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[201] Extension of Slavery. There were local exceptions; but in the main the Democratic party was materially strengthened by the rapid and general disintegration of the Free Soil party, and by the apparent falling away of the Whigs of the Free States from a decided, open, inflexible maintenance of the principle of Slavery Restriction. Gen. Taylor's election had exhausted the personal popularity based on his achievements as a soldier; his attitude as a slaveholder, and his tacit negation of the principle aforesaid, were awkward facts; and, though the President himself could not be justly accused of doing or saying any thing clearly objectionable, yet each successive State election of 1849 indicated a diminished and declining popularity on the part of the new Administration.

Neither Mr. Webster nor Gov. Seward had a seat in Gen. Taylor's Cabinet, though either, doubtless, might have had, had he desired it. Mr. Webster remained in the Senate, where Messrs. Clay and Calhoun still lingered, and Gov. Seward first took his seat in that body on the day of Gen. Taylor's inauguration.

The proper organization of the spacious territories recently acquired from Mexico necessarily attracted the early and earnest attention of the new President and his official counselors. It could not be justifiably postponed; for the military rule that had thus far been endured by those territories, exceptional at best, had been rendered anomalous and indefensible by the lapse of a year since the complete restoration of peace. Meantime, the discovery of gold in California was already attracting swarms of adventurers to that country and rendering its speedy and extensive colonization inevitable. That it should soon receive a suitable and legitimate civil government was imperative. New Mexico, likewise, having a population of sixty thousand, mainly native-born, and divested by our conquest of a civil government substantially of her own choice, had a right to expect an early and complete deliverance from military rule.

The new Administration appears to have promptly resolved on its course. It decided to invite and favor an early organization of both California and New Mexico (including all the vast area recently ceded by Mexico, apart from Texas proper) as incipient States, and to urge their admission, as such, into the Union at the earliest practicable day. Of course, it was understood that, being thus organized, in the absence of both slaveholders and slaves, they would almost necessarily become Free States.

According to this programme, Mr. Thomas Butler King1 was dispatched to California on the 3d of April, 1849, as a special agent from the Executive, with instructions to favor the early formation of a State Constitution and Government. The President, in a Special Message to Congress on the 21st of January, 1850, replying to a resolution of inquiry from the

1 For most of the ten years preceding, a Whig member of Congress from Georgia.

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