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be conducted by a sectional administration on the old doctrines of their party; unsound and self-seeking Democrats, released from party allegiance, who saw in which direction political victory inclined; and the whole miscellaneous multitude of those iniddle-men, who hang loosely upon the outskirts of all parties, and, at the last moment, cast their own weight into the heaviest scale. But the most efficient instrument of success to the new Republican coalition, was inherited by it from the effete Nnow-Nothing party—and that was. the systematized machinery and much of the material of party organization.
Administration of President Pierce.---Position of the Democratic Party.- President
Pierce's Message to Congress in December, 1853.-—" Domestic Controversies passing away.”—The Civil War began in Kansas.—Statement of the Question in regard to Kansas.-Mr. Webster's Views of the Effect of the Compromise of 1850.- Mr. Clay's Opinion of the Impolicy of an Imaginary Line.— The Bill for the Organization of the Territory passes the House, making no Mention of Compromise or Slavery, and is introduced into the Senate by Mr. Douglas, from the Committee on Territories, without amendment.—The Debate in the Senate chiefly in regard to the Rights of the Aborigines. The Bill laid on the Table, for further Consideration of this Topic, and not taken up during the Session. At the next Session, Mr. Douglas introduces (January 4th, 1854) an Amendment to the Bill, proposing the Specific Repeal of the Missouri Compromise.—The large Majority in favor of it.—Memorials to Congress, in opposi
tion to its Passage-one from three thousand and fifty Clergymen of New England. • Effect of this Clerical Movement upon the Public Mind.-Final Passage of the Bill by
the House.-Action of the North.—The “ Emigrant Aid” Companies.-Secret Association of Members of Congress to resist the Objects of the Act. The several Reports to Congress-Further Proceedings as to Kansas.--Opposite Opinions of Mr. Davis and Mr. Yancey.-Position of Mr. Douglas.--Extension of Slave Territory does not mean Increase of Slavery. The reasons why the Adoption of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill was unavoidable.
The administration of President Pierce, beginning on the 4th of March, 1853, was introduced to the duties of office under circumstances singularly auspicious. The pusillanimity of the Whigs, and the dissatisfaction occasioned in both sections of their party-on the one hand, because the candidate was not thought to stand “square on the platform,” and, on the other, because the platform itself was offensive' to large numbers of those who acted, or professed to act, with the party—had given the Democrats great advantage in the election. They seemed to not a few of their former opponents
Nothing was more common than to hear men say: "I shall vote for the candidate, but I spit upon the platform.”
the only organized body left, with any reasonable chance of future political power, which was inspired with the spirit of nationality, and impressed with broad ideas of the inestimable value of the Union. Upon them, in fact, had now become imposed the duty, and with it the opportunity, to vindicate thoroughly the soundness of those measures of pacification, which had owed so much to the efforts of the two most eminent Whigs in the land; and through the permanent establishment of those principles, by a wise course of domestic policy, to give the country secure rest from the only alarming cause of disquiet which it had actually ever encountered.
The President was in the vigor of manhood, distinguished for ability and ready eloquence, and a spirit of warm-hearted patriotism, and was of no little experience in public business; and, not long before his inauguration, he had suffered a peculiarly afflicting domestic calamity, which enlisted for him the profoundest public sympathy, and tended to check any disposition to captious party criticism. A cabinet composed of such persons as Mr. Marcy, of New York, Mr. Guthrie, of Kentucky, Mr. Davis, of Mississippi, and Mr. Cushing, of Massachusetts, with others not so generally known, but men of more than ordinary mark, could not but inspire unusual public confidence. It almost immediately acquired the popular appellation of "The brilliant Cabinet," and promised the ablest management of business; though, with the exception of foreign complications, to which Mr. Marcy, the Secretary of State, was fully competent to attend, there seemed little to call for the exercise of extraordinary talent, in directing the national affairs. Nothing could more clearly indicate the sense of public repose than the general tone of President Pierce's message, communicated to Congress, December 5th, 1853. In it there was only a brief allusion, contained in a paragraph of a dozen lines, to “domestic controversies passing away,” and an exhortation to respect the rights of States, and to maintain domestic peace. How soon this treacherous calm was to be succeeded by the wildest storm of incontrol
THE FIRST GUN FIRED IN KANSAS.
lable passion, the country eventually knew. Yet, for a considerable season, the tumult was confined to the immediate territory in which the outburst occurred, or to the contiguous States, without exciting any more than casual interest in the public mind at the North; at least, outside of the then narrów circle of abolitionists and specifically recognized Freesoilers.
The civil war in the United States began, in fact, in Kansas. It has been the practice with many others, besides the Republicans, to refer to the firing of the first gun upon Fort Sumter as the commencement of hostilities. This may be a not inconvenient classification of events for those who desire to consign to oblivion the whole train of circumstances which certainly led to, however little they may be thought to have justified, that incident. It might be alleged with as much propriety, that the civil war between Charles I. and the Parliament began with the battle of Edgehill; though the one had mustered the cavaliers, under his “Commission of Array,” and the other their train-bands by the “Ordinance of Militia,” for months before that bloody encounter. Or that there was no battle, in fact, in order at Fontenoy, het ween French and English, until the commander of the Footguards and the officer of the Gardes Françaises had politely settled, according to the popular story, which should first deliver their fire. The bombardment of Fort Sumter, doubtless, was the first act of the war which, at length, powerfully affected the Northern imagination; since the incidents of the transaction were peculiarly striking in themselves, and were easily appreciable by the popular mind; and since general attention had for some time been especially directed to that point. Yet the “Star of the West," the steamer previously despatched with provisions for the fort, had already been fired upon and compelled to turn back; South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas had already passed formal ordinances of secession; the other States which eventually joined the Confederacy were evidently on the eve of that event; and forts, arsenals, customhouses and other buildings of the United States had already been seized and occupied by officers in the service of the seceding States.
The first gun of the war was doubtless fired in the territory of Kansas; the second in the “raid” of John Brown. It is true that no engagement took place in the territory, between the troops of the United States and the insurgents in arms against its peace and authority on the one side and the other, which is really " the pity of it”—since, in that case, the existing disturbances would have been easily and speedily quelled. It was, nevertheless, an armed and most murderous conflict, fought out upon that ground, between the representatives of extreme sentiments at the North and the South; and a warfare the more brutal and demoralizing in all its influences and results, that it was carried on by predatory and irresponsible bands of reckless and violent men, supplied with means of outrage, and prompted to deeds of blood, by those in both parts of the country who watched at a safe distance the progress of their respective schemes.
To go through with the history of the troubles in Kansas in detail would demand a volume of many pages by itself; the subject, so treated, would be scarcely worth the pains required; the narrative, so complicated are the transactions, would not be very intelligible in the end. The only way of meeting this question for any useful purpose, is to simplify its relation, as much as possible, and to confine the statement to those general features which are of the most consequence, and which are sufficient for the elucidation of the topic.
Kansas was part of the Louisiana purchase.” It was, of course, included within the provisions of that Act of Congress, which, in admitting into the Union as a slave State, Missouri, also a part of the Louisiana purchase, excluded sla
* Mr. Choate observes, in one of his lectures : “You sometimes bear the Stamp Act spoken of as the first invasion of the rights of the colonists by the mother country. In truth, it was about the last; the most flagrant, perhaps the most dreadful and startling to an Englishman's ideas of liberty; but not the first-no, by a hundred and fifty years, not the first.”