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the form of a popular election, the “constitution with slavery” was adopted.
The administration now gave its whole strength to the admission by Congress of Kansas with the Lecompton constitution. The same election that made Buchanan President had made the House as well as the Senate Democratic. But it was no longer the disciplined and docile Democracy of old. The proposal to admit a State under a constitution of which only a single article had been submitted to even the form of a popular vote, was too obnoxious for any but the most unflinching partisans. It was impossible to a leader whose watchword was “popular sovereignty."
Douglas broke squarely with the administration, and acted with the Republicans against the bill. He came in close touch with their leaders, and his open accession to their party seemed probable. Meanwhile in the Democratic party he had a small following in Congress and a large following among the people. The struggle in Congress over the Lecompton bill was obstinate. Senator Crittenden, of Kentucky,-belonging nominally to the remnant of the American party, which sheltered some of the moderate Southerners, and himself one of their best leaders—proposed a bill submitting the entire Constitution to a direct popular vote. This was defeated in the Senate, but passed by the House, with the support of the Republicans. A committee of conference sought for some agreement, and found a singular one: a bill proposed by and named from Mr. English, a Douglas Democrat from Illinois. It provided that the Constitution should be submitted to a popular vote; if accepted, Kansas was at once to become a State and receive an immense land grant; if rejected, it was to remain a Territory until it had the population requisite for one representative in the House, -93,340,-and get no land grant. The combination of a bribe and a threat gave an almost
grotesque air to the proposition. Party lines were broken in the vote; Douglas and a part of his associates joined with the bulk of the Republicans in opposing the bill; but enough of both sides saw in it the best they could get, to win a majority in both houses, and the English bill became law, in April, 1858.
In the previous summer, the assurances of Governor Walker and the advice of sagacious politicians like Henry Wilson had induced the Free State men to give up their separate organization and take part in the election of the Territorial Legislature. They carried the election by two to one. But again fraud was attempted. From a hamlet with eleven houses was sent in a return of 1624 votes,—the names, it was found, copied in alphabetical order from a Cincinnati directory; and from another district an equally dishonest return was made; and the two would have changed the majority in the Legislature. This catastrophe was averted by the firmness of Walker, who threw out the fraudulent returns. In this he was vainly opposed by the Territorial chief justice, a servile partisan. After this the President turned against Walker and in the following December drove him into resignation. He protested in an indignant letter that the President had betrayed and deserted him, and that his policy had saved the Territory from civil war and brought the entire people together for the first time in a peaceable election.
Indeed the troubles of Kansas were practically ended. The people rejected the Lecompton constitution and its land grant by a heavy majority. They framed and ratified a Constitution of their own at Wyandotte, and came into the Union as a free State when secession had left the Republicans in full control of Congress in the winter of 1860-1.
The accession of Kansas to the Free States was full of significance. It was fresh evidence that in the actual settle
ment of the new country the inevitable preponderance lay with free labor. Its industrial advantage could not be overborne by a hostile national administration, nor by the inroads of aggressive and lawless neighbors. The management of their affairs by the Free State settlers was a great vindication of the methods of peace. The guerrilla warfare undertaken by Brown and his party had won no real advantage. The decisive triumph came from the habitual selfcontrol of the Free State men, their steady refusal to resist the Federal authority, and the sympathy they thus won from the peaceful North, turning at last the scales of Congressional authority in their favor. Thus far, peace and freedom moved hand in hand.
The tide in the country was running strongly with the Republicans. The alliance with Douglas failed, because his price was the Senatorship from Illinois, and the Republicans of that State were “ willing to take him on probation, but not to make him the head of the church.” They named Abraham Lincoln as their candidate for the Senatorship, and these two men held a series of joint debates which fixed the attention of the country; with the result that Lincoln won the popular majority, but Douglas the Legislature and the Senatorship. In the country at large, the Republicans made such gains, in this election of 1858, that they won the control of the National House. The Whigs were defunct, the Americans were a dwindling fraction; the “Constitutional Union” party held a number who sought peace above all things; but the great mass divided between the Republicans and the Democrats. Douglas, the most dextrous of rope-dancers, had regained his place as the foremost man in his old party. The Republicans held firmly to their constitutional principles; but the depth of the antagonism of the two industrial systems grew ever more apparent. Lincoln had declared: “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." Seward, too, had said: “The United States must and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slave-holding or entirely a free-labor nation." Between the two systems there was an “irrepressible conflict.” But he added that he desired and expected the triumph of freedom "not otherwise than through the action of the several States, co-operating with the Federal Government, and all acting in conformity with their respective constitutions." Yet over these utterances of Lincoln and Seward some conservatives in the party shook their heads, as liable to be misinterpreted and to needlessly alarm the South. But men more radical than Lincoln and Seward were coming to the front. Sumner was silenced for the time, but among the leaders of Massachusetts now appeared John A. Andrew, her future war Governor, large-brained and large-hearted. In this year, 1858, at the State convention of which he was president, he said, “I believe in the Republican party because I believe that slavery, the servitude of humanity, has no business to exist anywhere; because it has no business to exist and no right to be supported where the sun shines or grass grows or water runs.”
One of the sensations of the time was a book, dated 1857, which showed a rift in the solid South. It was The Impending Crisis, by Hinton Rowan Helper, a North Carolinian by long descent, birth, and residence; the son of “a merciful slave-holder”; writing at the age of twenty-seven. His standpoint was that of the non-slave-holding Southern white. “ Yankee wives ”-so he begins—“ have written the most popular anti-slavery literature of the day. Against this I have nothing to say; it is all well enough for women
to give the pictures of slavery; men should give the facts.” His method is largely the comparison of the industrial progress of the two sections, and his chief arsenal is the United States census. North and South started, he says, with the establishment of the government and the North's abolition of slavery, with advantage in soil, climate, rivers, harbors, minerals, forests, etc., on the side of the South, but in sixty years she has been completely outstripped. He brackets Virginia and New York; at the start, Virginia had twice the population of New York; now New York's population doubles Virginia's. Virginia's exports have been about stationary at $3,000,000; New York's have risen from $2,500,000 to $87,000,000. New York almost trebles Virginia in valuation, even including slaves. So he compares North Carolina and Massachusetts; the empty port of Beaufort and the teeming one of Boston; the northern State with a production from manufactures, mines, and mechanic arts double the whole cotton crop of the South. So he compares South Carolina and Pennsylvania. Again: Sail down the Ohio, and you will find the lands on the right bank worth double and treble those on the left bank,—slavery makes all the difference. The hay crop of the free States is worth more in dollars and cents than all the cotton, tobacco, rice, hay, and hemp, in the slave States. The marble and free-stone quarries in New England yield more wealth than all the subterranean deposits in the slave States. And so for many pages he goes on piling Pelion upon Ossa with his figures. He pictures the South's economic dependence: “In infancy we are swaddled in Northern muslin; in childhood we are humored with Northern gewgaws; in youth, we are instructed out of Northern books; at the age of maturity, we sow our wild oats on Northern soil. In the decline of life we remedy our sight with Northern spectacles, and support our infirmities with Northern canes;