed
his action; but your position was different, and, besides, General
Scott had no chance for the nomination, and you were under no
obligation to support him."  He spoke in kindly terms of the Free
Soil men; said they acted consistently in supporting Van Buren in
preference to Taylor, and that the election of the latter would
prove the ruin of the Whigs.  I heard Mr. Clay's great speech in
the Senate on the Compromise Measures, and although I believed him
to be radically wrong, I felt myself at times drawn toward him by
that peculiar spell which years before had bound me to him as my
idolized political leader.  I witnessed his principal encounters
with Col. Benton during this session, in which I thought the latter
had the better of the argument; but his reply to Mr. Barnwell, of
South Carolina, on July 22d, in which he said:  "I owe a paramount
allegiance to the whole Union, a subordinate one to my State," and
denounced the treasonable utterances of Mr. Rhett, was altogether
inimitable and unsurpassed.  In the same speech he showed as little
quarter to the Abolitionists.  Turning to Mr. Hale, he said, "They
live by agitation.  It is their meat, their bread, the air which
they breathe; and if they saw in its incipient state, a measure
giving them more of that food, and meat, and bread, and air, do
you believe they would oppose themselves to its adoption?  Do you
not believe that they would _hail_ [Hale] it as a blessing? * * *
They see their doom as certain as there is a God in heaven, who
sends his providential dispensations to calm the threatening storm,
and to tranquilize agitated men.  As certain as God exists in
heaven, your business, your vocation, is gone."  His devotion to
the Union was his ruling passion, and in one of his numerous speeches
during this session he held up a fragment of Washington's coffin,
and with much dramatic effect pleaded for reconciliation and peace
between the warring sections.

His scheme of compromise, or "omnibus bill," was the darling child
of his political ambition and old age; and when, after lovingly
nursing it and gallantly fighting for it through seven or eight
weary months, he saw it cruelly dismembered on July 31st, and his
sovereign remedy for our national troubles insulted by the separate
passage of the bill providing a Territorial Government for Utah,
I could not help feeling a profound personal sympathy with him.
Beaten at last on every point, deserted by some senators in whom
he had trusted implicitly, crushed and exhausted by labors which
few young and vigorous men could have endured, he bowed to the
inevitable, and retired from the Senate Chamber.  But in the next
morning, prior to his departure for the sea-shore, he was in his
seat; and with lightning in his eye, and figure erect as ever, he
paid his respects to the men whose work of political havoc he
deplored.  His impassioned arraignment of the disunionists was
loudly applauded by the galleries, and clearly indicated the part
he would have played in the late Rebellion had his life been spared
to witness that direful event.  "So long," said he, "as it pleases
God to give me a voice to express my sentiments, or an arm, weak
and enfeebled as it may be by age, that voice and that arm will be
on the side of my country, for the support of the general authority,
and for the maintenance of the powers of this Union."

I heard the famous "Seventh of March Speech" of Mr. Webster.  To
me his oratory was a perfect surprise and curiosity.  He not only
spoke with very unusual deliberation, but with pauses having no
relation whatever to the sense.  His sentences were broken into
the oddest fragments, and the hearer was perplexed in the endeavor
to gather his meaning.  In declaring, for example, that he "would
put in no Wilmot proviso for the purpose of a taunt," etc., he made
a long pause at "Wilmot," perhaps half a minute, and finally, having
apparently recovered his breath, added the word "proviso"; and
then, after another considerable pause, went on with his sentence.
His speaking seemed painfully laborious.  Great drops of perspiration
stood upon his forehead and face, notwithstanding the slowness of
his utterance, suggesting, as a possible explanation, a very recent
and heavy dinner, or a greatly troubled conscience over his final
act of apostasy from his early New England faith.  The latter was
probably the truth, since he is known to have long and seriously
pondered the question of his ultimate decision; and with his
naturally great and noble traits of character he could not have
announced it without manifest tokens of uneasiness.  I was greatly
interested in the brief dialogue between him and Mr. Calhoun, which
followed this speech.  Reference was made to their famous passage-
at-arms twenty years before; and Mr. Calhoun, while taking exception
to some of Mr. Webster's positions, congratulated him on his strong
deliverance in the interest of slavery.  The great Carolinian was
then wrestling with the disease which soon afterward terminated
his life, and was thin, pale, and feeble of step; but his singularly
intellectual face, and the peculiar light which flashed from his
eye while speaking, made him the most strikingly picturesque figure
in the Senate.  No man can compute the evils wrought by his political
theories; but in private life he was thoroughly upright and pure,
and no suspicion of political jobbery was ever whispered in connection
with his name.  In his social relations he was most genial and
kindly, while he always welcomed the society of young men who sought
the aid of his friendly counsel.  Politically, he has been singularly
misunderstood.  He was not, as has been so generally thought, a
disunionist.  He was the champion of State Sovereignty, but he
believed that this was the sure basis and bond of Union.  He thought
the right of State nullification, if recognized, would hold the
central power in check, and thus cement the Union; while his devotion
to African slavery as a defensible form of society, and a solution
of the conflict between capital and labor, was doubtless as sincere
as it was fanciful.

During the first months of this session my spare time was devoted
to the preparation of a speech on the slavery question.  My
constituents expected this, and so did my anti-slavery and Free
Soil friends generally.  It was my darling purpose, and I resolved
to do my best upon it.  I not only meant that they should not be
ashamed of it, but that, if possible, it should stand the test of
criticism, both as to matter and diction.  I re-examined the question
in its various aspects, and more thoroughly than I had been able
to do before, giving special attention to the speeches of Southern
members in both Houses, and carefully noting their vulnerable
points.  I overhauled the question of "Northern aggression" pretty
thoroughly, and endeavored to expose the absurdity of that complaint,
while crowding into my task such facts and arguments as would help
educate the people in right thinking.  I had my task completed in
March, and now anxiously waited the opportunity for its delivery.
I was very curious to know how it would sound, and what would be
thought of it, while my constitutional self-distrust made me dread
the experiment unspeakably.  My scuffle for the floor was a sore
trial of patience, and it was not until the fourteenth of May that
the competitive contest was ended.  I got through with the work
better than I anticipated, was handsomely listened to, and went
home in triumph.  A great burden of anxiety had been lifted, while
I received letters from the leading Abolitionists of New England
and elsewhere, very cordially complimenting the speech, which was
copied into the principal anti-slavery newspapers, and quite
favorably noticed.  I was flattered beyond measure, and found my
self-esteem germinating into new life under these fertilizing dews.


CHAPTER V.
REMINISCENCES OF THE THIRTY-FIRST CONGRESS (CONTINUED).
Fracas between Col. Benton and Senator Foote--Character of Benton
--Death of Gen. Taylor--The funeral--Defeat of the "Omnibus Bill"
--Its triumph in detail--Celebration of the victory--"Lower law"
sermons and "Union-saving" meetings--Slave-holding literature--
Mischievous legislation--Visit to Philadelphia and Boston--Futile
efforts to suppress agitation--Andrew Johnson and the homestead
law--Effort to censure Mr. Webster--Political morality in this
Congress--Temperance--Jefferson Davis and other notable men--John
P. Hale--Thaddeus Stevens--Extracts from speeches--The famous men
in both Houses--The Free Soilers and their vindication.

I happened to be in the Senate on April 17th, just before the
memorable fracas between Foote, of Mississippi, and Col. Benton.
They had had an unfriendly encounter not long before, and it was
well understood that Benton had made up his mind that Foote should
not henceforward name him or allude to him in debate.  Foote had
said:  "I do not denounce him as a _coward_--such language is
unfitted for this audience--but if he wishes to be blackguarded in
the discharge of his duty, and the culprit go unpunished?  Is
language to be used here which would not be permitted to be used
in the lowest pot-house, tavern, or oyster cellar, and for the use
of which he would be turned out of any tavern by a decent landlord?"
Benton's wrath had not in the least cooled since this altercation.
Foote was on the floor, and in speaking of the late "Southern
address," referred to Benton in terms which everybody understood.
In an indirect way he became more and more personal as he proceeded.
Col. Benton finally arose from his seat with every appearance of
intense passion, and with a quick pace moved toward Foote, who was
addressing the Senate from his desk near the main aisle.  The Vice
President demanded "order," and several senators tried to hold
Benton back, but he broke loose from his keepers, and was moving
rapidly upon his foe.  When he saw Benton nearing him, Foote sprang
into the main aisle, and retreated toward the Vice President,
presenting a pistol as he fled, or, as he afterward expressed it,
"advanced backward."  In the meantime Benton had been so obstructed
by the sergeant-at-arms and others that Foote, if disposed to shoot,
could not have done so without firing through the crowd.  But
Benton, with several senators hanging to him, now proceeded round
the lobby so as to meet Foote at the opposite side of the Chamber.
Tearing himself away from those who sought to hold him, and throwing
open his bosom, he said:  "Let him shoot me!  The cowardly assassin
has come here to shoot me; let him shoot me if he dares!  I never
carry arms, and he knows it; let the assassin fire!"  He was an
embodied fury, and raged and raved, the helpless victim of his
passions.  I had never seen such an uproar in a legislative body;
but the sergeant-at-arms at last restored order, when Mr. Clay
suggested that both parties should voluntarily enter into bonds to
keep the peace, upon which Benton instantly rose and said:  "I'll
rot in jail, sir, before I will do it!  No, sir!  I'll rot in jail
first.  I'll rot, sir!" and he poured forth a fresh torrent of
bitter words upon the man who was then so well known throughout
the Northern States as "Hangman Foote."*  Benton was not only a
man of tremendous passion, but unrivalled as a hater.  Nor did his
hatred spend itself entirely upon injustice and meanness.  It was
largely personal and unreasoning.  He was pre-eminently unforgiving.
He hated Calhoun with a real vengeance, styling him "John Cataline
Calhoun," and branding him as a "coward cur that sneaked to his
kennel when the Master of the Hermitage blew his bugle horn."  He
seemed to relent a little, however, when he saw the life of the
great Carolinian rapidly ebbing away, and on one occasion declared
that, "When God lays his hand on a man, I take mine off."  His wit
was sometimes as pungent as his invective.  In his famous speech
on the Compromise measures, he gave Mr. Clay a telling hit by
comparing the boasted panacea of his "Omnibus Bill," or "five old
bills tacked together," to "old Dr. Jacob Townsend's sarsaparilla,"
and contrasting it with the alleged worthlessness of the same
measures when separately proposed, which he likened to "young Dr.
Samuel Townsend's" extract from the same vegetable.  "Sarsaparilla"
was thus more widely advertised than ever before, but it aided the
triumph of the "young Dr.," and the defeat of Mr. Clay's pet scheme.

[* So named because of his declaration in the Senate the year
before, that if John P. Hale would come to Mississippi he would be
hung to "one of the tallest trees of the forest," and that he
(Foote) would himself "assist in the operation."]

The sudden death of Gen. Taylor, July 9, 1850, produced a very
profound impression.  The shock to the people of the Northern States
was felt the more keenly because of the peculiarly threatening
aspect of public affairs, and of the unexpectedly manly course of
the President in withstanding the imperious and insolent demands
of the extreme men of his own section.  Millard Fillmore then stood
well before the country, and was quite as emphatically committed
to the growing anti-slavery sentiment of the Free States as Gov.
Seward himself; but he was now to be severely tried, and no one
could tell whether he would be true to the policy of his predecessor
in resisting the ultra demands of the South, or repeat the perfidy
of John Tyler by flagrantly turning his back on his past life.
For the time, however, the national bereavement seemed too absorbing
for any political speculations.  The funeral pageant, which took
place on the 13th, was very imposing.  The funeral car was a long-
coupled running gear, with wheels carved from solid blocks of wood.
Over this was raised a canopy covered with broadcloth, and surmounted
by a magnificent eagle.  Curtains of black and white silk in
alternating festoons hung from the canopy, with rosettes, fringes,
and tassels.  The car was drawn by eight white horses, richly
caparisoned, and led by as many grooms, who were all white men.
"Old Whitey," the venerable war steed of the President, followed
immediately behind the remains of his master, and attracted universal
attention.  The procession was accompanied by the tolling of bells,
the firing of heavy ordnance, and plaintive strains of music; and
the whole affair exceeded anything of the kind that had ever taken
place in Washington, although the outpouring of the people would
bear no comparison with that of several notable funerals of later
years.

The dreadful heat of the summer months, and the monotonous "ding-
dong" of the debate on the Compromise measures, made life dreary
enough.  The "rump-session," as it was then called, became more
and more dismal as it dragged its slow length into the fall months.
Members grew pale and thin, and sighed for their homes; but the
Congressional mill had to be kept running till the grists of the
slave-power could be got fully ready for the hopper, and ground in
their regular order.  Mr. Clay's Omnibus Bill having gone to pieces,
the "five gaping wounds" of the country, about which he had talked
so eloquently, called for treatment in detail; and by far the most
threatening of these was the dispute between Texas and New Mexico.
The remedy was the Texas Boundary Bill, which surrendered a large
belt of country to Texas and slavery, and gave her ten million
dollars besides.  It was vehemently opposed in the House, and its
fate seemed to hang in doubt up to the final vote upon it; but
its passage was really assured from the beginning by the corrupt
appliances of its friends.  Texas bonds, which were then worth ten
cents on the dollar, would be lifted nearly to par by this measure,
and its success was undoubtedly secured by the bribery of members.
The territorial question was disposed of by the legislative covenant
that new States might be admitted from our Mexican acquisitions,
either with or without slavery, as their people might determine.
This was not only an open abandonment of the Wilmot proviso, but
a legislative condemnation of the Missouri compromise line, as a
violation of the principle of "popular sovereignty," and was sure
to breed the mischiefs which followed four years later.  But of
the several compromise or "healing measures" of this session, the
Fugitive Slave Bill was by far the most atrocious.  It made the
_ex parte_ interested oath of the slave-hunter final and conclusive
evidence of the fact of escape, and of the identity of the party
pursued, while the simplest duties of humanity were punished as
felonies by fine and imprisonment.  The method of its enactment
perfectly accorded with its character.  It was reached on the
Speaker's table on September 12th, and on motion of Mr. Thompson,
of Pennsylvania, who served as the parliamentary hangman of his
employers, the previous question was seconded on its passage; and
thus, without reference to any committee, without even being printed,
and with no opportunity whatever for debate, it became a law.  It
is needless to say that these pretended measures of final adjustment
paved the way for the repeal of the Missouri restriction, the bloody
raid into Kansas, the Dred Scott decision, and the final chapter
of the Civil War; while they completely vindicated the little party
of Independents in this Congress in standing aloof from the Whig
and Democratic organizations, and warning the country against
further submission to their rule.  One hundred guns were fired in
Washington over the final triumph of slavery in this memorable
struggle; and Congress adjourned, at last, on September 30th, the
session having lasted nearly ten months, and being considerably
the longest thus far since the formation of the Government.

The adjournment was followed by great "Union-saving" meetings
throughout the country, which denounced "abolitionism" in the
severest terms, and endorsed the action of Congress.  Multitudes
of "lower law" sermons by conservative Doctors of Divinity were
scattered over the Northern States through the mails, and a regular
system of agitation to _suppress_ agitation was inaugurated.  The
sickly air of compromise filled the land, and for a time the deluded
masses were made to believe that the Free Soilers had brought the
country to the verge of ruin.  Both clergy and laity zealously
dedicated themselves to the great work of sectional pacification.
The labors of Dr. Nehemiah Adams and Dr. Lord in this direction
will not be forgotten.  The Rev. Moses Stuart, of Andover Theological
Seminary, in a work in the interest of peace, spoke of the "blessings
and comforts" of slavery, and declared that "Christ doubtless felt
that slavery might be made a very tolerable condition--aye, even
a blessing, to such as were shiftless and helpless."  Another book,
entitled "Aunt Phillis's Cabin; or Southern Life as it is," was
issued from the press, in which it was said that slavery was
"authorized by God, permitted by Jesus Christ, sanctioned by the
Apostles, and maintained by good men in all ages."  A very remarkable
book made its appearance, entitled "A Choice of Evils; or Thirteen
Years in the South.  By a Northern man."  Its author was a Mr.
Hooker, of Philadelphia.  In this work he announced the discovery
that slavery is not only an unspeakable blessing, but a great
"missionary institution for the conversion of the heathen."  One
of the chapters of this book is on "The Pleasures of Slavery."  He
declared that the Southern slave is not merely contented, but a
"joyous fellow"; and that "in willing and faithful subjection to
a benignant and protecting power, and that visible to his senses,
he leans upon it in complete and sure confidence, as a trusting
child holds on to the hand of his Father, and passes joyously along
the thronged and jostling way, where he would not dare to be left
alone."  Mr. Hooker declared that "his are the thoughts that make
glad the cared-for child, led by paternal hand"; and that "of all
the people in the world, the pleasures of the Southern slaves seem,
as they really are, most unalloyed."  The press teemed with kindred
publications, while "Graham's Magazine," Harper's "Journal of
Civilization," the "Literary World," "Godey's Ladies' Book," and
other periodicals, joined in the united effort to shout the anti-
slavery agitation into silence.

During this session some laws were passed having no connection with
the slavery question, which were pregnant with very great mischief,
and have only yielded up their meaning as they have been practically
applied and extended.  The act of September 28th, granting land
bounties to the soldiers of the Mexican war, opened the way for
the monopoly of many millions of acres of the public domain by
sharks and speculators, while proving a wretched mockery of the
just claims of the men in whose name it was urged.  The Swamp Land
Act of the same date, owing to its loose and unguarded provisions
and shameful mal-administration, has been still more fruitful of
wide-spread spoilation and plunder.  The act of September 20th,
granting alternate sections of land in aid of the Illinois Central
Railway, inaugurated our famous land-grant policy, which, becoming
more and more reckless and improvident in its exactions, and
cunningly combining the power of great corporations with vast
monopolies of the public domain, has signally eclipsed all other
schemes of commercial feudalism, and left to coming generations a
problem involving the very life of our popular institutions.  The
fruits of this legislation were not foreseen at the time, but the
legislation itself fitly belongs to the extraordinary work of this
Congress.

The events of this session formed a new band of union among anti-
slavery men everywhere, and naturally strengthened the wish I had
long cherished to meet some of the famous people with whose names
I had been most familiar.  Accordingly, I paid a visit to James
and Lucretia Mott in Philadelphia, which I greatly enjoyed, meeting
there Dr. Elder, J. Miller McKim, Dr. Furness, and other well known
friends of freedom.  Oddly enough, I was invited to dine with Judge
Kane, then conspicuous through his remarkable rulings in fugitive
slave cases, and I found his manners and hospitality as charming
as his opinions about slavery were detestable.  From Philadelphia
I went to Boston, and attended the Free Soil State Convention which
met there early in October, 1850, where Sumner and Burlingame were
the principal speakers.  The latter was extremely boyish in
appearance, but was counted a marvel in native eloquence.  Mr.
Sumner was then comparatively a young man, apparently somewhat
fastidious, with a winning face, commanding figure, and a voice
singularly musical.  At this time he was only famous through his
orations, and I think knew relatively little of American life and
society outside of Boston and his books.  He told me he had recently
been lecturing at several points out of the city, and had been
delighted to find the people so intelligent and so capable of
understanding him.  He seemed much surprised when I told him how
many admirers he had in Indiana, and I found that others shared
his unflattering impressions respecting the general intelligence
of the West.  At this convention I met Dr. Palfrey, then actively
interested in anti-slavery politics, and Charles Francis Adams,
the Free Soil nominee for Vice President in 1848, with whom I dined
at the old Adams mansion in Quincy a few days later.  I enjoyed
the honor of a call from Theodore Parker while in the city, but
failed to meet Mr. Garrison, who was absent.  At the "Liberator"
office, however, I met Stephen S. Foster, who entertained me with
his views on "non-resistance."  I attended a spirited anti-fugitive-
slave-law meeting in Lynn, where I first met Wendell Phillips, and
enjoyed the long-coveted pleasure of hearing him speak.  The music
of his voice so charmed me that I became completely his captive.
From Boston I went to Worcester, and after a delightful visit with
my excellent friend, Judge Allen, returned to my home in the West.

After a vacation of two months, the work of the Thirty-first Congress
was resumed at the opening of its second session.  Members returned
so refreshed and invigorated that they did not appear like the same
men.  All parties seemed more friendly, but the agitation of the
slavery question had not been suppressed.  Thousands of fugitive
slaves had fled to Canada or to remote sections of the Northern
States, through the fear of recapture under the harsh features of
the new Fugitive Slave Act.  The method of enforcing it in different
States, involving the intervention of the army and navy, had stirred
the blood of thousands who had else remained unmoved by the slavery
issue.  The effort of the National Government to make the harboring
of a fugitive constructive treason, was the farthest thing possible
from a peace-offering to the Abolitionists, but the friends of the
Compromise measures failed to see that their scheme had proved
entirely abortive, and made one further effort to silence the voice
of humanity.  They entered into a solemn compact in writing to
support no man for President or Vice President of the United States,
or for senator or representative in Congress, or member of a State
legislature, who was not known to be opposed to disturbing their
"final settlement" of the slavery question.  The signature of Henry
Clay was the first on this document, and was followed by those of
various prominent men of the free and slave States, and of different
political parties.  But the extreme men of the South and most of
the moderate men of the North refused to assume this obligation,
while the Free Soilers felt perfectly sure that their cause would
be advanced by the very measures which had been taken to defeat
it.  In this they were not mistaken.  "Uncle Tom's Cabin," born of
the Fugitive Slave Act, was then making its first appearance in
weekly numbers of Dr. Bailey's "National Era."  Hildreth's "White
Slave" and Sumner's "White Slavery in the Barbary States" were
widely circulated, and exerted a powerful influence.  The writings
of Judge Jay and William Goodell on the slavery question found more
readers than ever before, while the pro-slavery literature and
"south side" theology, already referred to, called forth replies
from various writers, and contributed largely to the general ferment
which the friends of the Compromise measures were so anxious to
tranquilize.  Indeed, while the champions of slavery were exerting
themselves as never before to stifle the anti-slavery spirit of
the free States, the Abolitionists were delighted with the tokens
of progress which everywhere saluted their vision and animated them
with new courage and hope.

It was early in the first session of this Congress that several
members of the House introduced bills providing homesteads of one
hundred and sixty acres each to actual landless settlers, without
cost, on prescribed conditions of occupancy and improvement.  The
first of these bills in the order of time was that of Andrew Johnson,
which was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, and subsequently
reported favorably, and debated at different times.  Similar
propositions were offered in the Senate by Mr. Webster, and by
Senator Walker, of Wisconsin.  The fact is also worthy of note,
that Horace Greeley, during his short term of service in the previous
Congress, had offered a bill giving landless men the right to pre-
empt one hundred and sixty acres for seven years, and, on condition
of occupancy and improvement, the "right of unlimited occupancy"
to forty acres of the same, without price, by a single man, or
eighty acres by the married head of a family.  But the legislative
initiation of the Homestead law, substantially as we now have it,
belongs to the House of Representatives of the Thirty-first Congress,
and its policy was borrowed from the Free Soil platform of 1848
and the Land Reformers of New York.  This measure completely reversed
the early policy of the Government, when settlers on the public
lands were dealt with as trespassers, while its triumph, years
afterward, marked an epoch in our legislation, and has done more
to make the American name honored and loved at home and abroad than
any single enactment since the year 1789.  Having earnestly espoused
this policy years before, I sought the acquaintance of Mr. Johnson
for the purpose of co-operating with him in urging it, and found
him its sincere friend.  Although loyal to his party, he seemed to
have little sympathy with the extreme men among its leaders, and
no unfriendliness to me on account of my decided anti-slavery
opinions.  When my homestead speech was ready for delivery, although
the slave-holders hated its doctrines as heartily as they hated
"abolitionism" itself, and it was through his friendly tactics that
I finally obtained the floor, in opposition to the earnest wish
and determined purpose of Speaker Cobb.

Near the close of this session, at the instance of Charles Allen,
of Massachusetts, a man of real ability and stainless life, a
preamble and resolutions were offered by myself calling for a
committee to inquire into the alleged corrupt conduct of Daniel
Webster in accepting the office of Secretary of State as the
stipendary of Eastern capitalists.  On the motion to suspend the
rules to allow this to be done, the yeas were only thirty-five;
but this vote was quite as large as could have been expected,
considering the excellent standing of Mr. Webster at that time with
the pro-slavery sentiment of the country.  I think it is not doubted
that, being then poor, he accepted office, as he had done before,
on condition of pecuniary indemnity by his rich friends in Wall
street and State street; but in the light of the far greater
immoralities and profligacies of later times, it now seems a
relatively small matter.

Political morality was at a very low ebb during the period covered
by the Thirty-first Congress.  The Whigs, now that they were in
power, saw nothing amiss in the spoils system inaugurated by Gen.
Jackson, which was in full blast.  The President had declared that
he had "no friends to reward and no enemies to punish," but under
the party pressure he totally lost sight of these words, and seemed
almost as powerless to withstand it as did Gen. Grant in later
years.  Thousands of officials were turned adrift for no other than
party reasons, while political nepotism was the order of the day.
Under the brief administration of Gen. Taylor, unprecedented
political jobbery prevailed, both in the legislative and executive
departments of the Government, and these evils seemed to be aggravated
by the accession of Mr. Fillmore, and to gather strength as the
spirit of liberty declined.  Nor was the personal morality of
members more to be commended than their political.  The vice of
intemperance was not, as now, restricted to a few exceptional cases,
but was fearfully prevalent.  A glass of wine could sometimes be
seen on the desk of a senator while engaged in debate, and the free
use of intoxicating drinks by senators was too common to provoke
remark.  It was still more common in the House; and the scenes of
drunkenness and disorder in that body on the last night of the last
session beggared description.  Much of the most important legislation
of the session, involving the expenditure of many millions, remained
to be disposed of at that sitting; and, as a preparation for the
work, a large supply of whisky had been deposited in a room
immediately connected with the Hall of Representatives, which was
thronged by members at all hours of the night.  The chairman of
the Ways and Means Committee became so exhilarated that he had to
be retired from his post; and some of his brethren, who had been
calling him to order in a most disorderly manner, were quite as
incapable of business as himself, while order had sought her
worshipers elsewhere.  The exhibition was most humiliating, but it
now pleasantly reminds us of the wonderful changes which have been
wrought by thirty years.

In this Congress, the men who afterward became the chief leaders
of the Rebellion were conspicuous, and foreshadowed their future
course.  Jefferson Davis had a military and magisterial look.  His
estimate of himself was so exalted that his ordinary demeanor toward
others seemed like a personal condescension, if not an insinuation
of contempt.  One of the most striking personalities in the Senate
was A. P. Butler, the colleague of Mr. Calhoun, and uncle of Preston
S. Brooks, of infamous memory.  His robust physique, florid
complexion, sparkling eye, heavy bushy suit of snow-white hair,
and a certain indefinable expression of mischievous audacity, made
him a very attractive figure.  In his eulogy upon Calhoun he marred
the solemnity of the occasion by pronouncing the world "always" as
if written "allers," and by kindred evidences of "life among the
lowly."  The wit of John P. Hale was effective and unfailing, and
gave him a decided advantage over Mr. Chase, who had nothing but
his dignity and power of argument with which to confront the
tremendous odds against him.  This was happily illustrated early
in the first session of this Congress, in his reply to Mr. Clemens,
of Alabama, who, in a furious tirade against the Abolitionists,
had pronounced the Union dissolved already.  "There are many timid
people at the North," said Hale, "who have looked forward with
excited nerves and trembling fears at the 'wreck of matter and the
crush of worlds' which they believed would be the result of the
dissolution of this Union.  I think they will be exceedingly quiet
now, when they find it has already taken place and they did not
know it, for the honorable senator from Alabama tells us it is
already dissolved.  If it is not a matter too serious for pleasant
illustration, let me give you one.  Once in my life, in the capacity
of a justice of the peace--for I held that office before I was a
senator--I was called on to officiate in uniting a couple in the
bonds of matrimony.  They came up, and I made short work of it.
I asked the man if he would take the woman whom he held by the hand
to be his wedded wife; he replied, 'To be sure I will, I came here
to do that very thing.'  I then put the question to the lady,
whether she would have the man for her husband.  And when she
answered in the affirmative, I told them they were man and wife.
She looked up with apparent astonishment, and inquired 'Is that
all?'  'Yes,' I said, 'that is all.'  'Well,' said she, 'it is not
such a mighty affair as I expected it to be, after all.'"

Some of the finest of Mr. Seward's speeches were delivered during
the first session of this Congress, but in the same husky voice
which marked his later efforts.  Decidedly the finest looking man
in the Senate was General Shields, of Illinois, then in his prime,
and crowned with the laurels he had won in the Mexican War.  The
appearance of Mr. Douglas, familiarly known as the "little giant,"
was in striking contrast with that of his colleague.  He cared
nothing about dignity and refinement, and had a slovenly and
"unwashed" appearance.  The towering and erect form of General
Houston always commanded attention in the Senate, and he added to
his attractiveness by wearing an old-fashioned knit cap, and always
devoting a portion of his time to whittling a pine board.  The most
fascinating member of the Senate was Soule, of Louisiana.  There
was a tropical charm about his oratory, which was heightened by
his foreign accent and his singularly striking presence and
physiognomy.  Winthrop was the most accomplished gentleman in the
House.  Edward D. Baker, since so famous, was a member from Illinois,
but made no mark.  Stephens, of Georgia, looked like a corpse, but
his clear and ringing voice always commanded attention, and his
words went directly to the mark.  Toombs was recognized as a leader
of Southern opinion, but disfigured his speeches by his swagger
and defiance.  Among the notable men from the Northern States,
Hannibal Hamlin, lately retired from public life, was in the Senate.
He was then a young man, erect, fine looking, a thorough Democrat,
but not the tool of slavery.  Thaddeus Stevens was in the House,
and just at the beginning of his remarkable congressional life;
but the slave power, then in full sweep of its despotism, took good
care to keep him in the background in the organization of the
committees.  He made several speeches, in which he displayed his
rare powers of invective, irony, and sarcasm, in dealing with the
Southern leaders; and no one who listened to his speech of Feb.
20, 1850, could ever forget his withering reply to Mr. Mead, of
Virginia, who had argued against the prohibition of slavery in the
Territories because it would conflict with the interests of Virginia
as a breeder of slaves.  I quote the following:

"Let us pause for a moment over this humiliating confession.  In
plain English, what does it mean?  That Virginia is now only fit
to be the breeder, not the employer, of slaves!  That she is reduced
to the condition that her proud chivalry are compelled to turn
slave-traders for a livelihood!  Instead of attempting to renovate
the soil, and by their own honest labor compelling the earth to
yield her abundance; instead of seeking for the best breed of cattle
and horses to feed on her hills and valleys, and fertilize the
land, the sons of that great State must devote their time to
selecting and grooming the most lusty sires and the most fruitful
wenches, to supply the slave barracoons of the South!  And the
learned gentleman pathetically laments that the profits of this
genteel traffic will be greatly lessened by the circumscription of
slavery!  This is his picture, not mine."

Mr. Stevens was equally merciless in dealing with the tribe of
"dough-faces."  This was illustrated in a speech later in the
session, in which he alluded to his colleague from Bucks County,
Mr. Ross, who had attacked him in a violent pro-slavery harangue:

"There is," said Mr. Stevens, "in the natural world, a little,
spotted, contemptible animal, which is armed by nature with a fetid,
volatile, penetrating _virus_, which so pollutes whoever attacks
it as to make him offensive to himself and all around him for a
long time.  Indeed, he is almost incapable of purification.  Nothing,
sir, no insult, shall provoke me to crush so filthy a beast."  As
these words were being uttered, Mr. Ross was seen precipitately
making his way out of the hall under the return fire of his foe.
But Mr. Stevens then gave no clear promise of the wonderful career
as a parliamentary leader which awaited him in later years, when
perfectly unshackled by the power that at first held him in check.

The Thirty-first Congress was not alone remarkable for the great
questions it confronted and its shameless recreancy to humanity
and justice; it was equally remarkable for its able and eminent
men.  In the Senate, the great triumvirate of Webster, Clay, and
Calhoun, appeared in public life for the last time.  With them were
associated Benton, Cass, Douglas, Seward, Chase, Bell, Berrien,
Soule, Davis of Mississippi, Dayton, Hale, Ewing, Corwin, Hamlin,
Butler, Houston, and Mason.  In the House were Thaddeus Stevens,
Winthrop, Ashmun, Allen, Cobb of Georgia, McDowell, Giddings,
Preston King, Horace Mann, Marshall, Orr, Schenck, Stanley, Toombs,
Alexander H. Stephens, and Vinton.  If mere talent could have
supplemented the lack of conscience, the slave power might have
been overborne in 1850, and the current of American history turned
into the channels of liberty and peace.  But the better days of
the Republic, when high integrity and unselfish devotion to the
country inspired our statesmen, were past, and we had entered upon
the era of mean ambitions and huckstering politics.  "The bulk of
the nation," as Harriet Martineau said, a little later, "was below
its institutions," and our fathers "had laid down a loftier program
than their successors were able to fulfill."  It was not strange,
therefore, that the little band of Free Soilers in this Congress
encountered popular obloquy and social outlawry at the Capital.
Their position was offensive, because it rebuked the ruling influences
of the times, and summoned the real manhood of the country to its
rescue.  They were treated as pestilent fanatics because they
bravely held up the ideal of the Republic, and sought to make it
real.  But they pressed forward along the path of their aspirations.
They found a solace for their social ostracism in delightful
gatherings which assembled weekly at the residence of Dr. Bailey,
where they met philanthropists, reformers, and literary notables.
They had the courage of their opinions, and the genuine satisfaction
which accompanies manliness of character; and they lived to see
their principles vindicated, and the political and social tables
turned upon the men who had honored them by their scorn and contempt.
The anti-slavery revolt of 1848, which they represented, saved
Oregon from slavery, made California a free State, and launched
the policy of free homes on the public domain which finally prevailed
in 1862; and it was the prophecy and parent of the larger movement
which rallied under Fremont in 1856, elected Lincoln in 1860, and
played its grand part in saving the nation from destruction by the
armed insurgents whom it had vanquished at the ballot-box.  This
will be the sure award of history; but history will find another
parentage for the party despotism and political corruption which
have since disgraced the administration of the Government.


CHAPTER VI.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.
Pro-slavery reaction--Indiana and Ohio--Race for Congress--Free
Soil gains in other States--National Convention at Cleveland--
National canvass of 1852--Nomination of Pierce and Scott, and the
"finality" platforms--Free Soil National Convention--Nomination of
Hale--Samuel Lewis--The Whig canvass--Webster--Canvass of the
Democrats--Return of New York "Barnburners" to the party--The Free
Soil campaign--Stumping Kentucky with Clay--Rev. John G. Fee--
Incidents--Mob law in Indiana--Result of the canvass--Ruin of the
Whigs--Disheartening facts--The other side of the picture.

The reaction which followed the passage of the compromise acts of
1850 was quite as remarkable as the anti-slavery revolt of 1848,
which frightened the champions of slavery into the espousal of
these desperate measures.  Immense meetings were held in Philadelphia,
New York, Boston, and other cities and towns throughout the country,
in which leading Whigs and Democrats united in pledging themselves
to make the suppression of abolitionism paramount to any question
of party allegiance.  These demonstrations were vigorously seconded
by leading clergymen and doctors of divinity, whose sermons were
plentifully scattered over the land under the frank of members of
Congress and otherwise.  The press put forth its whole power on
the side of anti-slavery submission and peace, while the Executive
and Judicial departments of the Government made haste to abase
themselves by their super-serviceable zeal in the enforcement of
the new Fugitive Slave law.  The tables seemed to be completely
turned, and the time-honored rule of our slave-masters impregnably
re-established.  The anti-slavery commotion which a little while
before had rocked the country from one end of the Union to the
other was hushed in the restored order which succeeded, and gave
promise of that longed-for "finality" for which the two great
parties had so ardently labored.

In no section of the non-slaveholding States was this reaction more
strikingly felt than in the West, and especially in Illinois and
Indiana.  These States were outlying provinces of the empire of
slavery.  Their black codes and large Southern population bore
witness to their perfect loyalty to slave-holding traditions.
Indiana, while a Territory, had repeatedly sought the introduction
of slavery into her borders.  Her black laws had disfigured her
legislation from the beginning, and in 1850 were made still blacker
by her new Constitution, the 13th article of which, forbidding
negroes from coming into the State and white men from encouraging
them to remain, was submitted to the people separately, and ratified
by a popular majority of nearly ninety thousand votes.  Ten years
before, in the Harrison campaign, Mr. Bigger, the Whig candidate
for Governor, made himself very popular by proving that Van Buren
had favored negro suffrage in New York.  In 1842, four of the
Indiana delegation in Congress--namely, Lane, Wallace, Thompson,
and Kennedy--voted for the censure of Mr. Giddings, which Mr. Clay
indignantly denounced at the time, and two only--namely, White and
Cravens--voted in the negative.  Although the execution of the
Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 was a matter of Federal cognizance
exclusively, yet the State code made the harboring of a fugitive
an offense against its peace and dignity, punishable by fine and
imprisonment.  The colored people were denied any share in the
school fund, but were taxed for its support; and under the law
forbidding them to testify in cases where white men were parties,
they were at the mercy of any white villain who might take the
precaution of perpetrate an outrage upon them in the absence of
white witnesses.  Of course, the organization of an anti-slavery
party strong enough to rule such States as these, was to be the
work of time, toil, and patience.  It was only possible to lay the
foundation, and build as the material could be commanded; but the
Free Soilers, whether in the east or in the West, were undismayed
by the crisis, and fully resolved upon keeping up the fight.  In
compliance with the wishes of my anti-slavery friends, and by way
of doing my part in the work, I decided to stand for a re-election
from the Fourth Indiana District in the spring of 1851.  The Wilmot
proviso Democrats who had been chosen with me two years before on
the strength of their Free Soil pledges, including such men as
Joseph E. McDonald and Graham N. Fitch, now stood squarely on the
Compromise measures.

The Whigs of the State, following the lead of Webster and Clay,
and including Edward W. McGaughey, their only delegate in Congress,
had also completely changed their base.  My competitor, Samuel W.
Parker, whom I had defeated two years before, and who had then
insisted that the Whigs were better anti-slavery men than the Free
Soilers themselves, now made a complete somersault, fully committing
himself to the Compromise acts, and especially the Fugitive Slave
law, which he declared he approved without changing the dotting of
an _i_ or the crossing of a _t_.  Foote, Cass, and Webster were
now the oracles of the Whig faith; but, oddly enough, the Democrats,
who had formed by far the larger portion of my support two years
before, now stood firm, and I would undoubtedly have been re-elected
but for very vigorous outside interference.  Wm. J. Brown, who had
intrigued with the leading Free Soilers for the Speakership in
1849, as I have already shown, and favored the passage of the Wilmot
proviso in order to "stick it at old Zach," was now the editor of
the "Sentinel," the State organ of the Democracy, which was
sufficiently orthodox on the slavery question to pass muster in
South Carolina.  It was this organ which afterward insisted that
my abolitionism entitled me to at least five years service at hard
labor in the penitentiary.  Mr. Brown's dread of this fearful heresy
seemed as intense as it was unbounded, and he resolved at all
hazards to avert any further alliance with it by Democrats in any
portion of the State.  By very hard work and the most unscrupulous
expedients he succeeded in enlisting a few ambitious local magnates
of his party in the district, who were fully in sympathy with his
spirit and aims, and of whom Oliver P. Morton was the chief; and
by thus drawing away from the democracy from two to three hundred
pro-slavery malcontents and turning them over to my Whig competitor,
my defeat was accomplished.

But the effort to stem the tide of slavery fared better elsewhere.
While Mr. Webster was publicly ridiculing the "higher law," and
blurting his contempt upon one of the noted anti-slavery strongholds
of the country as "a laboratory of abolitionism, libel, and treason,"
Massachusetts sent Charles Sumner to the Senate of the United
States, and elected Horace Mann, Charles Allen and Robert Rantoul
as members of the House.  Amos Tuck was returned from New Hampshire,
Preston King from New York, Thaddeus Stevens and John W. Howe from
Pennsylvania, Charles Durkee from Wisconsin, and Giddings and
Townsend from Ohio.  These events were exceedingly gratifying, and
lent new life to the cause throughout the Northern States.  During
the summer of this year Mr. Sumner moved the repeal of the Fugitive
Slave Act, and although it received but ten votes, it led to an
angry and protracted discussion, which showed how signally the
attempt to suppress anti-slavery agitation had failed.  In the
latter part of September of this year a Free Soil National Convention
met at Cleveland, to take into consideration the state of the country
and the duty of anti-slavery men.  It was large and enthusiastic.
It adopted a series of spirited resolutions and a timely public
address, and admirable speeches were made by Cassius M. Clay, Joshua
R. Giddings, Samuel Lewis, George Bradburn, and others.  The only
drawback to the prevailing spirit of hopefulness and courage was
the absence of Mr. Chase, who had just withdrawn from the Free Soil
party and united his fortunes with the Democrats of Ohio, who had
adopted a platform which admitted an interpretation covering,
substantially, the principles of the Free Soil creed.

As the time for another Presidential election drew near, Whigs and
Democrats were alike engrossed with the consideration of their
"final settlement" of the slavery question, and their attitude
respecting it in the impending struggle.  Among the latter there
was substantially no division.  Their experience in 1848 with Gen.
Cass and his "Nicholson letter," had convinced them that nothing
was to be gained by mincing matters, and that a hearty, complete
and unhesitating surrender to slavery was the surest means of
success.  The Democrats in Congress, both North and South, had very
generally favored this "settlement," and there was now no division
in the party except as to men.  The candidates were Cass, Buchanan,
Douglas, and Marcy; and the National Convention assembled on the
first of June.  The platform of the party began with the declaration
of its "trust in the intelligence, the patriotism, and the
discriminating justice of the American people"; and then, in the
fourth and fifth resolutions, pronounced the Fugitive Slave Act
equally sacred with the Constitution, and pledged the party to
"resist all attempts at renewing, in Congress or out of it, the
agitation of the slavery question, under whatever shape or color
the attempt may be made."  So far as slavery was concerned it thus
became a recognized and authoritative principle of American Democracy
to muzzle the press and crush out the freedom of speech, as the
means of upholding and perpetuating its power.  On this platform
Franklin Pierce was nominated on the forty-ninth ballot; and in
his letter of acceptance he declared that "the principles it embraces
command the approbation of my judgment, and with them I believe I
can safely say that no word nor act of my life is in conflict."
It is difficult to conceive of any words by which he could more
completely have abdicated his manhood and self-respect, and sounded
the knell of his own conscience.  There was no lower deep, and he
was evidently the right man in the right place.

The Whig National Convention assembled on the sixteenth of June,
with Scott, Fillmore and Webster as the candidates.  There was yet
a considerable anti-slavery element in the party, but it was
paralyzed and powerless.  It had made a fatal mistake in submitting
to the nomination of Gen. Taylor, and became still more completely
demoralized by the accession of Fillmore, who turned his back upon
his past life, and threw himself into the arms of the slave-holders.
The old party had gone astray too long and too far to return, and
now determined to seek its fortunes in the desperate effort to
outdo the Democrats in cringing servility to the South.  The platform
of the Convention expressed the reliance of the Whigs "upon the
intelligence of the American people," but in its eighth resolution
declared their acquiescence in the Compromise Acts of 1850 "as a
final settlement, in principle and substance, of the subjects to
which they relate"; and it deprecated "all further agitation of
the questions thus settled, as dangerous to our peace," and pledged
the party "to discountenance all efforts to continue or renew such
agitation, whenever, wherever, or however made."  On this platform,
which is well understood to have been the work of Mr. Webster, Gen.
Scott was nominated on the fifty-ninth ballot by a vote of two
hundred and twenty-seven to sixty-six, while the highest vote
received by Mr. Webster was twenty-nine.  Here at last, the Whig
party had made a complete surrender of its integrity, and verified
all that had ever been said by Free Soilers as to its treachery to
freedom; and here, finally, these rival parties were tumbled together
into the ditch of slavery, and wallowing in the mire of their
degradation and shame.  The only issue of the canvass was slavery,
and on this they were perfectly agreed, while each, for the sake
of the spoils of office, was trying to surpass the other in the
damning proofs of its treason to humanity and contempt for the
fundamental truths of republican government.

The spectacle was most pitiably humiliating, but I counted it an
omen of progress.  The old parties were now unequivocally committed
to the policy of nationalizing the sectional interest of slavery,
and the way thus opened for a fair fight.  The lines were clearly
drawn, and the issue unmistakably made between freedom and free
speech on the one side, and slavery and the gag on the other.  I
thought we should have no more anti-slavery professions from Whigs
and Democrats, no further courting of Free-Soilers, and no more
mutual upbraidings of servility to the South; and that thus the
way would be smoothed for intelligent and effective anti-slavery
work.

The Free Soil National Convention met in Pittsburg on the eleventh
of August, and I believe an assemblage of purer men never convened
for any political purpose.  All the compromising and trading elements
that had drifted into the movement in 1848 had now gravitated back
to the old parties, leaving a residuum of permanent adherents of
the cause, who were perfectly ready to brave the frowns of public
opinion and the proscription and wrath of the old parties.  Henry
Wilson was made president of the convention, and the platform
adopted was substantially that of 1848.  A few additional resolves,
however, were added, including the declaration "that emigrants and
exiles from the old world should find a cordial welcome to homes
of comfort and fields of enterprise in the new," and that "every
attempt to abridge their privilege of becoming citizens and owners
of the soil among us ought to be resisted with inflexible
determination."  It was also declared "that the Free Democratic
party was not organized to aid either the Whig or Democratic wing
of the great Slave Compromise party of the Nation, but to defeat
them both; and that, repudiating and renouncing both as hopelessly
corrupt and utterly unworthy of confidence, the purpose of the Free
Democracy is to take possession of the Federal Government, and
administer it for the better protection of the rights and interests
of the whole people."  On this platform John P. Hale was nominated
for the Presidency.  My own nomination for the second place on the
ticket was to me a complete surprise.  I fully expected this honor
would fall upon Samuel Lewis, of Ohio, and the delegation from my
own State was unitedly for him.  He coveted the nomination, and so
did his many devoted friends, simply as a fitting recognition of
his faithful service in the cause of freedom, to which he had been
unselfishly devoted since the year 1841.  He had made himself a
public benefactor by his long and powerful championship of the
cause of education in Ohio.  He was a man of brains, and enthusiastically
devoted to every work of practical philanthropy and reform.  As an
impassioned, eloquent, and effective popular orator, he had no
equal in the country.  His profound earnestness, perfect sincerity,
and religious fervor conquered all hearts, and made his anti-slavery
appeals irresistible.  He was a strong and brave old man, who richly
deserved whatever distinction his nomination could confer; but for
reasons unknown to me he encountered in the convention the formidable
opposition of Mr. Chase, and he wrote me very touchingly a few days
afterward that "among the thousands who have given their lives and
fortunes to this cause, my name will be forgotten, while those who
have coolly stood by and watched the signs of the times, and filled
their sails with the wind that others have raised, will go down to
history as heroes and martyrs in a cause for which they never fought
a battle nor suffered a sacrifice."

The canvass of the Whigs was totally without heart or enthusiasm.
The Southern wing of the party had dictated the platform, but did
not like Gen. Scott.  Stephens and Toombs, of Georgia, and Jones
and Gentry, of Tennessee, refused to support him.  The Northern
Whigs were greatly embarrassed, and while they felt constrained to
support the candidate, tried to relieve their consciences by
"spitting upon the platform" on which he stood.  Mr. Webster did
not disguise his hostility to the ticket, and predicted the speedy
dissolution of the party.  The Democrats were united in this contest.
Notwithstanding their atrocious platform they succeeded in persuading
the leading Barnburners of 1848 to return to the party and muster
again in the army of slavery.  Dix, the Van Burens, David Dudley
Field, Tilden, and a host of others, including even Robert Rantoul
and Preston King, were now fighting for Pierce, while Bryant's
"Evening Post" and Greeley's "Tribune" cravenly submitted to the
shackles of slavery.  In the light of such facts as these it was
easy to forecast the result of the contest.

The real enthusiasm of this campaign was in the ranks of the Free
Soilers.  They had, of course, no dream of success, or even of
carrying a single electoral vote; but they were profoundly in
earnest, and united as one man against the combination of the old
parties in behalf of slavery.  I took the stump, and early in the
campaign accepted an invitation to join Cassius M. Clay in the
canvass of the counties of Lewis, Bracken, and Mason, in Kentucky.
On my way to our first appointment I stopped at Maysville, where
I found myself in the midst of a considerable excitement about some
thirty or forty slaves who had just crossed the Ohio on their way
to Canada.  I met Mr. Clay at the residence of the Rev. John G.
Fee, some eight miles distant in Lewis county, where we talked over
the plan of our campaign.  Mr. Fee was the founder of an anti-
slavery colony, a free school, and a free church, in that region,
and was a scholar, philanthropist, and reformer.  His whole heart
was in the anti-slavery cause, and his courage had never failed
him in facing the ruffianism and brutality which slavery employed
in its service; but I would not have felt very safe in this enterprise
without the presence of Mr. Clay, who was known in Kentucky, and
everywhere else, as "a fighting Christian," who would defend the
freedom of speech at any hazard.  Our first meeting was in Mr.
Fee's church, in the rocky and mountainous region of the county,
where we had perfect order and an attentive and sympathetic audience.
From this point we proceeded the next day to our appointment in
Maysville, finding a good deal of excitement in the city as to the
propriety of allowing us to speak in the court house.  It was
finally thrown open to us, and in the afternoon I was handsomely
introduced by Mr. Clay to a fine audience, speaking at length, and
with great plainness, on the issues of the canvass, and being
frequently applauded.  Mr. Clay spoke at night to a still larger
audience, while perfect order prevailed.  So far our success seemed
gratifying, and Mr. Fee was delighted; and we proceeded the following
morning to our next appointment at Brooksville, in Bracken county.
Here we found assembled a large crowd of that brutalized rabble
element which formed the background of slavery everywhere.  The
aboriginal creatures gazed at us like so many wild animals, but
showed not the slightest disposition to enter the house in which
we were to speak.  Mr. Clay remarked that they must be Whigs, since
they did not seemed inclined to "resist," but only to "discountenance"
our agitation; but we had come to speak, and with Mr. Fee's family
and a few friends who had come with us for an audience, we spoke
about an hour and a half each, just as if the house had been filled.
A few straggled in during the speaking, and several hung about the
windows and listened, though they tried to seem not to do so; but
the most remarkable and praiseworthy thing about this congregation
of Yahoos was that they did not mob us.  It must have seemed to
them a strange waste of power to spare such notorious disturbers
of the peace, and return to their homes without any laurels.  This
ended our work in Kentucky, where we could boast that the "finality"
platform had been openly set at defiance, and I returned to my work
on the other side of the Ohio.

Later in the canvass, on my return from Wisconsin and Illinois, I
learned that Andrew L. Robinson, the Free Soil candidate for Governor
of Indiana, had been mobbed in the city of Terre Haute, and prevented
from making an anti-slavery speech.  This was not surprising, as
this section of the State was largely settled by people from
Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky, who were as intolerant of
abolitionism as those of Bracken county already described.  I
immediately sent a telegram making an appointment to speak in that
city, and on the day appointed reported for duty.  I found my
friends uneasy and apprehensive.  They evidently regretted my
coming, and some of them advised me quietly to return home.  The
town was full of rumors that I was not to be allowed to speak, and
was to be "wabashed," as the rowdies phrased it.  But I had no
thought of returning without being heard; and accordingly, at the
appointed hour, I repaired to the court house, where I found a
small crowd assembled, with restless countenances, and a gang of
ruffians outside, armed with stones and brickbats.  The audience
gradually increased, and as I began to speak I noticed that the
roughs themselves began to listen, which they continued to do during
the hour and a half I devoted to the most unmistakable utterances
on the slavery question.  The ringleader of the mob, for some
reason, failed to give the signal of attack, and free speech was
vindicated.  Timid men grew brave, and boasted of the love of order
that had prompted the people of the town to stand by my rights;
yet the mob would probably have triumphed but for the presence of
Joseph O. Jones, the post-master of the city, himself a Kentuckian,
but a believer in the right of free speech and the duty of defending
it at all hazards.

The result of this Presidential canvass was a surprise to all
parties.  The triumph of the Democrats was anticipated, but it was
far more signal than they expected.  Pierce received two hundred
and fifty-four electoral votes, and Scott only forty-two, representing
only four States of the Union.  So far as the Whig party was
concerned, the result was overwhelming and final.  The party was
buried forever in the grave it had dug for itself.  Hale received
a little more than one hundred and fifty-six thousand votes, being
about one-twentieth of the entire popular vote cast at this election;
so that nineteen-twentieths of the people of the United States in
1852, and only a little more than a dozen years before slavery was
swept from the land, voted themselves bound and dumb before this
Moloch of American politics, while only one-twentieth had the
courage to claim their souls as their own.  These were very startling
facts after more than a quarter of a century of anti-slavery agitation,
and they were naturally interpreted by the victorious party everywhere
as clearly foreshadowing the complete triumph of the "final
settlement" made by Congress in 1850.  Certainly they seemed very
disheartening to anti-slavery men; for, however confidently they
might believe in the final success of their struggle, they could
not fail to see the immense odds and fearful obstacles against
which they would have to contend.  The debauched masses who had
been molded and kneaded by the plastic touch of slavery into such
base uses, were the only possible material from which recruits
could be drawn for a great party of the future, which should
regenerate our politics and re-enthrone the love of liberty; and
this should be remembered in estimating the courage and faith of
the men who in that dark hour held aloft the banner of freedom, in
spite of all temptations to go with the multitude.

But there was another view of the situation which thoughtful anti-
slavery men did not fail to enforce.  The overwhelming triumph of
Pierce was not an unmixed victory for slavery.  It had another
explanation.  It was to be remembered, to the credit of the Whig
party, that thousands of its members, notwithstanding their dislike
of Pierce and their admiration of Gen. Scott as a man and a soldier,
and despite the attempted drill of their leaders and the influence
of Greeley and Seward, could not be induced to support the ticket,
and were now ready for further acts of independence.  It was likewise
to be remembered that in the complete rout and ruin of the party
a great obstacle to anti-slavery progress had been removed.  The
slave-holders at once recognized this fact.  They had aimed to
defeat the party, not to annihilate it.  They saw clearly what
slavery needed was two pretty evenly divided parties, pitted against
each other on economic issues, so that under cover of their strife
it could be allowed to have its way; and they were justly alarmed
at the prospect of a new movement, having its action upon moral
grounds, and gathering into its ranks the unshackled conscience
and intelligence of the Northern States.  The "Washington Union,"
then the national organ of the Democracy, deplored the death of
the Whig party, and earnestly hoped for its resurrection.  The fact
had always been patent to anti-slavery men that these parties were
alike the bulwarks of slavery, since the Southern wing of each gave
law to the whole body, and that until one or the other could be
totally destroyed, a really formidable anti-slavery party was
impossible.  There was also great cause for encouragement in the
evident signs of a growing anti-slavery public opinion.  "Uncle
Tom's Cabin" had found its way to the millions on both sides of the
Atlantic, and the rage for it among all classes was without parallel
in the history of literature.  It was served up for the masses in
sixpenny editions, dramatized and acted on the stage, and coined
into poetry and song.  Slave-holders were alarmed at its wonderful
success, because they saw the grand part it was playing in creating
that "public opinion of the civilized world" which Mr. Webster had
declared to be "the mightiest power on earth."  The replies to this
wonderful book, and the anti-slavery and pro-slavery literature to
which it gave birth, largely contributed to the progress of freedom,
and the final repudiation of the "finality" which the great parties
had combined to establish.

Nor was the small vote for Hale a matter of serious discouragement.
It was much smaller than that cast for Van Buren in 1848; but that
was a deceptive epoch.  Multitudes, and especially in the State of
New York, then voted the Free Soil ticket who had never before
shown any interest in the slavery question, and did not manifest
it afterward.  They were not Free Soil men, but Van Buren men, who
hated Gen. Cass.  The vote for Hale represented the _bona fide_
strength of our cause after this element had been eliminated, and
its quality went far to atone for its quantity.  The proper test
of anti-slavery progress was a comparison of the anti-slavery vote
of 1844 with that of 1852, and this showed an increase of nearly
three-fold in the intervening space of eight years.  This steady
evolution of anti-slavery opinion from the deadening materialism
and moral inertia of the times could not go backward, but in the
very nature of things would repeat itself, and gather fresh momentum
from every effort put forth to stay its advance.


CHAPTER VII.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY (CONTINUED).
A notable fugitive slave case--Inauguration of Pierce--Repeal of
the Missouri compromise--Its effect upon the parties--The Free Soil
position--Know-Nothingism--The situation--First steps in the
formation of the Republican party--Movements of the Know-Nothings
--Mistake of the Free Soilers--Anti-slavery progress--Election of
Banks as Speaker--Call for a Republican National Convention at
Pittsburg--Organization of the party--The Philadelphia convention
and its platform--Nomination of Fremont--Know-Nothing and Whig
nominations--Democratic nomination and platform--The grand issue
of the campaign--The Democratic canvass--The splendid fight for
Fremont--Triumph of Buchanan--Its causes and results--The teaching
of events.

It was early in the year 1853 that a notable fugitive slave case
occurred in Indiana.  The alleged fugitive was John Freeman, who
had once resided in Georgia, but for many years had been a resident
of Indianapolis and had never been a slave.  The marshal of the
State, though he had voted against the passage of the Fugitive Act
of 1850, entered upon the service of Ellington, the claimant, with
a zeal and alacrity which made him exceedingly odious to anti-
slavery men.  He accompanied Ellington into the jail in which
Freeman was confined, and compelled him to expose his shoulders
and legs, so that the witnesses could identify him by certain marks,
and swear according to the pattern, which they did.  The case became
critical for Freeman; but the feeling in Indianapolis was so strong
in his favor that a continuance of the hearing was granted to enable
him to prepare his proofs.  He hired friends to go to Georgia, who
succeeded in bringing back with them several men who had known him
there many years before, and testified that he was a free man.  On
the day of the trial Ellington became the fugitive, while Freeman
was preparing his papers for a prosecution for false imprisonment.
The large crowd in attendance was quite naturally turned into an
anti-slavery meeting, which was made to do good service in the way
of "agitation."  The men from Georgia were on the platform, and
while they were complimented by the speakers on their love of
justice and humanity in coming to the rescue of Freeman, no quarter
was given to the Northern serviles and flunkeys who had made haste
to serve the perjured villains who had undertaken to kidnap a
citizen of the State under the forms of an atrocious law.  The
meeting was very enthusiastic, and the tables completely turned on
the slave-catching faction.

When President Pierce was inaugurated, on the fourth of March,
1853, the pride and power of the Democratic party seemed to be at
their flood.  In his inaugural message he expressed the fervent
hope that the slavery question was "forever at rest," and he
doubtless fully believed that this hope would be realized.  In his
annual message, in December following, he lauded the Compromise
measures with great emphasis, and declared that the repose which
they had brought to the country should receive no shock during his
term of office if he could avert it.  The anti-slavery element in
the Thirty-third Congress was scarcely as formidable as in the
preceding one, though there were some accessions.  Benjamin F. Wade
was now in the Senate, and De Witt of Massachusetts, Gerrit Smith
of New York, and Edward Wade of Ohio, were members of the House.
In the beginning the session gave promise of a quiet one, but on
the twenty-third of January the precious repose of the country, to
which the President had so lovingly referred in his message, was
rudely shocked by the proposition of Senator Douglas to repeal the
Missouri compromise.  This surprising demonstration from a leading
friend of the Administration and a champion of the compromise
measures marked a new epoch in the career of slavery, and rekindled
the fires of sectional strife.  After a very exciting debate in
both houses, which lasted four months, the measure finally became
a law on the thirtieth of May, 1854.  It was a sprout from the
grave of the Wilmot proviso; for if, under the Constitution, it
was the duty of Congress to abandon the policy of restriction in
1850, and provide that Utah and New Mexico should be received into
the Union, with or without slavery, according to the choice of
their people, the Missouri compromise line should never have been
established, and was a rock of offense to the slave-holders.  The
Compromise Acts of 1850 had not abrogated that line, and related
only to our Mexican acquisitions; but they had affirmed a principle,
and if that principle was sound, the Missouri restriction was
indefensible.  The whole question of slavery was thus reopened,
for the sacredness of the compact of 1820 and the wickedness of
its violation depended largely upon the character of slavery itself,
and our constitutional relations to it.

On all sides the situation was exceedingly critical and peculiar.
The Whigs, in their now practically disbanded condition, were free
to act as they saw fit, and were very indignant at this new
demonstration in the interest of slavery, while they were yet in
no mood to countenance any form of "abolitionism."  Multitudes of
Democrats were equally indignant, and were quite ready to join
hands with the Whigs in branding slavery with the violation of its
plighted faith.  Both made the sacredness of the bargain of 1820
and the crime of its violation the sole basis of their hostility.
Their hatred of slavery was geographical, spending its force north
of the Missouri restriction.  They talked far more eloquently about
the duty of keeping covenants, and the wickedness of reviving
sectional agitation, than the evils of slavery, and the cold-blooded
conspiracy to spread it over an empire of free soil.  Their watch-
word and rallying cry was "the restoration of the Missouri compromise";
but this demand was not made merely as a preliminary to other
measures, which would restore the free States to the complete
assertion of their constitutional rights, but as a means of
propitiating the _spirit_ of compromise, and a convenient retreat
to the adjustment acts of 1850 and the "finality" platforms of
1852.  In some States and localities the anti-slavery position of
these parties was somewhat broader; but as a general rule the ground
on which they marshaled their forces was substantially what I have
stated.

The position of the Free Soilers was radically different.  They
opposed slavery upon principle, and irrespective of any compact or
compromise.  They did not demand the restoration of the Missouri
compromise; and although they rejoiced at the popular condemnation
of the perfidy which had repealed it, they regarded it as a false
issue.  It was an instrument on which different tunes could be
played.  To restore this compromise would prevent the spread of
slavery over soil that was free; but it would re-affirm the binding
obligation of a compact that should never have been made, and from
which we were now offered a favorable opportunity of deliverance.
It would be to recognize slavery as an equal and honorable contracting
party, waiving its violated faith, and thus precluding us from
pleading its perfidy in discharge of all compromises.  It would
degrade our cause to the level of those who washed their hands of
all taint of abolitionism, and only waged war against the Administration
because it broke up the blessed reign of peace which descended upon
the country in the year 1850.  These Free Soilers insisted that
the breach of this compact was only a single link in a great chain
of measures aiming at the absolute supremacy of slavery in the
Government, and thus inviting a resistance commensurate with that
policy; and that this breach should be made the exodus of the people
from the bondage of all compromises.  They argued that to cut down
the issue between slavery and freedom to so narrow, equivocal, and
half-hearted a measure, at a time when every consideration pleaded
for radical and thorough work, was practical infidelity to the
cause and the crisis.  It was sporting with humanity, and giving
to the winds a glorious victory for the right when it was within
our grasp.

The situation was complicated by two other political elements.
One of these was Temperance, which now, for the first time, had
become a most absorbing political issue.  The "Maine Law" agitation
had reached the West, and the demand of the temperance leaders was
"search, seizure, confiscation, and destruction of liquors kept
for illegal sale."  Keenly alive to the evils of drunkenness, and
too impatient to wait for the inevitable conditions of progress,
they thought the great work could be accomplished by a legislative
short-cut.  They insisted that the "accursed poison" of the
"rumseller," wherever it could be found, should be poured into the
gutter along with other filth, while he should be marched off to
answer to the charge of a crime against society, and take his rank
among other great offenders.  Instead of directing their chief
attack against the appetite for drink and seeking to lessen the
demand, their effort was to destroy the supply.  They had evidently
given no thought to the function of civil government in dealing
with the problem, nor did they perceive that the vice of drunkenness
is an effect, quite as much as a cause, having its genesis in the
unequal laws, in the domination of wealth over the poor, in the
lack of general education, in inherited infirmities, physical and
mental, in neglected household training; in a word, in untoward
social conditions which must be radically dealt with before we can
strike with effect at the root of the evil.  They did not see that
the temperance question is thus a many-sided one, involving the
general uplifting of society, and that no legislation can avail
much which loses sight of this truth.  For these very reasons the
agitation for a time swept everything before it.  Its current was
resistless, because it was narrow and impetuous.  If the leaders
had comprehended the logic of their work and its unavoidable
limitations, and had only looked forward to the overthrow of the
fabric of intemperance by undermining its foundations, the regular
current of politics would not have been perceptibly affected, while
the way would have been left open for a more perfect union on the
really vital and overshadowing issue of slavery.

The other element referred to made its appearance in the closing
months of 1853, and took the name of the Know-Nothing party.  It
was a secret oath-bound political order, and its demand was the
proscription of Catholics and a probation of twenty-one years for
the foreigner as a qualification for the right of suffrage.  Its
career was as remarkable as it was disgraceful.  Thousands were
made to believe that the Romish hierarchy was about to overthrow
our liberties, and that the evils of "foreignism" had become so
alarming as to justify the extraordinary measures by which it was
proposed to counteract them.  Thousands, misled by political knaves
through the arts of the Jesuits believed that the cause of freedom
was to be sanctified and saved by this new thing under the sun.
Thousands, through their unbridled credulity, were persuaded that
political hacks and charlatans were to lose their occupation under
the reign of the new Order, and that our debauched politics were
to be thoroughly purified by the lustration which it promised
forthwith to perform.  Thousands, eager to bolt from the old parties,
but fearful of being shot down on the way as deserters, gladly
availed themselves of this newly devised "underground railroad" in
escaping from the service of their old masters.  Under these various
influences the Whigs generally, and a large proportion of the Free
Soilers and Democrats, were enlisted in the service of this remarkable
movement.  Pretending to herald a new era in our politics in which
the people were to take the helm and expel demagogues and traders
from the ship, it reduced political swindling to the certainty and
system of a science.  It drew to itself, as the great festering
centre of corruption, all the known rascalities of the previous
generation, and assigned them to active duty in its service.  It
was an embodied lie of the first magnitude, a horrid conspiracy
against decency, the rights of man, and the principle of human
brotherhood.

Its birth, simultaneously with the repeal of the Missouri compromise,
was not an accident, as any one could see who had studied the
tactics of the slave-holders.  It was a well-timed scheme to divide
the people of the free States upon trifles and side issues, while
the South remained a unit in defense of its great interest.  It
was the cunning attempt to balk and divert the indignation aroused
by the repeal of the Missouri restriction, which else would spend
its force upon the aggressions of slavery; for by thus kindling
the Protestant jealousy of our people against the Pope, and enlisting
them in a crusade against the foreigner, the South could all the
more successfully push forward its schemes.

On this ground, as an anti-slavery man, I opposed it with all my
might from the beginning to the end of its life.  For a time it
carried everything with a high hand.  It was not only irresistible
in numbers, but it fought in the dark.  It pretended to act openly
and in friendly conference with its enemies as to questions which
it had already settled in secret conclave.  Its opponents did not
know how to wage war against it, because they did not know who were
their friends.  If a meeting was called to expose and denounce its
schemes, it was drowned in the Know-Nothing flood which, at the
appointed time, completely overwhelmed the helpless minority.  This
happened in my own county and town, where thousands of men, including
many of my old Free Soil brethren, assembled as an organized mob
to suppress the freedom of speech; and they succeeded by brute
force in taking possession of every building in which their opponents
could meet, and silencing them by savage yells.  At one time I
think I had less than a dozen political friends in the State, and
I could see in the glad smile which lighted up the faces of my old-
time enemies that they considered me beyond the reach of political
resurrection.  But I never for a moment intermitted my warfare, or
doubted that in the end the truth would be vindicated, although I
did not dream that in less than two years I would be the recognized
leader of the men composing this mob, who would be found denying
their membership of this secret order, or confessing it with shame.
It was a strange dispensation; and no record of independent journalism
was ever more honorable than that of the "New York Tribune" and
"National Era," during their heroic and self-sacrificing fight
against this organized scheme of bigotry and proscription, which
can only be remembered as the crowning and indelible shame of our
politics.  It admits of neither defense or palliation, and I am
sorry to find Henry Wilson's "History of the Rise and Fall of the
Slave Power" disfigured by his elaborate efforts to whitewash it
into respectability, and give it a decent place in the records of
the past.

Such were the elements which mingled and commingled in the political
ferment of 1854, and out of which an anti-slavery party was to be
evolved capable of trying conclusions with the perfectly disciplined
power of slavery.  The problem was exceedingly difficult, and could
not be solved in a day.  The necessary conditions of progress could
not be slighted, and the element of time must necessarily be a
large one in the grand movement which was to come.  The dispersion
of the old parties was one thing, but the organization of their
fragments into a new one on a just basis was quite a different
thing.  The honor of taking the first step in the formation of the
Republican party belongs to Michigan, where the Whigs and Free
Soilers met in State convention on the sixth of July, formed a
complete fusion into one party, and adopted the name Republican.
This action was followed soon after by like movements in the States
of Wisconsin and Vermont.  In Indiana a State "fusion" convention
was held on the thirteenth of July, which adopted a platform,
nominated a ticket, and called the new movement the "People's
Party."  The platform, however, was narrow and equivocal, and the
ticket nominated had been agreed on the day before by the Know-
Nothings, in secret conclave, as the outside world afterward learned.
The ticket was elected, but it was done by combining opposite and
irreconcilable elements, and was not only barren of good fruits
but prolific of bad ones, through its demoralizing example; for
the same dishonest game was attempted the year following, and was
overwhelmingly defeated by the Democrats.  In New York the Whigs
refused to disband, and the attempt to form a new party failed.
The same was true of Massachusetts and Ohio.  The latter State,
however, in 1855, fell into the Republican column, and nominated
Mr. Chase for Governor, who was elected by a large majority.  A
Republican movement was attempted this year in Massachusetts, where
conservative Whiggery and Know-Nothingism blocked the way of
progress, as they did also in the State of New York.  In November
of the year 1854 the Know-Nothing party held a National Convention
in Cincinnati, in which the hand of slavery was clearly revealed,
and the "Third Degree" or pro-slavery obligation of the order, was
adopted; and it was estimated that at least a million and a half
of men afterward bound themselves by this obligation.  In June of
the following year another National Convention of the order was
held in Philadelphia, and at this convention the party was finally
disrupted on the issue of slavery, and its errand of mischief
henceforward prosecuted by fragmentary and irregular methods; but
even the Northern wing of this Order was untrustworthy on the
slavery issue, having proposed, as a condition of union, to limit
its anti-slavery demand to the restoration of the Missouri restriction
and the admission of Kansas and Nebraska as free States.

Indeed, the outlook as to the formation of a triumphant anti-slavery
party was not so promising towards the close of the year 1855 as
it had seemed in the spring of the preceding year.  If the Free
Soilers had been clear-sighted enough to distinguish between that
which was transient and that which was permanent in the forces
which had roused the people of the free States, and, availing
themselves of the repeal of the Missouri restriction as a God-send
to their cause, had summoned the manhood of the country to their
help, a powerful impulse would have been given in the right direction.
But in the general confusion and bewilderment of the times many of
them lost their way, and were found mustering with the mongrel
hordes of Know-Nothingism, and under captains who were utterly
unworthy to lead them.  Instead of inflexibly maintaining their
ground and beckoning the people to come up and possess it, they
meanly deserted it themselves, while vainly expecting others to
occupy it.  The Whigs were totally powerless to render any service
without first disbanding their party, and this, in many localities,
they declined to do.  Both wings of the Know-Nothing movement were
organized obstacles to the formation of a new party, while the
bolters from the Democrats were as unprepared for radical anti-
slavery work as the Whigs or Know-Nothings.  But notwithstanding
all these drawbacks, real progress had been made.  In the Thirty-
fourth Congress, Wilson, Foster, Harlan, Trumbull, and Durkee were
chosen senators.  In the House were Burlingame, Buffington, Banks,
Hickman, Grow, Covode, Sherman, Bliss, Galloway, Bingham, Harlan,
Stanton, Colfax, Washburn, and many others.  These were great gains,
and clearly pointed to still larger accessions, and the final
subordination of minor issues to the grand one on which the people
of the free States were to take their stand.  An unprecedented
struggle for the Speakership began with the opening of the Thirty-
fourth Congress, and lasted till the second day of February, when
the free States finally achieved their first victory in the election
of Banks.  Northern manhood at last was at a premium, and this was
largely the fruit of the "border ruffian" attempts to make Kansas
a slave State, which had stirred the blood of the people during
the year 1855.  In the meantime, the arbitrary enforcement of the
Fugitive Slave Act still further contributed to the growth of an
anti-slavery opinion.  The famous case of Anthony Burns in Boston,
the prosecution of S. M. Booth in Wisconsin, and the decision of
the Supreme Court of that State, the imprisonment of Passmore
Williamson in Philadelphia, and the outrageous rulings of Judge
Kane, and the case of Margaret Garner in Ohio, all played their
part in preparing the people of the free States for organized
political action against the aggressions of slavery.

Near the close of the year 1855, the chairmen of the Republican
State Committees of Ohio, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont,
and Wisconsin, issued a call for a National Republican Convention
to be held at Pittsburg, on the 22d of February, 1856, for the
purpose of organizing a National Republican party, and making
provision for a subsequent convention to nominate candidates for
President and Vice President.  It was very largely attended, and
bore witness to the spirit and courage which the desperate measures
of the slave oligarchy had awakened throughout the Northern States.
All the free States were represented, and eight of the slave-holding,
namely:  Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee,
North Carolina, and Texas.  The convention assembled in Lafayette
Hall, and the Hon. John A. King, of New York, a son of Rufus King,
was made temporary chairman, and Francis P. Blair, of Maryland,
the intimate friend of President Jackson, was made its permanent
president.  He was most enthusiastically greeted on taking the
chair, and began his address with the remark that this was the
first time he had ever been called on to make a speech.  His views
were too conservative in tone to satisfy the demands of the crisis,
but he was most cordially welcomed as a distinguished delegate from
a slave State.  The convention was opened by a prayer from Owen
Lovejoy, and there was a suppressed murmur of applause when he
asked God to enlighten the mind of the President of the United
States, and turn him from his evil ways, and if this was not
possible, to take him away, so that an honest and God-fearing man
might fill his place.  Horace Greeley was seen in the audience,
and was loudly and unitedly called on for a speech.  He spoke
briefly, saying that he had been in Washington several weeks, and
friends there "counseled extreme caution in our movements."  This
was the burden of his exhortation.  At the close of his remarks
Mr. Giddings was tumultuously called for, and responded by saying
that Washington was the last place in the world to look for counsel
or redress, and related an anecdote of two pious brothers, named
Joseph and John, who in early times had begun a settlement in the
West.  Joseph prayed to the Lord:  "O, Lord! we have begun a good
work; we pray thee to carry it on thus,"--giving specific directions.
But John prayed:  "O, Lord, we have begun a good work; carry it on
as you think best, and don't mind what Joe says."  Mr. Giddings
then introduced the Rev. Owen Lovejoy, of Illinois,--"not Joe, but
John."  Mr. Lovejoy delighted the audience, and was followed by
Preston King and other speakers; and it was quite manifest that
this was a _Republican_ convention, and not a mere aggregation of
Whigs, Know-Nothings, and dissatisfied Democrats.  It contained a
considerable Know-Nothing element, but it made no attempt at
leadership, while Charles Remelin and other speakers were
enthusiastically applauded when they denounced Know-Nothingism as
a mischievous side issue in our politics, which the new movement
should openly repudiate.  The convention was in session two days,
and was singularly harmonious throughout.  Its resolutions and
address to the people did not fitly echo the feeling and purpose
of its members, but this was a preliminary movement, and it was
evident that nothing could stay the progress of the cause.  As
chairman of the committee on organization, I had the honor to report
the plan of action through which the new party took life, providing
for the appointment of a National Executive Committee, the holding
of a National Convention in Philadelphia on the 17th of June, for
the nomination of candidates for President and Vice President, and
the organization of the party in counties and districts throughout
the States.

The Philadelphia convention was very large, and marked by unbounded
enthusiasm.  The spirit of liberty was up, and side issues forgotten.
If Know-Nothingism was present, it prudently accepted an attitude
of subordination.  The platform reasserted the self-evident truths
of the Declaration of Independence, and denied that Congress, the
people of a Territory, or any other authority, could give legal
existence to slavery in any Territory of the United States.  It
asserted the sovereign power of Congress over the Territories, and
its right and duty to prohibit it therein.  Know-Nothingism received
no recognition, and the double-faced issue of the restoration of
the Missouri compromise was disowned, while the freedom of Kansas
was dealt with as a mere incident of the conflict between liberty
and slavery.  On this broad platform John C. Fremont was nominated
for President on the first ballot, and Wm. L. Dayton was unanimously
nominated for Vice-President.  The National Republican party was
thus splendidly launched, and nothing seemed to stand in the way
of its triumph but the mischievous action of the Know-Nothing party,
and a surviving faction of pro-slavery Whigs.  The former party
met in National Convention in Philadelphia, on the twenty-second
of February, and nominated Millard Fillmore for President and Andrew
J. Donelson for Vice President.  Some bolters from this convention
subsequently nominated Nathaniel P. Banks and William F. Johnson
as their candidates, and a remnant of the Whig party held a convention
at Baltimore on the seventeenth of September, and endorsed Fillmore
and Donelson; but a dissatisfied portion of the convention afterward
nominated Commodore Stockton and Kenneth Raynor.  All these factions
were destined soon to political extinction, but in a hand-to-hand
fight with the slave power they yet formed a considerable obstacle
to that union and harmony in the free States which were necessary
to success.

The Democratic National Convention met at Cincinnati on the second
of June.  The candidates were Buchanan, Pierce, and Douglas.  On
the seventeenth ballot Buchanan was unanimously nominated for
President, and on the second ballot John C. Breckenridge was
nominated for Vice President.  The platform re-affirmed the action
of Congress respecting the repeal of the Missouri compromise and
the compromises of 1850, and recognized the right of the people of
all the Territories, including Kansas and Nebraska, whenever the
number of their inhabitants justified it, to form a Constitution
with or without domestic slavery, and to be admitted into the Union
upon terms of equality with the other States.  These declarations,
together with the express denial to Congress of the right to
interfere with slavery in the Territories, were accepted as
satisfactory to the South, and were fairly interpreted to mean that
the people of the Territories, pending their territorial condition,
had no power to exclude slavery therefrom.  In Mr. Buchanan's letter
of acceptance, he completely buried his personality in the platform,
and Albert G. Brown of Mississippi, and Governor Wise of Virginia,
pronounced him as true to the South as Mr. Calhoun himself.  These
were the tickets for 1856, but the real contest was between Buchanan
and Fremont.  It was pre-eminently a conflict of principles.  The
issues could hardly have been better defined, and they were vital.
It was a struggle between two civilizations, between reason and
brute force, between the principles of Democracy and the creed of
Absolutism; and the case was argued with a force, earnestness, and
fervor, never before known.  No Presidential contest had ever so
touched the popular heart, or so lifted up and ennobled the people
by the contagion of a great and pervading moral enthusiasm.  The
campaign for Buchanan, however, was not particularly animated, at
least in the Northern States.  It illustrated the power of party
machinery, and the desperate purpose to press forward along a path
which had been followed too far to call a halt.  It was a struggle
for party ascendancy by continual and most humiliating concessions
to the ever-multiplying demands of slavery; and the ardor of the
struggle must have been cooled by many troublesome misgivings as
to the final effect of these concessions, and the policy of purchasing
a victory at such a price.

The excitement of the canvass was aggravated by very exasperating
circumstances.  The brutal and cowardly assault of Brooks upon
Sumner was the counterpart of border ruffianism in Kansas, and
perhaps did more to stir the blood of the people of the Northern
States than any of the wholesale outrages thus far perpetrated in
that distant border.  These outrages, however, were now multiplied
in all directions, and took on new shapes.  They were legislative,
executive, and judicial, cropping out in private pillage and
assassination, in organized marauding and murder, and in armed
violence; and these horrid demonstrations enlivened the canvass to
the end.  Republican enthusiasm reached its white heat, borrowing
the self-forgetting devotion and dedicated zeal of a religious
conversion.  Banks and tariffs and methods of administration were
completely forgotten, while thousands of Democrats who had been
trained in the school of slavery, and hundreds of thousands of
conservative Whigs, caught the spirit of liberty which animated
the followers of Fremont and Dayton.  The canvass had no parallel
in the history of American politics.  No such mass-meetings had
ever assembled.  They were not only immense in numbers, but seemed
to come together spontaneously, and wholly independent of machinery.
The processions, banners, and devices were admirable in all their
appointments, and no political campaign had ever been inspired by
such charming and soul-stirring music, or cheered by such a following
of orderly, intelligent, conscientious and thoroughly devoted men
and women.  To me the memory of this first great national struggle
for liberty is a delight, as the part I played in it was a real
jubilee of the heart.  I was welcomed by the Republican masses
everywhere, and the fact was as gratifying to me as it proved
mortifying to the party chiefs who, a little while before, had
found such comfort in the assurance that henceforward they were
rid of me.  With many wry faces they submitted, after all sorts of
manoeuvers early in the canvass to keep me in the background, varied
by occasional threats to drive me out of the party.  As their own
party standing became somewhat precarious they completely changed
their base, and often amused the public by super-serviceable displays
of their personal friendship.  Even the ring-leader of the Know-
Nothing mob of two years before, standing up to his full height of
"six feet six," used to introduce me at mass meetings as "Your
honored representative in Congress, and war-worn veteran in the
cause of liberty."

But Buchanan triumphed.  The baleful interposition of Know-Nothingism
stood in the way of that union of forces which the situation
demanded, and was thus chiefly responsible for the Republican
defeat.  The old Whigs who had so recently stepped from their
"finality" platform, could not be unitedly rallied, and the Democratic
bolters were only half converted.  In my own State the opposition
to the Democracy repudiated even the name Republican, and entered
the field as "the People's party."  It was a combination of
weaknesses, instead of a union of forces.  All the Fillmore Know-
Nothings and Silver-Grey Whigs of the State were recognized as
brethren.  At least one man on the State ticket, of which Oliver
P. Morton was the head, was a Fillmore man, while both Fillmore
and anti-Fillmore men had been chosen as delegates to Philadelphia
and electors for the State.  The political managers even went so
far as to suppress their own electoral ticket during the canvass,
as a peace-offering to old Whiggery and Know-Nothingism, while the
admission of Kansas as a free State was dealt with as the sole
issue, and border ruffian outrages and elaborate disclaimers of
"abolitionism" were the regular staple of our orators, who openly
declared that the Republican party was a "white man's party."  Anti-
slavery speakers like Clay and Burlingame were studiously kept out
of Southern Indiana, where the teachings of Republicanism were
especially needed, and Richard W. Thompson, then the professed
champion of Fillmore, but in reality the stipendary of the Democrats,
traversed that region on the stump, denounced the Republicans as
"Abolitionists," "disunionists," and "incendiaries," and was
everywhere unchallenged in his course.  Similar tactics, though
not so deplorably despicable, prevailed in several of the other
States, giving unmistakable evidence of the need of a still further
and more thorough enlightenment of the people as to the spirit and
aims of slavery.  In the light of these facts, I was not at all
cast down by the defeat of Fremont.  He was known as an explorer,
and not as a statesman.  If he had succeeded, with mere politicians
in his cabinet, a Congress against him, and only a partially
developed anti-slavery sentiment behind him, the cause of freedom
would have been in fearful peril.  The revolution so hopefully
begun might have been arrested by half-way measures, promoting the
slumber rather than the agitation of the truth, while the irritating
nostrums of Buchanan Democracy, so necessary to display the
abominations of slavery, would have been lost to us.  The moral
power of the canvass for Fremont was itself a great gain,
notwithstanding the cowardice of some of its leaders.  The Republican
movement could not now go backward, and with a probation of four
years to prepare for the next conflict, unembarrassed by the
responsibilities of power, and free to profit by the blunders and
misdeeds of its foe, it was pretty sure of a triumph in 1860.
Fremont had received a popular vote of one million three hundred
and forty-one thousand two hundred and sixty-four, carrying eleven
States and one hundred and fourteen electoral votes; while only
four years before, John P. Hale, standing on substantially the same
platform, had received only a little more than one hundred and
fifty-seven thousand, and not a single electoral vote.  This showed
a marvelous anti-slavery progress, considering the age of the
movement, the elements it forced into combination, and the difficulties
under which it struggled into life; and no one could misinterpret
its significance.


CHAPTER VIII.
PROGRESS OF REPUBLICANISM.
The Dred Scott decision--The struggle for freedom in Kansas--
Instructive debates in Congress--Republican gains in the Thirty-
fifth Congress--The English bill--Its defeat and the effect--
Defection of Douglas--Its advantages and its perils--Strange course
of the New-York Tribune and other Republican papers--Republican
retreat in Indiana--Illinois Republicans stand firm, and hold the
party to its position--Gains in the Thirty-sixth Congress--Southern
barbarism and extravagance--John Brown's raid--Cuba and the slave
trade--Oregon and Kansas--Aids to anti-slavery progress--The
Speakership and Helper's book--Southern insolence and extravagance
--Degradation of Douglas--Slave code for the Territories--Outrages
in the South--Campaign of 1860--Charleston convention and division
of the Democrats--Madness of the factions--Bell and Everett--
Republican National Convention and its platform--Lincoln and Seward
--Canvass of Douglas--The campaign for Lincoln--Conduct of Seward
--Republican concessions and slave-holding madness.

The Republicans, however, were sorely disappointed by their defeat;
but this second great victory of slavery did not at all check the
progress of the anti-slavery cause.  It had constantly gathered
strength from the audacity and recklessness of slave-holding
fanaticism, and it continued to do so.  On the 6th of March, 1857,
the Supreme Court of the United States harnessed itself to the car
of slavery by its memorable decision in the case of Dred Scott,
affirming that Congress had no power to prohibit slavery in the
Territories, and, inferentially, that the Constitution carried with
it the right to hold slaves there, even against the will of their
people.  The point was not before the court, and the opinion of
Chief Justice Taney was therefore purely extra-judicial.  It was
simply a political harangue in defense of slavery.  It created a
profound impression throughout the free States, and became a powerful
weapon in the hands of Republicans.  It was against the whole
current of adjudications on the subject, and they denounced it as
a vile caricature of American jurisprudence.  They characterized
it as the distilled diabolism of two hundred years of slavery,
stealthily aiming at the overthrow of our Republican institutions,
while seeking to hide its nakedness under the fig-leaves of judicial
fairness and dignity.  They branded it as the desperate attempt of
slave-breeding Democracy to crown itself king, by debauching the
Federal judiciary and waging war against the advance of civilization.
Their denunciations of the Chief Justice were unsparing and
remorseless; and they described him as "pouring out the hoarded
villainies of a life-time into a political opinion which he tried
to coin into law."  When Senator Douglas sought to ridicule their
clamor by inquiring whether they would take an appeal from the
Supreme Court of the United States to a town meeting, they answered:
"Yes, we appeal from the court to the people, who made the
Constitution, and have the right, as the tribunal of last resort,
to define its meaning."  Nothing could more clearly have marked
the degradation to which the power of slavery had reduced the
country than this decision, and no other single event could have
so prepared the people for resistance to its aggressions.  It was
thoroughly cold-blooded in its letter and spirit, and no Spanish
Inquisitor ever showed less sympathy for his victim than did the
Chief Justice for the slave.

But the Dred Scott iniquity did not stand alone.  It had been
procured for the purpose of fastening slavery upon all the Territories,
and it had, of course, a special meaning when applied to the
desperate struggle then in progress to make Kansas a slave State.
The conduct of the Administration during this year, in its treatment
of the free State men of that Territory, forms one of the blackest
pages in the history of slavery.  The facts respecting their labors,
trials, and sufferings, and the methods employed to force upon them
the Lecompton Constitution, including wholesale ballot-stuffing
and every form of ruffianism, pillage, and murder, need not be
recalled; but all these were but the outcroppings and counterpart
of the Dred Scott decision, and the horrid travesty of the principle
of popular sovereignty in the Territories.  The whole power of the
Administration, acting as the hired man of slavery, was ruthlessly
employed for the purpose of spreading the curse over Kansas, and
establishing it there as an irreversible fact; and all the departments
of the Government now stood as a unit on the side of this devilish
conspiracy.  Everybody knew the Lecompton constitution was the work
of outside ruffians, and not of the people of the Territory, whose
Legislature in February, 1858, solemnly protested against their
admission under that Constitution, and whose protest was totally
unheeded.  The Congressional debates during this period greatly
contributed to the anti-slavery education of the people, by more
clearly unmasking the real spirit and designs of the slaveholders.
We were treated to the kind of talk then becoming current about
"Northern mud-sills," "filthy operatives," the "ownership of labor
by capital," and the beauties and beatitudes of slavery.  Such
maddened extremists as Hammond and Keitt of South Carolina, and such
blatant doughfaces as Petit of Indiana, became capital missionaries
in the cause of freedom.  Their words were caught up by the press
of the free States, and added their beneficent help to the work so
splendidly going forward through the providential agency of "Uncle
Tom's Cabin."

In the meantime, freedom had made large gains in the composition
of the Thirty-fifth Congress, which now had charge of the Lecompton
swindle.  The Senate contained twenty Republican members and the
House ninety-two.  Kansas had not been forced into the Union as a
slave State, but she was helpless at the feet of the Executive.
In the midst of the angry debate a new proposition was brought
forward, on the twenty-third of April, which was even more detestable
than the Lecompton bill itself.  This was known as the "English
bill," which offered Kansas a very large and tempting land grant,
if she would come into the Union under the Lecompton Constitution,
but provided that if she voted to reject the land grant she should
neither receive the land nor be admitted as a State until the
Territory acquired a population sufficient to elect a representative
to the House.  The infamy of this proposition was heightened by
the fact that these long-suffering pioneers, weary and harassed by
their protracted struggle and longing for peace, were naturally
tempted to purchase it at any price.  It was a proposition of
gigantic bribery, after bluster and bullying had been exhausted.
It was, in fact, both a bribe and a menace, and measured at once
the political morality of the men who favored it, and the extremity
to which the slave-holders were driven in the prosecution of their
desperate enterprise.  After a protracted debate in both Houses,
and at the end of a struggle of five months, the bill was passed
and received the Executive approval; but the rejoicing of the slave-
holders and their allies was short-lived.  The people of Kansas
were not in the market.  They had suffered too much and too long
in the battle for freedom to make merchandise of their convictions
and sacrifice the future of a great commonwealth.  They spurned
the bribe, and took the chances of triumph through an indefinitely
prolonged conflict, while recruits to the ranks of freedom were
naturally falling into line throughout the Northern States.

In December of this year I attended another fugitive slave case in
Indianapolis.  The claimant was one Vallandingham, of Kentucky,
whose agent caught the alleged fugitive in Illinois, and was passing
through Indianapolis on his way home.  The counsel for the negro,
Ellsworth, Coburn, Colley, and myself, brought the case before
Judge Wallace, on _habeas corpus_, and had him discharged.  The
claimant immediately had him arrested and taken before Commissioner
Rea, for trial.  We asked for the continuance of the case on the
affidavit of the negro that he was free, and could prove it if
allowed three weeks' time in which to procure his witnesses; but
the Commissioner ruled that the proceeding was a summary _ex-parte_
one, and that the defendant had no right to any testimony.  Of
course we were forced into trial, and after allowing secondary
proof where the highest was attainable, and permitting hearsay
evidence and mere rumor, the Commissioner granted his certificate
for the removal of the adjudged fugitive.  We again brought the
case before Judge Wallace, on _habeas corpus_, when the negro denied
all the material facts of the marshal's return, under oath, and
asked to be allowed to prove his denial; but the Judge refused
this, and he was handed over to the marshal for transportation
South.  On the trial he was shown to have been free by the act of
his master in sending him into a free State; but under cover of an
infamous law, and by the help of truculent officials, he was remanded
into slavery.  The counsel for the negro, with a dozen or more who
joined them, resolved upon one further effort to save him.  The
project was that two or three men selected for the purpose were to
ask of the jailer the privilege of seeing him the next morning and
giving him good-bye; and while one of the party engaged the jailer
in conversation, the negro was to make for the door, mount a horse
hitched near by, and effect his escape.  The enterprise had a
favorable beginning.  The negro got out, mounted a horse, and might
have escaped if he had been a good horseman; but he was awkward
and clumsy, and unfortunately mounted the wrong horse, and a very
poor traveler; and when he saw the jailer in pursuit, and heard
the report of his revolver, he surrendered, and was at once escorted
South.  Walpole and his brother were for the claimant.  This is
the only felony in which I was ever involved, but none of the
parties to it had any disposition whatever to confess it at the
time.

The Republican party gathered fresh courage and strength in the
year 1858 from the defection of Douglas.  His unmistakable ability
and hitherto unquestioned devotion to slavery had singled him out
as the great leader and coming man of his party.  He was ambitious,
and by no means scrupulous in his political methods.  The moral
character of slavery gave him not the slightest concern, ostentatiously
declaring that he did not care whether it was "voted up or voted
down" in the Territories, and always lavishing his contempt upon
the negro.  He was the great champion of popular sovereignty, but
at the same time fully committed himself to the decision of the
Supreme Court of the United States, whatever it might be; and after
that decision had been given, and, in effect, against his particular
hobby, he defended it, while vainly striving to vindicate his
consistency.  But the Lecompton swindle was so revolting a mockery
of the right of the people of Kansas, that his own Democratic
constituents would not endorse it, and he was obliged, contrary to
his strong party inclinations, to take his stand against it.  It
was an event of very great significance, both North and South, and
gave great comfort to anti-slavery men of all shades of opinion;
but it brought with it, at the same time, a serious peril to the
Republican party.

His accession to the Anti-Lecompton ranks was deemed so important
that many leading Republicans, of different States, thought he
should be welcomed and honored by the withdrawal of all party
opposition to his re-election to the Senate.  They argued that in
no other way could the despotic power of the Democratic power be
so effectually broken, and the real interests of republicanism
advanced.  This feeling, for a time, prevailed extensively, and
threatened to put in abeyance or completely supersede the principles
so broadly laid down in the national platform of 1856.  The "New
York Tribune" took the lead in beating this retreat.  It sympathized
with Douglas to the end of his canvass, and in connection with
kindred agencies probably saved him from defeat.  It urged the
disbanding of the Republican party, and the formation of a new
combination against the Democrats, composed of Republicans, Douglas
Democrats, Know-Nothings, and old Whigs, but without any avowal of
principles.  It proposed that by the common consent of these parties
the Republicans should be allowed to name the next candidate for
the Presidency, and the other parties the candidate for the Vice
Presidency; or that this proposition should be reversed, if found
advisable, with a view to harmony.  The different wings of this
combination were to call themselves by such names and proclaim such
principles in different States and localities as might seem to them
most conducive to local success and united ascendancy.  This
abandonment of republicanism was likewise favored by such papers
as the "Cincinnati Gazette," which pronounced the policy of
Congressional prohibition worthless as a means of excluding slavery
from the Territories, and openly committed itself to the admission
of more slave States, whenever demanded by a popular majority in
any Territory.  "The Indianapolis Journal" and other leading
Republican organs spoke of Congressional prohibition as "murdered
by Dred Scott," and as having no longer any practical value.  In
the spring of this year the Republicans of Indiana, in their State
convention, not only surrendered the policy of Congressional
prohibition, and adopted the principle of popular sovereignty, but
made opposition to the Lecompton Constitution the sole issue of
the canvass.  Under such leaders as Oliver P. Morton and his Whig
and Know-Nothing associates, Republicanism simply meant opposition
to the latest outrage of slavery, and acquiescence in all preceding
ones; but this shameful surrender of the cause to its enemies was
deservedly condemned in the election which followed.  The Legislature
of the State, however, at its ensuing session, overwhelmingly
endorsed the Douglas dogma, and even the better class of Republican
papers urged the abandonment of the Republican creed.  But, very
fortunately for the cause, the Republicans of Illinois could not
be persuaded to take Mr. Douglas into their embrace on the score
of a single worthy act, and forget, if not forgive, his long career
of effective and untiring hostility to the principles they cherished;
and his nomination by the Democrats, on a platform very offensive
to Republicans, fully justified their course.  The result was the
nomination of Mr. Lincoln as a candidate for the succession to Mr.
Douglas, and the great joint debate which did so much to educate
the mind of the free States and prepare the way for Mr. Lincoln's
nomination the following year, while revealing the moral unworthiness
of his great rival, and justifying the policy which made necessary
this memorable contest in Illinois.

The steady march of the Republican party toward ascendancy was
shown in the Thirty-sixth Congress, which met in December, 1859.
There were now twenty-four Republican senators, and one hundred
and nine representatives.  Early in the first session of this
Congress an interesting debate occurred in the Senate on a proposition
to provide for the education of the colored children of the District
of Columbia.  Mr. Mason condemned the proposition, and said it was
wise to prohibit the education of the colored race.  Jefferson
Davis declared that the Government was not made for them, and that
"we have no right to tax our people to educate the barbarians of
Africa."  These and kindred utterances were very well calculated
to aid the work of anti-slavery progress.  John Brown's raid into
Virginia kindled the ire of the slave-holders to a degree as yet
unprecedented, and although his act found few defenders in the
Northern States, the heroism with which he met his fate, the pithy
correspondence between Gov. Wise and Mrs. Child, the language of
Southern senators in dealing with the subject, and the efforts made
to ferret out Brown's associates, all tended to strengthen the
growing hostility to slavery and prepare the way for the final
conflict.  The designs of the slaveholders upon Cuba, which were
avowed in this Congress, and their purpose to acquire it for the
extension of slavery, by purchase if they could, but if not by war,
served the same purpose.  The growing demand for the revival of
the African slave trade, as shown by the avowals of leading men in
both houses of Congress, and their cold-blooded utterances on the
subject, produced a profound impression on the country, and called
forth the startling fact that the city of New York was then one of
the greatest slave-trading marts in the world, and that from thirty
to sixty thousand persons a year were taken from Africa to Cuba by
vessels from that single port.  Such facts as these, and that the
laws of the Union for the suppression of the traffic were not only
a dead letter but that the slave masters and their allies sullenly
refused to take any steps whatever for the remedy of this organized
inhumanity, were capital arguments for the Republicans, which they
employed with telling effect.  The refusal to admit Oregon as a
State without a constitutional provision excluding people of color,
the rejection of Kansas on her application with a Constitution
fairly adopted by her people, and the great speech of Sumner on
"The Barbarism of Slavery," which this last application called
forth, all served their purpose in the growth of anti-slavery
opinion.  So did the attempt to divide California for the purpose
of introducing slavery into the southern portion; the veto of an
Act of the Territorial Legislature of Kansas abolishing slavery,
and of a similar act in Nebraska; the acts of several Southern
States permitting free colored persons to sell themselves as slaves
if they chose to do so in preference to expulsion from the land of
their birth and their homes; the decision of the courts of Virginia
that slaves had no social or civil rights, and no legal capacity
to choose between being emancipated or sold as slaves; the refusal
of the Government to give a passport to a colored physician of
Massachusetts, for the reason that such privileges were never
conferred upon persons of color; and the revolutionary sentiments
uttered by governors and legislatures of various Southern States,
some of which declared that the election of a Republican President
would be sufficient cause for withdrawal from the Union.  That
these were important aids to the progress of freedom was shown by
the passage of laws in various Northern States for the protection
of personal liberty, forbidding the use of local jails for the
detention of persons claimed as fugitive slaves, and securing for
them the right of trial by jury and the benefit of the writ of
_habeas corpus_.  This healthy reaction was still further shown in
wholesome judicial decisions in several Northern States affirming
the citizenship of negroes, and denying the right of transit of
slave-holders with their slaves over their soil.

The struggle for the Speakership in this Congress, which lasted
eight weeks, was also a first-rate training school for Republicanism.
Helper's famous book, "The Impending Crisis," had made a decided
sensation throughout the country, and John Sherman, the principal
candidate of the Republicans for Speaker, had endorsed it, though
he now denied the fact.  Mr. Millson of Virginia, declared that
the man who "consciously, deliberately, and of purpose, lends his
name and influence to the propagation of such writings, is not only
not fit to be Speaker, but he is not fit to live."  De Jarnette,
of the same State, said that Mr. Seward was "a perjured traitor,
whom no Southerner could consistently support or even obey, should
the nation elect him President."  Mr. Pryor said that eight million
Southern freemen could not be subjugated by any combination whatever,
"least of all by a miscellaneous mob of crazy fanatics and conscience-
stricken traitors."  Mr. Keitt said that "should the Republican
party succeed in the next Presidential election, my advice to the
South is to snap the cords of the Union at once and forever."  Mr.
Crawford of Georgia said, "we will never submit to the inauguration
of a black Republican President"; and these and like utterances
were applauded by the galleries.  The growing madness and desperation
in the Senate were equally noteworthy.  This was shown by the
removal of Mr. Douglas from the chairmanship of the Committee on
Territories, and the determined purpose to read him out of the
party for refusing to violate the principle of popular sovereignty
in the Territory of Kansas.  The attempt to hunt down a man who
had done the South such signal service in dragooning the Northern
Democracy into its support could not fail to divide the party, and
at the same time completely unmask the extreme and startling designs
which the slave power had been stealthily maturing.  But that power
was now absolutely bent upon its purpose, and morally incapable of
pausing in its work.  Its demand was a slave code for the Territories,
and it would accept nothing less.  Jefferson Davis was the champion
of this policy, which he embodied in a series of resolutions and
made them the text of an elaborate argument; and Mr. Douglas replied
in a speech which at once vindicated himself and overwhelmingly
condemned the party with which he had so long acted.  The resolutions,
however, were adopted by the Senate, which thus proclaimed its
purpose to nationalize slavery.

In the meantime these remarkable legislative proceedings had their
counterpart in increasing lawlessness and violence throughout the
South.  This was illustrated in such facts as the expulsion of
members of the Methodist Church North from Texas, the imprisonment
of Rev. Daniel Worth, in North Carolina, for circulating Helper's
"Impending Crisis"; the exile from Kentucky of the Rev. John G.
Fee and his colony of peaceable and law-abiding people, on account
of their anti-slavery opinions; and the espionage of the mails by
every Southern postmaster, who under local laws had the power to
condemn and "burn publicly" whatever he deemed unfit for circulation,
which laws had been pronounced constitutional by Caleb Cushing,
while Attorney General of the United States under Mr. Pierce, and
were "cheerfully acquiesced in" by Judge Holt, Postmaster General
under Buchanan.  In Virginia the spirit of lawlessness became such
a rage that one of her leading newspapers offered a reward of fifty
thousand dollars for the head of Wm. H. Seward, while another paper
offered ten thousand dollars for the kidnapping and delivery in
Richmond of Joshua R. Giddings, or five thousand dollars for his
head.  In short, the reign of barbarism was at last fully ushered
in, and the whole nation was beginning to realize the truth of Mr.
Lincoln's declaration, which he borrowed from St. Mark, that "a
house divided against itself can not stand."  The people of the
free States were at school, with the slaveholders as their masters;
and the dullest scholars were now beginning to get their lessons.
Even the Know-Nothings and Silver-Grey Whigs were coming up to the
anxious seat, under the enlightening influence and saving-grace of
slaveholding madness and crime.  The hour was ripe for action, and
the dawn of freedom in the South was seen in the coming emancipation
of the North.

The Presidential Campaign of 1860 was a very singular commentary
on the Compromise measures of 1850 and the "finality" platforms of
1852.  The sectional agitation which now stirred the country
outstripped all precedent, and completely demonstrated the folly
of all schemes of compromise.  The Democratic National Convention
met in the city of Charleston on the twenty-third day of May.  Its
action now seems astounding, although it was the inevitable result
of antecedent facts.  The Democratic party had the control of every
department of the Government, and a formidable popular majority
behind it.  It had the complete command of its own fortunes, and
there was no cause or even excuse for the division which threatened
its life.  The difference between the Southern Democrats and the
followers of Douglas was purely metaphysical, eluding entirely the
practical common sense of the people.  Both wings of the party now
stood committed to the Dred Scott decision, and that surrendered
everything which the extreme men of the South demanded.  It was "a
quarrel about goats' wool," and yet the Southern Democrats were
maddened at the thought of submitting to the nomination of Douglas
for the Presidency.  His sin in the Lecompton affair was counted
unpardonable, and they seemed to hate him even more intensely than
they hated the Abolitionists.  A committee on resolutions was
appointed, which submitted majority and minority, or Douglas and
anti-Douglas, reports.  These were hotly debated, but the Douglas
platform was adopted, which led to the secession of the Southern
delegates.  On the fifty-seventh ballot Mr. Douglas received a
clear majority of the Electoral College, but the Convention then
adjourned till the eighteenth of June, in the hope that harmony
might in some way be restored.  On reassembling this was found
impossible, and the balloting was resumed, which finally gave Mr.
Douglas all the votes cast but thirteen, and he was declared the
Democratic nominee.  The Convention then nominated for the Vice
Presidency Herschel V. Johnson, of Georgia, a disciple of Calhoun,
whose extreme opinions were well known.  He was unequivocally
committed to the doctrine that neither the General Government nor
a Territorial Government can impair the right of slave property in
the common Territories.  This illustration of the political profligacy
of the Douglas managers, and burlesque upon popular sovereignty,
was as remarkable as the madness of the seceders in fighting him
for his supposed anti-slavery prejudices.  The bolters from this
convention afterward nominated John C. Breckenridge as their
candidate for President and Joseph Lane for Vice President.  The
Democratic canvass was thus inaugurated, and the overthrow of the
party provided for in the mere wantonness of political folly.

On the ninth of May what was called the Constitutional Union Party
held its convention at Baltimore, and nominated John Bell for
President and Edward Everett for Vice President.  It adopted no
platform, and owing to its neutrality of tint, its action had no
significance aside from its possible effect on the result of the
struggle between the Democrats and Republicans.

The Republican National Convention met at Chicago on the sixteenth
of May.  It was attended by immense numbers, and its action was
regarded with profound and universal solicitude.  The platform of
the Convention affirmed the devotion of the party to the union of
the States and the rights of the States; denounced the new dogma
that the Constitution carried slavery into the Territories; declared
freedom to be their normal condition; denied the power of Congress
or of a Territorial Legislature to give legal existence to slavery
in any territory; branded as a crime the reopening of the African
slave trade; condemned the heresy of Know-Nothingism, and demanded
the passage of a Homestead law.  The principles of the party were
thus broadly stated and fully re-affirmed, and the issues of the
canvass very clearly presented.  The leading candidates were Seward
and Lincoln, who pretty evenly divided the Convention, and thus
created the liveliest interest in the result.  The friends of Mr.
Seward had unbounded confidence in his nomination, and their devotion
to his fortunes was intense and absolute.  The radical anti-slavery
element in the party idolized him, and longed for his success as
for a great and coveted national blessing.  The delegates from New
Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Illinois, representing a
superficial and only half-developed Republicanism, labored with
untiring and exhaustless zeal for the nomination of Mr. Lincoln,
fervently pleading for "Success rather than Seward."  Henry S. Lane
and Andrew G. Curtin, then candidates for Governor in the States
of Indiana and Pennsylvania, respectively, were especially active
and persistent, and their appeals were undoubtedly effective.  When
Seward was defeated many an anti-slavery man poured out his tears
over the result, while deploring or denouncing the conservatism of
old fossil Whiggery, which thus sacrificed the ablest man in the
party, and the real hero of its principles.  Time, however, led
these men to reconsider their estimate both of Seward and Lincoln,
and convinced them that the action of the convention, after all,
was for the best.  On the second ballot Hamlin was nominated for
Vice President over Clay, Banks, Hickman, and others, and the
Republican campaign thus auspiciously inaugurated.

The canvass for Douglas was prosecuted with remarkable energy and
zeal.  He was himself the great leader of his party on the stump,
and his efforts evinced singular courage, audacity, and will.  It
soon became evident, however, that his election was impossible;
but this did not cool his ardor or relax his efforts.  He kept up
the fight to the end; and after his defeat, and when he saw the
power that had destroyed him organizing its forces for the destruction
of the Union, he espoused the side of his country, and never faltered
in his course.  But as to slavery he seemed to have no conscience,
regarding it as a matter of total moral indifference, and thus
completely confounding the distinction between right and wrong.
During the closing hours of his life he probably saw and lamented
this strange infatuation; and he must, at all events, have deplored
the obsequious and studied devotion of a life-time to the service
of a power which at last demanded both the sacrifice of his country
and himself.  The canvass for Lincoln was conducted by the ablest
men in the party, and was marked by great earnestness and enthusiasm.
It was a repetition of the Fremont campaign, with the added difference
of a little more contrivance and spectacular display in its
demonstrations, as witnessed in the famous organization known as
the "Wide-Awakes."  The doctrines of the Chicago platform were very
thoroughly discussed, and powerfully contributed to the further
political education of the people.  The speeches of Mr. Seward were
singularly able, effective and inspiring, and he was the acknowledged
leader of his party and the idol of the Republican masses everywhere.
This was the day of his glory, and nothing yet foreshadowed the
political eclipse which awaited him in the near future.  The triumph
of the Republicans in this struggle was not, however, final.  A
great work yet remained to be done.  A powerful anti-slavery party
had at last appeared, as the slow creation of events and the fruit
of patient toil and endeavor; but it had against it a popular
majority of nearly a million.  Both Houses of Congress and the
Supreme Court of the United States disputed its authority and
opposed its advance.  The President-elect could not form his cabinet
without the leave of the Senate, which was controlled by slavery,
nor could he set the machinery of his Administration in motion, at
home or abroad, through the exercise of his appointing power,
without the consent of his political opponents.  As Mr. Seward
declared in the Senate, "he could not appoint a minister or even
a police agent, negotiate a treaty or procure the passage of a law,
and could hardly draw a musket from the public arsenal to defend
his own person."  The champions of slavery had no dream of surrender,
and no excuse whatever for extreme measures; and with moderate
counsels and the prudent economy of their advantages, they were
the undoubted masters of their own fortunes for indefinite years
to come.  But their extravagant and exasperating demands, and the
splendid madness of their latter day tactics as illustrated in
their warfare against Douglas, were the sure presages of their
overthrow.  There was method in their madness, but it was the method
of self-destruction.  This was made still more strikingly manifest
during the months immediately preceding the inauguration of Mr.
Lincoln.  The Republicans, notwithstanding their great victory, so
recoiled from the thought of sectional strife that for the sake of
peace they were ready to forego their demand for the Congressional
prohibition of slavery in the Territories.  They were willing to
abide by the Dred Scott decision and the enforcement of the Fugitive
Slave law.  They even proposed a Constitutional amendment which
would have made slavery perpetual in the Republic; but the pampered
frenzy of the slave oligarchy defied all remedies, and hurried it
headlong into the bloody conspiracy which was to close forever its
career of besotted lawlessness and crime.


CHAPTER IX.
THE NEW ADMINISTRATION AND THE WAR.
Visit to Mr. Lincoln--Closing months of Mr. Buchanan's Administration
--Efforts to avoid war--Character of Buchanan--Lincoln's Inauguration
--His war policy--The grand army of office seekers--The July session
of Congress--The atmosphere of Washington--Battle of Bull Run--
Apologetic resolve of Congress--First confiscation act--Regular
session of Congress--Secretary Cameron--Committee on the conduct
of the war--Its conference with the President and his Cabinet--
Secretary Stanton and General McClellan--Order to march upon
Manassas.

Early in January, 1861, I paid a visit to Mr. Lincoln at his home
in Springfield.  I had a curiosity to see the famous "rail splitter,"
as he was then familiarly called, and as a member-elect of the
Thirty-seventh Congress I desired to form some acquaintance with
the man who was to play so conspicuous a part in the impending
national crisis.  Although I had zealously supported him in the
canvass, and was strongly impressed by the grasp of thought and
aptness of expression which marked his great debate with Douglas,
yet as a through-going Free Soiler and a member of the radical wing
of Republicanism, my prepossessions were against him.  He was a
Kentuckian, and a conservative Whig, who had supported General
Taylor in 1848, and General Scott four years later, when the Whig
party finally sacrificed both its character and its life on the
altar of slavery.  His nomination, moreover, had been secured
through the diplomacy of conservative Republicans, whose morbid
dread of "abolitionism" unfitted them, as I believed, for leadership
in the battle with slavery which had now become inevitable, while
the defeat of Mr. Seward had been to me a severe disappointment
and a real personal grief.  The rumor was also current, and generally
credited, that Simon Cameron and Caleb B. Smith were to be made
Cabinet Ministers, in recognition of the important services rendered
by the friends of these gentlemen in the Chicago Convention.  Still,
I did not wish to do Mr. Lincoln the slightest injustice, while I
hoped and believed his courage and firmness would prove equal to
the emergency.

On meeting him I found him far better looking than the campaign
pictures had represented.  His face, when lighted up in conversation,
was not unhandsome, and the kindly and winning tones of his voice
pleaded for him like the smile which played about his rugged
features.  He was full of anecdote and humor, and readily found
his way to the hearts of those who enjoyed a welcome to his fireside.
His face, however, was sometimes marked by that touching expression
of sadness which became so generally noticeable in the following
years.  On the subject of slavery I was gratified to find him less
reserved and more emphatic than I expected.  The Cabinet rumor
referred to was true.  He felt bound by the pledges which his
leading friends had made in his name pending the National Convention;
and the policy on which he acted in these and many other appointments
was forcibly illustrated on a subsequent occasion, when I earnestly
protested against the appointment of an incompetent and unworthy
man as Commissioner of Patents.  "There is much force in what you
say," said he, "but, in the balancing of matters, I guess I shall
have to appoint him."  This "balancing of matters" was a source of
infinite vexation during his administration, as it has been to
every one of his successors; and its most deplorable results have
been witnessed in the assassination of a president.  Upon the whole,
however, I was much pleased with our first Republican Executive,
and I returned home more fully inspired than ever with the purpose
to sustain him to the utmost in facing the duties of his great
office.

The closing months of Mr. Buchanan's Administration were dismal
and full of apprehension.  One by one the slaveholding States were
seceding from the Union.  The President, in repeated messages,
denied their right to secede, but denied also the right of the
Government to coerce them into obedience.  It should be remembered,
to his credit, that he did insist upon the right to enforce the
execution of the laws in all the States, and earnestly urged upon
Congress the duty of arming him with the power to do this; but
Congress, much to its discredit, paid no attention to his wishes,
leaving the new Administration wholly unprepared for the impending
emergency, while strangely upbraiding the retiring President for
his non-action.  For this there could be no valid excuse.  The
people of the Northern States, now that the movement in the South
was seen to be something more than mere bluster, were equally
alarmed and bewildered.  The "New York Herald" declared that
"coercion, if it were possible, is out of the question."  The
"Albany Argus" condemned it as "madness."  The "Albany Evening
Journal" and many other leading organs of Republicanism, East and
West, disowned it, and counseled conciliation and further concessions
to the demands of slavery.  The "New York Tribune" emphatically
condemned the policy of coercion, and even after the cotton States
had formed their Confederacy and adopted a provisional Government,
it declared that "whenever it shall be clear that the great body
of the Southern people have become conclusively alienated from the
Union and anxious to escape from it, we will do our best to forward
their views."  The "Tribune" had before declared that "whenever a
considerable section of our Union shall deliberately resolve to go
out, we shall resist all coercive measures designed to keep it in.
We hope never to live in a Republic whereof one section is pinned
to the other by bayonets."  It is true, that it justified the
secession of the Southern States as a revolutionary right; but
although these States defended it as a constitutional one, the
broader and higher ground of Mr. Greeley necessarily gave powerful
aid and comfort to their movement.  In the meantime, great meetings
in Philadelphia and New York strongly condemned the Abolitionists,
and urged the most extravagant additional concessions to slavery
for the sake of peace.  On the 12th of January Mr. Seward made his
great speech in the Senate, declaring that he could "afford to meet
prejudice with conciliation, exaction with concession which surrenders
no principle, and violence with the right hand of peace."  He was
willing to give up Congressional prohibition of slavery in the
Territories, enforce the Fugitive Slave law, and perpetuate slavery
in our Republic by amending the Constitution for that purpose.
The Crittenden compromise, which practically surrendered everything
to slavery, only failed in the Senate by one vote, and this failure
resulted from the non-voting of six rebel senators, who were so
perfectly devil-bent upon the work of national dismemberment that
they would not listen to any terms of compromise, or permit their
adoption.  The Peace Congress, assembled for the purpose of devising
some means of national pacification, agreed upon a series of measures
covering substantially the same ground as the Crittenden compromise,
while both Houses of Congress agreed to a constitutional amendment
denying any power to interfere with slavery "until every State in
the Union, by its individual State action, shall consent to its
exercise."  The feverish dread of war which prevailed throughout
the Northern States was constantly aggravated by multiplying
evidences of slaveholding desperation.  The general direction of
public opinion pointed to the Abolitionists as the authors of these
national troubles, while the innocent and greatly-abused slaveholders
were to be petted and placated by any measures which could possibly
serve their purpose.  Indeed, the spirit of Northern submission
had never, in the entire history of the anti-slavery conflict, been
more strikingly exhibited than during the last days of the Thirty-
sixth Congress, when the Capital of the Republic was threatened by
armed treason, and the President-elect reached Washington in a
disguise which baffled the assassins who had conspired against his
life.  To the very last the old medicine of compromise and conciliation
seemed to be the sovereign hope of the people of the free States;
and although it had failed utterly, and every offer of friendship
and peace had been promptly spurned as the evidence of weakness or
cowardice, they clung to it till the guns of Fort Sumter roused
them from their perilous dream.

The inauguration of the President was awaited with great anxiety
and alarm.  The capture of Washington by the rebels was seriously
apprehended, and had undoubtedly been meditated.  The air was filled
with rumors respecting the assassination of the President, and the
stories told of the various methods of his taking off would have
been amusing if the crisis had not been so serious.  General Scott
took all the precautions for the preservation of the peace which
the small force at his command, and the District militia, enabled
him to do.  The day was beautiful, and the procession to the Capitol
quite imposing.  Mr. Lincoln and ex-President Buchanan entered the
Senate chamber arm in arm; and the latter was so withered and bowed
with age that in contrast with the towering form of Mr. Lincoln he
seemed little more than half a man.  The crowd which greeted the
President in front of the east portico of the Capitol was immense,
and has never been equaled on any similar occasion with the single
exception of General Garfield's inauguration.  Mr. Lincoln's voice,
though not very strong or full-toned, rang out over the acres of
people before him with surprising distinctness, and was heard in
the remotest parts of his audience.  The tone of moderation,
tenderness, and good-will, which marked his address, made an evident
impression, and the most heartfelt plaudits were called forth by
the closing passage:

"We are not enemies, but friends.  We must not be enemies.  Though
passion may have strained, it must not break, our bonds of affection.
The mystic cords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and
patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this
broad land, will yet swell the chorus of union, when again touched,
as they surely will be, by the better angels of their nature."

But as an offering of friendship and fair dealing to the South,
this speech failed of its purpose as signally as all kindred
endeavors had done from the beginning.  The "Richmond Enquirer"
and "Whig," the "Charleston Mercury," and other leading organs of
secession, denounced the inaugural, and seemed to be maddened by
the very kindliness of its tone and the moderation of its demands.
Their purpose was disunion and war, and every passing day multiplied
the proofs that no honorable escape from this fearful alternative
was possible.

The policy of the new Administration prior to the attack upon Sumter
forms perhaps the most remarkable chapter in the history of the
war.  All the troubles of the previous Administration were now
turned over to Mr. Lincoln, and while no measures had been provided
to aid him in their settlement the crisis was constantly becoming
more imminent.  The country was perfectly at sea; and while all
hope of reconciliation was fading from day to day, Mr. Seward
insisted that peace would come within "sixty days."  His optimism
would have been most amusing, if the salvation of the country had
not been at stake.  The President himself not only still hoped,
but believed, that there would be no war; and notwithstanding all
the abuse that had been heaped upon Mr. Buchanan by the Republicans
for his feeble and vacillating course, and especially his denial
of the right of the government to coerce the recusant States, the
policy of the new Administration, up to the attack upon Sumter,
was identical with that of his predecessor.  In Mr. Seward's official
letter to Mr. Adams, dated April 10, 1861, he says the President
"would not be disposed to reject a cardinal dogma of theirs (the
secessionists), namely, that the Federal Government could not reduce
the seceding States to obedience through conquest, even though he
were disposed to question that proposition.  But in fact the
President willingly accepts it as true.  Only and imperial and
despotic Government could subjugate thoroughly disaffected and
insurrectionary members of the State. * * * The President, on the
one hand, will not suffer the Federal authority to fall into
abeyance, nor will he, on the other hand, aggravate existing evils
by attempts at coercion, which must assume the direct form of war
against any of the revolutionary States."  These are very remarkable
avowals, in the light of the absolute unavoidableness of the conflict
at the time they were made; and they naturally tended to precipitate
rather than avert the threatened catastrophe.  It will not do to
say that Secretary Seward spoke only for himself, and not for the
Administration; for the fact has since been established by the
evidence of other members of the Cabinet that Mr. Lincoln, while
he had great faith in Mr. Seward at first, was always himself the
President.  No member of it was his dictator.  I do not say that
he endorsed all Mr. Seward's peculiar views, for the latter went
still further, as the country has since learned, and favored the
abandonment of Fort Sumter and other Southern forts, as a part of
a scheme of pacification looking to an amendment to the Constitution
in the interest of slavery.  During this early period Mr. Chase
himself, with all his anti-slavery radicalism and devotion to the
Union, became so far the child of the hour as to deprecate the
policy of coercion and express his belief that if the rebel States
were allowed to go in peace they would soon return.  But "war
legislates," and the time had now come when nothing else could
break the spell of irresolution and blindness which threatened the
Union even more seriously than armed treason itself.

Notwithstanding this strange epoch of Republican feebleness and
indecision, the warfare against Mr. Buchanan was never intermitted.
It had been prosecuted with constantly increasing vigor since the
year 1856, and had now become so perfectly relentless and overwhelming
that he was totally submerged by the waves of popular wrath; and
for twenty odd years no political resurrection has been thought
possible.  Although his personal integrity was as unquestionable
as that of John C. Calhoun or George III, and his private life as
stainless, yet his public character has received no quarter from
his enemies and but little defense from his friends.  One of his
most formidable critics, writing long years after the war, describes
him as "hungry for regard, influence, and honor, but too diminutive
in intellect and character to feel the glow of true ambition--a
man made, so to speak, to be neither loved nor hated, esteemed nor
despised, slighted nor admired; intended to play an influential
part in the agitation of parties, and by history to be silently
numbered with the dead, because in all his doings there was not a
single deed; a man to whom fate could do nothing worse than place
him at the helm in an eventful period."  While there is a measure
of truth in this picture, I believe any fair-minded man will
pronounce it over-drawn, one-sided, and unjust, after reading the
recently published life of Mr. Buchanan by George Ticknor Curtis,
dealing fully with his entire public career in the clear, cold
light of historic facts.  The most pronounced political foe of Mr.
Buchanan can not go over the pages of this elaborate and long-delayed
defense without modifying some of his most decided opinions; but
one thing remains obviously true, and that is in dealing with the
question of slavery Mr. Buchanan was wholly without a conscience.
The thought seems never to have dawned upon him that the slave was
a man, and therefore entitled to his natural rights.  In a public
speech on the ninth of July, 1860, defining his position, and
referring to the Dred Scott decision, he says:  "It is to me the
most extraordinary thing in the world that this country should now
be distracted and divided because certain persons at the North will
not agree that their brethren at the South should have the same
rights in the Territories which they enjoy.  What would I, as a
Pennsylvanian, say or do, supposing any one was to contend that the
Legislature of any Territory could outlaw iron or coal within the
Territory?  The principle is precisely the same.  The Supreme Court
of the United States has decided, what was known to us all to have
been the existing state of affairs for fifty years, that slaves
are property.  Admit that fact, and you admit everything."

In this passage, as in all that he has written on the subject of
slavery, humanity is totally ignored.  The right of property in
man is just as sacred to him, "as a Pennsylvanian," as the right
of property in iron or coal.  He unhesitatingly accepts the Dred
Scott decision as law, which the moral sense of the nation and its
ablest jurists pronounced a nullity.  Mr. Jefferson, in speaking
of slavery, said he trembled for his country, and declared that
one hour of bondage is fraught with more misery than whole ages of
our colonial oppression.  Such a sentiment in the mouth of Mr.
Buchanan would have been as unnatural as a voice from the dead.
He saw nothing morally offensive in slavery, or repugnant to the
principles of Democracy.  He reverenced the Constitution, but always
forgot that its compromises were agreed to in the belief that the
institution was in a state of decay, and would soon wear out its
life under the pressure of public opinion and private interest.
Throughout his public life he never faltered in his devotion to
the South, joining hands with alacrity in every measure which sought
to nationalize her sectional interest.  The growing anti-slavery
opinion of the free States, which no power could prevent, and the
great moral currents of the times, which were as resistless as the
tides of the sea, had no meaning for him, because the Democracy he
believed in had no foundation in the sacredness of human rights.

Mr. Lincoln, in spite of the troubled state of the country, was
obliged to encounter an army of place-seekers at the very beginning
of his administration.  I think there has been nothing like it in
the history of the Government.  A Republican member of Congress
could form some idea of the President's troubles from his own
experience.  I fled from my home in the later part of February, in
the hope of finding some relief from these importunities; but on
reaching Washington I found the business greatly aggravated.  The
pressure was so great and constant that I could scarcely find time
for my meals, or to cross the street, and I was obliged to give my
days and nights wholly to the business, hoping in this way I should
be able in a while to finish it; but it constantly increased.  I
met at every turn a swarm of miscellaneous people, many of them
looking as hungry and fierce as wolves, and ready to pounce upon
members as they passed, begging for personal intercession, letters
of recommendation, etc.  During my stay in Washington through the
months of March and April, there was no pause in this business.
After Fort Sumter had been taken and the armory at Harper's Ferry
had been burned; after a Massachusetts regiment had been fired on
in passing through Baltimore, and thirty thousand men were in
Washington for defensive purposes; after the President had called
for seventy-five thousand volunteers, and the whole land was in a
blaze of excitement, the scuffle for place was unabated, and the
pressure upon the strength and patience of the President unrelieved.
This was not very remarkable, considering the long-continued monopoly
of the offices by the Democrats; but it jarred upon the sentiment
of patriotism in such a crisis, and to those who were constantly
brought face to face with it, it sometimes appeared as if the love
of office alone constituted the animating principle of the party.

When Congress assembled in special session on the Fourth of July,
the atmosphere of the Northern States had been greatly purified by
the attack on Fort Sumter.  The unavoidableness of war was now
absolute, and the tone of the President's message was far bolder
and better than that of his inaugural.  The policy of tenderness
towards slavery, however, still revealed itself, and called forth
the criticism of the more radical Republicans.  They began to
distrust Mr. Seward, who no longer seemed to them the hero of
principle they had so long idolized, while his growing indifference
to the virtue of temperance was offensive to many.  He impressed
his old anti-slavery friends as a deeply disappointed man, who was
in danger of being morally lost.  Their faith was even a _little_
shaken in Secretary Chase.  Of course, they did not believe him
false to his long-cherished anti-slavery convictions, but he was
amazingly ambitious, and in the dispensation of his patronage he
seemed anxious to make fair weather with some of his old conservative
foes, while apparently forgetting the faithful friends who had
stood by him from the very beginning of his career, and were
considered eminently fit for the positions they sought.  The rumor
was afloat that even Charles Sumner was urging the claims of Mr.
Crittenden to a place on the Supreme Bench, as a means of conciliating
the State of Kentucky.  Washington was largely a city of secessionists,
and the departments of the Government were plentifully supplied by
sympathizers with treason, while the effort put forth at this
session to dislodge them was not responded to by the Administration.
What became known as the Border State policy was beginning to assert
itself everywhere, and was strikingly illustrated in the capture
of fugitive slaves and their return to their rebel masters by our
commanding generals, and by reiterated and gratuitous disavowals
of "abolitionism" by prominent Republicans.

But the war spirit was fully aroused, and active preparations were
on foot for an advance upon the enemy.  The confidence in General
Scott seemed to be unbounded, and I found everybody taking it for
granted that when the fight began our forces would prove triumphantly
victorious.  On the day before the battle of Bull Run I obtained
a pass from General Scott, intending to witness the engagement,
believing I could do so, of course, with perfect safety, as our
army would undoubtedly triumph.  I had a very strong curiosity to
see a great battle, and was now gratified with the prospect of
doing so; but a lucky accident detained me.  The battle was on
Sunday, and about eleven o'clock at night I was roused from my
slumber by Col. Forney, who resided on Capitol Hill near my lodgings,
and who told me our army had been routed, and that the rebels were
marching upon the capital and would in all probability capture it
before morning.  No unmiraculous event could have been more startling.
I was perfectly stunned and dumbfounded by the news; but I hastened
down to the Avenue as rapidly as possible, and found the space
between the Capitol and the Treasury Building a moving mass of
humanity.  Every man seemed to be asking every man he met for the
latest news, while all sorts of rumors filled the air.  A feeling
of mingled horror and despair appeared to possess everybody.  The
event was so totally unlooked for, and the disappointment so
terrible, that people grew suddenly sick at heart, and felt as if
life itself, with all its interests and charms, had been snatched
from their grasp.  The excitement, turmoil and consternation
continued during the night and through the following day; but no
one could adequately picture or describe it.  Our soldiers came
straggling into the city, covered with dirt and many of them wounded,
while the panic which led to the disaster spread like a contagion
through all classes.

On the day following this battle Congress met as usual, and
undoubtedly shared largely in the general feeling.  A little before
the battle General Mansfield had issued an order declaring that
fugitive slaves would under no circumstances whatever be permitted
to reside or be harbored in the quarters and camps of the troops
serving in his department; and now, both Houses of Congress promptly
and with great unanimity and studious emphasis declared that the
purpose of the war was not the "conquest" or "subjugation" of the
conspirators who were striking at the Nation's life, or the overthrow
of their "established institutions," but to defend "the supremacy
of the Constitution," and to "preserve the Union"; and that "as
soon as these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease."
To through-going anti-slavery men this seemed like an apology for
the war, and a most ill-timed revival of the policy of conciliation,
which had been so uniformly and contemptuously spurned by the enemy.
It failed utterly of its purpose, and this historic resolve of
Congress was only useful to the rebels, who never failed to wield
it as a weapon against us, after the teaching of events had compelled
us to make slavery the point of attack.  The Confiscation Act of
the 6th of August was regarded as a child of the same sickly
ancestry.  The section of the Act making free the slaves employed
against us by the rebels in their military operations was criticised
as a bribe to them to fight us, rather than a temptation to espouse
our cause.  If they engaged in the war at all, they were obliged
to do so as our enemies; but if they remained at home on their
plantations in the business of feeding the rebel armies, they would
have the protection of both the loyal and Confederate Governments.
The policy of both parties to the struggle was thus subordinated
to the protection of slavery.

But on the 31st of August a new war policy was inaugurated by the
proclamation of General Fremont, giving freedom to the slaves of
rebels in his department.  It was greeted by the people of the
Northern States with inexpressible gladness and thanksgiving.  The
Republican press everywhere applauded it, and even such Democratic
and conservative papers as the "Boston Post," the "Detroit Free
Press," the "Chicago Times," and the "New York Herald" approved
it.  During the ten days of its life all party lines seemed to be
obliterated in the fires of popular enthusiasm which it kindled,
and which was wholly unprecedented in my experience.  I was then
on the stump in my own State, and I found the masses everywhere so
wild with joy, that I could scarcely be heard for their shouts.
As often as I mentioned the name of "Fremont," the prolonged hurrahs
of the multitude followed, and the feeling seemed to be universal
that the policy of "a war on peace principles" was abandoned, and
that slavery, the real cause of the war, was no longer to be the
chief obstacle to its prosecution.

But in the midst of this great exultation and joy the President
annulled the proclamation because it went beyond the Confiscation
Act of the 6th of August, and was offensive to the Border States.
It was a terrible disappointment to the Republican masses, who
could not understand why loyal slaveholders in Kentucky should be
offended because the slaves of rebels in Missouri were declared
free.  From this revocation of the new war policy, dated the pro-
slavery reaction which at once followed.  It balked the popular
enthusiasm which was drawing along with it multitudes of conservative
men.  It caused timid and halting men to become cowards outright.
It gave new life to slavery, and encouraged fiercer assaults upon
"abolitionism."  It revived and stimulated Democratic sympathy for
treason wherever it had existed, and necessarily prolonged the
conflict and aggravated its sorrows; while it repeated the ineffable
folly of still relying upon a policy of moderation and conciliation
in dealing with men who had defiantly taken their stand outside of
the Constitution and laws, and could only be reached by the power
of war.

When Congress met in December, the policy of deference to slavery
still continued.  The message of the President was singularly
dispassionate, deprecating "radical and extreme measures," and
recommending some plan of colonization for the slaves made free by
the Confiscation Act.  Secretary Cameron, however, surprised the
country by the avowal of a decidedly anti-slavery war policy in
his report; but in a discussion in the House early in December, on
General Halleck's "Order No. Three," I took occasion to expose his
insincerity by referring to his action a little while before in
restoring to her master a slave girl who had fled to the camp of
Colonel Brown, of the Twentieth Indiana regiment, who had refused
to give her up.  On the nineteenth of December, a joint select
Committee on the Conduct of the War was appointed, composed of
three members of the Senate and four members of the House.  The
Senators were B. F. Wade, of Ohio; Z. Chandler, of Michigan, and
Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee; and the House members were John
Covode, of Pennsylvania; M. F. Odell, of New York; D. W. Gooch, of
Massachusetts, and myself.  The committee had its birth in the
popular demand for a more vigorous prosecution of the war, and less
tenderness toward slavery; and I was gratified with my position on
it because it afforded a very desirable opportunity to learn
something of the movements of our armies and the secrets of our
policy.

On the sixth of January, by special request of the President, the
committee met him and his Cabinet at the Executive Mansion, to
confer about the military situation.  The most striking fact revealed
by the discussion which took place was that neither the President
nor his advisers seemed to have any definite information respecting
the management of the war, or the failure of our forces to make
any forward movement.  Not a man of them pretended to know anything
of General McClellan's plans.  We were greatly surprised to learn
that Mr. Lincoln himself did not think he had any _right_ to know,
but that, as he was not a military man, it was his duty to defer
to General McClellan.  Our grand armies were ready and eager to
march, and the whole country was anxiously waiting some decisive
movement; but during the delightful months of October, November
and December, they had been kept idle for some reason which no man
could explain, but which the President thought could be perfectly
accounted for by the General-in-Chief.  Secretary Cameron said he
knew nothing of any plan for a forward movement.  Secretary Seward
had entire confidence in General McClellan, and thought the demand
of the committee for a more vigorous policy uncalled for.  The
Postmaster-General made no definite avowals, while the other members
of the Cabinet said nothing, except Secretary Chase, who very
decidedly sympathized with the committee in its desire for some
early and decisive movement of our forces.  The spectacle seemed
to us very disheartening.  The testimony of all the commanding
generals we had examined showed that our armies had been ready to
march for months; that the weather and roads had been most favorable
since October; and that the Army of the Potomac was in a fine state
of discipline, and nearly two hundred thousand strong, while only
about forty thousand men were needed to make Washington perfectly
safe.  Not a general examined could tell why this vast force had
so long been kept idle, or what General McClellan intended to do.
The fate of the nation seemed committed to one man called a "General-
in-Chief," who communicated his secrets to no human being, and who
had neither age nor military experience to justify the extraordinary
deference of the President to his wishes.  He had repeatedly appeared
before the committee, though not yet as a witness, and we could
see no evidence of his pre-eminence over other prominent commanders;
and it seemed like a betrayal of the country itself to allow him
to hold our grand armies for weeks and months in unexplained
idleness, on the naked assumption of his superior wisdom.  Mr.
Wade, as Chairman of the committee, echoed its views in a remarkably
bold and vigorous speech, in which he gave a summary of the principal
facts which had come to the knowledge of the committee, arraigned
General McClellan for the unaccountable tardiness of his movements,
and urged upon the Administration, in the most undiplomatic plainness
of speech, an immediate and radical change in the policy of the
war.  But the President and his advisers could not yet be disenchanted,
and the conference ended without results.

When General McClellan was placed at the head of our armies the
country accepted him as its idol and hero.  The people longed for
a great captain, and on very inadequate grounds they assumed that
they had found him, and that the business of war was to be carried
on in earnest.  But they were doomed to disappointment, and the
popular feeling was at length completely reversed.  The pendulum
vibrated to the other extreme, and it is not easy to realize the
wide-spread popular discontent which finally revealed itself
respecting the dilatory movements of our forces.  The people became
inexpressibly weary of the reiterated bulletins that "all is quiet
on the Potomac"; and the fact that General McClellan was in full
sympathy with the Border State policy of the President aggravated
their unfriendly mood.  A majority of the members of the committee
became morbidly sensitive, and were practically incapable of doing
General McClellan justice.  They were thoroughly discouraged and
disgusted; but when Secretary Cameron left the Cabinet and Stanton
took his place, their despondency gave place to hope.  He had faith
in the usefulness of the committee, and co-operated with it to the
utmost.  He agreed with us fully in our estimate of General McClellan,
and as to the necessity of an early forward movement.  We were
delighted with him, and had perfect confidence in his integrity,
sagacity and strong will.  We worked from five to six hours per
day, including the holiday season, and not excepting the Sabbath,
going pretty thoroughly into the Bull Run disaster, the battle of
Ball's Bluff, and the management of the Western Department.

During the months of January and February, the committee made
repeated visits to the President for the purpose of urging the
division of the Army of the Potomac and its organization into army
corps.  We insisted upon this on the strength of the earnest
recommendations of our chief commanders, and with a view to greater
military efficiency; but the President said General McClellan was
opposed to it, and would, he believed, resign his command in the
alternative of being required to do it.  Mr. Lincoln said he dreaded
"the moral effect of this"; but in the latter part of February, he
began to lose his faith in the General, and finally, after nearly
two months of perseverance by the committee, he gave his order
early in March, which General McClellan obeyed with evident hesitation
and very great reluctance.  A few days later the long-tried patience
of the President became perfectly exhausted.  He surprised and
delighted the committee by completely losing his temper, and on
the 11th relieved General McClellan from the command of all our
forces except the Army of the Potomac.  The rebels, in the meantime,
had evacuated their works at Centreville and Manassas, and retreated
with their munitions in safety.  A majority of the committee at
this time strongly suspected that General McClellan was a traitor,
and they felt strengthened in this suspicion by what they afterward
saw for themselves at Centreville and Manassas, which they visited
on the thirteenth of March.  They were certain, at all events, that
his heart was not in the work.  He had disregarded the President's
general order of the nineteenth of January, for a movement of all
our armies, which resulted in the series of victories of Fort Henry,
Fort Donelson, etc., which so electrified the country.  He had
protested against the President's order of the thirty-first of
January, directing an expedition for the purpose of seizing a point
upon the railroad southwest of Manassas Junction.  He had opposed
all forward movements of the Army of the Potomac, and resolutely
set his face against the division of our forces into army corps,
as urged by all our chief commanders.  And he had again and again
refused to co-operate with the navy in breaking up the blockade of
the Potomac, while his order to move in the direction of the enemy
at Centreville and Manassas was given after the evacuation of these
points.

Our journey to Manassas was full of interest and excitement.  About
ten miles from Washington we came in sight of a large division of
the Grand Army of the Potomac, which had started toward the enemy
in obedience to the order of General McClellan.  The forest on
either side of the road was alive with soldiers, and their white
tents were to be seen in all directions through the pine forests,
while in the adjacent fields vast bodies of soldiers in their
uniforms were marching and counter-marching, their bayonets glittering
in the sunlight.  Large bodies of cavalry were also in motion, and
the air was filled with the sound of martial music and the blasts
of the bugle.  Soldiers not on drill were running races, playing
ball, and enjoying themselves generally in every sort of sport.
The spectacle was delightfully exhilarating, and especially so to
men just released from the dreary confinement and drudgery of their
committee rooms.


CHAPTER X.
THE NEW ADMINISTRATION AND THE WAR (CONTINUED).
The wooden guns--Conference with Secretary Stanton--His relations
to Lincoln--Strife between Radicalism and Conservatism--Passage of
the Homestead Law--Visit to the President--The Confiscation Act
and rebel landowners--Greeley's "prayer of twenty millions," and
Lincoln's reply--Effort to disband the Republican party--The battle
of Fredericksburg and General Burnside--The Proclamation of
Emancipation--Visit to Mr. Lincoln--General Fremont--Report of the
War Committee--Visit to Philadelphia and New York--Gerrit Smith--
The Morgan Raid.

On approaching Centreville the first object that attracted our
attention was one of the huge earthworks of the enemy, with large
logs placed in the embrasures, the ends pointing toward us, and
painted black in imitation of cannon.  The earthworks seemed very
imperfectly constructed, and from this fact, and the counterfeit
guns which surmounted them, it was evident that no fight had been
seriously counted on by the absconding forces.  The substantial
character of their barracks, bake-ovens, stables, and other
improvements, confirmed this view; and on reaching Manassas we
found the same cheap defenses and the same evidences of security,
while the rebel forces were much less than half as great as ours,
and within a day's march from us.  What was the explanation of all
this?  Why had we not long before, driven in the rebel pickets,
and given battle to the enemy, or at least ascertained the facts
as to the weakness of his position?  Could the commander be loyal
who had opposed all the previous forward movements of our forces,
and only made this advance after the enemy had evacuated?  These
were the questions canvassed by the members of the committee in
their passionate impatience for decisive measures, and which they
afterward earnestly pressed upon the President as a reason for
relieving General McClellan of his command.  They were also greatly
moved by the fact already referred to, that General McClellan had
neglected and repeatedly refused to co-operate with the navy in
breaking up the blockade of the Potomac, which could have been done
long before according to the testimony of our commanders, while he
had disobeyed the positive order of the President respecting the
defenses of Washington by reserving only nineteen thousand imperfectly
disciplined men for that service, through which the capital had
been placed at the mercy of the enemy.  Meanwhile the flame of
popular discontent had found further fuel in the threats of McClellan
to put down slave insurrections "with an iron hand," and his order
expelling the Hutchinsons from the Army of the Potomac for singing
Whittier's songs of liberty.  Of course I am not dealing with the
character and capacity of General McClellan as a commander, but
simply depicting the feeling which extensively prevailed at this
time, and which justified itself by hastily accepting merely apparent
facts as conclusive evidence against him.

On the 24th day of March, Secretary Stanton sent for the committee
for the purpose of having a confidential conference as to military
affairs.  He was thoroughly discouraged.  He told us the President
had gone back to his first love as to General McClellan, and that
it was needless for him or for us to labor with him, although he
had finally been prevailed on to restrict McClellan's command to
the Army of the Potomac.  The Secretary arraigned the General's
conduct in the severest terms, particularizing his blunders, and
branding them.  He told us the President was so completely in the
power of McClellan that he had recently gone to Alexandria in person
to ask him for some troops from the Army of the Potomac for General
Fremont, which were refused.  He said he believed there were traitors
among the commanders surrounding General McClellan, and if he had
had the power he would have dismissed eight commanders when the
wooden-gun discovery was made; and he fully agreed with us as to
the disgraceful fact that our generals had not long before discovered,
as they could have done, the real facts as to the rebel forces and
their defences.

It was quite evident from these facts that Stanton, with all his
force of will, did not rule the President, as the public has
generally supposed.  He would frequently overawe and sometimes
browbeat others, but he was never imperious in dealing with Mr.
Lincoln.  This I have from Mr. Watson, for some time Assistant
Secretary of War, and Mr. Whiting, while Solicitor of the War
Department.  Lincoln, however, had the highest opinion of Stanton,
and their relations were always most kindly, as the following
anecdote bears witness:  A committee of Western men, headed by
Lovejoy, procured from the President an important order looking to
the exchange and transfer of Eastern and Western soldiers with a
view to more effective work.  Repairing to the office of the
Secretary, Mr. Lovejoy explained the scheme, as he had before done
to the President, but was met with a flat refusal.

"But we have the President's order, sir," said Lovejoy.

"Did Lincoln give you an order of that kind?" said Stanton.

"He did, sir."

"The he is a d----d fool," said the irate secretary.

"Do you mean to say the President is a d----d fool?" asked Lovejoy,
in amazement.

"Yes, sir, if he gave you such an order as that."

The bewildered Illinoisan betook himself at once to the President,
and related the result of his conference.

"Did Stanton say I was a d----d fool?" asked Lincoln at the close
of the recital.

"He did, sir, and repeated it."

After a moment's pause, and looking up, the President said, "If
Stanton said I was a d----d fool, then I must be one, for he is
nearly always right, and generally says what he means.  I will step
over and see him."

Whether this anecdote is literally true or not, it illustrates the
character of the two men.

On Sunday, the thirteenth of April, we were again summoned to meet
Secretary Stanton, and he had also invited Thaddeus Stevens, of
the House Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Fessenden, of the Senate
Finance Committee, and Mr. Wilson and Colonel Blair, of the Senate
and House Military Committees.  The business of this conference
was to consider the necessity of immediate measures for raising
thirty million dollars to pay the troops unwisely accepted by the
President in excess of the number called for by Congress, and the
proper action to be taken relative to the sale of Austrian guns by
a house in New York for shipment to the enemy.  The Secretary was
this time in fine spirits, and I was much interested in the free
talk which occurred.  Mr. Stevens indulged in his customary bluntness
of speech, including a little spice of profanity by way of emphasis
and embellishment.  He declared that not a man in the Cabinet, the
present company excepted, was fit for his business.  Mr. Fessenden
said he fully endorsed this, while sly glances were made to Colonel
Blair, whose brother was thus palpably hit.  Mr. Stevens said he
was tired of hearing d----d Republican cowards talk about the
Constitution; that there _was_ no Constitution any longer so far
as the prosecution of the war was concerned; and that we should
strip the rebels of all their rights, and given them a reconstruction
on such terms as would end treason forever.  Secretary Stanton
agreed to every word of this, and said it had been his policy from
the beginning.  Fessenden denounced slave-catching in our army,
and referred to a recent case in which fugitives came to our lines
with most valuable information as to rebel movements, and were
ordered out of camp into the clutches of their hunters.  Stanton
said that ten days before McClellan marched toward Manassas,
contrabands had come to him with the information that the rebels
were preparing to retreat, but that McClellan said he could not
trust them.  Wade was now roused, and declared that he had heard
McClellan say he had uniformly found the statements of these people
reliable, and had got valuable information from them.  But McClellan
was still king, and the country was a long way yet from that vigorous
war policy which alone could save it.

In the meantime the strife between the radical and conservative
elements in the Republican party found expression in other directions.
Secretary Seward, in his letter to Mr. Dayton, of the 22d of April,
declared that "the rights of the States and the condition of every
human being in them will remain subject to exactly the same laws
and forms of administration, whether the revolution shall succeed
of whether it shall fail."  Secretary Smith had previously declared,
in a public speech, that "this is not a war upon the institution
of slavery, but a war for the restoration of the Union," and that
"there could not be found in South Carolina a man more anxious,
religiously and scrupulously, to observe all the features of the
Constitution, than Abraham Lincoln."  He also opposed the arming
of the negroes, declaring that "it would be a disgrace to the people
of the free States to call upon four millions of blacks to aid in
putting down eight millions of whites."  Similar avowals were made
by other members of the Cabinet.  This persistent purpose of the
Administration to save the Union and save slavery with it, naturally
provoked criticism, and angered the anti-slavery feeling of the
loyal States.  The business of slave-catching in the army continued
the order of the day, till the pressure of public opinion finally
compelled Congress to prohibit it by a new article of war, which
was approved by the President on the 13th of March.  The repressive
power of the Administration, however, was very formidable, and
although the House of Representatives, as early as the 20th of
December, 1861, had adopted a resolution offered by myself,
instructing the Judiciary Committee to report a bill so amending
the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 as to forbid the return of fugitives
without proof first made of the loyalty of the claimant, yet on
the 26th of May, 1862, the House, then overwhelmingly Republican,
voted down a bill declaring free the slaves of armed rebels, and
making proof of loyalty by the claimant of a fugitive necessary to
his recovery.  This vote sorely disappointed the anti-slavery
sentiment of the country.  On this measure I addressed the House
in a brief speech, the spirit of which was heartily responded to
by my constituents and the people of the loyal States generally.
They believed in a vigorous prosecution of the war, and were sick
of "the never-ending gabble about the sacredness of the Constitution."
"It will not be forgotten," I said, "that the red-handed murderers
and thieves who set this rebellion on foot went out of the Union
yelping for the Constitution which they had conspired to overthrow
by the blackest perjury and treason that ever confronted the
Almighty."  This speech was the key-note of my approaching
Congressional canvass, and I was one of the very few men of decided
anti-slavery convictions who were able to stem the conservative
tide which swept over the Northern States during this dark and
dismal year.  I had against me the general drift of events; the
intense hostility of Governor Morton and his friends throughout
the State; nearly all the politicians in the District, and nine of
its twelve Republican newspapers, and the desperate energy and
cunning of trained leaders in both political parties, who had
pursued me like vultures for a dozen years.  My triumph had no
taint of compromise in it, and nothing saved me but perfect courage
and absolute defiance of my foes.

One of the great compensations of the war was the passage of the
Homestead Act of the 20th of May.  It finally passed the House and
Senate by overwhelming majorities.  Among the last acts of Mr.
Buchanan's administration was the veto of a similar measure, at
the bidding of his Southern masters; and the friends of the policy
had learned in the struggle of a dozen years that its success was
not possible while slavery ruled the government.  The beneficent
operation of this great and far-reaching measure, however, was
seriously crippled by some unfortunate facts.  In the first place,
it provided no safeguards against speculation in the public domain,
which had so long scourged the Western States and Territories, and
was still extending its ravages.  Our pioneer settlers were offered
homes of one hundred and sixty acres each on condition of occupancy
and improvement, but the speculator could throw himself across
their track by buying up large bodies of choice land to be held
back from settlement and tillage for a rise in price, and thus
force them further into the frontier, and on to less desirable
lands.

In the next place, under the new and unguarded land-grant policy,
which was simultaneously inaugurated, millions of acres fell into
the clutches of monopolists, and are held by them to-day, which
would have gone to actual settlers under the Homestead law, and
the moderate land grant policy originated by Senator Douglas in
1850.  This was not foreseen or intended.  The nation was then
engaged in a struggle for its existence, and thus exposed to the
evils of hasty legislation.  The value of the lands given away was
not then understood as it has been since, while the belief was
universal that the lands granted would be restored to the public
domain on failure to comply with the conditions of the grants.
The need of great highways to the Pacific was then regarded as
imperative, and unattainable without large grants of the public
lands.  These are extenuating facts; but the mischiefs of this ill-
starred legislation are none the less to be deplored.

In the third place, under our new Indian treaty policy, invented
about the same time, large bodies of land, when released by our
Indian tribes, were sold at low rates to individual speculators
and monopolists, or to railway corporations, instead of being
conveyed, as before, to the United States, and thus subjected to
general disposition, as other public land.  These evils are now
remedied, but for nearly ten years they were unchecked.  The title
to Indian lands was secured through treaties concocted by a ring
of speculators and monopolists outside of the Senate, and frequently
ratified by that body near the close of a long session, when less
than half a dozen members were in their seats, and the entire
business was supervised by a single Western senator acting as the
agent of his employers and the sharer in their plunder.  These
fatal mistakes in our legislation have made the Homestead law a
half-way measure, instead of that complete reform in our land policy
which was demanded, and they furnish a remarkable commentary upon
the boasted friendship of the Republican party for the landless
poor.

The conservative war-policy of the Administration continued to
assert itself.  The action of the President in promptly revoking
the order of General Hunter, of the ninth of May, declaring free
the slaves of the States of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina,
aggravated the growing impatience of the people.  On the ninth day
of June I submitted a resolution instructing the judiciary committee
to report a bill repealing the Fugitive Slave Act, which was laid
on the table by a vote of sixty-six to fifty-one, sixteen Republicans
voting in the affirmative.  On the second of July I called to see
the President, and had a familiar talk about the war.  He looked
thin and haggard, but seemed cheerful.  Although our forces were
then engaged in a terrific conflict with the enemy near Richmond,
and everybody was anxious as to the result, he was quite as placid
as usual, and could not resist his "ruling passion" for anecdotes.
If I had judged him by appearances I should have pronounced him
incapable of any deep earnestness of feeling; but his manner was
so kindly, and so free from the ordinary crookedness of the politician
and the vanity and self-importance of official position, that
nothing but good-will was inspired by his presence.  He was still
holding fast his faith in General McClellan, and this was steadily
widening the breach between him and Congress, and periling the
success of the war.  The general gloom in Washington increased till
the adjournment, but Mr. Sumner still had faith in the President,
and prophesied good things as to his final action.

The Confiscation Act of this session, which was approved by the
President on the seventeenth day of July, providing that slaves of
rebels coming into our lines should be made free, and that the
property of their owners, both real and personal, should be
confiscated, would have given great and wide-spread satisfaction;
but the President refused to sign the bill without a modification
first made exempting the fee of rebel land-owners from its operation,
thus powerfully aiding them in their deadly struggle against us.
This action was inexpressibly provoking; but Congress was obliged
to make the modification required, as the only means of securing
the important advantages of other features of the measure.  This
anti-republican discrimination between real and personal property
when the nation was struggling for its life against a rebellious
aristocracy founded on the monopoly of land and the ownership of
negroes, roused a popular opposition which thus far was altogether
unprecedented.  The feeling in Congress, however, was far more
intense than throughout the country.  No one at a distance could
have formed any adequate conception of the hostility of Republican
members toward Mr. Lincoln at the final adjournment, while it was
the belief of many that our last session of Congress had been held
in Washington.  Mr. Wade said the country was going to hell, and
that the scenes witnessed in the French Revolution were nothing in
comparison with what we should see here.

Just before leaving Washington I called on the President again,
and told him I was going to take the stump, and to tell the people
that he would co-operate with Congress in vigorously carrying out
the measures we had inaugurated for the purpose of crushing the
rebellion, and that now the quickest and hardest blows were to be
dealt.  He told me I was authorized to say so, but said that more
than half the popular clamor against the management of the war was
unwarranted; and when I referred to the movements of General
McClellan he made no committal in any way.

On the nineteenth of August Horace Greeley wrote his famous anti-
slavery letter to the President, entitled "The Prayer of Twenty
Millions."  It was one of the most powerful appeals ever made in
behalf of justice and the rights of man.  In his reply Mr. Lincoln
said:  "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I
would do it; if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would
do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others
alone, I would do that."  These words served as fresh fuel to the
fires of popular discontent, and they were responded to by Mr.
Greeley with admirable vigor and earnestness.  The anti-slavery
critics of the President insisted that in thus dealing with slavery
as a matter of total indifference he likened himself to Douglas,
who had declared that he didn't care whether slavery was voted up
or voted down in the Territories.  They argued that as slavery was
the cause of the war and the obstacle to peace, it was the duty of
the Government to lay hold of the conscience of the quarrel, and
strike at slavery as the grand rebel.  Not to do so, they contended,
now that the opportunity was offered, was to make the contest a
mere struggle for power, and thus to degrade it to the level of
the wars of the Old World, which bring with them nothing for freedom
or the race.  They insisted that the failure of the Government to
give freedom to our millions in bondage would be a crime only to
be measured by that of putting them in chains if they were free.
They reminded the President of his declaration that a house divided
against itself can not stand, and that the Republic can not
permanently exist half slave and half free; and they urged that
this baptism of fire and blood would be impious if the cause which
produced it should be spared to canker the heart of the nation
anew, and repeat its diabolical deeds.  A Union with slavery spared
and reinstated would not be worth the cost of saving it.  To argue
that we were fighting for a political abstraction called the Union,
and not for the destruction of slavery, was to affront common sense,
since nothing but slavery had brought the Union into peril, and
nothing could make sure the fruits of the war but the removal of
its cause.  It was to delude ourselves with mere phrases, and
conduct the war on false pretenses.  It was to rival the folly of
the rebels, who always asservated that they were not fighting for
slavery, but only for the right of local self government, when the
whole world knew the contrary.  These ideas, variously presented
and illustrated, found manifold expression in innumerable Congressional
speeches and in the newspapers of the Northern States, and a month
later brought forth the President's proclamation of the twenty-
second of September, giving the insurgents notice that on the first
day of January following he would issue his proclamation of general
emancipation, if they did not in the meantime lay down their arms.
The course of events and the pressure of opinion were at last
forcing him to see that the nation was wrestling with slavery in
arms; that its destruction was not a debatable and distant alternative,
but a pressing and absolute necessity; and that his Border State
policy, through which he had so long tried to pet and please the
power that held the nation by the throat, was a cruel and fatal
mistake.  This power, however, had so completely woven itself into
the whole fabric of American society and institutions, and had so
long fed upon the virtue of our public men, that the Administration
was not yet prepared to divorce itself entirely from the madness
that still enthralled the conservative element of the Republican
party.

It was during this year that a formidable effort was made by the
old Whig element in the Republican party to disband the organization
and form a new one, called the "Union party."  They were disposed
to blame the Abolitionists for the halting march of events, and to
run away from the real issues of the conflict.  They were believers
in the Border State policy, and favored the colonization of the
negroes, while deprecating "radical and extreme measures."  They
forgot that the Republican principle was as true in the midst of
war as in seasons of peace, and that instead of putting it in
abeyance when the storm came, we should cling to it with redoubled
energy and purpose.  They forgot that the contest of 1860 was not
only a struggle between slavery and freedom, but a struggle of life
and death, inasmuch as the exclusion of slavery from all federal
territory would not only put the nation's brand upon it in the
States of the South, and condemn it as a public enemy, but virtually
sentence it to death.  They forgot that the charge of "abolitionism,"
which was incessantly hurled at the Republican party, was thus by
no means wanting in essential truth, and that when the slaveholders
were vanquished in the election of Mr. Lincoln, their appeal from
the ballot to the bullet was the logical result of their insane
devotion to slavery, and their conviction that nothing could save
it but the dismemberment of the Republic.  They forgot that the
Rebellion was simply an advanced stage of slaveholding rapacity,
and that instead of tempting us to cower before it and surrender
our principles, it furnished an overwhelming argument for standing
by them to the death.  This movement was fruitful of great mischief
throughout the loyal States, and on my return to Washington in the
fall of this year I was glad to find this fact generally admitted,
and my earnest opposition to it fully justified by the judgment of
Republican members of Congress.

Immediately after the battle of Fredericksburg, on the 13th of
December, the Committee on the Conduct of the War visited that
place for the purpose of inquiring into the facts respecting that
fearful disaster.  The country was greatly shocked and excited,
and eager to know who was to blame.  We examined Burnside, Hooker,
Sumner, and Woodbury; but prior to this, in a personal interview
with General Burnside, he frankly told me that _he_ was responsible
for the attack.  He seemed to be loaded down with a mountain of
trouble and anxiety, and I could see that he felt just as a patriotic
man naturally would, after sacrificing thousands of men by a mistaken
movement.  He said he had no military ambition, and frankly confessed
his incapacity to command a large army, as he had done to the
President and Secretary of War, when they urged him to assume this
great responsibility; and that he was very sorry he had ever
consented to accept it.  His conversation disarmed all criticism,
while his evident honesty decidedly pleased me.  It was a sad
thought, while standing on the banks of the Rappahannock, that here
were more than a hundred thousand men on either side of a narrow
river, brethren and kindred, and naturally owing each other nothing
but good will, who were driven by negro slavery into the wholesale
slaughter of each other.  But General Burnside told me our men did
not feel toward the rebels as they felt toward us, and he assured
me that this was the grand obstacle to our success.  Our soldiers,
he said, were not sufficiently fired by resentment, and he exhorted
me, if I could, to breathe into our people at home the same spirit
toward our enemies which inspired them toward us.  As I approached
one of the principal hospitals here, I was startled by a pile of
arms and legs of wounded soldiers, and on entering the building I
found scores of men in the last stages of life, stretched on the
floor with nothing under them but a thin covering of hay, and
nothing over them but a coarse blanket or quilt, and without a
spark of fire to warm them, though the weather was extremely cold
and they were literally freezing to death.  Some of them were too
far gone to speak, and looked at me so pleadingly that I can never
forget the impression it made.  Arrangements were made for their
comfort as soon as it was possible.

On New Year's day I joined the immense throng of callers at the
White House, but did not enjoy the delay of the President in issuing
his Proclamation of Emancipation.  It came late in the day, and
brought relief to multitudes of anxious people.  Perhaps no subject
has ever been more widely misunderstood than the legal effect of
this famous document, and the circumstances under which it was
issued.  Mr. Lincoln was himself opposed to the measure, and when
he very reluctantly issued his preliminary proclamation in September,
he wished it distinctly understood that the deportation of the
slaves was, in his mind, inseparably connected with the policy.
Like Mr. Clay and other prominent leaders of the old Whig party,
he believed in colonization, and that the separation of the two
races was necessary to the welfare of both.  He was at that time
pressing upon the attention of Congress a scheme of colonization
in Chiriqui in Central America, which Senator Pomeroy espoused with
great zeal, and in which he had the favor of a majority of the
Cabinet, including Secretary Smith, who warmly endorsed the project.
Subsequent development, however, proved that it was simply an
organization for land-stealing and plunder, and it was abandoned;
but it is by no means certain that if the President had foreseen
this fact, his preliminary notice to the rebels would have been
given.  There are strong reasons for saying that he doubted his
right to emancipate under the war power, and that he meant what he
said when he compared an executive order to that effect to the
"Pope's Bull against the Comet."

But he saw no way of escape.  The demand for such an edict was wide-
spread and rapidly extending in the Republican party.  The power
to issue it was taken for granted.  All doubts on the subject were
consumed in the burning desire of the people, or forgotten in the
travail of war.  The anti-slavery element was becoming more and
more impatient and impetuous.  Opposition to that element now
involved more serious consequences than offending the Border States.
Mr. Lincoln feared that enlistments would cease, and that Congress
would even refuse the necessary supplies to carry on the war, if
he declined any longer to place it on a clearly defined anti-slavery
basis.  It was in yielding to this pressure that he finally became
the liberator of the slaves through the triumph of our arms which
it ensured.

The authority to emancipate under the war power is well settled,
but it could only be asserted over territory occupied by our armies.
Each Commanding General, as fast as our flag advanced, could have
offered freedom to the slaves, as could the President himself.
This was the view of Secretary Chase.  A paper proclamation of
freedom, as to States in the power of the enemy, could have no more
validity than a paper blockade of their coast.  Mr. Lincoln's
proclamation did not apply to the Border States, which were loyal,
and in which slavery was of course untouched.  It did not pretend
to operate upon the slaves in other large districts, in which it
would have been effective at once, but studiously excluded them,
while it applied mainly to States and parts of States within the
military occupation of the enemy, where it was necessarily void.
But even if the proclamation could have given freedom to the slaves
according to its scope, their permanent enfranchisement would not
have been secured, because the _status_ of slavery, as it existed
under the local laws of the States prior to the war, would have
remained after the re-establishment of peace.  All emancipated
slaves found in those States, or returning to them, would have been
subject to slavery as before, for the simple reason that no military
proclamation could operate to abolish their municipal laws.  Nothing
short of a Constitutional amendment could at once give freedom to
our black millions and make their re-enslavement impossible; and
"this," as Mr. Lincoln declared in earnestly urging its adoption,
"is a king's cure for all evils.  It winds the whole thing up."
All this is now attested by high authorities on International and
Constitutional law, and while it takes nothing from the honor so
universally accorded to Mr. Lincoln as the great Emancipator, it
shows how wisely he employed a grand popular delusion in the salvation
of his country.  His proclamation had no present legal effect within
territory not under the control of our arms; but as an expression
of the spirit of the people and the policy of the Administration,
it had become both a moral and a military necessity.

During this month I called with the Indiana delegation to see the
President respecting the appointment of Judge Otto, of Indiana, as
Assistant Secretary of the Interior.  He was afterward appointed,
but Mr. Lincoln then only responded to our application by treating
us to four anecdotes.  Senator Lane told me that when the President
heard a story that pleased him he took a memorandum of it and filed
it away among his papers.  This was probably true.  At any rate,
by some method or other, his supply seemed inexhaustible, and always
aptly available.  Early in February General Burnside came before
the War Committee, and gave the most startling testimony as to the
demoralization of the Army of the Potomac, the bickerings and
jealousies of the commanding generals, and the vexations of the
President in dealing with the situation.  On the 18th of March I
called on Mr. Lincoln respecting the appointments I had recommended
under the conscription law, and took occasion to refer to the
failure of General Fremont to obtain a command.  He said he did
not know where to place him, and that it reminded him of the old
man who advised his son to take a wife, to which the young man
responded, "Whose wife should I take?"  The President proceeded to
point out the practical difficulties in the way by referring to a
number of important commands which might suit Fremont, but which
could only be reached by removals he did not wish to make.  I
remarked that I was very sorry if this was true, and that it was
unfortunate for our cause, as I believed his restoration to duty
would stir the country as no other appointment could.  He said,
"it would stir the country on one side, and stir it the other way
on the other.  It would please Fremont's friends, and displease
the conservatives; and that is all I can see in the _stirring_
argument."  "My proclamation," he added, "was to stir the country;
but it has done about as much harm as good."  These observations
were characteristic, and showed how reluctant he was to turn away
from the conservative counsels he had so long heeded.

On the 3d day of April the final report of the Committee on the
Conduct of the War was completed, and the portion of it relating
to the Army of the Potomac was in the hands of the Associated Press,
and awaited by the public with a curiosity which it is not easy
now to realize.  The formation of the committee, as already stated,
grew out of the popular demand for a more vigorous war policy, and
its action was thus exposed to the danger of hasty conclusions;
but the press and public opinion of the loyal States, with remarkable
unanimity, credited it with great usefulness to the country, through
its labors to rescue the control of the war from incompetent and
unworthy hands.

I returned home by way of Philadelphia and New York, and had a
delightful visit in the former place with James and Lucretia Mott,
whom I had not seen since 1850.  In New York I attended the great
"Sumter meeting" of the 13th, and spoke at one of the stands with
General Fremont and Roscoe Conkling.  While in the city I met Mr.
Bryant, Phebe Carey, Mr. Beecher and other notables, and on my way
home tarried two days with Gerrit Smith, at his hospitable home in
Peterboro.  According to his custom he invited a number of his
neighbors and friends to breakfast, and by special invitation I
addressed the people in the evening, at the "free church" of the
town, on topics connected with the war.  I could see that Mr. Smith
did not approve the severity of my language, and that this was a
source of amusement to some of his neighbors, but the course of
events afterward radically changed his views, and he admitted that
in his public addresses he was greatly aided by the imprecatory
psalms.  I had several delightful rambles with him, our conversation
turning chiefly upon reformatory and theological topics, and I
found myself more than ever in love with this venerable philanthropist
whom I had only met once before, on his visit to Washington the
previous year.

On the night of the 8th of July the fire-bells of the town of
Centreville, in which I resided, roused the people, who rushed into
the streets to learn that General John Morgan, with six thousand
cavalry and four pieces of artillery, had crossed the Ohio, and
was moving upon the town of Corydon.  The Governor had issued a
call for minute men for the defense of the State, and within forty-
eight hours sixty five thousand men tendered their services.
Messengers were at once dispatched to all parts of Wayne County
conveying the news of the invasion, and the next morning the people
came pouring in from all directions, while the greatest excitement
prevailed.  The town had eighty muskets, belonging to its Home
Guard, and I took one of them, which I afterward exchanged for a
good French rifle; and having put on the military equipments, and
supplied myself with a blanket and canteen, I was ready for marching
orders.  The volunteers who rallied at Centreville were shipped to
Indianapolis, and were about seven hours on the way.  I was a member
of Company C, and the regiment to which I belonged was the One
Hundred and Sixth, and was commanded by Colonel Isaac P. Gray.  Of
the force which responded to the call of the Governor, thirteen
regiments and one battalion were organized specially for the
emergency, and sent into the field in different directions, except
the One Hundred and Tenth and the One Hundred and Eleventh, which
remained at Indianapolis.  The One Hundred and Sixth was shipped
by rail to Cincinnati, and but for a detention of several hours at
Indianapolis, caused by the drunkenness of an officer high in
command, it might possibly have encountered Morgan near Hamilton,
the next morning, on the way South.  Our reception in Cincinnati
was not very flattering.  The people there seemed to feel that Ohio
was able to take care of herself; and, in fact, nothing could have
been more unreasonable than sending a body of infantry one hundred
miles in pursuit of a cavalry force in that vicinity, where an
ample body of cavalry was in readiness, and the river well guarded
by gun-boats.

We were re-shipped to Indianapolis by rail, where we were mustered
out of service and returned to our homes after a campaign of eight
days.  This was the sum of my military experience, but it afforded
me some glimpses of the life of a soldier, and supplied me with
some startling facts respecting the curse of intemperance in our
armies.


CHAPTER XI.
INCIDENTS AND END OF THE WAR.
Campaigning in Ohio--Attempted repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law--
Organized movement in favor of Chase for the Presidency--Confiscation
of rebel lands--Fort Pillow and the treatment of Union soldiers at
Richmond--Mr. Lincoln's letter to Hodges--Southern Homestead Bill
and controversy with Mr. Mallory--Nomination of Andrew Johnson--
Enforcement of party discipline--Mr. Lincoln's change of opinion
as to confiscation of rebel lands--Opposition to him in Congress--
General Fremont and Montgomery Blair--Visit to City Point--Adoption
of the XIII Constitutional Amendment--Trip to Richmond and incidents
--Assassination of the President--Inauguration of Johnson and
announcement of his policy--Feeling toward Mr. Lincoln--Capitulation
with Gen. Johnston.

In the latter part of July of this year I addressed several meetings
in Ohio, in company with Gov. Brough, beginning at Toledo.  His
speeches were too conservative for the times, as he soon discovered
by their effect upon the people; but I found him singularly genial
and companionable, and full of reminiscences of his early intimacy
with Jackson, Van Buren and Silas Wright.  Early in September I
returned to Ohio to join Hon. John A. Bingham in canvassing Mr.
Ashley's district under the employment of the State Republican
Committee.  Mr. Vallandigham, then temporarily colonized in Canada,
was the Democratic candidate for Governor, and the canvass was "red-
hot."  At no time during the war did the _spirit_ of war more
completely sway the loyal masses.  It was no time to mince the
truth, or "nullify damnation with a phrase," and I fully entered
into the spirit of General Burnside's advice already referred to,
to breathe into the hearts of the people a feeling of animosity
against the rebels akin to that which inspired their warfare against
us.  I remember that at one of the mass-meetings I attended, where
Col. Gibson was one of the speakers, a Cincinnati reporter who had
prepared himself for his work dropped his pencil soon after the
oratorical fireworks began, and listened with open mouth and the
most rapt attention till the close of the speech; and he afterward
wrote to his employer an account of the meeting, in which he said
that reporting was simply impossible, and he could only say the
speaking was "beautifully terrible."  As a stump-speaker Col. Gibson
was then without a rival in the West.  His oratory was an irresistible
fascination, and no audience could ever grow tired of him.  The
speeches of Mr. Bingham were always admirable.  His rhetoric was
singularly charming.  He was an artist in his work, but seldom
repeated himself, while gathering fresh inspiration, and following
some new line of thought at every meeting.  After our work was done
in the Toledo district I accompanied Mr. Ashley to Jefferson, where
he and others were to address a mass-meeting, which we found
assembled in front of the court house.  The day was rainy and
dismal, and the meeting had already been in session for hours; but
after additional speeches by Ashley and Hutchins I was so loudly
called for a little while before sunset, that I responded for about
three-quarters of an hour, when I proposed to conclude, the people
having been detained already over four hours while standing in a
cold drizzling rain; but the cry of "go on" was very emphatic, and
seemed to be unanimous.  "Go ahead," said a farmer, "we'll hear
you; it's past milking time anyhow!"  It seemed to me I had never
met such listeners.  I was afterward informed that the test of
effective speaking on the Reserve is the ability to hold an audience
from their milking when the time for it comes, and I thought I
passed this test splendidly.  After my return from Ohio I made a
brief canvass in Iowa, along with Senator Harlan and Governor
Stone, and spent the remainder of the fall on the stump in my own
State.

In the 38th Congress, Speaker Colfax made me Chairman of the
Committee on Public Lands, which gratified me much.  It opened a
coveted field of labor on which I entered with zeal.  On the 14th
of December I introduced a bill for the repeal of the Fugitive
Slave Law, and in order to test the sense of the House on the
question, I offered a resolution instructing the Judiciary Committee
to report such a bill.  Greatly to my astonishment it was laid on
the table by a vote of yeas eighty-two, nays seventy-four.  Many
Republicans declined to vote, and we were evidently still under
the lingering spell of slavery.  Early in January an organized
movement was set on foot in the interest of Mr. Chase for the
Presidency, and I was made a member of a Central Committee which
was appointed for the purpose of aiding the enterprise.  I was a
decided friend of Mr. Chase, and as decidedly displeased with the
hesitating military policy of the Administration; but on reflection
I determined to withdraw from the committee and let the presidential
matter drift.  I had no time to devote to the business, and I found
the committee inharmonious, and composed, in part, of men utterly
unfit and unworthy to lead in such a movement.  It was fearfully
mismanaged.  A confidential document known as the "Pomeroy circular,"
assailing Mr. Lincoln and urging the claims of Mr. Chase, was sent
to numerous parties, and of course fell into the hands of Mr.
Lincoln's friends.  They became greatly excited, and by vigorous
counter measures created a strong reaction.  A serious estrangement
between the President and his Secretary was the result, which lasted
for several months.  The Chase movement collapsed, and when the
Republican members of the Ohio Legislature indorsed the re-nomination
of Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Chase withdrew from the contest.  The opposition
to Mr. Lincoln, however, continued, and was secretly cherished by
many of the ablest and most patriotic men in the party.  The extent
of their opposition in Congress can never be known, and it was
greatly aggravated by successive military failures; but it lacked
both courage and leadership, and culminated in the nomination of
General Fremont in the latter part of May.

In this Congress a new joint select committee on the "conduct of
the war" was organized, armed with new powers, and authorized to
sit in vacation; and in common with most of the members of the
former committee I was re-appointed.  During the latter part of
January I reported from the Committee on Public Lands a proposition
to extend the Homestead Law of 1862 to the forfeited and confiscated
lands of Rebels.  It was a very radical proposition, proposing to
deal with these lands as _public_ lands, and parcel them out into
small homesteads among the poor of the South, black and white.
The subject was a large one, involving many important questions,
and I devoted much time and thought to the preparation of a speech
in support of the measure.  In the month of April a portion of the
Committee on the Conduct of the War visited Fort Pillow, for the
purpose of taking testimony respecting the rebel atrocities at that
place; and this testimony and that taken at Annapolis, early in
May, respecting the treatment of our soldiers in the prisons at
Richmond was published, as a special instalment of our proceedings,
for popular use, accompanied by photographs of a number of prisoners
in their wasted and disfigured condition.  The report produced a
powerful effect on the public mind, and caused unspeakable trouble
and vexation to the enemy.  I assisted in the examination of our
prisoners at Annapolis, and never before had been so touched by
any spectacle of human suffering.  They were in the last stages of
life, and could only answer our questions in a whisper.  They were
living skeletons, and it seemed utterly incredible that life could
be supported in such wasted and attenuated shadows of themselves.
They looked at us, in attempting to tell their story, with an
expression of beseeching tenderness and submission which no words
could describe.  Not one of them expressed any regret that he had
entered into the service of the country, and each declared that he
would do so again, if his life should be spared and the opportunity
should be offered.  In examining one of these men I was perfectly
unmanned by my tears; and on retiring from the tent to give them
vent I encountered Senator Wade, who had fled from the work, and
was sobbing like a child.  It was an altogether unprecedented
experience, and the impression it produced followed me night and
day for weeks.

The conservative policy of the Administration found a new and
careful expression in Mr. Lincoln's letter to A. G. Hodges, of the
4th of April.  It showed great progress as compared with previous
utterances, but his declaration that "I claim not to have controlled
events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me," was
displeasing to the more anti-slavery Republicans.  They insisted
that the Administration had no right to become the foot-ball of
events.  It had no right, they said, at such a time, to make itself
a negative expression or an unknown quantity in the Algebra which
was to work out the great problem.  It had no right, they insisted,
to take shelter beneath a debauched and sickly public sentiment,
and plead it in bar of the great duty imposed upon it by the crisis.
It had no right, certainly, to lag behind that sentiment, to magnify
its extent and potency, and then to become its virtual ally, instead
of endeavoring to control it, and to indoctrinate the country with
ideas suited to the emergency.  It was the duty of the President,
like John Bright and the English Liberals, to lead, not follow
public opinion.  These criticisms found every variety of utterance
through Congressional speeches and the press, and met with a cordial
response from the people; and they undoubtedly played their part
in preparing the country and the Administration for the more vigorous
policy which was to follow.

On the 12th of May the House passed my Southern Homestead Bill by
the strictly party vote of seventy-five to sixty-four.  In my
closing speech on the subject I was frequently interrupted by Wood
of New York, and Mallory of Kentucky, and the debate ran into very
sharp personalities, but the opposition of these members only tended
to strengthen the measure.  On the 19th I was drawn into an
exceedingly angry altercation with Mr. Mallory, who charged me with
forging some very personal remarks about himself, and interpolating
them into the "Congressional Globe" as a part of my speech of the
12th.  He was exceedingly insolent and overbearing in his manner,
growing more and more so as he proceeded, and strikingly recalling
the old days of slavery.  He summoned a number of friends as
witnesses, who testified that they did not _hear_ me use the language
in question, and several of them, like Kernan of New York, declared
that they had occupied positions very near me, had given particular
attention to my words, and would certainly have remembered them if
they had been uttered.  I kept cool, but asserted very positively
that I did use the exact words reported, and in proof of my statement
I appealed to a number of my friends, who sustained me by their
distinct and positive recollections.  Here was a conflict of
testimony in which every witness recollected the facts according
to his politics; but pending the proceedings I was fortunate enough
to find the notes of the "Globe" reporter, which perfectly vindicated
me from Mr. Mallory's charges, and suddenly put his bluster and
billingsgate to flight.  He unconditionally retracted his charges,
while his swift witnesses were sufficiently rebuked and humiliated
by this unexpected catastrophe.  I was heartily complimented on my
triumph, and my dialogue with Mr. Mallory was put in pamphlet as
a campaign document by his opponents and liberally scattered over
his district, where it did much service in defeating his re-election
to the House.

The passage of the Southern Homestead Bill, however, could only
prove a very partial measure without an enactment reaching the fee
of rebel land owners, and I confidently anticipated the endorsement
of such a measure by the Republican National Convention, which was
to meet in Baltimore, on the seventh of June.  I was much gratified
when the National Union League approved it, in its Convention in
that city the day before; and a resolution embodying it was also
reported favorably by the sub-committee on resolutions of the
National Republican Convention the next day.  But the General
Committee, on the motion of McKee Dunn of Indiana, always an
incorrigible conservative, struck it out, much to the disappointment
of the Republican masses.  To me it was particularly vexatious, as
the measure was a pet one of mine, having labored for it with much
zeal, and in the confidence that the National Convention would
approve it.  Mr. Dunn was a Kentuckian of the Border State School,
and although a friend of mine, and an upright and very gentlemanly
man, he had a genius for being on the wrong side of vital questions
during the war.  Speaker Colfax used to say, laughingly, that in
determining his own course he first made it a point to find out
where McKee Dunn stood; and then, having ascertained Julian's
position, he always took a middle ground, feeling perfectly sure
he was right.

But to me the nomination of Andrew Johnson for Vice President was
a still greater disappointment.  I knew he did not believe in the
principles embodied in the platform.  I had become intimately
acquainted with him while we were fellow-members of the Committee
on the Conduct of the War, and he always scouted the idea that
slavery was the cause of our trouble, or that emancipation could
ever be tolerated without immediate colonization.  In my early
acquaintance with him I had formed a different opinion; but he was,
at heart, as decided a hater of the negro and of everything savoring
of abolitionism, as the rebels from whom he had separated.  His
nomination, however, like that of Mr. Lincoln, seemed to have been
preordained by the people, while the intelligent, sober men, in
Congress and out of Congress, who lamented the fact, were not
prepared to oppose the popular will.  Mr. Lincoln's nomination was
nearly unanimous, only the State of Missouri opposing him; but of
the more earnest and through-going Republicans in both Houses of
Congress, probably not one in ten really favored it.  It was not
only very distasteful to a large majority of Congress but to many
of the most prominent men of the party throughout the country.
During the month of June the feeling against Mr. Lincoln became
more and more bitter and intense, but its expression never found
its way to the people.

Notwithstanding the divisions which existed in the Republican ranks,
party discipline was vigorous and absolute.  "Civil Service Reform"
was in the distant future, and the attempt to inaugurate it would
have been counted next to treasonable.  Loyalty to Republicanism
was not only accepted as the best evidence of loyalty to the country,
but of fitness for civil position.  After my nomination for re-
election this year, Mr. Holloway, who was still holding the position
of Commissioner of Patents, and one of the editors of a Republican
newspaper in my district, refused to recognize me as the party
candidate, and kept the name of my defeated competitor standing in
his paper.  It threatened discord and mischief, and I went to the
President with these facts, and on the strength of them demanded
his removal from office.  He replied, "If I remove Mr. Holloway I
shall have a quarrel with Senator Lane on my hands."  I replied
that Senator Lane would certainly not quarrel with him for turning
a man out of office who was fighting the Republican party and the
friends of the Administration.  "Your nomination," said he, "is as
binding on Republicans as mine, and you can rest assured that Mr.
Holloway shall support you, openly and unconditionally, or lose
his head."  This was entirely satisfactory, but after waiting a
week or two for the announcement of my name I returned to Mr.
Lincoln with the information that Mr. Holloway was still keeping
up his fight, and that I had come to ask of him decisive measures.
I saw in an instant that the President now meant business.  He
dispatched a messenger at once, asking Mr. Holloway to report to
him forthwith, in person, and in a few days my name was announced
in his paper as the Republican candidate, and that of my competitor
withdrawn.

Having understood that Mr. Lincoln had changed his position respecting
the power of Congress to confiscate the landed estates of rebels,
I called to see him on the subject on the 2d of July, and asked
him if I might say to the people that what I had learned on this
subject was true, assuring him that I could make a far better fight
for our cause if he would permit me to do so.  He replied that when
he prepared his veto of our law on the subject two years before,
he had not examined the matter fully, but that on further reflection,
and on reading Solicitor Whiting's law argument, he had changed
his opinion, and thought he would now sign a bill striking at the
fee, if we would send it to him.  I was much gratified by this
statement, which was of service to the cause in the canvass; but,
unfortunately, constitutional scruples respecting such legislation
gained ground, and although both Houses of Congress at different
times endorsed the principle, it never became a law, owing to
unavoidable differences between the President and Congress on the
question of reconstruction.  The action of the President in dealing
with the rebel land owners was of the most serious character.  It
paralyzed one of the most potent means of putting down the Rebellion,
prolonging the conflict and aggravating its cost, and at the same
time left the owners of large estates in full possession of their
lands at the end of the struggle, who naturally excluded from the
ownership of the soil the freedmen and poor whites who had been
friendly to the Union; while the confiscation of life estates as
a war measure was of no practical advantage to the Government or
disadvantage to the enemy.

The refusal of the President to sign the Reconstruction Act which
passed near the close of the session, and his proclamation and
message giving his reasons therefor, still further exasperated a
formidable body of earnest and impatient Republicans.  A scathing
criticism of the President's position by Henry Winter Davis, which
was signed by himself and Senator Wade, fitly echoed their feelings.
Mr. Davis was a man of genius.  Among the famous men in the Thirty-
eighth Congress he had no superior as a writer, debater and orator.
He was a brilliant man, whose devotion to his country in this crisis
was a passion, while his hostility to the President's policy was
as sincere as it was intense; but the passage of the somewhat
incongruous bill vetoed by the President, would probably have proved
a stumbling-block in the way of the more radical measures which
afterward prevailed.  This could not then be foreseen, and as the
measure was an advanced one, the feeling against Mr. Lincoln waxed
stronger and stronger among his opposers.  They had so completely
lost their faith in him that when Congress adjourned they seriously
feared his veto of the bill just enacted, repealing the Fugitive
Slave law; while the independent movement in favor of General
Fremont threatened a serious division in the Republican ranks, and
the triumph of General McClellan.  "These," as Mr. Lincoln said on
another occasion, "were dark and dismal days," and they were made
still more so by the course of military events.  The capture of
Richmond, which General Grant had promised, had not been accomplished,
although he had been furnished with all the troops he wanted.  Our
Grand Army of the Potomac made advances in that direction, but with
great slaughter and no actual results; while the Administration
was blamed for his failures.  General Grant finally reached the
position occupied by McClellan in 1862, but with terrific losses,
and Richmond still in possession of the rebels.  His delay and
inaction at this point created great popular discontent in the
North; but while Lincoln supplied him with ample reinforcements,
and he now had an army twice as large as that of General Lee, which
was costing the nation over a million dollars per day, he continued
idle during the summer.  It was evident that nothing could save us
but military success; and most fortunately for the Republican cause
it came in due season, rallied and reunited its supporters, and
thus secured their triumph at the polls.

Near the close of the canvass, while on a visit to Washington, I
learned how it happened that Montgomery Blair had finally been got
out of the Cabinet, and General Fremont induced to leave the track
as the candidate of the Cleveland Convention.  The radical pressure
upon Mr. Lincoln for the removal of Blair was very formidable, and
the emergency seemed so critical that it finally resulted in a
compromise, by which Fremont agreed to retire from the race, if
Blair should be required to leave the Cabinet.  This was carried
out, and thus, at last, the President was obliged to make terms
with the "Pathfinder," who achieved a long-coveted victory over an
old foe.  The election of Mr. Lincoln was followed by a remarkable
measure of party union and harmony, and the tone of his message in
December was encouraging.  The appointment and confirmation of Mr.
Chase as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court met the most cordial
approval of Republicans everywhere.  As a healing measure, following
his retirement from the treasury for valid reasons, it was most
timely.

During the month of December, the Committee on the Conduct of the
War visited City Point, for the purpose of taking testimony respecting
the explosion of the mine at Petersburg.  General Grant spent
several hours with the Committee, speaking very freely and familiarly
of the faults and virtues of our various commanders, and impressing
every one by his strong common sense.  While at dinner with us on
our steamer, he drank freely, and its effect became quite manifest.
It was a painful surprise to the Committee, and was spoken of with
bated breath; for he was the Lieutenant-General of all our forces,
and the great movements which finally strangled the Rebellion were
then in progress, and, for aught we knew, might possibly be deflected
from their purpose by his condition.

In January, 1865, the Committee on the Conduct of the War investigated
the famous Fort Fisher expedition, in which three hundred tuns of
powder were to be exploded in the vicinity of the Fort as a means
of demolishing it, or paralyzing the enemy.  The testimony of
General Butler in explanation and defense of the enterprise was
interesting and spicy, and he was subsequently contradicted by
General Grant on material points.  On the last day of this month
one of the grandest events of the century was witnessed in the
House of Representatives in the final passage of the Constitutional
Amendment forever prohibiting slavery.  Numerous propositions on
the subject had been submitted, but the honor of drafting the one
adopted belongs to Lyman Trumbull, who had introduced it early in
the first session of this Congress.  It passed the Senate on the
8th of April, 1864, only six members voting against it, namely,
Davis, Hendricks, McDougall, Powell, Riddle and Saulsbury, but
failed in the House on the 15th of June following.  It now came up
on the motion of Mr. Ashley to reconsider this vote.  Congress had
abolished slavery in the District of Columbia, and prohibited it
in all the Territories.  It had repealed the Fugitive Slave law,
and declared free all negro soldiers in the Union armies and their
families; and the President had played his grand part in the
Proclamation of Emancipation.  But the question now to be decided
completely overshadowed all others.  The debate on the subject had
been protracted and very spirited, the opposition being led by
Pendleton, Fernando Wood, Voorhees, Mallory and Eldridge, who all
denied that the power to amend the Constitution conferred the right
to abolish slavery, as Garrett Davis and Saulsbury had done in the
Senate.  The time for the momentous vote had now come, and no
language could describe the solemnity and impressiveness of the
spectacle pending the roll-call.  The success of the measure had
been considered very doubtful, and depended upon certain negotiations,
the result of which was not fully assured, and the particulars of
which never reached the public.  The anxiety and suspense during
the balloting produced a deathly stillness, but when it became
certainly known that the measure had prevailed the cheering in the
densely-packed hall and galleries surpassed all precedent and
beggared all description.  Members joined in the general shouting,
which was kept up for several minutes, many embracing each other,
and others completely surrendering themselves to their tears of
joy.  It seemed to me I had been born into a new life, and that
the world was overflowing with beauty and joy, while I was
inexpressibly thankful for the privilege of recording my name on
so glorious a page of the nation's history, and in testimony of an
event so long only dreamed of as possible in the distant future.
The champions of negro emancipation had merely hoped to speed their
grand cause a little by their faithful labors, and hand over to
coming generations the glory of crowning it with success; but they
now saw it triumphant, and they had abundant and unbounded cause
to rejoice.  It has been aptly said that the greatest advantage of
a long life is the opportunity it gives of seeing moral experiments
worked out, of being present at the fructification of social causes,
and of thus gaining a kind of wisdom which in ordinary cases seems
reserved for a future life; but that an equivalent for this advantage
is possessed by such as live in those critical periods of society
when retribution is hastened, or displayed in clear connection with
the origin of events.  It strengthens faith to observe the sure
operation of moral causes in ripening into great and beneficent
results.  To be permitted to witness the final success of the
grandest movement of ancient or modern times was a blessed opportunity.
To have labored for it in the goodly fellowship of its confessors
and martyrs was cause for devout thanksgiving and joy.  To be
accredited to share in the great historic act of its formal
consummation was a priceless privilege.  A few days after the
ratification of this Amendment, on the motion of Mr. Sumner, Dr.
Rock, a colored lawyer of Boston, was admitted to practice in the
Supreme Court of the United States, which had pronounced the Dred
Scott decision only a few years before; and this was followed a
few days later by a sermon in the hall of the House by Rev. Mr.
Garnett, being the first ever preached in the Capitol by a colored
man.  Evidently, the negro was coming to the front.

In the latter part of March I visited New York, where I witnessed
the immense throngs of shouting people on Wall Street, called
together by the news of the fall of Richmond.  Broadway, robed in
its innumerable banners, was one of the finest sights I had ever
beheld.  On the tenth of April the Committee on the Conduct of the
War left Washington for South Carolina, for the purpose of taking
further testimony, and intending to be present at the great
anniversary of the thirteenth at Charleston.  We reached Fortress
Monroe the next evening, where we learned that the "Alabama," which
the Navy Department had furnished us, would be detained twenty-four
hours to coal, by reason of which we proceeded directly to Richmond
on the "Baltimore."  At City Point, Admiral Porter furnished us
with a pilot, as there was some danger of torpedoes up the James
River.  Our steamer reached the city about bedtime, but we remained
on board till morning, lulled into a sweep sleep by the music of
the guitar and the singing of the negroes below.  At eight o'clock
in the morning our party went out sight-seeing, some in carriages,
but most of us on horseback, with an orderly for each to show him
the way.  The first notable place we visited was General Weitzel's
headquarters, just vacated by Jefferson Davis.  The building was
a spacious three-story residence, with a large double parlor, a
ladies' parlor, and a small secluded library attached, in which
all sorts of treason were said to have been hatched.  We next
visited the capitol, an ancient-looking edifice, which would bear
no comparison with our modern State Capitols in size or style of
architecture.  The library made a respectable appearance, but I
think it contained few modern publications, especially of our own
authors.  I noticed, however, a liberal supply of theological works
of the most approved orthodoxy.  The view of the city from the top
of the building was admirable.  We could see Libby Prison, Castle
Thunder and Belle Isle, the former of which we afterward visited.
After seeing the rebel fortifications we were glad to get back to
our steamer.  Before starting the next morning we saw the "Richmond
Whig," containing an order signed by General Weitzel, inviting
Hunter, McMullen and other noted rebel leaders, including members
of the rebel legislature, to meet in Richmond on the twenty-fifth
to confer with our authorities on the restoration of peace,
transportation and safe conduct being ordered for the purpose.  We
were all thunderstruck, and fully sympathized with the hot indignation
and wrathful words of the chairman of our committee.  We soon
afterwards learned that the order had been directed by the President,
and while we were thoroughly disgusted by this display of misguided
magnanimity we saw rebel officers strutting around the streets in
full uniform, looking as independent as if they had been masters
of the city.  We left on the afternoon of the twelfth, and were
interested in seeing Drury's Landing, Dutch-Gap Canal, Malvern
Hill and other points of historic interest.  Before reaching
Fortress Monroe the next day, Senators Wade and Chandler changed
their minds respecting our journey to Charleston, which was abandoned,
and after spending a few hours very pleasantly at that place and
Point Lookout, we reached Washington on the evening of the
fourteenth.

Soon after retiring I was roused from a deep sleep by loud raps at
my door.  W. L. Woods, clerk of my committee, entered in the greatest
excitement, and told me that Lincoln had just been assassinated,
and Seward and son probably, and that rebel assassins were about
to take the town.  Supposing all this to be true I grew suddenly
cold, heart-sick and almost helpless.  It was a repetition of my
experience when the exaggerated stories about the Bull Run disaster
first reached me in the summer of 1861.  I soon rallied, however,
and joined the throng on the street.  The city was at once in a
tempest of excitement, consternation and rage.  About seven and a
half o'clock in the morning the church bells tolled the President's
death.  The weather was as gloomy as the mood of the people, while
all sorts of rumors filled the air as to the particulars of the
assassination and the fate of Booth.  Johnson was inaugurated at
eleven o'clock on the morning of the 15th, and was at once surrounded
by radical and conservative politicians, who were alike anxious
about the situation.  I spent most of the afternoon in a political
caucus, held for the purpose of considering the necessity of a new
Cabinet and a line of policy less conciliatory than that of Mr.
Lincoln; and while everybody was shocked at his murder, the feeling
was nearly universal that the accession of Johnson to the Presidency
would prove a god-send to the country.  Aside from Mr. Lincoln's
known policy of tenderness to the Rebels, which now so jarred upon
the feelings of the hour, his well-known views on the subject of
reconstruction were as distasteful as possible to radical Republicans.
In his last public utterance, only three days before his death, he
had declared his adherence to the plan of reconstruction announced
by him in December, 1863, which in the following year so stirred
the ire of Wade and Winter Davis as an attempt of the Executive to
usurp the powers of Congress.  According to this plan the work of
reconstruction in the rebel States was to be inaugurated and carried
on by those only who were qualified to vote under the Constitution
and laws of these States as they existed prior to the Rebellion.
Of course the negroes of the South could have no voice in framing
the institutions under which they were to live, and the question
of negro suffrage would thus have been settled by the President,
if he had lived and been able to maintain this policy, while no
doubt was felt that this calamity had now been averted and the way
opened for the radical policy which afterward involved the impeachment
of Johnson, but finally prevailed.  It was forgotten in the fever
and turbulence of the moment, that Mr. Lincoln, who was never an
obstinate man, and who in the matter of his Proclamation of
Emancipation had surrendered his own judgment under the pressure
of public opinion, would not have been likely to wrestle with
Congress and the country in a mad struggle for his own way.

On the following day, in pursuance of a previous engagement, the
Committee on the Conduct of the War met the President at his quarters
in the Treasury Department.  He received us with decided cordiality,
and Mr. Wade said to him:  "Johnson, we have faith in you.  By the
gods, there will be no trouble now in running the government!"
The President thanked him, and went on to define his well-remembered
policy at that time.  "I hold," said he, "that robbery is a crime;
rape is a crime; murder is a crime; _treason_ is a crime, and
_crime_ must be punished.  Treason must be made infamous, and
traitors must be impoverished."  We were all cheered and encouraged
by this brave talk, and while we were rejoiced that the leading
conservatives of the country were not at Washington, we felt that
the presence and influence of the committee, of which Johnson had
been a member, would aid the Administration in getting on the right
track.  We met him again the next day and found the symptoms of a
vigorous policy still favorable, and although I had some misgivings,
the general feeling was one of unbounded confidence in his sincerity
and firmness, and that he would act upon the advice of General
Butler by inaugurating a policy of his own, instead of administering
on the political estate of his predecessor.

In the meantime the prevailing excitement was greatly aggravated
by the news of the capitulation between General Sherman and General
Johnston on the 16th of April.  Its practical surrender of all the
fruits of the national triumph so soon after the murder of the
President, produced an effect on the public mind which can not be
described.  General Sherman had heard of the assassination when
the capitulation was made, and could not have been ignorant of the
feeling it had aroused.  On the face of the proceeding his action
seemed a wanton betrayal of the country to its enemies; but when
this betrayal followed so swiftly the frightful tragedy which was
then believed to have been instigated by the Confederate authorities,
the patience of the people became perfectly exhausted.  For the
time being, all the glory of his great achievements in the war
seemed to be forgotten in the anathemas which were showered upon
him from every quarter of the land; but the prompt repudiation of
his stipulations by the Administration soon assuaged the popular
discontent, while it provoked an estrangement between Secretary
Stanton and himself which was never healed.

The outpouring of the people at Mr. Lincoln's funeral was wholly
unprecedented, and every possible arrangement was made by which
they could manifest their grief for their murdered President; but
their solicitude for the state of the country was too profound to
be intermitted.  What policy was now to be pursued?  Mr. Lincoln's
last utterances had been far from assuring or satisfactory.  The
question of reconstruction had found no logical solution, and all
was confusion respecting it.  The question of negro suffrage was
slowly coming to the front, and could not be much longer evaded.
The adequate punishment of the rebel leaders was the demand of the
hour.  What would the new President do?  He had suddenly become
the central figure of American politics, and both radicals and
conservatives were as curious to know what line of policy he would
follow as they were anxious to point his way.  His demeanor, at
first, seemed modest and commendable, but his egotism soon began
to assert itself, while his passion for stump-speaking was pampered
by the delegations which began to pour into the city from various
States and flatter him by formal addresses, to which he replied at
length.  This business was kept up till the people became weary of
the din and clatter of words, and impatient for action.


CHAPTER XII.
RECONSTRUCTION AND SUFFRAGE--THE LAND QUESTION.
Visit of Indianans to the President--Gov. Morton and reconstruction
--Report of Committee on the Conduct of the War--Discussion of
negro suffrage and incidents--Personal matters--Suffrage in the
District of Columbia--The Fourteenth Constitutional Amendment--
Breach between the President and Congress--Blaine and Conkling--
Land bounties and the Homestead Law.

On the twenty-first of April I joined a large crowd of Indianans
in one of the calls on the President referred to at the close of
the last chapter.  Gov. Morton headed the movement, which I now
found had a decidedly political significance.  He read a lengthy
and labored address on "The Whole Duty of Man" respecting the
question of Reconstruction.  He told the President that a State
could "neither secede nor by any possible means be taken out of
the Union"; and he supported and illustrated this proposition by
some very remarkable statements.  He elaborated the proposition
that the loyal people of a State have the right to govern it; but
he did not explain what would become of the State if the people
were all disloyal, or the loyal so few as to be utterly helpless.
The lawful governments of the South were overthrown by treason;
and the Governor declared there was "no power in the Federal
Government to punish the people of a State collectively, by reducing
it to a territorial condition, since the crime of treason is
individual, and can only be treated individually."  According to
this doctrine a rebellious State become independent.  If the people
could rightfully be overpowered by the national authority, that
very fact would at once re-clothe them in all their rights, just
as if they had never rebelled.  In framing their new governments
Congress would have no right to prescribe any conditions, or to
govern them in any way pending the work of State reconstruction,
since this would be to recognize the States as Territories, and
violate the principle of State rights.  The Governor's theory of
reconstruction, in fact, made our war for the Union flagrantly
unconstitutional.  The crime of treason being "individual," and
only to "be treated individually," we had no right to hold prisoners
of war, seize property, and capture and confiscate vessels, without
a regular indictment and trial; and this being so, every Rebel in
arms was in the full legal possession of his political rights, and
no power could prevent him from exercising them except through
judicial conviction of treason in the district in which the overt
act was committed.  Singularly enough, he seemed entirely unaware
of the well-settled principle which made our war for the Union a
territorial conflict, like that of a war with Mexico or England;
that the Rebels, while still liable to be hung or otherwise dealt
with for treason, had taken upon themselves the further character
of public enemies; and that being now conquered they were conquered
enemies, having simply the rights of a conquered people.  The
Governor further informed the President that if the revolted
districts should be dealt with as mere Territories, or conquered
provinces, the nation would be obliged to pay the debts contracted
by them prior to the war.  These remarkable utterances, which he
repudiated in less than a year afterward, were emphatically endorsed
by the President, who entered upon the same theme at a dismal
length, freely indulging in his habit of bad English and incoherence
of thought.  I was disgusted, and sorry that the confidence of so
many of my radical friends had been entirely misplaced.

During the latter part of April and early part of May the Committee
on the Conduct of the War completed its final report, making eight
considerable volumes, and containing valuable material for any
trustworthy history of the great conflict.  Its opinions were
sometimes colored by the passions of the hour, and this was especially
true in the case of General McClellan; but subsequent events have
justified its conclusions generally as to nearly every officer and
occurrence investigated, while its usefulness in exposing military
blunders and incompetence, and in finally inaugurating the vigorous
war policy which saved the country, will scarcely be questioned by
any man sufficiently well-informed and fair-minded to give an
opinion.

On the 12th of May, a caucus of Republicans was held at the National
Hotel to consider the necessity of taking decisive measures for
saving the new Administration from the conservative control which
then threatened it.  Senators Wade and Sumner both insisted that
the President was in no danger, and declared, furthermore, that he
was in favor of negro suffrage; and no action was taken because of
the general confidence in him which I was surprised to find still
prevailed.  In the meantime, pending the general drift of events,
the suffrage question was constantly gaining in significance, and
demanding a settlement.  It was neither morally nor logically
possible to escape it; and on my return to my constituents I prepared
for a thorough canvass of my district.  The Republicans were
everywhere divided on the question, while the current of opinion
was strongly against the introduction of the issue as premature.
The politicians all opposed it on the plea that it would divide
the Republicans and restore the Democrats to power, and that we
must wait for the growth of a public opinion that would justify
its agitation.  Governor Morton opposed the policy with inexpressible
bitterness, declaring, with an oath, that "negro suffrage must be
put down," while every possible effort was made to array the soldiers
against it.  His hostility to the suffrage wing of his party seemed
to be quite as relentless as to the Rebels, while the great body
of the Republicans of the district deferred strongly to his views.
In the beginning of the canvass I even found a considerable portion
of my old anti-slavery friends unprepared to follow me; but feeling
perfectly sure I was right, and that I could revolutionize the
general opinion, I entered upon the work, and prosecuted it with
all my might for nearly four months.  My task was an arduous one,
but I found the people steadily yielding up their prejudices, and
ready to lay hold of the truth when fairly and dispassionately
presented, while the soldiers were among the first to accept my
teachings.  The tide was at length so evidently turning in my favor
that on the 28th of September Governor Morton was induced to make
his elaborate speech at Richmond, denouncing the whole theory of
Republican reconstruction as subsequently carried out, and opposing
the policy of negro suffrage by arguments which he seemed to regard
as overwhelming.  He made a dismal picture of the ignorance and
degradation of the plantation negroes of the South, and scouted
the policy of arming them with political power.  But their fitness
for the ballot was a subordinate question.  A great national
emergency pleaded for their right to it on other and far more
imperative grounds.  The question involved the welfare of both
races, and the issues of the war.  It involved not merely the fate
of the negro, but the safety of society.  It was, moreover, a
question of national honor and gratitude, from which no escape was
morally possible.  To leave the ballot in the hands of the ex-
rebels, and withhold it from these helpless millions, would be to
turn them over to the unhindered tyranny and misrule of their
enemies, who were then smarting under the humiliation of their
failure, and making the condition of the freedmen more intolerable
than slavery itself, through local laws and police regulations.

The Governor referred to the Constitution and laws of Indiana,
denying the ballot to her intelligent negroes, and subjecting
colored men to prosecution and fine for coming into the State; and
asked with what face her people could insist upon conferring the
suffrage upon the negroes of the Southern States?  But this was an
evasion of the question.  The people of Indiana had no right to
take advantage of their own wrong, or to sacrifice the welfare of
four million blacks on the altar of Northern consistency.  He should
have preached the duty of practical repentance in Indiana, instead
of making the sins of her people an excuse for a far greater
inhumanity to the negroes of the South.

He urged that the policy of negro suffrage would give the lie to
all the arguments that had ever been employed against slavery as
degrading and brutalizing to its victims.  He said it was "to pay
the highest compliment to the institution of slavery," and "stultify
ourselves."  But this was belittling a great national question, by
the side of which all considerations of party consistency were
utterly trivial and contemptible.  The ballot for the negro was a
logical necessity, and it was a matter of the least possible
consequence whether the granting of it would "stultify ourselves"
or not.

He insisted that the true policy was to give the Southern negroes
a probation of fifteen or twenty years to prepare for the ballot.
He would give them "time to acquire a little property; time to get
a little education; time to learn something about the simplest
forms of business, and to prepare themselves for the exercise of
political power."  But he did not explain how all this was to be
done, under the circumstances of their condition.  He declared that
not one of them in five hundred could read, or was worth five
dollars in property of any kind, owning nothing but their bodies,
and living on the plantations of white men upon whom they were
dependent for employment and subsistence.  How could such men
acquire "education," and "property," under the absolute sway of a
people who regarded them with loathing and contempt?  Who would
grant them this "probation," and help them turn it to good account?
Was some miracle to be wrought through which the slave-masters were
to be transfigured into negro apostles and devotees?  Besides,
under Governor Morton's theory of reconstruction and State rights,
neither Congress nor the people of the loyal States had anything
to do with the question.  It was no more their concern in South
Carolina than in Massachusetts.  His suggestion of a probation for
Southern negroes was therefore an impertinence.  If not, why did
he not recommend a "probation" for the hordes of "white trash" that
were as unfit for political power as the negroes?

He was very earnest and eloquent in his condemnation of Mr. Sumner
for proposing to give the ballot to the negroes and disfranchise
the white Rebels, but his moral vision failed to discern anything
amiss in his own ghastly policy of arming the white Rebels with
the ballot and denying it to the loyal negroes.

He argued that the right to vote carried with it the right to hold
office, and that negro suffrage would lead to the election of negro
Governors, negro judges, negro members of Congress, a negro balance
of power in our politics, and a war of races.  He seemed to have
no faith at all in the beneficent measures designed to guard the
black race from outrage and wrong, while full of apprehension that
the heavens would fall if such measures were adopted.

This speech was published in a large pamphlet edition and extensively
scattered throughout the country; but it proved a help rather than
a hindrance to my enterprise.  I replied to it in several incisive
newspaper articles, and made its arguments a text for a still more
thorough discussion of the issue on the stump, and at the close of
my canvass the Republicans of the district were as nearly a unit
in my favor as a party can be made respecting any controverted
doctrine.

I now extended my labors briefly outside of my district, and by
special invitation from citizens of Indianapolis and members of
the Legislature, then in session, I spoke in that city on the 17th
of November.  Every possible effort was made by the Johnsonized
Republicans to prevent me from having an audience, but they failed
utterly; and I analyzed the positions of Governor Morton in a speech
of two hours, which was reported for the "Cincinnati Gazette" and
subsequently published in a large pamphlet edition.  The political
rage and exasperation which now prevailed in the ranks of the Anti-
Suffrage faction can be more readily imagined than described.
Their organ, the "Indianapolis Journal," poured out upon me an
incredible deliverance of vituperation and venom for scattering my
heresies outside of my Congressional district, declaring that I
had "the temper of a hedgehog, the adhesiveness of a barnacle, the
vanity of a peacock, the vindictiveness of a Corsican, the hypocrisy
of Aminadab Sleek and the duplicity of the devil."  I rather enjoyed
these paroxysms of malignity, which broke out all over the State
among the Governor's conservative satellites, since my only offense
was fidelity to my political opinions, the soundness of which I
was finding fully justified by events; for the friends of the
Governor, in a few short months, gathered together and cremated
all the copies of his famous speech which could be found.  But the
disowned document was printed as a campaign tract by the Democrats
for a dozen successive years afterward, and circulated largely in
several of the Northern States, while the Governor himself, by a
sudden and splendid somersault, became the champion and exemplar
of the very heresies which had so furiously kindled his ire against
me.  These performances are sufficiently remarkable to deserve
notice.  They did much to make Indiana politics spicy and picturesque,
and showed how earnestly the radical and conservative wings of the
Republican party could wage war against the common enemy without
in the least impairing their ability or disposition to fight each
other.

I have referred to these facts because they form a necessary part
of the story I am telling.  The question of Negro Suffrage was a
very grave one, and the circumstances connected with its introduction
as a political issue are worthy of record; while Governor Morton
was a sort of phenomenal figure in American politics during the
war period, and played a very remarkable part in the affairs of
Indiana.  It has aptly been said of him, and not by an enemy, that
his inconsistencies, in a study of his character, form the most
charming part of it, and that no man in public life ever brought
such magnificent resources to the support of both sides of a
question.  His force of will was as matchless as his ambition for
power was boundless and unappeasable.  He was made for revolutionary
times, and his singular energy of character was pre-eminently
destructive; but it can not be denied that his services to the
country in this crisis were great.  Mr. Von Holst, in his
"Constitutional and Political History of the United States," has
a chapter on "The Reign of Andrew Jackson."  When the history of
Indiana shall be written, it might fitly contain a chapter on "The
Reign of Oliver P. Morton."  He made himself not merely the master
of the Democratic party of the State, and of its Rebel element,
but of his own party as well.  His will, to a surprising extent,
had the force of law in matters of both civil and military
administration.  His vigor in action and great personal magnetism
so rallied the people to his support, that with the rarest exceptions
the prominent leaders of his party quietly succumbed to his ambition,
and recoiled from the thought of confronting him, even where they
believed him in the wrong.

His hostility to me began with my election to Congress in 1849, in
which, as a Free Soiler, I had the united support of the Democratic
party of my district, of which he was then a member.  I never
obtained his forgiveness for my success in that contest, and his
unfriendliness was afterward aggravated by his failure as a Republican
leader to supplant me in the district, and it continued to the end.
I knew him from his boyhood.  We resided in the same village nearly
twenty years, and began our acquaintance as members of the same
debating club.  For years we were intimate and attached friends,
and I believe no man was before me in appreciating his talents and
predicting for him a career of political distinction and usefulness.
During the war, earnest efforts were made by his friends and mine
looking to a reconciliation, and the restoration of that harmony
in the party which good men on both sides greatly coveted; but all
such efforts necessarily failed.  If I had been willing to subordinate
my political convictions and sense of duty to his ambition, peace
could at once have been restored; but as this was impossible, I
was obliged to accept the warfare which continued and increased,
and which I always regretted and deplored.  I only make these
statements in justice to the truth.

The bill providing for negro suffrage in the District of Columbia
was among the first important measures of the Thirty-ninth Congress.
The debate upon it in January, 1866, was singularly able and
thorough, and gave strong evidence of political progress.  All
efforts to postpone the measure, or make the suffrage restrictive,
were voted down, and on the announcement of its passage the cheering
was tremendous.  Beginning on the floor, it was quickly caught up
by the galleries, and the scene resembled that which followed the
passage of the Constitutional Amendment already referred to.  The
majority was over two to one, thus clearly foreshadowing the
enfranchisement of the negro in the insurrectionary districts.  I
believe only two of my colleagues voted with me for its passage.

The question of reconstruction was brought directly before Congress
by the report of the joint select committee on that subject,
submitting the Fourteenth Constitutional Amendment.  The second
section of the Amendment was a measure of compromise, and attempted
to unite the radical and conservative wings of the party by
restricting the right of representation in the South to the basis
of suffrage, instead of extending that basis in conformity to the
right of representation.  It was a proposition to the Rebels that
if they would agree that the negroes should not be counted in the
basis of representation, we would hand them over, unconditionally,
to the tender mercies of their old masters.  It sanctioned the
barbarism of the Rebel State Governments in denying the right of
representation to their freedmen, simply because of their race and
color, and thus struck at the very principle of Democracy.  It was
a scheme of cold-blooded treachery and ingratitude to a people who
had contributed nearly two hundred thousand soldiers to the armies
of the Union, and among whom no traitor had ever been found; and
it was urged as a means of securing equality of white representation
in the Government when that object could have been perfectly attained
by a constitutional amendment arming the negroes of the South with
the ballot, instead of leaving them in the absolute power of their
enemies.  Of course, no man could afford to vote against the
proposition to cut down rebel representation to the basis of
suffrage; but to recognize the authority of these States to make
political outlaws of their colored citizens and incorporate this
principle into the Constitution of the United States, was a wanton
betrayal of justice and humanity.  Congress, however, was unprepared
for more thorough work.  The conservative party which had so long
sought to spare slavery was obliged, as usual, to feel its way
cautiously, and wait on the logic of events; while the negro, as
I shall show, was finally indebted for his franchise to the desperate
madness of his enemies in rejecting the dishonorable proposition
of his friends.

As the question of reconstruction became more and more engrossing,
the signs of a breach between the President and Congress revealed
themselves.  He had disappointed the hopes of his radical friends,
and begun to show his partiality for conservative and Democratic
ideas.  His estrangement from his party probably had its genesis
in the unfortunate exhibition of himself at the inauguration of
Mr. Lincoln, and the condemnation of it by leading Republicans,
which he could not forget.  Instead of keeping his promise to be
the "Moses" of the colored people he turned his back upon them in
a very offensive public speech.  His veto of the Freedmen's Bureau
bill finally stripped him of all disguises, and placed him squarely
against Congress and the people, while the House met his defiance
by a concurrent resolution emphatically condemning his reconstruction
policy, and thus opening the way for the coming struggle between
Executive usurpation and the power of Congress.  His maudlin speech
on the 22d of February to the political mob which called on him,
branding as traitors the leaders of the party which had elected
him, completely dishonored him in the opinion of all Republicans,
and awakened general alarm.  Everybody could now see the mistake
of his nomination at Baltimore, and that he was simply a narrow-
minded dogmatist and a bull-dog in disposition, who would do
anything in his power to thwart the wishes of his former friends.

During the month of March of this year, at the request of intelligent
working men in the employ of the Government, I introduced a bill
making eight hours a day's work in the navy yards of the United
States.  This was the beginning of the eight hour agitation in
Congress.  I had not given much thought to the necessity for such
legislation in this country, but the proposed measure seemed to me
an augury of good to the working classes, as the Ten Hour movement
had proved itself to be twenty years before.  It could plead the
time laws of England as a precedent, enacted to protect humanity
against the "Lords of the Loom."  These laws recognized labor as
capital endowed with human needs, and entitled to the special
guardianship of the State, and not as merchandise merely, to be
governed solely by the law of supply and demand.  While I was a
believer in Free Trade, I was not willing to follow its logic in
all cases of conflict between capital and labor.  My warfare against
chattel slavery and the monopoly of the soil had assumed the duty
of the Government to secure fair play and equal opportunities to
the laboring masses, and I was willing to embody that idea in a
specific legislative proposition, and thus invite its discussion
and the settlement of it upon its merits.

In April of this year a notable passage at arms occurred in the
House between Mr. Conkling and Mr. Blaine, which has been made
historic by the subsequent career of these great Republican chiefs.
The altercation between them was protracted and very personal, and
grew out of the official conduct of Provost Marshal General Fry.
The animosity engendered between these rivals at this early day
seems never to have been intermitted, and it can best be appreciated
by referring to the closing passages of their remarkable war of
words on the 30th of this month.  Mr. Conkling's language was very
contemptuous, and in concluding he said:

"If the member from Maine had the least idea of how profoundly
indifferent I am to his opinion upon the subject which he has been
discussing, or upon any other subject personal to me, I think he
would hardly take the trouble to rise here and express his opinion.
And as it is a matter of entire indifference to me what that opinion
may be, I certainly will not detain the House by discussing the question
whether it is well or ill-founded, or by noticing what he says.
I submit the whole matter to the members of the House, making, as
I do, an apology (for I feel that it is due to the House) for the
length of time which I have been occupied in consequence of being
drawn into explanations, originally by an interruption which I
pronounced the other day ungentlemanly and impertinent, and having
nothing whatever to do with the question."

Mr. Blaine, in reply, referred to Mr. Conkling's "grandiloquent
swell" and his "turkey gobbler strut," and concluded:

"I know that within the last five weeks, as members of the House
will recollect, an extra strut has characterized the gentleman's
bearing.  It is not his fault.  It is the fault of another.  That
gifted and satirical writer, Theodore Tilton, of the 'New York
Independent,' spent some weeks recently in this city.  His letters
published in that paper, embraced, with many serious statements,
a little jocose satire, a part of which was the statement that the
mantle of the late Winter Davis had fallen upon the member from
New York.  The gentleman took it seriously, and it has given his
strut additional pomposity.  The resemblance is great.  It is
striking.  Hyperion to a satyr, Thersites to Hercules, mud to
marble, dung-hill to diamond, a singed cat to a Bengal tiger, a
whining puppy to a roaring lion.  Shade of the mighty Davis, forgive
the almost profanation of that jocose satire!"

This uncomely sparring match seemed to have no significance at the
time beyond the amusement it afforded and the personal discredit
it attached to the combatants; but in its later consequences it
has not only seriously involved the political fortunes of both
these ambitious men, but rent the Republican party itself into
warring factions.  Still more, it has connected itself in the same
way, and not very remotely, with the nomination of General Garfield
in 1880, and his subsequent assassination.  Such are the strange
political revenges of a personal quarrel.

During this session of Congress the policy of Military Land Bounties
was very earnestly agitated, and threatened the most alarming
consequences.  Probably no great question has been so imperfectly
understood by our public men as the land question, and the truth
of this is attested by the multiplied schemes of pillage and plunder
to which the public domain has been exposed within the past thirty
or forty years.  Among these the project of Land Bounties to soldiers
has been conspicuous.  Of the millions of acres disposed of by the
Government through assignable land-warrants in the pretended interest
of the soldiers of the Mexican War a very small fraction was
appropriated to their use.  The great body of the land fell into
the hands of monopolists, who thus hindered the settlement and
productive wealth of the country, while the sum received by the
soldier for his warrant was in very many cases a mere mockery of
his just claims, and in no instance an adequate bounty.  The policy,
however, had become traditional, and now, at the close of the
grandest of all our wars, it was quite natural for the country's
defenders to claim its supposed benefits.  Congress was flooded
with their petitions, and it required uncommon political courage
to oppose their wishes.  It was very plausibly urged that the
Nation, with its heavy load of debt, could not pay a bounty in
money, and that it should be done by drawing liberally upon the
thousand million acres of the public domain.  Some of the advocates
of this policy openly favored the repeal of the Homestead law for
this purpose, just as Thurlow Weed, earlier in the war, had demanded
its repeal so that our public lands could be mortgaged to European
capitalists in security for the money we needed to carry on the
struggle.  The situation became critical.  Everybody was eager to
reward the soldier, and especially the politicians; and there seemed
to be no other way to do it than by bounties in land, for which
all our previous wars furnished precedents.  The House Committee
on Public Lands considered the question with great care and anxiety,
and in the hope of check-mating that project made a report in
response to one of the many petitions for land bounty which had
been referred to it, embodying some very significant facts.  It
showed that more than two millions and a quarter of soldiers would
be entitled to a bounty in land, and that it would require more
than one third of the public domain remaining undisposed of, and
cover nearly all of it that was really fit for agriculture; that
the warrants would undoubtedly be made assignable, as in the case
of previous bounties, and that land speculation would thus find
its new birth and have free course in its dreadful ravages; and
that it would prove the practical overthrow of the policy of our
pre-emption and homestead laws and turn back the current of American
civilization and progress.  The report further insisted that the
Nation could not honorably plead poverty in bar of the great debt
it owed its defenders, and it was accompanied by a bill providing
a bounty in money at the rate of eight and one third dollars per
month for the time of their service, which was drawn after conferring
with intelligent men among them who fully appreciated the facts
and arguments of the committee.  This report and its accompanying
bill had an almost magical effect.  They not only perfectly satisfied
the soldiers everywhere, but revolutionized the opinion of both
Houses of Congress, and thus saved the public domain from the
wholesale spoilation that had threatened it.  The bill was referred
to the Military Committee, and afterward became well known by its
title of "General Schenck's bill."  It passed the House, but failed
in the Senate.  It passed the House repeatedly at different session
of Congress afterward, although it never became a law; but it was
the timely and fortunate instrument through which the public domain
was saved from the wreck which menaced it in the hasty adoption of
a scheme which would have proved as worthless to our soldiers as
disastrous to the country.


CHAPTER XIII.
MINERAL LANDS AND THE RIGHT OF PRE-EMPTION.
The lead and copper lands of the Northwest--The gold-bearing regions
of the Pacific, and their disposition--A legislative reminiscence
--Mining Act of 1866, and how it was passed--Its deplorable failure,
and its lesson--Report of the Land Commission--The Right of Pre-
emption, and the "Dred Scott decision" of the settlers.

The action of the Government in dealing with the mineral lands of
the United States forms one of the most curious chapters in the
history of legislation.  It had its beginning in the famous
Congressional Ordinance of May 20, 1785, which reserved one third
part of all gold, silver, lead and copper mines to be sold or
otherwise disposed of as Congress might direct.  From this time
till the discovery of gold in California in 1848, the legislation
of Congress respecting mineral lands related exclusively to those
containing the base or merely useful metals, and applied only to
the regions now embraced by the States of Michigan, Wisconsin,
Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.  The policy of reserving mineral lands
from sale was obviously of feudal origin, and naturally led to the
leasing of such lands by the Government, which was inaugurated by
the Act of Congress of March 3, 1807.  The Act of Congress of March
3, 1829, provided for the sale of the reserved lead mines and
contiguous lands in Missouri, on six months' notice, but mineral
lands elsewhere remained reserved, and continued to be leased by
the Government.  This policy was thoroughly and perseveringly tried,
and proved utterly unprofitable and ruinous.  President Polk, in
his message of December 2, 1845, declared that the income derived
from the leasing system for the years 1841, 1842, 1843 and 1844
was less than one fourth of its expense, and he recommended its
abolition, and that these lands be brought into market.  The leasing
policy drew into the mining regions a population of vagrants, idlers
and gamblers, who resisted the payment of tax on the product of
the mines, and defied the agents of the Government.  It excluded
sober and intelligent citizens, and hindered the establishment of
organized communities and the development of the mines.  The miners
were violently opposed to the policy of sale, but the evils incident
to the leasing policy became so intolerable that the Government
was at length obliged to provide for the sale of the lands in fee,
which it did by Acts of Congress of July 11, 1846, and March 1 and
3, 1847.  The tracts occupied and worked by the miners under their
leases possessed every variety of shape and boundary, but there
were no difficulties which were not readily adjusted under the
rectangular system of surveys and the regulations of the Land
Department.  A new class of men at once took possession of these
regions as owners of the soil, brought their families with them,
laid the foundations of social order, expelled the semi-barbarians
who had secured a temporary occupancy, and thus, at once promoted
their own welfare, the prosperity of the country, and the financial
interests of the Government.  Under this reformed policy the lead
and copper lands of the regions named were disposed of in fee.

But the gold-bearing regions covered by our Mexican acquisitions
created a new dispensation in mining, and invited the attention of
Congress to the consideration of a new and exceedingly important
question.  How should these mineral lands be disposed of?  They
covered an area of a million square miles, and their exploration
and development became a matter of the most vital moment, not only
in a financial point of view, but as a means of promoting the
settlement and tillage of the agricultural lands contiguous to the
mineral deposits.  President Fillmore, in his message of December
2, 1849, recommended the sale of these lands in small parcels, and
Mr. Ewing, his Secretary of the Interior, urged upon Congress the
consideration of the subject, and recommended the policy of leasing
them; but no attention seems to have been given to these recommendations.
By Act of Congress of September 27, 1850, mineral lands in Oregon
were reserved from sale; and by Acts of March 3, 1853, and of July
22, 1854, they were reserved in California and New Mexico.  This
was the extent of Congressional action.  Early in the late war,
the Secretary of the Interior, Hon. Caleb B. Smith, referred to
the question, and the Commissioner of the General Land Office
afterward repeatedly recommended the policy of leasing, but Congress
took no notice of the subject.  My interest in the question was
first awakened in the fall of 1864, in carefully overhauling our
land policy.  Our mineral lands for more than sixteen years had
been open to all comers from whatever quarter of the globe, during
which time more than a thousand million dollars had been extracted,
from which not a dollar of revenue reached the National Treasury
save the comparatively trifling amount derived from the Internal
Revenue tax on bullion.  This fact was so remarkable that it was
difficult to accept it as true.  The Government had no policy
whatever in dealing with these immense repositories of national
wealth, and declined to have any; for a policy implies that something
is to be done, and points out the method of doing it.  It had
prohibited the sale of mineral lands, and then come to a dead halt.
The Constitution expressly provides that Congress shall have power
"to make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory
or other property belonging to the United States"; but Congress,
in reserving these lands from sale and taking no measures whatever
respecting their products, simply abandoned them, and, as the
trustee of the Nation, became as recreant as the father who abandons
his minor child.

The case was a very curious one, and the more I considered it, the
more astonished I became at the strange indifference of the
Government, and that no public man of any party had ever given the
subject the slightest attention.  The Nation had been selling its
lands containing iron, copper and lead, and the policy of vesting
an absolute fee in individual proprietors had been accepted on
actual trial, and after the leasing policy had signally failed,
and I could see nothing in the distinction between the useful and
precious metals which required a different policy for the latter.
Some policy was absolutely demanded.  The country, loaded down by
a great and continually increasing war debt, could not afford to
turn away from so tempting a source of revenue.  To sleep over its
grand opportunity was as stupid as it was criminal.  It was obvious
that if the Government continued to reserve these lands from sale,
some form of tax or royalty on their products must be resorted to
as a measure of financial policy; but this would have involved the
same political anomaly as the policy of leasing, and the same
failure.  In principle it was the same.  To retain the fee of the
lands in the Government and impose a rent upon their occupiers,
would make the Government a great landlord, and the miners its
tenants.  Such a policy would not be American, but European.  It
would not be Democratic, but Feudal.  It would be to follow the
Governments of the Old World, which reserve their mineral lands
for the Crown, because they are esteemed too precious for the
people.  It was at war with our theory of Democracy, which has
respect chiefly to the individual, and seeks to strengthen the
Government by guarding his rights and promoting his well-being.
These considerations convinced me that the time had come to abandon
the non-action course of the Government, and adopt a policy in
harmony with our general legislation; and that the survey and sale
of these lands in fee was the best and only method of promoting
security of titles, permanent settlements, and thorough development.
As early as December, 1864, I therefore introduced a bill embodying
this policy, which was followed by a similar measure, early in the
Thirty-ninth Congress, accompanied by an elaborate report, arguing
the question pretty fully, and combating all the objections to the
principle and policy of sale.  My views were commended by Secretary
McCullough, as they had been by Mr. Chase, while I was glad to find
them supported by intelligent men from California, who spoke from
actual observation and extensive experience in mining.

But although this measure fully protected all miners in the right
of exploration and discovery, and carefully guarded against any
interference with vested rights, the idea was in some way rapidly
and extensively propagated that it contemplated a sweeping confiscation
of all their claims, and the less informed among them became wild
with excitement.  The politicians of California and Nevada, instead
of endeavoring to enlighten them and quiet this excitement, yielded
to it absolutely.  They became as completely its instruments as
they have since been of the Anti-Mongolian feeling.  They argued,
at first, that no Congressional legislation was necessary, and that
while the Government should retain the fee of these lands, the
miners should have the entire control of them under regulations
prescribed by themselves.  This, it was believed, would placate
the miners and settle the question; but the introduction of the
measure referred to, and the agitation of the question, had made
some form of legislation inevitable, and the question now was to
determine what that legislation should be.  Senators Conness of
California, and Stewart of Nevada, who were exceedingly hostile to
the bill I had introduced, and feared its passage, sought to avert
it by carrying through the Senate "a bill to regulate the occupation
of mineral lands and to extend the right of pre-emption thereto,"
which they hoped would satisfy their constituents and prevent
further legislation.  They supported it as the next best thing to
total non-action by Congress.  It provided for giving title to the
miners, but it did this by practically abdicating the jurisdiction
of the National Government over these lands, with its recognized
and well-settled machinery for determining all questions of title
and boundary, and handing them over to "the local custom or rules
of the miners."  These "local rules" were to govern the miner in
the location, extension and boundary of his claim, the manner of
developing it, and the survey also, which was not to be executed
with any reference to base lines as in the case of other public
lands, but in utter disregard of the same.  The Surveyor General
was to make a plat or diagram of the claim, and transmit it to the
Commissioner of the General Land Office, who, as the mere agent
and clerk of the miner, with no judicial authority whatever, was
required to issue the patent.  In case of any conflict between
claimants it was to be determined by the "local courts," without
any right of appeal to the local land offices, the General Land
Office, or to the Federal courts.  The Government was thus required
to part with its lands by proceedings executed by officials wholly
outside of its jurisdiction, and irresponsible to its authority.
The act not only abolished our rectangular system of surveys, but
still further insulted the principles of mathematics and the dictates
of common sense by providing that the claimant should have the
right to follow his vein or lode, "with its dips, angles and
variations to any depth, although it may enter the land adjoining,
which land adjoining shall be sold subject to this condition"; a
right unknown to the mining codes of England, France or Prussia,
and not sanctioned by those of Spain or Mexico.  Subject to this
novel principle the crudely extemporized rules of the miners were
to be recognized as law, and this system of instability and
uncertainty made the basis of title and the arbiter of all disputes,
instead of sweeping it away and ushering in a system of permanence
and peace through the well-appointed agency of the Land Department.
It was easy to see that this was an act to encourage litigation
and for the benefit of lawyers, and not to promote the real interest
of the miners or increase the product of the mines.

This was made perfectly clear at the time, by the report of a Senate
committee of the Legislature of Nevada.  In speaking of the local
laws of the miners, it says, "There never was confusion worse
confounded.  More than two hundred districts within the limit of
a single State, each with its self-approved code; these codes
differing not alone each from the other, but presenting numberless
instances of contradiction in themselves.  The law of one point is
not the law of another five miles distant, and a little further on
will be a code which is the law of neither of the former, and so
on, _ad inifitum;_ with the further disturbing fact superadded,
that the written laws themselves may be overrun by some peculiar
custom which can be found nowhere recorded, and the proof of which
will vary with the volume of interested affidavits which may be
brought on either side to establish it.  Again, in one district
the work to be done to hold a claim is nominal, in another exorbitant,
in another abolished, in another adjourned from year to year.  A
stranger, seeking to ascertain the law, is surprised to learn that
there is no satisfactory public record to which he can refer; no
public officer to whom he may apply, who is under any bond or
obligation to furnish him information, or guarantee its authenticity.
Often, in the new districts, he finds there is not even the semblance
of a code, but a simple resolution adopting the code of some other
district, which may be a hundred miles distant.  What guarantee
has he for the investment of either capital or labor under such a
system?"  The report proceeds to show that these regulations can
have no permanency.  "A miners' meeting," it declares, "adopts a
code; it stands apparently as the law.  Some time after, on a few
days' notice, a corporal's guard assembles, and, on simple motion,
radically changes the whole system by which claims may be held in
a district.  Before a man may traverse the State, the laws of a
district, which by examination and study he may have mastered, may
be swept away, and no longer stand as the laws which govern the
interest he may have acquired; and the change has been one which
by no reasonable diligence could he be expected to have knowledge
of."  Of course these facts thus officially stated in the interest
of the miners of Nevada, were applicable to California, and all
the mining States and Territories, and they fitly and very forcibly
rebuked the attempt to enact the Senate bill.

When this bill reached the House it was properly referred to the
Committee on Public Lands, which then had under consideration the
bill I had reported providing for the survey and sale of mineral
lands through the regular machinery of the Land Department.  The
House Committee subsequently reported it favorably, and could not
be persuaded by the delegations from California and Nevada to adopt
the Senate bill as a substitute.  Senators Stewart and Conness,
finding their project thus baffled, and becoming impatient of delay
as the session neared its close, called up a House bill entitled
"An Act granting the right of way to ditch and canal owners over
the Public Lands in the States of California, Oregon and Nevada,"
and succeeded, by sharp practice, in carrying a motion to strike
out the whole of the bill except the enacting clause, and insert
the bill which the Senate had already enacted and was then before
the House Committee.  This maneuver succeeded, and the bill, thus
enacted by the Senate a second time, and now under a false title,
was sent to the House, where it found its place on the Speaker's
table, and was lying in wait for the sudden and unlooked-for movement
which was to follow.  The title was misleading, and thus enabled
Mr. Ashley of Nevada, to obtain the floor when it was reached, and
under the gag, which of course would cut off all amendment and
debate, he attempted to force through a measure revolutionizing
the whole land policy of the Government so far as relates to the
Western side of the continent, and surrendering the national
authority over its vast magazines of mineral wealth to the legalized
jargon and bewilderment I have depicted.  I succeeded in preventing
a vote by carrying an adjournment, but the question came up the
next day, and the Senators referred to, with their allies in the
House, had used such marvelous industry in organizing and drilling
their forces, and the majority of the members knew so little about
the question involved, that I found the chances decidedly against
me.  I was obliged, also, to encounter a prevailing but perfectly
unwarranted presumption that the representatives of the mining
States were the best judges of the question in dispute, while it
was foolishly regarded as a local one, with which the old States
had no concern.  The clumsy and next to incomprehensible bill thus
became a law, and by legislative methods as indefensible as the
measure itself.

Such is the history of this remarkable experiment in legislation;
but it is an experiment no longer.  Its character has been perfectly
established by time, and the logic of actual facts.  It has been
extensively and thoroughly tried, and after repeated attempts to
amend it by supplementary legislation, its failure stands recorded
in the manifold evils it has wrought.  The Land Commission, appointed
under the administration of President Hayes in pursuance of an Act
of Congress to classify the Public Lands and codify the laws relating
to their disposition, visited the mining States and Territories in
detail, and devoted ample time to the examination of witnesses and
experts in every important locality touching the policy and practical
operation of the laws in force relating to mineral lands.  This
Commission condemned these laws on the strength of overwhelming
evidence, and recommended a thorough and radical reform, including
the reference of all disputed questions as to title and boundary
to the regular officials of the United States; the abolition of
the "local custom or rules of miners," with the "local courts"
provided for their adjudication; and the adoption of the United
States surveys as far as practicable, including the geodetical
principle of ownership in lieu of the policy of allowing the miner
to follow his vein, "with its dips, angles and variations under
the adjoining land of his neighbor," which policy is declared to
be the source of incalculable legislation.  The Commission, in
short, urged the adoption of the principles of the Common Law and
the employment of the appropriate machinery of the Land Department,
as a substitute for the frontier regulations which Congress made
haste to nationalize in 1866.  It declared that under these
regulations "title after title hangs on a local record which may
be defective, mutilated, stolen for blackmail, or destroyed to
accomplish fraud, and of which the grantor, the Government, has
neither knowledge nor control"; that in the evidence taken "it was
repeatedly shown that two or three prospectors, camped in the
wilderness, have organized a mining district, prescribed regulations
involving size of claims, mode of location and nature of record,
elected one of their number recorder, and that officer, on the back
of an envelope, or on the ace of spades grudgingly spared from his
pack, can make with the stump of a lead pencil an entry that the
Government recognizes as the inception of a title which may convey
millions of dollars; that even when the recorder is duly elected
he is not responsible to the United States, is neither bonded nor
under oath, may falsify or destroy his record, may vitiate the
title to millions of dollars, and snap his fingers in the face of
the Government; and that our present mining law might fitly be
entitled 'An Act to cause the Government to join, upon unknown
terms, with an unknown second party, to convey to a third party an
illusory title to an indefinite thing, and encourage the subsequent
robbery thereof.'"

These strong statements are made by a Government commission composed
of able and impartial men, who were guided in their patient search
after the truth by the evidence of "a cloud of witnesses," who
spoke from personal knowledge and experience.  The character of
our mining laws is therefore not a matter of theory, but of
demonstrated fact.  They scourge the mining States and Territories
with the unspeakable curse of uncertainty of land titles, as
everywhere attested by incurable litigation and strife.  They thus
undermine the morals of the people, and pave the way for violence
and crime.  They cripple a great national industry and source of
wealth, and insult the principles of American jurisprudence.  And
the misfortune of this legislation is heightened by the probability
of its continuance; for it is not easy to uproot a body of laws
once accepted by a people, however mischievous in their character.
Custom, and the faculty of adaptation, have a very reconciling
influence upon communities as well as individuals.  Moreover, men
absorbed in a feverish and hazardous industry, and stimulated by
the hope of sudden wealth, are not disposed to consider the advantages
of permanent ownership and security of title.  Their business is
to make their locations according to local custom, and sell out to
the capitalists; while the men who feel the burden of litigation
and the evil of uncertain titles, are not the men who control public
opinion and influence the course of legislation.  It may thus happen
that a system of laws initiated by itinerant miners solely for the
protection of their transient posessory interests, and carried
through Congress at their behest by parliamentary roguery, may be
permanently engrafted upon half the continent.  If California had
been contiguous to the older States, and her mining operations had
only kept pace with the progress of settlements, or if her
representatives had been less ready to sacrifice the enduring
interests of their constituents for temporary and selfish ends,
the wretched travesty of law which now afflicts the States and
Territories of the West would have been unknown, and the same code
and forms of administration would have prevailed from the lakes to
the Pacific.

The lesson of this vital mistake is a pregnant one.  The laws
regulating the ownership and disposition of landed property not
only affect the well-being but frequently the destiny of a people.
The system of primogeniture and entail adopted by the Southern
States of our Union favored the policy of great estates, and the
ruinous system of landlordism and slavery which finally laid waste
the fairest and most fertile section of the republic and threatened
its life; while the New England States, in adopting a different
system, laid the foundations of their prosperity in the soil itself,
and "took a bond of fate" for the welfare of unborn generations.
Their political institutions were the logical outcome of their laws
respecting landed property, which favored a great subdivision of
the land and great equality among the people, thus promoting
prosperous cultivation, compact communities, general education, a
healthy public opinion, democracy in managing the affairs of the
church, and that system of local self government which has since
prevailed over so many States.  So intimate and vital are the
relations between a community and the soil it occupies that in the
nomenclature of politics the word "people" and "land" are convertible
terms; but no people can prosper under any system of land tenures
which tolerates a vexatious uncertainty of title, and thus prompts
every man to become the enemy of his neighbor in the scuffle for
his rights.  Such a state of affairs is worse than pestilence or
famine; but the evil of uncertain titles puts on new and very
aggravated forms in our gold-bearing regions.  The business of
mining naturally awakens the strongest passions.  It sharpens the
faculties and dulls the conscience.  It gives to cupidity its
keenest edge.  Its prizes are often rich and suddenly gained, and
when they are sought through the forms of a law which compels a
man to choose between an expensive and hazardous litigation and
robbery, human nature is severely tried.  No situation could well
be more deplorable than that which obliges a man to pay heavy black-
mail as the only means of saving his property from legal confiscation
by another; and the moral ravages of a code which allows this can
not be computed.  It tempts civilized men to become savages and
savages to become devils.  It is not a mistake merely, but a great
misfortune, that our laws touching so delicate and vital a question
as the ownership and transfer of mineral lands were not so framed
as to avert these frightful evils.  As far as the past is concerned
they are without remedy, and there is no positive safeguard for
the future but in a return to the time-honored principles which
give to the owner of the surface all that may be found within his
lines, extended downward vertically, and refer all disputes to the
old-fashioned and familiar machinery of the General Land Office.
This system gave order and peace to the great lead and copper
regions of the Northwest, and it would bring with it the same
inestimable blessings to the harassed and sorely tried regions of
the Pacific slope.

About the same time the action of Congress supplied another example
of hasty and slip-shod legislation, which has been perhaps equally
prolific of evil.  The State of California, soon after her admission,
had assumed the right to dispose of the public lands within her
borders according to her own peculiar wishes, and in disregard of
the authority of the United States.  This led to such serious
conflicts and complications, that a remedy was sought in a bill to
quiet land titles in that State.  It was a very questionable measure,
inasmuch as the parties claiming title under the State could only
be relieved by recognizing her illegal acts as valid, and at the
expense of claimants under the laws of the United States.  It
necessarily involved the right of pre-emption, and this was distinctly
presented in connection with what was known as the Suscol Ranch in
that State.  It contained about ninety thousand acres, and was
covered by an old Spanish grant which the Supreme Court of the
United States in the year 1862 had pronounced void, soon after
which numerous settlers went upon the land as pre-emptors, as they
had a right to do.  Their claims as such, being disputed by parties
asserting title under the void grant, the General Land Office, on
the reference of the question to that department, decided in favor
of the pre-emptors, upon which the opposing parties procured the
submission of the question to the Attorney-General.  That officer
gave his opinion to the effect that a settler under the pre-emption
laws acquires no vested interest in the land he occupies by virtue
of his settlement, and can acquire no such interest, till he has
taken _all_ the legal steps necessary to perfect an entrance in
the Land Office, being, in the meantime, a mere tenant-at-will,
who may be ejected by the Government at any moment in favor of
another party.  In pursuance of this opinion scores of _bona fide_
settlers were driven from their pre-emptions, which the laws of
the United States had offered them, on certain prescribed conditions,
with which they were willing and anxious to comply, and their homes,
with the valuable improvements made upon them in good faith, were
handed over to speculators and monopolists.  The proceeding was as
outrageous as the ruling which authorized it was surprising to the
whole country; and it naturally awakened uneasiness and alarm among
our pioneer settlers everywhere.  It seemed to me very proper,
therefore, that in a bill to quiet land titles in California, these
troubles on this Ranch should be settled by a fitting amendment,
which should protect the rights of these pre-emptors against the
effect of the ruling referred to.  The opinions of the Attorney-
General had completely overturned the whole policy of the Government
as popularly understood, and I simply proposed to restore it by a
proviso guarding the rights of _bona fide_ settlers who were claiming
title under the laws of the United States; but to my perfect
amazement I found the California delegation bitterly opposed to
this amendment.  The reading of it threw them into a spasm of rage,
and showed that they were less anxious to quiet titles in their
State than to serve the monopolies and rings which had trampled on
the laws of the United States, and thus involved themselves in
trouble.  The zeal and industry of the delegation in this opposition
could only be paralleled by their labors for the passage of their
mineral land bill; and the same appeals were made in both cases.
They said this was a "local measure," and that they understood the
interests of the Pacific coast better than men from the old States,
while they begged and button-holed members with a pertinacity very
rarely witnessed in any legislative body.  They turned the business
of log-rolling to such account that the amendment was defeated by
a strong majority, while it proved the entering wedge to other and
greater outrages upon the rights of settlers which the country has
since witnessed, and was followed by a decision of the Supreme
Court of the United States, fully affirming the principle laid down
in the opinion of the Attorney General.  This ruling, which has
been aptly styled "the Dred Scott decision of the American Pioneer,"
has been repeatedly re-affirmed, while the claim of pre-emption,
once universally regarded as a substantial right, has faded away
into a glamour or myth.


CHAPTER XIV.
RECONSTRUCTION AND IMPEACHMENT.
Gov. Morton and his scheme of Gerrymandering--The XIV Amendment--
Hasty reconstruction and the Territorial plan--The Military Bill--
Impeachment--An amusing incident--Vote against impeachment--The
vote reversed--The popular feeling against the President--The trial
--Republican intolerance--Injustice to senators and to Chief Justice
Chase--Nomination of Gen. Grant--Re-nomination for Congress--Personal
--Squabble of place-hunters--XVI Amendment.

The fall elections of this year were complicated by the hostile
influence of the Executive, but the popular current was strongly
on the side of Congress.  A few prominent Republican members followed
the President, but the great body of them stood firm.  In my own
Congressional district my majority was over 6,200, notwithstanding
the formidable conservative opposition in my own party, and its
extraordinary efforts to divide the Republicans through the patronage
of the Administration.  Nearly all of my old opponents in the
district and State were now Johnsonized, except Gov. Morton, whose
temporary desertion the year before was atoned for by a prudent
and timely repentance.  He was not, however, thoroughly reconstructed;
for in the Philadelphia Loyal Convention which met in September of
this year to consider the critical state of the country, he used
his influence with the delegates from the South to prevent their
espousal of Negro Suffrage, and begged Theodore Tilton to prevail
on Frederick Douglass to take the first train of cars for home, in
order to save the Republican party from detriment.  He was still
under the shadow of his early Democratic training; and he and his
satellites, vividly remembering my campaign for Negro Suffrage the
year before, and finding me thoroughly intrenched in my Congressional
district, hit upon a new project for my political discomfiture.
This was the re-districting of the State at the ensuing session of
the Indiana Legislature, which they succeeded in accomplishing by
disguising their real purpose.  There was neither reason nor excuse
for such a scheme at this time, apart from my political fortunes;
and by the most shameless Gerrymandering three counties of my
district, which gave me a majority of 5,000, were taken from me,
and four others added in which I was personally but little acquainted,
and which gave an aggregate Democratic majority of about 1,500.
This was preliminary to the next Congressional race, and the success
of the enterprise remained to be tested; but it furnished a curious
illustration of the state of Indiana Republicanism at that time.

On the meeting of Congress in December the signs of political
progress since the adjournment were quite noticeable.  The subject
of impeachment began to be talked about, and both houses seemed
ready for all necessary measures.  Since mingling freely with their
constituents, very few Republican members insisted that the XIV
Constitutional Amendment should be accepted as a finality, or as
an adequate solution of the problem of reconstruction.  The second
section of that amendment, proposing to abandon the colored race
in the South on condition that they should not be counted in the
basis of representation, was now generally condemned, and if the
question had been a new one it could not have been adopted.  This
enlightenment of Northern representatives was largely due to the
prompt and contemptuous rejection by the rebellious States of the
XIV Amendment as a scheme of reconstruction, and their enactment
of black codes which made the condition of the freedmen more
deplorable than slavery itself.  In this instance, as in that of
Mr. Lincoln's Proclamation of Emancipation, it was rebel desperation
which saved the negro; for if the XIV Amendment had been at first
accepted, the work of reconstruction would have ended without
conferring upon him the ballot.  This will scarcely be denied by
any one, and has been frankly admitted by some of the most
distinguished leaders of the party.

The policy of treating these States as Territories seemed now to
be rapidly gaining ground, and commended itself as the only logical
way out of the political dilemma in which the Government was placed.
But here again the old strife between radicalism and conservatism
cropped out.  The former opposed all haste in the work of
reconstruction.  It insisted that what the rebellious districts
needed was not an easy and speedy return to the places they had
lost by their treasonable conspiracy, but a probationary training,
looking to their restoration when they should prove their fitness
for civil government as independent States.  It was insisted that
they were not prepared for this, and that with their large population
of ignorant negroes and equally ignorant whites, dominated by a
formidable oligarchy of educated land-owners who despised the power
that had conquered them, while they still had the sympathy of their
old allies in the North, the withdrawal of Federal intervention
and the unhindered operation of local supremacy would as fatally
hedge up the way of justice and equality as the rebel despotisms
then existing.  The political and social forces of Southern society,
if unchecked from without, were sure to assert themselves, and the
more decided anti-slavery men in both houses of Congress so warned
the country, and foretold that no theories of Democracy could avail
unless adequately supported by a healthy and intelligent public
opinion.  They saw that States must grow, and could not be suddenly
constructed where the materials were wanting, and that forms are
worthless in the hands of an ignorant mob.  It was objected to the
territorial theory that it was arbitrary, and would lead to corruption
and tyranny like the pro-consular system of Rome; but it was simply
the territorial system to which we had been accustomed from the
beginning of the Government, and could not prove worse than the
hasty re-admission of ten conquered districts to the dignity of
States of the Union, involving, as it has done, the horrors of
carpet-bag government, Ku Klux outrages, and a system of pro-consular
tyranny as inconsistent with the rights of these States as it has
been disgraceful to the very idea of free government and fatal to
the best interests of the colored race.

But the strange chaos of opinion which now prevailed was unfavorable
to sound thinking or wise acting.  Great and far-reaching interests
were at stake, but they were made the sport of politicians, and
disposed of in the light of their supposed effect upon the ascendancy
of the Republican party.  Statesmanship was sacrificed to party
management, and the final result was that the various territorial
bills which had been introduced in both Houses, and the somewhat
incongruous bills of Stevens and Ashley, were all superseded by
the passage of the "Military bill," which was vetoed by the President,
but re-enacted in the face of his objections.  This bill was utterly
indefensible on principle.  It was completely at war with the genius
and spirit of democratic government.  Instead of furnishing the
Rebel districts with civil governments, and providing for a military
force adequate to sustain them, it abolished civil government
entirely, and installed the army in its place.  It was a confession
of Congressional incompetence to deal with a problem which Congress
alone had the right to solve.  Its provisions perfectly exposed it
to all the objections which could be urged to the plan of territorial
reconstruction, while they inaugurated a centralized military
despotism in the place of that system of well-understood local self-
government which the territorial policy offered as a preparation
for restoration.  The measure was analyzed and exposed with great
ability by Henry J. Raymond, whose arguments were unanswered and
unanswerable; but nothing could stay the prevailing impatience of
Congress for speedy legislation looking to the early return of the
rebel districts to their places in the Union.  The bill was a
legislative solecism.  It did not abrogate the existing Rebel State
governments.  It left the ballot in the hands of white Rebels, and
did not confer it upon the black loyalists.  It sought to conciliate
the power it was endeavoring to coerce.  It provided for negro
suffrage as one of the fundamental conditions on which the rebellious
States should be restored to their places in the Union, but left
the negro to the mercy of their black codes, pending the decision
of the question of their acceptance of the proposed conditions of
restoration.  The freedmen were completely in the power of their
old masters, so long as the latter might refuse the terms of
reconstruction that were offered; and they had the option to refuse
them entirely, if they saw fit to prefer their own mad ascendancy
and its train of disorders to compulsory restoration.  This perfectly
inexcusable abandonment of negro suffrage was zealously defended
by a small body of conservative Republicans who were still lingering
in the sunshine of executive favor, and of whom Mr. Blaine was the
chief; and it was through the timely action of Mr. Shellabarger,
of Ohio, which these conservatives opposed, that the scheme of
reconstruction was finally so amended as to make the Rebel State
governments provisional only, and secure the ballot to the negro
during the period, whether long or short, which might intervene
prior to the work of re-admission.  This provision was absolutely
vital, because it took from the people of the insurrectionary
districts every motive for refusing the acceptance of the terms
proposed, and settled the work of reconstruction by this exercise
of absolute power by their conquerors.  It was this provision which
secured the support of the Radical Republicans in Congress; but it
did not meet their objections to this scheme of hasty military
reconstruction, while these objections have been amply justified
by time.

Thaddeus Stevens never appeared to such splendid advantage as a
parliamentary leader as in this protracted debate on reconstruction.
He was then nearly seventy-six, and was physically so feeble that
he could scarcely stand; but his intellectual resources seemed to
be perfectly unimpaired.  Eloquence, irony, wit, and invective,
wre charmingly blended in the defense of his positions and his
attacks upon his opponents.  In dealing with the views of Bingham,
Blaine, and Banks, he was by no means complimentary.  He referred
to them in his closing speech on the bill, on the thirteenth of
February, when he said, in response to an interruption by Mr.
Blaine, "What I am speaking of is this proposed step toward universal
amnesty and universal Andy-Johnsonism.  If this Congress so decides,
it will give me great pleasure to join in the _io triumphe_ of the
gentleman from Ohio in leading this House, possibly by forbidden
paths, into the sheep-fold or the goat-fold of the President."  In
speaking of the amendment to the bill offered by General Banks, he
said, "It proposes to set up a contrivance at the mouth of the
Mississippi, and by hydraulic action to control all the States that
are washed by the waters of that great stream."  He declared that,
"The amendment of the gentleman from Maine lets in a vast number
of Rebels, and shuts out nobody.  All I ask is that when the House
comes to vote upon that amendment, it shall understand that the
adoption of it would be an entire surrender of those States into
the hands of the Rebels. * * * If, sir, I might presume upon my
age, without claiming any of the wisdom of Nestor, I would suggest
to the young gentlemen around me, that the deeds of this burning
crisis, of this solemn day, of this thrilling moment, will cast
their shadows far into the future, and will make their impress upon
the annals of our history; and that we shall appear upon the bright
pages of that history just in so far as we cordially, without guile,
without bickering, without small criticisms, lend our aid to promote
the great cause of humanity and universal liberty."

As a precautionary measure against executive usurpation, the Fortieth
Congress was organized in March, 1867, immediately after the
adjournment of the Thirty-ninth.  After a brief session it adjourned
till the third of July to await the further progress of events.
On re-assembling I found the feeling in favor of impeachment had
considerably increased, but was not yet strong enough to prevail.
All that could be done was the passage of a supplemental act on
the subject of reconstruction, which naturally provoked another
veto, in which the President re-affirmed the points of his message
vetoing the original bill, and arraigned the action of Congress as
high-handed and despotic.  The message was construed by the
Republicans as an open defiance, and many of them felt that a great
duty had been slighted in failing to impeach him months before.
The feeling against him became perfectly relentless, as I distinctly
remember it, and shared in it myself; but on referring to the
message now, I am astonished at the comparative moderation of its
tone, and the strength of its positions.  Its logic, in the main,
is impregnable, if it be granted that the Rebel districts were not
only States, but States _in the Union,_ and the Congress which was
now so enraged at the President had itself refused to deal with
them as Territories or outlying possessions, and thereby invited
the aggravating thrusts of the message at the consistency of his
assailants.

Just before the adjournment of this brief session of Congress, an
amusing incident occurred in connection with the introduction of
the following resolution in the House:

"_Resolved,_ That the doctrines avowed by the President of the
United States, in his message to Congress of the fifteenth instant,
to the effect that the abrogation of the governments of the Rebel
States binds the Nation to pay the debts incurred prior to the late
Rebellion, is at war with the principles of international law, a
deliberate stab at the national credit, abhorrent to every sentiment
of loyalty, and well-pleasing only to the vanquished traitors by
whose agency alone the governments of said States were overthrown
and destroyed."

The resolution was adopted by yeas one hundred, nays eighteen, and
the announcement of the vote provoked the laughter of both sides
of the House.  It gratified the Republicans, because it was a thrust
at Andrew Johnson, and perfectly accorded with their prevailing
political mood, which was constantly becoming more embittered toward
him.  It equally gratified the Democrats, because they at once
accepted it as a telling shot at Gov. Morton, who had fathered the
condemned heresy nearly two years before in his famous Richmond
speech, which he and his friends had been doing their best to
forget.  Party feeling had never before been more intense; but this
resolution performed its mediatorial office with such magical effect
in playing with two utterly diverse party animosities, that
Republicans and Democrats were alike surprised to find themselves
suddenly standing on common ground, and joyfully shaking hands in
token of this remarkable display of their good fellowship.

Congress assembled again on the twenty-first of November, in
consequence of the extraordinary conduct of the President.  The
popular feeling in favor of impeachment had now become formidable,
and on the twenty-fifth the Judiciary Committee of the House finally
reported in favor of the measure.  The galleries were packed, and
the scene was one of great interest, while all the indications
seemed to point to success; but on the seventh of December, the
proposition was voted down by yeas fifty-seven, nays one hundred
and eight.  The vote was a great surprise and disappointment to
the friends of impeachment, and was construed by them as a wanton
surrender by Congress, and the prelude to new acts of executive
lawlessness.  These acts continued to be multiplied, and the removal
of Secretary Stanton finally so prepared the way that on the twenty-
fourth of February, 1868, the House, by a vote of one hundred and
twenty-six to forty-seven, declared in favor of impeachment.  The
crowds in the galleries, in the lobbies, and on the floor were
unprecedented, and the excitement at high tide.  The fifty-seven
who had voted for impeachment in December, were now happy.  They
felt, at last, that the country was safe.  The whole land seemed
to be electrified, as they believed it would have been at any
previous time if the House had had the nerve to go forward; and
they rejoiced that the madness of Johnson had at last compelled
Congress to face the great duty.  A committee of seven was appointed
by the Speaker to prepare articles of impeachment, of whom Thaddeus
Stevens was chairman.  He was now rapidly failling in strength, and
every morning had to be carried up stairs to his seat in the House;
but his humor never failed him, and on one of these occasions he
said to the young men who had him in charge, "I wonder, boys, who
will carry me when you are dead and gone."  He was very thin, pale
and haggard.  His eye was bright, but his face was "scarred by the
crooked autograph of pain."  He was a constant sufferer, and during
the session of the Committee kept himself stimulated by sipping a
little wine or brandy; but he was its ruling spirit, and greatly
speeded its work by the clearness of his perceptions and the strength
of his will.  His mental force seemed to defy the power of disease.
The articles of impeachment were ready for submission in a few
days, and adopted by the House, on the second of March, by a majority
of considerably more than two thirds, when the case was transferred
to the Senate.

The popular feeling against the President was now rapidly nearing
its climax and becoming a sort of frenzy.  Andrew Johnson was no
longer merely a "wrong-headed and obstinate man," but a "genius in
depravity," whose hoarded malignity and passion were unfathomable.
He was not simply "an irresolute mule," as General Schenck had
styled him, but was devil-bent upon the ruin of his country; and
his trial connected itself with all the memories of the war, and
involved the Nation in a new and final struggle for its life.  Even
so sober and unimaginative a man as Mr. Boutwell, one of the managers
of the impeachment in the Senate, lost his wits and completely
surrendered himself to the passions of the hour in the following
passage of his speech in that body:

"Travelers and astronomers inform us that in the Southern heavens,
near the Southern Cross, there is a vast space which the uneducated
call the 'hole in the sky,' where the eye of man, with the aid of
the powers of the telescope, has been unable to discover nebulae,
or asteroid, or comet, or plant, or star or sun.  In that dreary,
cold, dark region of space, which is only known to be less than
infinite by the evidences of creation elsewhere, the great Author
of celestial mechanism has left the chaos which was in the beginning.
If this earth were capable of the sentiments and emotions of justice
and virtue, which in human mortal beings are the evidences and the
pledge of our divine origin and immortal destiny, it would heave
and throe with the energy of the elemental forces of nature, and
project this enemy of two races of men into that vast region, there
forever to exist, in a solitude as eternal as life, or as the
absence of life, emblematical of, if not really, that 'outer
darkness' of which the Savior of man spoke in warning to those who
are the enemies of themselves, of their race, and of their God."

This fearful discharge of rhetorical fireworks at the President
fitly voiced the general sentiment of the Republicans.  Party
madness was in the air, and quite naturally gave birth to the "hole
in the sky" in the agony of its effort to find expression.  No
extravagance of speech or explosion of wrath was deemed out of
order during this strange dispensation in our politics.

The trial proceeded with unabated interest, and on the afternoon
of the eleventh of May the excitement reached its highest point.
Reports came from the Senate, then in secret session, that Grimes,
Fessenden and Henderson were certainly for acquittal, and that
other senators were to follow them.  An indescribable gloom now
prevailed among the friends of impeachment, which increased during
the afternoon, and at night when the Senate was again in session.
At the adjournment there was some hope of conviction, but it was
generally considered very doubtful.  On meeting my old anti-slavery
friend, Dr. Brisbane, he told me he felt as if he were sitting up
with a sick friend who was expected to die.  His face was the
picture of despair.  To such men it seemed that all the trials of
the war were merged in this grand issue, and that it involved the
existence of Free Government on this continent.  The final vote
was postponed till the sixteenth, owing to Senator Howard's illness,
and on the morning of that day the friends of impeachment felt more
confident.  The vote was first taken on the eleventh article.  The
galleries were packed, and an indescribable anxiety was written on
every face.  Some of the members of the House near me grew pale
and sick under the burden of suspense.  Such stillness prevailed
that the breathing in the galleries could be heard at the announcement
of each senator's vote.  This was quite noticeable when any of the
doubtful senators voted, the people holding their breath as the
words "guilty" or "not guilty" were pronounced, and then giving it
simultaneous vent.  Every heart throbbed more anxiously as the name
of Senator Fowler was reached, and the Chief Justice propounded to
him the prescribed question:  "How say you, is the respondent,
Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, guilty or not guilty
of a high misdemeanor, as charged in this article of impeachment?"
The senator, in evident excitement, inadvertently answered "guilty,"
and thus lent a momentary relief to the friends of impeachment;
but this was immediately dissipated by correcting his vote on the
statement of the Chief Justice that he did not understand the
senator's response to the question.  Nearly all hope of conviction
fled when Senator Ross, of Kansas, voted "not guilty," and a long
breathing of disappointment and despair followed the like vote of
Van Winkle, which settled the case in favor of the President.

It is impossible now to realize how perfectly overmastering was
the excitement of these days.  The exercise of calm judgment was
simply out of the question.  As I have already stated, passion
ruled the hour, and constantly strengthened the tendency to one-
sidedness and exaggeration.  The attempt to impeach the President
was undoubtedly inspired, mainly, by patriotic motives; but the
spirit of intolerance among Republicans toward those who differed
with them in opinion set all moderation and common sense at defiance.
Patriotism and party animosity were so inextricably mingled and
confounded that the real merits of the controversy could only be
seen after the heat and turmoil of the strife had passed away.
Time has made this manifest.  Andrew Johnson was not the Devil-
incarnate he was then painted, nor did he monopolize, entirely,
the "wrong-headedness" of the times.  No one will now dispute that
the popular estimate of his character did him very great injustice.
It is equally certain that great injustice was done to Trumbull,
Fessenden, Grimes and other senators who voted to acquit the
President, and gave proof of their honesty and independence by
facing the wrath and scorn of the party with which they had so long
been identified.  The idea of making the question of impeachment
a matter of party discipline was utterly indefensible and preposterous.
"Those senators," as Horace Greeley declared, "were sublimely in
the right who maintained their independent judgment--whether it
was correct or erroneous, in a matter of this kind, and who
indignantly refused all attempts to swerve them from their duty as
they had undertaken to perform it by solemn oaths."  The Chief
Justice was also cruelly and inexcusably wronged by imputing corrupt
motives to his official action.  His integrity and courage had been
amply demonstrated through many long years of thorough and severe
trial; and yet many of his Republican friends, both in the Senate
and House, who had known him throughout his political career,
denounced him as an apostate and a traitor, and even denied him
all social recognition.  Senator Howe, of Wisconsin, was especially
abusive, and made himself perfectly ridiculous by the extravagance
and malignity of his assaults.  The judicial spirit was everywhere
wanting, and the elevation of Senator Wade to the Presidency in
the midst of so much passion and tumult, and with the peculiar
political surroundings which the event foreshadowed, would have
been, to say the least, a very questionable experiment for the
country.

The excitement attending the trial of the President soon subsided,
but the Republicans continued anxious about the state of the country.
The work of reconstruction was only fairly begun, and its completion
was involved in the approaching presidential election.  Chase and
Seward had lost their standing in the party, and there was no longer
any civilian in its ranks whose popularity was especially commanding
or at all over-shadowing.  Under these circumstances it was quite
natural to turn to the army, and to canvass the claims of Gen.
Grant.  The idea of his nomination was exceedingly distasteful to
me.  I personally knew him to be intemperate.  In politics he was
a Democrat.  He did not profess to be a Republican, and the only
vote he had ever given was cast for James Buchanan in 1856, when
the Republican party made its first grand struggle to rescue the
Government from the clutches of slavery.  Moreover, he had had no
training whatever in civil administration, and no one thought of
him as a statesman.  But the plea of his availability as a military
chieftain was urged with great effect, and was made irresistible
by the apprehension that if not nominated by the Republicans the
Democrats would appropriate him, and make him a formidable instrument
of mischief.  His nomination, however, was only secured by cautious
and timely diplomacy, and potent appeals to his sordidness, in the
shape of assurances that he should have the office for a second
term.  But as the nominee of his party, fairly committed to its
principles and measures touching the unsettled questions of
reconstruction and suffrage, I saw no other practicable alternative
than to give him my support.  I was still further reconciled to
this by the action of the Democrats in the nomination of Seymour
and Blair, and the avowal of the latter in his famous "Brodhead
letter," that "we must have a President who will execute the will
of the people by trampling in the dust the usurpations of Congress
known as the Reconstruction Acts."

In my new Congressional district I was unanimously re-nominated by
the Republicans, and entered at once upon the canvass, though
scarcely well enough to leave my bed.  The issue was doubtful, and
my old-time enemies put forth their whole power against me at the
election.  They were determined, this time, to win, and to make
sure of this they embarked in a desperate and shameless scheme of
ballot-stuffing in the city of Richmond, which was afterward fully
exposed; but in spite of this enterprise of "Ku Klux Republicans,"
I was elected by a small majority.  The result, however, foreshadowed
the close of my congressional labors, which followed two years
later, just as the XV Constitutional Amendment had made voters of
the colored men of the State; but it was only made possible by my
failing health, which had unfitted me for active leadership.  In
my old district I had made myself absolutely invincible.  For twenty-
one years in succession, that is to say, from the year 1848 to the
year 1868, both inclusive, I canvassed that district by townships
and neighborhoods annually on the stump.  In the beginning, public
opinion was overwhelmingly and fiercely against me, but I resolved,
at whatever cost, to reconstruct it in conformity with my own
earnest convictions.  I literally wore myself out in the work, and
am perfectly amazed when I recall the amount of it I performed,
and the complete abandon of myself to the task.  From the beginning
to the end of this struggle the politicians of the district were
against me, and they were numerous and formidable, and in every
contest were reinforced by the politicians of the State.  Although
the ranks of my supporters were constantly recruited and no man
ever had more devoted friends, I was obliged, during all these
years, to stand alone as the champion of my cause in debate.  I
believe no Congressional district in the Union was ever the theatre
of so much hard toil by a single man; but although it involved the
serious abridgement of health and life, the ruinous neglect of my
private affairs, and the sacrifice of many precious friendships,
I was not without my reward.  I succeeded in my work.  Step by step
I saw my constituents march up to my position, and the district at
last completely disenthralled by the ceaseless and faithful
administration of anti-slavery truth.  The tables were completely
turned.  Almost everybody was an Abolitionist, and nobody any longer
made a business of swearing that he was not.  In canvassing my
district it became the regular order of business for a caravan of
candidates for minor offices, who were sportively called the "side
show," to follow me from point to point, all vying with each other
as to which had served longest and most faithfully as my friends.
They had always been opposed to slavery, and men who had taken the
lead in mobbing Abolitionists in earlier days and gained a livelihood
by slave-catching, were now active and zealous leaders in the
Republican party.  It was a marvelous change.  Slavery itself,
greatly to the surprise and delight of its enemies, had perished;
but it was, after all, only one form of a world-wide evil.  The
abolition of the chattel slavery of the Southern negro was simply
the introduction and prelude to the emancipation of all races from
all forms of servitude, and my Congressional record had been a
practical illustration of my faith in this truth.  The rights of
man are sacred, whether trampled down by Southern slave-drivers,
the monopolists of the soil, the grinding power of corporate wealth,
the legalized robbery of a protective tariff, or the power of
concentrated capital in alliance with labor-saving machinery.

During the winter preceding the inauguration of the President I
was besieged by place-hunters more than ever before.  They thronged
about me constantly, while I generally wrote from twenty to thirty
letters per day in response to inquiries about appointments from
my district.  The squabbles over post-office appointments were by
far the most vexatious and unmanageable.  They were singularly
fierce, and I found it wholly impossible to avoid making enemies
of men who had supported me with zeal.  I was tormented for months
about the post-office of a single small town in Franklin county,
where the rival parties pounced upon each other like cannibals,
and divided the whole community into two hostile camps.  I was
obliged to give my days and nights to this wretched business, and
often received only curses for the sincerest endeavors to do what
I believed was right.  The experience became absolutely sickening,
and could not be otherwise than seriously damaging to me politically.
Such matters were wholly foreign to the business of legislation,
and I wrote a very earnest letter to Mr. Jenckes, of Rhode Island,
heartily commending his measure proposed in the preceding Congress
for the reform of our Civil Service, and for which, as the real
pioneer of this movement, he deserves a monument.

It was on the eighth of December, 1868, that I submitted a proposed
amendment to the Constitution, declaring that "the right of suffrage
in the United States shall be based upon citizenship, and shall be
regulated by Congress"; and that "all citizens of the United States,
whether native or naturalized, shall enjoy this right equally,
without any distinction or discrimination whatever founded on race,
color, or sex."  This was prior to the ratification of the XV
Amendment, and I so numbered the proposition; but on further
reflection I preferred an amendment in the exact form of the
fifteenth, and early in the next Congress I submitted it, being
the first proposition offered for a sixteenth amendment to the
Constitution.  My opinions about woman suffrage, however, date much
farther back.  The subject was first brought to my attention in a
brief chapter on the "political non-existence of woman," in Miss
Martineau's book on "Society in America," which I read in 1847.
She there pithily states the substance of all that has since been
said respecting the logic of woman's right to the ballot, and
finding myself unable to answer it, I accepted it.  On recently
referring to this chapter I find myself more impressed by its force
than when I first read it.  "The most principled Democratic writers
on Government," she said, "have on this subject sunk into fallacies
as disgraceful as any advocate of despotism has adduced.  In fact,
they have thus sunk, from being, for the moment, advocates of
despotism.  Jefferson in America, and James Mill at home, subside,
for the occasion, to the level of the Emperor of Russia's catechism
for the young Poles."  This she makes unanswerably clear; but my
interest in the slavery question was awakened about the same time.
I regarded it as the _previous_ question, and as less abstract and
far more immediately important and absorbing than that of suffrage
for woman.  For the sake of the negro I accepted Mr. Lincoln's
philosophy of "one war at a time," though always ready to show my
hand; but when this was fairly out of the way, I was prepared to
enlist actively in the next grand movement in behalf of the sacredness
and equality of human rights.


CHAPTER XV.
GRANT AND GREELEY.
The new Cabinet--Seeds of party disaffection--Trip to California--
Party degeneracy--The liberal Republican movement--Re-nomination
of Grant--The Cincinnati convention--Perplexities of the situation
--The canvass for Greeley--Its bitterness--Its peculiar features--
The defeat--The vindication of Liberals--Visit to Chase and Sumner
--Death of Greeley.

The inaugural speech of Gen. Grant was a feeble performance, and
very unsatisfactory to his friends.  When he announced his Cabinet,
disappointment was universal among Republicans, and was greatly
increased when he asked Congress to relieve A. T. Stewart, his
nominee for Secretary of the Treasury, from the disability wisely
imposed by the Act of Congress of 1789, forbidding the appointment
to that position of any one engaged "in carrying on the business
of trade or commerce."  Senator Sherman at once introduced a bill
to repeal this enactment, but Mr. Sumner vigorously opposed the
measure, and the President soon afterward sent a message to the
Senate asking leave to withdraw his request as to Mr. Stewart.  It
was doubtless the prompt and decided stand taken by Mr. Sumner in
this matter which laid the foundation for the President's personal
hostility to him, which so remarkably developed itself during the
following years.  The seeds of a party feud were thus planted, and
as the Administration continued to show its hand, bore witness to
a vigorous growth.

In June of this year I made a trip to California in search of
health, which I had lost through overwork, and was now paying the
penalty in a very distressing form of insomnia.  I took one of the
first through trains to the Pacific, and on reaching the State, I
found sight-seeing and travel so irresistible a temptation, that
I lost the rest and quiet I so absolutely needed.  I was constantly
on the wing; and I encountered at every point, the "settler," who
was anxious to talk over the land squabbles of the State, with
which I had had much to do in Congress, but now needed for a season
to forget.  I found that the half had not been told me respecting
the ravages of land-grabbing under the Swamp Land Act of 1850, and
the mal-administration of Mexican and Spanish grants.  I was full
of the subject, and was obliged, also, to give particular attention
to the pre-emption of J. M. Hutchings, in the Yosemite Valley, for
the protection of which I had reported a bill which was then pending;
and I came near losing my life in the valley through the fatigue
I suffered in reaching it.  After a stay of over two months in
California, and a trip by steamer to Oregon and Washington Territory,
I returned home early in September, but in no better health than
when I left; and a like experience attended a journey to Minnesota
soon afterward, where I was captured by leading railroad men who
belabored me over the land-grant to the St. Croix and Bayfield
railroad, the revival of which I had aided in defeating at the
previous session of Congress.

I returned to Washington in December, but physically unfit for
labor, spending most of the session in New York under the care of
a physician.  I deeply regretted this, for the railway lobby was
in Washington in full force, as it was during the closing session
of the Forty-first Congress, when I was equally unfit for business.
I was not, however, without consolation.  Under the popular reaction
against the Land-grant system which I had done my part to create,
the huge pile of land bills on the Speaker's table failed, save
the Texas Pacific project, which was carried by the most questionable
methods, and against such a general protest as clearly indicated
the end of this policy.  A vote of nearly two to one was carried
in the House in favor of a bill reported by the Land Committee
defining swamp and overflowed lands, and guarding against the
enormous swindles that had disgraced the Land Department and
afflicted honest settlers.  A like vote was secured in favor of
the bill to prevent the further disposition of the public lands
save under the pre-emption and homestead laws, for which I had
labored for years.  Many thousands of acres had been saved from
the clutches of monopolists by attaching to several important grants
the condition that the lands should be sold only to actual settlers,
in quantities not exceeding a quarter section, and for not more
than two dollars and fifty cents per acre.  A very important reform,
already referred to, had been made in our Indian treaty policy, by
which lands relinquished by any tribe would henceforth fall under
the operation of our land laws, instead of being sold in a body to
some corporation or individual monopolist.  The Southern Homestead
law had dedicated to actual settlement millions of acres of the
public domain in the land States of the South, while the Homestead
Act of 1862 was splendidly vindicating the wisdom of its policy.
Congress had declared forfeited and open to settlement a large
grant of lands in Louisiana for non-compliance with the conditions
on which it was made, and the public domain had been saved from
frightful spoilation by the fortunate defeat of a scheme of land
bounties that would completely have overturned the policy of the
pre-emption and homestead laws, while practically mocking the claims
of the soldiers.  The opportunity, now and then, to strangle a
legislative monster like this, or to further the passage of beneficent
and far-reaching measures, is one of the real compensations of
public life.

The final ratification of the Fifteenth Constitutional Amendment,
which was declared in force on the thirtieth of March, 1870,
perfectly consummated the mission of the Republican party, and left
its members untrammeled in dealing with new questions.  In fact,
the Republican movement in the beginning was a political combination,
rather than a party.  Its action was inspired less by a creed than
an object, and that object was to dedicate our National Territories
to freedom, and denationalize slavery.  Aside from this object,
the members of the combination were hopelessly divided.  The
organization was created to deal with this single question, and
would not have existed without it.  It was now regarded by many as
a spent political force, although it had received a momentum which
threatened to outlast its mission; and if it did not keep the
promise made in its platform of 1868, to reform the corruptions of
the preceding Administration, and at the same time manfully wrestle
with the new problems of the time, it was morally certain to
degenerate into a faction, led by base men, and held together by
artful appeals to the memories of the past.  Our tariff legislation
called for a thorough revision.  Our Civil Service was becoming a
system of political prostitution.  Roguery and plunder, born of
the multiplied temptations which the war furnished, had stealthily
crept into the management of public affairs, and claimed immunity
from the right of search.  What the country needed was not a stricter
enforcement of party discipline, not military methods and the
fostering of sectional hate, but oblivion of the past, and an
earnest, intelligent, and catholic endeavor to grapple with the
questions of practical administration.

But this, in the very nature of the case, was not to be expected.
The men who agreed to stand together in 1856, on a question which
was now out of the way, and had postponed their differences on
current party questions for that purpose, were comparatively unfitted
for the task of civil administration in a time of peace.  They had
had no preparatory training, and the engrossing struggle through
which they had passed had, in fact, disqualified them for the work.
While the issues of the war were retreating into the past the
mercenary element of Republicanism had gradually secured the
ascendancy, and completely appropriated the President.  The mischiefs
of war had crept into the conduct of civil affairs, and a thorough
schooling of the party in the use of power had familiarized it with
military ideas and habits, and committed it to loose and indefensible
opinions respecting the powers of the General Government.  The
management of the Civil Service was an utter mockery of political
decency, while the animosities engendered by the war were nursed
and coddled as the appointed means of uniting the party and covering
up its misdeeds.  The demand for reform, as often as made, was
instantly rebuked, and the men who uttered it branded as enemies
of the party and sympathizers with treason.  It is needless to go
into details; but such was the drift of general demoralization that
the chief founders and pre-eminent representatives of the party,
Chase, Seward, Sumner and Greeley were obliged to desert it more
than a year before the end of Gen. Grant's first administration,
as the only means of maintaining their honor and self-respect.  My
Congressional term expired a little after Grant and Babcock had
inaugurated the San Domingo project, and Sumner had been degraded
from the Chairmanship of the Committee on Foreign Affairs to make
room for Simon Cameron.  The "irrepressible conflict" had just
begun to develop itself between the element of honesty and reform
in the party, and the corrupt leadership which sought to make
merchandise of its good name, and hide its sins under the mantle
of its past achievements.

After the adjournment of the Forty-first Congress in March, 1871,
I visited New York, where I called on Greeley.  We took a drive
together, and spent the evening at the house of a mutual friend,
where we had a free political talk.  He denounced the Administration
and the San Domingo project in a style which commanded my decided
approval, for my original dislike of Grant had been ripening into
disgust and contempt, and, like Greeley, I had fully made up my
mind that under no circumstance could I ever again give him my
support.  After my return home I wrote several articles for the
Press in favor of a "new departure" in the principles of the party.
Mr. Vallandigham had just given currency to this phrase by employing
it to designate his proposed policy of Democratic acquiescence in
the XIV and XV Constitutional Amendments, which was seconded by
the "Missouri Republican," and accepted by the party the following
year.  The "new departure" I commended to my own party was equally
thorough, proposing the radical reform of its Tariff and Land
Policy, and its emancipation from the rule of great corporations
and monopolies; a thorough reform of its Civil Service, beginning
with a declaration in favor of the "one-term principle," and
condemning the action of the President in employing the whole power
and patronage of his high office in securing his re-election for
a second term by hurling from office honest, capable and faithful
men, simply to make places for scalawags and thieves; and the
unqualified repudiation of his conduct in heaping honors and
emoluments upon his poor kin, while accepting presents of fine
houses and other tempting gifts from unworthy men, who were paid
off in fat places.  I did not favor the disbanding of the party,
or ask that it should make war on Gen. Grant, but earnestly protested
against the policy that sought to Tammany-ize the organization
through his re-nomination.

Returning to Washington on the meeting of Congress in December, I
conferred with Trumbull, Schurz and Sumner, respecting the situation,
and the duty of Republicans in facing the party crisis which was
evidently approaching.  During the session, I listened to the great
debate in the Senate on Sumner's resolution of inquiry as to the
sale of arms to the French, and was delighted with the replies of
Schurz and Sumner to Conkling and Morton.  My dislike of the
President steadily increased, and his disgraceful conduct towards
Sumner and alliance with Morton, Conkling, Cameron, and their
associates rendered it morally impossible for me any longer to
fight under his banner.  The situation became painfully embarrassing,
since every indication seemed to point to his re-nomination as a
foregone conclusion.  But I clung to the hope that events would in
some way order it otherwise.  In February, I was strongly urged to
become a candidate for Congressman at large under the new Congressional
apportionment; and although failing health unfitted me for active
politics, to which I had no wish to return, I really wanted the
compliment of the nomination.  The long-continued and wanton
opposition which had been waged against me in my own party led me
to covet it, and in the hope that General Grant's nomination might
yet be averted I allowed my friends to urge my claims, and to
believe I would accept the honor if tendered, which I meant to do
should this hope be realized.  I saw that I could secure it.  My
standing in my own party was better than ever before.  The
"Indianapolis Journal," for the first time, espoused my cause,
along with other leading Republican papers in different sections
of the State.  The impolicy and injustice of the warfare which had
long been carried on against me in Indiana were so generally felt
by all fair-minded Republicans that Senator Morton himself, though
personally quite as hostile as ever, was constrained to call off
his forces, and favor a policy of conciliation.  It was evident
that my nomination was assured if I remained in the field; but as
time wore on I saw that the re-nomination of General Grant had
become absolutely inevitable; and, as I could not support him I
could not honorably accept a position which would commit me in his
favor.  The convention was held on the 22d of February, and on the
day before I sent a telegram peremptorily refusing to stand as a
candidate; and I soon afterward formally committed myself to the
Liberal Republican movement.  I could not aid in the re-election
of Grant without sinning against decency and my own self-respect.
I deplored the fact, but there was no other alternative.  If it
had been morally possible, I would have supported him gladly.  I
had no personal grievances to complain of, and most sincerely
regretted the necessity which compelled my withdrawal from political
associations in which I had labored many long years, and through
seasons of great national danger.  If I had consulted my own selfish
ambition I would have chosen a different course, since I knew by
painful experience the cost of party desertion, while the fact was
well known that the prizes of politics were within my reach, if I
had sought them through the machinery of the Republican organization
and the support of General Grant.  Had the party, having accomplished
the work which called it into being, applied itself to the living
questions of the times, and resolutely set its face against political
corruption and plunder, and had it freely tolerated honest differences
of opinion in its own ranks, treating the question of Grant's re-
nomination as an open one, instead of making it a test of Republicanism
and a cause for political excommunication, I could have avoided a
separation, at least at that time.  I made it with many keen pangs
of regret, for the history of the party had been honorable and
glorious, and I had shared in its achievements.  My revolt against
its discipline forcibly reminded me of the year 1848, and was by
far the severest political trial of my life.  My new position not
only placed me in very strange relations to the Democrats, whose
misdeeds I had so earnestly denounced for years; but I could not
fail to see that the great body of my old friends would now become
my unrelenting foes.  Their party intolerance would know no bounds,
and I was not unmindful of its power; but there was no way of
escape, and with a sad heart, but an unflinching purpose, I resolved
to face the consequences of my decision.  My chief regret was that
impaired health deprived me of the strength and endurance I would
now sorely need in repelling wanton and very provoking assaults.

I attended the Liberal Republican Convention at Cincinnati on the
first of May, where I was delighted to meet troops of the old Free
Soilers of 1848 and 1852.  It was a mass convention of Republicans,
suddenly called together without the power of money or the help of
party machinery, and prompted by a burning desire to rebuke the
scandals of Gen. Grant's administration, and rescue both the party
and the country from political corruption and misrule.  It was a
spontaneous and independent movement, and its success necessarily
depended upon the wisdom of its action and not the force of party
obligation.  There were doubtless political schemers and mercenaries
in attendance, but the rank and file were unquestionably conscientious
and patriotic, and profoundly in earnest.  I never saw a finer
looking body assembled.  It was a more formidable popular demonstration
than the famous Convention at Buffalo, in 1848, and gave promise
of more immediate and decisive results.  There was a very widespread
feeling that the Cincinnati ticket would win, and the friends of
Gen. Grant could not disguise their apprehension.  The thought
seemed to inspire every one that a way was now fortunately opened
for hastening the end of sectional strife and purifying the
administration of public affairs.  The capital speech of Stanley
Matthews, on accepting the temporary chairmanship of the Convention,
was but the echo of the feeling of the Convention, and its confident
prophecy of victory.  "Parties," said he, "can not live on their
reputations.  It was remarked, I believe, by Sir Walter Raleigh,
in reference to the strife of ancestry, that those who boasted most
of their progenitors were like the plant he had discovered in
America, the best part was under ground."  He declared that "the
time has come when it is the voice of an exceedingly large and
influential portion of the American people that they will no longer
be dogs to wear the collar of a party."  All that now seemed wanting
was wise leadership, and a fair expression of the real wish and
purpose of the Convention.

The principal candidates were Charles Francis Adams, Horace Greeley,
Lyman Trumbull, David Davis, and B. Gratz Brown.  Mr. Chase still
had a lingering form of the Presidential fever, and his particular
friends were lying in wait for a timely opportunity to bring him
forward; but his claims were not seriously considered.  The friends
of Judge Davis did him much damage by furnishing transportation
and supplies for large Western delegations, who very noisily pressed
his claims in the Convention.  With prudent leadership his chances
for the nomination would have been good, and he would have been a
very formidable candidate; but he was "smothered by his friends."
The really formidable candidates were Adams and Greeley, and during
the first and second days the chances were decidedly in favor of
the former.  On the evening of the second day Mr. Brown and Gen.
Blair arrived in the city, pretending that they had come for the
purpose of arranging a trouble in the Missouri delegation; but
their real purpose was to throw the strength of Brown, who was
found to have no chance for the first place, in favor of Greeley,
who had said some very flattering words of Brown some time before
in a letter published in a Missouri newspaper.  This new movement
further included the nomination of Brown for the second place on
the ticket, and was largely aimed at Carl Schurz, who was an Adams
man, and had refused, though personally very friendly to Brown, to
back his claims for the Presidential nomination.  It seemed to be
a lucky hit for Greeley, who secured the nomination; but the real
cause of Mr. Adams' defeat, after all, was the folly of Trumbull's
friends, who preferred Adams to Greeley, in holding on to their
man in the vain hope of his nomination.  They could have nominated
Adams on the fourth or fifth ballot, if they had given him their
votes, as they saw when it was too late.  Greeley regretted Brown's
nomination, and afterward expressed his preference for another
gentleman from the West; and he had, of course, nothing to do with
the movement which placed him on the ticket.

I was woefully disappointed in the work of the Convention, having
little faith in the success of Greeley, and being entirely confident
that Adams could be elected if nominated.  I still think he would
have been, and that the work of reform would thus have been thoroughly
inaugurated, and the whole current of American politics radically
changed.  The time was ripe for it.  His defeat was a wet blanket
upon many of the leading spirits of the Convention and their
followers.  The disappointment of some of these was unspeakably
bitter and agonizing.  Stanley Matthews, illustrating his proverbial
instability in politics, and forgetting his brave resolve no longer
"to wear the collar of a party," abruptly deserted to the enemy.
The "New York Nation" also suddenly changed front, giving its feeble
support to General Grant, and its malignant hostility to Greeley.
The leading Free Traders in the Convention who had enlisted zealously
for Adams became indifferent or hostile.  Many of the best informed
of the Liberal leaders felt that a magnificent opportunity to launch
the work of reform and crown it with success had been madly thrown
away.  With the zealous friends of Mr. Adams it was a season of
infinite vexation; but for me there was no backward step.  The
newborn movement had blundered, but Republicanism under the lead
of Grant remained as odious as ever.  It was still the duty of its
enemies to oppose it, and no other method of doing this was left
them than through the organization just formed.  That a movement
so suddenly extemporized should make mistakes was by no means
surprising, while there was a fairly implied obligation on the part
of those who had joined in its organization to abide by its action,
if not wantonly recreant to the principles that had inspired it.
The hearts of the liberal masses were for Greeley, and if he could
not be elected, which was by no means certain, his supporters could
at least make their organized protest against the mal-administration
of the party in power.

I attended the Democratic State Convention of Indiana on the twelfth
of June, which was one of the largest and most enthusiastic ever
held in the State.  The masses seemed to have completely broken
away from their old moorings, and to be rejoicing in their escape,
while their leaders, many of them reluctantly, accepted the situation.
Both were surprisingly friendly to me, and their purpose was to
nominate me as one of the candidates for Congressman-at-large, which
they would have done by acclamation if I had consented.  I was much
cheered by such tokens of union and fraternity in facing the common
enemy.  The State campaign was finely opened at Indianapolis on
the eleventh of July, where I presented the issues of the canvass
from the Liberal standpoint; and I continued almost constantly on
the stump till the State election in October, having splendid
audiences, and gathering strength and inspiration from the prevailing
enthusiasm of the canvass.  The meetings toward the close were real
ovations, strikingly reminding me of the campaign of 1856.  Up to
the time of the North Carolina election I had strong hopes of
victory; but owing to the alarm which had seized the Grant men on
account of Greeley's unexpected popularity, and the lavish expenditure
of their money which followed, the tide was turned, and was never
afterward checked in its course.  They became unspeakably bitter
and venomous, and I never before encountered such torrents of abuse
and defamation, outstripping, as it seemed to me, even the rabidness
which confronted the Abolitionists in their early experience.  At
one of my appointments a number of colored men came armed with
revolvers, and breathing the spirit of war which Senator Morton
was doing his utmost to kindle.  He had been telling the people
everywhere that Greeley and his followers were all Rebels, seeking
to undo the work of the war, to re-enslave the negro, and saddle
upon the country the rebel debt; and these colored men, heeding
his logic, thought that killing Rebels now was as proper a business
as during the war, and would probably have begun their work of
murder if they had not been restrained by the more prudent counsel
of their white brethren.  Even in one of the old towns in Eastern
Indiana which had been long known as the headquarters of Abolitionism,
a large supply of eggs was provided for my entertainment when I
went there to speak for Greeley; and they were not thrown at me
simply because the fear of a reaction against the party would be
the result.  The Democrats in this canvass were rather handsomely
treated; but the fierceness and fury of the Grant men toward the
Liberal Republicans were unrelieved by a single element of honor
or fair play.

This was pre-eminently true in Indiana, and especially so as to
myself.  The leaders of Grant, borrowing the spirit of the campaign,
set all the canons of decency at defiance.  "Sore head," "Renegade,"
"Apostate," "Rebel," and "deadbeat," were the compliments constantly
lavished.  Garbled extracts from my old war speeches were plentifully
scattered over the State, as if we had been still in the midst of
the bloody conflict, and I had suddenly betrayed the country to
its enemies.  Garbled and forged letters were peddled and paraded
over the State by windy political blatherskites, who were hired to
propagate the calumnies of their employers.  In fact, my previous
political experience supplied no precedent for this warfare of my
former Republican friends.  But I was not unprepared for it, and
fully availed myself of the right of self-defense and counter
attack.  I would not make myself a blackguard, but I met my assailants
in every encounter with the weapons of argument and invective, and
stretched them on the rack of my ridicule; while their prolonged
howl bore witness to the effectiveness of my work.  My whole heart
was in it.  The fervor and enthusiasm of earlier years came back
to me, and a kindred courage and faith armed me with the strength
which the work of the canvass demanded.

The novelty of the canvass was indeed remarkable in all respects.
The Liberal Republicans had not changed any of their political
opinions, nor deserted any principle they had ever espoused, touching
the questions of slavery and the war; and yet they were now in the
fiercest antagonism with the men who had been politically associated
with them ever since the organization of the party, and who had
trusted and honored them through all the struggles of the past.
They were branded as "Apostates" from their anti-slavery faith;
but slavery had perished forever, and every man of them would have
been found fighting it as before, if it had been practicable to
call it back to life; while many of their assailants had distinguished
themselves by mobbing Abolitionism in the day of its weakness.
How could men apostatize from a cause which they had served with
unflinching fidelity until it was completely triumphant?  And how
was it possible to fall from political grace by withdrawing from
the fellowship of the knaves and traders that formed the body-guard
of the President, and were using the Republican party as the
instrument of wholesale schemes of jobbery and pelf?  To charge
the Liberal Republicans with apostasy because they had the moral
courage to disown and denounce these men was to invent a definition
of the term which would have made all the great apostates of history
"honorable men."

They were called "Rebels"; but the war had been over seven years
and a half, and if the clock of our politics could have been set
back and the bloody conflict re-instated, every Liberal would have
been shouting, as before, for its vigorous prosecution.  No man
doubted this who was capable of taking care of himself without the
help of a guardian.

It was charged that "they changed sides" in politics; but the sides
themselves had been changed by events, and the substitution of new
issues for the old, and nobody could deny this who was not besotted
by party devil-worship or the density of his political ignorance.

They were called "sore-heads" and "disappointed place-hunters;"
but the Liberal leaders, in rebelling against their party in the
noon-day of its power, and when honors were within their grasp,
were obliged to "put away ambition" and taste political death, and
thus courageously illustrate the truth that "the duties of life
are more than life."  The charge was as glaringly stupid as it was
flagrantly false.

But the novelty of this canvass was equally manifest in the political
fellowships it necessitated.  While facing the savage warfare of
their former friends Liberal Republicans were suddenly brought into
the most friendly and intimate relations with the men whose recreancy
to humanity they had unsparingly denounced for years.  They were
now working with these men because the subjects on which they had
been divided were withdrawn, and the country had entered upon a
new dispensation.  The mollifying influence of peace, aided, no
doubt, by the organized roguery which in the name of Republicanism
held the Nation by the throat, unveiled to Liberals a new political
horizon, and they gladly exchanged the key-note of hate and war
for that of fraternity and reunion.  They saw that the spirit of
wrath which had so moved the Northern States during the conflict
was no longer in order.  The more they pondered the policy of
amnesty and followed up the work of the canvass the more thoroughly
they became reconstructed in heart.  They discovered that the men
whom they had been denouncing with such hot indignation for so many
years were, after all, very much like other people.  Personally
and socially they seemed quite as kindly and as estimable as the
men on the other side, while very many of them had undoubtedly
espoused the cause of slavery under a mistaken view of their
constitutional obligations, and as a phase of patriotism, while
sincerely condemning it on principle.  Besides, Democrats had done
a very large and indispensable work in the war for the Union, and
they now stood upon common ground with the Republicans touching
the questions on which they had differed.  On these questions the
party platforms were identical.  If their position was accepted as
a necessity and not from choice, they were only a little behind
the Republicans, who, as a party, only espoused the cause of the
negro under the whip and spur of military necessity, and not the
promptings of humanity.  In the light of such considerations it
was not strange that the Greeley men gladly accepted their deliverance
from the glamour which was blinding the eyes of their old associates
to the policy of reconciliation and peace, and blocking up the
pathway of greatly needed reforms.

Soon after the State election I resumed my work on the stump, which
included a series of appointment in Kansas, where I addressed by
far the most enthusiastic meetings of the campaign.  My welcome to
the State was made singularly cordial by the part I had played in
Congress in opposing enormous schemes of land monopoly and plunder,
which had been concocted by some of her own public servants in the
interest of railway corporations and Indian rings.  On my return
to Indiana the signs of defeat in November became alarming, and
they were justified by the result.  It was overwhelming and stunning.
Democrats and Liberals were completely dismayed and bewildered.
The cause of Mr. Greeley's defeat, speaking generally, was the
perfectly unscrupulous and desperate hostility of the party for
which he had done more than any other man, living or dead; but the
disaster resulted, more immediately, from the stupid and criminal
defection of the Bourbon element in the Democratic party, which
could not be rallied under the banner of an old anti-slavery chief.
Thousands of this class, who sincerely hated Abolitionism, and
loved negro slavery more than they loved their country, voted
directly for Grant, while still greater numbers declined to vote
at all.  Mr. Greeley's own explanation of the result, which he gave
to a friend soon after the election, was as follows:  "I was an
Abolitionist for years, when it was as much as one's life was worth
even here in New York, to be an Abolitionist; and the negroes have
all voted against me.  Whatever of talents and energy I have
possessed I have freely contributed all my life long to Protection;
to the cause of our manufactures.  And the manufacturers have
expended millions to defeat me.  I even made myself ridiculous in
the opinion of many whose good wishes I desired by showing fair
play and giving a fair field in the 'Tribune' to Woman's Rights;
and the women have all gone against me!"

Greeley, however, received nearly three million votes, being
considerably more than Governor Seymour had received four years
before; but General Grant, who had been unanimously nominated by
his party, was elected by two hundred and eighty-six electoral
votes, and a popular majority of nearly three quarters of a million,
carrying thirty-one of the thirty-seven States.  To the sincere
friends of political reform the situation seemed hopeless.  The
President was re-crowned our King, and political corruption had
now received so emphatic a premium that honesty was tempted to give
up the struggle in despair.  His champions were already talking
about a "third term," while the Republican party had become the
representative and champion of great corporations, and the instrument
of organized political corruption and theft.

And yet this fight of Liberals and Democrats was not in vain.  They
planted the seed which ripened into a great popular victory four
years later, while the policy of reconciliation for which they
battled against overwhelming odds was hastened by their labors,
and has been finally accepted by the country.  They were still
further and more completely vindicated by the misdeeds of the party
they had sought to defeat.  The spectacle of our public affairs
became so revolting that before the middle of General Grant's second
term all the great Republican States in the North were lost to the
party, while leading Republicans began to agitate the question of
remanding the States of the South to territorial rule, on account
of their disordered condition.  At the end of this term the Republican
majority in the Senate had dwindled from fifty-four to seventeen,
while in the House the majority of one hundred and four had been
wiped out to give place to a Democratic majority of seventy-seven.
No vindication of the maligned Liberals of 1872 could have been
more complete, while it summoned to the bar of history the party
whose action had thus brought shame upon the Nation and a stain
upon Republican institutions.

After the presidential election I went to Washington, where I met
Chief Justice Chase in the Supreme Court and accepted an invitation
to dine with him.  He looked so wasted and prematurely old that I
scarcely knew him.  He was very genial, however, and our long
political talk was exceedingly enjoyable.  It seemed to afford him
much satisfaction to show me a recently reported dissenting opinion
of his in which he re-asserted his favorite principle of State
rights.  I only met him once afterward, and this was at the
inauguration of General Grant.  I called on Mr. Sumner the same
evening, and found him in a wretched state of health, which was
aggravated by the free use of poisonous drugs.  He seemed very much
depressed, politically.  He had lost caste with the great party
that had so long idolized him, and which he had done so much to
create and inspire.  He had been deserted by the colored race, to
whose service he had unselfishly dedicated his life.  He had been
degraded from his honored place at the head of the Senate Committee
on Foreign Relations, and for no other reason than the faithful
and conscientious performance of his public duty.  He had been
rebuked by the Legislature of his own State.  His case strikingly
suggested that of John Quincy Adams in 1807, when the anathemas of
Massachusetts were showered upon him for leaving the Federalist
party when it had accomplished its mission and survived its character,
and joining the supporters of Jefferson.  I sympathized with him
profoundly; but his case was not so infinitely sad as that of poor
Greeley, over whose death, however, the whole Nation seemed to be
in mourning.  He had greatly overtaxed himself in his masterly and
brilliant campaign on the stump, in which he displayed unrivaled
intellectual resources and versatility.  He had exhausted himself
in watching by the bedside of his dying wife.  He had been assailed
as the enemy of his country by the party which he had done more
than any man in the Nation to organize.  He had been hunted to his
grave by political assassins whose calumnies broke his heart.  He
was scarcely less a martyr than Lincoln, or less honored after his
death, and his graceless defamers now seemed to think they could
atone for their crime by singing his praises.  It is easy to speak
well of the dead.  It is very easy, even for base and recreant
characters, to laud a man's virtues after he has gone to his grave
and can no longer stand in their path.  It is far easier to praise
the dead than do justice to the living; and it was not strange,
therefore, that eminent clergymen and doctors of divinity who had
silently witnessed the peltings of Mr. Greeley by demagogues and
mercenaries during the canvass now poured out their eloquence at
his grave.  What he had sorely needed and was religiously entitled
to was the sympathy and succor of good men while he lived, and
especially in his heroic struggle for political reconciliation and
reform.  The circumstances of his death made it peculiarly touching
and sacramental, and I was inexpressibly glad that I had fought
his battle so unflinchingly, and defended him everywhere against
his conscienceless assailants.


CHAPTER XVI.
CONCLUDING NOTES.
Party changes caused by the slavery issue--Notable men in Congress
during the war--Sketches of prominent men in the Senate and House
--Scenes and incidents--Butler and Bingham--Cox and Butler--Judge
Kelley and Van Wyck--Lovejoy and Wickliffe--Washburne and Donnelly
--Oakes Ames--Abolitionism in Washington early in the war--Life at
the capital--The new dispensation and its problems.

In the early part of the period covered by the preceding chapters
our political parties were divided on mere questions of policy and
methods of administration.  Trade, Currency, Internal Improvements,
and the Public Lands were the absorbing issues, while both parties
took their stand against the humanitarian movement which subsequently
put those issues completely in abeyance, and compelled the country
to face a question involving not merely the policy of governing,
but the existence of the Government itself.  When the slavery
question finally forced its way into recognition it naturally
brought to the front a new class of public men, and their numbers,
as I have shown, steadily increased in each Congress from the year
1845 till the outbreak of the Rebellion in 1861.  The Congress
which came into power with Mr. Lincoln did not fully represent the
anti-slavery spirit of the Northern States, but it was a decided
improvement upon its predecessors.  In the Senate were such men as
Collamer, Fessenden, Doolittle, Baker, Browning, Anthony, Grimes,
Hale, Harlan, Sherman, Trumbull, Sumner, Wade, Henry Wilson,
Chandler, Lane of Indiana, Harris of New York, Andrew Johnson, B.
Gratz Brown and Howard.  In the House were Conkling, Bingham,
Colfax, Dawes, Grow, Hickman, Kelley, Potter, Lovejoy, Pike of
Maine, Ashley, Rollins of Missouri, Shellabarger, Thaddeus Stevens,
Elihu B. Washburne, Isaac N. Arnold and James F. Wilson.

During the Rebellion and the years immediately following, Ferry of
Connecticut, Creswell, Edmonds, Conkling, Morgan, Morton, Yates,
Carpenter, Hamlin, Henderson, Morrill of Maine, and Schurz, were
added to the prominent men of the Senate and Boutwell, Blair, Henry
Winter Davis, Deming, Jenckes, Garfield, Schenck, Banks, Orth,
Raymond, Butler, Hoar, McCrary, to the list in the House.  During
this period the Democrats had in the Senate such men as Bayard,
Garrett Davis, Hicks, Saulsbury, Buckalew, Hendricks, Bright, Reverdy
Johnson, Thurman, and F. P. Blair; and in the House, S. S. Cox,
Crittenden, Holman, Kerr, Pendleton, Richardson, Vallandigham,
Niblack, Voorhees, Brooks, Randall, and Woodward.  The men who
controlled Congress during these years of trial were not the
intellectual equals of the famous leaders who figured in the great
crisis of 1850, but they were a different and generally a better
type.  They were summoned to the public service to deal with
tremendous problems, and lifted up and ennobled by the great cause
they were commissioned to serve.  It did more for them than it was
possible for them to do for it.  It took hold on the very foundations
of the Government, and electrified all the springs of our national
life; and although great mistakes were made, and the fervor of this
period was followed by a sickening dispensation of demoralized
politics, it was a great privilege to be permitted to share in the
grand battle for the Nation's life, and the work of radical re-
adjustment which followed.

I have already referred to several of the conspicuous characters
whose names I have grouped.  Such men as Collamer, Fessenden,
Browning and Trumbull, were among the famous lawyers and conservatives
on the Republican side of the Senate.  They were conscientious and
unflinching partisans, but were studiously anxious to save the
Union according to the Constitution, and deprecated all extreme
and doubtful measures.  Opposed to them stood Sumner, Wade, Chandler,
and their radical associates, who believed in saving the Union at
all hazards, and that not even the Constitution should be allowed
to stay the arm of the Government in blasting the power of the
Rebels.  It was perhaps fortunate for the country that these
divisions existed, and held each other in check.  Mr. Collamer was
the impersonation of logical force and the beau ideal of a lawyer
and judge.  There was a sort of majesty in the figure and brow of
Fessenden when addressing the Senate, and his sarcasm was as keen
as it was inimitable; but his nature was kindly, and his integrity
perfect.  Trumbull was a less commanding figure, but he greatly
honored his position as chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the
Senate, and his memory will be held in perpetual remembrance as
the author of the Civil Rights Bill and of the XIII Amendment to
the Constitution.  Sumner, I think, was the purest man in the
Senate, if not the ablest.  He was pre-eminently the hero of duty,
and the servant of what he believed to be the truth.  No man could
have made a more absolute surrender of himself to his country in
the great conflict which threatened its life.  His weary and jaded
look always excited my sympathy, for he seemed to be sacrificing
all the joys of life, and life itself, in his zeal for the public
service.  I knew Wade more intimately than any man in the Senate,
through my association with him as a member of the same Committee
for successive years, and was always interested in his personal
traits and peculiarities.  He was "a man of uncommon downrightness."
There was even a sort of fascination about his profanity.  It had
in it a spontaniety and heartiness which made it almost seem the
echo of a virtue.  It was unlike the profane words of Thaddeus
Stevens, which were frequently carried on the shafts of his wit
and lost in the laughter it provoked.  Edmunds, now so famous as
a lawyer, and leader in the Senate, and so well known by his reputed
resemblance to St. Jerome, was simply respectable on his first
appearance; but his ability, industry, and constant devotion to
his duties soon gave him rank among the prominent men in that body.
Grimes of Iowa was one of the really strong men of this period,
while Harlan, his colleague, possessed a vigor and grasp of mind
which I think the public never fully accorded him.  Lane of Indiana
was full of patriotic ardor, and like Baker of Oregon, had the rare
gift of eloquent impromptu speech.  Henry Wilson earned the gratitude
of his country by his unswerving loyalty to freedom, and his great
labors and invaluable services as chairman of the Military Committee.
Howard ranked among the first lawyers and most faithful men in the
body, and no man had a clearer grasp of the issues of the war.
Henderson was a strong man, whose integrity and political independence
were afterward abundantly proved.  Doolittle was a man of vigor,
and made a good record as a Republican, but he naturally belonged
to the other side of the Senate, and finally found his way to it,
through the quarrel with Johnson.

Garrett Davis was always an interesting figure.  His volubility of
talk bordered on the miraculous; and whenever he began to swathe
the Senate in his interminable rhetoric it awakened the laughter
or the despair of everybody on the floor or in the galleries.
Bayard and Thurman were recognized as the strong men on their side
of the Senate in the Forty-first Congress.  Buckalew was one of
the really sterling men of his party, but he was a modest man, and
only appreciated by those who knew him intimately.  As a leading
Democrat, Hendricks stood well in the Senate.  He was so cautious
and diplomatic in temper and so genial and conciliatory in his
manner that he glided smoothly through the rugged conflict of
opinions in which his side of the chamber was unavoidably involved.
B. Gratz Brown was known as an intense radical, but he made little
mark in this crisis.  He wrote out elaborate and scholarly essays
which he read to the Senate, but they received slight attention
from members, and seemed to bear little fruit.  Carpenter, Schurz
and Morton took their seats after the war, and were not long in
finding honorable recognition.  Carpenter was as brilliant and
versatile in intellect as he was naturally eloquent in speech and
wayward in morals.  Carl Schurz displayed ability in the famous
debate with Morton and Conkling on the sale of arms to the French,
and his political independence in 1872 gave him great prominence
as a Liberal Republican leader; but that virtue has been less
conspicuously illustrated in later years.  Morton became famous
soon after he entered the Senate.  The "logic of events" had
revolutionized the opinions so vigorously espoused by him only a
few months before, and his great speech on reconstruction, in which
he avowed and defended his change of base, brought him into great
prominence, and multiplied his friends in every section of the
country.

In the House, Roscoe Conkling was recognized as a man of considerable
talent and great self-esteem.  I have elsewhere referred to his
passage at arms with Blaine.  He never linked his name with any
important principle or policy, and was singularly wanting in the
qualities of a party leader.  No one questioned his personal
integrity, but in later years he was prompt and zealous in the
defense of the worst abuses which found shelter in his party.  Mr.
Sherman was shrewd, wiry and diplomatic, but gave little promise
of the career he has since achieved through ambition, industry and
favoring conditions.  Shellabarger was one of the ablest men in
the House, and was so rated.  He was always faithful and vigilant,
and I have before given an instance of this in his timely action
on the question of reconstruction.  Mr. Blaine, during the first
years of his service, showed little activity.  He spoke but seldom
and briefly, but always with vigor and effect.  He steadily grew
into favor with his party in the House as a man of force, but
without seeming to strive for it.  I think his abilities were never
fully appreciated till he became speaker.  His personal magnetism
was as remarkable as his readiness to serve a friend was unfailing;
but, like Mr. Conkling, he never identified himself with any great
legislative measure.

Henry Winter Davis was the most formidable debater in the House.
He was full of resources, while the rapidity of his utterance and
the impetuosity of his speech bore down every thing before it.
The fire and force of his personality seemed to make him irresistible,
and can only be likened to the power displayed by Mr. Blaine in
the House, in his later and palmier years.  When Gen. Garfield
entered the Thirty-eighth Congress there was a winning modesty in
his demeanor.  I was interested in his first effort on the floor,
which was brief, and marked by evident diffidence.  He was not
long, however, in recovering his self-possession, and soon engaged
actively in general debate.  His oratory, at first, was the reverse
of winning, owing to the peculiar intonation of his voice, but
gradually improved, while his hunger for knowledge, unflagging
industry, and ambition for distinction, gradually revealed themselves
as very clearly defined traits.  During the first years of his
service the singular grasp of his mind was not appreciated, but it
was easy to see that he was growing, and that a man of his political
ambition and great industry could not be satisfied with any position
of political mediocrity.  His situation as a Representative of the
Nineteenth Ohio District was exceedingly favorable to his aspirations,
as it was the custom of that district to continue a man in its
service when once installed, and its overwhelming majority relieved
him of all concern about the result.  He could thus give his whole
time and thought to the study of politics, and the mastery of those
historical and literary pursuits which he afterward made so available
in the finish and embellishment of his speeches.

As a parliamentary leader, Mr. Stevens, of course, was always the
central figure in the House.  No possible emergency could disconcert
him.  Whether the attack came from friend or foe, or in whatever
form, he was ready, on the instant, to repel it and turn the tables
completely upon his assailant.  He exercised the most absolute
freedom of speech, making his thrusts with the same coolness at
"unrighteous copperheads and self-righteous Republicans."  In
referring to the moderate and deprecatory views of Colfax and Olin,
in January, 1863, he said he had always been fifteen years in
advance of his party, but never so far ahead that its members did
not overtake him.  His keenest thrusts were frequently made in such
a tone and manner as to disarm them of their sting, and create
universal merriment.  When Whaley of West Virginia begged him,
importunately, to yield the floor a moment for a brief statement,
while Mr. Stevens was much engrossed with an important discussion,
he finally gave way, saying, "Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman
from West Virginia for a few feeble remarks."  When he lost his
temper and waged war in earnest his invective was absolutely
remorseless, as in the example I have given of it in a previous
chapter.

I have before referred to the oratory of Bingham.  He was a reader
of books and a master of English.  He loved poetry, and was one of
the most genial and companionable of men, but he was irritable and
crispy in temper, and a formidable customer in debate.  He had
several angry bouts with Butler, in one of which he spoke sneeringly
of the "hero of Fort Fisher," to which Butler replied that the
gentleman from Ohio had shown his prowess in the hanging of Mrs.
Surratt, an innocent woman, upon the scaffold.  Bingham retorted
that such a charge was "only fit to come from a man who lives in
a bottle, and is fed with a spoon."  He was often dogmatic and
lacking in coolness and balance, but in later years he showed
uncommon tact in extricating himself from the odium threatened by
his connection with the Credit Mobilier scheme.

One of the really strong men in the House was John Hickman, of
Pennsylvania, who had been a prominent figure in Congress during
Buchanan's administration.  He was a man of brains, courage, and
worth.  Potter was a true and brave man, whose acceptance of a
challenge from Roger A. Pryor, and choice of butcher knives as the
weapons of warfare, had made him very popular at the North.  Rollins
of Missouri was an eloquent man, of superior ability and attainments,
and large political experience.  Pike of Maine was one of the first
men in the House, but too honest and independent to sacrifice his
convictions for the sake of success.  Deming of Connecticut was a
man of real calibre, and on rare occasions electrified the House
by his speeches, but he lacked industry.  One of the finest debaters
in the House was Henry J. Raymond.  He displayed very decided power
in the debate on Reconstruction, and very effectively exposed the
weakness of the Republicans in practically dealing with the Rebel
States as if they were at once in and out of the Union.  Among the
most striking figures in the House were Butler and Cox, whose
contests were greatly relished.  They were well matched, and
alternately carried off the prize of victory.  Butler, in the first
onset, achieved a decided triumph in his reply to a very personal
assault by Cox.  "As to the vituperation of the member from New
York," said he, "he will hear my answer to him by every boy that
whistles it on the street, and every hand-organ, 'Shoo, fly, don't
bodder me'!"  Cox, for the time, was extinguished, but patiently
watched his opportunity till he found his revenge, which Butler
afterward frankly acknowledged.  For a time there was bad blood
between them, but they finally became friends, and I think so
continued.

General Banks was always a notable personality.  His erect figure,
military eye, and splendid voice secured for him the admiring
attention of the galleries whenever he addressed the House.  Ashley
of Ohio who took the lead in the impeachment movement, in which he
was so zealous that he became known as "Impeachment Ashley," was
another picturesque figure.  His fine _physique,_ frolicsome face,
and luxuriant suit of curly brown hair singled him out among the
bald heads of the body as one of its most attractive members.
Boutwell impressed the House as a man of solid qualities, and a
formidable debater.  He acquitted himself admirably in his defense
of Butler against a savage attack by Brooks.  Blair was a man of
ability, independence, and courage, of which his record in the
House gave ample proof.  Wilson of Iowa was a young man when he
entered Congress, but soon gave proof of his ability, and took rank
as one of the best lawyers on the Judiciary Committee.  Judge
Kelley, since known as the "Father of the House," and one of the
fathers of the Greenback movement, first attracted attention by
the wonderful volume and power of his voice.  It filled the entire
Hall, and subdued all rival sounds; but to the surprise of everybody,
he met with more than his match when he was followed, one day, by
Van Wyck, of New York, who triumphantly carried off the palm.
Kelley's voice was little more than a zephyr, in comparison with
the roar and thunder that followed it and called forth shouts of
laughter, while Kelley quietly occupied his seat as if in dumb
amazement at what had happened.

James Brooks was always a conspicuous figure on the Democratic side
of the House.  I first knew him in the log cabin days of 1840, and
afterward served with him in the Congress of 1849.  He was a man
of ability, a genuine hater of the negro, and a bitter partisan;
but I never saw any reason to doubt his personal integrity, and I
think the affair which threw so dark a cloud over his reputation
in later years was a surprise to all who knew him.  Michael C. Kerr
was one of the very first men in the House, and a man of rare purity
and worth.  Randall, like Garfield, was a growing man during the
war, and through his ambition, natural abilities, and Congressional
training, he became one of the chief magnates of his party.
Pendleton was counted an able man, and made his mark as a Bourbon
Democrat and the champion of hard money; but he subsequently spoiled
his financial record by his scheme for flooding the country with
greenbacks.  Vallandigham was conspicuous for his intellectual
vigor, passionate earnestness, and hatred of Abolitionism.  He had
the courage of his opinions.  The Republicans hated him consumedly.
He was a member of the House Committee on Public Lands, which
reported the Homestead Bill, and I remember that no Republican
member, except the chairman, showed the slightest disposition to
recognize him.  After the war was ended, however, and the work of
reconstruction was accomplished, his temper and qualities seemed
to have spent much of their force.  He was among the very first to
plead for acquiescence and the policy of reconciliation; and if
his life had been spared I believe his catholic spirit and active
leadership in the "New Departure" would have re-instated him in
the sincere regard of men of all parties.  Lovejoy was the most
impassioned orator in the House.  His speeches were remarkable for
their pungency and wit, and when the question of slavery was under
discussion his soul took fire.  He hated slavery with the animosity
of a regular Puritan, and when he talked about it everybody listened.
Wickliffe of Kentucky was one of the most offensive representatives
of the Border State policy, and whenever he spoke Lovejoy was sure
to follow.  As often as Wickliffe got the floor it was noticed that
Lovejoy's brow was immediately darkened in token of the impending
strife, while his friends and enemies prepared themselves for the
scene.  Wickliffe was a large, fierce-looking man, with a shrill
voice, and quite as belligerent as Lovejoy; and their contests were
frequent, and always enjoyed by the House, and for some time became
a regular feature of its business.

Elihu B. Washburne was conspicuous as the champion of economy.  He
rivaled Holman as the "watch-dog of the treasury" and the enemy of
land-grants.  He was a man of force, and rendered valuable service
to the country, but he assumed such airs of superior virtue, and
frequently lectured the House in so magisterial a tone as to make
himself a little unpopular with members.  This was strikingly
illustrated in 1868, in his controversy with Donnelly of Minnesota
against whom he had made some dishonorable charges through a
Minnesota newspaper.  Donnelly was an Irishman, a wit, and an
exceedingly versatile genius, and when it became known that he was
to defend himself in the House against Washburne's charges, and make
a counter attack, every member was in his seat, although the weather
was intensely hot and no legislative business was to be transacted.
Donnelly had fully prepared himself, and such a castigation as he
administered, has rarely, if ever, been witnessed in a legislative
body.  He kept a ceaseless and overwhelming fire of wit, irony,
and ridicule, for nearly two hours, during which the members
frequently laughed and sometimes applauded, while Washburne sat pale
and mute under the infliction.  The tables were turned upon him,
although portions of Donnelly's tirade were unparliamentary, and
indefensible on the score of coarseness and bad taste.  No member,
however, raised any point of order; but the friends of Mr. Washburne
afterward surrounded Donnelly, and by artful appeals to his good
nature prevailed upon him to suppress a portion of the speech, and
to proffer statements which tended to destroy its effect and to
restore to Washburne the ground he had lost.  The House had its fun,
while Washburne deigned no reply except to re-affirm his charges,
and Donnelly's friends were vexed at his needless surrender of his
vantage-ground.  It was an odd and unexpected _denouement_ of a
very remarkable exhibition.

Oakes Ames was one of the members of the House with whom I was best
acquainted.  I thought I knew him well, and I never had the slightest
reason to suspect his public or private integrity.  Personally and
socially he was one of the kindliest men I ever knew, and I was
greatly surprised when I learned of his connection with the Credit
Mobilier project.  It first found its way into politics through a
speech of Horace Greeley near the close of the canvass of 1872,
but it had been fully exposed by Washburn of Wisconsin in a speech
in Congress in the year 1868.  The history of its connection with
American politics and politicians forms an exceedingly interesting
and curious chapter.  The fate of the men involved in it seems like
a perfect travesty of justice and fair play.  Some of them have
gone down under the waves of popular condemnation.  Others, occupying
substantially the same position, according to the evidence, have
made their escape and even been honored and trusted by the public,
while still others are quietly whiling away their lives under the
shadow of suspicion.  The case affords a strange commentary upon
the principle of historic justice.

One of the most remarkable facts connected with the first years of
the war was the descent of the Abolitionists upon Washington.  They
secured the hall of the Smithsonian Institute for their meetings,
which they held weekly, and at which the Rev. John Pierpont presided.
It was with much difficulty that the hall was procured, and one of
the conditions of granting it was that it should be distinctly
understood and announced that the Smithsonian Institute was to be
in no way responsible for anything that might be said by the
speakers.  This was very emphatically insisted on by Professor
Henry, and was duly announced at the first meeting.  At the following,
and each succeeding lecture, Mr. Pierpont regularly made the same
announcement.  These gatherings were largely attended and very
enthusiastic; and as the anti-slavery tide constantly grew stronger,
the weekly announcement that "the Smithsonian Institute desires it
to be distinctly understood that it is not to be held responsible
for the utterances of the speakers," awakened the sense of the
ludicrous, and called forth rounds of applause and explosions of
laughter by the audience, in front of which Professor Henry was
seated.  Each meeting thus began with a frolic of good humor, which
Mr. Pierpont evidently enjoyed, for he made his announcement with
a gravity which naturally provoked the mirth which followed.  These
meetings were addressed by Wendell Phillips, Gerrit Smith, Ralph
Waldo Emerson, Dr. Brownson, and other notable men, and were enjoyed
as a sort of jubilee by the men and women who attended them.

The services in the Hall of Representatives each Sabbath formed
the fitting counterpart of these proceedings.  The crowds in
attendance filled every part of the floor and galleries, and were
full of enthusiasm.  The most terrific arraignment of slavery I
ever listened to was by Rev. Dr. George B. Cheever, in the course
of these services.  He was a man of great ability, unquenchable
zeal, fervid eloquence, and an Old Testament Christian who was
sometimes called the Prophet Isaiah of the anti-slavery cause.  He
carried his religion courageously into politics, and while arraigning
slavery as the grand rebel, he also severely criticised the management
of the war and the Border State policy of the President.  The most
pronounced anti-slavery sermons were also preached in the Capital
by Dr. Boynton, Mr. Channing and others, while the Hutchinson family
occasionally entertained the public with their anti-slavery songs.
All this must have been sufficiently shocking to the slave-holding
politics and theology of the city, whose slumbers were thus rudely
disturbed.

There was a peculiar fascination about life in Washington during
the war.  The city itself was unattractive.  Its ragged appearance,
wretched streets, and sanitary condition were the reproach of its
citizens, who could have had no dream of the Washington of to-day;
but it was a great military as well as political center.  Our troops
were pouring in from every loyal State, and the drum-beat was heard
night and day, while the political and social element hitherto in
the ascendant, was completely submerged by the great flood from
the North.  The city was surrounded, and in part occupied by
hospitals, and for a time many of the principal churches were
surrendered to the use of our sick and wounded soldiers, whose
numbers were fearfully swelled after each great battle.  The imminent
peril to which the Capital was repeatedly exposed, and the constantly
changing fortunes of the war, added greatly to the interest of the
crisis, and marked the alternations of hope and fear among the
friends and enemies of the Union.  But notwithstanding the seriousness
of the times, there was a goodly measure of real social life.
Human nature demanded some relaxation from the dreadful strain and
burden of the great conflict, and this was partially found in the
levees of the President and Cabinet ministers, and the receptions
of the Speaker, which were largely attended and greatly enjoyed;
and this enjoyment was doubtless much enhanced by the peculiar bond
of union and feeling of brotherhood which the state of the country
awakened among its friends.  The most pleasant of these occasions,
however, were the weekly receptions of the Speaker.  Those of
Speaker Grow were somewhat marred, and sometimes interrupted, by
his failing health, but the receptions of Mr. Colfax were singularly
delightful.  He discharged the duties of his great office with
marked ability and fairness, and was personally very popular; and
there always gathered about him on these occasions an assemblage
of charming and congenial people, whose genuine cordiality was a
rebuke to the insincerity so often witnessed in social life.

But I need not further pursue these personal details, nor linger
over the by-gones of a grand epoch.  We have entered upon a new
dispensation.  The withdrawal of the slavery question from the
strife of parties has changed the face of our politics as completely
as did its introduction.  The transition from an abnormal and
revolutionary period to the regular and orderly administration of
affairs, has been as remarkable as the intervention of the great
question which eclipsed every other till it compelled its own
solution.  Although this transition has given birth to an era of
"slack-water politics," it has gradually brought the country face
to face with new problems, some of which are quite as vital to the
existence and welfare of the Republic as those which have taxed
the statesmanship of the past.  The tyranny of industrial domination,
which borrows its life from the alliance of concentrated capital
with labor-saving machinery, must be overthrown.  Commercial
feudalism, wielding its power through the machinery of great
corporations which are practically endowed with life officers and
the right of hereditary succession and control the makers and
expounders of our laws, must be subordinated to the will of the
people.  The system of agricultural serfdom called Land Monopoly,
which is now putting on new forms of danger in the rapid multiplication
of great estates and the purchase of vast bodies of lands by foreign
capitalists, must be resisted as a still more formidable foe of
democratic Government.  The legalized robbery now carried on in
the name of Protection to American labor must be overthrown.  The
system of spoils and plunder must also be destroyed, in order that
freedom itself may be rescued from the perilous activities quickened
into life by its own spirit, and the conduct of public affairs
inspired by the great moralities which dignify public life.

These are the problems which appeal to the present generation, and
especially to the honorable ambition of young men now entering upon
public life.  Their solution is certain, because they are directly
in the path of progress, and progress is a law; but whether it
shall be heralded by the kindly agencies of peace or the harsh
power of war, must depend upon the wise and timely use of opportunities.
The result is certain, since justice can not finally be defeated;
but the circumstances of the struggle and the cost of its triumph
are committed to the people, who can scarcely fail to find both
instruction and warning in the story of the anti-slavery conflict.


INDEX. [omitted]





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