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Cabin, it had in the main a similar tone of humanity, sympathy and fairness. Again the better element of the Southern whites was portrayed, in the benevolent slaveholder Clayton; the brave Methodist preacher, Father Dickson; and the book's heroine, Nina Gordon. There were realistic and graphic pictures of the negro at his best, in Old Tiff and Milly. The sophistries and time-serving of ecclesiastics were fairly pictured. The fundamental attitude of the law in regarding the slave as the creature of his master's convenience was shown with historic fidelity. But the book took its name from a negro, half-prophetic, halfcrazed, who maintained in the Dismal Swamp a refuge for slaves, and purposed an uprising to conquer their freedom. To Southern imaginations it might well recall Nat Turner and the horrors of his revolt. Mrs. Stowe inevitably idealized everything she touched; and to idealize the leader of a servile insurrection might well be regarded as carrying fire into a powder magazine. The moving expostulation of the Christian slave Milly with Dred, the death of Dred, the frustration of his plans, and the pitiful wrongs he sought to redress, veiled from the Northern reader the suggestion of other dangers and tragedies to which the Southern reader was keenly alive. As we read the book now, the glimpses of coming terror and disaster in Dred's visions seem like a presage of the war which in truth was only four years
But the prevailing temper of the time was as yet little clouded by any such forebodings. It was a great wave of popular enthusiasm, sane, resolute, and hopeful, which moved forward in the first Presidential campaign of the Republican party in 1856. The convention met at Philadelphia in June. Its temper was well described in a letter from Samuel Bowles to his paper, the Springfield Republican, which from moderate anti-slavery Whig had become
ardently Republican when the Missouri compromise was repealed.1
"Certainly we never saw a political convention in which there was so much soul as in that at Philadelphia. It was politics with a heart and a conscience in it. Cincinnati (the Democratic convention) gathered the remains of a once powerful national party and contributed to its further sectionalization and destruction. Philadelphia called together the heart, the independence, and the brains of all parties, to establish a broader and juster nationality. Such a fusion of contradictory elements was never witnessed in this country before since the times of the Revolution. Nor could it happen now save under a great emergency, and from a controlling necessity. Such a combination of the material and mental forces of the republic as was represented in the Philadelphia convention, and united in its enthusiastic and harmonious results, has more power than any political combination ever formed before in this country, and cannot in the nature of things be long kept in the background. There is no law more certain than that which will throw such a union of the moral strength, intellectual activity, and youth
1 A word should be said as to the frequency with which the Springfield Republican is quoted in this work. The author wrote an earlier book, The Life and Times of Samuel Bowles, (Century Co.)—the founder of the Republican. As the background of his life, a careful study was made of the political events during his years of editorial activity, 1844-77. The original matter for this was largely drawn from the files of the Republican. In studying the whole ground afresh for the present history, advantage was taken of this material, and further citations were drawn from the same paper. The interpretation of current events by an independent and sagacious newspaper yields invaluable material for the historian; and my study of the Republican, from the repeal of the Missouri compromise in 1854 to the present, has heightened my respect for the breadth, sobriety, and moral insight with which it judged the questions of the day.
ful energy of the nation into supremacy, and that right speedily. It may be delayed for a season, but its course is onward and its victory is certain."
The declaration of principles dealt wholly with the slavery issue. It asserted that under the Constitution, as interpreted by the Declaration and the ordinance of 1787, slavery had no right to exist in any of the national Territories. It called on Congress to prohibit in the Territories "the twin relics of barbarism, slavery and polygamy." It dwelt with great emphasis on the wrongs of the Kansas settlers; the establishment of a Territorial Legislature by a fraudulent vote; its outrageous statute-book; the sustaining of the usurpation by the Federal government; the resulting disorder and violence. Congress was asked to admit Kansas to the Union under its Free State organization. Nothing was said as to the fugitive slave law. There was an express disclaimer of any interference with slavery in the States. The doctrine of the party was embodied in a phrase which became one of its mottoes: "Freedom national, slavery sectional."
For its Presidential candidate the convention passed by all the well-known political leaders, and chose Col. John C. Fremont of California. Fremont, after a scientific and military education, had distinguished himself by a series of brilliant exploring expeditions in the farthest Northwest, marked by scientific achievement and stirring adventure. Arriving in California at the outbreak of hostilities with Mexico, he rallied and led the American settlers and drove the Mexicans from the territory. He took a leading part in organizing the State, and establishing freedom in its Constitution; and was elected to the United States Senate as a Free-Soil Democrat. His term as Senator was too brief to win eminence, but his career as a whole had been singularly various and distinguished. He was young; he
had manly beauty, and a rare personal fascination. His brilliant and charming wife won favor for him. Even his name gave aid to the cause, and "Fremont and freedom" became the rallying cry of the campaign.
But Fremont's personality was an altogether minor element in the strength with which the Republican party first took the field, and won, not yet the country, but the strongholds of the North. The new party gave expression and effect to the anti-slavery sentiment which had become so deep and wide. It was wholly dissociated from the extremists who had shocked and alarmed the conservatism of the country; and Garrison and Phillips had only impatience and scorn for its principles and measures. Its leadership included many men experienced in congressional and administrative life, men like Seward and Sumner and Chase and Wade and Fessenden and Banks, who had matched themselves against the best leaders of the South and the South's Northern allies. It brought together the best of the old Whig, Democratic, and Free Soil parties. In its rank and file it gathered on the whole the best conscience and intelligence of the North. After the election the Springfield Republican pointed out that the party's success had been exactly along the geographical lines of an efficient free-school system, and it had been defeated where public schools were deficient, as in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, and the solid South.
The immediate and burning issue of the campaign was Kansas. Whatever the exact right and wrong of its local broils, there was no question of the broad facts-the fraudulent election of the Legislature, the character of its statute-book, and its support by President Pierce's administration. It was the wrongs of the Kansas settlers far more than the wrongs of the Southern slaves on which the Republican speakers and newspapers dwelt. In truth the animus
of the party was quite as much the resentment by the North of Southern political aggression as it was regard for the slaves or thought of their future condition. The policy of excluding slavery from the Territories, and thus naturally from the new States, tended ultimately to its discouragement and probable extinction where it already existed. But any such result appeared very remote.
The opposition to the Republican party was weighty in numbers, but inharmonious and with no definite creed. The Democratic platform was an equivocation. It declared for "non-interference by Congress with slavery in State or Territory." But this left it an open question whether any one could "interfere." Could the people of a Territory exclude slavery if they wished? Or did the Constitution protect it there, as Calhoun and his followers claimed? An ambiguity was left which permitted Calhoun men and Douglas men to act together against the common foe.
The Democratic candidate was James Buchanan of Pennsylvania. He was one of those men, decent and respectable, who go through a life of office-seeking and officeholding without a particle of real leadership, and are forgotten the moment they leave the stage unless circumstance throws them into a place so responsible as to reveal their glaring incompetence. He had escaped the odium which Pierce and Douglas had incurred, through his absence as Minister to England. There he had distinguished himself chiefly by his part in a conference at Ostend, in 1854,incited by President Pierce and his Secretary of State, William L. Marcy of New York,-where he had met Mason of Virginia and Soule of Louisiana, ministers respectively to France and Spain; and they had issued a joint manifesto, declaring that the possession of Cuba was necessary to the peace and security of the United States, and the island should be obtained from Spain, with her consent if possible