Encyclopedia of Slavery and Abolition in the United States - L
LADD, Benjamin, Smithfield, Ohio, Society of Friends, Quaker, abolitionist, tried to bring 400 Southern Blacks to Ohio, near Sandusky, in July 1821.
(Drake, 1950; Dumond, 1961, p. 137)
LADD, William, 1788-1841, Minot, Maine, peace advocate, philanthropist, opponent of slavery. Organized an auxiliary of the American Colonization Society (ACS) in Maine. Defended colonization to those who opposed it. Ladd stated that the ACS “deserves the patronage of all who are, from principle, opposed to slavery.”
(Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, p. 585; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 5, Pt. 2, p. 527; Staudenraus, P. J. The African Colonization Movement, 1816-1865. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961, pp. 131, 210)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LADD, William, philanthropist, b. in Exeter, N. H., 10 May, 1778; d. in Portsmouth, N. H., 9 April, 1841. He was graduated at Harvard in 1797, and on leaving college embarked as a sailor on one of his father’s vessels, became a skilful navigator, and was captain of some of the finest ships that sailed from New England ports until he left the ocean at the beginning of the war of 1812. He resided at Minot, Me., and took an active part in organizing the American peace society, of which he was for many years president. The society was founded in 1828, and for a long period he was the only active and responsible officer. He gave his main attention to this society and the object it represented until the end of his life. In its interests he edited the “Friend of Peace,” established by Dr. Noah Worcester, and the “Harbinger of Peace,” which succeeded it as the organ of the society, and published a number of essays and occasional addresses on the subject of peace, including an “Address to the Peace Society of Maine” (1824), one to that of Massachusetts (1825), and “An Essay on the Congress of Nations” (Boston, 1840). He carried his views to the extent of denying the right of defensive war, and caused this principle to be incorporated into the constitution of his society. See his “Memoir,” by John Hemmenway (Boston, 1872). Appletons’ Cylcopædia of American Biography, 1888.
LANE, Charles, 1800-1870, transcendentalist, voluntarist, abolitionist, reformer, vegetarian advocate. Co-founded the utopian community of Fruitlands in Harvard, Massachusetts. Contributed letter to the abolitionist newspapers Liberator and Herald of Freedom.
LANE, James Henry, 1814-1866, lawyer, soldier. Union General. U.S. Senator from Kansas, 1861-1866. Elected Senator in 1861 and in 1865. Active in the abolitionist movement in Kansas in the 1850’s. A leader in the Jay Hawkers and Free Soil militant groups. Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery.
(Appletons’, 1888, Vol. III, p. 606; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 5, Pt. 2, p. 576; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 13, p. 121; Congressional Globe)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LANE, James Henry, soldier, b. in Lawrenceburg, Ind., 22 June, 1814; d. near Leavenworth, Kansas, 1 July, 1866, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1840, and elected to the city council of Lawrenceburg. In May, 1846, he enlisted as a private in the 3d Indiana volunteer regiment, organizing for the Mexican war, was chosen colonel, and commanded a brigade at Buena Vista. He became colonel of the 5th Indiana regiment in 1847, and in 1848 was chosen lieutenant-governor of Indiana. From 1853 till 1855 he was a representative in congress, having been chosen as a Democrat, and voted for the repeal of the Missouri compromise. In 1855 he went to Kansas, where he took an active part in politics as a leader of the Free-state party, and was made chairman of the executive committee of the Topeka constitutional convention. He was elected by the people major-general of the free-state troops, and was active in driving out the Missouri invaders. In 1856 he was elected to the U. S. senate by the legislature that met under the Topeka constitution; but the election was not recognized by congress, and he was indicted in Douglas county for high treason and forced to flee from the territory. In 1857 he was president of the Leavenworth constitutional convention, and again made major-general of the territorial troops. In 1858 he shot a neighbor named Jenkins in a quarrel about a well, for which he was tried and acquitted. On the admission of Kansas to the Union in 1861, he was elected to the U. S. senate, serving on the committees of Indian affairs and agriculture. In May, 1861, he commanded the frontier guards that were organized for the defence of Washington, and on 18 Dec. he was made brigadier-general of volunteers; but the appointment was cancelled, 21 March, 1862. He commanded the Kansas brigade in the field for four months, rendering good service in western Missouri. He narrowly escaped from the Lawrence massacre in August, 1863, and was an aide to Gen. Curtis during Gen. Sterling Price's raid in October, 1864. He was a delegate to the Baltimore convention of 1864. He was re-elected to the United States senate in 1865, but in the following year, while on his way home, he was attacked with paralysis, his mind became unsettled, and he committed suicide. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, pp. 606.
LANE, Lunsford, 1803-1870, North Carolina, author, former slave, abolitionist. Published The Narrative of Lunsford Lane, Formerly of Raleigh, N.C., Embracing an Account of his Early Life, the Redemption by Purchase of Himself and Family from Slavery, and his Banishment from his Place of Birth for the Crime of Wearing a Colored Skin. 1842.
(Dumond, 1961, p. 330; Rodriguez, 2007, p. 30)
LANE SEMINARY – LANE ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY
Please note that this entry includes two chapters:
· Wilson, “Lane Seminary. - Antislavery Action,” 1872
· Wilson, “Activity of the Abolitionists. - Action of Northern Legislatures,” 1872
Chapter: “Lane Seminary. - Antislavery Action,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1872.
These appeals of the new antislavery societies at once attested public attention, though that attention oftener assumed the form of opposition than of acquiescence. Among the first to give this public recognition were the students of Lane Seminary, of which Dr. Lyman Beecher was president and Dr. Calvin E. Stowe a professor. Its students, several of whom were the sons of Southern slaveholders, were of unusual maturity of age and character. Soon after the formation of the American Antislavery Society, an auxiliary was formed in the seminary, embracing most of its members. Two of the number, Henry B. Stanton, and James A. Thome of Kentucky, attended the anniversary meeting of the parent society at New York, in the spring of 1834, at which they made speeches exciting great interest and sanguine hopes, which were more than redeemed by their subsequent career.
In the winter of 1834,- 35 a debate on the slavery question took place, lasting more than a dozen evenings, of which Mr. Stanton occupied two with remarkable eloquence and effect. Several other students participated in the debate with signal ability. But the great orator of that great debate, as conceded by all, was Theodore D. Weld. Subsequently, nearly all the students adopted antislavery views. Dr. Beecher promised to attend the meetings; though he did not do so. It is said that he was much affected when he found the main body of the students adopting sentiments which he foresaw: or at least apprehended, must bring them into collision with the board of trustees, threatening the material injury if not the destruction of the institution. The debate caused much excitement, not only in Cincinnati, but throughout the country. The trustees ordered the disbandment of the Antislavery Society, though accompanying the order with a similar requirement of the Colonization Society. Their real and avowed purpose was to frown upon and check agitation concerning slavery in the seminary. The antislavery students, feeling that they could not, consistently with their self-respect and convictions, remain in the institution, dissolved their connection with it. Before, however, taking this step, they issued an elaborate and eloquent protest against the policy adopted ; and then, as persecution sent the apostles abroad to preach the gospel, so it sent these young ministers of the gospel to proclaim the new evangel of liberty. Several of them labored faithfully for longer or shorter periods; but none rendered services more brilliant and effective than Theodore D. Weld and Henry B. Stanton.
Source: Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 1. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 264-265.
Chapter: “Activity of the Abolitionists. - Action of Northern Legislatures,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1872:
A more specific inquiry was made in the spring of 1835, by the Antislavery Society of Lane Seminary, into the condition of the twenty-five hundred colored people of Cincinnati. From its report it appears that, as far back as 1829, a systematic effort was made by its citizens to aid in the removal of the free people of color from the United States. This movement not only excited the passions and prejudices of the lower stratum of society, but inspired the action of the commanding classes and of the authorities. The trustees of the township issued a proclamation that any colored man who did not fulfil the requirements of the law should leave the city. But, as that was simply impossible, only a small portion could or did leave. The mob then attempted to expel them by force; and for three days riot ran wild in. the city. The colored people, appealing in vain to the city authorities, barricaded their houses, and thus alone the fury of the rioters was resisted. Thus hampered and oppressed in Ohio they sent a deputation to Canada, to find a place of refuge under a monarchy. The reply of the governor was as reassuring to them as it was severe and damaging to the recreant citizens of the Union. “Tell the republicans," he said," on your side of the line, that we royalists do not know men by their color. Should you come to us, you will be entitled to all the privileges of the rest of her Majesty's subjects." In consequence of this gracious permission large numbers emigrated; and, in a few years, more than a thousand found a home in what was called Wilberforce Settlement.
Those who remained, however, suffered every indignity and injustice. Public schools and mechanical associations were closed against them, and the most ordinary labor was refused them, - a clergyman, in one instance, dismissing a member of his church from his employment because it was against the law to employ him. The poor man, spending many days in the unavailing search for employment, and returning to the minister for advice, received the disheartening reply: “I cannot help you; you must go to Liberia." Thus did the spirit of slavery everywhere reveal itself to be the same heartless and fiendish element, disturbing alike the normal condition of society and that of the individuals of which that society was composed. Men under its influence lost much of their manhood, and communities were made willing to exhibit the most revolting features of barbarism itself.
Source: Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 1. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 365-366.
LANGSTON, Charles Henry, 1817-1892, African American (Black mother, White father), abolitionist leader. He and his brother, Gideon, were the first African Americans to attend Oberlin College. Active in Ohio Negro Convention Movement. Helped found the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society in 1858. Active in Liberty, Free Soil and Republican parties. Involved in slave rescue in violation of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Recruited Black troops for the Union Army.
(Blue, 2005, pp. 5-6, 13, 65-67, 66-78, 83-84, 86-88, 118, 120, 156, 266-267)
LANGSTON, John Mercer, 1829-1897, free African American, lawyer, diplomat, educator, abolitionist, political leader. Brother of Charles Henry Langston. Graduate of Oberlin College. Helped found the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society with his brother Charles in 1858. First African American elected to Congress from Virginia. U. S. Congressman, Virginia, 4th District, 1890-1891. First Dean of Howard University law school, Washington, DC.
(Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, p. 612; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 5, Pt. 2, p. 597; Blue, 2005, pp. 5-6, 65-66, 69, 72-76, 78, 79, 81, 85-88; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 13, p. 164; Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., & Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds. African American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2013, Vol. 7, p. 162)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LANGSTON, John Mercer, educator, b. in Louisa county, Va., 14 Dec., 1829; d. 15 Nov., 1897. He was by birth a slave, but was emancipated at the age of six years. He was graduated at Oberlin, and at the theological department. After studying law he was admitted to the bar of Ohio in 1854, and practised his profession there until 1869, during which time he was clerk of several townships in Ohio, being the first colored man that was elected to an office of any sort by popular vote. He was also a member of the board of education of Oberlin. In 1869 he was called to a professorship of law in Howard university, Washington, D. C., and became dean of the faculty of the law department and active in its organization, remaining there seven years. He was appointed by President Grant a member of the board of health of the District of Columbia, and was elected its secretary in 1875. In 1877-'85 he was U. S. minister and consul-general in Hayti. On his return to this country in 1885 he was appointed president of the Virginia normal and collegiate institute in Petersburg, which office he continued to hold. In addition to various addresses and papers on political, biographical, literary, and scientific subjects, Mr. Langston was the author of a valuable volume of selected addresses entitled “Freedom and Citizenship” (Washington, 1883). Appletons’ Cyclopædia of American Biography, 1888.
LANSING, Dirck Cornelius, 1758-1857, New York, clergyman, abolitionist. Vice president, 1833-1835, and founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society, December 1833. Executive Committee, American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1851-1855.
(Abolitionist, Vol. I, No. XII, December, 1833; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, p. 615)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LANSING, Dirck Cornelius, clergyman, b. in Lansingburg, Rensselaer co., N. Y., 3 March, 1785; d. in Walnut Hills, Ohio, 19 March, 1857. He was graduated at Yale in 1804, became a Presbyterian clergyman, and was a trustee of Auburn seminary from 1820 till 1830, its vice-president from 1820 till 1824, and professor of sacred rhetoric and pastoral theology from 1821 till 1826, serving without salary and raising large sums for the seminary. Williams gave him the degree of D. D. in 1826. He published “Sermons on Important Subjects” (Auburn, 1825). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III.
Chapter: “The Prigg Case. - The Use of its Jails Forbidden by Massachusetts. - An Amendment of the Constitution Proposed,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1872.
The decision in the Prigg case was also brought to a practical test in Massachusetts in October, 1842. George Latimer, a native of Virginia, was seized in the city of Boston, without warrant, at the request of James B. Grey of Norfolk, of that State, who claimed him as his slave. A writ of habeas corpus was at once sued out in his favor by his counsel, Samuel E. Sewall and Amos B. Merrill. After argument Chief Justice Shaw decided that the statute of the United States authorized the owner of the fugitive to arrest him in any State to which he might have fled, and, upon proving his claim before a court established by the United States, to carry him beyond the jurisdiction of the State. The court decided, too, that the claimant should have a reasonable time to obtain his proof, and the writ was denied.
Elbridge Gerry Austin, attorney for the city of Boston, then applied in behalf of the claimant, Grey, to Justice Story for a certificate that Latimer was his slave; and also for time to procure evidence from Norfolk. This motion was strenuously resisted; but the judge ruled that it had always been the custom to grant the time, and a written order was given that Latimer should remain in the custody of Grey until the time of trial. The city attorney readily acted for the claimant, and Nathaniel Coolidge, city jailer, consented to be Grey's agent and slave-keeper. A writ of personal replevin, provided for in the Act of 1837, securing trial by jury to persons charged with being slaves, was sued out before Chief Justice Shaw. The case was ably argued by Charles M. Ellis and Samuel E. Sewall; but the chief justice declared that by the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Prigg the remedy sought for was illegal and Latimer was left in the custody of the claimant in Boston jail.
Great excitement pervaded the city and State. Public meetings were held in several cities and towns. A meeting was held on Sabbath evening, 30th of October, in Faneuil Hall. At an early hour the hall was thronged by an immense multitude. It was estimated that there were four thousand persons present, most of whom came for the purpose of expressing their condemnation of the arrest of Latimer; and of the proceedings growing out of that arrest. The speakers were continually interrupted by an organized band of ruffians, who strove by hideous noises to break up the meeting, in which they were partially successful. Samuel E. Sewell presided, and a series of resolutions were presented by Joshua Leavitt, protesting” by all the glorious memories of the Revolutionary struggle, in the" names of justice, liberty; and right, in the awful name of God, against the deliverance of George Latimer into the hands of his pursuers."
These resolutions were seconded by Edmund Quincy. Latimer, he said, had not sought his deliverance from a system, the vilest beneath the sun, by an appeal to arms, as did the men who thronged that hall in early times to create the Revolution; but he had resorted to the simplest natural right, the right to escape. "He turns, he said, "his face to the North Star, which lie had been falsely told hung' over a land of liberty. He threads the forest, he hurries by night across the green swamps, he lies concealed by day in the tangled cane-brake, he, dares the treacherous morass, he fords rivers, he scales mountains; but he shuns the face of Christian man as his deadliest foe! At last he reaches the Free States; but he rests not from his pilgrimage until he has taken sanctuary in the very birthplace of liberty. Here he places his feet on our hearthstone, and demands hospitality and protection. And with what reception met this demand upon the humanity; the Christianity, the love of liberty of Boston? The signal for the chase is given; the immortal game is on foot; a pack of bloodhounds in human shape is put upon the scent; they pursue, seize, and hold him down, with the oppressor himself for the master of the hunt and the second judicial magistrate in the nation for the whipper in! Your police officers and jailers; under the compulsion of' no law, are the voluntary partakers of this hideous case; and your streets and your prisons form the hunting-ground on which the quarry is run down and secured."
Joshua. Leavitt read letters from John Quincy Adams, George Bancroft, Samuel Hoar, William B. Calhoun, and other distinguished persons, amid continued interruptions; Charles Lenox, Remond and Frederick Douglas sought to address the meeting; but the uproar was so great that they could not be heard. Appeals were made by, George S. Hillard in behalf of free speech, but they were unheeded. Wendell Phillips then, amid hisses and shouts and continued uproar, addressed the noisy assemblage. He characterized, with his terrible severity and point, their domineering conduct toward, the slave and his friends, and their craven subserviency to their master and his minions. He branded them as cowards, that shook, the chains that bound them to the car of slavery, but dared not break them. “When I look,” he said,” upon these Crowded thousands, and see them trample on their consciences and the rights of their fellow-men at the bidding of a piece of parchment, I say, 'My curse be upon the Constitution of these United States ! ' "
This conduct of the mob excited general indignation, and strengthened the remonstrances of the city, and State against, the disgraceful proceedings. A newspaper, conducted by Dr. Henry I. Bowditch and. William. F. Channing, called the, "Latimer Journal and North Star," scattered facts and arguments among the people, and intensified the excitement of the, public mind.
The alacrity evinced in this case by the city, attorney, the police officers, the jailer, and sheriff excited the deepest indignation. A petition signed by citizens of character and influence was presented to the sheriff, demanding the dismission of the jailer. Another petition was prepared, requesting Governor Davis to dismiss the sheriff unless he removed the jailer. This unexpected popular demonstration brought the' officials and claimant to terms. Grey and his advisers evinced
their readiness to release Latimer for a consideration; but the persons who had taken an active part in the case, believing, as matters then stood, that his release would be effected, refused to pay anything at all. But the Rev. Nathaniel Colver, apprehensive that Latimer might be smuggled out of the State, agreed to pay the sum of four hundred dollars, on the delivery of free papers and the surrender of the power of attorney to reclaim his wife. The offer was accepted, and Latimer stepped forth from Leverett Street jail, amid the general rejoicings, a freeman.
While these events were transpiring in Massachusetts the press of Virginia teemed with denunciations. Inflammatory appeals were made to the people of the South. Public meetings were held, and a demand for redress or retaliation was made upon the legislature. The governor made a requisition for Latimer as a fugitive from justice; but Governor Davis refused to comply with it.
The matter, however, did not end here. A convention was held, and a form of petition to the legislature of Massachusetts was adopted, praying that body to forbid all persons holding office under the laws of the State from aiding in the arrest or detention of persons claimed as fugitives from slavery; to forbid the use of jails or other public property for their detention; and to propose amendments to the Federal Constitution that should forever separate the people of that State from all connection with slavery. Another petition was prepared for Congress, praying for such laws and such proposed amendments to the Constitution as would relieve the Commonwealth from all further participation in this crime of oppression. By the faithful and well-directed labors, through conventions, meetings, and other agencies, of Henry I. Bowditch, William F. Channing, and Frederick S. Cabot, the committee chosen for that purpose, more than sixty-five thousand signatures were obtained to a petition to the legislature, and fifty thousand to a petition to Congress. At a meeting held in Faneuil Hall, over which John Pierpont presided, John Quincy Adams was unanimously selected to take charge of the petition to Congress, and Charles Francis Adams to present the petition to the legislature. The latter petition was presented to the House by Mr. Adams; then taken to the Senate, where it was presented and referred to the appropriate committee.
Mr. Adams, from the joint committee to whom the Latimer petition was referred, made a learned and elaborate report, in which he showed how "the spirit of slavery, flying from one paragraph of the Constitution to another, seeks to wrest out of each in turn the necessary strength to maintain itself." He contended that the great object with Massachusetts was to free herself from all responsibility, direct or indirect, for the continuance and spread of slavery in the United States; and that while there were several passages in the Constitution connecting the free States with slavery, the slave representation was effecting " by slow but sure degrees the overthrow of all the old but noble principles that were embodied in the Federal Constitution. To that," he said,” let the public attention be exclusively directed. If, in the process necessary to the procuring the removal of it from the instrument of government, it should become advisable to consider the points of minor consequence, this may be done then as easily as now, and with more effect. The withdrawal from the Constitution of the slave representation would alone, in the opinion of your committee, be of force enough to carry with it the remaining obstacles to that complete and effective separation from all connection with slavery which the petitioners desire." The committee reported a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States, restricting representation to “free persons" alone. They also reported a bill to the legislature requiring all State officials to refrain from rendering aid in the recapture of fugitive slaves, and also. forbidding the use of its jails for their confinement. The resolution was adopted and the bill was passed.
The petition to Congress, headed by George Latimer and signed by fifty thousand of the citizens of Massachusetts, was placed upon the desk of Mr. Adams. It produced a great sensation. Several Southern representatives manifested deep indignation. Even Mr. Botts, who had opposed the gag rule, declared that it was "a hornet's nest, full of fifty thousand young hornets"' He was willing to-receive the-petition of the poorest and humblest citizen; but he asserted that George Latimer was "not a citizen of the United States."
It is stated, on the authority of David Lee Child, that to a Virginian, who came to Mr. Adams's seat and asked' who George Latimer was, he replied: "He is the son of a very respectable gentleman of Norfolk, in Virginia, a member of one of the most distinguished and respectable families in that State, and a citizen of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."' Mr. Adams moved to suspend the rules relating to petitions; and at the end of the third day lie obtained a vote upon his motion, for which there were eighty to one hundred and six, every Northern Whig voting for a suspension of the rules, and thirty-five Northern Democrats-voting against it. Failing to obtain a suspension of the rules, Mr. Adams placed the petition in the hands of the Clerk of the House under the standing rule.
Source: Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 1. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 477-482.
LAWRENCE, Amos Adams, 1814-1886, merchant, philanthropist, anti-slavery activist. Principal manager and treasurer of the Kansas Emigrant Aid Society. Worked to keep Kansas a free state. Lawrence, Kansas, was named in his honor.
(Lawrence, William, Life of Amos A. Adams, with Extracts from his Diary and Correspondence, 1888; Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, p. 639; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 47)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LAWRENCE, Amos Adams, b. in Boston, Mass., 31 July, 1814; d. in Nahant, Mass., 22 Aug., 1886, was graduated at Harvard in 1835, entered mercantile life, invested capital in cotton-manufactories, and became president or director of many banks and industrial corporations in Massachusetts; also an officer in numerous charitable institutions. In 1853-'4 he associated himself with Eli Thayer and others in the colonization of Kansas and its development into a free state, and was the treasurer and principal manager of the Emigrant aid association, which sent out parties of settlers from New England during the Kansas struggle. He was twice nominated by the Whigs and Unionists for governor of Massachusetts. In the beginning of the civil war he aided in recruiting the 2d Massachusetts cavalry regiment. He built Lawrence hall, the Episcopal theological school in Cambridge, and was its treasurer for many years. In 1857-'60 he was treasurer of Harvard college, and in 1880 was chosen an overseer. The town of Lawrence, Kansas, and Lawrence university, at Appleton, Wisconsin, were named in his honor. A “Memoir” of him has been prepared by his son William (Boston, 1888). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, pp. 639.
LAWRENCE, KANSAS, CONFLICT – See KANSAS, CONFLICT OVER SLAVERY IN THE TERRITORY
LAY, Benjamin, 1682-1759, Colchester, EnglLand, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Society of Friends, Quaker leader, merchant, anti-slavery activist, temperance activist, and opponent of the death penalty. Lay promoted colonization projects. He published “Apostates!” and “All Slave Keepers, That Keep the Innocent in Bondage…” At a Society of Friends meeting in Philadelphia in 1758, he encouraged Quakers who were slaveholders to “set them at liberty, making a Christian provision for them.” He was excommunicated by the Quakers twice for his anti-slavery activities. He lobbied governors of neighboring provinces against the evils of slavery. Poet John Greenleaf Whittier said of Lay that he was an “irrepressible prophet who troubled the Israel of slaveholding Quakerism, clinging like a rough chestnut to the skirts of its respectability and settling like a pertinacious gadfly on the sore places of its conscience.” He was lifelong friends with Benjamin Franklin.
(Bruns, 1977, pp. 46-64; Drake, 1950, pp. 34, 37, 43-48, 51, 55, 107, 115-116, 121, 136, 177; Nash, 1991, pp. x, 48-49, 50, 52-53, 57, 63, 202; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 15, 94, 433; Soderlund, 1985, pp. 4, 15-17, 23n, 32, 35, 78, 149, 166-167, 173-175, 186-187; Zilversmit, 1967, pp. 67-69, 72, 75; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, p. 643; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 63; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 514-515; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 13; Vaux, R., Memoirs of the Lives of Benjamin Lay and Ralph Sandford, 1815; Rowntree, C. B., 1936, “Benjamin Lay (1681-1759),” The Journal of the Friends’ Historical Society, 33.)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LAY, Benjamin, philanthropist, b. in Colchester, England, in 1677; d. in Abington, Pa., in 1759. In 1710 he settled in Barbadoes as a merchant, but, becoming obnoxious to the people by his abolition principles, he removed to the British colonies and settled at Abington, Pa., where he was one of the earliest and most zealous opponents of slavery. He was originally a member of the Society of Friends, but left it in 1717, because slave-holding was permitted to its members. Afterward he returned to the society when it assumed an attitude that was similar to his own. Mr. Lay was little over four feet in height, wore clothes of his own manufacture, and was distinguished scarcely less for his eccentricities than for his philanthropy. At one time he attempted to fast for forty days, but long before the expiration of that time his abstinence nearly proved fatal. To show his indignation against slave-holders he carried a bladder filled with blood into a meeting, and in the presence of the congregation thrust a sword, which he had concealed under his coat, into the bladder, and sprinkling the blood on several Friends exclaimed, “Thus shall God shed the blood of those who enslave their fellow-creatures.” Upon the introduction of tea into Pennsylvania he delivered a lecture against its use from the balcony of the courthouse in Philadelphia, and scattered the tea and broke the cups and saucers that his wife had purchased a short time before. In 1737 he wrote a treatise entitled “All Slavekeepers, that keep the Innocent in Bondage, Apostates.” It was printed by Benjamin Franklin, who told the author, when the manuscript was brought to him, that it was deficient in arrangement. “It is no matter,” said Mr. Lay, “print any part thou pleases first.” He was a pioneer of the abolitionists in the colonies, and in his bold defiant denunciation of slave-holding, was in marked contrast to Anthoney Benezet, his successor in this work, who achieved probably greater success by gentler methods.
Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, pp. 643.
LEAVITT, Hart, 1809-1881, Massachusetts, legislator, prominent abolitionist. Brother to abolitionist Roger Hooker Leavitt and Joshua Leavitt. Active in abolitionist organizations and in the Underground Railroad.
LEAVITT, Joshua, 1794-1873, New York, reformer, temperance activist, editor, lawyer, clergyman, abolitionist leader. Active supporter of the American Colonization Society. Helped in raising funds for the Society. Founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS), New York, 1833. Manager, AASS, 1833-1837. Executive Committee, AASS, 1834-1840. Recording Secretary, AASS, 1838-1840. Executive Committee, American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (A&FASS). Advocated political action to end slavery, which led him to help found the Liberty Party. Edited the newspaper, The Evangelist, which was founded by abolitionists Arthur and Lewis Tappan. He later became editor of The Emancipator, which was founded by Arthur Tappan in 1833. Leavitt toured extensively, lecturing against slavery. His speeches were edited into a pamphlet entitled, “The Financial Power of Slavery.” It was one of the most widely circulated documents against slavery.
(Blue, 2005, pp. 20, 25, 34, 45, 50, 54, 94, 119, 122; Davis, 1990; Dumond, 1961, pp. 159, 175, 179, 266, 286, 301; Filler, 1960, pp. 24, 63, 101, 132, 142, 150, 168, 172, 174, 177, 189, 194, 266-267; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 1, 7-8, 17, 20, 28-30, 36, 45-49, 167, 217; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 42, 363-364; Sorin, 1971, pp. 51, 68-71, 96, 131, 132; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, pp. 649-650; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 84; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 518-519; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 13, p. 339; papers in the Library of Congress; Staudenraus, P. J. The African Colonization Movement, 1816-1865. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961, pp. 129-130, 214, 219)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LEAVITT, Joshua, reformer, b. in Heath, Franklin co., Mass., 8 Sept., 1794; d. in Brooklyn, N.Y., 16 Jan., 1873. He was graduated at Yale in 1814, admitted to the bar in 1819, and began to practise in Putney, Vt., in 1821. In 1823 he abandoned his profession for the study of theology, and was graduated at Yale divinity-school in 1825. He settled the same year at Stratford, Conn., where he had charge of a Congregational church until 1828. In 1819, while a student of law in Heath, Mr. Leavitt organized one of the first Sabbath-schools in western Massachusetts, embracing not only the children, but the entire congregation, all of whom were arranged in classes for religious instruction. He also became interested in the improvement of the public schools. Before he entered the theological seminary he prepared a new reading-book, called “Easy Lessons in Reading” (1823), which met with an extensive sale. He subsequently issued a “Series of Readers” (1847), but these were not as popular. When the American temperance society was formed he became its first secretary, and was one of its travelling agents, in many places delivering the first temperance lecture the people had heard. In 1828 he removed to New York city as secretary of the American seamen's friend society and editor of the “Sailor's Magazine.” He established chapels in Canton, the Sandwich islands, Havre, New Orleans, and other domestic and foreign ports. He also aided in founding the first city temperance society, and became its secretary. He became in 1831 editor and proprietor of the newly established “Evangelist,” which under his management soon grew to be the organ of the more liberal religious movements, and was outspoken on the subjects of temperance and slavery. Mr. Leavitt bore a conspicuous part in the early anti-slavery conflict. His denunciation of slavery cost his paper its circulation in the south and a large proportion of it in the north, well-nigh compelling its suspension. To offset this loss he undertook the difficult feat of reporting in full the revival lectures of Charles G. Finney (q. v.), which, though not a short-hand reporter, he accomplished successfully. The financial crisis of 1837 compelled him, while erecting a new building, to sell out the “Evangelist.” In 1833 he aided in organizing the New York anti-slavery society, and was a member of its executive committee, as well as of that of the National anti-slavery society in which it was merged. He was one of the abolitionists who were obliged to fly for a time from the city to escape mob violence. In 1837 he became editor of the “Emancipator,” which he afterward moved to Boston, and he also published in that city “The Chronicle,” the earliest daily anti-slavery paper. In the convention that met at Albany in 1840 and organized the Liberal party, Mr. Leavitt took an active part, and he was also chairman of the national committee from 1844 till 1847. In 1848 Mr. Leavitt became office-editor of the New York “Independent,” and was connected editorially with it until his death. Mr. Leavitt was an earnest and powerful speaker. In 1855 Wabash college conferred on him the degree of D. D. Dr. Leavitt's correspondence with Richard Cobden, and his “Memoir on Wheat,” setting forth the unlimited capacity of our western territory for the growth and exportation of that cereal, were instrumental in procuring the repeal of the English corn laws. During a visit to Europe he also became much interested in Sir Rowland Hill's system of cheap postage. In 1847 he founded the Cheap postage society of Boston, and in 1848-'9 he labored in Washington in its behalf, for the establishment of a two-cent rate. In 1869 he received a gold medal from the Cobden club of England for an essay on our commercial relations with Great Britain, in which he took an advanced position in favor of free-trade. Besides the works already mentioned, he published a hymn-book for revivals, entitled the “Christian Lyre” (1831). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, pp. 649-650.
LEAVITT, Roger Hooker, 1805-1885, Claremont, Massachusetts, abolitionist leader, landowner, industrialist, temperance activist, soldier. President, Franklin County Anti-Slavery Society. Vice President, Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, 1838-1840, 1840-1841. Gubernatorial candidate for Massachusetts on the Liberty Party ticket. Brother of abolitionist leader Joshua Leavitt. Stationmaster on the Underground Railroad.
Please note that this entry includes three chapters:
· Wilson, “The Lecompton Constitution,” 1872
· Wilson, “The Lecompton Struggle,” 1872
· Wilson, “The English Bill,” 1872
Chapter: “The Lecompton Constitution,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1872:
When the prohibition of slavery embodied in the Missouri compromise was repealed, it was declared to be the intent to leave the people of Kansas and Nebraska “perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States." But this was a pretext, a device, a trick. The slave-masters who believed that the Constitution carried slavery into the Territories used this artifice as a temporary expedient to secure the overthrow of the principle of its prohibition, and to open a vast Territory to its polluting touch. Their Northern allies joined in the deception. It was afterward stated, by Judah P. Benjamin, that, at a caucus of Senators, “both wings of the Democracy agreed that each should maintain its particular theory before the public, -- one side sustaining squatter sovereignty, and the other protection to slavery in the Territories, -- but pledging themselves to abide by the decision of the Supreme Court, whatever it might be." Mr. Douglas said in May, 1860: “We agreed to refer it to the judiciary, and we agreed to abide by their decision." This conspiracy against liberty was successful, the Democratic national convention indorsed it, Buchanan and Breckinridge accepted it, and the people, misled by the conspirators, gave it their sanction. This was the “squatter sovereignty" that triumphed in the Presidential election of 1856. The Dred Scott decision and the Lecompton constitution, which were made about the same time and generally regarded as parts of the same general policy, revealed the real character of the " sovereignty" involved, or, rather, it made apparent the utter insincerity of all pretensions of regard for the popular will, and the shameless duplicity that characterized the course of those who conceived and engineered that astounding fraud. So apparent was this, that Mr. Fessenden, who was ever specially careful and precise in his statements, succinctly declared the " original scheme to have been to assist popular sovereignty, in the first place, with a view of rendering the repeal of the Missouri compromise in some way palatable; then to deny it and avow the establishment of slavery; then to legalize this by a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, and claim that it had become established. I sincerely believe that decision of the Supreme Court was a part of the programme. It was to be had, if having it would avail; but if not, it never would have been had."
In pursuance of this “scheme," the Territorial legislature enacted that at the election to be held in 1856 the sense of the people should be taken upon the expediency of calling a convention to form a State constitution. The slave State men, having everything their own way, decided in favor of a convention. On the resignation of Shannon, John W. Geary of Pennsylvania, afterward a major-general in the war of the Rebellion and a Republican governor of his State, had been appointed governor of Kansas. Though associated with the Democratic Party, and a supporter of Pierce's administration, he went to the Territory resolved to deal justly with the people. Before going, he sought out Mr. Wilson, avowed his purpose to do what he could to protect the actual settlers, and placed in his hands a bill he had drawn for that purpose.
The legislature in February, 1857, passed an act for the election of delegates. As the bill for this election of dele gates did not provide for the submission of the constitution to the people, Governor Geary vetoed it; but it was passed over his veto. The history of this transaction betrays the animating spirit and ulterior purposes of those who were engaged in this movement. Governor Geary states in a published letter, that, in a conference of the committees of the two houses, he proposed to sign the bill if they would authorize a submission of the proposed constitution to the people. “But," he says, “they distinctly informed me that the bill met the approbation of their friends in the South; that it was not their intention that the constitution should ever be submitted to the people."
After months of labor, trial, and disappointment, Governor Geary left the Territory. Robert J. Walker was appointed governor, and Frederick P. Stanton, formerly a member of Congress from Tennessee, was appointed secretary by Mr. Buchanan. Mr. Stanton went to the Territory in advance of Mr. Walker, and was for some weeks acting governor. The law provided that there should be a census taken, and a registry made of all qualified to vote. A pretended census was taken in March, and a registry made. But in nineteen of the thirty-eight counties no census was actually taken, and in fifteen counties there was no registration. Thousands were not registered who had a right to be, and thousands were registered who had not that right. This registration was admitted by both Secretary Stanton and Governor Walker to have been incomplete and fraudulent.
The free State men, under the lead of Governor Robinson, stated to the acting governor that they would go into the election of delegates if they could be fairly registered and the ballot-box could be protected. To this Stanton replied that he had no power to correct the list of voters, and that he
could do nothing in the premises. Under these circumstances the free State men determined to have nothing to do with an election in which their rights, and the commonest principles of fair dealing as well, were so thoroughly ignored. And yet on the 27th of May, a few days after his arrival in the Territory, Governor Walker issued an address to the people, in which he deprecated this avowed purpose to take no part in the election, and insisted that they would be " as much bound by the act of the majority of those who do vote, as if all had participated in the election." The election was held in June, but it was allowed by the free State men to go by default. The slave State candidates were elected, though they received less than seventeen hundred votes ; hardly more, in the words of Governor Walker, than " one tenth " of the voters of the Territory. The delegates thus elected met at Lecompton in September, but immediately adjourned till after the October election.
Mr. Wilson visited Kansas in May, 1856, passing up the Missouri River on the steamer that bore Governor Walker to the Territory. He came to the conclusion that the free State settlers had little to hope from the new executive. While the governor had been making large promises in the east, the officials in Kansas had been neglecting the registration of the voters, and an apportionment had been made which disfranchised whole counties and thousands of free State men. As there was no hope of securing the convention, Mr. Wilson expressed the opinion to Mr. Parrott and Governor Robinson that the only hope of saving Kansas to freedom was to take possession of the Territorial government by electing a free State legislature in October. A conference was held at his suggestion at Governor Robinson's house in Lawrence, at which were present Governor Robinson, Mr. Conway, -- afterward the first Representative of the State of Kansas in Congress, Mr. Foster, -- late a chaplain of the Massachusetts legislature --, Rev. Mr. Nute, Mayor Adams, S. C. Smith, Mr. Phillips, -- then correspondent of the New York " Tribune," and afterward member of Congress from that State, Mr. Hinton, J. H. Kagi, -- who fell at Harper's Ferry, -- and some others. Mr. Wilson urged the policy of voting at the October election. Much feeling was elicited; Mr. Conway -- and others opposing such action. They said they had always re fused to acknowledge the validity of the Territorial laws; that to do so now would be inconsistent; that they were agreed in the support of the Topeka constitution; and that any attempt to change their policy would distract, if not divide, the free State men, and put their cause in peril. They said, too, that they were without organization and without means; that the polls were in the control of the slave State men; that they would be cheated; and, in the end, must fail.
To these objections Mr. Wilson suggested that the friends of free Kansas had lost the President; that both houses of Congress were against them; that the Topeka constitution would not be accepted by Congress or recognized by the President; that if Kansas was made a free State they must do it; and to accomplish that end they must take the power from the slave State men by voting at the October election for a new legislature, even if they voted under protest. He promised them, if they would thus decide, he would go home and raise a few thousand dollars to aid them in organizing the free State men of the Territory. No action was taken by the meeting; but Governor Robinson, Mr. Nute, and a few others, concurred in the proposed plan. Mr. Wilson returned to the East to carry it into effect. At New York he developed this plan of action to Edwin D. Morgan, -- chairman of the National Republican Committee, -- Charles A. Dana, then connected with the “Tribune," and a few others, and they promised that the friends of free Kansas would aid in the movement. A meeting was called in Boston, at which were present Charles Francis Adams, Dr. Samuel G. Howe, Amos A. Lawrence, J. M. S. Williams, George L. Stearns, William Claflin, John B. Alley, F. W. Bird, and other working friends of free Kansas. Mr. Wilson proposed that three or four thousand dollars should be raised, and that an agent should be sent to the Territory to see that the funds were properly expended in the work of organization. The plan was indorsed, it was voted to raise twenty-five hundred dollars in Massachusetts, and a committee was appointed for that purpose. Mr. Wilson then went to Worcester, and laid the plan before Mr. Chapin and other active men of that city; to New Haven, where he conferred with Professor Silliman and others; and again to New York, receiving in each city promises of co-operation and aid. In a few days more than three thousand dollars was pledged by the friends of free Kansas.
Thomas J. Marsh, a gentleman of integrity and organizing ability, was selected as agent, and he left for Kansas on the 2d of July, where he remained till after the October election. Arriving at Lawrence, he attended a conference of leading men, met to consider the question of voting at the October election. The situation was not hopeful, nor were the men assembled confident of success. Mr. Marsh stated to them that he had been sent by the friends of free Kansas in the East with from three to four thousand dollars to aid in organizing the Territory, to carry, if possible, both branches of the legislature in October. Encouraged by this proffered assistance, the conference agreed to press upon the free State convention, soon to be held, the importance of securing, if attainable, the legislature. Mr. Marsh attended the convention; but he found the delegates much disheartened. The people were poor, many had been murdered, others had been despoiled, a malignant typhoid fever was prevailing, and many were sick and dying. It was certain, too, that there would be a large failure of their crops. They felt that political power was wholly in the hands of their enemies, whose plans were matured, and who were confident, boastful, and insolent. But for all that, said Mr. Marsh in a letter to Mr. Wilson: “It was one of the grandest conventions I ever attended. An influence went out from it which was felt in every part of the Territory. From that time the work went steadily on, conventions and neighborhood meetings were held everywhere, until the day of the election. Under the circumstances, no political contest in this country will compare with it. I shall never forget how they labored, and what sacrifices they made. But they triumphed and saved the Territory to freedom."
There were a few who persistently opposed the policy of voting. Colonel Richard Realf, who afterward became John Brown's secretary of state, under his “Plan of Government," wrote, under date of 30th of January, 1860: “Nor was Brown himself, nor were any of his coadjutors, committed to the Republican creed. Henry Wilson, in 1857, advised that party to secure the legislature by voting under the laws of the Territorial legislature. The advice was taken and the result predicted was achieved. Not one of Brown's original party voted. Some of us were at that y time correspondents of the Eastern press, and in the interim between the Grasshopper Falls convention, at which it was decided to vote, and the day of the election, we opposed the action of the party in every possible way, by letters, speeches, and in every available manner, for which we were denounced as abolitionists by the leading Republican journal of the Territory."
But in spite of menaces and frauds the free State men carried the election by a majority of nearly four thousand in a vote of less than eight thousand, electing the delegate to Congress, nine of the thirteen councilmen, and twenty-seven of the thirty-nine representatives. But this result was not attained without attempted frauds. From the Oxford precinct, containing but eleven houses and less than fifty voters, sixteen hundred and twenty-four votes were returned, the manuscript roll containing these names being fifty feet long; portions of which a subsequent examination revealed to be copied in alphabetical order from a Cincinnati directory. A similar, though not so exaggerated a return was made from McGee County. But the fabrication and fraud were too manifest, and Governor Walker would not give certificates of election to the bogus candidates, although Judge Cato issued his writ against such refusal. The governor, however, denied his jurisdiction and persisted in his refusal. But his conduct was displeasing to the administration, and from that moment he was a doomed man. His name was soon added to the list of decapitated Kansas governors, and his ignominious execution, demanded by the Slave Power, was at once secured.
The convention met after the election, according to adjournment, and proceeded to the work for which it was chosen, the framing of a constitution, in which the spirit and purpose of the slave propagandists found full embodiment and expression, a constitution -- infamous in its origin, provisions, and history, and also in the humiliating attitude in which its openly avowed indorsement and advocacy placed the national government and the administration of President Buchanan.
Though the President and governor had given their pledges that the constitution should be submitted, for ratification, to a popular vote, yet, when the convention saw in the results of the October election a clear indication of the public sentiment, they were in no mood to submit the work of their hands to the ordeal of a vote, when the chances of its defeat were so manifest. With characteristic unfairness and duplicity, therefore, though they retained the form of submission, they gave the people of the Territory in reality no chance to reject the instrument itself. The voters were required to vote either “for the constitution with slavery” or “for the constitution without slavery." No one could vote against it, and, notwithstanding the curious nomenclature employed, nobody could really cast his vote against slavery, for, as Mr. Fessenden said, in the debate on the question, there were substantially two slaveholding constitutions submitted to this popular vote. Indeed, the Lecompton constitution was a proslavery instrument, whether adopted with or without slavery. If adopted with slavery, it provided that " the right of property is before and higher than any constitutional sanction, and the right of the owner of a slave to such slave and its increase is the same and as inviolable as the right of the owner of any property whatever." A citizen offering to vote on the question was required, if challenged, “to support this constitution, if adopted, under the penalties of perjury under the Territorial laws." Of course the free State men must swear to support it, in whichever of the two forms proposed it might be adopted. Under existing laws and under the circumstances, the free State men had a right to believe, and did believe, that the constitution for slavery would be adopted, and, if they voted, they would have to swear that the right of the owner of a slave to such slave and its increase was before and higher than constitutional sanction. They knew, too, that, if the constitution without slavery should be adopted, it would embrace a provision continuing in force all the existing laws of the Territory, the laws establishing slavery included, until they should be repealed by a legislature elected under that constitution. They knew, in the language of the Charleston “Mercury," that "whether the clause in the constitution is voted out or voted in, slavery exists, and has a guaranty in the constitution that it shall not be interfered with." They knew, too, that it could not be changed until after 1864, and that “no alteration shall be made to affect the rights of property in ownership of slaves." The free State men knew that in any event slavery would be fastened upon Kansas for years, and that they could not take the oath to support it in the event of its adoption and remain consistent and free State men. Thus hampered by strange, not to say diabolical, provisions, presented in that singular equivocal form, the vote for the constitution with slavery was more than six thousand, and the vote for it without slavery was less than six hundred, though thousands of the affirmative votes were fraudulent.
The XXXVth Congress assembled on the 7th of December, 1857. The President, in his message, entered largely into the consideration of Kansas affairs. He specifically and approvingly referred to the action of the Lecompton convention, and to the constitution it had framed, and he declared that the question had been “fairly and explicitly referred to the people of Kansas whether they will have a constitution with or without slavery."
Mr. Hale and Mr. Trumbull at once denied the assertions, and combated the assumptions of the President, though the main contest of the opening debate was between Douglas, Green of Missouri, and Bigler of Pennsylvania, the two latter assuming to speak for the administration and to defend its policy. The opposition of Mr. Douglas to the Lecompton constitution did not arise from any antislavery scruples. He, as ever, was indifferent whether slavery was “voted up or voted down." His ostensible objection was that it had not been submitted to a vote of the people, according to the principles embodied in his dogma of popular sovereignty, the pledges of the Democratic Party, and the promises of the administration. A motive, too, that must have entered largely into the reasons for his conduct, was a conviction that he could not carry his State and secure his re-election on that issue. The speech, however, of this leader of the proslavery forces of 1854 was chiefly noticeable for its entire silence concerning the frauds and violence out of which the Lecompton constitution was but a necessary outgrowth. It was, too, another revelation of one of the secrets of the successive and successful assaults of the Slave Power, that they were always made and vindicated in the name and at the behests of some admitted good, or of some assumed advantage, that could not otherwise be secured.
The objective point of this long series of violent and really revolutionary movements was, of course, to make Kansas a State in which slavery should be domiciled, recognized in its constitution, and fortified by law. To the surprise of the leaders, it was found that a majority of its population only awaited a fitting opportunity to declare for a free State. The vaunted doctrine of squatter sovereignty, which had been so persistently proclaimed as the crowning glory of the Kansas-Nebraska act, was seen to be the thing above all else to be feared, circumvented, and overcome. But they were equal to the emergency. With a reckless audacity which only slave propagandism could beget, they forced the administration of Mr. Buchanan and a large majority of the Democratic Party to this desperate and dishonorable service.
On the 13th of December, Governor Walker resigned. In an elaborate letter he disclosed and demonstrated the frauds and wrongs perpetrated upon the people of Kansas, and expressed his apprehensions that, if the Lecompton constitution were forced upon them, civil war and the most direful consequences would ensue. He avowed that he had been in favor of submitting the constitution to the people, that the President and the members of his cabinet knew his views and approved of them, and that the Secretary of State in his instructions had said that the people in voting upon the constitution must be protected against violence and fraud. This letter placed Mr. Buchanan and his cabinet in a most equivocal position, if it did not convict them of the grossest inconsistency and the most shameless duplicity.
Mr. Stanton remained as acting governor. He saw, as every man not blinded by passion and a determined purpose saw, that something must be done to relieve the matter of its dis creditable and disgraceful features. The new legislature was to meet in January; but he resolved to anticipate this meeting by calling it together in December, to take such steps as wisdom, and even the instinct of self-preservation, might indicate. But that had too much the appearance of honesty and fair dealing to please his masters, the propagandists, and their obsequious agent, the administration. The guillotine found a new victim. His deposition was demanded and granted, and J. W. Denver of California was appointed governor, and immediately confirmed by a strictly partisan vote of the United States Senate. The legislature on its assembling agreed to submit the constitution to a popular vote, and, thus squarely presented, it was rejected on the 9th of January by an over whelming vote.
On the 2d of February, the President sent the Lecompton constitution to Congress, with a special message. It was remarkable alike for its extreme Southern position, its assumptions, and its declarations. It required the utmost stretch of charity to reconcile its utterances with the promptings of patriotism or the claims of truthfulness. This was so palpable as to draw from Mr. Fessenden the declaration that the President “has deliberately chosen to omit the most important facts in the case, as well known to him, or which should have been as well known to him, as to any man; for he cannot plead ignorance. They are facts apparent on the record; palpable, plain, unmistakable. He has omitted to state them, and he has stated others which are disproved by the record accompanying the message." Zealous, too, as was its support of slaveholding pretensions, its bitter hostility to antislavery men was no less apparent. He branded the free State men of Kansas as disloyal; their resistance to the unlawful pretensions of the illegal legislature he stigmatized as revolutionary; and the reason why they did not participate in the election he declared to be a “refusal to submit to lawful authority." " Kansas at this time," he said, " is as much a slave State as Georgia and South Carolina," and the rejection of the constitution would be " keenly felt by the Southern States, where slavery is recognized," as if that were a paramount consideration that must be heeded at all hazards.
Mr. Wilson moved to instruct the Committee on Territories to investigate the whole circumstances connected with the calling of the convention; to inquire into the number of votes cast at the several elections; to ascertain whether the same was in compliance with law; and to find out what portion, if any, of said votes was fraudulent and illegal. The purpose of this amendment was to secure, if possible, a full investigation of all the matters pertaining to Kansas. After a debate of several days, the amendment was rejected by a majority of six; Douglas, Broderick, and Stuart, anti-Lecompton Democrats, and Crittenden and Bell, conservative Southern men, voting with the Republicans.
In support of the proposed investigation, Mr. Fessenden made a speech of remarkable vigor and force of expression. He condemned the message and its tone as unworthy of the man called to fill “one of the few eminent places in the world." “He exults," said Mr. Fessenden; "his tone is that of exultation when he speaks of the fact that the Territory of Kansas is now as much a slave State as Georgia or South Carolina. His tone is that of feeling, of gratification, that, instead of being a free State, like his own," it was” bound to the car of slavery." He arraigned the Supreme Court for its Dred Scott decision, and referred to the significant fact, that, after hearing the argument, the court had adjourned over till after the election before making the decision; and he expressed the opinion that, if the Democratic party had not triumphed, " we should never have heard of a doctrine so utterly at variance with all truth ; so utterly destitute of all legal logic ; so founded on error and unsupported by anything like argument, as is the opinion of the Supreme Court."
Referring to the opposition of Mr. Douglas and his friends to the Lecompton policy, he said, they should have known, when they repealed the Missouri compromise, what the result was to be; that it was the design to force slavery into Kansas. He was now interposing his strong arm “to stay the tide of slavery which is setting over Kansas, contrary to the expressed will of her people. Does the honorable Senator think that he can take the prey from the tiger and not himself be torn? When was slavery ever known to stay its hand in its march over a country, unless forced to do so? And when it had seized it, when was it ever known to let go its hold? It is a part of the system to pay nothing at all for involuntary servitude; and if the service is voluntary, experience has shown that it must be unlimited, unquestioning, and eternal. To hesitate is to lose all; to stop is to die."
In the House, Mr. Stephens moved a reference of the message to the Committee on Territories, of which he was chairman. Mr. Harris of Illinois, the leader of the anti-Lecompton Democrats, moved its reference to a committee of fifteen. This motion, after an excited and angry debate lasting through the night, prevailed by a majority of four. The committee appointed by the Speaker contained a majority in favor of the Lecompton policy, so that nothing came of the inquiry.
On the 1st of February, 1858, the second legislature of Kansas presented to Congress a preamble and resolutions, in which it speaks of the Lecompton constitution as the work of "a small minority of the people, living in nineteen of the thirty-eight counties of the Territory." This “minority," it said, availing themselves of a law which enabled them to obstruct and defeat a fair expression of the popular will, did, by the odious and oppressive application of the provisions and partisan machinery of said law, procure the return of the whole number of delegates to the constitutional convention recently assembled at Lecompton. We, therefore, “the representatives of said people, do hereby, in their name and on their behalf, solemnly protest against such admission." Having thus exposed and condemned the Lecompton constitution, as designed to "fix upon them an institution revolting to a large majority of the bonafide citizens of the Territory," the same body, in another paper, presented and gave the history of the Topeka constitution. The people of the Territory, it averred, did proceed " to call a convention to frame a constitution; the delegates thereto were regularly and fairly elected, and, on the twenty-third day of October, 1855, did assemble in convention at Topeka." It therefore declared that said constitution “embodies the wishes of the people of this Territory upon the subject of a State government, and ought to be received by the Congress of the United States as the constitution of the State of Kansas."
Stripped, then, of all side issues, the precise and pregnant question was: “Shall Congress impose upon the people of Kansas a constitution really the work of a foreign body, in which they had no voice, and to which they were inflexibly opposed?" Such a proposition to a people making any pretensions to a free form of government was, in the highest degree, impertinent and insulting; and yet this was the precise issue which then absorbed the attention of the American Congress and people. The debate took a wide range, and brought into review the general subjects of slavery and freedom, their antagonisms, and their relations to society and the state. The President and his supporters vindicated the proposed policy; Mr. Douglas, those he represented and led, and the Republicans, opposed it. It was indeed marvellous that men of intelligence and candor could so stultify themselves as to defend, in the name of Democratic institutions, a policy so essentially and offensively despotic. Slavery has left on record, damaging and damning as that record is, no blacker page than that which describes its ruffianly and ruthless policy toward Kansas. And yet to this policy the administration was fully and fiercely committed, and to its execution its power and patron age were given in no stinted measure.
Source: Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 534-547.
Chapter: “The Lecompton Struggle,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1872:
The supporters of the Lecompton policy dwelt much upon the necessity of concession and compromise; upon the encroaching North and long-enduring South; State rights; and the maintenance of an equilibrium of the opposing sections. Not all, however, pursued that specious and subtle course. Some, believing in the philosophy as well as the practice of slavery, defending it on principle as well as from policy, not as an evil but a good, stepped forth the champions of the system they cherished as well as of the section they represented. Prominent among these was James H. Hammond of South Carolina. Avowing his purpose to consider slavery " as a practical thing, as a thing that is and is to be, and to discuss its effect upon our political institutions, and ascertain how long these institutions will hold together with slavery ineradicable," he proposed " to bring the North and South face to face, and see what resources each might have in the contingency of separate organizations." If the South never acquired another foot of territory, he said, she had eight hundred and fifty thousand square miles, was as large as Great Britain, France, Austria, Prussia, and Spain. “Is not that territory enough," he asked, “to make an empire that shall rule the world?” "It can send," he asserted, "a larger army than any power on earth can send against her, of men brought up on horseback, with guns in their hands." Entering into the statistics of Southern production and export, he said the South would need no army or navy, but, removing all commercial restrictions, the whole world would go to it to trade, "to bring and carry for us." Asserting that the South would find strength and protection in its cotton, he said: “You dare not make war on cotton. No power on earth dares make war on it. Cotton is king." Ex pressing the belief that it would be well for the South not to plant any cotton for three years, he inquired, with amusing pretension: “What would happen if no cotton was furnished for three years? I will not stop to depict what every one can imagine, but this is certain: England would topple headlong and carry the whole civilized world with her, save the South." Asserting the superiority of slaveholding society over that of the free States, he said: “The greatest strength of the South arises from the harmony of her political and social institutions. This harmony gives her a frame of society the best in the world, and an extent of political freedom, combined with entire security, such as no other people ever enjoyed upon the face of the earth. This bold vaunt he proceeded to define as well as to defend. In his explanatory definition, he referred to the fact that, in all social systems, there must be menials to perform the "drudgery of life," and that such a class is necessary to the existence of "that other class which leads progress, civilization, and refinement." “This," he said, "constitutes the very mudsill of society and of political government, and you might as well attempt to build a house in the air as to build either the one or the other, except on this mudsill." Saying that their slaves were their "mudsills," he contended that “the manual laborers and operatives” of the North sustained the same relation to Northern society, and were "essentially slaves," the difference between them being “our slaves are hired for life and are well compensated, -- yours are hired by the day and not cared for."
Leaving the social for the political aspect of the question, he compared the Southern slaves-- “happy, content, unaspiring, and utterly incapable, from intellectual weakness, ever to give us any trouble by their aspirations," without votes or political power -- with Northern manual laborers, brothers of our blood, equals in natural endowments, " galled by their degradation," " with the right of voting," and the real " depositories of all your political power." With arrogant menace, he warned the North of "the tremendous secret" that the ballot-box is “stronger than an army with banners."
Such, substantially, were the bold and defiant defence and arraignment, by the outspoken and truculent South-Carolinian, of slavery and freedom, the South and the North thus brought " face to face." This open avowal of sentiments, purposes, and expectations, which many of his section really entertained, but which they did not deem it politic to express, his impudent pretensions, his unfounded claims, and his clear falsification of local and historic facts, excited surprise and provoked responses. His characterization of Northern manual laborers as "hireling," as essentially slaves, the " mudsills " of society, like the dicta of the Supreme Court, that black men had no rights that white men were bound to respect, became the ringing watchwords of those replies and of subsequent conflicts at the North. They fixed attention, too, and opened the eyes of men to the spirit, aims, and purposes of the Slave Power as perhaps no previous demonstration had been able to effect.
The gauntlet being thus defiantly thrown down, there were not wanting the friends of freedom and of free institutions to take it up. Hannibal Hamlin replied. With patient research and careful collation of facts he demonstrated the fallacies of Mr. Hammond's argument, for the greater alleged prosperity of the Slave States, from the relative amounts of Southern and Northern exports, by showing, from facts and figures, that, in all the elements of substantial prosperity, the free States were far in advance of the slave States, and that that advance was becoming greater and more apparent every year. Referring to the charge that the "manual hireling laborers "of the North were “essentially slaves," the " mud sills" of society, he took issue, denying the allegation, and affirming that they were rather the constituent elements of society. "They do our legislation at home," he said; "they support the State; they are the State." "Sir," he added, "I can tell that Senator that they are not the "mudsills" of our community. They are the men who clear away our forests. They are the men who make the green hillside blossom. They are the men who build our ships and who navigate them. They are the men who build our towns and who inhabit them. They are the men who constitute the great mass of our community. Sir, they are not only pillars which support our government, but they are the capitals that adorn the very pillars."
David C. Broderick made a brief and vigorous speech, in which he reminded the South of its mistake in repealing the Missouri compromise. “In the passage of the Nebraska-Kansas bill," he affirmed, "the rampart that protected slavery in the Southern Territories was broken down." Northern opinions, Northern ideas, and Northern institutions being invited to contest their possession, “how foolish," he said, “for the South to hope to contend for success in such an encounter! Slavery is old, decrepit, and consumptive; freedom is young and vigorous."
The sneer at the Northern “hireling manual laborers " he rather welcomed, "because," he said, " it may have the effect of arousing in the workingmen that spirit which has been lying dormant for centuries." Alluding to the fact that he was " the son of an artisan and had been a mechanic," and also, regretfully, to the fact that there was too little ambition long laboring men, he said: " I left the scenes of my youth and manhood for the scenes of the far West, because I was of the struggles and jealousies of men of my own class, could not understand why one of their fellows should seek to elevate his condition above the common level."
Mr. Wilson also made an elaborate reply to the same speech. Accepting the challenge to array the opposing systems and sections "face to face," he, by a somewhat full examination of the census-tables, the admissions of Southern men in their speeches and writings, and other sources of information, deduced the lessons which the survey, comparison, and their contrasts taught. He showed that “in accumulated capital, in commerce, in manufactures, in the mechanic arts, in educational institutions, in literature, in science, and in the arts, in the charities of religion and humanity, in all the means by which the nation is known among men, the free States maintain a position of unquestioned pre-eminence. In all these the South is a mere dependency of the North." Beyond the political field, in which he admitted that, " bound together by the cohesive attraction of a vast interest from which the civilization of the world averts its face, the privileged class have won the control and direct the policy of the government," he contended that, even by the admission of Southern writers, " this dependency of the South is everywhere visible, even to the most blind devotees of King Cotton."
Passing from the consideration of these sharp and suggestive contrasts, and the effects of slavery upon the slaves, he said: "Putting out of view altogether the sad lot of nearly four millions of helpless bondmen, doomed to a destiny so rayless, so cheerless, so hopeless, that the Senator from South Carolina vauntingly tells us that they are unaspiring, and will never give ' any trouble to us by their aspirations,' I here and now declare that the five millions of the non-slaveholding whites of the South live in meaner houses, consume poorer food, wear poorer clothes, have less means of moral and mental instruction, less culture, and less hope for the future for themselves and their posterity, than the five millions of the poorest people of the seventeen millions of the North "; a fact he proceeded" to demonstrate" by "abundant quotations from Southern authorities."
Alluding to the Senator's use of the Saviour's declaration, " The poor ye have always with you," as an argument for the necessity of a servile race as " the foundation-stone, the eternal law of slavery, which all the powers of the earth cannot abolish," he regarded those words as " perpetually sounding in the ears of mankind, and ever reminding them of their dependence and their duties." “I thank God," he said,” that I live in a commonwealth which sees no warrant in these words of inspiration to oppress the sons and daughters of toil and poverty," but rather the injunction to protect such “by the broad shield of equal, just, and humane legislation."
Referring to the taunting inquiry of the Senator, how he would like to have emissaries from the South go North to pro claim to its hireling laborers " the tremendous secret of the ballot-box," he expressed his willingness that they should come for such a purpose; for, he said, "ours are institutions of freedom, and they flourish best in the storms and agitations of inquiry and free discussion. We are conscious that our social and political institutions have not attained perfection, and we invoke the examination and the criticism of the genius and learning of all Christendom."
There were those in the House, too, who were ready not only to indorse the extreme views of the South Carolina Senator, but to go much further, and to vindicate the rightfulness of slaveholding on the higher ground of revelation, claiming for the system that it in no way contravened even the pure ethics of Christianity itself. While many Southern men deprecated the extreme utterances of Mr. Hammond, as needlessly compromising their position and giving to their opponents arguments it was policy to have withheld, there were others, especially Miles and Keitt of the same State, who fully indorsed and even transcended his positions. The former asserted that slavery lay at the foundation of Southern prosperity, the very life-blood of its existence. The relation between capital and labor in the South gave, he declared, “the best assurances of political conservatism and social stability." Mr. Keitt addressed himself to what he called the religious view. He claimed that the Scriptures did not condemn, but rather sanctioned slavery. “I am content," he said, "impregnably to intrench the rights of the South behind the monuments which the hand of the Almighty has raised”; and he contended that” with the proclamation of the law was also uttered the fiat which sanctioned slavery and settled the relations between the master and the slave."
Of course there were those who were prepared to enter the lists and do battle not only for “the law," but for its Author. Among them was Owen Lovejoy. His voice, impassioned utterances, and trenchant blows early mingled in the fray. He discarded the ordinary distinctions of “North” and “South" for, he said, there was no necessary conflict between the sections, the North having many " advocates of slavery," and the South having many " loyal to freedom," and he contended that it was simply a question "between the principles of liberty and those of despotism." The question, the most important since the Revolution, “the most solemn and grave with which Christian civilization has had to grapple in modern times," was that of property in man.
With great force of logic, forensic skill, and rhetoric of sin gular point and piquancy, he proceeded to the support of the thesis that such “property “was impossible. The Divine origin and likeness in which man was made constituted his grand and fundamental argument against the “wild and guilty fantasy," as expressed by England's great statesman, whom he quoted, “that man can hold property in man." “To chattelize a rational creature thus endowed and thus allied is to insult and incense the Author of his being." He based his second argument on man's redemption. With startling distinctness he exclaimed: " President Buchanan, believest thou the gospel record? I know that thou believest. Tell me then, sir, did Christ shed his blood for cattle? Did he lay down his life to replevin personal property, to redeem real estate? "The royal law, of doing unto others as they would that others should do to them, furnished his next argument, and he llustrated with great force and eloquence how slavery violated that great law of life, especially in its influence upon the family. His final objection against slavery was that it lay "across our country's glory and destiny." Saying that God had " a grand work for us to do, to lead the world to freedom and glory," he asked : " Shall we wheel around from the van in the progress of a Christian civilization, and, with muffled drum and drooping colors, march back a decade of centuries into the darkness and barbarism of the past ? "
The calmer, more judicial, if less impassioned, voice of Mr. Giddings was heard. Profoundly religious in his convictions, the very incarnation of moral courage, it would have seemed to him moral treason to have remained silent in such a presence, on such an issue. Summoning members to the forum of conscience, with God's statute-book open before them, he pleaded the cause of justice and humanity in that court of equity and final appeal. After stating and illustrating the various ways in which the defender of slavery contravened the clearly revealed will of God, he said: "To these primal truths he is infidel. To the rights of his fellow-mortals he is infidel. To God's higher law he is infidel. Against these he wages unceasing war."
But among the boldest and most clearly defined speeches of the session, in both its enunciation of principles and its characterization of measures, was one delivered, near its close, by Philemon Bliss of Ohio. With refreshing plainness he gave his reasons for not indulging in the discussion of the Lecompton business, saying that, though he could reason with a highwayman and remonstrate with a pickpocket, he could “find no fit words for discussing in a Republican representative body the propriety of forcing a dark despotism upon a protesting people." "If the statement of the proposition will not carry its own damnation," he said, "no parliamentary language of mine can fitly describe it; and the mind that can for a moment entertain it is entirely beyond my reach." After describing the humiliating position to which the Slave Power had brought the nation, and saying that surprise had been ex pressed that a section of the Union, and that " comparatively weak and poverty-stricken," should be enabled to carry things with so high a hand, he said there was no cause of wonder even in this " omnipotence of evil." The cause was to be looked for in the different spirit and purposes which characterized the enemies and the friends of freedom: the former, " all will, all energy, all perseverance," have a great idea, have sub ordinated everything to its prosecution; the latter, " intent on gain and peace, have ignored all fixed principle, been blind to any great end, and have substituted a shuffling expediency for an enduring purpose. The ' I will ' of the one is met by the please don't ' of the other; and I 'm afraid I can’t is the bravest response to the grim you shall.' "
There were other speeches, delivered by both the friends and the enemies of the measure in issue, which exposed the barbarizing influences of slavery, the reckless audacity of the propagandists, and the unscrupulous profligacy of those who for personal and partisan ends were willing to accept the most humiliating conditions, make any sacrifices of principle, and commit themselves to a line of conduct, however cruel and however mean. Nor could it well have been otherwise. When leading men, an administration, a national party, accepted from the Slave Power the advocacy and responsibility of a series of acts which Robert J. Walker resigned office rather than sustain and execute, and which Henry A. Wise characterized as " unveiled trickeries "and " shameless frauds," their own speeches, State papers, and votes, better, indeed, than the criticisms of their Republican censors, could not but reveal the depraved and desperate character of the policy entered upon, and the sad demoralization it both betokened and so greatly increased.
Source: Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 548-556.
Chapter: “The English Bill” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1872:
From testimonies that could not be gainsaid and by wit nesses that could not be impeached a most gigantic scheme of duplicity, violence, and fraud had been revealed. Kansas lay helpless under the feet of a proslavery executive in undisguised complicity with the men who had committed these crimes. Its only hope was in Congress, and there it could only depend upon the House of Representatives, as the Senate was unequivocally committed to the President's policy. On the 23d of March, the Senate proceeded to vote upon the bill for the admission of Kansas. Mr. Crittenden moved a substitute, providing that it should be submitted to a vote of the people, and, if rejected, they should be authorized to choose delegates to a convention to frame a constitution. But this substitute was rejected by ten majority. The Republicans; Bell, Crittenden, and Kennedy, Americans; and Broderick, Douglas, and Stuart, anti-Lecompton Democrats, -- voted for it. The bill was then passed by a vote of thirty-three to twenty-five, Mr. Pugh voting against it.
In the House of Representatives, William Montgomery of Pennsylvania, an anti-Lecompton Democrat, offered, as an amendment to the bill, the same substitute which had been offered in the Senate by Mr. Crittenden, and it was carried by a majority of eight. The Senate rejected it, asked for a committee of conference, and appointed Green, Hunter, and Seward on its part. The House adhered to Montgomery's amendment, but agreed to the committee of conference by the casting vote of the Speaker, and English, Stephens, and Howard were appointed on its part. The committee concurred in a report, Mr. Seward of the Senate and Mr. Howard of the House dissenting. This report was made in both bodies on the 23d of April. It was made in the House by William H. English of Indiana, and was known as the English bill.
This report excited surprise and indignation, and evoked the most determined opposition. Though equivocal and capable of widely different constructions, it was regarded by the friends of Kansas as a surrender. It was, too, in marked contrast with the speech of its reputed author, in which he had not only opposed the Lecompton constitution, but had avowed his purpose, though a personal admirer and stanch supporter of his administration, to part company with the President rather than give it his vote. But now and suddenly he had reached the conclusion that the exigencies of the occasion demanded concession. In his remarks accompanying the report he said: " A great question, perhaps the greatest of the age, one which has agitated and engrossed the public mind for the past four years, has at last come to a crisis," and the committee had concluded that " it was not best to hazard longer the peace of the country for the sake of an unimportant point or unmeaning word." He proposed, therefore, to accept the Lecompton constitution, with all its enormities and the admitted fact that it was in no sense the work of the people, "on a condition." In substance, it offered to the people in connection with the constitution a large land-grant with these conditions: if they voted to accept it, they were to be admitted with the constitution and the land; if they voted against receiving it, they would not receive the land, nor could they become a State until the Territory had acquired a population sufficiently large to elect a Representative to the House. Singular as was the form of this proposition, unfair and double-faced as were its spirit, purpose, and purport, the circumstances under which it was presented rendered still more reprehensible this action of its movers, and more creditable and almost wonderful the conduct of those who rejected it. For those struggling pioneers, harassed and harried as they were, and strongly tempted to purchase peace at any price, to "spurn the bribe" was indeed heroic, and revealed the stuff they were made of.
Mr. Howard, a member of the conference committee, characterized it as a measure to keep open the quarrel, imposing, as it did, one set of conditions if the Territory applied for admission as a slave State, and another set if it applied as a free State. He said it offered a premium to Kansas to become a slave State; but he thought that if the people could have a fair chance, they would reject it “four to one." Indeed, he predicted that they would never submit to it on any conditions whatever.
The proposition of the bill was, indeed, a gigantic bribe. Bluster and bullying had been tried, exhausted, and they had failed. Mercenary considerations were now proposed, combined with the menace that, if the bribe was not accepted, Kansas could not be admitted until, by the gradual accretion of numbers, its population should reach the general " ratio of representation" for members of the House. Its spirit and purport were tersely expressed and characterized by Mr. Crittenden, whose devotion to slavery would rescue his judgment from the imputation of prejudice against the bill on account of its proslavery character. " This measure," he declared, " says to the people of Kansas: ' If you choose to take this Lecompton constitution with all its imperfections on its head; if you choose to silence all the complaints and all the denunciations which you have made against it; if you choose to humiliate yourselves as freemen by a confession of as much baseness as that would imply, then, no matter what your numbers are, -- we shall make no inquiry, -- but come into the Union at once, with all the dowry of land. But if you will not come in on these conditions, then you shall not come in at all until your population shall amount to that number which is fixed by the general law as the representation throughout the country.' ‘The truth of this allegation was substantially admitted by Mr. Hunter, a member of the conference committee, who declared that the new bill " acknowledges not only the authority of the Lecompton convention, but the validity of their action," while " it receives the constitution presented by them as the constitution of the people of Kansas”; and Mr. Stephens another member of the committee, declared that it was never his intention that the constitution should be submitted to the people.
The bill was most earnestly and eloquently opposed by some of the ablest debaters of the House. Among them was Mr. Grow. In a speech at once learned and logical, packed with facts and arguments, and glowing with the fervor of an intense indignation, he analyzed and fearlessly exposed the iniquitous measure. “Four governors," he said, " have re turned from that Territory, all telling the same story to the American people; that is, .that the rights of the people of Kansas have all been trampled in the dust, the ballot-boxes violated, their .houses burned, their presses destroyed, their public buildings battered down by United States cannon under the direction of United States officers."
But there were few speeches made during the debate which displayed with more vigor of logic and force of rhetoric the enormity of the bill and of its provisions than that of John A. Bingham of Ohio. “Gloze that bill over with what words you may," he said, " it is a written crime. Enact it into a law, and it will be a legislative atrocity engrossed upon parchment. Dignify this act with what title you please, history stern, truthful, impartial history -- will entitle it 'An act to take away the liberties of American citizens.' Instead of an honest and fair submission to the people, --instead of that, sir, it submits to them a bribe in the way of lands and money. I say to gentlemen, you may pass this bill, but you cannot make the lie perpetual. A lie cannot live forever, it has no vitality in it. Sooner or later it must perish. You may induce the majority to accept the proffered bribe; you may thereby impose upon that young Territory the shame and crime and curse of this brutal atrocity, but you can never give permanence to such an act of perfidy, to such a system of wrong. In this hour of the world's repose and the world's hope, shall America, the child and stay of the earth's old age, prove false to her most sacred traditions, false to her holiest trust, and by this proposed enactment consent to strike down Liberty in her own temple, and forge chains for her own children ? . . . . GOD IS IN HISTORY. Let gentlemen give heed to its lessons of the terrible retribution which sometimes over takes those who seek to establish an odious and hated despotism on the minds and consciences, the brain and heart, of freemen."
In the Senate the bill encountered a similar earnest and determined opposition. Mr. Stuart said that if he was so borne down by oppression that he was compelled to falsify all his opinions, he would take the naked Senate bill in preference to the measure that stood on nothing " either human or divine"; for it was not like anything " in the heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth It is an anomaly, a miserable, ingeniously concocted pretense to smuggle through Congress, and fasten upon the necks of the people of Kansas, an obnoxious organic law." Mr. Doolittle charged the administration with having forced Geary, Walker, and Stanton out of office because they would not count fraudulent votes, while it continued John Calhoun, the surveyor-general of the Territory, in office, notwithstanding all that had been proved in relation to election returns which had been made to him, and which had been found " hid in a candle-box in his wood-pile." Mr. Douglas referred to the fact that " some of that glorious band of Democrats " felt it to be their duty to support the bill, but he never could " con sent to violate that great principle of State equality, of State sovereignty, of popular sovereignty “; that his position was taken, and that he should follow the principle wherever its logical consequences carried him.
Mr. Wilson said this compromise was “a conglomeration of bribes, menaces, and meditated frauds. It goes to the people of Kansas with a bribe in one hand and a penalty in the other." The government had advertised hundreds of thousands of acres of land to be sold in July, and this scheme offered, if she came into the Union under the Lecompton constitution, five per cent of the proceeds of those sales, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars; but if she remained out she could not receive this five per cent. This, he said, was a bribe, a temptation to the public men of that Territory to come in now and thus secure the control of these lands. He predicted, however, that they would u spurn the bribe."
Mr. Seward said the bill came back from the conference chamber in the shape of “an artifice, a trick, a legislative legerdemain." It made up and presented to the people of Kansas a fictitious and false issue, bearing “the stamp of equivocation upon every page and every line." Assuming that one or both of two factions are to be deceived, all that is left for the public to consider was: Who is the dupe? He warned the Democratic party that they would fail in the contest, because, for the first time, they would go before the people of the United States stripped naked of every pretense of equality and impartiality, between freedom and slavery, no longer as a party that balances equally between freedom and slavery, but in the detested character of a party intervening for slavery and against freedom. He predicted that Kansas would sur vive their persecution, and that every Territory that should hereafter come into the Union, profiting by her sufferings and atonement, would come in as a free State. Mr. Cameron denied that the people of Pennsylvania sustained the President's policy. "If the vote were to be taken to-morrow," he said, "the people of Pennsylvania would, by a majority of one hundred thousand, decide that the President had deceived them."
Three Democratic members of the Senate Douglas, Stuart, and Broderick and twenty-three members of the House had, at the opening of the session, taken their position against the admission of Kansas with the Lecompton constitution. During the contest, these members were accustomed to meet at the homes of Mr. Douglas and John B. Haskin, a member of the House from New York. Of course, Republican Senators and Representatives could not refuse to confer with anti-Lecompton Democrats if requested to do so. Mr. Wade, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Colfax, Mr. Burlingame, Mr. Covode, and one or two others, were authorized by many Republican members to hold such conferences ; and for that purpose they often met in consultation Douglas, Broderick, Harris, Hickman, and Haskin.
Immediately on the report of the English bill, several anti-Lecompton members exhibited signs of hesitation. Even Mr. Douglas seemed, to some at least, to be wavering. Mr. Broderick, ever brave and true, expressed to Mr. Wade and others his apprehension that, for political reasons, the Illinois Senator might falter, but expressed his determination that, if he did, he would denounce him in the Senate and elsewhere. Two or three evenings before the passage of the Dill, there was a meeting of the anti-Lecompton Democrats at the house of Mr. Haskin, to consult on the policy to be adopted. At that conference Mr. Douglas, while avowing his own opposition to the bill, stated it as his opinion that those who had hitherto opposed the measure might consistently go for it, because they could claim that it did “virtually " submit the question at issue to the people. Seeing, as he doubtless did, many who shrank from continuing their opposition to the administration on that issue, and who would probably follow the example of Mr. English, he, from motives of expediency, threw out the suggestion. But it evoked determined opposition. Mr. Broderick indignantly denounced any sacrifice of the principle on which they had hitherto fought the Lecompton constitution. Mr. Stuart expressed similar views, and Mr. Haskin vehemently insisted that it was the duty of each and every one to continue in his opposition. “Its passage," he said, "would enable the administration to retreat by a back-door passage from its support of a nefarious scheme and infamous legislation which President Buchanan and his heads of department should never have favored."
Mr. Cox of Ohio had been the first of the anti-Lecompton Democrats to denounce the proposed constitution. As early as the 16th of December he had characterized it as “a pulse less and heartless thing," which was, 6l through trickery and fraud, a mass of detestable putrescence." He had branded Calhoun and his associates as Catalines, who, under obligations of principle and honor, had attempted to subjugate the people's will to their own. At this meeting, too, he had given positive assurances that he should remain true to these clearly announced convictions. And yet in spite of early speeches and this unequivocal pledge, so lately given, he expressed his purpose to support the English bill, though it did not conform to his judgment. He urged the usual claim, however, that he made the sacrifice in the spirit of concession and with a desire for harmony. He admitted that there was no proposition, " in so many words," to submit the constitution to the people, though he thought there was a provision in the bill by which, if the constitution did not meet their approbation, they could give expression to their will; indeed that, though it did not contain the " shadow," the " substance " was there. So strangely did men reason, so wildly did they talk. This action of Mr. Cox created much asperity of feeling, and was most vehemently condemned by Mr. Haskin and many anti-Lecompton Democrats.
The House on the 30th of April passed the bill by a vote of one hundred and twelve to one hundred and three, Winter Davis and Humphrey Marshall voting in the negative. Twelve of the twenty-three anti-Lecompton Democrats in the House resisted every influence, and stood firm to the end. They were Colonel Thomas L. Harris, the acknowledged leader of the anti-Lecompton forces in that body, Isaac N. Morris, Aaron Shaw, Robert Smith, Samuel S. Marshall of Illinois, John G. Davis of Indiana, Garnett B. Adrian of New Jersey, John B. Haskin and Horace F. Clark of New York, John Hickman and Henry Chapman of Pennsylvania, and Joseph C. McKibbin of California. These gentlemen, who remained firm throughout this stormy struggle against the pressure of political associates and the influences and appliances of the administration, were deserving of high commendation. “Undoubtedly," said Mr. Haskin, in a letter to Mr. Wilson, “some of the anti-Lecompton Democrats who finally voted for the English bill were influenced by official patronage, and some of them, perhaps, by official gifts. Well do I remember that Senator Slidell, the fidus Achates of James Buchanan during the whole of his administration, endeavored to tempt me with a grant of a township of land if I would change my views and support the Lecompton policy. Patronage and gifts were freely given and made to seduce the anti-Lecompton Democrats; and I am proud that the twelve who were true to the last could not be silenced in any way by the blandishments of power, of patronage, or through any corrupt means whatever. I should not," says Mr. Haskin, omit to refer in terms of commendation of the action of Mr. McKibbin. His father had been for nearly half a century the confidential friend of Mr. Buchanan. He held at the time the position of naval officer in Philadelphia. During the struggle he came to Washington more than once, begged and implored his son, on account of the relations which he had borne to Mr. Buchanan and the office he held, to sustain the policy of the administration. Nevertheless, from the commencement to the end of the struggle, no member was more faithful and more determined in his hostility to Lecompton, in all its shapes, than Joseph C. McKibbin of California."
The bill was brought to a vote in the Senate on the same day it passed the House, and was carried by a vote of thirty-one to twenty-two, Douglas, Crittenden, Broderick, and Stuart voting against it. Thus, after a struggle of five months, in which the administration made no concealment of its unscrupulous purpose to use in unstinted measure its power and patronage for the object aimed at, the Lecompton constitution received the vote of both houses of Congress and the executive approval. But the “condition” affixed made the victory but partial, and the rejoicing of the victors but brief. The people of Kansas had suffered too much, and were too deeply in earnest, to be seduced by the offer of the promised benefits of the bill, its liberal grants of lands, and its admission as a State, or driven by the menace of being kept out, to accept a constitution they had no agency in forming, and which they so thoroughly detested. As predicted, they did “spurn the bribe," and they rejected it by a majority of more than ten thousand.
Source: Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 557-565.
LEE, Luther, 1800-1889, clergyman, Methodist congregation, Utica, New York, abolitionist leader. Began his abolitionist career in 1837. Helped create Wesleyan anti-slavery societies. In 1843, co-founded the anti-slavery Wesleyan Methodist Connection of America, of which he became president. Lecturer for New York Anti-Slavery Society (NYASS) and agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society. Member, Executive Committee of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1846-1852. Luther was attacked on a number of occasions by pro-slavery advocates. In 1840, Lee helped to co-found the Liberty Party.
(Filler, 1960, p. 123; Sernett, 2002, pp. 57-58, 59, 80-83, 299n8, 300n16; Sorin, 1971; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, 603; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 115; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 13, p. 384)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LEE, Luther, clergyman, b. in Schoharie, N. Y., 30 Nov., 1800. He joined the Methodist Episcopal church in 1821, soon began to preach, and in 1827 entered the Genesee conference, becoming an itinerant missionary, preacher, and successful temperance lecturer. He began to preach against slavery in 1836, was mobbed several times, and in 1841 established and edited “The New England Christian Advocate,” an anti-slavery journal, at Lowell, Mass. He subsequently edited “The Sword of Truth,” and in 1842 seceded from the Methodist church, began a weekly journal, “The True Wesleyan,” and when the Wesleyan Methodist connection was organized, became pastor of that church in Syracuse, N. Y. He was the first president of the first general conference of the new church, was editor of the organ of that body, “The True Wesleyan,” till 1852, and after that date was successively pastor of churches in Syracuse and Fulton, N. Y. In 1854-'5 he edited a periodical entitled “The Evangelical Pulpit.” He became president and professor of theology in the Michigan union college at Leoni in 1856, resigning the next year to officiate in churches in Ohio. From 1864 till 1867 he was connected with Adrian college, Mich., and at the latter date returned to the Methodist Episcopal church, slavery, which was the cause of the organization of the Wesleyan connection, having ceased to exist. Since 1867 he has been a member of the Michigan conference, and is now (1887) superannuated. His publications include “Universalism Examined and Refuted” (New York, 1836); “The Immortality of the Soul” (1846); “Revival Manual” (1850); “Church Polity” (1850); “Slavery Examined in the Light of the Bible” (1855); and “Elements of Theology” (1856). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, pp. 603.
LEMOYNE, Francis Julius, 1798-1879, Washington, Pennsylvania, physician, abolitionist leader. Le Moyne became active in the abolitionist movement in the 1830s. Was against the colonization movement. Le Moyne was a manager in the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS), 1837-1840, 1840-1841. Vice President of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1840-1851. In 1840, ran as the vice presidential candidate of the Liberty Party. Also unsuccessfully ran on Pennsylvania abolitionist tickets, 1841, 1844, 1847. Was active in helping fugitive slaves in the Underground Railroad. Founded Le Moyne College in 1870 in Memphis, Tennessee.
(Blue, 2005, p. 25; Dumond, 1961, pp. 186, 266, 301; Rodriguez, 2007, p. 46; Sernett, 2002, pp. 109, 111; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, p. 687; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 163)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LE MOYNE, Francis Julius, abolitionist, b. in Washington, Pa., 4 Sept., 1798; d. there, 14 Oct., 1879. His father was a royalist refugee from France, who practised medicine in Washington. The son was graduated at the college there in 1815, studied medicine with his father and at the Medical college in Philadelphia, and began practice in his native town in 1822. In 1835 he assisted in organizing an anti-slavery society in Washington, and from that time entered earnestly into the abolition movement. He was the first candidate of the Liberty party for vice-president, his nomination having been proposed in a meeting at Warsaw, N. Y., 13 Nov., 1839, and confirmed by a national convention at Albany, 1 April, 1840. Though he and James G. Birney, the nominee for president, declined the nomination, they received 7,059 votes in the election of 1840. In 1841, 1843, and 1847 Le Moyne was the candidate of the same party for governor of Pennsylvania. At a later period he became widely known as an advocate of cremation. He erected in 1876, near Washington, Pa., the first crematory in the United States. Dr. Le Moyne founded the public library in Washington, gave $25,000 for a colored normal school near Memphis, Tenn., and endowed professorships of agriculture and applied mathematics in Washington college. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, pp. 687.
See also CHRISTIANA INCIDENT/RIOT
LEWIS, Enoch, 1776-1856, mathematician, educator, publisher, editor, African Observer, Society of Friends, Quaker, Wilmington, Delaware, moderate abolitionist, editor, anti-slavery monthly, the African Observer. Organized Free Produce Society of Pennsylvania.
(Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, p. 703; Drake, 1950, pp. 118, 132, 145, 171-173; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 211)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LEWIS, Enoch, mathematician, b. in Radnor, Delaware co., Pa., 29 Jan., 1776; d. in Philadelphia, 14 June, 1856. He belonged to the Society of Friends. He early exhibited a talent for mathematics, at the age of fourteen was usher in a country school, and at fifteen became principal. In the autumn of 1792 he removed to Philadelphia, studied mathematics, teaching half of each day to earn his support, and in 1795 was engaged as a surveyor in laying out towns in western Pennsylvania. He was in charge of the mathematical department in the Friends' academy in Philadelphia, in 1796-'9, subsequently was mathematical tutor at the Westtown, Pa., school, and in 1808 opened a private school for mathematical students, which he successfully taught for several years. He edited several mathematical works, with notes, and about 1819 published a treatise on arithmetic that was followed by one on algebra, and by a work on plane and spherical trigonometry. In 1827 he became editor of a monthly called “The African Observer,” which continued only one year, and from 1847 till his death he was in charge of “The Friends' Review.” His publications include a “Life of Penn” in the “Friends' Library,” treatises on “Oaths” and on “Baptism,” and a “Vindication of the Society of Friends,” in answer to Dr. Samuel H. Cox's “Quakerism not Christianity.” Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. II.
LEWIS, Graceanna, 1821-1912, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, educator, naturalist, illustrator, social reformer. Society of Friends, Quaker, wrote “An Appeal to Those Members of the Society of Friends who Knowing the Principles of the Abolitionist, Stand Aloof from the Anti-Slavery Enterprise,” 1846. Lewis was active in anti-slavery, temperance and women’s suffrage movements. Hid and protected fugitive slaves in her home in the Underground Railroad.
(Drake, 1950, p. 179; National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1899)
LIBERTY PARTY (succeeded American Anti-Slavery Society), founded November 13, 1839, Warsaw, New York, abolitionist political party, merged with the Free Soil Party in 1848. Newspaper: Liberty Party Paper, published by John Thomas in Syracuse, New York.
See also Stuart, Alvan; Birney, James G.; Earl, Thomas; Chase, Salmon P.; Morris, Thomas
(Blue, 2005, pp. ix, 2, 4, 5, 9, 16, 23-35, 49-50, 52, 53, 63, 66, 67, 91, 97-101, 116-118, 144, 163, 214, 218, 236, 265, 267; Dumond, 1961, pp. 285-286, 291, 295-304; Filler, 1960, pp. 145, 152, 155, 176, 178, 181, 213; Harrold, 1995, pp. 10, 41, 55-57, 59, 91, 127, 131, 134-141, 174n10; Mabee, 1970, pp. 40, 56, 72, 227, 228, 246, 247, 252, 387n5; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 4, 6-16, 25-29, 31, 44-48, 50, 51, 53, 54, 56, 74, 71, 98, 139, 167, 188, 196, 212, 215, 216, 225, 245, 254n; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 46, 48, 50, 57, 132, 185, 189, 298, 514, 522; Sernett, 2002, pp. 105, 112-125; Sorin, 1971, pp. 18, 21, 22, 27, 35, 31n, 38, 47, 60, 70, 77, 80, 106, 126, 130, 133; Wilson, 1872, Vol. 1, pp. 545-555, Vol. 2, pp. 109-113)
Chapter: “The Liberty Party,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1872:
The early Abolitionists were pledged to the removal of slavery by political as well as moral agencies. Their modes of political action, however, were undefined. Some contemplated it' through existing political organizations, others through the formation of a new party. Mr. Garrison, as early as 1834, advocated the organization of a" Christian party in politics"; and two years later Professor Follen suggested the idea of a. new, progressive Democratic party, of which the abolition of s1avery should be a fundamental principle. William Goodell, Alvan Stewart, Myron Holley, James G. Birney, Joshua Leavitt, Gerrit Smith, and other eminent Abolitionists, early and persistently urged political action, and the formation of a party that should make the abolition of slavery a paramount issue.
Antislavery men first exemplified the principle of political action by questioning candidates for public office. Though their questions were generally treated with neglect, their numbers so increased that they were able, in some localities, to effect resu1ts. In 1838, in the great contest in New York, William H. Seward and Luther Bradish, Whig candidates for governor and lieutenant-governor, gave respectful answers to their questions, while the Democratic candidates refused to answer at all. The answers of Mr. Bradish were satisfactory; those of Mr. Seward were but partially so, and their majorities were unquestionably increased by the abolition votes they received. At this election, Millard Fillmore, who was a candidate for Congress, was also questioned and gave satisfactory replies; and he received the antislavery vote. In after years, however, he forgot the pledges he then gave, and disappointed the hopes he then excited.''
Among the questioned candidates of those days was Caleb Cushing of Massachusetts. He had vindicated in Congress the right of petition with signal zeal and ability; and, when plied with questions, he framed' his reply so as to meet even the exacting demands of John G. Whittier. But, like Mr. Fillmore, he failed to remember the pledges he was then so prompt to give; and, a few years later, he was found ready to use the' patronage of the Federal government "to· crush out the spirit of Abolitionism" in his native State.
In the Middlesex district of the same State, Nathan Brooks and William Parmenter were candidates for Congress. Mr. Parmenter, the Democratic candidate, was known to be unsound and unreliable on the antislavery issue. Mr. Brooks, the Whig candidate, though known by his personal friends to be in sympathy with his questioners, declined to answer, from conscientious scruples about giving such pledges. His wife, a lady of culture, was then and, continued to be an earnest and self-sacrificing Abolitionist; one of that class of antislavery women to whose early labors the cause was so largely indebted. But the Abolitionists, firmly adhering to their policy, refused, without such pledges, to give him their votes, and he was defeated.
The plan of questioning candidates in its practical workings not proving satisfactory, a distinct political organization was demanded by some of the Abolitionists. At a meeting of the New York State Antislavery Society, held at Utica, in September, 1838, a series of resolutions, setting forth with distinctness the principles of political action, and pledging the society to vote for no candidate unpledged to antislavery measures; was adopted. These resolutions were drawn by William Goodell, and reported by the business committee, at the head of which was Myron Holley. They were not intended to commit the Abolitionists of New York to the formation of a new political party; but they enunciated principles of action to which, in the then existing state of political parties, it was difficult to adhere without such an organization.
At the sixth anniversary meeting of the .American Antislavery Society, in May, 1839, a committee was appointed to call a national convention to discuss the principles and measures of the antislavery enterprise. This convention assembled at Albany on the last of July. The convention was not largely attended, nor did its result fully satisfy those who desired a distinct political organization. It issued an address, however, in which it was asserted that the Slave Power was waging a deliberate and determined war against the liberties of the free States; that the political power of slavery could only be met by political action; and that slavery must be driven out and dethroned from the stronghold in which it was so firmly intrenched by the ballot-box. In September an antislavery county convention was held at Rochester, New York. A few months before the meeting of that convention, Myron Holley, a resident of that city, had established the "Freeman," in which he had advocated political action with such earnestness and ability that he has been regarded, by common consent, the founder of the Liberty party.
Mr. Holley was a gentleman of superior attainments. He had held a leading position in the politics of Western New York as a supporter of De Witt Clinton, and was a canal commissioner during a considerable portion of the time in which the Erie Canal was in process of construction. He was a ripe scholar, a ready writer, an impressive speaker, and an urbane gentleman, of graceful manners and commanding presence. A bold thinker, and of large forecast, he clearly saw that slavery was to be put down either by the ballot-box or by the cartridge-box, or perhaps by both. He was for hastening without delay a resort to the former, in order that the stern appeal to the latter might if possible be averted. It was under such a leader that the convention adopted a series of resolutions and an address, in which the necessity of distinct political action was recognized, and the duty enjoined.
In the month of January, 1840, the New York State Antislavery Society held a convention in Genesee County. Mr. Holley, Gerrit Smith, and other Abolitionists, favorable to political action, were present. It was resolved to issue a call for a national antislavery convention, to be held on the 1st of April at Albany. This convention was called to discuss “the question of an independent nomination of abolition canddidates for the two highest offices in our national government; and, if thought expedient, to make such nominations for the friends of freedom to support at the next election.''
The executive committee of the national society took no action in relation to this movement of the New York society; but the board of managers of the Massachusetts Antislavery Society issued an address to the Abolitionists of the United States, in which they took exceptions to the manner in which the convention had been called, and the designs of those who called it. In this address the organization of a distinctive political party was declared to be in violation of the wishes of the great body of the Abolitionists, as had been shown by the unanimous votes of the State societies of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The silence of the executive committee of the national society, and the advocacy of the “Emancipator," its organ, were both sharply criticised. They thus closed their address: “For the honor and purity of our enterprise, we trust that the Abolitionists of the several States will refuse to give any countenance to the proposed convention at Albany. Let their verdict be recorded against it as unauthorized, unnecessary, and premature. Let the meeting be insignificant and local, and thus rendered harmless."
The convention assembled at the time and place designated, Six States only were represented. Of its one hundred and twenty-one delegates, one hundred and four were from the State of New York. Alvan Stewart was made president. He was an early Abolitionist, having witnessed and realized, while visiting the South, in 1816; the cruelties, corruptions, and crimes necessarily involved in the system of chattel slavery. He was sincere and tender-hearted. The cruelties of the system seemed to affect him more than its crimes; and he would paint its horrors in language that none who listened to him could ever forget. One that well knew this remarkable man who rendered such effective service to the antislavery cause in its days of weakness and trial, thus describes him: “His conceptions were grand, his sweep of thought majestic, his language unique, his illustrations graphic, and his knowledge varied and minute." He had been a Whig, and one of the favorite orators of the party. A good lawyer, a clear-sighted politician, accustomed to deal with practical affairs, he early saw the necessity of assaulting slavery as a political evil by the use of the ballot. He came to that convention to aid, if possible, in giving form and shape to that idea.
Though small in numbers and somewhat local in its composition, its members were conscientious, earnest, and determined. After full debate and deliberate consideration, it was resolved by the small majority of eleven votes to present candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency. For the former James G. Birney was selected, and for the latter Thomas Earle of Pennsylvania.
Born in Kentucky, reared and educated under the slave system, Mr. Birney was a hereditary owner of slaves. He embraced the antislavery reform from the deepest convictions of its justice, and gave freedom to his own slaves from the purest motives. He sacrificed property, political preferment, social standing, home and kindred, that he might serve a cause that could give him neither fortune nor favor. A gentleman with dignity of manner and varied culture, a sound lawyer, remarkably well versed in constitutional and international law, he wrote and spoke with grace and vigor. He was a prudent counsellor, and inclined to moderate action. Conciliatory in tone and manner, he was firm and fearless in maintaining his convictio1is of right. Thoroughly comprehending the vitality of the slave system and the tenacity of slaveholders, he foresaw and predicted the terrible convulsions into which the Slave Power would plunge the country. He believed that the exercise of the elective franchise was binding upon all. To possess and not to use the right to vote he declared to be “inconsistent with the duty of Abolitionists under the Constitution."
Mr. Earle was a native of Massachusetts, of Quaker ancestry and sentiments. A. law student under John Sergeant of Philadelphia, and editor and author of several papers and books, he occupied quite a prominent public position in his adopted city and State. Though acting with the Democratic Party, he was an active member of the old Pennsylvania Abolition Society. Laboring for twenty years for constitutional reform in his State, he was a prominent member of the convention called for that purpose, of which, says Whittier, he was the “recognized author and originator." In that convention, his political friends proposed “white suffrage” as the 'basis of representation; but, though by so doing he sacrificed all hopes of political preferment, he took and firmly maintained the doctrine of human rights, without distinction of color or race.
Such were the men selected by the Liberty party as its candidates, as it entered the arena of national politics, and for the first time solicited the suffrages of the humane and liberty-loving for the highest offices of the government. Its vote, however, was but small. Of the two million and a half of the votes cast at that election, its candidates received less than seven thousand.
But small as was the vote, the friends of this new mode of action were encouraged. Soon after the election the national committee of correspondence issued an address to the friends of the oppressed in the United States. It was written by Alvan Stewart, and bore the marks of his enthusiastic and hopeful spirit. It congratulated the friends of the slave that ·humanity, as a new element in political action, had been found; that the voice of stern justice was beginning to speak from a new place; and that the power to overthrow slavery had been discovered in “the terse literature of the ballot-box."
The Liberty party received-into its ranks, in 1841, an important accession in the person of Salmon P. Chase. Mr. Chase had, as early as 1837, acted as counsel for a woman claimed as a fugitive slave, and also for James G. Birney, who had been indicted for the offence of harboring a slave. In very elaborate arguments he had maintained that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 was unwarranted by the Constitution of the United States; that Congress had no power to impose any duties in fugitive-slave cases upon State magistrates; and that slavery was local, and depended on State law for existence. Like several other antislavery men in Ohio he had voted for General Harrison. But the course of Mr. Tyler had convinced him that the cause of emancipation had little to hope from the Whigs, whose action was modified, if not controlled, by their slaveholding members at the South. He united with others in calling an antislavery State convention, in December, 1841, at Columbus. It was strong in numbers, talent, and character. Samuel Lewis presided, and Leicester King, a gentleman of large influence, was nominated for governor. An address, written and reported by Mr. Chase, and unanimously adopted by the convention, was issued. It was a full exposition of the powers and duties of the people, and of the principles and purposes of the Liberty party. It was, perhaps, the best presentation of the subject that had then· been made. No previous paper had so clearly defined the province of political action, its limitations and prospective results. It was extensively circulated, and exerted considerable influence in giving cohesion and impulse to the new organization.
Other conventions, State, county, and district, were held. The men and presses that had inaugurated this mode of effort exhibited activity and zeal, accessions were made, and the party steadily increased. Among these conventions was one held in Peterboro, New York, in January, 1842. It issued an address to the slaves of the United States, written by Gerrit Smith. In justification of this act it was proclaimed that the slave has the right '"to all the words of consolation, encouragement, and advice-which his fellow-men can convey to him." Slaves were specially enjoined to use no violence, and to cherish no vindictive feelings towards their oppressors. They were urged to pray to Him who hears the sighing of the prisoner to grant them speedy deliverance, and never let bribes, menaces, or sufferings obtain their consent to violate God's law. They were told, however, to have no conscience against the inexpressibly wicked law which forbade them to read, and that the slave who had learned to read " has already conquered half the difficulty in getting to Canada, and the slave who has learned to read the Bible has learned the way to heaven." They were cheered by the declaration that the decree of God had gone forth that slavery should continue to be “tortured even unto death," and that their redemption drew nigh. They were counselled to seek liberty by flight, and assured that the Abolitionist knows no more grateful employment than that of carrying the escaping slave to Canada.
A national convention of the Liberty party was held at Buffalo in August, 1S43. There were nearly a thousand delegates, every free State but New Hampshire being represented. It was a convention of character and integrity, embracing among its leaders men of large ability and influence. This was freely accorded by those who did not belong to it by either association or sympathy. Says Stephen S. Foster, who was present, though not a member: “It was in my judgment the most earnest; devoted, patriotic, and practically intelligent political body which has ever met on this continent." A committee was appointed to report a series of resolutions embodying the principles and policy of the party. An unsuccessful effort was made in this committee, supported by Mr. Chase and opposed by Mr. Goodell, to postpone the nominations till the spring of next year. This committee reported a platform in which were clearly enunciated the purposes of the organization. .An effort was made in the committee by John Pierpont, but successfully opposed there by Mr. Chase, to report a declaration “to regard and treat the third clause of the Constitution, whenever applied to the case of a fugitive slave, as utterly null and void; and consequently as forming no part of the Constitution of the United States whenever we are called upon or sworn to support it." Failing in the committee, he introduced it into the convention with the startling question: “Shall we obey the dead fathers or the living God?” The convention responded to his appeal, and adopted the resolution by a decisive majority.
The convention nominated for President James G. Birney, then residing in Michigan, and for Vice-President Thomas Morris of Ohio. With its platform and candidates the Liberty party went into the canvass of 1844 with zeal and energy. A series of local and State conventions was held, at which its platform and candidates were earnestly comme11ded for the suffrages of the country. Among these conventions was one in Philadelphia on the 22nd of February, 1844. It appointed a committee, of which Professor Charles D. Cleaveland of that city was chairman, to prepare an address to the country. This address from the graceful and eloquent pen of its chairman was an admirable presentation of the principles and purposes of the party. It was largely circulated. Thus supported the Liberty party cast more than sixty thousand votes, had the balance of power in the States of New York and Michigan, and held in its hands the fate of that memorable contest.
Though the immediate annexation of Texas followed at once the election of Mr. Polk, the leaders of the Liberty party felt justified in their course of action, and still continued their appeals to the people to join their organization and sustain their line of policy. In the spring of 1845 a convention of the party, designed to embrace all who were in favor of continuing its uncompromising warfare against the usurpations of the Slave Power, and who were determined to use all constitutional and honorable means to effect the extinction of slavery in their respective States, and its reduction to its constitutional limits in the United States, was called to meet at Cincinnati, and was held on the 11th and 12th of June, about two thousand persons being present. It was strong in character as well as in numbers. It issued an address written by Salmon P. Chase, in which the evils of slavery and the crimes of the Slave Power were presented with great comprehensiveness and eloquence. The conditions of ultimate triumph were declared to be “unswerving fidelity to our principles; unalterable determination to carry these principles to the ballot-box at every election; inflexible and unanimous support of those and only those who are true to these principles." Recognizing the moral as well as political character of the struggle in which they were enlisted, and confident of the favor of God, the address said: "We are resolved to go forward, knowing that our cause is just, trusting in God. We ask you to go forward with us, invoking his blessing who sent his Son to redeem mankind. With him are the issues of all events. He can and he will disappoint all the devices of oppression. He can, and we trust he will, make our instrumentality efficient for the redemption of our land from slavery, and for the fulfilment of our fathers' pledge in behalf of freedom, before him and before the world."
In October a convention of the friends of freedom in the Eastern and Middle States was held in Boston. An address was issued appealing to the people by every consideration of religion, humanity, and patriotism to exert all their powers for the overthrow of slavery. “Your homes and your altars," it said,” your honor and good name, are at stake. The slave in his prison stretches his manacled hand towards you, imploring your aid. A cloud of witnesses surround you. The oppressed millions of Europe beseech you to remove from their pathway to freedom the reproach and stumbling-block of democratic slavery. From the damp depths of dungeons, from the stake and the scaffold, where the martyrs of liberty have sealed their testimony with their blood, solemn and awful voices call upon you to make the dead letter of your republicanism a living truth. Join with us, then, fellow-citizens. Slavery is mighty; but it can be overthrown. In the name of God and humanity let us bring the mighty ballot-box of a kingless people to bear upon it."
Mr. Chase and other leading men of the party confidently expected large accessions to their ranks as the result of these conventions and from that sense of outrage and injury, felt by large numbers at the North, inflicted by the Texas scheme. They were, however, disappointed; for the Liberty party contained within itself the seeds, if not of its own dissolution, at least of dissensions and divisions, and there were marked differences of sentiment on other subjects, growing out of former political and ecclesiastical connections, which could not but reveal themselves in their new relations.
These differences manifested themselves in a very marked degree in a State convention in New York during the same summer. Among the leading points of these differences was their divergence of views upon the Constitution of the United States; some regarding it an antislavery instrument, and some maintaining the exactly opposite opinion. Before the disruption of the American Antislavery Society the former view had been entertained by some, from which they deduced the conclusion that slavery was unconstitutional as well as morally wrong. In 1844 Mr. Goodell had published a work entitled, “Views of American Constitutional Law in its Bearings upon American Slavery." It had a large circulation and exerted considerable influence. Soon after its publication Lysander Spooner, a lawyer of Boston, published the "Unconstitutionality of Slavery." It was a work of decided ability and acuteness, and, though by many deemed fallacious in its reasonings and conclusions, exerted no small influence upon the popular mind, large numbers of the Liberty party accepting its positions. These causes soon began in a clear and unmistakable manner to reveal their presence, by the diverse modes of action and policies to which they gave rise. Of course these divided counsels and inharmonious efforts hindered the growth of the party and greatly diminished its influence.
Source: Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 1. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 545-555.
Chapter: “Antislavery Organizations,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1872:
In June, 1845, a State convention was held at Port Byron, in New York. An address was presented, not only setting forth the unconstitutionality of slavery, but, perhaps in deference to the very general criticism that Abolitionists were men of " one idea," stating and elaborating somewhat fully the different objects government should have in view, and some of the more prominent measures that should receive its attention and support. This address, though read and printed, was not adopted. Many, however, of the Liberty party accepted its sentiments, and held a convention in June, 1847, at Macedon, in the same State. The convention nominated Gerrit Smith for President and Elihu Burritt for the Vice-Presidency, separated from the party, took the name of Liberty League, and issued an address to the people.
In October of the same year a national convention of the Liberty party was held at Buffalo. Several members of the Liberty League attended, and sought the indorsement of the convention for the candidates they had just put in nomination, but without success; John P. Hale of New Hampshire and Leicester King of Ohio receiving the nomination. This action was not taken without opposition, though the dissatisfaction was mostly confined to the State of New York. It was regarded as an abandonment of principle to go outside for a candidate, and to select one who had never identified himself or acted with the party; and Chase, Matthews, Lewis, Leavitt, and Dr. Bailey were severely censured for their course.
But this controversy between the two wings of the Liberty party, which resulted in the formation of the Liberty League, militated in no degree against either the earnestness or the honesty of the men who took opposite sides on the questions at issue. It only indicated the different methods suggested to different minds in their endeavor to solve a most difficult, not to say an insoluble problem. Neither hit upon the plan that actually secured the desired result, or that even gave promise of at least immediate success. Nothing now appears why slavery would not to-day be lording it over the land with increasing vigor, had not the South in its madness appealed to arms, and cut with its own sword the Gordian knot which others were vainly attempting to untie.
As distinguished from the other wing, it may be said that the members of the Liberty League were less practical, more disposed to adhere to theories, and more fearful of sacrificing principle to policy. Like the members of the “old organization” and the French doctrinaires, they seemed to have more confidence in the power of abstract right, and less in the doctrine of expediency. They calculated largely on the power of truth, and on the belief that God is the “majority." Their watchword was: "Duty is ours, results are God's."
On the other side, the men who advised and aided in putting Mr. Hale in nomination had less faith in the policy, safety, or duty of simply adhering to the proclamation of abstract ideas, however correct or forcibly expressed. They saw that, in the presence and in spite of all the arguments, appeals, and fierce invectives of the able and eloquent writers and orators of either the "old organization" or of the Liberty League, the Slave Power was marching on, with relentless purpose and increasing audacity, from victory to victory, until it appeared that, unless it could be checked, Mr. Calhoun's theory would be reduced to practice and the Constitution would carry slavery wherever it went, and slavery would be no longer sectional, but national. Texas had been annexed, vast territory had been acquired; and the question was now upon them: " Shall this territory be free or slave?" And their past bitter experience had shown that something more than appeals to reason, conscience, and the plighted faith of the fathers was necessary to prevent the final consummation for which all these previous steps had been taken. In settling that question they saw that votes were more potent than words; that an organized and growing party would prove more efficient than any amount of protest and earnest entreaty. To strengthen this purpose, such men as Chase, Leavitt, Whittier, William Jackson, and Dr. Bailey saw that there were hundreds of thousands, in both the Whig and Democratic parties, who were deeply dissatisfied with the state of affairs and the immediate prospect before them, and were anxiously looking for some practical scheme, some common ground on which they could make a stand in resistance to these· aggressions. They hoped much, too, from such men as Dix, Hale, Niles, King, and Wilmot among the Democrats; Giddings, Palfrey, Seward, Mann, and Root among the Whigs; much from the Barnburners in New York and the "conscience" Whigs in Massachusetts. They judged, and the event has proved that they judged wisely, that by narrowing the platform, even if it did not contain all that the most advanced Abolitionists desired, if such, men and their followers could be drawn from the Whig and Democratic parties, and be thus arrayed in a compact and vigorous organization against the Slave Power, there would be great gain. Though they could not exactly forecast the end of such a movement, they felt that it was a step in the right direction, and that, when taken, it would disclose still further the path of duty and place them in a position to go forward therein.
But the Liberty League and dissatisfied members of the Liberty party were not idle. Meeting in convention at Auburn in January, 1848, they called a national convention to meet in Buffalo in June. John Curtis of Ohio presided, and Gerrit Smith was chairman of the Committee on the Address and Resolutions. The committee reported two addresses, --one to the colored people of the free States and one to the people of the United States. In them they censured severely the action of the Liberty party for what they denounced as recreancy to the principles of the party. The colored people were told that it was the " perfection of treachery to the slave " to vote for a slaveholder, or for one who thinks that a slaveholder is fit for civil office; that it was the religious indorsement of slavery that kept it in countenance; and that it was "better, infinitely better for your poor, lashed, bleeding, and chained brothers and sisters that you should never see the inside of a church nor the inside of a Bible, than that you should by your proslavery connections sanctify their enslavement."
Speeches of great earnestness and directness were made by Beriah Green, Frederick Douglass, Gerrit Smith, Henry Highland Garnett, Elizur Wright, and George Bradburn. Mr. Green maintained that when the nation indorses slavery “the most marked inconsistencies creep out of the same lips, the flattest contradictions fall from the same tongues." Civil governments, he said, should be the reflection from the throne of God. To assert the claims of justice, to define and defend rights, to cherish and express a world-embracing philanthropy, to promote the general welfare, to afford counsel and protection, are “the appropriate objects of civil government." "God gave civil government," remarked Mr. Smith, “I had wellnigh said, to be on terms of companionship with the poor. Certain it is that he gave it chiefly for the purpose of protecting the rights of those who are too poor, ignorant, and weak to protect themselves. With their definition of civil government and the purposes for which it was instituted and with their knowledge of what slavery was, such endorsement could, not but seem not only unconstitutional, but inconsistent with and subversive of government itself. "Anti-Slavery men said Mr. Smith,” should identify themselves with the slave, and be willing to be hated and despised; they should not be ashamed to do what slaveholders call slave-stealing. It was not “vulgar," he contended,” low, or mean;" to help slaves to escape from the clutches of their oppressor. '''As I live and as God lives," he continued,” there is net on earth a more honorable employment. There is not in all the world a more honorable tombstone than that on which the slaveholder would inscribe, 'Here lies a slave-stealer.'"
The convention, much against his own avowed wishes nominated Mr. Smith for the Presidency. Mr. Burritt having declined the nomination of the Liberty League for the Vice Presidency, C. C. Foot of Michigan was selected as the candidate.
Source: Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 109-113.
LINCOLN, Abraham, 1809-1865, 16th President of the United States (1861-1865), opponent of slavery. Issued Emancipation Proclamation January 1, 1863, freeing slaves in southern states. By the end of the Civil War, more than four million slaves were liberated from bondage.
(Basler, Ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, New Jersey, Rutgers University, 1953, 9 Vols; Dumond, 1961, pp. 224-225, 356; Miers, E. S., Lincoln Day by Day – A Chronology, Vols. 1-3; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 65, 66, 140, 241-243, 275, 368-370, 385, 690-691; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, pp. 715-727; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 242; National Archives and Records Administration [NARA], College Park, Maryland; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 13, p. 662)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LINCOLN, Abraham, sixteenth president of the United States, b. in Hardin county, Ky., 12 Feb., 1809; d. in Washington, D. C., 15 April, 1865. His earliest ancestor in America seems to have been Samuel Lincoln, of Norwich, England, who settled in Hingham, Mass., where he died, leaving a son, Mordecai, whose son of the same name removed to Monmouth, N. J., and thence to Berks county, Pa., dying there in 1735. He was a man of some property, which at his death was divided among his sons and daughters, one of whom, John Lincoln, having disposed of his land in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, established himself in Rockingham county, Va. The records of that county show that he was possessed of a valuable estate, which was divided among five sons, one of whom, named Abraham, emigrated to Kentucky about 1780. At this time Daniel Boone was engaged in those labors and exploits in the new country of Kentucky that have rendered his name illustrious; and there is no doubt that Abraham Lincoln was induced by his friendship for Boone to give up what seems to have been an assured social position in Virginia and take his family to share with him the risks and hardships of life in the new territory. The families of Boone and Lincoln had been closely allied for many years. Several marriages had taken place between them, and their names occur in each other's wills as friends and executors. The pioneer Lincoln, who took with him what for the time and place was a sufficient provision in money, the result of the sale of his property in Virginia, acquired by means of cash and land-warrants a large estate in Kentucky, as is shown by the records of Jefferson and Campbell counties. About 1784 he was killed by Indians while working with his three sons—Mordecai, Josiah, and Thomas—in clearing the forest. His widow removed after his death to Washington county, and there brought up her family. The two elder sons became reputable citizens, and the two daughters married in a decent condition of life. Thomas, the youngest son, seems to have been below the average of the family in enterprise and other qualities that command success. He learned the trade of a carpenter, and married, 12 June, 1806, Nancy Hanks, a niece of the man with whom he learned his trade. She is represented, by those who knew her at the time of her marriage, as a handsome young woman of twenty-three, of appearance and intellect superior to her lowly fortunes. The young couple began housekeeping with little means. Three children were born to them; the first, a girl, who grew to maturity, married, and died, leaving no children; the third a boy, who died in infancy; the second was Abraham Lincoln. Thomas Lincoln remained in Kentucky until 1816, when he resolved to remove to the still newer country of Indiana, and settled in a rich and fertile forest country near Little Pigeon creek, not far distant from the Ohio river. The family suffered from diseases incident to pioneer life, and Mrs. Lincoln died in 1818 at the age of thirty-five. Thomas Lincoln, while on a visit to Kentucky, married a worthy, industrious, and intelligent widow named Sarah Bush Johnston. She was a woman of admirable order and system in her habits, and brought to the home of the pioneer in the Indiana timber many of the comforts of civilized life. The neighborhood was one of the roughest. The president once said of it: “It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods, and there were some schools, so called; but no qualification was ever required of a teacher beyond readin’, writin’, and cipherin’ to the rule of three. If a straggler supposed to understand Latin happened to sojourn in the neighborhood, he was looked upon as a wizard. There was absolutely nothing to excite ambition for education.” But in spite of this the boy Abraham made the best use of the limited opportunities afforded him, and learned all that the half-educated backwoods teachers could impart; and besides this he read over and over all the books he could find. He practised constantly the rules of arithmetic, which he had acquired at school, and began, even in his early childhood, to put in writing his recollections of what he had read and his impressions of what he saw about him. By the time he was nineteen years of age he had acquired a remarkably clear and serviceable handwriting, and showed sufficient business capacity to be intrusted with a cargo of farm products, which he took to New Orleans and sold. In 1830 his father emigrated once more, to Macon county, Ill. Lincoln had by this time attained his extraordinary stature of six feet four inches, and with it enormous muscular strength, which was at once put at the disposal of his father in building his cabin, clearing the field, and splitting from the walnut forests, which were plentiful in that county, the rails with which the farm was fenced. Thomas Lincoln, however, soon deserted this new home, his last migration being to Goose Nest Prairie, in Coles county, where he died in 1851, seventy-three years of age. In his last days he was tenderly cared for by his son.
Abraham Lincoln left his father's house as soon as the farm was fenced and cleared, hired himself to a man named Denton Offutt, in Sangamon county, assisted him to build a fiat-boat, accompanied him to New Orleans on a trading voyage, and returned with him to New Salem, in Menard county, where Offutt opened a store for the sale of general merchandise. Little was accomplished in this way, and Lincoln employed his too abundant leisure in constant reading and study. He learned during this time the elements of English grammar, and made a beginning in the study of surveying and the principles of law. But the next year an Indian war began, occasioned by the return of Black Hawk with his bands of Sacs and Foxes from Iowa to Illinois. Lincoln volunteered in a company raised in Sangamon county, and was immediately elected captain. His company was organized at Richland on 21 April, 1832; but his service in command of it was brief, for it was mustered out on 27 May. Lincoln immediately re-enlisted as a private, and served for several weeks in that capacity, being finally mustered out on 16 June, 1832, by Lieut. Robert Anderson, who afterward commanded Fort Sumter at the beginning of the civil war. He returned home and began a hasty canvass for election to the legislature. His name had been announced in the spring before his enlistment; but now only ten days were left before the election, which took place in August. In spite of these disadvantages, he made a good race and was far from the foot of the poll. Although he was defeated, he gained the almost unanimous vote of his own neighborhood, New Salem giving him 277 votes against 3. He now began to look about him for employment, and for a time thought seriously of learning the trade of a blacksmith; but an opportunity presented itself to buy the only store in the settlement, which he did, giving his notes for the whole amount involved. He was associated with an idle and dissolute partner, and the business soon went to wreck, leaving Lincoln burdened with a debt which it required several years of frugality and industry for him to meet; but it was finally paid in full. After this failure he devoted himself with the greatest earnestness and industry to the study of law. He was appointed postmaster of New Salem in 1833, an office which he held for three years. The emoluments of the place were very slight, but it gave him opportunities for reading. At the same time he was appointed deputy to John Calhoun, the county surveyor, and, his modest wants being supplied by these two functions, he gave his remaining leisure unreservedly to the study of law and politics. He was a candidate for the legislature in August, 1834, and was elected this time at the head of the list. He was re-elected in 1836, 1838, and 1840, after which he declined further election. After entering the legislature he did not return to New Salem, but, having by this time attained some proficiency in the law, he removed to Springfield, where he went into partnership with John T. Stuart, whose acquaintance he had begun in the Black Hawk war and continued at Vandalia. He took rank from the first among the leading members of the legislature. He was instrumental in having the state capital removed from Vandalia to Springfield, and during his eight years of service his ability, industry, and weight of character gained him such standing among his associates that in his last two terms he was the candidate of his party for the speakership of the house of representatives. In 1846 he was elected to congress, his opponent being the Rev. Peter Cartwright. The most important congressional measure with which his name was associated during his single term of service was a scheme for the emancipation of the slaves in the District of Columbia, which in the prevailing temper of the time was refused consideration by congress. He was not a candidate for re-election, but for the first and only time in his life he applied for an executive appointment, the commissionership of the general land-office. The place was given to another man, but President Taylor's administration offered Mr. Lincoln the governorship of the territory of Oregon, which he declined. Mr. Lincoln had by this time become the most influential exponent of the principles of the Whig party in Illinois, and his services were in request in every campaign. After his return from congress he devoted himself with great assiduity and success to the practice of law, and speedily gained a commanding position at the bar. As he says himself, he was losing his interest in politics when the repeal of the Missouri compromise aroused him again. The profound agitation of the question of slavery, which in 1854 followed the repeal of the Missouri compromise, awakened all the energies of Lincoln's nature. He regarded this act, in which Senator Douglas was the most prominent agent of the reactionary party, as a gross breach of faith, and began at once a series of earnest political discussions which immediately placed him at the head of the party that, not only in Illinois but throughout the west, was speedily formed to protest against and oppose the throwing open of the territories to the encroachments of slavery. The legislature elected in Illinois in the heat of this discussion contained a majority of members opposed to the policy of Douglas. The duty of selecting a senator in place of Gen. Shields, whose term was closing, devolved upon this legislature, and Mr. Lincoln was the unanimous choice of the Whig members. But they did not command a clear majority of the legislature. There were four members of Democratic antecedents who, while they were ardently opposed to the extension of slavery, were not willing to cast their votes for a Whig candidate, and adhered tenaciously through several ballots to Lyman Trumbull, a Democrat of their own way of thinking. Lincoln, fearing that this dissension among the anti-slavery men might result in the election of a supporter of Douglas, urged his friends to go over in a body to the support of Trumbull, and his influence was sufficient to accomplish this result. Trumbull was elected, and for many years served the Republican cause in the senate with ability and zeal.
As soon as the Republican party became fully organized in the nation, embracing in its ranks the anti-slavery members of the old Whig and Democratic parties, Mr. Lincoln, by general consent, took his place at the head of the party in Illinois; and when, in 1858, Senator Douglas sought a re-election to the senate, the Republicans with one voice selected Mr. Lincoln as his antagonist. He had already made several speeches of remarkable eloquence and power against the pro-slavery reaction of which the Nebraska bill was the significant beginning, and when Mr. Douglas returned to Illinois to begin his canvass for the senate, he was challenged by Mr. Lincoln to a series of joint discussions. The challenge was accepted, and the most remarkable oratorical combat the state has ever witnessed took place between them during the summer. Mr. Douglas defended his thesis of non-intervention with slavery in the territories (the doctrine known as “popular sovereignty,” and derided as “squatter sovereignty”) with remarkable adroitness and energy. The ground that Mr. Lincoln took was higher and bolder than had yet been assumed by any American statesman of his time. In the brief and sententious speech in which he accepted the championship of his party, before the Republican convention of 16 June, 1858, he uttered the following pregnant and prophetic words: “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect that it will cease to be divided. It will become all the one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward until it shall become alike lawful in all the states, old as well as new, north as well as south.” This bold utterance excited the fears of his timid friends, and laid him open to the hackneyed and conventional attacks of the supporters of slavery; but throughout the contest, while he did not for an instant lower this lofty tone of opposition to slavery and hope of its extinction, he refused to be crowded by the fears of his friends or the denunciations of his enemies away from the strictly constitutional ground upon which his opposition was made. The debates between him and Senator Douglas aroused extraordinary interest throughout the state and the country. The men were perhaps equally matched in oratorical ability and adroitness in debate, but Lincoln's superiority in moral insight, and especially in farseeing political sagacity, soon became apparent. The most important and significant of the debates was that which took place at Freeport. Mr. Douglas had previously asked Mr. Lincoln a series of questions intended to embarrass him, which Lincoln without the slightest reserve answered by a categorical yes or no. At Freeport, Lincoln, taking his turn, inquired of Douglas whether the people of a territory could in any lawful way, against the wish of any citizen of the United States, exclude slavery from its limits prior to the formation of a state constitution. By his reply, intimating that slavery might be excluded by unfriendly territorial legislation, Douglas gained a momentary advantage in the anti-slavery region in which he spoke, but dealt a fatal blow to his popularity in the south; the result of which was seen two years afterward at the Charleston convention. The ground assumed by Senator Douglas was, in fact, utterly untenable, and Lincoln showed this in one of his terse sentences. “Judge Douglas holds,” he said, “that a thing may lawfully be driven away from a place where it has a lawful right to go.”
This debate established the reputation of Mr. Lincoln as one of the leading orators of the Republican party of the Union, and a speech that he delivered at Cooper Institute, in New York, on 27 Feb., 1860, in which he showed that the unbroken record of the founders of the republic was in favor of the restriction of slavery and against its extension, widened and confirmed his reputation; so that when the Republican convention came together in Chicago in May, 1860, he was nominated for the presidency on the third ballot, over William H. Seward, who was his principal competitor. The Democratic convention, which met in Charleston, S. C., broke up after numerous fruitless ballotings, and divided into two sections. The southern half, unable to trust Mr. Douglas with the interests of slavery after his Freeport speech, first adjourned to Richmond, but again joined the other half at Baltimore, where a second disruption took place, after which the southern half nominated John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, and the northern portion nominated Mr. Douglas. John Bell, of Tennessee, was nominated by the so-called Constitutional Union party. Lincoln, therefore, supported by the entire anti-slavery sentiment of the north, gained an easy victory over the three other parties. The election took place on 6 Nov., and when the electoral college cast their votes Lincoln was found to have 180, Breckinridge 72, Bell 39, and Douglas 12. The popular vote stood: for Lincoln 1,866,462; for Douglas, 1,375,157; for Breckinridge, 847,953; for Bell, 590,631.
The extreme partisans of slavery had not even waited for the election of Lincoln, to begin their preparations for an insurrection, and as soon as the result was declared a movement for separation was begun in South Carolina, and it carried along with her the states of Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. A provisional government, styled the “Confederate States of America,” of which Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, was made president, was promptly organized, and seized, with few exceptions, all the posts, arsenals, and public property of the United States within their limits. Confronted by this extraordinary crisis, Mr. Lincoln kept his own counsel, and made no public expression of his intentions or his policy until he was inaugurated on 4 March, 1861.
He called about him a cabinet of the most prominent members of the anti-slavery parties of the nation, giving no preference to any special faction. His secretary of state was William H. Seward, of New York, who had been his principal rival for the nomination, and whose eminence and abilities designated him as the leading member of the administration; the secretary of the treasury was Salmon P. Chase, of Ohio, whose pre-eminence in the west was as unquestioned as Seward's in the east; of war, Simon Cameron, of Pennsylvania, the most influential politician of that state; of the navy, Gideon Welles, of Connecticut; of the interior, Caleb B. Smith, of Indiana; the border slave-states were represented in the government by Edward Bates, of Missouri, attorney-general, and Montgomery Blair, of Maryland, postmaster-general—both of them men of great distinction of character and high standing as lawyers. Seward, Smith, and Bates were of Whig antecedents; all the rest of Democratic. The cabinet underwent, in the course of Mr. Lincoln's term, the following modifications: Sec. Chase, after a brilliant administration of the finances, resigned in 1864 from personal reasons, and was succeeded by William P. Fessenden, of Maine; Sec. Cameron left the war department at the close of the year 1861, and was appointed minister to Russia, and his place was taken by Edwin M. Stanton, a war Democrat of singular energy and vigor, and equal ability and devotion; Sec. Smith, accepting a judgeship, gave way to John P. Usher, of Indiana; Attorney-General Bates resigned in the last year of the administration, and was succeeded by James Speed, of Kentucky; and Postmaster-General Blair about the same time gave way to William Dennison, of Ohio.
In his inaugural address President Lincoln treated the acts of secession as a nullity. He declared the Union perpetual and inviolate, and announced with perfect firmness, though with the greatest moderation of speech and feeling, the intention of the government to maintain its authority and to hold the places under its jurisdiction. He made an elaborate and unanswerable argument against the legality as well as the justice of secession, and further showed, with convincing clearness, that peaceful secession was impossible. “Can aliens make treaties,” he said, “easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to war; you cannot fight always, and when, after much loss on both sides and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions as to terms of intercourse are again upon you.” He pleaded for peace in a strain of equal tenderness and dignity, and in closing he said: “In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have a most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it.” This speech profoundly affected the public opinion of the north; but in the excited state of sentiment that then controlled the south it naturally met only contempt and defiance in that section. A few weeks later the inevitable war began, in an attack upon Fort Sumter by the secessionists of South Carolina under Gen. G. T. Beauregard, and after a long bombardment the fort surrendered on 13 April, 1861. The president instantly called for a force of 75,000 three-months' militiamen, and three weeks later ordered the enlistment of 64,000 soldiers and 18,000 seamen for three years. He set on foot a blockade of the southern ports, and called congress together in special session, choosing for their day of meeting the 4th of July. The remaining states of the south rapidly arrayed themselves on one side or the other; all except Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri were drawn into the secession movement, and the western part of Virginia, adhering to the Union, under the name of West Virginia, separated itself from that ancient commonwealth.
The first important battle of the war took place at Bull Run. near Manassas station, Va., 21 July, 1861, and resulted in the defeat of the National troops under Gen. Irwin McDowell by a somewhat larger force of the Confederates under Gens. Joseph E. Johnston and Beauregard. Though the loss in killed and wounded was not great, and was about the same on both sides, the victory was still one of the utmost importance for the Confederates, and gave them a great increase of prestige on both sides of the Atlantic. They were not, however, able to pursue their advantage. The summer was passed in enlisting, drilling, and equipping a formidable National army on the banks of the Potomac, which was given in charge of Gen. George B. McClellan, a young officer who had distinguished himself by a successful campaign in western Virginia. In spite of the urgency of the government, which was increased by the earnestness of the people and their representatives in congress, Gen. McClellan made no advance until the spring of 1862, when Gen. Johnston, in command of the Confederate army, evacuated the position which, with about 45,000 men, he had held during the autumn and winter against the Army of the Potomac, amounting to about 177,000 effectives. Gen. McClellan then transferred his army to the peninsula between the James and York rivers. Although there was but a force of 16,000 opposed to him when he landed, he spent a month before the works at Yorktown, and when he was prepared to open fire upon them they were evacuated, and Gen. Johnston retreated to the neighborhood of Richmond. The battle of Seven Pines, in which the Confederates, successful in their first attack, were afterward repelled, was fought on 31 May, 1862. Johnston was wounded, and the command devolved upon Gen. Robert E, Lee, who in the latter part of June moved out from his position before Richmond and attacked McClellan's right flank, under Gen. Fitz-John Porter, at Gaines's Mills, north of the Chickahominy. Porter, with one corps, resisted the Confederate army all day with great gallantry, unassisted by the main army under McClellan, but withdrew in the evening, and McClellan at once began his retreat to the James river. Several battles were fought on the way, in which the Confederates were checked; but the retreat continued until the National army reached the James. Taking position at Malvern Hill, they inflicted a severe defeat upon Gen. Lee, but were immediately after withdrawn by Gen. McClellan to Harrison's Landing. Here, as at other times during his career, McClellan labored under a strange hallucination as to the numbers of his enemy. He generally estimated them at not less than twice their actual force, and continually reproached the president for not giving him impossible re-enforcements to equal the imaginary numbers he thought opposed to him. In point of fact, his army was always in excess of that of Johnston or Lee. The continual disasters in the east were somewhat compensated by a series of brilliant successes in the west. In February, 1862, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had captured the Confederate forts Henry and Donelson, thus laying open the great strategic lines of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, and, moving southward, had fought (6 and 7 April) the battle of Shiloh, with unfavorable results on the first day, which were turned to a victory on the second with the aid of Gen. D. C. Buell and his army, a battle in which Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston was killed and the Confederate invasion of Kentucky baffled. Farragut, on 24 April, had won a brilliant naval victory over the twin forts above the mouths of the Mississippi, which resulted in the capture of New Orleans and the control of the lower Mississippi. After Gen. McClellan's retreat to the James, the president visited the army at Harrison's Landing (8 July), and, after careful consultations with the corps commanders, became convinced that in the actual disposition of the officers and the troops there was no reasonable expectation of a successful movement upon Richmond by McClellan. An order was therefore issued for the withdrawal of the army from the James, and, Gen. Halleck having been appointed general-in-chief, Gen. Pope was sent forward from Washington with a small force to delay the Confederate army under Gen. Lee unti1 the Army of the Potomac could arrive and be concentrated to support him. McClellan's movements, however, were so deliberate, and there was such a want of confidence and co-operation on the part of his officers toward Gen. Pope, that the National army met with a decisive defeat on the same battle-field of Bull Run that saw their first disaster. Gen. Pope, disheartened by the lack of sympathy and support that he discerned among the most eminent officers of the Army of the Potomac, retreated upon Washington, and Gen. McClellan, who seemed to be the only officer under whom the army was at the moment willing to serve, was placed in command of it. Gen. Lee, elated with his success, crossed the Potomac, but was met by the army under McClellan at South Mountain and Antietam, and after two days of great slaughter Lee retreated into Virginia.
President Lincoln availed himself of this occasion to give effect to a resolve that had long been maturing in his mind in an act the most momentous in its significance and results that the century has witnessed. For a year and a half he had been subjected to urgent solicitations from the two great political parties of the country, the one side appealing to him to take decided measures against slavery, and the other imploring him to pursue a conservative course in regard to that institution. His deep-rooted detestation of the system of domestic servitude was no secret to any one; but his reverence for the law, his regard for vested interests, and his anxiety to do nothing that should alienate any considerable body of the supporters of the government, had thus far induced him to pursue a middle course between the two extremes. Meanwhile the power of events had compelled a steady progress in the direction of emancipation. So early as August, 1861, congress had passed an act to confiscate the rights of slave-owners in slaves employed in a manner hostile to the Union, and Gen. Frémont had seized the occasion of the passage of this act to issue an order to confiscate and emancipate the slaves of rebels in the state of Missouri. President Lincoln, unwilling, in a matter of such transcendent importance, to leave the initiative to any subordinate, revoked this order, and directed Gen. Frémont to modify it so that it should conform to the confiscation act of congress. This excited violent opposition to the president among the radical anti-slavery men in Missouri and elsewhere, while it drew upon him the scarcely less embarrassing importunities of the conservatives, who wished him to take still more decided ground against the radicals. On 6 March, 1862, he sent a special message to congress inclosing a resolution, the passage of which he recommended, to offer pecuniary aid from the general government to states that should adopt the gradual abolishment of slavery. This resolution was promptly passed by congress; but in none of the slave-states was public sentiment sufficiently advanced to permit them to avail themselves of it. The next month, however, congress passed a law emancipating slaves in the District of Columbia, with compensation to owners, and President Lincoln had the happiness of affixing his signature to a measure that he had many years before, while a representative from Illinois, fruitlessly urged upon the notice of congress. As the war went on, wherever the National armies penetrated there was a constant stream of fugitive slaves from the adjoining regions, and the commanders of each department treated the complicated questions arising from this body of “contrabands”, as they came to be called, in their camps, according to their own judgment of the necessities or the expediencies of each case, a discretion which the president thought best to tolerate. But on 9 May, 1862, Gen. David Hunter, an intimate and esteemed friend of Mr. Lincoln's, saw proper, without consultation with him, to issue a military order declaring all persons theretofore held as slaves in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina forever free. The president, as soon as he received this order, issued a proclamation declaring it void, and reserving to himself the decision of the question whether it was competent for him, as commander-in-chief of the army and navy, to declare the slaves of any state or states free, and whether at any time or in any case it should have become a necessity indispensable to the maintenance of the government to exercise such supposed power, and prohibiting to commanders in the field the decision of such questions. But he added in his proclamation a significant warning and appeal to the slave-holding states, urging once more upon them the policy of emancipation by state action. “I do not argue,” he said; “I beseech you to make the argument for yourselves. You cannot, if you would, be blind to the signs of the times. I beg of you a calm and enlarged consideration of them, ranging, if it may be, far above personal and partisan politics. This proposal makes common cause for a common object, casting no reproaches upon any. . . . Will you not embrace it? So much good has not been done, by one effort, in all past time, as in the providence of God it is now your high privilege to do. May the vast future not have cause to lament that you have neglected it.” He had several times endeavored to bring this proposition before the members of congress from the loyal slave-holding states, and on 12 July he invited them to meet him at the executive mansion, and submitted to them a powerful and urgent appeal to induce their states to adopt the policy of compensated emancipation. Be told them, without reproach or complaint, that he believed that if they had all voted for the resolution in the gradual emancipation message of the preceding March, the war would now have been substantially ended, and that the plan therein proposed was still one of the most potent and swift means of ending it. “Let the states,” he said, “which are in rebellion see definitely and certainly that in no event will the states you represent ever join their proposed confederacy, and they cannot much longer maintain the contest.” While urging this policy upon the conservatives, and while resolved in his own mind upon emancipation by decree as a last resource, he was the subject of vehement attacks from the more radical anti-slavery supporters of the government, to which he replied with unfailing moderation and good temper. Although in July he had resolved upon his course, and had read to his cabinet a draft of a proclamation of emancipation which he had then laid aside for a more fitting occasion (on the suggestion from Mr. Seward that its issue in the disastrous condition of our military affairs would be interpreted as a sign of desperation), he met the reproaches of the radical Republicans, the entreaties of visiting delegations, and the persuasions of his eager friends with arguments showing both sides of the question of which they persisted in seeing only one. To Horace Greeley, on 22 Aug., Mr. Lincoln said: “My paramount object is to save the Union, and not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.” And even so late as 13 Sept. he said to a delegation of a religious society, who were urging immediate action: I do not want to issue a document that the whole world will see must necessarily be inoperative, like the pope's bull against the comet . . . . I view this matter as a practical war measure, to be decided on according to the advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the suppression of the rebellion.” Still, he assured them that he had not decided against a proclamation of liberty to the slaves, but that the matter occupied his deepest thoughts. The retreat of Lee from Maryland after his defeat at Antietam seemed to the president to afford a proper occasion for the execution of his long-matured resolve, and on 22 Sept. he issued his preliminary proclamation, giving notice to the states in rebellion that, on 1 Jan., 1863, all persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of a state, the people whereof should then be in rebellion against the United States, should be then, thenceforward, and forever free. When congress came together on 1 Dec. he urged them to supplement what had already been done by constitutional action, concluding his message with this impassioned appeal: “Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. We—even we here-hold the power and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free—honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just—a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.” It was hardly to be expected, however, that any action would be taken by congress before the lapse of the hundred days that the president had left between his warning and its execution. On 1 Jan., 1863, the final proclamation of emancipation was issued. It recited the preliminary document, and then designated the states in rebellion against the United States. They were Arkansas, Texas, a part of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, excepting certain counties. The proclamation then continued: “I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated states and parts of states are, and henceforward shall be, free; and that the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.” The criticisms and forebodings of the opponents of emancipation had well-nigh been exhausted during the previous three months, and the definitive proclamation was received with general enthusiasm throughout the loyal states. The dissatisfaction with which this important measure was regarded in the border states gradually died away, as did also the opposition in conservative quarters to the enlistment of negro soldiers. Their good conduct, their quick submission to discipline, and their excellent behavior in several battles, rapidly made an end of the prejudice against them; and when, in the winter session of congress of 1863-'4, Mr. Lincoln again urged upon the attention of that body the passage of a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, his proposition met with the concurrence of a majority of congress, though it failed of the necessary two-third vote in the house of representatives. During the following year, however, public opinion made rapid progress, and the influence of the president with congress was largely increased after his triumphant re-election. In his annual message of 6 Dec., 1864, he once more pleaded, this time with irresistible force, in favor of constitutional emancipation in all the states. As there had been much controversy during the year in regard to the president's anti-slavery convictions, and the suggestion had been made in many quarters that, for the sake of peace, he might be induced to withdraw the proclamation, he repeated the declaration made the year before: “While I remain in my present position I shall not attempt to retract or modify the emancipation proclamation; nor shall I return to slavery any person who is free by the terms of that proclamation or by any of the acts of congress. If the people should, by whatever mode or means, make it an executive duty to re-enslave such persons, another, and not I, must be their instrument to perform it.” This time congress acted with alacrity, and on 31 Jan., 1865, proposed to the states the 13th amendment to the constitution, providing that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. The states rapidly adopted the amendment by the action of their legislatures, and the president was especially pleased that his own state of Illinois led the van, having passed the necessary resolution within twenty-four hours. Before the year ended twenty-seven of the thirty-six states (being the necessary three fourths) had ratified the amendment, and President Johnson, on 18 Dec., 1865, officially proclaimed its adoption.
While the energies of the government and of the people were most strenuously occupied with the war and the questions immediately concerning it, the four years of Mr. Lincoln's administration had their full share of complicated and difficult questions of domestic and foreign concern. The interior and post-office departments made great progress in developing the means of communication throughout the country. Mr. Chase, as secretary of the treasury, performed, with prodigious ability and remarkable success, the enormous duties devolving upon him of providing funds to supply the army at an expense amounting at certain periods to $3,000,000 a day; and Mr. Seward, in charge of the state department, held at bay the suppressed hostility of European nations. Of all his cabinet, the president sustained with Mr. Seward relations of the closest intimacy, and for that reason, perhaps, shared more directly in the labors of his department. He revised the first draft of most of Seward's important despatches, and changed and amended their language with remarkable wisdom and skill. He was careful to avoid all sources of controversy or ill-feeling with foreign nations, and when they occurred he did his best to settle them in the interests of peace, without a sacrifice of national dignity. At the end of the year 1861 the friendly relations between England and the United States were seriously threatened by the capture of the Confederate envoys, Mason and Slidell, on board a British merchant-ship. (See WILKES, CHARLES.) Public sentiment approved the capture, and, as far as could be judged by every manifestation in the press and in congress, was in favor of retaining the prisoners and defiantly refusing the demand of England for their return. But when the president, after mature deliberation, decided that the capture was against American precedents, and directed their return to British custody, the second thought of the country was with him. His prudence and moderation were also conspicuously displayed in his treatment of the question of the invasion of Mexico by France, and the establishment by military power of the emperor Maximilian in that country. Accepting as genuine the protestations of the emperor of the French, that he intended no interference with the will of the people of Mexico, he took no measures unfriendly to France or the empire, except those involved in the maintenance of unbroken friendship with the republican government under President Juarez, a proceeding that, although severely criticised by the more ardent spirits in congress, ended, after the president's death, in the triumph of the National party in Mexico and the downfall of the invaders. He left no doubt, however, at any time, in regard to his own conviction that “the safety of the people of the United States and the cheerful destiny to which they aspire are intimately dependent upon the maintenance of free republican institutions throughout Mexico.” He dealt in a sterner spirit with the proposition for foreign mediation that the emperor of the French, after seeking in vain the concurrence of other European powers, at last presented singly at the beginning of 1863. This proposition, under the orders of the president, was declined by Mr. Seward on 6 Feb., in a despatch of remarkable ability and dignity, which put an end to all discussion of overtures of intervention from European powers. The diplomatic relations with England were exceedingly strained at several periods during the war. The building and fitting out of Confederate cruisers in English ports, and their escape, after their construction and its purpose had been made known by the American minister, more than once brought the two nations to the verge of war; but the moderation with which the claims of the United States were made by Mr. Lincoln, the energy and ability displayed by Sec. Seward and by Mr. Charles Francis Adams in presenting these claims, and, it must now be recognized, the candor and honesty with which the matter was treated by Earl Russell, the British minister for foreign affairs, saved the two countries from that irreparable disaster; and the British government at last took such measures as were necessary to put an end to this indirect war from the shores of England upon American commerce. In the course of two years the war attained such proportions that volunteering was no longer a sufficient resource to keep the army, consisting at that time of nearly a million men, at its full fighting strength. Congress therefore authorized, and the departments executed, a scheme of enrolment and draft of the arms-bearing population of the loyal states. Violent opposition arose to this measure in many parts of the country, which was stimulated by the speeches of orators of the opposition, and led, in many instances, to serious breaches of the public peace. A frightful riot, beginning among the foreign population of New York, kept that city in disorder and terror for three days in July, 1863. But the riots were suppressed, the disturbances quieted at last, and the draft was executed throughout the country. Clement L. Vallandigham, of Ohio, one of the most eloquent and influential orators of the Democratic party, was arrested in Ohio by Gen. Burnside for his violent public utterances in opposition to the war, tried by a military court, and sentenced to imprisonment during the continuance of the war. The president changed his sentence to that of transportation within the lines of the rebellion. These proceedings caused a great ferment among his party in Ohio, who, by way of challenge to the government, nominated him for governor of that state. A committee of its prominent politicians demanded from the president his restoration to his political rights, and a correspondence took place between them and the president, in which the rights and powers of the government in case of rebellion were set forth by him with great lucidity and force. His letters exercised an important influence in the political discussions of the year, and Mr. Vallandigham was defeated in his candidacy by John Brough by a majority of 100,000 votes.
The war still continued at a rate that appears rapid enough in retrospect, but seemed slow to the eager spirits watching its course. The disasters of the Army of the Potomac did not end with the removal of Gen. McClellan, which took place in November, 1862, as a consequence of his persistent delay in pursuing Lee's retreating army after the battle of Antietam. Gen. Burnside, who succeeded him, suffered a humiliating defeat in his attack upon the intrenched position of the Confederates at Fredericksburg. Gen. Hooker, who next took command, after opening his campaign by crossing the Rapidan in a march of extraordinary brilliancy, was defeated at Chancellorsville, in a battle where both sides lost severely, and then retired again north of the river. Gen. Lee, leaving the National army on his right flank, crossed the Potomac, and Hooker having, at his own request, been relieved and succeeded by Gen. Meade, the two armies met in a three days' battle at Gettysburg, Pa., where Gen. Lee sustained a decisive defeat, and was driven back into Virginia. His flight from Gettysburg began on the evening of the 4th of July, a day that in this year doubled its lustre as a historic anniversary. For on this day Vicksburg, the most important Confederate stronghold in the west, surrendered to Gen. Grant. He had spent the early months of 1863 in successive attempts to take that fortress, all of which had failed; but on the last day of April he crossed the river at Grand Gulf, and within a few clays fought the successful battles of Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hills, and the Big Black river, and shut np the army of Pemberton in close siege in the city of Vicksburg, which he finally captured with about 30,000 men on the 4th of July.
The speech that Mr. Lincoln delivered at the dedication of the National cemetery on the battlefield of Gettysburg, 19 Nov., 1863, was at once recognized as the philosophy in brief of the whole great struggle, and has already become classic. There are slightly differing versions; the one that is here given is a literal transcript of the speech as he afterward wrote it out for a fair in Baltimore:
“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Gen. Grant was transferred to Chattanooga, where, in November, with the troops of Thomas, Hooker, and Sherman, he won the important victory of Missionary Ridge; and then, being appointed lieutenant-general and general-in-chief of the armies of the United States, he went to Washington and entered upon the memorable campaign of 1864. This campaign began with revived hopes on the part of the government, the people, and the army. The president, glad that the army had now at its head a general in whose ability and enterprise he could thoroughly confide, ceased from that moment to exercise any active influence on its movements. He wrote, on 30 April, to Gen. Grant: “The particulars of your plans I neither know nor seek to know. You are vigilant and self-reliant, and, pleased with this, I wish not to obtrude any constraints or restraints upon you. . . . If there is anything wanting which is in my power to give, do not fail to let me know it. And now, with a brave army and a just cause, may God sustain you.” Grant crossed the Rapidan on 4 May, intending to move by the right flank of Gen. Lee; but the two armies came together in a gloomy forest called the Wilderness, where, from the 5th to the 7th of May, one of the most sanguinary battles known to modern warfare was fought. Neither side having gained any decisive advantage in this deadly struggle, Grant moved to the left, and Lee met him again at Spottsylvania Court-House, where for ten days a series of destructive contests took place, in which both sides were alternately successful. Still moving to the left, Grant again encountered the enemy at the crossing of North Anna river, and still later at Cold Harbor, a few miles northeast of Richmond, where, assaulting Gen. Lee's army in a fortified position, he met with a bloody repulse. He then crossed the James river, intending by a rapid movement to seize Petersburg and the Confederate lines of communication south of Richmond, but was baffled in this purpose, and forced to enter upon a regular siege of Petersburg, which occupied the summer and autumn. While these operations were in progress, Gen. Philip H. Sheridan had made one of the most brilliant cavalry raids in the war, threatening Richmond and defeating the Confederate cavalry under Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, and killing that famous leader. While Grant lay before Richmond, Gen. Lee, hoping to induce him to attack his works, despatched a force under Gen. Early to threaten Washington; but Grant sent two corps of his army northward, and Early—after a sharp skirmish under the fortifications of Washington, where Mr. Lincoln was personally present—was driven back through the Shenandoah valley, and on two occasions, in September and October, was signally defeated by Gen. Sheridan.
Gen. William T. Sherman, who had been left in command of the western district formerly commanded by Grant, moved southward at the same time that Grant crossed the Rapidan. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, one of the ablest of the Confederate generals, retired gradually before him, defending himself at every halt with the greatest skill and address; but his movements not proving satisfactory to the Richmond government, he was removed, and Gen. John B. Hood appointed in his place. After a summer of hard fighting, Sherman, on 1 Sept., captured Atlanta, one of the chief manufacturing and railroad centres of the south, and later in the autumn organized and executed a magnificent march to the seaboard, which proved that the military power of the Confederacy had been concentrated at a few points on the frontier, and that the interior was little more than an empty shell. He reached the sea-coast early in December, investing Savannah on the 10th, and capturing the city on the 21st. He then marched northward with the intention of assisting Gen. Grant in the closing scenes of the war. The army under Gen. George H. Thomas, who had been left in Tennessee to hold Hood in check while this movement was going on, after severely handling the Confederates in the preliminary battle of Franklin, 30 Nov., inflicted upon Hood a crushing and final defeat in the battle of Nashville, 16 Dec., routing and driving him from the state.
During the summer, while Grant was engaged in the desperate and indecisive series of battles that marked his southward progress in Virginia, and Sherman had not yet set out upon his march to the sea, one of the most ardent political canvasses the country had ever seen was in progress at the north. Mr. Lincoln, on 8 June, had been unanimously renominated for the presidency by the Republican convention at Baltimore. The Democratic leaders had postponed their convention to a date unusually late, in the hope that some advantage might be reaped from the events of the summer. The convention came together on 29 Aug. in Chicago. Mr. Vallandigham, who had returned from his banishment, and whom the government had sagaciously declined to rearrest, led the extreme peace party in the convention. Prominent politicians of New York were present in the interest of Gen. McClellan. Both sections of the convention gained their point. Gen. McClellan was nominated for the presidency, and Mr. Vallandigham succeeded in imposing upon his party a platform declaring that the war had been a failure, and demanding a cessation of hostilities. The capture of Atlanta on the day the convention adjourned seemed to the Unionists a providential answer to the opposition. Republicans, who had been somewhat disheartened by the slow progress of military events and by the open and energetic agitation that the peace party had continued through the summer at the north, now took heart again, and the canvass proceeded with the greatest spirit to the close. Sheridan's victory over Early in the Shenandoah valley gave an added impulse to the general enthusiasm, and in the October elections it was shown that the name of Mr. Lincoln was more popular, and his influence more powerful, than any one had anticipated. In the election that took place on 8 Nov., 1864, he received 2,216,000 votes, and Gen. McClellan 1,800,000. The difference in the electoral vote was still greater, Mr. Lincoln being supported by 212 of the presidential electors, while only 21 voted for McClellan.
President Lincoln's second inaugural address, delivered on 4 March, 1865, will forever remain not only one of the most remarkable of all his public utterances, but will also hold a high rank among the greatest state papers that history has preserved. As he neared the end of his career, and saw plainly outlined before him the dimensions of the vast moral and material success that the nation was about to achieve, his thoughts, always predisposed to an earnest and serious view of life, assumed a fervor and exaltation like that of the ancient seers and prophets. The speech that he delivered to the vast concourse at the eastern front of the capitol is the briefest of all the presidential addresses in our annals; but it has not its equal in lofty eloquence and austere morality. The usual historical view of the situation, the ordinary presentment of the intentions of the government, seemed matters too trivial to engage the concern of a mind standing, as Lincoln's apparently did at this moment, face to face with the most tremendous problems of fate and moral responsibility. In the briefest words he announced what had been the cause of the war, and how the government had hoped to bring it to an earlier close. With passionless candor he admitted that neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration it had attained. “Each looked for an easier triumph and a result less fundamental and astounding”; and, passing into a strain of rhapsody, which no lesser mind and character could ever dare to imitate, he said: “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes his aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces. But let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes. ‘Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh.’ If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offences, which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both north and south this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three years ago, so still it must be said, ‘The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’ With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan—to do all which may and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.”
The triumphant election of Mr. Lincoln, no less than the steady progress of the National armies, convinced some of the more intelligent of the southern leaders that their cause was hopeless, and that it would be prudent to ascertain what terms of peace could be made before the utter destruction of their military power. There had been already several futile attempts at opening negotiations; but they had all failed of necessity, because neither side was willing even to consider the only terms that the other side would offer. There had never been a moment when Mr. Lincoln would have been willing to receive propositions of peace on any other basis than the recognition of the national integrity, and Mr. Davis steadfastly refused to the end to admit the possibility of the restoration of the national authority, In July, certain unauthorized persons in Canada, having persuaded Horace Greeley that negotiations might be opened through them with the Confederate authorities, Mr. Lincoln despatched him to Niagara Falls, and sent an open letter addressed, “To whom it may concern” (see illustration). It is in the possession of Mr. William H. Appleton, of New York, and now appears in fac-simile for the first time. This document put an end to the negotiation. The Confederate emissaries in Canada, and their principals in Richmond, made no use of this incident except to employ the president's letter as a text for denunciation of the National government, But later in the year, the hopelessness of the struggle having become apparent to some of the Confederate leaders, Mr. Davis was at last induced to send an embassy to Fortress Monroe, to inquire what terms of adjustment were possible. They were met by President Lincoln and the secretary of state in person. The plan proposed was one that had been suggested, on his own responsibility, by Mr. Francis Preston Blair, of Washington, in an interview he had been permitted to hold with Mr. Davis in Richmond, that the two armies should unite in a campaign against the French in Mexico for the enforcement of the Monroe doctrine, and that the issues of the war should be postponed for future settlement. The president declined peremptorily to entertain this scheme, and repeated again the only conditions to which he could listen: The restoration of the national authority throughout all the states, the maintenance and execution of all the acts of the general government in regard to slavery, the cessation of hostilities, and the disbanding of the insurgent forces as a necessary prerequisite to the ending of the war. The Confederate agents reported at Richmond the failure of their embassy, and Mr. Davis denounced the conduct of President Lincoln in a public address full of desperate defiance. Nevertheless, it was evident even to the most prejudiced observers that the war could not continue much longer. Sherman's march had demonstrated the essential weakness of the Confederate cause; the soldiers of the Confederacy—who for four years, with the most stubborn gallantry, had maintained a losing fight—began to show signs of dangerous discouragement and insubordination; recruiting had ceased some time before, and desertion was going on rapidly. The army of Gen. Lee, which was the last bulwark of the Confederacy, still held its lines stoutly against the gradually enveloping lines of Grant; but their valiant commander knew it was only a question of how many days he could hold his works, and repeatedly counselled the government at Richmond to evacuate that city, and allow the army to take up a more tenable position in the mountains. Gen. Grant's only anxiety each morning was lest he should find the army of Gen. Lee moving away from him, and late in March he determined to strike the final blow at the rebellion. Moving for the last time by the left flank, his forces under Sheridan fought and gained a brilliant victory over the Confederate left at Five Forks, and at the same time Gens. Humphreys, Wright, and Parke moved against the Confederate works, breaking their lines and capturing many prisoners and guns. Petersburg was evacuated on 2 April. The Confederate government fled from Richmond the same afternoon and evening, and Grant, pursuing the broken and shattered remnant of Lee's army, received their surrender at Appomattox Court-House on 9 April. About 28,000 Confederates signed the parole, and an equal number had been killed, captured, and dispersed in the operations immediately preceding the surrender. Gen. Sherman, a few days afterward, received the surrender of Johnston, and the last Confederate army, under Gen. Kirby Smith, west of the Mississippi, laid down its arms.
President Lincoln had himself accompanied the army in its last triumphant campaign, and had entered Richmond immediately after its surrender, receiving the cheers and benedictions, not only of the negroes whom he had set free, but of a great number of white people, who were weary of the war, and welcomed the advent of peace. Returning to Washington with his mind filled with plans for the restoration of peace and orderly government throughout the south, he seized the occasion of a serenade, on 11 April, to deliver to the people who gathered in front of the executive mansion his last speech on public affairs, in which he discussed with unusual dignity and force the problems of reconstruction, then crowding upon public consideration. As his second inaugural was the greatest of all his rhetorical compositions, so this brief political address, which closed his public career, is unsurpassed among his speeches for clearness and wisdom, and for a certain tone of gentle but unmistakable authority, which shows to what a mastery of statecraft he had attained. He congratulated the country upon the decisive victories of the last week; he expressly asserted that, although he had been present in the final operations, “no part of the honor, for plan or execution, was his”; and then, with equal boldness and discretion, announced the principles in accordance with which he should deal with the restoration of the states. He refused to be provoked into controversy, which he held would be purely academic, over the question whether the insurrectionary states were in or out of the Union. “As appears to me,” he said, “that question has not been, nor yet is, a practically material one, and any discussion of it, while it thus remains practically immaterial, could have no effect other than the mischievous one of dividing our friends. As yet, whatever it may hereafter become, that question is bad, as the basis of a controversy, and good for nothing at all—a merely pernicious abstraction. We all agree that the seceded states, so-called, are out of their proper practical relation with the Union, and that the sole object of the government, civil and military, in regard to those states, is to again get them into that proper practical relation. I believe it is not only possible, but in fact easier, to do this without deciding, or even considering, whether these states have ever been out of the Union than with it. Finding themselves safely at home, it would be utterly immaterial whether they had ever been abroad. Let us all join in doing the acts necessary to restoring the proper practical relations between these states and the Union, and each forever after innocently indulge his own opinion whether in doing the acts he brought the states from without into the Union, or only gave them proper assistance, they never having been out of it.” In this temper he discussed the recent action of the Unionists of Louisiana, where 12,000 voters had sworn allegiance, giving his full approval to their course, but not committing himself to any similar method in other cases; “any exclusive and inflexible plan would surely become a new entanglement . . . . If we reject and spurn them, we do our utmost to disorganize and disperse them. We, in effect, say to the white men, ‘You are worthless or worse, we will neither help you, nor be helped by you.’ To the blacks we say, ‘This cup of liberty which these, your old masters, hold to your lips, we will dash from you and leave you to the chances of gathering the spilled and scattered contents in some vague and undefined when, where, and how’. . . . If, on the contrary, we sustain the new government of Louisiana, the converse is made true. Concede that it is only to what it should be as the egg is to the fowl, we shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it.” These words were the last he uttered in public; on 14 April, at a cabinet meeting, he developed these views in detail, and found no difference of opinion among his advisers. The same evening he attended a performance of “Our American Cousin” at Ford's theatre, in Tenth street. He was accompanied by Mrs. Lincoln and two friends—Miss Harris, a daughter of Senator Ira Harris, of New York, and Maj.Henry R. Rathbone. In the midst of the play a shot was heard, and a man was seen to leap from the president's box to the stage. Brandishing a dripping knife, with which, after shooting the president, he had stabbed Maj. Rathbone, and shouting, “Sic semper tyrannis!—the south is avenged!” he rushed to the rear of the building, leaped upon a horse, which was held there in readiness for him, and made his escape. The president was carried to a small house on the opposite side of the street, where, surrounded by his family and the principal officers of the government, he breathed his last at 7 o'clock on the morning of 15 April. The assassin was found by a squadron of troops twelve days afterward, and shot in a barn in which he had taken refuge. The illustration on page 722 represents the house where Mr. Lincoln passed away. The body of the president lay in state at the Capitol on 20 April and was viewed by a great concourse of people; the next day the funeral train set out for Springfield, Ill. The cortege halted at all the principal cities on the way, and the remains of the president lay in state in Baltimore, Harrisburgh, Philadelphia, New York, Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, and Chicago, being received everywhere with extraordinary demonstrations of respect and sorrow. The joy over the return of peace was for a fortnight eclipsed by the universal grief for the dead leader. He was buried, amid the mourning of the whole nation, at Oak Ridge, near Springfield, on 4 May, and there on 15 Oct., 1874, an imposing monument—the work of the sculptor Larkin G. Mead—was dedicated to his memory. The monument is of white marble, with a portrait-statue of Lincoln in bronze, and four bronze groups at the corners, representing the infantry, cavalry, and artillery arms of the service and the navy. (See accompanying illustration.)
The death of President Lincoln, in the moment of the great national victory that he had done more than any other to gain, caused a movement of sympathy throughout the world. The expressions of grief and condolence that were sent to the government at Washington, from national, provincial, and municipal bodies all over the globe, were afterward published by the state department in a quarto volume of nearly a thousand pages, called “The Tribute of the Nations to Abraham Lincoln.” After the lapse of twenty years, the high estimate of him that the world appears instinctively to have formed at the moment of his death seems to have been increased rather than diminished, as his participation in the great events of his time has been more thoroughly studied and understood. His goodness of heart, his abounding charity, his quick wit and overflowing humor, which made him the hero of many true stories and a thousand legends, are not less valued in themselves; but they are cast in the shade by the evidences that continually appear of his extraordinary qualities of mind and of character. His powerful grasp of details, his analytic capacity, his unerring logic, his perception of human nature, would have made him unusual in any age of the world, while the quality that, in the opinion of many, made him the specially fitted agent of Providence in the salvation of the country, his absolute freedom from prejudice or passion in weighing the motives of his contemporaries and the deepest problems of state gives him pre-eminence even among the illustrious men that have preceded and followed him in his great office. Simple and modest as he was in his demeanor, he was one of the most self-respecting of rulers. Although his kindness of heart was proverbial, although he was always glad to please and unwilling to offend, few presidents have been more sensible of the dignity of their office, and more prompt to maintain it against encroachments. He was at all times unquestionably the head of the government, and, though not inclined to interfere with the routine business of the departments, he tolerated no insubordination in important matters. At one time, being conscious that there was an effort inside of his government to force the resignation of one of its members, he read in open cabinet a severe reprimand of what was going on, mentioning no names, and ordering peremptorily that no questions should be asked, and no allusions be made to the incident then or thereafter. He did not except his most trusted friends or his most powerful generals from this strict subordination. When Mr. Seward went before him to meet the Confederate envoys at Hampton Roads, Mr. Lincoln gave him this written injunction: “You will not assume to definitely consummate anything”; and, on 3 March, 1865, when Gen. Grant was about to set out on his campaign of final victory, the secretary of war gave him, by the president's order, this imperative instruction: “The president directs me to say to you that he wishes you to have no conference with Gen. Lee, unless it be for the capitulation of Gen. Lee's army, or on some other minor and purely military matter. He instructs me to say that you are not to decide, discuss, or to confer upon any political question. Such questions the president holds in his own hands, and will submit them to no military conferences or conventions. Meanwhile, you are to press to the utmost your military advantages.” When he refused to comply with the desire of the more radical Republicans in congress to take Draconian measures of retaliation against the Confederates for their treatment of black soldiers, he was accused by them of weakness and languor. They never seemed to perceive that to withstand an angry congress in Washington required more vigor of character than to launch a threatening decree against the Confederate government in Richmond. Mr. Lincoln was as unusual in personal appearance as in character. His stature was almost gigantic, six feet and four inches; he was muscular but spare of frame, weighing about 180 pounds. His hair was strong and luxuriant in growth, and stood out straight from his head; it began to be touched with gray in his last years. His eyes, a grayish brown, were deeply set, and were filled, in repose, with an expression of profound melancholy, which easily changed to one of uproarious mirth at the provocation of a humorous anecdote, told by himself or another. His nose was long and slightly curved, his mouth large and singularly mobile. Up to the time of his election he was clean-shaven, but during his presidency the fine outline of his face was marred by a thin and straggling beard. His demeanor was, in general, extremely simple and careless, but he was not without a native dignity that always protected him from anything like presumption or impertinence.
Mr. Lincoln married, on 4 Nov., 1842, Miss Mary Todd, daughter of Robert S. Todd, of Kentucky. There were born of this marriage four sons. One, Edward Baker, died in infancy; another, William Wallace, died at the age of twelve, during the presidency of Mr. Lincoln; and still another, Thomas, at the age of eighteen, several years after his father's death. The only one that grew to maturity was his eldest son, Robert. The house in which Mr. Lincoln lived when he was elected president, in Springfield, Ill., was conveyed to the state of Illinois in 1887 by his son, and a collection of memorials of him is to be preserved there perpetually. (See illustration on page 717.)
There were few portraits of Mr. Lincoln painted in his lifetime; the vast number of engravings that have made his face one of the most familiar of all time have been mostly copied from photographs. The one on page 715 is from a photograph taken in 1858. There are portraits from life by Frank B. Carpenter, by Matthew Wilson, by Thomas Hicks, and an excellent crayon drawing by Barry. Since his death G. P. A. Healy, William Page, and others have painted portraits of him. There are two authentic life-masks: one made in 1858 by Leonard W. Volk (see illustration on page 723), who also executed a bust of Mr. Lincoln before his election in 1860, and another by Clark Mills shortly before the assassination. There are already a number of statues: one by Henry Kirke Brown in Union square, New York (see page 720); another by the same artist in Brooklyn; one in the group called “Emancipation,'” by Thomas Ball, in Lincoln Park, Washington, D. C., a work which has especial interest as having been paid for by the contributions of the freed people; one by Mrs. Vinnie Ream Hoxie in the Capitol; one by Augustus St. Gaudens in Chicago, set up in Chicago, 22 Oct., 1887; and one by Randolph Rogers in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia (see illustration on page 721). There is a bust by Thomas D. Jones, modelled from life in 1860.
The Lincoln bibliography is enormous, comprising thousands of volumes. See John Russell Bartlett's “Catalogue of Books and Pamphlets relating to the Civil War in the United States” (Boston, 1866). The most noteworthy of the lives of Lincoln already published are those of Joseph H. Barrett (Cincinnati, 1865); Henry J. Raymond (New York, 1865); Josiah G. Holland (Springfield, Mass., 1866); Ward H. Lamon (only the first volume, Boston, 1872); William O. Stoddard (New York, 1884); and Isaac N. Arnold (Chicago, 1885). Briefer lives have also been written by Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, William D. Howells, Carl Schurz, Charles G. Leland, John Carroll Power, and others. The most complete and exhaustive work upon his life and times appeared in the “Century” magazine, written by his private secretaries, John G. Nicolay and John Hay (reissued in 10 vols., New York, 1890). The same authors prepared a complete edition of all his writings, speeches, and letters (2 vols., 1894).—His wife, Mary Todd, b. in Lexington, Ky., 12 Dec., 1818; d. in Springfield, Ill.. 16 July, 1882, was the daughter of Robert S. Todd, whose family were among the most influential of the pioneers of Kentucky and Illinois. Her great-uncle, John Todd, was one of the associates of Gen. George Rogers Clark, in his campaign of 1778, and took part in the capture of Kaskaskia and Vincennes. Being appointed county lieutenant by Patrick Henry, at that time governor of Virginia, he organized the civil government of what became afterward the state of Illinois. He was killed in the battle of Blue Licks, 18 Aug., 1782, of which his brother Levi, Mrs. Lincoln's grandfather, who also accompanied Clark's expedition as a lieutenant, was one of the few survivors. Mary Todd was carefully educated in Lexington. When twenty-one years of age she went to Springfield to visit her sister, who had married Ninian W. Edwards, a son of Ninian Edwards, governor of the state. While there she became engaged to Mr. Lincoln, whom she married, 4 Nov., 1842. Her family was divided by the civil war; several of them were killed in battle; and, devoted as Mrs. Lincoln was to her husband and the National cause, this division among her nearest kindred caused her much suffering. The death of her son, William Wallace, in 1862, was an enduring sorrow to her. One of her principal occupations was visiting the hospitals and camps of the soldiers about Washington. She never recovered from the shock of seeing her husband shot down before her eyes; her youngest son, Thomas, died a few years later, and her reason suffered from these repeated blows. She lived in strict retirement during her later years, spending part of her time with her son in Chicago, a part in Europe, and the rest with her sister, Mrs. Edwards, in Springfield, where she died of paralysis. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, pp. 715-727.
Chapter: “The Lincoln and Douglas Debate,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1872:
The defection of Mr. Douglas on the Lecompton issue produced a profound impression. It became an important fact in those political complications and that general break-up it her alded, and of which it was a signal example. The prominent part he had taken in the strife, his undoubted ability, his influence with the party, his past unquestioning adhesion to Southern interests, and his uncompromising denunciation of all who refused the same, especially of those who based their refusal on conscientious scruples, all pointed to him as, of all others, the one to lead the Democratic hosts, as unblushingly, and without concealment, they were fighting the battles of the Slave Power. For him to falter then, who had never faltered before, just, too, as the last and final assault on the citadel of freedom was to be made, was well calculated to send consternation into the camp where he had hitherto been so potent and so much at home. Nor did the reasons that impelled his course mend the matter. His plea of consistency and his mode of putting it were more damaging still. Having overthrown the Missouri compromise on the plea of “popular sovereignty," he contended that they could, with no show of reason, support the Lecompton constitution, which completely ignored such sovereignty by imposing a constitution on a people in the formation of which they had had no voice and to which they were unalterably opposed. And then the well-understood fact that Mr. Douglas hesitated to support this new and advanced position, because he felt that on it he could not carry his State, and that it would imperil his re-election to the Senate, was vastly significant. If Mr. Douglas, with his acknowledged influence, could not carry Illinois, with its admitted Southern proclivities, on the new issue, the slave propagandists might well tremble for the result in other Northern States where the conditions were less favorable.
During the anti-Lecompton struggle of the first session of the XXXVth Congress, Mr. Douglas held frequent consultations at his rooms with leading Republicans, with a view of defeating the constitution then before that body. So emphatic were his declarations that Colfax, Burlingame, Wilson, and other members of both the Senate and the House, were led to believe him to be in earnest, and that he would be practically fighting their battles in the coming Presidential contest. His repeated declarations that he was fully committed to fight the thing to the end, that he had " checked his baggage and taken a through ticket " with the belief that he would be re-elected in any event, led several of the Republicans to look with favor upon his return to the Senate, in the confident expectation that it would tend to divide and disrupt the Democratic party and aid in the election of their candidate for the Presidency. They consequently counselled their Illinois brethren to either aid in electing a legislature, or at least allow one to be chosen, favorable to Mr. Douglas. But the action of the Illinois State Democratic convention in April, in its indorsement of Mr. Douglas, weakened their confidence, and they became less inclined to such a policy, and were ready, on Mr. Lincoln's nomination, to give the latter their sympathy and good-will.
Mr. Greeley, in his "American Conflict," thus expresses the idea: " Senator Douglas had taken so prominent and so efficient a part in the defeat of the Lecompton abomination, that a number of the leading Republicans of other States were desirous that their Illinois brethren should unite in choosing a legislature pledged to return him, by a vote substantially unanimous, to the seat he had so ably filled." Desirous of breaking the iron rule of the Democratic party, so long wielded, and with such terrible effect, by the Slave Power, they not unnaturally felt that no voice and no arm could be more potent in producing such a result than the voice and arm of Mr. Doug las, if triumphantly returned to his place in the Senate by the aid of Republican support. The Republicans of Illinois could not, however, be persuaded to make such a sacrifice of personal and political feeling. “But it was hardly in human nature," says Mr. Greeley, " that those appealed to should, because of one good act, recognize and treat as a friend one whom they had known for nearly twenty years as the ablest, most indefatigable, and by no means the most scrupulous, of their adversaries." They accordingly put in nomination Abraham Lincoln, and thus inaugurated a political canvass that at once arrested the attention of the nation, and which has become historic.
Both were strong and able men. Each, conscious of his own strength, was perhaps no less aware of that of the other; and they entered upon the conflict with a purpose that allowed no room for parleying or retreat. Both, too, were representative men, -- the one of the old regime that was soon to pass away ; the other, if not the coming man, to be the leader of the coming party, which was destined to sweep the country, defeat the Democratic party, and dry up the sources of its long-continued ascendency. Like David and Goliah, who, while their respective hosts were confronting each other on the opposite sides of the valley of Elah, went forth to single combat, they for the time being were the champions of the forces of freedom and slavery, gathering for the mighty struggle that was to convulse the country and involve the nation in a long and bloody war. While Mr. Douglas so far defied the armies of the living God as to ignore entirely the moral character of slavery, ostentatiously and in almost every conceivable form expressing his indifference whether it was “voted up or voted down," Mr. Lincoln made everywhere prominent his condemnation of the system, because it was WRONG, a sin against both God and man. The former, rep resenting the brute force of the nation, proclaimed as the only criterion of his chosen policy what the popular voice indorsed; the other, relying ostensibly at least on the righteousness of his cause, proclaimed the great doctrines of human rights, and appealed to the moral convictions of the people.
Both were expert and adroit, and made the most of any advantage their position afforded them. Mr. Douglas, in his determination to champion the slaveholding interest and retain his hold upon the slaveholding vote, knew that he was putting at hazard his Northern support and going counter to the moral convictions and traditional principles of the free States. He sought, therefore, to justify his course by openly pandering to the prejudice against color, so strong in Illinois, and by constantly referring to his new doctrine of popular sovereignty, and by ringing all possible changes upon this specious and sounding dogma. Mr. Lincoln, on the other hand, in his advocacy of the antislavery principles of the Republican platform, as if aware of their great advance beyond what had hitherto been the accepted principles of the national parties, perhaps of his own political action, made much of the fact that his were but the sentiments of the fathers, and that he only claimed what they fully and freely admitted.
Though what was distinctively called the Lincoln and Douglas debate was confined to seven joint discussions in different sections of the State, and took place on and after the 21st of August, the two candidates had already spoken several times. They were both in earnest, and their purpose was to convince and convert their hearers. Neither was in any mood to sacrifice sense to sound, or to imperil his cause by any de sire to amuse or gratify love of novelty and fine speaking. There would naturally be variety, as such men went from place to place, and gave utterance to their views with that exuberance of feeling generated by the heated canvass in which they were engaged and the answering enthusiasm of the thronging crowds who gathered before them. By the terms of the agreement each debate was to be restricted to three hours, each speaker alternately occupying the opening hour; the other in reply occupying an hour and a half, the first using up the remaining half by way of final rejoinder. This plan necessitated variety. The stimulus afforded by the occasion, the crowd, the stake, the presence of his antagonist to rebut, if possible, every argument, traverse every statement, and criticize both the matter and manner of what each one said, would necessarily evolve new thoughts, new illustrations, new forms of expression, scintillations only, it might be, thrown off by the rapid evolutions within, but sparkling and attracting attention, nevertheless. And yet the speeches themselves were respectively and substantially, almost confessedly so, the same, with the same leading thoughts, principles, and arguments. If the framework, the skeleton, were not always the same, the materials of which they were composed differed but slightly. The form, the dress varied, but the substance was mainly identical. Like the kaleidoscope, which, when turned, presents the same objects in new combinations, so the speeches of these distinguished men, though seemingly quite different in form and expression, when examined closely and analyzed with care, are found to be made up of materials essentially alike.
Mr. Lincoln was nominated for United States Senator, at Springfield, on the 17th of June, 1858. After the nomination had been tendered him, he addressed the convention in a speech of singular significance and effectiveness. Brief, terse, and strong, bristling with points, most forcibly and felicitously expressed, it not only enunciated the great doc trines of the Republican Party, but it indicated with unmistakable signs that the speaker himself was an extraordinary man. His very first paragraph, without exordium or any personal allusion, betokened his earnestness, his singleness of purpose, and his thorough grasp of the great subject he had in hand : " If we could first know where we are and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of put ting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.' I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved. I do not expect the house to fall. But I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, until it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as South."
It is said that great and new thoughts, as well as important discoveries, oftentimes spring up simultaneously in different minds or reward the search of different individuals. And more, that they seem to be developed according to some law of Providence by which they are withheld till the world is ready for them, and then come just when and where they are needed and fall into the very niche provided. It is a somewhat striking coincidence that this new thought, that the Union could not endure " half slave and half free," was put forth by Mr. Seward, but a short time afterward, in his Rochester speech, in a like terse and apothegmatic form, and which at once became proverbial. Alluding to the “antagonistic systems" of freedom and slavery, and to the “collisions” that were resulting therefrom, he thus asked and answered the question: "Shall I tell you what this collision means? They who think it is accidental, unnecessary, the work of interested and fanatical agitators, and therefore ephemeral, mistake the case altogether. It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces; and it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slaveholding nation or entirely a free-labor nation."
Having enunciated the great truth of the inevitable tendency of the nation to be “all slave or all free," Mr. Lincoln proceeded to point out the evidences that the tendency then was to make the nation "all slave," by the workings of what he describes as that "almost complete legal combination-piece of machinery, so to speak, -- compounded of the Nebraska doctrine and the Dred Scott decision." Tracing with masterly and forensic skill the progress already made towards the well-defined and determined policy of making slavery no longer sectional but national, he said the only remaining thing to be accomplished was " to educate and mold public opinion at least, Northern public opinion -- not to care whether slavery is voted down or voted up." With this effected, and “another Supreme Court decision declaring that the Constitution does not permit a State to exclude slavery from its limits, ....we shall lie down pleasantly dreaming that the people of Missouri are on the verge of making their State free, and we shall awake to the reality, instead, that the Supreme Court has made Illinois a slave State "; and " all this will be upon us," he added, "unless the power of the present political dynasty can be met and overthrown." He closed with the expression of his confidence that the omens were auspicious and that ultimate success was sure. “Wise counsels," he said, “may accelerate or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure to come."
On the evening of July 9, Mr. Douglas addressed a mass meeting in Chicago, when he made formal reply to the above, in connection with a defence of his own course upon the Lecompton issue. The latter he based upon the great doctrine of popular sovereignty, which forbade the forcing upon Kansas of a constitution against the clearly expressed will of her people, though he was careful to add that the fact that " slavery is an evil "had no place in his argument. Referring to Mr. Lincoln's speech as containing the basis on which he proposed to carry on the campaign, he said: “In it he lays down two distinct propositions which I shall notice, and upon which I shall take a direct and bold issue with him." The first of these propositions was what Mr. Lincoln had said on the “divided house." Holding up Mr. Lincoln's expectations as synonymous with his advocacy, he said, as, if correctly interpreting, though grossly misrepresenting, the language employed: " In other words, Mr. Lincoln advocates boldly and clearly a war of sections, a war of the North against the South, of the free States against the slave States,-- a war of extermination, --to be continued relentlessly until the one or the other shall be subdued, and all the States shall either become free or become slave." Against this exaggerated and really false view he interposed for reply that there was no necessary incompatibility between free and slave States in the same Union; that the fathers so constructed it, fully knowing that, though " the laws and domestic institutions which would suit the granite hills of New Hampshire would be totally unfit for the rice plantations of South Carolina," they could belong to the same federation of States. Indeed, he contended that in this "diversity, dissimilarity, and variety, lay the great safeguard of our liberties."
The other proposition to which he took exception was what he styled Mr. Lincoln's “crusade against the Supreme Court of the United States on account of the Dred Scott decision." After affirming, and elaborating the affirmation into various forms of expression, that he accepted as “final" "the decision of the highest tribunal known to the Constitution," he proceeded to controvert the reasons assigned by Mr. Lincoln for his objection to the decision that it denied citizenship to the African race. Among other utterances was this: “I am free to say to you that in my opinion this government of ours is founded on a white basis. It was made by the white man, for the benefit of the white man, to be administered by white men in such manner as they should determine." Affirming that the issues between himself and Mr. Lincoln were “direct, unequivocal, and irreconcilable," and that he stood on the same platform he had always proclaimed, he said: " Fellow citizens, you now have before you the outlines of the propositions which I intend to discuss before the people of Illinois during the pending campaign."
The discussion was generally conducted with dignity and gentlemanly decorum. Though both had occasion to express themselves strongly, they seldom failed to exhibit the amenities of professional courtesy and good-breeding, though in several personal rencounters, when calling each other to strict account for alleged misstatements and misrepresentations of themselves or friends, they seemed on the very verge of indecorous and unparliamentary language. But, with a few seeming exceptions, they maintained a gallant and knightly bearing towards each other, with a bold and fearless utterance of their real sentiments, though they sometimes knew that they were very offensive to the audiences they addressed. Douglas was audacious and defiant, Lincoln was calm and unimpassioned; the former impulsive and easily nettled, the latter, though equally in earnest, good-natured, and always ready with a story, anecdote, or quaint expression, to excite a smile and restore good-humor.
It would be easy to pick up, scattered through these debates, not a few memorabilia, fine specimens of that peculiar style, that marvellous way of putting things, that subsequently characterized Mr. Lincoln's papers ; that versatility in matter and manner, as, changing
“From grave to gay, from lively to severe,"
he enunciated now the sublimest thoughts in the most appropriate language, and now, with most fitting words, gave expression to the keenest irony and mirth-provoking drollery. As an example of the former was his reply, at Alton, to the question, "Is slavery wrong?” "That," he said, "is the real issue. That is the issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between those two principles right and wrong throughout the world. They are two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time, and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings." In his speech at Springfield he said: “Judge Doug las is going back to the era of the Revolution, and, to the extent of his ability, muzzling the cannon which thunders its annual joyous return. When he invites any people willing to have slavery to establish it, he is blowing out the moral lights around us. When he says he cares not whether slavery is voted down or voted up,' that it is a sacred right of self-government, he is, in my judgment, penetrating the human soul, and eradicating the light of reason and the love of liberty in this American people."
As specimens of his irony and good-humor, there is in the same speech a comical contrast he draws between himself and Judge Douglas. After describing the prestige and patronage belonging to the latter as the expected President, he said: “On the contrary, nobody has ever expected me to be President. In my poor, lean, lank face nobody has ever seen that any cabbages are sprouting out." Referring to Mr. Douglas's determined adhesion to the opinion of the court, he said: “But I cannot shake Judge Douglas's teeth loose from the Dred Scott decision. Like some obstinate anima -- I mean no disrespect -- that will hang on when he has once got his teeth fixed, you may cut off a leg, or you may tear away an arm, still he will not relax his hold; and so I may point out to the judge, and say that he is bespattered all over, from the beginning of his political life to the present time, with attacks upon judicial decisions. I may cut off limb after limb of his public record, and strive to wrench him from a single dictum of the court, yet I cannot divert him from it."
Good illustrations, too, of sharp discrimination and the forcible and pregnant use of words, were his characterization of the doctrine of popular sovereignty, as meaning that " if any man chooses to enslave another no third man shall be allowed to object," and his exhibition of the inconsistency of accepting both the doctrine of popular sovereignty and that of the Dred Scott decision, which was " declaring," he said, " that a thing may be lawfully driven away from a place where it has a lawful right to go "; and also his reply to the assumption that, because he advocated giving negroes their natural rights, he was in favor of social equality. " I protest against the counterfeit logic," he said,” which concludes, because I do not want a black woman for a slave, I must necessarily want her for a wife." Comprehending the magnitude of the contest and the gravity of the occasion, he spoke at Quincy of “these seven joint discussions "as" the successive acts of a drama "enacted "in the face of the nation, and to some extent in the face of the world”; and he added, " I am anxious that they should be conducted with dignity and good temper, which would be befitting the vast audience before which it was conducted." In regard to one of his questions to Mr. Douglas, and the probable one of two answers which the latter would give, either of which would seriously embarrass him, he said to a friend: “If he does, he can never be President." “But," said his interlocutor. "he may be Senator." "Perhaps," replied Mr. Lincoln, "but I am after larger game; the battle of 1860 is worth a hundred of this." How much was implied in this remark -- whether it involved personal considerations, or was spoken only in hope of the success of the Republican Party -- can never be told. It revealed, however, the comprehensive ness of the survey he took, and the elevated outlook from which he viewed the prospective results of the efforts he was then making.
Though Mr. Lincoln took high and advanced ground, and appealed with singular and unwonted directness to the moral convictions of his hearers, it is due to historic truth to admit that he was not always consistent; that some of his assertions and admissions were both unsatisfactory and offensive to antislavery men, betrayed too much the spirit of caste and prejudice against color, and sound harshly dissonant by the side of the Proclamation of Emancipation and the grand utterances of his later state papers. How much of this was personal and how much was political -- how much was the expression of his own sentiments and feelings, and how much was spoken in deference to the prejudices of his constituents may never be known. The statement is due, however, to his memory, and as an offset to any harsh judgment which may be formed concerning those unfortunate expressions, that on some occasions Mr. Lincoln exhibited a lofty devotion to principle and a sublime self-abnegation which under the circumstances have few parallels. His Springfield speech affords an illustration. Mr. Lincoln expected the nomination as candidate in opposition to Mr. Douglas. The contest to which it invited him he knew would be close and severe, and that he needed' to husband all his resources, make no mistakes, and give his wily antagonist no undue advantage. The speech was to be a kind of pronunciamento, and was prepared before- hand with great care. It was read to a company of his personal and political friends, who all decided that it was too radical and too far in advance of the public sentiment. Especial objection was made to the expression: “A house divided against itself cannot stand." William H. Herndon, his law partner, was present, and states that Mr. Lincoln in reply to the objection said: " That makes no difference ; that expression is a truth of all human experience, A house divided against itself cannot stand,' and ' He that runs may read.' The proposition is indisputably true, and has been for more than six thousand years; and I will deliver it as written. I want to use some universally known figure, expressed in simple language as universally known that may strike home to the minds of men, in order to rouse them to the peril of the times. I would rather be defeated with this expression in the speech, held up and discussed before the people, than to be victorious without it."
The canvass resulted in the election of a legislature in which there was a small majority in favor of Mr. Douglas, though in the popular vote he was in a minority of some four thousand. But the vigor, ability, and skill with which Mr. Lincoln had conducted the canvass placed him at once before the country as one of its foremost men. Nor were any more ready to acknowledge this than Mr. Douglas, who told his political friends, when he was nominated by the Republicans for the Senate, that they would be obliged to do their best to defeat him. On the return of the latter to Washington, after the senatorial contest, he said to Mr. Wilson, in reply to the question as to what he thought of Mr. Lincoln: “He is an able and honest man, one of the ablest men of the nation. I have been in Congress sixteen years, and there is not a man in the Senate I would not rather encounter in debate."
Source: Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 566-577.
LINCOLN’S FIRST INAUGURATION
Chapter: “Inauguration of Mr. Lincoln,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1878:
On Monday, the 4th of March, the inauguration ceremonies took place. Apprehensions of violence pervaded the city, which was thronged with thousands of visitors. General Scott had made all the military preparations in his power, with the small force of the army at his command and the District militia, to maintain order. It was a bright day. Tens of thousands of strangers filled the streets, and the military escort and the procession were imposing.
Arriving at the Capitol, President Buchanan and Mr. Lincoln entered the Senate chamber arm in arm. After the oath of office had been administered to Hannibal Hamlin as Vice-President, and to the new Senators, among them John C. Breckinridge, the late Vice-President, Mr. Lincoln was escorted to the eastern portico. There, in the presence of the Senate and the House of Representatives, of the Supreme Court, Foreign Ministers, and a vast multitude, Mr. Lincoln read his inaugural address. Accustomed to address masses of men, he spoke with so clear and strong a voice as to be distinctly heard even by the immense throng before him.
It was stated by Thurlow Weed, in the Albany "Evening Journal," that, after Mr. Lincoln commenced delivering his address, he retired, and in so doing, saw Generals Scott and Wool in full uniform standing by a battery. Presenting himself to these veterans and personal friends, General Scott inquired how the inauguration was going on. "It is a success," replied Mr. Weed. Hearing which, " the old hero raised his arms and exclaimed, ' God be praised! God in his goodness be praised! ' "
These words, and the manner of General Scott, can be explained on no other reasonable supposition than that, in his judgment, the President elect, the capital, and the nation they represented had been in very great and grave peril, deliverance from which was providential, and a special mark of the Divine favor. His position, opportunities for knowing the facts, and his proclivities, which had hitherto been regarded as Southern rather than Northern, invest the conclusions he was forced to accept with great significance and importance. His views, therefore, of the situation, the letter of the mayor, the elaborate opinion of the Secretary of War on the alleged conspiracy against the capital, and even the message of Mr. Buchanan himself on the same subject, can be satisfactorily explained on no other theory than that both the peril and deliverance were great.
Mr. Lincoln began his address by a reference to the apprehensions existing at the South, that by the accession of a Republican administration their property, peace, and security would be in danger. He assured the people of that section that there had never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Quoting a previous assertion of his own, that he had "no purpose directly or indirectly with the institution of slavery in the States," referring to the resolution of the convention that nominated him for the Presidency, and affirming that the Republican party would never interfere with "the right of each State to order and control its domestic institutions," he noted it as " conclusive evidence " that the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the incoming administration. Admitting that the rendition clause in the Constitution applied to escaped fugitives from slavery, and that it should be enforced, he suggested that any law on the subject should be so framed that all the " safeguards known in civilized and humane institutions should be introduced"; and he suggested, in connection with this subject, that a law should be passed for the enforcement of the guaranty of the Constitution that the citizens of each State should be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of the citizens in the several States. He held that, in the contemplation of universal law and the Constitution, the " Union of these States is perpetual." If the Union was merely a contract, he contended that it could not be peaceably unmade except by all the parties that made it; that " no State, upon its own mere motion," can lawfully get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void; and that acts of violence within any State or States against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary. Considering that the Union is unbroken, he pledged himself that he should take care that "the laws of the Union shall be faithfully executed in all the States." He expressed the hope that this avowal would not be regarded as a menace," but as only the "declared purpose of the Union" to maintain itself. " In doing this," he said, " there need be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it is forced on the national authority." Pledging himself that the power confided to him would be used "to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duty on imports," he affirmed that there would be no invasion, no using of force, beyond what was necessary for these objects. Declaring that "the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy," he reminded the secessionists that any portion of their new confederacy might secede precisely as they now claimed to do. He said the only substantial dispute was that " one section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it wrong and ought not to be extended." " A husband and wife," he said, " might be divorced and pass out of the presence of each other, but different parts of the country could not do it." They cannot but remain face to face. " If they went to war," he said, " they could not fight always; aliens could not make treaties easier than friends could make laws, and treaties could not be more easily enforced among aliens than laws among friends." Earnestly recommending " a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people," he reverently said: " If the Almighty Ruler of nations with his eternal truth and justice be on your side, of the North, or on yours, of the South, that truth and that justice will surely pre vail by the judgment of this great tribunal, the American People."
He closed his address, so long and anxiously waited for by the country, with these words of tender and touching pathos: " My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. If there be an object to hurry any of you in hot haste to a step which you would never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time; but no good object can be frustrated by it. Such of you as are now dissatisfied still have the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under it; while the new administration will have no immediate power, if it would, to change either. If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold the right side in the dispute, there is still no single reason for precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulties. In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You can have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government; while I shall have the most solemn one to ' preserve, protect, and defend ' it. I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break, our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearth stone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."
The Inaugural was variously interpreted and received at the North. While its felicitous language, its tender, conciliatory, and Christian spirit, were approved and admired, there were those who regarded its tone as too deprecatory, and its terms as conceding too much, transcending the limitations of both governmental dignity and moral obligation. Generally, however, its explicit denial of all right of secession and the firm determination to maintain the supremacy and see to the faithful execution of the laws, were applauded. Men, of course, did not, as they could not, fully appreciate all it involved, and the fearful demands that would be found necessary to vindicate and make good the proclaimed purpose their leader had avowed. Had they comprehended more fully what they afterward so dearly learned, they might have hesitated and been less brave and determined. Doubtless it was but another illustration of "blindness to the future kindly given."
But all its conciliatory words, its kind and fraternal expressions of affectionate regard, and the proffered olive-branch of peace were lost upon the South, and met with no favoring responses from those who meditated disunion, and whom he would dissuade. The "Richmond Enquirer " declared that " no action of our convention can now maintain the peace, and Virginia must fight." And the Richmond'" Whig," then professedly a Union paper, declared that the " policy indicated toward the seceding State will meet with stern, unyielding resistance by the united South." The Charleston " Mercury " declared it to be their wisest policy " to accept it as a declaration of war." It was denounced too, though in more measured terms, by some politicians and presses in the North. The "Baltimore Sun" said that the message was " sectional and mischievous “; that, " if it means what it says, it is the knell and requiem of the Union." The Philadelphia " Pennsylvanian," the leading organ of the Democracy of that State, declared that Mr. Lincoln had not receded a step; that he stood on the Chicago platform. " Let the border States," it said, " submit to the Abolition rule of this Lincoln administration if they like; but don't let the miserable submissionists pretend to be deceived : make any cowardly excuse but this."
Source: Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 3. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1878, 179-183.
LINCOLN’S SECOND INAUGURATION
Chapter: “Mr. Lincoln's Second Inauguration,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1878:
The inauguration of a President of the United States, always an event of more or less popular and political interest, was especially so on both occasions when Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office. On his first accession to the executive chair, dark forebodings had seized the public mind, and feelings of uncertainty and apprehension everywhere prevailed. Both the final action of the seceding States and what would be the exact policy of the incoming administration were in doubt. Though several States had formally seceded and entered into a new confederacy, it was still hoped that they would not proceed to the dire extremity of actual hostilities. The " Star of the West " had not been fired upon, and the flag of the Union still waved over the walls of Sumter. The President, therefore, in his message had, as if unwilling to believe that his "dissatisfied fellow-countrymen" would proceed to such extreme measures, assumed the attitude of kind and earnest expostulation. Though he avowed his conviction that "the Union of the States is perpetual," and that it was his duty to see "that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States," lie assured them that "the accession of a Republican administration" did not involve any menace towards them, and that it did not endanger "their property, and their peace, and their personal security; that in their hands rested the momentous issues of civil war; that they were friends and not enemies; and that, "though passion had strained, it must not break the bonds of their affections."
But four years had changed all this, not excepting the President himself, at least his position and policy upon the great question of slavery and its abolishment. His "dissatisfied fellow-countrymen" had treated with contempt his conciliatory and loving words, and had fulfilled and more than fulfilled all their threats. Uncertainty had become certainty, apprehension had ripened into conviction, and events had shown the people that their most fearful forebodings were justified, — that they were enemies and not friends, and that the bonds of affection had been broken. Not only had a single national vessel on the peaceful errand of bearing bread to a beleaguered garrison been fired upon, not only had one fort been reduced, but the which naval and military force of the nation had been assaulted and resisted with marvellous energy and endurance. Slavery which the President had in his first message treated so forbearingly, whose claims he did not feel called upon to question, as with which he did not propose to interfere, had gone down amid and in consequence of the storms of war, and had been made by a constitutional amendment no longer possible. Absolved from obligations which he had hitherto accepted as among the compromises of the Constitution, confirmed and strengthened by subsequent legislation and the traditions of the past, having so signally failed in his earnest and repeated efforts to conciliate those thus "dissatisfied," and being instructed by the stern teachings of Providence, the President was prepared, as never before, to discuss the questions at issue according to their intrinsic merits and the demands of those fundamental principles on which the government had been professedly based. Having become deeply impressed with the conviction that the Divine justice was an important if not a controlling factor of the great practical problem they were endeavoring to solve, he did not hesitate to summon Congress and the country to listen to teachings he had been constrained to accept, and to mark the existence and requirements of the "higher law." He pointed them to their relations to God's government, expressed his fear of its righteous retributions, and avowed the conviction that there was little hope of any abiding peace, except through a national recognition of human rights and their correlative but long-disregarded obligations.
Alluding to his first inaugural and to subsequent declarations as sufficiently indicative of the general purpose and policy of his administration concerning " the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation," leaving little "new," he said, to be presented, he spoke of the progress of arms as "reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all." Referring to the doubts and anxieties that existed in the public mind on the occasion of his first inauguration, he spoke of the great desire of the loyal States to save the Union without war, while the insurgent States were plotting its destruction. Both deprecated war, he said, "but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish." Speaking of slavery as the cause of the struggle, he said the insurgent States sought "to strengthen, perpetuate, and extend it"; while "the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it." He spoke of the disappointment of both parties in regard to the magnitude of the war and the destruction of its "cause." "Each" he said, "looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding."
Alluding to the facts that both combatants read the same Bible and prayed to the same God, that the prayers of both could not be answered, and that neither had been answered "fully," he reminded his countrymen of their relation to and dependence upon the Divine purposes, and of what the nation had to fear from the execution of those retributive judgments, which their offences in the matter of slavery rendered imminent if not certain. If slavery be the offence, and “his terrible war be the woe duo to those by whom the offence came," given to both North and South, lie put the inquiry with an apparent conviction and a seeming assurance of the validity of the claim and the legitimacy of his appeal seldom excelled or equalled, "Shall we discern there any departure from those Divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? " " Fondly," he continued, "do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said that the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." Thus boldly did the President remind his countrymen of the Divine government as a great practical fact that American statesmanship should recognize, arraign them for their great and persistent crimes, and point them to the punishment which was their "due." No ruler of men, not even those of the Jewish theocracy, ever spoke more reverently and unquestioningly of the Divine prerogative, and of human responsibility and obligation consequent thereon. But if some of his passages, by their stern and uncompromising character, call to mind the utterances of the old Hebrew prophets, there were others whose charity and forbearance recall the words of the Great Teacher, so deeply imbued did they seem with the spirit and purpose of the gospel. Hardly could one who had not read the Sermon on the Mount have written the closing paragraph: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphans, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."
The message produced a profound impression both here and elsewhere, and was made the subject of the most unqualified commendation. Not only was it pronounced by partial Americans as "the finest state paper in all history," but it received the highest eulogiums from abroad. Its influence at home was in the highest degree salutary. Its profoundly religious tone struck the popular chord and evoked hearty responses, giving as it did expression to a growing sentiment and the sanction of high official utterance to what the people, with few exceptions, had already begun to look upon as the only probable solution of the problem before them. Its determined purpose not to stop short of a complete vindication of the national authority, and the expressed confidence that the end was at hand, encouraged and nerved the people for the remaining sacrifices required. It strengthened the President with them and largely increased his popularity. Its dignified and Chris tian tone deepened the popular conviction of his personal integrity and worth, while its forceful and felicitous phrases found a lodgement in the memory from which they have not faded, and will not fade for long years to come.
Source: Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 3. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1878, 574-578.
LINDSLEY, Philip, 1786-1855, Basking Ridge, New Jersey, clergyman, educator, abolitionist.
(Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, p. 731; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 279)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LINDSLEY, Philip, educator, b. in Morristown, N. J., 21 Dec., 1786; d. in Nashville, Tenn., 25 May, 1855. He was graduated at Princeton in 1804, and after teaching he was appointed in 1807 tutor in Latin and Greek at Princeton. Meanwhile he studied theology, and was licensed to preach in April, 1810. In 1812 he returned to Princeton, after preaching in various places, as senior tutor. He was made professor of languages in 1813, and at the same time became secretary of the board of trustees. In 1817 he was elected vice-president of Princeton, and, after the resignation of Ashbel Green in 1822, he was for one year acting president, but in the succeeding year was chosen president of Cumberland college (now University of Nashville), and also of Princeton, both of which he declined; but later he was again offered the presidency of Cumberland. He was finally induced to visit Nashville, and the result of his trip was his acceptance of the office in 1824. He continued his relations with that college until 1850, when he accepted the professorship of archæology and church polity in the Presbyterian theological seminary in New Albany, Ind., which he held until 1853. Meanwhile he declined the presidency of numerous colleges. He was chosen moderator in 1834 of the general assembly of the Presbyterian church, held in Philadelphia, and in 1855 commissioner of the presbytery to the general assembly in Nashville. In 1825 he received the degree of D. D. from Dickinson college. His publications, consisting chiefly of baccalaureate addresses and occasional sermons, were collected by Leroy J. Halsey, and published as “Dr. Lindsley's Complete Works and a Biography” (3 vols., Philadelphia, 1868). See also “A Sketch of the Life and Educational Labors of Philip Lindsley,” by Leroy J. Halsey (Hartford, 1859). Appletons’ Cyclopædia of American Biography, 1888.
LIVERMORE, Samuel, 1732-1803, New Hampshire, lawyer, statesman. Member of Congress, U.S. Senator 1785-1805, Chief Justice of the State of New Hampshire. Voted against Fugitive Slave Act of 1793.
(Appletons’, 1888, Vol. III, pp. 740-741; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 307; Dumond, 1961, p. 104; Annals of Congress, 2 Cong., 2 Sess., p. 861; 15 Cong., 2 Sess., 1818-1819, p. 1192; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 13, p. 761)
“In the present slaveholding states let slavery continue, for our boasted constit8tion connives at it; but do not, for the sake of cotton and tobacco, let it be told to future ages, that while pretending to love liberty, we have purchased an extensive country to disgrace it with the foulest reproach of nations.” (Dumont, 1961, p. 104)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LIVERMORE, Samuel, statesman, b. in Waltham, Mass., 14 May, 1732; d. in Holderness, N. H., 18 May, 1803. He was graduated at Princeton in 1752, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1757, beginning to practise the following year at Portsmouth, N. H. He was a member of the general court of that province in 1768-'70, and in 1775 removed to Holderness, of which he was one of the original grantees and the principal proprietor. He was appointed king's attorney in 1769, and after the change of government he was state's attorney for three years. He was also judge-advocate of admiralty before the Revolution, and a delegate to the Continental congress from 7 Feb., 1780, until he resigned, 21 June, 1782, and again in 1785. He was chief justice of the state supreme court from 1782 till 1789, and in 1788 a member of the convention that adopted the Federal constitution. He was elected a representative from New Hampshire to the 1st and 2d congresses, serving from 4 March, 1789, till 2 March, 1793. In the latter year he was chosen U. S. senator, served as president of the senate during two sessions, and resigned in 1801 on account of failing health. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. III, pp. 740-741.
LOGUEN, Jermain Wesley, 1813-1872, New York, African American, clergyman, speaker, author, former slave, abolitionist leader. American Abolition Society. Bishop, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Supported the anti-slavery Liberty Party. Conductor, Underground Railroad, aiding hundreds of fugitive slaves, in Syracuse, New York. In 1851, he himself escaped to Canada when he was indicted for helping a fugitive slave. Wrote autobiography, The Rev. J. W. Loguen, as a Slave and as a Freeman, A Narrative of Real Life. 1859.
(Dumond, 1961, p. 334; Mabee, 1970, pp. 294, 307; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 677-678; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 368; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 13, p. 848; Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., & Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds. African American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2013, Vol. 7, p. 358; Radical Abolitionist, Vol. 1, No. 1, New York, August 1855)
LONGFELLOW, Henry Wadsworth, 1807-1882, poet. Wrote antislavery poetry.
(Hughes, Meltzer, & Lincoln, 1968, p. 105; Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 382)
LORING, Ellis Gray, 1803-1858, Boston, Massachusetts, lawyer, abolitionist leader. Manager and founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS), December 1833. Manager, AASS, 1833-1840, 1840-1843, Executive Committee, 1843-1844. Husband to abolitionist Louisa Loring of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society (BFASS). Auditor, Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, 1844-1845. Co-founded and wrote the constitution of the New England Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. Financially aided the abolitionist newspaper the Liberator. Was the attorney for the defense of a slave child in Massachusetts Supreme Court. This resulted in a landmark ruling that every slave brought to the state by the owner was legally free.
(Dumond, 1961, pp. 186, 317; Mabee, 1970, p. 124; Yellin, 1994, p. 51; Abolitionist, Vol. I, No. XII, December, 1833; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 27; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 416; The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. II. New York: James T. White, 1892, p. 318)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LORING, Ellis Gray, b. in Boston, Mass., in 1803; d. there, 24 May, 1858. He entered Harvard college in 1819, but was not graduated with his class, afterward studied law, was admitted to the Suffolk bar, and became eminent. He was one of the twelve that formed the first anti-slavery society in Boston in 1833. He distinguished himself chiefly in the defence of the slave-child “Med” in the Massachusetts supreme court, where he succeeded in obtaining the decision that every slave brought on Massachusetts soil by the owner was legally free; a case precisely analogous to the celebrated “Somerset” case in England. By this argument he achieved the unusual success of convincing the opposing counsel, Benjamin R. Curtis, afterward justice of the U. S. supreme court, who shook hands with him after the trial, saying: “Your argument has entirely converted me to your side, Mr. Loring.” He also attracted some attention as the author of a “Petition in behalf of Abner Kneeland,” which was headed by the name of Rev. Dr. William E. Channing; Abner Kneeland (q. v.) was a professed atheist who was indicted for blasphemy, and Mr. Loring's petition was a strong plea in behalf of freedom of speech. Several of Mr. Loring's arguments and addresses were published at different times, including “An Address before the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society” (Boston, 1838). At the New England anti-slavery convention, 27 May, 1858, two days after his death, Wendell Phillips said: “The great merit of Mr. Loring's anti-slavery life was, he laid on the altar of the slave's needs all his peculiar tastes. Refined, domestic, retiring, contemplative, loving literature, art, and culture, he saw there was no one else to speak, therefore he was found in the van. It was the uttermost instance of self-sacrifice—more than money, more than reputation, though he gave both.” Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 27.
LOVEJOY, Elijah Parrish, 1802-1837, Albion, Maine, newspaper publisher, editor, writer, clergyman, abolitionist leader. Murdered by anti-abolitionists. In 1833, he became editor of the St. Louis newspaper the Observer. In the paper, he opposed slavery and supported graduate emancipation. Due to threats, he moved the paper to Alton, Illinois, in 1836. There, his life was threatened and his press was destroyed three times by pro-slave mobs. A fourth press was established on November 7, 1837, and was immediately destroyed and during the attack, Lovejoy was shot and killed by the mob.
(Blue, 2005, pp. 6, 20, 90-94, 96, 105, 269; Dumond, 1961, pp. 92, 223-226, 232; Pease, 1965, pp. 268-272, 318; Mabee, 1970, pp. 38-50, 67, 116, 249, 277, 292, 293, 295, 296, 279, 375, 377; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 378-380, 601-602; Wilson, 1872, pp. 374-389; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 34-35; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 434; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 541-543; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 14, p. 4; Dillon, Merton L. Elijah P. Lovejoy: Abolitionist Editor. 1961.)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LOVEJOY, Elijah Parish, abolitionist, b. in Albion, Me., 9 Nov., 1802; d. in Alton, Ill., 7 Nov., 1837. He was the son of a Presbyterian clergy-man, was graduated at Waterville college in 1826, and in 1827 went to St. Louis, Mo., and established a school. He contributed prose and verse to the newspapers, was known of as a vigorous writer, and in 1829 became editor of a political paper, in which he advocated the claim of Henry Clay as a candidate for the presidency. In as 1832, in consequence of a change in his religious views, he decided to become a minister, and, after a course of theological study at Princeton, was licensed to preach by the Philadelphia presbytery on 18 April, 1833. On his return to St. Louis he established a religious he paper called the “Observer,” in which he reprobated slavery. Repeated threats of mob violence impelled him to remove his paper in July, 1836, to Alton, Ill. His press was destroyed by mobs three times within a year; yet he procured a fourth one, and was engaged in setting it up, when a mob, composed mostly of Missourians, again attacked the office. With his friends he defended the building, and one of his assailants was killed. After the attacking party had apparently withdrawn, Mr. Lovejoy opened the door, when he was instantly pierced by five bullets and died in a few minutes. His “Memoir” was published by his brothers, Joseph C. and Owen, with an introduction by John Q. Adams (New York, 1838). See also, “Narrative of Riots at Alton, in Connection with the Death of Lovejoy,” by Edward Beecher at (Alton, 1838), and “The Martyrdom of Lovejoy,” by Henry Tanner (Chicago, 1881). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 34-35.
Chapter: “The Alton Tragedy, --Murder of Elijah P. Lovejoy,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1872:
On the 7th of November, 1837, the cause of freedom received its first baptism of blood. On that day Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy was murdered by a mob at Alton, Illinois. No previous event had so startled, alarmed, and fixed the attention of the more conscientious and thoughtful portion of the country. Nothing had so clearly indicated to antislavery men the nature of the conflict in which they were engaged, the desperate character of the foe with which they were grappling.
Mr. Lovejoy was a native of Maine, and a graduate of Waterville College in 1826. At the age of twenty-four he went to the West, and became a teacher in St. Louis. Two years afterward he became the editor of a political journal of the National Republican party, and an active supporter of Henry Clay. In 1832 he united with the Presbyterian Church, entered for a brief period the Theological Seminary at Princeton, New Jersey, was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Philadelphia, and, in the autumn of that year, returned to Missouri, and established the St. Louis " Observer," a weekly religious journal. During the ensuing year, while avowing his hostility to immediate emancipation, he expressed the opinion that, if slavery could be removed from Missouri, that great State would start forward in a race of energy and improvement which would place her in the front rank of her sister States. While absent from the city, at a meeting of the synod, an excitement commenced in regard to his strictures on slavery; and the alarmed proprietors of the paper issued a card, declaring their opposition to the wild scheme of the Abolitionists. Before leaving home, he had received a communication from nine leading citizens of St. Louis, friends and supporters of the “Observer," begging him to "pass over in silence everything connected with the subject of slavery." Upon that communication he made the indorsement that he did not yield to the wishes expressed, had been persecuted for not doing so, but had kept a good conscience, which had more than repaid him for all he had suffered. “I have sworn eternal hostility to slavery, and by the blessing of God I will never go back."
Returning to St. Louis, Mr. Lovejoy issued an address to his excited fellow-citizens, in which he maintained with signal boldness the right to discuss questions pertaining to slavery, or any other evil which concerned the interests of humanity. “I deem it he said, “my duty to take my stand upon the Constitution. Here is firm ground; I feel it to be such; and I do most respectfully but decidedly declare to you my fixed determination to maintain this ground. We have slaves, it is true; but I am not one." While avowing his purpose never to surrender the freedom of speech and of the press, he expressed the hope that he should maintain these rights with the meekness and humility that became a Christian, but especially a Christian minister. He reminded the inflamed people of St. Louis that blood kindred to that which flowed in his veins had flowed freely on the plains of Lexington and on the heights of Bunker Hill, and he assured them that his blood should flow as freely as if it were water, " ere," he said," I surrender the right to plead the cause of truth and righteousness before my fellow-citizens and in the face of all opposers." Protesting against all attempts, by whosoever made, to interfere with the liberty of the press, he declared his fixed purpose to submit to no such dictation. “I am," he said,” prepared to abide the consequences. I have appealed to the Constitution and the laws of my country; if they fail to protect me, I appeal to God, and with him I cheerfully rest my cause."
At the request of the proprietors of the "Observer,'' he surrendered its editorship, and removed to Alton. The paper soon passing into other hands as payment of a debt, its new owner presented it to him, and he at once returned and entered upon its publication. In the spring of 1836 an excited mob took Francis J. Mcintosh, a mulatto, from the jail, where he had been lodged for fatally stabbing one officer and wounding another who had arrested him, carried him out of the city, chained him to a tree, and burned him to death. As the matter came before the grand jury, Judge Lawless in his charge expressed the astounding sentiment that if a mob be hurried on to its deeds of violence and blood by some “mysterious, metaphysical, and almost electric frenzy," participators in it are absolved from guilt, and are not proper subjects of punishment. If such be the fact, he said, “act not at all in the matter; the case then transcends your jurisdiction, it is beyond the reach of human law."
For commenting on this revolting deed, and the still more revolting judicial opinion, Mr. Lovejoy's office was entered and destroyed by a mob. He removed the press to Alton; only, however, to see it seized upon the bank of the river and broken into fragments. A meeting of citizens was held at once, and a pledge given to .reimburse him for his loss. Mr. Lovejoy assured them that it was not his purpose to establish an abolition, but a religious press. Indeed, he was not an Abolitionist, though he expected to live and die an uncompromising enemy to slavery, and should hold himself at liberty to speak and write as he pleased on any subject. In July, 1837, a public meeting assembled, bitterly denounced the “Observer " for its publication of articles favorable to abolitionism, and censured its editor. To a committee appointed by this meeting Mr. Lovejoy declared, with great firmness, that liberty of speech is something not to be called in question, -that it was a right which came from his Maker, belonging to man as man, and inalienable.
Although the " Observer " was no longer printed in St. Louis, its citizens and presses demanded that Illinois should abate what they regarded as a nuisance, under the penalty of losing the trade of slaveholding States, --the same rod, indeed, so long and successfully held in terrorem by the domineering South over the abject North. Consequently, in the month of August, Mr. Lovejoy's office and press were again destroyed, during his absence; and he was most grossly insulted on his return. Another press was purchased, and stored in the warehouse of Gerry and Miller. The mob again assembled, broke open the building, destroyed the press, and threw the fragments into the Mississippi. A few days afterward he was mobbed again at the house of his mother-in-law, in St. Charles, Missouri, on his return from church, where he had officiated; and he was compelled to leave clandestinely to save his life.
Meetings were held in Alton by the excited inhabitants to consider the question of the longer publication of the paper. At one held on the. 3d of November, at his request he was permitted to speak in' his own behalf. With manly firmness and Christian boldness he reminded his fellow-citizens that he respected their feelings, and acted in opposition to them with great regret. He valued their good opinion; but he must be, he said, “governed by higher considerations than either the favor or the fear of man. I am impelled to the course I have taken because I fear God. As I shall answer to my God, in the great day, I dare not abandon my sentiments, or cease in all proper ways to propagate them." Reminding the meeting that it he had committed any crime they could convict him, as they had the public sentiment and juries on their side, he asked: "If I have been guilty of no violation of law, why am I hunted up and down continually like a partridge upon the mountain? Why am I threatened with the tar-barrel? Why am I waylaid every, day, and from night to night? Why is my life in jeopardy every hour? " Planting himself on his unquestionable rights, he declared the question to be, " Whether my property shall be protected; whether I shall be suffered to go home to my family at night without being assailed and threatened with tar and feathers and assassination; whether my afflicted wife, whose life has been in jeopardy from continued alarm and excitement, shall night after night be driven from her sick-bed into the garret, to save her life from brickbats and the violence of the mob." This allusion to his family overcame his feelings, and he burst into tears. The sympathy of the meeting was deeply excited. Many sobbed aloud, and even some of his enemies wept. Recovering himself, he begged forgiveness for having been betrayed into weakness by the thought of his, family; and he assured the meeting that he had no personal fears. Admitting that he was powerless, he said: “I know you can tar and feather me, hang me up, or put me in the Mississippi. But what then? Where shall I go? I have been made to feel if I am not safe in Alton I shall not be safe anywhere."
There were some who, while insisting on the suppression of his press and driving him from Alton, expressed the wish that no unnecessary disgrace should be affixed to him. To such suggestions he replied: “I reject all such compassion. You cannot disgrace me. Scandal, falsehood, and calumny have done their worst. My shoulders have borne the burden till it sits easy upon them. I, and I alone, can disgrace myself; and the deepest of all disgraces would be at a time like this to deny my Master by forsaking his cause. He died for me; and I were most unworthy to bear his name should I refuse, if need be, to die for Him." Reminding the meeting that he had, on a recent visit to St. Charles, been torn from the frantic embrace of his family, he closed with this declaration: “I have concluded, after consultation with my friends, and earnestly seeking counsel of God, to remain at Alton, and here to insist on protection in the exercise of my rights. If the civil authorities refuse to protect me, I must look to God; and, if I die, I am determined to make my grave in Alton. Sir, I dare not flee away from Alton. Should I attempt it, I should feel that the angel of the Lord, with his flaming sword, was pursuing me wherever I went. It is because I fear God that I am not afraid of all who oppose me in this city."
His earnestness and manifest sincerity made a deep impression upon the audience. Dr. Edward Beecher, who was present, thus describes the scene: -- “I have been affected oftentimes with the power of intellect and eloquence; but never was I so overcome as at this hour. He made no display, there was no rhetorical decoration, no violence of action. All was native truth, and deep, pure, and tender feeling. Many a hard face did I see wet with tears as he struck the chords of feeling to which God made the soul to respond. Even his bitter enemies wept. It reminded me of Paul before Festus, and of Luther at Worms."
The crowd, however, then present, represented too faithfully the popular sentiment of that section of the country to be much controlled by the faith or eloquence of such a man. They were far better prepared to respond to the counter appeals of John Hogan, then a Methodist minister and afterward a Democratic member of Congress from St. Louis, who, launching his vile epithets and fierce invectives upon Mr. Lovejoy and the Abolitionists, inflamed the minds and stirred up to deeper frenzy that class of men of which mobs are made.
The city was in a state of intense excitement. Violence was anticipated, as it had been foreshadowed by the disgraceful and disorganizing proceedings which had broken up a convention at Upper Alton, during the previous week, and had defeated the purposes of its original promoters. The call was to “the friends of the slave and of free discussion in Illinois " ; and yet, by packing the convention with men of an opposite faith, under the lead of W. F. Linder, attorney-general of the State, a series of resolutions was adopted indorsing slavery and proclaiming that all interference with it should be "discountenanced." And by the same vote that sustained these resolutions was the convention adjourned sine die. The men, however, who called the convention, were not to be thus baffled. A subsequent meeting was called at the house of Rev. Mr. Hurlburt of the same place; and, although the formation of an antislavery society had not been one of the fixed objects of the original convention, it was now seen to be demanded, and it was accordingly effected. Officers were chosen, and a most able address and declaration of sentiments, from the pen of Dr. Beecher, were sent forth. To add to the flame already burning so fiercely, a colonization meeting was held about that time, at which fiery harangues were made, more hostile to antislavery and its friends than to slavery and its abettors. Of course, a conflict so acrimonious and determined between principles so radical and antagonistic must culminate in something more sanguinary than words. The arrival of another press was the occasion of a demonstration which ended in arson and blood.
The enemies of Mr. Lovejoy had determined to seize and destroy it on its arrival; while a few friends, equally in earnest, had determined to defend it. As the former were watching for its coming, about fifty of the latter assembled at the stone warehouse where it was to be stored on its arrival, and organized an armed force for its defence. After that organization had been effected, about thirty remained, under the command of a city constable. The looked-for press arrived at three o'clock on the morning of the 7th of November, and the intelligence of its arrival was made known by the blowing of horns. The mayor, John McKrum, went to the warehouse and aided in storing it. The utmost excitement, however, prevailed during the day, though the mayor came to the conclusion, after making inquiries, that no further violence was intended. There being no sign of an assault on the building, at nine o'clock in the evening most of its defenders retired, leaving about a dozen, willing to risk their lives, if needful, in defence of Mr. Lovejoy and his property.
An hour or two afterward there came from the grog-shops thirty or forty persons, who knocked at the door and demanded the press. Mr. Gilman, one of the owners of the warehouse, informed them that it would not be given up; that they had been authorized by the mayor to defend the property, and they should do it at the hazard of their lives. Presenting a pistol, the leader announced that they were resolved to have it at any sacrifice. Stones were thrown, windows broken, and shots were fired at the building. These shots were returned, and several of the rioters were wounded, one mortally. Ladders were obtained and preparations were made for firing the building, and the cry was raised: "Burn them out." The mayor, accompanied by a justice of the peace, was sent by the mob to propose the surrender of the press on condition that no one should be injured. To the demand of Mr. Gilman that the mayor should call upon the citizens to save his building, the latter replied that the mob was too strong, that he had failed to persuade and was powerless to command. Admitting the lawful right of persons within the building to defend the property, he retired and reported the result w the rioters, who raised the cry: " Fire the building and shoot every d-'-d Abolitionist as he leaves! " With the aid of ladders, the mob mounted the building and fired the roof. Five of the defenders sallied forth from the building, fired upon and dispersed the mob, and returned. Mr. Lovejoy and two others then stepped outside of the building, were fired upon by rioters concealed by a pile of lumber, and Mr. Lovejoy received five balls, three of them in his breast. Returning at once to the counting-room, he expired almost instantly, exclaiming, “I am shot! I am shot!" One of his friends was wounded, but not fatally.
After his death, those in the building offered to surrender; but their offer was declined. One of the number, going out for the purpose of making terms with the rioters, was severely wounded. Most of them left the building, but were fired upon in their attempts to escape. The mob then rushed into the building, seized the press, broke it, and threw the fragments into the river. The next day Mr. Lovejoy's body was borne to his home, amid the heartless rejoicings and scoffings of those who had destroyed his property and taken his life. Thus bravely fell one of the most heroic of that number of noble and earnest men who early consecrated themselves to the great and glorious purpose of maintaining, at fearful odds, that essential palladium of a republic, -freedom of thought, speech, and the press. The conduct of the mayor was glaringly vacillating, inefficient, and open to criticism and censure. He himself admitted that his directions, on an occasion when the majesty of law should have asserted its supremacy, had been the advice of a citizen, rather than the command of an officer. There were no demonstrations friendly or hostile at Mr. Lovejoy's burial, save a simple prayer at his grave. He was buried on a bluff, overlooking, in its peaceful repose, the rolling river and busy town beneath. For many years no stone marked the spot. Not long since, however, an admirer and friend of the martyr procured a simple monument, with this inscription:
Jam parce sepulto.
"Here lies Lovejoy; now spare his grave."
What a change has a third of a century wrought. Then the youthful minister of the gospel, hunted, in his own touching words, like a partridge on the mountains, and appealing in vain for protection against the infuriated mob, found the officers of government and the leaders of public opinion awed by the demon of slavery, rather than inspired by the genius of liberty. Now, that mob dispersed, many of its members and leaders known to have come to a violent and ignominious end, and that terrible system, the guilty source of all that violence, no longer existing. The victim himself is admiringly cherished in the nation's memory, and is sure of a grateful mention on the pages of its history.
The murder of Lovejoy made a deep impression upon the country. The friends of slavery and the enemies of free discussion applauded, or at best excused, the bloody deed, while the friends of liberty and of the freedom of speech and press received the news-with profound sorrow and alarm. They saw in it a new revelation of the magnitude and serious character of the contest on which they had entered. They saw, too, that the conflict was not to be the bloodless encounter of ideas alone, but one in which might be involved scenes of bloody violence and personal hazard and harm. Had they understood the full significance of that sanguinary act, and the desperate character of their foe, as revealed in the events of subsequent years, their alarm might well have been greater.
The Board of Managers of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society was at once convened in Boston, and a series of resolutions was adopted declaring that the guilt of that bloody tragedy was not confined to the immediate actors therein; that it was one of the natural and inevitable consequences of tolerating the system of slavery; and that in the murder of this Christian martyr the church, the press, and the people, who justified the enslavement of their countrymen, instigated riots, and connived at the prostration of lawful authority, had participated to a greater or less extent.
When the intelligence of the Alton tragedy, as it was commonly characterized, reached Boston, Dr. William Ellery Channing and a hundred of its citizens applied for the use of Faneuil Hall, to give expression to their horror at this murder of a Christian clergyman. But their application was rejected. This refusal, and especially the reasons assigned therefor, greatly increased the popular indignation and apprehension; affording, as it did, but another illustration of the national vassalage and subserviency to the Slave Power, when even the doors of the Cradle of Liberty were rudely closed against those who would mourn over the martyrdom of one of its bravest and most heroic defenders. Men of all parties and sects were greatly excited. With the fearless promptitude demanded by the crisis, Dr. Channing addressed an appeal to the citizens of Boston to reverse this arbitrary action of the city government. Avowing that the purpose of the proposed meeting was to maintain the sacredness and freedom of the press against all assaults, he declared that to intimate that such action did not express the public opinion of Boston, and that it would provoke a mob, was to" pronounce the severest libel upon that city." “Has it come to this?” he asked. “Has Boston fallen so low? May not its citizens be trusted to come together to express the great principles of liberty for which their fathers died? Are our fellow-citizens to be murdered in the act of defending their property and of assuming the right of free discussion? and is it unsafe in this metropolis to express abhorrence of the deed? If such be our degradation, we ought to know the awful truth; and those among us who retain a portion of the spirit of our ancestors should set themselves to work to recover their degenerate posterity." He asserted that Boston, by this action of her city authorities, had bade Alton go on to destroy the press and put down the liberty of speech.
This thrilling appeal from one occupying Dr. Channing's position made a deep impression. A public meeting was called ·at the old Supreme Court room to "take into consideration the reasons assigned by the mayor and aldermen for withholding Faneuil Hall, and to act in the premises as may be deemed expedient." The room was filled to overflowing. George Bond was made chairman, and Benjamin F. Hallett was chosen secretary. After the reading of Dr. Channing's letter, a series of pertinent resolutions, offered by Mr. Hallett, was discussed and unanimously adopted. A committee of two from each ward was appointed to renew the application, which happily was successful.
On the 8th of December the meeting was holden. The hall was filled to repletion by the citizens of Boston and vicinity. Jonathan Phillips, a much respected citizen, was called to the chair, and opened the meeting with a brief and pertinent speech. Dr. Channing then made an eloquent and impressive address. A series of resolutions, also from his pen, was read by Mr. Hallett, and seconded and eloquently supported by George S. Hillard.
Thus far everything had been decorous, dignified, and in keeping with the occasion. The addresses had been listened to with respectful attention, if not with unquestioning approbation. At this point James T. Austin, attorney-general of the Commonwealth, a prominent lawyer, well known in Faneuil Hall, a trained party-leader and most adroit caucus-speaker, made an inflammatory and exciting speech. It was vociferously applauded by the riotous element of the meeting, which, it was estimated, constituted one third of the assembly. Standing in that hall, consecrated to liberty and redolent with the memories of its martyrs, the attorney-general of Massachusetts unblushingly declared that Lovejoy was not only presumptuous and imprudent while he lived, but that “he died as the fool dieth." He compared, with equal violence to truth and taste, the murderers of Lovejoy with the men who destroyed the tea in Boston harbor. He declared that wherever the abolition fever raged there were mobs and murders. Alluding to the bondmen in the most offensive terms, he said:--
'' We have a menagerie here, with lions, tigers, a hyena and elephant, a jackass or two, and monkeys in plenty. Suppose, now, some new cosmopolite, some man of philanthropic feelings, not only toward man, but animals, who believes that all are entitled to freedom as an inalienable right, should engage in the humane task of giving freedom to these wild beasts of the forest, some of whom are nobler than their keepers; or, having discovered some new mode of reaching their understanding, should try to induce them to break their cages and be free. The people of Missouri had as much reason to be afraid of their slaves as we should have to be afraid of the wild beasts of the menagerie. They had the same dread of Lovejoy that we should have of the supposed instigator, if we really believed the bars would be broken and the caravan let loose to prowl about our streets."
Having pronounced this disgraceful and seditious harangue, the attorney-general retired. Wendell Phillips ascended the platform, and was met with the hostile demonstrations of the partisans of Austin, who had just applauded so vociferously his unfeeling and inhuman appeal to their vile passions and still viler prejudices. Mr. Phillips was then a young lawyer, unknown to most present, who had gone to the meeting with no intention of taking any part in its proceedings. Though his first words were met with boisterous outcries, he expressed the hope that he would be permitted to avow his surprise at the sentiments just uttered by such a man, and at the applause they had received in that hall. He characterized and condemned that gentleman's language in the strongest terms of reprobation, though it was done in terms and tones of thrilling eloquence. " When I heard," he said, " the gentleman lay down principles which placed the murderers of Alton side by side with Otis and Hancock, with Quincy and Adams, I thought those pictured lips," pointing to their portraits in the hall, " would have broken into voice to rebuke the recreant American, the slanderer of the dead."
These words were received with mingled demonstrations of censure and applause. “Sir," continued Mr. Phillips, "for the sentiments he has uttered, on soil consecrated by the prayers of the Puritans and the blood of patriots, the earth should have yawned and swallowed him up." Here the uproar became great, and he could not be heard. William Sturgis, an eminent Boston merchant, ascended the platform and placed himself by the side of Mr. Phillips; but he, too, was met by the loud cries of the excited rioters. “Phillips or nobody," was their fiendish cry. “Make him take it back! He sha' n't go on until he takes it back! " Obtaining a hearing, Mr. Sturgis said: " I did not come here to take any part in this discussion, nor do I intend to ; but I do e1itreat you, fellow citizens, by everything you hold sacred, I conjure you by every association connected with this hall, consecrated by our fathers to freedom of discussion, that you listen to any man who addresses you in a decorous manner."
Resuming, Mr. Phillips firmly and peremptorily declared that he could not take back his words, and reminded the excited throng that the attorney-general needed not, their hisses against one so young, whose voice had never before been heard in that hall. He closed his speech with the declaration that "when liberty was in danger Faneuil Hall had the right, and it was her duty, to strike the key-note for the Union; that the passage of the resolutions, in spite of the opposition, led by the attorney-general, will show more decidedly the deep indignation with which Boston regards this outrage."
By this brave and brilliant speech Mr. Phillips, by one single bound, placed himself among the foremost and most popular of American orators, a position he has maintained by the increasing suffrages of the nation. Then began that advocacy of human rights which for more than a generation he continued with tireless and persistent zeal. To it he consecrated culture, learning, and that marvelous eloquence on which the multitudes of a generation hung with never-waning delight. Fearless and fierce in his denunciation of the wrongs of the oppressed, he was always merciless in his castigation of the oppressor and his abettors. Confident, too, in his own plans and modes of action, he was, perhaps, too apt to be critical, censorious, and sometimes intolerant toward those who were equally honest, earnest, and unselfish in their devotion to the same cause to which his and their labors were alike consecrated. But if some others were more judicious and practical in action, none equaled him on the platform and few surpassed him with the pen.
Hundreds, however, went from that meeting unchanged in thought and purpose, even by the terrible event that occasioned it, by the imposing presence and fervid eloquence which characterized it, or by the humiliating utterances that disgraced it. The virus of slavery had so poisoned the public mind and heart that the sentiments and feelings of the large body of the citizens of Boston were more nearly expressed by the brutal harangue of Austin than by the classic words of Channing or the fervid and indignant eloquence of Phillips. They still believed, with Hubbard Winslow, a Congregational clergyman of that city, who, within a month, in his Thanksgiving discourse, asserted that “the unchristian principles and measures” of the Abolitionists tended to fill the land “with violence and blood "; and that the mournful disaster at Alton was but their legitimate result. They accepted, too, his strange and subversive doctrine that '' republican liberty is not the liberty to say and do what one pleases; but liberty to say and do what the prevailing voice and will of the brotherhood will allow and protect."
The executive committee of the American Antislavery Society set apart the anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims for simultaneous meetings throughout the free States, to commemorate the tragic death of Mr. Lovejoy. To this call the Abolitionists very generally responded. Many meetings were held in various portions of the country, and the essential barbarism and cruelty of slavery were made to be more distinctly seen and apprehended in the light of that bloody deed. As a legitimate result large accessions were made to the ranks of the pronounced and avowed Abolitionists.
A special meeting of the Massachusetts Antislavery Society was held in Boston. Amos A. Phelps gave a detailed statement of the tragic affair at Alton. William Lloyd Garrison spoke briefly, but with his usual strong and severe denunciation, not only of the mob, but of the cause which inspired it. Orestes A. Brownson defended, with great vigor and force, freedom of thought, of speech, and of the press. Of the martyred dead Mr. Phillips spoke eloquently. He referred mournfully to the alleged fact that the rioters at Alton were heard encouraging each other with references to “old Boston." He characterized, with becoming indignation, her humiliation when her name was made “the motto and war-cry of the mob."
Edmund Quincy, like Mr. Phillips, was then a young Boston lawyer. He had become somewhat interested in the discussions upon slavery, but as yet had not fully committed himself to the antislavery cause. But this event solved all doubts, removed all hesitations, and fixed his determination. He came to that meeting to lay, as an offering, his talents and social position upon the altar of an unpopular cause, dripping with the first fresh blood of martyrdom. In this his first antislavery speech he eloquently enunciated and vindicated the fundamental principles of the conflict, and referred, with much beauty and pathos, to " the sublime idea that throughout the vast extent of the free portions of this continent the sons and daughters of New England are gathered together, on this the birthday of their common mother, to pay due honor to the memory of a brother who has willingly laid down his life in defence of those principles of liberty to which she owed her birth." His labors, then commenced, continued with unabated activity until, by the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment, slavery disappeared; when, with Mr. Garrison, he retired from an organization which that great consummation seemed to them to render no longer necessary. Mr. Quincy had not the mellifluous, brilliant, and impressive eloquence of Mr. Phillips; but he brought to the conflict unrivalled wit, a polished and trenchant pen that had few equals. By voice and pen he rendered effective service to the antislavery cause, though often more caustic than charitable toward an opponent, and sometimes apparently more anxious to make a point than to do strict justice, even to a co-laborer. He presented, too, with great clearness, the views of that class of reformers with whom he acted, and was among the ablest exponents of that type of abolitionism of which Mr. Garrison was the recognized leader. His reports, while secretary of the Antislavery Society, were models of patient and exhaustive research, of keen and brilliant rhetoric. Nor can they now be read without vivid impressions of the desperate nature of the disease which was then afflicting, disgracing, and endangering the nation, and clear conceptions of the remedies he and those he represented were endeavoring to apply to its cure.
While the great body of the Abolitionists and friends of free discussion thus honored the self-sacrificing and martyr spirit of Mr. Lovejoy, and justified his heroic defence of sacred rights assailed by armed ruffianism, there were a few among them who did not applaud, but rather condemned, his course. Especially was this true of a section of that small, active, but rather pugnacious portion of the New England Abolitionists who had adopted the extreme doctrine of non-resistance. They, deeming Mr. Lovejoy's position inconsistent with their own, not only questioned its wisdom, but even characterized it as indefensible. Such manifestations, however, clearly revealed the impracticable tendencies of their views, and foreshadowed not only the manifest harm and hindrance they unquestionably occasioned to the antislavery labors of the most of those who entertained them, but also the heavy burden they laid upon the cause itself.
Source: Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 1. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 374-389.
LOVEJOY, Owen, 1811-1864, clergyman, abolitionist leader, lawyer, U.S. Congressman. Illinois Anti-Slavery Society. Member and Manager of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Active in Underground Railroad. Member, Illinois State Legislature. Brother of anti-slavery newspaper publisher, Elijah Parrish Lovejoy. Like his brother, Owen Lovejoy was a strong supporter of William Lloyd Garrison. He was elected to Congress in 1856 and actively supported the abolition of slavery in Congress until his death in 1864.
(Blue, 2005, pp. 6, 11, 13, 90-116, 265-270; Dumond, 1961, p. 186; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 4, 48, 91, 131, 188; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 141, 196; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 34-35; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 435; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 14, p. 6)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LOVEJOY, Owen, abolitionist, b. in Albion, Me., 6 Jan., 1811; d. in Brooklyn, N. Y., 25 March, 1864, worked on his father's farm till he was eighteen years old, and then entered Bowdoin, but left before graduation, emigrated to Alton, Ill., and studied theology. He was present when his brother was murdered, and was moved by that event to devote himself to the overthrow of slavery. He became pastor of a Congregational church at Princeton, Ill., in 1838. Although anti-slavery meetings were forbidden by the laws of Illinois, he openly held them in all parts of the state, announcing at each one the time and place for the next meeting. This course subjected him to frequent fines and to violence and intimidation; but by his eloquence and persistency he won many adherents, and eventually the repressive laws were repealed. He resigned his pastoral charge in 1854 on being elected a member of the legislature. In 1856 he was sent to congress, and was continued there by re-election until his death. At the beginning of the civil war he delivered in the house of representatives a remarkable speech against slavery, in which he recounted the circumstances of his brother's death. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 34-35.
LOWELL, James Russell, 1819-1891, poet, essayist, journalist, anti-slavery activist, temperance and labor reform advocate. Wrote antislavery poetry. Married to abolitionist Maria White Lowell. Became a contributing editor to the abolitionist newpaper, Pennsylvania Freeman. Counsellor, Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, 1847-1852.
(Filler, 1960, pp. 29, 141, 185; Mabee, 1970, pp. 66, 208, 257, 342; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 155, 267n; Pease, 1965, pp. 310-315; Rodriguez, 2007, p. 468; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 39-42; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 458; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 14, p. 40)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LOWELL, James Russell, poet and essayist, b. in Cambridge, Mass., 22 Feb., 1819. He is a son of the Rev. Charles Lowell (q. v.), and in genius and character is the hereditary representative of the heart and brains that founded New England. He was the youngest of five children. From both parents were transmitted high intelligence, sound principles, and right ideals, but the poetic and imaginative faculty came from the mother. His birthplace was the old Tory mansion now called “Elm wood” a large three-story, square, wooden house in the early colonial style, situated in spacious grounds, surrounded by magnificent elms and pines planted by his father, with an outlook on Charles river. (See view on page 40.) Lowell was fitted for college by William Wells (who was the senior of the firm to whom we owe the series of Wells and Lilly classics), entered Harvard in his sixteenth year, and was graduated in 1838. His first-published literary production, unless possibly some poems for “Harvardiana,” which he edited in 1837-'8, was his notable class poem, composed under peculiar circumstances. At the time of writing it the collegiate senior was undergoing a brief period of rustication at Concord, in consequence of inattention to his text-books. His forced sojourn in this Arcadia of scholarship and reform brought him into relationship with the transcendentalists, who at that day were in the habit of gathering at the home of Emerson, with whom then began that friendship which, despite the playful sallies of the younger poet in his earlier writings, only terminated with the death of the elder. The young satirist saw the humorous side of the social movements of the day, and the class-poem, scintillating with wit, attacked the abolitionists, Carlyle, Emerson, and the transcendentalists. In the law-school of Harvard, Lowell received the degree of LL. B., and was admitted to the bar in 1840. The only record of the practice of his profession is found in a story entitled “My First Client,” published in the “Boston Miscellany.” Henceforth he gave himself entirely to literature. In 1841 a volume of poems, written under the influence of affection for a woman of genius who became his wife, was published under the title of “A Year's Life.” The key-note of the poems, buoyant with youth and love, is in the closing lines:
“The poet now his guide hath found,
And follows in the steps of Love.”
The volume was never re-published, and of the seventy poems only a small part have been deemed worthy of re-printing by the author. His marriage to the woman who inspired these poems took place in 1844. Maria White was an ardent abolitionist, and no doubt her influence assisted in turning his thoughts to the serious side of that cause to which he rendered immortal service. To understand Lowell's career, it is necessary to remember that he was not only a poet, a scholar, and a humorist, but always a conservative and a critic. No man was more thoroughly imbued than he with the fundamental principles of American democracy—a democracy without demagogism—no man more jealous than he of the untarnished reputation of America in politics and literature, no man more quick to see any departure from the high ideal of the republic, and his flaming pen was turned to attack whatever assailed this ideal—at one time slavery, at another time vicious political methods threatening the purity of democratic society. His radicalism was always conservative, his criticism always constructive. Lowell and his wife were regular contributors to the “Liberty Bell,” and his name appears in 1848 in “The Anti-Slavery Standard” as corresponding editor. In this paper, from 1843 to 1846, his poems during that period mostly appeared. Later the “Boston Courier” was the vehicle of his productions, and in its columns the first series of the “Biglow Papers” was given to the public, beginning in the issue for June, 1846, and ending in 1848. This satire was an event of the first importance in the history of the world's literature. In wit, scholarship, and penetrating knowledge of human nature, it took the place, which it has ever since maintained, of a masterpiece. Age has only increased its reputation, and it is a recognized classic both in England and America. The test of its power and universality is the constant quotation from it on both sides of the Atlantic. Locally its effect was amazing. It consisted of a series of poems in the Yankee dialect, ostensibly by Mr. Hosea Biglow, and edited, with an introduction, notes, glossary, index, and “notices of an independent press,” by “Homer Wilbur, A. M., pastor of the first church in Jaalam, and prospective member of many literary, learned, and scientific societies.” In the main it was a satire on slavery and the Mexican war, but there was scarcely any cant, hypocrisy, or meanness in politics, the pulpit, and the press that was not hit by it. The hitherto despised abolitionists, the subject of gibes and satire, found a champion who turned the batteries of the scholar, in unequalled wit, merriment, and ridicule, upon their enemies and the enemies of the free republic, exposing to the laughter of the world the sneaking attitude of compromising politicians and of those who wore the livery of heaven in the cause of human slavery. Thereafter the fight took on a very different character; it was respectable to be on the side of freedom. The “Biglow Papers” will no doubt preserve the Yankee dialect, and cause it to be studied ages hence in order to the comprehension of the effect upon our national life of one of the most opportune allies that freedom ever had.
His interest in the anti-slavery contest did not prevent Lowell from purely literary labors. In 1843 he undertook the editing of “The Pioneer, a Literary and Critical Magazine,” in joint editor-ship with Robert Carter (q. v.); and Poe, Hawthorne, Neal, Dwight, Jones Very, Parsons, Elizabeth Barrett (Mrs. Browning), Whittier, and William W. Story were contributors. Only three numbers were published, the venture failing through financial disaster to the publishers. In this magazine was begun a series of essays on the poets and dramatists, which afterward formed the material for “Conversations with Some of the Old Poets” (Cambridge, 1845). In 1844 came a volume of verse, containing “A Legend of Brittany,” with thirty-three miscellaneous poems and thirty-seven sonnets (among them sonnets to Wendell Phillips and Joshua R. Giddings), written in a vein that foreshadowed and even announced the poet's position in the great anti-slavery revolution. These were followed in 1845 by “The Vision of Sir Launfal,” one of the most exquisite productions of his genius, a poem founded on the legend of the Holy Grail, which is said to have been composed in a sort of frenzy in about forty-eight hours, during which the poet scarcely ate or slept. The “Conversations on the Poets” was Lowell's first work in literary criticism, and was the basis of his lectures before the Lowell institute, 1854-'5, and of his lectures in Harvard university during his professorship of modern languages and belles-lettres. A third volume of poems, containing many new anti-slavery pieces, was published in 1848, and the same year was brought out anonymously the “Fable for Critics,” a youthfully daring but amusing and racy skit at the American poets, in which the laughing author did not spare himself. In 1849 a collected edition of his poems in two volumes was published, the “Biglow Papers” and “A Year's Life” being omitted. In the mean time Lowell had been a contributor to the “Dial,” the “Democratic Review,” the “Massachusetts Quarterly Review,” in which he reviewed Thoreau's first volume in 1849, and to “Putnam's Monthly” in 1853 and several years later. In 1851 the poet and his wife travelled in Europe, visiting England, France, and Switzerland, and residing for some time in Italy. The chief fruits of this journey were the essays on Italian art and literature and his eminence as a student and interpreter of Dante. In the autumn of 1852 he was again in America and in October, 1853, he sustained the greatest sorrow of his life in the death of his wife, who had long been an invalid. In January, 1855, on Mr. Longfellow's resignation, Lowell was appointed his successor as professor of modern languages and belles-lettres in Harvard university, and after two years' study abroad, during which time he greatly extended his knowledge of Italian, French, and Spanish, and became one of the first authorities in old French and Provençal poetry, he assumed the duties of his professorship. From 1857 till 1862 he wrote many essays, not since re-published, for the “Atlantic Monthly,” and in 1863 he became, with Prof. Charles Eliot Norton, joint editor of the “North American Review,” a connection which he maintained till 1872. The “Atlantic Monthly,” founded in 1857, of which Lowell was the first editor, was set on foot by Holmes, Longfellow, Emerson, and Lowell, and Emerson's study was the scene of the gathering of the great literary lights of Boston, when the enterprise was discussed and the character of the magazine settled upon.
The Kansas struggle, 1856-'8, enlisted Lowell's sympathies; he was in accord with the leading anti-slavery men, and at one time, says Frank B. Sanborn, contemplated transferring his Hosea Biglow to Kansas to report in the vernacular the doings there, but “the flighty purpose never was o'ertook.” The outbreak of the civil war caused a revival of the dramatis personæ of the “Biglow Papers,” in which the disunionists at home and their sympathizers in England were equally brought under the lash of his stinging satire. It went straight to the American heart. This second series of “Biglow Papers” first appeared in the “Atlantic,” and was published in a volume in 1867. The “Fireside Travels,” containing the pleasant gossip about “Cambridge Thirty Years Ago,” the delightful “Moosehead Journal,” and notes of travel on the Mediterranean and in Italy, had appeared in the mean time. The “Atlantic” for January, 1867, contained “Fitz Adam's Story,” a poem intended to form part of a longer one, “The Nooning,” which has been announced as about to be published as far back as 1851, but has never been completed. It was omitted from “Under the Willows, and other Poems” (Boston, 1869), with the following explanation: “‘Fitz Adam’s Story,’ which some good friends will miss, is also left to stand over, because it belongs to a connected series, which it is hoped may be completed if the days should be propitious.” The volumes of prose, “Among my Books” and “My Study Windows,” issued in 1870, comprising the choicest of Lowell's literary essays, seemed to mark the close of his greatest literary activity; but the appearance recently of such a paper as that on the poet Grey shows that only opportunity is needed for the gathering of the maturest fruits of his critical genius. In 1872 he made another visit to Europe, and on his return the “Centennial” period called out his efforts in the production of three patriotic odes, the first at Concord, 19 April, 1875, the second under the Washington elm, 3 July of the same year, and the third for 4 July, 1876. He was a presidential elector in 1876.
In 1877 Mr. Lowell was appointed by President Hayes to the Spanish mission, from which he was transferred in 1880 to the court of St. James. His diplomatic career closed with his recall by President Cleveland in 1885. In Madrid, in an atmosphere congenial to him as a student, he sustained the honor of the American name, and received the confidence and admiration that had been formerly extended to Washington Irving. His residence in London, although clouded and saddened by the long illness and by the death in February, 1885, of his second wife, Miss Frances Dunlap, of Portland, Me., whom he had married in September, 1857, was as honorable to him as to the country he represented, an unbroken series of successes in the world of society and the world of letters. Called upon to settle no serious international differences, he bore himself with the tact and dignity that was to be desired in our representative to a great and friendly power, mindful always that his mission was to maintain cordial amity instead of seeking causes of alienation. And no man in our generation has done more than Lowell to raise American institutions and American character in the estimation of our English kin. His graceful and natural oratory was in demand on scores of public occasions. The most noteworthy of his public addresses was that on Coleridge, delivered at the unveiling of the bust of the poet in Westminster Abbey in May, 1885. The volume entitled “Democracy and other Addresses” (Boston, 1887) includes the foreign speeches, and those spoken at the dedication of the public library of Chelsea and at the Harvard anniversary. Mr. Lowell's political life is confined within the eight years of his terms of office at Madrid and London. His recall brought out expressions of deep regret in the English press, and he returned to the United States to receive the plaudits of his countrymen. Temporary political criticisms there were, but they were such as a man can afford to leave to the judgment of time, which will not fail to compare his own ideal of what the republic should be with the notions of his critics. Since his return to private life Mr. Lowell's home has been with his only child, the wife of Edward Burnett, at Southboro, Mass. He resumed his lectures at Cambridge, and in the winter of 1887 gave a course on the English dramatists before the Lowell institute. The same winter he read a paper before the Union league club of Chicago on the authorship of Richard III. In the summer of 1887 he again visited England, receiving everywhere the highest honors that could be paid to a private citizen. The degree of D. C. L. was conferred upon him by the University of Oxford in 1873, and that of LL. D. by the University of Cambridge, England, in 1874. During his residence in England as minister he was elected rector of the University of St. Andrews.
The following is a list of his works and their various editions: “Class Poem” (Boston, 1838); “A Year's Life” (1841); “Poems” (Cambridge, 1844); “The Vision of Sir Launfal” (Boston, 1845; 2d ed., 1848, and included in “Vest-Pocket Series”); “Conversations on Some of the Old Poets” (1845); “Poems” (1848); “The Biglow Papers” (1848); “A Fable for Critics” (1848); “Poems” (2 vols., 1849); “Life of Keats,” prefacing an edition of his works (1854); “Poems” (2 vols., 1854); “Poetical Works” (2 vols., 1858); “Mason and Slidell, a Yankee Idyl” (1862); “Fireside Travels” (1864); “The President's Policy” (1864); “Ode recited at the Commemoration of the Living and Dead Soldiers of Harvard University,” 21 July, 1865; “The Biglow Papers,” 2d series (1867); “Under the Willows, and other Poems” (1869); “Among my Books” (1870); “The Courtin’” (1874); “Three Memorial Poems” (1876); “Among my Books,” 2d series (1876); and “Democracy, and other Addresses” (1887). “The Literary World” (Boston) of 27 June, 1885, is a Lowell number, containing estimates of Mr. Lowell's literary and personal qualities, with testimonies from prominent writers, and a bibliography. Francis H. Underwood published in 1882 a biographical sketch; and Stedman's “American Poets,” a volume called “Homes and Haunts of our Elder Poets,” and Haweis's “American Humorists,” contain essays upon Mr. Lowell. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 39-42.
LOWELL, Maria White, 1821-1853, Watertown, Massachusetts, poet, abolitionist, temperance advocate, women’s rights activist, wife of poet and anti-slavery activist James Russell Lowell. Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society (BFASS).
(Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 42)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LOWELL, Maria White, poet, b. in Watertown, Mass., 8 July, 1821; d. in Cambridge, Mass., 27 Oct., 1853, married Mr. Lowell in 1844. She possessed great beauty of person and character, and was an accomplished linguist. Her death, which took place the same night that one of Mr. Longfellow's children was born, called forth from Longfellow his poem beginning,
“Two angels, one of life and one of death,
Passed o'er our village, as the morning broke.”
A volume of her poems, which are characterized by tenderness and delicacy of feeling, was printed privately after her death (Cambridge, 1855). The best known of them are “The Alpine Shepherd” and “The Morning-Glory.” Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 42.
LOZIER, Clemence Sophia Harned, 1813-1888, Plainfield, New Jersey, physician, abolitionist, feminist activist. President of New York Suffrage League.
(Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 48; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 480)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LOZIER, Clemence Sophia, physician, b. in Plainfield, N. J., 11 Dec., 1812; d. in New York city, 26 April, 1888. She was the youngest daughter of David Harned, and in 1829 married Abraham W. Lozier, of New York, but soon afterward, her husband's health failing, she opened a select school and taught for eleven years. During this time she was associated with Mrs. Margaret Pryor in visiting the poor and abandoned, under the auspices of the Moral reform society. After her husband's death she determined to study medicine, attended her first lectures at Rochester eclectic medical college in 1849, and was graduated at the Syracuse medical college in 1853. Dr. Lozier at once began practice as a homœpathist in New York, where she continued to reside, and in the surgery required by the diseases of her own sex displayed peculiar skill, performing many capital operations in the removal of tumors. In 1860 she began a course of lectures on medical subjects in her own parlors, which in 1863 resulted in the founding of the New York medical college and hospital for women, where she was clinical professor of diseases of women and children, and also dean of the faculty, for more than twenty years. This institution was the first distinctively woman's medical college to be established in New York state. Dr. Lozier took an active interest in all that pertains to the elevation of her sex, for thirteen years was president of the New York city woman suffrage society, and for four years of the National woman suffrage society. She also held office in other philanthropic and reform associations, and was an occasional contributor to medical journals. Appletons’ Cyclopædia of American Biography, 1888.
LUNDY, Benjamin, 1789-1839, Pennsylvania, philanthropist, Society of Friends, Quaker, radical abolitionist leader, anti-slavery author and editor. American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS), Manager, 1833-1834, 1837-1838, 1838-1840, Vice President, 1834-1835. Organized the anti-slavery Union Humane Society, St. Clairsville, Ohio, in 1816. In 1821, he founded and published the newspaper, Genius of Universal Emancipation, in Greenville, Tennessee. It was circulated in more than 21 states and territories, including slave states. He was a member of the Tennessee Manumission Society. In August 1825, he founded the Maryland Anti-Slavery Society, which advocated for direct political action to end slavery. He lectu4red extensively and helped organize numerous anti-slavery groups in the Northeast. Supported establishing colonies of freed slaves in Mexico. In 1836, published The National Enquirer and Constitutional Advocate of Universal Liberty, a weekly paper. In 1837, co-founded the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society.
(Adams, 1908; Dillon, 1966; Drake, 1950, pp. 118, 128, 130-131, 136, 156; Dumond, 1961, pp. 95, 136-137, 166; Earle, 1847; Filler, 1960, pp. 5, 26, 55, 57, 60, 99, 101, 105, 128, 130; Mabee, 1970, pp. 11-13, 18, 42, 186, 190, 192, 193, 199, 276, 376, 387n11, 390n21; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 33, 36, 39, 45, 105, 110, 310-311; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, p. 54; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 6, Pt. 1, p. 506; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 546-548; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 14, p. 137; The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. II. New York: James T. White, 1892, p. 308)
Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:
LUNDY, Benjamin, philanthropist, b. in Hardwick, Warren co., N.J., 4 Jan., 1789; d. in Lowell, La Salle co., Ill., 22 Aug., 1839. His parents were members of the Society of Friends. When he was about nineteen years of age he removed to Wheeling, Va., where he remained for four years, working the first eighteen months as an apprentice to a saddler. While there his attention was first directed to the evils of slavery, and determined his future course as an Abolitionist. On leaving Wheeling he went to Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, and then to St. Clairsville in that state, where, in 1815, he originated an anti-slavery association, called the “Union humane society,” and wrote an appeal on the subject of slavery. Soon afterward he became a contributor of anti-slavery articles to the “Philanthropist” newspaper, published at Mt. Pleasant. In the autumn of 1819 he removed to St. Louis, Mo., at the time that the Missouri question was attracting universal attention, and devoted himself to an exposition of the evils of slavery in the newspapers of that state and Illinois. Returning to Mt. Pleasant, he began in January, 1812, the publication of the “Genius of Universal Emancipation,” a monthly, the office of which was soon removed to Jonesborough, Tenn., and thence to Baltimore in 1824, when it became a weekly. In the latter part of 1825 Mr. Lundy visited Hayti to make arrangements with the government of that island for the settlement of such freed slaves as might be sent thither. In 1828 he visited the eastern states, where he lectured and formed the acquaintance of William Lloyd Garrison, with whom he afterward became associated in editing his journal. In the winter of 1828-'9 he was assaulted for an alleged libel and nearly killed in Baltimore by a slave-dealer named Austin Woolfolk. Lundy was indirectly censured by the court and compelled to remove his paper to Washington, and finally to Philadelphia, where he gave it the name of “The National Inquirer,” and finally it merged into “The Pennsylvania Freeman.” In 1829 he went a second time to Hayti, and took with him several slaves that had been emancipated for that purpose. In the winter of 1830 he visited the Wilberforce colony of fugitive slaves in Canada, and then went to Texas to provide a similar asylum under the Mexican flag, renewing his visit in 1833, but was baffled by the events that led to the annexation of Texas. In 1838 his property was burned by the pro-slavery mob that fired Pennsylvania Hall, Philadelphia. In the winter of 1838-'9 he removed to Lowell, La Salle co., Ill., with the intention of publishing the '”Genius” there, but his design was frustrated by his death. He was the first to establish anti-slavery periodicals and to deliver anti-slavery lectures, and probably the first to induce the formation of societies for the encouragement of the produce of free labor. See “The Life, Travels, and Opinions of Benjamin Lundy.” By Thomas Earl (Philadelphia, 1847). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. IV, pp. 54.
Chapter, “Early Antislavery Movements: Benjamin Lundy - William Lloyd Garrison,” by Henry Wilson, in History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 1872:
But far the most devoted, effective, and prominent antislavery worker of those days was Benjamin Lundy. From 1815 to 1830 his labors were immense, involving great personal hardship and sacrifice, and placing him far in advance of all contemporaneous or earlier Abolitionists. He was a native of New Jersey, and of Quaker origin. At the age of nineteen he went to. Wheeling, in Western Virginia, where he served an apprenticeship and worked at the trade of saddler. He was evidently from the outset an earnest and thoughtful man. While his companions were prone to dissipation, he devoted his leisure hours to reading; and he was also a regular attendant on the meetings of his denomination. Wheeling being a great thoroughfare for the slave-trade, through which often passed the coffles of that nefarious traffic, his sympathies were largely enlisted in behalf of its helpless and hopeless victims. “My heart," he said,” was deeply grieved at the gross abomination. I heard the wail of the captive, I felt his pang of distress, and the iron entered my soul." Though he did not then and there enter upon what soon became his life work, yet he unquestionably received his baptism into the spirit of the great reform of which he was an honored pioneer, while largely instrumental in persuading others to enter upon it.
Even Mr. Garrison thus gratefully and gracefully refers to his obligations to Mr. Lundy: " Now, if I have in any way, however humble, done anything toward calling attention to slavery, or bringing about the glorious prospect of a complete jubilee in our country at no distant day, I feel that I owe everything in this matter, instrumentally and under God, to Benjamin Lundy . . . .. I feel it due to the memory of one who devoted so many years of his life so faithfully to the cause of the oppressed that I should state this reminiscence."
Having married, he settled in Ohio, a few miles west of Wheeling. He was prosperous in business, and happy in his domestic relations; "having," he said," a loving wife and two beautiful little daughters, that it was a real happiness to possess and cherish." But, notwithstanding his success in business and the, attractions of his home, he felt and yielded to the higher claims of humanity. His heart was troubled at the sad condition of the slaves, whose wrongs and sufferings he well knew. He enjoyed, he said, no peace of mind, and came to the conclusion that, he must not only feel, but act for the suffering bondmen. Calling a few friends together at his house, he unbosomed his feelings. An antislavery organization, called “The Union Humane Society,'' was formed; which within a few months contained nearly five hundred members, residing in several counties in that section of the state. This society was formed in 1815.Hle soon issued an appeal to the philanthropists of the United States, in which he proposed that societies should be formed wherever a sufficient number of persons would be found to join them, with a uniform title and constitution. It was also suggested that these societies should correspond with each other, and co-operate in the general measures of their organization.
Not long afterward Mr. Charles Osborn commenced the publication of a journal at Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, called “The Philanthropist." For it Mr. Lundy furnished articles, and he was soon invited to take an interest in the paper and superintend the office. That he might be able to accept the invitation, he must disencumber himself of his business, which he unsuccessfully attempted to do by taking his stock in trade to St. Louis. Reaching that city in the midst of the Missouri struggle, and comprehendi1Jg at a glance the nature of the question at issue, he entered into the conflict with great earnestness and vigor. Through the newspapers of Missouri and Illinois he portrayed the evils of slavery and the wickedness of its needless expansion.
Returning to Ohio, he commenced the publication of a paper whose spirit and purpose were well expressed by its name, the “Genius of Universal Emancipation,"--a journal that was destined from the start to a marked and stormy career. After several months it was removed to Tennessee, where it obtained quite a wide circulation, and was at that time the only distinctive antislavery paper in the country. During his residence there he visited Philadelphia for the purpose of attending the American Convention for the Abolition of Slavery," travelling," he says, " six hundred miles on horseback in midwinter, and at his own expense," -- a cost of time, labor, and money not often, if ever, equaled by the most devoted antislavery men of later years. During this time he made the acquaintance of other Abolitionists; and, though without much encouragement, concluded to remove' his paper to Baltimore. “Having arranged," he said,” my business in Tennessee, I shouldered my knapsack, and set out for Baltimore on foot in the summer of 1824." At Deep Creek, North Carolina, he gave his first public lecture on slavery. He delivered fifteen or twenty antislavery addresses in different parts of the State, and assisted in the organization of a dozen antislavery societies, which largely and rapidly increased, until in three years they embraced some three thousand members, comprising many persons of position and eminence.
Pursuing his journey through the middle of Virginia, he held meetings, and effected the organization of several antislavery societies in that State. Arriving at Baltimore, where he proposed to establish his paper, he was received, he tells us, even by the antislavery men, "civilly, but coolly enough." They expressed strong doubts of his success, and gave him very little encouragement. Still he determined to persevere, and in 1824 commenced its publication. The next year he visited Hayti; but found, on his return, that his wife had died during his absence, that his home was broken up, and his children scattered. Collecting them, and placing them with friends in whom he confided, he says: “I renewed my vows to devote my energies to the cause of the slave, until the nation shall be effectually roused in his behalf." With the aid of a few warm friends, whose sympathy and counsel were freely given, he not only continued the publication of his paper, but was successful in 1'he organization of several societies.
Believing the question of emancipation to be a political one, he took a deep interest in the presidential election of 1824, and rendered effective service to the victorious party. He also avowed his readiness to support the Colonization Society," if' it united with its policy that great work of justice and righteousness, the total extirpation of slavery from the soil of America." Avowing emancipation to· be the primary object with him, he could not for a moment think of joining in any colonization scheme which had not that object in view. In the summer of 1825 he commenced a series of articles on the domestic slave-trade, which greatly excited the slave-dealers of Baltimore, and unquestionably was the provoking cause of the brutal assault made upon him, in the streets of that city, occasioning; in the end, his removal.
In the year 1826 the American Convention for the Abolition of Slavery was holden in Baltimore, through his influence; in which were represented, directly and indirectly, eighty-one societies, seventy-three being located in slaveholding States. There were at that time about one hundred and forty antislavery societies in the country, of which one hundred and six were in the Southern States. About the same time Mr. Lundy issued, an address to the Abolitionists, maintaining that the most expedient course to be pursued was to " go straight forward with firmness and resolution in the road we have already begun to travel, neither turning to the right hand nor to the left, until we reach the glorious mansion where justice sits crowned with mercy, and where men esteem their fellow-men as brethren. For my own part," he said,” I never calculate how soon the cause of rational liberty will triumph over that of cruelty and despotism in the country." Though these were his sentiments of uncalculating devotion, and he was regardless of personal consequences and secondary considerations, it is evident, from some recorded remarks of his, a few months later, on the rapid growth of antis-slavery sentiment and societies during the twenty preceding years, that, like most of the early Abolitionists, he calculated on a far easier and earlier triumph than the nation was destined to witness. They saw and felt the wickedness of slavery; but they did not, as they could not, comprehend how firmly it was embedded in the very foundation of the civil, industrial, social, and ecclesiastical institutions of the country, or estimate aright the tenacity of its hold on life.
Mr. Lundy, however, clearly comprehended and fully acknowledged the necessity and the duty of political action. In commenting, in the summer of 1827, on the resolution of a county antislavery society in Ohio, that its members would support no persons for office who were not opposed to slavery, and who would not use all lawful means to remedy the evil by the most speedy and efficient measures, he declared that if the friends of genuine republicanism would act upon that principle, a change for the better would soon be witnessed. He held it to be a grand mistake that the people of the free States had nothing to do with slaves. “They guarantee," he said,” the oppression of the colored man in this country. Let them wash their hands of the crime; there is blood on every finger." Later he said: “I now fearlessly and boldly assert that the subject of slavery is no State-rights matter, but that all the citizens in this republic are interested in its extinction, and, if ever we abolish it, the influence and government of the United States must effect it." Still later, in 1837, he said: ''The question of abolishing slavery, when it shall be acted on, must be settled at the ballot." Thus clearly defined and lucidly expressed were his views of the evil and its remedy. The discussions of thirty years did not materially enlarge or improve the argument.
In May; 1828, Mr. Lundy made a journey to the Eastern States. At New York he formed the acquaintance of Arthur Tappan. At Providence he met William Goodell, of whom, considering the latter's subsequent career, he has left the singular record: “I endeavored to arouse him, but he was at that time slow of speech on that subject." At Boston he said he could hear of no Abolitionists resident in the place. In the house where he boarded he met Mr. Garrison, whom he wished to find, but who had not then turned his attention particularly to the subject, though he had noticed favorably his paper in " The National Philanthropist," a temperance journal he was then editing. He found in him a congenial spirit, most welcome in the surrounding apathy. Honestly inquiring and receptive, he not only responded favorably to his appeals, but rendered present aid in procuring subscribers and getting up meetings. Mr. Lundy also visited the clergy and called a meeting, at which eight were present, to whom he unfolded his plans. Most assented, -- at least, did not oppose, -- excepting one, whom he challenged to public debate. His challenge, however, was not accepted. He also visited New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, and New York. During this tour of five months he travelled hundreds of miles, often on foot, and delivered forty-three public addresses; " scattering," he said, " the seed of antislavery in strong and luxuriant soil," although it " was then the very winter of philanthropy."
Returning to Baltimore, he attended, as delegate from Maryland, the American Convention for the Abolition of Slavery. At this meeting it was resolved that the Convention should thereafter be permanently held in the city of Washington. One was held in the winter of 1829. But that was the last, notwithstanding this resolution, of a series of conventions inaugurated in 1794; so little did the antislavery men of those days understand the strength of the foe or their own weakness. But while others faltered, Mr. Lundy did not, though he felt the need of help. He remembered his visit to Boston, and his interview with Mr. Garrison; and he longed to have him for a coadjutor in this unequal strife. Accordingly, in the autumn of 1828, he visited New England, to persuade him, if possible, to join him in the editorial management of the “Genius." Mr. Garrison was then editing a paper in Vermont, and he thus describes Mr. Lundy's visit: “He had taken his staff in hand and travelled all the way to the Green Mountains. He came to lay it on my conscience and my soul that I should join him in this work of seeking the abolition of slavery. And he so presented the case, with the growing disposition I had to take up the cause, that I said to him: ' I will join you as soon as my engagement ends here; and then we will see what can be done.' "
In the summer of the following year Mr. Garrison, on Mr. Lundy's return from Hayti, fulfilled his promise, and became one of the editors of the paper, though the two were not in full accord in all their sentiments. But they were both honest and earnest, and their aims were one. Elizabeth Margaret Chandler was also engaged as an assistant, and the paper was changed from a monthly to a weekly journal, and was vigorously conducted in the interests of temperance, emancipation, and peace. Miss Chandler soon issued an appeal to the ladies of the United States, urging them to enlist in the cause of emancipation, and to form female antislavery societies, like those in Great Britain.
At about the same time Mr. Lundy announced through his columns, that the American government was attempting a negotiation with Mexico for the purchase of Texas. With his usual practical sagacity, assuming that all such attempted negotiations were made for the support of slavery, he sounded the alarm and began an opposition which he never remitted. Nor was he content with this general protest; he soon proceeded, at the cost of much persop.al sacrifice, exposure, and danger, to visit and travel once and again over large portions of that country and of Mexico, often in disguise. By this personal inspection, made in the general behalf of the slave and escaped fugitives, he became familiar with the whole Texan plot, so that the information gained was of great service to John Quincy Adams and others during the annexation struggle, even then casting its baleful shadows before.
The connection between Mr. Lundy and Mr. Garrison was not, however, productive of all the good the former had fondly anticipated. The growing exasperation of the slaveholding portion of the city at any interference with the system was greatly intensified and brought to a crisis by the severe attacks of Mr. Garrison upon the domestic slave-traffic in general, and. upon the conduct of a New England master of a vessel, in particular, in taking a cargo of slaves to the New Orleans market. A prosecution, trial, conviction, and imprisonment were the result, rendering a dissolution of their partnership inevitable. Another circumstance had unquestionably added fuel to the flame already burning fiercely. A colored man, in Boston, by the name of Walker, had published a pamphlet, which was freely condemned by Mr. Lundy, in which, arraigning with terrible and merciless severity the slave-masters for their wrongs inflicted on the poor bondmen, and breathing a most vindictive spirit, he counselled the colored race to take vengeance into their own hands.
Consequently, when Mr. Garrison had been driven from the city, the same spirit of persecution followed Mr. Lundy. The governor required him to give bail, libel suits and threatened imprisonment lowered, and personal outrage and violence in the streets rendered longer residence unsafe. He was finally compelled to succumb and remove his paper to Washington. Through his influence, while in that city, an antislavery society was formed; and a memorial, signed by more than a thousand citizens of the District of Columbia, was presented to Congress for the abolition of slavery and the slave-trade.
His paper failing for want of patronage, he started another in 1836, in Philadelphia, called the “National Inquirer." Retiring from this in 1838, and being succeeded by John G. Whittier, who changed the name to "The Pennsylvania Freeman,'' he proposed to go West, and resume the publication of the "Genius" in some town in the great valley, Having gathered up his little store of earthly possessions, he deposited them in the new Pennsylvania Hall, which, with his deposit, was burned by the mob in the spring of 1838.. Nothing daunted or disheartened by what he termed this total sacrifice on the altar of universal emancipation," saying, '' they have not yet got my conscience, they have not taken my heart.," he still persisted in his purpose of going West. After many disappointments, he succeeded in getting out a few numbers; but, for lack of funds and help, it could not be said to have been established. But the good man's work was finished. He was attacked with the fever of the country, and., after a brief illness, died on the 23d of August, 1839, in the fifty-first year of his age.
Thus passed away in the prime of his manhood and in the full maturity of his powers one of the most humane, unselfish, laborious, and persistent of men. There have been abler men, men rendering greater service; but few have possessed more largeness of heart, more uncalculating self-abnegation, or have filled up the measure of their lives with more self-sacrificing labors for the good of others. From the year 1820 to 1830 he states that he travelled twenty-five thousand miles, ,five ,thousand on foot; that he visited nineteen States, made two voyages to Hayti, and delivered more than two hundred public addresses. Nor were the last nine years of his life less replete with like achievements. During those years, in addition to his other abundant labors, he made several tours to Canada, Texas, and Mexico, in the earnest, but vain search after shelter and relief for the lowly ones who could not find protection in their native land. Indeed, as richly did he merit, as he on whom it was bestowed, -- as his service was more laborious, more protracted, and more widely extended, -- the splendid eulogium of Burke on the philanthropist Howard: “His was a voyage of discovery, a circumnavigation of charity?"
And this service was rendered under circumstances well calculated to try his temper and test his strength of principle; for not only did he perform those journeyings often on foot and always without the modern appliances of travel, but most of his multitudinous labors were performed without the stimulus of success or the cheering words of sympathy and encouragement. His pilgrimage from Maryland to Vermont, "staff in hand," for the simple chance of enlisting a co-laborer was sadly significant. He was called to lead the “forlorn hope “of a desperate cause against opposing foes increasing in numbers and flushed with recent victories. And not only that, but he was compelled to witness the manifest decadence of the spirit of liberty in the government, and of resistance to the demands of slavery among the masses of his countrymen.
Twenty-three years of such labor, under such circumstances, are not often paralleled even in the annals of Christian missions and reforms. Well does his biographer, Mr. Thomas Earle, say of him: “Having resolved, twenty-three years before his decease, to devote his energies to the relief of the suffering slave and the oppressed man of color, he persevered to the end, undeterred by difficulties and undismayed by dangers, undiscouraged by disappointments and unsubdued by sacrifices. Alone, often on foot, he encountered fatigue, hunger, and exposure, the frosts and snows of winter, the rains and scorching sun of summer, the contagion of pestilence and the miasmatic effluvia of insalubrious regions, ever pressing onward toward the attainment of the great object to which he had dedicated his existence."
Source: Wilson, Henry, History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, Vol. 1. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1872, 167-176.
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