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Expansion and Conflict by William E. Dodd

 

PREFACE.
CHAPTER I. ANDREW JACKSON
CHAPTER II. THE WEST
CHAPTER III. THE EAST
CHAPTER IV. CONFLICT AND COMPROMISE
CHAPTER V. THE TRIUMPH OF JACKSON
CHAPTER VI. DISTRESS AND REACTION
CHAPTER VII. THE MILITANT SOUTH
CHAPTER VIII. WAR AND CONQUEST
CHAPTER IX. THE ABOLITIONISTS
CHAPTER X. PROSPERITY
CHAPTER XI. AMERICAN CULTURE
CHAPTER XII. STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS
CHAPTER XIII. ABRAHAM LINCOLN
CHAPTER XIV. THE APPEAL TO ARMS
CHAPTER XV. ONE NATION OR TWO?
CHAPTER XVI. THE COLLAPSE OF THE CONFEDERACY

 

[Illustration: Copyright, 1891, by M. B. Rice.

(signature) Abraham Lincoln]

                     EXPANSION AND
                     CONFLICT

                     BY

                     WILLIAM E. DODD

               PROFESSOR OF AMERICAN HISTORY UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

                     HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
                     BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO
                     The Riverside Press
                     Cambridge

                     COPYRIGHT, 1915, BY WILLIAM E. DODD
                     ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

                     The Riverside Press
                     CAMBRIDGE · MASSACHUSETTS
                     U. S. A.

PREFACE.

The purpose of this volume is to show the action and reaction of the most important social, economic, political, and personal forces that have entered into the make-up of the United States as a nation. The primary assumption of the author is that the people of this country did not compose a nation until after the close of the Civil War in 1865. Of scarcely less importance is the fact that the decisive motive behind the different groups in Congress at every great crisis of the period under discussion was sectional advantage or even sectional aggrandizement. If Webster ceased to be a particularist after 1824 and became a nationalist before 1830, it was because the interests of New England had undergone a similar change; or, if Calhoun deserted about the same time the cause of nationalism and became the most ardent of sectionalists, it was also because the interests of his constituents, the cotton and tobacco planters of the South, had become identified with particularism, that is, States rights.

And corollary to these assumptions is the further fact that public men usually determine what line of procedure is best for their constituents, or for what are supposed to be the interests of those constituents, and then seek for “powers” or clauses in State or Federal Constitutions which justify the predetermined course. This being, as a rule, true, the business of the historian is to understand the influences which led to the first, not the second, decision of the Representative or Senator or President or even Justice of the Supreme Court. Hence long-winded speeches or tortuous decisions of courts have not been studied so closely as the statistics of the cotton or tobacco crops, the reports of manufacturers, and the conditions of the frontier, which determined more of the votes of members of Congress than the most eloquent persuasion of great orators.

Thus the following pages utterly fail of their purpose if they do not picture the background of congressional and sectional conflicts during the period from Andrew Jackson to Abraham Lincoln. But, to be sure, in so brief a book all the contributing elements of the growing national life cannot be fully described or even be mentioned. Still, it is the hope of the author that all the greater subjects have been treated. What has been omitted was omitted in order to devote more space to what seemed to be more important, not in order to suppress what some may consider to be of primary significance. Three hundred short pages for the story of the great conflict which raged from 1828 to 1865 do not offer much latitude for explanations and diversions along the way. Nor is it possible for any one to describe this conflict satisfactorily even to all historians, to say nothing of the participants who still live and entertain the most positive and contradictory convictions. Hence one must present one's own narrative and be content if open-mindedness and honesty of purpose be acknowledged.

The book is intended for the maturer students in American colleges and universities and for readers who may be desirous of knowing why things happened as they did as well as how they happened. And by the employment of collateral readings suggested in the short bibliographies at the close of each chapter, both the college student and the more general reader may find his way through the labyrinth of conflicting opinion and opposing authorities which make up the body of our written history.

To make this task easier some twenty-five maps have been prepared and inserted at the appropriate places in the text. These maps, perhaps one might say photographs of social or economic conditions, attempt to present the greater sectional and industrial groups of “interests” which entered into the common life of ante-bellum times. They treat party evolution, economic development, and social antagonisms in a way which, it seems to the author, should help the reader to a better understanding of things than would be possible by the simple narrative.

For permission to use the maps on pages 291, 313, and 327 the author expresses his thanks to the publishers of The Encyclopedia Americana.

In this connection cordial thanks are extended to Professor J. F. Jameson and Dr. C. O. Paullin, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, for the privilege of using the data which they collected on the election of 1828 and the vote in Congress on the Tariff of 1832. Likewise Mr. P. L. Phillips, of the Division of Maps of the Library of Congress, has given the author much assistance. Nor must I fail to say that many of my students have rendered practical aid in working out the details of several of the maps. Mr. Edward J. Woodhouse, of Yale University, very kindly read all the proof and prepared the index. And Professors A. C. McLaughlin and M. W. Jernegan, of the University of Chicago; Allen Johnson, of Yale; Carl Becker, of Kansas; and Frederic L. Paxson, of Wisconsin, have all given counsel and criticism on certain chapters which have been of great practical benefit.

But in making these acknowledgments for assistance rendered, it is not intended to shift to other shoulders any of the responsibility for statements or manner of treatment which may arouse criticism. The book is intended to be helpful, interpretative, and beyond any sectional bias. If the author has not been successful, it is not the fault of others, nor because of any sparing of personal efforts.

William E. Dodd.

                     EXPANSION AND CONFLICT

                    

CHAPTER I. ANDREW JACKSON

“Let the people rule”—such was the reply that Andrew Jackson made to the coalition of Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams which made the latter President. And Andrew Jackson was an interesting man in 1825. He was to be the leader of the great party of the West which was forming for the overthrow of the old political and social order. Born in a cabin on the southern frontier in 1767 and reared in the midst of poverty during the “hard times” of the Revolution, Jackson had had little opportunity to acquire the education and polish which so distinguished the leaders of the old Jeffersonian party. After a season of teaching school and studying law in Salisbury, North Carolina, he emigrated, in 1788, to Tennessee, where he soon became a successful attorney, and a few years later a United States Senator. But public life in Philadelphia proved as unattractive as school-teaching had been; he returned to the frontier life of his adopted State and was speedily made a judge, and as such he sometimes led posses to enforce his decrees. During the second war with England he made a brilliant campaign against the Creek Indians, who had sided with the British, and gained the reputation of being the mortal enemy of the aborigines, a reputation which added greatly to his popularity in a community which believed that the “only good Indian is a dead Indian.”

At the close of the war, when most men were expecting news that the British had conquered the lower Mississippi Valley and that the Union was breaking to pieces, he proved to be the one American general who could “whip the troops who had beaten Napoleon.” The battle of New Orleans made Jackson an international character, and the West was ready to crown him a hero and a savior of the nation. Nor did his arbitrary conduct in the Seminole War, or later, when he was Governor of Florida, injure him in a region where Indians, Spaniards, and Englishmen had few rights which an American need respect. The attacks of Henry Clay in the House of Representatives, and of William H. Crawford in the Cabinet, were regarded as political maneuvers. When, therefore, Jackson offered himself in 1823 as a candidate for the Presidency, most Western men welcomed him, fearing only that his age and his delicate health, of which he had said too much in public, might cut him off before he could render his country the great service of which they considered him capable. The politicians, especially those who followed Henry Clay, did their utmost to defeat him, and the votes of the West were divided almost evenly between the two backwoods rivals. But when it became clear in 1825 that Speaker Clay of the House of Representatives had added his influence to that of John Quincy Adams in order to prevent Jackson from winning, Western men everywhere made his cause their cause. “Let the people rule” became a battle-cry which was taken up in every frontier State from Georgia to Illinois.

It was time that the people devoted more attention to public affairs; they had in fact well-nigh abdicated. In Virginia, with a white population of 625,000, only 15,000 had voted in the election of 1824; in Pennsylvania, whose population was over a million, only some 47,000 had taken the trouble to go to the polls; while in Massachusetts, where the “favorite son” motive operated, just one man in nineteen exercised the right of suffrage. Government had become the business of “gentlemen” and of those who made a specialty of politics. The old Jeffersonian machine, organized as a popular protest against aristocracy and the “money power,” had itself become aristocratic, and it had ceased to represent the democracy of the United States; and the democracy had lost interest in its own affairs.

When Clay, the Westerner and long-time opponent of Adams and the New England element in politics, executed his surprising somersault in February, 1825, and thus made the eastern leader President and then himself became Secretary of State, occasion was given to a second Jefferson to arouse the people to a sense of their responsibility. Jackson, a very different man from the former man of the people, seized the opportunity. Thus the campaign of 1828 began in 1825, and in the course of the bitter struggle which ensued men divided into social classes much as they had done in 1800. The small farmers of the country districts and the artisan classes in the towns of the East accepted the leadership of the West and waged relentless war on behalf of the “old hero,” as Jackson came to be called. The Southern gentry who had followed Crawford, the Calhoun men, and certain remnants of ancient Federalism were now compelled to choose between the so-called radicalism of the West and John Quincy Adams, the Conservative. Two parties thus took the place of the four Republican factions which had contended for the control of the Government and especially the offices in 1824.

But contemporary with this larger national conflict there were important state and local struggles on which the success of Jackson and the West depended, and which we must survey and estimate, else the real significance of the campaign of 1828 is apt to be overlooked.

Beginning with the South, where Jackson's lieutenants were expecting their greatest gains, South Carolina was rent in twain by a conflict of social and economic forces which was soon to overshadow national issues. According to the constitutional bargain of 1809, the low country and the black belt, that is, the region of the historic river plantations and the newer cotton country, were always to have a majority in both houses of the legislature, which chose the governor, the judges, and other important officials. The reason of this was that the great majority of the slaves were held in this section, and without complete control of the Government the masters felt that their interests would be sacrificed to the democracy of the up-country. The hill and mountain region, on the other hand, had a large majority of the white population. But by the arrangement of 1809 the people of this section must content themselves with remaining in the minority in the state legislature, and suppress whatever of opposition they felt toward the institution of slavery, the cause of their effacement.

It was, however, this up-country which had been the mainstay of the Jeffersonian party. Calhoun was a son of this region, and he had grown up in the midst of the bitterest opposition to the eastern aristocracy. But gradually, under the influence of cotton-growing, he and some of his fellows yielded to the old order of the Pinckneys and the Butlers, and the older order yielded a little to the democratic group in the State. This produced the united South Carolina which gave to the country Calhoun, Lowndes, and Hayne, nationalists of the most ardent type in 1816; and for a few years it seemed that these astute leaders would play the rôle of the old Virginia dynasty.

But when Calhoun, with the aid of high protectionist Pennsylvania, was bending all his energies, in 1824, to winning the Presidency, there broke out an insurgency in the former Federalist section of his State which boded ill for the future. The burden of its complaint was the national tariff, which bore heavily on the cotton and rice planters. Between 1824 and 1828 the lower Carolinians developed a vindictive hostility toward the leaders of nationalism in the State and especially toward Calhoun, who was considered responsible for the oppressions of the tariff. Robert Barnwell Rhett and William Smith, two perfect representatives of aristocratic South Carolina, led the fight. Senator Hayne was among the first to yield; George McDuffie, an up-country leader, next surrendered; finally most Southern members of the National House of Representatives took up the cry against the tariff and extreme nationalism. Nothing was more certain in 1826 than that Calhoun and his nationalist party would be driven to the wall.

Vice-President Calhoun had taken note of the coming storm, and in 1827, when the woolens bill, a highly protectionist measure, was before Congress, a measure in which all the Middle States' interests were greatly concerned, he took pains to have his vote recorded against the bill. Thus he publicly announced his change of heart. A year later he was even more outspoken in his opposition to the famous “Tariff of Abominations.” However, he had already made an alliance with Jackson, whose attitude on the tariff no one knew, and who was very popular with the protectionists of Pennsylvania. It was clearly understood that Jackson would serve only one term as President and that Calhoun should succeed him. The leaders of the older section of South Carolina, urging secession, were now confronted with a peculiar dilemma. A conference with Calhoun led in 1828 to a reversal of the secession movement, and culminated in the proposition that South Carolina should suspend the tariff law of the country and ask a referendum of the various States on the subject. If this failed, then secession was to be the remedy. “Nullification” was the name which this referendum soon acquired.

The attitude of South Carolina was that of every other Southern State from Virginia to Mississippi, and everywhere it was the older and more important groups of counties which so bitterly opposed the protective policy. In Virginia college boys met in formal session and resolved to wear “homespun” rather than submit to the “yoke” of the Northern manufacturers; in North Carolina the legislature declared the tariff law unconstitutional. At the commencement of the University of Georgia the orator of the occasion appeared in a suit of white cotton cloth, while his valet wore the cast-off suit of shining broadcloth. The “Tariff of Abominations,” passed in 1828, was producing revolutionary results in all the region where tobacco, cotton, and rice were grown, and this was the governing section of the South.[1]

[Footnote 1: See maps on pp. 133, 134.]

Nor was this all; Georgia was still at the point of making actual war upon the United States because the President and Congress did not remove the Creek and Cherokee Indians as rapidly as the cotton planters desired. The Cherokees had declared themselves a State within the boundaries of Georgia, defied both local and national authority, and applied to the United States Supreme Court for recognition and support. The Government of Georgia had formally spread her laws over the Indian lands and imprisoned those who resisted her sway.

This Indian problem which Jackson would have to solve was of the utmost importance to all the region from Georgia to northwestern Louisiana, for in that region lived the ambitious and prosperous cotton planters, who were bent on getting possession of all the fertile lands of their section, and the legislatures of Alabama and Mississippi followed the example of Georgia in assuming jurisdiction over all Indians within their boundaries. Jackson entertained no tender scruples about dispossessing the natives, a fact which was well known and widely advertised. When, therefore, Crawford, who had been very popular with the planters of all the South, gave up his antagonism to the Tennessee candidate, and joined with the friends of Calhoun, whom Crawford hated only a little more than he had disliked Jackson, there was no substantial resistance in any of the States, from South Carolina to Louisiana. The way was preparing for a united South and West.

If the Crawford men of the lower South gave up their hostility to Jackson and the extreme anti-nationalists of South Carolina submitted once more to “Calhoun and Jackson,” it was by no means certain what the gentry of the eastern counties of North Carolina would do. They had supported Crawford in the last campaign, and there was neither Indian nor land question to compel them to support the Western candidate. Moreover, there was a bitter struggle between the east and the west of North Carolina which resembled very much the secession movement in South Carolina. The eastern men owned most of the slaves and produced the large staple crops; controlled the lawmaking and the other departments of the State Government; and its leaders were generally, if not always, the spokesmen of the State in national affairs. This position and these advantages were legacies of the constitution of 1776. The fact that they were in the minority in point of population served only to whet their appetites for more power. On the other hand, the leaders of the western section of the State had fought for twenty-five years to reform the constitution and the laws, to create new counties in order to secure proportionate representation, and to expand the suffrage in order that their majorities might be properly counted.

The bitterness of the two sections threatened to result in civil war or at least a division of the State. But the eastern men yielded and in 1835 a convention met in Raleigh. The planters were in the majority. They made concessions, however, in the matter of representation and in the popular election of the governors, which tended to reconcile the up-country people. But the control of taxation, suffrage, and representation remained securely in the hands of the legislative majority of the low-country counties. Slavery and the allied social system were henceforth immune, and the distinctions, forms, and realities of a growing aristocracy made steady encroachments upon the life of the State until the outbreak of the Civil War.

Contrary as it may seem to the ordinary political interests of such men, the North Carolina gentry accepted Jackson and the Western party in 1828, and the State was almost a unit in support of the more democratic element in the nation at the very time it was at the point of breaking to pieces locally because one section of the State was unwilling to grant the other a fair chance in the common life.

Nor was it different in Virginia. There the small counties of the east, with a minority of the white population, controlled both houses of the assembly, the governorship, the courts, and the majority of the State's representatives in Congress. This advantage, as in North Carolina, had been guaranteed by the constitution of 1776. The motive for this one-sided arrangement was the protection of slave property which, it must be said, paid the larger share of the taxes. In western Virginia, extending then to the Ohio River, there was a teeming population whose ablest leaders constantly resisted this system and demanded their rights. As elsewhere in the West the program was manhood suffrage, equal representation, and the popular election of important state officials.

After twenty-five years of agitation, a constitutional convention met in Richmond in the autumn of 1829. Reformers everywhere looked to this body in the hope that something might be done to “put slavery in a way to final extinction.” Madison, Monroe, Chief Justice Marshall, and John Randolph were members. All of these favored eastern Virginia and defended the privileged minority. Thomas Jefferson Randolph, grandson of Jefferson, Philip Doddridge, and Alexander Campbell represented the western section of the State and democracy. After months of debate which covered every subject in government, and especially slavery and its possible abolition, the convention decided, in the face of serious threats of secession on the part of the up country, to grant to the more populous section only a slight increase in the number of representatives. The power of property in government was once again confirmed, and so hopeless was the outlook that prominent anti-slavery men deserted their own cause and joined the other side during the next decades.

It was not an easy thing for John Randolph, and the other champions of the eastern Virginia oligarchy to commit their cause to the democratic party of the Mississippi Valley, whose leader was the “lawless” Jackson. Yet this is what they did. Nowhere outside of South Carolina was the influence of Calhoun more effective than in Virginia, and it must have been this which turned the balance in favor of “the General.”

From northern Virginia, even from eastern Maryland, to middle Georgia the case of democracy seemed doomed. John Randolph had denounced it as a monstrous “tyranny of King Numbers”; Judge Gaston, one of the purest and best men of North Carolina, declared that the cry, “let the people rule,” was fallacious, and asked with great concern, “What is then to become of our system of checks and balances?” While the radical spokesmen of the South Carolina aristocracy declared that they would never submit to that “dangerous principle of majority rule.”

The growth of the cotton industry between 1800 and 1830 had done much to retard the growth of democracy, so urgently advocated by Jefferson; while the interests of the cotton planters and the fears of the tobacco growers had served to “swing the leaders” of the aristocratic South into the Jackson columns. Though the price of raw cotton had declined from forty-four cents per pound in the former year to ten cents in the latter, the annual increase in the value of the total output between 1820 and 1830 was $1,000,000 and from 1830 to 1840 the value of this staple crop increased from $29,000,000 to $63,000,000, while all other items of the national export amounted only to $50,000,000 per year. Cotton was grown in a comparatively narrow belt of country extending from lower North Carolina to the Red River counties of Louisiana and Arkansas, with a total population in 1830 of little more than 1,500,000 people, of whom 500,000 were negro slaves. Yet their annual output was worth in 1830, $29,000,000 and in 1840, $63,000,000.

In the older South the tobacco crop was not appreciably greater in 1830 than it had been in 1800, though in the succeeding decade the value of the annual harvest rose from $5,000,000 to $9,000,000, and the manufacturing of tobacco became an important industry in many localities. Rice culture was at a standstill during these years, and sugar was only making a beginning; but the total of these staples, including cotton, reaches almost to two thirds of the national exports. The annual per capita income of the lower South ranged during the Jacksonian era from thirty to forty dollars, while that of the older Southern States like Virginia and Maryland was not half so great, and the average for the country as a whole fell much below that of the South. There was thus a marked contrast between the fortune of the average Middle States man and that of the cotton planters.

The result was an extraordinary movement southwestward, especially from the older South and Kentucky, where population was almost stationary during a period of twenty years. In Virginia good lands sold for less than the cost of the buildings on them. Jefferson's home, Monticello, including two hundred acres of land, sold at public auction in 1829 for $2500. Each autumn saw thousands of masters with their families and slaves take up the march over the up-country road through Danville, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, to Georgia and Alabama, or over the mountains to the valley of Virginia, whence they followed the great highland trough southwestward to the Tennessee and Tombigbee Valleys. The population of Alabama alone increased from 300,000 in 1830 to 600,000 ten years later. Unimproved lands in the cotton country sold at prices ranging from $2 to $100 per acre, and plantations spread rapidly over the better parts of the lower South. Men could afford to give away or abandon their homes in the old South in order to establish plantations in the Gulf States, for in ten years thrifty men became rich, as riches went in those days. The cotton country was a magnet which drew upon the Middle and Atlantic States for their best citizens during a period of twenty years.

While the Jackson leadership “captured” both the conservatives of Virginia and the Carolinas and the radicals of the Gulf region, the cause of democracy made great gains in the Middle States. Half of Maryland favored Jackson, and strangely enough the conservative half. Pennsylvania, the head and front of popular government since the days of Benjamin Franklin, gave every evidence of joining the standard of Jackson early in the contest. New York had held a constitutional convention in 1821 and opened the way for universal suffrage and the popular election of most state and county officers. So radical had been the sweep of reform that Chancellor Kent and other conservatives spent their energies in protest and prophecy of dire results to come. But it was probably the work of Van Buren, a conservative “boss” of New York, and of Samuel D. Ingham, a wealthy manufacturer of Pennsylvania and an ally of Calhoun, that made sure the votes of these great States; for men of the old Federalist party and extreme protectionists of both New York and Pennsylvania ranged themselves behind Jackson and his Western democracy.

If we turn now to the chances of Clay and Adams, we must look to a part of Maryland, to Delaware and New Jersey evenly divided, it seems, between the “forward and the backward-looking” men, and to New England. Connecticut abandoned her State Church in 1818 and extended the electoral franchise to all who enrolled in the militia. Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine were border States and distinctly Western in their ideals, though they were in no way inclined to desert the New England leader. Massachusetts, the great State of the East, held firmly to her conservative moorings. In the constitutional convention of 1820 the liberals had failed at every point. Webster and Story had defeated the proposition for abolishing the property qualification for membership in the State Senate; and the more radical plan for overthrowing the established Congregational Church, the bulwark of steady habits in Massachusetts, was similarly voted down. Webster, like Randolph, of Virginia, and Rhett, of South Carolina, urged that property should rule in every well-ordered community, and what Webster, Randolph, and Rhett urged, their respective States adopted. Even more reactionary was little Rhode Island, where privilege and inequality were as firmly intrenched as anywhere else in the country. The suffrage was limited to freeholders and representation was denied the majority of the people. The control of governor, legislature, and courts was in the hands of the minority. In 1821, 1822, and 1824 leaders of the majority endeavored to secure reforms, but without success.

From Augusta, Maine, to Baltimore stretched the long strip of country which could be relied on to vote for John Quincy Adams and to sustain conservative ideals in government. Western New York was also inclined to Adams, and Clay was confident that he could carry Ohio and Kentucky, the conservative communities of the West, for his ally. In the main the men who supported the Administration were those who feared the rough ways of plain men, the ideals of equality and popular initiative so dear to the American heart.

The managers of Jackson's campaign were members of the United States Senate. Calhoun sat in the Vice-President's chair; Van Buren was the leader of the Middle States group of the opposition; John Randolph was there and ever ready to turn his wonderful gifts of ridicule and sarcasm against the Puritan who sat in the “Mansion” and “wasted the money of the people”; Nathaniel Macon, one of the most popular of all the Senators, opposed the second Adams as earnestly as he had fought the first; George Poindexter, of Mississippi, was one of the most powerful politicians of the cotton kingdom, and he showed a never-failing hostility to “Clay and his President”; but Thomas H. Benton, of Missouri, was the most effective, perhaps, of all these men who were bent on the overthrow of Adams and Clay.

They kept the “bargain and sale” charge alive till the very day of the election. Benton urged on every possible occasion the adoption of constitutional amendments forbidding the President to appoint members of Congress to office, restricting the presidential term to four years without possibility of reëlection, and limiting the powers and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. He also kept the Western squatters on the public lands closely attached to him by promising that if he ever came to power their rights to the farms they had taken without leave should be confirmed by law. Nor did he forget to denounce Adams for “wantonly giving away Texas” in the negotiations with Spain in 1819. Every movement of the Government was combated at every point and defeated if possible. Van Buren, Calhoun, and Benton were an able trio, and they resorted for four years to every possible device to discredit the President and his Secretary of State and at the same time to secure the election of Andrew Jackson.

Duff Green, of Missouri, was brought to Washington to establish and edit The Telegraph, the organ of the opposition which began operations in 1826. It gave currency to the campaign literature and educated the people in the cause of the West. Adams was an aristocrat; he lived sumptuously every day at the public expense; he did not associate with the people; and he aped the courts of Europe, where he had spent so much of his life. The people of the South and West reached the point where they could believe anything against John Quincy Adams. No other President of the United States has ever been so shamefully treated, save one, and that one was Martin Van Buren, the man who was leading the onslaughts of 1828.

Adams and Clay were helpless; it was difficult for them to secure popular allies or get a fair hearing. Richard Rush, the son of the Jeffersonian radical of 1800, was made candidate for the Vice-Presidency in the hope of winning Pennsylvania; Clay did his utmost to stem the tide in the West; Daniel Webster was, of course, on the side of Adams; William Wirt and James Barbour stood up bravely in Virginia for a doomed cause. But these earnest and patriotic men could not rally the normal strength of the conservatives, for the Southern planters had accepted Jackson and the Middle States conservatives were demoralized by the Van Buren and Ingham activity.

The rough backwoods General had proved a politician too astute for the oldest heads. He had been able to enlist the services of Northern men who did not believe in democracy, and he had the loyal support of Southern leaders who were just then breaking down the power of democracy in all the older States of their section. He was not less fortunate in the expression of his opinions on public questions. On the tariff, the burning question of the time, he had no views; on internal improvements he had even less to say. Even on the subject of the free distribution of the public lands he was silent, though most Westerners took his hostility to the Indians to mean that he would do what was desired. Jackson was “all things to all men” in 1828, and this discreet attitude seems to have been effective, though it was to bring trouble when he became President.

When the vote was counted, it was found that the people had been aroused as they had not been before since 1800. The cry, “Shall the people rule?” was answered by Pennsylvania by a vote for Jackson of 100,000 as against 50,000 for Adams. Virginia gave Jackson as many votes in 1828 as had been cast for all parties in 1824. And the total vote of the country for Jackson was 647,276 as against 508,064 for Adams. The General had won every electoral vote of the South and the West; and both Pennsylvania and New York had sustained him. New England was solid for her candidate, and New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland returned Adams majorities. The lines were drawn, as had been foreseen, just as in the contest between Jefferson and John Adams twenty-eight years before; and in general the attitudes of the social classes were the same.

[Illustration: The Presidential Election of 1828]

The second alliance of South and West had been effected, and “the people” had come to power a second time, only the West was now the dominant element. How would the West and “the people” use their power?

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

J. S. Bassett's Life of Andrew Jackson (1911) is the best work on that subject, though James Parton's Life of Jackson (ed. of 1887) is still the best for a documentary account. The biographies of Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams in the American Statesmen series are the best for these men. Of more importance for a view of social and political conditions of the South and the East are: the Debates of the constitutional conventions of Massachusetts (1820), New York (1821), Virginia (1829), and North Carolina (1835), and The Memoir of John Quincy Adams, in twelve large volumes, which covers minutely the period of 1825 to 1848. This work appeared in 1874-76. It is a remarkable record of a remarkable man. J. B. McMaster's History of the United States (1900-13) is a life of the people which no library can afford to be without, and J. Schouler's History of the United States under the Constitution (revised ed. 1894-99) is equally good, giving a fuller account of the political and constitutional development of the country. A. B. Hart's The American Nation (1904-08) is a fuller coöperative work by the leading scholars of the United States. The volumes which bear upon the period in hand will be cited in succeeding chapters. Special studies of importance are: C. H. Ambler's Sectionalism in Virginia (1910); D. F. Houston's Critical Study of Nullification in South Carolina (1896); W. A. Schaper's Sectionalism in South Carolina (1900); and H. M. Wagstaff's States Rights and Political Parties in North Carolina (1906).

                    

CHAPTER II. THE WEST

Tens of thousands of eager people witnessed the inauguration of Andrew Jackson on March 4, 1829; they crowded the streets, stood upon the house-tops, and peered out from every open window; they jostled the attendants at the White House and overturned the bowls and jars which contained the ices and wines intended for the entertainment of the new President and his friends. “The people have come to power,” said a chastened admirer of Henry Clay as she watched sadly the wreckage of the dainties which dainty hands had prepared, and as she looked with dismay upon the wearers of rough and dirty boots striding over costly carpets where hitherto only gentlemen and ladies had trod. It was a happy occasion to the unthinking but honest democrats[2] who gloried in the success of their “hero,” but a sad warning to the more refined who had been accustomed to see things done in due form and stateliness.

[Footnote 2: This term is used to indicate those who believed in democracy, not those who called themselves Democrats. The distinction will be observed throughout the book.]

But neither the uninformed masses who looked on with delight that bright day nor the cultured people whose hearts sank within them as they saw the old order pass away recked aught of what was to come during the next four years. Possibly the old man, whom everybody called “the General,” and who many feared could not live out his term, or the solemn-visaged Vice-President, who had been filling half the cabinet positions with his own partisans, saw dimly what was to follow these joyous opening days of a new régime, for he knew how unstable was the base upon which the new structure rested.

The people who composed this new régime, the men who voted for Andrew Jackson and who shouted at and derided sturdy John Quincy Adams as he retired from the Presidency that 4th of March, were the rank and file of the United States. But the nucleus of the party of Jackson was the West. In the region which extends from Georgia to the Sabine, save in New Orleans alone, no name equaled that of the man who had driven the Indians like chaff before the wind at the battle of Horseshoe Bend, and who a year later had defeated the regiments of Great Britain near New Orleans. “The General” was known and admired all over the great valley of the Mississippi as the friend of the people, while John Quincy Adams had resisted the demands of the frontier and had actually sent a regiment of the United States Army into Georgia to defeat the purposes of a popular governor, who was driving the hated Indians from coveted cotton lands. Jackson met, therefore, with little or no opposition in this region, and the Southwestern politicians who had fought for Adams and Clay in the campaign of 1828 had signed their political death-warrants.

In the older West, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio, Henry Clay had been the natural leader; and until about 1820, when he had championed the cause of the National Bank as against local interests and local banks, he had been the most popular man west of the Alleghanies. From the beginning of the Adams Administration he had lost steadily till in 1828 he tasted for the first time the gall of political defeat. In these older Western communities it was still a reproach to a public man to ally himself with New England and the United States Bank, though he might favor the protective tariff, and he must support internal improvements. In addition to supporting John Quincy Adams after 1825, Clay led a “fast and extravagant” life in Washington, which only added to his unpopularity in the West. In 1831 it was with much difficulty, and after a close contest with Richard M. Johnson, that he was returned to the United States Senate. General Jackson had completely won the leadership of the Clay territory and the affections of the plain farmers.

In the Northwest there were other large areas of fertile lands in the possession of the hated Indians, and there, as in the Southwest, the most popular leader was he who believed and taught that the quickest way to build up the country was to take immediate possession of these lands. In Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois the small farmers and the pioneers were almost as enthusiastic followers of Jackson as were their economic kinsmen of the Gulf region.

With these backwoods States thus devoted to the man to whom Chief Justice Marshall had sorrowfully administered the oath of office, it was easy for the leaders of the new régime to make strong appeal to the mountain counties of the Middle States and South, whose political idol had been Thomas Jefferson and whose people were only a generation removed from the pioneer stage of development. With the exception of some of the New England émigrés of western New York, the peasant proprietors of all the up-country counties of the Middle States gave Jackson their allegiance; while south of Maryland, except in a few counties of western Virginia, almost every man in the hill country was a stanch defender of the first Western President. Thus in the West and in the interior of the States which bordered upon the Alleghany Mountains, Jackson had a great compact following which for years to come was to give him the advantage over all his opponents.

The radical and enthusiastic wing of the new party was the Southwest, closely followed by the Northwest; the older West and the up-country of the Middle States and South composed the “solid” element; while the low-country men, the planters of Virginia and the Carolinas, regarded askance the democratic leader whom they had reluctantly helped to the Presidency. Of real organization and party discipline there was little, and the beliefs and principles of the various groups of the party were sometimes antagonistic. On one thing only were most of these men united: on the necessity of keeping New England out of the control of the Government. Surely any one who knew the actual conditions of 1829, the ambitions and the smouldering animosities of the Jackson lieutenants, must have faced the future with more than ordinary doubt and anxiety.

But the people who shouted at the inauguration and who had voted “the ticket” the preceding November did not know the feelings of their leaders. They thought that this country was a democracy and that a majority of the electorate was entitled to rule. Their ideals were those of the Declaration of Independence, which were not very popular in New England, and which were just then being repudiated in the planter sections of the South. They lived the lives of simple farmers and daily practiced the doctrine of social equality, and hence they could not understand why others should not do the same, or why there should be anything difficult or complex in the work of the incoming President.

In all the Western States almost every office was filled by popular election. Legislatures met annually and unpopular men or measures could be promptly recalled, to employ a modern term. Even the judges of the courts were subject to frequent election and were quite attentive to popular opinion; while United States Senators must canvass for votes in ardent campaigns which strongly resembled the primary contests of the South and West to-day. But this democracy of the larger section of the country which supported Jackson was counterbalanced by the prestige and experience of its allies of the South, where, by reason of the three-fifths rule of representation for the slaves, which gave the master of slaves a privileged position, and of long political habit, a few planters exercised power out of all proportion to their numbers.

Still the history of the country after 1812 indicated that the Western voters and not the Eastern leaders would control the Government while Jackson was President. These voters were nationalists and their position made them look to the Federal Government for better roads and improved markets; they were expansionists who not only coveted the lands of the Indians, but wanted also to seize the territory of their neighbors. They were already taking possession of Texas, and Thomas H. Benton and Lewis Cass, of Michigan, their most popular leaders after Jackson, were already the exponents of an early imperialism which would never rest until the shores of the Pacific became the western frontier of the United States. In every State that bordered on the Mississippi this sentiment was ardent, and many good men were ready to make war upon Mexico for Texas or upon England for Oregon, whose boundaries no one knew and whose title had been held jointly by the United States and Great Britain since 1818.

Moreover, the Western men occupied a peculiar position in the country because of the fact that a large number of them had bought their lands from the Federal Government on easy terms, at two dollars or even a dollar and a quarter an acre, and were still in debt for them to the Government or the banks or other creditors. This indebtedness still further stimulated their restlessness of character. The land laws of the United States were apparently liberal, but unless the settler could obtain land near a navigable stream, it was a most difficult matter to buy even a quarter section and make the improvements necessary to successful farming. And since all the river area had long since been occupied, the Westerners of 1830 had bought their land in the remote districts and begun the hard struggle of “paying out.” The distance to markets made this an almost hopeless task, and the holders of the frontier farms came to think their lot a peculiarly hard one. They resisted always; and in hard years, after driving a herd of cattle or a drove of hogs to the distant market and receiving therefor barely the cost of production, they were angry and resentful.

[Illustration: Distribution of Indians and Location of Indian Lands and Unorganized Territory of the United States or the States]

The frontier remedy for these ills was an “easier” currency or high prices for commodities, or stay laws against creditors who pressed for their money. And since a great number of the Western farmers had simply taken up their lands, before they were thrown open to sale, and made improvements on them without procuring titles, they feared the enforcement of the federal law against them and clamored for a preëmption system which would secure them their land, when the day of sales did come, at the minimum price, $1.25 per acre. A still better plan was already strongly urged, the free gift of small tracts of land to all who would go West and build homes. Not only would this be good for the home-seeker, but it would result in the rapid upbuilding of the great wastes of the country. Animated by such purposes as these, Benton and his colleagues in Congress were constantly gaining strength as their constituents increased in number.

Thus the restless but devoted followers of Jackson were developing a program: the removal of the Indians in order that more cotton and corn might be grown; the seizure of the territory contiguous to the western frontier, even at the cost of war with Mexico and England; the giving of free homesteads to all who would go West and join in the upbuilding of the Mississippi Commonwealths; and the improvement of roadways at national expense in order that Western products might find better markets. These were the things which the Westerners ardently desired and which it was hoped the new President would be able to obtain for them. Incidentally, he was expected to set up the rule of the people in the national capital, and to substitute a more simple life and etiquette for the formal and fashionable manners which had come into vogue with Monroe and his Cabinet.

The strength of the Western people was great, and to the East it appeared ominous. They numbered in 1830 nearly 4,000,000 souls as compared with 12,500,000 for the country as a whole, and their increase in the preceding decade had run from 22 per cent in Kentucky to 185 per cent in Illinois. In the National House of Representatives the West cast 47 votes in a total of 213; in the Senate their strength was 18 in a total of 48. But this does not fairly represent their influence. In western New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia there were more than a million people who counted themselves Westerners, while in the Carolinas and Georgia a majority, or more than another half-million, must be reckoned as adherents of the cause of the “Trans-alleghany.” Thus about 6,000,000 of the total 12,500,000 were Western in character and ideals, to say nothing of the large frontier element in New England.

In economic strength, however, these Jackson States and communities were much weaker. They were isolated. Their surplus crops had no value save as they were produced within reach of navigable rivers. Of these the 5,500,000 people living in the region drained by the Mississippi and the other streams which fall into the Gulf of Mexico, exported about $17,800,000 worth of commodities in 1830, a per capita value of less than $4. And most of this surplus output came from the cotton counties of the lower South, where only a small proportion of the population of the West dwelt. Still, the herds of cattle and droves of swine that were driven southward to the cotton communities or over the mountains to Eastern cities, and the large quantities of grain which, after 1825, found its way to market through the Erie Canal, added greatly to and perhaps doubled the income of the West from exports down the Mississippi. When all is told, however, these isolated people were in the main very poor, as the narratives of travelers and the journals of preachers attest on every page.

Yet every year added thousands to the numbers of Eastern men who migrated West to enjoy some of the liberty of a region where lands were cheap and the social life unconventional; every decade added new voices and able leaders to the Western group in Congress, who clamored unceasingly for the enactment of laws aimed at the rapid development of that section. New England, where the rise of industrial towns necessitated an increasing number of laborers, took fright, or had never ceased to be alarmed, at the westward movement of population; and Eastern members of Congress, under one pretext or another, opposed every demand which came up from the West, every petition of the “squatters” on the public domain. In the Middle States the building of numerous canals, turnpikes, and railways called for both skilled and unskilled laborers. But if everybody ran off to the West when wages were unsatisfactory, these improvements could not be made and the old communities would languish and decay.

Virginia and the South were less disturbed at the growth of the West, because of their system of slavery, and because the votes of the new States could be relied on to support Virginian and Southern policies in Congress—a legacy of the old Jeffersonian alliance of the South with the early West; and also because of the similar economic and social life of the two sections. But even the Old Dominion in the sore economic distress of the late twenties, due in the main to the desertion of her tobacco-fields and workshops by thousands of her most energetic sons, who went to the rich cotton country, wavered in her loyalty to the younger States of the West. John Randolph ridiculed in merciless fashion the “sharp-witted” Westerners, whom he would avoid in the highway as “one would a pickpocket”; and in both the Carolinas there was a fear and a dread of the growing West, whose ideals were too Jeffersonian and whose power waxed greater with the passing years. Yet Calhoun, Hayne, and other able Southerners remained true to the new region and supported Benton in his debates with Foote and Webster in 1830, perhaps because the whole Jackson program of 1829 was based upon the alliance of these forces in the national life.

If the political plans of the Western men of 1830 were ambitious and far-reaching, the lives of the shrewd pioneers were simple, hard, and narrow. The men wore coats when the weather was cold, and found shoes more of a nuisance than a comfort during half the year; and the women rejoiced if they received a “store” bonnet once in two years. Wants were few and the annual per capita expense beyond what was produced at home was seldom as great as $10. Peter Cartwright counted himself rich when he learned that the Methodist annual conference to which he belonged had added $12 to his regular stipend of $100 a year.

Most men, including the clergy, owned or rented farms and followed the plow in season, while wives and children did outdoor work from morning till night. Houses were built by the aid of neighbors in a single day, and extra rooms were improvised by the judicious hanging of quilts and curtains. A door in front and another in the rear allowed plenty of fresh air, though the large crevices between the logs usually rendered this superfluous. Floors were made of logs split in halves and laid “with backs downward.” Beds and chairs were home-made and especially intended for the use of the older members of the family, boys and girls accommodating themselves with stools or blocks of wood sawed for the purpose. Meals were prepared in a few moments at the broad fireside, where a huge crane aided the mother in swinging her kettles on or off the blazing fire. In every pretentious home there was a loom for the weaving of cotton and woolen cloth for family or neighborhood consumption; and late at night the steady thump of the beam proclaimed the industry of the busy housewife as she put in the last threads of her “fifth” or “sixth yard.” Few were so wealthy that they could afford the broadcloth which came up the rivers from New Orleans or over the Erie Canal from New York; and when some migrating Virginia squire or Kentucky colonel, master of a thousand acres of land, did so disport himself on Sundays or at the races, he appeared in his glossy suit, made by the hand of his devoted spouse, wrinkled and fretted in a hundred places, not unlike Lincoln when he first spoke at Cooper Institute, New York.

Life was simple on the Western farm or distant frontier, but pleasure, too, had its place, English sports of Angevin times serving the place of baseball or golf of to-day. In the older West, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, the race-course was the common playground where horses and men ran their rounds and won their prizes. To drink deeply of the strong “corn” or “rye” was as common as is the drinking of wine in France; and races, corn-huskings, or weddings were seldom closed without drunkenness, and oftentimes fisticuffs or the more fatal duel with knife or pistol. Jackson had “killed his man,” and Benton had been knocked through a trapdoor into the basement of a Nashville bar-room; Clay and Poindexter, the Mississippi Governor and Senator, had had more than one encounter in which life was set against life.

If men held human life cheap, they held woman's honor more than dear, and to give currency to a tale of slander was tantamount to half a dozen challenges. Women were in the minority in the West, and although they did not vote, they were still of utmost importance in homes where clothing was handmade and the needs of numerous children increased daily. Henry Clay was one of thirteen or fourteen brothers and sisters, while Thomas Marshall, the father of the Chief Justice, carried ten or twelve children with him to his Western home about the year 1781. But the sorrows of the pioneer women and the waste of human material were extraordinary. In those days of hardship and ignorance of the most rudimentary rules of sanitation, few knew how to save their children from death due to the simplest diseases, and the student to-day reads the sad story in the many tiny tombstones of the old family cemeteries, knowing well that the great majority rest in unmarked graves. Many were born and many died without a fair chance at normal existence.

Western men were seldom members of organized churches, though the fear of the Deity, natural to those who witnessed the great “freshets” and the storms and cyclones which swept over the plains, carrying entire villages with them or cutting wide swaths through the primeval forests, was a powerful influence upon everyday conduct. Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists, with their strict and hard Calvinism, penetrated first the wilderness beyond the mountains and built their rude log churches, in which stern preachers, like Samuel Doak, of Tennessee, or Jonathan Going, of Ohio, warned men against the wrath to come and the fiery furnace below, whose surging flames were ever ready to swallow up and consume stiff-necked, yet never-dying sinners. The simple and superstitious minds of the neglected West flocked to these little churches or to great camps where revivalists, like James McCreary, of Kentucky, or the later Bishop Soule, of Ohio, preached for weeks in succession and seemed to work miracles hardly less wonderful than those of New Testament times. Hundreds were “stricken” on a single day and were later gathered into the church clothed and in their right minds. Before 1830 the greater denominations of the East and South realized the importance of the West as a semi-destitute land to which missionaries should be sent, though by this time the churches of the older border and of most of the great valley were self-supporting and the population could no longer complain that the Gospel had never been preached to them.

While the civilizing hand of the churches was being spread over the West, schools and colleges were built and opened to students. The liberal land grants of the Federal Government were made to serve the cause of common schools, while institutions of higher learning flourished at Lexington, Natchez, Granville (Ohio), and Hanover (Indiana),—schools where many of the statesmen of the Civil War period were trained and where preachers prepared themselves for their strenuous labors in a poor country. The civilizing forces of religion and education were rapidly leavening the lump of hard Western life and preparing it for the great days and the awful struggle that were so soon to come. Books found their way into the Athens of the West, as Lexington was called, and gradually, under the fostering care of Henry Clay, the Mechanics' Library came to play an important part. St. Louis, too, boasted of its Mercantile Library; and there were numerous other collections of religious writings, history, and the English poets, mostly in private hands like those of John M. Peck, of Illinois. Newspapers, such as the Republican of St. Louis, the Maysville Eagle, or the Louisville Advertiser, carried their weekly or semi-weekly burden of neighborhood gossip and political news to near-by villages and distant settlements.

The roads were also improving and steadily expanding the area of productive farming, though all, or nearly all, led to the river ports or the old fort towns like La Porte, Indiana, or Detroit and Cleveland on the Lakes. The Erie and the Ohio Canals were already turning exports and communication northeastward, while the Lake steamers were adding their share to the development of the Western frontier; but the great river steamers, the City of New Orleans and the Crescent, which the preachers compared to ancient Babylon, as centers of vice and lewd fashion, were the marvels of the West, and they carried the burden of grain, tobacco, and cotton which crowded the wharves of New Orleans. Cincinnati was the pork-packing and manufacturing center of the West, sending its salted meats and farm implements to the plantations of the lower South in ever-increasing volume. St. Louis was the home of the most important commercial monopoly of the time, the American Fur Company, which had an undue influence in national politics, and of which John Jacob Astor was the millionaire head, to whom all Americans looked up as one of the great figures of his generation. From the old half-French, half-American town caravans of explorers, trappers, and traders set out each spring for the Far Northwest, whence they returned annually with their loads of furs and their tales of the wonderful Oregon country. But New Orleans, with its population of 50,000, its European life and rather easy morals, its slave marts and miles of cotton wharves, was the wonder of the world to Western eyes like those of young Abraham Lincoln, who visited the city about this time. There, rich men lived in splendid mansions, served by scores of negro slaves; there, great newspapers were published and shrewd speculators from all parts of the world bought cotton and imported luxuries for the newly rich of the Southwest.

It was this great West, pulsating with life and vigor, filled with hope for the future, restless and eager, at once democratic and imperialistic, which put the resolute and dictatorial Andrew Jackson in the President's chair in 1829. And never was constituency more truly represented than was that of the West in the wiry old man whom they called “Old Hickory.” Accustomed to the hardships of the poor in his youth and to the responsibility of the well-to-do merchant and cotton planter in middle life, he had experienced most that was common to his fellows and had gained a prestige which in their admiring eyes surpassed that of all other men since Thomas Jefferson. Brave and generous, plain-spoken and sometimes boisterous, he embodied most of the qualities that compelled admiration throughout the Mississippi Valley. No matter what Webster or Calhoun or even Clay said of “Old Hickory,” it was not believed in the back-country until the President himself had confirmed the story. Jackson was the second American President who so understood “his people” that he could interpret them and by intuition scent the course the popular mind would take—particularly in the West.

To be sure, there were small groups of Westerners who opposed him and whom he did not represent: some of the counties of Ohio, a part of the Blue-Grass region of Kentucky, and a narrow strip of Mississippi which lay in the southwestern part of the State, and finally the French and mercantile elements of New Orleans; but these were never strong enough to deprive him of any object at which he aimed. It was well-nigh “King Andrew I,” as some Eastern papers were accustomed to term him in a weak attempt at ridicule.

Thus appeared the new régime in 1829, in so far as its Western majority and base of support were concerned. How the conservative East, with its serious doubts about democracy, and the older Southern leaders, uneasy lest slavery should be undermined, would find themselves in the new system is a problem which our next chapters must seek to disclose.

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

F. J. Turner's The Rise of the New West (1906) is the best brief account of social and economic conditions in the United States just prior to 1830. J. B. McMaster's History of the United States, vol. IV, chap. XXXIII, and vol. V, chap. XLV ; T. H. Clay's Henry Clay, in American Crises biographies, Theodore Roosevelt's Life of Thomas H. Benton, in American Statesmen series, and Bassett's Life of Andrew Jackson, already cited, give the principal facts about their subjects. T. Flint's History and Geography of the Mississippi Valley (1832); J. Hall's Letters from the West (1828) and Statistics of the West (1836); early numbers of the American Almanacs; Peter Cartwright's The Backwoods Preacher (1860); Alfred Brunson's A Western Pioneer (1858); and the various denominational histories supply the needful social background for an understanding of the West. Margaret Bayard Smith's The First Forty Years of Washington Society (edited by Gaillard Hunt, 1906) and K. W. Colgrove's Attitude of Congress toward the Pioneers of the West, in Iowa Journal of History and Politics (1910), give good reports of Eastern opinion of the West. And American State Papers, on Public Lands and Indian Affairs, are excellent for treatment of land and Indian problems.

                    

CHAPTER III. THE EAST

When the West under the guidance and tutelage of Jackson, Calhoun, and Benton took possession of the national administration in 1829, the older and more cultured elements and classes of the East trembled for their country and for the institutions they held dear. The day was dark to John Quincy Adams and his followers, not only because they had been deprived of power, but because the rural sections of the East, the towns and villages which had been active and prosperous from 1783 to 1807, showed almost as many signs of stagnation and premature decay as did the Old Dominion, where public men were in a state of alarm and dismay. For fifteen years the highways of New York and Pennsylvania had borne their burden of New England emigrants, laden with their meager belongings, as they journeyed westward to the Mohawk country, western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other rising communities of the West. Between 1820 and 1830 the population of New England as a whole increased but slightly, while in many counties of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut there was an actual decline. Ambitious young men or discouraged heads of families moved northeastward to the freer lands of Maine or to the Far West, without seeming love for the older haunts or thought for the fortunes of the Commonwealths which had given them birth. And New York, whose population increased from 1,400,000 in 1820 to 2,400,000 in 1840, drew heavily upon her eastern neighbors; Pennsylvania, of more steady habits, drew less from New England than her immediate neighbors, though both New York and Pennsylvania gave freely to the West. There was thus a steady drift of the people from their Eastern homes to the better opportunities of the Middle States, while from these, in turn, large numbers joined the more courageous who were never content until they built their cabins along the river borders or on the prairies of the Northwest.

The total population of the country in 1830 was nearly 13,000,000, while that of the East, including New England, the Middle States, and Maryland, was a little more than 6,000,000. Between 1820 and 1840 the population of the country increased from 9,654,000 to 17,669,000; that of the East increased from 4,850,000 to 7,350,000, of which 650,000 had come from Europe. This represented a growth of only fifty per cent in twenty years. But the rival South, as a whole, and this includes Kentucky and Missouri, had increased her population during the same period from 4,009,000 to 7,748,000, a growth of ninety per cent; while the West, as a whole, including Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri, had grown from less than 1,000,000 to nearly 4,000,000. These facts were significant and really distressing to conservative politicians; they explain the jealous rivalry of the sections, and the alliance of the South and West foreboded the day when the more cultivated and the better settled region of the young nation, if it may be called a nation, would find itself in a hopeless minority.

If we add to this the fact that the lands of the East were the poorest in the Union and that their total area was less than 175,000 square miles, while those of the South were counted rich and embraced an area of 880,000 square miles, we shall understand how statesmen who listened to the jubilations of the Jackson men felt and envisaged the future—a future which the South alone might command; but which she would certainly dominate if she could only succeed in keeping the West true to her present allegiance.

But economic and social changes were taking place which gave the darkening cloud a silver lining. On an irregular but narrow belt of land stretching from southeastern Maine to the Chesapeake Bay manufacturing establishments had been erected, towns and cities had sprung into existence as if by magic, and migration from the poor farms and the hard conditions of New England country life was also turning to the mill centers, and thus giving promise of a new East, whose life should be industrial and urban like that of smoky, grimy Lancashire, England. The older commercial and seafaring interests, which had given the Federalists their power and made the American flag known on every sea, were now giving way to the vigorous young captains of industry whose mills at Lowell, Providence, New Haven, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore gave employment to thousands of people. Much of the money which had made the New Englanders go down to the sea in ships was now invested in manufactures. The woolen mills of the East produced in 1820 a little more than $4,000,000 worth of cloth, the cotton mills, $4,834,000; but in 1830 the yearly manufactures of wool, cotton, and iron were estimated by the Government as worth $58,500,000. Yet the total investment in these enterprises was not much in excess of $100,000,000. In Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania the growth had been miraculous, and the profits were enormous, if we except one or two years for the woolen interests.

So that while the total annual crop value of Southern plantations amounted to $40,000,000, and the per capita wealth of the white people of the so-called black belt was very large, the returns from three industries located in a much narrower industrial belt of the East were more than a third greater. The taxable value of the slaves who produced most of the cotton and tobacco was not less than $1,000,000,000; the total investments of the East in manufactures of all kinds was certainly not more than a fourth as great as that in slaves. And what made this development the more significant was the fact that nearly all that the black belt produced was sold in Europe, while nearly all that the industrial belt produced was sold to the people of the United States, mostly to States which were not engaged in manufacturing at all.

A portentous revolution was taking place. Before 1820 nearly all the wool of the country had been made into cloth by hand in the homes of the people, and the ratio of home manufactures to population was about the same in most of the States. Now the sheep-raisers sold their wool to the mill men, who sold the country the finished product and whose factories were concentrated in a small district. The cotton mills had been a negligible economic factor in 1812; now their owners employed a capital of $30,000,000 to $35,000,000 and supplied work for 70,000 laborers. From the farms of the interior, where life was in the open, the poorer and less ambitious elements of the population, who were not attracted to the West, were drawn to the growing industrial towns, where they lived, a family in a room, worked twelve to fourteen hours a day, amidst unsanitary and even immoral surroundings, for wages which ranged from one dollar to six dollars per week. The cost of living was, to be sure, correspondingly low; but when the year of toil for men, women, and children of all ages was told, there was usually an unpaid account at the company's store, and the chance of bettering one's worldly fortunes appeared almost hopeless. Emigration to the West was the only escape, and the difficulties of such an escape, the cost of sustenance for the long journey, on foot, the greater cost of building a cabin in the forest and maintaining one's family till a crop could be harvested, and the necessity of buying the land on which the cabin was to be raised, made the undertaking heroic. Thus, when the mill life was once begun it was seldom deserted.

Without educational advantages, save in the most rudimentary way, without any fair prospect of ever becoming independent or of materially improving their status, these mill workers kept up the daily round of labor, earning the millions which were laying the foundations of a new and greater East, eventually a new United States, and voting, in so far as they exercised the right of suffrage at all, for the cause of their masters, against the “slave-drivers” of the South and for protection to manufactures as a means of defending themselves against their poorer brethren of Europe. As to their total number, we have no more reliable estimate than that of McMaster, who says there were not less than two million operatives in all lines of industry in 1825. Nobody thought of these people as slaves; and most people thought they must be happy to escape the dull life of the country, and that fourteen hours' work was a normal human exercise. A worthless father who lived on the labor of little children of his own begetting was counted lucky to have children to work for him; and the girl who entered the primrose path as a possible way of escape from her hard surroundings was then as now promptly ruled out of the pale of human sympathy and consigned to the lake of everlasting fire and brimstone.

Another great interest had grown to immense proportions in the East of 1830—the financial. Beginning with the flush times of Hamilton's leadership, the financier had grown in power and influence, sometimes purposely organizing a monopolistic control over the money of the public, as in the case of the Suffolk Bank of Boston, sometimes mercilessly robbing depositors, as in the notorious defalcation of the Derby Bank of Connecticut in 1825, until it had become a serious national problem not merely to regulate the currency of the country, but to curb the rapacity of those who, under one pretense or another, violated the laws of all the States in order to heap up hasty fortunes. In 1815 there had been 208 banks in the country, mainly in the Middle States and New England, with a capital of $82,000,000; at the end of the year 1833 there were 502 banks with a capital of $168,829,000. At the end of the second war with England, there were $17,000,000 of specie in the banks; eighteen years later, when the capital had doubled, loans had greatly increased, and notes in circulation were $61,000,000, there were still just $17,000,000 of gold and silver in all the banks.

The business of the East naturally tended to the concentration of the financial resources of the country within her towns, but the location of 414 of the 502 banks of the country in the narrow section under consideration would seem to indicate something more than a natural tendency. The six million people of the East enjoyed three times as many banking facilities, when we consider the amount of money in circulation, as the seven million Southerners and Westerners. New York alone had a banking capital of $28,000,000, Massachusetts $21,000,000, and the per capita circulation of money in the East was nearly $9, while that of the West was $2. To him that hath shall be given is a familiar axiom which seemed doubly true of the United States at the time of Jackson's accession to power.

All signs pointed to a congestion of the financial resources of the whole country in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. The great National Bank, with its $35,000,000 capital and loans of $40,000,000, was located in Philadelphia; New York City had not so strong a banking system, but the growth of her real estate values was $40,000,000 in the five years preceding 1831; and the tax valuation of the property of Suffolk County, Massachusetts, in which Boston was located, was $86,000,000 as against $208,000,000 for the whole State.

The masters of this region were reaching out for the commerce of the West through the Erie Canal, which made northern and central Ohio the hinterland of New York; through the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which were aimed at western Virginia and the Ohio Valley. The shipping interests of New England and New York did the same for the South, whose millions of bales of cotton all went north or to Europe in eastern-made and eastern-owned vessels. And while these enterprising leaders sought to control the commerce of the country, they also knitted together their own towns and river valleys by canals and turnpikes. Boston and New Haven were almost united by canals and railroads in 1830; the Delaware and the Susquehanna were paralleled far into the interior in order to bring the produce of the country to the manufacturing centers. And a railway connected Philadelphia with the rich Susquehanna Basin, whose commerce had hitherto been controlled by Baltimore. Pittsburg was actually tied to the East before 1835 by water and railroad routes. Trade, manufactures, and finance; railways, canals, and home markets were the great subjects of conversation in the East, just as cotton, slaves, and land formed the trinity of Southern thinking.

The men who owned the industrial plants and managed the large banks and projected the ambitious railway and canal systems, the stockholders and the officers, the factors and storekeepers, were drawn from the same sturdy New England and Middle States stock, the small farmers and little merchants who had composed the democracy which had fought the Revolution. Retired sea-captains and owners of sailing-vessels joined the new régime as profits came in and the art of watering stock was understood. Throughout the East, from Chesapeake Bay to Augusta, Maine, wherever there were good waterfalls, great brick buildings were rising story upon story, proclaiming the new prosperity and enticing the hordes of workers so necessary to the new system. The old-fashioned mansions of retired traders or prosperous shipbuilders, which had so long adorned the hills of the coast towns, were giving way to the larger houses of the captains of industry who built up the inland towns or created the suburbs of the greater cities.

Like the planters of the South, with their two million slaves, these able and prosperous makers of a new era in the East had their two million operatives, and as in the planting districts, the working day was from sun to sun. Carrying the comparison further, the industrial and financial region was relatively small, embracing much less of the area of the country than did that of the black belt.[3]

[Footnote 3: See maps of tobacco and cotton belts on pp. 133, 134.]

From southeastern Maine to Boston, Providence, New Haven, New York City, and on to Baltimore, with a Western extension to Pittsburg, this irregular, now widening, now contracting, strip of country extended. It embraced the strategic positions, the falls of the rivers, the places whence ships could sail laden with the products of the industries or return with the raw materials necessary to their operation; it included the old commercial towns where the surplus capital of the East had been collected and where now gathered the populations which composed the districts whose spokesmen exerted the real strength of the North in the National Congress. It was this articulate East, the growing power of industry and finance, the promise of greater prosperity to come, which drew to it, like iron filings to a magnet, the talented and the ambitious men of the time, just as the black belt was the articulate part of the South for which men of ability and influence spoke in the national assemblies which gathered from year to year in Washington.

But the older mercantile and seafaring interests sometimes resisted the industrial movement and made precarious alliances with the South on the basis of a national free-trade policy. The great Boston merchants actually turned to Hayne, of South Carolina, in 1827, to represent them and their cause in Congress. The Winslows, Goddards, and Lees who thus appealed to a Southern Senator were representatives of the older order, of the same declining class in New York and Philadelphia which had in years past controlled affairs in the East and made alliances with the aristocratic leaders of the South. In a hopeless minority in their own States before 1830, they looked to the South for relief, and at least understood the politics of the planters. Their successors composed the nucleus of the party of Cushing, Everett, and Winthrop in 1860. It is difficult for us in our day of great things to understand the industrial and social revolution of the decade which preceded the inauguration of the first Western President, and it was difficult for men to make the transition from the small farmer system of Jefferson's day to the industrial régime of 1830; many good people were broken in the process, while whole classes of the population exchanged the life of the open country for that of the crowded and unsanitary towns, exchanged a rude and hard independence for a semi-servile subjection.

[Illustration: The Distribution of Industrial Plants in 1833

Miss Maud Hulse drew this map from data in House Documents, 22nd. Cong., 1st. Sess. No. 303.]

The new Eastern régime readily enlisted the support of the old professional classes. The clergy and the votaries of the law, always doing the bidding of the strongest in society, promptly took their places in the system. When dignitaries of an Eastern town gradually laid aside their rough farmers' clothes and put on the smooth garbs of directors of corporations or financial magnates, the legal briefs and sermons underwent a similar change. Social amenities displaced Calvinistic theology; dancing, which had been a crime against the Church, became mere frivolity and finally an innocent pastime. Leading lawyers ceased to plead in petit courts to inferior magistrates, and learned to devise forms of contracts, to lobby in legislatures, or appear with the great Maryland and Virginia practitioners before the Federal Supreme Court.

The legal profession of the East naturally made common cause with their clients. The state courts, already accustomed to curb the democracy of the time and declare public enactments unconstitutional, when the interests of property required, as readily joined the new standards. The careers of Justice Parsons of Massachusetts and Chancellor Kent of New York, to whom all judges and lawyers of the time looked up as sources of inspiration, illustrate admirably the common tendency. Everywhere in the East as in the South “independent” judges asserted the power to declare laws unconstitutional.

The national courts had undergone the same evolution, except that they had met with violent opposition in the South and West. In many decisions from 1792 to 1830 the Federal Supreme Court asserted its authority over Congress, the President, and the States. In almost all of these instances the federal judges found the heartiest support from the East. The great institution over which Chief Justice Marshall presided with such perfect dignity, and which was not paralleled anywhere else in the world, lent its support to the interests of the East. If the constitutionality of the tariff were denied by irate planters, Eastern men pointed to decisions of the Federal Supreme Court; if the powers of the General Government under which the industrial or financial interests of the East operated were questioned, it was easy to find a decision of Chief Justice Marshall to cover the case. Nothing proved more fortunate for the leaders of the industrial revolution than the almost constant support of the federal courts and of the legal profession as a whole.

The compact social life of the industrial towns was still further reinforced by the clergy. In the shift from a stern theology to an easy-going religious philosophy, William Ellery Channing was a conspicuous leader. Harvard had already become a Unitarian center, and in 1836 the Transcendental Club was organized in Boston with Ralph Waldo Emerson, a preacher in revolt against the old theology, as one of its leaders; high-toned men, whose minds revolted alike against the old Puritanism, the grosser talk of rates of exchange and the building of common roadways, found consolation in speculative philosophy and romantic literature. The North American Review was already fifteen years old, and the best minds of the country were happy to have their thought and inspirations printed in its staid columns. Boston was a state of mind in 1830, and a good Methodist preacher who visited the city a little later lamented the lapse from the great virtues and the great theology of the Mathers.

But outside of Boston and its university suburb, there was little patience with a new religion or with a theology which did not teach the world the total depravity of man and the vengeance of an angry Deity consigning his wayward children to everlasting perdition. Southern gentlemen like Calhoun or Hayne might accept the mild and humane God of Channing, but not the farmers of the rural districts or the business men of the small towns.

If Boston cultivated philosophy and religious reform, New York was the seat of a literature that was read. Washington Irving, the author of the Sketch-Book and Tales of a Traveller, was just returning from a long and triumphant literary sojourn in Europe to make his home on the Hudson. James Fenimore Cooper was publishing his Leather Stocking Tales, which have made the hair on so many boys' heads stand on end. William Cullen Bryant was making the New York Evening Post the organ of American culture and setting the pace for the better element of the press. In Philadelphia, Carey and Lea were alternately publishing the writings of struggling literary lights and fiery pamphlets on the tariff and internal improvements. In 1832 John Pendleton Kennedy, of Maryland, published his Swallow Barn, a novel which portrayed the easy-going life of the Virginia planters; and in Richmond, William Wirt, disgusted with Western politics, rested on his laurels as the author of the British Spy and the Life of Patrick Henry. To match the North American Review the Charleston lovers of literature were publishing their excellent Southern Review. Even history was not without her muses. Reverend Jared Sparks was editing all the crudities of grammar and errors of spelling out of Washington's fourteen volumes of correspondence; George Ticknor, a young professor at Harvard, was beginning the work which was to culminate in his famous History of Spanish Literature; and George Bancroft was writing a History of the United States which was to win him international fame and ultimately to secure him a seat in the Cabinet of President Polk.

If literature and history were beginning to thrive in New England and the Middle States, painting and sculpture also had their devotees. Allston and Greenough had won laurels in Boston; Inman and Sully were making portraits in Philadelphia which well-to-do Middle States lawyers and Southern planters liked well enough to pay for in good banknotes; even in far-off Kentucky Joel T. Hart was making the busts of great American politicians on which his title to distinction was to rest. And Charleston, never outdone in ante-bellum times, encouraged a real genius in James de Veaux, the painter, so soon to fall a victim to tuberculosis. That was a promising religious, literary, and artistic life, which kept time to the looms of the industrial belt or idealized the nascent feudalism of the South. But we must turn to the fierce economic and political struggles about to be reopened in Washington—struggles in which Americans of that day as well as of this always take supreme interest.

The change in Massachusetts and Connecticut from a defiant particularism and an uncompromising free-trade policy, during the short years of 1815 to 1830, to a positive nationalism and emphatic protective program parallels exactly the change at the same time in South Carolina from nationalism and a protective tariff to a strict states-rights and an unbending free-trade system. If Calhoun turned sharp corners in those years, Webster proved equally agile. The whole life of the East was being reconstructed, and all classes were adapting themselves to the new organization. The small farmers, allies in 1804 of Thomas Jefferson and his up-country democracy, became ancillary to the industrial towns where they found markets for their products; and the new river and canal and railroad towns were but the recent creations of the new order. With the exception of a few remote counties and certain old-fashioned merchants, all New England and the Middle States ranged themselves around the dominant industrial masters and presented an almost solid front to the Southern and Western combination which had swept the country in 1828. There was no doubt that Adams, Webster, and Clay would renew the fight in time to make an issue in 1832.

And their case was by no means hopeless. In the electoral college of 1832 these Northeastern States would cast 131 of the total 286 votes. If the industrial forces could hold their communities together as the West had learned to do, and regain their former hold on Ohio, their candidate would again be successful. Losing the Presidency, they would still have, after the apportionment of 1831, a majority of 10 in the Federal House of Representatives, which would guarantee the protective policy against serious modification. And the moral support of the Supreme Court was not without value. Thus if the new President and the Senate be conceded, the popular branch of Congress and the national judiciary would make steady bulwarks.

If there were sections of New England, like Maine, or of the Middle States, like western Pennsylvania, whose people would not support the industrial program, there were dominant sections of the old South, like eastern Virginia and all South Carolina, where the leaders either feared or hated Jackson. Nor did all the West love the South. In the States which bordered the Ohio River most men demanded internal improvements at national expense, which all knew the South could not grant. With the ablest New England and Middle States leaders in the Senate and House, why might not the arrangement of 1825 be renewed? It was, then, with every expectation of victory in 1832 that the sanguine Clay came back to Congress in December, 1831; even John Quincy Adams, who now became a member of the House, was not without hope that the ill-selected Cabinet of Jackson would go to pieces and that a “restoration” would follow in due time. Washington was to be the scene of still another conflict of the sections that would threaten the very existence of the Union, not yet accustomed to the idea of a compact nationality.

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

The best sources for the growth of the various industries before 1830 are government documents. The Report on Manufactures, Executive Documents, 22d Cong., 1st Sess., 2 vols., is a rare and valuable work; and Executive Documents, 34th Cong., 1st Sess., vol. 4, gives the statistics of manufactures down to 1850 by States. Darby and Dwight's New Gazetteer of the United States (1833), and J. L. Bishop's History of American Manufactures (1868), are useful if sometimes exasperating. Miss Katharine Coman's The Industrial History of the United States (1910) is the best account for general use. J. B. McMaster's History of the United States, vol. v (1900), and F. J. Turner's The Rise of the New West already cited (1906), are always serviceable. For a cross-section of the industrial revolution in New England, read C. F. Adams's Three Episodes of Massachusetts History (1903). Davis R. Dewey's Financial History of the United States (1903) is standard; and A. C. McLaughlin's The Court, the Constitution and Parties (1912), gives the best account of the beginnings of judicial supremacy, while W. G. Sumner's History of American Banking (1896) tells the story of the banks by sections. The American Commonwealth histories are serviceable for the individual States. For the biographies of leading statesmen, the American Statesmen and American Crises series are satisfying. Intellectual life is well treated in W. P. Trent's History of American Literature (1903), G. W. Sheldon's American Painters (1899), and Lorado Taft's History of American Sculpture (1903).

                    

CHAPTER IV. CONFLICT AND COMPROMISE

The man against whom these powerful leaders were directing all their energies was still counted an amateur in politics, irascible and indiscreet. He was laughed at in the cities as a boor and condemned in New England as an ignoramus, though Harvard College, under some strange inspiration, was soon to award him the doctorate of laws. Having come to power by means of a combination of South and West, Jackson had found his followers divided and somewhat unmanageable. Half the members of his Cabinet, S. D. Ingham, Secretary of the Treasury; John Branch, Secretary of the Navy; and John M. Berrien, Attorney-General, looked to Calhoun as their chief, while the others, Martin Van Buren; Secretary of State, John H. Eaton, Secretary of War, and William T. Barry, the Postmaster-General, distrusted their colleagues and clung to the President. It was natural, therefore, that cabinet meetings should be embarrassing and that a nondescript group of clerks and newspaper editors, William B. Lewis, Frank P. Blair, and Amos Kendall, all from the West, should become a sort of closet cabinet with whom Jackson should take council.

Moreover, Jackson increased his difficulties by gratifying the Western demand that a clean sweep in the offices should be made. New and untried men and hot-headed partisans were placed in the thousands of vacancies created by removals. Such a change in the civil and subordinate offices of the Government had never before been made, and Washington society, which always takes a hearty interest in the offices, was not slow to manifest its contempt for “the man of the people” and his “hungry” followers. But there was still another trouble. Secretary Eaton had married the daughter of a tavern-keeper; her reputation was unsavory and notorious. She now proposed to enter Washington social life as a leader, and Jackson gave her his blessing. The wives of the members of the Cabinet refused to recognize Mrs. Eaton, and a social war followed, in which President, preachers to the various local churches, and newspaper editors had their say. Division in the Cabinet, bitter enmity between certain leaders of the party, and the greater war between the powerful industrial and agricultural sections of the country gave every assurance that a storm was approaching.

To postpone the evil day Jackson resorted to evasions and oracular utterances on the tariff and the other serious problems in all his public papers and speeches. But the South pressed every day its free-trade program; the East demanded at least a continuation of the measure of protection already accorded to its interests; and the West, really needing roadways and canals, insisted on the building of these improvements and on the opening of the public lands to settlement on easier terms. If the President yielded to any of these groups, his administration was likely to fail. He naturally sought to shift the issue and felt the public pulse on the question of a renewal of the charter of the National Bank, which was not to expire till 1836. This was looking to the future; but on this subject it was possible to continue the union of South and West. The first annual message, in which the Bank was discussed, aroused at once the great financial interests, and they set in motion influences which speedily isolated the President and secured to the Bank the enthusiastic support of a Cabinet, divided on everything else, and of a majority of both houses of Congress. Instead of preventing a disruption of his party, Jackson had only hastened the event.

The people of South Carolina, supported as they hoped by most of the South, pressed through Calhoun, during the winter of 1828-29 and again in 1829-30, for some assurance that the President would aid them in their attack upon the protective policy of the Government, threatening state intervention in case of refusal. The East was no less insistent that nothing should be done. Congress seemed to be completely deadlocked. Under these circumstances Senator Foote, of Connecticut, voicing the fears of his section, introduced December 29, 1829, his famous resolution which contemplated the discontinuance of the federal land sales and the substantial curbing of the growing West. It was a blow at Benton and Jackson which was at once accepted by all the West as a challenge. The representatives of all three sections were deeply interested. Benton took the lead in the discussion which followed, and he urged once more his preëmption and graduation bills. In the former he would guarantee the prior claims of squatters on lands they had already unlawfully taken up; in the latter he meant to regulate the price of public lands according to quality and location. In both the object was to make the way of the pioneer easy; and the West supported him solidly. Whether the South would keep its tacit pledges in the face of Jackson's non-committal attitude on the tariff was the query of all until Hayne, an intimate friend of Calhoun and the recognized spokesman of his section, arose on January 19, 1830, and took the strongest ground on behalf of Benton and the West, and attacked the East for its long-continued resistance to westward expansion. The next day Webster made reply, and the debate between the two representative men continued to the end of the month. The importance to the present-day reader of this discussion consists in the revelation of the directly opposing and hostile attitudes of South and East on the great problems then before the country: (1) the South would support the West in its policy of easy lands and rapid development; the East would resist that policy; (2) the East would appeal to the nationalist sentiment of the interior and the West on behalf of its program of protection to industry, while the South would resist that program even to the extent of declaring national tariff laws null and void. Hayne and Benton showed in their speeches the substantial solidarity of the alliance of South and West. Webster undertook to break that alliance by his powerful appeal to the feelings of Western men who loved the Union, which the New Englander sought to show to be in especial danger. What was really on trial was the American system, the Tariff of 1828. It was a serious national crisis, as Calhoun wrote in May following: “The times are perilous beyond any that I have ever witnessed; all the great interests of the country are coming into conflict.” The protectionists thought they must control the country or the Union would be worth little to them; the Southern free traders insisted upon the mastery of the Government or else they would have a quiet dissolution of the Confederation; while the Western men must have freer control of the public lands and more immigrants or their sturdy nationalism would rapidly disappear.

Having failed for the moment to rally the leaders of his disintegrating party on the Bank issue, Jackson and his intimate advisers decided that above all things it was necessary for the old hero to stand again for the Presidency in the next election. Van Buren, who had been steadily growing in the estimation of Jackson, while Calhoun had been losing ground, was the foremost to urge a second term despite the understanding and the public promises that Jackson was to hold office only one term. Amos Kendall and William B. Lewis supported his view heartily, fearing as they did that Henry Clay would otherwise be the next President. At the dinner on Jefferson Day, April 13, 1830, for which elaborate preparations had been made, the President chose to give expression to more decided opinions than had been customary during his first year in office. His toast, “The Union, it must be preserved,” was akin to the utterances of Webster in the debate with Hayne. It was plain to the South that he would not longer support their contentions, that he would appeal to the same nationalist sentiment which had been shown to exist by the speeches of the great New England orator. The cause of the Southern radicals was lost in so far as it depended on the President, and, moreover, the arrangement whereby Calhoun was to succeed Jackson was dissolved. South Carolina, so long a leader in public life, was isolated.

Meanwhile the friends of Clay and the devotees of the tariff had prepared an internal improvements measure which was drawn so that the appropriation would apply to purposes wholly within the State of Kentucky. The Maysville Road Bill proposed to build a national highway from Maysville on the Ohio to Lexington, Clay's home, and it was drawn in order to compel the President to exercise his right of veto on a proposition in which the West was interested, and thus break down his popularity in that region. The proposed law came to him in May. Van Buren had been sounding public opinion in the Middle States, and with some hesitation he advised a veto. The President was of the same mind, and a vigorous veto message was sent to Congress. To the dismay of the tariff men, the country approved heartily, the West giving every evidence of its continued faith in the Executive. The atmosphere in Washington began to clear up; it was plain that a reorganization of the Cabinet must ensue, and that the lower South, as yet in sympathy with the stern anti-tariff policy of Calhoun, must be won away from the South Carolinian. It seemed that the West would support the President even if it were called upon to give up something that was held to be very important.

In due time William B. Lewis produced a letter from William H. Crawford which showed, what Jackson must have known since the summer of 1828, that Calhoun had not been the President's defender in 1818, when he was threatened with court-martial for his conduct during the Seminole War. Jackson now made an issue of this, and welcomed a controversy with the man who had done most to elevate him to the Presidency. Mrs. Eaton also became a more important character, and the attitude of the families of other members of the Cabinet were made subjects of official discussion and displeasure. Calhoun's friends were commanded to receive her into their circle or take the consequences. When these refused, it seemed that this tempest in a teapot was about to become a grave matter of state. None knew better than Jackson and Calhoun that other and deeper causes were forcing the disruption of the party of 1828, the alliance which had driven Adams and Clay from office.

Convinced that Van Buren had been the marplot of the Administration, Calhoun attacked him publicly, and all the world saw what some astute minds had long seen, that the two wings of the party in power were irreconcilable enemies. Congress adjourned in March, 1831, and in April the President demanded the resignations of all the friends of the Vice-President in the Cabinet. Calhoun and Hayne returned sadly to their constituents to advise actual resistance to the tariff, since both the President—“an ungrateful son of Carolina”—and Congress had, during two years, refused all relief to the suffering planters. Not one of the problems, the solution of which had been the purpose of Jackson's election, had been settled or seriously attacked. The East had defeated Benton's land program; the President had refused to take up the tariff; and internal improvements as a national policy had only been toyed with in the Maysville Bill. As Calhoun had said, all the great interests of the country had come into conflict, and even the most resolute of men knew not how to proceed.

But Jackson gathered about him a new official family who were supposed to owe no double allegiance. Edward Livingston, of Louisiana, protectionist, became Secretary of State in place of Van Buren, who had resigned for appearance' sake; Louis McLane, of Delaware, a conservative party leader of protectionist views, was made Secretary of the Treasury while Roger B. Taney, a former Federalist of Maryland, became Attorney-General. Lewis Cass, Secretary of War, was the only distinctly Western man in this new body. Jackson seems to have expected to make the Bank question the great issue between his party and that of Clay, but the new Cabinet soon proved as strongly pro-Bank as the old one had been, and he must still rely on the “kitchen council” for support in that direction.

The initiative in the great sectional struggle which all foresaw was left to South Carolina, but the men of that planter Commonwealth refused to throw discretion to the winds. The price of cotton was falling and the tribute to the manufacturer under the law of 1828 seemed to be more burdensome than ever; yet it might be well to try Congress again. The new Congress, which would assemble in December, 1831, might give relief. This was Calhoun's last recourse; if it failed nullification must follow.

When the next Congress assembled, Clay was in the Senate and John Quincy Adams, his former ally, was just beginning his long career as a member of the House. Webster and the other New England tariff advocates were there, and as unbending as the Southerners themselves. The President sent in a non-committal message on the burning question, and even on his favorite Bank problem he showed signs of yielding. Clay took the message as preliminary to surrender, and his proverbial boldness rapidly grew to arrogance. On the tariff, on the Bank, and on the proposed nullification problems, he would give the deciding word and that word was defiance.

When, therefore, the cotton and tobacco interests presented once more their demand for immediate downward revision of the tariff, Clay and his more ardent protectionists brushed aside the cautious Adams and defied “the South, the Democratic party, and the Devil.” The revision of the tariff which was made in 1832 was no revision, save in a few unimportant schedules in which the planters were not interested; but the vote on this measure showed a curious combination of the Jackson and the Clay politicians in the West and considerable indifference in New England, as the accompanying map shows. Having challenged Calhoun to do his worst, Clay now pressed upon Jackson the question of renewing the Bank charter. Under his instructions the president of the Bank, Nicholas Biddle, a very able man, hitherto inclining to settle matters with Jackson and his friendly advisers, offered a memorial for a re-charter. That is, the Bank men thought the President of the United States was losing ground and they would take their chances with the party of the future. The Maysville veto was thought to have weakened Jackson; he had lost the support of Calhoun and had been compelled to reorganize his Cabinet; on the tariff he had no opinions, and he had done nothing to weld to him the Westerners. It seemed a very simple matter, with the East behind the brilliant Kentucky leader, to make the American System the law of the land and to drive the Goths and Vandals from the capital.

[Illustration: The Vote in the House of Representatives on the Tariff of 1832, In Eastern and Western States]

Mr. Clay had been nominated for the Presidency by an enthusiastic convention of his followers in December, 1831; and his friend William Wirt had also been nominated three months earlier by the Anti-Masons, who, it was supposed, would draw supporters from the Democrats, especially in Virginia, where Jackson had never won the approval of the ablest leaders. Never did the outlook of a political party seem so bright as when the plans of the tariff and Bank men were being laid in the spring of 1832. John Sargent, one of the directors of the Bank and brother-in-law of Henry A. Wise, a shrewd politician of Virginia, was made candidate for the Vice-Presidency; a large majority of the Senate was committed to the renewal of the charter,—even the Calhoun men agreed as to this,—and in the House John Quincy Adams and George McDuffie led a decided majority in the same direction. All the industrial forces of the country were enlisted and well organized. If there was any doubt that the old hero would be reëlected, there was none that the Bank and the tariff groups would retain control of Congress.

If Jackson was less confident than his opponents, he was not afraid. The effects of his “Union, it-must-be-preserved” speech were becoming evident; he gradually came to stand for the budding nationality among the self-seeking groups who would have their way or break up the Confederation. With the large majority of the up-country of the Middle States and South in favor of a tariff, even a high tariff, he promptly accepted the proposed revision. Already nominated by many of the States, his friends had no difficulty in securing him a unanimous renomination from the Democratic National Convention which met in Baltimore late in May, 1832. Meanwhile Van Buren had been appointed Minister to England. After reaching his post, the Senate, to gratify Calhoun as well as strike at the President, rejected the nomination. The humiliated minister was now nominated Vice-President and plainly marked by Jackson as his successor.

When the votes of both houses were shown to be decidedly for a continuation of the protective system as enacted in 1828, Calhoun and the planter party gave every assurance that South Carolina, at least, would resist. The President gave out no indications of what his attitude would be, but the extreme Southerners could not expect that Jackson would support their contentions; nor could they think Clay, if elected, would yield the very base of the system on which he proposed to stand as President. But as the tariff bill came to its final reading, it was seen that even New England hesitated, and many voted against the measure; many districts of the Southern up-country gave their votes for the proposed law. In the West most men favored the bill. The tariff was, therefore, a local issue, and the test must come on the Bank. The bill for a re-charter of the National Bank reached the President on July 4. It was considered most carefully, and doubtless the desperate situation of the Administration was duly canvassed. With every evidence of a strong Southern secession from his party, with Clay and Webster leading the solid ranks of the East, it did seem that Jackson would fail if he vetoed the bill passed by great majorities in both Senate and House.

On July 10 the veto message went to Congress. Its contention about the constitutionality of the Bank was not important, for it was not a question of what was constitutional, but of sheer power. The majority of the votes in the coming election was what each side sought. Jackson appealed to the West and South, urging that the Bank was a sectional institution constantly drawing money to the big cities of the East, or worse still, sending it to England; that it was a monopoly which had given millions of the people's money to a few men, and that it was then proposed to continue that monopoly. So certain were Clay and Biddle that they would defeat the President that they circulated at the expense of the Bank thirty thousand copies of this remarkable document. Biddle declared that Jackson was like “a chained panther, biting the bars of his cage.” Webster and John Quincy Adams, taking counsel of their hopes, declared that the old man in the White House was in his dotage and at the end of his career.

A remarkable campaign ensued. While South Carolina prepared to put into effect its remedy of state intervention, the West and the lower South united, as in 1828, against the East. The gubernatorial contest in Kentucky, which came in August, showed that Clay had not regained his former hold on that State. From midsummer to November every effort was made to break the power of Jackson, but to no avail. Without the planter support of the older South the President proved stronger than he had been four years before with it; the plain people were now more of a unit than they had ever been before, though many of their number still voted for the industrial or planter interests. The outcome surprised all parties. Jackson received 219 electoral votes, while Clay received only 49. The popular majority over all other candidates, including William Wirt and John Floyd, for whom the Calhoun party of South Carolina cast its vote, was more than 125,000. No President has since received such a large proportion of the suffrages of the people. Only one Western State, Kentucky, supported Henry Clay; while Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York gave Jackson larger majorities than ever. The alliance of the West and the up-country held together in spite of the untoward circumstances.

The significance of the election was that the President could rely upon the people in a fight with Congress; it was the first appeal to the country made over the heads of the national legislature. To this triumphant President, Calhoun and his ardent nullifiers must refer their case; the Bank would also have to reckon with a much stronger man than its spokesmen had contemplated.

Without awaiting the results of the election, Calhoun, Hayne, and their allies called South Carolina into special convention to consider the state of the Union. The nullification program was carried by safe majorities, despite the most strenuous resistance on the part of the minority who called themselves Unionists. South Carolina now formally declared the tariff laws of the United States suspended after February 1, 1833, unless the Federal Government gave some relief; and it was further declared that in case no relief were accorded, and the national authority should be enforced within the boundaries of their State, war would immediately ensue. The new governor, James Hamilton, and the legislature, which might be called into extra session at any time, were authorized to call out the militia, purchase arms, and organize for the conflict.

Meanwhile Jackson had been preparing for the contest in the Southwest. In 1827-28 all the legislatures of that region had declared the protective tariff unconstitutional and some had threatened secession. But after the election of 1828 these same legislatures refused to concur in the doctrines of nullification which South Carolina submitted to them. The situation had changed. John Quincy Adams, the New Englander, was President in 1828; Andrew Jackson, the Westerner and the most popular man in the country, was at the head of the Union in 1832. Besides, Jackson was already moving the Indians from the cotton lands, going so far as to acquiesce in the flagrant nullification of the federal law by the Georgia governor and legislature. The decision of the Supreme Court in favor of the Cherokees, who refused to surrender their lands, was publicly flouted by the President. It was plain that the planters of the Southwest would get what they wanted even if they had to violate treaties of the Federal Government. They refused to sustain South Carolina. Had not the President carried every county in Alabama and Mississippi in the recent election?

And in the older South the anti-national feeling had wonderfully cooled since 1828. North Carolina reversed her attitude; Tennessee would not consider Calhoun's plan of bringing the Union to terms. In Virginia the tobacco counties of the Piedmont section united with the tidewater counties and made a show of supporting South Carolina. New England men who had as recently as 1820 declared the protective system unconstitutional had no thought of maintaining such a doctrine when advocated by Calhoun.

Thus, instead of a solid group of planter States, South Carolina's proposed national referendum met with almost unanimous opposition. Jackson had undermined the party of Calhoun, which at the time of the break-up of the Cabinet in 1831 seemed more powerful in the South than any other. Jackson and Van Buren had proved to be master politicians, and when Congress met for the short session in December, 1832, it was plain that Calhoun was practically alone and that the President would have to deal with only one recalcitrant State.

From this vantage-ground, Jackson issued his proclamation of December 10, in which he plainly told South Carolina that the federal laws would be enforced at the point of the bayonet, and that, furthermore, the Union was an indissoluble nation, as Webster and himself had declared; and he at the same time urged upon Congress the so-called “Force Bill,” granting him full power to punish all infractions of the national revenue laws. And now for the first time he expressed his real view that the tariff was unjust. The Verplanck Bill to reduce the tariff to a twenty-five per cent basis was the President's confession that Calhoun had been right. The two measures were pressed by the Administration, the one strongly national and supported by a strong majority, the other strongly Jacksonian and opposed by most of the leaders who desired to see Calhoun humiliated. It seemed almost certain, early in 1833, that this program would be carried out to the letter.

Such a victory for the Union forces and especially for Jackson was too much for the opposition. Henry Clay stopped in Philadelphia on his way to Washington and held a conference there with the industrial leaders of the Middle States. He went on to the capital with a plan of his own. Its purpose was to keep the control of things in the hands of the friends of the American System and to deprive the President of the prestige of settling the tariff and the nullification problems at the same time. He held a carte blanche from the leading protected interests to do what he thought best. Webster and John Quincy Adams hesitated. They urged the passage of the “Force Bill” at once; but hoped to defeat the Verplanck measure, its counterpart. Clay made overtures to Calhoun, and Washington was surprised to see the two great antagonists associating and planning together, apparently in concert as of old when they forced the War of 1812 upon an unwilling President.

The “Force Bill” was to be accepted by the Calhoun men; but a new and final tariff measure was to take the place of the one upon which Jackson had set his heart. The famous compromise law of 1833 was the result. This gave the planters a reduction to twenty per cent, a lower rate than Jackson had offered, but the reductions were to be made gradually during a period of ten years, thus giving time for the industrial men to readjust their affairs without great losses. There was one joker in the scheme which the Southerners seem to have winked at: that which exempted the wool-growers of the Middle States and the West from the reductions. The author of the American System now hotly urged the men who a year ago would defy the “South, the Democratic party, and the Devil” to undo all their work. On March 1, three days before the close of the session, both the President's “Force Bill” and Clay's compromise tariff passed.

Meanwhile South Carolina, acting on Calhoun's advice, had postponed the enforcement of her nullifying ordinance, and now, as Congress adjourned, the former Vice-President, ill and greatly discouraged, hurried by rapid stages to Columbia to make sure that the crisis should be brought to a peaceful close. The convention was reassembled; an embassy from Virginia was on the ground urging peace, and, as was natural, the ordinance was repealed. The planters had really won a victory and the rising industrial groups understood this both at the time and later, when they clamored for the restoration of their privileges. The cotton and tobacco men, producing the larger part of the national exports, had shown their strength. Their opponents, the manufacturers and the bankers of the East, with a much greater income, were as yet not so strong as the planters. The West and the South were their markets, and concessions must be made; the Union was to them essential, while to the South, selling its huge crops in European markets, it was less important. As yet the West, with its hero the master in Washington, had obtained none of the reforms for which it had so long striven. Benton and his friends looked to the next Congress for results. Would they be disappointed?

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

The Messages and Papers of the Presidents (1900), vol. II, gives Jackson's official statements. Bassett's and Parton's biographies, already mentioned, are still very serviceable. There is no full biography of Clay, but C. Colton's The Private Life of Henry Clay contains some of Clay's letters. Carl Schurz's Henry Clay and T. H. Clay's Henry Clay, already noted, offer some good information. The best source for Calhoun is J. F. Jameson's The Correspondence of John C. Calhoun (1899). G. Hunt's Life of Calhoun (1908), in American Crises series, is excellent, while D. F. Houston's Critical Study of Nullification, already referred to, and W. E. Dodd's Calhoun, in Statesmen of the Old South (1911), offer still further information as to Calhoun and nullification. C. H. Van Tyne's Letters of Daniel Webster (1902) supplies information about Webster which is lacking in the older Works by Everett (1851) or F. Webster (1857). H. C. Lodge's Daniel Webster, in American Statesmen series and J. B. McMaster's Daniel Webster (1902) are the standard biographies. Thomas H. Benton has told his own story in his Thirty Years' View (1854), though Roosevelt's Thomas Hart Benton, in the American Statesmen, and W. M. Meigs's Thomas Hart Benton, in the American Crises series, are good brief portraits. William McDonald's The Jacksonian Democracy (1906), in the American Nation series, is an excellent general survey, while E. Stanwood's American Tariff Controversies (1903) is the best account of the tariff disputes.

                    

CHAPTER V. THE TRIUMPH OF JACKSON

Before the great conflict between the manufacturers and the planters had been brought to a lame conclusion in the force bill and the tariff compromise of 1833, so unsatisfactory to everybody, Jackson had taken up the Bank problem, in which the West was particularly interested. The annual message of 1832 indicated his intention to close up the business in accordance with what seemed to him to be the decree of the people. But while the President regarded an election as settling the matter, it soon became clear that Nicholas Biddle and the leaders of the United States Senate were far from that opinion. Having combined to defeat the “old Indian scalper,” as Biddle was wont to term Jackson, in his plan to bring South Carolina to terms, these able men continued their operations to balk him on the Bank question.

The Bank of the United States had a capital stock of $35,000,000, its twenty-nine branches ramified the commerce of the country, and its total volume of business was about $70,000,000, or more than the amount of the national exports each year. It practically controlled the currency, and it could increase or diminish the amount of money in circulation by about one third at any time. Nicholas Biddle, a trained financier and strong-willed aristocrat, who put little faith in popular elections and plebiscites, was the head of the Bank, and all the presidents and directorates of the subordinate banks were his appointees; he controlled absolutely all the departments and all the directors of the parent bank in Philadelphia, going so far in 1833 as to deny the government directors their lawful right to attend the board meetings. There has never been another financial leader in the United States who was so powerful or so much feared as was Nicholas Biddle in 1833.

Both sides prepared for a renewal of the struggle for or against a new charter. Jackson sent Secretary of State Livingston as Minister to France early in 1833, and transferred Secretary McLane from the Treasury to the State Department. It was known that both Livingston and McLane opposed the President in his plan of overthrowing the Bank, and this shift was made to avoid another break-up of the Cabinet and to enable Jackson to get a Secretary of the Treasury who would support him. William J. Duane, of Pennsylvania, accepted the vacant portfolio in January, 1833, knowing well the President's purpose, which was to withhold from the Bank the federal deposits. Agents were sent out to ascertain what state banks were in a condition to receive the proposed government funds, and of course a strong banking support was thus secured for the contemplated policy.

Biddle laughed at Jackson's message of 1832 which denounced the Bank. He expected to receive from Congress in due time the charter which the President had denied. More than fifty members of that body, including Clay, Webster, George McDuffie,—Calhoun's ally and the chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means,—and the famous Davy Crockett, were borrowers from the Bank on the easiest of terms. The greater newspaper editors of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, and Richmond were either opposed to the President or on Biddle's list of beneficiaries; while scores of hack writers all over the country received their stipends from the “Monster,” as Jackson designated the Bank. It might have been an easy matter for Biddle and Clay to secure their charter from the Congress which sat in its closing session in the winter of 1833. But the great thing before them at that time was the nullification-tariff problem, which threatened civil war, and the friends of the Bank joined the protectionists and, under Clay's deft leadership, as we have seen, defeated Jackson's plan for tariff reform. The short session drew to a close, and Biddle, Clay, and Webster prepared for renewing their fight when Congress came together in December.

When the lines began to tighten in the summer of 1833, Duane weakened and finally refused to withhold the government deposits from the Bank. He was dismissed from office and Roger B. Taney, the Attorney-General, took the vacant place and agreed to do Jackson's bidding. From October 1, 1833, the income of the Treasury was placed as it accrued in the custody of the state banks which had been made ready for the new policy. Jackson declared that the National Bank had become unsafe and therefore an unfit place for the keeping of $10,000,000 of the people's money, the amount then on deposit. But the real reason of the change was social and political. The President desired to weaken the Bank, lest its representatives, its masterful lobbyists, and the financial pressure it was bringing to bear should wrest from Congress a charter which the people had repudiated.

Meanwhile Biddle had begun his campaign to compel both Jackson and the people to yield. On August 1, two months before the Treasury began to place its receipts in the state banks, Biddle ordered a curtailment of the loans of the National Bank and its branches. In the South and West, where large sums were needed at that moment to move the cotton and grain crops, the curtailment was double that of the East. This led to immediate financial stringency; National Bank notes, the standard money of the time, became scarce; and gold or silver was absolutely wanting. The state banks were naturally forced to withhold their accustomed loans and the anticipated government deposits could not be drawn upon. Business failures became frequent and laborers were discharged. It was a panic in the midst of prosperity. The program was executed with callous heartlessness by Biddle, and with the approval of men like Clay and Webster, till Congress met in December.

The people were beginning to see what a power they had attacked. Rates of interest rose from six to fifteen per cent; farms and crops were sold under the sheriff's hammer at absurdly low prices. The outlook was anything but bright when the next annual message of the President called upon the national legislature to aid him in his struggle. Petitions were pouring into Washington by the thousand, and delegations of business men appeared almost daily at the White House, asking Jackson to restore the deposits and surrender to the great corporation, thus acknowledging the subordination of the country to one of its interests.

Under these circumstances and awaiting confidently the effect of the Bank's drastic pressure upon public opinion, Clay began in January, 1834, the work of compelling the President to restore the deposits. For weeks and even months the Senate was the scene of the most extraordinary denunciations, and the press of the country was burdened with the attacks and counter-attacks of the parties to this fierce and unrelenting struggle. In the East business failures, the closing of the doors of manufacturing establishments, and the discharge of small armies of employees furnished all the proof necessary that the distress was real. From all sections of the country cries of distress, memorials, and petitions came up to Washington. Biddle and his friends had no thought of relenting, but continued the curtailment of the financial business of the country far beyond what might have seemed necessary on account of the removal of deposits; they were certain that only a few months more of pressure and of increased suffering on the part of the people would compel Jackson to yield or Congress to grant the desired charter over the head of the President.

But the Congress which was elected in 1832 and which sat from December, 1833, to March, 1835, was not so pliable as that which arranged the peace with South Carolina. Still, the Senate sustained the Bank by a decided majority, and in March it formally censured Jackson for his removal of the deposits. In this Clay was conspicuous, and Webster and Calhoun were his sympathetic allies. On the other hand, Benton, Silas Wright, of New York, and John Forsyth, of Georgia, made a most spirited defense of Jackson and of the cause of the people, as they insisted. In the House the situation was reversed, and all Biddle's energy and resolute lobbying failed to secure a favorable vote. It became clear early in the spring that the President could not be moved, and that impeachment, which had been the hope and talk of many, would be impossible. When the weight of public opinion inclined visibly to the side of Jackson at the end of spring, Clay, who had for some time doubted the loyalty of Biddle, and who was especially anxious to regain his former popularity in the West, refused to continue the fight; Webster, too, lost interest and advised the directors of the Bank that the cause was lost. Calhoun, who had supported Clay and Webster to humiliate Jackson, could not retreat; he was again isolated, and he felt his position bitterly. McDuffie resigned his seat and his chairmanship in the House in utter disgust. To all but the president of the United States Bank the case seemed hopeless when Congress adjourned in early summer without passing any act bearing on the situation. Biddle's remark in a letter to a friend in Baltimore, “If the Bank charter were renewed or prolonged, I believe the pecuniary difficulties of the country would be immediately healed,” shows his attitude; and by this time the people seem to have come to the conclusion that it was not a war of Jackson upon the Bank so much as a war of the Bank upon the country to compel the reissue of a charter which was about to expire. Petitions now poured into Biddle's office and delegations from Middle States cities urged a change of the Bank's policy; even Albert Gallatin, long a defender and ardent friend, deserted Biddle. And at last, after the nation's currency of some hundred millions had been reduced by one third, and when money rates in New York were running as high as twenty-four per cent, the order went out to the branch banks to suspend the stringent punitive measures in order that “We may save our beloved country from the curse of Van Burenism,” as one of the directors described it.

The decline of the power of the Bank was now rapid. In the state and congressional elections of 1834 the President of the United States was everywhere sustained, even the Whigs quietly taking the same ground. The friendship of the Bank was now enough to damn any party; Biddle realized the danger of his situation, and on election day sent his family out of town and barricaded his house and office. The legislatures of Pennsylvania and New York, where his flag had flown triumphantly for years, denounced him and planned to issue bonds for the relief of the people. The autumn saw a complete reversal of policy on the part of the Bank, and business at once resumed its normal course. Money became easy, prices rose to the former level, and the wheels of industry began to turn. Nothing seemed more conclusively shown than that most of the trouble had been due to the demand on the part of a few men for a continuation of financial privileges.

Jackson's first great victory was won, and he would have been more than human not to have shown his sense of triumph on the reassembling of Congress at the end of the momentous year. The Monster had been crushed; and all his great enemies—Clay, Webster, Adams, and Calhoun—had been beaten!

Before the first break in the Cabinet Jackson had proved the value of direct and simple methods in diplomacy. In colonial times and during the operation of the Jay Treaty the West India trade was most important. From New England and the Middle States fish, lumber, grain, and other plantation supplies had been sold to the West India planters in great quantities. The war of the Revolution curtailed this trade; that of 1812 practically destroyed it, and England thereafter refused to allow American shipping any rights in these possessions, though Adams and Clay had urged the reciprocal benefits of such a commerce.

The Jackson Administration succeeded in securing almost immediately the desired trade arrangements, and the shipping of the Chesapeake Bay, of Boston and New York, took its wonted course. This victory was hardly scored before the new President secured from France formal treaty recognition of the old spoliation claims arising from the depredations of Napoleon I, which no former administration had been able to collect. In 1831 the Government of Louis Philippe agreed to pay these damages to the amount of 25,000,000 francs. But the French legislature delayed to vote the necessary appropriations. Jackson, assuming that the obligations would be met promptly, drew upon the French treasury for the first installment and asked the National Bank to collect the bills—somewhat over $900,000. The papers were duly presented in Paris, but they were dishonored. This happened in 1833, when the Bank was in the midst of the fight on the President. Biddle, without hesitation, charged the Government $15,000 for the damage to the reputation of the Bank because the draft had been dishonored in Paris. The Government refused to pay the claim, and a lawsuit of ten years followed which was finally decided against the Bank.

It was at this juncture that Jackson, preparing for the removal of the deposits, sent Secretary Livingston to France to urge the execution of the treaty of 1831. Livingston failed to convince the French assembly that it was necessary either to pay the overdue claims or to execute certain reciprocity clauses of the treaty. In December, 1834, when the Bank crisis had passed, the President sent to Congress a message which asked for the passage of an act authorizing reprisals on French shipping or other property. Such a warlike proposition, with the explanation which accompanied it, aroused the country. In commercial centers there was great excitement, and insurance companies changed their contracts in expectation of war.

Once more the President was opposed and denounced in the Senate as a reckless Executive who would rush headlong into war. But the treaty with France authorized just such procedure as had been suggested, and only recently France had taken the same course with other countries. It soon became so clear that Jackson was within his rights and that the country was behind him, that resolutions were suffered to pass the Senate virtually approving this part of the message. In the House the vote indorsing the Executive was unanimous, though it was not thought advisable to do more than this until there had been ample time for reconsideration of the subject in France.

The strong language of the President aroused a storm of criticism in France, and for a time war was threatened. The French Minister in Washington was recalled, and of course the diplomatic representative of the United States in Paris was withdrawn. The conservative press of Europe made this another occasion for ridiculing the Yankee Republic, whose money-making propensities should be curtailed and whose gaudy wares and vulgar rocking-chairs should be tabooed everywhere. “Let the French navy sweep the Atlantic Ocean of their ships and again take possession of Louisiana” was the unfriendly advice of certain English journals. Before the summer of 1835 closed, all relations between France and the United States had ceased, though actual war was not expected. When Congress met, Jackson reviewed the situation in a calm manner and gave every opportunity for the reopening of negotiations, though warlike preparations were recommended to meet those of France. But England tendered her friendly offices, and the difficulty was promptly brought to a satisfactory conclusion by the payment of the indemnity so long due.

More interesting and more important to the West and South was the stern and persistent policy of Jackson in removing the Indians from their fertile lands. From Michigan the natives were pushed into Wisconsin and Illinois, where they rested a few short years, only to be driven in 1833 beyond the Mississippi to the western parts of Iowa and Minnesota, against the heroic struggles of Black Hawk and a handful of followers. From the lower South the Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws, and Chickasaws were gradually removed during the years 1830 to 1838, sometimes after the most shameless and brutal treatment by the representatives of both the States and the Nation. Before Jackson came to office the Creeks of western Georgia had been browbeaten into sales of their lands and then removed to the region beyond Arkansas, to be known thereafter as the Indian Territory. In 1833 to 1835 the Choctaws and Chickasaws of Mississippi were defrauded of their best lands and carried forcibly to the new Indian country; but the most arbitrary part of the governmental policy was the expulsion of the Cherokees from their beautiful hills in northern Georgia. Thirteen thousand in number, civilized and devotedly attached to their homes, these people insisted on remaining and becoming a State to themselves. Under the leadership of John Ross, they presented the case to the United States Supreme Court, which decided in 1830 that they composed a nation and that they could not lawfully be compelled to submit to Georgia. The people of Georgia would not for a moment consider such a proposition, and moreover they had made up their minds that the Cherokees must likewise give up their lands and migrate to the Far West. Jackson took this view, and in December, 1835, he made a treaty with some of the chiefs whereby the Cherokees were to receive new lands in the Indian Territory and more than five millions in money. This treaty was at once denounced and repudiated by the majority of the Indians, but the government agents executed it, and during the next three years the helpless natives were hunted down and carried, all save a small remnant, to the new region. Thus President Monroe's plan of settling the natives beyond the western frontier in Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, and what is now Oklahoma, was worked out, and the land-hungry Western settlers were fast following them into their distant homes; but practically all the lands east of the great river were open to settlement, and Wisconsin, Illinois, Alabama, and Mississippi rapidly became populous communities.[4] No measure of Jackson's Administration won him greater popularity than that of the removal of the Indians.

[Footnote 4: Compare maps showing Indian lands of 1830 and 1840 on pp. 26 and 88.]

[Illustration: Growth of the West and removal of Indians from Cotton, Tobacco and First “Western” Grain Belts.

Reproduction of part of Tanner's Map of 1840]

With the tariff question “definitely” settled, the internal improvements demands temporarily in abeyance, the Bank “out of the way,” and with a growing prestige both at home and abroad, Jackson might now have formulated the other Western ideals, free homesteads, the re-claiming of Texas, and the occupation of Oregon. But this was all left to Van Buren, the man already practically chosen to carry forward the policies of the “old hero.” However, without a free homestead law or even a preëmption system, on which Benton had long insisted, the West was filling up with people in an unprecedented manner. The population of Alabama was only a little more than a hundred thousand in 1820; in 1835, it was not less than half a million. Mississippi counted seventy-five thousand in 1820; in 1840, its population had increased sixfold. The same story was told by the statistics of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa. There was life, vigor, and rapid growth in all the accessible parts of the region which worshiped the President. Jackson's election was an advertisement of the West; the long debates in Congress about checking emigration to the Mississippi Valley increased the desire to go to the new and happy country; and the hard times of 1833-34 set thousands of men upon the highways leading to the promised land. And in the Western States every effort was made to attract people. Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois built waterways which should feed the Mississippi or Erie Canal commerce, and thus make Western life profitable as well as free and unconventional. Where canals could not be constructed would go the great government road, passing through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and its state-built branches. Even railroads were projected in that far-off country. In the Southwest the network of rivers offered transportation facilities to the increasing crops of cotton, and ambitious men flocked there to “make fortunes in a day.” Sargent Prentiss, the poor New England cripple, went to Mississippi about 1830, and in six years he was both rich and famous; John A. Quitman, the preacher's son, of New York, worked his way about the same time to the lower Mississippi country, and in a few years was receiving an annual income of forty thousand dollars. John Slidell left New York City a bankrupt in 1819, but soon became a great lawyer and slave-owner in New Orleans.

The yearly migration of thousands of Eastern men to the valley of the Mississippi was still further augmented by streams of refugees from the unsettled and distressed conditions of Germany. In Ohio, Kentucky, southern Illinois, and Missouri these idealistic emigrants from Europe found new homes and substantial encouragement. They sent glowing accounts of the new world to their friends at home, and the tide of immigration which was destined to enrich American life steadily increased. All this stimulated speculation in Western lands, in canal and banking ventures. The Government sales of lands rose from $4,837,000 in 1834 to $24,000,000 in 1836. And the canal schemes of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois found financial support in New York and in London. No wonder the eastern manufacturers sometimes desired to close the roads that crossed the Alleghanies.

“Nothing succeeds like success” is an American saying which applies admirably to Jackson's second administration. The Western President had won all his great contests; Calhoun and the radical South had been tamed; Clay and Webster were dragged behind his car of state; the National Bank was rapidly passing from the political stage; and the tariff was no longer a troublesome factor in public life. The receipts of the Treasury had steadily outrun the expenses, and in 1834 the last of the national debt was paid. Since the income was almost certain to continue great, Jackson was at a loss what to do. Henry Clay urged a simple distribution among the States. The President feared the effect of this, and vetoed a bill to that effect; he even proposed that the Federal Government should buy stock in all the railway corporations in order that these growing monopolies be duly restrained. After two years of disagreement a law was enacted which offered to deposit the surplus with the States without interest charges, but subject to recall. The States hastened to make the necessary arrangements, and during the second half of 1836 and the first quarter of 1837 more than $18,000,000 were thus deposited.

The land speculations, already at fever heat in the West, the building of railways and canals, and the prospective distribution of millions of the public money warned the wise that sail must be taken in, else disaster would ensue. Jackson, therefore, issued an executive order in July, 1836, requiring the land offices to accept only specie in payment for lands; but it was not thought that this would occasion any great distress. The people seemed to be satisfied with the “reign” of Andrew Jackson, and it might have been expected that he would have little difficulty in placing his friend Van Buren in the high office so soon to be vacated.

[Illustration: The Presidential Election of 1836, the Popular Vote by Counties]

It did not prove so easy as it seemed. Calhoun and his followers were still hostile. In Tennessee, Hugh Lawson White was heading a serious revolt against Jackson and all his party, and of course New England was still dissatisfied. Since the great fight between the President and the Bank in 1833-34, Henry Clay had been welding together all the forces of the opposition. States-rights men in the South, like John Tyler, of Virginia, and William C. Preston, of South Carolina, the conservative forces in the Middle States who were connected with banking and “big business,” and the internal improvements forces of the West that were still discontented, were all united in a more or less cohesive party of opposition. A platform they could not risk; in fact, platforms were not as yet necessary for election, nor was it thought best to nominate a single pair of candidates and submit their case to the country. The Whigs, as the opposition now came to be called, arranged a ticket which Daniel Webster led in the East, which William Henry Harrison, a popular military hero of the Northwest, headed in that section, and which Hugh Lawson White, a Jackson man till 1834, championed in the Southwest. There followed a four-cornered contest which resulted in the choice of Van Buren by a popular majority of less than 30,000. Van Buren carried more of the New England States than did Webster and more of the South than did White, but he lost most of the West, even Tennessee, which had been the stronghold of his party. The counties of the old South where Jackson had been most feared gave their votes to Van Buren, the “safe and sane”; and many New England and Middle States manufacturers preferred to take their chances with a masterful organizer of conservative temper, who had been the balance wheel of the Jackson Administration, to risking all in an election in the House of Representatives, where the sections would be fighting fiercely for political and party advantages. The new régime of 1829 was thus about to be turned into a reaction. There was a common feeling that Van Buren would do nothing “radical.” Even Calhoun thought better of the President-elect than he thought of the “old hero,” and the first six months of the new Administration had not passed before he gave the President his support.

The political sun of Jackson went down brightly, not a cloud on the horizon; and his chosen successor declared openly in his inaugural that he would gladly follow in “the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor.” The country was still prosperous and the wheels of industry were running at full speed. Foreign Governments looked on with envy as the young Western Republic stretched her limbs and rose to gigantic proportions.

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

The most important book on the bank question is R. C. H. Catterall's The Second Bank of the United States (1903). The biographies referred to at the close of chapter IV of this volume are all serviceable in general till about 1840. James Schouler's History of the United States (1894-99), vol. IV, and H. von Holst's Constitutional and Political History of the United States (new ed., 1899), vol. II, give full narratives of the “war on the bank.” J. Q. Adams's Memoirs are ever ready with the spice of personality to make its pages readable. The Register of Debates, the official publication of Congress which succeeded the former Annals of Congress and Niles's Weekly Register, published in Baltimore from 1811 to 1849, give the various phases of public opinion as it was expressed in Congress and in the newspapers of the time. House Reports, 22d Cong., 1st Sess., no. 460, and House Executive Documents, 23d Cong., 1st Sess., no. 523, will satisfy those who seek to know the two sides as viewed by the parties to the conflict. There is no satisfactory biography of Nicholas Biddle, though his papers may be consulted in the Pennsylvania Historical Society Library. R. G. Wellington's The Political and Sectional Influence of the Public Lands, 1828-1842 (1914) tends to show how much of the controversies of these years was due to sectional jealousy.

                    

CHAPTER VI. DISTRESS AND REACTION

Martin Van Buren came to office without the enthusiastic support of any large segment of public opinion. The machine forces of the time and the hearty recommendation of Andrew Jackson had been responsible for his elevation. His position was very much like that of John Quincy Adams in 1825. If the East had preferred him to his predecessor, it was not because the East proposed to surrender any of her interests; and if the West liked him less than she had liked her hero, it was just because his feelings and interests were suspected.

He had supported Jackson in the breaking-down of a stable civil service in 1829, in order to ruin their common opponents, Adams and Clay. Now Van Buren was to inherit the evils of the spoils system, and Adams, Clay, and Webster were leading the attack upon him both in Congress and in the country. Jackson's collector of the customs in New York defaulted in the sum of $1,250,000 during the first year of Van Buren's term; and to make matters worse the new appointee behaved quite as scandalously the next year. Out of sixty-seven land officers in the West and South, sixty-four were reported in 1837 as defaulters, and the United States Treasury lost nearly a million dollars on their account. The Jacksonian Democracy was certainly putting its worst foot foremost, and the great leaders of the opposition held up their hands in horror at a system which “reeked with corruption from center to circumference.”

Van Buren had begun badly. But worse was to follow. The receipts from federal land sales dropped from $24,000,000 in 1836 to $6,000,000 in 1837, and the total income of the Government declined from $50,000,000 to $24,000,000 in the same year; and the expenditures of the Treasury outran the receipts during 1837 and 1838 by more than $21,000,000. A deficit of $300,000,000 for two successive years in our time would not be worse than the deficit of the unpopular successor of Andrew Jackson. From 1833 to 1836 there had been an annual surplus equal sometimes to the total expense of the Government. The national debt had been paid in full and money had been loaned to the States without interest or security. There was to be no more national debt and no more paying of interest to hard-driving capitalists; but Van Buren borrowed $34,000,000 in two years to meet the ordinary expenses of his Administration.

The honors of the time were, and have since been, bestowed upon Jackson, and all the blame of things was, and has since been, laid upon the shoulders of Van Buren. But the fault was not Van Buren's. A number of causes had produced this surprising and distressing state of affairs. After the great success of the Erie and other canals in the East, Western States entered upon an era of canal building which the richest of communities could ill have borne. Railroads were beginning to create markets for Eastern farmers. The Westerners, therefore, sunk millions of their hard earnings in railways which paralleled their canals or projected into wildernesses. Between 1830 and 1840 these ventures of the West, from Michigan to Louisiana, absorbed hundreds of millions of capital. Illinois borrowed $14,000,000 when her total annual income was hardly more than $250,000; Mississippi borrowed $12,000,000 on a yearly income a little less than that of Illinois. The States had mortgaged their futures for decades to come. This was especially true of Western communities; but Eastern States like Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina were also in debt for similar amounts. Everybody thought the resources of the United States were inexhaustible; and everybody seemed willing to tax future generations beyond all precedent in order to develop these resources.

The depositing of the federal funds in state banks by Jackson had greatly stimulated speculation. Public interest in banks, already great, increased enormously. Forty new banks were created in Pennsylvania in a single year. State banks increased their capital and extended their operations. In two years the bank notes in circulation increased from $95,000,000 to $140,000,000; loans and discounts rose from $324,000,000 to $457,000,000. The National Bank, which had curtailed business in order to embarrass the country and particularly President Jackson, quickly changed its tactics, and, sailing under a charter from the State of Pennsylvania, kept pace with its five hundred rivals. To be sure the Federal Constitution forbade the States to issue bills of credit. But the States incorporated banking companies which issued the forbidden notes by the million, and the Supreme Court of the United States, now that Marshall was dead and the personnel of its membership had undergone a change, declared the practice lawful.

States indorsed or participated in the proceedings of the banks, the banks loaned to other corporations or to private individuals on such security as land, slaves, improvements already made, or the personal credit of men otherwise deeply in debt. The flood of money was thus, before 1837, invested in lands and houses or railroads and canals which could neither pay dividends nor return the principal for several years. It seemed that when the Federal Government paid the last of its debt, the States eagerly pursued the opposite principle and created the greatest debts possible.

Though the people of the United States joined in all these wild ventures, they were not solely responsible. Europe, especially England, had been anxious to lend. The Erie Canal had been built upon borrowed capital, and it had paid good dividends. The old National Bank, now going out of business, had placed $25,000,000 of its stock in Europe, and the holders had received most liberal returns. American investments were quoted as “excellent” by the Baring Brothers of London to their thousands of customers. And why not? The Federal Government had recently paid the last dollar of its two huge debts, more than $80,000,000 for the cost of the Revolution and $110,000,000 for the cost of the War of 1812, and the rate of interest had often been as high as eight per cent. Was there a similar example in all history? The bad reputation of 1783-1800 for debt-paying had been lived down.

Van Buren estimated the amount of money due by States and corporations to English creditors at $200,000,000. His estimate was probably not greatly exaggerated. Certainly as much as $12,000,000 in interest was due each year to English creditors. The merchants of the great towns regularly bought their goods on long time, sold them on time to the shopkeepers of the villages and hamlets, and these in turn sold on credit to their customers. Not less than $100,000,000 was thus distributed over the country. It was due any day in London or Liverpool. The world seemed to “take stock” in the new Republic, particularly when the returns were large and prompt in appearing. And now that the Federal Government was not a borrower, the States became the heirs of the confidence of the capitalists who, not comprehending the difference between the National and the State Governments in the United States, expected that the authorities in Washington would bring due pressure to bear on local authorities that might turn indifferent when crops were bad.

All these things led to an inflated state of things. Jackson had seen the dangerous tendency, and his specie circular had been applied in 1836 in the hope of mending matters. But the people who bought lands had no gold or silver. The effect of the circular was to compel Western bankers to call on their Eastern correspondents for metallic money. All the specie in the Eastern vaults amounted to only $19,000,000, a sum not in excess of what it had been twenty years before, when the paper money in circulation was not half so great. Just as the West asked for more hard money English bankers and other business men called sharply for payment of outstanding debts due by leading business men in the East. Both demands could not be met at the same time. The bubble had been pricked.

To make matters worse, the wheat crop of the Middle States and of the South failed utterly, and the farmers were compelled to import grain on credit for the next year's seeding. The cotton output was large, but the price fell from twenty to ten cents a pound. Corn and meat were plentiful in the West; the means of transportation were, however, lacking. There was famine and plenty in the land at the same time. Business came to a standstill, all forward movements stopped, and the banks closed their doors.

From a winter of greatest plenty and most amazing expectations the people, particularly the poor of the cities and mill towns, passed into a summer and autumn of positive want and starvation. With flour at twelve dollars a barrel, the New York price, and with wages declining every day or industrial operations suspended altogether, the lot of the worker was hard. Riots were of weekly occurrence, and the greatest business houses of New York, Philadelphia, and even New Orleans, where cotton was expected to save men, declared themselves bankrupt and closed their doors. Men who had clamored against Jackson or Biddle in the time of distress three years before now looked upon that crisis as only a flurry. Everything seemed out of joint and the future gave no assurance of speedy recovery. The East, which had condemned the West for their stay laws against the panic of 1819, now clamored for a federal stay law and urged Van Buren to suspend the specie circular. The President refused to offer any relief, and other failures and other risks followed. Before the summer had well begun every bank in the country suspended specie payment, and a little later local business men's associations issued notes or due bills in small denominations which were accepted as money. East, South, and West the commercial and financial panic held the country fast in its grip. Speculations fell flat, obligations were void, and men turned to the simpler forms of life to regain their equilibrium. Barter took the place of former methods of exchange.

People blamed the banks; some cried out that the monopolistic methods of business had been the cause. The Whigs maintained that the panic and distress were due to the blunders and crimes of the party in power. Benton in reply declared that the paper money and stock-jobbing systems of the last few years had been the cause. Van Buren called Congress together in extra session in September, 1837, in order, as he said, to devise means of saving the Government itself from bankruptcy. But he could not place the blame on the preceding Administration, as his opponents delighted to do; he only said it was all because of “over-action in all departments of business.” Congress suspended the distribution of the surplus revenue among the States, issued notes to the amount of ten million dollars to meet the obligations of the Government, and took measures for the safety of the public funds in banks which could not pay their debts. Gradually during the next year the signs of recovery appeared. Rise of prices in Europe, a good cotton crop, and the passing of the panicky state of mind enabled the banks to resume specie payments, and the mills of the East to open their doors. But the public was in doubt whether the ruin of the National Bank, the issuing of the specie circular by Jackson, or the lack of ability on the part of Van Buren had been the cause of the calamities of the year 1837. And as it took years for men and business houses to regain their former mutual confidence, there was soreness and hesitation everywhere until after 1840.

The financial situation was, therefore, the one thing with which Van Buren had to deal during most of his term. After the emergency measures had passed, he gave earnest attention to the enacting of a law which would create responsible agencies in the larger cities for the receipt and expenditure of the public moneys. The purpose was to avoid concentration and monopoly such as the National Bank had maintained, and to keep the control of the finances in the hands of the Government. It was called the Independent Treasury system. The President pressed the measure before a divided Congress and without the support of any concerted or strong public opinion. To the surprise of many, Calhoun, the bitterest of his enemies, came to his assistance. This meant the support of most of the cotton and tobacco planters. Yet the measure failed of passage during the sessions of 1837-38 and 1838-39.

Van Buren did not know how to appeal to the popular heart when powerful congressional leaders and shrewd business men pressed too hard. He simply adhered to his Independent Treasury Bill against all opposition, fair and unfair. A group of conservative Democrats broke away from his leadership in 1838 and deprived him of a majority; in the next Congress he was no stronger, and the one measure of reform which he urged failed to pass before June, 1840. Another legacy of Jackson, his “illustrious predecessor,” was a war with the Seminole Indians, who resisted removal to the western frontier; and before 1842 the suppression of these desperate natives and their slave allies, runaways from the Georgia plantations, cost the Government $40,000,000, most of which had to be borrowed at high rates of interest.

Even more threatening than the Seminole troubles was the Texas problem. The last act of Jackson's official life was to recognize the independence of that aspiring State. But this was only preliminary to the real purposes of Texas and her agents, who pressed Van Buren in the summer of 1837 for annexation to the United States; though these same agents wrote home that if annexation did not succeed, the South would break away from the Union, and that if it did succeed, the North would withdraw from the federal compact. So that while Calhoun and his friends aided the President in his financial measures, they at the same time importuned him to help the South by adding another pro-slavery State to the Union. This was not the first time this question had embarrassed a president. As already seen, Clay had denounced Monroe for giving away that princely domain; Benton and Van Buren had warred upon Adams and Clay in 1826-28 for not compelling a restoration, and under this pressure and that of the South in general, Adams had sought in vain to purchase Texas; under Jackson the problem was several times taken up, and as much as $5,000,000 was offered. Still the astute General had steered clear of trouble when annexation “with war” was offered in 1836.

Van Buren likewise delayed and risked his Southern popularity. Meanwhile a revolt against the British Government broke out in Canada, and thousands of Americans along the border, from Maine to Wisconsin, lent open assistance to their “oppressed” neighbors. Van Buren remained strictly neutral. With much difficulty was the peace maintained, and at the expense of many savage attacks upon the Administration for its un-American policy and lack of sympathy with men who fought for “freedom.”

While the President was seeking to reform the national currency and restrain the imperialistic tendencies of his countrymen, one great State, New York, under the leadership of Silas Wright, was showing the country what could be done locally to make banking safe. In 1829 a law was enacted compelling every newly chartered bank to contribute a certain percentage of its income to a common safety fund. The disasters of 1837 showed these reserves to be too small, and in 1839 every bank in the State was required to deposit with the Treasury securities enough to protect all notes to be put into circulation. At the same time any group of capitalists who would conform to the law might open a bank without let or hindrance, which had the effect of putting financial operations on simple business principles, removing the political motive which had wrought so much damage to innocent depositors. During the next decade the New York example had great influence, and Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, and other older States instituted safe and conservative banking systems.

But while these communities learned slowly the lesson of careful finance, Michigan, Mississippi, and other States, East and West, hard pressed by their circumstances and the overwhelming debts which they piled up till about 1840, repudiated or failed to meet their obligations. And when suits were brought by domestic or foreign creditors, state legislatures simply declined to pay and claimed immunity from federal pressure under the Eleventh Amendment to the National Constitution. Nor were the resources of the Western communities equal to the discharge of their onerous burdens. To have attempted to force upon the people the payment of the debts their leaders had fixed upon them would have caused wholesale migrations to Wisconsin, Iowa, and Texas. The people of the West, of the country as a whole, perhaps, were still in the position of frontiersmen as compared to Europeans. They needed all the time more capital than they could repay in many years, and they were not as yet disciplined to the point of bearing heavy burdens.

With so much distress in the country and with the Administration overburdened with problems, Clay, Adams, and Webster organized the opposition in Congress and throughout the country very much as Van Buren, Calhoun, and Jackson had done in 1826-28. The President, they said, was no friend of the people; he had not so much as mentioned their case in his messages to Congress. He was likened to a sea captain who seizes the lifeboats on a distressed ship in midocean and, saving himself and crew, leaves the passengers to the mercies of the angry waves. Clay said the panic had been due entirely to the ungodly Jackson and his foolish successor; Webster saw the sole cause of the ills of the time in the foolhardy policy of the last half-dozen years. John Quincy Adams never tired of ridiculing the puerile maneuvers of backwoods politicians whose ignorance amounted almost to high crime. To him the Independent Treasury Bill was an attempt to separate the Government from business, as futile as to try to divorce the law from the judges in the administration of justice.

Business men were appealed to to help avert the further catastrophes which a Democratic Administration would surely inflict. Distressed planters were reminded of the low price of cotton, all the friends of the former National Bank were told to remember the war on the Bank which had ruined them and the country at the same time. Indignation meetings were held in the East to denounce Van Buren and the “Loco-focos,” a term of reproach applied generally to the party in power; Henry Clay made a tour of the Eastern States thanking God that he had been spared to help in undoing the work of Jackson; Webster canvassed the West in the hope of restoring the minds of the people to their wonted sanity and a renewal of the alliance of West and East, on which alone depended the prospect of good government in the United States. The Whig party was now a powerful machine, and its leaders would take the people into their confidence. “The honesty of plain men” became a favorite expression of the time; and Adams, Clay, and Webster repeated the experiment of Jackson, Calhoun, and Benton in 1828, in a four-year campaign against Van Buren. A disinterested philosopher might have said that it was poetic justice for the persecuted Adams of 1828 to appear in the rôle of persecutor in 1840.

Though the President was an abler politician than Adams had been in the former struggle, he was hardly able to parry the blows of Clay and his Eastern allies, especially after the elections of 1838, when both houses of Congress were lost to the Administration. Calhoun, Benton, and Silas Wright made a strong fight on behalf of the Democrats. To the Independent Treasury measure they added the preëmption and graduation bills, which commanded almost unanimous support in the West, and at last secured the passage of all three in June, 1840. Though Clay and his party waged a powerful opposition through four full years, they had no definite program to offer. The groups of their organization were as yet poorly knit together. Their popular appeal was “to drive the Goths and Vandals” from the capital. The “new Napoleon and his minions,” according to another historical comparison, must give way to the old régime, to gentlemen “who knew how to govern.” And consequently the new alignments were much the same as those which had supported Adams and Clay in 1828, the South and West uniting on the “reform” Treasury system and Benton's land bills, while the East and certain conservative elements of the West and South indorsed, tentatively, at least, the “American System,” or at least lent willing ears to the eloquence of Clay.

Still the people hardly knew whom to believe, and they grouped themselves in the different States in a way which seemed unlike the earlier combinations. Thick-and-thin followers of Van Buren called themselves Democrats and insisted that they were the disciples of Thomas Jefferson; the organizers of the opposition to Jackson in his war on the Bank had claimed to be National Republicans, though they accepted with pride the name of Whigs after 1836. They asserted also that they were the followers of the great Virginia democrat; perhaps the historian would be compelled to deny that either faction was democratic.

As the Democrats were almost unanimously in favor of the renomination of Van Buren, it was not difficult to manage their convention of that year. Nor was the platform the occasion of any serious disagreement. It stated for the first time that the party was opposed to internal improvements, a protective tariff, and the assumption of the debts of bankrupt States. In all these the West was much interested. But on the subject of slavery it was definitely declared that the Federal Government had no power of interference. For the last time in the history of the ante-bellum Democracy, the Declaration of Independence was declared to be an item of the party faith. Van Buren took many risks in this un-Western program; though the panic of 1837 was doubtless his heaviest burden, as the Whigs never tired of asserting and repeating.

The Whigs met in convention at Harrisburg in December, 1839. Divided on the great questions of the day, they feared to nominate their one masterful leader, and in weak imitation of the Jackson men of 1828 turned to William Henry Harrison, a frontier general of no great ability or reputation. John Tyler, a Virginia politician of the Calhoun school, was made the candidate for the Vice-Presidency. On the matter of a program it was impossible for the Whig groups to agree, and consequently they offered no platform at all. But the West received notice from the leaders that in the event of success, the debts of their States would be laid upon the broad shoulders of the Union and that internal improvements would be resumed. In the East the restoration of the National Bank and the renewal of the high tariff schedules of 1832 were the assurances of men like Webster and Clay. With differences so great dividing the opposition it was impossible to make a campaign on the issues of the time, serious as these were acknowledged to be.

The contest which followed was unlike any other in the history of the Union. “Hard cider,” “coon skins,” and “log cabins” became the slogans of the campaign, because once in his life General Harrison had lived in a cabin and “drunk the beverage of the common people.” Van Buren could not meet such cries. His canvass became a defense, and his followers half acknowledged their defeat when it was seen that the West rallied to Harrison. The plain citizen was carried off his feet, and he voted against the man in the White House who was said to use gold and silver on his table and dress himself before costly French mirrors. Nor was he certain in his more serious vein whether after all Jackson had not made a sad blunder in choosing the New York politician to carry out his policies. Without real argument or any serious presentation of the issues the Whigs, appealing to what were considered Western prejudices, built log cabins on the public squares, wore coonskin caps, and sang Van Buren out of office to the tune of “Typ and Ty,” “Little Van is a used-up man,” and other like vanities.

The result was an overwhelming victory for Harrison and Tyler, the President carrying only one New England State and Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois, and receiving only sixty electoral votes out of a total of 294. The popular vote was 2,400,000, almost twice as great as in any previous election. The people were learning to vote if nothing more. Van Buren and his lieutenants, including Calhoun, were chagrined and humiliated. The West had returned the enemies of Jackson to power and, perhaps unintentionally, had written failure across the work of their “hero.” Thus Clay had turned the backwoodsmen and their methods against the original backwoods statesman, and brought about a restoration of the old régime. Nicholas Biddle and all his financial friends rejoiced. Webster and New England looked once again to a new era of protection; and the internal improvements men of the West and the up-country, having been overwhelmed by the panic in their various State undertakings, turned their expectations once more toward the National Treasury. The manufacturing and the financial interests had in reality come into control again, and with the assistance of the plain people of the back-country. Clay had been the architect of the new structure, while Jackson and Calhoun mourned alike the defeat of Van Buren.

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Edwin M. Shepard's Life of Martin Van Buren, in American Statesmen series is the best study of the Van Buren Administration. J. Schouler's History of the United Slates, vol. IV; G. S. Callender's Selections from the Economic History of the United States (1909); G. S. Callender's Early Transportation and Banking Enterprises, in Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. 17; W. A. Scott's Repudiation of State Debts (1893), and the biographies and other works cited at the close of the last chapter will give the reader material for further study.

Robert Mayo's Political Sketches of Eight Years in Washington (1839); Mrs. M. B. Smith's First Forty Years of Washington Society (Hunt, 1906); and J. F. H. Claiborne's The Life and Times of General Sam Dale (1860) present most interesting pictures of men and manners. For railroad, canal, and banking ventures, J. L. Ringwalt, Development of Transportation Systems; W. F. Gephart, Transportation and Industrial Development in the Middle West; J. P. Dunn, Indiana, Rufus King, Ohio, T. M. Cooley, Michigan, in American Commonwealths series; Thomas Ford, History of Illinois (1854); J. F. H. Claiborne, History of Mississippi (1880); W. C. Brewer, Alabama, Her History, Resources, etc. (1872); and J. G. Baldwin, The Flush Times in Alabama and Mississippi (1853).

                    

CHAPTER VII. THE MILITANT SOUTH

William Henry Harrison and the Whig party came to power in 1841 without a program. The men who had driven Martin Van Buren from office in 1840 were in as much doubt what to do for the country as the Jackson men had been in 1829. Clay had said during the campaign that he might restore the United States Bank, and he had said he might not do so; the Eastern Whigs had declared for a higher tariff in 1842, when the compromise of 1833 would expire, while the Southern Whigs had denied that such a move would be made; the Western men who had deserted Van Buren for a log-cabin leader demanded now as ever internal improvements, though their Southern allies bitterly opposed all such propositions. With counsels so divided Harrison turned readily to Henry Clay, who shaped the inaugural and filled the Cabinet with his political friends. Congress was called in extra session for the last of May, 1841, when an improvised plan of action would be offered and perhaps enacted into law. The main items were to be a new National Bank, a higher tariff, and the distribution among the States of the proceeds of the public land sales. This would enable States to construct their own public improvements and at the same time avoid a rupture between Southern and Western Whigs. Thus the chief items of the old Clay and Adams “American System” was to be reënacted by a Congress whose majority was none too large and more than heterogeneous in character.

But before the national legislature met, the President had died and John Tyler had become the head of the Administration. Virginia politics were at that time and long after dominated by a state banking system, and both Virginia and the lower South opposed all forms of tariff protection. The new President had been nominated by the Whigs in spite of his political views, and only in the hope that he might carry his State, in which they had been disappointed. Clay thought, however, that he could control the Administration, and undertook with the assistance of the Cabinet to bring all into a harmonious support of his “system.” The law creating the Independent Treasury, for which Jackson and Van Buren had labored industriously for six years before its final passage, was promptly repealed. In place of the Independent Treasury there was to be a National Bank, but the President was reported to be hostile to such a bank unless it should be located in the District of Columbia, and the consent of the States should be made necessary before branches could be established anywhere. Aware of Tyler's scruples on this and other measures, Clay marshaled his followers in both houses, held his friends in the Cabinet in his firm grasp, and was reported to have declared: “Tyler dares not resist me; I will drive him before me.” Tyler was not the man to be driven, and meanwhile Calhoun, Benton, and their friends were rallying around him in the hope of breaking down once again the program of Clay.

A bank law was passed. On the 16th of August it was vetoed, and there ensued another party break very much like that which Calhoun led in 1831. Many Southern Whigs supported the President; Eastern Whigs burned Tyler in effigy as “the traitor.” A second bank bill was passed only to meet another veto; and the Clay scheme for the distribution of the proceeds of the land sales, on which he had set his heart, was so mutilated by amendments that it could not serve the purpose of its friends. Anger and denunciation were the order of the day in Washington. Clay called a conference of the members of Tyler's Cabinet early in September, and advised all to resign at once in order to isolate their chief. The advice was followed by all save Webster, who retained his post and otherwise refused to accept the dictation of the Kentucky leader. Calhoun, Henry A. Wise, William C. Rives, and other leaders of Congress applauded the President and Webster. Congress adjourned on September 13 in the worst possible humor. Excitement now ran high throughout the country. Whig meetings were held everywhere, some to denounce, some to defend the Virginian President. The congressional elections came on and the voters divided sharply. But the Democrats won, which meant that the next Congress would be deadlocked—the Senate Whig, and the House Democratic. Under these circumstances Tyler gathered about him a Cabinet to his own liking and planned a forward step in the national policy. At the regular session of Congress a protective tariff law which restored many of the high duties of 1832 was enacted. Tyler gave his assent, perhaps in the hope of holding his New England friends like Webster. In view of the fact that the next Congress would be at least half anti-tariff, this move on the part of the Whigs was resented in the South, where leaders like Robert Barnwell Rhett still spoke openly of secession in case the old protectionist policy should be resumed.

The lines were being drawn for the next presidential race. Clay came back to Congress in December, 1841, deeply resentful toward the President and displeased at Webster. Having carried through Congress the tariff bill already mentioned, he rose on March 31 to offer “the last motion I shall ever make in this body,” and to read his farewell address after the manner of his great antagonist Jackson, who had sent to Congress a similar message on his retirement in March, 1837. It was an affecting scene as the able and dramatic orator prayed “the most precious blessings upon the Senate,” even upon Calhoun, who at the close extended his hand for the first time in several years. “Sober old Senators as well as ladies in the galleries shed tears at the scene”; yet it was known that Clay would seek the Presidency two years later. Calhoun, likewise, retired “forever” from the august legislative assembly, twelve months later, the better to lay his plans for the Democratic nomination in 1844. Though the South was not ready to unite in support of its greatest statesman, its leaders were ready to adopt his views and carry out his policy. The South, with its cotton, tobacco, and sugar plantations yielding their increasing annual returns, was preparing for another effort at getting control of the National Government. And changes of sentiment as well as economic development favored her in the struggle.

In Virginia the reforms of 1829 had been inadequate. The slavery problem was still a burning question, and the Nat Turner insurrection of 1831, in which a few slaves rose against their masters and killed many men, women, and children, forced a reconsideration. Again the difficult problem was declared insoluble. Thomas R. Dew, a professor of political science in William and Mary College, gave the deciding counsel in elaborate testimony before a committee of the legislature, which was enlarged and published in book form in May, 1832. He contended that slavery was a positive good; that negroes could not live in the South except in a state of bondage; and that for the State of Virginia, at least, it was a most profitable institution. The time had passed, he contended, for men to believe or teach the fallacies of the Declaration of Independence. Society, certainly Southern society, was taking on a stratified form in which all men had their definite places; and the North, too, was fast drifting in the same direction, because of the influence of their growing industries, in which it was essential that some should be masters of great plants and direct the labor of thousands of people. Few books ever influenced Southern life so much as did this little word of clear reasoning and convincing statistics.

A year later Calhoun was offering the same arguments in the United States Senate; South Carolina had already come in a practical way to the same conclusion. North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana accepted the teaching that slavery was a beneficent social arrangement. In Kentucky and Tennessee, where James G. Birney and John Rankin had long worked for gradual emancipation, sentiment rapidly crystallized about the same dogma. Southern anti-slavery leaders emigrated to Ohio during the next few years, “leaving Ephraim joined to his idols”; and Southern men in Congress now replied with increasing earnestness to the petitions which came from Northern abolitionists. In 1837 it was decided not to receive such petitions, and John Quincy Adams was given his great theme for agitation; the United States mails were also closed to abolitionist literature intended for Southern distribution. The representatives of the great region which stretched from Baltimore to New Orleans and extended from the coast to the mountains, united almost to a man in defense of “the institutions of the South,” and he who offered argument or example to the contrary was then unwelcome and later compelled to hold his tongue or emigrate.

Calhoun now became the undisputed leader of the plantation interests of the South, and few men were better fitted for the great commission. A keen and able debater and an enthusiastic Southerner, a combination in himself of the up-country ideals and the low-country purposes, he had become the idol of South Carolina. Conciliatory in manner and pure in all his public and private life, he won the respect and friendship of the best men in the North, like the Lowells and Winthrops of Massachusetts, and of Senators Allen, Hannegan, Breese, and the Dodges of the Northwest. Devoted to the ideal of a great American Union which he had made strong at the close of the second war with England, he was willing always to yield something to the West if only his “one institution” be left alone. Badly treated by Jackson and Van Buren, he had yet forgiven and joined hands with them both in 1840, in the hope that the power of Clay and his Eastern allies might be broken. In Congress and out he was the leader of the South as that section began to gird her loins for the fight over tariff, slavery, and expansion in 1840-44.

While the South was coming to one opinion on the great question of slavery, the West had been reviving her old ambitions and claims for more lands. So long as there was plenty of free lands and wide wildernesses, the Westerner felt that the American Republic was a free country; but when these began to fail he imagined himself hemmed in and stifled. In 1812 he had demanded Canada and Florida. He secured only the latter in 1819, and that after giving up Texas. The ink was hardly dry on the parchment of the treaty of that year before leading Westerners began their campaign for the “reannexation” of Texas. Stephen Austin, who settled in Texas, and Sam Houston, who deserted his wife for a home on the distant Southwestern frontier, kept the question alive. Thousands of Southerners and Westerners poured into the new cotton region between 1828 and 1836, and in the latter year they fought with the Mexicans the battle of San Jacinto, which gave Texas her freedom. A new American Republic with a pro-slavery constitution was speedily organized. Though Van Buren evaded the issue, Calhoun and the South urged immediate annexation.

There was thus a Southern call to the isolated President in 1842 to take up the Texas problem. Moreover, Virginia under the apportionment of 1841 lost five Representatives in the National House; South Carolina's number fell from nine to seven. North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia barely held their own. The older South was distinctly losing in the national race, despite the three-fifths rule on slavery. The Southwest gained some members, but the Northwest was growing faster. It was time for the South to act if she was to maintain her position in the country. In making up his Cabinet in the autumn of 1841, and again in filling the vacancies that occurred from time to time, the President selected men who favored expansion in the Southwest. The leaders of the Administration in the House of Representatives were ex-Governor Gilmer and Henry A. Wise, of Virginia, and the spokesmen of the South generally joined these in demanding the immediate annexation of Texas as a Southern measure. Calhoun, though not speaking so often, was the real leader of this cause in the Senate, and he constantly urged upon his friends the necessity of this acquisition as a distinct aid to his section.

Nearly all the West favored this Southern proposition; but an equally important matter to them was the occupation of Oregon. In Ohio, Michigan, and northern Illinois there was some indifference as to Texas, but none on the subject of Oregon. The vast region stretching from the forty-second parallel of north latitude to Alaska, and embracing an empire in itself, was held jointly with England, whose fur traders had actually occupied the country on the northern side of the Columbia River. England desired to hold the promising region. Under the agreement of 1818, renewed in 1828, either country was to give one year's notice of a purpose to abandon joint control, and, should the relation with England be dissolved, the stronger party would doubtless obtain the better part of the territory. The people of the Northwest under radical leadership soon learned to demand all Oregon; English fur interests understood the situation well, and they pressed their Government to seize all the territory along the Pacific to the Bay of California. And English relations with Mexico were such that Lower California was apt to be added to Oregon in case of a break with the United States.

In the East there had been reason for increasing irritation between the two Governments. British public opinion had been distinctly unfriendly since the Canadian insurrection of 1837-38, when so many Americans gave assistance to the insurgents. And this unfriendliness was fed by the ill-concealed desire of the people of the West for the annexation of Canada to the United States. When the American ship Caroline, which had been assisting the Canadian insurrectionists, was seized and destroyed by the English on Lake Erie, an American citizen was killed. This was amicably arranged; but in 1840 a certain Alexander McLeod, then in New York, avowed that he had killed the American and was promptly seized by the state authorities and put on trial for his life. McLeod now claimed that he had done the deed in obedience to orders, and the British Minister came to his assistance. Officers of the American State Department took the same view, but they were helpless, and for a time it seemed that one of the States would put to death as a murderer a man whom both England and the United States recognized to be innocent. War seemed imminent, but as so often happens in Anglo-Saxon procedure, a way out of the legal impasse was found in a fictitious alibi, and McLeod was acquitted.

When Sir Robert Peel became the head of the English Government in 1841 he sent, as Minister to Washington, Lord Ashburton, one of the Baring Brothers who had had such large business relations with many of the States and with the old National Bank. Ashburton and Webster were personal friends, and they were likely to find a solution to other important and pressing problems engaging the attention of both countries. One of these disputes had to do with the suppression of the nefarious African slave trade, which still flourished in spite of the most stringent of laws, national and international. The difficulty lay in the enforcement of law. The South did not regard slavery as an unmixed evil, and hence Southern Presidents had not been overzealous of invoking the severe law against the slave trade. England stood ready to enforce her laws, but then the traders would raise the American flag. This necessitated the exercise of the obsolete right of search of suspected vessels, if anything was to be done. But the people of the United States resented the exercise of the right, and Northern statesmen were also loath to allow this. To obviate all difficulty the two Governments agreed in 1842 to maintain a joint naval patrol of the African coast. The South was not quite pleased, and a great many people of the West were displeased that Webster had yielded the right of search in disguise, as it was thought.

At the same time a matter of larger importance to the North, the settlement of the long-disputed boundary between Maine and Nova Scotia, was pending. Since 1838 there had been quarrels and actual encounters along the northeastern boundary, which had won the name of “the Aroostook War.” Both Maine and the National Congress had appropriated money to maintain American rights on the border, and here again there was reason to fear war. Webster and Ashburton took up the problem and by mutual concessions came to a fair but very unpopular agreement. They also settled outstanding disputes concerning the long boundary between the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains.

But the question of dividing Oregon was left untouched even by these friendly diplomats. Nor could they do more than discuss the critical Creole trouble, which just now came to complicate the relations of both peoples, evidently desirous of avoiding war. The Creole was a vessel engaged in the domestic slave trade. In 1841 this ship, bound for New Orleans, was seized by the slaves on board, who killed its crew and carried it into the port of Nassau. The local courts punished some of the negroes as murderers and set the others free. Speaking for the American Government, Webster demanded of England an apology and compensation for the slaves. Ashburton defended his country stoutly and refused satisfaction. Again public opinion, at least Southern opinion, was greatly excited, but nothing was done about the Creole case until 1853, when it was submitted to arbitration, and compensation was allowed the owners of the slaves.

Thus the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 was a settlement of some threatening difficulties and a tacit compromise or ignoring of others. It served the useful purpose of keeping the peace between kindred peoples. The Oregon and Texas questions were left open, and these were assuming more dangerous forms with the passage of time.

This served to direct attention to the Pacific Coast and even the Far East, where New England merchants and shipowners had long driven a profitable trade. President Tyler sent Commodore Jones to the Pacific to protect American interests; he proposed to send a commissioner to China in the hope of aiding American commerce there, and he began to consult members of Congress about the possibility of obtaining Texas, California, and Oregon all in treaties with Mexico and England. He offered to send Webster to London to conduct the negotiations, and at his instance John Quincy Adams wrote Edward Everett, the American Minister to England, that he might resign and go to China to do pioneer work for New England interests. The Webster-Ashburton Treaty was to be followed by a greater one, securing to the United States the coveted expansion southwest, west, and northwest. Thus Calhoun and his extreme Southerners, Benton and his ardent imperialist followers, and the radical Northwest were all to be satisfied at a single stroke of state, and Webster, the New Englander, was to be the happy instrument and perhaps become President in consequence.

Everett refused to resign, and Webster had promised his Whig friends to leave the State Department. Tyler did not despair; when the great New Englander retired in 1842, like Clay, to private life, he invited Hugh S. Legaré, of Charleston, to the vacant place. A year later Abel P. Upshur succeeded to the office. All the while the President was seeking to guide the Administration into other channels than the old ones of tariff, bank, and internal improvements.

The Texan envoys to Washington repeatedly urged unofficially the annexation of their country, which had fallen into a state of semi-bankruptcy, and whose governor, Sam Houston, was making overtures for English protection as an alternative to failure to get a favorable hearing in Washington. Southern States petitioned for annexation, while Middle Westerners met in a convention at Cincinnati in August, 1843, and demanded the immediate seizure of Texas and prompt occupation of Oregon. Thousands of emigrants left Missouri during the summer of 1843 for the Columbia Valley, under the encouragement of Senator Benton and for the purpose of holding the country against English fur traders or more permanent settlers. Under all this pressure the Administration let it be known in Congress that at least Texas would be annexed. Upshur reopened negotiations with the Texan envoy in Washington. Immediately John Quincy Adams protested, declaring the “Confederacy” to be dissolved in case Tyler's “nefarious” scheme should be consummated; but the President continued to press the Texan negotiations.

When the treaty with the new republic was about concluded, Upshur was accidentally killed by the explosion of a gun on the ship Princeton. Calhoun, whose ardent candidacy for the Democratic nomination had failed, was called to the State Department to take up the unfinished work. Meanwhile the campaigns of the two great parties were already far advanced. Clay was the acknowledged candidate of the Whigs, and Van Buren had obtained the pledged support of two thirds of the delegations to the next Democratic Convention, which was to meet in Baltimore in May, 1844. Instinctively dreading new issues, Van Buren arranged a visit to Jackson in the early spring, and on his return he called on Clay at Lexington, Kentucky, where it seems to have been agreed that the two candidates should eventually eliminate the Texas proposition from the platforms of the two great parties. On April 20, when Clay was in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Van Buren was at his home at Lindenwald, New York, public letters were given out by both leaders. Both advised against discussing the one thing everybody was discussing. The simultaneous appearance of these formal statements, each advising the same thing, caused a national sensation. Men thought that the two candidates had agreed beforehand what the people should not do. In Virginia, South Carolina, and Mississippi, where Texas feeling ran high, Democratic opinion could not be restrained, and meetings were called to reconsider the instructions of their delegations to the Baltimore Convention; nor were the Southern Whigs less anxious about the outcome, though the party as a whole acquiesced in Clay's wish that Texas should be eliminated from their forthcoming platform.

At this point Robert J. Walker, Senator from Mississippi, a shrewd little man who had gone to the Southwest eighteen years before to make his fortune, assumed the management of the Democratic party. A bold land speculator and an able lawyer, connected with the powerful Dallas and Bache families in Pennsylvania, he quickly rose to a commanding position in his State and was sent to the United States Senate, where he soon made himself felt as the most radical representative of Southern and Western interests, urging the rapid removal of the Indians beyond the western frontiers, free homesteads for all who would go West, and the immediate annexation of Texas. An intimate friend of Van Buren, a persistent opponent of Calhoun, and a rival of Benton for national honors, Walker published on Jackson Day, January 8, 1844, a letter to the public which was immediately reprinted in the newspapers of the South and West, and which in pamphlet form had a very wide circulation. In this letter he came out boldly for the “reannexation of Texas and the reoccupation of Oregon,”—all Oregon. His rhetorical language and his defiance of England gained the public ear on both Texas and Oregon, while his shrewd suggestions of commercial expansion in the Pacific won powerful support in New York and Boston. But the greatest stroke of this publication was the apparent Southern demand for all Oregon, and before the Van Buren-Clay “self-denying ordinances” appeared, Walker was forging the union of South and West on the proposition, reannexation of Texas and reoccupation of Oregon, and maneuvering in Washington for what was later called the “bargain of the Baltimore Convention.” Walker's relations with the Pennsylvania leaders gave him a strong position in that great Democratic community, and he soon secured the support of Thomas Ritchie, the master politician in Virginia. When the Democrats met, late in May, the “little Senator” was in perfect control. He renewed and vitalized the rule of the Democratic party whereby the candidate must secure two thirds of all votes cast in order to receive the nomination. He procured the passage of this resolution by a mere majority vote, and thus Van Buren, who had a majority of the delegates instructed to vote for him, was deprived of the leadership of the party. The Walker slogan, “All of Texas, all of Oregon,” was adopted by the convention, and James K. Polk, formerly Speaker of the House of Representatives, was nominated for the Presidency. Walker's brother-in-law, George M. Dallas, a Pennsylvania protectionist, was nominated for the Vice-Presidency. It was but a few days before the Northwestern men indicated the trend of events by giving every assurance of their support and adding to the campaign cry of Walker the “fifty-four-forty-or-fight” slogan which was heard on every stump from June till November.

Van Buren was humiliated and eliminated from the counsels of the party; Clay laughed at his “dark-horse” competitor, of whom he affected never to have heard; Calhoun, the legitimate beneficiary of the Texas propaganda, joined Walker with heart and soul and aided greatly in the management of the campaign. A new Democratic régime—the South and West coöperating—had been founded. This second coalition aimed at Clay and the East resembled very strikingly that of 1828. And new issues had been injected into the national discussion. A rapid extension of the national domain to the Rio Grande, to the Pacific, and to 54° 40' of north latitude in the Far Northwest was opposed to Clay's well-worn program of a protective tariff, national bank, and internal improvements.

Meanwhile Calhoun and Tyler completed their treaty with Texas and submitted it to the Senate, where it was held in suspense until after the meeting of the conventions. Tyler, after some hesitation, gave his support to Polk and Dallas. Calhoun suppressed uprisings against the new leadership in South Carolina, where strong doubt prevailed as to the purposes of Walker and Dallas with reference to the tariff. The old statesman, isolated though he was, thought that if the South and West could be held together the future would be secure. He took pleasure in the belief that “this is the end of Clay,” who had so long troubled the national waters, while the politicians of the new coalition assured him that he would succeed Polk in 1848. Webster said little during the campaign; New England was divided by the promises of a great commercial expansion and the annexation of Oregon. The election of Polk and Dallas justified the bold moves of the Baltimore Convention. The scheme of Tyler, looking to the annexation of Texas, California, and Oregon, was now to be put into effect, even at the risk of war with England, whence serious warnings had been coming since the new national purpose became clear.

After years of uncertainty and deadlock, the country was now prepared for a forward movement, and though Polk was not her ideal statesman, the people rallied with fair unanimity to his standard. The new Administration would represent the new Democratic party—a resolute South and an ardent West. And the President-elect, simple and direct in all his ways, was determined to carry out the purposes of his supporters, namely, set the country upon a career of expansion hitherto unparalleled in its history.

In Illinois, Missouri, and throughout the South the demand was well-nigh unanimous that the disputed region along the Rio Grande should be held as against Mexico, and that California and Oregon should be seized and colonized. Cass, the older, and Douglas, the younger leader of the Northwest, were agreed in these extreme demands; even Benton, the disappointed friend of Van Buren, found compensation in the proposed Pacific frontier, while a powerful group of Southerners led by Governor Gilmer, of Virginia, Robert Barnwell Rhett, of South Carolina, William L. Yancey, of Alabama, and Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, took up the program of Calhoun and pressed it almost daily upon Congress and the country. The South was about to resume control of the national fortunes.

In that region, where cotton was king, and tobacco, sugar, and rice were powerful allies, a unique civilization had grown up. The plantation was the model, and the patriarchal master of slaves the ideal character which the ambitious poor imitated everywhere. The elegant life of the colonial plantation houses, which adorned the banks of the winding rivers of the old South in the days of the Revolution, had gradually moved westward and southwestward until the larger tobacco area of the Piedmont region extended from Petersburg, Virginia, to Greensboro, North Carolina, and from the falls of the rivers to the slopes of the Blue Ridge. Instead of running away from their slaves, as John Randolph had feared Southern gentlemen would be compelled to do, the tobacco planters found their business increasingly prosperous as the great cotton area south of them opened larger markets for their crops and higher prices for their surplus negroes. Even the wheat-growers of Virginia and Maryland became again prosperous when the great canals and the improved turnpikes reached the valley of Virginia and opened still wider areas of rich lands to the Richmond and Baltimore markets. The plantation form of life penetrated the high lands of Virginia almost to the Tennessee border, and slavery was fastening its hold upon the up-country people who had formerly been hostile.

[Illustration: Tobacco Areas in 1840]

[Illustration: Cotton Areas in 1840]

But the vast cotton region, embracing the better part of middle and eastern North Carolina and the accessible lands of the lower South to Eastern Texas, and extending over most of the Mississippi Valley to St. Louis, was the heart of the South, which supported the Polk Administration and waged the war upon Mexico soon to begin. In this fine country, men of ability made fortunes in a few years and learned to imitate the life of the old southern manor houses. Forests were cleared away in winter by the sturdy hands of slaves, and new fields were opened to cotton culture each spring to supply the places of those that had been rapidly worn down by unscientific methods of agriculture. The cabins which made the homes of well-to-do men in the Jeffersonian epoch gave way to substantial frame houses with massive columns and wide verandas, with great hallways and broad banquet-rooms, which so much delighted the heart of the planter of Calhoun's day. In a warm climate like that of the cotton region the object of the builder was always to attain cool recesses and retired gardens, where the social life of the time displayed itself.

The houses were built on hilltops covered with primeval oaks, which cast a dense shade over all. Sometimes stone or brick walls protected the premises against the outer world, and wide entrances, guarded on either side by sculptured lions or tigers, gave a dignity and a splendor which reminded one of the estates of English noblemen. In the rear of these pretentious and sometimes beautiful houses were the rows of negro cabins, with their little gardens for the raising of vegetables and the ranges for chickens, as dear to the palates of negro slaves as to those of visiting clergymen. The barns and carriage houses completed the outfit. Where hundreds of bales of cotton and thousands of barrels of corn were grown annually, there would be driving or saddle horses for the master's family and many Kentucky mules for the work of the fields; and a plantation took on the appearance of a busy colony in a new country. Sixty to a hundred negroes were regarded as the best labor unit for profitable agriculture. Of these there would be a few house servants trained in all the intricacies of patriarchal hospitality and courtesy. The carriage driver and keeper of the stables, sometimes clad in the extra dignity of a special livery and a tall silk hat, a tyrant to all the little negroes, but an obsequious flatterer to those who were welcome at the master's house, was perhaps the most envied man of the estate. To see this matchless son of Africa mounted on the high seat of an old-fashioned English carriage, as he drove his prancing horses to the front door of the “great house” and asked if all were ready for church, was to get a glimpse of the old South itself. The boasted freedom of “poor white trash” or of “impudent free issue negroes” had no attractions to him who enjoyed these high prerogatives.

The master who was responsible for the multitudinous life of the plantation, arbiter of the fortunes, sometimes, of a thousand men, was usually conscious of his power and, when “times were good,” kind to his dependents. He liked to see his negroes fat and happy, for a “likely slave” was as good as money in the bank. Accustomed to the exercise of authority, he was apt to be a member of the county court, the actual governing agency of the old South, and as such he was always “squire.” From the county court he went to the state legislature, where he and his fellow planters made the laws of these sovereign States of the old régime. From local magistrate to chief executive the Southern community was governed by the owners of slaves, and the great men whom they chose to speak for the South in Congress or to advise the President and his Cabinet or to sit upon the benches of the federal courts were invariably masters of plantations, trained from early youth to the exercise of authority and accustomed to receive the homage of their neighbors. It was a mighty social and economic organization which had grown up in and spread over the richer lands of South and West, as far as the borders of Mexico and the valleys of the Ohio and Missouri. The wheat and tobacco growers, the rice and sugar planters were allied to the more powerful cotton lords, and, though there were party differences, all spoke the same voice in the national life. Of the five or six millions of southern white people in 1845 only seven or eight thousand were great plantation masters, though some three hundred thousand were either owners of slaves or members of the privileged families—a larger proportion than usual for a favored class, but still a small number when compared to the total population of the country which was, from 1845 to 1860, controlled by them.

As was natural, the professional classes of the South, the lawyers, clergymen, physicians, and teachers, were in close alliance with the planters, their callings and their incomes being directly dependent on them. A successful professional man soon became a master and usually retired to a country seat. If a poor but capable young man gave promise of power and leadership he was soon accepted by his dominant neighbors and became a son-in-law of a privileged family; if a preacher rose to fame doubting or even condemning the institutions of the South, he was apt to find a way to change his views and to become a part of the system before he reached his mature years. The articulate South was, therefore, in economic and social life a unit in 1845, and this unit was the strongest group in the country as a whole. Its demand for expansion towards the southwest was based upon the common desire, the common law of growth, and this growth was the only means of winning new votes in Congress and in the electoral college. It was the same motive which actuated the farmers of the Northwest and the commercial leaders of New England when they demanded of the Federal Government the seizure of Oregon or the protection of ships upon the ocean.

[Illustration: Wheat Areas in 1840]

If the planter and dominant element of the South urged Polk and Walker onward in their course and gave power to Calhoun, the greater masses of non-slaveholding Southerners were hardly less enthusiastic. The earlier jealousy and fear of the planters had everywhere weakened as the new lands of the South and West gave opportunity to the more ambitious to rise in the social and economic scale. The sons of small farmers and landless men in the old South had built the cotton kingdom of the lower South, and were now drawing aristocratic Virginia and the Carolinas into a close union with the new region. The widening of the area of slavery was equivalent to the opening of a social safety valve to the older and stratifying life of the South. Young men who had been hostile to slavery at home became friendly allies in a new environment. Thus the small farmers became enthusiastic supporters of the great machine of which slavery was the base.

Not only so, the growers of corn and wheat in the remote hills and mountains of the South, the men who distilled their grain into strong drink, those who raised pigs or cotton a hundred or two hundred miles west of the tobacco and cotton belts, could always find a market in the plantation towns where calicos, “store-clothes,” and trinkets could be had for themselves and families. The long trains of quaint, covered tobacco wagons which wound their way over rough roads from the mountains to the black belt carried whiskey or other up-country products to the plantations; the droves of mules, cattle, or hogs which poured into the Carolinas and the Gulf region from East Tennessee and Kentucky were bonds of attraction between the planters and the non-slaveholding elements too powerful to be ignored. And as time passed the legislatures under planter control built better highways and projected railways into the richer sections of the interior, which invariably made allies of these new economic communities, and gradually slavery followed in the wake of the new channels of communication.

The most helpless of the Southern groups were the poorer farmers, who lived on the semi-sterile lands which the planters refused to occupy or in the pine barrens of the eastern Carolinas, and the landless class which hung on to the skirts of slavery. Unambitious, ignorant, and improvident, frequently the “ne'er-do-wells” of the old families, ignored by the wealthy and spurned by the slaves, who gave them the name of “poor white trash,” their lot was hard, indeed. They earned a few dollars a year at odd jobs, raised a few hogs or at most a bale or two of cotton, and lived in cabins little better than those occupied by the negroes. Their children were numerous, without educational advantages, and accustomed to the poor and meager cultural life of an outcast class. Their outlook was no better than that of their parents. Barefoot, half-clad, yet alert and agile, hating negroes and fearing the masters, these “Anglo-Saxons” offered the problem of the South. Unaccustomed to independent voting, they did not endanger the existing order, and even when they were aroused to a sense of their position, their ignorance and dependence and prejudices prevented them from organizing in self-defense. They usually followed their economic superiors, and learned to denounce the tariff, internal improvements, and “scheming Yankees” as roundly as did their wealthy neighbors.

Still, life in the South was in the open; the joys and the sports of the people were those of healthy rural communities. The well-to-do and even the poorer classes lived on horseback, bet on the races, and participated in the rough-and-tumble games of the court days. The wealthy did not refuse all relations with “the people” on such occasions. The planter knew and called familiarly by name every man in his part of the county, and the magistrates who made up the courts of the people exercised a kindly patriarchal authority over their “inferiors,” the dependent whites. There were few occupants of jails or penitentiaries; poorhouses were often tenantless, and asylums for the insane were not numerous or crowded. Beggars and tramps were unknown. Judged by the facts of life the system of slavery and large proprietors was not so bad as it appeared; and as the South came into full self-consciousness, say with the inauguration of Polk and Dallas, the problems of adjustment of the different economic groups, of providing better educational facilities for the poorer classes, and of meeting certain religious and social requirements of the slaves themselves, were fully recognized by the masters, and beginnings of improvement in all these matters were already making.

In nothing was this more evident than in Southern religious life. The South which followed Jefferson was largely indifferent to religious dogmas of all kinds. Most of the greater leaders had been deists rather than Christians; nor had they suffered for these opinions at the hands of the people. Calhoun's Unitarianism had in no way retarded his political career. But before 1830 a change was taking place. The stout Presbyterianism of the up-country forced the retirement of one of the professors of the University of Virginia, in its earlier years, and it compelled the resignation of President Cooper of the University of South Carolina, in 1836, because of his denial of the inspiration of the Pentateuch. The Presbyterians had grown powerful and wealthy; they asserted their influence in Virginia and South Carolina, and they were already recognized as leaders in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. What this denomination did was applauded by the more numerous Baptists and Methodists, whose membership was as yet too poor to command the influence of their rivals.

Before 1844, however, these great religious organizations in the South, with a combined membership of nearly a million, received full recognition. With a small-farmer and landless membership they had opposed slavery and the whole aristocratic system before 1820, but as the years passed, tobacco and cotton culture made many of them wealthy and opened the way to all who were ambitious to rise. At once the official attitude began to change. The preachers ceased first to denounce “the institution,” and finally without offense became slave-owners themselves. The clergy's stern rebukes of fashion, of dancing, and of “the wearing of fine raiment” ceased or lost its effect. Presbyterians had long believed in an educated ministry, and when they forced their influence into political life, they were already friendly to the dominant ideas of the South. Now the Baptists and Methodists built colleges for the training of young ministers, and preaching in their simple churches was made to conform to the canons of good taste. Throughout the South the churches became the allies of the existing economic and social order, and they presented a solid front to those who proposed to discipline men for holding other men in bondage. Their clergy formulated a strong Biblical and patriarchal defense of the South. Slavery, from being an institution to be lamented as an evil, became a blessing sustained by the Holy Scriptures, according to the ablest ministers of God.

When the Northern branches of these churches found how completely their Southern brethren had yielded to the powerful social pressure of their local life, a vigorous attempt was made to correct the tendency. It failed, and in 1844-45 the Baptists of the East and those of the upper Northwest refused to coöperate with Southern churches which insisted on the right to send out missionaries who owned slaves. A Southern Baptist Church was the immediate result. In the same year, 1844, the Methodists of the East and upper West refused to recognize the ministrations of a bishop who owned slaves, and a break-up of the church followed. The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was organized at Louisville the following year. The Presbyterians and Episcopalians had become so completely reconciled to the aristocratic life which slavery connoted that they sustained no serious breach in their ranks. In the North as well as in the South they accepted slavery. A notable result of these breaks in the Baptist and Methodist churches was the rapid increase of membership of both in the South. Within a period of ten years the Southern Baptists were as powerful as the American Baptists had been in 1844. The same is true of the Methodists, and what happened in the South was paralleled in the North. Pro-slavery churches in the South and anti-slavery churches in the North seemed to be required by the people. Revivals, educational improvements, and missionary zeal were the fruits of the “reformation.” Politicians like Calhoun, who watched and counseled these peaceful schisms, urged that the Union must in due time likewise break into pieces; but the great economic forces of the country were as yet too strong; common markets, interlocking transportation systems, and the extraordinary prosperity which followed the Polk régime defeated the wishes of those who thought that two confederations within the area of the United States would be better than one.

Thus, when Polk took up the forward program which had been outlined at Baltimore, and which was to antiquate the “American System” over which Clay and Jackson and their respective groups had fought so bitterly since 1824, the South was rapidly crystallizing into a solid section with definite ideas and purposes. The plantation owners were in full command; the older and small-farmer element was falling into line behind their pro-slavery leaders; the social and religious life had become orthodox and stratified; and the clergy, who now preached acceptably to great masses of people, were, like those of New England, in full sympathy with the dominant economic interests of their time. The immediate future of the South was fairly certain, and Southern leaders assumed a militant tone indicative of the wishes of their people.

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Justin H. Smith's Annexation of Texas (1911) and G. P. Garrison's Westward Extension (1906), in American Nation series, give full and trustworthy accounts of the Texas movement; while Lyon G. Tyler's Times of the Tylers (1884); C. H. Ambler's Life of Thomas Ritchie (1913); J. W. DuBose's Life of William L. Yancey (1892); and J. F. H. Claiborne's Life and Correspondence of John A. Quitman (1860), supply abundant material showing the temper and purposes of the different parts of the South in 1840. U. B. Phillips's The Plantation and Frontier (1909) is an excellent source-book for the period, and the Adams Memoir, Clay Correspondence (Colton), Calhoun Correspondence (Jameson), and Mrs. A. M. Coleman's The Life of John J. Crittenden (1871) are most useful for these years. The debates of Congress for the period of 1833 to 1873 are found in the Congressional Globe and Appendices. For the philosophy of slavery and the Southern social system of which slavery was the basis read The Pro-Slavery Argument (1852), containing Thomas R. Dew's and James H. Hammond's writings on the subject.

                    

CHAPTER VIII. WAR AND CONQUEST

The treaty which Upshur and Calhoun negotiated with the Texan envoys in the spring of 1844 was presented to the Senate in April, and held in committee until after the two party conventions had met in Baltimore. The Whigs condemned it, as has been noted, and the Democrats accepted it. It was a mere matter of form, then, for the Whig Senate to reject the treaty which had become in a great measure the platform of their opponents. When Congress reassembled in December the result of the election had made it plain that Calhoun and Walker, and not Clay and Van Buren, represented the wishes of the people, though the majority of the popular vote was exceedingly small.

Tyler seemed anxious to hasten the work of annexation, and he recommended the accomplishment of his purpose by joint resolution of the two houses of Congress. Benton, who disliked Tyler and hated Calhoun, and who had opposed the adoption of the treaty in the preceding spring, now gave his influence to the Administration, and during the closing hours of the session the House and the Senate passed the joint resolution making Texas a State by narrow majorities. There was widespread opposition to the annexation of new territory, especially pro-Southern territory, by the new method. Joint resolutions in State legislatures that were evenly divided were not unknown; but for Congress to evade a plain rule of the Constitution requiring two thirds of the Senate by a mere majority of both houses was denounced as the rankest usurpation. Without serious concern as to public opinion in the East or great deference to the President-elect, Tyler and Calhoun hastened messengers to Texas and ordered two regiments of troops, under the command of Colonel Zachary Taylor, to take position at Corpus Christi on the southern bank of the Nueces River, and sent a squadron of the navy, under Commodore Conner, to the mouth of the Rio Grande. This disposition of the military and naval forces of the United States was made to protect Texas against a possible invasion by Mexico; but it was sharp notice that the disputed region between the Nueces and the Rio Grande would be held for Texas. Tyler retired to his Virginia plantation, leaving to Polk the more difficult task of securing all Oregon.

Polk had already shown his self-reliance in refusing to appoint Calhoun Secretary of State. That eminent statesman was thoroughly familiar with the foreign relations of the Government, and he enjoyed a prestige that would have distinguished any administration; besides, he was certain that he could bring matters to a peaceful conclusion with both Mexico and England. Nor had he failed in his loyalty to the new President during the recent campaign. Still Polk gave James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, the first place in the Cabinet. Robert J. Walker asked and received the second place—the Treasury. William L. Marcy, of New York, and John Y. Mason, of Virginia, represented in the Cabinet those large Democratic constituencies, while George Bancroft, the historian, spoke for New England, though the people of that section would never have named him for the honor.

[Illustration: The Presidential Election of 1844]

To the surprise of old political heads Polk announced blandly in his inaugural that he would proceed to “reoccupy Oregon”; that is, he would execute the mandate of the Baltimore Convention even at the cost of war with England! But Calhoun had practically agreed with the British Minister to compromise the conflicting claims to Oregon. Buchanan, being a man of yielding temper, was disposed to the same easy solution of the most dangerous problem of the Administration. The President, however, restrained his Secretary, and in the annual message of December, 1845, he asked Congress to give him authority to dissolve the copartnership of England and the United States with reference to Oregon. This was taken in both countries as inviting war.

Calhoun regarded this move as likely to be fatal to the retention of Texas and certain to lose for the country all of Oregon. He returned to the Senate for the avowed purpose of preventing war. Webster, in the Senate again, was on friendly terms with the leaders of the English governing party, and both he and they were striving to prevent the expansionists from committing an overt act of hostility. Benton, the foremost of expansionists before Tyler became President, was also ready to compromise the dispute. This meant that Calhoun, Webster, and Benton would unite their influence to defeat the foreign policy of the President if it were not modified to suit their views.

But the new leadership embraced a group of able and bold men: John A. Dix, of New York; Caleb Cushing, a Whig recruit from Massachusetts; James M. Mason, of Virginia; Robert Barnwell Rhett, William L. Yancey, and Jefferson Davis, of the lower South; and David Atchison, Stephen A. Douglas, Lewis Cass, and William Allen, of the Northwest,—all ardent expansionists and “big Americans” who would not readily suffer the defeat of the party program. During the summer and autumn of 1845 their policy had been worked out in detail and discussed among the men who were to be responsible for its execution. In domestic affairs their scheme embraced the settlement of the long-disputed financial policy in a new Independent or Sub-Treasury Bill which Secretary Walker was preparing. The Tariff of 1842, which had offended the Democratic South, was also to be reformed, and Walker had written the new schedules which Congress was to enact in due time. In order to secure the necessary Western support for these Southern purposes, the old internal improvements program was revived in an enlarged rivers and harbors bill. This was a big plan and the Democratic majorities in House and Senate were very narrow. The outlook was anything but encouraging, with Webster, Calhoun, and Benton likely to be in opposition on every point.

But Congress passed the Sub-Treasury Bill, by which most of the financial measures of the preceding administrations since 1833, resting on the mere orders of President or Secretary of the Treasury, were legalized. It was in the main the same law which Van Buren had labored so long to secure, but which the Whigs had repealed in 1841. The money of the Government was henceforth to be kept in certain designated sub-treasuries in leading cities like New York, Baltimore, and New Orleans, and drawn upon by the Secretaries of the Treasury when needed. There was thus to be no national bank; and the state banks were to continue issuing their paper, which was to be the money of the people. Gold and silver, coined by the government mint at Philadelphia, were seldom demanded in ordinary business transactions, though coin or bullion still remained the redemption money of the banks and served as the basis of exchange with foreign countries.

The South had preached free trade since 1828. Polk and his Secretary of the Treasury had been prominent exponents of the idea, despite some campaign bargaining with Pennsylvania. In England Richard Cobden, John Bright, and Sir Robert Peel were about to secure the repeal of the age-old protective system, and in both France and Germany the free-trade agitation was daily winning recruits. Polk and his advisers set themselves the task of securing the passage of a “free-trade tariff” for the United States. Walker submitted an able report in December, 1845. A very high rate was recommended on all luxuries, including wines and liquors; an average duty of twenty-five per cent was to be laid on the great bulk of imports which would compete with American cotton, wool, and iron manufactures; and a long list of articles of every day consumption on which no duties should be imposed was submitted. Though the Pennsylvanians denounced the proposed tariff bill as un-Democratic, it became a law in July, 1846, proved to be successful, and remained the corner-stone of the Democratic structure till 1861.

The douceur, in the form of a bill for liberal internal improvements for the Northwest, whose leaders all voted for the tariff reductions, passed both houses of Congress; but the members from the lower South, led by Robert Barnwell Rhett, protested to the last. Polk accepted their view and vetoed the bill. Northwestern men cried out “treachery” so loudly that summer, in a great mass meeting in Chicago, that the President feared the party was seriously endangered. Still, the three problems over which Clay, Calhoun, and Webster had wrestled since 1816 had been solved. The United States was henceforth to manage its finances independently; the free-trade element had won the ascendancy, and there was not to be another high-tariff campaign until after the Civil War; and internal improvements on a large national scale were not to be undertaken until the passage of the Pacific Railway Bill in 1862. The only cloud above the political horizon was the anger of the Northwestern Democrats.

There was more danger in carrying forward the program which was intended to secure to the United States Oregon, California, and New Mexico. But the first step had already been taken. In April, 1846, both House and Senate, in spite of the opposition of the older leaders, authorized the President to give notice to England that joint occupation should cease at the expiration of a year. The English people were much excited, and the idea prevailed that this was only a move on the part of the United States to seize Canada, but the British Government renewed the proposition to compromise on the forty-ninth parallel, Vancouver Island to remain in British possession. A treaty to this effect was accepted by both Governments during the summer of 1846. Polk could boast that the Oregon question had been settled. Again the Northwestern Democrats, who had been promised all of Oregon, were sorely disappointed. One of their most popular leaders declared in the Senate: “James K. Polk has spoken words of falsehood, and with the tongue of a serpent.” Would the Northwestern wing of the party continue loyal? This may, perhaps, best be answered when we come to discuss the Wilmot Proviso.

When the Oregon question was at its acutest stage, in the autumn of 1845, Polk sent John Slidell, an adroit politician of Louisiana, to Mexico, to renew the friendly relations which had been broken off immediately after the passage of the joint resolution by Congress. Slidell was authorized to negotiate a treaty by which European influence, then being exerted in Mexico against the United States, was to be counteracted, the annexation of Texas approved, and all of the claims of American citizens against Mexico were to be definitely satisfied. But as Mexico had no funds in her treasury, Slidell was to assume for the United States all these obligations, and pay the Mexicans $5,000,000 in return for the cession of New Mexico, a part of which was claimed by Texas. Finally Slidell was to purchase California, if that were found to be possible, and raise the cash payment from $5,000,000 to $25,000,000. Slidell's mission was supported by a naval demonstration in Mexican waters, and the meaning of his presence was made very plain to the people of the distressed republic.

The new Minister was rejected, however, and Taylor was ordered to move his troops toward the Rio Grande. Mexico resented this, and near Matamoras on April 24, 1846, came the first pass at arms. Slidell returned to Washington about the time that the news of this encounter reached the President. On May 11, war was declared and Taylor was ordered to cross the border and “conquer a peace.” In August Colonel S. W. Kearny seized New Mexico and set out with a troop of three hundred men to take California. But Commodore John Drake Sloat had been sent to the Pacific with a squadron of the navy to prevent the seizure of Monterey by the English. And to make certainty more certain, Consul Thomas O. Larkin at Monterey had been instructed, about the time of Slidell's appointment to Mexico, to be in readiness for any emergency. Before Kearny could cross the mountains, Larkin and Sloat had taken possession of California, almost unresisted.

In September, 1846, General Taylor won a brilliant victory at Monterey, twenty miles south of the Rio Grande, and his forces were being augmented every day for the march overland to the City of Mexico. Whig politicians hailed at once the new general as their candidate for the Presidency in 1848. Naturally the Administration did not care to aid their opponents in their political plans, and its leaders cast about for a Democratic general. None was to be found; and Thomas H. Benton, willing that Jackson's plan for his elevation to the Presidency should be fulfilled, asked Polk to make him commander-in-chief of all the forces operating in Mexico. Benton had never had any military experience, and Polk was relieved to find that such an appointment would not be confirmed by the Senate. General Winfield Scott, already quarreling with the Secretary of War, and hence out of favor with the Administration, was the only alternative. Scott was also a candidate for the Whig nomination for the Presidency. After much hesitation most of the troops of Taylor were placed under the command of Scott and reinforced with still others, and all set sail for Vera Cruz, then as now the great port of Mexico. The city fell on March 29, 1847, and the march to the City of Mexico was about to begin.

Meanwhile, Santa Anna had been made commander of all the Mexican armies, and he, learning of Taylor's weak and isolated position south of Monterey, hastened with twenty thousand soldiers to surround and capture him. Taylor moved forward and met the enemy at Buena Vista, after receiving some raw recruits, on February 23, 1847, and completely routed him, thus adding to the laurels he had already won and convincing the country that he had been badly treated by the authorities in Washington.

Scott began the march to the Mexican capital on April 8. He met resolute resistance at Cerro Gordo, where on April 17 and 18 a large army of the enemy was attacked and defeated. At this point Nicholas Trist, envoy from the President, with instructions to treat with Mexico on the basis of Slidell's proposals of 1845, arrived. Trist was a clerk in the Department of State, and Scott refused to recognize or have any relations with him. After much unseemly bickering and the conciliatory services of the British Minister to Mexico, the general and the envoy made peace, and negotiations were opened, only to be broken off by Santa Anna upon his arrival from the north. On August 19 and 20, the battle of Cherubusco seemed to convince the Mexicans that further resistance would be futile, and Trist again offered peace on the terms of 1845, except that the United States would reduce the amount of money to be paid by $5,000,000. But the armistice under which the negotiations had been renewed was broken, and on September 8 and 13, the battles of Molino del Rey and Chapultepec were fought, and the capital was occupied on September 14. A revolution in the affairs of Mexico now took place, and the new Government appointed commissioners on November 22, to treat with Trist.

However, the news of these battles and victories had aroused the expansionist instincts of the people of the United States, or at least of the articulate classes, to the point of demanding the annexation of the whole of Mexico. Sober newspapers, like the New York Evening Post, officers of the navy and the army, like Commodore Stockton and Colonel Jefferson Davis, the hero of the battle of Buena Vista, and leading politicians, John A. Dix, Lewis Cass, and Secretary Walker, urged the Government to make an end of Mexico by prompt dismemberment. Although the election of Representatives in 1846 had resulted in giving the Whigs control of the House, Congress seemed disposed to yield to the popular clamor as they came together in December, 1847, when the news of the raising of the American flag over the city of Mexico was fresh in the public mind.

Polk found his Cabinet divided on the subject of “all Mexico,” with the preponderance of influence in favor of annexation. Buchanan gave out a public letter in which he said, “Destiny beckons us to hold and civilize Mexico.” Walker threatened to urge the absorption of Mexico in his report to Congress. The flag should never be hauled down from the ramparts of the captured capital of Mexico. Polk resisted this pressure, but he recalled Trist just before the beginning of the final negotiations with Mexico. On the advice of General Scott, Trist refused to obey the President, and both he and the general hastened the negotiations.

Although the Whigs were also infected with the expansionist fever, Henry Clay came out of his retirement at Ashland, near Lexington, and on November 13, made an impassioned appeal to the country against the wickedness of despoiling a helpless neighbor; John Quincy Adams, nearing the end of his career, continued to denounce the whole Mexican movement. But Webster, an ardent candidate now for the Whig nomination in 1848, said little and took this occasion to visit the South and West. Calhoun made it his especial business in the Senate to defeat what he thought was the President's purpose, the annexation of all Mexico. But the prospect of success of these “little Americans” was far from bright.

When the Trist treaty, giving satisfaction on all the points raised in Slidell's mission and selling to the United States both California and New Mexico, reached Washington in February, 1848, there was every temptation to reject it. The ablest members of the Cabinet insisted upon its rejection; a scheme for the establishment of a protectorate over Yucatan, which was expected to eventuate in annexation, was being urged, and the rumors of approaching convulsions in Europe were heartening leading members of Congress. Why should not the United States fulfill her destiny? There was none to interfere or make afraid. Senator Foote, of Mississippi, urged in glowing terms the advantages of “extending American liberty” over Central America; Senator Hannegan, of Indiana, fairly represented his section when he said that the time had come for the United States to take Canada, too, and make the boundaries of North America the boundaries of the great Republic; and Senator Cass was making his campaign for the Democratic nomination on the plea that the time was ripe for the extinguishment of the remnants of European authority on the continent.

The President, worn out with the toils of office and determined not to seek renomination, decided to accept the treaty, and the Senate, in spite of the warmest harangues of the extremists, promptly approved the work of Trist and Scott, for the general had had much to do with the negotiations. The war had come to an end, though there were still further efforts to undo the treaty by seizing Yucatan, and there was much complaint from leading Senators and Representatives at the alleged weakness of Polk.

[Illustration: Annexations of 1845-1853]

At a cost of a few thousand lives and some eighty million dollars, eight hundred thousand square miles of territory had been added to the country and the long-standing quarrel with Mexico about Texas had been brought to an end. The Treasury had stood well the heavy strain of war, every bond that had been issued had been readily taken at par and on a low rate of interest—an unprecedented fact in American history. The hard times of the preceding decade seemed to be brought to a conclusion. No one complained at the tariff, and even the veto of the internal improvements bill was passing out of the public mind. The South and the West had carried their program. Polk retired to his home to die a few months later. There had been no appreciable public demand for his renomination; and, rather strange to say, both the people and the historians consigned him to comparative oblivion.

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

G. P. Garrison's Westward Extension (1906), in the American Nation series, has given us the best brief general survey of the expansion movement which closed with the war with Mexico. An exhaustive treatment of the Texas question is Justin H. Smith's The Annexation of Texas (1911), and George L. Rives's The United States and Mexico, 1821-1848 (1913), is almost as complete for the Mexican War. A good history of Oregon and the Oregon movement has not yet been written; but Robert Greenhow's History of Oregon (1870), H. H. Bancroft's Oregon, in his voluminous Western history series, and Josiah Royce's California, in the American Commonwealths series, are all valuable. Some special articles of importance are: The Slidell Mission to Mexico, by L. M. Sears, in South Atlantic Quarterly for 1912; E. G. Bourne's The United States and Mexico, 1847-48, in the American Historical Review, vol. v, p. 491; and W. E. Dodd's The West and the War with Mexico, in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society for 1911. The sources which some may wish to consult are The Diary of James K. Polk, edited by M. M. Quaife and published by the Chicago Historical Society (1910); Lyon G. Tyler's The Times of the Tylers, already mentioned; John Quincy Adams's Memoir, also frequently cited; The Correspondence of John C. Calhoun, The Works of Calhoun (1853-55), edited by R. K. Cralle; and the writings of both Clay and Webster as given in the notes to previous chapters. Niles's Register, a weekly periodical published in Baltimore from 1811 to 1849, is a never-failing resource for the current of public opinion.

                    

CHAPTER IX. THE ABOLITIONISTS

The overthrow of the Democratic party in 1848 was due, not to the ruthless exploitation of Mexico nor to dissatisfaction with the new economic policy, but to the abiding distrust of the aristocratic South and its slavery system by the small business men and farmers of the North. The greater the success of Polk, the greater the danger to the older virtues of the Republic, a simple life and faith in the ideals of freedom and equality. As we have seen, the South had given up these ideals, and the tobacco, cotton, and sugar planters governed there with increasing success and acceptability.

There had been persistent economic and religious opposition to the growth of the plantation system. In the closing years of the eighteenth century most people in the South disliked slavery, and in Kentucky majorities of the voters sustained the first abolition movement of radical tendencies in the country; but the excitement over the Alien and Sedition Laws eclipsed at the critical moment the public interest in the anti-slavery struggle. Other outcroppings of the same hostility to slavery, as already noted, were made evident in the meetings of Presbyterian and Methodist church conferences between 1815 and 1825 in Maryland, western Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. But all these efforts failed and the Southern abolitionists, as we have seen, having “fought the good fight,” emigrated to the Northwest about 1830, when Virginia failed to rid herself of the growing “incubus.” Just as Birney and Rankin “took up arms” in Ohio there arose a fiercer champion of their cause in the East, where distance from the scene, lack of intimate knowledge of “the system,” and a strong popular dislike of the South gave unwonted strength to the new evangelism. William Lloyd Garrison, son of a Massachusetts sea captain, was in a humor to reform a world which “sat in darkness.” He declared negro slavery the one great evil of his generation, and the Federal Constitution, which protected it, “an agreement with Hell.” After some ill-luck and untoward experience in Baltimore, he set up in Boston, in 1831, his famous Liberator, in which he said he would be heard, and henceforth his paper appeared every week until the close of the Civil War. Every scrap of news, true or untrue, which reflected the cruelty of the slavery system, the lust of some brutal master, or the growing power of the Southern States in national politics he repeated and exploited. It was “yellow journalism” in a peculiar sense. But a single weekly paper published in Boston, where the commercial and industrial interests had created an aristocracy almost as exclusive as that of the South, could hardly be expected to accomplish a great deal. The other papers of the city would not publish his “stories,” nor pay any attention to his earnest appeals.

He made another move upon the intrenched position of the enemy. Between 1831 and 1835 he organized abolition societies, whose members took vows to “fight on and fight ever” till success should be attained. These societies were naturally numerous in all those sections of New England, the Middle States, and the Northwest where hostility and even hatred to the masterful South prevailed. Pure idealists, small farmers, village merchants, the unsuccessful, and debtors who dreamed of an America of which the Declaration of Independence speaks became abolitionists. Orators were employed, speaking campaigns were arranged, and the slogan was always immediate and uncompensated abolition of negro slavery. The more democratic churches were invaded and their preachers were enlisted; or, when these resisted, placarded as unfriendly to mankind. Before 1840 not less than fifteen thousand Methodists refused association with other Methodists who would not declare war on slavery. Nearly all of these lived in western Massachusetts and upper New York. These revolutionists carried their cause to the Methodist General Conference in New York in 1844, and the great Church was broken into two branches: a Northern and a Southern. The Baptists of New England refused the same year to support a missionary who was also a slaveholder, and immediately the Alabama Baptists refused to fellowship their Northern brethren. The Southern Baptist Convention, head of the denomination for all the Southern States, was organized the next year at Augusta. The fact, already noted, that both these sundered denominations almost doubled their membership in the next few years shows the strong sectionalism of the issue.

Nor did the public men of the North escape the ordeal of ardent abolitionism. William H. Seward, a conservative by nature, became an anti-slavery Whig of national influence in 1843; Joshua R. Giddings, of the Western Reserve, and Elijah P. Lovejoy, of Illinois, accepted the agitator's commissions and sought to unite the new idealism with the old Americanism. But John Quincy Adams, who had never been a democrat and who did not sympathize with Garrison, became the arch-leader of the abolitionists in Congress from 1836 to his death in 1848. Smarting under the ill-treatment of Southern politicians, it was easy for the able ex-President to become the political exponent of the new anti-Southern agitation. In no other country of that time could a movement like American abolitionism have gained such a hearing. In England the Government, that is the people, never dreamed of destroying without compensation the millions of property in the West Indian slaves. But American abolitionists declared that there could be no property in man, just as the socialists say there can be no property in land. To destroy outright the property which underlay the Southern political power and the Southern aristocracy was the aim of Garrison, and he found able men, owners of large estates in the North, who were willing to do what he urged.

Petitions asking the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia were presented to Congress by John Quincy Adams in increasing numbers from 1831 to 1836. Southern men denied that the national legislature had the power to destroy property protected by the Constitution; Northern men, especially representatives of the farmer districts, insisted that the right of petition was fundamental to the Constitution itself. There was a deadlock in Congress, for the South controlled the Senate, while the North controlled the House. In this state of things, Southern legislatures formally denounced the abolition movement as endangering the Union, and asked Congress to protect them from the floods of abolition literature which the United States mails carried into communities where negro slaves were in the majority and where insurrections were likely to occur.

In Charleston the people refused to allow the postmaster to deliver the objectionable mail matter. The subject was carried to President Jackson in 1835, and he decided that the uneasy masters of South Carolina were justified in their protest. Calhoun, like Adams in New England, became the champion of his section, and devoted the remainder of his life to a vain defense of slavery against the “foul slanders” of anti-slavery agitators.

In May, 1836, after a fierce struggle in the House, it was decided to lay upon the table without debate all petitions which dealt with slavery. The right of petition was thus formally denied, since a hearing is the one thing prayed for in such documents. John Quincy Adams declared that the rights of his constituents, as guaranteed in the Constitution, were thus abrogated. On the other hand, Calhoun declared in the Senate, with equal truth, that the constitutional rights of his constituents would be jeopardized if the petitions were received and debated. Great excitement prevailed throughout the country, for the contending sections were too strong for any easy-going compromise to be possible. Keen observers then visiting Washington wrote home that the great Republic would go to pieces if either side won.

In the summer of 1837, Elijah P. Lovejoy was murdered at Alton, Illinois, where he was trying to publish, against the wishes of the people, an anti-slavery weekly like Garrison's. And in Boston the following December a young aristocrat, a Harvard graduate and a promising lawyer, arose before a large audience, before whom the Attorney-General of the State had just been defending the Alton people against attack, and declared that the “earth should have yawned and swallowed up” the author of such treasonable words. It was Wendell Phillips, and from that day till the close of the bitter sectional struggle, he was the greatest champion of immediate abolition, the fervent orator who was ready to destroy the Union in order to destroy slavery. Four years after Phillips began his public career, Frederick Douglass, escaping from a slave plantation in Maryland, came into contact with Garrison, who at once commissioned him an orator of abolition, and the brilliant mulatto soon developed powers that gave rise to jealous heartburnings among the leading agitators. Lewis Tappan, Gerrit Smith, the Misses Grimké, born in South Carolina, and a host of other enthusiastic democrats and idealists professed the new faith. Contemptuous of Church and State, of union and nationality, these apostles of the new cause laid the foundations of the great sectional party which was later to bear the name Republican, thus appealing to the memories of Jefferson and his followers of 1800.

It was this hostility of the sections, always dangerous, but exceedingly so in 1836, when Texas was asking admission as a slave State, that caused so many of the best men of the time to talk freely of the disruption of the Union. If Texas were annexed, the East would secede; if it were not annexed, the South would secede. Van Buren, the head of the Democratic party, and Clay, the master of the Whigs, exerted all their influence in 1844 to avoid the expected conflict. But President Tyler, without close party affiliations and standing in need of an issue, was ready to take the risk. Radical expansionists, supported by substantial economic interests in the South, urged the immediate annexation of Texas, while Adams and twenty-one of his colleagues from the restless sections of the North declared that the addition of the new region to the Union would be equivalent to a dissolution of the ties which held the warring sections together;[5] and they published, in May, 1843, a formal address to their constituents calling upon them to secede. The members of Congress who signed this address represented the districts, almost without exception, in which abolition had won a footing.

[Footnote 5: See chap. VII, pp. 126-127.]

The important question was: Should the East remain passive while the annexation of “another Louisiana” was being consummated and thus allow herself to be submerged.

Charles Sumner, an ambitious young man, an intellectual kinsman of Wendell Phillips, one of those “transcendentalists” of Massachusetts of whom the country was to hear a great deal in the future, answered this question in his famous “grandeur-of-nations” oration of July 4, 1845. The élite of Boston had gathered for the occasion in Tremont Temple, and they had invited the officers of a warship then lying in the harbor, the local military men, and others who took pride in the martial deeds of their ancestors, to join in the accustomed celebration of the Fourth. Dressed in gay, super-fashionable attire, the young Sumner poured forth in matchless language a denunciation of war, of military and naval armaments, of President Polk and the party in power, which drove one half of his audience frantic with resentment and anger. “There is no war which is honorable, no peace which is dishonorable,” he declared at the outset, and for two hours he massed his arguments and statistics to prove the thesis. The conservatives of Boston declared that it would be the last of the young man. But Garrison and Phillips had raised up another recruit. The oration which had insulted half of those who heard it was published in edition after edition and distributed in the country districts of the North. Sumner was ever after in great demand as a speaker and anti-Southern agitator. He would not, however, dissolve the Union to escape slavery; he sought rather to mobilize the forces which the abolitionists were stirring to activity.

[Illustration: Location of Abolition Societies in 1847]

The war with Mexico came, victories were won, and the national enthusiasm was running high when President Polk asked Congress in August, 1846, to vote him two million dollars in order that he might have the means of inducing Mexico to make satisfactory cessions of territory. The Western Democrats were smarting under the sting of the veto of their internal improvements bill, and the “people at home” were much disappointed at the loss of half of Oregon, “given away,” some said, by a President who was only interested in “Southern policies.”[6] Jacob Brinkerhoff, who had had a quarrel with Polk about the patronage, drew a proviso to be added to the appropriation bill, which declared that slavery should be forever forbidden throughout the proposed accessions of territory. Judge Wilmot, a quiet member from Pennsylvania, was induced to offer the amendment. He awoke next day a famous man.

[Footnote 6: See chap. VIII, 152.]

Northern Whigs who had been compelled by popular sentiment to support the Administration in all its war measures seized the opportunity to vote for the proviso; of course the Northwestern Democrats, who were dissatisfied because of other matters, took this chance to pay the President for his neglect of them. The abolitionists who were in politics became more active, and many orthodox, that is non-voting, followers of Garrison changed their views and thenceforward fought in the ranks of party organization. It was a critical time for the dominant South. Only the conservative Senate saved the President from a second unpopular veto. A strong popular sentiment supported the proviso movement, and when Congress reassembled in December the determination of the opposition to prevent the extension of slavery into the new territory was stronger than ever. The House attached the proviso to the appropriation bill, which came up again, and the Senate a second time defeated the anti-slavery forces.

The South was by this time greatly excited, and Virginia, South Carolina, and Alabama declared that the passage of the proposed amendment would be resisted to the point of making open war. In the East and Northwest, where the abolitionists were numerous, the leaders were equally resolute in their purpose that slavery should not profit by the war with Mexico. Horace Greeley, William H. Seward, and Salmon P. Chase, a vigorous anti-slavery leader of Ohio, who now came into national prominence, were the most powerful spokesmen of the various elements of the opposition, and they were actively laying the foundations of an abolition and sectional party which should ere long outvote the South.

The candidacy of Zachary Taylor, strongly supported by Thurlow Weed, checked and even defeated the sectional purposes of the radicals. Taylor was the master of a great plantation in Louisiana, and John J. Crittenden, of Kentucky, Ballard Preston, of Virginia, and Alexander Stephens, of Georgia, all good pro-slavery men, rallied at once to the popular military chieftain. Clay was promptly snubbed and Webster's claims were unceremoniously brushed aside. The Whig Convention of 1848 met in Philadelphia in May. It was under the control of Weed and his Southern allies. Taylor was nominated, and Webster, Clay, and the other disgruntled leaders finally gave him their support. Nothing was said of the great issue, the spread of slavery over the new accessions; and the party, as in 1840, went before the country without a platform. Nor was the candidate allowed to make speeches or write public letters, which was doubtless wise, for Taylor knew little of public questions. It was said that he had never voted, and he claimed to belong to no party. The Whigs took him on his reputation as a soldier and on the recommendation of the great New York “boss.” His candidacy probably saved the party from breaking into two hostile wings.

When the Democratic Convention assembled in Baltimore in May, 1848, Cass met with little opposition. His stout imperialism had won him the leadership of the expansionist West and South. The radical pro-slavery men of the lower South, who feared his former friendliness to the Wilmot Proviso leaders, had been satisfied, with a few exceptions, by the Nicholson letter of December, 1847, in which Cass laid down the doctrine that the settlers in any new region should be allowed to determine for themselves whether they would have slaves or not. It was the same idea which Douglas made famous in his Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1854, and which the country then dubbed “squatter-sovereignty.” Cass was nominated and the Nicholson letter was made the platform; all the leaders of the party gave him hearty support, save those who had been humiliated at Baltimore four years before by the defeat of Van Buren. Van Buren himself doubtless remembered that Cass had lent assistance to the astute Southern politicians who had compassed his fall.

It was difficult to say which of the great parties was the weaker, the Whigs with both Webster and Clay sulking, or the Democrats with the shrewd Van Buren awaiting his opportunity to punish his enemies. The opportunity came in the nomination of Van Buren by the Liberty Party Convention, which met later in the summer at Syracuse. The Van Buren wing of the New York Democracy approved the Syracuse Convention, and the Free-Soil party began its first and only campaign with the ex-President as its candidate. Van Buren received nearly 300,000 votes in November and prevented Cass from becoming President. He had avenged himself. The South found her alliance with the Northwest broken, but a Southern slave-owner was to be the next President.

As so often happens in American history, the election settled nothing, for the victorious Whigs, as in 1840, had no program, and their candidate had no political record. When the Administration began its work, it was found expedient to underwrite practically all that the Polk Administration had accomplished. There was no idea of reopening the bank or financial questions; and the tariff was already so successful that it would have been plain folly to change it. In the foreign policy of the country the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty with England dealt with the proposed isthmian canal. By this agreement the two contracting parties promised not to acquire further interests in Central America, and thus in a way nullified the concessions of Colombia of 1846, under which Polk had hoped for the building of a canal across Panama.

The one absorbing question after the inauguration of Taylor was that which both the great parties had side-stepped during the campaign, namely, what should be done with slavery in the Territories. The Southern Whigs sought day and night to gain the ear of the President, and the Southern Democrats were not less persistent. Both aimed at the same thing, the extension of their favorite institution. And now that the fight for slavery in Oregon was recognized as lost, this Southern wooing of the new President became the more intense. It was a desperate situation for the South. The Northwest was rapidly expanding toward the Pacific and building up free States which might at any time repudiate their allegiance to the South. Now the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo opened a great hinterland for the South, extending by the easiest passes over the mountains to California. But the abolitionists declared that the South should not expand in that direction save at the expense of slavery. The President's attitude might determine the matter.

The discovery of gold in amazingly rich deposits in California hastened the conflict of the rival sections. During the second half of 1848 and all through 1849 thousands of Southerners, Easterners, and Westerners rushed pell-mell into the new Eldorado, bent on making hasty fortunes and oblivious of the anxious thoughts of statesmen. The motley gold-diggers needed government. They asked Polk to provide it. He failed to grant it. Congress could not do so because of the deadlock over slavery. Benton wrote a public letter to the Californians advising them to form a government for themselves, and his son-in-law, John C. Frémont, went to the new community to help the cause and perhaps to come back to Washington as one of their Senators. In 1849, the Californians formed a State Government, and the new legislature sent their constitution and two Senators, one of whom was Frémont, on to Washington early the next year. Admission as a full-fledged State was asked. They had failed to mention slavery in their constitution.

President Taylor had at last decided to admit to his counsels the anti-slavery leaders of the Whig party, and he filled his Cabinet with men who would support him as against Clay and Webster. William H. Seward became the confidential adviser to the President and a sort of Administration leader of the Senate. Southern Whigs like Stephens, who had done much to secure for Taylor the Presidency, were without influence, and they feared that all the anti-slavery elements of the North were combining to control the Government.

While California was shaping her own course and the President was making his decision as between the factions of his party, South Carolina and Mississippi took the lead in a movement to prevent that or any other State or Territory from being brought into the Union if slavery were not duly recognized. Whigs and Democrats joined in great mass meetings, which showed conclusively that the lower South was in earnest. All classes of the people united in what seemed to be almost the unanimous wish of the South, that the new Southwest should be preserved for the expansion of slavery. These meetings spread over all the lower Southern States, and as a result, a convention was called to meet in Nashville in June, 1850. The object of this general convention was to present to Congress a Southern ultimatum, and in the event that this should not be heeded, to urge the secession of the slaveholding States.

In the West the crisis did not seem so acute. But Clay, now seventy-four years old, and cured of his ambition to be President, was sent back to the Senate in the hope of averting the calamity of a disruption of the Union. Thomas H. Benton, though recently defeated in a campaign for reëlection, was still in the Senate. Cass was again a member of the Senate, and he, too, felt that the Union was about to be dissolved. Douglas and the other younger representatives of the Northwest, who had suffered somewhat from the legislation of 1846, ceased to nurse their grievances against the party, and deplored the “treason” of the abolitionists who were making all the trouble. There was undoubtedly a crisis which Southern leaders like Davis, Stephens, Yancey, and Robert Toombs, another able Georgian who now came into national prominence, took pains to lay to the charge of the radical anti-slavery people of the East; that is, to Seward and his followers, who were allowing Garrison and Phillips and the radical abolitionists to drive them into open opposition to the South.

When Clay came back to Washington, Taylor and his Cabinet had taken their stand, which was to recommend the admission of California as a free State. The Mormons in Deseret and a few Americans and Mexicans in New Mexico had taken steps toward organizing Territories in the region between Texas and eastern California, and they were to be made Territories with or without slavery, as they chose. If all this were done, the South would secede and the Administration would be in a dilemma. Taylor was a stubborn man; he had made up his mind, and he sent to Congress a fatherly message in which his devotion to the Union above everything else was very evident. If the Southerners, who were then offering Texas military assistance to make good her claim to a large part of New Mexico, chose to resist the lawful authority of the Administration and war came, the fault would be theirs, not his.

But Henry Clay and Daniel Webster still enjoyed much more of the confidence of the people of the country, North and South, than the President. Nor was Webster less popular because he had been ignored by the Administration. He was in his place in the Senate. Calhoun was also there. It was an exceedingly able Congress, that to which Taylor and Seward must look for support. With scant courtesy to the President, Clay took the lead in the Senate late in January and offered his plan of compromising the sectional quarrel. He would make a free State of California, allow Utah, as Deseret came to be called, and New Mexico to form Territorial Governments without mention of slavery, pay Texas ten million dollars for her claims against New Mexico, abolish the slave trade in the District of Columbia, and enact a Fugitive Slave Law which would satisfy the border Southern States.

Excitement was too intense for the two parties in the Senate and House to accept immediately this comprehensive plan. The President opposed it; the extreme men of the South opposed it. But Clay had not lost his power to charm, and he was still a good manager, according to the polite phraseology of the day. He quietly secured the support of Thomas Ritchie, editor of the Democratic organ at Washington, The Union; he broke the hold of Calhoun on Mississippi by winning to his side Senator Henry S. Foote, a fiery Democrat and foremost advocate of Southern resistance; and within the next three months most of the Southern Whigs who were preparing to take part in the Nashville convention indicated their change of heart. Clay's method, almost exactly parallel to that by which Jackson had defeated Calhoun in 1833, was to steal away the hearts of Whigs and Westerners, to whom the Union was still sacred, and leave the radical South isolated. And in support of his compromise the old statesman made most moving appeals during February and March. It was the greatest moment of his life, he thought, and in this his colleagues were fully agreed.

But Calhoun and the ardent representatives of the lower South, supported by nearly all of the spokesmen of Virginia and North Carolina, were the obstacles in the way of a settlement. They demanded a slave State in California and free access, under the protection of the Union, to all the new Mexican territory. The extension of the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific would have satisfied them. Or failing in this, Calhoun asked for an amendment to the Federal Constitution which should create a dual presidency in which each section was always to have a veto over the legislation of Congress. Permanent deadlock was thus proposed as the remedy for the ills of sectional conflict. Resolute as the old nationalist was, he could not bring himself in these closing days of his life to pronounce to his party the word “secession.” It was pathetic to see the disappointed and broken leader of the South as he literally wore his life away trying to defeat Clay, his lifelong antagonist, or to conciliate Webster, for whom he had always entertained a hearty respect.

Upon Webster and his conservative Eastern support depended the outcome. He had never been a democrat, and as he had grown older, he had come to sympathize more than formerly with the great property interests of the South, which were not unlike the industrial interests of the East, for which he had broken many a lance. He, too, had been a rival of Clay since 1832, and three times a disappointed candidate for the Whig nomination for the Presidency. But both he and Clay had been brushed aside in 1848 by Thurlow Weed and the young William H. Seward with rather scant ceremony. And the abolitionists of New England were as noisome to him as were the radical secessionists to Henry Clay. Charles Sumner and his friends were already waging incessant war upon him. He took his stand on March 7, and he made the day famous. He spoke for the Union, and the effect of the speech was probably the postponement of the Civil War. Although he was again the follower of Clay, he was henceforth “the Godlike Webster” to Northern conservatives, and the large business interests of his section applauded him more heartily than they had ever done before. But the price which he paid for this epoch-making speech was fearful. The Massachusetts abolitionists groaned at the mention of his name, and the poet Whittier pilloried him in the famous lines:—

        “So fallen! So lost! the light withdrawn
                 Which once he wore!
         The glory from his gray hairs gone
                 Forever more!
         Revile him not—the Tempter hath
                 A snare for all;
         And pitying tears, not scorn and wrath,
                 Befit his fall.”

Clay had won. The President, resisting to the last and following the counsels of Seward, saw the majority of Congress yield slowly to influences which favored compromise. Calhoun died early in April, and though his followers maintained their position resolutely, their Whig allies were deserting them, and the Nashville convention proved a fiasco when it assembled in June. President Taylor died on the 9th of July, and the last obstacle to the success of Clay and Webster was removed. Millard Fillmore, the Vice-President, a close friend of Clay, became President; the Cabinet was reorganized, Webster becoming Secretary of State. One by one during the month of August all the features of the “Omnibus Bill” became law. The great majority of the Southerners indicated their ready acceptance of the compromise as a “finality”; and radicals like Jefferson Davis, Robert Barnwell Rhett, and William L. Yancey retired from public life, either voluntarily or by compulsion of the people. The big cities of the East and the Northwest celebrated the passage of the crisis with the firing of cannon, and everywhere the thanks of the people were expressed to the “great Congress” which had saved them from civil war.

[Illustration: California Election of 1852]

[Illustration: The Presidential Election of 1852]

If the logic of events ever pointed to one individual as the proper leader of the people or the fit man for the Presidency, it pointed to Daniel Webster in 1852. The Whigs had not all voted for the compromise, but their leaders had been its authors. The party was entitled to claim the glory for a great performance; and if they claimed it and nominated their candidate upon a platform of “henceforth there shall be peace between the sections,” they would undoubtedly win and control the Federal Government for at least two or three presidential terms.

But with a most remarkable aptitude for blundering, the Whigs in their convention of 1852 hesitated in their pronouncement upon the compromise, and refused to nominate Webster. The radical element procured the nomination of General Winfield Scott, a Southern man of anti-slavery proclivities, and Scott blundered through the campaign, losing votes every time he made a public statement. Heart-broken, the “Godlike Webster” died before the day of election. Nor was Clay spared to witness the crushing defeat which awaited his beloved party in November. The Whig newspapers of that autumn appeared in mourning too frequently for the public mind not to be affected.

Conservative interests turned to the Democratic party, whose leaders promptly declared in their convention that the compromise was a finality. They nominated a popular but colorless young New Englander, Franklin Pierce, a colonel under Scott in the war with Mexico, and Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote the campaign biography. Pierce said little during the months of electioneering. His rôle and that of his party was now one of conciliation. If elected he would enforce the laws and maintain the Union. Every State but four, Massachusetts, Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee, gave him their electoral votes. The support of the Free-Soil Democrats, 156,000 votes and all in the abolitionist sections, showed that the country was tired of agitation. The prolonged quarrel of the sections seemed definitely closed, and the future promised peace and prosperity.

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

A. B. Hart's Slavery and Abolition (1906), in American Nation series; F. J. and W. P. Garrison's William Lloyd Garrison: the Story of his Life Told by his Children (1885-89), and both McMaster and Schouler in their histories, already mentioned, give all the essential facts about the abolitionists and the Wilmot Proviso struggle. James Ford Rhodes's History of the United States (from 1850 to 1877) is a work of the greatest importance, and it gives, in vol. I, the best account of the compromise measures of 1850. The following biographies are valuable for the period: T. W. Barnes, Memoir of Thurlow Weed (1884); William Birney, James G. Birney and his Times (1890); G. L. Austin, Life and Times of Wendell Phillips (1887); Henry Cleveland, Alexander Stephens in Public and Private (1866); W. H. Haynes, Charles Sumner (1909), in American Crises series; A. C. McLaughlin, Lewis Cass (1891), in American Statesmen series. Special for the lower South: Miss Cleo Hearon, Mississippi and the Compromise of 1850 (1914); W. G. Brown, The Lower South in American History (1902); J. W. DuBose, The Life of William L. Yancey; and A. C. Cole, The Whig Party in the South (1913), named in a previous note. J. D. Richardson's Messages and Papers of the Presidents (1900), vol. v; H. V. Ames's State Documents on Federal Relations (1907); and the Congressional Globe for the 29th and 30th Congresses give the most important speeches and documents bearing on the crisis of 1850.

                    

CHAPTER X. PROSPERITY

Partisan opposition to Franklin Pierce had almost disappeared before the day of his inauguration in 1853. Charles Sumner, to be sure, was in the Senate, but he was a silent member, and Massachusetts inclined to follow Edward Everett rather than Sumner. William H. Seward still spoke for the anti-slavery Whigs in Congress, and Salmon P. Chase maintained a precarious hold on Ohio. There was a handful of Free-Soilers in the House of Representatives who were ready to make trouble for the new Administration, and resistance to the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law now and then broke out in riots in certain neighborhoods of New England and in the Western Reserve. But the opposition was everywhere declining until Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe's famous novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, with its exaggerated emphasis upon the cruelties of the slavery system, began to stir the consciences of men. Even so there was no substantial evidence that any great political upheaval or party change would occur within the next fifteen or twenty years. The people were contented with their country, and the growth of the population gave evidence of a great future.

When Jackson came to the Presidency there were about 12,500,000 people in the country; in 1850 the number had grown to 23,000,000, and in 1860 there were 31,000,000. The Census Bureau estimated that the population of 1900 would be 100,000,000 if the growth of the Pierce period was maintained. Not only was the normal native increase phenomenal, but foreigners poured into “the land of the free” in unprecedented numbers. In 1850 there were 2,800,000 foreign-born people in the United States; in 1860 there were 5,400,000, and this tide of immigration was of a very high social and economic character. The German element was large, industrious, and liberty-loving, many of them being refugees from the political persecutions of 1832-33 and 1848-50. The English, Scotch, and Irish composed most of the remainder, and these were already familiar with the ideals and political habits of the country and therefore readily assimilable. By far the greater part of this rich contribution to American life fell to the cities of the East and the open country of the Northwest, where good land was abundant and available at low prices.

If we compare the distribution of the population of 1850-60 with that of 1830, we shall see how well the sectional balance, on which so much depended, was maintained. In 1830, the East[7] had a population of 6,000,000 in a total of almost 13,000,000. This had increased only 500,000 in 1850; but between 1850 and 1860 the increase was nearly 2,000,000. The South had a population of 6,000,000 in 1830; in 1850, 8,900,000, and in 1860 this had grown to 11,400,000. The Northwest had, however, grown faster than either of the other sections, for her increase, including California and Oregon, had been from 4,800,000 in 1850 to 8,260,000 in 1860; that is, the growth of the East during the last decade of ante-bellum history was 21 per cent, that of the South, 28 per cent, and that of the Northwest, 77 per cent.

[Footnote 7: See chap. III of this volume.]

Keeping in mind the sectional conditions of 1830 as set forth in the third chapter of this volume, we shall come to a better understanding of the Civil War if the prosperity of the different parts of the Union be closely analyzed. The people of the United States were poor indeed in 1830 as compared with 1850-60. Between 1815 and 1846 the receipts of the Federal Treasury fluctuated violently; but from that date to 1860, except for two years of panic, the Federal Treasury was always full and there was generally an annual surplus of from $5,000,000 to $10,000,000. During the Jacksonian era the prices of staple commodities fluctuated as much as fifty per cent in single years. Cotton was twenty cents a pound during all of the twenties; it was as low as seven cents when nullification was the critical issue; but from 1850 to 1860 cotton sold at ten or twelve cents. Corn was in most places twenty-five cents a bushel during Jackson's and Van Buren's Administrations; between 1850 and 1860 it rose in price steadily and was almost everywhere readily marketable at fifty cents a bushel. In the era just preceding the war prices were steadily rising, and the demand for American produce, cotton, corn, tobacco, wheat, and sugar, was always greater than the supply.

This prosperity was unequally distributed, as always. The East had developed her manufactures beyond all expectation, and the great mill belt stretched from southeastern Maine to New York City, its center of gravity, thence to Philadelphia and Baltimore, and from these cities westward to Pittsburg. Another belt ancillary to this began in western Massachusetts and extended along the Erie Canal to Buffalo, thence to Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago. In these areas, or in the industrial belt as it may be termed, there lived about 4,000,000 mill operatives, whose annual output of wool, iron, and cotton manufactures alone was worth in 1860 $330,393,000 as compared to the $58,000,000 of 1830. Perhaps the meaning of these figures may become clearer if we note that the total investments in these industries was considerably less than the yearly product. Nor was the East less prosperous in other lines. Her tonnage had increased from a little more than 500,000 in 1830 to nearly 5,000,000 in 1860. The freight and passenger ships, built of iron, and encouraged by liberal subsidies from the Federal Government, employed 12,000 sailors and paid their owners $70,000,000 a year. They carried the manufactures of the East to the Southern plantations, to South America, and to the Far East. This great fleet of commercial vessels was owned almost exclusively in Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania, and its owners were at the end of the decade about to wrest from Great Britain her monopoly of the carrying trade of the world.

[Illustration: The Industrial Belt of 1860]

In spite of the efforts of President Jackson and of the purposes of the sub-treasury system, the concentration of capital in the Eastern towns and cities continued. Only New York, instead of Philadelphia, was the new center. The merchants of that city imported three fourths of the European goods consumed in the country, and they in turn exported nearly all of the great crops with which the balance of trade was maintained. New York was also a distributing center for the manufactures of the East which were sent to the South, the West, or the outside world. Thus the exchanges of all the sections were made there, and before 1860 its banks, with a capital of $130,000,000 and specie reserves of only $20,000,000, did a business of $7,000,000,000 a year. And while New York became the American London, the whole of the East was likewise securing the lion's share of the banking profits of the country. Although the assessed wealth of the section counted only one fourth of the total $16,000,000,000 for the country in 1860, the East had nearly two thirds of the banking capital; and the money in circulation there was $16.5 per capita as against $6.6 for the country as a whole.[8] Industry, commerce, shipping, and banking concentrated in the narrow area of less than 200,000 square miles, earned yearly returns equal as a rule to the total of the capital invested. Money changed hands rapidly, credits did the work of capital, and the rapid growth of population added large unearned increments to the fortunes of those who owned land or had established themselves in trade.

[Footnote 8: This comparison is based on the Census Reports for 1860. It does not vary materially from the estimates given for 1860 in Executive Documents of the Senate, no. 38, 52d Cong., 2d Sess.]

[Illustration: Railroads in Operation 1850]

[Illustration: Railroads in Operation 1860]

Naturally this concentration of industry and the economic resources of the country in the East led to the rapid extension of railways into the West and South. The New York Central, the Erie, the Pennsylvania, and the Baltimore and Ohio systems had already been founded, and they made connections in 1850-53 with the canals and railways of the Middle West. The Illinois Central, which connected the lower South with Chicago, was affiliated by means of interlocking directorates with the New York Central before 1856. John M. Forbes, the Boston capitalist, was president of the Michigan Central during the decade, and laying the foundations of the Chicago, Burlington &Quincy. Commodore Vanderbilt was organizing his steamboat and railroad properties and expanding the area of his activities till it reached, before 1860, the rich grain belt of the West, the cotton lands of the South, the Far Eastern trade via his Panama Railroad and Pacific steamers, and the great markets of Europe. During the decade under consideration the capitalists of the East built 4000 miles of railway east of Pittsburg, 7500 miles in the Northwest, and 5000 miles in the South. But the work was not all done at the expense of the capitalists. The Federal Government donated 20,000,000 acres of the most valuable lands in the country to the companies which built the roads; States, counties, and towns in the West and South voted many millions for the same purpose; and European capitalists loaned $450,000,000 secured by first mortgage bonds on the vast properties.

Thus the industrial belt of the East was reaching out toward Chicago, St. Louis, and New Orleans and beyond for a commerce that was already richer than the gold mines of California; and New York, Boston, Philadelphia, the canal towns, and Pittsburg were becoming centers of wealth and economic power which attracted the attention of the world. Great merchants, like the Lawrences of Boston and the Astors of New York, became the objects of emulation everywhere, and they in turn set the fashion of giving liberally of their means to the cause of education or the founding of hospitals, which has been a distinctive feature of the social history of the last thirty years.

[Illustration: The Black Belt of 1860]

The planters, on the other hand, had spread their system over the lower South in a remarkable manner since 1830. From eastern Virginia their patriarchal establishments had been pushed westward and southwestward until in 1860 the black belt reached to the Rio Grande. Tobacco, cotton, and sugar were still their great staples, and the annual returns from these were not less than $300,000,000; while the growth of their output between 1850 and 1860 was more than one hundred per cent. The number of slaves who worked the plantations had increased between 1830 and 1860 from 2,000,000 to nearly 4,000,000 souls, thus suggesting the comparison with the workers in the mills of the East. The exports of the black belt composed more than two thirds of the total exports of the country; but they were largely billed through Eastern ports, and most of the imports of the South came through New York, where a second toll was taken from the products of the plantation.

But the ratio of annual returns to the total investments was very unlike that of the East. In the South the assessed value of real estate and personal property, including slaves, in 1860 was $5,370,000,000, while the returns for the best years were somewhat over $300,000,000: that is, their investment was $1,000,000,000 greater than that of the East and their income not more than a third as great. Perhaps the banking statistics of the planter section will enable us to get a better view of their dependence upon the East. The South had in 1860 a banking capital of $89,131,000, a bank-note circulation of $68,344,000, and money on deposit, $56,342,000. Thus an annual return of $300,000,000 brought deposits of only $56,000,000; and the per capita circulation was only $10. New York City alone had twice as much money on deposit as all the Southern States, though the personal property valuation of the whole State of New York, with a population four times as great, was only $320,000,000 as against $240,000,000 for Virginia.

Although the system of agriculture in the South had not greatly improved since 1830, the annual crops sold for about four times as much as they had brought when Jackson was President. In spite of the “red gullies” and the waste lands, the owners of plantations were the wealthy men of the time. The Hairstons of Virginia and the Aikens of South Carolina were counted as the peers of the Astors of New York. But a Southern man worth $4,000,000 or $5,000,000 would not receive an annual income of more than $100,000 unless he happened to be in the midst of a new cotton region. Still the hold of the planters on the state and county governments of the South was, as we have seen in a former chapter, even more secure than it had been in 1830, and Southern public opinion was almost always the opinion of the planters. Yet there was great uneasiness in the South as to the future, and public officials, railway magnates, and newspaper men gathered in annual conventions to devise ways and means of increasing the power of the South and of competing with the East in the race for economic supremacy.

[Illustration: The Cotton Belt of 1860]

[Illustration: Tobacco Areas in 1860]

These conventions discussed scientific agriculture, the proper size of a plantation, and the duties of “Christian masters to their servants”; they outlined plans for connecting Southern ports with the Northwest, for opening a direct trade with Europe, and for annexing territory which might increase the area of the staple producing States. They supported Narciso Lopez and John A. Quitman in their filibustering expeditions against Cuba, and they heralded William Walker, who sought to make Nicaragua an American slave State in 1854-59, as a statesman and “man of destiny.” The reopening of the African slave trade was the subject of long and earnest debate, and Southern delegations in Congress were urged to exert themselves to secure a repeal of the law against the slave trade in order that the South might have some means of increasing its laboring population to counterbalance the advantages which the East and Northwest derived from immigration. A paramount purpose of these gatherings was to solidify the South and to harmonize the interests of the border States with those of the lower South. In the background of all this, and especially after the struggle over the Kansas-Nebraska Bill in 1854, there was the ever-recurring probability of secession from the Union.

What added to the anxieties of Southern leaders was the extraordinary growth and expansion of the Northwest. In 1830 it had been the East that most feared the development of the Mississippi Valley; now it was the South that took pains to hedge and limit the opportunities of the newer States. And there was reason for the masterful politicians of the cotton country to watch the Northwestern frontier. Michigan had become a State in 1837, Iowa and Wisconsin in 1846, and Minnesota was to enter the Union in 1858. There were four Territories, Kansas, Nebraska, Oregon, and Washington, that might be admitted at any time. California was growing powerful, and she was already lost to slavery if not to the South. And a free State was likely to be formed in Colorado. Seven thriving Northwestern States and five promising Territories gave every assurance that the seat of political influence was about to be shifted to the upper Mississippi Valley. Moreover, the economic changes that were taking place in that region were such as might have alarmed conservative men both South and East.

The removal of the Indians from Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois had paralleled the similar removal from the lower South. But during the fifties, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota succeeded in pushing the natives into the arid Nebraska Territory. And now as the great “American Desert” proved to be desirable country for the pioneers, it was proposed to shift the Northwestern Indians into the Southern hinterland, now known as Oklahoma, and thus to bar the way of the planter civilization to New Mexico and California.

An equally important factor in the development of the Northwest was the invention and manufacture of grain-planting and harvesting machinery by Cyrus McCormick and others about 1845. This enabled the farmers to increase their operations very much as the Whitney gin had done for the cotton farmers of 1800. Still the transportation of wheat and corn is so difficult that no great revolution would have been possible but for the simultaneous building of thousands of miles of railways which opened to grain production the vast prairie lands remote from the rivers. The manufacture of farm implements and the building of railroads made the Northwest a staple-producing area of greater importance than the South had been, though this was recognized by only a few men before the beginning of the Civil War.

[Illustration: Wheat Areas in 1860]

The value of the wheat and corn crops of the Northwest increased from $80,000,000 in 1850 to $225,000,000 in 1860. In addition to this the Northwest produced pork in great quantities for the cotton plantations, and fresh meats for the industrial cities of the East. The railways, of which mention has already been made, thus brought the isolated farmers of the Western interior into close contact with the markets of the world, and the Northwest was fast becoming the food-producing region of the country and at the same time exporting grain worth at least $50,000,000 a year. In New York, Pennsylvania, and other Eastern States the corn and wheat output steadily declined between 1850 and 1860, while the up-country of the South failed to produce the foodstuffs needed by the planters. Thus the manufacturing and the older staple-producing States came to rely on the Northwest for a large part of their provisions.

Western farmers were now well-to-do. They deserted their log cabins and built frame houses; they bought large quantities of the finer goods of the East. Pianos made in Germany and silks from France found their way to Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. Villages became towns and towns grew rapidly into cities. Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Chicago imitated the ways and manners of Boston and New York. It was a busy, ambitious life that animated the West and produced industrial leaders like Cyrus McCormick, William B. Ogden, and John Y. Scammon, and politicians like Stephen A. Douglas, Salmon P. Chase, and the Dodges of Iowa and Wisconsin.

But in this busy region with its self-sufficing agriculture, the actual surplus capital, as in the South, found its way to Eastern cities. With a population of nearly 8,000,000 and foreign exports of more than $50,000,000, the Northwest still had only $10,425,000 on deposit in her banks and $27,000,000 invested in banking enterprises. Her per capita circulation was only $4. Here as in the South the amount of specie in the banks was twice as great in proportion to population and the volume of business transacted as in the East. The debts of the Northwest to the East and to Europe cannot well be estimated, but they were enormous. States, counties, and corporations owed hundreds of millions, and when the interest on these obligations was paid at the end of each year, the remaining net increase was small indeed. The West had been badly in debt during the Jackson period; it was still in debt.

While the growing Northwest owed more to the rest of the world than it was likely to pay in half a century, its leaders saw that it must continue to expand its area and improve its economic life. Undoubtedly the one leader who best understood the needs of his region was Stephen A. Douglas, Senator from Illinois and perpetual candidate for the office of President of the United States. Young, active, and ardently patriotic, Douglas had been among the first to see during the Polk Presidency that the old Western policy of internal improvements and freer lands for all who might come must be changed. The West, even the Northwest, was firmly attached to the Democratic party; but the center of that great organization was the South. The leaders of that section looked more and more to free trade as a national policy. If they succeeded, as there was every reason to expect they would succeed, there would be no more easy money for the building of canals and roadways. Moreover, the South was now jealous of the expanding Northwest, and her leaders were growing more hostile toward the idea of free lands for the Northwestern settlers.

Douglas and his friends in both houses of Congress worked out a new policy during the years 1845 to 1850. It was to induce the Federal Government to give large tracts of public land to the Northwestern States on condition that they be given again by the States to railroad corporations as aids to the building of new lines. The roads would sell their lands at good prices, the Government would sell its remaining lands at high prices after the building of the roads, and the farmers would cheerfully pay these higher prices if markets for wheat and corn could be created. The leaders of the lower South were interested in this new American system, for there was government land in their States and they needed railroads quite as much as the Northwesterners. Capitalists of the East and Europe would be enlisted because the great tracts of rich land would be security for money they might lend at high rates to the roads. Finally, the increasing armies of immigrants gave assurance that the railroad lands could be sold easily.

The outcome was the building of the Illinois Central, the Mobile and Ohio, and other shorter lines in each of the Western and Northwestern States during the decade of 1850-60. The railroad lands sold as high as $8 or $10 an acre, and the government lands advanced in value accordingly, though the Federal Treasury did not profit to the full extent of these promises. The growth and expansion of the Northwest described above was due largely to this policy of Douglas. Chicago bankers loaned all the money they had and borrowed all they could borrow for the building of railroads. The thriving young city, always the pet of Senator Douglas, increased its business in marvelous manner during the decade. It soon distanced St. Louis in the race for wealth and population, and before 1854 conceived of the scheme of building a great railway, long ago proposed by Asa Whitney, of Michigan, to the Pacific. This road was to connect with the Illinois Central in Iowa, thread its way through the Indian lands in Nebraska, and finally bring San Francisco and the Far East into touch with the commercial center of the Middle West. It was a magnificent undertaking, not unlike that of the Erie Canal, which had made New York the Emporium of the East; it was even more daring for a section already in debt to the limit of its ability to pay. But these ambitious Northwestern men and politicians had already won the support of the railway men of New York and Boston, and their agents still borrowed money with ease in London and Liverpool. And with States like Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa doubling their population each decade, and hence increasing their land values three or fourfold, even the impossible became possible. The most ambitious section of the Union during the Pierce Administration was the Northwest, and it need not surprise us to learn that Douglas, her mouthpiece, was the most ambitious leader of his party.

As compared with all former standards, the country of 1850-60 was exceedingly prosperous. A series of good crop years, the low tariff of the United States, and the free-trade policy of England stimulated the unprecedented commercial activity. The financial system was more stable than it had ever been before, and the inter-sectional trade was assuming proportions never dreamed of in the earlier days of the Republic. The manufactures of the East, which approximated $800,000,000 in value each year, were sold to the South in exchange for bills on Liverpool or London, or to the West in return for its grain and other foodstuffs. The banks and railroads brought all sections closer together, especially the East and the West; while the expanding merchant marine promised soon to give the United States the mastery of international commerce.

Thus the East had learned to prosper without a high tariff, and the South was voting for large subsidies to Eastern shipping. The West had found a way to develop her resources in spite of Southern and Eastern jealousy, and the laws of commerce were daily weakening the influence of state rights and sectional dislike. A new era had begun. Big business interests and great railway schemes had developed the corporation in its modern connotation; large harvests and a most enterprising industry were producing the capital for a new economic era; and all the social tendencies seemed to be working out a national life which was no longer parochial. It was the business of politics so to guide and regulate the varying activities of the people that sectional hatreds should pass away and that the resources of the country should not be squandered. Such was the task of Franklin Pierce, the new leader, who had not known personally the fears and dislikes of earlier days. But a country so rich and prosperous as the United States in 1850-60 had other interests, a social and intellectual life which must engage our attention before we take up the political evolution of the period.

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

James Ford Rhodes's History of the United Slates, vols. I and II, already mentioned, remains the best treatment of the period of 1850-60. T. C. Smith's Parties and Slavery, in American Nation series (1906), and McMaster's History of the United States, vol. VIII, are very valuable. T. P. Kettell's Southern Wealth and Northern Profits (New York, 1860), is a suggestive study in sectionalism not too well known to scholars. But the Census Reports of 1850 and 1860; J. E. B. DeBow's Industrial Resources of the South and West (1857); and U.S. Senate Executive Documents, no. 38, part 1, 52d Cong., 1st Sess., supply the needful statistics on population, crops, manufactures, and finance. Freeman Hunt's Lives of American Merchants, 2 vols. (New York, 1858), gives some interesting information about leading ante-bellum merchants and manufacturers. And the volumes of Hunt's Merchant's Magazine, 1839-60, DeBow's Review, 1846-60, and the American Banker's Magazine for the same period are storehouses of the economic history of the time, K. Coman's Industrial History of the United States (1910); E. L. Bogart's The Economic History of the United States (1908); and Horace White's Money and Banking Illustrated by American History (1911), are the best special works in their several lines.

                    

CHAPTER XI. AMERICAN CULTURE

Four fifths of the people of the United States of 1860 lived in the country, and it is perhaps fair to say that half of these dwelt in log houses of one or two rooms. Comforts such as most of us enjoy daily were as good as unknown. Even in the cities baths were exceedingly rare, while in the country the very decencies of life were neglected. Mosquitoes, flies, and other germ-harboring pests were regarded with equanimity, screens and disinfectants being used only in the best of hospitals. Malaria, typhoid, and other diseases claimed a large toll upon life each year. Physicians were less numerous than now and their art was only in its infancy. Trained nurses were just coming into their present rôle. Men regarded sickness as a visitation of Providence, and when the yellow fever epidemics seized the lower Southern cities, the losses and suffering were such as the present generation cannot appreciate.

Improvements in the matter of dress since 1830 were evident, but for the workaday world shirtsleeves, heavy brogan boots and shoes, and rough wool hats were, of course, the rule. Salt bacon and “greens,” with corn bread and thin coffee, composed the common diet, though milk and butter relieved the monotonous fare for the farmers. “Hog-killing time” was always a happy season, for fresh meats were then abundant. Only in the larger towns did the people have fresh meats throughout the year. An explanation of the enthusiasm of ante-bellum people for political speaking is found in the fact that barbecues either preceded or followed the oratory; and to a man who had lived for months on fat bacon and corn bread a fresh roast pig was a delight which would enable him to endure long hours of poor speaking. But in the cities and towns there was, of course, a better life. Frame houses, two stories high, painted white and adorned with green window blinds, were everywhere in good form, except where men were able to build brick or stone mansions or maintain the establishments of wealthy ancestors. In the South it was still the custom to guard the entrances to great plantation houses with chiseled lions or crouching greyhounds; in the East more attention was paid to flowers and shrubbery. Wealthy families of the East sometimes maintained more than one house servant, but the greater number counted themselves eminently respectable with cook, maid, and house girl all in one, and the pay was one or two dollars a week. Liveries and silver plate persisted mainly in the very exclusive circles of Philadelphia and New York, in Washington, and on the great plantations.

Factory hands and common laborers worked twelve hours a day under circumstances and conditions hardly better than those of 1830, for labor unions had only begun their agitation, and foreign immigrants were always ready to accept work without asking any questions. One or two States had passed laws regulating hours of labor; but none had thought of the cost to the race of hard toil and long hours for women and children, and most men regarded the builder of a mill as a public benefactor because he furnished employment to just this element of the population. A man who had steady work on a farm was paid from ten to fifteen dollars a month with board; a day-laborer received a dollar a day without perquisites. Skilled laborers were paid two dollars a day in the South and slightly less in the East. The industrial belt continued to draw upon the country districts of the East, which, with the continued migration to the West, greatly impoverished the rural life and resulted in many abandoned farms. In the city housing conditions of the poor were worse if anything than they had been thirty years before. Crowded tenements, filthy streets, flies, and vermin abounded. Under the English common law accidents in the mills were matters of concern only to the employees, and the human toll of the railways was enormous. Years of toil, a worn-out frame, a dependent old age, and finally the potter's field was the weary round of life to the millions of dependent people who swarmed about the industrial centers.

Under the pressure of outside criticism and the influence of religion, the lot of the slave was mending, though there was room enough for improvement. From sun to sun was always the plantation day, and the weekly ration was a peck of meal and four pounds of meat—salted “side meat” packed in Cincinnati or Chicago. Each negro family had a single-room cabin, where man, wife, and a dozen children were tucked away in the loft or slept on the floor, though there was usually a bed for the parents. There was, however, always plenty of fresh air, a big open fireplace, and generally shade trees about the negro quarters, which conditions probably account for the lower mortality rate in the South than in the East. Of clothing the slave had only what was absolutely necessary, children being limited to a single garment which reached slightly below the knees. Against accidents and disease more precautions were taken by masters of plantations than by masters of mills, for the life of a negro man or child-bearing woman was equal to twelve hundred dollars. Heavy ditching in malarial swamps was therefore done by Irishmen, whose lives were less important to the planter. Physicians were promptly called for the slaves, and women in labor were generally cared for, because a negro baby was worth one hundred dollars.

If there was some public concern for the slaves in the fields and some beginnings of legislation on the conditions of employment in the industrial States, there was no thought for the isolated, lean, heavy-fisted farmer of the Southern up-country or the Western prairies. Land was still cheap, crops were increasing in bulk and value every year. Nor did the farmer desire the attentions of society, provided the new railroads were laid through his districts and rates were not too exorbitant. He worked hard for a few months, then rested till harvest time, after which he hunted and fished. During the long cold winters of the Northwest he sat in his chimney corner or tended his cattle. Few thought of fertilizing their land; terracing against rains and floods was almost unknown, and for most farmers plowing was done up and down the hills, which only hastened the washing-away process so characteristic of the Southern agriculture. Very few farmers thought it worth while to rotate their crops when fresh lands were to be had at a few dollars an acre. The area of the United States seemed limitless, and hardly a tenth of its arable land had ever been brought under cultivation. The inventions of 1840-50 enabled the Western farmer to grow larger crops, and harvest time was not so burdensome; corn-shellers and grain-fans shortened the hours of labor for the men. Sewing-machines and the revolving churns from the factories gave some relief to the women, whose round of labor, milking, cooking, cleaning, washing, and attending children, was still almost ceaseless. Even the picnics and barbecues offered little to them, for they must still prepare the great baskets of food and serve their lords and masters while they deliberated on “bleeding Kansas,” new railroad schemes, or negro slavery.

Whether the lot of the landless and the less talented had improved since the day of Jackson would be hard to determine. If it was easier to purchase land, or if there was an actual increase in wages, the number of the poorer class of Americans had increased both actually and relatively, and thus competition operated to prevent improved housing and a better country life. Still the life of the great majority in the United States was less grinding than that of Europeans of the same class, and the opportunity for a poor man to rise in the social and economic scale was distinctly better. That is what made America the Mecca of so many thousands during the decade of 1850-60. Yet illiteracy and dependency, causes and results of poverty, were almost appalling. Georgia had a population of 43,684 white illiterates, to say nothing of the 500,000 blacks; Massachusetts had 46,262; Indiana, 60,943; Pennsylvania, 72,156, and North Carolina, 68,128. There were 101 persons in the jails of Georgia on June 1, 1860; Virginia had 189; Massachusetts, 1161, and Illinois, 485. In the open life of the South and West, where men could easily get to the land, there was little crime and jails were often empty; in the industrial belt the prisons were always occupied. In like manner and for the same reasons Southern and Western hospitals for the insane and homes for the poor often showed very small percentages of these unfortunates. Perhaps the unrelieved poverty of the industrial workers and the stress of uncertainty in the matter of employment made the differences. Certainly the weight of the old English common law system, adopted in all the States, bore hardly on the dependent classes of the East; and the courts were not loath to send undefended men to prison. In the South the worker was punished by his master on the plantation for all the minor offenses, and it was only free negroes and the poorer whites who were the subjects of the ordinary social discipline and punishment.

The abounding wealth and strenuous zest of American life were creating just those gradations in society and distinctions of caste against which constitutions and laws inveighed. On the broad basis of African slavery the enterprising Southerner had built and was now perfecting a social class hardly inferior to the aristocracies of Europe. Soft hands and exclusive manners were there as elsewhere in the world the evidences of a gentle life; sturdy personal independence and rough ways, here as in England, were the marks of middle-class training, through which recruits to the privileged order had generally come. Openly and on all proper occasions the Southerners announced the break-down of democracy and the benefits of a cultured élite; the few thousand “first families,” who lived upon the incomes of plantations, spent their winters in New Orleans, their springs in Charleston, and their summers at the Virginia springs. Among these, tutors were engaged to train children, and every man had his valet, every lady her maid. Travel in Europe, sojourns at Newport and Saratoga, and acquaintance with the best hotels of Philadelphia and New York were common to this group of most attractive people. When Congress was in session, they dominated the social life of the capital, gave elaborate balls, and brought effective pressure to bear upon aspiring Eastern and Western public leaders. Douglas had married a beautiful North Carolina heiress, the wife of Jefferson Davis was the granddaughter of a governor of New Jersey, and even William H. Seward was strongly influenced by the graces of his planter friends. Senators, representatives, and judges of the federal courts owned estates in the lower South which yielded incomes ofttimes greater than their official salaries. The very flower and beauty of the land were Southern gentlemen like Robert E. Lee and Wade Hampton, or ladies like the sprightly Mrs. Chestnut or the genial Mrs. Pryor.

Nor did the commercial and industrial life of the East fail to produce a similar fruit. If the Eastern gentleman were less dependent on his valet and less averse to work with his hands, he was nevertheless a gentleman, and the chasm between him and the toiler in the mills was difficult to bridge. There was nowhere in the United States a more exclusive society than that in which the Danas and the Winthrops of Boston moved. And the New England élite were never so happy as when they could run off to England and frequent the dinners and receptions of the British aristocracy; both the manners and the ideals of the Eastern upper class resembled strikingly those of the “best people” of Old England. It was all in striking contrast to the ideals of the Puritans of old times, but it was natural. In New England, as in the South, democracy was flouted and a privileged position greatly prized. The old American “equality” was only skin deep, as any one would have recognized if he had attempted familiarities with either the Eastern or the Southern social leaders. The difference was that the one group lived in cities when they were at home, and the other in the country.

Nor was this American social life scorned by European noblemen. Charles Sumner was always welcome in the greatest houses of London, and the Slidells and the Masons of the South received no less flattering attentions from their European economic and social kinsmen. One of Bismarck's most intimate friends was John L. Motley, and the friendship had been contracted long before Motley had won fame as a historian. American heiresses had already found suitors among the British nobility. The kinship of Eastern social life with that of Europe was recognized, and the relations of the well-to-do at the North with the wealthy of the South were many and intimate. Thus in America as elsewhere talent, birth, and money produced social strata, and before 1860 the distinctions of class were only less sharply drawn here than in the older countries of the world.

But, next to the very necessaries of life, religion was the most important subject to Americans of 1860. The Puritan spirit, while losing some of its hold in New England, had captured the people of the rest of the country. Except as to the Catholics and the Episcopalians, all Americans were born, or thought themselves born, utterly depraved and weighted down with the sin of Adam and Eve, their “first parents,” from which burden the only way of escape was through prayer and agony of soul. Even this prospect was denied to many, for some influential religious teachers urged that God could not hear the supplications of sinners. These must await the call of Heaven, and if this failed, they were bound for the “lake of fire,” whence there was no return. The intelligent and well-informed spoke with all seriousness of “getting religion,” and in the vast country districts the most suitable season for this was the hot July and August days. Revivals among nearly all the leading denominations were held at this time in the churches or under widespread arbors made from the branches of trees. The preaching and the singing were not unlike that which brought the Germans of the eighth century to the Roman communion. The other worlds were just two: one the city of the golden gates and pearly streets, the other the bottomless pit of liquid fire into which Satan would surely plunge all who failed to make their peace with God in this life. The old Puritan lines formerly learned by every child—

         “God's vengeance feeds the flame
          With piles of wood and brimstone flood,
          That none can quench the same”—

represented to most people of the decade just preceding the Civil War all they said. Both old men and young children dreamed of the awful retribution which awaited them in the other world.

And there was a fiery zeal in the work of saving men's souls from the wrath to come which showed that it was no figurative faith which moved the preachers and their co-workers. A song sung by all ran in one of its favorite stanzas:—

        “Must I be carried to the skies
          On flow'ry beds of ease,
         While others fought to win the prize
          And sailed through bloody seas?”

Excitement naturally overcame many, and they rushed forward to the mourner's benches in front of the altar and cried out for mercy, or silently prayed for days and weeks till the light “broke upon them” and they went forth shouting for joy. These then became exhorters, and moved among their friends in the congregation, begging them to yield their “proud and haughty spirits” ere it should be too late. At times scores of penitents would be on their knees in the spaces about the altar, others would be “laboring” with the sinners not yet stricken, and still others thanking God in loud voices for their delivery from sin and Satan, whom all regarded as an active demon always seeking whom he might destroy.

In the South the deism which had influenced the generation led by Washington and Jefferson had given way to the stern faith of the Calvinists, for whether one were Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, or Campbellite, the essentials of his religion were the same. Wealthy planters, small farmers, and negro slaves sought the salvation of their souls in the same churches and under the same preachers. In fact it was common for men to be told by their pastors that unless they were willing to sit down in heaven by the side of the “poor slave” they could not be saved, and the slave often begged his master to accept the terms of salvation. A few great planters who were not touched by the religious fervor of the time held aloof, and the poorer whites and the slaves came to accept the view that these were the rich men who could not be saved, and commonly said hell was their unavoidable portion.

In the East, save in the Unitarian and Episcopalian churches, there was the same religious realism. In the great revivals of 1857 earnest men and great congregations prayed aloud that God might convert the heretical Theodore Parker, or that, if he were not a subject of grace, as many believed he was not, he might be taken from this world, where he was doing infinite mischief. Of course he was to be consigned immediately to the “fiery furnace below.” And the greatest of American preachers, Henry Ward Beecher, in the same revival, gathered about him the hard-headed business men of New York City and together they prayed that wicked playwrights and worldly-minded theater-goers might be brought to a realizing sense of the shame of their conduct, and that the houses of their frivolous vice might be converted into temples of Christian worship. Again, those who would not heed the solemn warnings of the pulpit were “given up,” and the Heavenly Father was asked to remove them “hence.”

The influence of this sense of the awfulness of the after life to those who might not be saved was far-reaching. The farmer, driven by the hard necessity of making a living for himself and family to remain away from church, meditated sorrowfully as he followed his plow, and often at the end of his furrow fell upon his knees and besought the Creator to save his undying soul and spare him the everlasting torture of the damned. A popular little gift book, published by the American Tract Society of New York, was entitled Passing Over Jordan, and on an early page we find the following typical lines:—

          “My thoughts on awful subjects roll,
            Damnation and the dead:
          What horrors seize my guilty soul
            Upon a dying bed.”

And a young woman who received this as a New Year's present was a perfectly normal girl of Cincinnati and the daughter of a prominent family there.

What was happening in the United States during the thirty years we are studying was the saving of the people from the rough and often coarse and sensual life of the frontier. Under conditions such as have been described the influence and power of the preacher in young America were extraordinary. And the clergy deserved the authority they exercised. Never before the war was a Methodist bishop even charged with immoral conduct. The standards of the Baptists and Presbyterians were equally high. The preachers who called men to repentance were beyond question of the highest character. Earnest, sincere, overwhelmed with the sense of their responsibility, they “preached the Word with power,” and the Word was the Bible which all believed implicitly from cover to cover. It was not clear to preacher or congregation how God spoke to man first in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, then in the Greek of the New Testament, and finally in the Authorized Version of James I. But it mattered not; the Bible was inspired by the Heavenly Father, for it was so stated in Revelation, and a curse was held up for him who denied its truth or so much as removed one syllable or added a line. It was the authority of the Bible as preached by Martin Luther and John Calvin, and the interpreters of the Sacred Book were the clergy, not the Pope or some distant sacerdotal see.

Just how many people were members of the churches it would be very difficult accurately to determine. The Methodists of the South numbered nearly a million in 1860, those of the North were equally strong. The Baptists, North, South, and West, were nearly as numerous. The Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Christians (Campbellites) had each some hundreds of thousands of members. All the churches, including Catholics, offered seating accommodations for about 20,000,000 of the 31,000,000 people of the country; which is a large proportion. And from the census returns, it seems that church accommodations were always best and most plentiful in the older communities, the East having almost as many pews as there were people. The South could seat 6,500,000 worshipers,—that is, a little more than half of the population; the Northwest was able to accommodate only about 4,000,000.

With Protestant churches so powerful and their ministers so influential, it is only natural that the religious teachings of the time should have told in politics and the sectional struggle. The Southerners believed almost implicitly in the claim of their great Presbyterian preacher, B. M. Palmer, when he declared in 1860: “In this great struggle, we defend the cause of God and religion; it is our solemn duty to ourselves, to our slaves, to the world, and to Almighty God to preserve and transmit our existing system of domestic servitude, with the right, unchallenged by man, to go and root itself wherever Providence and Nature may carry it.” Methodists, Baptists, Catholics, and all other important bodies of Christians in the South held and taught the same doctrine. In the Northwest there was some hesitation about going so far, but the majority undoubtedly believed with Dr. Nathan L. Rice, of Chicago, that slavery was divinely established and not to be disturbed by man. In the East some of the Unitarians taught abolition and supported Garrison and Phillips; more of the Congregationalists were of the same mind. But in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia the greater clergy had come to regret the former tendency to denounce slavery, and they were inclined to preach the doctrine that Providence had established slavery and that it should be left to Providence to remove it in due time. Only in the rural districts of the East, where the old New England spirit still flourished, was slavery declared to be “the awful curse.” And here it was that the old sectional hatred was strongest. The churches and the clergy with all their influence had thus given up the problem of slavery, and their counsel and advice were to maintain the Union and to put down all sectional conflict. Nationalism with the South dominant was the meaning of this; nor do the election returns of 1852 and 1856 make a different showing.

Where religious influences were so potent, it was natural that the clergy should exert themselves for the education of the young. Yale College was a “school of the prophets” which sent out to the West the young preachers and teachers so much needed if Congregationalism was to hold its own in that region. Princeton was Presbyterian headquarters for both West and South, and few institutions have ever exerted a greater civilizing force in a new nation than that school of sternest theology. Dr. Charles Hodge was there a tower of orthodox and conservative strength which could be seen from afar. In numerous other institutions the Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists, Friends, and Campbellites trained their ministers and urged upon all the importance of education. At the University of Virginia there were chaplains maintained by the different denominations for the religious instruction of the students. The Methodists of Michigan regularly appointed a professor to the state university for the same purpose. Other state universities, like those of Indiana and North Carolina, were brought under practical denominational control through the zealous activity of Presbyterian presidents.

The education of the little children was, however, too much for the most zealous of religious organizations. Jefferson had set in motion influences which had greatly strengthened the cause of popular education in the South and West. But nowhere did the States prepare fully for the work. In the Northwest the public school lands were wasted by thoughtless or venal politicians, and in the older South the label, “school for the children of the poor,” went far to defeat all efforts made by legislatures on behalf of good public school systems. In the period of 1840-50 Horace Mann revived the New England interest in education and laid the foundations for the school systems of to-day. Even so ardent a Southerner as William L. Yancey, of Alabama, became a disciple of the New England reformer, and tried to do a similar work in his State. In Indiana, Illinois, and the other Western States educational reforms followed. There were in consequence about 5,000,000 children in school in the year 1860. Of these the South had 796,000, the Northwest, exclusive of California, 2,005,196, and the East, 2,011,826; which shows that Southern public opinion had not yet been aroused to the importance of the subject. But the figures for illiteracy, already given, do not show a worse condition among the whites of the South than is shown in the Northwestern States.

If the returns for college education be taken, the balance among the sections is fairly reëstablished. There were 25,882 college students in the South in 1860, and this does not take into account the large number of Southern students in Eastern institutions like Princeton and Harvard. There were at the same time 16,959 college students in the Northwest, and 10,449 in the East.

Between education and the attainments of science and invention there is some connection, though genius often defies all conventional methods of instruction. In addition to the epoch-making inventions of McCormick and his competitors, Samuel F. B. Morse had perfected his electric telegraph, which was in operation in most of the countries of Europe before 1860. Richard M. Hoe revolutionized newspaper publishing in the late forties by his rotary printing-press, which put out thousands of copies of a paper in an hour. Nor was Elias Howe's sewing-machine any less of a wonder when it came into use about 1850. Draper and Morse's new photography, Thurber's typewriter, Woodruff's sleeping-car, and many other marvelous contrivances of the same period showed the fertility of the American inventive genius.

In scientific research the United States could not present so many evidences of her success, though in 1860 Alexander Dallas Bache, the head of the Coast Survey, was counted one of the leading scientists of his time, and Louis Agassiz, the Swiss-American naturalist, was teaching now in Charleston, now in the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard, and beginning the great work, Contributions to the Natural History of the United States, which his son, Alexander, was to complete. Joseph Henry, the first head of the Smithsonian Institution, was equally well known, and he and Professor Bache were the backbones of the American National Academy of Science, just beginning its beneficent work. Silliman, of Yale, and Mitchell, of the University of North Carolina, were the best-known geologists.

Nor was art degenerating in this period of great prosperity. Hiram Powers, of Cincinnati, the ablest sculptor of his country, was greatly hurt because Congress refused him the contract for the decorative work on the magnificent Capitol in Washington, at last nearing completion. His aspirations were not unreasonable, for his Greek Slave, a beautiful work in marble, had captured the imagination of both American and foreign critics in 1851. Still, Thomas Crawford, his successful competitor, was a sculptor of real gifts, as one may see in his statues of Jefferson and Patrick Henry in Richmond. The work of Allston, Sully, and De Veaux, the painters, was being improved upon by Chester Harding, Eastman Johnson, and William Morris Hunt, all influenced, however, by Turner of England, the Düsseldorf (Germany) and Barbizon (France) schools. There were now many wealthy business men in the country, and thus artists had a fair chance of a livelihood while their ideals and technique were developing. In Boston, New York, and Philadelphia were the beginnings of the museums which were a few years later to become schools of art of no mean importance.

But the flower of American culture was its literature. To be sure Edgar Allan Poe, whose Raven and short stories were ere long to give him the first rank among all American men of letters, had been suffered to starve in the midst of New York's millions in 1849, and Hawthorne found it very difficult to find the means of a meager livelihood in Massachusetts. If the Raven and the Scarlet Letter were born unwelcome, Ralph Waldo Emerson was making a living as author and sage of his generation, and there were others of the Transcendentalists—Thoreau, the woodland poet, Margaret Fuller, the woman knight-errant, recently drowned at sea, and Amos Bronson Alcott—whose writings appeared in standard editions and who lived by their pens. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a professor at Harvard till 1854, though savagely criticized by Poe and Margaret Fuller, had won the American heart in his Village Blacksmith and Evangeline. He scored his greatest triumph in Miles Standish in 1858. And another Harvard professor, Oliver Wendell Holmes, was just coming into a national reputation in 1860 by his Autocrat of the Breakfast Table and other similar writings.

A more radical poet was John Greenleaf Whittier, contributor to the National Era, a radical anti-slavery journal which first gave publicity to Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe's famous Uncle Tom's Cabin. Whittier's Ichabod, which appeared in 1850, and is already quoted in these pages, gave its author a devoted following among the radicals and hastened Webster to his grave. Mrs. Stowe's work was perhaps the most influential book ever written by an American, though it hardly ranks as literature. Of a similarly intense nature was James Russell Lowell, whose Biglow Papers of 1846 to 1857 unmercifully lampooned the party which waged the war on Mexico and ridiculed the leaders of the South and West. Succeeding Longfellow at Harvard, Lowell helped to establish in 1857 the Atlantic Monthly, which still remains the best of American magazines.

There was nowhere else in the country such a school of literary men as this of New England, though in Charleston William Gilmore Simms was still publishing historical novels, espousing the cause of Southern literature in Russell's Magazine, and stimulating the ambitions of young men. One of his pupils, Henry Timrod, whose At Magnolia Cemetery is likely to prove immortal, was worthy to be compared with Poe; and another, Paul Hamilton Hayne, certainly deserved a higher rank and a better fortune than either of these struggling poets has been accorded. But perhaps the most original writings of the time were those of a certain group of obscure men in Georgia and the lower South. A. B. Longstreet, the author of Georgia Scenes, William Tappan Thompson, of Major Jones's Courtship, and Joseph B. Baldwin, of Flush Times in Alabama and Mississippi, struck a rich vein of ludicrous humor which Mark Twain worked out after the war.

In Richmond the Southern Literary Messenger was still the clearing-house for Southern writers, and De Bow's Review was eminent in the field of social and economic studies. New York City had, however, become the Mecca of the men who had manuscripts to submit. There the Harper Brothers published their Harper's Magazine, which went to 150,000 subscribers, we are told, each month, and the Knickerbocker Magazine, distinguished by the contributions of Washington Irving, the Nestor of American writers, tried to keep pace. Both the Harpers and the Putnams did an enormous business in books of all kinds, now that so many Americans had grown rich. Walter Scott's novels were imported for the South in carload lots, while Dickens's numberless volumes found ready sale in the East, thus showing the different tastes of the sections.

And the historians had increased their vogue with a people just beginning to realize that they had ancestors and taking a becoming pride in their early history. Bancroft's History of the United States was sold in all sections in a way that would astound present-day historians. Richard Hildreth, a sturdy partisan, added his six volumes to Bancroft's in 1849-54 by way of antidote; and George Tucker, of the University of Virginia, still further “corrected” the history of his country, the better to suit the tastes of Southerners. John L. Motley published his Rise of the Dutch Republic in 1856 at his own expense, and suddenly found himself one of the foremost historians of his time, his work being quickly translated into all the important languages of Europe. William H. Prescott, an older man and a greater historian, already well known for his Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, gave to the printer his Reign of Philip II in 1855-58, and easily maintained his supremacy in the field of history.

It was an aspiring generation that produced Poe, Hawthorne, Lowell, and the rest, and if one considers the character of American culture, its lack of unity, and the still youthful nature of its people, it is easy to understand the pride in its budding art and maturer literature, the sensitiveness to foreign criticism, the provincialism which demands attention and a “place in the sun.” Carlyle's scorn and Macaulay's contempt were indeed as irritating as they were unjust, for America had gone a long way since the rough backwoodsman, Andrew Jackson, came to the Presidency by almost unanimous consent in 1829.

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

James Ford Rhodes in his History of the United States, vol. I, chap. IV, gives an account of social conditions in the South just prior to the war and, in vol. III, chap. XII, there is a similar picture of conditions in the North. McMaster's last volume describes the life of the people for this period. But I have found most valuable information in works of travel like F. L. Olmsted's A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States (1856) and A Journey Through the Back Country (1863), W. H. Russell's My Diary North and South (1863), Sir Charles Lyell's A Second Visit to the United States (1849), Peter Cartwright's Autobiography (1856), and James Dixon's Personal Narrative (1849); and in John Weiss's Life and Correspondence of Theodore Parker (1864); Beecher and Scoville's Biography of Henry Ward Beecher (1888); W. E. Hatcher's Life of J. B. Jeter (1887); T. C. Johnson's The Life and Letters of Benjamin Morgan Palmer (1906); and the valuable American Church History series (1893-97). On American sculpture Lorado Taft's American Sculpture (1903), and Charles H. Caffin's American Masters of Sculpture (1903), are useful and discriminating. Caffin has also written The Story of American Painting (1907), which is perhaps the best short account of the subject. For a good view of the literary and publishing interests of 1860, W. P. Trent's A History of American Literature (1903) is most valuable, and W. B. Cairns's A History of American Literature (1912) is likewise important. George H. Putnam's George Palmer Putnam: A Memoir (1912) and J. H. Harper's The House of Harper (1912) give important information about the rise of the publishing houses. Of course De Bow's Review, Resources of the South and West, and the Reports of the Census for 1850 and 1860 are indispensable.

                    

CHAPTER XII. STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS

If the two preceding chapters have shown that the larger social and economic interests tended strongly toward the elimination of sectional hostility, political conditions and party vows gave even stronger assurances that there should be no more conflicts like those of 1833 and 1850. Yet there was one section of the country which was a sort of storm center, the Northwest. There a wide expanse of rich lands held by Indians, a rapidly increasing population, and great annual harvests of wheat and corn, selling at high prices, created a condition not unlike that of the lower South when Jackson became President. Removal of the Indians from the fertile areas of the Nebraska country, the creation of new Territories, and the building of railroads connecting the wheat and corn areas with Chicago and the Eastern markets were the demands of the Northwest in 1853, and a really great party leader would have seen the problem and his duty.

But Pierce was not a great leader. In the make-up of his Cabinet he chose William L. Marcy, of New York, for Secretary of State, James Campbell, of Pennsylvania, for Postmaster-General, and Caleb Cushing, of Massachusetts, for Attorney-General, all of whom were close political allies of the South. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, became Secretary of War, and James C. Dobbin, of North Carolina, Secretary of the Navy. Both of these were extreme pro-slavery men. From the West, James Guthrie, of Kentucky, and Robert McClelland, of Michigan, were taken into the President's Council, the one to be Secretary of the Treasury and the other the head of the Department of the Interior. Although Douglas had been the strongest candidate for the nomination for the Presidency before the recent Democratic Convention, neither he nor any of his friends was selected. Nor did it seem wise to those who were then shaping the destinies of the country to conciliate the still powerful anti-slavery element of the East.

Looking backwards the new Administration found three lines of procedure open to it, all suggested by President Polk in his later messages to Congress. One of these was the closer attachment of California to the rest of the country, another was the purchase of Cuba as a makeweight to the growing Northwest, and the third was the rapid expansion of American commerce by federal subsidies to shipping and the opening of new channels of trade.

To carry into effect the first of these, James Gadsden, an able railroad president of South Carolina, was sent to Mexico to purchase a large strip of land lying along the southern border of New Mexico and thus make easy the building of a national railway from Memphis to San Francisco, for the lowest passes over the Rocky Mountains were in this region. Gadsden returned in the autumn successful. For $10,000,000 he had secured 50,000 square miles of territory, and the way was open for the Government to lay its plans for the greatest undertaking ever proposed by the most latitudinarian politicians. Davis, hitherto an extreme States-rights leader and disciple of Calhoun, worked out the program. The constitutional authority for building a Pacific railroad was deduced from the “war powers” of the Federal Government, and, though it was not definitely stated that the road should pass through the recent annexation, it was commonly understood that such was the purpose of the President and that the lower South was to be the economic and social beneficiary of the great improvement. Arkansas, Texas, and California were willing and anxious to build the parts of the road that passed through their territory. With the exception of a group of Gulf-city representatives and some of the up-country Democrats of the older South, the leaders of the party approved the plan, and Pierce made the Pacific railroad the burden of his first annual message to Congress. Congress voted the money for the preliminary survey of five routes to the Pacific, and confided the work to Jefferson Davis, the recognized leader of the Administration. The people of the country, long familiar with the arguments of Asa Whitney and others in favor of such an undertaking, made no objection, though men of political foresight saw the far-reaching purposes of the scheme.

To effect the second object of the Democratic program, the purchase of Cuba, Pierre Soulé, of Louisiana, was sent to Spain. Soulé was one of the most ardent of Southern expansionists, and his mission was not relished at Madrid any more than it was approved by conservative Eastern Democrats. In support of the new Spanish Minister, John Y. Mason, of Virginia, and James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, both former members of the Polk Cabinet, were sent as Ministers to France and England respectively. Soulé made little progress till the Black Warrior, an American coasting vessel, was seized in 1854 by the Spanish authorities in Havana and searched in the expectation of finding evidence that the people of the United States were still assisting the Cuban insurrectionists. No proof was discovered, and the people of the country, especially those of the South, were greatly excited; for a time it seemed that war would ensue. Davis and Soulé pressed the case upon the President, at the risk of war and perhaps in the hope that war would follow and that thus Cuba, so long coveted, would fall into the lap of the United States. But Marcy, though ambitious of annexing Cuba, was hard pressed by Eastern public opinion, and he persuaded Pierce to recall his hasty minister. This was not done, however, until the three ministers concerned had met at Ostend in the autumn of 1855 and published to the world the manifesto which declared it to be the purpose of their Government not to allow any other European country to get possession of Cuba, and which further stated that the United States was always ready to pay a fair price for the island. A more moderate man succeeded Soulé, but the subject was pressed at Madrid with increasing persistence during the remainder of that and the next Administration.

The third item of the Democratic policy, the expansion of American commerce, was furthered by a continuation of the subsidies to steamship companies like the Collins line, which put upon the ocean many vessels of the best and largest build. Even more was planned in offering Robert J. Walker the mission to China, and the appointment of Townsend Harris, a wealthy New York merchant, as consul to Ningpo, Japan. Walker declined, but Harris accepted, and within two years, with the assistance of Commodore Perry, he succeeded in opening the hermit kingdom to the civilization and commerce of the United States. It was the beginning of modern Japan, and it marked a new stage in the development of American trade in the Orient. In all these measures Pierce met with some opposition in the East, particularly in the rough handling of the Cuban question; and there was much dislike of the Southern filibustering against Lower California and, especially at the close of the Administration, against Nicaragua, which was seized by William Walker, the Tennessee imperialist already mentioned, and proclaimed in 1856 a slave State. But the opposition was rather to the spirit and tone of things, and the very plain subserviency of the President to Southern wishes, than against expansion as such. The real resistance to Pierce came on another matter and in the most unexpected way, in the struggle over the Kansas-Nebraska Bill.

The stone rejected of the builders really became the head of the corner, for in spite of all that the Pierce Administration could do, the problem of the Northwest, which Douglas personified, became the bone of contention between the sections, and again, as in 1850, the South, the East, and the Northwest struggled for supremacy. When the Davis plans for a southern Pacific railroad were maturing, Senator Douglas, the head of the Senate Committee on Territories, was preparing to renew his six-year fight for the opening of the wide Nebraska hinterland of his section. The squatters of the Kansas and the Platte River Valleys were already confronted with hostile Indians who protested against the unlawful seizure of their lands. And now that wheat and corn were becoming great staple crops, the Northwestern pioneers were loudly demanding that the natives should not be permitted to cumber the ground. They must move on to the arid desert beyond or be carried into the Southern country, which Davis, as we have seen, was trying to open to Southern pioneers. It was a real conflict of interest between the lower South and the Northwest, and in order to win, the Northwestern politicians must find allies in the East as Clay had done in 1825-36, though Douglas as an “old-line” Democrat could not so readily see this.

He resorted to management and finesse. He found two delegates from Nebraska in Washington in December, 1853, one from what was soon to be Kansas, the other from the pioneers of Nebraska. It was natural, therefore, for him to change his Nebraska bill of the former sessions into a bill for the creation of two Territories, with the two rival delegates as their prospective spokesmen in Congress. Besides, Douglas, who was a consummate politician, would have two more loyal followers and two other embryo States in his wing of the Democratic party.

[Illustration: Conflicting Sectional Interests, 1850-1860]

Hence Douglas prepared for the removal of the Indians, for the creation of two Territories instead of one, and he enlisted in his cause the Senators and Representatives of Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin, by showing them that their own schemes for the granting of public lands to assist in the building of railroads would be furthered by their voting for the opening of Nebraska. Every economic and political instinct of the people of the Northwest tended to enlist them in the cause of Douglas and Nebraska. And it was known to most of the Chicago public and big business men that a Pacific railroad was to be laid from Council Bluffs, a point already in railroad connection with Chicago, to San Francisco, in the event of the rapid development of the Platte River country. But St. Louis and Missouri leaders would oppose this because they had been fighting since 1848 to get a railway to the Pacific directly from Kansas City.

There was, however, a vigorous pro-slavery party in Missouri, led by David Atchison. This party had overthrown Benton, and their first purpose was the making of Kansas a slave State. It was the western half of Missouri which now controlled the State, and the commercial element of St. Louis, to which the Pacific railroad was so attractive, was in the minority. Douglas won Atchison and western Missouri to his plans by holding out to them that their contention, as old as Missouri itself, that the Compromise of 1820 was unconstitutional, might be granted by Congress. When this was fully appreciated, Kentucky and Tennessee leaders became interested. Southern newspapers took up the discussion and Douglas immediately became a statesman. Even Jefferson Davis was led to commit himself to the new Kansas-Nebraska Bill when the anti-slavery men of the East began to attack it. And on Sunday, January 22, Pierce promised Douglas the official support of the Administration.

The bill now provided for two Territories west of the Missouri River, for the formal repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and for the adoption of the old Cass doctrine of popular sovereignty, whereby the settlers in the new communities were to determine for themselves whether they would have slaves or not. If any dispute arose as to this a test was to be made of the question in the United States courts. This looked like a surrender of a large part of the public domain to the South, and the repeal of the semi-sacred Compromise was perhaps the boldest proposition that had ever been offered in Congress. Still the great purpose was the development of the Northwest, and wise public men might have seen that the populous free States of the Northwest would inevitably win and make the 400,000 square miles of Nebraska free territory; and if the railroad bills which Douglas supported and tied to his main measure by all kinds of promises passed, the supremacy of the Northwest would be certain.

But the weakness of popular government is the fact that public men are seldom strong enough to deny themselves the opportunity of an appeal to the people on a side issue, if such appeal promises political victory. The day that Douglas introduced his bill, there appeared in the New York papers, The Appeal of the Independent Democrats, signed by Senators Chase and Sumner and the Free-Soil members of the House. It was an able protest against the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and a denunciation of the “unscrupulous politician” who made this surrender of national and free States rights in order to secure for himself the coveted Presidency. The essential purpose of the Douglas legislation, the rapid upbuilding of the Northwest and the blocking of the Davis plans for a Pacific railroad, were entirely overlooked. A wave of excitement swept over the East and the New England colonies of the Northwest. Petitions poured into Congress, meetings were held to denounce Douglas as a second Benedict Arnold, and he was burned in effigy by thousands who never took the trouble to read the Kansas-Nebraska Bill or seriously contemplated its effects. In Congress Chase, Sumner, Seward, and even moderates like Edward Everett denounced the ambitious politician from Illinois who had dared to “sell the birthright of the free States for a mess of pottage.” It was a revival of the sectional hatred, as well as of the fears of the aggressive planters who had enticed Douglas to go one step farther than he had intended.

Though the South had begun to fear the consequences of popular sovereignty and to see that Douglas was only making the more certain the power of his group of States, its spokesmen felt compelled to support him in a fight against abolitionists and anti-slavery agitators. Alexander Stephens, an able Whig leader of Georgia, and most other members of that party in the South, gave Douglas hearty support. The struggle developed into a fight between the East and the South. A great many of the followers of Douglas were won away from the original program when it seemed a mere question of slavery extension, and the Democrats of the Northwest divided sharply. After four months of angry debate and unprecedented log-rolling the bill became law, and the President promptly organized Kansas and Nebraska as Territories. Members of Congress went home after the adjournment to face their constituents, and a most exciting campaign followed. In Wisconsin and Michigan a new party was organized. Its appeal was to the fundamental American doctrines that all men are equal and that no great interests should rule the country. It received immediate support in the two States mentioned, and in all the counties of the Northwest where the New England influence was predominant, in northern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Naturally the remnants of the old party organizations, the Whigs and the Free-Soilers, lent enthusiastic support.

Chase and Sumner had called into being a new idealist movement resembling that which had overwhelmed the Federalists in 1800, and a group of new leaders, soon to become famous, emerged. In addition to the well-known names already mentioned, there now appeared the kindly, shrewd Abraham Lincoln, of Kentucky and Illinois; J. W. Grimes arose in Iowa to threaten a Democratic machine which had never known defeat; Zachary Chandler, of Michigan, was making ready the stroke which was to unhorse the great and popular Cass; and Benjamin F. Wade, of Ohio, joined Chase and Giddings, thus making up the trio which was to rule that State for years to come. The young and vigorous Republican party of the Northwest, guided by this company of ambitious “new” politicians, readily effected the union of East and Northwest which Adams and Clay had long striven in vain to perfect. The work of Chase, Seward, Lincoln, and Sumner of these years paralleled that of Calhoun, Jackson, and Benton in 1828; and as a result the Democrats lost their hold on the legislatures of nearly all the States above the Ohio and the Missouri Rivers, and their overwhelming majority in the Federal House of Representatives disappeared as if overnight.

While the new Republican party, almost wholly sectional in its origin and perhaps in its purposes, was winning leadership in the country, the more conservative Whigs of the East sought to affiliate with a small organization of nativists who called themselves Americans and whose slogan was “America for Americans.” Foreigners should be barred from citizenship and Catholics should be ostracized. In the South most followers of Clay and in the East many admirers of Webster avoided a complete surrender to the Democrats by stopping in this halfway house. The “Know-Nothings,” as the party was called in derision of their failure to answer questions about their platform, gained so many followers from the dissatisfied elements of the older parties that in 1855 it seemed likely they would sweep the country. In Virginia they made their most spectacular campaign. Henry A. Wise, a Whig who had gone into the Democratic party with Stephens, was their greatest opponent, and in the gubernatorial campaign of 1855 he completely discomfited them; in Georgia they likewise lost their contest. The South was accepting the Democratic leadership and becoming solid, as Calhoun had prayed that it might become. In the East, Seward and Weed persuaded most of the Whigs to unite with the Republicans, and when the first national convention of the Americans met in 1856, it was clear that its leaders could not hold the Southern and Eastern wings together on the slavery question. The anti-slavery Americans bolted, and the remnant which remained nominated ex-President Fillmore, who in the succeeding election received a majority in only one State, Maryland, though his popular vote was nearly a million. The parties of the future were plainly the Democratic, Southern, pro-slavery, and well organized, and the Republican, Northern, we may now say, anti-slavery, and also well organized.

Meanwhile the frontiersmen from Iowa and Missouri were trying to work out the principle of popular sovereignty in Kansas, and their Governor, Andrew Reeder, was doing what he could to assist them. Anti-slavery aid societies in the East sent resolute men to Kansas to vote and save the Territory from slavery, and pro-slavery lodges in Missouri went across the border to vote against and perhaps to shoot Free-State men who disputed the right of the South to plant and to maintain slavery there. Under these circumstances the first election for members of the territorial legislature was a farce. Yet Reeder felt obliged to let the new assembly go on with its work of making easy the immigration of masters with their “property”; when he went East a little later he took occasion to protest in a public address against the intrusion of Missouri voters. He was regretfully removed from office, though he returned to Kansas to coöperate with Charles Robinson, a Californian of political experience, in the organization of the Free-State party, which refused to recognize the territorial legislature and which met in voluntary convention at Topeka in the autumn of 1855 and drew a state constitution. In this document slavery was outlawed. Following the example of California, representatives of the new government asked for prompt admission to the Union.

The Southerners had never recognized California as properly within the Union, and the pro-Southern party in Kansas made open war upon the Topeka party in December. Lawrence, the anti-slavery headquarters, was besieged, but the new governor managed to compromise so as to prevent bloodshed, and the two governments of Kansas continued to exist. The Federal Congress was compelled to decide which of the questionable governments should be recognized as lawful. Since the Senate was Democratic and pro-Southern, and the House Republican and pro-Northern, a decision was impossible. The Topeka constitution was supported by the House, and even the fair and reasonable bill of the Senate offered by Toombs in 1856 was rejected. This called for a submission of both parties in Kansas to an election safeguarded against unlawful interference from any source. It seemed that Seward, Chase, and their friends did not desire a settlement before the election. And Sumner's speech on the “Crime of Kansas” was a challenge to war. He compared Douglas to “the noisome squat and nameless animal whose tongue switched a perpetual stench,” and Senator Butler, of South Carolina, a leader of the highest character, was a man who could not open his mouth but to lie.

The war of the sections was now renewed in the most bitter form, as was shown when Preston Brooks, a kinsman of Butler, assaulted Sumner a day or two after the speech, resigned his seat in the House as Representative from South Carolina, and was immediately reëlected. Sumner retired from the Senate, a hero in all New England, and Massachusetts ostentatiously refused to fill the vacant seat during the next three years, thus constantly reminding her people of Sumner's vituperation and the South Carolina assault.

When the Democrats met in their national convention in Cincinnati in June, the struggle in Kansas still went on, and the excitement of the Sumner-Brooks affair had not subsided. All elements of the South were represented, and the American party showed no signs of being able to carry a single Southern State. The convention accepted Douglas's popular sovereignty as its platform, but nominated Buchanan as its candidate. He was “available” because he had been out of the country for four years and had said nothing on the Kansas quarrel. John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, was nominated for the Vice-Presidency in the hope of winning Tennessee and Kentucky, which had not voted for a Democratic candidate since Jackson.

The Republicans used the “Crime of Kansas” as politicians always use such opportunities, and they made an appeal to the Revolutionary tradition by calling their convention on the anniversary of the battle of Bunker Hill, June 17. They had not a bona fide delegation from any Southern State. But the Declaration of Independence, overlooked by both parties for many years, was made a part of the platform. The Pacific railway was indorsed and internal improvements at federal expense were again recommended to the country. John C. Frémont, son-in-law of Benton and an explorer of national fame, was nominated for the Presidency. The campaign had already been waging since the introduction of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. It now became intense. Douglas gave Buchanan his loyal support, and the great Southern planters united with New York merchants and New England conservatives to make the Democratic ticket successful. Even Edward Everett and Rufus Choate made public announcement of their conversion to Democracy. Large sums of money were sent to Pennsylvania to influence the vote. Southern governors in a conference at Raleigh proposed secession if the Democrats failed, and Eastern radicals urged the break-up of the Union if the slave power continued in control.

The result was a victory for the conservatives, or “reactionaries,” as we should perhaps say. The solid South voted for Buchanan; and Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, and California were found in the same column. Frémont received the support of a solid East and all the Northwest except the States just mentioned. The fear of radicalism and the distrust of men of great wealth everywhere had defeated the young Republicans; the returns showed that the Democrats had polled 200,000 more votes than in 1852, and there was no reason to believe that the 874,000 which had been cast for Fillmore would not in the end be given to the conservative Democrats in preference to the sectional Republicans. There was no chance for the enthusiastic followers of Seward and Chase unless the majority party could be broken into factions, and this a wise and able Democratic leadership would avoid.

Strangely Buchanan formed his Cabinet without consulting Douglas, so far as can now be ascertained. No friend of his was appointed to high office, yet the support of the Northwest was the one condition of continued success. In the foreign policy the new Administration made no change. A part of northern Mexico and all of Cuba were still coveted and, till the outbreak of the Civil War, efforts were made to obtain both. Howell Cobb, of Georgia, was the master spirit of the Cabinet, and Jefferson Davis was the Administration leader in the Senate.

The Supreme Court, composed of seven pro-Southern members as against two anti-slavery men, undertook to give a coup de grace to the quarrel about slavery in the Territories. The Missouri Compromise had never been passed upon by the court. Now a case came before the august tribunal which gave opportunity for the judges to say whether slavery could be prohibited by federal authority in the public domain. Dred Scott, a slave belonging to a Missouri master, had been carried into Minnesota and there held in bondage. He sued for his freedom on the ground that slavery was unlawful in free territory, under the Compromise. The case was before the court nearly a year before the judges gave out their opinion that Scott was not a citizen of the United States, and that, therefore, he could not sue in the federal courts. The case was dismissed. But the judges granted a rehearing of the case, and in March, 1857, hoping to assist the country to a peaceful solution of the slavery problem, gave out a so-called dictum, which it had been the custom of the court occasionally to submit to the public.[9] In this document the judges said that the negro was property, and that as such the Federal Government must protect it in the Territories. This was the Calhoun doctrine, and the South rejoiced immoderately; the Republicans now began to realize that the courts were in alliance with the slave-power, and they were forced to attack the most sacred political institution in the country.

[Footnote 9: Chief Justice Marshall had set the example for this in his Marbury vs. Madison dictum.]

Both parties turned to Kansas to see what could be won there. During the spring of 1856, when Sumner and Brooks were manifesting the spirit of the members of Congress, the Southern and Northern groups in Kansas carried their warfare to similar extremes. Lawrence was destroyed by the pro-slavery men; the anti-slavery men returned the stroke in the massacres on Pottawatomie Creek. John Brown, a fanatical New England emigrant, imagined himself to be commissioned of Heaven to kill all the pro-slavery people who fell into his hands, and he did a bloody work which under other conditions would have been counted as murder and denounced everywhere. But in the autumn of 1856 wealthy and benevolent men in the North applauded him, gave him money, and held meetings in his honor.

Into a Kansas frenzied with the work of Brown on the one side and that of the “border ruffians,” as the Missourians were called, on the other, the President sent Robert J. Walker as governor, commissioned to solve the insoluble problem. So great was the faith of the country in Walker that he was hailed as the next President of the United States by fair-minded men and important newspapers. Walker called an election for a constitutional convention. Again the Missourians participated, and the Lecompton constitution was the result. The Free-State men refused to recognize the convention unless the new constitution should be submitted to a fair vote. This the convention refused to do, and the governor appealed to the President to compel submission. This was denied, and Walker resigned. The Lecompton, pro-slavery constitution of Kansas was submitted to the first Congress of Buchanan in December, 1857, and the Administration urged its adoption. Walker openly condemned Buchanan for deserting him, and he declared the Lecompton constitution to be a fraud. Yet the leaders of the South, resentful and angry, supported it, and the majority of the Senate was on the same side. The judges of the Supreme Court were known to favor it. The Republicans urged the adoption of the Topeka constitution of 1855, and the majority of the people seemed to be of the same view. What was the way out of the dangerous impasse?

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Most interesting and trustworthy accounts of subjects discussed in the chapter are: T. C. Smith's Parties and Slavery, in American Nation series; F. Bancroft's The Life of William H. Seward (1900); Allen Johnson's The Life of Stephen A. Douglas (1908); O. G. Villard's John Brown; a Biography (1910); L. D. Scisco's Political Nativism in New York (1901); William Salter's Life of James W. Grimes (1876); George W. Julian's Life of Joshua R. Giddings (1892). Rhodes, McMaster, and Schouler treat the period critically. Some special studies of importance are P. O. Ray's Repeal of the Missouri Compromise (1909); Allen Johnson's Genesis of Popular Sovereignty (Iowa Journal of History and Politics, III); F. H. Hodder's Douglas and the Kansas-Nebraska Act (Wisconsin Historical Society Proceedings, 1912); and E. S. Corwin's The Dred Scott Decision (American Historical Review, XVII).

Some of the most instructive contemporary narratives will be found in M. W. Cluskey's Political Text Book (1857), and Speeches, Messages, and other Writings of A. G. Brown (1859); H. Wilson's Rise and Fall of the Slave Power (1872-77); Horace Greeley's The American Conflict (1864); Mrs. Jefferson Davis's Jefferson Davis; a Memoir (1890); J. M. Cutts's Constitutional and Party Questions (1866); S. J. May's Recollections of the Anti-Slavery Conflict (1869); Works of Charles Sumner (1874-83), and many other works of a similar character.

William McDonald's Select Documents gives the most important sources for this whole period. But the Congressional Globe, U.S. Documents, House Reports, 34th Cong., 1st Sess., vol. II, must be studied in order to get the spirit of the times.

                    

CHAPTER XIII. ABRAHAM LINCOLN

The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill had greatly angered a majority of the people of the North. The sudden rise of the Republican party in protest against it, and the promise of Northern control of the Federal Government, heartened them to the great struggle of 1856. But the failure to win the populous States of Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Illinois, and the solid front of the South, the compact pro-Southern Senate, and the moral effect of the Dred Scott decision discouraged them. Moreover, the Republican victories of 1854-55 proved misleading, for in 1856 and 1858 the party failed to win a majority in the House of Representatives. All that the ardent protestants and idealists could do was to block extreme measures in Congress and enact laws in the Republican States to harass the “enemy.” Seward yielded the struggle to the extent of indorsing popular sovereignty, which did indeed promise more than any other line of procedure. Greeley, the enemy of Seward but the arch-enemy of the South, actually proposed Douglas, the “squire of slavery,” for the Presidency in 1860. Chase seemed to be losing ground in Ohio, where he had never had a majority on his own account. Business, as we have already seen, had made peace with the South, and conservative leaders of the East regarded slave-owners as in the same class morally with bankers and railway directors.[10] The federal law against the African slave trade could not be enforced. More than a hundred ships sailed unmolested each year from New York Harbor to the African Coast to bring back naked negroes for the cotton planters.

[Footnote 10: See Charles Francis Adams's letter to William Lloyd Garrison in The Liberator, January 27, 1857.]

The outlook was so dark that New England leaders returned regretfully to the proposition of John Quincy Adams of 1843, and recommended Northern nullification and secession. Massachusetts had passed an act in 1855 which inflicted a penalty of five years of imprisonment upon any man who aided in the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law of the United States. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin had declared the same law unconstitutional in 1854; in 1857 the legislature indorsed this view, and in 1859 it claimed the right of immediate secession in case the State was overruled by the Federal Supreme Court, or in case any attempt should be made to enforce the obnoxious act by the General Government. Nearly every other Northern State passed personal liberty laws which were designed to prevent the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act, and their constitutional justification was found in the supremacy of the States and bolstered by the opinion of Judge Story, delivered in 1842,[11] which said that no private citizen need obey an unconstitutional law, state or national, but he takes the risk of having the courts decide it constitutional and of being punished if he acts on his own judgment before the proper court has adjudged the act unconstitutional.

[Footnote 11: 16 Peters' Reports of the Supreme Court, p. 536.]

It was not unnatural, then, that Charles Sumner should indorse the abolitionist campaign against the Union, or that Benjamin F. Wade should eulogize the Wisconsin threats to secede. Richard H. Dana, of Boston, said that men who had called him a traitor a few years before now stopped him on the street to talk treason. N. P. Banks, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, said in Maine: “I am not one of the class who cry for the perpetuation of the Union.” The Worcester convention of January 15, 1857, did actually and by big majorities pass resolutions calling for a dissolution of the Federal Government, and its call for a convention of all the free States, looking to the same end, was signed by seven hundred men of all walks of life; many of them were men of eminence. The political abolitionists and the anti-slavery men of pronounced views were on the point of going over to the Garrison party, which had always proclaimed that the Union was a “league with hell,” and so strong was the campaign against the Union that Governor Wise, of Virginia, and others recommended a war upon New England in order to bring the abolitionists to subjection.

But the darkest hour comes just before dawn. When Buchanan recommended in the message of December, 1857, the admission of Kansas under the Lecompton constitution, Senator Douglas, to the bewilderment of thousands, openly denounced the President, and in the most effective speech of his life led a secession of the Northwestern Democrats from the dominant Southern party. He showed that the application of his popular sovereignty doctrine in Kansas would solve the problem of slavery in the Territories, and that the Administration was violating the platform on which it held office in espousing the cause of the pro-slavery men. It was a remarkable situation. In 1854 Douglas had defeated Davis and Pierce in their far-reaching plans for the development of the Southwest; Chase and his allies had defeated Douglas in his counter-scheme for the growth of the Northwest in 1854-55; and now Douglas broke the solidarity of the Democratic party and gave hope and courage to the North, where the idea of secession was fast winning the minds of leading men. If Douglas joined the Republicans, the overthrow of the South was assured; if he became an independent candidate for the Presidency, the Republicans were made certain of an easy victory. It was this that prompted Greeley to indorse Douglas in 1857, and caused Seward to say a good word for his rival and opponent.

Buchanan read Douglas out of the party. Jefferson Davis denounced him as worse than a demagogue. Judges of the Supreme Court expressed their contempt for “the ambitious perpetual candidate.” No settlement of the Kansas question was possible under these circumstances. Douglas returned to Illinois in the summer of 1858 to open his campaign for reëlection to the Senate. He had never been so popular before. Chicagoans who had denounced and spurned him as a traitor to his country in 1854 now gave him the greatest ovation that city had ever given to any one. Big business men, railroad builders, and laboring men hastened to give him assurance of their favor. Even partisan opponents went over to the “new” Douglas. In fact, the people saw that his popular sovereignty idea had been misunderstood. It was already working out Northwestern or Free-State control of the Territories, and the fear of losing the Territories had been the motive for following Chase and Sumner in 1854.

But the Republicans of the Northwest had been planning to make an end of the “Little Giant,” the man who was the most feared of all the public leaders of the time. Abraham Lincoln was to be his successor in the Senate. Norman B. Judd, Joseph Medill, and John Wentworth were the astute advisers of the new party in their section. Seward, Weed, and even John J. Crittenden, the popular successor of Henry Clay in the United States Senate, advised the Illinois Republicans not to oppose Douglas, since Douglas was already doing the Democrats more mischief than any new Republican Senator could hope to do. The Eastern leaders were concerned about the campaign of 1860, and naturally they cultivated the differences of their opponents.

Lincoln was also making plans for 1860, and a defeat of Douglas in his own State would be a political event of the first magnitude. And there was much promise of success. Had they not elected Lyman Trumbull in 1855 in spite of all the “great man” could do? Moreover, the Administration had withdrawn all patronage from Douglas, and postmasters' heads were falling fast in Illinois. Indeed, Buchanan was just then putting up anti-Douglas tickets in many of the counties, in the expectation of electing a legislature hostile to Douglas if not friendly to the Washington authorities. Was there ever a better chance for the new group of leaders? Contrary to Eastern advice they nominated Lincoln as the opponent of Douglas, and that shrewd man and able logician challenged the Senator to a joint debate, and the most important political discussion in our history followed.

Lincoln had declared in a recent speech that “a house divided against itself could not stand,” and the United States he likened to the divided house. Douglas seized upon this to show the country what a radical abolitionist Lincoln was, for was it not a disruption of the Union of which he spoke so cogently, and which the abolitionists were just now urging? Nothing was more unpopular in the Northwest than disunion. All the papers of the country now printed what Lincoln had said, and with Douglas's disparaging comment. The business interests of the East shuddered at the Lincoln parable.

But Lincoln took occasion at Freeport to make Douglas even more unpopular in the South than he already was, by asking him if he did not support the Dred Scott decision; also if he still adhered to the popular sovereignty doctrine as a means of settling the slavery problem in the Territories. Douglas answered in the affirmative to both queries. Whereupon Lincoln showed that if the Dred Scott decision held, Congress must protect slavery in all the Territories and if the popular sovereignty idea prevailed, the squatters of any Territory might by popular vote prohibit slavery in any Territory. Hence, according to Douglas, slavery could be lawfully maintained and lawfully abolished at the same time and place. Douglas recognized his predicament; but he replied that, in spite of the court's decision, the settlers of a new Territory might by “unfriendly” local legislation make slavery impossible. When the papers of the country published this lame reply, Southern men everywhere denounced in unmeasured terms “the demagogue who promised one thing in Congress and another in Illinois.” The Lincoln-Douglas campaign continued all the autumn, and the country became acquainted with the obscure lawyer who had persisted in his purpose to run against Douglas contrary to the counsels of the leaders of his party. However, Douglas was reëlected to the Senate, to the great chagrin of both Lincoln and the President.

After the excitement following the break of Douglas with his party, the Republican newspapers, which had urged Douglas as their candidate for 1860, returned to their partisan attitude. To most people it seemed clear that Seward should be the Republican candidate in the next campaign, and Seward was also convinced that his own nomination was necessary and inevitable. The conservative wing of the party in the East, and especially New England, was devoted to him. As time went on the prize seemed more and more certain, though there were other competitors in the field. Simon Cameron, of Pennsylvania, Chase, of Ohio, Lincoln, of Illinois, and Edward Bates, of Missouri, were “favorite sons.” For the Democrats the outlook was anything but cheering. The “regulars” could not speak of Douglas but with imprecations. Although Douglas controlled absolutely all the Democratic organizations in eight Northwestern States, if we include Missouri, a most strenuous campaign was waged from Washington against him in the hope of getting control of the general committee of the next convention. John Slidell, of Louisiana, and August Belmont, agent of the Rothschilds, in New York, guided the maneuvers. In December, 1859, when Douglas entered upon his new term with an air of triumph, the Senate majority, led by Jefferson Davis, promptly removed him from the chairmanship of the Committee on Territories, which was the signal for the opening of the fierce political war that preceded the assembling of the Democratic Convention in Charleston.

Meanwhile John Brown, influenced by the political currents then running in favor of the North, led a small band of men into western Virginia. The object was to start a slave insurrection and in the end set free all the negroes of the South. Brown received or was promised $25,000 and was supported by men of the first respectability. On October 16, 1859, Brown seized the United States Arsenal at Harper's Ferry and called upon the slaves to rise against their masters. In the fighting which ensued Colonel Washington, a grand-nephew of General Washington, was wounded; but few took notice of names in that first onset of the Civil War or thought of the common history of the sections. Governor Wise, of Virginia, hastened the militia to the scene, and Captain Robert E. Lee led a small force of United States troops to the relief of the endangered community. Brown failed in his efforts to arouse the negroes, who were not the restless and resentful race they were thought to be. He was soon surrounded and captured. A few people were killed, but the institution of slavery was not touched.

But the noise of the attack was heard around the world. In the North men of the highest standing proclaimed Brown a hero. At the time of his execution in December so thoughtful a man as Emerson compared Brown's gallows to the cross of Jesus of Nazareth. For a time the social conscience of the East, at least, sensed this attack as a blow against the common Erbfeind, as the Germans say of the French. It was the “arrogant South” that had been struck. But when the Congressional investigation was held, Republican leaders and religious organizations everywhere insisted that they had never known the man, though there was a widespread feeling that it would be wise for the Governor of Virginia not to visit the death penalty upon the “deluded” prisoner.

Governor Wise was not the man to forgive an assault on the Old Dominion, and he never thought of granting a pardon. He urged Virginia to reorganize her militia, and he filled the state armory with some of the weapons which were used with fatal effect at First Bull Run. Other Southern States followed the example of Virginia and laid in supplies for a conflict which many thought inevitable. Nor was it without significance that new military companies and regiments were organized and drilled in many parts of the North during the year 1860.

After months of angry and useless debates in Washington, the leaders of the Democratic party gathered in Charleston in April, 1860, to nominate their candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency. No other town in the United States was more unfriendly to the cause of the leading candidate, Douglas. As the delegates gathered, it was seen that every delegation from every Northwestern State was instructed to vote as a unit for Douglas, and it became evident that a safe majority would insist on his nomination. The enthusiasm of the followers of the “Little Giant” surpassed all similar demonstrations at previous conventions. On the other hand, the committee on resolutions was opposed to Douglas, and by a vote of 17 to 16 it reported a platform which was simply a restatement of the Dred Scott decision, adding only that the Federal Government was bound by the Constitution to protect slavery in the Territories. When this report was read in the convention the Douglas majority rejected it, and accepted the minority report, which was the “popular sovereignty” of Douglas and the platform of 1856, for which all the South had stood in the campaign of that year. The convention was deadlocked, for the South could defeat Douglas for the nomination under the two-thirds rule, and Douglas could prevent the adoption of any Southern program or the nomination of any candidate other than himself. On Sunday, April 30, the clergy and the congregations of the city prayed as never before for a peaceable solution of the problem before the country, and every one seemed to recognize the gravity of the situation. On Monday evening, William L. Yancey, “the fire-eater” of Alabama, after a most remarkable speech, broke the deadlock by leading a bolt of practically all the lower Southern States. The Tammany Hall delegation of New York followed. The bolters held a meeting in another hall and called a convention of their element of the party in Richmond in June. The Douglas majority likewise adjourned a day or two later to meet in Baltimore at the same time.

The historic Jacksonian party had broken into factions. Each faction nominated a candidate. The Southerners, supported by the Buchanan Administration, named John C. Breckinridge, a moderate, in the vain hope of winning some Northern States; the Douglas men offered, of course, their favorite, and insisted that theirs was the only true Union ticket. A third convention was called to meet in Baltimore, and its nominees were John Bell, of Tennessee, and Edward Everett, of Massachusetts. This was the remnant of the Know-Nothings of 1856. They asked for the maintenance of the Union as it was; but in the ensuing election they polled three hundred thousand fewer votes than Fillmore had received in 1856.

The Republicans met in Chicago about the middle of May, the advantage of local sentiment being in Lincoln's favor. The Seward men and their “rooters” came in trainloads from New York and Boston, and both in Chicago and Charleston a plentiful supply of whiskey had its share in the manufacture of enthusiasm. Cameron was the stumbling-block of the conservative Eastern Republicans, and he was expected to command his price. Horace Greeley, cast out of the Republican camp by the Seward men in New York, came as a delegate from Oregon, and he was busy from morn till night trying to defeat Seward. Chase, Lincoln, and Bates, though they were not in the convention, were doing what they could to defeat the great New York leader on the ground that he could not possibly carry Indiana and Illinois. It was more than a friendly rivalry.

In drafting the platform no reference was to be made to the idealistic Declaration of Independence, so popular in 1856; but the resolute threat of a bolt, by Joshua R. Giddings, caused a reconsideration and the adoption of the brief reference which one reads in the historic document. All raids into States or Territories were duly denounced, and slavery itself was guaranteed in all its rights. The Pacific railroad scheme of Douglas was again indorsed, and the old land policy of the West found expression in the free homestead plank. The tariff ideas of Clay appeared in a clause which promised protection to American industry, better wages to American labor, and higher prices for farm products. One sees here the genius of political management, not the fire of reformers, and if the Southerners had kept cool they could have read between the lines of this declaration all the guarantees that they required, save alone on the subject of slavery in the new Territories, which the Republicans could not possibly yield and hold their followers together. It was an alliance of the East and the Northwest, arranged by Seward in much the same way that Calhoun arranged the combination of 1828 which raised Jackson to the Presidency.

To the surprise of the country and especially of the East, Cameron, Greeley, and Bates proved able to defeat Seward, and Lincoln was nominated. Many people of the East had never heard of the successful candidate till they read in the papers that he had won. Lincoln was moderate in temper and conciliatory in tone, like the platform, but he was a sincere democrat, one who was in mind and thought one of the people. The great men of the party who had borne the burden and heat of the day felt outraged. Sumner never forgave Lincoln for his lack of culture, and for a time it seemed that Seward would not give his humble rival the support necessary to success. “The rail-splitter” of Illinois was ridiculed in the older Republican States as no other presidential candidate had been since “Old Hickory” offered himself as against the seasoned statesmanship of John Quincy Adams. The gentry of the East were in a worse plight than were the Southern statesmen of 1828, for Lincoln was more of a democrat than Jackson had been.

But if certain classes of the East accepted mournfully the candidate of their party, the plain people everywhere, farmers, mechanics, shopkeepers, and the smaller industrial interests, rejoiced that one of their own had been selected. While it is not likely that this caused many changes from one party to another, it did tend to bring out the vote and prevent the election from going to the House. Professional abolitionists could not honestly support the platform of the Republicans, but anti-slavery men, old-line Whigs, half of the former Know-Nothing party, and all of those who had so long feared or hated the South could cheerfully vote for Lincoln. In the Northwest it was an evenly matched contest. Douglas was only a little less popular than his great rival, the cause of his final defeat being the decision of the German element to cast in their lot with the Republicans. Carl Schurz, one of the best men who ever took part in American public life, and a radical of the radicals, exercised a decisive influence and turned the tide in Illinois and Iowa, where a few thousand votes lost would have defeated Lincoln. Though the enthusiasm of the Republicans was not so great as it had been in 1856, the people of the East and the Northwest did unite against the South, as planned in the Chicago platform, which so well represented the interests of the combination.

The South gave every evidence that secession would follow the election of Lincoln, and when the Maine campaign indicated that Lincoln would surely be chosen, Douglas gave up his canvass in the Northwest and went South in the hope of saving the Union by urging the leaders there that secession would mean war. In Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama he foretold plainly the awful consequences of secession. But the lower South paid little heed; their leaders, Rhett and Yancey, were ready to take the first steps to disrupt the Union upon the receipt of news that the Democrats had lost the election. To them Lincoln was not only a democrat who believed in the equality of men before the law; he was also a “black Republican,” the head of a sectional party whose platform bespoke sectional interests and the isolation of the South.

[Illustration: The Presidential Election of 1860 California &Oregon]

[Illustration: The Presidential Election of 1860]

In the end Lincoln received a popular vote slightly greater than that of Buchanan in 1856, and the electoral vote of every State from Maine to Iowa and Minnesota. Douglas received a larger vote than Frémont had received, but only twelve electoral votes. It was plain that the people of the North were by no means unanimous, and that Lincoln would have great difficulty in carrying out any severely anti-Southern measures, especially as the Republicans had failed to carry a majority of the congressional districts. Thus the blunders of Douglas and Chase in 1854 had started the dogs of sectional warfare, and now a solid North confronted a solid South, with only two or three undecided buffer States, like Maryland and Missouri, between them.

Abraham Lincoln, born in Kentucky of Virginia parentage, married to a Southern woman, accustomed from boyhood to the narrow circumstances of the poor, and still unused to the ways of the great, was called to the American Presidency. He was not brusque and warlike as Jackson had been; he was a kindly philosopher, a free-thinker in religion at the head of an orthodox people, or peoples. A shrewd judge of human character and the real friend of the poor and the dependent, Lincoln, like his aristocratic prototype, Thomas Jefferson, believed implicitly in the common man. He was ready to submit anything he proposed to a vote of the mass of lowly people, who knew little of state affairs and who never expected to be seen or heard in Washington. People who had preached democracy to Europe for nearly a century had now the opportunity of submitting to democracy. It was the severest test to which the Federal Government had ever been subjected.

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Rear Admiral Chadwick's Causes of the Civil War, in the American Nation series (1906); Nicolay and Hay's Abraham Lincoln: A History (1890); Ida M. Tarbell's The Life of Abraham Lincoln (1900); O. G. Villard's John Brown; A Biography (1910); G. T. Curtis's The Life of James Buchanan (1883); A. H. Stephen's War between the States (1868-70); Jefferson Davis's Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (1881); Murat Halstead's Conventions of 1860; G. Koerner's Memoirs; Carl Schurz's Reminiscences; James A. Pike's First Blows of the Civil War (1879); George W. Julian's Political Recollections (1884); and Henry S. Foote's Casket of Reminiscences (1874), may be added to the works already mentioned. E. D. Fite's The Campaign of 1860 (1911) is valuable, although Rhode's account of the campaign equals Fite's; and E. Stanwood's A History of the Presidency (1898) gives the platforms and the votes of the parties for each national election.

The Tribune Almanac gives the votes by counties, while Richardson's Messages and Papers of the Presidents, already named in earlier notes, and the Statutes at Large of the United States supply the texts of important papers, laws, and treaties. Richard Peters's Reports of Cases Argued in the Supreme Court and B. C. Howard's continuation of this series supply the decisions of the Federal Supreme Court. U. B. Phillips's Correspondence of Toombs, Stephens, and Cobb, in the Reports of the American Historical Association (1911), is a valuable contribution to the sources of the period.

Special studies of importance are: W. E. B. DuBois's Suppression of the African Slave Trade (1896); M. G. McDougall's Fugitive Slaves (1891), J. C. Hurd's Law of Freedom and Bondage (1858); Edward McPherson's Political History of the United States (1865); John H. Latané's Diplomacy of the United States in Regard to Cuba, in American Historical Association Reports (1907); J. M. Callahan's Evolution of Seward's Mexican Policy (1909); Phillips's Life of Robert Toombs (1914); and H. White's Life of Lyman Trumbull (1913). Of peculiar value for the spirit of the times are: Mrs. Roger A. Pryor's Reminiscences of Peace and War (1905); Mrs. James Chesnut's A Diary from Dixie (1905); and William H. Russell's My Diary North and South (1863).

                    

CHAPTER XIV. THE APPEAL TO ARMS

Though the South had voted as a unit for Buchanan in 1856 and her leaders had long acted in concert on important matters, the election of Lincoln by a “solid” North was regarded by most owners of slaves as a revolutionary act; and the Southern reply to the challenge was secession. The idea of secession was familiar in 1860. In 1794 New England leaders in Congress had discussed such a remedy when it seemed certain that the Southerners would gain permanent control of the national machinery, and Westerners contemplated the same remedy for ills they could not otherwise cure during the period of 1793 to 1801. Rather than submit to the burdensome embargo and the more burdensome second war with England, most New England men of property seem to have preferred the dissolution of a union which was formed for commercial purposes; and we have seen how Webster urged resistance to the national tariff in 1820 even to the point of advising secession. The rightful means of local self-defense was a break-up of the confederacy, until in 1830 Jackson, speaking for the West, and Webster, speaking for the rising industrial group of the Northeast, announced that the Union was indissoluble and that an attempt to sever it would be accounted treason. A sense of nationality had come into existence, and a permanent, “sacred” union of all the States was the corollary of that belief.

Still, when the South, with its resolute program of expansion and the vigorous national control which characterized the Democratic Administrations from Polk to Buchanan, made slavery a cardinal tenet of its faith, legislatures and courts of the East refused to regard either the Constitution or the federal law as paramount and abiding. Secession was a common word among the constituents of New England Senators after 1840, and even Northwestern States threatened disruption of the Union as late as 1859 if the national policy should continue to run counter to their interests. There was, however, a strong undercurrent of devotion to the idea of nationality in both North and South[12] in 1860, and when South Carolina proceeded with her long-contemplated scheme of secession early in November of that year, Jefferson Davis, who had formerly talked freely of that “last remedy” of minority interests, advised against the movement; and everywhere North and South men of great wealth, as well as the poorer people, who must always bear the heaviest burdens of war, deprecated and warned against the application of a remedy which all sections had at one time or another declared right and lawful. As men came nearer to the application of their “rightful” remedy, the older and cooler heads urged the leaders of South Carolina not to withdraw from the national confederation. Republicans like Seward and Weed and Lincoln exerted themselves to the utmost to dissuade the Southern radicals; all the influence of the Bell and Everett party was cast into the same side of the scales; and Congress, when it assembled in December, 1860, was pressed from every possible angle to arrange some compromise which would satisfy the angry element in the lower South. Even Republicans of the more radical type offered to do anything, except assent to the further expansion of slavery in the Territories, in order to prevent the formation of a Southern Confederacy and the expected paralysis of business.

[Footnote 12: Perhaps we may use these terms now to describe the two great sections of the country as the Civil War approached.]

Nothing availed. South Carolina, under the leadership of Robert Barnwell Rhett, called a state convention which met in Columbia, but adjourned to Charleston, and on December 20 severed all connection with the National Government and recalled her Representatives in Congress. President Buchanan did not favor secession, and he hoped that some way might be found to settle the difficulties which underlay the crisis. In his message to Congress he declared that there was no right of secession, but that there was also no authority anywhere to prevent secession. This was at the time the view of most others in the North, perhaps in the South, for Southerners spoke frequently of the “revolution” they were precipitating. When the demand of South Carolina for the surrender of Fort Sumter was presented to the President, he decided to delay action until his successor was inaugurated. This was not irregular nor unusual, but gave the people of the South time to decide what they would do; and before February 1, 1861, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana withdrew from the Union, though not without strenuous resistance by large parties in all these communities, save Florida. Early in February delegates from these States gathered in Montgomery, Alabama, and organized a Southern Confederacy on the model of the older Union, and made Jefferson Davis President. Alexander Stephens, who had done more than any other Southerner to delay and defeat secession, was elected Vice-President. The new constitution was conservative if not reactionary in character. Slavery was definitely and specifically made a corner-stone of the new government. The foreign slave trade was, in deference to border state opinion, forbidden; but free trade, which had so long been a bone of contention between the planters of the South and the manufacturers of the East, was left to the wisdom of ordinary legislation. In fact many of the ablest Southern leaders foresaw the establishment of a protective system in the South. In the same spirit of statesmanlike compromise, President Davis was careful to fill the Cabinet and other important posts with men who represented all phases of opinion, with former rivals and even decided opponents of the cause he represented. So cautious and considered was this program of the new administration that ardent secessionists declared before the fall of Fort Sumter that a reunion with the older Federal Government was the object. And the mild and conciliatory attitude of William H. Seward, who was considered as a sort of acting president during the winter of 1860-61, strengthened this feeling in the South. The Southern commissioners whom Davis sent to Washington to negotiate with the Federal Government on the subjects of boundaries between the two countries, the division of the public debt, and the surrender of forts within Confederate territory were great favorites in the old national capital. A friendly attitude toward the new South still further found expression in the New York Tribune, supposed to speak for Republicans in general, in the Albany Journal, Thurlow Weed's paper, and even in the New York Times, Seward's organ.

In fact the people of the North preferred a permanent disruption of the Union to a great war, the inevitable alternative. Nationalist sentiment was strong in the North, but not strong enough to make men positive and decided in their actions. President-elect Lincoln expressed this state of the public mind in his inaugural, when he said that he would faithfully execute the laws unless the people, his rightful masters, should refuse their support, and he showed it still more clearly when he adopted the policy of delay in determining the status of Fort Sumter which his predecessor had so long followed. The Cabinet of Buchanan had been undecided, that of Lincoln was for a whole month equally undecided. Men hoped to avoid what all feared, civil war; and it is to the credit of both sections and both cabinets that they hesitated to commit the overt act which was to set free the “dogs of war”; and while public opinion was thus halted at the parting of the ways, Virginia, still thought of as the great old commonwealth and mother of statesmen, called a peace congress of North and South. Delegates from twenty-one States conferred together in Washington for six weeks, seeking a way out of the difficult and perilous situation. Conservative members of Congress, John J. Crittenden, Stephen A. Douglas, William H. Seward, and others, labored in the same cause. It is acknowledged by all that a popular referendum would have brought an overwhelming mandate to let the “departing sisters go in peace,” or to accept the former Southern demand of a division of the western territory from Kansas to the Pacific along the line of 36° 30'.

But stiff-backed Republicans like Senator Chandler, of Michigan, Charles Sumner, and Secretary Chase were unwilling to throw away the results of a victory constitutionally won, even to avoid a long and bloody war. And these men brought all the influence they could command to bear upon the President and his Cabinet during the early days of April. They contended that every moment of delay increased the likelihood of Southern success, and they urged that the young Republican party, which was perhaps as dear to them as the country itself, was losing ground. At last President Lincoln yielded, and a relief expedition was ordered to Fort Sumter on April 6, where Major Robert Anderson and his garrison had bravely and cautiously maintained their difficult situation in the face of an angry Southern sentiment for nearly four months. This was recognized as a warlike move; and Secretary Seward was so much opposed to it and, the Southerners contended, so sacredly bound not to allow its departure, that he interfered with the expedition, by sending orders, signed by himself for the President, intended to thwart the move.

Under circumstances so peculiar and delicate it was of the utmost importance that the Confederate President keep his head. The responsibility for regaining control of Fort Sumter passed from South Carolina to the Confederate Government during the early days of February. Major Anderson, who held the fort with a small Federal garrison, was a friend of Jefferson Davis, and was keenly alive to the seriousness of his situation, and while his superiors were in doubt, he maintained the status of things as they were when the negotiations began. But the authorities of South Carolina forbade the sending of fresh supplies of provisions to his men after April 6, and, as there was but a limited amount on hand, it was only a matter of weeks before he must evacuate, if neither the North nor the South decided what should be done. April 15 was the day which he set for giving up his post for the lack of sustenance. If he moved away peacefully, there would be no war, and such was the hope of Seward and the moderates of the North, who thought that a friendly reconstruction would be the result of continued delay.

Jefferson Davis, who was informed daily of every move that was made in Washington, determined to let Anderson quietly evacuate Fort Sumter, having assurances from Seward that no supplies would be sent. In this he was supported by the unanimous opinion of his Cabinet until on April 9, when General P. G. T. Beauregard, who commanded the troops gathering at Charleston, telegraphed that the Federal Government had given formal notice that assistance would be sent to the starving garrison. Davis still delayed, giving conditional orders to Beauregard; and Beauregard acted in the same spirit when he sent Roger A. Pryor and three other aides to the fort to get definite assurance on the point of Federal surrender. But when Anderson, on the night of April 12, gave assurance that on April 15 he would give up his post if he should not receive contrary orders from Washington prior to that time, the four aides of General Beauregard who had been sent to the fort gave notice to the Confederate artillery commander, without consulting superior authority, that the answer was not satisfactory, and the fatal shelling began. On the next day Anderson and his men, finding the walls of the fort falling about them, surrendered. The war had begun.

The act of South Carolina on December 20 led immediately to the formation of the confederacy of the lower Southern States. The firing on Fort Sumter was followed in a few days by the secession of Virginia, Tennessee, and Arkansas, Texas having already joined the “revolution”; Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri were prevented from joining the new confederacy only by the prompt and extra-legal interference of President Lincoln. The second tier of Southern States thus joined the first, and a confederacy of some ten million people demanded the independence which all agreed had not been forbidden in the Constitution of 1787, and began at once the raising of armies to make good that demand. The boundaries of the new republic were extended to the Potomac; commissioners were sent to the European powers to sue for recognition, and hundreds of the best officers in the United States Army resigned to seek commands under the new flag.

The popular excitement and enthusiasm which followed these events in the South equaled that which marked the early stages of the French Revolution. Party lines and class distinctions disappeared. Two hundred thousand volunteers offered their services to Jefferson Davis; confederate and state bonds to meet the expense of the war were taken at par wherever there was surplus money; men met at their courthouses to drill without the call of their officers; and women, even more enthusiastic than the men, urged their “guardians and protectors” to the front to meet and vanquish a foe who threatened to invade the Southern soil. Armories were quickly constructed in a country which knew little of the mechanic arts; guns and ammunition were ordered from Europe and from Northern manufacturers as fast as trusty agents could make arrangements; shipbuilding was resorted to on the banks of the sluggish rivers; and machinists and sailors were imported from the North and from England to guide the amateurish hands of the South. Before midsummer four hundred thousand Southerners were in arms or waiting to receive them. Colonel Robert E. Lee, accounted the first soldier of the country, was made a general in the new army. Joseph E. Johnston, Albert Sidney Johnston, Pierre G. T. Beauregard, and others accepted with confidence the commissions of the South, and set hundreds of younger men, trained at West Point or at the Virginia Military Institute, to drilling and organizing the armies rapidly gathering at strategic points along the frontier, which extended from Norfolk, Virginia, to the eastern border of Kansas.

The planters had at last made good their threat, and the aristocratic society of the South was welded together more firmly than it had ever been before. Their leaders frankly stated to the world that their four billions of negro property was of more importance to them than any federal union which threatened the value of that property by narrowing the limits of its usefulness. The negroes knew a great war was beginning and that they were the objects of contention; but long discipline and a curious pride in the prowess of their masters kept them at their lowly but important tasks. They boasted that their masters could “whip the world in arms.” Of insurrections and the massacre of the whites, which at one time had been a nightmare to the ruling classes of the South, there was no rumor. And throughout the four years of war the slaves remained faithful and produced by their steady, if slow, toil the food supplies both for the people at home and for the armies at the front.

The small slaveholder was the most enthusiastic and resolute secessionist and supporter of the Confederacy. He was just rising in the world, and anything which barred the upward way was denounced as degrading and insulting. A larger class of Southerners who joined with measured alacrity the armies of defense were the small farmers of the hills and poorer eastern counties; but the “sand-hillers” and “crackers,” the illiterate and neglected by-products of the planter counties, were not minded to volunteer, though under pressure they became good soldiers because they dreaded the prospect of hordes of free negroes in the South more than they did the guns of the North. Small farmers and landless whites all felt the necessity of holding the slaves in bondage, and thus a society of sharp class distinctions, openly acknowledged by all, was moulded into a solid phalanx by the proposed invasion of the South and the almost certain liberation of the slaves. Moreover, the churches of the South, including the Catholics in New Orleans, Charleston, and elsewhere, were now at the height of their power. Planters, farmers, and the so-called “poor whites” acknowledged the importance of religious faith and discipline; and the leaders of the churches, from the bishops of the Episcopalians to the humble pastors of negro congregations, freely gave their blessings to slavery and urged their membership to heroic sacrifice for the common cause. Sermons like that of Dr. Palmer, of New Orleans, in November, 1860, were preached all over the South, and they were as effective in stirring the warlike impulses of the people as the fiery addresses of the most enthusiastic statesmen.

Although there was a unity and a coöperation among all classes of people from Washington City to southwestern Texas, there were certain areas in which volunteers, even during the early days of excitement, were not readily forthcoming. In the pine woods of the Carolinas and the Gulf States, where nine tenths of the soil was still covered by primeval forests, and among the high mountains of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, many people resisted the authority of the Confederacy passively or actively from the beginning. From the southern Appalachian region the Union armies drew at least 200,000 recruits, and in certain counties of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee more soldiers per thousand of the population volunteered for the Federal service than could be found in the most enthusiastic communities of the North. Western Virginia revolted in 1861, and in 1863 she was received into the Union as a loyal State, in spite of the absence of all constitutional authority or precedent. Eastern Tennessee might have pursued the same course if it had been possible for President Lincoln to lend military assistance at the proper moment. Except in the valley and southwestern counties of Virginia, most of the grain and cattle-producing area of the South was indifferent to the cause of the Confederacy. This was a serious handicap, for troops must be stationed in many localities to maintain order, and the resistance to the foraging agents of the Southern armies frequently became serious. From the summer of 1863 to the end of the struggle the home guards of the various disaffected districts required many men who might otherwise have been with Lee or Joseph E. Johnston.

But the better parts of the South, the tobacco and cotton belts, with their annual output of three hundred millions' worth of exportable commodities, their high-strung, well-bred gentry accustomed to outdoor life and horseback riding and devoted to the idea of local autonomy in government, were behind the Confederate movement. The people had been better trained in their local militia than their Northern brethren, their greatest families had long been accustomed to send cadets to West Point, and in several States there were excellent military schools where the best of training was given to young men who looked forward with a vague expectation to careers in the army. If we add to these considerations the fact that the rural aristocracy, whether secessionist or unionist in politics in 1860, regarded the movements of the North in the spring of 1861 as ruthless attacks upon their ideals and their homes, we shall understand how the Confederates were able to organize a powerful and efficient army so early in the struggle.

The Confederate seat of Government was removed in May, 1861, from Montgomery to Richmond. The old Virginia capital, always the center of strong unionist feelings, became the scene of cabinet meetings, of sessions of Congress, and military conferences. The easy-going tobacco gentry who had grown up with the little city on the James welcomed the invasion of generals, politicians, and army contractors, and saw with pleasure the population swell from some twenty-five thousand to a hundred thousand souls. The “White House” became the center of a society which, as Mrs. Pryor and others insisted, was really aristocratic. The first families of Virginia became hosts to the statesmen who had gathered there from all the Southern States; there were “heroes from the wars” to grace the salons of Mrs. Stannard, Mr. William H. McFarland, banker to the new government, and others who, but for the disastrous turn of the conflict, would have become well-known figures in history. The social life which was adorned by the presence of Mrs. Jefferson Davis, Mrs. James Chesnut, and Mrs. Joseph E. Johnston was, however, after one short winter of pleasure and buoyant expectation, overcast with sorrow and even scattered abroad by the close approach of the armies of the North, the hated Yankees who had not been expected to fight.

The serious and all-absorbing business of the South was therefore to repel invasion. Armies ranging from 5000 to 15,000 troops were stationed at Norfolk, Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, northern Virginia, Harper's Ferry, Cumberland Gap, Bowling Green and Columbus, Kentucky, and even in Missouri. General A. S. Cooper, of New Jersey, became adjutant-general and the senior officer in the Confederate Army; Robert E. Lee organized and drilled the Virginia forces; Joseph E. Johnston, his rival in the old United States Army, commanded at Harper's Ferry; and Beauregard, the hero of Fort Sumter, was at the head of the army which was expected to resist and defeat the first invasion from Washington. Behind these various gatherings of soldiers were hundreds of thousands of others, waiting to be supplied with arms and ready to learn the ways of war. Editors, preachers, and orators heralded with unanimous voice the new nation, and predicted speedy recognition by the powers of Europe and a permanent peace with their long-time rivals. Three months, six months, or a year were the various estimates of the duration of the war for independence. Some planters followed the counsel of President Davis and planted corn and wheat instead of the accustomed cotton and tobacco, in order to be able to feed their armies and “their people,” but others were so certain that another autumn would reopen the channels of commerce to all that they continued their large acreage in their favorite staples. It was not to be a long struggle like that which Washington had led. The conditions were different. Both England and France would intervene when the cotton famine began to press. Even so sober a man as General Lee expected success and thought of his rôle as like that of Washington, who was now the Southern model and ideal. Davis's friends also spoke and wrote of him as the “second Washington.”

Thus filled with the highest hopes and reminded daily of the heroic traditions of the former revolution, the Southerners began their battles. President Lincoln, loath to admit that war was upon him, called out 75,000 three months' men when the news of Fort Sumter reached him. Congress, too, was called in extra session for July 4 to devise ways and means of compelling the South to return to the fold. These warlike acts, to those who did not understand the long sectional rivalry, were supported by an almost unanimous North. The Northwest, led by Douglas, was prompt to support their first real President and to hasten their quota of volunteers to the front. In the older sections of the East the latent hostility toward the people of the South flamed out as never before, proclaiming a devotion to the Union and to the ideals of the Fathers which had widespread effect. Even in the great cities, where the prevailing sentiment in the preceding winter had been for peace and a permanent disruption of the Union, men rallied to the national standards with unexpected enthusiasm. The Astors, Belmonts, and Drexels raised regiments or offered loans to the Administration. If the South was united and ready to defend their homes, the North seemed equally united upon a program of invasion and subjection. A solid South had begotten a solid North. The shells which burst over Fort Sumter had called the North to arms as effectively as they had banished the hesitation of the Southern border States.

An army of invasion gathered rapidly in Washington, seized Arlington, General Lee's ancient family estate, on the Virginia shore of the Potomac, for a drill ground, took possession of recalcitrant Maryland, and made of all railroads entering the capital the highways and instruments of war. Winfield Scott, the old and vacillating general of the regular army, was quickly set aside, and the able General Irvin McDowell took his place. Thirty thousand troops moved slowly into Virginia under the pressure of public opinion stimulated by newspaper editors, ministers of the Gospel, and stiff-backed Republicans, who, like similar classes in the South, declared that the war was to be over in three months. Other armies collected at Cincinnati under young George B. McClellan, soon to be major-general, at Louisville under Don C. Buell, and at St. Louis under the erratic John C. Frémont. When Congress met, all these movements were quickly ratified, and the two sections of a country of more than thirty million people, all supposed to be devotees of commerce, industry, and agriculture, “worshipers of money,” entered with unparalleled eagerness upon a war which was soon to surprise and even appall the world. What industry lost in the North by secession of the South was regained in the manufacture or preparation of military supplies for soldiers who fought the South; and in the Confederacy men who knew little of industry and of seafaring soon established great plants where the munitions of war were readily made, or they turned with a strange facility to improvising gunboats and blockade runners. Within a year or two the people of the North showed the most bitter hatred of the South and everything Southern, and in the South women sold their hair for the common cause, and sent their gold and silver ornaments to the Government to be converted into implements of war. Such results could hardly have been the outcome of a hasty decision on either side. The long-nursed dislike of the people of each section now became a consuming hatred; it was a mighty struggle for the mastery of the Government which had been founded in 1787-89, for the control of the vast territory which composed the heart of North America. One party or the other must be vanquished, one section or the other must become a second Ireland.

On July 20, General McDowell attacked the army under General Beauregard near Centreville, a Virginia village to the northward of a little stream which gave its name to the battle that ensued,—Bull Run. About 35,000 Northerners made up the army of invasion; Beauregard commanded less than 20,000, but Joseph E. Johnston brought his army of 15,000 from the Valley of Virginia in time to decide the fortunes of that hot summer day. After stout fighting on both sides during the earlier part of the onset, these fresh troops of the Valley were seen marching into action. To Union eyes the 15,000 easily appeared to be 30,000. Panic seized men and officers alike, and a stampede for Washington and safer ground followed. Arms, provisions, horses, even, and the carriages of stiff-backed Republican Congressmen, who had left their posts to see the fun, were left upon the field and along the wayside as memorials of the first battle. At the close of the day Jefferson Davis, Beauregard, Johnston, and “Stonewall” Jackson, who won his proud soubriquet on that famous field, held a conference and decided not to follow the Federals to Washington that evening. On the morrow a heavy rain fell and the roads of northern Virginia became impassable for a week. The defeated forces had time to regain their composure while the people of both sections began to see what war meant.

The Southerners rejoiced and celebrated, even relaxed their preparations, thinking their valor vastly superior to that of their enemies. President Davis was less confident, and pressed upon his Congress the better organization of the armies, whose numbers now mounted to 400,000 men; he sent James M. Mason and John Slidell as commissioners to Europe, and ordered troops under Robert E. Lee to West Virginia to save that recalcitrant region to Virginia and the Confederacy. In the absence of a revenue, and already shut off from the markets of both the North and Europe, the Confederates resorted to loans and the issue of paper money to meet the enormous expenses of war. The Confederate Government borrowed hundreds of millions from the planters, and the States likewise piled up debts in unprecedented fashion in maintenance of the same great cause. Of gold and silver there was little; the banks had long since suspended specie payments, but increased their issues of notes. The cotton crop, then being harvested by the negroes, and the grain and cattle of the hill country were the chief resources. The paper money of the Government was paid to soldiers, farmers, and planters for their services and supplies, and this was given back to the Government in exchange for interest-bearing bonds that were issued. With a European market for the planters' products the system might easily have been successful; but this one essential to victory failed, or waited upon military success.

The first general election came on in the late autumn. Under the stimulus of the victory at Manassas, or Bull Run, Davis and Stephens were elected President and Vice-President without opposition for terms of six years. New Senators and Representatives were chosen, generally from the ranks of conservative politicians, for the sessions of the regular Confederate Congress, which was to supersede the provisional congress and government on Washington's birthday, 1862. The judiciary of the Confederacy was regularly organized except as to the Supreme Court; the adjustments of national and state relations were all rapidly and easily made; while the selection and appointment of high officers in the army and civil administration went steadily on at Richmond, under the relief from military pressure which the success of Beauregard and Johnston in northern Virginia had secured. In the general security some of the ablest officers of the army, especially Joseph E. Johnston, felt free to attack the President in the newspapers because of the failure to give the highest commands according to rank of officers in the former United States Army,—a quarrel which was destined to have a fatal influence in the final overthrow of the new government. There was also an attempt to fix upon Davis the blame for not capturing Washington City the day after the Bull Run débâcle. However, these were as yet but ripples of discontent which only proved the general confidence of the people in their final triumph.

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

F. E. Chadwick's The Causes of the Civil War (1906) and J. K. Hosmer's The Appeal to Arms (1906) are the best brief and recent accounts of the events of 1859 to 1862. But Rhodes, McMaster, and Schouler cover the period to 1876, each after his distinctive method. John C. Ropes's The Story of the Civil War (1894), continued by W. R. Livermore, treats the military history in the most critical and fair-minded way, though Wood and Edmonds's The Civil War in the United States (1905), and G. P. R. Henderson's Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War (1900), are equally good, if somewhat briefer.

Of original material there is no limit, and the student is compelled to find his way through the uncharted wilderness of evidence in the Rebellion Records, already cited, and the thousands of volumes of memoirs and special contemporary narratives of which U. S. Grant's Personal Memoirs (1886), Joseph B. Johnston's Narrative of Military Operations (1874), Nicolay and Hay's Abraham Lincoln: a History (1890), and Battles and Leaders of the Civil War (1887-89), are perhaps the most important. Almost all the officers of both the Union and Confederate armies, with the unique exception of General Lee, left published or unpublished narratives of their rôles in the great struggle which help to clear up most disputed episodes, though they complicate the task of the historian.

The estimates of the numbers of men engaged on both sides by Ropes, Rhodes, and especially T. L. Livermore in his Numbers and Losses, are most trustworthy, though this is a subject still hotly controverted in both North and South. Each of the great battles has its historian: H. V. Boynton, The Battle of Chickamauga, and Morris Schaff, The Battle of the Wilderness, being the best examples.

                    

CHAPTER XV. ONE NATION OR TWO?

The distressing news of Bull Run brought home to the North the awful realities of war. Men who had all along distrusted the Republican party now denounced a war waged for the emancipation of the South's slaves. Both the President and Congress formally announced that it was a struggle for the maintenance of the Union and not a war on behalf of the slaves. It was well that this position was taken, else the North might have broken into impotent factions. The East hated the South and warred upon their ancient rivals, the planters; the border States owned slaves, disliked the Republican party, and feared the purposes of those in power; while the West loved the Union, held the negro in contempt, and was committed to the party in power on the smallest possible margin.

None but Lincoln seemed to possess the tact and the ability necessary to hold together these dissolving elements of a country never yet thoroughly united; and even he was long doubted and distrusted by many good men. Strange as it may seem, Douglas had been, until his death, June 3, 1861, his right arm. Douglas's last speeches and dying words urged upon the millions of his followers the necessity of giving their lives to the cause of the Union. So critical was the situation that when nominations were made for elective office in the Middle States or the West in 1861, the Administration party took pains to disavow its former attitude and put forward candidates who had been regular Democrats, thus following the same compromising policy which Davis inaugurated in the South. Daniel S. Dickinson, a member of the old Polk and Pierce party of ruthless expansion, was made leader of the Administration forces in New York in 1861, and David Tod, a stanch Douglas man in 1860, was elected Governor of Ohio the same year by Republican votes. John C. Frémont was removed from the command of the Federal army in St. Louis because he undertook to emancipate the slaves in his department. The people of the North were not willing to invade the sister States of the South for any other cause than to restore the Union. Wealthy bankers, industrial leaders, and railway magnates might be kept together on a platform of enlarging the area of their operations, but never on a program which proposed the confiscation of billions of dollars' worth of property, which the slaves represented. In this hour of trial the supreme need was coöperation and union among the diverse elements of the North, for in 1862 another Congress would be chosen, and if party lines were suffered to be drawn, the South would certainly gain her independence.

[Illustration: One Nation, or Two?]

With this Unionist program perfectly understood, Lincoln asked Congress for 400,000 men. Congress gave him 500,000. A second wave of warlike enthusiasm swept over the North, and men enlisted not for three months, but for three years. The zeal and abandon of the South was hardly matched, but there was no lack of men or support. With a few exceptions the newspapers, the pulpits, and the lecture platforms urged most ardent support of the common cause. But the more difficult problem of finding money for the vast armies that moved upon the South was not so quickly solved. Secretary Chase reported the expenditure in the three months of June, July, and August of a hundred millions—an amount greater far than the total national debt. Before another three months had passed this expenditure had doubled, and the Secretary estimated that $500,000,000 would be needed before the end of June, 1862! These were astounding figures to a country whose normal annual income was about $50,000,000. And what was worse, the financial men refused to take government bonds at par, as they had done during the war with Mexico, although they were now offered interest at the rate of six to eight per cent. The country had recovered from the panic of 1857, and as business activity increased and the general prosperity became certain, it was more difficult for the Government to borrow money. The suspension of specie payments by all the banks before the end of the year did not mean panic or severe economic crisis, as had hitherto been the case; rather, a change from metallic to paper money. Secretary Chase was told by New York leaders in December, 1862, that government bonds bearing six per cent interest would hardly bring sixty cents on the dollar. Yet business men borrowed money at four per cent and the wheels of industry and commerce were moving at full speed. Prosperity in the North was thus almost as fatal to the Union as adversity in the South was to the Confederacy. Rather than advertise a collapse of the federal credit by selling bonds at a discount of twenty to forty per cent the guiding spirits at Washington decided to issue notes as legal tender to the amount of $150,000,000, increased to $300,000,000 a little later. Immediately, bankers and business men who refused to take bonds protested with such vigor and resolution that Chase and Lincoln, unlearned in the ways of finance, knew not what course to take. To sell bonds at enormous discounts and high rates of interest was bad; to tax the people directly for the needs of the Government would have ruined the party in power; and to issue fiat money was equivalent to forcing the poor to lend what the rich refused. But the emergency was great. It was decided to issue and float “greenbacks” and also to sell bonds in unprecedented numbers. Though the markets of the world were open to the North and business was as active as ever in the history of the country, the Federal Government was thus reduced, like the Confederacy, to the use of paper money, and, surprising as it may appear, the securities of the latter sold in Europe at a higher price than those of the former. Gold and silver disappeared entirely in both sections.

But the eyes of the public were fixed on military movements, not finance, and as the winter of 1861-62 wore on an army of a hundred thousand men gathered around Washington for the second invasion of Virginia. George B. McClellan, the “young Napoleon,” drilled and organized the raw recruits while public opinion began to urge another march upon Richmond. Other armies nearly a hundred thousand strong spread over Kentucky and threatened Tennessee at Cumberland Gap, Bowling Green, and Forts Henry and Donelson. In February Ulysses S. Grant saw the strategic importance of the forts on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, and before the first of March he had captured both, and the whole of West Tennessee lay open to him. Nashville fell as he moved up the Tennessee, and Commodore Foote opened the Mississippi River almost to Vicksburg during the early spring. Meanwhile Albert Sidney Johnston had retreated to northern Mississippi. Finding Grant in a weak position on the southern bank of the Tennessee near Shiloh Church, he hastily gathered his discouraged troops about him for a sudden attack upon the invaders. Grant had nearly 45,000 men and he knew that General Buell was only a few miles away with 37,000 more. Johnston had 40,000. The purpose of the Confederate general was known to his men, and all were inspired with the determination of striking a blow before the two armies of the enemy could unite. Johnston's assistants in command were Beauregard and Bragg, both able and experienced officers. On the morning of April 6, the Confederates fell upon Grant's outposts and drove them headlong against the main body. Desperate valor was shown in the ensuing attack, and before the afternoon it seemed that nothing could save the Union army and its commander from complete disaster. The river was in high flood, two impassable creeks flanked the Federals, while the victorious Confederates held the fourth side of the field. At two o'clock Johnston fell mortally wounded; Beauregard succeeded to command, and about four o'clock the attack slackened; at six it ceased altogether, though the Union forces were demoralized and expecting to be captured. Grant was saved. With the support of Buell at hand he attacked Beauregard on the morrow and regained some of his lost prestige. The “promenade” up the Tennessee had been halted; but the loss of Johnston was equal to the loss of an army. This fighting of South and West was of the most desperate character, for Grant lost more than 10,000 in killed and wounded, while Johnston and Beauregard lost 9700.

The march of Grant and Buell across middle and western Tennessee and the opening of the Mississippi to Memphis was accompanied by the loss to the Confederates of Missouri and a part of Arkansas. Grant's objective in the summer and autumn of 1862 was Vicksburg, but the Confederates held him fast in the neighborhood of Corinth, Mississippi. Buell withdrew from middle Tennessee in the late summer, when Bragg, commander of a second Confederate army in the West, moved through eastern Tennessee into Kentucky, threatening Lexington and Louisville. But Bragg failed after some successes in September to carry the tide of war back toward the Ohio, and he was followed in October by the army of the Ohio, now under the command of General W. S. Rosecrans, toward Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where another sanguinary battle was fought on the last day of December, 1862. Rosecrans now had 43,000 men, Bragg 38,000. After a desperate encounter in which the honors inclined to the Confederate side, Bragg withdrew toward Chattanooga, his base of operations, and Rosecrans encamped at Murfreesboro. The Federal losses in this engagement were more than 13,000, the Confederate somewhat over 9000, and the only advantage was the gaining of a few miles of territory. The war in the West which began so brilliantly for the Federals at Forts Henry and Donelson seemed to have come to a halt. Grant was unable to penetrate the lower South, and Rosecrans was content to leave Bragg in undisturbed possession of the region between Murfreesboro and Chattanooga.

Meanwhile the eyes of the two warring powers were concentrated on the operations in Virginia. McClellan moved in March, 1862, upon Richmond by way of the Yorktown Peninsula, a swampy wild region over which it was difficult, indeed, to move an army. He commanded 125,000 men, and 40,000 more were in the neighborhood of Washington to make a diversion in his favor in case of necessity. Joseph E. Johnston, who had held chief command in Virginia since Bull Run, shifted his position promptly from northern Virginia to Richmond to meet the threatened attack. He had no more than 55,000 men. As McClellan worked his way slowly up the peninsula Johnston fortified his position along the ridges east and north of the Confederate capital, which stood on the hills just above tidewater. From Hanover Court-House to Malvern Hill, a distance of some twenty-five miles, the two armies confronted each other in irregular lines conforming to the topography of the region. Late in May, Johnston attacked McClellan on the Union right, and the fighting continued two or three days, now at one point, now at another of the long lines. On May 31, in the battle of Fair Oaks, Johnston was severely wounded and the command devolved upon Robert E. Lee, whose failure to hold West Virginia against McClellan during the preceding autumn had temporarily eclipsed his growing reputation. Lee's management of his forces during the early days of his new command was faulty; but before the 23d of June he had received reinforcements from the Carolinas and Georgia which brought his total almost to 60,000; and he relied on “Stonewall” Jackson, who was just concluding a wonderful campaign in the Valley of Virginia, to come to his assistance with his corps of 16,000. But McClellan still had 105,000 fairly trained soldiers, and there was no reason to doubt that a second Union army was forming near Alexandria. It was a critical moment.

Meanwhile, Jackson's operations in the Shenandoah Valley had so startled and astounded the Federals that he was able to march, June 20-25, unobserved, over the passes of the Blue Ridge Mountains to Lee's assistance. A series of battles began June 26 at Mechanicsville on McClellan's right, near where Johnston had fought. But the failure of Jackson to arrive and begin the attack, according to agreement, caused the first Confederate onset to fail, with heavy losses to the South. The next day, however, the tide turned the other way and Lee routed McClellan at Gaines' Mill. McClellan now retreated across White Oak Swamp towards Harrison's Landing on the James. The weather was hot, the ground soft from rains, and the underbrush so thick and tangled that men could not see each other at a distance of ten paces, save in the narrow roads or small clearings. Realizing the difficulties under which his opponent labored, Lee ordered hasty pursuit, and ineffective blows were struck at Savage's Station and in White Oak Swamp. Jackson again failed to maintain the great reputation he had won in the Valley, and Magruder, Holmes, and Huger, other lieutenants of Lee, not knowing their own country as well as did the Federals, suffered their commands to be lost in the wilderness and thus aided McClellan in his escape from a dangerous situation. On July 1 the retreating Union army gathered, still devoted to its commander, on Malvern Hill, within support of the Federal gunboats in the James River below. The Confederates, confident and expectant, poured out of the woods from every direction, formed in battle array, and charged over open fields and rising ground toward the two hundred and fifty great guns which had been dragged for weeks through the swamps in the hope of just such an opportunity. The attempt of Lee to carry this impregnable position lost the Confederates as many brave men as all the other six days of unremitting warfare. McClellan held his own till night; Lee withdrew to the neighboring thickets, surprised at the resolute strength of an opponent who had avoided battle at every turn since June 26.

The week of fighting and scouring the woods had cost the North nearly 16,000 men; the South, 20,000. The retreat on July 2 to Harrison's Landing was McClellan's confession of failure, which sorely distressed his superiors in Washington and greatly depressed the spirits of the North. Lee's first essay at war on a large scale had saved the Confederate capital, though at fearful cost, and he was everywhere regarded as a great general. From this time Davis and the Confederate Government gave him the fullest confidence, and the people of the South came to think of him as almost superhuman. Though he was bold in action and even reckless of human life, his soldiers gave him an obedience and a reverence which no other commander in American history has ever received. Jackson, Longstreet, and D. H. and A. P. Hill had also won fame in this baptism of blood. To the average Southerner the outlook was once more exceedingly bright. Richmond breathed freely, and the Government bent its energies to the task of supplying its able officers with men and means.

While the Federal Government was deciding what to do with McClellan and his army, still almost twice as large as Lee's, the Confederate commander sent Jackson with some 20,000 men to the neighborhood of Bull Run, where the commands of McDowell, Banks, and Frémont had been united to make a third army of invasion. General John Pope was brought from successful operations in the West to Washington, where Secretary Edwin M. Stanton, assuming more and more the directing authority of the Government, prepared, with the assistance of Senator Benjamin F. Wade, a proclamation which Pope was to distribute among the troops. “I come from the West, where we have always seen the backs of our enemies,” ran this remarkable admonition to Eastern, officers and men. “Let us look before us and not behind.” Most of the 50,000 men who were soon to meet Jackson and Lee resented the comparison and the affront. On August 9 a sharp encounter at Cedar Mountain showed how resolute and real was the purpose of Lee to drive this army out of Virginia. When President Lincoln removed McClellan and ordered the Army of the Potomac in part to Washington, in part to Acquia Creek, near Fredericksburg, to support Pope, and gave the command of all the armies of the East to General H. W. Halleck, for whom Grant had won high reputation earlier in the year, Lee hastened northward to defeat Pope before these reinforcements could arrive. The Union forces north of Bull Run amounted now to nearly 75,000 men; Lee had 55,000, but there was no thought of delay. On the 29th and 30th Pope was crushed and routed completely in a series of maneuvers and battles which have been pronounced the most masterly in the whole war. For four days the discouraged and baffled troops and officers of the Union retreated or ran pell-mell across the northern counties of Virginia into Washington, to the dismay of Lincoln and the friends of the Federal cause. It was at this moment, too, that Bragg was advancing, as already described, into Kentucky and threatening to seize Lexington and Louisville. It was a dark hour to the patient and patriotic Lincoln, who had never dreamed that such catastrophes could be the result of his reluctant decision, in early April, 1861, to hold Fort Sumter.

General Halleck proved uncertain and dilatory; the Army of the Potomac was generally dissatisfied and clamoring for the restoration of McClellan, who, like Joseph E. Johnston, of the South, was always popular with his men; the Cabinet, too, was uncertain and hopelessly divided in its counsels. The cause of the Union was exceedingly doubtful in September, 1862, as Lee entered Maryland, publishing abroad his call to the Southern element of that State to rise and join their brethren of the Confederacy. Public opinion in the North was divided and depressed. The abolitionists of the East were pressing every day through Sumner and Chase for a proclamation emancipating the slaves, which might have driven Maryland and Kentucky into the arms of the enemy; the Northwest was in turmoil, for there abolitionism was as unpopular as slavery itself, and leading men declared that it was a war for the Union, for a great common country, not a struggle to overthrow the institutions of the South. There was still no great party, sure of a majority in the coming elections, upon which the President could rely, and the loss of a majority in Congress would have been fatal.

Under these circumstances Lee, Longstreet, and Jackson entered Maryland at a point some fifty miles above Washington, with their army enthusiastic and self-confident because of recent victories. It seemed almost certain that another victory, and this on the soil of the North, would secure Confederate recognition in Europe. Reluctantly Lincoln restored McClellan to the command of the Union army which was moving northwestward to confront Lee. An accident, one of those small things in war which sometimes determines the fate of nations, put into McClellan's hands the orders of Lee for the Maryland campaign. General D. H. Hill dropped his copy of these important and highly confidential instructions upon the ground as he was breaking camp on the morning of the 12th of September. On the same day this tell-tale document was handed to the Federal commander. Almost a third of Lee's army was on its way to Harper's Ferry, many miles to the west, to seize that post, which McClellan thought had already been evacuated. McClellan began to press upon the Confederates as they retired from their advanced position to the valley of Antietam Creek. South Mountain, a spur of the Blue Ridge, lay between the armies. On September 16, McClellan crossed the passes and confronted Lee, who was now on the defensive. A most sanguinary battle followed on the 17th, and the Confederates, having suffered losses of nearly 12,000 men, retired to northern Virginia. The campaign was closed, for McClellan was too cautious to risk a second attack, and Lee retired to a safe position south of the Potomac. The consternation of the North subsided and President Lincoln gave out the announcement that if war continued till January he would emancipate the slaves by executive order in all the States which at that time refused to recognize the Federal authority.

The elections which came in October and November following ran heavily against the Administration. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin, Republican States in 1860, went Democratic. Only in States where the war upon the South, as the ancient enemy, was popular did the Administration receive hearty support. In the moderate States like Pennsylvania and the border States like Kentucky, the Republican party had practically ceased to exist. The Emancipation Proclamation had served to emphasize the almost fatal cleavage in Northern public opinion.

But the fortunes of both sides depended on victory in the field as well as votes in Congress, and all eyes turned again to the movements of Lee. The failure of McClellan to follow Lee and deliver battle led to his second removal from command. Ambrose E. Burnside, a corps commander who had done good work at Antietam, succeeded, and in obedience to the orders of the War Department moved directly upon Richmond by way of Fredericksburg, with an army of 122,000. But Lee confronted him on the south bank of the Rappahannock, and though his forces were only a little more than half as strong, there was no uneasiness at Confederate headquarters. On the 12th of December Burnside crossed the Rappahannock and attacked Lee, who held the formidable hills on the southern bank of that stream. Another bloody battle ensued. After a vain and hopeless sacrifice of 12,000 men, Burnside withdrew to the northern bank of the river. The active fighting of 1862 had come to a close. In northern Mississippi Grant and Sherman were blocked; at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the armies of Rosecrans and Bragg were about to make their fruitless onsets already mentioned, and in Virginia the Union outlook was quite as dark as it had been after the first unfortunate trial at arms in July, 1861. Lincoln thought of removing Grant because of the failure of the campaign in northern Mississippi, but gave him another opportunity; Burnside resigned a command he had not sought, and Joseph Hooker took up the difficult problem of beating Lee.

At Washington the deepest gloom prevailed. On July 2, 1862, before the news of McClellan's failure to capture Richmond had reached the people, a call for 300,000 three-year men was made. Then came the disaster of Second Manassas and the invasion of Maryland. Recruiting went on drearily during the fall, when most signs pointed to the failure of all the gigantic efforts to maintain the Union. The writ of habeas corpus, so dear to Anglo-Saxons, had been frequently suspended; arbitrary arrests were made in all parts of the North, and many well-known men were held in military and other prisons without warrant or trial. Stanton and Seward with the approval of the President issued orders for the seizure of men at night, and the mysterious disappearances of public men in places where opposition had been shown served to warn people against displeasing their own officers at the capital. The cost of the war had mounted to $2,500,000 a day, while the gross receipts of the Government were not more than $600,000 a day. When the time came to put into force the Emancipation Proclamation, the people were in greater doubt than ever about the wisdom of the move, and Secretary Seward wrote to a friend condemning utterly this effort to raise a servile war in the South. The letter found its way into the newspapers and showed once more the cleavage of Northern public opinion. The radical East approved, the nationalist West disapproved, and business men, bankers, merchants, and manufacturers, whom Seward best represented, went on their indifferent ways, refusing to lend money to the Government save on usurious terms, and at the same time denouncing its policy of paying debts by issuing irredeemable paper. Lincoln had lost the confidence of the public, even of Congress; but, as he himself said, no other man possessed more of that confidence. An honest German merchant wrote home to friends that if the North could only exchange officers with the Confederates, the war would be over in a few weeks. In the midst of the depression the Secretary of the Treasury issued another $100,000,000 of greenbacks to meet pressing needs; and to fill up the ranks of the armies a Federal conscript law was enacted in March, 1863, only a little less drastic than the Confederate measure which was said to “rob both the cradle and the grave.”

Under these circumstances Hooker moved half-heartedly upon Lee. The two armies, the Union out-numbering the Confederate more than two to one, met in the dreary and almost impenetrable forest, southwest of Fredericksburg, known as the Wilderness, though the battle which followed bears the name of Chancellorsville. For five days the bloody work went on, with the result that Hooker retired beaten and humiliated before his enemy. Lee and the South had also lost their greatest general, Stonewall Jackson, and the people of the South were feeling to the full the disasters of war. But Lee gathered his forces from Norfolk, Petersburg, and Richmond, every regiment that could be spared, more than 80,000 men, and set his face once more toward western Maryland and Pennsylvania, where he confidently expected to wrest a peace from the stubborn North. The Army of the Potomac moved on interior lines toward Gettysburg, leaving some regiments in Washington against an emergency. The people of Pennsylvania and New York were panic-struck; a second time the evils of war had been transferred from Southern to Northern territory. Great cities have not been famous for self-control and philosophy when their banks and their rich storehouses have been threatened with ruin. Philadelphia and New York were no exceptions to the rule, and if it had been left to them the war would have been brought to a close before Lee crossed the Pennsylvania border.

Once more the Union commander was changed. Upon the modest shoulders of General George Gordon Meade fell the heavy responsibility of saving the riches of the Middle States and the cause of the Union, for all felt that a Confederate victory in the heart of the North would bring the tragedy to a close. Lee was so bold and confident that he was hardly more cautious in the disposition of his troops than he had been when fighting on his own soil. Meade secured a strong position on the hills about the since famous village of Gettysburg, and awaited attack; he had somewhat more than 90,000 men, who were, however, still laboring under the delusion that Lee was invincible and that their commanders were unequal to those of the adversary. Without waiting for the return of his cavalry and without trying, like Napoleon at Austerlitz, to entice the Federals away from their fortifications, General Lee pressed forward. On July 1 the Confederates gained some advantage in the fighting; on the second day they held their own; but on the third day they attempted, somewhat after the manner of Burnside at Fredericksburg, the impossible, and the best army the South ever had was hopelessly beaten. About 30,000 of their brave men were dead, wounded, or missing. Meade had not suffered so great a loss, and he had saved the cause of his Government. After a day of waiting the Confederate army took up its march unmolested toward northern Virginia. While the people of the North rejoiced at their deliverance, the news came that Grant had captured Vicksburg and all the 30,000 men who had defended that important point. The Mississippi went on its way “unvexed to the sea,” as Lincoln said, for New Orleans had long since fallen and the upper river had been cleared of all resistance. At only one point on the long line from Washington to Vicksburg had the Confederates held their own—Chattanooga, whence Bragg had retreated earlier in the year and where the next great battle was to be fought.

Hastily Davis ordered his available regiments to Bragg, who held the mountain ridges south of Chattanooga. Lee, who felt strong enough to hold Meade in check in northern Virginia, sent away Longstreet with his veterans. September 19, Rosecrans attacked Bragg on his impregnable hills, and after two days of heroic fighting and appalling losses he retired to the city. Bragg had won a victory similar in every respect to that which crowned Meade's efforts at Gettysburg. Though slow, unpopular with officers and men, and unimaginative, he soon seized the strong points on the river above and below the city, and Rosecrans was surrounded, besieged, for the single, almost impassable road to Nashville and the North would not bear the burden of necessary supplies. If Bragg had proved watchful and alert, it would have been only a matter of time when the Federals would have been driven by famine to surrender.

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Mr. Gamaliel Bradford has published some extremely interesting studies of the war-time leaders, of which, Lee, the American (1912) is by far the most important, though his Confederate Portraits (1914) including character sketches of most of the eminent Southern generals, offer a great deal that is suggestive. In volume IV of Mr. Rhodes's History there are two chapters which treat of the life of the people of North and South in the most interesting manner. In addition to the more general works already cited, one may turn to George C. Gorham's Life and Public Services of Edwin M. Stanton (1889); George H. Haynes's Charles Sumner in American Crises biographies; Henry Cleveland's Alexander H. Stephens in Public and in Private (1866); A. B. Hart's Salmon Portland Chase in American Statesmen series; Frederic Bancroft's The Life of William H. Seward (1900); and Carl Schurz's Reminiscences (1907-08); H. A. Wise's Seven Decades of the American Union (1876); and J. W. DuBose's The Life and Times of William L. Yancey (1892).

The diplomatic history of the war will be found in J. M. Callahan's Diplomatic History of the Southern Confederacy (1901); J. W. Foster's A Century of American Diplomacy (1900); Charles Francis Adams's Charles Francis Adams (1900), in American Statesmen series; Charles Francis Adams's Lee at Appomatox (1909); and Transatlantic Solidarity (1913); and Pierce Butler's Judah P. Benjamin, in American Crises biographies.

Of contemporary accounts to be added to those already mentioned are W. T. Sherman's Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman (1875), and especially the Home Letters of General Sherman, edited by M. A. DeWolfe Howe (1909); G. B. McClellan's McClellan's Own Story (1887); E. A. Pollard's A Southern History of the War (1866); Horace Greeley's The American Conflict (1864-67); and Jefferson Davis's Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (1881).

                    

CHAPTER XVI. THE COLLAPSE OF THE CONFEDERACY

As one looks to-day over the sources of the history of the great Civil War, it seems plain that the responsible spokesmen of the Confederacy should have made overtures to the North for peace on the basis of an indissoluble union of the warring sections in the autumn of 1863. But the Southern leader who proposed reunion at that time would have been regarded as untrue to his cause or unduly timid. Neither Jefferson Davis nor General Lee had any thought of surrender, though from the attitude of representatives of the United States it was plain that an offer to return to the Union would have been met with ample guaranties to the owners of slaves and full amnesty to those who had brought on the war. Alexander Stephens alone foresaw the outcome and began now to ask for a new national convention in which terms of restoration and permanent union should be fixed. Stephens was, however, already out of harmony with President Davis; and the State of Georgia, led by Joseph E. Brown, the Governor, and the Confederate Vice-President himself, was regarded by loyal Southerners as recalcitrant and therefore not authorized to propose solutions of the problem. The cup of Southern defeat and humiliation had not been drained to the bottom.

The Confederacy owed, at the end of the year 1863, $1,221,000,000; the State Governments, the counties and cities, probably owed as much more. Paper money, the only medium of exchange, was fast giving way to barter. One dollar in gold was worth twenty dollars in Confederate currency. The monthly wage of a common soldier was not sufficient to buy a bushel of wheat. People who lived in the cities converted their tiny yards into vegetable gardens; the planters no longer produced cotton and tobacco, but supplies for “their people” and for the armies. The annual export of cotton fell from 2,000,000 bales in 1860 to less than 200,000 in 1863, and most of this came from areas under Federal control. The yearly returns to the planters from foreign markets alone had fallen from the huge returns of 1860 to almost nothing in 1863, and with the disappearance of gold, or international money, from the South, the Governments, Confederate and State, found their systems of taxation breaking down. Early in 1864 taxes were made payable in corn, bacon, or wheat, not in paper money, which every one refused to accept at face value. Planters and farmers great and small were now required to contribute one tenth of their crops to the Government. This would have given to the armies an ample supply, but the railroads were already breaking down, while wagons and country roads were also unable to bear the unparalleled burden. It was a difficult situation. The States made it worse by resisting the authority of the Confederacy; while the Confederacy was unable either to raise money on loans or gather taxes in kind from farmers who preferred always to pay in “lawful money.” The Confederacy was getting into debt beyond all chance of redemption, and the States were likewise mortgaged to the utmost limit of their credit before the end of the year 1864.

But the tax law of 1864 was only one of the burdens under which Southerners, who had never accustomed themselves to paying taxes in any large way, groaned. In 1862 General Lee had urged upon Davis a conscript law which would keep his ranks full. Congress grudgingly enacted the required legislation, and later more drastic laws were passed; but the simple people who occupied the remote mountain sections of the South and the small farmers and tenants of the sandy ridges or piney woods responded slowly when confronted by the officers of the law. Thousands positively refused service in the armies and resorted to the dense forests or swamps, where they were fed by friends and neighbors who refused to assist the government recruiting agents. In the mountains of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee these people were so numerous that the presence of troops was required to keep up the semblance of obedience to law. Local warfare was the result in many places. Unionists who had not been able to join the armies of the United States assisted those who refused to serve in the Confederate ranks. As time went on thousands of deserters joined the recalcitrants in the Southern hills, and during the last year of the war it was a serious problem of State and Confederate authorities what to do with these people, who now numbered quite a hundred thousand men.

Resistance to tax-gatherers and to recruiting officers, and the despondency which followed the disasters of 1863 and the tightening of the Federal blockade, led to dissatisfaction and even resistance in the loyal black belts. In North Carolina a peace movement, led by an able newspaper editor, W. W. Holden, gained the sympathies of Governor Vance, who had never liked Jefferson Davis nor really sympathized with the cause of secession. In Virginia the friends of John B. Floyd, who had been summarily dismissed from the army for his hasty surrender of Fort Donelson in 1862, aided by the followers of John M. Daniel, editor of the Richmond Examiner, did what they could to embarrass the Confederate President. The Rhett influence in South Carolina and the long-standing quarrel of Governor Brown of Georgia with Jefferson Davis still further weakened the arm of Confederate administration. Even William L. Yancey, the most fiery of the secessionist leaders of 1860, devoted all his eloquence and abilities, from 1861 to the time of his death in 1863, to attacking the Government of his own making. And to make matters worse, the supreme courts of North Carolina and Georgia undertook to annul the conscript law and other important acts of the Confederate Congress, and thus inaugurated a war of the judges which seriously undermined the prestige and the morale of the Confederate Government. Confederate officers enrolled men for the army only to have them released by state judges supported by their respective governors. All the influence and abilities of Lee and Davis were required to prevent a break-down in the spring of 1864, when the calls for more troops and additional supplies were so numerous and pressing. West Virginia was gone, Kentucky and Missouri, too, were wholly within the Federal lines; and most of Tennessee, half of Mississippi, and nearly all the region beyond the great river were lost to the Richmond Government. New Orleans and Norfolk were once more parts of the United States, while large strips of territory in eastern North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida were held in subjection by frowning gunboats.

[Illustration: The Confederacy in 1863]

A little cotton found its way through the beleaguered ports of Mobile, Savannah, Charleston, and Wilmington to Europe, and brought the lucky blockade runners and their owners rich returns. But trade was so small and the dangers of capture were so many that few could look with any real hope for a return of prosperity until the war was over. Europe must intervene if cotton and tobacco and sugar were to regain their kingly state. And this was the warmest wish of the Confederate chieftains. When the battle of Fredericksburg was fought, all the world thought that the desired recognition would come at once. James M. Mason, the commissioner to England, wrote home that a large majority of the House of Commons was willing to vote for acknowledging Southern independence, and Charles Francis Adams, the Minister of the United States, was of the same opinion. Gladstone, then one of the most popular members of the British Cabinet, and a majority of his colleagues favored the South. Palmerston declared, when the Emancipation Proclamation was read to him, that Lincoln abolished slavery where he had no power to do so and protected it where he had power to abolish it. Of the million voters in England at least three fourths seemed ready to vote for Southern recognition, and all the great manufacturers, the powerful merchants, the country gentry, and great nobles were openly contemptuous of the cause and policy of the North. Carlyle ridiculed the “Yankees,” and Dickens made fun of Lincoln, Sumner, Chase, and the rest. It was apparently only a matter of weeks before Lord Palmerston would ask Parliament to authorize him to intervene in order to stop the “useless” bloodshed and slaughter of the war between the States.

In France the ruling class, the bankers, the industrialists, the higher clergy, and many of the party of free trade supported Napoleon III in his well-known friendliness for the South. Moreover, the Emperor was promoting a scheme to build for his Austrian friend, Maximilian, an empire in Mexico, where the perennial war of factions was hotly raging. Davis might aid such a move as a consideration for recognition, and certainly Seward was too busy with his own troubles to intervene on behalf of an “outworn” Monroe Doctrine. Slidell, the shrewd Confederate commissioner to France, led the Emperor to expect Southern support of his scheme, and at the same time borrowed millions of dollars in gold from rich Paris bankers and hurried it off to the famishing Confederacy. No revolutionary power ever had a fairer chance of winning its goal than did that of Davis and Lee in the autumn of 1862 and winter of 1863.

The unexpected often happens. While Charles Francis Adams was being coldly elbowed out of the salons of an unsympathetic English nobility, and when Confederate bonds were selling both in London and Paris at or near par, Secretary Chase sent Robert J. Walker, the former Mississippi repudiator and successful Secretary of the Treasury under Polk, to Europe for the purpose of breaking down Confederate credit and building up that of the United States.

The commissioner of the Treasury Department began the publication of a series of articles on the financial page of the London Times which seemed to show that Davis had been responsible for the repudiation of a large issue of state bonds, many of them held in London, in 1843. All that Mason and Slidell could do did not remove the suspicion that the Confederate President would “repudiate” again. Men who had loaned large sums of money to Mississippi could not be made to understand that Walker himself had been the responsible agent of Mississippi in those days. From the beginning of this unpleasant advertising of former American financiering, in which Northern States had sinned quite as flagrantly as Southern, Confederate credit in Europe declined. Her bonds were soon withdrawn from the market. At the same time Walker succeeded in borrowing $250,000,000 from European bankers, and thus at a critical period he was able to prop the declining fortunes of his country. To say that Walker destroyed the credit of the Confederacy and at the same time restored that of the Union would be an exaggeration. But his services were of incalculable value to the nationalist cause. When, therefore, Napoleon asked England to join him in intervening between the warring parties of the United States there was other reason, besides the strong and vigorous activity of Charles Francis Adams, for the British Ministry to postpone or decline coöperation.

Thus the bright Confederate outlook of 1862 had become dark in May, 1864, when General Grant, who had been brought from the field of his brilliant operations in the West, took command of the army with which Meade had expelled Lee from Pennsylvania. But conditions were not encouraging in the North. Lincoln's popularity was still in eclipse. Congress was resentful of his failures. Charles Sumner was denouncing him every day in private and opposing him in public. Secretary Chase was using the machinery of his great office to deprive his chief of a renomination. The radicals of the East were still refusing their approval of a policy which compromised with slavery in the border States, and the Unionists of the Northwest were resentful toward a President who was making war upon slavery. The Democrats of the North were apparently stronger than ever, and their criticism of the Government for suspending the writ of habeas corpus and for hundreds of arbitrary arrests gave conservative men pause. To all this must be added the resistance in 1863 to the military drafts, the riots, the extraordinary prosperity of business men which made recruiting, even with the aid of laws almost as drastic as those of the South, almost impossible. The cost in bounties to nation, state, and counties of one enlistment in 1864 was about $1000; and when a regiment was thus made up, a third of the men sometimes deserted within a few months and reënlisted under other names, thus securing a second or a third series of bounties.

Still the success of the Northern cause seemed to depend on the renomination of Lincoln, for any other Republican Unionist would certainly be defeated by the Democrats, who were fast uniting upon General McClellan, exceedingly popular with both War Democrats and those who had opposed the war from the beginning. If the outlook in the South was discouraging, that of the North was almost as depressing.

With public opinion keen, critical, and watchful, the great duel reopened in Virginia and Georgia in May, 1864. Grant attacked with an army of 120,000 men; Lee returned the blow with a force of about 60,000 seasoned and resolute soldiers. From May 3 to June 12 the two great generals fought over the tangled thickets and sandy ridges which extend from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor near Richmond, where McClellan had failed in 1862. Grant failed in every attempt to defeat his foe, and he lost in that short period about 54,000 brave men—an army almost equal in numbers to that which they opposed. The people and the papers of the North were demanding the removal of their last general; United States bonds and paper money were a drug on the stock market; it was reported that Grant was drinking deeply. Lincoln knew that to remove his general would be tantamount to surrender, for B. F. Butler, then on the lower James, would be the only and last resort, and Lee would make short work of that remarkable commander. There was a little encouragement in the fighting of Sherman against Joseph E. Johnston, who was yielding more and more of northern Georgia to his rival. But June and July, 1864, were the darkest hours of the Union cause and of Lincoln, its champion.

Lee now felt himself secure in his position near Malvern Hill, and expected daily to hear of the removal of his antagonist. But Grant, to the surprise of all, performed the greatest feat of his military career by safely placing all his army, still 120,000 strong, on the south side of the James River, where there were no intrenchments and no other obstacles to their marching upon Petersburg, the key to Richmond. This was done with incredible facility, June 16, 17, and 18, while Lee quietly waited for the enemy to attack him once more. While Lee thus rested on his arms, Grant carried his army through the open country east of Petersburg. Too late, June 18, the Confederate commander hastened all his forces to the new scene of war. Grant had played an incomparable ruse, and the Union army entered, with returning faith in its leader, upon the last phase of its great task—the ruin of Lee.

Meanwhile General Sherman, with a force of 80,000, had been driving Joseph E. Johnston, with 50,000 men, from Dalton in northern Georgia toward Atlanta. From May 4 until July 18 the two armies maneuvered and fought—each seeking without success to surprise the other. On the 17th of July Sherman crossed the Chattahoochee some twenty miles north of Atlanta. Georgia and the cotton belt of the lower South were in a panic. Davis, never quite satisfied with Johnston's operations, yielded to the clamors of Senators and Representatives, as well as military men, and removed the general. John B. Hood, the new commander, began at once a series of battles around the doomed city, losing in every encounter. Atlanta fell on September 2. Sherman was left in quiet possession of northern Georgia, while the Confederate army marched toward Nashville in the hope of forcing a retreat and perhaps of regaining Tennessee. With Grant at Petersburg, whose fall would compel the evacuation of Richmond, and Sherman the master of Georgia, for such was the meaning of Hood's movements, the days of the Confederacy seemed to be numbered.

Before these military successes had been gained, the leaders of the Union cause were compelled to nominate a candidate for the Presidency. Sumner, Greeley, William Cullen Bryant, and many other men of great influence opposed Lincoln's renomination. A convention of radical Republicans met at Cleveland during the last days of May. It nominated John C. Frémont for President. But the regular Republican Convention met a week later in Baltimore, formally disavowed its name, and assumed that of the National Union party. Its chairman was Robert J. Breckinridge, a Kentucky preacher and Unionist. Lincoln was renominated without opposition, and, as a bid to the border States, Andrew Johnson, Union Democrat of Tennessee, was nominated for Vice-President. However, the reverses of Grant in Virginia weakened the position of the Administration, and before the 1st of August trusted advisers of the Government telegraphed “The apathy of the public mind is fearful.” The price of gold ranged during the summer from 200 to 285, and United States securities sold at less than half their face value. The President was compelled to order a draft of 500,000 men in July; the country met the order with a groan. Congress asked for the appointment of a day of fasting and penance, and Lincoln set the first Thursday in August as a “day of national humiliation and prayer.” So portentous was the outlook that before the middle of August most of the eminent men in the Union party had lost all heart. Greeley wrote, “Lincoln is already beaten.” A committee waited on the President to ask his formal withdrawal from the canvass.

Late in August, when the Unionist hopes were at their lowest, the Democrats met in Chicago. Governor Seymour, of New York, Representatives Pendleton, of Ohio, Voorhees, of Indiana, and the unpopular Clement L. Vallandigham were in charge of the proceedings. Southern leaders came over from Canada and even representatives of the Sons of Liberty, a group of Northwesterners who were resisting the National Administration, were participants in the convention. Vallandigham, a “peace-at-any-price” man, secured the passage of a resolution which declared the war a failure, but the War Democrats dictated the nomination and made George B. McClellan the candidate of the party. The general, who had fought some of the great battles of the war, repudiated the Vallandigham resolution, but accepted the proffered leadership. On the day the convention adjourned it seemed clear to the thoughtful men of the country that the Democrats would win the election, and that they would in that event bring the war to a close by acknowledging Southern independence.

But before the delegates had reached their homes, the telegraph announced the fall of Atlanta. Commodore Farragut had just taken Mobile after a long and heroic struggle. President Lincoln, a masterful manipulator of popular opinion, now called upon the country to assemble in their churches and give thanks to God for the splendid victories of Sherman and Farragut. Early in September General Phil Sheridan invaded the Shenandoah Valley, made famous by Jackson in the beginning of the war, and won a decisive victory at Winchester. Before the end of the month he had burned thousands of barns, slaughtered many thousands of cattle, and destroyed the newly harvested grain in all that rich region. His terse remark that a crow could not cross the Valley without taking with him his provisions received widespread applause, and showed what a desperate character the war had taken. Sherman, too, took up his march through the rich black belt of Georgia, destroying everything that came within his reach. The people of the North took heart, especially the stiff-backed Republicans who during the two years preceding had found little to approve in the measures of the Government. Sumner, who had called Lincoln the American Louis XVI; Thaddeus Stevens, who had declared that he knew only one Lincoln man in the House of Representatives; Horace Greeley, Secretary Chase, and even Governor Andrew of Massachusetts, all united now to praise the President and urge his cause before the country. The last great crisis of the war in the North had been passed. A decisive victory at the polls was the verdict of the people, and the homely, honest, and kindly Lincoln was commissioned to bring the war to a conclusion and then to reconstruct the Union.

The South observed movements in the North now with hopeful, now with regretful, scrutiny. As a desperate stroke Davis had sent Jacob Thompson to Canada to assist in the release of Confederate prisoners and to stir up the Sons of Liberty to rise against the Federal Government. In October raiding parties were sent into New England, and an effort was made to set fire to New York City in retaliation for the destruction of Southern property by order of Federal generals. These efforts proved abortive, perhaps adding many votes to the majority with which Lincoln was reëlected. And when the Confederate Congress reassembled in November the fortunes of the South were recognized as almost past remedy. Georgia did not rise to overwhelm Sherman; the supplies painfully collected in thousands of dépôts could not be carried to Lee's army in Petersburg; the railroads were almost useless, and starvation confronted those who lived in the larger towns. Only a great and overwhelming victory over Grant could save the South, and that seemed impossible when thousands of Confederate soldiers had deserted their standards. With 40,000 men it was not likely that Lee could raise the siege of Petersburg or capture any large part of Grant's army of nearly 140,000.

In the hope of filling the thin ranks of the Southern armies, President Davis recommended to Congress the enlistment of the blacks; and to secure foreign recognition, he sent Duncan F. Kenner to Europe to offer emancipation of the slaves. But Congress regarded these moves with ill-concealed contempt and offered counter-solutions. Alexander Stephens, the Vice-President, led a movement to impeach Davis. Powerful influences in Virginia supported Stephens; in North Carolina, opposition to the Confederate authorities had been carried so far that such a proposal was regarded with approval. The Rhett party in South Carolina and the Joseph E. Brown following in Georgia were all ready to follow Stephens. A large section of public opinion had in fact been prepared in all these States for such a plan. A committee of Congress was formed and William C. Rives was sent to General Lee to inquire if he would take charge of the affairs of the Confederacy as sole dictator. Lee declined the dubious honor, and Congress, not knowing what else to do, undertook in early January, 1865, to carry out the recommendations of the President.

By the end of December, 1864, General Sherman had captured Savannah, and was ready to begin his march northward to support Grant. On the suggestion of Montgomery Blair, father of Postmaster-General Blair, a conference was arranged with the Federal authorities, to take place on a United States steamer in Hampton Roads. Lincoln and Seward thus met, on February 3, Alexander Stephens, former United States Judge Campbell, and Senator R. M. T. Hunter, all identified with the Confederate peace party. Satisfactory terms could not be agreed upon and the renewal of the conflict was ordered. As the commissioners passed through the lines, the news of their failure was conveyed to both armies, and these brave soldiers of many campaigns, having long since learned to respect each other, wept aloud. The failure of these negotiations confirmed Davis in his position and he now made one more appeal to the people of the South to save their cause by a popular uprising. Stephens and the rest lent their support to the call; but it was all in vain, for the sands of the Confederacy were almost run. General Sherman with 60,000 men was marching through South Carolina. Columbia was laid in ashes on the night of February 17, and the naked chimneys of the cotton belt from Atlanta to middle South Carolina marked the course of the Federal army. The people of North Carolina trembled at the approach of the victorious enemy. Joseph E. Johnston was finally restored to the command of the remnants of his former army and the local militia which undertook to delay the progress of the Federal forces. Well-to-do families fled to places of refuge; horses and cattle were driven to the best hiding-places that could be found; the silver plate and the little gold that remained among the people were buried under woodpiles or deserted houses. The negroes awaited with stolid curiosity the approach of the “Yankees,” who were by this time vaguely recognized as the “deliverers”; while the poor whites were thankful that their poverty for once proved a blessing.

In February the Confederate Congress offered a certain number of slaves their liberty on condition of their fighting for Southern independence; but it was too late for any test of the radical policy. The new commissioner to Europe had hardly reached London before the collapse of his Government was seen to be imminent. The debts of the Confederate, state, and city governments of the South had grown so rapidly that no one knew just what they were; the armies of Lee and Johnston were forced to forage upon the country nearest at hand. Soldiers were barefoot, half-naked, and dispirited. Grant pressed steadily upon Lee at Petersburg, Sheridan approached Lee's rear from Lynchburg, Virginia, and B. F. Butler, with 40,000 men, threatened Richmond from the lower James River. To escape the toils of the enemy, Lee decided to retreat toward the west. Jefferson Davis received the dispatch which told of Lee's new purpose and advised the evacuation of the capital about noon on April 2. It was Sunday, and the people were at church. Rapidly the fateful news spread. An indescribable scene followed. Men, women, and children hastened out of the doomed city with the little clothing they could carry in their hands, or begged the owners of carts and wagons to come to their assistance. Thousands thus sought to escape the avenger, while the high officials of the Government and their families went away on the last train. Documents, private correspondence, stores of all sorts, tobacco, and other property were burned to prevent their falling into the hands of the hated enemy. Early Monday morning the city was deserted save by certain hangers-on, men and women, white and black, who hoped to pick up something from the wreckage of their neighbors' fortunes. The local government ordered the thousands of barrels of whiskey, still in the bar-rooms, emptied into the streets. People drank from the gutters, and drunkenness soon added to the difficulties of the situation. Federal troops entered the city, already in flames, and before nine o'clock the Union colors flew from the flagpole of the ancient capital of Virginia.

[Illustration: Map of regions which surrendered with Lee and Johnston April 1865]

Davis and his Cabinet escaped to Danville, Virginia, where they remained until the news of Lee's surrender at Appomattox reached them on April 10, when they retreated toward Charlotte, North Carolina. Lee had seen the inevitable, and on April 9, near the little village of Appomattox, he asked Grant for terms. The Union commander was generous, and allowed the 28,000 heroic Confederates to return to their homes, giving only their word of honor that they would keep the peace in the future. A few days later near Durham, North Carolina, Johnston surrendered to Sherman on similar terms to those which Grant had given Lee. The President and members of the defunct government of the Confederate States of America hastened on to Georgia, where Davis was captured on May 10 and sent to Fortress Monroe as a state prisoner. Other forces of the South, scattered over the wide area of their desolate country, surrendered during the month of May; and most people turned to cultivation of their crops in the hope that a bountiful nature might restore somewhat their broken fortunes. The bitter cup had been drained. The cause of the planters had gone down in irretrievable disaster. For forty years they had contended with their rivals of the North, and having staked all on the wager of battle they had lost. Just four years before they had entered with unsurpassed zeal and enthusiasm upon the gigantic task of winning their independence. They had made the greatest fight in history up to that time, lost the flower of their manhood and wealth untold. They now renewed once and for all time their allegiance to the Union which had up to that time been an experiment, a government of uncertain powers. More than three hundred thousand lives and not less than four billions of dollars had been sacrificed in the fight of the South. The planter culture, the semi-feudalism of the “old South,” was annihilated, while the industrial and financial system of the East was triumphant. The cost to the North had been six hundred thousand lives and an expense to the governments, state and national, of at least five billion dollars. But the East was the mistress of the United States, and the social and economic ideals of that section were to be stamped permanently upon the country.

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

J. K. Hosmer, The Outcome of the Civil War (1900), in American Nation Series; J. A. Woodburn, The Life of Thaddeus Stevens (1913); E. P. Oberholtzer, Jay Cooke, Financier of the Civil War (1907); J. C. Schwab, The Confederate States, A Financial and Industrial History (1901); E. D. Fite, Social and Industrial Conditions in the North During the Civil War (1910), W. F. Fox, Regimental Losses in the American Civil War (1889).

Of special sectional value is W. D. Foulke's The Life of Oliver P. Morton (1899). Henry Wilson's The Rise and Fall of the Slave Power (1872-77); A. H. Stephens's A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the States (1868-70) are typical of many others. Some of the best writers on the life and ideals of the old South are Mrs. Roger A. Pryor, Reminiscences of Peace and War (1906), and My Day (1911); Mrs. James Chesnut, A Diary from Dixie (1905); Mrs. Clement C. Clay, A Belle of the Sixties (1904); and Mrs. Myrta L. Avery, Dixie after the War (1906). Mrs. Jefferson Davis's A Memoir of Jefferson Davis (1890) is rather personal and profuse, but always more important than the more pretentious work of her husband, Jefferson Davis, in his Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, already mentioned.

A rare source book for the South is J. B. Jones's A Rebel War Clerk's Diary (1866), and an even more important one for the North is Gideon Welles's Diary (1911). Edward McPherson's Political History of the United States During the Great Rebellion (1865); William McDonald's Select Statutes and Other Documents Illustrative of the History of the United States, 1861-98 (1903); J. D. Richardson's Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy (1905); and Appleton's Annual Cyclopedia and Register, 1862-1903, give the most important official documents and full accounts of public events as they occurred.

 
 
 

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