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a plan and purpose wbich, originating neighborhood, and two of the party in pride and self-conceit, they meant, at having been captured, the rest were any wacrifice of truth, honor and loyal- gradually driven within the arsenal ty, even if rivers of blood flowed from grounds. A few shots were fired their acts, to carry out to its fullest during the day on both sides, and the completion.
mayor of the town was killed. Brown The bitterness anů keenness of south. and his party finally entrenched them. ern feeling on the subject of slavery selves in the engine house, where they and its issues, were greatly increased struggled to the last; but late in the by a strange, wild attempt on the part night a body of United States marines, of a man ramed John Brown, a native under Colonel Lee, invested the engine of New York, to produce a rising of house, and early on the 18th, succeeded the slaves in Virginia. Brown, it ap- in battering down the door and captur pears from his history, had become ex- ing the insurgents. Brown was se cited beyond all control on the slavery verely wounded, and thirteen of his question, and having been a sharer in companions had been killed; of the the difficulties and violent contentions citizens and soldiers seven were killed in Kansas, he seemed to think himself and a number wounded. The grand called upon to devote his life and ener- jury of Jefferson County, being in sesgies to the freeing of the slaves. Sev. sion, indicted Brown and all those with eral of his sons and a small body of him on the charge of inciting the slaves others (twenty-two in all, seventeen to insurrection, as well as of treason white, five black) joined him; arms and murder. The trial took place on and ammunition were collected; and the 26th of October, lasted three days, on the night of October 16th, he made and resulted in Brown's conviction.
a descent upon Harper's Ferry, He was sentenced to be hung on the
a town of about five thousand 2d of December; his companions were inhabitants, and containing the United tried subsequently and condemned to States arsenal with 100,000 stand of the same fate. Brown justified his acts arms. The buildings being unguarded, in all respects; avowed that his only were seized upon; prominent citizens object was to help the slaves to their were arrested; and the workmen con- freedom, not to incite revolt or commit nected with the armory, on going to murder; and was executed at the time their business in the morning, were appointed. also captured. About thirty prisoners Persistent efforts were made, by agiwere thus made. The alarm spread tators of various sorts, to use this John rapidly, and the exaggerated reports Brown affair to the injury of all those were speedily circulated of the ex. at the north who were opposed to slatent of the force, the objects had in very; and insinuations and charges view, the rising of the slaves, etc. were circulated as to the connection of About noon, on the 17th, some military prominent men with this wild expedicompanies began to arrive from the tion. But little, however, was effected
OPENING OF THE THIRTY-SIXTH CONGRESS.
by such a course. Whatever might be Mr. Clark, of Missouri, that no mem. thought of Brown's motives, there was ber who had recommended or endorsed no man who believed in the supremacy Helper's “Impending Crisis at the of law and order but what repudiated South,” was fit to be speaker. Mr. all such modes of obtaining freedom Sherman, of Ohio, was the republican for the blacks; and the conviction was candidate, and, on various occasions, universally entertained, that, however lacked only three or four votes of an severe the punishment, it was only such election. Mr. Bocock, of Virginia, was as acts like those of Brown must ever the democratic nominee; but neither expect to meet with.*
he, nor any other who was tried, sucThe elections for Congress in the ceeded in obtaining a majority. Thus several states made it evident, that the the struggle was kept up for two republicans would fall short of a ma- months; when, finally, Mr. Sherman jority in the House by some half dozen withdrew his name, and on the forty, votes, leaving the balance of power in fourth ballot, taken on the 1st of Febru
the hands of opposition mem- ary, 1860, Mr. Pennington, of New Jer
bers from the south. The effect sey, was elected speaker of the House. of this upon the organization of the The president, finding that the House was marked, and by no means House was engaged in an apparently creditable to that body.
interminable contest, resolved not to On the 5th of December, the mem- await the result. Accordingly, on the bers of the Thirty-sixth Congress' as- 27th of December, he sent his message sembled in Washington. The Senate to Congress, with the usual rebegan its labors by appointing a com- ports of the heads of departmittee to inquire into the attack on ments. In regard to “ the recent sad Harper's Ferry, and report upon the and bloody occurrences at Harper's facts. In the House, two hundred and Ferry,” Mr. Buchanan looked upon thirty out of two hundred and thirty- them as “deriving their chief imporseven members were present; and the tance from the apprehension that they contest for the speakership immediately are but symptoms of an incurable disbegan. Day after day, a ballot was ease in the public mind, which may taken, and innumerable speeches were break out in still more dangerous outmade on slavery in all its possible con- rages, and terminate, at last, in an open nections, based upon a resolution of war by the north to abolish slavery at
the south.” Speaking of himself as * Mr. Seward, in his speech in the Senate (March,“ an old public functionary," he be1860), took occasion to say: "While generous and charitable natures will probably concede that John sought his countrymen to cultivate forBrown and his associates acted on earnest though fa- bearance and good will towards each tally erroneous convictions, yet all good citizens will nevertheless agree, that this attempt to execute an
other, as in the days past, and he depunlawful purpose in Virginia by invasion, involving recated the dangers which seemed to civil war, was an act of sedition and treason, and criminal to just the extent it affected the public peace, and
threaten on every hand. But, he said : was destructive to human happiness and human life." |“ I indulge in no such gloomy forebod.
ings. On the contrary, I firmly believe tion; and the opportunity was not that the events at Harper's Ferry, by lost. Nearly all the prominent memcausing the people to pause and reflect bers of the Senate delivered elaborate upon the possible peril to their cher- harangues on the exciting topics of the ished institutions, will be the means, day; and the line of separation, as under Providence, of allaying the ex- well as the course of the struggle beisting excitement and preventing further tween the contending parties, became outbreaks of a similar character. They more and
distinctly will resolve that the Constitution and marked. Mr. Seward, and the Union shall not be endangered by other republicans, advocated the views rash counsels, knowing that should 'the and policy of the opponents of slavery silver cord be lóosed or the golden and its increase; and it was made bowl be broken at the fountain,' hu- clearly evident that, if the republicans man power could never reunite the prevailed in the coming presidential scattered and hostile fragments." contest, southern supremacy in national
Congratulations were offered on the affairs, and further extension of sladecision of the Supreme Court, that very, were at an end forever. Mr. Jefslavery was now protected in the terri- ferson Davis offered a series of resolutories; the African slave trade was dis- tions, strongly urging the extreme statecussed, against which, he said, the laws rights views, as they are called, and would be enforced; the foreign relations the inviolability and excellence of the of the country were in their usual state ;* institution of slavery. Other Senators Mexican affairs, however, were spoken from the south, not only controverted of at large, as being in a peculiarly vex- the opinions and arguments of the reatious condition, and it was urged, that publicans, but gave utterance to bitter the United States ought to interfere for denunciations and fierce threatenings redress of grievances. The purchase of of dissolution of the Union, in the Cuba, the Pacific Railroad, increase of event of their being in the minority at revenues, etc., were also presented as the ballot-box. Mr. Douglas argued needing speedy attention.
with his usual energy in behalf of his This being the first, or long session favorite doctrine of popular sovereign of Congress, there was abundant room ty; he took issue with Mr. Seward as for speech-making and political agita- to the latter's view of “capital" and
“ labor” (i. e. slave and free) States,* * Some difficulty having occurred during the year and was particularly severe upon the in regard to the northwest boundary line, according to the treaty of 1846, between the United States and Great * This view of Mr. Seward's was set forth in an Britain, and both Americans and Englishmen claiming elaborate speech (Feb. 29th, 1860), on presenting the the Island of San Juan, between Vancouver's Island memorial of the legislature of Kansas, praying for adand Washington territory, as belonging to their respec- mission into the Union. We may mention here, that tive countries, a serious collision was apprehended. the House, on the 17th of April, passed a bill to admit The government dispatched Gen. Scott, in September, Kansas under the Wyandot constitution ; but the bill 1859, to the Pacifie coast, to look after the interests of was not acted on in the Senate. Kansas was finally, the United States. Happily, this matter was settled after her many trials and struggles, admitted into the without much difficulty.
Union, January 28th, 1861.
Cu. X. ]
republican party, charging them with and the consideration of the Pacific violating the entire spirit of the Consti- Railroad and the tariff was deferred till tution, and with refusing to obey its the next session. On motion of Mr. plain and tine-honored provisions. Mr. Covode, of Pennsylvania, a committee Sumner, of Massachusetts, took the was appointed (March 5th), to inquire earliest opportunity after the brutal as- into charges implicating the president sault upon him (see p. 518), to de- as having unduly interfered in obtainliver another pungent philippic against ing the passage of laws, or having slavery in all its connections; while, on neglected to execute the laws in any the other side, equally hard, contemptu- state or territory. This was aimed ous and vindictive words were freely directly at Mr. Buchanan's course with and frequently uttered.* The Harper's regard to Kansas, and, notwithstanding Ferry committee, after careful inquiry the president's earnest protest against into the subject committed to them, such a committee, as in violation of his concluded their labors just before the rights, the committee vigorously proend of the session ; reports from the secuted their work. Towards the close majority and minority of the committee of the session a report was presented, were presented; but in substance they which, among other things, brought to agreed, that there was no evidence of light a letter from Mr. Buchanan to Mr. any complicity in John Brown's scheme Walker, in July, 1857 (see p. 535), fully on the part of other citizens at the justifying the latter's course in Kansas, north.
and also unearthed various frauds and In the House, there were more than abuses for which the administration the ordinary violence and disorder, was severely censured by the House. which, indeed, at times, seemed calcu- Congress adjourned on the 25th of
lated to render the national June, and the members dispersed in
legislature a by-word and scorn various directions to take an active share in the eyes of all honest, decent men. in the political agitations at that time Comparatively little business was ac- prevailing throughout the country. complished.
A homestead bil! was The democratic national convention agreed upon and passed, in June, but assembled at Charleston, April 23d, Mr. Buchanan vetoed it; a bill to ad- with delegates from every state, amountmit Kansas into the Union passed in ing to 303 in number. Caleb Cushing, the House, but was not acted on in the of Massachusetts, was chosen Senate; so, also, the post-office appro- president, and a “ platform" was priation bill was lost by want of discussed ; but after a great deal of disagreement between the two houses; pute, it was found impossible to agree
upon the “Cincinnati platform” (1856), * Mr. Sumner's famous speech on “The Barbarism or any other. Some fifty delegates withof Slavery,” was delivered in the Senate, June 4th, drew, and the remainder balloted fiftyIt excited great indignation on the part of
seven times for presidential candidates. southern senators, and called forth threats of ven
Mr. Douglas received, as the highest on
the list, 152 votes ; others, 66, 42, etc. way; in favor of internal improvements, This not being two-thirds of the whole of a homestead bill (such as had passed number, the convention gave up the at- the House, p. 552), of the Pacific Rail tempt to agree upon a nomination, and road, etc. On the 18th of May, the adjourned to meet at Baltimore on the convention went into a ballot; on the 18th of June. At that date the con- first, Mr. Seward, of New York, received vention re-assembled. Great difficulty 173 votes, and on the second, 184; but occurred as to filling the vacancies as 230 votes were necessary for a choice, caused by the withdrawal of the dele. it was evident that Mr. Seward could gates mentioned above. A large por- not obtain that number; so, on the tion of the members seceded, with Mr. third ballot, the convention gave Cushing at their head, and organized Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, 354 votes. into a separate convention. The former Thus he became the republican candiof these two bodies proceeded to ballot, date for the presidency ; Hannibal and on the 23d of June, Mr. Douglas Hamlin, of Maine, was also nominated was nominated for president, and Her- for the vice-president's chair. schel V. Johnson, of Georgia, for vice- As a variety, amidst the din of pre president. The latter went through the paration for the coming contest, we same operation, when John C. Brecken- may make mention of the visits of some ridge, of Kentucky, and Joseph Lane, distinguished foreigners to our shores, of Oregon, were nominated for presi- we mean the ambassadors from Japan, dent and vice-president.
and the Prince of Wales, from Eng The constitutional union convention land. met at Baltimore, on the 10th of May. In respect to the Japanese embassy, it The setting forth of a “platform” was is worthy of note that it was the first dispensed with, and the convention ever sent to any “outside barbarians,' adopted as their candidates John Bell, and its being sent at all was mainly due of Tennessee, and Edward Everett, of to the efforts of Mr. Townsend Harris, Massachusetts.*
United States minister to JaThe republican national convention pan. The princes and attenmet at Chicago, on the 16th of May. A dants composing the embassy crossed “platform ” was agreed upon without the Pacific in the Powhatan; arrived difficulty, the substance of which con- at San Francisco on the 27th of March; sisted in the declaration of the party, thence, by way of the Isthmus, they strongly in favor of the Union; against proceeded to Washington, in May; the slave trade; against the further ex visited Baltimore, Philadelphia and tension of slavery; in favor of the ab- New York, in June; and re-embarked solute and entire right of each state to for home in the Niagara, on the 29th manage its domestic affairs in its own of June. They were every where
treated with the highest distinction, * of the several candidates for these high offices, and beneficial results were expected Breckenridge and Bell joined the secessionists in the spring of 1881
from their visit to the United States.