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The rejoicing of the free-State men over this not too brilliant victory was short-lived. Returning home in separate squads, they were successively intercepted by the Federal dragoons acting as a posse to the Deputy United States Marshal,* who arrested them on civil writs obtained in haste by an active member of the territorial cabal, and to the number of eighty-nine † were taken prisoners to Lecompton. So far the affair had been of such frequent occurrence as to have become commonplace-a frontier "free fight," as they themselves described and regarded it. But now it took on a truly remarkable aspect. Sterling G. Cato, one of the pro-slavery territorial judges, had been found by Governor Geary in the Missouri camp drilling and doing duty as a soldier, ready and doubtless more than willing to take part in the projected sack of Lawrence. This Federal judge, as open a law-breaker as these Hickory Point prisoners (the two affairs really forming part of one and the same enterprise), now seated himself on his judicial bench and committed the whole party for trial on charge of murder in the first degree; § and at the October term of his court proceeded to try and condemn to penalties prescribed by the bogus laws some eighteen or twenty of these prisoners, for offenses in which in equity and good morals

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he was personally particeps criminis—some of the convicts being held in confinement until the following March, when they were pardoned by the governor. leges, say the publicists; but in this particular instance the license of guerilla war, the fraudulent statutes of the territory, and the laws of Congress were combined and perverted with a satanic ingenuity in furtherance of this wretched conspiracy.

The vigorous proceedings of Governor Geary, the forced retirement of the Missourians on the one hand, and the arrest and conviction of the free-State partisans on the other, had the effect to bring the guerilla war to an abrupt termination. The retribution had fallen very unequally upon the two parties to the conflict, but this was due to the legal traps and pitfalls prepared with such artful design by the Atchison conspiracy, and not to the personal indifference or ill-will of the governor. He strove sincerely to restore impartial administration; he completed the disbandment of the territorial militia, reënlisting into the Federal service one pro-slavery and one free-State company for police duty. By the end of September he was enabled to write to Washington that "peace now reigns in Kansas." Encouraged by this success in allaying guerilla strife, he next endeavored to break up the existing political persecution and intrigues.

It was not long, however, before Governor Geary became conscious, to his great surprise and mortification, that he had been nominated and sent to Kansas as a partisan manoeuvre, and not to institute administrative reforms; that his instructions, written during the presidential campaign, to tranquillize Kansas by

Gihon, pp. 142-3. Geary, Executive Minutes, Senate Docs., Ist Sess. 35th Cong. Vol. VI., p. 195. The Kansas territorial legislature, in the year 1859. by which time local passion had greatly subsided, by law empowered a non-partisan board of three commissioners to collect sworn testimony concerning the ravages of the civil war in Kansas, with a view of obtaining indemnity from the General Government for the individual sufferers. These commissioners, after a careful examination, made an official report, from which may be gleaned an interesting summary in numbers and values of the harvest of crime and destruction which the Kansas contest produced, and which report can be relied upon, since eye-witnesses and participants of both parties freely contributed their testimony at the invitation of the commissioners.

The commissioners fixed the period of the war as beginning about November 1st, 1855, and continuing until about December 1st, 1856. They estimated that the entire loss and destruction of property, including the cost of fitting out the various expeditions, amounted to an aggregate of not less than $2,000,000. Fully onehalf of this loss, they thought, was directly sustained by actual settlers of Kansas. They received petitions and took testimony in 463 cases. They reported 417 cases as Marcy to Geary, August

his "energy, impartiality, and discretion," ‡ really meant that after Mr. Buchanan was elected he should satisfy the Atchison cabal.

In less than six months after he had come to the territory, clothed with the executive authority, speaking the President's voice, and representing the unlimited military power of the republic, he, the third Democratic governor of Kansas, was, like his predecessors, in secret and ignoble flight from the province he had so trustfully come to rule, contemned and execrated by his party associates, abandoned and disgraced by the Administration which had appointed him, and without protection to guard him from the assault of highwayman or assassin. Humiliating as was this local conspiracy to plant servitude in Kansas, a more aggressive political movement to nationalize slavery in all the Union was about to eclipse it.


IN the State of Illinois, the spring of the year 1856 saw an almost spontaneous impulse toward the formation of a new party. As already described, it was a transition period in politics. The disorganization of the Whig party was materially increased and hastened by the failure, two years before, to make Lincoln a Senator. On the other hand, the election of Trumbull served quite as effectively to consolidate the Democratic rebellion against Douglas in his blind determination to make the support of his Nebraska bill a test of party orthodoxy. Many of the Northern counties formed "Republican organizations in the two previous years; but the name was entirely local, while the opposition, not yet united, but fighting in factions against the Nebraska bill, only

entitled to indemnity. The detailed figures and values of property destroyed are presented as follows:

"Amount of crops destroyed, $37,349.61; number of buildings burned and destroyed, 78; horses taken or destroyed, 368; cattle taken or destroyed, 533. Amount of property owned by pro-slavery men, $77,198.99; property owned by free-State men, $335,779.04; property taken or destroyed by pro-slavery men, $318,718.63; property taken or destroyed by free-State men, $94,529.40."

About the loss of life the commissioners say, "Although not within our province, we may be excused for stating that, from the most reliable information that we have been able to gather, by the secret warfare of the guerilla system, and in well-known encounters, the number of lives sacrificed in Kansas during the period mentioned probably exceeded rather than fell short of two hundred. That the excitement in the Eastern and Southern States, in 1856, was instigated and kept up by garbled and exaggerated accounts of Kansas affairs, published in the Eastern and Southern newspapers, is true, most true; but the half of what was done by either party was never chronicled!" House Reports, 2d Sess. 36th Cong. Vol. III., Part I, pp. 90 and 93. 26th, 1856. Gihon, p. 272.

acknowledged political affinity under the general term of the "Anti-Nebraska " party.

In the absence of any existing party machinery, some fifteen editors of anti-Nebraska newspapers met for conference at Decatur on the 22d of February and issued a call for a delegate State convention of the "Anti-Nebraska party," to meet at Bloomington on the 29th of May. Prominent leaders, as a rule, hesitated to commit themselves by their presence at Decatur. Not so with Mr. Lincoln. He could not attend the deliberations as an editor; but he doubtless lent his suggestion and advice, for we find him among the distinguished guests and speakers at the banquet which followed the business session, and toasts to his candidacy as "the next United States Senator" show that his leadership had suffered no abatement. The assembled editors purposely set the Bloomington convention for a somewhat late day in the campaign, and before the time arrived, the political situation in the State was already much more clearly defined.

One factor which greatly baffled the calculations and forecast of politicians was the existence of the Know-Nothing or American party. It was apparent to all that this order or affiliation had during the past two years spread into Illinois, as into other States. But as its machinery and action were secret, and as no general election had occurred since 1854 to exhibit its numerical strength, its possible scope and influence could only be vaguely estimated. Still it was clearly present as a positive force. Its national council had in February at Philadelphia nominated Fillmore and Donelson as a presidential ticket; but the preponderating Southern membership forced an indorsement of the Kansas-Nebraska act into its platform, which destroyed the unity and power of the party, driving the Northern delegates to a bolt. Nevertheless many Northern voters, indifferent to the slavery issue, still sought to maintain its organization; and thus in Illinois the State Council met early in May, ratified the nomination of Fillmore for President, and nominated candidates for governor and other State offices.*

The Democratic party, or rather so much of that party as did not openly repudiate the policy and principle of the Kansas-Nebraska act, made early preparations for a vigorous campaign. The great loss in prestige and numbers he had already sustained admonished Douglas that his political fortunes hung in a doubtful balance. But he was a bold and aggressive leader, to whom controversy and party warfare were rather an inspiration than a discouragement. Under his guidance, the Democratic State con* "History of Illinois," Davidson and Stuvé, p. 648.

vention nominated for governor of Illinois William A. Richardson, late a member of the House of Representatives, in which body as chairman of the Committee on Territories he had been the leader to whom the success of the Nebraska bill was specially intrusted, and where his somewhat unscrupulous parliamentary management had contributed materially to the final passage of that measure.

Thus the attitude of opposing factions and the unorganized unfolding of public opinion, rather than any mere promptings or combinations of leaders, developed the cause of the anti-Nebraska men of Illinois. Out of this condition sprang directly one important element of future success. Richardson's candidacy, long foreshadowed, was seen to require an opposing nominee of unusual popularity. He was found in the person of Colonel William H. Bissell, late a Democratic representative in Congress, where he had denounced disunion in 1850, and opposed the Nebraska bill in 1854. He had led a regiment to the Mexican war, and fought gallantly at the battle of Buena Vista. His military laurels easily carried him into Congress; but the exposures of the Mexican campaign also burdened him with a disease which paralyzed his lower limbs, and compelled retirement from active politics after his second term. He was now, however, once more recovering; and having already exhibited civic talents of a high order, the popular voice made light of his physical infirmity, and his friends declared their readiness to match the brains of Bissell against the legs of his opponents.

One piece of his history rendered him specially acceptable to young and spirited Western voters. His service in Congress began amid exciting debates over the Compromise measures of 1850, when the Southern fire-eaters were already rampant and reckless. Seddon of Virginia, in his eagerness to depreciate the North and glorify the South, affirmed in a speech that at the battle of Buena Vista, "at that most critical juncture when all seemed lost save honor," amid the discomfiture and rout of "the brave but unfortunate troops of the North through a mistaken order," "the noble regiment of Mississippians " had snatched victory from the jaws of death. † Replying some days later to Seddon's innuendo, Bissell, competent by his presence on the battlefield to bear witness, retorted that when the 2d Indiana gave way, it was McKee's 2d Kentucky, Hardin's 1st Illinois, and Bissell's 2d Illinois which had retrieved the fortunes of the hour, and that the vaunted Mississippi regiment was not within a mile and a half of the scene of action. Properly this was an issue of veracity between Seddon and Bissell, of + January 23d, 1850; “Globe,” app. 78.

easy solution. But Jefferson Davis, who commanded the Mississippi regiment in question, began an interchange of notes with Bissell which from the first smelt of gunpowder. Were his reported remarks correct? asked Davis in substance. Bissell answered, repeating the language of his speech and defining the spot and the time to which it applied, adding, "I deem it due, in justice alike to myself and the Mississippi regiment, to say that I made no charge against that regiment." Davis persisting, then asked, in substance, whether he meant to deny General Lane's official report that "the regiment of Mississippians came to the rescue at the proper time to save the fortunes of the day." Bissell rejoined, "My remarks had reference to a different time and place from those referred to by General Lane."

At this point both parties might with great propriety have ended the correspondence. Sufficient inquiry had been met by generous explanation. But Davis, apparently determined to push Bissell to the wall, now sent his challenge. This time, however, he met his match in courage. Bissell named an officer of the army as his second, instructing him to suggest as weapons "muskets, loaded with ball and buckshot." The terms of combat do not appear to have been formally proposed between the friends who met to arrange matters, but they were evidently understood; for the affair was hushed up, with the simple addition to Bissell's first reply that he was willing to award the Mississippi regiment "the credit due to their gallant and distinguished services in that battle."

The Bloomington convention came together according to call on the 29th of May. By this time the active and observant politicians of the State had become convinced that the anti-Nebraska struggle was not a mere temporary and insignificant "abolition" excitement, but a deep and abiding political issue, involving in the fate of slavery the fate of the nation. Minor and past differences were therefore generously postponed or waived in favor of a hearty coalition on the single dominant question. A most notable gathering of the clans was the result. About one-fourth of the counties sent regularly chosen delegations; the rest were volunteers. In spirit and enthusiasm, therefore, it was rather a massmeeting than a convention; but every man present was in some sort a leader in his own locality. The assemblage was much more representative than similar bodies gathered by the ordinary caucus machinery. It was an earnest and determined council of five or six hundred cool, sagacious, independent thinkers, called together by a great public exigency, led and directed by the first minds of the State.

Not only did it show a brilliant array of eminent names, but a remarkable contrast of former antagonisms: Whigs, Democrats, Freesoilers, Know-nothings, Abolitionists; Judd, Yates, Peck, Swett, Trumbull, Davis, Lovejoy, Browning, Codding, Williams, and many more. Chief among these, as adviser and actor, was Abraham Lincoln.

Rarely has a deliberative body met under circumstances more exciting than did this one. The Congressional debates at Washington and the civil war in Kansas were each at a culmination of passion and incident. Within ten days Sumner had been struck down in the Senate, and the town of Lawrence sacked by the guerilla posse of Atchison and Sheriff Jones. Ex-Governor Reeder, of that suffering territory, addressed the citizens of Bloomington and the earliest-arriving delegates on the evening of the 28th, bringing the very atmosphere of the Kansas conflict into the convention itself.

The convention met and conducted its work with earnestness and dignity. Bissell, already designated by unmistakable popular indications, was nominated for governor by acclamation. The candidate for lieutenantgovernor was named in like manner. So little did the convention think or care about the mere distribution of political honors on the one hand, and so much, on the other, did it regard and provide for the success of the cause, that it did not even ballot for the remaining candidates on the State ticket, but deputed to a committee the task of selecting and arranging them, and adopted its report as a whole and by acclamation. The more difficult task of drafting a platform was performed by another committee, with such prudence that it too received a unanimous acceptance. It boldly adopted the Republican name, formulated the Republican creed, and the convention further appointed delegates to the coming Republican national convention.

There were stirring speeches by eloquent leaders, eagerly listened to and vociferously applauded; but scarcely a man stirred from his seat in the crowded hall until Mr. Lincoln had been heard. Every one felt the fitness of his making the closing argument and exhortation, and right nobly did he honor their demand. A silence full of emotion filled the assembly as for a moment before beginning his tall form stood in commanding attitude on the rostrum, the impressiveness of his theme and the significance of the occasion reflected in his thoughtful and earnest features. The spell of the hour was visibly upon him; and holding his audience in rapt attention, he closed in a brilliant peroration with an appeal to the people to join the Republican standard, to

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