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a fair indication of the purpose of the North to abile, in good taith, by the Compromise of 1850. But in this they were deceived, as the sequel demonstrated.
During the first session of the first Congress under Mr Pierce's administration, the bill introduced to establish a territorial government for Nebraska, led to an agitation in Congress and the country, the consequences of which extended to the last period of the existence of the Union. The Committee on Territories in the Senate, of which Mr. Douglas, of Illinois, was chairman, reported the bill, which made two territoriesNebraska and Kansas-instead of one, and which declared that the Missouri Compromise act was superseded by the Compromise measursa of 1850, and had thus become inoperative. The phraseology of the clause repealing the Missouri Compromise was drawn up by Mr. Douglas, and was not supposed at the time to be liable to misconstruction. It held, that the Missouri Compromise act,“ being inconsistent with the prin ciples of non-intervention by Congress with slavery in the States and Territories, as recognized by the legislation of 1850, commonly called the Compromise Measures, is hereby declared inoperative and void ; it being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate slavery into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States.” The clause here quoted, as drawn up by Mr. Doug. las, was incorporated into the Kansas-Nebraska bill in the Senate on the 15th of February, 1854. The bill passed the House at the same session.
The repeal of the Missonri Compromise caused the deepest excitement throughout the North. The Abolitionists were wild with fury. Douglas was hung in effigy at different places, and was threatened with personal violence in case of his persistence in his non-intervention policy. The rapid development of a fanatical feeling in every free State startled many who had but recently indulged dreams of the perpetuity of the Constitutional Union. Abolitionism, in the guise of “ Republicanism," swept almost every thing before it in the North and North west in the elections of 1854 and 1855. But few professed conservatives were returned to the Thirty-first Congress :
not enough to prevent the election of Nathaniel Banks, au ob jectionable Abolitionist of the Massachusetts school, to the Speakership of the House.
The South had supported the repeal of the Missouri Com proniar
. 'ecause it restored her to her rightful position or equarily in the Union. It is true, that her representatives ic Congress were well aware that, under the operations of the new act, their constituents could expect to obtain but little if any new accessions of slave territory, while the North would necessarily, from the force of circumstances, secure a number of new States in the Northwest, then the present direction of our new settlements. But viewed as an act of proscription against her, the Missouri Compromise was justly offensive to the South; and its abrogation, in this respect, strongly recommnended itself to her support.
The ruling party of the North, calling themselves “ Republicans," had violently opposed the repeal of the act of 1820, in the same sentiment with which it was fiercely encountered by the Abolitionists. The two parties were practically identical; both shared the same sentiment of hostility to slavery; and they differed only as to the degree of indirection by which their purposes might best be accomplished.
The election of Mr. Buchanan to the Presidency, in 1856, raised, for a time, the spirits of many of the true friends of the Constitutional Union. But there was very little in an analysis of the vote to give hope or encouragement to the patriot. Fremont, who ran as the anti-slavery candidate, received 1,341,812 votes of the people, and it is believed would have been elected by the electoral college, if the anti-Buchanan party in Pennsylvania had united upon him.
The connection of events which we have sought to trace, brings us to the celebrated Kansas controversy, and at once to the threshold of the dissensions which demoralized the only conservative party in the country, and in less than four years culminated in the rupture of the Federal Union. A severe summary of the facts of this controversy introduces us to the contest of 1860, in which the Republican party, swollen with its triumphs in Kansas, and infecting the Democratic lea lers in the North with the disposition to pander to the lusts of a
gruwing power, obtained the control of the government, and seized the sceptre of absolute authority.
When Mr. Buchanan came into office, in March, 1857, he flattered himself with the hope that his administration would settle the disputes that had so long agitated and distracted the country; trusting that such a result might be accomplished by the speedy admission of Kansas into the Union, upon the principles which had governed in his election. Such, at least, were his declarations to his friends. But before the meeting of Congress, in December, he had abundant evidence that his favorite measure would be opposed by a number of Senators and Representatives who had actively supported him in his canvass; among them the distinguished author of the Kansas Nebraska bill, Mr. Douglas.
In the month of July, 1855, the Legislature of the Territory of Kansas had passed an act to take the sense of the people on the subject of forming a State government, preparatory to admission into the Union. The election took place, and a large majority of the people voted in favor of holding a convention for the purpose of adopting a Constitution. In pursnance of this vote, the Territorial Legislature, on the 19th of February, 1837, passed a law to take a census of the people, for the purpose of making a registry of the voters, and to elect delegates to the Convention. Mr. Geary, then Governor of Kansas, vetoed the bill for calling the Convention, for the reason that it did not require the Constitution, when framed, to be submitted to a vote of the people for adoption or rejection. The bill, however, was reconsidered in each House, and passed by a two-thirds' vote, and thus became a binding law in the Territory, despite the veto of the Governor.
On the 20th of May, 1857, Mr. F. P. Stanton, Secretary and acting Governor of Kansas Territory, published his proclamation, commanding the proper officers to hold an election on the third Monday of June, 1857, as directed by the act referred to.
The election was held on the day appointed, and the Con vention assembled, according to law, on the first Monday of September, 1837. They proceeded to form a Constitution, and having finished their work, adjourned on the 7th November
& author sow not mention the & readful Ariddered dirsinf
The entire Constitution was not submitted to the popular vote. but the Convention took care to submit to the vote of the people, for ratification or rejection, the clause respecting slavery. The official vote resulted : For the Constitution, with Slavery, 6,226; for the Constitution, without Slavery, 509.
The Abolitionists, or “Free State” men, as they called themselves, did not generally vote in this or any other election held under the regular government of the Territory. They defied the authority of this government and that of the United States, and acted under the direction of Emigrant Aid Societies, organized by the fanatical Abolitionists of the North, to colonizo the new territory with voters. The proceedings of this evil and bastard population occasioned the greatest excitement, and speedily inaugurated an era of disorder and rebellion in this distant portion of the Federal territory.
The Free State party assembled at Topeka, in September, 1855, and adopted what they called a “Constitution” for Kan
This so-called Constitution was submitted to the people, and was ratified, of course, by a large majority of those who voted; scarcely any but Abolitionists going to the polls. Un. dey their Topeka Constitution, the Free State party elected a Governor and Legislature, and organized for the purpose of petitioning Congress for the admission of Kansas into the Union. The memorial of the Topeka insurgents was presented to the Thirty-fourth Congress. It met with a favorable response in the House of Representatives, a majority of that body being anti-slavery men of the New England school; but found but a poor reception in the Senate, where there was still a majority of conservative and law-abiding men.
On the 2d of February, 1858, Mr. Buchanan, at the request of the President of the Lecompton Convention, transmitted to Congress an authentic copy of the Constitution framed by that body, with a view to the admission of Kansas into the Union. The message of the President took st:ong and urgent position for the admission of Kansas under this Constitution; he defended the action of the Convention in not submitting the entire result of their labors to a vote of the people; he explained that, when he instructed Governor Walker, in general terms, in favor of submitting the Constitution to the people, he had no other object in view beyond the all-absorbing topic
of slavery; he considered that, under the organic act, the Convention was bound to submit the all-important question of slavery to the people; he added, that it was never his opinion, however, that, independently of this act, the Convention would be bound to submit any portion of the Constitution to a popular vote, in order to give it validity; and he argued the fallacy and unreasonableness of such an opinion, by insisting that it was in opposition to the principle which pervaded our institutions, and which was every day carried into practice, to the effect that the people had the right to delegate to representatives, chosen by themselves, sovereign power to frame Constitutions, enact laws, and perform many other important acts, without the necessity of testing the validity of their work by popular approbation. The Topeka Constitution Mr. Buchanan denounced as the work of treason and insurrection.
It is certain that Mr. Buchanan would have succeeded in effecting the admission of Kansas under the Lecompton Constitution, if he could have secured to the measure the support of all the Northern Democrats who had contributed to his election. These, however, had become disaffected; they opposed and assailed the measure of the Administration, acting under the lead of Mr. Douglas; and the long-continued and bitter discussion which ensued, perfectly accomplished the division of the Democratic party into two great factions, mustered under the names of "Lecompton" and "Anti-Lecompton."
The latter faction founded their opposition to the Administration on the grounds, that the Lecompton Constitution was not the act of the people of Kansas, and did not express their will; that only half of the counties of the Territory were represented in the Convention that framed it, the other half being disfranchised, for no fault of their own, but from failure of the officers to register the voters, and entitle them to vote for delegates; and that the mode of submitting the Constitution to the people for "ratification or rejection" was unfair, embarrassing, and proscriptive.
In reply, the friends of the Administration urged that twen ty-one out of the thirty-four organized counties of Kansas were embraced in the apportionment of representation; that, of the thirteen counties not embraced, nine had but a small population, as shown by the fact that, in a succeeding election, to which