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to-day whole stanzas of an ardent poem
by C C. Burleigh, beginning with :

" Brothers, be brave for the pining slave
From wife and children riven !
Prom every vale Ms bitter wail
Goes sounding up to heaven!" —

and little anti-slavery stories by Lydia
Maria Child touched his imaginative sen-
sibilities in a manner not yet forgotten.
Of an entirely different order, yet very
convincing to many practical minds, was
a series of descriptions of southern travel
written by Fred Law Olmstead, — "Our







SEMINAR Y NO TES.



Seaboard Slave States," -'.A Texas Jour-
ney," and others. Picturing in a graphic
manner the South as it had really been
made devastate by Slavery, the gloss of
meretricious apparent prosperity was
brushed off, and the practical argument
against Slavery, showing it as false in
economic system as it was in morals, was
never more strongly presented. His works
had great influence at the North in cor-
recting that delusion of admiration with
which many had regarded the South as
developed by Slavery. Thenceforward
they knew Slavery as she was — both a
moral wrong and an economic blunder 1

But all other literature of America
affecting slavery must give grand place in
influence, as I conceive, to Mrs. Stowe,
and especially to her "Uncle Tom's Cab-
in." Compared with this, what other
work of imagination has ever achieved so
much in directly affecting the opinions
and consequent actions of men? It was a
mighty lever. Beside it, to my apprehen-
sion, the speeches of Phillips and the
pages of The Liberator held no audience,
no readers. Editions past reckoning —
translations into every civilized tongue — a
million copies sold ! Now, even, thirty-
eight years after its issue, everybody reads
it — and the masses throng to witness its
scenic representation ! To-day, Uncle
Tom's Cabin divides with the Circus and
Base Ball the honor of being the great
American pastime ! Differing with the
critics, I would maintain too, that, tre-
mendous as was its outcome of influence
on the slavery question, it by no means
owed all its popularity to that issue to
which it was so timely addressed. If it
were so, on what ground doth it hold its
perennial tenure of life, and why did for-
eign readers, to whom our slavery was
never a vital issue, hold it in such admira-
tion? It was a work of art — of literary
genius of the first order.

" Imagination's world of air.
And our own world of gloom and glee,
Wit, pathos, poetry were there—
And death's sublimity 1"

Had I time, I should like to recall my own



vivid impressions of the book, the circum-
stances under which it came to» me and
the conquest to anti-slavery sentiments
that it compelled in my mind. One grand
purpose it certainly achieved. It ideal-
ized the African negro to the minds of the
American people. Before that, he was
wholly a commonplace, if not indeed a
degraded creature in our contemplation.
We regarded him either as doing well
enough in " the position wherein he was
placed," or if as wronged, then with that
"pity which is akin to contempt." After
reading Uncle Tom's Cabin we could so
regard him no longer — but as a man! In
the difterent types therein presented. Uncle
Tom, Topsy, (ieorge Harris and the rest, —

•■ A man so various that he seemed to be
Not one, but all mankind's epitome"

and, in grand old Uncle Tom, he became
hero, saint and martyr as veritable as any
of the olden time. Above all, he was a
man not content with his condition, but
one who panted for liberty, and who
would, if need be, fight for it. And this
view found a striking exemplication of its
truth to my apprehension at the very time
when the book was issued, even in my
own immediate neighborhood. A slave
holder in neighboring Mar\ land lost a
slave. Learning thathiis man was harbor-
ing near the little village of Christiana,
Pennsylvania, Mr. Edwin Gorsuch, the
owner, determined to reclaim him under
the recently enacted (though obnoxious)
Fugitive Slave Law. Proceeding with
son and nephew to Philadelphia, he pro-
cured the U. S. Marshal and ])ossc and
came by rail to take his slave, Oct. i,
1855. Well do I recall "that pleasant morn
in the early fall." The signal of a horn
was sounded, and the blacks of the vicinity
gathered in. The posse surrounded the
house, and Mr. (iorsuch called for his
slave to surrender. Leaning out of the
window of the cottage, the slave warned
his master to desist, for he would never be
captured alive. The assault was made
however, the fight began and soon the
master fell dead, the son wounded, and



SEMINARY NOTES.



91



the marshal and his posse fled, hotly pur-
sued by the excited blacks. Before the
attack however, he had summoned to his
aid a white man who had ridden up to
survey the proceedings. This man, an
Abolition Quaker, one Castner Hanway,
refused to assist. For this crime he and
several others were afterward arrested and
tried for treason. After a long imprison-
ment the trial came off, Hanway's being
made a test case, and that "Great ('om-
moner" Thaddeus Stevens defending him
as chief counsel. He was finally acquitted
and released, but with health greatly im-
paired from his confinement,

•'Singing of Freedom through the bars
Of Moyamensing jail :"—

as Whittier chronicles it. I have omitted
to state that the fugitive himself escaped,
being forwarded the night after the affray,
via the Underground Railroad to Canada.
This, I think, was the first instance where
a slave had resisted capture unto death,
and the case of George Harris was veri-
fied.

;!; * * :t: Jj;

Thus crudely and hastily I have ven-
tured to suggest a few of the leading forces
which, in my opinion, operated toward
the forming of the great Republican party.
I am far from assuming however that I
have included all. Possibly — very pro-
bably — you vvill differ widely with me,
even in my estimate that these were
among the chief ones, I would be far
indeed from underrating others, especially
that of the powerful influence of our great
orators and worthy leaders of this event-
ful period: — grand editors, preachers and
statemen: Greely, Beecher, Seward,
Chase, Sumner and Lincoln. These, by
tongue and pen, in the press, in Congress,
on the platform and on the stump, aroused
and moulded the sentiment of the great
North to a spirit of determined resistance
to any further encroachment on the part
of slavery. Grand utterances, striking
phrases, which sound like inspired pro-
' phecies, fell from the lips of these men
during that memorable struggle which



marked the birth of the party. Some of
these have survived even above the din of
subsequent battle and come down to us as
historic — "The higher law" and "Irrecon-
cilable Conflict" of Seward — and "This
Union cannot permanently exist half slave,
half free" — of Abraham Lincoln. In view
probably of his ofttime conservative posi-
tion toward slavery during the war, it has
been somewhat of an axiom that the first
martyr president is to be regarded as fol-
lower rather than a leader of advanced
party opinion on this question. It has
often been declared that Abraham Lincoln
was never an educator of public opinion
on this vital subject, that he but followed
as the people led. Waiving any discus-
sion as to his course during the early
period of his presidency, let me here sug-
gest my sincere conviction that no one
man did more toward moulding public
opinion in the west in opposition to
slavery extension, and thereby in prepar-
ing the ground and sowing the seed of
Republicanism in its early estate, than
Abraham Lincoln. * If you will kindly
bear with me a few moments longer I will
instance a reminiscence which bears upon
this subject.

Thirty-six years ago, next fall, an East-
ern boy found himself one bright day at
the town of Bloomington, Illinois. He
was from Pennsylvania, and prospecting
for a location in the great West. It was
a memorable day for him, for three things:
He had that day first heard of the town
of Lawrence — he sat down to dinner with
Stephen A. Douglas, and afterward heard
a speech from "The Little Giant," who.
was then probably the most noted man of
his country — and then, for the first time,
saw and heard speak in rejoinder, a man
as yet wholly unknown to fame, but whose
name has since resounded throughout the
world — Abraham Lincoln.

After this dinner, we proceeded to a
grove in the outskirts of Bloomington and
listened with great interest to the speech
of Stephen A. Douglas. The protracted
struggle o\-er the Kansas Nebraska act,



92



SEMINAR Y NO TES.



which had passed Congress during the
previous session, had convulsed the
country. Douglas, the responsible father
of the measure, was now on the stump to
defend his course and win back the old-
time allegiance of the people of Illinois,
which he had well-nigh lost through their
indignation at the Repeal of the Missouri
compromise.

For two long hours at Bloomington he
strove hard to win over the people to his
"Squatter Sovereignty" views, and to
reconcile them to that repeal. It was a
herculean effort, and exhausted every
species of rhetoric of which he was master,
and all manner of argument and of sophis-
tical reasoning. He neglected not the
minor but ofttimes effective resource of
flattery, and the people of the West and
especially the citizens of Illinois, were
complimented extravagantly. In vain.
The people of Bloomington were still too
freshly indignant. And yet the argument
for -'Squatter Sovereignty," or, as Doug-
las termed it, "popular sovereignty," was
artfully and most plausibly put. "You
people of Illinois, when you established
your State, claimed and exercised the right
to decide upon your own domestic insti-
tutions, that of Slavery included. You
said when you formed your Constitution
that the institution was not suited to your
wants, and you put it out. Have you lost
in intelligence, have you lost in political
virtue, that when you or your sons go to
Kansas you shall not have the privilege
there, or will you deny to others who
shall go instead, the settlers of that fair
young territory, what you have claimed
and exercised for yourselves? Shall you
or they lose these rights, which they have
always exercised at home, by simply cross-
ing a river or stepping over an invisible .
boundary line ? Dare you not trust the
people with this as with all other ques-
tions? And if you claim the right to take
with you and enjoy your property when
you remove there, shall not your fellow
citizens from the South claim the right to
transport their property there, likewise?



When the people in due time come to
frame a State Constitution for Kansas or
Nebraska, let them decide the questions
of their institutions for themselves, in per-
fect freedom and untrammeled by any
restrictions from any quarter. It is their
right as American citizens. "

This seemed specious, but it had a hol-
low and false ring to my boyish ears, and
so it had to those of the multitude
assembled. His speech elicited but little
applause at any time. They listened with
attention, but they believed it false and
they wanted it answered. At its close an
enthusiastic Democrat sprang to his feet,
swinging his hat and shouting for "Three
cheers for Stephen A. Douglas. " The
first cheer was responded to by perhaps
forty "scattering" voices in the vast
crowd, the second, by not more than half
a dozen, and the last broke down utterly,
with not a single voice but that of the man
who had proposed it. Never did an
emotion of disgust and rage sweep over a
human countenance more visibly than at
that moment on the face of Stephen A.
Douglas, intensified, if possible, when a
voice in the crowd sang out, "Lincoln! "
Immediately the audience as one man
were shouting "Lincoln! Lincoln!" — a
name which then had scarcely been heard
outside of a few counties of Illinois.
This, it will be remembered, was years
before the grand debate with Douglas
which made his name known to the whole
country, and, as yet, he was an humble
country lawyer. In a few moments, a
tall, thin form arose in a wagon on the
outskirts of the crowd, and its owner said
in a few words that this meeting belonged
to Mr. Douglas, but if anybody desired to
hear him speak in reply, they could do so
at the Court House that evening. When
the writer attended the speech at the
court house that night, it was more from
idle curiosity than from any anticipation
that this unknown, gaunt, and ungainly
country lawyer would be able to reply to
Douglas, the most noted stump speaker of
the day, with a reputation as orator and



SEMINARY NOTES.



93



statesman almost as wide as the English
language.

I yet recollect well the second story of
the Bloomington Court House, the one
bare room', with sloping ceiling, the little
pine "stand" at one end, with its tallow
candle, which only served to render more
ungainly the tall form and awkward pres-
ence and attitude of Abraham Lincoln.
It required but a few moments of his
speech, however, to apprize me that he
was already the idol of the liberty-loving
people of that section, and not much
longer for me to realize that he was a
born master of the minds of men.

I shall not attempt even the briefest
retrospect of that speech. It was a reve-
lation that illumined the whole question
with lines of light before which the illusive
list of rhetoric which Douglas had spread
over it fled away and disappeared. In a
complete but succinct review of the whole
political history of the struggle, he suc-
cessfully controverted all the "Little
Giant's" leading propositions, and demol-
ished totally the whole fabric of sophisti-
cal reasoning so elaborately built thereon,
clearly demonstrating the different ground
upon which Slavery stood from that of
other political institutions, both in moral



right and political obligation. He swept
away at one stroke all the pernicious
sophisms with which Douglas had sur-
rounded the plausible name of "popular
sovereignty," and left it exposed in its
bare deformity, a pitiful political trick
and pretext to afford a new opportunity to
outrage the laws of God and humanity.
"Mr. Douglas has told you that you
should carry with you to Kansas all your
rights and privileges as citizens of the
States, and of one common country. I
do not deny it. I cheerfully accord to .
you, to every man and everywhere, the
full exercise of. every civil and political
right which God has given you, and the
constitution has recognized — but, before
God and in the presence of American
free-men, I do deny your right or the
right of any set of men, to make, on soil
once consecrated to freedom, of any fel-
low human being a slave.'"

It was apparent at the close of Mr. Lin-
coln's speech that the convictions and
sympathies of the large audience were
with him, and that Mr. Douglas, in his
labored effort, had signally and totally
failed.

B. W. Woodward.



94



SEMINAR V NO TES.



SEMINARY REPORTS.



Money In Politics.

vlTN the meeting of the Seminary on
^;J9^'ovember nth. Prof. Blackmar made
some remarks on the value of current per-
iodical literature to the student of conomics
and sociology.

A paper on Money in American Politics
was then read by Mr. Cooke, which was
largely based on an article in the Century
by Prof. Jenks. There are certain legiti-
mate expenditures made with a view to
influence elections, but these consume
only a small proportion of the money
placed at the disposal of campaign com-
mittees by the assessment of candidates
and office holders, and by voluntary con-
tribution. Statistics on the proportion of
corruptible voters followed.

Among remedial measures proposed are
more stringent naturalization laws, the
secrecy of the ballot, limitation of expen-
diture and the compulsory publication of
accounts, and the requirement of higher
educational and moral qualifications in the
voter. The disfranchisement of all con-
cerned in bribery, and the unseating of
successful candidates in whose interest it
has been employed are more direct
measures.

Legislation on these lines would dimin-
ish the corrupt use of money, but means
of evasion will continually be found until
an awakened public sentiment refuses
longer to countenance in politics what it
would not in private life.

Mr. Cramer, who was called on to
fill an unexpected vacancy, spoke of the
condition of affairs in England prior to
the Corrupt Practices legislation of 1883.
Venality was far more common then than
now in America. The laws passed in 1883,
however, went far more into detail than
our legislation, and have in great measure
stopped the crimes at which they were
aimed.



The discussion brought out the methods
of collating statistics on the venality of
voters. Those presented by such men as
Professors McCook and Jenks are certain-
ly trustworthy.

The Behring Sea Controversy.

m T the Seminary meeting on Friday,
February 3d, Mr. Springer read a
paper on the Behring Sea Controversy.
The following is a brief abstract of the
paper :

In 1886 began a series of difficulties in
regard to the Behring Sea seal fisheries,
which have not yet been successfully set-
tled. These difficulties grew out of the
fact that foreign vessels, chiefly English,
had for some time been killing seals in the
Behring Sea, an act which the United
States Government held to be unlawful.
The question as to whether or not foreign-
ers have the right to kill seals in the Behring
Sea is the one now being considered by
the Behring Sea convention.

The express points to be settled by this
convention are four, namely: When Rus-
sia possessed Alaska, did she have any
just right to the sovereignty of the Behring
Sea ? What are the exact bounds of the
Behring seas? Did the rights which Rus-
sia possessed over the Behring Sea pass
with Alaska, in the treaty of 1867, to the
United States? and has either the United
States or England any just claim for
damages?

The first of these points — Russia's for-
mer rights in Behring Sea — to be settled
by the convention has been widely dis-
cussed. At the time Russia owned Alaska
and claimed to have control of the Beh-
ring Sea, difficulties arose concerning the
seal fisheries. The Russian emperor
issued a ukase prohibiting foreigners from
fishing for seal in the Behring Sea. Eng-
land and the United States both immedi-



SEMINARY NOTES.



95



ately took offense at the proclamation and
entered into diplomatic negotiations with
Russia with regard to the legality of the
latter's claim in the Behring Sea. Much
time was spent in attempting to negotiate
a treaty. A settlement was finally arrived
at which in fact settled nothing, but mere-
ly parried, for the time being, the trouble
which was inevitable.

The second point to be settled by the
convention will be scarcely less difficult of
adjustment than the first. . The bounds of
the Behring Sea have been defined in a
number of treaties and conventions, but
the exact extent of this sea is still doubtful.

A decision in regard to the third ques-
tion will be arrived at with no less diih-
culty than in the preceding cases. If, in
coming to a conclusion upon the first
question, the convention decides that
Russia never had any legal claim to the
government of the rights in the Behring
Sea, then this third question will of neces-
sity disappear; but if, on the other hand,
it is decided that Russia had a just right
in the Behring Sea, then a long discussion
will ensue relative to the third question.

The last question to be decided depends
wholly on the settlement of the preceding
ones. A number of English vessels have
bee» captured in the Behring Sea by
United States cruisers. Several vessels
captured in this manner have been treated
as prize ships by the United States gov-
ernment. Now it depends on the rights
which the United States possesses over
the Behring Sea, as to whether she had a
right to seize British ships in- those waters.
In 1886 three British Columbian sealing
vessels were captured in the Behring Sea
and confiscated by the United States gov-
ernment. In 1887 five English vessels
were caught killing seals in the Behring



Sea and were promptly taken to Sitka and
sold by order of the United States govern-
ment.

The convention is trying at present to
bring about an amicable settlement of
these difficulties. This convention con-
sists of two representatives from the Uni-
ted States, two from England, and one
each from France, Italy, and Norway and
Sweden. Its next meeting will be held
during the month of March, in Paris.

The Behring Sea contains the only seal
fisheries of any importance in the world.
Hence it is quite important that some
amicable settlement may be arrived at, by
which the sealing industry may be pre-
served and fostered.

hX the close of the reading a discussion
followed with especial remarks by Profes-
sor Hodder. Prof. Blackmar then made
a few remarks on current events, the
Hawaiian trouble, and the loss of great
men, Gen. Butler, ex-President Hayes,
and Mr. Blaine receiving appropriate
attention.

Recent Phases of the Immigration
Question.

qwJ T a Seminary held January 20th, Mr.
(^^ Budd read a very interesting paper
on Immigration. This well worn subject
was very thoroughly discussed by Mr.
Budd. Many new phases of the question
were presented. The causes of immigra-
tion, the history and statistics of the sub-
ject and the general and special results of
foreign immigration to the United States
were thoroughly developed. The dis-
cussion brought to light the impractica-
bility of the scheme to suspend immigra-
tion for one year. This phase of the
question was considered in the light of
political filibustering.



96



SEMINAR Y NO TES.



- SEMINARY - NOTES. -

PUBLISHED ON THE FIRST DAY OF OCTOBER,

NOVEMBER, DECEMBER, FEBRUARY,

MARCH, APRIL AND MAY,

BY

the seminary of

Historical and Political Science.

State University, Lawrence, Kansas.

Frank W. Blackmar. 1

Ff'ank H. Hodder, \- - - - Editors.

Ephraim D. Adams, j

Terms. Ten Cents a Number, - Fifty Cents a Year

^jn' HE purpose of this publication is to increase the
(w) interest in the study of historical science in the
^^ University and throughout the State, to afford
means of regular communication with corresponding
members of the Seminary and with the general pub-
lic—especially with the Aliljnni of the University, and
to preserve at least the outlines ol carefully prepared
papers and addresses. The nuinber of pages in each
issue will be increased as rapidly as the subscription
list will warrant. The entire revenue of the publi-
cation will be applied to its maintenance.
Address all subscriptions and communications to

F. W. BLACKMAR,

Lawrence, Kansas.

The success of the moot senate has led
students from the first and second year
classes to organize a house of representa-
tives. The first meeting was attended by
about forty and there is every sign of
great interest in the work. The senate
and house will act together as nearly as
possible in the manner of the Senate and
House at Washington. These college
organizations have the advantage of direct-
ing attention to great public questions and
of familiarizing students with the methods
of government and the details of parlia-
mentary law. If the house succeeds as
well as the senate has, it will be well worth
while.



A new library building has been one of
the crying needs of the University of
Kansas for many years. A place where
books can be secured in a fire-proof build-
ing is one of the essentials ; a place where
books can be arranged for their best use
in the accommodation of students and
instructors. The attention of the public



has been called to this great need again
and again and it was hoped sometime that
the legislature would make possible the
construction of such building by sufficient
appropriation. In an unexpected way the
library building is to be provided for.
The magnificent gift of William B. Spooner
of $90,000 to the University will probably
be used for the erection of a library build-
ing. Chancellor Snow in his recent report
has so recommended it and without doubt
his recommendation ■ will prevail. The
gift was made on account of the relation-
ship of Mr. Spooner and Chancellor Snow,
and especially on account of the great
work which Chancellor Snow has done in
the realms of science in the West. Natur-
ally it would appear, from the circum-
stances of the gift, that this fund would



Online LibraryKansas. UniversitySeminary notes published by the Seminary of historical and political science → online text (page 49 of 62)