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confederates. Such was the bloody deed of personal retaliation begotten and nursed by these Missouri invasions in the half-crazed soul of a religious fanatic, the sanguinary prelude of John Brown's coming drama.
Only too plain is the fact that the Furies of the godless Deed are now born on the Kansas-Missouri border, rearing and hissing in vengeful wrath which is involving the innocent with the wrong-doer in a common fate. Ancient Aeschylus, evoking his dreadful Erinyes from the abysses of the guilty soul, would himself stand aghast at the spectacle of retribution now enacting and still more bloodily to be enacted in this Ten Years' War. Already over the Sack of Lawrence every eye can see the face of Nemesis with a dark frown of vengeance turned toward the source of this deed of wrong and getting ready to pursue its perpetrators to their own hearthstones, which will be reddened by the heart-drops of the just and the unjust in that day of wrathful requital.
But now we may well divert our look elsewhither. Overlapping these Kansas events Presidential year has arrived, giving very distinctly a new turn to affairs, through the election of a new Chief Magistrate by the People. This furnishes a fresh opportunity for observing the throbbing occurrences of another annual cycle, and for seeking to find their historic process.
CHAPTER II. THE PRESIDENTIAL YEAR.
The Kansas War has lasted hardly more than a year, but it has ushered in a new era. It has brought home to the American Folk-Soul the supreme question of the time, which must be settled before anything else can be seriously thought of. The old Union, half slave and half free, is to be voted on by the entire Nation, consciously for the first time. Is it ready? Does it hear with distinctness the behest of the WorldSpirit? Or must there be longer waiting and more discipline? This is the issue which we may now watch winding through the political events of the present year and catch the answer in the outcome. More particularly we may ask, Is Kansas to get relief, or is there to be more torture? Her animated longitudinal farm-wall, embanked against the Missouri line, is still held and guarded with vigilance and valor.
But is this Border War to continue? Let us hear the response of the American electorate which has now the cause before its tribunal for decision.
In 1856, an election for President was to take place, which event would determine whether the central authority of the Federal Union was to favor the creation of the Free-State or of the Slave-State out of Kansas specially, and out of all the Territories generally. The principle of the single conflict on the border with its two sides was rapidly making itself universal, involving all the States and dividing them into Northern and Southern by a line, or rather by a chasm growing deeper and deeper, which ran from Kansas to the Atlantic. The line existed before, even from the adoption of the Constitution, but now it has become a foreshadowed battle line along which the contending forces may be seen in the mind's eye to be gathering for the onset.
The occurrences of this year are somewhat complicated, for the whole country is seething and struggling with its problem, which is perpetually shifting about and taking unexpected shapes. How can we catch and fix the underlying movement of all this hurly-burly? Undoubtedly the Presidency is the central determining point round which everything turns. Hitherto in the Kansas conflict we have had mainly to fix our eye upon
two leading elements: the government at Washington and the strife on the border, the one being at the center and the other on the circumference. But now the whole area of the country lying between center and circumference has the stress, and is swept into the whirl of the conflict by having to elect a President. So we must take into account three main elements each of which has its own movement, while they all unite in forming one great movement characteristic of the Presidential year.
The most significant and lasting event of the present fermentation is that a new party is shaping itself out of the ruins of previous parties, such as the Whig and Know-Nothing, with many a boulder breaking off and floating in from the still living and lively Democratic party. On the 22nd of February a convention containing delegates from twenty-three States assembled at Pittsburg and demanded in their resolutions “ the repeal of all laws which allow the introduction of slavery into the territories once consecrated to freedom, and furthermore we demand the immediate admission of Kansas as a free and independent State.” Very distinctly is now the Republican party born and endowed with a national activity, being called upon to send delegates later (June 17th) to Philadelphia for nominating a candidate for the Presidency. This party has already given many a sign of itself sporadically, so that its origin is variously timed and located. At Pittsburg, however, it leaps into the arena fully panoplied with its principles. It has a great destiny before it, probably greater than that of any other political party, since it is to fight the battle for the Union and win it, and to clestroy slavery not only in Kansas but in every other State of the Union, new and old, giving it a mortal blow in both the Americas and seemingly for all futurity. Quite unconscious of any such far-extending destiny at present, it will simply insist upon the Federal Union being hereafter the mother of Free-States only, without disturbing slavery where it already exists. And after fifty stormy years this party still lives and works with its hand upon the helm of State, grappling with vast new problems and duties. Even its enemies will hardly fail tc look upon it with some degree of admiration, wondering what has given to it such a perdurable vitality and governing power.
The three elements already mentioned - Washington (the center), Kansas (the border), and the entire Country lying between center and border are in a process together, in a perpetuiel whirl of agitation. The irritating cause has its seat in Washington, being the Administration of President Pierce, which not only supports but secretly encourages the invasion of the Missourians in the interest of slavery. Then Kin