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· 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, 1836. He graduated at the College of New Jersey, and served in the Continental army in the Revolution, reaching the rank of colonel. He was subsequently admitted to the bar and moved to New York City. In 1791 he was elected to the United States Senate. He had a genius for political organization, and soon brought his party, the anti-Federalists, into a state of efficient discipline. The Federalists called him, with a small number of young men of his party that gathered about him, the Little Band. It was to his efforts that the success of his party in the presidential contest of 1800 was due. Burr was elected Vice-President, serving from 1801 to 1805. In 1804 a coalition was arranged between the New England Federalists, who were hopeless of victory in the South, and Burr's followers. As a part of this scheme, Burr was first nominated for Governor against the candidate of the Clintons, the Livingstons and the Schuylers, the great New York families that had been supreme in that State. Alexander Hamilton's personal efforts did much to defeat Burr; the celebrated duel between the two followed, ending, as is well known, in Hamilton's death. This is the last of Burr in politics. He was subsequently arrested on a charge of treason, based on an expedition to the West, the design of which was said to be the establishment of another republic west of the Rocky Mountains. He was acquitted. After several years spent abroad, he settled down to the practice of law in New York City.
Burr Conspiracy.-In consequence of Burr's duel with Hamilton, in which the latter met his death, Burr was indicted in New York and New Jersey for murder. He went West and made an extensive tour, in the course of which he made preparations for a gigantic but mysterious scheme. The real object of this is unknown. It was either to separate the Mississippi Valley from the rest of the Union and erect it into a new nation, or to conquer Mexico. In 1806 he gathered a number of reckless persons about him and started for the region of Texas, ostensibly on a colonizing expedition. President Jefferson issued a proclamation warning citizens against joining the expedition. Burr was arrested by Jefferson's orders, brought back to Virginia, and indicted there by a United States Grand Jury for treason and for a misdemeanor, based on his course in levying war within this country on a friendly nation, but it was hoped that Burr could also be shown to have had treasonable designs against the unity of this country. He was acquitted of treason for want of jurisdiction, on the failure of the evidence required by Article 3, section 3, clause 1 of the Constitution; he was also acquitted of misdemeanor. He was bound over to present himself for trial in Ohio, but the matter was pressed no further. One of Burr's dupes in this scheme was Harman Blennerhasset, who was also arrested, but who was discharged after Burr's acquittal.
Burrites. (See Clintonians.)
Butler, Benjamin F., was born at Deerfield, New Hampshire, November 5, 1818. He graduated at Waterville College and was admitted to the bar. In 1853 he was elected to the State Legislature, and in 1859 to the State Senate. Before 1860 he was a Democrat. He served in the Civil War as brigadier and major-general. He then figured in Congress as a Republican from 1867 to 1875 and from 1877 to 1879, representing Massachusetts. In 1878 and 1879 he ran for Governor as the candidate of the Greenback party. In 1882 he was elected Governor as the Democratic nominee. In 1884 he was the presidential candidate of both the GreenbackLabor and Anti-Monopoly parties. He received about 133,000 popular and no electoral votes. He was one of the managers on the part of the House of Representatives of the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson.
By the Eternal.—This, the favorite oath of Andrew Jackson, has become historic.
Cabinet.—This name is applied to the heads of the seven executive departments in their capacity of advisers of the President. The term itself is not mentioned in the Constitution, nor was the Cabinet, as at present constituted, contemplated by that instrument. The Constitution, Article 2, section 2, authorizes the President to “require the opinion in writing of the principal officer in each of the executive departments upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices,” and Washington on several occasions called for such opinions. But the nature of the Cabinet underwent a gradual change, and it is now an advisory board with which the President has consultations at regular intervals on the affairs of the nation. Washington inaugurated this change, consulting the members on matters foreign to their immediate departments on several occasions. Moreover, from being merely the heads of the executive departments its members have come to be recognized as an essential part of the executive branch and in certain contingencies the office of President devolves upon one of their number. (See Presidential Succession.) The plan has frequently been broached of giving to the members of the Cabinet seats in one of the Houses of Congress, either with or without a vote, in order that the demands for legislation or appropriations on the part of the Executive may be more easily explained and urged, and that information demanded by Congress may be more easily obtained. In the Constitution of the Confederate States authority was granted to Congress to give a seat in either House, with the right of debate in any measure relating to his department, to the members of the Cabinet. The Cabinet as originally constituted consisted of but four members, the Secretary of State, Secretary of War, Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney-General. Since then there have been added the Secretary of the Navy and of the Interior and the Postmaster-General and the Secretary of Agriculture, who are only by custom members of the Cabinet. The salary of every Cabinet officer is $8,000 per annum.