Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

"You further charge us with being disunionists. If you mean that it is our aim to dissolve the Union, I for myself answer that it is untrue; for those who act with me I answer that it is untrue. Have you heard us assert that as our aim? Do you really believe that such is our aim? Do you find it in our platform, our speeches, our conventions, or anywhere? If not, withdraw the charge. "But you may say that though it is not our aim, it will be the result, if we succeed, and that we are therefore disunionists in fact. This is a grave charge you make against us, and we certainly have a right to demand that you specify in what way we are to dissolve the Union. How are we to effect this?

"The only specification offered is volunteered by Mr. Fillmore in his Albany speech. His charge is that if we elect a President and Vice-President both from the free States it will dissolve the Union. This is open folly. The Constitution provides that the President and Vice-President of the United States shall be of different States; but says nothing as to the latitude and longitude of those States. In 1828 Andrew Jackson of Tennessee and John C. Calhoun of South Carolina were elected President and Vice-President, both from slave States; but no one thought of dissolving the Union then on that account. In 1840 Harrison of Ohio and Tyler of Virginia were elected. In 1841 Harrison died and John Tyler succeeded to the presidency, and William R. King of Alabama was elected acting Vice-President by the Senate; but no one supposed that the Union was in danger. In fact, at the very time Mr. Fillmore uttered this idle charge, the state of things in the United States disproved it. Mr. Pierce of New Hampshire and Mr. Bright of Indiana, both from free States, are President and VicePresident, and the Union stands and will stand. You do not pretend that it ought to dissolve the Union, and the facts show that it won't; therefore the charge may be dismissed without further consideration.

No other specification is made, and the only one that could be made is, that the restoration of the restriction of 1820 making the United States territory free territory would dissolve the Union. Gentlemen, it will require a decided majority to pass such an act. We, the majority, being able constitutionally to do all that we purpose, would have no desire to dissolve the Union. Do you say that such restriction of slavery would be unconstitutional, and that some of the States would not submit to its enforcement? I grant you that an unconstitutional act is not a law; but I do not ask and will not take your construction of the Constitution. The Supreme Court of the United States is the tribunal to decide such a question, and we will submit to its decisions; and if you do also, there will be an end of the matter. Will you? If not, who are the disunionists, you or we? We, the majority, would not strive to dissolve the Union; and if any attempt is made it must be by you, who so loudly stigmatize us as disunionists. But the Union, in any event, will not be dissolved. We don't want to dissolve it, and if you attempt it we won't let you. With the purse and sword, the army and navy and treasury in our hands and at our command, you could not do it. This government would be very weak indeed if a majority with a disciplined army and navy and a well-filled treasury could not preserve itself, when attacked by an unarmed, undisciplined, unorganized minority. All this talk about the dissolution of the Union is humbug, nothing but folly. We do not want to dissolve the Union; you shall not." *

With three presidential tickets in the field with the Democrats seeking the election of

Galena "Advertiser," copied into the Illinois "State Journal," August 8th, 1856.

t For President, Buchanan (Dem.), 105,344; FréVOL. XXXIV.— 16.

Buchanan and Breckinridge, the Americans, or Know-Nothings, asking votes for Fillmore and Donelson, and the Republicans making proselytes for Frémont and Dayton - the political campaign of 1856 was one of unabated activity and excitement. In the State of Illinois the contest resulted in a drawn battle. The American party held together with tolerable firmness in its vote for President, but was largely disintegrated in its vote on the ticket for State officers. The consequence was that Illinois gave a plurality of 9164 for Buchanan, the Democratic candidate for President, while at the same time it gave a plurality of 4729 for Bissell, the Republican candidate for governor.t

Half victory as it was, it furnished the Illinois Republicans a substantial hope of the full triumph which they achieved four years later. About a month after this election, at a Republican banquet given in Chicago on the 10th of December, 1856, Abraham Lincoln spoke as follows, partly in criticism of the last annual message of President Pierce, but more especially as an unsleeping leader and prophet sounding a new battle-call and pointing out the rising star of promise:

"We have another annual presidential message. Like a rejected lover making merry at the wedding of his rival, the President felicitates himself hugely over the late presidential election. He considers the result a signal triumph of good principles and good men, and ple did it. He forgets that the people,' as he coma very pointed rebuke of bad ones. He says the peoplacently calls only those who voted for Buchanan, are dred thousand votes - one full tenth of all the votes. in a minority of the whole people by about four hunRemembering this, he might perceive that the 'rebuke' may not be quite as durable as he seems to think — that the majority may not choose to remain perma. nently rebuked by that minority.

"The President thinks the great body of us Frémonters, being ardently attached to liberty, in the abstract, were duped by a few wicked and designing men. There is a slight difference of opinion on this. We think he, being ardently attached to the hope of a second term, in the concrete, was duped by men who had liberty every way. He is the cat's-paw. By much dragging of chestnuts from the fire for others to eat, his claws are burnt off to the gristle, and he is thrown aside as unfit for further use. As the fool said of King Lear, when his daughters had turned him out-of-doors, 'He's a shelled peascod.' [That's a sheal'd peascod.] "So far as the President charges us with a desire to change the domestic institutions of existing States,' and of 'doing everything in our power to deprive the Constitution and the laws of moral authority,' for the whole party on belief, and for myself on knowledge, I pronounce the charge an unmixed and unmitigated false

hood.

"Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion can change the government practically just so much. Public opinion, on any subject, always has a 'central idea,' from which all its minor thoughts radiate. That 'central idea' in our polit

mont (Rep.), 96,180; Fillmore (Am.), 37,451. For Governor, Richardson (Dem.), 106,643; Bissell (Rep.), 111,372; Morris (Am.), 19,241.

ical public opinion at the beginning was, and until recently has continued to be, the equality of men.' And although it has always submitted patiently to whatever of inequality there seemed to be as matter of actual necessity, its constant working has been a steady progress towards the practical equality of all men. The late presidential election was a struggle by one party to discard that central idea and to substitute for it the opposite idea that slavery is right in the abstract, the workings of which as a central idea may be the perpetuity of human slavery and its extension to all countries and colors. Less than a year ago the Richmond 'Enquirer,' an avowed advocate of slavery, regardless of color, in order to favor his views, invented the phrase State equality,' and now the President, in his message, adopts the Enquirer's' catch-phrase, telling us the people have asserted the constitutional equality of each and all of the States of the Union as States.' The President flatters himself that the new central idea is completely inaugurated; and so indeed it is, so far as the mere fact of a presidential election can inaugurate it. To us it is left to know that the majority of the peo

ple have not yet declared for it, and to hope that they never will. All of us who did not vote for Mr. Buchanan, taken together, are a majority of four hundred thousand. But in the late contest we were divided between Frémont and Fillmore. Can we not come together for the future? Let every one who really believes, and is resolved, that free society is not and shall not be a failure, and who can conscientiously declare that in the past contest he has done only what he thought best, let every such one have charity to believe that every other one can say as much. Thus let bygones be bygones; let past differences as nothing be; and with steady eye on the real issue, let us reinaugurate the good old central ideas' of the Republic. We can do it. The human heart is with us, God is with us. We shall again be able not to declare that all States as States are equal,' nor yet that all citizens as citizens are equal,' but to renew the broader, better declaration, including both these and much more, that 'all men are created equal.'

* Illinois "State Journal," December 16th, 1856.

[We are indebted for much valuable aid in preparing the Kansas illustrations to Judge F. G. Adams, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society.-ÉD. C. M.]

KEATS.

DEATH

EATH hath his fancies, and why not? A So Keats was brought, and when his strain king

So great as he must have his royal whim,— Sometimes a fool, sometimes the wailing string Of some slain minstrel's harp, must humor him.

There was a youthful singer once, a soul

Loved of the gods, and hence not loved of

men,

Who sang too well, and, shame to say, the whole

Small race of songsters rose against him then.

And all the critics too— like daws that peck Some lustrous jewel from its golden setting —

Beaked his fair lines, so, hastening on to wreck The fragile bark that every flaw was fretting.

Love, also, with his barbéd baby spear

beguiled

The sad-faced king and his brave company To strange, unwonted tears -Death kindly smiled,

Approving his unequaled minstrelsy.

And when at times his watchful eye could trace The swiftly passing spasm of fierce pain Which swept across the minstrel's pallid face, He quickly cried, "Thy songs were not in vain;

"Fixed in the world's large memory they shall live,

Undying as that beauty to whose shrine Thy kneeling soul brought all thou hadst to give;

All things of which thy heart once dreamed are thine:

Racked all the chambers of his heart with "As thou didst leave them they shall picture anguish ;

But bravely through it all, more strong and clear,

Went up his matchless song that would not languish.

And all so well he pleased the sable king, Though many a famous bard sang at his call, That straight he sent his messenger to bring This tortured soul which pleased him best of all.

thee

Both to thine own and far-off other lands, And while men sing, thy name shall never be

Forgotten in their songs." And so he stands,

A fair-formed image of immortal youth Breasting the steep hillside of life's endeavor; A white-robed herald of eternal truth Shouting a message from the gods forever.

Robert Burns Wilson.

WHITSUN HARP, REGULATOR.

[graphic]

OLLY ANN SHINAULT was mending the Clover Bend ferry-boat. The ferryboat was nothing more than an old scow, leaky and unruly. Lum, Polly Ann's husband, meant to mend it that morning; but Lum was scouring the bottom after a stray mule. So Polly Ann had pounded the head of the hatchet on the handle- they have a natural tendency to part and go their separate ways in a Southern yard-and was patching the leaks herself. They said at the Bend that Polly Ann was pow'ful handy." She was a handsome young woman. Some blending of French and Spanish blood from the earliest Arkansas travelers had given her the mass of purple-black hair under her man's hat, the clear olive of her skin, her velvet black eyes, and delicate profile. Her eyelashes were long and thick and curled at the ends. Long eyelashes and small features are not uncommon in Arkansas faces. Did Polly Ann smile, she showed a rarer beauty, even little teeth, white as milk. But Polly Ann seldom smiled, being a silent, serious creature whose own husband felt a trifle in awe of her. Her primitive repairs completed, she straightened her bent shoulders, clasped her hands behind her neck, and looked about her. When she stood she was tall and erect as a young cypress.

Her eyes spanned the Black River flowing at her feet, and took in, without noting, the whitewashed walls of the mill, the store, and the score or two of houses that go with an Arkansas cotton plantation. The time was early in November. The cotton was ready for picking, and flakes of white spattered the brown fields. The yards were frowsy with stalks of gimson weed and withered grass. The great cypress forest shut in the cleared space like a wall. The scene was monotonous, yet about it was something somber and vast, a loneliness that the presence of the few low-browed houses seemed to mark rather than lessen. A little spiral of smoke drifting above a chimney here and there, some pigs dotting the sandy road, a few riderless horses patiently drooping their noses against the fence rail before the store, were the only signs of habitation. Behind Polly Ann lay the canebrake and the forest. The water mirrored the Shinault cabin with its one wee window and "stick and dirt" chimney.

During the war (not so far back by many years, that November day, as now) escaped prisoners used to hide in the canebrake. After the war runaway convicts from the stockade at Powhatan found shelter there sometimes, and then the cane would be crushed by the leaps of panting hounds; and many a night had Polly Ann shuddered, listening to the dogs baying, and picturing the wretch crouched among the sodden grasses.

Plenty of grim traditions hung, heavy as its own miasma, over the cypress swamp. Not a rod away was the bare spot, dented by cypress knees, where Old Man Bryce's cabin stood until the guerillas murdered him and his wife and burned their bones under their home. A whole company of guerillas had dangled from the sycamore limbs for that murder. The shapeless green in front of the store had been the scene of bloody quarrels. Down by the river bank, on the little knoll which the spring covered with wild flowers, Bud Boas had killed his partner. Boas was tried and acquitted; but his own conscience was not so lenient as men. As the slain man fell he had flung out his hand, touching Boas's cheek. Ever since, the unhappy slayer had been haunted by a touch. He would wake from sleep, screaming that he felt the hand. At his work, at home, at campmeetings even, where he would go in the vain hope of eluding his persecutor, the tortured man might spring up, wildly rubbing his face, and rush away, or fall in convulsions horrible to see. From no other cause than this ghostly touch, he had seasons of drinking hard, but it was said that liquor could not blunt his senses.

Boas's cabin was near the Shinaults'; and this afternoon while Polly Ann stood looking, she saw his limp figure in butternut jeans slip through the store doorway and creep along the bank. Years ago Boas had been an exceptionally tall and strong man, bringing a backwoodsman's stature, muscle, and ruddy tan from the Tennessee mountains; now his stooping shoulders and lank chest matched the sickly pallor of his face, with its hollow cheeks and restless, faded eyes.

Approaching the shore, he hailed Polly Ann with a "Whoo-op!" She got into the scow and pushed off. She paddled as easily as an Indian. Meanwhile Boas had been joined by another man, who drew the boat up on the beach, saying, "How's all, Polly Ann?"

Polly Ann had not seen him until he spoke; and she flushed a little, as though from surprise.

"You come back, Whitsun Harp?" said she.

"Got back yistiddy," the man replied. He had a slow full voice, with a kind of severe melody in its cadence not in the least like the high-pitched Arkansas drawl. Whitsun Harp was a head shorter than Boas. He wore a blue flannel shirt, and brown jean trousers tucked into high boots, all quite whole and clean. His compact, powerful frame was not of the Arkansas type any more than his dark, square, resolute face; yet, in the phrase of the region, he had been "born and raised on the Black River bottom."

At first glance, one could see a resemblance between him and the young woman,-not a likeness of feature, but of manner and expression; both had the same direct, serious gaze, the same slow speech, and the same proud bearing. When Polly Ann reddened, Harp grew paler. The men stepped into the boat, and Polly Ann greeted Boas: "Howdy, Mr. Boas?" "My health's mighty triflin'," answered Boas; someway, I'm puny all the time; sorter mis'ry in my ches'; some days I feel pow'ful weak, caynt skeercely walk. Ora she 'lows she'll send fer Dr. Vinson, but I don't guess it's no use."

"Doctors does good sometimes," said Polly

Ann.

"Say, Polly Ann," said Harp, "I heerd tell you all'd los' a mewl.”

they kin hev preachin', stiddier hevin' it in a loft like we all. We mought, too, but we're so triflin' we caynt mek a riffle."

"Looks like," agreed Polly Ann politely. "Yit how to holp it? I'd lay an' study the hull night through, Polly Ann, studin' 'beout hit. The mo' I studied the wuss it looked. Wa'al-it war ayfter ye taken up with Lum an' war merried, hit come preachin' Sunday, an' I went ter preachin'. 'Twar the best out at preachin' I ever heerd. All 'beout calls. God called some on us one way an' some a tother, but we wuz all called ter his sarvice. An' I says ter myself, 'Lord, how ar' I called? I ar' the bes' blacksmith in the bottom, but I caynt talk wuth a shuck.' An', Polly Ann, a voice said back, cl'ar's a boat-whistle: 'Whitsun Harp, ye caynt talk folks decent, but ye kin lick 'em decent. They need a regerlater yere mo'n a preacher.' I jes growed cole all over, fur I war walkin' all by my lone self en the bottom, not a critter 'reoun' 'cept hoegs. 'Lord,' says I ter the sky, 'they'll kill me shore, if I turn regerlater an' lick 'em. An' w'at'll maw do then?' So I went home turrible troubled in my mind. Polly Ann, w’en I got home maw was in one ur 'er spells, an' afore sundown she war dead. Thet war the Lord A'mighty's answer to my hesitatin'. Ayfter thet I went ter wuk. Fust I sarved notice on them men thet got drunk reg'lar Saturday nights at the store. Then I licked them thet persisted in wrong-doin'. I licked ole Skirey fer oppressin' the pore; an' I evened it up by lickin' two niggers thet wudn't do a fair day's wuk fer their wages. I licked Sol Looney fer fightin' with his wife, an' I licked a right smart fer stealin'—thet ar' 'beout all."

"Lum's went ayfter it," said Polly Ann; "we missed it Monday, an' we waited an' waited fer it to come back, an' it did'nt, so Lum he's went ayfter it. Lum 'lows it's stole, he 'lows some cotton-picker toled it "Law me," said Polly Ann, admiring him, off." "but, Whitsun, don' they fight ye? Folks "Looks like," assented Boas; "them cotton- don' like ter be licked." pickers is mighty ornery folks."

Harp asked a few questions, short and to the point; and when the boat landed he drew Polly Ann aside, while Boas stooped to mend a dilapidated shoe with a rag.

"Polly Ann," said Harp, "I come to see ye. I'll tend to yo' mewl. Ye know I ar' turned regerlater."

"I've heerd tell on't."

"Wa'al, hit's so. I aim to mek these yere pyarts mo' decenter. Polly Ann, this yere's a turrible mean kentry, drinkin' an' sw'arin' an' fightin' an' devilment er all kin's o' goin' on! An' the chil'en bein' raised to drink an' fight an' die jes like we uns; Polly Ann, hit ain't right! An' thar ain't no need fer it to be, neether. I be'n in other settlements. They ain't like we all; they've got brick chimbleys, an' battened heouses, an' a school-heouse whar

"They've got to fight or be licked - one. Mos' times I ar' too spry fer 'em an' take their knives an pistils 'way. They did shoot a shoot at me wunst, but hit missed."

Polly Ann's dark eyes were shining through a mist of eagerness, and her lip quivered as she said: "But they mought hit ye!"

"Yes," said Harp quietly, while something gentle and unusual relaxed his features, a look at once patient and sad; "wa'al, ef they didn't kill me, I wud go on jes the same, an' ef hit did - I ain't no wife nur babies ter grieve ayfter me, an' I reckon the Lord kin tek keer Clover Bend some other way."

Polly Ann drew a deep breath. "Looks like 'twuz a call!" said she.

""Tis a call, shore," said Harp solemnly; "I waynted ter tell ye so's ye wud know the truth 'beout it, folks lyin' so ginerally. It's no dif

fer ter me 'beout the res', but I waynted you ter know bekase - we uns played tergether w'en we wuz little tricks, an' I allus tole ye everythin', ye remember."

She remembered. Perhaps she remembered more, for her cheeks grew red, and her brown fingers were clasped together so tightly that they made dents in the knuckles.

"An'," continued Harp very gently, "ef I shud hev ter do suthin' thet ye moughtn't like, hit's 'kase I hev ter an' not my seekin'- bein' called. Ye'll consider thet thar, Polly Ann?" "I don't guess ye'll ever do nuthin' ye don' hole ter be right, Whitsun Harp."

"Thankee, Polly Ann," said Harp. He almost timidly touched her hand, holding it for a second in a loose clasp. Then he strode away without a glance at Boas. The latter rose directly and joined Polly Ann.

"Did Whitsun Harp say onythin' 'beout Lum ter ye?" said Boas.

"Naw," said Polly Ann; "w'at fer shud he?"

Boas seemed to have a difficulty in speaking; he had to clear his throat twice before he could say: "Wa'al, fact is, Polly Ann, he's heerd tell-wa'al, lies 'beout Lum like he be'n too much ter the store an' dances an' sich like tricks, an' Whitsun he 'lows Lum's triflin' an' he's warned him."

the little one lit a shuck mighty spry. An' who killed the mad dog with a hammer? An' who held the wild hoeg by the tail tell Mark Lady cud stick 'im ?— them two men off their hosses en the cane, an' their guns empty! Naw, naw, Polly Ann, don' let Lum mad Whitsun! An' 'tain't lickin's thets mos' ter fear." His woful eyes turned from Polly Ann's face in a fleeting, shrinking, indescribable glance towards the river bank" they mought gitter-fightin'!"

"I ain't feered fer Lum ef they do," said Lum's wife haughtily.

But no sooner had the well-meaning threatener gone than she ran into the cabin, shut the door, and flung her proud head on the table, in a passion of tears.

Lum Shinault came home by moonlight. His wife had saved his supper, and he stretched his legs out beneath the white oil-cloth with a sigh of content.

"My, my, my!" said Lum in his soft, pleasant voice, "talk 'beout cookin'! Polly Ann, ye allers git thar with both feet. Fried pork an' sop an' taters an' pie an' light bread! Onythin' mo' ter foller?”

A faint smile lifted the corners of Polly Ann's mouth. She knew her gifts, and appreciation is sweet. "I reckon," Lum continued, "hit meks a differ eatin' en a purty room. This yere's a right purty room, Polly Ann.”

"Warned-Lum?" cried Polly Ann. "Said like he'd lick 'im, ef he don' quit," replied Boas with primitive directness. He laid. He looked about the room, and she looked the tips of his fingers on her sleeve, and his face at him. The room was poor and bare enough, grew earnest. "Fer the good Lord's sake, with its log walls and uneven floor; but the Polly Ann, don' ye let Lum mad Whitsun! big cotton-stuffed pillows on the bed shone Nary man en this bottom kin stan' agin him. out of the dusk; there was a clock on the rude Ye know Steve Elder, how big he is? He mantelpiece, a red cushion on the black and done stole a pa'r boots at the store. Whitsun gilt rocking-chair, and a log thicker than a he seen it, but he never let on; but w'en this man's body was blazing in the fire-place. The yere Steve comes fer his acceount he fin's at flames, rather than the sickly gleam of the the bottom, 'One pa'r boots, so much. Putt grease lamp, lighted the room and Lum Shidown by Whitsun Harp.' W'en he read thet nault's face. He was of low stature and slight, 'ar he never opened 'is mouth. Jes paid. He and in the firelight he made one think of a knowed he cudn't stan' up agin Whitsun." terra-cotta figure, he was so all of a color, All the while Boas talked he was scanning hair, skin, and clothes all the same, whitishPolly Ann's face to see the effect of his words. brown. But he had sparkling brown eyes "Thar war a circus feller too. He brung a and a sensitive mouth that could shut firmly. mighty ornery, mean show ter the Bend, and "Did ye fin' the mewl?" said his wife. Whitsun warned him not ter show thet ar show agin; but he pitched 'is tent an' wuz marchin' 'reoun' in front, a puttin' on doeg, w'en up comes Whitsun, an' he says, ' Didn't I warn ye not ter show yo' durned ondecent show yere?' sez 'e. An' he slapped up thet ar feller an' flung him 'cross a log an' pulled his belt 'reoun' an' yanked out 'is pistil an' flung hit cl'ar 'n' 'cross the road an' licked thet ar circus feller tell he hollered. An' ye 'member ole Skirey thet he guv the bud to, spiter him an' 'is two sons. He knocked the big un down, an'

"Not a hide nur a ha'r er the blamed critter," answered Lum cheerfully, "but I seen a big gang er turkeys. Reckon I shot one, but I cudn't fin' hit."

"Whitsun Harp wuz yere; he 'lows he'll fin' the mewl fer us."

Lum whistled. His meal being finished, he got up and stood close to his wife. She had knotted a scarlet handkerchief about her throat, which suited her olive skin and black hair. Lum slid his arm around her waist. "Ye ar' turrible good-lookin', Polly Ann," said he smil

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »