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over in the Mayflower, and he had made a solemn vow to “ kill American slavery." - In return for the attack on Lawrence, Brown got together a small band, surprised a little settlement of Slavestate men on Pottawatomie Creek, south of Lawrence, dragged five of them from their beds, and deliberately murdered them. Later, Brown crossed into Missouri, destroyed considerable property, freed eleven slaves, and shot one of the slave-owners. The truth appears to be that each party in Kansas was resolved to drive out the other. In the end, the Free-state men won the victory, and Kansas finally entered the Union without slavery (1861).
During the heated debate in Congress over the Kansas troubles, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts made a speech denouncing Senator Butler of South Carolina, and stinging the latter's friends to madness. Representative Brooks, a kinsman of Butler's, considered the speech an insult; he brutally assaulted Sumner, and beat him so severely over the head with a heavy cane that he was obliged to give up his seat in Congress for nearly four years. In less than a twelvemonth from his return (1859) South Carolina had seceded from the Union.
307. Summary.— The chief events of Pierce's administration were: (1) The “World's Fair” exhibition; (2) Commodore Perry's treaty with Japan, opening that country to trade with the United States; (3) the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill repealing the Missouri Compromise; and (4) the struggle of the North and the South for the possession of Kansas. over in the Mayflower in 1620. When a boy, he chanced to see a slave boy cruelly beaten by his master, and he then and there vowed (so he says) “ eternal war with slavery." In 1848 he purchased a farm in North Elba, New York, but spent a great deal of his time in aiding runaway slaves to get to Canada. He went out to Osawatomie, Kansas, in 1855, to take part in making that territory a free state, and also, as he says, to strike a blow at slavery. Brown's party declared that they perpetrated the “ Pottawatomie Massacre" in return for the assassination of five Free-state men by the opposite party.
See Paragraph 73. 2 During this administration and the preceding some attempts were made by armed expeditions of Americans to get possession of Cuba, and also of part of Central America, but they ended in complete failure.
RESULTS AT THE NORTH.
308. Buchanan's Administration (Fifteenth President, One Term, 1857-1861); the Case of Dred Scott. - Two days after President Buchanan's ? inauguration, Chief-Justice Taney of the United States Supreme Court gave his decision in a case of great importance, known as the “Dred Scott Case.” Scott was a negro slave and the son of slave parents. His master had taken him (1834) from the slave state of Missouri to the free state of Illinois, where he had resided a number of years. He then took him to Minnesota, a free territory, and finally carried him back to Missouri. There Scott sued his master for flogging him. The negro demanded damages, on the ground that because he had lived on free soil he had therefore gained his liberty, was now a free man, and if anybody whipped him, he must pay for it.
309. Chief-Justice Taney's Decision in the Dred Scott Case ; Results at the North. - Chief Justice Taney, with a majority of his associate justices in the Supreme Court, decided that Scott had not gained his liberty by change of residence. He declared that when the Constitution was framed and adopted a negro slave was not a person, but simply a piece of property – a thing; that he had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect”; and he decided that Scott's master could lawfully take his slaves into any free state or territory of the Union, just as he could take his horses or his cattle.
1 James Buchanan was born in Pennsylvania, 1791; died, 1868. He was elected to Congress in 1820; later, to the United States Senate; was minister to Russia; Secretary of State under Polk; and in 1853 minister to England. He was elected President (John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, Vice-President) by the Democrats, over John C. Frémont, the Republican candidate, and Millard Fillmore, the American," or " Know-Nothing," candidate. 2 Some accounts say to Wisconsin. 8 Minnesota was at that time a territory.
4 Two of the eight associate justices or judges of the Supreme Court — Judge McLean of Ohio and Judge Curtis of Massachusetts did not agree with ChietJustice Taney in his decision.
5 It is noticeable, however, that the Constitution always speaks of negro slaves as " persons." See the Constitution, pages vii, x, and xiv.
This decision by the highest court in the United States stirred the North like an electric shock. The people of that section saw that if Chief Justice Taney was right, their soil was practically thrown open to slavery. The result was that they determined that the law should not be carried out. This, of course, angered the South, and greatly increased the hostility of the two sections to each other.
310. The Business Panic of 1857. — While men were excitedly discussing the Dred Scott decision, and while the danger of disunion was growing more and more threatening, a heavy business failure occurred in Cincinnati. This brought down other business houses, just as when a large building falls the smaller ones whose walls rest against it often fall with it. The panic of 18378 was now repeated. Nearly all the banks in the country failed, many railroads could not pay their debts, thousands of merchants and manufacturers were ruined, and it seemed at one time as though all rich men must become poor, and all poor men become beggars.
The chief causes of this trouble were to be found in the results of the discovery of gold in California. The increased wealth DISCOVERY OF SILVER IN NEVADA.
1 That is, that the free states could not prevent a slaveholder from bringing his slaves with him (as Scott's master had done), and staying at least several years with them on free soil.
2 The Northern people believed that under the Constitution slaves could only be held in those states which protected slavery by their laws, and that if a master took his negroes into a state whose laws forbade slavery, he could not hold them in bondage there.
3 Meanwhile (1845-1846), two of the great religious denominations of the country — the Baptists and the Methodists — had split; and each was now organized as a Northern and a Southern Church; the first opposing slavery, and the second upholding it. Later (1861), the Presbyterian denomination became similarly divided; but not the Episcopal or the Roman Catholic.
4 The Ohio Life and Trust Company failed, through the fault of its New York agent, in August, 1857.
6 See Paragraph 274. 6 The Chemical Bank of New York City, which had gone safely through the great panic of 1837, continued to pay all demands in gold. The State Bank of Indiana and the Kentucky banks also met all demands against them in a satisfactory manner. See Ex-Treasurer McCulloch's “Men and Measures of Half a Century," page 133.
7 See Paragraph 294.
had stimulated men to overdo all kinds of business; more lines of railroad had been built in the West than the population demanded; many manufacturers had made greater quantities of goods than they could sell; and many merchants had bought more than they could pay for. The country was like a man who had worked beyond his strength — it had to stop and take a rest.
311. Discovery of Silver in Nevada and Colorado, and of Petroleum and Natural Gas in Pennsylvania. — But in 1858, the very next year after the panic, some of the richest silver mines ever discovered on the globe were found in the mountain region of Western Nevada. The two chief of these, known as the “Bonanza"? mines, sent out many millions of dollars' worth of ore cast in the form of bricks. When, in the course of time, these famous “ silver bricks" decreased in number for want of ore to make them, new mines that had been found (1877) in Leadville and other parts of Colorado and also in Utah, sent out a new supply of the precious metal.
In 1859 Colonel Drake sunk the first successful oil-well on Oil Creek, near Titusville, in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Since then, petroleum has flowed in streams from the wells that have been opened in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Southern New York. The average yield of these wells is now about fifty thousand barrels of oil a day. Lines of iron pipes, laid underground, carry the oil over hills, across rivers, through forests and farms, to Chicago, Buffalo, Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and other points on the Great Lakes and the seacoast. Petroleum is used not only for giving light, but it is more and more employed to oil machinery and for heating purposes.
1 The mines were discovered in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in what is called the Comstock lode (a lode is a vein or deposit of mineral).
2 “Bonanza": a Spanish word meaning prosperity. In the West it is applied (in mining) to a very rich mass of gold or silver ore. The total yield of the mines of the Comstock lode has been over two hundred and fifty million dollars. The amount at present obtained from them is very small.
8 Petroleum: commonly known, in one of its refined forms, as kerosene oil.
About fifteen years after the discovery of petroleum in Pennsylvania, natural gas was found issuing from the rocks in the same region. This gas has now taken the place of oil and coal in Pittsburgh and vicinity for lighting streets and houses, for cooking, and for fuel in manufacturing. As Nature makes it in her laboratories underground, the gas costs practically nothing more than the expense of the tubes which conduct it from the earth. On this account it is sometimes seen burning in the streets all day as well as all night, for there are cases where it may be cheaper to let it burn than to hire men to go round and shut it off. It is proposed to lay pipes conveying the gas to Philadelphia, New York, and other cities, in order to supply them with light at a lower rate than that at which they can now get it.
312. John Brown's Raid. — In the autumn of 1859 the whole country was startled on hearing that “John Brown of
Osawatomie "I had
negroes. After hard Harper's Ferry.
fighting, he was captured, with six of his companions, and hanged at Charlestown, West Virginia (December 2, 1859). On the day of his execution, he handed this paper to one of his guards: “I, John Brown, am
1 See Paragraph 306.