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" See here, stranger,” he said, “I think you are a real clever fellow; I wouldn't offend you for the world; but allow me to say that a man who does not chew, smoke, or drink, who has no vices of any kind, is not likely to have many virtues.”
Mr. Lincoln laughed heartily as he bade him good-bye.
At Terre Haute two prominent citizens of Indiana, Thomas H. Nelson and Judge Hammond, took seats for Indianapolis. It was early morning, the sun not up. They saw a man asleep, lying on the back seat and his long legs stretched across the vehicle.
“ Hullo, my friend! Say, have you chartered the whole of this coach ?" shouted the judge, slapping the sleeper on the shoulder.
“ Beg your pardon, gentlemen ; but I thought I would make myself as comfortable as I could,” said Mr. Lincoln, as he courteously took the front seat.
The sun rises, and the two passengers see that their fellow-traveller is a tall man with deep-set eyes and thin cheeks. It is ing, and he has laid aside vest and cravat. His hat is of palm - leaf, tipped back on his head. He must be a queer fellow, and they will have some fun with him. He laughs at their jokes, and does not seem to mind it when they make him the butt of their raillery. At night they behold a comet blazing in the sky. Ignorant people are fearful it is going to destroy the world. Judge Hammond and Mr. Nelson are surprised at what their fellow-passenger has to say upon astronomy. He seems to be well informed. “What do you think is to be the upshot of this comet business ?” he asks.
"I differ from the scientific men and the philosophers. I should not be surprised if the world should follow the plaguy thing off,” the reply of Mr. Nelson.
The man without any vest or cravat laughs heartily, but does not controvert the opinion. Late in the evening the stage rolls up to Browning's Hotel, in Indianapolis, and Judge Hammond and Mr. Nelson go to their rooms to brush the dust from their clothing. They are astonished when they come down and see Judge McLean and half a dozen of the foremost public men of the State shaking hands with the man wearing the palm-leaf hat.
“ Who is he?" Nelson asked of the landlord. “ That is Abraham Lincoln."
Mortified and ashamed of their joking and raillery, they sneak out of the back door and make their way to another tavern. They do not care to meet him after what has taken place.
Mr. Lincoln reached Washington, and learned that the President would appoint him Governor of Oregon. It was a territory far away, with but few inhabitants. It could be reached only after a tedious journey across the plains of Nebraska, over the Rocky Mountains and the sterile Snake River region. It would require many weeks of travel, and when there he would be, as it were, out of the world. The office was respectfully declined, and he returned to Illinois, to again “ ride the circuit."
NOTES TO CHAPTER VIII.
1!) Joshna F. Speed, Lecture on Abraham Lincoln), p. 40.
(5) E. H. Merryman, letter to “Sangamon Journal,” quoted in Herndon's "Lincoln," p. 248 (editiou 1889).
(0) William H. Herndon, “ Lincoln,” p. 231 (edition 1889). (1) Joshua F. Speed, Lecture on Abraham Lincolı, p. 36. (*) “Century Magazine,” January, 1887.
BEGINNING OF THE CONFLICT BETWEEN FREEDOM AND SLAVERY.
that he had accomplished very much for his fellow-men. Somehow we cannot help thinking of Moses, who was in the desert forty
years, doing nothing beyond tending the sheep of his father-in
law-not knowing that he was biding God's time. Great events must take place before the man who had declined the Governorship of Oregon could do the work which divine Providence had planned for the welfare of our country and the whole human race. In his Springfield home he bade good-bye to politics and resumed the practice of law.
The war with Mexico was over, and California had become a part of the United States. While Abraham Lincoln was a legislator in the Representatives' Hall in Washington, January, 1848, James W. Marshall was digging a mill-race for John A. Sutter in California.
“I wonder what that yellow stuff is !” said Marshall, as he threw up a shovelful of earth.
“I guess it is brass," said one of the workmen.
“ I'll see what vinegar will do to it," said Marshall. He put the yellow particles into vinegar, but they did not change.
“I am going to San Francisco, and will see what they say about it there,” said Mr. Bennett, who went to that town and showed it to Isaac Humphrey, who had worked in a gold-mine in Georgia.
“It is gold,” said Humphrey.
The news spread. There was a rush of people to the American River, where the gold had been found. In June and July, 1849, gold-dust valued at $250,000 was received at San Francisco, then only a little collection of houses. Lieutenant Beale, of the United States Navy, was in California, and was sent to Washington with despatches. He made his way down the coast to Monterey, crossed Mexico, and in September reached Washington. * Rich Gold-mines Discovered in California !” was the announcement in the Baltimore “Sun," September 20th. The news spread far and wide; it was flying all over the country. Miners were making fortunes-hundreds of dollars a day. From Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and all the Atlantic ports vessels were sailing for California. By February, 1850, ninety had sailed, carrying 8,000 men. Seventy
. other ships were getting ready. The men of the Western States flocked to St. Louis, went up the Missouri to the mouth of the Platte River, and started from there in caravans across the plains, with oxen and horses, drawing white canvas-topped wagons. Over the plains, across the wide reaches of sage lands where there was little water, over the Sierra Nevada Mountains streamed a long line of weary, poverty-stricken men, hungry for gold, more hungry for food. Into the Golden Gate sailed the white-winged ships. Before the year closed more than 400 vessels were riding at anchor in the Bay of San Francisco; and that place, which was only a village when the first yellow gold-dust was thrown to the surface, was a city with 20,000 people—a jostling, hurrying crowd, having only one object in view : to get gold.
We are not to forget that the slave-holders of the South had brought about the annexation of Texas for the purpose of extending the area of slavery and perpetuating their power in political affairs, that they might control the Government. The annexation resulted in a war with Mexico. That republic had been forced to surrender California and a vast extent of country between the Rio Grande and the Pacific coast, which the slave-holders confidently expected would become Slave States. Henry A. Wise, of Virginia, of whom we shall speak further on, said in a speech: “Slavery should spread itself, and have no limit except the Southern Ocean.” Very unexpectedly to him and all the slave-bolders, the people of the gold region declared there should be no slavery in California.
Twenty years had gone by since the imprisonment of the young printer in Baltimore for saying the slave-trade was piracy; twenty years since a flat-boatman in New Orleans had sworn a solemn oath that if he ever got a chance to hit the institution he would hit it hard. During the years a great change had taken place in public sentiment throughout the Northern States regarding slavery. Men were beginning to see that it was an aggressive political force; that it was wicked and cruel, and threatened to subvert the liberties of the people. Several men who mainly had acted with the Democratic Party, but who were opposed to the further extension of slavery, met at Buffalo, N.Y., and organized the Free-soil Party. “No more Slave States! No more Slave Territory!" their motto.
When the slave-holders heard that the miners of California intended to make it a Free State they sent Senator Gwyn, of Mississippi, to the Pacific coast to do what he could towards making it a Slave State; but his efforts were vain. The slave-holders, chagrined at the upsetting of their plans, determined to oppose its admission to the Union. To understand what followed we must remember that in 1820, when Missouri was admitted to the Union, it was agreed that all the territory north of 36° 30', which formed the southern boundary of that State, should be free. Mexico, before the ceding of California to the United States, had abolished servitude; so when California, New Mexico, and Utah were joined to the United States, those sections were free from slavery. Henry Clay had been instrumental in accomplishing the Compromise of 1820, and in his declining years, seeing the trouble brewing between the Free and Slave States, bent all his waning energies to bring about another Compromise, which he hoped would forever settle the question. Daniel Webster, in Massachusetts, having a great love for the Constitution and the Union, was ready to do what he could to secure peace and harmony. The agreement made was one-sided. The slaveholders were to consent that California should be admitted as a Free State. To pay them for the concession Utah and New Mexico were to be organized as territories, without any stipulation whether they should or should not permit the holding of slaves. Texas was to receive $10,000,000 for 70,000 square miles belonging to that State north of the Missouri Compromise line, and slavery was to be extended over it. No more slaves were to be sold in the District of Columbia, but fugitives escaping from a Slave to a Free State were to be returned to their masters. Insulting and degrading to the people of the Free States were the provisions of the law regarding fugitive slaves.
Such was the Compromise which, it was declared, would forever put an end to the agitation of the slavery question.
“ There shall be no more agitation. These measures are a finality, and we will have peace,” said Daniel Webster. (')
“In taking leave of this subject,” said Stephen A. Douglas, “I wish to state that I have determined nerer to make another speech upon the slavery question. So long as our opponents do not agitate for repeal or modification, why should we agitate for any purpose. This Compromise is a final settlement.” ()
They did not comprehend the aggressive character of slavery. The Compromise became a law, and California was admitted to the Union.
During these days Abraham Lincoln was reading Shakespeare and