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necessary to do so, cannot appear doubtful. Any one who does not take Cobb's words cited above as conclusive evidence, must, indeed, consider it an open question whether the government intended to make any territorial acquisitions; for no positive proof of such an intention can be produced from documentary material. But this. much is certain, that the president desired to carry out a great policy in the Central-American question, with all possible independence of congress - a policy which might lead to entanglements of the most serious consequence; and there is much to warrant the supposition that he was intent on something more than the control of the transit routes. The remark in the message that peaceable immigration, so highly advantageous to all concerned, was prevented by the filibustering march, might be looked upon as a very intelligible intimation of intentions, or at least wishes that extended much further, when one bore in mind the manifest-destiny doctrine and the experiments Mexico had made in Texas and California with this peaceable immigration. And even if Buchanan wanted nothing but control over the transit routes, would the slavocracy be satisfied with that, when the Union had a firm footing there in the tropics? But, if the slavocracy wanted more, was Buchanan the right man to meet them with an unconditional and irrevocable non possumus? The slavocracy really looked upon Walker's undertaking as if they supposed Buchanan was playing false. If this had not been the case, would he not have found means to prevent the escape of the filibuster, which was so disagreeable to him, and would he not then have plainly stated that the neutrality laws must give the government more extensive powers to guard against such occurrences in the future? It was certainly correct that Buchanan was not such a friend of slavery as to desire to strengthen it.

But it was just as certain that he would not refuse to do anything that seemed desirable, and at the same time practicable, simply because it would have that effect. And that he would not do so, in this case, was beyond all doubt; because, considering his whole way of thinking, he must have hoped that the Kansas question, which had been slumbering, would be awakened into life again by the fact that a prospect of compensation was here opened to the slavocracy. The fact that the millstone of the slavery question hung to the Central-American problem, as to all other problems of national politics, could not only not deter him from making a bold attempt to swim in the currents and billows of high politics, but it was an additional reason for him to make it, because he considered. it possible, by so doing, to get rid of a great part of the burthen which threatened to drag himself and the democratic party to the ground, in his own country, and thus to destroy the Union.

We have now exhausted the questions of importance in constitutional history and in the development of the irrepressible conflict discussed in the message, for in the previous chapter the meagre data of the message on the doings in Kansas there received all their necessary completion; and the politico-constitutional utterances on them, in the meaning of the answer of August 15 to the Connecticut clergy and of the article in the Union of November 18, have been critically passed upon.

If now it be asked what were the results of the policy of the president during the first nine months of his administration, they may be thus briefly summed up: The confident hope of seeing realized his honest and ardent wish that the slavery question would be banished from. the world, or at least that it would be deprived for a while of its acute and domineering character was not

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fulfilled, but he was driven further and further from that hope; and the blame for this lay not entirely with the ever-active logic of facts. His own weakness, his own ambition, and his dependence on the slavocracy, which had become a second nature to him by habit and political calculation, as well as a complete want of understanding of the moral side of the slavery question, made himself, with busy hands, knit mesh on mesh of the fatal net which was destined to drag his party for almost a generation from the seat of power and plunge the country into the frightful depths of a four years' civil war. The thirty-fifth congress found marked out by Buchanan a broader plan for a collision of minds than any of his predecessors had presented to any other congress.



Figures do not lie - provided they are correct. The proposition is unassailable; but, in its practicable application, it has, perhaps, more frequently led to wrong than to correct conclusions. The difficulty lies in this: that the figures must be not only right but rightly understood; and the right understanding of right figures is difficult in cases other than where one has to deal with long columns of figures which have to be combined in different ways. Correct rows of figures can never lie; but they frequently deceive, because they seem to make undoubtedly clear conditions and circumstances which, by their very nature, can find no adequate expression in simple figures.

Judged solely by the relative numbers of the two parties in congress, the democrats might look forward towards the legislative action of the new legislative period with really pleasant feelings. In the senate they could in no way lose the supremacy. The effort to crowd them out of the White House had failed; and the house of representatives, in which they had been able to lay down the law to the republicans only with the assistance of the southern opposition, and therefore had met with so many severe defeats, was in their hands once more. On the very first ballot, their candidate, James L. Orr, of South Carolina, was elected speaker, by one hundred and twenty-eight against ninety-seven votes, of which the re

1The ruling party had now a majority of ten (thirty-five against twenty-five), which would be increased to twelve as soon as the two vacancies- South Carolina and Texas were filled.



publican candidate received only eighty-four. If they only had been united among themselves they would, therefore, have had the power to do whatever they pleased.1 But on the very next day it became manifest that, in respect to one question, this precondition did not exist. This question cast all others in the shade, and hence all calculations of the probabilities based solely on the relative numbers of the two parties in congress were entirely worthless.

As soon as the president's message had been read, Douglas rose. He spoke only a minute, but among all the brilliant speeches ever made in congress it would not be easy to find one of a significance even approximately equal to the few calm words he spoke. "I have,” he said, "listened to the message with great pleasure, and concur cordially with much the greater part of it, and in most of the views expressed; but in regard to one topicthat of Kansas-I totally dissent from that portion of the message which may fairly be construed as approving of the proceedings of the Lecompton convention."

This the fact that the first blow aimed at the administration was dealt by Stephen A. Douglas and not by the republicans—was the omen under which the thirtyfifth congress began its labors;-this, and not the election of the speaker in the house of representatives. The democratic party itself had now to feel whether the power of Douglas's arm warranted the proud name it had given him. The "Little Giant" had certainly not become a Don Quixote, who, in company only of a Sancho Panza, set out, bent on adventure. He had won the name because he knew so well how to turn his party colors into a battle-flag. Not only Douglas himself, but the Douglas.

1 The Independent of November 26, 1857, divided the house into: All shades of democrats, 129; Free American and republican, 90; South American (all from the slave states but one), 15.

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