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Brooks, Preston, of South Carolina, is known only for his brutal attack on Senator Charles Sumner on May 22, 1856. Sumner had in debate criticised Senator Butler, Brooks' uncle, whereupon Brooks, backed by two other Representatives, attacked him in the Senate Chamber after adjournment. He used a heavy cane, knocking him senseless, and then brutally beating him; it was several years before Sumner recovered his health. Brooks was censured by the House and resigned, but he was at once unanimously re-elected. Massachusetts refused to elect any one in Sumner's place and the post remained vacant for several years.
Brother Jonathan.-A general name applied to the people of the United States. Its origin is said to be as follows: General Washington found soon after having taken command of the Continental army that it was sadly in need of many articles. Jonathan Trumbull, the elder, at that time Governor of Connecticut, was a friend of Washington and one in whose judgment Washington had great confidence. During a consultation on the state of the army, Washington suggested that they consult “ Brother Jonathan,” meaning Trumbull. This advice was followed, and Trumbull devised the means of procuring what was desired. The story was told in the army, and the reply to a demand for any article was invariably advice to ask “ Brother Jonathan.” The phrase became proverbial and has lived to the present time.
Brown, John, was born in Torrington, Connecticut, May 9, 1800. On his father's side he was descended from Peter Brown who had come over in the Mayflower; his ancestors on his mother's side were Dutch. While Johr was still young, his father moved to Ohio. John returned to New England and began to study for the ministry, but his eyes failing, he was obliged to desist. He then returned to Ohio where he married; he was not yet twenty-one years of age. His first wife, by whom he had seven children, died in 1832. His second wife, who bore him thirteen children, survived him. He did not remain long in Ohio; after various changes of resi
dence he moved to Massachusetts where he engaged in the wool business. This venture ended in bankruptcy. Gerrit Smith gave him some land at North Elba, Essex County, New York, and in 1849 Brown moved thither with his family. He took with him some freed negroes, but they, losing heart at the sterility of soil, gave up in despair. In 1851 he returned to Ohio. Four of his sons had moved to Kansas, which was then the seat of hot slavery contention, and finding it impossible to get on without arms, they wrote to their father to send such as they needed. John Brown, moving his family back to North Elba, set out for Kansas. His purpose was to free slaves. He belonged to no political party, "he followed neither Garrison nor Seward;
but the Golden Rule and the Declaration of Independence.” He plunged into the fight between the Free-State and the Slavery men, and on several occasions defeated forces much larger than his own. Among his notable achievements was his defense of Ossawatomie against a force numbering fifteen times his own, until failing ammunition compelled him to retreat. During this period he freed many slaves, one of his exploits arousing such excitement that the Governor of Missouri offered three thousand dollars for his arrest; to this the President added two hundred and fifty dollars. In January, 1859, he started East, going to Canada, where he and his followers effected a sort of organization. For the next few months he was first East and then West, and the 30th of June found him in Maryland, near Harper's Ferry. Here he and his companions hired a farm to which, without attracting attention, men and arms were smuggled. It was his design to seize the National armory at Harper's Ferry in which over 100,000 stand of arms were stored, and after freeing and arming what negroes he could, to take to the mountains, with which as a base he hoped to repeat his Kansas successes in freeing slaves. Fears of treachery compelled him to hasten his plans, and on Sunday evening, October 17th, the armory was seized by Brown, his force consisting of twenty-two men. Telegraph wires were cut, trains
stopped and over sixty prisoners taken. Instead of fleeing to the mountains, as planned, Brown stood his ground, expecting, it is said, the negroes to rise in his favor.
Be that as it may, he was surrounded by over 1,500 militia, besides some marines and artillery, and captured after a desperate fight in which he was severely wounded. His trial, which Brown himself pronounced fair, resulted in his being condemned to death, and on the ad of December he was hung. The whole incident created enormous excitement and intensified the bitterhess between North and South.
Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry. (See Brown, John.)
Buchanan, James, was born in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, April 23, 1791, and died at Wheatland, Pennsylvania, June 1, 1868. He graduated at Dickinson College, and was admitted to the bar. His earliest political career was as a Federalist, but about 1826 he joined the Democratic party. In 1814 he was a member of the Pennsylvania Legislature, and from 1820 to 1830 he was in Congress. In 1830 he went to Russia as Minister, returning in 1834, when he entered the Senate, where he remained until 1845. From 1845 to 1849 he was Secretary of State under Polk, and from 1852 to 1854 he was Minister to Great Britain. He was the Democratic candidate for President in 1856, and he was elected. The Dred Scott decision, John Brown's raid and other events connected with slavery and leading up to the Civil War marked his administration, and it was due to his lack of energy, and his opinion that the federal government could not interfere to keep any State in the Union by force, that the nation was in no condition to meet the crisis. He retired to private life immediately on leaving the presidency.
Buck and Breck.-A popular name for the Democratic presidential nominees in 1856, James Buchanan and John C. Breckenridge.
Buckeyes.- The buckeye tree (a species of horse chestnut) which abounds in Ohio, gave its name to that State and its inhabitants.
Buckshot War.-In 1838 the defeated Democratic candidate of a congressional district in Pennsylvania claimed Whig frauds in the North Liberties district as the cause of his defeat. Thereupon the ten Democratic return judges threw out the vote of that district, thus electing their member. The seven Whig judges met apart from the Democrats and gave certificates to the Whig candidates for Congress, and also to the Whig candidates for the Legislature, although these latter had considered themselves fairly defeated. This proceeding was part of a scheme to elect a Whig senator. The Whig certificates reached the Secretary of State first, and he, also a Whig, declared his intention of recognizing them until discredited by investigation. The House met December 4th at Harrisburg; armed partisans of both sides were in town; two separate organizations of the House took place, side by side, amid great confusion. Governor Ritner, a Whig, declared the city in the hands of a mob, and sought the aid of United States troops from their commander, and then from President Van Buren. In both cases he met with refusal. After a time, several Whigs seceded to the Democratic House, which had succeeded in keeping possession of the chamber and records, and the latter was recognized by the State Senate, when the other Whigs joined them; all but Thaddeus Stevens, who did not attempt to join until May, 1839. The House then declared his seat vacant, and he was obliged to be again elected before he was finally admitted. The remark of a Whig member that the mob “ should feel ball and buckshot before the day is over,” is said to have given rise to the name.
Bucktails. (See Clintonians.)
Bull Run Russell.—A name applied to William H. Russell, war correspondent of the London Times in this country in 1861–62, in consequence of his overdrawn description of the battle of Bull Run, and his predictions, based on the result of that battle, that the South would be successful in her attempt at secession.
Bulwer - Clayton Treaty. (See Clayton-Bulwer Treaty.)
Buncombe, To Speak For, is to talk for effect, political or otherwise. The phrase originated in the debates on the Missouri Compromise, when Felix Walker, the representative in Congress from the North Carolina district that included the county of Buncombe, insisted on speaking, and when begged to desist by other members of the House, asserted that he had to make a speech for Buncombe.
Bureaucracy. (See Civil Service Reform.)
Burlingame, Anson, was born in New York in 1820. He studied at the University of Michigan, and after graduating from the Harvard Law School, entered the bar. He joined the American party, and was elected to Congress, soon afterwards attaching himself to the Republican party. He was representative in Congress from 1855 to 1861. In 1861 he was appointed Minister to China, where he remained till 1867. He was then appointed by China as a special ambassador to negotiate treaties for that nation. He performed his duties admirably, and concluded treaties with the United States, England, Prussia, Denmark, Sweden and Holland. He died at St. Petersburg in 1870.
Burlingame Treaty, The, was concluded at Washington, July 28, 1868, between the United States and China. It was negotiated for the latter nation by Anson Burlingame in his capacity of special ambassador. By it, China first gave her adherence to principles of international law. Moreover, joint efforts were to be made against the cooley trade; liberty of conscience and worship, and rights of residence and travel, as accorded to the most favored nation, were guaranteed to Chinese in America and Americans in China. The United States disclaimed the right of interference with internal improvements in China.
Burn This Letter. This was the concluding sentence in one of the Mulligan letters (which see). It was a campaign cry of the opponents of James G. Blaine in the campaign of 1884.
Burr, Aaron, was born at Newark, New Jersey, February 6, 1756, and died at New York, September 14,