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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
REVIEWERS WANTED! If you would like to review any of the books in this series,
PM me with your Amazon email address and I will gift copies to you.

This post is to introduce a Kindle version of Volume 7 of a series entitled
"AMERICA Great Crises In Our History Told by Its Makers" which was published as
a print version by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1925. The seventh volume
covers the period 1845-1861, highlighting the Mexican War and the increasing
internal tensions over slavery . This Kindle version is published in
partnership with the VFW who receive 50% of sales revenue.

The thread title refers to the latest extract from the book which may be found at the bottom of this thread.

Product Description
In the 1840s and 50s, political upheavals and threats of secession engendered
deep divisions in the United States. Eye-witness reports from these troubled
times help you develop your own view of this critical period in American history
as you read the words of James K Polk, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and Abraham
Lincoln. This volume begins with accounts from political and military
participants in the Oregon boundary dispute and the war with Mexico, which
resulted in the annexation of California. Brigham Roberts, official historian of
the Church of Latter-Day Saints, describes the Mormon exodus to Utah; a "forty-
niner" recalls the hardships of the California gold rush; and Commodore Perry
tells of his treaty with Japan. Read John Brown's final speech and letters;
Lincoln's famous oration "A house divided ..." and accounts of his nomination
for the Presidency; and Jefferson Davis's farewell address to the Senate and
inaugural address as Confederate President.

Introduction To The Series

"After you've heard two eyewitness accounts of an auto accident, you begin to
worry about history." This observation, attributed to the comedian Henny
Youngman, summarizes the dilemma you face when you want to find out what really
happened in the past. When you read a history book, the "facts" are actually the
author's own interpretation, often colored by a conscious or unconscious wish to
have you share a particular point of view. You're one step (or many steps)
removed from the original source material.

That's why the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States compiled this 12-
volume collection of writings of people who actually witnessed the key events in
American history - the actual actors in the events or contemporary observers of
them. Past historians have spent decades locating, studying and consulting vast
amounts of material such as this. This meticulously chosen selection brings you
the essence of history as originally recorded by those who participated in it.

You'll be reading mostly eye-witness accounts, by people contemporary with the
events they describe, including many significant historical figures themselves.
So you can make your own assessments, draw your own conclusions and gain an
understanding of past events undistorted by the prejudices, assumptions and
selectivity of professional historians. In some instances where there aren't
reliable or easily accessible eye-witness accounts, the compilers have chosen
extracts from objective, authoritative historians of past generations such as
Francis Parkman whose judgements have stood the test of time. Through these
accounts, your knowledge of American history will be immeasurably greater, your
understanding of the key events in the building of the nation immensely

Founded in 1899, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) is a
nonprofit organization dedicated to foster camaderie among United States
veterans of overseas conflicts, from the Spanish-American War to Iraq and
Afghanistan, and to ensure that they receive due respect and entitlements for
the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of the nation. With
this mission, the VFW has a natural desire to encourage a broad understanding
and appreciation of American history, and this essential collection of
historical documents makes a huge contribution to that aim.

This reissue was scanned, formatted and converted to e-book format by with the permission and encouragement of the VFW, to make
the series more accessible to a wider public. The VFW will receive 50% of all
sales revenue from these e-books. This book is about 300 print pages.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America Great Crises in our History.

War Clouds Over Oregon

By Thomas H. Benton.

THE Oregon boundary dispute, in 1846, came near resulting in a war between Great Britain and the United States. Benton, from whose "Thirty Years' View" this account is taken, was a United States Senator from Missouri at the time and was an authority on western problems of legislation. In the debates on the Oregon question, he took a leading part against the "Fifty-four, forty or fight" advocates, and was spokesman for the Polk administration which was committed by the Democratic platform to demand "the whole of Oregon or none."

This demand, as Benton points out, was based upon ignorance of geography, there being no such line of latitude on the North American continent as 54 40'. The present boundary line of 49 to the channel between Vancouver and the mainland and thence through the Straits of San Juan de Fuca to the sea, was vigorously advocated by Benton throughout a stormy period.

TWO conventions (1818 and 1828) provided for the joint occupation of the countries respectively claimed by Great Britain and the United States on the north-west coast of America that of 1818 limiting the joint occupancy to ten years that of 1828 extending it indefinitely until either of the two powers should give notice to the other of a desire to terminate it. Such agreements are often made when it is found difficult to agree upon the duration of any particular privilege, or duty. They are seductive to the negotiators because they postpone an inconvenient question: they are consolatory to each party, because each says to itself it can get rid of the obligation when it pleases a consolation always delusive to one of the parties : for the one that has the advantage always resists the notice, and long baffles it, and often through menaces causes it to be considered an unfriendly proceeding. On the other hand, the party to whom it is disadvantageous often sees danger in change ; and if the notice is to be given in a legislative body, there will always be a large per centum of easy temperaments who are desirous of avoiding questions, putting off difficulties, and suffering the evils they have in preference of flying to those they know not: and in this way these temporary agreements, to be terminated on the notice of either party, generally continue longer than either party dreamed of when they were made. So it was with this Oregon joint occupancy. The first was for ten years : not being able to agree upon ten years more, the usual delusive resource was fallen upon: and, under the second joint occupation had already continued in operation fourteen years. Western Members of Congress now took up the subject, and moved the Senate to advise the government to give the notice. Mr. Semple, Senator from Illinois, proposed the motion : it was debated many days resisted by many speakers : and finally defeated. It was first resisted as discourteous to Great Britain then as offensive to her then as cause of war on her side finally, as actual war on our side and even as a conspiracy to make war.

Upon all this talk of war the commercial interest became seriously alarmed, and looked upon the delivery of the notice as the signal for a disastrous depression in our foreign trade. In a word, the general uneasiness became so great that there was no chance for doing what we had a right to do, what the safety of our territory required us to do, and without the right to do which the convention of 1828 could not have been concluded.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America Great Crises in our History.

The Discovery Of Surgical Anesthesia

Dr. William T. G. Morton's Own Account.

THIS is from "Memoranda Relating to the Discovery of Surgical Anesthesia and Dr. William T. G. Morton's Relations to this Event," written by his son, William James Morton, M. D. and printed in the "Post Graduate" for April, 1905. Antedating his great discovery of 1846, Dr. Morton devised a new solder by which teeth could be attached to gold plates, and further contrived to obviate dependence upon old fangs in inserting new teeth. Their removal was traditionally attended with pain.

It was while working with Dr. C. T. Jackson, who also claimed the honor of the discovery, which Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes christened anesthesia, that Dr. Morton first used ether, or "letheon." Jackson subsequently accepted the Montyon prize of the French Academy, which Morton declined to share, the result being that in 1852 Morton received the large gold medal, the Montyon prize in medicine and surgery. His life was spent in contests, literary and legal, over his discovery.

IN November, 1844, Dr. Morton entered the Harvard Medical School in Boston in a regular course as a matriculate and attended lectures for two years, expecting soon to receive his full degree. While pursuing his studies and practicing dentistry at the same time as a means of earning the money necessary to continue them, his attention was drawn vividly to the pain attending certain severe dental operations. The suffering involved made a deep impression upon his mind and he set about to discover some means to alleviate it.

He read in his textbooks extensively upon the subject, and finally began a series of experiments upon insects, fish, dogs, and lastly upon himself. Satisfied that his favorite spaniel, "Nig," had not been harmed by the inhalation of sulphuric ether vapor, even subsequent to a state of complete unconsciousness, he determined to inhale the ether himself. In his memoir to the Academy of Arts and Sciences, at Paris, presented by M. Arago, in the autumn of 1847, he thus describes the experiment, and his next almost immediate experiment upon a patient:

"Taking the tube and flask, I shut myself up in my room, seated myself in the operating chair, and commenced inhaling. I found the ether so strong that it partially suffocated me, but produced no decided effect. I then saturated my handkerchief and inhaled it from that. I looked at my watch and soon lost consciousness. As I recovered, I felt a numbness in my limbs, with a sensation like nightmare, and would have given the world for some one to come and arouse me. I thought for a moment I should die in that state, and the world would only pity or ridicule my folly. At length I felt a slight tingling of the blood in the end of my third finger, and made an effort to touch it with my thumb, but without success. At a second effort, I touched it, but there seemed to be no sensation. I gradually raised my arm and pinched my thigh but I could see that sensation was imperfect. I attempted to rise from my chair, but fell back. Gradually I regained power over my limbs and found that I had been insensible between seven and eight minutes.

"Delighted with the success of this experiment, I immediately announced the result to the persons employed in my establishment, and waited impatiently for some one upon whom I could make a fuller trial. Toward evening, a man residing in Boston came in, suffering great pain, and wishing to have a tooth extracted. He was afraid of the operation, and asked if he could be mesmerized. I told him I had something better, and saturating my handkerchief, gave it to him to inhale. He became unconscious almost immediately. It was dark, and Dr. Hayden held the lamp while I extracted a firmly-rooted bicuspid tooth. There was not much alteration in the pulse and no relaxing of the muscles. He recovered in a minute and knew nothing of what had been done for him. He remained for some time talking about the experiment. This was on the 30th of September, 1846."

The first public notice of this event appeared in the Boston "Daily Journal" of October 1, 1846, in the following terms :

"Last evening, as we were informed by a gentleman who witnessed the operation, an ulcerated tooth was extracted from the mouth of an individual without giving him the slightest pain. He was put into a kind of sleep, by inhaling a preparation, the effects of which lasted for about three-quarters of a minute, just long enough to extract the tooth."

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America Great Crises in our History.

The Underground Railroad

By Levi Coffin.

COFFIN, from whose "Reminiscences" this account is taken, was commonly styled the president of the institution known as "The Underground Railroad" for aiding fugitive slaves to escape to Canada beyond the reach of the Fugitive Slave Law. The most favored routes lay through Pennsylvania and Ohio. Coffin, who was actively engaged in the work in Cincinnati, claimed to have received into his house an average of 100 fugitives annually over a period of thirty-three years.

Professor W. H. Siebert, in his exhaustive work on the subject, gives the names of 3,211 "agents, station keepers and conductors" in the service; and it is estimated that 500 ******* annually made trips from Canada to the South to aid their friends and relatives in escaping, before the outbreak of the var. This account shows the methods of making connections northward.

IN the winter of 1826-27, fugitives began to come to our house, and as it became more widely known on different routes that the slaves fleeing from bondage would find a welcome and shelter at our house, and be forwarded safely on their journey, the number increased. Friends in the neighborhood, who had formerly stood aloof from the work, fearful of the penalty of the law, were encouraged to engage in it when they saw the fearless manner in which I acted, and the success that attended my efforts. They would contribute to clothe the fugitives, and would aid in forwarding them on their way, but were timid about sheltering them under their roof; so that part of the work devolved on us. Some seemed really glad to see the work go on, if somebody else would do it. Others doubted the propriety of it, and tried to discourage me, and dissuade me from running such risks. They manifested great concern for my safety and pecuniary interests, telling me that such a course of action would injure my business and perhaps ruin me; that I ought to consider the welfare of my family; and warning me that my life was in danger, as there were many threats made against me by the slave-hunters and those who sympathized with them.

After listening quietly to these counselors, I told them that I felt no condemnation for anything that I had ever done for the fugitive slaves. If by doing my duty and endeavoring to fulfill the injunctions of the Bible, I injured my business, then let my business go. As to my safety, my life was in the hands of my Divine Master, and I felt that I had his approval. I had no fear of the danger that seemed to threaten my life or my business. If I was faithful to duty, and honest and industrious, I felt that I would be preserved, and that I could make enough to support my family. At one time there came to see me a good old Friend, who was apparently very deeply concerned for my welfare. He said he was as much opposed to slavery as I was, but thought it very wrong to harbor fugitive slaves. No one there knew of what crimes they were guilty; they might have killed their masters, or committed some other atrocious deed, then those who sheltered them, and aided them in their escape from justice would indirectly be accomplices. He mentioned other objections which he wished me to consider, and then talked for some time, trying to convince me of the errors of my ways. I heard him patiently until he had relieved his mind of the burden upon it, and then asked if he thought the Good Samaritan stopped to inquire whether the man who fell among thieves was guilty of any crime before he attempted to help him? I asked him if he were to see a stranger who had fallen into the ditch would he not help him out until satisfied that he had committed no atrocious deed? These, and many other questions which I put to him, he did not seem able to answer satisfactorily. He was so perplexed and confused that I really pitied the good old man, and advised him to go home and read his Bible thoroughly, and pray over it, and I thought his concern about my aiding fugitive slaves would be removed from his mind, and that he would feel like helping me in the work. We parted in good feeling, and he always manifested warm friendship toward me until the end of his days.

Many of my pro-slavery customers left me for a time, my sales were diminished, and for a while my business prospects were discouraging, yet my faith was not shaken, nor my efforts for the slaves lessened. New customers soon came in to fill the places of those who had left me. New settlements were rapidly forming to the north of us, and our own was filling up with emigrants from North Carolina, and other States. My trade increased, and I enlarged my business. I was blessed in all my efforts and succeeded beyond my expectations. The Underground Railroad business increased as time advanced, and it was attended with heavy expenses, which I could not have borne had not my affairs been prosperous. I found it necessary to keep a team and a wagon always at command, to convey the fugitive slaves on their journey. Sometimes, when we had large companies, one or two other teams and wagons were required. These journeys had to be made at night, often through deep mud and bad roads, and along by-ways that were seldom traveled. Every precaution to evade pursuit had to be used, as the hunters were often on the track, and sometimes ahead of the slaves. We had different routes for sending the fugitives to depots, ten, fifteen, or twenty miles distant, and when we heard of slave-hunters having passed on one road, we forwarded our passengers by another.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The Capture Of John Brown

Col. Robert E. Lee's Official Report.

LEADING a band of white and black marauders into Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, on the night of October 16, 1859, John Brown, who had gained national notoriety by his stand against pro-slavery forces in Kansas, seized the Federal arsenal as a signal for general insurrection of the slaves. This audacious act, however, proved to be disastrous to the participants, and so aroused the South as to preclude any peaceful solution of the slavery problem.

Colonel Lee, afterward Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate Armies, commanded the Federal troops, which suppressed the raid and captured Brown, as here related. Lee, who had served through the Mexican War and been superintendent of West Point, was visiting his family in Virginia, on furlough from service in Texas, at the time.

I HAVE the honor to report, for the information of the Secretary of War, that on arriving here on the night of the 17th instant, in obedience to Special Orders No. 194 of that date from your office, I learned that a party of insurgents, about 11 p. m. on the 16th, had seized the watchmen stationed at the armory, arsenal, rifle factory, and bridge across the Potomac, and taken possession of those points. They then dispatched six men, under one of their party called Captain Aaron C. Stevens, to arrest the principal citizens in the neighborhood and incite the ******* to join in the insurrection. The party took Colonel L. W. Washington from his bed about 1 :30 a. m. on the 17th, and brought him, with four of his servants, to this place. Mr. J. H. Allstadt and six of his servants were in the same manner seized about 3 a. m., and arms placed in the hands of the *******. Upon their return here, John E. Cook, one of the party sent to Mr. Washington's, was dispatched to Maryland, with Mr. Washington's wagon, two of his servants, and three of Mr. Allstadt's, for arms and ammunition, etc.

As day advanced, and the citizens of Harper's Ferry commenced their usual avocations, they were separately captured, to the number of forty, as well as I could learn, and confined in one room of the fire-engine house of the armory, which seems early to have been selected as a point of defense. About 11 a. m. the volunteer companies from Virginia began to arrive, and the Jefferson Guards and volunteers from Charlestown, under Captain J. W. Rowen, I understood, were first on the ground. The Hamtramck Guards, Captain V. M. Butler; the Shepherdstown troop, Captain Jacob Reinhart; and Captain Alburtis's company from Martinsburg arrived in the afternoon. These companies, under the direction of Colonels R. W. Taylor and John T. Gibson, forced the insurgents to abandon their positions at the bridge and in the village, and to withdraw within the armory inclosure, where they fortified themselves in the fire-engine house, and carried ten of their prisoners for the purpose of insuring their safety and facilitating their escape, whom they termed hostages.

After sunset more troops arrived. Captain B. B. Washington's company from Winchester, and three companies from Fredericktown, Md., under Colonel Shriver. Later in the evening the companies from Baltimore, under General Charles C. Edgerton, second light brigade, and a detachment of marines, commanded by Lieutenant J. Green accompanied by Major Russell, of that corps, reached Sandy Hook, about one and a half miles east of Harper's Ferry. At this point I came up with these last-named troops, and leaving General Edgerton and his command on the Maryland side of the river for the night, caused the marines to proceed to Harper's Ferry, and placed them within the armory grounds to prevent the possibility of the escape of the insurgents. Having taken measures to halt, in Baltimore, the artillery companies ordered from Fort Monroe, I made preparations to attack the insurgents at daylight. But for the fear of sacrificing the lives of some of the gentlemen held by them as prisoners in a midnight assault, I should have ordered the attack at once.

Their safety was the subject of painful consideration, and to prevent, if possible, jeopardizing their lives, I determined to summon the insurgents to surrender. As soon after daylight as the arrangements were made, Lieutenant J. E. B. Stewart, First Calvary, who had accompanied me from Washington as staff officer, was dispatched, under a flag, with a written summons. . . . Knowing the character of the leader of the insurgents, I did not expect it would be accepted. I had therefore directed that the volunteer troops, under their respective commanders, should be paraded on the lines assigned them outside the armory, and had prepared a storming party of twelve marines, under their commander, Lieutenant Green, and had placed them close to the engine-house, and secure from its fire. Three marines were furnished with sledge-hammers to break in the doors, and the men were instructed how to distinguish our citizens from the insurgents ; to attack with the bayonet, and not to injure the blacks detained in custody unless they resisted. Lieutenant Stewart was also directed not to receive from the insurgents any counter propositions. If they accepted the terms offered, they must immediately deliver up their arms and release their prisoners. If they did not, he must, on leaving the engine-house, give me the signal. My object was, with a view of saving our citizens, to have as short an interval as possible between the summons and the attack.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The First Atlantic Cable Laid, But Is A Failure

By Henry M. Field.

HENRY M. FIELD, in whose "History of the Atlantic Telegraph to the End of 1865" this account appears, was a brother of Cyrus W. Field, the chief promotor of the cable. He was a Presbyterian minister, who in later life founded and edited the "Evangelist," a New York weekly religious journal.

He writes here of the successful landing of the ends of the first Atlantic cable on the Irish and Newfoundland shores, and the transmission of the first message: "Europe and America are united by telegraph. Glory to God in the highest; on earth, peace and good-will toward men," on August 17, 1858. The commercial success of the cable was early demonstrated, but it soon became impaired and communication ceased in September of that year. It was not resumed until a new company was organized and a new cable laid and operated in 1866.

WHOEVER shall write the history of popular enthusiasms must give a large space to the Atlantic telegraph. Never did the tidings of any great achievement whether in peace or war more truly electrify a nation. No doubt, the impression was the greater because it took the country by surprise.

Had the attempt succeeded in June it would have found a people prepared for it. But the failure of the first expedition, added to that of the previous year, settled the fate of the enterprise in the minds of the public. It was a very grand but hopeless undertaking ; and its projectors shared the usual lot of those who conceive vast designs, and venture on great enterprises which are not successful to be regarded with a mixture of derision and pity. Such was the temper of the public mind, when at noon of Thursday, the 5th of August, the following dispatch was received:

United States Frigate "Niagara,"

Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, August 5, 1858.

"To the Associated Press, New York :

"The Atlantic Telegraph fleet sailed from Queenstown, Ireland, Saturday, July 17th, and met in mid-ocean Wednesday, July 28th. Made the splice at 1 P.M., Thursday, the 29th, and separated the "Agamemnon" and "Valorous," bound to Valentia, Ireland ; the "Niagara" and "Gorgon," for this place, where they arrived yesterday, and this morning the end of the cable will be landed.

"It is 1,696 nautical, or 1,950 statute, miles from the telegraph-house at the head of Valentia harbor to the telegraph-house at the Bay of Bulls, Trinity Bay, and for more than two-thirds of this distance the water is over two miles in depth. The cable has been paid out from the "Agamemnon" at about the same speed as from the "Niagara." The electric signals sent and received through the whole cable are perfect.

"The machinery for paying out the cable worked in the most satisfactory manner, and was not stopped fora single moment from the time the splice was made until we arrived here.

"Captain Hudson, Messrs. Everett and Woodhouse, the engineers, the electricians, the officers of the ship, and, in fact, every man on board the telegraph fleet, has exerted himself to the utmost to make the expedition successful, and by the blessing of Divine Providence it has succeeded.

"After the end of the cable is landed and connected with the land line of telegraph, and the "Niagara" has discharged some cargo belonging to the telegraph company, she will go to St. John's for coal, and then proceed at once to New York.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Threat Of Civil War

By Senator Daniel Webster.

WEBSTER, at sixty-eight, made this famous "seventh of March speech" on the Compromise Measures of 1850. Delivered in the United States Senate, it was his last great speech and one of the most notable of his life. It rebukes the North for agitating the slavery question and for violating the Fugitive Slave Law, and advocates concessions to the South.

The speech aroused general indignation in the North, bringing upon Webster an avalanche of criticism from the anti-slavery people. They charged him with truckling to the South in order to gain support in his candidacy for President. Nevertheless, the speech is, on the whole, in harmony with his earlier utterances; for the burden of his argument always was "liberty and union," and he considered a compromise necessary to preserve the Union.

I NOW say, sir, as the proposition upon which I stand this day, and upon the truth and firmness of which I intend to act until it is overthrown, that there is not, at this moment, within the United States, or any territory of the United States, a single foot of land, the character of which, in regard to its being free-soil territory or slave territory, is not fixed by some law, and some irrepealable law, beyond the power of the action of this Government. Now, is it not so with respect to Texas? Why, it is most manifestly so.

But now that, under certain conditions, Texas is in, with all her territories, as a slave State, with a solemn pledge that if she is divided into many States, those States may come in as slave States south of 36 30', how are we to deal with this subject? I know no way of honorable legislation, when the proper time comes for the enactment, but to carry into effect all that we have stipulated to do.

Now, as to California and New Mexico, I hold slavery to be excluded from those territories by a law even superior to that which admits and sanctions it in Texas I mean the law of nature of physical geography the law of the formation of the earth. That law settles forever, with a strength beyond all terms of human enactment, that slavery cannot exist in California or New Mexico. . . . I look upon it, therefore, as a fixed fact, to use an expression current at this day, that both California and New Mexico are destined to be free, so far as they are settled at all, which I believe, especially in regard to New Mexico, will be very little for a great length of time free by the arrangement of things by the Power above us. I have therefore to say, in this respect also, that this country is fixed for freedom, to as many persons as shall ever live there, by as irrepealable and a more irrepealable law, than the law that attaches to the right of holding slaves in Texas; and I will say further, that if a resolution, or a law, were now before us, to provide a territorial government for New Mexico, I would not vote to put any prohibition into it whatever. The use of such a prohibition would be idle, as it respects any effect it would have upon the territory ; and I would not take pains to reaffirm an ordinance of nature, nor to reenact the will of God. And I would put in no Wilmot proviso, for the purpose of a taunt or a reproach. I would put into it no evidence of the votes of superior power, to wound the pride, even whether a just pride, a rational pride, or an irrational pride to wound the pride of the gentlemen who belong to the southern States.

Mr. President, in the excited times in which we live, there is found to exist a state of crimination and recrimination between the North and the South. . . . I will state these complaints, especially one complaint of the South, which has in my opinion just foundation; and that is, that there has been found at the North, among individuals and among the Legislatures of the North, a disinclination to perform, fully, their constitutional duties, in regard to the return of persons bound to service, who have escaped into the free States. In that respect, it is my judgment that the South is right, and the North is wrong. Every member of every northern Legislature is bound, by oath, like every other officer in the country, to support the Constitution of the United States ; and this article of the Constitution, which says to these States, they shall deliver up fugitives from service, is as binding in honor and conscience as any other article. . . . I put it to all the sober and sound minds at the North, as a question of morals and a question of conscience, What right have they, in all their legislative capacity, or any other, to endeavor to get round this Constitution, to embarrass the free exercise or the rights secured by the Constitution, to the persons whose slaves escape from them? None at all none at all. Neither in the forum of conscience, nor before the face of the Constitution, are they justified, in my opinion. Of course, it is a matter for their consideration. They probably, in the turmoil of the times, have not stopped to consider of this ; they have followed what seemed to be the current of thought and of motives as the occasion arose, and neglected to investigate fully the real question, and to consider their constitutional obligations, as I am sure, if they did consider, they would fulfill them with alacrity.

Then, sir, there are those abolition societies, of which I am unwilling to speak, but in regard to which I have very clear notions and opinions. I do not think them useful. I think their operations for the last twenty years have produced nothing good or valuable. At the same time, I know thousands of them are honest and good men ; perfectly well-meaning men. They have excited feelings; they think they must do something for the cause of liberty; and in their sphere of action they do not see what else they can do than to contribute to an abolition press, or an abolition society, or to pay an abolition lecturer. I do not mean to impute gross motives even to the leaders of these societies, but I am not blind to the consequences. I cannot but see what mischiefs their interference with the South has produced. . . . The bonds of the slaves were bound more firmly than before ; their rivets were more strongly fastened. Public opinion, which in Virginia had begun to be exhibited against slavery, and was opening out for the discussion of the question, drew back and shut itself up in its castle. . . . We all know the fact, and we all know the cause, and everything that this agitating people have done has been, not to enlarge, but to restrain, not to set free, but to bind faster, the slave population of the South.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Vicissitudes Of A Forty-Niner

By Alonzo Delano.

TAKEN from Delano's "Life on the Plains and Among the Diggings" (1854), this is a true and valuable record of the hardships endured on the overland journey across the plains in 1849, and of the trials, failures and successes of the "Argonauts," especially in the smaller mining camps. During that memorable year it is estimated that more than 60,000 emigrants journeyed to California by land and 30,000 or more by sea.

The majority of the former gathered from May to June of each year at Independence or St. Joseph, Missouri, at that time on the frontier of civilization, and then proceeded to Sacramento in long caravans, continually harassed by the Indians and subjected to fatigue, exposure and starvation. The first emigrant train reached Sacramento in August, 1849, and others followed in quick succession.

OUR general rendezvous was to be at St. Joseph, on the Missouri, from which we intended to take our departure. I had engaged men, purchased cattle and a wagon, and subsequently laid in my supplies for the trip, at St. Louis. My wagon I shipped by water to St. Joseph, and sent my cattle across the country about the middle of March, [1849] to meet me at the place of rendezous, in April.

[May 21.] Our desire to be upon the road induced us to be stirring early, and we were moving as soon as our cattle had eaten their fill, when a drive of a mile placed us upon the great thoroughfare of the gold seekers.

For miles, to the extent of vision, an animated mass of beings broke upon our view. Long trains of wagons with their white covers were moving slowly along, a multitude of horsemen were prancing on the road, companies of men were traveling on foot, and although the scene was not a gorgeous one, yet the display of banners from many wagons, and the multitude of armed men, looked as if a mighty army was on its march ; and in a few moments we took our station in the line, a component part of the motley throng of gold seekers, who were leaving home and friends far behind, to encounter the peril of mountain and plain.

[ June 29.] On leaving the Missouri, nearly every train was an organized company, with general regulations for mutual safety, and with a captain chosen by themselves, as a nominal head. On reaching the South Pass, we found that the great majority had either divided, or broken up entirely, making independent and helter-skelter marches towards California.

[August 10.] Reports began to reach us of hard roads ahead ; that there was no grass at the Sink, or place where the river disappears in the sands of the desert, and that from that place a desert of sand, with water but once in forty-five miles, had to be crossed. In our worn-out condition this looked discouraging, and it was with a kind of dread that we looked to the passage of that sandy plain. At the same time an indefinite tale was circulated among the emigrants, that a new road had been discovered, by which the Sacramento might be reached in a shorter distance, avoiding altogether the dread desert; and that there was plenty of grass and water on the route.

[August 11.] . . . There were a great many men daily passing, who, having worn down their cattle and mules, had abandoned their wagons, and were trying to get through as they might; but their woebegone countenances and meagre accoutrements for such a journey, with want and excessive labor staring them in the face, excited our pity, wretched as we felt ourselves. Our own cattle had been prudently driven, and were still in good condition to perform the journey. Although our stock of provisions was getting low, we felt that under any circumstances we could get through, and notwithstanding we felt anxious, we were not discouraged.

[August 15.] . . . It was decided, finally, that we would go the northern route, although some of our company had misgivings. The younger portion being fond of adventure, were loud in favor of the road.

[August 16.] . . . Beyond us, far as we could see, was a barren waste, without a blade of grass or a drop of water for thirty miles at least. Instead of avoiding the desert, instead of the promised water, grass, and a better road, we were in fact upon a more dreary and wider waste, without either grass or water, and with a harder road before us.

[August 17.] As I walked on slowly and with effort, I encountered a great many animals, perishing for want of food and water, on the desert plain. Some would be just gasping for breath, others unable to stand, would issue low moans as I came up, in a most distressing manner, showing intense agony; and still others, unable to walk, seemed to brace themselves up on their legs to prevent falling, while here and there a poor ox, or horse, just able to drag himself along, would stagger towards me with a low sound, as if begging for a drop of water. My sympathies were excited at their sufferings, yet, instead of affording them aid, I was a subject for relief myself.

High above the plain, in the direction of our road, a black, bare mountain reared its head, at the distance of fifteen miles; and ten miles this side the plains was flat, composed of baked earth, without a sign of vegetation, and in many places covered with incrustations of salt. Pits had been sunk in moist places, but the water was salt as brine, and utterly useless.

The train had passed me in the night, and our cattle traveled steadily without faltering, reaching the spring about nine o'clock in the morning, after traveling nearly forty hours without food or water. If ever a cup of coffee and slice of bacon was relished by man, it was by me that morning, on arriving at the encampment a little after ten.

We found this to be an oasis in the desert. A large hot spring, nearly three rods in diameter, and very deep, irrigated about twenty acres of ground the water cooling as it ran off.

[August 20.] . . . Through the day there was a constant arrival of wagons, and by night there were several hundred men together ; yet we learned by a mule train that at least one hundred and fifty wagons had turned back to the first spring west of the Humboldt, on learning the dangers of crossing the desert, taking wisely the old road again. This change of route, however, did not continue long, and the rear trains, comprising a large portion of the emigration, took our route, and suffered even worse than we did. It was resolved that several trains should always travel within supporting distance of each other, so that in case of an attack from the Indians, a sufficient body of men should be together to protect themselves. . . . Reports again reached us corroborating the great loss of cattle on the desert beyond the Sink. The road was filled with dead animals, and the offensive effluvia had produced much sickness; but shortly afterward, our own portion of the desert presented the same catastrophe, and the road was lined with the dead bodies of wornout and starved animals, and their debilitated masters, in many cases, were left to struggle on foot, combating hunger, thirst and fatigue, in a desperate exertion to get through.

[September 17.] . . . Ascending to the top of an inclined plain, the long-sought, the long-wished-for and welcome valley of the Sacramento, lay before me, five or six miles distant.

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This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The Capture Of Chapultepec And Mexico City

By General Winfield Scott.

THIS is from Scott's official report, written at the National Palace in the City of Mexico, September 18, 1847. Scott, as related in Volume V, had emerged from the War of 1812 at the age of 28, the youngest General in the service.

In 1841 he became Commander-in-Chief and served as such in the Mexican War. After capturing Vera Cruz on March 26, 1847, Scott's army stormed the heights of Cerro Gordo on April 18, entered Puebla on May 15, was victorious at Contreras and Churubusco on August 19-20, and won the sharp and sanguinary battles of Molino del Rey and Chapultepec on the 8th. and 13th. of September respectively, entering Mexico City the following day. As a reward he was brevetted the first Lieutenant-General, U. S. A.

General William J. Worth whom Scott honorably mentions, had been second in command at Monterey. General John A. Quitman, a native of Rhinebeck, N. Y., was afterward Governor of Mississippi.

AT the end of another series of arduous and brilliant operations, of more than forty-eight hours' continuance, this glorious army hoisted, on the morning of the 14th [September, 1847], the colors of the United States on the walls of this palace.

This city stands upon a slight swell of ground, near the center of an irregular basin, and is girdled with a ditch in its greater extent a navigable canal of great breadth and depth very difficult to bridge in the presence of an enemy, and serving at once for drainage, custom house purposes and military defense; leaving eight entrances or gates over arches, each of which we found defended by a system of strong works, that seemed to require nothing but some men and guns to be impregnable.

Outside, and within the cross-fires of those gates, we found to the south other obstacles but little less formidable. All the approaches near the city are over causeways, cut in many places (to oppose us) and flanked on both sides by ditches, also, of unusual dimensions. The numerous cross-roads are flanked in like manner, having bridges at the intersections, recently broken. The meadows thus chequered, are, moreover, in many spots, under water, or marshy; for, it will be remembered, we were in the midst of the wet season, though with less rain than usual, and we could not wait for the fall of the neighboring lakes and the consequent drainage of the wet grounds at the edge of the city the lowest in the whole basin.

After a close personal survey of the southern gates, covered by Pillow's division and Riley's brigade, and Twigg's, with four times our numbers concentrated in our immediate front, I determined, on the 11th, to avoid that network of obstacles, and to seek, by a sudden inversion to the southwest and west, less favorable approaches.

The first step in the new movement was to carry Chapultepec, a natural and isolated mound, of great elevation, strongly fortified at its base, on its acclivities and heights. Besides a numerous garrison, here was the military college of the republic, with a large number of sub-lieutenants and other students. Those works were within direct gunshot of the village of Tacubaya, and, until carried, we could not approach the city on the west without making a circuit too wide and too hazardous.

The signal I had appointed for the attack was the momentary cessation of fire on the part of our heavy batteries. About eight o'clock in the morning of the 13th, judging that the time had arrived, by the effect of the missiles we had thrown, I sent an aide-de-camp to Pillow, and another to Quitman, with notice that the concerted signal was about to be given.

Both columns now advanced with an alacrity that gave assurance of prompt success. The batteries, seizing opportunities, threw shots and shells upon the enemy over the heads of our men, with good effect, particularly at every attempt to reinforce the works from without to meet our assault.

The broken acclivity was still to be ascended, and a strong redoubt, midway, to be carried, before reaching the castle on the heights. The advance of our brave men, led by brave officers, though necessarily Slow, was unwavering, over rocks, chasms and mines, and under the hottest fire of cannon and musketry. The redoubt now yielded to resistless valor, and the shouts that followed announced to the castle the fate that impended. The enemy were steadily driven from shelter to shelter. The retreat allowed not time to fire a single mine, without the certainty of blowing up friend and foe. Those who at a distance attempted to apply matches to the long trains were shot down by our men. There was death below, as well as above, ground.

At length the ditch and wall of the main work were reached; the scaling-ladders were brought up and planted by the storming parties ; some of the daring spirits first in the assault were cast down killed or wounded ; but a lodgment was soon made; streams of heroes followed ; all opposition was overcome, and several of the regimental colors flung out from the upper walls, amid long-continued shouts and cheers, which sent dismay into the capital. No scene could have been more animating or glorious. There are two routes from Chapultepec to the capital the one on the right entering the same gate, Belen, with the road from the south via Piedad; and the other obliquing to the left, to intersect the great western or San Cosme road, in a suburb outside of the gate of San Cosme.

At this junction of roads, we first passed one of the formidable systems of city defenses, and it had not a gun ! a strong proof : 1. That the enemy had expected us to fall in the attack upon Chapultepec, even if we meant anything more than a feint; 2. That, in either case, we designed, in his belief, to return and double our forces against the southern gates, a delusion kept up by the active demonstrations of Twiggs and the forces posted on that side; and 3. That advancing rapidly from the reduction of Chapultepec, the enemy had not time to shift guns our previous captures had left him, comparatively, but few from the southern gates.

Within those disgarnished works I found our troops engaged in a street fight against the enemy posted in gardens, at windows, and on housetops all flat, with parapets. Worth ordered forward the mountain-howitzers of Cadwalader's brigade, preceded by skirmishers and pioneers, with pickaxes and crowbars, to force windows and doors, or to burrow through walls. The assailants were soon in an equality of position fatal to the enemy. By eight o'clock in the evening, Worth had carried two batteries in this suburb. According to my instructions, he here posted guards and sentinels, and placed his troops under shelter for the night. There was but one more obstacle the San Cosme gate (custom-house) .

Quitman, within the city, adding several new defenses to the position he had won, and sheltering his corps as well as practicable, now awaited the return of daylight under the guns of the formidable citadel, yet to be subdued.

At about 4 o'clock next morning (September 14) a deputation of the ayuntamiento (city council) waited upon me to report that the Federal Government and the army of Mexico had fled from the capital some three hours before, and to demand terms of capitulation in favor of the church, the citizens and the municipal authorities. I promptly replied, that I would sign no capitulation; that the city had been virtually in our possession from the time of the lodgments effected by Worth and Quitman the day before; that I regretted the silent escape of the Mexican army; that I should levy upon the city a moderate contribution, for special purposes ; and that the American army should come under no terms, not self-imposed such only as its own honor, the dignity of the United States, and the spirit of the age should, in my opinion, imperiously demand and impose.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The Mormon Exodus To Utah

By Brigham H. Roberts.

THE author of this account of the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois, is the official historian of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. He Was editor-in-chief of the Salt Lake "Herald," and in 1898 Was elected to Congress. His election greatly agitated the country, and in 1900 the House of Representatives voted him constitutionally ineligible, as a polygamist, to a seat in that body.

The organization of the Mormon exodus was in many respects remarkable. A pioneer company was sent ahead as a path-finder. Nauvoo was turned into a vast wagon shop. Way stations were established, with repair shops, and a flour mill. The company here described, numbering 1,553 persons, with 566 wagons, followed the Oregon trail from Fort Laramie over the Great Divide to Fort Bridget, thence southwest to the present site of Salt Lake City, which was reached on July 23, 1847.

THE serious business of preparing for the continuation of the march into the wilderness, the completion of the exodus from the United States, was not neglected. It was considered in many council meetings of the presiding authorities, it it was the chief topic of conversation and of discussion wherever two or three were gathered together. Thought upon it finally so crystallized in the mind of Brigham Young that on the 14th of January, 1847, at Winter Quarters, he was prepared to announce The Word and Will of the Lord" upon the march of the Camps of Israel to the West.

After the revelation was received and announced to the Saints, preparations were made both for the formation of the pioneer company and companies to follow immediately on its trail. Word was sent to the various encampments naming the men whom President Young desired to go with him in the first pioneer company and those who were to take the lead in organizing the other companies to follow.

Fort Laramie was situated about two miles from the South bank of the Platte, on the left bank of the Laramie River and about a mile and a half from its confluence with the Platte.

On the 12th of June the main company of the Pioneers arrived at the Platte ferry, to find that their advanced company was employed in ferrying over the Oregon emigrants, carrying their goods over in the "Revenue Cutter--their leather boat, floating over the empty wagons by means of ropes; but the stream was so swift and deep that the wagons would roll over several times in transit in spite of all efforts to prevent it. Ordinarily the Platte was fordable at this point, but this was the season of high water. The brethren received for ferrying over the Oregon emigrants 1,295 lbs. of flour, at the rate of two and a half cents per pound; also meal, beans, soap and honey at corresponding prices, likewise two cows, total bill for ferrying $78.00."

The Pioneer company remained five days at the Platte crossing. They made various experiments in ferrying over their wagons, first stretching a rope across the stream and trying to float single empty wagons over attached to the aforesaid overstream rope, and drawn by other ropes ; but the current, deep and swift, rolled them over and over as if they were logs, much to the injury of the wagons. Then the experiment was made of fastening from two to four wagons together to prevent capsizing in transit, but the mad stream would roll them over in spite of all the ingenuity and care of the men. The small rafts were tried with a single wagon, but the difficulty of polling a raft in water so deep and swift was so great that frequently they would be swept down from one to two miles, though the stream was not more than from forty to fifty rods wide. The plan that proved the most successful was to use a raft, of which two were made constructed with oars, well manned, with which a landing with a single wagon could be effected in about half a mile. In this way wagons even partly loaded could be ferried over, but most of the goods of the camp were carried across in the leather boat the "Revenue Cutter.

Their course now followed up the Sweet Water River, which they forded back and forth several times to the South Pass, along the Oregon route. They were in frequent contact with companies of Oregon emigrants, and occasionally met companies of traders, trappers and mountaineers moving eastward. Near the South Pass, for instance, at which the company arrived on the 26th of June, they met a number of men from the Oregon settlements, led to this point by one Major Moses Harris, who had been a mountaineer for twenty or twenty-five years. He had extensive knowledge of the country from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific. "We obtained much information from him in relation to the great interior basin of the Salt Lake," says Orson Pratt, "the country of our destination. His report like that of Captain Fremont's is rather unfavorable to the formation of a colony in this basin, principally on account of scarcity of timber.

At Green River ferry the Pioneers remained until the 3rd of July, detained by the necessity of making rafts with which to effect the crossing of that stream as its waters were high. The camp moved three miles from the ferry down the right bank and there spent the Fourth of July "Independence Day," some of them noted in their Journals, also "the Lord's Day." At this encampment it was decided that a few of the Pioneers should return eastward to meet the large emigrating companies of Saints now enroute from Winter Quarters, and act as their guides to Green River.

At this point the Pioneer company left the Oregon road taking Mr. Hasting's new route to the Bay of San Francisco, journalizes Orson Pratt, "this route is but dimly seen as only a few wagons passed over it last season." "We took a blind trail, is Erastus Snow's account of the departure from Fort Brigadier, "the general course of which is a little south of west, leading in the direction of the southern extremity of the Salt Lake, which is the region we wish to explore. Fortunately for us a party of emigrants bound for the coast of California passed this way last fall, though their trail is in many places, scarcely discernible."

From the arrival of the camp at Green River, various members had suffered from what they called mountain fever." At the camp on Bear River President Young himself was severely stricken with the malady. The main encampment moved westward, but eight wagons and a number of leading brethren remained at Bear River with the President, expecting to follow in a few hours. Closing his journal entry for the day's march, Orson Pratt rather sadly says "Mr. Young did not overtake us to-night." His next day's entry in the Journal begins "Early this morning we dispatched two messengers back to meet Mr. Young, being unwilling to move any farther until he should come up." These messengers were Joseph Mathews and John Brown. They found President Young had been too ill to move, but was improving.

The journey was resumed, following Reed's route up a small stream, a company of about a dozen men going in advance of the wagons with spades, axes, etc., "to make the road passable, which required considerable labor." The camp moved about eight and a half miles during the day, their road in the last two miles of the journey leaving the small stream up which they had traveled to cross a ridge into another ravine in which they camped. They spent some four hours in labor with picks and spades on the latter part of the road. After an encampment was made, Orson Pratt and a Mr. Newman went further down the road to examine it. "We found that Mr. Reed's company last season," journalizes Orson Pratt, "had spent several hours labor in spading, etc., but finding it almost impracticable for wagons they had turned up a ravine at the mouth of which we had camped, and taken a little more circuitous route over the hills." On the morning of the 17th after examining the road over which they had passed the day before for some distance back, and satisfying himself that no more practical route could be found, Elder Pratt directed that the camp spend several hours labor on the road over which they had already passed before resuming their march.

Soon after sunrise of the 19th the two pioneers of this advance company, Orson Pratt and John Brown, started along the route of last year's emigrants to examine the road and country ahead. They continued along the road over which they had passed the day before and ascertained that it left Cannon Creek near the point where they had turned back to camp, and followed a ravine running west. This they ascended for four miles when they came to a dividing ridge from which they "could see over a great extent of country." Here they tied their horses and on foot ascended a mountain on the right for several hundred feet. "On the south west we could see an extensive level prairie some few miles distant which we thought must be near the lake." It was ; and this is the first view any of the Pioneers had of Salt Lake Valley.

Accordingly on the morning of the 21st Erastus Snow, mounted, rode alone over Pratt's route of the day before and overtook him on the afternoon of the 21st. Leaving the camp to proceed with their task of improving the road down Emigration Canon, Elders Pratt and Snow proceeded down the canon "four and a half miles," where the creek passes through a small canon "and issues into the broad valley below." "To avoid the canon," says Orson Pratt, "the wagons last season had passed over an exceedingly steep and dangerous hill."

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This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The Discovery Of Gold In California

By Walter Colton.

IN his journal of events that transpired while he was Alcalde of Monterey, California, during 1846-7-8, entitled "Three Years in California," Colton records nothing more dramatic or interesting than the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, near Coloma, in 1848. Strangely enough, the epoch-making event, which gave an impetus to immigration from all parts of the globe, brought nothing but disaster to John Augustus Sutter, the Swiss immigrant, on whose property the first nuggets were found. Gold-seekers preempted his lands, and except an annual pension of $3,000 granted him by the California Legislature, he received practically nothing.

The great body of gold-seekers, "the Argonauts," arrived in 1849, during which year the population of California increased 100,000. Colton, as Alcalde, or Mayor, of Monterey, was in an admirable position to observe every phase of the phenomenon that attended the discovery, of which he gives this fascinating account.

A STRAGGLER came in today [Monday, June 12, 1848] from the American Fork, bringing a piece of yellow ore weighing an ounce. The young dashed the dirt from their eyes, and the old from their spectacles. One brought a spyglass, another an iron ladle; some wanted to melt it, others to hammer it, and a few were satisfied with smelling it. All were full of tests ; and many, who could not be gratified in making their experiments, declared it a humbug. One lady sent me a huge gold ring, in the hope of reaching the truth by comparison ; while a gentleman placed the specimen on the top of his gold-headed cane and held it up, challenging the sharpest eyes to detect a difference. But doubts still hovered on the minds of the great mass. They could not conceive that such a treasure could have lain there so long undiscovered. The idea seemed to convict them of stupidity. There is nothing of which a man is more tenacious than his claims to sagacity. He sticks to them like an old bachelor to the idea of his personal attractions, or a toper to the strength of his temperance ability, whenever he shall wish to call it into play.

Tuesday, June 20. My messenger sent to the mines, has returned with specimens of the gold ; he dismounted in a sea of upturned faces. As he drew forth the yellow lumps from his pockets, and passed them around among the eager crowd, the doubts which had lingered till now, fled. All admitted they were gold, except one old man, who still persisted they were some Yankee invention, got up to reconcile the people to the change of flag. The excitement produced was intense ; and many were soon busy in their hasty preparations for a departure to the mines. The family who had kept house for me caught the moving infection. Husband and wife were both packing up; the blacksmith dropped his hammer, the carpenter his plane, the mason his trowel, the farmer his sickle, the baker his loaf, and the tapster his bottle. All were off for the mines, some on horses, some on carts, and some on crutches, and one went in a litter. An American woman, who had recently established a boarding-house here, pulled up stakes, and was off before her lodgers had even time to pay their bills. Debtors ran, of course. I have only a community of women left, and a gang of prisoners, with here and there a soldier, who will give his captain the slip at the first chance. I don't blame the fellow a whit; seven dollars a month, while others are making two or three hundred a day! that is too much for human nature to stand.

Saturday, July 15. The gold fever has reached every servant in Monterey ; none are to be trusted in their engagement beyond a week, and as for compulsion, it is like attempting to drive fish into a net with the ocean before them. General Mason, Lieutenant Lanman, and myself, form a mess ; we have a house, and all the table furniture and culinary apparatus requisite; but our servants have run, one after another, till we are almost in despair : even *****, who we thought would stick by from laziness, if no other cause, ran last night ; and this morning, for the fortieth time, we had to take to the kitchen, and cook our own breakfast. A general of the United States Army, the commander of a man-of-war, and the Alcalde of Monterey, in a smoking kitchen, grinding coffee, toasting a herring, and peeling onions! These gold mines are going to upset all the domestic arrangements of society, turning the head to the tail, and the tail to the head. Well, it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good : the nabobs have had their time, and now comes that of the "*******." We shall all live just as long, and be quite as fit to die.

Tuesday, July 18. Another bag of gold from the mines, and another spasm in the community. It was brought down by a sailor from Yuba river, and contains a hundred and thirty-six ounces. It is the most beautiful gold that has appeared in the market; it looks like the yellow scales of the dolphin, passing through his rainbow hues at death. My carpenters, at work on the school-house, on seeing it, threw down their saws and planes, shouldered their picks, and are off for the Yuba. Three seamen ran from the "Warren,"forfeiting their four years' pay; and a whole platoon of soldiers from the fort left only their colors behind. One old woman declared she would never again break an egg or kill a chicken, without examining yolk and gizzard.

Monday, Oct. 2. I went among the gold-diggers; found half a dozen at the bottom of the ravine, tearing up the bogs, and up to their knees in mud. Beneath these bogs lay a bed of clay sprinkled in spots with gold. These deposits, and the earth mixed with them, were shoveled into bowls, taken to a pool near by, and washed out. The bowl, in working, is held in both hands, whirled violently back and forth through half a circle, and pitched this way and that sufficiently to throw off the earth and water, while the gold settles to the bottom. The process is extremely laborious, and taxes the entire muscles of the frame. In its effect it is more like swinging a scythe than any work I ever attempted.

Not having much relish for the bogs and mud, I procured a light crowbar and went to splitting the slaterocks which project into the ravine. I found between the layers, which were not perfectly closed, particles of gold, resembling in shape the small and delicate scales of a fish. These were easily scraped from the slate by a hunter's knife, and readily separated in the washbowl from other foreign substances.

There are about seventy persons at work in this ravine, and all within a few yards of each other. They average about one ounce per diem each. They who get less are discontented, and they who get more are not satisfied. Every day brings in some fresh report of richer discoveries in some quarter not far remote, and the diggers are consequently kept in a state of feverish excitement. One woman, a Sonoranian, who was washing here, finding at the bottom of her bowl only the amount of half a dollar or so, hurled it back again into the water, and straightening herself up to her full height, strode off with the indignant air of one who feels himself insulted.

Wednesday, Oct. 4. Our camping-ground is in a broad ravine through which a rivulet wanders, and which is dotted with the frequent tents of gold-diggers. The sounds of the crowbar and pick, as they shake or shiver the rock, are echoed from a thousand Cliffs; while the hum of human voices rolls off on the breeze to mingle with the barking of wolves.

The provisions with which we left San Jose are gone, and we have been obliged to supply ourselves here. We pay at the rate of four hundred dollars a barrel for flour; four dollars a pound for poor brown sugar, and four dollars a pound for indifferent coffee. And as for meat, there is none to be got except jerked-beef, which is the flesh of the bullock cut into strings and hung up in the sun to dry, and which has about as much juice in it as a strip of bark dangling in the wind from a dead tree.

Friday, Oct. 6. The most efficient gold-washer here is the cradle, which resembles in shape that appendage of the nursery, from which it takes its name. It is nine or ten feet long, open at one end and closed at the other. At the end which is closed, a sheet-iron pan, four inches deep, and sixteen over, and perforated in the bottom with holes, is let in even with the sides of the cradle. The earth is thrown into the pan, water turned on it, and the cradle, which is on an inclined plane, set in motion. The earth and water pass through the pan, and then down the cradle, while the gold, owing to its specific gravity, is caught by cleats fastened across the bottom. Very little escapes ; it generally lodges before it reaches the last cleat. It requires four or five men to supply the earth and water to work such a machine to advantage. The quantity of gold washed out must depend on the relative proportion of gold in the earth. The one worked in this ravine yields a hundred dollars a day; but this is considered a slender result. Most of the diggers use the bowl or pan ; its lightness never embarrasses their roving habits ; and it can be put in motion wherever they find a stream or spring. It can be purchased now in the mines for five or six dollars ; a few months since it cost an ounce sixteen dollars for a wooden bowl!

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America, Great Crises in our History.

War With Mexico Declared

By James G. Blaine.

BLAINE, from whose "Twenty Years in Congress" this account is taken, was graduating from Washington College, Pennsylvania, when the war between the United States and Mexico was victoriously concluded. It is of interest to note that his memorable volume of reminiscences appeared in 1884, following the assassination of President Garfield and Blaine's retirement as Secretary of State. This gave him the leisure necessary to authorship.

Blaine, who came near being a Republican President himself, shrewdly notes "the contrast between the boldness with which the Polk Administration had marched our army upon Mexico, and the prudence with which it had retreated from a contest with Great Britain" over Oregon territory, thereby exposing the Democrats to "merciless ridicule."

At Monterey, to which special reference is made, in September, 1846, 6,500 Americans, under General Taylor, defeated 10,000 Mexicans.

THE army of occupation in Texas, commanded by General Zachary Taylor, had, during the preceding winter, been moving westward with the view of encamping in the valley of the Rio Grande. On the 28th of March General Taylor took up his position on the banks of the river, opposite Matamoros, and strengthened himself by the erection of fieldworks. General Ampudia, in command of the Mexican army stationed at Matamoros, was highly excited by the arrival of the American army, and on the 12th of April notified General Taylor to break up his camp within twenty-four hours, and to retire beyond the Nueces River. In the event of his failure to comply with these demands, Ampudia announced that "arms, and arms alone, must decide the question." According to the persistent claim of the Mexican Government, the Nueces River was the western boundary of Texas; and the territory between that river and the Rio Grande a breadth of one hundred and fifty miles on the coast was held by Mexico to be a part of her domain, and General Taylor consequently an invader of her soil. No reply was made to Ampudia; and on the 24th of April General Arista, who had succeeded to the command of the Mexican army, advised General Taylor that "he considered hostilities commenced, and should prosecute them."

Directly after this notification was received, General Taylor dispatched a party of dragoons, sixty-three in number, officers and men, up the valley of the Rio Grande, to ascertain whether the Mexicans had crossed the river. They encountered a force much larger than their own, and after a short engagement, in which some seventeen were killed and wounded, the Americans were surrounded, and compelled to surrender. When intelligence of this affair reached the United States, the war-spirit rose high among the people. "Our country has been invaded," and "American blood spilled on American soil," were the cries heard on every side.

In the very height of this first excitement, without waiting to know whether the Mexican Government would avow or disavow the hostile act, President Polk, on the 11 th of May, sent a most aggressive message to Congress, "invoking its prompt action to recognize the existence of war, and to place at the disposition of the Executive the means of prosecuting the contest with vigor, and thus hastening the restoration of peace." As soon as the message was read in the House, a bill was introduced authorizing the President to call out a force of fifty thousand men, and giving him all the requisite power to organize, arm and equip them. The preamble declared that "war existed by the act of Mexico," and this gave rise to an animated and somewhat angry discussion. The Whigs felt that they were placed in an embarrassing attitude. They must either vote for what they did not believe, or, by voting against the bill, incur the odium which always attaches to the party that fails by a hair's breadth to come to the defense of the country when war is imminent.

Prominent Whigs believed that, as an historical and geographical fact, the river Nueces was the western boundary of Texas, and that the President, by assuming the responsibility of sending an army of occupation into the country west of that river, pending negotiations with Mexico, had taken a hostile and indefensible step. But all agreed that it was too late to consider anything except the honor of the country, now that actual hostilities had begun. The position of the Whigs was as clearly defined by their speakers as was practicable in the brief space allowed for discussion of the war bill. Against the protest of many, it was forced to a vote, after a two hours' debate. The administration expected the declaration to be unanimous; but there were fourteen members of the House who accepted the responsibility of defying the war feeling of the country by voting "no" an act which required no small degree of moral courage and personal independence. John Quincy Adams headed the list. The other gentlemen were all Northern Whigs, or pronounced Free-Soilers.

The Senate considered the bill on the ensuing day, and passed it after a very able debate, in which Mr. Calhoun bore a leading part. He earnestly deprecated the necessity of the war, though accused by Benton, of plotting to bring it on. Forty Senators voted for it, and but two against it Thomas Clayton, of Delaware, and John Davis, of Massachusetts. Mr. Crittenden, of Kentucky, and Mr. Upham, of Vermont, when their names were called, responded "Ay, except the preamble." The bill was promptly approved by the President, and on the 13th of May, 1846, the two Republics were declared to be at war. In the South and West, from the beginning, the war was popular. In the North and East it was unpopular. The gallant bearing of our army, however, changed in large degree the feeling in sections where the war had been opposed. No finer body of men ever enlisted in an heroic enterprise than those who volunteered to bear the flag in Mexico. They were young, ardent, enthusiastic, brave almost to recklessness, with a fervor of devotion to their country's honor. The march of Taylor from the Rio Grande, ending with the unexpected victory against superior numbers at Buena Vista, kept the country in a state of excitement and elation, and in the succeeding year elevated him to the Presidency. Not less splendid in its succession of victories was the march of Scott from Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico, where he closed his triumphal journey by taking possession of the capital, and enabling his government to dictate terms of peace.

For the first and only time in our political history, an administration conducting a war victorious at every step, steadily lost ground in the country. The House of Representatives which declared war on the 11th of May, 1846, was Democratic by a large majority. The House elected in the ensuing autumn amid the resounding acclamations of Taylor's memorable victory at Monterey had a decided Whig majority.

This political reverse was due to three causes the enactment of the tariff of 1846, which offended the manufacturing interest of the country; the receding of the administration on the Oregon question, which embarrassed the position and wounded the pride of the Northern Democrats ; and the wide-spread apprehension that the war was undertaken for the purpose of extending and perpetuating slavery. The almost unanimous Southern vote for the hasty surrender of the line of 54 40', on which so much had been staked in the Presidential campaign, gave the Whigs an advantage in the popular canvass. The contrast between the boldness with which the Polk Administration had marched our army upon the territory claimed by Mexico, and the prudence with which it had retreated from a contest with Great Britain, after all our antecedent boasting, exposed the Democrats to merciless ridicule. Clever speakers, who were numerous in the Whig party at that day, did not fail to see and seize their advantage.

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This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Civil War In Kansas

By Thomas H. Gladstone.

THIS account of the guerrilla warfare carried on by the rival Pro-Slavery and Free-State Parties in Kansas during 1855-6 is by a kinsman of the great English Prime Minister, William E. Gladstone, who was touring the United States when he witnessed the events here described. His observations were to a large extent from the pro-slavery side; and his correspondence, first published in the London "Times," is perhaps the most impartial existing contemporary narrative of that border-state struggle.

Following the sacking of Lawrence by the Pro-Slavery men occurred the massacre of five men on Pottawatomie Creek by John Brown and his sons, on May 23, 1856. Thus begun, the border war continued through the month of June until Federal troops suppressed the combatants. On July 4, 1856, the Free-State Legislature met at Topeka, but was dispersed.

THE autumn of 1854 witnessed the erection of the first log-huts of Lawrence [Kansas] by a few families of New England settlers. During the year 1855 its population increased rapidly, chiefly by the arrival of emigrants from the Northern States. Its log-hut existence gave way to a more advanced stage, in which buildings of brick and stone were introduced; and the growing prosperity of the "Yankee town" early began to excite the jealousy of the abettors of slavery.

Viewed as the stronghold of the Free-State Party, it was made the point of attack during what was called "the Wakarusa war" in the winter of 1855. Before the termination of this its first siege, the necessity of some means of defense being manifest, the inhabitants of Lawrence proceeded to fortify their town by the erection of four or five circular earthworks, thrown up about seven feet in height, and measuring a hundred feet in diameter. These were connected with long lines of earthwork entrenchments, rifle-pits, and other means of fortification. Whilst these engineering operations were being carried on, the men might have been seen, day and night, working in the trenches, in haste to complete the defense of their Western Sebastopol. The inhabitants were also placed under arms, formed into companies, with their respective commanders, under the generalship of Robinson and Lane, had their daily drill, mounted guard day and night upon the forts, and sent out at night a horse-patrol to watch the outer posts, and give warning of approaching danger.

The pacification which followed the Wakarusa campaign in December, 1855, afforded only a temporary lull. Although war had ceased, the people did not cease to carry arms, and used them, when occasion offered, with fatal effect. The Missourians did not conceal that they were organizing another invasion, which should effectually "wipe out Lawrence," and win Kansas for slavery, "though they should wade to the knees in blood to obtain it." The Southern States were being appealed to far and wide to aid by men and money in the extirpation of every Northern settler.

The month of May arrived, and the state of parties continued as before. The pro-slavery, or, as it was commonly termed, the border-ruffian army, had, however, gained strength by large reinforcements from the States. Colonel Buford was there with his determined bands from Alabama, Colonel Titus from Florida, Colonel Wilkes and other with companies from South Carolina and Georgia, all of whom had sworn to fight the battles of the South in Kansas. The President, too, through his Secretary of War, had placed the Federal troops at the command of Governor Shannon, and the Chief Justice Lecompte had declared, in a notable charge to a grand jury, that all who resisted the laws made by the fraudulently elected Legislature were to be found guilty of high treason.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Jones rode about the country with a "posse" of United States troops, arresting whomsoever he pleased; the grand jury declared the Free-State Hotel and the offices of the "Herald of Freedom" and "Kansas Free-State" newspapers in Lawrence to be nuisances, and as such to be removed; Governor Robinson and several other men of influence in the Free-State cause were severally seized and held as prisoners ; Free-State men were daily molested in the highway, some robbed, and others killed; and a constantly increasing army was encamping right and left of Lawrence, pressing daily more closely around it, and openly declaring that their intention was to "wipe out the traitorous city, and not to leave an abolitionist alive in the territory."

At length the day approached when Lawrence was to fall. On the night previous to May 21st, could anyone have taken a survey of the country around, he would have seen the old encampment at Franklin, four miles to the southeast of Lawrence, which was occupied during the Wakarusa war, again bristling with the arms of Colonel Buford's companies, brought from the States. This formed the lower division of the invading army. On the west of Lawrence, at twelve miles distance, he would have seen another encampment in the neighborhood of Lecompton, occupied by the forces under Colonel Titus and Colonel Wilkes. These were reinforced by General Atchison, with his Platte County Rifles and two pieces of artillery; by Captain Dunn, heading the Kickapoo Rangers; by the Doniphan Tigers, and another company under General Clark, as well as by General Stringfellow, with his brother, the doctor, who had left for a time his editorship to take a military command, and other leaders, who brought up all the lawless rabble of the border-towns, to aid in the attack. These on the west of Lawrence formed the upper division. A large proportion were cavalry. The general control of the troops was in the hands of the United States Marshal, Donaldson, the whole body, of some six or eight hundred armed men, being regarded as a "posse comitatus" to aid this officer in the execution of his duties.

During the forenoon Fain, the Deputy-Marshal, entered Lawrence with some assistants, to make arrests of its citizens. He failed, however, in provoking the resistance desired, on which to found a pretext for attacking the city ; for the citizens permitted the arrests to be made, and responded to his demand for a "posse" to aid him.

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This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The First Railroad To The Mississippi

By William Prescott Smith.

THE author of this record of the first railroad to operate between the Atlantic seaboard and the Mississippi River participated in the opening of "The American Central Railroad Line" from Baltimore, Maryland, continuously to St. Louis, Missouri, in June, 1857. The immediate occasion which he describes was the completion of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad direct from Cincinnati to St. Louis. In that pear the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was extended to Parkersburg on the Ohio River, and the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad was completed. These three events are commemorated in the "Book of the Great Railway Celebrations of 1857," from which this article is taken.

As an appendix to it we publish a letter which appeared in the New York "Times" of June 7, 1857. It was written by its Washington correspondent, who was a member of the party which made the first through railroad trip from Baltimore to St. Louis.

THE grand opening excursion over the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad was set down for Thursday, the 4th of June; but, in order to avoid the rush of the crowd, many of the guests started for St. Louis on the preceding evening. Still the number remaining of the large party concentrated at Cincinnati was immense, and it was deemed quite impossible to carry all over the road in one day, for want of sufficient passenger coaches to meet the extraordinary demand. Fortunately very many preferred remaining behind a few hours, in order to obtain needed rest, to see a little more of the city. Provision was made to carry about twelve or fifteen hundred passengers, who started at six o'clock on Thursday morning, in two trains the first containing the City Councils of Baltimore and Cincinnati, the principal municipal officers of Marietta and Chillicothe, a portion of the detective police of Cincinnati, a large number of ladies, and the representatives of the press, of whom there were about fifty present. This first train consisted of ten passenger cars, and the second of eight cars. General Cass having determined to visit his home, at Detroit, did not go on to St. Louis ; and M. Sartiges also remained behind for a day.

The cars and engines were handsomely decorated, making a showy appearance as they dashed over the road. The rear car of the first train, in which were the families of the directors of the road, seemed something new in the history of railroad travelling. It was fitted up in four compartments, in each of which were two sofas, each sofa seating two persons, and being capable of transformation into berths for the same number. Several ordinary car chairs in addition made the numerical accommodations about one-third as large as those of ordinary cars. There were also a wash-room and toilet table in the car, and a patent heating furnace, which had the faculty of keeping out the dust and of cooling the air. With rich upholstery and elegant painting, these characteristics made the car one of extraordinary comfort for the traveller who was so fortunate as to secure one of its seats. Shortly after six o'clock, we got well under way, and were whirled along at a rapid rate for about fifteen miles, when just as we came opposite the old homestead of General Harrison, at North Bend, the pumps of the engine gave out, and a detention of over half an hour was the consequence.

This gave the party an excellent opportunity of viewing the ancient residence of "Old Tip." It is a plain, republican frame house, two stories high, with wings of one story attached. It is much weather-beaten, and the white paint which once made its front glow in bright contrast with the green foliage of the venerable trees around it, looks pale and bluish. It is inhabited by the old soldier's widow. A few hundred yards distant, on a green and wooded slope, stands a simply arranged tomb, which holds the ashes of the hero of Tippecanoe.

The Ohio River monopolized the attention of the traveler for nearly twenty miles, the railroad being built right upon its bank, and between it and a range of low hills to the north or west of the stream. This narrow strip of level land is exceedingly rich, covered with beautiful gardens, from which rise many neat and tasteful gardeners' cottages, presenting an agreeable picture of prosperous and contented industry. On the steep sides of the hills which rise backward from this garden strip, cling the vineyards to which we are indebted for the Catawba wines. Across the river, rise the Kentucky hills, green and grand, dotted and decorated by country residences which seem to affect stateliness and dignity, when compared with their more modest and unobtrusive neighbors on the Ohio banks.

General surprise was expressed by the guests at finding the railroad track so smooth and equal, taking into consideration the short time since it was completed. Its broad gauge, and commodious well-furnished cars, together with the fine scenery of the route, render it a most delightful road to travel over. Every precaution had been taken to render the trip a safe and pleasant one. Extra locomotives were passed at convenient points along the line, with steam up and fretting to be free, ready to take the place of any that should be disabled; and flagmen were distributed at intervals of a mile, to watch the track closely, and signalize the trains should danger of any sort present itself. Refreshments were freely supplied in the cars, and the cold chicken, ice-cream, and sparkling Catawba, were found particularly grateful after the hurried breakfast incidental to an early morning start.

Along the entire length of the line a jubilant feeling seemed to exist on the part of the inhabitants, and the road at the different stations was thronged with men, women and children. In several places the passing trains were saluted with discharges of cannon, and similar demonstrations. At Aurora, we left the Ohio River, and turned into the State of Indiana, through the immense forest of which we progressed for some hours. Vast beech and ash forests, stiff clay soil, small dwellings, and occasional small village, all having a rough look of newness, and barren of beauty or comfort. Much of the land is a swamp, the ground covered with gigantic trunks of fallen trees, in all stages of decay. Occasionally a road, some of them planked, all running north and south and east and west, opened a long vista through the forest. Where-ever cultivated, the soil seems very black and rich, the wheat good, standing up straight among the bleached trunks of the girdled trees.

The Big Miami River was crossed by a beautiful bridge twenty miles out, and about a mile further on the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad was crossed, both roads here running on a level plain. There are stations every half dozen miles along the route, but our train stopped only at the most important ones. At North Vernon, 73 miles from Cincinnati, the road crosses the Madison and Indianapolis Railroad, and at Seymour about 14 miles further on the Jeffersonville and Indianapolis Railroad. Within a distance of sixty miles the road crosses the White River, quite a wide stream, four times, by as many substantially built bridges.

Continuing on our way, we arrived in due time at Fort Ritner, Indiana, a station named for one of the engineers of the road, 113 miles from Cincinnati. Here we were overtaken by the second train, and partook of a bountiful cold collation, with coffee, in the unfinished station-house. Proceeding on, no notable incident occurred until we arrived at Mitchell, 13 miles farther. At this place, a large number of citizens greeted our arrival with repeated cheers, and a band performed inspiriting music as we passed. Mitchell is named for Professor O. M. Mitchell of Cincinnati, to whom, as much as to any other one man, is due the honor of bringing this railroad to completion. His faith in the feasibility of the enterprise was evinced in such works as few men would have undertaken. Through his zealous instrumentality were procured the foreign loans, without which the work could never have been completed. Near this point are two caves, called Hamor's and Linn's caves. From the mouth of the former issues Lost River, which passes to this outlet for many miles under the ground. About the centre of the State, we come to a region of country that seems to be longer settled, the farms being clear of stumps and well tilled, and the buildings good and large.

The ancient city of Vincennes, Indiana, on the Wabash River, 192 miles from Cincinnati, and the "half-way house" between Cincinnati and St. Louis, was reached about 3 o'clock. A heavy rain was falling at the time, but great numbers of the citizens were out to receive the train. Flags were displayed from many of the buildings, and the roar of cannon announced the occurrence of an unusual event. Here a splendid dinner had been provided for the tourists by the citizens, under the management of the ladies a portion of the tables being set under the trees where General Harrison made his celebrated treaty with Tecumseh. Everything in the shape of eatables, that an epicure would desire, or that a noble effort to furnish an unrivalled repast could procure, was there in bountiful profusion. There was also no lack of generous wine. The welcome extended by the citizens of Vincennes was in all respects hearty and enthusiastic. Toasts and speeches naturally follow champagne; so a number of the former were soon offered, complimentary of the railroad and its managers, and speeches were made by Judge Ellis, of Vincennes, and Judge Lee, of Baltimore. While this was going on within the building, the outsiders were not forgotten long tables were spread under temporary sheds, at which the citizens of Vincennes and many of those who have so successfully labored in completing the road, partook of a substantial repast.

The shrill whistle of the locomotive again summoned the party to the train. The new portion of the road having been passed over, the double locomotives were here dispensed with, and two new and beautiful iron steeds took their places, one to each train. They bore the significant names of "San Francisco" and "Sacramento." The enterprising young engine man, in charge of the former, predicted that, ere he closed his engineering career, he would have the honor of running his locomotive across the plains and mountains to the Golden city of the Pacific.

Leaving Vincennes, we immediately crossed the Wabash River on a large and splendid wooden bridge, built on the McCallum plan, and entered the State of Illinois, being welcomed to its soil by ex-Governor Reynolds of that State. After crossing the flat prairie bottom, we entered upon the broad prairies, and for mile after mile flew on without meeting an acre of rolling ground, and nothing like a tree. Many fine dwellings, however, were passed on the prairie, and extensive herds of cattle were seen grazing on the fertile plains.

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This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America, Great Crises in our History.

"A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand"

By Abraham Lincoln.

IN April, 1858, the Democrats of Illinois indorsed the stand Stephen A. Douglas had Taken in the Kansas dispute over slavery, and nominated him for the United States Senate. Lincoln expected and received the Republican nomination in June, and in accepting he delivered the carefully considered speech which contained the famous statement that "A house divided against itself cannot stand.

In July he challenged Douglas to the now celebrated series of debates, the direct result of which was to win the latter the Senatorship. Lincoln, however, was not arguing for the Senatorial prize alone, but was fighting for Republican success in the Presidential contest of 1860. The simplicity, force and fitness of this speech, and of his debates with Douglas, made him not only a national figure but a candidate for the Republican nomination for President.

MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN OF THE CONVENTION: If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved I do not expect the house to fall but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction ; or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as South.

Have we no tendency to the latter condition?

Let any one who doubts carefully contemplate that now almost complete legal combination piece of machinery, so to speak compounded of the Nebraska doctrine and the Dred Scott decision. Let him consider not only what work the machinery is adapted to do, and how well adapted; but also let him study the history of its construction, and trace, if he can, or rather fail, if he can, to trace the evidences of design and concert of action among its chief architects, from the beginning.

The new year of 1854 found slavery excluded from more than half the States by State constitutions, and from most of the national territory by congressional prohibition. Four days later commenced the struggle which ended in repealing that congressional prohibition. This opened all the national territory to slavery, and was the first point gained.

But, so far, Congress only had acted; and an endorsement by the people, real or apparent, was indispensable to save the point already gained and give chance for more.

This necessity had not been overlooked, but had been provided for, as well as might be, in the notable argument of "squatter sovereignty," otherwise called "sacred right of self-government,"which latter phrase, though expressive of the only rightful basis of any government, was so perverted in this attempted use of it as to amount to just this: That if any one man choose to enslave another, no third man shall be allowed to object. . . . Then opened the roar of loose declamation in favor of "squatter sovereignty" and "sacred right of self-government." "But," said opposition members, "let us amend the bill so as to expressly declare that the people of the Territory may exclude slavery." "Not we," said the friends of the measure; and down they voted the amendment.

While the Nebraska Bill was passing through Congress, a law case involving the question of a *****'s freedom, by reason of his owner having voluntarily taken him first into a free State and then into a territory covered by the congressional prohibition, and held him as a slave for a long time in each, was passing through the United States Circuit Court for the District of Missouri; and both Nebraska Bill and lawsuit were brought to a decision in the same month of May, 1854. The *****'s name was Dred Scott, which name now designates the decision finally made in the case. Before the then next Presidential election, the law case came to and was argued in the Supreme Court of the United States.

The election came. Mr. Buchanan was elected, and the endorsement, such as it was, secured. That was the second point gained. . . . The Supreme Court met again; did not announce their decision, but ordered a re-argument. The Presidential inauguration came, and still no decision of the Court; but the incoming President in his inaugural address fervently exhorted the people to abide by the forthcoming decision, whatever it might be. Then, in a few days, came the decision.

The reputed author of the Nebraska Bill finds an early occasion to make a speech at this capital indorsing the Dred Scott Decision, and vehemently denouncing all opposition to it. The new President, too, seizes the early occasion of the Silliman letter to indorse and strongly construe that decision, and to express his astonishment that any different view had ever been entertained!

At length a squabble springs up between the President and the author of the Nebraska Bill, on the mere question of fact, whether the Lecompton constitution was or was not, in any just sense, made by the people of Kansas; and in that quarrel the latter declares that all he wants is a fair vote for the people, and that he cares not whether slavery be voted down or voted up. I do not understand his declaration that he cares not whether slavery be voted down or voted up to be intended by him other than as an apt definition of the policy he would impress upon the public mind the principle for which he declares he has suffered so much, and is ready to suffer to the end. And well may he cling to that principle. If he has any parental feeling, well may he cling to it. That principle is the only shred left of his original Nebraska doctrine. Under the Dred Scott Decision "squatter sovereignty" squatted out of existence, tumbled down like temporary scaffolding, like the mold at the foundry, served through one blast and fell back into loose sand, helped to carry an election, and then was kicked to the winds.

We cannot absolutely know that all these exact adaptations are the result of preconcert. But when we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places and by different workmen, Stephen, Franklin, Roger and James, for instance, and we see these timbers joined together, and see they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortises exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too few, not omitting even scaffolding or, if a single piece be lacking, we see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared yet to bring such piece in in such a case we find it impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first blow was struck.

Our cause, then, must be intrusted to, and conducted by, its own undoubted friends those whose hands are free, whose hearts are in the work, who do care for the result. Two years ago the Republicans of the nation mustered over thirteen hundred thousand strong. We did this under the single impulse of resistance to a common danger, with every external circumstance against us. Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud, and pampered enemy. Did we brave all then to falter now? now when that same enemy is wavering, dissevered, and belligerent? The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail if we stand firm, we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accelerate or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure to come.

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The First Treaty With Japan

HAVING delivered President Fillmore's letter to the proper representatives of the Mikado on July 14, 1853, and been received with impressive ceremonies on Japanese soil, Commodore Perry led his squadron to Chinese waters, where he remained until the next February. Returning to Japan, he was cordially received, made an exhibition to the Japanese of the telegraph and railroad, of agricultural implements and other articles of western progress, which were greatly admired, and succeeded on March 31, 1854, in making the desired treaty, as given here, which was soon followed by similar treaties between Japan and other nations.

This brilliant achievement marked the beginning of the wonderful new industrial life of Japan. In 1903, the fiftieth anniversary of Perry's landing in Japan, a monument in honor of the event was dedicated at the place of the landing by the Japanese government and people.

THE United States of America and the Empire of Japan, desiring to establish firm, lasting and sincere friendship between the two nations, have resolved to fix, in a manner clear and positive, by means of a treaty or general convention of peace and amity, the rules which shall in future be mutually observed in the intercourse of their respective countries ; for which most desirable object the President of the United States has conferred full powers on his commissioner, Matthew Galbraith Perry, Special Ambassador of the United States to Japan, and the August Sovereign of Japan has given similar full powers to his Commissioners, Hayashi, Daigaku-no-kami; Ido, Prince of Tsus-Sema; Izawa, Prince of Mima-saki; and Udono, Member of the Board of Revenue. And the said Commissioners, after having exchanged their said full powers, and duly considered the premises, have agreed to the following articles :

ARTICLE I There shall be a perfect, permanent, and universal peace, and a sincere and cordial amity between the United States of America on the one part, and the Empire of Japan on the other part, and between their people respectively, without exception of persons or places.

ARTICLE II The port of Simoda, in the principality of Iduz, and the port of Hakodade, in the principality of Matsmai, are granted by the Japanese as ports for the reception of American ships, where they can be supplied with wood, water, provisions and coal, and other articles their necessities may require, as far as the Japanese have them. The time for opening the first-named port is immediately on signing this treaty ; the last-named port is to be opened immediately after the same day in the ensuing Japanese year.

Note. A tariff of prices shall be given. by the Japanese officers of the things which they can furnish, payment for which shall be made in gold and silver coin.

ARTICLE III Whenever ships of the United States are thrown or wrecked on the coast of Japan, the Japanese vessels will assist them, and carry their crews to Simoda, or Hakodade, and hand them over to their countrymen, appointed to receive them ; whatever articles the shipwrecked men may have preserved shall likewise be restored, and the expenses incurred in the rescue and support of Americans and Japanese who may thus be thrown upon the shores of either nation are not to be refunded.

ARTICLE IV Those shipwrecked persons and other citizens of the United States shall be free as in other countries, and not subjected to confinement, but shall be amenable to just laws.

ARTICLE V Shipwrecked men and other citizens of the United States, temporarily living at Simoda and Hakodade, shall not be subject to restrictions and confinement as the Dutch and Chinese are at Nagasaki, but shall be free at Simoda to go where they please within the limits of seven Japanese miles (or ri) from a small island in the harbor of Simoda marked on the accompanying chart hereto appended; and in like manner shall be free to go where they please at Hakodade, within limits to be defined after the visit of the United States squadron to that place.

ARTICLE VI If there be any other sort of goods wanted, or business which shall require to be arranged, there shall be careful deliberation between the parties in order to settle such matters.

ARTICLE VII It is agreed that ships of the United States resorting to the ports open to them shall be permitted to exchange gold and silver coin and articles of goods, under such regulations as shall be temporarily established by the Japanese Government for that purpose. It is stipulated, however, that the ships of the United States shall be permitted to carry away whatever articles they are unwilling to exchange.

ARTICLE VIII Wood, water, provisions, coal, and goods required, shall only be procured through the agency of Japanese officers appointed for that purpose, and in no other manner.

ARTICLE IX It is agreed that if at any future day the Government of Japan shall grant to any other nations privileges and advantages which are not granted to the United States and the citizens thereof, that these same privileges and advantages shall be granted likewise to the United States and to the citizens thereof, without any consultation or delay.

ARTICLE X Ships of the United States shall be permitted to resort to no other ports in Japan but Simoda and Hakodade, unless in distress or forced by stress of weather.

ARTICLE XI There shall be appointed by the Government of the United States, Consuls or Agents to reside in Simoda, at any time after the expiration of eighteen months from the date of the signing of this treaty; provided that either of the two governments deem such arrangement necessary.

ARTICLE XII The present convention having been concluded and duly signed, shall be obligatory and faithfully observed by the United States of America and Japan, and by the citizens and subjects of each respective Power ; and it is to be ratified and approved by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof, and by the august Sovereign of Japan, and the ratification shall be exchanged within eighteen months from the date of the signature thereof, or sooner if practicable.

In faith whereof we, the respective Plenipotentiaries of the United States of America and the Empire of Japan aforesaid have signed and sealed these presents.

Done at Kanagawa, this thirty-first day of March, in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ one thousand eight hundred and fifty-four, and of Kayei the seventh year, third month, and third day.

M. C. Perry.

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This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America, Great Crises in our History.

How Lincoln Was Nominated

By Murat Halstead.

ON May 18, 1860, Halstead wrote this account of the historic proceedings of the Republican National Convention which nominated Abraham Lincoln for the Presidency, for the Cincinnati "Commercial," as its special staff correspondent. He later became editor of the paper.

The Convention met on May 16 in the famous Wigwam at Chicago. Never before had so many delegates attended a National Convention. Two days were spent in organization and the adoption of a platform. Then came the balloting. Seward's nomination had seemed certain in the beginning, but on the third ballot Lincoln won, and Hannibal Hamlin, of Maine, was nominated for Vice-President. The platform, though denying the right of Congress to interfere with slavery in the States, demanded that it be forbidden in the Territories.

AFTER adjournment on Thursday (the second day), there were few men in Chicago who believed it possible to prevent the nomination of Seward.

But there was much done after midnight and before the Convention assembled on Friday morning. There were hundreds of Pennsylvanians, Indianians and Illinoisans, who never closed their eyes that night.

The Seward men generally abounded in confidence Friday morning.

The air was full of rumors of the caucusing the night before, but the opposition of the doubtful States to Seward was an old story ; and after the distress of Pennsylvania, Indiana & Co., on the subject of Seward's availability, had been so freely and ineffectually expressed from the start, it was not imagined their protests would suddenly become effective. The Sewardites marched as usual from their head-quarters at the Richmond House after their magnificent band, which was brilliantly uniformed epaulets shining on their shoulders, and white and scarlet feathers waving from their caps marched under the orders of recognized leaders, in a style that would have done credit to many volunteer military companies. They were about a thousand strong, and protracting their march a little too far, were not all able to get into the wigwam. This was their first misfortune. They were not where they could scream with the best effect in responding to the mention of the name of William H. Seward.

When the Convention was called to order, breathless attention was given the proceedings. There was not a space a foot square in the wigwam unoccupied. There were tens of thousands still outside, and torrents of men had rushed in at the three broad doors until not another one could squeeze in.

The applause, when Mr. Evarts named Seward, was enthusiastic. When Mr. Judd named Lincoln, the response was prodigious, rising and raging far beyond the Seward shriek. Presently, upon Caleb B. Smith seconding the nomination of Lincoln, the response was absolutely terrific. It now became the Seward men to make another effort, and when Blair of Michigan seconded his nomination,

"At once there rose so wild a yell,

Within that dark and narrow dell;

As all the fiends from heaven that fell,

Had pealed the banner cry of hell."

The effect was startling. Hundreds of persons stopped their ears in pain. The shouting was absolutely frantic, shrill and wild. No Comanches, no panthers ever struck a higher note, or gave screams with more infernal intensity. Looking from the stage over the vast amphitheater, nothing was to be seen below but thousands of hats a black, mighty swarm of hats flying with the velocity of hornets over a mass of human heads, most of the mouths of which were open. Above, all around the galleries, hats and handkerchiefs were flying in the tempest together. The wonder of the thing was that the Seward outside pressure should, so far from New York, be so powerful.

Now the Lincoln men had to try it again, and as Mr. Delano of Ohio, on behalf "of a portion of the delegation of that State," seconded the nomination of Lincoln, the uproar was beyond description. I thought the Seward yell could not be surpassed; but the Lincoln boys were clearly ahead, and feeling their victory, as there was a lull in the storm, took deep breaths all round, and gave a concentrated shriek that was positively awful, and accompanied it with stamping that made every plank and pillar in the building quiver.

The division of the first vote caused a fall in Seward stock. It was seen that Lincoln, Cameron and Bates had the strength to defeat Seward, and it was known that the greater part of the Chase vote would go for Lincoln.

The Convention proceeded to a second ballot. . . . The first gain for Lincoln was in New Hampshire. The Chase and the Fremont vote from that State were given him. His next gain was the whole vote of Vermont. This was a blighting blow upon the Seward interest. The New Yorkers started as if an Orsini bomb had exploded. And presently the Cameron vote of Pennsylvania was thrown for Lincoln, increasing his strength forty-four votes. The fate of the day was now determined. New York was "checkmate" next move, and sullenly proceeded with the game, assuming unconsciousness of her inevitable doom. On this ballot Lincoln gained seventy-nine votes ! Seward had 184 1/2 votes ; Lincoln, 181.

While this [the third] ballot was taken amid excitement that tested the nerves, the fatal defection from Seward in New England still further appeared four votes going over from Seward to Lincoln in Massachusetts. The latter received four additional votes from Pennsylvania and fifteen additional votes from Ohio. . . . The number of votes necessary to a choice were two hundred and thirty-three, and I saw under my pencil, as the Lincoln column was completed, the figures 231 1/2 one vote and a half to give him the nomination. In a moment the fact was whispered about. A hundred pencils had told the same story. The news went over the house wonderfully, and there was a pause. There are always men anxious to distinguish themselves on such occasions. There is nothing that politicians like better than a crisis. I looked up to see who would be the man to give the decisive vote. . . . In about ten ticks of a watch, Cartter of Ohio was up. I had imagined Ohio would be slippery enough for the crisis. And sure enough ! Every eye was on Cartter, and every body who understood the matter at all, knew what he was about to do. . . . He said, "I rise (eh), Mr. Chairman (eh), to announce the change of four votes of Ohio from Mr. Chase to Mr. Lincoln." The deed was done. There was a moment's silence. The nerves of the thousands, which through the hours of suspense had been subjected to terrible tension, relaxed, and as deep breaths of relief were taken, there was a noise in the wigwam like the rush of a great wind, in the van of a storm and in another breath, the storm was there. There were thousands cheering with the energy of insanity.

A man who had been on the roof, and was engaged in communicating the results of the ballotings to the mighty mass of outsiders, now demanded by gestures at the sky-light over the stage, to know what had happened. One of the secretaries, with a tally sheet in his hands, shouted "Fire the salute! Abe Lincoln is nominated!" As the cheering inside the wigwam subsided, we could hear that outside, where the news of the nomination had just been announced. And the roar, like the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep, that was heard, gave a new impulse to the enthusiasm inside. Then the thunder of the salute rose above the din, and the shouting was repeated with such tremendous fury that some discharges of the cannon were absolutely not heard by those on the stage. Puffs of smoke, drifting by the open doors, and the smell of gunpowder, told what was going on.

The moment that half a dozen men who were on their chairs making motions at the President could be heard, they changed the votes of their States to Mr. Lincoln.

While these votes were being given, the applause continued, and a photograph of Abe Lincoln which had hung in one of the side rooms was brought in, and held upon before the surging and screaming masses. The places of the various delegations were indicated by staffs, to which were attached the names of the States, printed in large black letters on pasteboard. As the Lincoln enthusiasm increased, delegates tore these standards of the States from their places and swung them about their heads. A rush was made to get the New York standard and swing it with the rest, but the New Yorkers would not allow it to be moved, and were wrathful at the suggestion.

When the vote was declared, Mr. Evarts, the New York spokesman, mounted the Secretaries' table and handsomely and impressively expressed his grief at the failure of the Convention to nominate Seward--and in melancholy tones, moved that the nomination be made unanimous.

The town was full of the news of Lincoln's nomination, and could hardly contain itself . . . hundreds of men who had been in the wigwam were so prostrated by the excitement they had endured, and their exertions in shrieking for Seward or Lincoln, that they were hardly able to walk to their hotels. There were men who had not tasted liquor, who staggered about like drunkards, unable to manage themselves. The Seward men were terribly stricken down. They were mortified beyond all expression, and walked thoughtfully and silently away from the slaughter house, more ashamed than embittered. They acquisced in the nomination, but did not pretend to be pleased with it; and the tone of their conversations, as to the prospect of electing the candidate, was not hopeful. It was their funeral, and they would not make merry.

I left the city on the night train on the Fort Wayne and Chicago road. The train consisted of eleven cars, every seat full and people standing in the aisles and corners. . . . At every station where there was a village, until after two o'clock, there were tar barrels burning, drums beating, boys carrying rails; and guns, great and small, banging away. The weary passengers were allowed no rest, but plagued by the thundering jar of cannon, the clamor of drums, the glare of bonfires, the whooping of the boys, who were delighted with the idea of a candidate for the Presidency, who thirty years ago split rails on the Sangamon River classic stream now and for evermore and whose neighbors named him "honest."

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Inaugural Address Of Jefferson Davis

ELECTED President of the Provisional Government of the Confederacy on February 9, 1861, by the Congress assembled at Montgomery, Alabama, Davis delivered his first inaugural address nine days later. He was chosen to head the Confederate Government because his course through the stormy days just before the Civil War had been marked by consistency and moderation in comparison with the Other secession leaders. The choice was eminently popular.

At the expiration of the first year of the Provisional Government, a new Congress was elected, and on February 22, 1862, Davis was again inaugurated, entering upon his term which was set for six years by the Confederate Constitution. His career as President takes in nearly all of Confederate history, his side of the matter being given ably and fully in his "Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government," in which this inaugural address is incorporated.


Called to the difficult and responsible station of Chief Magistrate of the Provisional Government which you have instituted, I approach the discharge of the duties assigned to me with humble distrust of my abilities, but with a sustaining confidence in the wisdom of those who are to guide and aid me in the administration of public affairs, and an abiding faith in the virtue and patriotism of the people. Looking forward to the speedy establishment of a permanent government to take the place of this, which by its greater moral and physical power will be better able to combat with many difficulties that arise from the conflicting interests of separate nations, I enter upon the duties of the office to which I have been chosen with the hope that the beginning of our career, as a Confederacy, may not be obstructed by hostile opposition to our enjoyment of the separate existence and independence we have asserted, and which, with the blessing of Providence, we intend to maintain.

Our present political position has been achieved in a manner unprecedented in the history of nations. It illustrates the American idea that governments rest on the consent of the governed, and that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish them at will whenever they become destructive of the ends for which they were established. The declared purpose of the compact of the Union from which we have withdrawn was to 'establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity;' and when, in the judgment of the sovereign States composing this Confederacy, it has been perverted from the purposes for which it was ordained, and ceased to answer the ends for which it was established, a peaceful appeal to the ballot-box declared that, so far as they were concerned, the Government created by that compact should cease to exist. In this they merely asserted the right which the Declaration of Independence of July 4th, 1776, defined to be inalienable. Of the time and occasion of its exercise they as sovereigns were the final judges, each for itself. The impartial and enlightened verdict of mankind will vindicate the rectitude of our conduct; and He who knows the hearts of men will judge of the sincerity with which we have labored to preserve the Government of our fathers in its spirit.

The right solemnly proclaimed at the birth of the United States, and which has been solemnly affirmed and reaffirmed in the Bills of Rights of the States subsequently admitted into the Union of 1789, undeniably recognizes in the people the power to resume the authority delegated for the purposes of government. Thus the sovereign States here represented have proceeded to form this Confederacy; and it is by abuse of language that their act has been denominated a revolution. They formed a new alliance, but within each State its government has remained; so that the rights of person and property have not been disturbed. The agent through which they communicated with foreign nations is changed, but this does not necessarily interrupt their international relations. Sustained by the consciousness that the transition from the former Union to the present Confederacy has not proceeded from a disregard on our part of just obligations or any failure to perform every constitutional duty, moved by no interest or passion to invade the rights of others, anxious to cultivate peace and commerce with all nations, if we may not hope to avoid war, we may at least expect that posterity will acquit us of having needlessly engaged in it. Doubly justified by the absence of wrong on our part, and by wanton aggression on the part of others, there can be no cause to doubt that the courage and patriotism of the people of the Confederate States will be found equal to any measure of defense which their honor and security may require.

An agricultural people, whose chief interest is the export of commodities required in every manufacturing country, our true policy is peace, and the freest trade which our necessities will permit. It is alike our interest and that of all those to whom we would sell, and from whom we would buy, that there should be the fewest practicable restrictions upon the interchange of these commodities. There can however be but little rivalry between ours and any manufacturing or navigating community, such as the Northeastern States of the American Union. It must follow therefore, that mutual interest will invite to good-will and kind offices on both parts. if, however, passion or lust of dominion should cloud the judgment or inflame the ambition of those States, we must prepare to meet the emergency and maintain, by the final arbitrament of the sword, the position which we have assumed among the nations of the earth.

We have entered upon the career of independence and it must be inflexibly pursued. Through many years of controversy with our late associates of the Northern States, we have vainly endeavored to secure tranquillity and obtain respect for the rights to which we were entitled. As a necessity, not a choice, we have resorted to the remedy of separation, and henceforth our energies must be directed to the conduct of our own affairs, and the perpetuity of the Confederacy which we have formed. If a just perception of mutual interest shall permit us peaceably to pursue our separate political career, my most earnest desire will have been fulfilled. But if this be denied to us, and the integrity of our territory and jurisdiction be assailed, it will but remain for us with firm resolve to appeal to arms and invoke the blessing of Providence on a just cause.

As a consequence of our new condition and relations, and with a view to meeting anticipated wants, it will be necessary to provide for the speedy and efficient organization of branches of the Executive department having special charge of foreign intercourse, finance, military affairs, and the postal service. For purpose of defense, the Confederate States may, under ordinary circumstances, rely mainly upon the militia; but it is deemed advisable, in the present condition of affairs, that there should be a well -instructed and disciplined army, more numerous than would usually be required on a peace establishment. I also suggest that, for protection of our harbors and commerce on the high seas, a navy adapted to these objects will be required. But this, as well as other subjects appropriate to our necessities, have doubtless engaged the attention of Congress.

With a Constitution differing only from that of our fathers in so far as it is explanatory of their well-known intent, freed from sectional conflicts, which have interfered with the pursuit of the general welfare, it is not unreasonable to expect that States from which we have recently parted may seek to unite their fortunes to ours under the Government which we have instituted. For this your Constitution makes adequate provision; but beyond this, if I mistake not the judgment and will of the people, a reunion with the States from which we have separated is neither practicable nor desirable. To increase the power, develop the resources, and promote the happiness of the Confederacy, it is requisite that there should be so much homogeneity that the welfare of every portion shall be the aim of the whole. When this does not exist, antagonisms are engendered which must and should result in separation.

Actuated solely by the desire to preserve our own rights, and promote our own welfare, the separation by the Confederate States has been marked by no aggression upon others, and followed by no domestic convulsion. Our industrial pursuits have received no check, the cultivation of our fields has progressed as heretofore, and, even should we be involved in war, there would be no considerable diminution in the production of the staples which have constituted our exports, and in which the commercial world has an interest scarcely less than our own. This common interest of the producer and consumer can only be interrupted by exterior force which would obstruct the transmission of our staples to foreign markets a course of conduct which would be as unjust, as it would be detrimental, to manufacturing and commercial interests abroad.

Should reason guide the action of the Government from which we have separated, a policy so detrimental to the civilized world, the Northern States included, could not be dictated by even the strongest desire to inflict injury upon us; but, if the contrary should prove true, a terrible responsibility will rest upon it, and the suffering of millions will bear testimony to the folly and wickedness of our aggressors. In the meantime there will remain to us, besides the ordinary means before suggested, the well-known resources for retaliation upon the commerce of an enemy.

Experience in public stations, of subordinate grade to this which your kindness has conferred, has taught me that toil and care and disappointment are the price of official elevation. You will see many errors to forgive, many deficiencies to tolerate; but you shall not find in me either want of zeal or fidelity to the cause that is to me the highest in hope, and of most enduring affection. Your generosity has bestowed upon me an undeserved distinction, one which I neither sought nor desired. Upon the continuance of that sentiment, and upon your wisdom and patriotism, I rely to direct and support me in the performance of the duties required at my hands.

We have changed the constituent parts, but not the system of government. The Constitution framed by our fathers is that of these Confederate States. In their exposition of it, and in the judicial construction it has received, we have a light which reveals its true meaning.

Thus instructed as to the true meaning and just interpretation of that instrument, and ever remembering that all offices are but trusts held for the people, and that powers delegated are to be strictly construed, I will hope by due diligence in the performance of my duties, though I may disappoint your expectations, yet to retain, when retiring, something of the good-will and confidence which welcome my entrance into office.

It is joyous in the midst of perilous times to look around upon a people united in heart, where one purpose of high resolve animates and actuates the whole, where the sacrifices to be made are not weighed in the balance against honor and right and liberty and equality. Obstacles may retard, but they cannot long prevent, the progress of a movement sanctified by its justice and sustained by a virtuous people. Reverently let us invoke the God of our Fathers to guide and protect us in our efforts to perpetuate the principles which by His blessing they were able to vindicate, establish, and transmit to their posterity. With the continuance of His favor ever gratefully acknowledged, we may hopefully look forward to success, to peace and to prosperity.

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 7 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Lincoln Making His Cabinet

By Thurlow Weed.

WEED, from whose "Autobiography" this account is taken, by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company, was a New York State political leader who had supported William H. Seward for the Presidential nomination won by Lincoln. At the time he was editor of the Albany (New York) "Journal."

The interview here chronicled between Weed and Lincoln, at Springfield, Illinois, of course preceded Lincoln's election, which was not a foregone conclusion. As a fact, the country was so divided that Lincoln, feeling the need of all possible support, chose his Cabinet most carefully. He wished even to enlist a Southerner, until his offer to William A. Alexander, of North Carolina, was flatly refused. Graham, as Secretary of the Navy in the Fillmore Cabinet, had organized Commodore Perry's expedition to Japan.

IMMEDIATELY after the nomination of Mr. Lincoln for President, at Chicago, in the summer of 1860, while annoyed and dejected at the defeat of Governor Seward, as I was preparing to shake the dust of the city from my feet, Messrs. David Davis [afterward a judge of the Supreme Court of the United States], and Leonard Swett called at my room. These gentlemen, warm friends and zealous supporters of Mr. Lincoln, had contributed more than all others to his nomination. After his name was presented as a candidate for President, and received with favor by the citizens of Illinois, Messrs. Davis and Swett visited Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, for the purpose of commending Lincoln to the favorable consideration of prominent men in those States. They now called to converse with me about the approaching canvass. I informed them very frankly that I was so greatly disappointed at the result of the action of the convention as to be unable to think or talk on the subject; that I was going to pass a few days upon the prairies of Iowa, and that by the time I reached Albany I should be prepared to do my duty for the Republican cause and for its nominees. They then urged me to return home via Springfield, where we could talk over the canvass with Mr. Lincoln, saying that they would either join me at Bloomington, where they resided, or meet me at Springfield.

After passing with a few friends a pleasant week in traveling through Iowa, I repaired to Springfield. We entered immediately upon the question which deeply concerned the welfare of the country, and which had an especial interest for Mr. Lincoln. We discussed freely the prospects of success, assuming that all or nearly all the slave States would be against us. The issues had already been made, and could neither be changed nor modified ; but there was much to be considered in regard to the manner of conducting the campaign, and in relation to States that were safe without effort, to those which required attention, and to others that were sure to be vigorously contested. Viewing these questions in their various aspects, I found Mr. Lincoln sagacious and practical. He displayed throughout the conversation so much good sense, such intuitive knowledge of human nature, and such familiarity with the virtues and infirmities of politicians, that I became impressed very favorably with his fitness for the duties which he was not unlikely to be called upon to discharge. This conversation lasted some five hours, and when the train arrived in which we were to depart, I rose all the better prepared to "go to work with a will" in favor of Mr. Lincoln's election, as the interview had inspired me with confidence in his capacity and integrity.

In December of that year, and after the electoral colleges had shown a large majority for Mr. Lincoln, I was invited to visit him at Springfield, where I again met my friends Davis and Swett. Mr. Lincoln, although manifestly gratified with his election, foresaw and appreciated the dangers which threatened the safety both of the Government and of the Union. But while Mr. Lincoln never underestimated the difficulties which surrounded him, his nature was so elastic, and his temperament so cheerful, that he always seemed at ease and undisturbed.

Mr. Lincoln remarked, smiling, "that he supposed I had had some experience in Cabinet-making ; that he had a job on hand, and as he had never learned that trade he was disposed to avail himself of the suggestions of friends." Taking up his figure, I replied, "that though never a boss Cabinet-maker, I had as a journeyman been occasionally consulted about State cabinets, and that although President Taylor once talked with me about reforming his Cabinet, I had never been concerned in or presumed to meddle with the formation of an original Federal Cabinet, and that he was the first President-elect I had ever seen." The question thus opened became the subject of conversation, at intervals, during that and the following day. I say at intervals, because many hours were consumed in talking of the public men connected with former administrations, interspersed, illustrated, and seasoned pleasantly with Mr. Lincoln's stories, anecdotes, etc.

Mr. Lincoln observed that "the making of a Cabinet, now that he had it to do, was by no means as easy as he had supposed; that he had, even before the result of the election was known, assuming the probability of success, fixed upon the two leading members of his Cabinet, but that in looking about for suitable men to fill the other departments, he had been much embarrassed, partly from his want of acquaintance with the prominent men of the day, and partly, he believed, that while the population of the country had immensely increased, really great men were scarcer than they used to be." He then inquired whether I had any suggestions of a general character affecting the selection of a Cabinet to make.

I replied that, along with the question of ability, integrity and experience, he ought, in the selection of his Cabinet, to find men whose firmness and courage fitted them for the revolutionary ordeal which was about to test the strength of our Government; and that in my judgment it was desirable that at least two members of his Cabinet should be selected from slaveholding States. He inquired whether, in the emergency which I so much feared, they could be trusted, adding that he did not quite like to hear Southern journals and Southern speakers insisting that there must be no "coercion" ; that while he had no disposition to coerce anybody, yet after he had taken an oath to execute the laws, he should not care to see them violated.

As the conversation progressed, Mr. Lincoln remarked that he intended to invite Governor Seward to take the State, and Governor Chase the Treasury Department, remarking that, aside from their long experience in public affairs, and their eminent fitness, they were prominently before the people and the Convention as competitor for the Presidency, each having higher claims than his own for the place which he was to occupy. On naming Gideon Welles as the gentleman he thought of as the representative of New England in the Cabinet, I remarked that I thought he could find several New England gentlemen whose selection for a place in his Cabinet would be more acceptable to the people of New England. "But," said Mr. Lincoln, "we must remember that the Republican Party is constituted of two elements, and that we must have men of Democratic as well as of Whig antecedents in the Cabinet."

Acquiescing in this view the subject was passed over. And then Mr. Lincoln remarked that Judge Blair had been suggested. I inquired, "What Judge Blair?" and was answered, "Judge Montgomery Blair." "Has he been suggested by any one except his father, Francis P. Blair, Sr.?" "Your question," said Mr. Lincoln, "reminds me of a story," and he proceeded with infinite humor to tell a story, which I would repeat if I did not fear that its spirit and effect would be lost. I finally remarked that if we were legislating on the question, I should move to strike out the name of Montgomery Blair and insert that of Henry Winter Davis. Mr. Lincoln laughingly replied, "Davis has been posting you up on this question. He came from Maryland and has got Davis on the brain. Maryland must, I think, be like New Hampshire, a good State to move from." And then he told a story of a witness in a neighboring county, who, on being asked his age, replied, "Sixty." Being satisfied that he was much older, the judge repeated the question, and on receiving the same answer, admonished the witness, saying that the court knew him to be much older than sixty. "Oh," said the witness, "you're thinking about that fifteen year that I lived down on the eastern shore of Maryland; that was so much lost time and don't count." This story, I perceived, was thrown in to give the conversation a new direction. It was very evident that the selection of Montgomery Blair was a fixed fact; and although I subsequently ascertained the reasons and influences that controlled the selection of other members of the Cabinet, I never did find out how Mr. Blair got there.

General Cameron's name was next introduced, and in reference to him and upon the peculiarities and characteristics of Pennsylvania statesmen we had a long conversation. In reply to a question of Mr. Lincoln's, I said that I had personally known General Cameron for twenty-five years ; that for the last ten years I had seen a good deal of him; that whenever I had met him at Washington or elsewhere he had treated me with much kindness, inspiring me with friendly feeling. "But you do not,1. said Mr. Lincoln, "say what you think about him for the Cabinet." On that subject I replied that I was embarrassed; that Mr. Cameron during a long and stirring political life had made warm friends and bitter enemies; that while his appointment would gratify his personal friends, it would offend his opponents, among whom were many of the leading and influential Republicans of that State ; that I was, as I had already stated, in view of an impending rebellion, anxious that Mr. Lincoln should have the support of not only a strong Cabinet, but one which would command the confidence of the people. We continued to canvass General Cameron in this spirit for a long time, Mr. Lincoln evidently sharing in the embarrassment which I had expressed, and manifesting, I thought, a desire that I should fully endorse General Cameron. I told him that if it were a personal question I should not hesitate to do so, for that I liked General Cameron, and entertained no doubt of his regard for me, but that as I was not sure that his appointment would give strength to the administration, I must leave the matter with himself. "But," said Mr. Lincoln, "Pennsylvania, any more than New York or Ohio, can not be overlooked. Her strong Republican vote, not less than her numerical importance, entitles her to a representative in the Cabinet. Who is stronger or better than General Cameron?" To this question I was unprepared for a reply, for among General Cameron's friends there was no one eminently qualified, and would have been equally unjust and unwise to take an opponent, and finally General Cameron's case was passed over, but neither decided nor dismissed.
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