agitating for the destruction of the system of negro servitude, but other diverse and heterogeneous elements of opposition to the Democratic party.
In the presidential election of 1856, their candidates (Fremont and Dayton) had received 114 of a total of 296 electoral votes, representing a popular vote of 1,341,264 in a total of 4,053,967.
The elections of the ensuing year (1857) exhibited a diminution of the so-called Republican strength, and the Thirty-fifth Congress, which convened in December of that year, was decidedly Democratic in both branches.
In the course of the next two years, however, the Kansas agitation and another cause, to be presently noticed, had so swollen the ranks of the so-called Republicans that, in the House of Representatives of the Thirty-sixth Congress, which met in December, 1859, neither party had a decided majority, the balance of power being held by a few members still adhering to the virtually extinct Whig and American (or Know-Nothing) organization
view between the President and the commissioners was followed by a sharp correspondence, which was terminated on January 1, 1861, by the return to the commissioners of their final communication, with an endorsement stating that it was of such a character that the President declined to receive it. The negotiations were thus abruptly broken off. This correspondence may be found in the Appendix.
See Appendix G.
In the meantime Cass, Secretary of State, had resigned his position early in December, on the ground of the refusal of the President to send reinforcements to Charleston.
On the occupation of Fort Sumter by Major Anderson, Secretary of War Floyd, taking the ground that it was virtually a violation of a pledge given or implied by the government, had asked that the garrison should be entirely withdrawn from the harbor of Charleston, and, on the refusal of the President to consent to this, had tendered his resignation, which was promptly accepted.
Buchanan's Administration, C
istent, and reiterated attempts at negotiation for its removal had been made with two successive administrations of the government of the United States—at first by the state of South Carolina, and by the government of the Confederate States after its formation.
These efforts had been met, not by an open avowal of coercive purposes, but by evasion, prevarication, and perfidy.
The agreement of one administration to maintain the status quo at the time when the question arose, was violated in December by the removal of the garrison from its original position to the occupancy of a stronger.
Another attempt was made to violate it, in January, by the introduction of troops concealed below the deck of the steamer Star of the West,
See the report of her commander, Captain McGowan, who says he took on board, in the harbor of New York, four officers and two hundred soldiers.
Arriving off Charleston, he says The soldiers were now all put below, and no one allowed on deck except our own crew
n, under the authority granted to him by the government, made a requisition for thirty thousand men from Tennessee, ten thousand from Mississippi, and ten thousand from Arkansas.
The Arkansas troops were directed to be sent to General McCulloch for the defense of their own frontier.
The governor of Mississippi sent four regiments, when this source of supply was closed.
Up to the middle of November only three regiments were mustered in under this call from Tennessee, but by the close of December the number of men who joined was from twelve to fifteen thousand. Two regiments, fifteen hundred strong, had joined General Polk.
In Arkansas five companies and a battalion had been organized, and were ready to join General McCulloch.
A speedy advance of the enemy was now indicated, and an increase of force was so necessary that further delay was impossible.
General Johnston, therefore, determined upon a levy en masse in his department.
He made a requisition on the governors of Tenn
d in them, and you have taken one long step toward peace, one long stride toward the preservation of the Government of our fathers.
The President's message of December, however, has all the characteristics of a diplomatic paper, for diplomacy is said to abhor certainty as Nature abhors a vacuum; and it was not within the poweron the majority section to consider now; for with every motion of that clock is passing away your opportunity.
It was greater when we met on the first Monday in December than it is now; it is greater now than it will be on the first day of next week.
We have waited long; we have come to the conclusion that you mean to do nothing not the greatest Government, upon the face of the globe.
I would that it still remained to consider what we might calmly have considered on the first Monday in December—how this could be avoided; but events have rolled past that point.
You would not make propositions when they would have been effective.
I presume you will not
tution; but the Congress may, at any time, by law, make or alter such regulations, except as to the times and places of choosing Senators.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year; and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall, by law appoint a different day.
Each House shalDecember, unless they shall, by law appoint a different day.
Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.section 5.
Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business;