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Title: Robert Toombs - Statesman, Speaker, Soldier, Sage
Author: Stovall, Pleasant A., 1857-1935
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Robert Toombs - Statesman, Speaker, Soldier, Sage" ***

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TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Every effort has been made to replicate this text as
faithfully as possible; please see detailed list of corrections at the
end of the text (after the index).

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       *       *       *       *       *

    "The blood which mingled at Cowpens and at Eutaw
    cannot be kept at enmity forever."--_Toombs._

       *       *       *       *       *

 104 & 106 FOURTH AVENUE

 Copyright, 1892,

_All rights reserved._


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      "There are courageous and honest men enough in both
      sections to fight. There is no question of courage
      involved. The people of both sections of this Union have
      illustrated their courage on too many battlefields to be
      questioned. They have shown their fighting qualities
      shoulder to shoulder whenever their country has called upon
      them; but that they may never come in contact with each
      other in fratricidal war, should be the ardent wish of
      every true man and honest patriot."--_Robert Toombs, Speech
      in U. S. Senate_, 1856.

       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER                                                          PAGE

      I. Family, Boyhood, Life at College,                          1

     II. At the Bar,                                               13

    III. In the Legislature,                                       29

     IV. Elected to Congress,                                      43

      V. In the Lower House,                                       56

     VI. The Compromise of 1850,                                   67

    VII. The Georgia Platform,                                     83

   VIII. The Campaign of 1852,                                     97

     IX. Toombs in the Senate,                                    107

      X. The "Know-nothing" Party,                                121

     XI. Toombs in Boston,                                        129

    XII. Buchanan's Administration,                               140

   XIII. "On the Stump" in Georgia,                               144

    XIV. The Campaign of 1856,                                    155

     XV. John Brown's Raid,                                       169

    XVI. The Charleston Convention,                               175

   XVII. Toombs as a Legislator,                                  186

  XVIII. Election of Lincoln,                                     199

    XIX. Farewell to the Senate,                                  205

     XX. Toombs and Secession,                                    209

    XXI. Toombs as Premier of the Confederacy,                    222

   XXII. Brigadier-General in Army of Northern Virginia,          236

  XXIII. With the Georgia Militia,                                277

   XXIV. Toombs as a Fugitive,                                    286

    XXV. Without a Country,                                       308

   XXVI. Commencing Life Anew,                                    315

  XXVII. Days of Reconstruction,                                  324

 XXVIII. His Last Public Service,                                 337

   XXIX. Domestic Life of Toombs,                                 353

    XXX. His Great Fault,                                         364

   XXXI. His Last Days,                                           369

       *       *       *       *       *




Gabriel Toombs was one of General Braddock's soldiers who marched
against Fort DuQuesne in 1755. He was a member of the sturdy Virginia
line which protested against the dangerous tactics of the British
martinet, and when the English regulars were ambushed and cut to pieces,
Gabriel Toombs deployed with his men in the woods and picked off the
savages with the steady aim and unerring skill of the frontiersman. Over
one hundred years later Robert Toombs, his grandson, protested against
the fruitless charge at Malvern Hill, and obliquing to the left with his
brigade, protected his men and managed to cover the retreat of his

This was a family of soldiers. They were found in the old country
fighting Cromwell's army of the rebellion.

Robert Toombs of Georgia was fond of tracing his lineage to the
champions of the English king who defended their sovereign at Boscobel.
But the American family was made up of lovers of liberty rather than
defenders of the King. It was one of the anomalies in the life of the
Georgia Toombs, who resisted all restraint and challenged authority in
every form, that he should have located his ancestry among the sworn
royalists of the seventeenth century.

William Toombs, the great-grandfather of Robert, was the first of the
English family to come to America, about 1650. He settled in Virginia.
Gabriel, who fought with Braddock, was the son of William. Major Robert
Toombs, the father of the Georgia statesman, commanded a Virginia
regiment during the Revolution and rendered conspicuous service in
Georgia against the British. Major Toombs came to Georgia in 1783 and
received a rich tract of 3000 acres of land in Wilkes County. This was
their share in the award to distinguished soldiers of "the Virginia

"They fought for their estates like feudal barons," General Toombs used
to say, when speaking of his ancestors, now sleeping in the red hills of
Georgia. When he was asked after the civil war why he did not petition
for relief of political disabilities, he declared that "no vote of
Congress, no amnesty proclamation, shall rob me of the glory of
outlawry. I shall not be the first of my name for three centuries to
accept the stigma of a pardon."

The elder Gabriel Toombs in 1795 made his last will and testament. He
commended his soul to God who gave it, and blessed his Maker for the
worldly goods that he was possessed of. Distributing his estate among
his wife, Ann Toombs, and his six children, he expressly directed that
his negroes and their increase must be appraised together; that they
were not to be sold out of the family, and that they should be "used in
a Christian-like manner." He divided up parcels of land in Greene and
Wilkes counties among his sons, Robert Toombs and Dawson Gabriel Toombs,
and his four daughters. Gabriel Toombs died in 1801.

When Major Robert Toombs, the Virginia veteran, and son of Gabriel, came
to Georgia to claim his award of land, he settled on Beaverdam Creek,
five miles from the town of Washington. It is probable that he stopped
in Columbia County, for he married Miss Sanders, of that county. She
died, leaving no children, and Major Toombs went back to Virginia and
married Miss Catlett. One son was born, and this lady died. Miss
Catharine Huling was the third wife. The Hulings were also Virginians,
and by this marriage six children were reared. Sarah, who finally became
Mrs. Pope; James, who was killed by accident while hunting; Augustus,
Robert, and Gabriel.

Catharine Huling, the mother of Robert Toombs of Georgia, was a most
excellent woman, of strong and exalted piety. She was of Welsh ancestry,
a devout Methodist, and after accompanying her son to college, and
seeing him married, prosperous, and distinguished, died in 1848, when he
was a member of Congress. Mrs. Toombs gave generously of her own means,
to family and friends. Robert Toombs proved to be a dutiful son. He
visited his mother constantly, and carefully managed her property.
Finally he induced her to move to Washington, so that he might be near

Robert Toombs was the fifth child of Robert and Catharine Toombs. He was
born in Wilkes County, about five miles from Washington, July 2, 1810.
His brother Gabriel, who still lives, was three years his junior, and
was throughout his life his close and confidential adviser and friend.

Robert Toombs, in childhood, was a slender, active, mischievous lad, and
it will be a surprise to those who remember his superb physical manhood,
to hear that at school and college he bore the nickname of "Runt." He
was marked for his energy and vivacity. He was not precocious. Nature
gave no signs of her intentions in his youth. His development, physical
and mental, was not rapid, but wholesome. He was fond of horseback
riding, and the earliest glimpse we have of him is as a slender lad,
with dark eyes and hair slightly touched with auburn, flying through the
village, and sometimes carrying on his pony behind him his little
brother to school.

He was always in good health. He boasted that he never took medicine
until he was thirty-four years old. His mother said that he grew up
almost without her knowledge, so little trouble had he given her. He was
a fine horseman. Possibly this practice had much to do with his good
spirits and physical strength.

In his younger days he rode sixty-five miles to Milledgeville, covering
the distance in one day, and was fresh enough to attend a dance at
night. He delighted in fox-hunting, although never a racer or in any
sense a sporting man. During the earlier years of his career he
practiced law in the saddle, as was the custom with the profession at
that time, and never thought of riding to court on wheels until later in
life. Throughout his active participation in the Civil War he rode his
famous mare, "Gray Alice," and was a striking figure as, splendidly
mounted and charged with enthusiasm, he plunged along the lines of the
Army of Northern Virginia. In his long wandering from capture in 1865,
he was in the saddle six months, riding to and from the wilds of
northeast Georgia to the swamps of the Chattahoochee. There was
something in his picturesque figure upon the horse which suggests John
Randolph of Roanoke.

His first training was at what was known as an "old field school,"
taught by Welcome Fanning, a master of good attainments and a firm
believer in the discipline of the rod. Afterward, Robert Toombs was
drilled by a private tutor, Rev. Alexander Webster--an adjunct professor
of the University of Georgia and a man of high repute as scholar and
instructor. Mr. Webster was the friend and early preceptor of Alexander
H. Stephens.

Young Toombs was christened Robert Augustus, and carried his middle name
until 1840, when he seems to have dropped it as a useless piece of
furniture. There is a report that some of his political foes, playing
upon his initials, saddled him with the sobriquet of "Rat." Having
out-grown one nickname he was prepared to shed another.

Young Toombs proved to be a great reader. Most of his learning developed
in the Humanities; and a cultured visitor from Maryland who once stopped
at his father's house declared that this boy of fourteen was better
posted in history than anyone he had ever seen.

It was about this time that Robert Toombs was fitted out for Franklin
College--now the State University--located in Athens, Ga., forty miles
from Washington.

This institution, to which he was devotedly attached and of whose
governing board he was a member at the time of his death, was chartered
in 1785 by the State of Georgia. It was the early recipient of the deed
of western lands, which the State subsequently purchased, assuming the
perpetual endowment of the college. It has been to Georgia what
Jefferson's school has proved to Virginia, the nursery of scholars and
statesmen. Governor John Milledge had given the institution a home upon
a beautiful hill overlooking the Oconee River, and this lovely spot they
had named Athens. Here in 1824 young Robert Toombs repaired, animated
with the feelings which move a college boy, except that his mother went
with him and relieved him of the usual sense of loneliness which
overtakes the student. Major Robert Toombs, his father, who was an
indigo and tobacco planter, was reputed to be a wealthy man for those
times, but it was the comfort of the early settler who had earned his
demesne from the government rather than the wealth of the capitalist. He
had enough to support his family in comfort. He died when Robert was
five years old, and the latter selected as his guardian Thomas W. Cobb,
of Greene County, a cousin of Governor Howell Cobb, a member of Congress
himself and a man of high legal attainment.

When Robert Toombs entered college that institution was under the
Presidency of Moses Waddell, a born educator and strict disciplinarian.
Three generations of this family have served the State as preceptors in
Franklin College.

It may well be imagined that the college had not at that time reached
the dignity of a university, for an entry in President Waddell's diary
was this: "Caught Jones chewing tobacco: whipped him for it." Those were
the old days when boys were boys until they were twenty-one. There is no
record to show that Robert Toombs in college was a close scholar. Later
in life he became a hard student and laborious worker. But if these
industrious habits were born to him in Athens there is no trace of them.
That he was a reader of Shakespeare and history he gave ample evidence
in his long career, but if the legends of his college town are to be
trusted, he was more noted for outbreaks of mischief than for close
application. Full of life and spirits, a healthy, impetuous boy, he was
on good terms with his classmates, and took life easily. That was a time
when students were required to get up at sunrise and attend prayers.

One night, the story goes, the vigilant proctor actually found young
Toombs playing cards with some of his friends. Fearing a reprimand,
Toombs sought his guardian, who happened to be in Athens on a visit from
his home in Greenesboro. It is not certain that young Toombs
communicated the enormity of his offense, but he obtained leave to apply
to Dr. Waddell for a letter of discharge. The learned but severe scholar
had not received the proctor's report, and gave the young student a
certificate of honorable dismissal.

Later in the day the President met Toombs walking around the campus.

"Robert Toombs," said he, "you took advantage of me early this morning.
I did not then know that you had been caught at the card-table last

Toombs straightened up and informed the doctor that he was no longer
addressing a student of his college, but a free-born American citizen.

The halls of Athens are fragrant with these stories of Toombs. No man
ever left so distinctive a stamp upon the place or gave such spicy
flavor to its traditions.

Among the college-mates of Robert Toombs at Athens were Stephen Olin,
Robert Dougherty, and Daniel Chandler, the grandfather of the
unfortunate Mrs. Maybrick of England, and the man whose chaste and
convincing appeal for female education resulted in the establishment of
Wesleyan Female College--the first seminary in the world for the higher
culture of women.

The closest of these companionships was that of George F. Pierce, a
young man like Toombs, full of brains and energy--even then a striking
and sparkling figure. The path of these men commenced at the door of
their _alma mater_, and although their ways were widely divergent, the
friends never parted. Two of the finest orators in Georgia, one left his
impress as strongly upon the Church as did the other upon the State. One
became bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the other a Whig
senator. One day these men met, both in the zenith of power, when Toombs
said: "Well, George, you are fighting the devil, and I am fighting the

Closer in friendship their hands clasped as age swept over their raven
locks and stalwart shoulders. Bishop Pierce never hesitated to go to
Robert Toombs when his churches or his schools needed money. Toombs
would give to the Methodist itinerant as quickly as he would to the
local priest. Whether he was subscribing for a Catholic Orphans' Home or
a Methodist College he would remark, as he gave liberally and freely, "I
always try to honor God Almighty's drafts."

Pierce and Toombs had much in common--although the one was full of
saintly fire and the other, at times, of defiant irreverence. It was
Pierce whose visits Toombs most enjoyed at his own home, with whom he
afterward talked of God and religion. The good bishop lived to bury the
devoted Christian wife of the Georgia statesman, and finally, when the
dross of worldliness was gone, to receive into the Methodist Church the
bowed and weeping figure of the giant Toombs.

When Robert Toombs became prominent in Georgia, there is a story that
his State university, in order to win back his friendship, conferred
upon him an honorary degree. Toombs is represented as having spurned it
with characteristic scorn. "No," said he, "when I was unknown and
friendless, you sent me out disgraced, and refused me a diploma. Now
that I would honor the degree I do not want it."

There is no record that the college ever conferred a degree upon Toombs
at all. Later in life he was elected a trustee of this university, and
each year his familiar figure was seen on the stage during commencement,
or his wise counsel heard about the board. His attendance upon these
duties was punctilious. He would leave the courthouse, the legislative
halls, or Virginia Springs--wherever he happened to be--and repair to
Athens the first week in August. Once or twice he delivered the annual
address before the alumni; several times he secured appropriations for
his _alma mater_ from the State. His visits to Athens were always
occasions of honor. Young men flocked wherever his voice was heard,
fascinated by his racy conversation. No "Disinherited Knight" ever
returned to more certain conquest or more princely homage.

There is a regular mythology about Toombs at his State university. The
things he said would fill a volume of Sydney Smith, while the pranks he
played would rival the record of Robin Hood. There is still standing in
the college campus in Athens a noble tree, with the crown of a century
upon it. Under its spreading branches the first college commencement was
held one hundred years ago; under it the student Toombs once stood and
addressed his classmates, and of all the men who have gone in and out
beneath its shade, but one name has been found sturdy enough to link
with this monument of a forgotten forest. The boys to this day call it
"The Toombs Oak."


(_From a miniature painting._)]



After Robert Toombs left the University of Georgia, he entered Union
College at Schenectady, N. Y., under the presidency of Dr. Eliphalet
Knott. Here he finished his classical course and received his A. B.
degree. This was in 1828, and in 1829 he repaired to the University of
Virginia, where he studied law one year. In the Superior Court of Elbert
County, Ga., holden on the 18th day of March, 1830, he was admitted to
the bar. The license to practice recites that "Robert A. Toombs made his
application for leave to practice and plead in the several courts of law
and equity in this State, whereupon the said Robert A. Toombs, having
given satisfactory evidence of good moral character, and having been
examined in open court, and being found well acquainted and skilled in
the laws, he was admitted by the court to all the privileges of an
attorney, solicitor, and counsel in the several courts of law and equity
in this State."

The license is signed by William H. Crawford, Judge, Superior Court,
Northern Circuit. Judge Crawford had served two terms in the United
States Senate from Georgia. He had been Minister to Paris during the
days of the first Napoleon. He had been Secretary of War and of the
Treasury of the United States. In 1825 he received a flattering vote for
President, when the Clay and Adams compact drove Jackson and Crawford to
the rear. Bad health forced Mr. Crawford from the field of national
politics, and in 1827, upon the death of Judge Dooly, Mr. Crawford was
appointed Judge of the Northern Circuit. He held this position until his
death in Elbert County, which occurred in 1834. Crawford was a friend
and patron of young Toombs. The latter considered him the full peer of
Webster and of Calhoun.

Robert Toombs was married eight months after his admission to the bar.
His career in his profession was not immediately successful. A newspaper
writer recently said of him that "while his contemporaries were fighting
stubbornly, with varying luck, Toombs took his honors without a
struggle, as if by divine right." This was no more true of Toombs than
it is true of other men. He seems to have reached excellence in law by
slow degrees of toil. Hon. Frank Hardeman, Solicitor-General of the
Northern Circuit, was one of the lawyers who examined Toombs for
admission to the bar. He afterward declared that Robert Toombs, during
the first four or five years of his practice, did not give high promise.
His work in his office was spasmodic, and his style in court was too
vehement and disconnected to make marked impression. But the exuberance
or redundancy of youth soon passed, and he afterward reached a height in
his profession never attained by a lawyer in Georgia.

His work during the first seven years of his practice did not vary in
emolument or incident from the routine of a country lawyer. In those
days the bulk of legal business lay in the country, and the most
prominent men of the profession made the circuit with their saddle-bags,
and put up during court week at the village taverns. Slaves and land
furnished the basis of litigation. Cities had not reached their size and
importance, corporations had not grown to present magnitude, and the
wealth and brains of the land were found in the rural districts. "The
young lawyers of to-day," says Judge Reese of Georgia, "are far in
advance of those during the days of Toombs, owing to the fact that
questions and principles then in doubt, and which the lawyers had to dig
out, have been long ago decided, nor were there any Supreme Court
reports to render stable the body of our jurisprudence."

The counties in which Robert Toombs practiced were Wilkes, Columbia,
Oglethorpe, Elbert, Franklin, and Greene. The bar of the Northern
Circuit was full of eminent men. Crawford presided over the courts and a
delegation of rare strength pleaded before him. There were Charles J.
Jenkins, Andrew J. Miller, and George W. Crawford of Richmond County;
from Oglethorpe were George R. Gilmer and Joseph Henry Lumpkin; from
Elbert, Thomas W. Thomas and Robert McMillan; from Greene, William C.
Dawson, Francis H. Cone; from Clarke, Howell Cobb; from Taliaferro,
Alexander H. Stephens. Across the river in Carolina dwelt Calhoun and
McDuffie. As a prominent actor in those days remarked: "Giants seem to
grow in groups. There are seed plats which foster them like the big
trees of California, and they nourish and develop one another, and seem
to put men on their mettle." Such a seed plat we notice within a radius
of fifty miles of Washington, Ga., where lived a galaxy of men,
illustrious in State and national affairs.

In 1837 the great panic which swept over the country left a large amount
of litigation in its path. Between that time and 1843, Lawyer Toombs did
an immense practice. It is said that in one term of court in one county
he returned two hundred cases and took judgment for $200,000. The
largest part of his business was in Wilkes and Elbert, and his fees
during a single session of the latter court often reached $5000. During
these six years he devoted himself diligently and systematically to the
practice of his profession, broken only by his annual attendance upon
the General Assembly at Milledgeville. It was during this period that he
developed his rare powers for business and his surpassing eloquence as
an advocate. He made his fortune during these years, for after 1843, and
until the opening of the war between the States, he was uninterruptedly
a member of Congress.

There was no important litigation in eastern or middle Georgia that did
not enlist his services. He proved to be an ardent and tireless worker.
He had grown into a manhood of splendid physique, and he spent the days
and most of the nights in careful application. He never went into a case
until after the most thorough preparation, where preparation was
possible. But he had a wonderful memory and rare legal judgment. He was
thoroughly grounded in the principles of law. He possessed, as well,
some of that common sense which enabled him to see what the law ought to
be, and above all else, he had the strongest intuitive perception of
truth. He could strip a case of its toggery and go right to its vitals.
He was bold, clean, fearless, and impetuous, and when convinced he had
right on his side would fight through all the courts, with irresistible
impulse. He was susceptible to argument, but seemed absolutely blind to

The brightest chapters of the life of Toombs are perhaps his courthouse
appearances. There is no written record of his masterly performances,
but the lawyers of his day attest that his jury speeches were even
better than his political addresses.

A keen observer of those days will tell you that Mr. Stephens would
begin his talk to the jury with calmness and build upon his opening
until he warmed up into eloquence; but that Mr. Toombs would plunge
immediately into his fierce and impassioned oratory, and pour his
torrent of wit, eloquence, logic, and satire upon judge and jury. He
would seem to establish his case upon the right, and then defy them to
disregard it.

In spite of this vehement and overpowering method he possessed great
practical gifts. He had the knack of unraveling accounts, and while not
technically skilled in bookkeeping, had a general and accurate knowledge
which gave him prestige, whether in intricate civil or criminal cases.
He was a rash talker, but the safest of counselors, and practiced his
profession with the greatest scruple. On one occasion he said to a
client who had stated his case to him: "Yes, you can recover in this
suit, but you ought not to do so. This is a case in which law and
justice are on opposite sides."

The client told him he would push the case, anyhow.

"Then," replied Mr. Toombs, "you must hire someone else to assist you in
your damned rascality."

On one occasion a lawyer went to him and asked him what he should charge
a client, in a case to which Mr. Toombs had just listened in the

"Well," said Toombs, "I should have charged a thousand dollars; but you
ought to have five thousand, for you did a great many things I could not
have done."

Mr. Toombs was strict in all his engagements. His practice remained with
him, even while he was in Congress, and his occasional return during the
session of the Superior Court of the Northern Circuit gave rise at one
time to some comment on the part of his opponents, the Democrats. The
nominee of that party, on the stump, declared that the demands upon Mr.
Toombs's legal talent in Georgia were too great to admit of his strict
attendance to public business in Washington. When Mr. Toombs came to
answer this point, he said: "You have heard what the gentleman says
about my coming home to practice law. He promises, if elected to
Congress, he will not leave his seat. I leave you to judge,
fellow-citizens, whether your interest in Washington will be best
protected by his continued presence or his occasional absence." This hit
brought down the house. Mr. Toombs's addresses to the Supreme Court were
models of solid argument. During the early days of the Supreme Court of
Georgia, it was a migratory body; the law creating it tended to
popularize it by providing that it should hold its sessions in the
different towns in the State convenient to the lawyers. The court once
met in the little schoolroom of the Lumpkin Law School in Athens. One of
the earliest cases heard was a land claim from Hancock County, bristling
with points and involving about $100,000 worth of property. A. H.
Stephens, Benjamin H. Hill, Howell and Thomas Cobb were employed, but in
this splendid fight of Titans, Justice Lumpkin declared that the finest
legal arguments he ever heard were from the lips of Robert Toombs.

Hon. A. H. Stephens said the best speech Mr. Toombs ever made was in a
case in which he represented a poor girl who was suing her stepfather
for cruel treatment. The defendant was a preacher, and the jury brought
in a verdict for $4000, the maximum sum allowed, and petitioned the
Judge to allow them to find damages in a heavier amount.

One of the most celebrated causes Mr. Toombs was engaged in before the
war was a railroad case heard in Marietta, Ga., in September, 1858.
Howell Cobb and Robert Toombs were employed on one side, while Messrs.
Pettigru and Memminger, of Charleston, giants of the Carolina bar, were
ranged in opposition. The ordeal was a very trying one. The case
occupied seven days. Mr. Toombs, always an early riser, generally
commenced his preparation in this case at half-past five in the morning.
The hearing of the facts continued in the courthouse until seven in the
evening, and the nights were passed in consultation with counsel.
Attendants upon this celebrated trial declared that Toombs's manner in
the courtroom was indifferent. That, while other lawyers were busy
taking notes, he seemed to sit a listless spectator, rolling his head
from side to side, oblivious to evidence or proceeding. And yet, when
his time came to conclude the argument, he arose with his kingly way,
and so thorough was his mastery of the case, with its infinite detail,
its broad principles, and intricate technicalities, that his argument
was inspiring and profound. His memory seemed to have indelibly pictured
the entire record of the seven days, and to have grouped in his mind the
main argument of counsel. It was a wonderful display of retentiveness,
acumen, learning, and power. On one occasion, while a member of the
United States Senate, he came to Georgia to attend a session of the
Supreme Court in Milledgeville. He writes his wife: "I have had a hard,
close week's work. The lawyers very kindly gave way and allowed my cases
to come on this week, which brought them very close together, and as I
was but ill prepared for them, not having given them any attention last
winter, and but little this spring, I have been pretty much speaking all
day and studying all night." In March, 1856, Mr. Toombs wrote to his
wife, whom he had left in Washington City, that the spring term of
Wilkes court would be the most laborious and disagreeable he ever
attended. Says he: "For the first time in my life, I have business in
court of my own--that is, where I am a party. The Bank of the State of
Georgia has given me a year's work on my own account. If I live I will
make the last named party repent of it."

At another time he wrote: "I had fine weather for Elbert, and a
delightful trip. Everything went well in Elbert with my business." It
usually did. There was no county in which he was more of an autocrat
than in Elbert. He never failed to carry the county in politics, even
when Elbert had a candidate of her own for Congress. His legal advice
was eagerly sought, and he was more consulted than any other man in
Georgia about public and private affairs. The reason of his phenomenal
success as counsel was that, united with his learning and forensic
power, he had a genius for detail. He was a natural financier. He used
to tell President Davis, during the early days of the Confederacy, that
four-fifths of war was business, and that he must "organize" victory.

During the sessions of Elbert court his arguments swept the jury, his
word was law outside. His talk was inspiring to the people. His rare and
racy conversation drew crowds to his room every night, and to an
occasional client, who would drop in upon his symposium to confer with
him, he would say, with a move of his head, "Don't worry about that now.
I know more about your business than you do, as I will show you at the
proper time." His fees at Elbert were larger than at any other court
except his own home in Wilkes. It was during the adjournment of court
for dinner that he would be called out by his constituents to make one
of his matchless political speeches. He never failed to move the crowds
to cheers of delight.

On one occasion he was at Roanoke, his plantation in Stewart County, Ga.
He writes his wife: "I was sent for night before last to appear in
Lumpkin to prosecute a case of murder: but as it appeared that the act
was committed on account of a wrong to the slayer's marital rights, I
declined to appear against him." Mr. Toombs was the embodiment of
virtue, and the strictest defender of the sanctity of marriage on the
part of man as well as woman. His whole life was a sermon of purity and

Judge William M. Reese, who practiced law with Mr. Toombs, and was his
partner from 1840 to 1843, gives this picture of Toombs at the bar: "A
noble presence, a delivery which captivated his hearers by its intense
earnestness: a thorough knowledge of his cases, a lightning-like
perception of the weak and strong points of controversy; a power of
expressing in original and striking language his strong convictions; a
capacity and willingness to perform intellectual labor; a passion for
the contest of the courthouse; a perfect fidelity and integrity in all
business intrusted to him, with charming conversational powers--all
contributed to an immense success in his profession. Such gifts, with a
knowledge of business and the best uses of money, were soon rendered
valuable in accumulating wealth."

Although Mr. Toombs often appeared in courts to attend to business
already in his charge, he gave out that he would not engage in any new
causes which might interfere with his Congressional duties. The
absorbing nature of public business from 1850 to 1867 withdrew him from
the bar, and the records of the Supreme Court of Georgia have only about
twenty-five cases argued by him in that time. Some of these were of
commanding importance, and the opinions of the Justices handed down in
that time bear impress of the conclusiveness of his reasoning and the
power of his effort before that tribunal. Judge E. H. Pottle, who
presided over the courts of the Northern Circuit during the later years
of Toombs's practice, recalls a celebrated land case when Robert Toombs
was associated against Francis H. Cone--himself a legal giant. Toombs's
associate expected to make the argument, but Cone put up such a powerful
speech that it was decided that Toombs must answer him. Toombs
protested, declaring that he had been reading a newspaper, and not
expecting to speak, had not followed Judge Cone. However, he laid down
his paper and listened to Cone's conclusion, then got up and made an
overmastering forensic effort which captured Court and crowd.

The last appearance Toombs ever made in a criminal case was in the
Eberhart case in Oglethorpe County, Ga., in 1877. He was then
sixty-seven years of age, and not only was his speech fine, but his
management of his case was superb. He had not worked on that side of the
court for many years, but the presiding Judge, who watched him closely,
declared that he never made a mistake or missed a point.

It was during a preliminary hearing of this case that Toombs resorted to
one of his brilliant and audacious motions, characteristic of him. The
State wanted to divide the case and try the principals separately.
Father and son were charged with murder. The defense objected, but was
overruled by the Court. General Toombs then sprung the point that Judge
Pottle was not qualified to preside, on the ground of a rumor that he
had selected the men of the jury panel instead of drawing them. Toombs
further argued that the Court was not competent to decide the question
of fact. Judge Pottle vacated the bench and the clerk of court called
Hon. Samuel H. Hardeman to preside. Toombs and Benjamin H. Hill, his
assistant, contended that the clerk had no right to appoint a judge.
Judge Hardeman sustained the point and promptly came down, when Judge
Pottle resumed the bench and continued the case--just the result that
Toombs wanted. This case attracted immense comment, and in the
Constitution of 1877 a provision was made, growing out of this incident,
providing for the appointment of judges _pro hac vice_.

He was a bitter enemy to anything that smacked of monopoly, and during
the anti-railroad agitation of 1879-80, he said: "If I was forty-five
years old I would whip this fight." Still, he was an exceedingly just
man. Linton Stephens, noted for his probity and honor, said he would
rather trust Robert Toombs to decide a case in which he was interested
than any man he ever saw.

During the last five years of General Toombs's life he was seldom seen
in the courtroom. He was sometimes employed in important causes, but his
eyesight failed him, and his strength was visibly impaired. His
addresses were rather disconnected. His old habit of covering his points
in great leaps, leaving the intervening spaces unexplained, rendered it
difficult to follow him. His mind still acted with power, and he seemed
to presume that his hearers were as well up on his subject as he was.
His manner was sometimes overbearing to the members of the bar, but no
man was more open to reason or more sobered by reflection, and he was
absolutely without malice. He was always recognized as an upright man,
and he maintained, in spite of his infirmities, the respect and
confidence of the bench and bar and of the people.

Chief Justice Jackson said: "In the practice of law this lightning-like
rapidity of thought distinguished Toombs. He saw through the case at a
glance, and grasped the controlling point. Yielding minor hillocks, he
seized and held the height that covered the field, and from that
eminence shot after shot swept all before it. Concentrated fire was
always his policy. A single sentence would win his case. A big thought,
compressed into small compass, was fatal to his foe. It is the clear
insight of a great mind only that shaped out truth in words few and
simple. Brevity is power, wherever thought is strong. From Gaul Cæsar
wrote '_Veni, vidi, vici._' Rome was electrified, and the message
immortalized. Toombs said to this Court, 'May it please your
Honor--Seizin, Marriage, Death, Dower,' and sat down. His case was won,
the widow's heart leaped with joy, and the lawyer's argument lives



When Andrew Jackson and John C. Calhoun were waging their "irrepressible
conflict," the county of Wilkes in the State of Georgia was nursing
discordant factions. Just across the river in Carolina lived the great
Nullifier. The Virginia settlers of Wilkes sided with him, while scores
of North Carolinians, who had come to live in the county, swore by "Old
Hickory." This political difference gave rise to numerous feuds. The two
elements maintained their identity for generations, and the divisions
became social as well as political. The Virginians nursed their State
pride. The sons of North Carolina, overshadowed by the Old Dominion,
clung to the Union and accepted Andrew Jackson, their friend and
neighbor, as oracle and leader. The earliest political division in
Georgia was between the Clarke and Crawford factions. General John
Clarke, a sturdy soldier of the Revolution, came from North Carolina,
while William H. Crawford, a Virginian by birth and a Georgian by
residence, led the Virginia element. The feud between Clarke and
Crawford gave rise to numerous duels. Then came George M. Troup to
reënforce the Crawford faction and defend States' Rights, even at the
point of the sword. Troup and Clarke were rival candidates for Governor
of Georgia in 1825, and the Toombs family ardently fought for Troup.
Young Toombs was but fifteen years of age, but politics had been burnt
into his ardent soul. Wilkes had remained a Union county until this
campaign, when the Troup and Toombs influence was too strong for the
North Carolina faction. Wilkes, in fact, seemed to be a watershed in
early politics. It was in close touch with Jackson and Calhoun, with
Clarke and Crawford, and then with Clarke and Troup. On the one side the
current from the mountain streams melted into the peaceful Savannah and
merged into the Atlantic; on the other they swept into the Tennessee and
hurried off to the Father of Waters.

Robert Toombs cast his first vote for Andrew Jackson in 1832. He
abandoned the Union Democratic-Republican party, however, after the
proclamation and force bill of the Administration and joined the States'
Rights Whigs. When young Toombs was elected to the General Assembly of
Georgia in October, 1837, parties were sharply divided. The Democrats,
sustained by the personal popularity of "Old Hickory," were still
dominant in the State. The States' Rights Whigs, however, had a large
following, and although not indorsing the doctrines of Calhoun, the
party was still animated by the spirit of George M. Troup. This
statesman, just retired from public life, had been borne from a sick-bed
to the United States Senate Chamber to vote against the extreme measures
of President Jackson. The Troup men claimed to be loyal to the
Constitution of their country in all its defined grants, and conceded
the right of the Chief Magistrate to execute the office so delegated,
but they resisted what they believed to be a dangerous latitude of
construction looking to consolidated power. Robert Toombs was not a
disciple of Calhoun. While admiring the generalities and theories of the
great Carolinian, the young Georgian was a more practical statesman. The
States' Rights Whigs advocated a protective tariff and a national bank.
They believed that the depreciation of the currency had caused the
distress of the people in the panic of 1837, and no man in this stormy
era more vigorously upbraided the pet-bank and sub-treasury system than
Robert Toombs. He introduced a resolution in the legislature declaring
that President Van Buren had used the patronage of the government to
strengthen his own party; that he had repudiated the practices and
principles of his patriotic antecedents, and "had sought out antiquated
European systems for the collection, safe keeping, and distribution of
public moneys--foreign to our habits, unsuited to our conditions,
expensive and unsafe in operation." Mr. Toombs contended, with all the
force that was in him, that a bank of the United States, properly
regulated, was "the best, most proper and economical means for handling
public moneys." Robert Toombs would not have waited until he was
twenty-seven years of age before entering public life, had not the
sentiment of his county been hostile to his party. Wilkes had been a
Union county, but in 1837 it returned to the lower house two Democrats,
and Robert A. Toombs, the only Whig. Nothing but his recognized ability
induced the people to make an exception in his favor. Besides his
reputation as an orator and advocate, Toombs had just returned from the
Creek war, where he had commanded a company and served under General
Winfield Scott in putting down the insurrection of Neahmatha, the Indian
chief. He now brought to public life the new prestige of a soldier.
After this, "Captain Toombs" was never defeated in his county. He was
returned at the annual elections in 1839, 1840, 1842, and 1843--and
succeeded in preserving at home an average Whig majority of 100 votes.
He did not care for the State Senate, preferring the more populous body,
then composed of 200 members. Parties in the State were very evenly
balanced, but Mr. Toombs preserved, in the varying scale of politics, a
prominent place in the house. He was made chairman of the Judiciary
Committee by his political opponents. He served as a member of the
Committee on Internal Improvements, as chairman of the all-important
Committee on Banking, chairman of the Committee on State of the
Republic, and in 1842 received the vote of the Whig minority in the
house for Speaker. In 1840 the Whigs gained control of the government.
The Harrison tidal wave swept their best men to the front in State and
national councils. Charles J. Jenkins of Richmond was elected speaker of
the house, and Mr. Toombs, as chairman of the Banking Committee, framed
the bill which repealed the law authorizing the issue of bank bills to
the amount of twice their capital stock. He went right to the marrow of
honest banking and sound finance by providing for a fund to redeem the
outstanding bills, and condemned the course of the State banks in
flooding the State with irredeemable promises to pay.

It was at this session of the General Assembly that Mr. Toombs displayed
the skill and sagacity of a statesman in fearlessly exposing a seductive
scheme for popular relief. He was called upon to confront public clamor
and to fight in the face of fearful odds, but he did not falter.

Just before the General Assembly of 1840 adjourned, Governor McDonald
sent an urgent message to both houses calling upon them to frame some
means for the speedy relief of the people. The situation in Georgia was
very distressing. The rains and floods of that year had swept the crops
from the fields, and there was much suffering among the planters. Coming
upon the heel of the session, the Whig members of the legislature looked
upon the message as a surprise, and rather regarded it as a shrewd
political stroke. Mr. Toombs was equal to the emergency. He quickly put
in a resolution asking the Governor himself to suggest some means of
popular relief--throwing the burden of the problem back upon the
executive. But Governor McDonald was armed. He drew his last weapon from
his arsenal, and used it with formidable power. He sent in an elaborate
message to the houses recommending that the State make a large loan and
deposit the proceeds in bank, to be given out to the people on good
security. The Senate committee, in evident sympathy with the scheme for
relief, reported a bill authorizing the issue of two million six-year
eight-per-cent. bonds to be loaned to private citizens, limiting each
loan to one thousand dollars, and restricting the notes to three years,
with eight per cent. interest.

The report of the House Committee was prepared by Robert Toombs. It was
the most admirable and statesmanlike document of that day. Mr. Toombs
said that deliberation had resulted in the conviction that the measure
suggested by His Excellency should not be adopted. While his committee
was duly sensible of and deeply regretted the pecuniary embarrassment of
many of their fellow-citizens, he felt constrained by a sense of public
duty to declare that he deemed it unwise and impolitic to use the
credit, and pledge the property and labor of the whole people, to supply
the private wants of a portion only of the people. The use of the public
credit, he went on to say, was one of the most important and delicate
powers which a free people could confide in their representatives; it
should be jealously guarded, sacredly protected, and cautiously used,
even for the attainment of the noblest patriotic ends, and never for the
benefit of one class of the community to the exclusion or injury of the
rest, whether the demand grew out of real or supposed pecuniary
difficulties. To relieve these difficulties by use of the public credit
would be to substitute a public calamity for private misfortune, and
would end in the certain necessity of imposing grievous burdens in the
way of taxes upon the many for the benefit of the few. All experience,
Mr. Toombs went on to declare, admonish us to expect such results from
the proposed relief measures, to adopt which would be to violate some
of the most sacred principles of the social compact. All free
governments, deriving their just powers from, and being established for
the benefit of, the governed, must necessarily have power over the
property, and consequently the credit, of the governed to the extent of
public use, and no further. And whenever government assumed the right to
use the property or credit of the people for any other purpose, it
abused a power essential for the perfection of its legislative duties in
a manner destructive of the rights and interests of the governed, and
ought to be sternly resisted by the people. The proposed measures, he
contended, violated these admitted truths, asserted the untenable
principle that governments should protect a portion of the people, in
violation of the rights of the remainder, from the calamities consequent
on unpropitious seasons and private misfortunes.

He must have been an indifferent or careless spectator of similar
financial schemes, Mr. Toombs declared, who could persuade himself that
this plan of borrowing money, to lend again at the same rate of
interest, could be performed without loss to the State. That loss must
be supplied by taxation, and to that extent, at least, it will operate
so as to legislate money from the pocket of one citizen to that of
another. The committee declared that it knew of no mode of legislative
relief except the interposition of unconstitutional, unwise, unjust, and
oppressive legislation between debtor and creditor, which did not need
their condemnation.

The argument was exhaustive and convincing. Never were the powers of the
State or the soundness of public credit more strongly set forth. The
whole scheme of relief was abandoned, and the General Assembly

The relief measures, however, had a great effect upon the campaign.
Rejected in the legislature under the rattling fire and withering
sarcasm of Toombs, they were artfully used on the hustings. "McDonald
and Relief" was the slogan. Men talked airily about "deliverance and
liberty." Mr. Toombs declared that "humbuggery was reduced to an exact
science and demonstrated by figures." The Act compelling the banks to
make cash payments was represented as an unwise contraction of the
currency and a great oppression to the people. Governor McDonald was
consequently reëlected over William C. Dawson, the Whig nominee.

Robert Toombs was not a candidate for reëlection in 1841. He worked hard
at the polls for the Whig ticket, and although his candidate for
Governor received a majority of one in Wilkes County, the Whigs were
defeated for the legislature. When he returned to the Assembly in 1842
he still found Governor McDonald and the Democrats supporting a central
bank and the sub-treasury. They clamored to restore public finances to
the old system. The Democrats held the legislature and elected to the
United States Senate Walter T. Colquitt over Charles J. Jenkins.
Although a member of the minority party, Mr. Toombs was appointed
chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Here his high character and moral
courage shone conspicuously. He proved a stone wall against the perfect
flood of legislation designed for popular relief. To use his own words:
"The calendar was strong with a heterogeneous collection of bills
proposing stay-laws." He reported as "unwise, inexpedient, and
injurious," proposed Acts "to protect unfortunate debtors"; "to redeem
property in certain cases"; also a bill to "exempt from levy and sale
certain classes of property." He held with Marshall the absolute
inviolability of contracts; he believed in common honesty in public and
private life; he was strict in all business obligations; he denounced
the Homestead Act of 1868, and declared in his last days that there was
"not a dirty shilling in his pocket." Mr. Toombs was nothing of the
demagogue. He was highminded, fearless, and sincere, and it may be said
of him what he afterward declared so often of Henry Clay, that "he would
not flatter Neptune for his trident or Jove for his power to thunder."
He was called upon at this session to fight the repeal of the law he had
framed in 1840, to regulate the system of banking. He declared in
eloquent terms that the State must restrict the issue of the banks and
compel their payment in specie. The experiment of banking on public
credit had failed, he said. It had brought loss to the government,
distress to the people, and had sullied the good faith of Georgia.

It was at this session of the legislature that the Democrats proposed a
vote of censure upon John McPherson Berrien, United States Senator from
Georgia, for his advocacy of a national bank. Mr. Toombs ardently
defended Senator Berrien. He said that the State legislature was not the
custodian of a senator's conscience, and held that the people of Georgia
sanctioned the expediency and utility of a national bank. When the
resolution of censure came up in the house, the Whigs refused to vote,
and raised the point of "no quorum." Speaker _pro tem_. Wellborn, who
presided, counted a quorum and declared the resolutions adopted. Mr.
Toombs fired up at this unusual decision. He threw himself before the
Speaker with impetuous appeal and called for a reversal of the decision.
But it was a Democratic house, and the Speaker was sustained by a vote
of 96 to 40.

The craze for internal improvements now swept over the country. The
Whigs were especially active, and we find resolutions adopted by the
General Assembly, calling on the Federal Government to create ports of
entry and to build government foundries and navy yards on the Southern
seaboard. Mr. Toombs was chairman of the Committee of Internal
Improvements, but his efforts were directed toward the completion of the
Western and Atlantic Railroad. These enterprises had overshadowed the
waterways, and the railway from Charleston, S. C., to Augusta, Ga., one
of the very first in the country, had just been completed. Already a
company had embarked upon the construction of the Georgia Railroad, and
on May 21, 1837, the first locomotive ever put in motion on the soil of
Georgia moved out from Augusta. A local paper described the event in
sententious terms:

      This locomotive started beautifully and majestically from
      the depository and, following the impetus given, flew with
      surprising velocity on the road which hereafter is to be
      her natural element.

The General Assembly decided that these rail lines should have an outlet
to the West. This great road was finally built and operated from Atlanta
to Chattanooga, and is still owned by the State, a monument to the
sagacity and persistency of Toombs and his associates in 1840. The great
possibilities of these iron highways opened the eyes of the statesmen
of that day, Mr. Calhoun seemed to drop for a time his philosophical
studies of States and slavery and to dream of railroads and commercial
greatness. He proposed the connection of the Atlantic Ocean with the
Mississippi River and the great West, through Cumberland Gap--a
brilliant and feasible scheme. Governor Gilmer of Georgia declared in
his message that these projected roads "would add new bonds to the
Union." But King Cotton, with his millions in serfdom, issued his
imperial decrees, and not even this great railroad development could
keep down the tremendous tragedy of the century.

One of the measures to which Mr. Toombs devoted great attention during
his legislative term was the establishment of a State Supreme Court.
This bill was several times defeated, but finally in 1843 passed the
house by a vote of 88 to 86. It was the scene of many of his forensic
triumphs. He also introduced, during the sessions of 1842 and 1843,
bills to abolish suretyship in Georgia. This system had been severely
abused. In the flush times men indorsed without stint, and then during
the panic of 1837 "reaped the whirlwind." Fortunes were swept away,
individual credit ruined, and families brought to beggary by this
reckless system of surety. What a man seldom refused to do for another,
Mr. Toombs strove to reach by law. But the system had become too firmly
intrenched in the financial habits of the people. His bill, which he
distinctly stated was to apply alone to future and not past contracts,
only commanded a small minority of votes. It was looked upon as an
abridgment of personal liberty. Mr. Toombs exerted all of his efforts in
behalf of this bill, and it became quite an issue in Georgia. It is not
a little strange that when Robert Toombs was dead, it was found that his
own estate was involved by a series of indorsements which he had given
in Atlanta to the Kimball House Company. Had he maintained the activity
of his younger days, he would probably have turned this deal into a
profitable investment. The complication was finally arranged, but his
large property came near being swept away under the same system of
surety he had striven to abolish.



Entering public life about the same time, living a short distance apart,
professing the same political principles, practicing in the same courts
of law, were Alexander H. Stephens of Taliaferro and Robert Toombs of
Wilkes. Entirely unlike in physical organism and mental make-up,
differing entirely in origin and views of life, these two men were close
personal friends, and throughout an eventful period of more than half a
century, preserved an affectionate regard for each other.

Mr. Stephens was delicate, sensitive, conservative, and sagacious, while
Toombs was impetuous, overpowering, defiant, and masterful. Stephens was
small, swarthy, fragile, while Toombs was leonine, full-blooded, and
majestic. And yet in peace and war these two men walked hand in hand,
and the last public appearance of Robert Toombs was when, bent and
weeping, he bowed his gray head at the coffin and pronounced the funeral
oration over Alexander Stephens.

In the General Assembly of 1843, Robert Toombs was a member of the
house, but his ability and power had marked him as a candidate for
Congress, and Mr. Stephens had already been promoted from the State
Senate to a seat in the national legislature at Washington. The law
requiring the State to choose congressmen on the district plan had been
passed, and the General Assembly was then engaged in laying off the
counties into congressional districts. The bill, as first reported,
included the counties of Wilkes and Taliaferro in the second district of
Georgia. Here was a problem. Toombs and Stephens had been named as Whig
candidates for the Clay campaign of 1844. To have them clash would have
been to deprive the State of their talents in the national councils. It
would be interesting to speculate as to what would have been the result
had these two men been opposed. Stephens was naturally a Union man, and
was no very ardent advocate of slavery. Toombs inherited the traditions
of the Virginia landowners. It is not improbable that the firmness of
the one would have been a foil for the fire of the other. History might
have been written differently had not the conference committee in the
Georgia Legislature in 1843 altered the schedule of districts, placing
Taliaferro in the seventh and Wilkes in the eighth Congressional
district. Both were safely Whig, and the future Vice-President and
premier of the Southern Confederacy now prepared for the canvass which
was to plunge them into their duties as members of the national

Robert Toombs had already made his appearance in national politics in
1840. Although still a member of the Georgia Legislature, he took a deep
interest in the success of the Whig ticket for President. His power as a
stump speaker was felt in eastern Georgia, where the people gathered at
the "log cabin and hard cider" campaigns. The most daring feat of young
Toombs, just thirty years old, was in crossing the Savannah River and
meeting George McDuffie, the great Democrat of South Carolina, then in
the zenith of his fame. An eye-witness of this contest between the
champions of Van Buren and Harrison declared that McDuffie was
"harnessed lightning" himself. He was a nervous, impassioned speaker.
When the rash young Georgian crossed over to Willington, S. C., to meet
the lion in his den, Toombs rode horseback, and it was noticed that his
shirt front was stained with tobacco juice, and yet Toombs was a
remarkably handsome man. "Genius sat upon his brow, and his eyes were as
black as death and bigger than an ox's." His presence captivated even
the idolators of McDuffie. His argument and invective, his overpowering
eloquence, linger in the memory of old men now. McDuffie said of him: "I
have heard John Randolph of Roanoke, and met Burgess of Rhode Island,
but this wild Georgian is a Mirabeau."

In 1844 Robert Toombs was a delegate to the Baltimore convention which
nominated Henry Clay, and during this visit he made a speech in New York
which attracted wide attention. It threatened to raise a storm about his
head in Georgia. In his speech he arraigned Mr. Calhoun for writing his
"sugar letter" to Louisiana, and for saying that he would protect sugar
because it was the production of slave labor. Mr. Toombs declared: "If
any discrimination is made between free and slave labor it ought to be
in favor of free labor." "But," said he, "the Whigs of Georgia want no
such partial protection as Mr. Calhoun offers; they want protection for
all classes of labor and home industry. The Whigs protest against these
efforts to prejudice the South against the North, or the North against
the South. They have a common interest as well as a common history. The
blood that was mingled at Yorktown and at Eutaw cannot be kept at enmity
forever. The Whigs of Bunker Hill are the same as the Whigs of Georgia."
Mr. Toombs was actually charged in this campaign with being an
Abolitionist. He was accused of saying in a speech at Mallorysville,
Ga., during the Harrison campaign, that slavery was "a moral and
political evil." This was now brought up against him. Mr. Toombs
admitted saying that slavery was a political evil. He wrote a ringing
letter to his constituents, in which he declared that "the affected fear
and pretended suspicion of a part of the Democratic press in relation to
my views are well understood by the people. I have no language to
express my scorn and contempt for the whole crew. I have no other reply
to make to these common sewers of filth and falsehood. If I had as many
arms as Briareus they would be too few to correct the misrepresentations
of speeches I have made in the past six months."

It was on the 3d of October, 1844, that Robert Toombs spoke at a
memorable political meeting in Augusta, Ga. Augusta was in the heart of
the district which he was contesting for Congress, and the Democrats, to
strengthen their cause, brought over McDuffie from South Carolina. Large
crowds were present in the shady yard surrounding the City Hall; seats
had been constructed there, while back in the distance long trenches
were dug, and savory meats were undergoing the famous process of
barbecue. Speaking commenced at ten o'clock in the morning, and, with a
short rest for dinner, there were seven hours of oratory. People seldom
tired in those days of forensic meetings. Toombs was on his mettle. He
denounced the Democrats for dragging the slavery question before the
people to operate upon their fears. It was a bugbear everlastingly used
to cover up the true question at issue. It was kept up to operate on
the fears of the timid and the passions and prejudices of the

The young Whig then launched into a glowing defense of the National
Bank. The Democrats had asked where was the authority to charter a bank?
He would reply, "Where was the authority, in so many words, to build
lighthouses? Democrats were very strict constructionists when it was
necessary to accomplish their political purposes, but always found a way
to get around these doubts when occasion required." He taunted McDuffie
with having admitted that Congress had power to charter a bank.

Mr. Toombs contended that a tariff, with the features of protection to
American industry, had existed since the foundation of the government.
This great system of "plunder" had been supported by Jefferson.
Eloquently warming up under the Democratic charge that the tariff was a
system of robbery, Mr. Toombs appealed to every Whig and Democrat as an
American who boasted of this government as "a model to all nations of
the earth; as the consummation of political wisdom; who asks the
oppressed of all nations to come and place himself under its protection,
because it upholds the weak against the strong and protects the poor
against the rich, whether it has been going on in a system of plunder
ever since it sprang into power." "It is not true," he said, "it is not

Turning with prophetic ken to his Augusta friends, he asked what would
be the effect were the Savannah River turned through the beautiful
plains of Augusta, and manufactures built up where the industrious could
find employment. Hundreds of persons, he said, would be brought together
to spin the raw cotton grown in the State, to consume the provisions
which the farmers raised, thus diversifying their employment and
increasing their profits. "Would any man tell me," shouted the orator,
his eyes blazing, and his arms uplifted, "that this would impoverish the
country--would make paupers of the people? To increase the places where
the laborer may sell his labor would never make him a pauper. Be
controlled," said he, "in the administration of government and in all
other things, by the improvement of the age. Do not tie the living to
the dead. Others may despise the lights of science or experience; they
have a right, if they choose, to be governed by the dreams of economists
who have rejected practical evidence. But no such consistency is mine. I
will have none of it."

McDuffie in his speech declared that all the plundering which England
had been subjected to from the days of Hengist and Horsa could not equal
the plundering which the people of the exporting States had sustained.

Toombs answered that if a man must pay tax to sustain the government it
was better he should pay it in such a way as to benefit his own
countrymen than for the benefit of foreign manufacturers and foreign

Mr. Toombs alluded to a letter of James K. Polk to a Pennsylvania
manufacturer, as leaning toward protection.

McDuffie said that Polk's letter was "composed for that meridian."

"Henry Clay does not need an interpreter," cried Toombs. "He is the same
in the North as in the South. He would rather be right than President."

"Dallas, the Democratic nominee for vice president, is a high-tariff
man," said Toombs. "He voted for the tariff of 1832 and against the
compromise measures. Although the sword was drawn to drink the blood of
McDuffie's friends in Carolina, Dallas would still adhere to his pound
of flesh."

Toombs concluded his great reply to McDuffie: "We have lived under the
present order of things for fifty years, and can continue to live under
it for one thousand years to come, if the people of the South are but
content to stand upon their rights as guaranteed in the Constitution,
and not work confusion by listening to ambitious politicians: by taking
as much pains to preserve a good understanding with our Northern
brethren, the vast majority of whom are inclined to respect the
limitations of the Constitution."

This was perhaps the greatest political meeting Georgia ever held.
Politics were at white heat. Toombs and McDuffie each spoke two hours.
The campaign cry was for the Whigs: "Clay, Frelinghuysen, Toombs, and
our glorious Union," and by the Democrats: "Polk, Dallas, Texas, and
Oregon." It was Whig _vs._ Loco-foco. The Whig leaders of the South were
Pettigru, Thompson, and Yeadon of South Carolina, Merriweather, Toombs,
and Stephens, of Georgia, while the Democratic lights were McDuffie,
Rhett, and Pickens of South Carolina, and Charlton, Cobb, Colquitt, and
Herschel V. Johnson of Georgia.

The campaign of 1844 was bitter in Georgia. The Whigs carried the burden
of a protective tariff, while the memories of nullification and the
Force bill were awakened by a ringing letter from George M. Troup,
condemning the tariff in his vigorous style. This forced Mr. Toombs, in
his letter accepting the congressional nomination, to review the subject
in its relation to the States' Rights party in Georgia. "The tariff of
1824," said he, "which was voted for by Andrew Jackson, carried the
principle of protection further than any preceding one. Jackson was the
avowed friend of the protective policy, yet he received the vote of
Georgia, regardless of party. In 1828 the Harrisburg convention demanded
additional protection, and this measure was carried through Congress by
the leading men of the Democratic party. It created discontent in the
South, and the Act of 1832 professed to modify the tariff--but this
measure not proving satisfactory was 'nullified' by South Carolina.
General Jackson then issued his proclamation which pronounced principles
and issues utterly at war with the rights of the States, and subversive
of the character of the government. The opponents of consolidating
principles went into opposition. Delegates met in Milledgeville in 1833,
adopted the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions, denounced the sentiments
of Jackson's proclamation, and affirmed the doctrine of States' Rights."

"The Democratic party was then," said Toombs, "cheek by jowl with the
whole tariff party in the United States, sustaining General Jackson, and
stoutly maintaining that the leaders of that spirited little band in our
sister State, whose talent shed a glory over their opposition, deserved
a halter. They sustained John C. Forsythe in voting against the
Compromise bill--that peace offering of the illustrious Henry Clay."

Mr. Toombs declared in this campaign that the effect of a tariff on the
productive industries of a country has been a disputed question among
the wisest statesmen for centuries, and that these influences are
subject to so many disturbing causes, both foreign and domestic, that
they are incapable of being reduced to fixed principles. Mr. Toombs did
not hesitate, however, to condemn "the theories of the South Carolina
school of politics."

Mr. Toombs opposed the acquisition of Texas. He did not believe the
North would consent. "It matters not," he said, "that Mexico is weak,
that the acquisition is easy. The question is just the same: Is it
right, is it just, is it the policy of this country to enlarge its
territory by conquest? The principle is condemned by the spirit of the
age, by reason, and by revelation. A people who love justice and hate
wrong and oppression cannot approve it. War in a just cause is a great
calamity to any people, and can only be justified by the highest
necessity. A people who go to war without just and sufficient cause,
with no other motive than pride and love of glory, are enemies to the
human race and deserve the execration of all mankind. What, then, must
be the judgment of a war for plunder?" He denounced the whole thing as a
land job, and declared that he would rather have "the Union without
Texas than Texas without the Union."

The Democratic opponent of Mr. Toombs in this canvass was Hon. Edward J.
Black of Screven, who had been in Congress since 1838. The new district
was safely Whig, but the young candidate had to fight the prestige of
McDuffie and Troup and opposition from numberless sources. It was
charged that he always voted in the Georgia Legislature to raise taxes.
He retorted, "It is right to resort to taxation to pay the honest debt
of a State. I did vote to raise taxes, and I glory in it. It was a duty
I owed the State, and I would go to the last dollar to preserve her good
name and honor."

While Mr. Toombs was making a speech in this canvass a man in the
audience charged him with having voted for the free banking law and
against the poor-school fund. "The gentleman," said Mr. Toombs, "seems
to find pleasure in reveling in my cast-off errors. I shall not disturb

"How is this, Mr. Toombs," shouted a Democrat at another time, "here is
a vote of yours in the house journal I do not like."

"Well, my friend, there are several there that I do not like: now what
are you going to do about it?"

Especially was opposition bitter to Henry Clay. Cartoons were published
from Northern papers, of Clay whipping a negro slave, with this
inscription: "The Mill Boy of the _Slashes_." Pictures appeared in the
Democratic papers of a human figure surmounted by a pistol, a bottle,
and a deck of cards. To this a _résumé_ of Clay's misdeeds was appended:

"In 1805 quarreled with Colonel Davis of Kentucky, which led to his
first duel. In 1808 challenged Humphrey Marshall, and fired three times
at his breast. In 1825 challenged the great John Randolph, and fired
once at his breast. In 1838 he planned the Cilley duel, by which a
murder was committed and a wife made a mourner. In 1841, when sixty-five
years old, and gray-headed, is under a five thousand dollar bond to keep
the peace. At twenty-nine he perjured himself to secure a seat in the
United States Senate. In 1824, made the infamous bargain with Adams by
which he sold out for a six thousand dollar office. He is well known as
a gambler and Sabbath-breaker."

But the eloquent Harry of the West had a large and devoted following. He
visited Georgia in March of this year, and charmed the people by his
eloquence and magnetism. Robert Toombs had met him at the social board
and had been won by his superb mentality and fine manners. Women paid
him the tribute of their presence wherever he spoke, and little children
scattered flowers along his path. But the November election in Georgia,
as elsewhere, was adverse to the party of Henry Clay. Toombs and
Stephens were sent to Congress, but the electoral vote of Georgia was
cast for Polk and Dallas, and the Whigs, who loved Clay as a father,
regarded his defeat as a personal affliction as well as a public



Robert Toombs took his seat in the twenty-ninth Congress in December,
1845. The Democrats organized the House by the election of John W. Davis
of Indiana, Speaker. The House was made up of unusually strong men, who
afterward became noted in national affairs. Hannibal Hamlin was with the
Maine delegation; ex-President John Quincy Adams had been elected from
Massachusetts with Robert C. Winthrop; Stephen A. Douglas was there from
Illinois; David Wilmot from Pennsylvania; R. Barnwell Rhett and
Armistead Burt from South Carolina; Geo. C. Droomgoole and Robert M. T.
Hunter of Virginia, Andrew Johnson of Tennessee, were members, as were
Henry W. Hilliard and W. L. Yancey of Alabama, Jefferson Davis and Jacob
Thompson of Mississippi, and John Slidell of Louisiana. Toombs,
Stephens, and Cobb were the most prominent figures in the Georgia

The topics uppermost in the public mind of that day were the Oregon
question, Texas, and the ubiquitous tariff. It looked at one time as if
war with Great Britain were unavoidable. President Polk occupied an
extreme position, and declared in his message to Congress that our title
to the whole of Oregon was clear. The boundary of the ceded territory
was unsettled. The Democrats demanded the occupation of Oregon, with the
campaign cry of "fifty-four forty or fight."

Mr. Toombs did not accept President Polk's position. His first speech in
the House was made January 12, 1846, and at once placed him in the front
rank of orators and statesmen. He said that it was not clear to him that
our title was exceptional up to 54°40'. Our claim to the territory north
of the Columbia River was the Spanish title only, and this had been an
inchoate right.

Mr. Toombs wanted the question settled by reason. He impetuously
declared that "neither the clamors within nor without this hall, nor the
ten thousand British cannon, floating on every ship, or mounted on every
island, shall influence my decision in a question like this." He was for
peace--for honorable peace. "It is the mother of all the virtues and
hopes of mankind." No man would go further than he to obtain honorable
peace; but dishonorable peace was worse than war--it was the worst of
all evil.

War was the greatest and the most horrible of calamities. Even a war for
liberty itself was rarely compensated by the consequences. "Yet the
common judgment of mankind consigned to lasting infamy the people who
would surrender their rights and freedom for the sake of a dishonest

"Let us," cried the speaker, turning to his Southern colleagues, "let us
repress any unworthy sectional feeling which looks only to the
attainment of sectional power."

His conclusion was an apotheosis of Georgia as a Union State. He said:
"Mr. Speaker, Georgia wants peace, but she would not for the sake of
peace yield any of her own or the nation's rights. A new career of
prosperity is now before her; new prospects, bright and fair, open to
her vision and lie ready for her grasp, and she fully appreciates her
position. She has at length begun to avail herself of her advantages by
forming a great commercial line between the Atlantic and the West. She
is embarking in enterprises of intense importance, and is beginning to
provide manufactures for her unpaid laborers. She sees nothing but
prosperity ahead, and peace is necessary in order to reveal it; but
still, if war must come, if it has been decreed that Oregon must be
consecrated to liberty in the blood of the brave and the sufferings of
the free, Georgia will be found ready with her share of the offering,
and, whatever may be her sacrifice, she will display a magnanimity as
great as the occasion and as prolonged as the conflict."

Mr. Toombs indorsed the conservative action of the Senate, which forced
President Polk from his extreme position and established the parallel of
49° as the northern boundary.

The tariff bill of 1846 was framed, as President Polk expressed it, in
the interest of lower duties, and it changed the basis of assessment
from specific, or minimum duties, to duties _ad valorem_.

Mr. Toombs made a most elaborate speech against this bill in July, 1846.
If his Oregon speech had shown thorough familiarity with the force and
effect of treaties and the laws of nations, his tariff speech proved him
a student of fiscal matters and a master of finance. His genius, as
Jefferson Davis afterward remarked, lay decidedly in this direction. Mr.
Toombs announced in his tariff speech that the best of laws, especially
tax laws, were but approximations of human justice. He entered into an
elaborate argument to controvert the idea that low tariff meant
increased revenue. The history of such legislation, he contended, had
been that the highest tariff had raised the most money. Mr. Toombs
combated the _ad valorem_ principle of levying duty upon imports.

Mr. Toombs declared to his constituents in September, 1846, that the
President had marched his army into Mexico without authority of law.
"The conquest and dismemberment of Mexico, however brilliant may be the
success of our arms," said he, "will not redound to the glory of our

The Whigs approached the Presidential campaign of 1848 with every chance
of success. They still hoped that the Sage of Ashland might be the
nominee. George W. Crawford, ex-Governor of Georgia, and afterward
member of the Taylor Cabinet, perceiving that the drift in the West was
against Mr. Clay, offered a resolution in the Whig convention that
"whatever may have been our personal preferences, we feel that in
yielding them at the present time, we are only pursuing Mr. Clay's own
illustrious example." Mr. Toombs stated to his constituents that Clay
could not be nominated because Ohio had declared that no man who had
opposed the Wilmot Proviso could get the vote of that State. The Whigs,
who had opposed the Mexican war, now reaped its benefits by nominating
one of its heroes to the Presidency, and Zachary Taylor of Louisiana
became at once a popular candidate. Millard Fillmore of New York was
named for vice president, and "Rough and Ready" clubs were soon
organized in every part of Georgia. The venerable William H. Crawford
headed the Whig electoral ticket in Georgia, while Toombs, Stephens, and
Thomas W. Thomas led the campaign.

The issue of the campaign in Georgia was the Clayton compromise which
the Georgia senators had sustained, but which Stephens and Toombs had
defeated in the House. This compromise proposed that all questions
concerning slavery in the governments of the ceded territory be referred
to the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Toombs declared that the
Mexican law prohibiting slavery was still valid and would so remain;
that Congress and not the courts must change this law.

The Clayton compromise, Mr. Toombs said, was only intended as "the
Euthanasia of States' Rights. When our rights are clear, security for
them should be free from all ambiguity. We ought never to surrender
territory, until it shall be wrested from us as we have wrested it from
Mexico. Such a surrender would degrade and demoralize our section and
disable us for effective resistance against future aggression. It is far
better that this new acquisition should be the grave of the republic
than of the rights and honor of the South--and, from present
indications, to this complexion it must come at last."

Mr. Toombs demanded that what was recognized by law as property in the
slaveholding States should be recognized in the Mexican territory. "This
boon," he pleaded, "may be worthless, but its surrender involves our
honor. We can permit no discrimination against our section or our
institutions in dividing out the common property of the republic. Their
rights are not to be abandoned, or bartered away in presidential

So Toombs and Stephens were central figures in this national campaign.
It was during this canvass that Mr. Stephens became embroiled with Judge
Francis H. Cone, a prominent lawyer of Georgia and a near neighbor. Mr.
Stephens heard that Judge Cone had denounced him as a traitor for moving
to table the Clayton compromise. Stephens had retorted sharply that if
Cone had said this he would slap his face. After some correspondence the
two men met in Atlanta, September 4, 1848. The trouble was renewed;
Judge Cone denounced Mr. Stephens, who rapped him over the shoulders
with a whalebone cane. Mr. Stephens was a fragile man, and Judge Cone,
with strong physique, closed in and forced him to the floor. During the
scuffle Mr. Stephens was cut in six places. His life for a while was
despaired of. Upon his recovery he was received with wild enthusiasm by
the Whigs, who cheered his pluck and regarded his return to the canvass
as an omen of victory.

Shortly afterward he wrote to Mrs. Toombs, thanking her for her interest
and solicitude during his illness. He managed to write with his left
hand, as he could not use his right. "I hope," he says, "I will be able
to take the stump again next week for old Zach. I think Mr. Toombs has
had the weight of the canvass long enough, and though he has done
gallant service, this but inspires me with the wish to lend all aid in
my power. I think we shall yet be able to save the State. My faith is as
strong as Mr. Preston's which, you know, was enough to move mountains. I
got a letter the other day from Mr. C----, who gives it as his opinion
that Ohio would go for General Taylor. If so, he will be elected. And
you know how I shall hail such a result."

During Mr. Stephens' illness Mr. Toombs canvassed many of the counties
in the Stephens district. Both men were reëlected to Congress, and
Zachary Taylor received the electoral vote of Georgia over Lewis Cass of
Michigan, and was elected President of the United States.

The Democrats, who put out a candidate this year against Mr. Toombs,
issued an address which was evidently not inspired by the able and
deserving gentleman who bore their standard, but was intended as a sharp
rebuke to Mr. Toombs. It is interesting as showing how he was regarded
by his friends, the enemy.

"Of an age when life's illusions have vanished," they said of the
Democratic candidate, "he has no selfish aspirations, no vaulting
ambition to carry him astray: no vanity to lead where it is glory enough
to follow." They accorded to Mr. Toombs "a very showy cast of
talent--better suited to the displays of the stump than the grave
discussions of the legislative hall. His eloquence has that sort of
splendor mixed with the false and true which is calculated to dazzle the
multitude. He would rather win the applause of groundlings by some silly
tale than gain the intelligent by the most triumphant course of
reasoning." Mr. Toombs carried every county in the district and was
returned to Congress by 1681 majority.

When Mr. Toombs returned to Washington he had commanded national
prominence. He had not only carried his State for Zachary Taylor, but
his speech in New York, during a critical period of the canvass, had
turned the tide for the Whig candidate in the country. Toombs and
Stephens naturally stood very near the administration. They soon had
reason to see, however, that the Taylor Cabinet was not attentive to
Southern counsels.

During the fight over the compromise measure in Congress the Northern
papers printed sensational accounts of a rupture between President
Taylor and Messrs. Toombs and Stephens. According to this account the
Georgia congressmen called on the President and expressed strong
disapprobation of his stand upon the bill to organize the Territory of
New Mexico. It was said that they even threatened to side with his
opponents to censure him upon his action in the case of Secretary
Crawford and the Golphin claim. The President, the article recited, was
very much troubled over this interview and remained despondent for
several days. He took his bed and never rallied, dying on the 9th of
July, 1850. Mr. Stephens published a card, promptly denying this
sensation. He said that neither he nor his colleague Mr. Toombs had
visited the President at all during or previous to his last illness, and
that no such scene had occurred.

Toombs and Stephens, in fact, were warm personal friends of George W.
Crawford, who was Secretary of War in Taylor's Cabinet. He had served
with them in the General Assembly of Georgia and had twice been Governor
of their State. The Golphin claim, of which Governor Crawford had been
agent, had been collected from the Secretary of the Treasury while
Governor Crawford was in the Cabinet, but President Taylor had decided
that as Governor Crawford was at the head of an entirely different
department of the government, he had been guilty of no impropriety.
After the death of President Taylor, Governor Crawford returned to
Augusta and was tendered a public dinner by his fellow-citizens,
irrespective of party. He delivered an eloquent and feeling address. He
made an extensive tour abroad, then lived in retirement in Richmond
County, enjoying the respect and confidence of his neighbors.



No legislative body ever assembled with more momentous measures before
it than the thirty-first Congress of the United States. An immense area
of unsettled public domain had been wrested from Mexico. The Territories
of California, Utah, and New Mexico, amounting to several hundred
thousand square miles, remained undisposed of. They comprised what Mr.
Calhoun had termed the "Forbidden Fruit," and the trouble which
beclouded their annexation threatened to surpass the storms of conquest.

Congress felt that it was absolutely without light to guide it. It had
declined to extend the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific Ocean.
Henry Clay had pronounced such division of public domain between the
sections a "Utopian dream," and Zachary Taylor had condemned the
principle in the only message he ever delivered to Congress. What Mr.
Lincoln afterward embodied in his famous expression that the Union could
never exist "half slave, half free," had been actually anticipated. The
whole territorial question came up as a new problem. But if the crisis
was now momentous the body of statesmen which considered it was a great
one. The men and the hour seemed to meet in that supreme moment. The
Senate consisted of sixty members, and for the last time that great trio
of Clay, Calhoun, and Webster met upon its floor. Commencing their
careers a generation before; with eventful lives and illustrious
performance, they lingered one moment in this arena before passing
forever from the scenes of their earthly efforts. All three had given up
ambition for the Presidency, none of them had commenced to break in
mental power, and each one was animated by patriotism to serve and save
his country. William H. Seward had entered the Senate from New York;
James M. Mason and Robert M. T. Hunter represented Virginia; Wm. C.
Dawson had joined Mr. Berrien from Georgia; Salmon P. Chase appeared
from Ohio; Jefferson Davis and Henry S. Foote illustrated Mississippi;
Stephen A. Douglas had been promoted from the House in Illinois, and
Samuel Houston was there from Texas. The House was unusually strong and
divided with the Senate the stormy scenes and surpassing struggles over
the compromise measures of 1850. It was the time of breaking up of party
lines, and many believed that the hour of disunion had arrived.

The Whig caucus, which assembled to nominate a candidate for Speaker of
the House, sustained a serious split. Robert Toombs offered a resolution
that Congress should place no restriction upon slavery in the
Territories. The Northern Whigs scouted the idea and Toombs led the
Southern members out of the meeting. The organization of the House was
delayed three weeks, and finally, under a plurality resolution, the
Democrats elected Howell Cobb of Georgia Speaker over Robert C. Winthrop
of Massachusetts. In the midst of these stormy scenes Mr. Toombs forced
the fighting. He declared with impetuous manner that he believed the
interests of his people were in danger and he was unwilling to surrender
the great power of the Speaker's chair without security for the future.

"It seems," he said, "that we are to be intimidated by eulogies of the
Union and denunciations of those who are not ready to sacrifice national
honor, essential interests, and constitutional rights upon its altar.
Sir, I have as much attachment to the Union of these States, under the
Constitution of our fathers, as any freeman ought to have. I am ready to
concede and sacrifice for it whatever a just and honorable man ought to
sacrifice. I will do no more. I have not heeded the expression of those
who did not understand or desired to misrepresent my conduct or opinions
in relation to these questions, which, in my judgment, so vitally
affect it. The time has come when I shall not only utter them, but make
them the basis of my political actions here. I do not then hesitate to
avow before this House and the country, and in the presence of the
living God, that if by your legislation you seek to drive us from the
Territories purchased by the common blood and treasure of the people,
and to abolish slavery in the District, thereby attempting to fix a
national degradation upon half the States of this confederacy, I am for
disunion, and if my physical courage be equal to the maintenance of my
convictions of right and duty I will devote all I am and all I have on
earth to its consummation.

"Give me securities that the power of organization which you seek will
not be used to the injury of my constituents; then you can have my
coöperation, but not till then. Grant them, and you prevent the
disgraceful scenes of the last twenty-four hours and restore
tranquillity to the country. Refuse them, and, as far as I am concerned,
let discord reign forever."

This speech fell like a clap of thunder. The Wilmot Proviso waved like a
black flag over the heads of Southern men. No one had spoken outright
until Mr. Toombs in his bold, dashing, Mirabeau style accepted the issue
in the words just given. The House was filled with storms of applause
and jeers, and, as can be imagined, Mr. Toombs' speech did not soothe
the bitterness or alter the determination of either side.

On the 22d of December a conference was held by Whigs and Democrats, the
Southern Whigs excepted, and a resolution reported that the person
receiving the largest number of votes for Speaker, on a certain ballot,
should be declared elected, provided this number should be the majority
of a quorum, but not a majority of the House. Mr. Stanton of Tennessee
offered this "plurality resolution."

Mr. Toombs sprang to his feet and declared that the House, until it
organized, could not pass this or any other rule.

Members stood up and called Mr. Toombs to order, claiming that there was
already a question pending. Mr. Stanton contended that he had the floor.

Toombs called out: "You may cry 'order,' gentlemen, until the heavens
fall; you cannot take this place from me. I have the right to protest
against this transaction. It is not with you to say whether this right
shall be yielded or when it shall be yielded."

Mr. Stevens of Pennsylvania: "I call the gentleman to order."

Mr. Toombs: "I say that by the law of 1789 this House, until a Speaker
is elected and gentlemen have taken the oath of office, has no right to
adopt any rules whatever."

(Loud cries of "order.")

Mr. Toombs: "Gentlemen may amuse themselves crying 'order.'"

(Calls of "order.")

Mr. Toombs: "But I have the right and I intend to maintain the right

Mr. Vandyke called upon the clerk to put the preceding question. "Let us
see," he said, "whether the gentleman will disregard the order of this

Mr. Toombs: "I have the floor, and the clerk cannot put the question."

"The House," he said, "has no right. Gentlemen may cry 'order' and
interrupt me. It is mere brute force, attempting by the power of lungs
to put me down."

Confusion increased. Members called out to encourage Mr. Toombs, and
others to put him down. In the midst of this babel he continued to
speak, his black hair thrown back, his face flushed, and his eyes
blazing like suns. His deep voice could be heard above the shouts like a
lion's roar. Members shouted to the clerk to call the roll for the yeas
and nays.

Toombs continued: "If you seek by violating the common law of
parliament, the laws of the land, and the Constitution of the United
States, to put me down ["order, order, call the roll"], you will find it
a vain and futile attempt. ["Order."] I am sure I am indebted to the
ignorance of my character on the part of those who are thus disgracing
themselves ["order, order"], if they suppose any such efforts as they
are now making will succeed in driving me from the position which I have
assumed. I stand upon the Constitution of my country, upon the liberty
of speech which you have treacherously violated, and upon the rights of
my constituents, and your fiendish yells may be well raised to drown an
argument which you tremble to hear. You claim and have exercised the
power to prevent all debate upon any and every subject, yet you have not
as yet shown your right to sit here at all. I will not presume that you
have any such right ["order, order"]. I will not suppose that the
American people have elected such agents to represent them. I therefore
demand that they shall comply with the Act of 1789 before I shall be
bound to submit to their authority." (Loud cries of "order.")

The Act to which Mr. Toombs referred recited that the oath must be
administered by the Speaker to all the members present, and to the
clerk, previous to entering on any other business. This he tried to
read, but cries of "order" drowned his voice.

Throwing aside his manual Mr. Toombs walked further out into the aisle
and assumed a yet more defiant position.

"You refuse," he said, "to hear either the Constitution or the law.
Perhaps you do well to listen to neither; they all speak a voice of
condemnation to your reckless proceedings. But if you will not hear them
the country will. Every freeman from the Atlantic to the Pacific shore
shall hear them, and every honest man shall consider them. You cannot
stifle the voice that shall reach their ears. The electric spark shall
proclaim to the freemen of this republic that an American Congress,
having conceived the purpose to violate the Constitution and the laws to
conceal their enormities, have disgraced the record of their proceedings
by placing upon it a resolution that their representatives shall not be
heard in their defense, and finding this illegal resolution inadequate
to secure so vile an end, have resorted to brutish yells and cries to
stifle the words of those they cannot intimidate."

The clerk continued to call the roll, and Mr. Toombs with splendid
audacity turned upon him. Pointing his finger at the _locum tenens_, he
cried with scorn: "I ask by what authority that man stands there and
calls these names. By what authority does HE interfere with the rights
of a member of this House. [The clerk continued to call.] He is an
intruder, and how dares he to interrupt members in the exercise of
their constitutional rights. Gentlemen, has the sense of shame departed
with your sense of right, that you permit a creature, an interloper, in
no wise connected with you, to stand at that desk and interrupt your

Mr. Toombs continued, amid these boisterous scenes, his alternate rôle
of argument, of appeal, of denunciation. He contended that a power
delegated to the House must be used by a majority of the House. He

"I therefore demand of you before the country, in the name of the
Constitution and the people, to repeal your illegal rule, reject the one
on your table, and proceed to the discharge of your high duties, which
the people have confided to you, according to the unvarying precedents
of your people and the law of the land."

This performance was denounced by Northern restrictionists as menacing
and insolent. Mr. Stephens, in his "War Between the States," contended
that it should rather be considered in the light of a wonderful
exhibition of physical as well as intellectual prowess--in this, that a
single man should have been able, thus successfully, to speak to a
tumultuous crowd and, by declamatory denunciations combined with solid
argument, to silence an infuriated assembly.

The noise during the delivery of this speech gradually ceased. The
clerk stopped calling the roll, all interruptions were suspended and
"every eye," says Mr. Stephens, "was fixed upon the speaker." It was a
picture worthy of ranking with Lamartine's great speech to the
revolutionists in France.

On the 29th of February Mr. Toombs addressed the House upon the general
territorial question. He said:

"We had our institutions when you sought our allegiance. We were content
with them then, and we are content with them now. We have not sought to
thrust them upon you, nor to interfere with yours. If you believe what
you say, that yours are so much the best to promote the happiness and
good government of society, why do you fear our equal competition with
you in the Territories? We only ask that our common government shall
protect us both, equally, until the Territories shall be admitted as
States into the Union, then to leave their citizens free to adopt any
domestic policy in reference to this subject which in their judgment may
best promote their interest and their happiness. The demand is just.
Grant it, and you place your prosperity and ours upon a solid
foundation; you perpetuate the Union so necessary to your prosperity;
you solve the problem of republican government. If it be demonstrated
that the Constitution is powerless for our protection, it will then be
not only the right but the duty of the slaveholding States to resume the
powers which they have conferred upon this government and to seek new
safeguards for their future protection.... We took the Constitution and
the Union together. We will have both or we will have neither. This cry
of Union is the masked battery behind which the rights of the South are
to be assaulted. Let the South mark the man who is for the Union at
every hazard and to the last extremity; when the day of her peril comes
he will be the imitator of that character, the base Judas, who for
thirty pieces of silver threw away a pearl richer than all his tribe."

On the 15th of June, 1850, while the compromise measures were shifting
from House to House, the question was put to some of the advocates of
the admission of California, whether they would under any circumstances
admit a slave State into the Union. They declined to say.

Mr. Toombs arose and declared that the South did not deny the right of a
people framing a State constitution to admit or exclude slavery. The
South had uniformly maintained this right.

"The evidence is complete," he said. "The North repudiated this

"I intend to drag off the mask before the consummation of the act. We do
not oppose California on account of the antislavery clause in her
constitution. It was her right, and I am not even prepared to say she
acted unwisely in its exercise--that is her business: but I stand upon
the great principle that the South has the right to an equal
participation in the Territories of the United States. I claim the right
for her to enter them with all her property and security to enjoy it.
She will divide with you if you wish it: but the right to enter all, or
divide, I will never surrender. In my judgment this right, involving, as
it does, political equality, is worth a dozen such Unions as we have,
even if each were a thousand times more valuable than this. I speak not
for others, but for myself. Deprive us of this right, and appropriate
this common property to yourselves; it is then your government, not
mine. Then I am its enemy, and 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. Give us our
just rights, and we are ready, as ever heretofore, to stand by the
Union, every part of it, and its every interest. Refuse it, and, for
one, I will strike for independence."

Mr. Stephens declared that this speech produced the greatest sensation
he had ever seen in the House. "It created a perfect commotion."

These heated arguments of Mr. Toombs were delivered under the menace of
the Wilmot Proviso, or slavery restriction. When this principle was
abandoned and the compromise measures passed, Mr. Toombs uttered, as we
shall see, far different sentiments.

In the Senate Mr. Clay, the Great Pacificator, had introduced his
compromise resolutions to admit California under the government already
formed, prohibiting slavery; to organize territorial governments for
Utah and New Mexico without slavery restrictions; to pass a
fugitive-slave law, and to abolish the slave trade in the District of
Columbia. On the 7th of March, 1850, Mr. Webster delivered his great
Union speech, in which for the first time he took strong grounds against
congressional restriction in the Territories. It created a profound
sensation. It was on the 4th of March that Senator Mason read for Mr.
Calhoun the last speech that the latter ever prepared. It was a
memorable moment when the great Carolinian, with the stamp of death
already upon him, reiterated his love for the Union under the
Constitution, but declared, with the prescience of a seer, that the only
danger threatening the government arose from its centralizing tendency.
It was "the sunset of life which gave him mystical lore."

Debate continued through the spring and summer with increasing
bitterness. On the 31st of July Mr. Clay's "Omnibus Bill," as it was
called, "went to pieces," but the Senate took up the separate
propositions, passed them, and transmitted them to the House.

Here the great sectional contest was renewed. Mr. Toombs offered an
amendment that the Constitution of the United States, and such statutes
thereof as may not be locally inapplicable, and the common law, as it
existed in the British colonies of America until July 4, 1776, shall be
the exclusive laws of said Territory upon the subject of African
slavery, until altered by the proper authority. This was rejected by the
House. On September 6 the Texas and New Mexico bill, with the Boyd
amendment, passed by a vote of 108 to 97--and the anti-restrictionists,
as Mr. Stephens said, won the day at last. This was the great compromise
of that year, and the point established was that, since the principle of
division of territory between the North and South had been abandoned,
the principle of congressional restriction should also be abandoned, and
that all new States, whether north or south of 36° 30', should be
admitted into the Union "either with or without slavery as their
constitution might prescribe at the time of their admission."

During this memorable contest Mr. Toombs was in active consultation with
Northern statesmen, trying to effect the compromise. He insisted that
there should be no congressional exclusion of slavery from the public
domain, but that in organizing territorial governments the people should
be allowed to authorize or restrict, as they pleased. Until these
principles were settled, however, he would fight the admission of
California. Into this conference Mr. Stephens and Howell Cobb were
admitted, and at a meeting at the house of the latter an agreement was
reached between the three Georgians and the representatives from
Kentucky, Ohio, and Illinois, that California should be admitted: that
the Territories should be organized without restriction, and that their
joint efforts should be used to bring this about as well as to defeat
any attempt to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia. Here was the
essence of the compromise, built upon the great measures of Henry Clay,
and finally ripening into the legislation of that session. Here was the
agreement of that compact which formed the great "Constitutional Union
Party" in Georgia, and which erected a bulwark against disunion, not
only in Georgia, but on the whole Southern seaboard. The disunion
movement failed in 1850. "At the head of the States which had the merit
of stopping it," said Thomas H. Benton, "was Georgia, the greatest of
the South Atlantic States." And that Georgia stood steadfast in her
place, and declined every overture for secession, was because of the
united prestige and splendid abilities of Howell Cobb, Alexander H.
Stephens, and Robert Toombs.

       *       *       *       *       *

During this stormy session Mr. Toombs' heart continually yearned for
home. He was a model husband and a remarkable domestic character. The
fiery scenes of the forum did not ween him from his family. On the 29th
of August, 1850, he wrote to his wife:

      We have before us the whole of the territorial questions,
      and shall probably pass or reject them in a few days or at
      most in a week. I am greatly in hopes that we will not pass
      over them without final action of some sort, and if we can
      get rid of them I shall have nothing to prevent my coming
      home at the time appointed. I begin to be more anxious to
      see you than to save the republic. Such is a sweet woman's
      fascination for men's hearts. The old Roman Antony threw
      away an empire rather than abandon his lovely Cleopatra,
      and the world has called him a fool for it. I begin to
      think that he was the wiser man, and that the world was
      well lost for love.



When Mr. Toombs came home in the fall of 1850 he found the State in
upheaval. Disunion sentiment was rife. He was confronted by garbled
extracts of his speeches in Congress, and made to pose as the champion
of immediate secession. He had aided in perfecting the great compromise
and was resolved that Georgia should take her stand firmly and
unequivocally for the Union and the Constitution. Governor Towns had
issued a call for a State convention; Mr. Toombs took prompt issue with
the spirit and purpose of the call. He declared that the legislature had
endangered the honor of the State and that the Governor had put the
people in a defile. "We must either repudiate this policy, or arm," he
said. "I favor the former measure."

Mr. Toombs issued a ringing address to the people. It bore date of
October 9, 1850. He proclaimed that "the first act of legislative
hostility was the first act of Southern resistance." He urged the South
to stand by the Constitution and the laws in good faith, until wrong was
consummated or the act of exclusion placed upon the statute books.

Mr. Toombs said that the South had not secured its full rights. "But the
fugitive-slave law which I demanded was granted. The abolition of
slavery in the District of Columbia and proscription in the Territories
were defeated, crushed, and abandoned. We have firmly established great
and important principles. The South has compromised no right,
surrendered no principle, and lost not an inch of ground in this great
contest. I did not hesitate to accept these acts, but gave them my ready

Addressing himself to the disunionists he said: "They have abandoned
their errors, but not their object. Being bent upon the ruin of the
republic they use truth or error for its accomplishment, as best suits
the exigencies of the hour. If these people are honest in their
convictions, they may find abundant consolation in the fact that the
principle is neither conceded, compromised, nor endangered by these
bills. It is strengthened, not weakened by them, and will survive their
present zeal and future apostasy."

Mr. Toombs called on all men of integrity, intellect, and courage to
come into the service of the State and prove their devotion to the
Constitution and the Union. "With no memory of past differences," he
said, "careless of the future, I am ready to unite with any portion or
all my countrymen in defense of the integrity of the republic."

Mr. Toombs took the stump, and his words rang out like an alarm bell.
Men speak to-day of his activity and earnestness in that great campaign,
as with "rapid and prompt perception, clear, close reasoning, cutting
eloquence, and unsparing hand he rasped the follies of disunion and
secession." A prominent journal of that day, speaking of his speech in
Burke County, Ga., declared that "his manly eloquence has shaken and
shivered to the base the pedestal upon which the monument of American
ruin was to be erected."

In November of that year a convention of delegates from Southern States
was held at Nashville. Ex-Governor Charles J. McDonald represented
Georgia. That meeting protested against the admission of California with
slavery restriction; charged that the policy of Congress had been to
exclude the Southern States from the Territories, and plainly asserted
that the powers of the sovereign States could be resumed by the States
separately. On November 3 the election of delegates to the Georgia
convention was held. Toombs had already turned the tide. A great
majority of Union men were chosen. Whigs and Democrats united to save
the State. Toombs stood convicted before many of his old followers of
"unsoundness on the slavery question"--but he was performing his
greatest public work.

Among the delegates elected by the people to the Georgia convention,
which met at Milledgeville, December 10, 1850, were Toombs and Stephens
and many of the best men in the State.

The work of the distinguished body was memorable. They adopted the
celebrated "Georgia Platform," whose utterances were talismanic. Charles
J. Jenkins reported the resolutions. They recited, first, that Georgia
held the American Union secondary in importance to the rights and
principles it was bound to perpetuate. That as the thirteen original
colonies found union impossible without compromise, the thirty-one of
this day will yield somewhat in the conflict of opinion and policy, to
preserve the Union. That Georgia had maturely considered the action of
Congress (embracing the compromise measures) and--while she does not
wholly approve it--will abide by it as a permanent adjustment of this
sectional controversy. That the State would in future resist, even to
the disruption of the Union, any act prohibiting slavery in the
Territories, or a refusal to admit a slave State. The fifth plank
declared for a faithful execution of the Fugitive-slave bill.

Upon this platform the Union men selected Howell Cobb as their candidate
for Governor. The Southern Rights men selected Charles J. McDonald.
This party claimed that the South was degraded by the compromise
measures. Their platform was based upon the Virginia and Kentucky
resolution. It asserted the right of secession and maintained the
constitutionality and necessity of intervention by Congress in favor of
admitting slavery into the Territories. The distinct doctrine of the
compromise measures was non-intervention.

Howell Cobb was a born leader of men. Personally he was the most popular
man in the State. Entering public life at an early age he had been a
congressman at twenty-eight. He had been leader of the Southern party,
and was chosen Speaker, as we have seen, in 1849, when only thirty-four
years old. He had been known as a strong friend of the Union, and some
of the extreme States' Rights men called him a "consolidationist."

In his letter accepting the nomination for Governor, he alluded to the
long-cherished doctrine of non-intervention. The Wilmot Proviso had been
withdrawn and the Union saved. The people had been awarded the right to
determine for themselves in the Territories whether or not slavery was
to be a part of their social system.

No man was so tireless or conspicuous in this campaign as Mr. Toombs.
Although expressing a desire that someone else should go to Congress
from his district, he accepted a renomination to assert his principles.
He did not, however, confine his work to his district. He traveled from
one end of the State to the other. He recognized that party organization
in Georgia had been over-thrown and party lines shattered in every State
in the Union. He boldly declared that a continuance of the Union was not
incompatible with the rights of every State. He asserted that the
animating spirit of his opponents, the States' Rights party, was
hostility to the Union. Some of the members still submitted to the
humiliation of raising the cry of "the Union," he said, but it was a
"masked battery," from which the very Union was to be assailed. Mr.
Toombs announced on the stump that "the good sense, the firmness, the
patriotism of the people, would shield the Union from assault of our own
people. They will maintain it as long as it deserves to be maintained."

Mr. Toombs admitted that the antislavery sentiment of the North had
become more violent from its defeat on the compromise measures.

"What did this party demand, and what did it get?" he asked on the
stump. "It was driven from every position it assumed. It demanded the
express prohibition of slavery, the Wilmot Proviso, in the Territories.
It lost it. It demanded the abolition of slavery in the District of
Columbia, and the slave trade between the States. It lost both. It
demanded the affirmance of the oft-repeated declaration that there
should be no more slave States admitted into the Union. Congress
enacted that States hereafter coming into the Union should be admitted
with or without slavery, as such States might determine for themselves.
It demanded a trial by jury for fugitives at the place of arrest. It
lost this also. Its acknowledged exponent is the Free-Soil party. The
Whig party has succumbed to it. It is thoroughly denationalized and
desectionalized, and will never make another national contest. We are
indebted to the defeat of the policy of these men for the existence of
the government to-day. The Democratic party of the North, though
prostrated, is not yet destroyed. Our true policy is to compel both
parties to purge themselves of this dangerous element. If either will,
to sustain it. If neither will, then we expect to preserve the Union. We
must overthrow both parties and rally the sound men to a common
standard. This is the only policy which can preserve both our rights and
the Union."

On the 1st of August, 1851, Mr. Toombs spoke in Elberton. He was in the
full tide of his manhood, an orator without equal; a statesman without
fear or reproach. Personally, he was a splendid picture, full of health
and vitality. He had been prosperous in his affairs. He was prominent in
public life and overbore all opposition. His powers were in their prime.
In his speech to his constituents he mentioned the fact that his
opponents had criticised the manner in which he traveled (alluding to
his fine horses and servants). He wanted the people to know that the
money was his, and that he made $5000 a year in Elbert alone. "Who would
say that he had not earned his money? He had a right to spend it as he
chose. Perish such demagogy--such senseless stuff." The people cheered
him to the echo for his candor and audacity.

"What presumption," he said, "for the States' Rights men to nominate
McDonald for Governor--a man who supported Jackson's Force bill--a man
who had grown gray in federalism? He was the man brought to teach the
people of Elbert States' Rights. It would be a curious subject of
inquiry to find out when this neophyte had changed, and by what process
the change had been wrought."

Toombs was alluded to by the correspondents as "Richard, the
Lion-hearted," with strong arm and ponderous battle-ax, as he went about
winning victories. Stephens, no less effective and influential, seemed
to be the great Saladin with well-tempered Damascus blade--so skillful
as to sever the finest down. The people were in continued uproar as
Toombs moved from place to place.

In Jefferson County, Mr. Toombs denied that the South had yielded any
demand she ever made, or had sacrificed any principle she ever held. He
cried that "opposition to Toombs and Stephens seemed to be the
principle of political faith on the other side." Toombs declared that
Stephens "carried more brains and more soul for the least flesh of any
man God Almighty ever made."

Mr. Toombs repeated that if the slaveholders had lost the right to carry
slavery into California, they had lost it upon sound principle. The
right of each State to prescribe its own institutions is a right above
slavery. Slavery is only an incident to this right. This principle lies
at the foundation of all good government. He had always held it and
would always hold it:

    Till wrapped in flames the realms of ether glow,
    And Heaven's last thunder shakes the world below.

He deeply sympathized with those Southern Rights men who denounced the
Union they professed to love.

Speaking of the sudden change of some of his opponents in political
principles, Toombs declared they "would profess any opinion to gain
votes. It had been the belief of Crawford that if a man changed politics
after thirty he was a rascal."

In Marietta Mr. Toombs addressed an enthusiastic crowd. A journalist
said of him: "He is my _beau idéal_ of a statesman. Frank, honest, bold,
and eloquent, he never fails to make a deep impression. Many of the
fire-eaters (for they _will_ go to hear him) looked as if they would
make their escape from his withering and scathing rebuke." Toombs
derided the States' Rights men for declaring that they were friends of
the Union under which they declared they were "degraded and oppressed."
The greatest stumbling-block to Toombs' triumphant tour was to be
presented with bits of his own speeches delivered during the excitement
of the last Congress.

He had said in one of these impassioned outbursts: "He who counts the
danger of defending his own home is already degraded. The people who
count the cost of maintaining their political rights are ready for

In Lexington he was accused of having said that if the people understood
this slavery question as well as he did "they would not remain in the
Union five minutes." This provoked a bitter controversy. Mr. Toombs
denied the remark, and declared he was willing to respond personally and
publicly to the author.

As the campaign became more heated, Toombs, Stephens, and Cobb redoubled
their efforts and drew their lines more closely. This combination was
invincible. It was evident that they would carry the State, but some of
the prominent men in Georgia were ruled out under what was thought to be
the bitter spirit of the canvass. One of these was Charles J. Jenkins,
and the other, John McPherson Berrien. The former had drawn the
celebrated Georgia Platform, and was devoted to the Union. The latter
was United States Senator from Georgia, and, as his successor was to be
chosen by the legislature soon to be elected, there was much curiosity
to find out his real position in this canvass. Mr. Jenkins declared that
he considered Mr. Berrien "as good a Union man and as safe a
representative of the party as any within its ranks." Berrien acquiesced
in but did not eulogize the compromise measures. He did not oppose or
favor the State convention of 1850. When he submitted to the Senate the
Georgia Platform, he declared that he did not surrender the privileges
of a free choice. He supported McDonald for Governor against Cobb, and
it was soon evident that he was not in full sympathy with the winning

The Constitutional Union men won a signal victory. Howell Cobb was
elected Governor by a large majority over Charles J. McDonald, who had
been twice Governor and who was one of the strongest men in Georgia.
Robert Toombs was reëlected to Congress over Robert McMillen of Elbert,
and Mr. Stephens defeated D. W. Lewis of Hancock.

The legislature convened in November, 1851. It was largely made up of
Union men. Judge Berrien was not a candidate for reëlection to the
United States Senate. He wrote a letter in which he reviewed his course
during the campaign. He said:

      "I asserted in terms which even cavilers could not
      misunderstand nor any honest man doubt, my devotion to the
      Union, my unfaltering determination to maintain by all
      constitutional means, and with undiminished zeal, the equal
      rights of the South, and my acquiescence in the compromise
      measures. Satisfied that such declarations, in the excited
      state of feeling, would not meet the exactions of either
      party in a contest peculiarly bitter, and unable to
      sacrifice for the purpose of victory the dictates of
      conscience or the convictions of judgment, I expressed a
      willingness to retire."

On the 10th of November Robert Toombs was elected United States Senator.
In the caucus he secured 73 votes, and in the open Assembly next day he
received 120 votes, scattering, 50.

Never was reward more swift or signal to the master-mind of a campaign.
If he had been the leader of the extreme Southern wing in Congress, he
had shown his willingness to accept a compromise and go before the
people in defense of the Union.

He was charged with having aroused the Secession storm. If he had
unwittingly done so in Congress in order to carry his point, he proved
himself powerful in stopping it at home. What some of his critics had
said of him was true: "The rashest of talkers, he was the safest of
counselors." Certain it is that at a moment of national peril he
repelled the charge of being an "irreconcilable," and proved to be one
of the stanchest supporters of the Union.

In Milledgeville, during the turmoil attending the election of United
States Senator in November, 1851 Mr. Toombs wrote to his wife as

      Since I wrote you last I have been in the midst of an
      exciting political contest with constantly varying aspects.
      The friends of Judge Berrien are moving every possible
      spring to compass my defeat, but as yet I have constantly
      held the advantage over them. They started Mr. Jenkins and
      kept him up, under considerable excitement, until he came
      to town yesterday and instantly withdrew his name. To-day
      they have started a new batch of candidates: Judge Hill,
      Hines Holt, Warren, Charlton, and others, all of whom they
      seek to combine. I think I can beat the whole combination,
      though it is too close to be comfortable. It is impossible
      to give an idea of every varying scene, but as I have
      staked my political fortunes on success, if I am defeated
      in this conflict my political race is over, and perhaps I
      feel too little interest in the result for success.

      Dawson is at home sick; Stephens is not here; so I am
      standing very much on my own hand, breasting the conflict
      alone. So I shall have the consolation of knowing that, if
      I succeed, the victory will be all my own. The contest will
      be decided by Monday next, and perhaps sooner.... As soon
      as it is over I shall leave here and shall be at home at
      furthest to-day week. If I were not complicated in this
      business, nothing would induce me to go into it. There are
      so many unpleasant things connected with it, which will at
      least serve as lessons for the future, whatever may be the
      result. You can see from this letter how deeply I am
      immersed in this contest, yet I am getting so impatient to
      come home that even defeat would be better than this
      eternal annoyance.




In this first struggle between Secession and the Union Georgia had taken
the lead, but Georgia had not been the only State involved. The fight
was waged just as fiercely in Mississippi, when Henry S. Foote, the
Union candidate, was elected Governor over Jefferson Davis. But the
Georgia Platform was the corner-stone of the Southern victory. Her
action gave peace and quiet to the whole Union, and the success of the
triumvirate that year offered assurance of strength and security to the
country. The national parties were quick to align themselves on this
platform. The Democratic convention, which assembled in Baltimore June
1, declared that "the party would abide by and adhere to a faithful
execution of the Acts known as the Compromise Measures, settled by the
last Congress." The Whig convention, which met also at Baltimore, June
16, proclaimed that "the series of Acts of the thirty-first Congress,
known as the Compromise Measures of 1850, the Act known as the
Fugitive-slave law included, are received and acquiesced in by the Whig
party of the United States as a settlement in principle and substance
of the dangerous and exciting questions which they embrace."

"The truth is," said Mr. Stephens in his "War Between the States," "an
overwhelming majority of the people, North as well as South, was in
favor of maintaining these principles."

Under these conditions the presidential campaign of 1852 was opened. The
Southern Whigs did not, as a body, accept the Baltimore nominee, General
Winfield Scott. They claimed that he had refused to express any direct
approval of the platform relating to the compromise. Mr. Toombs demanded
that his candidate plant himself unequivocally upon this platform. He
noticed that the opponents of the Fugitive-slave law were strong for
Scott. Feeling in the South was still running high. Some extremists held
that no Northern man was fit to be trusted. Mr. Toombs declared that
there were good and true men at the North and that he would "hold party
associations with no others."

In a speech to his own townspeople in Washington, Ga., during this
presidential campaign, Mr. Toombs declared that he had not changed one
iota, but was ready now to support the men who would plant themselves on
the broad principles of the Constitution and the country. He said
General Scott had no claims whatever upon the people. He spoke of him as
a great general, and alluded in glowing terms to his achievements in
arms against the Mexicans and Indians. But General Scott, he believed,
was a Free-Soil candidate. He would be in favor of annexing Canada, but
no more slave territory. Mr. Toombs alluded to the Democratic candidate
for President, General Franklin Pierce, as a very consistent man in all
his senatorial career, and believed he was the safest man on the slavery
question north of Mason and Dixon's line. He preferred Pierce to Scott,
but said he would not vote for either. The contest was "between a big
general and a little general."

Mr. Toombs launched into a magnificent tribute to Daniel Webster as a
statesman and friend of the Constitution. It was Webster who had stayed
the flood of abolition and killed the Wilmot Proviso; who had dared, in
the face of the North, and in defiance of his constituents, to boldly
defend the rights of the South and exclaim, "O God, I will be just!"

This allusion of Mr. Toombs rang throughout the State. Its significance
lay in the fact that the Whigs of Georgia, in convention assembled, had
nominated Daniel Webster for President and Charles J. Jenkins for
vice-president of the United States. Without chance of national success,
this ticket was received with strong expression of indorsement. Since
his celebrated "4th of March" speech, in the Senate, Mr. Webster had
been a favorite in the South. He had abandoned the Wilmot Proviso and
accepted the Fugitive-slave law to conciliate the sections, and the
addition of his great name to seal the Compromise of 1850 was regarded
in the South as an act of patriotism reached by few men in the country's
history. His speech had made a profound impression. "The friends of the
Union under the Constitution were strengthened in their hopes, and
inspired with renewed energies by its high and lofty sentiments."
Commanding always the respect and admiration of the Southern people Mr.
Webster now took the place in their affections just made vacant by the
death of Henry Clay. Mr. Webster must have put aside all political
ambition when he made this peaceful concession. His new-found strength
in the South did not add to his popularity in the North. When the Whig
convention of 1852 met in Baltimore, Mr. Webster was Secretary of State
under President Fillmore. He had added fresh luster to his name by his
latest services to the nation. But the prestige of his life and labors
did not override the passions of the hour, and Winfield Scott was
nominated for the Presidency. This broke the last tie which held the
Southern Whigs in national allegiance. Circumstances were forcing them
into the Democratic party, but they made a final stand under the name
of Daniel Webster.

To Mr. Toombs, the regard of the Whigs of Georgia for Mr. Webster was
especially gratifying. He had lived next door to the great Massachusetts
statesman during his residence in Washington, and had seen him often in
the privacy of his home. He had consulted closely with him during the
exciting days of the compromise measures, and was advised by Mr. Webster
about the Whig platform at Baltimore. He recognized the surpassing
greatness of the man, and when he sounded the praises of Webster it came
straight from an honest heart.

Charles J. Jenkins, a native of Beaufort, S. C., had studied law with
Senator Berrien and practiced in Augusta. His nomination to second place
on the Webster ticket was a pledge of the high favor of the Whigs. Mr.
Jenkins was five years the senior of Mr. Toombs; had served with him in
the State Legislature and, like Toombs, had been allied with the Troup
party in Georgia. Mr. Jenkins had been three times Speaker of the lower
branch of the General Assembly, and in 1842 had received the entire Whig
vote for United States Senator. Upon the resignation of McKennon of
Pennsylvania, President Fillmore had, through Mr. Toombs, offered the
Interior Department to Mr. Jenkins. This position, however, was
declined because of pressing duties in the courts.

In the senatorial election of 1851 Mr. Jenkins would have been a
formidable candidate for United States Senator again, had not his strong
friendship both for Senator Berrien and Mr. Toombs dictated his
declining the use of his name. He was a man of high ability and pure

Georgia became a national battle-ground during this campaign. Besides
the regular Whig and Democratic and the Webster tickets, there was an
extreme faction of States' Rights men, who would not accept any of these
candidates. They called on George M. Troup, then living in retirement in
Montgomery County. He wrote a ringing letter accepting the nomination of
the "Southern Rights" party for President. He was seventy-two years old,
but his cherished principles, which he had proclaimed in the face of
Adams and Jackson, were now repeated for the people of another

The gallant body of Union Whigs were destined to deep affliction. On the
24th of October, 1852, ten days before the national election, Daniel
Webster died. The land was filled with lamentation, for there was no
North, no South, in this sorrow.

The State of Georgia, which in 1848 had voted for Taylor, now turned
about and voted for Pierce and King. On November 2d the South Carolina
Legislature also cast 135 votes for the Pierce electors. General Scott
carried but four States in the Union, caused, as Mr. Stephens and Mr.
Toombs thought, by his refusal to indorse the Compromise of 1850.

On July 3, 1852, Mr. Toombs, then a member of the House, submitted an
elaborate statement of his political position. He made the point that
presidents, as then put forward, were not real representatives of the
country or even of a party. From the beginning of the government up to
1836 the presidency had been filled by ripe statesmen and tried
patriots. _All_ were excluded from competition except those who had
great experience in public affairs, and who had commended themselves to
the people by wisdom, virtue, and high services. Such men had no need of
hired biographers and venal letter-writers to inform the people who they
were. They needed no interpreters of letters to the public, cunningly
devised to mystify what they pretended to elucidate. National
conventions, Mr. Toombs contended, were contrivances to secure popular
support to those who were not entitled to public confidence.

Mr. Toombs was an enemy to mere convention. All party machinery, all
irregular organizations, which are unknown to the Constitution, he
regarded as dangerous to public liberty. He had noticed that this
machinery had been deadly to the great men of the nation and productive
only of mediocrity. Obedience to them, he contended, was infidelity to
popular rights. "This system," said he, "has produced none of those
illustrious men who have become so distinguished in their country's
history; none of those political lights which have shone so brilliantly
on this Western continent for half a century. Nearly all of them have
departed from us. Who is to take the place of the distinguished
Carolinian?" he asked. "He was the handiwork of God himself and of the
people--not party machinery. Who is to fill the place of the great
Kentuckian? When worthily filled, it will not be by these nurseries of

"The friends of the Compromise," said Mr. Toombs, "demand no sectional
candidate. They were willing to accept the great New England statesman,
notwithstanding they may point to disagreements with him in the past. He
has thrown the weight of his mighty intellect into the scales of
concord, in the darkest and most perilous hour of the conflict. And
Southern Whigs would have struggled with pride and energy to have seen
the greatest intellect of the age preside over the greatest republic of
the world. He was defeated in convention by the enemies of the
compromise measure, because he was its friend. And this was the true
reason of his exclusion. It is a sufficient reason for the friends of
the measure, North and South, to oppose and defeat General Scott's
nomination. My action shall respond to my convictions."

Mr. Toombs had seen Calhoun, Clay, and Webster, one by one, retired
before Van Buren, Harrison, and Scott. Was it any wonder that, in
breaking away from the old Whig party, he should denounce the system
which had blighted its brightest men and which, in his opinion, had
retired the greatest statesman in the world before an issue of sectional
prejudice? Mr. Toombs never again gave allegiance to conventions or
obeyed the dictates of party caucuses. From 1854 to 1860 he was a
Democrat. After the war he acted mainly with the party which sympathized
with the South. But his great power made him independent. He did not
hesitate to criticise Pierce or Buchanan, or to upbraid Jefferson Davis,
the head of the Southern Confederacy. He repudiated the nomination of
Horace Greeley by his party. He called a meeting in his own room in an
Atlanta hotel in 1872, and put A. H. Stephens before the people for
Congress. In 1878, when the organized Democracy of Georgia antagonized
Dr. William H. Felton for Congress in the seventh Georgia district, Mr
Toombs wrote a letter to the press, in which he declared that party
conventions were merely advisory. "When their action becomes
authoritative, they are usurpers. They deprive the people of free
elections. Let their actions be approved or disapproved by the elections
of the people." He supported Mr. Stephens, who did not hesitate to "tote
his own skillet," when occasion required. Toombs' independence was
lordly. He believed in the utmost freedom in public affairs. Machinery
was as hateful to him as to Thomas Jefferson. He was "the prince of
innovation; the foe to all convention." No less than of Burke, it was
said of him that "born for the universe, he did not surrender to party,"
but General Longstreet declared of Robert Toombs that he needed only
discipline to make him a great military genius. This was the radical
flaw in his make-up. How near he came to the ideal of a statesman
posterity must judge.



When Robert Toombs entered the Senate of the United States, in 1853, the
_personnel_ of that body had changed since the great debates on the
compromise measures. Calhoun had died before the compromise was
effected, and only a short time after his last address had been read to
the Senate by Mr. Mason of Virginia. Clay survived his last greatest
work but two years, and on the 29th of June, 1852, was no more. Daniel
Webster lived only four months longer than Mr. Clay. Among the new
leaders in that body were Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, William M.
Seward of New York, Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, and Charles Sumner of
Massachusetts. To this list may be added the familiar names of Thompson
of Mississippi, Bayard of Delaware, Toucey of Connecticut, Slidell of
Louisiana, Achison of Missouri, Bell of Tennessee, and Cass of Michigan.

The third great sectional fight on the Territories came up on the report
to organize a government for that tract of public domain lying in the
Louisiana cession, known as Kansas and Nebraska. In doing this, Mr.
Douglas, as chairman of the Committee on Territories, adopted the same
principle on the slavery question as had been settled in the Utah and
New Mexico bills of 1850.

The words of the Nebraska bill were that "said Territory, or any portion
of the same, shall be received into the Union with or without slavery as
their constitutions may prescribe at the time of their admission." Mr.
Douglas claimed that the question of congressional interference was an
"exploded doctrine"; that the Missouri Compromise bill had been ignored
by North and South; that the Wilmot Proviso had been rejected
altogether; and that the principles of 1850 had superseded the
principles of 1820. The committee sought to avoid the perils of slavery
agitation for all time, they claimed, by withdrawing the question of
slavery from the halls of Congress and from national politics. "Let the
new States and Territories," they said, "settle this matter for
themselves." Mr. Sumner of Massachusetts took the lead in opposing the
Kansas-Nebraska bill. He declared that the bill violated the principles
of the Missouri Compromise, which prohibited slavery in all that
territory ceded by France and lying north of 36° 30'. He and his friends
held that this was a "sacred compact," and this territory could not be
controlled by the same principles as the land secured from Mexico.

The second bill drawn by Mr. Douglas, which provided for the
establishment of two territorial governments in Kansas and Nebraska,
instead of one, expressly repealed the Missouri Compromise as being
inconsistent with the principles of non-intervention by Congress. Here,
then, the contest waged anew.

One of the first speeches made by Senator Toombs was on the 23d of
February, 1854, on the Kansas-Nebraska bill.

Douglas was in charge of the Territorial bills, and his readiness in
debate, his sinewy intellect, his tact and shrewdness, had gained for
him the name of "Little Giant." Seward, Chase, and Sumner had been
elected from their States as "independent Democrats" by the
Abolitionists, who held the balance of power in New York, Ohio, and
Massachusetts. Mr. Toombs was more than willing to measure swords with
the champions of free soil. He declared that he would address himself to
the consideration of the Kansas-Nebraska bill "with a heart filled with
gratitude to the Disposer of human events, that after the conflicts of
more than a third of a century this great question has found its
solution, not in temporary expedients for allaying sectional discord,
but in the true principles of the Constitution and upon the broad
foundation of justice and right, which forms the only true basis of
fraternity and of national concord."

Mr. Toombs repudiated the libel cast by Mr. Sumner upon Northern men who
"dared to exercise the rights of freemen" and differ from the
Abolitionists upon this question. "It appears," said he, "from the
speeches of the senator from Massachusetts, that all such are white
slaves, whose manhood has been debased and enervated by the irresistible
attractions of slave power." He declared that the men who talked about
"solemn compact" in this connection were men whom "no oaths can bind and
no covenants restrain." They called the Missouri Compromise a compact,
yet showed their willingness to violate it.

"In all governments," said Mr. Toombs, "the acquisitions of the state
belong rightfully to the people. Much more strongly does this principle
apply to a purely popular government. Therefore, any exercise of power
to injure or destroy those who have equal rights of enjoyment is
arbitrary, unauthorized by the contract, and despotic."

"You have no power to strike from the meanest Indian trapper, the basest
trader or camp-follower, as the senator from New York styled these
people, their equal privileges, this sovereignty of right, which is the
birthright of every American citizen. This sovereignty may--nay, it
must--remain in abeyance until society becomes sufficiently strong and
stable to be entitled to its full exercise, as sovereignty does not
belong to the general government, and its exercise is a marked

"The power and duty, then, of this government over the inchoate society
of the Territories, is simply to protect this equality of right of
persons and property of all the members of society until the period
shall arrive when this dormant sovereignty shall spring into active
existence and exercise all the powers of a free, sovereign, and
independent State. Then it can mold, according to its own sovereign will
and pleasure, its own institutions, with the single restriction that
they must be republican."

"Justice," said Mr. Toombs, "is the highest expediency, the supremest
wisdom. Applying that test to the principles of this measure, I say that
no fair man in any portion of the country can come to any other
conclusion than that it establishes between the people of this Union,
who are bound together under a common Constitution, a firm, a permanent,
a lasting bond of harmony.

"What is it that we of the South ask? Do we make any unjust or unequal
demands on the North? None. Do we ask what we are not willing on our
side to grant to them? Not at all. We say to them 'Gentlemen, here is
our common territory. Whether it be ceded by old States, whether it be
acquired by the common treasure, or was the fruits of successful war to
which we rallied, and in which we all fought, we ask you to recognize
this great principle of the revolution: let such as desire, go there,
enjoy their property, take with them their flocks and herds, their
men-servants and maid-servants, if they desire to take them there; and
when the appropriate time comes for the exercise of the dormant
sovereignty of the people, let them fix the character of their
institutions for themselves.'"

Senator Toombs ridiculed the idea of the "thunder of popular
indignation." "If even this were true, it should in no wise control the
actions of American senators. But it is not real but melodramatic
thunder--nothing but phosphorus and sheet-iron."

Senator Toombs admitted that the North had the power to reject the
principles of the Kansas-Nebraska bill. They had a majority in the House
and Senate. Aristides had said, "True, you can do it; you have got the
power; but, Athenians, it is unjust."


Senator Toombs was a bold man. When he adopted a line of argument, he
was willing to follow wherever its conclusions led. He did not
hesitate, in this speech, to admit that "if you yield to the people the
right to mold their institutions, the establishment of polygamy may
result legitimately therefrom." This point had been made in debate to
fight the principle of the Kansas-Nebraska bill. Said Senator Toombs:
"It is just what they have a right to do. When the people of Utah make
their organic law for admission to the Union, they have a right to
approximate, as nearly as they please, the domestic manners of the
Patriarchs. Connecticut may establish polygamy to-morrow. The people of
Massachusetts may do the same. How did they become possessed of greater
rights, in this or any other respect, than the people of Utah? The right
in both cases has the same foundation--the sovereignty of the people."

Senator Toombs adverted to the fact that Henry Clay had denied that he
framed the Missouri Compromise; that it did not originate in the House,
of which he was a member; that he did not even know if he voted for it.
Senator Toombs held the Act of 1820 to be no compact--binding upon no
man of honor; but, on the contrary, a plain and palpable violation of
the Constitution and the common rights of the citizens, and ought to be
immediately abrogated and repealed. He declared that it had been
rejected by the North when passed, and rejected when Arkansas was
admitted, when Oregon was formed, when California was received as a
State. If the Kansas bill was settled upon sound and honest principles,
he maintained that it should be applied to territory ceded from France
just as elsewhere. He contended that the Missouri Compromise of 1820 was
not a compromise in any sense of the term, but an unconstitutional
usurpation of power. "When we look into the Constitution, we find no
antislavery power planted in that instrument. On the contrary, we find
that it amply provides for the perpetuity and not for the extinction of

Senator Toombs closed his first speech in the Senate with these words:
"The senator from New York asks where and when the application of these
principles will stop. He wishes not to be deceived in the future, and
asks us whether, when we bring the Chinese and other distant nations
under our flag, we are to apply these principles to them? For one, I
answer yes; that wherever the flag of the Union shall float, this
republican principle will follow it, even if it should gather under its
ample folds the freemen of every portion of the universe."

The Kansas-Nebraska bill reopened the whole question of slavery. In the
North, it was a firebrand. Mr. Buchanan, in his book, written after his
retirement from the presidency, said that the South was for the first
time the aggressor in this legislation. Mr. Fillmore declared that the
repeal of the Missouri Compromise was "the Pandora Box of Evil." Mr.
Douglas was reviled by his opponents and burned in effigy at the North.
His leadership in this fight was ascribed to his overweening ambition to
reach the presidency. The clergymen of New England and of Chicago
flooded the Senate with petitions crying against this "intrigue." On May
26, 1854, at one o'clock in the morning, the bill passed the Senate by a
vote of 31 to 13. The "nays" were Messrs. Allen, Bell, Chase, Clayton,
Fish, Foote, Gillet, Hamlin, James, Seward, Sumner, Wade, and Walker.

The enactment of this measure into a law did not settle the question. It
resulted in a strife in the Territories themselves. For two years Kansas
was in a state of civil war. The Emigrant Aid Societies of New England
raised large sums of money to send to the Territories Free-Soil settlers
and other agitators. A counter-stream of agitators set in from Missouri,
in sympathy with the slavery men, and the result was a long series of
bloody disorders. In February, 1856, Mr. Toombs made a speech upon the
message of the President in regard to the lawless condition of Kansas.
The Governor informed President Pierce that the laws were obstructed
and openly resisted by bodies of armed men; that prisoners were rescued
from the sheriffs, peaceable inhabitants murdered, and houses burned.
Another authority informed the President that an overwhelming force was
crossing the border for the avowed purpose of invading Kansas and
butchering the unoffending Free-State citizens. One side claimed
protection from insurrection within, the other from invasion without.

As to the Emigrant Aid Societies, Mr. Toombs said, "Whatever be their
policy, whatever their tendency to produce strife, if they simply aid
emigrants from Massachusetts to go to Kansas to become citizens of that
Territory, I am prepared to say that they violate no law; they have a
right to do it, and every attempt to prevent their doing so violates the
law and ought not to be sustained. But if they send persons there
furnished with arms, with the intent to offer forcible resistance to the
constituted authorities, they are guilty of the highest crime known to
civil society, and are amenable to its penalties. I shall not undertake
to decide upon their conduct. The facts are not before me, and I
therefore pass it by."

Mr. Toombs thought it would be difficult to imagine a case calling more
loudly for the intervention of Federal power. Mr. Toombs favored the
supremacy of the law in the Territories at any cost. "If traitors seek
to disturb the peace of the country, I desire that it shall be no
sectional contest. I do not see the end of that. I prefer that the
conflict shall be between the Federal Government and the lawless. I can
see the end of that. The law will triumph and the evil stop."

"We who pass this Kansas-Nebraska bill, both at the North and South,
intend to maintain its principles. We do not intend to be driven from
them by clamor nor by assault. We intend that the actual _bona fide_
settlers of Kansas shall be protected in the full exercise of all the
rights of freemen; that, unawed and uncontrolled, they shall freely and
of their own will legislate for themselves, to every extent allowed by
the Constitution, while they have a territorial government; and when
they shall be in a condition to come into the Union and may desire it,
that they shall come into the Union with whatever republican
constitution they may prefer and adopt for themselves; that in the
exercise of their rights they shall be protected from insurrection from
within and invasion from without."

In answer to Senator Hale of New Hampshire, Senator Toombs agreed that
the Territory of Kansas would certainly be a free State. Such, he
thought would be its future destiny. "The senator from New Hampshire,"
he said, "was unable to comprehend the principles of the bill. The
friends of the Kansas bill, North and South, supported the bill because
it was right, and left the future to those who were affected by it. The
policy of the Kansas bill wrongs no man, no section of our common
country. We have never asked the government to carry by force, or in any
way, slavery anywhere. We only demand that the inhabitants of the
Territories shall decide the question for themselves without the
interference of the government or the intermeddling of those who have no
right to decide."

Mr. Toombs and Senator Hale of New Hampshire seem to have been pitted
squarely against each other in this great debate.

In 1854, during the progress of the Kansas debate, Mr. Toombs occupied
Mr. Hale's desk, and alluded to the taunts which Mr. Hale had heaped
upon the heads of senators who had sustained the compromise measures of
1850. He had predicted that they would be driven from their seats; that
the mighty North would drive them from their benches. The distinguished
senator from Michigan, Mr. Cass, was the especial object of these
assaults. "But the result," said Mr. Toombs, looking about him, "is that
the gentleman who made these declarations is not here."

In 1856, however, Mr. Hale was returned to the Senate and met Mr.
Toombs in the Kansas debate, and the discussion was continued with the
same acrimony.

"Let there be no legislative aggression on either side," continued Mr.
Toombs. "If the senator from New Hampshire is sincere, he will stand
there. The common property is open to the common enjoyment of all. Let
it remain so."

Mr. Toombs charged Senator Hale with saying that the North had always
been practically in a minority in the Senate, because the South bought
up as many Northern men as it wanted. "Sir, I stand here to-day in
behalf of the North to repel the accusation."

Mr. Hale: "Who made it?"

Mr. Toombs: "You said it. I have it before me in your printed speech. I
heard it delivered, and you are correctly reported."

In a letter to Mr. B. F. Hallet of Boston, in 1856, Mr. Toombs denied
saying that he would "call the roll of his slaves at the base of Bunker
Hill Monument." He charged Senator Hale with misrepresenting him to this

No man was oftener misquoted by word of mouth or in public print. As
bold as he was in speech and as free to speak out what was in his mind,
he once remarked to an intimate friend, Dr. Steiner of Augusta, that he
rarely ever saw his name in print that it was not attached to a lie.

We are not left to tradition or the dictum of political opponents to
know how seriously Mr. Toombs regarded the question of war between the
North and South. In this same debate with Senator Hale, Mr. Toombs said:
"He told us the North would fight. I believe that nobody ever doubted
that any portion of the United States would fight on a proper occasion.
Sir, if there shall ever be civil war in this country, when honest men
shall set about cutting each other's throats, those who are least to be
depended upon in a fight will be the people who set them at it. There
are courageous and honest men enough in both sections to fight.... No,
sir, there is no question of courage involved. The people of both
sections of the Union have illustrated their courage on too many
battlefields to be questioned. They have shown their fighting qualities,
shoulder to shoulder, whenever their country has called upon them; but
that they may never come in contact with each other in fratricidal war,
should be the ardent wish and earnest desire of every true man and
honest patriot."



In the fall of 1854 the elections were generally adverse to the
Democrats. The slavery agitation at the North, intensified by the
passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, resulted in a large number of
Free-Soil candidates and "anti-Nebraska" Whigs being elected to the
House. In the West and South, the "Know-nothing" movement had arisen as
in a single night, and with secrecy and strength had asserted itself on
election day. The consequence was that the Democratic majority in the
House which had been elected with Franklin Pierce now disappeared. The
years of 1854-55 were full of uncertainty in Georgia. The old-line
Whigs, who had broken away from their party associates upon the
nomination of General Scott for President, had not yet gone into full
affiliation with the Democrats. Many of these men joined the "American
party," which had arisen out of antagonism to the large foreign
population flowing into the States and Territories. This party put out
candidates for Congress and the State offices in Georgia.

To Alexander H. Stephens, more than to any other man, was due the honor
of breaking up the Know-nothing movement in Georgia. Amazed at the
rapidity with which this party organized and the completeness with which
it worked; repudiating the principles which it held and the
proscriptions which it enforced, Alexander Stephens announced, early in
the day, that he would not be a candidate for reëlection to Congress. He
declared, in a letter, that, from the secrecy of the order, he was
unable to know what they were doing, and, as political principles should
come out in the open sunlight for inspection, he could not submit his
candidacy to any such concern. He did not hesitate to condemn the
practices and creed of the American party in public. Prominent leaders
in his district who recognized his ability made it known that they were
willing to support him, if he would not be so severe in his
denunciations. Mr. Stephens promptly replied that the crisis required
the knife, not the poultice. However, he did run for Congress and scored
the secret order on every stump in the district. He declared, in a
speech in Augusta, that he "was not afraid of anything on the earth,
above the earth, or below the earth, except to do wrong." Mr. Stephens
was elected. Religious fanaticism and race prejudice received a death
blow in Georgia. "It writhed in pain, and died among its worshipers."

Mr. Toombs had already made himself felt in this campaign. He was in the
shadow of a domestic affliction. His youngest daughter died in February
of that year. This occurrence brought him to decide upon a trip abroad,
which he had long anticipated, but which his busy and eventful life had
not allowed him to enjoy.

In April, 1855, he wrote his wife:

      I feel more and more anxious to get abroad and out of this
      country; to be relieved of the thousand harassments of
      business, and look for a great deal of pleasure in our
      quiet and uninterrupted strolling over the hills and plains
      of Europe, where nobody knows us and nobody can harass me
      with business or their troubles. I wish I could, like our
      darling child, thank God there was rest in Heaven.

Just before he left the State, he attended the Supreme Court of Georgia,
at Milledgeville. At that time he wrote his wife:

      I have had a hard, close week's work. The lawyers very
      kindly gave way and allowed my cases to come this week,
      which brought them very close together, and, as I am but
      ill prepared for them, not having given them any attention
      last winter, and but little this spring, I have been pretty
      much speaking all day and studying all night--and that
      without the benefit of "specks," which I am beginning to

      All the old Whigs here have joined the Know-nothings, and
      keep very shy of me, as I have spoken not softly of the
      miserable wretches who expect to govern a great country
      like this with imbecility, if they can only cover it with
      secrecy. I have been greatly beset not to go to Europe this
      summer, as the political campaign is likely to be hot. I
      shall go, and the rather that I may avoid such an event,
      and take that leisure and repose with my family in foreign
      countries which I seem to be totally incapable of getting
      at home.

Mr. Toombs left no doubt as to how he regarded the American party. In a
speech on the Kansas-Nebraska bill, he had declared that the country
could assimilate the foreigners from Europe and the Chinamen from Asia,
and gather under the ample folds of the American flag every nation on

It is related that in the early part of Mr. Toombs' political career he
was accused of having subscribed to build a Catholic church in Georgia.
The charge was repeated secretly from ear to ear until it came to his
friends. It was on the eve of an election in Wilkes County, and a
delegation, in spite of the lateness of the hour, went to Mr. Toombs'
residence, awoke him, and asked for an authoritative denial of what they
considered a damaging charge. Mr. Toombs listened to the delegation, and
then declared with emphasis, not free from profanity, that it was so. "I
have responded to their calls just as I have those of other
denominations. You can tell the people that the distribution of my
money is none of their business."

This bold and prompt reply did not prevent his reëlection to the
legislature the next day.

No man was more liberal in matters of religion and conscience than Mr.
Toombs. In 1851 he wrote his wife in reply to a letter informing him
that his daughter wanted to join the Methodist Church:

      I am content if she desires, and you wish it. My opinions
      about revivals, to which you refer, have been long formed
      and much strengthened by my experience in the world, but I
      am not at all desirous that they should be the rule of
      anybody's conduct but my own. I have therefore endeavored
      to stand upon the Protestant principle in matters of
      conscience, of judging for myself and allowing others to do
      the same. The Judge of the Earth will do right at the final

On June 6, 1855, Mr. Toombs set sail from New York, in company with his
wife and daughter, and Mr. W. F. Alexander, his son-at-law. In ten days,
after a smooth trip, he landed in Liverpool, with just enough roughness
off the coast of Ireland to show old Neptune in his element. Mr. Toombs
was in the very prime of a vigorous life. He had accumulated a
competency at the law, was in fine physical condition, and had a mind
broad, sensitive, and retentive. He could stand any amount of
travel--this man who rode his circuits on his horse, and who endured the
wearing trips from Georgia to the national capital. He remarked at the
outset of his European trip that he had more money than time, so he
secured special conveyances at every available place, and pushed his
journey to all points of interest. From London he went to Paris, Lyons,
Marseilles, thence to the Mediterranean, where he passed the Fourth of
July plowing his way to Naples, sleeping on deck to escape the stuffy
stateroom of the little steamer, and catching all the cinders from the
smokestack. Embarking at Naples, he went to Rome, where he was entranced
to see the historic spots of the Eternal City. Rome had for him more
charms than Paris. Crossing the Alps, he went to Geneva, and striking
the Rhine, he proceeded by boat to Amsterdam, thence to Brussels, where
he walked over the field of Waterloo. Leaving his family in Paris, he
crossed to England and made a tour alone through Ireland and Scotland.

As an American senator, Robert Toombs bore letters of introduction to
prominent people in Europe. His reputation was international, his
acquaintance with the diplomatists of the Old World was extensive, and
his knowledge of the history and government of the different countries
was complete. But he did not seek notoriety in his trip abroad. He
presented none of his letters. He preferred to travel among the people,
and at night, like Jean Valjean, he loved to see the _bourgeois_ in
their gardens and at their ease, in order to study their habits and
condition. He took great interest in the laborers. On one occasion he
got down from his _diligence_ to ask a man, who was drawing water from a
well to irrigate the land, how much he was paid for this slow and
cumbersome process. He was astonished to hear that it was but twelve
cents a day.

Mr. Toombs spoke the French language; he studied the people, and no man
was a better judge of human nature. He said when he returned that the
Southern slave was better treated and was a better laborer than most of
the peasants whom he had seen.

His conversation during his European trip was bright and racy. He never
fagged in body or mind. He never became a trifler or a tease. He was not
a man who cared for his personal comforts or appetites. Occasionally he
would abuse the hotels as being far behind the American hostelry. Now
and then he would jest with his guide or indulge in bright raillery over
the Italian peddler with the inevitable cigarette. He made it a rule to
smoke a cigar in every country, to test the tobacco, and also to sample
the wine of every nation. He drank but little at that time, never
touching ardent spirits in any way. Good-humor, good health, and
happiness followed him as he made the circuit of the Continent.

Just three months were passed by him in the Old World. He arrived in New
York in September, 1855, where telegrams awaited him, summoning him to a
desperate campaign in Georgia.

The contest in Georgia that year was sharp. The American party elected
several members of Congress, but their candidate for Governor, Judge
Andrews, was defeated by Herschel V. Johnson. The latter was one of the
strongest Democrats in Georgia. He had, in 1853, been elected Governor
over so able a man as Charles J. Jenkins.

Mr. Toombs plunged at once into the canvass and proceeded, in his own
vigorous way, to fight the Know-nothings.



In 1856, Mr. Toombs visited Boston, and delivered a lecture upon
slavery. It was a bold move, and many of his friends advised against it.
They did not see what good would come from the appearance of an extreme
Southern man in the heart of abolitionism, carrying his doctrines to the
very citadel of antislavery. But Toombs, with dramatic determination,
decided to accept. Several Southern statesmen had been invited to appear
before Boston audiences, but prudence had kept them from complying.

On the evening of the 24th of January, Mr. Toombs ascended the stage at
Tremont Temple. A large audience greeted him. There was great curiosity
to see the Southern leader. They admired the splendid audacity of this
man in coming to the place where Garrison had inveighed against slavery
and had denounced the Constitution as a "league with Hell and a covenant
with the Devil"; where Wendell Phillips had exerted his matchless
oratory, and where Charles Sumner had built up his reputation as an
unflagging enemy of Southern propagandism. Mr. Toombs was in good trim
for this supreme effort. Inspired by the significance of his mission, he
seemed possessed of unusual strength. His fine eye lighted with his
theme, and his brow seemed stamped with confidence rather than defiance.
His long, black hair was brushed from his forehead, and his deep voice
filled the historic hall. He was indeed a fine specimen of a man--a Saul
among his fellows. Possibly he was moved by the thought that he stood
where Webster had pleaded for the Union, for concession, and for harmony
six years before, when the people for the first time had turned from him
and when Fanueil Hall had been closed against him.

Senator Toombs was attended upon the stage by William and Nathan
Appleton, whose guest he was. Their presence was a guarantee that the
speaker should receive a respectful hearing. It was noticed at the
outset that he had abandoned his fervid style of speaking. He delivered
his address from notes in a calm and deliberate manner. He never
prepared a speech with so much care. His discourse was so logical and
profound, his bearing so dignified and impressive, that his hearers were
reminded of Webster.

It was evident early in the evening that his lecture would produce a
powerful effect. To many of his hearers his views were novel and fresh,
as they had never heard the Southern side of this great question. "With
the exception of Sam Houston," said a New York paper, "Mr. Toombs is the
only Southern man who has had the pluck to go into the antislavery camp
and talk aloud of the Constitution. Other Southern men, not afraid to
face Boston, have been afraid to face opinion at home."

In referring to the clause of the Constitution providing for the return
of fugitive slaves, Mr. Toombs was greeted by a hiss. The speaker turned
in the direction of the noise and said, "I did not put that clause
there. I am only giving the history of the action of your own John
Adams; of your fathers and mine. You may hiss them if you choose." The
effect was electrical. The hiss was drowned in a storm of applause. The
readiness and good-nature of the retort swept Boston off her feet, and
for one moment prejudice was forgotten.

The New York _Express_ declared that the speaker was earnest and
deliberate, presenting his argument with great power, and his lecture of
an hour and a half was, for the most part, listened to with respect and
attention. There was some conduct in the audience at the close which the
Boston _Journal_ was forced to denounce as "ungentlemanly." Three
cheers, not unmixed with dissent, were given to the distinguished
speaker. Someone called out, "When will Charles Sumner be allowed to
speak in the South?"

The New York _Express_ declared that "if Toombs and other hotheads would
lecture in Syracuse, Oswego, Ashtabula, and other points of 'Africa,'
they would do a good deal of good in educating the innocents and
becoming themselves educated and freed from fire, froth, fury, and

This lecture of Mr. Toombs at Boston will live as the most lucid defense
of slavery in law and in practice ever delivered. Slavery has fallen and
mankind has made up its verdict; but this address will still be read
with interest.

He did not hesitate to say that Congress had no right to limit,
restrain, or impair slavery; but, on the contrary, was bound to protect
it. At the time of the Declaration of Independence, slavery was a fact.
The Declaration did not emancipate a single slave; neither did the
Articles of Confederation. The Constitution recognized slavery. Every
clause relative to slavery was intended to strengthen and protect it.
Congress had no power to prohibit slavery in the Territories. The clause
giving Congress power to make regulations for the Territories did not
confer general jurisdiction. It was not proper nor just to prohibit
slavery in the Territories. Penning the negro up in the old States would
only make him wretched and miserable, and would not strike a single
fetter from his limbs. Mr. Toombs simply asked that the common territory
be left open to the common enjoyment of all the people of the United
States; that they should be protected in their persons and property by
the general government, until its authority be superseded by a State
constitution, when the character of their democratic institutions was to
be determined by the freemen thereof. "This," he said, "is justice. This
is constitutional equity." Mr. Toombs contended that the compromise
measures of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 were made to
conform to this policy. "I trust--I believe," he continued, "that when
the transient passions of the day shall have subsided, and reason shall
have resumed her dominion, it will be approved, even applauded, by the
collective body of the people."

Upon the second branch of his theme, Mr. Toombs contended that so long
as the African and Caucasian races co-exist in the same society, the
subordination of the African is the normal and proper condition, the one
which promotes the highest interests and greatest happiness of both
races. The superiority of the white man over the black, he argued, was
not transient or artificial. The Crown had introduced slavery among the
American colonists. The question was not whether it was just to tear the
African away from bondage in his own country and place him here.
England had settled that for us. When the colonies became free they
found seven hundred thousand slaves among them. Our fathers had to
accept the conditions and frame governments to cover it. They
incorporated no Utopian theories in their system. They did not so much
concern themselves about what rights man might possibly have in a state
of nature, as what rights he ought to have in a state of society. The
lecturer maintained that under this system, the African in the
slaveholding States is found in a better position than he has ever
attained in any other age or country, whether in bondage or freedom. The
great body of this race had been slaves in foreign lands and slaves in
their native land. In the Eastern Hemisphere the African had always been
in a servile condition. In Hayti and Jamaica experiments had been tried
of freeing them, under the auspices of France and England. Miseries had
resulted and ruin overwhelmed the islands. "Fanaticism may palliate, but
could not conceal the utter prostration of the race." The best specimens
of the race were to be found in the Southern States, in closest contact
with slavery. The North does not want the negro, does not encourage his
immigration. The great fact of the inferiority of the race is admitted
everywhere in our country.

"Our political system gives the slave great and valuable rights. His
life is protected; his person secured from assault against all others
except his master, and his master's power in this respect is placed
under salutary legal restriction." He gets a home, ample clothing and
food, and is exempted from excessive labor. When no longer capable of
labor, from age or disease, he is a legal charge upon his master. The
Southern slave, he said, is a larger consumer of animal food than any
population in Europe, and larger than any laboring population in the
United States, and their natural increase is equal to that of any other
people. Interest and humanity coöperate in harmony for the well-being of
slave labor. Labor is not deprived of its wages. Free labor is paid in
money, the representative of products; slave labor in the products
themselves. The agricultural and unskilled laborers of England fail to
earn the comforts of the Southern slave. The compensation of labor in
the Old World has been reduced to a point scarcely adequate to the
continuation of the race.

"One-half the lands of the cotton States is annually planted in food
crops. This half is consumed by the laborers and animals. The tenant in
the North does not realize so much."

Mr. Toombs believed that the Southern men were awakening to the
conviction that the slave should be taught to read and write, as being
of more use to himself, his master, and society. He realized that the
laws should protect marriage and other domestic ties, forbidding the
separation of families, and stated that some of the slaveholding States
had already adopted partial legislation for the removal of these evils.
But the necessities of life and the roving spirit of the white people
produced an infinitely greater amount of separation in families than
ever happened to the colored race. "The injustice and despotism of
England toward Ireland has produced more separation of Irish families
and sundered more domestic ties within the last ten years than African
slavery has effected since its introduction into the United States."
England keeps 100,000 soldiers, a large navy, and innumerable police to
secure obedience to her social institutions, and physical force is the
only guarantee of her social order, the only cement of her gigantic
empire. The laws restrain the abuses and punish the crimes of the slave
system. Slavery is impossible in England and Europe, because wages have
gone down to a point where they are barely sufficient to support the
laborer and his family. Capital could not afford to own labor. Slavery
ceased in England in obedience to this law, and not from any regard to
liberty and humanity.

Senator Toombs declared that the condition of the African might not be
permanent among us. He might find his exodus in the unvarying law of
population. Increase of population may supply to slavery its euthanasia
in the general prostration of all labor. The emancipation of the negro
in the West Indies had not made him a more useful or productive member
of society. The slave States, with one-half the white population, and
between 3,000,000 and 4,000,000 slaves, furnish three-fifths of the
annual product of the republic. In this relation, the labor of the
country is united with and protected by its capital, directed by the
educated and intelligent.

Senator Toombs combated the idea that slavery debased and enervated the
white man. To the Hebrew race were committed the orders of the Most
High. Slaveholding priests ministered at their altars. Greece and Rome
afforded the highest forms of civilization. Domestic slavery neither
enfeebles nor deteriorates a race. Burke had declared that the people of
the Southern colonies of America were much more strongly, and with a
higher and more stubborn spirit, attached to liberty that those to the
Northward. Such were our Gothic ancestors; such were the Poles; such
will be all masters of slaves who are not slaves themselves. In such a
people the haughtiness of domination combines itself with the spirit of
freedom, fortifies it, and renders it invincible.

Senator Toombs declared that, in the great agitation which for thirty
years had shaken the national government to its foundation and burst
the bonds of Christian unity among the churches, the slaveholding States
have scarcely felt the shock. Stability, progress, order, peace,
content, prosperity reign through our borders. Not a single soldier is
to be found in our domain to overawe or protect society. Mr. Toombs
pictured the progress of the Southern churches, schools and colleges
multiplying. None of these improvements had been aided by the Federal
Government. "We have neither sought from it protection for our private
interests nor appropriations for our public improvements. They have been
effected by the unaided individual efforts of an enlightened, moral, and
energetic people. Such is our social system and such our condition under
it. We submit it to the judgment of mankind, with the firm conviction
that the adoption of no other, under such circumstances, would have
exhibited the individual man, bond or free, in a higher development or
society in a happier civilization."

Mr. Toombs carried his principles into practice. He owned and operated
several large plantations in Georgia, and managed others as agent or
executor. He had the care of, possibly, a thousand slaves. His old
family servants idolized him. Freedom did not alter the tender bond of
affection. They clung to him, and many of them remained with him and
ministered to his family to the day of his death. The old plantation
negroes never failed to receive his bounty or good will. During the
sale of a plantation of an insolvent estate Mr. Toombs, who was
executor, wrote to his wife, "The slaves sold well. There were few
instances of the separation of families." He looked after the welfare of
all his dependents. While he was in the army, his faithful servants took
care of his wife and little grandchildren, and during his long exile
from his native land they looked after his interests and watched for his



The great contest of 1856 was coming on. A President was to be chosen.
The relations of the sections were more strained every day. The
elections of 1854 had emboldened the antislavery men to form the
Republican party, and to put out, as their candidate, John C. Frémont,
"pioneer and pathfinder," who had saved California to the Union. Frémont
was not a statesman, but a hero of the kind who dazzled men, and was
thought to be especially available as a presidential candidate. "Free
soil, Free men, Frémont" was the cry, and it was evident that the
Abolitionists had swept all the wavering Whigs into their lines and
would make a determined fight. The American party nominated Millard
Fillmore, and the Democracy, with a wealth of material and a
non-sectional following, wheeled into line. President Pierce was willing
to succeed himself. Stephen A. Douglas, who had rushed into the
convention of 1852 with such reckless dash to put aside "the old fogies"
of the party, was an avowed candidate. His championship of the
Kansas-Nebraska bill had made him a favorite in the South, although it
injured his chances at the North. It is not a little remarkable that
Douglas, whose candidacy had the effect of setting aside Buchanan for
Pierce in 1852, should afterward have been the means of turning down
Pierce for Buchanan.

James Buchanan of Pennsylvania had just returned from London, where he
had served with dignity as American Minister. Free from recent
animosities, he entered the field, fresh and full of prestige. He was
nominated for President on the fifth day of the Democratic Convention,
Georgia casting her vote for him. The Cincinnati platform adopted this

"_Resolved_: That we recognize the right of the people of the
Territories, including Kansas and Nebraska, acting through the legally
and fairly expressed will of a majority of the actual residents, and
whenever the number of their inhabitants justifies it, to form a
Constitution, either with or without domestic slavery, and to be
admitted into the Union upon terms of perfect equality with all the
other States."

Among the causes contributing to the current bitterness was the assault
made upon Charles Sumner, senator from Massachusetts, by Preston S.
Brooks, a representative from South Carolina. This happened in May,
1856, while Mr. Sumner was sitting at his desk, after the Senate had
adjourned. Mr. Brooks took exception to some remarks printed in Mr.
Sumner's speech, entitled "The Crime against Kansas." In this speech,
the senator had referred, in rather caustic terms, to Senator Butler of
South Carolina. The latter was a kinsman of Mr. Brooks. The weapon used
by Mr. Brooks was a gutta-percha cane, and Senator Sumner, who was a
large, powerful man, in his effort to rise from his seat, forced his
desk from its hinges and fell heavily to the floor. The assault created
an immense sensation. It was associated in the heated minds at the North
with the "slavery aggressions of the South." At the South, it was
generally excused as the resentment of an impetuous young man to an
insult offered an elderly kinsman. Northern men denounced the assault in
unmeasured terms on the floor of the House and Senate. The affair led to
several challenges between the representatives of both sections.
Congressman Brooks resigned his seat, but was immediately reëlected.

When Senator Sumner made his statement of the attack, he said that,
after he was taken from the floor, he saw his assailant standing between
Senator Douglas and Senator Toombs. This led to the assertion by some
parties that the attack was premeditated, and that the senator from
Illinois and the senator from Georgia, who were strong political
antagonists of Mr. Sumner, were aiding and abetting it. Both senators
denied this from their places.

The political activity was not confined to the North. There was a large
element in Georgia which disapproved of the Kansas-Nebraska bill as an
unwise concession on the part of the South. This class, combined with
the American party, presented an active front against the party led by
Senator Toombs. No contest was ever waged more vigorously in Georgia.
New blood and new issues were infused into the fight. Mr. Toombs was at
the maximum of his greatness. He took redoubled interest in the campaign
in that the legislature to be chosen in 1857 was to elect his successor
to the Senate, and because the principles in this national contest were
taking shape for a State campaign the following year.



Among the young men on the stump that year was Benjamin H. Hill. He had
come up from the plow-handles in Jasper County. Working his way to an
education, he had graduated at the State University in 1845, with the
first honors of his class. He was at this time barely more than thirty
years of age, but he had won distinction at the bar and served his
county in the State Senate. He was known for his aggressive, ringing
eloquence, and a clear, searching style which had made him something
more than local reputation. It was understood that he was the choice of
the American party for Governor, and it was assumed that he would win
his spurs in the national campaign. He did not hesitate to go into the
thickest of the fight. He challenged Toombs and Stephens in their
strongholds; on the 22d of October meeting Mr. Stephens at his
stamping-ground in Lexington, Oglethorpe County, and the next day
confronting Mr. Toombs at his home in Washington, Ga. There was a charm
in the very audacity of this young Georgian. The man who would beard
"the Douglas in his hall" was a curiosity to the people, for since the
leadership of Toombs was established in 1844, no one, probably, had
assumed to cross swords with him before his home people. The fact that
young Hill had rather frustrated Mr. Stephens, in their first meeting,
gave him fresh impetus for his clash with Toombs. People flocked to
Washington by thousands. A large part of the audience which had cheered
Ben Hill in Oglethorpe followed him to Wilkes.

The speaking took place in Andrews' Grove, a noble cluster of oaks near
the town, and by breakfast-time the place was filled with carriages and
wagons. The red hills leading to Washington were alive with farmers and
their wives and children, wheeling into the grove to hear the noble
veteran and the brilliant young stranger debate upon current topics. Old
and young men were there, and babies in arms. It was before the days of
a universal press. People took their politics from the stump. They were
trained in the great object-lessons of public life. The humble farmer
knew all about the Missouri Compromise and the Nebraska bill. What they
had learned was thorough. Every man was a politician.

Ben Hill opened the discussion. He had the advantage of being a new and
untried man, while Toombs and Stephens had spread their records upon
the pages of hundreds of speeches. In those days of compromises and new
departures, it was easy for a quick, bright fellow to make capital out
of the apparent inconsistencies of public men. Hill was a master of
repartee. He pictured Toombs' change from Whig to Democrat. He made a
daring onslaught upon Toombs. Hill's bump of reverence was not large,
and the way he handled this great statesman was a surprise. He did not
hesitate to call him "Bobuel," and to try to convict him out of his own
mouth of error.

Toombs sat back with his fine features lit with scorn. His facial
expression was a rare part of his strength. He seemed to repel with his
look the impudence of this fearless young statesman. Hill saw the effect
of his own audacity, and "plied his blows like wintry rain." A keen
observer of this dramatic by-play declares that the pose of these two
men reminded him of Landseer's picture of "Dignity and Impudence."

Hill declared that Toombs had been in Congress, "sleeping over our
rights." Toombs retorted, "I have been protecting your rights and your
children's rights in spite of yourselves."

Hill charged that Toombs had tried to dodge the issues of this campaign.
Toombs, when he answered this part, cried out to the people impetuously:
"Did I dodge the question, when in the presence of two thousand people,
in the City of Augusta, and as I was about to travel in foreign lands,
I denounced the secret midnight organization which was being fastened
upon the freemen of the South? An organization whose chief measure was
to prescribe a religious test in this land of liberty, and raise up a
barrier to the entrance of the sons of the Old World, whose gallant
sires aided us in achieving our independence?

"Did I dodge, when, just before putting my foot on shipboard, I wrote a
letter to my beloved South, warning them against this insidious
organization creeping into their midst, piloted by dark lanterns to
midnight lodges? Did I dodge, when, hearing, as I traveled, that this
deadly order had taken hold and fastened its fangs in my State, I
suspended my travels and took the first ship that bore me back to my
native shores, and, raised my cry against these revolutionary measures?

"Did I dodge, when, as soon as landing in Georgia, I traveled all night
and spoke all next day against these blighting measures? If this be
called dodging, I admit that I dodged, and the gentleman can make the
most of it."

Mr. Hill declared that the Kansas-Nebraska bill embodied the principles
of "squatter sovereignty" and alien suffrage. The bill was not identical
with the Utah and New Mexico bill, as Toombs and Stephens had alleged.
The restrictive provisions of the Utah bill would prohibit this
Territorial Legislature from excluding slavery. It could not do that
until it became a State, while the Kansas bill allowed a majority of the
actual residents to determine whether slavery should or should not
exist, even prior to its admission as a State. He denounced the Kansas
bill as a cheat, a swindle, and a surrender of our dearest rights. As to
the National Convention, Mr. Hill declared that the South may have
framed the platform, but the North secured the candidate. Mr. Hill,
relative to territorial questions, recognized the right of native born
and naturalized citizens of the United States, permanently residing in
any Territory, to frame a constitution and laws and to regulate their
social and domestic affairs in their own way. The American party
proposed to extend the term required for naturalization and to bar the
foreigners from holding office. Mr. Hill had strong sympathizers in the
extreme Southern Rights' men, who were on hand in abundance.

Mr. Toombs replied with great dignity and warmth. He said that the
Nebraska bill was a reiteration of the true intent of the compromise
measures of 1850; that whoever opposed the Kansas bill was opposed to
the South. It was a touchstone for fixing party affiliations. It only
carried out the Georgia platform protesting against Congressional
prohibition of slavery in the Territories. He paid high tribute to
Douglas as a patriot and friend to the South. "Whoever condemned
Douglas needed watching himself." Mr. Toombs charged that the
representatives of the Know-nothing party had voted for the
Kansas-Nebraska bill, and now claimed ignorance of its provisions. He
denied that either he or Mr. Stephens had declared that the Kansas bill
was identical with the Utah bill. Mr. Hill insisted that they had said
so. Affirmance and denial became heated, and talk of holding each other
"personally responsible" was indulged in, but pretty soon the debate
went back into the political grooves. Mr. Toombs denied that the bill
was a "Pandora's box of evil," or that its passage was violative of the
good faith of the South. This part of his argument, of course, was
directed to meet Northern criticism. "The North," Mr. Toombs said, "had
tried, by the Wilmot Proviso, to legislate the South out of the right of
equal enjoyment of the Territories. The South had endeavored to take the
question of these rights out of Congress, to establish the doctrine of
non-intervention." This doctrine triumphed in 1850 and, despite the
assertion of his opponent, was reaffirmed in the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
This Act of 1854 was the great measure of justice and equality to the

Mr. Toombs ridiculed the assertion of Millard Fillmore that the repeal
of the Missouri Compromise was a violation of a sacred compact.
"Fillmore," said Mr. Toombs, "is an amiable, clever sort of fellow, not
to be trusted upon the great questions now before the country. He had
withheld action upon the compromise measures of 1850 until his
attorney-general told him that he must sign them."

Someone reminded Toombs that he had supported Fillmore for vice
president in 1848. He replied, "Yes, and I said then, that if Fillmore
was at the head of the ticket, I would not support it." Several persons
in the audience declared that they had heard him say it. "I am glad to
know," said he, "that, since my opponents address you people as if you
had no sense, you, at least, have shown that you have memories."

Turning to the crowd who had cheered the opposition speaker, Mr. Toombs
said: "For those of you who have yelled so long and lustily, when your
dearest rights were assailed, I can but feel the profoundest
commiseration. Should you continue in your wild strife against the
experience of the past, I look to a kind Providence and to wise men to
protect you from yourselves."

In regard to aliens in America, Mr. Toombs said: "I go for giving them
all--the oppressed of all nations--a place of refuge, and say even to
the paupers and criminals; 'We will forgive you for the past and try you
for the future.' You may start in your railroad and go to Memphis, and
then, follow the setting sun day by day, and week by week, until you
find him setting in the Pacific Ocean, and all the time you are passing
over fertile lands where industry and thrift may meet appropriate
rewards, and the blessings of liberty and peace find a resting-place in
the bosom of freedom."

Mr. Hill said that Toombs was a turncoat. He had been a Whig, and now he
abused the Whigs. Mr. Toombs told the people that he came not to abuse
the Democrats or Whigs, but with the weapon of truth and the shield of
the Constitution to aid in preserving the Union and maintaining the
rights of the South. He did not appear before the people to carry
majorities, but to promote their constitutional rights.

Mr. Toombs was charged with being a disunionist. He said he stood upon
the Georgia platform of 1850, and leaning upon that faithful support, "I
will say, that should Frémont be elected, I will not stand and wait for
fire, but will call upon my countrymen to take to that to which they
will be driven--the sword. If that be disunion, I am a disunionist. If
that be treason, make the most of it. You see the traitor before you."

Opinion as to the result of the debate at Washington was divided. Good
judges thought that Mr. Hill relied too much on the _ad captandum_
argument, and did not meet the points of Mr. Toombs; but there are men
living in Washington who heard the great contest and who delight to tell
how the young warrior from Troup charged right into the enemy's camp,
and rode away with the laurels of the day.

Buchanan was elected President in November. He carried nineteen States,
Georgia among them. Buchanan and Breckenridge received 174 electoral
votes and 1,838,169 popular votes.

Frémont carried eleven States and 114 electoral votes, receiving
1,341,264 popular votes. Fillmore carried Maryland with 8 electoral
votes. His vote through the country amounted to 874,534.

Mr. Toombs, while a member of Congress, became possessed of a large
tract of land in Texas. It was known as the Peter's Colony Grant, which
had never been settled. The lands, he was informed by a competent
surveyor, were valuable and free to settlers. They comprised about
90,000 acres in Northern Texas, on the clear fork of the Trinity, in the
neighborhood of Dallas and Fort Worth. Mr. Toombs had a clear head and
keen perception for business. His temperament was restless and fiery.
His life had been spent at the bar and in the forum. His gifts of
oratory were remarkable. It was a strange combination which added shrewd
business sense, but he had it in an eminent degree. He was a princely
liver, but a careful financier. He saw that this part of Texas must
some day bloom into an empire, and fifty years ago he gave $30,000 for
this tract of land. As Texas commenced to fill up the squatters occupied
some of the most valuable parts of the country and refused to be
removed. These desperate fellows declared that they did not believe
there was any such man as Toombs, the reputed owner of the land; they
had never seen him, and certainly they would not consent to be
dispossessed of their holdings.

It was in 1857 that Senator Toombs, accompanied by a few of his friends,
decided to make a trip to Texas and view his large landed possessions.
For hundreds of miles he traveled on horseback over the plains of Texas,
sleeping at night in a buffalo robe. He was warned by his agents that he
had a very desperate set of men to deal with. But Toombs was pretty
determined himself. He summoned the squatters to a parley at Fort Worth,
then, a mere spot in the wilderness. The men came in squads, mounted on
their mustangs, and bearing over their saddles long squirrel rifles.
They were ready for a shrewd bargain or a sharp vendetta. Senator Toombs
and his small coterie were armed; and standing against a tree, the
landlord confronted his tenants or trespassers, he hardly knew which. He
spoke firmly and pointedly, and pretty soon convinced the settlers that
they were dealing with no ordinary man. He said he was willing to allow
each squatter a certain sum for betterments, if they would move off his
land, or, if they preferred to stay, he would sell the tract to each man
at wild-land prices; but, failing in this, they must move away, as he
had the power to put them out, and would certainly use it. There was a
good deal of murmuring and caucussing among the men, but they concluded
that there was a man named Toombs, and that he meant what he said. The
matter was settled in a business way, and Senator Toombs rode back over
the prairies, richer by a hundred thousand dollars. These lands were
immensely valuable during the latter part of his life. They formed the
bulk of his fortune when the war closed; and during his stay in Paris,
an exile from his country, in 1866, he used to say that he consumed, in
his personal expenses, an acre of dirt a day. The land was then worth
about five dollars an acre.

It was while he was returning home from his Texas trip that the postman
met him on the plains and delivered a letter from Georgia. This was in
July, 1857. The letter announced that the Democratic State Convention in
Georgia had adjourned, after nominating for Governor Joseph E. Brown.
Senator Toombs read the letter and, looking up in a dazed way, asked,
"And who in the devil is Joe Brown?"



There was a good deal of significance in the inquiry. There was a hot
campaign ahead. The opposition party, made up of Know-nothings and
old-line Whigs, had nominated Benjamin H. Hill for Governor. Senator
Toombs knew that it would require a strong man to beat him. Besides the
Governor, a legislature was to be chosen which was to elect a successor
to Senator Toombs in the Senate. He was personally interested in seeing
that the Democratic party, with which he had been in full accord since
the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, had a strong leader in the
State. All the way home he was puzzling in his brain about "Joe Brown."

About the time that he returned, he was informed that Hill and Brown had
met at Glen Spring, near Athens. A large crowd had attended the opening
discussion. Howell Cobb wrote to Senator Toombs that he had better take
charge of the campaign himself, as he doubted the ability of Judge Brown
to handle "Hill of Troup."

Joseph E. Brown had come up from the people. He was a native of Pickens,
S. C., of old Scotch-Irish stock that had produced Calhoun and Andrew
Jackson. The late Henry W. Grady, in a bright fancy sketch, once
declared that the ancestors of Joseph E. Brown lived in Ireland, and
that "For seven generations, the ancestors of Joe Brown have been
restless, aggressive rebels--for a longer time the Toombses have been
dauntless and intolerant followers of the King. At the siege of
Londonderry, Margaret and James Brown were within the walls, starving
and fighting for William and Mary; and I have no doubt there were
hard-riding Toombses outside the walls, charging in the name of the
peevish and unhappy James. Certain it is that forty years before, the
direct ancestors of Robert Toombs, in their estate, were hiding the good
King Charles in the oak at Boscobel, where, I have no doubt, the father
and uncle of the Londonderry Brown, with cropped hair and severe mien,
were proguing about the place with their pikes, searching every bush in
the name of Cromwell and the psalm-singers. From these initial points
sprang the two strains of blood--the one affluent, impetuous, prodigal,
the other slow, resolute, forceful. From these ancestors came the two
men--the one superb, ruddy, fashioned with incomparable grace and
fullness--the other pale, thoughtful, angular, stripped down to brain
and sinew. From these opposing theories came the two types: the one
patrician, imperious, swift in action, and brooking no stay; the other
democratic, sagacious, jealous of rights, and submitting to no
opposition. The one for the king, the other for the people."

Young Joe Brown had taught school, studied law, finally completing his
course at Yale College. He was admitted to the bar in 1845. In 1849 he
was elected as a Democrat to the State Senate by Cherokee County. In
1851 he had been a Southern Rights' man, voting for McDonald against
Cobb, the Union candidate for Governor. In 1852 he was Democratic
elector for Pierce. In 1855 he was elected by the people judge of the
Blue Ridge Circuit. He was very strong in North Georgia. The convention
which selected him as the candidate for Governor met in Milledgeville,
June 24, 1857. The Democrats had no lack of eminent men. There were
candidates enough. James Gardner, the brilliant and incisive editor of
the Augusta _Constitutionalist_, led the ballot, but Brown was finally
brought in as a compromise man. His nomination was a surprise.

When Senator Toombs met the young nominee, by appointment, to talk over
the campaign, he found that he was full of good sense and sagacity. He
joined him in his canvass, lending his own name and prestige to the
Democratic meetings. But he found much shrewdness and homely wisdom
about Joseph E. Brown, and he became convinced that he was able to make
his way to the favor of the people without outside aid. The Democratic
nominee proved his ability to stand before the luminous oratory of Ben
Hill himself. Brown had courage, clearness, and tact, with growing
ability and confidence. He soon developed the full strength of the
Democratic party, which, in Georgia, was overwhelming. Joseph E. Brown
was elected Governor, and the last vestige of the American party went
down in 1857. The legislature was overwhelmingly Democratic.

On the 6th of November, 1857, Mr. Toombs wrote from Milledgeville to his
wife, pending the election of United States Senator:

      I got here Wednesday and found the usual turmoil and
      excitement. Governor McDonald is here and has been trying
      hard to beat me, but I find very unexpected and gratifying
      unanimity in my favor. The party met this evening and
      nominated me by acclamation, with but two or three
      dissenting votes, and they speak of bringing on the
      election to-morrow. I am very anxious to see you, and am
      tired of wandering about in excited crowds; but I suppose
      after to-morrow I will have peace, so far as I am
      concerned, for the next six years. I think I shall be
      entitled to exemption from the actual duties of future
      campaigns to stay at home with you.

He was reëlected to the United States Senate for the term beginning
March 4, 1857.

When President Buchanan was inaugurated, he announced that a case was
pending in the Supreme Court upon the occupation of the Territories. By
this decision he would abide. The day after the inauguration the
decision was announced. It was the celebrated Dred Scott case. It fell
like a bomb into the antislavery camp. The great question involved was
whether it was competent for Congress, directly or indirectly, to
exclude slavery from the Territories of the United States. The Supreme
Court decided that it was not. Six judges out of eight made this
decision. The opinion was delivered by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney.

This decision added to the fury of the storm. It was announced that the
Chief Justice had announced the doctrine that "negroes had no rights
that a white man was bound to respect"; a sentiment so atrocious that
this official repelled it with indignation. Efforts were made to bury
the Chief Justice in obloquy.

The struggle over the admission of Kansas into the Union was prolonged
in Congress. But the situation in Kansas became warmer every year. The
Eastern immigrant societies were met by inroads of Missouri and Southern
settlers. A state of civil war virtually obtained in 1856-57, and
throughout Buchanan's administration there was a sharp skirmish of new
settlers and a sharp maneuver of parties for position. The Georgia
State Democratic Convention of 1857 demanded the removal of Robert J.
Walker, who had been appointed Governor of Kansas. He was a Southern
man, but was regarded as favoring the antislavery party in its efforts
to organize the Territory. The truth was, as Senator Toombs had clearly
foreseen and expressed in his speech in the Senate in 1856, Kansas was
destined to be a free State, and amid the violence of the agitation,
confined to no one side, was marching steadily toward this destiny. The
administration favored the admission of Kansas with the Lecompton
Constitution, which was decidedly favorable to the proslavery men.
Senator Douglas opposed this plan. He had become committed to the policy
of squatter sovereignty during the debate on the Kansas-Nebraska bill in
1854. He contended that the settlers of a Territory could determine the
character of their institutions, a position which the Buchanan party
denounced as inconsistent with Democratic principles. Mr. Douglas
indorsed the Dred Scott decision, but maintained his position on popular
sovereignty. He became at once unpopular with the rank and file of the
Southern Democracy, with whom he had long been a favorite. He was also
estranged from the administration, and it was evident that he would have
no easy matter to be reëlected United States Senator. This election came
off in the fall of 1858. It was clear to him that, to maintain his
prominence in politics, he must carry Illinois. Unless he could save his
own State his chance for President was gone. So he went into this
memorable canvass with his own party divided and a determined opponent
in the person of Abraham Lincoln. The young Republican party in Illinois
had been gathering strength with each new phase of the slavery question.

The joint debate between Douglas and Lincoln was memorable. As a
dexterous debater, Douglas had no equal in the Union. He was strong on
the stump and incomparable in a popular assembly. Without grace or
imagination, he was yet a plausible, versatile man, quick and ingenious,
resolute and ready, with a rare faculty for convincing men. He was small
and sinewy, with smooth face, bright eye, and broad brow, and his
neighbors called him the "Little Giant." He could be specious, even
fallacious; he employed an _ad captandum_ kind of oratory, which was
taking with a crowd and confusing to an adversary. The man who met him
in these debates was a tall, impressive personage, rough, original, but
direct and thoroughly sincere. In many points he was the opposite of

He was rather an ill-ordered growth of the early West, a man who had
toiled and suffered from his youth up. He was full of sharp corners and
rough edges, and his nature was a strange mixture of patience and
melancholy. As Mr. Stephens said, he regarded slavery "in the light of a
religious mysticism," and believed that his mission to beat it down was
God-ordained. And yet he was a statesman, a public man of breadth and
prominence, a speaker of force and persuasion. He had the robust courage
of a pioneer and the high purpose of a reformer. It was in this debate
that Mr. Lincoln, at Freeport, Ill., asked Mr. Douglas that memorable
question, on the stump: "Can the people of a Territory, in any lawful
way, exclude slavery from their limits, prior to the formation of a
State constitution?" Mr. Douglas promptly answered, "Yes." This was his
doctrine of popular sovereignty. But the answer cost him the Democratic
nomination to the Presidency. The theory that a mass of settlers,
squatting in a Territory, could fix and determine the character of the
Territory's domestic institutions, was repugnant to a large portion of
the Southern people. They claimed that under the Dred Scott decision,
slavery already existed in the Territories, and must be protected by the
Constitution; and that it was not competent for the people to determine
for themselves the question of slavery or no slavery, until they formed
a constitution for admission into the Union as a State.

The election in Illinois, in the fall of 1858, gave Stephen A. Douglas a
majority of eight in the General Assembly over Abraham Lincoln, and
Douglas was reëlected for the new term. In this contest he had been
opposed by the Buchanan Democrats, who cast over 8000 votes in Illinois.

In the Senate, the debate on popular sovereignty was renewed. This time
Jefferson Davis, a senator from Mississippi, attacked this position as
incompatible with the Constitution and the laws. Mr. Davis was a
skillful debater. His mind was singularly graceful and refined. He was
eloquent, logical, and courageous. His career as soldier and statesman,
as War Minister under Pierce, and as senator for Mississippi, made him a
prominent figure. He was cultured, classical, and well rounded, equipped
by leisure and long study for the career before him. He had vanquished
Sergeant S. Prentiss in public discussion over the national bank, and
contested, inch by inch, the domination of Henry S. Foote in
Mississippi. His career in the Mexican war had been a notable one.
Allied to Zachary Taylor by marriage, a West Pointer by training, a
Southern planter by occupation, he was a typical defender of slavery as
it existed. Davis was as slender and frail as Douglas was compact and
sinewy. Like Lincoln, his mind grasped great principles, while Douglas
was fighting for points and expedients.

Douglas declared that the territorial settler could determine whether
slavery should exist, by his influence in providing or withholding
police power; although he denied the constitutional right to legislate
slavery out of the Territories, yet he believed the "popular sovereign"
could, by means of "unfriendly legislation," bar out the Southern
settler with his slaves. It was not difficult for Mr. Davis to impale
him upon this plea.

Senator Douglas had saved his seat in the Senate, but his position in
the Democratic party was weakened. The Lecompton Constitution passed the
Senate in spite of Douglas's steady opposition.

Senator Toombs took no part in the subtleties of the Douglas-Davis
debate. He listened to the refinements of that discussion with decided
convictions of his own, but with clear appreciation of the fact that
every point scored against Douglas was cleaving the Democratic party in
twain. Mr. Toombs favored the adoption of the Lecompton Constitution,
but when it was rejected by the House, he promptly accepted the English
compromise, to refer the matter back to the people. Mr. Toombs had
always been partial to Douglas. In the campaign of 1856 he declared, in
Georgia, that "the man who condemned Senator Douglas needed watching
himself." He viewed with some pain the Douglas departure over popular
sovereignty; indeed he once declared that had he not been called away
from the Senate for quite a time in 1856, Mr. Douglas would never have
gone off on this tangent. When asked if Douglas were really a great
man, Senator Toombs, in 1860, answered with characteristic heartiness
and exaggeration, "There has been but one greater, and he, the Apostle

It was very evident that the people of the South would demand new
guarantees for the protection of slavery against the dogma of popular
sovereignty. The platform of the Cincinnati convention, upon which
Buchanan had been elected, must be recast. The platform had declared
that immigrants to any part of the public domain were to settle the
question of slavery for themselves. The new plank, which President
Buchanan framed, was that the government of a Territory was provisional
and temporary, and during its existence, all citizens of the United
States had an equal right to settle with their property in the
Territory, without their rights, either of person or property, being
destroyed or impaired by Congressional or Territorial legislation. The
two last words contained the gist of the resolution, which was aimed at
Senator Douglas. However right as an abstract principle, Mr. Stephens
declared that this was a departure from the doctrine of

It was at this time that Senator Toombs made one of the most important
speeches of his life. This was delivered in Augusta, Ga., September 8,
1859, during an exciting campaign. Governor Brown was a candidate for
reëlection, and a strong opposition party had developed in Georgia,
representing the extreme Southern sentiment.

Senator Toombs said that the opposition to the Kansas bill had continued
because it was said to recognize the right of the people of a Territory,
through the Territorial legislature, to establish or prohibit slavery.
"When we condemned and abrogated Congressional intervention against us,"
said he, "that was a great point gained. Congress had actually excluded
us from the Territories for thirty years. The people of a Territory had
in no instance attempted such an iniquity. I considered it wise,
prudent, and politic to settle the question against our common enemy,
Congress, even if I left it unsettled as to our known friends, the
people of the Territories. We could not settle the question of the power
of the people over slavery while in a territorial condition, because
Democrats differed on that point. We, therefore, declared in the Kansas
bill that we left the people of the Territories perfectly free to form
and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only
to the Constitution of the United States. We decided to refer the
question to the Supreme Court. It has gone there and been decided in our
favor. The Southern friends of the measure repudiate the principle of
squatter sovereignty. I stand its steady and uncompromising adversary.
The doctrine of Douglas has not a leg to stand upon. Yet I do not
belong to those who denounce him. The organization of the Democratic
party leaves this an open question, and Mr. Douglas is at full liberty
to take either side he may choose, and if he maintains his ground of
neither making nor accepting new tests of political soundness, I shall
consider him a political friend, and will accept him as the
representative of the party, whatever it may tender him. I do not
hesitate to tell you that, with his errors, I prefer him and would
support him to-morrow against any opposition leader in America.

"We are told," said Mr. Toombs, "that we must put a new plank in the
platform of the Democratic party, and demand the affirmance of the duty
of Congress to prohibit slavery in a Territory, where such Territory may
fail to discharge this duty. I reply, I do not think it is wise to do
the thing proposed, and the inducement would not help the proposition.
While I have already asserted full and complete power of Congress to do
this, I think, with Mr. Madison, that it should be prudently and
carefully exercised, and it ought not to be exercised until the occasion
is imperative. There has been no occasion, from 1789 to this hour,
calling for it, and I am more than willing that the Territorial settlers
shall continue to govern themselves in their own way, so long as they
respect the rights of all the people. I will not insult them by
supposing them capable of disregarding the Constitution of the United
States, or by assuming that they are incapable of honest

"No; I shall prescribe no new test of party fealty to Northern
Democrats, those men who have hitherto stood with honor and fidelity
upon their engagements. They have maintained the truth to their own
hurt. They have displayed a patriotism, a magnanimity rarely equaled in
the world's history, and I shall endeavor, in sunshine and in storm,
with your approbation if I can get it, without it if I must, to stand by
them with fidelity equal to their great deserts. If you will stand with
me, we shall conquer faction in the North and South, and shall save the
country from the curse of being ruled by the combination now calling
itself the opposition. We shall leave this country to our children as we
found it--united, strong, prosperous and happy."

This was a memorable speech, strong, sincere, and conservative, and had
a marked effect. It was intended, not only to influence the canvass then
pending, but to have an effect in controlling the National convention to
be held six months later. It was copied far and wide, and the success of
the State candidates whom Mr. Toombs supported showed that its
statesmanlike utterances were adopted overwhelmingly in Georgia.



But events were moving fast and furiously. The times needed no new
Mirabeau. The people were slowly welding a revolution, which must sweep
statesmen from their feet and bear upon its fierce current the strong
and weak alike. It has been asserted, and with truth, that disunion was
precipitated by the people, not by the politicians--by the North as well
as by the South.

The raid of John Brown of Kansas into Virginia was not an event which
would have stirred the people in ordinary times. It was the wild foray
of a fanatic, who tried to stir up a slave insurrection. He was
captured, tried, convicted, and hanged. There were demoralized followers
and duped negroes with him, when he was overcome by Colonel Robert E.
Lee, with a detachment of marines, at Harper's Ferry. This affair
created a feverish excitement. The South did not know how far this
movement extended, nor by what authority it had been started. The
criminal was execrated at the South and intemperately defended at the
North. The man, who under normal conditions of society would have been
sent to the insane asylum, was sentenced speedily to the gallows and
mourned as a martyr by many at the North. Bells were tolled in his
honor. Following this remarkable episode, several free States passed
strong laws against the detention of fugitive slaves, and the Northern
press and pulpit teemed with new lessons and fresh morals. John Brown's
body, in the language of the sentimental dirge, "lay moldering in his
grave"; but the spirit of the Kansas boomer actually pervaded the land.

What the Dred Scott decision had wrought at the North, the Ossawatomie
raid awoke at the South. The main features of Buchanan's administration
to hasten the "irrepressible conflict" were the well-weighed words of
the Chief Justice and the wild invasion of a border ruffian. Strange
paradox, but such were the influences at work in those disordered times.
Men lost their moorings, and political parties abandoned settled
policies. Events crowded with remorseless impact upon certain civil

Under this new condition of things Mr. Toombs made his great "door-sill"
speech in the United States Senate, on the 24th of January, 1860. It was
upon the resolution offered by Senator Douglas calling for a measure of
protection of each State and Territory against invasion by the
authorities and inhabitants of every other State and Territory. Senator
Toombs declared that the resolution opened up a new page in the history
of our country. It was a step in the right direction. He feared that the
disease lay too deep for the remedy. Heretofore the people of the United
States could grapple and surmount all difficulties, foreign and
domestic. A spirit of nationality, a common interest, a common danger,
carried the country through revolutions. Now all this has changed. The
feeling of loyalty and common destiny is rapidly passing away. Hostility
to the compact of the Union, to the tie which binds us together, finds
utterance in the tongues of millions of our countrymen, animates their
bosoms, and leads to the habitual disregard of the plainest duties and
obligations. Large bodies of men now feel and know that party success
involves danger; that the result may bring us face to face with

"The fundamental principles of our Union are assailed, invaded, and
threatened with destruction; our ancient rights and liberties are in
danger; the peace and tranquillity of our homes have been invaded by
lawless violence, and their further invasion is imminent; the instinct
of self-preservation arms society to their defense."

Mr. Toombs contended that this was no new principle introduced into our
Constitution. ["]It was inserted in the ordinance of 1787. The New
England Confederation adopted it in 1643. The Supreme Judicial tribunal
of Prussia affirmed it as the public law of Europe as late as 1855. It
was acknowledged to be a sound principle of public law in the days of
Pericles, and its violation by one of the States of Greece was the chief
cause of the Peloponnesian War, which devastated Greece for twenty-one
years. The Megareans had given refuge to the revolted slaves of Athens."

"I say," he continued, "the bargain is broken--broken by the States
whose policy I have reviewed; broken by the Republican party, which did
the work in their legislatures and elsewhere. Their hands are soiled
with the blood of the compact. They cannot be permitted to minister at
its altar. Their representatives on this floor mock at constitutional
obligations; jeer at oaths. They have lost their shame with their
virtue.... In the name of the people, I repeat, I demand the bond. In
the name of every true and honest man at the North as well as the South,
I demand the resumption of your plighted faith. Upon these terms I have
ever been willing to let the Union stand, but upon no other.

"Who is responsible for the murder, treason, and arson of John Brown? I
have never known of his acts being approved or palliated by any other
person than a Republican. Thousands of them have done it and are now
doing it. In charging this dark catalogue of crime against this
organization, I would not be unjust. I have no doubt that thousands of
persons belonging to that organization throughout the North, loathe and
despise John Brown's raid; but it is equally true that there are other
thousands in the same organization who do approve it. They tell us that
they condemn his acts, but admire his heroism. I think the Republican
party must be pressed for a hero. The 'Newgate Calendar' can furnish
them with a dozen such saints. To 'die game' and not to 'peach' are
sometimes useful, if not heroic, virtues in an accomplice. The thousands
of blind Republicans who do openly approve the treason, murder, and
arson of John Brown, get no condemnation from their party for such acts.
They are its main defenders and propagandists all over the North, and,
therefore, the party is in moral complicity with the criminal himself.
No society can long exist in peace under these injuries, because we are
in virtual civil war; hence, I denounce their authors, the Republican
party, as enemies of the Constitution and enemies of my country.

"It is vain, in face of these injuries, to talk of peace, fraternity,
and common country. There is no peace; there is no fraternity; there is
no common country; all of us know it.

"Sir, I have but little more to add--nothing for myself. I feel that I
have no need to pledge my poor services to this great cause, to my
country. My State has spoken for herself. Nine years ago a convention of
her people met and declared that her connection with this government
depended upon the faithful execution of the Fugitive-slave law. I was a
member of that convention, and I stood then and stand now pledged to its
action. I have faithfully labored to arrest these calamities; I will yet
labor until this last contingency happens, faithfully, honestly, and to
the best of my ability. When that time comes, freemen of Georgia, redeem
your pledges! I am ready to redeem mine. Your honor is involved, your
faith is plighted. I know you feel a stain as a wound. Your peace, your
social system, your friends are involved. Never permit this Federal
Government to pass into the traitors' hands of the black Republican
party. It has already declared war against you and your institutions. It
every day commits acts of war against you; it has already compelled you
to arm for your defense. Listen to no vain babbling; to no treacherous
jargon about 'overt acts'; they have already been committed. Defend
yourselves! The enemy is at your door; wait not to meet him at your
hearthstone; meet him at the door-sill, and drive him from the Temple of
Liberty, or pull down its pillars and involve him in a common ruin."



It was an unfortunate time for the meeting of the Democratic National
Convention. The hope that the party which had so often brought harmony
from discord could unite upon the soil of an extreme Southern State was
destined to be broken. The body met in Charleston on April 23, 1860. The
place was worthy of the assemblage. For the first time in the party
history, its convention had met south of Cincinnati or Baltimore.
Redolent with the beauties of spring and the tint of historic interest,
Charleston, with its memories of Moultrie, inspired feelings of
patriotic pride. If it suggested the obstruction of Calhoun, it recalled
the Revolutionary glory of Marion and Rutledge, and the bold challenge
of Hayne to Webster, that if there be one State in the Union which could
challenge comparison with any other for a uniform, ardent, and zealous
devotion to the Union, that State was South Carolina.

It was a memorable meeting. The convention was presided over by Caleb
Cushing of Massachusetts, the devoted friend of Daniel Webster, and
Attorney-General under Franklin Pierce. In its ranks were Henry B. Payne
of Ohio, Benjamin F. Butler of Massachusetts, and James A. Bayard of
Delaware. These men were towers of strength in the North. They were the
men to whom Robert Toombs had appealed in the Senate, when he turned
from his fiery imprecation and, lowering his great voice, declared, with
tenderness and pride, "I have no word of invocation to those who stand
to-day in the ranks of Northern Democracy, but to remember and emulate
their past history. From the beginning of this controversy they have
stood firmly by the Constitution. No body of men in the world's history
ever exhibited higher or nobler devotion to principle under such adverse
circumstances.... Amid the opprobrious epithets, the gibes and jeers of
the enemies of the Constitution; worse than this, amid words of distrust
and reproach even from men of the South, these great-hearted patriots
have marched steadily in the path of duty.... The union of all these
elements may yet secure to our country peace and safety. But if this
cannot be done, safety and peace are incompatible in the Union. Amid
treachery and desertion at home, and injustice from without, amid
disaster and defeat, they have risen superior to fortune, and stand
to-day with their banners all tattered and soiled in the humble service
of the whole country. No matter what fortune may betide us in the
future, while life lasts, I have a hand that will succor and a heart
ready to embrace the humblest soldier of this noble band."

At that time there were thirty-three States in the Union. The committee
on platform consisted of one from each State. The delegates from
California and Oregon, voting with the South, gave them seventeen votes
in committee. The resolutions were quickly framed, with the exception of
the one on slavery. Here was the deadlock. The majority plank declared
that the right to settle in the Territories with slaves "was not to be
destroyed nor impaired by Territorial legislation." The minority
proposed once more to leave the question to the Supreme Court. The
compromise was not accepted. The two reports came before the convention,
and, the Douglas men being in the majority on the floor, the minority,
or squatter-sovereignty report, was adopted by a vote of 165 to 138.
Here came the crisis. The delegates from Alabama, Mississippi, Florida,
Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, and a part of Delaware, withdrew from the
convention. Hon. William L. Yancey of Alabama led this movement. He was
a man of courage and decision, with unrivaled powers of oratory. He had
been a member of Congress, and his influence in the South was large. So
far back as June 15, 1858, he had written a famous letter to James M.
Slaughter that "no national party can save us; no sectional party can
ever do it; but if we would do as our fathers did, organize committees
of safety all over the cotton States--and it is only to them that we can
hope for any effectual movement--we shall fire the Southern heart,
instruct the Southern mind, give courage to each other, and, by one
concerted action, we can precipitate the cotton States into a
revolution." This was called the "Scarlet Letter," and was widely
scattered and read.

The seceding delegates organized a second assemblage over which the Hon.
James A. Bayard presided. The Douglas men were left in control of the
first convention, but could not secure the two-thirds vote necessary for
his nomination. More than fifty ballots were taken, the full strength of
the Illinois candidate being 152. On the 3d of May the convention
adjourned to meet in Baltimore on the 18th of June, when it was hoped a
spirit of compromise might be inspired by the seriousness of the

On the night of the break in that body Mr. Yancey made a speech in
Charleston, when in prophetic words he declared, "Perhaps even now the
pen of the historian is nibbed to inscribe the history of a new

The seceding delegates called for a convention to be held in Richmond,
Va., on the second Monday in June.

When the seven States had withdrawn from the convention, the Georgia
delegation was split up. A majority left the convention, a small
minority remained. This action created great excitement in Georgia. The
Democratic executive committee called a State convention to meet in
Milledgeville on June 4. A committee of prominent citizens, headed by
Hon. J. J. Gresham of Macon, addressed letters to public men asking
their views in this alarming situation. Howell Cobb indorsed the
seceders; he was opposed to Douglas. Alexander H. Stephens thought
Georgia should appoint delegates to the Baltimore convention, withdraw
the demand for a new plank in the Cincinnati platform, abide by the
doctrine of non-intervention, and nominate a good man for President. "If
we must quarrel with the North," said he, "let us base it on the
aggressive acts of our enemies and not on the supposed shortcomings of
our friends."

Hon. Robert Toombs did not come South during the Charleston convention.
He watched from his post in the Senate the great struggle between the
Democratic factions. On May 10, he wrote, in reply to the letter of the
Macon committee:

      Perhaps the time may not have come for the attainment of
      the full measure of our constitutional rights; it may not
      have been prudent on the part of the representatives of the
      seventeen States to have sanctioned and presented as much
      truth on the slavery issue as is contained in what is
      commonly called the majority platform; but when it was thus
      sanctioned, approved, and presented to the convention, it
      was well to stand by and defend it, especially against the
      platform of the minority. The seceding delegates did this
      with manly firmness, and I approve their action.

Mr. Toombs advised, however, that the seceding delegates ought to meet
with the convention at Baltimore and endeavor to obtain such a
satisfactory adjustment of difficulties as could be secured. "This
course requires no sacrifice of principles." This plan had been proposed
by the delegates from New York to the delegates from the Southern
States. "The proposed Richmond convention, if it shall be found
necessary to hold it," he said, "can be held after, as well as before
the Baltimore convention, and I think with clearer lights for its

"It is sometimes wise," said Mr. Toombs, "to accept a part of our just
rights, if we can have the residue unimpaired and uncompromised, but
nothing can justify a voluntary surrender of principle, indispensable to
the safety and honor of the State.

"It is true we are surrounded with danger, but I do not concur in the
opinion that the danger to the Union is even one of our greatest perils.
The greatest danger, to-day, is that the Union will survive the
Constitution. The body of your enemies in the North, who hate the
Constitution, and daily trample it under their feet, profess an ardent
attachment to the Union, and I doubt not, feel such attachment for a
Union unrestrained by a Constitution. Do not mistake your real danger!
The Union has more friends than you have, and will last, at least, as
long as its continuance will be compatible with your safety."

Prior to the reassembling of the Democratic convention, the resolutions
introduced by the Hon. Jefferson Davis, containing the Southern
exposition of principles, came up in the Senate. Mr. Toombs had opposed
the policy of introducing those resolutions, but as they were then
before the country, he said they should be met. He ridiculed the idea of
popular sovereignty. He declared that Congress should protect slavery in
the Territories. The Federal Government, he claimed, did protect its
citizens, native and naturalized, at home and abroad, everywhere except
on the soil of our own territory, acquired by common blood and treasure.

This speech of Senator Toombs marked an epoch in his career. It
separated him entirely from Stephen A. Douglas, to whom he had been
closely allied, in spite, as he said, of Douglas having wandered after
strange gods. Douglas absented himself from the Senate when Toombs
spoke. For the first time in twenty years, Toombs and Stephens took
divergent paths. They were called in Georgia the "Siamese twins." From
the election of Harrison to the Democratic split in 1860, they had been
personal friends and firm political allies. Mr. Stephens was for Douglas
and the Union; Mr. Toombs feared lest "the Union survive the

The Democratic party in Georgia met on June 4, and parted on the lines
of the Charleston division. The Union element in Georgia was led by
Herschel V. Johnson, a man of power and influence. He had been Governor
of the State, was a man of learning, profound in thought and candid in
expression. His wife was a niece of President Polk. His state papers
were models of clear and classical expression. Governor Johnson was,
however, better fitted for the bench or the Cabinet than for a public

Both wings of the Georgia convention appointed delegates to the
Baltimore convention. That body admitted the delegation which had
seceded from the Charleston convention. As the seceding delegates from
the other States were rejected, the Georgia delegates refused to go in.
Missouri was the only Southern State which was represented entirely in
the body, composed of 190 delegates. Massachusetts withdrew and Caleb
Cushing resigned the chair. Stephen A. Douglas was nominated for
President of the United States. Governor Fitzpatrick of Alabama declined
the vice presidency, and Herschel V. Johnson of Georgia was chosen for
vice president. The seceders immediately organized a national
convention, Mr. Cushing presiding. It was composed of 210 delegates. The
majority or anti-Douglas platform of the Charleston convention was
adopted. John C. Breckenridge of Kentucky was nominated for President,
and Joseph C. Lane of Oregon for vice president. Mr. Breckenridge was at
that time vice president of the United States, and Mr. Lane was a
senator. Meanwhile, a Constitutional Union party had been formed in
Georgia, and had elected delegates to a convention of that party in
Baltimore. This body nominated for President and vice president, John
Bell of Tennessee and Edward Everett of Massachusetts. Mr. Bell had been
United States Senator at the time of the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska
bill, in 1854, and had been arraigned by Mr. Toombs for opposing the
party policy. He was one of the thirteen who voted against it in the

The contest in Georgia waged with much vigor. Robert Toombs supported
Breckenridge. He was a delegate to the Democratic State convention which
put out a Breckenridge and Lane electoral ticket. He cut out the
business of that convention, and declared that the Constitution and
equality of the States was the only bond of everlasting union. Mr.
Stephens headed the Douglas ticket. Senator Douglas himself came to
Georgia and spoke during the campaign. The Bell and Everett ticket was
championed by Benjamin H. Hill. The vote in Georgia was: Breckenridge,
51,893; Douglas, 11,580; Bell, 42,855.

Of these three Georgians, so strikingly arrayed against each other in
this critical campaign, Mr. Vincent, a gifted Texan, thus wrote with
dramatic power: "Hill, Stephens, Toombs--all eloquent, all imbued with
the same lofty patriotism. They differed widely in their methods; their
opinions were irreconcilable, their policies often diametrically
opposite. Hill was quick, powerful, but unpersistent; Stephens, slow,
forcible and compromising; Toombs, instantaneous, overwhelming, and
unyielding. Hill carried the crowd with a whirlwind of eloquence;
Stephens first convinced, then moved them with accelerating force;
Toombs swept them with a hurricane of thought and magnetic example.
Hill's eloquence was in flights, always rising and finally sublime;
Stephens' was argumentative with an elegant smoothness, often flowing in
sweeping, majestic waves; Toombs' was an engulfing stream of impetuous
force, with the roar of thunder. Hill was receptive, elastic, and full
of the future; Stephens was philosophical, adaptable, and full of the
past; Toombs was inexhaustible, original, inflexible, and full of the
now. It was Hill's special forte to close a campaign; Stephens' to
manage it; Toombs' to originate it. In politics as in war, he sought,
with the suddenness of an electric flash, to combat, vanquish, and slay.
Hill's eloquence exceeded his judgment; Stephens' judgment was superior
to his oratorical power; in Toombs these were equipollent. Hill
considered expediency; Stephens, policy; Toombs, principle always; Hill
would perhaps flatter, Stephens temporize, Toombs neither--never. At
times Hill would resort to the arts of the dialectician; Stephens would
quibble over the niceties of construction; Toombs relied on the
impregnability of his position, the depth of his thought, the vigor of
his reasoning. Hill discussed with opponents; Stephens debated with
them; Toombs ignored them. Hill refuted and vanquished his adversaries;
Stephens persuaded and led them; Toombs magnetized them, and they
followed him. Their enemies said that Hill was treacherous in politics;
Stephens selfishly ambitious; and that Toombs loaned like a prince and
collected like a Shylock.

"In those days Georgia did not put pygmies on pedestals. Hill will be
remembered by his 'Notes on the Situation'; Stephens by his 'War between
the States'; Toombs had no circumstantial superiority. He is immortal,
as the people are eternal."



Georgia had taken a leading hand in the momentous events. Alexander H.
Stephens had been prominently mentioned for President; so had Howell
Cobb. When Senator Toombs had attacked the doctrine of Mr. Douglas, the
followers of the latter charged that Mr. Toombs had deserted his old
ally, and was himself making a bid for the presidency. Especially was
this the case, they urged, as Mr. Toombs had recommended the seceding
delegates to go back to the Baltimore convention, and endeavor to effect
an honorable adjustment. The Augusta _Chronicle and Sentinel_, a leading
Union organ, took up the charge and asked: "What of it? He is certainly
as much entitled to it as any citizen in the republic. Were he elected,
he would be such a President as the country needs, giving no countenance
to corruption or fraud, but, with a will of his own, setting aside all
dictation and acting as President of all the people. We doubt if there
is a man that could arouse such a furor in his behalf, North or South,
as Robert Toombs."

Close friends of Mr. Toombs at that time believed he was not without his
ambition to occupy the Executive chair. Never an office-seeker, he had
gone easily to the front rank of national politics and had won his
honors in Georgia in a kingly way. He realized, however, that he was not
politic enough to gain support from Northern States. His convictions
were overmastering passions; his speech was fervid and fearless; and his
bold, imperturbable expression had placed him in a fierce white light,
which barred him from the promotion of party conventions. While his
enemies were accusing him of a desire to destroy the Union and embroil
the sections, Robert Toombs was probably cherishing in his heart a vague
hope that one day he might be called to the presidency of a common

Senator Toombs was very active in attending to his public duties. He was
interested in every species of legislation. His remarks upon the
different matters of national business exhibited versatility, study, and
interest in everything that affected the public welfare. Those who
believe him to have been a conspirator, using his high position to
overthrow the government, have only to look over the debates in Congress
to see how active and conscientious were his efforts to promote every
real interest of the Union.

In the United States Senate, on July 31, 1854, Mr. Toombs gave an
elaborate exposition of his views upon the policy of internal
improvements. He said he had maintained opposition to this system as a
fundamental principle. Since he entered public life, he had sustained
President Polk's veto of the River and Harbor bill in 1847. He believed
that Congress had no constitutional power to begin or carry on a general
system of internal improvements. He wanted to know where this power of
the Constitution could be found. Madison and Jefferson had opposed this
system. Monroe, Jackson, and Clay had yielded to the popular pressure
and sanctioned it. "Instead of leaving the taxes or the money in the
pockets of the people," he said, "you have spent nine months in
endeavoring to squander and arranging to have more to squander in the
next Congress. I should like to use a polite term," said he, "for I am a
good-natured man, but I think it is corruption.

"In this bill you offer me seventy thousand dollars for the Savannah
river. Ships were sunk in that river for the common defense of the
country during the Revolutionary War. You are bound to abate your
nuisance at common law. You might offer me this Capitol full of gold,
and I would scorn the gift just less than the giver. You ought to have
removed these obstructions long ago. When we come and ask of you this
act of justice, you tell me to go with you into your internal
improvement bill and take pot-luck with you."

Mr. Toombs claimed that the power given to Congress to regulate
commerce, simply meant to prescribe the rules by which commerce could be
carried on, and nothing else. "The people of Maryland," he said, "had
never asked that the harbor of Baltimore should be cleaned at the
expense of the people of Georgia. They did not ask that other people
should pay their burdens. They came here and asked the privilege of
taxing their own commerce for their own benefit, and we granted it. I
hold it to be a fundamental principle in all governments, and especially
in all free governments, that you should not put burdens on the people
whenever you can discriminate and put them on those who enjoy the
benefits. You started with that principle with your post-office

"Senators, is it just? I tell you, as God lives, it is not just, and you
ought not to do it. There is manhood in the people of the Mississippi
Valley. Let them levy tonnage duties for their own rivers and ports and
put up their own lighthouses, and charge the people who use them for the
benefits conferred. Let the honest farmer who makes his hay, who gathers
his cheese, who raises his meal in Vermont, be not taxed to increase
your magnificent improvements of nature and your already gigantic
wealth. Senators, it is unjust."

During the session of Congress of 1856-57, Senator Toombs again
arraigned the whole system of internal improvements. He carefully
differentiated between building a lighthouse and clearing out a harbor
by the Federal Government. He said in course of the debate: "Where
lighthouses are necessary for the protection of your navy, I admit the
power to make them; but it must be where they are necessary, and not
merely for the benefit and facilitation of commerce. Foreign and
domestic commerce ought to be charged, as in England and France, for the
benefit they receive. I would make the shipowners, the common carriers
of this country, who are constantly using the power of this government
to make money out of the products of honest industry and agriculture,
submit to this rule.

"The power to found a navy is found in the only fountain of power in
this country, the Constitution. The defense of one is the defense of
all. The destruction of nationality is the destruction of the life of

"I say if you take away the property of one man and give it to a
thousand, or if you take away the property of a million and give it to
nineteen millions, you do not create national wealth by transferring it
from the pockets of honest industry to other people's pockets. This is
my principle. It is immovable. The more commerce there is on the
Mississippi the more they are able and competent to pay the expenses of
transporting it, and I only ask that they shall do it."

Mr. Toombs sustained the veto of President Pierce of the Mississippi
River bill.

In July, 1856, he said that he had for eleven years maintained the
vetoes of Mr. Polk. "I have perceived that this mischief is widespread,
this corruption greater, this tendency to the destruction of the country
is more dangerous. The tendency to place the whole government under the
money power of the nation is greater and greater. The danger may be all
of my imagination; but whether that be so, or whether I see in a bolder
light the evil that will grow by letting this sluice from the public
treasury and making it run by the will of the majority, I deem it so
important that it may be worth an empire. We are called on, upon the
idea of everybody helping everybody's bill, to vote for them all. There
certainly can be no greater abandonment of public principle than is here

Senator Toombs, while a member of the Georgia Legislature, opposed the
omnibus bill, granting State aid to railroads, and one of the first
devices to fall under his criticism was a scheme to build a road to his
own town. He was by nature progressive. He championed the cause of the
State railroad of Georgia. In general terms he believed that the States
and the people should carry out works of internal improvement. It is
said that the first office ever held by Mr. Toombs was that of
commissioner of the town of Washington, Ga. The election hinged upon a
question of public improvement, the question being "ditch or no ditch";
Toombs was elected commissioner, and the ditch was dug.

He was nothing of a demagogue. He did not attempt to belittle the public
service. He championed the provision for higher pay for the United
States Judges, and for increasing the stipend of army officers, although
he denounced the system of double rations as vicious. He did not
hesitate to hit an unnecessary expense in every shape. All overflowing
pension grabs found in him a deadly enemy. In December, 1856, while
speaking on the subject of claims, he said: "In 1828, when half a
century had passed over the heads of the men who fought your battles,
when their generation was gone, when Tories and jobbers could not be
distinguished from the really meritorious, the agents came here and
attempted to intimidate public men." He alluded to pension agents as men
who prowl about and make fortunes by peddling in the pretended
patriotism and sufferings of their fathers.

"It is," said he, "a poor pretext for an honorable man to come and tell
the government, 'My ancestor fought for his own and the public liberty;
he did not choose to be a slave to a foreign despotism; but with
manliness, and honor, and patriotism, he fought during the war; now pay
me for this. I want to be paid in hard dollars for the honor, and
chivalry, and patriotism of my ancestor.' I tell you, Mr. President, it
is not good money; it is bad money; it is dishonorable to the memory of
those who fought your battles."

In February, 1857, the electoral vote for President was counted by the
two Houses of Congress. The vote of the State of Wisconsin (five
ballots) had been cast on a day other than that fixed by the States for
the meeting of the Electoral College. If counted, it gave Frémont 114
votes; if omitted, Frémont would have 109.

In the debate which followed, Senator Toombs discussed very closely a
point which has since been the subject of sharp contention. He said:
"The duty of counting the vote for President devolves on the Senate and
House of Representatives. They must act in their separate capacities;
but they alone can determine it, and not the President of the Senate and
the tellers of the two Houses. It is a high privilege, a dangerous one
to the liberties and Constitution of this country. The Senate and House
must determine the votes to be counted, and the President of the Senate
can only announce those to be votes which are thus decided by competent
authority, and any attempt of the presiding officer to declare what
votes he may deem to be legal, or to decide which are the votes, no
matter whether it affects the result or not, or even to say that the
question shall not be decided, however highly I respect the chair, I
submit is not a power given to the presiding officer by the Constitution
and the laws."

In 1850 Senator Toombs found it necessary to oppose an appropriation for
an experiment with the Atlantic cable. He was not prepared to say that
the experiment would not be successful, but he boldly declared, despite
the importance of the work and the high character of the men who were
supporting it, that there was no power in the Federal Constitution for
such an appropriation. Because the government establishes post roads, it
could not be inferred that the government had the power to aid in
transmitting intelligence to all quarters of the globe. He did not
believe in going beyond the constitutional guarantees. He declared of
these questions, as he had in the debate upon the Kansas bill, that in
hunting for power and authority he knew but one place to go--to the
Constitution. When he did not find it there, he could not find it

Senator Toombs favored the purchase of Cuba, because he considered it
advantageous to the republic. "I will accept Canada as readily, if it
can be honestly and fairly done," he said. "I will accept Central
America and such part of Mexico as, in my judgment, would be
advantageous to the republic."

The question of the slave population of Cuba should not come into this
discussion, he declared. "I will not trammel the great constitutional
power of the Executive to deal with foreign nations, with our internal
questions; and I will not manacle my country, I will not handcuff the
energies of this mighty republic, by tying up our foreign diplomacy with
our internal dissensions. At least to the rest of the world, let us
present ourselves as one people, one nation." He spurned the idea that
he wanted Cuba to strengthen the slave power in Congress. He said, "Some
may think we go for it because by this means we shall have one more
slave State in the Union. I know that the senator from New York (Mr.
Seward) at the last session alluded to the comparative number of
slaveholding and non-slaveholding States; but I never considered that my
rights lay there; I never considered that I held my rights of property
by the votes of senators. It is too feeble a tenure. If I did, I have
shown by my votes that I have not feared them. Whenever any State,
Minnesota or Oregon, or any other, came, no matter from where, if she
came on principles which were sufficient in my judgment to justify her
admission into this great family of nations, I never refused her the
right hand of fellowship. I did not inquire whether you had seventeen or
eighteen free States. If you had fifty, it would not alter my vote. The
idea of getting one slave State would have no effect on me. But Cuba has
fine ports, and with her acquisition, we can make first the Gulf of
Mexico, and then the Carribean Sea, a _mare clausum_. Probably younger
men than you or I will live to see the day when no flag shall float
there except by permission of the United States of America. That is my
policy. I rose more with a view to declare my policy for the future;
that development, that progress throughout the tropics was the true,
fixed, unalterable policy of the nation, no matter what may be the
consequences with reference to European powers."

Mr. Toombs believed that much bad legislation resulted from trusting too
much to committees. He rarely failed to question such reports, and never
voted unless he thoroughly understood the subject. He thought this whole
machinery was a means of "transferring the legislation of the country
from those into whose hands the Constitution had placed it to
irresponsible parties." He said it was a common newspaper idea that
Congress was wasting time in debating details. His opinion was that
nine-tenths of the time the best thing to be done in public legislation
was to do nothing. He thought Congress was breaking down the government
by its own weight in "pensioning all the vagrants brought here. All that
a man has to do is to make affidavit and get a pension."

In 1859 he refused to vote to appropriate $500,000 for the improvement
of Buffalo harbor, because he held he had no right to spend the money of
the whole Union for a particular locality; for this reason he voted to
abolish the mint at Dahlonega, in his own State.

Mr. Toombs opposed the policy of buying the outstanding debt at a
premium. He criticised Senator Simon Cameron for asking that the
government give employment to 50,000 laborers out of work. He said,
"Sir, government cannot do it and never did do it. There never was a
government in the world which did not ruin the people they attempted to
benefit by such a course. Governments do not regulate wages."

Senator Toombs contended that the Postal Department stood on a different
footing from the army and navy. Postal service, he thought, was no part
of the national duty. "It is of no more importance to the people of the
United States that this government should carry my letters than that it
should carry my cotton." He claimed that he had some old-fashioned
ideas, but they were innate. "I do not think it right, before God, for
me to make another man pay my expenses."

In discussing the financial report, he said, "You have as much time to
appropriate money intelligently as you have to give it lavishly. While
there is a general cry for retrenchment, when any practical movement is
made, the answer always is that this is not the right time or the right
place. I am afraid we shall never find the right time, or the right
place, until the popular revolution becomes strong enough to send here
men who will do the public business better than we have done it."



In the election of November, 1860, Mr. Lincoln received 1,857,610 votes,
and the combined opposition 2,787,780 votes, the successful candidate
being in a minority of nearly a million votes. The new House of
Representatives was Democratic, and the Senate had not been won over to
the antislavery party. But the trend of Northern politics was
unmistakably toward the extinction of slavery. As Mr. Lincoln said in
his letter to Mr. Stephens: "You think slavery is right and ought to be
extended, while we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted. There,
I suppose, is the rub." Mr. Buchanan's message to Congress was full of
conservative counsel, but the Northern pressure was too strong. His
Cabinet was soon dissolved, and the places of Southern men were taken by
Northern representatives, whose influence was not assuring to Southern

Just before his departure for Congress Mr. Toombs, in response to an
invitation, wrote a conservative letter to his constituents in Danburg,
Wilkes County, Ga. It bore date of December 13, 1860. The General
Assembly of Georgia had unanimously passed a resolution calling for a
State convention to meet on January 16, 1861. Mr. Toombs took the ground
that separation, sooner or later, was inevitable. The time when the
remedy was to be applied was the point of difference. He opposed delay
longer than March 4, but declared that he would certainly yield that
point "to earnest and honest men who are with me in principle but are
more hopeful of redress from the aggressors than I am. To go beyond
March 4, we should require such preliminary measures to be taken as
would, with reasonable certainty, lead to adequate redress, and in the
meantime, we should take care that the delay gives no advantage to the
adversary." Mr. Toombs declared that he believed the policy of Mr.
Lincoln was to ultimately abolish slavery in the States, by driving
slavery out of the Territories, by abrogating Fugitive-slave laws, and
by protecting those who stole slaves and incited insurrections. The only
way to remedy these evils, in the Union, was by such constitutional
amendments as can be neither resisted nor evaded. "If the Republican
party votes for the amendments, we may postpone final action. This will
be putting planks where they are good for something. A cartload of new
planks in the party platform will not redress one wrong nor protect one

As strong and unmistakable as this letter seemed, the great body of the
people of Georgia did not think it sufficiently aggressive. Secession
now amounted to a furor. It was not the work of leaders, but the spirit
which pervaded the ranks of the people, who clamored because events did
not move fast enough. The "minute-men" declared Mr. Toombs' letter was a
backdown. They called him a traitor, and wanted to vote him a tin sword.

Congress, upon reassembling, devoted itself to measures of compromise.
The situation was one of the deepest gravity. In the House a committee
of thirty-three was raised, and in the Senate a committee of thirteen,
to look into the situation. But there was no Henry Clay to interpose,
with tact and broad statesmanship, at the supreme moment.

Twice before in our history, the "Great Pacificator" had proven equal to
a desperate emergency. Adjusting the tariff in 1832 when South Carolina
threatened nullification, he had kept the peace between Calhoun and
Jackson. Proposing his omnibus bill in 1850, he had silenced all calls
for disunion by the territorial concession. Equally lacking was the
example of Webster to face the prejudices of the North and calm the
apprehensions of the South. Perhaps it was because these men had
postponed the conflict then that it reappeared now with irrepressible

The House Committee reported propositions to amend the Fugitive-slave
laws, and accepted Mr. Toombs' demand that a law should be enacted by
which all offenses against slave property, by persons fleeing to other
States, should be tried where the offense was committed.

Mr. Toombs was a member of the committee of thirteen in the Senate. The
five Southern members submitted the Crittenden Compromise, demanding six
amendments to the Constitution. These recognized slavery south of the
old Missouri line, prohibited interference by Congress with slavery in
the District of Columbia, or with transportation of slaves from one
State to another, and provided for the payment for fugitive slaves in
cases where the marshal was prevented from arresting said fugitive. The
sixth amendment guaranteed the permanence of these provisions.

The House adopted the report of the committee of thirty-three. In the
Senate a resolution was adopted declaring that the provisions of the
Constitution were already ample for the preservation of the Union; that
it needed to be obeyed rather than amended. This, upon a test vote of
twenty-five to twenty-three, was substituted for the Crittenden
Compromise. Mr. Toombs and five other Democratic members refused to
vote, as they appropriately declared that no measure could be of value
to the South, unless it had the support of Republican senators from the
North. They sat still and waited to see whether those senators offered
any guarantees. The twenty-five votes showed that the Republicans were
not in a conciliatory mood. This, in the opinion of Senator Toombs, was
conclusive that the best interests of the South lay in immediate

Once convinced that this was the proper course, Senator Toombs bent all
his powers to bring about that result. He saw that if the Southern
States must secede, the quicker they did so the better. If the North
cared to recall them, a vigorous policy would react more promptly upon
the Republicans. He did not go into this movement with foreboding or
half-heartedness. There was no mawkish sentiment--no melancholy in his
make-up. His convictions mastered him, and his energy moved him to
redoubled effort. On the 22d of December he sent his famous telegram to
his "fellow-citizens of Georgia." He recited that his resolutions had
been treated with derision and contempt by the Republican members of the
committee of thirteen. The amendments proposed by Mr. Crittenden had
"each and all of them been voted against unanimously by the Republican
members of the committee." These members had also declared that they had
no guarantees to offer. He believed that the House Committee only sought
to amuse the South with delusive hope, "until your election, in order
that you may defeat the friends of secession. If you are deceived by
them it shall not be my fault. I have put the test fairly and frankly.
It has been decided against you, and now I tell you upon the faith of a
true man, that all further looking to the North for security for your
constitutional rights in the Union, ought to be instantly abandoned. It
is fraught with nothing but menace to yourselves and your party.
Secession by the 4th of March next should be thundered forth from the
ballot-box by the united voice of Georgia. Such a voice will be your
best guaranty for liberty, security, tranquillity, and glory."



On the 7th of January, 1861, Robert Toombs delivered his farewell speech
to the United States Senate. It received profound attention. It was full
of brief sentences and bristling points. In epigrammatic power, it was
the strongest summary of the demands of the South. As Mr. Blaine said,
it was the only speech made by a congressman from the seceding States
which specified the grievances of the South and which named the
conditions upon which the States would stay in the Union. Other Senators
regarded secession as a fixed fact. Mr. Toombs declared what, in his
opinion, would prevent it. And yet, as he stood at his desk, where for
seven years he had been a recognized leader, his earnestness and
deliberation revealed a man whose hand did not hesitate to lead a revolt
and whose heart did not fail in the face of a certain revolution. He
acted up to his own words, repeated a short while later: "He who dallies
is a dastard; he who doubts is damned."

This speech was bold, succinct, definite. "Senators," said Mr. Toombs,
"my countrymen have demanded no new government. They have demanded no
new Constitution. The discontented States have demanded nothing but
clear, distinct, constitutional rights, rights older than the
Constitution. What do these rebels demand? First, that the people of the
United States shall have an equal right to emigrate and settle in the
Territories with whatever property (including slaves) they may possess.
Second, that property in slaves shall be entitled to the same protection
from the government as any other property (leaving the State the right
to prohibit, protect, or abolish slavery within its limits). Third, that
persons committing crimes against slave property in one State and flying
to another shall be given up. Fourth, that fugitive slaves shall be
surrendered. Fifth, that Congress shall pass laws for the punishment of
all persons who shall aid and abet invasion and insurrection in any
other State."

He said: "We demand these five propositions. Are they not right? Are
they not just? We will pause and consider them; but, mark me, we will
not let you decide the questions for us. I have little care to dispute
remedies with you unless you propose to redress our wrongs.

"But no matter what may be our grievances, the honorable senator from
Kentucky (Mr. Crittenden) says we cannot secede. Well, what can we do?
We cannot revolutionize. He will say that is treason. What can we do?
Submit? They say they are the strongest and they will hang us. Very
well! I suppose we are to be thankful for that boon. We will take that
risk. We will stand by the right; we will take the Constitution; we will
defend it with the sword, with the halter around our necks. Will that
satisfy the honorable senator from Kentucky? You cannot intimidate my
constituents by talking to them of treason.

"You will not regard confederate obligations; you will not regard
constitutional obligations; you will not regard your oaths. What, then,
am I to do? Am I a freeman? Is my State a free State? We are freemen; we
have rights; I have stated them. We have wrongs; I have recounted them.
I have demonstrated that the party now coming into power has declared us
outlaws, and is determined to exclude thousands of millions of our
property from the common territory; that it has declared us under the
ban of the Union, and out of the protection of the laws of the United
States everywhere. They have refused to protect us from invasion and
insurrection by the Federal power, and the Constitution denies to us, in
the Union, the right to raise fleets and armies for our own defense. All
these charges I have proven by the record; and I put them before the
civilized world and demand the judgment of to-day, of to-morrow, of
distant ages, and of Heaven itself upon the justice of these causes. I
am content, whatever it be, to peril all in so holy a cause. We have
appealed, time and again, for these constitutional rights. You have
refused them. We appeal again. Restore us those rights as we had them;
as your Court adjudges them to be; just as our people have said they
are. Redress these flagrant wrongs--seen of all men--and it will restore
fraternity, and unity, and peace to us all. Refuse them, and what then?
We shall then ask you, 'Let us depart in peace.' Refuse that, and you
present us war. We accept it, and, inscribing upon our banners the
glorious words, 'Liberty and Equality,' we will trust to the blood of
the brave and the God of battles for security and tranquillity."

This speech created wide attention. It closed the career of Robert
Toombs as a member of the national councils. For sixteen years he had
served in the two Houses in Washington, holding his rank among the first
men in the country.

He was then fifty-one years old, full of strength and confidence. His
leadership among Southern men was undisputed; his participation in
public business had been long and honorable; upon matters of home and
foreign policy his word had been law in the Senate; his influence had
been preponderating.




On the 16th of January, the State Sovereignty convention met in
Milledgeville, Ga. The election had taken place shortly after the
delivery of Senator Toombs' farewell address, and Georgia had answered
to his call in the election of delegates by giving a vote of 50,243 in
favor of secession, and 39,123 against it. The convention was presided
over by George W. Crawford, who had lived in retirement since the death
of President Taylor in 1850, and who was called on to lend his prestige
and influence in favor of the rights of his State. The convention went
into secret session, and when the doors were opened, Hon. Eugenius A.
Nisbet of Bibb offered a resolution, "That in the opinion of this
convention, it is the right and duty of Georgia to secede from the
Union." On the passage of this, the yeas were 165 and the noes 130. Mr.
Toombs voted "yes," and Messrs. Hill, Johnson, and Stephens, "no." Next
day the committee of seventeen, through Judge Nisbet, reported the
Ordinance of Secession. It was short and pointed; it simply declared
that the people of the State of Georgia, in convention assembled,
repealed the ordinance of 1788, whereby the Constitution of the United
States was ratified and adopted. The Union was declared dissolved, so
far as the State of Georgia was concerned, and the State to be in full
possession of all those rights of sovereignty that belonged to a free
and independent State. On the passage of this ordinance, the yeas were
208, and the noes, 89. Messrs. Toombs and Hill "yes," and Mr. Stephens
"no." At 2.15 P. M. on the 19th of January, a signal gun was fired, and
the "Stars and Stripes" lowered from the State Capitol. One moment
later, the white colonial flag of Georgia fluttered to the winds, and
the State was in uproar. The news flashed to the utmost corners of the
commonwealth. Guns were fired, bells rung, and men were beside
themselves. The night only intensified this carnival of joy. There were
some men who shook their heads and doubted the wisdom of this step, and
there were women and little children who regarded these demonstrations
with awe. They did not comprehend what was meant by "going out of the
Union," and by some inscrutable instinct feared the result of such an
act. The old Union sentiment was, perhaps, stronger in Georgia than in
any other Southern State. Georgia was the youngest of the thirteen
States, the last of the commonwealth to come into the national compact.
Her charter from the Crown had originally barred slavery from her
limits, but the success of the institution in Carolina, the progress of
other States in subduing land and in cultivating indigo and tobacco in
the Southern savannas, rendered white labor unavailable, and left
Georgia a laggard in the work of the younger colonies. Finally, slaves
were admitted, and commerce and agriculture seemed to thrive. But if the
State had preserved its original charter restrictions, it is not certain
that, even then, the Union sentiment would have prevailed. As Senator
Toombs had declared: "The question of slavery moves not the people of
Georgia one-half so much as the fact that you insult their rights as a
community. Abolitionists are right when they say that there are
thousands and tens of thousands of people in Georgia who do not own
slaves. A very large portion of the people of Georgia own none of them.
In the mountains there are but a few of them; but no part of our people
is more loyal to race and country than our bold and hardy mountain
population, and every flash of the electric wire brings me cheering news
from our mountain-tops and our valleys that these sons of Georgia are
excelled by none of their countrymen in loyalty to their rights, the
honor and glory of the commonwealth. They say, and well say, this is our
question: we want no negro equality; no negro citizenship; we want no
mongrel race to degrade our own, and, as one man, they would meet you
upon the border with the sword in one hand and the torch in the other.
They will tell you, 'When we choose to abolish this thing (slavery), it
must be done under our direction, according to our will. Our own, our
native land shall determine this question, and not the Abolitionists of
the North.' That is the spirit of our freemen."

The spirit of the people was plainly manifested by the zeal and ardor of
Thomas R. R. Cobb. He was a young man who went into the secession
movement with lofty enthusiasm. He had all the ardor and religious
fervor of a crusader. He had never held public office, and had taken no
hand in politics until the time came for Georgia to secede. He was the
younger brother of Howell Cobb. He declared that what Mr. Stephens said
was the determining sentiment of the hour, that "Georgia could make
better terms out of the Union than in it." The greater part of the
people was fired with this fervor, which they felt to be patriotic.
Gray-bearded men vied with the hot blood of youth, and a venerable
citizen of Augusta, illuminating his residence from dome to cellar,
blazoned with candles this device upon his gateway--"Georgia, right or
wrong--Georgia!" Never was a movement so general, so spontaneous. Those
who charged the leaders of that day with precipitating their States into
revolution upon a wild dream of power, did not know the spirit and the
temper of the people who composed that movement. Northern men who had
moved South and engaged in business, as a general thing, stood shoulder
to shoulder with their Southern brethren, and went out with the
companies that first responded to the call to war. The South sacrificed
much, in a material point of view, in going into civil conflict. In the
decade between 1850 and 1860, the wealth of the South had increased
three billions of dollars, and Georgia alone had shown a growth measured
by two hundred millions. Her aggregate wealth at the time she passed the
Ordinance of Secession was six hundred and seventy-two millions, double
what it is to-day. In one year her increase was sixty-two millions.
Business of all kinds was prospering. But her people did not count the
cost when they considered that their rights were invaded. Georgia was
the fifth State to secede. South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and
Florida had preceded her. Of the six States which formed the Provisional
Government, Georgia had relatively a smaller number of slaves than any,
and her State debt was only a little more than two and a half millions
of dollars. Her voting population was barely 100,000, but she furnished,
when the test came, 120,000 soldiers to the Confederate army.

As a contemporary print of those times remarked, "The Secession
convention of Georgia was not divided upon the subject of rights or
wrongs, but of remedies." Senator Toombs declared that the convention
had sovereign powers, "limited only by God and the right." This policy
opened the way to changing the great seal and adopting a new flag. Mr.
Toombs was made chairman of the committee on Foreign Relations and
became at once Prime Minister of the young Republic. He offered a
resolution providing that a congress of seceded States be called to meet
in Montgomery on the 4th of February. He admonished the convention that,
as it had destroyed one government, it was its pressing duty to build up
another. It was at his request that commissioners were appointed from
Georgia to the other States in the South. Mr. Toombs also introduced a
resolution, which was unanimously adopted, "That the Convention highly
approves the energetic and patriotic conduct of Governor Brown in
seizing Fort Pulaski."

The Ordinance of Secession was, on the 31st of January, signed by all
the members of the convention, in the open air, in the Capitol grounds.
The scene was solemn and impressive. Six delegates entered their
protests, but pledged "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred
honor" in defense of Georgia against coercion and invasion.

When the time came for the election of delegates to the Provisional
Congress at Montgomery, Robert Toombs was unanimously selected as the
first deputy from the State at large. His colleague, Howell Cobb, was
chosen on the third ballot. The district selected Francis S. Bartow,
Martin J. Crawford, E. A. Nisbet, B. H. Hill, A. R. Wright, Thomas R. R.
Cobb, A. H. Kennan, and A. H. Stephens.

The address to the people of Georgia adopted by this convention, was
written by Mr. Toombs. It recited that "our people are still attached to
the Union from habit, national tradition, and aversion to change." The
address alluded to our "Northern Confederates" and declared that the
issue had been "deliberately forced by the North and deliberately
accepted by the South. We refuse to submit to the verdict of the North,
and in vindication we offer the Constitution of our country. The people
of Georgia have always been willing to stand by this compact; but they
know the value of parchment rights in treacherous hands." The report
charged that the North had outlawed three thousand millions of our
property, put it under a ban, and would subject us, not only to a loss
of our property, but to destruction of our homes and firesides. It
concludes: "To avoid these evils, we withdraw the powers that our
fathers delegated to the government of the United States, and henceforth
seek new safeguards for our liberty, security, and tranquillity."

On the 4th of February, 1861, forty-two delegates met at Montgomery,
Ala. The States of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi,
and South Carolina were represented. Howell Cobb of Georgia was chosen
President of the Provisional Congress. Mr. Stephens said it was the most
intellectual body of men he had ever seen. One of the first duties of
this convention was to elect a President and vice president of the new
Confederacy. All eyes were turned to Robert Toombs. It was by common
consent agreed that Georgia, owing to her commanding position, her
prominence in the movement, and her wealth of great men, should furnish
the President. Toombs towered even above the members of that convention.
Bold, imperious, and brainy, he had guided the revolution without haste
or heat, and his conservative course in the Georgia convention had
silenced those critics who had called him "the genius of the
revolution," but denied to him the constructive power to build upon the
ruins he had made. He had, in the choice of delegates to the Provisional
Congress, boldly advocated the election of Mr. Stephens from his own
district, although the latter was a Union man and, at that time, was not
on good terms with Toombs. Toombs declared that Alexander Stephens was a
patriot notwithstanding his views against secession. He had secured the
recommitment of a dangerous resolution upon slavery which, he declared,
would injure the South by the announcement of an ultra policy. He had
written a very conservative letter to Senator Crittenden. He had been a
prominent Secessionist, and had contemplated the movement as unavoidable
when men were talking with bated breath. But in the opening of the
revolution, he had proven a safe counselor. Mr. Toombs was approached,
and announced that he would accept the presidency if it were offered
with unanimity. He was surprised to learn that the delegates from four
States had agreed on Jefferson Davis. When this report was confirmed,
Mr. Toombs, ignorant of the real cause of this sudden change of
sentiment, forbade further canvass of his own claims, and cordially
seconded the nomination of Mr. Davis. Mr. Toombs was a man of rare
magnanimity. He was absolutely without envy or resentment, and turning
to Mr. Stephens, pressed him to accept second place on the ticket. The
announcement of a Georgian for vice president effectually disposed of
his own chance for the presidency. The fact was that Mr. Toombs was the
first choice of Georgia, as he was thought to be of Florida, Carolina,
and Louisiana. Jefferson Davis had not been presented by Mississippi. He
had been selected by that State as the commander-in-chief of the
military forces and himself preferred a military station. He was not in
Montgomery when his nomination was confirmed. A messenger had to be
dispatched to inform him of his election as President of the Confederate
States of America.

The sudden selection of Mr. Davis by four States probably carries a bit
of secret history. Old party antagonisms arose at the last moment to
confront the candidacy of Mr. Toombs. Toombs had summarily left the Whig
party in 1850, to join the great Constitutional Union movement.
Jefferson Davis had always been a States' Rights Democrat, and had been
defeated for Governor of Mississippi by the Constitutional Union party.
Thus it would seem that, at the eleventh hour, party lines were drawn
against Robert Toombs, and his boast that he had saved the Union in 1850
probably cost him the presidency of the new republic. There was a story,
credited in some quarters, that Mr. Toombs' convivial conduct at a
dinner party in Montgomery estranged from him some of the more
conservative delegates, who did not realize that a man like Toombs had
versatile and reserved powers, and that Toombs at the banquet board was
another sort of a man from Toombs in a deliberative body.

At all events, the recognized leader of the Confederacy was set aside,
and with rare unanimity the election of officers was accepted with
unselfish patriotism.

At that time a curious and remarkable incident in the life of Mr. Toombs
was related. Within thirty days he had performed journeys to the extent
of fifteen hundred miles, largely by private conveyance, and during that
brief period he served under four distinct governments: as senator in
the Congress of the United States, as delegate from his native county
(Wilkes) to the convention of the sovereign republic of Georgia, as
deputy from his State to the Congress of seceding States, which
instituted a Provisional Government, and finally in the permanent
government which he aided in framing for the Confederate States of

In the perfection of a permanent government and the new-molding of a
Constitution, Mr. Toombs was now diligently engaged. The principal
changes brought about by him may be briefly recalled. It was specified,
in order to cut off lobby agents, that Congress should grant no extra
compensation to any contractor after the service was rendered. This item
originated with Mr. Toombs, who had noted the abuses in the Federal
Government. Congress was authorized to grant to the principal officer of
each of the executive departments a seat upon the floor of either house,
without a vote, but with the privilege of discussing any measure
relating to his department. This was an old idea of Mr. Toombs, and
during his visit abroad, he had attended sessions of the British
Parliament in company with Mr. Buchanan, then Minister to England. He
had been impressed with the value of the presence in Parliament of the
Ministers themselves. During a debate in the United States Senate in
1859, Mr. Toombs had said: "My own opinion is that it would be a great
improvement on our system if the Cabinet officers should be on the floor
of both Houses, and should participate in the debate; I have no doubt
that we should thus get rid of one of the greatest difficulties in our

Mr. Toombs also incorporated into the organic law a prohibition of the
payment of bounties and of the internal improvement system. There was a
tax upon navigation for harbors, buoys, and beacons, but this was
adjusted upon the Toombs principle of taxing the interest for which the
burden was levied. Mr. Toombs was made chairman of the Finance Committee
of the Provisional Congress. This appointment was received with general
satisfaction. His long legislative experience, his genius for finance,
and his executive power, fitted him for this position. To provide ways
and means for the new nation which was, as yet, without resources or a
system of taxation, involved no little difficulty. It was important that
the young Confederacy should exhibit resources sufficient to equip her
armies and maintain herself before she could sue for independence or
foreign recognition. It was for these admitted qualities of Mr. Toombs
for details and management, that President Davis preferred him to take
the position of Secretary of the Treasury. Next to the presidency this
was his real place, but it was suggested that a man like Toombs deserved
the first position in the new Cabinet. A telegram from President Davis,
offering him the portfolio of Secretary of State, reached Mr. Toombs in
Augusta. He at first declined, but being urged by Mr. Stephens, finally
consented to serve. The Cabinet was then made up as follows. Robert
Toombs of Georgia, Secretary of State; C. G. Memminger of South
Carolina, Secretary of the Treasury; L. P. Walker of Alabama, Secretary
of War; J. H. Reagan of Texas, Postmaster-General; J. P. Benjamin of
Louisiana, Attorney-General; S. B. Mallory of Florida, Secretary of the



One of the first acts of the new Confederate Government was to send
three commissioners to Washington. John Forsyth of Alabama, Martin J.
Crawford of Georgia, and A. B. Roman of Louisiana, were intrusted by the
Secretary of State, Mr. Toombs, with a speedy adjustment of questions
growing out of the political revolution, upon such terms of amity and
good will as would guarantee the future welfare of the two sections. Mr.
Toombs instructed Mr. Crawford, whom he had especially persuaded to take
this delicate mission, that he should pertinaciously demand the
evacuation of Fort Sumter and the maintenance of the status elsewhere.

Secretary Seward declined to receive the commissioners in any diplomatic
capacity, or even to see them personally. He acknowledged the receipt of
their communication and caused the commissioners to be notified,
pointedly, that he hoped they would not press him to reply at that time.
Mr. Seward was represented as strongly disposed in favor of peace, and
the Confederate Government was semi-officially informed that Fort
Sumter would probably be evacuated in a short time, and all immediate
danger of conflict avoided. There is no doubt that such were Mr.
Seward's intentions. He had cordially agreed with General Winfield Scott
that the possession of Fort Sumter amounted to little in a strategical
way, and that the peace-loving people, North and South, should not be
driven into the war party by premature shock over the provisioning of a
fort that no Federal force could have held for a week. Mr. Lincoln's
Cabinet took this position and, by a vote of five to two, favored the
abandonment of Sumter. The commissioners were apprised of this feeling,
and in a dispatch to Secretary Toombs, on the 20th of March, declared
that there was no change in the status. "If there is any faith in man,"
they wrote, "we may rely on the assurances we have as to the status.
Time is essential to the principal issue of this mission. In the present
posture of affairs, precipitation is war."

On the 26th of March the commissioners, having heard nothing more, asked
the Confederate Secretary whether they should delay longer or demand an
answer at once. Secretary Toombs wired them to wait a reasonable time
and then ask for instructions. He gave them the views of President
Davis, who believed that the counsels of Mr. Seward would prevail in
Washington. "So long as the United States neither declares war nor
establishes peace, it affords the Confederate States the advantage of
both positions, and enables them to make all necessary arrangements for
public defense and the solidification of government more safely,
cheaply, and expeditiously than if the attitude of the United States was
more definite and decided."

Meanwhile new pressure was brought to bear on President Lincoln. On the
2d of April, the commissioners, who kept up pretty well with the
situation, telegraphed Secretary Toombs: "The war party presses on the
President; he vibrates to that side." The rumor was given that the
President had conferred with an engineer in regard to Fort Sumter.
"Watch at all points." Three days later they telegraphed that the
movement of troops and the preparation of vessels of war were continued
with great activity. "The statement that the armament is intended for
San Domingo," they said, "may be a mere ruse." "Have no confidence in
this administration. We say, be ever on your guard.... Glad to hear you
are ready. The notice promised us may come at the last moment, if the
fleet be intended for our waters."

On the 6th of April Governor Pickens of South Carolina was informed that
the President had decided to supply Fort Sumter with provisions, and on
the 10th, Hon. Levi P. Walker, Secretary of War at Montgomery, notified
General Beauregard, then in command of the Confederate forces at
Charleston, to demand the evacuation of Fort Sumter, and, if refused, to
proceed to reduce it.

There is no doubt that the Lincoln Cabinet reversed its position about
Sumter. The pressure of New England and the West became too strong. What
Sumter lacked in military importance, it made up in political
significance. The Lincoln Government had already been taunted with
weakness by the people who had placed it in office. Mr. Lincoln decided,
against the better judgment of Mr. Seward, to make the issue in
Charleston Harbor.

Seward's mind was of finer and more reflective cast than Mr. Lincoln's.
He had all the points of a diplomatist, ingenuity, subtlety, adroitness.
He was temporizing over the natural antipathy of the North to war and
the probable transient nature of the secession feeling in the South. At
that very moment he was assuring England and France that "the
conservative element in the South, which was kept under the surface by
the violent pressure of secession, will emerge with irresistible force."
He believed "that the evils and hardships produced by secession would
become intolerably grievous to the Southern States."

Mr. Lincoln was not temporizing at all. He was looking the crisis in the
face. What he wanted was support at the North, not at the South. He was
willing to force the fighting at Sumter, knowing that the mere act of
the Confederates in firing upon the flag would bring to his aid a united

Secretary Toombs was one man in the Montgomery Cabinet who was not
deceived by Seward's sophistries. He knew the temper of Mr. Lincoln
better than Mr. Seward did. He appreciated the feeling at the North, and
gave his counsel in the Davis Cabinet against the immediate assault upon
Sumter. There was a secret session of the Cabinet in Montgomery. Toombs
was pacing the floor during the discussion over Sumter, his hands behind
him, and his face wearing that heavy, dreamy look when in repose. Facing
about, he turned upon the President and opposed the attack. "Mr.
President," he said, "at this time, it is suicide, murder, and will lose
us every friend at the North. You will wantonly strike a hornet's nest
which extends from mountains to ocean, and legions, now quiet, will
swarm out and sting us to death. It is unnecessary; it puts us in the
wrong; it is fatal." He clung to the idea expressed in his dispatches to
the commissioners, that "So long as the United States neither declares
war nor establishes peace, the Confederate States have the advantage of
both conditions." But just as President Lincoln overruled Secretary
Seward, so President Davis overruled Secretary Toombs.

No event in American history was more portentous than the first gun
fired from Fort Johnson at 1.30 o'clock in the morning of April 12,
1861. As the shell wound its graceful curve into the air and fell into
the water at the base of Sumter, the Civil War was an accomplished fact.
Major Anderson replied with his barbette guns from the fort. He had but
little more than 100 men, and early in the engagement was forced to rely
entirely upon his casemate ordinance. The Confederate forces numbered
about five thousand, with thirty guns and seventeen mortars, and served
their guns from the batteries on Mount Pleasant, Cummings Point, and the
floating battery. Fort Sumter was built on an artificial island at the
mouth of Charleston Harbor, and was about three and a half miles from
the city. It had cost the government one million dollars, and had not
been entirely completed at the time of the bombardment.

The excitement in Charleston at the opening gun was very great. People
rushed from their beds to the water-front, and men and women watched the
great duel through their glasses. The South had gone into the war with
all the fervor of conviction. The gunners in Moultrie and on Morris
Island would leap to the ramparts and watch the effect of their shots,
and jump back to their guns with a cheer. There was all the pomp and
sound, but few of the terrors of war. On the morning of the second day
the quarters in the fort caught fire and the whole place was wrapped in
flames and smoke, but Major Anderson's men won the admiration of their
enemies by standing by their guns and returning the fire at regular
intervals. The battle lasted thirty-two hours; more than fifty tons of
cannon-balls and eight tons of powder were expended from weapons the
most destructive then known to warfare; not a life was lost on either
side. Sumter and Moultrie were both badly damaged. Major Anderson
surrendered on Saturday, April 13.

The London _Times_ treated this remarkable event in humorous style. The
proceedings at Charleston were likened to a cricket match or a regatta
in England. The ladies turned out to view the contest. A good shot from
Fort Sumter was as much applauded as a good shot from Fort Moultrie.
When the American flag was shot away, General Beauregard sent Major
Anderson another to fight under. When the fort was found to be on fire,
the polite enemy, who had with such intense energy labored to excite the
conflagration, offered equally energetic assistance to put it out. The
only indignation felt throughout the affair was at the conduct of the
Northern flotilla, which kept outside and took no part in the fray. The
Southerners resented this as an act of treachery toward their favorite
enemy, Major Anderson. "Altogether," says the _Times_, "nothing can be
more free from the furious hatreds, which are distinctive of civil
warfare, than this bloodless conflict has been." Another London paper
remarked "No one was hurt. And so ended the first, and, we trust, the
last engagement of the American Civil War."

Mr. Toombs' prediction, that the attack upon Fort Sumter would "open a
hornet's nest" in the North, was sustained. The effect of the assault at
that time and the lowering of the national flag to the forces of the
Confederacy acted, as Mr. Blaine has stated, "as an inspiration,
consolidating public sentiment, dissipating all differences." In fact it
brought matters to a crisis all around, and prepared the two sections
for the great drama of the War.

An important part of the work of Secretary Toombs was the selection of a
commission to proceed to Europe and present the Confederate position to
England and France, in order to secure recognition of the new nation.
Mr. William L. Yancey was placed at the head of this commission, and
with him were associated Mr. A. D. Mason of Virginia, and Mr. A. P. Rost
of Louisiana. The first month of the term of the Confederate Secretary
of State was occupied in the issue of letters of marque. On the 19th of
April President Lincoln proclaimed a blockade of Southern ports, and
declared that privateers with letters of marque from the Southern
Confederacy should be treated as pirates. This gave Secretary Toombs a
strong point in dealing with foreign powers. The new government had been
organized with promptness and ability. Great energy was shown in getting
the civil and military branches equipped. The Southern position had been
presented with great strength abroad, and France and England were not
slow in framing proclamations recognizing the Confederate States as
belligerents. Next to immediate recognition as a separate nationality,
this step was significant, and was the first triumph of the diplomacy of
Secretary Toombs over Secretary Seward. Then came the demand from the
foreign powers that the blockade must be effectual, imposing a heavy
burden upon the Northern States. Lord Lyons, acting in Washington in
concert with the French Government, declared that "Her Majesty's
Government would consider a decree closing the ports of the South,
actually in possession of the Confederate States, as null and void, and
they would not submit to measures on the high seas pursuant to such a
decree." Mr Seward bitterly complained that Great Britain "did not
sympathize with this government." The British Minister accordingly
charged the British Consul at Charleston with the task of obtaining from
the Confederate Government securities concerning the proper treatment
of neutrals. He asked the accession of the Lincoln government and of the
Davis government to the Declaration of Paris of 1856, which had adopted
as articles of maritime law that privateering be abolished; that the
neutral flag covers enemy's goods, with the exception of contraband of
war; that neutral goods, with the exception of contraband of war, are
not liable to capture under the enemy's flag; that a blockade, in order
to be binding, must be effectual, that is, must be maintained by a force
sufficient to prevent access to the coast of the enemy. These
conditions, except the first, were accepted by the Confederate

The Southern Confederacy thus became parties, as Mr. Blaine says, to "an
international compact"; and when, a few months later, Mr. Seward offered
to waive the point made by Secretary Marcy many years before, and accept
the four articles of the Paris convention, he found himself blocked,
because the Confederate States had not accepted the first article,
abolishing privateering, and her privateers must, therefore, be
recognized. It was by these privateers that great damage was inflicted
upon American shipping.

The Confederate States had no regular navy, and but few vessels; they
were an agricultural community, not a commercial or a ship-building
people. Quite a number of vessels were put in commission under letters
of marque, and these reached the high seas by running the blockade. Many
prizes were taken and run into Southern ports. Later on steamers were
fitted out and sent to sea under command of experienced officers. This
naval militia captured millions of the enemy's property, and produced a
great sensation at the North. A Southern agent was sent abroad by the
naval department to get ships and supplies. "In three years' time," says
Mr. Blaine, "fifteen millions of property had been destroyed by Southern
privateers, given to the flames, or sunk beneath the waters. The
shipping of the United States was reduced one-half, and the commercial
flag of the Union fluttered with terror in every wind that blew, from
the whale fisheries of the Arctic to the Southern Cross."

On the 21st of May, the Confederate Congress, after providing for the
disposition of these naval prizes, and the treatment of prisoners of war
brought into Southern ports, adjourned to meet on the 20th of July in
the City of Richmond, now selected as the permanent seat of Government
of the Confederacy.

The powers of Europe never recognized the Confederate States as a
separate nation. The leaders of the English Government were, no doubt,
inclined to this step, but the rank and file of the Liberal party, under
the leadership of John Bright, refused to sanction such a course toward
a government whose corner stone was slavery. Mr. Seward ingeniously
pressed the point that Southern success meant a slave oligarchy around
the Gulf of Mexico. Russia remained the strong ally of the Northern
States. England, with the Crimean War fresh upon her hands, hesitated
before engaging Russia again or imperiling India in the East. France
could not afford to take the step without the aid of England. Secretary
Toombs dispatched a Minister to Mexico to look into the interesting
tumult then going on. Louis Napoleon was filled with his desire of
establishing Maximilian in Mexico, but his movement did not succeed.
Maximilian was defeated and executed, and Napoleon found himself too
much engaged with the House of Hohenzollern in Germany to follow any new
or original policy in America.

Carlyle declared with dyspeptic acrimony that the Civil War was the
foulest chimney of the century, and should be allowed to burn out.

Secretary Toombs had issued credentials to commissioners to the
unseceded Southern States. On the 17th of April Virginia seceded; on the
28th of May North Carolina went out of the Union; these were followed by
Tennessee and Arkansas. The border States of Kentucky and Missouri did
not formally secede, but indignantly declined to furnish troops in
response to Mr. Lincoln's proclamation. They appointed delegates to a
Peace Congress to meet in Washington.

The tedious routine of the State Department did not suit the restless
spirit of Robert Toombs. He had established relations abroad as
belligerents, and had placed the new government in touch with its
Southern neighbors. His dispatches were remarkable for brevity,
clearness, and boldness; his public papers are models of nervous style,
but he longed for a more active field in the revolution. He chafed under
red-tape and convention. Toombs charged the new administration with too
much caution and timidity. He declared that ninety per cent of war was
business, and that the South must organize victory rather than trust
entirety to fighting. He urged the government to send over cotton to
England and buy arms and ships forthwith. "Joe Brown," he impatiently
declared, "had more guns than the whole Confederacy. No new government,"
said he, "ever started with such unlimited credit." Mr. Toombs believed
that the financial part of the Confederacy was a failure. "We could have
whipped the fight," said he, in his impetuous way, "in the first sixty
days. The contest was haphazard from the first, and nothing but
miraculous valor kept it going." Mr. Toombs said that had he been
President of the Confederacy, he would have mortgaged every pound of
cotton to France and England at a price that would have remunerated the
planters, and in consideration of which he would have secured the aid of
the armies and navies of both countries.

But Robert Toombs concluded that his place was in the field, not in the
Cabinet. Too many prominent men, he explained, were seeking bombproof
positions. He received a commission as brigadier general, and on the
21st of July, 1861, joined Generals Beauregard and Johnston at Manassas.



When Robert Toombs resigned the Cabinet and took the field, he still
held the seat, as was his prerogative, in the Confederate Congress. This
body, like the British Parliament, sat in chairs, without desks. One
morning Congress was discussing the Produce Loan. By this measure,
invitations were given for contributions of cotton and other crops in
the way of a loan. By the terms of the act these articles were to be
sold and the proceeds turned over to the Secretary of the Treasury, who
was to issue eight per cent bonds for them. This was an extraordinary
measure, and never really amounted to much. Colonel A. R. Lamar, at one
time Secretary of the Provisional Congress, relates that during this
debate General Toombs walked into the hall. "He was faultlessly attired
in a black suit with a military cloak thrown over one shoulder and a
military hat in his left hand. He made a rattling speech against the
measure. Drawing himself up, he said: "Mr. Speaker, we have been told
that Cotton is King, that he will find his way to the vaults of the
bankers of the Old World; that he can march up to the thrones of mighty
potentates, and drag from the arsenals of armed nations the dogs of war;
that he can open our closed ports, and fly our young flag upon all the
seas. And yet, before the first autumnal frost has blighted a leaf upon
his coronet, he comes to this hall a trembling mendicant, and says,
'Give me drink, Titinius, or I perish.'" The effect was magical; Colonel
Lamar, in commenting upon this dramatic incident, sums up the whole
character of Robert Toombs:

"He was cautious and safe in counsel, while wild and exasperating in

When Mr. Toombs was once asked by an Englishman, where were the files of
the State Department, he answered that "He carried the archives in his
hat." When he resigned the position of Secretary of State, Hon. Robert
M. T. Hunter of Virginia was appointed in his stead. General William M.
Browne had been Assistant Secretary under Mr. Toombs. He was an
Englishman, who came to this country during Buchanan's administration
and edited a Democratic paper in Washington. When General Toombs joined
the Army his staff was made up as follows; D. M. DuBose, Adjutant
General; R. J. Moses, Commissary General; W. F. Alexander, Quartermaster
Major; DeRosset Lamar, Aid-de-camp.

General Toombs' entry into the field, just after the first battle of
Manassas, found the army of the Confederacy flushed with victory, but
badly scattered after the first serious engagement of the war. General
Johnston had declared that even after the decisive advantage at Bull
Run, pursuit was not to be thought of, for his troops were almost as
much disorganized by victory as the Federals by their defeat. Many
soldiers, supposing the war was over, had actually gone home. "Our men,"
said General Johnston, "had in a larger degree the instincts of personal
liberty than those of the North, and it was found very difficult to
subordinate their personal wills to the needs of military discipline."

The battle of Manassas had a powerful effect upon the Northern mind. The
Lincoln Cabinet was seized with fear for the safety of Washington. New
troops were summoned to that city, and the materials for a magnificent
army were placed in the hands of General McClellan, who had succeeded
McDowell, the luckless victim of Manassas. More than one hundred
thousand men were now massed in front of Washington, while Joseph E.
Johnston, with fifty-four thousand, advanced his outposts to
Centreville, and at Munson's Hill Toombs' brigade was in sight of the
national capital. His troops could easily watch the workmen building one
of the wings of the Capitol, and the victorious Confederates, with
prestige in their ranks, were actually flaunting their flag in the face
of Mr. Lincoln. This movement, we are told by good generals, was of no
military value, but it kept the Northern administration in a white heat.
It confused the Union commanders by crossing their counsels with popular
clamor and political pressure, and it crippled McClellan when he finally
moved down the Chesapeake to the peninsula, by detaining a large part of
his force to pacify the authorities in Washington.

When McClellan and Mr. Lincoln were disputing over their change of base,
the military situation was suddenly shifted by the evacuation of
Manassas by the Confederate army, and its retirement first behind the
Rappahannock, then along the Rapidan. Johnston, it seems, wanted to be
nearer his base, and on the 8th of March skillfully managed his
withdrawal, so that the enemy had no idea of his movements. General
Toombs' brigade started in retreat from Centreville. He did not relish
this movement. He writes home from Culpepper:

      This has been a sad and destructive business. We were
      ordered to send off all our heavy baggage, but so badly did
      they manage that none of it was sent back, and every
      particle of that baggage, blankets, and every imaginable
      useful article, was burned up to prevent its falling into
      the hands of the enemy. My brigade must have lost half a
      million of property and all the rest were in the same
      condition. Millions of stores with guns and ammunition were
      destroyed. Never was any business worse managed. The enemy
      had no more idea of attacking us in Centreville than they
      had of attacking the Peaks of Otter. Of course, when we
      retreated, they sent marauding parties in our trail to
      watch our retreat and take possession of the country, and
      now the whole of the beautiful Counties of Loudon,
      Fauquier, Prince William, Fairfax, and the Lord only knows
      how many more, are in the possession of the enemy. It was a
      sad, distressing sight, all the way along, and one that
      frequently drew tears from my eyes. I do not know what it
      means, but I would rather have fought ten battles than thus
      to have abandoned these poor people. We have got to fight
      somewhere, and if I had my way, I would fight them on the
      first inch of our soil they invaded, and never cease to
      fight them as long as I could rally men to defend their
      homes. The great body of the army is now in the
      neighborhood, and I suppose we shall abandon these people
      and retreat back toward Richmond.... My command is in
      excellent condition. A few broke down on the way, but I
      managed to have them taken care of there and lost none of
      them on the march.

One of the great features of General Toombs' control of his brigade was
the excellent care he took of his men. He never allowed them to be
imposed upon by the officers or by other commands.

This letter betrays the impatience of General Toombs over any
mismanagement. He was the soul of business, and as the transportation
facilities at Manassas were meager, he chafed under the heavy loss to
which his brigade was subjected in this retreat. With impetuous ardor he
calls for resistance, not retreat. He did not approve of the "Fabian
policy" of Joseph E. Johnston. As General Longstreet afterward remarked,
"Toombs chafed at the delays of the commanders in their preparations for
battle. His general idea was that the troops went out to fight, and he
thought that they should be allowed to go at it at once." Near Orange
Court House, he wrote to his wife on the 19th of March, 1862, "I know
not what is to become of this country. Davis' incompetency is more
apparent as our danger increases. Our only hope is Providence."

In January, 1862, the General Assembly of Georgia elected Robert Toombs
a member of the Confederate States Senate. Benjamin H. Hill was to be
his colleague. But General Toombs had a different conception of his
duty. He realized that he had been prominent in shaping the events that
had led to the Civil War, and he did not shirk the sharpest
responsibility. He felt that his duty was in the field. He had condemned
the rush for civil offices and what he called "bombproof positions," and
he wished at least to lead the way to active duty by remaining with his

Two months later an effort was made by some of his friends to have him
appointed Secretary of War. This would have brought him in close contact
with the army, which he was anxious to serve. The parties behind this
movement believed that the great abilities of Mr. Toombs should not be
hidden behind the command of a brigade. He would have made an ideal war
minister. His genius for details and his ability to manage affairs and
plan campaigns would have overmatched Edwin M. Stanton. But Mr. Toombs
promptly cut off this movement in his behalf.

On 22d March, 1862, he wrote to his wife from Orange Court House, Va.:

      I thought I had been very explicit on that point. I would
      not be Mr. Davis' chief clerk. His Secretary of War can
      never be anything else. I told my friends in Richmond to
      spare me the necessity of declining if they found it in
      contemplation. I have not heard that they had any occasion
      to interfere.... So far as I am concerned, Mr. Davis will
      never give me a chance for personal distinction. He thinks
      I pant for it, poor fool. I want nothing but the defeat of
      the public enemy and to retire with you for the balance of
      my life in peace and quiet in any decent corner of a free
      country. It may be his injustice will drive me from the
      army, but I shall not quit it until after a great victory,
      in which I shall have the opportunity of doing something
      for the country. The day after such an event I shall
      retire, if I live through it. I have grievances enough now
      to quit, but I shall bide my time. I get along very well
      with the army. I have not seen Johnston but once; he was
      polite and clever. George W. Smith I see every day. He is a
      first-rate gentleman and a good officer. I hear from
      Stephens constantly, but from nobody else in Richmond....
      You say you pray for me daily. I need it. Put it in your
      prayers that if it be the will of God that I shall fall, a
      sacrifice in this great conflict, that I may meet it as
      becomes a gentleman.

An instance of General Toombs' impatience under red-tape rules may be
recalled. A member of his brigade was taken ill, and he secured for him
entrance into the hospital of Richmond. The hospital was crowded;
regulations were stringent, and under some technical ruling his sick
soldier was shipped back to his brigade. Toombs was fired with
indignation. He proceeded to sift the affair to the bottom, and was told
that General Johnston had fixed the rules. This did not deter him.
Riding up to the commander's tent and securing admission, he proceeded
to upbraid the general as only Toombs could do. When he returned to his
headquarters he narrated the circumstance to Dr. Henry H. Steiner, his
brigade surgeon and lifelong friend. Dr. Steiner, who had been a surgeon
in the regular army, and had served in the Mexican war, was a better
tactical officer than Toombs. He was himself fearless and upright, but
full of tact and discretion. "General," said Dr. Steiner, "you have been
too rash; you will be arrested." Toombs replied that he thought so, too.
He held himself in anticipation for two or three days, but he was not
disturbed. When he was finally summoned to General Johnston's tent, it
was to consult over a plan of movement, and it was noticed that Toombs
was the only brigadier in counsel. General Johnston subsequently
remarked that Toombs was the biggest brained man in the Confederacy. The
boldness and clearness of the impetuous Georgian had captured the grim
hero of Manassas, who forgave the affront in the face of the
overmastering mind of the man.

General McClellan reached Fortress Monroe, April 2, 1862, and commenced
his march up the peninsula. The country is low and flat, and the season
was unusually wet and dismal. The objective point was Richmond,
seventy-five miles away, and the first obstruction met by the Federal
army was at Yorktown. The defense adopted by General Magruder was a
series of dams extending along the Warwick River, which stretched across
the peninsula from the York to the James River, a distance of thirteen
miles. The fords along the Warwick had been destroyed by dams defended
by redoubts, and the invader and defender were stationed in dense
swamps. At dam No. 1 Toombs' troops were often under fire. They fought
with spirit. Each detachment was on duty defending the dam forty-eight
hours, and between long exposure in the trenches, the frequent alarms,
and sharp sorties, the service was very exhausting. It was only possible
to change troops at night. On the 16th of April Toombs writes:

      One of my regiments, the 17th Georgia, had a skirmish day
      before yesterday. They acted splendidly, charging the
      Yankees, and driving them from the rifle-pits, killing,
      wounding, and taking prisoners over one hundred of the
      enemy. I lost but two killed and a few wounded.

At the siege of Yorktown in the early part of May, 1862, General Toombs
commanded a division consisting of his own and Semmes' brigades. He had
2357 men in his own and 2342 in Semmes' brigade, making about 4700
troops in line. During this siege General Magruder reports that General
Toombs supported Cobb's brigade, and promptly and energetically led the
remainder of his command under fire, arriving just before the enemy
ceased their attack, and in time to share its danger. General Magruder
had only 11,000 men under him in the peninsula, and General Huger but
8000, to oppose McClellan's march with 80,000. Johnston and Lee both
pronounced the peninsula untenable, and on the 4th of May Yorktown was

After the retreat from the peninsula, General Johnston concentrated his
entire army behind the Chickahominy River, sixteen miles from Richmond.
On the 12th of May General Toombs writes home that his command near the
Chickahominy was "resting easily after a disagreeable march from
Yorktown. I hear that there is great consternation in Richmond.... The
loss of New Orleans gives us a terrible blow, and, followed by Norfolk,
makes it necessary for us to strike a decisive blow somewhere." On 19th
of May, 1862, he writes home from the camp near Richmond:

      We seem to have come up here to defend this city. You ask
      me my opinion of the present state of the country. It is
      bad enough. The utter incompetency of Mr. Davis and his
      West Point generals have brought us to the verge of ruin.
      If McClellan is unwise enough to fight us here, we shall
      whip and drive him out of Virginia.... As to Richmond, it
      will never be taken while this army is here.

General Toombs' estimate of the army and of the futility of an attack
from McClellan was justified when, after the 26th of June, the Army of
the Potomac, almost in sight of the spires of Richmond, was forced to
reel back, in the deadly clinch of a seven days' combat, to the James
River. The Confederate army changed its position from one of retreat to
a brilliant and aggressive policy, and the subtle tactics of Johnston
gave way to the bold strokes of Lee. The South was thrilled with

General Toombs frequently referred to the incompetency of Mr. Davis. The
letters which have just been quoted were written to his wife, and were
not made public then, but he did not hesitate to express his opinion
openly. Jefferson Davis and Mr. Toombs had some differences while the
former was Secretary of War under Franklin Pierce and Mr. Toombs was in
the Senate. Mr. Toombs believed that President Davis was too partial to
West Point, at which school Mr. Davis had been trained, and that in his
management of the army he showed the tenacity of a martinet rather than
the breadth of a statesman.

In February, 1859, the Army Appropriation bill had come up before the
United States Senate. Mr. Toombs attacked, and Mr. Davis defended the
whole system. Mr. Toombs contended that the compensation of army
officers was too great. It was more than the same talent could command
in any other walk of life. It was upon a wrong basis. "You take a boy of
sixteen and send him to West Point, and when he comes out you give him
$1400 a year. In the course of a few years you carry him up to $3000,
$6000, or $8000. Take the general employment of the youths of the
country who are educated at the different colleges for all civil
purposes. You may have the highest amount of genius and intellect, and
you get nothing like such average there. It will take them many years to
make that much money." Mr. Toombs declared that a brigadier general's
commission was higher than that of a United States Senator. "I think,"
said he, "it requires as great qualifications to govern this country as
it does to be a brigadier general." Officers had increased far beyond
the wants of the country. Members of Congress appoint cadets for the
different districts; "they are generally associated in some way, as
brothers, sons, or cousins, with the governing power." He thought a
salary of $600 or $900 for the West Point graduates enough. According
to the way army commissions were valued in England, the commission of a
lieutenant who graduated at West Point could not be worth less than
$50,000. The pay of a captain was higher than that of a judge. That
position required the highest ability and integrity, and the average
salary of a judge was but $2000, without traveling expenses. Mr. Toombs
contended that West Point men seldom reflected any opinions but those of
the government which employed them. They seldom sympathized with the
people, and he wanted a government of the people. "You take a boy to
West Point," he said, "give him quarters, and fuel, and clothes, and
maintain him, and you say he has rendered service. When the citizens of
this country send their sons to college they pay their expenses or work
their way through; but when a boy is carried to West Point he is taken
care of; a house is provided for him; clothes are provided for him;
instructors are provided for him, and that is called being in service. I
lay down the proposition that the true theory of wages, if you employ
these people to keep the peace, is exactly the same--a constable's
pay--you ought to pay them what they can be had for."

Mr. Davis held that army officers were constantly tempted to resign by
offers of higher pay. It was the training of these men in the service,
not for the service, it was their attachment for the country which made
them so valuable. It was better to instruct men for officers' places and
then appoint them, than to appoint them and then instruct them. He
thought appointments were free from partisan selection. A soldier's
devotion was as broad as the continent. A West Point cadet is a warrant
officer; he goes there to serve the government as it may direct. It
directs him to stay there until he has sufficient elementary instruction
to properly discharge the duties of an officer.

The debate showed the views of the two men, and indicated the
differences which, from points of public policy, soon deepened into
personal dislike. On the 30th of May, Toombs wrote from the army, "Davis
is polite and formal; so am I."

In the latter part of 1862 it was evident that the two armies must meet
and contend for the mastery in Virginia. The day before the seven days'
fighting commenced, Dr. Steiner said to General Toombs, his intimate
friend: "General, I have a favor to ask of you. Keep your mind unclouded
during these important operations." Dr. Steiner knew that during the
heat and excitement of battle, temptation was great among soldiers to
take ardent spirits, a practice that had grown somewhat upon General
Toombs during his service in the field, and which at times deprived him
of his best powers. "Why, doctor, I gladly promise," said the great
Georgian. Nor did he, during the week, take a glass of any sort of

General Toombs' brigade was the First Brigade, First Division, Army of
Northern Virginia, and during the campaign of the peninsula, was in
Magruder's division. On June 15, 1862, Toombs occupied the most exposed
position, which was held for nine days. Magruder recommended relief for
his troops, which had been suffering from lack of rest and care. Just
before the seven days' fight Toombs' brigade was placed in D. R. Jones'
division and Magruder commanded his own, Jones', and McLaw's divisions,
holding about 13,000 men. Toombs' brigade was composed of the 1st, 15th,
17th, and 20th Georgia regiments.

On the 26th of June Toombs' brigade was posted upon the east of
Garnett's House, on Golding's farm, just in front of the enemy. Both
sides threw up breastworks so near that neither could advance its picket
line. "Just before dark," says Dr. Steiner, "Mr. Toombs received orders
to charge the enemy, firing having been heard on the left. The position
was a dangerous one. A charge at that time of the evening was perilous.
Just in front lay a deep gulch--Labor-in-Vain Ravine--which was alive
with the enemy, and the charge must be through an unprotected field of
wheat and clover. General Toombs was astonished at the order. His first
instructions had been to put himself near Garnett House, to hold his
position and to take advantage of any retreat of the enemy. He doubted
the authenticity of the order, and sent word that he would not obey
unless in writing. Pretty soon written instructions were returned and
General Toombs prepared for what he believed to be a forlorn hope. He
advanced seven companies of the 2d Georgia Regiment, 750 men, under
Colonel B. M. Butt, toward the enemy in the face of a heavy front and
flank fire. Colonel Williams' regiment crossed the field at double-quick
under a galling fire from the opposite side of the ravine. Unshaken by
fearful odds, they held their ground and replied with spirit. The 15th
Georgia Regiment, under Colonel McIntosh then entered the fight, and
this gallant officer was mortally wounded. The 17th Georgia charged on
the left and the 20th on the right. The engagement was a very bloody
one. Over 200 of Toombs' men were lost and several valuable officers
were killed. The opposing troops were a part of General Hancock's
command, and the firing ceased only with the night. Next morning the
enemy retreated, and Toombs' men pressed forward and held their
position. General Toombs was censured for this engagement, for which, it
seems, he was in no wise responsible.

On the 1st of July, about three o'clock in the afternoon, commenced one
of the famous battles of the war. McClellan's army had gotten away from
its perilous position astride the Chickahominy, and now found itself
united and strongly intrenched on the heights of Malvern Hill. All hope
of destroying that army was gone, and it was evident that an engagement
must ensue, with the odds in favor of the Union army. It was in many
respects like the battle of Gettysburg, except that the Confederate
forces were not handled with the precision and effectiveness of the
historic sorties against Cemetery Heights. The battlefield was in plain
range of the enemy's gunboats, and there was much surprise that General
Lee should have sanctioned an engagement at that point. General D. H.
Hill misunderstood the signal for attack at Malvern Hill, and late in
the afternoon ordered the charge. Toombs' brigade had been marching and
countermarching all day, and went into action much thinned from the
effects of the sharp fighting at Labor-in-Vain Ravine. There was no
concerted attack. The charge seems to have been made by brigades, even
single regiments being thrown forward. They advanced through a swamp,
and the difficulties of the charge, owing to a murderous fire which
raked the plain from the hills, 600 yards away, cannot be exaggerated.
Toombs' brigade was one of the first to reach the plateau swept by
fifty guns. It advanced with Anderson's brigade, but obliqued to the
left about half-way up the hill, and took position near a fence, where
the troops, suffering fearfully from the cool, deadly aim of the Federal
gunners, were ordered to lie down and secure some shelter from the
cannon-shot. It was at this time that General D. H. Hill rode up to
General Toombs and ordered his brigade forward. Some sharp words ensued
between these officers, and the men moved forward handsomely to the brow
of the hill. At this time, however, the steady stream of fugitives
pressing back from the charge, broke the alignment of the brigade and
separated the regiments. Colonel Butt's regiment went forward with
Kershaw's brigade. The whole Confederate charge was soon checked and the
troops fell back in disorder. Their loss was fully 5000 men, and the
loss in Toombs' brigade was 219 men, making his losses in the two
engagements over one-third of his entire number. Malvern Hill was a
blunder which was never repeated, but it was a disastrous one for the
Georgia troops.

The subjoined correspondence will be understood in the light of the
meeting of General D. H. Hill and General Toombs near Malvern Hill
during the progress of the charge of the Confederate forces.

      In the Field, July 6, 1862.


      _Sir_: Military movements since Tuesday last have prevented
      an earlier reply to your conversation with me on the
      battlefield that evening. I understood you to say, among
      other things, that "Your (my) brigade would not fight";
      that you "always knew it would not fight"; that it
      "pretended to want to fight, but would not"; "Where were
      you when I was riding in front on my horse trying to rally
      your brigade?" I desire first to know whether I am correct
      in my understanding of your language, and if not, wherein I
      am mistaken.

      And secondly, to request of you such explanation of that
      language as you may choose to give.

                                      I am sir,
                                        Your obedient servant,
                                          ROBERT TOOMBS.

      July 6, 1862.

      _General_: Your note has just been received. My remarks
      were personal to yourself and not to your brigade. I did
      not in the slightest degree reflect on your men. What I
      said was in substance this: "You have been wanting to
      fight, and now that you have one, you have got out of it."
      There were witnesses to our conversation, and if my remarks
      were severer, I will let you know.

      It may be well to suggest to you that, as the commanding
      officer on the field, I have an official report to make
      which will not be modified by your note.

      It is notorious that you have a thousand times expressed
      your disgust that the commanding general did not permit you
      to fight. It is equally notorious that you retired from
      the field. These are the two facts of which I reminded you
      on Tuesday. I made no comment upon them, and if the simple
      truth has been offensive, the interpretation of it has been
      your own.

                                      Yours truly,
                                        D. H. HILL,
      BRIGADIER GENERAL TOOMBS.             Major General.

      July 6, 1862.


      _Sir_: Your note of this date has just been received. It is
      scarcely necessary for me to say it is not satisfactory. It
      would be inappropriate to comment upon it properly in this
      note, and for that reason alone I waive it for the present.

      As to your remark that you were the commanding officer on
      the field on the 1st inst., I never before heard of it, nor
      do I now think so, but, however that fact may be, I am at a
      loss to know for what reason you state it unless it was to
      menace and intimidate me in the pursuit of proper
      satisfaction for the unprovoked insult you have cast upon
      me. If that was your object, this note will satisfy you
      that you have failed in your object. I now demand of you
      personal satisfaction for the insult you cast upon my
      command and myself on the battlefield on the 1st inst., and
      for the repetition and aggravation thereof in your note of
      this day. I refer you to my friend Colonel Benning for all
      necessary arrangements.

                                      Your obedient servant,
                                        ROBERT TOOMBS.

      July 12, 1862.

      _General_: Your note of the 6th was received yesterday. I
      must again enter my protest against your second declaration
      that I reflected upon your brigade in the battle of
      Malvern Hill. Witnesses to our interview affirm that my
      remarks were entirely personal to yourself.

      In regard to your demand for satisfaction, I construe it to
      mean either that I must apologize to you for the language
      used by me on the battlefield, or that I must grant you a
      hostile meeting. If the first interpretation be correct, I
      will state that I will make full, public, and ample
      concessions when satisfied that I did you injustice; and
      this I would do without any demand. I certainly thought
      that you had taken the field too late, and that you left it
      too early. You may, however, have done your whole duty, and
      held your ground as long as it was possible for a brave and
      skillful officer to hold it. If the facts prove this to be
      so, no one will be more gratified than myself, and my
      acknowledgment of error will be cordial and complete.

      But if your demand means a challenge, its acceptance, when
      we have a country to defend and enemies to fight, would be
      highly improper and contrary to the dictates of plain duty,
      without reference to higher grounds of action. I will not
      make myself a party to a course of conduct forbidden alike
      by the plainest principles of duty, and the laws which we
      have mutually sworn to serve.

                                      Yours truly,
                                        D. H. HILL, Major General.

Just what General Toombs replied to this is not known. The letter has
not been preserved in this correspondence. It evidently declared that
the explanation was not satisfactory. Major R. J. Moses, Jr., a member
of General Toombs' staff, submitted in writing the following report of
his recollection of General Hill's words to General Toombs at Malvern

      Where is your brigade, sir? I told you that I wanted a
      fighting brigade, and your brigade will not fight. I knew
      it would not, and you are the man who pretends to have been
      spoiling for a fight. For shame! Rally your troops! Where
      were you when I was riding up and down your line rallying
      your troops?

Major Moses adds:

      As aid-de-camp of General Robert Toombs, I remained with
      him until some time after this conversation. Previous to
      this conversation General Toombs had been about fifteen
      yards to the rear of the center of his line and his troops
      were unbroken. There were many men coming by us, but I saw
      not over ten from General Toombs' brigade. The order was
      given "Forward, left oblique," and General Toombs moved to
      the left of his line. When General Hill met him and
      commenced this attack on the character of himself and his
      brigade without the slightest provocation, General Toombs
      had not only been rallying the troops, but continued to use
      his best endeavors to rally them till late at night. I was
      with General Toombs the whole time from the commencement of
      the action until half or three-quarters of an hour after
      the conversation.

The following is the concluding letter of the correspondence:

      July 15, 1862.

      _General_: I regret that my last note, which was intended
      to be conciliatory, has been misunderstood or
      misappreciated. I take it for granted that you know enough
      of my previous history to be aware that a hostile meeting,
      under any circumstances, would be abhorrent to my
      principles and character. At this time it would be in the
      highest degree improper. I have offered you the only
      redress which I could make even after a meeting, viz., an
      acknowledgment of error when convinced of that error. As no
      good can result from a continued correspondence, it will
      close on my part with this communication.

                                      Yours truly,
                                        D. H. HILL, Major General.

General Hill was a good man and a brave soldier. His devotion to the
Confederate cause was undoubted, but his zeal sometimes made him harsh,
and more than once he placed himself in the position of reflecting upon
the conduct of others. On one occasion at the battle of Chickamauga,
where General Hill was in command of the extreme right of the
Confederate line, on the second day of the battle information was
brought to him of the sudden and unexpected advance of a strong Federal
force against his line. It proved to be the division of the Federal
General Gordon Granger. General Hill and General W. H. T. Walker, who
commanded two divisions under General Hill, proceeded at once to the
threatened point, to ascertain the situation of affairs, accompanied by
some members of their staff. Arrived at a point where this new arrival
of Federal forces could be seen, General Walker deferred to General Hill
and asked him, "What do you wish me to do?"

"What do I want you to do?" said Hill with severity, and even with
something like a snarl, "I want you to fight."

General Walker flushed up in a moment. He was not a man to deserve any
reflection upon his courage or to bear it when offered. No man in the
old army had a higher and more deserved reputation for dashing courage.
He had been desperately wounded in Florida, and again wounded, supposed
to be mortally, in leading the assault on Chapultepec in the Mexican
War, and had, on many occasions, given undoubted evidence of his valor
and fidelity. He answered hotly, "Of course I will fight; you know that,
General Hill, well enough; but, by God! sir, there are two ways of
fighting, one to whip and the other to get whipped."

The point was a good one. Major Joseph B. Cumming, chief of General
Walker's staff, who related this incident, says it had the desired

When Longstreet marched against Pope he stationed General Toombs'
brigade to guard one of the fords of the Rapidan. Toombs was absent at
the time and when he rode up ordered them back to camp. General
Longstreet heard of Toombs making stump speeches and "referring in
anything but complimentary terms of his commander." He sent General
Toombs to Gordonsville. Afterward he received an apology from Toombs and
directed him to join his command. ["]As we were preparing for the
charge at Manassas (second battle), Toombs got there, riding rapidly
with his hat in his hand, and was much enthused. I was just sending a
courier to his command with a dispatch. 'Let me take it,' he exclaimed.
'With pleasure,' I responded, and handed him the paper. He put spurs to
his horse and dashed off, accompanied by his courier. When he rode up
and took command of his brigade there was wild enthusiasm, and,
everything being ready, an exultant shout was sent up, and the men
sprang to the charge. I never had any more trouble with Toombs. We were
afterward warm personal friends."

On the 30th of August, 1862, Hon. A. H. Stephens wrote to Mrs. Toombs
that General Toombs was still at Gordonsville. He said:

      How long he will remain, I do not know. I thought at first
      that it would only be for a day or two, or until General
      Longstreet could receive and reply to two notes he had
      written, explaining to my mind very fully and
      satisfactorily his acts and conduct, which, it seems to me,
      General Longstreet had misunderstood. Such is still my
      opinion, and yet I may be mistaken. I do not know much of
      General Longstreet. I only know that General Toombs, who
      does know him, always expressed very high admiration of him
      as an officer.

At the second battle of Manassas, August 29, 1862, Toombs' brigade in
Jones' division held the rear of Longstreet's corps. Early in the
morning the brigade took up the march in the direction of the old
battlefield of Manassas, where heavy firing was heard. Arriving at noon
it was stationed on the extreme right, or upon the Manassas Gap
railroad. The brigades formed in echelon. General Longstreet in his
published report commended especially General Toombs for gallant conduct
at Manassas Plain.

General D. R. Jones, in his report of Manassas, says:

      General Toombs, released from arrest, under which he had
      been since the 18th of August, came upon the field shortly
      after his brigade went in under fire and accompanied it in

Captain H. L. French, of the 17th Georgia Regiment, says: "Soon after
our engagement, to our great satisfaction, we unexpectedly met our
gallant commander, Brigadier General Robert Toombs, who, anticipating
the fight, had ridden hard all day. He was greeted with hearty cheers,
and said, 'Boys, I am proud of the report given of you by General Jones.
I could not be with you to-day, but this was owing to no fault of mine.
To-morrow I lead you.'"

One report of this engagement declares that as Toombs dashed into the
fire and joined his men, he waved his hat and shouted, "Go it, boys! I
am with you again. Jeff Davis can make a general, but it takes God
Almighty to make a soldier!"

The expulsion of Pope only accelerated the momentum of the Army of
Northern Virginia. From the front of Richmond, the theater of operations
was transferred at once to the front of Washington, and the Union army
was again on the defensive. General Lee, freed from the necessity of
guarding the Confederate capital, resolved to invade Maryland. He
reasoned that the prestige of the invasion would advance the cause of
the young nation abroad; that it would relieve Virginia from incursions
during the winter, and that the presence of the army in Maryland would
raise the standard of revolt and cause the liberation of that State from
the Union cause. Lee's army, however, was not equal to such an
expedition. It was not well clothed or armed, and barely numbered
40,000, while McClellan had 80,000.

Toombs' brigade accompanied Longstreet's corps in its counter-march from
Hagarstown to Hill's support. On the 14th of September these were
withdrawn to the valley of the Antietam. The creek of Antietam runs
obliquely to the source of the Potomac, and empties into that river six
miles above Harper's Ferry. The Confederate lines were, on the 15th,
drawn up in front of Sharpsburg, Longstreet being on the right of the
road from Sharpsburg.

In this place the creek is crossed by four stone bridges, and three of
these were strongly guarded by the Confederates. Burnside's army corps
was stationed on the Sharpsburg Turnpike, directly in front of bridge
No. 3. The preliminary deploy occupied the 16th of September, an
artillery duel enlivening the time before the battle. Burnside lay
behind the heights on the east bank of the Antietam and opposite the
Confederate right, which, Swinton says, it was designed he should
assail, after forcing the passage of the Antietam by the lower stone
bridge. The part assigned to General Burnside was of the highest
importance, for a successful attack by him upon the Confederate right,
would, by carrying the Sharpsburg Crest, force Lee from his line of
retreat by way of Shepherdstown. Swinton says this task should have been
an easy one, for the Confederate forces at this point had been drawn
upon to recruit the left where Hooker had made his furious assaults.

There was left in the right wing of the Confederate army but a single
division of 2500 men under General D. R. Jones, and the force actually
present to dispute the passage of the stone bridge did not exceed 400.
These troops were under the direction of General Robert Toombs, and this
engagement made his reputation as a fighter and was one of the most
brilliant and memorable of the Civil War. It was one o'clock before
Burnside charged. General Lee, in his report of the battle, said:

      In the afternoon the enemy advanced on our right, where
      General Jones' division was posted, who handsomely
      maintained his position. General Toombs' brigade, guarding
      the bridge on Antietam Creek, gallantly resisted the
      approach of the enemy, but his superior number enabling him
      to extend his left, he crossed below the bridge and assumed
      a threatening attitude on our right, which fell back in
      confusion. By this time, between 3 and 4 o'clock P.M., A.
      P. Hill, with five of his brigades, reached the scene of
      action and drove the enemy from the position they had
      taken. The bridge was defended with two regiments of
      Toombs' brigade (2d and 20th) and the batteries of General
      Jones. General Toombs' small command repulsed five
      different assaults made by greatly superior forces, and
      maintained its position with distinguished gallantry....
      Toombs charged the flank of the enemy, while Archer moved
      upon the front of the Federal line. The enemy made a brief
      resistance and then ran in confusion.

Such commendation from the commander-in-chief of the Confederate army
speaks for itself.

Speaking of the last charge, when the Federals were driven back over the
creek in the counter-attack, General Jones says:

      General Toombs, whom I had sent for, arriving from the
      right with a portion of his brigade (11th Georgia
      Regiment) was ordered to charge the enemy. This he did
      most gallantly, supported by Archer's brigade, delivering
      fire at less than fifty yards, dashing at the enemy with
      the bayonet, forcing him from the crest and following him
      down the hill.

General Garnett's report credits Toombs with having "reënforced the
right just after it had been driven back, and restored the fortunes of
the day in that quarter."

From the report of General Toombs it appeared that when he first moved
into Maryland he was assigned to command a division composed of Toombs',
Drayton's, and Anderson's brigades, and took possession of Hagerstown.
On September 14 he was ordered to Sharpsburg, two of his regiments
having been sent to Williamsport to protect the wagon trains. With two
small regiments left, General Toombs took position near the bridge over
the Antietam on the road to Harper's Ferry. He took possession of the
ground with the 20th Georgia Regiment, commanded by Colonel Jonathan B.
Cumming, and the 2d Georgia Regiment, commanded by Colonel Holmes. The
creek was comparatively straight by this bridge. He formed his regiments
along the creek in more open order than was desirable on account of the
smallness of his number. Subsequently the 50th Georgia, with scarcely
100 men, was placed under his command. Colonel Eubanks' battery was by
order of General Longstreet placed in his rear. The enemy opened on his
position on Tuesday evening, the 16th of September. On Wednesday
morning, his pickets were driven in and the enemy menaced his position.
The ground descended gently to the creek covered with a narrow strip of
woods, affording slight protection. The enemy approached by the road
parallel with his line of battle, he says, exposing his flank to a
destructive fire. Between 9 A. M. and 1 P. M. the Federals made five
attempts to carry the bridge, and were repulsed by the 2d and 20th
Georgia regiments. Failing to wrest the bridge from its heroic
defenders, the enemy turned his attention to the fords. "Not being able
to get reënforcements, and seeing that the enemy would cross and attack
my front, right flank, and rear, Colonel Holmes having been killed,
Major Harris wounded, both regiments having suffered heavily, ammunition
nearly exhausted, and the battery withdrawn, I withdrew my command to a
position, designated by Longstreet, opposite the lower fords. This
change of position was made very satisfactorily and without serious
loss. The 15th and 17th Georgia regiments and part of the 11th,
previously detached, now came up and occupied the new position. The 20th
and 2d went to the ammunition train to replenish their cartridge boxes.
The enemy moved through the bridge and ford with extreme caution, and
lost nearly two hours in crossing, about which time A. P. Hill's
division came from Harper's Ferry. I was ordered by Longstreet to put my
command in motion to meet the enemy. I found them in possession of the
ground I was ordered to occupy, including the bridge road and the
suburbs of Sharpsburg. With less than one-fifth the numbers of the enemy
and within 100 paces of his lines I determined to give battle. I had
instantly to determine either to retreat or to fight. A retreat would
have left the town of Sharpsburg and General Longstreet's rear open to
the enemy. The enemy advanced in good order to within sixty or eighty
paces, when the effectiveness of the fire threw his column into
considerable confusion, perceiving which I instantly ordered a charge,
which was brilliantly executed by my whole line. The enemy fled in
confusion toward the river, making two or three efforts to rally, which
were soon defeated. The enemy brought over the bridge a battery. I
ordered Richardson's battery to open upon it, and at the same time the
15th and 20th Georgia charged upon it and compelled it to rejoin the
flying infantry. I desired to pursue the enemy across the river, but,
being deficient in artillery, I sent to General Lee for a battery, which
came up too late. I then determined to move my troops to my first
position along the river, but received the order to occupy the heights
on the opposite side of the road leading to the bridge from Sharpsburg,
and there the troops bivouacked for the night."

The gallant conduct of Toombs' brigade at Sharpsburg was the theme on
both sides. The country rang with its exploits and the fiery Georgia
brigadier became the toast of the army. Burnside's heavy losses
abundantly proved the stoutness of the resistance and the deadliness of
the charges of the Georgia troops.

The next evening, on the edge of Sharpsburg, General Toombs and his aids
crossed a little branch on his way to the headquarters of Colonel
Benning. General Toombs rode his famous mare "Gray Alice," so well known
to his command. He was not very far over when a troop of cavalry rode
up. He challenged them, and they answered "We are friends." Captain
Troup of his staff, however, detected the ruse and fired into them. The
squad returned the fire. General Toombs was shot through the hand with
which he was holding the reins. The gray mare at once became
unmanageable and ran back across the branch. As soon as he could control
the mare, General Toombs rode back to Colonel Benning and, reporting his
wound, turned his brigade over to Colonel Benning. When it became known
that General Toombs was wounded his men were deeply pained. Always
solicitous for their welfare, his soldiers were devotedly attached to
him. He took care of his brigade even to the extremity of violating army
discipline. He exacted the utmost consideration for his men, and the
officer who periled their safety, or disputed their efficiency, was
quickly called to account. Whether against Johnston, Longstreet, or
Hill, the First Brigade, First Division, was sure of a fearless champion
in the person of its commander.

The battle of Sharpsburg was a very bloody one. The losses on the
Federal side were nearly 12,500, while the Confederates lost 8000. Lee
withdrew into Virginia, and McClellan was too much demoralized to
follow. Longstreet, in summing up the Manassas and Maryland campaign,
declared that in one month the troops had marched over two hundred miles
upon little more than half rations and fought nine battles and
skirmishes. They had "killed, wounded, and captured nearly as many men
as we had in our ranks, besides taking arms and other munitions of war
in large quantities." General Longstreet compliments Brigadier General
Toombs for his "gallant defense at the bridge of Antietam and his
vigorous charge upon the enemy's flank; he was severely wounded at the
close of the engagement."

General Toombs returned to his home after Sharpsburg, and remained
several months. He rejoined his command near Fredericksburg, but in
March, 1863, wrote a touching farewell to his brigade and resigned his
commission in the army of Northern Virginia. It seemed to him that he
did not have justice done him at Richmond. He aspired, with the ambition
of a soldier, to be promoted in his country's service. His conduct at
Sharpsburg, where he wrung admiration from his superior officers,
appeared to call for recognition from the President, but he did not
receive his major-generalship, and, although more than once in the
actual command of a division, did not secure that title. It is true that
he would have liked the promotion; but he did not expect it. He had
written to his wife that he would not be driven from the army until
after some great battle, when he should have the opportunity of doing
something for his country. "The day after such an event, I will retire
if I live through it." The battle had occurred, his record was written
upon the stone bridge of Antietam, and his work was at an end.

Postmaster-General Reagan was one of those who recognized the merits of
General Toombs. Twice did he approach President Davis with the request
that General Toombs be promoted to the command of a division. That
official replied promptly that he did not oppose it himself, but that he
could not do it without the recommendation of the army officers, and
that recommendation had not been given. Possibly the field officers
believed the suggestion would have been ungracious to Mr. Davis.
General Toombs had not hesitated to criticise the policy and
appointments of the Richmond administration. That practice had strained
his relations with the Confederate Government, but Toombs was a man who
"would not flatter Neptune for his trident."

General Toombs was not a trained soldier, but he had some fine points of
a great commander. He was the soul of energy and common sense. He was
bold, dashing, magnetic. He had the quality of infusing his spirit into
his men. His quick mind seized the points of a campaign, and his
intellect was broad and overmastering. It is related of him that one day
in Virginia he hurried to the rear for a conference with Jefferson
Davis, to which the President had summoned him, upon some point of civil
administration. This business over, he dashed back to the front, where
he had an engagement with General Lee over a plan of attack. General
Longstreet said Toombs had the kindling eye and rare genius of a
soldier, but lacked the discipline of a military man. This was the
serious flaw in his character. He had what General Johnston declared was
the great drawback about the Southern soldier, "a large endowment of the
instinct of personal liberty," and it was difficult to subordinate his
will to the needs of military discipline. He had been accustomed to
priority, and in whatever company, under whatever conditions he found
himself, his had been the part to lead and to rule. As Colonel Thomas W.
Thomas had said of him, "Toombs has always been the big frog in the
pond." Men conceded to him this prestige. Under the cast-iron rule of
the army he found himself subordinated to men intellectually beneath
him, but trained and skilled in the art of war. He was swift to detect
error, and impatient in combating blunder. The rule of mediocrity, the
red tape of the service, the restraints of the corps, the tactics of the
field galled his imperious spirit. He commanded his brigade as he had
represented his State in the Senate--as a sovereign and independent
body, and like the heroic Helvetian had blazoned on his crest, "No one
shall cross me with impunity."

Robert Toombs made a mistake in sinking himself in the routine of a
brigade commander. He should have taken the War Department, or, like
Pitt, have pushed the war from the floor of the Senate. Swinton says
that Abraham Lincoln brought the habits of a politician to military
affairs, in which their intrusion can only result in confusion of just
relations. There is ineradicable antagonism between the maxims which
govern politics and those which govern war.

During General Toombs' absence in the field, he opposed the Conscript
Acts of the Confederate administration. He believed them arbitrary and
unjust. He considered that this was a tendency toward centralization
which the Confederate Government was fighting; that it placed too much
power in the hands of one man; that it was deadly to States' Rights and
personal liberty, and that it would impair the efficiency of the army by
lowering its patriotism. The champion of this anti-administration policy
in Georgia was Linton Stephens, the brother of the vice president.
Toombs in the field, the elder Stephens in Congress, and Linton Stephens
in the Georgia Legislature, fought the Conscription and Impressment
Acts. Hon. Joseph E. Brown, the war Governor of Georgia, was also a
vigorous opponent of this policy. This influence gave rise, in the early
part of 1864, to the Peace Resolutions of Linton Stephens, who sustained
Governor Brown in his policy, to inaugurate State action for "the
preservation of rights and the attainment of peace." Linton Stephens, in
a strong letter to General Toombs at that time, called attention to the
fact that since the war began neither side had made any effort to stop
the effusion of blood. He believed that the professional soldiers and
West Point generals would never permit the cessation of hostilities.
Such men, he thought, would not, in human nature, desire peace. "How can
it be explained," he wrote, "that both governments have fought on during
these long years of blood and tears and desolation, without either one
offering terms of peace, and with both running a swift race of rivalry
in usurping the most despotic power under the ever-recurring and false
plea of necessities of war? Have both governments formed designs that
cannot be accomplished in peace, and which seek opportunity and shelter
in the confusion and panic of war?"

Mr. Linton Stephens was a leading lawyer and legislator in Georgia. He
was a man of great ability. He had started the practice of law in the
office of Robert Toombs, and had been a political follower and close
friend of the great Georgian. He had served upon the bench of the
Supreme Court of his State, and at the close of the war his political
influence was probably greater than that of any man at home. He was
fearless, inflexible, high-toned, and full of power. He did not hesitate
to condemn the legislation asked for by Mr. Davis, and joined Mr. Toombs
in opposing the appointment of General Bragg as supervisor of all
military operations. Mr. Stephens believed that the next step after the
Impressment Act would be the organization of all labor into a military
system under government control.

The result of the policy of Mr. Davis justified the protest of the
Georgians, but there is nothing to warrant the belief that Mr. Davis was
moving toward military despotism or that he relished the continuance of
strife. He saw that the South was in for the war. Desperate situations
required desperate remedies. He grasped the government with a strong
hand, and lacked neither nerve nor patriotism. The principles of this
policy were unsound, but the motives of Jefferson Davis were pure. Nor
was there reason to sustain the wholesale denunciation of West Point.
That school of soldiers was the backbone of the army, and the fact that
so many Southern men gave up commissions in the United States army and
came South when their States seceded, overthrew the idea that they were
tools of the general government and had lost identity or sympathy with
people at home. But General Toombs was bold and impatient in his

Equally opposed was he to the policy adopted in Georgia of recommending
the planting of all grain and no cotton. From Richmond he wrote in
March, 1864, directions to his brother Gabriel Toombs, who managed his
plantations in Washington:

      I do not care to change my crops. I wish to raise an
      abundant provision crop and then as much cotton as I
      can.... Brown's and Chambers' policy is all foolishness....
      As to what I shall choose to plant on my own estates, I
      shall neither refer it to newspapers, nor to public
      meetings, nor to legislatures. I know what sort of people
      compose these classes. Let them take up arms and come with
      me to drive the intruders away from our soil, and then we
      will settle what sort of seed we will put into it.



General Toombs' next appearance in the field was as adjutant and
inspector-general of General G. W. Smith's division of Georgia militia.
He was present during the battles before Atlanta, the engagement at
Peachtree Creek, and the siege of the city. General J. E. Johnston had
just been relieved from command of the Confederate forces, and General
J. B. Hood placed in charge. General Toombs wrote from Atlanta:

      The tone of the army has greatly improved. We are now
      receiving reënforcements from the West. Davis, having
      kicked Johnston out, now feels obliged to sustain Hood, so
      the country is likely to get good out of evil. General Hood
      is displaying great energy and using his best exertions for
      success. I think very well of him. He is a most excellent
      man, and undoubtedly of great military talent. Whether
      equal or not to this great struggle, time must prove.

      The militia are coming up finely. Twelve hundred of them
      arrived here this evening, armed and tolerably well
      equipped. Poor fellows! They are green and raw,
      undisciplined and badly officered. It keeps us at work day
      and night to bring order out of this confused mass, and we
      have but a poor chance. They march right into the
      trenches, and are immediately under the enemy's fire all
      day. We shall trust to a kind Providence alone to preserve
      them from a great disaster, and make them useful to the
      army and the country. The pressure is so great that we are
      compelled to put them to the work of veterans without an
      hour's preparation. I am doing my utmost to get them in the
      best possible position. Georgians are all coming up well
      except the cities.

Speaking of men who try to shirk duty, Mr. Toombs wrote, "Poor
creatures! What do they want to live for?"

General Toombs had the task of organizing the recruits and getting them
ready for the field. He writes to his wife: "Since I began this letter,
the Yankees have begun an attack on a part of our line and I was obliged
to ride with General Hood to look after our defenses." General Toombs
alludes to General E. C. Walthall of Mississippi, as "a splendid officer
and a gentleman." He says: "The enemy are evidently intending to starve
us rather than to fight us out. I have, at the request of General Hood,
not less than twenty letters to write on that very subject. Sherman
shells the town furiously every day. Not much damage yet."

It has been customary to speak in light terms of the Georgia militia,
who, late in the day, took the field to man the defenses when Sherman
was marching to the sea. They were frequently made up of old men and
boys who had been exempt from the regular service, and these were
hurried into action with poor equipment and scant preparation. General
Toombs, in a letter written to his wife, July 25, 1864, says:

      The militia have behaved with great gallantry. This is
      sincerely true. They have far exceeded my expectations, and
      in the fight on Thursday equaled any troops in the line of
      battle. If they will stand and fight like men, our homes
      will be saved. God give them the spirit of men, and all
      will be well!

In another place he writes:

      We have a mixed crowd, a large number of earnest, brave,
      true men; then all the shirks and skulks in Georgia trying
      to get from under bullets.

General Toombs commended and endorsed the policy of Governor Brown
during his six years' administration of the office from 1857 to 1863.
These two men were warm friends and political allies. When Governor
Brown's third term was drawing to a close, he preferred the selection of
General Toombs as his successor. But Toombs declined to make the race.
His game now was war, not politics. He preferred the field to the
Cabinet. He writes with considerable feeling this letter to his wife:

      Whatever fate may befall me, I feel that this is my place,
      in the field and with the militia, with the men who own the
      country and who are struggling to preserve it for their
      children. I am truly thankful to God for the health he has
      given me to enable me to perform my part of this work.

He called all the sons of Georgia to come, even to "die together rather
than let the Yankee overrun and conquer Georgia." He concludes a letter
of appeal:

                                Better be
    Where the unconquered Spartans still are free,
    In their proud charnel of Thermopylæ.

General Toombs' last military service, after the fall of Atlanta, was on
the 20th of December, 1864, when as adjutant and inspector-general he
served in General G. W. Smith's division, Georgia militia, at the siege
of Savannah. General Dick Taylor, in his "Destruction and
Reconstruction," gives a very graphic description of General Toombs'
energy. The Georgia militia had left Macon for Savannah, and to avoid
capture by the resistless column of Sherman's army, then marching to the
sea, was shipped by way of Thomasville. The trains were sometimes slow
in moving, and to General Taylor, who was anxious to mass all forces at
Savannah, the delay was galling. When Toombs came up, he "damned the
dawdling trainmen, and pretty soon infused his own nervous force into
the whole concern. The wheezing engines and freight vans were readily
put in motion, and Governor Brown's 'army' started toward Savannah."
News reached General Taylor about that time that the Federal forces at
Port Royal were coming up to capture Pocotaligo on the Charleston and
Savannah road. This was a dangerous move, as General Taylor was anxious
to hold this line for coast defense. He needed reënforcements to hold
this point, and at once thought of "Joe Brown's Army." The position of
Governor Brown was, however, as General Taylor understood it, that
Georgia troops were to be held to guard Georgia soil. This was one of
the points in his discussion with Mr. Davis. General Taylor consulted
with General Toombs, however, and they arranged to have the Georgia
militia "shunted off at a switch near Savannah and transported quietly
to Carolina." At Pocotaligo these troops had a lively brush with the
Union forces and succeeded in holding the railroad. The Georgians were
plucky whether at home or abroad, but General Taylor declared that
Toombs enjoyed his part in making them "unconscious patriots."

Sherman's march to the sea was the concluding tragedy of the Civil War.
The State which had been at the forefront of the revolution had become
the bloody theater of battle. From the Tennessee River to Atlanta,
Sherman and Johnston had grappled with deadly fury down the mountain
defiles; then Cheatham and Wheeler harassed him at Macon and united for
a final siege of Savannah. The granaries and workshops of the
Confederacy were gone when Georgia was devastated--as General Lord
Wolseley said, Sherman's invasion was a swordthrust through the vitals
of the young nation. Robert Toombs had followed his own idea of meeting
the invader as soon as he struck an inch of State soil and fighting him
as long as a man remained. From the fruitless defense of Savannah,
Toombs hastened to discuss the situation with Governor Brown. He
happened to be dining with him that April day when the news came of the
surrender at Appomattox. The two men looked at each other intently, when
they realized that all was over.

Toombs and Brown had been closely allied since the day that the latter
was nominated for Governor in 1857. They had fought campaigns together.
Toombs had sustained Governor Brown's war policy almost to the letter.
Now they shook hands and parted. Henceforth their paths diverged. Days
of bitterness put that friendship to an end. Both men worked his course
during reconstruction as he saw fit. But political differences deepened
almost into personal feud.

General Toombs repaired to his home in Washington and, on the 4th of
May, 1865, Jefferson Davis, his Cabinet and staff, having retreated from
Richmond to Danville, thence to Greensboro, N. C., and Abbeville, S. C.,
rode across the country with an armed escort to Washington, Ga. Here,
in the old Heard House, the last meeting of the Confederate Cabinet was
held. The members separated, and the civil government of the Southern
Confederacy passed into history. There were present John C.
Breckenridge, Secretary of War; John H. Reagan, Postmaster-General,
besides the members of Mr. Davis' staff. The Confederate President was
worn and jaded. He looked pale and thin, but was plucky to the last.
After the surrender of Lee and Johnston, he wanted to keep up the
warfare in the mountains of Virginia, and in the country west of the
Mississippi, but he was finally persuaded that the Confederacy must
cease to struggle. On the public square of Washington the little brick
house, with its iron rail and its red walls, is still pointed out to the
visitor as the spot where the Davis government dissolved. It was a
dramatic fate which determined its dissolution at the home of Robert
Toombs. He had been present at its birth. His had been one of the
leading spirits of the revolution. He had served it in the Cabinet and
field, he had been pressed for the position of its chief magistracy, and
now in the shadow of his own rooftree its concluding council was held.
General Reagan was a guest of General Toombs during his stay in
Washington, as was General St. John and Major Raphael J. Moses, who had
been a member of Toombs' staff. In the evening General Toombs called
General Reagan into a room by himself and inquired whether the latter
needed any money. General Reagan said he had money enough to take him to
Texas. Then General Toombs inquired after Mr. Davis, and asked whether
he had any money. "I told him no," says General Reagan, "but that I had
money enough to take us both West of of the Mississippi, and had told
Mr. Davis so. I had no doubt but that he would rely on that." General
Toombs then asked if Mr. Davis was well mounted. "I told him yes, that
he had his bay horse Kentucky, and that after the surrender General Lee
had sent his fine gray Traveler, by his son Robert, around through
Lynchburg to Mr. Davis at Greenesboro, N. C." "Well," said General
Toombs, with thoughtfulness, "Davis and I had a quarrel once, but that
is over now. I am at home and can command money and men, and if Mr.
Davis wants anything, I shall be glad to furnish it." General Toombs
added that under terms of the convention between Sherman and Johnston,
Mr. Davis was entitled to go where he pleased between that point and the
Chattahoochee River. "I wish you would say to Mr. Davis," said Toombs,
in his bluff way, "that, if necessary, I will call my men around me and
see him safe to the Chattahoochee at the risk of my life."

On his return to the hotel Mr. Reagan gave General Toombs' message to
Mr. Davis, and told the latter of the inquiries and offers. "That is
like Toombs," said Mr. Davis. "He was always a whole-souled man."

The four men whom the Washington government wanted to arrest and hold
responsible for the war were Toombs, Davis, Slidell, and Howell Cobb.
Their friends understood this perfectly, and each man was urged to make
his escape. Jefferson Davis was arrested in Irwin County, Ga., on May
10. He was rapidly making his way to the West, and was trying to reach
Texas. How General Toombs finally escaped must be reserved for a more
extended recital.

General Toombs and Mr. Davis never met but once after the war. It was
unexpected, dramatic. Some years after General Toombs had returned from
his long exile, and Mr. Davis was just back from his trip to England,
the ex-president visited Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, the guest of the
poet Sidney Lanier. He here appeared at his best in the company of
sympathetic and admiring friends, and charmed everyone by his polish and
learning. The day before Jefferson Davis left, General and Mrs. Toombs
arrived at the mountain. Mr. Davis was, at that time, absent on a
horseback trip. He was fond of riding, and had gone over to see some of
the fine views of the mountain and to inspect the fields where recent
battles had raged with so much fury. The hotel was kept by a Northern
man who knew nothing of the relations between Mr. Davis and General
Toombs, and he believed the thing to do was to put General and Mrs.
Toombs in a vacant room of the cottage occupied by Mr. Davis. It was a
small house, with a piazza extending along the front. It so happened
that the Toombses, who had just learned of Mr. Davis' presence at the
hotel, were sitting on the piazza chatting with friends when Mr. Davis
came up. Mr. Davis had also heard of General Toombs' arrival at the
hotel, but neither knew that the other was domiciled in the same
cottage. To General Toombs the appearance was as if Mr. Davis had come
at once to make a cordial call. No one could be more hospitable and
polite than Toombs, and this apparent challenge to friendship brought
out the best side of his nature. The men met with considerable warmth.
From General Toombs Mr. Davis advanced to Mrs. Toombs. Between these two
the meeting was profoundly affecting. He embraced her tenderly. Toombs
and Davis had been friends and neighbors years ago in Washington City,
and Mr. Davis had been extremely fond of Mr. Toombs' family. The
distinguished party soon fell into friendly conversation. Next day Mr.
Davis left Lookout Mountain. He never met Robert Toombs again.



At the conclusion of the war, Secretary Stanton issued specific orders
for the arrest of Jefferson Davis, Alexander H. Stephens, and Robert
Toombs. Mr. Stephens was arrested quietly at his own home in
Crawfordville on the 12th of May, 1865, two days after Mr. Davis had
been overtaken. On the same day a squad of soldiers, most of them
negroes, reached Washington, Ga. They were commanded by General Wilde,
and their orders were to take General Toombs in charge. One of the
colored troops marched up town with the photograph of Toombs, which they
had procured to identify him, impaled upon his bayonet. General Toombs
was, at the time, in his private office at his residence. Hearing the
noise in his yard, he walked out of his basement to the corner of his
front steps. There he perceived the squad and divined their purpose. "By
God, the bluecoats!" was all he said. Walking quickly through his back
lot, he strode across his plantation and disappeared. By this time the
guard was clamoring at the front door, and Mrs. Toombs went out to meet
them. "Where is General Toombs?" the commander asked. "He is not here,"
the lady answered firmly. A parley ensued, during which Mrs. Toombs
managed to detain the men long enough to enable her husband to get out
of sight. "Unless General Toombs is produced, I shall burn the house,"
retorted the officer. Mrs. Toombs blanched a little at this, but, biting
her lip, she turned on her heel, and coolly replied: "Very well, burn
it." Among the listeners to this colloquy was a young man just returned
from the Confederate army. He was moved with indignation. He still wore
the gray jacket, and was deeply anxious for the Toombs family. He had
been a neighbor to them all his life, as had his father before him, and
he shared the pride which the village felt for its most distinguished

He was the son of Hon. I. T. Irvin, a prominent public man and lifelong
friend of General Toombs. Preparations were made for the threatened
fire. General Toombs did not come out. Furniture was moved and papers
destroyed, but the young Confederate was soon convinced that the threat
was a mere bluff. Relieved on that point, his loyal spirit yearned
toward the fugitive. Charles E. Irvin was the name of the young man, and
he had seen service in the artillery under Longstreet. Not yet
twenty-one years of age, he was fired with ardor and devotion, and had
already resolved to aid General Toombs in escaping.

Riding over to a neighbor's house, Mr. J. T. Wingfield, he failed to
find his friend, but left word for General Toombs to let him know where
to meet him with his horses. That night about two o'clock Lieutenant
Irvin got word from General Toombs to bring his horse to Nick Chenault's
by seven o'clock in the morning. This was a farm about eighteen miles
from Washington, near the Broad River. Here General Toombs mounted his
trusted horse and felt at home. It was the famous mare Gray Alice, which
had carried him through all his campaigns. He had ridden her during the
charges at Antietam, and she had borne him from the fire of the scouts
the night he had received his wound. Once more he pressed her into
service, and Robert Toombs, for the first time in his life, was a
fugitive. This man, who commanded men and had gained his own way by
sheer brain and combativeness, fled by stealth from a dreaded enemy. It
was a new rôle for Toombs. His plucky young guide was resolved to
accompany him in his flight--it might be to his death; it was all the
same to Lieutenant Irvin. Riding swiftly into Elbert County, the two men
crossed over to Harrison Landing, a picturesque spot on the Savannah
River. Here dwelt an old man, Alexander LeSeur, who led something of a
hermit's life. Before the war he had been a "Know-nothing," and had been
exposed to Toombs' withering fire upon that class of politicians.
LeSeur met the fugitive with a laugh and a friendly oath. "You have been
fighting me for forty years," he said, "and now that you are in trouble,
I am the first man you seek for protection."


General Toombs had not traveled too fast. The country was swarming with
raiders. News of the capture of Davis and Stephens had fired these men
with desire to overhaul the great champion of secession. A Federal
major, commanding a force of men, put up at Tate's residence, just
opposite the hermit's island. While there, a negro from the LeSeur place
informed the officer that some prominent man was at the house. "If it
ain't Jeff Davis, it is just as big a man," said he. The hint was taken.
The island was surrounded and carefully watched, but when the party went
over to capture Toombs, the game was gone.

General Toombs now started out carefully up the Savannah River. In
Elbert, he was in the hands of his friends. This county, which had first
encouraged the struggles of the young lawyer, which had followed him
steadfastly in his political fortunes, which had furnished soldiers for
his brigade, now supplied protectors at every step. Before leaving this
county he was initiated into a Masonic lodge, and took the first degrees
of the order. More than once the signs and symbols of the mystic
brotherhood stood him in good stead on this eventful trip. He was
afterward a high Mason, and remained to his death a devoted friend of
the order.

Continuing his journey alone he stopped at the Tugaloo River in
Habersham County, and remained at the house of Colonel Prather until
Lieutenant Irvin, whom he had sent back to Washington with letters,
could rejoin him with funds and clothing. Here his young companion soon
found him, bringing, besides letters from home, some astonishing news.

"General," said Lieutenant Irvin, "what do you think? Your friend
General Joseph E. Brown has sold out the State of Georgia, and gone over
to the Republican party."

Toombs glared at him savagely.

"For the first time on this trip," says Lieutenant Irvin, "he looked
like he wanted to kill me. He brought his fist down heavily upon the
table and said: 'By God, I don't believe it!'

"'Well here it is in black and white.'"

Lieutenant Irvin gave him the paper in which was printed Governor
Brown's famous address to the people of Georgia.

"This news," said Lieutenant Irvin, "absolutely sent the old man to

Toombs remained a week at Colonel Prather's, and in the meantime sent
Lieutenant Irvin to Savannah with important letters. He desired to
escape, if possible, through the port of Savannah. The Savannah friends
were not at home, however, and Lieutenant Irvin, bearing these important
letters, actually fell into the hands of the enemy.

He was a high-strung, plucky young fellow, and was reproved by a Federal
officer for continuing to wear brass buttons. Irvin retorted sharply,
and was hurried into prison. Fearing that he would be searched and his
papers found, he slipped them to a friend, undetected by the guard.
After remaining in prison for several hours, Lieutenant Irvin was
released and censured by the officer, who reminded him that there were
bayonets about him.

"Yes," retorted young Irvin, "and brave men always avail themselves of
such advantages."

Trudging back from Savannah, Lieutenant Irvin found General Toombs at
the Rembert place, near Tallalah Falls. This was a beautiful home in a
wild, picturesque country, where Toombs was less liable to capture than
in middle Georgia, and where he was less known to the people. General
Toombs had already procured the parole papers of Major Luther Martin, of
Elbert County, a friend and member of his former command. He traveled
under that name, and was so addressed by his young companion all along
the route. General Toombs passed the time deer-hunting in Habersham. He
had the steady hand and fine eye of a sportsman, and he was noted for
his horsemanship and endurance.

Returning toward Washington through Elbert County, General Toombs
decided to spend a night with Major Martin. Lieutenant Irvin stoutly
opposed this and warned him that if the enemy were to look for him
anywhere, it would certainly be at Martin's house. Turning down the
road, he finally concluded to put up at the house of Colonel W. H.
Mattox. It was well he did. That night a party of thirty soldiers raided
the Martin plantation on a hot trail, and searched thoroughly for

During his travels General Toombs did not wear a disguise of any sort.
Dressed in a checked suit, and riding his gray mare, he was a prominent
object, and to most of the people was well known. One day he wore green
goggles, but soon threw them away in disgust. The nearness of troops
forced General Toombs to abandon his plan of going home for his family
before leaving the country. He dispatched Lieutenant Irvin to Washington
with letters to his wife, telling her that he would not see her again
until he had gone abroad, when he would send for her to join him. He
himself passed through Centreville, twelve miles from his home, and
directed his young guide where to meet him in middle Georgia. This
Lieutenant Irvin found it very hard to do. General Toombs was very
discreet as to whom he took into his confidence. Once or twice he
cautioned his companion against certain parties, to the surprise of the
young man. Toombs, however, read human nature pretty well, and, later,
when the real character of these persons developed, Irvin understood the
counsels of his older friend. So carefully did General Toombs cover his
tracks that Lieutenant Irvin, after his detour to Washington, was a long
time in overtaking him. Traveling straight to Sparta, Lieutenant Irvin
called on Judge Linton Stephens and asked about the general. This shrewd
Georgian came to the door and flatly denied knowing anything about

"He questioned me closely," said Lieutenant Irvin, "and finding that I
was really who I pretended to be, finally agreed to take me to Toombs.
Riding down to Old-Town, in Jefferson County, we failed to find Toombs,
but receiving a clew that he had passed through the David Dickson
plantation in Hancock County, I accosted Mr. Worthen, the manager. 'Has
an old man riding a gray horse passed this way,' Worthen was asked. He
promptly answered, 'No.' Believing that he was deceiving me, I
questioned him more closely."

Worthen tried to persuade the young man to get down and take some plums.
He was evidently anxious to detain him. Finally he eyed the stranger
more closely, and, convinced that he was the companion whom Toombs
expected, he confessed that General Toombs had been at his place and was
then at the home of Major Gonder in Washington County.

Lieutenant Irvin had ridden over two hundred miles in this search and
lost two or three days out of his way. Toombs covered his trail so
carefully that it was difficult even for his friends to find him. Small
wonder that he was not captured by the enemy.

Lieutenant Irvin was not yet "out of the woods." Reaching the home of
Major Gonder late in the evening, he rode up to the front fence, fifty
yards from the dwelling. Mrs. Gonder and her daughter were sitting on
the piazza. Lieutenant Irvin asked the usual question about the old man
and the gray horse. The lady replied that she knew nothing about them.

Lieutenant Irvin said: "But I was directed to this place."

Mrs. Gonder: "I should like to know who sent you."

Lieutenant Irvin: "But has no one passed or stopped here, answering my

Both ladies were now considerably worked up; the younger scarcely
suppressed her amusement.

"Come, ladies," said Lieutenant Irvin, "I see you both know more than
you will confess."

"If I do, I will die before I tell it," naïvely replied the elder.

"Now I know you know where General Toombs is."

"Then get it out of me if you can."

Finally the young man persuaded her that he was the friend of Toombs,
and Mrs. Gonder reluctantly directed him to Colonel Jack Smith's over on
the Oconee River.

Riding up to Colonel Smith's, his valiant pursuer spied General Toombs
through the window. The head of the house, however, denied that Toombs
was there at all.

"But that looks very much like him through the window," said Lieutenant

"Young man," retorted Colonel Smith, "what is your name?"

Of course this disclosure led to the reunion of the fugitive and his

Toombs realized that he was in almost as much danger from his own
friends as from the enemy. He was careful to whom he disclosed his
identity or his plans, for fear that they might indiscreetly comment on
his presence or embarrass him even by their willingness to befriend him.
So it was that he proceeded secretly, picking his way by stealth, and
actually doing much of his travel by night.

At the home of Colonel Jack Smith, the two men remained a week to rest
their horses and take their bearings. General Toombs spent much time on
the Oconee trolling for trout, while bodies of Union cavalry were
watching the ferries and guarding the fords, seining for bigger fish.

Passing into Wilkinson County, General Toombs stopped at the home of Mr.
Joseph Deas. When Lieutenant Irvin asked if the pair could come in, Deas
replied, "Yes, if you can put up with the fare of a man who subsists in
Sherman's track."

A maiden sister of Deas lived in the house. With a woman's sensitive
ear, she recognized General Toombs' voice, having heard him speak at
Toombsboro seventeen years before. This discovery, she did not
communicate to her brother until after the guests had retired. Deas had
been discussing politics with Toombs, and his sister asked him if he
knew to whom he had been talking all night? Deas said he did not.

"Joe Deas," she said, "are you a fool? Don't you know that is General

Strange to say, a negro on the place, just as they were leaving, cried
out "Good-by, Marse Bob." He had driven the family to the speaking
seventeen years before, and had not forgotten the man who defended
slavery on that day.

"Good Lord!" said Toombs, "go give that negro some money."

This same negro had been strung up by the thumbs by Sherman's troops a
few months before because he would not tell where his master's mules
were hidden. He piloted General Toombs through the woods to the home of
Colonel David Hughes, a prominent and wealthy farmer of Twiggs County.
Colonel Hughes had been in Toombs' brigade, and the general remained
with him a week.

General Toombs was sitting on the piazza of Colonel Hughes's house one
afternoon when an old soldier asked permission to come in. He still wore
the gray, and was scarred and begrimed. He eyed General Toombs very
closely, and seemed to hang upon his words. He heard him addressed as
Major Martin, and finally, when he arose to leave, wrung the general's

"Major Martin," he said, brushing the tears from his eyes, "I'm mighty
glad to see you. I wish to God I could do something for you."

At the gate he turned to Colonel Hughes and said: "I know who that is.
It is General Toombs. You can't fool me."

"Why do you think so?" Colonel Hughes asked.

"Oh, I remember Gray Alice jumping the stone walls at Sharpsburg too
well to forget the rider now."

"Colonel," he continued, "this morning a man near here, who is a
Republican and an enemy of General Toombs, thought he recognized him
near your house. He saw him two hundred yards away. I heard him say he
believed it was Toombs and he wished he had his head shot off. I came
here to-night to see for myself. You tell General Toombs that if he says
the word, I will kill that scoundrel as sure as guns."

The veteran was persuaded, however, to keep quiet and do nothing of the

It was at this time that Lieutenant Irvin found that the ferries of the
Ocmulgee River were guarded from one end to the other. Near this place
Davis had been captured and the Union troops were on a sharp lookout for
Toombs. Convinced that further travel might be hazardous, General Toombs
and his friend rode back to the mountains of North Georgia, and there
remained until the early fall. It was in the month of October that the
fugitives again started on their checkered flight. The May days had
melted into summer, and summer had been succeeded by early autumn. The
crops, planted when he started from home that spring day, were now
ripening in the fields, and Northern statesmen were still declaring that
Toombs was the arch-traitor, and must be apprehended. Davis was in
irons, and Stephens languished in a dungeon at Fortress Monroe.

Passing once more near Sparta, Ga., Toombs met, by appointment, his
friends, Linton Stephens, R. M. Johnson, W. W. Simpson, Jack Lane, Edge
Bird, and other kindred spirits. It was a royal reunion, a sort of
Lucretia Borgia feast for Toombs--"eat and drink to-day, for to-morrow
we may die."

Traveling their old road through Washington County, they crossed the
Ocmulgee, this time in safety, and passed into Houston County. The
Federals believed Toombs already abroad and had ceased to look for him
in Georgia. After the passage was made General Toombs said: "Charlie,
that ferryman eyed me very closely. Go back and give him some money."

Lieutenant Irvin did return. The ferryman refused any gift. He said: "I
did not want to take what you did give me." Irvin asked the reason. The
ferryman said: "Tell General Toombs I wish to God I could do something
for him."

General Toombs had a wide personal acquaintance in Georgia. He seldom
stopped at a house whose inmates he did not know, and whose relatives
and connections he could not trace for generations. Sometimes, when
incognito, the two men were asked where General Toombs was. They
answered, "Cuba."

At Oglethorpe, in Macon County, General Toombs rode right through a
garrison of Federal soldiers. As one of his regiments came from this
section, General Toombs was afraid that some of his old soldiers might
recognize him on the road. A Federal officer advanced to the middle of
the street and saluted the travelers. Their hearts bounded to their
throats, and, instinctively, two hands stole to their revolvers. Pistols
and spurs were the only resources. Chances were desperate, but they were
resolved to take them. The officer watched them intently as they rode
leisurely through the town, but he was really more interested in their
fine horses, "Gray Alice" and "Young Alice," than in the men. Jogging
unconcernedly along until the town was hidden by a hill, General Toombs
urged his horse into a run, and left "his friends, the enemy," far in
the rear. It was a close call, but he did not breathe freely yet. There
was possibility of pursuit, and when the party reached the residence of
a Mr. Brown, a messenger was sent back to the town to mislead the
soldiers should pursuit be attempted. From the hands of the enemy,
General Toombs and his friend were now inducted into pleasanter scenes.
The house was decorated with lilies and orange blossoms. A wedding was
on hand, and the bride happened to be the daughter of the host. Brown
was a brave and determined man. He assured General Toombs that when the
wedding guests assembled, there would be men enough on hand, should an
attack be made, to rout the United States garrison, horse, foot, and
dragoons. At Dr. Raines' place, on the Chattahoochee River, a horse
drover happened to say something about Toombs. He gave the statesman a
round of abuse and added: "And yet, they tell me that if I were to meet
General Toombs and say what I think of him, I would either have a fight
or he would convince me that he was the biggest man in the world."

Tired of the long horseback ride, having been nearly six months in the
saddle, the men now secured an ambulance from Toombs' plantation in
Stewart County, and crossed the river into Alabama. His faithful mare,
which he was forced to leave behind, neighed pathetically as her master
rode away in a boat and pulled for the Alabama shore. At Evergreen they
took the train, and it seemed that half the men on the cars recognized
General Toombs. General Joseph Wheeler, who was on board, did not take
his eyes off him. Toombs became nervous under these searching glances,
and managed to hide his face behind a paper which he was reading. At
Tensas Station he took the boat for Mobile. There was a force of Federal
soldiers on board, and this was the closest quarters of his long
journey. There was now no chance of escape, if detected. The soldiers
frequently spoke to General Toombs, but he was not in the slightest way

At Mobile General Toombs took his saddle-bags and repaired to the home
of his friend Mr. Evans, about four miles from the city. There he was
placed in the care of Howard Evans and his sister, Miss Augusta J.
Evans, the gifted Southern authoress. Anxious to conceal the identity of
their guest, these hospitable young people dismissed their servants, and
Miss Evans herself cooked and served General Toombs' meals with her own
hands. She declared, with true hospitality, that she felt it a privilege
to contribute to the comfort and insure the safety of the brilliant
statesman. She was a Georgian herself, and with her this was a labor of

These were among the most agreeable moments of General Toombs' long
exile. He loved the companionship of intellectual women, and the
conversation during these days was full of brilliant interest. Miss
Evans was a charming talker, as bright as a jewel, and Toombs was a
Chesterfield with ladies. The general would walk to and fro along the
shaded walks and pour forth, in his matchless way, the secret history of
the ruin of Confederate hopes.

General Toombs wrote home, in courtly enthusiasm, of his visit to
Mobile. Mr. Stephens sent Miss Evans a warm letter of thanks for her
attentions to his friend. "I have," said he, "just received a letter
from General Toombs, who has been so united with me in friendship and
destiny all our lives, giving such account of the kind attentions he
received from you and your father while in Mobile, that I cannot forbear
to thank you and him for it in the same strain and terms as if these
attentions had been rendered to myself. What you did for my friend, in
this particular, you did for me."

While General Toombs was in Mobile, General Wheeler called upon the
Evans family and remarked that he thought he had seen General Toombs on
the train. Miss Evans replied that she had heard General Toombs was in

Lieutenant Irvin went to New Orleans and secured from the Spanish Consul
a pass to Cuba for "Major Luther Martin." At Mobile General Toombs took
the boat _Creole_ for New Orleans. He seemed to be nearing the end of
his long journey, but it was on this boat that the dramatic incident
occurred which threatened to change the course of his wanderings at
last. While General Toombs was at supper, he became conscious that one
of the passengers was eying him closely. He said to Lieutenant Irvin:
"Charlie, don't look up now, but there is a man in the doorway who
evidently recognizes me."

"General, probably it is someone who thinks he knows you."

"No," replied Toombs quietly, "that man is a spy."

Lieutenant Irvin asked what should be done. General Toombs told him to
go out and question the man and, if convinced that he was a spy, to
throw him over the stern-rail of the steamer. Lieutenant Irvin got up
and went on deck. The stranger followed him. Irvin walked toward the
rail. The stranger asked him where he was from. He answered "North

"Who is that with you?" he questioned.

"My uncle, Major Martin," said Irvin.

The man then remarked that it looked very much like Robert Toombs. Irvin
answered that the likeness had been noted before, but that he could not
see it.

"Young man," said the stranger, "I don't want to dispute your word, but
that is certainly Toombs. I know him well, and am his friend."

Irvin then gave up the idea of throwing him overboard. Had the brave
young officer not been convinced that the party questioning him was
Colonel M. C. Fulton, a prominent resident of Georgia, he says he would
certainly have pitched him into the Gulf of Mexico.

General Toombs, when informed of the identity of Colonel Fulton, sent
for him to come to his room, and the two men had a long and friendly

Arriving at New Orleans General Toombs drove up to the residence of
Colonel Marshal J. Smith. On the 4th of November, 1865, he boarded the
steamship _Alabama_, the first of the Morgan line put on after the war
between New Orleans, Havana, and Liverpool. A tremendous crowd had
gathered at the dock to see the steamer off, and Lieutenant Irvin tried
to persuade General Toombs to go below until the ship cleared. But the
buoyant Georgian persisted in walking the deck, and was actually
recognized by General Humphrey Marshall of Texas, who had known him in
the Senate before the war.

"No," said Toombs to his companion's expostulations, "I want fresh air,
and I will die right here. I am impatient to get into neutral waters,
when I can talk. I have not had a square, honest talk in six months."

By the time the good ship had cleared the harbor, everybody on board
knew that Robert Toombs, "the fire-eater and rebel," was a passenger,
and hundreds gathered around to listen to his matchless conversation.

Lieutenant Irvin never saw General Toombs again until 1868. He himself
was an officer of the Irvin artillery, Cutts' battalion, being a part of
Walker's artillery in Longstreet's corps. Entering the army at seventeen
years of age, Charles E. Irvin was a veteran at twenty-one. He was
brave, alert, tender, and true. He recalls that when his company joined
the army in Richmond, Robert Toombs, then Secretary of State, gave them
a handsome supper at the Exchange Hotel. "I remember," said he, "with
infinite satisfaction, that during the seven months I accompanied
General Toombs, in the closest relations and under the most trying
positions, he was never once impatient with me." Frequently, on this
long and perilous journey, Toombs would say; "Well, my boy! suppose the
Yankees find us to-day; what will you do?" "General, you say you won't
be taken alive. I reckon they will have to kill me too."

General Toombs often declared that he would not be captured.
Imprisonment, trial, and exile, he did not dread; but to be carried
about, a prize captive and a curiosity through Northern cities, was his
constant fear. He was prepared to sell his life dearly, and there is no
doubt but that he would have done so.

During all these trying days, Toombs rode with the grace and gayety of a
cavalier. He talked incessantly to his young companion, who eagerly
drank in his words. He fought his battles over again and discussed the
leaders of the Civil War in his racy style. He constantly predicted the
collapse of the greenback system of currency, and speculated
facetiously each day upon the chances of capture. He calculated shrewdly
enough his routes and plans, and when he found himself on _terra firma_,
it was under the soft skies of the Antilles with a foreign flag above



From Cuba General Toombs proceeded to Paris. It was early in July before
he reached his new stopping place. He found himself somewhat restricted
in funds, as he had not had time to turn his property into gold to make
his trip abroad. It is related that just after the departure of the
famous "specie train," through Washington in the wake of Mr. Davis'
party, a Confederate horseman dashed by the residence of General Toombs
and threw a bag of bullion over the fence. It was found to contain five
thousand dollars, but Toombs swore he would not even borrow this amount
from his government. He turned it over to the authorities for the use of
disabled Confederate soldiers, and hurriedly scraped up what funds he
could command in case he should be compelled to fly. Arriving in Paris,
General Toombs succeeded in selling one of his plantations, realizing
about five dollars an acre for it. He used to explain to the astounded
Frenchmen, during his residence abroad, that he ate an acre of dirt a

General Toombs repaired to Enghien, where he took a course of sulphur
baths for the benefit of his throat. Constant exposure with the army and
in his flight had brought on his old enemy, the asthma. He had been a
healthy man, having long passed the limit of manhood before he tasted
medicine. Late in life, an attack of scarlet fever left his throat in a
delicate condition.

Mrs. Toombs joined him in Paris in July, 1865, and he passed eighteen
months quietly with her in Europe. It was in marked contrast to his tour
in 1855, when, as United States Senator, he had gone from place to
place, observed, honored, and courted. He was now an exile without a
country. He had seen his political dreams wiped out in blood and his
home in the hands of the enemy. From the dignity and power of a United
States Senator and a possible aspirant to the Presidency, he had been
branded as a conspirator, and forced, like Mirabeau, to seek shelter in
distant lands.

France was, at that time, in a state of unrest. Louis Napoleon was
watching with anxiety the eagles of Prussia hovering over the German
Confederation. Austria had already succumbed to Prussian power, and
Napoleon had been blocked in his scheme to secure, from this disorder,
his share of the Rhenish provinces. Toombs, who had fled from a restored
Union in America, now watched the march of consolidation in Europe, and
predicted its final success.

General Toombs was an object of interest in Europe. His position toward
the American government prevented his public recognition by the rulers,
but he used to relate with zest his interviews with Carlyle, the Empress
Eugenie, and other notables. He was a man to attract attention, and his
talk was fascinating and bright.

He was sometimes sought in a legal way by prominent financiers, who
asked his opinions upon fiscal matters in America. There is no doubt but
that, like Judah P. Benjamin, he could have built up a large practice
abroad, had he cared to do so; but permanent residence away from home
was entirely out of his mind.

In December, 1866, General and Mrs. Toombs received a cable message
telling them of the death of their only daughter, Mrs. Dudley M. DuBose,
in Washington, Ga. Mrs. Toombs at once returned home, leaving the
grief-stricken father alone in Paris. Anxious to go back with her, he
was advised that matters were still unsettled in the United States. The
impeachment of Andrew Johnson was in progress, and his conviction meant
restored martial law for the South. So the days were full of woe for the
lonely exile.

On December 25, 1866, he writes a beautiful and pathetic letter to his
wife. While the denizens of the gay city were deep in the celebration
of the joyous Christmas feast, the Southern wanderer, "with heart bowed
down," was passing through the shadows, and suffering in silence the
keenest pangs of affliction. Around him the votaries of fashion and
wealth were flushed with gayety. Paris was in the ecstasy of
Christmastide. But the depths of his soul were starless and chill, and
in the midst of all this mirth one heart was tuned to melancholy. He
writes to his wife:

      The night you left I retired to the room and did not go to
      sleep until after two o'clock. I felt so sad at parting
      with you and could not help thinking what a long dreary
      trip you had that night. I shall have a long journey of
      five thousand miles to Havana, and do not know that I shall
      meet a human being to whom I am known, but if I keep well I
      shall not mind that, especially as I am homeward bound; for
      my hearthstone is desolate, and clouds and darkness hover
      over the little remnant that is left of us, and of all our
      poor friends and countrymen; and, when you get home,
      Washington will contain nearly all that is dear to me in
      this world. I remained alone yesterday after I got up and
      went to my solitary meal. I immediately came back to my
      room, and have seen nothing of Christmas in Paris.

On January 1, 1867, he writes:

      This is the first of the new year. How sad it opens upon
      me! In a foreign land, with all that is dear to me on earth
      beyond the ocean, either on the way to a distant home or at
      its desolate fireside. Well, I shall not nurse such gloomy
      ideas. Let us hope that the new year may be happier and
      that we may grow better. God knows I cannot regret that
      1866 is gone. I hope its calamities will not enter with us
      into 1867. I had hoped to hear from New York of your safe
      arrival on the other side of the ocean.

The loss of his daughter Sallie was a severe blow to General Toombs. But
two of his children lived to be grown. His eldest daughter Louise died
in 1855, shortly after her marriage to Mr. W. F. Alexander. General
Toombs had a son who died in early childhood of scarlet fever. This was
a great blow to him, for he always longed for a son to bear his name.
Away off in Paris his heart yearned for his four little grandchildren,
left motherless by this new affliction. He writes again from Paris:

      I almost determined to take the steamer Saturday and run
      the gauntlet to New York. I would have done so but for my
      promise to you. I know everything looks worse and worse on
      our side of the ocean, but when will it be any better? Is
      this state of things to last forever? To me it is becoming
      intolerable.... Kiss the dear little children for me. Bless
      their hearts! How I long to see them and take them to my
      arms. God bless you! Pray for me that I may be a better man
      in the new year than in all the old ones before in my time.

Early in January General Toombs decided to sail for Cuba and thence to
New Orleans. If he found it unsafe to remain in the South he concluded
he could either go back to Cuba or extend his travels into Canada. He
had promised his wife he would remain abroad for the present. But he

      The worst that can happen to me is a prison, and I don't
      see much to choose between my present condition and any
      decent fort. I feel so anxious about you and the children
      that it makes me very wretched.

From Paris, January 16, 1867, he writes:

      My preparations are all complete, and I leave to-morrow on
      the _New World_ for Havana and New Orleans, _via_
      Martinique. I am well; except my throat. I shall have a
      long and lonesome voyage, with not much else to cheer me
      but that I shall find you and our dear little ones at the
      end of my journey. If I am permitted to find you all well,
      I shall be compensated for its fatigues and dangers. God
      grant that we may all meet once more in this world in

                      Yours truly and affectionately, as ever,

General Toombs returned to America and after a short residence in Canada
went to Washington, where he had a long interview with his old
senatorial colleague, President Andrew Johnson. He went home from
Washington and was never again molested. He made no petition for relief
of political disabilities. He was never restored to citizenship. When
Honorable Samuel J. Randall proposed his General Amnesty Act in 1875,
Mr. Blaine and other Republicans desired to exclude from its provisions
the names of Davis and Toombs. The Democrats would not accept this
amendment, and the bill was never passed. Once, when Senator Oliver P.
Morton asked General Toombs why he did not petition Congress for pardon,
Toombs quietly answered, "Pardon for what? I have not pardoned you all



When General Toombs finally returned to Georgia it was with a great part
of his fortune gone, his political career cut off by hopeless
disability, and his household desolate. These were serious calamities
for a man fifty-seven years of age. He found himself forced under new
and unfavorable conditions to build all over again, but he set about it
in a vigorous and heroic way. His health was good. He was a splendid
specimen of manhood. His once raven locks were gray, and his beard,
which grew out from his throat, gave him a grizzly appearance. His dark
eye was full of fire and his mind responded with vigor to its new work.

When General Toombs arrived at Washington, Ga., he consulted some of his
friends over the advisability of returning to the practice of law, which
he had left twenty-five years before. Their advice was against it.
Things were in chaos; the people were impoverished, and the custodians
of the courts were the creatures of a hostile government. But Robert
Toombs was made of different stuff. Associating himself in the practice
of his profession with General Dudley M. DuBose, who had been his chief
of staff, and was his son-in-law, an able and popular man in the full
vigor of manhood, General Toombs returned actively to the practice of
law. He was not long in turning to practical account his great
abilities. Success soon claimed him as an old favorite. Business
accumulated and the ex-senator and soldier found himself once more at
the head of the bar of Georgia. Large fees were readily commanded. He
was employed in important cases in every part of Georgia, and the
announcement that Robert Toombs was to appear before judge and jury was
enough to draw large crowds from city and country. His old habits of
indomitable industry returned. He rode the circuits like a young
barrister again. He was a close collector of claims, an admirable
administrator, a safe counselor, and a bold and fearless advocate. In a
short time General Toombs' family found themselves once more in comfort,
and he was the same power with the people that he had always been.

Cut off from all hope of official promotion, scorning to sue for
political pardon, he strove to wield in the courts some of the power he
forfeited in politics. He figured largely in cases of a public nature,
and became an outspoken tribune of the people. He did not hesitate to
face the Supreme Court of Georgia, then made up of Republican judges,
and attack the laws of a Republican legislature. Among the bills passed
at that time to popularize the legislature with the people, was a series
of liberal homestead and exemption laws. They were the relief measures
of 1868. By these schemes, at once rigorous and sweeping, millions of
dollars were lost in Georgia. They were intended to wipe out old debts,
especially contracts made during the war, and Governor Bullock had
appointed a Supreme Court which sustained them. These laws were
abhorrent to Toombs. He thundered against them with all the powers of
his learning and eloquence. When he arose in court, there stood with
him, he believed, not only the cause of his client, but the honor of the
whole State of Georgia. It was much easier to seduce a poverty-stricken
people by offering them measures of relief than to drive them by the
bayonet or to subject them to African domination. In the case of
Hardeman against Downer, in June, 1868, he declared before the Supreme
Court that these homestead laws put a premium on dishonesty and robbed
the poor man of his capital. "But we must consider the intention of the
Act," said the Court. "Was it not the intention of the legislature to
prevent the collection of just such claims as these you now bring?"
"Yes, may it please the Court," said Toombs, shaking his leonine locks,
"there can be no doubt that it was the intention of the legislature to
defraud the creditor; but they have failed to put their intention in a
form that would stand, so it becomes necessary for this Court to add its
own ingenuity to this villainy. It seems that this Court is making laws
rather than decisions."

In one of his dissenting opinions upon these laws, Justice Hiram Warner
declared that he would not allow his name to go down to posterity
steeped in the infamy of such a decision. General Toombs lost his case,
but the decision was subsequently overruled by the Supreme Court of the
United States.

The times were full of evil. The legislature was dominated by
adventurers and ignorant men, and public credit was freely voted away to
new enterprises. The State was undeveloped, and this wholesale system of
public improvement became popular. Unworthy men were scrambling for
public station, and the times were out of tune. In the midst of this
demoralization Toombs was a pillar of fire. He was tireless in his
withering satire, his stinging invective, his uncompromising war upon
the misgovernment of the day.

Here was a fine field and a rare occasion for his pungent criticism and
denunciation. His utterances were not those of a political leader. He
was not trimming his sails for office. He did not shape his conduct so
as to be considered an available man by the North. He fought error
wherever he saw it. He made no terms with those whom he considered
public enemies. He denounced radicalism as a "leagued scoundrelism of
private gain and public plunder."

In opposing the issue of State bonds to aid a certain railroad, he
declared that if the legislature saddled this debt upon the taxpayers,
their act would be a nullity. "We will adopt a new constitution with a
clause repudiating these bonds, and like Ætna spew the monstrous frauds
out of the market!"

"You may," he said, "by your deep-laid schemes, lull the thoughtless,
enlist the selfish, and stifle for a while the voices of patriots, but
the day of reckoning will come. These cormorant corporations, these
so-called patriotic developers, whom you seek to exempt, shall pay their
dues, if justice lives. By the Living God, they shall pay them."

"Georgia shall pay her debts," said Toombs on one occasion. "If she does
not, I will pay them for her!" This piece of hyperbole was softened by
the fact that on two occasions, when the State needed money to supply
deficits, Toombs with other Georgians did come forward and lift the
pressure. Sometimes he talked in a random way, but responsibility always
sobered him. He was impatient of fraud and stupidity, often full of
exaggerations, but scrupulous when the truth was relevant. Always
strict and honorable in his engagements, he boasted that he never had a
dirty shilling in his pocket.

The men who "left the country for the country's good" and came South to
fatten on the spoils of reconstruction, furnished unending targets for
his satire. He declared that these so-called developers came for pelf,
not patriotism. "Why, these men," he said, "are like thieving elephants.
They will uproot an oak or pick up a pin. They would steal anything from
a button to an empire." On one occasion he was bewailing the degeneracy
of the times, and he exclaimed: "I am sorry I have got so much sense. I
see into the tricks of these public men too quickly. When God Almighty
moves me from the earth, he will take away a heap of experience. I
expect when a man gets to be seventy he ought to go, for he knows too
much for other people's convenience."

"I hope the Lord will allow me to go to heaven as a gentleman," he used
to say. "Some of these Georgia politicians I do not want to associate
with. I would like to associate with Socrates and Shakespeare."

During his arguments before the Supreme Court, General Toombs used to
abuse the Governor and the Bullock Legislature very roundly. The Court
adopted a rule that no lawyer should be allowed, while conducting his
case, to abuse a coördinate branch of the government. General Toombs was
informed that if he persisted in this practice he would be held for
contempt. The next time Toombs went before the Court he alluded to the
fugitive Governor in very sharp terms. "May it please your Honors, the
Governor has now absconded. Your Honors have put in a little rule to
catch me. In seeking to protect the powers that be, I presume you did
not intend to defend the powers that were."

The papers printed an account of an interview between General Gordon and
Mr. Tilden in 1880, Gordon told Tilden that he was sorry he could not
impart to Tilden some of his own strength and vitality. "So my brother
told me last year," answered Mr. Tilden. "I have since followed him to
the grave." Toombs read this and remarked that Tilden did not think he
was going to die. "No one expects to die but I. I have got sense enough
to know that I am bound to die."

On one occasion Toombs was criticising an appointment made by an
unpopular official. "But, General," someone said, "you must confess that
it was a good appointment." "That may be, but that was not the reason it
was made. Bacon was not accused of selling injustice. He was eternally
damned for selling justice."

General Toombs was once asked in a crowd in the Kimball House in
Atlanta what he thought of the North. "My opinion of the Yankees is
apostolic. Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil. The Lord reward
him according to his works." A Federal officer was standing in the
crowd. He said: "Well, General, we whipped you, anyhow." "No," replied
Toombs, "we just wore ourselves out whipping you."

He spoke of the spoliators in the State Legislature as "an assembly of
manikins whose object is never higher than their breeches pockets;
seekers of jobs and judgeships, anything for pap or plunder, an
amalgamation of white rogues and blind negroes, gouging the treasury and
disgracing Georgia."

He was a violent foe of exemptions, of bounties, and of all sorts of
corruption and fraud. He was overbearing at times, but not more
conscious of power than of honesty in its use. He was generous to the
weak. It was in defense of his ideas of justice that he overbore

General Toombs kept the issues before the people. He had no patience
with the tentative policy. He forfeited much of his influence at this
time by his indiscriminate abuse of Northern men and Southern opponents,
and his defiance of all the conditions of a restored Union. He could
have served his people best by more conservative conduct, but he had all
the roughness and acerbity of a reformer, dead in earnest. It was owing
to his constant arraignment of illegal acts of the post-bellum régime
that the people finally aroused, in 1870, and regained the State for
white supremacy and Democratic government. He challenged the authors of
the Reconstruction measures to discuss the constitutionality of the
amendments. Charles J. Jenkins had already carried the cause of Georgia
into the courts, and Linton Stephens, before United States Commissioner
Swayze in Macon, had made an exhaustive argument upon the whole subject.
Toombs forced these issues constantly into his cases, and kept public
interest at white heat.



In July, 1868, the people of Georgia made the first determined stand
against the Republican party. John B. Gordon was nominated for Governor,
and Seymour and Blair had been named in New York as National Democratic
standard-bearers. A memorable meeting was held in Atlanta. It was the
first real rally of the white people under the new order of things.
Robert Toombs, Howell Cobb, and Benjamin H. Hill addressed the
multitude. There was much enthusiasm, and crowds gathered from every
part of Georgia. This was the great "Bush Arbor meeting" of that year,
and old men and boys speak of it to-day with kindling ardor. "Few
people," said Toombs in that speech, "had escaped the horrors of war,
and fewer still the stern and bitter curse of civil war. The histories
of the greatest peoples of earth have been filled with defeats as well
as victories, suffering as well as happiness, shame and reproach as well
as honor and glory. The struggles of the great and good are the noblest
legacies left by the past to the present generation, trophies worthy to
be laid at the feet of Jehovah himself. Those whose blades glittered in
the foremost ranks of the Northern army on the battlefield, with a yet
higher and nobler purpose denounce the base uses to which the victory
has been applied. The old shibboleths of victory are proclaimed as
living principles. Whatever else may be lost, the principles of Magna
Charta have survived the conflict of arms. The edicts of the enemy
abolish all securities of life, liberty, and property; defeat all the
rightful purposes of government, and renounce all remedies, all laws.["]

General Toombs denounced the incompetency of the dominant party in
Georgia--"In its tyranny, its corruption, its treachery to the Caucasian
race, its patronage of vice, of fraud, of crime and criminals, its crime
against humanity and in its efforts to subordinate the safeguards of
public security and to uproot the foundations of free government it has
forfeited all claims upon a free people."

Alluding to General Longstreet, who had been a member of the Republican
party, General Toombs said: "I would not have him tarnish his own
laurels. I respect his courage, honor his devotion to his cause, and
regret his errors." He denounced the ruling party of Georgia as a mass
of floating putrescence, "which rises as it rots and rots as it rises."
He declared that the Reconstruction Acts "stared out in their naked
deformity, open to the indignant gaze of all honest men."

The campaign at that time was made upon the illegality of the amendments
to the Constitution. Enthusiasm was fed by the fiery and impetuous
invective of Toombs. The utterances of most public men were guarded and
conservative. But when Toombs spoke the people realized that he uttered
the convictions of an unshackled mind and a fearless spirit. Leaders
deprecated his extreme views, but the hustings rang with his ruthless

The conclusion of his Bush Arbor effort was a fine sample of his fervid
speech: "All these and many more wrongs have been heaped upon you, my
countrymen, without your consent. Your consent alone can give the least
validity to these usurpations. Let no power on earth wring that consent
from you. Take no counsel of fear; it is the meanest of masters; spurn
the temptations of office from the polluted hands of your oppressors. He
who owns only his own sepulcher at the price of such claims holds a
heritage of shame. Unite with the National Democratic party. Your
country says come; honor says come; duty says come; liberty says come;
the country is in danger; let every freeman hasten to the rescue."

It was at this meeting that Benjamin H. Hill, who made so much
reputation by the publication of a series of papers entitled, "Notes on
the Situation," delivered one of the most memorable speeches of his
life. It was a moving, overmastering appeal to the people to go to the
polls. When this oration was over, the audience was almost wild, and
Robert Toombs, standing on the platform, in his enthusiasm threw his hat
away into the delighted throng. A young bright-faced boy picked it up
and carried it back to the speakers' stand. It was Henry Grady.

The defeat of the National Democratic party in 1868 disheartened the
Southern people, and the old disinclination to take part in politics
seized them stronger than before. In 1870, however, General Toombs
delivered, in different parts of Georgia, a carefully prepared lecture
on the Principles of Magna Charta. It was just the reverse in style and
conception to his fervid Bush Arbor oration. It was submitted to
manuscript and was read from notes at the speakers' stand. With the
possible exception of his Tremont Temple lecture, delivered in Boston in
1856, it was the only one of his public addresses so carefully prepared
and so dispassionately delivered. In his opinion the principles of free
government were drifting away from old landmarks. The times were out of
joint, the people were demoralized. The causes which afterward led to
the great revolt in the Republican ranks in 1872 were already marked in
the quick perception of Toombs, and this admirable state paper was
framed to put the issue before the public in a sober, statesmanlike way,
and to draw the people back to their old moorings. This lecture was
delivered in all the large cities and many of the smaller towns of
Georgia, and had a great effect. Already there had been concerted appeal
to Georgians to cease this political opposition and "accept the
situation." Even statesmen like Mr. Hill had come round to the point of
advising the people to abandon "dead issues." The situation was more
desperate than ever.

In his Magna Charta lecture Mr. Toombs said that Algernon Sidney had
summed up the object of all human wisdom as the good government of the
people. "From the earliest ages to the present time," said he, "there
has been a continued contest between the wise and the virtuous who wish
to secure good government and the corrupt who were unwilling to grant
it. The highest duty of every man, a duty enjoined by God, was the
service of his country." This was the great value of the victory at
Runnymede, with its rich fruits--that rights should be respected and
that justice should be done. "These had never been denied for seven
hundred years, until the present evil days," said Toombs. Magna Charta
had been overridden and trampled underfoot by brave tyrants and evaded
by cowardly ones. There had been ingenious schemes to destroy it. The
men of '76 fought for Magna Charta. These principles had been prominent
in our Constitution until a Republican majority attempted destruction
and civil war. Kings had made efforts to destroy its power and subvert
its influence. Not a single noble family existed in England but which
had lost a member in its defense. Society was organized to protect it,
and all good and true men are required to maintain its teachings. "The
assassins of liberty are now in power, but a reaction is coming. Stand
firm, make no compromise, have nothing to do with men who talk of dead
issues. It is the shibboleth of ruin. Push forward, and make a square
fight for your liberties."

The plain but powerful summary of public obligation had a more lasting
effect than his more fiery appeals. General Toombs was a potent leader
in the campaign, though not himself a candidate or even a voter. General
D. M. DuBose, his law partner, was elected to Congress this year, and
the Democratic party secured a majority in the State Legislature. Among
the men who shared in the redemption of the State Robert Toombs was the
first and most conspicuous.

Some of the best speeches made by General Toombs at this time were
delivered to the farmers at the various agricultural fairs. These were
frequent and, as Judge Reese declared, abounded with wisdom which
caused him years of reflection and observation. He had been reared upon
a farm. His interests, as his sympathies, were with these people. He
remained in active management of his large plantation, Roanoke, in
Stewart County, during the period when he was a member of Congress and
even when he was in the army. Two or three times a year he made visits
to that place and was always in close communication with his overseers.
He loved the work and was a successful farmer. A fondness for gardening
and stock-raising remained with him until his last years. Even in a very
busy and tempestuous life, as he characterized it in speaking to Judge
Reese, a spacious garden, with orchards and vineyards, was to him an
unfailing source of recreation and pleasure.

He writes to his wife of the disasters of the army at Orange Court
House, Va., but finds time to add: "The gardens and fruit are great
additions to the family comfort, and every effort should be made to put
them in the best condition." Writing from Richmond of the condition of
Lee's army in March, 1862, he does not forget to add: "I am sorry to
know that the prospects of the crops are so bad. One of the best
reliances now is the garden. Manure high, work well, and keep planting
vegetables." From Roanoke, in 1863, he writes; "My plantation affairs
are not in as good condition as I would wish. I have lost a great many
sheep, have but few lambs and little wool; cattle poor--all need looking
after." In the midst of the shelling of Atlanta in 1864, he writes from
the trenches to his wife: "Tell Squire to put your cows and Gabriel's in
the volunteer oatfield. Every day we hear cannonading in front."

It was in 1869 that General Toombs made one of his great speeches at the
State fair in Columbus, in the course of which he used this expression;
"The farmers of Georgia will never enjoy general prosperity until they
quit making the West their corncrib and smokehouse." It was in that same
speech that Toombs said, referring to the soldiers of the South;
"Liberty, in its last analysis, is but the sweat of the poor and the
blood of the brave." Most of the great men in Georgia have been reared
in the country. There seems to be something in the pure air, the broad
fields, and even the solitude, conducive to vigor and self-reliance.
Attrition and culture have finished the work laid up by the farmer boy,
and that fertile section of middle Georgia, so rich in products of the
earth, has given greatness to the State.

In August, 1872, General Toombs was invited by the alumni of the
University of Georgia to deliver the annual address during commencement
week. A large crowd was in attendance and the veteran orator received
an ovation. He departed from his usual custom and attempted to read a
written speech. His eyesight had begun to fail him, the formation of a
cataract having been felt with great inconvenience. The pages of the
manuscript became separated and General Toombs, for the first time in
his life, is said to have been embarrassed. He had not read more than
one quarter of his speech when this complication was discovered, and he
was unable to find the missing sheets. Governor Jenkins, who was sitting
on the stage, whispered to him; "Toombs, throw away your manuscript and
go it on general principles." The general took off his glasses, stuffed
the mixed essay into his pocket, and advanced to the front of the stage.
He was received with a storm of applause from the crowd, who had
relished his discomfiture and were delighted with the thought of an
old-time talk from Toombs. For half an hour he made one of his eloquent
and electric speeches, and when he sat down the audience screamed for
more. No one but Toombs could have emerged so brilliantly from this
awkward dilemma.

General Toombs opposed the nomination of Horace Greeley for President by
the National Democratic convention in 1872. Mr. Stephens edited the
Atlanta _Sun_, and these two friends once more joined their great powers
to prevent the consummation of what they regarded as a vast political
mistake. Greeley carried the State by a very reduced majority.

In January, 1873, when Mr. Stephens was defeated for the United States
Senate by General John B. Gordon, General Toombs called a meeting of the
leaders of the eighth district in his room at the Kimball House in
Atlanta, and nominated his friend Alexander Stephens for Congress. He
needed no other indorsement. He was elected and reëlected, and remained
in Congress until he resigned in 1882, to become Governor of Georgia.
Toombs and Stephens never lost their lead as dictators in Georgia

The man in Georgia who suffered most frequently from the criticism of
General Toombs during this eventful period was ex-Governor Joseph E.
Brown. His position in taking his place in the Republican party, in
accepting office, and separating himself from his old friends and
allies, brought down upon him the opprobrium of most of the people. It
was at a time when Charles J. Jenkins had carried away the great seal of
Georgia and refused to surrender it to a hostile government. It was at a
time when Linton Stephens, the most vigorous as the most popular public
man during the reconstruction period, was endeavoring to arouse the
people. Governor Brown's apostasy was unfortunate. No man was then more
execrated by the people who had honored him. His name, for a while, was
a byword and a reproach. Mr. Stephens defended his position as
conscientious if not consistent, and gave Governor Brown the credit for
the purity as well as the courage of his convictions. Governor Brown
bore the contumely with patience. He contended that he could best serve
the State by assuming functions that must otherwise be placed in hostile
hands, and his friends declare to-day that in accepting the amendments
to the Constitution he simply occupied in advance the ground to which
the party and the people were forced to come. But his position did not
compare favorably with that of the prominent Georgians of that day.

The relations of Governor Brown and General Toombs continued strained.
The latter never lost an opportunity to upbraid him in public or in
private, and some of his keenest thrusts were aimed at the plodding
figure of his old friend and ally, as it passed on its lonely way
through the shadows of its long probation.

On one occasion in Atlanta, in July, 1872, General Toombs among other
things referred to a lobby at the legislature in connection with a claim
for the Mitchel heirs. Governor Brown had remained quiet during his long
political ostracism, but he turned upon his accuser now with
unlooked-for severity. He answered the charge by declaring that if
Toombs accused him of lobbying this claim, he was an "unscrupulous
liar." The reply did not attract much attention until it became known
that General Toombs had sent a friend to Governor Brown to know if the
latter would accept a challenge. Colonel John C. Nicholls was the
friend, and Governor Brown returned the answer that when he received the
challenge he would let him know. General Toombs did not push the matter
further. The affair took the form of a newspaper controversy, which was
conducted with much acrimony on both sides. Colonel Nicholls stated in
print his belief that Governor Brown would not have accepted a challenge
but would have used it to Toombs' injury before the people. The prospect
of a duel between these two old men created a sensation at the time. It
would have been a shock to the public sense of propriety to have allowed
such a meeting. It would never have been permitted; but Governor Brown
seems to have been determined to put the issue to the touch. He had
prepared his resignation as a deacon of the Baptist Church, and had
placed his house in order. He seemed to realize that this was the
turning-point of his career, and there is no doubt that General Toombs
gave him the opportunity to appear in a better light than he had done
for a long time; this incident was the beginning of his return to
popularity and influence in Georgia. General Toombs was censured for
provoking Governor Brown into the attitude of expecting a challenge and
then declining to send it.

Both General Toombs and Mr. Stephens were believers in the code of
honor. Mr. Stephens once challenged Governor Herschel V. Johnson, and at
another time he called out Hon. Benjamin H. Hill. General Toombs
peremptorily challenged General D. H. Hill after the battle of Malvern
Hill. In 1859, when United States Senator Broderick was killed by Judge
Terry in California, Mr. Toombs delivered a striking eulogy of Broderick
in the United States Senate. He said; "The dead man fell in honorable
contest under a code which he fully recognized. While I lament his sad
fate, I have no censure for him or his adversary. I think that no man
under any circumstances can have a more enviable death than to fall in
vindication of his honor. He has gone beyond censure or praise. He has
passed away from man's judgment to the bar of the Judge of all the



One of the reforms advocated by General Toombs upon the return of the
white people to the control of the State Government was the adoption of
a new State Constitution. He never tired of declaring that the organic
law of 1868 was the product of "aliens and usurpers," and that he would
have none of it; Georgia must be represented by her own sons in council
and live under a constitution of her own making. In May, 1877, an
election was held to determine the question, and in spite of
considerable opposition, even in the Democratic party, the people
decided, by nine thousand majority, to have a constitutional convention.

On July 10, 1877, that body, consisting of 194 delegates, assembled in
Atlanta to revise the organic law. Charles J. Jenkins was elected
president of the convention. He had been deposed from the office of
Governor of Georgia at the point of the bayonet in 1866. He had carried
the case of the State of Georgia before the national Supreme Court and
contested the validity of the Reconstruction measures. He had carried
with him, when expelled from the State Capitol, the great seal of the
State, which he restored when the government was again remitted to his
own people, and in public session of the two houses of the General
Assembly, Governor Jenkins had been presented with a facsimile of the
great seal, with the fitting words cut into its face, "In Arduis
Fidelis." These words are graven on his monument to-day. He was more
than seventy years of age, but bore himself with vigor and ability.
There was a strong representation of the older men who had served the
State before the war, and the younger members were in full sympathy with
them. It was an unusual body of men--possibly the ablest that had
assembled since the secession convention of 1861. General Toombs, of
course, was the most prominent. He had been elected a delegate from his
senatorial district--the only office he had occupied since the war. His
activity in securing its call, his striking presence, as he walked to
his seat, clad in his long summer duster, carrying his brown straw hat
and his unlighted cigar, as well as his tireless labors in that body,
made him the center of interest. General Toombs was chairman of the
committee on legislation and chairman of the final committee on
revision. This body was made up of twenty-six of the most prominent
members of the convention, and to it were submitted the reports of the
other thirteen committees. It was the duty of this committee to
harmonize and digest the various matters coming before it, and to
prepare the final report, which was discussed in open convention.
General Toombs was practically in charge of the whole business of this
body. He closely attended all the sessions of the convention, which
lasted each day from 8.30 in the morning to 1 o'clock P. M. The entire
afternoons were taken up with the important and exacting work of his
committee of final revision. Frequently it was far into the night before
he and his clerk had prepared their reports. General Toombs was in his
sixty-eighth year, but stood the ordeal well. His facility, his
endurance, his genius, his eloquence and pertinacity were revelations to
the younger men, who knew him mainly by tradition. General Toombs
proposed the only safe and proper course for the convention when he
arose in his place on the floor and declared; "All this convention has
to do is to establish a few fundamental principles and leave the other
matters to the legislature and the people, in order to meet the ever
varying affairs of human life." There was a persistent tendency to
legislate upon details, a tendency which could not be entirely kept
down. There was an element elected to this convention bent upon
retrenchment and reform, and these delegates forced a long debate upon
lowering the salaries of public officers, a policy which finally
prevailed. During the progress of this debate General Toombs arose
impatiently in his place and declared that, "The whole finances of the
State are not included when we are speaking of the Governor's salary,
and you spend more in talking about it than your children will have to
pay in forty years."

Occasionally he was betrayed into one of his erratic positions, as when
he moved to strike out the section against dueling, and also to expunge
from the bill of rights all restrictions upon bearing arms. He said:
"Let the people bear arms for their own protection, whether in their
boots or wherever they may choose."

But his treatment of public questions was full of sound sense and
discretion. He warned the convention that those members who, from
hostility to the State administration, wished to wipe out the terms of
the office-holders and make a new deal upon the adoption of the new
constitution, were making a rash mistake. They would array a new class
of enemies and imperil the passage of the new law. He advocated the
submission of all doubtful questions, like the homestead laws and the
location of the new Capitol, to the people in separate ordinances. He
urged in eloquent terms the enlargement of the Supreme Court from three
justices to five. Having been a champion of the law calling that Court
into being forty years before, he knew its needs and proposed a reform
which, if adopted, would have cut off much trouble in Georgia to-day.

General Toombs was an advocate of the ordinance which took the selection
of the judges and solicitors from the hands of the Governor and made
them elective by the General Assembly. A strong element in the
convention wanted the judiciary elected by the people. A member of the
convention turned to General Toombs during the debate and said; "You
dare not refuse the people this right to select their own judges." "I
dare do anything that is right," replied Toombs. "It is not a reproach
to the people to say that they are not able to do all the work of a
complex government. Government is the act of the people after all." He
reminded the convention that a new and ignorant element had been thrown
in among the people as voters. "We must not only protect ourselves
against them, but in behalf of the poor African," said he, "I would save
him from himself. These people are kind, and affectionate, but their
previous condition, whether by your fault or not, was such as to
disqualify them from exercising the right of self-government. They were
put upon us by people to make good government impossible in the South
for all time, and before God, I believe they have done it."

In answer to the argument that those States which had given the
selection of judges to the people liked it, General Toombs replied that
this did not prove that it was right or best. "It is easy to take the
road to hell, but few people ever return from it." General Toombs
prevailed in this point. He was also the author of the resolution
authorizing the legislature to levy a tax to furnish good substantial
artificial limbs to those who had lost them during the war.

General Toombs declared frequently during the debate that one of his
main objects in going to the convention, and for urging the people to
vote for the call, was to place a clause in the new law prohibiting the
policy of State aid to railroads and public enterprises. He had seen
monstrous abuses grow up under this system. He had noticed that the
railroads built by private enterprise had proven good investments; that
no railroad aided by the State had paid a dividend. He declared that
Georgia had never loaned her credit from the time when Oglethorpe landed
at Yamacraw up to 1866, and she should never do it again. He wanted this
license buried and buried forever. His policy prevailed. State aid to
railroads was prohibited; corporate credit cannot now be loaned to
public enterprises, and municipal taxation was wisely restricted.
General Toombs declared with satisfaction that he had locked the door of
the treasury, and put the key into the pocket of the people.

During the proceedings of this convention an effort was made to open the
courts to review the cases of certain outlawed bonds, which the
legislature had refused to pay, and which the people had repudiated by
constitutional amendment. Impressed by the conviction that certain
classes of these bonds should be paid, the venerable president of the
convention surrendered the chair and pled from his place on the floor
for a judicial review of this question.

No sooner was this solemn and urgent appeal concluded than General
Toombs bounded to the floor. He declared with energy that no power of
heaven or hell could bind him to pay these bonds. The contract was one
of bayonet usurpation. Within a few days the legislature had loaded the
State down with from ten to fifteen millions of the "bogus bonds."

The term "repudiation" was distasteful to many. The bondholders did not
relish it; but he thought it was a good honest word. No one was bound by
these contracts, because they were not the acts of the people. "I have
examined all the facts pertaining to these claims," said Toombs, "and
looking to nothing but the State's integrity, I affirm that the matter
shall go no further without my strenuous opposition. The legislature has
again and again declared the claims fraudulent. The people have spoken.
Let the bonds die." The convention agreed with Toombs.

On the 16th of August the convention, then in the midst of its labors,
confronted a crisis. The appropriation of $25,000 made by the
legislature to meet the expenses of the convention had been exhausted,
and the State Treasurer notified the president that he could not honor
his warrants any further. This was a practical problem. The work mapped
out had not been half done. Many of the delegates were poor men from the
rural districts and were especially dependent upon their _per diem_
during the dull summer season. To proceed required about $1000 per day.
To have crippled this body in its labors would have been a public
calamity. To check upon the public treasury beyond the limit fixed by
law involved a risk which the State Government, not too friendly toward
the convention at best, declined to assume. To raise the money outside
by a private loan presented this risk, that in the case of the rejection
of the constitution, then in embryo, the lender might find himself the
holder of an uncertain claim. The convention, however, was not left long
in doubt. With a heroic and patriotic _abandon_, General Toombs declared
that if Georgia would not pay her debts, he would pay them for her.
Selling a dozen or two United States bonds, he placed the proceeds to
the credit of the president of the convention, who was authorized in
turn to issue notes of $1000 each and deposit them with General Toombs.
The act was spontaneous, whole-souled, dramatic. It saved the convention
and rehabilitated the State with a new constitution. By a rising and
unanimous vote General Toombs was publicly thanked for his
public-spirited act, and the old man, alone remaining in his seat in the
convention hall, covered his face with his hands, and shed tears during
this unusual demonstration.

When the convention had under review the bill of rights, General Toombs
created a breeze in the proceedings by proposing a paragraph that the
legislature should make no irrevocable grants of special privileges or
immunities. The proposition received a rattling fire from all parts of
the house. Governor Jenkins assailed it on the floor as dangerous to
capital and fatal to public enterprise. It was argued that charters were
contracts, and that when railroads or other interests were put upon
notice that their franchise was likely to be disturbed, there would be
an overthrow of confidence and development in Georgia. This was the
first intimation of the master struggle which General Toombs was about
to make, an advance against the corporations all along the line. It was
the picket-firing before the engagement.

General Toombs had made a study of the whole railroad question. He was
a master of the law of corporations. He maintained a peculiar attitude
toward them. He never invested a dollar in their stock, nor would he
accept a place at their council boards. He rarely ever served them as
attorney. When the General Assembly resolved to tax railroads in
Georgia, the State selected General Toombs to prosecute the cases. In
1869 he had argued the Collins case against the Central Railroad and
Banking Company, in which the court had sustained his position that the
proposed action of the Central Road in buying up the stock of the
Atlantic and Gulf Railroad, to control that road, was _ultra vires_. He
had conducted the case of Arnold DuBose against the Georgia Railroad for
extortion in freight charges.

The principles he had gleaned from this laborious record made him
resolve to place restrictions upon corporate power in the new
constitution. The time was ripe for this movement. The Granger
legislation in the West had planted in the organic law of Illinois,
Ohio, and Missouri the policy of government control over the railroads.
The statutes of Pennsylvania also reflected the same principles, and the
Supreme Court of the United States had decided this great case on the
side of the people. General Toombs was master of the legislation on this
subject in England, and had studied the American reports on the right
and duty of the state to regulate railroad companies. He declared, in
proposing this new system, that these laws had been adopted by the most
enlightened governments of the world. "From the days of the Roman Empire
down to the present time," said Toombs, "it has never been denied that
the state has power over the corporations."

At once the State was in an uproar. "Toombs is attempting a new
revolution," was alleged. He was charged with leading an idolatrous
majority into war upon the rights of property. Conservative men like
Jenkins deprecated the agitation. Atlanta was filled with a powerful
railroad lobby, and the press resounded with warning that development of
the waste places of Georgia would be retarded by this unjust and
nefarious warfare. Robert Toombs was not an agrarian. His movement
against the corporations was reënforced by delegates from the small
towns in Georgia, who had suffered from discrimination in favor of the
larger cities. Railroad traffic had been diverted by rigid and ruthless
exactions, and a coterie of delegates from southwest Georgia stood
solidly by Toombs. These debates drew crowds of listeners. From the
galleries hundreds of interested Georgians looked down upon the last
public service of Robert Toombs. He never appeared to finer advantage.
His voice lacked its old-time ring, his beard was gray and his frame was
bent, but he was fearless, aggressive, alert, eloquent. He was master of
the whole subject. Railways, he declared, were public highways. Upon no
other principle could they receive land from the State, under its right
of eminent domain, than that this land was condemned for public and not
for private use. A public highway means that it must be used according
to law. In those States where people have been fighting the
encroachments of public monopolies, it had been found necessary to use
these terms, and Toombs prefaced his agitation with this announcement.

General Toombs did not mince matters. He declared that the rapacious
course of the railroads in Georgia had been spoliation. Monopoly is
extortion. Corporations must either be governed by the law or they will
override the law. Competition is liberty. Keep the hand of the law on
corporations and you keep up competition; keep up competition and you
preserve liberty. It has been argued that the towns and counties in
Georgia had grown rich. That is the same argument that was made in the
English Parliament. They said; "Look at your little colonies, how they
have grown under our care." But the patriotic men of America said; "We
have grown rich in spite of your oppressions." Shall we not restrain
this tax-gatherer who has no judge but himself, no limit but his

General Toombs wanted it placed in the constitution that the legislature
shall pass these laws restricting railroads. He declared he had twice
drawn bills for that purpose; they had passed the House, but crumbled as
though touched with the hand of death when they came to the forty-four
(the Senate). "What," said he, "do I see before me? The grave. What
beyond that? Starving millions of our posterity, that I have robbed by
my action here, in giving them over to the keeping of these
corporations. The right to control these railroads belongs to the State,
to the people, and as long as I represent the people, I will not consent
to surrender it, so help me God!"

The spirit of Toombs dominated that convention. Men moved up the aisle
to take their seats at his feet as he poured out his strong appeal.
One-half of that body was filled with admiration, the other half with
alarm. "It is a sacred thing to shake the pillars upon which the
property of the country rests," said Mr. Hammond of Fulton. "Better
shake the pillars of property than the pillars of liberty," answered
this Georgia Sampson, with his thews girt for the fray. "The great
question is, Shall Georgia govern the corporations or the corporations
govern Georgia? Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve!"

The house rang with applause. Members clustered about the old man as
about the form of a prophet. The majority was with him. The articles
which he had advocated came from the committee without recommendation,
but they were substantially adopted, and are now parts of the supreme
law of the land. The victory was won, and Robert Toombs, grim and
triumphant, closed his legislative career, and claimed this work as the
crowning act of his public labors.

These principles are contained in Article IV. of the State constitution
of Georgia. It declares the right of taxation to be sovereign,
inviolable, and indestructible, and that it shall be irrevocable by the
State; that the power to regulate freight and passenger tariffs and to
prevent unjust discriminations shall be conferred upon the General
Assembly, whose duty it shall be to pass laws for the same; that the
right of eminent domain shall never be abridged; that any amendment to a
charter shall bring the charter under the provisions of the
Constitution; that the General Assembly shall have no authority to
authorize any corporation to buy shares of stock in any other
corporation, which shall have the effect to lessen competition or
encourage monopoly. No railroad shall pay a rebate or bonus.

Under these provisions, the Railroad Commission of Georgia was organized
in 1879. This idea, as it finally worked out, was General Toombs'. He
did not favor fixing the rates in the law, but the creation of such a
commission to carry out these provisions. The present law was framed by
Judge William M. Reese, Hon. Samuel Barnett, Ex-Senator H. D. McDaniel,
and Superintendent Foreacre of the Richmond and Danville Railroad. It
has worked well in Georgia. Twice has the legislature attempted to
remodel it, but the people have rallied to its support and have not
permitted it to be amended in so much as a single clause. It has served
as an example for imitation by other States, and was cited as strong
authority in Congress for the creation of the Inter-State Commerce Law.
The railroad men, after fighting it for ten years, have come round to
acknowledge its value. It has stood as a breakwater between the
corporations and the people. It has guaranteed justice to the citizen,
and has worked no injury to the railroads. Under its wise provisions
Georgia has prospered, and leads the Union to-day in railroad building.
And when, during a recent session of the legislature, an attempt was
made to war upon railroad consolidation, the saving, overmastering,
crowning argument of the railroads themselves was that General Toombs
had already secured protection for the people, and that, under his
masterly handiwork, the rights of property and the rights of the people
were safe.

When the convention had concluded its labors, General Toombs went before
the people and threw himself with enthusiasm into the canvass. He took
the stump, and everywhere his voice was heard in favor of the adoption
of the new organic law. Many of the officers whose term had been cut
off, and whose salaries had been reduced, appeared against the
constitution. General Toombs declared that those public men who did not
approve of the lower salaries might "pour them back in the jug." This
homely phrase became a by-word in the canvass. It had its origin in this
way: In the Creek war, in which "Capt. Robert A. Toombs" commanded a
company made up of volunteers from Wilkes, Elbert, and Lincoln counties,
a negro named Kinch went along as whisky sutler. As he served out the
liquor, some of the soldiers complained of the price he asked. His
answer was, "Well, sir, if you don't like it, sir, pour it back in the

In the State election of December, 1877, the new constitution was
overwhelmingly adopted, and will remain for generations the organic law
of the Empire State of the South.



There never was a public man in America whose home life was more
beautiful or more tender than that of Robert Toombs. As great as were
his public virtues, his lofty character, and abilities, his domestic
virtues were more striking still. He was a man who loved his family. In
1830 he was married to Julia A. Dubose, with whom he lived, a model and
devoted husband, for more than fifty years. She was a lady of rare
personal beauty, attractive manners, and common sense. She shared his
early struggles, and watched the lawyer grow into the statesman and the
leader with unflagging confidence and love. There was never a time that
he would not leave his practice or his public life to devote himself to
her. His heart yearned for her during his long separation in Washington,
when, during the debate upon the great Compromise measures of 1850, he
wrote that he would rather see her than "save the State." He considered
her in a thousand ways. He never disappointed her in coming home, but,
when traveling, always returned when it was possible, just at the time
he had promised. During the exciting scenes attending his first election
to the United States Senate, he writes that he feels too little interest
in the result perhaps for his success, and longs to be at home.
Political honors did not draw him away from his devotion to this good
woman. He never neglected her in the smallest way. His attentions were
as pointed and courtly in her last days as when they were bright-faced
boy and girl, lovers and cousins, in the twenties. During his labors in
the constitutional convention of 1877, he one day wore upon his lapel a
flower she had placed there, and stopping in his speech, paid fitting
tribute to the pure emblem of a woman's love. A man of great deeds and
great temptations, of great passions and of glaring faults, he never
swerved in loyalty to his wedded love, and no influence ever divided his
allegiance there. Writing to her on May 15, 1853, while he was United
States Senator, he says:


      This is your birthday, which you bid me remember, and this
      letter will show you that I have not forgotten it. To-day
      Gus Baldwin and Dr. Harbin dropped in to dinner, and we
      drank your good health and many more returns in health and
      happiness of the 15th of May. I did not tell them that you
      were forty, for it might be that some time or other you
      would not care to have them know it, and I am sure they
      would never suspect it unless told. In truth I can scarcely
      realize it myself, as you are the same lovely and loving,
      true-hearted woman to me, that you were when I made you my
      bride, nearly twenty-three years ago. There is no other
      change except the superior loveliness of the full blown
      over the budding rose. I have thrown my mind this quiet
      Sunday evening over that large segment of human life
      (twenty-three years) since we were married, and whatever of
      happiness memory has treasured up clusters around you. In
      life's struggle I have been what men call fortunate. I have
      won its wealth and its honors, but I have won them by
      labor, and toil, and strife, whose memory saddens even
      success; but the pure joys of wedded love leave none but
      pleasant recollections which one can dwell upon with
      delight. These thoughts are dearer to me than to most men,
      because I know for whatever success in life I may have had,
      whatever evil I may have avoided, or whatever good I may
      have done, I am mainly indebted to the beautiful, pure,
      true-hearted little black-eyed girl, who on the 18th of
      November, 1830, came trustingly to my arms, the sweetest
      and dearest of wives. You need not fear, therefore, that I
      shall forget your birthday. That and our bridal-day are the
      brightest in my calendar, and memory will not easily part
      with them.


So well known was this domestic trait of Mr. Toombs that Bishop Beckwith
of Georgia, in delivering his funeral sermon, declared that "no knight,
watching his sword before the altar, ever made a holier, truer, or purer
vow than when Robert Toombs stood at the marriage altar more than fifty
years ago. The fire that burned upon the altar of his home remained as
pure and unfailing as the perpetual offering of Jerusalem."

Mrs. Toombs was a woman of warm heart and strong convictions. She was
noted for her benevolence and piety, and these she carried through life.
Her Christian example was a steadying influence often in the stormy and
impetuous career of her husband, and finally, when she had closed her
eyes in peace, brought him to the altar where she had worshiped. Her
household and her neighbors loved to be under her influence. No one who
ever saw her fine face, or her lustrous dark eyes, forgot her. Her face
was, in some respects, not unlike that of her husband. It is the best
tribute that can be paid to her to say that for more than fifty years
her influence over so strong a character as that of Robert Toombs was
most potent. In June, 1856, while driving in Augusta, the horses
attached to the carriage ran away, and Mrs. Toombs was thrown from the
vehicle and sustained a fracture of the hip. General Toombs hastened to
Georgia from Congress, and remained incessantly at her bedside for
several weeks. In November, 1880, General and Mrs. Toombs celebrated
their golden wedding, surrounded by their grandchildren and friends. It
was a beautiful sight to see the bride of half a century with a new
wedding ring upon her finger, playing the piano, while the old man of
seventy essayed, like Washington, to dance the minuet. The old couple
survived their three children, and lived to bless the lives of
grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They were fond and affectionate

A friend, who had known them in their own home, describes "the great
fire in the open fire-place; on one side the venerable statesman, with
that head which always seemed to me of such rare beauty; on the other
side, the quiet wife busy with home affairs, her eyes lighting, now and
then, the wonderful conversation that fell from his eloquent lips."

General Toombs was a liberal provider for his family, and his
grandchildren and connections were constant objects of his bounty. Large
sums were spent in charity. No church or benevolent institution appealed
to him in vain. His house was open, and his hospitality was princely and
proverbial. No one was more genial at home. Few prominent persons ever
visited Washington without being entertained by Toombs. His regular
dinners to the bar of the circuit, as, twice a year, the lawyers came to
Washington to court, are remembered by scores of Georgians to-day. On
one occasion when the townspeople were discussing the need of a hotel,
General Toombs indignantly replied that there was no need for any such
place. "If a respectable man comes to town," said he, "he can stay at
my house. If he isn't respectable, we don't want him here at all."

No religious conference could meet in Washington that the Toombs house
was not full of guests. Many Northern people visited the place to hear
the statesman talk. Newspaper correspondents sought him out to listen to
his fine conversation. These people were always sure of the most
courteous treatment, and were prepared for the most candid expression.
General Toombs was not solely a _raconteur_. He did not draw upon his
memory for his wit. The cream of his conversation was his bold and
original comment. His wit flashed all along the line. His speech at
times was droll and full of quaint provincialisms. He treated subjects
spontaneously, in a style all his own. Strangers, who sat near him in a
railroad car, have been enchanted by his sage and spirited conversation,
as his leonine features lighted up, and his irresistible smile and
kindly eye forced good-humor, even where his sentiments might have
challenged dissent. He was the finest talker of his day. A close friend,
who used to visit him frequently at his home, declares that Toombs'
powers did not wait upon the occasion. He did not require an emergency
to bring him out. All his faculties were alert, and in a morning's chat
he would pour out the riches of memory, humor, eloquence, and logic
until the listener would be enthralled by his brilliancy and power. He
delighted to talk with intellectual men and women. He was impatient with
triflers or dolts. He criticised unsparingly, and arraigned men and
measures summarily, but he was a seeker after truth, and even when
severe, was free from malice or envy.

General Toombs was a man of tender sympathies. Distress of his friends
moved him to prompt relief. In 1855 a friend and kinsman, Mr. Pope, died
in Alabama. He had been a railroad contractor and his affairs were much
involved. General Toombs promptly went to his place, bought in his
property for the family, and left the place for the wife and children,
just as it stood. From Mobile he writes a grief-stricken letter to his
wife, December 28, 1855:

      I feel that I must pour out my sorrows to someone, and whom
      else can I look to but to one who, ever faithful and true,
      has had my whole heart from my youth till now? This has
      been one of the dark and sad days of my life. The remains
      of my lost friend Mr. Pope came down on the cars this
      morning. I met them alone at the depot, except Gus. Baldwin
      and the hired hands. This evening I accompanied the remains
      to the boat. Oh, it was so sad to see one whom so many
      people professed to love, in a strange place, conveyed by
      hirelings and deposited like merchandise among the freight
      of a steamboat on the way to his long home. I can scarcely
      write now, at the thought, through the blindness of my own
      tears. As I saw him placed in the appointed spot among the
      strangers and bustle of a departing boat, careless of who
      or what he was, I stole away to the most retired part of
      the boat, to conceal the weakness of friendship and relieve
      my overburdened heart with a flood of tears. I felt it
      would be a profanation of friendship even to be seen to
      feel in such a crowd. But for my overwhelming duty to the
      living I would have taken the boat and gone on with his
      remains. This is the end of the just in this world. He was
      a good and an upright man; never gave offense to a human
      being. His family are ruined, but his only fault was want
      of judgment, and too great confidence in his kind. He could
      not make money, and it really seemed that his every effort
      to do so plunged him deeper into debt. His great fault was
      a concealment of his own difficulties and trials. I would
      have done anything to have relieved them upon a full
      disclosure. He was idolized at home, and I have wept at the
      sorrows of the poor people in his employment, upon the very
      mention of his death. I know I cannot control my grief and
      am sensitive of my own weakness. I could not find relief
      without pouring out my sorrows to you. There let them rest.


General Toombs resided in a three-story frame house in Washington, built
after the manner of the olden time, with the spacious piazza, heavy
columns, the wide door, and the large rooms. He lived in ease and
comfort. He was an early riser, and after breakfast devoted himself to
business or correspondence. At midday he was accessible to visitors, and
rarely dined alone. In the afternoon he walked or drove. At night he sat
in his arm-chair at his fireside, and in his lips invariably carried an
unlit cigar. Smoking did not agree with him. While in Europe he
delighted to test the tobacco of the different countries, but the
practice always gave him pain above the eyes. His last attempt was in
the army of Virginia. Convinced that smoking injured him, he never
resumed it. Fond of his dry smoke, he had a peculiar cigar made to
order, very closely wrapped, with fine tobacco.

General Toombs made frequent trips away from home, even during the
latter part of his life. The State retained his services in important
cases. One of his last public acts was the prosecution of certain
railway companies for back taxes. He recovered thousands of dollars to
the State. He was summoned to Atlanta in 1880 to prosecute a defaulting
State treasurer. He appeared very feeble, but his speech was a model of
clearness and logic. During the latter part of his life there was a
return of his early fault of quick, nervous, compressed speech. He
grasped only the great hillocks of thought and left the intervening
ground to be filled by the listener. His terse, rapid style was
difficult to follow. As a presiding judge said, "His leaps are like a
kangaroo's, and his speech gave me the headache." But his argument in
the Jack Jones case was a model of eloquence and convincing law. A large
number of friends attended the court, convinced that General Toombs was
nearing the end of his great career, and were astounded at the manner
in which he delivered his argument. As he concluded his address he
turned in his place and caught the eye of Rev. Father J. M. O'Brien, an
old friend of his. "Why, Father O'Brien," he said, wringing his hand, "I
am glad to see you taking an interest in this case. These people are
trying to usurp your functions. They want to grant the defendant
absolution." "But, General," replied the quick-witted priest, "even I
could not grant absolution until he had made restitution." "That's the
doctrine," said the delighted lawyer, pleased to find that the point of
his speech had taken so well. His face was all aglow with the _gaudia
certaminis_ of the forum. This was his last appearance in court, and he
won his case.

His mother Georgia claimed his allegiance always, and he gave her his
last and best powers. He worked for the commonwealth, and gave the
people more than he ever received in return.

In Augusta, in 1871, when he appeared before the Georgia Railroad
Commission and arraigned the lease of the State road as illegal and
unhallowed, he declared in a burst of indignation; "I would rather be
buried at the public expense than to leave a dirty shilling." It was the
acme of his desire to live and die like a gentleman.

He had always been a safe financier. Scorning wealth, he had early found
himself wealthy. It is estimated that he made more than a million
dollars by his law practice after the war. He spent his money freely,
careful always to avoid debt. Further than this, he kept no account of
his means. Like Astor, he invested much of his holdings in land, and
owned a large number of fine plantations in middle Georgia. When he died
his estate probably reached two hundred thousand dollars.



No just biography of Robert Toombs can be written that does not take
into notice the blemishes as well as the brightness of his character. He
was a man on a grand scale. His virtues were heroic, his faults were
conspicuous. No man despised hypocrisy more than he did, and no one
would have asked any sooner to be painted as he was, without
concealment. During the latter part of his life, many people knew him
principally by his faults. Few knew what the wayward Prince Hal of the
evening had been to King Henry in the morning hour. Like Webster and
Clay, he was made up of human frailty. As his intimate friend, Samuel
Barnett, said of him: "In spite of splendid physique, a man of blood and
passion, he was not only a model of domestic virtue, but he avoided the
lewd talk to which many prominent men are addicted. A fine sportsman and
rider, a splendid shot, he was nothing of the racer or gamester. After
all, he was more of a model than a warning." Among his faults, the one
which exaggerated all the others, was his use of ardent liquors. This
habit grew upon him, especially after the failure of the war. A proud,
imperious nature, accustomed to great labors and great responsibilities,
was left without its main resource and supplied with the stimulus of
wine. No man needed that stimulus less than he did. His was a manhood
vibrant in age with the warm blood of youth, and always at its best when
his spirits and intellect alone were at play. He was easily affected by
the smallest indulgence. When he measured himself with others, glass for
glass, the result was distressing, disastrous. The immediate effect of
excess was short. The next morning his splendid vitality asserted
itself, and he was bright and clear as ever. The habit, however, grew
upon him. The want of a physical check was bad. This was the worst of
all his faults, and was exaggerated by special circumstances. It was
less indulged in at home and greatly circulated abroad. Frequently the
press reporters would surround him and expose in the papers a mere
caricature of him. His talk, when under the influence of wine, was racy,
extravagant, and fine, and his sayings too often found their way into
print. In this way great injustice was done to the life and character of
Robert Toombs, and Northern men who read these quaint sayings and
redolent vaporings formed a distorted idea of the man.

To a Northern correspondent who approached him during one of these
periods, General Toombs said: "Yes, a gentleman whose intelligence
revolts at usurpations must abstain from discussing the principles and
policies of your Federal government, or receive the kicks of crossroad
sputterers and press reporters; must either lie or be silent. They know
only how to brawl and scrawl 'hot-head' and 'impolitic maniac.' Why, my
free negroes know more than all your bosses. Now, damn it, put that in
your paper."

Robert Toombs was built to live ninety years, and to have been, at
Gladstone's age, a Gladstone in power. He took little pains to explain
his real nature. He seemed to take pains to conceal or mislead. He
appeared at times to hide his better and expose his worse side. If he
had been Byron, he would have put forward his deformed foot. He was
utterly indifferent to posthumous fame. Time and again he was asked to
have his letters and speeches compiled for print, but he would never
hear of it. He waived these suggestions away with the sententious
remark, "that his life was written on the pages of his country's
history." With all his faults, his were strong principles and generous
impulses. "We know something of what he yielded, but we know nothing of
what he resisted." Include his strength and his weakness and measure him
by other men, and we have a man of giant mold.

One who was very near to Toombs in his last days said of him when he was
dead: "It was a thing of sorrow to see this majestic old man pausing to
measure his poor strength with a confirmed habit, rising, struggling,
falling, and praying as he drifted on."

General Toombs used to say that Webster was the greatest man he ever
knew, that Clay managed men better, and Calhoun was the finest logician
of the century. "The two most eloquent men I ever heard were Northern
men," said he; "Choate and Prentiss." "Pierce," he used to say, "was the
most complete gentleman I ever saw in the White House. He was clever and
correct. Zachary Taylor was the most ignorant. It was amazing how little
he knew. Van Buren was shrewd rather than sagacious. Tyler was a
beautiful speaker, but Webster declared that a man who made a pretty
speech was fit for nothing else."

Toombs met Abraham Lincoln while he was in Congress. He related that Mr.
Lincoln once objected to sitting down at table because he was the
thirteenth man. Toombs told him that it was better to die than to be a
victim to superstition. At the Hampton Roads Conference, President
Lincoln expressed to Judge Campbell his confidence in the honesty and
ability of Robert Toombs. He was a great reader. General Toombs often
said that if the whole English literature were lost, and the Bible and
Shakespeare remained, letters would not be much the poorer. Shakespeare
was his standard. He was fond of Swedenborg, and in his early youth
relished Tom Paine.

General Toombs had a great affinity for young men, upon whom he exerted
a great influence. He once said to a party of friends that gambling was
the worst of evils because it impoverished the pocket while it corrupted
the mind. "How about drinking, General?" he was asked. "Well, if a man
is old and rich he may drink, for he will have the sympathy of his sober
friends and the support of his drinking ones."



In 1880 General Toombs appeared in Atlanta, and addressed the Georgia
Legislature in behalf of the candidacy of General A. R. Lawton for the
United States Senate. His appearance, as he walked up the aisle, grim,
venerable, and determined, awoke wild applause. He preserved his power
of stirring the people whenever he spoke, but his speech was not as racy
and clear as it had been. "This was one of the occasions," to quote from
a distinguished critic of Toombs, "when the almost extinct volcano
glowed again with its wonted fires--when the ivy-mantled keep of the
crumbling castle resumed its pristine defiance with deep-toned culverin
and ponderous mace; when, amid the colossal fragments of the tottering
temple, men recognized the unsubdued spirit of Samson Agonistes."

His last public speech was in September, 1884, when the people of
Washington carried him the news of Cleveland's election to the
Presidency. He came to his porch and responded briefly, almost
inaudibly, to the serenade, but he was full of the gratification which
Southern people felt over that event. He declared that he did not know
that there was enough manhood in the country as to break loose from
party ties and elect a President. The fact had revived his hope for the
whole country. He had, before this, taken a gloomy view of the nation.
He had, on one occasion, declared that the injection into the body
politic of three million savages had made good government forever
impossible. He had afterward said that the American Constitution rested
solely upon the good faith of the people, and that would hardly bind
together a great people of diverse interests. "Since 1850," he once
said, "I have never believed this Union to be perpetual. The experience
of the last war will deter any faction from soon making an effort at
secession. Had it not been for this, there would have been a collision
in 1876." But the election of Cleveland he regarded as a national,
rather than a sectional victory--a non-partisan triumph in fact; and it
was at this time, the first occasion since the war, that he expressed
regret that he had not regained his citizenship and gone back into
public life.

But his great power had begun to wane. His tottering gait and hesitating
speech pointed unmistakably to speedy dissolution. The new-born hope for
his country came just as his steps neared "the silent, solemn shore of
that vast ocean he must sail so soon."

In March, 1883, General Toombs was summoned to Atlanta to attend the
funeral of his lifelong friend Mr. Stephens. The latter had been an
invalid for forty years, but was kept in active life by the sheer force
of his indomitable will. Emerging from the war a prisoner, he had
finally secured his release and had been elected United States Senator.
Being prevented from taking his seat, he had returned home and finished
his constitutional review of the "War Between the States." In 1873 he
had been reëlected to Congress, where he had remained for ten years,
resigning this position to accept the nomination for Governor of
Georgia, which his party had offered him at a critical moment. It had
been the desire of the "Great Commoner" to "die in harness," and there
is no doubt that his close attention to the arduous duties of Governor
hastened his death. Thousands of Georgians repaired to the State Capitol
to honor his memory, but he who attracted most attention was the gray
and grief-stricken companion who stood by the coffin of the man he had
honored for fifty years. Mr. Stephens, in his diary, recalls the fact
that his first meeting with Mr. Toombs was in court, when the latter
generously offered to lend him money and look after his practice so that
Stephens could take a trip for his health.

Like Damon and Pythias, these two men were bound by the strongest ties.
They entered public life together in the General Assembly of Georgia.
Together they rode the circuits as young attorneys, and each was
rewarded about the same time with a seat in the national councils. Both
were conspicuous in the _ante-bellum_ agitation, and both were prominent
in the Civil War. As age advanced their relations were closer still.

General Toombs at the funeral of his friend pronounced a eulogium on the
dead. His words were tremulous, and the trooping, tender memories of
half a century crowded into the anguish of that moment. Toombs and
Stephens, so long united in life, were not long parted in death.

In September, 1883, Mrs. Toombs died at her summer residence in
Clarkesville, Ga. Their devoted friend, Dr. Steiner, was with them at
the time, and rendered the double offices of family physician and
sympathetic friend. Between these two men there had been a warm and long
friendship. Dr. Steiner talked with General Toombs about his spiritual
condition. A godly man himself, the doctor thought that he might remove
any doubts that might linger in the mind of the stricken husband. He was
gratified to hear that the way was clear. "Why, doctor," said General
Toombs, "I am a prayerful man. I read the Bible and the Prayer Book
every day." "Then why not be baptized, General?" "Baptize me, doctor,"
was his prompt reply. Dr. Steiner answered that there was no immediate
need of that. The general was in good health. Dr. Steiner had baptized
patients, he said, but it was in times of emergency. It was the desire
of General Toombs to be baptized at the bedside of his wife. In a short
time Robert Toombs was in communion with the Southern Methodist Church.
It was his wife's beautiful example, "moving beside that soaring, stormy
spirit, praying to God for blessings on it," which brought him to a
confession of his faith, and left him in full fellowship with God's

General Toombs' health commenced visibly to fail after his wife's death,
and the loss of Mr. Stephens made life lonely. His younger brother
Gabriel, himself in the shadow of a great affliction, was with him
constantly. They were devotedly attached to each other. Mr. Gabriel
Toombs is, in personal appearance, very much like his brother. The long,
iron-gray hair, brushed straight out from his head, reminds one of
Robert Toombs. He is smaller in stature, and is a man of strong
abilities, even temperament, and well-balanced mind. His brother had
great regard for his business judgment and political sagacity, and often
consulted him on public matters. These men lived near each other in
Washington, their families grew up together, and General Toombs regarded
his brother's children almost as he did his own.

On the 30th of September, 1885, Robert Toombs was confined to his house
by illness. It was a general breaking down of his whole system. It was
evident that he was nearing his end. During his last illness his mind
would wander, and then his faculties would return with singular
clearness. He suffered little pain. As Henry Grady said of him, it
seemed that this kingly power and great vitality, which had subdued
everything else, would finally conquer death. His ruling instinct was
strong in dissolution. He still preserved to the last his faculty of
grasping with ease public situations, and "framing terse epigrams, which
he threw out like proverbs."

During one of his lucid intervals he asked for the news. He was told;
"General, the Georgia Legislature has not yet adjourned."

"Lord, send for Cromwell," he answered, as he turned on his pillow.

Another time he was told that the Prohibitionists were holding an
election in the town. "Prohibitionists," said he, "are men of small

His mind at this period dwelt mainly on serious thoughts. The Bible was
read to him daily. He was perfectly aware of his condition. He said to
Dr. Steiner: "Looking over my broad field of life, I have not a
resentment. I would not pang a heart."

He talked in his delirium of Mr. Stephens and Dr. Steiner. The latter
recalled him and said: "General, I am here by your side; Mr. Stephens,
you know, has crossed over the river." Coming to himself, he said: "Yes,
I know I am fast passing away. Life's fitful fever will soon be over. I
would not blot out a single act of my life."

Dr. Steiner declared that he never before realized so fully the
appropriateness of Mr. Stephens' tribute to Toombs; "His was the
greatest mind I ever came in contact with. Its operations, even in its
errors, remind me of a mighty waste of waters."

When the time came for Dr. Steiner to return to his home in Augusta,
General Toombs bade him good-by. "I am sorry," said he, "the hour is
come. I hope we shall meet in a better place."

After Thursday, December 10, General Toombs did not regain
consciousness. On Monday, December 15, 1885, at 6 o'clock P. M., he
breathed his last. Just as the darkness of a winter evening stole over
the land the great spirit of the statesman walked into eternal light.

He was buried on Thursday, December 18, at twelve o'clock. The funeral
exercises were held in the little brick Methodist church where his wife
and daughter had worshiped.

The funeral was simple, according to his wishes. A large number of
public men in Georgia attended the services. Dr. Hillyer, a prominent
Baptist divine and classmate of General Toombs, assisted in the
services. Rt. Rev. John W. Beckwith, Episcopal Bishop of Georgia, who
had been his closest religious adviser after the death of the Methodist
Bishop George F. Pierce, delivered a beautiful eulogium.

The remains were interred in the Washington cemetery, by the side of the
body of his wife. A handsome marble shaft, bearing the simple and
speaking inscription "Robert Toombs," marks the spot which is sacred to
all Georgians.


       *       *       *       *       *


 Abolitionists, election of "Independent Democrats" by, 109;
   in campaign of 1856, 140;
   effect of Dred Scott case on, 159

 Achison, David R., leader in U. S. Senate, 107

 Act of 1789, claim for enforcement of, 73-76

 Adams, John Q., compact with Clay, 14;
   charge of corruption against, 55;
   member of Twenty-ninth Congress, 56

 Alabama, delegates withdraw from Charleston convention, 177;
   secession of, 213;
   escape through, 301-303

 _Alabama_, escape on the, 305

 Alexander, W. F., joins in European trip, 125;
   appointed Quartermaster-major, 237

 Alexander, Mrs. W. F., death, 312

 Aliens, Toombs' welcome for, 150, 151

 Alps, visit to the, 126

 American party, rise, 121;
   opposed and denounced by Toombs, 124, 128, 147, 149;
   successes and defeats in 1855, 128;
   nominates Fillmore, 140;
   opposition to Toombs' party, 143;
   principles, 148;
   nominates Hill for governorship of Georgia, 155;
   downfall, 158

 Amsterdam, visit to, 126

 Anderson, Major, besieged at Fort Sumter, 227-229

 Andrews, Judge, defeated for governorship of Georgia, 128

 Andrews' Grove, debate between Toombs and Hill in, 145-152

 Antietam, battle of, 262-269

 Anti-railroad agitation, 26

 Appleton, Nathan, entertains Toombs at Boston, 130

 Appleton, William, entertains Toombs at Boston, 130

 Arkansas, delegates leave Charleston convention, 177;
   secedes, 233

 Army Appropriation bill, debate between Toombs and Davis on, 247-249

 Army of Northern Virginia, 5, 262

 Army of Potomac, defeated before Richmond, 246

 Articles of Confederation, bearing on slavery question, 132

 Athens, University at, 7-12

 Atlanta, quarrel between Stephens and Cone in, 62;
   in the field before, 276;
   political meeting at, 324

 _Atlanta Sun_, edited by Stephens, 332

 Atlantic cable, opposes appropriation for, 194

 Augusta, Ga., speeches at, 47-50, 165-168

 _Augusta Chronicle and Sentinel_, defends Toombs, 186

 Baltimore, delegate to Clay convention at, 46;
   Whig convention at, 97;
   Democratic convention at, 97

 Baltimore convention, the, action in regard to Georgia delegations, 182

 Banking, position on, 33, 39

 Bank of the United States, 32

 Bar, admission to the, 13

 Barnett, Samuel, frames railroad law, 351;
   tribute to Toombs, 364

 Bartow, Francis S., deputy to Provisional Congress, 215

 Bayard, James A., leader in U. S. Senate, 107;
   member of Charleston convention, 176;
   presides over seceders from Charleston convention, 178

 Beaverdam Creek, 3

 Beckwith, Bishop John W., eulogium on Toombs, 355, 376

 Bell, John, leader in U. S. Senate, 107;
   vote on Kansas-Nebraska bill, 115;
   nominated for Presidency, 183;
   vote in Georgia for, 184

 Benjamin, Judah P., Attorney General of Confederate States, 221;
   legal practice in England, 310

 Benning, Col., assumes command of Toombs' brigade, 268

 Benton, Thomas H., on disunion, 81

 Berrien, John M., censured by Georgia Democrats, 39;
   represents Georgia in U. S. Senate, 68;
   in campaign of 1851, 93, 94

 Bill of Rights, in Constitutional convention, 345

 Bird, Edge, reunion with Toombs, 298, 299

 Black, Edward J., opposes Toombs in campaign of 1844, 53

 Blaine, J. G., characterization of Toombs' farewell
     speech in Senate, 205;
   on bombardment of Sumter, 229;
   on ravages of Confederate ships, 232;
   objects to Toombs' restoration to citizenship, 313

 Blair, Frank P., nominated for Vice-presidency, 324

 Blockade of Southern ports, 229

 Bonds, repudiation of outlawed, 343, 344

 Boston, lecture in, 129-135

 _Boston Journal_, on Toombs' lecture, 131

 Boyd Amendment, 80

 Braddock, Gen., massacre of his command, 1

 Bragg, Gen., opposed by Toombs and Linton Stephens, 274

 Breckenridge, John C., elected vice president, 152;
   nominated for Presidency, 183;
   vote in Georgia for, 184;
   last attendance at Confederate Cabinet, 282

 Bright, John, restrains recognition of Confederacy, 232, 233

 Broderick, Senator, eulogized by Toombs, 336

 Brooks, Preston S., assaults Sumner, 141, 142;
   reëlected, 142

 Brown, John, raid on Harper's Ferry, 169;
   execution, 169;
   influence of, 170;
   Toombs' characterization of his raid, 172, 173

 Brown, Joseph E., nominated for governorship of Georgia, 154;
   rise of, 156, 157;
   supported by Toombs, 157;
   ability, 158;
   elected governor, 158;
   candidate for reëlection to governorship, 166;
   seizes Fort Pulaski, 214;
   opposes Conscription and Impressment Acts, 273;
   commended by Toombs, 278;
   parting with Toombs, 281;
   joins Republican party, 290;
   strained relations with Toombs, 333-336

 Browne, W. M., Confederate Assistant Secretary of State, 237

 Brussels, visit to, 126

 Buchanan, James, on Kansas-Nebraska bill, 114, 115;
   nominated for Presidency, 141;
   elected, 152;
   position on Territorial question, 159;
   dissolution of Cabinet, 199

 Bullock, Gov., 317, 320, 321

 Bunker Hill Monument, denial of speech about slave roll-call, at, 119

 Burt, Armistead, member of Twenty-ninth Congress, 56

 Bush Arbor meeting, 324-327

 Butler, Benjamin F., member of Charleston convention, 176

 Butler, Senator, Sumner's strictures on, 142

 Calhoun, John C., compared with Toombs, 14;
   as a lawyer, 16;
   conflict with Jackson, 29;
   admiration of Toombs for, 31, 104, 367;
   railroad schemes of, 41;
   arraigned for the "sugar letter," 46;
   characterization of acquired Mexican territory, 67;
   last efforts of, 68, 79, 107

 California, acquisition of, 67;
   question of admission of, 77-81, 85;
   Toombs' ideas on exclusion of slavery from, 91;
   supports the South in Charleston convention, 177

 Cameron, Simon, criticised by Toombs, 197

 Canada, favors purchase of, 195

 Caribbean Sea, advocates making a _mare clausum_, 196

 Carlyle, Thomas, view of the Civil War, 233;
   Toombs' interviews with, 310

 Cass, Lewis, defeated for the Presidency, 63;
   leader in U. S. Senate, 107;
   enmity to, by Northern men, 118

 Catlett, Miss, 3

 Central America, favors purchase of, 195

 Centreville, Johnston's advance to, 238;
   Toombs' retreat from, 239;
   escape of Toombs through, 292

 Chandler, Daniel, 9

 Charles I., legend of Toombs' ancestors and, 1, 2, 156

 Charleston, S. C., Yancey's speech in, 178;
   excitement at bombardment of Sumter, 227

 Charleston convention, the, 175-181

 Charlton, Robert M., Democratic leader, 51;
   opposition to Toombs, 95

 Chase, Salmon P., represents Ohio in U. S. Senate, 68, 107;
   an "Independent Democrat," 109;
   vote on Kansas-Nebraska bill, 115

 Chattahoochee River, Toombs' escape by, 301

 Chenault, Nick, 288

 Cherokee County, sends Brown to State Senate, 157

 Chickahominy River, Johnston's retreat behind, 245

 Chickamauga, dispute between Gen. Hill and Gen. Walker
     at battle of, 258, 259

 Choate, Rufus, Toombs on, 367

 Cilley duel, the, 55

 Cincinnati Platform of 1856, 141, 165

 Civil war, Toombs' horror of, 120;
   opening of the, 227

 Clarke, Gen. John, feud with Crawford, 29, 30

 Clarkesville, Ga., summer residence at, 372

 Clay, Henry, 14;
   Toombs' opinion of, 38, 50, 104, 367;
   nominated for Presidency, 46;
   Compromise measures, 52, 79;
   opposition to, in campaign of 1844, 54, 55;
   popularity, 55;
   position in campaign of 1848, 60;
   opinion on disposition of acquired territory, 67;
   last efforts of, 68;
   the "Omnibus bill," 80;
   death, 107;
   denies framing the Missouri Compromise, 113;
   position on internal improvements, 188;
   his loss felt, 201

 Clay and Adams compact, the, 14

 Clayton Compromise, the, 61, 62, 64

 Cleveland, Grover, Toombs' speech on election of, 370

 Cobb, Gov. Howell, as a lawyer, 16, 20, 21;
   Democratic leader, 51;
   member of Twenty-ninth Congress, 56;
   elected Speaker of House of Representatives, 69;
   position on admission of California, 81;
   position on disunion, 82;
   nominated for governorship, 86;
   characteristics of, 87;
   in campaign of 1851, 92;
   elected governor, 93;
   opinion of Joseph E. Brown, 155;
   indorses seceders from Charleston convention, 179;
   prominence of, 186;
   deputy to Provisional Congress, 215;
   president of Provisional Congress, 216;
   addresses meeting at Atlanta, 324

 Cobb, Thomas R. R., zeal for secession, 212;
   deputy to Provisional Congress, 215

 Cobb, Thomas W., guardian of Robert Toombs, 7, 8

 College discipline, 8, 9

 Collins _v._ Central R. R. & Banking Co., case argued by Toombs, 346

 Colquitt, Walter T., elected U. S. Senator, 38;
   Democratic leader, 51

 Columbia County, legal practice in, 15

 Columbia River, boundary line of, 57

 Commerce, Toombs' views on the power to regulate, 189

 Committee on Banking, General Assembly, chairman of, 33

 Committee on Internal Improvements, General Assembly, member of, 33;
   chairman of, 40

 Committee on State of the Republic, General Assembly, chairman of, 33

 Committees, views on legislation through, 196

 Compromise bill, the, 52

 Compromise of 1850, the, 67-82;
   indorsed by Whig and Democratic conventions at Baltimore, 97;
   Gen. Scott's position on, 103

 Cone, Francis H., as a lawyer, 16;
   opposed to Toombs at the bar, 25;
   quarrel with Stephens, 62

 Confederacy, last days of the, 280-284

 Confederate commissioners, mission to Washington, 222-224;
   sent to Europe, 229

 Confederate navy, captures by, 232

 Confederate States, preparation of Constitution for, 219, 220;
   appointment of Cabinet, 221;
   last meeting of Cabinet, 282

 Conscription and Impressment Acts, opposition to, 272, 273

 Constitutional Union party, 81, 93, 183

 Constitutional convention, and the new constitution of Georgia, 337-352

 Conventions, Toombs' opinion of, 103, 104, 106

 Corporations, attitude toward, 346

 Crawford, George W., as a lawyer, 16;
   resolution in Whig convention of 1848, 60;
   connection with the Golphin claim, 65;
   retirement of, 66;
   presides over State Sovereignty convention, 209

 Crawford, Martin J., deputy to Provisional Congress, 215;
   Confederate commissioner to Washington, 222

 Crawford, William H., career, 13, 14, 16;
   feud with Clarke, 29, 30;
   heads Whig electoral ticket in Georgia, 1848, 60

 Creek War, Toombs' service in, 32;
   anecdote of sutler, 352

 _Creole_, Toombs' escape on the, 303, 304

 Crittenden Compromise, the, 202, 203

 Cuba, favors purchase of, 195, 196;
   arrival in, 307

 Cumberland Gap, railroad scheme for, 41

 Cumming, Major J. B., 259

 Cummings Point battery, fires on Fort Sumter, 227

 Cushing, Caleb, president of Charleston convention, 175;
   resigns chairmanship of Baltimore convention, 182;
   presides over seceders from Baltimore convention, 183

 Dallas, George M., attitude on tariff question, 50;
   Georgia's vote for, 55

 Danburg, letter from Toombs to constituents at, 199-201

 Davis, Col., quarrel with Henry Clay, 54, 55

 Davis, Jefferson, Toombs' advice to, 23;
   member of Twenty-ninth Congress, 56;
   on Toombs' financial ability, 59;
   represents Mississippi in U. S. Senate, 68;
   defeated by Foote, 97;
   debate with Douglas on popular sovereignty, 163, 164;
   personal traits, 163;
   Senate resolutions concerning Southern principles, 181;
   election to Presidency of Confederate States, 217, 218;
   appoints his Cabinet, 221;
   belief in Seward, 223;
   Toombs' opinion of, 241, 242, 246;
   debate with Toombs on Army Appropriation bill, 247-249;
   policy and character of, 274, 275;
   attends last meeting of Confederate Cabinet, 281, 282;
   tribute to Toombs, 284;
   arrest of, 284;
   last meeting with Toombs, 284, 285;
   in irons, 298

 Davis, John W., elected Speaker of Twenty-ninth Congress, 56

 Dawson, William C., as a lawyer, 16;
   candidate for governor of Georgia, 37;
   enters U. S. Senate, 68

 Deas, Joseph, aids Toombs' escape, 296

 Declaration of Independence, position on slavery question, 132

 Declaration of Paris, accepted by Confederate government, 231

 Delaware delegates leave Charleston convention, 177

 Democratic party, strength in Georgia, 30;
   supports central bank scheme, 38;
   censures Senator Berrien, 39;
   criticised, 48;
   carries additional protection measure, 51;
   attempt to defeat Toombs by, in 1848, 63, 64;
   elects Cobb Speaker of House, 69;
   joint action with Whigs in Georgia, 85;
   convention at Baltimore, 97;
   loss of House majority, 121;
   nominates Buchanan, 141;
   nominates Brown for governor of Georgia, 154;
   split over Territorial question, 166, 167;
   demand for new plank in platform, 167;
   split among Georgia Democrats, 182;
   success in State legislature, 329

 Depreciation of currency, 31

 District of Columbia, Clay's proposed abolition of slave trade in, 79;
   amendment as to slavery in, 202

 Disunion, opposition to, 81;
   clamor for, 83

 Dooly, Judge, 14

 "Door sill" speech, the, 170-174

 Dougherty, Robert, 9

 Douglas, Stephen A., member of Twenty-ninth Congress, 56;
   enters U. S. Senate, 68;
   leader in U. S. Senate, 107;
   introduces Kansas-Nebraska bill, 108, 109;
   second bill on Kansas-Nebraska question, 109;
   burned in effigy, 115;
   Presidential aspirations, 140, 161;
   debate with Lincoln, 161, 162;
   accused of participation in assault on Sumner, 142, 143;
   eulogized by Toombs, 148, 149, 164, 165, 167;
   opposes Lecompton constitution, 160;
   indorses Dred Scott decision, 160;
   reëlected to U. S. Senate, 162, 163;
   views on popular sovereignty, 163, 164;
   resolution for protection of States against invasion, 170-172;
   rupture with Toombs, 181;
   nominated for Presidency, 182;
   vote in Georgia for, 184

 Dred Scott case, 159

 Droomgoole, George C., member of Twenty-ninth Congress, 56

 Du Bose, Dudley M., Toombs' adjutant-general, 237;
   forms partnership with Toombs, 316;
   sent to Congress, 329

 Du Bose, Mrs. Dudley M., death of, 310

 Du Bose _v._ Georgia Railroad, case argued by Toombs, 346

 Du Quesne, Fort, massacre at, 1

 Eberhart case, the, 25, 26

 Elbert County, admission to bar in, 13;
   legal practice in, 15, 16, 22, 23;
   popularity in, 22;
   escape through, 288, 289, 292

 Elberton, Ga., speech at, 89

 Electoral vote, views on counting, 193, 194

 Emigrant Aid Societies, 115-118, 159

 Enghien, visit to, 309

 England, introduction of slavery into Colonies by, 134

 English compromise on Lecompton constitution, 164

 Eugénie, Empress, Toombs' interviews with, 310

 Europe, trip in, 125-128;
   hesitation of powers in regard to the Confederacy, 233

 Evans, Augusta J., aids Toombs' escape, 302, 303

 Evans, Howard, aids Toombs' escape, 302, 303

 Everett, Edward, nominated for Vice-presidency, 183

 Fanning, Welcome, 6

 Felton, W. H., opposition to, 105

 "Fifty-four forty, or fight," 57

 Fillmore, Millard, nominated for Vice-presidency, 60;
   on repeal of Missouri Compromise, 115;
   nominated for Presidency, 140;
   Toombs' characterization of, 149, 150;
   electoral vote for, 152

 Finance Committee of Provisional Congress, chairman of, 220

 Fish, Hamilton, vote on Kansas-Nebraska bill, 115

 Fitzpatrick, Gov., declines nomination for Vice-presidency, 182

 Florida, delegates leave Charleston convention, 177;
   secession of, 213

 Foote, Henry S., represents Mississippi in U. S. Senate, 68;
   elected governor of Mississippi, 97;
   contest with Davis in Mississippi, 163

 "Forbidden Fruit," 67

 Force bill, the, 51

 Foreacre, Supt., frames railroad law, 351

 Forensic eloquence, 18, 21, 24, 25, 27, 28, 361

 Forsyth, John, Confederate commissioner to Washington, 222

 Forsythe, John C., attitude on the Compromise bill, 52

 Forts. See their names.

 France, Mexican schemes, 233;
   political events in, 309, 310

 Franklin College, 6-12

 Franklin County, legal practice in, 16

 Freemasons, joins the, 289

 Freeport, Ill., debate between Lincoln and Douglas at, 161, 162

 Free-Soil party, 89

 Free-Soil settlers, 115, 116

 Frémont, John C., nominated for Presidency, 140;
   electoral vote for, 152

 French, Capt. H. L., account of Toombs at second battle
     of Manassas, 261

 Fugitive-Slave law, Clay's proposed, 79;
   the Georgia platform, 86;
   indorsed by Whig convention at Baltimore, 97;
   Webster's attitude on, 100;
   allusion to, in Boston lecture, 131

 Fugitive-Slave laws, passage of new, 170;
   proposed amendments, 202;
   demands of the South as to, 206

 Fulton, Col. M. C., narrow escape of, 304

 Gardner, James, candidate for governorship of Georgia, 157

 Garrison, W. L., denunciation of U. S. Constitution, 129

 General Assembly, service in the, 17, 30-46;
   vote for Speaker in, 33

 Geneva, visit to, 126

 Georgia, land-grant to Major Robert Toombs in, 2;
   distress in, 34-37;
   first railroad in, 40;
   internal improvements, 40;
   establishment of Supreme Court, 41;
   organization of Congressional districts, 44;
   supports Jackson in 1824, 51;
   Henry Clay in, 55;
   panegyric on, 58;
   formation of "Rough and Ready" clubs in, 60;
   the Clayton Compromise in, 60-62;
   formation of Constitutional Union party, 81, 183;
   growth of secession sentiment in, 83, 201, 204;
   adoption of the "Georgia Platform," 86;
   nomination of Howell Cobb for governor, 86;
   nomination of McDonald for governor, 86;
   a national battle ground, 102;
   supports Pierce and King, 102, 103;
   uncertainty of politics in, 121;
   breaking up of Know-nothing party in, 122;
   campaign of 1855, 128;
   vote for Buchanan in convention, 141;
   campaign of 1856, 143-152;
   politics in, 145;
   carried by Buchanan, 152;
   campaign of 1857, 154;
   opposition to Brown's reëlection, 166;
   indorsement of Toombs' sentiments by, 168;
   position on the Fugitive-Slave law, 174;
   action of delegates to Charleston convention, 179;
   split in Democratic party, 182;
   vote in 1860, 184;
   prominence in 1860, 186;
   call for State convention, 200;
   votes for secession, 209;
   institution of slavery in, 211;
   wealth at time of secession, 213;
   agricultural policy during war, 275;
   the militia, 276-278;
   the March to the Sea, 280;
   Gov. Brown's address to people of, 290;
   Toombs' acquaintance in, 299;
   Toombs' return to, 315;
   in reconstruction days, 315-329;
   Constitutional convention, and the new constitution, 337-352;
   railroad commission formed, 350, 351

 Georgia Platform, the, 83, 93, 97

 Georgia Railroad, 40

 Gettysburg and Malvern Hill compared, 252

 Gillet, R. H., vote on Kansas-Nebraska bill, 115

 Gilmer, George R., as a lawyer, 16;
   on railroad construction, 41

 Glen Spring, Ga., meeting between Hill and Brown at, 155

 Golphin claim, the, 65

 Gonder, Major, aids Toombs' escape, 294, 295

 Gordon, Gen. John B., interview with Tilden, 321;
   nominated for governor, 324

 Gordonsville, Toombs under arrest at, 259, 260

 Grady, Henry W., characterization of J. E. Brown, 156;
   at Bush Arbor meeting, 327;
   on Toombs' approaching death, 374

 "Gray Alice," 5, 268, 288, 292, 297, 300, 301

 Great Britain, contention over Oregon question, 56-59;
   accused of lack of sympathy with the North, 230

 "Great Pacificator," the, 201

 Greeley, Horace, nomination opposed by Toombs, 105, 332

 Greene County, partition of land in, 3;
   legal practice in, 16

 Gresham, J. J., 179

 Gulf of Mexico, advocates making a _mare clausum_, 196

 Habersham County, escape through, 291

 Hagarstown, taken possession of by Toombs, 265

 Hale, Senator, contest with Toombs in Kansas debate, 117-120

 Hallet, B. F., letter from Toombs to, 119

 Hamlin, Hannibal, member of Twenty-ninth Congress, 56;
   vote on Kansas-Nebraska bill, 115

 Hardeman, Frank, 14

 Hardeman, Judge Samuel H., 26

 Harper's Ferry, John Brown's raid on, 169

 Harrisburg convention, demands protection, 51

 Harrison, W. H., election of, 33;
   Toombs' interest in election of, 45

 Harrison Landing, Toombs' escape by, 288

 Hayne, R. Y., challenge to Webster, 175

 Hayti, effects of emancipation in, 134

 Heard House, the, 282

 Hill, Benjamin H., as a lawyer, 20;
   associated with Toombs in Eberhart case, 26;
   opposition to Toombs, 95;
   rising fame of, 144;
   debate with Toombs, 144-152;
   nominated for governorship of Georgia, 155;
   supports Bell and Everett, 184;
   Vincent's characterization of, 184, 185;
   deputy to Provisional Congress, 215;
   chosen Confederate Senator, 241;
   addresses meeting at Atlanta, 324, 327;
   challenged by Stephens, 336

 Hill, Gen. D. H., at Malvern Hill, 252, 253;
   charges against Toombs, and correspondence thereon, 254-258;
   character, 258, 259;
   challenged by Toombs, 336

 Hilliard, Henry W., member of Twenty-ninth Congress, 56

 Hillyer, Dr., assists in Toombs' funeral services, 375, 376

 Holt, Hines, opposition to Toombs, 95

 Homestead and Exemption laws, 38, 317, 340

 Hood, Gen. J. B., in command of Confederate forces, 276

 House of Representatives, U. S., Toombs' action on organization of
     House, Dec. 22, 1850, 71-76

 Houston, Samuel, represents Texas in U. S. Senate, 68;
   comparison of Toombs with, 131

 Houston County, Toombs' escape through, 299

 Huger, Gen., 245

 Hughes, Col. David, aids Toombs' escape, 297

 Huling, Catharine, 3, 4

 Hunter, Robert M. T., member of Twenty-ninth Congress, 56;
   represents Virginia in U. S. Senate, 68;
   succeeds Toombs' as Secretary of State, 237

 Illinois, contest between Lincoln and Douglas in, 161, 162;
   re-election of Douglas to Senate, 163;
   government control of railroads, 346

 Internal improvements, views on, 188-191, 197;
   principles of Confederate Constitution on, 220

 Interstate Commerce Law, Georgia's influence in framing, 351

 Intoxicating liquor, use of, 364-368

 Ireland, tour through, 126

 Irvin, Charles E., aids Toombs to escape, 287-305;
   arrested at Savannah, 291;
   war record, 305

 Jack Jones case, the, 361

 Jackson, Pres. Andrew, defeated by Adams, 14;
   conflict with Calhoun, 29;
   Toombs' vote for, 30;
   opposition to, by Troup, 31;
   attitude on tariff of 1824, 51;
   nullification proclamation, 52;
   position on internal improvements, 188

 Jackson, Chief Justice, tribute to Toombs, 27, 28

 Jamaica, effects of emancipation in, 134

 James River, Army of Potomac driven back to, 24

 Jefferson, Thomas, supports the tariff, 48;
   detestation of party machinery, 106;
   position on internal improvements, 188

 Jefferson County, on the stump in, 90

 Jenkins, Charles J., as a lawyer, 16;
   elected Speaker of House, General Assembly, 33;
   defeated for U. S. senatorship, 38;
   reports the "Georgia Platform," 86;
   author of the Georgia Platform, 92, 93;
   opinion of Berrien, 93;
   nominated for Vice-presidency, 99;
   career of, 101;
   personal character, 102;
   disputes reconstruction measures, 323;
   carries off the great seal of Georgia, 333, 338;
   president of Constitutional convention, 337;
   deposed from governorship, 337;
   views on railroad question, 345

 Johnson, Andrew, member of Twenty-ninth Congress, 56;
   impeachment of, 310;
   Toombs' interview with, 313

 Johnson, Herschel V., Democratic leader, 51;
   elected governor of Georgia, 128;
   leads Union wing of Georgia Democrats, 182;
   nominated for Vice-presidency, 183;
   challenged by Stephens, 336

 Johnson, R. M., reunion with Toombs, 298, 299

 Johnson, Fort, fires on Fort Sumter, 227

 Johnston, Gen. Joseph E., on first battle of Manassas, 238;
   advance on Washington, 238;
   withdraws from Manassas, 239;
   heated interview with Toombs, 243;
   recognizes Toombs' worth, 243, 244;
   retreats behind the Chickahominy, 245;
   criticism of Southern soldiers, 271;
   relieved from command, 276;
   struggle with Sherman, 280

 Jones, Gen. D. R., report of second battle of Manassas, 261;
   reports of Toombs' actions at Antietam, 264, 265

 Judiciary Committee, General Assembly, chairman of, 33, 38

 Kansas, civil war in, 115-118, 159;
   Pierce's message on state of, 115, 116

 Kansas bill, opposition to, 166

 Kansas-Nebraska bill, 107-115;
   dissatisfaction with, in Georgia, 143;
   Hill on, 147-149

 Kennan, A. H., deputy to Provisional Congress, 215

 Kentucky, partial secession measures of, 233

 Kimball House Company, financial dealings of Toombs with, 42

 Kinch, ----, sutler in Creek war, 352

 Knott, Pres. Eliphalet, 13

 Know-nothing party. See American party

 Labor, views on, 197

 Lamar, A. R., description of Toombs, 236, 237

 Lamar, De Rosset, Toombs' aid-de-camp, 237

 Lamartine, Toombs compared with, 76

 Land-jobbing, opposition to, 53

 Lane, Jack, reunion with Toombs, 298, 299

 Lane, Joseph C., nominated for Vice-presidency, 183

 Lanier, Sidney, 284

 Lawton, A. R., supported by Toombs, 369

 Lecompton constitution, favored by Buchanan, 160;
   passes the Senate, 164

 Lee, Gen. Robert E., captures John Brown, 169;
   successes of, 246;
   invades Maryland, 262;
   report of Toombs' actions at Antietam, 264

 Le Seur, Alexander, aids Toombs' escape, 288, 289

 Lewis, D. W., defeated by Stephens, 93

 Lexington, Ga., speech in, 92;
   debate between Hill and Stephens at, 144, 145

 Lincoln, Abraham, views on slavery question, 67;
   personal traits, 161, 162;
   opposes Douglas, 161, 162;
   letter to Stephens, 199;
   election of, 199;
   Toombs' views of his policy, 200;
   war pressure on, 224;
   compared with Seward, 225;
   relies on Northern unanimity, 226;
   proclaims blockade of Southern ports, 229;
   disputes with McClellan, 239;
   confidence in Toombs, 367

 "Little Giant," the, 109, 161

 Longstreet, Gen., opinion of Toombs, 106, 241, 271;
   quarrel with Toombs, 259, 260;
   report of Manassas and Maryland campaign, 269;
   compliments Toombs, 269;
   Toombs' opinion of, 325

 Lookout Mountain, last meeting of Davis and Toombs at, 284, 285

 Louisiana, Calhoun's "sugar letter" to, 46;
   delegates leave Charleston convention, 177;
   secession of, 216

 Lumpkin, Joseph H., as a lawyer, 16;
   opinion of Toombs' legal skill, 20

 Lumpkin, murder case at, 23

 Lyons, visit to, 126

 Lyons, Lord, British minister at Washington, 230

 Macon County, Toombs' escape through, 299

 Madison, James, position on internal improvements, 188

 Magna Charta, lecture on, 327-329

 Magruder, Gen., operations on Warwick River, 244;
   command on the peninsula, 245

 Mallory, S. B., Secretary of Navy of Confederate States, 221

 Mallorysville, Ga., speech at, 46

 Malvern Hill, battle of, 1, 252, 253

 Manassas, first battle of, 238;
   evacuated by Confederates, 239;
   Toombs at second battle, 260-262

 Manufactures, argument in favor of, 49

 March to the Sea, the, 280

 Marcy, Secretary, 231

 Marietta, speech in, 91

 Marque, letters of, 229-232

 Marseilles, visit to, 126

 Marshall, Chief Justice, 38

 Marshall, Humphrey, duel with Henry Clay, 55;
   recognizes Toombs at New Orleans, 305

 Martin, Major Luther, gives Toombs his parole papers, 291;
   his house raided, 292

 Maryland, invasion of, 262

 Mason, A. D., commissioner to Europe, 229

 Mason, James M., represents Virginia in U. S. Senate, 68;
   reads Calhoun's last speech, 79, 107

 Massachusetts, power of Abolitionists in, 109;
   withdraws from Baltimore Convention, 182

 Mattox, Col. W. H., shelters Toombs, 292

 Maximilian, Emperor, defeat and execution of, 233

 Maybrick, Mrs., 9

 McClellan, Gen., succeeds McDowell, 238;
   disputes with Lincoln, 239;
   marches up the peninsula, 244

 McDaniel, H. D., frames railroad law, 351

 McDonald, Charles J., relief measures of, 34-37;
   reëlected, 37;
   supports central bank scheme, 38;
   represents Georgia at Nashville convention, 85;
   nominated for governor, 86;
   Toombs on the nomination of, 90;
   supported by Berrien, 93;
   defeated, 93;
   opposition to Toombs, 158

 McDowell, Gen., succeeded by McClellan, 238

 McDuffie, George, as a lawyer, 16;
   Toombs' contentions with, 45-51;
   Democratic leader, 51

 McKennon, ----, resignation from Interior Department, 101

 McMillan, Robert, as a lawyer, 16;
   defeated by Toombs, 93

 Mediterranean, visit to, 126

 Memminger, C. G., as a lawyer, 21;
   Secretary of Treasury of Confederate States, 221

 Merriweather, ----, Whig leader, 51

 Mexican war, fruits of, 60

 Mexico, defense of, in Texas question, 53;
   Toombs' opinions on conquest of, 59;
   the Clayton Compromise, 61;
   troubles over territory acquired from, 67;
   Toombs favors purchase of, 195;
   French schemes in, 233

 Might against right, 112

 Milledge, Gov. John, 7

 Milledgeville, Toombs in General Assembly at, 17;
   Toombs' practice in, 22, 123;
   doctrine of States' Rights, affirmed at convention of 1833, 52;
   convention of 1850 at, 86;
   call for State convention in 1860 at, 179;
   meeting of State Sovereignty convention at in 1861, 209

 Miller, Andrew J., 16

 Mirabeau, Toombs compared with, 46, 70

 Mississippi, position in secession question, 97;
   delegates leave Charleston convention, 177;
   secession of, 213

 Mississippi River, views on appropriations for, 189-191

 Missouri, sends settlers to Kansas, 115, 159;
   representation at Baltimore convention, 182;
   partial secession measures of, 233;
   government control of railroads in, 346

 Missouri Compromise, refusal to extend the line of, 67;
   Sumner's claims for, 108;
   denounced by Toombs, 114;
   Fillmore on the repeal of, 115

 Mobile, Ala., escape through, 301-303

 Monopolies, hatred for, 26, 348, 349

 Monroe, Fortress, McClellan's arrival at, 244;
   Stephens imprisoned at, 298

 Monroe, James, position on internal improvements, 188

 Montgomery, Ala., Provisional Congress at, 216

 Morris Island fires on Sumter, 227

 Morton, Oliver P., 314

 Moses, R. J., Toombs' commissary general, 237;
   account of dispute between Toombs and Gen. Hill, 256, 257

 Moultrie, Fort, fires on Fort Sumter, 227

 Mount Pleasant battery fires on Fort Sumter, 227

 Munson's Hill, Toombs' position at, 238

 Naples, visit to, 126

 Nashville, convention at, 85

 National debt, views on, 197

 National Democratic party, defeated, 327;
   nominates Greeley for Presidency, 332

 Neahmatha, insurrection of, 32

 Negroes, Toombs on the status of, 133-137;
   Toombs' treatment of his, 138, 139;
   decision of Dred Scott case, 159;
   Toombs' position toward, after the war, 341

 New Mexico, bill to organize, 65;
   acquisition of, 67;
   question of organizing Territory, 79, 80

 New Orleans, fall of, 245;
   escape through, 304, 305

 Newspaper criticisms and misrepresentations, 365, 366

 _New World_, return to America on the, 313

 New York City, speech for Taylor in 1848, 64

 New York State, power of Abolitionists in, 109

 _New York Express_, on Boston lecture, 131, 132

 Nicholls, Col. John C., messenger from Toombs to Brown, 335

 Nisbet, Eugenius A., offers secession resolution, 209;
   deputy to Provisional Congress, 215

 Norfolk, loss of, 245

 North Carolina, supports Jackson, 29;
   secedes, 233

 Northern Circuit of Georgia, the bar of, 16

 "Notes on the Situation," 185, 326

 Nullification, 51, 52

 O'Brien, Rev. J. M., 362

 Ocmulgee River, watched for Toombs, 298;
   escape across, 299

 Oconee River, 7, 296

 Oglethorpe, Ga., escape through, 299

 Oglethorpe County, legal practice in, 15, 16, 25

 Ohio, position in regard to the Wilmot Proviso, 60;
   power of Abolitionists in, 109;
   government control of railroads in, 346

 Olin, Stephen, 9

 Omnibus bill (Clay's), 80

 Omnibus bill (State aid to railroads), opposed by Toombs, 191

 Ordinance of Secession, 209, 214

 Oregon supports the South in Charleston convention, 177

 Oregon question, prominence in 1845, 56-59

 Outlawry, Toombs' glory in, 23

 Paine, Tom., Toombs' liking for, 368

 Panic of 1837, 16, 31, 41

 Paris, visit to, 126;
   flight to, 308

 Payne, Henry B., member of Charleston convention, 176

 Peace congress, 234

 Peace resolutions, 273

 Peach Tree Creek, in battle at, 276

 Pennsylvania, government control of railroads, 346

 Pension grabs, views on, 192, 193, 197

 Peter's Colony Grant, 152

 Phillips, Wendell, oratory of, 129

 Pickens, Gov., Democratic leader, 51;
   notified in regard to Fort Sumter, 224

 Pierce, Bishop Geo. F., 10, 11, 376

 Pierce, Pres. Franklin, Toombs' estimate of, 367;
   message on state of Kansas, 115, 116;
   vetoes Mississippi River bill, 191

 Polk, Pres. James K., attitude toward protection, 50;
   Georgia's vote for, 55;
   position on Oregon question, 57;
   forced to retire from Oregon position, 59;
   veto of River and Harbor bill, 188;
   vetoes supported by Toombs, 191

 Pope, Sarah, 3

 Pope, ----, death of, and generosity of Toombs to his family, 359, 360

 Pope, Gen., driven from Virginia, 262

 Popular sovereignty, Douglas' doctrine of, 162-164

 Postal service, views on, 197

 Pottle, Judge E. H., 25, 26

 "Pour it back in the jug," 352

 Prather, Col., shelters Toombs, 290

 Prentiss, Sergeant S., vanquished in debate by Davis, 163

 Presidential vote, Toombs' views on counting, 193

 Principles of Magna Charta, lecture, 327-329

 Privateers, 229-232

 Produce Loan, the, 236

 Prohibitionists, Toombs' opinion of, 374

 Protection, defense of, 48-50;
   in campaign of 1844, 51

 Provisional Congress of seceded States, 214-218

 Pulaski, Fort, seized by Gov. Brown, 214

 Railroad Commission of Georgia, 350, 351;
   Toombs' appearance before, 362

 Railroad corporations, Toombs' attitude toward, 342, 345-351

 Randall, S. J., proposes General Amnesty Act, 313

 Randolph, John, duel with Henry Clay, 55

 Rapidan River, Confederate retirement along, 239;
   Toombs' brigade at the, 259

 Rappahannock River, Confederates retire behind, 239

 Reagan, J. H., Postmaster General of Confederate States, 221;
   recognizes Toombs' merits, 270;
   last attendance at Confederate Cabinet, 282

 Reconstruction Acts, views on, 325, 326

 Reese, Judge William M., on the practice of law, 15;
   description of Toombs by, 24;
   opinion of Toombs' speeches, 329, 330;
   frames railroad law, 351

 Religion, liberality in matters of, 124, 125

 Republican party, formation of, 140;
   growing strength of, 161;
   arraigned by Toombs, 172-174, 203;
   opposition to, in Georgia, 324

 Repudiation, 343, 344

 Rhett, R. Barnwell, Democratic leader, 51;
   member of Twenty-ninth Congress, 56

 Rhine, voyage down the, 126

 Richmond, Va., call for convention in, 178;
   chosen as capital of Confederacy, 232;
   McClellan's march on, 244;
   Toombs at defense of, 245, 246

 Right to bear arms, views on, 340

 River and Harbor bills, views on, 188-191

 Roanoke, plantation at, 23, 330

 Roman, A. B., Confederate commissioner to Washington, 222

 Roman Catholic Church, Toombs' liberality toward, 124

 Rome, visit to, 126

 Rost, A. P., commissioner to Europe, 229

 "Rough and Ready" clubs, 60

 Russia supports the North, 233

 Sanders, Miss, 3

 Savannah, siege of, 279;
   arrest of Irvin at, 291

 Savannah River, views on clearing, 188;
   Toombs' escape by, 288

 "Scarlet Letter," the, 178

 Schenectady, college course at, 13

 Scotland, tour through, 126

 Scott, Gen. Winfield, service under, 32;
   opposition to, by Southern Whigs, 98;
   Toombs' estimate of, 98, 99;
   defeats Webster, 100;
   vote for, in 1852, 103;
   rupture of Whig party in Georgia on his nomination, 121;
   opinion of Fort Sumter, 223

 Secession, clamor for, 83, 201;
   assertion of right of, 87;
   Toombs charged with fomenting, 94;
   foreseen by Toombs, 200;
   Toombs committed to the policy, 203;
   Georgia's vote for, 209;
   passage of Ordinance of, 209

 Seward, William H., enters the U. S. Senate, 68, 107;
   an "Independent Democrat," 109;
   vote on Kansas-Nebraska bill, 115;
   refuses audience to Confederate commissioners, 222;
   views on evacuation of Fort Sumter, 222, 223;
   compared with Lincoln, 225;
   accuses Great Britain of lack of sympathy, 230;
   diplomacy of, 233

 Seymour, Horatio, nominated for Presidency, 324

 Sharpsburg, battle of, 263-269

 Sherman, W. T., March to the Sea, 280

 "Siamese Twins," the, 182

 Simpson, W. W., reunion with Toombs, 298, 299

 Slaughter, James M., letter from Yancey to, 177, 178

 Slavery, Gabriel Toombs' treatment of negroes, 3;
   arraignment of Calhoun for the "sugar letter," 46;
   Toombs' attitude toward, 46, 47, 48;
   the Clayton Compromise, 61, 64;
   Lincoln's views on, 67, 162;
   Toombs' actions and speeches on slavery in
     Territories, 69, 76-81, 164, 166, 167, 181;
   Clay's resolutions to abolish, in District of Columbia, 79;
   protest against admission of California by Nashville convention, 85;
   Toombs accused of unsoundness on the question of, 85;
   the Georgia Platform, 86;
   Toombs' ideas on exclusion of, from California, 91;
   the Kansas-Nebraska bill, 108-115;
   provisions for, in U. S. Constitution, 114;
   question reopened by Kansas-Nebraska bill, 114;
   lecture in Boston on, 129-135;
   Toombs on the status of the negro, 133-137;
   decision of Dred Scott case, 159;
   Southern view of Dred Scott decision as affecting Territories, 162;
   Douglas' views on, in Territories, 163, 164;
   anxiety in the South for protection of, 165;
   demand for new plank in platform of Democratic party, 167;
   deadlock on, in Charleston convention, 177;
   Lincoln's letter to Stephens, 199;
   tendency toward extinction, 199;
   measures before the House, 202;
   the Crittenden Compromise, 202, 203;
   demands of the South as to, 206;
   institution in Georgia, 211

 Slidell, John, member of Twenty-ninth Congress, 56;
   leader in U. S. Senate, 107

 Smith, Col. Jack, aids Toombs' escape, 295

 Smith, Col. Marshal J., aids Toombs' escape, 305

 Smith, George W., 242

 South, stability of social institutions in, 138;
   demands of the, as set forth by Toombs, 205-208;
   sacrifices by secession, 213

 South Carolina, condemnation of school of politics of, 53;
   supports Pierce, 103;
   Hayne's challenge to Webster, 175;
   secession of, 213

 Southern Methodist Church, Toombs' communion with, 373

 Southern Rights party, nominates Troup for Presidency, 102

 Sparta, Ga., Toombs' escape by, 293, 298

 Speeches, i, iv, 18, 20, 21, 23-25, 27, 28, 46-50, 57, 59, 64, 69-78,
     85, 88, 89, 91, 92, 98, 99, 103-105, 109-118, 145-152, 165-168,
     170-174, 176, 177, 187-193, 205-208, 236, 237, 317, 318, 324-326,
     329, 331, 336, 348, 349, 369, 370

 Squatter sovereignty, 153;
   Douglas' views on, 160, 162;
   Toombs' opposition to, 166, 167;
   before Charleston convention, 177

 Stanton, Edwin M., orders arrests of Confederate leaders, 286

 State Railroad of Georgia, supported by Toombs, 192

 State Sovereignty convention, 209

 States' Rights, doctrine affirmed at Milledgeville, 52;
   Toombs' characterization of the Clayton Compromise, 61;
   speeches and views on, 69, 70, 76-78, 88, 110-114, 116-119, 133;
   claims by Nashville convention, 85;
   the Cincinnati Platform, 141;
   Hill on, 148

 States' Rights party, in campaign of 1844, 51;
   nominates Troup for Presidency, 102

 States' Rights Whigs, joined by Toombs, 30;
   policy of, 31

 Steiner, Dr. Henry H., 119, 243;
   influence over Toombs, 249;
   talks with Toombs on spiritual condition, 372, 373;
   attends Toombs at the last, 374, 375

 Stephens, Alexander H., his tutor, 6;
   as a lawyer, 16;
   compared with Toombs, 18, 20, 43;
   opinion of Toombs' legal skill, 20;
   friendship with Toombs, 43;
   position on slavery question, 44;
   elected to Congress, 44, 55, 56, 63, 122, 333;
   Whig leader, 51;
   leads campaign of 1848 in Georgia, 60;
   quarrel with Cone, 62;
   reported rupture between Pres. Taylor and, 64, 65;
   description of Toombs in debate, 75, 76;
   position on admission of California, 81;
   position on disunion, 82;
   sent to conventional Milledgeville, 86;
   personality of, 90;
   Toombs' description of, 91;
   in campaign of 1851, 92;
   defeats Lewis, 93;
   on the Compromise of 1850, 98;
   nominated for Congress by Toombs, 105, 333;
   breaks up Know-nothing party in Georgia, 122;
   debate with Hill, 144, 145;
   on Cincinnati Platform, 165;
   opinion on action of Charleston convention, 179;
   supports Douglas for Presidency, 183;
   Vincent's characterization of, 184, 185;
   prominence of, 186;
   letter from Lincoln to, 199;
   views of secession, 212;
   deputy to Provisional Congress, 215;
   opinion of Provisional Congress, 216;
   Toombs' eulogy of, 216;
   opposes Conscription and Impressment Acts, 273;
   arrested, 286;
   imprisoned at Fortress Monroe, 298;
   defeated by Gordon, 333;
   becomes Governor of Georgia, 333;
   challenges Johnson and Hill, 336;
   funeral of, 371, 372;
   tribute to Toombs, 375

 Stephens, Linton, opinion of Toombs, 26;
   opposes Conscript Acts, 273;
   introduces peace resolutions, 273;
   career, 274;
   aids Toombs' escape, 293;
   reunion with Toombs, 298, 299;
   disputes reconstruction measures, 323;
   activity in reconstruction times, 333

 Stewart County, Toombs' escape through, 301

 Stump-speaking, 145

 Subtreasury system, the, 31, 38

 Sumner, Charles, leader in U. S. Senate, 107;
   opposes Kansas-Nebraska bill, 108, 115;
   an "Independent Democrat," 109;
   denounced by Toombs, 110;
   enmity to Southern propagandism, 129;
   Brooks' assault on, 141, 142

 Sumter, Fort, Confederate demand for surrender of, 222;
   abandonment favored by Lincoln's Cabinet, 223;
   preparations to provision, 224;
   orders to Beauregard, 225;
   bombardment of, 227-229

 Superstition, Toombs' views on, 367

 Supreme Court of Georgia, practice in, 20-22, 24, 25;
   establishment of, 41

 Suretyship, opposition to contracts of, 41, 42

 Swedenborg, Toombs' fondness for, 368

 Swinton, William, on Lincoln's administration, 272

 Taliaferro County, assigned to Seventh Congressional District, 44

 Taney, Roger B., decision in Dred Scott case, 159

 Tariff, Whigs favor protective, 31;
   defense of the, 48-50;
   in campaign of 1844, 51;
   modified in 1832, 52;
   Toombs' attitude on, 52;
   prominence of the question in 1845, 56;
   bill of 1846, 59

 Taxation, attitude on Georgia, 54

 Taylor, Gen. Dick, on Toombs' energy, 279, 280

 Taylor, Zachary, nominated for President, 60;
   elected, 63;
   attitude of Cabinet toward the South, 64;
   reported rupture with Toombs and Stephens, 64, 65;
   death, 65;
   opinion on disposition of acquired territory, 67;
   Toombs' opinion of, 367

 Tennessee secedes, 233

 Territories, Toombs' position on slavery in, 69, 76-78, 80, 132,
     166, 167, 181;
   protest by Nashville convention in regard to, 85;
   the Georgia Platform, 86;
   the slavery question in the, 87;
   third great sectional fight on the, 107-115;
   Toombs on Federal power over, 111, 132, 133;
   the Cincinnati Platform, 141;
   Hill on rights of, 148;
   Buchanan's position on question of, 159;
   Douglas' views on admission of, 160;
   Southern view of Dred Scott decision as affecting slavery in, 162;
   Buchanan's resolution in Cincinnati Platform, 165;
   contest over slavery in, in Charleston contention, 177;
   demands of the South as to, 206

 Texas, Toombs' attitude on annexation of, 53;
   prominence of question in 1845, 56;
   Toombs' purchase of lands in, 152, 153;
   visit to, 153;
   delegates leave Charleston convention, 177

 Texas and New Mexico bill, passed, 80

 "The Crime against Kansas," 142

 Thomas, Thomas W., as a lawyer, 16;
   leader of campaign of 1848 in Georgia, 60;
   on Toombs' characteristics, 272

 Thompson, Jacob, member of the Twenty-ninth Congress, 56;
   leader in U. S. Senate, 107

 Tilden, S. J., interview with Gen. Gordon, 321

 _Times_ (London), on bombardment of Sumter, 228, 229

 Tobacco, Toombs' use of, 360, 361

 Toombs, Ann, 3

 Toombs, Augustus, 3

 Toombs, Dawson Gabriel, 3

 Toombs, Gabriel, Sr., 1-3

 Toombs, Gabriel, Jr., 4;
   manager of his brother's plantations, 275;
   at his brother's bedside, 373;
   resemblance to Robert, 373

 Toombs, James, 3

 Toombs, Louise, death of, 312

 Toombs, Gen. Robert, ancestry, 1-4;
   birth, 4;
   filial affection, 4;
   boyhood and education, 4-12;
   horsemanship, 4-6;
   historical learning, 6;
   play upon his name, 6;
   generosity, 10, 124, 283, 284, 357;
   joins Methodist Church, 11, 373;
   trustee of State University, 11;
   college legends of, 12;
   receives degree, 13;
   admitted to the bar, 13;
   marriage, 14;
   legal career, 13-28;
   legal ethics, 18, 19, 23;
   oratorical powers, 18, 21, 23-25, 27, 28;
   financial ability, 23, 59, 152, 220, 310, 362;
   morality, 23, 24;
   Reese's opinion of, 24;
   justice of, 26, 27;
   failing powers, 27;
   brilliant plea of, 28;
   entrance into politics, 30;
   elected to General Assembly, 30;
   popularity in Wilkes County, 32;
   chairman of Judiciary Committee in General Assembly, 33, 38;
   action on Gov. McDonald's relief measures, 34-37;
   financial policy, 35-39;
   defends Berrien, 39;
   support of railroad enterprise, 40;
   compared with A. H. Stephens, 43;
   friendship of the two, 43;
   first participation in national politics, 45;
   contentions with McDuffie, 45-51;
   charged with being an Abolitionist, 46;
   compared to Mirabeau, 46;
   delegate to Clay convention of 1844, 46;
   opposes acquisition of Texas, 53;
   sent to Congress, 55, 56, 63, 93;
   position on Oregon question, 57;
   leads in campaign of 1848 in Georgia, 60;
   reported rupture between Pres. Taylor and, 64, 65;
   leads Southern members from Whig caucus, 69;
   personal appearance, 72, 74, 89, 90, 130;
   domestic character, 82, 353-363;
   address to people of Georgia, 83-85;
   sent to convention at Milledgeville, 86;
   renominated for Congress, 87;
   prominence in campaign of 1850, 87, 88;
   position on the Union question, 88;
   a journalist's description of, 91;
   elected U. S. Senator, 94, 158;
   charged with fomenting secession, 94;
   letters to his wife, 95, 123-125, 158, 239, 242, 277, 278, 310-313,
     354, 355, 359, 360;
   feeling toward the North, 98;
   friendship for Webster, 101;
   becomes a Democrat, 105;
   independence of, 106;
   enters U. S. Senate, 107;
   frequently misquoted, 119;
   horror of civil war, 120;
   death of his daughters, 123, 310, 312;
   European trip, 123, 125-128;
   liberality in matters of conscience, 125;
   physical strength, 125, 127;
   international reputation, 126;
   knowledge of human nature, 127;
   treatment of slaves, 138, 139;
   accused of participation in assault on Sumner, 142, 143;
   debate with Hill, 144-152;
   accused of being a turncoat and disunionist, 151;
   address to Northern Democrats, 176, 177;
   letter to Macon committee, 179, 180;
   advice on Charleston convention matters, 180, 181;
   fears for the Constitution, 180, 182;
   rupture with Douglas, 181;
   delegate to Democratic State convention, 183;
   Vincent's characterization of, 184, 185;
   charges of desertion of Douglas, 186;
   Presidential ambitions, 186, 187;
   activity in public duty, 187;
   first public office, 192;
   accused by Georgia "minute-men," 201;
   withdrawal from the Senate, 205-208;
   chairman of Committee on Foreign Relations, 214;
   writes address to people of Georgia, 215;
   deputy to Provisional Congress, 215;
   a candidate for Presidency of Southern Confederacy, 216;
   machinations against, 218;
   curious incidents in life of, 219;
   chairman of Finance Committee of Provisional Congress, 220;
   made Secretary of State, 221;
   opposes assault on Sumter, 226;
   triumphs of diplomacy, 230;
   joins the army, 235;
   speech on the produce loan, 236, 237;
   the archives of the Confederacy, 237;
   retreat from Centreville, 239;
   care of his brigade, 240;
   impatience of mismanagement, 240;
   elected Confederate Senator, 241;
   declines Secretaryship of War, 242;
   impatience under red tape, 234, 243;
   debate with Davis on Army Appropriation bill, 247-249;
   use of liquor, 249, 250;
   position on the peninsula, 250;
   action at Golding's farm, 250, 251;
   at Malvern Hill, 252, 253;
   charges of cowardice, and correspondence thereon, 254-258;
   quarrel with Longstreet, 259, 260;
   under arrest at Gordonsville, 259, 260;
   in second battle of Manassas, 261, 262;
   report of actions at Antietam, 265-268;
   wounded, 268, 269;
   popularity among his troops, 269;
   leaves the army, 269, 270;
   reasons for his non-promotion, 270, 271;
   military abilities, 271;
   with the militia, 276-279;
   declines governorship, 273;
   energy of, 279, 280;
   parting with Gov. Brown, 281;
   action at close of war, 281;
   last meeting with Davis, 284, 285;
   escape, 286-307;
   becomes a Freemason, 289;
   conversational powers, 305, 306, 310, 358, 359;
   dread of capture, 306;
   vivacity, 306;
   arrival in Cuba, 307;
   arrival in Paris, 308;
   sells land, 308;
   in exile, 309-313;
   returns to America, 312, 313;
   unreconstructed, 313;
   return to Georgia, 315;
   resumes practice of law, 316;
   in reconstruction days, 315-329;
   master of invective, 318-322, 326;
   before the Supreme Court of Georgia, 320, 321;
   opinion of Yankees, 322;
   zeal, 322, 323;
   addresses meeting at Atlanta, 324-326;
   fondness for farming, 330, 331;
   strained relations with Brown, 333-336;
   a believer in the code of honor, 336;
   the Constitutional convention, and the new constitution, 337-352;
   pays expenses of Constitutional convention, 344, 345;
   golden wedding, 356, 357;
   hospitality, 357, 358;
   sympathies of, 359, 360;
   last appearance in court, 361, 362;
   wealth, 362, 363;
   his great fault, 364-368;
   love of literature, 367, 368;
   last days, 369-375;
   attends Stephens' funeral, 371, 372;
   at wife's death-bed, 372, 373;
   baptized, 373;
   death and burial, 375, 376;
   his monument, 376

 Toombs, Major Robert, 2, 3

 Toombs, Mrs., friendship for A. H. Stephens, 62;
   aids her husband's escape, 286, 287;
   joins her husband in Paris, 309;
   returns to America, 310;
   character, 356, 357;
   accident to, 356;
   golden wedding, 356, 357;
   death, 372, 373

 Toombs, William, 2

 Toombs oak, the, 12

 Toucey, ----, leader in U. S. Senate, 107

 Towns, Gov., calls State convention, 83

 Tremont Temple, Boston, lecture on slavery in, 129-135

 Trinity River, Toombs' lands on, 152

 Troup, George M., defender of States' Rights, 30, 31;
   opposition to Jackson's measures, 31;
   attitude on the tariff question, 51;
   opposes Toombs in campaign of 1844, 53

 Troup, Capt., on Toombs' staff, 268

 Tugaloo River, 290

 Turncoats, Crawford's ideas of, 91

 Tyler, Pres., Toombs on, 367

 Union College, 13

 Union Democratic-Republican party, 30

 United States Bank, supported by Berrien, 39;
   defense of, 48

 United States Constitution, position on slavery, 132

 United States judges, higher pay for, supported by Toombs, 192

 United States Senate, _personnel_ in 1853, 107;
   debate on popular sovereignty, 163, 164;
   farewell speech in, 205-208

 University of Georgia, 6-12;
   annual address at, 331, 332

 University of Virginia, course at, 13

 Utah, acquisition of, 67;
   question of organization of Territory, 79

 Van Buren, Pres. Martin, censured by Toombs, 31;
   Toombs on, 367

 Vandyke, John, opposes Toombs in House of Representatives, 72

 Vincent, characterization of Toombs, Hill, and Stephens, 184, 185

 Virginia, ----, settlement of the Toombs family in, 2;
   supports Calhoun, 29;
   Brown's raid into, 169, 170;
   secedes, 233

 Waddell, Pres. Moses, 8, 9

 Wade, ----, vote on Kansas-Nebraska bill, 115

 Walker, Levi P., Secretary of War of Confederate States, 221;
   instructions to Beauregard about Fort Sumter, 224, 225

 Walker, Robert J., governor of Kansas, 160

 Walker, Gen. W. H. T., dispute with Gen. Hill at Chickamauga, 258, 259

 Walthall, Gen. E. C., 277

 War, Toombs' views on, 57

 "War between the States," 75, 98, 185, 371

 Warner, Hiram, opinion of Homestead and Exemption laws, 318

 Warwick River, Toombs' operations on, 244

 Washington, D. C., imperiled after first battle of Manassas, 238;
   Army of Northern Virginia advances on, 262

 Washington, Ga., Mrs. Toombs' residence at, 4;
   distinguished men around, 16;
   speech at, 98, 99;
   debate between Toombs and Hill at, 144-152;
   Toombs elected commissioner, 192;
   the Toombs home at, 360

 Washington County, escape through, 299

 Waterloo, visit to field of, 126

 Webster, Rev. Alexander, 6

 Webster, Daniel, compared with Toombs, 14;
   last efforts of, 68;
   great Union speech of, 79;
   tribute to, 99, 104, 367;
   nominated for Presidency, 99;
   admiration for, in the South, 100;
   Secretary of State, 100;
   friendship with Toombs, 101;
   death, 102, 107;
   Hayne's challenge to, 175;
   his loss felt, 201

 Wellborn, Speaker, 39

 Wesleyan Female College, 9

 Western and Atlantic Railroad, 40

 West Indies, effects of emancipation in, 134, 137

 West Point, Toombs' opinion of training at, 246-249;
   criticism of officers from, 273;
   criticism not sustained, 275

 Wheeler, Gen. Joseph, 301, 303

 Whig party, demand internal improvements, 40;
   attitude toward protection, 46;
   in campaign of 1844, 51, 55;
   position in campaign of 1848, 60;
   caucus of 1845, 68-70;
   joint action with Democrats in Georgia, 85;
   convention at Baltimore, 97;
   Southern opposition to Presidential candidate Scott, 98;
   nominates Webster for Presidency, 99;
   break in, by Southern members, 100;
   Toombs' defection from, 105;
   rupture over Scott's nomination, 121;
   absorption into Republican party, 140

 Wilde, Gen., attempts the capture of Toombs, 286

 Wilkes County, land-grant to Major Robert Toombs in, 2;
   partition of lands in, 3;
   birth-place of Gen. Toombs, 4;
   legal practice in, 15, 16, 22, 23;
   factions in, 29, 30;
   politics of, 32;
   defeat of Whigs in, 37;
   assigned to Eighth Congressional District, 44

 Wilkinson County, escape through, 296

 Willington, S. C., speech at, 45

 Wilmot, David, member of Twenty-ninth Congress, 56

 Wilmot Proviso, Ohio's position in regard to, 60;
   menace to the South, 70, 79;
   abandoned, 79, 87;
   Webster's attitude on, 99, 100;
   how characterized by Toombs, 149

 Wingfield, J. T., 288

 Winthrop, Robert C., member of Twenty-ninth Congress, 56;
   defeated for Speakership, 69

 Wisconsin, debate on counting Electoral vote, 193, 194

 Wolseley, Gen., on Sherman's invasion of Georgia, 281

 Worth, Fort, meeting with squatters at, 153, 154

 Wright, A. R., deputy to Provisional Congress, 215

 Yancey, William L., member of Twenty-ninth Congress, 56;
   leads seceders from Charleston convention, 177;
   letter to Slaughter, 177, 178;
   speech in Charleston, 178;
   commissioner to Europe, 229

 Yorktown, Toombs' operations at, 244, 245

 "Young Alice," 300

       *       *       *       *       *


Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as
possible, including obsolete and variant spellings. Obvious
typographical errors in punctuation (misplaced quotes and the like) have
been fixed. Corrections [in brackets] in the text are noted below:

page 39: typo corrected

    and declared the resolutions adopted. Mr. Toombe[Toombs]
    fired up at this unusual decision. He threw himself before

page 122: possible typo

    he did run for Congress and scored[should be scorned?] the
    secret order on every stump in the district.

page 171: quote added in likely place

    Mr. Toombs contended that this was no new principle
    introduced into our Constitution. ["]It was inserted in
    the ordinance of 1787. The New

page 237: typo corrected

    When General Toombs joined the Army his staff was made up as
    follows; D. M. Dubose[DuBose], Adjutant General; R. J. Moses,

page 260: quote added in likely place

    from Toombs and directed him to join his command. ["]As we
    were preparing for the charge at Manassas (second battle),

page 268: typo corrected

    "Gray Alice," so well known to his command. He was not very
    far over when a troop of calvary[cavalry] rode up. He

page 288: typo corrected

    Riding over to a neigbor's[neighbor's] house, Mr. J. T.
    Wingfield, he failed to find his friend, but left

page 295: comma added

    "But that looks very much like him through the window[,]"
    said Lieutenant Irvin.

page 295: typo corrected

    or his plans, for fear that they might indiscreetly comment
    on his presence or embarass[embarrass] him even by their

page 299: typo corrected

    Federals believed Tombs[Toombs] already abroad and had ceased
    to look for him in Georgia. After the passage

page 325: added missing quote

    and property; defeat all the rightful purposes of government,
    and renounce all remedies, all laws.["]

page 342: typo corrected

    authorizing the legislature to levy a lax[tax] to furnish
    good substantial artificial limbs to those

page 375: added missing quote

    to his home in Augusta, General Toombs bade him good-by. ["]I
    am sorry," said he, "the hour is come. I hope we shall meet

On page 250, a quotation begins with no conclusive end:

    "Just before dark," says Dr. Steiner, "Mr. Toombs received
    orders to charge the enemy, firing having been heard on the
    left. The position

Inconsistent spelling:

    Greensboro (page 281)/Greenesboro (pages 9, 283)

Inconsistent spelling:

    Empress Eugenie (page 310)/Eugénie (index)

Inconsistent spelling:

    Hagerstown (page 265)/Hagarstown (page 262 and index)

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