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later on, was to be a conspicuous figure in the Senate during Lincoln's Presidential term. To Lincoln's unselfish devotion to principle was this triumphant success of the new spirit of the freemen of Illinois largely due. He ardently desired the senatorial office, for he felt that in it he could accomplish great things for free government. He relinquished all his chances, and implored his friends, who were many and steadfast, to leave him and vote for Trumbull, rather than endanger the cause in which they were all so deeply concerned. This generous concession solidified the jarring elements of the new party and made its after-successes possible. Nor is this generosity lessened by the fact that Judge Trumbull had never been the political friend of Lincoln, but his opponent, and sometimes his unfriendly critic.
THE KANSAS STRUGGLE.
Freedom and Slavery Wrestle with Each Other—"Bleeding Kansas"
-The Troubler of Slave-Owners—The Irrepressible Conflict
Lincoln's Slowness and Reticence. MEANWHILE, immigrants from free States and
slave States were pouring into Kansas. In spite of the incursions of the proslavery men, the hardy immigrants from Iowa, northern Illinois, and New England were clearly in the majority. Something must be done to stem this tide and to turn it back upon the free States. Violence was readily resorted to. The swashbucklers who trooped over the border from Missouri and Arkansas were as ready to stuff ballot-boxes with fraudulent votes and mob free-State men as they were to vote. One thing they would not do-work. The free-State men were indeed actual settlers. They took up land, planted crops, and built log cabins for their families, evidently intending to stay. The borderers, on the other hand, were rough riders, sportsmen, gamblers. They spent their time in drinking, shooting, scouring the country for prey, and terrifying helpless women and children. One of their favorite expressions was that they “would make it hot for any Abolitionist," and another was that they “would cut the heart out of any man who voted the Abolition ticket.” Ag
gressiveness like this soon engendered hatreds. The proslavery men were known as "border ruffians,' and the free-State men were commonly called “Abolitioners."
Under the lead of the notorious "Dave" Atchison of Missouri, a Senator of the United States, secret societies, known as “Blue Lodges,” were formed for the purpose of ridding the country of the hated freeState men.
Steamers bound up the Missouri River, laden with free-State immigrants and their movable property, were stopped by these ruffians, who swarmed on board, drove off the immigrants, put their cattle and goods ashore, and compelled the officers of the steamers, who were only too willing to be an unresisting party to this outrage, to go on and leave their passengers behind. The border ruffians had on their side the influence of the United States officials, the Missouri State government, and the State militia. They rode across the border, burning fields of grain and cabins of the free-State men, killing or running off their animals, and devastating the country for miles around. Under the leadership of Atchison and another of his kidney, one Stringfellow, raids were planned for long forays into the Territory, the raiders returning into Missouri under the cover of the night, or camping in secluded places along the border, ready for another excursion. On the free-State side were such men as “Jim" Lane, afterward a Senator from Kansas, and a redoubtable fighter; John Brown, then called Ossawattomie Brown, from his pitching his tent on the Kansas stream of that name; Charles Robinson, afterward
the Governor of the free State; Silas C. Pomeroy, afterward Senator from the new State; and others whose names are gratefully remembered by the early settlers of that dark and troublous time.
When the local elections came on, the border ruffians showed that they were more than a match for the law-abiding and orderly free-State men. These were astounded by the audacity and coolness with which the border men took possession of the polls, voted as often as they pleased, and carried things generally with a high hand. In one instance, for example, the borderers brought with them a directory of the city of St. Louis, and put page after page of names from that book upon the poll-list, with votes for the proslavery candidates for office and for slavery, in precincts where there were but few votes. In another precinct, they formed a lane of their gangs, leading up to the door of the log cabin where the ballot-box was put. When the voter approached, he was obliged to show his ballot; if it was for slavery, he was permitted to deposit it in the box; if not, he was jocularly lifted to the roof of the cabin, where a squad of stalwart men received him, hurried him over the ridge-pole, and slid him down on the other side, when he was permitted to escape, glad to get away with his life. Outrages like these were committed every day, and in more than one instance, death followed the least resistance io tyranny.
Massacres were frequent, and the soil of the unhappy young Territory was literally wet witl blood. The watchword “Bleeding Kansas,” which vras derided then and afterward by the friends of s; avery,
described in a terse phrase the condition of the region where the battle of freedom was being fought. In these disturbances, a son of Ossawattomie Brown was slain, and the father made a vow to avenge on slavery the death of his son. Ruined homesteads were to be seen on every hand, and for a time the borderers, with the National Government at their back and the militia troops of Missouri within assisting distance, carried the day. Slavery was "voted up” by such means as have been described, and a government was established on the basis of the right of any man to own human beings in the new territory of Kansas. The story of these shameful wrongs and outrages was spread abroad and made a profound impression all over the country. But the raiders did not stay on the soil they had apparently conquered for slavery. They went back to their haunts on the Missouri side of the border, and after a while the institution for which they had committed so many crimes grew more and more feeble. The slaves ran away, for there were free States near at hand where they could hide, and pursuit in so unsettled a condition of the country was almost hopeless. President Pierce, and President Buchanan after him, appointed governor after governor. The Territory must be saved to slavery; but this was more than any governor could accomplish. And when the exactions of the proslavery party at Washington became more oppressive, each governor resigned and went home. Kansas was grimly called “the graveyard of territorial governors.”