« ForrigeFortsett »
took ground emphatically against the Republican organization and effort. In his speech at Albany, he said:
"We see a political party presenting candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presi
dency, selected, for the first time, from the Free States alone, with the avowed purpose of electing these candidates by the suffrages of one part of the Union only, to rule over the whole United States. Can it be possible that those who are engaged in such a measure can have seriously reflected upon the consequences which must inevitably follow, in case of success? Can they have the madness or the folly to believe that our Southern brethren would submit to be governed by such a Chief Magistrate? Would he be required to follow the same rule prescribed by those who elected him in making his appointments? If a man living south of Mason and Dixon's line be not worthy to be President or Vice-President, would it be proper to select one from the same quarter as one of his Cabinet Council, or to represent the nation in a foreign country? Or, indeed, to collect the revenue, or administer the laws of the If not, new rule is the President to adopt in selecting men for office that the people themselves discard in selecting him? These are serious but practical questions; and, in order to appreciate them fully, it is only necessary to turn the tables upon ourselves. Suppose that the South, having the majority of the electoral votes, should declare that they would only have slaveholders for President and Vice-President, and should elect such by their exclusive suffrages to rule over us at the North. Do you think we would submit to it? No, not for a moment. And do you believe that your Southern brethren are less sensitive on this subject than you are, or less jealous of their rights? If you do, let me tell you that you are mistaken. And, therefore, you must see that, if this sectional party succeeds, it leads inevitably to the destruction of this beautiful fabric, reared by our forefathers, cemented by their blood, and bequeathed to us as a priceless inheritance."
This speech is memorable not merely for its gross misapprehension of the grounds and motives of the Republican movement-representing its purposes as violent, aggressive, and sectional, when they date back to 1784, and trace their paternity to Jefferson, a Southron and a slaveholder-but because this was the first declaration by a North
ern statesman of mark that the success of the Republicans would not only incite, but justify, a Southern rebellion. The facts that the "Na
tional Republicans," in 1828, supported John Q. Adams and Richard Rush-both from Free States-while their antagonists supported Andrew Jackson and John C. Calhoun, both slaveholders, and thus secured nearly every elector from the Slave States, are conveniently ignored by Mr. Fillmore.
The Presidential contest of 1856 was ardent and animated up to the October elections, wherein the States of Pennsylvania and Indiana were carried by the Democrats, rendering the election of Buchanan and Breckinridge a moral certainty. In despite, however, of that certainty, the Republicans carried New York by a plurality of 80,000, with the six New England States, and Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa-giving Gen. Fremont 114 electoral votes. Mr. Buchanan carried Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, California, with all the Slave States but Maryland, which voted alone for Mr. Fillmore. New Jersey, Illinois, and California, gave each a plurality only, not a majority, of her popular vote for the successful candidate. In the aggregate, Mr. Buchanan received 1,838,169 votes; Col. Fremont 1,341,264; and Mr. Fillmore 874,534: so that Mr. Buchanan, though he had a very decided plurality, lacked 377,629 votes of a majority over both his competitors. Of the electors, however, he had 174-a clear majority of 60. Major Breckinridge was, of course, chosen Vice-President by the same vote.
The disturbed and distracted con
VOTING ON THE LECOMPTON CONSTITUTION.
dition of Kansas, resulting from the efforts of her Missouri neighbors to force Slavery upon her against her will, necessarily attracted the early attention of Mr. Buchanan's Administration. John W. Geary-the third or fourth of her Territorial Governors-had recently resigned and left in disgust, and the selection of a successor was an obvious and urgent duty. The President's choice fell on Hon. Robert J. Walker, formerly Senator from Mississippi, and Secretary of the Treasury under President Polk, who accepted the post with considerable reluctance. Frederick P. Stanton, for ten years a representative in Congress from Tennessee, was associated with him as Secretary.
Meantime, the double-headed action in Kansas proceeding, an immense majority of the settlers, though prevented by Federal force from effecting such an organization as they desired, utterly refused to recognize the Legislature chosen by the Missouri invaders, or the officers thereby appointed: consequently, each party held its own conventions and elections independent of the other. The pro-Slavery Legislature called a Constitutional Convention in 1857, which met at Lecompton on the first Monday of September. That Convention proceeded, of course, to form a pro-Slavery Constitution, which they pretended to submit to the people at an election held on the 21st of December following. But at this remarkable election, held expressly to ratify or reject a State Constitution, no one was allowed to vote against that Constitution. The The vote was to be taken "For the Constitution with Slavery" or "For the Constitution without Slavery"—no
others to be allowed or counted. It was accordingly so taken, and the following was the return :
So the Constitution with Slavery was adopted. But, meantime, an election had been held, on the first Monday in October, for a Territorial Legislature under the bogus laws; and at this election most of the FreeState men, trusting to the assurances of Gov. Walker, had voted. Over 11,000 votes were polled, of which 1,600 were taken at a little precinct known as Oxford, on the Missouri border, where there were but 43 voters; and 1,200 were returned from McGee County, where no poll was opened. But, notwithstanding these enormous frauds, the Free-State preponderance was so decided that it carried the Legislature and elected a delegate to Congress. This Legislature, whose legality was now unquestioned, passed an act submitting the Lecompton Constitution to a vote of the people for or against it, on the 4th of January, 1858. This Constitution provided that "the rights of property in slaves now in the Territory shall in no manner be interfered with," and precluded any amendment prior to the year 1864; after which, amendments could be made with the concurrence of both houses of the legislature, and a majority of all the citizens of the State. Thus, while the people had not been allowed to vote against the Constitution, their seeming privilege of voting for it without Slavery was a delusion. In any case, Slavery was to have been protected and perpetuated. But, at the election authorized by the new Legislature, which the Missourians did not choose
to recognize as valid, and therefore did | Kansas of a proposition on the part
of Congress to limit and curtail
not come over to vote at, the full poll was returned as follows:
For the Lecompton Constitution with Slavery, 46 without 66
Against the Lecompton Constitution,
giving a majority of over 10,000 against the said Constitution in any shape.
The XXXVth Congress organized at Washington, December 7, 1857. There being a large Democratic majority, Linn Boyd, of Kentucky, was elected Speaker. Mr. Buchanan, in his Annual, as also in a Special Message," urged Congress to accept and ratify the Lecompton Constitution. Senator Douglas took strong ground against it. The Senate" passedYeas 32, Nays 25-a bill accepting this Constitution. But the House" adopted a substitute, prepared by Senator Crittenden, of Kentucky, and proposed in the House by Mr. Montgomery, a Douglas Democrat from Pennsylvania. This substitute required a re-submission of that Constitution to the people of Kansas, under such provisions and precautions as should insure a fair vote thereon. It was adopted by the House as a substitute for the Senate bill― Yeas, 92 Republicans, 22 Douglas Democrats, 6 Americans total 120; Nays, 104 Democrats, 8 Americans total 112. This amendment was rejected by the Senate, who asked a Committee of Conference; which, on motion of Mr. English, of Indiana, who had thus far acted with the Douglas men, was granted by 109 Yeas to 108 Nays. The bill reported from the Conference Committee proposed a submission to the people of
31 February 2, 1858. 32 March 23, 1858.
The Territorial Legislature had now passed completely into the hands of the Free-State party, and, under its guidance, a new Constitutional Convention assembled at Wyandot on the first Tuesday in March, 1859; the people having voted, by a majority of 3,881, to hold such Convention. The attempt to make Kansas a Slave State was now formally abandoned in favor of an effort to organize it as a Democratic Free State. This, however, failed-the Convention consisting of thirty-five Republicans to seventeen Democrats. A Free-State Constitution was duly framed, whereby the western boundary of the State was fixed at the twenty-third parallel of longitude west from Washington. This Constitution was adopted at an election held on the first Tuesday in October, whereat the majority for ratification was about 4,000. The first undisputed State election was held under it on the 6th of December following, when Republican officers and member of Congress were elected on a light vote, by majorities ranging from 2,000 to 2,500.
The Constitution framed by the 33 April 1, 1858.
April 30, 1858.
KANSAS ADMITTED-DRED SCOTT.
Convention at Wyandot was laid be- | 1860. At the next session of Confore the House, February 10th, 1860. On the 15th, Mr. Grow, of Pennsylvania, introduced a bill for the admission of Kansas into the Union; which was read a first and a second time, and referred to the Committee on Territories. This bill was reported to the House from that Committee, and, on the 11th of April, it passed, under the Previous Question: Yeas 134; Nays 73. But the Senate, which was very strongly Democratic, stubbornly refused (32 to 27) to take it up, and adjourned, leaving Kansas still a Territory: so that, though every way qualified for and entitled to admission, she was remanded into territorial vassalage by the very men who had been so eager to admit her, two years before, when her population and every other element of strength and stability were considerably less. She was thus denied a voice in the election for President in
gress, however, her application was renewed; and on the same day that Messrs. Jefferson Davis, Clement C. Clay, Fitzpatrick, Mallory, and others, abandoned their seats and the Capitol to take part in the Southern Rebellion, a bill admitting her as a Free State under the Wyandot Constitution was called up by Gov. Seward, and passed the Senate: Yeas 36; Nays 16. One week later, on motion of Mr. Grow, of Pennsylvania, it was taken up in the House, out of regular order, by 119 to 42, and passed.
And thus, on the very threshold of our great struggle-no serious effort having been made by the slaveholders to colonize or conquer Nebraska-the arduous contest opened by Mr. Dixon's proposition to repeal the Missouri Restriction, was closed by the admission of Free Kansas as the thirtyfourth State of our Federal Union.
THE DRED SCOTT CASE.
ously to 1834, held as a slave in Missouri by Dr. Emerson, a surgeon in the U. S. Army. In that year, the doctor was transferred to the military post at Rock Island, in the State of Illinois, and took his slave with him. Here, Major Taliaferro (also of the army) had, in 1835, in his service a black known as Harriet, whom he likewise held as his slave. The major was transferred that year to Fort
DRED SCOTT, a negro, was, previ- | Snelling, on the other side of the Missippi, in what is now known as Minnesota, but was then an unorganized territory of the United States, expressly covered by the Slavery Prohibition included in the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Dr. Emerson was likewise transferred to Fort Snelling in 1836, and here bought Harriet of Major Taliaferro, and held her and Dred as his slaves; they being married to each other with his con35 January 21, 1861.
sent soon after his arrival at the Fort. Two children were born to them; Eliza, in 1838, on board the steamboat Gipsy, on their way down the Mississippi, but still north of the Missouri line; Lizzie, seven years later, at Jefferson Barracks, in the State of Missouri. The doctor, with Dred, Harriet, and Eliza, returned thence to St. Louis, and he there continued to hold them as his slaves, until he sold them, several years later, to John F. A. Sanford, of the State and City of New York. Finally, Dred brought suit for his freedom, on the above state of facts, in the State Circuit Court of St. Louis County, Missouri, and obtained a verdict and judgment in his favor. But this was reversed by a judgment on a writ of error to the Supreme Court of that State, from which an appeal was taken to the courts of the United States, and the case came to trial in May, 1854. Having been fully heard by the Supreme Court at Washington, that court was about to decide it at its term of 1855-6; but the controlling majority of its Judges concluded, in view of the pending Presidential election, and the strong excitement which the Nebraska bill and the Kansas outrages had aroused throughout the Free States, to defer rendering judgment until its next session. It is quite probable that its action in the premises, if made public at the time originally intended, would have reversed the issue of that Presidential election. The eminent Chief Justice John Marshall, who had so long presided over that tribunal, and whose opinions had won for it a weight and influence rarely accorded to any court, died in 1835
at the ripe age of eighty. None of the Judges appointed by any predecessor of Gen. Jackson survived. Of the nine who now composed that august tribunal, eight had been selected from the ranks of the Democratic party, and most of them for other considerations than those of eminent legal ability or acquirements. John McLean, of Ohio, was placed on the bench, in 1829, by Gen. Jackson, in order to make room for a PostmasterGeneral who would remove from office the postmasters who had supported Mr. Adams and appoint Jacksonians to their places; which McLean—having been continued in office by Mr. Adams, though himself for Jackson
could not decently do. Roger B. Taney, of Maryland, was likewise appointed by Jackson in 1836, as a reward for his services in accepting the post of Secretary of the Treasury and removing the Federal deposits from the United States Bank, upon the dismissal of William J. Duane, of Pennsylvania, for refusing to make such removal. Mr. Taney, born in 1777, was an ultra Federalist previously to his becoming a Jacksonian, but always a devotee of prerogative and power. Of his associates, beside Judge McLean, only Samuel Nelson, of New York, and Benjamin R. Curtis, of Massachusetts, were ever presumed qualified, either by nature or attainments, for judicial eminence.
The decision and opinions of this Court, in the case of Dred Scott, had not been made public when Mr. Buchanan was inaugurated;' but that gentleman had undoubtedly been favored with a private intimation of their scope and bearing:
1 March 4th, 1857.