Weston Arthur Goodspeed.

The province and the states, a history of the province of Louisiana under France and Spain, and of the territories and states of the United States formed therefrom (Volume 4) online

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situation quickly appealed to both parties and ])eaceable methods
of settling the difficulty were resorted to. This controversy,
which began during that convulsive administration of Governor
r.oggs, in 1S38, lasted till that of r.ovcrnor King, ten years later.
The matter at last was referred t*) the supreme court, by an act
of congress in 184^), that tribunal ruled in favor of Iowa, thus
depriving Missouri of some territory which she claimed, and the
decision was confu-med by an act of congress in 1848, after which
the b(3nndary line was run as it stands to-day.

The panic of 1837 hit Missouri as it did all the rest of the
country, but it was less disastrous here than it was in most of the
other western communities. Tliat convulsion was due to several
causes — the overthrow of the United States Bank by President
Jackson, which died at the expiration of its charter in 1836; the
establishment of "wildcat" banks around the same time, the cur-
rency by which was inade(|uately secm-ed ; the wild speculation in
public lands; President Jackson's sj.ecie circular of 1836, direct-
ing that nolhing except gold or silver should iu' received in pay-
ments for lands, and the general discredit which came to those


MffiJ hcd tui^.'ir-iVA «i;) ii'X.: ■mI.) ih.ii' )/j;:;! ".I>


banks as a consequence, resulting in the wreck of many of them,
antl severe losses to the holders of their notes.

A branch of the United States Bank had been eslablished in
St. Louis in 1829, with Col. John O'Fallon as president. Great
loss had been inflicted on St. Louis and other parts of the state
throu,i;h the earlier banks of that city, especially the Missouri
and the St. Louis, but the branch of the big federal bank secured
the confidence of most of the community from the start. On this
account there was great indignation in business circles in
St. Louis wlien Jackson, in the summer of 1832, vetoed the bill
to grant a new charter to the Ihiited States Bank and thus to
extend its existence for another twenty years. The opposition,
moreover, was not confined to the enemies of Jackson's party,
but was shared in by most of the business peo|)lc of St. Louis
and vicinit)-. ( )n the other hand, many persons in city and
county expressed decided api.roval of Jackson's act. In the elec-
tion, of course, later on in that year, Jackson received a large
majority of the votes of the state. Nevertheless, when the branch
bank disappeared at the expiration of the chart*.-r of the parent
institution of 1836 there was profound regret in financial circles,
and the commercial convulsion which came a year later, soon after
Van Buren entered office, was attributed by many persons to this
act of Jackson and to the recklessness of some of the state insti-
tutions which flourished for a time afterward.

On the whole, however, Missouri's loss was less through the
financial crash of 1837 than was that of most oi (he other com-
munilies west of tiie AlK'gheuies, and ils recoveiv was quicker.
The majority (A the constituents of "Old Bullion" I'.enton, who
aicLnl Jackson in overthrowing the United Slates Mank', were con-
servative in financial matters, and were believers in the use of
gold antl silver as far as possible in the circulating medium.

Li 1837 the state house at Jefferson City was destroyed by fire,
with all the papers in the office of the secretary of state, all the
furniture aiul half the library. Many valuable papers which
could not be replaced were thus lost, 'i'he new capitol was
begun in 1838, occupied in 1841, and cost about three hundred
fifly thousand dcjllars.

About this time commissioners were superinleuding the sales
of lands whose j)roceeds were to go to the c tablishment of a
state university. Columbia was selected for the site, the cor-
ner stone was laid on the Lourth (jf July, i.Sjo, al wliieli oera-
sion an address was delivereil by James L. Minor, and tlie

U> '/'u^.^i

Missu I ! nrs furma nen t b u un varies.


beginning- was made in the creation of one of the greatest educa-
tional institutions to be found in tlie West.

A great social event in the life of St. Louis in that period was
the visit of Daniel Webster to that city in 1837. Webster was
then at the height of his fame, and was already prominently men-
tioned in connection with the Whig candidacy for 1840. St. Louis
and Missouri did not have a chance to see so many celebrities
in those days as they have greeted in more recent times, and
the advent of the "expounder of the constitution" tlrew to
St. Louis hundreds of people from the rest of Missouri and
many from Illinois. He was entertaineil at the National Hotel,
on the corner of Third anil Market streets, remained in the city
about a week, and on one of those days he attendetl a barbecue
in his honor in J. 11. C. Lucas's woods, on the present Twelfth
street, near Olive. At that affair (ien. William II. Ashley, tlie
well-known Whig congressman, presided, and William t'arr Lane,
John 1!. Sarpy, James Clemens and other conspicuous local \K-r-
sonages of that day were among the vice presidents of the gath-
ering. The speech which the guest made was worthy of the
author of (lie "riply to lla\'ne."

Uaviil r.arton died in 1837 and (leu. William Clark in 1838.
Barton, who was one of the most conspicuous and ijojjular of
Missourians at the time of his election as the hr^l .senator whom
the state chose, had been tlriven out of oflice b)' his drift over
to the Whig- party, and was in eclipse and forgotten hjr several
years before his ileath. Clark, on the other hand, retained his
|jromineuce and his ])restig-e to the t-nd, and his death remo\'ed
Missi)uri's oldest and best beloved cili/eii.

8o Tllli PRUl'lNCIi AND 11 Hi ST.irilS.


^•r. „t • , , t. K'i'U

Lull Preceding the Conflict with Mexi


THE exciting- days in Missouri covL-red by the administrations
of Governors Dunklin and i>ot^\gs were followed by still
more stirrinj^" times. 'JV'xas annexation and the Mexican
war which followed it, and which brou<4ht the acriuisition of New
Mexico and California, were (')nly a few M-ars in the distance when
1U)<4<4S retired, and the inlluences which le<l to thise events were
already bcg-inning to shape themselves. In all of them Missouri
bore a |)rominent part. A few years were to pass, however,
before these forces started to assert themselves in a concrete way.

IMissouri's niost interesting canvass along to that day was the
one which she saw in 1840. At a convention in Ilarrisburg,
in IX'cembt'i-, i8,^i), eleven months before the election, the Whigs
of the nation nominated William 1 lemy llarrison for ]»resident
and John Tyler for vice i)resident. In May, 1840, at a conven-
tion in r.allimore, the Democrats renominated I'resident X'^an

Although Clay had been the favorite of a large majority of
the Whigs of the country for the cantlidacy of 1840, Harrison's
nomination <|nickly aroused great enthusiasm in his part\' every-
where, including Missouri. "d1ie American i)eo])k- like the
smell of gunpowder on the clothes of their candidates," said lien-
ton long afterward, referring (o the election of Jackson, J f ar-
rison and Taylor, successfid soldiers. Harrison's defeat of the
Prophet, Tecuniseh's brother, at Tipptcanoe, in 181 i. and his
overthrow of Tecnmseh himself and his Ihilish allies at the bat-
tk' of the Thames, in Canada, in wSi.^j, tin- killer being the
biggest vi( lory gained by the Americans in the war of 1812-15
on land except that shortly afterward by Jaek-S(jn at New Orleans,

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g-ave hiin a military rq)utation wliich provcHl a valuable asset for
him and his i)arty in the campaign of 1840. Denton, of course,
oi)pose<l Harrison in that election, llarri.-on, however, as gov-
ernor of Indiana Territory, had for a short time been the execu-
tive of ui)per f.ouisiana, which had been joined to Indiana for
administrative purposes in 1804. and Missouri felt a sort of pro-
prietorship in him. His candidacy gave the Whigs of the state
great encouragement to make an active canvass.

At a convention held in Rocheport, lloone county, in June,
1840, which body was addressed by Fletcher \\'eb.',ter, son of
the great Massachusetts statesman, Gen. Alexander W. Doni-
phan, Col. John O'Fallon, James S. Rollins, and other well-known
men, tlie W'h.igs nominated John ]'5. Clark fcjr governor. The
Democrats put up Thomas Reynolds ftn- g(jvernor and Mere-
dith M. Marmadnk-e for lieiiteiianl governor. A heavy vote was
{iolled and the Democrats, as usual, swij)! the Slate. •

The panic of 18,^7, which began a few weeks after Van Pniren
entered office (which, however, did less damage in Missouri than
it inflicted in most of the other states), was disastrous to his
fortunes. He carried only seven of the twenty-six states, but
Missouri was one of the seven. He received only 60 electoral
votes, as against 234 for Harrison, but Missouri contributed 4
of the 60. fn Missotud Van liuren's vote was Jtj./Go, a major-
ity of 6,788 over Harrison. Reynolds' vote v/as 29, 625, a lead
of 7,413 over Clark. The Democrats' two candidates for con-
gress, John Miller and John C. Edwards, were also elected.

One act of especial imporlaiice of which he was the author,
and ill which he luok a jus( piide, wa^ passed .luring Covernor
Reynolds' service. Tliis law, which read, 'Tinprisonment for
debt is hereby forever abolished," ended for ]\Iissouri a barbarous
practice which had been in vogue in most of the states i)revious
to that time, and which operated in some of them at an even
later day.

Missouri's growth in industries, population and wealth had
been notably rapid from 1830 to 1840. Its inhabitants, which
numbered 140,455 at the beginning of the decade, jumped to
383.702 at the end of ten years. Of this total, 59,814 represented
the negro population, nearly all of whom were slaves. St. Louis'
population increased from 6,694 in 1830 to 16,469 in 1840.
Under the ai)])ortionment based on the census of 1840 Missouri's
re])resentalion in the popular branch of congress was more than
doubled, and in 1842 these men were elected to that body : James
IV— 6

I?! .'V ,\Y-\y.<y) V

ft'TfuH is.'.V r.


B. P»o\vlin, James M. Iluglics, James II. Relfe, Gustavus B.
Bower and Jolin Jameson. All were Democrats. Lewis F.
IJnn was, in 1842, re-elected to the senate for the six years hegin-
ning on March 4, 1843, ^^^^ ^^^ '-^^^'■^ ''^ Octo])cr of that year, after
ten years' service, at the age of forty-eight.

Benton, during his twenty-one years of service in the senate
along to that time, had overshadowed all his colleagues in that
' chamher from his State except Linn. With much of lienton's
courage and energy, Linn had more versatility than Benton, much
greater adroitness and immeasurably greater personal popular-
ity. Two eulogies were delivered on Linn in the senate. One
^' was by a representative of the state of Linn's birth, Kentucky,
'"' John J. Crittenden. The other was by the member from his
^ residence state, Benton. The last named tribute, which came
from a man who never dealt in idle ])anegyric, was notably
effective. Uenlon closed his address b}- telling of a conversa-
• tion he had with Linn shortly before the hitter's death, in which
Linn spoke of the duties of the living toward the dead. "He
spoke," said llenton, "of two friends," meaning lieiiton himself
and Jackson, "whom it was natural to believe that lie slii:)uld sur-
vive, and to whose memories he intended to pay the debt of
friendship. \''ain calculation! \'ain impulsion of generosity and
friendship ! One of these two friends now discharges that
mournful debt to him. The other has written me a letter express-
ing his 'deep sorrow for the untinuly cleath of our friend
'Dr. Linn.'"

(lovernor Reynolds appointed IXiviil R. .\lchison to succeed
Linn in the senate, and he was suiisecpiently elected and re-elected
by the legislature, serving from 1843 to 1855. A native of Ken-
tucky, which furnished a large proportion of Missouri's great
men of the period before the Civil war days, and which contrib-
iited many of those of a later time, Atchison emigrated to Mis-
souri at an e;irly age, served several terms in the legislature,
was judge of the Platte county circuit court, and was a man
of influence and distinction before he became a colleague of lien-
ton. During his dozen years of service in the senate, he was
for a time prcsiilent of that body, lie was the only senator from
Missouri during Benton's service who dared to set himself up
in opposition to Benton. In the division in the Democratic party
in Missouri which came soon after the .Mt'xican war, Atchison
led the jiro^lavci y and pro soullicrn I'Icmtiil, .is against the old
Jacksonian and Unionist ingredient of the parly which hail Ben-
ton for a chieftain.


Early in 1844 Governor Reynolds conimittcd suicide in the
executive mauMon at Jefferson City |jy .sluxnin^ himself with
a rille. Ill health and violent ahusc hy iiis enemies were the
causes of the deed. Jle was horn in i\entucky, resided in Illi-
nois for a few years, where he was a supreme judi^e (jf the
slate for a time, emigrated into Missouri in i8j8, was succes-
sively a nicniher of the lower hrancJi of the legislature, speaker
of that body, and district judge previous to his election as gov-
ernor, and was a man of ability, character and personal popu-

I'Vom Reynolds' death in hVbruary, 1844, to the entl of the
term in November of that year, Lieut. Ciov. Marmaduke acted
as governor. Marmaduke had a long and diversified career
before reaching that office. I5orn in Virginia back in 1791, he
commanded one of tliat state's regiments in the war of 1812,
served as flnited Slates marshal of the state's eastern district
afterwartl for a few years, settled in Missouri in 1824, was
prominent in the Santa Fe trade for a few years, and held sev-
eral offices in the state previous to his election as lieutenant gov-
ernor in 1840. During the war of secession he was, until his
death in 1864, a stalwart Unionist, although most of his relatives
were on tlie Confederate side, including his son, John S. ]\iarma-
duke, who was elected governor of Missouri in 18S4, and who
died in office in 1S87.

In the early suuuner of 1844, through tiie swift and unex-
ampled rise of the Illinois, the Missouri and other trilmtaries
of the upper Mississippi, liie Hood in the big stream was memo-
rable f(.i the blight which U reachetl and the destruction which
it caused. There is reast)n to believe that it surpassed the rise
of 1785, which was known in the Mississippi valley's annals as
the "year of the great waters." It was undoubtedly higher than
the big freshets of 181 1 and 1826, and every other rise which
has taken place since then. The present East St. Louis and
other towns on the east bank of the Mississippi were flooded,
the American Bottoms, opposite St. Louis, were a vast sea for
many miles north and south, and the waters passed far above
the top of the levee in St. Louis. Many farm animals were
drowned, a great amount of other property was destroyed, and
some human lives were lost. In 1844 the Mississip])! at St. Louis
rose to a height of 41.5 feet on the government gauge. The high-
est rise at the same jmint since then was in June, Kjo^, when the
38-foot mark was touched.

'idle election in 184.1 in Missouri was notable because (jf the

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a cliaiii;\- for tin- senatorial tciin

Inginnins:^ in

hl; willi l8.|(i, howi'vrr, Missouri 1

as elected its

y districts.

aiHls was noniinatcd for governor 1)>

the "riards,"

Is," who favored an increase in 1j

ink currency,


it the \\'hiL;s made no nominations for state otTi-
had always elected its memliers of congress on
hut congress shortly he fore that time had passed
■ Missouri to (li\ide the state into congressional
districts. Missouri's legislature refused to recognize congress's
authority to interfere in the matter and made no division. The
Whigs on this account, jirofessing to helieve that an election held
under the old conditions wouhl he illegal, declined lo make nomi-
nations for any offices. With the pressure of organized Whig
opposition removctl, the Democrats split among themselves into
"Hards" and "Softs," the former representing the stalwart gold
and silver nKJiiey champion, "()\A I'.ullion," Thomas 11. lien-
ton, and the latter heing l'ent(jn's Democratic enemies, who
declared that his siipremac\- in his .-,tate had lastetl long enough,
and demanded
lcS_|5. I'.egiimii
congressmen h^

John C. E.hv;
while tile "Sof

partly hecause they helieved that that would heiiefit the state
and partly hecause the}' wanted to hit lienlon, refrained from
making any nomination of their own, hut supportetl Charles II.
Allen, an independent candidate, who was favored hy the Whigs.
In the election Edwards received 36,()78 votes, or 5,621 more than

The "llards" were jnhilant at their triumph over the coni-
hiued oppo.sition of the \\diig> and aiili -Heiilon Democrats, and
gave lleiiton another term, which was to end in 185 1. It was
Benton's last victory, but neither he nor anybotly else could have
foreseen this at the time. The Democrats swept the state on
congress, electing the five niemhers. Two of those, John S. Phelps
and Sterling I'lice, then entering puhlic life on the national stage
for the tirst time, were to figure with great prominence in the
after day.

Phelps, who was born in Connecticut but who removed to
Missouri in early manhood, and who served in the legislature for
a short time, was thirty years of age at his election to congress
in 1844; he remained there until 1863, commanded a regiment
on the Union side during part of the war of secession, was made
military governor of Arkansas by Lincoln for a short time, was
elccled gos'ernor of Missouri in 1876, and died in St. Louis ten
years later. Price, a Virginian by birth, who removed to Mis-
souri in early life, was speaker of the lower branch of the Mis-


souri legislature for several years, was thirty-three years of a^e
when eleeted to congress in 1844, resigned from that hody in
1S4C) to take command of the Second Missouri Cavalry, rendered
brilliant service in the war against Mexico in that year and in
1847, was elected governor of Missouri in 1852, fought on the
confederate side in high command in Missouri and other places
in the civil war, and died in St. Louis in 1S67.

Missouri's position in the presidential canvass of 1844 was
peculiar. The Democratic party, which was dominant in Mis-
souri, declared in its platform of that year that "our title to the
whole of the territory of Oregon is clear and un(|uestionable ;
that no portion of the same ought to be ceiled to England or any
other power ; and that the re-occupation of Oregon and the re-an-
nexation of Texas, at the earliest practicable period, are great
American measures, which this convention recommends to the
cordial suj-port of the Democracy of the Union."

The reference to Oregon in this deliverance was intended for
use in the Nurth chiefly. That about Texas was designed to
strengthen the |)arty in the slave slatt'S, there being no such
thing as a solid Democratic South in those days. Notwithstand-
ing the desire of the country for national expansion, a desire
iiilu'rent in the people of all )'(jung, virile and growing comnui-
iiities, sla\ery acted in this juncture as a barrie-r [o exi)an.si(jn,
so far as it had any influence. Slavery existed in the republic
of Texas. Its annexation \\H)uld rnhuge the slavery xote in
the senate by [\\u. and plhs^il)lv bv more than that, for that vast
.Miuilry. as tlir Ndilb .it (li.it lime l\;irrd, mi-ht be divided up
nilo se\ei;d .slates. Therefore, a majorit\- of the peoplr of the
free section of the country, Diiiiocrats and Whigs alike, wtre
ojiliosed to Texas acquisition at that ])articular time. 'i"he fact,
lt)i), that annexation, on account of the tlis|)ule between Texas
and Mexico as to the western boundary of the former, Texas
placing it at the Rio Grande and Mexico putting it at the Nue-
ces, far to the eastward of the big river, would involve the
I iiited States in a war with Mexico, made many jjcrsons averse
to annexation who would otherwise have favored it. On the
other hand, desi)ile its exj)ansionist aspirations in the abstract,
the .South was rather averse to the ac(|uisilion of ( )regon, which
\',ould streuglhen the vote of the inc seclic)n and menace slavery.

r.ut alllioLi,;;li a slave stale herself and on the- bonkr line
luiweiii thr sla\'e and the free sections, iMissouii wanted nalitinai
.•vp.uision in any (|narler, North or South, in whii h it could be
I ,id legitimately. Manifrst d(sliny - tlu: I'leling fli.it Providence

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V"* ' .!^r:


I had decreed that we were to si)read ah over the continent, {^ive

1 its peoples a hetter government than they conhi create for them-

, selves, and open for them a hrij^hter fntnre than they, single-

, handed, could ever achieve — had enthusiastic champions in

Missouri. Missouri favored the "re-occupation of Oregon,"
and shouted "Fifty-four-forty or fight," which was a slogan
among the Democrats of the free states in 1844, the northern
line of the Oregon country, as claimed ]>y the United vStates
5 being 54 degrees 40 minutes of latitude, which was the soutli-

f crn houndary of Russia's territory of Alaska. England claimed

all of Oregon down to the mouth of the Cohunbia, or farther
,, south. Missouri likewise favored the "re-anne\ation of Texas,"

. the United States' claim to wdhch had been given up in the treaty

^ of 1819 with Spain as part of the concession which we made for

Florida, which, it was contended, was ceded to us in that compact.
Clay was the candidate of the Whig party for president in
1844 and he Mas personally very popular in the West, especfally
in Missouri, which gave him its electoral vote in 1824. Polk,
in whose record uv name there was no magic, was the Demo-
cratic nominee. Ihit Clay, chieily on account of the war with
Mexico which it would bring, declared in 1844 against Texas
annexation, i'olk, on the other hand, was an avowed aimex-
ationist. Although Polk gained only a small majority in the
elect(M-al college, he swept Missouri triumphaullw getting a lead
of 10,118 in the slate, or 3.3,^) in excess of thai given to Van
P.uren in Missouri four year.s earlier. Missouri's eulhusiastic
approval ol (lie Democratic phitlorm of iS||. both in its Ore-
gon and Texas features, was an ekupient presentation of its views
on the issue of the broadening of the nation's boundaries.

Am.Mig the iive members of congress which Missouri elected
in 1846 were two— James S. Creen and Willard P. Hall— who
attained distinction later on. Green, a native of Virginia, who
was twenty-nine years of age when elected to congress from Mis-
souri in 1846, served in the house of re])resentalives several terms,
and then went to the senate, from which he retired in 1861. Hall,
also a native of the Old DcMuinion, likewise served several years
in congress after his first election in 1846, but, unlike Cireen,
he was an enemy of slavery, and also, unlike Green, he was a
devoted .su])porter of the Union in the Civil war days, and acted
as governor after the death of Provisional (^ov. Hamilton R.
Gamble in 1864 until the regnl.irly elecle<l governor, 'Gliomas C.
J'deteliei, was inaugurated in 18(15.

In the politics of 1846, aside from the election of members of

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congress, the leading event in Alissouri was the vote on the pro-
posed state constitution, which had Ijeen framed in a convention
held in 1845, composed of many of the ablest men in the com-
monwealth, Whigs as well as Democrats. In the election of 1846

Online LibraryWeston Arthur GoodspeedThe province and the states, a history of the province of Louisiana under France and Spain, and of the territories and states of the United States formed therefrom (Volume 4) → online text (page 8 of 53)