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the mails, and postmasters were made the judges of their incendiary character; for years respectable newspapers, published in New York, were not permitted to reach subscribers in the Southern States by mail. Colored seamen, citizens of Massachusetts, were, under State laws, seized and kept in jail at Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans, while their vessels were in port, and occasionally sold to pay the jail fees; and when that State sent an agent, one of her most distinguished and honored citizens, to South Carolina, to test the constitutionality of these laws, he was treated with great indignity, and threatened with being mobbed unless he left the State within twenty-four hours. A citizen of Kentucky, of one of her most eminent families, who dared to advocate gradual emancipation, and set the example by freeing his own slaves, was set upon by assassins, and though he defended himself with great bravery, was wounded nigh unto death ; and when subsequently he established a paper to set forth his views, his press was destroyed and his type thrown into the Ohio River, and his life threatened. The support of Northern men was demanded for whatever measures were deemed necessary to maintain and strengthen slavery; and if any reluctance was shown, the threat to dissolve the Union, unless Southern demands were granted, was always ready.
In 1844, the statesmen of the South saw an opportunity of mate rially increasing the area of slave territory by the annexation of Texas, which would give them the preponderance in Congress which they were otherwise likely to lose in the next decade. John Tyler, then President by the death of General Harrison, was favorable to their purpose. The annexation was consummated, with a proviso allowing four more States to be set off from its territory when the population should be sufficient, to be Slave or Free States, as their inhabitants should elect. This annexation led to the war with Mexico, which was very popular in the South, from the belief that it would still further increase the territory to be devoted to slavery. When the war closed, and California, Utah, and New Mexico were added to our domain, and the discovery of gold sent a vast body of emigrants to California, who soon claimed its admission to the Union with a Free State Constitution, the Southern leaders were greatly dissappointed and vexed. They opposed its admission with great violence, and only consented after a further compromise, by which a new fugitive slave law, denying the fugitive a trial by jury, and compelling all citizens, under a penalty of one thousapd dollars' fine, and six months' or a year's imprisonment, to aid in the surrender of an alleged slave, was passed, and the Government was required to pay to Texas tbe sum of ten millions of dollars (in addition to the previous assumption of her debts), for the Gadsden tract, a barren, worthless strip of land, to which her claim was, to say the least, doubtful.
It is not a matter of wonder that some of the Northern States, to all of wbich the surrender of fugitive slaves had always been an irksome duty, should have been provoked by the passage of this fugitive slave law into the enactment of such State laws as should render it difficult of execution, and only capable of enforcement in cases where there was no possibility of question of the status of the alleged fugitive. Some of the States passed “personal liberty bills," securing a jury trial before surrender, forbidding the use of the county jails or other prisons for the detention of fugitives, &c. Some of these laws probably conflicted with the provisions of the Constitution of the United States, and thus were void; but others kept within the letter of that instrument. In several of the States they were repealed, as a conciliatory measure, in 1861.
Thwarted in their expectation of adding territory for new Slave States by the Mexican war, the leaders of the Southern party turned their attention in a new direction. In the heart of the continent lay a broad tract of excellent land, directly west of Missouri, but all of it above the parallel of 36° 30'. Toward this rich and fertile region the attention of emigrants was now directed, as one of the most desirable for agricultural purposes. It was proposed to erect it into two teritorries, Kansas and Nebraska. By the terms of the Missouri compromise, it must be free territory, but the South had already realized all it could hope for of protit from that compromise; Missouri, Arkansas, and Florida had all been admitted as Slave States; and they had also acquired Texas, which would in time, they hoped, make four more Slave States. The North had received five free States, Maine, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, and California; and two more, Minnesota and Oregon, would, before long, ask for admission. The advantage was yet, apparently, on the Southern side; but they were resolved to have Kansas also, and therefore the Missouri Compromise must be repealed. Alexander H. Stephens, then a member of Congress from Georgia, and subsequently Vice-President of the “Southern Confederacy,” was selected to engineer the repeal, and thus to throw open the whole of the territories to slavery, and he did it with great adroitness. He caused the proposition for repeal both in the Senate and in the House to emanate from Northern men
-Mr. Douglas, of Illinois, bringing in a bill to that effect in the Senate, and Mr. Richardson, of the same State, in the House. After a long and exciting discussion the measure was forced through, and received the sanction of President Pierce, in 1854. The pretext for thus violating a solemn compact, which, in the North at least, bad acquired the binding efficacy of a constitutional provision, was that it was a violation of the Constitution. It is a curious exemplification of the growing arrogance of the slave power that a compromise which had proved satisfactory to Southern leaders in 1820, should, thirty-four years later, be scouted with scorn by some of these very men.
A case of considerable interest, in relation to an alleged fugitive slave named Dred Scott, coming before the Supreme Court of the United States about this time, the chief-justice, Roger B. Tapey, took occasion, after rendering his opinion in the case, to declare that negroes could not be citizens of the United States, and to promulgate the doctrine “ that they had no rights which a white man was bound to respect." He also gave it as his individual opinion that the slaveholder had a right to take and hold his slaves in any of the
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Territories. A part of the associate justices of the Supreme Court coincided in this opinion, but others, and among them Justices McLean and Curtis, dissented.
The obstacle to making Kansas a Slave State, which had been interposed by the Missouri Compromise, having now been removed, fireat efforts were made to send slaveholding emigrants thither, and to secure its admission with a slave Constitution. This was found, however, a matter of greater difficulty than had been at first expected. In Massachusetts and New York, Kansas Aid Societies had been organized, with branches throughout most of the Northern States, by which funds were raised, land purchased, steam saw and flouring mills set up, hotels and dwelling-bouses erected, and emigrants furnished with the means of removal to Kansas, and necessary assistance after their arrival, to maintain free institutions and oppose the establishment of slavery. The Southern emigrants, aided by organized bands of lawless Missourians, known as " border ruffians, prominent among whom was David Atchison, formerly United States Senator from Missouri, soon came in collision with the Northern settlers, and sought in many instances to drive them from their settlements. Serious outrages, robbery, and often bloodshed, were the results. Arms were sent from the Eastern States to the Northern emigrants, and in several instances bloody battles were fought. The United States Government interposed, but without much effect, its policy being vacillating and uncertain. After about three years of anarchy, and disturbance, the border ruffians found the Northern settlers too strong for them, and left the Territory. The settlers met in convention repeatedly, and adopted a State Constitution; but on one pretext or another they were refused admission into the Union until the second session of the thirty-sixth Congress (1860–61).
Foiled in this attempt to increase the area of slave territory, the Southern leaders turned their attention to regions outside of the United States. The annexation of Cuba, peaceably or by force, had long been one of their favorite schemes, which Mr. Buchanan did all in his power to accomplish by purchase; but the decided refusal of Spain to listen to any proposition for parting with it put an end to that negotiation. The possession of Nicaragua, or some other of the Central American States, to be accomplished by an armed irruption and revolution, was another measure looking to the same end. An adventurer, named William Walker, fitted out several successive expeditions from Southern ports for this purpose, and prominent men in the South aided him with money and men, while the Government made some feeble efforts to prevent the departure of the piratical expeditions. These enterprises failed, and, at the last, Walker was taken prisoner and executed by the Costa Rican Government.
One of the results of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and of those desperate attempts to seize upon Kansas, and to acquire new regions to devote to slavery, was the organization of the Republican party, whose motto was, “No more slave territory.” This party origipated in the autumn of 1855, and in 1856 nominated John C. Fremont for the Presidency. The Democratic party in the same campaign nominated James Buchanan. The contest was a very bitter one, but sulted in Mr. Buchanan's election. At one time the result was regard as doubtful, and preparations were made by the political leaders Virginia and South Carolina, as well as in some of the other Southe States, for precipitating the secession of their several States in ti event of Mr. Fremont's election.
HISTORY OF THE GREAT REBELLION.
Secession determined upon by Southern Leaders.--Treachery of Cabinet Officers.
Division of the Democratic Party.--Election of Mr. Lincoln.—The John Brown Raid. — “ The Impending Crisis" and the “Compendium."-Movements for Seces. sion in the Cotton States.
MR. BUCHANAN was inaugurated President March 4th, 1857; and it was not long before the leaders of the South began to discover that all their schemes for the extension of the area of slavery were destined to prove futile. Kansas, amid strife and bloodshed, was struggling on toward the position of a Free State, and was certain in the end to secure it ; Cuba could neither be bought nor conquered, and Walker's expeditions not only lacked respectability, but were unsuccessful. There was then no resource for them but to attempt the desperate measure which their great Southern statesman had advised thirty years before-SECESSION. They might reasonably hope to carry with them, they believed, a portion of the Northwest, to which the navigation of the Mississippi was indispensable; and the great States of Pennsylvania and New York had such large commercial interests in slavery, that little doubt was entertained that they too would unite with the South. New England, Northern New York, the northern portions of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota they did not care for.
In order to accomplish this change several things were necessary. The minds of the prominent men in the South must be prepared for it, without creating excitement or apprehension on the part of the North. For this purpose a secret society, the “ Knights of the Golden Circle," having for its primary object the extension and defence of slavery, was organized, and several degrees, as in the Masonic order, were open to the aspirant for high rank in it. To the initiated of the highest rank only was the whole plot revealed, and the others, with but an imperfect idea of its purposes, were employed to further its designs. Among the officers and members of the higher degrees of the order were, it was said, cabinet and other officers of the Government, and prominent citizens of all the Southern and of some of the Northern States.
The conspirators also sought to procure arms and money in aid of the secession movement, which they had resolved should take place