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“This message,” says Mr. Buchanan, “gave rise to a long, exciting, and occasionally violent debate in both Houses of Congress, between the anti-slavery members and their opponents, which lasted for three months. In the course of it, slavery was denounced in every form which could exasperate the Southern people, and render it odious to the people of the North; whilst on the other hand, many of the speeches of Southern members displayed characteristic violence. Thus two sessions of Congress in succession had been in a great degree occupied with the same inflammatory topics, in discussing the affairs of Kansas."* At length, however, an Act which had been reported by a committee of conference of both Houses, admitting Kansas into the Union as a State under the Lecompton constitution, was passed in the Senate by a vote of 31 to 22, and in the House by a vote of 112 to 103, and was signed by the President on the 4th of May, 1858. The validity of the proceedings in Kansas which had produced the Lecompton constitution was expressly admitted by the preamble of this statute.

But the Act annexed a condition precedent to the final admission of the State under this constitution. This related, not to slavery, but to the public lands within the territory. The ordinance of the convention which accompanied the Lecompton constitution demanded for the State a cession of the public lands more than six times the quantity that had ever been granted to any other State, when received into the Union. Congress would not assent to such an exaction. It was therefore provided that the people of the State should vote upon a proposition reducing the number of acres to be ceded to the same number that had been granted to other States; and that when this proposition should have been ascertained by the President's proclamation to have been accepted, the admission of the State, upon an equal footing with all the other States, should be complete and absolute. But the condition was never fulfilled. The people of Kansas rejected it on the 2d of August, 1858, and the Lecompton constitution thus fell to the ground. “Notwithstanding this,” Mr. Buchanan observes, “the recognition by Congress of the regularity of the proceedings in forming the Lecompton constitution, did much good, at least for a season. It diverted the attention of the people from fighting to voting, a most salutary change."*

to adopt in consequence of the views taken of the subject of slavery in Territories by the Supreme Court, as he said in his inaugural address that he should do. In this Ms., he speaks of “The infamous and unfounded assertion of Mr. — that in a conversation with Chief Justice Taney, he [the Chief Justice) had informed him in advance of the inaugural what the opinion (of the court) would be."

* Buchanan's Defence, p. 45.

+ II U. S. Laws, p. 269. In the Senate, Mr. Donglas voted with the minority, as did a few anti-Lecompton Democrats in the House. [Congressional Globe, 1857-8, pp. 1899, 1965.] The Act was carried by a party vote.

In his next annual message, of December 6, 1858, the President said:

When we compare the condition of the country at the present day with what it was one year ago, at the meeting of Congress, we have much reason for gratitude to that Almighty Providence wbich has never failed to interpose for our relief at the most critical periods of our history. One year ago the sectional strise between the North and the South on the dangerous subject of slavery bad again become so intense as to threaten the peace and perpetuity of the confederacy. The application for the admission of Kansas as a State into the Union fostered this unhappy agitation, and brought the whole subject once more before Congress. It was the desire of every patriot that such measures of legislation might be adopted as would remove the excitement from the States and confine it to the Territory where it legitimately belonged. Much has been done, I am happy to say, towards the accomplishment of this object during the last session of Congress.

The Supreme Court of the United States had previously decided that all American citizens have an equal right to take into the Territories whatever is held as property under the laws of any of the States, and to hold such property there under the guardianship of the Federal Constitution, so long as the Territorial condition shall remain. This is now a well-established position, and the proceedings of the last session were alone wanting to give it practical effect.

The principle has been recognized, in some form or other, by an almost unanimous vote of both Houses of Congress, that a Territory has a right to come into the Union either as a free or a slave State, according to the will of a majority of its people. The just equality of all the States has thus been rindicated, and a fruitful source of dangerous dissension among them has been removed.

While such has been the beneficial tendency of your legislative proceedings outside of Kansas, their influence has nowhere been so happy as within that Territory itself. Left to manage and control its own affairs in its own way, without the pressure of external influence, the revolutionary Topeka organization, and all resistance to the Territorial government established by Congress, have been finally abandoned. As a natural consequence, that fine Territory now appears to be tranquil and prosperous, and is attracting increasing thousands of immigrants to make it their happy home.

* Buchanan's Defence, p. 46.

The past unfortunate experience of Kansas has enforced the lesson, so often already taught, that resistance to lawful authority, under our form of government, cannot fail in the end to prove disastrous to its authors.

The people of Kansas, from this time forward, “left to manage their own affairs in their own way, without the presence of external influence,” found that they could decide this question of slavery by their own votes, and that the stimulus and the materials for fighting, which had been supplied to them from the Northern or the Southern States, were poor means in comparison with the ballot-box. The anti-slavery party were numerically the strongest; and having now given up all factious resistance to the Territorial government, they were able, under its auspices, to establish a free constitution, under which the State was admitted into the Union on the 29th of January, 1861. But the effect of this struggle, precipitated by the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and carried on for a period of seven years, was most disastrous to the peace and harmony of the Union. It fixed the attention of both sections of the Union upon a subject of the most inflammatory nature. On the one hand, the Democratic party, which extended throughout all the States, slaveholding and non-slaveholding, and which had elected Mr. Buchanan by the votes of both free and slave States, no longer had a common bond of party union in a common principle of action on the question of slavery in Territories. A portion of the party, under the lead of Mr. Douglas, and known as “the Northern Democracy,” rejected the doctrine enunciated by the Judges of the Supreme Court, and still adhered to their principle of “popular sovereignty." The residue of the party, calling themselves “the Old Democracy,' adhered to what they regarded as the decision of the court, maintained that the time for the people of a Territory to act on the subject of slavery was when forming and adopting a State constitution, and that in the previous period, the equal right of all the States in the common property of the Union could be


respected only by confining the power of the people of a Territory to the time of adopting a constitution. On the other hand, the new party, to which these events had given birth, and into which were now consolidating all the elements of the antislavery feeling of the free States, rejected entirely the principle enunciated by a majority of the Supreme Court, maintained that the Southern slave-holder could have no right to hold as property in a Territory that which was property at all only under the local law of a slave-holding State, and proclaimed that Congress must, by positive statute, annul any such supposed right in regard to all existing and all future Territories. If these conflicting sectional feelings and interests could have been confined to the practical question of what was to be done in the Territories before they should become States, there might have been less danger resulting from their agitation. In the nature of things, however, they could not be so confined. They brought into renewed discussion the whole subject of slavery everywhere, until the North and the South became involved in a struggle for the Presidency that was made to turn almost exclusively upon this one topic. But how this came about, and how it resulted in an attempted disruption of the Union, must be related hereafter.




HE internal affairs of the country during the administration

of Mr. Buchanan occupied so much of the public attention at the time, and have since been a subject of so much interest, that his management of our foreign relations has been quite obscured. Before I approach the troubled period which witnessed the beginning of the Southern revolt, I shall describe, with as much brevity as I can use, whatever is most important in the relations of the United States with other countries, that transpired during his Presidency.

It will be seen, hereafter, from what he recorded in his private papers at the time of the resignation of General Cass from the State Department, in the latter part of the year 1860, that Mr. Buchanan had to be virtually his own Secretary of State, until Judge Black succeeded to that office. This was less irksome to him than it might have been to other Presidents, because of his great familiarity with the diplomatic history of the country, and his experience in the diplomatic service. His strong personal regard for General Cass, whose high character, as well as his political standing in the party of which they were both members, and the demand of the Western States, had been the reasons for offering to him the Department of State, made Mr. Buchanan patient and kind towards one who did not render him much aid in the business of that office. Mr. Buchanan, too, was a man who never shrank from labor. His industry was incessant and untiring; it did not flag with his advancing years; and it was an industry applied, in foreign affairs, to matters of which he had a fuller and more intimate knowledge than any American statesman of his time who was living when he became President of the United States. His private papers bear ample testimony to the minute and constant attention which he gave to the foreign relations of the country,

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